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February 03, 2006

SF Focused Ahead of Talks

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News About Ireland & The Irish

SF 02/03/06 Sinn Féin Focused Ahead Of Talks
BN 02/03/06 Ahern: IRA Has Gone Far Enough To Warrant Talks
IT 02/04/06 North Landscape Changed - Ahern
IT 02/04/06 FG: Taoiseach 'Pandering' To Sinn Féin
IT 02/04/06 Paisley To Insist On Need For IRA To Disband
DU 02/03/06 Dodds Calls For IRA Disbandment
UT 02/03/06 Police Dismayed At Community Support Moves
IA 02/03/06 10 Rsns To Hold Your Applause For British Army
UT 02/03/06 UUP 'Has Lost Pole Position In Unionism'
IT 02/03/06 Bomb Alert At School Declared A Hoax
AP 02/03/06 M McAllister: Former Convict Wants To Stay In
SF 02/03/06 EU Must Act On Violence Against Women" de Brún
BN 02/03/06 Omagh Suspect 'Hid In Bushes To Escape Arrest'
IM 02/03/06 RFÉ Will Have On As Guest Dr. Robert W.White
BB 02/03/06 Families' Feud Link To Stab Death
IT 02/03/06 Opin: Nrrw View Of ‘16 Prove Obstacle To Peace
IT 02/03/06 Opin: No's Justice Scheme Threatens Democracy
MC 02/03/06 Book Review: All Will Be Well By John Mcgahern
GU 02/03/06 Book Review: Conquering History
IT 02/04/06 Plan For Cable Car Attraction On Liffey
IT 02/04/06 Daring Cable Car Plan Inspired By London Eye
IT 02/04/06 Hairdressers Crack Code That Baffled Mensa


Sinn Féin Focused Ahead Of Talks

Published: 3 February, 2006

Speaking in advance of this weekends Ogra Sinn Féin
conference and next weeks political talks Sinn Fein Chief
Negotiator Martin McGuinness MP today said that the Sinn
Fein focus in the coming period was to defend the Good
Friday Agreement and press ahead with the restoration of
the institutions. Mr McGuinness also criticised the current
approach of the SDLP in entertaining proposals outside the
terms of the Agreement.

Mr McGuinness said:

“Our agenda for Mondays talks is clear. We will be seeking
to defend the Good Friday Agreement and we will be seeking
to hold the two governments to their stated objective of
seeing a speedy restoration of the political institutions.

“Sinn Féin are not interested in half way houses or
institutions without full powers. That is the agenda of
those who wish to slow down and stall the process of

“Sinn Féin, as the largest nationalist and pro-Agreement
party, will not allow ourselves to be deflected from the
task ahead. People voted for the Agreement and they voted
for fully functioning power sharing and all-Ireland
institutions. The two governments have a responsibility to
reassert the primacy of the political process and the way
to do this is by restoring speedily the political
institutions and pressing ahead with acting upon the other
outstanding matters.

“It is disappointing that the SDLP have given succour to
those within the DUP and elsewhere who are seeking to
hollow out the power sharing core of the Agreement. The DUP
have stated that they have common ground with the SDLP on
their proposals for institutions less than the Agreement.
The SDLP have themselves admitted being in discussions with
the DUP and that they are considering options less than the
Good Friday Agreement.

“This is entirely the wrong approach. It mirrors the
approach adopted by the SDLP on policing, when they jumped
too soon and accepted too little. The SDLP have now become
part of the policing establishment and are rewarded with
honours from the English Queen. The SDLP now act as cheer
leaders for political and partisan policing irrationally
opposing Sinn Féin’s efforts to achieve further necessary
policing changes

“They have now also set themselves apart form the vast
majority of nationalist opinion by accepting without
question the unsubstantiated rubbish that makes up the so-
called IMC report. In this they have again found common
ground with the most negative and extreme voices in the

“The SDLP have lost their way on a new and entirely anti-
republican leadership. The success of Hume/Adams has been
replaced by rabid and increasingly hysterical attacks on
the Sinn Féin leadership. Their singular focus on Sinn Féin
allows the Unionists, the British government and the
securocrats off the hook. They need to put the interest of
those they represent and the need to see the Good Friday
Agreement implemented above their narrow party political
resentments and insecurities.” ENDS


Ahern: IRA Has Gone Far Enough To Warrant Talks

03/02/2006 - 14:14:09

Minister for Foreign Affairs Dermot Ahern has said he
believes the IRA has gone far enough to warrant the
resumption of talks on the restoration of devolution in the

Mr Ahern told European journalists in Dublin today that he
believed the Independent Monitoring Commission had reported
sufficient progress for serious negotiations involving Sinn
Féin to take place.

However, he also admitted that allegations of on-going IRA
intelligence-gathering could not be glossed over.

The Democratic Unionist Party is refusing to engage in any
talks with Sinn Féin because of this on-going activity,
saying the IMC's latest assessment had shown the IRA was
still not committed to democracy.


North Landscape Changed - Ahern

Deaglán de Bréadún, Foreign Affairs Correspondent

The Government was "pushing an open door" on
demilitarisation with the Northern Ireland Office, Minister
for Foreign Affairs Dermot Ahern told the Association of
European Journalists in Dublin yesterday.

British Army security towers on the Border were coming down
and it was clear from meeting Northern Secretary Peter Hain
that, by August 2007, he and his officials wished the North
to have "what would be regarded as normal levels of troop

The reports published this week showed there was "a changed
landscape in Northern Ireland both from a political but
also from a practical point of view".

The Minister added that, in Border areas, "ordinary people
are now crying out for ordinary policing".

The Government knew, before the release of the Independent
Monitoring Commission (IMC) report, that the media would
focus on the "negative aspects". As for the parallel report
of the Independent International Commission on
Decommissioning (IICD), he conceded that the North's
security services were not unanimous in their assessment of
the situation but, in the South, the Garda Síochána had
confirmed there was no evidence that the IRA had failed to
meet its commitments on full decommissioning.

The Government would take "very seriously" allegations in
the IMC report on continuing criminality and intelligence-
gathering by IRA members.

Meanwhile, loyalist paramilitarism was, perhaps, "a more
difficult nut to crack" than dealing with the Provisionals.
But the Government probably had better contacts than ever
before among those loyalists who wanted to move away from

On the multi-party talks, which "hopefully" would take
place on Monday at Hillsborough, he said it was time to
restore "the primacy of politics" to the North. "We could
all sit back and do nothing, but in our view that is not an
option," he said.

It was up to individual political parties to convince the
others of the merit of their proposals for achieving
devolved government, which had to be "under the umbrella of
the principles of the Good Friday agreement".

The North-South bodies were operating on a "care and
maintenance" basis at present. "We'll need to build more
and more on the North-South co-operation that was part of
the reasoning why people in the South voted to delete
Articles Two and Three (of the Constitution)."

In the talks, the Government would say clearly to the
Democratic Unionist Party, for example: "If you believe
there is merit in your documents, why don't you discuss
them with parties like Sinn Féin?" Otherwise, direct rule
would continue and there would be "more and intensified
joint inter-governmentalism".

Responding to questions afterwards, Mr Ahern said DUP
leader Dr Ian Paisley was "pivotal" in the process. "Our
discussions with him have been very good and he has a good
relationship with us and with the Taoiseach."

© The Irish Times


FG: Taoiseach 'Pandering' To Sinn Féin

Stephen Collins, Political Correspondent

Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny has accused the Taoiseach of
trying to play down the seriousness of the revelation in
the Independent Monitoring Commission (IMC) report that the
IRA leadership has sanctioned continuing illegal

"The reality now is that the Government is so determined to
please Sinn Féin that it is prepared to ignore and downplay
the very conclusions reached by an independent commission
appointed by the governments themselves," he said.

Mr Kenny was particularly disturbed by the revelation that
the IRA leadership had sanctioned continued intelligence-
gathering, but he was surprised by the Government's failure
to respond to these revelations.

"The Government has a duty to expose and eliminate these
practices. Far from fulfilling this duty, it appears that
the Taoiseach and his Ministers are yet again pandering to
Sinn Féin," he continued.

"I remind people of the Government's pledge in the
aftermath of the murder of Robert McCartney and the
Northern Bank raid that there would be no political
negotiations until all criminal activities had ended.

"Where lies now Michael McDowell's infamous 'no fudge, no
budge' mantra? How does it sit with Dermot Ahern's
assertion that the IMC report clears the way for all-party

The Fine Gael leader said he welcomed the IMC's finding
that the IRA leadership had made a strategic decision to
end its armed campaign and that this position had not
changed. However, the IRA statement of last July had
promised an end to all activities other than the
development of peaceful and democratic programmes, and this
had not been adhered to.

"The IMC has found that there is significant IRA
involvement in criminal activity, including organised
crime, smuggling and money-laundering.

"What I find quite disturbing is the revelation that the
IRA is still engaged in intelligence-gathering and spying,
that this is being sanctioned by the leadership to support
the Provisional movement's political activity and that the
organisation has no intention of ending these practices.
These activities are an affront to democracy."

Mr Kenny added that people still remembered previous secret
deals with Sinn Féin and the IRA - the release of the
killers of Jerry McCabe, the bail arrangement for the
"Colombia Three", the Dáil speaking rights for Sinn Féin
MPs and the presidential pardons for on-the-runs.

"When the Irish people look at the Taoiseach's reaction to
the IMC report they will wonder if a concerted effort is
being made to sanitise Sinn Féin in preparation for a role
in government in this State," he concluded.

© The Irish Times


Paisley To Insist On Need For IRA To Disband

Frank Millar and Dan Keenan

DUP leader the Rev Ian Paisley will today stipulate IRA
disbandment as his price for sharing power with Sinn Féin
in any future inclusive Northern Ireland Executive.

His uncompromising message will come in his address to his
party's 35th annual conference, just days before the
British and Irish governments resume talks with the
political parties about the restoration of the North's
devolved institutions.

The DUP leader is expected to say: "There will be no
inclusive Executive with Sinn Féin as long as the IRA is in
business and engaged in criminality.

"The day for the inclusive Executive on such a basis is
over for ever. It is buried in a Sadducee's grave from
which there is no resurrection.

"That part of the [Belfast] agreement stinks in the grave,
dug with spade of truth."

Senior DUP sources last night confirmed this meant IRA
"disbandment" as the party's price for sitting in Executive
government with Sinn Féin.

When pressed that the IRA could cease to be "in business"
without formally disbanding, the sources replied: "That
would not be credible."

It is understood British prime minister Tony Blair intends
to make a high-profile speech in Northern Ireland in the
coming weeks pressing his timetable for agreement on the
resumption of power-sharing government ahead of fresh
Assembly elections scheduled for May next year.

However, in his speech today Dr Paisley is also set to
challenge Mr Blair and President Bush to apply the same
"anti-terrorist" standard in Northern Ireland as elsewhere
in the world.

The Irish Times understands he will say: "All around the
world today, the United States and the United Kingdom are
busy spreading the message of democratic values. I support
them in their endeavours; indeed I welcome it.

"But I say to Mr Blair and Mr Bush that Northern Ireland
will not settle for second best. We will not accept
terrorists in our government. Those engaged in terror and
organised crime are terrorists, and must be treated

In a passage certain to delight his party faithful, Dr
Paisley will go on: "I say, as we have joined you in your
battle, if you are honest you must join us in our battle.
You cannot be anti-terrorist in the whole world with the
exception of Northern Ireland."

The Democratic Unionists meet in Belfast today for the
first time since last year's Westminster election in which
they won nine seats, eclipsing the UUP and deposing David

Deputy leader Peter Robinson, who is also director of
elections, is expected to trumpet the DUP's position as
lead unionist party.

His address this morning may also indicate how the
increased mandate is to be used as the push by the two
governments gears up this month.

The DUP conference is a showcase event, rather than a
primary policy-forming body. Just five motions are
scheduled for debate, all of them highlighting key unionist
concerns about the current political situation.

East Derry MP Gregory Campbell and North Belfast MP Nigel
Dodds will demand what the agenda terms "fairness and
equality for unionists".

Conference will be asked to back "a detailed long-term
strategic plan to tackle deprivation in unionist areas" and
which will target educational under-achievement in many
urban Protestant areas.

© The Irish Times


Dodds Calls For IRA Disbandment

Following the publication of the IMC’s eighth report, North
Belfast MP Nigel Dodds has raised the issue of IRA
disbandment and the underlying problems of having a fully
functioning terrorist gang still operational in the
Province. Commenting Mr Dodds said,

“The Independent Monitoring Commissioners rightly raised
the issue of the IRA’s continued existence. In paragraph
3.17 of the Report they state that the “PIRA has not
disbanded.” The fact that we continue to have P O’Neil
statements serves to prove that the PIRA are still in
existence, but for what purpose? Why should the people of
Northern Ireland have to tolerate a “New Years Statement”
from P O’Neil every year? It is quite clear from the
comments of Irish Justice Minister - Michael McDowell -
that the IRAs existence is unacceptable to his
administration. Why therefore, should the people of
Northern Ireland have to accept anything less?

Judging by this most recent IMC report, the IRA’s existence
seems to be multifaceted. The organisation, which
supposedly stood down from its criminal activities last
September, continues to gather intelligence on public
institutions, continues to hold stock of sophisticated
weaponry and is in control of a mafia style criminal
empire. Meanwhile their fuel smuggling and money
laundering scams continue to rob the British Exchequer of
millions of pounds every year. This does not give
unionists the impression of an organisation which is
planning to stand down in the near future.

Martin McGuinness may leap to the defence of this terrorist
organisation but the fact remains that they continue to oil
their weapons and are up to their necks in criminality. In
the past, Government Ministers and political leaders in
Northern Ireland may have been sucked in by the rhetoric
and spin of Sinn Fein/IRA but this recent IMC report has
clearly justified the DUP’s stance. The report clearly
demonstrates that Sinn Fein/IRA are as far from fulfilling
the qualifications of a democrat as they have ever been.”


Police 'Dismayed' At Community Support Officer Moves

Rank and file police officers in Northern Ireland expressed
opposition and dismay today at plans to press ahead with
the introduction of Police Community Support Officers to
the province.

By:Press Association

The Police Federation of Northern Ireland said they were
not convinced the PCSOs would be immune from paramilitary

The uniformed civilian support staff have already been
introduced in England and Wales amid considerable

After extensive debate in Belfast the Policing Board last
night agreed in principle to their recruitment in the
province, subject to the vetting criteria for membership
being the same as those which govern regular police

Board chairman, Professor Sir Desmond Rea, said were
guarding against "any potential for PCSOs to become a route
into policing for paramilitaries".

Despite the comments, Irwin Montgomery, chairman of the
Police Federation which represents some 7,500 police
officers, said they were dismayed at approval in principle
being given by the board.

The policing circumstances were not ready for the
introduction of PCSOs, he said.

"We are not convinced that the PCSOs will be immune from
paramilitary influence," he said.

Mr Montgomery added: "Furthermore , when within these last
few days a trainee police office`s home has been attacked
there is a real danger that PCSOs will be targeted by those
people who will not give their support to the police under
any circumstances."

There was a very real danger of two tier policing being
slipped into Northern Ireland when the public was crying
out for high visibility professional policing, he added.

"We protested about this in June when it was first revealed
and again at our conference in September.

"The Government is wrong to persist with this," said Mr



10 Reasons To Hold Your Applause For The British Army

British Army regiments(including the Black Watch) have
killed over 160 Catholic civilians “in disputed
circumstances” in the North of Ireland. Included are 10
boys and girls under 16, 10 women and 2 priests.

Two current members of the Scots Guard regiment (Fisher
and Wright) spent less than 3 years of a life sentence
imposed by a British Court for the murder of Peter
McBride, an 18 year old Catholic they shot in the back..
No U. S. soldier convicted of murder has ever been
restored to rank!!

In 1972 the Paratrooper regiment of the British Army
murdered 14 unarmed Catholic civilians on Bloody Sunday.
They planted weapons on the victims and the British
government has been lying and covering up ever since. The
Saville Report due this year will hold no one accountable
and reward deceit.

The SAS regiment of the British Army set up the
assassination attempt on Bernadette Devlin, a former
Member of Parliament. Three men from the Ulster Defense
Regiment were convicted for shooting her 8 times but
failed to testify who gave them the order.

The Mobile Reconnaissance Force and Four Field Survey units
of the British Army planned and primed the car bombs that
slaughtered 33 civilians on the streets of Dublin and
Monaghan in 1974. It is the most violent, cruel and
senseless act of the entire conflict. The British
government still stonewalls the investigation and to
this day refuses to arrest three Ulster Defense Regiment
members and one Army double agent wanted by the Irish

Aidan McAnespie was just one of 5 Catholic youths shot
in the back after an “accidental discharge” of a British
soldier’s gun. None were wounded but killed instantly by
the ‘accidental’ shootings.

British Army soldiers regularly enter Catholic homes in
the North of Ireland without a search warrant and often
leave the homes uninhabitable. Eight years into a peace
accord all emergency powers remain in place.

In the marching season of 1996 British soldiers and the
PSNI fired 5340 plastic bullets at Nationalist protestors
and 660 at loyalist protestors.

The Queen awarded the Paratrooper Commander at Bloody
Sunday, Lt. Col. Derek Wilford, an Order of the British
Empire. He taught the Catholics a lesson and kept his
mouth shut.

British soldiers gave personal data to loyalists who then
killed killed solicitor Patrick Finucane and Rosemary
Nelson and six elected Sinn Fein officials and 9
campaign workers. The Army clears the area of potential
witnesses and claims their surveillance cameras

Sources: British-Irish Rights Watch; Amnesty
International; Lawyers Committee for Human Rights; U. S.
Dept. of State; Committee on the Administration of Justice;
Human Rights Watch and International Lawyers Inquiry. For
more info call: I-800-947-IAUC

February, 2006

nonpartisan, nonsectarian, chapter-based human rights
organization working for justice and peace in Ireland. We
are a wholly American 501c(4) organization which advocates
the end of British colonial occupation and the peaceful
reunification of Ireland. We endeavor to achieve these
goals by working through the American democratic process.
Individually, our members represent every occupational and
educational stratum in the United States. Membership is
open to anyone who shares our views.


UUP 'Has Lost Pole Position In Unionism'

The Ulster Unionist Party has lost pole position in
unionism for good, it was claimed today.

By:Press Association

As the Democratic Unionists prepared to celebrate recent
electoral triumphs at their annual conference in Belfast
tomorrow, party leader the Rev Ian Paisley said he did not
believe his rivals would ever recover from being reduced to
one MP.

"I don`t think the Ulster Unionists are going to return to
what they were," Mr Paisley told the Press Association.

"I was an Ulster Unionist and I went to their councils but
I just couldn`t go with their attitude to the ordinary
working class.

"The working-class people gave official unionism their
solid backing and what did they get for that? Nothing.

"The deprivation in Ulster among working-class Protestants
was so serious, you had what I called Adam and Eve
sanitation in areas like Sandy Row (in south Belfast).

"But if you said that, you were told you were being

"You were not allowed to say that and when I started to
talk about economic issues it brought all Hell`s furies
down upon on my head."

Since 2003, the DUP has come out on top in the battle of
unionism in four elections for the Assembly, the European
Parliament, Westminster and local government.

However, last year`s General Election was especially
traumatic for the UUP which was reduced to one MP, Lady
Sylvia Hermon.

The party lost three seats to the DUP and one to the
nationalist SDLP.

David Trimble, who lost in Upper Bann to the DUP`s David
Simpson, was also forced to resign.

Mr Paisley said the dramatic rise of his party in recent
elections was a result of it demonstrating true unionism
was in the flesh and bones of its people.

"In much the same way as in other countries, you have this
dedication to principles, because of our amazing history,
because of the Scots Irish, the Plantation, there is
something about the Ulsterman, the Scots-Irishman, that
ethos of being determined to work and also an ethos of

"You know, I had terrible trouble in my early days as a
politician trying to get working-class people to apply for
any government assistance.

"They used to say to me when they came into my office: `I
don`t want any government handouts`.

"I would say: `It`s not government handouts. They`ve been
taking it out of your pockets for years. You are only
taking back what is your own.`

"But there was a pride there.

"I believe we have been able to rally the good aspects of
Ulster history and the Ulster character.

"I believe Ulster people have the bit between their teeth
now and they are going to go far.

"I believe people across the water in the rest of the UK
are beginning to wake up and see that coming. They are
having to deal with real Ulster people, not with people who
can be bought."


Bomb Alert At School Declared A Hoax

Last updated: 03-02-06, 17:16

A bomb alert that caused the evacuation of more than 700
students at a school on the outskirts of west Belfast has
been declared a hoax.

Army explosives experts were called in earlier today to
examine a suspicious object discovered at St Colm's High on
Summerhill Drive in Twinbrook. The alert began when a staff
member spotted a length of piping and wires at the front

However, the PSNI later declared the object a hoax.

Sinn Fein West Belfast MLA Michael Ferguson said he was
concerned for the safety of staff, students and parents.
"I'm frustrated at the disruption caused and the impact on
school life," he added.




Malachy McAllister: Former Convict Wants To Stay In

Posted by the Asbury Park Press on 02/3/06

WALLINGTON: In 1981, Malachy McAllister acted as a lookout
for an ambush that wounded a British police officer outside
a pub in Belfast, Northern Ireland. The crime sent him to a
Northern Ireland prison for more than three years.

Now, he and his teenage children live quietly in this New
Jersey suburb, fighting the U.S. government to stay. The
government considers McAllister a terrorist and wants to
deport him. Others see him as a freedom fighter who has
served his time and should be granted asylum.


EU Must Take Coordinated Action On Violence Against Women"
de Brún

Published: 3 February, 2006

Speaking after the debate in the European Parliament Sinn
Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún has called for EU member states to
take a more coordinated approach to tackling violence
agains women.

Ms de Brún said:

"Violence against women is a fundamental violation of human
rights and reflects the continuing unequal gender power
relations in our society.

"EU member states need to adopt an approach in policy
making capable of encompassing all of this issue, including
effective methods of prevention and punishment.

"We need to establish in fact a zero tolerance attitude to
all forms of violence against women, and to adopt a
framework for cooperation between governmental and non-
governmental organisations with a view to developing
policies and practices to combat the phenomenon of domestic

"The EU should also consider the appointment of national
rapporteurs to gather, exchange and process information and
statistics on men's violence against women, including
information on children growing up in violent environments,
and promote the exchange of best practice between Member
States and the accession and candidate countries.

"In addition we need to see appropriate education and
training for professionals responsible for recording
incidents and data relating to domestic violence so that
they carry out their duties with the required consistency.

"These are just some of the measures contained in a
detailed report by Maria Carlshamre MEP which the European
Parliament has now adopted with overwhelming support.I
strongly endorse Mrs Carlshamre's report and
recommendations and urge all MEPs and member state
governments to implement these as a matter of urgency."


Omagh Suspect 'Hid In Bushes To Escape Arrest'

03/02/2006 - 18:04:56

An electrician accused of murdering 29 people in the Omagh
bomb atrocity tried to escape arrest by hiding in bushes, a
court heard today.

As Sean Hoey, 36, launched a new bid to be released on
bail, prosecuting lawyers claimed he could flee across the
border to the Republic of Ireland if freed.

Friends are prepared to lodge £50,000 (€73,285) in cash, a
farm and land assurities that he would turn up for trial,
Belfast Crown Court was told.

Hoey’s mother, Rita, would also hand over her total savings
of £1,500 (€2,200) and put up the family home as

But the Crown insisted there was a further risk of
dissident republican terrorist attacks if the accused, of
Molly Road, Jonesborough on the south Armagh border, was
granted bail.

Gordon Kerr, QC, said: “That’s to be coupled with the fact
that when police came to arrest him in September 2003 it is
submitted that he tried to escape and was found in
undergrowth some distance from his house by the police.”

Hoey faces a total of 58 charges relating to the August
1998 Omagh bomb massacre carried out by the Real IRA and a
series of other terrorist strikes at around the same period
across Northern Ireland.

The court was told he has already been in custody for 882
days, with his defence stressing that in England remanded
suspects obtain an automatic right to bail after 112 days.

But Mr Kerr told the judge, Mr Justice Weir, that his main
objection was the fear that Hoey, who is due to go on trial
in September, would not surrender again to police.

“The accused comes from an area adjacent to the border in
Jonesborough,” he said.

“He has connections to relatives on both sides of the
border and he has a mobile occupation in the sense that
he’s an electrician.

“We have a document that he was in fact working in the
Republic of Ireland at a time not distant to his arrest.”

Mr Kerr added that evidence linking Hoey to the
construction of bombs used at Omagh and in other towns
showed these were devices all connected with rogue
terrorist organisations.

“The evidence suggests he had a significant role in that
activity and that at present dissident republican groupings
are not, on my instruction, on ceasefire but are continuing
to operate in a terrorist capacity.”

Dressed in a grey jacket and jeans, Hoey, who denied the
charges against him, listened intently in the dock
throughout the three-hour-long hearing, while some family
members sat in the gallery behind him.

Seamus Treacy QC for the defence, told the court the
accused had no relevant criminal record, either north or
south of the Irish border.

“He’s a person who comes before the court with an
unblemished character,” he insisted.

The QC also argued that Hoey had been arrested in September
1998 and again in June 1999 when he was held for up to
seven days on both occasions.

He was questioned about the Omagh bombing both times but
released, the barrister said.

Mr Treacy claimed his client would have realised that he
was under police suspicion of involvement in the bombing
and yet he did not try to flee the jurisdiction.

When police rearrested him in September 2003, it was at his
own house, the court was told.

After the judge said being taken from under a bush was not
a normal place to make an arrest, Mr Treacy reasoned that
Hoey had already been held on twice at Gough Barracks and
wasn’t looking forward to the prospect of another week

“That’s quite a different matter from suggesting this is a
person that if he was granted bail wouldn’t turn up for his
trial,” the QC said.

He added later: “My instruction was that he ran towards and
was in the bush where he was apprehended.

“This was discussed during the course of interviews and he
explained to police at the time.”

Mr Treacy also told the court his client had now been in
custody for almost eight times the maximum permitted period
before the automatic right to bail begins in England.

He added that Hoey was prepared to surrender his passport
and agree to any residency requirements.

“There are also very substantial sureties available,” he

“One of the individuals is prepared to lodge a sum of up to
£50,000. Another individual doesn’t have cash, but does
have property, land and a farm. He’s prepared to obtain
money on foot of that property.

“The applicant’s mother, Rita Hoey, doesn’t have much but
has £1,500 in savings and there’s the parental home.

“They are prepared to do whatever is required to secure
their son’s release.”

Mr Justice Weir, who had earlier told both sides that he
represented up to 30 people injured in the Omagh bomb in
criminal injury claims before he was appointed a judge,
said he would decide on the application on Monday.


Radio Free Éireann
Tommorrow, Saturday February 4th,

Radio Free Éireann Will Have On As Guest Dr. Robert W.White

Dr. White is the author of the highly anticipated biography
on the President of Republican Sinn Fein, titled: “Ruairi O
Bradaigh: The Life and Politics of an Irish Revolutionary”.
DR. White is the Dean of the Indiana University School of
Liberal Arts and Professor of Sociology at Indiana
University-Perdue University Indianapolis. He has
previously authored “Provisional Irish Republicans: An Oral
and Interpretive History” and was co-editor of “Self,
Indentidy, and Social Movements”. He will be joined on
Radio Free Éireann by the journalist Ed Maloney, who
authored the best-seller “A Secret History of The I.R.A”.
Radio Free Éireann can be heard in the New York area on
99.5 FM WBAI Radio. It can be heard live worldwide via the
internet at RFE is on at 1:30 pm EST/
6:30pm GMT.

If you miss the show WBAI now archives its programs so you
can listen later if you miss the show.


Families' Feud Link To Stab Death

A west Belfast father-of-five has been stabbed to death as
he picked up his children for the weekend.

Gerard Devlin's death is being treated as murder by police.
Two other men, both related to Mr Devlin, are being treated
in hospital.

The fight involving several men at Whitecliffe Parade at
about 1600 GMT is being linked to an ongoing feud between
two families in the Ballymurphy area.

Mr Devlin had recently left the area because of the feud.

Mr Devlin's aunt, Bernadette O'Rawe, told the BBC that he
had only returned to the area for 15 minutes to collect his

"He was making a new life for himself - he had moved out of
the district. He came in tonight to take his kids out," he

Mr Devlin had been attacked a number of times before,
including one assault when his throat was cut.

The atmosphere in the area remained tense on Friday
evening, with some scuffles close to the police cordon.

A police spokesman said there was "nothing to suggest
paramilitary involvement".

"The PSNI are appealing for support from the west Belfast
community to help us gather the vital information we need
to find the person responsible for this tragic incident,"
he added.

Sinn Fein assembly member Michael Ferguson said it had been
a long-running feud.

"The Community Safety Network in the area, for its part,
had worked with both families, and four days ago got an
agreement that three people would leave," he said.

"Mr Devlin left and came back tonight to pick up his
children, and he's now dead."

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/02/03 22:53:55 GMT


Opin: Narrow View Of 1916 May Prove An Obstacle To Peace

Inside Politics: The President's speech extolling the
leaders of the 1916 Rising has raised uncomfortable
questions about the nature of Irish democracy.

The political establishment has put itself in the
paradoxical position of trying to reclaim the legacy of
1916 from Sinn Féin, while simultaneously attempting to
pressurise it and the IRA into accepting that the resort to
arms practised by the 1916 leaders is utterly unacceptable
in today's Ireland.

It was ironic that within days of Mrs McAleese's
intervention, the Independent Monitoring Commission
reported that the IRA had not, after all, gone away. The
report's significance was not so much the reference to the
IRA's continuing low-level criminal activity but the
disclosure that targeting, training and intelligence
gathering continues with the leadership's sanction. It
means that the implementation of the Belfast Agreement will
continue to remain on hold.

By deciding to elevate the 1916 Rising above all other
historical events as the key episode in the creation of the
modern Irish State, the Government is in danger of
undermining its own case in the politics of the present.

Far from taking a weapon away from Sinn Féin in the run-up
to the next general election, the Government runs the risk
of handing the republican movement a justification for
continuing some of the activities it has engaged in over
the past 35 years.

As the 90th anniversary of the 1916 Rising approaches,
President McAleese has initiated a debate on its role in
the development of the modern Irish State. Last weekend's
speech, which had to have Government approval, was not as
one-sided as some of her critics have claimed, but it was
certainly selective.

The Rising's importance in the drive for Irish independence
is incontrovertible but, taken in isolation, it leaves much
of 20th-century Irish history unexplained. Its striking
feature was that its leaders defied democratic norms. They
rejected not only John Redmond and his parliamentary party
at Westminister but they conspired against their own
leader, Eoin MacNeill, and defied his authority as leader
of the Irish Volunteers to stage a violent revolutionary

Yet the most notable feature of the independent Ireland
that later emerged was that it remained a parliamentary
democracy during a period when almost all of Europe
succumbed to dictatorship, whether of the right or the
left. That Ireland is the fourth-oldest continuous
democracy in Europe clearly owes more to the century-long
political tradition of Daniel O'Connell, Charles Stewart
Parnell and John Redmond than to the cult of blood
sacrifice promulgated by the 1916 leaders.

The political backdrop of the early 20th century is also
essential to an understanding of the Rising itself. The
resort to arms by Irish nationalists was a direct response
to the establishment of the UVF, which was set up to block
the implementation of the Home Rule Act.

It was the failure of politics to deliver the democratic
will of the majority of Irish people that created the
opportunity for the Rising. The executions that followed
and the botched attempt of the British to introduce
conscription led to Sinn Féin's political triumph in the
1918 election.

By turning the 1916 leaders into "our idealistic and heroic
founding fathers and mothers, our Davids to their
Goliaths", the President conveyed a one-sided view of 1916.
The Rising was not just a challenge to the authority of the
British Goliath; it was also a challenge to a broad
spectrum of Irish nationalist opinion that did not see
violent revolution as the way to achieve independence.
Subsequent events catapulted the surviving leaders into
power but only after they had received a democratic

A good number of those who fought in 1916 refused to accept
the democratic decision of the Irish people to accept the
Treaty in 1922. Irish democracy survived because the Free
State government in 1922 suppressed those in the IRA who
held out for the Holy Grail of the Republic declared in

In time, members of the defeated faction of 1922 became
Fianna Fáil and, once in power, they too suppressed the
anti-democratic remnants of the IRA. And so it went, to the
present day.

Some small details of the President's speech, such as the
claim that Ireland in the years before 1916 was being run
by a clique in the Kildare Street Club, were misleading as
well as pejorative. The Kildare Street Club in the first
decades of the 20th century was the haunt of the declining
Protestant landlord class which had long lost political

From 1906 until 1916, Ireland was actually run by the
Liberal chief secretary, Augustine Birrell, who saw it as
his job to prepare the way for Home Rule.

He relied largely on the advice of his political allies in
the Irish Party, particularly John Dillon, for his policy
of administering the country. The Rising would probably
never have happened had Birrell not been so tolerant of the
Volunteers and other nationalist organisations on the
advice of Redmond and Dillon.

By ignoring the complexity of the Rising and simplifying it
to a David and Goliath confrontation between Ireland and
Britain, the President, on the advice of the Government,
has actually accepted the Sinn Féin version of Irish

That acceptance ill-equips the current leaders of
democratic Ireland to win the argument about what should be
done in present circumstances.

The important thing about the Belfast Agreement is that it
accepts the full complexity of the political problem that
has soured relations between the two communities in the
North, between North and South and between Ireland and
England for over 200 years.

There has been a lot of progress in dealing with all of
those relationships and it would be a pity if a narrow and
distorted interpretation of 1916 was to put an unnecessary
obstacle in the way of their full resolution.

© The Irish Times


Opin: North's Justice Scheme Threatens Democracy

Garret FitzGerald

My column of two weeks ago on the British government's
proposals for restorative justice in Northern Ireland
evoked a response from the Minister of State at the
Northern Ireland Office, David Hanson, on the Irish Times
letters page of Friday, January 27th.

I have to say that the evasive and misleading character of
his response has served only to deepen my concern about
this matter. And that concern has been greatly intensified
by the serious worries expressed about this restorative
justice issue in the 1,400-word section of the IMC Report
dealing with this issue - none of which appeared in the two
pages that The Irish Times devoted to this subject last

The Minister's letter should be viewed against the
background of these points, none of which he has contested:

1. The deputy director of the Community Restorative Justice
body (CRJ) was convicted of the murder of two British
corporals after they strayed into a funeral in Belfast.

2. Caitríona Ruane of Sinn Féin announced two years ago the
setting up by Sinn Féin of these "restorative justice
groups" in Co Down, specifically "in order to offer an
alternative to the PSNI". The CRJ is now operating 14 of
these groups in Northern Ireland, and more appear to be
planned - with desultory attempts being made to extend
their system to our State, particularly Donegal. (Moreover,
this week on Newsnight CRJ project director Jim Auld
finally gave the game away by saying: "If we were to agree
to have a relationship with the PSNI, then we would be
putting ourselves out of business.")

3. The original draft guidelines were not shown to the
Policing Board of Northern Ireland or to the political
parties, but only to the CRJ and to its loyalist opposite
number, Northern Ireland Alternatives.

4. There is no provision for an overall regulatory body for
these schemes, or for an independent complaints body, and
the official Criminal Justice Inspectorate does not have
power to look into individual cases or to call for persons
or papers.

5. About half the contact names given on leaflets issued by
some of these 14 schemes are those of people with IRA

In his letter to The Irish Times the Minister says that
"the draft guidelines that I published last month
unambiguously specify the involvement of the police and
other statutory criminal justice organisations in the
organisation of community-based schemes". (My italics.)

What the guidelines actually say is: "When a community-
based scheme becomes aware of an offence or an offender, it
will communicate promptly either to a dedicated officer or
to an identified officer of the PBNI (Probation Board
Northern Ireland) or the YJA (Youth Justice Agency)." (My
italics again!)

The substitution of "and" for "either/or" in the Minister's
letter was clearly designed to mislead. And the use of the
word "unambiguously" in that sentence is the reverse of the
truth. Incidentally, the McCartney case has shown how the
availability of channels alternative to the PSNI can be
used to pervert justice by preventing witnesses being asked
pertinent questions by the police.

The second paragraph of the Minister's response asserts
that "it is simply untrue to say that the Northern Ireland
Office rejected proposals by the PSNI requiring restorative
justice scheme to co-operate directly with police". (His
insertion into his response of the word "directly", which I
did not use, is an evident attempt to deny what has not
been asserted - a standard political trick.)

But he does not deny that the PSNI sought the introduction
of such a provision: the SDLP was informed by the PSNI that
this was the case. If the NIO did not reject this request,
who decided to reject it? And what has since led the PSNI
to feel it necessary to accept guidelines which omit this

Finally, the Minister says that "no CRJ project will be
eligible to receive government funding for its activities
unless they sign up to, implement and adhere to the

A less contorted way of putting this would be to say:
"Because the British government proposes to allow these
schemes to operate even if they won't co-operate with the
PSNI, they will be entitled to receive funding from that

In the light of all this it is not surprising that all
parties in Northern Ireland except Sinn Féin should now
suspect that some kind of understanding exists between Tony
Blair and Sinn Féin on this issue - one that is potentially
dangerous to Northern Ireland and to our neighbouring
state. British denials have failed to carry conviction with
Northern politicians. Although the question of British
government policy towards the CRJ and its restorative
justice schemes is, of course, outside its terms of
reference, the Independent Monitoring Commission has
nevertheless set out its very serious worries about the
present situation with respect to restorative justice
schemes in Northern Ireland.

The IMC of course recognises - as did I in my article two
weeks ago - that in the circumstances of Northern Ireland
restorative justice arrangements have a potentially
valuable role to play.

But it goes on to add that "restorative justice must never
be a cover for the paramilitary groups, whereby they are
able to continue to exercise an unhealthy influence under a
more respectable label. The schemes must be open as well as
accountable, including by having procedures for individual
complaints, arrangements to ensure that only suitable
people are employed, oversight and external inspection, and
an unambiguous relationship with the criminal justice
system as a whole."

All of these requirements are, in fact, missing from the
existing CRJ schemes and also, on close inspection, are
absent from the proposed British government guidelines.

The IMC goes on to say that it has been told of a number of
instances of the present arrangements "being invoked as a
means of continuing to exercise paramilitary control within
communities. . . Individuals may be subjected to threats or
to improper pressure. . . We believe that there are some
people - who may or may not be personally associated with
community restorative justice - who in some instances use
it as a cover for the exercise of paramilitary justice, or
who allow people to think they do so."

"This is exactly what we had previously said must not be
allowed to happen. . . We do not doubt it is happening and
we believe that it delays the firm establishment of a
'culture of lawfulness'. . . The more sinister and worrying
interpretation is that it represents a deliberate tactic on
behalf of paramilitaries to find new means of exerting
their control now that violence or other crude threats are
less open to them."

These are the IMC's words, not mine.

I cannot believe the information set out above is not known
to the Irish Government. My question is this: has concern
about this issue been conveyed by our Government to the
British government and, if so, has it been conveyed with
sufficient vigour? And why has this issue not been pressed
more strongly by the Opposition?

This scheme, as at present constituted, represents a
potential long-term threat to democracy in Ireland - North
and South.

© The Irish Times


Book Review: All Will Be Well By John Mcgahern

By Kirkus
Feb 3, 2006, 19:00 GMT

A gloomy memoir of growing up amid harsh conditions in
rural Ireland. Born in 1934, novelist McGahern (By the
Lake, 2002, etc.) traces his childhood in and around
Leitrim, a central lake town at the base of the Iron
Mountains where the soil is extremely poor and life rather
grim and joyless. Early on, he and his three sisters (more
siblings arrived later) lived with their paternal
grandmother and mother in Ballinamore, while their father,
a former IRA member now serving as a sergeant in the army,
was stationed at the barracks 20 miles away in Cootehall.

Young Sean, as the boy was known, clung to his gentle
mother, Sue, a schoolteacher. Although she never beat her
children, she couldn`t protect them from the occasional
explosive brutality of their willful, handsome father or
the routine canings received at the hands of
schoolmistresses. At the base of the violence tolerated by
this deeply Catholic society, asserts McGahern, \'was
sexual sickness and frustration\': Sex was deemed unclean,
and the division between body and soul firmly demarcated.
After their mother died of cancer, ten-year-old Sean and
his siblings lived at the whim of their coldly calculating

The children drew together for survival, scrambling to
educate themselves and then get away from home. Sean was
accepted at a teachers` training college in Dublin closely
associated with the Church, which assured him of a good job
at a time when many Irish people were forced to find
employment in Britain or abroad. His father gradually
declined in mental and physical health just as Sean`s
literary star was rising; his first novel, The Barracks,
won the AE Memorial Award in 1963. After he married, the
author moved back to Leitrim, mostly as a gesture toward
the memory of his beloved mother.

Occasionally meandering, but possessing a quiet authority
and subtle emotional power.

© 2005 Kirkus. All Rights Reserved


Book Review: Conquering History

Hugo Hamilton avoids the temptations of nostalgia and
amnnesia in his memoir of adolescence, The Sailor in the
Wardrobe, says Terry Eagleton

Saturday February 4, 2006
The Guardian

The Sailor in the Wardrobe
by Hugo Hamilton 2
72pp, Fourth Estate, £16.99

Irish fiction is full of secrets, guilty pasts, divided
identities. It is no wonder that there is such a rich
tradition of Gothic writing in a nation so haunted by
history. Gothic's fascination with ruins and ancient
crimes, spying priests and bloodstained histories, is
tailor-made for the place. The past in Ireland refuses a
decent burial; instead, it preys on the living in the
monstrous form of the undead. The author of the greatest
book of the undead, Dracula, was a Dublin civil servant.
For all their hard-headedness, the Protestant ascendency
which governed Ireland for two centuries were a remarkably
spooky bunch, as WB Yeats's dabbling in ghouls and demons
bears witness. James Joyce's hero Stephen Dedalus declares
that he is trying to awake from the nightmare of history;
but the worst nightmare of all is to think you have woken
up only to find that you haven't. We have seen several
examples of such false awakening in Northern Ireland over
the past few decades.

Hugo Hamilton's first memoir, The Speckled People, was all
about festering secrets and guilt-ridden histories. The
child Hugo imagines the dead whispering ceaselessly in
their graves, holding sway over the living. His father is a
heavy-handed Irish chauvinist who forbids his children to
speak English in the house. Full of Micawberish schemes and
crackpot commercial projects, he insists on doing business
only with clients who call him by the Irish version of his
surname, which unfortunately for his bank balance is O
hUrmoltaigh. Hamilton's mother is German, a refugee from
the collapse of the Third Reich, and teaches her language
and history to her children.

Just as Ireland itself passed from Irish to English in the
19th century, so the fork-tongued Hugo is adrift between
languages, bereft of a home or history to call his own. He
is both far too Irish and far too little so for the comfort
of postwar Dublin. As a child, he becomes a repository of
bitter historical memories without even knowing it, a
receptacle for the stored-up animosity of centuries. As a
German he is an aggressor, and as Irish he is a victim.
Children in the street call him Nazi and Jew-burner, while
his father seeks to brand him with a more Gaelic kind of
anti-Britishness. The book is all about the violence of
voices, being trapped inside names and tongues or being
exiled from them. Like a lot of Irish literature, its
secret protagonist is language itself. In a boldly symbolic
moment, the family even chew at dinner on the leathery
tongue of an ox.

What The Speckled People uses to counter this verbal
violence is its own literary style. It is written in the
wide-eyed idiom of a child, one of the few kinds of
language in the book which is not out to maim or
manipulate. The Sailor in the Wardrobe, Hamilton's latest
memoir, is couched in a more streetwise style, though still
with an aura of innocence about it. We have moved on from
the 1950s to the 60s, and from the author's childhood to
his adolescence. Otherwise, not much seems to have changed.
Progress can be measured by the fact that the local kids
now call him Eichmann rather than Hitler. Hamilton senior
is still dreaming of an Irish-speaking Ireland. His wife is
still plagued by the horrors she endured in Hitler's
Germany. There is an air of déjà vu about the book, as
though the best-selling formula of the first memoir is
being rolled out again. Even the cover is similar.

Yet this new memoir is more than just a Return of the
Speckled People. It is an enchanting piece of work in its
own right, and the fact that not much has changed is part
of the point. Young Hugo has discovered a temporary escape
from the problems of culture in nature, working with boats
in a Dublin harbour. He dreams of shedding his identity,
giving history the slip, becoming a kind of Beckettian
"nobody". He had, as he says, no story for himself, since
narratives are acts of violence. In a desperate moment of
self-annihilation, he tries to "unremember" Germany, his
family and his childhood. In one magnificent scene, he
tells his father that it is ignorance he desires, not
knowledge, and the outraged patriarch throws a bowl of
stewed apples at his head. As in Eden, knowledge is
dangerous, divisive stuff, and Hugo prefers to have apples
tipped over his head than to bite on them.

But the present keeps evoking traumatic images of the past,
and even among the fishing boats a sectarian history
intervenes. You can smell the resentment on the pier
between Dan, the Catholic from Derry, and Tyrone, the
Protestant from Belfast. The Speckled People set a family's
private troubles against the political background of the
Irish struggle for independence and the second world war.
Here, a decade or so on, the Northern Irish troubles,
Vietnam and Martin Luther King are beautifully interwoven
with Hugo's part-poignant, part-farcical rebellion against
his own local tyrants. He longs to kill his father, but
knows that the self-hatred this will sow in him will
perpetuate a history of brutality rather than abolish it.
Rather like Ireland itself, the book is full of an
explosive hatred laced with a deep hunger for peace.
Besides, the boy's rebelliousness imitates that of his
mother, who was a silent protester against the Nazis. His
refusal to serve thus binds him to the deathly lineage he
seeks to overcome. Nothing is more typical of modern Irish
history than wanting to break free of it.

The family in Ireland has often been a microcosm of
history, rather than (as usually in England) a shelter from
it. For centuries, the typical Irish family was the farm,
which linked the domestic, the economic and (given rural
militancy) the political. True to this inheritance,
Hamilton has an intuitive flair for spotting connections
between personal and public worlds. The boys at his school,
enraged by a bullying teacher and inspired by the street-
fighting in Belfast, rise up in mass rebellion.

When it comes to its turbulent history, today's Ireland is
caught between nostalgia and amnesia, a surfeit of belief
and a shortage of it. There are old-style nationalists like
Hamilton père, who dream of the future rebirth of a past
nation that never existed. And there are cool, postmodern
sceptics who throw up in disgust at the very mention of the
great famine or Easter 1916. Each camp is the inverted
mirror-image of the other. Repressing your history is as
much a way of not handling it as wallowing morbidly in it.
It is deeply to Hamilton's credit that his writing refuses
both of these false solutions. If his father is portrayed
as a terrifying figure, he is also a tragic one. For all
his chauvinist fantasies, he condemns the IRA, comes to
confess some of his past mistakes, and is a moderniser in
his own eccentric style. He even ends up committing the
unforgivable sin of speaking English in a soft Cork accent.

As for Hamilton fils, he must resolve his Oedipal
ambivalence to his father, whom he detests with a tender
love, just as he must resolve the conundrum that history
can be neither accepted nor ignored. Instead, it can be
conquered only by being confronted. Memory can be an act of
redemption as well as a force for oppression; by
remembering the dead, the boy reflects, you can help to
keep them alive. Fascism, by contrast, seeks to annihilate
those it slaughters twice over, erasing them from the
historical record. The past can be used to renew the
present, not just to bury it. In confessing his own
mistakes, Hugo's father sets him free to make his own. Just
as his mother worked for the German de-Nazification courts,
which sought to stare historical horrors in the face, so at
the end of the book the son makes his pilgrimage to Berlin,
home of some of his nightmares. He settles there for a
while, still speckled or hybrid, still a displaced person,
yet wise enough not to exchange the myth of a motherland
for the myth of the unattached self. He is now free to
become whatever he wishes; yet in coming to Berlin, he is
also assuming his German grandfather's identity, giving him
back his name and life. In recounting how he grew up with
no story to tell, Hamilton has found his story.

· Terry Eagleton's book Holy Terror is published by Oxford
University Press.


Plan For Cable Car Attraction On Liffey

Frank McDonald and Ruadhan Mac Eoin

A private consortium is proposing to develop a cable car
service along the Liffey Quays in Dublin, running between
Heuston Station and Docklands.

The cable cars would transport sightseers at heights
approaching 80 metres (264ft) above the river from the
Guinness Brewery near Heuston to a terminal located near
the planned national conference centre at Spencer Dock.

Aimed primarily at the tourism market, the cable cars would
give people a birds-eye view of many of Dublin's landmarks,
including the Custom House, the Four Courts, St James' Gate
Brewery and the National Museum at Collins Barracks.

Each of the four cable cars would have capacity for 25
people and the duration of a trip in either direction would
be around 20 minutes.

It is anticipated that most passengers would travel by
cable car one-way and make their return by other means.

Currently the ticket price is estimated at €15, which the
promoters say compares "very favourably" to other
attractions such as the London Eye which costs over €17 per

The €52 million project, which is headed by Dublin property
developer Barry Boland, would involve erecting four giant
steel towers - two of them significantly taller than
Liberty Hall and the other two almost as high - along the
three kilometre route.

The towers, designed by architects McGarry Ní Éanaigh and
engineers Roughan O'Donovan, would be located at Watling
Street bridge, Wood Quay, Marlborough Street and Custom
House Quay. The longest span between them would be 930

"The choice was between a large number of small towers or a
small number of high towers," Mr Boland said. In opting for
the latter, the height of the towers would range between 55
and 80 metres - with the tallest two being in the middle of
the route.

He also told The Irish Times that the "fully engineered,
fully costed and fully funded" scheme would include two new
pedestrian bridges across the Liffey - one linking
Marlborough Street with Hawkins Street and the other from
Wood Quay to Ormond Quay.

He said senior officials of Dublin City Council, the Dublin
Docklands Development Authority and Guinness had all
indicated "enthusiastic support" for the cable car project
and negotiations have been initiated to take it to the
planning application stage.

"It's a very strong idea that would make new connections in
the city," chief city planner Dick Gleeson said yesterday.
"We're about to commence a framework plan for the Liffey
and this would be a very dynamic element within a
reinvigorated river corridor."

He said the proposal would be subject to an environmental
impact statement as part of a planning application, and
details also had to be finalised about landings for the
towers, which he described as "amazingly light" despite
their huge scale.

Assuming that the results are positive, Mr Boland said a
planning application would be made in four months. If
permission is granted, the project would be completed in
four years and would remain in the hands of the private
operators thereafter.

© The Irish Times


Daring Plan Inspired By London Eye

The proposal for cable cars along the Liffey is a
sensational example of lateral thinking, writes Frank

For decades, Dublin has been divided by the River Liffey,
with the northside and the southside glowering at each
other over its murky depths. But now there is a daring plan
to celebrate the river, bringing the two sides together in
a quite remarkable way.

The proposal to run cable cars over the river between
Heuston Station and North Wall Quay, just west of Spencer
Dock, is designed as a tourist attraction rather than a
transport service.

But like all bright ideas, it is a sensational example of
lateral thinking. Developer Barry Boland, of Beaux Walk
Properties Ltd, has been working on it for a year and
earlier this week presented it to senior Dublin City
Council officials, including city manager John Fitzgerald.
Their response, not surprisingly, was enthusiastic.

It was inspired by the success of the London Eye, which
generated some £60 million (€88.28 million) in revenue last
year, according to Mr Boland. His cable car project would
also be run as a commercial enterprise, but its thrill-
seekers would be "going somewhere".

The plan has its challenging aspects - not least the
installation of four giant "towers" along the river to
support the cable lines. But as conceived by architects
McGarry Ní Éanaigh and engineers Roughan O'Donovan, these
are light and elegant structures.

Both firms have good track records. McGarry Ní Éanaigh
designed the lighting masts in Smithfield, as well as the
highly successful Liffey Boardwalk, while Roughan O'Donovan
designed the Luas bridge in Dundrum and the Boyne bridge
outside Drogheda.

One of the principal objectives in the project, fully
costed at €52 million by quantity surveyors Bruce Shaw, was
to minimise the visual impact of the support structures.
This has been done by limiting them to four, instead of
cluttering up the riverscape.

Two of the steel towers - at the end of Marlborough Street
and in front of the Civic Offices at Wood Quay - would be
85m high, while the other two - west of Watling Street
bridge and Custom House Quay - would rise to a height of

With some 2,000 juggernaut trucks expected to vanish from
the quays after the port tunnel opens later this year,
Dublin City Council is about to start work on a new
framework plan for the river - and the cable car proposal
could become its most exciting element.

Chief planner Dick Gleeson and city architect Jim Barrett
are certainly enthusiastic about the plan, which they see
as a dynamic way of stitching the city together along the
spine of its main river - though, obviously, it still has
to go through the planning process.

Mr Boland cites figures showing that Dublin had 5.8 million
visitors last year, with an average stay of 4½ days. But he
says all of the city's attractions are static, including
the Guinness Storehouse, through which 740,000 trooped up
to its Gravity Bar.

One of the terminals would be located within the Guinness
Brewery on Victoria Quay, a short walk from Heuston
Station; the other just west of the planned Calatrava
bridge, some 50m from the site of the national conference
centre at Spencer Dock.

Two new pedestrian bridges are being "thrown in free
gratis", as Mr Boland says. One would be located on the
axis of Marlborough Street and Hawkins Street, providing an
obviously needed link, while the other would span between
Ormond Quay and Wood Quay.

Swiss manufacturer Doppelmayr Garaventa, which makes most
of the world's cable cars, are so enthusiastic about the
project that they are going to invest in it. Mr Boland is
banking on the likelihood that Dubliners and visitors to
the city will be equally electrified.

© The Irish Times


Hairdressers Crack Code That Baffled Mensa Members

Gráinne McWilliams

Three Co Derry hairdressers have just won a prize of
£100,000 after breaking a code that stumped Mensa members,
British ministry of defence boffins and even the actor who
plays James Bond.

It took Noleen Duffy, Priscilla Morrow and Nicole Brady
from Uni Trim hairdressers in the University of Ulster,
Coleraine, one year, four attempts and many sleepless
nights to crack the code, which was devised for a
competition sponsored by hair care and beauty product
manufacturer ghd.

Ghd weaved the cryptic puzzle into their product guide
through a complex maze of 10 hidden clues. Competitors
began work on the code online, and were given snippets of
information on their progress. The cryptic clues were
buried within pages of copy, written in reflective writing
which could only be seen in certain lights, and even
written backwards.

After claims that the code was impossible to break, ghd
enlisted the brain power of Mensa and ministry of defence
codebreakers. Even the new James Bond, Daniel Craig, gave
it a go but to no avail.

"The secret was that no matter how much you believed that
you had the right answer, you had to keep an open mind that
it could be wrong," said Ms Duffy last night.

"We had sleepless nights, and took photocopies of the book
home with us after work. The fact that people told us that
we could never do it made us want to show them that we

Yesterday the three had their spending plans ready.

"Priscilla wants to pay off the rest of her mortgage and
her car and go on holiday to Florida; Nicole is car mad and
so will be buying herself a new motor; I'd love to do the
salon up and maybe invest in another house," Ms Duffy said.

© The Irish Times

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