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March 15, 2006

DUP Must Eventually Talk To SF - Hain

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IT 03/16/06
DUP Must Eventually Talk To SF - Hain
SF 03/15/06 Hain Remarks - An Admission Of Political Realities
BT 03/15/06 Hain Threatens To Pull Plug On The Assembly
BB 03/15/06 'Patience Ebbing' Over Devolution
BN 03/15/06 UUP 'Out Of Touch With Working Class'
IT 03/16/06 US Politicians Alarmed Over M15 Role - Durkan
IT 03/16/06 McCabe Widow Confronts Adams In New York
UT 03/16/06 UVF Murder Victim's Father To Meet Ahern
BB 03/15/06 Senator Hails McCartneys' Courage
TO 03/15/06 Activist For Irish Peace Visits STJ
IT 03/16/06 Taoiseach To Push Case Of Illegal Irish Living In US
SF 03/15/06 Adams To Raise Immigration Reform With US Leaders
NY 03/15/06 An Irish Face On The Cause Of Citizenship
BB 03/15/06 PSNI Accused Of Shoukri 'Set Up'
BB 03/15/06 Appeal Over Board Boycott Threat
IT 03/16/06 Opin: Undoc Irish Deserve Chance To Emerge From Shadows
TO 03/15/06 Opin: Flames Of The Torch
RT 03/15/06 330 Jobs To Go In Mallow Plant Closure
IT 03/16/06 Tourist Board Launches Calendar Of Events


DUP Must Eventually Talk To SF - Hain

Frank Millar, London Editor

Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain appears to have laid
the basis for a future showdown with the DUP over the
conditions for a return to power-sharing government at

In his most explicit terms yet in the Commons, Mr Hain
yesterday told Ian Paisley that the DUP would have to talk
to Sinn Féin "sooner rather than later". He flatly rejected
Dr Paisley's suggestion that he should exclude Sinn Féin
from a future devolved government.

Officials had "flagged-up" Mr Hain's intended answer in
advance, signalling his assertion that "this year will be
decisive" was intended as something more than a restatement
of previous warnings that "the current impasse cannot and
will not continue".

When asked specifically to name the biggest single
impediment to restoring devolution, Mr Hain cited the
absence of agreement between the parties, warning the
political leaders that "they will face a hard choice later
this year if they do not make that agreement."

While security minister Shaun Woodward said London had "no
reason to doubt" the IRA intended to honour its
undertakings, Mr Hain also told Dr Paisley that Sinn Féin
had committed itself to the democratic, peaceful and
political path "for many years" before last July's IRA
statement formally ending its armed campaign.

Senior Whitehall sources later told The Irish Times that
this did not mean London was yet satisfied the conditions
existed for the immediate reinstatement of a powersharing

However, while acknowledging the January report from the
Independent Monitoring Commission (IMC), which linked the
IRA to ongoing criminality and intelligence gathering, the
sources quoted last week's IMC assertion that the IRA "no
longer poses a terrorist threat" as evidence that they were
"getting closer to the criteria". That reinforced the
impression among some observers that "the hard choice" Mr
Hain had in mind would really be for Dr Paisley, should the
British later this year decide the criteria for the
resumption of powersharing had been met.

Dr Paisley challenged Mr Hain to "face up to the issue that
there is one party that will not agree the so-called basis
of the [ Belfast] agreement, that we all should be
democrats" and to exclude Sinn Féin because republicans
"have not kept to that way". The decision for Mr Hain, said
Dr Paisley, was whether "those that would agree with
terrorism . . . can be in government".

However, Mr Hain replied: "If he's saying to me that Sinn
Féin have not committed themselves following the IRA
statement, and indeed, to be fair to them, for many years
before, to the democratic, peaceful and political path - if
he's saying that then I don't think he's actually judging
the evidence that has been presented to us."

Mr Hain continued: "If he [ Dr Paisley] is also asking me
to bar a very important part of the Northern Ireland
political constituency from representation in the Assembly
or a power-sharing government, then I can't agree with him
on that."

© The Irish Times


Hain Remarks - An Admission Of Political Realities

Published: 15 March, 2006

Responding to remarks today by the British Secretary of
State Peter Hain stating clearly to the DUP that progress
can only be made with the inclusion of Sinn Féin, party
Vice President Pat Doherty MP said:

"What Peter Hain stated clearly today in the course of the
debate with Ian Paisley is common sense. The politics of
exclusion are the politics of failure and this is the
message which we have been pressing home for well over ten

"Those of us who wish to see progress made in the coming
weeks can only hope that today‚s intervention by Peter Hain
is the start of the two governments ending the pandering to
the DUP and getting back onto the agenda of the Good Friday

"It has long past the time when Ian Paisley should have
been debunked of the notion that there was any possibility
of political progress which did not involve Sinn Féin. That
reality has been stark for many years. If the DUP are going
to live up to their responsibilities and start delivering
for the people who elect them in a power sharing
arrangement, then such an Executive will involve Sinn Féin.
Any notion which the DUP may harbour of pressing ahead
towards some sort of majority unionist rule is a fantasy
and simply will not happen.

"Today's remarks by Peter Hain must now be backed up with
decisive action from the two governments through injecting
momentum into the process and setting a speedy timeframe
for the lifting of suspension and the restoration of the
political institutions." ENDS


Hain Threatens To Pull Plug On The Assembly

By Brian Walker
15 March 2006

Peter Hain has warned MPs he may wind up the Assembly by
the summer if the parties fail to make political progress

"We can't keep the Assembly going - we can't have a
meaningless election to an Assembly that can't exist," he
told MPs at Northern Ireland questions, shortly before he
departed for St Patrick's Day talks and celebrations in

Showing impatience with the parties, he publicly ruled out
for the first time accepting the SDLP's plan for a
temporary executive of appointed members or existing
ministers, reporting to the Assembly.

"There's no use asking me to back a policy when he hasn't
persuaded any other party to support it," he told the
SDLP's Eddie McGrady.

Mr Hain challenged Ian Paisley's hard line against Sinn
Fein, when the DUP leader called on him to be prepared to
say the republicans should be excluded from government.

The Secretary of State told Mr Paisley: "If you're saying
that Sinn Fein is not committed to a peaceful path, you are
not looking at the evidence in front of us.

"Are you asking me to bar an important section of the
community? I can't agree with that. Sooner or later your
party needs to talk to Sinn Fein, the second largest

However he agreed with shadow secretary David Lidington
that no one should secure a place in government until they
accept the legitimacy of the police and courts.

Also ruling out joint authority with the Republic if the
Assembly fails - "nobody's talking about it" - he added:
"I'm not anticipating failure. I think there's a real
prospect of getting the Assembly up and running."

At PM's Questions, Tony Blair and Tory leader David Cameron
crossed swords over a supposed threat of academic selection
for 11 year olds that critics fear lies behind the
Government's reforms for English secondary schools.


'Patience Ebbing' Over Devolution

The US and NI voters "are fast losing patience" with the
inability of the parties and governments to restore
devolution, Sir Reg Empey has said.

The Ulster Unionist leader said a lack of unionist
confidence in republicans "should not leave us paralysed".

"If we do not nail down a deal soon, we risk an unravelling
of our newly found stability with all the implications that
would flow from that," he said.

Sir Reg was speaking at the National Press Club in

Devolved government at Stormont was suspended in October
2002 following allegations of a republican spy ring at the
Northern Ireland Office.

Sir Reg asked: "What to do now? Can we go home from this St
Patrick's celebration and form a fully inclusive executive
upon our return? I'm afraid not.

"Due to the level of criminality identified in the January
report of the Independent Monitoring Commission, the
backwash from the Northern Bank robbery and the McCartney
affair, unionist confidence in republicans has taken a big

"But that should not leave us paralysed. We must move on in
a way that will build up trust and confidence.

"I am convinced that when Prime Minister Blair and
Taoiseach Ahern produce their 'Roadmap' in a few weeks, it
must inject real momentum into our politics."

Sir Reg said the UUP was prepared to consider the proposals
of all parties and "we have advanced our own model for an
interim solution if full agreement is not reached".

He and other Northern Ireland party leaders are expected to
attend a reception in the White House on Friday.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/03/15 12:51:04 GMT


UUP 'Out Of Touch With Working Class'

15/03/2006 - 14:13:48

The Ulster Unionists were today accused of being out of
touch with the needs of working class Protestants after it
called on the British government to boost loyalist
confidence by ending concessions to republicans.

Sinn Féin Assembly member Kathy Stanton criticised the UUP
after it also argued Northern Ireland Office Criminal
Justice Minister David Hanson should compel community
restorative justice groups in nationalist areas to work
directly with the police as another confidence building

The proposals were made in a letter by UUP leader Reg Empey
to Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain.

The former Stormont Economy Minister also pressed for
adequate core funding for schools in loyalist areas and a
proper resolution of the issue of contentious marches.

Ms Stanton argued: “Some of the proposals in this document
from the UUP were clearly dreamed up by people completely
out of touch with the reality within working class
communities or by people trying to use those communities to
advance a political agenda.

“People need to ask the question of the UUP just how the
British government changing its approach to community
restorative justice schemes in nationalist areas tackles
deprivation within the loyalist working class, as appears
in their proposals, or ending what they describe as
concessions to republicans.

“If the UUP were serious about this issue then they firstly
would robustly deal with the issue of unionist paramilitary
drug dealing and activity by the very gangs they sit
alongside on the Loyalist Commission.

“Or they could move away from trying to play the sectarian
card when putting forward proposals on tackling deprivation
and poverty.”

Sir Reg’s letter to Peter Hain also called for more speedy
decision-making, noting the West Belfast and Shankill
Taskforce’s recommendations had taken four years to

The East Belfast MLA also urged the British government to
set a limited period for the development of sites made
available for sale by the Housing Executive to ensure
neighbourhoods did not fall into decline.

Ulster Unionist Assembly member Michael McGimpsey also
urged the government to be more open and transparent in its
approach towards loyalist communities.

The South Belfast MLA said: “We need to take a leaf from
Big Brother – not George Orwell’s Big Brother but the TV

“The public, at every stage, should be able to see what is
going on and what is being decided upon in their name.

“They need to be involved, consulted and made to feel like
stakeholders in their own future.

“The best way to invest in loyalist areas is to invest in
our children. Tackling educational disadvantage is key.”

Ms Stanton said all political parties should tackle
deprivation and poverty wherever it arose.

The North Belfast MLA said: “Deprivation and poverty
undoubtedly exists in unionist working class communities,
as it does in nationalist and republican working class

“This disadvantage will not be tackled by political parties
attempting to approach the issue along sectarian and
partisan lines.”


US Politicians Alarmed Over M15 Role - Durkan

Irish American politicians are alarmed about MI5 assuming
the lead role in intelligence gathering in Northern Ireland
next year, it was claimed tonight.

After meeting members of the Friends of Ireland lobby group
in the US Congress, nationalist SDLP leader Mark Durkan
said he was impressed by their grasp of the issue.

"At our meeting we were struck by how well informed and
concerned leading Irish American Congressmen were about
Tony Blair's plans to give the faceless men of MI5 an
enlarged role in the north (of Ireland)," the Foyle MP said
in Washington.

"They saw clearly through the spin being peddled by Peter
Hain that this was compatible with Patten. "They realise,
in fact, that it was turning Patten (Report on police
reform) on its head and they committed to raise their
concerns with the British Government.

"Patten put in place a Police Ombudsman and the Policing
Board to keep a close and watchful eye on the police.
"Handing intelligence gathering over to MI5 takes this
vital work beyond their reach.

It means creating a force outside the police force of
faceless men who cannot be held to real account."

The SDLP and Sinn Fein have been highly critical of plans
to let MI5 take the lead role in the running of agents and
informers in Northern Ireland.

Mr Durkan has argued it waters down police reforms because
the intelligence agency, unlike the Police Service of
Northern Ireland, is not accountable to Northern Ireland's
Policing Board or the Police Ombudsman.

The proposal is contained in a Northern Ireland omnibus
Bill currently winding its way through the House of Commons
which also promises to transfer policing and justice powers
from Westminster to a future administration at Stormont.

© The Irish Times/


McCabe Widow Confronts Adams In New York

Seán O'Driscoll in New York

The widow of Det Garda Jerry McCabe has confronted Sinn
Féin president Gerry Adams in New York and said she felt
condemned by republicans for trying to stop her husband's
killers from being released from prison.

Ann McCabe, whose husband was killed by the IRA in Adare,
Co Limerick, in 1996, accused Mr Adams of not answering her
question about his support for the release of the four men
involved in the killing.

Mr Adams told Ms McCabe that he sympathised and that he
also had lost friends, family and neighbours to the
conflict. He said Sinn Féin had signed up to the Belfast
Agreement, which included the released of all political

Ms McCabe confronted Mr Adams after he spoke at a public
meeting on Tuesday night in the heavily Irish-populated
area of Woodlawn in Yonkers.

After Mr Adams asked for audience questions, Ms McCabe
identified herself and asked why Sinn Féin was supporting
the release of the four men.

She remained standing after Mr Adams had answered her
question and later said she did not get satisfactory
answers from the Sinn Féin leader.

Ms McCabe was in New York for yesterday morning's Det Garda
Jerry McCabe Fellowship Breakfast, an annual event at
Manhattan's John Jay College.

Addressing the event, Minister for Transport Martin Cullen
said the killing of Det Garda McCabe and the wounding of
his colleague Garda Ben O'Sullivan were "cold-blooded,
callous and merciless acts".

He added: "The Government have nothing but admiration for
the dignified and reserved way in which Ann McCabe and her
family have endured this continuing great loss."

Mr Cullen said Garda McCabe's killers did not qualify for
release under the Belfast Agreement.

© The Irish Times


UVF Murder Victim's Father To Meet Ahern

A loyalist murder victim's father is to hold talks with
Taoiseach Bertie Ahern next week.

By:Press Association

Raymond McCord will urge him to support his campaign for
justice over the UVF killing, and to use his influence to
help win British Prime Minister Tony Blair`s backing.

Mr McCord is to be accompanied by his solicitor Paul
Farrell when he travels to Dublin for next Wednesday`s
meeting at the Taoiseach`s offices in Government Buildings.

He said tonight: "I`m going to ask him to support my call
for a full public inquiry.

"And I want him to put pressure on Tony Blair.

"All the way through the Irish Government have been
supporting nationalist victims.

"I`m giving Bertie Ahern the opportunity to show they are
concerned about unionist victims too."

Raymond McCord Jr, a 22-year-old former RAF operator, was
beaten to death and dumped in a north Belfast quarry in

Nuala O`Loan, the Northern Ireland Police Ombudsman, is due
to report on her investigation into the allegations later
this year.

Mr McCord has met with most of Northern Ireland`s main
political parties in a widening campaign.

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams is among those who have
pledged their help, insisting the family have the right to
the truth.

Mr McCord is also expecting the West Belfast MP to raise
his case with authorities in the United States this week.

He added: "He told me he`s going to raise young Raymond`s
case in Washington on St Patrick`s Day."


Senator Hails McCartneys' Courage

Relatives of murdered Belfast man Robert McCartney have
held talks with Senator Edward Kennedy in Washington.

The senator met Mr McCartney's mother, aunt and sister,
paying tribute to them as "profiles in courage".

He said they would break the silence over the murder of the
33-year-old outside a Belfast bar on January 2005.

Senator Kennedy said he backed a ban on Sinn Fein
fundraising but will meet Gerry Adams as the "completion of
decommissioning was a turning point".

He described the McCartney murder as a "defining issue" and
paid tribute to the women who had "persereved in the face
of intimidation and harrassment.

The murder led to a campaign by his family to bring his
killers to justice.

Their campaign has already taken them from east Belfast to
the White House - meeting US President George Bush in
Washington last March, as well as Prime Minister Tony Blair
and Taoiseach Bertie Ahern.

Mr McCartney's family claim they have been intimidated by
the IRA.

The IRA claimed it had expelled three of its men over the
attack, and offered to shoot those responsible.

Sinn Fein also said it had suspended 12 members and urged
all witnesses to tell the authorities what they saw.

Two men have been charged over his murder.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/03/15 21:31:01 GMT


Activist For Irish Peace Visits STJ

By Stephen Pasqualina, Editorial Page Editor
March 15, 2006

Northern Ireland political activist Gerry Adams visited St.
John’s on Tuesday afternoon to address “The Irish Peace
Process-An International Model for Conflict Resolution.”
Adams, the president of Sinn Fein, the only political party
to hold seats in the parliaments of Northern Ireland and
the Republic of Ireland, stressed the importance of
unifying Northern and Southern Ireland and the need for
Irish independence from the British government in front of
over 300 students in Marillac Auditorium.

Adams, who visited St. John’s as part of a week-long St.
Patrick’s Day tour, spoke candidly of the peace process in
Ireland, claiming that communication was the only solution
for Ireland’s civil and foreign disparages.

“There should be no predetermined outcomes; everybody has a
right to put their agenda points forward,” Adams said. “We
(Sinn Fein) want to do things in a dignified way, to do
things in a spiritual condition. To seek peace, you have to
see your opponents as human beings. To solve conflict, you
need to construct a condition to listen.”

Adams claimed that patience, dialogue and inclusiveness are
the keys to solve any conflict, something that Northern
Ireland’s politics have lacked in the past.

“What is peace?” Adams said. “Is it an illusionary thing?
It is an absence of conflict? We concluded that peace is
the presence of justice. In conflict, there’s a need to get
to causes, there’s a need for dialogue and a need to be

To date, the British government has picked and chose who to
include in the dialogue over Irish independence, Adams

He explained that the main message behind his politics is
to bring about the assembly of Northern Ireland, whose
meetings have been put on hold by the British government
for the entirety of its three-year existence.

“The assembly has never met,” Adams said. “I spoke to Mr.
[Tony] Blair recently and told him that I want to see the
institution in place soon. I plan on telling President Bush
the same thing and hoping that he will assist in the Irish
peace process.

“It’s a slow, tedious process, but we want to see a
peaceful process and we want freedom from the British
government,” Adams continued.

In attendance were notable guests such as former NYPD
detective Stephen McDonald, former New York governor and
St. John’s alumni Hugh Carey, and Chairman, Chief Executive
Officer and founder of Wall Street Access, St. John’s alum
Dennis Kelleher.

“In 1994, Adams persuaded the IRA to call a cease fire
which helped the Irish peace process,” Kelleher said.

“An undefeated army choosing a peace path is huge,” Adams
said. “The IRA agreeing to say their weapons were beyond
use is history making.”

Upon Adams’ arrival to the United States, he was
disappointed in learning that he would not be granted a
fundraising visa by the United States government.

“I’ve been invited to the White House but I can’t walk
around the corner and go into a restaurant,” Adams said.
“The point of this event is to talk to people.”

The March 16 Sinn Fein fundraiser was thus changed into a
non-fundraising event so that Adams could attend.

Adams’ pursuit of peace has transformed the IRA, which has
progressed the peace process in Ireland.

“I remember watching the USSR collapse and saying ‘things
can change,’” Adams said. “I remember Nelson Mandela
turning from a criminal and a terrorist to a good guy after
he was released from prison and I thought ‘change is


Taoiseach To Push Case Of Illegal Irish Living In US

Mark Brennock, Chief Political Correspondent, in Washington

Taoiseach Bertie Ahern held talks last night in Washington
with the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform before meetings
on Capitol Hill today at which he will press the case of
Irish illegals living in the US.

Mr Ahern said yesterday he would put the case for the
illegal Irish "very forcefully" to both President Bush and
members of Congress.

He will meet with senators who are trying to ensure that
reforms of US immigration law will allow some 25,000-50,000
Irish currently living illegally there to have the prospect
of regularising their situation and continuing to make
their lives there.

He met the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform at the Irish
Ambassador's residence before the traditional St Patrick's
week reception last night.

Today Mr Ahern will meet senators John McCain and Ted
Kennedy, whose immigration bill would allow the Irish
remain in the US and ultimately have the possibility of
gaining residency.

Mr Ahern said the Government had backed the Kennedy/McCain
bill since its introduction. However, he acknowledged it
might now have to be "married" with other proposals that
have come from Republicans.

Many US senators oppose anything that would seem like an
amnesty for any of the estimated 11 million illegals of all
nationalities living in the US.

New security measures introduced since the September 11th
attacks make it impossible for people to renew driving
licences, change jobs or leave the country and return
without having genuine social security numbers - something
illegals do not have.

Republicans recently introduced an alternative to the
Kennedy/McCain bill which would introduce a guest-worker
system. Illegals could avail of this but would have to
return home after six years.

"It is very contentious," Mr Ahern said yesterday. "We will
work with senators Kennedy and McCain. We are totally
supportive of their efforts.

"It is my job to explain that these people are being
harassed; they can't go home to weddings and funerals, they
can't go home to see their elderly relatives. They are
fearful. The president understands this and many others

He said the US problem was not with the relatively small
number of Irish but with the total 11 million illegals of
all nationalities believed to be in the US.

This morning the Taoiseach will meet the Friends of Ireland
Group, chaired by Congressman Jim Walsh. He will later meet
Senator Kennedy and Senator Chris Dodd, and have separate
talks with Senator McCain, Senator Hilary Clinton and
Senator Patrick Leahy. He will also attend the annual
Speaker's Lunch, hosted by the speaker of the House of
Representatives Congressman Denis Hastert.

In the afternoon he will meet the Ireland-US Economic
Advisory Board, before attending the annual American-
Ireland Fund National Gala dinner.

Tomorrow, St Patrick's Day, he will meet Mr Bush in the
White House for the annual presentation of a bowl of

© The Irish Times


Gerry Adams To Raise Immigration Reform With US Political Leaders

Published: 15 March, 2006

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams in New York this morning
met Grant Lally, President of the Irish Lobby for
Immigration Reform and Ciaran Staunton one of the ILIR's
founders. Also present at the meeting were Donegal County
Councillor Pearse Doherty and the party's representative in
the US Rita O' Hare.

Speaking afterwards Mr. Adams praised the efforts of the
ILIR and pledged Sinn Féin's "full support for the ILIR and
its campaign to win legal status for the estimated 40,000
plus undocumented Irish living and working in the USA."

The Sinn Fein leader will be raising this important issue
in his meetings with US political leaders in Washington
later this week.

Mr. Adams said:

"Key decisions on the future of undocumented immigrants in
the USA will be taken shortly. These will have profound
impications for the tens of thousands of Irish in the US
who have no legal status.

"There are competing and opposite draft Bills being debated
in the US Congress and at our recent Ard Fheis Sinn Fein
endorsed the McCain/Kennedy Bill as the best way of
addressing this issue.

"I will be in Washington for several days this week meeting
with senior Congressional and Senate Leaders and this issue
will be a priority matter in those discussions."ENDS


March 16, 2006

An Irish Face On The Cause Of Citizenship

By Nina Bernstein

Rory Dolan's, a restaurant in Yonkers, was packed with
hundreds of illegal Irish immigrants on that rainy Friday
night in January when the Irish Lobby for Immigration
Reform called its first meeting. Niall O'Dowd, the
chairman, soon had them cheering.

"You're not just some guy or some woman in the Bronx,
you're part of a movement," Mr. O'Dowd told the crowd of
construction workers, students and nannies. He was urging
them to support a piece of Senate legislation that would
let them work legally toward citizenship, rather than
punishing them with prison time, as competing bills would.

For months, coalitions of Latino, Asian and African
immigrants from 50 countries have been championing the same
measure with scant attention, even from New York's
Democratic senators. But the Irish struck out on their own
six weeks ago, and as so often before in the history of
American immigration policy, they have landed center stage.

Last week, when Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton and Charles
E. Schumer declared their support for a new path to
citizenship, and denounced criminal penalties recently
passed by the House of Representatives, they did so not at
the large, predominantly Hispanic immigrant march on
Washington, but at the much smaller Irish rally held there
the following day.

Some in the immigrant coalitions resent being passed over,
and worry that the Irish are angling for a separate deal.
Others welcome the clout and razzmatazz the Irish bring to
a beleaguered cause. And both groups can point to an
extraordinary Irish track record of lobbying triumphs, like
the creation of thousands of special visas in the 1980's
and 90's that one historian of immigration, Roger Daniels,
calls "affirmative action for white Europeans."

Mainly, though, they marvel at the bipartisan muscle and
positive spin the illegal Irish can still muster, even as
their numbers dwindle to perhaps 25,000 to 50,000 across
the country — those left behind by a tide of return
migration to a now-prosperous Ireland.

This week, as the Senate Judiciary Committee wrestles with
a comprehensive immigration bill, towns across the country
are preparing to celebrate their Irish roots. On Friday,
St. Patrick's Day, President Bush is to meet with Ireland's
prime minister, Bertie Ahern, who has vowed to put the
legalization of the Irish at the top of his agenda. And
Irish Lobby volunteers are ready to leverage the attention,
with "Legalize the Irish" T-shirts and pressure on senators
like Rick Santorum, Republican of Pennsylvania, who is in a
tight race against Bob Casey Jr., a Democrat of Irish

The new Irish dynamic is all the more striking because the
Republican Party is fiercely split over immigration, and
many Democrats have hung back from the fray, judging the
issue too hot to handle in an election year.

"They're still good at the game," said Linda Dowling
Almeida, who teaches the history of Irish immigration at
New York University. She and other historians noted that in
the mid-19th century, Irish immigrants used the clout of
urban political machines and leadership by the Roman
Catholic Church to beat back a nativist movement that saw
them as a threat to national security and American culture.

More recently, Mr. O'Dowd, the publisher of The Irish
Voice, was himself part of a lobby that leaned on
legislators with Irish heritage to engineer more than
48,000 visas for the Irish, legalizing many who had re-
greened old Celtic neighborhoods in New York, Boston and

But much has changed. After 9/11, a groundswell of anger
over illegal immigration converged with national security
concerns, propelling a populist revolt across party lines.
Immigration is now seen as a no-win issue in electoral
politics. And both opponents and supporters of legalization
take a more jaundiced view of the Irish role in the debate.

"They're essentially saying, 'Look, we're good European
illegal immigrants,' " said Mark Krikorian, director of the
Center for Immigration Studies, which supports the House
and Senate measures that would turn "unlawful presence,"
now a civil violation, into a crime. "The reason they've
been more successful is the same reason it appeals to
editors — immigration nostalgia from 150 years ago."

He added: "Can they be bought off by a special program for
a handful of remaining illegals? I'm not saying it's a good
idea, but you just start talking about the old sod and
singing 'Danny Boy,' and of course it's possible."

A special measure for the Irish would be hard to pass
today, countered Muzaffar Chishti, the director of the New
York office of Migration Policy Institute, a nonpartisan
research organization that has generally supported
immigrant amnesties. In earlier campaigns, he recalled, an
Irish lobby worked with other immigrant groups, and all won
pieces of their agenda.

"It was extremely important for the optics on Capitol
Hill," Mr. Chishti said. "The Irish were also very savvy
about it at that time. They knew that they would get some
special Irish treatment, but they also wanted to make it
look like they were part of the immigrant coalition."

Today, the lobby's most crucial role, he said, may be
changing the political calculus of Democrats who have
shunned the immigration issue as a no-win choice between
responding to Latinos and looking tough on immigration.
Many Irish-Americans are swing voters, he said, and "it
becomes sort of a tipping point for the Democratic Party."

For now, Mr. O'Dowd said, the Irish Lobby's focus is
entirely on supporting the McCain-Kennedy bill, which would
allow illegal immigrants who qualify to pay a $2,000 fine
and work toward citizenship. But if no such measure emerges
from Congress, he added, the Irish Lobby will push for any
special arrangement it can get — "as will every other
ethnic group in the country."

Special visas for the Irish "would be brilliant," said
Valery O'Donnell, a house cleaner and single mother of 7-
year-old twins who was at the Rory Dolan's meeting, and
said she had lived in New York illegally for 13 years.
"There's no harm in us. We're all out here to work hard."

But several immigrant advocates in New York said that even
the hint of special treatment for the Irish would inflame
the hurt feelings that began in February when Senator
Schumer first spoke out on immigration at an Irish Lobby
event in Woodside, Queens, after declining invitations by
veteran immigrant organizations more representative of an
estimated 700,000 illegal immigrants in the state. The Pew
Hispanic Center estimates that 78 percent of the nation's
nearly 12 million illegal immigrants are from Mexico or
elsewhere in Latin America.

Spokesmen for the two senators said that their appearances
had been determined only by what fit their schedules, and
that their support for immigrants was not meant for a
specific group.

Some immigrant leaders were not convinced. Juan Carlos
Ruiz, the coordinator of the predominantly Hispanic rally
of 40,000 held March 7 on Capitol Hill, said that only one
senator had shown up there, without speaking: Richard J.
Durbin, an Illinois Democrat. The next day, Mr. Ruiz said,
when he and his 14-year-old son stopped by the Irish
gathering of about 2,400 and realized that the speakers
included Senators Edward M. Kennedy, John McCain, as well
as Senators Clinton and Schumer, his son asked, "Why didn't
the senators come to our rally?"

"I was heartbroken," Mr. Ruiz said. "I needed to explain to
him: 'The immigrants of color, for these senators we are
not important enough for them to make a space in their
calendar.' "

He added: "The Irish are not at fault. They are suffering
the same troubles that we are. But it is discrimination."

Monami Maulik, a leader in another coalition, Immigrant
Communities in Action, echoed his sentiment. "For a lot of
us, this is a current civil rights struggle," she said.

But when the phrase was repeated to Mr. O'Dowd, he
countered: "It's not about that at all. It's about how you
change the law." For years, he added, he has lobbied to win
nearly lost causes, including helping to broker a ceasefire
in Northern Ireland. "It's not about being fair, it's about
being good," he said. "It's about getting it done."

Matthew Sweeney contributed reporting for this article.

Copyright 2006The New York Times Company


PSNI Accused Of Shoukri 'Set Up'

The police have been accused of setting up leading loyalist
Andre Shoukri for assasination by leaking details of his
alleged massive gambling habit.

The claim was made by a lawyer for 28-year-old Shoukri when
he applied for bail on charges of blackmail, intimidation
and money laundering.

A Crown lawyer said Shoukri had gambled £863,000 in a north
Belfast bookmakers between April 2003 and last August.

The bail application in the High Court was adjourned.

This was so the defence can be given transcripts of police
interviews with Shoukri before he was charged last

However, Lord Justice Nicholson said: "I may say that from
what I have been told the chances of this man getting bail
are not high."

Shoukri's lawyer said the leaking by police of the alleged
gambling figure was calculated to deny his client the
beginnings of a fair trial and ear-mark him as a potential
candidate for assassination.

Earlier, the Crown alleged that Shoukri, who has been in
custody since last November, was receiving £200 a week for
allowing a bar on the Cavehill Road to remain open.

It was allegeded he was also getting between £300 and £400
a week from the bar's gaming machines.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/03/15 17:28:19 GMT


Appeal Over Board Boycott Threat

The chairman of the Policing Board has appealed to the
Ulster Unionist party not to boycott the new 19-member

The government said independent members would outnumber
politicians when the board convenes in April.

UUP leader Sir Reg Empey warned that his party would
boycott the body if it becomes "an unelected quango".

But Policing Board chairman Sir Desmond Rea said he did not
want to contemplate that scenario. He said the UUP had
"contributed greatly to the board.

Speaking to the BBC from Washington, he said he hoped the
UUP would continue to do so.

He said speaking personally, it would be a matter of
considerable regret if they did boycott the board.

On Monday, the Ulster Unionist Party said it would hold
internal discussions on whether or not it will take places
on the new board.

The DUP will have four members on the new body, while the
UUP and the SDLP have both been given two places.

Former SDLP board member Joe Byrne has been given a place
as an independent, while former board chairman Sir Desmond
Rea remains on the new body.

The board's political membership will be Ian Paisley Jnr
(DUP); William Hay (DUP); Arlene Foster (DUP); Peter Weir
(DUP); Fred Cobain (UUP); Danny Kennedy (UUP); Alex Attwood
(SDLP) and Dolores Kelly (SDLP).

The independent members are Sir Desmond Rea, Joe Byrne,
Barry Gilligan, Pauline McCabe, Rosaleen Moore, Suneil
Sharma, Dawn Purvis, Brian Rea, Trevor Ringland, Brendan
Duddy and Deirdre MacBride.

Sinn Fein did not make nominations for its two allocated

The party has resisted giving the PSNI, the Policing Board
and other institutions its support, insisting more
legislation is needed before it can sign up.

The party said it needed to see more power transferred to
local politicians before it would consider nominating

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/03/15 17:24:51 GMT


Opin: Undocumented Irish In US Deserve Chance To Emerge
From Shadows


We must act in the interests of marginalised Irish
communities abroad, writes An Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern

Our campaign for the 25,000 undocumented Irish in America
is a crucial part of a concerted Government policy drive to
assist the Irish abroad.

Through a series of unprecedented policy initiatives, this
Government has set out to improve the hitherto neglected
area of Irish emigrant welfare.

Initiatives such as the pre-1953 pension, free passports
for our emigrant senior citizens, the establishment of a
dedicated Irish Abroad Unit, and the 12-fold increase in
funding since 1997 underline our determination to deliver
for the Irish abroad.

Much remains to be done, but we have placed the issue of
the Irish abroad at the top of the agenda, and we will keep
it there.

To that end, the plight of the undocumented Irish will be a
top priority when I meet President Bush and key members of
the US Congress in Washington this week.

In my meeting with him tomorrow, I will once again set out
clearly the particular concerns of the undocumented Irish
and their families in Ireland. I will ask for his support
to end their uncertainty and suffering.

The contribution made by generations of Irish immigrants in
the United States is widely recognised and celebrated.
America would be a very different and much poorer place
without their sacrifice and achievements.

The contribution being made by today's Irish immigrants to
the economic and social life of the US is just as valid and
important. The undocumented Irish are raising families,
paying taxes and working hard.

They long to come out of the shadow of fear and uncertainty
and to have their lives recognised and accepted.

I am also deeply conscious of the many families in Ireland,
often elderly parents, whose sons and daughters are unable
to return home for weddings, funerals and other important
events for fear of being denied re-entry to the US. The
pain of separation is, I know, particularly acute at such

Today we enjoy unprecedented economic prosperity in
Ireland. All Irish people, be they at home or abroad,
should take great pride in this achievement. But new
prosperity brings new responsibilities.

One such responsibility is to our marginalised communities
abroad, and there is no Irish community more desperate
right now than our undocumented community in the US.

That is why the Irish Government has been lobbying
intensely in favour of a Bill proposed by Senators Edward
Kennedy and John McCain. The Oireachtas fully endorsed this
effort in all-party motions passed by the Dáil and Seanad
last October.

If enacted, this Bill would enable the undocumented to come
out of the shadows, to work legally and, in time, to obtain
permanent residency. It would also enable them to travel to
and from Ireland.

My visit comes at a critical time in the debate on
immigration reform. I recognise that it is a difficult and
divisive issue for many Americans.

In the post 9/11 era, securing the integrity of US borders
has, understandably, become a major concern. At the same
time, President Bush and many members of Congress have
spoken publicly of the need to deal with the reality that
11 million undocumented people live and work in the US.

Thousands of US businesses simply could not continue to
function without this labour.

Last December, the US House of Representatives passed a
Bill that focused solely on border security and enforcement
issues. Attention has since shifted to the Senate, where a
number of Bills, including Kennedy/McCain, are under
consideration at committee stage at present.

Should the Senate succeed in passing an immigration Bill
that addresses the concerns of the undocumented, a
conference will be held with the House of Representatives
where an attempt will be made to merge the two Bills. The
outcome is uncertain and success is far from guaranteed.
The "mid-term" congressional elections to be held later
this year are an additional complicating factor.

In my series of meetings with the leadership of the
Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill, I will remind
them of my personal commitment to the undocumented Irish. I
am determined to ensure that their case is not forgotten as
the debate in Congress proceeds. It is vital that provision
for a path to permanent residency for the undocumented be
included in whatever Bill is ultimately passed.

The Government has been joined in recent months in its
lobbying effort by the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform.
In public meetings organised by the ILIR across the US,
thousands of young undocumented Irish people have turned up
to make their voices heard. I commend Niall O'Dowd and his
team for their remarkable initiative.

However, the true heroes of this movement have been the
undocumented themselves. Their presence and behaviour at
the ILIR "day of action" in Washington on March 8th will
long be remembered as one of Ireland's finest days in the
US capital. Many members of Congress were left with a
lasting positive impression of the thousands of articulate
undocumented Irish who came to Washington to make their
case with dignity.

Achieving comprehensive reform is not an easy challenge.
Working together, the Government, the Irish Lobby for
Immigration Reform and, most importantly, the undocumented
community, are having a very significant impact on the
debate in Congress.

I am determined to continue this effort in the weeks and
months to come.

© The Irish Times


Flames Of The Torch

Maith thú (Well done)

March 15, 2006

Among those in attendance at Gerry Adams’ visit to St.
John’s University was St. John’s president, the Rev. Father
Donald J. Harrington, C.M. When asked if he was concerned
about bringing Adams, who is rumored to be a former member
of the Irish Republican Army despite his insistence that he
was never a member, Harrington said, “I think its always
important to look at who a person is today and many
different paths can bring someone to that position. Gerry
Adams now is clearly recognized as a peace maker, someone
who’s had a great impact within Ireland and indeed around
the world in terms of peace.

That’s what we have to focus on. Everyone of us goes
through different stages of our lives and thank God that
people don’t judge us by what we were 10, 20, 30 years

The attitude adopted by Harrington in allowing Adams to
speak at St. John’s is exactly the kind of progressive
outlook an academic university should practice. Thank God
the university was able to look past Adams’ alleged links
to Irish terrorism for the sake of allowing one of the
world’s great peace advocates to share his experiences in
politics and social conflict.

Adams was able to not only share the knowledge he has
obtained as the president of Sinn Fein and a lifetime Irish
rights activist, but provided universal advice for St.
John’s students dealing with conflict, no matter what the

“The most important element of a peace process is
dialogue,” Adams said. “Conflicts always have a cause, and
they arise mostly from people being treated unjustly or
feeling that they’re being treated unjustly.”

In the fashion of St. John’s Vincentian code, Adams
defended the impoverished, depleted underdog in Ireland and

“Over one billion people live on less that one dollar per
day,” Adams said. “Eleven million children die from curable
and preventable diseases that we have the cure to. They
would only cost us maybe 40 to 50 cents.”

Adams wishes to provide Ireland with a united economy and
universal healthcare, to avoid the kinds of problems
associated with the impoverished in capitalists societies.

But even more Christian, and substantially more impressive,
is his understanding of his opponents. Adams was repeatedly
asked about positions held by his opponents in Britain, the
United States, and Ireland, and always responded with a
tolerant “That’s their position.”

“It’s easy to demonize the other side, we all do it,” Adams
said. “It’s easy to stigmatize your opponents.”

Harrington commented on Adams’ speech, making mention of a
particularly impressive passage from his speech. “He
related that peace requires the presence of justice and
justice requires inclusivity,” Harrington said. “What a
great lesson, not just for every city, every nation or
every state but for every community no matter how small
that community is. That clearly applies to us as a
university community.”

For this reason and more, Adams was the perfect choice for
St. John’s. As an established champion of the underdog, an
advocate for minorities, and a defender of peace, Adams
perfectly reflected the Catholic mission in message.

When asked why he visited St. John’s, he responded, “Why
not St. John’s?”

Just as freedom-loving Irishman are lucky to have Adams
head the independence movement, St. John’s is lucky that
Adams chose St. John’s.


330 Jobs To Go In Mallow Plant Closure

15 March 2006 22:51

More than 330 people are to lose their jobs with the
closure of the country's last remaining sugar factory at
Mallow in Co Cork.

The closure of the plant was announced this afternoon by
Greencore which owns Irish Sugar.

Greencore said it would shut the Mallow plant in May.

It blamed the closure on the package of reforms agreed for
the sugar industry by European Union farm ministers last

Greencore has enough sugar to supply Irish industrial and
retail customers until November 2006, and is putting plans
in place to supply these customers under the Siúcra and
McKinney brands thereafter.

The Chief Executive of Greencore, David Dilger, thanked
employees and said the closure was inevitable due to the EU
sugar regime change.

Following the announcement Irish Farmers' Association
President, Padraig Walshe, said much of the blame for the
demise of the Irish sugar industry rests with Greencore.

Mr Walshe said that over the past ten years, Greencore had
drained over €300m in profits from Irish Sugar without
planning for a viable future for the industry.

Crisis for Mallow: TD

Speaking on RTÉ Radio's News At One, Fianna Fáil TD Ned
O'Keeffe said he had expected bad news for the plant and he
did not think anything could be done to rescue the

He said it was a crisis for Mallow and the region, and
efforts would have to be made to provide more jobs for the

The Carlow sugar factory was closed early last year,
leaving Mallow as the only survivor of four original sugar

The EU reforms involved major cuts in subsidies, but it was
felt that sugar production would be profitable for the next
two years.


Tourist Board Launches Calendar Of Events

Áine Kerr

The most expansive festival and events calendar
encompassing more than 600 festivals and worth an estimated
€200 million to the economy was launched yesterday by
Fáilte Ireland.

Over seven million people are expected to attend the events
and festivals, according to chief executive of Fáilte
Ireland Shaun Quinn.

Highlights of the national tourism authority's 2006
calendar include new festivals such as the World Fleadh in
Ballybunion, Kerry, and the Street Performance World
Championship in Merrion Square, Dublin.

More than 80 per cent of overseas visitors are expected to
come from the "core markets" of the US, UK, France and
Germany. The need to boost tourism in regional centres is
of primary concern to Fáilte Ireland, which has invested
more than €15 million over the last five years through the
Festival and Cultural Events Initiative.

"Research shows that people need a hook, a reason to go to
a place . . . something they can build a trip around. If
people are to go to Killarney now, there has to be a draw
and an attraction organised," explained Mr Quinn.

Such tourism initiatives are exemplified by the Celtic
European Festival of the Sea in Donegal, a new music
festival for Sligo town, and Puck Fair in Kerry.

"Strong community spirit is alive and kicking. They may
need guidance, however, in organising events and so, for
the first time, we are providing training to festival
organisers so that they can get things off the ground,"
said Mr Quinn.

On average, one-third of festival audiences book into local
accommodation and stay for at least one night, according to
Fáilte Ireland. The indirect economic impact of festivals
can be significant for other sectors.

Fiona Gleeson, festival and cultural officer, said the
national St Patrick's Festival will generate over €58.3
million , while the Galway Arts Festival this year could
generate over €17 million.

Other events such as the Galway International Oyster
Festival, the Ryder Cup, the Rose of Tralee festival and
the Dublin Horse Show are expected to attract large

© The Irish Times

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