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January 28, 2006

UPRG: Loyalists To GIve Up Weapons

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News About Ireland & The Irish

TO 01/29/06 UPRG: Loyalists Set To Give Up Weapons
SB 01/29/06 Ahern Plays Down Power-Sharing By Summer
GU 01/29/06 Deal For IRA 'Policing' Under Attack
GU 01/29/06 Playwright Hits Back Against Intimidation
SB 01/29/06 FF Support Grows At FG’s Expense
RT 01/28/06 Peter Kavanagh Dies In New York
SB 01/29/06 Proposal To Ban Holiday Homes In Donegal


Loyalists Set To Give Up Weapons

Liam Clarke

LOYALIST decommissioning could happen within six to eight
weeks, according to a senior UDA source. The organisation
and its political wing, the Ulster Political Research Group
(UPRG), have been in contact with the British government in
the past weeks and are hoping for a positive outcome.

“There have been eight meetings with the British government
representatives since January 10,” said the source.
“Everything is on the table and the pace of contact is
increasing.” The UDA has also met General John de
Chastelain’s decommissioning body within the past

Sources say the organisation’s ruling inner council is
seeking to cut all links with crime in return for
“confidence building” investments by the government in
loyalist areas. “Things are going smoothly; the inner
council is isolating drug dealers and doing away with
criminality,” said a source in the group.

It is understood that the UVF, the other major loyalist
paramilitary group, is also in contact with the government.
A spokesman could not be contacted.

A source close to the Loyalist Commission, an umbrella body
that includes unionist politicians, Protestant churchmen
and paramilitary representatives, said it was essential
that the UDA and UVF maintained a co-ordinated approach. He
believed that both will disarm within the same time frame
in order to avoid feuding.

Tommy Kirkham, a spokesman for the UPRG, confirmed that
everything including decommissioning and the standing down
of the UDA was up for discussion in the talks with the

“I think it will come together in the next six to eight
weeks,” he said. “There is a lot of dialogue going on and a
lot of assurances being given but we haven’t got
substantial agreement at this point in time.” It is
understood that a wide range of options have been discussed
as a part of a trade-off for the ending of loyalist
paramilitary activity.

A loyalist source said: “There are things that the UDA want
for their areas, not for themselves as individuals. We have
been in dialogue for 2Å years but movement has been
promised recently which pushes it all forward.”

This is believed to be a reference to the work of a special
inter-departmental “delivery team” set up to address the
needs of loyalist areas last October. The team is led by
Nigel Hamilton, the head of the Northern Ireland civil
service, who reports to David Hanson, the north’s political
development minister. Membership includes senior officials
from government departments and the Northern Ireland

The team has increased its workload this month in parallel
with offers from the loyalist paramilitaries to consider
previously taboo subjects such as early decommissioning. A
number of announcements are said to be imminent from the
government and loyalists.

One British government source said: “Many people in
paramilitary groups appear to be willing to recreate
themselves as community activists. Time has moved on for
them and, if they are genuine, it is right that we should
respond and facilitate the transition.”

Loyalists also believe that appointing members of the
Orange Order to the Parades Commission was an effort to
create a “feelgood factor” in loyalist areas in the run-up
to this year’s marching season.


Ahern Plays Down Power-Sharing By Summer

29 January 2006

After 35 years of ‘‘endemic criminality’’ in areas of the
North, people have to accept that all will not be
‘‘sweetness and light’’ immediately, the Minister for
Foreign Affairs, Dermot Ahern, said ahead of an impending
report on illegal activity by the IRA.

Ahern said that, of course, everyone wanted the report of
the International Monitoring Commission (IMC), due at the
end of this week, to say that everything was clean and that
all paramilitary activity had ceased.

‘‘A lot of the intelligence reports we get confirm quite
clearly that the Provisional IRA have gone off the scene
and that the paramilitary activity is gone off the scene,”
said Ahern.

‘‘But people have to accept after 35 years of endemic
criminality, particularly in some areas, you cannot simply
turn on the light and say everything is sweetness and light
in the garden. I think people have to be conscious of

The landscape has changed dramatically but it is important
for people to be realistic.

‘‘It really is where do you drawn the line in terms of what
constitutes politically motivated criminality. Ultimately,
that is a matter for the police services on both sides of
the border. It also highlights how the issue of policing is
vital,” said the foreign affairs minister.

Ahern said he believed it would be a ‘‘difficult’’ year for
Northern politics, and that what the IMC and the security
services had to say, at the end of the month and again in
April, would be vital.

He believed that it was optimistic to expect the power
sharing institutions to be up and running before the

‘‘But we would be aiming for the last half of this year. We
don’t think going into next year is a wise thing, given the
political climate in the south,” he said.


Deal For IRA 'Policing' Under Attack

Henry McDonald
Sunday January 29, 2006
The Observer

The British government is preparing to fund 'mini IRA
dictatorships' in Catholic areas of Northern Ireland as
part of a move to restore devolution, the SDLP warned last

Alban Maginness, its justice spokesman, claimed a deal had
been done between Sinn Fein and Downing Street to publicly
finance 'community restorative justice' schemes in
republican strongholds. The SDLP has called these
'alternative paramilitary policing'.

Maginness made an eleventh-hour appeal to the Irish
government to persuade Tony Blair to reverse the decision.
'This deal means the British government are prepared to
legitimise paramilitary policing in Catholic areas where
the IRA holds sway.

'It is absolutely appalling that the British would enter
into such a deal with the IRA. The consequences for
ordinary people will be very bad. They will be subjected to
an alternative, IRA-backed policing force where human
rights safeguards would not be adhered to. What you have
are the establishment of mini-IRA dictatorships in Catholic
areas, and the British government is about to give approval
for this.'

Maginness called on the Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, and his
government to oppose this 'secret deal'. 'The Irish
government is aware of our concerns on this issue, as we
have made a very strong case. We hope that Dublin will
intervene to prevent this happening. I think there is still
time for this unsavoury deal between the British and the
IRA to be stopped in its tracks. People should be entitled
to proper policing, not paramilitary policing,' he added.
The normal protection of human rights and legal
representation must prevail.

Concerns about the schemes have been highlighted in cases
from Belfast to Derry, where families who have fallen foul
of the local IRA complained of bias and arbitrary
decisions, including expulsions from their homes.


Playwright Hits Back Against Intimidation

Author forced into hiding condemns official blind eye to
loyalist attacks

Henry McDonald, Ireland editor
Sunday January 29, 2006
The Observer

Alison Mitchell reacts in panic as a man in a leather
jacket looms outside her window. 'Is the door locked?' she
calls to her husband, Gary. 'Check if it is locked!' she
pleads as the figure approaches.

It is a tense moment, which dissipates only when the
stranger is revealed to be a postman. Alison remains
agitated - and with good reason. The couple have been
living at a secret location in Northern Ireland since last
November after their Belfast home was attacked by a mob
incensed by the plays Gary Mitchell had written. His best
known - the BBC drama As the Beast Sleeps, screened in 2001
- revealed how young Protestants were coping with life
before and after the loyalist ceasefires. Local youths were
not amused.

Now, in his first interview since the attack, Mitchell
reveals what has happened to his family in the aftermath:
their seven-year-old son, Harry, is so traumatised he
spends most days in his bedroom and has had to take time
off from school; Alison rarely goes beyond the door; and
Gary cannot return to the house they still own on the
northern outskirts of Belfast.

'I was sitting in the living-room with my father watching
Rangers play Porto live on television when it happened,'
Mitchell, a former playwright-in-residence at the National
Theatre, says. 'My wife heard noises, looked out and
started screaming: "They're attacking our car, they're
trying to get into the house." She phoned the police and
hid in the back of the house. By the time I got the front
door open, they had already gone. They had pulled the car
doors apart and thrown petrol bombs into it.'

On the same night the homes of Mitchell's uncle and niece
were attacked in Rathcoole, a stronghold of loyalist
paramilitaries. Police estimate that 32 people took part in
three co-ordinated attacks on the wider Mitchell family.

The Mitchells were attacked for two reasons: first, there
has been growing resentment in Rathcoole about Gary's
exploration of Ulster loyalism and its identity crisis.
Secondly, the loyalist paramilitary groups have begun to

Detectives have recently identified 'rogue paramilitaries'
at Rathcoole - where Mitchell used to live - who don't
answer to either the Ulster Volunteer Force or Ulster
Defence Association leadership. They deal in drugs, picket
Catholic families trying to visit graves at nearby
Carnmoney Cemetery, and killed a doorman at a north Belfast
nightclub because he refused to let them sell cocaine and
ecstasy on the premises.

Mitchell admits he has 'history' with some of this renegade
gang. In 1997 when he won a Dublin-based award for new
writing, he was branded a traitor. 'They would stop you in
the street, ask you what you were doing in Dublin and
accuse you of selling out.' The 40-year-old writer
eventually left Rathcoole the next year, after a campaign
of intimidation. He returned for his grandmother's funeral
in November. 'They (the gang) sent a message that I was
banned from Rathcoole and had defied them, but I never even
knew there was a ban.'

After eight weeks of hiding Mitchell, who has been
commissioned to write two new screenplays for Channel 4,
finds it puzzling that his family's plight has not become a
national issue. 'When I go over to work in London most of
the people you meet, even after what has happened to us,
say "Oh Gary, isn't it lovely that you now have peace." BBC
Northern Ireland told me I wouldn't be working with them
any more unless I wrote about the peace process and it
would have to be positive. So I told them, "No, you won't
be working with me."How could I write a positive drama
about the peace process when terrorists are blowing up my

'As for England, you're a second-class citizen if you don't
come from London or Metro-land. If I was a Muslim writer
whose work upset members of my community so much that some
were threatening to kill me, then it would be a cause
celebre. There would be questions in parliament, writers
would stage protests and Salman Rushdie would write letters
of support. But because this is Northern Ireland what's
happening to my family isn't part of the peace process

Peter Hain, the Northern Ireland Secretary, offered
Mitchell and his family some comfort just before Christmas
- an invite to a drinks reception at Hillsborough Castle.
But the playwright says that the invite spectacularly

'When we arrived at Hillsborough there were senior loyalist
paramilitary figures drinking and eating in the same room.
It was insensitive of the Northern Ireland Office to invite
a family who were victims of loyalist intimidation to a
function where loyalist leaders were in attendance.'

The Northern Ireland Office stressed there was never any
intention of putting the Mitchells into a difficult


FF Support Grows At FG’s Expense

29 January 2006 By Pat Leahy

Support for Fianna Fail has risen sharply in the seven
weeks since the budget, according to the findings of the
latest Sunday Business Post/Red C opinion poll.

However, neither the current coalition nor the Fine
Gael/Labour alternative would be in a position to form a
government without additional support if a general election
were held now.

Support for Fine Gael has fallen since the last poll in
early December and the party has been hardest hit among
those most likely to vote, according to today’s survey,
which was conducted last week among over 1,000 voters

Support for Labour, Sinn Fe¤ in, independents and the
Progressive Democrats has remained mostly static, while the
Green Party’s share of the vote has risen by two points.

Today’s poll comes in the wake of a generally well-received
budget in December and follows a number of highly
optimistic projections for the performance of the economy
during 2006.

In addition, the rise in support for Fianna Fail mirrors
indications of rising consumer confidence, normally
advantageous to incumbent governments.

For Enda Kenny, leader of Fine Gael, the poll shows the
erosion of steady gains made during last year, and although
the Dail recess deprived opposition parties of a platform,
today’s numbers are disappointing for the largest
opposition party.

For Fianna Fail, the poll brings a revival after a mid-2005
slump, which previous polls showed was closely related to
concerns about ‘‘rip-off Ireland’’, crystallised by the
public reaction to television programmes fronted by Eddie
Hobbs last summer.

Nonetheless, at 37 per cent, Fianna Fail is still almost
five points behind its performance at the 2002 general
election, and were today’s level of support reproduced at
the next election, Bertie Ahern would be facing the loss of
about 15 seats. In that event, neither Fianna Fail and the
Progressive Democrats nor Fine Gael and Labour would be
able to form a government alone, and the focus would switch
to the smaller parties.

Pressure would also increase on Labour leader Pat Rabbitte,
who has ruled out any coalition with Fianna Fail.

Today’s poll is the first in a series of Sunday Business
Post monthly tracking polls that will monitor party support
until the next general election, which must occur before
mid-May 2007, and is widely expected to take place in April
or May of that year.


Peter Kavanagh Dies In New York

28 January 2006 23:34

Peter Kavanagh, the brother of the late poet Patrick
Kavanagh, has died in New York.

Peter Kavanagh, who was in his 80s, was a Professor of
English Literature and the custodian of many of his
brother's writings.

He had lived in New York for many years, but it is expected
that his remains will be brought back to Iniskeen in Co
Monaghan for burial.


Proposal To Ban Holiday Homes In Parts Of Donegal

29 January 2006 By Cronan Scanlon

The building of holiday homes could be banned in some parts
of Donegal after members of the public overwhelmingly
rejected them.

Donegal county manager Michael McLoone has proposed that
part of the county be made ‘‘exclusion zones’’ for holiday

The proposal was made after the county council received
hundreds of written submissions for its draft development
plan calling for a ban on the building of holiday homes.

Many of the submissions claimed there were more holiday
homes than permanent homes in areas such as Downings and
parts of Inishowen.

In his report on the plan, McLoone said the submissions on
the contentious holiday home issue were ‘‘emotive and

McLoone has proposed that councillors adopt an amendment to
the plan banning the building of holiday homes in
designated areas.

McLoone said that, while a holiday home developments could
have benefits, ‘‘it also has a negative impact on the
environment and the affordability of housing for private

The councillors will meet on February 7 to decide whether
to accept the county manager’s proposal.

A huge number of submissions were also received from people
living in the Inishowen area calling for the peninsula to
be designated a ‘‘green box area’’ to protect it from

Capella to open luxury hotels in east Cork

By Nicole Matthews

A US luxury hotel chain is spending more than €100 million
on two new ‘five-star plus’ hotels in Co Cork.

Capella Hotels & Resorts plans to open the two ‘resort’
hotels on the Dunboy estate near Castletownbere and at
Castlemartyr in east Cork in December. Horst Schulze, the
former president of Ritz-Carlton Hotels, is behind Capella,
part of the West Paces Hotel Group.

West Paces already owns hotels in the US and Europe and
launched Capella as a luxury brand late last year.

The Dunboy estate, which includes Dunboy Castle and the
derelict Puxley Manor, is on the Beara Peninsula and is the
first Capella resort to be developed.

The company is spending €60 million turning the manor house
into a hotel with 82 suites facing the sea. The development
will also include a spa and a helicopter service to the
nearby Waterville golf course.

The development is being funded by Cap Partners, a Dublin
firm, which described it as the biggest conservation
project undertaken in Ireland. Puxley Manor was built by
the Puxley family, who owned the copper mine on the Beara

The house was burned down by the IRA in 1921, but was the
inspiration for Daphne du Maurier’s book Hungry Hill, in
which she renamed the house Clonmere. The second Capella
resort will be at the 12th century castle in Castlemartyr
in east Cork.

It is being developed by Cork builders John F Supple, and
will have 106 bedrooms, meeting rooms, a spa and 18-hole
golf course.

Capella is also developing two hotels in Mexico, which are
due to be finished next year.

Schulze said that Capella was developing boutique hotels
‘‘that no other hotel in the world can match’’.

Prices for accommodation at the hotels have not been
finalised, but a spokesman for Capella said prices would be
comparable to rates for a suite at existing five-star

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