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May 17, 2006

UUP's MP Distressed Over Ervine Move

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News About Ireland & The Irish

BB 05/17/06
UUP’s MP 'Distressed' Over Ervine Move
BB 05/17/06 'Sectarian' Victim Laid To Rest
BT 05/17/06 Wright Probe 'May Not Open For Years'
SF 05/17/06 Funding For IMC A "Grotesque Abuse Of Taxpayers Money"
BB 05/17/06 23 Admit Parade Rioting Charges
BN 05/17/06 North: New Borders Planned For 12 Constituencies
BN 05/17/06 UN Commission Offers To Intervene In Hunger Strike Row
SF 05/17/06 UN Intervention In Afghan Hunger Strike Welcomed


UUP’s MP 'Distressed' Over Ervine Move

The UUP's only MP has said the decision by her party's
assembly group to accept PUP leader David Ervine as a
member has caused her "deep distress".

North Down MP Sylvia Hermon told the House of Commons she
was not party to the decision.

However, she said she had a lengthy discussion with her
leader Sir Reg Empey on the matter on Tuesday night.

Lady Hermon said the move could prove worthwhile if it
helped to deliver UVF decommissioning.

"If Sir Reg is able to establish now a policy to bring
about loyalist decommissioning and prevent any more
murders, any more Lisa Dorrians in my constituency, then
that would be worthwhile.

"Apart from that I am deeply distressed by my colleagues'
decision," she said.

Mr Ervine announced plans to join the UUP's assembly group
ahead of Monday's inaugural meeting of the revived

The move means that the group grows to 25 assembly members.

It will also mean that there will be a unionist majority in
any future Stormont Executive and will give the Ulster
Unionists an extra ministerial seat at the expense of Sinn

The UUP will also be called ahead of Sinn Fein in the
assembly under its speaking rights.

Assembly speaker Eileen Bell has been asked by Ian
Paisley's Democratic Unionists to check the legality of the

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

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/05/17 15:34:27 GMT


'Sectarian' Victim Laid To Rest

Murdered teenager Michael McIlveen was killed by people who
grew up in "an atmosphere polluted by sectarian hatred", a
Catholic bishop has said.

Speaking at the 15-year-old's funeral Mass, Bishop of Down
and Connor Patrick Walsh said the schoolboy would never be
forgotten by his family and friends.

More than 1,000 people attended the funeral at All Saints
Church in Michael's home town of Ballymena.

Six teenagers have been charged in connection with his

The Catholic teenager died last Monday, the day after being
attacked by a gang.

Pupils from his school, St Patrick's College, formed a
guard of honour.

Representatives from the main political parties also
attended Michael's funeral.

His mother Gina and other family members helped carry his
coffin to the church.

'Ultimate depravity'

The cortege was followed by dozens of teenagers in Celtic
and Rangers football jerseys in a show of cross-community

Bishop Walsh told mourners it was important "disparate
voices must now become a united voice".

"There must be a united voice, a united voice which does
not stop short with condemnation of murder, which is, of
course, the ultimate depravity, but a united voice which
must be heard on issues of justice, equality, rights
issues... the concern of the entire community."

In his homily, Fr Paul Symonds said Michael's killing had
been "the wanton murder of a 15-year-old lad, full of life,
looking forward to a career".

"Michael will not have died in vain if his death leads to a
new vision for Ballymena, indeed for the whole of Northern
Ireland," 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 in love across the

Prime Minister Tony Blair said that what "the appalling
murder represents is hopefully in the past".

Speaking in the House of Commons, Mr Blair said: "The best
and most significant thing that could be done to
demonstrate that people are working across the communities
is if we could get devolved government back up and working
again in Northern Ireland with everybody committed to
exclusively peaceful and democratic means."

North Antrim MP, DUP leader Ian Paisley, visited the family
on Sunday and prayed with them. He was represented at the
funeral by DUP Mayor of Ballymena Tommy Nicholl.


Mr Nicholl appealed to people to fall behind him "on the
road to a healing process".

"I wanted to show the revulsion that is shown throughout
the entire Ballymena community, from both sections, about
what has happened," he said.

Mr Nicholl said he was attending with the blessing of Mr
Paisley, who is at a debate in the House of Commons.

Meanwhile police have issued an appeal for calm, "at this
sensitive time for the McIlveen family", following reports
that a loyalist mob threw a stone at a car en route to the

A PSNI spokesperson there were no reports of any injuries
or damage.

"We want to hear from anyone who witnessed the incident,"
the spokesperson said.

"We have extra resources in Ballymena at present and will
deal robustly with any offences."

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/05/18 01:31:16 GMT


Wright Probe 'May Not Open For Years'

By MIichael McHugh
17 May 2006

The Billy Wright murder inquiry may not open for several
years, litigants in a landmark legal case on the matter
warned today.

The British/Irish Rights Watch lobby group was due to make
submissions to the High Court today during a judicial
review of the Government's decision to hold the hearings
under the controversial Inquiries Act.

The human rights group, back by the murdered loyalist's
father David Wright, believes the inquiry would not be able
to deliver a fully independent investigation into the 1997
prison death.

Director Jane Winter said she expected that the matter
would be appealed right the way to the House of Lords
regardless of the High Court verdict.

"I would expect whoever loses to appeal the verdict and it
should then go to the Court of Appeal and ultimately the
House of Lords," she said.

"This is a matter of national importance and it will affect
everybody including the inquiries into the deaths of Pat
Finucane and Robert Hamill.

"Mr Wright is being very selfless in bringing this
challenge and he may not live to see the outcome which will
be a personal tragedy for him."

The chairman of the inquiry, Lord McLean, will be examining
the circumstances surrounding the shooting of Wright in a
prison van within the Maze prison including why a
watchtower was left unmanned at the time, the nature of
Special Branch knowledge of threats to his life, and how
the victim's INLA killers managed to access the prison
courtyard where he was being held so easily.

Lord McClean has asked the Government to allow the hearings
to be governed by the 2005 Inquiries Act, a move which has
prompted fury from family members and campaigners.

The Wright family will have the support of murdered Belfast
solicitor Pat Finucane's family who have launched a high
profile campaign against the holding of their inquiry under
the Inquiries Act.

They have written to senior judges across the UK urging
them not to chair the inquiry.

Opponents of the legislation say it allows ministers to
keep certain information secret but proponents say it
strengthens powers to compel official agencies to hand over

Lord McClean is embroiled in a dispute with the PSNI over a
delay in handing their paperwork to the inquiry.

Police say they are still in the process of sending
documents but the matter has been blamed for a further six-
month delay in the inquiry team's work.


Funding For IMC A "Grotesque Abuse Of Taxpayers Money"

Published: 17 May, 2006

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Justice, Equality and Human
Rights, Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD has described the Irish
government's plans to fund the so-called Independent
Monitoring Commission with a further €1.5million as
"reprehensible" and a "grotesque abuse of taxpayers money."
Deputy Ó Snodaigh made his comments during this afternoons
Committee meeting which is dealing with the Justice
Estimates for 2006. He said there were much more deserving
and worthwhile recipients of the funding.

The Dublin South Central TD said, "It is absolutely
ridiculous that the Irish government is planning to provide
the so-called Independent Monitoring Commission with a
further €1.5m in funding. Have they learned nothing from
the negative role that this politically motivated body has
already played in the evolution of the peace process?

"The Irish Government in conjunction with the British
Government created this out of control monster. Rather than
continue to feed it they should immediately starve it of
funding. It has not and cannot play any useful role
whatsoever. Its reports are based on nothing more than the
so-called intelligence reports of one of the main
protagonists in the conflict, and the political
machinations of those who make up the body. It has
absolutely no credibility. For the Irish government to
continue with its funding is reprehensible. It is a
grotesque abuse of taxpayers' money.

"So rather than fund a body that plays a negative and
harmful role in the peace process and which was set up
outside the terms of the Good Friday Agreement the
Government should be looking at supporting those bodies
that were set up as part of the Agreement.

"The Human Rights Commission is one such body. Its purpose
is to endeavour to ensure that the human rights of all
people in the State are fully realised and protected, in
law, in policy and in practice. However, the Commission is
to get just €1.9million to undertake its crucial and worthy
role - that is only marginally greater than the funding
given to Lord Alderdice and the other spooks in the IMC.
Evidently the government parties would rather spend
taxpayers money protecting their own narrow political
agenda than resourcing the institutions of the Good Friday
Agreement and protecting human rights. It's crazy.

"It is also worth noting that Michael McDowell's grant to
the IMC for 2006 is three times the size of the grant to
national womens organisations for the same period. I think
that says an awful lot about the Minister with
responsibility for promoting equality." ENDS


23 Admit Parade Rioting Charges

Twenty-three people have appeared at Belfast Crown Court
charged with rioting in the Ardoyne area of north Belfast
on 12 July last year.

All 23 admitted riotous assembly over violence which broke
out after Orangemen marched past Ardoyne shops.

About 100 police officers were injured during four hours of

Nine of those in court were juveniles, including a boy who
was 12 at the time of the riot. All will be sentenced after
the judge views reports on them.

Most of those appearing in court were arrested after the
police examined CCTV footage of the disturbances.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/05/17 15:11:02 GMT


North: New Borders Planned For 12 Constituencies

18/05/2006 - 01:58:30

Belfast’s four electoral areas could face major expansion
under revised plans for new Parliamentary constituencies in
the North, it emerged today.

Nearly 50,000 voters across the province would be
transferred to different regions as part of the proposed
shake-up, representing 4.5% of the electorate.

Although the plans announced by the Boundary Commission for
the North involve keeping the number of constituencies at
18, new borders would be drawn up for 12 of them.

One of the main changes would see the four Belfast boroughs
extended out to include Carryduff, Dundonald, Dunmurry,
Lagmore and Glengormley.

The Castlereagh wards of Hillfoot and Wynchurch would
transfer from Belfast East to South.

The constituency of Strangford would be extended to include
the Down local government wards of Ballymaglave,
Ballynahinch East and Kilmore.

In East Antrim the Moyle wards of Glenaan, Glenariff and
Glendun would be included at the expense of North Antrim.

Another of the changes involves Cloughford ward
transferring from East Antrim to Belfast North, while South
Antrim would be extended to take Glenavy from Lagan Valley.

The revised recommendations by the Commission, an
independent body chaired by Speaker of the Commons Michael
Martin, represents one of the last stages in the
preparation of a report to be sent to the Secretary of

Although it may hold further local public inquiries, it is
not bound by law.


UN Commission Offers To Intervene In Hunger Strike Row

17/05/2006 - 18:14:40

The United Nations Human Rights Commission has offered to
act as an intermediary to resolve the hunger strike 40
Afghans embarked on in a Dublin cathedral over the state’s
refusal to grant them asylum, it emerged tonight.

Manuel Jordao, UNHCR representative in Ireland, endorsed
the Irish Government’s decision to assess the men’s
applications individually.

But he said: “I think that they might have very good
reasons to believe that they should not be returned to
Afghanistan. I believe that they are choosing the wrong way
to plead their case.

“I think that they should go back to the trust they had
once deposited in those that have been assisting them to
present their claim to asylum institutions here in

Thirty-three Afghan men began refusing food and water on
Sunday afternoon at St Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin in a
bid to secure political asylum. They were joined by eight
others on Monday and all claim they will be tortured and
persecuted if they are returned to Afghanistan.

It is understood officials from the Department of Justice
are keeping in touch with Church of Ireland clergy at
Christchurch and that they are willing to meet the men in
the department’s offices or the men’s homes.

Medical experts have warned the men’s condition will
deteriorate rapidly as they enter a fourth and fifth day
with water.

Several required medical attention during the first 72
hours. Two teenage boys were treated in the nearby St
James’ Hospital today suffering from dehydration and a
third was later brought in.

Rory Hearne, a member of the People Against Profit Alliance
which is supporting the men’s fight to stay in Ireland,
said fears were growing for their welfare.

“They are getting weaker, considerably weaker, but they are
still resolute,” he said.

“The Government has been absolutely disgraceful in its
response. Their claims that the asylum system would fall
apart if they are granted the right to stay are just not

Mr Hearne said supporters would continue to keep vigils at
the cathedral twice a day while the hunger strike goes on.

Among the men was a 45-year-old blind diabetic who worked
as an official in the Foreign Ministry under the Taliban

It is understood most of the men, aged between 16 and 45,
agreed to start taking water following a meeting with
officials from the Department of Justice along with with
two canons from the cathedral yesterday, but afterwards the
men insisted they would not give up.

Eight of the group were hospitalised yesterday and one man
who was been kept in was released after an overnight stay.


UN Intervention In Afghan Hunger Strike Welcomed

Published: 17 May, 2006

Sinn Féin Dublin City Councillor Daithí Doolan has this
evening welcomed news that representatives of the UN High
Commissioner for Refugees are meeting with the Afghan
hunger strikers currently protesting in St. Patricks
Cathedral for asylum. The Dublin South East representative
said he hoped the intervention of the UN would lead to a
speedy resolution of the protest.

Mr. Doolan said, "This is a very welcome development in the
ongoing protest at St Patricks Cathedral. Hopefully the
intervention of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees will
lead to a speedy and satisfactory resolution of the

"At the core of this protest is the unacceptable and
draconian manner in which asylum applications are processed
in this state and the shameful failure of the state to
introduce complementary protections for those individuals
who fall outside the narrow Convention criteria for refugee

"No sane person can describe Afghanistan as a safe or
democratic society. There is still conflict raging across
larges parts of the country. This reality, and the fact
that these men may be in grave danger should they be
returned, needs to be taken in to account when dealing with
their applications.

"I would urge to the UN Commissioner to take all these
issues in to account during mediation which I hope will be

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