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May 12, 2006

New Deputy Speakers for Assembly

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BB 05/11/06 New Deputy Speakers For Assembly
BT 05/12/06 Berry May Have Key Role To Play
SF 05/12/06 Concern Expressed At Apparent SDLP Assembly U-Turn
SF 05/12/06 Adams Speaks To Taoiseach In Advance Of Assembly
BB 05/12/06 Condolence Book For Murdered Teen
SF 05/12/06 Cycle Of Young Catholics Being Murdered Must End
BN 05/12/06 Teenage Girls Arrested Over Sectarian Death Threats
SF 05/11/06 Republicans Take Steps To Ease Tension In Ballymena
SF 05/12/06 Martin McGuinness Urges Support For Francis Hughes Events
BN 05/12/06 SDLP Slams UUP Peer's Outburst
SF 05/11/06 Sinn Féin Move To Reduce Sectarian Tension In Garvagh
BB 05/12/06 Checkpoint Death 'Self Defence'
BB 05/12/06 Call For Inquiry On 'Report Leak'
BB 05/11/06 Bloody Sunday Report 'Next Year'
BT 05/12/06 SDLP Referee Not A Factor In Decision: Hain
SF 05/12/06 Gerry Kelly To Meet Police Ombudsman
BB 05/11/06 US Government In Website Pledge
BN 05/12/06 IRA Members' Appeal Attempt Fails
SF 05/12/06 SF To Mark 90th Anniversary Of James Connolly's Execution
IT 05/12/06 Higgins Pays Tribute To Connolly And His Legacy In Labour
IT 05/12/06 Markievicz Group Among Objectors To Housing Plan
BN 05/12/06 High Court Considers Parades Commission Appointments
IT 05/12/06 Opin: Sectarian Divide Has Not Healed
IT 05/11/06 Opin: Hain - GFA 'Remains The Only Show In Town'
BB 05/12/06 Boy Hurt In City Pit Bull Attack
BB 05/11/06 Jason Smurfit Burnt To Death
RT 05/11/06 Actor & Broadcaster Ó Dúill Dies At 70
IT 05/12/06 Pupils Form Guard Of Honour At Teacher's Removal
IT 05/12/06 €50m Kilronan Castle Hotel & Holiday Homes Given Go-Ahead
BN 05/12/06 Tributes Paid To Former Tánaiste Michael O'Leary


New Deputy Speakers For Assembly

Sinn Fein and DUP assembly members have been appointed as
deputy assembly presiding officers, NI Secretary Peter Hain
has said.

Those appointed on Thursday were Jim Wells, DUP, South
Down, and Francie Molloy, Sinn Fein, Mid-Ulster.

Mr Hain also formally confirmed the appointment of former
Alliance party deputy leader Eileen Bell as the presiding

Mr Hain said everything was "in place for the assembly's
recall on Monday".

He also published the standing orders under which the
assembly would operate.

"This is an important step in the process of building
towards the restoration of devolution in Northern Ireland,"
he said.

"I know that all the parties in the assembly will want to
do all they can to ensure that we can once again hand over
the reins of power to locally-elected politicians, directly
accountable to the people of Northern Ireland."


Mr Wells said he was "honoured" to be appointed.

"While I count it as a great personal privilege, it is also
an honour for the DUP in terms of the tremendous strides
forward we have made in representing the people of Northern
Ireland as the largest political party," he said.

Mr Molloy said that he would not "chair or take part in
debates on issues over which the assembly has no power".

"I will play a full role in trying to get an executive
elected and through that allowing the assembly to begin to
do its job," he said.

An attempt will be made on 22 May to elect a first and a
deputy first minister.

Mr Hain has ruled that party leaders will not be allowed to
speak in the reconvened Assembly.

Sinn Fein's Conor Murphy claimed the secretary of state
took the decision because consensus had not been reached on
the issue.

If the parties fail to elect an executive, the 108 members
get a further 12 weeks to try to form a multi-party
devolved government. If that attempt fails, salaries will

The British and Irish governments would then work on
partnership arrangements to implement the Good Friday

Devolved government at Stormont was suspended in October
2002 following allegations of a republican spy ring.

A court case arising from the allegations later collapsed.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/05/11 11:33:54 GMT


Berry May Have Key Role To Play

By Chris Thornton
12 May 2006

Between the big power blocks of the four main parties, Paul
Berry now stands out among the handful of individual MLAs
who could have an influence if the Assembly gets up and

Those individual votes won't count for much on day-to-day
matters - key Assembly votes require approval by a majority
of unionists and a majority of nationalists, and both the
DUP and Sinn Fein own outright majorities in their
respective camps.

But the fine balance that exists for the distribution of
Executive ministries means an individual could have a huge

Mr Berry resigned from the DUP over the party's attempts to
discipline him in connection with Sunday World reports
about his encounter with a male masseur.

His departure effectively took a prospective ministry away
from the DUP and handed it to Sinn Fein. Under the D'Hondt
formula for distributing seats, it also meant there would
be an even distribution of nationalists and unionists in
the Executive, instead of an outright unionist majority.

If either unionist party could rely on Mr Berry or co-opt
one of the other individual unionists - Robert McCartney of
the UKUP or the PUP's David Ervine - they would get that
extra ministry back off Sinn Fein.

Kieran Deeney, the doctor elected as an Omagh hospital
campaigner, could also change the balance, but initial
interest will focus on Mr Berry.

"People think that automatically I will be voting along DUP
lines, but I will do what I think is in the best interests
of the unionist community," he told the Belfast Telegraph
last month.

"It is going to be very interesting to see how what the DUP
does pans out."


Concern Expressed At Apparent SDLP Assembly U-Turn

Published: 12 May, 2006

Sinn Féin MP Conor Murphy has re-iterated Sinn Féin's
opposition to a shadow assembly and has expressed concern
at SDLP confusion in its approach.

Mr Murphy said,

"Sinn Féin is absolutely clear on our approach to the Peter
Hain Assembly. We will be there solely for the business of
establishing a power-sharing government. Anything else is a
waste of time and an attempt by powerless politicians to
justify their salaries and allowances.

"The Peter Hain Assembly is not the assembly set out in the
Good Friday Agreement. The British government, at Sinn
Féin's insistence, made clear that the primary focus of
this Assembly was the formation of a power-sharing
government. Peter Hain is now signalling an intention to
facilitate the talking shop Assembly which the DUP wants.
Sinn Féin will not be party to the pretence that this
Assembly can do real business.

"If Assembly members want to change British policy on water
charges, increased rates, rural planning, education and
health cutes, the only way to do this is to set up our own
power-sharing Executive. The DUP, however, have given no
commitment or signal that they will enter a power-sharing

"I am therefore, concerned at the confusion and mixed
messages coming from the SDLP. Having repeatedly said that
they would not be involved in a talking shop they are now
saying they will take part in pointless debates in a
powerless Assembly. This can only encourage the DUP in
their belief that they can achieve an Assembly which
departs from the principles of the Good Friday Agreement.
The SDLP need to clear up the confusion and tell us if they
are now willing to be part of a sham Assembly." ENDS


Gerry Adams Speaks To Taoiseach In Advance Of Recovening Of Assembly On May 15th

Published: 12 May, 2006

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams MP spoke to the Taoiseach
Bertie Ahern today as final preparations are being made for
the return of the Assembly on Monday 15th May. Mr. Adams
is in Wicklow and Wexford today for a number of
constituency visits with party candidates Councillor John
Brady and Councillor John Dwyer.

During his visit to Enniscorthy Mr. Adams also met with
members of the Presbyterian Church including Rev. Stephen
Rae. Mr. Adams said 'I was very glad to accept this
invitation to meet with members of the Presbyterian Church
in Enniscorthy. At a time when a young man, Michael
McIlveen, lost his life in Ballymena in such tragic
circumstances, it is important that people take the time to
reach out and talk to each other."

Later this evening Mr. Adams will speak at an event to mark
the anniversary of the death of Hunger Striker Francis
Hughes and the execution of 1916 leader James Connolly.

Mr. Adams said:

"The coming weeks and months are critical for the Good
Friday Agreement. We have all invested a huge amount of
time and energy into this process over the last decade but
we are approaching make or break time for the Agreement.

"There are huge challenges ahead for the Irish and British
governments and all of the parties. The reconvening of the
Assembly next week provides an opportunity to make genuine
progress but the sole focus must be on ensuring that the
power-sharing Executive and all-Ireland institutions are
fully restored and that local politicians take up their
responsibilities. We need to ensure that the sectarianism
which manifested itself in the murder of Michael McIlveen
is eradicated forever.

"For all of this to work the British government needs to
stop going off on wild goose chases. They must make it
clear to the DUP that they have a choice to make in the
coming weeks with regard to participation in a power
sharing government and that if they choose otherwise the
two governments will move forward anyway with the
implementation of the Good Friday Agreement."ENDS


Condolence Book For Murdered Teen

Ballymena Council has opened a book of condolence for the
family of a schoolboy killed at the weekend.

Michael McIlveen, 15, died in hospital on Monday after
being attacked by a gang at Garfield Place in the town in
the early hours of Sunday.

The town's DUP mayor, Tommy Nicholl, and a number of other
councillors, have already signed the book.

Five Ballymena teenagers, including a 15-year-old, have
been remanded in custody charged with his murder.

All five are due to appear in court again next month.

Two other juveniles who were arrested on Wednesday evening
are still being questioned by detectives.

The former Presbyterian moderator, Dr John Dunlop, said
more should be done to tackle sectarianism.

"We haven't recognised how widespread this problem is.

"Some people think sectarianism is an infection that
afflicts some people here and there. What I am saying is
that sectarianism is an endemic infection which affects all
of us across the whole society, Catholics and Protestants,
and people in different social classes."

A former Ulster Unionist mayor of Ballymena has urged young
people in the town not to get involved in sectarian gangs.


James Currie said on Friday that parents and teachers must
get the message across about the consequences of sectarian

"Civic leaders, teachers, Sunday School teachers of all
religions should tell young people very clearly and very
carefully to stay out of gangs and not get involved because
you're destroying your whole future at 14, 15 or up to 19
or whatever it is," he said.

On Thursday, Francis McIlveen, Michael's uncle, paid
tribute to DUP leader Ian Paisley for his contact with the
family and invited him to attend Michael's funeral.

Speaking on the BBC's Nolan programme, he said it was a
time for healing in Ballymena.

He also said he wanted to thank Protestant people for
flowers and cards sent to the family.

Michael was a pupil at St Patrick's College in Ballymena.

Meanwhile, Sinn Fein has cancelled planned hunger strike
commemorations in Portglenone on Friday as a mark of
respect for the family of the murdered teenager.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/05/12 09:01:50 GMT


Cycle Of Young Catholics Being Murdered Must End

Published: 12 May, 2006

Sinn Féin Chief Negotiator Martin McGuinness MP today said
the pattern of violence against young Catholics must be
stopped. He said part of this had to involve positive
leadership from Ian Paisley and the DUP.

Mr McGuinness said:

"In November 2004 James McMahon was murdered in Lisburn. In
August 2005 Thomas Devlin was murdered in North Belfast and
last weekend young Michael McIlveen was murdered in

"These three young men had their whole lives ahead of them
yet they fell victim to anti-Catholic hatred, bigotry and
sectarianism. This pattern of sectarian violence cannot be
allowed to continue. Politicians have the primary
responsibility to demonstrate leadership and unionist
politicians in particular have a role to play in
challenging sectarianism within their community. Sinn Féin
will stand shoulder to shoulder with any politician willing
to stand with us against sectarianism.

"I have to say that remarks made by many unionist
politicians in recent days have been encouraging. However
the remarks by the DUP Councillor Roy Gillespie stating
that Michael McIlveen will not enter heaven because he is a
Catholic, are disgraceful and we need to hear commentary
from Ian Paisley on this matter.

"Unionist politicians refusing to talk or share power with
nationalists and republicans is at one end of the scale
which ends up with young catholic lying dead on the street.
That is the reality of the society in which we live and
that is the reality which must now changed. Ian Paisley has
a major role to play in ending the cycle of the murder of
young Catholics on our streets. He now has to rise to that
challenge." ENDS


Teenage Girls Arrested Over Sectarian Death Threats

12/05/2006 - 17:13:06

Two girls were arrested today over alleged death threats
made against a young friend of murdered schoolboy Michael

The pair, both 15, were questioned following complaints
that a girl had been targeted in Ballymena, Co Antrim,
where sectarian tensions have been on a knife-edge.

The alleged victim, aged 16, was threatened because her
parents are of mixed religion, her mother claimed.

Police were told she was confronted by two girls, backed by
a crowd of youths carrying Gaelic hurley sticks, as she
boarded a bus home from school.

Her mother said: "They were battering on the window saying
to her 'You're next, you're dead'.

"She was hysterical and my 13-year-old son who was with her
was hysterical."

The Police Service of Northern Ireland later confirmed two
15-year-old girls had been arrested and interviewed.

"They have been released pending police reports," a
spokesman added.

The alleged victim's family, who do not want to be named,
are Protestants who once lived in the town's strongly
Catholic Dunclug estate.

They moved to Scotland in a bid to escape the twin threat
of sectarianism and drugs which has bedevilled Ballymena.

When ill-health forced the mother to return with her four
children three years ago, they moved into the loyalist
Ballykeel area.

Her daughter, a GCSE student at Dunclug High School,
maintained friendships with Catholics and was regularly in
the company of Michael.

She was devastated when the 15-year-old Catholic died on
Monday after a gang beat him with baseball bats. Five
teenagers have been charged with the murder.

"She was distraught after Michael died. I had to stay up
with her all that night," the girl's mother said.

"Her Catholic grandmother gave her a candle and she brought
it round to our home and lit it for that wee boy.

"They used to joke about. She once wore his Celtic top and
he had on her Rangers necklace for a laugh.

She is friendly with both sides of the community and that's
why we think she was singled out – because they know she
has a Protestant mum and a Catholic dad.

"She used to get called a 'Half a Jaffa' around Dunclug
because she's from a mixed relationship – only Orange in
the middle."

The woman, a retail manager, said her traumatised daughter
has been given permission by the school to only come in for
GCSE examinations.

"They have assured me they can guarantee her safety when
she's on school premises, but they want her grandfather to
escort her in and collect her when each exam finishes," she

"Do people think this is what Michael's mother would want?
Another innocent child receiving death threats?

"My daughter has done nothing and I don't want to be living
in fear.

"But there's a really horrible atmosphere in Ballymena.
With me working in the town centre you can feel it."

Police said extra patrols have been put on the streets of
the town in a bid to prevent further attacks.

"We are paying particular attention to places were young
people would congregate," the spokesman said.

Ian Paisley Jr, Democratic Unionist MLA for North Antrim,
backed police moves against anyone heightening fear in the

He said: "Hopefully swift action will deter other people
from going down the road of threatening and intimidating.

"I have had several reports from Protestants in fear that
one of their children is going to be next."

And Ken Wilkinson of the loyalist Progressive Unionists,
offered to hold talks with any community representatives in
the area.

"There's veiled threats that after this young man's funeral
Protestants are going to be evicted from the top of the
town," he claimed.

"That wouldn't help anybody, and before anyone else loses
their life people need to have a clear head and sit down


Republicans Take Steps To Ease Tension In Ballymena

Published: 11 May, 2006

North Antrim Sinn Féin assembly member Philip McGuigan has
commended the North Antrim 1981 remembrance committee for
taking the decision to call off a planned vigil for Francis
Hughes in the town of Portglenone on Friday night.

This decision was taken in light of the recent sectarian
murder of Michael McIlveen in Ballymena and the obvious
intention of Unionists to use the vigil to further heighten
tensions in the Borough.

Mr McGuigan said:

"It became obvious in the public domain that some within
Unionism wanted to create an issue over the planned
commemoration of Francis Hughes. As Irish Republicans this
commemoration was intended to a respectful and dignified
vigil in honour of a brave man and comrade who died on
hunger strike.

"In light of the threat from Unionism and the level of
tension in the borough, I think this decision is the right
one and shows particular leadership from Republicans in the
area. I'm disappointed but not surprised that Unionists and
Loyalists were intent on using this vigil to further create
community division in Portglenone.

"It worries me further that the same party in Ballymena
that calls on people to be calm at this time, is the same
party that has publicly backed such protests against the
Nationalist and Republican community.

"I would also urge other groupings like the Orange Order to
reflect upon this responsible initiative to reduce tensions
and act accordingly." ENDS


Martin McGuinness Urges Support For Francis Hughes Events

Published: 12 May, 2006

Sinn Féin MP for Mid-Ulster Martin McGuinness today urged
people to attend the weekend events to commemorate the
sacrifice of legendary IRA Volunteer Francis Hughes who
died this day 25 years ago on Hunger Strike in the H-Blocks
of Long Kesh.

Mr McGuinness said:

"Twenty five years ago today Francis Hughes one of the most
fearless and courageous IRA Volunteers to emerge out of the
current phase in the Republican Struggle lost his life
after 59 days on Hunger Strike in Long Kesh.

"The sacrifice of Francis Hughes and the other H-Block
Hunger Strikers remains with all of us to this day. I
remember travelling to Bellaghy to give the oration at the
graveside of Francis Hughes. I recall the RUC disrupting
the funeral. I also recall the dignity displayed by the
Hughes family and by those republicans from throughout
Ireland and beyond who had gathered in South Derry in the
face of their provocation.

"On Sunday twenty five years on I will travel to Bellaghy
graveyard to join again with the Hughes family as the MP
for Mid-Ulster. Our struggle has changed greatly since the
difficult summer of 1981 but we remain committed to our
republican goals and we remain committed to delivering the
sort of society which is demanded by the sacrifice of the
Hunger Strikers.

"I would encourage people to get involved in the events
this weekend and indeed throughout the year as we seek to
remember our comrades who died in 1981 and build the sort
of Ireland which is peaceful, free, united and democratic."


SDLP Slams UUP Peer's Outburst

12/05/2006 - 15:51:16

The SDLP has criticised an Ulster Unionist peer for
suggesting in the British House of Lords that the Knights
of Columbanus are running Waterways Ireland.

The party said Lord Laird's intemperate rant was a
throwback to the past at a time of community tension.

Waterways Ireland is the cross border body overseeing the
preservation and future use of Ireland's canals.

Lord Laird claims, however, that it's controlled by the
Knights of Columbanus and Opus Dei.

They controlled appointments, he said, and even wanted to
relocate its headquarters in the Republic.

Tommy Gallagher, SDLP assembly member for Fermanagh,
however, said this paranoid fantasy was a return to what he
called the disgraceful past outbursts of extreme unionists.

Lord Laird, said Mr Gallagher, should catch himself on and
realise that such disgraceful inflammatory talk could
eventually lead to serious consequences.


Sinn Féin Move To Reduce Sectarian Tension In Garvagh

Published: 11 May, 2006

Sinn Féin councillor Billy Leonard has written to fellow
councillors inviting them to make a joint statement
appealing for a reduction in sectarian tensions in the Co.
Derry town of Garvagh.

The Cllr. Leonard has approached members from the Ulster
Unionist, SDLP and DUP.

Cllr. Leonard said:

"I have written to the other councillors proposing the
basis of a joint statement and that we meet next Tuesday
evening when we would be together at a Council meeting.

"I have stressed that my thoughts on this approach preceded
Michael McIlveen's tragic death but obviously it gives a
very poignant and direct concentration. I feel that we can
transcend the usual differences and debates on incidents
and make a very focused statement on the cancer of

"We must be able to take the lead and stress that people
should be viewed as human beings not mere sectarian labels
and that difference can be handled without violence to
people or property.

"It is essential that we cut across the cul-de-sac debates
to make a joint and firm statement that Garvagh does not
want sectarianism, that we want tensions to be reduced and
that we do all we can to avoid further incidents. None of
us compromise our political positions by joining forces
against sectarianism.

"There are real worries that things could get worse. Surely
we as public representatives can say that things can get
better by taking sectarianism out of the picture. "ENDS


Checkpoint Death 'Self Defence'

A policeman who shot dead a man driving a stolen car in
County Down believed his life was in imminent danger, he
has told the police ombudsman's office.

Steven Colwell, 23, was shot by an officer at a checkpoint
just outside the police station in Church Street in
Ballynahinch on Easter Sunday.

The BBC has also learned that passengers in the rear of the
car narrowly escaped being shot as well.

It is understood the officer thought the car was being
driven at him.

The officer, who has more than 10 years' experience, has
said he fired directly through the windscreen, it is

However, it is also understood the ombudsman's team believe
one of the two rounds fired came through the window on the
driver's side.

It has also emerged that the person sitting directly behind
Mr Colwell narrowly escaped being shot.


At least one bullet was found in the car boot, having
passed through both the drivers and rear passenger seats.

Police fired a number of shots at the stolen car containing
six people after they apparently refused to stop at a

Mr Colwell had an address in Main Street, Cullybackey, but
was originally from Belfast.

Three men and two women who were also in the car have been
released on bail and have been questioned by the ombudsman.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/05/12 05:40:16 GMT


Call For Inquiry On 'Report Leak'

The Police Federation has asked the ombudsman's office to
carry out a leak inquiry following a BBC story on the fatal
shooting of Stephen Colwell.

Mr Colwell, 23, was shot by an officer in Ballynahinch on
Easter Sunday.

The report on Friday gave details of the officer's claim
that he shot Mr Colwell because he believed he was
deliberately trying to run him over.

The Federation said the detail in the report should not
have gone beyond the ombudsman's office or the PSNI.

The policeman involved told the police ombudsman's office
he shot a man driving a stolen car in County Down because
he believed his life was in imminent danger.

Mr Colwell was shot at a checkpoint just outside the police
station in Church Street in Ballynahinch.

The BBC has also learned that passengers in the rear of the
car narrowly escaped being shot as well.

The officer, who has more than 10 years' experience, has
said he fired directly through the windscreen, it is

However, it is also understood the ombudsman's team believe
one of the two rounds fired came through the window on the
driver's side.

It has also emerged that the person sitting directly behind
Mr Colwell narrowly escaped being shot.


At least one bullet was found in the car boot, having
passed through both the driver's and rear passenger seats.

Police fired a number of shots at the stolen car containing
six people after they apparently refused to stop at a

Mr Colwell had an address in Main Street, Cullybackey, but
was originally from Belfast.

Three men and two women who were also in the car have been
released on bail and have been questioned by the ombudsman.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/05/12 15:15:33 GMT


Bloody Sunday Report 'Next Year'

The long-running Bloody Sunday Inquiry is not expected to
publish its final report until next year, the families of
those who died have claimed.

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 tribunal investigated the deaths of 14 civilians shot
by soldiers during a civil rights march in the city in

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

It had been expected their findings would have been
published by now but the families said they had been told
by the Irish government it would not be released until next

A spokeswoman for the inquiry refused to give any
information on when the report might be released.

"It has been necessary for the tribunal to look at a very
large quantity of material, so that it is not possible at
this stage to give any firm estimate of when the report is
likely to be finished," she said.

However, she said the families and other interested parties
would receive "substantial notice" of publication.

SDLP leader and Foyle MP Mark Durkan said a delay would
cause further frustration and anxiety for the families.

"The families and injured at least deserve an idea of how
much longer they will have to wait. That should not be too
much to ask," he said.

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

Lord Saville of Newdigate and the Commonwealth judges
accompanying him on the inquiry began hearing evidence in
March 2000.

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: 2006/05/11 18:39:58 GMT


SDLP Referee Not A Factor In Decision: Hain

By Chris Thornton
12 May 2006

Secretary of State Peter Hain has admitted he knew
Orangeman Don MacKay named an SDLP MLA as a reference on
his Parades Commission application - but says the apparent
cross-community support didn't influence his decision to
appoint Mr MacKay.

But Dolores Kelly, the MLA named on the application, said
the situation was "incredible".

And she said it contradicts what a senior NIO official told
her party.

Mr MacKay named Mrs Kelly as a potential referee when he
applied to join the Commission last year, but did not ask
her if she would support his application. Mrs Kelly has
called for his resignation over the issue.

The NIO did not ask her for a reference and she only
learned about it when the SDLP complained about Mr MacKay's
appointment - and an NIO official said Mrs Kelly's name had
appeared on the application.

Mr Hain's admission was revealed during a High Court
hearing this week in a case challenging the appointment of
Mr MacKay and another Orangeman, David Burrows.

An affidavit from the NIO official who chaired the Parades
Commission appointments, Carol Moore, said Mr Hain was
aware of the identity of Mr MacKay's referees because he
had seen his application form.

But she said Mr Hain informed her that the identity of the
referees "played absolutely no part in his decision" to
appoint him.

Mrs Kelly, who has also supplied evidence in the court
case, said Mr Hain's account was "very strange".

"Whenever we complained about Don MacKay's appointment, we
were told that the Secretary of State was impressed that I
was one of his references," she said.

"Does the Secretary of State think I'm so politically naive
that I would give Don MacKay a reference for such a
politically sensitive position?"

A full hearing in the challenge against Mr Hain's
appointments is due to take place in the High Court today.
The case is being brought by a resident of the Garvaghy


Gerry Kelly To Meet Police Ombudsman

Published: 12 May, 2006

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Policing and Justice Gerry Kelly
will this afternoon meet with the Police Ombudsman in her
offices in Belfast. The meeting will take at 2pm and is at
the request of Sinn Féin.

Speaking before the meeting Mr Kelly said:

"Our position on the current policing arrangements is well
known. We have requested today's meeting with the Ombudsman
to discuss a range of issues.

"These include the powers of the Ombudsman's office and
some concerns we have about their scope and range. We will
also raise a number of individual cases of concern which
have been working on for sometime.

"One area we will discuss is the role being played by
former RUC Special Branch detectives. At least one has
publicly admitted stealing confidential files and the
Ombudsman herself expressed concern this week at a lack of
co-operation from these individuals." ENDS


US Government In Website Pledge

The US government will do what it can to shut down a
website linked to the group blamed for the Omagh bombing,
victims' relatives have been told.

Relatives of some of those who died in the 1998 Real IRA
attack met Dean Pittman, the US consul general to Belfast,
on Thursday.

Relatives' spokesman Michael Gallagher said the 32 County
Sovereignty Movement's website should be closed.

He said a notice board on the site was particularly

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

"Mr Pittman said if there was anything they could do they
would do it in support of the families," said Mr Gallagher.

"The consul general said he had already talked to the US
embassy in London about the issue and had been asked by
London to talk to the families.

"We are asking the US government to talk to their Canadian
cousins and say this website is contrary to the current
climate of putting pressure on terrorists and terrorist

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

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/05/11 18:00:41 GMT


IRA Members' Appeal Attempt Fails

12/05/2006 - 11:09:38

The Court of Criminal Appeal has dismissed on appeals by
five Dublin men, described by a Garda Chief Superintendent
as members of the Dublin Brigade of the Provisional IRA,
against their convictions for membership of an illegal

The men were each jailed for four years at the Special
Criminal Court on February 21 last year for membership of
an illegal organisation styling itself the Irish Republican
Army, otherwise Oglaigh na hEireann, otherwise the IRA on
October 11, 2002.

They are Thomas Gilson (25), of Bawnlea Avenue, Jobstown,
Tallaght; Patrick Brennan (42), of Lindisfarne Avenue,
Clondalkin; Sean O' Donnell (33), of Castle Drive,
Sandymount; John Troy (26), of Donard Ave and Stephen
Birney (32), of Conquerhill Road, Clontarf.

After conviction, Chief Superintendent Peter Maguire told
the SCC that all the men were members of the Provisional
IRA, were attached to that organisation's Dublin Brigade
and were answerable directly to its leadership.

The men had appealed on the grounds that the belief
evidence of Detective Chief Superintendent Philip Kelly
should not have been admitted in evidence and there was no
corroboration of that belief


The men's lawyers also challenged the jurisdiction of the
Special Criminal Court to try them.

Dismissing the appeals today Mr Justice Adrian Hardiman,
presiding at the three judge court, said that the court had
concluded that the challenge to the jurisdiction of the
court was "without

merit". The court also found that the belief evidence of
Detective Chief Supt Kelly was "amply corroborated" by
other evidence in the case.

During the 24-day trial, the court heard the men were
arrested after an off duty Special Branch detective,
Detective Garda Michael Masterson, noticed suspicious
activity around three vehicles - a Nissan Almera car, a
Nissan Micra car and a van.

The court heard gardaí recovered a large quantity of of
Sinn Féin posters, including election posters for Sinn Féin
TD Mr Aengus O Snodaigh, from the Nissan Almera car in
which they also found a stun gun, a CS gas canister, a blue
flashing light and a beacon.

Gardaí also found two pick axe handles, a lump hammer,
three portable radios , cable ties, balaclavas and fake
Garda jacket in the van. Four of the men were found seated
on the floor of the van and two of them, Gilson and O'
Donnell, were dressed in fake Garda uniforms, the trial was

Chief Superintendent Philip Kelly, the head of the Garda
Special Branch, told the trial that he believed each man
was a member of an unlawful organisation.


Sinn Féin To Mark The 90th Anniversary Of James Connolly's Execution

Published: 12 May, 2006

The Sinn Féin Trade Union Department will this weekend host
a series of events in Belfast to mark the 90th Anniversary
of the execution of James Connolly who was murdered by the
British government on May 12th 1916.

Tonight at 7pm the plaque at James Connolly's former home
on the Falls Road (Facing the entrance to City Cemetery)
will be rededicated. The main oration will be given by the
Head of the Sinn Féin European Department and editor of the
Left Republican Review, Eoin O'Broin. A short lyrical and
musical pageant will also take place.

On Sunday at 2.30pm Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams will
unveil a new mural in Connolly's honour at the bottom of
Rockmount Street.


Higgins Pays Tribute To Connolly And His Legacy In Labour

Mark Brennock

Labour Party president Michael D Higgins paid tribute
yesterday to the "brave and courageous people who stood
against the tide" over the years and "were proud to say
they were of Labour".

Giving the oration at Arbour Hill to mark the 90th
anniversary of James Connolly's death, Mr Higgins said that
in the years since there had been others who stood for the
same values, right up to the present time. "These include,
for example, a young woman, Joanne Delaney, who risked her
job by insisting on her right to wear a union badge."

When founding the Labour Party in 1912, Connolly "was
conscious of the need to establish a party that could take
into account the immediate and historic struggles of his
country". The labour movement - as opposed to the party -
could not address fully the aspiration for independence, he
said. "It was not just any independence that was sought,
but independence that recognised equality and justice in
its definition. This is what was needed in the
circumstances of the early 20th century."

He said Connolly, and the founder of the Land League,
Michael Davitt, before him, "were powerful
internationalists and it has been part of their legacy to
our party that it has been the pre-eminent internationalist
party in modern Irish history".

Connolly's internationalism involved "a powerful opposition
to empire and the wars of empires. It is this that led him
to see the importance of striking a blow at the grip of
empire so as to clear the ground for the tasks of creating
a workers' republic."

Through all of Connolly's preparations for 1916, there was
"a powerful humanism at work", he said. "James Connolly was
the major thinker among the leaders of 1916. At one point
or another, all of the others came to realise this. They
saw that he combined qualities of analysis, leadership and
imagination with an organisational genius."

© The Irish Times


Markievicz Group Among Objectors To Housing Plan

Fiona Gartland

Almost 400 objections have been received to a plan to
develop social housing close to a proposed Natural Heritage
Area at the foot of the Dublin mountains.

The plan, put forward by Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County
Council, aims to develop six acres close to Fitzsimon's
Wood on the Blackglen Road, Sandyford. The wood contains
protected species and also has historical links to Countess
Constance Markievicz.

The development includes 61 two-storey social houses and 70
affordable apartments in a five- to seven-storey apartment
block with basement car parking and a resource centre.

The 391 objections were received from groups including An
Taisce, the Countess Markie- vicz Millennium Committee and
the Sandyford Environmental Planning and Road Safety Group
as well as many local residents.

The wood is home to the smooth newt, a protected species as
well as deer, badgers and other wildlife.

The area on which the development is to be built is the
remaining "wildlife corridor" leading from the wood to
Ticknock Wood.

Countess Markievicz rented a cottage on Blackglen Road be-
tween 1908 and 1920 and used the wood as a training ground
for Cumann na mBan.

The six acres were zoned for housing in 2001 and subsequent
moves to rezone them for amenity, including a judicial
review, failed.

Margaret O'Reilly, spokeswoman for the Sandyford
Environmental Planning and Road Safety Group, said the land
they are building on is essential to the survival of the

"The county development plan has an objective to protect
and enhance the biodiversity of the wood," she said. "How
can they say they are doing that if they build on this

She said the historical links also make it worth

Fianna Fáil Cllr Maria Corrigan said if a wood is
surrounded on all sides the features that merited its
designation as a pNHA disappear. She said it was time the
land was rezoned back to amenity.

A spokeswoman for the council said the parks department is
finalising a management plan for the wood and the new
development does not encroach on it.

© The Irish Times


High Court Considers Parades Commission Appointments

12/05/2006 - 14:13:09

The appointment of two Orangemen to the Parades Commission,
which rules on contentious Orange parades in Northern
Ireland, was challenged in the High Court in Belfast today.

A resident of the Nationalist Garvaghy Road in Portadown
which has been at the centre of Drumcree parade's dispute
for the past decade, is seeking to overturn Northern
Ireland Secretary Peter Hain's appointment of the two
Orangemen last November.

Mr Hain appointed David Burrows, a prominent Portadown
Orangeman, and one time District Master in the
organisation, and Donald MacKay, a fellow Portadown member
of the Orange Order, who is also a member of the Royal
Black Institution and the Democratic Unionist party.

However the Secretary of State did not appoint any member
of the nationalist resident groups who have been
campaigning against Orange parades through their districts.

At a judicial review hearing Barry MacDonald, QC, for the
Garvaghy resident Joe Duffy expressed incredulity at the
appointment of what he called "two prominent members of the
Orange lodge that for 10-years has been a part of the
single most contentius parde in Northern Ireland, nmely

Mr MacDonald said: "Neither could conceivably be regarded
as impartial or unaffected."

And he told Mr Justice Morgan that in the absence from
anyone from the resident's side of parade disputes, "we say
the composition of the commission is not representative of
the community."

He questioned whether the decision by the British
government had been mistaken or calculated.

Mr MacDonald said a report to the government on the
parade's issue prior to the appointment of new Parade
Commission members had declared: "It goes without saying
that the members of the Parade's Commission would have to
be impartial."

He said the Secretary of State had agreed that members of
the commission were required to be impartial.

He questioned how Mr Hain and his advisors could have
considered the two men selected to join the seven-member
commission as impartial.

The Northern Ireland Office, he said, had contacted the
leaders of the main political parties in Northern Ireland,
the main churches and the three marching orders seeking to
drum up applicants for the commission.

However he said the Northern Ireland office did not contact
other interested parties or community groups on nationalist
areas, he said.

The QC said when Mr Burrows and Mr MacKay applied and went
through the appointment process they had freely listed
their Orange Order credentials.

He said: "It beggars belief," that within the Northern
Ireland Office "they did not identify either of these
applicants to have either a real conflict of interest or a
perceived conflict of interest."

He said it appeared from documentation provided to the
court by the British government that the men's Orange Order
background was "looked at not as a potentialproblem but a
real asset".

Unfortunately, he said, there was no written documentation
or minutes about the meeting at which Mr Hain and his then
security minister Shaun Woodward made the appointment

He said that meant there was no explanation of whether Mr
Hain considered there to have been a real or perceived
conflict of interest himself.

Nevertheless he said: "By any standards this was a decision
that must be quashed."


Opin: Sectarian Divide Has Not Healed


Early last Sunday morning in Ballymena, a 15-year-old
Catholic schoolboy, Michael McIlveen, and two friends were
making their way home from a local pizza parlour when they
were set upon by a gang of Protestant youths wielding
baseball bats. David Adams writes.

The two friends managed to escape, but Michael was cornered
and badly beaten: he died in hospital of his injuries late
on Monday evening. Throughout Northern Ireland, there was
revulsion and outrage that an innocent child had been
robbed of life simply because of his religion.

However, no one should pretend to be surprised that this
sectarian killing has happened. Nor give credence to a
growing tendency to see it as symptomatic only of a
situation that pertains in Ballymena, regardless of that
town having a long history of division and sectarian
violence. For to do that, would be to avoid confronting a
greater and far more generalised problem with society.

Ballymena is little different to anywhere else, in that
sectarian attacks and clashes between rival gangs of young
people are now commonplace throughout Northern Ireland.

Hardly a weekend goes past when you do not read or hear of
someone having been seriously assaulted because of their
perceived religious affiliation. Such is the prevalence and
often vicious nature of these attacks, that it was only a
matter of time before someone was killed.

If this tragedy had not unfolded in Ballymena then, sadly
but undoubtedly, something similar would have occurred
somewhere else.

For the death of young Michael McIlveen is a tragic
indicator of a problem common to all of Northern Ireland.
For decades, there have been those who have claimed that
the conflict was essentially political and that religious
tension was largely a by-product of years of violence,
upheaval and political uncertainty.

The logic being, of course, that if only the paramilitaries
would cease their campaigns and we could agree on an
overarching political and constitutional arrangement then
sectarianism would gradually disappear.

What has become painfully clear since the paramilitary
ceasefires and the Belfast Agreement, is that, while
politics and sectarianism are often inter-related,
political progress alone will not heal sectarian divisions.

Sectarianism exists as a self-perpetuating, separate entity
that must be tackled and legislated for in its own right.
Regardless of the peace process and giant strides having
been made on the political front, the two main communities
here are more polarised than ever.

After more than a decade of relative peace, Northern
Ireland still consists, largely, of two tribal groups
living in almost complete isolation from, and opposition
to, one another. In most areas, shared ground has long ago
been carved up into separate Catholic and Protestant
districts where only those of like persuasion are welcome.
Even in the occasional mixed community of private-ownership
housing, there is little real interaction between
neighbours from differing religious backgrounds. In the
main, people in Northern Ireland actually prefer to live,
work and socialise amongst their own religious affiliates.
The communities happily reside separately, in virtual
parallel worlds to one another, where stereotyping and
demonising is given full rein.

It is within that kind of society that we raise our
children. Protestant and Catholic youngsters do not live on
the same streets, they do not play together, they do not go
to school together and they do not socialise together.

Most of them have never knowingly had contact - or at least
not enough to form an opinion of their own - with anyone
outside their own community until they leave school and
start work. By which time, in all probability, enormous
damage has already been done.

Many have been taught to distrust, or even hate, those from
what amounts to an alien background. Added to this mix, are
varying degrees of problems now common within any western
society: a more general lack of respect for authority, a
high proportion of young men having been raised without any
positive male role model in the home, and widespread drug
and alcohol abuse.

It is not surprising, then, that on the few occasions when
young Protestants and Catholics do come into direct
contact, more often than not, there is mutual suspicion and
hostility. Given our situation, the wonder is not that
sectarian violence amongst the young is so prevalent, but
that we actually manage to turn out many decent, upstanding
young citizens.

Politicians here have also been horrified at the killing of
young Michael McIlveen, but many of them share
responsibility for the perpetuation of divisions within
Northern Ireland. Too often, on both sides, sectarian
tensions have been deliberately raised for electoral gain.
Neither can many politicians honestly claim to have done
much to try to bring the two communities together.

If we are ever going to have normality in Northern Ireland,
a greater task than anything to do with November 24th still
confronts all of us. That is, the breaking down of
sectarian barriers within our society.

Until we start to do that, sectarianism will remain immune
from political progress and there will continue to be
brutal deaths like that of young Michael McIlveen.

© The Irish Times


Opin: Hain - Good Friday Agreement 'Remains The Only Show In Town'


In the third of a series of interviews with key figures in
the peace process, ahead of Monday's planned return of the
Northern Ireland Assembly, Peter Hain, Secretary of State
for Northern Ireland, talks to Frank Millar, London Editor.

Peter Hain has said that November 24th is an absolute
deadline, and that either the Stormont Assembly forms a
power-sharing government by that date or it closes down.
Does he accept he might thus be inviting the Rev Ian
Paisley to preside over the final death of the Belfast

"No, what we're saying is the process can't continue and go
on being an end in itself. I don't think the public in
Northern Ireland will stand for this, and the Good Friday
agreement remains the only show in town. I think there'll
have to be some legislative amendment to it - in terms of
Strands One to Three [ the Northern Ireland, North/South
and British/Irish components], in the sort of territory
there was in the comprehensive proposals of 2004 - for the
DUP to take their seats in a power-sharing executive. But
there's no other show, and if anybody thought they could
bring the curtain down in the interests of burying the Good
Friday agreement they couldn't be more wrong."

But can that be right? Mr Hain will recognise the
proposition is that of Mark Durkan. The SDLP leader said
that not the least of the risks in this British/Irish
initiative is that if Dr Paisley sits tight, for whatever
reason, that's the end of the Assembly and the end of the
central piece of the agreement.

"The alternative is dragging this on year after year with
the process becoming an end in itself, going on and on and
on, and Assembly members not doing the jobs for which they
were elected, drawing salaries and allowances, which the
public won't stand for. The problem I think Assembly
members have got themselves into is that they're not having
an argument with me about this deadline, they're having an
argument with their voters."

He says it can't go on and on. But the DUP doesn't believe
him. If Dr Paisley or Peter Robinson declare in November
"great progress made, not there yet, but getting there",
they don't believe that Tony Blair would close it all down.

Mr Hain insists: "They couldn't be more wrong. Whether it's
the DUP or the SDLP, they could not be more wrong. At
midnight on November 24th the curtain comes down, the
Assembly's put on ice, the salaries will stop. In the late
summer - if they don't think we're going to get an
agreement, or they're not willing, or don't have confidence
we can reach an agreement - I'll be advising Assembly
members then to tell their staff to find new jobs. They'll
also need to do something else in the summer and advise the
landlords of their advice centres that they're not going to
be able to pay the rent. I don't say that as a threat,
because they themselves will bring the curtain down, not
me, and the public won't stand for millions and millions of
pounds going to waste in this fashion."

Then comes an interesting caveat: "If they go to one minute
past midnight in the expectation that we're going to blink,
well we won't blink first. Now, if they then decide
voluntarily to go on the dole, sack their staff, close down
their advice centres, and then come back to me after one
month, two months, three months, six months, and say, 'We
think we got it wrong, now we're ready to run it again',
well my door's always open. But I'm not going to be chasing
after them."

A strange thought occurs. If Mr Hain is to be taken at face
value about the deadline, in an odd way - and certainly in
a way he would never have intended - this reflects just how
far Northern Ireland actually has come. Because presumably,
while he would like devolution, he is also calculating
there will be no political or security crisis if the
devolution project fails. And therefore we've arrived at a
point where, whereas previously devolution was considered
an essential part of ending the conflict, we can now have
peace without it.

Mr Hain concedes: "You may be able to have peace without
it, and I think you will have peace without it, because,
you know, Northern Ireland is as night and day compared
with what it was in past years, even in April 1998."

However, he also argues: "Actually you'll have a completely
artificial situation because you will not have democracy
there. You may have, we like to think, a very effective
group of Direct Rule ministers who are making the decisions
in the public interest. But we're not accountable, I'm not
accountable to anybody in Northern Ireland, I don't have
any voters who can kick me out."

Notwithstanding what Mr Hain says about a democratic
deficit, doesn't this reinforce the suspicion that Dr
Paisley has got the soft option here, compared to where
David Trimble was in 1998? The Irish constitutional claim
is gone and the IRA's "war" is over. As he says, Dr Paisley
can have peace, albeit imperfect peace, without devolution.
For all that Mr Hain talks tough, Direct Rule is relatively
benign and will continue to be. With nine seats in the
Commons, the likelihood of more electoral success to come,
Mr Blair running out of time and the possibility of a hung
parliament next time, a lot of people in the DUP might
think their prospects rosy enough without the pain of
having Martin McGuinness as deputy first minister.

Mr Hain is determinedly unimpressed by such lack of
conventional political ambition. "It's one thing for
Northern Ireland MPs to enjoy being at Westminster, but
their power is very limited. And actually a lot of the
policies we're implementing, not that they have that
ambition, are fiercely opposed by the DUP in particular . .
. the seven councils, the reform of education, the water
charges, a long list of things. I'm not doing these to
knock anybody on the nose. I'm doing these because I
strongly believe - and have the support, I believe, of
civil society, including the business community, the trade
unions and the voluntary sector - in building a world class
Northern Ireland. This is what this agenda's about. But
they [ the DUP] say they don't like them. Well it's a
profoundly dissatisfying and unsatisfactory position for
democratically elected politicians to be in, where they're
actually saying, 'Be my guest, make these decisions that I
don't like'."

It was the accidental loss of meaningful local government
alongside the suspension of the Stormont parliament in 1972
which created what has long-since been described as
Northern Ireland's democratic deficit. And with the
proposal for seven "super councils" Mr Hain might be said
to be filling it. The DUP does not like the seven, but with
proper levels of parliamentary representation, and their
dominance of it, it might be democracy enough for the DUP.

"But you see that didn't work in Scotland and it didn't
work in Wales," counters Mr Hain. "And you didn't have the
bitter history in either of those two nations."

Yet it might work for Northern Ireland, and for the
unionists in particular, precisely because the bitter
history creates an aversion to sharing power above a
certain level.

Mr Hain is unconvinced: "I don't think there is, I think
there's a problem of trust and a failure of leadership, and
too much followership and not enough leadership, by all the
parties by the way."

What single act of leadership could Gerry Adams engage in
between now and November 24th?

"I think Sinn Féin do need to put themselves on the road -
and I think they have started off warily down this road -
to co-operating with the police. I'm not saying, 'Join the
policing board tomorrow'. But there is a commitment they
have given, which I'll expect them to honour, that when
we've got royal assent for the Bill devolving policing and
justice, they then need to take positive moves to call a
conference.They've promised that and I'm sure that they

That's the assent for the Bill, not the actual transfer of
powers? "No, until you've got institutions to devolve to,
you can't devolve." And the timetable for that? "Well it's
due to get royal assent by the summer recess, by the end of

Mr Hain says he can't be certain of the timing of any Sinn
Féin ardfheis, and declines to speculate as to whether the
party might actually be ready to join the board and endorse
the PSNI in time for a November deal. He also stresses:
"There's a radical difference between trying to solve
problems and difficult issues like policing, which is what
we're doing, and using those difficult issues to erect a
hurdle to power-sharing. . . I agree with what Dermot Ahern
said in The Irish Times on Tuesday, that there's a danger
here of continually shifting the goalposts."

Yet he is also confident: "Provided nobody's playing games,
then it's in Sinn Fein's interest - since their declared
objective is to get into government with the DUP and the
others - to build trust and remove an excuse from unionists
and everybody, because we all want them to co-operate with
policing. It's in their interests to remove that excuse
which could act as a final obstacle."

Finally, again on the subject of leadership, does he think
Ian Paisley wants to end his days as first minister? "Well,
I think Ian Paisley over his extraordinary political career
has been incredibly courageous."

Courageous? "Yes, I think he has shown a lot of courage as
an individual. You can agree or disagree with what he's
done and I'm not going to go into that territory, but I
think he's shown a lot of courage, and I think he would
like to see his political career concluded with peace set
in concrete in Northern Ireland, with democracy flourishing
and with the party that he created leading that new
democracy. So yes I do, I think that's where he wants to

Tomorrow, Frank Millar talks to the Rev Ian Paisley

© The Irish Times


Boy Hurt In City Pit Bull Attack

Surgeons are considering how much of a boy's ear can be
repaired after he was attacked by a pit bull type dog.

The 12-year-old had part of his ear bitten off at Upper
Stanfield Street in Belfast on Thursday. He was taken to
hospital and later discharged.

Animal charity, the USPCA, said the dog had been
voluntarily surrendered to them and had been put down.

USPCA chief executive Stephen Philpott said part of the ear
had to be retrieved from the dog's stomach.

"Police contacted us. They then asked us to try and get
that animal to a veterinary surgeon and to get the ear, if
it could be retrieved, to the Ulster Hospital," he said.

"That procedure was started. But our officers were stood
down when the hospital told us that, in their opinion, that
would not be possible.

"We were then told to basically help with an evidence
gathering situation and to retrieve any foreign matter from
the dog. That was done last night."

Mr Philpott said his officers were stunned at the severity
of the attack.

"The society has issued countless warnings on the
proliferation of dangerous dogs in our communities and the
inevitability of incidents such as this," he said.

"In some cases we have been ridiculed by the very people
charged with administering the Dangerous Dogs Act, however,
we cannot stand idly by whilst the threat posed to animal
welfare and personal safety by dangerous dogs is not being
adequately addressed."

Sinn Fein assembly member Alex Maskey said pit bulls cannot
be kept in residential areas.

"If it had not been for the courageous efforts of a local
community worker, I believe that the injuries could have
been even more severe," he said.

It has been illegal to own pit bull terriers in Northern
Ireland since 1976 as they are a proscribed breed under the
Dangerous Dogs Act. However, it is still legal to keep the
breed in the Republic of Ireland.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/05/12 06:54:22 GMT


Jason Smurfit Burnt To Death

A member of one of Ireland's richest families has died
after apparently setting himself alight in a churchyard.

Jason Smurfit, 35, was found on fire in the grounds of St
Michael and St Martin's Catholic Church in Hounslow, west
London, on Sunday.

Police said they were not treating his death as suspicious.

Mr Smurfit grew up in Dublin but had been living in London.
His family own the multibillion-pound packaging business,
Smurfit Kappa Group.

A Scotland Yard spokeswoman said officers were called to
reports of a man alight in the grounds of the church in
Bath Road just before 1430 BST on Sunday.

Times Rich List

Police officers, an ambulance, an air ambulance and the
fire brigade attended the scene but were unable to save the

Representatives of the Smurfit family are understood to be
in London to arrange for Mr Smurfit's remains to be
returned to Dublin.

He was the son of the late Jeff Smurfit Jr, who died of a
heart attack in 1987 in the Isle of Man. His mother Anne
lives at the exclusive K Club in Co Kildare.

His uncle, Sir Michael Smurfit, controls the family

The family were ranked 221 in the Sunday Times 2006 Rich
List with a combined wealth of £274m.

The multinational company has annual sales in excess of
£4.8bn and employs more than 40,000 people supplying
containerboard, solid board, graphic board, corrugated and
solid board packaging.

Founder Jefferson Smurfit began the firm as a small Irish
box maker in 1934.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/05/11 16:37:04 GMT


Actor & Broadcaster Ó Dúill Dies At 70

11 May 2006

The death has taken place of the actor and broadcaster
Breandán Ó Dúill.

Mr Ó Dúill, who was aged 70, was best known for his role as
Mickey Mac on RTÉ television series 'The Riordans'.

He was also a regular cast member in the popular RTÉ radio
drama, 'Harbour Hotel', and appeared in a number of movies
such as 'Three Wishes For Jamie'.

He presented Ceilí House on RTÉ Radio 1 for over two
decades and was a well-respected traditional singer, having
toured worldwide with Ceoltóis Ceoltoirí Éireann.

Requiem mass will be celebrated in Rathmines Church at
midday on Saturday, with burial afterwards in Mount Jerome


Pupils Form Guard Of Honour At Teacher's Removal

Áine Kerr

Hundreds of children, teachers and locals gathered in Our
Lady of Lourdes Church on Seán Mac Dermott Street, Dublin,
last night for the removal of the remains of local teacher
Maire Buckley.

Children from Rutland Street and Marlborough Street
national schools formed a guard of honour to greet the
remains of Ms Buckley (62) who was killed when her car was
struck by a bus on the Naas Road on Sunday.

Parish priest Fr Michael Casey thanked Ms Buckley's
daughter Angela and her family for deciding to hold her
funeral in the community where she proved so popular and

"We want indeed to share our tears, our sadness, our love
and joy, our memories and stories . . . Like all the
moments with Maire, these will be special and sacred," said
Fr Casey.

Fr Joe Lucey told the congregation that despite Ms
Buckley's retirement last September, she had been actively
involved within the community on a daily basis. "She was a
warrior of compassion. . .Warrior is the right word to use
for Maire in relation to her goodness and compassion," he

Fr Lucey recalled how he had received a text message on
Sunday announcing the "inexplicably horrible" death of Ms
Buckley. "Like all of us, I could not accept that Maire
Buckley had been killed," he said.

Following a funeral mass today at 11am, Ms Buckley will be
laid to rest in Fingal cemetery.

© The Irish Times


€50m Kilronan Castle Hotel And Holiday Homes Given Go-Ahead

Marese McDonagh

An Bord Pleanála has approved the development of a five-
star hotel with 60 holiday homes at the ruins of 19th
century castle in Co Roscommon.

The board's decision to approve the €50 million project at
Kilronan Castle, the former home of the Earls of Kingston
(Poster's Note: there were 3 Earls & they were the original
), was welcomed by local community
leaders, who said the area had been economically struggling
since the closure of the nearby Arigna coal mines in 1990.

At its peak Arigna mines and power station employed 600

The board has reduced the number of holiday homes permitted
on the 49 acre site from 110 to 60 and has given approval
subject to 27 conditions.

The developers, the Hanley Group from Co Roscommon, also
welcomed the "fair-minded" decision.

Group general manager Vincent O'Connor said it was hoped
that work could start on the site, on the shores of Lough
Meelagh, within weeks, subject to conditions laid down by
the board having been met.

He said the company planned to construct a luxury flagship
hotel "along the lines of Dromoland Castle or Ashford".

Three separate appeals had been lodged with An Bord
Pleanála on behalf of An Taisce, the Cavan and Leitrim
Environmental Awareness Network (Clean) and a couple who
disputed ownership of the property.

In its submission An Taisce accepted the need for a
"quality tourism accommodation" in the area but said a
tourism project in a historic and architecturally
distinguished site should not undermine "the very qualities
that make the site significant".

Clean described Kilronan as a hidden jewel and had accused
the developers of "bad taste".

The decision to approve the project, which is set to create
up to 200 jobs when fully operational, came as a relief to
local campaigners as the board had recently rejected
proposals for a 100-bedroom hotel and 100 holiday homes at
the nearby Lough Key Forest Park.

In its ruling, the board found that the approved project
would not have an adverse impact on the cultural heritage
of Kilronan Castle.

© The Irish Times


Tributes Paid To Former Tánaiste Michael O'Leary

12/05/2006 - 15:48:35

Warm tributes were paid today to former Tánaiste and Labour
Party leader Michael O'Leary, who died after a long
political and legal career.

Mr O'Leary drowned in a swimming pool while on holiday in
France last night just days after retiring as a district
court judge on his 70th birthday on Monday.

During a 22-year parliamentary career, he served as a
minister in the Fine Gael-Labour National Coalition
government and Tánaiste in Garret FitzGerald's first
coalition government in 1981/82.

Taoiseach Bertie Ahern said he had learnt with great
sadness of the death of his former constituency colleague
in Dublin Central.

"During his time in the Dáil from 1965 to 1987 he was a
distinguished politician who was very much part of the
process of liberalisation in Irish society," Mr Ahern said.

"Michael O'Leary was not just a politician. He was a man of
many parts.

"As the political tide ebbed away from him in the 1980s, he
embarked on a new career in the law, qualifying as a
barrister. In 1997 he became a Judge of the District Court.

"In private he was one of the wittiest and most
entertaining men one could meet and he enjoyed a
considerable gift as a mimic."

Current Labour Party leader Pat Rabbitte said Mr O'Leary
had a distinguished career in various areas of public life
over four decades.

"From student leader, to trade union official, to
politician and eventually to the judiciary, he had a
constant commitment to the principle of public service," Mr
Rabbitte said.

"Michael was a formidable politician who was elected party
leader at a very difficult time for the Labour Party.

"Despite subsequent differences and his departure from the
Labour Party, he retained the respect and affection of
party colleagues."

Mr Rabbitte said Mr O'Leary would be especially remembered
for his pioneering work as Minister for Labour in the
1973/77 Fine Gael-Labour government.

"In that period he was responsible for the implementation
of many of the new obligations imposed on this country
arising from our membership of the EU, such as the
introduction of equal pay legislation," he said.

Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny said Mr O'Leary brought huge
energy to his political work as he expressed his deepest
sympathy to Mr O'Leary's family on behalf of his party.

"I have fond memories of working alongside Michael in the
Parliamentary Party following his decision to join Fine
Gael in 1982," he said.

"Following his political career, Michael O'Leary went on to
serve with distinction as a judge of the District Court."

Justice Minister and Progressive Democrat Party President
Michael McDowell said Ireland owes a great debt of
gratitude to Mr O'Leary for his courageous and innovative
career in public life.

"Michael O'Leary is a man who combined patriotism and good
humour. All of his friends will miss him greatly," he said.

Born on June 8 1936 in Cork, the son of a publican, Mr
O'Leary was educated at Presentation College, University
College Cork and Columbia University, New York.

He became involved in labour politics and was employed in
the Irish Trade and General Workers Union (ITGWU).

Mr O'Leary was first elected to the Dáil in 1965 as a
Labour candidate.

He was initially strongly opposed to the idea of a
coalition with Fine Gael but accepted the post of Minister
for Labour in the coalition government with Fine Gael in

Mr O'Leary was elected leader of the Labour Party to
succeed Frank Cluskey in 1981 and in the government of 1981
to 1982 he became Tánaiste and Minister for Energy.

Shortly after the fall of that government he resigned as
leader of the party and joined Fine Gael and was elected to
the Dáil as a candidate of that party.

He moved back to his native Cork and practised as a
barrister before being appointed a district court judge in
1997 following his failure to be elected in the 1992
general election.

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