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April 20, 2006

What Happens to an Irishman Visiting Philly Refuses To Turn Spy

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News About Ireland & The Irish

CP 04/19/06 Irishman Visiting Philly Refuses To Turn Spy
EE 04/19/06 Three Questioned Over Loyalist's Murder
SF 04/19/06 Business In Hand Is Formation Of Functioning Institutions
BB 04/19/06 Closing Assembly Could Cost £3.5m
BN 04/19/06 Seized Explosives 'Were For Imminent Bomb Attack'
SF 04/19/06 Sinn Féin Comment On Lurgan Bomb Find
BB 04/19/06 City Nuclear Power Plant Proposed
BN 04/19/06 Forum Urges Blair To Scrap Nuclear Proposals
SF 04/19/06 Demonstrates Irish Opposition To Nuclear Power In Britain
IT 04/19/06 Tara Campaigners Bring Case To Supreme Court
BN 04/19/06 Irish Art On Show Prior To €15m Sale


He's IRAte

What Happens When An Irishman Visiting Philly Refuses To Turn Spy?

by Jenna Portnoy
Foreign Affairs

SONGS OF FREEDOM: Shane Coleman performs "Grace" on the tin
whistle to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Irish
Hunger Strike.

Shane Coleman hadn't visited his friends and family in the
United States in a decade, so four days before St.
Patrick's Day, he boarded a plane in his native Northern

During Coleman's 11-day vacation, City Councilman Jack
Kelly invited him to play "Grace" on the tin whistle at
City Council's recognition of the 25th anniversary of the
Irish Hunger Strike. Coleman's only concern as he
approached the podium was whether the beers he had at
Finnigan's Wake the night before would affect his
performance. (They didn't.)

"Everything was 100 percent, brilliant," the 29-year-old
father of two says in a thick brogue.

He spent the rest of the trip sightseeing and was ready to
return when he got the phone call.

On the line, he says, was a U.S. Customs agent asking him
to arrive early at Newark International Airport to address
a problem with his visa. "When immigration wants to talk to
you," he explains, "it's not good because it could
jeopardize you coming into the country again."

He got to the airport early and met a female agent who took
him into a backroom while another agent escorted his
girlfriend and son to check-in. Coleman says the woman
asked him whether he was involved in any terrorist
activities—he had indicated "no" on a form—and questioned
him about his assault on a police officer in Ireland seven
years ago.

At this point, Coleman says, he still wasn't panicked: "I
just thought I was doing my duty," so he wouldn't have
trouble returning to the U.S.

The woman left the room and returned with two men.

"How's it going, Shane?" said the first, who had an English
accent. "By my accent you can surely tell where I'm from."

"You're obviously Scotland Yard," Coleman replied.

"No, MI5."

He immediately recognized the tactic. British intelligence
officers wanted to recruit him to spy on the Irish
Republican Army, a paramilitary organization dedicated to
ending British rule in Northern Ireland.

"Fancy meeting you guys over here," Coleman said, sitting
back and preparing for a long haul.

The men told him they flew to the airport just to see him,
as if he should consider the meeting a special privilege.
They knew he quit his job as a subcontractor for a courier
company two weeks earlier, even though Coleman hadn't yet
registered with the government as unemployed.

"Clearly they've been watching me a long time," he says.
They went on to say he has some "associates" they were
interested in and mentioned the name of a friend he plays
Gaelic football with. "They're telling me I'm in a good
position to get in on some stuff."

As the two-hour long meeting wore on, Coleman says they
offered him money and asked if he wanted to go back to New
York, or even Hawaii, to think it over.

"I know where this conversation is going and I'm not
interested," Coleman said, insisting he was not and has
never been involved with a paramilitary group.

"We know you're not stupid," said the second man, who had
an Irish accent. "The pot's overflowing."

They gave him a phone number to use in case he changed his
mind or ended up in a "tight spot." Coleman told them he
works five days a week and plays football two or three
days. "On that schedule I couldn't imagine anything that
would jeopardize my liberty," he says, "unless somebody
sets me up."

Still, the men said they could get him off the hook in case
he was arrested for something serious.

He again refused to cooperate and they eventually let him
go home.

It was difficult to find officials who'd corroborate
Coleman's version of events.

Calls to the airport were referred to Customs and Border
Protection, which referred questions to the Immigration and
Customs Enforcement press office, under the Department of
Homeland Security, which did not return messages. One CBP
spokeswoman asked for the name of the federal agent who
first contacted Coleman, and said, "Without a name, I can't
substantiate anything." Finally, Lorraine Turner, a
spokeswoman for the British Consulate-General in New York
said, "We don't comment on security issues."

Coleman, however, didn't want to stay quiet. Once back in
Ireland, he heard that a former member of the IRA-linked
Sinn Féin party recently exposed as a British spy was found
shot dead. He decided to tell the Daily Ireland newspaper
about his ordeal. "I'm not scared," he says, "because the
more you expose them the more chance they won't come after

Recounting the incident during a cell-phone interview last
week, he said taking the agents' bait "would never cross my
mind. I see myself as an Irishman all my life and you can't
all of a sudden stop being an Irishman and start working
for British intelligence and betray your people."

Considering the close relationship between President Bush
and British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Coleman says he
believes American agents are assisting the MI5. "Whenever
you think of America, or even Philadelphia, and the amount
of Irish people who live here, and all the work Irish
people have done for America, it just seems like a
betrayal," he says.

Paul Doris, the Philly-based national director of Irish
Northern Aid, an organization that supports a united
Ireland, places blame squarely on British shoulders. "I
don't think anyone has anything to fear of the American
government," he says. "It's just the British; they can have
their claws in anywhere."

Upon getting the news, City Councilman Kelly sent letters
to U.S. Sens. Rick Santorum and Arlen Specter, making them
aware of Coleman's situation. He hopes someone will perform
an inquiry.

"We should be telling any foreign country, 'When people are
visiting our country, we're not going to allow you to
harass or intimidate or interview them. We're not going to
be part of it,'" he says.

Doris encourages others who have experienced anything
similar to come forward. "Most people in Ireland understand
what the British are up to," he says, "and they'll go to
any distance to undermine what progress we've made."

Meanwhile, in his rural home of Ardboe, Coleman is back
playing football. And, he's applying for another visa so he
can visit again this summer, while realizing that might not
be possible:

"I would say my chances of getting back in aren't good."


Three Questioned Over Loyalist's Murder

19/04/2006 - 15:33:21

Three men were being questioned today about a loyalist
paramilitary murder in Belfast.

They were arrested by detectives investigating the killing
of Jameson Lockhart, 25, in the east of the city last July.

Mr Lockhart, from north Belfast, was gunned down at the
wheel of a lorry on the lower Newtownards Road.

His killing was blamed on the Ulster Volunteer Force, which
at the time was locked in a deadly feud with the rival
Loyalist Volunteer Force.

Mr Lockhart had been clearing rubble from the demolished
Avenue One Bar when the gunmen struck.

The arrests were made in the Belfast area, a Police Service
of Northern Ireland spokesman confirmed.

He added: “Police are continuing to appeal for information
that can assist their inquiries.”


Real Business In Hand Is Formation Of Functioning Institutions

Published: 19 April, 2006

Commenting after Peter Hain's remarks in the British House
of Commons, Sinn Féin MP for Newry and Armagh Conor Murphy
today said that the real business in hand which is facing
the parties is the formation of a fully functioning set of
political institutions.

Mr Murphy said:

"There have been various spins and counter spins since
Peter Hain‚s remarks yesterday in the British House of
Commons around issues other than the real task in hand,
which is the formation of a set of fully functioning
institutions in line with what is demanded by the Good
Friday Agreement.

"It is the establishment of an Executive and All-Ireland
Ministerial Council which is at the top of our priority
list as we prepare for the Assembly reconvening on May
15th. That is our only interest in the immediate time

"The British government need to proceed speedily to lift
suspension and the Assembly must then act decisively to do
its job and elect into position a government. If it fails
to do so then the two governments must move to implement
all of the other aspects of the Good Friday Agreement which
remain outstanding and proceed to engage in meaningful all-
Ireland harmonisation, action and co-operation.

"The rejectionist veto on forward movement has been allowed
to remain in place for too long. People will not have to
wait much longer to establish whether or not the DUP are
for the first time going to share power with nationalists
and republicans on the basis of equality and respect or
whether they are going to continue along the road of
isolated opposition to moving forward." ENDS


Closing Assembly Could Cost £3.5m

Closing the NI assembly, if attempts to revive it fail, is
expected to cost hundreds of thousands of pounds.

The BBC has learned that if the assembly ceases in
November, the government is prepared to hand members up to
£1.7m to cover their expenses.

A golden handshake on top of that has not been rule out,
BBC political correspondent Martina Purdy said.

All 108 assembly members will be in line for a winding-up
allowance of as much as £16,000 each.

This is normally paid when a member stands down or fails to
get re-elected and is meant to cover costs such as paying
off staff, correspondence and closing offices.

The golden handshake could be a minimum of £16,000,
bringing the bill for closing the assembly, which has not
met since 2002, to around £3.5m

It could cost up to £1.7m as it would apply to all the

Ms Purdy said: "The government has not decided yet whether
assembly members should get a golden handshake
"resettlement allowance" on top of this if the assembly

The allowance is normally paid to members who do not seek
re-election or do not get re-elected.

In the last assembly the golden handshake was worth about
half of their annual salary.

If the same rule was applied this time, the golden
handshake could be a minimum of £16,000, bringing the bill
for closing the assembly, which has not met since 2002, to
about £3.5m.

On top of this, each member will be entitled to a pension.

The government, however, is hoping that the matter will not
arise and that the assembly will come back for good next

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

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/04/19 18:29:05 GMT


Seized Explosives 'Were For Imminent Bomb Attack'

19/04/2006 - 13:40:22

Nearly 250lbs of homemade explosives seized by police in
the North were being prepared for an imminent bomb attack,
a police chief warned today.

As four men were being questioned about the discovery at a
breakers yard in Lurgan, Co Armagh, Supt Alan Todd also
confirmed dissident republican terrorists were the main

He described the quantity taken during a planned search of
premises close to a housing estate as capable of the
“carnage in our times wreaked in the past.”

The police commander said: “Material of that sort is by its
nature unstable. The people preparing these things do so
with the intent to use it as soon as possible.

“The device was being constructed for immediate use.”

Although Mr Todd said police were not aware what the
intended target was, he expressed alarm that the bomb was
being prepared so close to Lurgan’s Kilwilkee Estate.

And he added: “It’s a very worrying escalation at a time
when the community is trying to move forward, that there is
still a small number of individuals intent on swimming
against the tide of public opinion.”

Police said the four men, aged 22, 26, 36 and 46, were
being held under the Terrorism Act.

Three were arrested early this morning and one later at the
scene on the town’s Antrim Road, close to the railway line.

Mr Todd added: “We believe it’s linked to dissident
republican organisations.”

There were also reports of attacks on police officers
involved in carrying out the operation.

The discovery provoked outrage in Lurgan, with the SDLP’s
Dolores Kelly sayi: “People were shocked at the

“The people of Lurgan are horrified that dissident
republicans have been plotting and planning a major attack.

“There’s no doubt these dissident republicans were intent
on causing major trauma and damage.

“They were also playing with the lives of the people of
Lurgan by making such a sophisticated device in the heart
of the community.”


Sinn Féin Comment On Lurgan Bomb Find

Published: 19 April, 2006

Commenting after the discovery of component parts for a
bomb in Lurgan, Sinn Féin Upper Bann Assembly member John
O'Dowd said:

"It has been alleged that this device is the work of one of
the republican micro organisations. These groups are
opposed to the peace process and opposed to the Good Friday
Agreement. The discovery of this device has ensured
disruption and inconvenience for local people and has
caused anger within the community.

"These groups have little or no support within this
community and they do not have a strategy to deliver Irish
unity and independence.

"It is incumbent on all of us in political leadership to
make it clear that politics can work and that politics can
deliver change.

"I would call on those responsible for this incident to
look objectively at the current political situation and to
carefully consider your options. This sort of activity does
nothing for this community and is an attack on the peace
process which is supported by the overwhelming number of
people on this island.

"This activity is wrong and should stop." ENDS


City Nuclear Power Plant Proposed

Councillors in Londonderry are to hear a local
businessman's proposals to build a nuclear power plant in
the city later on Thursday.

Robert Andrews said it would meet future energy needs in
Northern Ireland and provide hundreds of jobs.

He admited there was a risk with the nuclear waste but said
it could be dealt with "safely".

However, Dr Peter Doran of the Green Party said it could
become a "target for international terrorism".

Mr Andrews said he wanted a plant that would generate about
2,000 megawatt hours based at the old power station in

He said that to generate the same amount of power using
wind would require 300,000 windfarms throughout Ireland.

"I believe from a technical point of view that it is safe,
it is efficient, it is very profitable," he said.

"For example if a nuclear power station were in Derry it
would produce 500 permanent jobs. Nuclear power stations
last 60 years so that's 500 jobs for 60 years."

Mr Doran said the Sustainable Development Commission's
report to the prime minister had noted nuclear power plants
could be terror targets.

"The advocates of a nuclear power plant in Derry would be
placing every man, woman and child in Derry in the front
line in Tony Blair's war against international terrorism,"
he said.

He said that the idea would also sound the "death knell"
for tourism in the area.

John Woods from Friends of the Earth said that Ireland did
not need a nuclear power plant.

"There are lots of other ways of creating jobs, primarily
through renewable energy," he added.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/04/20 07:33:26 GMT


Forum Urges Blair To Scrap Nuclear Proposals

19/04/2006 - 13:32:16

A group representing councils in the Republic and the North
today urged Tony Blair to bin proposals to build a new
generation of nuclear power plants in the UK.

In its response to the UK government’s energy review, the
All-Ireland Nuclear Free Local Authorities Forum (AINFLAF)
also called on the British government to give a specific
commitment that no power plant will be built in the North.

Michael O’Dowd, a Fine Gael county councillor in Louth and
the chairman of AINFLAF, said: “The British government does
not need to build new nuclear power stations to meet its
future energy needs.

“Radiation does not respect international boundaries and a
new nuclear programme in the UK would pose unnecessary
risks to people and the environment in the Republic of

Mr Blair is believed to favour a combination of new nuclear
power stations and renewable energy to make up the
predicted energy shortfall in the UK which could result in
major electricity blackouts over the next decade.

Last November a panel of 150 experts attending a two-day
conference under the auspices of the Geological Society of
London warned within a decade the UK could be generating
only about 80% of the electricity it needs.

With one third of the UK’s generating capacity needing
replacement by 2020, the Confederation of British Industry
has pressed the government for a firm decision on a new
generation of nuclear stations.

Former Labour energy minister, Brian Wilson has urged the
government to give a clear steer in favour of nuclear power

However former Environment Secretary Michael Meacher has
said while the government needs to act quickly, he has also
argued: “I think we need nuclear like a hole in the head.”

AINFLAF warned today more nuclear power stations in the UK
would heighten the risks the North and the Republic of
Ireland would face from a potential disaster.

The group expressed particular concerns that new power
stations could be built on the UK’s west coast at Wylfa in
Anglesey, Heysham in Lancashire, Sellafield in Cumbria and
Hunterston in Ayrshire.

They also highlighted the fact that Wylfa is 60 miles from

The councils also argued more could be done to create
opportunities for the use of renewables and the local
generation of energy, particularly through investment in
Ireland’s electricity grid.

AINFLAF claimed the liberalisation of the electricity
market could potentially allow the sale of electricity
generated from renewable sources in the Republic of Ireland
and the North to be exported to customers in England,
Scotland, and Wales.

The SDLP's Down District Councillor Margaret Ritchie, a
member of the forum, said: “Our response is not just about
making the case against nuclear power but also about
stressing the positive contributions that renewable energy
and energy conservation can make towards filling any energy

“Our island has been blessed with the renewable resources
of wind energy and tidal energy, and by harnessing these we
have the potential to become an exporter of green

The councils who take part in the All-Ireland Nuclear Free
Local Authorities Forum are Louth County Council, South
Dublin County Council, the Dublin Regional Authority,
Monaghan County Council and Bray Town Council, Down
District Council and Newry and Mourne District Council.


Call By AINFLAF Demonstrates Irish Opposition To Nuclear Power In Britain

Published: 19 April, 2006

Sinn Féin Environment and Local Government spokesperson
Arthur Morgan T.D. has welcomed the call from the All-
Ireland Nuclear Free Local Authorities Forum (AINFLAF) for
British Prime Minister Tony Blair to bin proposals to build
a new generation of nuclear power plants across Britain.

Deputy Morgan said, “Nuclear energy is a thing of the past.
The prospect of Britain building a new generation of
nuclear power stations must be opposed as must any attempt
by an Irish Government to consider developing nuclear
energy. Sinn Féin welcomes the call from the All-Ireland
Nuclear Free Local Authorities Forum (AINFLAF) for the
British Government to dump proposals to build a new
generation of nuclear power plants. The call by AINFLAF
further shows that the Irish people are overwhelmingly
opposed to the construction of more nuclear reactors in
Britain because of the implications of such reactors for
the people of Ireland who for too long have lived with the
threat posed by Sellafield. The future solutions to our
energy needs worldwide must lie in renewable energy and the
promotion of energy saving technologies and not in nuclear

“I would urge those local authorities who are not part of
AINFLAF to affiliate to it in order to demonstrate the
vociferous opposition of the people of Ireland to nuclear
power. We need to work together to prevent the British,
and indeed the Irish Government in the future, capitulating
to the powerful lobby from the nuclear industry.” ENDS


Tara Campaigners Bring Case To Supreme Court

Last updated: 19-04-06, 14:18

Campaigners battling to re-route the controversial M3
motorway away from the Hill of Tara in Co Meath have served
Minister for the Environment Dick Roche with notice of a
Supreme Court challenge to the project.

Lawyer Vincent Salafia revealed he was appealing a High
Court ruling clearing the way for the divisive road.

But he said with a general election due next year he was
still hopeful the Government would try to appease voters by
doing a u-turn on the project.

"While the case is proceeding logically to the Supreme
Court, and Europe if necessary, we are still hoping for a
political decision by the authorities to review the
situation and consider re-routing the Tara section of
motorway," he said.

"With an election coming up, the Government is acutely
aware that 70 per cent of people surveyed nationally in
2005 said they wanted the motorway rerouted away from Tara.

"The M3 actually goes over three kilometres off course to
the east, to split the Tara valley, which has few
inhabitants. If it went the same distance in the opposite
direction it would service Trim and save Tara."

Formal written notice of the Supreme Court action is today
being handed to Mr Roche, the Attorney General, Meath
County Council and the National Roads Authority.

Mr Salafia lost his High Court challenge to the M3 last
May. He claimed the National Monuments Act 2004 is
unconstitutional, because it does not pass the test laid
out by Miss Justice Mary Laffoy in the M50/Carrickmines
Castle case.

In that hearing she recognised the constitutional
imperative on the state to protect the national heritage.

The Act, introduced by then minister Martin Cullen,
drastically rewrote heritage protection legislation giving
the minister sole discretion in deciding whether any
archaeological site is a national monument and whether it
can be demolished.

Mr Salafia has also claimed the directions given by the
minister, for excavation of 38 archaeological sites along
the route chosen by Meath County Council and the National
Roads Authority, are unconstitutional. They were carefully
drawn up to suggest the motorway would help preserve Irish
heritage. But Mr Justice Thomas Smyth in the High Court
rejected Mr Salafia's claims.

© 2006


Irish Art On Show Prior To €15m Sale

19/04/2006 - 14:31:22

Around €15m worth of art, due to go under the hammer next
month, is this week on show to the public.

Works by Lavery, Lowry, Munnings, and Turner are among the
pieces in the free exhibition in Dublin's Merrion Hotel
tomorrow and Friday.

The items are all part of Christie’s 10th Anniversary Sale
of Irish Art to be held in London on May 12.

Highlights on show include Louis le Brocquy’s portrait of
Samuel Beckett, which is expected to fetch up to €120,000
and a watercolour of James Joyce worth up to €25,000.

The Blue Rigi by Turner is expected to fetch in excess of
€2.8m, The Honeymoon by Lavery is priced at €1.1m and a
Munnings piece has been given the price tag of up to €2m.

The exhibition and auction includes British, Irish,
Impressionist and Sporting pieces alongside sculptures by
Breon O’Casey, son of famous playwright Sean O’Casey.

“People love seeing the works on tour,” said contemporary
specialist Johanna McDonald.

“It always goes down really well and people enjoying coming
to see all the pieces.

“It is a good opportunity for people to see these things
that they wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity to see.

“It is especially good for artists like Breon O’Casey whose
sculptures are already in the Tate Gallery in London, but
we can develop their action market.”

The tour will exhibit in the Clandeboye Courtyard in
Belfast on April 25 and at Christie’s, King Street, London,
from May 7 – 11.

Bernard Williams, head of sales, said: “It is good to show
them to an optimum audience and taking the art to Dublin
and Belfast helps that.

“A lot of what we gather is from elsewhere and it will
eventually hopefully finish up here. It is important to see
the pieces in the flesh and not just in a catalogue. Some
times things look better in a catalogue than they are and
vice versa.”

“We always get a good audience here,” continued Mr
Williams. “This is the tenth year we have held the event so
collectors know we are around.

“A lot of hard work goes into organising the event. I have
been to Canada, America and South Africa gathering for this
one. Irish art is so rare. But most of the pieces we sell
do come back to Ireland.”

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