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May 23, 2006

Hain To Fight Parade Commission Ruling

Ian Paisley Rejected Sinn Fein's
Nomination To Be First Minister

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News About Ireland & The Irish

BB 05/23/06 Hain To Fight Parade Commission Ruling
SF 05/23/06 Hain Should Not Appeal & Appoint Impartial Commissioners
BT 05/23/06 Don't Blame The Referee
BT 05/23/06 They Prayed ... But Assembly Meeting Lasts Just 14 Minutes
BB 05/23/06 DUP Rejects First Minister Post
BB 05/23/06 Devolution Committee Being Set Up
SF 05/23/06 Hain’s Proposal Judged On Ability To Return Executive
SF 05/23/06 SF Will Not Take Part In Talking Shop Debates
BB 05/23/06 Settlement In Bloody Sunday Libel
BT 05/23/06 Mother Of UDA Victim Tells Of Disgust At Cemetery Thugs
BN 05/23/06 'Love Ulster' Accused Also Facing Assault Charge
IT 05/23/06 Ahern To Lobby In US Over Illegal Immigrants
IT 05/23/06 Immigration Fears May Halt March Of New York Hurlers
BT 05/23/06 Hatchet Gang In Attack On Polish Family In Unionist Area
BT 05/23/06 Homophobic Motive Suspected For Paint Attack On Man's Flat
IT 05/23/06 Guidebook Criticises Ireland As 'Backward' On Racism
IT 05/23/06 Tourism Chief Accuses Book Of 'Cheap Shot'
RT 05/23/06 Amnesty Concerns Over Use Of Shannon Airport
IC 05/23/06 Half Million Wasted: SF
IC 05/23/06 Opin: Hain Leadership Contaminated
IM 05/23/06 Memorial To Murdered Men Unveiled


Hain To Fight Parade Commission Ruling

The government is to challenge a High Court ruling that its
appointment of two members of the Orange Order to the
Parades Commission was unlawful.

Last week the court said NI Secretary Peter Hain's
appointment of David Burrows and Don MacKay did not ensure
the body represented both communities.

Mr Hain said he would be appealing the decision within

"I will defend to the end the Northern Ireland Office
appointments procedure," he said.

"It is impartial, subjective and follows all the rules.

"That is the reason why I will be announcing shortly that
we will be appealing the judgment."

Last Friday, the High Court ruled that the appointments did
not ensure membership of the body represented both sides of
the community.

The case was brought to court by Joe Duffy, a resident of
the nationalist Garvaghy Road in Portadown, who sought to
overturn the appointment of Mr Burrows and Mr MacKay.

Orange Order

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 month
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.

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

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/05/23 09:04:42 GMT


Hain Should Abandon Appeal Plans And Appoint Impartial Parades Commissioners

Published: 23 May, 2006

Sinn Féin Assembly member for Upper Bann John O’Dowd today
said that Peter Hain should stop wasting public money in
launching an appeal against the High Court decision on
appointments to the Parades Commission and get on with the
job of restoring public confidence in the body by
appointing impartial commissioners.

Mr O’Dowd said:

“I was surprised this morning when I heard Peter Hain
announce that he intended to spend public money launching
an appeal against the damning judgement of the NIO approach
to appointments to the Parades Commission.

“It would suit Mr Hain better if he recognised that the way
in which he has approached the appointments process to
public bodies like the Parades Commission has done immense
damage to public confidence and he got on with the job of
putting this situation right rather than wasting taxpayers
money trying to justify the unjustifiable.

“What Peter Hain needs to do now is fill the two vacant
positions on the Parades Commission with two genuinely
independent people who can take these difficult decisions
impartially and free from bias.” ENDS


Don't Blame The Referee

How did Peter Hain pick two Parades Commissioners whose own
referees wouldn't support them? Chris Thornton looks inside
the row

23 May 2006

"Frankly," Secretary of State Peter Hain told Wendy Austin
on Good Morning Ulster last week, "as I recall, references
didn't enter into it."

Well, they didn't and they did. In the 5,000-word judgment
that finished off the Orange presence on the Parades
Commission on Friday, Mr Justice Morgan did not mention
references once.

But in a chain that ran from the applicants themselves
right to one of Mr Hain's closest aides, references have
been an important factor in the decline and fall of the
Orange presence on the Commission.

Now the references loom large over Mr Hain's own judgment.

Since they started work in January, it has gradually
emerged that Mr Hain's two Orange appointees to the
Commission, David Burrows and Don Mackay, had problems with
their references. Neither man had actually asked for the
support of referees named on their application form for the

Ordinarily that might simply seem to be a lapse of
courtesy, and that's how Mr Hain treated it when SDLP MLA
Dolores Kelly first complained about the use of her name by
Mr Mackay.

But the fact was that none of the three referees who have
been identified were actually willing to back the
candidates who named them.

Mr Hain chose two men for the Commission who were not
supported by the people they thought would give them the
best references.

Mr Hain has said repeatedly that he picked the "right
people for the jobs"; in Mr Mackay and Mr Burrows' case the
referees did not agree.

The NIO's defence of Mr Hain has been to suggest that
references were never part of the process. Mr Hain says he
did not take account of them, but the High Court action has
shown that many others involved in the appointments did -
from the very beginning, during and after the recruitment.

Since the controversy became uncomfortable for them, the
NIO has repeated that references were not sought from
applicants. But they were certainly given.

The application form had two blank spaces waiting to be
filled in the names of referees - this is how the NIO
defines not seeking references - and 98.9% of the
applicants for membership seemed to think they were being
asked to fill them in.

Eighty-nine of them supplied the names of two referees, one
gave one name, and one applicant gave no names.

Almost all the applicants for the chairman's job were also
under the impression that references were part of the

Material released to the Belfast Telegraph under the
Freedom of Information act also shows that 46 applicants
for that job supplied names. One did not.

Mr Mackay did more than list his referees. He thought his
named referees - DUP MP David Simpson and Mrs Kelly from
the SDLP - were so sharp that he drew attention to them in
his application form.

"As can be seen from my two nominated referees," he wrote
in a section about meeting the criteria for the job, "I
have the ability to cross boundaries and act with integrity
and objectivity."

This was - however unintentionally - a misrepresentation:
the referees weren't evidence of boundary-crossing because
they weren't actually willing to back up Mr Mackay's

Since his resignation, Mr Mackay has made much of the fact
that he checked off a box on his application form, asking
the NIO to contact him before approaching his referees.

They did not contact him, because no referees were
approached. But it's difficult to see how this would have
changed anything. Would Mrs Kelly have supported him if
asked after the fact? She seems certain she would not.

While Mr Hain continued to be blissfully unaware of
references, the three-person panel that interviewed the
applicants was impressed by them.

The head of that panel, NIO official Carol Moore, wrote
assessments of the candidates for Mr Hain to consider when
he came to make the appointments.

In Mr Mackay's, she noted he had "the ability to forge
relations across the divide". In an adjacent column she
wrote the names of his two supposed referees. Mr Burrows'
assessment also mentioned his referee, the Rev Jim Rea. The
panel thought them significant enough to be named for Mr
Hain in the assessment, although they did not check them.

The Secretary of State saw that assessment naming the
referees and, according to Ms Moore, the application forms
with their names on it.

"I am informed by him," Ms Moore said in an affidavit, "and
believe that the identity of each of the candidates'
referees (including Mr Mackay) played absolutely no part in
his decision in respect of any of the appointments."

Mr Hain's account is the only authority for this; the High
Court heard that there are no records of the meeting at
which he and the then Security Minister, Shaun Woodward,
discussed the final appointments with officials.

So Mr Hain, by his own account, didn't take much notice of
the references. But one of his most senior aides did.

When the SDLP met the NIO to complain about the Orange
appointments, the aide told them that Mrs Kelly had
supported Mr Mackay. She begged to differ, and the scrutiny
of Mr Hain's selections went up a notch.

In his letter to Mrs Kelly back in February, Mr Hain
underlined his "full support" for the Commission.

He characterised the situation as something to do with Mr
Mackay's "personal position".

It has ended up reflecting more on his own.

Tomorrow: How the NIO marched into the mess


They Prayed ... But Assembly Meeting Lasts Just 14 Minutes

By Chris Thornton
23 May 2006

Some things change, some undoubtedly stay the same. The
notion that Gerry Adams would one day advocate Ian Paisley
as First Minister of Northern Ireland was once laughable.
Whereas the idea that Ian Paisley would say no seems
somehow consistent with the past.

Mr Adams may have meant to convey the impression that he
has moved far and Ian Paisley has not when both things
happened during a short and unsurprising session of the
revived Assembly at Stormont.

The Sinn Fein president had heavily telegraphed his
intention to nominate Mr Paisley and Martin McGuinness to
the joint jobs at the head of a theoretical Executive.

Mr Paisley's response did not need a lot of advance notice.

The whole thing - including prayers and a bit of business
by the Speaker - took 14 minutes.

Mr Adams made the nomination in Irish, then told MLAs: "I
want to move that Ian Paisley be returned as First Minister
and Martin McGuinness by returned as Deputy First Minister
on the restoration of devolved government".

Mr Paisley's reply was brief: "Certainly not".

The DUP leader continued: "We are glad this charade is
over. We are coming down to the reality of the situation.

"Are we going to have in the government of Northern Ireland
those who are terrorists, those that condoned and even
planned murders, who robbed banks, who committed criminal
acts and who will not support the police?

"The answer of Ulster is no. There is no place in any
government in the United Kingdom for those wedded to

Mr Adams said he wasn't surprised and the DUP could only
say no a few more times.

But if they continued to say no, the Government, he said,
would have to face the challenge of wrapping up the
Assembly and setting about fulfilling their obligations
under the Good Friday Agreement.

Ulster Unionist leader Sir Reg Empey said the outcome of
the meeting was predictable.

The East Belfast Assembly member said: "What happened here
I think lends force to our calls on the Secretary of State
to allow the Assembly to debate and to establish a
committee on the restoration of devolution."

Gerry Adams said afterwards such a committee would only be
valuable if it featured the leader of the main Ulster

Mr Paisley appeared to rule out his participation in an
Assembly committee on restoring devolution, insisting he
would not be bluffed by Sir Reg into discussing devolution
with Sinn Fein.

SDLP chief Mark Durkan said there needs to be a restoration
of devolved government and played down yesterday's events.

"I do not think the rest of the world expected us to elect
First and Deputy First Ministers," the Foyle MP said.

"The rest of the world's eyes are not upon us.

"In fact, their eyes are rolling up to heaven as we
continue to stall instead of doing things."


DUP Rejects First Minister Post

DUP leader Ian Paisley has refused Sinn Fein's nomination
to be Northern Ireland's first minister as efforts to
restore devolution continue.

Mr Paisley had already indicated that he intended to reject
the nomination.

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams also put forward party
colleague Martin McGuinness as deputy first minister.

Declining the nomination, Mr Paisley said his "reasons were
well known and had been endorsed by the majority of the
unionist voters".

Despite Mr Paisley declining the first minister's post, it
is still possible for members to debate policy matters
under the assembly's temporary rules, although laws cannot
be made.

Speaking afterwards, Mr Paisley said: "Our stand is clear,
it is not going to be altered and it is simple: let's have
British democracy in British Ulster."

Mr Paisley also said he would refuse to sit with Ulster
Unionist leader Sir Reg Empey because of his association
with PUP leader David Ervine, whose party has links to the
loyalist paramilitary UVF.

The UUP's move could mean they receive an extra ministerial
post, at the expense of Sinn Fein, if a government is

"If Mr Empey wants the support of a terrorist organisation,
let him have it, but he'll not have my support," Mr Paisley

Mr Adams said his party wanted to see a power-sharing
executive set up as quickly as possible.

"There is a sense of wanting to get business done as
quickly as possible, that is what we are about," he said.

"What we are looking for is a committee or a series of
committees which will deal with the whole issue of forming
the executive led by senior leaders of all of the parties.

"If that can't happen, then the DUP can only say no so many

The UUP's Sir Reg Empey said he hoped the assembly would be
able to debate a motion calling for the establishment of a
committee for the restoration of devolution.

"What we are asking the secretary of state to do is to
allow a motion on the order paper for our next business to
appoint a committee on the restoration of devolution," he

"The general public would at least know that we were
actually engaged in serious business."

SDLP leader Mark Durkan said Northern Ireland's parties
should face up to their responsibilities and allow other
parties to do the same.

"What we have to do is to bring purpose to this whole
enterprise... We have to get back to what we have been
mandated to do which is to implement the Good Friday
Agreement," he said.

"We will test the positions of other parties and we will
test the worth of the government's word as well."

'Devolution benefits'

Earlier on Monday, Scottish First Minister Jack McConnell
addressed assembly members at Stormont.

Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain invited Mr McConnell
to Belfast to "highlight the benefits of devolution".

Mr McConnell said that he was not in Northern Ireland to
lecture assembly members, but to offer evidence on the
advantages of devolution.

"We have made great progress under devolution in Scotland.
Scotland is a far better country today than it was seven
years ago."

On 15 May, Northern Ireland's politicians took their seats
in the Stormont assembly for the first time since October

While there is no immediate prospect of a power-sharing
executive being formed, the government hopes recalling the
politicians will help to pave the way towards a deal in the
autumn, by its deadline of 24 November.

Devolved government was suspended over allegations of a
republican spy ring. The court case that followed

Direct rule from London was restored in October 2002 and
has been in place since.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/05/22 17:43:37 GMT

Afterwards, the West Belfast MP was philosophical.

Recalling a famous Ian Paisley speech, the Sinn Féin leader
said: “No is better than never, never, never.”

He continued: “We’re in the business of trying to set up an

“Others are here to string it out and engage in
distractions and in a shadow Assembly. We are totally and
absolutely opposed to that.

“We have put forward a series of propositions which are all
about trying to get engagement through a committee or a
series of committees with a very tight focus that it has to
be about the formation of an executive.”

Mr Adams said Sinn Féin would return speedily to the task
of trying to get First and Deputy First Ministers elected.


Devolution Committee Being Set Up

A cross-party committee dealing with the restoration of
devolution in NI is to be set up, Northern Ireland
Secretary Peter Hain has confirmed.

The idea was put forward by the Ulster Unionist Party at
the reconvened assembly on Monday.

The DUP is concerned that such a committee will be used as
the main vehicle for negotiating a future deal.

Mr Hain said: "I think we can find a way around the various
concerns put to me by all the parties."

He added: "All the leadership figures ought to be sitting
on this committee and putting on the table the way

BBC Northern Ireland political editor Mark Devenport said:
"The DUP has consistently refused to talk directly with
Sinn Fein.

"But during the old assembly DUP members did take their
places alongside republicans on Stormont committees.

"So setting up a special committee on restoring devolution
appeals to the government as a potential way of making some
dialogue easier."

On Monday, the DUP's Ian Paisley rejected Sinn Fein's
nomination to be first minister.

Despite Mr Paisley declining the first minister's post, it
is still possible for members to debate policy matters
under the assembly's temporary rules, although laws cannot
be made.

On 15 May, Northern Ireland's politicians took their seats
in the Stormont assembly for the first time since October

While there is no immediate prospect of a power-sharing
executive being formed, the government hopes recalling the
politicians will help to pave the way towards a deal in the
autumn, by its deadline of 24 November.

Devolved government was suspended over allegations of a
republican spy ring. The court case that followed

Direct rule from London was restored in October 2002 and
has been in place since.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/05/23 06:57:40 GMT


Hain Committee Proposal Will Be Judged On Ability To Return Executive

Published: 23 May, 2006

Sinn Féin Chief Negotiator Martin McGuinness MP has said
that Sinn Féin will judge Peter Hain's proposal for a
committee against the clear criteria that is can lead to
the return of the power-sharing Executive.

Mr McGuinness said:

"Sinn Féin have made it clear that the only reason we are
taking part in the Hain Assembly is to deliver a power-
sharing Executive.

"We will judge the Peter Hain's current proposals for a
committee against the clear criteria that is can lead to
the return of the power-sharing Executive.

"No-one is interested in a powerless talking shop.

"There is a big decision for the DUP to take. Will they
work with the rest of the democratic parties to deliver a
power-sharing Executive so that we can address many of the
pressing concerns that are affecting all of our
constituents, on issues like Education cuts, water charges,
the economy and rural planning." ENDS


Sinn Féin Will Not Take Part In Talking Shop Debates In Hain Assembly

Published: 22 May, 2006

Sinn Féin Agriculture and Rural Development Spokesperson,
Fermanagh South Tyrone MP Michelle Gildernew has confirmed
that Sinn Féin will not participate in talking shop debates
in the Hain Assembly on any issue.

Speaking after Peter Hain published the Assembly Order
Paper for tomorrow (Tuesday, 23rd May),

Ms Gildernew said:

"Sinn Féin will not be part of a talking shop in which
MLA's have no power. Talking shop debates that will be
ignored by decision makers. An executive can make real
decisions. This Hain Assembly cannot.

"Today there was an opportunity to elect a First and Deputy
First Minister and get on with the real work that Assembly
members were elected to carry out - and get on with taking
decisions on issues like rural planning and the economy.
But it was lost because of DUP grandstanding.

"Sinn Féin are not going to provide political cover for the
DUP refusal to take on their responsibilities by
facilitating sham debates in the Hain Assembly. Our sole
focus is on ensuring restoring the power-sharing Executive
and all-Ireland institutions and for local politicians to
take up their responsibilities.

"It is also clear that until we form a power-sharing
government that British ministers will do whatever they
like. Over the last three and a half years direct rule
ministers have shown that they are not listening to local
people or their elected representatives either individually
or collectively.

"Sinn Féin met Peter Hain on Monday. We raised our concerns
about how British direct rule ministers are handling the
issue of Rural Planning and gave him a substantive paper on
our position.

"On this, as on many other issues, there is no point in
sham Assembly debates in the Hain talking shop. The only
way to deal with Rural Planning and bring about a policy
that meets the needs of our rural communities is with a
Power Sharing Executive and locally accountable ministers."

Note to Editors

Sinn Féin has published 50,000 leaflets; held six public
meeting across the North; met DRD officials twice; met the
Rural Development Council, the Rural Community Network, the
Ulster Council of the GAA, Friends of the Earth, and will
meet the UFU on Friday; we will be meeting the DRD Minister
next week and again in early June with the party's MPs to
to secure progress on the issue of rural planing.


Settlement In Bloody Sunday Libel

Members of the Bloody Sunday campaign have settled out of
court a number of libel claims against a newspaper.

The Daily Telegraph had printed articles in 1999 which the
families said were widely perceived to be "grave slurs" on
their reputations.

Relatives' spokesman Michael McKinney said they would be
paid "substantial damages and costs".

The Daily Telegraph confirmed four claims were settled but
without any admission of liability by the paper.

Libel action was taken by the families and their solicitors
and the High Court in Belfast was told the case has been

The legal representative for the families and solicitors
told Mr Justice Higgins: "These actions have been stayed on
terms which have been agreed."

Following the brief court hearing, Mr McKinney, the
spokesman for the Bloody Sunday Campaign, said the Daily
Telegraph articles "whatever their intentions, were widely
perceived to be a grave slur on our reputations.

"However, by bringing these actions to a successful
conclusion - with substantial damages and costs being paid
by the Daily Telegraph - the families have been

Fourteen civilians were shot by soldiers during a civil
rights march in Londonderry in 1972.

Final report

An inquiry is under way into the circumstances of the

Lord Saville and his two colleagues, who opened the inquiry
in April 1998, have been trawling through evidence heard
from more than 900 witnesses.

The first public hearing was held in March 2000 and closed
in November 2004.

Victims' families have said they had been told by the Irish
government the final report would not be released until
next year.

The Bloody Sunday inquiry was established in 1998 by Prime
Minister Tony Blair after a campaign by families of those
killed and injured.

The inquiry has heard evidence from leading politicians,
including the prime minister at the time, Sir Edward Heath,
civilians, policemen, soldiers and IRA members.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/05/22 15:56:04 GMT


Mother Of UDA Victim Tells Of Disgust At Sick Cemetery Thugs

By Jonathan McCambridge and Claire Regan
23 May 2006

The devastated mother of a UDA murder victim has spoken of
her disgust after sick vandals desecrated his grave.

Up to 30 plots were attacked in a weekend wrecking spree in
Carnmoney Cemetery in Newtownabbey - many of them the
graves of children and babies.

Trinkets, vases, ornaments and flower displays were
destroyed in the cemetery. Security patrols are now set to
be stepped up by Newtownabbey council.

Carnmoney Cemetery has been the focus of simmering
sectarian tensions in Newtownabbey in recent years. The
annual Catholic Blessing of the Graves service has sparked
loyalist rioting in the past and previous years have also
seen headstones smashed.

One of the graves targeted on Saturday was that of Daniel
McColgan. The 20-year-old Catholic postman was shot dead by
the UDA as he arrived for work in January 2002.

His mother Marie told the Belfast Telegraph that his grave
had now been violated on at least three occasions.

In 2002 his headstone had to be replaced after it was
completely destroyed.

"To be honest it is just so much to take in at the minute,"
said Ms McColgan

"I went up to the grave on Saturday night and noticed that
all the wee trinkets and flowers had been smashed against
the headstone. I looked around and saw that there was stuff
scattered around the ground from lots of other graves.

"The people who did this have no respect for people whether
they are dead or living. When we were kids we would not
have gone anywhere near a grave."

"We just have to tidy up once more and try to move on. It
is heartbreaking everytime this happens because it is such
an insult to Daniel."

Local SDLP councillor Noreen McClelland said: "I visited
the grave and it is fair to say that people there are just
absolutely devastated. Quite a number of the graves which
were targeted were of babies.

Newtownabbey council confirmed yesterday that a private
security firm which has been patrolling the graveyard after
earlier incidents of vandalism is to be asked to increase
its watch.

Local parish priest Rev Fr Dan Whyte described the
weekend's incident as "straightforward vandalism" which did
not target any particular religion.


'Love Ulster' Accused Also Facing Assault Charge

23/05/2006 - 12:58:53

A teenager arrested for looting during the riots at the
Love Ulster rally in Dublin in February is also facing an
assault charge.

The 17-year-old boy, an asylum seeker from Georgia who has
been in Ireland since last October without any parents, was
arrested in connection with looting during the riots that
erupted during the “Love Ulster” rally.

He is charged at the Dublin Children’s Court with burglary
of the Schuh Shop, on O’Connell Street, which was ransacked
during the riots. He is also charged with possession of a
set of pliers for use in a connection with a theft offence.

Since then, he was also arrested in connection with a
separate incident in which a person was attacked and
wounded at the hostel in which he had been residing, on May

In relation to the looting allegations, garda Brian Quirke
of Bridewell garda station said the teen was “seen entering
the shop and leaving with property before he re-entered

Two days for the hearing were reserved in July, after garda
Quirke said the prosecution would involve CCTV footage as
well as numerous garda and technical witnesses.

The teen was further remanded in custody at Cloverhill
Prison pending the DPP's directions in connection with the
alleged assault at the hostel.

Judge Bryan Smyth had heard that the teen has since been
barred from living in the hostel which is run by the health
services and had previously been barred from two others.


Ahern To Lobby In US Over Illegal Immigrants

The Minister for Foreign Affairs Dermot Ahern is to travel
to the US tomorrow to further lobby Senators to ensure up
to 50,000 undocumented Irish can remain there, it emerged

The minister revealed a number of meetings would be held in
Washington with senior officials involved in drawing up new
legislation on immigration reform, including Senator John

Mr Ahern said he planned to use the 48-hour trip to lobby
as many people as possible. "I left it to the last minute
to see what the lie of the land was," he said.

"And I just feel that given the importance of getting as
good a proposal out of the Senate as possible, and to be
fair to all concerned, and indeed President Bush has been
very instrumental in effect in knocking heads together.

"I just want to go there to give an Irish perspective to
the situation because for a long time a lot of Americans
didn't even realise there was an Irish aspect to this

Mr Ahern will also meet with leading lobbyists pushing to
ensure the undocumented Irish can stay in the US. The US
Senate this week began considering the Comprehensive
Immigration Reform Act of 2006.

The bill could see penalties imposed on those living and
working illegally in the US but also open the door to
permanency for millions of others.

The proposed legislation creates a system of penalties for
foreign-born residents who entered the country illegally,
but it also allows up to 12 million illegals in the US to
get on a path to eventual citizenship.

The next few days could prove crucial as Senators prepare
to vote on providing a solution for the tens of thousands
of undocumented Irish living and working in the US, some of
whom have not returned home for several years.

It is hoped the Senate may finish their discussions on the
matter towards the end of the week before the Bill is
finalised in June. It is understood the new rules will have
to be reconciled with separate legislation dealing with
border security.

© The Irish Times/


Immigration Fears May Halt March Of New York Hurlers


The first victory of the New York hurling team since they
joined the Ulster senior championship in 2001 could not
have come at a worse time. With the US authorities cracking
down on illegal immigrants, the questions about the status
of up to half of the hurling panel are causing real concern
within the GAA across the Atlantic, writes Seán Moran.

The team are now in the provincial final, scheduled for
Casement Park, Belfast on June 4th, but against the
backdrop of potential problems for players seeking to re-
enter the US, New York are to request a postponement for a
fortnight and the Ulster Council may also be asked to
consider staging the final in America. Already, there has
been action taken by the immigration authorities against
individuals involved with the GAA in New York.

Seán McEvoy, originally from Cavan, and joint owner of a
bar in Yonkers, New York has been charged along with Cavan
taxi driver Peter Hennessey of McLean Avenue, Yonkers with
encouraging another Cavan exile and New York Gaelic
football player, Shane Lawlor, aka Shane Russell, to come
into the US illegally.

Lawlor has been charged separately with entering the US
illegally after he was refused entry on April 23rd, 2005.
Phillip Reilly, a bar owner in Woodside Avenue, Queens and
a GAA enthusiast, has been charged with setting up illegal
immigrant plans for three Irish immigrants in New York and

New York GAA chairman Séamus Dooley was asked about the
status of his players on RTÉ radio but kicked for touch -
uncertainly. "It's none of our business. We don't go to a
player and ask how are you fixed here? "We all know where
the problem lies. That would be a big concern of ours.
We're not going to put any player under that pressure."

Ulster GAA Council secretary Danny Murphy said that while
the request for a postponement had not yet been received it
was expected.

There is exasperation within the GAA that this problem has
arisen, as reservations already exist about having New York
involved in the provincial championships. The venue for the
Ulster final has been fixed for Casement Park since last
October and New York would have been aware that should they
defeat Derry they would have to travel to Belfast for the

The Government will be able to do little to ease the New
York players' plight, though Minister for Foreign Affairs
Dermot Ahern is travelling to the US today to push the case
of Irish "illegals".

Asked if Mr Ahern could do anything for the GAA in New
York, one of his officials said: "Realistically, probably
not. He doesn't have a magic wand. The US has its
immigration law as a sovereign country and that has to be

© The Irish Times


Hatchet Gang In Attack On Polish Family In Unionist Area

By Brendan McDaid
23 May 2006

Police in Londonderry were last night hunting a gang of
racist thugs who took a hatchet to a Polish family's home.

Three masked men, brandishing the hatchet and an iron bar,
forced their way into the house at Emerson Street and
hacked down doors at around 3.10am on Saturday.

The terrified family - which included a two-year-old boy -
tried to barricade themselves into a bedroom which was also
attacked with the hatchet.

During the attack, the second on a Polish household in the
Unionist Bond Street area in less than a week, the gang
ransacked several rooms and smashed a bath and a sink
before running off.

Police said five men, a woman and the two-year-old child
who were in the house at the time, were not injured.

Katrina Kordula of the Polish Welfare Association said that
a doctor has had to be called in to sedate the woman as she
is now suffering nightly panic attacks.

Ms Kordula said the attacks may have been linked to one of
the Polish men wearing a Celtic jersey in the area, in
support of two Polish players signed by the Glasgow club.

She said last night: "The whole group is very nervous now,
they have fled the house and have no understanding as to
why this has happened to them.

She added: "This was an unprovoked, vicious attack on an
innocent family."

In the earlier incident last Sunday two men were forced to
abandon their Pine Street home after being beaten by a gang
in the Waterside.

The men, who have fled the house, were set upon as they
tried to stop the gang of thugs smashing their car at about

DUP councillor for the area Gregory Campbell described the
incidents as extremely worrying.

He said: "There are a small number of immigrant families
living in the Bond's Street area and most of them have
settled in very amicably and blend in very, very well.

"I do not know what has brought on these couple of
incidents and the fact that this latest incident is being
described as racist will only serve to heighten tensions in
the community."

Detectives have appealed for anyone with information to
contact them on 0845 6008000, or Crimestoppers on freephone
0800 555111.


Homophobic Motive Suspected For Paint Attack On Man's Flat

By Michael McHugh
23 May 2006

A disabled Co Down man left homeless after his house was
ruined by paint bombers may have been the victim of a
homophobic attack, the Belfast Telegraph learned today.

Malcolm McCormick (33) is staying with relatives after
vandals attacked his Braeside Gardens home in Killyleagh on
Thursday night.

Carpets and furniture in his Housing Executive flat were
ruined by thugs who threw two bottles filled with paint
into his living room.

The victim, who is partially-sighted and suffered a broken
thigh after being involved in a car accident some years
ago, said he may have been attacked because of his

He said: "That could have been the motive, yes.

"This has left me with nowhere to live and everything in
the living room of the flat has been destroyed.

"The stuff is all new, it was just put in as a birthday
present for my 34th birthday next weekend.

"I was lying in bed and I just heard the bang and I found
it a complete mess.

"This has left me angry and traumatised and I am now living
with relatives so I am effectively homeless."

The attack, which has not been confirmed as homophobic,
comes after police recorded five incidents linked to
prejudice against homosexuality in Down District in
2005/06, up four per cent on the previous year.

The number of incidents in Northern Ireland as a whole is
on the increase, up by a quarter, or 22 incidents.

A police spokeswoman confirmed that officers had attended
the scene at around 1am on Friday but said they were still
working to establish a motive.

"It appears that a brick was thrown through a living room
window before two bottles with paint were thrown inside,"
she said.

Ulster Unionist councillor Eddie Rea said he was disgusted
and hoped the perpetrators would be caught soon.

"It is disgraceful to see this happen and now the shutters
are up on this man's home and he has been forced to leave
his home," he said.

"I would be asking those behind this to leave innocent
people to get on with their lives. It is bad publicity for
the area and the last thing we want to see are shutters up
over houses.

"Killyleagh is coming on in leaps and bounds and this kind
of action is something which we don't need here."


Guidebook Criticises Ireland As 'Backward' On Racism

Ruadhán Mac Cormaic

Black visitors need to be wary at night in parts of Dublin,
Belfast and


Ireland remains "one of Europe's most backward places when
it comes to racism", according to the latest edition of a
best-selling international guidebook.

The eighth edition of the Rough Guide to Ireland, to be
published in July, also claims that on both sides of the
Border, Irish society is homogenous, "remarkably
conservative" and "seemingly untouched by developments in
more tolerant societies".

"Black visitors will undoubtedly encounter racist
attitudes, especially in rural areas, but these are usually
the result of ignorance, rather than an intention to cause
deliberate offence," the authors advise. "Nevertheless,
it's wise to be wary when out at night in parts of central
Dublin, Belfast and Galway."

The guide notes that verbal and physical abuse of refugees
and asylum seekers has increased in the Republic's inner
city areas in recent years. "In Belfast too, there has been
a major attempt by loyalist gangs to 'cleanse' the city's
ethnic population, targeting mainly the local Chinese

Attitudes to Travellers are even worse than those towards
newcomers to the country, it adds.

The guidebook is well stocked with criticism of Irish towns
and villages, with the ritually derided Irish beach resort
taking its bi-annual panning.

However, Bundoran, Co Donegal, is deemed not to be as bad
as some might allege. While it is criticised - "it's hard
to avoid disappointment if the town is your first sight of
Donegal" - its entry glows alongside that of Tramore.

The Co Waterford resort town is "surrounded by ghastly
housing developments and the strand itself is marred by
adjacent amusement arcades, caravan parks and fast-food
outlets." Visit out of season, it suggests, or don't visit
at all.

The best the authors could muster by way of faint praise
for Larne, Co Antrim was that "its main street bustles with
shoppers". Otherwise, they write, "it is a grim and ugly
place, paint-splattered with loyalist slogans, symbols and

Co Carlow "has almost negligible appeal", while counties
Tipperary and Waterford vie for the title of Ireland's
dullest, though both might be pushed close by Co Limerick,
"undoubtedly the least attractive county on Ireland's west
coast, characterised by ugly industrial development along
the Shannon and drab, undulating farmland".

However, Ireland's large cities are roundly praised. In a
rhapsodic review, Dublin is described as "a thrusting,
dynamic place, which despite its size remains utterly

The Giants Causeway, the Rock of Cashel, Connemara, Co
Kerry and west Cork, among other destinations, are cited as
exemplars of Ireland's unique attraction.

Tourism officials in Bundoran and Tramore may take some
consolation that they did not suffer the same fate as
Portadown, Coleraine and Portlaoise, their attraction for
the tourist so little-regarded that none was deemed to
merit a mention.

© The Irish Times


Tourism Chief Accuses Book Of 'Cheap Shot'

Ruadhán Mac Cormaic

Tourism officials from several towns rejected the reviews
in the new edition of the Rough Guide to Ireland.

Joe Palmer, chief executive of South East Tourism, said the
criticism of Tramore was a "cheap shot" that ignored the
town's attraction to families with young children.

"Tramore is exactly what it purports to be: a seaside
resort, and the amusements are part and parcel of its

He said: "It's very easy for anyone to find fault, but a
lot of people are doing a lot of good work. Splashworld
flies the white flag for standards [and] Tramore is one of
the emerging hot spots for fine food."

"It's very easy to take a cheap shot, but you'd wonder
about the qualifications of the people writing this."

Ainsley McWilliams, tourism officer for Larne Borough
Council, challenged the Rough Guide's description of the Co
Antrim town as "grim and ugly".

"We feel our review has been rather unfair. There have been
a lot of improvements. We do have wall murals - it's part
of the culture here - but a lot of the community groups are
working hard to make sure that the murals are not

Ms McWilliams said that a Rough Guide reviewer had been
offered a tour of the town by tourism officials, but
declined because "he didn't have time". Spending on tourism
in the town had increased by 50 per cent in the past three
years, she added, and there had been a corresponding
improvement in facilities.

Geoff Wallis, the guidebook's co-author, denied he had
spoken to tourism officials in Larne. Mr Wallis, a music
journalist from Nottingham and co-author of four previous
editions of the Rough Guide to Ireland, said he had noticed
staggering changes over four editions of the book. "The
biggest changes are the roads and the amount of traffic,
which is exacerbated by the spread of the Dublin commuter
belt. Where does it stop? Longford?"

The profile of the guide's typical reader has evolved, too.
"When I started on the Rough Guide, there was still a
substantial backpacker market, [whereas] today there's a
greater leaning towards the country house market," he said.

© The Irish Times


Amnesty Concerns Over Use Of Shannon Airport

23 May 2006 12:12

Amnesty International has said it is concerned that the
Government has not satisfactorily investigated allegations
that Shannon Airport may have been used for the transfer of
terrorism suspects by the US.

The concerns are raised in Amnesty's annual report,
published this morning.

Amnesty's Secretary General, Irene Kahn, said European
countries had 'buried their heads in the sand', and had
refused to examine their records on the so-called rendition
of suspects.

The Government has said it accepts 'categoric assurances'
by the US Secretary of State, Condoleeza Rice, that Shannon
has not been used for 'anything untoward' in relation to
rendition flights.

The Government maintains it has co-operated fully with a
Council of Europe request for information on the issue.

However, Ms Khan said that the onus was on governments
themselves to investigate the allegations and that
countries should use 'their own national parliaments and
independent mechanisms' to find out exactly what happened.


Half Million Wasted: SF

Sinn Féin MLA Fra McCann has accused British Direct Rule
Social Development Minister David Hanson of creating a
‘city of two halves’.

The allegation comes after Mr Hanson announced a £26
million Belfast city centre regeneration package last week
that bypassed significant parts of North and West Belfast
city centre.

Fra McCann described the announcement as “extremely

“This package will not end the dereliction in the north and
west sectors of the city centre and fails to reconnect
North and West Belfast to the city centre.

“Some weeks ago I told the Minister that he was creating a
city of two halves by concentrating all the future
development on the eastern side of Royal Avenue and

“No amount of camouflage can hide the dereliction that
exists in the Castle Street, Upper North Street and Upper
Donegall Street areas of Belfast city centre, areas that
are recognised as the gateways to West and North Belfast.

“The decision to waste a half million pounds on a piece of
public art in this area, to stimulate pride, is an insult.

“Every week thousands of people from North and West Belfast
use North Street and Castle Street to shop in the city

“They leave the most socially deprived areas of this city
to do so, passing areas which have been neglected to the
point of dereliction only to find that government has
bought into the concept of moving the city centre

“It is pointless spending £14 million on street furniture
or fancy paving stones when the basic problems are being

Cllr McCann added that a proper strategy delivering
investment to all parts of Belfast city centre equally was
urgently needed.

“We need to redesign the streetscape to draw in economic
activity to those parts that are being ignored and left

“Recent decisions made by David Hanson and his advisers
have put back the regeneration of these parts of Belfast
ten or twenty years. It is a slap in the face to the
residents of North and West Belfast.”

A spokesperson for the Department for Social Development
said the DSD's Public Realm strategy was subject to
extensive public consultation.

“This is the first stage in the Department's plans to
achieve world class standards in the design of the streets
at the heart of Belfast city centre.

“The areas being upgraded were selected due to their high
footfall and proximity to major shopping developments,” he

“This includes plans to upgrade the full length of Castle
Street which links West Belfast to the city centre.

“It is hoped that the significant investment made by the
government will help to attract further investment by the
private sector.

“The Department remains committed to regenerating all areas
of Belfast city centre and will be publishing Phase 2 of
the North West Quarter Masterplan this summer. This area is
bounded by Millfield, Divis Street, North Street, Donegall
Street/Clifton Street and the Westlink."

Journalist:: Laura McDaid


Opin: Hain Leadership Contaminated

As cackhanded decision follows cackhanded decision for
British Secretary of State Peter Hain, there appears to be
a worrying equanimity at the higher reaches of the NIO over
their man’s stewardship of the peace process.

While Peter Hain is put out there to attract the brickbats
which followed his latest comeuppance over his disgraceful
appointment of two Orangemen to the Parades Commission, the
civil servants who pull his strings are allowed to skulk in
the background.

These are the same bureaucrats who had their master’s
knuckles rapped when they told him it would be a good idea
to lock up pro-peace process republican Seán Kelly.

In truth, they’re the same guys who were running the show
here when you had to be see everything through Orange-
tinted glasses to get a job at the NIO.

How they must be laughing up their sleeves at the pig’s
breakfast Peter Hain is making of the attempts to get the
peace process up and running. A peace process they despise,
it must be remembered, because it puts Sinn Féin in
government as equal partners - the civil service’s
nightmare scenario.

Having created a basketcase economy here — the woebegone
Six Counties are now more reliant on public sector funding
than Bulgaria under communism — the civil servants are more
interested in protecting their own little fiefdoms than in
developing a truly robust society with equality for all,
full employment and breadwinning jobs.

That’s why funds are still being poured into the unionist
heartlands — note the birth of the Titanic Quarter in East
Belfast with public money (your taxes and mine) at a time
when one in four of West Belfast’s males is long-term
unemployed. Similarly, we are now being regaled with
outrageous proposals to lavish money on a rotting hulk and
a Titanic theme park by the same civil servants who have
gone to court rather than give Conway Mill fair treatment.

If Peter Hain, who meets the West Belfast Partnership Board
today, had the guts to put as much energy into getting
nationalists fair play — rather than blocking
entrepreneurial, wealth-creating projects like Daily
Ireland, Conway Mil, the West Belfast Task Forcesl and
Féile an Phobail — as he put into unlawfully putting
Orangemen on the Parades Commission, things could be very
different indeed. There has been talk of the Parades
Commission now being contaminated but the reality is that
it is the leadership of Peter Hain that has been hopelessly
contaminated and compromised.


Memorial To Murdered Men Unveiled

National Crime And Justice News Report Tuesday May 23,
2006 11:58 By Des Long - Limerick Republican Information
Service Lris At Eircom Dot Net Lris 061 343314

New Memorial To Two Men Murdered By Crown Forces

A large crowd including Limerick County Councillor Noreen
Ryan turned out for the unveiling of a memorial to two
Limerick men murdered by Crown Forces

Assembling for the march to the site

Media Information from….

The site of possibly the most successful operation by
the IRA during the war for national liberation against
Crown Forces at Dromkeen is not marked by any memorial,
a commemoration in County Limerick was told on
Sunday 21st May.

Addressing the gathering at the Cross of Grange on the
main Limerick to Tipperary Road to unveil a restored
memorial to two Limerick men murdered by Crown
Forces, the chairman Des Long said that any other
country would proudly mark such a historical spot.

“There is no memorial to the events that took place
at Dromkeen where Crown Forces suffered their
second heaviest casualties during the War of Independence,”
he said. “Also the memorial to Captain Michael
Danfort is now buried in the Crossagalla Business
Park and one to Henry Clancy at Ballysimon is now
threatened by development.

“As Irish men and women we have a duty to ensure that
the efforts of all those who endeavoured to establish the
32 County Republic are not forgotten.”
The memorial to Michael Blake and James O’Neill was
unveiled by Seamus O’Suillabhain from Broadford and
a wreath was laid by Joe Lynch from Limerick.

Historian Tom Toomey said that O’Neill and Blake were
exonerated by their own courts of justice “but they were
then done to death on a lonely country road without a shred
of evidence against them….such was Crown justice at the

The original memorial to Blake and O’Neill had been lost
During road works and the new stone monument was provided by
Limerick County Council following representations by Cllr. Eddie


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