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March 13, 2006

Evidence Destroyed To Save UVF Sp Branch Man

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News About Ireland & The Irish

DI 03/13/06
Cover-Up: Evidence Destroyed To Save UVF Sp Branch Man
SF 03/13/06 Policing Board Failed To Hold PSNI To Account
IT 03/14/06 Unionists Angered Over NI Policing Board Appointments
SF 03/14/06 SF To Raise Robb/Mciwaine Case With Police Ombudsman
DI 03/13/06 Albert Fullerton: Truth Campaigner Laid To Rest
SF 03/13/06 SF Slams Minister’s Hypocrisy On Selfishness & Arrogance
TC 03/13/06 Irish Encouraged To Show Solidarity With Poor Over Lent
SF 03/13/06 Sinn Féin Welcome Call For Bill Of Rights Roundtable
OC 03/13/06 Pat The Cope Visits Irish Illegals In Philadelphia
EE 03/13/06 Opposition Urged To Back Govt's Undocumented Irish Fight
DI 03/13/06 Bobby Sands: Big Lesson In History
DI 03/13/06 Opin: At Last, Good News For Bush (Paisley Stays Home)
BT 03/13/06 Opin: Flying The Flag For Sectarianism In Sport
IT 03/14/06 Catholic Child Protection Policy Not In Use In North
IT 03/14/06 Tourists Put Off By Pricing And Airport Standards
EX 03/14/06 Fr Reid Named Tipperary Person Of Year
UT 03/13/06 Crossmaglen’s 1st New Hotel For 100 Years Open This Week


Cover-Up: Evidence Destroyed To Save UVF Man Employed by Sp Branch

Evidence destroyed to ‘save UVF figure employed by
Special Branch’ - Initial PSNI investigation now probed by
Police Ombudsman - Father of murdered teenager says: ‘It
stinks to high heaven’

By Jarlath Kearney

Evidence that could have implicated a senior mid-Ulster
Ulster Volunteer Force member in the targeting of Catholics
was destroyed because the loyalist is a Special Branch
agent, it was alleged last night.

The controversy centres on the cut-throat murders of Andrew
Robb and David McIlwaine in Tandragee, Co Armagh, on
February 19, 2000.

An informed source has told Daily Ireland that the PSNI has
destroyed an electoral register marked with targeting
information about Catholics and recovered during follow-up
searches after the double murder.

The source also alleged that the destruction of the marked
electoral register was officially known at a senior level
in the PSNI. No one was ever charged with illegally
possessing the marked electoral register before it was

However, Daily Ireland understands that the document may
have been linked to a senior UVF member who has never been
arrested in connection with the murders or subsequent
investigations. This person is believed to be a top Special
Branch agent in or around Co Armagh.

News that the document had been destroyed only emerged
after a new senior investigating officer was appointed to
reinvestigate the double murder. Since the new officer
began a reinvestigation last autumn, two people have been
charged in connection with the murders. It emerged two
weeks ago that forensic evidence, including DNA samples,
linking a different suspect with the murdered teenagers had
also turned up.

Police Ombudsman Nuala O’Loan is conducting an
investigation of the original RUC/PSNI investigation.

On Saturday, the mid-Ulster UVF issued a public statement
denying that the organisation had sanctioned the murders in
2000. The UVF said it fully supported the campaign for
truth and justice by the two dead men’s relatives.

Asked to comment on the latest allegations last night,
David McIlwaine’s father Paul told Daily Ireland he
believed a senior UVF member at the centre of the affair
had been protected because he was a Special Branch agent.

“This is absolutely disgusting news and vindicates all of
the fears we expressed about the original investigation
from day one. It stinks to high heaven,” he said.

“I have a lot of confidence in the new senior investigating
officer appointed last year.

“I am relieved that someone in the PSNI is being honest
with us.

“It is totally unacceptable that there was evidence there
at the start which could and should have been acted upon
but which was not.

“It is my belief that this Special Branch agent would have
certainly ordered and possibly taken part in the killings
and that they did so of their own volition and without any
authority from the UVF leadership.

“I also understand that this person was questioned by the
UVF leadership at the time and in fact lied to them,
denying any knowledge of the killings.

“Before this latest information emerged, I would have
accepted that we could have put a lot of the deficiencies
in the original investigation down to gross negligence or
incompetence of the highest level.

“However, I am now 100 per cent of the belief that the
person at the centre of this entire episode — who has never
been arrested in relation to the case — is a police agent
who has been protected,” he said.

“I have lodged a formal complaint with the Police Ombudsman
about the original investigation.”

Mark Thompson of the Belfast-based group Relatives for
Justice said there were now “serious and outstanding
questions that need to be addressed about this affair as a
matter of urgency”.

“We are calling on the Policing Board to initiate a fully
independent public inquiry into both the killing of David
McIlwaine and Andrew Robb and into a series of highly
questionable practices in terms of the conduct of senior
PSNI members,” said Mr Thompson.

Sinn Féin policing spokesman Gerry Kelly told Daily Ireland
the affair was “an appalling episode of political

“All of this appears to have been done to cover up the
involvement of a Special Branch agent at the centre of this
affair who has yet to be brought to justice,” Mr Kelly

The Belfast North assembly member criticised the Policing
Board and the PSNI over the affair.

He said his party would raise the latest developments with
British prime minister Tony Blair and Taoiseach Bertie
Ahern, as well as with Nuala O’Loan.

A PSNI spokesperson told Daily Ireland: “As the initial
investigation into this case is currently under
investigation by the office of the Police Ombudsman for
Northern Ireland, it would be inappropriate for PSNI to
comment further at this time.”


Policing Board Failed To Hold PSNI To Account

Published: 13 March, 2006

Sinn Féin policing spokesperson, North Belfast MLA Gerry
Kelly has dismissed the announcement of new make of the
Policing Board today by British Secretary of State Peter
Hain as the establishment of 'another quango' when what is
needed is 'democratic accountability'.

Mr Kelly said:

"In four years the previous Policing Board failed to end
political policing or tackle collusion and failed to hold
the political detectives publicly to account.

"The members of this Board have all been appointed by the
British Secretary of State. This is not what Patten
recommended. We need democratic accountability not another

"The requirement for a democratically accountable civic
policing service has yet to be delivered. That is
achievable through the transfer of powers on policing and
justice to a restored local Assembly and Executive, within
an all-Ireland framework." ENDS


Unionists Angered Over NI Policing Board Appointments

Furious unionists tonight accused the British government of
breaking a promise after reducing political representation
on the next Northern Ireland Policing Board.

They claimed Stormont was trying to seize control of the
authority, a central part of the Belfast Agreement, when
British Secretary of State Peter Hain confirmed independent
appointments would be in the majority.

His selections for the new body, which scrutinises police
performance and spending of its £830 million budget,
included a woman whose party is linked to the loyalist
paramilitary Ulster Volunteer Force.

But with the politicians receiving just eight of the 19
seats, Ulster Unionist member Fred Cobain was outraged.

The North Belfast MLA claimed the Government welched on an
agreement with his former party leader David Trimble and
the Democratic Unionist chief Ian Paisley.

When the Board was formed over four years ago they were
assured it would always have more political
representatives, in line with the Patten blueprint for
police reform, Mr Cobain claimed.

He said: "The Government have ratted on that. They have
told lies the whole way through this process.

"They have not only corrupted the whole political process,
but they have now corrupted the policing process.

"Democratic control has gone, the Board has now become
another quango for the Government to manipulate whatever
way they want."

The North Belfast MLA also claimed the changes could be
part of a ploy to bring an end to Sinn Féin's boycott of
the policing arrangements. The party refused to nominate to
its allocated two seats.

"There's no reason to change the make-up of the Board
unless there has been another deal with Sinn Fein," Mr
Cobain said.

Sinn Fein's policing spokesman Gerry Kelly was equally
dismissive of the new authority.

"The members of this Board have all been appointed by the
British Secretary of State," he said. "This is not what
Patten recommended. We need democratic accountability not
another quango."

But the Northern Ireland Office hit back at the criticisms,
stressing Mr Hain did not have to use Assembly election
results or the d'Hondt system based on party strengths to
hand out seats.

The new Board will meet for the first time next month when
members will elect its chair and vice-chair.

Outgoing chairman Sir Desmond Rea has signalled his
willingness to serve again in the top post, with sources
saying it would be a shock if he was not chosen.

Two independent representatives, property developer Barry
Gilligan and training consultant Pauline McCabe, are
believed to be contenders for the vice-chairmanship.

The new appointments included former Irish rugby
international and solicitor Trevor Ringland, and Derry
businessman Brendan Duddy.


© The Irish Times/


SF To Raise Robb/Mciwaine Case With Police Ombudsman

Published: 13 March, 2006

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Policing and Justice issues Gerry
Kelly today said that the families of Andrew Robb and David
McIlwaine deserve to know the truth about the circumstances
surrounding their murder and that he would be raising the
case in a meeting with the Police Ombudsman next week.

Mr Kelly said:

"Since the murders of Andrew Robb and David McIlwaine in
February 2000 there have been growing evidence to support
allegations that a prominent PSNI informer was involved and
was being protected. At the families request the Police
Ombudsman has conducted an investigation into the events
surrounding the murders and it is our information that that
investigation is close to being made public.

"The allegations of the involvement of a Special Branch
agent in these killings and the belief that there was a
subsequent cover-up by the PSNI members are very serious
matters which will not simply go away. The family are now
demanding a fully independent inquiry into the
circumstances which led to the murders and the conduct of
senior PSNI figures in the aftermath.

"We have already raised this case with both governments in
the coming period and it will form part of discussions I
have scheduled with the Police Ombudsman next week." ENDS


Albert Fullerton: Truth Campaigner Laid To Rest

By Jarlath Kearney

Hundreds of mourners from across Ireland descended on the
Co Donegal town of Buncrana on Saturday for the funeral
service of Albert Fullerton.

Mr Fullerton was the son of Sinn Féin councillor Eddie
Fullerton, who was murdered by a pro-British death squad 15
years ago.

Since his father’s murder in May 1991, Albert Fullerton
spearheaded the family’s campaign for the truth about the

The Fullerton family has consistently campaigned for a
public independent inquiry into collusion and cover-up in
the murder by both the British and Irish authorities.

Albert Fullerton was seriously injured early last Monday
when the van he was driving crashed outside Letterkenny. He
was on life-support until Thursday afternoon, and his vital
organs were donated.

A Sinn Féin guard of honour accompanied Mr Fullerton’s
tricolour-draped coffin on Saturday. The national flag
remained in place throughout the funeral proceedings inside
Cockhill Church.

Senior Sinn Féin members, including vice-president Pat
Doherty and chief negotiator Martin McGuinness, also

Following the funeral Mass, Mr Fullerton’s close friend
Pádraig Mac Lochlainn, the Sinn Féin mayor of Buncrana,
delivered an oration in the adjoining graveyard.

The councillor described Mr Fullerton as “a great family

“We all have individual memories of Albert – the rock and
roller guitarist; the joker always winding us up and
cracking jokes when we were trying to be serious, the
strong and loyal friend.

“But most of all, we remember Albert Fullerton as the
inspirational campaigner for truth and justice for his
beloved father, Eddie Fullerton.

“Albert knew from day one when his father was murdered,
that those who carried out their dirty work did not act

“He knew that the amount of detailed intelligence necessary
to have taken over a home and gained access to a semi-
detached home at the very end of a cul-de-sac in Cockhill
Park in territory totally unfamiliar to the killers and for
them then to escape across the border unimpeded posed very
serious questions.

“In the absence of an adequate Garda investigation, Albert
took on the role of investigator. He spoke to literally
dozens of witnesses and potential witnesses over the years
trying to put together pieces of the jigsaw. Key witnesses
emerged because of their admiration for Albert’s integrity
and decency.

“He refused to accept that this was just an ordinary
murder. And because of his incredible commitment and love
for his father, we now all know that was absolutely right,”
Mr Mac Lochlainn said.

Mr Mac Lochlainn declared that, as a result of Albert
Fullerton’s efforts, the campaign for truth and justice
into Eddie Fullerton’s 1991 murder would never falter.

“If there are those who believe that, with the passing of
Albert Fullerton comes the passing of truth and justice for
his family and the community that loved him and his father,
then they are sadly mistaken.

“I want to send a clear message from this graveside today
that the Eddie Fullerton justice campaign will continue
until all of those responsible, including right up to the
doors of 10 Downing Street, take responsibility for the
murder, Mr Mac Lochlainn said.


Dublin South Sinn Féin Representative Slams Minister
Brennan's Breathtaking Hypocrisy On Selfishness And

Published: 13 March, 2006

Dublin South Sinn Féin representative Shaun Tracey has
expressed his disbelief at what he called the Minister for
Social and Family Affairs, Seamus Brennan's "breathtaking
hypocrisy" in criticising Irish people for "increasingly
displaying selfishness, impatience and arrogance." The
Government Minister had made his comments at the Accord
Conference in Cavan on Sunday.

Mr Tracey said, "It was with complete disbelief that I
learned of the Minister's comments. The breathtaking
hypocrisy of it all is remarkable. This after all is a
Minister from a Government whose name is a byword for greed
and arrogance. Only in the last week have we once again
heard of Fianna Fáil ministers and their forgetfulness
about the large sums of money they received from property
speculators and developers -- indeed one of them from this
constituency. I would agree with the central premise of the
Ministers comments, that some people in Ireland have indeed
become increasingly selfish and arrogant. But it didn't
just happen with the Celtic Tiger as he suggests -- it
stems directly from the self-serving political
establishment who have corruptly run this state for the
last two or three decades in their own selfish interest."


Irish Encouraged To Show Solidarity With Poor Over Lent

Posted on March 13, 2006

People in Ireland are being asked to show solidarity with
the worlds poor this Lent by fasting on Ash Wednesday and
every Friday during Lent. The Bishop of Down and Connor, Dr
Patrick Walsh, made the appeal as part of the Diocese's
Trocaire Lenten Appeal, which last year raised £750,000.
The bishop has also issued a special Lenten prayer for the
occasion, along with a Diocesan Lenten Commitment Pledge,
promising to pray, fast and to give alms. “The penance of
fasting is a time-honoured tradition in the church, and we
observe Ash Wednesday and Good Friday as particular days of
fasting,” said Bishop Walsh. “I ask that we should all, in
so far as our health and circumstances allow, observe a
strict fast on Ash Wednesday and on the six Friday's of
Lent (choosing another day in lieu of St Patrick's Day.”
“If right across our diocese parishioners keep this fast it
will be a striking witness of the solidarity of our diocese
with the countless millions of really hungry people all
over the world for whom each day of the year is a fast


Sinn Féin Welcome Call For Bill Of Rights Roundtable

Published: 13 March, 2006

Sinn Féin Equality and Human Rights spokesperson Caitriona
Ruane MLA has welcomed the statement from the Human Rights
Commission today calling on all political parties to
support the establishment of a Bill of Rights Roundtable

Ms Ruane said:

"Sinn Féin has confidence that the promise of a Bill of
Rights for the North can be constructively progressed if a
Roundtable Forum is established by both the Irish and
British governments. There should be no further delay in
doing so.

"The Roundtable presents a genuine opportunity for
meaningful engagement with all political parties and civic
society about what additional protections should be in a
Bill of Rights.

"It is unfortunate that the Bill of Rights became bogged
down by the mishandling of core human rights issues by the
previous Human Rights Commission. There is now a clear
opportunity for those in political leadership to work
together alongside civil society to produce a strong and
inclusive Bill of Rights.

"The Roundtable Forum would also assist the Human Rights
Commission which is tasked with bringing forward advice on
what a Bill of Rights should contain. We welcome the direct
call from the Human Rights Commission today on political
parties to engage with the Roundtable process once
established." ENDS


Pat The Cope Visits Irish Illegals In Philadelphia Mar 13,
6:26 Pm

Junior Transport Minister Pat the Cope Gallagher has spoken
of the work the government here is doing to back the
undocumented in the United States.

He has attended a special event in Philadelphia for Irish
emigrants, organised by the Director of the Irish
Immigration and Pastoral Centre Tom Conaghan.

The Minister says that the government here are very
concerned about the vulnerable circumstances of the
undocumented following a clampdown in the States on illegal

He told the group that the government strongly support the
approach put forward by Senators Kennedy and McCain and
hope that its key elements will be given favourable
consideration in the current debate in Congress.

The Government has provided a grant of €30,000 to the Irish
Lobby for Immigration Reform to support it in its important
work in representing the interests of the undocumented.

Minister Gallagher is in America to represent the
Government at a number of St. Patrick's Day celebrations.


Opposition Urged To Back Govt's Undocumented Irish Fight

13/03/2006 - 14:48:12

Opposition parties must support the Government’s campaign
to get better rights for the undocumented Irish in the US,
a minister said today.

European Affairs Minister Noel Treacy said Taoiseach Bertie
Ahern was spearheading moves on the issue and would raise
it with US President George Bush at St Patrick’s Day events
in Washington this week.

Foreign Affairs Minister Dermot Ahern has travelled to the
US eight times in the past 18 months to lobby US leaders
and meet Irish emigrant groups, Mr Treacy added.

“It’s time for the Opposition to fall-in behind our
campaign. This is bigger than party-politics,” the Galway
East TD said today.

He added: “The Government is campaigning for the tens of
thousands who cannot return to their families. It’s time
for the Opposition to join us.”

The minister said he was working very hard on the issue and
would be visiting the US himself next month to personally
lobby members of the Senate and Congress.

Delegations of Fianna Fáil TDs and Senators as well as
their Opposition counterparts have also visited the US in
the past year.

“We have already succeeded in getting all-party support for
Dáil and Seanad motions supporting the Kennedy/McCaine Bill
which promises a path to permanent residency for the
undocumented Irish,” Mr Treacy said.

The Taoiseach and the Foreign Affairs Minister have told
diplomats in the US that the undocumented Irish issue is a
top priority.

The Government has also provided much needed funding to the
Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform and initiated policies
designed to specifically to assist the Irish abroad, Mr
Treacy said.

These include sanctioning the pre-1953 pension, free
passports for over 65’s and increases in funding for
emigrant centres abroad.


Big Lesson In History

By David Lynch

The story of Bobby Sands and the 1981 hunger strike should
be passed onto younger generations, writer Denis O’Hearn
said in Dublin at the weekend.

Mr O’Hearn was speaking at the official launch of the
biography Bobby Sands: Nothing But an Unfinished Song in
the Pádraig Pearse Centre, Dublin.

“I am having a problem deciding on what excerpts to read to
people tonight because I have heard from a lot of people
that they have read them in Daily Ireland,” said Mr O’

“It is surprising that, in some places, that Bobby Sands’
name may be fading but, for people my age and a little
younger, those events seem almost like yesterday and it
will never fade what happened then.

“It is important to pass on this story so people can
understand what happened. When I started the book, I was
not sure what I would see. I was not sure even if I would
like Bobby Sands.

“Even Margaret Thatcher said that she was impressed by his
courage even though, in her words, he was a criminal.
Bobby, however, as I found out by talking to the prisoners
that were with him and the volunteers that served with him
in the IRA, was an extraordinary man.”

Sinn Féin TD Aengus Ó Snodaigh also spoke at the Dublin

“I enjoy reading history books at the best of times but I
find it frustrating that so many books are written from an
anti-republican viewpoint.

“I have read the extracts in Daily Ireland over the last
number of weeks, and I have a sense of where this book is
coming from,” said the Dublin South-Central TD.

“This is a very important period in Irish history. This
year, we are celebrating two commemorations in history – 25
years since the hunger strikes in 1981, and the second one
is the 90th anniversary of the 1916 Rising. It is
significant that we are launching this book in this room
where Pádraig and Willie Pearse were born,” Mr Ó Snodaigh

• Bobby Sands: Nothing But an Unfinished Song is jointly
published by Pluto Press and Left Republican Review.


Opin: At Last, Good News For President Bush

Editor: Colin O’Carroll

No, there is no sign of any let-up in the carnage in Iraq
but Ian Paisley has declined the White House invitation to
attend this week's St Patrick's Day hooley. The Democratic
Unionist Party leader says he sees no advantage in
attending the gala shamrock presentation.

Last year, the Reverend Ian addressed a St Patrick's Day
breakfast in east Belfast to celebrate the patron saint's
day. No doubt he will take a similar low-key approach to
the festivities this year. One presumes those heading
Stateside for President George Bush's shindig will breathe
a sigh of relief at the absence of the Big Man but they
shouldn't break out the devil's buttermilk just yet.

That's not because ordinary punters, North and South, find
it refreshing that an Irish political leader is staying
close to home on St Patrick's Day — traditionally an excuse
for a junket for every parish pump politician in the

Their real concern should be around the fact that the chief
Paisleyite is so sure that the Irish and British
governments will bow to his anti-Good Friday Agreement
stance that he sees no need to take a shopping list of
demands to Capitol Hill.

For that, Messrs Blair and Ahern can blame only themselves.
The DUP has vowed to smash the Good Friday Agreement of
1998 and, by pandering to the party’s every whim in recent
times, the governments have only emboldened the DUP in that

Money is shovelled into unionist areas, Paisleyites are
elevated to the British House of Lords, Orangemen with
dodgy application forms are appointed to the Parades
Commission, Love Ulster racists are given the red-carpet
treatment in the capital, and attempts are made to exclude
Sinn Féin from round-table talks. And still the cookie
monster that is the DUP asks for more.

Back down to a bully and you can hardly cry foul when he
refuses to mend his ways.

There were suggestions recently that US envoy Mitchell
Reiss was going to get tough with unionism. Banning Gerry
Adams from fundraising in the States, a key demand of the
DUP, is hardly evidence of the no-nonsense approach
promised by the US representative.

The reality is that the only way to get tough with the DUP
is to serve notice to everyone that the Good Friday
Agreement is the only show in town.

If that really were the message from Dublin, Washington and
London, Ian Paisley would be in the United States this

As it is, the governments — that goes for all three — are
more focused on blocking the rise of Sinn Féin than on
delivering on the power-sharing structures and all-Ireland
institutions promised in the Good Friday deal.

With the governments doing his work for him, no wonder Ian
Paisley can afford to remain in his Antrim constituency —
in the very shadow of Mount Slemish, once home to shepherd
boy St Patrick — than travel 3,000 miles to honour our
patron saint.


Opin: Flying The Flag For Sectarianism In Sport

By Pól Ó Muirí
13 March 2006

What is it about television cameras and republicans? They
just can't resist the allure of cheap propaganda.

Witness last week's game in the National Football League
between Armagh and Galway in Crossmaglen which was
televised on TG4.

Some brave boyo stuck a sign at the top of the pitch that
proudly proclaimed: "End Political Policing Now".

He (I'm guessing) had obviously gone to a lot of trouble to
get his message across and it was visible on television
every time a point was kicked at the barrack end.

The sign, it must be said, isn't usually there, because the
cameras aren't usually there. However, Rory Republican
couldn't resist temptation in this Lenten period to leave
his politics at home and let GAA followers the length and
breadth of Ireland just enjoy the football.

Oh no, we all have to be reminded of this week's message -
though whether it is the same as next week's message
remains to be seen.

It is not the first time that such signs have been at GAA
grounds - but they have only been there when television
cameras were present.

There was a game in Casement Park in Andersonstown a few
years ago in which another proclamation against policing
was unfurled. (Antrim were playing, so there was plenty of

However, attempts to fly a "Demilitarise South Armagh"
banner at Croke Park during a Championship game one summer
were unsuccessful. Stewards soon removed the item with a
minimum of fuss.

The message seems to be simple enough - Croke Park will not
tolerate political displays but Northern grounds (for which
you can read six counties) have to put up with them if some
activist gets out his paint set to impress the TV audience.

After all, who is going to be stupid enough in Crossmaglen
or Andytown to object to republicans agitating?

Given the attempts - fragile as they may be - to build some
sort of cross-community consensus for sport in the North,
it is depressing that republicans just won't leave well
enough alone.

Croke Park will be open for rugby next year and unionists
will be in the stands; the PSNI play Gaelic football and it
is not so long since a senior GAA official in Tyrone was
hoping that youngsters from state schools would soon be
playing Gaelic games.

All are genuine and honest attempts to create space but the
rebels can't resist a cheap shot of publicity.

Were DUP supporters to hang a "Support the PSNI" sign at
Ravenhill and a "Keep the RIR" at Windsor Park, there would
be no end of condemnation from nationalist politicians of
all hues - and rightly so. We can keep our stadiums for
sport with the minimum of effort.

Anyway, the only banner Orchard County GAA followers really
want to see is: "Armagh 3:14; Tyrone 0:0".

- Fatboy Slim is coming and is already re-recording some of
his classic hits for a Northern Ireland audience. His next
album will be called You Haven't Come a Long Way, Baby and
will feature new material like: Not Right Here, Not Right
Now (Stormont re-mix); Gangster Tripping (with the UDA in
North Belfast); Build it up ? Tear it Down (from the Mast,
Free State Traitors); Give the Po(lis) Man a Break and, my
favourite, Praise You, featuring Doctor P and his posse. He
will definitely not be playing Love Island.


Catholic Child Protection Policy Not In Use In North

Patsy McGarry, Religious Affairs Correspondent

The Catholic Church's Our Children Our Church child
protection policy, published last December, has not been
implemented in the North as it does not comply with the law

A spokeswoman for the department of health, social services
and public safety in the North told The Irish Times
yesterday "The church chose to withhold it [ Our Children
Our Church policy] as it does not take account fully of NI

"We are working with the church to produce guidance that is
in line with best practice and is compliant with NI
legislation. We anticipate that this will be available
within the forthcoming months."

Yesterday it was announced that nine Catholic bishops had
put their names forward for vetting in the North, in
response to the Protection of Children and Vulnerable
Adults (POCVA) order there. It was also disclosed that,
since 1965, 81 priests have faced allegations of child sex
abuse in the North's Catholic parishes. Some 47 were
diocesan priests, while the remaining 34 were in religious

The figures, and the announcement that bishops were to
subject themselves to vetting, were in a statement by
Catholic primate Archbishop Seán Brady and the Northern
bishops yesterday. The POCVA order came into force in the
North last April and under its terms a wide range of church
personnel, including volunteers, will have to submit
themselves for POCVA clearance where work with children is
concerned. No such legislation exists in the Republic.

The bishops concerned include Archbishop Brady; Bishop
Patrick Walsh of Down & Connor; Bishop Séamus Hegarty of
Derry; Bishop Joseph Duffy of the cross-Border diocese of
Clogher; Bishop John McAreavey of Dromore; bishops Anthony
Farquhar and Donal McKeown, auxiliary bishops in Down &
Connor; Bishop Francis Lagan, auxiliary Bishop of Derry;
and Bishop Gerard Clifford, auxiliary bishop of Armagh.

"By putting their own records forward for scrutiny the
bishops are taking a lead in child protection and they want
to encourage priests and those who work with children and
young people to also apply for POCVA vetting," a
spokeswoman for the Irish Episcopal Conference said

Speaking from Maynooth, where the Irish Bishops' Conference
is holding its March meeting, Archbishop Brady said: "We
have also decided to voluntarily offer our own names as
bishops for vetting as part of our commitment to ensuring
best practice.

© The Irish Times


Tourists Put Off By Pricing And Airport Standards

Áine Kerr

Opportunistic pricing, inadequate cultural facilities and
the sub-standard condition of Dublin airport are deterring
visitors, according to a major report on Irish tourism.

The third and final report by the Tourism Action Plan
Implementation Group, published yesterday, highlighted a
number of key barriers to the Government's aim of
increasing visitor numbers to 10 million annually.

Of most concern is the loss of competitiveness by the
tourism sector in recent years, which the report attributes
to high wage costs and high charges for services.

The report adds that the "sometimes opportunistic pricing
by certain operators and the comparatively low productivity
in the services sector do not help either". The group warns
that the services sector must make the necessary
adjustments to survive in the new economic environment.

Facilities at Dublin airport are also criticised in the
report, which finds that the airport does not meet the
expectations of visitors to a modern, highly developed
country. While acknowledging that the basic decisions
needed to provide the required infrastructure at the
airport have now been made, the report states it is
frustrating for the tourism industry that delays in taking
these decisions will ensure that it will take years for
changes to occur.

Meanwhile, Ireland as a tourist destination was found to
have become "tired" and "lacking in verve" at a time when
visitors are seeking authentic experiences.

"A fundamental weakness is that much of the existing
product, in both public and private ownership, is not
packaged, presented, made accessible or marketed to best
effect either internationally or domestically," the report

Dublin is classed as being "inadequately served with
cultural facilities", due to the lack of attractions.

This absence represents a barrier to attracting key
segments of the international tourism market to Ireland,
according to the report.

Although the number of holidaymakers in Dublin has
increased by more than three million to almost 7.5 million
in recent years, areas outside the capital have had 2.5
million fewer tourists.

The group warns that this trend is likely to continue
because of the increasing popularity of short breaks, which
a city such as Dublin will benefit from at the expense of
regional centres.

Yesterday, Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism John
O'Donoghue welcomed the group's contention that the tourism
strategy is in many ways doing better than anticipated.

"We cannot afford to be complacent about our tourism
revenue, however, with competition from new tourism
destinations ever increasing.

"The falling numbers of visitors to rural areas is also a
worrying trend that needs to be tackled," he said.

The group concluded that competitiveness, product
development, access and marketing and the regional spread
of tourism should be prioritised.

Tourism report: key findings


Industry commitment to responding and repositioning for
tourism growth.

Government commitment to the implementation of the tourism

The additional resources allocated to tourism marketing by
the Government and tourism State agencies.

Significant increases in air access.

Commitment to upgrading transportation infrastructure and

Decision to provide a national conference centre in Dublin.

New capital investment programme for the Abbey Theatre, the
National Concert Hall, the Gaiety Theatre and Theatre Royal
in Wexford.


Deterioration in competitiveness.

Less than satisfactory experiences of passengers in Dublin

Full VAT is chargeable on conference business in Ireland -
in contrast to Britain.

Tourism products lack "bounce" for many tourists.

Regional spread of tourism is in decline, with 2.5 million
fewer visitors travelling outside Dublin between 1999 and

Signposting on national, regional and local routes is

© The Irish Times


Fr Reid Named Tipperary Person Of Year

By Senan Hogan

BELFAST-BASED priest, Fr Alex Reid, who witnessed IRA arms
being decommissioned last year, was last night named
Tipperary Person of the Year.

Fr Reid, who played a long-time role in the Northern
Ireland peace process since the 1980s, will receive the
honour from the Tipperary Association in Dublin next month.

Association chairman Michael Fenton said Nenagh native Fr
Reid has been acclaimed both at home and abroad for his
pivotal role as a peacemaker.

“In fact many people on the inside of the discussions
credit Fr Reid as being the person who started the
process,” Mr Fenton said.

Fr Reid is believed to have brought former SDLP leader John
Hume and Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams together for
dialogue in the late 1980s.

Based in Belfast’s Redemptorists’ Monastery in Clonard, Fr
Reid witnessed at first hand the violence and suffering
caused to both sides in the conflict.

His initiatives with the Hume/Adams talks led initially to
the 1993 Downing Street Declaration and eventually to the
Good Friday Agreement in 1998.

Fr Reid worked through this period with the Irish
Government’s representative Dr Martin Mansergh, now a
Government senator.

Methodist Minister Rev Harold Good and Fr Reid were asked
to witness the decommissioning of IRA arms in September

However, a month later he had to apologise for remarks made
comparing unionists to Nazis.

He had said that unionists had politically persecuted
Catholics in Northern Ireland for more than 60 years, and
added that he believed they were in the same category as
the Nazis.

Fr Reid has spent time in Spain in the past four years
having been invited to lend his expertise from Northern
Ireland to the problems in the Basque region.


Crossmaglen Will See Its First New Hotel For 100 Years Open
This Week

The first hotel in the republican heartland of Crossmaglen
for more than a century will open on St Patrick's Day.

By:Press Association

The Cross Square Hotel will provide a base for tourists who
wish to experience South Armagh`s unspoilt scenery.

But it is also expected to attract people curious about the
notoriety of the Irish border region where scores were
killed during the Troubles.

The family-run business hopes to secure three to four star
status and has created more than 20 full-time jobs in the

Marketing manager Fiona Carragher-Kieran said the hotel,
which has had inquiries from as far as the United States,
has a family link with its predecessor in the town.

"My grandmother`s aunt, who was known as Auntie Geough,
used to own and run the Commercial Hotel which closed more
than 100 years ago.

"My parents Gene and Briege (Carragher) developed the Cross
Square Hotel, so it has now come full circle."

Ms Carragher-Kieran, whose two brothers are also involved
with the business, said the town of Crossmaglen was ready
to move away from the past.

"We are very proud of the area we live in and we feel, as
well as everyone else, that now is the best time to
showcase what we have to offer," she said.

"South Armagh and Crossmaglen were closed off because of
the Troubles, so it has an unspoilt beauty.

"People are very eager to get the right impression across
and there is a positive attitude towards tourism.

"I would challenge anyone to come and stay for the craic,
the atmosphere and the scenery."

The hotel`s function room boasts a stained glass dome and
can cater for up to 200 guests.

All 15 rooms are en suite and feature underfloor heating
and flat-screen TVs.

Newry and Mourne District Council hailed the hotel as a
positive development for the town, just months after the
opening of its first shopping centre.

Tourism Development Officer Michelle Boyle said the area
offered outstanding natural beauty, such as the Ring of
Gullian, as well as attractions of historical and
geological interest.

She added: "It has great culture and is renowned for the
emphasis on dance, music and song.

"There is no doubt there is a curiosity factor there (about
the Troubles) but when people come to the area there is so
much for them to do."

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