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November 14, 2005

Talks Start Without Paisley

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News about Ireland & the Irish

BT 11/14/05 Talks Set To Start Without Paisley
UT 11/14/05 McGuinness Challenge To Paisley
IT 11/14/05 Catholic Quota For PSNI Must Be Kept - Bradley
SF 11/14/05 Scare Tactics Will Not Stop Sinn Féin Growth
BT 11/14/05 Plea For NIO To Move To Talks With UDA
SF 11/14/05 Sinn Féin Respond To UDA Announcement
DI 11/14/05 Loyalists Need To Feel Included
SF 11/14/05 Counting The Cost Of Direct Rule
BT 11/14/05 Fears Of Reforms Leading To Sectarian Split
SF 11/14/05 Adams Speaks To Canadian Prime Minister
BT 11/14/05 DUP 'Close To A Voluntary Coalition With SF'
NL 11/14/05 Double Standards
BT 11/14/05 Bradley: Officers To Police Their Own Areas
IT 11/14/05 Opin: Durkan Breathes Life Back Into Party
BB 11/14/05 79-Year-Old Nun Mugged On Street
RU 11/14/05 N Ireland Murals Tell Story Of Changing Society
IT 11/14/05 Poppy Valid Recognition Of Irish In World Wars
IT 11/14/05 GAA Helped From Across The Divide


Talks Set To Start Without Paisley

Parties meet Hain before bid to restore devolution

By Noel McAdam
14 November 2005

"Ground-clearing" talks were due to get under way - without
the DUP - at Stormont today in the run-up to an attempt to
restore devolution in the New Year.

Secretary of State Peter Hain was due to co-chair his first
formal set of discussions with the political parties, along
with Irish Foreign Minister Dermot Ahern.

Sinn Fein, the UVF-linked Progressive Unionist Party, and
Robert McCartney's United Kingdom Unionists were all due to
hold separate meetings with the London and Dublin Ministers
this afternoon.

The DUP, SDLP, UUP and Alliance have been invited to a
second day of talks next week. Last night, however, the DUP
said it did not plan to attend today's meetings.

DUP North Belfast MP Nigel Dodds said: "What we're about is
the real business of meeting with government ministers from
Tony Blair and Peter Hain down, on a regular basis.

"We were doing it last week and we'll be doing it next week
and also with the Dublin government as well, about the real
issues of confidence building, equality and so on."

The meetings are the first since the double Westminster and
local government elections in May, but their significance
was being played down by the Northern Ireland Office last

A spokesman said: "Clearly these are not substantive talks
focusing on the restoration of devolution. Everyone
understands we are not yet at that point. These are stock-
taking or ground-clearing talks.

"But neither are they just for the optics, so to speak.

"There are a number of important issues the parties want to
talk about, including parades and policing."

Senior Sinn Fein negotiator Martin McGuinness said that
last year, the two governments made it clear to his party
that Ian Paisley had indicated that the only obstacle to
restoring devolution was the issue of arms.

"The IRA have decisively dealt with that issue. It is no
longer an issue for the process. Is Ian Paisley now going
to step up to the mark? Is Ian Paisley going to follow
through on what he said to the two governments last year?

"The DUP have sat back for too long. We need to get the
political institutions back up and running. Week by week
the Direct Rule administration is taking decisions based
not on the needs or requirements of the people but on
fiscal considerations in the British treasury.

"Are the DUP content to sit back and watch this happen or
are they finally going to stop hiding behind rhetoric and
show real political leadership?" Mr McGuinness asked.


McGuinness Challenge To Paisley

The Rev Ian Paisley was challenged today to stop hiding
behind rhetoric and show real political leadership by
sharing power with Sinn Fein.

By:Press Association

At a republican commemoration south of the Irish border,
Sinn Fein`s chief negotiator Martin McGuinness claimed
during talks last year that the British and Irish
governments told his party Mr Paisley said the only
obstacle to a return to power-sharing was weapons.

The Mid Ulster MP told republicans at Edentubber, Co Louth
now that the IRA had completed disarmament, the Democratic
Unionist leader had no excuse to refuse to share power.

"Last year the two governments made it clear to Sinn Fein
during a number of meetings that Ian Paisley had indicated
to them that the only obstacle to a return to the power-
sharing institutions was the issue of arms," he said.

"The IRA have decisively dealt with that issue. It is no
longer an issue for the process.

"Is Ian Paisley now going to step up to the mark ? Is Ian
Paisley going to follow through on what he said to the two
governments last year ?"

In September, the Independent International Commission on
Decommissioning reported the IRA had completed disarmament
in the presence of two witnesses, Methodist minister, the
Rev Harold Good and Catholic priest, Father Alec Reid.

The IRA also declared in a statement in July that all units
had been ordered to dump arms and end their armed campaign.

But unionists have responded sceptically to the moves,
criticising the choice of independent witnesses and the
failure to produce photographic or video evidence that the
IRA`s arsenal had been destroyed.

The DUP, in particular, has insisted the Government will
need to address a number of confidence building measures
for unionists before they will even contemplate reviving

Following a positive report from the Independent Monitoring
Commission in October that the IRA was moving in the right
direction, officials in London and Dublin are pinning their
hopes on another positive report from the paramilitary
watchdog in January.

As Sinn Fein prepared to launch a document tomorrow on the
cost to people in Northern Ireland of direct rule from
Westminster, Mr McGuinness said the DUP had blocked a
return to devolution for far too long.

"We need to get the political institutions back up and
running," he said.

"Week by week the direct rule administration is taking
decisions based not on the needs or requirements of the
people but on fiscal considerations in the British

"Are the DUP content to sit back and watch this happen ? Or
are they finally going to stop hiding behind rhetoric and
show real political leadership?"


Catholic Quota For PSNI Must Be Kept - Bradley

Martin Wall

The vice-chairman of the Northern Ireland Policing Board
Denis Bradley has urged that the 50:50 recruitment policy
in the Police Service of Northern Ireland be ended only
when a target for Catholic recruitment has been reached.

This policy requires that 50 per cent of recruits taken in
to the PSNI must be Catholic with the remainder being of
other religions.

In an address to the SDLP annual conference on Saturday, Mr
Bradley said that although he supported the policy, the
requirement was not based on proper human rights grounds.

He said the Patten report on policing in Northern Ireland
had recommended that recruitment "be let float free" once
the number of Catholics in the force had reached 30 per

"When unionist people say we do not like the 50:50
recruitment, we can say neither do we. It is not right and
will not be right into the future." The principle that
there had to be five of them for five of us was not a human
rights one.

He said the SDLP should not be worried about the IRA or
loyalists taking over policing within working-class
communities. Although they might seek to do so they would
not succeed.

Mr Bradley said that the PSNI now felt that the "monkey of
history had been taken off its back" and that policing in
Northern Ireland was now much more professional and

However, he warned that policing had to be embedded in a
culture and framework of human rights.

There was a danger of human rights being seen as something
nice to have but which could "go out the window on a hard
day". Some police officers might say that human rights were
"grand" but that they were only there for the visuals. "If
we let that happen we will have made the biggest blunder we
could make."

Mr Bradley also expressed concern that many police officers
were not living or socialising in the communities they
served. There were no police officers living within 10
miles of Derry.

He acknowledged that there were some problems over
security. However, there was also an economic factor; when
people were paid well, they tended to move out to other

Mr Bradley said the next big challenge would be to embed
policing within the community. The police needed to bond
with the community and the community needed to bond with
the police. This was unlikely to happen if officers lived
10 miles away from where they policed and never went back
to socialise or bring their children to school.

Mr Bradley said that while he believed that the restorative
justice issue "would sort itself out", he was concerned
about community safety being separated from policing.

He said there was a growing bureaucracy in the Northern
Ireland Office dealing with community safety and that this
could see the policing board left with a reduced role in
the areas of monitoring and oversight of policing.

© The Irish Times


Scare Tactics Will Not Stop Sinn Féin Growth

Published: 14 November, 2005

Responding to comments on Sinn Féin from Taoiseach Bertie
Ahern, Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny and Justice Minister
Michael McDowell, Sinn Féin Dáil leader Caoimhghin Ó
Caoláin has said these parties are "using scare tactics in
the vain hope of stopping Sinn Fein's growth". He said the
Taoiseach "had a brass neck to accuse Sinn Féin of being
agents of poverty and disadvantage while he presides over a
wealthy economy where one in seven children live in

He said Fine Gael and the PDs were engaged in a contest
over who are the biggest anti-Sinn Féiners "designed as
much to damage Fianna Fáil as Sinn Féin".

Deputy Ó Caoláin said: "It is a measure of the political
bankruptcy of all these parties that their main focus has
been on scare tactics designed to stem the growth of Sinn
Féin. Fine Gael and the Progressive Democrats are engaging
in a contest over who are the biggest anti-Sinn Féiners.
Both parties are desperate to present Fianna Fáil as
Government partners-in-waiting with Sinn Féin in order to,
as they see it, boost Fine Gael and PD prospects in the
General Election.

"The Taoiseach Bertie Ahern was clearly rattled by the
vacuous speech delivered by Enda Kenny in Cork on Saturday.
The only memorable thing about that speech was the Fine
Gael leader's effort to link Sinn Féin and Fianna Fáil. In
what can only be described as a panic response, the
Taoiseach has reverted to the old tactic of the 'red
scare'. And he rushed into the arms of the viciously anti-
republican Sunday Independent to deliver his message.

"The Taoiseach has a brass neck to describe Sinn Féin as
agents of poverty and disadvantage while he presides over a
wealthy economy where one in seven children live in
poverty. Sinn Féin represents disadvantaged communities
across this country who have long been abandoned by Fianna
Fáil and the other conservative parties. The Taoiseach's
sudden interest in Sinn Féin's policies will fool very few
people. He knows Sinn Féin is not a Marxist party but his
attack has nothing to do with our ideology or our policies.
It is all about decommissioning some of the political
weaponry of Fine Gael and the PDs in advance of a General

"For our part Sinn Féin will continue to challenge the
conservative parties, including the Fianna Fáil-PD
government and the Coalition of the Confused that poses as
an alternative. The coalition we want to build is with the
Irish people as we work together to create an Ireland of
Equals. Scare tactics will not stop the growth of Sinn
Féin." ENDS


Plea For NIO To Move To Talks With UDA

By David Gordon
14 November 2005

The clergyman who heads a loyalist umbrella group today
called on the Northern Ireland Office to respond positively
to a talks overture from the UDA.

The Rev Mervyn Gibson was commenting on a statement issued
by the terror group yesterday indicating that it was ready
to discuss its future with the Government.

Mr Gibson, who chairs the Loyalist Commission, said he
believed both the UDA and UVF could end up in a position
where they saw "no need for their current structures".

"The Commission very much welcomes yesterday's UDA
statement," he said. "I would encourage the Government to
devote some energy and resources into working with loyalist
paramilitaries on conflict transformation."

Mr Gibson said discussions on the way forward for loyalist
paramilitarism had been held up by the feud between the UVF
and LVF.

"That feud is now over so that barrier is gone. There will
be other barriers along the road that will have to be dealt

"The way I see it is that they are pointing in the right
direction and they need to be encouraged along the road,"
he added.

There has been growing speculation about the future of
loyalist paramilitary groups, following the IRA's
declaration that it was ceasing all activities and its
subsequent decommissioning act.

The LVF announced last month that it was winding up and
there have been internal discussions within the UVF on the
way forward.

The UDA's statement yesterday was issued at a loyalist
Remembrance Day gathering in the Rathcoole estate.

It was read out by Newtownabbey councillor Tommy Kirkham, a
leading member of the UDA-linked Ulster Political Research

Claiming that the IRA had been defeated, the UDA said
requests for meetings with Prime Minister Tony Blair and
Secretary of State Peter Hain had been repeatedly rebuffed.

"How can the attention and pressure be redirected for
loyalism to make the next move? We have always been willing
to discuss the future," it said.

"We wish to make our position absolutely clear that over a
two month period we have consulted our entire membership.

"On behalf of the Inner Council the message must go out
today that at this time the UDA has a clear understanding
on the future. We are open minded and waiting on contact."

The UUP and DUP welcomed the statement as potentially
significant, but urged the paramilitary group to end all
terrorist and criminal activities.

But SDLP MLA Alex Attwood commented: "The Chief Constable
has repeatedly advised the Policing Board that there are
examples of UDA involvement in serious crime, drug dealing,
extortion and other activities.

"These latest words do not measure up against the evidence
of UDA intentions."


Sinn Féin Respond To UDA Announcement

Published: 14 November, 2005

Responding to yesterday's announcement by the UDA that they
have completed a consultation with their members, Sinn Féin
Assembly member for North Belfast Gerry Kelly said:

" Given that the UDA over recent years have made a number
of positive statements only for this to be contradicted by
actions on the ground people will be rightly sceptical
about this latest initiative.

" However if this is a genuine attempt to move forward then
that would obviously be a welcome move. The UDA have said
that they have a clear understanding of their future.
People need to hear what this is. We need to hear that
their violent sectarian campaign against Catholics is over.
We need to hear that their guns and bombs will not be used
again and that they want to move forward peacefully with
the rest of us." ENDS


Loyalists Need To Feel Included

As the UDA hints at ending its activities, loyalists warn
their needs must be addressed

Zoe Tunney

A leading loyalist yesterday warned the British government
they could not 'squeeze' loyalists out of the peace

Colin Halliday, of the Ulster Political Research Group
(UPRG), which provides political analysis for the Ulster
Defence Association (UDA), said they intended meeting the
British government in the near future with a "shopping
list" of demands.

Speaking to Daily Ireland, Mr Halliday said that loyalists
had to be brought in from the wilderness.

He was speaking after it was hinted yesterday that the UDA
could be about to end its activities. During a Remembrance
Day commemoration in Belfast yesterday, another UPRG
member, Tommy Kirkham, read a joint statement from the UDA
and the Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF), which said loyalists
should celebrate their victory over the Provisional IRA.

The statement said that the UDA had always been willing to
discuss the future.

"We wish to make our position absolutely clear that, over a
two-month period, we have consulted our entire membership,"
it read.

"On behalf of the Inner Council, the message must go out
today that, at this time, the UDA has a clear understanding
on the future. We are open-minded and waiting on contact."

Mr Halliday said it was important that the needs of
loyalists were recognised.

"For the past year, the British government have been
focusing on republicans and getting a statement out of
them," he said. "Unionists and everybody else have been on
the back burner.

"Tony Blair will ignore loyalists at his peril. The British
Government can continue to squeeze and squeeze but they
will never fully push the UDA and the UPRG from the peace

The UPRG spokesman said central to the loyalist commitment
to peace was the belief that the UDA and other loyalist
paramilitaries had defeated the IRA.

"We put a lot of effort into defeating the IRA
militaristically," he said. "By the time the IRA announced
their first ceasefire, we had out-gunned them and outdone

"It is our belief that we defeated them, and the ordinary
loyalist Protestant person believes that. It is important
that ordinary people have that to believe in. We have been
trying to get it through to ordinary rank and file UDA
members, and to people who have been incarcerated or who
lost loved ones to the IRA."

Last November, the UDA issued a statement which said they
were committed to "working towards the end of all
paramilitary activity." Their ceasefire was under scrutiny
during rioting in north Belfast in July this year but it
remains intact.

Mr Halliday also said the unionist community had learned a
lot from Sinn Féin and the nationalist community.

"Now, we are playing catch-up with republicans socially,
politically and economically," he said. "It's as if we are
the second-class citizens now. But we have learned from
Sinn Féin.

"What we intend doing is meeting the British government
with a shopping list – after all, they will be bringing
along their shopping list of things they want us to do."


Counting The Cost Of Direct Rule

Published: 14 November, 2005

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams MP will launch the Sinn
Féin discussion document 'Counting the Cost of Direct Rule'
tomorrow, Tuesday 15th November 2005, at 11 am in the Long
Gallery at Stormont.

Party Spokespersons on Agriculture and Rural Development,
Michelle Gildernew MP MLA; the Economy, Mitchel McLaughlin;
Education, Michael Ferguson MLA; Health, John O'Dowd MLA;
and Equality, Caitriona Ruane MLA will also be part of the

The launch of the discussion document is the part of the
Sinn Féin campaign to get the political institutions re-

Speaking ahead of the launch Sinn Féin General Secretary
Mitchel McLaughlin said:

"It has been over three years since the British Government
suspended the Assembly and the Executive on October 14th
2002. In that time, British Direct Rule has undermined the
Programme for Government and the priorities agreed by
members of the last Executive and Assembly.

"There are specific costs of Direct Rule that can be
counted, which impact on the economy, agriculture,
healthcare and education, some of which are detailed in
this document.

"Sinn Féin will be engaging with civic society - trade
unions, business leaders, NGOs and the community and
voluntary sector to give focus to the demand for the re-
establishment of the political institutions and an end to
direct rule.

"Driven not by a commitment to serve the people of the
north, but by a Whitehall imperative to slash public
spending, Direct Rule is a liability to all of our society
- nationalists and unionists alike." ENDS


Fears Of Council Reforms Leading To Sectarian Split

By Brian Walker
14 November 2005

Fears that council reform could lead to a division of
Northern Ireland and deepen sectarian divisions will greet
the outcome of the long-awaited Review of Public
Administration, due to be announced in a week's time.

Mr Hain and his ministers are putting the finishing touches
to reforms aimed at making savings up to £200m a year by
drastically reducing the number of councils, scrapping the
health and education area boards and any quangos.

The new regime will replace the system of councils and
boards that has been in place since 1973.

Ministers are expected to see reducing the number of
councils from 26 to 7 as the most efficient and cost-saving
choice, while increasing the powers of new, bigger councils
to take control over local planning, roads and the

They will be funded by the combined regional and district

However, the SDLP and the Ulster Unionists have already
voiced fears that the seven council option will create a
DUP/Sinn Fein carve-up, permanently splitting the province
into a "Green" west and an "Orange" east, with only Belfast
as a 50:50 council area.

Sinn Fein approval for the option is only likely to
increase their concerns.

To prevent marginalising large minorities and deepening
sectarian divisions, yet more consultations will be held to
devise new forms of council power sharing.

An unresolved fundamental question is whether to make power
sharing compulsory for the new councils, following the
precedent of the Assembly.

To create roughly equal areas, a boundary review will
finally define seven new council districts.

The replacement of the four Health and Social Service
Boards and 18 trusts is to follow more radical lines than
those suggested in the RPA.

Ministers are this week deciding how to implement the
recommendations of the Appleby report, which slammed the
province's poor record of reducing waiting lists and using
hospital theatres efficiently.

Seven local health and social service agencies bodies are
expected to match the new districts, but a purchaser -
provider split is likely to reserve real power for an
independent central board.

This body would set budgets and performance targets for the
local health and social services agencies to follow.

A single support body will replace the five education

The Youth Service and the Arts Council are expected to
survive intact.

Local forums based on the councils will be formed to
provide joined-up co-ordination of local services.

To oil the wheels of the new system, water and sewerage
services will be wholly financed by the controversial "tap
tax " run by a State water company from 2007.

As a result, £500m will be freed for other projects.


Adams Speaks To Canadian Prime Minister

Published: 13 November, 2005

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams today concludes a three-day
visit to Canada. Mr Adams was in Toronto to speak at
Friends of Sinn Féin (Canada) fundraiser on Saturday

Shortly before that he spoke by phone to the Canadian Prime
Minister Paul Martin. The Sinn Féin President took the
opportunity to thank the Canadian government for its
consistent help and support for the Irish peace process and
in particular the important work of Canadian experts like
Judge Cory and General John de Chastelain

The Canadian Prime Minister Mr Martin assured the Sinn Fein
President that Canada would continue to support the peace
process and would continue to provide whatever help it

Speaking at the Friends of Sinn Féin event in the Toronto
Hilton Mr Adams told a packed audience that; "the recent
IRA initiatives have opened up a new phase in Irish
political life. We now have the possibility to develop
strategies and policies which can positively change the
future of Ireland and reshape the type of country that we
want to live in for future generations as well as this

Mr Adams told his audience:

"There are three great tasks of work ahead of us.

"The first is to ensure that the British and Irish
governments are focused, decisive and creative and
understand clearly the need to bed down the peace process.
They need to implement the Good Friday Agreement as they
have promised to do.

"The other big task is to end the scourge of sectarianism
and to forge a new relationship between unionism and the
rest of us.

"The peace process has created a new dynamic for change
which many unionists find threatening. They are afraid that
they will lose out economically and politically; that the
traditional role will be reversed and that they will suffer
disadvantage and discrimination.

"Irish republicans will be condone or be part of such
developments. The underpinning principles, which guides out
politics, is equality. This means working in partnership
with those unionists who will work with us to ensure a
netter future for all our people.

"The third big task - the third great task for Irish
republicans in the time ahead - is to achieve Irish
independence and unity.

"Consultation, engagement, persuasion and negotiation with
a view to securing active support for a united Ireland is
the means to achieving these ends." ENDS


DUP's Robinson 'Close To A Voluntary Coalition With SF'

By Noel McAdam
14 November 2005

SDLP leader Mark Durkan has accused DUP deputy leader Peter
Robinson of coming close to negotiating a voluntary
coalition administration with Sinn Fein.

And he also charged the DUP with "offensive power-grabbing"
and double-standards over policing and loyalist

Mr Durkan told his party's annual conference that the
collapsed so-called Comprehensive Agreement, of last
December, included a new law to exclude both the SDLP and
Ulster Unionists if they failed to support the DUP and Sinn
Fein for First and Deputy First Minister respectively.

The justification was that politicians wanting to be
Ministers should vote for the heads of the government and
that the DUP and Sinn Fein had sufficient numbers to
control the Assembly - "the essence," Mr Durkan argued, "of
voluntary coalition".

Echoing Gerry Adams' comment after David Trimble persuaded
the Ulster Unionist Council to go back into government with
republicans, Mr Durkan quipped: "Well done, Peter.

"You couldn't get voluntary coalition with the SDLP, but
you're getting it with Sinn Fein. Are you sure that's what
you - and your party - want? Has anyone told the Paisleys?"

The Foyle MP said the DUP had for years "retailed the lie"
that loyalist violence was only a reaction to the IRA and
had consorted with paramilitaries in various political

It had "practically absolved" loyalist paramilitaries in
advance of the banned Whiterock Orange parade and continued
to sit with loyalist paramilitaries on the North and West
Belfast Parades Forum while refusing to attend the Belfast
District Policing Partnership, he said.

In the same week that Ian Paisley had been credited for
going to a Catholic school with Secretary of State Peter
Hain, the DUP had refused to co-opt an SDLP member in
Ballymena after the death of councillor Margaret Gribben -
a council where the DUP already holds 14 of the 24 seats.

"In the face of offensive power-grabbing like that, how can
we be asked to take it on faith that the DUP are up for
power-sharing?" he asked delegates.

The gathering in Belfast backed a motion opposing DUP
attempts to re-write the Good Friday Agreement and calling
on the party to embrace its opportunities to "create
meaningful partnerships" at council, Assembly, and north-
south levels.

Condemning what he called the Government's "concession a
week" approach to the political process, Mr Durkan also
launched an attack on Sinn Fein, whose approach to the
Government's Troubles amnesty - which would also apply to
security forces members - had shown they had "only
negotiated for themselves".

Members of the British Army's Force Research Unit involved
in collusion with loyalists paramilitaries would thank
Gerry Adams for legislation ensuring that they would not
have to face a trial in court over their involvement in
attacks, Mr Durkan said.

With water charges and a massive rates rise looming as well
as, education cuts and funding for business start-ups axed,
Mr Durkan said there was a need for an urgent resumption of
devolution. "We have never pretended that devolution is a
theme park for soft options. But we absolutely believe -
whatever the limits, whatever the pressures - that our own
power sharing administration would produce better choices
for better reasons," he said.


Double Standards

Monday 14th November 2005

Irish premier Bertie Ahern was accused of double standards
last night after he ruled out ever having Sinn Fein as a
coalition partner in Dublin.

Democratic Unionist MP Nigel Dodds warned the Taoiseach not
to expect his party to stomach in Northern Ireland what he
would not accept in the Republic.

In comments to the Sunday Independent newspaper in Dublin,
Mr Ahern said he would lead his party, Fianna Fail, into
opposition rather than consider going into a coalition
government with Sinn Fein.

"Even a radical overhaul of Sinn Fein economic policy would
have little real credibility after 35 years of Marxism,"
the Taoiseach said.

"I believe Sinn Fein are agents of poverty and
disadvantage. I believe the very notion of Sinn Fein in
government would lead to a flight of investment, which is
untenable in a small, open economy.

"For the good of the country, we cannot accept those
policies in government. A practical republican programme
delivering real benefits for ordinary people would be
impossible with Sinn Fein in government.

"In such circumstances, I would lead my party into
opposition rather than contemplate coalition with Sinn Fein
or an arrangement for their support in government."

With unionists facing pressure to resume power-sharing in
Northern Ireland featuring Sinn Fein, the DUP said Mr
Ahern's comments were another example of double standards
by the Irish government. "Bertie Ahern has ruled out in
categorical terms any prospect of Sinn Fein in government,"
the North Belfast MP said.

"Is it too much to expect that double standards will not
apply once again ?

"Unionists have learned that consistency and morality long
ago ceased to be the benchmarks of this political process
as far as the (British and Irish) governments are

"I have little doubt that the same Bertie Ahern will be at
the forefront of pressure from Dublin on unionists to
accept what they will not."

Mr Dodds said that the Irish government had already ruled
out an early prison release for the IRA killers of Garda
Jerry McCabe.

He contrasted this with the situation north of the border
where IRA and loyalist killers had been released from jail
early under the Good Friday Agreement and other terror
suspects who had gone on the run were being offered the
chance to return to Northern Ireland knowing they would
never be arrested or serve a prison sentence.

"Now that Dublin is facing up to the reality of what it
means to have Sinn Fein in government, let there be no
further double-talk from Dublin or London.

"Unionists in Northern Ireland will not be pushed over as
they were when (former UUP leader David) Trimble negotiated
for them.

"Nor will the DUP accept secondclass standards for the
people of this Province."


* The DUP will not be attending a new round of exploratory
talks organised by the British and Irish governments at
Hillsborough Castle and starting today.

Mr Dodds said they were being held "to present the idea of
some sort of process under way, with reporters standing
outside Hillsborough".

"What we're about is the real business of meeting with
Government ministers, from Tony Blair and Peter Hain down,
on a regular basis," he said.

"We were doing it last week and we'll be doing it next
week, and also with the Dublin government as well, about
the real issues of confidence building, equality and so


Bradley Calls For Officers To Police Their Own Areas

By Noel McAdam
14 November 2005

Embedding police officers in communities where they live is
the "next big challenge" facing policing in Northern

That was the warning from Policing Board vice-chairman
Denis Bradley (pictured) who said police officers do not
live within 10 miles of parts of Londonderry and other
towns and villages in the province.

"How can you have community policing when police officers
do not live and socialise in the areas they work in? It is
not possible. It is a contradiction in terms," Mr Bradley

The problem was partly economic, because officers' salaries
start around £20,000 and they moved into middle-class

His attack came as the Government prepared to publicly
advertise for the next senior Policing Board positions with
Mr Bradley due to complete his period of office in April.

Mr Bradley also criticised the 50/50 recruitment principle
which he said could not be justified in human rights terms.

"When unionists say to us as nationalists they do not like
50/50 we should look them in the eye and say we do not like
it either. It is not right and will not be right in the
future because it is not a proper human rights ground on
which to stand.

"We need to move from a situation where we don't worry if
we get a Protestant or Catholic officer, or unionist or
nationalist officer but an officer who will do the right
thing for the right reasons."

Speaking at the SDLP's annual conference in Belfast, Mr
Bradley also told the party not to get "too hot under the
collar" over the community restorative justice schemes

He said he believed the IRA would go away further in the
next few years and that even if republicans gained control
of restorative justice they would eventually be told to
"stuff it".


Opin: Durkan Breathes New Life And Confidence Back Into Party

The mood of the SDLP is becoming more confident, writes
Dan Keenan, Northern News Editor

Mark Durkan MP appears to be a bigger man now than the one
who addressed the last conference and called for his party
to fight for its life at the polls in May. "He's a
different guy now since winning that seat," was the
observation of an established reporter at the press desk
who witnessed a more strident Durkan speech to the party
conference this year.

The observation was endorsed by a member of the party's
depleted Assembly group who said that the letters "MP"
attract considerably more gravitas than the title "MLA".

The SDLP had been written off for a very long time, as
speaker after speaker reminded reporters at the weekend.
Almost as long, in fact as Durkan's political
apprenticeship under John Hume.

Now there are definite green shoots in the midst of the
bare patches of the party grass roots.

This conference was less silver-haired than previous
meetings. There were more unfamiliar names of people whose
dates of birth coincided with the hunger strikes and the
arrival of an electorally efficient Sinn Féin.

To some in the hall, the simple tribute to the late Gerry
Fitt, the SDLP's first leader, must have seemed like a page
from pre-history rather than the recent past.

But while the average age of delegates may have lowered
somewhat, there was a mood about this conference which
suggests that if this party is to regain lost ground it has
one chance and the time has come.

Delegates flooding from the conference hall after Durkan's
speech had not missed their party leader's pointed remarks
amidst the self-congratulation.

"Get organised," he ordered them.

This meant constitutional reform, early selection of a
European Parliament candidate, organisational overhaul and
a commitment to getting the party's act together from
branch level upwards - and not just at election time.

Such demands point up traditional and enduring SDLP
weaknesses - and indeed the comparative strength of Sinn

Vibrant branches in every corner of the North remain a
dream and not a reality.

Floods of young, motivated election workers in all
constituencies remain an aspiration.

But this conference believes there is a new impatience "out
there" with Sinn Féin, just as there is rising frustration
with seven years of political stalemate and stagnation.

Many are convinced that the whole peace process saga with
its seemingly unending process has cheapened both politics
and politicians.

Back amid the euphoria of 1998 there was an acceptance that
"things needed to be done" to end the conflict.

Now, there is outright cynicism about just what the two
governments would be prepared to do to get Sinn Féin and
the DUP into a devolved executive at Stormont.

It is this which helps explain the party's hostility to
last December's failed "Comprehensive Agreement" and to the
published legislation to facilitate the return of the "On
The Runs".

If they are right about the mood within the nationalist-
republican electorate and if Durkan can motivate his party
to capitalise on last May's successes, then the SDLP can
truly look to some prosperity under its second generation
confident that that generation will not be the last.

© The Irish Times


79-Year-Old Nun Mugged On Street

A 79-year-old nun has said she has been left "shocked and
saddened" after being mugged near the Sisters of Mercy
Convent in Londonderry at the weekend.

She suffered a dislocated shoulder after being struck in
Pump Street by the mugger who stole her handbag and a sum
of money.

She lay on the ground for about ten minutes before a
passer-by noticed her and called an ambulance.

She said she was "sad" young people felt they had to do
such things.

"Elderly people who have worked all their lives and have
experienced like situations should be treated with dignity
and respected," she told the BBC.

"I feel a great sadness that young people like this boy
have to resort to such violence in extremes, and that it is
especially the vulnerable and the old people who are such
easy targets."

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/11/14 10:05:14 GMT


Northern Ireland Murals Tell Story Of Changing Society

Mon Nov 14, 2005 10:29 AM GMT
By Anne Cadwallader

BELFAST (Reuters) - Change in Northern Ireland may be so
slow it appears imperceptible, but the writing is on the
wall for one of the most negative of its cultural
traditions -- murals glorifying paramilitary violence.

Often covering entire side walls of buildings, they are a
common sight in working class areas of large towns, acting
as a territorial marker, badge of victory or mark of sorrow
in a country still deeply divided along religious and
national lines.

However, with the IRA pledging to end its armed campaign
against British rule and some paramilitary groups loyal to
Britain also committing to end violence, the menacing
paintings that for decades symbolised the province's
conflict are slowly being replaced.

Where once masked gunmen and shadowy assassins loomed from
building walls, pictures of sports stars, authors and
landscapes are beginning to spring up -- most recently in
pro-British "unionist" or "loyalist" areas where armed
groups are starting to stand down.

"At the start, many loyalists were ambivalent about the
peace process," said Bill Rolston, professor of sociology
at the University of Ulster, who has written three books on
the murals.

"Murals were a way of telling their political
representatives to hold the line. They were a not-too-
subtle reminder that the paramilitaries had not gone away,"
he added.

"But gradually they began to realise that they could not
simply keep on painting the same subjects over and over
again, that things had to change."

The political process has been slower to make progress.

Efforts to establish political stability in Northern
Ireland following a peace deal in 1998 have been sluggish.
A Belfast-based government that shared power between
Catholics and Protestants, set up under the Good Friday
Agreement, was suspended in 2002 and has been on ice ever


But last month flags were taken down and murals painted
over ahead of an announcement that one loyalist
paramilitary group, the Loyalist Volunteer Force, would
stand down.

A portrait of Belfast-born writer C.S. Lewis, author of the
Narnia stories, now graces a wall in east Belfast, a pro-
British area, as does a painting of George Best, Northern
Ireland's favourite soccer-playing son.

In the past, even depictions of apparently harmless cartoon
characters had menacing undertones. Popular subjects
included Spike, the gruff bulldog in "Tom and Jerry", and
Eddie, a sinister, skeletal figure portrayed on Iron Maiden

"I think it's great that people are moving on. The murals
are certainly less political and in-your-face than they
were," said Anne Robinson, a supermarket worker from west

According to Neil Jarman, director of the Institute for
Conflict Research in Belfast, mural painting has been a
feature of unionist popular culture since the early 20th

"They appeared as part of an assertion of the Protestant
people's sense of British identity during an extended
period of political crisis," he wrote in an article.

Much of mainly Protestant Northern Ireland resisted calls
for Ireland's independence from Britain and was retained as
part of the United Kingdom when the rest of the island,
which is mostly Catholic, became independent in 1921.

Loyalist Kenny McComb, who served time in prison for
paramilitary activities, is involved in replacing a mural
in County Down. He said that whereas the drive to change
murals previously came from groups such as charities,
communities were now starting to press for new pictures to
represent them.

The mural he is helping to replace once depicted loyalist
gunmen. The new one includes pictures of the Bronte sisters
-- authors who lived in the area before moving to northern
England -- a local mariner, and the town centre.

"It's taken away the paramilitary stigma from the estate
and encouraged people back into the area. The old murals
served their purpose, they sent out a message but it's time
to re-build a sense of community pride now. Things have
moved on," he said.


For many, the garish murals are the central image of
Northern Ireland's three-decade sectarian conflict between
Irish nationalists, who want a united Ireland, and those
who want the province to remain part of Britain.

"I have lost count of the number of people who tell me the
the first time Northern Irish politics broke into their
consciousness was seeing a journalist report against the
backdrop of one of my murals," said Danny Devenney, who
paints murals in Irish republican areas of Belfast.

Ironically, he said, it was a British government minister
trying to defuse tension in the province who was
inadvertently responsible for starting the Irish
nationalist mural tradition many years after the unionists.

In the mid-1970s, the then Northern Ireland Secretary Roy
Mason commissioned a group of Belfast art students to paint
a series of murals in the city depicting the conflict as
merely "two tribes fighting each other".

Resenting this simplistic account, a students painted one
of the most militaristic republican murals in response -- a
picture of IRA snipers lying in undergrowth on a
mountainside firing on British soldiers.

"They made people talk, they loved them. They brightened up
the streets and reflected what people were saying in their
everyday lives," Devenney said.

"They were also cheap. It took money to print posters and
stick them up. It was our response to censorship and the
inability of mainstream media to reflect how we saw the

Now, he said, painting out the threat of violence could
prove an important step as the province tries to rebuild
itself following a conflict that cost 3,600 lives over 30

© Reuters 2005. All Rights Reserved.


Poppy A 'Valid Recognition' Of Irish Soldiers In World Wars

Patsy McGarry, Religious Affairs Correspondent

It is time to reconsider the connotations of the poppy in
Ireland, a remembrance Sunday service was told in St
Patrick's Cathedral Dublin yesterday.

Delivering the sermon, Fr Martin Clarke, a former spokesman
for Ireland's Catholic bishops, said that "rather than
reinforcing division, the poppy may be seen as a valid
recognition of the heroism, generosity, and self-sacrifice
of tens of thousands of Irish soldiers in the World Wars of
the 20th century."

Now parish priest at Monkstown, Co Dublin, Fr Martin said
"for complex cultural and historical reasons" there was "a
sense in which it is still taboo to wear a poppy in Ireland
at this time of year, despite the insights of historians
and commentators who have greatly helped us to understand
in a new way the nature and extent of the involvement of
Irish troops in both World Wars."

He said the work of Kevin Myers had "provided us with a
great human understanding of the significant Irish
connections with both World Wars." The Frank McGuinness
play Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching Towards the Somme,
was "a compelling portrait of a group of men divided by
religion, politics and class but united in their common
belief in God and country."

He referred to an article in this newspaper last Friday,
where Minister for Foreign Affairs Dermot Ahern said we
must honour our dead of the Somme as we honour the
insurgents of 1916.

He quoted Mr Ahern: "we can no longer have two histories,
separate and in conflict. We must acknowledge that the
experiences of all the people on this island have shaped
our present and, in some way, defined what it is for all of
us to be Irish."

Fr Clarke felt it was "timely to recall the original
symbolism of the poppy". The service was attended by
President McAleese, her husband Martin, Minister for the
Environment Dick Roche and members of the diplomatic corps
from Russia, UK, US, Canada, Japan, Belgium, Estonia,
Poland, South Africa, Germany, Norway, France and the

© The Irish Times


GAA Helped From Across The Divide

Gerry Moriarty, Northern Editor

The PSNI's sports and social club in Belfast has come to
the assistance of a facilities-strapped county GAA team by
providing training amenities for the Antrim ladies' team.

The Antrim team yesterday trained on one of the pitches of
the New Forge Country Club in south Belfast, where on
Wednesday the PSNI and Garda Síochána GAA teams will play a
challenge match.

This marks another quiet but significant exercise in
community bridge-building in Northern Ireland. Earlier this
year, the predominantly Protestant Linfield soccer club
provided training facilities for the St Mary's Teacher-
Training College camogie team in west Belfast.

Elsewhere in the North, some of the old barriers between
the different sporting codes, often based on religion or
politics, have been slowly breaking down without any great

Women's and girls' GAA is flourishing in many parts of
Ireland, including Antrim, but such is the success of the
sport that there is a "desperate" shortage of training

The public relations officer of the Antrim women's team,
Noel McGuckian, explained that attempts by the Antrim
Ladies' GAA Board to find training amenities had failed and
that it appeared that the team would be without suitable
facilities this winter.

However, following informal contacts involving sports
enthusiasts in Belfast, the PSNI sports club on New Forge
Lane made it known that it had spare capacity. This contact
developed to a point where the PSNI sports club was in a
position to formally propose use of its extensive grounds
to the Antrim team.

Over a week ago, the Antrim Ladies' GAA Board unanimously
took the sports club up on its offer, explained Mr
McGuckian, whose daughter, Sarah, plays for Antrim. The
first training session at New Forge took place yesterday,
with more than 30 female footballers turning up. Further
training is planned for New Forge in the coming weeks.

"Our problem is that the demand for GAA pitches way exceeds
the supply," explained Mr McGuckian. "There are only nine
GAA council pitches in greater Belfast catering for men's
and ladies' GAA teams. This compares with 85 soccer
pitches. And that clearly isn't enough to meet the needs of
all the GAA teams that want to train and play the game.

"We were delighted and grateful when the New Forge Country
Club was able to help out. It's the sort of thing sports
people do for each other. It means the players have
somewhere to train and that we are in a position to develop
a coaching strategy so that ladies' football can continue
to grow."

On Wednesday, the president of the GAA, Seán Kelly, is
expected to attend a match at New Forge between the Garda
Síochána and the PSNI, which established a GAA team shortly
after the association ended its ban in November 2001 on
police officers in the North playing the game.

© The Irish Times

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