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February 17, 2006

Flanagan Challenged On Killer's Agent Payment

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IN 02/17/06 Flanagan Challenged On Killer’s ‘Agent Payment’
IN 02/17/06 Village ‘Let Down’ By Allegations
BT 02/17/06 Local Bodies Could Be Briefed On MI5
BB 02/17/06 Order To Reconsider Parade Policy
IN 02/17/06 File Theft: Action Against PPS Taken
BT 02/17/06 New Deal Is Only Way Forward, Parties Warn
IN 02/17/06 BBC Troubles TV Simplistic
BT 02/17/06 Sinn Fein 'May Still Be The Kingmakers'
BN 02/17/06 Sinn Féin Members Gather For Ard Fheis
IN 02/17/06 Sinn Fein Ard Fheis To Tackle Police
BT 02/17/06 Sinn Féin Deputy Could Be A Woman
RT 02/17/06 Further Govt Moves Planned On Sellafield
IN 02/17/06 Graffiti Identifies Lisa Murder Suspect
BN 02/17/06 Employment Growing At Fastest Rate In 5 Years
IT 02/17/06 Ireland Will Resettle 200 Iraqi Kurd Refugees
IN 02/17/06 Supreme Court Reserves Judgment In DPP Appeal
IN 02/17/06 Ballymurphy Family Sleeps In Living Room
BN 02/17/06 Father Of Murdered Loyalist In Talks With Irish
BT 02/17/06 IRA Shot Medallist's Uncles
UT 02/17/06 Families Demand Suicide Prevention Services
RT 02/17/06 Robinson Calls For Guantanamo Closure (A)
BB 02/17/06 Close Guantanamo Camp, Hain Says
BT 02/17/06 Cheney's Wayward Aim: A Guide To Quailgate
IN 02/17/06 Rate of Melting Glaciers Almost Doubles
IT 02/17/06 Greens Call For Review Of Climate Strategy
JN 02/17/06 Irish Immigrants Returning To Ireland
PO 02/17/06 McGowan Returns As Priest At St. Helen


Flanagan Challenged On Killer’s ‘Agent Payment’

By Barry McCaffrey

Former chief constable Sir Ronnie Flanagan was last night
challenged to publicly state if he knew that convicted mass
murderer Torrens Knight was a Special Branch agent.

SDLP assembly member John Dallat was responding to claims
that Knight – who was sentenced to life imprisonment for 12
UDA murders at Castlerock and Greysteel in Co Derry in 1993
– received £50,000 a year through a bogus Special Branch
bank account following his release in 2000.

It is claimed staff at the bank became suspicious when the
notorious killer withdrew two sums of cash in 2000,
claiming to be working for an engineering firm in Scotland.

Officials are believed to have voiced concerns to police
but were informed there was nothing unusual about the

However, it understood the bogus account was closed soon
after the concerns were raised.

Mr Dallat last night called on Sir Ronnie to publicly
reveal if he knew Knight was being paid as a Special Branch

“As chief constable at the time it is inconceivable that Mr
Flanagan could not have known that one of the Troubles’
most notorious mass murderers was receiving thousands of
pounds from Special Branch,” he said.

Mr Dallat further called on Sir Ronnie to state if he was
aware of allegations that Special Branch officers removed
weapons from a mill at Aghadowey, Co Derry, in mid-1993
after their location was reported to police by anglers.

It is alleged that the weapons, which are believed to have
been used in the Greysteel massacre later that year, were
removed to protect Knight’s identity.

“Sir Ronnie became head of Special Branch in 1994 shortly
after the Greysteel massacre,” said Mr Dallat.

“Did he have knowledge of the allegations that one of the
weapons used in the murders had been protected by Special

“If so, what actions did he take against these officers?”

Mr Dallat will now ask the Policing Board to investigate
the allegations about payments.

“I will be asking for an investigation into this matter and
demanding to know if the money Knight received is going to
be recovered,” he said.

“This is a very serious matter which demands proper answers
from all those involved.”

A spokeswoman for Sir Ronnie declined to comment on Mr
Dallat’s concerns when contacted by The Irish News

Sinn Fein councillor Billy Leonard also said Knight’s
alleged activities as a Special Branch agent now needed to
be investigated.

“There are many more questions to be asked about not only
Knight but also his accomplices and their police handlers,”
he said.

“There are other key figures that have roamed free but
played key roles in directing loyalist killer activities.”

Mr Leonard highlighted the killings of Sinn Fein workers
Thomas Donaghy and Danny Cassidy at Kilrea in 1991/1992,
when Knight was working in the village.

“Sinn Fein has always asked how Torrens Knight gained
employment in the Kilrea area, through which he worked in
the homes of many nationalists and republicans and in the
chapel and the graveyard which was vandalised around that
period,” he said.

“Many republicans in the east Derry and north Antrim area
are very aware of key loyalist figures, important incidents
and the whole spectre of collusion in the area.

“Relationships of notorious loyalist paramilitaries with
policemen, evidence that was taken from a home after the
Greysteel murders but which did not lead to any action, are
all known to republicans.”


Village ‘Let Down’ By Allegations

By Seamus McKinney

THE Co Derry village of Greysteel feels “let down” by the
state following claims that Torrens Knight was paid by
Special Branch after his released from prison, a community
leader has said.

Knight, earned notoriety when he was convicted of the
Greysteel murders, regarded as one of the worst atrocities
of the Troubles.

With Geoffrey Deeny and Stephen Irwin, Knight was sentenced
to life in prison for the murder of eight people on
Halloween night 1993.

On the main Derry to Limavady road, Greysteel is a small
village overlooking Lough Foyle.

Catholics and Protestants live in harmony. It is well-known
for its Sunday morning car boot sale and Faughanvale GAA
club, some of the members of which double up with local
cricket teams in the summer.

The Rising Sun bar – owned by the Moore family – has always
Been frequented by people from both communities.

On Halloween night 1993, just a week after the Shankill
bomb, people were starting to drift in for the evening’s
entertainment when three UFF gunmen arrived.

One callously said “trick or treat” and when a young woman
said “that’s not funny,” he shot her. They then proceeded
to shoot another 19 people. Seven died almost instantly
while another died later.

Those killed, who included Catholic and Protestant, were:
Steven Mullan (20), Karen Thompson (19), James Moore (81),
Joseph McDermott (60), Moira Duddy (59), John Moyne (50),
John Burns (54) and Victor Montgomery (76).

According to John F McElhinney, a community worker in the
town at the time, yesterday’s news that Knight was a paid
British agent has not only shocked but “saddened” the
people of Greysteel.

Mr McElhinney, who last year became a Sinn Fein councillor,
said: “It looks like he was an agent in 1993. This raises a
lot of questions.

“What can anybody think?”

He added that while everyone was aware of the use of agents
and of security work, it was still a great shock to the
people of Greysteel to learn that someone who caused so
much hurt to the village was in the pay of the state.

“I think most people here think the state has let down the
people of Greysteel,” he said.

East Derry Sinn Fein assembly member Francie Brolly said
Knight’s payment would be particularly hurtful to the
people of Greysteel.

He said Greysteel was an “innocent” town where people were
willing to accept the police and accept that the state
would protect them.

Mr Brolly said the fact that one of the killers was paid on
his release from prison would be difficult for many in the
town to accept.


Local Bodies Could Be Briefed On MI5's New Ulster Activity

By Chris Thornton
17 February 2006

The Government has acknowledged a need for "local
transparency" after MI5 takes the lead role in intelligence
gathering in Northern Ireland.

In a discussion paper on the devolution of justice, that
was published alongside Westminster legislation yesterday,
the Government said it recognises that there is a crossover
between intelligence about national security - which MI5
will handle - and organised crime, which police will
continue to monitor.

The acknowledgement came as the Policing Board called for
"clarity and reassurance" that progress made in
intelligence safeguards over the past three years won't be
reversed by the switch to MI5. The call followed PSNI Chief
Constable Hugh Orde's remarks that he would object if he
felt the handover to MI5 would deprive his officers of
information they need.

In a nod to local transparency, the Government indicated
local Ministers, the Assembly, Policing Board and Police
Ombudsman could be briefed on MI5 activity.

"Even when policing is devolved, those with responsible for
overseeing policing will need to understand how national
security issues are handled," the Government paper said.

"The Government has consistently recognised the importance
of local transparency, as has the PSNI Chief Constable,
though it will not risk compromising information or
techniques that would jeopardise national security."

Earlier this week, Sir Hugh Orde told Parliament's Northern
Ireland Select Committee that he has "no difficulty" with
the transfer of responsibility to MI5.

"But I would have huge difficulty if I didn't get back all
the intelligence I need to fight crime," he said.

"I'm not going to sign up to a system in which that is not
the case."

Yesterday members of the Policing Board were briefed about
changes to the intelligence system by Assistant Chief
Constable Sam Kinkaid.

In a statement afterwards, Board chairman Sir Desmond Rea
said that members "were particularly concerned" that the
enhanced role for MI5 could "reverse progress made during
the last three years".

"Board members agreed that clarity and reassurance around
this issue must be provided prior to any change being
effected, and would continue discussions on this matter
with the Chief Constable," he said.

Both the SDLP and Sinn Fein have objected to greater MI5


Order To Reconsider Parade Policy

The Grand Lodge of the Orange Order is to reconsider its
policy on parades at a special meeting.

Despite unofficial contacts, and one meeting of individual
members with the Parades Commission, the policy of the
Order is not to engage with the body.

Many would like to change this, but that may depend on a
government commitment to review the framework on which the
commission works.

The meeting is to be held in Belfast on Saturday morning.

However, the last review of the commission three years ago
changed little.

If a commitment to change was forthcoming, there could be
some engagement prior to this summer's marching season.

Views at Grand Lodge are known to be diverse and any vote
could easily go either way.


But it is understood there is a recognition that the make-
up and approach of the new commission - which now includes
two Orangemen - is very different from any that went

The Orange Order members of the commission are David
Burrows and Don MacKay, who are members of the Portadown
lodge which wants to parade along the Garvaghy Road - a
mainly nationalist area.

Orangemen last walked down the Garvaghy Road from a church
service at Drumcree Parish Church in July 1997.

However, the Parades Commission has since banned them from
parading down the road following objections by nationalist

The commission was set up in 1997 to make decisions on
whether or not restrictions should be imposed on
controversial parades during Northern Ireland's marching

New appointments, including Mr Burrows and Mr MacKay, were
made to it in November 2005.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/02/17 07:15:16 GMT


File Theft: Action Against PPS Taken

By Staff Reporter

A US citizen questioned about the theft of Special Branch
files from a police station nearly four years ago is taking
legal action against the Public Prosecution Service (PPS).

Larry Zaitschek – nicknamed ‘Larry the Chef’ – was
interviewed by police in Belfast and New York soon after
the raid at Castlereagh on St Patrick’s Day 2002 but has
not been charged.

He now wants the PPS to tell him whether or not he is to be
prosecuted and his solicitor Kevin Winters yesterday lodged
judicial review papers in Belfast’s High Court.

Mr Zaitschek – who worked in the canteen at Castlereagh in
east Belfast for seven years – flew to New York five days
after the raid, which deeply embarrassed security chiefs
and was blamed on the IRA.

He returned briefly in January 2004 and now wants to come
back to Northern Ireland to contest family proceedings in
relation to access to his son, who he believes is with his
estranged wife Lisa.

The High Court papers stated that a police investigation
file was sent to the PPS on September 10 2002 but no
decision has yet been taken about a prosecution.

“The manifest delay in taking this decision is wholly
unjust and contrary to natural justice and prevents the
applicant from returning to Northern Ireland in the safe
belief that he will not be subject either to arrest or to
criminal prosecution,” the papers stated.

“No warrant has been issued for the applicant’s arrest nor
has any extradition application been made. In spite of
this, neither the PPS nor the PSNI has made any active
representations to the applicant that he will not be
arrested and detained if he returns to Northern Ireland.

“The failure of the PPS to reach a decision within three
years and five months constitutes manifest delay, gross
unfairness and a breach of natural justice.

“Mr Zaitschek feels he has no alternative but to bring this
case because he has been unable to see his child for four

“It is very unfair for him that his child has been used as
some sort of political pawn.”

Before a judicial review can proceed a judge has to grant
leave and it is expected that this preliminary hearing will
take place next week.


New Deal Is Only Way Forward, Parties Warn

By Noel McAdam
17 February 2006

The Government was today warned against attempting to build
a new devolution deal on the framework of the collapsed
Comprehensive Agreement involving the DUP and Sinn Fein.

As they attempted to inject fresh momentum into the talks -
including taking powers to call a snap Assembly election in
the autumn - Direct Rule Ministers were also told "quick
fix" ideas will not work.

The SDLP and Ulster Unionists joined to insist the failed
'Comprehensive' package, aborted in December 2004, could
not become the basis for progress.

Their demand came after a day of talks with Political
Development Minister David Hanson and ahead of further
discussions at Hillsborough Castle on Monday.

SDLP leader Mark Durkan argued: "For so long as the two
Governments and Sinn Fein leave the Comprehensive Agreement
on the table the DUP will think that it is still in play.

"It is time the two Governments and Sinn Fein made it clear
which they stand by - the Good Friday Agreement, or the so
called Comprehensive Agreement."

Senior Ulster Unionist negotiator Esmond Birnie said: "We
were not part of the understandings reached between London
and Dublin, Sinn Fein and the DUP at that time and in many
respects we think the DUP was getting a very bad deal."

Alliance leader David Ford said he had warned Mr Hanson
against quick fix ideas or "shabby" side deals. "Either we
establish it (the Assembly) properly, or not at all," he

Mr Hanson yesterday admitted "real difficulties" remained
but insisted there was a willingness to look at how the
process can be taken forward.

"The momentum is still there for the Government to show it
is still committed to try to take this process forward," he


‘BBC Troubles TV Simplistic’

By Catherine Morrison

A cross-community group set up to examine methods of
dealing with the north’s troubled past has voiced concerns
at a BBC series bringing together victims and perpetrators
of the conflict.

In Facing the Truth – which is to be screened next month –
former paramilitaries come face to face with some of their
victims in the presence of Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

In one such emotional en-counter, loyalist killer Michael
Stone meets the widow and brother of a man he murdered.

The BBC2 series aims to facilitate unprecedented dialogue
between those responsible for violence during the Troubles
and those hurt by it and station controller Roly Keating
has described the programme as “groundbreaking current

However, cross-community group Healing Through Remembering
(HTR), has said it is concerned at the “simplistic and
confrontational” manner in which the debate on how to deal
with the past is presented.

Chairman Professor Roy McClelland said: “Coming at a time
when much work is being done to achieve long-term
settlement, there is a serious risk that it could be
counterproductive and raise issues and concerns that cannot
be resolved or answered within the constraints of a
television format.”

Prof McClelland also said he was concerned at the effect it
could have on viewers who may relive their experiences
within their own living rooms.

A BBC spokeswoman said the series did not claim to achieve
truth and reconciliation and had been accurately and
sensitively filmed.

“Facing the Truth is a responsible documentary series which
puts an important and difficult issue into the public
domain with integrity.”

She added that a helpline for people who had suffered
similar trauma would accompany the series.


Sinn Fein 'May Still Be The Kingmakers'

Fionnan Sheahan
17 February 2006

Sinn Fein could still be 'kingmakers' in deciding who will
form the next government, the party's chief negotiator
Martin McGuinness said yesterday.

Ahead of the Sinn Fein Ard Fheis in Dublin, which starts
tonight, Mr McGuinness also warned his colleagues not to
get carried away.

Sinn Fein's grassroots will be sending their best wishes to
the Colombia Three and the killers of Detective Garda Jerry
McCabe at their Ard Fheis tomorrow.

But there's no plan for messages of support for the
families of Robert McCartney and Joseph Rafferty, who were
believed to be murdered by the IRA.

Sinn Fein's job is first and foremost to get their people
elected, Mr McGuinness said. "The successes we have had in
the six counties are impacting south of the border. Pundits
are saying Sinn Fein is going to double its representation
in the Dail and if that's the case, that could conceivably
cast it in the role of kingmaker.

"Given the proportional representation system in the 26
counties, you can never be absolutely sure, but there is a
definite feeling out there that there are going to be
substantial increases for Sinn Fein in the south at the
next election," he said. This weekend's Ard Fheis will
debate a number of motions criticising the Good Friday

There are a number of motions supporting "political
prisoners", calling for the release of the Castlerea 5,
convicted of the killing of Detective Garda McCabe.

Sinn Fein TD Caoimhghin O Caolain said that the party's
policy on the McCartney and Rafferty killing was quite
clear. "The reality is that we believe people should fully
cooperate with the investigations," he said.


Sinn Féin Members Gather For Ard Fheis

17/02/2006 - 07:07:35

More than 2,000 Sinn Féin delegates gather in Dublin today
to debate 500 motions at the party’s annual Ard Fheis.

The ’Irish Unity and Equality’ theme will coincide with the
90th and 25th respective anniversaries of 1916 Rising and
the 1981 Hunger Strikes in coming months.

Sinn Féin’s Dáil leader Caoimhghin O Caolain will deliver
the opening address, followed by a speech by chief
negotiator Martin McGuinness on the peace process.

Guest speakers in the RDS will include Micheal O Seighin of
the Rossport Five group and Joanne Delaney, who was sacked
from her job in Dunnes Stores in Crumlin because she wore a
union badge.

Other invited delegates include members of the NUE-NGL
political group in the European parliament and visitors
from Portugal, the Basque country, Cyprus and Sweden.

Newly-elected representatives in last year’s Westminster
and local elections, including Newry and Armagh MP Conor
Murphy, will also receive a special welcome.

This weekend’s event will also be the first Ard Fheis since
the IRA ended its armed campaign and decommissioned its
weapons last year.

Sinn Féin said the wide-ranging motions reflected the high
level of debate that is ongoing through the party.

Party president Gerry Adams will make his keynote leader’s
speech on Saturday at 5pm.


Sinn Fein Ard Fheis To Tackle Police

By William Graham

Sinn Fein is to hold a major debate on policing this
weekend. At the ard fheis in Dublin some 37 motions on
policing and justice have been tabled for debate.

The main motion put forward by the ard chomhairle calls for
the creation of the new beginning to policing in accordance
with the principles of the Good Friday Agreement.

According to Sinn Fein a key requirement is the transfer of
powers on policing and justice away from London and to
restored, democratically elected institutions.

Several other motions to be debated on Sunday, however,
take a tougher line including ruling out Sinn Fein
participation in any northern policing arrangements until a
timetable for British withdrawal from Ireland has been

Sinn Fein’s conference opens tonight with debates on the
peace process and equality and human rights.

Mid-Ulster MP Mr McGuinness has claimed Sinn Fein could be
in a position after the next election in the Republic to
decide who will form the government.

However, as Sinn Fein members prepared for a likely general
election in the Republic next year, the party’s chief
negotiator warned his colleagues south of the border not to
get carried away.

Meanwhile, Mr McGuinness has alleged that a member of MI5
once tried to coax loyalists into launching a bomb attack
on his home.

Mr McGuinness opposes any lead role being given to MI5 in
Northern Ireland.

MI5 is expected to take over the primary responsibility
from the PSNI for running agents and informers in late


Sinn Féin Deputy Could Be A Woman

By Chris Thornton
17 February 2006

Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams could be forced to make his
deputy a woman if a series of gender quota proposals are
passed by the party's ard fheis.

A motion put forward by a Dublin branch of the party says
that, in the interests of gender equality, there be a
requirement that the posts party president and vice-
president be split between a man and a woman.

The motion says that "if the position of party president is
filled by a man, then the position of vice-president must
be filled by a woman, and vice-versa".

Both posts are presently filled by men. Mr Adams is
president and West Tyrone MP Pat Doherty is vice-president.

Another Dublin branch wants the party to commit to a policy
that would see all future co-options to council seats go to
women "until such time as gender targets are met".


Further Govt Moves Planned On Sellafield

17 February 2006 08:57

The Government plans to assemble a team of international
nuclear experts to assist in its ongoing legal battle to
close the Sellafield reprocessing plant at Cumbria.

The development comes as the Attorney General, Rory Brady,
described the safety culture at Sellafield as 'lamentable'
during a lecture at Harvard University in the United

Mr Brady said the Government would continue to use all
political, legal and diplomatic avenues to secure the safe
decommissioning of the plant, in part, because of the risks
posed by accidents or terrorist attacks.

Earlier this week, the European Commission issued a formal
warning against British Nuclear Group - formerly British
Nuclear Fuels - over shortcomings in the way it accounts
and reports on nuclear material held at Sellafield.

A spokesman said the matter was viewed as 'very serious' in
Brussels, and the company now had four months to rectify
the problems identified by EU inspectors.


Graffiti Identifies Lisa Murder Suspect

By Sharon O’Neill

GRAFFITI identifying one of the main suspects in the murder
of Lisa Dorrian has been daubed on walls throughout Belfast
and Co Down.

The development came just days before the victim’s family,
who have yet to lay the 25-year-old to rest, prepare to
mark the first anniversary of her killing.

Despite countless land and sea searches, Lisa’s body has
not been found.

Desperate to locate her remains, the young woman’s family
have mounted a campaign to find her but their tearful pleas
have fallen on the deaf ears of Lisa’s killers.

Lisa vanished on February 28 last year after a party at a
caravan site in Ballyhalbert on the Ards Peninsula.

Suspects with links to paramilitary groups such as the LVF
and Red Hand Comm-ando (RHC) have been implicated in her

Despite a number of arrests, her killers remain at large.
Police have yet to publicly state whether they believe she
was abducted and later killed, or murdered nearby and
dumped in the sea.

Her family first told The Irish News of Lisa’s battle with
drugs and that she had sought help for the problem weeks
before she vanished.

Yesterday walls were daubed with graffiti in the loyalist
village area of south Belfast, Bangor and along the Ards

Naming a man, understood to be in his early twenties, who
had been arrested and released without charge, one read:
“Tell the police where Lisa’s body is and live.”

He was on a list of six names handed over to the Loyalist
Commission by the LVF in relation to Lisa’s killing.

Last December the officer heading the investigation into
Lisa’s murder insisted police could still find her.

“Having followed the number of leads and lines we have
looked at and having looked at the number of areas we have
looked at, yes I believe we are getting closer,” Chief
Inspector Mark Dornan said.

“There is hope for the family and we are not giving up.”

It has been reported that two people linked to the killing,
including one of those who last saw Lisa alive, are now
living in Scotland.

The suspect named in the graffiti is still living in
Northern Ireland.


Employment Growing At Fastest Rate In Five Years

16/02/2006 - 11:39:41

The number of people working in Ireland is growing at its
fastest rate in five years, according to figures published
today by the Central Statistics Office.

The CSO said employment increased by 4.7% in 2005, the
highest annual rise since the year 2000, with the strongest
growth recorded in the construction, distribution and
business services sectors.

Migrant workers account for around half of the 87,000-
strong rise in the number of people with jobs and now make
up 9% of the Irish labour force.

Despite the positive news, the CSO also said today that the
numbers without jobs had increased by 6.7% to 91,300 during
2005, pushing the official unemployment rate up to 4.4%.


Ireland Will Resettle 200 Iraqi Kurd Refugees

Ireland has agreed to take in 200 Iraqi Kurd refugees,
some camped in the desert in no-man's land between the
Iraqi and Jordanian borders since the invasion of Iraq
almost three years ago, Minister for Justice Michael
McDowell has told The Irish Times, writes Kathy Sheridan in

Following an agreement reached with the United Nations High
Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) last June to increase
Ireland's annual refugee resettlement quota from 40 to 200
people, Mr McDowell said yesterday said that two groups of
Iraqi Kurds had now been identified for resettlement in

They are among some 650 people who are "in effect,
prisoners" in the middle of the desert, he said, because
they are rarely allowed to leave the area. Their only
shelter is tents which are frequently blown away or burnt
out by paraffin heaters, in a climate where temperatures
reach 40 to 50 degrees in summer and fall below zero in
winter. While many are children, there are "little or no
education facilities".

Mr McDowell said Ireland was spending €350 million a year -
"approximately a third of what the UNHCR has to spend
internationally" - on accommodation, processing and
policing services for non-quota asylum seekers, of whom 92
to 94 per cent would ultimately be refused permission to

"The real issue is that you know that there are genuine
refugees who are not getting into Ireland at all," he said.

"If you saw the money that was poured into judicial reviews
in the High Court, it doesn't make sense . . . Huge
resources being absorbed into a process in which more than
nine out of 10 applications are rejected."

Since 1998, Ireland is one of only six EU member states and
17 countries worldwide who take refugees from abroad under
arrangements agreed with the UNHCR. Many of these are
living in refugee camps, often in dire circumstances. At
present, there are over nine million such refugees under
the care of the UN body.

Under the 2005 quota, 116 people were accepted by Ireland,
and resettled in Roscommon, Carrick-on-Shannon and Dublin.

© The Irish Times


Supreme Court Reserves Judgment In DPP Appeal

By Staff Reporter

The Republic’s Su-preme Court has reserved judgment in an
appeal by the Director of Public Prosecutions against a
High Court decision preventing the prosecution of Maze
prison escaper Brendan ‘Bik’ McFarlane on charges connected
with the 1983 kidnap of supermarket executive Don Tidey.

The High Court in Dublin made an order in July 2003
preventing the DPP from proceeding with Mr McFarlane's
trial at the Special Criminal Court because certain
exhibits had gone missing and were not available for
inspection by Mr McFarlane or his lawyers.

Mr McFarlane (52), of Jamaica St in Belfast was charged in
1998 with falsely imprisoning Don Tidey in 1983 and with
possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life at
Derrada Wood, Ballinamore, Co Leitrim in No-vember and
December 1983.

McFarlane was the leader of the Provisional IRA prisoners
at the Maze prison and escaped in the mass break out by 38
prisoners from the jail in September 1983.

He was later arrested in Amsterdam, extradited to Northern
Ireland and released on parole from the Maze in 1997.

Supermarket executive Don Tidey was kidnapped by an IRA
gang in 1983 and rescued after 23 days in captivity. A
trainee garda and a member of the Defence Forces were
killed in a shoot out with the kidnap gang when Mr Tidey
was rescued.

Mr Justice O’ Caoimh made an order prohibiting the
prosecution of Mr McFarlane after hearing that a milk
carton, a plastic container and a cooking pot found at a
hideout where Mr Tidey was imprisoned and on which
fingerprints were recovered had gone missing from Garda

Appealing against the High Court order yesterday, Mr
Anthony Collins SC for the DPP submitted that the onus was
on Mr McFarlane to prove that there was real risk of an
unfair trial which could not be rectified by the trial
judge because of the missing items.

Mr Hugh Hartnett SC for Mr McFarlane, submitted that the
defence was disadvantaged because they cannot have access
to the missing evidence.

He said the defence could not examine the items or have the
benefit of an expert examining them after a period of over
20 years.

Mr McFarlane has been remanded on bail at the Special
Criminal Court since his arrest in 1998 awaiting the
outcome of various legal challenges to his trial.


Attacks Force Ballymurphy Family To Sleep In Living Room

By Staff Reporter

A FAMILY of six are living in a single room, fearing they
will be burned out of their home.

The terrified Corbett family abandoned their bedrooms after
a series of attacks culminated in a petrol bomb being
thrown at the house’s gas supply.

Josephine and Nathaniel Corbett and four children – one
aged just six – huddle together on camp beds in their west
Belfast living room.

Mrs Corbett believes she is being targeted because she is a
member of the Notarantonio family living in the Ballymurphy

Four members of the ex-tended family are charged with
murdering Gerard Devlin in the estate on February 3.

Despite the Devlin family’s appeals for no violence there
has been a series of attacks on houses and cars in
Whitecliff Parade, Divismore, Dermot Hill and Ballymurphy
Parade since the murder.

Businesses associated with the Notarantonios have also been

Mrs Corbett said her home in Glenalina Park had been
attacked three times since Saturday when windows were

At around 4.40am yesterday a petrol bomb was thrown,
striking the gas main. The gas did not explode, however.

The windows were smashed and a bin was set alight at the
rear of the property.

Mrs Corbett said she was being targeted because of her
family name.

She said her children had been off school for a fortnight
because they feared they would be targeted.

“They tried to murder us last night in our sleep,” Mrs
Corbett said.

“The kids can’t go out to play because they get beat.

“They have said they are going to burn me and my husband
and family out.

“We do feel sympathy for the Devlin family and the
children. We all have children.”

Mr Corbett said the family had moved their furniture out of
the house five days ago for fear of arson attacks.

He said his family feared for their lives after the petrol

“I opened the door. The flames were on top of the gas
main,” he said.

“I filled kettles to put it out. I would have been dead if
that had blew.”

Mr Corbett said his family had been due to move into
sheltered accommodation on Saturday night but that did not
happen because his wife had suffered a breakdown.

Mrs Corbett said she want-ed her family to be left alone.

“We just want help. There’s nobody come to help us so we
have to sit here and wait and get burned in our sleep,” she

Mr Corbett said his family would be willing to talk to
anyone who could mediate in the dispute.

Meanwhile, police said a 16-year-old boy arrested in
Whitecliff Parade for disorderly behaviour on Wednesday had
been released pending a report.


Father Of Murdered Loyalist In Talks With Irish Officials

17/02/2006 - 11:41:52

The father of a loyalist allegedly murdered by his
colleagues in the Ulster Volunteer Force is meeting senior
officials from the Taoiseach's office today as part of his
campaign for an inquiry into the killing.

Twenty-two-year-old Belfast man Raymond McCord's badly
beaten body was found in a quarry in north Belfast in
November 1997.

The UVF has denied any involvement in the killing, but the
dead man's father, also Raymond, believes the killing was
ordered by a British informer working within the loyalist

Mr McCord also believes the authorities have failed to
carry out a proper investigation in order to protect the

"The British government have done nothing, the security
forces have done nothing and unionist politicians have done
nothing for us," he says.

"It's been nothing but a major cover-up. Nobody wants to do
anything about it.

"I've discussed it with unionist politicians and they're
attitude was: 'Don't rock the boat, don't expose what the
security forces were doing.'"


IRA Shot Medallist's Uncles

Soldiers murdered in Ulster

By Marie Foy
17 February 2006

The IRA murdered two Army uncles of Olympic medallist
Shelley Rudman during the Troubles, it emerged today.

Shelley, from Pewsey, Wiltshire, scooped Britain's first
medal of the 2006 Winter Olympics last night when she took
silver in the skeleton bobsleigh in Italy.

Her grandfather, Cecil (75), buried his two sons nearly 35
years ago - before Shelley was even born.

He said: "I watched on TV and was so proud of Shelley I
started to cry - I just couldn't contain myself."

Shelley's uncle Ronald was shot in an ambush on the
Dungannon-to-Coalisland road while on patrol with the
Second Light Infantry Battalion in September 1971. He died
later in hospital.

The young trooper had been in a three-ton truck with other
soldiers who were on their way to a riot in Coalisland.
Gunmen opened fire from both sides of the road as the
soldiers passed a church graveyard. The terrorists attacked
a lead Land Rover and the lorry came under a hail of
machine-gun fire.

Almost a year later Shelley's father, Jack, was based in
Londonderry when his twin brother Tommy was shot dead by a
sniper in the Ardoyne area. The brothers were also serving
with the First Battalion Light Infantry.

Jack was sent back to the family home at West Hartlepool in
England on compassionate grounds. He later quit the Army,
after nine years service, when he was refused permission to
rejoin his battalion which was still serving in Northern

Jack (53), a self-employed builder, and his wife Jossie, a
carer for the elderly, were in Turin to watch their
daughter take the silver.

After her win Shelley (24) said: "I just can't believe it.
It feels really surreal. I am really gobsmacked. I wanted
to get a bronze, so I'm not complaining about a silver

Speaking about his grand-daughter's success, Cecil said:
"It was such a surprise. We were just hoping she would
finish in the top 10.

"Shelley loves life and this won't change her at all -
she's never been swollen headed about anything."


Bereaved Families Demand Suicide Prevention Services Boost

Bereaved families will today demand more support services
to combat the alarming levels of suicide in Northern

By:Press Association

Relatives who have lost loved ones have launched a petition
to demand greater investment from the British government
and health trusts.

The campaign also calls for an overhaul of services
including the creation of a 24/7 crisis centre, a long-term
tracking system to monitor the vulnerable and suicide
awareness training for frontline NHS staff.

Support groups have gathered 12,000 signatures so far and
are aiming to collect a further 10,000 before the petition
is handed to Health Minister Shaun Woodward.

An estimated 150 people take their lives in Northern
Ireland every year.

But although suicide levels across the province stand at
around an average of eight per 100,000 population, in north
and west Belfast the figure has soared to 18.

The Suicide Awareness Support Group hope to raise the
profile of their campaign outside Belfast City Hall today
and secure the support of councillors and members of the

Siobhan Boyle, whose partner committed suicide, said more
had to be done to tackle the problem.

Ms Boyle said: "In Scotland the Choose Life campaign was
given £12 million over three years.

"We are hoping to get something similar here."

She said the initiative had also helped to break down
sectarian barriers.

"A number of groups have joined our campaign and it has
helped bring people from north and west Belfast together,"
Ms Boyle added.

But Margaret Seawright, whose brother took his own life,
said the current political stalemate made it difficult for
the families to get their concerns addressed.

Ms Seawright said: "It would be more beneficial to be able
to lobby and petition a local elected MLA Health Minister
at Stormont as we vote for them and they are there to
represent and fight for our concerns, especially in
relation to proper health care.

"Unfortunately at this time it is not the case.

"The sooner political parties are able to deal with our
local concerns and issues effectively the better."

The Suicide Awareness Group has already put more than
50,000 booklets through doors in north and west Belfast.

It also highlighted the issue through a poster campaign.

Last year the Government established a taskforce to develop
a regional strategy to reduce the number of suicides,
particularly among young men.


Robinson Calls For Guantanamo Closure (A)

(Morning Ireland: Mary Robinson, former Irish President and
UN Commissioner for Human Rights, talks to Colman
O'Sullivan about her concerns over the continued detention
of terrorist suspects at the US military camp

17 February 2006 09:30

The former Irish President and UN Commissioner for Human
Rights, Mary Robinson, has said it is in America's own
interests to act on the findings of the UN report on the US
prison camp in Guantanamo Bay.

She said the issue was a litmus tests of whether or not
there was an effective international system of human rights

Earlier, the UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, said that
the United States should close the detention camp as soon
as possible.

However, Mr Annan said he did not agree with all parts of a
report published yesterday by UN human rights monitors.

The report, which has been rejected by the White House,
said the detention camp in Cuba should be closed and that
prisoners there had been abused.

The 54-page document pointed to cases of 'excessive
violence' during transportation of detainees and force-
feeding of hunger strikers.

The investigators also said the US military acted as judge,
prosecutor and defence in the special trials at the base.

It called on US authorities to bring all detainees to trial
under international law or release them without further

US authorities criticised UN monitors for writing the
report without having been to the facility.

The experts cancelled a planned visit to the camp last year
because the US refused to give them free access to

White House spokesperson, Scott McClellan said al-Qaeda
detainees were 'trained to provide false information',
including allegations of torture.


Close Guantanamo Camp, Hain Says

Cabinet minister Peter Hain has said he thinks the US-run
detention camp at Guantanamo Bay should be shut down.

A UN report has said aspects of the regime at the camp
amounted to torture.

The Northern Ireland secretary told BBC One's Question
Time: "I would prefer that it wasn't there and I would
prefer it was closed."

Asked about the comments Tony Blair said: "I've said all
along... that it [the prison] is an anomaly and sooner or
later it's got to be dealt with."

Mr Hain said he thought the prime minister shared his view
about closing Guantanamo Bay.

But Mr Blair did not expand on what he has previously told

'Formidable arguments'

Meanwhile, three British residents held at Guantanamo Bay
have won permission to seek a High Court order requiring
the UK to petition for their release.

Accounts, accurate or not, of the mistreatment of
detainees at Guantanamo and extraordinary rendition flights
leading to the torture of suspects, have led to a critical
erosion in our moral authority

William Hague, shadow foreign secretary

A judge said claims of torture at the camp meant the
government might have an obligation to act on their behalf.

But there were "formidable arguments" against Bisher al-
Rawi, Jamil el-Banna and Omar Deghayes's case, he added.

The judge Mr Justice Collins remarked during the hearing on
Thursday that the US' idea of torture "doesn't appear to
coincide with that of most civilised countries".

And, asked on BBC One's Question Time whether closing the
camp was now government policy and whether the prime
minister ought to make that clear to the US administration,
Mr Hain said: "It's obvious if you don't think it should be
done it should be closed, isn't it?"

Asked if Tony Blair agreed, Mr Hain said: "I think so,

The chairman of the Commons foreign affairs select
committee, Mike Gapes, said there was a feeling among MPs
that a "more forceful statement" should be made about the

Mr Gapes welcomed Mr Hain's comment, and when asked on BBC
Radio 4's Today programme why he thought Mr Blair was not
being "bolder".

"I suspect it's part of a general approach to speak quietly
to the Americans and not make big public statements," added
Mr Gapes.

'Moral authority'

Shadow foreign secretary William Hague, in Washington to
build bridges with the White House, warned the US its
reputation was being damaged by reports of abuse at the

"Reports of prisoner abuse by British and American troops -
however isolated - and accounts, accurate or not, of the
mistreatment of detainees at Guantanamo and extraordinary
rendition flights leading to the torture of suspects, have
led to a critical erosion in our moral authority," Mr Hague
said in a speech to a Washington think tank on Thursday.

"This has resulted in a loss of goodwill towards America
which could be as serious in the long-term as the sharpest
of military defeats."

The UN report says the US's treatment of detainees, some of
whom have been held for more than four years, violates
their rights to physical and mental health.


It expresses concern at the use of excessive force during
transportation and force-feeding through nasal tubes during
hunger strikes, which it says amounts to torture.

Responding to the report, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan,
said that "sooner or later" there will be a need to close
the camp.

He said he hoped the US Government would decide to do this
"as soon as possible".

But the US Government said the document was "a discredit to
the UN".

White House spokesman Scott McClellan said investigators
had failed to examine the facts and that their time would
be better spent studying other cases.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2006/02/17 10:07:49 GMT



Cheney's Wayward Aim: A Guide To Quailgate

17 February 2006

When the Vice-President of America shot a hunting companion
in the face and chest, it was at first just seen as an
unfortunate accident. However, because of poor news
management and some questionable recounting of events, the
story has become a political scandal, a chance to bash the
Republicans, and a wealthy source of humour for many
comedians. Here's why...



Hunting, for Dick Cheney, is more than an idle pastime.
It's usually a chance to get together with high-level
friends and fundraisers and do so on exclusive private
estates where there is no danger of contact with the great
unwashed public.

Unfortunately for him, it's also rapidly turning into a
political liability - and not just because he was unable to
shoot straight last weekend.

In December 2003, animal rights activists and conventional
hunters were incensed when he participated in a kill of
pen-raised pheasants at the Rolling Rock Club in
Pennsylvania. Up to 500 birds were released directly in
front of the Vice-President and his 10-strong party.
Together, they shot 417 of them in minutes - including 70
reportedly shot by Mr Cheney.

Then, while the hunters moved on to duck and other fowl,
underlings plucked and vacuum-packed the pheasant for Mr
Cheney to take them back on his flight to Washington.
"We're appalled so many animals were killed - for target
practice essentially," the Humane Society said. The
following month, Mr Cheney was in trouble again - for
taking Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia on a waterfowl-
hunting expedition to Louisiana at a time when the Supreme
Court was ruling on whether Mr Cheney could keep secret the
names of the energy lobbyists who visited him while he was
drawing up a major new energy policy initiative. Both men
denied any impropriety but the episode did no good to
either of their reputations.

The whole style of hunting favoured by the Vice-President
has been ridiculed as a rich man's parody of what hunting
is supposed to be. Granted, Mr Cheney has to travel with a
security detail and a large staff of medical personnel
watching for signs of recurring cardiac trouble. That makes
it hard for him to brave the great outdoors, even if he
wanted to.

But the notion of driving around a private estate in four-
wheel-drive cars and emerging periodically to fire off a
round or two of shotgun pellets has opened Mr Cheney to
widespread ridicule.

Andrew Gumbel


Harry Whittington is, pardon the expression, a rare bird: a
liberal Texas Republican. He is not a religious fanatic,
nor is he a "string-'em-up" law and order man. On the
contrary, he's been campaigning for years to clean up the
Texas prison system and prevent the execution of the
mentally disabled. He's a reformer all round - an old-
fashioned social activist whose distaste for government
corruption crosses the usual party lines.

From his law office on the top floor of an office building
next to the state capitol in Austin, he has been dispensing
advice and serving on state boards for decades. He was a
Republican already at the tail end of the racial
segregation period when Texas was a de facto one-party
state run by the Democrats. His politics were defined, in
fact, by his visceral mistrust of the Democratic
establishment. And he has remained a Republican even as the
state party has been taken over by the Christian right.

So what was he doing out shooting with Dick Cheney, an
altogether harder brand of ideologue? Mr Whittington's
links to the Bush administration go back to 1999, when
George Bush was governor of Texas and Mr Whittington was
appointed to service on the state Funeral Services
Commission - another opportunity to sniff out official
corruption. He then became a fundraiser in Bush's two
presidential election campaigns.

The extent of his friendship with Cheney is hard to assess
- especially now - but the two have moved in very similar
elite circles in Texas for several years. By all accounts,
Mr Whittington, 78, was in good shape, keeping trim, eating
plates of vegetables for lunch every day, and sticking to
his old-fashioned habits. Not only does his office not run
on computers but he still hasn't got used to the idea of
lawyers billing their clients by the hour.

It is not known what he has said to Cheney or how he feels
about the incident. Katharine Armstrong, the owner of the
ranch where the shooting occurred, assured the local paper
a lawsuit was out of the question. "I bet this would deepen
their friendship," she gushed.

Andrew Gumbel


The Armstrong Ranch, a 50,000-acre spread in a remote part
of the Rio Grande River Valley, was founded in the 1880s by
John Armstrong III, a lawman most famous for bagging the
outlaw John Wesley Hardin. Since then, the Armstrong family
has mingled the rough ways of Texas ranch life with elite
university educations, high-flying corporate careers and
high-level Republican Party politics.

Tobin Armstrong, who died last year, was one of the Bush-
Cheney presidential campaign's top fundraisers in 2004.
(Dick Cheney delivered the eulogy at his funeral.) His
widow, Anne Armstrong, served as Ambassador to the Court of
St James under President Ford - making friends with Prince
Charles, who has played polo at the ranch. Their daughter
Katharine, who first broke the news of the shooting, is a
lobbyist who has quickly climbed the ladder of her chosen
profession thanks to her impeccable high-level contacts in

She has slept at the White House and was at President
Bush's ranch in Crawford, Texas, last summer while Cindy
Sheehan, the mother of a soldier killed in Iraq, and her
anti-war protester friends were camped outside.

Hunting is a big ritual at the Armstrong Ranch, one of a
number of exclusive private properties where hunting for
birds and game has increasingly become restricted in recent
years. We don't know exactly how the ranch operates, but
birds are typically raised in pens and then released for
special occasions - such as last weekend - so visiting
luminaries can descend from their four-wheel-drives and
start shooting pretty much immediately.

For quail hunting, Katharine Armstrong explained that the
protocol is for hunters to move in groups of three, keeping
track of each other at all times. Harry Whittington appears
to have fallen behind at one stage to bag a bird he had
shot. But hunting rules also make it clear - as Vice-
President Cheney himself has acknowledged - that the
shooter needs to know what he is aiming at all times.

Ironically, the hunting party could hardly have found
itself in a spot with fewer people around. Kennedy County
is larger than the state of Rhode Island but has a
population of barely more than 400 - an average of 0.3
people per square mile. It is, in fact, one of the 10 most
sparsely populated counties in the whole of the United

Andrew Gumbel


When Dick Cheney repaired to Republican-friendly Fox News
to publicly take responsibility for the shooting slip-up,
he said he was sorry, defended the delays in informing the
press of the shooting and said no one had been drinking.
Then he let slip one small detail: he had consumed "a beer
at lunch".

The beer revelation doesn't mean Cheney was inebriated.
(Though we don't know whether mixing beer with all the
medicines he takes is a good idea.) But, yet again, the
impression was left that, aside from Mr Whittington, the
other victims of this have been candour and truth.

First there was the 20-hour gap between the time of the
shooting and the news reaching the American public.The
White House was told the same night but said nothing the
next morning. Cheney had agreed to allow his host,
Katharine Armstrong, to disseminate the news. She called
her local paper, the Corpus Christi Caller-Times. It put
the news on its website only on Sunday afternoon. On
Monday, there was uproar in the White House press corps.
Nobody could accuse Cheney of a cover-up exactly but there
was outrage that mainstream news organisations had not
learned of the accident immediately. The conclusion many
reached was that Cheney was, at best, hoping to downplay
the accident.

Two more things came to light on Monday, which kept this
story alive for the best part of a week. Cheney's office
revealed the Vice-President had not paid for a $7 "upland
bird" stamp required. And asked in an interview if alcohol
had been served, Ms Armstrong said flatly, "No, zero,
zippo." Really? And then, at about 9.30am on Tuesday news
arrived at the White House that Whittington had suffered a
minor heart attack. Again it was hours before the rest of
America knew. Scott McClellan, above, was informed before
his noon briefing to White House reporters. Did he tell
them of it? Somehow, he omitted to.

David Usborne


In his novel, 'A Man in Full', Tom Wolfe describes quail as
"the aristocrat of American wild game ... what the grouse
and the pheasant were in England and Scotland and Europe
only better." His protagonist, wealthy Atlanta businessman
Charlie Croker, goes on: "With the grouse and the pheasant
you had your help literally beating the bushes and driving
the birds toward you. With the quail, you had to stay on
the move. You had to have great dogs, great horses, and
great shooters. Quail was king. Only the quail exploded
upward into the sky and made your heart bang away so madly
in your rib cage."

That may not be an entirely accurate description of what
Dick Cheney and friends were experiencing last weekend - it
appears they were driven to areas where the quail were
pleasantly thick on the ground - but that pulsing sensation
of seeing them spread out in the air for a few crucial
seconds certainly squares with descriptions of the ill-
fated hunting party. The impulse to fire impulsively in all
directions is a big part of the reason why quail hunters
usually wear bright orange jackets to identify themselves.
Accidents are now relatively rare, thanks to toughened
hunter training rules in Texas but the risk is still ever-

It used to be that quail were relatively abundant in Texas,
and across much of the American South. Over-hunting has cut
those numbers drastically. The Texas Parks and Wildlife
department's forecast puts the average number of bobwhite
quail in the region around the Armstrong ranch at 4 per
route - the number a hunting party is likely to see in a
day - down from 19.5 in the 1980s. The numbers for scaled
quail, which appears to be what Cheney was hunting, are
even lower - no more than 1.55 birds per route.

The sport is almost entirely restricted to private ranches
that can raise birds and hold special weekends. At 50,000
acres, the Armstrong Ranch is therefore one of the few
locations in the US fit to serve a Vice-President and his
friends pretty much any time they want.

Andrew Gumbel


For the Vice-President, it was "one of the worst moments of
my life."uBut for comedians, Democrats and legions of
Cheney-haters, the "shot heard around the world" made it
one of the best in a long while. Of late, there hasn't been
much to laugh about in Washington but the winging of the
unfortunate lawyer changed that. "Good news, ladies and
gentlemen," said David Letterman, right, on CBS: "We have
finally located weapons of mass destruction: It's Dick
Cheney." The bad news though for Whittington: "Donald
Rumsfeld didn't issue him with body armour."

On the late night shows, the blogs, on Capitol Hill and
around the legendary office water-cooler, it was open
season on "Deadeye Dick." Hunting small wild animals, noted
one Washington Post blogger "is what passes for military
service in the top echelons of the Bush administration".

"You know who's doing a 'there but for the grace of God go
I'? Scalia," the comedian Al Franken wrote on his website,
referring to Cheney's duck-hunting pal, Supreme Court
Justice Antonin Scalia.

There were jokes against Mr Whittington too (at least until
it was disclosed on he suffered a minor heart attack).
"Dick Cheney accidentally shot a fellow hunter, a 78-year-
old lawyer," said Jay Leno, host of The Tonight Show. "In
fact, when people found out he shot a lawyer, his
popularity is now at 92 per cent." The next day, even the
White House tried to get into the act. For safety reasons,
hunters normally wear bright orange jackets. That morning,
the University of Texas football champions were invited to
drop in by the president, wearing their orange colours.
"But that's not because they fear Dick Cheney is in the
audience," quipped Mr Bush's spokesman Scott McClellan.
Republicans have sought partisan advantage in the affair.
T-shirts are available bearing the logo "I'd rather go
hunting with Dick Cheney than driving with Ted Kennedy."

Rupert Cornwell


Rate At Which Melting Glaciers Raise Sea Level Almost

By Keith Bourke

Greenland’s glaciers are pouring water into the sea at a
rate that has almost doubled in the last five years,
scientists said yesterday.

The glaciers appear to be sliding faster towards the
Atlantic as melting ice lubricates the rock beneath them.

A new study has revealed that estimates of Greenland’s
contribution to rising sea levels could be too low.

Sea level around the world is rising at a rate of 0.12ins
(3mm) a year.

Taking the higher glacier speeds into account, scientists
calculate that Greenland is responsible for about 0.02ins
(0.5mm) of this rise.

The glaciers carry ice from the Greenland Ice Sheet which
is 9,842.5ft (3km) thick and covers an area of 0.66 million
square miles (1.7 million sq km).

If the ice sheet melted completely, it would raise global
sea level by 23ft (7m).

The research indicates that the amount of ice being lost
from the ice sheet each year has increased from 21.6 cubic
miles (90 cubic kilometres) in 1996 to 53.74 cubic miles
(224 cubic kilometres) last year.

Due to the recent speed-up, the component of ice loss due
to glacier flow has risen from 12 to 36 cubic miles (50 to
150 cubic km) a year.

Changing climate is the driving force behind the trend,
scientists say.

The faster moving glaciers are from the south of the
continent, where average air temperature has increased by
3C in the last 20 years.

Since 2000, glaciers further north have also shown signs of
speeding up.

Dr Eric Rignot of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in
Pasadena, California, who led the study, said: “The
behaviour of the glaciers that dump ice into the sea is the
most important aspect of understanding how an ice sheet
will evolve in a changing climate.

“It takes a long time to build and melt an ice sheet but
glaciers can react quickly to temperature changes.

“Climate warming can work in different ways but generally
speaking if you warm up the ice sheet the glacier will flow

“The southern half of Green-land is reacting to what we
think is climate warming.

“The northern half is waiting but I don’t think it’s going
to take long.”

The findings were included in a package of climate
presentations yesterday at the American Association for the
Advancement of Science ann-ual meeting in St Louis,
Missouri. They will also app-ear in the latest issue of the
journal Science, which is published by the association.

Other scientists spoke of ancient episodes of climate
change that may serve as a warning to the modern world.

At the start of the Eocene period 55 million years ago,
temperatures rose rapidly by 5C as a result of massive re-
leases of two greenhouse gases, methane and carbon dioxide.

Prof James Zachos of the University of California at Santa
Cruz, showed in re-search published in June that the gases
pumped around 4.5 trillion tons of carbon into the
atmosphere – but human activity was now releasing
greenhouse gases and carbon more than 30 times faster.

“The emissions that caused this past episode of global
warming probably lasted 10,000 years. By burning fossil
fuels we are likely to emit the same amount over the next
three centuries,” he said.

Irish concerns

The latest findings in Greenland could have worrying
implications for life in Ireland, according to

Declan Allison of Friends of the Earth said it would be a
major concern if changes were happening even faster than
previously thought.

“This type of climate change could have a huge effect on
life in Northern Ireland,” he said last night.

“It could lead to problems with rising sea levels, flooding
in coastal areas and erosion of coastlines.”

A 2002 study warned that the Irish coastline could
experience rapid change over the next century with fishing
communities among those likely to be worst affected.

There are also fears of more frequent and severe flooding
in vulnerable areas of Belfast and Derry due to climate

Mr Allison said melting glaciers could cause huge
temperature change.

“There is a danger that melting glaciers could lead to an
influx of fresh water, which could divert or cut off the
flow of the gulf stream which could have massive effects on
our temperatures in Northern Ireland,” he said.

“Our climate would resemble somewhere like Canada with
warmer summers but colder and wetter winters.”

This would have enormous implications for agriculture as
wetter winters affect activities such as turf cutting and
hay making.


Greens Call For Review Of Climate Strategy

By Kath Kyle Last updated: 17-02-06, 11:49

The Green Party has called on Minister for the Environment
Dick Roche to act after the publication of figures showing
Ireland's greenhouse gas emissions rose in 2004 after a
modest drop in the previous year.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) report shows
Ireland's greenhouse gas emissions are now 23.5 per cent
higher than in 1990, while our current Kyoto commitment is
to limit the increase to 13 per cent before 2012.

Most notably, transport emissions have increased by 6 per
cent on 2003 figures and residential emissions have
increased by 7 per cent.

Green Party Environment spokesman Ciaran Cuffe TD said: "It
is extremely important that the Department of the
Environment publish its review of the Climate Change
Strategy without delay."

He said that it is not necessary to "to reinvent the wheel"
to reduce emissions from the transport and building

"Ireland needs to invest in public transport so that
commuters have the choice to leave their car at home. We
need to ensure that we are building homes and offices are
to the highest energy efficiency standards," he added.

Mr Cuffe emphasised that the review of the National Climate
Change Strategy is necessary "if we are to identify
policies that will ensure a steady reduction of emissions
levels in all sectors".

Also responding to the figures, Friends of the Earth
Director, Oisin Coghlan said: "The government has promised
a public consultation on new policy measures. My fear is
they are only interested in tinkering at the margins. In
fact we need to fundamentally reassess the way we think,
the way we live and the way we work."

Although the Kyoto protocol allows countries to comply with
their commitments by a combination of measures including
the purchase of carbon credits, Friends of the Earth warned
that, based on today's figures, this was an expensive
option for Ireland.

In a statement, it said that at current market rates the
price of the carbon permits needed to cover Ireland's
overshoot above our Kyoto target would be around €150
million a year.

"Assuming our emissions stabilised and the permit price
fell as projected, it would still amount to €85 million
annually for the years 2008-2012, when the current Kyoto
commitment applies," Friends of the Earth said.

© 2006


Irish Immigrants Returning To Ireland

By Ernie Garcia
The Journal News
(Original publication: February 17, 2006)

The busy, late breakfast crowd at Eileen's Country Kitchen
on McLean Avenue isn't what it used to be.

Not an Irish face around," said owner Eugene Collum, who
with his wife Eileen runs the popular diner serving hearty
Irish dishes.

A prospering economy in Ireland, an on-going state effort
to verify driver's licenses and increased security since
the 9/11 terror attacks have forced local illegal Irish
immigrants to return to Ireland.

The departures are hurting small businesses in southeast
Yonkers and the adjacent Woodlawn neighborhood in the

Collum estimated that his sales fell about 20 percent since
large numbers of Irish illegal immigrants began leaving the
area two years ago.

Some illegal Irish immigrants are leaving because of a New
York Department of Motor Vehicle campaign to verify drivers
licenses by requiring a valid Social Security number.
Illegal immigrants cannot legally obtain valid Social
Security numbers.

The U.S. government does not have official statistics on
the number of illegal immigrants in the country, but
estimates range from 6 million to 11 million.

Josephine Kinsella, 32, an actress and waitress, persuaded
an immigration judge to award her a resident visa, which
she received two weeks ago after living in the United
States illegally for seven years. Her new status will allow
her to get a Social Security card and a driver's license.

She plans on visiting her parents in Ireland, whom she has
not seen in four years. She also wants a "real" job and a
Screen Actors Guild membership.

"It's not that (waitressing) is not good. It's just that
the bosses don't have to pay you. They don't have to give
you a wage, so you just work for tips," said Kinsella,
during a rehearsal break on Saturday with the Yonkers-based
Hamm & Clov Stage Co.for a March 5 performance at White
Plains' Arts Exchange.

One Irish American business not hurt by the Irish exodus is
Liffey Van Lines of Mahopac and Manhattan. The company
moves households to Ireland.

Danny Moloney, Liffey Van Lines' owner, said business was
good in December and November, when he moved about 32
containers out of the McLean Avenue/Woodlawn area.

"I would say a lot of people can't get jobs without Social
Security numbers or driver's licenses," said Moloney of the
reason for his clients' departures.

The state Department of Motor Vehicles began cross-checking
driver's licenses with Social Security numbers in February
2004. Information about how many licenses had been
suspended under the program was unavailable in time for
this story.

The Irish government does not keep track of why its
citizens are returning to Ireland or from which country
they return. In April 2005 Ireland's Central Statistics
Office reported that since 1996 about 218,800 Irish have
returned to Ireland, with an estimated 19,000 returning
last year.

Ireland's population is 3.9 million.

Shortly after taking office President George W. Bush
announced his support for immigration reform and a guest
worker program that might have allowed millions of illegal
immigrants to legalize their status.

The Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks stalled immigration
reform. Last year Bush renewed his calls for immigration
reform, although he voiced opposition to an amnesty for
illegal immigrants.

In December the House of Representatives passed the Border
Protection, Antiterrorism, and Illegal Immigration Control
Act. The House legislation does not provide for the
legalization of illegal immigrants and it would implement
harsh rules against illegal immigrants, including making it
a felony to be in the United States illegally.

The Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform — a New York-based
nonprofit partially funded with a grant from the Irish
government — supports the Secure America and Orderly
Immigration Act.

The group is signing up illegal Irish immigrants for a
March 8 trip to Washington, D.C., to lobby the Senate in
support of Secure America act.

That bill calls for a guest worker program and it would
require illegal immigrants with no criminal records to pay
a penalty of $1,000 so they can legalize their status.

The Senate has not voted on any bill, but before
immigration reform occurs the Senate and House would have
to agree on one bill.

Kinsella said a guest worker program is not a realistic
option for illegal immigrants who have already lived in the
United States for years.

"You're making your life here. Why would you pay taxes and
everything and then just say goodbye?" she said, adding
that lawmakers should consider some kind of amnesty. "Who
are the waitresses and the construction workers? Who are
the taxi drivers? Americans know this, so why not give
people a fair chance to work?"


McGowan Returns As Priest At St. Helen

By Helena Rodriguez

James McGowan is the new priest at St. Helen Catholic
Church in Portales. He went to college at Eastern New
Mexico University and grew up in Rio Rancho.

At one point James McGowan wanted to be a stand-up
comedian. He also considered careers in military and police
work. But ultimately, he following a calling he received in
first grade to become a priest.

However, this was not before being a jack of all trades
while he tried to figure out where he was going and if this
calling was God’s will.

He began the seminary at age 18, but then opted to go to
college here at Eastern New Mexico University where he
became a self-described party animal in the 1980s with the
former Sigma Nu fraternity. He then worked in security,
restaurants and hotels before returning to the seminary at
age 33.

Now at age 43, McGowan, who happens to have a blue belt in
Kojosho karate, only three belts away from a black belt,
has been appointed the new priest at St. Helen Catholic
Church. He replaces Father Tobin Hitt, who has been
reassigned by the archdiocese of Santa Fe to San Martin de
Porres church in Albuquerque.

McGowan – a native of Brooklyn, N.Y. who grew up in Rio
Rancho – comes by way of Clayton where he was pastor of St.
Francis Xavier church. Prior to that, he served as a police

“In college, my friends would joke that I was going to
become a tele-evangelist. Some of them knew I wanted to be
a priest, but I’m sure some of them are still shocked. I
was a bit of a party animal, a John Belushi of those days,”
said McGowan, now in his fourth year of priesthood.

McGowan said his return to Portales has brought him full

“When I found out I was coming back to Portales, on one
hand I thought ‘You got to be kidding me, of all the
parishes in New Mexico I’m going to Portales.’ I couldn’t
believe it. On the other hand it was a good feeling, like a
coming home.”

McGowan already has plans to begin making some changes at
St. Helen and is looking forward to the opportunity to
teach religious classes at ENMU. “That is one of those
ironies because I was not the best student when I was
there,” he said.

The evenings that McGowan spent performing at the Duke City
Comedy Club in Albuquerque were not wasted though. He said
humor comes in handy in his sermons.

“Humor helps to relax people and get their attention,” he

McGowan expects to pastor St. Helen for about five to six
years and plans to begin by making some minor changes such
as bringing back a crucifix, stations of the cross and
other religious items to the sanctuary before the Lenten
season begins. He will also oversee the building of a new
Newman Center for college students on the church grounds
and wants to have a church Web site on the Internet.

“I think this will be a challenging role. I’m in a bigger
parish now with more families. Another challenge is
language. I speak a little Spanish but I need to relearn
the language,” McGowan said.

He would also like to see more social activities and
community service projects within the parish.

“I want to re-establish the annual bazaar and have things
like fish frys as well as get the youth groups more
involved,” he said.

He plans to become involved in the local ministerial
alliance, saying, “It’s always good to be involved with
other churches. When we come together, we have more to
offer the community.”

When he has spare time, McGowan writes fiction and collects
police badges, patches and coins.

McGowan says he is 100 percent Irish American and St.
Patrick is his favorite saint. Along with his two older
brothers and sister, he was raised in a Catholic home. His
dad, now deceased, was a member of Knights of Columbus and
his mom, who still lives in Rio Rancho, was in the altar

The new priest is optimistic about his vocation regardless
of recent church scandals and a shortage of priests and
considers himself a conservative like Pope Benedict XVI.

“I like to think God has brought us through a point of
purification and I think the number of priests will
eventually go up. That has been a challenge for the church
from the beginning. We have been here 2,000 years and we
will always be here,” he said.

“I love being a priest. I can’t imagine doing anything
else,” he said.

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