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January 16, 2006

GFA Only Show In Town

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News About Ireland & The Irish

SF 01/16/06 Good Friday Agreement Is Only Show In Town
DU 01/16/06 DUP Outlines The Best Way Forward
IT 01/17/06 Reply To Colombia Disputed
BB 01/16/06 IFA To Discuss Maze Stadium Plan
IT 01/17/06 Ahern Intervenes Over Chomsky’s Passport
TP 01/16/06 Dateline Colombo: McGuinness Arrives
IH 01/16/06 Opin: Gobsmacked By Celtic Pimpernel
IT 01/17/06 TV Mrkt ShakeUp As Firm Sells Stake In TV3
IT 01/17/06 Hume In Praise Of Luther King In US


The Good Friday Agreement Is The Only Show In Town

Published: 16 January, 2006

Sinn Féin MP for West Tyrone Pat Doherty today said
that the two governments needed now to make it clear
that the only way forward was the roadmap set out in
the Good Friday Agreement. Mr. Doherty's comments came
after the DUP leader Ian Paisley indicated that he was
still unwilling to commit his party to power sharing
on the basis of equality and respect.

Mr. Doherty said:

" Today's comments by Ian Paisley indicated that he is
seeking to subvert the Good Friday Agreement which was
voted for by the vast majority of Irish people in the
referenda of 1998 is a challenge to the two

" They have an obligation to stand by the Agreement
and its power sharing core. This includes the power
sharing Executive. Sinn Fein will not countenance a
move away from the fundamental principles which
underpin the GFA.

" While Ian Paisley refuses to share power with
nationalists and republicans on the basis of equality
and respect Direct Rule Ministers continue to take bad
decisions which impact adversely on people right
across this community.

"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 Fein will not countenance
agreeing to anything less than the provisions demanded
by the Good Friday Agreement." ENDS


DUP Outlines The Best Way Forward

Speaking today DUP leader Dr Ian Paisley MP, MLA said,

“The DUP has consistently held the view that local
decisions should be taken by locally elected
representatives. In our view devolution is still the
best way forward and we will be striving to see
progress made in the year ahead. However in our view,
reflective of the unionist community, there is no
prospect of an executive including Sinn Fein/IRA for
the foreseeable future. In keeping with our manifesto
commitments the DUP will not countenance an executive
in Northern Ireland that is inclusive of those who are
not committed to exclusively peaceful and democratic

Given that there is no prospect of an inclusively
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 and present them with a paper
charting a way forward that would allow locally
elected representatives in the Northern Ireland
Assembly to become more deeply involved in local

We have now completed our work on the way ahead. At
both our party officer and assembly group meetings
today we unanimously agreed a sixteen page blueprint
that is a realistic and achievable way of ensuring the
foundation of good government for the people of
Northern Ireland. The paper, “Facing Reality…The Best
Way Forward” sets out what we believe is the only
realistic hope of making progress. The proposals
outline a system which provides for further building
blocks when the foundations are firmly set and an
enabling environment exists.

Our proposals paper will be presented to the Secretary
of State and the Prime Minister within the next few
weeks. They are a truthful assessment of what is
possible given the complete lack of trust in the
political process at the present time. I again warn
the government of the need to deliver, and be seen to
deliver, for the unionist community. As we have said
in the past there can only be real and tangible
progress when a politically enabling environment is in
existence. This must mean rapid action to deliver
fairness and equality to unionists. Both the Prime
Minister and the Secretary of State know what needs to
be done in order to secure stable, effective,
efficient and accountable government for the people of
Northern Ireland.

The Democratic Unionist Party will play its part in
making progress but only on the basis of what is
realistic. We do not intend to give credibility to
any process that is simply designed to bring into
being an executive that includes those still committed
to a paramilitary organisation and its furtherance of


Reply To Colombia Disputed

Deaglán de Bréadún, Foreign Affairs Correspondent

There were wide differences of interpretation last
night between Irish and Colombian government sources
over Dublin's response to a request from the
authorities in Bogota for the extradition of the so-
called "Colombia Three".

A Department of Justice spokeswoman insisted that the
matter was not closed but Colombian sources, speaking
on condition of anonymity, were interpreting the Irish
response in effect as a firm rejection of the
extradition application.

The Department of Justice spokeswoman said in Dublin:
"We generally don't comment on individual cases. In
relation to these cases there is ongoing contact with
the Colombian authorities and no final decision has
been taken as yet on the matter."

The original Colombian application was made last
September following the surprise announcement the
previous month that the three men had returned to

The Irish Times has learned that, in a letter sent
shortly before Christmas, the Government told the
authorities in Bogota that documentation submitted up
to now did not form a sufficient legal basis for the
extradition of James Monaghan, Martin McCauley and
Niall Connolly from Ireland to serve their 17-year
sentences for training left-wing Farc rebels in bomb-
making techniques.

It is understood that the Irish letter held out the
prospect of a bilateral extradition agreement between
the two countries which would have a retrospective
effect and could provide for the three men to be sent
back to Colombia at a future date.

Informed sources said the letter pointed out that
there was no such agreement in place at the moment and
that there were no other grounds set out in the
Colombian application that could provide the basis for
a successful extradition procedure at present.

The response was formulated by the Department of
Justice but sent by the Department of Foreign Affairs
as a "conduit" through diplomatic channels.

Colombian sources said the letter was saying, in
effect, "No way, Josè" and that it "looked pretty much
like a closed door".

The original application from the Colombians was said
to be "two-and-a-half inches thick" and very
comprehensive. "We threw everything at them that we
could possibly imagine." It was submitted in English
although there were complaints in Dublin about the
quality of the drafting.

Government sources in Dublin said however that, "You
never say definitively, 'No'." The response to the
Colombians was paraphrased as follows: "With the best
will in the world you are not going to get this
through the system here but you can come back at it
again." A successful application at some future date
was "not ruled out".

Last night Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny called on the
Government to clarify the status of the extradition
request in respect of the three men.

© The Irish Times


IFA To Discuss Maze Stadium Plan

The prospects for the proposed stadium at the Maze
could become clearer after the Irish Football
Association's executive meets on Thursday evening.

An IFA sub-committee will deliver a report on the
proposed Maze project to the association's 17-man

The football, rugby and GAA governing bodies all must
give their backing for the project to go ahead.

The Government wants an agreement in principle from
all three sporting bodies before the end of January.

Sports Minister David Hanson has repeatedly said that
there is "no plan B" in terms of the stadium proposal
and that if the sporting bodies fail to sign up to the
Maze venue, the plan will be shelved.

It it unlikely that the IFA will make its official
decision on whether to back the Maze plan at
Thursday's meeting.

However, the meeting could prove a crucial stage of
the IFA's decision-making process in the matter.

There have been reports of widespread dissatisfaction
among Northern Ireland football supporters about the
location of the proposed new stadium.

However, a Mori opinion poll conducted on behalf of
the IFA Maze sub-committee is understood to have
signalled broad support for the project.

Some football supporters argue that the proposed
42,000 would lead to a lack of atmosphere at Northern
Ireland games, the majority of which, would struggle
to attract 20,000 fans.

However, a government source told BBC Sport on Monday
that the nature of the new stadium's design would
ensure that these fears would be "groundless".

This would involve closing off the upper tiers which
is customary at many of the most recently-built
stadiums in the world.

In recent months, plans mooting Ormeau Park and the
former Maysfield Leisure Centre as alternative sites
for the stadium have been aired but the government
continues to insist that the Maze site remains the
only viable option.

The British Government already owns the site where the
Maze prison previously was situated.

If the new stadium is built, it would be in line to
host a number of football games in the 2012 Olympic

Story from BBC SPORT:
Published: 2006/01/16 17:56:08 GMT


Ahern Intervenes Over Out-Of-Date Chomsky Passport

Deaglán de Bréadún, Foreign Affairs Correspondent

Minister for Foreign Affairs Dermot Ahern intervened
yesterday to ensure that controversial US academic
Noam Chomsky could visit Ireland despite having an
out-of-date passport, The Irish Times has learned.

Seen as the foremost intellectual critic of US foreign
policy and the war on Iraq, Dr Chomsky, a senior
professor at the Massachusetts Institute of
Technology, was scheduled to give four addresses
during his visit, starting with a lecture at
University College Dublin this evening.

However, a last-minute difficulty arose when it
emerged that his passport was out of date. It seemed
certain that he would not arrive in time for tonight's
lecture and even a heavily-publicised talk under the
auspices of Amnesty International tomorrow night
seemed to be in jeopardy.

Dr Chomsky told The Irish Times at the weekend that he
had "just had a disaster" because his passport was

Since yesterday was a public holiday in the US, he did
not expect to be able to sort out the difficulty until

He indicated in an e-mail that this would preclude his
arrival in time for this evening's lecture and also
meant he would only make tomorrow night's talk "with
tremendous luck". He said he was "racing now to see
what can be done".

However, the requirement for an up-to-date passport
was set aside by the Minister, as he is entitled to do
by law, when he heard about Dr Chomsky's difficulty.

A spokesman for Mr Ahern said: "The Minister asked
officials to waive the requirement in relation to his
passport to ensure he would be able to deliver his
lecture at UCD and fulfil his other engagements.

"While Dr Chomsky and the Irish Government might not
see eye-to-eye on a number of matters involving world
affairs, it is important that his views and his voice
would be heard as scheduled," the spokesman added.

It is understood the Minister was made aware of the
difficulty yesterday morning and contact was made with
immigration officials, the airline with which Dr
Chomsky was travelling and Department of Justice

Dr Chomsky is now expected to fly in from Boston this

"The Minister got officials to pull out all the
stops," a Government source said.

Tonight's lecture, Democracy Promotion: Reflections on
Intellectuals and the State, is taking place under the
auspices of the school of philosophy and the Clinton
Institute for American Studies at UCD.

All tickets have been allocated for Dr Chomsky's
Amnesty lecture tomorrow night in the RDS, but he will
give further talks at UCD on Thursday and Friday.

© The Irish Times


Dateline Colombo: McGuinness Arrives

Web posted at: 1/17/2006 2:34:39

Source ::: The Peninsula

Martin McGuinness, chief negotiator of Ireland’s Sinn
Fein party, arrives in Sri Lanka this week for talks
with the government and Tamil rebels on the peace
process and a ceasefire which has been shattered by a
spate of killings in the past month. Sinn Fein is the
political party of former Irish rebel group Irish
Republican Army (IRA). According to newspaper reports,
McGuinness will meet separately with President Mahinda
Rajapakse and the LTTE to offer some advice and tips
on how methods employed in the Irish peace process
could be used in the Sri Lankan context. He hoped to
impress on everyone the critical importance of
dialogue and negotiations and the need to depart from
the mindset of victory and defeat to a position of
compromise and accommodation.


Opin: Meanwhile: Gobsmacked By The Celtic Pimpernel

Francis X. Clines The New York Times
Tuesday, January 17, 2006

NEW YORK The Irish have a word for it - gobsmacked -
that properly describes the astonishment of
Representative Peter King and other Irish-Americans at
the news that Denis Donaldson, long a trusted leader
in Ireland's rebel movement, has been spying for
Britain for decades.

"Don't you remember him?" asked King, a New York
Republican close to the Irish peace process.

He was recalling a noisy night 19 years ago at a
Belfast social club - a bastion protected by battle-
ready guards and barbed wire - where supporters of the
outlawed Irish Republican Army drank lager and whiskey
and sang rebel songs.

Donaldson was one of the throatiest at our table in
singing of Irish liberty and the British yoke.

"I mean, he was so socially and culturally one of
them," said King, gobsmacked indeed at Donaldson's
confession last month and the ensuing uproar it caused
for his former colleagues in the leadership of Sinn
Fein, the republican political party.

Donaldson was arrested four years ago on suspicion
that he was spying against Britain from his Sinn Fein
post within the Northern Irish peace process. That
sensational arrest helped scuttle the delicate power-
sharing venture by the warring factions in Ireland's
modern Troubles. And now comes word from Donaldson
that, in truth, he was taking money all along to spy
in behalf of the queen's intelligence operatives.

"No one in Irish America knows quite what to make of
it," wrote Niall O'Dowd, publisher of Irish Voice on
the American side of the Atlantic.

O'Dowd well remembered the important Sinn Fein
missions to New York by Donaldson - "the little man
with the big smile and smooth talk."

King thinks the Irish are so far along the peace road
that discovery of a Celtic Pimpernel will hardly
return them to sectarian strife. "But you've got to
wonder: even a novelist wouldn't think of this sort of
stuff," he said rather appreciatively.

Historically, insurgent movements the world over
suffer this sort of treachery. The novelist Liam
O'Flaherty memorably conjured up an Irish version 80
years ago in "The Informer," in which Gypo Nolan, a
failed policeman, sells out his rebel buddy to the
British authorities for passage to America.

Donaldson said he became a spy after "compromising
myself during a vulnerable time in my life."

This echoes Gypo Nolan's weepy despair in the movie
version after he was caught and marked for execution:
"Isn't there a man here who can tell me why I did it?"
Gypo cries out to his fellow Irishmen, gobsmacked all.

(Francis X. Clines is a member of the New York Times
editorial board.)


TV Market Set For Shake-Up As Firm Sells Stake In TV3

Emmet Oliver

The Irish television market looks set for a major
shake-up with the Canadian group CanWest Global
deciding to sell its stake in TV3, the State's second-
largest television service.

The Canadian company, which has been involved with TV3
since 1997, is selling its 45 per cent stake in an
attempt to reduce its debts. A CanWest spokesman said
last night the decision was not a reflection on the
station itself, but CanWest's priority was to reduce
its debt and sell off non-strategic assets.

A London-based investment house has been asked to find
buyers for the stake which some market sources believe
could be worth up to €100 million.

Since going on air in 1998, the station has found it
difficult to turn a profit, but last year it managed
to post its first pre-tax profit. With the economy
expected to grow strongly in 2006 and 2007, the stake
could prove attractive to international buyers.

However it is understood that under existing
shareholder agreements, UK media giant ITV has pre-
emption rights to the CanWest stake. This means ITV,
which also owns 45 per cent, must be given the chance
to bid for the stake ahead of everyone else.

If ITV goes ahead and purchases the CanWest stake, it
could take control of the station and this would have
major implications for the TV market and in particular
RTÉ. At present ITV is worth over €6.6 billion and its
buying power in the Irish market would make it
difficult for RTÉ to win rights to key programmes. ITV
already owns the rights to Coronation Street which
runs exclusively on TV3.

At present TV3 has an 11.1 per cent share of national
viewing in Ireland, compared to 27.8 per cent for RTÉ
One. If ITV acquired the shares it is likely to want
to increase this significantly.

Should ITV show no interest in purchasing the shares,
the small number of Irish shareholders who together
own 10 per cent of TV3 might fund a bid. Among these
shareholders is the chief executive of Windmill Lane
Ltd James Morris and U2 manager Paul McGuinness.
Windmill Lane itself also has powerful shareholders
including financier Dermot Desmond.

Staff were told of the changes yesterday although no
job losses are expected. Schedules are not expected to
be affected.

The TV market is highly competitive with a new
service, Channel Six, expected to start broadcasting
sometime in the spring. Another station, City Channel,
is already available on digital and Setanta Sports is
increasing its profile. RTÉ also faces strong
competition from BSkyB, which has more than 300,000
digital subscribers and a special Irish edition of Sky

While €236 million of advertising revenue goes into
the television market each year, the press sector
collects almost three times that amount. TV3's core
audience is among younger viewers who are
traditionally attractive to advertisers.

© The Irish Times


Hume In Praise Of Luther King In US

Seán O'Driscoll in New York

Former SDLP leader John Hume has told an audience at
Boston College that he "might have been sent to a
psychiatrist" if he had suggested in 1945 that one day
Europe would be free of war and would have respect for

Mr Hume also said that the tolerance of diversity upon
which the US was built could create world peace if
people respected it. Mr Hume was speaking at Boston
College to honour the life of its former student, Dr
Martin Luther King jnr.

Mr Hume made his speech on Martin Luther King Day, a
US public holiday to celebrate Dr King's life.

In his keynote speech at Boston College's 21st
commemoration of the Dr King's life, Mr Hume described
the US civil rights leader as "one of my greatest
heroes" who had inspired the Northern Ireland civil
rights movement.

Mr Hume joked with the audience about his reputation
for repeating similar public speeches. "To put it
mildly, I do not have a reputation as someone who has
new and original thought in every speech," he said,
before telling a story he "likes to use frequently"
about standing on a bridge between Germany and France
during his first visit to the European Parliament in
Strasbourg in 1979 and being struck by how much had
been achieved since the horrors of the two World Wars.

"If, in 1945, I had said: 'Don't worry, the historical
conflicts of the peoples of Europe are ended and in a
number of years you will all be united in a European
union, I might have been sent to a psychiatrist," he

Mr Hume said that there were three principles at the
heart of the European Union that could also be applied
to the Belfast Agreement in Northern Ireland:
respecting difference, building institutions that
recognise that difference, and allowing a healing

He said he first learned of these principles when he
visited Abraham Lincoln's grave and saw the three
Latin words E Pluribus Unum or, From Many We Are One.

© The Irish Times

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