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March 30, 2006

McGuinness: Time To Deliver GFA Has Come

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News About Ireland & The Irish

SF 03/30/06 McGuinness - Time To Deliver GFA Has Come
SF 03/30/06 Adams - Future Of Institutions Now Hangs In The Balance
BB 03/30/06 Ahern In NI Political Discussions
IT 03/30/06 McCain Worried About US Green Card Bill
IE 03/30/06 Senate Surprise: Stage Set For Immigration Showdown
IE 03/30/06 Cautious Optimism, Spirited Opposition Following Key Vote
BT 03/30/06 Family Welcomes Penalties For Refusing To Aid Hamill Probe
RT 03/30/06 Tenders To Be Invited For Sellafield
SF 03/30/06 Sell-Off Of Sellafield Must Be Opposed
IT 03/30/06 SDLP Vice-Chairman Espie Resigns From Party
BB 03/30/06 Suicides In NI 'Up By Nearly 50%'
SF 03/30/06 Delivery Of A Suicide Prevention Strategy Is Key - Adams
IT 03/30/06 Committee Calls For Ludlow Killing Inquiry
IT 03/30/06 More Questions Than Answers In Ludlow Killing
SF 03/30/06 Gimmicks From Hyperactive Minister Won't Address Crime
IT 03/30/06 SF Spent Least In Election, Report Finds
IT 03/30/06 Campaign For SF To Be Removed From US Terrorist List
BT 03/30/06 Deepcut: 'There Was Clear Evidence Of Foul Abuse'
BT 03/30/06 We'll Fight For Son's Inquiry Despite New Deepcut Report
BN 03/30/06 Loyalist Fury At Hunger Strikers' Posters
IM 03/30/06 Shocking Prisoner Neglect
BT 03/30/06 Opin: A Gift-Wrapped Deal For Birthday Boy Ian?
IN 03/30/06 Opin: SF Peddling Paranoid Fantasies Over Housing
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IT 03/30/06 Success Of Smoking Ban Welcomed As 2nd Anniversary Marked
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BT 03/30/06 Wear A Lily With Pride
IM 03/29/06 Women And The Irish Revolution
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IM 03/29/06 1916-2006 Easter Rising Commemoration
IM 03/29/06 The O' Rahilly Commemoration
IN 03/29/06 Passenger Boat Opens Up Secrets Of Island
IN 03/30/06 Bloody Sunday Centre Move Hailed A Success


McGuinness - Time To Deliver Good Friday Agreement Has Come

Published: 29 March, 2006

Sinn Féin Chief Negotiator Martin McGuinness MP and
Assembly member for North Belfast Gerry Kelly were in
London today for a series of engagements. Speaking to the
media at Westminster Mr McGuinness expressed his surprise
at comments from SDLP leader Mark Durkan overnight, when he
called on the governments to stop pressurising the DUP.

Mr McGuinness said:

"Pro-Agreement opinion across Ireland has for years been
calling on the two governments to end the pandering to the
DUP and put pressure on that party to accept the
democratically expressed wishes of the Irish people and row
in behind the institutions laid out in the Good Friday

"It seems unbelievable that when many feel the two
governments may be about to make a significant effort to
see the institutions put back in place and exert the sort
of pressure required on the DUP, and at a time when the DUP
are isolated in their refusal to move forward, that the
SDLP would call on the governments not to follow through
with this course of action. Their latest position flies in
the face of the political realities we currently face.

"Sinn Féin has consistently urged the governments to take
the lead in driving forward the Good Friday Agreement
agenda and we are in daily discussions with them. The next
short period is therefore crucial to the future of the
political institutions.

"Any proposal by the governments to reconvene the Assembly
must be to give effect to the Agreement. That means
electing a government to run the affairs of the north.

"Sinn Féin is opposed to any shadow Assembly with
committees scrutinizing the work of British Direct Rule
Ministers. Changing or altering the institutional
structures of the Good Friday Agreement to facilitate the
DUP is not acceptable.

"Irish republicans have taken significant initiatives to
advance the peace process, particularly last year. It's now
over to the governments to deliver. It is now over to the
DUP to deliver.

"Tomorrow the Sinn Féin leadership will meet the Irish
government. Its responsibility is to deliver the Agreement.

If the DUP refuses to participate then the British and
Irish governments must move ahead." ENDS


Adams - Future Of Political Institutions Now Hangs In The

Published: 30 March, 2006

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams MP, speaking in advance of
a crucial meeting with the Taoiseach Bertie Ahern in
Government Buildings this afternoon (Thursday 30th), said
"the future of the political institutions now hangs in the
balance". He expressed his "deep concern at the approach of
the Irish government to efforts to restore the political

Mr. Adams said:

"At this time the DUP is doing all in its power to prevent
the restoration of the Assembly and the Executive and is
attempting to re-negotiate key sections of the Good Friday

"Rather than tackling this situation, the Irish government
is playing a very dangerous game. There is a constitutional
imperative on the Irish government to uphold the Good
Friday Agreement. This is not happening.

"In recent days senior Irish government representatives
have promoted the possibility of a shadow Assembly, with
committees, or some form of scrutiny role, which will
extend beyond the six weeks allowed for in the Agreement
for the establishment of the Executive. These proposals are
naïve in the extreme. They will not work and are not
supported by anyone other than the DUP.

"The role of the Irish government, first and foremost, is
to implement the Good Friday Agreement not to water it down
to make it acceptable to the DUP. If the DUP knows that the
Irish government can be bullied into changing the Good
Friday Agreement, why on earth would they change their
current approach?

"Sinn Féin wants to see the political institutions
restored. We want to work on the Executive with the DUP and
the other parties on the basis of the Good Friday

"We have made it clear in our discussions with the Irish
government that we are opposed to any dilution of the
Agreement, or to the establishment of any shadow Assembly
with scrutiny committees or scrutiny powers. This is not
the Agreement. Any proposals by the governments must be to
give effect to the Agreement and to the election of an
Executive. Changing or altering the institutional
structures of the Good Friday Agreement to facilitate the
DUP is not acceptable.

"The future of the political institutions now hangs in the
balance. Today‚s talks and the decisions which will be
taken by the Irish government in the coming weeks are
therefore critical. This is the context for today‚s

Note to editor: Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams will lead a
party delegation to meet the Taoiseach Bertie Ahern at 4pm
today, Thursday 30th, in Government Buildings. The Sinn
Féin delegation also includes Martin McGuinness MP,
Caitríona Ruane MLA, Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD and
representative for Dublin Mid West Joanne Spain.


Ahern In NI Political Discussions

The Irish premier is to hold talks with several Northern
Ireland political parties in Dublin.

Taoiseach Bertie Ahern will meet Sinn Fein, the SDLP and
the Alliance Party as part of efforts by both governments
to restore power sharing.

Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness said his party would use the
meeting to tell the taoiseach that the DUP must not be
allowed to delay political progress.

"The DUP are standing in splendid isolation," he said.

"Everybody else is demanding the restoration of the

Earlier this month, Mr Ahern told the BBC a Northern
Ireland Assembly may operate for some months without an

Mr Ahern said the aim was to have a fully functioning
assembly with an executive as envisaged under the Good
Friday Agreement.

However, he said a deadlock over the formation of that
executive should not stop the assembly from operating while
there is work for it to do.

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: 2006/03/30 07:48:00 GMT


McCain Worried About US Green Card Bill

Seán O'Driscoll in New York

Senator John McCain is worried that legislation he
sponsored to give legal status to millions of US illegal
immigrants may be deliberately stalled in the senate, the
chairman of the Oireachtas Foreign Affairs Committee,
Michael Woods, warned after a meeting with the senator in
Washington yesterday.

Mr Woods spoke just two days after the senate judiciary
committee approved a bill that included a guest worker
programme suggested by senator McCain and senator Ted
Kennedy that would allow illegal workers to get green cards
under a six year programme.

However, after meeting with senator McCain, Mr Woods said
the senator was worried about attempts to delay the
legislation until after the upcoming congressional

"We had a long meeting with him and he is still worried
about whether the entire bill can be incorporated in the
final outcome.

"His main concern is the delay process. He is very happy it
has not been delayed so far but there is great division
among Republicans and Democrats throughout the country," Mr
Woods said.

Mr Woods is in Washington to help promote the Kennedy-
McCain Immigration Bill along with four other members of
the Foreign Affairs Committee: TDs Liz O'Donnell (PDs),
Michael D Higgins (Labour), Michael Mulcahy (Fianna Fáil)
and Bernard Allen (Fine Gael).

Mr Mulcahy, the deputy chairman of the committee, said he
also sensed that senator McCain was concerned that the
senate might not agree on any immigration reform

The Dublin South Central TD said that senator McCain urged
the Oireachtas group to lobby US politicians who take a
tough line on immigration.

© The Irish Times


Senate Surprise: Stage Set For Immigration Showdown

By Ray O'Hanlon

The Senate Judiciary Committee has paved the way for a
possible visa windfall for the undocumented Irish and as
many as 12 million illegal and undocumented immigrants from
other countries.

But even as the committee passed a compromise bill by 12
votes to 6 Monday, congressional forces hostile to many of
its key components were gathering for a Capitol Hill

The Judiciary package - including the McCain/Kennedy plan
for so-called earned legalization and a separate guest
worker proposal - was cleared through the committee by 6
p.m. Monday evening.

All eight Democrats, led by Senator Edward Kennedy, voted
for the compromise package. Four Republicans, including
committee chairman Arlen Specter, also voted yes.

The Judiciary measure, forged from the guts of three
separate bills proposed by committee members, places strong
emphasis on enhanced border controls but, significantly,
also sets aside proposals to make illegality a criminal
offense and potential felons of those who aid the illegal
or undocumented.

The committee's compromise package is now on the Senate
floor alongside a sharply


Cautious Optimism, Spirited Opposition Following Key Vote

By Ailbhe Jordan

Irish immigrant representatives expressed their delight
this week after the Senate Judiciary committee voted in
favor of passing a bill that would legalize undocumented
immigrants and provide them with a path towards eventual

At a meeting on Monday night the 18-person committee voted
12-6 in favor of passing legislation that may offer hope to
the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants currently
living in the U.S.

Eight Democrats and four Republicans supported the move and
the six opposition votes were all Republican.

"We're delighted with it," said Kelly Fincham, executive
director of the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform,
speaking to the Echo ahead of a meeting in St. Barnabas
Auditorium, Bronx on Friday, where Senator John McCain will
address a crowd of Irish immigration supporters.

"We feel we've won everything we wanted. The next battle
will be in the Senate," she said.

Queens Democrat Congressman Joe Crowley also supported the
outcome. He was one of 32 house members who signed a letter
urging senators to support a bill that would include a
guest worker program and a path to citizenship for
undocumented immigrants.

"It shows that the forces of common sense and fairness have
triumphed over the right-wing, fear-driven attitude toward
immigration," said Crowley in a statement.

"Last night's agreement represents a very significant and
positive development," said Dermot Ahern, Irish minister
for foreign affairs, in a statement.

"In particular, I welcome the fact that the Senate
Judiciary Committee bill proposes that the undocumented be
able to regularize their status, with a route to permanent

Long Island Republican Congressman Pete King took the
majority GOP view and was unequivocal in his opposition
when contacted by the Echo. "I don't support it. The house
would not accept it," he said. "Eleven million people on a
path to citizenship? That just won't sit well. It would be
looked upon as amnesty. It would encourage people to just
sit and wait it out for 11 years until they get amnesty.”

The bill will now go to conference, where it will clash
with the Border Security Bill, which the House of
Representatives passed last December.

Wisconsin Republican Senator Joe Sensenbrenner sponsored
that bill, which immigrant advocacy groups have condemned
as it would criminalize undocumented immigrants and anyone
who offered them humanitarian aid. It would also prevent
the implementation of a guest worker program.

At a press conference in New York last week, Senator Hilary
Rodham-Clinton said the Sensenbrenner bill would:
"literally criminalize the Good Samaritan and probably even
Jesus himself.”

This story appeared in the issue of March 29 - April 4,


Family Welcomes Tough Penalties For Witnesses Refusing To
Aid Hamill Probe

By Chris Thornton
30 March 2006

The family of murder victim Robert Hamill have welcomed
tougher penalties for witnesses who refuse to co-operate
with the inquiry into his killing.

But they have indicated they have reservations about
secrecy clauses that will accompany the new legal move.

Secretary of State Peter Hain announced yesterday that he
has agreed to hold the inquiry into the Portadown man's
murder under the controversial Inquiries Act.

The inquiry will examine allegations that police officers
failed to intervene when Mr Hamill and his companions were
attacked by a loyalist mob in the Co Armagh town in April,
1997. Mr Hamill, a father of three, died 11 days later
without regaining consciousness.

The Belfast Telegraph revealed last month that Mr Hain was
preparing to make the change at the request of Inquiry
chairman Sir Edwin Jowitt.

The switch to the Inquiries Act means witnesses can be hit
with jail terms and fines if they do not give evidence
about the killing. Some witnesses are believed to have
refused to co-operate with the inquiry team's advance work.

The switch also gives Mr Hain power to withhold material on
the grounds of national security. Those powers have been
opposed by other families.

The family of murdered solicitor Pat Finucane have lobbied
judges to turn down the chairmanship of the proposed
inquiry into his murder because of the secrecy powers.

And the father of murdered LVF leader Billy Wright is
making a court challenge against the use of the Inquiries
Act in his son's inquiry. The case is due to be heard next

According to Barra McGrory, the legal representative of the
Hamills, Mr Hain has indicated he will not use the secrecy
powers because national security issues are not linked to
the murder.

"This was not unexpected as we had previously received
notification from the Secretary of State that he was
willing to grant the application to convert," Mr McGrory

"We note the Secretary of State's indication that he has no
present intention to issue any restriction notices.

"We remain concerned that this may be a problem in the
future but at the same time we welcome the additional
powers which we hope will be used indiscriminately against
those witnesses who have so far failed to comply.”

Six men were originally charged with Mr Hamill's murder,
but those charges were later dropped.

One of the men, Marc Hobson of Deer Park, Portadown, was
convicted of affray related to the attack and spent two
years in prison.

After an investigation by Police Ombudsman Nuala O'Loan, a
police reservist who was in a Land Rover near the attack
was accused of attempting to pervert the course of justice
by warning a suspect to destroy clothes.

Former officer Robert Atkinson consistently denied making
any such warning and he was cleared when the case against
him collapsed.


Tenders To Be Invited For Sellafield

30 March 2006 09:36

The British government is to announce later today that it
is inviting tenders for the purchase of the Sellafield
nuclear reprocessing complex in Cumbria.

The sell-off will come through the disposal of the state-
owned British Nuclear Group, the company which runs
Sellafield, as well as several atomic power plants across

A sale would mean that the operation and decommissioning of
Sellafield, and other nuclear sites, would become the
responsibility of the private sector.

The disposal of BNG is part of a wider plan by the British
government to privatise the decommissioning of atomic power
stations across Britain.

The agency whose job it is to oversee this nuclear clean-up
is the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority.

Later today it is expected to admit that the estimated cost
of decommissioning is continuing to rise and has now topped

The British government is currently undertaking an energy
review which will include a decision on whether or not to
go ahead with a new generation of nuclear power plants.

The Fine Gael spokesperson on the environment has said he
is against any deal which would result in Sellafield
becoming the responsibility of the private sector.

Speaking on RTÉ Radio, Fergus O' Dowd said the British
government should remain in charge of the plant.

He said there should be more transparency and
accountability at the plant and said a deal which would see
it going into private hands would go against this.


Sell-Off Of Sellafield Must Be Opposed By Every Means

Published: 30 March, 2006

Sinn Féin Environment Spokesperson, Arthur Morgan TD, had
demanded the Government oppose by every means possible
moves by the British Government to sell-off the notorious
Sellafield nuclear plant.

Deputy Morgan said, "Sellafield must not be sold to private
interests. The implications of such a move are far reaching
and terrifying. It is hard to believe that the British
Government would even consider such a move. The running and
decommissioning of a nuclear power station cannot be dealt
with by private interests, driven by a profit making and
ultimately cost cutting agenda.

"Public accountability in relation to Sellafield is bad at
present. The plant has a notorious record in terms of
accidents and the failure to keep accurate records. Things
would be a hundred times worse if this privatisation were
permitted to go ahead.

"The Dublin Government's softening attitude in relation to
the use of nuclear power was demonstrated at the recent
European Council, where the Government broke with previous
policy, and failed to join Germany and Austria in rejecting
the nuclear option at the Council meeting.

"By supporting the European Council's call for a new
generation of nuclear power this Government and
specifically Dermot Ahern opened the door for the British
to go ahead with plans to privatise the running and
ultimately decommissioning of all their nuclear energy

"The Irish people are overwhelmingly opposed to nuclear
power. The Government must reflect this opposition by
opposing these moves to privatise Sellafield and by
stepping up the campaign for its closure." ENDS


SDLP Vice-Chairman Espie Resigns From Party

Last updated: 29-03-06, 19:44

The vice-chairman of the SDLP Eddie Espie quit the party
this evening claiming it was a shadow of the organisation
he joined.

Mr Espie, who has been the SDLP's vice chair since February
2004, launched an angry broadside at the party leadership,
accusing it of failing to listen to the rank-and-file's
calls for reform.

And he also claimed the party would struggle to re-elect
its current total of 18 Assembly members. His accusations,
however, were challenged by a party spokesperson who
expressed regret at his decision to stand down.

Mr Espie said what little strategic direction there was in
the party appeared to come from a tiny unrepresentative
elite which was more concerned with the current political
situation rather than with any long-term electoral

"At the centre of the SDLP's difficulties is the detachment
between the ordinary membership on the ground and political
leadership," he said.

"This interaction function should be at the public face and
at the hub of everything the SDLP does.

"Strategy is acceptable but unless it is received and
understood by the proper audiences, it changes nobody.

"The existing situation where some senior staff at
headquarters, in collaboration with cabals who run the
party, disregard the opinions and needs of grassroots
members is indefensible.

"Common courtesy costs nothing but means a lot to these
dedicated members across the North.

"The party team at all levels, needs to be unified,
cohesive and consistent, with a clear plan for the present
and for the future. Noticeably, this is not presently the

Mr Espie also accused the leadership of failing to connect
with a large proportion of nationalists in Northern Ireland
who would never and could never vote for Sinn Fein.

"The SDLP ought to be perfectly positioned to secure the
votes of these people, but unless the overhaul begins with
immediate effect this opportunity will be lost," he warned.

"This unpalatable reality is being ignored and while it is
being ignored, the downfall will continue unabated.

An SDLP spokesperson said the party regretted Mr Espie had
chosen to resign. He added: "The SDLP has embarked on a
process of change, restructuring and renewal over the last
18 months. That process will continue.”

© 2006

Eddie Espie’s Resignation letter to Patricia Lewsley:

29th March 2006.

Dear Party Chair,

I am writing you to submit my resignation as, Party
officer, Vice-Chair of the SDLP, Chairperson of Elections
and Organisation, the SDLP Executive, all groups and sub-
committees including European , U.S, Policy, Vision and
Communications and from my position as Chair of the Mid-
Ulster Constituency Council effective, 12p.m. midnight
Wednesday March 29th 2006.

I do so after prolonged consultations with family, friends,
associates and colleagues. The baggage of my upbringing
included a genuine obligation to give something back to the
Nationalist electorate in my community and all the way
through Northern Ireland. My devotion to my fellow
countrymen and women and their values was the most powerful
objective in my political aspiration. As formerly stated,
for a considerable period I have expending a lot of time
and energy promoting the SDLP throughout the Country.

Regretfully it is my belief that I can no longer give that
continued commitment at any level within the party.

The party I resign from today is a shadow of the party I
joined based on the founding principles of democratic
nationalism. The party then was genuinely rooted in
communities; it gave value and understanding to the
worries, fears, anxieties, hope’s, aspiration and desires
of the electorate who voted for and empowered our political
representatives in public office. The party at that time
represented the street politick of ordinary working men and
women unlike the boardroom politico it has turned out to
be. Today the same level of elected representative
dedication is missing in many areas. Political leadership
lacks a distinct charisma, policy is progressively lost to
outsiders who harp back to the long-gone days and ways of
the past, it is my opinion these outsiders have little or
no political sharpness, they are stuck in the past. These
same people, having gained influence, ignore the party
membership in branches, constituencies, committees, sub
committees and various groups, even the party executive.

This is not the SDLP I joined. In my opinion, it has become
polluted by obstinate representatives, corrupted by quick
fix self-interested solutions and ruined by pig-headed
individuals displaying complete indiscipline. I am no
longer prepared to preside over, or have any part in the
unremitting demise over the SDLP nor will I allow myself to
be corrupted polluted or caged. I will be no ones crony nor
part of some narrow minded self promoting agenda or a cabal
designed by some ego centred individual whose purpose is to
serve their own interest, as opposed to the wider interest
of democratic Nationalism, so long as the leadership cabals
refuse to acknowledge the problems that exist and refuse to
address them this demise will continue. The party missed an
excellent opportunity in May 2005 for revival, when, after
the dust had settled in the local and Westminster elections
the membership perceived the dawning of a new political
era, that being, the Durkan - McDonnell approach to modern
Nationalism. Almost one year on the membership’s
justifiable expectation has not been realised. Apathy has
replaced hope, lethargy has replaced aspiration and
indifference has replaced what would otherwise have been
resurgence. My sole interest was, and is, in the promotion
of Nationalist as a peaceful political concept, for the
good of all. A Nationalism which I envisaged would have
been at peace with the electorate, with itself and with
other parties.

The SDLP will not be a serious contender in the predicted
Assembly elections next year or in any election
subsequently because it refuses to study hard lessons from
the past; in particular, from the Assembly elections of
2003, to date, it has failed miserably to do so. Instead of
the full review, anyone would logically have expected with
radical reforms following in quick succession. The Party
could have, and should have, seized the lifeline thrown to
it in local government and Westminster elections of May
2005 and begun the sweeping transformation essential if it
wanted to repossess the extensive ground lost since 1994.

Little strategic direction exists within the party, at any
level, and what there is - appears to come from a tiny
unrepresentative and inexplicable group? Their briefings
appear to be based on the recent political state of affairs
and are not part of any longer term electoral strategy. The
most noticeable predicament with the SDLP as it is
presently constituted is a continual shortfall in
communicating grassroots problems to the party leadership,
conversely motivating the membership to engage with the
party at election times, is increasingly seen as labouring
to the privileged and elite. At the centre of the SDLPs
difficulties is the detachment between the ordinary
membership on the ground and political leadership. This
interaction function should be at the public face and at
the hub of everything the SDLP does, strategy is
acceptable, but unless it is received and understood by the
proper audiences, it changes nobody.

The situation where some senior staff at ‘Head Quarters’ in
collaboration with cabals who run the party disregards the
opinions and needs of grassroots members is indefensible.

Common courtesy costs nothing but mean’s a lot to these
dedicated members across the North. The party team at all
level, needs to be unified, cohesive and consistent, with a
clear plan for the present and for the future. Noticeably,
this is not presently the case.

The Party did not engage in any proficient specialized
study as would be expected in a review. In the absence of
such reviews, the only real activity was that of the
Election and Organisation committee whose members gave
freely of their time and expertise based on individual
commitment. Those involved gave an incomparable devotion
and dedicated service to the party. This commitment is
carried out without salary, not even; out of pocket,
expenses are ever re reimbursed. Despite dispute and
disorder not being of their formation, the treatment and
respect these people receive is non-existent or imaginary,
the hard work seldom appreciated, worse: at times, the
effort is completely frowned upon all the way up to and
including leadership. This, to me is not only deplorable,
it is unforgivable, and the idea that some self-styled
party personalities having asked for and receiving off the
services of this small band of dedicated activists.

The time and skills of the devoted have been atrociously
justified as having cost nothing, the exertion is deemed
worthless or has no actual worth or benefit when the result
or decision is out of support, with the gratuitous self
significant idol or controller of the local organisation.

The systematic exploitation of the party decision making
bodies branches, constituencies, and committees all the way
through to the executive committee by individuals should
never have been sanctioned. Family connections and those
with careers close to party reps continue to deadlock
crucial fundamental reforms to the detriment of the party.

Members involved in various groups, those whose opinions
have added significance to Nationalism who have contributed
to the highest degree are becoming completely disenchanted
by the current state of affairs and a few have confided to
me their intention to move on and move away from the party.

My defiance must not be taken flippantly if the party
intends to continue in existence in anything like its
present form. The electorate who previously voted for the
party and who now choose to stay at home, probably will not
return. In the background of vagueness and instability,
those who most intensely oppose reforms have thrived; the
destroyer and the political dinosaurs have taken advantage
of political inactivity by generating artificial hope
through unfilled promises. All that dialogue about growth,
reform, on party building and return to electoral supremacy
is alright for specifying once a year at party conference
but in the real world, in a growing number Nationalist
areas all the way through the country the SDLP is in
electoral decline.

As the situation stand things are not going to improve
electoral and unless the central organisation is overhauled
fundamentally. The current Assembly group of eighteen
selected members of the legislative assembly is unlikely to
be returned, when this happens and given the ongoing
proposals in the RPA, the percentage share Nationalist
councillors currently enjoy will plummet appreciably. The
knock-on affect will have implications through to
Westminster and Europe. The fact remains that a large
proportion of the Nationalist people in the North will
never and could never vote for Sinn Fein. The SDLP ought to
be perfectly positioned to secure the votes of these
people, but unless the overhaul begins with immediate
effect. This opportunity will be lost. This unpalatable
reality is being ignored and while it is being ignored, the
downfall will continue unabated. This is not something I
find acceptable nor will I put up with the crisis
management approach any longer. Playing head-in-the-sand
politics is not for me.

Finally and in conclusion, I would like to thank the many
people, within the party, who had worked with me in various
projects during these last few months and years. I realise
that in taking this difficult decision some may feel
disappointed, surprised even a little hurt. If the party
were too harness the ability and aspirations of its members
on the basis on which it was founded it could regain its
rightful place at the forefront on Nationalism. Everything
worthwhile has an expiry date. Trends, like people, come
and go. It is now my turn. Being unable to commit further
to the SDLP organisation, to fundamentally restructure the
party, because of entrenched attitudes from self
persevering personalities, I now leave the office I was
elected to serve. In going, let me state I will continue to
stand for the rights of everyone who asks for my assistance
- in whatever capacity I am able to.

Yours Sincerely,

Eddie Espie.


Suicides In NI 'Up By Nearly 50%'

The number of suicides in Northern Ireland soared by almost
50% last year, new statistics have revealed.

Figures from the General Registrar's Office showed that 213
people in NI took their own lives in 2005.

The figures were released ahead of an announcement on a
government suicide prevention strategy, entitled "Protect
Life", costing almost £2m.

Health Minister Shaun Woodward said the increase in
suicides made the need to tackle the issue even more

"The fact that 213 people took their own lives clearly is a
problem which we all have a duty to address," he said.

"This year's increases make the need to tackle the
underlying causes of suicide and self harm all the more
necessary and urgent.”

Counselling wait

The government's suicide prevention strategy was compiled
from the recommendations of a report into the issue by
voluntary and statutory agencies.

Families in Northern Ireland who have lost loved ones to
suicide also helped conduct the research.

A further £2.4m has also been set aside for the
government's suicide prevention strategy for 2007/08.

Philip McTaggart, co-founder of the Public Initiative for
the Prevention of Suicide and Self Harm (PIPS), said he was
"gobsmacked" by the number of people in Northern Ireland
who took their own lives last year.

"The government and the system has let them down," he said.

"We were being told it was around 150 per year and that the
figure had dropped but that did not match up with what we
were dealing with in north and west Belfast.”

He said part of the problem was that young people were
waiting up to three months to see a counsellor.

Mr McTaggart welcomed news of the government funding but
said it was a "drop in the ocean" given the increased
suicide rate in some of the most deprived areas of Northern

In 2003, there were 144 suicides (112 males and 32 females)
in Northern Ireland. The following year there was a
marginal increase to 146 (105 males and 41 females).

The Department of Health said no gender breakdown was yet
available for 2005.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/03/30 06:01:58 GMT


Delivery Of A Suicide Prevention Strategy Is Key - Adams

Published: 29 March, 2006

Sinn Féin West Belfast MP Gerry Adams commenting on an
expected announcement tomorrow by the Health Minister Sean
Woodward on the issue of suicide said:
"Any announcement on the issue of suicide by the Health
Minister will be judged on how effectively it delivers on a
effective regional suicide strategy, within an all-Ireland
context, a 'crisis response team' for north and west
Belfast, and additional resources for families, communities
and professionals working to prevent suicide, particularly
among our young people.

"There is a lot of anger within the community at the
failure of the Health system so far to tackle the issue of
suicide prevention in a coherent and holistic fashion.

"Since last summer Sinn Féin, the families and support
organisations have held a series of meetings with the
Health Minister. He knows what is required. He knows that
this must be a priority health issue. He must deliver
tomorrow." ENDS


Committee Calls For Ludlow Killing Inquiry


A new investigation into the 1976 killing of Co Louth man
Séamus Ludlow by suspected loyalist paramilitaries must be
launched by the Garda, an Oireachtas inquiry has found,
writes Mark Hennessy, Political Correspondent.

In its final report into the murder, the inquiry said the
Garda had treated the Ludlow family "in an appalling
manner", even failing to notify them of the inquest into
his death. "The gardaí do not seem to have made any
inquiries in Northern Ireland in 1976 or seriously
considered the possibility of collusion," (by members of
the British security forces) it declared.

Mr Ludlow was shot three times at close range and dumped in
a ditch after he had left a local pub near his Thistle
Cross, Dundalk home on May 1st, 1976. His reputation was
badly tarnished in the months after the killing because
gardaí believed he was an IRA member shot as an informer.

Following a Garda inquiry in the mid-1990s it emerged that
the RUC had told gardaí about four suspects for the killing
in 1979 - but detectives failed to take the opportunity to
interview the four men. The men were eventually interviewed
in 1998, though the Northern Ireland director of public
prosecutions decided not to prosecute due to insufficient

An Garda Síochána should now co-operate with the PSNI's
"cold case" investigation team, which has been given a £30
million budget to review all unsolved killings from the

Though it acknowledged that the State's authorities faced
major difficulties during the 1970s, the inquiry said the
security and political crisis at the time did not excuse
the fact that the Ludlow investigation stopped though four
suspects had been identified. "No matter how turbulent the
times, the investigation into the murder of a citizen of
the State should not be sacrificed for any reason," the TDs

An earlier investigation by former High Court judge, Mr
Justice Henry Barron identified four men, James
Fitzsimmons, Richard Long, Samuel Carroll and Paul Hosking
- two of whom served in the Ulster Defence Regiment at the
time, as being involved. A Commission of Investigation,
which has public inquiry-like powers, though it hears
evidence in private, should also be set up, said the
Oireachtas Justice, Equality, Defence and Women's Rights
sub-committee, chaired by Fianna Fáil Dublin South Central
TD Seán Ardagh.

However, it has emerged that gardaí interviewed witnesses
in Northern Ireland on three occasions during the 1970s,
though former Garda commissioner Larry Wren told the
inquiry that gardaí were blocked from doing so by a 1953

The committee found "a clear conflict" exists between Mr
Wren and former Det Insp John Courtney, who claims that Mr
Wren stopped him travelling to the North to interview the
suspects. In a March 2006 letter, the garda stated that
numerous gardaí had travelled into the North to interview
suspects about an armed robbery at Dundalk railway station
in February 1973 and two murders in Donegal in 1972, while
detectives travelled to Guernsey to interview people about
the murder of Robert Munro Nish, whose body was found
outside Castlebellingham, Co Louth, in May 1972.

Unhappy with the committee's findings, Mr Ludlow's nephew,
Michael Donegan said the Government does not want to have
all the evidence heard in public. The Government, he said,
had demanded rightly that the British government launch a
full public inquiry into the 1989 killing of Belfast
solicitor, Pat Finucane - yet it wants to operate by a
lower standard about killings in the State.

The extended Ludlow family said some witnesses are only
prepared to co-operate with a full public inquiry.

© The Irish Times


More Questions Than Answers In Ludlow Killing


The details of Séamus Ludlow's death in 1976 have been
told, and retold, but answers remain elusive, writes Mark
Hennessy, Political Correspondent.

Séamus Ludlow was a quiet forestry worker, known by few
outside his Dundalk home before he left his local pub in
the early hours of May 1st, 1976.

He never made it home. Instead, he was picked up by four
men near the bridge on the Dundalk/Newry Road near his
Thistle Cross home, shot three times at close range and
dumped in a ditch.

The Garda investigation produced nothing. Believing that Mr
Ludlow was an IRA informer who had died as "touts" die,
garda detectives quickly and quietly shredded his

Everyone was blamed for the killing - the IRA, loyalist
paramilitaries, the SAS, neighbours, even his family. One
theory was that he was a victim of mistaken identity. The
family was ignored for years until the mid-1990s and not
even informed of his inquest. However, evidence later
emerged that a group of loyalist paramilitaries from mid-
Ulster, an area known as the "Murder Triangle" during the
Troubles, had killed him.

A Garda inquiry followed which revealed that they had been
told in 1979 by the RUC about four suspects, though it
emerged that detectives were not allowed to travel North to
interview them. Oddly, the RUC had the intelligence about
the four for 18 months before they passed it on to the
Garda - though no reason for the failure to do so has been
advanced despite several inquiries.

The RUC was approached again, and the men were arrested in
1998. During questioning, two of the four admitted being
present when Mr Ludlow was murdered, but denied
involvement. The RUC sent a file to the Northern Ireland
director of public prosecutions, but he decided that no
prosecution could be brought against any of the four on the
grounds of insufficient evidence.

Last year, former High Court judge Mr Justice Henry Barron
concluded that four men, James Fitzsimmons, Richard Long,
Samuel Carroll and Paul Hosking, were in the car that took
Mr Ludlow to his brutal death. By the time the RUC told the
gardaí in 1979 of the existence of the four, two, Long and
Carroll were in prison - the first for the murder of David
Spratt just a month after Ludlow's killing and the second
for firearms offences.

In his findings, Mr Justice Barron found that Garda
officers had not tried to interview the four because they
had been directed not to do so by more senior officers.

It was alleged that a formal policy existed preventing
gardaí from going into Northern Ireland for fear of the RUC
demanding similar access in the Republic.

Former garda commissioner Laurence Wren was probably the
man who told investigating officers not to go North, Mr
Justice Barron ruled - a charge vehemently and repeatedly
rejected by Mr Wren.

In its report yesterday, the Oireachtas revealed a letter
from Garda headquarters which said Garda detectives
travelled three times during the 1970s into the North to
take evidence. Garda Commissioner Noel Conroy, his
predecessor, Pat Byrne and Minister for Justice, Equality
and Law Reform, Michael McDowell have all apologised for
the failings of the State.

Commissioner Byrne was frank in his apology, believing that
his organisation had failed to follow the investigation
through - though he denied that it was conspiracy. Instead
he blamed a series of errors. Thirty years on, the
Oireachtas inquiry has recommended that the gardaí try
again - that it attempts to follow the PSNI's "cold case
investigations" model.

Meanwhile, the British government has been accused of
failing to co-operate fully with the inquiry.

The Oireachtas committee has recommended that a commission
of investigation be set up. Though it would have the powers
of a public tribunal, particularly to force the attendance
of witnesses, it will meet mostly in private. The family
have rejected the recommendation.

© The Irish Times


Superficial Gimmicks From Hyperactive Minister Won't
Address Crime

Published: 29 March, 2006

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Justice, Equality and Human
Rights, Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD accused the Minister for
Justice of "hyperactively" producing legislative reforms
that are unnecessary saying they amounted to little more
than "superficial gimmicks". Deputy Ó Snodaigh made his
comments on the second day of the debate on the amendments
to the Criminal Justice Bill put forward by Minister

Deputy Ó Snodaigh said, "According to the Minister, his
latest amendments to the Criminal Justice Bill 2004 aim to
bring criminal law up to date to make it "relevant to the
needs of modern society". However, in my view the Minister
is electioneering at the expense of democracy.

"McDowell is hyperactively producing legislative reforms
that are in the main unnecessary. His proposals amount to
little more than superficial gimmicks which he is selling,
often via press statement, to the public as quick fix
solutions in order to gain cheap votes. In reality,
however, there are no quick fixes to today's complex
problems of crime. What is needed is the reform,
restructuring and resourcing of the Garda Siochana to
ensure the enforcement of existing laws. And it is also
vital that any new provisions are evidenced-based and
human-rights compliant.

"My Sinn Fein colleagues, civil liberties and childrens
rights groups have expressed serious concerns about the
number and intent of the measures being proposed by the
Minister. Amongst the issues causing most concern are: the
lowering of the age of criminal responsibility; the
introduction of ASBOs. And the motives behind, legality and
potential effectiveness of new sections relating to
gangland crimes, conspiracy, drugs, sentencing and
electronic tagging.

"Of course the ability of ourselves, the NGO sector and the
Human Rights Commission to absorb and analyse the Ministers
proposals and thereby contribute to the development of
sound legislation in this crucial area has been greatly
inhibited by his typically anti-democratic actions. The
Bill began in 2004 with 38 sections and he is now
attempting to introduce over 200 amendments which we had
sight of only last week. And there are substantive
differences between these amendments and the Heads
preceding them that he published at the end of the year.

Yesterday he indicated his intention to introduce yet more
new sections at report stage. The whole thing is gone
beyond a joke.

Commenting on the sections dealing with gangland crime he
said, "It appears that the Minister's desire to be seen to
do something, anything, to address the country's growing
gangland crime problem has led him to propose a series of
rash new offences and proceedings that would have grave and
dangerous consequences for the fundamental civil and
political rights of people in this state. " ENDS
Full text of speech follows by Aengus Ó Snodaigh to
Criminal Justice Bill 2004
According to the Minister, his latest amendments to the
Criminal Justice Bill 2004 aim to bring criminal law up to
date to make it "relevant to the needs of modern society".

However in my view The Minister is electioneering at the
expense of democracy. He is engaged in a war on fundamental
rights and he has a coalition of eager allies in his Fianna
Fail partners, much of the media and indeed in the so-
called alternative coalition.

McDowell is hyperactively producing legislative reforms
that are in the main unnecessary. His proposals amount to
little more than superficial gimmicks which he is selling,
often via press statement, to the public as quick fix
solutions in order to gain cheap votes. In reality,
however, there are no quick fixes to today's complex
problems of crime. What is needed is the reform,
restructuring and resourcing of the Garda Siochana to
ensure the enforcement of existing laws. And it is also
vital that any new provisions are evidenced-based and
human-rights compliant.

My Sinn Fein colleagues, civil liberties and childrens
rights groups have expressed serious concerns about the
number and intent of the measures being proposed by the
Minister. Amongst the issues causing most concern are: the
lowering of the age of criminal responsibility; the
introduction of ASBOs. And the motives behind, legality and
potential effectiveness of new sections relating to
gangland crimes, conspiracy, drugs, sentencing and
electronic tagging.

Of course the ability of ourselves, the NGO sector and the
Human Rights Commission to absorb and analyse the Ministers
proposals and thereby contribute to the development of
sound legislation in this crucial area has been greatly
inhibited by his typically anti-democratic actions. The
Bill began in 2004 with 38 sections and he is now
attempting to introduce over 200 amendments which we had
sight of only last week. And there are substantive
differences between these amendments and the Heads
preceding them that he published at the end of the year.

Yesterday he indicated his intention to introduce yet more
new sections at report stage. The whole thing is gone
beyond a joke.

I will now focus on one issue of particular concern, that
is the proposed new provisions in the area of organised
crime. On my reading of the proposed amendments, that is a
reading from a human rights-based perspective, a series of
red line issues are thrown up. It appears that the
Minister's desire to be seen to do something, anything, to
address the country's growing gangland crime problem has
led him to propose a series of rash new offences and
proceedings that would have grave and dangerous
consequences for the fundamental civil and political rights
of people in this state.

The Human Rights Commission question whether the Minister's
organised crime proposals are a proportionate or even
necessary response to the problem of organised crime. They
conclude that "the activity which is targeted here is
already subject to appropriate criminal sanction, through
existing common law and statute which prohibit conspiracy
to commit an offence and prohibit the aiding, abetting,
counselling or procuring of an offence". Likewise the Irish
Council for Civil Liberties argued in their submission to
the Oireachtas Justice Committee yesterday that: existing
laws are sufficient; the Minister's proposals lack
certainty and clarity; and that efforts would be better
spent improving the law enforcement end of the equation
e.g. developing and resourcing proper Community Policing

To add to these sound arguments against the Minister's
proposals put forward by the HRC and ICCL, his provisions
in the area of organised crime are based to a large extent
and at times verbatim on the Canadian Criminal Code. The
same section of the Canadian Criminal Code that the
Minister is eager to introduce here was recently found by
the Supreme Court of British Columbia to be in violation of
the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The Minister's proposals are framed in such a way that you
could almost be found guilty of an offence for babysitting
a possible criminal's kids. And the prosecution would not
have to prove that any criminal offence was committed or
that you really knew anything about one if it was.

Instead of assaulting the fundamental rights underpinning
this democracy the Minister should reform, restructure and
resource the Gardai. As a priority he should arrange for
the civilianisation of appropriate tasks such as a
dedicated traffic corps and certain administrative office
duties thereby freeing up Gardai to do what they are
trained to do i.e. fight crime.

Sinn Fein will oppose all measures proposed by the Minister
that fail to comply with international best practice and
human rights standards. And that will ultimately fail to
address the country's crime problems.


SF Spent Least In Election, Report Finds

Gerry Moriarty, Northern Editor

Sinn Féin spent the least of the four main parties fighting
last year's British general election in Northern Ireland
while the Ulster Unionist Party spent the most, according
to official figures from the Electoral Commission of
Northern Ireland.

Overall the UUP spent more than £380,000 on the election,
but only one of its candidates, Lady Sylvia Hermon, was
elected to the House of Commons. Sinn Féin's election
spending at headquarters and individual constituency level
totalled over £137,000, the commission report, Election
2005: Campaign Spending, says.

In total, the DUP spent £225,000, while overall it cost the
SDLP £242,000 to fight the election, the report also shows.

The commission's UK-wide report reveals that centrally Sinn
Féin, which won five seats, spent £44,212 while the UUP
spent £251,119. The SDLP, which won three seats, spent
£154,089 while the Democratic Unionist Party, which won
nine seats, spent £107,133.

All four main parties spent within the limits allowed by
the commission although independent candidate Dr Kieran
Deeny, who campaigned in West Tyrone where Sinn Féin's Pat
Doherty held his seat, was found to have spent £1,414 over
his allowance of £11,338.

In each of the North's 18 constituencies, candidates were
each allowed to spend between approximately £9,600 and just
over £12,300, depending on the size of the electorate and
whether the constituency is urban or rural.

The report shows that the SDLP spent a total of £88,000 at
constituency level. Sinn Féin spent £92,000, the DUP spent
£118,000 and the UUP spent £129,000.

A Sinn Féin spokesman said two of the reasons that could
account for the party being ranked bottom of the list in
terms of expenditure by the North's four main parties was
because it operated a very tight advertising budget and
because it had a strong voluntary activist base that
carried out work such as erecting and taking down posters,
that some other parties may have had to pay for.

The head of the commission's Northern Ireland office,
Séamus McGee, said the report was based on election
spending figures provided by the parties, and by the annual
audited reports provided by the parties. These figures were
in turn checked for compliance by the commission.

© The Irish Times


Campaign For SF To Be Removed From US Terrorist List

Seán O'Driscoll in New York

Irish-American members of Congress are to campaign to have
Sinn Féin staff members removed from the US government's
terrorist watchlist following a meeting with Department of
Homeland Security officials in Washington.

At the meeting, staff from the Transport Security
Administration said that Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams
had been removed from its terrorist watchlist, according to
a New York congressman whom Mr Adams was due to visit
before he was detained at Dulles airport in Washington on
St Patrick's Day.

However, congressman Brian Higgins said that Sinn Féin
staff members remained on the list and that he and other
members of the House of Representatives ad- hoc committee
on Irish affairs would fight to have their names removed.

He said Transport Security Administration staff confirmed
that Mr Adams had been on a "selectee" list of people who
are not considered a direct terrorist threat but who must
undergo further inspection before flying.

Mr Adams had been expected to join Mr Higgins at St
Patrick's Day festivities in Buffalo, New York, before he
was stopped at Dulles. The detention came just hours after
Mr Adams visited the White House and posed for photographs
with President George W Bush at the US Congress.

Mr Higgins said that the continued inclusion of Sinn Féin
staff members on the "selectee" list was unacceptable and
said the issue was not closed.

A Transport Security Administration spokeswoman in
Washington said that she could not comment on individual

A spokesman for Mr Adams last night said he understood the
Sinn Féin leader's name was removed from the terrorist
watchlist and he should not experience any more problems
travelling to and from and within the US.

"Obviously that is something we welcome and we appreciate
the efforts of the politicians who have made this

© The Irish Times


Deepcut: 'There Was Clear Evidence Of Foul Abuse'

By Kim Sengupta and Terri Judd
30 March 2006

An independent inquiry into the deaths of young army
recruits at Deepcut barracks has uncovered "clear evidence
of foul abuse", "institutional failings" and a "culture of

Nicholas Blake QC called for 34 sets of reforms, including
the appointment of a military ombudsman and restricting
full military duties to those aged over 18. He warned that
the Government will do "real damage to itself" and may have
to face a public inquiry unless the recommendations were
taken on board.

But the report, commissioned by the Ministry of Defence,
concluded the four young soldiers were not "bullied to
death" and had probably taken their own lives.

The families of the recruits - Pte Sean Benton, Pte James
Collinson, Pte Geoff Gray and Pte Cheryl James - welcomed
the call for an ombudsman. But they renewed their call for
a public inquiry, saying Mr Blake's review had taken
evidence in secret, making it difficult to challenge his

In his 416-page findings Mr Blake highlighted a number of
cases of alleged abuse, including sexual assaults, by
instructors at the Surrey barracks, which have gone

The QC was highly critical of the Army Prosecuting
Authority for not pressing charges on a number of the cases
and also of the decision to the posting of a non-
commissioned officer, Leslie Skinner, to Deepcut as a gym
instructor despite several accusations of indecent assaults
on young male soldiers.

Skinner was convicted of indecent assault at a court
martial in February 1998, imprisoned and discharged from
the Army.

The Armed Forces minister, Adam Ingram, said last night
that Mr Blake's recommendations would be considered but he
refused to be drawn on whether a military ombudsman would
be appointed and refused to discuss individual allegations
of abuse.

Mr Ingram stressed the report had concluded that the Army
had not "caused any of the deaths" but acknowledged there
were "failures". He continued: "These issues that Mr Blake
has ventilated needed ventilation in the way that he has
done it. The Army is very much conscious of the damage this
may have done to their reputation.”

Mr Blake said trainees at Deepcut had suffered "harassment,
discrimination and oppressive behaviour" from NCOs or other
recruits. "A number of those who did not complain explained
they had little confidence that the system could or would
address their grievance.

"There is clear evidence of foul abuse," Mr Blake said.

"This includes trainees being slapped and punched and a cup
being thrown at a terrified trainee. Overweight trainees
had bicycles ridden over them.”

The report examined the conduct of three officers and NCOs
- all identified by initials - who served at Deepcut
between 1995 and 2000.

One of them was Sergeant B who was accused of abusing
recruits, including Pte Benton, who claimed to have been
headbutted, punched and kicked by him. The sergeant is also
alleged to have propositioned five female recruits.

Sgt B, who denied the allegations, was investigated by the
Royal Military Police. But the Army Prosecuting Authority
decided he should not be charged as " a trial would not be
in the public, including the service, interest." Mr Blake
said he regarded the decision with "some surprise and
considerable dismay.”

Sgt B was finally discharged from the Army after being
convicted in a civilian court of shoplifting.

Cheryl James's father, Des, said last night "The Ministry
of Defence seems to have spent a lot of money on various
inquiries to stop us having what we have always wanted, a
public inquiry. The money spent so far could have paid for
two public inquiries.

He continued: "Having a military ombudsman is a good idea.

But Mr Blake has not given any timescale for that. Will we
be talking about this is 18 months or two years time?”


Pte Gray and Pte Collinson

Geoff Gray, 17

Found dead with two gunshot wounds to his head while on
guard duty in September 2001. The Army said he took his own
life but an inquest recorded an open verdict. Reports
suggested a figure was seen running away from the area and
thes body was moved shortly after his death. Frank Swann, a
ballistics expert said it was "highly unlikely" Gray killed

James Collinson, 17

Found with a gunshot wound through his chin while on guard
duty in March 2002. The Army said he killed himself but an
inquest recorded an open verdict. Mr Swann said it was
"unlikely" that the bullet wounds were self-inflicted but
may have been an accident.

Pte Benton and Pte James

Sean Benton, 20

Found dead with five gunshot wounds in June 1995. The Army
said it was suicide, a verdict echoed by an inquest. A
friend claimed Pte Benton was viciously bullied. In 2003
the ballistics expert Frank Swann, who initially
investigated for the police, said it was impossible for
Benton to have killed himself.

Cheryl James, 18

Found with a bullet through her forehead in November 1995.
The Army said it was suicide but a coroner recorded an open
verdict. Her parents believe she suffered sexual
harassment; a friend said she had been forced to have sex
with a corporal. Swann said it was "highly unlikely" she
shot herself.


We'll Fight Army For Son's Inquiry Despite New Deepcut

Suicide-hit family in vow

By Claire Regan
30 March 2006

The father of a teenage Belfast soldier who committed
suicide has vowed to push ahead for a public inquiry into
his death despite the outcome of a review into bullying at
Deepcut barracks.

Billy Cochrane, whose son Paul was just 19 when he shot
himself at Drumadd Barracks in Co Armagh in July 2001, said
he was not completely disheartened by the recommendation
contained in Nicholas Blake QC's review of the
circumstances surrounding the deaths of four young soldiers
at Deepcut.

The high-level investigation yesterday rejected calls for a
public inquiry into the Deepcut recruits' deaths but found
"clear evidence of foul abuse" there.

Recruits Sean Benton (20), of Hastings, East Sussex; James
Collinson (17), of Perth, Scotland; Geoff Gray, (17), of
Seaham, Co Durham, and Cheryl James (18), of Llangollen,
north Wales, died of bullet wounds at the Surrey training
base in separate incidents between 1995 and 2002.

The Army ruled they each committed suicide but there have
been persistent allegations that they did not shoot

While Ranger Cochrane never served at Deepcut, his parents
campaign on the issue of abuse within the Army and have
long argued their son killed himself because he was a
victim of bullying.

Mr Blake's review found some recruits at the Surrey
barracks had suffered "harassment, discrimination and
oppressive behaviour".

He said he had decided to recommend the creation of an
independent Armed Forces ombudsman to oversee complaints
because there was "clear evidence of foul abuse of

He said he believed at least three had "probably" killed
themselves although none was "bullied to death".

Mr Cochrane said the report would not put him off pushing
ahead for a public inquiry into Paul's death.

"There have been a lot of lies and misleading information
about the circumstances leading up to his death.

"It's been nearly five years since and we're still not
happy with the injustice of it.”


Loyalist Fury At Hunger Strikers' Posters

LOYALISTS from the Bannside area are threatening to fly
paramilitary flags and emblems right next to Republican
posters commemorating the hunger strikers.

Republicans have erected two posters back to back on the
Largy Road outside Portglenone, commemorating those who
died on the hunger strike 25 years ago.

Infuriated, loyalists and Unionist politicians accused
Republican of "stoking up tensions within loyalist
circles", with the former promising a response.

But Ballymena's Sinn Fein Councillor, Monica Digney
dismissed the claim, saying: "These posters have been
erected in a Nationalist area. We would not have dreamt of
putting them up in a Unionist or even mixed area.

"It is a disgrace that they are threatening this action. If
our posters had been put up in somewhere like Ahoghill,
then they would have been provocative.”

The loyalist spokesman promised a County Antrim-wide
response: "If these hoardings are not taken down now, then
UFF/UDA flags and emblems along with murals will go up as
close to them as possible.

"If this is the game Republicans want to play then they
will get it back ten fold. Talk about tolerance within the
community; Republicans don't seem to have displayed much
and are only stoking up tensions.”

Loyalists say they have relaxed their approach to flags and
murals in recent times and have co-operated with the
security forces in removing large numbers of them.

DUP Councillor, Roy Gillespie added his anger: "I am
completely opposed to these posters. I have taken a lot of
calls from people who have been deeply offended by the

"Those posters have been put up to stir the pot, stir up
trouble. I know there are few families who have had
relatives murdered by the IRA, who live just a few miles
from where these posters have been put up. How are they
supposed to feel.”

Cllr. Digney stood by the posters saying: "These posters
are not offensive, the have been put up by Republicans to
commemorate the men who died on hunger strike.

"There are only two of them back to back in a nationalist
area. I don't know how anyone can have any grounds for

"When these men died, all prisoners benefited, it was not
just Republicans. Nationalists have to be tolerant when all
the Orange arches go up, to the red, white and blue kerbs,
the bunting and all the thousands of flags.

"Surely they cannot kick up a fuss about two posters, which
commemorate a very important part of our shared history.”

North Antrim MLA Philip McGuigan added: "There is nobody
complaining to any of our offices about the hoardings.

"They were not erected to cause intimidation or to inflict
fear on anyone, unlike loyalist flags and emblems. They are
also not about marking out territory, but are there to mark
the sacrifices of ten prisoners.”

29 March 2006


Shocking Prisoner Neglect

International Rights And Freedoms Opinion/Analysis
Thursday March 30, 2006 10:39 by Paul Doyle –
The New Republican Forum:
The New Republican Forum, PO Box 10,
Dundalk Sorting Office, Dundalk, Co. Louth, Ireland.

Irish prisioner Aiden Hulme has been subject to shocking
medical neglect since his inprisonment in England and will
loose his leg if immidiate action is not taken.

Sign the online petition:

Aiden Hulme

An online petition aimed at securing the repatriation of
republican prisoner Aiden Hulme has just been launched by
the New Republican Forum.

Aiden is currently serving a 22-year sentence in Full
Sutton prison, England. He was imprisoned for alleged
involvement in the 2000/2001 ‘Real’ IRA bombing campaign in
London. He has lost his appeal against conviction and
sentence and is currently awaiting repatriation to
Portlaoise Prison in Ireland.

Prior to his arrest and imprisonment Aiden was involved in
a serious motorcycle accident that left him with a severely
injured leg. In the immediate aftermath of the accident he
was receiving medical treatment at the Royal Victoria
Hospital in Belfast and his condition was improving at the
time of his detention.

However, subsequent to his arrest and imprisonment in
Britain’s notorious Belmarsh Special Secure Unit [SSU],
Aiden’s medical condition began to deteriorate at an
alarming rate.

In response to intense political pressure the Belmarsh
authorities reluctantly acquired the services of a medical
specialist and doctor to examine Aiden’s injured leg. After
a brief examination the Belmarsh-appointed specialist
informed him that the injured leg should be amputated.

Aiden’s family and friends, disturbed by and suspicious of
this opinion, immediately sought a second opinion.

After intensive and prolonged political lobbying by the
Irish Political Status Committee and other human rights
groups an independent specialist was permitted access to
Belmarsh SSU to examine Aiden. After the examination the
independent specialist deemed the limb “saveable” –
contrary to the opinion of the prison-appointed specialist.

Not only is Aiden still being denied proper treatment but
astonishingly, the Full Sutton prison authorities have
decided to withdraw his pain-killing medication on a
gradual basis. No alternative medication has been offered
on the grounds that the pain in his leg is “purely

The British authorities had transferred all the official
documentation relating to Aiden’s repatriation bid to the
Department of Justice in Dublin by September 2005 but the
application has still not been processed. These delays are
leaving Aiden at risk of having his injured leg amputated
in England.

Here's the link in case anyone is interested in signing it:
We plan to picket the department of Justice where the delay
in Aiden's repatriation bid is occuring - during which we
intend to present a printed version of the petition to
department staff.

If anyone is interested in helping with this campaign,
which has the support of several political and humanitarian
organisations, contact me on:


Paul Doyle,
New Republican Forum.


Opin: A Gift-Wrapped Deal For Birthday Boy Ian?

The two Prime Ministers are flying into Northern Ireland on
Ian Paisley's 80th birthday, but who will be celebrating?
Political Correspondent Noel McAdam reports.

30 March 2006

Ian Paisley could be set for his best birthday yet. Tony
Blair and Bertie Ahern are expected in the province next
Thursday - which just happens to be the DUP leader's 80th

Will they bring him a bow- wrapped big box pressie - the
kind of interim Assembly which could lead to Mr Paisley
becoming First Minister next year?
Then, when the wraps come off, will the other parties join
in the party? Or for the DUP will the big box mean becoming
boxed in?

For, as at any point since this peace process began . . .
it's their parties - and they'll cry if they want to.

If Sinn Fein or the SDLP decide to boycott a recalled
Assembly, the party games are off apart from the
governments' version of 'pass the parcel' over the summer.

Government officials say the task is to "square the circle”
between unionists - who insist full Executive devolution is
out for the foreseeable future - and nationalists -
reluctant to see anything other than full Executive
devolution put in.

And yet there is some common ground on which the
governments could sow potential seed.

It lies between unionist demands to maximise devolution "in
the current circumstances" and nationalist calls for the
maximum possible amount of the Good Friday Agreement.

Lifting the three-and-a-half year suspension is what
nationalists want, but they may not like the form in which
it is done.

And while a half-way house Assembly - say for example the
DUP's corporate model in which power resides in the entire
membership - may suit unionists for now, it will be tied
into either eventual power-sharing or joint London/Dublin
rule which they abhor.

Blair and Ahern will have to sanction a formula which tests
both camps - nationalists perhaps signing up to the two
proposed six-week periods of devolution in the first place,
unionists at the end of the process when the real crunch
decisions will have to be made.

Yet in the period between the first and second 'six-week'
Assemblies should come two more IMC reports which could
also alter the atmosphere.

But while the Governments insist there must be a deal this
year, agreement is as ever likely to take all the time (and
usually more) available - up to the next expected Assembly
elections in May next year.

Without workable, meaningful devolution by then, everyone
goes home . . . without their party bags.


Opin: SF Peddling Paranoid Fantasies Over Housing

By Staff Reporter

There are more Catholics than Protestants on the Housing
Executive’s waiting list in north Belfast. Catholic
districts are bursting at the seams while in Protestant
districts, like this one off Duncairn Gardens in north
Belfast, homes are boarded up

Catholic districts of north Belfast are bursting at the
seams while Protestant districts stand empty. This is why
there are significantly more Catholics than Protestants on
the Housing Executive’s north Belfast waiting list.

What can be done about it? Frankly, not much, short of
physically shifting ethnic boundaries in the style of a
Serbian general. But in the meantime there’s always

The St Patrick’s and St Joseph’s Housing Committee has once
again accused the Housing Executive of discriminating
against nationalists by failing to solve the problem in its
seven-year North Belfast Housing Strategy. Late last year
the committee also lambasted the executive with one of the
most depressing documents I have ever read.

The back page contained a photograph of committee members
setting fire to the Housing Executive strategy with their
cigarette lighters. Classy. Inside they accused the
executive at length and ad nauseam of following a “unionist
agenda” by building new houses in “unionist areas”. Well,
what else do they expect it to do? Leave the only empty
land in north Belfast lying derelict to preserve the sacred
sectarian balance of the constituency? Having evoked the
concept of “nationalist areas” in the name of their own
cause, the committee can hardly complain about such
geographical abominations.

The St Patrick’s and St Joseph’s Housing Committee offers
only one piece of evidence for its accusation of bias – the
fact that Nigel Dodds campaigns under the slogan ‘Keep
North Belfast Unionist’. Once again, what else do they
expect? He is unlikely to campaign under the slogan ‘Keep
North Belfast Nuclear Free’.

It is dangerous and absurd to create a patently false
impression that the Housing Executive is operating to a DUP
agenda. In a normal country one might look to local
representatives for vision and leadership over such a
divisive issue. But of course, Sinn Fein is just backing
the committee to the hilt.

“Nationalists on the housing waiting list in north Belfast
are not only waiting for a home but are also waiting for
equality,” Councillor Caral NiChuilin says. Marvellous. Any
ideas on how to bring that about? Errr... no.

There are ways that the problem could potentially be
addressed, although they would be painfully slow and
extremely risky. Republicans could open negotiations with
loyalists over the transfer of territory. However, that
might be difficult while they’re criticising unionists for
talking to loyalists when they won’t talk to republicans,
while also insisting that everyone talks to everyone except
the Policing Board and the Parades Commission because they
have loyalist members. Alternatively, republicans could
insist that the PSNI does its job by putting the remaining
loyalist gangs out of business. However, that might imply
that the PSNI was the legitimate force of law and order –
which would never do. If they were feeling more optimistic,
republicans might ask the executive to make another attempt
at creating mixed areas – but of course that would never do

Finally, if all else fails, republicans could insist on the
relocation of peace walls. But then, that wouldn’t allow
them to complain when the peace walls are relocated. In
fact, the only consistent approach Sinn Fein has taken to
the situation in north Belfast is to consistently moan
about it, while doing nothing that might preclude moaning
about any future attempt at a solution. Their performance
has been pathetic. No wonder they prefer to peddle paranoid
fantasies about the Housing Executive.

Meanwhile, those of us not apparently entitled to property
wherever we fancy can only look on in envious amazement.

Why is the intergenerational cohesion of certain
‘communities’ such a shibboleth in the first place? I would
also like to be closer to my parents – but they live in the
country and I can’t afford it. If they had been given a
modern executive town-house half a mile from central
Belfast then they could easily lend all their offspring the
deposits to buy around the corner. But they were not – so
their children have had to borrow, work and save to live
where they can. What makes the residents of St Patrick’s
and St Joseph’s so special?

Are their kids too good to end up in Glengormley and call
in on Sundays like everyone else?

Sinn Fein campaigns in north Belfast under the slogan
‘Building an Ireland of Equals’. What this appears to mean
is “Building more houses for Catholics, right here beside
their mammy and none for themmuns – so there.”

How very inspiring.

A united Ireland may be only months away.


Haughey In Hospital After Deterioration In Health

30/03/2006 - 07:33:41

Former Taoiseach Charles Haughey is believed to be in a
serious condition in hospital after a deterioration in his
health in recent days.

The 80-year-old, who has been suffering from prostate
cancer for several years, is believed to have been admitted
to the Mater Private Hospital in Dublin on Monday night
suffering from dehydration.

Fianna Fáil has confirmed that he is hospital, but has
declined to reveal any further details about his illness.

Mr Haughey has been hospitalised on a number of occasions
over the past 10 years and his ill health has prevented him
from giving evidence to the Moriarty Tribunal, which is
investigating his finances.


Ryanair Flight To Derry Lands At Military Airfield


The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) in the UK has launched
an investigation into how a Ryanair flight from Liverpool
to City of Derry Airport landed at a British army base five
miles away, wrties George Jackson.

The flight was being operated on Ryanair's behalf by Eirjet
Airline. It was due to have landed at City of Derry Airport
at 2.25pm yesterday but instead touched down on an airfield
inside the Ballykelly army camp, also known as Shackleton

The aircraft, which was carrying 38 passengers and six
crew, will remain grounded inside the army camp until the
CAA investigation is completed.

After the pilot landed the aircraft, British soldiers kept
the passengers and crew on board the aircraft for security
reasons. Several soldiers boarded the aircraft and the
passengers and crew were only allowed to leave after a ramp
was brought to Ballykelly from City of Derry Airport.

One of the passengers, Johnny Borrow, said he knew the
flight was landing at the wrong airport.

"I tried to tell the crew that we were landing in the wrong
place, but it was too late to do anything because the
descent was almost over. It was hilarious. Soldiers
starting running towards the aircraft waving at us and

As part of the investigation, CAA officials will interview
the pilot and other members of the cockpit crew, none of
whom would speak to reporters yesterday.

In a statement released yesterday evening, Ryanair said the
incident arose as a result of an error by the Eirjet pilot.

"He mistakenly believed he was on a visual approach to City
of Derry Airport. The Eirjet pilot was cleared by air
traffic control in City of Derry Airport but he mistook the
nearby Ballykelly camp for City of Derry airport and
landed. We have informed the aviation authorities both in
the UK and in the Republic of Ireland. Never in our 20-year
year history has an incident like this happened," the
statement said.

Brian Mather, a passenger, said the soldiers treated the
passengers well.

"They could see the funny side of it. As we approached to
land, the plane banked a couple of times and landed
normally, except that we were at the wrong airport. Some of
the soldiers came on board and laughingly welcomed us to
their international airport. There was no panic among the
passengers, but I think the cockpit crew might be panicking
a bit," Mr Mather said.

© The Irish Times


Channel 6 Goes On Air

30/03/2006 - 07:14:54

Ireland’s newest national television station, Channel 6,
goes on air for the first time today offering a blend of
music, comedy and film in its bid to take a chunk of the
under-35 audience.

Guaranteeing no news, no sport and no kids, station backers
hope its entertainment-only style will draw in viewers from
rival broadcasters E4, Sky and RTE 2.

Michael Murphy, director and founder of Channel 6, urged
people to tune in for the first night.

“We are urging everyone to tune in at 8pm for what promises
to be a really exciting first night’s viewing on Channel
6,” he said.

“We are offering viewers a pure entertainment alternative
to existing programming and we look forward to attracting
large numbers of viewers tomorrow evening.”

From 8pm the station will air homegrown shows Take Six and
Night Shift before showing award-winning comedies, American
Office and House, both of which are being aired in Ireland
for the fist time.

Movie show Take Six hosted Tara Loughrey-Grant has promised
to take an intelligent look at cinema and DVD releases with
reviews of the Top 10 box office releases each week.

Home-produced Night Shift, an interactive music programme
presented Michelle Doherty, will cover all aspects of the
alternative music scene.

The hit movie Get Shorty will also air.

The Dublin-based station, aimed at the under 35 audience,
is available on the NTL and Chorus digital and analogue

The channel will be offering special themed evenings
featuring a girl’s night in showing Sex and the City and
movies while the boy’s night in will include My Name is
Earl, the CSI series and crime nights.


Success Of Smoking Ban Welcomed As Second Anniversary

John Downes

The second anniversary of the introduction of the workplace
smoking ban was marked yesterday with anti-tobacco
campaigners welcoming it as "hugely successful" because of
the support of the general public.

Prof Luke Clancy, chairman of Ash Ireland, noted that the
introduction of the ban here had been followed by several
other countries. He expressed confidence that an EU-wide
ban would now be possible.

Last weekend, Scotland introduced a smoking ban, following
other countries such as Italy and Norway.

"The introduction of the ban has been hugely successful
because the Irish people have promoted it," Prof Clancy

"We look forward to an all-Ireland smoke free workplace ban
next year and a similar ban to follow in England and Wales.

"Nobody now doubts that an EU-wide ban is possible. What a
difference a couple of years can make in such an important
health issue. Let's press on with tobacco control.”

Donall O'Keeffe, chief executive of the Licensed Vintners
Association, which represents most Dublin pubs, said his
members were "getting on with life" after the ban.

"It's a fact of life; we are working with it, have been and
will continue to do," he said. "Enforcement and compliance
has not been an issue, although there have been isolated

Trade in the Dublin area had picked up since last autumn,
Mr O'Keeffe said, partly due to better access to transport
and a slowing down in the move towards home socialising.

Many pubs had also focused on providing food and other
facilities, but trade was not back at pre-smoking ban
levels, he added.

At the launch of the Office of Tobacco Control's annual
report last week, Minister of State for Health Seán Power
also revealed that his department intended to ban the sale
of packs of 10 cigarettes.

This is intended to target the 20 per cent of 15 to 18-
year-olds who smoke.

© The Irish Times


Bono Steals Show With Poetry That Proves He Can Go On ...
And On

Rosita Boland

Rock star Bono made a surprise appearance at the launch of
the Beckett Centenary Festival at Dublin Castle last night
to read with gusto his long and topical poem Un Homage a
Maestro Samuel Beckett.

I've been waiting
Waiting a long time
One hundred years
It gets tiring all this velvety blackness
That's what Le Brocquy calls it . . .

Velvety blackness but there's no nothingness
Oh no, just everythingness and judgement
The judgement of your peers . . .
Where's Gaybo? Where's Ryanair? Where's the trolley

It's not dollies on trollies now
It's the living and the dead clogging up the arteries of
the health service
Oh yes, late to the late, late to the Late Late Show
Isn't Brendan Gleeson the business
The pricks
The Celts
Waiting, waiting for the tiger to catch its tail.

Bono read with speed and vigour, managing to encompass
references to Beckett's texts, Ireland's recent victory
with the Triple Crown, Ryanair, George Bush, the state of
the health system and the academic industry around
Beckett's work.

Judging by the enthusiastic response and laughter from the
audience, Bono swiped the evening's thunder from Minister
for Arts John O'Donoghue, who had just officially launched
the festival by saying: "Brevity is the soul of wit.

Beckett, by his own admission, was a master in the economy
of language. At the same time, he remains a true genius in
the exactitude with which he deployed language to de-layer
a complexity of thought. He once differentiated himself
with Joyce thus: 'James Joyce was a synthesiser, trying to
bring in all he could. I am an analyser, trying to leave
out as much as possible.' Well, if I may misquote Samuel
Beckett, he certainly had a capacity to 'state silences
more competently than ever a man spangled the butterflies
of vertigo'.”

The actor Barry McGovern gave the festival's first public
performance by reading a short extract from Watt, a novel
by Beckett first published in Paris in 1953.

Dozens of festival events are scheduled to take place in
Dublin over the next month. Among them is Beckett on Stage,
a selection of his plays at the Gate Theatre; a number of
light-projections of Beckett's text on buildings around the
city by American artist Jenny Holzer; films at the Irish
Film Institute; and a symposium at Trinity College.

© The Irish Times


Meath Locals Lose Millions In Collapse Of Pyramid Scheme

Conor Lally

Gardaí are investigating more than 30 complaints from Co
Meath residents who have lost several million euro in a
pyramid scheme that collapsed late last year, it has

The scheme promised returns of up to €21.6 million over two
years on an initial investment of €1,000. It involved
between 800 and 1,000 investors in and around the Kells
area, some of whom have lost over €100,000 each.

The Irish Times has learned gardaí investigating the
collapse of the scheme have contacted the authorities in
Malaysia, where it is believed to have originated. News of
the international investigation comes as gardaí in Cork
continue to monitor a separate pyramid scheme in which up
to €20 million has been invested.

The Co Meath People in Profit Scheme, known as Pips, was
run by two people originally from Meath who first
encountered it in the US and decided to establish it in
Kells and act as agents for a firm with offices in the US
and Malaysia.

The agents took money from local people and allowed them to
access a website owned by the company involved on which the
growth of investments could be tracked.

One local source said he believed the money invested had
simply been lodged to a bank account in Ireland and had
never been received by the parent organisation.

Investors committed sums of money as loans for 180 days to
those running the scheme. In return, they were "guaranteed”

interest payments of 2 per cent per day.

This equates to 14,000 per cent per year if compounded over
252 trading days. A return of €21.6 million would accrue
after two years on an initial investment of €1,000. The
scheme continued in the second half of last year, despite a
warning from the Consumers Association of Ireland urging

"The people who got in early did get their investment back
and in some cases made a lot of money," said one senior
Garda source.

"But like all these schemes it has to dry up eventually and
the people who join last lose out. It was only when it
collapsed that people started to make official complaints.”

The same source said many people who profited had been paid
interest and profits out of the seed money committed by
friends and family members they had encouraged to become

A total of "several million" had been lost. The true figure
would never be known because large numbers of victims were
too embarrassed to come forward.

Fine Gael TD Damien English, in whose Meath constituency
the scheme became popular, has raised the matter with the
Minister for Justice, Michael McDowell, in a parliamentary

He was told that while gardaí were aware of the Pips
scheme, no formal complaint had yet been made to them. Mr
McDowell told him that any complaint would be investigated.

However, The Irish Times has established at least 30 people
who lost money have recently complained to gardaí.

Before the collapse here of the scheme, Pips had been the
subject of numerous warnings from the authorities in
Australia, whose citizens have been subjected to aggressive
online promotions from a Malaysia-based company.

Regulators in Alaska have also issued recent warnings.

© The Irish Times


Wear A Lily With Pride

By Brendan McDaid
29 March 2006

Sinn Fein MLA for Foyle, Raymond McCartney has called on
local nationalists and republicans to wear an Easter lily
pin on the 90th anniversary of the Easter Rising.

Mr McCartney said it was fitting the Easter Lily campaign
was being launched on International Women's Day as it was
the women of Cumann na mBan who first introduced it.

He added: "I want to call on people throughout Ireland to
make a special effort this year to wear an Easter Lily and
honour Ireland's patriotic dead.

"Constance Markievicz and Kathleen Lynn played a leading
role in the Easter Rising and this year we will be
continuing the work that they began for equality and Irish

"Today we are also celebrating the activism of women who
are involved in political activity in communities across
Ireland, including those women who are to the forefront of
community development, women involved with voluntary
organisations and women campaigning on socio-economic and
equality issues in their communities, nationally and

"The 1916 proclamation promised equal rights and universal
suffrage. On the 90th anniversary of the Rising it is
important to remember and to revive the connections which
existed at that time between feminism and nationalism.”


Women And The Irish Revolution

Dublin History And Heritage Event Notice Wednesday
March 29, 2006 18:45 by DSF - Sinn Féin

Countess Markievicz Memorial Debate

Countess Markievicz Memorial Debate Monday 10th April in
the Madison Rathmines

In the 90th Anniversary year of the Easter Rising Dublin
Sinn Féin have organised a Countess Markievicz Memorial
Debate to honour the role of Women in the struggle for
Irish Freedom. The meeting takes place in the Madison
Rathmines @ 8pm on Monday 10th April. Speakers include
former Republican Prisoners Martina Anderson and Jennifer
McCann and Dublin historian Lorcan Collins.

All welcome


Public Meeting - 1916-1981 Unbroken Connection

Dublin History And Heritage Event Notice Wednesday
March 29, 2006 18:32 by DSF - Sinn Féin

Dublin Sinn Féin Public Meeting to mark the 90th
Anniversary of the 1916 Rising and the 25th Anniversary of
the 1981 Hunger Strike.

Dublin Sinn Féin are hosting a public meeting in Wynns
Hotel, Abbey Street on Tuesday 11th April @ 8pm. The theme
of the meeting is 1916-1981 The Unbroken Connection.

Speakers include former Hunger Striker Dr. Laurence McKeown
and Sinn Féin TD Aengus O Snodaigh.

All Welcome.


1916-2006 Easter Rising Commemoration

Dublin History And Heritage Event Notice Wednesday
March 29, 2006 18:18 by DSF - Sinn Féin

Sat. 15th April @ 1.30pm Garden of Remembrance
The Dublin Sinn Féin Easter Commemoration takes place on
Saturday 15th April @ 1.30pm Garden of Remembrance Parnell
Square and marching to the GPO. The main speaker at the GPO
is Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams.


Kerry - Event Notice
Sunday April 23 2006

The O' Rahilly Commemoration

Kerry History And Heritage Event Notice Wednesday
March 29, 2006 15:56 by Find mac Cumhaill - Craobh Gál
1916 Leader, 90th Anniversary

A commemoration to mark the 90th Anniversary of the death
of The O' Rahilly, will take place at Ballylongford, Co.

Kerry; on Sunday 23rd April 2006. The main speaker of the
Commemoration will be Dereck Warfield of the 'Wolfe Tones'.

All are invited

Michael Joseph O' Rahilly, was born on April 22nd 1875, and
was known as The O' Rahilly, being chief of the O' Rahilly
clan. He was born at Ballylongford, Co. Kerry. He was
killed on April 29th 1916 fighting for the freedom of his
country. He was a keen Irish nationalists and Irish
language enthusiast, being a member of An Coiste Gnotha,
the governing body of the Gaelic League. He had personally
being in charge of the first major arming of the Irish
Volunteers, of which he was a founding member of, with the
landing of Guns at Howth, on 26th July 1914. He was
Director of Arms of Olaigh na hÉireann.


Passenger Boat Opens Up Secrets Of Island

By Catherine Morrison

A passenger boat is set to bring new generations
of people to a remote, tree-covered island in Lough Neagh
which was immortalised by the Clancy Brothers in a popular

Ram’s Island, about one mile off the eastern shore of the
lough, was first settled by the Celts and was inhabited by
the Cardwell family until the 1920s.

At one mile long by a quarter of a mile wide it is the
largest island on the lough and features a monastic round
tower and the remains of a 19th century summer house.

As well as these historic ruins the island is a nature
lover’s paradise with a vast bird population and a unique
collection of mature trees.

In spring the forest floor is carpeted in bluebells and
wild mushrooms grow abundantly in the autumn.

The island was made famous by the song Ballinderry, sung by
the Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem who had a string of
hits in the US during the 1950s and 60s.

The Co Tipperary brothers, and Makem, from Keady in Co
Armagh, paved the way for Irish folk artists such as The
Chieftains and have been acknowledged as a major
influence by Bob Dylan.

The sad song tells the story of young lovers Phelim and
Mary who would visit ‘bonny’ Ram’s Island and sit beneath
the trees.

However, in the Irish tradition their happiness didn’t last
And Phelim dies when his boat sinks.

Up until now it was only conservation volunteers who
visited Ram’s Island but with the launch of a new passenger
ferry that is set to change.

This summer the Island Warrior will bring visitors from
Sandy Bay, on the lough’s eastern shore, to the island at

The boat has been bought by the Ram’s Island Heritage Project with
funding from the Lough Neagh Partnership board and Antrim
Borough Council.

Michael Savage, who manages the project, said he hoped that
the new passenger service would make the island more
accessible for members of the public.

“Our aim is to make the island available to everyone so
they can come and see how beautiful and unspoilt the island
is,” he said.

“We want to offer the service this summer and into the
winter as well, depending on the demand.”

Recently, more than a dozen trees had to be cut down as
they were threatening to topple over and it was feared they
could damage the round tower.

Many of the 200-year-old syca-mores had carvings on them
going back to the 1920s. Some had the names of US
servicemen, who were based in the area during the Second
World War, etched into them.

Anyone wishing to find out more about Ram’s Island can
check out or contact Mr Savage directly
on 07715 368 050.


Bloody Sunday Centre Move Hailed A Success

By Staff Reporter

The Bloody Sunday Centre in Derry has recorded 1,000
visitors in the six weeks since it opened in the city’s

The 1,000th visitor was recorded at the Glenfada Park
centre this week. The centre is based at the scene of the
Bloody Sunday killings and showcases a wide range of
artefacts from the time.

Centre spokesman Adrian Kerr said everyone at the facility
was delighted with the response to its move to Glenfada

“Even though we had always known that the site in Glenfada
Park was ideal for the Bloody Sunday Centre and for the
Museum of Free Derry when we complete the transformation of
the building later this year, we are very pleasantly
surprised at the amount of people that are visiting the
centre,” he said.

“Given that we are in one of the quietest times of the year
for visitors to the city and that we have so far been
unable to carry out any significant marketing for the
centre, the visitor numbers really bode well for the future
of the Museum of Free Derry.”

He said a large number of local people were also visiting
the centre along with visitors from Australia, Germany, the
US, Russia, the Basque country and other parts of the

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