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March 24, 2006

Hain: Paisley's Call For His Resignation is 'Badge of Honour'

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News About Ireland & The Irish

UT 03/24/06 Paisley Resignation Call A 'Badge Of Honour' - Hain
BB 03/24/06 Greysteel Killer Abandons Appeal
IT 03/24/06 DUP And UUP Set To Support Assembly Plan
DI 03/24/06 DUP Clashes With SF Over Posters Of Hunger Strikers
DI 03/24/06 McDowell’s Complex Forcing Overcompensation w/ Outbursts?
BB 03/24/06 PMs Discuss NI Political Process
IT 03/24/06 Assaults On PSNI Officers On The Rise
IH 03/24/06 ETA Walking A Path First Trod By The IRA
SF 03/24/06 SF Accuses Justice Dept Over Compassionate Parole Refusal
SF 03/24/06 Actions Of Mourne Arsonists Despicable - Willie Clarke MLA
WM 03/24/06 A Coole Man In The Midst Of New York Mayhem
CN 03/24/06 Old-Fashioned Terrorists Run For Cover
IT 03/24/06 FF And PDs 'A Disgrace' To 1916, Says Sargent
HC 03/24/06 Irish Stock Exchange Closes At Record High


Paisley Resignation Call A 'Badge Of Honour' - Hain

Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain said today he viewed
calls by the Rev Ian Paisley for his resignation as a badge
of honour.

In a speech to Labour activists in Wales, Mr Hain laughed
off criticism levelled at him in Northern Ireland by
loyalists and republicans.

He told the Labour Party in Wales` annual conference in
Swansea a republican mural in Belfast claimed `Hain was
insane`, while a loyalist mural read `Shin Hain`.

Mr Hain, who is also the Welsh Secretary and who represents
Neath in the House of Commons, said: "Ian Paisley called
for my resignation last month. It`s really a badge of

"He knows how we transformed Northern Ireland."

In a speech focussing on his own party, Mr Hain said Labour
needed to renew itself and get back in touch with its


Greysteel Killer Abandons Appeal

Convicted loyalist murderer Stephen Irwin is expected to
remain behind bars for many years after he abandoned an
appeal in the High Court.

He is to serve out the eight life sentences he received for
the 1993 Greysteel atrocity.

Irwin, 32, had been released under the terms of the Good
Friday Agreement.

However, his licence was suspended after he slashed a
football supporter with a knife during trouble at last
year's Irish Cup Final.

Irwin, with an address on Belfast's Woodvale Road, was
jailed for four years for the attack.

Eight people were shot dead when the Ulster Freedom
Fighters opened fire inside the Rising Sun bar in the
County Londonderry village of Greysteel at Halloween 1993.

One of the gunmen shouted "trick or treat" before opening
fire on customers.

Irwin and three other UFF men were convicted and given
eight life sentences for the murders.

On Friday, the Court of Appeal was told that Irwin's
solicitor had written a letter seeking leave to withdraw
his appeal and it was formally dismissed by Lord Chief
Justice Sir Brian Kerr.

The secretary of state will now liaise with Sir Brian
before setting a tariff - the minimum term of imprisonment
in respect of the Greysteel murders.

When the tariff expires, Irwin will not be automatically
released. His case will then be reviewed by the Life
Sentence Commissioners who can keep him locked up if they
feel it would be unsafe to release him.

The SDLPs' John Dallat welcomed the appeal withdrawal.

"This killer has demonstrated by his violence at Windsor
Park, when he slashed another spectator with a (craft)
knife, that he is in no way reformed and must not earn any
remission under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement," he

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/03/24 15:36:38 GMT


DUP And UUP Set To Support Assembly Plan

Gerry Moriarty, Northern Editor

The DUP and Ulster Unionist Party have indicated they would
co-operate with the reactivation of the Northern Assembly
in interim form in May as currently proposed by the British
and Irish governments.

Sinn Féin and the SDLP continued to voice their opposition
to any form of "shadow" Assembly that would be outside the
terms of the Belfast Agreement, although they did not rule
out entering the Assembly in May and testing whether it
would lead to the reinstatement of a fully functioning
executive in the autumn.

Taoiseach Bertie Ahern in Brussels yesterday indicated his
and the British prime minister Tony Blair's determination
to press ahead with their plan to reconvene the Assembly in
May. They are still aiming to come to Northern Ireland in
the first week in April to announce their proposals to
establish a time-limited Assembly that would either be
fully re-established in the autumn or else dissolved.

The proposals, which are still to be fine-tuned, involve
recalling the Assembly in May, senior sources told The
Irish Times last night. Six weeks later, under Belfast
Agreement legislation, there would then be an attempt to
elect a first and deputy first minister and ministerial
executive by triggering the D'Hondt system of electing
ministers based on the respective strengths of the parties.

This would almost certainly fail. Thereafter special
legislation would be enacted in Westminster to allow the
Assembly remain in existence but to go into recess for the
summer vacation.

The plan is that in September the Assembly would reconvene
and there would be another period, of six weeks or possibly
longer, leading up to another attempt to re-establish the
executive. They contend this complies with the Belfast

Mr Ahern and Mr Blair hope that two reports from the
Independent Monitoring Commission in April and October will
have further established that the IRA has fully disavowed
paramilitarism and criminality, possibly creating the
conditions where the DUP would share power with Sinn Féin.
If this were not possible, the proposal then is to collapse
the Assembly, stop paying Assembly salaries, and revert to
Plan B, whereby there would be a strengthening of North-
South and British-Irish governmental co-operation.

Ahead of their visit to the North early next month, Mr
Ahern and Mr Blair are to remain in contact with the
parties to try to persuade them that the British-Irish plan
can work.

DUP deputy leader Peter Robinson suggested his party would
enter a phased "trust-building" Assembly. If it were clear
at the end of that phase that the Provisional movement had
fully embraced democracy, then the DUP would join an
Executive, he indicated. "If they have not, we will not go
into government, no matter what the timetable might
dictate," he said.

© The Irish Times


DUP Clashes With SF Over Posters Of Hunger Strikers

Connla Young

The Democratic Unionist Party has led calls for posters
erected in honour of the hunger strikers to be taken down
in Co Antrim. Many large posters depicting the 12 hunger
strikers were put up this week in predominantly nationalist
parts of the Ballymena Borough Council area. The posters
depict the ten men who died in 1981, as well as Michael
Gaughan and Frank Stagg.

Ballymena DUP councillor Paul Frew said: “Calls have been
made by various people to have them brought down. People
are offended by them.

“Ultimately, these people are terrorists, murderers and
bombers and we have Monica Digney of Sinn Féin saying they
should stay up, that they commemorate their deaths. It’s
the same old double speak from Sinn Féin, talking about
equality, but these people were not fighting for equality.
They were fighting for special status when all along they
were murderers, bombers and criminals. It’s insensitive to
the victims.”

Ballymena Sinn Féin councillor Monica Digney defended the

“These 12 young men gave their lives so that the rest of
their comrades could serve their prison terms with dignity.
This lets their families and everyone else know they will
never be forgotten. Unionists want these posters taken down
but paramilitary flags and Union jacks deface the streets
and roads.”


Has McDowell’s Inferiority Complex Forced Him To
Overcompensate With An Inappropriate Outburst?

Here's the thing...

Robin Livingstone

After apologising to Richard Bruton for suggesting he was
a Nazi, Justice Minister Michael McDowell crossed the floor
of the house and shook the Fine Gael man’s hand, and that
was that. Well, that was that except for the fact that
nobody takes Michael seriously any more. Oh, and whereas a
while ago he’d have gone into the history books as “tough,
independent and fiercely intelligent Justice Minister”, his
entry will now read “thin-skinned mammy’s boy with anger
management issues and a nasty mouth”.

Enoch Powell said that all political careers end in
failure, and as Minister McDowell begins the slow and
agonising slide down the greasy pole he’s no doubt
pondering the truth of those words. Round where I live,
when somebody ends up with a black eye or a thick lip
they’re said to have been talking when they should have
been listening, and as Minister McDowell nurses his cuts
and bruises this week he would do well to learn the lesson
I learned in West Belfast a long time ago – you never learn
a damn thing when your piehole’s open, fella.

In my local, one of the best compliments that you can pay a
person is to describe him as “quiet”. In a world of
mindless clamour and din, the word suggests wisdom,
solidity and serenity. Clearly, in certain parts of Dublin
quietude is not such a prized asset.

If I was Michael I’d claim a bad case of political
Tourette’s, get a note from the doctor and sit tight.
Bertie wouldn’t dare sack somebody who’s out on the sick
with an election on the horizon.

Not that bad yet

The funny thing is, when you really think about it, what
Michael said wasn’t really that bad. It’s just that people
seem these days to have lost all sense of perspective, to
say nothing of their sense of humour.

Who in their right minds would think that a minister of
state was being literal when he compared the Fine Gael
finance spokesman to Dr Paul Joseph Goebbels, hysterical
anti-Semite and Adolf Hitler’s Propaganda Minister?

Take you to be a real heavy head to believe that the
Minister really, really meant that Richard Bruton helped
organise the Kristallnacht; that he enthusiastically
endorsed the Endlosung with its death trains and gas
chambers; that he spent a day as Chancellor after the death
of Hitler and that he poisoned his six children with
cyanide before killing himself and his wife.

If he’d done any of those things I think Joe Duffy would
have covered it.

And anyway, I think the Irish people are intelligent and
mature enough to understand that the opposition isn’t that
bad yet.

The really galling part about it is that nobody enjoys a
laugh more than Michael. He probably doesn’t remember an
evening in Emmanuel College Cambridge a couple of years ago
when he and I were joined by Brian Feeney, David Trimble
and Ruth Dudley Edwards to put the world to rights over a
few glasses of red wine.

The minister was funny, irreverent and quick-witted, and I
have no doubt that had I called him a fat mess he wouldn’t
have put the back of his hand to his brow and demanded an
apology – he would have taken it in good part.

If somebody had labelled him a specky slaphead with the
dress sense of an Albanian insurance salesman the volume of
his laughter would have set his chins rippling.

Not that anybody would have said anything like that to
someone as important as a minister of state. It wouldn’t
have been appropriate.

Napoleon complex

That Goebbels crack wasn’t even my favourite part of
Michael’s performance.

I liked this bit. “I want to make this very, very clear.
Deputy Bruton is knee-high to me in terms of everything he
has ever tried to do for this country.

Does anyone remember any achievement by Deputy Bruton or
Deputy Kenny when they were in office?”

Napoleon complex: A term used to describe people who are
driven by a perceived handicap to overcompensate in other
aspects of their lives.

Napoleon’s handicap, of course, was his height, even though
at five foot six, he was of average height for his time.

What perceived handicap drove the minister to such an
inspirational but ever so slightly embarrassing outburst is
not entirely clear to me.

I seem to remember that when I met him the minister was not
vertically deficient.

I’m a six-foot hunk of prime Irish manhood and he didn’t
ask me: “What’s the weather like up there?” and when he sat
down his feet didn’t swing daintily in the air, but were
planted firmly on the carpet.

Regardless of his height, the minister does look as though
he’d be more at home in a blazer, shorts and cap with a
satchel over his shoulder and a catapult sticking out of
his back pocket, so it could be that his overgrown
schoolboy appearance is the motive for his overcompensating

Or it could be the aforementioned glasses. I know that of
which I speak, Michael, and I’m with you on this one.

I started wearing glasses as a toddler and by primary
school my right eye was getting so progressively lazy that
I was forced to wear a patch on my good eye for two hours a
day in a vain attempt to pressgang the wonky one into

It never worked, needless to say, but I remember a very
attractive young teacher used to remove the patch after the
allotted time, tenderly and slowly so as not to hurt me,
her Charlie perfume mingling with the smell of pencil
shavings and the slightly disinfectant aroma of the patch

It was a heady mix which I vividly recall to this day but
have never again experienced despite some bizarre
experiments later in life.

Maybe Michael wasn’t so lucky, maybe his classmates called
him Joe 90 and drew pictures of him on the blackboard
during the lunchbreak.

Or maybe he was already beefy as a boy and the class would
slap their hands together and make sealion noises when he
walked in the room.

I know these things happen because I’ve seen them, and
they’re not pretty.

A bloke can be scarred for life by them and end up bitter
and twisted, saying things he doesn’t mean, always
expecting to be hated and never being disappointed.


PMs Discuss NI Political Process

Tony Blair and Bertie Ahern have discussed their latest
blueprint for the NI Assembly's restoration on the margins
of an EU summit in Brussels.

They said they intend pressing ahead with plans to restore
the assembly.

It is understood the British and Irish prime ministers are
planning to visit NI in April to unveil their proposals.

Irish sources said the visit was pencilled in for 6 April.
Mr Ahern said he believed the conditions were now right to
allow for political progress.

"The process has moved forward to an incredible extent over
the last period of time," he said.

"IRA weapons are a thing of the past and hopefully the IRA
is moving that way too.

"There is a moment of opportunity coming up which should
not be allowed to pass and may not come around for a long
time again."

DUP deputy leader Peter Robinson said: "I do not want the
government to be under the misapprehension that by forming
a lower level of devolution and timetabling it for full
executive devolution, then at that point there will
automatically be executive devolution.

"If that can be done, there will be no-one happier than I.
If the transformation takes place, I might be surprised but
at least I will be content."

British and Irish officials are in daily contact on the
details of the plan to revive the Stormont assembly.

It is believed the governments intend to call the parties
back to Stormont for a six-week period prior to the summer
marching season.

BBC NI political editor Mark Devenport said: "There is
little expectation that the politicians will be able to
form a power-sharing executive, but officials are
considering emergency rule changes which would enable
assembly members to conduct some work.

"Under the current procedures, David Trimble and Mark
Durkan would be reinstated as acting first and deputy first
minister - something any new rules will almost certainly

"Political sources suggest that the assembly would break
over the summer and then reconvene in September.

"There are different estimates of how long the politicians
might be given to form an executive - some sources say
October will be a cut-off date, others indicate the
deadline will be the end of the year."

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

However, doubt was cast on that after a senior Sinn Fein
official acquitted of involvement said he had been a
British agent for 20 years and that there was no spy ring.

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

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/03/24 20:50:43 GMT


Assaults On PSNI Officers On The Rise

Police officers in Northern Ireland are more than twice as
likely to be assaulted than officers in Scotland, it was
revealed today.

There were 21,845 assaults on officers in 51 police forces
across the UK last year - the equivalent of one every 24

The figures, compiled by Police Review magazine, recorded
2,214 assaults on PSNI officers in 2004/05, up 152 on the
previous year. But in Scotland the number fell by 158 to

Ulster Unionist Policing Board member Fred Cobain said the
North was different from other parts of the UK.

"One assault is too many but I am not surprised by the
figures [but] hopefully these numbers will be reduced as we
move towards a more normal and peaceful society."

The SDLP's Dolores Kelly said the figures were
unacceptable. "It is very disappointing that attacks on the
police, fire service and ambulance staff continue to
increase. There seems to be a culture of drunken behaviour
that leads to these sorts of attacks."

Ms Kelly, who will join the Policing Board next month, also
called on Sinn Fein to back the policing reforms. "Some
parties continue to demonise the police and that culture
continues even though we are in peaceful times," she said.

(c) The Irish Times/


ETA Walking A Path First Trod By The IRA

By Caroline Brothers and Brian Lavery International
Herald Tribune
Saturday, March 25, 2006

Time and again the Basque separatists who called their
cease-fire in Spain this week identified with the Irish
Republican Army and the eerie parallel between the two
groups held up over nearly four decades, all the way to
what seems to be their mutual oblivion.

Last year, Gerry Adams, the longtime leader of the IRA's
political wing, Sinn Fein, visited the Basque country to
promote his book and to encourage ETA to negotiate for
peace. It now seems plain that the peace deals that the IRA
was negotiating were the omen of a similar course for ETA.

"When Gerry Adams came and talked about ending violence, it
left ETA looking very much more alone," said Fernando
Savater, the Spanish writer and philosopher who represents
the citizens' movement, Ya Basta (Enough is Enough) and who
has had bodyguards for years as a protection against the
Basque separatists.

"ETA are not giving up arms because they want to, but out
of necessity," Savater said. "ETA has been dismantled
politically, legally, in a civic sense, and it has lost its
bases in France."

The ETA cease-fire follows the Irish Republican Army's
ending of its campaign of violence against Britain by just
eight months.

Both fought for nearly four decades against modern
democratic governments and each harked back to an ancient
language and borders, rallying young people to join the
cause against distant oppressors.

In the process they killed thousands - ETA about 850 and
the IRA almost 1,800 - and caused monumental power
struggles with national governments.

A critical difference is that the IRA thrived in a bitter
sectarian divide between Protestants and Roman Catholics.
ETA did not have that emotional issue of religion to stir
up for support.

Most experts say that both groups were hurt by the Islamic
fundamentalism of the new century, notably the attacks of
Sept. 11, 2001, in the United States and the train bombings
that killed 191 people in Madrid in March 2004, when any
residual support for the groups in the populace broke in an
intolerance for terrorism.

After the bombings in Madrid, Savater said, "they lost a
lot of their political audience."

However, Eoin O Broin, Sinn Fein's Belfast-based director
of European affairs and the author of a book about Basque
nationalism, took a different view, saying that the
election of the Socialist prime minister, José Luis
Rodríguez Zapatero, in 2004, days after the Madrid
bombings, represented a chance to begin negotiating.

His predecessor "wasn't interested at all in any kind of
dialogue," O Broin said. "Radical Basque nationalists
recognized that with Zapatero, they had a major

According to the newspaper El País, the Spanish Socialists
met with ETA representatives in Geneva and Oslo last year
to begin negotiations on the cease- fire.

The similarities between ETA and the IRA were both symbolic
and political, analysts say.

"They formed an alliance as outcasts," according to Richard
English, professor of politics at Queens University in
Belfast. ETA's political wing, Batasuna, and Sinn Fein have
at times both been forbidden from taking part in public

The similarities stretch to the niche languages that the
movements promote as a badge of identity.

Nationalists in both regions have fostered dynamic youth
movements, often by branding themselves as cool on college
campuses, which have provided eager recruits for political
- and occasionally terrorist - activities. And they each
questioned the legitimacy of the constitutional democracies
that control their regions, appealing to the belief that
their supporters have been deprived of their rightful
ancient homeland.

"Both groups tried to ride a tide of anti-imperialism,"
English said. Representatives from Basque parties regularly
attended the annual conferences of Sinn Fein and addressed
the audience.

Security analysts have suggested that those relationships
extended to the sharing of weapons expertise and matériel,
but in recent years Ireland's most significant export to
San Sebastián, the political center of the Basque country
in Spain, has been political expertise.

Paddy Woodworth, the author of a book about ETA titled
"Dirty War, Clean Hands," says the example of the Irish
peace process in the 1990s was crucial in ETA's call for a
cease-fire in 1998.

Following the IRA carefully, ETA cannot be completely
heartened by what follows after a call for peace. ETA will
have learned from the recent IRA negotiations "that these
processes can be slow, that they can be difficult and
torturous at times," O Broin said.

Caroline Brothers reported from Paris and Brian Lavery from


Sinn Fein Accuses Justice Department Over Compassionate
Parole Refusal

Published: 24 March, 2006

Sinn Féin TD for Kerry North Martin Ferris tonight accused
the Department of Justice of 'petty, vindictive behaviour'
after they refused Republican prisoner Pearse McCauley
compassionate parole to attend the funeral of his mother in

Deputy Ferris said:

"The decision to deny Pearse McCauley parole to attend the
funeral of his mother in law is the latest petty,
vindictive decision by the Department of Justice regarding
compassionate parole applications by Republican prisoners
in Castlerea.

"It appears that the Department of Justice is rowing back
on conditions which were hard won by Republican prisoners
over many years. It is unacceptable that the Department of
Justice is for its own narrow reasons penalising Republican
prisoners in this fashion." ENDS


Actions Of Mourne Arsonists Despicable - Cllr Willie Clarke

Published: 24 March, 2006

South Down Assembly Member Cllr Willie Clarke has described
as 'despicable' the people who deliberately started the
gorse fire in the Mournes on Thursday afternoon.

"Those who started this fire, which for a time stretched
across several miles of unspoilt hill side, have a lot to
answer for. The destruction of this important natural habit
for wildlife and flora and fauna, in an area of outstanding
natural beauty, cannot be over stated. The mountainside
will take years to fully recover from this appalling act of
environmental vandalism.

"Thankfully no one was injured which is more down to luck
than anything else and if the wind had been blowing from a
different direction homes further down the mountain may
have been threatened by this blaze. I wish to commend the
dozens of fire-fighters who were on the scene throughout
the day battling the fire. This places a terrible strain on
emergency services and puts lives at risk elsewhere and the
arsonists who started this fire have caused considerable
anger locally. They need to wise up quickly before their
actions have even more serious consequences. " ENDS


A Coole Man In The Midst Of New York Mayhem

Thursday March 23rd 2006

The decision to continue the ban on gay and lesbian
participation in the New York St. Patrick’s Day parade was
made by the Westmeath man who is chairman of the event.

John T. Dunleavy, a native of Coole, caused a storm of
controversy as, in interviews leading up to the parade, he
reiterated the view that gay groups should be banned
because they are “anti-Catholic”.

His committee also banned the Irish Lobby for Immigration
Reform, led by Irish Voice editor, Niall O’Dowd, from
participating, on the grounds that they are too much of an
“advocacy” group. The view of the St. Patrick’s Day parade
committee has consistently stated that the parade cannot be
used to promote anything.

Mr. Dunleavy accused the Irish Lesbian and Gay Organisation
of “dirty pool tactics” when they sought to be included in
the parade.

"If an Israeli group wants to march in New York, do you
allow neo-Nazis into their parade? If African-Americans are
marching in Harlem, do they have to let the Ku Klux Klan
into their parade?" Dunleavy was quoted as saying in an
interview in The Irish Times.

"People have rights. If we let the ILGO in, is it the Irish
Prostitute Association next?" he said.

Mr. Dunleavy - brother of Coole businessman, Mel Dunleavy -
emigrated to the United States in the 1960s, and has for
the past fourteen years been chairman of what is the
world’s biggest, and oldest parade. Traditionally, each
year, he is the last man to march in the parade.

Although chairman for fourteen years, Mr. Dunleavy’s
involvement in the Parade Celebration Committee actually
goes back 38 years.

This year’s parade in New York was the city’s 245th.

Mr. Dunleavy, 67, lives in Riverdale, New York. He was
married in the Bronx and has two daughters, both teachers.
After emigrating to the United States, Mr. Dunleavy joined
the US Army, and in 1965, was hired as a bus driver for the
New York City Transit Authority.

Over the years, Mr. Dunleavy rose through the ranks, to
attain the position of General Superintendent of the New
York City Transit Authority in 1990, before retiring and
starting a gardening business.

In 1992, when he was elected Parade Chairman, he stated
that his goal would be to continue to preserve, protect and
promote the traditions of the Parade that have been handed
down since the first parade was held, back in 1762.

Deputy Donie Cassidy knows Mr. Dunleavy well, and described
him this week as one of the most important men in New York.

“He is a great personal friend of the Westmeath Association
and of Westmeath people. He’s probably the Number One
Westmeath ambassador in New York City. He couldn’t do
enough for you,” he said, adding that Mr. Dunleavy has
never forgotten his roots, and returns home to his native
county as often as twice a year.

The chairman of Seattle’s Irish Week - which included the
organisation of a St. Patrick’s Day Parade - was also a
Westmeath native, John Keane.

© Westmeath Examiner


Old-Fashioned Terrorists Run For Cover

Friday, March 24, 2006 Posted: 1643 GMT (0043 HKT)

September 11 changed everything.

Manage Alerts What Is This? DUBLIN, Republic of Ireland
(AP) -- Not so long ago, when a bomb went off in London,
you could be sure it was the Irish Republican Army. If the
target was Madrid, that meant the Basque separatist group

But al Qaeda has shattered the old certainties -- and
accelerated the decline of European paramilitary groups
that peg their survival to a bedrock of public support. The
continent's two most entrenched bands of outlaws, the IRA
and ETA, have taken their biggest peacemaking steps in the
shadow of al Qaeda carnage.

"The old terrorist groups, at leadership level, would not
want to be linked in the public mind with this new type of
terror. They wouldn't want to be seen to be competing for
attention with it," said Christopher Langton, an analyst at
the International Institute of Strategic Studies in London.

"With the IRA and ETA and others, they call cease-fires and
want to be negotiated with," said Langton, a retired
British army colonel. But with al Qaeda, he said, "there's
nobody to negotiate with."

He and Jonathan Stevenson, an anti-terrorism specialist at
the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island, agree
that the al Qaeda threat has greatly increased Western
governments' willingness to share intelligence, toughen
anti-terrorism laws, and tolerate repressive measures.
Previously, Britain and Spain faced international criticism
when they cracked down on the IRA and ETA, whose members
were easier to identify and arrest.

"September 11 and the rise of the new terrorism hardened
governments against dealing with groups that commit
terrorist violence," said Stevenson, an expert on conflicts
from Northern Ireland to Somalia.

He said al Qaeda's "mass-casualty agenda" meant that the
violence committed by the IRA and ETA no longer had "stun

In its peace declaration this week, ETA -- which killed
about 800 people from 1968 to 2003 in hope of pressuring
Spain into granting independence to the Basque region --
pledged its cease-fire would be permanent and demanded only
admission to negotiations in return, a remarkable
climbdown. The group hadn't killed anybody since March 11,
2004, when Moroccan radicals killed 191 people with blasts
on Madrid commuter trains, an atrocity that the Spanish
government of the day tried to pin on ETA.

The IRA, which killed 1,775 people during a failed 27-year
campaign to wrest Northern Ireland from the United Kingdom,
began disarming just six weeks after the September 11,
2001, terrorist attacks on the United States. And just a
few weeks after suicide bombers killed 56 people in London,
the IRA formally instructed its members to renounce
violence for political purposes and to dump their weapons
for collection by disarmament officials.

The IRA had ruled out both moves for a decade. Analysts and
IRA members alike say that growing international
impatience, particularly in the United States after
September 11, helped make the unthinkable inevitable.

"Al Qaeda did change things for us," said an IRA veteran,
speaking on condition of anonymity because IRA membership
remains an imprisonable crime in both Britain and Ireland.

He told The Associated Press that the September 11 attacks
made it politically impossible for the IRA to break its
1997 cease-fire. He contrasted that with the fate of the
IRA's previous 1994 truce, which ended with a two-ton truck
bomb on the City of London, Britain's financial district,
that caused vast economic damage and killed two men. The
low death toll reflected the IRA policy of phoned warnings
and followed two similarly massive strikes on the City of
London in 1992 and 1993.

"Up to then, we could expect a certain level of sympathy
internationally when we bombed the City of London. Those
operations used to be, far and away, the most effective
thing we did, the thing that really hit the Brits in their
wallets," he said. "I wouldn't expect too many Irish-
Americans in New York to cheer us if we did that today --
not after what happened to the twin towers."

Most of Europe's terror-practicing groups rose amid the
radical chic and student protests of the late 1960s, when
the continent was divided by the Cold War. Germany's Red
Army Faction, Italy's Red Brigades and Greece's November 17
kidnapped, assassinated and bombed as they dreamed of
Marxist revolution and the collapse of NATO.

Because they lacked any popular base, these small groups
proved vulnerable to leaders' arrests. Once the Warsaw Pact
collapsed, they disintegrated or lost their direction.

Fred Halliday, a human rights professor at the London
School of Economics, said the end of the Cold War
undermined virtually all of Europe's paramilitary
movements; the IRA, for instance, received Warsaw Pact
weaponry through Libya and claimed to be fighting to create
a socialist republic.

Halliday cited several factors that drove the IRA, then
ETA, toward peace long before al Qaeda appeared. He said
the IRA's Sinn Fein party was deeply influenced by the
African National Congress' renunciation of "armed struggle"
in the early 1990s. Then Sinn Fein jumped at the chance, in
1994, to enter mainstream politics with crucial
encouragement from former U.S. President Bill Clinton. ETA,
in turn, sought to emulate Sinn Fein's truce-for-talks

But he said the IRA's and ETA's long road to peace
illustrated how long it would take to come to terms with al
Qaeda as well as Hamas, the militant Palestinian movement.
He said it was inevitable that, someday, the West would end
up negotiating with the political descendants of both

"The IRA and ETA must have realized 10, 20 years before
their cease-fires that their war wasn't going anywhere. It
took their leaders that long to shift their movement
towards reality," Halliday said. "How long will it take al
Qaeda and Hamas to travel the same journey? It's

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights
reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast,
rewritten, or redistributed.


FF And PDs 'A Disgrace' To 1916, Says Sargent

Green Party leader Trevor Sargent has described Fianna Fáil
and the Progressive Democrats as "a disgrace" to the men
and women of 1916 and the principles they fought for.

Speaking at the launch of his party's annual conference in
Kilkenny yesterday evening, Mr Sargent said the
Government's current policies had created a very unequal
and divided society in Ireland.

"Maybe Frank Dunlop, the former Fianna Fáil government
press secretary, understands what makes this Government
tick more than most," he said.

"He told the Mahon tribunal . . . that when a crooked
Fianna Fáil politician was bought, he stayed bought."

He said: "When you see who dines in the Fianna Fáil tent at
the Galway Races, it is clear that this Government is well
bought by those who benefit most from Irish society being
more divided and vulnerable than ever."

Speaking in advance of the planned official celebrations
next month to mark the Rising's 90th anniversary, Mr
Sargent said the two Government parties were "a disgrace to
the men and women of 1916 and the principles of sovereignty
and equality for which they died".

(c) The Irish Times/


Irish Stock Exchange Closes At Record High

(c) 2006 The Associated Press

DUBLIN, Ireland - Ireland's bank-heavy stock market, long
among the strongest performers in Europe, ended the week
Friday above the 8,000-mark for the first time, the latest
in a string of highs.

The Irish Stock Exchange closed 68.75 points higher, or
0.86 percent, at 8,044.55. Among the main gainers were
Allied Irish Banks, up 1.3 percent; Bank of Ireland, up 1.4
percent; and Anglo Irish Bank, up 1.1 percent.

Shares on the Irish Stock Exchange have more than tripled
in value since the Dublin market became independent in
December 1995 from the London Stock Exchange. The gains
have been driven by Ireland's European Union-leading
economic growth and its property boom, which creates heavy
demand for banking services.
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