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January 26, 2006

US Should Rein In Anti-Sinn Fein Elements

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News About Ireland & The Irish

SF 01/26/06 US Should Rein In Anti SF-ism Within Its System
BN 01/26/06 Blair Urges Efforts To Restore Assembly
IT 01/27/06 Hain To Restore SF Allowances
SF 01/27/06 1st Step Ending Discrimination Against SF
DU 01/27/06 How Can Govt Justify SF/IRA Allowances?
BB 01/26/06 Arrest In Loyalist Death Inquiry
NL 01/26/06 'Nazi' Remarks - No Police Probe
DI 01/26/06 Councillor Objects To Plans For Blair Invite
DI 01/26/06 Council Faces Court In Row Over Union Flag
PB 01/26/06 Irish Rep Launches New Play Reading Series


Gerry Adams Calls On The US To Rein In Anti-Sinn Fein
Elements Within Its System

Published: 26 January, 2006

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams who is meeting USA Special
Envoy Mitchell Reiss tomorrow, has called on the US to
rein in anti-Sinn Féin elements within its system.

Mr Adams said.

'If the Bush Administration is to return to the positive
role it and the Clinton administration played in the Irish
peace process then anti-Sinn Féin elements will have to be
reined in.

Sinn Féin has never looked for special treatment. The
bedrock of our support comes from Irish America.

We have never looked for party political support from any
US official or agency. All parties have to be given parity
of esteem and equality of treatment. Any other approach is
counter productive and unhelpful.

I want to see this administration returning to an even
handed and balanced approach. The Sinn Féin delegation
will tell Mitchell Reiss this when we meet him tomorrow."


Blair Urges Efforts To Restore Assembly

26/01/2006 - 16:30:21

Northern Ireland’s politicians must make significant
progress towards the restoration of the Assembly and other
political institutions during 2006, British Prime Minister
Tony Blair insisted today.

After a summit with Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, Mr Blair
stressed that Northern Ireland’s politicians could not
afford to sit still following momentous IRA moves last July
and September to end the Provisionals’ armed campaign.

“On February 6 the talks will get under way with (Irish
Foreign Minister) Dermot Ahern and (Northern Ireland
Secretary) Peter Hain leading them and I hope people
realise two things,” he said.

“The first is that although this is a process which has
been running over many years, we’re coming up almost to
eight years since the Good Friday Agreement.

“I think we have learned throughout that a state of
paralysis or stalemate is not a good place to be however
benign or placid things appear to be, whilst that stalemate
continues actually under the surface there are all those
currents of instability present when there is not a true
forceful direction moving the process forward.

“So I don’t think we should be under any illusion at all,
neither about how difficult it is but also how important it
is to get to the point where we can set out arrangements
and a time line for getting the institutions back up and
running again.”

Mr Blair continued: ``This year, 2006, is a very decisive
year for Northern Ireland.

“Every year has been since the Good Friday Agreement but
this year in particular we have to remember the progress
that has been made and the crucial imperative of getting to
a situation where all the issues and difficulties people
have, which are still immense in this process, can be dealt
with within the framework of properly functioning devolved

“So that is our mission.”

Devolution has been suspended in Northern Ireland since
October 2002.

Three bids to revive it since then have failed, with the
Rev Ian Paisley’s Democratic Unionists and Sinn Féin coming
agonisingly close to resolving it in December 2004.

But sufficient trust between the two parties has proven
elusive, with the December 2004 Northern Bank robbery
heightening unionist suspicions of the IRA.

With the four-member Independent Monitoring Commission due
to report later this month, Mr Blair and Mr Ahern are
hoping that it will show that the IRA is transforming into
an organisation purely dedicated to peaceful and democratic

However, the DUP has insisted it cannot envisage an
inclusive power sharing executive featuring Sinn Féin in
the foreseeable future.

On Tuesday, Mr Paisley handed Mr Blair a 16-page document
advocating phased devolution, with the Assembly sitting
ahead of any multi-party executive being formed.

Mr Blair acknowledged unionist concerns about allegations
of continued IRA involvement in criminality.

However he urged parties to reflect on the progress that
had been made.

Accentuating the positive, the Prime Minister said: “I
think the fact that the Democratic Unionists are putting
forward proposals is a sign that they recognise that things
cannot stay simply as they are.

“Any proposals to work must have the consent of all the
parties or otherwise nothing happens.

“I think people, or at least I hope people within Northern
Ireland recognise that the IRA statement and the actions
which followed last year are important and significant.

“But there are also obviously still a lot of concerns about
the situation in Northern Ireland, the situation in
communities with a degree of lawlessness and violence is
really going to come down and a proper set of political
circumstances be in place.

“My point is that it is far better to try to achieve those
circumstances within some perspective at least that sees
the institutions back up and running at a particular time.

“So I think it is important when the talks begin in
February that they do so with a view to setting out the
arrangements that can lead to that happening.”

Mr Ahern described his meeting with Mr Blair as very
positive and focused.

He said they reviewed the current position of all aspects
of the peace process.

But he added: “This is not a time for sitting back or
complacency. We cannot afford a prolonged stalemate.”

Mr Ahern said next month’s intensive talks between the
British and Irish governments and the Northern Ireland
political parties would create a fresh momentum.

“We’re not saying it’s going to be easy. Everybody needs to
take risks and everybody needs to take responsibility.

“This year we’ve got to make necessary progress and bring
the institutions back into 2006.”

The Taoiseach also said he hoped the Independent Monitoring
Commission would deliver a positive report on IRA
criminality next week.

Referring to the IRA’s July 28 pledge to end its armed
campaign, he said: “I hope there is no obvious breaches of
that period.”

He added that the political institutions must be restored
to deliver the peoples’ wishes.

He said: “The comfort zone in which everybody can sit on
their hands and just drift on, will be a horrendous
mistake, because it won’t work that way.

“We have to focus on how we can get what the people voted

“The people, north and south, voted for an assembly, an
executive and north-south bodies.”


Hain Criticised For Move To Restore SF Allowances

Frank Millar, London Editor

Northern Ireland Secretary of State Peter Hain was
accused of operating double standards last night as he
moved to restore the parliamentary allowances of Sinn Féin

The package of allowances, worth an estimated £500,000, was
suspended on a Commons vote last year following the
Northern Bank robbery.

However Mr Hain yesterday confirmed he would ask MPs to
reverse that decision following a debate next month on a
government motion to reinstate the allowances, with
payments back-dated to November 1st.

In a brief statement, Mr Hain said: "The government is of
the view that the major advances by the IRA since its
statement of July 28th, 2005, including decommissioning and
Sinn Féin's commitment to the political process, mean the
time is right to reinstate the allowances to encourage
further political engagement at Westminster."

DUP MP Jeffrey Donaldson said Mr Hain's decision was
"highly premature", coming in advance of the imminent
report on IRA and other paramilitary activity by the
Independent Monitoring Commission (IMC).

"We have evidence from the police that the IRA is still
engaged in criminal activity," said Mr Donaldson. His
colleague, DUP deputy leader Peter Robinson, said in the
Commons that the move would "cause outrage" in Northern

For the Conservatives, shadow Northern Ireland Secretary
David Lidington pointed out that the Government of Wales
Bill, currently before parliament, disqualified members of
the Welsh Assembly from claiming salaries and allowances
until they had taken their seats, and forced any member not
taking his or her seat within two months to vacate it.

Noting that Mr Hain was Secretary of State for both Wales
and Northern Ireland, Mr Lidington said "the double
standards" spoke volumes.

© The Irish Times


British Move First Step In Ending Discrimination Against
Sinn Féin Electorate

Published: 26 January, 2006

Sinn Féin MP for Newry & Armagh Conor Murphy commenting on
the announcement that the British government are moving
motions to reinstate the party's Westminster allowances and
other monies due to the party today said:

"The removal of Sinn Féin allowances and the denial of
policy development grants to the party was an attempt by
the British government to damage the electoral rise of Sinn
Féin and skew the political landscape in favour of our

"The announcement today by Peter Hain that he is to table
motions dealing with both the Westminster allowances and
the other monies due to the party is a first step in
righting this wrong and ending what is blatant
discrimination against our electorate.

"Sinn Féin will continue to watch this situation closely
and we will not rest until our electorate are afforded
their full rights and entitlements." ENDS


How Can Government Justify SF/IRA Westminster Allowances?

North Belfast MP Nigel Dodds has questioned the Leader of
the House of Commons as to how the Government can justify
proposing to grant Sinn Fein MPs increased Westminster
allowances while they do not take their seats in the House
of Commons. Yet withal that same Government is threatening
to withdraw allowances from Northern Ireland Assembly
members because the Assembly is not sitting. Speaking from
Westminster Mr Dodds said,

“The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland has said that
he is considering withdrawing allowances from members of
the Northern Ireland Assembly because even though they do
their representative work they do not engage in the
Assembly itself. How therefore can the Government justify
bringing forward a motion to restore allowances and indeed
increase them for Sinn Fein/IRA while their representatives
do not attend the House of Commons.

Will the Government give a commitment that if the IMC
Report confirms the Chief Constable’s remarks recently,
that the IRA is still actively involved in criminality in
Northern Ireland, that they will withdraw the motion?”

The leader of the House Geoff Hoon replied the Prime
Minister “has made clear the importance of finding a way
back to the arrangements that have previously operated in
Northern Ireland and I am sure the hon. member [Mr Dodds]
would share that determination. But I accept his argument
entirely. If organisations are not committed to a peaceful
process if they’re not committed to democratic work then
clearly they should not be entitled to those allowances.”


Arrest In Loyalist Death Inquiry

Police have arrested a man in connection with the death of
a former loyalist gun-runner in Glasgow.

Lindsay Robb, 38, was assaulted on 31 December last year
outside shops in Gartloch Road, in the Ruchazie area.

Strathclyde Police said a 29-year-old man was in custody
and a report would be submitted to the procurator fiscal.

Mr Robb was jailed for 10 years in 1995 for involvement in
a UVF gun-smuggling plot and released four years later
under the Good Friday Agreement.

He was a prominent member of the Progressive Unionist Party
and was convicted along with four other men following an
extensive undercover operation.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/01/26 13:25:12 GMT


'Nazi' Remarks - No Police Probe

By Simon Hunter
Thursday 26th January 2006

The Roman Catholic priest who likened Protestants to Nazis
will not be prosecuted by the PSNI.

Father Alec Reid, who was one of the two witnesses of IRA
decommissioning, caused outrage among the unionist
community in October when he likened the treatment of
Catholics by Protestants to that of Jews by Nazis.

PSNI Assistant Chief Constable Sam Kinkaid yesterday
replied to DUP MLA Arlene Foster, who was acting on behalf
of Willie Frazer from victims' group FAIR, explaining that
no criminal prosecution will be brought against Fr Reid.

Mr Frazer had stormed out of the meeting after Fr Reid's
comments, describing them as "bitter and republican".

The comment made by Fr Reid at the time was: "The reality
is that the nationalist community in Northern Ireland were
treated almost like animals by the unionist community. They
were not treated like human beings. It was like the Nazis'
treatment of the Jews."

Mr Kinkaid yesterday informed Ms Foster that he saw no
further need to investigate the matter.

"I have not seen anything in the material before me to
indicate that Fr Reid, or anyone else at the event,
intended their words or behaviour, or was aware their words
or behaviour, might be threatening, abusive or insulting,"
he said.

"Considering all the information, I have concluded that
there is insufficient evidence of a substantive offence
having been committed to warrant a police investigation."

The DUP MLA for Fermanagh and south Tyrone is unhappy with
the PSNI's decision.

"Clearly I am very disappointed at the decision by the PSNI
not to proceed with a full police investigation and
prosecution against Fr Alec Reid," she said.

"The very person who made the remarks, Fr Alec Reid, has
not been questioned and I find this extremely peculiar.
Surely, if allegations have been made against someone, the
matter at the very least should be put to them."

Ms Foster also made clear that as far as she and Mr Frazer
were concerned the matter was far from over.

"I will on my client's behalf be raising this issue and a
number of other issues with the PSNI, initially by
correspondence. Mr Frazer still has other legal routes open
to him and he is considering these at present," she said.


Councillor Objects To Plans For Blair Invite


A Ballyshannon councillor has objected to plans to invite
British prime minister Tony Blair to visit the Co Donegal

Fianna Fáil Ballyshannon town councillor Seán Óg Kane said
he objected to the invitation on two points.

“I have reservations about inviting the British prime
minister to our town, firstly because of his foreign policy
in Northern Ireland, Iraq and in other countries,” Mr Kane
told the monthly meeting of Ballyshannon Town Council.

He was responding to a motion put forward by Fine Gael
councillor Phonsie Travers.

Mr Travers proposed that the council formally invite Mr
Blair to Ballyshannon, the birthplace of Mr Blair’s mother.

“Maybe when he stands down as prime minister, he could make
time in his schedule to visit. We should formally invite
him again,” said Phonsie Travers.

This would be the second time the council had extended an
invitation to Mr Blair, another sore point as far as
Councillor Kane is concerned.

“We have already invited him and he sent us back the same
old stock reply that his schedule wouldn’t allow it,” Mr
Kane said.

“He has already turned us down. I don’t think we should beg
anyone, not even a prime minister, to come to our good

Tony Blair’s mother, Hazel Curscadden, was born in
Ballyshannon in south Co Donegal. When her father died, she
moved with the rest of her family to Glasgow, where she met
and married Tony’s father, Leo Blair.

Leo Blair makes regular visits to Co Donegal and can be
seen enjoying a pint in his favourite local in Rossnowlagh.

In his famous speech as the first ever British prime
minister to address the Dáil in 1998, Tony Blair spoke
fondly of the summers he spent in and around Ballyshannon
and Rossnowlagh.

“We would travel in the beautiful countryside of Donegal.
It was there I learnt to swim, there that my father took me
to my first pub for a Guinness, a taste I have never
forgotten and which is always a pleasure to repeat,” Mr
Blair told the Dáil.

Ballyshannon is situated just 16 kilometres from the border
with Fermanagh, where Cherie Blair’s actor father Tony
Booth lives with his partner Stephanie Buckley.

Another Ballyshannon councillor, Brendan Travers, supported
the motion to invite Mr Blair to Co Donegal. The Fine Gael
man said: “Maybe when he makes a routine visit to the
North, he could come down to Ballyshannon. The climate has
completely changed now. It would be fine for him to do so.”


Council Faces Court In Row Over Union Flag

by Ciarán Barnes

A council in Co Antrim is facing court action over its
decision to fly the Union flag from civic buildings all
year round despite legal advice to the contrary.

Nationalist constituents are seeking a judicial review of
the decision after it was endorsed by a majority of
unionist councillors at a meeting of Lisburn City Council
on Tuesday night.

At the beginning of the year, an equality impact assessment
commissioned by the council warned it was breaching
equality laws by flying the Union flag every day. The
council ignored this advice and now risks the wrath of both
the courts and angry ratepayers.

Lisburn resident Brian Fagan, who pays £1,000 (€1,500) a
year in rates, said: “The last thing I need is a hike in my
rates to pay for a ridiculous court case which the council
will lose.

“For £1,000 per year, all I get is my bin emptied. That is
hardly value for money.

“Unionists are obsessed with the flag issue, even to the
point of breaking equality laws to score petty points.”

Meetings between nationalist residents and solicitors have
been planned for next week to discuss legal challenges.

Sinn Féin councillor Paul Butler, who previously warned the
matter would end up in court, accused Lisburn unionists of
living in the Dark Ages.

“The blinkered and discriminatory decision taken by
unionists in Lisburn will cost the council money in the
long run and will be overturned when the matter reaches

“It shows just how bigoted this council really is and how
deserving it is of the title of most sectarian in the
North,” he said.

Mr Butler said he had asked the Equality Commission to
investigate the council’s flag-flying policy.

This will be the seventh time in the past 12 months that
commission officials have investigated practices at Lisburn
City Council.

During Tuesday’s council debate, local Democratic Unionist
Party MP Jeffrey Donaldson warned Sinn Féin and the SDLP
not to make it an issue.

“It is not about insecurity, as we are acting from a
position of confidence.

“We can make this a running sore if others want to make it
a big issue. If this is the case, then the flags issue will
not be resolved,” he said.


NYC's Irish Rep Launches New Play Reading Series Jan. 27;
Dermot Bolger Spotlighted

By Kenneth Jones
26 Jan 2006

The Irish Repertory Theatre launches a "New Works Reading
Series" to support — as the title suggests — new plays and
emerging playwrights in 2006. It begins Jan. 27.

Off-Broadway's Irish Rep is mostly known for its revivals
of classic works by Irish writers or plays with Irish or
Irish-American content. Its current mainstage show is
Bernard Shaw's Mrs. Warren's Profession, a well-reviewed,
extended production starring Dana Ivey.

The first of the monthly readings in the series is From
These Green Heights by Dermot Bolger, at 3 PM Jan. 27 at
Irish Rep's home on West 22nd Street.

As part of its mission statement, The Irish Repertory
Theatre "encourages the development of new works focusing
on the Irish and Irish American experience, as well as a
range of other cultures."

From These Green Heights "is a darkly poetic play tracing
40 years in the life of a family living — and barely
surviving — in north Dublin's notorious Ballymun council
estates. The seven towers of Ballymun, long a ravaged
symbol of urban despair in Dublin, have been demolished
since the summer of 2004 as part of Ballymun's regeneration

Bolger's timely play was produced at the Axis Art Centre,
Ballymun and received The Irish Times/ESB Award for Best
New Irish Play of 2004.

Playwright Dermot Bolger was born in Dublin in 1959 and has
worked as a factory hand, a library assistant and a
publisher. His nine novels include "The Family on Paradise
Pier," "The Journey Home" and "Night Shift," which received
the AE Memorial Prize. His debut play, The Lament of Arthur
Cleary (1989) won the Samuel Beckett Award.

Bolger's other plays have been produced by The Gate Theatre
(later filmed by RTÉ Television) and The Abbey Theatre
(where he was playwright-in-association). A former Writer
Fellow at Trinity College, Dublin, and a published poet,
Bolger also ran Raven Arts Press until 1992, co-founded,
and is currently executive editor of New Island Books.

Kara Manning, Irish Rep literary manager, hopes that the
reading series will "give playwrights, both emerging and
more established, the invaluable opportunity to develop
their new work in a supportive, safe environment and will
also introduce some Irish playwrights, especially those who
might not yet have the New York recognition they merit, to
an American audience."

Irish Rep is run by Charlotte Moore, artistic director;
Ciarán O'Reilly, producing director; and Patrick A. Kelsey,
managing director.

Additional readings are scheduled for Friday, February 24;
Friday, March 24; Friday, April 28; Friday, May 26;
Tuesday, June 27; Tuesday, July 25; Tuesday, August 22;
Friday, September 29; Friday, October 27; Friday, November
17; and, Friday, December 15.

All readings are at 3 PM and are located at The Irish
Repertory Theatre (132 West 22nd Street).

Tickets are free and the reading is open to the public.
Seating is limited. RSVP by calling the Irish Repertory
Theatre box office at (212) 727-2737 or via email at . For more information visit .

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