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January 25, 2006

Attorneys Bewildered Over IRA Link Claim

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News About Ireland & The Irish

BN 01/25/06
Solicitors' Body Bewildred Over IRA Link Claim
BN 01/25/06 Development Possible In ‘74 Bombings Invstgtn
SF 01/25/06 Secure Brits Coop W/ Dublin/Monaghan Inquiry
IT 01/25/06 Dublin/Monaghan Relatives Express New Hope
IE 01/25/06 Dublin Gets Behind Ir Lobby For Immig Reform
SF 01/25/06 Ardoyne Kidnapping Has Left Community Shocked
DI 01/25/06 Cover-Up At ‘Cabinet Level’
4N 01/25/06 Durkan To Brief US Figures On Restoration
SF 01/25/06 Calls For Euro Meeting Re: Extraord Renditions
DI 01/25/06 New Concern On Abuses Of Human Rights
IT 01/25/06 Ahern Repeats US Assurances On Shannon
DI 01/25/06 GAA Man Urges Unionists To Be Tolerant
SF 01/25/06 Paisley Accused Of Talking 'Economic Gibberish'
BN 01/25/06 UUP Call For End To Closed Door Deals In North
IT 01/25/06 Man Charged Over Murder Of Adair Associate
SF 01/25/06 SF Holds Protest To Demand Pol Institutions
WS 01/25/06 How Deep Does State Penetration Of SF Go?
YH 01/25/06 Ireland's Chewing Gum Tax Plan Comes Unstuck
SF 01/25/06 Decision On Chewing Gum Levy A Cop-Out - Morgan
GI 01/25/06 O’Connell’s Pub To Be Listed
IP 01/25/06 Conference To Debate Easter Rising
SW 01/25/06 Irish Broadway Stars In Naples
IT 01/26/06 Visitors To Pay €20 To View Doolin Stalactite


Solicitors' Body 'Bewildred Over IRA Link Claim'

25/01/2006 - 18:18:20

A body representing solicitors in the North was tonight
bewildered by claims from Ian Paisley that many lawyers in
the North are involved in money laundering for the IRA.

Law Society president Rory McShane said he would be seeking
meetings with the Police Service of Northern Ireland and
Assets Recovery Agency after the Democratic Unionist leader
made the allegation following a meeting with British prime
minister Tony Blair.

Mr Paisley said after meeting Mr Blair last night he had
seen a secret security briefing document which detailed the
extent of IRA criminality.

The North Antrim MP alleged: “The list measures up the
thoughts of the police and all the other branches gathering
intelligence in Northern Ireland, that number one, there’s
many lawyers engaged in money laundering which is a scary

“Then there is the fact that they feel that the monies that
are being made through smuggling, especially of cigarettes,
is another challenge to the whole economy.

“They also say there’s a lot of truth as far as oil and
that is concerned as well.

“They also point out that we would need also to be
concerned about what happened in the bank robbery and that
they are convinced that three of the highest officers of
the IRA were involved in that. They go on and on.”

Mr McShane said the Law Society was surprised to hear the
claim given the relationship they had with the head of the
Assets Recovery Agency and the PSNI.

The Law Society president told the Press Association: “We
have no evidence of what he is saying.

“People are really conscious that the bottom line is if
solicitors are involved in money laundering, they will not
only go to jail but they will also lose their certificate
to practice.

“We will have dialogue with the PSNI and ARA on this to
satisfy ourselves that there is nothing of substance in
what he is saying.

“I suspect something has gone askew between the briefing
that was given and how that was relayed to Mr Paisley.

“If there were serious substance to this we would
definitely have heard from the ARA and the PSNI, given the
relationships we have.”

Sinn Féin Assembly member Gerry Kelly said Mr Paisley‘s
claims were reminiscent of comments made in the House of
Commons in 1989 by Douglas Hogg when he was a junior Home
Office minister shortly before the murder of Belfast
solicitor Pat Finucane.

The North Belfast MLA said: “Ian Paisley should immediately
withdraw his remarks and seek to minimise the undoubted
damage and offence which he has already caused.”

Mr Kelly‘s Assembly colleague, Raymond McCartney also
called on Northern Ireland Secretary, Peter Hain to state
if he had any knowledge of the confidential document Mr
Paisley had had given to him and to probe the source of
such claims.

“This is just the latest incident when DUP spokespersons
have claimed to be in possession of or to have had sight of
British security services‘ documents,” the Foyle MLA said.

“It is obvious that securocrats within the PSNI and other
British agencies determined to thwart the peace process,
have been supplying so-called secret documents to the DUP
over the years.

“Their purpose is to enable the DUP to continue with the
stance of not engaging with Sinn Fein.

“I am calling on Peter Hain to take action to ensure that
this malevolent interference in the political process by
faceless securocrats and political police sources in an
attempt to prevent necessary change is halted.

“The DUP cannot be allowed to use allegations and
manufactured security assessments as an excuse to frustrate
the political process.”


Major Development Possible In 1974 Bombings Investigation

25/01/2006 - 17:24:42

The Taoiseach hinted this afternoon that a significant
development in the investigation into the Dublin and
Monaghan bombings could be imminent.

Thirty-three people died following three explosions in
Dublin and one in Monaghan in May 1974.

Despite repeated calls from the Government, British
authorities have refused to hand over files on members of
its own security forces implicated in the explosions.

The recent publications of the Barren report into the 1974
bombings revealed that Garda security files went missing
and that members of British military intelligence had been

Barrister Patrick McEntee was asked to look into these
contentious issues.

The Taoiseach told the Dáil today that his investigation
into these matters had now been extended until February 28.

Mr Ahern told the Dáil that Patrick McEntee had received an
offer to meet an entity who possessed what could be
significant information.

The Taoiseach said that if this meeting was not followed
up, the entity may not be available in the future.


Government Should Explore All Options To Secure British
Cooperation With Dublin/Monaghan Inquiry

Published: 25 January, 2006

Responding to the Taoiseach's confirmation today that the
Attorney General has advised the Government would not
likely succeed if it took a European Court case against the
British Government for its failure to co-operate with the
Dublin/Monaghan bombings inquiry Sinn Féin leader in the
Dáil Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin said the Government should now
explore other international action.

Deputy Ó Caoláin said, "The Taoiseach has confirmed that
the Attorney General's advice is that the Government would
not likely succeed if it took a European Court case against
the British Government for its failure to co-operate with
the Dublin/Monaghan bombings inquiry. The Government should
now explore other international action in light of this
advice and following the regrettable failure of the
European Court action by Justice for the Forgotten. Such
international action must be taken by the Government as the
constant blocking of these inquiries by the British is an
international scandal. The government should raise this at
the United Nations."

Deputy Ó Caoláin also urged the Taoiseach to ensure that
the Remembrance Fund to assist people injured and bereaved
in the conflict which is due to end in December this year
should be better promoted and advertised. He said, "This
scheme was very slow to get up and running and is not
widely known. It needs to be advertised more widely,
including on the broadcast media, so that deserving people
can apply and avail of this fund." ENDS


Dublin/Monaghan Relatives Express New Hope

Last updated: 25-01-06, 21:58

Relatives of those killed in the Dublin and Monaghan
bombings tonight expressed hope that a new source of
information could boost their search for justice.

The Commission of Investigation into the 1974 bombings,
which killed 33 people and one unborn child, was granted a
four-week extension to its deadline for submission after
being approached by new witnesses earlier this month.

Margaret Urwin, secretary of victims' group, Justice for
the Forgotten, said it was necessary for Mr McEntee to
fully explore any new source that came forward.

"While we don't know who the entities are, it's fairly
obvious it must be somebody outside the jurisdiction," she

"We just don't know of course - the process is entirely

"The people I've spoken to say obviously it's better if
there's a specific avenue to explore to do that. It's not a
case of it dragging on for years, it's a genuine attempt to
explore a new avenue."

The commission was set up last May to investigate why the
original Garda investigation was wound down, why officers
did not follow-up certain leads, how documents relating to
the case went missing.

It is thought likely that the new witnesses are connected
to the security forces in Northern Ireland though
considerable secrecy surrounds the inquiry because it has
access to files of a sensitive nature, many of which could
not be put before an open court.

© 2006


Dublin Gets Behind ILIR

By Ray O'Hanlon

The Irish government this week stepped more forcefully into
America's immigration reform debate when it announced a
grant of €30,000 to aid the work of the recently formed
Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform.

In dollar terms, Dublin's allocation comes to roughly
$36,000 at current exchange rates.

The money comes as ILIR is readying a series of meetings in
three east coast urban areas designed to drum up support
for the McCain/Kennedy immigration bill, one of several
significant proposals already written, or in the pipeline,
on Capitol Hill.

Foreign Affairs Minister Dermot Ahern announced the grant
in Dublin.

The grant, according to an Irish government statement, was
a further indication of its "strong support" for measures
that would grant legal residence status to undocumented
Irish living in the U.S.

The move follows passage several months ago of an all-party
resolution in the Dáil expressing support for the
McCain/Kennedy Secure America and Orderly Immigration Act,
a measure that includes a possible path to legalization for
undocumented immigrants.

"The ILIR has been established at a particularly critical
time in the U.S. as the legislative debate on this issue
enters an important phase," Ahern said in announcing the

"In my own visits to the U.S. I have expressed the Irish
government's strong support for this [McCain/Kennedy] bill.

"The positive initiative taken by Senators McCain and
Kennedy in the U.S. Senate, mirrored by representatives
Kolbe, Flake and Gutierrez in the House of

Representatives, would enable undocumented Irish people to
participate in the life of their adopted country, free from
fear and uncertainty," Ahern added.

Kelly Fincham, ILIR's executive director, welcomed the

"This is a fantastic recognition of the work being done by
ILIR and we are delighted that the Irish government has
chosen to fund us at this critical time," Fincham said.

"It is this type of strong support from Ireland which will
help Irish Americans accomplish this task of legalizing
thousands of undocumented Irish citizens," ILIR chairman
Niall O'Dowd said.

There are various estimates as to the number of
undocumented Irish currently in the U.S. ranging from a few
thousand to as high as 50,000. ILIR uses 40,000 as its
rough estimate.

ILIR's town hall-style meetings in support of
McCain/Kennedy will get underway this Friday, Jan. 27 at
Rory Dolan's in Yonkers.

It will be followed by a meeting in Philadelphia on Friday
evening, Feb. 3 at the Hyatt Regency, Penn's Landing.

Tom Conaghan, who heads the Irish Pastoral and Immigration
Center in the city, told the Echo that "quite a crowd" was
expected to attend the event which would be free and open
to all.

ILIR, meanwhile, is planning its first Boston meeting at
Florian Hall, Dorchester on Thursday, Feb. 9, and
additional meetings are now being planned for Queens in New
York, Chicago and San Francisco.

The early February meetings in Philadelphia and Boston
could coincide with the opening salvos of what promises to
be a contentious debate in the U.S. Senate where the
McCain/Kennedy bill is facing opposition in the form of the
Sensenbrenner/King bill, a sharply diverging legislative
package which has already passed the House of

A third significant proposal has come from Sen. Arlen
Specter who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee which
must first approve any reform proposals before they reach
the Senate floor for a vote.

Other bills could be added to the mix, meanwhile. A well-
placed source said that Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist
could be adding a bill of his own crafting to the debate.

That debate revolves around several flashpoints, top among
them being security and control at the nation's borders, a
proposed guest worker program and the possible path to so-
called "earned legalization," an idea that has been decried
by some House and Senate members because, they argue, it
amounts to an amnesty for the illegal and undocumented.

That the immigration system is in severe need of change is
not a point of argument. How it ends up being changed will,
however, raise both cheers and howls of indignation

In a recent editorial headed "Immigration Vacuum," the New
York Times made its view clear.

The Times excoriated the Sensenbrenner/King House bill as
being "so draconian it sounds like something out of the
Know-Nothing anti-Irish movement of 150 years ago."

The editorial stated that the bill was full of "extreme
measures" such as 700 miles of fences on the Mexican

"But the worst part of the bill makes it a felony to shield
or offer support to undocumented immigrants, even
unknowingly. So what about the church group that provides
shelter, no questions asked, or the woman who drives a
neighbor to the store?"

The editorial pointed out that following an outcry, Rep.
King said he hoped to amend the bill which he put together
with Rep. Sensenbrenner.

"A better hope would be that it dies quietly and that the
Senate finds a more reasonable way to untangle the
immigration mess..." the Times editorial concluded.

This story appeared in the issue of January 25 - 31, 2006


Ardoyne Kidnapping Has Left Community Shocked

Published: 25 January, 2006

Sinn Fein North Belfast MLA Gerry Kelly has expressed
concerns over last nights' abduction and ransoming of a
young man in Ardoyne.

Speaking from Ardoyne Mr Kelly said:

"This was a calculated and carefully planned kidnapping and
ransom demand.

From my understanding this young man was taken into a car
held for a number of hours. His own phone was used to relay
the ransom demand to his family.

"After talking to friends of the family it is obvious that
they are clearly shaken and extremely upset by this ordeal.
They have also asked for privacy.

Given the harrowing ordeal they have been through I would
ask people to respect this.

"Those behind the kidnapping had no consideration for the
victims or indeed the entire community who are waking up
this morning to find out that a situation this serious can
happen in what is considered a area with a strong community

"As a community we must come together and make it very
clear that we are demanding that our streets are made safe
and that people can go about their everyday business
without fear of such a serious attack." ENDS


Cover-Up At ‘Cabinet Level’

Loyalist murder victim Séamus Ludlow’s nephew says senior
officials hid the truth

Ciarán Barnes

Irish cabinet ministers may have known of a Garda plot to
cover up the murder of a Co Louth man by loyalists 30 years
ago, his nephew said last night.

Michael Donegan was speaking after appearing before an
Oireachtas subcommittee sitting to consider the Barron
report on the murder of Séamus Ludlow.

The 47-year-old was murdered on May 2, 1976, by a Red Hand
Commando gang.

The Garda immediately blamed the murder on the IRA despite
suspecting it to be the work of loyalists. In 1979, the RUC
told gardaí that loyalists were responsible, giving them
the names of the four men involved in the killing. However,
this information was not pursued at the time and withheld
from the Ludlow family until the mid-1990s.

When the Ludlows learned of the true nature of their
relative’s death they pressurised the Irish government into
commissioning Judge Henry Barron’s report into the murder.

Published in November it was highly critical of the Garda
investigation, but stopped short of recommending a full
public inquiry.

Appearing before the Oireachtas subcommittee yesterday,
Michael Donegan repeated his calls for an inquiry into the
murder. He also accused senior officials in the Garda and
government of covering up details of the murder.

He said: “The cover up certainly extended to the top levels
of the Garda and Department of Justice, and maybe even the
Irish cabinet.

“The only way to get to the truth is through a public
inquiry. The Oireachtas subcommittee doesn’t have the power
to call witnesses or demand documents. Because of this, it
is flawed.”

Mr Donegan said at this stage his family are not
“particularly interested” in tracking down the loyalist
gang who murdered his uncle.

“We are more interested in finding out why the state let us
down, why they let our uncle Séamus down,” added Mr

Earlier, family solicitor James McGuill said: “This has
been an appalling three decades of experience of how an
ordinary law-abiding family found themselves in a set of
completely life-changing circumstances which was compounded
by the state authorities they had to deal with.”

The Oireachtas subcommittee will deliver its findings on
the Barron report on March 31.

In his investigation, Judge Barron said the Garda failed to
pursue those responsible fearing that the IRA might attack
police in the South for co-operating with the RUC in the
North. He also stated that any such co-operation with the
RUC might be perceived as acceding sovereignty to the
British government.

However, these findings failed to impress the Ludlow
family, who insist it was more convenient for the Garda to
blame the killing on the IRA.


Durkan To Brief US Figures On Restoration

Foyle MP and SDLP Leader Mark Durkan is in Washington today
to brief US politicians in Washington DC on the need to set
a date for restoration of the Assembly.

Mr Durkan is to have a series of briefings with political
figures including the Democratic Leader in the House of
Representatives, Nancy Pelosi and President Bush’s Northern
Ireland Special Envoy, Mitchell Reiss.

Mr Durkan said: "The SDLP’s message today on Capitol Hill
is simple. It is time for the Governments to set a date for
restoration. It is time for people to get real and get on
with implementing the Agreement for all the people of
Ireland. It is time to end the notion of any level of
Direct Rule in Northern Ireland and it is time to bin any
suggestion that the flawed ‘Comprehensive Agreement’ of
2004 is any basis for progress.

"People in the United States agree with us that the time
for posturing and grandstanding is over. They share our
frustration that almost eight years after the Good Friday
Agreement and so much positive work on both sides of the
Atlantic, that political progress and the full
implementation of the Agreement has been stalled for so

Mr Durkan said that the SDLP shared the mood in Irish
America and the way forward was simple: "The SDLP want to
see the DUP work the Agreement, Sinn Fein to fully embrace
the new beginning to policing, and all criminality in all
its forms end and be left behind us once and for all."



SF Calls For Emergency Meeting Of European Council Of
Ministers To Discuss Extraordinary Renditions

Published: 25 January, 2006

Speaking during Statements on the European Council in the
Dáil this evening Sinn Féin spokesperson on International
Affairs, Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD, called on the Government "to
demand an emergency meeting of the Council of Ministers to
discuss the issue of 'extraordinary renditions' including
the role undertaken by each Member State in connection with
this illegal practice." Deputy Ó Snodaigh made his call the
day after members states of the Union came in for sharp
criticism from the Council of Europe over the issue.

The Dublin South Central TD said, "Secrecy facilitates
abuse - be it abuse of the trust of an electorate or more
fundamentally of basic human rights. The secret agreement
between this state and the US concerning security measures
for the protection of classified military information
demonstrates this point all too well. I am calling on this
government to demand an emergency meeting of the Council of
Ministers to discuss the issue of 'extraordinary
renditions' including the role undertaken by each Member
State in connection with this illegal practice. And to
finalise a binding agreement committing the Member State's
to co-operate fully with all investigations into the matter
and to take every measure possible to stop the practice of
'extraordinary rendition'. In the interests of transparency
and accountability discussions at this meeting should be on
the public record - open for all to see." ENDS

Full text of statement by Aengus Ó Snodaigh on European
Council follows:-

Sinn Féin welcomes some of the outcomes of the negotiations
on the Financial Perspectives for 2007 -- 2013. In
particular we welcome the inclusion in the summit agreement
of 200 million euro funding for the PEACE III programme.
Sinn Féin, and in particular my colleague Bairbre de Brun
MEP, worked hard to ensure that this funding would be
secured. The funding commitment recognizes the valuable
work conducted by community organizations in terms of peace
building, tackling discrimination and promoting national
reconciliation. The challenge is now to ensure that this
funding is directed towards the areas of real need.

We are also relieved that the CAP will remain unaltered
until 2013, provided the government is willing to use its
veto to ensure this. But on the question of rural
development Sinn Féin remains of the opinion that the issue
is conceptualized too narrowly at the EU level. We believe
budget discussions would benefit from employing a broader
understanding of the concept of rural development to fully
encompass issues such as rural regeneration to replace
declining agriculture.

I would also like to express our disappointment with regard
to the overarching focus of the financial perspectives. We
believe that an opportunity has been missed whereby a
commitment to emphasise spending on social protections and
the environment could have been but was not achieved.
Thereby, reaffirming our belief that the social inclusion
aspect and environmental considerations of the Lisbon
Agenda amount to little more than window dressing.

An issue of grave concern to Sinn Fein is the all but
complete absence of transparency surrounding the workings
of the Council. How are we, the Irish people, to know for
sure what government representatives actually prioritise in
negotiations given the current conditions of secrecy? Just
this week a report by the EU's own Ombudsman was highly
critical of the Council's opaqueness. Is addressing this
undemocratic reality a priority issue for the government?
If so, in the absence of transparency, how are we to know
for sure?

Secrecy facilitates abuse be it abuse of the trust of an
electorate or more fundamentally of basic human rights. The
secret agreement between this state and the US concerning
security measures for the protection of classified military
information demonstrates this point all too well. I am
calling on this government to demand an emergency meeting
of the Council of Ministers to discuss the issue of
'extraordinary renditions' including the role undertaken by
each Member State in connection with this illegal practice.
And to finalise a binding agreement committing the Member
State's to co-operate fully with all investigations into
the matter and to take every measure possible to stop the
practice of 'extraordinary rendition'. In the interests of
transparency and accountability discussions at this meeting
should be on the public record - open for all to see.


New Concern On Abuses Of Human Rights

Council of Europe report reignites debate

David Lynch

Concerns were raised yesterday about the possibility of
human-rights abuses in Ireland after a new report indicated
that the United States had used European airports to
transport terrorism suspects.

The Council of Europe report said the evidence pointed to
the existence of the Central Intelligence Agency having a
system for “outsourcing” torture.

Green Party chairman and foreign affairs spokesman John
Gormley said: “This report comes as no real surprise.

“Dick Marty, the Swiss senator who compiled it, had already
indicated in various interviews that the CIA was operating
in Europe and that extraordinary renditions had taken

Extraordinary rendition is a US government term for an
extrajudicial procedure whereby terrorism suspects are sent
to other countries for imprisonment and interrogation.

Mr Gormley said Mr Marty had also indicated that it was
very difficult to get people to go on the record on such a
sensitive issue, particularly in aspiring EU members such
as Romania.

“It is clear, however, that the planes have been used for
extraordinary renditions in European airports and that
Shannon was among those airports where these planes had
been sighted.

“The circumstantial evidence is certainly strong enough to
give rise to real concern in this country that there have
been abuses of human-rights legislation.

“The government should now act on foot of this report by
stating to the US government their intention to search
planes going through Shannon. If the US government has
nothing to hide, then they have nothing to fear in this
regard,” said Mr Gormley

Labour Party TD Eamon Gilmore yesterday addressed the
Council of Europe in Strasbourg.

He said foreign minister Dermot Ahern would have to resign
if it was found that the CIA had used Shannon airport for
extraordinary renditions.

“Senator Marty and anybody else investigating these
allegations will have considerable difficulty getting to
the truth if member states do not carry out thorough,
independent inspections and inquiries. Relying on the
assurances of countries whose own secret service agencies
may be involved is simply not good enough.

“In our democracies, there has to be political
accountability. If it turns out that the assurances which
have been given to date are not accurate, that detainees
have been tortured and ill-treated, then those government
ministers who accepted the assurances without carrying out
inspections or independently investigating them should be
obliged to resign from office,” he said.


Ahern Repeats US Assurances On Shannon

By Eoin Burke-Kennedy Last updated: 25-01-06, 17:30

The US has given "unqualified and categorical" assurances
that it is not transporting prisoners through Shannon, the
Taoiseach has said.

Mr Ahern told the Dáil that the Minister for Foreign
Affairs had received personal guarantees from the US
Secretary of State Condolezza Rice that no US prisoners had
been transferred through Irish airports "at any time".

He said the Government condemned the practice of so-called
extraordinary renditions and was wholly opposed to torture
or any breaches of international law.

The Taoiseach was responding to a question from Labour
leader Pat Rabbitte during the first Dail sitting since the
Christmas recess.

Mr Rabbitte said there was "acute concern in this country
that the US is being facilitated in what they call
extraordinary renditions at Shannon."

He said the reliance on diplomatic assurances was not
sufficient to protect against the risk of torture and ill
treatment of prisoners.

The Labour leader said while the US represented a friendly
country it had "duped" the Government in terms of its
reasons for going to war in Iraq.

He asked the Taoiseach if he would take steps to reassure
the Irish public that the "obnoxious" policy of rendition
is not being facilitated at Shannon.

But Mr Ahern said that he has had "unqualified and
categorical" from Ms Rice and from the US ambassador as
late as yesterday that Irish territory was not being used
to ship detainees.

He said to go beyond that could only mean calling senior US
officials "one thing" and that he was not prepared to do

© 2006


GAA Man Urges Unionists To Be Tolerant

Connla Young

A leading GAA figure in Co Tyrone has called on unionists
to show a greater level of tolerance towards Gaelic games.

Tyrone county chairman Pat Darcy last night called for an
end to verbal attacks directed by unionists at the GAA
because many clubs were named after republican and
nationalist historical figures.

Mr Darcy made the comments days after Scottish MSP Bill
Aitken had called for the Sam Maguire Cup to be banned from
Glasgow Celtic’s ground.

The Conservative politician branded one-time Irish
Republican Brotherhood activist Sam Maguire a “terrorist”
after it emerged that all-Ireland football champions Tyrone
will parade the cup before Celtic’s game against Dundee
United this Saturday. A Protestant from Co Cork, Sam
Maguire died in 1927.

Mr Darcy told critics to accept the sporting nature of the
GAA and disgard their hang-ups over names.

“Let’s look at Craigavon. It’s named after a man who
discriminated against a section of our community for years.

“Look at Windsor Park, named after the royal family, and
the Royal Victoria Hospital. We have to tolerate these
place names. We have no choice. If I get sick, I have to go
to Craigavon hospital or the RVH. I have no choice. But
these people do have a choice. Nobody makes them go to
Casement Park,” he said.

“We have to accept that these places exist and get on with
it. They should do the same, rather than criticise GAA
clubs. It’s just an excuse they give for not participating
in the GAA.”

West Tyrone Ulster Unionist Party assembly member Derek
Hussey told Daily Ireland that his constituents had strong
views on the GAA.

“Club and pitch names within the GAA quite often are
related to personalities who would have a pre-eminence
within what would be regarded by some within the unionist
community as republican.

“Sometimes, though, there is selective memory if you
consider the case of Tone and Emmet, who came from a
Protestant background.

“The greatest difficulty possibly arises when names are
associated with those who have been associated with more
recent terrorism in Northern Ireland. There is also concern
with the ethos that the association has had in the past
with regard to the security forces.

“I realise that there would appear to be a gradual sea
change within the association in general on issues such as
participating and ground use. But we do live in a society
that is slow to change,” said Mr Hussey.


Paisley Accused Of Talking 'Economic Gibberish'

Published: 25 January, 2006

Sinn Féin economy spokesperson, Mitchel McLaughlin MLA has
accused DUP leader Ian Paisley of talking economic
gibberish and said that the biggest threats to the northern
economy are partition and British Direct Rule.

Mr McLaughlin said:

"Ian Paisley is talking nonsense. There is no evidence to
support the political policing agenda and claims of vast
IRA criminal empires.

"The truth is that Ian Paisley is talking economic
gibberish. The six counties is not a viable political or
economic entity. Even Peter Hain recognises this. The real
threats to economic well being in this part of the island
are partition and Direct Rule. This is widely recognised
across the business, manufacturing and industrial sectors.

"The failure to widen and deepen the all Ireland
opportunities created by the Agreement has implications for
economic development, for the development of infrastructure
and for the delivery of public services not just in the six
counties but across the northwest.

"The sooner the DUP wake up to the current political and
economic realities the better. They need to work with Sinn
Féin and others to build a long-term sustainable future for
everyone on the island of Ireland.

"Getting caught up in the propaganda of those who are
opposed to the peace process will not put bread on the
table. It will only mean that the local economy is placed
under greater threat." ENDS


UUP Call For An End To 'Closed Door Deals' In North

25/01/2006 - 17:07:29

British and Irish governments must inject greater
transparency into talks to revive devolution in the North,
they were urged today.

As Tony Blair and Taoiseach Bertie Ahern prepared for a
summit in Dublin tomorrow, Ulster Unionist MEP Jim
Nicholson said the two governments must move away from the
practice of side deals and behind closed door negotiations.

“Secret deals, closed door negotiations and the delivery of
hugely unpalatable policies have all contributed to a
crisis of confidence in the political process.

“The UUP have long been encouraging the Secretary of State
to become pro-active.

“If (Northern Ireland Secretary) Peter Hain is keen to see
progress he too must pl ay a role.

“That means ending the secrecy and nudge-nudge, wink-wink
politics that defined 2004 to 2005 and moving to a more
transparent process where everybody knows where they

Northern Ireland's Assembly and power sharing executive
have been suspended since October 2002.

There have been three failed bids since then to revive the
political institutions - the last in December 2004
involving Sinn Féin and the Rev Ian Paisley's Democratic


Man Charged Over Murder Of Adair Associate

Last updated: 25-01-06, 17:40

A man was charged today with the murder three years ago of
a close associate of former UDA boss Johnny "Mad Dog"

Iain Rea (35) is also accused of a series of gun and
explosive charges.

Roy Green (32) was shot dead outside a bar at Kimberly
Street in the Ormeau Road area of south Belfast in January

At the time it was claimed he was the victim of a loyalist

Mr Rea, of Annadale Crescent, Belfast, was also charged at
Belfast Magistrates' Court with possessing four guns, rifle
parts, cartridges, plastic explosives and a detonator.

The accused shook his head when asked if he had anything to
say to the charges.

He was also accused of possession of imitation firearms
with intent to cause fear of violence.

He was remanded in custody and will reappear at Belfast
Crown Court on a date to be fixed. He is expected to apply
for High Court bail later this week.

© 2006


Sinn Féin To Hold Protest In Dublin To Demand The Full
Restoration Of The Political Institutions

Published: 25 January, 2006

Dublin Sinn Féin will hold a protest tomorrow, Thursday
26th January between 1pm and 2pm at the gates of Farmleigh
to call for the full restoration of the political
institutions and the implementation of the Good Friday

The protest is to co-incide with the meeting between
British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Taoiseach Bertie

Sinn Féin TD Sean Crowe will be available to talk to the
media at 1pm.


How Deep Does The State Penetration Of Sinn Fein Go?

Northern Ireland: the Donaldson affair and the threat to
democratic rights

By Steve James and Chris Marsden
19 January 2006

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the author

The exposure of Denis Donaldson, one of Sinn Fein’s leading
figures in the suspended Northern Ireland Assembly, as a
British intelligence agent of 20 years standing tears a
hole in the democratic facade behind which politics in
Northern Ireland and Britain is conducted, and reveals the
real attitude held by the British government and an array
of its intelligence agencies to democratic rights.
Secondly, it reveals an astonishing level of intelligence
penetration of Sinn Fein and the IRA, which raises
disturbing questions on their conduct over decades. The
near-silence of the British media on this question serves
to emphasise its own indifference to such fundamental
issues affecting democratic rights.

The closing down by the British government of the new
Northern Ireland Assembly in 2002 took place under
conditions in which the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP), led by
then Northern Ireland First Minister David Trimble, was
under severe political pressure from the Democratic
Unionist Party (DUP) of Ian Paisley.

The power-sharing assembly was established in 1999 after
the Good Friday Agreement of 1998. This was necessary to
stabilise political life in the British-controlled six
counties and to end the expensive military conflict by
allowing the bourgeois nationalist Sinn Fein to assume some
measure of political power. The agreement allowed for
economic collaboration with the Irish Republic in the South
and created the stability necessary to attract
international investment to the North.

The assembly was hailed as the dawn of a new era of
democratic governance in the North, in which both supposed
communities were represented by designated unionist or
nationalist parties in a directly elected executive. It was
supported by the vast majority of voters across Ireland,
including a narrow majority of Protestants—with only the
DUP opposing the agreement.

The media also portrayed the assembly as a means of
overcoming the poverty and inequality intensified by
decades of low-level civil war. Nevertheless, in 2002,
after three previous suspensions, the assembly was
summarily shut down by the British government, on the face
of it, to save the political career of David Trimble.

Official silence on who collapsed Stormont assembly

At the time, the suspension was justified on the basis of a
spy scandal. Sinn Fein personnel in Stormont were accused
of operating a large-scale information gathering operation
on members of the British and Northern Ireland security
services. Scores of police officers raided Sinn Fein’s
offices and three of its members were arrested. One of
those was Denis Donaldson. Unionist politicians denounced
Sinn Fein as having perpetrated a deed “worse than
Watergate,” in Trimble’s words. Trimble threatened to lead
his UUP out of Stormont and Blair duly suspended the

It now emerges that the sensitive information discovered in
the course of the police raids was in 1,200 or so documents
found in the possession of Denis Donaldson and that his was
only one of three offices targeted by police. Either the
documents were planted by the security services, or
Donaldson told them where to look for documents that had
been made available to him at an earlier point, thanks to
his connection with state agencies.

Whether or not Sinn Fein had sought to gather information
on its opponents, the real scandal of “Stormontgate” was
that an institution which the vast majority of the Irish
voting population had endorsed was brought down by the
activities of unnamed, unelected intelligence agencies
operating on an unstated agenda.

The Irish expatriate web site “Irish Abroad” summed up the
antidemocratic implications of the affair: “Not since the
Spycatcher affair, when MI5 agent Peter Wright alleged in a
book of that name that 30 of his colleagues had succeeded
in secretly blackening then British Prime Minster Harold
Wilson and forced him from power, has such a serious
allegation been made.”

Sinn Fein has insisted that Donaldson’s exposure vindicates
their view of the time that Stormontgate was manufactured
by “securocrats” to bring down the assembly. There are, it
claims, sections of the old Unionist security apparatus,
particularly in the Police Service of Northern Ireland
(PSNI) Special Branch, who hope to wreck the Good Friday
Agreement, or at any rate make impossible Sinn Fein’s
participation in devolved government.

Intelligence feuding?

In an article in the Irish Sunday Business Post, December
25, Tom McGurk notes the strange circumstances around an
alleged IRA raid on PSNI Special Branch HQ on March 17,
2002 at Castlereagh Police Station in which files on
Special Branch informers and PSNI members were alleged to
have been stolen. The IRA denied the raid, seven months
before the Stormontgate events.

What has emerged is that the chief suspect in the
Castlereagh raid was Larry Zaitschek. The New York-born
chef was a close contact of Denis Donaldson.

According to McGurk, Donaldson had befriended Zaitschek
while Donaldson was working in New York. Zaitschek, whose
republican sympathies must therefore have been known to
Donaldson’s controllers, subsequently got a job in the
highly secure Castlereagh security complex. McGurk suggests
that Zaitschek and Donaldson were “bit players in a raid on
Castlereagh initiated by Donaldson’s own handlers.”

No charges have ever been levelled in connection with of
the Castlereagh raid, which was supposedly the source of
the documents discovered in the Stormontgate raid.

McGurk outlines a scenario in which the Castlereagh raid
was part of an ongoing feud between British intelligence
agencies such as MI5 and the British Army’s intelligence
outfits, and the RUC/PSNI Special Branch.

McGurk concludes: “Given the extraordinary nature of recent
events, is it too fantastic to consider the Castlereagh
raid and Stormontgate as evidence of a private feud within
the British security forces? Was Castlereagh actually about
embarrassing the Special Branch and was Stormontgate the
Branch’s revenge?”

Underlying such a feud would be the differing attitude of
the rival agencies to the revival of Stormont. The British
government, and the British military establishment,
including presumably MI5, are anxious for Sinn Fein to be
incorporated into government in Northern Ireland, including
the local policing boards overseeing the PSNI.

For the military, a new settlement for Northern Ireland, in
which Sinn Fein and the DUP come to terms, has the
advantage of allowing further reductions in the numbers of
troops and intelligence resources deployed in Northern
Ireland. Since the invasion of Iraq, the British Army has
been overstretched, and is known to be anxious to alleviate
the pressures under which it is being placed.

For MI5, charged with opposing domestic “subversion,” the
escalating assault on democratic rights in Britain,
particularly following the July 7 bombings, has placed it
at the centre of political policing on the British
mainland. Hundreds of agents are being recruited as part of
a massive expansion of the agency’s operations. In short,
for the British government and military, Northern Ireland
is to a considerable extent yesterday’s war.

Not so the PSNI Special Branch. Many Special Branch
members, employed before the infamous Royal Ulster
Constabulary was re-branded as the PSNI, oppose the “peace
process” entirely. Some, with good reason, fear prosecution
as a result of investigations into some of the most
notorious killings of “the Troubles” such as the killing of
solicitors Pat Finucane and Rosemary Nelson. The long
delayed enquiries into the Finucane and Nelson murders are
close to being launched. Both will likely raise all manner
of questions regarding collusion between British forces,
Special Branch and loyalist assassins. Some former Special
Branch members have even reportedly already fled the
country and more have been forced into embittered early

Moreover, unlike British forces, should Stormont be
revived, the PSNI and its overwhelmingly Protestant and
pro-Unionist officers would be answerable to a Stormont in
which Sinn Fein sat as part of the government, overseeing
its former enemies.

The British, US and Irish governments, and a section of
Unionists who stand to gain from new investment, see Sinn
Fein’s inclusion in power as the best means of ensuring
conditions to organise the exploitation of all sections of
the working class. But significant sections of the old and
bloated security apparatus—which ruled Protestant Ulster on
behalf of British imperialism since 1921—have nothing to
gain, and much to lose, from the new arrangements.

All manner of provocations are possible, including attempts
to trigger sectarian conflict, which presents the working
class with serious dangers.

All the more reason to expect that the Donaldson affair
would provoke sustained demands for Prime Minister Tony
Blair, Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain, or the head
of the PSNI, Hugh Orde, to give a full account of what took
place. Instead, after the most perfunctory requests, all
bar the Unionist parties have dropped the issue altogether.

The British government immediately declared that there
would be no inquiry and then remained absolutely silent.
Ireland’s Taoiseach (prime minister) Bertie Ahern this
month urged all parties to move on from the Stormont
controversy, stating, “I think it would be helpful if we
continue to try to normalise society in the North where
nobody is watching anybody, where we have proper political
parties, proper garda [Irish police] procedures, proper
policing procedures and that we all move on in that kind of
a vein.

“To start checking who was spying on who, or if two spies
were spying on each other, or maybe three spies were spying
on each other. I’m afraid I would need to live to a very
old age to ever resolve the Northern Ireland peace

Complicity of British media

Just as significant has been the complicity of the British
media in this attempt to put the lid back on the can of
worms opened up by Donaldson’s exposure. For the most part
the Donaldson affair was no longer covered, let alone
treated as a “hot topic,” after an initial flurry of
reporting for four days.

The only exceptions were reports over the New Year that
point either to the possibility of other agents operating
in Sinn Fein or—alternatively—to an ongoing attempt by the
security services to destabilise the party.

The reports explain that three prominent republicans were
visited by PSNI detectives on December 24 and December 25
and warned they were in danger of being exposed as long-
term informers for either Special Branch or MI5.

The Times wrote that a Sinn Fein spokesman had revealed
that “the BBC had given him the names of two well-known
republicans who had allegedly been warned by the police
that they were under suspicion as informers. The Sinn Fein
officer said when he approached the pair, they denied it.
He named them as Tom Hartley, a former Belfast city
councillor, and Richard “Dickie” Glenholmes, a former IRA
operations officer.

According to the Times report, “Glenholmes served 10 years
in jail in Britain for attempting to spring Brian Keenan, a
former IRA chief of staff, from Brixton prison using a
hijacked helicopter. Glenholmes’s daughter, Eibhlin
(Evelyn), is one of the IRA ‘on-the-run’ terrorist suspects
for whom Sinn Fein is seeking freedom from prosecution.”

Sinn Fein has responded by accusing the British security
agencies and the police of spreading false rumours to
subvert the peace process by causing dissension within
republican ranks and to discredit Sinn Fein by indicating
that IRA activity continues—just weeks before the report of
the Independent Monitoring Commission (IMC). Unionists have
insisted that IMC confirmation that IRA activity has ended
is a precondition for Sinn Fein to return to government.

In its January 1 report on the December 24-25 events, the
Observer reported that it had been contacted in the last
week of December by “a number of IRA members concerned
about the existence of a group of agents inside the
republican leadership.... They claimed the IRA was ‘in
total disarray’ over the recent revelation that Sinn Fein’s
chief administrator at Stormont, Denis Donaldson, had been
a British agent for two decades. The group of IRA men also
confirmed the existence of a further three agents whom they
said had been contacted by the police about their personal
safety over the Christmas period.”

The newspaper quoted one of the IRA group stating, “No one
in the organisation bothers even to turn up to meetings
anymore because no one knows who to trust. The volunteers
on the ground just don’t know what’s going on, who will be
next to be outed as an informer, or how long this has all
been going on.”

The three “dismissed claims in the pro-republican press
that the visits on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day were an
elaborate plot by the PSNI to de-stabilise the republican
movement even further,” the Observer states.

Sinn Fein’s silence on state penetration

The British media’s sole concentration on events that can
indeed be used to discredit Sinn Fein stands in stark
contrast to the failure to probe the implications of the
collapsing of Stormont and to demand an accounting by the
government. Nevertheless, the possible state penetration of
Sinn Fein and the IRA is itself a grave threat to the
democratic rights of the Irish and British working class.
And the fact that Sinn Fein’s enemies exploit the issue
does not excuse the party’s response—which is to repeatedly
claim that the entire affair is merely black propaganda,
everyone is above reproach and there is no possibility of
high-level penetration

After all, the exposure of Donaldson comes just two years
after the revelation that Freddie Scappaticci, deputy head
of the IRA’s internal security, was a British agent. Both
Donaldson and Scappaticci occupied leading positions in the
Irish republican movement, while acting as British spies
for decades. Scappaticci was supposedly responsible for
weeding out informers. Donaldson was part of the
organisation’s leading bodies and think tanks, a close ally
of its current leadership and head of its US and
international operations. Yet both were on the payroll of
the British government.

Anthony McIntyre, a former IRA commander in south Belfast,
is quoted by the Times as saying, “At times I feel like I
joined a regiment of the British Army when I thought I was
joining the IRA. It is clear that there has been extensive
infiltration of the IRA just as there was with the

Martin Ingram, a former military intelligence officer who
handled agents within the IRA, told the Times that “Sinn
Fein leaders Martin McGuinness and Gerry Adams had
negligently promoted British agents within the IRA over
many years. The Force Research Unit, for which he worked,
had been able to exploit the fact that ‘the republican
leadership had ignored basic security procedures,’” he

Ingram said Adams and McGuinness had allowed the IRA’s
intelligence department to be controlled by a single agent,
Freddie Scappaticci, for 20 years.

“McGuinness had promoted another agent, Frank Hegarty, who
had recently joined the IRA, to a senior position in charge
of weapons, against the advice of other senior IRA

A number of other commentators, including republicans, have
also noted the IRA’s folly at having its own security led
by a tiny unchanging group which would therefore be a prime
target for British infiltration.

One newspaper report suggested that up to 15 longstanding
republicans are British agents and remain to be exposed and
many republican sources have claimed that Donaldson was
sacrificed to defend someone higher up.

An article in the Sunday Tribune, January 8, makes clear
how far up the republican hierarchy suspicions are

Marian and Dolours Price were jailed as young women for
their part in the 1973 car bombings of the Old Bailey and
Scotland Yard in London. Marian Price, currently a
supporter of the hardline republican 32-County Sovereignty
Committee, told the Tribune of her suspicions that in 1973
the British police knew information that only herself, her
sister, and three other people could know.

“We were able to rule out one person immediately. The
second was Gerry Adams, and we refused to believe he was an
informer. The third person was Dickie Glenholmes,” said
Price—referring to one of those visited by the police over
Christmas that Sinn Fein has given a clean bill of health.

“Through an intermediary, we sent word of our suspicions to
Adams,” she continued, emphasising that she was not
accusing Glenholmes of being an informer, but wanted to
know why her concerns were fobbed off by Adams.

More has emerged on Donaldson’s own role, in Ireland and
internationally. The same Tribune article quoted a former
Sinn Fein member from South Down, Martin Cunningham,
accusing Donaldson of marginalising anyone of an
independent mind, or who asked questions, or who opposed
orders coming from the leadership.

“Donaldson and his clique drove 40 people out of the party
in South Down. He ran a dictatorship and plenty of good
people, including an ex-hunger-striker, were treated very
shabbily. Those he sponsored and promoted are now highly

The Irish Times, December 24, notes that some Irish
republican supporters in the US were not entirely surprised
by Donaldson’s role. Donaldson was sent over to the US in
the late 1980s to argue the position of the Adams Sinn Fein
leadership with regard to future negotiations towards
power-sharing with the British and Unionists. Over a whole
period, Donaldson intervened to isolate the hard-line
republicans who wanted to continue the armed struggle. The
entire US movement was restructured at Donaldson’s behest.

US-based former republican Gabriel Megahey told the Times
of a number of odd incidents which appeared to go far
beyond the necessarily heated debate amongst republicans at
a crucial point in their political development. Megahey
explained that when he saw Donaldson buying drinks for FBI
men in the Bronx, “I just had a feeling from that moment
that something wasn’t right.”

Donaldson found unknown new recruits for Noraid, which
raised money for Sinn Fein, who vanished as rapidly as they
had appeared on the scene. Donaldson demanded Megahey work
with republicans known to be unreliable—then denounced
Megahey to the IRA Army Council for employing them.

Megahey confronted Donaldson in a car park: “You’re here
with some secret agenda....I don’t know what it is...”

In such an atmosphere, it is inexcusable that Sinn Fein has
refused to publicly take seriously the allegations of
extensive, and decades-long, infiltration of its own
organisation. Reports suggest that there are investigations
taking place, but any agents discovered are likely simply
to be quietly sidelined, rather than named and denounced,
to avoid further damage to Sinn Fein’s credibility.

The Donaldson affair raises vital issues for all those
concerned with the dangerous erosion of democratic rights
and the ongoing conspiracy by the state forces against the
working class. They must not be allowed to be swept under
the carpet. The tactics used against Sinn Fein can and will
be used again and again against all opponents of British
imperialism. Indeed there can be no question that similar
tactics are currently being deployed in British-occupied

From this standpoint, to the extent it is possible without
further compromising their security, it is imperative that
Sinn Fein make clear:

* Who are the remaining British agents in their ranks?

* Given the central role of Scappaticci, how many of those
apparently murdered by internal security were innocent of
the spying charges levelled against them and were in fact
fingered by the security services?

* What information was handed by Donaldson to his handlers,
not only on the IRA, but on other organisations with which
he was in contact?

* Which IRA terror operations were allowed to go ahead or
were even instigated by British agents in order to foment
sectarian tensions and legitimise state repression?


Ireland's Chewing Gum Tax Plan Comes Unstuck

Wed Jan 25, 2:44 PM ET

DUBLIN (AFP) - Ireland has decided not to impose a clean-up
tax on chewing gum, as recommended in a 2002 report on
litter, Environment Minister Dick Roche said.

Instead an agreement with gum manufacturers will see them
contributing two million euros (2.45 million dollars) a
year to help fund a public awareness campaign on the impact
of gum litter and research on how to deal with the problem.

Roche said a 10 percent mandatory levy on packs of gum --
recommended by government-appointed consultants -- would
have raised over four million euros a year. This would not
have gone far in meeting clean-up bills.

"My belief always has been that we should look for a
partnership approach. We should look for a way for the
industry to take responsibility for educating people to
dispose of their gum litter in a better and more
appropriate way."

Roche said the main gum manufacturer, US firm Wrigley, was
strongly opposed to a tax but he denied he had caved in to

"There was very strong lobbying and the US ambassador did
come to see me but I was disposed to going this way.

"If you put a 100 percent levy on chewing gum you might
actually stop some people chewing it but you wouldn't stop
them spitting it out on the streets. What you have got to
do is you've got to change attitudes."

His deal with the gum makers will mean they will contribute
two million euros a year for a trial period of three years
to help fund public education programmes.

Roche said Wrigley's would also be spending about a million
euros on research in an Irish college on how to make gum
less sticky.

"I think that is something that is very, very positive,"
Roche told RTE state radio.

Cleaning the blackened remains of chewing gum from
expensive cobbles and granite squares laid in showplace
plazas and pedestrianised streets throughout Ireland is
costing local councils millions of euros a year.

In one month alone the city council removed an estimated
180,000 pieces of embedded gum from Grafton Street,
Dublin's premier shopping thoroughfare.

With about 80 million packets of gum sold in Ireland every
year, it is estimated that up to 500 tonnes end up dumped
on the streets.

A government monitoring body found discarded gum made up
over 28 percent of the country's litter, the second largest
problem after cigarette butts.


Ministers Decision On Chewing Gum Levy A Cop-Out - Morgan

Published: 25 January, 2006

Sinn Féin Environment spokesperson Arthur Morgan TD has
described the decision of Environment Minister Dick Roche
not to levy chewing gum as a “cop-out.” Speaking today
Deputy Morgan said “the Minister’s decision means Irish
people will continue to pick up the bill for cleaning the
products of mega rich companies from our streets.”

He said, “I can only describe the Minister’s decision as a
cop-out. After heavy lobbying from American officials on
behalf of the chewing gum companies he has been persuaded
to make the wrong decision at a cost of millions to the
Irish people. What’s worse is that he knows this is the
wrong decision.

“The cost to the Irish tax-payer of cleaning chewing gum
from Irish streets runs into millions annually while some
of the chewing gum companies make profits that run into
billions. A levy on their product could have helped cover
that cost. However, the Minister’s decision not to levy
chewing gum means Irish people will continue to pick up the
bill for cleaning the products of mega rich companies from
our streets.

“The levy on plastic shopping bags brought in 2002 has
proved to be a huge success in protecting our environment.
There is no reason why a chewing gum levy would not have
had the same affect.” ENDS


O’Connell’s Pub To Be Listed

by Jo Lavelle

O’Connell’s bar in Eyre Square is to be listed as a
protected structure.

The bar, which dates back to the 1700s and is believed to
be worth in the region of €10 million, was bequeathed to a
number of beneficiaries by the late Mrs O’Connell. The
Saint Vincent De Paul (SVP) is to be the main beneficiary
of the proceeds of the sale.

At Galway City Council this week, eight councillors voted
in favour of listing the historical building, while three
councillors voted against it.

Cllr Declan McDonnell said he could see no real reason why
the building should be listed, apart from the arch in the
adjoining wall of the pub. Having the building listed would
devalue it and the council should maximise the value that
SVP receives, he felt.

Fine Gael Councillor Padraig Conneely also argued against
listing the building, saying that there was little worth
protecting in the building. He said the decision “flies in
the face of what the council are doing”, namely the
regeneration of Eyre Square. “Now we’ve got a modern plaza
in an old city and all of a sudden, we’re told that we have
to protect this structure,” he pointed out.

However, Green Councillor Niall Ó Brolcháin insisted there
were definite aspects of the building that needed to be
protected. He said it was not the case that the building,
having been listed, could not be developed in a way that
was advantageous. “There are too few examples of good
heritage. This is an old building and it’s worth
protecting,” he said.

Supporting the listing of the building, Sinn Féin
Councillor Daniel Callanan said that Taylor’s Bar had been
listed and had subsequently been developed.

Meanwhile Labour Councillor Catherine Connolly said she
would be voting to support the listing. “We either vote and
stand to save heritage or go for maximum profit.” While
developers were entitled to maximise the value of a
property, it was not the role of the council to do the
same, she felt.

Labour Councillor Colette Connolly said that the council
had already passed a heritage plan and this was part of the
city’s heritage. She said the age of a building was
extremely important and the building had been the scene of
an ambush in the War of Independence.

Meanwhile, speaking to the Galway Independent, Mr Ray
Rooney of Rooney Auctioneers who are dealing with the sale
of the property, said that the listed status of the
building would not have a negative effect on its sale.

“I wouldn’t see it as having any effect on the value of the
property. It might even improve it,” he said, adding that
potential purchasers would be interested in the fact that
it was an old building, with a charming, old-fashioned


Conference To Debate Easter Rising

THE legacy of the 1916 Easter Rising is to be debated at a
major conference in Cork to mark the 90th anniversary of
the insurrection.

The conference is being organised by University College
Cork as various political parties all vie to stage their
own commemorations of the historic event.

The Irish Government has announced a package of measures,
including a resumption of the traditional Easter parade to
mark the significance of the 90th anniversary of the 1916

Sinn Féin has also announced plans to link the Rising to
its own commemorations of dead terrorists — including the
25th anniversary of the hunger strikes.

The two-day UCC conference will examine in detail the
implications and legacy of the events of Easter 1916.

The conference runs from January 27 to 28 and will feature
a distinguished panel of speakers led by Irish President
Mary McAleese.

Speakers from the worlds of academia, politics, the
military and the law will analyse different aspects of the
political, social, economic and cultural background to the

Professor Dermot Keogh and Gabriel Doherty of UCC’s History
Department are the conference organisers.


Irish Broadway Stars In Naples

By Sun Times Staff 01/25/2006

The Irish American Club of Naples will welcome Irish
Broadway stars Ciaran Sheehan and Gay Willis, as well as
international pianist Eily O'Grady Patterson for a
performance at St. Finbarr's Community Center called
"Galway to Broadway."

Sheehan has performed the title role in Broadway's Phantom
of the Opera, in Les Miserables, and has a CD out entitled

Willis has performed in Broadway's Showboat and in the
world tour of The Music of Andrew Lloyd Weber.

Patterson produced the Irish Christmas Show at Carnegie
Hall, which starred Sheehan and Willis.

Their Naples performance will be at 7 p.m. on Jan. 27. For
more information call 793-4580.


Visitors To Pay €20 To View Doolin Stalactite

Gordon Deegan

Visitors are to be charged €20 each to view what is
thought to be the world's largest free-hanging stalactite
in Pol an Ionain cave in Doolin, Co Clare.

The cave is due to open to the public in April and the
admission price is due to the limited numbers allowed as
part of the planning permission by An Bord Pleanála.

Helen and John Browne won a 15-year battle to develop the
cave as a tourist attraction in the face of stiff
opposition from An Taisce and the Pol an Ionain Action

An Bord Pleanála stated that the Great Stal "is a
significant part of Ireland's cultural heritage due to its
scientific and aesthetic importance".

Until now, access to the cave has been restricted and Ms
Browne said there is a limit of 55,000 visitors to the cave
annually. She expects between 25,000 to 30,000 visitors in
the first year.

She said that excavating of the passage that leads to the
stal has been ongoing since last June and is nearly

"It is a very difficult job. The rock is very hard and the
rock has to be removed by hand as explosives can't be used
in order that the stal is not disturbed. The monitoring of
any vibrations and the temperature of the cave continues to
ensure that there is no impact on the stal."

Ms Browne said the opening of the cave should help the
local tourism industry. She said they will have invested €1
million in the project and it will in no way pose a threat
to the Ailwee Caves, north of Ballyvaughan.

© The Irish Times

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