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May 19, 2006

Court Overturns Orangeman's Job On Parade Body

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News About Ireland & The Irish

IT 05/19/06 Court Overturns Orangeman's Job On Parade Body
SF 05/19/06 Parades Judgement An Indictment On Peter Hain
IT 05/19/06 US House Of Representatives Urges Finucane Inquiry
SF 05/19/06 House Call On Pat Finucane Murder Welcomed
SF 05/19/06 Crowe Urges Support For Undocumented Irish
IT 05/19/06 Families Of Illegal Irish In US Urged To Lobby
BT 05/19/06 Relatives Of UVF Victim In Fight For Justice
BT 05/19/06 M15 Switch Won't Hinder Fight Against Crime, Says Orde
DJ 05/19/06 Sectarianism: It's Not Both Sides
IT 05/19/06 Policing Board Rejects British Proposals
BB 05/19/06 Website 'Inciting Trimble Murder'
BN 05/19/06 Ahern Pays Tribute To Spanish Civil War Hero
IT 05/19/06 Opinion Poll Shows Fine Gael Gaining Ground
IT 05/16/06 Sad Day As Fruit Of The Loom Closes Its Doors In Buncrana


Court Overturns Orangeman's Job On Parade Body

The appointment of a prominent Orangeman to the Northern
Ireland Parades Commission by Northern Ireland Secretary
Peter Hain was overturned in the High Court in Belfast

Mr Justice Morgan ordered the quashing of the appointment
of David Burrows last November.

In a reserved judgment today, he ruled that the
appointments procedure was unlawful "because it failed to
ensure that membership of the Parades Commission was
representative of both sides of the community".

The judge said his ruling did not preclude Mr Burrows
reapplying and being appointed provided the correct
procedures were followed.

A resident of the Garvaghy Road in Portadown went to the
High Court last week seeking to overturn the appointment of
Mr Burrows and fellow Orangeman Don MacKay.

Both Orangemen were members of the Portadown Lodge of the
Orange Order which has been at the centre of the decade-
long dispute surrounding the Drumcree parade.

Mr MacKay resigned from the commission earlier this week
because of question marks over his application form.

© The Irish Times/

Mr Hain said he was disappointed at the ruling and was
taking legal advice.

Mr Justice Morgan said he found the failure of the
appointment panel members to recognise a potential conflict
of interest "inexplicable".

He also said the case caused him to doubt whether the
appointment panel members understood the nature of the task
in which they were engaged.

"The appointments to the Parades Commission were made in
good faith and the new commission has been very successful
at beginning to build trust and confidence, " Hain said.

"I'm now taking legal advice over the judgement."

John Duffy, a resident of the nationalist Garvaghy Road in
Portadown, went to the High Court last week seeking to
overturn the appointment of Mr Burrows and Mr MacKay.

Garvaghy Road Residents Association spokesman Brendan
MacCionnaith said on Friday that the case raised questions
about the judgement of Parades Commission chairman Roger

"I think what we have now is a completely contaminated
commission. Starting again with a clean slate would be a
good idea," he said.

Mr MacCionnaith said there was a conflict of interest in
having any member of the Orange Order or any member of a
residents' group opposed to Orange parades on the

"The Parades Commission is a tribunal and the people who
sit on it should be completely independent: that rules out
persons like myself as well as members of the Orange

He said they would meet over the weekend to consider their
formal response and whether to take further action.


Both Mr Burrows and Mr MacKay were members of the Portadown
Lodge of the Orange Order which has been at the centre of
the decade-long dispute surrounding what has become known
as the Drumcree parade.

Mr MacKay resigned from the commission earlier this week
after it emerged he had listed DUP MP David Simpson and
SDLP assembly member Dolores Kelly as referees on his
application form without asking their permission.

SDLP Upper Bann assembly member Dolores Kelly said the
ruling confirmed that the appointments procedure used had
failed to provide membership representative of the

"This whole debacle has been the NIO's fault and the ruling
shows they acted unlawfully," she said.

"Instead of facing up to and rectifying their actions, they
preferred to lash out at the SDLP and create more problems
for themselves."

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


Parades Judgement An Indictment On Peter Hain

Published: 19 May, 2006

Commenting after the High Court in Belfast ruled in favour
of the Garvaghy Road residents in their judicial review
concerning appointments to the Parades Commission, Sinn
Féin Assembly member for Upper Bann John O'Dowd today said
that Peter Hain's arrogant approach had undermined public
confidence in the Commission.

Speaking outside the High Court Mr O'Dowd said:

"The High Court today ruled that Peter Hain in his haste to
appoint members of the Orange Order to the Parades
Commission ignored the basic procedures which need to be
followed in relation to appointments to public bodies. This
judgement is a damning indictment on Peter Hain‚s
management of this issue.

"Peter Hain has managed to undermine public confidence in
the Parades Commission and has made their already hard job
all the more difficult. This judicial review was not about
David Burrows the individual it was about the manner in
which the British government went about appointing the new
Parades Commission.

"There now remains a massive job of work for both the
British government and the Parades Commission to rebuild
public trust in their ability to deliver in a fair and
impartial fashion. I t is my belief that two new
independent commissioners need to be appointed by following
the correct procedures." ENDS


US House Of Representatives Urges Finucane Inquiry

The US House of Representatives called on Britain today to
start a full investigation of the 1989 murder of Belfast
solicitor Pat Finucane.

The House voted 390-5 for a resolution urging Britain to
establish a full "independent public judicial" inquiry into
the murder of Mr Finucane who was shot dead in his home in
Belfast in front of his wife and three children.

In 2001, the British and Irish governments jointly
appointed Peter Cory, a retired justice of Canada's Supreme
Court, to determine whether independent commissions should
investigate possible state-sponsored collusion in six
murders, including Mr Finucane's.

Judge Cory made his recommendation for an inquiry
commission, but the British government instead said it
would conduct a more limited probe of Mr Finucane's death.

New Jersey Republican Rep. Chris Smith, who sponsored the
measure, said he hoped "our combined efforts here and in
the Republic of Ireland will move the British government to
finally live up to their agreement ... and help secure
public and international confidence in the Northern Ireland
peace process."

© The Irish Times/


House Of Representatives Call On Pat Finucane Murder Welcomed

Published: 19 May, 2006

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Justice issues Gerry Kelly today
welcomed the decision by the UIS House of Representatives
to demand an independent inquiry into the murder of Human
Rights lawyer Pat Finucane.

Mr Kelly said:

"Since the murder of Pat Finucane and the obvious
involvement of the British State in it, successive British
governments have sought to frustrate the search for the
truth. The culture of concealment remains to this day.

"The British government need to realise that the demand by
the Finucane family for the truth will not simply
disappear. The current legislation under which the British
government are planning to conduct the inquiry will
frustrate the search for justice.

"The decision by the House of Representatives to endorse
the position of the Finucane family in opposition to the
British proposals is an important step and very much places
the British government in the dock.

"Tony Blair needs to honour the public commitments he made
at Weston Park to establish a fully independent
international inquiry into the murder of Pat Finucane."


Crowe Urges Support For Undocumented Irish

Published: 18 May, 2006

Sinn Féin Dublin South West TD Seán Crowe has urged
Families and Friends of undocumented Irish people in the
USA to support the "Irish Voices" campaign to sway US
political opinion for undocumented Irish. The campaign was
launched today and aims to collect real life stories of the
undocumented and their families and friends who live an
under constant threat of being deported.

Speaking after attending the launch of the campaign Deputy
Crowe said, "The situation for the approximately 50,000
undocumented Irish in the US has been a cause for continual
concern for Sinn Féin. Our concerns centre around the
vulnerability of such a large group of isolated Irish
people and in particular their inability to return home for
visits, holidays, weddings or even funerals due to a fear
of not been allowed back into America where they have built
their lives

"On behalf of Sinn Féin I would like to welcome this new
campaign and I would urge as many people as possible to
come forward with their stories of the undocumented and
their families and friends. I would also urge all those
living in the US to step up their support the Irish Lobby
for Immigration reform, to lobby their local Congressmen
and Senators to sway US political opinion in favour of the
undocumented Irish." ENDS


Families Of Illegal Irish In US Urged To Lobby

Mark Hennessy

Families of Irish illegal immigrants living in the US have
been asked to put pressure on lawmakers there. The Irish
Voices campaign is supported by the US-based Irish Lobby
for Immigration Reform (ILIR).

Relatives are asked to lodge their own stories of the
heartache suffered by illegal immigrants and their families
in Ireland with the campaign group.

"I know of one man who has done very well in the US since
he went there, who has paid his taxes, but who was unable
to come back to Ireland for the funerals of both of his
parents," said Fianna Fáil Limerick West TD John Cregan.

Campaign organiser Tom Reddy said he believed it would
"reveal the heart-rending personal stories that could help
sway legislators so that the Irish undocumented can seek a
pass to permanent residency". Last week ILIR's president,
Grant Lally, met with Minister for Foreign Affairs Dermot
Ahern during a visit to Dublin.

New US immigration legislation is edging closer to law
following the senate's agreement to extend border fences
with Mexico, and make some moves towards legalising 11 to
12 million illegal immigrants in the US.

Mr Reddy said: "Time is running out. Within weeks Irish
illegals could be free to apply for US citizenship or
alternately be criminalised and deported." He asked people
to send their personal histories to Irish Voices, 19
Montague Street, or

© The Irish Times


Relatives Of UVF Victim In Fight For Justice

19 May 2006

The family of an innocent victim of last summer's loyalist
feud has called on Northern Ireland's politicians to throw
support behind a campaign to bring the young man's killers
to justice.

Nicola McIlvenny, whose 20-year-old cousin Craig McCausland
was shot dead by the UVF last July, said she needed
political help in asking whether the terror group "is
operating with the absolute impunity it seems to have".

The young father's family met with Tory MP David Lidington,
the shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, on
Monday in a bid to have the murder raised in the House of

"Mr Lidington said he was willing to raise the wider issue
of the UVF's apparent ceasefire in the House to help us
out," Ms McIlvenny said.

"Ideally what we want is Craig's killers to be brought
before the courts and punished for what they have done.
It's almost a year since he was killed and we feel that
we're at a standstill.

"But we also need help in raising the wider issue of
loyalist murders. We are calling for all politicians and
influential people in Northern Ireland to help raise this
issue and join our fight for justice."

The family launched the Justice for Craig campaign last
year in the wake of the horrific murder. Craig was gunned
down by the UVF on July 11 in his north Belfast home in
front of his partner and her two young children. He left
behind his own son Dean, then aged just two.

He was one of four men shot dead by the UVF last summer.
His murder was thought to be a case of mistaken identity
and police quickly confirmed that he had no paramilitary
connections whatsoever.

Craig's mother Lorraine was viciously attacked by the UDA
18 years earlier and then beaten to death with a breeze

Ms McIlvenny continued: "Lorraine was just 23 when she was
murdered. We thought that murder could never visit our
family again. Craig was just 20 and he left behind a son
the same age as he was when his mother was killed.

"No-one has been brought to justice for either murder. When
is it going to stop? A line has to be drawn somewhere.
Someone has to be held accountable for the numerous murders
the UVF has been responsible for since 1994. It looks to me
like they are operating with absolute impunity."

Ms McIlvenny said the full grief of losing Craig was only
beginning to hit his family now.

"I think we've had a delayed reaction and it's really only
hitting home now."


M15 Switch Won't Hinder Fight Against Crime, Says Orde

By Jonathan McCambridge
19 May 2006

The Chief Constable today insisted that the handover of
national security intelligence gathering to MI5 would not
compromise his ability to fight crime.

Sir Hugh Orde is currently the only Chief Constable in the
UK responsible for dealing with both policing and national

From next year MI5 - officially known as the Security
Service and to be locally based in Holywood - will take
over the lead role in intelligence gathering about national
security from the PSNI, including international terrorist
threats and terrorist activities within Northern Ireland.

The Government has argued that the switch to MI5 is
necessary because London must keep responsibility for
national security if justice powers are handed to a
Stormont Executive.

However, the SDLP has led the opposition, insisting that an
enlarged role for MI5 is bad for policing and against

More disturbing has been the revelation that MI5 was warned
about a plot to bomb Omagh four months before the Real IRA
attack. But MI5 did not pass the warning on to the RUC,
even though the police were supposed to be the lead
intelligence agency in Northern Ireland. This has led the
Omagh families to call for a public inquiry.

Primacy in intelligence gathering currently rests with the
Crime Operations department of PSNI - widely judged to be
one of the major successes of the newly structured police

The Chief Constable rejects the allegation that the MI5
handover will weaken his force in any way, or make Northern
Ireland less safe.

In an interview with the Belfast Telegraph, he said: "First
let's think why this is happening. It does not make sense
for a Chief Constable to be responsible for delivering
policing and national security and I am the only Chief
Constable who has both those responsibilities.

He added: "In terms of making Northern Ireland safer, I see
no change in our ability to deal with crime at all
emanating from this shift. We will deal with law
enforcement and MI5 will lead on strategy on national

The Chief Constable rejects the SDLP allegation that the
intelligence handover is against Patten.

"Interestingly, Patten was mostly silent on crime in
general. Crime Operations was our police response to
getting organised around serious crime. What we have shown
is that we have a structure that is fit for purpose. The
so-called untouchables of crime have now been touched. None
of that will change just because MI5 leads on national

Sir Hugh will not discuss individual cases but insists he
would not have signed up to the handover if there was any
possibility that information will be kept from detectives.

"I understand there are worries among nationalists, but
there are accountability mechanisms in MI5.

"But in the end how transparent can you be when you are
dealing with people who are a threat to the state?"


Sectarianism: It's Not Both Sides

SINCE THE horrific murder of Ballymena teenager Michael
McIlveen last week much attention has been paid to the
County Antrim town and indeed some surprise has been
expressed that such sectarianism still exists.

Hopes have been expressed that the death might serve some
good in that it appears to have brought a section of the
town's population together in sympathy and mourning. No one
could fail to be moved by the sight of young teenagers in
both Celtic and Rangers tops mourning together.

But once again the perceived wisdom and experts have been
trundled out to tell us how sectarianism must be tackled
and that it is a problem besetting 'both sides.'

The PSNI certainly subscribe to this view with the comments
of Terry Shevlin of that organisation how sectarianism in
Ballymena is 'a two way street'. Who does he think he is

The Community Relations Council was on telling us how
sectarianism exists on 'both sides' and how everyone had a
responsibility to tackle this cancer in our society.

At least a presenter on Radio Foyle challenged this
assertion and asked does it really exist on both sides.

For too long in our society sectarianism has been seen as a
cancer on both sides and therefore any solution that did
not tackle both sides was a non starter.

But in many ways this attitude has allowed sectarianism to
fester and the tragic results of that were all too clear in

Certainly there are elements of sectarianism in the
nationalist community. The conflict at interface areas is
evidence enough of that. But that problem is being tackled
by the local community who have even mounted patrols to
help stamp out sectarian attacks on the Fountain Estate.

Nationalists have never exhibited the same deep sectarian
hatred as loyalists seem to do and maybe it is time that
instead of hiding behind this myth that 'both sides' are to
blame politicians and groups focussed their attention on
where the problem really lies.

Unfortunately it has to be said deep rooted sectarianism is
a feature of the unionist community to a far greater extent
than anything found in the nationalist community.

Can anyone say where the nationalist equivalent of
Ballymena is? Can anyone say where the nationalist
equivalent of Portadown is?

Would ordinary nationalists have allowed anything remotely
resembling the Harryville protest outside a Catholic Church
to go on? No chance.

Would the disgraceful scenes at Carnmoney Cemetery happen
in a nationalist area? Again the answer has to be no.

There is no town in the North where ordinary
unionists/Protestants can say that they cannot enter
certain parts of the town centre on fear of their lives. We
have been told stories about Derry city centre but a walk
through the town on any given afternoon will reveal
uniforms from almost every school in the city equally

There is nowhere in the North where ordinary Protestants
are stamped and battered to death simply because of their
religion as happened to Michael McIlveen or Robert Hamill
in Portadown.

And even amidst the outpouring of grief in Ballymena this
week we still had reports of mourners cars being attacked
by loyalists near the cemetery and a Sinn Fein councillor
being prevented from attending the funeral because the PSNI
told her she was not safe to drive across the town.

Sectarianism is alive and well and living in places like
Ballymena and Portadown and many another place in the North
and unfortunately it is ordinary nationalists who are at
the receiving of these often murderous attacks.

It is no good mouthing pious platitudes about sectarianism
being a plague on both sides when the reality is so much
different and until everyone starts recognising the true
nature of sectarianism it will never be tackled.

Ian Paisley deserves some credit for his reaction to the
McIlveen tragedy - by all accounts he was supportive of the
family. But the real acid test for the DUP leader will be
in what he will do about one of his councillors in
Ballymena who when commenting on the McIlveen case said
that Catholics don't get into Heaven anyway.

I doubt he will do anything.

Is it any wonder that there are a section of people running
about in our society who look upon Catholic lives as being
less valuable than Protestant lives if this is the attitude
from their civic leaders.

There is an aspect of sectarianism that is never talked
about and therefore never addressed by all the bodies and
groups set up supposedly to bring 'both communities
together' and that is the religious underpinning of
unionist hostility to nationalists.

Unionists have severe problems with Catholicism in itself
and there is simply no equivalent on the nationalist side
of this phenomenon.

A little example may suffice. A leading unionists in this
city was engaged in a friendly conversation with a
nationalist and both seemed to be getting on great.

But as they parted the unionist told the nationalists that
they could never be friends. The nationalists wondered why
not as they had been getting on great and was told 'But you
believe in transubstantiation and so we could never be


The nationalist to be fair hardy knew what
transubstantiation was never mind why it would be a hurdle
to friendship.

But this underlying attitude of anti-Catholicism feeds into
the unionist psyche and leads to the sectarianism that
manifests itself on the streets of Ballymena and Portadown.

Unionist political leaders and Protestant church leaders
have to address the causes of sectarianism within their
community and stop pretending that there is nothing they
can do because it affects 'both sides.'

Until it is recognised that sectarianism is a malaise that
primarily affects the unionist community nothing serious
will ever be done to tackle the problem.

Unfortunately this does not look like it is going to happen
for some time to come.

(The author of this article is from Derry city)
19 May 2006


Policing Board Rejects British Proposals

Frank Millar, London Editor

The Northern Ireland Policing Board has rejected the
British government's proposed guidelines for the operation
of Community Based Restorative Justice Schemes (CBRJ) to
deal with "low-level crime" in loyalist and republican

The SDLP has been leading the opposition to the British
government's Draft Guidelines - fearing restorative justice
schemes will provide cover for extending paramilitary
control in the communities, and a new form of "political
policing" which the Patten reforms were designed to

And the party's fears have been reflected by unionist
members of the policing board, who agree the proposed
operation of the schemes would permit CBRJ representatives
to effectively "bypass the police in their engagement with
the criminal justice system" in the North.

In a cross-party submission to criminal justice minister
David Hanson ahead of publication of his final proposals
next month, the policing board insists that CBRJ schemes
cannot be allowed to participate in the criminal justice
system without giving "unqualified acceptance" to the role
of the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI). And it
says schemes refusing to recognise the police should be
denied "the imprimatur of the state."

This emerged last night as SDLP and DUP members of the
board insisted that Mr Hanson should present his proposed
final "guidelines" to them in advance of a public
announcement believed to be scheduled for June 18th.

And news of the board's uncompromising response confirmed
that the issue of restorative justice schemes is integral
to the entire policing debate, which DUP leader the Rev Ian
Paisley says must be resolved as part of any powersharing
devolution deal in November.

Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain has attempted to
allay concerns about the CBRJ issue, suggesting that the
final proposals brought forward by the government will "of
course" have to be agreed with the PSNI.

In a previously unpublished extract from an interview with
The Irish Times last week, Mr Hain said: "Any taking
forward of restorative justice has two cardinal principles
underpinning it. One, it's got to be agreed with the
police. The other, it has to be in line with the rule of
law. There is no compromise on those points."

Despite Mr Hain's apparent assurance, however, senior SDLP
sources last night expressed their concern that ministers
would seek to bypass cross-party opposition by proceeding
in the first instance with a limited number of "pilot
schemes" subject to only "minimal regulation".

At the same time a senior member of the policing board said
he did not know if the PSNI's submission and statement of
concerns was as comprehensive as that of the board.

The board says it believes CBRJ schemes could have a role
to play in dealing with activities of concern to local
communities in the North. In its submission to Mr Hanson,
it says it is essential for any guidelines developed in
relation to such schemes "to clarify what is meant by low-
level crime", in order that all involved should "understand
the parameters of CBRJ".

However, the board rejects "the rationale" apparently
underpinning the Draft Guidelines, which it says "appears
to be that, as at present there is nothing to stop people
setting up schemes, then surely it is better to have them
regulated than not regulated".

© The Irish Times


Website 'Inciting Trimble Murder'

A website is inciting the murder of David Trimble, the
former Ulster Unionist leader has claimed.

The site supports the 32-County Sovereignty Committee,
believed to be the political wing of the Real IRA which
carried out the Omagh bombing.

Lord Trimble has asked Metropolitan Police chief Sir Ian
Blair to take action over the website.

He said the site contained "disgusting libellous
statements" and "a clear incitement to murder me".

Last week, the US government told relatives of some of
those who died in the 1998 Real IRA attack that it would do
what it could to shut down the website.

Lord Trimble said it was "a considerable disappointment to
see that the site continues to operate".

'Grave mistake'

"I have no doubt that if this website was a Fundamental
Islamist site advocating murder, arrests and closure would
now have happened," he added.

Lord Trimble said it was a "grave mistake for the
authorities to permit the continued operation of what is in
effect a terrorist support group".

"Whatever complacency there might have been within mainland
police forces about this sort of activity must surely have
ended after last year's bombs in London and I do hope that
vigorous action will now be taken on this matter."

He said he was copying the letter to the prime minister,
home secretary, Northern Ireland secretary and Scottish

Last week, Michael Gallagher, whose son Aidan died in the
Omagh bombing, said a notice board on the site was
particularly offensive.

The website's service provider is in Canada, but it has a
sister company in the US.

They asked Dean Pittman, the US consul general to Belfast,
to try and get the Canadian government to move to shut down
the site.

Lord Trimble has called for police in Scotland and Northern
Ireland to become involved as there was a "clear
connection" with Londonderry on the web page.

He added that he believed the server was operated through

Twenty-nine people, including a woman pregnant with twins,
died in the 1998 Real IRA car bomb attack in the County
Tyrone town.

Dr Kevin Curran of the School of Computing at the
University of Ulster said it was difficult to get a website
shut down "because they are not just within one

"We have to deal with different countries and different
laws," he said.

He said most internet service providers had acceptable use

"But there is a worry that 'defamation havens' could spring
up in jurisdictions which do not have defamation law," he

Dr Curran said websites with offensive material could
theoretically be based in those countries, although he
added that this so far had not happened.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/05/19 05:49:51 GMT


Ahern Pays Tribute To Spanish Civil War Hero

18/05/2006 - 19:33:10

Taoiseach Bertie Ahern today paid tribute to Spanish Civil
War veteran Michael O’Riordan, who has died.

Mr O’Riordan, founder of the Communist Party of Ireland and
one of the last Irish men to have fought against General
Franco’s fascist forces, died in Dublin aged 88.

Mr Ahern said he was one of many men from the International
Brigades who had been honoured for joining the fight for

“[Mr O’Riordan was] one of those who were willing to make
an enormous sacrifice in the fight for democracy in Spain
in the 1930s,” he said.

“He was a fearless fighter for the Labour movement
throughout his life.”

The Taoiseach also conveyed his sympathies to Mr
O’Riordan’s son Manus and daughter Brenda.

Former Labour Party leader Ruairi Quinn described him as a

“Michael O’Riordan stood out against the tide of Irish
conservatism and clerical domination that kept Ireland
backward and isolated in the 1930s, '40s and '50s,” he

“He remained loyal to his Labour roots and socialist values
throughout his life.

"Although a committed member of the Communist Party he
urged generations of young Irish socialists to join the
Labour Party and to work democratically for a prosperous
Ireland – free and fair, compassionate and tolerant.

“The fact that such sentiments are now taken as normal is a
measure of the change brought about by the courage of the
likes of O’Riordan.”

He was one of only two remaining Irishmen who fought
against General Franco’s fascist armies during the Spanish
Civil War. Serving in the International Brigades in the
Connolly Column he was shot and injured while fighting and
was honoured by the Spanish government for his commitment.

On his return to Ireland in the 1940s, Mr O’Riordan was
interned by Eamonn de Valera’s government and is best known
as the founder of the Communist Party of Ireland.

He published many writings and memoirs and a book on the
Irish republican fighters in the Spanish Civil War and also
dozens of articles through the CPI.

Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams said O’Riordan was an
inspiration to all those who knew him and will be sadly

“He will be remembered best by many for joining the
International Brigade and risking his life in the fight
against fascism in Spain,” Mr Adams said.

“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.”


Opinion Poll Shows Fine Gael Gaining Ground

Fine Gael has made significant gains in public support at
the expense of Fianna Fail according to the latest Irish
Times TNS mrbi poll which shows for the first time that a
Fine Gael/Labour-led coalition could form an alternative

The figures show Fianna Fail's support has fallen by 6
percentage points since the last poll conducted in January
while Fine Gael has picked up 4 percentage points to 28 per
cent. Labour has fallen by 1 point to 15 per cent with Sinn
Fein and the PDs showing no change at 9 per cent and 3 per
cent respectively.

Satisfaction with the Government has fallen by 6 points to
40 per cent while those dissatisfied with Fianna Fail/PD
coalition rose by 4 points to 50 per cent.

While Bertie Ahern remains the most popular party leader,
his approval rating has fallen by 4 points to 52 per cent.
Mary Harney's popularity has fallen by 5 points to 34 per
cent over the period when the A&E crisis dominated the
domestic agenda.

Fine Gael will be disappointed that the party's gains have
not translated into a boost in popularity for Enda Kenny
who remains stuck on a 40 per cent personal approval

Labour will also be concerned that Pat Rabbitte's approval
rating has fallen by 7 points to 41 per cent.

Sinn Fein's support remained static at 9 per cent but
satisfaction with Gerry Adams' leadership fell by a point
to 39 per cent.

Trevor Sargent's popularity rose 3 points to a 35 percent
satisfaction rating but Green Party support showed only
modest improvement to 5 per cent.

This survey in the Republic of Ireland was conducted
exclusively on behalf of The Irish Times by TNS mrbi, among
a national quota sample of 1,000 representative of the 2.82
million electors aged 18 upwards, covering 100 sampling
points throughout all constituencies in the Republic.

© The Irish Times/


Sad Day As Fruit Of The Loom Closes Its Doors In Buncrana

Simon McGeady

The final T-Shirt was cut at Fruit of the Loom's
Ballymacarry plant in Buncrana, Co Donegal, yesterday as
the remaining 40 production workers clocked out for the
last time shortly after 11am.

Workers on the cutting-room floor listened to words of
gratitude from production manager Martin McLaughlin, before
exiting to the car park and the waiting media.

Owen Bradley, from Cockhill, Lawrence Hegarty, from Inch,
and Shane Galvin, from Buncrana - all with between 14 and
18 years' experience at the factory - were among the first
group to leave.

They said that they were happy enough with their redundancy
packages, adding that they were going to take a couple of
weeks off before making any decisions on future employment.

Another worker, Michael McLaughlin, said: "The feeling
around here's not good; that there's nothing being done -
we're being shown the door and that's it."

Christine Burke, a waste department worker, said although
she had good times and bad times, she was sad to be

Ms Burke, from Westbrook, has worked at Fruit of the Loom
for the last 27 years.

She has no new job lined up but has completed a Fás course
and will be doing another in computers in September.

The mayor of Buncrana, Pádraig MacLochlainn, said: "This is
the arrival of the inevitable; it's been well flagged over
a long period of time.

"The economic reasons are not argued; what is argued in
Buncrana, Inishowen and the wider Donegal area is that the
strategy from central government to create jobs and
regenerate this whole region has been badly lacking."

Fruit of the Loom employed over 3,000 people in Buncrana at
its height. In 2004 it announced that manufacturing would
be relocating to Morocco.

© The Irish Times

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