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April 19, 2006

SF Addresses International Panel of Jurists

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News About Ireland & The Irish

SF 04/19/06 Sinn Fein To Address International Panel Of Jurists
BN 04/19/06 Panel To Assess North's Counter-Terrorism Measures
BB 04/19/06 Police Are Defended Over Shooting
BB 04/19/06 Bomb Parts Found During Searches
BN 04/19/06 US Military Use Of Shannon Up 21% So Far This Year
BT 04/19/06 Opin: Swift Reply Needed Over Car Shooting
IM 04/19/06 Interest Grows For James Connolly Book Launch
IM 04/19/06 New Booklet On James Connolly
IM 04/19/06 Meeting: James Connolly, 1916 & Fight Against Empire Today
RT 04/19/06 Controversy Over Joint Mass Continues
BT 04/19/06 Contamination In Irish Sea 'Could Last For Decades'


Sinn Fein To Address International Panel Of Jurists

Published: 19 April, 2006

Sinn Fein North Antrim MLA Philip McGuigan will speak to a
panel of Eminent International Jurists tonight,
Wednesday19th April, in the Wellington Park Hotel, Belfast
at 7.30 pm. The role of the ICJ Jurists Panel is to examine
how states across the world uphold international human
rights standards and to ensure that the legal and
'security' response of all states to any threat is
compatible with international human rights standards. It is
part of a scrutiny mechanism of human rights practitioners
whose Global Reports provide leverage to compel governments
and other state agencies to take measures to ensure they
comply with international human rights standards.

Mr McGuigan will tell the panel that both the British and
Irish governments, but particularly the British government
have and continue to use methods, laws and policies that
undermine international human rights standards.

Speaking ahead of the event organised by the Committee on
the Administration of Justice (CAJ) Mr McGuigan said:

"It is clear that across the island that both the British
and Irish governments have operated a framework of
repressive measures that have undermine humans rights. Both
governments, but principally the British government have
introduced policies and legislation which breach
international human rights standards and undermine
democracy. British rule has been premised on;

Repressive legislation
No-jury Diplock courts
Internment - imprisonment without charge or trial
Political discrimination
The policy of collusion
State sponsored murder

"The primary responsibility and duty is on the state to
ensure that its response to any threat is measured,
appropriate and compatible with human rights standards at
all times.

" The protracted conflict here in the North of Ireland was
a direct consequence of the denial of national self
determination and repressive British rule in Ireland.
Unionists in government mirrored that same policy of
denying to Irish nationalists in the North their civil and
political rights for over 50 years.

"The British government has acted outside both domestic and
international law to commit acts of violence and murder
against persons and against the Irish nation itself. It is
within this context that other violent responses from non-
state organisations and players have to be considered.

"The Peace Process has delivered real progress but the fact
is that both the structures and legislation that breach
international human rights standards remain in place and
need to be removed." ENDS


Panel To Assess North's Counter-Terrorism Measures

19/04/2006 - 12:22:31

A panel of international jurists was in Belfast today as
part of a global inquiry into counter-terrorism laws.

The Geneva-based International Commission of Jurists [ICJ]
set up the independent panel to study the implications and
justifications of counter-terrorism measures.

The North was selected for study to assess the success of
measures taken in the past to combat terrorist violence,
said the group, whose visit was being hosted by the
Committee on the Administration of Justice.

During three days in the North, the jurists were meeting
politicians, lawyers and legal academics, human rights
activists, the Police Service of Northern Ireland, Court
Service, Judiciary and Public Prosecution Service.

The panel is being chaired by Justice Arthur Chaskalson,
former Chief Justice of South Africa and the first
president of South Africa’s Constitutional Court.

The visit is one of a number by the panel this year to all
regions of the world “to gather information on the legal
and policy responses adopted or likely to be adopted in
response to conflict and their impact on human rights”,
said the ICJ.

Northern Ireland had been selected to provide data on the
measures that were taken in the past and their success or
otherwise in ending political violence and in ensuring
human rights protection, it added.

Mr Chaskalson was being accompanied by panel member Justice
Raul Zaffaroni of the Argentinian Supreme Court at a public
meeting to which local political parties, including the
Ulster Unionists, SDLP and Sinn Féin were expected to make
submissions tonight.

Sinn Féin North Antrim MLA Philip McGuigan said he would be
telling the panel that both the British and Irish
governments had – and continued to use - methods, laws and
policies that undermined international human rights

Mr McGuigan said: “It is clear that across the island both
the British and Irish governments have operated a framework
of repressive measures that have undermined human rights.

“Both governments, but principally the British government,
have introduced policies and legislation which breach
international human rights standards and undermine


Police Are Defended Over Shooting

A DUP assembly member has defended the actions of police at
Ballynahinch at the weekend which left one man dead.

Police fired a number of shots at a stolen car containing
six people after they apparently refused to stop at a

Jim Wells said he understood the police had had to make a
split second decision because innocent lives were at risk.

He said a pedestrian and a baby in a nearby vehicle had
been put in danger by the car.

Steven Craig Colwell, 23, from Main Street, Cullybackey,
died after he was shot in the car he was driving at Church
Street, in the town, at 1130 BST on Sunday

"The vehicle approached Ballynahinch, saw the roadblock -
there was one car ahead of it - decided to do a u-turn and
turn and go back towards Newcastle," Mr Wells told BBC
Radio Ulster.


"In its way was a car with a one-year-old child in it and a
pedestrian standing in the street who could not get out of
the way.

"The police had to make a split decision - do they stop the
car or do they allow it to continue with the risk that
people's lives were in grave danger."

Three men and two women who were in the car have been
released on bail and have been questioned by the ombudsman.

The police officer who fired the fatal shot is understood
to be traumatised by the incident.

He was not working on Monday but has not been suspended
from duty. Mr Colwell's family is from the Forthriver area
of west Belfast.

The Police Ombudsman has launched an inquiry into the

The MP for South Down, the SDLP's Eddie McGrady, has voiced
concern about the police action.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/04/19 09:10:08 GMT


Bomb Parts Found During Searches

Suspected bomb-making material has been uncovered during a
major security operation in County Armagh.

The items and a quantity of fertiliser were found during
police searches in the Antrim Road area of Lurgan.

Four men, aged 22, 26, 36, and 46, have been arrested and
are being held under the Terrorism Act.

Police have confirmed they are linking the find to
dissident republicans. It is reported that the intended
device could have been up to 200lb in weight.

SDLP assembly member Dolores Kelly said she believed that
police had foiled a major attack.

The discovery is understood to have been made at a vehicle
breaker's yard on Wednesday.

Bomb disposal officers are at the scene and part of the
town is cordoned off.

The search is believed to involve dozens of officers and
police sniffer dogs.

Dissidents republicans are opposed to the Northern Ireland
peace process. They have been blamed for a number of
attacks and attempted attacks on the security forces over
recent years.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/04/19 10:59:23 GMT


US Military Use Of Shannon Up 21% So Far This Year

19/04/2006 - 08:16:09

The number of US soldiers passing through Shannon Airport
has reportedly increased by 21% in the frist three months
of this year.

Reports this morning said figures released by the airport
show that around 116,500 American soldiers used the
facility between January and March, compared to around
96,000 in the same period last year.

The reports said the Shannon Airport Authority had made
€14m in the first quarter of the year as a result of this


Opin: Swift Reply Needed Over Car Shooting

19 April 2006

Recriminations are flying since a PSNI officer shot dead
the driver of a stolen car in Ballynahinch on Easter
Sunday, but the best advice is to reserve judgment. It was
a tragedy that stopping the car should have resulted in
anyone's death, but a 15-man independent team from the
Police Ombudsman's office should provide an explanation
within weeks, rather than months.

The only witnesses to the shooting were the police and the
five other occupants of the car - three men and two women -
who were arrested and bailed. It is a routine occurrence
for police to mount a roadblock to stop a wanted car, but
although they have to be ready for anything, they would
normally not consider using firearms - unless lives were in

This is just one of the questions arising out of the
incident, which the police should be able to answer at this
early stage. Were lives at stake, to justify firing two
shots at the driver? Was there a reason for police to feel
that the driver was armed? Also, was any warning given, or
was this not possible?

Incidents of this kind are so unusual, where the only shots
are fired by the police, that the public needs to be
reassured about the general instructions given to officers.
Are they ready to shoot, when flagging down cars at
checkpoints? Or do they have to see that there is a danger
to life and limb before they can draw their weapons?

There are some unusual aspects to this particular case that
may provide clues. The police in Ballynahinch were
forewarned about the car and may have known who was the
driver - a 23-year-old from Cullybackey who had recently
moved from Glencairn, and, strangely, was wearing a Celtic
football shirt.

Whatever he or those in the car were suspected of,
detaining them for questioning should not normally have
involved the use of lethal force. The Ombudsman's inquiry
must satisfy the public's concern, if confidence in the
police is not to be damaged.

Two years ago a 21-year-old was killed by police near
Lisburn, but not before he had smashed through a roadblock
and injured two officers. Clearly the police had
information about him, suspected of drugs offences, and a
semi-automatic shotgun was found in the car.

Calls have again been made for the officer involved in the
Ballynahinch shooting to be suspended from duty, pending
investigation, but this has been resisted. While the police
have every right to defend themselves, when lives are
endangered, the public must be given answers to its
questions, sooner rather than later.


Interest Grows For James Connolly Book Launch

National History And Heritage Press Release Tuesday
April 18, 2006 15:43 by Kevin Wingfield - SWP PO Box 1648
Dublin 8 01-872 2682

The Official launch of a short book on "James Connolly,
Revolutionary Socialist" by Kieran Allen is attracting much

New Booklet On James Connolly

Kieran Allen, the Head of Sociology in UCD, has written a
new booklet on James Connolly.

Entitled, James Connolly: Revolutionary Socialist it seeks
to uncover the Marxist politics which motivated Connolly
throughout his life.

In a statement, Kieran Allen, said,

'Now the commemoration for the 1916 rising has been deemed
a great success, we might consider what some of the leaders
of the rising stood for.

'Traditionally James Connolly has been presented as a
mainstream Irish nationalist who had some social concerns.
At times, it almost appeared that he was simply a radical
activist from the Vincent De Paul.

'This image of Connolly began soon after his death when
Countess Markievicz wrote that 'his was the socialism of
James Connolly and no one else'. It was continued by his
own union, the ITGWU, who suppressed some of his more
radical writings in the 1950s. And it has been taken up
again by the modern day political elite who claim that the
1916 rebellion led to a culture of 'social inclusion' in
the Celtic Tiger.

The reality, however, is very different. James Connolly was
a profound Marxist who advocated 'the confiscation of
capitalist property' and described parliamentary democracy
as only a limited for of democracy which allowed one to
choose one's masters.

'It is a source of great embarrassment to the modern day
political establishment that a revolutionary socialist
played a key role in the birth of their state and this has
led to great dishonesty about his thought.

'This booklet tries to uncover the real legacy of James
Connolly and argues that his ideas are profoundly relevant
for today. .

The new booklet on James Connolly will be publicly launched
at a public meeting on James Connolly and 1916 which will
take place in Cassidy's Hotel on April 21st at 8pm.
Speaking alongside Kieran Allen will be Lorcan Collins and
Conor Kostick, the joint authors of a book on the 1916
rebellion, and Helena McNeill.


Galway: Tuesday 18th April: 8pm Western Hotel, Prospect Hill
Waterford: Thursday 20th April: ATGWU Hall, Keyser St 8pm
Cork: Thursday 20th April: Spailpin Fanach South Main St, 8pm
Dublin: Friday 21st April: Cassidy’s Hotel 8pm
Tralee: Saturday 22nd April: Grand Hotel 3pm
Derry: Saturday 22nd April: Sandino’s Bar (upstairs) 3pm
Athlone: Tuesday 25th April: Genoa Café 8pm

Related Link:


Public Meeting: James Connolly, 1916 & The Fight Against
Empire Today

dublin history and heritage event notice Tuesday April
18, 2006 15:14 by Kevin Wingfield - SWP info at swp dot ie

Friday 21 April 8pm Cassidys Hotel, Parnell Square

Speakers: Kieran Allen (Author: The politics of James Connolly);
Lorcan Collins (Author: The Easter Rising);
Conor Kostick (Author: Revolution in Ireland, Popular Militancy, 1917-23);
Helena McNeill

The Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, has claimed that ‘the
proclamation of the Republic on Easter Monday was a cry of
radical idealism that shook the world in 1916 and still
challenges us today’.

It certainly challenges the political establishment - then
and now. The 1916 rebellion was a blow against imperialism
which scandalised to the Home Rule leaders and terrified
the respectable classes.

Its legacy haunts a government that is actively
collaborating in yet another imperialist war to oppress the
people of Iraq. With more than 300,000 US troops flying
through Shannon each year, Ireland has become the main
European staging post for this war. The lies and attempted
cover-up about how Shannon was used to transport Apache
attack helicopters which attack Palestinian homes shows the
depths to which this government will stoop. Bertie Ahern
and John Redmond certainly share a lot in common.

The 1916 Proclamation was a mildly radical document but
there is no evidence that its promise ‘to cherish all the
children of the nation equally’ has had any impact on
modern Ireland. Instead, we have become one of the most
unequal societies in the industrialised world, spending for
example, far less on social protection than the EU average.

The best way to honour those who fought in 1916 today might
therefore be to examine what they actually stood for
instead of staging a military parade. In particular, we
might look at the ideas of James Connolly who explicitly
warned against an Ireland where “the green-coated Irish
soldiers will guard the fraudulent gains of the capitalist
and landlord from the ‘think hands of the poor’ just as
remorselessly and just as effectually as the scarlet-coated
emissaries of England”.

Part of the myth-making of official Ireland was that James
Connolly was a mainstream Irish nationalism with some vague
social concerns. Connolly was in fact a revolutionary
socialist, a Marxist whose explicit aim was ‘to confiscate
the property of the capitalist class’ and to establish a
socialist republic. Unlike the former tyrannical regimes of
Eastern Europe, Connolly identified socialism with workers’
control rather then just state ownership.

For all these reasons, his ideas are more relevant today
than they were even in 1916. To assess those ideas, the
Socialist Workers Party is sponsoring a public meeting on
James Connolly and 1916

Related Link:


Controversy Over Joint Mass Continues

19 April 2006 12:43

The controversy over a Church of Ireland Minister
concelebrating Mass with three Catholic priests at the
Augustinian Priory in Drogheda, Co Louth, is continuing.

It is believed that it is the first time since the
Reformation that a Protestant clergyman has concelebrated
the Easter Eucharist at a Catholic Mass.

Prayers were said in remembrance of the events of 1916 and
the Western Front.

The Catholic and Church of Ireland hierarchies have
expressed concern about the concelebration.

The Catholic Primate of All Ireland, Dr Sean Brady, said
that in holding such a Mass there was a 'real danger of
causing widespread confusion raising false hopes and
creating situations that are open to misunderstandings and

The Church of Ireland Primate, Dr Robin Eames, said that
such occasions while well-intentioned might well be

Fr Iggy O'Donovan, one of the Catholic priests involved in
the ceremony, said that no one had contacted him formally.


Contamination In Irish Sea 'Could Last For Decades'

Sellafield discharge fears

By Michael McHugh
19 April 2006

Levels of radioactive discharge in the Irish Sea which have
been linked to Sellafield could take decades to disappear
completely, the Belfast Telegraph learned today.

A by-product known as Technetium 99 is contaminating the
sea water and it could be many years before it is
completely clear of the toxin.

The admission by the Food Standards Agency was made in a
reply to a query from the Celtic League group which is
campaigning on pollution issues.

Levels of Tc-99 discharged from Sellafield have fallen in
recent years, but the complexities of the dispersal process
mean the benefits may not be seen for some time.

Resultant residues of chemical poisoning in lobsters and
crabs will also take time to drop.

The letter from the FSA said: "The Agency commissioned a
research study... this work indicated that, dependent on
the chemical nature of technetium, there would be slow but
steady release of technetium over several tens of years.

"There will be reductions in Irish Sea Tc-99 concentrations
but due to the complex nature of the Irish Sea environment
it's impossible to say exactly when."

Data indicates some reduction in contamination levels in

"It seems likely that it will be a few years yet before
technetium concentrations in lobsters reduce to pre-1995
levels," the letter added.

"Again, I cannot give you an exact figure due to the
complexities of the marine environment."

The Celtic League has members in six Celtic countries and
investigates political, cultural and environmental matters.

It initially raised the matter with Environment Secretary
Margaret Beckett.

South Down MP Eddie McGrady is another long-time
environmental campaigner and he said the release of Tc-99
was a bad step by Sellafield's management.

"It is a very powerful isotope with quite a long isotopic
life. To initially discharge it was, I think, a gross
neglect of public duty," he said.

"This is an ongoing area of grave, grave concern.

"We have unfortunately to live with that terrible bad
judgment," he added.

A spokeswoman for Sellafield said: "All Tc-99 discharges
are in accordance with the current discharge authorisations
granted by the UK's Environment Agency."

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