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November 02, 2005

Two Arrests in Bank Heist Manhunt

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News about Ireland & the Irish

BT 11/02/05 Two Arrested In Northern Bank Heist Manhunt
BT 11/02/05 DUP's Faithful To Meet In Open Session
BT 11/02/05 Police Board To Oversee Fraud Probe Inside PSNI
IN 11/02/05 DUP Man In Call To Free Poyntzpass Murderers
BT 11/02/05 Throw Away Jail Key: Victim's Father
RT 11/02/05 2 Charged With Riotous Assembly After OO Parade
NL 11/02/05 Protestors Demand 'Justice For Kieran'
UN 11/02/05 Kenny Seeks Support For US Immigration Bill
DU 11/02/05 Diane Dodds Blasts Adams Over Shankill Comments
BT 11/02/05 DUP: IRA 'In Waste Racketeering'
BB 11/02/05 Forensic Expert Joins Lisa Search
BT 11/02/05 Priest's Nazi Slur Slammed In City Council
DI 11/02/05 Opin: Time For An End To Loyalist Threats
BT 11/02/05 Opin: Is There A Secret Deal With The LVF?
IN 11/02/05 Opin: Dissidents Must Follow Democratic Path
LA 11/02/05 N. Ireland's Protestants Feeling Slighted
BT 11/02/05 Republic's Motorway Network To Expand
BT 11/02/05 £100,000 Signals Step In Titanic Project
BT 11/02/05 Susie The Wonder Dog Survives A 100ft Fall
SM 11/02/05 O'Neill Living An American Dream


Two Arrested In Northern Bank Heist Manhunt

By Jonathan McCambridge
02 November 2005

Police investigating the Northern Bank robbery have made
their first arrests, it emerged today.

Two men (who are believed to be in their 20s) were arrested
as part of a planned police operation in Kilcoo (near
Rathfriland & Castlewellan), Co Down late last night and
are currently being questioned in relation to the £26.5m

Police refused to give any more details of the operation
but it comes just a week after the Security Minister told
the House of Commons that police remain "confident" that
the gang responsible for the crime would be caught.

The Northern Bank robbery plunged the Northern Ireland
peace process into crisis after the IRA was blamed for
looting £26.5m from the vaults of the bank's headquarters
in Belfast.

Two bank employees, Chris Ward and Kevin McMullan, were
taken hostage along with their families by the robbery

Last night's arrests in Kilcoo are less than 20 miles from
the Loughinisland home of Kevin McMullan.

The two bank employees were forced to go to work by the
robbery gang just before Christmas and sent other employees
home early. The gang then filled a white van with cash
twice before heading towards the border.

The PSNI immediately launched one of their largest ever
investigation which included searching the homes of senior
republicans in Belfast in the immediate aftermath of the

The team of detectives carried out over 3,600 actions which
included watching hundreds of hours of CCTV footage and
carrying out hundreds of interviews.

But last night's police operation is the first time arrests
have been made.

It is believed that £2.4m of bank notes seized by Garda as
part of a money laundering investigation came from the
Northern Bank robbery.

Police said they had launched a global search for the

An alleyway close to a house in the village where the men
were arrested remains cordoned off.

Sinn Fein assembly member for North Down Willie Clarke said
the two men who have been arrested are locals and were not
members of his party.


DUP's Faithful To Meet In Open Session

By Noel McAdam
02 November 2005

The DUP is set to hold its first conference in almost two
years - at a potentially crucial juncture for the political

Grassroots activists will gather in Belfast in early
February, within weeks of the next official report from the
Independent Monitoring Commission and as the Governments
attempt to realise serious negotiations on devolution.

The one-day event will provide leader Ian Paisley with a
platform to spell out the party's plans and allow officials
to gauge the temperature among the party faithful.

At the last conference - in May 2004 - Mr Paisley said his
party was ready to enter talks if "total" IRA
decommissioning had been achieved.

The event will also be the first opportunity the party has
had at a province-wide level to publicly celebrate its
massive success in the last Assembly poll and this May's
Westminster and local government elections.

"If all our elected representatives are insisting on being
on the platform, that is going to be quite a problem," a
party official said.

The conference does not, however, set party policy -
although a number of key resolutions, to which its most
senior figures speak, are usually passed.

Officers had been trying to find a venue in the west of the
province - but could not find a hotel with a wedding-free

In fact the party has held only one conference since
November 2002 had given rise to speculation of unease among
rank and file.

In November 2003, the party called off its conference to
focus on the Assembly poll, after the SDLP had already done

On the day of the 2002 conference Mr Paisley said any DUP
member who tried to enter dialogue or negotiation would be
looked upon in the DUP as a traitor - and expelled for the

And in the same week as the conference the North Antrim MP
said he would not sit down with Sinn Fein "not tomorrow,
not ever".

But in May last year observers, who included the NIO and
the US consultate, viewed the most important sentence of
his address as: "The DUP stands ready to enter real talks
provided total decommissioning has been accomplished."

Nevertheless, Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams urged the two
governments to establish whether they believe the DUP is


Police Board To Oversee Fraud Probe Inside PSNI

Inquiry will examine how firm lost contract

By David Gordon
02 November 2005

The Northern Ireland Policing Board is setting up a special
committee to oversee an internal PSNI corruption probe, it
can be revealed today.

The move is expected to be officially announced at the
board's public meeting tomorrow.

PSNI Fraud Squad detectives are investigating the
circumstances that led to a Belfast company being stripped
of a 2001 contract to supply vehicle armour plating.

The probe was ordered last month after a High Court judge
voiced suspicions that "person or persons" within the PSNI
had "deliberately undermined" the firm, NI Sheet Metal
Works, through unfounded criticism of the steel it was

There had been calls within the Policing Board for the
investigation to be conducted by detectives from across the

But the PSNI has pointed out in private discussions with
the board that bringing over an anti-fraud police team
could have taken a considerable time.

It has now been agreed that a sub-committee of the policing
body will liaise with senior police officers in monitoring
the ongoing investigation.

A board source said: "We have been promised no holds barred
access on this, both to senior officers and any people they
bring in to assist the probe."

The PSNI has stated that an outside expert - a retired
detective from Great Britain - will be advising the Fraud
Squad team running the inquiry.

In addition, an outside audit team - believed to be from
accountancy giant Deloitte - is carrying out a separate

Detectives investigating the case last week carried out
searches at homes and PSNI offices in the greater Belfast

NI Sheet Metal Works last month received a £400,000
settlement from the police service, after a long-running
legal battle.

The judge, Sir Liam McCollum, estimated that the saga had
cost the public purse around £1m, taking into account the
settlement, legal costs and the higher prices charged by
the firm that took over the contract.

The judge questioned the belated appearance of a
preliminary technical report commissioned by the PSNI on
the steel from NI Sheet Metal Works.

He said this document, which disproved criticism of the
steel, could have saved the 2001 contract and "may have
been suppressed within the PSNI team responsible for the


DUP Man In Call To Free Poyntzpass Murderers

By Sharon O'Neill Chief Reporter

A FORMER loyalist paramilitary turn-ed DUP official has
demanded the re-lease of the two Poyntzpass killers.

Ex-prisoner Gary Blair made his call last night, just days
after the Loyalist Volunteer Force (LVF), of which the pair
were members, announced that it had 'stood down'.

Mr Blair is a press officer for the Ballymoney DUP branch,
in party leader Ian Paisley's North Antrim constituency.

There are mounting suggestions that killers Stephen McClean
and Noel McCready could soon be back on the streets as part
of a deal to secure the LVF's disbandment.

They are serving life sentences for the 1998 murders of
best friends Catholic Damien Trainor and Protestant Philip
Allen in a bar in Poyntzpass, Co Armagh.

In July 2000, prior to their release under the Good Friday
Agreement, McCready and McClean were arrested while on
leave after a Co Down man was brutally att-acked in a row
over UVF flags.

The pair were later cleared of all charges but have re-
mained in prison.

In July this year McClean lost the final stage of his legal
battle to be freed under the agreement. But Mr Blair has
now demanded the swift release of the pair.

Mr Blair himself was freed under the Good Friday Agreement
in 2000 after serving part of a sentence for his role in
the UDA murder of Sinn Fein election candidate

Malachy Carey in Ballymoney in 1992.

In 1997 he transferred to an H-block under the control of
the LVF.

"[Secretary of State] Peter Hain has a duty to react to the
LVF statement as he did the PIRA decommissioning
statement," he said.

"As of today, the group they were aligned to seven years
ago is no longer active. Both men should thus be released

He added: "If Peter Hain can break every rule in the book
to release [Shankill bomber] Sean Kelly on the back of a
political manoeuvre there can be no reason why he cannot
release two men who should have been released over five
years ago who have not had any form of relationship with
any illegal group."

However, Philip Allen's mother Ethel said the LVF statement
should not mean automatic release for her son's murderers.

"I think the LVF should be given six months to a year to
see what is going to happen before the two boys are let
out," she said.

"Who is to say they are going to be let out now and the LVF
won't go back [to shooting] again? There is no guarantee.

"It has really hurt me. I would very strongly oppose any
immediate release."

Mr Blair last night said he understood the families' an-
guish, but added: "Let's be fair. Keep us all in or let
there be no double standards and let the same rules apply
to all."


Throw Away Jail Key: Victim's Father

By Michael McHugh
02 November 2005

The father of one of the men killed in the Poyntzpass
shooting reacted with fury today to calls for his killers
to be released.

Sean Trainor, whose Catholic son Damien and his Protestant
friend Philip Allen were shot dead by two LVF gunmen,
believes the authorities should "throw the key away" and
keep the pair in prison for life.

Stephen McClean (31) and Noel McCready (34), both from
Banbridge, are serving life sentences for the 1998 murders
in the Railway Bar in Poyntzpass.

Mr Trainor was responding to a call by Ballymoney DUP man
Gary Blair for the immediate release of the Poyntzpass
gunmen following the LVF's weekend decision to stand down.

The grieving father said: "They should stay where they are.
It is not easy to hear what they are saying now, it is very

"Whenever they come out they should come out in a box. As
far as I am concerned they should throw away the key.

"I think the (LVF) announcement is a bit late now for any
ceasefire but maybe it will save someone else's life."

McClean and McCready were arrested in July 2000 but
released under the Good Friday Agreement before being
reincarcerated despite being cleared of an attack on a Co
Down man in a row over UVF flags.

Last July, McClean lost a House of Lords appeal for his
freedom under the Agreement.

The DUP prisoner release demand comes as discussions
continue about the future of IRA men who are on the run and
wanted for serious Troubles crimes and has re-ignited the
debate about the release of those with serious criminal

Unionists and some nationalists have been highly critical
of the decision to release IRA Shankill bomber Sean Kelly

Ethel Allen, Philip's mother, has also said that she
strongly opposes the immediate release of her son's

Michael McGoldrick from Lurgan, whose son Michael was the
first victim of the LVF in 1996, said he would have no
problem with the release of his son's killers if it brought
about lasting peace.

Yesterday, the Belfast Telegraph revealed that Greysteel
killer Stephen Irwin has been ordered to serve eight life
sentences after being convicted of slashing a football fan
with a Stanley knife.


Two Charged With Riotous Assembly After OO Parade

01 November 2005 14:07

Two men were charged in Belfast today with riotous assembly
after the Whiterock Orange Order parade was re-routed last

Garry McKenzie, 33, from Graymount Crescent, and Stephen
Aughey, 22, of Braehill Park, were remanded in custody.

Mr Aughey was also charged with throwing a petrol bomb,
robbing a woman of her £8,000 Renault car and aiding and
abetting another person to burn it.


Protestors Demand 'Justice For Kieran'

By Joanne Lowry
Wednesday 2nd November 2005

Campaigners calling for justice for a Belfast man who was
jailed for attacking an alleged car thief held a protest
outside the city's DPP offices yesterday.

Kieran Milnes, 29, from Clonard Gardens in Poleglass, was
sentenced to nine months in jail last October after he
admitted attacking a 15-year-old boy whom he claimed was
trying to steal his girlfriend's car.

But Mr Milnes was later released on High Court bail in
December 2004 and his guilty plea was successfully
overturned in June.

A re-trial has been pencilled in for November 21 at
Craigavon courthouse.

Leading yesterday's campaign, Sinn Fein MLA Michael
Ferguson said: "Kieran Milnes lost his home, his mother had
to be put in a sheltered dwelling and Kieran also lost his

"His incarceration touched a raw nerve, particularly with
victims of car theft and Families Bereaved Through Car

campaign group who threw their weight behind the Free
Kieran Milnes campaign."

Mr Ferguson and the Milnes family have raised thousands of
signatures of support to secure Mr Milnes' freedom.

Mr Ferguson added: "We have asked the Attorney General
Peter Goldsmith and the Belfast DPP Alistair Fraiser to
intervene in the public interest.

"The Attorney General and the DPP need to instruct the
courts on November 21 to free Kieran Milnes and let him and
his family get on with their lives."


Kenny Seeks Support For Proposed US Immigration Bill

10:29 Wednesday November 2nd 2005

Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny is urging Irish politicians and
influential members of the Irish-American community to back
proposed new immigration laws in the United States.

The proposed legislation would regularise the status of the
estimated 50,000 illegal Irish immigrants in the United
States and offer them the prospect of a green card after
six years.

This would allow them to remain in the US without fear of
deportation and would also allow them to travel freely to
Ireland without fear of being denied re-entry.

Speaking after meeting representatives of the Irish-
American community in New York, Mr Kenny said Irish
politicians should do all they can to promote the bill and
help it pass through Congress.


Diane Dodds Blasts Adams Over Shankill Comments

West Belfast DUP MLA Diane Dodds has accused Gerry Adams of
a "blatant and desperate attempt to prevent the Government
from addressing the deprivation in loyalist and unionist
areas" following Gerry Adams' latest intervention on the
Shankill. Mrs Dodds was speaking following the release of a
statement from Gerry Adams which she described as an appeal
by Sinn Fein to the government not to put resources into
Protestant and unionist areas such as the Shankill Road.
She went on:

"Sinn Fein are now running to Ministers like David Hanson
because they see the work being done by the DUP and others
to focus attention on the needs of the loyalist and
unionist communities across a range of issues.

Sinn Fein's statement demonstrates the true nature of the
Sinn Fein/IRA organisation which is inherently sectarian.
At a time when the government is being shown the true
extent of the deprivation in unionist and Protestant
working class areas, Sinn Fein is busy expressing fears
about the government actually starting to address the
issues affecting these areas. The very fact that Adams is
running to the Minister in response to the representations
being made by the political representatives of loyalist
areas demonstrates how outlandish his claims are in
relation to unionist areas being abandoned by their
political representatives. The only abandonment has been
on the part of Sinn Fein who never represent the needs of
their areas in Parliament and who never work for the socio
economic improvement of loyalist or unionist areas. Instead
they have justified and defended the use of violence and
threats against unionist communities over 30 years and
more. The agenda for regeneration and reconstruction in
loyalist and unionist areas should be based on the needs of
the people of the unionist and loyalist areas not as Adams
claims on the Belfast Agreement which abandoned and
alienated the unionist and loyalist communities."


IRA 'In Waste Racketeering'

By Michael McHugh
02 November 2005

IRA racketeering is behind the illegal dumping of waste
from the Republic at scores of sites across Northern
Ireland, the DUP has claimed.

East Antrim MP Sammy Wilson is blaming the terror group
after learning that 53 sites containing waste from across
the border have been discovered since 2002.

Most plots have been found near the border and those behind
the operations can make large sums of money with co-
operation of compliant landowners.

Mr Wilson claimed this was evidence of ongoing IRA
criminality and called on security forces north and south
to tackle the issue.

"Northern Ireland has become a dumping ground for waste
from the Republic. It is a lucrative activity for the IRA,
it is having a huge impact on the environment and is a blot
on the landscape," he said.

Responding to the allegation of IRA involvement, a PSNI
spokeswoman said: "The question posed by Mr Wilson will be
answered in full by the Chief Constable.


Forensic Expert Joins Lisa Search

A forensic expert looking at the cases of the Disappeared
will also be able to work on the Lisa Dorrian case.

Lisa, 25, was last seen at a party on a County Down caravan
site in February. Her body has never been found.

Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain said the police would
be able to use the expert to undertake other work on an
independent consultancy basis.

The move was confirmed in a letter to North Down UUP MP
Lady Sylvia Hermon, who said "common sense had prevailed".

"No longer is there any objection to the involvement of the
forensic expert in the search for Lisa Dorrian," she said.

"Since engaging this particular expert as an independent
consultant, the police have assured the Dorrian family and
me that he will continue to take an interest in Lisa's

Lady Hermon said it would "give hope to Lisa's family that
the day and hour of recovery of her remains are brought
that bit closer".

Police believe members of the Loyalist Volunteer Force may
have been involved in her killing. The splinter
paramilitary group announced on Sunday it was standing

The forensic expert is being funded by the British and
Irish governments to help locate the remains of five people
abducted, murdered and secretly buried by the IRA during
the Troubles.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/11/02 11:28:21 GMT


Priest's Nazi Slur Slammed In City Council

SDLP and Sinn Fein abstain

By Debra Douglas
02 November 2005

A Belfast City Council motion condemning the recent
controversial comment by Fr Alec Reid comparing unionists
to Nazis has gone through unopposed.

The motion, which stated that the priest's "unjustified"
comments had caused hurt, increased sectarianism, damaged
relations and caused offence to the local Jewish community,
was supported by unionists and Alliance but Sinn Fein and
the SDLP abstained, with Sinn Fein's Alex Maskey claiming
it was time to "put the issue to bed".

Putting the motion forward, DUP councillor Nelson
McCausland said the issue of sectarianism was not just a
unionist problem but one that went "across the board".

"The comment by Fr Reid, and also President Mary McAleese,
was deplorable and demonstrated one aspect of the nature of
sectarianism in our society," he said.

"He was saying to people it's acceptable to say it -for a
priest to come out with a comment comparing unionists to
members of the Nazi party means it must be OK.

"It has fuelled sectarianism and damaged community
relations. It has also caused offence to the Jewish
community in that it diminished the magnitude of the

"As a council, we need to distance ourselves from this
comment, recognise the hurt it has caused and express
sympathy to the Jewish community."

DUP councillor Jim Kirkpatrick said he believed Father Reid
was "speaking from the heart" but he added: "There was an
apology and I'm glad to see that - perhaps healing can
begin with that."

Ulster Unionist councillor Jim Rodgers said he also
accepted Fr Reid's apology but warned it would not help to
heal wounds in the community.

Mr Maskey said: "I understand people from the community
feel they were being demonised and accused of all sorts of

"There are unionist representatives who know well the
tremendous work Fr Reid has been involved in. People need
to understand the frustration and anger in the Catholic
community against the onslaught against him because people
know he has served very well.

"The process were are involved in is righting all the
wrongs. Rather than focusing on the words of Fr Reid, lets
focus on the debate which is happening."


Opin: Time For An End To Loyalist Threats

Quite what 'operations' the LVF ceased last midnight is not
entirely clear, because it's evident to observers of
loyalist paramilitaries that the terror group was in
business not to save Ulster or to protect Protestants, but
to make money from drugs and extortion and to target anyone
who stood in the way of their dirty business.

That said, an announcement by any of the armed groups in
Ireland that it is to stand down is to be welcomed, but
given that the LVF, uniquely among paramilitary groups
here, was exclusively dedicated to criminality and
gangsterism, it's hard to see how the order to stand down
can be made to work. Will those shaven-headed, bling-loving
louts who peddle drugs to young people give up their
lucrative activities and sign on the dole? That's unlikely,
to say the least.

More significant perhaps was the statement by the Loyalist
Commission that the bloody feud between the UVF and the LVF
is at an end. The LVF's decision to call it a day wasn't
prompted by any deep-seated conviction that Ulster is safe
and their job is done – the recent widespread street
disorder and soaring loyalist discontent are evidence that
loyalist morale has never been at a lower ebb.

The decision was more likely prompted by a good old-
fashioned survival instinct – the UVF had claimed the lives
of four men with the likelihood of more to follow, while
the tiny rabble that is the LVF were incapable of
formulating any kind of similar response. The UVF promised
at the start of the latest feud that it wouldn't stop until
the LVF disappeared – that has now come to pass.

We report today, however, that death threats made against
individuals during the feud are still in place. None of the
people living with the threats over the head has been
contacted by the PSNI and told that the threats have been
lifted. "I'm not going to rest any more easy," one death
threat target said.

"No-one's contacted me about it. As far as I'm concerned
we're still under threat and no-one has told us otherwise."
Such is the depth of personal enmity between individuals
within the UVF and LVF it would be a foolish man indeed who
put away his bulletproof vest and went back to sleeping in
his own bed on the back of recent developments.

A statement formally lifting the threats would be welcome,
and that's something that the Loyalist Commission might
profitably work towards.

The spotlight now falls on the UVF and the UDA, none of
whom shows the slightest sign of preparing to go away.
Statements from unionist political leaders in the wake of
the LVF statement urging loyalists to follow that example
suggest that the days when loyalist paramilitaries were
tolerated or condoned by political unionism may be coming
to an end. The IRA's unilateral initiative cleared the way
for a new and more positive political discourse, and we
eagerly await that, but it has also stripped unionism and
loyalism of any excuse for further prevarication or
ambivalence when it comes to the UVF and UDA.


Opin: Has A Secret Deal Been Agreed With The LVF?

Lindy McDowell
02 November 2005

One thing you have to hand to the paramilitaries - they
never knowing undersell themselves. No matter how
straitened their circumstances, they still observe certain
heady standards in talking up their role, their importance
and even their apparent demise.

This week every news outlet in the land reported the LVF
statement that they were "standing down" their "military

You'd think this was the Queen's Own Royal Indian Hussars
we were talking about. Not a pack of psychopathic
murderers, drug dealers, gangsters and assorted lowlife
scum who, having seen the way the wind was blowing, decided
it would best serve their own interests to wind up the LVF

What "standing down" will actually entail remains to be
seen. But the LVF's typically pompous declaration that it
has decided to "lead the way" by "leaving the stage" should
be treated with the derision it deserves.

This pack of murdering misfits isn't "leading the way" or
for that matter "leaving the stage."

They'll still be knocking around out there somewhere. What
they'll be getting up to backstage is the big question. But
out here in the real world it's hard to be anything other
than enormously cynical.

Feeding into the LVF's delusions of "military unit"
grandeur, media speculation this week has homed in on
decommissioning aspect.

Will the LVF dump their guns?

An equally pertinent question would be: will they dump
their drugs?

For the LVF weren't just notorious for their murdering
"military units." They also brought death, misery and
suffering to great swathes of Northern Ireland with what
could be described as their pharmaceutical units.

If LVF thugs "led the way" it was in making a packet from
the drugs trade. The notion that the criminal kings of this
gangster outfit might now "stand down" this lucrative side
of their operation and find themselves gainful employment
is laughable.

Everybody knows who they are, what they do and where they
do it. They've been getting away with it for years. Why
shut up shop now?

Here's the real question we should be asking: have the
Government done some sort of deal with the LVF crazies to
prompt this week's move?

That's not as outrageous a statement as it might seem. The
Government, let's face it, have done a deal with just about
every other band of murdering terrorists in the land.

Any day now in fact, the British Government is about to
pass into British law, new legislation which potentially
wipes clean the slate for thousands of murderers.

Among the on-the-runs who will be the initial beneficiaries
of this legislation is a man believed to be behind the
Enniskillen bomb.

That terrorist bombing was no different in the human
suffering it inflicted, the death and devastation it
unleashed, as the London bombing whose victims were being
remembered in a ceremony in the capital this week.

The families of London victims have already expressed anger
about how they believe they are being neglected by the same
Government that is behind the shameful, sordid deals with
terrorists in this part of the UK. Who could blame those
families if they don't see in what has happened in Northern
Ireland a chilling pointer of how sincere the government is
in its expressions of sympathy and its pledges to hunt down
the godfathers behind the London attacks?

For we heard it all here to. The British Government once
declared itself sick to the stomach at the thought of
talking to terrorists in Northern Ireland.

Now it routinely hands to them on a plate, their every
demand. The desperation of Tony Blair to keep the lid on
Northern Ireland - whatever the cost - is surpassed only by
his government's callous contempt for the feelings of

The airbrushing of the heinous crimes of the OTRs is, in a
very real sense, "perverting the course of justice." It is
the hallmark of how Tony toadies to all our terrorists.

Can the victims of the LVF expect justice? Has another
dirty deal been done there too?

The LVF's terrible legacy of suffering will not be quite so
easy to "stand down" as their "military units." The
criminality is likely to continue.

So let's not kid ourselves that their "leaving the stage"
will bring the curtain down on Ulster's gruesome,
interminable paramilitary pantomime.


Opin: Dissidents Must Follow Democratic Path

The Monday Column
By Roy Garland

The 32 County Sovereignty Movement forwarded documents to
the governments and to nationalist, unionists and other
republicans. I read these hoping they had found some basis
from which to relate constructively to unionists but was

The one positive thing is that they want the "significant
input" of unionists to build their projected "new and free
nation". However, while unionists can legitimately be seen
as Irish their impervious sense of British identity must
also be respected. Unionists are told that the conflict
is/was an Anglo-Irish one between British "occupying power"
and Ireland and yet the 32 County people reject "any
British dimension" to Irish politics. This is confusing and
even insulting to unionists. The union exists because a
substantial portion of people here want it to exist.

To then describe unionists as "settlers" in contrast to
supposedly "indigenous" people, is appalling in its
ignorance and ethnocentrism and reflects blind romantic
nationalism. Nor is it true that Irish people, who,
according to their own definition include unionists,
possess an "innate sense of our separate identity". Innate
identity does not exist. We are not born Irish or Ulster
Scots but rather we learn these things. Nor has this island
ever been an entirely separate entity. Being surrounded by
sea was the equivalent of having a motorway facilitating
fast travel between the islands. By comparison to the
difficulties once encountered in crossing Ireland by land,
crossing the sea was relatively easy.

Paradoxically, the Sovereignty people deny the conflict is
in any sense between Irish people except as an expression
of Irish-British conflict. But ethnic or sectarian strife
long predates partition and if the people who came here in
the 17th century can be described as unionist, as 32 County
people do, then all those people who came from the other
island, including most Celts and certainly the Old English,
were also unionists. But support for the union is not a
matter of ethnic identity but rather of political

While some unionists regard themselves as Irish their
Irishness has little in common with a narrow nationalism
that misleadingly describes itself as republican.
Irish/Ulster unionism is encapsulated within a wider sense
of Britishness. Those claiming the mantle of "traditional
republican" must accept that British identity is here to
stay. The decline in their sense of Irish identity was in
any case primarily due to IRA violence directed mainly at
unionists in uniform. That campaign drained much of the
remnants of Irish identity from unionist psyches.

The 32 County people take something akin to a theological
approach in demanding that the British presence along with
partition be declared illegal by the United Nations – a
highly unlikely scenario. The British are supposed to have
violated Irish sovereignty with partition, which they claim
was an expression of a "rejected and reviled" colonial
practice, whereas democracy is supposedly "the ultimate
expression of this rejection". But even if a majority of
Irish people were separatists this does not entitle them to
unfettered sovereignty over the whole island. The argument
is the same but opposite to that used by old-style
unionists but majorities have no inherent right to
dominance. Democracy consists of more than majority
dominance. Rather democracy is a means of moving forward
peacefully and through accommodating minorities wherever
possible. Majority tyranny can prove worse than minority
dictatorship because a tyrannical majority could more
easily manipulate the mechanisms of social control in their
own selfish interests.

The Good Friday Agreement, which the 32 County people
describe as only "a mechanism to prolong a ceasefire" was
in fact an attempt to foster mutual respect, tolerance,
inclusion and democratic norms. When Sinn Fein began to
entertain democratic notions they got noticed and things
began to change. When the 32 County people learn this
lesson they will begin to be heard. They must acknowledge
legitimacy in the traditions of their fellow human beings
to become relevant. They also need to accept the
commonality that exists between these islands and the fact
that relationships within them have dramatically improved
in the context of Europe and an increasingly interdependent



N. Ireland's Protestants Feeling Slighted

Angry over perceived favoritism toward Catholics, the
province's pro-British majority has recently rioted, hoping
to send a wake-up call.

By John Daniszewski, Times Staff Writer

BELFAST, Northern Ireland — When Carla Hart sends the
children out the door of their row house on Cluan Place in
a working-class part of East Belfast, she never knows what
will fall from the skies. And it's not just the weather
she's worried about.

Once, the homemaker said, she was struck on the head by a
flying bolt. In July, her 9-year-old daughter was hit by a
marble. But at least it didn't hit her 6-month-old in a
nearby pram.

The inhabitants of the 22-house Protestant enclave say they
regularly endure a cascade of bricks, bottles and even
blast bombs from the other side of the towering barrier
wall that separates them from their Roman Catholic
neighbors. And when they summon police, she and her
neighbors complain, the officers come late, if at all — and
then ask what they did to start it.

Hart moved to the street with her husband, William, three
years ago, after the previous residents had been burned

"The Catholics are expanding," she said. "They wanted to
take this street, and I did not want to give it up. So I
said, 'No.' "

Like white Afrikaners in South Africa pressed to cede power
to blacks at the end of apartheid, many of the 1 million
Protestants in Northern Ireland see themselves as members
of a lost and orphaned tribe, left to fend for themselves
against an ascendant and more deft opponent.

The feeling remains despite the 1998 Good Friday agreement,
which was meant to bring peace to British-ruled Northern
Ireland and commit Protestants and Catholics to work
together in one devolved government.

Proudly loyal to Britain and the queen, and maintaining a
55% majority in this province, the descendants of Scots and
English who came to colonize Ireland in the 17th century
cannot understand why British Prime Minister Tony Blair
seems so hard on them while, in their eyes, pandering to
the Irish Republican Army and its political ally Sinn Fein.

"The Catholics are getting everything they want, and we are
getting nothing," said Hart, voicing a view widely held on
the gritty streets of Protestant Belfast. The unionist
community's anger flared into five days of riots last month
whose intensity caught nearly everyone here by surprise,
with Protestant protesters throwing projectiles and blast
bombs, setting cars and stores alight and, in some cases,
firing live ammunition at police vehicles.

The disturbances broke out at a time when an outsider might
think that the unionist side should be most pleased.

After years of delay, the IRA in July formally renounced
its military campaign to unite Northern Ireland with the
Irish Republic to the south and promised to turn in its
stores of guns, ammunition and plastic explosives. Last
week, the Independent International Commission on
Decommissioning certified that tons of IRA weapons and
explosives had been put "beyond use."

But in a Protestant community long cynical about IRA
concessions, the decommissioning was met with suspicion.
The Rev. Ian Paisley, leader of the Democratic Unionist
Party, had wanted a public turnover of weapons, saying that
the IRA deserved to wear "sackcloth and ashes" for its role
in political violence over the last four decades that left
3,600 people dead.

Nothing of the kind happened, and even the commission said
that it essentially had taken the word of the IRA that all
the munitions had been turned in.

At a meeting Thursday with Blair, Paisley reiterated calls
for what he termed "fairness and equality for the unionist
community." In a 64-page document, Paisley listed a number
of demands, including that Blair withdraw plans to totally
dismantle the army's predominantly Protestant Royal Irish

The province seems to have reverted to its old state of
stalemate, with Protestant political leaders saying they
will resist any calls to reinstitute joint governance with
Sinn Fein. Last month's riots were also like a bad
flashback — to the 1960s, when the modern "troubles" began.

"I had to deal with 6-year-old kids rioting out there,"
said David McNarry of the Ulster Unionist Party, speaking
of how disheartened his community was with the peace

"I doubt very much if there would be a majority again
supporting a referendum [to endorse the Good Friday
agreement] if it took place tomorrow. There certainly
wouldn't be a majority of unionists…. Unionists see their
British identity under threat."

"It wasn't about housing and it wasn't about jobs — it was
directly political and it was about the sense of alienation
from that political process," agreed David Ervine of the
Progressive Unionist Party, a strong supporter of the 1998

Brian Kingston, manager of the Shankill Mirror newspaper,
which chronicled the recent disturbances, called them
"disastrous" for the physical damage to the area. But some
believe that they served as a wake-up call for Blair and
his Northern Ireland office, he said.

"There are those who said, 'Well, at least our people have
drawn a line' and said they are not going to keep being put
down," he said. "People know they can't just constantly be
taken for granted."

Peter Hain, the British secretary for Northern Ireland, has
been trying to assuage the anger of Protestants, reminding
them in speeches that the Good Friday agreement ended IRA
attacks while ensuring that the future would be decided by
the ballot, not the bullet.

But for some the words rang hollow, in part because Hain
grew up in South Africa and cut his political teeth
campaigning against colonialism and apartheid. They see him
as personally agnostic about whether Northern Ireland
should remain under British rule. When he visited a small
town here in August, protesters greeted him with placards
reading, "British Citizens Demand British Rights."

The riots in Belfast, the provincial capital, were sparked
by what, on the surface, was an innocuous decision — an
order by the parades commission to move one parade route
used by the unionist Orange Order a mere 100 yards away
from a street now inhabited by some Catholics.

"Now, the frustration levels in the loyalist Protestant
community are beyond a joke. People think it was about a
hundred yards of road, but it was a lot more than that,"
said Jim Wilson, a community activist for the Progressive
Unionist Party. "It was all to do about what's been given
to the republican movement over the last lot of years…. And
they build up."

Wilson also decried the behavior of the police, who in
years past had been seen to be solidly behind the

"Police just come out and run at people and get into them,"
he said. "I know nationalists and Catholics always have had
that impression of [the Northern Ireland police force], but
we're trying to move forward. You can't move forward by
moving our community back. We should have learned that."

In the view of Wilson and many Protestants, the secretive
IRA and its political representative Sinn Fein represent a
sinister force in Irish politics on both sides of the
border, one that has literally gotten away with murder.
Particularly galling from this viewpoint is the release
from prison in July of Sean Kelly, who was convicted of a
notorious 1993 IRA bombing, freed under the Good Friday
agreement and then rearrested in June of this year for
allegedly renewing terrorist activities.

If upheavals such as last month's riots are what it takes
to get the authorities' attention, some community leaders
believe, then they may well happen again.

"Someone comes at you with something, even if you're a
pacifist, you will have to defend yourself to try to keep
yourself alive or to keep whatever it is you believe in
alive," Wilson said.

"And that is what slowly but surely is happening to us. If
we don't get together as a people, then we're lost."


Republic's Motorway Network To Expand

By Ben Lowry
02 November 2005

The reversal of fortunes which has seen the quality of the
Republic's roads surpass those in Northern Ireland is set
to gather pace with further route development south of the

As part of its 10-year transport plan, the Dublin
government has announced additional commitments in its
road-building scheme, including the completion of five
major intercity motorways within the next five years.

These include linking Dublin to Waterford, Cork, Limerick
and Galway.

The fifth and most complete is the Dublin to Belfast route,
but this stops short of the border.

Now the Republic's government plans improving strategic
road links with Northern Ireland and the North West by
upgrading the N2, N3 and N4.

Some of the improvements on the N2, on the Dublin to
Londonderry road, are already under way such as the
Castleblayney bypass.

It will have a pioneering 'Two Plus One' layout, which has
cut death tolls in Scandinavia.

Such roads consist of two lanes in one direction of travel
and one in the opposite direction, separated by a crash

It is only possible to overtake in the two-lane sections,
which alternate in direction at intervals of around one

After 2010, the Irish government plans to develop about 250
miles of Two Plus One roads


£100,000 Signals First Step In Floating Titanic Tourism

By Debra Douglas
02 November 2005

Belfast City Council has agreed to invest £100,000 in the
refurbishment of Thompson Dry Dock as part of the Titanic
Tourism project.

It will support proposals to turn the pump-house into a
Titanic exhibition with retail and refreshment facilities.

But many councillors expressed concern the money, part of
£300,000 of unallocated funds for east Belfast in the
Flagship Infrastructure Project, had not already been used.

Ulster Unionist leader Sir Reg Empey claimed the council
had reached a "scandalous situation".

He said: "We discussed how that money should be allocated,
we have dribbled and faffed around and now we have reached
a scandalous situation where detailed proposals were not
before the committee in time.

"There is a lesson to be learnt about the dreadfully slow
decision-making process."

Supporting the proposal, the DUP's Diane Dodds said the
investment would be the "first plank on which to build the
Titanic Signature Project".

She added: "The Dry Dock is an integral part of the project
and this proposed revamp allows us to make a start. It is
very important, not only for east Belfast but for Belfast
and Northern Ireland as a whole."

Sinn Fein's Alex Maskey said that while he had "no bother"
supporting the proposal to invest some of the money in the
Thompson Dry Dock, he said the politicians representing
east Belfast needed to "get their act together".

But Ulster Unionist Jim Rodgers argued east Belfast was
being "deliberately discriminated against".

"Unlike other parts of this city, we are not getting a fair
deal. We are sick to the back teeth of it," he said.


Susie The Wonder Dog Survives A 100ft Fall From Cavehill

By Deborah McAleese
02 November 2005

Could this be the luckiest dog in Ulster?

Susie the wonder dog survived a 100ft fall over a cliff -
without breaking a bone.

Her Carryduff owners, Karen Todd and David Hobbs, who
watched in horror as their beloved Jackapoo - a cross
between a Jack Russell and a Poodle - fell off the edge of
one of the highest peaks on the Cavehill in Belfast.

And after just two nights recovering from bruises in a
veterinary surgery, Susie is now back home and as lively as

The saga of Susie the super dog began on Sunday afternoon
when Karen and David took her out for a walk and climbed to
the rocky outcrop at the top - McArt's Fort - to admire the

A large number of tourists and walkers were there taking
photographs and Susie ran around excitedly behind them.

When she spotted Karen and David she ran towards them but
failed to stop and went straight over the edge, falling
almost 100ft below.

The couple scrambled down to get to the dog and were
relieved to find her still alive, her fall having been
broken by heather. However, she appeared to be badly
bruised and in a lot of pain.

They rushed her to an emergency veterinary clinic where
after being examined they were told by an amazed vet that
she had not broken any bones and was fine apart from some
bruising and shock.

"It was the most bizarre thing," Karen said. "She is full
of life and was running around, but she just ran right off
the end.

"We weren't laughing at the time but we can laugh now that
we know she is OK. It was like something out of a cartoon.

"She was very lucky to have fallen into heather, I think it
broke her fall and made her landing a lot softer.

"We would just like to warn anyone else who is heading up
there that it is dangerous and they should be careful."

David said: "It was pretty awful to watch. When I saw her
continue to run over the edge I could not believe it.

"It won't stop me going for a walk up there, but I
definitely will not be bringing Susie."


O'Neill Living An American Dream

By Nathan Mollat, Daily Journal Staff

Eoin (pronounced "Owen") O'Neill has led a pretty charmed
life. A native of Dublin, Ireland, O'Neill has spent time
playing the sport of squash at the national and
international level, served as the Pacific Athletic Club
squash pro, opened O'Neill's Irish Pub in downtown San
Mateo with plans to open a second pub near SBC Park in San

But nothing has made him more proud than being chosen to
coach the U.S. squash team in the annual Copa Wadsworth
tournament against Mexico the last weekend of April.

"I was surprised to be picked," O'Neill said. "It's

O'Neill, a Redwood Shores resident who would only admit he
is "over 30," began playing squash when he was 14, played
for the Irish national team and on the German professional
circuit in his early 20s. He came to the United States in
1992 to become the squash pro at Pacific Athletic Club,
where he stayed for five years. He opened his pub in 1998
and became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 2001. He now holds
dual citizenship in both Ireland and the United States.

"It's a tremendous honor to be an American," O'Neill said.
"I'm very proud to be Irish, but I'm very proud to be

Joing O'Neill as a co-captain is his childhood friend Andre
Maur, another naturalized American citizen. The two played
on the U.S. team in the Lapham/Grant tournament in February
— the oldest sporting competition between the United States
and Canada.

"It really is the American dream," O'Neill said. "Against
Canada, they made us sing 'God Bless America' and Andre and
I sang it the loudest."

Squash is similar to racquetball with the biggest
difference being smaller courts and less lively balls. The
Bay Area has become a hotbed for squash. One of the biggest
tournaments in the country, the North American Open, will
be held next week at the Bay Club in San Francisco.

"Outside the hubs back east in New York and Boston, the San
Francisco Bay Area is the biggest hub," O'Neill said.

Out of the blue, O'Neill said he was told he would be named
captain by Kenneth Stillman, president of the United States
Squash Racquets Association. But it didn't become a reality
until O'Neill received a letter from Stillman dated Oct.
26, which read, in part: "As a former member of the
national team, and a current and past national champion
many times over … it is important that our USA team have
your leadership, knowledge and experience in international
play in order to be successful."

"I've been a great ambassador for squash," O'Neill said.
"In many ways, [being named captain] is a 'thank you' for
all I've done (for the sport)."

O'Neill still actively plays squash — he's captain of the
squash team at San Francisco's Olympic Club — but his
schedule was curtailed for about three years as he battled
various knee injuries. He said he's been back at it, hard,
over the last six months to a year. Now that he's "over
30," he can enter senior events and not have to face the
rigors of playing the young guns in the "open" divisions.

"I want to win the Northern California tournament," he

Being named captain for the U.S. team was the easy part.
Now comes the hard work. O'Neill said he and Maur are in
charge of logistics for the match with Mexico — from
flights and hotel accommodations to designing the team's
uniforms. O'Neill said beermaker Guinness will help with
the design of the uniforms. O'Neill is good friends with
the head of Guinness in the United States and that the
company is intrigued by the idea of two Irish-American
squash players guiding a U.S. team. O'Neill also said he
expects Guinness to sponsor some of the events in Mexico,
which also has a love affair with the Irish beer.

There is also the matter of choosing the 20-member team.
O'Neill and Maur already have a pretty good idea of who
will be on the team, but O'Neill said he wants to make sure
some players who might ordinarily be passed over the for
the national team get their chance for this event.

"We're going to pick guys … who have done a lot for the
sport of squash," O'Neill said. "In many ways, it's a
'thank you' for the years of supporting the sport."

The honor of being named captain for the Copa Wadsworth
match is not something O'Neill takes for granted,
especially when he thinks of where he started.

"Never in my wildest dreams (did I ever think I'd captain a
U.S. team). I always thought I'd be captain of the Irish
team. Once you do a lot of good things, payback comes in
nice things. I think that's what happened here. What goes
around, comes around," O'Neill said. "Only in America."

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