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July 28, 2006

1 Yr On: IRA Gone Away; Does Paisley Care?

News About Ireland & The Irish

BT 07/28/06
One Year Later: IRA Has Gone Away, But Does Paisley Care?
SF 07/28/06
Opportunity Can Still Be Grasped By British & Irish Governments
BT 07/28/06
Mystery Surrounding Donors Backing Our Political Parties
IN 07/28/06
‘Right Conditions Needed For SF Coalition’
IN 07/28/06
Support For PSNI Not A Matter Of If But When
NI 07/28/06
SDLP: Paisley Should Come Clean On UVF - Dallat
BG 07/28/06
British Official Optimistic On Accord In N. Ireland
BT 07/28/06
SF And DUP Slammed For Failing To Attend Green Session
BT 07/28/06
Garda 'Failed To Act On Tip Off' About Omagh Bomb
BB 07/28/06
IRA 'Not Behind' Threat To Woman
BB 07/28/06
New UDA Leadership Is Appointed
BT 07/28/06
Breakaway Loyalists To Support Main UDA
BT 07/28/06
Opus Dei's Irish Role To Be Put Under Miscoscope
ZW 07/28/06
N.E. Teen Embraces Her Irish Heritage
HC 07/28/06
Dancer Flatley Gets Go-Ahead For Extortion Lawsuit
IO 07/28/06
Footballer Dies Of Match-Clash Injuries
IN 07/28/06
Mayor Forced To Cancel Irish Trip


One Year Later: IRA Has Gone Away, But Does Paisley Care?

28 July 2006

One year ago the IRA announced that it was standing down
and that its armed campaign was over. Security writer Brian
Rowan assesses the impact of that statement over the last
12 months.

I suppose it is best described as a kind of "sackcloth and
ashes" moment part two.

The setting was the field in Portrush on that day of all
days for Protestant Ulster – the twelfth of July.

Ian Paisley had an audience, and his seemingly
uncompromising message on power-sharing with "IRA/Sinn
Fein" as he describes it was "over our dead bodies".

His voice of over 80 years was full of the usual fire and

We are a year on from the IRA statement ending its armed
campaign - that P O'Neill moment of last summer in which
republicans "played their two big cards".

They abandoned armed struggle and then moved to put their
weapons beyond use.

Not that many miles from Portrush on that same twelfth of
July, the IRA of 2006 was on the streets of Ardoyne, as it
had been on the streets of West Belfast days earlier for
the Whiterock parade.

It was a presence that kept things quiet - a presence that
ensured that this summer's walk through those contentious
routes of the Orange marching season passed without all of
the madness of the previous year.

It was change that we could see and feel, that is if we
wanted to

All we had to do was look – look onto those June and July
streets of North and West Belfast - and we could see for
ourselves the changing IRA.

What a difference a year had made.

"See what they can do when they want to," was what one
loyalist observed, but it was to totally misread the

It was not that republicans wanted to accommodate marches
and marchers where they are not wanted.

This was the IRA of 2006 doing what had to be done - trying
to protect the peace and trying to nurture whatever slim
hope there is of a November deal with the man who not that
many miles away was shouting out "over our dead bodies".

As he shouted, many in the peace process cringed, as I'm
sure did some in his own party.

"It seemed to jar with everything else," was the kindest
description one senior political source could make of this
latest Paisley performance.

A year on from the IRA initiative of last July, republicans
are asking themselves, "in critical terms", what was it all

There has been no political return, and what they see is a
"pandering" to Paisley and the DUP.

In 1996, the IRA response in a similar political stalemate
was to bomb London, but there has been a decade of change

"Republicans accept we are now down to absolutely political
struggle without an armed campaign or the threat of an
armed campaign," a source told the Belfast Telegraph.

"While there's always a way back to those things (armed
struggle), there's no desire," the veteran republican

Read between those lines, and there is only one message.
The IRA's war is over, and the loyalists will come closer
to ending theirs if Ian Paisley can bring himself to the
point of a political deal with Sinn Fein in November or
soon thereafter.

Recently, the PSNI Chief Constable Sir Hugh Orde told this
newspaper that the IRA is delivering on the commitments it
made last July, and, just a few days ago, there were
similar assessments from Secretary of State Peter Hain and
the Republic's Justice Minister Michael McDowell.

So for how much longer can Ian Paisley say no? Will he be
able to hold to his "over our dead bodies" line when the
Independent Monitoring Commission next reports in October?

Are we not now at a point where we leave the issue of any
continuing criminality to be dealt with by the police and
the Assets Recovery Agency?

Is there anyone – someone – in the DUP big enough, bold
enough, to tell the party leader that the world has
changed, and that in it the IRA is changing?

Did they not see it for themselves during those recent days
of marching?

The loyalist politician David Ervine says others did see

"While this type of praise doesn't come easy, many
loyalists also keeping a watching brief on the parades
issue, begrudgingly were very favourably impressed by the
actions of republicans ensuring calm," he says.

"I have conversations in my community all the time. The
war's over. If Paisley said, 'I'm doing a deal tomorrow',
there wouldn't be a stone thrown in the unionist

The Derry businessman Brendan Duddy has watched the IRA
evolution over a period of many years, and has watched a
hopeless situation develop into our imperfect peace.

"One by one the volunteers are retiring out of active
service," he says.

When there was no ceasefire and when there was little hope,
Duddy was the secret link between the British Government
and the republican leadership.

"We are very fortunate that we have the current leadership
of Adams, McGuinness, Kelly and others, who have taken the
steps to deliver the peace," the now Policing Board member

"You don't have to love them, you may not even be able to
abide them, but you have to recognise what is happening
this day," he continues.

Duddy believes that the Adams/McGuinness/Kelly leadership
has "dismantled" the war, and he describes last September's
acts of decommissioning as "one of the most remarkable
achievements in Irish history".

What he says we now need is for the peace to be "feelable"
– something that can be touched, something that we know is

He makes the observation that across the world there is "a
big scarcity of people who are delivering peace".

Here, at least, we have a chance.

Yes, people are very sceptical when they are told that
every gun has been decommissioned and that there is no
centrally-organised criminality.

But those who know the IRA best - inside and outside that
organisation - are totally convinced that the war of bombs
and bullets is over.

You can see and hear it for yourself - hear it in the
silence of the guns, and see it on those summer marching
streets in Belfast.


Opportunity Opened Up By IRA Decision Can Still Be Grasped By British And Irish Governments

Published: 28 July, 2006

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams was this morning joined by
Donegal County Councillor Pádraig Mac Lochlainn and South
Down Assembly member Caitriona Ruane at a press conference
in Belfast to mark the first anniversary of the decision of
the IRA to formally end their armed campaign. Mr Adams said
that the ‘opportunity opened up by IRA decision can still
be grasped by British and Irish governments’.

Mr Adams said: “The IRA decision has had an enormous impact
over the last twelve months. The IRA definitively dealt
with issues which had been presented as unionist concerns
and its initiative opened up huge opportunities.

“But twelve months on people are growing impatient for
change. Given the delays and stalling it is absolutely
understandable that nationalists and republicans will have
reservations about the commitment of the British and Irish
governments to implementing an agreement which should have
been implemented years ago.

“Consequently, the real focus now is on Tony Blair and
Bertie Ahern and what they are going to do in the next
three months. They are under no illusions about what
republicans expect as we approach the make-your-mind-up
time in the political process. They know that Republicans
will continue to press hard for progress.

“In our ongoing discussions with the two governments we
have made it clear that if the process doesn’t move forward
decisively, after this present effort to bring the DUP on
board, then two governments need to map out clearly how
their partnership approach will continue the process of
change and of moving forward with the Good Friday

“It certainly must include detail and real progress on the
all-Ireland agenda and of moving ahead with issues like
northern representation and developing and enhancing the
all-Ireland implementation bodies. They must also press on
with the agendas of equality and human rights for all.”


Mystery Surrounding Donors Backing Our Political Parties

28 July 2006

Three times in six years, the Government has given Northern
Ireland's political parties a reprieve on full disclosure
of their financial backers. Belfast Telegraph journalists
Noel McAdam, David Gordon and Mark Hookam investigate...

Slowly the lid has been prised off political parties cash-
pots in Ulster - but it remains impossible to see inside.

For while they are now required to reveal donations, the
parties do not have to disclose their donors.

Alone in the United Kingdom, Northern Ireland's political
parties only have to say what they got, not who gave it to

And the key reason for their continued exemption is the
very real fear that donors could come under threat,
primarily from paramilitary groups - two of which remain
linked to political parties, Sinn Fein and the Progressive

In the most recent figures, the SDLP and Sinn Fein's
Northern Ireland section came off best with donations of
£322,469 and £137,145 respectively; then the DUP with
£92,141 and the Ulster Unionist Party given £74,191.

Northern Ireland's two nationalist parties, Sinn Fein and
SDLP are - at least on paper and for the present - the most

Riddled with debts just a few years ago, the SDLP now has a
surplus of more than £58,000.

And Sinn Fein has now shifted from a recorded deficit of
£200,000 in 2004 to a surplus of just £1,300.

In contrast, the other parties - the DUP, Ulster Unionists
and Alliance - are saddled with debts of £50,000, £450,000
and £40,000 respectively.

The figures have been revealed in full accounts published
for the first time by the Electoral Commission which
disclose in detail how much the party has taken from its
own members, spent on stationary, respective campaign
expenditure and donations.

The SDLP saw a marginal drop in its membership income from
around £76,500 in 2004 to over £68,000 last year along with
falling donations and fundraising fall from over £565,000
to more than £334,000.

But the party's revenues from conference income increased
along with the value of a policy grant from the Electoral

Sinn Fein has put its smaller surplus down to increased
contributions from its elected representatives from over
£348,000 in 2004 to more than £482,000 last year.

Donations to the party fell from almost £181,000 in 2004 to
over £137,000 last year.

The party will also have benefited from the restoration of
its suspended Assembly Party and Westminster allowances,
which were somewhat backdated.

However the party lost its High Court bid to receive the
Commission's Policy Development Grants.

Alliance put its deficit of over £42,000 down to the costs
of running the two major Westminster and local government
elections during 2005.

The UVF-linked Progressive Unionists had a deficit of
almost £6,300 and the UK Unionists a surplus of almost

The Women's Coalition, which folded in May, revealed it had
been forced to close its offices in November and recoup
funds by selling off stationery and furniture.

Financial statements were also filed by the Green Party,
the Socialist Party, the Newtownabbey Ratepayers
Association, Rainbow George's Make Politicians History
Party, the Telepathic Party and the
National Front in Northern Ireland.

It's fairly rare to hear a politician speak out about the
secrecy surrounding donations to Northern Ireland parties.

But some sharp criticism was voiced at a debate earlier
this month in the House of Lords.

A veteran peer bluntly claimed that the anomaly between the
province and the rest of the UK was "scandalous".

And he added: "As Northern Ireland moves towards a normal
civic society, they have to start to work within normal
civic rules, and one of those is that donations to
political parties are upfront and transparent."

The peer in question was none other than Government
Minister Lord Rooker.

Bizarrely, he made these comments while defending plans to
give parties here four more years of secrecy for their
financial backers.

This move is the third time in some six years that New
Labour has backed away from making transparency compulsory.

It should be noted that donations do not play an
insignificant role in Ulster politics.

Newly-published accounts from the big four parties state
that they received the following totals from unnamed
benefactors in 2005:

DUP - £92,141; SDLP - £322,469; Sinn Fein (Northern Ireland
section) - £137,145; Ulster Unionist Party - £74,191.

The SDLP, which had by far the biggest sum, states in its
accounts that the money came from "donations from
individuals and companies in Ireland and the United

Parties anywhere else in the UK have to disclose the
identity of anyone who gives them donations of £5,000 or

But in 2001, Northern Ireland was given a four-year
exemption from this rule.

Parties will soon be required to register donation details
with the Electoral Commission. But the public will still be
none the wiser. The same chief reason has been trotted out
each time in defence of continuing confidentiality - fear
of intimidation of donors.

There are genuine reasons for concern about the lack of
openness - particularly if members of the business
community decide to dip into their pockets to help out
their favourite party. Parties could be in a position to
assist such businessmen and women, in return for their

There's a word for that. It's corruption. However, voters
will know nothing about it.

This is certainly nothing to suggest that such a thing has
ever happened, or is even likely to in the future. But the
potential for wrongdoing exists.

The payback for a donation could be something as small
scale as lobbying at a council meeting for a planning
application. But if devolution ever returns, it could
involve a lot more.

Parties will be back in charge of Government departments.

Decisions will be taken on a weekly basis that will mean a
lot to the business world.

Massive grant packages will be awarded, major planning
applications ruled on, prestigious quango jobs handed out.

Could we be sure that future Stormont Ministers are not
favouring people who bankrolled their parties? The answer,
in short, is no.

SDLP fights bid to ban Southern income

The SDLP was forced to rely on Tony Blair's still sizeable
Commons majority this week as it fought off a surprise
attack on one its prime sources of fund-raising.

Conservative spokesman Lord Glentoran had persuaded the
House of Lords to amend the Northern Ireland (Miscellaneous
Provisions) Bill to outlaw donations to Ulster's political
parties from the Irish Republic.

A heated debate broke out when the Bill returned to the
Commons on Tuesday night, with SDLP deputy leader, MP Dr
Alasdair McDonnell, saying such a ban would "strangle"
nationalist parties like his own and undermine democracy.

"Our small branches and associations in places such as in
Derry hold an event of some sort, yet Muff is two or three
miles down the road," he said.

"Ballyshannon is two or three miles down the road from
Belleek in Fermanagh.

"It is just not humanly possible to implement this law."

Direct rule minister David Hanson agreed that allowing
donations from the Republic's citizens and businesses was
"consistent with the Good Friday Agreement".

But his comments were met with a withering response from
the DUP MPs in the chamber.

East Belfast MP Peter Robinson said: "The reality is that
the minister is doing this for one party - the Labour
Party's sister party, the SDLP.

"It is therefore a discriminatory measure. It will
discriminate against the unionists and in favour of the

The DUP was soundly beaten by 260 to 16 after Labour MPs
voted against the amendment and most Tories abstained.

USA is targeted in huge funding push

The SDLP is on the verge of launching its biggest ever US
cash-raising campaign to soften the blow of a looming ban
on foreign donations.

Royal Assent of the Northern Ireland (Miscellaneous
Provisions) Bill this week has set the clock ticking for
the nationalists.

The legislation means that in only 15 months it will be
illegal for Ulster's political parties to accept donations
from foreign individuals or companies - with the crucial
exception of those in the Republic of Ireland.

Despite deep political relationships built up with Capitol
Hill by former leader John Hume, the SDLP has always failed
to attract anything like the US cash bonanza enjoyed by
Sinn Fein.

US donations are understood to currently represent only a
fraction of total donations.

But within weeks the party aims to open their first
permanent office in New York to match Sinn Fein's
headquarters in Wall Street.

They will announce the appointment of a US organiser
charged with attracting as much party funding as possible
before the ban on American funds comes into force in
October 2007.

And in September, SDLP leader Mark Durkan will make a high
profile appearance at the second annual conference of the
Clinton Global Initiative.

Director of development Tim Attwood said the party's new US
fundraiser will also be charged with encouraging long term
US investment into Ulster industry.

This will be done by building support across the Atlantic
behind the idea of a "10 year window" in which corporation
tax in Northern Ireland would be equalised at the
Republic's 12.5% level to suck in cash for regeneration.

"We also recognise the importance of US investment in the
26 counties... and the affect US investment has had on the
growth of the Celtic Tiger."

Figures published by the Electoral Commission have revealed
a turnaround in the SDLP financial health.

Two years ago, the party was in the red to the tune of more
than £93,000 and heavily reliant on borrowing.

It has, however, recorded a surplus of £58,922 in 2005 and
managed to increase the amount raised from Irish and UK
donations from £146,433 to £322,469.

However, party bosses know that such a surplus could be
swallowed up by only a few days of election campaigning -
should there be an Assembly election in the autumn
following the restoration of devolution and a political
deal between the DUP and Sinn Fein.


‘Right Conditions Needed For SF Coalition’

By William Graham

Asked about the chances of Sinn Fein being part of an Irish
coalition government next year, Mr Adams said it would only
be on two conditions.

“Number one that we get sufficient mandate and we are
looking for sufficient mandate,” he said.

“We are looking to be in government and we are looking to
get a mandate to be in government.

“The second condition is the terms. We are not interested
in being government for the sake of it.

“If you want to measure Sinn Fein, it will be about the
amount of change we have managed to bring about, or the
amount of change working with others we have managed to
bring about.”

Mr Adams said Sinn Fein would only be interested in a
government agenda for change based on social and economic

“For example on the health services we would insist that no
public money goes into private hospitals. If people want
private hospitals, that is grand, they should use their own
money,” he said.

“We object to the tanaiste – the minister for health –
giving away public hospitals to private developers and
speculators. We object to the privatisation of the health

“So we would not be part of a coalition except one which
was very, very focused on health as a right from the cradle
to the grave.”

Mr Adams said he was rarely critical of Taoiseach Bertie
Ahern on the issue of the peace process.

But he claimed in recent times Mr Ahern had not been sure-
footed and had allowed the process to falter.

He claimed Mr Ahern had reneged on commitments about
northern representation in southern institutions, such as
MPs being allowed once or twice a year to speak in the


Support For PSNI Not A Matter Of If But When

By William Graham

Sinn Fein will sign up to policing structures “when the
terms are right” and will endeavour to bring that about “in
the shortest possible time”, Gerry Adams said yesterday.

The West Belfast MP was asked what would happen on the
issue if the DUP refused to restore power-sharing
government by November 24 and policing and justice powers
were not therefore devolved to a Stormont executive.

Mr Adams said a big effort had to be made to get the DUP
into an executive under the terms of the Good Friday
Agreement and from that everything else would flow.

“If that does not happen there needs to be a continuous
process of change... and policing has to fit into that,” he

“Our public position is very, very clear. We have agreed
this position with the British government.

“I told Secretary of State Peter Hain at a meeting last
week that I found his recent remarks [calling for Sinn Fein
to cooperate with police] offensive and patronising. There
are those others who buy into it, whether it is the SDLP or
their friends, who talk about lost communities.

“The people who we represent are the brothers and sisters
of the people the SDLP represent. They are law-abiding
people. They are taxpayers and they are ratepayers. They
have a view that we actively support that they want and
they deserve a first-class police service.

“Now maybe it is impossible to get a first class police
service but we need to get the very best police service
that we can get.

“Will we ever be able to give uncritical support to a
police service? No. That is the long and short of it. All
bodies like that need to be regulated continuously and
transparently made accountable.”

Mr Adams insisted that Sinn Fein had outlined its position
on policing in a clear way and it had been subject to
successive elections over a number of years.

He claimed “the majority of nationalists and republicans
support the Sinn Fein position”.

The West Belfast MP was asked whether Sinn Fein would
refuse to sign up to policing structures if there was no
devolution and transfer of policing powers to an assembly
after November 24.

“Gerry Kelly has made it clear in the past and Martin
McGuinness just last week spelt out Sinn Fein’s position in
some detail where he said that he foresaw the day when
there would be a Sinn Fein minister of justice and

“That is the reality. Sinn Fein is about taking political
power in both states in this island and moving from there
into an all-Ireland situation.”

On movement on policing, Mr Adams appeared to signal that
it is not a matter of if but when.

It was also a question of when the terms are right, he

“As far as we are concerned the terms of the Good Friday
Agreement are right.

“So Sinn Fein is for policing and we will endeavour to
bring that about in the shortest possible time.

“It is a collective responsibility between us and the two
governments and the other political parties.”


SDLP: Paisley Should Come Clean On UVF - Dallat

The Chief Whip of the SDLP John Dallat has challenged the
leaders of the DUP Ian Paisley to come clean on the
involvement of the UVF as bodyguards at his home and

His comments follow a statement by Dawn Purvis of the PUP
who made the claims in the Irish News. Mr Dallat said:
“Forty years ago, at the trial of the Malvern Street
murderers, it became clear that Ian Paisley was an
inspiration for loyalist killers.

“While I do not believe Dawn Purvis should be on the
Policing Board I have always found her to be genuine in her
political comments and I have no reason to believe she is
telling ‘porkies’ when she claims that UVF was much closer
to the DUP leader than he would now want the world to

“During a heated debate in the previous assembly the PUP
leader David Ervine revealed to a hushed house that he
could describe the wallpaper on the living rooms of
different unionist politicians and it would be interesting
to know if that included the Ravenhill Road home of Mr

Mr Dallat claims that he has had experience of DUP/UVF
collusion in his own life going back many years when he and
his family were allocated a house in a Protestant area but
declined after he learned that a member of the DUP has
approached the UVF to burn him out. This plot was confirmed
to him recently by a former DUP member who has left the

Mr Dallat concluded, “It is important that we put the past
behind us and learn from it particularly in relation to
violence and incitement to hatred but it is wrong to try
and re-write history in a way which is inaccurate. To do
that us to paper over the cracks and as we all know cracks
have a habit of reappearing.”


British Official Optimistic On Accord In N. Ireland

Defends his judgment of IRA's activities

By Kevin Cullen, Globe Staff July 28, 2006

Peter Hain, Britain's secretary of state for Northern
Ireland, yesterday dismissed as ``background noise"
criticism leveled at him by Protestant unionist politicians
for his statement that the IRA is no longer engaged in
criminal or violent activity.

The criticism comes as the British and Irish governments
push for the restoration of the local power-sharing
assembly between British unionists and Irish Republicans in
the region .

Hain said he is confident the Nov. 24 deadline for a
restored assembly would be met . If not, he told the Globe
, the two governments are prepared to ``move on" and forge
a deeper partnership in administering the disputed part of
the United Kingdom on Ireland.

Visiting Boston this week for the first time since Prime
Minister Tony Blair appointed him 14 months ago, Hain said
the unionist criticism, calling him naive and foolish, was
misdirected. He said his statement Tuesday -- that the
Irish Republican Army had kept its pledge to refrain from
paramilitary and criminal activity -- was merely a
restatement of the most recent findings of the Independent
Monitoring Commission, charged with overseeing the
disarming of paramilitary groups.

Hain, speaking nearly a year after the IRA formally ended
its 35-year armed campaign to rid Northern Ireland of
British rule, said he expects criticism as politicians
prepare their supporters for the next political battle .
Compromise will be necessary to resume the power-sharing
government that was suspended in October 2002, amid
allegations that the IRA was spying on politicians at
Stormont, the local assembly.

``This is part of the background noise that you hear when
there's an endgame," Hain said.

He said that his statements about the IRA keeping its
promises were backed by Ireland's justice minister, Michael
McDowell, one of the IRA's most withering critics.

Hain said Northern Ireland's business community , dominated
by moderate unionists, is lobbying members of the
Democratic Unionist Party, led by fundamentalist preacher
Rev. Ian Paisley, to put aside their qualms about the IRA
in order to resume power-sharing with the army's political
wing, Sinn Fein. There was a similar push by business
leaders to back the 1998 Good Friday Agreement aimed at
ending violent conflict in Northern Ireland. But in the
ensuing eight years, Protestant unionists have grown
increasingly skeptical about both the IRA's intentions and
what they see as a new political order that has rewarded
Catholic nationalists at their expense.

Hain, however, believes the improved quality of life is
slowly but inexorably overcoming unionist anxiety. In a
land where some 3,500 people were killed in a 35-year
period, only a handful of murders each year are now
attributed to the island's political and sectarian divide.
Last year, some 2 million tourists visited Northern
Ireland, more than the 1.5 million people who live there.
Housing prices in Belfast have risen 30 percent in recent

``By any measure, life in Northern Ireland is better than
it was," Hain said. ``I think the politicians are getting
to the point where the people are leaving them behind."

Still, he acknowledged that the British government's plans
to reduce Northern Ireland's reliance on the public sector,
which produces more than 70 percent of the jobs and income,
are unpopular, as is the plan to introduce water fees in a
land where it rains almost every day and water is
traditionally plentiful and free.

``My reply is, if you don't like it, get into government
and do it yourself," he said, calling on local politicians
to put up or shut up when it comes to taking over
responsibilities from the British government .

Born in Kenya, Hain grew up in South Africa, where his
parents were anti-apartheid activists. He moved to London
when he was 16 and became one of Britain's best known anti-
apartheid activists before entering politics.

He said yesterday that despite what appears to be political
stalemate , both sides are engaged in behind-the-scenes
work, reminiscent of when apartheid ended in South Africa.

Hain said his visit to New York and Boston was aimed at
shoring up support, especially among Irish-Americans , for
the Anglo-Irish plan to restore power-sharing. He said
integration between the two parts of the island was
happening organically, despite the political stalemate:
There is a single electricity market for the island, and
people routinely cross the border to use hospitals or
shopping centers in the different jurisdictions.

Asked whether he believed the Nov. 24 deadline on power
sharing would be met, he said, ``I'm very keen to meet the
deadline. Am I worried? No."

© Copyright 2006 The New York Times Company


SF And DUP Slammed For Failing To Attend Green Session

By David Gordon
28 July 2006

A leading pressure group has slammed the DUP and Sinn Fein
over their failure to attend a key think-tank session on
protecting the Northern Ireland environment.

The broadside has come from the Ulster Architectural
Heritage Society (UAHS), which campaigns for the
conservation of historic buildings across the province.

It relates to a recent public hearing held by the Review of
Environmental Governance team - the panel set up by
Government to examine whether Northern Ireland should have
an independent environmental protection agency.

It arranged the day at a Belfast hotel to hear evidence
from the main political parties.

Time was set aside for both the DUP and Sinn Fein, but no
representatives from the two parties attended.

In a statement, the Ulster Architectural Heritage Society
said: "The UAHS is seriously disappointed that neither the
DUP nor Sinn Fein could make a single representative
available to present evidence to the review of
environmental governance panel, whose findings will inform
how the natural and built environment is best governed.

"Their failure to show signifies where the environment sits
on their political agendas.

"In stark contrast, both parties have managed to devote
considerable amounts of time and energy to opposing draft
planning policy PPS14, designed to encourage sustainable
development in the countryside."

The statement added: "Much of the creativity, energy and
foresight in terms of policy on the environment has been
developed by the non-governmental sector.

"Could we not at least have expected a matching effort to
embrace this golden opportunity by our two main political

A DUP spokesman said its non-appearance was simply due to a
"timetabling" issue and had no relation to the priority it
gives environmental matters.

"None of our senior representatives on the environment were
available on that particular date," he added.

The spokesman said the party has been in contact with the
review team, and was looking forward to further discussions
regarding its views on environmental governance.

The DUP is opposed to the creation of an independent
protection agency - the option favoured by a coalition of
leading environmental groups.

A Sinn Fein spokesman said: "Unfortunately, we were unable
to attend this meeting, but we will be following up with
the review team, specifically on our demand for an all-
Ireland environmental protection agency."


Garda 'Failed To Act On Tip Off' About Omagh Bomb

By Debra Douglas
28 July 2006

A suspended detective in the Republic has claimed senior
officers failed to act on his tip off about plans for the
Real IRA bomb attack on Omagh.

Speaking during a court case in which he was cleared of
planting a shotgun at a Traveller encampment in Donegal in
a bid to frame a group of men for murder, 51-year-old John
White, from Ballybofey, reiterated an allegation claiming
that Assistant Commissioner Dermot Jennings said top brass
in the force had decided to let one through - an allegation
denied by AC Jennings.

Mr White, who handled an important informer in the mid-
1990s who had links to dissident republicans and the Real
IRA, told the court that in August 1998 he passed on
information to An Garda Siochana secure intelligence unit
in Dublin that a car had been ordered to carry a bomb for
detonation in Omagh.

Weeks after Mr White claims the detail was handed over, the
market town was devastated by dissident republican

Twenty-nine people, among them a woman pregnant with twins,
died in the atrocity.

Mr White, whose undercover work helped thwart a string of
terrorist attacks in Northern Ireland, said: "I have
consistently claimed that I have handed good, top class
intelligence to a number of officers in our job in a 14-day
period coming up to it (the Omagh bomb).

"I stand by that."

Michael Gallagher, whose son Aidan died in the Real IRA
bomb in Omagh, was in the public gallery during White's

Speaking after the verdict, Mr Gallagher said he had always
been convinced John White was telling the truth about

"It was very important for the Omagh families to listen to
what John White had to say and of course others," Mr
Gallagher said.

"We are totally convinced that there is a very real element
of truth about what John White has said about the days
before Omagh."

Mr Gallagher reiterated his call for a public inquiry
spanning both Northern Ireland and the Republic.

He also said that the Omagh families had never been given
the opportunity to discuss Mr White's allegations with Asst
Com Jennings, nor did he believe they would ever get the

But he went on: "Surely there must be more to the questions
he (Mr White) has raised about Omagh than what the
authorities are telling us.

"I think it was one of the major difficulties that Garda
authorities in Dublin had with John White that he was
asking very real questions that people needed answers to."

The allegations that senior Garda officers never relayed
the intelligence to the then Royal Ulster Constabulary were
made to the Northern Ireland Police Ombudsman Nuala O'Loan.

After one of her officers spoke with Mr White, she produced
a report which was sent to the Irish government.

He was considered a compelling witness by Mrs O'Loan, who
felt his claims were worthy of further investigation.

A three-member inquiry team was established in Dublin to
examine the allegations, but their findings were never

White's acquittal comes just weeks before south Armagh
electrician Sean Hoey is due to go on trial for the Omagh
murders at the Crown Court in Belfast.


IRA 'Not Behind' Threat To Woman

Sinn Fein has denied that the IRA made a threat to the
sister of ex-informer Martin McGartland.

Earlier this week the police warned the woman that
republican paramilitaries had obtained details of her

The warning did not name any group, but Mr McGartland was
an RUC Special Branch agent within the IRA in the late

He has blamed the IRA for the threat but Martin McGuinness
of Sinn Fein has claimed the move was aimed at damaging the
political process.

"I don't believe for one minute that the IRA are involved
in any way in any of this," he said.

"It is quite clear at key times in the process in the
past... that there are people within the process who are
doing their damnedest to try to destabilise the process and
to undermine the republican contribution to it."

Mr McGartland said his sister was taking the warning

He said that there had been attacks on members of his
family in the past and that he believed the British
government was prepared to sacrifice former agents.

He said he believed pressure had been brought to bear to
ensure that no-one was charged over a 1999 attempt on his

The IRA was blamed for trying to kill Martin McGartland
then, when he was shot seven times.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/07/28 08:01:06 GMT


New UDA Leadership Is Appointed

The loyalist paramilitary Ulster Defence Association has
appointed a new leadership in north Belfast.

The move comes five weeks after it expelled Andre and Ihab

The UDA in north Belfast said it had formed a new interim
leadership which has been approved by the organisation's
so-called 'inner council'.

Andre Shoukri faces blackmail, intimidation and money
laundering charges. Ihab Shoukri is charged with UDA
membership. Both deny the charges.

A close associate of the brothers, who was also expelled,
had taken over as leader of the organisation in the area in
recent weeks and there had been concerns about a potential

BBC Northern Ireland home affairs correspondent Vincent
Kearney said: "This statement indicates that the majority
of UDA members in north Belfast have backed the decision to
expel them and leaves the Shoukris and their supporters

The Shoukris were expelled in June after a bitter fall-out
with the rest of the UDA leadership.

The UDA's ruling body, its 'inner council', said it had
expelled a number of members in north Belfast, but did not
name anyone.

However, loyalist sources said those expelled included the
two brothers.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/07/28 11:40:57 GMT


Breakaway Loyalists To Support Main UDA

By Brian Rowan
28 July 2006

A breakaway faction with the North Belfast UDA was expected
to pledge loyalty to the mainstream organisation today.

Senior loyalist sources have told the Belfast Telegraph
that major devleopments are expected within the banned
paramilitary group today.

Two statements are expected to be released by lunchtime.
Sources said one will be from a breakaway group of men in
north Belfast - the so-called 'J Company' covering Tigers
Bay and Westland areas - distancing themselves from the
expelled Shoukri leadership and supporting the mainstream

A response from the so-called UDA Inner Council will come
in a second statement.

The developments follow a meeting in east Belfast last
night attended by the breakaway group in the north of the
city and other senior UDA figures.

Today's development will put intense pressure on the North
Belfast leadership of brothers Andre and Ihab Shoukri
following the June 20 announcement from the Inner Council
ordering the effective expulsion of the brothers and a key

That statement from the Inner Council - the organisation's
brigadier leadership - did not name names but is known to
refer to the Shoukris and their closest associate Alan

The UDA leadership statement confirmed the decision to
"expel a number of individual members" from north Belfast
and instructed its organisation in that part of the city
"to begin a process of selection and election to the
replace the individuals whom we have expelled".

The following day the leadership of the North Belfast UDA
rejected the call to stand down and said it no longer
recognised the authority of the Inner Council.

In a statement, the brigade said that it offered no
aggression to other UDA brigades but warned that it would
not tolerate "any interference" in its area.


Opus Dei's Irish Role To Be Put Under Miscoscope

By Alf McCreary
28 July 2006

A 40-minute documentary on the controversial Catholic group
Opus Dei is being screened by BBC1 Northern Ireland next
Wednesday at 10.40pm.

It has been produced by the award-winning local television
director Michael Beattie and it will take a close look at
the work of Opus Dei in Ireland.

Filming has taken place in a number of locations, including
Rome, and Beattie has talked to several Opus Dei members,
as well as a former Ulster priest who worked with St Jose
Maria Escriva, the founder of Opus Dei.

The organisation was featured in Dan Brown's best-selling
novel The Da Vinci Code, though members argued that the
downbeat portrayal had little resemblance to the work and
role of Opus Dei.

Michael Beattie told the Belfast Telegraph: "One of the
objectives of the programme was to look at Opus Dei in
Ireland, in the aftermath of the publicity generated by Dan
Brown's novel and the recent film of The Da Vinci Code.

"Having met a wide range of members in the organisation, my
feeling that they are people of high principles. There may
well have been dark excesses in the past but not, to my
knowledge, in recent years."


N.E. Teen Embraces Her Irish Heritage

By Jeannie O'Sullivan, Special to the New Egypt Press

For New Egypt High School junior Cindy Murray, being Irish
meant her father was an avid participant in the local
chapter of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, touted as the
largest Irish fraternal organization in existence.

"It was founded to protect priests," said Philip Murray, a
man rooted in tradition but not above embracing technology
that allows him to listen to an online Irish music station
while working on his computer. "It promotes Irish and
ethnic events. We're holding a Celtic Music Festival on
Oct. 1."

And in addition to bringing Ireland here, they're happy to
share their own with the Old Country.

The group sponsored Cindy's recent trip to Ireland, which
she visited with 74 other participants of an Irish American
Cultural Institute travel program.

"I'd be surprised if she comes home. She's having a blast,"
said Philip Murray last week, when his daughter was in

The group stayed in boarding schools in Dublin and
Waterford, where the students took classes in Irish
Folklore, Gaelic language, Irish and Irish American
History, music, literature dance and sports. Highlights
included a Gaelic football match in Croke Park and field
trips to Glendalough, an ancient monastery in the Wicklow
Mountains, and the 5,000-year-old Newgrange. They also
visited southeastern Ireland landmarks like the Blarney
Castle, Cobh Heritage Center and tour of the Waterford
Crystal Factory.

The name "Irish Way" says it all, according the IACI
Marketing Director Deidre O'Connell.

"The people for Ireland are very well known for kindness
and generosity. Just in general we like to say the Irish
Way is a lesson in International citizenship," she said.

Ireland, O'Connell said, is a destination comparable to
America in its rich cultural, artistic, technological and
economical offerings, but one made slightly edgier by a
tumultuous past that reveals itself in surprising and
shocking ways.

"There's so much history. You still see bullet holes in the
statues on the street from the 1916 uprising," said
O'Connell, who took the tour in 1999.

The violence had erupted in the spot O'Connell referenced,
the Grand Post Office. It was the bloody epicenter of
Irelands fight for independence from Great Britain.

But softening the sinister allure is a full array arts,
fashion, food and technology, said O'Connell, adding that
life is more main stream than some would imagine.

That all three IACI employees have taken the tour enriches
the guidance they parlay into Irish Way, O'Connell said.
But the classes and field trips didn't compare to the
education students gleaned during the second week, when
they lived with Irish families. Irish life, said O'Connell,
offers a full spectrum of settings ranging from dairy farms
to the heart of metropolitan Dublin.

Murray stayed with a family in County Mayo.

"It was beautiful," said Murray.

O'Connell said many people are surprised by the
sophistication level of Ireland.

"I think people have this idea that they're going to a
thatched cottage," she said. "Ireland has all the things we
do, but at a different level."

One example, O'Connell said, was cell phones.

"Texting here is so main stream. They don't even talk on
their cell phones. In 2004, it was big there but no one was
doing it here," she said.

Before she joined the ranks of Irish Way's 3,000 alumni,
Murray and her peers took in the Rock of Cashel, Aran
Island and Cliffs of Mohr before returning to the States.

Irish Way at one time drew mostly Irish-American students,
but the growing popularity of the Gaelic territory has
piqued interest in the 30-year-old program, O'Connell said.

"We've definitely got more diverse crowd. For some kids,
it's the first time they've been away from homes," said
O'Connell. "The experience has a huge impact how they learn
to step outside of their comfort zones."

©New Egypt Press 2006


Dancer Flatley Gets Go-Ahead For Extortion Lawsuit

Reuters News Service

LOS ANGELES - Riverdance star Michael Flatley Thursday won
a court ruling allowing him to proceed with a $100 million
extortion and defamation lawsuit against a woman who
claimed he had raped her.

Lawyers for the woman, Tyna Marie Robertson, had argued
that the lawsuit brought by the self-styled "Lord of the
Dance" should be thrown out because it infringed her
constitutional right to free speech.

But the California state Supreme Court disagreed and said
Flatley's lawsuit could proceed to trial.

The acrimonious court battle stems from claims by Robertson
that Flatley raped her in a Las Vegas hotel in 2002. Police
declined to press criminal charges and Flatley said the sex
was consensual.

Robertson then filed a $33 million civil sexual assault
suit. Flatley countered with a lawsuit claiming civil
extortion, fraud and defamation.

Flatley, 48, who was born in the United States of Irish
heritage, is credited with reinventing traditional Irish
dancing in the mid 1990s and making it popular around the


Footballer Dies Of Match-Clash Injuries

28/07/2006 - 09:50:00

A young footballer left fighting for his life after being
injured in a pre-season friendly has died.

Paul Quinn, 22, was knocked unconscious when he collided
with a fellow player in Navan on Wednesday night. He died
from his injuries in hospital early this morning.

The freak accident happened when the defender, who played
for Navan Cosmos, went to head the ball and hit his head on
the knee of another player.

He collapsed and failed to regain consciousness.

His parents, Pat and Theresa Quinn, from Navan, flew home
early from a holiday in Portugal to be with their son.

They remained at his bedside in Our Lady’s General
Hospital, Navan, along with Paul’s brother, Stephen, 20,
who had been playing in the same match.

Mr Quinn recently qualified as an architect.

The football community was in shock following the accident,
which was said to have happened about halfway through the
second half of the match against visiting team Skryne/Tara.

First aid staff at the Meath District League grounds on the
Trim Road, Navan, tried in vain to resuscitate Mr Quinn. He
was taken to hospital by ambulance and the game was
immediately called off.


Mayor Forced To Cancel Irish Trip

By Staff Reporter

The mayor of New York has been forced into a last-minute
cancellation of a planned trip to Ireland after power cuts
struck parts of the US city.

Michael Bloomberg was due to unveil a monument to the
legendary US civil war Brigadier General Michael Corcoran
and the Fighting 69th Regiment.

The ceremony was due to take place today in Ballymote,
Sligo, the birthplace of the notorious Union army leader.

But the plans had to be abandoned after electricity outages
caused havoc in the New York boroughs of Queens and Staten

The first citizen said he would travel at a later date but
could not confirm when.

Fine Gael TD and chairman of Ballymote Community Enterprise
John Perry organised the ceremony.

“We are very conscious of the huge amount of disappointment
for all the people who were travelling from as far as
America and from all around the country to the ceremony,”
he said.

“But there would have been massive political consequences
for Mayor Bloomberg if he had travelled. He has assured me
personally he will make it to Ireland.”

Mr Perry expects the event to be rescheduled for a date
within the coming weeks.

Michael Corcoran gained notoriety when as colonel of the
mostly Irish-American 69th Infantry he refused to parade
his troops before the visiting Prince of Wales in 1860.

He faced a court martial for his refusal to obey orders but
the charges were dropped on the outbreak of the civil war.

He was wounded and taken prisoner after leading his
regiment, under the Irish motto ‘Faugh a Ballagh’ or ‘Clear
the Way’, into action at the First Battle of Bull Run.

He was a hero to many Irish-American soldiers and his name
and that of the 69th Infantry are immortalised in old Irish
Union ballads.

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