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May 17, 2006

Sea of Tears at Schoolboy's Funeral

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News About Ireland & The Irish

BT 05/17/06 Sea Of Tears As Schoolboy's Funeral Takes Place
BB 05/17/06 Orangeman 'Must Leave' March Body
SF 05/17/06 Pat Doherty To Hold London Briefings On Sinn Féin Approach
SF 05/17/06 SDLP In Debates Giving Comfort To DUP Rejectionists
BT 05/17/06 UUP Deny Deal To Bring Fringe Loyalist In From The Cold
BN 05/17/06 Families Mark Anniversary Of Dublin/Monaghan Bombs
IA 05/17/06 ILIR To Lobby Congress
BT 05/17/06 Opin: Big Issue Still Centres On Attitudes Towards Police
BT 05/17/06 Roads Campaign Launched
BN 05/17/06 Mini-Tornado Causes Panic In Co Donegal
BN 05/17/06 McAleese Pays Homage To First President


Sea Of Tears As Schoolboy's Funeral Takes Place

Michael's moving poem read out to mourners

By Debra Douglas
17 May 2006

A poignant poem written by murdered teenager Michael
McIlveen was a moving centrepiece at his funeral today.

As thousands of people - many in Celtic and Rangers jerseys
- lined the streets of Ballymena, the teenager's words
echoed round a church amid a tidal wave of tears.

A priest read a poem written by Michael in which he said:
"Thank you, God, for this beautiful world.

"Help me always to respect your world and remember that all
creation comes from you.

"Help me always to appreciate the beauty that surrounds me
... always to know it is not mine to damage or destroy."

Father Paul Symonds told the mourners that Michael's brutal
murder will not have been in vain if it leads to a new
vision for Ballymena and Northern Ireland.

Fr Symonds told the mourners that darkness had descended on
the town with the "wanton murder" of Michael.

But in his homily, which was relayed by loudspeaker to the
large crowd which gathered outside the All Saints Church in
the town to pay their respect, he said it was important not
to cling to the past.

"The challenge now is to open ourselves to the influence of
his death," he said.

"Even in the past week there have been signs of new
relationships, dialogue between those who formerly would
not speak to each other, a reaching out of love across the

"The McIlveen family have been deeply touched by the wave
of sympathy and compassion which has come to them from
Protestants, not only from neighbours near and far, but
also from the leadership of Protestant churches.

"We mustn't, however, be complacent, we must grasp this
opportunity of a new beginning, aware that cynical and
negative voices will try to stifle the good that God can
bring from the evil of Michael's death.

"The violence of that death is a frightening indication of
the deep-rooted sectarianism at the heart of our society.

"Radical sickness calls for radical healing."

Describing Michael's murder as a "brutal and unjust death",
Father Symonds said he had played his part in creating a
more harmonious and respectful society.

He added: "Michael loved Ballymena and the society in which
he mixed embraced both the north and south of the town,
both Catholic and Protestant, supporters of Celtic and

He also paid tribute to Michael's heartbroken mother Gina,
sisters Jodie and Francine, brother Sean and the rest of
the family for their "quiet dignity".

"They have uttered no word of bitterness or recrimination,
but rather stressed their just pride in the inclusive love
which Michael witnessed," he said.

The cortege left the family home at Dunvale this morning
before making its way to All Saints Church, close to where
the teenager was attacked.

His Catholic and Protestant friends wore Celtic and Rangers
jerseys as part of a guard of honour in a poignant show of
cross-community unity at his funeral.

And Celtic star Roy Keane sent his number 16 Hoops jersey,
signed by all the players, to the family as a show of

Michael's family said the Roy Keane gesture mean at lot to

Michael was a big Celtic fan and attended his first game at
the CIS Cup Final in March.

Michael was brutally beaten to death in a sectarian attack
last weekend. He was cornered and attacked with a baseball
bat after being chased by a gang.

Seven teenagers have since been charged in connection with
his murder which sparked widespread condemnation from both
sides of the community.

Meanwhile, a loyalist flute band in Ballymena is to re-
route a controversial parade away from a street which is
yards from the scene where Michael was attacked in a move
welcomed by the Parades Commission.


Orangeman 'Must Leave' March Body

David Burrows should be sacked from the Parades Commission,
Sinn Fein has said.

The call followed a party meeting with the commission,
after the resignation of Orangeman Don MacKay from the

Upper Bann assembly member John O'Dowd said as an Orangeman
Mr Burrows had "no place" on the commission, which rules on
contentious parades.

Mr MacKay had been criticised for putting two politicians
forward as referees on his application form without first
asking their permission.

On Tuesday, Parades Commission chairman Roger Poole told
the BBC he believed Mr MacKay had made the "right decision"
by resigning.

On Monday, a Methodist minister revealed he did not give
permission for Mr Burrows to use his name as a referee for
a post on the body.

However, Mr O'Dowd said that since the commission had a
"quasi-judicial role" regardless of the details of the
appointments process Mr Burrows should be removed by NI
Secretary Peter Hain.

"The Parades Commission's job is to issue determinations on
parades, the majority of which are organised by the loyal
orders," he said.

"Given this fact there should be no place on the Parades
Commission for members of the Orange Order."

He said there was still time to address the issue before
the height of the marching season.

The Protestant marching season is one of the fixed elements
of Northern Ireland life, and in recent years some parades
have led to disputes and street violence.

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

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/05/17 10:54:00 GMT


Pat Doherty To Hold London Briefings On Sinn Féin Approach

Published: 17 May, 2006

Sinn Féin Vice President Pat Doherty MP is in London today
for a number of political and media engagements. He will
take the opportunity to brief MPs on the restored Assembly
and Sinn Féin‚s approach to seeing fully functioning
political institutions established in the immediate time

Mr Doherty said:

"Today will be the first opportunity since Peter Hain
reconvened his version of an Assembly on Monday to brief
MPs and interested parties in London on our view of recent
developments. I will make it clear that what met this week
is not what was demanded by the Good Friday Agreement and
that our only interest is in seeing a fully functioning
Executive and All-Ireland Ministerial Council established.

"The time for DUP excuses has long since past. The two
governments have an obligation to deliver on the Good
Friday Agreement. We are fully committed to this process.
We are fully committed to replacing British ministers with
locally elected ones. The question still remains for the
DUP whether or not they have the political courage to enter
government and take real decisions which affect people‚s
lives. So far they have failed to meet this challenge."


SDLP Sitting In 'Wendy House' Debates Giving Comfort To DUP

Published: 17 May, 2006

Sinn Féin West Tyrone MLA Barry McElduff has said that the
participation of the SDLP in the 'Wendy house' debate at
the Hain Assembly yesterday was a serious mistake that will
only provide the DUP with a comfort blanket.

Mr McElduff said:

"The primary function of the Assembly is to elect a First
and Deputy First Minister and Executive. Meaningless
debates that are ignored will only delay the day when we
get an Executive. Yesterday the SDLP provided a comfort
blanket for the DUP. It was nothing more than a bit of
occupational therapy for MLA's when what we should be doing
is taking Executive decisions about how to tackle the lack
of occupational therapists in the real world.

"The SDLP said that they would not take part in 'Wendy
House' debates yet at the first opportunity this is exactly
what they have done. If this debate was as important as the
SDLP claim why was SDLP leader Mark Durkan absent.

"Mickey Mouse debates in the Hain Assembly will not change
how British direct rule ministers make decisions. It was a
serious mistake by the SDLP to participate in this sham
debate when even business leaders made it clear in the
morning that we need sustainable accountable local

"The economy remains one of the most important issues that
a full Assembly and Executive must address as a matter of
urgency within an agreed programme for government. The only
way to address the short-termism and failures of British
direct rule is to get local ministers who are accountable
taking these decisions." ENDS


UUP Deny Deal To Bring Fringe Loyalist In From The Cold

By Noel McAdam
17 May 2006

Loyalist politician David Ervine was offered no inducements
to join Ulster Unionist benches in the Assembly, a senior
UU official has insisted.

UU chief whip David McClarty said, however, there should be
no barriers to loyalist political groups joining an
Executive if loyalist paramilitaries clearly give up
violence and criminality.

He criticised the DUP's attack on his party for joining
forces with the leader of the Progressive Unionist Party,
linked to the UVF, which is not on ceasefire.

"I think this is rich from a party which refused to condemn
Willie McCrea when he shared a platform with Billy Wright,"
Mr McClarty said.

"This is a move which strengthens unionism, which takes a
seat on the Executive from Sinn Fein - who have not
complained. The DUP should be delighted."

The East Londonderry MLA said his party wanted to bring
loyalist paramilitaries onto the democratic path and ensure
they put violence and criminality behind them.

"In that context, there should be no bar to anybody taking
part in the Executive.

"There were no inducements offered to David Ervine
whatsoever," he insisted.

Mr Ervine also denied he was offered any position. "I have
not been promised anything. One fool described me as a fool
for not demanding to be a minister. That would be
ludicrous," the East Belfast MLA added.

Secretary of State Peter Hain said the UU decision to
subsume Mr Ervine was "a surprise" but a matter for the

But Sinn Fein was in a "much stronger position" to be on an
executive, since the IRA had decommissioned.

"The UVF have not ended their paramilitary campaign," he

"They are still involved in criminality in a big way and
all of those things are things which the IRA have promised
to deliver on and is delivering on," Mr Hain added.


Families Mark Anniversary Of Dublin/Monaghan Bombs

17/05/2006 - 08:39:38

Survivors and relatives of those killed in the Dublin and
Monaghan bombings are today marking the 32nd anniversary of
the atrocities.

Thirty-three people, including a woman who was nine months
pregnant, died when loyalist paramilitaries detonated three
cars bombs in Dublin and one in Monaghan on May 17, 1974.

There have long been allegations that British security
forces helped the loyalists who carried out the attacks.

However, nobody has been brought to justice and the British
government is refusing to hand over certain files relating
to the bombings for reasons of national security.

Several inquiries have been carried out and the latest,
under the stewardship of barrister Patrick McEntee, is due
to present its report to the Government at the end of this


ILIR To Lobby Congress

By Georgina Brennan

THE Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform returns to
Washington this week as part of the national “We Are
America Alliance” lobby day on Wednesday, May 17. Up to 100
Irish lobbyists are expected.

And on Tuesday, the Irish government announced a new
$50,000 grant for ILIR. Irish Foreign Minister Dermot Ahern
said the work of the ILIR was so important that the Irish
government were eager to have it continue.

“I had a very valuable opportunity to share my assessment
of the current situation with Grant Lally, president of
ILIR,” said Ahern. “ILIR are most effective in giving
expression to the views of many members of our community in
the U.S. on the debate on immigration reform.”

Speaking upon his return from Ireland, Lally told the Irish
Voice Ahern threw his full support behind the effort to get
Congress to adopt legislation that would end the desperate
plight of the 50,000 undocumented Irish people in the U.S.

“Minister Ahern is very concerned about the plight of the
undocumented in the U.S. and was hopeful that Congress will
adopt the legislation currently being debated,” said Lally.

Meanwhile, on Wednesday, key officers from the Ancient
Order of Hibernians, the GAA, Irish American Democrats, the
Irish American Republicans, the Friends of Ireland,
Federation of Irish American Societies, Irish American
business owners, immigration centers, community leaders and
professionals from across the spectrum of Irish American
life will descend upon Capitol Hill again wearing “Legalize
the Irish” t-shirts.

The schedule will see teams of lobbyists meet with key
legislators such as Republican Senator John McCain,
Democratic Senator Hillary Clinton and others. From 11:00
a.m. to 3:00 p.m. teams will also knock on the doors of
other legislators who ILIR believe will be very influential
in the coming week’s immigration debate.

At 3:00 p.m. ILIR will host a lunch and a post-lobby
briefing with Irish Embassy spokesman Joe Hackett and ILIR
Vice Chairman Ciaran Staunton.

ILIR along with the We Are America Alliance sees May 17 as
key to reaching the goal of passing a bill in the Senate.

“For anyone who cannot go to Washington to directly lobby
their senators and representative, they can use the day to
call, fax, and e-mail. The idea is to take advantage of the
tremendous energy generated in the immigrant community by
the immigration debate. We want to translate all that
energy into voting power.”

At the culmination of the week’s lobbying efforts, on
Sunday, the chairman of the New York GAA, Seamus Dooley,
will honor the ILIR during a high profile hurling match in
Gaelic Park when New York will play Derry in the Ulster
championship. Dooley, together with Ireland’s Consul
General Tim O’Connor and the GAA officers, will present the
immigrant group with an award for their hard work in the
fight for legalization at halftime.

A spokesperson for the GAA told the Irish Voice that the
award was the sporting organization’s way of commending the
group for their tireless efforts for immigration reform.

Meanwhile, the fundraising efforts of the ILIR have not
ceased, t-shirts are on sale in Gaelic Park every weekend
and on the Internet for $15 not including postage. The ILIR
has also launched a new wristband, which is also on sale
for $5.


Opin: The Big Issue Still Centres On Attitudes Towards Police

By Brian Walker
17 May 2006

The minute's silence for Michael McIlveen ought to have
brought home to Assembly members the real reason for being
there: to heal our people.

It's a task so far above the usual clamour of debate that
it's almost too embarrassing to mention.

How things have changed since 1998.

Against expectations, (mine anyway), nearly everything has
improved apart from the politics.

Yet without politics improving, everything else is at risk.

That's the message that needs to be driven home to the
hundreds of thousands who respond to the Assembly gathering
with a shrug or a sneer.

You can rant at the IRA, the DUP, David Trimble, Tony Blair
or anyone you like. The pity of it is, that waving their
mandates like slogans, the politicians are under no real
pressure to do anything beyond what their own judgments
tell them.

That is what enshrining our 'unionist/nationalist' politics
into a rigid Assembly structure has brought us to.

We have created a political elite we can scarcely

The people are only spectators, detached from the action.

But the system traps the politicians, too.

They dare not concede easily to the other side, for fear of
losing votes to their bitter rivals in the same camp.

Plenty of them would like to do a deal if only ... That's
where the two Governments still have leverage.

The work that needs to be done most urgently is easy enough
to sum up: Sinn Fein have to move on policing and the DUP
have to respond.

The Governments are playing a two hander on this. Bertie
Ahern is telling Sinn Fein they need to "make their
position on policing clearer" before an Executive can be
formed. Peter Hain, on the other hand, warns the DUP not to
make a policing deal "a pre-condition" of forming an

In other words, moves on policing should take place in
parallel to negotiations on the Executive, not in advance.

But this is at odds with one of the DUP's main requirements
in their 64 page-long list of advance demands. Fearing
perhaps another Trimble-like trap, Ian Paisley resented
Hain's warning against setting pre-conditions in an Irish
Times interview last weekend, insisting that the policing
issue has to be solved before an Executive can be formed.

"Except we have the police issue resolved, there is no way
forward. The talks have no future until everyone who's
going to be in the government of Northern Ireland is a
complete and total supporter of the police," he said.

"That doesn't mean he can't criticise police activity. But
he's not going to be planning activity against the police,
he's not going to withhold information, he's not going to
use his position on the Police Board to tip off fellows to
clear the country."

All this sounds perfectly reasonable. It requires Sinn Fein
to take another leap towards lawfulness. It will be
accepted by all the other parties - provided it is not used
as an alibi for no negotiations at all.

Paisley is not talking here about Sinn Fein's share of
justice and policing powers, eventually to be transferred
to the Assembly.

That's not envisaged for at least two years after a new
agreement anyway.

Paisley means Sinn Fein are not fit and proper persons for
sharing any kind of power until they show they are actively
supporting the police.

Deal breaker or deal maker? We are back to you jump, I
jump, or we jump together.

This is the key issue that needs to be choreographed when
the two Prime Ministers roll up to Stormont at the end of
next month, for what must surely be one of the last ever
Tony and Bertie shows.

Private letters of assurance or side-deals in Downing
Street will no longer do.

With the Assembly as a back-drop the big issues have to
sorted out, if not in the full glare of publicity, at least
with the public knowing what's going on.

The Governments were relieved just to coax all the parties
to attend Stormont. The real task begins now to get them to
stay there.


Roads Campaign Launched

By Brendan McDaid
17 May 2006

Sinn Fein have this week launched a major cross-border
campaign demanding a top grade road and rail infrastructure
for the North West and border counties.

Among the demands made by outgoing Derry Mayor Lynn
Fleming, West Tyrone MP Pat Doherty and their MP, MLA and
TD party colleagues are for a motorway or high quality dual
carriageway for the N14/A5/N2 main arterial route to

Launching the campaign, Mr Doherty said: "By 2015, and
through Transport 21 in the 26 counties and through the
Regional Development Strategy in the six counties, there
will be motorway/high quality dual carriageway
infrastructure serving the main arterial routes from Dublin
to Wexford and Waterford in the south east, from Dublin to
Cork and Limerick in the south west, from Dublin to Galway
in the west and from Dublin and Belfast.

"Yet Derry, the fourth largest city on the island, along
with all the other communities in the North West and border
counties, are being expected to continue to navigate the
rocky road to Dublin for ever more amen."

He continued: "The communities in the North West and the
border counties should not be expected to settle for
anything less, in terms of road infrastructure, than
communities in all other regions across the country.

"Instead of perpetuating the historical layers of
structural inequality that the North West and border
counties have had to contend with as a result of neglect,
discrimination and partitionist planning, those in power
must be forced to redress it."

Mayor of Derry, Lynn Fleming, said the roads to Dublin were
only now being brought up to a standard promised 40 years

"The problem is that road traffic has multiplied 40 fold in
the intervening period," she said.

Donegal County Councillor Pearse Doherty added: "The
results of a successful campaign will not only deliver key
necessary infrastructure to the North West, will not only
boost the local economy and assist in tackling the
spiralling job losses, will not only reverse the trend of
neglect and indifference but will also provide safer roads
for our communitiesto travel on."


Mini-Tornado Causes Panic In Co Donegal

17/05/2006 - 07:54:34

A mini-tornado has swept through the small Co Donegal town
of Buncrana, damaging cars, roofs and windows and
terrifying local residents.

The extra-strong winds hit Ardavan Square at around 7pm
yesterday evening.

Witnesses said sheets of wood were swept up to 50 feet into
the air, while trees were completely bent over by the
strength of the winds.

The local weather station had no warning of the tornado,
which only lasted for a few minutes.


McAleese Pays Homage To First President

17/05/2006 - 06:46:21

President Mary McAleese has announced a €30,000 gift for a
new Irish studies programme at the University of Montana,
describing it as a thank you for hospitality shown a
century ago to the man who became Ireland’s first

Douglas Hyde came to Montana seeking help in saving the
Irish language from extinction under British rule. The
language scholar found thriving pockets of the Gaelic
language in immigrant communities and received emotional
and financial support from the state, Ms McAleese said in
her speech.

Calling the Hyde connection a “lovely synchronicity”, she
announced the gift from the Government at a ceremony that
officially launched the Irish studies programme and opened
a formal academic partnership with University College Cork

“I came to say thank you to Ireland's family and friends in
Montana,” said President McAleese in her speech. “Ireland
is privileged to have such family, such friends, such

Courses in the University of Montana’s Irish studies
programme will include language, literature and history and
students will have the opportunity to study at the UCC.

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