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May 18, 2006

Alliance Party Leader To Ask About UUP Sanctions

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News About Ireland & The Irish

BN 05/18/06 Alliance Party Leader To Ask About UUP Sanctions
BB 05/18/06 UUP 'Made Right Move Over Ervine'
BN 05/18/06 Petition Seeks To Record Stories Of Illegal Irish In US
RT 05/18/06 'Seeds Of Hope' For US Undocumented
SF 05/18/06 SF Will Play No Part In Assembly Charade
BB 05/18/06 Electoral Boundaries Map Redrawn
BB 05/18/06 Orangeman Reference Move 'Naive'
SF 05/18/06 McGuinness - We Must Unite Against Sectarian Hatred
BT 05/18/06 Opin: UUP's Indecent Haste In Signing Up The PUP
BT 05/18/06 Opin: Hain Must Clean Up His Parades Mess
BN 05/18/06 Sale Could Have Galway Landmark Replaced By Mediocrity
BN 05/18/06 RTÉ Attracts Vatican Ire Over Actress In Bishop’s Clothes
RT 05/18/06 Spanish Civil War Veteran Dies Aged 88
SF 05/18/06 Adams Expresses Condolences To Family Of Micheal O'Riordan


Alliance Party Leader To Ask About UUP Sanctions

18/05/2006 - 12:57:45

The leader of the North's Alliance Party has said he will
ask the Independent Monitoring Commission whether it will
be recommending sanctions against the Ulster Unionist

Earlier this week, the UUP allowed Progressive Unionist
Party leader David Irvine to join its grouping in the
Stormont Assembly.

The PUP is the political wing of the Ulster Volunteer
Force, which is still deeply involved in paramilitarism,
drug-dealing, extortion and violence.

The IMC has previously recommended sanctions against Sinn
Féin due to on-going IRA activity.

Alliance Party leader David Ford has said he will now ask
the body whether the UUP will be similarly punished for on-
going UVF activity.


UUP 'Made Right Move Over Ervine'

Allowing PUP leader David Ervine to join the UUP's assembly
group was the right decision for his party, Ulster Unionist
leader Sir Reg Empey has said.

Sir Reg made the comments following criticism from Sylvia
Hermon, the party's only MP, over the decision.

"I believe we have done the right thing and in the long
term the question is do we bring paramilitarism from
loyalists to an end?" he said.

On Wednesday, Lady Hermon said she had not been consulted
about the move.

Lady Hermon also said the move had caused her "deep
distress", however, she added that if it helped to deliver
UVF decommissioning it could prove to be worthwhile.

Mr Ervine announced plans to join the UUP's assembly group
ahead of Monday's inaugural meeting of the revived

The move means that the group grows to 25 assembly members.

It will also mean that there will be a unionist majority in
any future Stormont Executive and will give the Ulster
Unionists an extra ministerial seat at the expense of Sinn

The UUP will also be called ahead of Sinn Fein in the
assembly under its speaking rights.

Assembly speaker Eileen Bell has been asked by Ian
Paisley's Democratic Unionists to check the legality of the

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/05/18 08:24:06 GMT


Petition Seeks To Record Stories Of Illegal Irish In US

18/05/2006 - 08:08:01

Irish people living and working illegally in the United
States are being offered the chance to document their
experiences as part of a new petition being launched today.

The scheme, launched today, is part of efforts to pressure
the US Government into regularising the status of the
estimated 50,000 undocumented Irish immigrants in America.

Due to their illegal status, these people risk being
prevented from returning to their lives in the US if they
ever decide to visit their home country.

The Irish Voices petition is expected to be forwarded to US
politicians in the coming weeks.


'Seeds Of Hope' For US Undocumented

18 May 2006 09:04

The President, Mary McAleese, has said she believes some
seeds of hope have been sown this week to help solve the
problem of the millions of undocumented in the United

Ms McAleese was referring to a speech made by the US
President, George W Bush, this week in which he outlined
his commitment to the issue.

She added, however, that in the current immigration reform
debate in the US she would not expect a special case to be
made for the undocumented Irish, who were a 'tiny minority'
of the estimated 12 million undocumented in the US.

The Government estimates there are between 20 and 25,000
undocumented Irish in the US but the Irish Lobby for
Immigration Reform puts the figure at closer to 50,000.

The president made her comments in Butte, Montana, which
has a special place in the history of Irish America after
thousands of Irish went there in the 19th Century to mine
copper, making the city their own.

Butte's population is still predominately of Irish descent
and last night hundreds of its citizens turned out to greet
President McAleese.


Sinn Féin Make It Clear That They Will Play No Part In
Assembly Charade

Published: 18 May, 2006

Sinn Féin Chief Negotiator Martin McGuinness MP today said
that his party had been in contact with the two governments
and would tomorrow meet with the US Special Envoy Mitchell
Reiss in Belfast. Mr McGuinness said that they would be
making it clear that Sinn Féin would have nothing to do
with a talking shop Assembly.

Mr McGuinness said:

“The business which took place in the Assembly on Tuesday
was laughable. We had the spectacle of MLAs standing up
talking to each other on matters over which they have no
say. It was little more than a fairly transparent effort to
justify continuing salaries paid for by the taxpayer.

“Sinn Féin have been in contact with both governments in
recent days. Tomorrow we will meet the US Special Envoy
Mitchell Reiss in Belfast. We will make it clear to him
that Sinn Féin will have nothing to do with a talking shop

“Our focus remains on electing a fully functioning
Executive and delivering the institutions which the people
voted for under the Good Friday Agreement. Anything else is
unacceptable and more importantly will ensure that locally
accountable politicians will have no way of dealing with
the many issues of concern including water charges, rate
rises and health and education cuts.

“The reality remains for those parties who engaged in
Tuesdays Assembly charade that despite spending an
afternoon delivering speeches on the economy they have
changed British Direct Rule policy not one iota.” ENDS


Electoral Boundaries Map Redrawn

Plans for a new parliamentary constituency called Antrim
Coast and Glens have been dropped.

The Boundary Commission said there was no support for the

This is the major change in revised recommendations which
have been published following public inquiries in Belfast,
Newcastle and Ballymena.

New boundaries are being proposed in 12 of Northern
Ireland's 18 Westminster constituencies, but the changes
are not as sweeping as earlier proposals.

Belfast's four constituencies are being extended outwards
to incorporate Carryduff, Dundonald, Dunmurry, Lagmore and

With the Antrim Coast and Glens plans dropped, East Antrim
survives and is being given three wards from the massive
North Antrim constituency.

Some changes will also be made to Strangford, South Down,
Lagan Valley, Foyle and East Londonderry.

Despite earlier proposals to the contrary, the
constituencies of Newry and Armagh and Upper Bann are both

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/05/18 06:55:57 GMT


Orangeman Reference Move 'Naive'

An Orangeman who left the Parades Commission following a
controversy over his application form has said he may have
been "politically naive".

Don MacKay resigned from the body on Tuesday after it
emerged he had listed two politicians as references without
asking their permission.

Both DUP MP David Simpson and SDLP MLA Dolores Kelly said
they would not have supplied Mr MacKay with a reference.

Mr MacKay said the experience had left him with a bitter
taste in his mouth.

"I did clearly indicate on my form that I wished to be
consulted prior to the referees being taken up, that was
never done," he told BBC Radio Ulster.

"If it had of been done, I had every intention of going to
my two referees and say that I had given their names.

"However, in hindsight and because of the political
implications of the job I was applying for, maybe I was a
wee bit politically naive.

"I should have perhaps went to see them first and all this
nonsense would have ceased."

The government-appointed Parades Commission was set up in
1997 to make decisions on whether controversial parades
should be restricted.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/05/18 05:56:19 GMT


McGuinness - We Must Unite Against Sectarian Hatred

Published: 17 May, 2006

Speaking after attending the funeral of Michael McIlveen in
Ballymena today, Sinn Féin Chief Negotiator Martin
McGuinness MP said that political, community and church
leaders had to ensure that this was the last sectarian
killing of this kind.

Mr McGuinness said:

“Since Michael’s brutal murder just over one week ago in
Ballymena we have heard many positive soundings from within
the unionist community about their willingness to face up
to sectarianism. Michael was the third young catholic to be
murdered in similar circumstances since the last Assembly
election in November 2004 when the DUP assumed the mantle
of the leadership of unionism. We have to collectively
ensure that he is the last.

“Sinn Féin is willing and ready to stand side by side with
any unionist politician or church leader in our collective
opposition to sectarian hatred and sectarian
discrimination. A clear message must be sent out that we
are prepared to create a society based upon equality and
respect which removes the root causes of sectarianism.

“The Good Friday Agreement offers us such a road map.
Politicians can send out a strong message that we are
prepared to work together for the benefit of the entire
community by sitting down and establishing power sharing
government which respects all sections of our society. That
must be a priority for politicians who are genuinely
serious about eradicating this problem form within our
communities.” ENDS


Opin: UUP's Indecent Haste In Signing Up The PUP

18 May 2006

The grubby acceptance of the Ulster Unionist Party of the
PUP leader David Ervine MLA in a bid to boost their
ministerial positions highlights just how far the Ulster
Unionist Party has gone down.

This goes beyond accepting an individual as the UUP has, in
fact, dissolved their entire group and formally linked
themselves to the PUP.

Given that, in the recent past, they were perfectly happy
to cut any sort of deal with Sinn Fein/IRA to get into
power, perhaps we should not be surprised at their
eagerness to jump into bed with the party that provides
political cover for the UVF.

This is not about depriving Sinn Fein of a ministerial
post, as there were a range of other options to bring this
about, and indeed the calculation of party strength for
ministerial posts would not kick in until an Executive was
formed, which is unlikely to be before November.

So the indecent haste to sign up the PUP is more about
obtaining additional position than defending unionist or
democratic interests.

The DUP had, and will have, a range of options to change
the calculations over the next few months, but the one
option we will not take is to cosy up to representatives of
loyalist terrorism to obtain party advantage.

In taking this step, the UUP have fatally compromised their
integrity. They have linked themselves in with an
organisation whose ceasefire the government does not
recognise, who have failed to decommission even a single
weapon, and that the IMC have identified as being still
actively involved in terrorist and criminal acts. What
credibility will the UUP have the next time they criticise
any terrorist action when they have now themselves become
inextricably linked?

The UUP have sacrificed all principle for possible
temporary gain of office. Worst of all there is no
recognition on behalf of the leadership of the UUP that
they have done anything wrong. For those many decent
members of the UUP who will be naturally repulsed by this
decision, the time is long overdue for them to get out.
Your party has betrayed the principles of democracy once
too often.

COUNCILLOR PETER WEIR MLA North Down Borough Council


Opin: Hain Must Clean Up His Parades Mess

18 May 2006

At the very time it should be marshalling its plans to deal
with another marching season, the Parades Commission finds
itself beset by controversy. Don Mackay, one of the members
appointed to the new commission last November has quit and
the position of his colleague David Burrows looks
increasingly untenable.

The problem is that the two men - both members of the
Orange Order - appear to have cut corners when submitting
their applications in that they did not seek permission
from referees.

This oversight was compounded because nobody in the
Northern Ireland Office sought to run a check with the
referees concerned.

Now the cat is out of the bag and major questions are being
asked about the NIO's vetting procedures - or lack of them.
The buck, in this case, must stop with the Secretary of
State who has presided over the whole sorry situation.

Peter Hain says he made all the appointments in good faith
and in a bid to introduce fresh thinking, but these
procedural blunders have undermined the credibility of a
new Parades Commission which was beginning to find its

Surely the fact that Mr Mackay, a DUP member, had nominated
Dolores Kelly from the SDLP as a referee should have raised
questions at Stormont Castle. It beggars belief that nobody
at the NIO thought to lift the phone and run a check with
Mrs Kelly.

Although Mr Mackay and Mr Burrows could have saved everyone
a lot of trouble by seeking the permission of their
referees, they do deserve credit for having the courage to
put their heads above the parapet. As senior Orangemen in
Portadown they were prepared to sign up to a body which
Grand Lodge refuses to recognise.

In their own way, they were breaking the mould and their
presence should have made it easier for greater dialogue to
be developed between the commission and the loyal orders.
While Grand Lodge still boycotts the commission, the fact
that it is now prepared to meet the Irish Government,
President McAleese and the SDLP is surely an encouraging
sign of progress.

Despite the Order's reservations, the reality is that a
body such as the commission will be required as long as
there are contentious parades. In the absence of consensus,
someone has to adjudicate between the conflicting rights of
marchers and residents. The new commission has already
chalked up several successes.

Regrettably, the fall-out from this debacle will do damage
to the commission's image. Mr Mackay and Mr Burrows are not
blameless but nobody should be in any doubt that the
fundamental problem is Mr Hain's cavalier approach to the
appointments procedure. This mess is of his making, and now
he must clean it up.


Sale Could Have Landmark Galway Hotel ‘Replaced By Mediocrity’

18/05/2006 - 11:12:08

Galway city could lose one of its greatest landmarks
through the sale of the Great Southern Hotels, it was
claimed today.

Green Party representative Cllr Niall O Brolchain believes
the selloff is a bad decision, with Ireland’s heritage and
traditional businesses going to the highest bidder.

“The Great Southern in Eyre Square has been with us for a
very long time,” said Cllr O Brolchain. “It is the most
important building in the square and the traditions of
service there are an experience that will be lost forever
if the hotel is sold off.

“We have recently seen a number of high profile traditional
businesses in Galway City closing down and there is a real
danger that the character that Galway possesses will be
replaced by mediocrity.

“The Government had a real chance to preserve at least some
of its character by securing the future of the hotel.”

The decision to sell eight hotels, announced in February,
was this week followed with the launch of a comprehensive
marketing campaign.

The sales process, which will be carried out by public
tender, offers the hotels as one overall lot, as individual
lots or as various combinations of lots.

The deadline for receipt of tenders is Friday, June 23. It
is estimated that the process will conclude in late August
or early September.


RTÉ Attracts Vatican Ire Over Actress In Bishop’s Clothes

18/05/2006 - 08:06:02

The Vatican has reportedly lodged an official complaint
with RTÉ over the filming of an actress and model dressed
as a bishop.

Reports this morning said the piece was filmed close to
Vatican buildings by the Would You Believe programme on
Tuesday as part of a programme on the role of women in the

The three-man RTÉ crew were reportedly arrested and
questioned because it is illegal under Italian law for
someone who is not a cleric to wear cleric's clothes.

Reports this morning said the Vatican had also lodged a
complaint with RTÉ accusing the crew of acting
insensitively in such a religious area.


Spanish Civil War Veteran Dies Aged 88

18 May 2006 12:09

The Spanish Civil War veteran and chairman of the Communist
Party of Ireland, Michael O'Riordan, has died in Dublin at
the age of 88.

He was one of only two remaining Irishmen who fought
against General Franco's fascist forces and was shot and
injured in Spain.

On returning to Ireland, Mr O'Riordan was interned by
Eamonn de Valera's government during the 1940s.


Gerry Adams Expresses Condolences To Family And Friends Of Micheal O'Riordan

Published: 18 May, 2006

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams MP has expressed his deep
condolences to the family and friends of Micheal O’Riordan
who died this morning. Mr. Adams said Michael was an
inspiration to all those who knew him and will be sadly

Mr. Adams said:

“Born in the West Cork Gaeltacht, Michael O’Riordan was
politically active his entire life and an inspiration to
all those who knew him. He was an active republican,
internationalist and communist and a committed Gaelgeoir. A
member of the IRA in his youth, he was interned in the
Curragh Internment Camp in the 1940s. But he will be
remembered best by many for joining the International
Brigade and risking his life in the fight against facism in
Spain. He lost close comrades there and worked diligently
to ensure that the story of their struggle is widely known
today and their memory cherished. As a leader of the
Communist Party of Ireland he continued to fight against
injustice and for social change until very late in his

“On behalf of Sinn Féin, I want to extend condolences to
Michael’s family and friends. I measc laochra na nGael go
raibh sé.”ENDS

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