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January 17, 2006

Don't Let Paisley Dictate Terms

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News About Ireland & The Irish

DJ 01/17/06 Don't Let Paisley Dictate Terms
SF 01/17/06 SDLP Talking With UnionistsShort Of GFA
SF 01/17/06 McGuinness Begins Sri Lankan Meetings
IO 01/17/06 Ahern To Speak To Congressmen About Devolution
BT 01/17/06 Telegraph Revelation Forced Him To Quit
NL 01/17/06 Police Urged To Change Rules Over IRA Medal
IO 01/17/06 FG Seeks Clarification On Colombia3 Extradition
DJ 01/17/06 BS: Bishop Recalls Day That Changed Our Lives
DI 01/17/06 Hume Hails Conflict-Resolution Aspect Of GFA
DI 01/17/06 Paisley: No To Power Sharing
BT 01/17/06 Opin: Devolution Deadlock May Yet Be Broken
DI 01/17/06 Opin: -Sponsored Violence Must Be Exposed
BT 01/17/06 Dublin's Blding Boom Puts Books In Danger
TB 01/17/06 Colleen LaPlante, 1945-2006
IO 01/17/06 Irishman Shot Dead In New York


Don't Let Paisley Dictate Terms

Tuesday 17th January 2006

SDLP leader Mark Durkan says the two governments should fix
a date for restoration of the institutions of the Good
Friday Agreement rather than let the DUP "dictate terms".

The Foyle MP's outburst followed the publication of the
DUP's plans to restore devolution in the North.

The DUP says it is to table a paper proposing a return to
devolution which stops short of a powersharing Executive
involving Sinn Fein.

At a news conference at Stormont yesterday afternoon, DUP
leader Ian Paisley said the 16-page document, entitled
"Facing Reality", would lead to the return of local

The proposals will be presented to British prime minister
Tony Blair next week.

Mr. Paisley insists there is "no prospect of an Executive
involving the IRA" in the near future.

In response, Mark Durkan said the DUP couldn't be allowed
to disable the process. "If the British government manages
our prospects this year in the same way they have for the
last three-and-half years, we are going to see a further
plethora of side deals, more preconditions, more posturing
and people pretending to be really willing to do things at
some point in the future but not letting it happen now," he
said. "There is only one way to cut through all the
posturing, the posing and the messing and that is for the
governments to set out a date on which the institutions are
going to be restored come what may.

"On that date, the parties are going to find themselves in
restored institutions and are going to have to take

Sinn Fein's Mitchel McLaughlin also urged the DUP to "get

The Foyle MLA said: "Ian Paisley needs to face up to the
reality that powersharing is the only way forward for
politics in the North of Ireland.

"If the DUP want to be part of a new and shared future,
they will have to wise up to the fact that powersharing
works and can work for the benefit of everyone.

"The collective challenge of restoring devolution must
involve everyone. The process cannot be paralysed by the

Assemblyman McLaughlin also suggested that a period of
"joint direct rule" --involving both the Irish and British
governments - may help encourage unionists to "get off
their hands".

"The DUP must sit up, start paying attention and begin
playing a real role in resolving the outstanding issues
that are currently preventing the restoration of the
powersharing institutions."


SDLP Talking With Unionists On Arrangements Short Of GFA

Published: 17 January, 2006

Sinn Féin MP for Newry & Armagh Conor Murphy has challenged
the SDLP to come clean about their discussions with
unionists about diluting the power-sharing arrangements of
the Good Friday Agreement.

Mr. Murphy said:

"As a precursor to planned political talks next month the
two governments need to make it clear to the parties that
the only basis for moving forward is the route mapped out
in the Good Friday Agreement. Sinn Féin will not
countenance a move away from the fundamental principles
which underpin that Agreement.

“However I understand that the SDLP have been engaged in
discussions with unionists on the basis of arrangements
outside the terms of the Good Friday Agreement.

“This is disappointing.

“Nine months ago the SDLP put forward proposals which
involved scrapping the power sharing executive and
replacing it with administrators, appointed by the
governments, to run the various government departments.

“This was unacceptable then and it is unacceptable now.

“Power-sharing and inclusivity are at the core of the
Agreement. This is what was agreed by the parties and
endorsed in referendum by the vast majority of the people
in referenda north and south.

“The irony is we are at the point where unionist political
leaders have no longer any excuse for refusing to re-engage
in the institutions on the basis of the Agreement.

“So, just as the governments are about to convene a new
round of round of political negotiations involving all the
parties next month, anti-Agreement unionists will be well
pleased to hear that the SDLP are prepared to settle for
less than the full restoration of the political

“The SDLP proposals provide unionists with a basis for
further procrastination and some encouragement that they
may achieve a major dilution of the Agreement.

“Settling for less than power-sharing will reopen the
prospect of a return to unionist party rule in the north.

“The SDLP must clarify where they stand with regard to

“Any dilution of the power-sharing arrangements which
underpin the Agreement will undermine efforts to bring
about full restoration of the political institutions.” ENDS


McGuinness Begins Sri Lankan Meetings

Published: 17 January, 2006

Sinn Féin Chief Negotiator Martin McGuinness was today
beginning a series of meeting in Sri Lanka. Mr McGuinnes
has travelled to the country at the request of respected
Sri Lankan peace group, the Institute for Political and
Conflict Transformation (Inpact).

Speaking today from the capital Colombo before meeting with
both the Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse and Tamil
rebel leaders over the next number of days Mr McGuinness

“Sri Lanka has been caught in the grip of a bitter conflict
since 1983 and almost 70,000 people have been killed. In
recent weeks a number of worrying incidents have put
immense strain on the developing peace process.

“Last year I met the Sri Lankan president when he visited
Ireland to study the Irish peace process. I was
subsequently approached by a respected peace organisation
to travel to Sri Lanka to share my experience and encourage
the two sides not to allow this ceasefire to break down

“My message to all parties will be simple – that
accommodation can only come through dialogue, that’s been
the lesson of the Irish peace process. There can be no
military solution to these types of political problems. I
look forward over the next few days to try and assist in
the development of this conflict resolution process in
whatever way I can.” ENDS


Ahern To Speak To Congressmen About Devolution

17/01/2006 - 08:50:37

Minister for Foreign Affairs Dermot Ahern is to hold talks
on the North with influential US congressmen near the
border today.

The meeting will focus on the prospect of restoring power-
sharing between political parties during 2006.

The Dundalk TD will meet Republican congressmen Jim Walsh
of New York and Tim Murphy of Pennsylvania as well as
Democrat Brian Higgins from New York.

“The plight of the undocumented Irish in the US will also
be discussed,” the minister’s spokesman added.

Mr Walsh iscurrently chairman of the Friends of Ireland on
Capitol Hill in Washington and the author of the 1998 Walsh
Visa Programme in support of the peace process and aimed at
applicants from the North and the six border counties.

The 90-minute meeting takes place in Carlingford, on the
shores of Carlingford Lough, which separates Co Louth from
Co Down.

Mr Ahern said on January 2 that the Irish and British
governments planned to end direct rule and re-establish the
Assembly in 2006.

“Local, devolved government is the clear will of the people
of Northern Ireland. The parties and the governments have a
duty to deliver on that will,” he said.


Telegraph Revelation Forced Him To Quit

Ex-terrorist resigns post on Legion after furore

By Lisa Smyth
17 January 2006

A convicted UVF terrorist has resigned from his post on the
committee of a Co Londonderry branch of the Royal British

On Saturday, the Belfast Telegraph revealed that Russell
Watton - who in 1977 was sentenced to life imprisonment for
a gun attack in Dunloy - had been elected to the position
of assistant secretary of the legion in Coleraine, leading
to a complaint from a disgusted member of the charity.

Last night, Watton said publicity the revelation generated
prompted him to step down from the post, although he
claimed he has continued support from members of the legion
and will remain a member of the charity.

"I resigned from the post on Sunday, I just don't need the
hassle," he said.

"It was very upsetting for my family, especially my 13-
year-old son who had to read about what I did 30 years ago
in the newspaper.

"I was asked to stand for assistant secretary and I was
elected in a democratic process but someone went to the
trouble of phoning the Belfast Telegraph, and although they
are only one person, it is still one person too many, so I
felt I had to resign. I don't want the legion dragged down.

"I have been a member for years though, and I have no
intention of leaving as I have never caused any problems."

A spokesman from the legion refused to comment on the
matter and said: "I think the resignation answers it in

In 1977, Watton was one of 13 men sentenced for their part
in a string of terrorist crimes in the Coleraine area.

Watton, who was said to have been the commander of the UVF
unit in Coleraine at the time, pleaded guilty to wounding
three men with intent during a gun attack in a bar in
April, 1976.

Passing sentence on the Coleraine man the following year,
Judge Higgins described the UVF group as a "nest of
terrorists" who had been responsible for grave and wicked
crimes during 1975 and 1976, including the burning of
Catholic-owned premises, the armed robbery of two post
offices and bomb attacks on three bars.

The judge also said that Watton was responsible for
planning the offences and involving others in them.

However, Watton stressed that he has turned his back on
violence and defended his fellow members for his election
despite his past.

"There is no politics in the legion, that is all left at
the front door, politics are not discussed there at all,"
he said.

"I admit that I held strong loyalist views but the war is
over and finished now, violence is not the way.

"Catholic members of the legion are disgusted about all of
this, they accept me for what I am now, not what I was 30
years ago.

"These people are my good friends and realise that is was a
lifetime ago and that we have all moved on."


Police Urged To Change Rules Over IRA Medal

By David Young
Tuesday 17th January 2006

Police chiefs were facing criticism last night after
failing to change regulations permitting the wearing of an
IRA medal during PSNI ceremonies.

The PSNI had been urged to review protocol after it emerged
that a new recruit had worn a medal commemorating the
service of IRA members who fought in the 1917-21 Irish War
of Independence at his PSNI graduation.

The medals were awarded in 1941 by the Irish government to
those who contributed to the fight against British rule.

It is understood PSNI Deputy Chief Constable Paul Leighton
has now issued an internal memo confirming that such
insignia are permissible at appropriate ceremonies because
they were issued by a state government.

This ruling has angered unionists, who make the point that,
during the conflict, IRA men murdered many officers of
Royal Irish Constabulary - the forebearers of the PSNI.

The DUP's Jeffrey Donaldson claimed the rationale behind
the PSNI position is inherently flawed.

"If you follow that logic through it means a recruit of
German descent whose grandfather served in the Luftwaffe or
Wehrmact could wear a medal commemorating their actions,"
said the Lagan Valley MP.

"The harp and crown of the RUC was scrapped because it was
deemed offensive, the term 'Royal' was also termed
offensive, yet medals like this are OK?"

Ulster Unionist Assemblyman Tom Elliott, who was given a
copy of Mr Leighton's memo by an enraged PSNI officer,
branded the policy "grossly inappropriate and outrageous".

"Regardless of the fact that the Irish government in the
1917-1922 period was internationally recognised, it does
not mask the fact that almost 30 RIC officers were murdered
during the period by the IRA," said the Fermanagh and South
Tyrone MLA. "Given the fact that the RIC became the RUC and
the RUC became the PSNI, it is an insult and ludicrous to
suggest that this medal is simply an international medal
and nothing else. "It is, in fact, loaded with significance
and I can assure Mr Leighton that it has caused outrage in
many police quarters."

However, the SDLP's policing spokesman Alex Attwood said
unionists need to be mature enough to recognise that the
Irish War of Independence was a "very different matter"
from the Provisional IRA's "illegal, immoral and unjust"
campaign in the latter part of the 20th Century.

The PSNI's official position on the recent medal furore was
that it was an "accepted tradition" for an officer to wear
medals which have been awarded "by a state to a close
relative" during "appropriate ceremonies".


FG Seeks Clarification On Colombia Three Extradition

17/01/2006 - 08:15:37

Fine Gael is reportedly calling on the Government to
clarify the status of the extradition request for the so-
called Colombia Three.

Reports this morning said the call followed major
differences between the Irish and Colombian authorities
over whether the request had been rejected or not.

Niall Connolly, Martin McCauley and Jim Monaghan, who all
have republican connections, were convicted in 2003 of
training anti-government rebels in the South American

They were sentenced to 17 years each in prison, but they
skipped the country and have since returned to Ireland,
which has no extradition treaty with Colombia.

Reports this morning said Colombian sources believed the
Irish authorities had rejected their extradition request,
but the Department of Justice was insisting that no final
decision had been made.


Bloody Sunday: Bishop Recalls 'Day That Changed Both Our

Tuesday 17th January 2006

The late John Bierman, who captured one of the most iconic
images of Bloody Sunday, was the first person to show the
massacre to the world, Bishop Edward Daly has said.

The award winning-journalist and his team captured the
image of fatally wounded Jackie Duddy being carried away
from danger, led by the then Father Daly waving a white

Dr. Daly yesterday paid tribute to the veteran BBC reporter
Bierman - who has died aged 76 --as a "distinguished
journalist" for whom he held great admiration.

"He was the first person to bring news to the world of the
events of Bloody Sunday.

"He was important in reporting to the world what happened
in Derry on that day.

"He was, I think, one of the first international journalist
to recognise the significance of the events and he was very
important to Derry because of that."

Dr. Daly still recalls vividly seeing the BBC news team
filming as he led a group of men carrying the stricken
teenager, Jackie Duddy through the Bogside as gunshots from
One Para rang out. "I saw the camera crew but I didn't see
the reporter at the time, although a short time later I met
him at the Rossville Street shops where he interviewed me.

"In the interview I described what happened as mass murder.
It was certainly the most momentous interview I ever gave
and I was quite distraught at the time.


Hume Hails Conflict-Resolution Aspect Of Agreement

Eamonn Houston

Former SDLP leader John Hume said last night that the Good
Friday Agreement should be fully implemented and held up as
a prime example of conflict resolution.

He was speaking to Daily Ireland ahead of delivering a key
address at Boston University in honour of Martin Luther

“It is the duty of all democrats and all of the political
parties in Ireland to implement this agreement. The people
of Ireland have spoken overwhelmingly. That is the first
time in Irish history that it has happened,” he said.

Mr Hume, a key architect of the Belfast Agreement, hinted
that it had been built to get opposing parties in the North
around the negotiating table. “When historians look at the
Good Friday Agreement of Northern Ireland, they will see
the same three principles. Principle No 1: Respect for
difference. The identities of both communities are fully
respected in the Agreement.

“Principle No 2: Institutions that respect both identities.
In order to do so, a legislature is elected by a system of
proportional voting, not bullet voting for one candidate,
in order to ensure that every section of society is
represented in the assembly.

“The assembly takes this a step further and also elects the
government by proportional voting and ensures that all of
the people have representatives in government.

“When those institutions are firmly in place, the third
principle — the healing process — will go into action and
will ensure that the representatives of all sections of our
people will be working together in their common interests —
social and economic development — rather than waving flags
at one another or using bombs and guns against one another.

“They will be, as I have often repeated, spilling their
sweat and not their blood, breaking down the barriers of
centuries as our common humanity transcends our difference
and, in a generation or two, once this process gets under
way, a new Ireland will evolve based on agreement and
respect for difference.”

Mr Hume cited Martin Luther King as one of his chief

“When I first entered public life as a young man in 1968, I
was very heavily influenced by Martin Luther King as we
started the civil rights movement in Northern Ireland.

“I had read a lot of what he had said and quoted him
regularly in my speeches. We Shall Overcome became
virtually a hymn to us and our party. Indeed, it is still
sung every year at the end of our annual convention.

“Martin Luther King was a very inspirational leader and his
philosophy is a philosophy that is very meaningful for any
area where there is injustice, hatred and conflict, as
there was in Northern Ireland,” said Mr Hume.

Millions of people in the United States yesterday
remembered the civil rights leader, who would have been 77
two days ago.

In Chicago, the Reverend Jesse Jackson praised King as a
prophet whose dream had not been fully achieved.

In Washington, President George W Bush visited the national
archives and paid tribute both to King and to Abraham

Mr Bush said yesterday that King “lived on that admonition
to call our country to a higher calling” and “called
Americans to account when we didn’t live up to our ideals”.


Paisley: No To Power Sharing

West Tyrone MP Pat Doherty says his party will accept no
deviation from Belfast Agreement in the forthcoming
multiparty talks - sinn féin says ‘core’ of good friday
agreement is not negotiable

Jarlath Kearney

Sinn Féin will not accept any deviation from the Good
Friday Agreement in forthcoming multiparty talks, West
Tyrone MP Pat Doherty said last night.

Mr Doherty warned both the British and Irish governments
that the “power-sharing core” of the Agreement was not

He was reacting to Democratic Unionist Party leader Ian
Paisley’s announcement that unionists would not accept the
restoration of an inclusive power-sharing executive in the
near future.

“Ian Paisley’s comments, indicating that he is seeking to
subvert the Good Friday Agreement, is a challenge to the
two governments,” Mr Doherty said.

“They have an obligation to stand by the Agreement and its
power-sharing core.

“This includes the power-sharing executive.

“Sinn Féin will not countenance a move away from the
fundamental principles which underpin the Agreement.”

Highlighting the ongoing impact of direct rule, Mr Doherty
said this had been caused by Ian Paisley’s refusal “to
share power with nationalists and republicans on the basis
of equality and respect”.

“The DUP cannot be allowed to continue to block forward
movement towards the re-establishment of the political
institutions. Republicans have delivered on every
commitment given. It is now time for others to do likewise.

“But let me make it very clear to the DUP and the two
governments — Sinn Féin will not countenance agreeing to
anything less than the provisions demanded by the Good
Friday Agreement.”

Ian Paisley launched a 16-page plan, which his party will
put to British prime minister Tony Blair next week. The DUP
leader said devolved government would be re-established
only with his party’s consent.

“Given that there is no prospect of an inclusive executive,
I informed the Prime Minister and the secretary of state at
the end of last year that we would consider alternative
ways of moving forward in Northern Ireland,” Mr Paisley

“We have now completed our work on the way ahead. At both
our party officer and assembly group meetings today, we
unanimously agreed the 16-page blueprint that is a
realistic and achievable way of ensuring the foundation of
good government for the people of Northern Ireland.”

Describing his party’s new position as “the only realistic
hope of making progress”, Mr Paisley said: “Devolution is
still the best way forward.”

Mr Paisley’s remarks were made after SDLP leader Mark
Durkan declared at the weekend that his party was ready to
discuss alternatives to the North’s inclusive, power-
sharing executive.

However, Mr Durkan yesterday said the two governments
should fix a date for restoration of the institutions of
the Good Friday Agreement rather than let the DUP dictate

“The DUP can keep ordering more process and keep ordering
more talks.

“If the British government manages our prospects this year
in the same way they have for the last three-and-a-half
years, we are going to see a further plethora of side
deals, more preconditions borrowing one another, more
posturing and people pretending to be really willing to do
things at some point in the future but not letting it
happen now,” said the SDLP leader.

Ulster Unionist Party leader Reg Empey yesterday called for
the British government to trigger the restoration of the
political institutions with a talks deadline of six weeks
to sort out other issues.

“I think the time has come to call everybody’s bluff and to
reconvene this place as soon as possible and let the clock
run,” Mr Empey said.

“If the assembly members, on the clear understanding from
the Prime Minister, do come forward with an alternative
within the next six weeks, he can indicate in advance, if
we agree it, he will consider it.”


Opin: Devolution Deadlock May Yet Be Broken

17 January 2006

Although the DUP and Sinn Fein are still communicating
through the media, rather than face to face, there is
mounting evidence that the political talks which will begin
shortly may not be as pointless as has been predicted. The
two-year stalemate over a return to devolution could yet be

The forthcoming report of the Independent Monitoring
Commission should set the ball rolling if, as expected, it
finds that the IRA has been inactive. Tony Blair and Bertie
Ahern will resume their double act, leading the parties in
discussions which must be concluded before the deadline of
the next Assembly election in May 2007 and preferably by
this summer.

Both Sinn Fein and the DUP are obviously beginning to feel
the pressure, as the countdown begins and as their "no
surrender" policies come under scrutiny. For Sinn Fein,
this means a re-think of their inherent hostility to
policing and, for the DUP, it means a fuller explanation of
their plans for devolved government, without a power-
sharing executive.

When the republican hierarchy feels the need for a revision
of policy - like the U-turn on arms decommissioning - the
one-time bomber and jail escapee Gerry Kelly is its natural
choice. At an all-Ireland gathering he issued the clearest
of warnings to the faithful to expect a change in Sinn
Fein's attitude to the police.

If Sinn Fein, he said, could bring about "a new beginning"
to policing - as he believed was possible - then
republicans had to be ready to make some big decisions.
Clearly he was signalling an end to the party's boycott of
the Policing Board and its refusal to encourage enrolment
in the PSNI.

Such unprecedented decisions would have to be taken at a
special conference, risking the possibility of a split.
Unionists would obviously be suspicious of a side deal with
the government, involving further concessions on police
reform, but genuine republican support for policing would
transform the political situation overnight.

Already the government is advancing the necessary
legislation for transfer of policing and justice powers to
the Stormont Assembly, in the event of devolution being
restored. The scene is being set, and all that is badly
lacking is the essential element of trust.

The DUP have their solution - an interim form of rolling
devolution, with Assembly members making decisions for
direct rule Ministers to implement - but even the SDLP
shows no interest. Although the negotiators have an uphill
task, the imposition of new rates and water charges,
together with the revelation that Ministers spend only a
third of their time here, must act as a spur to even the
most reluctant of devolutionists. To have proper control of
its future, Northern Ireland must pull itself together.


Opin: -Sponsored Violence Must Be Exposed

Patricia McKenna

The proposed legislation that would have allowed people
currently classified as “on-the-runs” to return to Northern
Ireland without having to serve time in prison for offences
committed before the signing of the Good Friday Agreement
has been scrapped. The decision has be warmly welcomed by
all political parties as well as by human-rights and victim
support groups.

While opposition to the legislation came from all sides,
the reasons against it were varied. British criticism of
the legislation focused solely on the possibility that the
legislation would grant an amnesty to terrorist suspects.
Their criticism didn’t stretch to the fact that the
proposal covered all members of the British security forces
involved in state killings or in collusion with loyalist
paramilitary groups.

Former Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy condemned
what he called his government’s plans to allow terrorist
suspects to return to Northern Ireland and walk free after
facing a special tribunal. He said: “There are serious
problems with a scheme which doesn’t even require an
accused person to appear in court. What does that say about
our attitude to justice and what kind of signal does that
send to their victims?” But what kind of signal is Britain
sending out to its own citizens and to the international
community if it allows state-sponsored crimes to go

It is essential that soldiers and other members of the
security forces who killed people be held accountable and
that those higher up who either had knowledge of or ordered
the killings be exposed. The question of whether they ever
go to prison or are punished for their crimes is not the
priority. Exposure of the truth must take precedence.

It is interesting to note that, while there was
international involvement in the negotiations on the peace
process itself and issues surrounding it, such as policing
reform, prisoner releases and decommissioning, there was no
international involvement in the drafting of this
legislation and no provision for any such involvement in
its enactment. Perhaps because international figures would
have taken a dim view of provisions allowing state-
sponsored crime off the hook, they were kept out of such

It is clear that the principal beneficiary of the
legislation proposed by the British government would have
been the British state itself. The British drew up the
legislation and tried to push it through their parliament.

Victims’ groups had already listed a number of concerns,
including the lack of provision for the involvement of
relatives and the fact that decisions on what if any
information should be provided to families would be

They also raised concerns about the role of the secretary
of state, the power he would have, and the possibility that
the process would be open to political interference.

This scepticism is clearly justified for, even without the
legislation, it is difficult to get answers. For example,
at the Barron inquiry, the Northern secretary withheld
documents and refused to give evidence to the inquiry. As
Margaret Irwin of Justice for the Forgotten said: “How can
we trust a process totally determined by the Northern
secretary and the NIO? It’s not rocket science to figure
out that the NIO will use the ‘national security’ clause to
close down anything that might embarrass them on the Dublin
and Monaghan bombings.”

Paul O’Connor of the Pat Finucane Centre in Derry was right
when he said: “This legislation is a dream come true for
the spooks at Vauxhall Bridge [MI5 headquarters].

“Had this legislation been in place in 1992, the secretary
of state could have withheld the name of Brian Nelson,
directed that the RUC, FRU [Force Research Unit] and MI5
withhold evidence from the prosecution and withheld all
information regarding charges and eventual prosecution from
the Finucane family. The NIO cannot be allowed to determine
this process. It is part of the problem.”

While the SDLP and Sinn Féin criticised the inclusion of
security force personnel in the legislation, Mr Hain
defended their inclusion and said it would not only be
illogical but indefensible to exclude them. How can Mr Hain
defend the right of the British state to conceal the truth
about its involvement in the killing of citizens? Does he
want the British government to be included on George W
Bush’s list of “terrorist” and “rogue” states? We are
talking here about state-sponsored murders — state agents
paid by the public being allowed to murder them and get
away with it. All civilised and responsible governments
have a duty under international law to uphold the rule of
law and to stay within it. The rule of law is non-
negotiable. We cannot allow for exceptions.

Apparently, Sinn Féin’s Martin McGuinness, on a BBC
programme in November, dismissed concerns and said he did
“not envisage that any people who were involved in the
murders of nationalists… is ever going to be brought before
a court in this day and age”.

To adopt such a defeatist attitude is a mistake and will
give the British government the signal it needs to allow
state violence off the hook.

Sinn Féin’s desire to get its own people back has clouded
its judgment. Its initial support for the legislation
appears to have been hasty and ill-advised. The party
should have checked the small print first.

There are believed to be between 20 and 30 on-the-runs,
living mainly in the Republic. Should their interests be
put above the interests of all those who lost loved ones at
the hands of the security forces? Killings such as those of
Pat Finucane and Rosemary Nelson or bombings such as in
Dublin in 1972 and Dublin and Monaghan in 1974 are crimes
that, because of the suspicion of British state
involvement, cannot be left unresolved. We have an
opportunity, through the peace process, to deal with the
past in a truthful way and it should not be squandered.
Relatives have a right to know the truth regardless of how
much it may embarrass the British government.

There is a difference between terrorism and state-sponsored
terrorism. Terrorists are exactly that — terrorists. They
don’t respect any law. But agents of the state paid for by
the people are supposed to operate within the law. That’s
what democracy is all about.

For the victims of violence, whether it was perpetrated by
the IRA, Ulster Volunteer Force, security forces, it makes
little different to their grief and suffering. Nothing will
bring their loved ones back.

But for governments and the political establishment, it is
essential to expose and root out state violence because
failure to do so will ensure that the state and organs of
the state never achieve public confidence and support.

Patricia McKenna is a former Green Party MEP for Dublin.
She is an active campaigner on a range of issues from
justice to human rights to the environment and food safety.


Dublin's Building Boom Puts Priceless Books In Danger

By David McKittrick
17 January 2006

The recent prosperity and development of the capital of
Ireland is causing major problems for one of the city's
most venerable institutions, the library of Trinity
College, Dublin.

The university has discovered to its dismay that a quarter
of a million books, many of them irreplaceable and dating
from the earliest days of print, have been damaged by
building dust.

The new Ireland is thus having a detrimental effect on the
old, since this side-effect of Dublin's extraordinary
building boom will cost millions to put right.

The Long Room in Trinity is one of Ireland's architectural
and academic glories, its vaulted ceiling and shelves of
leather-bound volumes presenting a magnificent spectacle to
half a million visitors every year.

Its main chamber, described as "a cathedral of the book, a
testament to the secular worship of learning", is 65 metres
long, capped by a beautifully timbered, barrel-vaulted

But its 18th-century splendour is part of the problem,
since it is one single chamber where dust, much from all
those visitors, can permeate every corner.

As Ireland's largest research library, Trinity College is
legally entitled to a copy of every book published in
Ireland and Britain. The university sits in the bustling
heart of Dublin. It is a highly popular tourist attraction
and a growing educational establishment.

According to Robin Adams, the librarian: "There are not
many libraries as old as this in the middle of a 21st-
century city. We have this very impressive single-chamber
library with books on open shelves.

"It's an 18th-century building so it's not designed to keep
out a modern city. Dust will come through the doors and it
will come through the windows, even if they're not open.
They're not sealed - they're the original old-fashioned
sash windows."

The Book of Kells, a huge drawing-point for visitors, is
protected. But the dust is affecting important collections
such as the Fagel collection, which consists of 20,000
items of pre-Napoleonic material.

Analysis has shown that they are largely composed of stone
fragments. According to Mr Adams: "Our judgement is that a
lot of it has to do with the boom in the building industry
as Dublin has been undergoing major development in the past
decade or so.

"There are cranes to be seen in all directions. We've done
an analysis of the stuff that's falling on to the books and
it's largely fine stone dust, so we assume it's coming from
the construction work around us."

Cleaning the books is a labour-intensive task involving
old-fashioned techniques. Each one is vacuumed with special
equipment before dust and ingrained dirt is removed from
covers and pages with brushes and dry sponges.

A team of four conservation assistants have already cleaned
and stabilised more than 10,000, but that still leaves
almost a quarter of a million to be processed.

Since the old books must be handled with intricate care, it
costs €50 (£34) to clean and preserve just five of them.
The total bill for the clean-up is therefore an estimated
€2m. Since at the present rate of progress the work would
take 20 years to complete, the university has issued an
appeal for funds.

Trinity will also carry out an environmental analysis and
will develop long-term preventive measures to protect its
literary treasures.


Colleen LaPlante, 1945-2006

Housing official set up Irish-American festivals

Colleen LaPlante, a program supervisor at the Lucas
Metropolitan Housing Authority who was among the early
organizers of Toledo’s Irish-American Festival, died
Thursday. She was being treated for liver failure at St.
Luke’s Hospital. She was 60.

Ms. LaPlante worked 26 years as a program supervisor for
LMHA, retiring in 2003. She inspected housing units for the
agency, then supervised staff who performed the task.

After her workday was done, she devoted some of her time as
an activities volunteer at Flory Gardens, one of the
agency’s housing sites. There she improved the ceramics
program for residents, obtaining a kiln so they didn’t have
to send their projects out to be fired.

Kathy Horrigan said her sister enjoyed life despite

“She had health issues most of her life, but she didn’t let
anything stop her,” her sister said.

In the mid 1980s, Ms. La-Plante became interested in her
Irish heritage after listening to the performances of John
Connolly, a local Irish musician. Her grandmother on her
father’s side was an Irish immigrant.

Ms. LaPlante, Mr. Connolly, and Phil Eaton helped organize
Irish-American festivals that were hosted in Rossford and
later Lourdes College. Ms. LaPlante served as the first
secretary of the Toledo Irish-American Club.

The festivals later were moved to International Park.

“All three worked very closely together,” Patrick LaPlante,
her son, said. “She would do everything from getting the
vendors to setting up the music. She baked soda bread and
other items to help with the club.”

A member of the Toledo Shamrock Club, she also helped with
arrangements to bring Irish musicians here for the festival
and handled publicity for the event.

She was a campaign worker for former mayor John McHugh and
Sheriff Jim Telb.

Several years ago, she became a volunteer at Hospice of
Northwest Ohio, helping people with incurable illnesses
still well enough to travel to run errands and shop.

“She got involved after getting upset there were so many
people in hospice that nobody came to see,” Lisa
Krasniewski, her daughter, said.

A 1963 graduate of Central Catholic High School, she was a
member of St. Patrick Historic Church.

Surviving are her sons, Patrick and Sean; daughter, Lisa
Krasniewski; brother, Kevin Horrigan; sisters, Janice
Rokicki, Karen Canfield, and Kathy Horrigan, and five

Services will be at 10 a.m. tomorrow at St. Patrick
Historic Church. The body will be at Coyle Funeral Home
after 2 p.m. today.

The family suggests tributes to the Multiple Myeloma
Research Foundation.


Irishman Shot Dead In New York

17/01/2006 - 12:38:41

Police in New York are investigating the murder of a 43-
year-old Irishman who has been living in the city for the
past 16 years.

John Kelly Jnr, a native of Sixmilebridge in Co Clare, was
shot in the head outside his apartment building on Bruckner
Boulevard in the Bronx on Sunday night.

Mr Kelly worked as a superintendent at the apartment block.

The police have yet to establish a motive for his murder.

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