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April 24, 2006

Ahern: IRA Doing Every It Can On Criminality

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News About Ireland & The Irish

IT 04/24/06
IRA Doing Everything It Can On Criminality - Ahern
BN 04/23/06 Ahern Hails ‘Signficant’ DUP Talks Move
SF 04/23/06 DUP: Are They Prepared To Share Power?
BT 04/24/06 DUP: Deal Or No Deal?
BB 04/24/06 Sinn Fein To Hold Talks With Hain
BB 04/24/06 Loyalist To Face Further Charges
BT 04/24/06 Shourkris Are Police Agents: Adair
BT 04/24/06 Sinn Fein Fury Over Orange Order Funding
BT 04/24/06 Locals Living In Fear After Attack On Man
BT 04/24/06 Libya Gets Warning Over IRA Court Case
BT 04/24/06 Dissidents' Bomb Plot Over Visit By Queen
NH 04/23/06 Ex-Slab Murphy Worker To Pay €500,000
BT 04/24/06 Opin: DUP Grabs The Nettle Of Pragmatism
BT 04/22/06 Opin: Playing The National Card
BT 04/24/06 All-Ireland Dangerous Dogs Ban Is Demanded
BT 04/24/06 US Barred Ulsterman From Visiting His Gravely-Ill Brother
BT 04/24/06 Irish Art Takes Centre Stage At Sotheby's Sale
IT 04/24/06 'Rip-Off' Idea Taints Ireland, Report Says
IT 04/24/06 Grandmother No Spy, Says Daughter Of Late President


IRA Doing Everything It Can On Criminality - Ahern

Liam Reid, Political Reporter

Taoiseach Bertie Ahern has said he believes that the
leaders of the Provisional movement have been doing
"everything they can" to ensure that the IRA has not been
involved in criminality or paramilitary activity since

Speaking in Dublin following Fianna Fáil's annual 1916
commemoration at Arbour Hill Cemetery yesterday, Mr Ahern
described this week's report by the Independent Monitoring
Com- mission (IMC) on terrorist activity as one of the most
important yet, and one he hoped would show the IRA no
longer posed any criminal or terrorist threat.

"I hope that it's all borne out in that, but all of the
indications have been, really, since July, that the
leadership of the Provisional movement have been doing
everything they can, not alone to stop all of the
activities covered in the joint declaration, but also the
issues of criminality.

"If that is borne out this week, then I think the political
will has to be there in order to get the institutions and
the Executive up and running by the November 24th."

He hoped that with the return of the Northern Assembly next
month the Northern parties would "meet the challenge that
has been set in a responsible way".

Mr Ahern reiterated the position of the British and Irish
governments that they would move together on the
implementation of the Belfast Agreement if no Executive is
formed by this date.

"We really have to tie this down this year in 2006, there
is no circumstances in which we can see ourselves going
outside of that date," he said.

During his speech at Arbour Hill, where most of the
executed 1916 leaders are buried, Mr Ahern said such a move
by the governments was not the "preferred choice".

However, it was the "only option" to the Assembly where the
governments could "fully discharge our responsibility to
the electorates on this island", he added.

He said there was a particular responsibility on the two
larger parties in the Northern Assembly, the DUP and Sinn
Féin, to get the Executive up and running.

"I hope that we will, at an early stage, see the opening of
productive dialogue between them and with the other
parties," he said. "Because it is high time to talk and to

"The opportunity may not arise again for some time if it is
not seized this year."

Mr Ahern also used his speech to announce plans to repeal
hundreds of out-of-date legislation introduced in the 19th

This follows the publication in recent months of 2,000 old
laws that pre-dated 1800, which are to be repealed.

"Some of the laws now being repealed reflect the
unacceptable way Ireland was governed before we achieved
independence, such as the Act which declared Lord Edward
Fitzgerald and other patriots of 1798 to be traitors," Mr
Ahern said.

"There is no place in our modern Republic for such relics
of imperial rule," he said.

© The Irish Times


Ahern Hails ‘Signficant’ DUP Talks Move

23/04/2006 - 21:00:21

The first-ever attendance of Democratic Unionist Party
members at an Anglo-Irish institution set up under the Good
Friday Agreement is very significant, Taoiseach Bertie
Ahern said today.

The high-powered DUP delegation at the British-Irish Inter-
Parliamentary Body (BIIPB) convening tomorrow in Co Kerry
will be led by deputy leader Peter Robinson and includes
fellow MPs Iris Robinson, Nigel Dodds and Jeffrey

The presentation by the DUP is scheduled to last up to one
hour at the Brehon Hotel in Killarney.

Speaking at Fianna Fail’s annual commemoration at Arbour
Hill, Dublin of the Easter 1916 Rising, Mr Ahern said: “For
many years we wanted to see unionist involvement.”

“The fact that we’re about to see that should be seen as
very significant.”

“I welcome the decision of the DUP to engage with their
peers and lay out their stall,” said Irish BIIPB co-
chairman, Pat Carey TD. “I have no doubt that a lively
debate will develop, and I look forward to a robust and
constructive exchange of views”.

The twice-yearly BIIPB, which is chaired by former Northern
Ireland Secretary of State Paul Murphy, is meeting over two

Foreign Affairs Minister Dermot Ahern will also address the
BIIPB’s 68 members tomorrow afternoon on behalf of the

The BIIPB was established in 1990 as a link between the
Irish and British governments.

It originally comprised 25 Irish and 25 British members
drawn from the upper and lower houses of both parliaments.

In recent years the membership of the body has been
extended, to include representatives from the Welsh
Assembly, the Scottish Parliament, the Northern Ireland
Assembly – when convened – and the Isle of Man and Channel

Mr Murphy said of the DUP’s attendance: “It is very
important. It has shown how barriers have broken down in
recent years. I’m delighted that members can listen to
their presentation and ask them questions afterwards.”

The Welsh politician said he expects goodwill to be shown
towards the unionist party at the BIIPB.

“It will be a very significant day in British-Irish
relations and in the way in which the body operates,” he

Mr Murphy refused to speculate on whether the DUP would
agree to join the BIIPB in the near future.

“When they come and talk to us they will make their minds
up,” he said. “It’s a first step.”

The BIIPB meets for the first time in Belfast at the end of
the year, which Mr Murphy said would be another landmark

The opportunity for power-sharing in the North must be
seized this year because it may not arise again for some
time, Taoiseach Bertie Ahern warned today.

Next month’s gathering of the Northern Assembly members –
for the first time since it was suspended in November 2002
– also coincides with the eighth anniversary of the
ratification of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement by voters
north and south of the Border.

Mr Ahern said the Democratic Unionist Party and Sinn Féin
are now the largest parties representing their respective
communities and had a heavy responsibility to deliver on
their mandates.

He added: “I hope that we will, at an early stage, see the
opening of productive dialogue between them and with the
other parties. Because it is high time to talk and to

“The opportunity may not arise again for some time if it is
not seized this year. I hope that all the parties in the
Assembly will meet the challenge that has been set in a
responsible way.”

The tenth Independent Monitoring Commission report is also
expected to be published next week.

Mr Ahern said that the British and Irish governments had
tried to address issues of confidence and trust that led to
the suspension of the Assembly over an alleged IRA spying
ring at Stormont.

“I believe we are now in an entirely different political
space than that which prevailed in 2002,” he said.

“Step by step, the process has moved forward leading to
last year’s momentous announcements by the IRA. This
progress has given the basis for our efforts to see the
return of the devolved Executive by November 24 this year.
This is an initiative whose time had clearly come.

“The Assembly has been given reasonable time to reach

The Taoiseach reiterated that he and British Prime Minister
Tony Blair will move forward together as two Governments to
implement the Good Friday Agreement if power-sharing is not
revived this year.

“This is not our preferred choice. But if it is the only
option we will fully discharge our responsibility to the
electorates on this island,” he added.

Mr Ahern spelled out his personal vow: “I pledge that I
will continue to devote every ounce of my energy to see
this process through and to work with all those who
genuinely share this commitment.”

Mr Ahern also warned that Ireland’s history belonged to
every Irish person and must be beyond narrow party-
political posturings.

He added: “I have always maintained that the 1916
commemorations are not the preserve of any one political
movement. They deserve widespread support and this means
widespread consultation.”

Mr Ahern said it was now important to formulate an
appropriate commemorative programme to take the state up to
the centenary of the Rising in 2016.


Gerry Kelly - Inescapable Question For DUP Is Are They
Prepared To Share Power

Published: 23 April, 2006

Sinn Féin Assembly member for North Belfast Gerry Kelly
today spoke at the annual Crossbarry commemoration,
remembering the British Army operation of 1921 which set
out to eliminate Tom Barry's famous Third West Cork Flying
column. The operation ended with the deaths of 4 IRA
Volunteers and 39 enemy troops.

During the course of today's speech Gerry Kelly recalled
meeting with Tom Barry in Cork. He also reflected on the
current phase of the Republican struggle and he said that
'the inescapable question for the DUP at this time is
whether they are prepared to join with the rest of us in
sharing power'.

Mr Kelly also demanded more action from the Irish
government, reminding the audience that the Irish
government has 'a constitutional imperative to work for a
United Ireland'.

The Full text of Mr Kelly's speech follows:

Is onóir mór domhsa bheith anseo inniu, ag labhairt libh
san ait stairiúl seo.Agus is fior ait stairiúl é de
thairbhe go bhfuil muid cruinnithe anseo ag cuimhniú ar na
fir a chuaigh amach, ar an la sin chuin troid ar son na

In the small hours of March 19th, 1921, a huge British Army
operation involving well over 1000 troops, began. The
British set out to eliminate the very active Third West
Cork Flying column, which contained a total of 104 IRA
volunteers. What the British underestimated, to their cost,
was the military prowess of the legendary Commandant
General Tom Barry and his officers. They also grossly
underestimated the conviction, bravery and determination of
Irish men and women fighting for the freedom of their
country and their people. It is a miscalculation they paid
for dearly at the time and many times since.

By the end of that fateful day 4 volunteers lay dead while
39 British soldiers lost their lives and forty seven were
wounded.This is the 85th Anniversary of the Crossbarry
ambush. It is also the 90th Anniversary of Easter week
1916, which was one of the greatest historical events of
the last century. It started the bush fire of
decolonisation, which was to engulf what was then the
British Empire. It inspired generations of Irish
Republicans and peoples throughout the world who rose up
against the tyranny of colonial rule, imperialism and
oppression. It is a fire still burning in the heart of
every Irish republican.

If 1916 was the catalyst to mass resistance to oppression
then Crossbarrry was arguably the catalyst to negotiations
between the British and Irish which commenced a few months
later in July 1921. The 1918 election which ratified the
establishment of Dail Eireann as the sovereign parliament
of a 32 County Republic was the democratic will of the
Irish people writ large. The British of course tried to
suppress that will through terror and brutality. This drove
more and more Irish men and women to take up arms
throughout the country.

Out of the talks came the partition of Ireland and while it
removed the British occupation from the 26 Counties. The
oppression in the 6 North Easter Counties continued and
intensified resulting in rebellion in every generation
culminating in the insurrection triggered off by the
pograms of 1969.

I met Tom Barry in Cork in 1972. I was a young volunteer in
the IRA in the Ballymurphy area of West Belfast. I didn?t
then realise the coincidence with the Ballymurphy townland
which was headquarters to the West Cork Brigade.

I think Tom Barry was in his 70?s. There was about a dozen
of us down from Belfast as there was a short truce at the
time. We were all teenagers and on active service. What I
remember most about our conversations was that despite our
youth he showed us respect and discussed the struggle in
the North on an equal basis. He had his own opinions and
advice but he also listened attentively to our views and
discussed the issues out. As far as he was concerned it was
the continuation of the struggle for Irish freedom to which
he and his comrades had dedicated themselves. He was indeed
an inspiration. Tom Barry made no distinction between the
IRA volunteers of his generation and the volunteers of our

In commemorating and celebrating the bravery of our fallen
comrades, I want to pay tribute to the volunteers and
leadership of the IRA of today because they have shown
outstanding valour and vision on and off the battlefield.
They have played a central role in this phase of the
struggle and I commend their initiatives, patience,
discipline and tenacity.

The now famous battle in West Cork in 1921 epitomises the
David and Golaith struggle of the IRA throughout the
generations. If courage were the yardstick of success then
the British would be long gone from the whole country.

Indeed individual and collective courage have been the
mainstay of this long struggle. It was the courage shown by
the leadership of the IRA in calling a cessation of
military operations in 1994 which was the catalyst for not
only the overall peace process but for the ongoing
development of the republican strategy which has brought us
so far today.

On July 28th, 2005 the Irish Republican Army announced that
it had formally ended its armed campaign. This was a
courageous and truly historic step to advance the cause of
peace and the cause of Irish freedom.

There are turning points in a nation?s history that change
the course of that nations people. The 1916 rising was such
an event so was the Crossbarrry ambush, as was the Hunger
Strike of 1981. Despite the profound difficulties for many
Republicans the IRA statement of July 28th, 2005 could be
another such event. The IRA has provided a golden
opportunity to advance a new era in our long struggle. It
is crucial that this opportunity be grasped by Republicans
and opponents alike across the island.

In the coming weeks there will be renewed efforts to
advance the peace process. Republicans have taken hugely
important decisions. It is time for others to respond in
like manner. The challenge is there not just for the DUP
but for the British and Irish governments also.

The Assembly will be reconvened on May 15th. Sinn Féin will
be there with a focus on forming a power sharing government
on the basis of the Good Friday Agreement. The inescapable
question for the DUP is whether they are prepared to join
with the rest of us in sharing power. If they refuse then
the 2 governments must deliver on their commitments to
jointly implement all other elements of the Good Friday

Sinn Féin has become the largest political party in the
North. We became the 3rd largest party in Ireland. We are
the only all-Ireland party. Republicans have the capability
of achieving a united Ireland and we are constantly
building the capacity to achieve that goal.

We will only do that by leading with courage and
imagination, by taking initiatives and above all by hard
work. More and more people in Ireland North and South are
looking to us for leadership. It has meant activists
changing and adapting their role in our struggle. Perhaps
few activists thought they could adapt, but, as they say,
'the proof is in the pudding'.

It has been the Republican ability to face each new
situation, each new obstacle to overcome, in an open and
imaginative way, which has proven the versatility and
ability of the Republican activist. There is no lack of
work in this struggle and make no mistake the work that
republicans put into this struggle is the envy of political
struggles the world over.

The Good Friday Agreement is about the rights and
entitlements of citizens. They are not negotiating chips to
be bartered for, or withheld. They are absolute and should
be defended. Sinn Féin is not going to stand by and allow
Human rights, equality, ending discrimination, the rights
of Irish language speakers, the achievement of an
acceptable policing service or any other of our rights, to
be subject to any unionist veto. These are our rights and
we will persist until they are achieved.

Republicans believe in people. We believe in empowering
people, in working in partnership with local communities to
tackle problems and map out new policies.

One of the most encouraging aspects of this phase of our
struggle has been the numbers of young people attracted to
our struggle. A new generation of activists are taking
their place in the struggle and we must ensure that place
is secured. The first people out to defend our areas
against physical attack are youth - they should also be in
the vanguard of our political project.

Sinn Féin is a republican party. We are the only All-
Ireland party. Our goal is to see a United Ireland, which
delivers real social and economic change. We are the only
party with a strategy and policies for achieving Irish
unity and independence. An All Ireland democracy. An
Ireland of equals

We will never again accept the status of second-class
citizens. Neither will we ever impose second-class
citizenship upon anyone else. But unionists too have
responsibilities and this includes the need to break with
sectarian politics. The politics of domination.

However, in this process we also have to remember that for
many unionists the change we have embarked upon is a
terrifying prospect. Change is always difficult. When taken
in the context of a conflict resolution process, change can
be traumatic. And this can be made even more difficult when
there are those, both within sections of unionism and
within the British political and military establishment who
still want to hold on to the old ways. The effect of
political policing over the last few years, especially
where the institutions were collapsed on a lie,
demonstrates the dangers. That is where the most serious
threat to the peace process comes from at this time.

Our goal as Irish republicans is an Irish unity that is
inclusive, that unionists will feel welcome in, that they
are a part of.

There is much work to do. But we believe that we are in the
countdown to a united Ireland. We believe that together we
can make further progress and truly transform society on
this island forever.

Is the British government up for this?

Time will tell.

Is the Irish government up for this?

Let's test that. The Irish Government has after all a
constitutional imperative to work for a United Ireland.

We are commemorating the 25th anniversary of the Hunger
Strike, we can mirror the 5 demands of the Hunger strikers
with the Irish government.

1. The Irish government should produce a Green paper on
Irish unity.

2. The work of the all-Ireland ministerial council should
be expanded and additional all-Ireland implementation
bodies created.

3. MPs elected in the 6 counties should be accorded
speaking rights in the Dail.

4. Voting rights for Presidential elections should be
extended to citizens in the six counties.

5. The Irish government should actively engage with the
British government and unionism to promote and seek support
for reunification.

Is Sinn Féin up for it?

The answer is a word unionist political leaders need to
learn. The answer is YES.Sinn Fèin is up for making this
work. Our activists and supporters are up for it.

Is the IRA up for it?

Who, except for the most vitriolic and blind anti
republican elements could doubt that the IRA is up for it.
Republicans have stretched themselves repeatedly to keep
the peace process on track.

The people we represent have rights. So does everyone on
this island, unionist and others alike. We have been
through pre-condition, after pre-condition, after pre-

We are all on the journey. It is always easier to begin a
journey. The hard thing is to reach the end.

Sinn Féin is in this process to the end. We want the
British government and the Irish government and the
unionists to work with us and to finish the work we have
all started. The length of the journey can be shortened and
the ups and downs on the road can be smoothed out if we go
at it collectively. If we do it together.

This also is a day for remembering fallen comrades and all
of those who died as a result of conflict. We are here to
celebrate their lives and we send out solidarity greetings
to their families and friends.

Let's also remember POW?s still incarcerated. There are
still political prisoners in jail. They should be released
immediately. There are people on the run. They should be
with their families.

Republicans are not chained by history. They learn from it
and use it. That is why important initiatives have been
taken on so many occasions. While unionists are fixated
with slowing down and frustrating change republicans want
more change, want to move on from the past. But there will
be a need for more discipline and a well of patience by
republicans. More courage is called for. Those who have set
their minds against change will be more provocative. The
bigots and the securocrats dream of wrecking the structures
of change. They want to destroy rather than build. Their
tools are bigotry, mistrust, political policing and
paramilitary attacks. They should be starved of anything
that feeds their frenzy.

Republicans have a better vision.

Let me say now what I have said many times when
commemorating fallen comrades. I do not claim to speak for
the dead. I cannot give you Tom Barry's view of our
strategy or Padraic Pearse's or Tom Kellehers or Bobby
Sands. I can only tell you this: The duty of those who take
up the mantle, those who are privileged to lead, is to
carry on that struggle for a United Ireland to the best of
their ability. To use the best strategy and tactics
suitable for 2006. Learn from 1916, 1921, and 1981 but lead
in the 21st Century.

I am confident that we will build on our achievements and
substantially increase our political strength. We must
continue to build on that strength, the stronger we are the
closer our goal of a free independent, and united Ireland
will come.

We face difficult challenges ahead but also with great
opportunities. We s tand on the threshold of great change.
Previous generations have struggled for a united Ireland.
It is, however, our generation who have the possibility of
achieving that goal. So go out and do what you do best.

Bígí cinnte go dtiocfaidh ar lá.



DUP: Deal Or No Deal?

Is the DUP signalling the possibility of a devolution deal?
Is the unionist community in listening mode? As a senior
delegation today ends the unionist boycott of the British-
Irish Inter-parliamentary body, Political Correspondent
Noel McAdam reports

24 April 2006

The DUP is on a mission to explain. Party officers view
today's ground-breaking Co Kerry visit in the same way as
Peter Robinson's recent American trip - as a platform to
put their message across.

As Mr Robinson, his wife Iris and other MPs Jeffrey
Donaldson and Nigel Dodds spend an hour this afternoon
addressing the British Irish Inter-Parliamentary body for
the first time, the issue is the degree to which the
message is changing - and why.

On the party website the DUP counts as its first of 10
'achievements' that 'terrorists' have been kept out of

Yet not everyone within its increasingly broad support base
is aware that 16 months ago the party was hours away from
striking a deal with Sinn Fein.

Distrust has deepened considerably since, of course.

Few would now put money on the party reaching agreement
again by the British and Irish Governments' latest ultimate
deadline of November 24.

In America, Mr Robinson himself put it in perspective. "If
you had suggested 10 or 20 years ago that an agreement
could be reached that both Ian Paisley's DUP and Sinn
Fein/IRA could endorse ... the men in white coats would
have carried you away.

"But," the party deputy leader who is heading up today's
presentation in Killarney confirmed, "it almost happened."

The party has admitted that by December, 2004, 'closure' on
a deal was approaching with only four outstanding issues
left to be dealt with.

Based on briefings by government officials, the DUP
negotiating team privately concluded a deal was potentially
only a few days away.

So to prepare the unionist community, the party planned to
signal that possible agreement might not be far off.

Ian Paisley went to Downing Street for a private meeting
with Prime Minister Tony Blair.

On leaving, he uttered words which could soon have seen
another hand of history back on Blair's shoulder.

In remarks aimed at the party's core supporters, Mr Paisley
said he might have to swallow hard and even bite his lip
but if republicans were to end their campaign and
decommission he was prepared to work with them.

That same night Robinson led a team to Downing Street which
reached agreement with officials on how the four
outstanding issues would be handled.

The very next morning, Secretary of State Peter Hain sent
Robinson a letter committing the government to take the
necessary steps on confidence-building measures for
loyalist areas.

There were now only three remaining issues and within the
hour, Mr Paisley had a further letter from Mr Blair giving
the required assurance on a matter relating to the security

Then there were two. Robinson received a telephone call to
confirm progress was being made with Chancellor Gordon
Brown on a 'peace dividend' financial package with written
confirmation promised after lunch.

Decommissioning, however, still had to be dealt with, and
Mr Robinson has insisted the deal-breaker was not about
publication of photographs.

Instead, 'the outstanding elements were firstly, not
whether there would be photographs of decommissioning but
whether they would be published in December or March'.

"Secondly we needed to be satisfied that the independent
witnesses would be free to report what they had seen
without any restrictions," he told his Stateside audience
last month.

But then came what he calls 'disturbing news' from Downing
Street. "The Government had learned that Gerry Adams had
organised a major Press conference later in the afternoon
... none of us knew what it was about.

"At this final stage of delicate negotiations before
matters had been concluded it could only be bad news....we
already sensed he was exiting the negotiations and rushing
to get his retaliation in first. We were right."

Of course the DUP interpretation of events is open to
question. Sinn Fein insists the transparency over
photographs was never on the cards.

How close was a deal if the last item on the list was
always a deal-breaker?

But why has the DUP chosen to spell out in greater detail
that there could have been a deal? Could that be about
preparing the unionist community for the likelihood of a
deal by November 24? Don't count on it.

The murder of Robert McCartney and the IRA being linked to
the Northern Bank heist - which was apparently being
organised while Sinn Fein was embroiled in the detail of
the negotiations - changed everything. More recent events,
including the murder of Denis Donaldson, have not improved
the prospects.

Concessions to the DUP - that loyalist areas package,
better-than-expected redundancy terms for the Royal Irish
and its hand on major appointments, including the Victims
Commissioner, Bertha McDougall - would appear to have done
little to help create the 'enabling environment' Robinson
insists it needs.

The DUP has set the bar high for compromise by Christmas:
mandatory coalition government which includes Sinn Fein
under d'Hondt or any other system is 'out of the question',
it insists.

Which may explain why Hain has hinted changes to the
Agreement may be dealt with under strand one - between the
parties. The Government itself appears ready to bend. But
the DUP may yet need to be supple, too.


Sinn Fein To Hold Talks With Hain

A Sinn Fein delegation is to meet NI Secretary Peter Hain
later to discuss efforts to restore devolution.

On Sunday, Mr Hain said NI politicians could not continue
to cite fears over IRA terrorism as a reason for not
joining a power-sharing government.

The secretary of state was speaking ahead of a report by
the commission set up to monitor paramilitary activity.

The DUP's Jim Allister said Mr Hain's comments show the
government is ready to turn a blind eye to IRA criminality.

"Hence his attempt to bounce unionism by focusing solely on
violence," Mr Allister said.

"For unionism, however, the issue is not just about direct
IRA violence, it's about attaining an irreversible end to
the whole panoply of their activities, including
criminality in all its forms. Hain may wish to ignore this,
but we will not."

The assembly is to be recalled on 15 May with a 24 November
deadline for electing a new executive.

Mr Hain said that Northern Ireland was "light years away"
from where it had been.

Speaking on GMTV's Sunday Programme, Mr Hain said
republicans were increasingly heading towards engagement in
democratic politics.

He said the IRA was "cracking down" on criminal activity,
although there were still problems with some dissidents as
well as loyalist paramilitaries.

"But the overall picture is of a Northern Ireland light
years away from where it was," he said.

"I don't think that any politician in Northern Ireland can
use the excuse for much longer that the IRA poses a
terrorist threat or that it's organised some central
criminal conspiracy as a reason not to join in a power-
sharing government over the coming period."

Asked whether November would herald a new era of power-
sharing, Mr Hain said it was for the politicians to decide.

"They have to ask themselves a question: what is the future
of democratic politics in Northern Ireland if they will not
exercise the responsibilities for which they were elected?"
he asked.

"It's up to them - we can't continue as we are and we

The deadline would not be extended, Mr Hain added, and the
DUP had a "historic destiny" to take their place.

On Thursday, the government published emergency legislation
to enable the Northern Ireland Assembly to be recalled on
15 May.

It imposes an "immovable deadline" of 24 November in place
for forming a power-sharing executive.

The government also confirmed the next assembly elections
would be postponed until May 2008 if the executive was
restored by this date.

The legislation is expected to become law by 8 May.

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

Three men accused of being implicated in it were later

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/04/24 05:40:37 GMT


Loyalist To Face Further Charges

A prominent north Belfast loyalist is to face two further
charges of professing to in the outlawed UDA/UFF.

Ihab Shoukri, 32, of Westland Drive was already on bail
facing charges of UDA/UFF membership.

Belfast Crown Court heard that the Crown would no longer be
relying on the evidence of the chief prosecution witness in
the case.

Evidence from a senior police officer has been withdrawn.
The judge said he hoped to start the trial next month.

Mr Shoukri has been on bail for almost three years.

Last month, the police alleged he broke his conditions by
being in a bar where paramilitaries were meeting.

However, the judge ruled that Mr Shoukri was not at the
meeting and had not broken his bail conditions.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/04/24 09:54:01 GMT


Shourkris Are Police Agents: Adair

Ex-loyalist boss in new vow to return

22 April 2006

The Shoukri brothers were today branded Special Branch
agents by exiled Johnny Adair as the former loyalist boss
vowed to return to Belfast from exile in Scotland.

His comments come as speculation mounts that Andre and Ihab
Shoukri, who have been accused of disobeying the
leadership's order to cease drug dealing, are to be ousted
by the outlawed paramilitary organisation.

And according to Adair, who fled Ulster three years ago
after the murder of South East Antrim UDA chief John Gregg,
time is running out for the Shoukris as UDA members "can
see them for the fakes they are".

Insisting that UDA attitudes towards him have thawed,
making a return to Ulster in the future a very real
possibility, he told a daily newspaper: "I have always said
one day I would return to Belfast.

"I always saw what happened to me like a large iceberg.
Every day, week and month that iceberg has thawed and it is
now no more than an ice cube.

"Look at the people who plotted against me, where are they
now? Dead or in jail, they have one by one shown their true

"The Shoukri brothers are paying the price, they last three
years and now they have been uncovered for the frauds they
always were. I always said the Shoukris were Special

Adair and his supporters were forced to flee his Shankill
power base, firstly to Scotland and then Bolton, after his
'C Company' faction shot dead John Gregg.

Former allies in the LVF also disowned him because of the
Gregg murder.

However, Adair insisted he will return to Belfast and
continued his defiant attack on the Shoukri brothers: "I
believe they were groomed by Special Branch to infiltrate
the UDA and cause dissent. They had their way for a while
but now real loyalists can see them for the fakes they are.

"Andre Shoukri has gambled more than £800,000 of UDA money,
that is a disgrace."


Sinn Fein Fury Over Orange Order Funding

22 April 2006

Sinn Fein councillor Philip McGuigan has launched a fierce
attack on funding of the Orange Order through a community
relations grant aid programme administered by Ballymoney
Borough Council.

Speaking at the monthly council meeting Cllr McGuigan
queried the method used, and after several payments were
made to Orange Order lodges, he said: "I would have a
number of concerns about the remit of Community Relations
funding being too open and too vague.

"Some could argue Ballymoney Borough Council is a sponsor
of the Orange Lodge."

Councillor McGuigan said he didn't understand how the
Council could give money to an Orange lodge for new
equipment and how that would enhance community relations.

He said Orange lodges refuse entry to one section of the
community and alleged they had "done nothing for community
relations in this borough".

The council's Financial Officer, Iris McCleery, said
documentation had been sent to the Community Relations Unit
and they did not suggest removing 'single identity' groups.

She said a clause on the funding application form asks
groups to specify what work a group will do to develop good

Ms McCleery said some groups could get funding under
educational criteria and the Community Relations Unit had
not objected and said that groups not meeting Community
Relations criteria could get funding from 'Community
Support' funds instead.

DUP deputy mayor, Councillor Ian Stevenson (DUP), said a
lot of money had been given to both sections of the

Councillor McGuigan said he had no problem with this but
had difficulties with the Orange Order specifically.


Locals Living In Fear After Attack On Man

By Clare Weir
24 April 2006

Residents at an Ulster interface are living in fear after
the latest outbreak of violence left a man with serious
facial injuries including a broken jaw.

Foyle DUP Assembly member, William Hay said last night that
people living in the largely unionist Irish Street area of
Londonderry are "fearful and horrified" after a local man
was set upon by a gang early on Saturday morning.

Police say that a sectarian motive is "one of the lines of

Officers were called to the area at around 3.25am after a
man, thought to have been walking alone along Bann Drive,
was attacked by a number of men.

He was taken to hospital where he was treated for a broken
jaw, broken nose and cuts and bruises to his body.

A police spokesman said it was believed that a second man
was attacked nearby. He suffered minor injuries.

PSNI patrols have been stepped up in the area since the

The incident follows sectarian tit-for-tat attacks in
recent months between young people at Irish Street and the
nationalist Top of the Hill area.

Petrol bombs and stoning attacks occurred on a weekly basis
until a community initiative between local youth workers
and parents was introduced and police patrols heightened in
the wake of protests by residents.

SDLP councillor Martin Reilly also condemned the violence.

Councillor Reilly said: "Unfortunately this isn't the first
time this type of violence has happened.

"Everybody in Derry has the right to live free of


Libya Gets Warning Over IRA Court Case

By Claire Regan
22 April 2006

Libya was warned last night to quickly settle a multi-
billion dollar civil case filed against it by victims of
IRA terror - one of the biggest cases in legal history.

Around 170 victims - including people affected by the
Enniskillen, Canary Wharf, Manchester, Warrington, Shankill
and Teebane bombings - have been named as plaintiffs in the
massive lawsuit filed in American courts last night.

But that number could swell to around 6,000 if initial
legal arguments for defining the victims of Libyan-
supported IRA violence are won by the prosecuting legal

London lawyer Jason McCue, who is also involved in the
million pound Omagh bombing civil case against Real IRA
leaders, is behind the action, which has named the
Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya (Libya) and the
Libyan External Security Organisation (Colonel Gaddafi's
foreign intelligence service) as respondents.

They are being sued for supplying the IRA with millions of
dollars, tonnes of Semtex and weaponry, training and other

Prosecutors will argue that, as suppliers, Libya is
responsible for many deaths, injuries and traumas inflicted
by the IRA during the Troubles.

Mr McCue, of the H20 firm, warned the case could take up to
ten years to deal with.

He warned: "It would be in Libya's best interests, if they
want to fully rejoin the international community, to settle
this quickly.


Dissidents' Bomb Plot Over Visit By Queen

Concern around trip to Republic

By Jonathan McCambridge
24 April 2006

Hardline republican dissidents could be planning a bombing
campaign in a bid to force the Queen to scrap a possible
visit to Ireland, it was today claimed.

There has been widespread speculation that a date may soon
be announced for the Queen to make her first visit to the
Republic later this year.

However, a statement released by the Continuity IRA to a
local newspaper said that the visit would be resisted with
"all the force at our disposal".

The warning came as a second man was due to appear in court
today charged over the discovery of parts for a 250lb bomb
in Co Armagh, linked by police to the CIRA.

The 27-year-old will appear at Craigavon Magistrate's Court
charged with possessing explosives with intent to endanger
life. He also faces a charge of conspiracy to cause

He will be the second person to appear in court following
the huge security operation at a breaker's yard in Lurgan
last Wednesday.

Security sources have now suggested that the CIRA could be
planning a terror campaign this summer with a campaign of
attacks expected in the summer months.

The dissident terror group has also released a statement to
the Daily Ireland newspaper warning the Queen to scrap
plans to visit Ireland.

The statement said "any visit by the Queen of England to
any part of Ireland will be fully opposed".

It added: "The Queen of England is not welcome in Ireland.
Any such visit will be resisted with all the force at our

There has been no date announced for any visit to Ireland
by the Queen, although there is a growing speculation that
a visit could be announced for later this year.

No reigning monarch has visited the Republic since its
creation. The last monarch to visit the southern part of
Ireland was Queen Victoria.

Late last year the Independent Monitoring Commission warned
that the CIRA was trying to coax weapons from Provisional
IRA members and seeking to recruit new members.

The report also said that existing CIRA members had
received training and the organisation continued its
efforts to improve its capacity to use weapons and
explosives and to procure new weapons.

The IMC said the Continuity IRA remained a "dangerous
organisation capable of mounting attacks".


Ex-Slab Murphy Worker To Pay €500,000

(by Suzanne Breen, Sunday Tribune)

A man who one worked for ex-IRA chief of staff, Slab
Murphy, has agreed to pay almost half a million euro in
settlement of a cross-Border fuel-smuggling case against

Patrick Belton's house in 'Millionaire's Row', one of the
most notorious cross-border roads in South Armagh, boasts
balconies, a large tiered water fountain, and other
ostentatious features.

Belton, who traded under the name Value Fuels, is believed
to have been behind a multi-million euro fuel smuggling
operation. He was a driver for Murphy before setting up on
his own.

After an investigation lasting over a year, during which
his assets were frozen, it is understood he has agreed to
pay the Criminal Assets' Bureau (CAB) around €240,000 and
the North's Assets Recovery Agency (ARA) €210,000. Sources
said both CAB and ARA regarded it as a very successful
outcome to their joint operation.

It is ARA's first successful settlement against a fuel
smuggler. Sources say that while the trade remains
extremely lucrative, ARA is having an effect and some very
"significant scalps" have been targeted this year.

In the past eight months, ARA has frozen over €8 million in
assets from suspected fuel smugglers. The trade was once
predominantly controlled by Slab Murphy but, in recent
years, there has been an increasing fragmentation with more
independent smugglers. However, many of these are
understood to pay a "tax" to Murphy.

Belton, 44, was a prominent fuel-smuggler along the south
Armagh/north Louth border. His claimed occupation was that
of garage owner. In 1998, Corporal Gary Fenton, 29, tried
to stop Belton driving his oil tanker through a checkpoint
on the Castleblaney Road near Crossmaglen in south Armagh.
The tanker did not stop and Fenton was dragged 70ft to his

Belton was injured when the British Army patrol opened fire
on the vehicle. The tanker was abandoned a few hundred
yards on the Southern side of the border. When asked for
his details, Belton gave a false name and date of birth. He
was charged in connection with the incident.

A jury took 45 minutes to find him not guilty of causing
death by dangerous driving. He was fined 150 for driving
without insurance.

Belton was trying to sell his luxury home before his assets
were frozen by ARA. According to previous reports, the
house was valued at €1.5 million. However, serious
structural defects were discovered in both the foundations
of the house and an adjoining oil plant, substantially
lessening the value. It is understood Belton is now selling
the house to a cousin.

Belton has been previously investigated by customs in
Galway where he ran a garage. Customs in the North also
raided and closed down two petrol stations he managed in
north and west Belfast. Laundered diesel was seized in both

Last month, ARA took action against two other high-profile
suspected fuel smugglers. Almost €4 million in assets
belonging to Jonathan Sawyers of Sixmilecross, Co Tyrone,
were frozen.

Sawyers, who is director of Little Float Farm, has an
extensive criminal record which includes convictions for
the transportation of unfit animals, deception, conspiracy
to fraudulently evade customs' duty, causing unnecessary
suffering to livestock, and supplying animals for slaughter
unfit for human consumption. The assets frozen include land
and property on both sides of the Border.

Around €2 million of assets belonging to Malachy and
Patricia Molloy from Armagh were also frozen. The Molloys
own four companies, two of which are based in the Republic.
The Northern Ireland-based companies are MFS Fuel Supplies
and Tile Safe Ltd.

The frozen assets include seven houses in the North,
further properties in the Republic, land on both sides of
the border, money in a range of bank accounts, and 23
commercial and private vehicles, including a fleet of
lorries and tankers.

Over €1 million of assets from fuel smuggling in counties
Armagh and Louth were frozen in February. Damien McGleenan,
of McGleenan Fuels in Keady, had €600,0000 worth of goods
frozen including a pub, numerous other properties on both
sides of the Border, and bank accounts.

Around €450,000 worth of assets were frozen in a case
against Neil Vallely of NV Oils in Newtownhamilton, Co
Armagh, They include land and properties. In September, ARA
froze over €1 million in assets from suspected Newry fuel-
smugglers, brothers Sean and John Byrne.

April 24, 2006


Opin: DUP Grabs The Nettle Of Pragmatism

24 April 2006

A little bit of history is set to be made in Killarney
today when a delegation from the DUP breaks the party's
boycott of the British-Irish Parliamentary Body. A high-
ranking team led by Peter Robinson is to make a
presentation to the gathering of MPs and TDs.

Although such a move is overdue, the DUP is to be commended
for grasping this particular nettle. For too long,
unionists have let their case go by default, refusing to
explain their position, outline their concerns or identify
their demands.

The result of this reluctance to engage has been that
unionism's detractors have been given a free run. But now
there are encouraging signs of an awareness of the need to
win hearts and minds and to put across a legitimate

The mould was broken, of course, by David Trimble, who
helped reverse the negative image under which unionism had
laboured at Westminster and the White House. But that
responsibility has now devolved to the DUP as the largest
unionist party.

The party has already held talks with Bertie Ahern without
compromising any political principle and today's
presentation will provide a valuable opportunity to remind
the Parliamentarians that unionists are an important part
of the equation. The DUP has a strong case to make and as
it will learn, more progress can be made by meeting with
other democrats than staying away.

The DUP's move has wrong-footed the Ulster Unionist Party,
which has also traditionally shunned the BIPB since it was
set up in 1990. Instead of sniping at the DUP, the UUP
should now play a full and active role in the forum.

The value of such dialogue is filtering down through
unionist society. The Orange Order is breaking new ground
by inviting the SDLP to talks and it must follow this by
ending its boycott of the Parades Commission.

At all levels, there is everything to be gained and nothing
to be lost by such engagement. The political landscape is
changing, and unionists cannot ignore seismic shifts such
as the IRA's significant act of decommissioning and the
revoking by the Republic of its territorial claim.

With the Assembly due to reconvene in three weeks' time, it
is vital that unionists present a constructive image. With
the pressure piling on republicans, the strategy should be
to show willing while exhorting Sinn Fein to operate in
exclusively democratic mode, the line taken by Mr Robinson
in New York.

As Bertie Ahern constantly reiterates, the future must be
inclusive and unionists need to respond positively to such
sentiments. They must move with the times and show that
they intend to be part of the solution, not part of the
problem. Little by little, unionism is learning the value
of pragmatism.


Opin: Playing The National Card

By Barry White
22 April 2006

Enough of these symbols of nationalism, British and Irish,
in the Easter Rising commemorations and the Queen's
birthday. For a place like Northern Ireland, with a split
personality, the less emphasis on our differences the

One thing you can say about the Queen, she has kept her
personal opinions strictly to herself. She's had to receive
all our political leaders - from Brookeborough to O'Neill,
Chichester-Clark, Faulkner and then, after a gap, Trimble -
but what she thought of them, and the pain we have caused
her, we'll never know.

She did speak up, unusually, after the Good Friday
Agreement, agreeing that it was a good thing. Ian Paisley
was probably right when he said she was prompted by Tony
Blair - he called her Blair's parrot - but as one
conservative 80-year-old to another, he now says she's
young at heart and a blessing (like himself).

What could be worse, trawling through those red boxes and
reading the bad news, public and secret, about the state of
Northern Ireland. "All those nice people, who seem so
pleased to see me at Hillsborough, but as soon as I'm gone
they're at each other's throats. Maybe I should go there
more often, or less. A day with Mary at the Dublin Horse
Show might help?"

The only time we got behind the hair-do - as unchangeable
as Charles's tweed overcoat - was when a DJ tricked her
into thinking he was the Canadian Prime Minister. She
wisely declined his invitation to oppose independence for
Quebec without seeing his (non-existent) speech.

Anyway, she has recovered herself, since Diana's death, and
though it would relieve the boredom if she let Charles and
Camilla have a go, I'm glad enough for her to carry on
reigning. At least she won't provide any nasty surprises.

Here, Peter Hain had the wit not to make too much of the
80th birthday, and hopefully will play down the official
one in June, too. By then the Assembly members will either
have gone home or be re-enacting the Good Friday 1998
scenes at Stormont.

Who is it, one wonders, who devises the policy for tempting
them into devolution, or for making sure they don't go away
thinking politics is a mug's game? If they can agree, they
won't have to face an election until 2008 and, if they
can't, there is an ample goodie bag, worth thousands,
awaiting them at the door.

In Dublin, Bertie Ahern obviously felt that playing the
Easter Rising card, against Sinn Fein, was more important
than making unionists feel more divided than ever from
their nationalist brethren, north and south. What was so
special about the 90th anniversary, except that it came a
year before Fianna Fail faces a tough republican challenge
in the election?

In many homes of all persuasions here, including mine,
there are fading medals from the Great War, during which
the Rising was seen as a betrayal. It led to the end of the
British empire, thanks to the executions, but reviving the
commemorations at this time is hardly going to convince
unionists that they're welcome partners in a new Ireland.

The most interesting commentary came from Garret
FitzGerald, whose father was a rebel leader in the GPO. He
criticised the absurdity of the "mad" and "spurious" idea
that Home Rule, as promised by the British, would have led
peacefully to independence.

Under Home Rule, he implied, the 26 counties would have
become as dependent on Britain as Northern Ireland and then
breaking the link might have been impossible. The
separation in 1921 was bearable and the Republic was well
placed, with enough entrepreneurial spirit, to benefit from
European funding after 1973.

Otherwise, any ceremonies or marches that remind us of our
separate loyalties, which are taking generations to erode,
are unhelpful - north and south. Joint trips to the Somme,
which was a generals-led disaster, are no compensation.


All-Ireland Dangerous Dogs Ban Is Demanded

By Clare Weir
24 April 2006

Bans on the ownership and breeding of so-called dangerous
dogs must be introduced on an all-Ireland basis, animal
welfare experts warned last night.

The USPCA believes that dog fight organisers may be
exploiting differences in legislation between Northern
Ireland and the Republic to bring in unlicensed animals.

The call comes days after a banned pit bull terrier-type
animal was seized from the home of a GAA star who denied
ownership of the dog.

The dog, believed to have been involved in an illegal
fighting ring, travelled on a pet passport from Finland to
Germany and into Dublin, but only became illegal when it
crossed the border into Northern Ireland, which is covered
by the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991.

The ruling was implemented after a spate of attacks by
American pit bull terriers on children and other dogs, and
also bans the Fila Brasiliera, Dogo Argentino and Japanese
Tosa - all bred to fight other large animals.

Pit bull terrier-type dogs are not illegal in the Republic.

Other European countries such as Germany have banned a
number of breeds from all over the world, while native
breeds such as Rottweilers and Dobermans must be kept under
strict control.

In some European countries, a licence is required to breed
and own dogs which naturally grow above a certain height.

Steven Philpott, chief executive of the USPCA, said last
night the charity had been aware for some time that dog
fighting enthusiasts had been exploiting the border to
bring pit bulls into Northern Ireland.

"If Northern Ireland and the Republic had similar
legislation it would go a long way in solving the
difficulties that we experience," he said.

But, he added, "shared legislation on banned breeds could
help crack down on the practice."


Ulsterman Barred From Visiting His Gravely-Ill Brother By
US Authorities

Visa refused for 'illegal immigrant'

By Sean O'Driscoll
24 April 2006

An Ulster carpenter banned from the US after returning to
Northern Ireland for his father's funeral has appealed to
US authorities to let him return to Boston to see his
seriously ill brother.

Stephen McVey (33) and his brother, Peter, (not his real
name) have been separated since 2004, when Peter went back
to Newcastle, Co Down, to attend their father's funeral.

Peter was identified as an illegal immigrant when he twice
tried to return to the US and was turned back.

On December 16 last, Stephen fell down the stairs at his
Boston home and was rushed to hospital with massive brain
swelling. Doctors removed a large part of the top of his
skull to allow the brain to expand, and encased the
expanded brain with an artificial skull.

The case was so serious doctors put Stephen in a medically-
induced coma for over a week while they worked to reduce
the swelling.

Peter sought legal advice on getting a temporary visa to
see his brother, but was told it wasn't possible.

A Boston fundraising drive two weeks ago raised about
$$50,000 to cover Stephen's medical expenses and the
carpenter's union is also paying some of the expenses. He
is currently coping with short-term memory loss but is
hoping to return to work.

Speaking from his new home in London this week, Peter said
he missed being able to help his own brother or attend his
fundraising event.

Peter said he hoped to return to the US and his carpentry
work. He first tried to return through Dublin airport after
his father's funeral.

"I booked a flight to Las Vegas to make it look like I was
just going on a holiday, but they were suspicious and they
seemed to know all about me. They scanned my passport, they
knew that I had a car in Boston, everything like that. I
was driving on my Irish passport and they seemed to know I
had a tax ID number," he said.

A week later, he flew to Canada and a friend tried to drive
him across the border.

He said: "The guard asked to see inside my rucksack and
found my passport. It had all my information on it.

"They told my friend she could go but she waited and then
drove me back into Canada."

He returned to Ireland.

"Then I went to London and I've been working here since. My
lawyer is saying it's best if I don't try to make it into
the States again until I try to work the situation out," he

Peter's girlfriend, a US citizen, followed him to London
and the couple are now considering getting married.


Irish Art Takes Centre Stage At Sotheby's Sale

Man About Town
24 April 2006

Buy a new small car", said Radio Ulster's Kitty O'Shea,
"and it will have depreciated by a third before you get it
out of the showroom. Whereas, if I bid £10,000 for this
romantic Irish oil painting, Aloysius O'Kelly's girl and
lantern, it will appreciate from the moment it leaves the

Kate was speaking at the private Waterfront Hall preview of
highlights of the annual Sale of Irish Art which Sotheby's
will hold in New Bond Street, London on May 11. There will
also be a sale of contemporary Irish art in the autumn.

So, if anyone wants to sell their Brian Ballards or Basil
Blackshaws, now's the time to place them with Greyabbey's
William Montgomery, Sotheby's man in Ulster.

Grant Ford, from the auctioneers, says that if he had the
choice, he would bid for Ulsterman Sir John Lavery's Venice
Lido, estimated to fetch up to £600,000. His assistants,
Annabel Watt, Frances Christie and ex-Methody girl Grace
Worthington would opt, in turn, for Roderic O'Conor's
pretty Breton Girl (£300,000), Sir William Orpen's sensual
Empty Bed (£180,000) and his rather sad Window Seat,
estimate at between £200,000 and £300,000.

More familiar to Belfast Telegraph readers might be Maurice
Wilks' Whitepark Bay (£6,000), Humbert Craig's Coastal Path
(£8,000), John Luke's Drains Bay (£20,000) or Colin
Middleton's Uin (£80,000) which hung in the Wellington Park
hotel. Orlean Gordon, there with her daughter, Cambridge
architecture student Rebecca, said her retired
communications tycoon husband Richard had inherited his
father's love of works such as Dan O'Neill's Interior
(£40,000) and Andrew Nicholl's £15,000 Poppyfield.

Art consultant Dr S. Brian Kennedy was, like local gallery
owners Joe McWilliams, Nelson Bell, Oliver Gormley, Martin
Davidson and Bernard Jaffa, found closely examining the
elegant £23 catalogue. Danny Kinahan, previously rival
auction house Christie's man here, said their 10th Irish
Sale preview runs at the Marchioness of Dufferin and Ava's
Ava Gallery from Monday next week. PR magnate Peter Spratt,
hinted he might celebrate his 11th wedding anniversary with
a canvas or two.

Meanwhile, Arts Council Chair Rosemary Kelly added Jack
Yeats's £35,000 Porter at the Fair to her wish list.
Delightful Anthea Smyth, past-Chair of the Irish
Thoroughbred Breeders Association, there with her Edinburgh
undergraduate daughter Rebecca, said she'd usually go for
Peter Curling's £15,000 oil painting Race to the Finish.
But, in honor of his centenary, she'd favour photographer
John Minahan's iconic £7,000 black and white portrait print
of Samuel Beckett in a Paris café.

Sotheby's Irish preview, Dublin, until April 27; sale in
London on May 11, tel: 020 7293 6444.


'Rip-Off' Idea Taints Ireland, Report Says

Alison Healy

If Ireland was a company, it would be in "dire need" of
public relations rehabilitation after the negative
publicity it received on the "Rip-off Ireland" issue, a new
report claims.

On just one day last September, 61 articles in the national
press referred to "Rip-off Ireland" or the "Rip-off

An analysis of coverage in the national press between
January 2003 and December 2005 found that 3,694 articles
made "rip-off" references. Almost half of the coverage was

Articles referred to rip-offs in everything - from visits
to Santa Claus, to lapdancing clubs. They found rip-offs in
items as diverse as psychic readings, turkeys, burial plots
and toys.

The Media Analysis Case Study of Rip-Off Ireland was
carried out by the MediaMarket, a media evaluation company,
for the Public Relations Institute of Ireland (PRII)'s
annual conference to be held in Dublin tomorrow.

It found that Ireland's "brand" had been "severely damaged"
by the negative reports. The Ireland brand registered "a
devastating" minus 1,364 on the Corporate Reputation
Indicator (CRI) used to track a company's reputation in the
media. The CRI measures weight of coverage and analyses its

The number of articles relating to rip-offs peaked between
July and September last year. Rip-Off Republic, the RTÉ
summer series presented by Eddie Hobbs was "a significant
contributor to damaging Ireland Inc's reputation", the
report found.

"August saw a huge surge in volume and September had more
coverage than any previous quarter, let alone month." The
largest volume of coverage referred to the retail sector.

The property sector was accused of ripping-off the public
with management fees and estate agent charges. The articles
on insurance included criticisms of motor and health

Two sectors got positive coverage when the topic of rip-
offs was raised. The tourism sector generated some positive
articles after Fáilte Ireland warned that the "rip-off
cliche" was dangerous.

The telecommunications regulator ComReg also generated
positive coverage after it targeted the extra costs charged
by the mobile phone industry.

MediaMarket managing director Michael Farrelly said if
Ireland was a company, he would be advising it to urgently
invest in some public relations rehabilitation.

© The Irish Times


Grandmother No Spy, Says Daughter Of Late President

Liam Reid

A granddaughter of Erskine Childers has said it was "simply
unthinkable" that her grandmother Molly was a spy who
passed information to the British during the War of

Nessa Childers, also the daughter of the late president
Erskine Childers, said her grandmother loved her
grandfather too much to have spied against him.

She was reacting to claims made about her grandmother in a
recent historical book, Michael Collins's Intelligence War,
written by historian Dr Michael T Foy, tutor in History at
Queens University Belfast.

According to his book there is documentary proof that there
was an unnamed female spy who passed on information about
Sinn Féin leaders during the War of Independence.

Dr Foy states that the American-born Molly Childers is the
only senior female figure to fit the profile. However,
yesterday Nessa Childers, now a Green Party councillor in
Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown, rejected the claim.

"It just doesn't fit with her character," Ms Childers said
of her grandmother during an interview with Ursula Halligan
on TV3's The Political Party. "She was a very loyal
republican. Very loyal to my grandfather, a very courageous
woman in many ways." She described the evidence in Dr Foy's
book as "circumstantial".

"Really the evidence is circumstantial. There's not enough
of it that I've seen. The fact that the spy was a female
was leaked to Llyod George's mistress by one of the British
people involved, and they said they had an Irish Mata Hari.
That is not enough evidence even to suggest that it was a

Ms Childers said: "Up until the day she died she had
photographs of Liam Mellows, Liam Brady and Rory O'Connor
on her bedside and she revered them. It doesn't follow that
such a person could have put those people's lives at risk."

Erskine Childers was a British soldier during the Boer War,
before becoming involved in Irish nationalism and landing
guns on his yacht, the Asgard, in Howth in 1914.

© The Irish Times

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