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March 24, 2006

UDA Shoots Leading Loyalist; Violence Fears Heighten

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IN 03/24/06 UDA Shoots Leading Loyalist As Violence Fears Heighten
IN 03/24/06 Munitions Found In Search In Loyalist Belfast
IN 03/24/06 Suspicious Object Found In Derry Was ‘An Elaborate Hoax’
BB 03/24/06 PMs Discuss NI Political Process
BT 03/24/06 'Take It Or Leave It' Assembly
BB 03/24/06 Sinn Fein 'Involved In Eta Move'
TO 03/24/06 The Irish Priest Who Brought Eta Killers To Peace
IN 03/24/06 Fr Reid Praised For Role In Eta Ceasefire
BT 03/24/06 Orange Order Rules Out SF Talks
BT 03/24/06 CAB Takes First Step In Bid To Dismantle Slab's Empire
WN 03/24/06 Waterford Council Opposition To ‘Bobby Sands Street’
BT 03/24/06 Colin Worton: Why I Want A Public Apology
BB 03/24/06 Appeal Made Over Minority Voting
BT 03/24/06 Opin: 'Glacial Earthquakes' Warn Of Global Warming
BT 03/24/06 Opin: Why Re-Partitioning Is Not As FarFetched As It Seems
BT 03/24/06 Opin:SF Inch Slowly Towards Crucial Decision On Policing
IN 03/24/06 Opin: Ambitious Series Brings History Of Ireland To Life
IT 03/24/06 Beckett At 100
BN 03/24/06 38 Pubs Prosecuted For Smoking Ban Breaches In 2005
BM 03/24/06 Wedding Dress Store's Closure Leave Brides In A Lather
BT 03/24/06 'Glacial Earthquakes' Warn Of Global Warming
IN 03/24/06 Pearse Letter Auction On eBay
IN 03/24/06 Lighthouse Keeper’s Idyllic Life On Rathlin Island
IN 03/24/06 Hotel Prices In Capital Fall By More Than 10%


UDA Shoots Leading Loyalist As Violence Fears Heighten

By Sharon O'Neill Chief Reporter

A leading loyalist was shot in yet another attack in Co
Antrim linked to the UDA – the third within weeks which has
included a murder.

The loyalist paramilitary organisation has heightened its
level of violence in the coastal town of Carrickfergus –
despite reports hinting the UFF may be on the verge of a
major announcement over its future, and possible

The UDA is suspected of being behind the shooting of a 32-
year-old man in the town on Wednesday night – the second
such attack in days.

The Irish News understands the victim – who was shot in
each leg at Carnhill Walk in the Castlemara estate – is a
prominent loyalist.

The attack has once again raised concerns over the true
intentions of the UDA – whose senior members recently held
secret talks in Belfast with Martin McAleese, the husband
of President Mary McAleese.

Last week three masked men burst into a mans house in
Cherry Walk in the Woodburn area of Carrick and dragged him

A gun was put to the victims head, the trigger pulled, but
it failed to go off.

The man, who is understood to have since fled his home, was
also pistol whipped during his ordeal, which well-placed
sources insist was also the work of the UDA.

Last month former gravedigger Thomas Hollran was murdered
in the same area – the finger of suspicion immediately
falling on the UDA.

The 49-year-old was set upon as he walked to his sisters
house in the Woodburn estate. Brutally beaten, he died in
hospital the next day.

His sister blamed the UDA for the killing and police later
confirmed loyalist paramilitary involvement was under

Last month, in its eighth report, the Independent
Monitoring Commission blamed the UDA for a murder,
sectarian attack, ongoing drug dealing, extortion, robbery
and money laundering.

Just two weeks ago, the commission said loyalist
paramilitaries were still heavily involved in crime, but
added there were signs of a “possible” readiness to turn
away from “some of their present criminality”.

But last night Alliance assembly member Sean Neeson said:
“The UDA are active in Carrickfergus at the present time.

“They are going against the trend that is supposed to be
developing in other parts of Northern Ireland.

“I would urge the political wing of the UDA to directly

“There is growing unrest among many ordinary people in
Carrickfergus about the continuing activity of loyalist

Carrickfergus mayor, DUP assembly member David Hilditch
said: “This must cease. Everybody says they are on

“Carrickfergus has come on so well in recent years. We just
dont need this sort of thing.”

No-one from the UPRG could be contacted for comment.


Munitions Found In Search In Loyalist Belfast

By Staff Reporter

AMMUNITION and a radio transmitter were found in the
loyalist Donegall Road area of Belfast earlier this week,
the High Court heard yesterday.

The ammunition – 236 rounds for a variety of weapons and 47
shotgun cartridges – were found during a police search of
the Donegall Road home of Michael Burgess (45).

He was charged with possessing the ammunition with intent
to endanger life and having a transmitter which could be
used by terrorists.

Mr Burgess had been remanded in custody and yesterday he
applied for bail.

Crown lawyer David Hopley said Mr Burgess had told police
he was on his way home after a night’s

drinking when he was handed two bags by two

men who said: “Look after the bags and they will look after

Mr Burgess said he took this to be a threat and took the
bags home and threw them under his bed.

Mr Justice Hart granted bail and ordered Mr Burgess to
report to police once a week.


Suspicious Object Found In City Centre Was ‘An Elaborate

By Staff Reporter

POLICE in Derry have des-cribed a suspicious object found
close to the city centre yesterday as “an elaborate hoax”.

Early morning traffic was disrupted as the British army
carried out a controlled explosion on the device,
discovered at around 8.45am in bushes in the Fahan Street

PSNI inspector Michael Winters said the alert had caused
inconvenience to residents and motorists.

It was the third such incident in the city during the past

On Saturday evening the Craigavon Bridge was closed for a
time after a suspect device was discovered.

On Wednesday night a hoax device was also left in the
garden of SDLP assembly member Pat Ramsey’s Bogside home.
Houses in the area were evacuated after the alarm was


PMs Discuss NI Political Process

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

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

Irish sources said the visit was pencilled in for 6 April.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/03/24 06:43:17 GMT


'Take It Or Leave It' Assembly

Premiers ready to test institution to destruction

By Brian Walker
24 March 2006

Tony Blair and Bertie Ahern are expected to take the plunge
today and propose the restoration of the Assembly in a few
weeks' time.

The Premiers were meeting on the margins of a European
summit in Brussels to settle the details of a full Assembly
recall which could give the parties up to five months of
concentrated effort to try to reach a political deal.

Although Downing Street was declining to speculate about
future moves ahead of the meeting, the Prime Ministers may
fly to Belfast to unveil the plan in a fortnight.

Anticipating the move in a weekend interview, the Taoiseach
said the prospect of an Assembly without an Executive
"shouldn't stop the Assembly operating for a period of time
while there is work for it to do".

Following the collapse of last month's "shadow" Assembly
plan after Mr Ahern talked Mr Blair out of it, it was
Downing Street's turn to adopt the more cautious approach.

Asked why it was the Taoiseach rather than the Prime
Minister who seemed to be taking the lead, British sources
replied: "It's we who have to take the actual decision on
the Assembly and we want to make sure all the pieces are
there first."

This time, Mr Blair and Mr Ahern are likely to present the
parties with a "take it or leave it " choice to test the
institution to destruction.

They are not expected to propose conditions or a timetable
for a shadow Assembly.

Parties in the full Assembly will be free to form an
Executive if they wish.

The plan is understood to involve "rolling D'Hondt twice,"
allowing the Assembly to sit for the six weeks laid down by
law for electing an Executive and if that fails, suspending
it for a period, perhaps over the summer, then reconvening
it again in the autumn for a second try.

In the meantime the Assembly members would be able - but
could not be compelled - to form committees to influence
Peter Hain's controversial reform programme for councils,
schools and hospitals.

Sinn Fein and the SDLP remain cool, fearing a recall
without a straight commitment to an Executive would create
pressure to make Assembly committees the substitute for an
inclusive power sharing government of Ministers, which is
what the DUP wants.

Gerry Adams said: "There's only one Assembly and that's the
Assembly as outlined by the Good Friday Agreement.

"There isn't any half-way house, in-between, transitional,
interim arrangement."


Sinn Fein 'Involved In Eta Move'

It has been reported in Spain that senior Sinn Fein
politicians were involved in the negotiations which led to
the Eta ceasefire.

The ceasefire by the Basque terrorist group came into
effect at midnight.

One newspaper, El Mundo, says that former Belfast Lord
Mayor Alex Maskey was an architect of the process.

North Belfast assembly member Gerry Kelly is also said to
have been involved. Belfast priest Father Alex Reid has
confirmed he played a role.

Eta has been blamed for killing more than 800 people in its
four-decade campaign for independence for the Basque region
of northern Spain and south-west France.

In a statement released to Basque media on Wednesday, the
group said its objective now was "to promote a democratic
process in the Basque country".

It urged both Spain and France to enter into peace

The European Union on Thursday welcomed the ceasefire,
saying it was a "very positive sign".

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/03/24 10:17:38 GMT


The Irish Priest Who Brought Eta Killers To Peace

By David Sharrock and Graham Keeley in Barcelona

JUST before the IRA hunger strike in 1981 Republican
prisoners in the Maze nicknamed Alec Reid “Behind the
Scenes” because he constantly assured them that “things are
going on behind the scenes” and everything would be all

He was wrong. Ten men starved themselves to death and
Father Reid, blaming himself, suffered a nervous breakdown.

But in recent years the 74-year-old Redemptorist priest
from Tipperary has more than earned the sobriquet, playing
a key role in persuading two of Europe’s most ruthless
terrorist groups to abandon the gun and embrace politics.

The Basque separatist group, Eta, that will today begin a
ceasefire it promises is permanent, having accepted the
message brought from Ireland by the priest who laboured for
more than a decade to convince Gerry Adams that the only
solution to conflict lay in political negotiations.

Speaking from Bilbao, the Basque commercial capital, Father
Reid was reluctant to take credit, but acknowledged he had
“been here almost continuously for the past four years or
so”, preaching the lessons of Northern Ireland. He had been
“explaining especially that the only way you can solve such
conflicts is through dialogue between all participants.

“There are no military solutions and we would say that the
first thing you have to do is to take the violence away
from the streets. You can’t solve it while it is on the
streets. You have to bring it to the conference table.”

Self-congratulation is not the style of a man who, in spite
of his sometimes controversial empathy with the Irish
Republican movement, has demonstrated on many occasions the
humanity at the core of his Christian mission to end

When, in 1987, he delivered the last rites to two Signals
corporals murdered by the IRA after they accidentally drove
into a Republican funeral, the image of his stooping frame
bent over their bodies went around the world.

A shy man, usually dressed in a black leather bomber jacket
and jeans, Father Reid has been described as the
inspiration of the Irish peace process.

The author Ed Moloney, an astute observer of the
Provisionals for more than 30 years, credits him with
having “initiated, devised and nurtured” the IRA away from
the cycle of killing and down the road that eventually led
to the Good Friday Agreement of 1998.

Fr Reid’s Basque mission began four years later when
priests there invited him over in the hope that he could
help to end their conflict as well.

A meeting in 2003 with the widow of a journalist murdered
by Eta was a turning point. “She told me that every day
when she wakes up and realises her husband is dead she does
not want to go on living,” he told The Times yesterday. “At
that moment I realised that we must act here immediately.
As we said in Ireland, every second could cost another

It was an encounter that echoed his decision to approach
Gerry Adams in 1982 and plead with the Republican leader to
intervene on behalf of the family of a British soldier who
had been kidnapped by the IRA in South Armagh.

The soldier was subsequently murdered after being tortured,
but the dialogue between the two men continued, eventually
transforming itself into what became the peace process.

Father Reid has spent the past three years talking to all
sides in the Basque country. Using the Bishop of Bilbao’s
official residence as a base, he has met Eta leaders across
the Pyrennean border in the French Basque country, as well
as their political representatives in Batasuna and a range
of civic and community leaders.

His inability to speak Spanish or Euskera, the Basque
language, was never a handicap: those who met him were
immediately impressed with his determination to succeed.

“I have known that the leadership of Eta wanted peace for
the past three years but their problem has been convincing
their supporters, as was the case with the IRA,” he said.

“People will not like me saying this, but I have a lot of
respect for the leadership of Eta as well as the IRA. It is
made up of some very intelligent people.”

In fact he has said far worse. Last October he created a
furore when he lost his temper with a loyalist during a
public debate and accused Northern Ireland Unionists of
having treated Catholics as the Nazis treated the Jews.

When the last Eta ceasefire broke down in the late 1990s he
told a Basque journalist he believed that the Spanish
Government was “the real terrorists” because of its refusal
to start a process of open dialogue.

And he has angered politicians on both sides of the Irish
border with his ready acceptance of the Provisional IRA’s
denial that it carried out the £26.5 million Northern Bank
raid in December 2004.

Some mainstream Spanish and Basque politicians have
privately voiced their occasional irritation with the
priest. But his moral authority and track record has proved
its worth with Eta, which tends to regard the IRA as a big

Fr Reid was witness, along with a Protestant clergyman, to
the decommissioning of the IRA arsenal last October. It is
highly possible that he may soon find himself taking on a
similar role in the Basque country. “This is the end of the
physical-force tradition in Basque politics,” he said.
“It’s the beginning of a whole new era.”


Terry Waite Anglican envoy was taken hostage in Beirut in
1987 and kept for nearly five years

Canon Andrew White works in Baghdad for the Foundation for
Reconciliation in the Middle East

Monsignor Julio César Vidal Ortiz negotiates between the
Colombian Government and right-wing death squads

Abuna Elias Chacour Palestinian cleric working in Israel to
promote better relations between Israelis and Palestinians

Bishop John Magee pleaded in 1981 with the H Block hunger
strikers to call off their protest


Fr Reid Praised For Role In Eta Ceasefire

By Barry McCaffrey

Tributes have been paid to Redemptorist priest Fr Alec Reid
for his involvement in helping bring about the Eta
ceasefire due to begin today.

Former Taoiseach Albert Reynolds, who was also involved in
discussions with the Basque separatists, described Fr Reid
as a “remarkable” and dedicated proponent of peace.

“I went to the Basque country on a number of occasions and
each time they mentioned that Fr Reid was trying to
persuade them to take the road of peace. His commitment to
peace in Ireland and in Spain was exceptional,” he said.

Former SDLP leader John Hume also praised Fr Reid, who was
instrumental in bringing about an IRA ceasefire and acted
as a decommissioning witness last year.

“There is no doubt that Fr Alec has committed his whole
life to promoting peace and encouraging people that there
is another way to go forward, other than violence,” he

Sinn Fein assembly member Gerry Kelly described Fr Reid as
an “outstanding human being”.

“The personal sacrifices that Fr Reid made to encourage
people on the road to peace have gone largely unnoticed,”
he said.

The Tipperary-born priest spent more than 40 years at
Clonard Monastery on the Falls Road in west Belfast,
arriving in the early 1960s.

He is acknowledged as having promoted peace efforts from
1969, and by 1986 was involved in talks with then taoiseach
Charles Haughey.

Although the Catholic Church in Ireland had a policy of not
talking to armed groups, Fr Reid and

colleague Fr Gerry Reynolds received the support of their
Redemptorist superiors to facilitate secret talks between
the IRA and the British government.

In 1987 he also arranged the first series of talks between
Gerry Adams and John Hume.

Despite being transferred to Liquori House in Dublin in
2002 Fr Reid returned in 2005 to witness IRA

Last November he was criticised after comparing unionists
to Nazis over their treatment of nationalists, and later


Orange Order Rules Out SF Talks

By Chris Thornton
24 March 2006

The Orange Order has ruled out talks with Sinn Fein as it
prepares for a groundbreaking meeting with the SDLP.

As Sinn Fein warned Mark Durkan's party about the upcoming
meeting with three loyal orders, Orange sources say the
marching organisations are not prepared to discuss their
position with Sinn Fein.

Several senior Orange figures have said they cannot foresee
a time when they would be prepared to meet Sinn Fein,
accusing the party of manufacturing the parades dispute.

One claimed Sinn Fein had started a "cultural competition
for cultural dominance" against Protestants.

The Orange Order, the Independent Orange Institution and
the Royal Black Institution invited the SDLP to a meeting
earlier this month to explain their efforts to develop "a
new legal framework" for parading. The institutions say the
new framework should replace the Parades Commission, but
they are not prepared to discuss proposals publicly.

The SDLP had not replied to the invitation this week, but a
spokeswoman said they are prepared to meet the loyal

"Our position is very clear on parades," she said. "We
believe that there needs to be face-to-face dialogue at a
local level without preconditions. We also believe that
everybody needs to work constructively with the Parades

Sinn Fein's John O'Dowd said: "It is important the Orange
Order realise that talks with the SDLP are not a substitute
for the sort of direct dialogue between the Loyal Orders
and those communities they wish to parade through."


CAB Takes First Step In Bid To Dismantle Slab's Empire

24 March 2006

The Irish Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) has taken the first
step in its bid to dismantle the suspected criminal empire
of the chief of staff of the Provisional IRA, Tom 'Slab'

It has secured a High Court order freezing more than €1m in
cash and cheques which was seized in a huge cross-Border
security operation earlier this month.

The money and cheques were found in black plastic bags in a
cattle shed during searches, spearheaded by the CAB and its
Northern counterpart, the Assets Recovery Agency.

The operation was aimed at striking a deadly blow to the
heart of the multi-million euro empire and thousands of
documents and laptop computers, hidden under bales of hay,
were taken away for detailed examination.

A court order was yesterday served on Tom Murphy and his
brothers, Patrick and Francis, all with addresses at
Ballybinaby, Hackballscross, Co Louth.

The order was also against Ace Oils Ltd, with a registered
office at Ballybinaby. Approval for an interim freezing
order was granted by the High Court president, Mr Justice
Joseph Finnegan and a bank account was then opened up on
behalf of CAB before the documentation was served on the

Under the legislation, the proceeds must be frozen for
seven years before the State can seek a final order
confiscating them.

CAB claims that the assets are part of massive profits
built up over decades by Tom Murphy who they say operates a
network with the aid of his position in the IRA to control
fuel and other smuggling rackets in the Border region. The
total seized during the searches of land owned by the
Murphy family were €256,235 and £111,185 sterling in cash
and cheques and drafts totalling €673,460.

The overall value of the seizure in euro is estimated at

In documents supplied to the court the head of CAB, Det
Chief Supt Felix McKenna said that the cash and cheques
were found in a cattle shed owned by Mr Patrick Murphy,
adjacent to his residence.

Access to the shed was through a gate on a road on the
Northern Ireland side of the Border which opened out onto a
farm complex owned by the Murphys and access from the
southern side was through a field registered in the name of
Patrick Murphy's wife, Rosemary.

Chief Supt McKenna said CAB had been investigating the
Murphys for some considerable time and Tom, Frank and
Patrick Murphy had been involved for the past 20 years in
the oil distribution industry, oil smuggling and money
laundering activities.

He said that Ace Oils Ltd continued to operate from the
Murphy family farm, which along with the Ace Oils yard,
straddled the Border with buildings in both jurisdictions
and the border going through them.

Smuggling was carried out from the farm to either Northern
Ireland or the Republic depending on the price differential
in each jurisdiction at particular times.

Between April 1989 and September 2005 there were 16
seizures and detections of smuggled fuel made by customs
officers, which were linked to individuals who are known to
have been working for the Murphys and for Ace Oils.

A search operation was carried out on March 9 at Tom
Murphy's residence and the business premises of Ace Oils
and the residences of Patrick and Frank Murphy and a cattle
shed owned by Patrick Murphy.

During the search, the black plastic bags with the cash and
cheques were discovered along with documentation connected
to the Murphy family and Ace Oils.

The large quantities of cash and third-party cheques
relating to the business of Ace Oils bore the hallmarks of
money laundering activities.

"In addition to the cash and cheques, the searches of the
Murphy farm complex and Ace Oils premises north and south
of the border uncovered evidence of fuel laundering
activities on a vast scale," said Supt McKenna.

Tom Murphy had inherited the family home and a farm from
his parents several years ago but he had since transferred
his interest in the property into the names of other
members of his family. The property is now Ace Oils HQ.


Waterford News & Star

Council Opposition To ‘Bobby Sands Street’

3/24/2006 - 11:30:56 AM

A MOVE by the lone Sinn Fein member of Dungarvan Town
Council to have a street in the town named after the late
Bobby Sands is unlikely to have the unanimous backing of
the Council membership.

Cllr. Brendan Mansfield, who tabled a motion at this week’s
meeting asking that a new street be named after the former
M.P. and the first of the 1981 Northern Ireland hunger
strikers to die, has been accused of doing a “solo run’’ on
the issue and ignoring stated protocol in such matters.

Cllr. Mansfield told the Council meeting that it would be
entirely appropriate to mark the 25th anniversary of the
hunger strike in which ten men lost their lives “fighting
for their basic human rights’’ by naming a new street in
Dungarvan after the late Bobby Sands.

“In Dungarvan we already have street names honouring many
of our great patriots, among them James Connolly, Cathal
Brugha, Michael Collins, and Erskine Childers’’, said Cllr.
Mansfield. “In a number of foreign cities, among them
Paris, there are streets bearing the name of Bobby Sands so
there should be no problem about doing so in Dungarvan’’.

However Cllr. Michael O’Riordan(Ind) accused the Sinn Fein
member of doing a “solo run’’ when clearly the motion is
one that should first have gone before the Council’s
Protocol Committee to be considered.

The mayor, Cllr. Fiachra O’Ceilleachair(Lab), also insisted
that there are procedures for dealing with matters such as
this, adding that he would be nervous about putting Bobby
Sands in the same bracket as James Connolly.


Colin Worton: Why I Want A Public Apology

Guilty until proven innocent? - Two decades ago, after 30
months in jail, former UDR soldier Colin Worton was
acquitted of murdering Catholic Adrian Carroll. Deborah
McAleese speaks to the man who is still desperate to
publicly prove his innocence

24 March 2006

It was a chilly winter morning in 1983 and Ulsterman Colin
Worton was looking forward to his forthcoming wedding. The
23-year-old had been saving his wages from his job as a UDR
soldier to ensure that he and his future wife Barbara would
have a comfortable start to married life.

Mr Worton had joined the UDR four years previously with an
idealistic view that he could help bring an end to Northern
Ireland's problems.

His brother, Kenneth Worton, was one of 10 Protestant
workmen to be murdered by the IRA in an attack on their
minibus at Kingsmills, near Bessbrook, Co Armagh in 1976.

The tragedy deeply affected his young brother and Mr Worton
claims that this was the event that fired in him a desire
to "help prevent more killings."

As he awoke in his parent's Armagh home on the morning of
December 1, 1983, he was unaware that the next 23 years of
his life would not be taking the path he had planned.

That morning, without warning, a swarm of RUC officers
burst into the small family home accusing Mr Worton of
being involved in the murder of a Catholic man three weeks

He was bundled into a waiting police car and held in
custody, where he was interrogated for five days and nights
about the murder of Adrian Carroll.

Mr Carroll - a brother of INLA member Roddy Carroll who was
killed by an RUC Support Unit in 1982 - was shot in the
head, neck and shoulder in an alley outside his Armagh home
in November 1983 and died from his wounds a short time
later in hospital.

Colin Worton spent the next two-and-a-half years in jail
awaiting trial for the murder, along with four fellow
soldiers - Neil Latimer, James Hegan, Noel Bell and Winston
Allen - who later became known as the UDR Four.

Worton said he was forced to sign a confession to the
murder under intense coercion from interrogating officers.

During his time in prison Mr Worton - who was described in
personality tests as "emotionally unstable" - went on
hunger strike, often contemplated suicide and even compiled
a will with a pen and piece of paper supplied by an
investigating officer.

When transferred to prison he smuggled sleeping tablets,
ground into powder, into his cell as a "get-out clause".

"That was my get-out-of-jail card. I couldn't face spending
my life in prison for something I did not do," he said.

In March 1984 - just over three months after he was
arrested - Mr Worton was granted bail for a weekend to get

Far from being the romantic affair he and his wife had been
hoping for, he spent the weekend deeply depressed, dreading
his return to prison.

That weekend was the last time he would spend with his wife
as a free man for another two years.

However, finally on May 30, 1986, Mr Worton was acquitted
after a judge found his signed statement inadmissible.

Although this was the day he had hoped for over the
previous 30 months, the chain of events, which started on
that cold December morning, would weigh him and his family
down for the next two decades.

Mr Worton became deeply depressed, aware that many people
still believed he was in some way responsible for Mr
Carroll's murder.

Friends, neighbours and acquaintances he had known for
years would cross the street when they saw him coming. To
make matters worse, the following year he was released from
the UDR without explanation and has not been able to find
work since.

Even today Mr Worton's life is dominated by a desperate
need to prove his innocence - despite being cleared of any
crime two decades ago.

He is still struggling to put the past behind him,
concerned that he continues to be branded as guilty in the
eyes of the public. He said he will not be able to get on
with his life until the case is re-opened, the real
murderers exposed and he receives a public apology from the

"I need the case to be looked at again. It will help bring
some sort of closure for me and my family. They always say
there's no smoke without fire, but if they reopen the case
at least the public will finally know the truth," he said.

After Mr Worton was cleared three co-accused were acquitted
on appeal in 1991 - James Hegan, Noel Bell and Winston
Allen. Fourth co-accused Neil Latimer still maintains his
innocence, but has had his conviction upheld by the Court
of Appeal. His legal team have been considering taking his
case to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

Mr Worton and the UDR Four have received massive support
from politicians right across the political divide ever
since questions over the case began to emerge, including
concern over eye-witness accounts and the fact that tests
showed RUC interview notes had been rewritten.

With the acquittal of Worton, Hegan, Bell and Allen a
serious question still hangs over the whole affair - who
was involved in the murder of Adrian Carroll?

Members of Mr Carroll's family still believe the UDR was
responsible for his death. They said soldiers were often
spotted harassing him just weeks before his murder.

But his brother, former Sinn Fein councillor Tommy Carroll,
said he believes the "truly guilty" men, were never brought
before the courts.

However, a senior UDA source, who was active at the time of
the murder, told the Belfast Telegraph the UDR had not been

He said: "I knew they (Worton and his co-accused) were
innocent and all the guys inside knew they were innocent.
We knew the guys who had whacked Carroll and I knew for
sure that these guys did not clip him."

If the case is ever reopened and Worton receives what he
has been seeking for most of his life - to be publicly
declared innocent - it is unlikely that he will find the
peace of mind he seeks.

"I have been living with this hanging over me for more
years than not. It has been in my system for 23 long
years," said Worton.

He added: "Maybe I won't be able to get over this, maybe it
has been going on for too long, I don't know. All I know is
that I have nothing to hide and I want this case reopened
so that everyone is left in no doubt that I had nothing to
do with the murder of Adrian Carroll."


Appeal Made Over Minority Voting

Political parties in Northern Ireland should be more
inclusive of minority groups and their views, the Electoral
Commission has said.

It found only four in 10 people from black and minority
ethnic communities are registered to vote, compared with
over 90% of the population.

The research also showed that nearly a third did not know
how to register.

One in five said they did not vote because they did not
want to appear to be taking sides in NI politics.

Electoral Commissioner Karamjit Singh said: "Participation
in the democratic process can only be enhanced if political
parties make efforts to be more inclusive of minority
ethnic communities.

"As with other institutions in Northern Ireland, political
parties need to be receptive, responsive towards and
representative of the diverse social reality surrounding


The Electoral Commission report also found that 25% of
people from ethnic minorities said they did not know they
had to register to vote.

About a quarter of those who were registered said they had
done so because a canvasser from the Electoral Office had
called at their door.

Of those who did not vote, 25% said that they were not
interested in politics while 22% cited a lack of knowledge
about politics in Northern Ireland.

Seamus Magee, head of the Northern Ireland Electoral
Commission, said they already had anecdotal evidence about
low registration and voting among minority groups.

"With a rapidly growing ethnic minority population in
Northern Ireland there is an increasing need to find more
innovative ways to encourage registration and voting,
including producing information in other languages," he

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/03/24 13:23:34 GMT


Opin: 'Glacial Earthquakes' Warn Of Global Warming

24 March 2006

Dramatic new evidence has emerged of the speed of climate
change in the polar regions which scientists fear is
causing huge volumes of ice to melt far faster than

Scientists have recorded a significant and unexpected
increase in the number of "glacial earthquakes" caused by
the sudden movement of Manhattan-sized blocks of ice in

A second study has found that higher temperatures caused by
global warming could melt the Arctic and Antarctic ice
sheets much sooner than previously thought, with a
corresponding rise in sea levels.

Both studies - along with a series of findings from other
scientists over the past year - point to a disturbing
change in the polar climate which is causing the
disappearance of glaciers, ice sheets and floating sea ice.

The rise in the number of glacial earthquakes over the past
four years lends further weight to the idea that
Greenland's glaciers and its ice sheet are beginning to
move and melt on a scale not seen for perhaps thousands of

The annual number of glacial earthquakes recorded in
Greenland between 1993 and 2002 was between six and 15. In
2003 seismologists recorded 20 glacial earthquakes. In 2004
they monitored 24 and for the first 10 months of 2005 they
recorded 32.

The latest seismic study, published today in the journal
Science, found that in a single area of north-western
Greenland scientists recorded just one quake between 1993
and 1999. But they monitored more than two dozen quakes
between 2000 and 2005.

"People often think of glaciers as inert and slow-moving,
but in fact they can also move rather quickly," said Goran
Ekstrom, professor of geology and geophysics at Harvard
University, who led the study.

"Some of Greenland's glaciers - as large as Manhattan and
as tall as the Empire State Building - can move 10 metres
in less than a minute, a jolt that is sufficient to
generate moderate seismic waves," Professor Ekstrom said.

Average temperatures in the Arctic have risen far faster
than in other parts of the world over the past few decades,
resulting in the rapid acceleration in polar melting.

As the glacial meltwater seeps down it lubricates the bases
of the "outlet" glaciers of the Greenland ice sheet,
causing them to slip down surrounding valleys towards the
sea, explained Meredith Nettles of Columbia University.

"Our results suggest that these major outlet glaciers can
respond to changes in climate conditions much more quickly
than we had thought," Dr Nettles said.

"Greenland's glaciers deliver large quantities of
freshwater to the oceans, so the implications for climate
change are serious. We believe that further warming of the
climate is likely to accelerate the behaviour we've
documented," she said.

The seismologists also found that the glacial earthquakes
of Greenland occurred mainly during the summer months,
indicating that the movements were indeed associated with
rapidly melting ice - normal "tectonic" earthquakes show no
such seasonality. Of the 136 glacial quakes analysed by the
scientists, more than a third occurred during July and


Opin: Why Re-Partitioning May Not Be So Far-Fetched As It

By Eric Waugh
24 March 2006

Eight councils in the west and south have Sinn Fein mayors
or chairmen. There they fly their Irish Tricolours to their
hearts' content, switch on RTE and slip out to church on
Saturday evening to leave Sunday free for their football,
hurley and the rest.

The hostile claim that Peter Hain's solution to the local
government problem smacks of the re-partition of Northern
Ireland deserves two comments. The first is that in most
respects it is re-partitioned already.

Eight councils in the west and south have Sinn Fein mayors
or chairmen. There they fly their Irish Tricolours to their
hearts' content, switch on RTE and slip out to church on
Saturday evening to leave Sunday free for their football,
hurley and the rest.

Another 11 councils to the east have DUP mayors or
chairmen. They fly the Union Flag at every opportunity,
listen mostly to Downtown and Radio Ulster, support
Linfield and Rangers and, if they could, would shut mostly
everything, except their tabernacles, on Sunday.

The remaining seven councils, three of them bounded by the
shores of Lough Neagh, are divided between the SDLP (4) and
the UUP (3).

I do not doubt for a moment that there is a sub-text to the
Secretary of State's proposals. There is no doubt at all
that the rude surgery on the existing councils amounts to a
discreet kick up the transom for unionists.

In the past, Assembly and Executive funked every challenge,
from the problem of over-government to water charges and
the siting of new hospitals.

Now Hain's hidden message is: "If you don't like what I'm
doing, you know what you have to do to get your hands back
on the tiller."

But his tetchy remark in America about the Northern Ireland
economy not being viable was foolish because, of course,
strictly there is no such thing.

Administratively, this territory is a small region of the
British economy, in its currency, fiscally and in its
trading relations.

He might just as well suggest, as Secretary of State for
Wales, that the economy of Wales is not viable either.

Wales, like Scotland and Northern Ireland, is a substantial
net recipient from the UK Treasury. But he does not. He
should ask himself why.

By contrast, the economy of the Republic is a separate
national entity, with its separate euro currency, fiscal
and trading regime. Uniting the economies of north and
south, as he proposes, could not be done without new
political arrangements of a radical nature.

Mr Hain is on firmer ground when he reminds us of the
uncomfortable fact that public expenditure per head here is
29% above the UK average. But still we want more!

The essential minimum first step must be to economise. The
axe on our 26 councils is a first step. The next must be a
clampdown on the scandal of waste, criminal abuse of the
public purse and laxity in supervision.

I think of the Social Security Agency staffer who helped
himself to £300,000 by making income support claims for 40
bogus applicants. Would he still be cashing in, had not his
house gone on fire and a fireman discovered the pile of
claim books?

My second comment on the Hain proposals is that perhaps the
time has come to consider formalising re-partition. This
would be a logical response to the truth that, although
there may be a settlement, there is no solution to the
Northern Ireland problem.

One avenue to a settlement could be formal re-partition or
the creation of self-governing cantons, Swiss style, each
run by the equivalent of one of the new councils. Local
plebiscites would be a first step.

One study, by Liam Kennedy, the Queen's University economic
and social historian, concluded that 90% of the unionist
population could be contained within the British part of
the State, but would have to render it attractive to a
minority of 20% of Catholics, most of them in Greater
Belfast, some of whom would prefer to stay within the Union

Some 75,000 unionists would be left in the Irish part of
the state, mostly in south and west Ulster. But generous
resettlement grants could be offered to those of either
side preferring to relocate.

A high degree of Anglo-Irish co-operation would be
essential in the arrangements, which eventually would
involve full integration of the British territory within
the UK and the Irish within the Republic, with the Irish
security forces extending their remit into the "Irish" part
of the north.

British standards of social services would run in both
zones for ten years, part-financed by EU and US aid.

More recently Professors Kevin Boyle and Tom Hadden have
explored the re-partition option in depth, concluding that
in principle it could be workable as a last resort, but
reaching agreement on the detail would be difficult.

Pie in the sky? Currently no political party would look at
it. They must pretend they expect victory. But in the
meantime, power-sharing government, as per the Agreement,
may prove elusive for Peter Hain and - even if attained -

The notion that one party supporting the State can co-
operate, in the most intimate and confidential detail, on
its governance with another which, as its primary political
objective, devoutly wishes to destroy that state, has never
been put to the test anywhere else before.

And pigs may fly? But the proverb adds that they are very
unlikely birds.


Opin:Sinn Fein Inch Slowly Towards Their Crucial Decision
On Policing

The republican community is facing what could be its
biggest test yet - on what terms to participate in
policing. Security commentator Brian Rowan analyses the
ongoing debate that some say is even more fundamental than

24 March 2006

They are inching ever closer to one of its biggest
decisions of the peace process, but they are not yet there.

The republican leadership has now formalised its internal
debate on policing.

There is a power point presentation on the facts of
policing life as Sinn Fein sees them - what has changed,
what has still to change, what of Patten has been achieved,
what has still to be delivered.

Part of the purpose of the discussion is to try to deal
with some of the myths, to take the debate beyond emotional
arguments and into an area where fact-based and logical
positions can be worked out.

At this stage of the discussion, the republican leadership
is not making proposals.

That will come later, when the vexed issue of the transfer
of policing and justice powers is settled and as Sinn Fein
moves towards a special conference to make up its mind on
the PSNI, the Policing Board and other related matters.

What is going on inside the party - on both sides of the
border - is part of the preparation for that day.

Its special conference - whenever that happens - cannot be
its first structured discussion on this most difficult of
all issues - the business of republican participation in

"The purpose of the internal discussion is to inform the
membership of all of the facts that we currently have,"
says Sinn Fein's policing spokesman Gerry Kelly, "so if a
special Ard Fheis was to be called on policing, the
membership come armed with all the facts in order to make
an informed decision."

Another source put the debate in this context:

"This is bigger than the ceasefire - it's bigger than the
guns (decommissioning). That is why the leadership is being
so cautious. It's a very fine line that people are walking.
It's part of the endgame situation - the last piece of the
jigsaw to be put in place."

The debate is being managed by a policing sub-committee of
the Sinn Fein executive - its Ard Comhairle.

Gerry Kelly will have a lead role in the internal
discussion - but other key republican voices are part of
the debate, including the former hunger striker Raymond
McCartney and the MP Conor Murphy, whose constituency
stretches across south Armagh.

And, when it comes to the moment of decision, the
republican leadership will need all of the persuasive
qualities that Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness can bring
to this discussion.

For now, the talking is inside the party, but before any
special Sinn Fein conference, the pulse of the republican
community will also be taken. This, in Gerry Kelly's words,
is a "critical mass" issue - one that has to be got right.

Young republicans will not be forced into the ranks of the
PSNI. They will have to go willingly, and they will only
begin to contemplate such a move when Adams, McGuinness and
Kelly say its okay and when they create a political
atmosphere that makes it possible.

That is the challenge for this debate - to move republicans
beyond talking about policing and closer to a position of
actual participation.

But the longer they wait, the more recruiting opportunities
are missed, and the more impatient the Chief Constable Sir
Hugh Orde becomes.

He believes the delay in Sinn Fein's decision is denying
policing opportunities to young republicans and young

In terms of the numbers he is allowed, Orde's policing
house is close to full.

"The longer they (Sinn Fein) wait, playing this game, the
longer they are denying (that opportunity to) people they
would want to see engage in policing," the Chief Constable
told the Belfast Telegraph, and he described this situation
of missed opportunities as a "tragedy".

"Everyone has the right to be policed. We are the police
service. There is no other police service. It's us," he

"The more representative we are of the community, the more
effective I can be. So Sinn Fein needs to wise up and join
(the Policing Board)."

Sinn Fein is quick to bat all of that back.

"The tragedy for those of us who want to see a democratic,
accountable, policing service achieved is that the British
Government have failed to deliver Patten," a spokesman

"And the reality for Hugh Orde is that he continues to
preside over a force engaged in political policing."

Republicans are going to take some more time - time to get
politics working again, and time to agree the transfer of
policing and justice powers and the type of department or
departments that will take charge of that."

That is the republican context for stepping inside the
policing tent. Gerry Kelly is adamant that he is for
policing and for the Policing Board, but the conditions
have to be right.

As always, the devil is in the detail - and all of that
will be the business for another negotiation.

Sinn Fein's policing spokesman will not say at this time
what his preferred option is in terms of the future shape
of a policing and justice department or departments.

What he will do is describe a number of possibilities.

There could be one policing and justice department, there
could be two separate departments, or one department with
two ministers, those ministers could be of equal status,
there could be a senior minister and a junior minister or
even "rotating" ministers.

What he is not going to do is declare his hand before the
real negotiating begins.

Then, for republicans, there is the huge issue of the
future roles of Special Branch and MI5, and where they sit
or should not sit in the new policing arena that is being
built after the ending of the IRA's armed campaign.

It will take time to talk all of these issues through, but
it is significant that republicans have begun to formalise
their internal debate.

Usually when they talk to themselves in this structured
type of way, it is with an endpoint in mind.

It is about readying people, getting them prepared for the
big decisions and the next big moment for republicans in
the peace process.

The ceasefires, the ending of the armed campaign and the
decommissioning grew out of similar internal discussions.

When will a decision come? That it is getting closer is
probably as much as can be said for now.

The route to republican participation in policing is being
prepared and there is only one destination.

It may not happen as quickly as Hugh Orde wants it to, but
all of the talking and all of the internal debate appears
to be taking republicans in one direction.


Opin: Ambitious Series Brings History Of Ireland To Life

By Joanna Braniff

Did you know that Ireland was once covered completely with
dense forests, so much so that a red squirrel could travel
from the northern to the southern tip of the island without
ever having to touch the ground?

Or did you know that for the first 1,000 years AD, Ireland
had no fewer than 150 kings at any one time?

If you have five minutes to spare every day and access to a
radio you could dramatically improve your historical
knowledge and be able to contextualise our modern Irish
life on a very long-time line.

There’s little doubt that our island is steeped in history.
From St Patrick to King William and King James to the
Troubles, many of us know at least a little something of
our past.

But a new series on BBC Radio Ulster is about to challenge
our knowledge of the history of this island and question
how much you really know about the place you live in.

Part of BBC Northern Ireland’s ‘100 per cent Home Grown
History’ campaign, A Short History of Ireland is a new
series on BBC Radio Ulster from Mondays to Fridays.

Starting on Monday at 6.55pm, this 240-part series of five-
minute programmes will set about the enormous task of
telling the history of Ireland, from the Ice Age to the end
of the Second World War.

Written by acclaimed historian Dr Jonathan Bardon of
Queen’s University, Belfast, this mammoth series is brought
to life through the acting talents of Frances Tomelty,
James Greene and Richard Dormer.

The series is set to be essential listening, offering
audiences a compelling, dramatic and absorbing record of
our past and illustrating a clear delineation of the
journey from pre-history to our

modern selves.

Dr Bardon’s scripts will take BBC Radio Ulster listeners on
a captivating journey from the arrival of the first plants,
animals and people to the end of the Second World War,
taking in such landmarks as the first Viking attacks, the
Norman invasion, Medieval and Tudor Ireland, King James,
King Billy, the end of the Famine, partition – all the
while interweaving eyewitness accounts, letters and diary
extracts from the times with the historical facts.

Actors Frances Tomelty, James Greene and Richard Dormer
narrate and act their way through thousands of years of
history to bring it compellingly back to life for BBC Radio
Ulster listeners.

As part of this series BBC Radio Ulster presenters,
including Gerry Anderson, Wendy Austin, Hugo Duncan and
John Toal, offered to have their DNA tested in order to
pinpoint which part of Europe their ancestors came from.

The results proved to be very illuminating in illustrating
how tribes tens of thousands of years ago migrated across
Europe and ended up leaving a genetic fingerprint in modern

Saturday Magazine presenter John Toal said of his DNA
testing experience: “It’s hard to know how I felt – if
someone said this was your granny or your great granny and
she lived during the such-and-such war then I would feel
some connection but this woman, my ancestor Helena, lived
in the Basque region of France 20,000 years ago during the
Ice Age so it’s hard to see her as my own flesh and blood.

“Saying that, Ravel’s mother was Basque and he drew on that
for his musical inspiration and I always liked his music so
maybe there’s something in that.”

BBC Radio Ulster’s head of radio, Susan Lovell, says: “We
are proud to bring this ambitious groundbreaking series to
BBC Radio Ulster audiences. It is bold, imaginative and
will fill in the gaps we all have in our understanding of
how this island and we island people have developed over
hundreds of years.

“For me it is a chance to engage with the history and
tradition of this place in a new way. The launch marks the
beginning of a year-long journey that requires no pre-
knowledge, just an inquisitive mind.

“Come along with us as we explore the Short History of
Ireland. It might just surprise you.”

Fans of the new series and those who are interested in
learning more about the history of Ireland can log on to

° A Short History of Ireland can be heard on BBC Radio
Ulster, Monday to Fridays at 6.55pm from Monday and is
repeated in compilation form on Sundays at 2.30pm.


Beckett At 100


His characters are buried in sand or up to their necks in
urns, they are disembodied voices or they crawl through mud
in a kind of limbo. He has written, as the critic A Alvarez
once put it, "plays without actors, acts without words, and
novels without plot or punctuation".

Samuel Beckett once thanked heaven that he was not a critic
who had to write a book about Beckett. Whatever he detected
in his own work to suggest it as uninviting to such
scrutiny, he has since become one of the most closely
examined writers of the 20th century. He is, after his idol
Joyce, probably the most famous, and influential, of Irish
authors and, despite his reclusive nature, the subject of
mounds of biographical detail and commentary. As today's
Irish Times supplement illustrates, his reputation and the
appeal of his writing have increased, rather than
diminished, since his death in 1989.

The kind of centenary celebration planned for his native
city - a festival of plays, seminars, talks, films and
exhibitions - seemed hardly likely when the future Nobel
Prize winner left Dublin for Paris, when he struggled to
find publishers for his early prose and audiences for his
plays, and his novice writing sunk without trace.

In his plays and texts he cuts close to the bone of the
human condition, expressing fundamental truths about what
he himself once called "the awful mess of life". While his
perspective on our existence has been classified as gloomy
and despairing - he was, after all, the author whose
eponymous protagonist Murphy uttered the cry: "For every
symptom that is eased, another is made worse" - there is
comedy in abundance, as well as tenderness and human
warmth. There are, too, lessons in the importance of
stoical courage and the necessity to struggle on in the
face of adversity: his roles, first as a member of the
resistance in occupied France and later among the war-
wounded in the Irish hospital at Saint-Lô, were testimonies
to personal courage and compassion.

With equal courage, he spent his literary life working on
his own rigorous terms, paring down language to its most
elusive, essential and sombre details. With his masterpiece
Waiting for Godot, Beckett not only subverted the
conventions of the stage, he also created a theatrical
classic worthy of a place alongside Shakespeare.

The great Beckettian actress Billie Whitelaw once said:
"There is nothing to understand in Beckett beyond what you
see or feel. If you come out of the theatre not having felt
anything then you can't understand." Over the coming weeks,
audiences will have ample opportunity to see and feel this
writer's extraordinary expressions of the human spirit -
his "stain upon the silence".

© The Irish Times


38 Pubs Prosecuted For Smoking Ban Breaches In 2005

24/03/2006 - 07:22:22

The number of pubs being prosecuted for breaches of the
workplace smoking ban have reportedly risen significantly
over the past 15 months.

Reports this morning said figures due to be published today
by the Office of Tobacco Control showed 38 pubs were
prosecuted last year and another 10 so far this year.

This compares to just 13 prosecutions in 2004.

The Office of Tobacco Control says the rising rate reflects
a tougher line on policing the ban now that the public has
had sufficient time to get used to it.


Wedding Dress Store's Shock Closure Leave Brides In A Lather

23/03/2006 - 14:00:54

Almost 200 panic stricken brides-to-be were today given a
guarantee they would have a dress for their big day after
an exclusive bridal store in Cork city closed down without

The Wedding Dress Shop shut its doors without notice on
Wednesday sparking fears among scores of women, who forked
out thousands of euro on designer outfits, that they had
been left high and dry.

Five brides-to-be managed to get their wedding dresses from
the store before it closed, but 183 other young women were
left with nothing to wear.

Gardaí were called to the renowned store yesterday after a
crowd of panic stricken women gathered outside demanding an
explanation from staff and begging for their outfits be
handed over.

But the shop moved quickly to dispel fears that the 183
women would be left high and dry on the most important day
of their lives.

In a statement the renowned firm said: “Due to financial
difficulties the Wedding Dress Limited of Penrose Wharf,
Cork has ceased to trade as and from the 21st March, 2006.

“However, arrangements are being made to ensure that all
persons who have placed deposits on wedding dresses will
receive their dresses.”

The company also said the process of appointing a
liquidator had begun.

Dresses from the exclusive store start at around €2,000
with designer bridal outfits costing as much as €7,000.

It is understood customers who paid on credit cards will be
able to get their money back, but those who paid with
cheques or cash will not be so lucky.

Kathleen Lynch, Labour Party TD, said customers were in a
state of panic and she urged the store’s owners to meet
with them to discuss their options.

“Many of them have already forked-out huge sums to pay for
their dress, yet they are totally in the dark as to whether
the dress will be finished, if they should start looking
for a new dress-maker, or if they should seek their money
back,” she said.

“We all know that despite a wedding day often being the
happiest in a woman’s life, the build-up and preparation to
the ceremony is extremely traumatic. I can only imagine the
stress these brides are currently experiencing,” Ms Lynch

“There must be an immediate meeting between representatives
from the shop and its customers to explain the precise
reason for the liquidation, whether the dresses will be
delivered, and if refunds will be paid-out.”


'Glacial Earthquakes' Warn Of Global Warming

24 March 2006

Dramatic new evidence has emerged of the speed of climate
change in the polar regions which scientists fear is
causing huge volumes of ice to melt far faster than

Scientists have recorded a significant and unexpected
increase in the number of "glacial earthquakes" caused by
the sudden movement of Manhattan-sized blocks of ice in

A second study has found that higher temperatures caused by
global warming could melt the Arctic and Antarctic ice
sheets much sooner than previously thought, with a
corresponding rise in sea levels.

Both studies - along with a series of findings from other
scientists over the past year - point to a disturbing
change in the polar climate which is causing the
disappearance of glaciers, ice sheets and floating sea ice.

The rise in the number of glacial earthquakes over the past
four years lends further weight to the idea that
Greenland's glaciers and its ice sheet are beginning to
move and melt on a scale not seen for perhaps thousands of

The annual number of glacial earthquakes recorded in
Greenland between 1993 and 2002 was between six and 15. In
2003 seismologists recorded 20 glacial earthquakes. In 2004
they monitored 24 and for the first 10 months of 2005 they
recorded 32.

The latest seismic study, published today in the journal
Science, found that in a single area of north-western
Greenland scientists recorded just one quake between 1993
and 1999. But they monitored more than two dozen quakes
between 2000 and 2005.

"People often think of glaciers as inert and slow-moving,
but in fact they can also move rather quickly," said Goran
Ekstrom, professor of geology and geophysics at Harvard
University, who led the study.

"Some of Greenland's glaciers - as large as Manhattan and
as tall as the Empire State Building - can move 10 metres
in less than a minute, a jolt that is sufficient to
generate moderate seismic waves," Professor Ekstrom said.

Average temperatures in the Arctic have risen far faster
than in other parts of the world over the past few decades,
resulting in the rapid acceleration in polar melting.

As the glacial meltwater seeps down it lubricates the bases
of the "outlet" glaciers of the Greenland ice sheet,
causing them to slip down surrounding valleys towards the
sea, explained Meredith Nettles of Columbia University.

"Our results suggest that these major outlet glaciers can
respond to changes in climate conditions much more quickly
than we had thought," Dr Nettles said.

"Greenland's glaciers deliver large quantities of
freshwater to the oceans, so the implications for climate
change are serious. We believe that further warming of the
climate is likely to accelerate the behaviour we've
documented," she said.

The seismologists also found that the glacial earthquakes
of Greenland occurred mainly during the summer months,
indicating that the movements were indeed associated with
rapidly melting ice - normal "tectonic" earthquakes show no
such seasonality. Of the 136 glacial quakes analysed by the
scientists, more than a third occurred during July and


Pearse Letter Auction On eBay

By David Wilson

A LETTER purportedly written by one of modern Ireland’s
founding fathers has been offered for sale on an online
auction site.

A Dublin-based seller was offering the letter, which it is
claimed was written by Padraig Pearse hours before his
execution in May 1916.

The seller, who did not wish to be named, told The Irish
News the letter, penned in Kilmainham jail on the morning
of May 3 1916, was among a number of Easter Rising and
Civil War items passed to him by his grandfather.

“My grandfather was a personal friend of Pearse’s sister
Bridget. She personally gave him this letter and he then
passed it my way. This is 100 per cent genuine.”

The sale was halted after he said the final price did not
meet his valuation.

The letter reached a final price on eBay of £2,803.58

But a spokesman for the Pearse Museum in Rathfarmham in
Dublin said he would be interested to see proof to ensure
it is not a fake.

“It is known a number of forgeries of this famous letter
were made, many by British army officers keen to discredit
Pearse,” he said.

“As far as we are concerned it is more than likely a fake.
An original copy is kept here and another housed at
Kilmainham prison.”


Lighthouse Keeper’s Idyllic Life On Rathlin Island

By Maeve Connolly

It was a life spent close to nature, surrounded by rolling
waves and the cry of sea birds, but now it has become a
thing of the past.

Maeve Connolly meets one of the last men to have kept a
lonely watch on Ireland’s coastline

ROBIN Polly is the sixth generation of his family to have
served as a lighthouse keeper and spent almost half of his
working life on Rathlin Island.

The 74-year-old began and ended his career there, and in
between times was stationed all around Ireland’s coastline
– including one formidable lighthouse on the Blasket
Islands where keepers had to be winched up from the boat.

Now retired, he lives in Ballymena, Co Antrim but misses
Rathlin and its people “who would have done anything for

His stories of island life are warm and amusing – like the
woman whose sister was getting married and asked him to
roast and boil a few chickens on the keepers’ Rayburn
cooker for the wedding celebrations to which the entire
island was invited.

Ireland’s 80 lighthouses are located at sea and on land but
no two are the same. Each has a unique fog warning and
light character – for example it might emit four white
flashes every 20 seconds, or two red flashes every five

Ships have a book listing the characteristics so the
captain always knows where his vessel is in relation to the

Rathlin has three lighthouses. Mr Polly worked in both
Rathlin West and Rathlin East while his father, Bob, had
been posted at the Rue in the 1920s.

He was sent to Rathlin West in June 1958 and spent eight-
and-a-half years there.

At that time keepers were entitled to a fortnight’s leave
after working for six weeks but they had to spend it at the
East lighthouse where some of the men’s families lived.

Allowed to go ashore for only three weeks every year
conditions were rife for homesickness and loneliness,
perhaps eased by the occasional letter from home.

But by the early 1960s this decision had been reversed and
the men could go home during their fortnight’s leave, which
suited those whose families had not joined them on the

At any one time there were four keepers in the West and
three in the East.

The building of Rathlin West in the 1910s saw men being
dangled off the side of the cliff, pickaxe in hand,
chipping away at the rock.

“The cliffs are 500 feet high and you couldn’t site the
lighthouse at the top because it would have been obscured
by fog a lot of the time so the light was at the bottom of
the tower,” Mr Polly explains.

“The rock was brittle and couldn’t be blasted so they tied
ropes around a few islanders and a couple of men over from
Ballycastle, lowered them down the cliff and they worked
with pickaxes.

“At that time islanders would have survived on fresh
seabird eggs so they were used to hanging by ropes on the
side of cliffs.”

If young men or women could enter the profession today they
would be able to defrost their dinner in the microwave and
watch a DVD to while away the dark evenings – worlds away
from Mr Polly’s experiences of tilly lamps and a good book.

“In my father’s time lighthouses had no fridges so they
would have taken over bacon, salted meat and a leg of
lamb,” he explains.

“They would have cooked the lamb as soon as they could and
then put it outside in a cooler and cut a bit off each day.
They would have got about a week out of it before it went

“They caught fish and salted it and had what were known as
iron rations – tinned milk, tinned meat and golden syrup.
They never gave them coffee or tea, just cocoa. They had
water biscuits too, sardines, pilchards, beans and peas.”

Popular with tourists today, the Rathlin he knew was a
different place, but still “a home away from home”.

“When I went there in 1958 there were no tourists, the post
boat came out from Ballycastle on Monday, Wednesday and
Friday and could carry 12 passengers if people wanted to go
ashore or come to the island but it was the early 1970s
before they really started to do tours.

“If you wanted to get word ashore you walked five miles to
the post office and there was a phone there.”

Years later a radio telephone was installed but the message
had to be relayed via at least two other stations before it
reached the intended recipient.

By the time he left Rathlin in the late 1960s working
patterns had changed so he spent one month on the island
and one month at home.

“But you didn’t have holidays, they reckoned if you were
six months ashore that was holiday enough.”

After leaving Rathlin he spent 11 years at Maiden’s
lighthouse, close to Larne in Co Antrim, where he met and
married his wife, Mary, and they had one child, Michael.

Mr Polly returned to Rathlin West for a six-month sojourn,
followed by stints in Inishtearaght, off Kerry, Ferris
Point which is near Killough in Co Down and Rockabill, off
the Dublin coast.

In 1982 he got his wish and spent the final six years of
his service in Rathlin East, during which his family lived
in Ballymena.

By this time Rathlin West was already automated while the
East lighthouse followed suit in the late 1980s.

While keepers worked two four-hour shifts every day making
sure the light and, if necessary, fog signal, were
functioning, they also had to clean and polish, with an eye
to the annual inspection.

“Anything brass you put your hands on within 24 hours you
would see it start to go green because of the salt on your
hands. When the main light – which was paraffin – was lit
the light went through the lens, which was a magnifying
glass, and magnified it up to one and half million
candlepower which would you could see up to 21 miles away.

“In the lantern there were a terrible lot of air vents and
a lot of brass and copper pipes. Then there was the brass
in the oil stores.

“We would have had up to 20 oil barrels which would have
held up to 300 gallons. Each had a brass tray and under the
tray there was copper. They all had to be polished at least
once a week. You had to wash and scrub the [fog] engine
room, especially the floor. They always said if you ran to
get the engine started and there was oil on the floor you
could slip.”

Directors of the all-Ireland lighthouse body visited each
of the 80 or so stations once a year. They wouldn’t have
been long telling you if this wasn’t right or that wasn’t
right,” he remembers.

“A lot of the commissioners were ex Royal Navy so they ran
it army style. They supplied everything, your pots, pans,
bed clothes and some were very nosy. They would open your
cupboard and look in your pots to see if they were clean.
The day the commissioners came we would have gone to the
pub to celebrate after they had left and the islanders came
out too. There was a lot of camaraderie.”

With long periods away from home spent with the same people
and few distractions, the job would not appeal to everyone.

Newspapers were a luxury and lighthouses built up their own
library as keepers came and went while books were forwarded
with the help of the visiting inspectors.

Mr Polly pined for Rathlin summers and the arrival of its
bird colonies every February heralded the stirrings of

“Hundreds of thousands of them would have been on the
cliffs at Rathlin West and that was outside your bedroom
window and you couldn’t sleep for the first week, the
squawking of them.”

Long walks, fishing, and a drink in the pub turned into
ceilis and music sessions in the summer months.

Mr Polly knows which qualities make a good lighthouse
keeper – “level headedness and the ability to get on with

“It’s a nice job if you can stick the peace and quiet. Six
generations of Pollys were lighthouse keepers. The first
Polly to become a lighthouse keeper was a stonemason from
Lisburn. He built the lighthouse at Loophead, off Co Clare,
and when he finished it had fallen in love with it and
joined up as a keeper.

“My eldest brother, Michael, was a lighthouse keeper too
but died in his late twenties in Sligo.”

Mr Polly and his 11 siblings lived in a number of places
during their father’s career.

“He was a keeper in Kilkeel and my mother was from Kilkeel.
Three of the family were born there, and then when I was
six months old he was transferred to Cork. We were seven
years there at a land station and three or four more were
added to the family. After 15 months we went to Ballycotton
in Cork for four years.

“We were in Clifden, Co Galway, for three years, then
Blackhead in Co Antrim for between two and three years and
then New Island off Donaghadee, Co Down, for four years. My
father was next stationed at the Maiden’s and I joined (the
service) there.”

With so many of Ireland’s lighthouses now controlled from a
central office the men – and a few women – who dedicated
themselves to keeping sailors safe have been replaced by
part-time employees who check the stations intermittently.

Asked about his feelings, Mr Polly says he is sorry others
will never get the chance to experience the idyllic life he
enjoyed with its sea-sprayed camaraderie and fresh air.


Hotel Prices In Capital Fall By More Than 10%

By Staff Reporter

Hotel prices in Dublin dropped by more than 10 per cent in
the last few months of last year.

Insisting that the sector was determined to get rid of the
Rip-Off Ireland tag, tourism chiefs said serious efforts
were being made to give visitors value for money.

The survey by found the average price of a stay
in a two star hotel was e89, down more than one fifth on
the same period in 2004, while a night in a three star
hotel was e93 a night, down 14 per cent on 2004.

It revealed a near collapse in the lower end of the market
with only e4 difference between two and three star hotels.
But the survey also showed that top-of-the-range hotels
were being forced to cut prices heavily.

Prices for a four-star stay dropped by a fifth to e130
while the cost of a five-star night fell by a quarter to

John Power, Irish Hotels Federation chief executive, said
the cut in prices should not come as a surprise.

“That is the general sentiment that has been around in the
last couple of years. It is much more competitive,” he

“There is serious determination on giving value for money
and getting the volume through.”

A spokeswoman for Tour-ism Ireland said: “What we have been
saying all along is that contrary to a lot of Rip-Off
Ireland stories Ireland is relatively inexpensive.

“There is good value to be had getting here and the hotels
here are offering good packages.”

Tourism Ireland will next week launch a new cross-

border internet database of accommodation and activities to
keep visitors coming.

The survey also examined what tourists could get
for e144. In Berlin visitors can get a room in a five-star
hotel, in New York a one star room while in Dublin e144
will cover the cost of a stay in the dearer four star

Overall European prices fell 8.7 per cent in the last three
months of last year compared with the same period in 2004,
while American prices rose 2.3 per cent.

Berlin, Brussels, Lisbon, Stockholm and Budapest make up
the top five city break destination when it comes to
offering the best value for money.

The survey also found

that new city break destinations had trumped more
traditional European hot spots, such as Paris, Venice and
Rome, when it comes to luxury on a budget.

European managing director of, David Roche,
said: “European prices took a tumble in 2005, so we will
watch with interest whether they recover in 2006, and
whether spring city-breakers push prices up as they have in
previous years.”

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