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May 27, 2006

DUP Attitude Causing Confusion

News About Ireland & The Irish

BB 05/27/06
DUP Attitude 'Causing Confusion'
AW 05/27/06 US Ambassador Pledges Investigation Of Mercenary Videos
DI 05/26/06 PSNI Sectarianism Figures Questioned
DI 05/26/06 SF Man Angry At Canada’s Refusal To Allow Him Entry
DI 05/26/06 Convicted DUP Man To Be Fired From DPP
BT 05/27/06 Shoukri Brothers Under Pressure
BT 05/27/06 Analysis: UDA Vote To Expel Boss From 'Inner Council'
DI 05/27/06 Opin: Poor Pete Will Get His Head Round Appntmnt Rules Yet
IT 05/27/06 Opin: Enough, Enough Of Stormont
BT 05/27/06 Ships Sail In To Take Part In European Sea Festival


DUP Attitude 'Causing Confusion'

The DUP has caused tremendous confusion over their attitude
to a new Stormont committee on preparing for devolved
government, Martin McGuinness has said.

The government has given the parties until next Tuesday to
decide whether they will attend the committee.

Speaking on the BBC's Inside Politics, the Sinn Fein MP for
Mid Ulster said recent comments from the DUP on the
committee had not been clear.

He said his party was very keen to hear where the DUP stood
on the issue.

"They have big decisions to make and we as much as anybody
else are very keen to hear if they are going to move
forward with us to bring about the restoration of these
institutions," he said.

"At the minute the soundings coming from the DUP are not
that encouraging and I think that has caused great

On Thursday, Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain invited
all the main parties to take their places on a committee to
restore devolution.

The DUP and Sinn Fein have yet to state clearly whether
they will join up.

It is thought the committee would have three members from
the four main parties and two from Alliance.

Mr Hain also confirmed that Tony Blair and Bertie Ahern
will hold talks with the parties before the summer break.

Speaking in London on Thursday, Mr Hain said he wanted the
committee to look at work that needs to be done in
preparation for government.

Mr Hain revealed he had asked the assembly's speaker Eileen
Bell to convene the first meeting of the committee on 6
June to prepare for the negotiations involving the two
prime ministers.

He said participation in this committee will show how
willing assembly members are to do the business of


On Wednesday, Mr Hain said the committee should not be a
negotiating body.

He was replying to DUP leader Ian Paisley's concerns that
the committee would be used as a negotiating forum.

Mr Paisley had said his party would not take part in talks
running alongside those promised between the parties and
the British and Irish governments.

While the DUP has been seeking to limit the role which the
committee plays, the SDLP said it would only enter it if it
was clear "that it is the vehicle for restoration of the
agreement's institutions, not a talking shop or meaningless

The DUP continues to refuse to enter direct dialogue with
Sinn Fein. However, in the old assembly, DUP members took
part in committees alongside republicans.

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

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/05/27 09:12:22 GMT


May 27, 2006

US Ambassador Pledges Full Investigation Of Mercenary Videos

by Tom Griffin

The mother of a murdered Belfast teenager has met U.S.
diplomats to express her concerns about a Pentagon security
contract in Iraq.

Jean McBride's son Peter was shot dead in 1992 by two
soldiers from the Scots Guards. Their commanding officer,
Lt. Col. Tim Spicer, is now the head of Aegis Specialist
Risk Management, one of the largest private security
companies operating in Iraq.

Mrs. McBride met earlier this month with the U.S. Special
Envoy on the Irish Peace Process Mitchell Reiss and U.S.
Consul Howard Dean Pittman.

"I told the ambassador that his government would not take
kindly to the Irish or British governments doing business
with someone who justified the murder of a U.S. citizen,
and that I don't take kindly to the U.S. government doing
business with someone who has accused my son of carrying a
bomb and who has justified the shooting, in the back, of my
unarmed 18-year-old son," she said afterward.

During the meeting, Mrs. McBride also raised the issue of a
number of so-called trophy videos circulating on the
Internet, which appear to show Aegis personnel shooting at
Iraqi civilians.

A spokesman for the Pat Finucane Center said that
Ambassador Reiss had agreed to keep the McBride family
informed of the progress of the investigation, and had
denied claims that Aegis was involved in carrying out the

The Pat Finucane Center presented Mr. Reiss with material
from a now-defunct Web site run by Rod Stoner, the former
Aegis employee who released the trophy videos on the

Aegis threatened Mr. Stoner with legal action after he was
interviewed on Britain's Channel Four News in March.
Although Aegis has denied there is any evidence [.pdf] to
connect it with the videos, it reportedly accused Mr.
Stoner of breach of copyright over their release.

However, Aegis' subsequent application to the High Court in
London instead focused on the discussion of company
procedures on the message board of Mr. Stoner's site. As a
result of the interim injunction awarded to Aegis, the site
has been taken down.

The trophy videos remain online at the Channel Four News
Web site, while a copy of the site's message board has been
posted by the Pat Finucane Center.

The long-running controversy over Aegis' contract with the
U.S. government may be fueled next month, when a new
documentary on private military companies (PMCs) is
screened on Capitol Hill.

Although the film, Shadow Company, offers a largely
impartial survey of the PMC phenomenon, it includes severe
criticisms of the Aegis deal.

The film's director Nick Bicanic said in an interview
earlier this year:

"[E]very individual that I spoke to was appalled that this
was happening. Even the guys who just carry the guns, and
are obviously not going to be in touch with somebody at the
level of Tim Spicer, had heard of him and how much he
screwed up before. To this day, it's still not clear as to
why that contract was awarded."

Among those interviewed in the film is Canadian journalist
Madelaine Drohan, who has followed Spicer's career in
Africa, as well as that of Tony Buckingham, the man who
introduced Spicer to the mercenary industry.

Drohan describes Buckingham's business methods in her book,
Making a Killing:

"Tony Buckingham had been making a practice of introducing
Executive Outcomes to weak and unstable governments in need
of armed support. These governments often hired the
mercenaries to retake prime resource areas in their
countries – diamond mines in particular – from rebel
forces. Once these areas were back in a government's
control, mineral concessions were awarded to multinational
corporations. When it was revealed that some of these
corporations were associated with Buckingham, he was
accused of employing armed force to acquire mineral riches,
much as the imperial chartered companies had done a century
before." (Random House Canada)

Buckingham is today a director of Heritage Oil, which holds
an oil concession in Iraqi Kurdistan, certainly a prime
resource area. This contract is one of a number of deals
that are currently the subject of a dispute between the
Kurdish regional government and the central authorities in

Significantly, Spicer has pointed to an increased role for
private military companies in protecting the oil industry.

"I don't subscribe to the view that there is a civil war
going on, but if the coalition left it could very easily
disintegrate into one," he told The Guardian recently. "The
Iraqi security forces are not ready to take control. And
therefore there would be a very significant increased role
for private security – protecting critical infrastructure
like oil, power station and water supplies, otherwise the
insurgents will blow them up."

Spicer's record suggests that there is a real danger that
U.S. sponsorship of his company may bring the methods of
African resource wars to the new Iraq.


PSNI Sectarianism Figures Questioned

Nationalists cast doubt on accuracy of attack statistics

By Connla Young

Nationalist politicians in Co Antrim have raised serious
questions about PSNI statistics relating to sectarian
attacks in Ballymena.

SDLP councillor PJ McAvoy last night raised doubts about
the accuracy of PSNI figures that claim Catholics had
carried out 43 per cent of sectarian attacks in the
staunchly loyalist town between April last year and March
this year.

The PSNI produced the figures just days after
Superintendent Terry Shevlin, the Ballymena district
commander, had claimed that sectarian attacks in the town
were tit for tat.

When Daily Ireland contacted the PSNI last week for
statistics, the force initially claimed that its software
was unable to “provide analysis of the victims of sectarian

The PSNI later produced figures that are being disputed by
nationalist representatives.

Councillor McAvoy, who represents the area where the
Catholic teenager Michael McIlveen was fatally attacked two
weeks ago, branded the PSNI figures “not right”.

Mr McAvoy said he did not accept that Catholics, who make
up just over 25 per cent of the town’s population, were
responsible for almost half the attacks in the district.

“I would like to know what they call sectarian. Personally
I can’t see that that many attacks were carried out by
Catholics on Protestants.

“Catholics haven’t got the scope, the radius
geographically. They are confined to the top end of the
town and they are not running around attacking their
Protestant neighbours. The population of Ballymena is
30,000. Of that 30,000, 8,000 are Catholic.

“The PSNI figures are not right, and questions are going to
be asked. I would like to know how these figures are
produced because the numbers don’t add up when you consider
ratio and population.”

North Antrim assembly member Philip McGuigan said
nationalists would not accept the PSNI figures.

“I think most people in Ballymena will find these
statistics hard to compare with the reality on the ground.

“The reality is sectarianism is emanating from the
Protestant unionist community and directed towards the
Catholic nationalist community.

“These figures may surprise some people. The attempts by
the PSNI to cover up the situation won’t.

“People are not only faced by sectarianism but also
political policing, and these figures are another attempt
by them to cover up the reality for nationalists living in
Ballymena,” said the Sinn Féin man.

According to the PSNI, 133 sectarian incidents were
recorded in Ballymena last year. Some 43 per cent of those
incidents were perpetrated against Protestants, while
Catholics fell victim 57 per cent of the time. The figures
relate to a range of incidents ranging from attempted
murder to harassment.

Tensions have been high in Ballymena since Michael McIlveen
was murdered in the town earlier this month.

A spokesperson for the PSNI said: “The police service in
Ballymena is happy to discuss any issues of concern with
public representatives.”


SF Man Angry At Canada’s Refusal To Allow Him Entry

by Anton McCabe

A TD has accused the Canadian government of double
standards after the Mayor of Co Monaghan was refused entry
to Canada this week while on official council business.

Immigration officers at St John’s, Newfoundland, refused
Sinn Féin mayor Pat Treanor entry to Canada and instead put
him on a plane for London.

Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael colleagues were allowed in, along
with a council official.

Independent Cavan-Monaghan TD Paudge Connolly yesterday
told Daily Ireland he was amazed by the incident.

“There’s something very wrong with their security
standards. It smacks of double or treble standards,” he

“He has been to Canada before, nothing has happened to give
the Canadians any cause.”

Mr Treanor said the delegation was on its way to Prince
Edward Island, where much of the population is of Monaghan

“I have been to Canada twice already, most recently on St
Patrick’s Day,” he said.

“I had had no problems at Toronto or Montréal. At St John’s
I went through immigration as before. The immigration
officer said she had a problem with my passport, she
couldn’t let me in to the country.”

Mr Treanor was given no reason for the refusal to allow him
into Canada.

“It could be to do with being a former political prisoner
25 years ago,” said Treanor. “I intend contacting the
Canadian embassy and, hopefully, resolving this and going
straight back to Canada.”

A spokesperson for the Canadian embassy in Dublin initially
said they were unlikely to be able to comment on the case
because of data protection laws. However later said people
who have a “criminal record” are not allowed into Canada
without a visa.

“This case is complex and is being referred back to
Canada,” he said


Convicted DUP Man To Be Fired From DPP

by Ciarán Barnes

A Democratic Unionist Party politician convicted of eight
counts of benefit fraud is to be thrown off a PSNI
monitoring body, Daily Ireland has learned.

North Antrim councillor Davy McAllister will be officially
expelled from the Moyle District Policing Partnership on
June 8.

The Policing Board’s community and human rights committee
will meet that day to consider the DUP man’s position.

Sources on the board yesterday told Daily Ireland that he
would be sacked.

On May 5, Mr McAllister was found guilty at Coleraine
Magistrates’ Court in Co Derry of cheating the benefits
system. He was fined £200 (€293), ordered to pay £52 (€76)
costs and to repay the cash he had fleeced from social

Speaking afterwards, Mr McAllister maintained his

He claimed he was considering going to jail rather than
paying the fine. He also resisted calls to resign from the
policing partnership body. He said he would “look at the
legislation” and how the conviction impacted on his

SDLP assembly member Dolores Kelly, one of the Policing
Board members who will be considering Mr McAllister’s
position, said it was clear he had jeopardised his

She said: “The people who hold office on these partnerships
should live by the standards they insist on the police

A spokeswoman for the Policing Board said: “The case of a
DPP member who was convicted of a criminal offence will be
considered at a meeting of the board’s community and human
rights committee on June 8.”

Policing Board rules state that a member “may be removed
from office if they have been convicted of a criminal

Davy McAllister said: “I don't know what's happening at the
minute with the DPP. I haven't resigned or given it any

“I have maintained my innocence all along and I'm not
worried about being thrown off.

“I will be speaking to a lawyer about appealing against my


Shoukri Brothers Under Pressure

By Debra Douglas
27 May 2006

The security forces were step ping up patrols in north
Belfast last night over fears of a bloody UDA feud.

The fate of the Shoukri brothers was under the spotlight
once again as they met their supporters in the city.

With the UDA Inner Council set to declare its decision on
the future of Andre and Ihab within the organisation early
next week, last-minute crunch talks were taking place last

An 'investigation' into the alleged criminal activities of
paramilitary leaders in north Belfast - including Andre and
Ihab Shoukri ended about two weeks ago but the brothers are
still waiting to hear the outcome.

The inquiry followed allegations that 28-year-old Andre,
whose brother Ihab is the UDA's North Belfast brigadier,
gambled more than £860,000 over a two-year period.

During it, churchmen and community workers in north Belfast
told the 'inner council' that crime and drug-dealing in the
area had been substantially reduced over the last 18

And businessmen in the area also told how they have been
forced to hand over large sums of cash to the Shoukris.

The decision whether or not to expel the brothers is seen
as the biggest test of the UDA's authority since it
expelled its Shankill leader Johnny Adair and his associate
John White.

The UDA wants to deal with the issue peacefully, but fears
a 'last stand' by the Shoukris could spill over into a
bloody feud.

Senior figures on the inner council - and in the linked
Ulster Political Research Group - want to expel the
Shoukris and their associates.

There is also concern in some camps that if the brothers
are not expelled, it could lead to friction with other UDA

But others fear attempts to force the north Belfast
leadership to back down could result in a bloody split.


Analysis: UDA's Bosses Vote To Expel North Belfast Boss From 'Inner Council'

Brian Rowan
27 May 2006

The UDA command - its 'inner council' - has moved to
dismiss Ihab Shoukri from its leadership.

The organisation's most senior leaders met in the city on
Thursday to discuss their recent investigation into the
alleged criminal activities of the Shoukri brothers ? Andre
and Ihab ? and their closest associate.

Its decision was immediately delivered to the paramilitary
organisation in north Belfast.

A clear majority of UDA 'brigadiers' are no longer prepared
to share a leadership table with the Shoukris.

They have in effect expelled Ihab Shoukri from the inner
council and distanced the rest of the organisation from the
three most senior members of the north Belfast leadership.

The North Belfast UDA was understood to be meeting last
night to discuss the implications of Thursday's meeting.

One source said every member was 'summoned'. A statement
from the inner council is expected to do so soon.

It first wants to hear the reaction of the UDA membership
in the north of the city.

If those members want to be represented at a leadership
level within the UDA, then they will first have to remove
Ihab Shoukri, his brother Andre and a third loyalist from
their leadership positions.

That third loyalist is a one-time close associate of Johnny

If the three are removed, then according to one source,
'it's business as usual'.

The UDA has six so-called 'brigade' areas ? each
represented on the inner council. Ihab Shoukri is the north
Belfast 'brigadier' but has been excluded from meetings of
the leadership for many weeks, and he will have been
further isolated by Thursday's decision.

Four of the other five UDA brigadiers are no longer
prepared to recognise his leadership, but the position of
the organisation in south east Antrim is still not clear.
Its leader did not attend the Shoukri investigation but
sent a representative.

If the UDA in south east Antrim sides with the organisation
in south, east and west Belfast and in north
Antrim/Londonderry, then it will be the end of the Shoukris
and their closest associate inside the paramilitary

The question is, can it be achieved peacefully and without
a major split within the UDA.

The position of all parts of the organisation should be
known by next week.


Opin: Poor Pete Will Get His Head Round Appointment Rules Yet

Here’s The Thing: Robin Livingstone


I feel a little bit sorry for Peter Hain, if the truth be
told. Jeez, those damn courts let him have it with both
barrels in the past few days, but the feisty SOS emerged
bloodied but unbowed.

First up the High Court ruled on Friday that he had acted
in a one-sided and discriminatory manner in appointing two
senior Orangemen - Don McKay and David Burrows - to the
Parades Commission. The judge said it was inexplicable that
nobody had spotted a potential conflict of interest in
Orangemen adjudicating on Orange parades and added that the
appointments panel may not have understood the job they
were tasked with. Ouch! Poor Peter said he was “extremely
disappointed” with the decision and will be appealing it.

Then on Monday, the Court of Appeal gave the green light to
a judicial review of his decision to appoint an RUC widow
as the new Victims Commissioner. Three nitpicking judges
found that Pete did not have the legal authority to appoint
Bertha McDougall – when did that ever come into it for the
Brits? And they suggested that he may have acted with
“improper motive”, whatever the hell that is. They also
pointed out that he failed to take on board the criterion
that the appointee should have cross-community support and
opined that consulting with just one political party - the
DUP - in advance of the appointment was not the cleverest
thing he’s ever done.

Fair enough, it appears as though Pete’s made a bit of a
horlicks of things lately, but after I visited him at
Stormont last night for a late supper and a heart-to-heart,
it’s clear that the skies will soon turn blue and Pete will
emerge from under this cloud with reputation and tan

Exclusively for readers of Daily Ireland, Pete outlined new
appointments to the top posts of a few more under-
performing bodies which he’s had his eye on for some time.
Keep this all under your hat now…


Ms WK Dee. A 30-year-old grandmother living in a one-
bedroom flat in the New Lodge with her four children, two
grandchildren, her partner, her ex-husband, her parents and
her three teenage brothers who can’t go out because they’re
the subject of ASBOs. Attracta lists as her hobbies Big
Brother, smoking, Celebrity Big Brother, alcopops, pyjamas
and self-tanning. She says her ambition is to some day
amass enough points to get bigger houses for herself and
her extended family. Referees: Nelson Mandela and Robbie


Mr Sammy Cement (59). A highly-respected builder and
developer known affectionately around the city as ‘Bung’,
Mr Cement is back in the business of building quality,
affordable housing after a little difficulty with the
Assets Recovery Agency and the Health and Safety Executive.
Mr Cement lists Soviet architecture, retrospective planning
permission and immigrant workers among his interests. He
says his ambition is to help more officials and politicians
with their conservatory and foreign holiday issues.
Referees: Jackie McDonald and the Sultan of Brunei.


Mr Phil Maformin. Former head of the Ulster Young Farmers’
Club and chairman of the UDR Appreciation Society. Mr
Maformin wrote an influential pamphlet on EU chemical
fertiliser directives called Rome Won’t Tell Me What to Put
On My Turnips. Mr Maformin spent the seventies setting up
military roadblocks of varying legality and organising
tractor convoys to Stormont.

He’s an opponent of organic farming and same-sex marriages
and in the first two months of this year reduced the number
of effluent discharges into major waterways by 75 per cent
to just 348. Referees: Ronald McDonald and the Duke of


Mr Rusty Mondeo. Proprietor of Treasure Island Cabs
(‘Pirates Ahoy!’) and chairman of Basalt Aggregates. Mr
Mondeo was re-elected chairman of the Private Taxi Owners’
Association on being released from prison after serving
three years in jail for criminal negligence. He has lobbied
the government to remove the ban on sex offenders from
driving private taxis, recently telling a Commons select
committee: “They don’t talk much, they keep a clean car and
they like working nights.” Basalt Aggregates is responsible
for many major international construction projects such as
the M1 motorway and the runway at Guantánamo Bay. Referees:
Jeremy Clarkson and Donald Rumsfeld.


Mr Skip Landfill. A director of Code Red Toxic Solutions
and the Amazon Logging Co., Mr Landfill is a vigorous
campaigner for the deregulation of the hazardous waste
industry and a founder member of the pressure group
Asbestos: Hands Off and It Won’t Hurt. In his spare time Mr
Landfill enjoys monster truck rallies and bonfires. He’s
author of a number of well-received books including the
ground-breaking and thought-provoking Global Warming: So
What? and a gripping account of his time as CEO of
Coleraine Chemicals, Acid Raindrops Keep Falling on My
Heads. Referees: George W Bush and 2nd Water Cooler
Supervisor Genady Zagriashki (deceased).


Mr Lance Crayola. Proprietor of the Leather Harness chain
of nightclubs and presenter of Torch Song Workout on
Lifestyle TV. Mr Crayola divides his time between Belfast
and San Francisco and he lists as his passions as gladiator
movies, white vests, moustache maintenance and Barbra
Streisand albums. Mr Crayola is a member of the Birdcage
LOL No 333 and recently joined the UUP after leaving the
DUP because he found it slightly too right-wing and camp.
Mr Crayola spends his weekends boating in Belfast Lough on
his yacht The Manly Love. He is a part-time Free
Presbyterian preacher and has campaigned against same-sex
marriages in Lisburn council’s civil ceremony suite because
there’s not enough room for a conga line. Referees Erasure
and Mel Gibson.


Opin: Enough, Enough Of Stormont

The British and Irish governments must soon accept what is
blindingly obvious to virtually everyone else. That is,
there is no prospect of Sinn Féin and the DUP agreeing to
form a powersharing Executive by the deadline of November
24th, or at any time in the near future, writes David

Anyone who still thinks otherwise must surely have missed
the farcical goings-on at Stormont during the past

Thus far, there has been no attempt at serious
deliberation, just an all too predictable display of
boorish behaviour, petty point-scoring and squabbling over

If nothing else, it has given further evidence of how
little seriousness the major parties attach to the whole
exercise. Neither are there even the slightest grounds for
believing that the situation might improve. After an
assembly session on Monday that lasted all of 14 minutes,
DUP leader Ian Paisley made that clear to the waiting

He announced, to the obvious delight of his colleagues,
that the DUP would not negotiate with Sinn Féin on the
governance of Northern Ireland. This effectively rendered
meaningless a proposed cross-party committee to discuss the
restoration of devolution even before it has been

Now, it appears, this committee will serve only as a
platform for rehearsing, without room for question or
explanation, the mutually incompatible and now boringly
familiar party positions. Though one might have imagined it
scarcely possible to further limit the potential for
agreement, Paisley then managed to do even that. He also
declared that neither would he be having any more dealings
with Ulster Unionist leader Sir Reg Empey because of the
UUP's recent co-option of PUP leader David Ervine into its
Assembly grouping.

They were hardly the words or attitude of someone
positioning his party for a historic compromise. The DUP,
as they so often point out, would certainly like to see
devolved government restored to Northern Ireland, but not
if the price for that is having to share ministerial posts
with Sinn Féin.

For their part, despite what they claim, Sinn Féin has no
interest in helping deliver political and social stability.
A Northern Ireland society contented and at peace with
itself is hardly conducive to their pursuit of a united

If such circumstances were allowed to pertain, the chances
of them ever being able to convince a majority that their
best interests lay in a 32 county unitary state would
plummet from very slim to zero.

It has been argued as a positive that there is a short-term
incentive for Sinn Féin to reach agreement, because
ministerial positions in a Northern Ireland Executive would
give a boost to their upcoming election campaign in the
Republic. For the rest of us, an Executive formed solely,
and temporarily, to facilitate the electoral ambitions of a
single party would not constitute political progress. But
even aside from that, Sinn Féin has no need to go to the
bother. Playing the role of the thwarted peacemakers, at
which they excel, will serve the same purpose.

Sinn Fein's only real concern is to ensure the DUP takes
full blame for the inevitable failure, and that won't prove
too difficult.

The question is not whether the parties will reach
agreement by November 24th but, increasingly, why wait
until then to bring this embarrassing charade to an end.
If, despite all evidence to the contrary, they are indeed
serious about reaching agreement, then the politicians are
quite capable of managing that on their own. There is no
need for innumerable representatives of three sovereign
governments to continue dancing attendance and bending to
every whim of a bunch of self-important, time wasters to
facilitate something they claim to want anyway.

However, after the deadline expires, the British government
must hold fast to its threat to close the Assembly and stop
members' salaries and allowances. It must not be tempted,
yet again, by half-promises from the parties into
continuing with a tortuous and convoluted process of once-
removed negotiations that are going nowhere.

Neither should they be fooled by predictable waffle about
the dangers of leaving a political vacuum. Except for the
few months when an Assembly was operating, we have survived
for decades without devolved government.

It is not even as though there is any level of public
expectation within Northern Ireland that the parties will
manage to form an Executive or, in all truth, any great
desire that they do. Most people have long ago given up on

After November 24th, the attitude of both the British and
Irish governments to the parties - particularly the DUP and
Sinn Féin - should be "contact us only when you have
reached a comprehensive agreement on the restoration of
devolution, and not before then".

It should be made clear, that responsibility for internal
political progress, if they want it, now rests solely with

Meanwhile, the governments should do what they promised and
push ahead with all other aspects of the Belfast Agreement.
There is nothing to stop them building on their much
improved relationship and co-operating further on security,
policing and economic matters.

Stormont is not needed for any of that: it is time to pull
the shutters down.

© The Irish Times


Ships Sail In To Take Part In European Sea Festival

Marie Foy
27 May 2006

The impressive tall ship, The Artemis, was in Ballycastle
last night as part of the Celtic European Festival of the
Sea which is taking place along the north coast.

The stately sailing ship was due to arrive in Portrush
today for the port's annual raft race. The public will be
able to go on board for a closer look this evening.

The smaller vessel, The Gallant, also docked in

A number of ships will be converging in Derry for the
carnival finale on the River Foyle next weekend.

Events are being held all along the coast from Carnlough to
the Inishowen Peninsula as part of the festival featuring
traditional and classic craft of all shapes and sizes.

Other activities taking place during the two-week
celebration include a French market, live music from salsa
to shanty, interactive exhibitions, coastal exercises on
land and sea and traditional crafts and skills from rope
tying to boat building.

Full details are on

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