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December 02, 2005

GAA Raid 'Linked To £26m Robbery'

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News about Ireland & the Irish

BB 12/02/05 GAA Raid 'Linked To £26m Robbery'
IO 12/02/05 Northern Bank Raid Suspect Released
DI 12/02/05 Woman In Bank Probe Files Complaint W/ O'Loan
SF 12/02/05 Sinn Féin Assembly Members Home Attacked
BT 12/02/05 SF Boycott Leaves DPP Seats Empty
DI 12/02/05 SF Urged To Join Police Board
DI 12/02/05 Minister For All-Ireland Healthcare Approach
DJ 12/02/05 'We'll Go It Alone' - Sinn Fein Warn SDLP
DJ 12/02/05 Angry Brolly Slams Politically Motivated Arrest
DI 12/02/05 Parade Commission: Rule Book Out The Window
DI 12/02/05 Opin: Without Dialogue Nothing Is Possible
BB 12/02/05 Opin: Will Commission Walk The Walk?
IT 12/03/05 Kenny And Paisley Hold 'Cordial' Meeting
BB 12/02/05 Mo Mowlam's Ashes Are Scattered
NP 12/02/05 NPR: Sinead O'Connor Live In Concert: Dec. 6
IT 12/03/05 Harney Vows To Eliminate MRSA


GAA Raid 'Linked To £26m Robbery'

A police search at Gaelic Athletic Association grounds in
west Belfast is understood to be linked to last December's
£26m Northern Bank robbery.

The GAA expressed shock at the investigation at Casement
Park, which a police spokesman said was part of an
investigation into serious crime.

Chairman of the Antrim County Board Joe O'Boyle said
Casement Park Social Club had already co-operated with

He said a man arrested on Tuesday, Chris Ward, worked there

On Thursday, police were given another three days to
question Mr Ward, who has previously said his family was
held captive during the raid.

Mr O'Boyle said: "I got information that 25 Land Rovers
arrived with search warrants to do a search of Casement
Park social club.

"Chris Ward is a part-time worker at the social club.

"The PSNI visited Casement Park approximately nine months
ago and we given all the information they requested so I
don't know why they have returned."

The GAA said in a statement it had no prior knowledge of
the operation and was not given any reason for the inquiry,
other than an indication it related to allegations about an
individual and alleged activities unrelated to the GAA.

The GAA said it had reported the matter to the Dublin

Another man arrested by police investigating last
December's robbery has been released without charge.

The 50-year-old, from Carrickfergus, County Antrim, was
arrested on Friday under the Terrorism Act.

'Vital information'

A 22-year-old woman who was arrested on Tuesday was
released without charge a day later.

Meanwhile, the lawyer for a man charged in connection with
the robbery told the High Court in Belfast on Friday his
client had been prevented from making a bail application.

The lawyer said the application, on behalf of Dominic James
McEvoy, could not be made because the authorities were
"withholding vital information".

Mr McEvoy, 23, from Kilcoo, County Down, was charged after
his DNA was allegedly found at the Loughinisland home of a
bank employee who had been held hostage.

He was remanded in custody until 9 December.

Earlier this month, police investigating the robbery
arrested several people.

Of the 11 people questioned to date in connection with the
robbery, three have appeared in court.

The robbery happened at the bank's Northern Ireland
headquarters at Donegall Square West just before Christmas
last year.

Some money seized in County Cork last February was linked
to the robbery, but virtually all of the missing millions
remain unrecovered.

The Chief Constable, Sir Hugh Orde, subsequently blamed the
IRA for the raid.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/12/02 21:10:19 GMT


Northern Bank Raid Suspect Released

02/12/2005 - 21:54:06

A man being questioned about the £26.5m (€39.18m) Northern
Bank raid was tonight released without charge.

The 50-year-old from Carrickfergus, County Antrim was
arrested in the latest in a series of raids by detectives
investigating the robbery in Belfast last December.

Chris Ward (aged 24) from Poldoledlass, West Belfast, who
was one of the Northern Bank staff members taken hostage by
the gang, is still being detained.

Three men have already been charged over the biggest cash
theft in both British and Irish history – one with the
robbery itself.


Woman In Northern Bank Probe Files Complaint With O'Loan Office

Ciarán Barnes

A west Belfast woman detained for two days by detectives
investigating the Northern Bank robbery has filed a
complaint with the Police Ombudsman.

Seanin McKenna, a Northern Bank employee and former
girlfriend of Chris Ward, who is currently being held by
the PSNI in connection with the £26.5 million (€39.1
million) heist, was released without charge on Wednesday

The 22-year-old was arrested at her home in the
Andersonstown area during the early hours of Tuesday

During her detention at the PSNI's serious crime suite in
Antrim she was interviewed on a number of occasions.

Her solicitor, Kevin Winters, said that during those
interviews nothing of a specific evidential nature was put
to her.

He said that the decision to arrest his client was a
"tactical one" designed to influence and pressurise Mr

Mr Winters, who also represents Mr Ward, had previously
asked the Police Ombudsman to investigate his treatment at
the hands of the PSNI.

"Seanin McKenna was and remains a victim. That status has
been exacerbated as a result of the decision to arrest her
and keep her deprived of liberty for two days," he said.

Mr Winters criticised newspapers who printed Ms McKenna's
name in connection with the robbery, despite the fact that
she does not face any charges.

He added: "Our client takes the view that the PSNI was the
source of release of her name and particulars. In practical
terms she is now identified with the Northern Bank robbery.
She had nothing to do with it and no evidence was put to
her during her detention.

"Notwithstanding that, the fact that her identity was
revealed to the media prejudices her completely in terms of
her rights to enjoyment of family life, working life and

"This amounts to a breach of her rights and in these
circumstances we want this matter treated as part of her
complaint against the police."

Mr Winters said Ms McKenna is also issuing civil
proceedings against the PSNI for wrongful arrest, false
imprisonment and unlawful detention.

Chris Ward, who was arrested alongside Ms McKenna, is still
being questioned by the PSNI. He can be held until Sunday


Sinn Féin Assembly Members Home Attacked

Published: 2 December, 2005

The home of Sinn Féin West Belfast Assembly member Sue
Ramsey was attacked overnight. Windows in her home were
struck by ball bearings during the attack.

Ms Ramsey said:

" Overnight ball bearings were fired at the windows of my
home. This is the latest in a series of attacks, not just
on my home, but also on the homes of party members and
elected representatives in West Belfast.

" It is clear that who ever is carrying out these attacks
has accurate and up to date information about the homes of
republicans in the city. Given events of recent weeks
concerning missing files containing the details of
republicans it is not unreasonable to assume that one
source of such information is the PSNI Special Branch.

" The Special Branch have a long standing relationship with
both loyalist terror gangs and local criminal and anti-
social elements who they use as low level informers and
also to damage community cohesion.

" Republicans will not be intimidated or threatened from
representing the communities who elect us by Special
Branch, loyalists or local criminals. That message needs to
be heard clearly by those carrying out or indeed
orchestrating these attacks on our homes." ENDS


SF Boycott Leaves DPP Seats Empty

Parties are not willing to fill places

By Jonathan McCambridge
02 December 2005

Two new District Policing Partnerships will be one member
short because no councillors are willing to take the place
of republicans who refuse to sit on the local bodies.

The Policing Board today announced the names of the 215
independent members who will join with political members to
form the 26 newly-constituted DPPs which become active
today - one for each council area in the province.

Policing Board chairman Sir Des Rea today said it was
disappointing that Sinn Fein still refused to join the
local policing bodies, but insisted the DPPs would continue
with their work.

Other political parties take the places on DPPs which would
normally be designated for Sinn Fein. But in Strabane and
Magherafelt they will be one member short as no one is
willing to fill the final Sinn Fein place.

The new DPPs have been appointed following a second wave of
recruitment, but in four years their number will be slashed
to bring it into line with the Review of Public

They will hold a number of public and private meetings
every year and give a platform for the public to help
influence local policing priorities.

DPPs were originally set up in 2003 but they have been
beset with difficulties - a number of nationalist members
have received threats while public meetings are usually
poorly attended.

Unionist members walked off the former Belfast DPP because
they claimed to have differences with a police commander.

Of the 215 people appointed today, 120 are Roman Catholic,
95 are non-Roman Catholic, 129 are women and 86 men. The
appointment process has used the 50/50 criteria which is
employed for PSNI recruitment.

The Policing Board has re-appointed 133 members from the
last DPPs while 82 are new appointments from the 516 who
applied. The youngest DPP member is 18-year-old student
Mark McMakin in Omagh and the oldest is 78-year-old Hugh
Casey in Craigavon.

Speaking of Sinn Fein's decision to boycott DPPs, Sir Des
Rea told the Belfast Telegraph: "It means we do not have a
completely inclusive representation.

"But this is a wider political problem and the DPPs have to
get on with their work."

He also admitted attendance figures at meetings suggested
they had not captured public imagination.


SF Urged To Join Police Board

Policing body to reveal details of 215 new DPP members

Eamonn Houston

The outgoing vice-chairman of the North's policing board
last night warned republicans that MI5 and British security
services will be allowed to continue to operate freely in
the North if Sinn Féin remains "on the outside" of policing

Denis Bradley, who was brutally beaten by republican
dissidents in a pub attack in Derry in September, was
speaking as the Policing Board appointed the 215 members of
District Policing Partnerships. His comments also came
after allegations of political policing by the PSNI over
the arrests and questioning of four people – including Sinn
Féin MLA, Francie Brolly – in connection with the 1972
Claudy bombing.

According to Mr Bradley, the absence of republican
involvement in a forthcoming debate over the devolution of
powers in Britain, could result in British security
services continuing to operate with a free hand in the
north under the cover of "national security".

He said: "I think that it is about time that republicans
dealt with a massive issue – the forthcoming devolution
bill. The Special Branch has been described as a force
within a force, but there is the issue of MI5 and the
British security services. That, in the view of the British
government is an issue of national security. Republicans
are not facing or dealing with that. They [security
services] are here as long as England are here."

Speaking to Daily Ireland, Mr Bradley urged Sinn Féin to
become centrally involved in the policing debate and
refuted claims that political policing is being deployed in
the north.

"There is not an issue of political policing," he said.
"Policing needs to be taken to the working class on both
sides of the religious divide.

"I think that it's about time for republicans to face this

"I stand on the Patten recommendations. I believe that all
intelligence-based policing should be monitored.

"What I would say to any political party is, if they are
not happy, get in there and pull your weight."

The Policing Board will today reveal details of the 215
members of the DPPs. Chairman of the board, Sir Desmond
Rea, said that the appointments marked "another very
significant day for the community and for policing."

Mr Bradley said: "The journey is well started and, for me,
it has been an interesting social experience. The more
people involved the better. Today's appointments
demonstrate that policing is a central issue. People are
recognising that this is a central issue. Unfortunately,
republicans feel that they cannot take part in this. What I
have seen is the tall, the small, the rich the poor, the
rural and the urban get involved. This is a devolution of
justice and I would expect republicans to get involved in
that. People are ready for neighbourhood and grassroots

"For too long police officers have lived apart from their
communities. It was the preserve of the middle class.
Policing needs to be as efficient and educated as possible
and that only comes through living in communities."

Mr Bradley also said that recent "political disruption" had
masked what he described as the true issues of policing. He
said that policemen should, ideally, be living in the heart
of nationalist and loyalist areas of the North.

On Wednesday evening, Sinn Féin chief negotiator, Martin
McGuinness condemned the arrest of the popular Sinn Féin Co
Derry MLA Francie Brolly and three others as "the most
blatant examples of political policing by the PSNI I have

The DPP appointments include 11 Alliance councillors, 98
Democratic Unionist Councillors, nine Independent
councillors, one Progressive Unionist Councillor, 56 SDLP
Councillors and 64 Ulster Unionist Party councillors.


Minister Supports All-Ireland Healthcare Approach

Colin O'Carroll

Direct-rule health minister Shaun Woodward yesterday said
he is more than willing to co-operate on an all-Ireland
basis with the health service in the Republic and provide
any resources or expertise at his disposal.

Mr Woodward told Daily Ireland: "I'll share anything I've

Mr Woodward's comments come shortly after northern
Secretary of State Peter Hain said people in the North
should embrace an all-Ireland economy.

Last month Mr Hain said it would become "increasingly
difficult to look at the economy of north and south except
as a sort of island of Ireland economy".

His comments provoked a furious reaction from unionists.

Mr Woodward was speaking yesterday as the latest Northern
waiting list figures were released showing a dramatic drop
in the number of in-patients waiting for treatment. The
figures show the number of patients waiting more than 12
months has fallen by more than 38 per cent in the last

He said: "I'm very happy with the figures. Congratulations
to the hospitals and the doctors and staff who made this
possible. People were sceptical, but now we're seeing a
dramatic decline."

Outlining his commitment to ensure no one is waiting longer
than 12 months by March 2006, he said: "We have more to do.
While I welcome this reduction, it is a first step to
ensuring patients here no longer wait unacceptable times
for treatment. Progress must now be sustained. Soon no one
will wait more than 12 months, the misery is coming to an
end. We have to eliminate these long awful waiting lists.
This is not just about numbers, this is about people's

He said the reason there had been such an impact on the
waiting lists and times was the recent reforms to the
system. He said: "You have to mean what you say and what
I'm trying to do is make the system efficient. I'm pleased
the ideas I've had are achieving that."

He said he had no problems with an all-Ireland approach to

"If there is anything I can do to help with problems in the
Republic, I've got no problem with that."


'We'll Go It Alone' - Sinn Fein Warn SDLP

By Amanda Williams
Friday 2nd December 2005

Sinn Fein last night claimed they would run Derry City
Council on their own if a row with the SDLP over the On The
Runs Bill cannot be resolved later today.

On Tuesday the SDLP walked out of Council refusing to
return until Sinn Fein withdrew allegations of collusion
between the relative of a party member and Special Branch.
The row broke out following a motion put forward by SDLP
councillor Colum Eastwood on the contentious Bill during
which he accused Sinn Fein of 'colluding' with the British
government, a claim strongly denied by Sinn Fein, in
attempt to cover up each others' wrongs.' Tempers flared
resulting in the allegation being made by Sinn Fein's Kevin

A bid to resolve the stalemate will be made this afternoon
when an SDLP delegation led by Helen Quigley will meet with
its Sinn Fein counterparts.

"It is in the interest of all the people of Derry that we
resolve any difficulties as soon as possible so that
Council can continue to function to its full ability" Sinn
FÈin Group Leader Maeve McLaughlin said.

"In the meantime Sinn FÈin representatives will continue to
attend all Council meetings to represent the people of this

Colr. McLaughlin added that after checking Standing Orders
it had been confirmed that Sinn Fein could conduct full
Council meetings as well as take policy decisions, with or
without the SDLP. "The quorum for full council states that
there must be eight members, Sinn Fein have ten, that is
enough to carry on business as usual" she said.

"We will not be going into today's meeting with an apology
but we will listen to what the SDLP have to say. We hope
they will realise their tenuous position and understand
that they have no right to suspend democracy."

Helen Quigley confirmed that a meeting will take place, at
the SDLP's request, and added that her party are determined
to ensure that the interests of the ratepayers of Derry
come first.

"We will again be raising our concerns about comments made
and we will demand that those comments be withdrawn" Colr.
Quigley said.

"We will go into the meeting positively to seek a
resolution and nothing else so that we can get on with the
work we need to be doing which people elected us to do."

Colr. Quigley added that she hoped Sinn Fein would take a
'similar approach.'


Angry Brolly Slams 'Politically Motivated' Arrest

Friday 2nd December 2005

Sinn Fein MLA Francie Brolly has said that it was clear
that his high profile arrest earlier this week allegedly in
connection with the Claudy bombs of 1972 was politically
motivated and due to a political agenda.

Speaking after his release on Wednesday night Mr. Brolly
said that he had been 'shocked' when the PSNI arrived at
his house to arrest him. He said: "I have to say I was
absolutely shocked when they arrived and it took me back to
the day they came to intern me in 1973.

"With uniformed police about the place and them reading why
I was being arrested I honestly have to say it made me feel
the same as it did in 1973."

He continued: "I asked the CID involved why they had never
bothered coming to the house to question me about this. I
told them that if they had wanted to they could have spoken
to me at any time in my own home and we even could have had
a cup of tea.

"But once they made it all official and arrested me I
simply did what I was advised to by my solicitor."

Mr. Brolly said that he was reasonably well treated during
his period in custody but added that he could see no reason
as to why he had been arrested.

He said: "During the time I was in custody they never once
put anything new to me and never said that they had new
evidence or the like that would have justified them
arresting me now.

"They did put some allegations about my role as a
republican back in 1972 but that was all. There was nothing
new in what they questioned me about and I could see no
reason as to why I should have been arrested and why my
name was leaked to the media in the way it was. "I cannot
help but wonder if I am suspected of being involved in the
Claudy bombs why these allegations were never put to me in
early 1973 when I was arrested and interned. This is the
first time that I have ever been questioned about this sort
of thing."

The Sinn Fein MLA said he has no doubt that his arrest was
part of a political agenda and that the whole episode was
politically motivated. He said: "Once again we are seeing
political policing in the North with the PSNI following
their own political agenda."

Mr. Brolly was one of four people arrested on Tuesday in
connection with the Claudy bombing in which killed nine

All four, three men and a woman, were released without
charge on Wednesday although the PSNI did say they were
preparing a report for the Public Prosecution Service. The
arrests were slammed by Sinn Fein as being politically


Parade Commission: Rule Book Out The Window

Appointment of two Orangemen to new Parades Commission may
breach official guidelines

Ciarán Barnes

The appointment of two Orangemen to the new-look Parades
Commission may have breached official guidelines, Daily
Ireland can reveal.

Nationalist residents groups have asked the Commissioner
for Public Appointments to investigate whether David
Burrows and Don McKay's appointments constitute a conflict
of interest.

Both are Portadown Orangemen and at a press conference
yesterday Mr McKay said he intended taking part in next
summer's disputed Drumcree parade along the town's
nationalist Garvaghy Road.

When appointing the new Parades Commission members, the
Northern Ireland Office (NIO) used guidelines laid out by
the Commissioner for Public Appointments.

Contained in these guidelines are five main areas which the
commissioner believes could lead to a conflict of interest.

These include "a relationship with another organisation
that could lead to a split in loyalties" and "membership of
some societies".

With two prominent Orangemen now sitting on a body that
decides whether controversial parades should proceed,
nationalist residents groups believe there is a clear
conflict of interest in Mr Burrows and Mr McKay's

In light of this they have called on the commissioner to

Garvaghy Road residents spokesman Brendán Mac Cionnaith
said: "It is noticeable that the British secretary of state
Peter Hain, who is ultimately responsible for these
appointments, has totally avoided this issue around
conflicting interests in any of his comments to the media."

Mr Mac Cionnaith's comments were echoed by the Ardoyne
Parades Dialogue Group in North Belfast.

Spokesman Joe Marley said: "We do not feel that this new
commission is capable of delivering unbiased or impartial
determinations and lacks the balance and the vision
required to resolve this issue once and for all."

A spokesman for the NIO refused to comment on the conflict
of interest claims, saying the appointments were now a
matter for the Commissioner for Public Appointments.

Speaking on Wednesday, secretary of state Peter Hain
welcomed Mr Burrows and Mr McKay's involvement in the
Parades Commission.

While Mr McKay confirmed he would take part in next
summer's Drumcree parade, Mr Burrows was remaining tight-
lipped on the subject.

"I said I would be looking at all the parades. I will be
looking at them all within their own merit. It would be
unfair for anyone to stand here and try and say on
something like that."


Opin: Without Dialogue Nothing Is Possible

It's probably fair to say that criticism would have been
forthcoming no matter who was appointed to the new Parades
Commission in the North this week, but even so, the new
panel hardly inspires confidence.

There is only one member of the new commission who could be
described as being of a nationalist persuasion, and that is
the former SDLP MP for West Belfast, Dr Joe Hendron.
Popular and well-respected as he is, Dr Hendron has been
more or less retired from public life for some time and is
a resident of the proverbial South Belfast leafy suburbs.
Arrayed against him is a selection of unionists of various
hues, of large 'U' and small. Capable and all as Dr Hendron
has shown himself to be over the past 30 years, those are
fairly stiff odds that he's facing.

The appointment as a commmissioner of former Portadown
Orange Order District Master David Burrows might at first
glance have appeared to be another slap in the face for the
nationalist community, but it quickly became apparent in
the wake of the unveiling of the new commission that Mr
Burrow's appointment has angered unionists and loyalists
considerably more. That's a typically myopic viewpoint, for
although Mr Burrows has, by applying for and being given
the post of parade commissioner, acknowledged a body which
the loyal orders have done their level best to ignore over
the years, it's fairly clear that he won't stop being a
Protestant and an Orangeman.

Mr Burrows refused yesterday to reveal what way he'll be
voting when it comes for a commission show of hands on the
Garvaghy Road issue. Given his hardline pronouncements in
the past and his enthusiastic endorsement and execution of
the Orange Order's blinkered and confrontational policy
with regard to the Garvaghy controversy, it would take a
conversion of Pauline proportions to compel him to vote in
favour of the rights of the nationalist residents. We will,
of course, wait and see.

As for the new boss of the commission, former Unison
general secretary Roger Poole, his first utterances
yesterday hardly inspired confidence, although it was
perhaps predictable that he would be bland rather than
ground-breaking in his first days in the job. He says he
wants the commission to "do itself out of a job" by
facilitating local deals and accommodations. All fine and
dandy, but he was rather less forthcoming on exactly how he
intends to do that.

We hope that he has a strategy in mind, and for our part we
hope that that strategy entails convincing the Orange Order
that it's going to have to get real about speaking to
people with whom it has differences. Again, we'll have to
wait and see because Mr Poole preferred to utter soothing
words to the brethren rather than the cold blast of reality
that they need. "Whatever the loyal orders thought about
old commission, I hope they will see this as the fresh
start that it is," he said.

As an experienced union negotiator, we're sure Mr Poole
realises that without dialogue, then nothing is possible.


Opin: Will Commission Walk The Walk?

By Mark Devenport

BBC Northern Ireland political editor

On the surface, unionist politicians are repeating their
long-standing opposition to the Parades Commission.

They argue that changing the faces on the quango is
insufficient, and that changes to the law underpinning the
commission remain required.

That said, the appointment of two commissioners who are
both members of the Orange Order, including one Don Mackay,
who says he intends to walk in the disputed Drumcree
parade, appears an obvious attempt to bend over backwards
to build bridges with the unionist community in general and
the loyal orders in particular.

Certainly the worried reaction from Sinn Fein and
nationalist residents' groups underlines the tilt towards

The former SDLP MP Joe Hendron has taken a place on the new

But this is hardly a substitute for a member actively
involved in opposing contentious parades, which might have
been considered a direct balance for the inclusion of David
Burrows, former district master of the Portadown Orange.

Maybe no well-known residents spokesperson applied.

Nationalist applicants

After all, unlike David Burrows, the Portadown Garvaghy
residents steered clear of involvement in previous
commission initiatives, such as last year's seminar in
South Africa.

However, it's a matter of public record that nationalists
with more of a "green" track record than Joe Hendron, such
as the former Belfast mayor Martin Morgan, did apply but
were not shortlisted.

The government has stopped short of assuaging unionist
demands for new legislation.

Instead the Northern Ireland Office line is that the new
commission should put a renewed emphasis on mediation and
dialogue, and that this ought to be enough to restore trust
on all sides.

The idea is that both the new commissioners and their
authorised officers should get out on the ground more,
"walking the walk" as well as talking the talk.

Over time they hope to do themselves out of a job by
promoting local deals, and thereby avoiding the necessity
to hand down judgements from on high.

This sounds good in theory but could prove fraught in

In the days before the commission was created, the late Mo
Mowlam applied her considerable charm to winning friends
and influencing people involved in marching disputes.

But after a well received visit to the Garvaghy Road,
during which she promised to tip the residents off in
advance about any decision she made, she then felt she had
no choice but to push that year's Orange parade down the

She did not inform the residents in advance in order to
preserve the security forces' element of surprise and the
short-lived honeymoon was over.

Mo Mowlam's experience makes you wonder whether any
honeymoon for the new look approachable commission will
outlast its first judgement on a contentious march.

Members of the outgoing commission warn that difficulties
may lie ahead if both roles, seeking mediation and making
determinations, are handled under one roof.

Will the opposing sides divulge their full hand to a
mediator if they think the go-between will report all the
details back to those who have the power to make a ruling
on a parade or a protest?

Fresh start?

This was the reason Sir George Quigley suggested a clear
split between a mediating body and a determining
commission. But the government has chosen not to go down
that route.

The success or failure of the new commission may depend not
only on its own performance but also on the context in
which it works.

A shift in Sinn Fein's attitude towards the police could
significantly alter the atmosphere surrounding marching

So could a change in the attitude of the Orange Order.

They are due to elect their grand master this month, and it
will be interesting to see whether Robert Saulters marches
on or if the order, like the commission, opts for a fresh

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/12/02 16:59:40 GMT


Kenny And Paisley Hold 'Cordial' Meeting

Dan Keenan, Northern News Editor

Leaders of Fine Gael and the Democratic Unionist Party
have held their first talks at Stormont during what was
described as a "very open and cordial" meeting.

The delegations discussed the political situation in
general, North-South relations as well as specific issues
including the on-the-runs and plans to allow Northern
elected representatives speaking rights in the Dáil.

Speaking afterwards, Enda Kenny said he believed the
British and Irish governments had got it wrong in relation
to proposals to deal with the on-the-runs. "In the South
the decision taken by the Government appears to have been
to grant presidential pardons.

"We claim that this was a side deal worked out between the
Government and Sinn Féin.

"We are opposed to that and we have put forward a different
proposition that persons on the run in whatever number
should appear before a court in person, proclaim their
guilt and be released thereafter." Mr Kenny said his party
shared SDLP concerns that on-the-runs were not due to
appear in court. Fine Gael and the Labour Party were
working on a joint Dáil motion on the issue.

An end to IRA criminality was essential if there was to be
any realistic chance of restoring the Stormont institutions
sometime next year, he added.

The Rev Ian Paisley did not speak publicly after meeting Mr
Kenny, but his office released a statement.

It said the DUP delegation "made it clear that in no way
would they tolerate Bertie Ahern's proposals of bringing
representatives for Northern Ireland and giving them
speaking rights in the Dáil". Dr Paisley said: "The DUP
views that proposal as an attempt to once again interfere
with the constitutional position of Northern Ireland as
part of the UK."

"The DUP also raised with the delegation the situation
concerning the criminal activities of IRA/Sinn Féin and
pointed out that, so far as the DUP is concerned, that
until all illegal and terrorist acts ceased, the DUP would
not be moving forward to any form of government in Northern
Ireland which included IRA/Sinn Féin members."

SDLP deputy leader Alasdair McDonnell, speaking after his
party's meeting with the Fine Gael delegation, accused the
DUP of saying one thing in public and then failing to
support them by their actions. "They are being
disingenuous, they are not backing up their honeyed words.

"Right across the spectrum - including the Good Friday
agreement, North-South co-operation and even power-sharing.

"At every level the DUP words are not matched by DUP

© The Irish Times


Mo Mowlam's Ashes Are Scattered

Half of the ashes of former Northern Ireland Secretary Mo
Mowlam have been scattered in a private family ceremony at
Hillsborough in County Down.

The remainder of her ashes will be taken to Redcar, where
she was a Labour MP from 1987-2001.

Her husband Jon Norton said Mo, who died in August, had a
deep affection for both places.

"We had a wonderful time when we lived here, Hillsborough
was an important place in her heart," he said.

"I thought Northern Ireland, Hillsborough, would be a great
place to put some of her ashes and the rest in her
constituency, Redcar, in the north of England."

A children's park in the Stormont Estate, which was built
at Mo's suggestion, is also being named in her memory.

On Thursday night, a celebration of her life was hosted by
Secretary of State Peter Hain at Hillsborough Castle.

Two hundred guests, including Mo's husband and family,
attended the event, which heard messages from Prime
Minister Tony Blair, Taoiseach Bertie Ahern and Hillary

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/12/02 17:22:14 GMT


NPR Live Concert Series

NPR: Sinead O'Connor Live In Concert: Dec. 6 to Webcast Full Performance from Washington, D.C.

Hear "War" from the CD Throw Down Your Arms, featured on
All Songs Considered.

Sinead O'Connor's new CD is Throw Down Your Arms, December 2, 2005 · Once one of pop music's most
distinctive and controversial stars, Sinead O'Connor
returns for a night of Jamaican roots music with reggae
legends Sly and Robbie, live from Washington, D.C.'s 9:30
Club. Hear their full concert stream on Tuesday,
Dec. 6 beginning at approximately 9:30 p.m. EST. O'Connor
is on tour to promote her new CD, Throw Down Your Arms,
which features O'Connor's interpretations of Jamaican roots
and reggae classics, produced by Sly and Robbie.

It's been a long, strange trip for O'Connor. Born in 1966
in Dublin, Ireland, she had a troubled childhood. Her
parents divorced when she was eight and, O'Connor claims,
her mother abused her. Her mother died in a car accident in
1985. As a teenager, O'Connor was expelled from school,
arrested for shoplifting and sent to a reformatory. She
eventually dropped out of school to pursue music and began
playing at local coffee shops. O'Connor later worked her
way through voice and piano classes at the Dublin College
of Music by delivering singing telegrams.

O'Connor was just 19 when she signed her first record deal
in 1985. Two years later she emerged with the critically
acclaimed album The Lion and the Cobra. O'Connor's brash
sound, shaved head and colorless robes were a stark
contrast to the flamboyant hair metal bands popular at the
time. Music critics and fans loved her sound and image, but
O'Connor's politics, particularly her public support of the
Irish Republican Army, angered some.

In 1990, O'Connor released her most successful album, I Do
Not Want What I Haven't Got, which featured the hit
"Nothing Compares To You," a song written by Prince. The
album established O'Connor as a major star, but she
continued to stir up controversy for refusing to perform in
New Jersey if "The Star Spangled Banner" was played before
her show. Later she pulled out of a performance on NBC's
Saturday Night Live in protest of the show's guest host,
Andrew Dice Clay. O'Connor further angered listeners when
she withdrew her name from the Grammy competition, even
though she was nominated for four awards.

In 1992, O'Connor made what some saw as a career-ending
move when she tore up a picture of the Pope on national
television, after performing on Saturday Night Live. It
drew immediate and widespread condemnation. Two weeks later
she was booed off the stage at a Bob Dylan tribute concert.
O'Connor reportedly suffered a nervous breakdown, attempted
suicide and later announced she was retiring from the music

O'Connor's return in 2005 brought her most surprising
creative effort to date: a collection of reggae and
Jamaican roots cover tunes by artists like Peter Tosh and
Burning Spear. O'Connor recorded the album in Jamaica at
Bob Marley's former studio with Sly and Robbie, two of the
biggest names in reggae.

Though O'Connor's switch from rock and pop to reggae may
seem strange to some, the Irish-Catholic singer tells NPR
she sees strong similarities between her culture and
Jamaica's. "You know, there are huge blood ties, for a
start," O'Connor says. "There are huge ties between Africa
and Ireland going way back before Jamaica even existed as
it is now. And we were colonized by the same people and by
the same religion in a lot of ways. And we have the same, I
think, similarities in our music. You know, there's a huge
kind of longing, yearning and calling in the music from
Ireland and Jamaica, particularly the singing."

O'Connor's performance at the 9:30 Club in Washington, D.C.
is the latest in NPR Music's ongoing live concert series
from All Songs Considered. Previous shows are listed in the
right column of this page.


Harney Vows To Eliminate MRSA

John Downes and Eithne Donnellan

Ireland is to take part in a World Health Organisation
initiative aimed at eliminating hospital acquired
infections such as the so-called MRSA superbug, the
Minister for Health announced.

In a move welcomed by the Irish Patients' Association, Ms
Harney pledged to implement a range of actions to reduce
hospital acquired infections and to share the results and
lessons on the issue internationally.

The Global Patient Safety Challenge for 2005-2006 places a
particular emphasis on hand hygiene. Among the core
strategies which it promotes are the introduction of global
and national "Clean care is safer care" campaigns, and the
development of "country statements" which pledge to address
healthcare-associated infection.

Speaking in Dublin yesterday with Sir Liam Donaldson, chief
medical officer for England and chairman of the World
Alliance for Patient Safety, Ms Harney said signing the
pledge "mandates us to implement what lies behind this
pledge in every way we can, and certainly we are determined
to ensure patient safety is higher on the agenda
politically than they were in the past.

"Poor hygiene standards put lives in danger. We all need to
play our part to improve hygiene standards in hospitals.

"Improvement requires buy-in from everybody," she added.
"This is an attainable goal and will be a priority for the
health services."

© The Irish Times

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