News about the Irish & Irish American culture, music, news, sports. This is hosted by the Irish Aires radio show on KPFT-FM 90.1 in Houston, Texas (a Pacifica community radio station)

February 06, 2006

IRA Guns Tip-Off Came From MI5

To Index of Monthly Archives
To January 2006 Index
To receive this news via email, click HERE.
No Message is necessary.
To Get RSS Feed for Irish Aires News click HERE
(Paste into a News

News About Ireland & The Irish

BT 02/06/06 IRA Guns Tip-Off Came From MI5
BT 02/06/06 Finucane: After 17 Yrs No Inquiry – Why?
BT 02/06/06 DUP Airs Its Executive Plan
UU 02/06/06 DUP Reality Is Confused Claims Empey
UU 02/06/06 We Need Assembly Now More Than Ever- Empey
BB 02/06/06 Fresh NI Devolution Talks Begin
IN 02/06/06 Police Inaction Led To Greysteel Killings
IN 02/06/06 Calls For Inquiry On 14th Ann Of Shootings
MC 02/06/06 DUP Members Mixed On Sinn Fein Talks
BT 02/06/06 Dublin Official Attends DUP Conference
RT 02/06/06 Paisley Refuses To Apologise For McAleese Slur
BN 02/06/06 Paisley: Sinn Féin Should Be Barred From Talks
BT 02/06/06 Solicitor Makes Bail Application
BT 02/06/06 Mayor In US Visit To Discuss Death
IN 02/06/06 Opin: No Half-Way House- Full Working Assembly
BT 02/06/06 Opin: Paisley Rediscovers His Political Vigour
IN 02/06/06 Opin: ‘Beauty’ Can Be Born From Democracy
ST 02/06/06 Government Hangs Tough On Sellafield
ST 02/06/06 Better Pay It's Still A Man's World
IT 02/06/06 Kavanagh's Sacred Keeper
IN 02/06/06 Bishop Casey Returns From Exile
ID 02/06/06 Irish Blogging Awards
BT 02/06/06 Awards Aim To Put A Gloss On Ulster


IRA Guns Tip-Off Came From MI5

By Brian Rowan
06 February 2006

THE British Security Service MI5 and senior officers from
the PSNI's Crime Operations Department provided the
intelligence information that not all IRA weapons were
decommissioned last September, it can be revealed today.

That revelation in last week's report by the four-man
Independent Monitoring Commission has destroyed any hope of
early progress in the new political talks.

Unionists are now challenging the credibility of last
September's report by General John de Chastelain's
Independent International Commission on Decommissioning,
which stated that the arms that had been put beyond use
represented "the totality of the IRA's arsenal".

The General and his Commission colleagues - Andrew Sens and
Tauno Nieminen - were also briefed by officers from the
PSNI's Crime Operations Department last month.

The IICD did not identify the source of that briefing in a
report to the British and Irish governments in January, but
said security sources in Northern Ireland had informed them
that there was intelligence information "to the effect that
some individuals and groups within the IRA have retained a
range of arms, including handguns."

"Everyone knows there is stuff out there," a senior police
source told the Belfast Telegraph.

The source confirmed there was "significant intelligence"
that the IRA had retained part of its arsenal, amounting to
a range of weaponry in a number of areas.

"You know the units that have been difficult," the source
said, adding that those units were not going to "roll over
for Adams and McGuinness".

"This (the intelligence briefings on IRA guns) is not a
securocrat conspiracy," the source continued.

Last month, the commissioners of the IICD are believed to
have held two meetings with the senior IRA figure Brian
Keenan, the republican organisation's decommissioning
representative since November 1999.

After those meetings, the IICD told the two governments
that its September assessment on total IRA decommissioning
remained correct.

Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams has refused to be drawn
into this latest controversy over arms.

Last week, he said the weapons issue was "finished" and
that it could not "re-happen".

The senior police source, who spoke to the Belfast
Telegraph in the past 24 hours also stated that there is
"no intelligence to suggest that the IRA is going back to
an armed struggle."

That assessment is accepted by the Independent Monitoring
Commission, and that would suggest that any weapons still
held by the IRA are intended for "defensive" purposes only.

Another source has speculated that some may have held onto
arms as an act of "defiance".


Finucane: After 17 Yrs No Inquiry – Why?

Seventeen years after his murder, and an official inquiry
into the killing seems no nearer. Chris Thornton examines
the reasons why

By Chris Thorton
06 February 2006

THE seventeenth anniversary of Pat Finucane's murder comes
round in six days. When the defence lawyer was shot dead in
front of his family back in 1989, there were almost
immediate suspicions that there was more to his death than
met the eye.

Over the years, those suspicions have become well-grounded
in fact. It is now more than two years since Britain's most
senior policeman and a retired justice of the Canadian
Supreme Court independently came to the conclusion that
there was collusion between the UDA men who killed Mr
Finucane and members of the security forces.

The next stage, at least according to Justice Peter Cory,
was clear: there should be a public inquiry into the
collusion surrounding the murder - the exact outcome for
which Mr Finucane's family had been campaigning down the

Since then, on the surface at least, very little has
happened. There has been no apparent progress towards an
inquiry - no panel named, no date set for a start. The
exception is the passage of an important piece of
legislation, one that currently stands between the
Government and the Finucanes.

Tomorrow Mr Finucane's widow, Geraldine, and other members
of the family will meet Secretary of State Peter Hain about
the problems in setting up the inquiry.

After campaigning for years for an inquiry, the family now
find themselves in the curious position of opposing the one
proposed by the Government. That is because the legislation
passed to bring about the inquiry, the Inquiries Act, gives
the Government unprecedented powers to keep aspects of the
case secret.

Mr Hain also finds himself in a curious position. He has
said there will be an inquiry under the Inquiries Act or
"none at all".

But the family's opposition has made setting up the inquiry
difficult - so far the Finucanes have successfully
discouraged judges around the world from chairing the
tribunal - and could ultimately render it pointless. The
Finucanes' refusal to cooperate would be a serious
challenge to the inquiry's credibility even before it

The "none at all" option is equally unsatisfactory, in that
it puts everything back to square one. Disturbing questions
about the case remain unanswered and the Government looks
as if it still has something to hide.

The family is not alone in having problems with the Act,
which was rushed through Parliament last year. Justice Cory
and the judges who chair the Bloody Sunday Inquiry have
also questioned it.

The Government says the Act makes public inquiries more
focused; in the wake of the Bloody Sunday Inquiry's huge
costs, it applies a brake to funding.

But the Act is controversial because it has made an
important shift in powers: now the Government adopts the
role of player and referee in the operation of an inquiry.
Where the chairman of a tribunal or a High Court judge
would determine whether sensitive information given to the
inquiry should be secret, now that power lies with a

What a Minister wants excluded is automatically excluded;
he or she may also stop the inquiry at any time and edit
the inquiry's final report.

The Finucanes argue that this takes away the independence
of the inquiry, and they are not alone. Last week, David
Wright, the father of loyalist Billy Wright, took High
Court proceedings against the use of the Act in the inquiry
into his son's murder in the Maze Prison.

National security is an important factor in the Finucane
case, at the very least in terms of exposing the practices
of intelligence agencies. After all, it was an Army agent
that supplied the information that led to Mr Finucane's
murder. It was a police agent who supplied the guns. The
man who organised the killing is believed to have been yet
another agent, and one of the triggermen was later
recruited as a police agent, in spite of making a
confession to detectives.

The Finucanes have not disputed that national security is a
genuine consideration in an inquiry, but they point out
that such concerns have been adequately protected by the
legislation that has been in place for more than 80 years.


DUP Airs Its Executive Plan

By Noel McAdam
06 February 2006

THE DUP is to meet the SDLP and Ulster Unionists to push
for devolution negotiations short of a full Executive, it
can be revealed today.

The party has already met the Alliance Party in an attempt
to gain support for its proposals involving an Assembly
with maximum powers "consistent with prevailing

The UUP has concurred a fully-inclusive Executive is
impossible at present, but the SDLP insists it is not for
the DUP to decide on the timing and terms for devolution

The DUP was also first in the door at Hillsborough Castle
today for a series of bilaterials involving all the parties
which the Government said would amount to "more than stock-

While the mood music is pessimistic, a senior official
said: "There is a consensus that we cannot just go on as we

The party's deputy leader Peter Robinson made it clear that
the DUP wanted to negotiate both an "entry position" for
devolution as well as the "final position".

"There is no point going down a road without knowing where
you want to end up.

"Our message to the parties is that the conditions are not
right for fully executive devolution and we either make a
beginning or stand still," he said.


DUP Reality Is Fundamentally Confused Claims Empey

UUP Leader Sir Reg Empey said that despite their public
pronouncements, the DUPs position on power sharing was
fundamentally confused.

The UUP leader was also scathing of the DUPs hypocrisy over
the IMC – a body which was proposed by the UUP but opposed
at the time by the DUP as a ‘toothless’ body.

In a statement Sir Reg said,

“Upon reading the recent DUP document 'Facing Reality'
there is a fundamental confusion running through it.

While there are ideas therein which any party should be
prepared to discuss, there is the repetition of the
'Corporate Assembly’ idea which the DUP put forward in

Fundamentally this envisages full Legislative and Executive
power being transferred to all 108 Assembly Members. In
practice this means that all 108 Members are the 'Cabinet'
instead of the 12 Members who constituted the Executive in

Thus there appears to be no problem in principle for the
DUP sharing power with Sinn Fein if all MLAs are doing it,
but there is a problem if only 12 MLAs are involved!

This doesn't make sense.

Reading the document makes clear that sharing power with
Sinn Fein is still an objective of the DUP, but it cannot
be achieved at present.

As I suggested recently, sharing power with Sinn Fein is
merely a matter of time for the DUP, not a matter of

This is important as it does not match the rhetoric or
public impression that is given by DUP pronouncements.
However it is fact. As I said before, if I am wrong about
this then all the DUP has to do is say that they will never
share power with Sinn Fein as a matter of principle and the
matter is resolved.

It was revealing to hear at the DUP conference how many
leading figures, including Ian Paisley himself, were
quoting copiously from the report of the IMC They were
using the IMC Report and it would appear, found it
convincing. What hypocrisy!

It was the Ulster Unionist Party that supported the
establishment of the Commission so that the people would
have genuine information free from Government manipulation.
It was the DUP that opposed the IMC tooth and nail. Once
again the DUP’s double-standards and political opportunism
have been exposed.”


We Need Assembly Now More Than Ever, Empey Tells Coleraine
Ulster Unionists

Speaking to Ulster Unionists in Coleraine this evening UUP
Party Leader Sir Reg Empey said,

“As the talks resume on Monday we will be focused on
achieving the maximum amount of attainable devolution.

Northern Ireland has had to endure politics without power
for too long.

For several years Northern Ireland has had to function
without the Assembly.

Real decisions, which impact upon people’s everyday lives,
have been taken away from us by direct rule Ministers who
mean nothing to people here. Key decisions on rates,
education, health, public spending and how we govern
ourselves are being taken without our input. Our
Westminster representatives are doing a great job but with
such a large labour majority in the House of Commons the
going can be tough.

The drift has to end. One party in particular is happy to
dribble the political football for as long as possible. But
we must wake up to a simple reality. Continuing as we are
is worst of all worlds for unionists. Who wants a process
continuing involving two Governments and Sinn Fein with the
rest of us as spectators? Who wants more concessions to
republicans? I certainly don’t.

Republicans may choose to continue to move towards peaceful
and democratic means at a snail’s pace but that does not
mean that the rest of us should suffer just because they
want to hang onto criminality. The Secretary of State will
have to decide how much longer he is prepared to indulge
Sinn Fein.

Our task in coming weeks will be to restore a proper
decision making process. I am convinced that we need the
Assembly now more than ever. The Executive is just not
going to happen in the short to medium term until unionist
trust has been re-established. In the meantime we want to
see Assembly being able to carry out meaningful legislative
functions that are consistent with maintaining public
confidence in politicians and politics in general.

These will be challenging weeks ahead for us as a party.
With the past now firmly behind us we can and will be
putting forward our plans for breaking the deadlock. Early
indications suggest that unlike DUP proposals, ours have a
chance to succeed.”

(February 3rd, 2006)


Fresh NI Devolution Talks Begin

Talks exploring how to restore a devolved assembly are
taking place between the British and Irish governments and
the NI parties.

NI Secretary Peter Hain and Irish Foreign Minister Dermot
Ahern are chairing the talks at Hillsborough.

Expectations are low after last week's Independent
Monitoring Commission report on continuing IRA activity.

Mr Hain told the BBC: "We need to make progress, we will be
setting a series of dates for further meetings."

He added: "Things need to come to a head, because we can't
continue for much longer in this position.

"Everyone agrees with me on that, from Dr Paisley right the
way through the other parties."


BBC Northern Ireland political editor Mark Devenport said
Territorial Army Artillery soldiers had been due to go to
Hillsborough Castle on Monday to fire a 21-gun salute in
honour of the Queen's accession to the throne.

The salute, however, has been moved to Belfast docks in
order "not to interrupt the politicians".

"That has prompted some unionist protests and what is
certain is that, despite the move, the shadow of guns will
loom over these discussions," he said.

Ian Paisley told the DUP conference at the weekend the
notion all IRA arms had been destroyed was "a blatant lie".

The DUP leader said the days of a power-sharing executive
including Sinn Fein "whilst the IRA was in business", were
over forever.

Gerry Adams told young Sinn Fein members his party rejected
the two-stage approaches to devolution which have been
suggested by unionists.

Mark Devenport added: "After last autumn's IRA
decommissioning, the governments must have hoped the
prospects for progress would be better then they appear

"Given the renewed controversy over IRA guns and activity,
this latest round of talks promises to be an uphill

Devolved government at Stormont was suspended in 2003
following allegations of a republican spy ring at the
Northern Ireland Office.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external
internet sites

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/02/06 09:13:02 GMT


Police Inaction Cost Lives Led To Greysteel Killings

By Suzanne McGonagle

AN SDLP assembly member last night claimed that police
inactivity led to the 1993 Greysteel killings of eight

John Dallat said that he was convinced that “if police had
acted differently lives could have been saved”.

In one of the worst atrocities of the Troubles, UFF gunmen
opened fire on the Rising Sun bar in October 1993 killing

It was an act of retaliation for the IRA’s bombing on the
Shankill Road in west Belfast just days earlier, killing 10

Three people were convicted in connection with the
massacre, but were later granted early release under the
terms of the Good Friday Agreement.

Mr Dallat last night described as “alarming”, new claims
relating to the period before the killings which, he said,
were made to him in recent weeks.

He claimed that in the months prior to the Greysteel
killings, “two high-powered rifles believed to belong to
the UFF” were discovered by anglers on the Agivey River
near Aghadowey.

Mr Dallat said they were moved to protect the identity of
Torrens Knight, who was jailed for his role in the attack.

“The find was reported to me and passed on to a senior
police officer in Coleraine who immediately organised a
search without results,” he said.

“In recent weeks a serving member of the RIR telephoned me
to say that the guns were moved by a member of the Special
Branch who was protecting the identity of Knight, who was a
double agent.

“He went on to claim that one of the guns was used at
Greysteel while the whereabouts of the other is unknown.

“His knowledge of the event clearly indicates that his call
is genuine.”

Mr Dallat also said that police should have done more to
monitor the movements of Knight.

“During this time Knight and his gang were holed up in a
house in Ramsey Park, Macosquin which was owned by a
private landlord,” he said.

“On one occasion a television set was thrown across a room
when police burst in, but there was no prosecution and the
gang subsequently murdered Gerry Dalrymple, James McKenna,
James Kelly and Noel O’Kane at Castlerock.

“In the following weeks I rang a senior police officer on
several occasions asking for progress in their search for
the murderers and received assurances that the UFF gang
were being watched closely and arrests would follow,” he

“It was during this time that the guns were discovered.
There was no dispute that the UFF had carried out the

A police spokesman last night said: “The murder of seven
people in Greysteel in November 1993 caused widespread
shock and revulsion.”

As a result of an extensive police investigation, three men
were convicted and jailed for their parts in the murders.

“Any allegation of wrongdoing on the part of an individual
officer should be reported to the Police Ombudsman so that
a proper investigation can be carried out.”


Calls For Inquiry On 14th Anniversary Of Shootings

By Barry McCaffrey

A victim of a UDA gun attack in which five people were
killed last night called for an independent inquiry into
allegations that police had possession of the murder
weapons before the attack.

Mark Sykes was shot four times when two UDA gunmen fired
more than 50 shots at customers inside Sean Graham’s
Bookmakers on the Ormeau Road in south Belfast on February
5 1992.

Mr Sykes’s 18-year-old cousin Peter Magee was shot dead
alongside him, while Jack Duffin (66), James Kennedy (15)
William McManus (54) and Christy Doherty (52) were also
killed in the attack.

It would later emerge that UDA quartermaster and Special
Branch agent Billy Stobie had handed over a Browning 9mm
pistol to his police handlers in 1989.

However the weapon was returned to the UDA two weeks later
and was then used during an attack on the Devenish Bar in
December 1991 and three months later on the Ormeau Road.

Catholic man Aidan Wallace (22) was shot dead during the
attack on the Devenish Bar while three others were
seriously injured, including eight-year-old Christopher

less, who was shot in the face and lost an eye after gunmen
spotted him hiding underneath a table.

It is understood that evidence confirming Special Branch’s
handling of the murder weapon was redacted from a
subsequent report published by Canadian judge Peter Cory in

Speaking after a prayer vigil to mark the 14th anniversary
of the Ormeau Road attack yesterday, Mark Sykes said: “What
is unbelievable is that police could have had a gun in
their possession and handed it back to the UDA to murder
six more people,” he said.

“For 14 years we have been trying to find out the truth
about these murder weapons.

“We have been refused access to the forensic reports and
other potential evidence.

“We need an independent inquiry into why these murders were
allowed to happen. Even after all this time we are not
being told the truth,” he said.


DUP Members Mixed On Sinn Fein Talks

Feb 6, 2006, 19:00 GMT

Nearly four in ten members of the Democratic Unionist party
would share power with Sinn Fein if the IRA ended
criminality for good and embraced total disarmament,
according to an opinion poll.

A total of 39 per cent of the 100 delegates questioned at
the DUP annual conference in Belfast said under certain
conditions their party should share power with Sinn Fein
and other parties, the opinion poll for the Sunday Times

But 37 per cent said direct rule in Northern Ireland was
preferable to sharing power with Sinn Fein; 24 per cent
expressed no opinion either way.

The British and Irish governments begin talks today to
revive devolution at Stormont.

A total of 93 per cent of delegates said they remained
unconvinced decommissioning had been completed. A total of
four per cent said they believed it had.

Seventeen per cent of delegates agreed it was timely for
the DUP to enter into dialogue with Sinn Fein.

Although over eight out of ten (82 per cent) were opposed
to the idea, 96 per cent said they believed their party
should share power with the nationalist SDLP.

Last September the IRA issued a statement saying it had
destroyed its stockpile of weapons.

DUP leader Dr Ian Paisley on Saturday said the 'final' act
of decommissioning was 'a lie'.

The veteran leader told the conference: 'When I look back
over the last month, I see the mighty host of forces intent
on pushing down the throats of the Ulster people the
blatant lie that the IRA has decommissioned all its

'That falsehood was so blatant even Lord Haw-Haw would have
blushed to utter it.'

The Independent Monitoring Commission (IMC) recently found
some members of the IRA remain wedded to criminality and

Dr Paisley retains the support of his party, according to
the poll, with 85 per cent of delegates of the view that
the North Antrim MP should continue on as leader.

One in ten said the 79-year old should retire.

Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams said his party was ready to
work alongside the DUP.

'Each day British direct rule ministers take decisions on
spending reviews, health, education, the environment,
energy and other matters which adversely effect every
citizen in the north and have a knock-on effect throughout
the whole island.

'The DUP's refusal to work with Sinn Fein in government is
allowing this to continue.'

© 2006 Adfero Ltd.


Changed Times As Dublin Official Attends DUP Conference

06 February 2006

AN official from the Irish government attended a DUP
conference for the first time on Saturday, marking another
significant step in the party's official contacts with the

However, the attendance of the Dublin observer appeared to
make no difference in the DUP's attitude towards or
treatment of the Republic. The official heard DUP leader
Ian Paisley attack President Mary McAleese and reiterate
that anyone who talks to the Dublin government about
Northern Ireland's affairs "is a traitor".

DUP sources said the observer from the Department of
Foreign Affairs was not officially invited, but there was
no objection to his attendance.

Mr Paisley dealt with relations with the Irish Government
during his speech.

"Bertie Ahern, your writ does run not here in loyal
Ulster," he told delegates.

"That is why on Monday when I lead a delegation to
Hillsborough House we will not be seeing Bertie Ahern to
talk to him on anything that has to do with the internal
government of these six counties."

He added: "Any man that talks to Sinn Fein about our
internal affairs, any man that talks to the Dublin
government about our internal affairs, is a traitor to this

Referring to his breakfast meeting with the Taoiseach in
London, he said: "I have no fear of Bertie Ahern. I didn't
eat his eggs, not until I had examined them carefully. I
want to say to you I'm not afraid of the Irish Government."

Mr Paisley also attacked Mrs McAleese. "I don't like the
President of the Irish Republic. I don't like her because
she's dishonest."

Irish premier Bertie Ahern last night said it was "deeply
regrettable" that Democratic Unionist leader Reverend Ian
Paisley had accused President Mary McAleese of being

A spokesman for the Taoiseach said the criticisms were
regrettable, insisting that no-one had done more than the
President to help build bridges between communities in
Northern Ireland.

"Nobody has done more than the President to reach
courageously and imaginatively to all communities in
Northern Ireland, or to acknowledge in a public way the
very considerable progress which has been made in policing
in Northern Ireland."


Paisley Refuses To Apologise For McAleese Slur

06 February 2006 12:30

The DUP leader, Ian Paisley, has refused to apologise for
critical comments regarding President Mary McAleese, which
he made at his party's conference over the weekend.

Mr Paisley said that, when President McAleese had made
comments regarding Unionists and Nazis, the Irish
Government had been strangely silent.

He said that he had spoken the truth at the weekend and the
Irish Government were going to have to take it.

He also said that Sinn Féin should not be involved in
negotiations with the two governments while criminality is

Earlier, the Northern Secretary, Peter Hain, said he was
confident that a way forward could be found at talks which
get under way at Hillsborough in Co Down today.

The discussions, involving Northern Ireland's political
parties and the Irish and British governments, will explore
ways of restoring a power-sharing assembly at Stormont.

Mr Hain said all the parties had put forward proposals and
all sides accepted that the current state of political
paralysis was simply not sustainable.

The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dermot Ahern, is
representing the Irish Government at the talks.

The Assembly has been closed since autumn 2002.


Paisley: Sinn Féin Should Be Barred From Talks

06/02/2006 - 12:33:20

Sinn Féin should be barred from discussing the formation of
a devolved government in the North, the Rev Ian Paisley
said today.

After meetings in Hillsborough Castle with Northern Ireland
Secretary Peter Hain and Foreign Minister Dermot Ahern, the
Democratic Unionist leader said the IRA would have to

“I want to see them disbanded,” the North Antrim MP said.

“You cannot sit at a table as IRA/Sinn Féin.

“They must be disbanded. That is what ministers of the
Republic of Ireland have said.

“One of their ex-prime ministers said they should be an old
boys’ association.”

Mr Paisley said his party had managed to ensure that Mr
Ahern and his officials from Dublin would have no role in
negotiations on the internal affairs of Northern Ireland.

The DUP leader said Sinn Féin could not qualify as
democrats because of continuing IRA criminal activity.

“We are told by the (Good Friday) Agreement that only
democrats should be there and they don’t have democrats
there,” he said.

“Their (the British and Irish governments’) own commissions
have said they are not democratic.”


Solicitor Makes Bail Application

A SOLICITOR who was recently arrested and questioned over
allegations of being a member of a paramilitary group made
a High Court bail application at Laganside courts on
Saturday. However, members of the public and press were
barred from court. Limavady lawyer 41-year-old Manmohan
'Johnny' Sandhu was arrested last Thursday and questioned
about terrorist activity and alleged membership of the UVF.
It is understood his arrest came after police bugged the
Serious Crime Suite at Antrim PSNI Station and recorded a
consultation Mr Sandhu had with a client. Chief Constable
Hugh Orde has come under sustained pressure from the Law
Society to explain why they bugged what is supposed to be
confidential meetings between solicitors and their clients.


Mayor In US Visit To Discuss Death

By Debra Douglas
06 February 2006

THE MAYOR of Newry and Mourne Council, Pat McGinn, is to
visit New York to discuss the death of 19-year-old Patrick

Mr Guiney, from the Glen area of Newry, died in Pearl River
in September 2002. An official report suggested he took his
own life but the Sinn Fein councillor said there are
concerns which needed raised with those involved in the

Councillor McGinn said: "Many people including myself feel
that there are important questions to be asked. I'll avail
of the opportunity to put these questions directly to those
involved and I also intend using my visit there to
highlight the incident once again and to encourage new
witnesses to come forward.

"There's a strong feeling amongst many people who have
examined this case that Patrick was murdered and it's
essential that the case is high- lighted in the hope that
someone, somewhere, either in the USA or Ireland, comes


Opin: No Half-Way House Just A Full, Working Assembly

By Tom Kelly

On Saturday the DUP leader addressed his party referencing;
‘Lord Haw-Haw’, ‘the retreat from Dunkirk’, ‘the Battle of
Britain’ and ‘the Normandy landings’.

Not a surprising context for a man of 80 years. The speech
did not disappoint and the old rhetoric proved that,
notwithstanding snow on the roof, there is more than an
ember or two burning in the DUP leader’s furnace.

Where Paisley finds himself now is his greatest triumph –
he leads the largest party in Northern Ireland and he has
temporarily stalled the advancement of the Provisional

The British government has welcomed him into the inner
sanctum of the Privy Council and he has won the right of
entry to the House of Lords and can bask in the contentment
that all of these successes will elude any would-be

The roaring reverend likes to present himself as a latter
day Lord Carson. Unfortunately, for Mr Paisley, Carson died
knowing he failed. Lord Carson merely stalled the
inevitable, becoming in his words “a mere puppet in a
political game” and thus has been the history of unionism
and the reduced ‘Ulster’ ever since. This year’s DUP
conference appears to be marked with less jibes against
Catholicism and the hierarchy. Though I suspect it is a
tactical ploy rather than any sincere form of emerging
respect, for it would appear there are now two parties
coexisting within the DUP. The unapologetic fundamentalist
DUP (which is a Christian form of Taliban) is in a
succession battle with the more secular and pragmatic
‘unionist’ one.

Though to be honest it may be difficult to identify who is
in which camp at the moment. While anti-Catholic rhetoric
may be useful for wringing the last sectarian vote from
diehard loyalists, it is unlikely to convince moderate
nationalists that there is any real inclusiveness at the
heart of DUP policy. Ironically, it is the DUP
fundamentalism that is driving the British government to
regard secularism as a social panacea to all our ills.

Not for the first time will a British solution to an Irish
problem fall flat on its face.

Tolerance and mutual respect are not known as twin pillars
of loyalism or indeed modern Provisional thought.

Everything is either won or wrested without grace or favour
from the cheap bartering process that masquerades as
politics in the north.

While convincing the majority of unionists to vote for it,
the DUP now has two problems: The first is where to next?

The DUP is fundamentally a devolutionist party. Well it was
until nine of its members arrived at the House of Commons.

With three more destined for the House of Lords, the
appetite for devolution seems somewhat suppressed and with
ordinary unionist voters indifferent to direct rule – if it
keeps Sinn Fein out of power, the DUP is less coherent and
less assured of the next politically advantageous move.

Secondly, DUP spokesmen and women do little to convince
moderate Catholics that they mean what they say when it
comes to power-sharing. DUP reaction to the public
appointments, such as that of the equality commissioner,
does little to foster confidence in a DUP-led
administration when contrasted with their overly
enthusiastic reaction to the appointment of the interim
victims commissioner.

Such a stance fuels suspicion about a deeply-held anti-
Catholic bias among the DUP membership. How the DUP
addresses such issues will have to go beyond mutterings
about treating Catholic constituents equally. How else
should members of the public, whose faiths differ to their
MP’s, expect to be treated?

The protection or meaning of civil and religious liberties
for all has had little resonance in Northern Ireland since

Today’s commencement of talks should be based on realism.

The British government is anxious to get an interim
arrangement short of a full executive up and running as
soon as possible.

That would be a folly. The date for the May 2007 elections
should be brought forward to autumn 2006 or March 2007 then
the parties (without any option of a half-way house) could
agree a settlement that could be ratified by the
electorate. This way there could be no ‘wriggle room’ for
the respective parties to engage in pre-election posturing
from the luxury of holding seats of authority without
responsibility. Perhaps next year Paisley will echo Carson
who in 1928 said: “No, I think there would be more decency
in a republic than in this humbug. In fact I’d rather see a
republic.” Never say never.


Opin: Paisley Rediscovers His Political Vigour

By Chris Thorton
06 February 2006

IAN Paisley is not an old man in a hurry. The DUP leader,
who turns 80 in April, will enter today's talks at
Hillsborough Castle content, for now, to let the hare sit.

Mr Paisley was in his finest rhetorical form of the past
couple of years when he bellowed and cooed at his party's
delegates during their annual conference on Saturday.

Undeniably his health has improved since he revealed he was
at "death's door" some months ago, but his renewal may also
owe something to finding himself on familiar ground.

The DUP is back in opposition; at least in terms of tearing
up the outcome that London and Dublin might have hoped for

Yes, the DUP have proposals for a settlement but, so far at
least, they are without wider support. At any rate, the
party's best energies on Saturday were devoted to
articulating why they won't be contemplating the kind of
executive they nearly signed up to 14 months ago.

"There will be no inclusive executive with Sinn Fein as
long as the IRA is in business and engaged in criminality,"
Mr Paisley said.

"The day for the inclusive executive on such a basis is
over for ever. I bury it this day. It is buried in a
Sadducee's grave which can see no resurrection."

There now appears to be no basis for the governments' hopes
that the power part of power-sharing might tempt Mr Paisley
into the second half of the equation with Sinn Fein.

The DUP leader - the most likely candidate for First
Minister in such an eventuality - does not seem to feel
there is a shortage of time confronting him. The hand of
history is not on his shoulder or any other part of his

Sammy Wilson, the East Antrim MP who traditionally provides
the comic interlude at DUP conferences, finished his turn
on Saturday comparing Mr Paisley to a sea captain on the
bridge of his ship laughing at storms.

He also put Peter Robinson, Mr Paisley's deputy, in the
chart room "plotting the course ahead". If Mr Paisley
provides the broad strokes for the party, it is to Mr
Robinson that the governments will turn for the detail of
the DUP position.

Mr Robinson's long speech on Saturday carried an implicit
reminder to delegates that he is the architect of their
electoral dominance, but he also talked a lot about crime,
specifically crime carried out by republicans. Twice he
referred to there being no "acceptable level of

Fourteen months ago, the critical test was photographs of
decommissioning. Now the DUP has retrenched on criminality.

Mr Paisley did not entirely rule out power-sharing with
Sinn Fein, but only defined the conditions for it as
including an absence of criminality.

Mr Robinson spoke in a similar vein, saying last week's IMC
report showed "that there is still a very long way to go
before republicans are democratised.

"Democracy cannot tolerate a situation where criminality is
institutionalised at the hear of the state and that is
exactly what would be done if we were to permit an
organisation like Sinn Fein, which is still seamlessly
linked to paramilitary and criminal activity, into
government," he said.

In the absence of a clean IMC report, he said, it would be
"quite simply preposterous and outrageous to expect
unionists to move".

That casts things forward, at the very least, to April,
when the next report from the paramilitary watchdog is
delivered. Whether that would be an appropriate gift for Mr
Paisley's birthday remains to be seen.

He finished his speech with sentiment and a call to the

"I love Ulster. I love every part of Ulster," he said. "I
love its people and its ways and I love those that differ
from me politically and religiously", although he added
that he prays for them to change their ways.

"We've hills to climb," he told delegates. "We've mountains
to shift. We've roads to lay. We've a house to build. We've
this province to defend."

None of those projects sound like short-term affairs.


Opin: ‘Beauty’ Can Be Born From Democracy

The Monday Column
By Roy Garland

Leaving aside controversial aspects of President McAleese’s
speech on 1916’s legacy, she made some very significant
points. Using a phrase borrowed from Yeats’s Easter 1916
she said Ireland’s relationship with Britain had “changed
utterly”. Britain and Ireland were “now working side by
side as mutually respectful partners, helping to develop a
stable and peaceful future in Northern Ireland”. This, the
fruit of the Good Friday Agreement, “ends forever one of
the Rising’s most difficult legacies – how the people of
this island look at partition”. Overwhelmingly the
constitutional position of Northern Ireland is now accepted
and can only be changed through the ballot box. Around 85
per cent of DUP members accept this and, in doing so,
reject the stated view of their leader that unity is
already here, or just round the corner. Members don’t
expect unity within the next 20 years – thanks to, among
others, their political rivals, the Ulster Unionists.

McAleese sees the future as one in which unionists and
nationalists will have everything to gain from treating
each other with magnanimity. Each group has a different
vision for the future – though not perhaps as different as
many think – and these are to be sold to, rather than
forced upon, each other. In this context pressure salesmen
are not good salesmen. The future lies firmly in the hands
of Northern Irish people and their children who in freedom
“will have choices to make and those choices will be

She says that the climate changed “dramatically” with IRA
decommissioning. To many people the climate at first didn’t
seem to change utterly but the new reality slowly “sinks
in”. It has taken much effort and time to get to this point
and for many the shine has worn off and the future seems
strewn with obstacles and man-traps. The impact of
decommissioning was diminished because it was long delayed
and became a political football. Meanwhile the DUP
leadership cried ‘wolf, wolf’ for much too long and
successfully boxed themselves in.

The IMC has found indications that some IRA guns were
retained beyond what might be expected for personal
protection. Criminality also remains but, the IMC notes,
“PIRA units have been closing down criminal operations”.
The IMC insists however that “abandonment has to be total”.
Intelligence gathering gives rise to concerns about
possible “subversive intent”. However, despite
reservations, the IMC sees a “clear strategic intent to
turn the [IRA] organisation on to a political path”.

This turning is compared to a large oil tanker slowly
changing direction and finding “added turbulence‚ en
route”. The IRA still struggle with turbulence as it faces
the absolute requirement of all democratic parties, to
openly and resolutely support policing – albeit, not

Winston Churchill famously said, “In victory magnanimity,
in peace: goodwill”. While unionists no longer dominate,
their dreams have been largely fulfilled. The old Dublin
claim to jurisdiction is gone, the IRA melts away,
criminality has no future, guns have no place, paramilitary
organisations no useful purpose and old sectarian rhetoric
is an embarrassment. The storms of sectarian conflict are
subsiding and the battlefield is being cleared.

The future is ours and the only remaining restraints are
democratic ones – we must do it together and coercion must
be consigned to history books.

In Easter 1916, WB Yeats said, “Too long a sacrifice can
make a stone of the heart”. We urgently need Churchill’s
magnanimity to break the gloomy cycle. Unionists won
crucial arguments about Northern Ireland, while
nationalists won the argument for power sharing. Paisley’s
DUP is an undeserving beneficiary and such a political
party, especially when headed by a pastor, should not
squander this golden opportunity to show Christian virtue
and magnanimity.

If, however, Paisley fails, as now seems likely, he will go
down as the once angry caricature of Charlie Chaplin’s take
off of Adolf Hitler, who became a disgruntled older man
lacking the courage to grasp nettles. Sinn Fein on the
other hand has nothing of substance to justify its refusal
to support the PSNI and wholeheartedly endorse the rule of
law. Together these parties have it in their gift to
liberate their hostages who are subtly linked by hidden
umbilical cords to the fading tribal warlords who haven’t
yet noticed that all is changed, changed utterly.



Government Hangs Tough On Sellafield

Kevin Rafter Public Affairs Correspondent

A PLAN to reduce the number of EU safety inspections at
Sellafield and other British nuclear plants will be
strongly resisted, the government has warned the European

Environment minister Dick Roche has informed senior
European officials that he would oppose any move to switch
inspections away from nuclear plants in older member states
to plants in the 10 new member states which joined the EU
in May 2004.

The plan is being justified as the best use of available
resources in light of the poor state of the nuclear
industry in the 10 new countries and treaty obligations to
improve nuclear safety in those states.

"We radically disagree that the EU should switch resources
to the new countries. It would be fundamentally wrong to
treat different member states differently. We have no
reason to trust British Nuclear Fuels on safety matters, "
Roche told the Sunday Tribune.

The environment minister met last week in Brussels with two
EU commissioners, vicepresident Franco Frattini and Anreas
Piebalgs, who has responsibility for nuclear energy and

"The commission has been notably inactive to date but I
called them to account, " Roche said.

The government wants the commission to increase its
involvement in dealing with Sellafield and the implications
from the leak discovered at the Thorp plant early last

"The commission now has a legal and moral imperative to up
its game in tackling the UK failures, " Roche said.

There is still annoyance in government circles at the EU
Commission's decision to instigate legal action against
Ireland for taking a case against the United Kingdom in the
United Nations courts.

The case is now being pursued through the European Courts,
although Roche said the government may ultimately take a
legal action against the European Commission itself should
it fail to assist in the action against Sellafield. A final
decision on the legitimacy of Ireland's right to use the UN
courts is expected shortly.

"We make no apology for pursuing all legal and political
action to further our case, " Roche said.


Better Pay, More Time In The Pub . . . It's Still A Man's

Martin Frawley

EXACTLY 30 years ago this week, Europe shattered Eamon de
Valera's idyllic view of an Ireland full of comely maidens
dancing at the crossroads when Brussels ordered that, as
and from 10 February 1976, every woman was entitled to
equal pay for equal work.

Not everybody in the Ireland of the 1970s was enthused
about giving women a leg up the corporate ladder. Speaking
in the Seanad, Fine Gael's Dalgan Lyons said that the
Catholic church's teaching was that "a woman's place is in
the home and that her first duty is to the family".

"Let us face it, " he continued, "the question of equal
opportunity in the home would be decried by every male I
know because no male would accept the duties of a woman in
the home for 24 hours a day and seven days a week. A woman
has to rear her family and at the same time, probably has
to endure the problems associated with husbands, problems
which are not negligible."

This, it has to be said, was at a time when the civil
service had only just lifted its ban on married women
holding any job in the civil service . . . a ban which the
current secretarygeneral of the Department of Transport,
Julie O'Neill (see panel), said had denied the state the
services of hundreds of bright and intelligent women.

At the time, women had also only just started being
employed as cashiers in the banks. Up until then, the banks
had said that businessmen would not lodge money in what
would be regarded as an "unsound and unbusinesslike"
organisation if they employed women.

'That's women for you' Sixteen years later, little had
changed. In 1992, the then Taoiseach, Albert Reynolds, put
his politically incorrect foot right in it when, in the
face of constant interruption from Fine Gael's Nora Owen
during a debate on the illfated abortion bill, he leaned
back and said "that's women for you".

Two years earlier, the former EU commissioner, Padraig
Flynn made a far more serious gaffe when, during the 1990
presidential campaign, he remarked on radio about candidate
Mary Robinson's "new- found interest in her family".

This remark seriously backfired for Flynn and Fianna Fail,
and only galvanised support . . . particularly from women .
. . for Robinson, who romped home and was duly installed as
the first woman president of Ireland.

The then Taoiseach, Charles Haughey, recognised the scale
of Flynn's mistake and, at Robinson's inauguration
ceremony, admitted that "untoward, hurtful and wounding"
remarks had been made.

While Haughey pleaded that such rows be "set aside", a year
later he and Flynn were both gone and Robinson went on from
the Park to the UN.

But while women have undoubtedly made significant strides
across the shop floor, inequality still exists 30 years on.
The last major Irish survey on pay differences between men
and women, conducted by the ESRI in 2001, showed that women
across the country still earned 15% less than men.

Same work, less pay A more targeted survey by the ESRI
before last Christmas indicated there had been little to no
movement since then. A study of the pay differences between
male and female graduates just three years after leaving
college showed that "a significant" hourly pay gap of over
8% . . .

14.70 for men and 13.50 for women . . . was evident among
graduates working in the private sector. There was no gap,
however, in the public sector.

The ESRI focused on graduates just three years into their
careers on the basis that most would not yet have started a
family. This meant that what the ESRI termed "the wage
penalty around motherhood" would not be factored into the
survey so that any difference in pay could be put down to
raw discrimination.

On top of the considerable 8% salary gap in the private
sector, this study also found that more men than women
received bonuses at work.

Even where both received bonuses, men on average were paid
over 2,900 while women got 2,200 . . . a difference which
pushed the earnings pay gap out to 13%.

Last year, a separate survey of human resources managers .
. . ironically a profession now dominated by women . . .

showed a massive 37% pay gap, with women earning an average
of 43,000 a year while men enjoy 59,000.

A third ESRI survey produced around the same time more than
hinted at underlying causes for the gap. The ESRI's Time
Study showed that women spent on average almost five-and-a-
half hours a day doing unpaid housework and looking after
children and the elderly, while men managed just over an
hour daily at the same activity.

Men, however, were way ahead in terms of time spent in the
pub, whiling away an average of 25 minutes a day at the bar
while women could only fit in 11 minutes.

Probably the biggest gain made by women over the last 30
years has been their increased participation rate in the
workforce, giving them financial independence from their

Back in the 1970s, just over 13% of married women in
Ireland were engaged in paid work. Today, that figure has
ballooned to over 60% and rising. Of the over 90,000 jobs
created last year, 40,000 were taken up by immigrant
workers. But the next biggest group of 25,000 were women
aged 40-plus returning to the workforce after their
children were reared.

The downside, however, is that the majority of these women
take lower-paid service-related jobs, copperfastening the
ghettoisation of women into lower-paid jobs.

The fear is that economic necessity is forcing women into
poorly paid jobs rather than potentially well-paid careers.

According to Gillian Bowler, who rose rapidly to the top of
the business world with her company, Budget Travel (see
panel), the growing economy has provided women with greater
opportunities but it has also created new issues around how
working couples manage the shrinking number of family hours
in the day.

Claiming Civil rights Despite the public service being to
the fore on equality, almost 80% of the lower paid clerical
officer grade are still women while men dominate the top
grade of secretarygeneral. This has given rise to several
claims of indirect discrimination from the CPSU trade
union, which represents clerical officers in the civil

Last year, it won over 23m from the government after
successfully arguing that its clerical officers did greater
value work than the higherpaid 'paperkeeper' grade which,
up until recently, was solely reserved for men.

The CPSU will shortly ratchet up the battle when it lodges
more than 10,000 equality claims, potentially worth 300m,
against . . . somewhat ironically . . . the Minister for
Justice, Equality and Law Reform, Michael McDowell.

The lotto-like claim follows last month's decision that
seven clerical officers working in garda stations should be
paid the same as the gardai working on clerical duties
beside them, who earn up to 10,000 more.

Though these claims are seen as opportunistic by the
government, the CPSU says that the reason it takes, and
wins, these cases is because discrimination against women
still exists in the public service.

Back in the mid-'70s, while introducing the equality
legislation in Ireland, the then minister for labour,
Michael O'Leary, said that while the new law was a
beginning, "the full realisation of equality between men
and women will necessitate changes in deeprooted
assumptions and attitudes about women's and men's roles in
social and economic arrangements".

Thirty years on, it seems that many of those assumptions
remain as deep-rooted as they did 30 years ago.


Kavanagh's Sacred Keeper

John Waters

Dr Peter Kavanagh, at the moment of his death last week
in the US, was the most important surviving figure of 20th
century Irish literature. Although his artistic role was
really that of handservant to his brother, such is the
gargantuan breadth of Patrick Kavanagh's poetic vision that
both he and Peter will, in a thousand years, be remembered,
revered and read.

Peter had many great qualities as a man, writer and
intellect, but perhaps his greatest gifts were his
capacities for humility and love. Disabused of his own
early poetic ambitions by Patrick, who told him there could
only be one poet in any family, he devoted himself from his
teens to what he unsentimentally recognised as his
brother's superior genius. He learned about poetry so he
could guide and protect Patrick, whose "ignorance" both men
regarded as essential to the preservation of his gift. In
his role as critic/editor of Patrick's work, Peter was
rigorous and direct and unquestionably sharpened Patrick's
sensibility for the exploration of his own gift. Each new
offering was subjected to the ultimate acid test: did it
have "the flash"? In one letter, Patrick picked up on a
comment of Peter's: "Interesting you say I go false in the
Mucker poems. They are lies. I never belonged there.
Terrible, ignorant, vulgar place Inniskeen."

They soldiered many years together in the artistic desert
that was Dublin in the middle of the last century. Peter
supported Patrick, materially, mentally, emotionally and
spiritually, through many years of poverty and destitution,
and it was Peter who preserved the best of the poems,
spending months or years sorting and ironing - yes, ironing
- the dog-eared surviving manuscripts before printing them
up in fine volumes on a home-made handpress constructed by
Peter from bits of scrap metal.

Without Peter, many of Kavanagh's best poems would be lost.

Since Patrick died, four decades ago, Peter has been as
though his ghost in the world, reiterating his perspectives
and defending his interests and reputation. In this he was
fulfilling an obligation to Patrick but also motivated by
what he called "my own poetic faith". He had no choice, he
would explain, "because I was hooked on poetry at least as
solidly as he was".

Peter's own books about Patrick are themselves great works
of poetry, history and art. The two most indispensable
books to an understanding of Patrick Kavanagh are The
Complete Poems of Patrick Kavanagh, and Sacred Keeper (both
books are published by Kavanagh Hand Press, though largely
unavailable in Ireland due to a long-running legal
dispute). The title of the latter work derived from
Patrick's designation of his brother as "the sacred keeper
of my sacred conscience". A compendium of letters, essays,
extracts, reminiscences and reflections, interspersed with
sections of biography and a few photographs, Sacred Keeper
conveys the essence of Patrick Kavanagh and the primary
mission of his work.

"When I write about Patrick Kavanagh," it begins, "I write
as a partisan, as his alter ego, almost as his evangelist."
Their relationship as brothers, he stresses on the next
page, is scarcely relevant: "My interest in him was mainly
as a poet."

For both men, poetry was a moral calling that required one
to be rigorous beyond other considerations. This ethic was
to cost them both dearly throughout their difficult public
lives. "The poetic mind," said Peter, "is a strictly moral
mind pared of decoration." A poem is really a prayer, he
would say; the true poet is gifted by God, and both are far
scarcer phenomena than is generally believed.

I became friendly with Peter towards the end of his life
and had the great privilege, two summers ago, of
interviewing him in public at Trinity College Dublin,
before 500 devotees of Patrick Kavanagh's work.

"We were enchanted," he explained, meaning that poetry was
not literature, but theology, and those who are given the
gift are therefore touched by God in a way others rarely
are. Peter believed that what marked his brother apart from
mere literary giants such as Yeats, Synge, Joyce and
Beckett was that he had found his way back to the Source.

He did not regard literature as a means of chronicling the
human condition, but as a chink through which we might peer
into the fourth dimension of life, that aspect of existence
that remains invisible but is always seeking to find ways
of telling us its truth.

"The experience, as I see it," he reiterated that night in
TCD, "is really prayer. Patrick believed in the divinity,
so what he hoped was to get a flash of that beatific
vision, that supernatural place. Words are the least
important part of it. In a poem, words burn up in a
tremendous thread of something unusual."

In the person of Peter Kavanagh, the same thing happened.
He was, as he once rather reluctantly allowed of Yeats, a
poet in the very fabric of his life. May eternal light
shine upon him.

© The Irish Times


Bishop Casey Returns From Exile

By Staff Reporter

Bishop Eamonn Casey, disgraced and exiled for the last 14
years after it emerged he had fathered a son during an
affair with an American divorcee, last night returned to

Bishop Casey arrived at Dublin port on a ferry from Wales
shortly before 6pm and was driven out of the terminal at
high speed.

He will move into a house in the Parish of Shanaglish at
Beagh in south Galway with the blessing of the Bishop of
Galway Dr Martin Drennan, rather than return to the city.

Dr Drennan had urged Bishop Casey to publicly apologise for
his affair with Annie Murphy before returning to the

But he insisted that Dr Casey was welcome back in Galway
and that he could expect a sympathetic reception from the

During the secret relationship, which began in the early
1970s, the couple had a son, Peter and it was alleged that
church funds were used to pay the Bishop’s maintenance

When the matter became public, Bishop Casey resigned his
post and left for a missionary position in Ecuador. He
later moved to England where he acted as a curate and
chaplain in the Sussex parish of Stapleford.

Bishop Casey arrived in Dublin on a ferry from Holyhead and
was driven out of the port at high speed.

It is unclear when Bishop Casey will return to Galway. A
house in the rural town of Shanaglish was renovated over
the last few weeks in order for the 78-year-old Bishop to
move in and enjoy his retirement.

Fr Patrick Callanan, parish priest of Kilbeacanty and
Beagh, which includes Shanaglish, suggested it may be
within the next week.

Dr Drennan has also said that when Dr Casey arrives back in
the county he intends to celebrate Mass in the local church
to mark the occasion.

Michael Whelan, owner of Whelan’s pub in Shanaglish, said
the entire community supported Bishop Casey’s return.

“It is wonderful and let the man come home in peace and
leave him alone. He has suffered enough,” Mr Whelan said.

Remembering the work Bishop Casey undertook to help set up
the homeless charity Shelter, Mr Whelan said: “He should be
remembered for all the Trojan work that he has done.”

And he insisted there was not one dissenting voice in the

“I didn’t hear one person saying ‘no, he shouldn’t return’
and we’re all delighted that he is coming to our village.
He’ll be heartily welcomed. He is an old man now, let him
him have his peace – he hasn’t had too much peace in the
last 14 years.

“There’s great excitement and great chat about it every
night in the pub.”

Mr Whelan said Bishop Casey was well known to many in the
town after celebrating Masses and confirmations for many of
the local people.

But controversy still dogs Bishop Casey as Gardai
investigate allegations made last November that he sexually
abused a girl more than 30 years ago. It is understood he
has yet to be spoken to by detectives in connection with
the claims.

The middle-aged woman who made the allegations claimed the
abuse took place more than three decades ago in Ireland and
it is believed she has made similar unproven claims against
others in the past.

Bishop Casey has vigorously denied the allegations. He
stood aside from active ministry in Staplefield in the
Diocese of Arundel and Brighton when the allegations were

It is understood if he is cleared of the allegations, he
could be asked to perform clerical duties in the parish.

After sensationally standing down as Bishop of Galway and
fleeing Ireland in May 1992, Bishop Casey has lived in the
United States, Mexico, Ecuador and England.

Although a frequent, if low-key, visitor to Ireland over
the years, Bishop Casey has stayed with family and friends
without attracting attention


Irish Blogging Awards

Ireland's first ever Blogging Awards celebrating the
online blogging community, will be hosted by 2FM's Rick
O'Shea on March 11th in Buswells Hotel, Dublin 2.

Irelands blog community has grown to over 1000 people
sharing their views, thoughts, opinions and interests

Event organiser Damien Mulley says "While the Irish
blogging community is small right now, the community
outputs a considerable amount of work that is consistently
of very high quality. With this in mind we decided that
having an awards event now would be a way of showing the
newest members of the Irish Blogging Community the blogs
that our community is most proud of. The awards will be our
quality mark."

There are currently 27 Million blogs online with new blog
being created every second. Some well known bloggers
include Labour Deputy Leader Liz McManus, columnist Richard
Delevan, Sky News's Jeremy Thompson and the web inventor
Tim Berners Lee.

Many companies now monitor blogs to gauge peoples opinions
on their products or competitors products. Large and small
companies are now also encouraging employees to blog and
engage in public discussions via blogs. General Motors, Sun
and Microsoft have all created spaces for their employees
to blog and to interact with and gauge the opinions of
existing and potential new customers.

Amazon are now linking directly to the blogs of authors so
their fans can interact with their heros with the chance of
more merchandise being purchased

The newest beta version of Internet Explorer was helped a
great deal by the Microsoft Engineers engaging with the
public and soliciting feedback via a dedicated blog for

IE7 now also allows direct subscriptions to blogs and will
automatically download and display the latest material from
a subscribed blog. With an 80% market share it is predicted
that the audience for blogging is going to explode in 2006.


Awards Aim To Put A Gloss On Ulster

Best Kept trophies up for grabs in towns and villages

By Debra Douglas
06 February 2006

TOWNS and villages across Northern Ireland were today being
urged to get involved in the prestigious Best Kept Awards.

And to encourage them to do so, the 2006 scheme - launched
today - will include a new Welcome Award category for towns
and villages that haven't taken part in the initiative
before or within the last five years.

Doreen Muskett, chairman of the Northern Ireland Amenity
Council (NIAC), organisers of the scheme, encouraged
communities to get involved.

"We get 200 entries in the towns and villages section of
the awards annually but we would like to see even more,"
she said.

"There are communities all over Northern Ireland that are
doing great work to improve the environment and they are
not getting recognition for their efforts.

"We believe it is more important than ever before to bring
new towns and villages on board and to reward local
communities for protecting and upgrading their

"There is so much development going on in our towns that we
must also ensure the preservation of our natural and built
heritage at the same time."

Nigel Briggs, managing director of Musgrave SuperValu-
Centra NI, added: "SuperValu is proud to sponsor the Best
Kept Awards because they are a unique way of motivating
communities to make their surroundings more attractive and

"The 34 independently owned SuperValu stores in Northern
Ireland play a part in the scheme, because their owners and
employees want to help create local support for
environmental projects."

NIAC uses the SuperValu Best Kept Awards to acknowledge
community projects that tackle environmental issues and
encourage recycling and wildlife conservation.

The judges will choose the best kept towns, villages,
housing areas, healthcare facilities and schools by the end
of the summer. Entrants are judged on a number of criteria,
including the absence of litter, fly-posting and graffiti.
Points are also scored for evidence of community
participation in local initiatives.

The closing date for the Best Kept Town, Village and
Housing Area awards is April 24.

Healthcare facility awards close on May 22 and the schools
category is open until March 6.

Entry forms are available from NIAC on 028 9040 3681 or
visit for more information.

To receive this news via email, click HERE.
No Message is necessary.
To Get RSS Feed for Irish Aires News click HERE
(Paste into a News
To January 2006 Index
To Index of Monthly Archives
Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?