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January 09, 2006

US Delegation On Peace Visit

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News about Ireland & the Irish

DI 01/09/06
US Delegation On Peace Visit
DI 01/09/06 Ahern: Time To Push Forward
DI 01/09/06 PSNI Officer 'Pulled A Gun' On Children Claim
UT 01/09/06 Mitchell On Verge Of Quitting Northern Ireland
SF 01/09/06 O'Rourke Should Apologise For Remark
EX 01/09/06 Bail System -Public Safety Top Concern
BW 01/09/06 Lt Of Inishmore Begins Rehearsals


US Delegation On Peace Visit

Ciarán Barnes

A delegation of four US Congressmen will travel to Ireland
next week to discuss the peace process.

The representatives, whose constituencies boast significant
Irish-American populations, will spend four days meeting
senior figures in the Irish and British governments and the
leaders of the North's main political parties.

Making up the cross-party congressional delegation are
Brian Higgins, Timothy Murphy, Richard Neale, Donald Payne
and Jim Walsh.

After meeting Irish foreign minister Dermot Ahern and
British secretary of state Peter Hain, the five will fly to
London for discussions with senior British cabinet

Also on the US politicians' itinerary are meetings with
Sinn Féin and Ulster Unionist Party leaders.

Irish-American organisations have welcomed the
Congressmen's visit as a positive step towards peace.


Ahern: Time To Push Forward

Taoiseach: North's institutions should return in 2006

Ciaran O'Neill

Taoiseach Bertie Ahern yesterday stressed that all sides
would have to take risks in a bid to revive the peace

Political parties must move on from the Stormont spying
controversy to focus on restoring devolved government to
the North, Mr Ahern said.

The Taoiseach was speaking less than 24 hours after Sinn
Féin president Gerry Adams said his party had given a clear
signal to the Irish and British governments that it would
not wait indefinitely for the restoration of the Stormont

Mr Adams said the political institutions, which have been
suspended since 2002, could not be kept on hold without a
timeline for restoration.

In the aftermath of Denis Donaldson, the Sinn Féin head of
administration at Stormont, revealing he was a British spy,
Mr Ahern said he believed it was best if people tried to
return to concentrating on the peace process.

"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 procedures, proper policing procedures and that we
all move on in that kind of a vein," he told RTÉ.

"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 process.

"I really believe that 2006 is the year where we should try
and get back the institutions in Northern Ireland.
Everybody has to take chances and everyone has to take
risks," he said.

The Taoiseach warned that all sides would have to take

"If everyone wants to get into a perfect position where
everything is perfectly cosy and there is no political
risks, then that it not going to happen.

"I don't think the chances left in this are that enormous.
I don't think they are that unsurmountable," he said.

Speaking at the Sinn Féin ardchomhairle meeting in Dublin
on Saturday, Mr Adams said he had told both governments
during private discussions that his party would not "hang
around" indefinitely.

"It is just not tenable that you have three years of
suspension of what almost amounts to a farce. Either we
have working institutions or we don't," he said.

Mr Adams said the assembly needed to be restored early this

"The big focus for us as the new year begins is to work
with the two governments so that they follow through on
very clear signals which they have been sending that they
intend to make a big effort to get the political
institutions back up in place.

"Our view is that the current situation is not tenable. The
political institutions suspended for three years cannot be
allowed to remain in mothballs indefinitely," he said.

"Last year saw republicans delivering big time and there is
now no longer any excuse for anyone to resist fulfilling
their mandates within the political institutions set up
under the Good Friday Agreement."

Secretary of state Peter Hain warned at the weekend that
salaries paid to assembly members might be cut off unless
progress was made towards restoring devolution by the

Mr Hain said he may take the move to stop salaries and
allowances if no real movement is made towards returning
the Stormont Assembly.

He said assembly member were getting salaries of £32,000
(€47,000) for a job that they would take no responsibility
for doing, drawing a furious reaction from the SDLP.


PSNI Officer 'Pulled A Gun' On Children Claim

Evan Short

Police Ombudsman Nuala O'Loan has been asked to
investigate claims that a PSNI officer drew a loaded weapon
on a group of primary school pupils.

The incident occurred on Friday evening after police had
been called to the Turf Lodge area of west Belfast to
assist with the sectioning of a man.

Local resident Raymond Walker told Daily Ireland he had
witnessed an officer point his gun at a group of children
playing next to a PSNI Land Rover.

He said: "My son Raymond was out playing football with
friends when the PSNI Land Rovers came into the street.

"One Land Rover came into the court, and the other parked
at the entrance where the children were playing. That's
when the driver of the vehicle got out and pulled his
weapon, pointing it at the children. Another two then got
out of the Land Rover with their batons drawn."

The officers then left the scene before returning a short
time later, he said.

Mr Walker added: "When they came back, a policewoman got
out and I approached her, explaining what had happened. She
began to defend the man who had drawn his handgun and said
it was CS spray. I don't know how she could say this
because she wasn't there to see it and I was."

Lorraine Matthews, whose 11-year-old son Ciarán had been
playing in the street, said she was livid at how the PSNI
officer had behaved.

She said: "The kids can't play in the street any more
because they are so scared. They were doing no harm. They
were just playing football. Is it going to be like this
from now on? The gun could have went off. It just doesn't
bear thinking about."

Sinn Féin councillor Marie Cush called on the Police
Ombudsman to investigate.

"I am calling on the PSNI officer involved to be suspended,
along with the female officer who defended him when she was
in no position to do so.

"Residents and children who live in this street have been
traumatised over what happened and it could have been a lot

"Serious questions have to be asked about the PSNI drawing
firearms and batons when they are under no threat at all,"
Ms Cush said.

A PSNI spokesman denied the officer had aimed his gun at
children: "Police were called to assist medical staff at
Springmadden Court on Friday night. When they arrived, they
were heavily bricked and bottled. No firearms were drawn,"
he said.


Mitchell 'On Verge Of Quitting' Northern Ireland

Playwright Gary Mitchell, who is in hiding after loyalist
attacks on his family, says he is on the verge of quitting
Northern Ireland for good.

In his first television interview since the violence
started, Mitchell told Ivan Little today that his entire
family had been forced out of the Rathcoole estate in


Senator O'Rourke Should Apologise For Inappropriate Remark
- Ó Snodaigh

Published: 9 January, 2006

Commenting on Senator Mary O'Rourke's refusal to apologise
for an inappropriate remark she made at a party selection
convention last night Sinn Féin Equality spokesperson
Aengus Ó Snodaigh said:

"Senator O'Rourke, mistakenly I believe, made an
inappropriate remark last night. This remark has caused
offence. Ms. O'Rourke should remember that she is in a
position of authority and of influence. If she is seen to
condone such a remark others may use this to legitimise its
use it in a racist manner. She should apologise and that
should be the end of it." ENDS


Bail System - Public Safety Should Be Top Concern

Families of victims of violence are understandably
disillusioned and angry with the large number of crimes
being committed by people on bail after being charged with
serious offences.

Of the 60 violent deaths in 2004, at least 15 or 25% were
committed by people on bail. That is a horrifying

The Advocates for the Victims of Homicide contend that
those killings could have been avoided.

Annie Mulveney, the secretary of the group, argues that our
bail system is not working.

She has more reason that most people to understand the real
horror of the system's failure.

Her 19-year-old son Brian was murdered in 2000 by a man who
had been freed on bail after being charged with violent

Brian Willoughby, 24, was later convicted of the killing
and sentenced to life in prison.

Willoughby's mother had been pleading with the State to
provide treatment for him before he committed the crime.

John Lonergan, the Governor of Mountjoy Prison has
described Brian Willoughby as "a madman".

The gardaí objected to bail in his case. He had stabbed two
people in separate incidents a couple of years earlier. But
rather than provide him with mental treatment, he was put
back on the streets until he killed somebody.

Annie Mulveney is convinced that her son would be alive
today, if the garda request to keep Willoughby in custody
had been granted.

"He needed help as a young boy and, despite his parents'
efforts, he did not get it, because the help does not exist
in this country," according to Mr Lonergan.

Now the young man will be locked up in jail, until he is
released, and society will then have to endure the same
risk that he may kill somebody else, unless something is
done to rectify his mental disorder.

Another mother may have to endure the same heartache in the

Under existing law a judge can refuse to grant bail to an
accused depending on a number of factors, such as the
seriousness of the offence, the likelihood of the person
turning up for trial, and whether the gardaí have
objections to bail.

Until recently the only figures available were the overall
number of offences committed by people on bail. The latest
statistics indicate that such people committed 5,000

The vast majority of those offences over 75% were theft or
burglaries, but there were 242 assaults and 24 sexual

The homicide rate among bail offenders was only released
for the first time last month in the Garda Annual Report.

The fact that people on bail perpetrated a quarter of the
violent deaths raises serious questions.

Was this some kind of statistical aberration for that
particular year, or does it represent a kind of norm for
other years, in which case why was this not recognised
before now?

In any event the main issue is that action should be taken
to ensure that people charged with serious crimes of
violence, should not be allowed back on the streets in
blatant disregard for public safety.


The Lieutenant Of Inishmore, With D'Arcy James, Begins

January 9, 2006 - by BWW News Desk

Rehearsals for the American premiere of Martin McDonagh's
Olivier Award-winning play, The Lieutenant of Inishmore
will begin Tuesday, January 10th. Presented by Atlantic
Theater Company (336 W. 20th Street, between 8th and 9th
Avenues), by special arrangement with Randall L. Wreghitt,
the third production of the Company's 20th Anniversary
Season is directed by Wilson Milam, and will begin previews
Wednesday, February 8, 2006 officially opening on Monday,
February 27, 2006. This is a limited engagement through
Sunday, April 9.

brian d'Arcy James (Sweet Smell of Success) will appear in
the show alongside Kerry Condon, Domhnall Gleeson, and
David Wilmot, all of whom appeared in the original British
production. Also included in the play's cast are Jeff
Binder, Andrew Connolly, Dashiell Eaves, and Peter Gerety.
The Lieutenant of Inishmore will be directed by Wilson
Milam, but the rest of the creative team has yet to be

A "scorchingly black comedy, The Lieutenant of Inishmore is
set in 1993 in County Galway on the rocky island of
Inishmore, off the coast of Ireland. Padraic is a terrorist
with no feeling for those he blows up, but has an obsessive
attachment to Thomas, his beloved cat. But someone has
killed poor wee Thomas. Was it an accident or an execution?
Either way, the death must be concealed before 'Mad
Padraic' returns from a stint of torture and bombing.
Otherwise the recriminations will be horrifying," according
to production notes.

The play was first performed at the Royal Shakespeare
Company, The Other Place, Stratford-upon-Avon, from April
11, 2001 through October 12, 2001. This production
transferred to the Barbican Pit in London from December 20,
2001 through February 23, 2002, and moved to the Garrick
Theatre in London's West End from June 21 through November
2, 2002. The play is part of McDonagh's trilogy of Aran
Island plays, which also include The Cripple of Inishmaan
and The Banshees of Inisheer. The Lieutenant of Inishmore
won the 2003 Olivier Award for Best New Comedy and was
nominated for the 2002 London Evening Standard Theatre
Award for Best Play.

The show's scenic design is by Scott Pask (Tony Award for
The Pillowman), with costume design by Theresa Squire,
lighting design by Michael Chybowski and sound design by
Obadiah Eaves.

The Lieutenant of Inishmore will play Tuesday through
Friday at 8pm, Saturday at 2pm & 8pm and Sundays at 2:00pm
and 7:00pm. All tickets are $60.00 and are available by
calling Telecharge at 212-239-6200 (

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