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March 08, 2006

IMC Reports: IRA No Longer Terrorist Threat

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News About Ireland & The Irish

BN 03/08/06 Provisional IRA 'No Longer Terrorist Threat' - IMC
SF 03/08/06 Death Threats Expose UDA's End To Criminality Sham - Kelly
BB 03/08/06 Loyalist's Bail Not Being Revoked
BN 03/08/06 Illegal Irish Immigrants To March In Washington Today
LA 03/08/06 In New York, The Irish Pack It In
SF 03/08/06 Positive Talks On Usage For British Army Site In Forkhill


Provisional IRA 'No Longer Terrorist Threat' - IMC

08/03/2006 - 11:27:33

The Provisional IRA has taken a strategic decision to
follow a political path and does not present a terrorist
threat, the latest report from the Independent Monitoring
Commission said today.
( )

“The IRA leadership has given instructions that the
membership of the PIRA should not engage in public
disorder,” it said in a report on security normalisation.

Any illegal activity which may be engaged in by the
organisation or its members was mainly of a kind to be
addressed by the police without the need for military
assistance, it added.

But the report said dissident republicans continued to pose
a threat to the security forces and aspired to mount
attacks on them and the public and trained and acquired
equipment to that end.

The IMC said the dissidents’ capacity to mount a sustained
campaign was limited, but they were “prepared to resort to
extreme violence”.

Their threat was higher in certain places, of which South
Armagh was the most obvious, and they were heavily engaged
in organised crime.

Loyalist paramilitaries, said the report, were heavily
involved in organised and other crime, including drugs.

They had shown themselves capable of extreme violence, but
the IMC said it did not think they presented a continuing
threat to the security forces akin to that of the dissident

None of the loyalist groups have taken a strategic
decisions similar to that of the IRA.

But the IMC said: “We believe there are signs of a possible
readiness to turn away from some of their present

It added: “It is impossible to say at this stage how far,
if at all, these signs will develop into any real changes
of behaviour.”

The report is the ninth presented to the British government
by the IMC but its first on the security normalisation
programme set in motion by Northern Ireland Secretary Peter
Hain last August.

It was received by the British government from the IMC last
week and published today as Prime Minister Tony Blair and
Taoiseach Bertie Ahern met in London to review their plan
for revising devolution in Northern Ireland.


Death Threats Expose UDA's 'End To Criminality' Sham -
Gerry Kelly

Published: 8 March, 2006

Sinn Féin MLA for North Belfast Gerry Kelly has today
called upon unionist politicians to stand with the taxi
firms in North Belfast to bring an end to the UDA’s latest
campaign of intimidation against nationalists in North

Mr Kelly made his comments after the PSNI delivered a
warning of death threats made against at least three North
Belfast taxi firms and to the homes of a number of local
men last night.

Speaking this morning Mr Kelly said:

“Last night’s threats are the most recent attempt by the
UDA in North Belfast to crank up sectarian tension and
intimidation. The PSNI last night visited at least three
taxi depots and the homes of a number of nationalists to
warn them about threats made against them.

“This latest development coupled with the attempted murder
of a taxi man at the weekend is further evidence that the
UDA’s public pronouncements on ending criminality are
nothing more than a PR stunt. How do they square this
circle when they are making threats under the names of the
Red Hand Defenders.

“I want to take this opportunity to call upon unionist
politicians to stand with the rest of us in solidarity with
those providing a public service, to have the death threats
against the nationalist community of North Belfast removed.
Their silence has been deafening on this matter. They sit
on forums with these loyalist organizations and need to
speak out publicly and call on the UDA to withdraw such
threats.” ENDS


Loyalist's Bail Not Being Revoked

Belfast Crown Court has refused a police application to
revoke prominent loyalist Ihab Shoukri's bail.

Mr Shoukri, 32, from Alliance Road, Belfast, denied
membership of the UFF and UDA at his last court appearance.

He was arrested in a raid on the Alexandra Bar in north
Belfast last week and later released.

Judge Tom Burgess said the accused was downstairs while an
alleged UDA meeting was going on upstairs and there was no
evidence he had broken his bail.

The police had claimed he breached his bail conditions,
banning him from associating with paramilitaries, by being
in a bar where they were meeting.

Judge Burgess said the accused had not broken conditions
which bar him from certain parts of Belfast or his curfew.

Mr Burgess was critical of the Crown over the delay in Mr
Shoukri's trial for UDA membership.

He said three times a date had been set for the trial, only
for the prosecution to cancel it each time.

The accused has now been on bail for two years and nine
months and the judge said that on Monday he would hear
arguments for and against fixing a date for the trial.

A total of 17 people were arrested in the raid on the
Alexandra bar. Eleven of them were charged by police and
have appeared in court.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/03/08 11:12:25 GMT


Illegal Irish Immigrants To March In Washington Today

08/03/2006 - 07:55:56

Hundreds of illegal Irish immigrants are due to march in
Washington today as part of a campaign to legalise their
status in the United States.

The demonstrators will be marching in support of a proposed
bill that would allow illegal immigrants currently in the
US to get a green card within six years.

The bill has the support of many politicians, but others
want all illegal immigrants to leave the country once the
six-year period has expired and some hardliners want all
undocumented workers deported.

An estimated 50,000 Irish people are living and working in
the United States without proper documentation.


In New York, The Irish Pack It In

A post-9/11 crackdown on illegal immigration and a vibrant
economy back home are changing the face of a longtime city

By Ellen Barry, Times Staff Writer
March 8, 2006

NEW YORK — Up and down the hills of Woodlawn these days are
signs that things are changing. White paper fliers flutter
around storefronts, listing furniture for sale. On a Friday
night, the bars on Katonah Avenue have a hollow feeling.

The Irish are going home.

Here in a vest-pocket neighborhood at the northern edge of
the Bronx, they have lived for generations in an improbable
Irish village. Spices are flown in for Irish bacon, which
is cured in the basement beneath the butcher shop. Grocers
stock Original Andrews Liver Salts and Chives Bramble

But in one of the unexpected effects of Sept. 11, Irish
immigrants are leaving the United States in waves; they say
the crackdown on illegal immigration, coupled with a
booming Irish economy, has eliminated the advantages that
drew them here.

Ten years from now, say activists pushing for immigration
reform, there won't be Irish neighborhoods left in New

"Watch the various airlines heading for Ireland," said
Adrian Flannelly, chairman of New York's Irish Radio
Network, "and you can see the same type of grief and sorrow
that there has been in the worst days of our history, where
[immigrants] would leave everything behind them.

"The Irish in America are as old as America itself," he
said. "In that sense, this is a disgrace."

Before dawn today, 17 buses were scheduled to leave Katonah
Avenue for Washington, where Irish immigrants intend to
press for passage of the Kennedy-McCain immigration bill.
The legislation would allow all illegal immigrants to apply
for legal status after paying their back taxes and working
in the United States for six years.

The Irish government estimates that 25,000 of its citizens
are living illegally in the United States, but immigration
reform groups say the number is as high as 40,000.

The push to change U.S. immigration law came from Ireland,
where politicians were hearing bitter complaints from
voters whose relatives were living here illegally, said
Niall O'Dowd, chairman and founder of the Irish Lobby for
Immigration Reform. The group received a grant from the
Irish government to pursue its mission.

"There's nowhere in the world where Irish citizens are more
marginalized than the United States," said O'Dowd,
publisher of the weekly Irish Voice.

The Irish-born population in the United States has been
dwindling for years, from 251,000 in 1970 to 169,827 in
1990, according to the census. It has fallen sharply over
the last four years, most notably between 2003 and 2004,
when it dropped from 148,416 to 127,682.

The shift is felt most acutely in neighborhoods like

James Carroll woke up here 11 years ago, on his first
morning in America. He threw open the window of an
apartment on 231st Street and the first voices he heard
were Irish. It dawned on him gradually that, after escaping
the small-town society of the Irish countryside, he had
found that life re-created in the Bronx.

The names on the storefronts speak volumes: Down the road
from Rory Dolan's pub is Ned Devine's, Sean's Quality Deli
("All Things Good and Irish"), the Celtic Kitchen, Fagan's
Ale House, P.J. Clarke's Saloon, Lark's Nest Bar, McGinn's
Tavern, the Hibernian and Aqueduct North — named after the
huge public works project that in the 1890s first drew
Irish laborers to the neighborhood.

It was not so long ago that new arrivals in the Bronx could
tap into a vibrant cash economy. If a nanny was hit by a
car or a cab driver fell ill, posters went up soliciting
donations for medical expenses.

It was easy enough to get fake identification, said Mary,
38, a nurse who would not give her last name because she is
in the country illegally. "You knew somebody who knew
somebody who knew somebody" who could get a Social Security
card for you, she said.

And in a city where much of the police force was Irish, or
Irish American, one could assume tolerance for the
undocumented, said Patrick McQuaid, 68, an immigrant who
joined the New York Police Department.

"If a cop pulled you over and thought you were doing the
right thing, he would give you a break," he said. "The
Irish were always accepted here."

But after Sept. 11, social mobility began to drift out of
reach. Driver's licenses expired and could not be renewed.
Real Social Security numbers were needed to apply for jobs,
open bank accounts, even to join a gym.

Illegal immigrants could no longer take the chance of
flying to Ireland for family gatherings. For some, the
sacrifice began to seem too great, said William O'Leary,
35, a carpet-layer.

"It's not Christmas or weddings," he said. "It's funerals."

The changes were subtle at first. Mary noticed that it
was easier to park. O'Dowd remembers taking an apologetic
call from a Woodlawn mortgage broker canceling his
advertising contract, explaining that his clients "were not
Irish anymore."

The Gaelic Athletic Assn., which organizes Irish football
and hurling tournaments, decreased its number of teams by
seven last year.

Danny Moloney, who owns Liffey Van Lines, a moving company,
is turning Irish applicants away because it is no longer
safe to hire undocumented workers. Instead, he is hiring

What has resulted is an emotionally exhausting round of
departures, said Geraldine Mahon.

Mahon, 30, guessed that she had attended 18 goodbye parties
since November; among the departing friends were six of her
husband's siblings. Each time a friend leaves, it becomes
more of an effort to regroup.

"You're like, 'OK, who's the next crowd I'm hanging around
with?' And then you don't bother anymore. You become a bit
of a hermit," she said.

The malaise has spread to people like Brendan Stapleton,
who has been in America for 20 years and is a U.S. citizen.
On recent morning, Stapleton sat in his butcher shop, Prime
Cuts. The bacon is of the true Irish kind, made out of the
loin, not the belly, not smoked, but cured with brine.

Wafts of steam rose through the kitchen, smelling of the
boiled cabbage that will be sold later in the day as part
of a corned-beef plate. At one time, Stapleton said, Irish
laborers returned from work in the evening and lined up in
great numbers for hot dinners. Not anymore.

"I'm thinking of getting out myself," said Stapleton, 50.
"I can't see a future here if the young people are gone."


Conor Murphy In "Positive" Talks With David Hanson On Usage
For Former British Army Site In Forkhill

Published: 7 March, 2006

Sinn Féin MP for Newry and Armagh Conor Murphy has this
afternoon described talks with David Hanson today on usage
for the land vacated by the British Army in Forkhill as
"positive and constructive".

Mr Murphy led a delegation of Forkhill residents and
community activists to today‚s meeting at Stormont Castle.

Speaking after the meeting Mr Murphy said:

"Today's meeting with Mr Hanson, representatives from the
Housing Executive and DARD was both positive and
constructive. We discussed the future usage of the land
vacated in Forkhill by the British Army.

"Representatives from the local community presented a
proposal to David Hanson for mixed usage of the site
including a space for social housing, open space playing
fields and the possible relocation of the local primary

"Progress was made and they agreed to look at the community
proposal in more detail and come back within weeks to
discuss the matter further." ENDS

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