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July 23, 2006

Redundancy Letters Received by MLA's Staff

News About Ireland & The Irish

SF 07/20/06 Redundancy Letters Received By MLA's
BB 07/22/06 Army Defuses 'Viable Pipe Bomb'
SF 07/21/06 Martin McGuinness Speech To MacGill Summer School
IE 07/23/06 Scientists Investigating Material Linked To McCord Murder
PR 07/21/06 No Peace Over US-UK Extradition Treaty
BB 07/21/06 Schemes 'Must Work With Police'
GU 07/23/06 McCartneys: You're Leaving Us At IRA Mercy, Blair Told
RT 07/23/06 Three Held After Attack On Orange Hall
IM 07/22/06 Irish Political Prison Protest (& How You Can Help)
SF 07/21/06 SF: Working With Foras Na Gaeilge New Chief Executive
SF 07/21/06 Minister Should Intervene In Cross-Border Fees Issue
BB 07/22/06 Hain's 'Interference' Criticised
BB 07/22/06 Opin: Hain's Carrot And Stick Approach
TO 07/22/06 Two Armies Set Out To Win Over Boyne Tourists
HC 07/23/06 Queens Democratic Chairman Manton Dies
BB 07/23/06 WW2 Grenade Is Blown Up By Army


Redundancy Letters Received By MLA's

Published: 20 July, 2006

Commenting on the receipt by MLA’s today of instructions to
prepare support staff for redundancy Sinn Féin General
Secretary, Mitchel Mc Laughlin MLA said:

“Sinn Féin has consistently advocated that failure by the
DUP to agree the re-establishment of the political
institutions including a power sharing Executive then the
Hain Assembly should be shut down. While such an
eventuality will inevitably mean redundancy for support
staff this is unfortunate and regrettable.

“However, perhaps the letter to all MLA’s today advising
them to prepare themselves and staff for redundancy will
focus minds on the need to engage in a manner that will see
full restoration by the November 24th deadline.

“In the event that the DUP still refuses to enter power
sharing institutions on the basis of equality then the two
governments must press ahead with their stated intention of
joint implementation of the Agreement particularly its all-
Ireland aspects.” ENDS


Army Defuses 'Viable Pipe Bomb'

A pipe bomb has been defused by the Army in south Belfast.

The "viable device" was discovered along with a quantity of
ammunition in an alleyway off Knockbreda Park.

A police spokeswoman said: "In a follow-up search, one man
was arrested and is currently assisting police with their

The pipe bomb was found at about 2145 BST on Friday. The
PSNI has appealed to anyone with information or who noticed
anything suspicious to contact police.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/07/22 08:51:48 GMT


Martin McGuinness Speech To MacGill Summer School

Published: 21 July, 2006

Sinn Féin Chief Negotiator Martin McGuinness MP will this
evening address the annual Patrick MacGill Summer School in
Glenties, County Donegal. As part of a wide ranging speech
Mr McGuinness will deal with the current efforts to revive
the political institutions, the role of the DUP in this and
the ongoing efforts by Republicans to deliver an effective
and accountable policing service in the north.

Mr McGuinness will say that:

‘The current phase of the political talks are not about the
future of the Good Friday Agreement. The Good Friday
Agreement is non-negotiable. It has the democratic
endorsement of referenda both north and south and its is
binding on both governments. The Good Friday Agreement must
be implemented come what may. So the current phase of
discussion is about whether or not the implementation of
the Agreement will include a 6 county Assembly. No more and
no less.’

He will also argue that:

‘The best people to make decisions about the lives of
people in the north are people who live there. That is the
case with education, the economy, health, the environment
and housing. It is widely recognised that local ministers
in the short-lived power-sharing executive, including DUP
ministers did a much better job that part-time British

Mr McGuinness will praise the decision of the IRA to end
its armed campaign and deal conclusively with the issue of
arms. He will state that the IRA have definitively and
comprehensively addressed all of the issues presented as
unionist concerns.

On the issue of policing Mr McGuinness will say that he has
‘no doubt that we can achieve with others a transformation
on policing which will make it democratic, and accountable
and which enjoys community support.

‘Republicans and nationalists who have suffered from
partisan policing want a new beginning based on
impartiality and accountability more than anyone else.

I have no doubt that some day a republican could hold
Ministerial responsibility for policing north and south.’

Full address being delivered by Martin McGuinness to
MacGill Summer School follows:


A Lecture by Martin McGuinness, MP, MLA
Patrick MacGill Summer School
July 21 2006

Only three weeks ago I visited one of the most heavily
militarised region in the world - the border between the
government and the rebel held areas of Sri Lanka. That
stark and frightening frontier was a very visible
expression of the political legacy of colonial occupation
in that small island. Ethnic groups, which had co-existed
in relative peace for centuries, became sworn enemies as a
result of the destructive and divisive effects of imperial
domination. In many ways the divisions in Sri Lanka mirror
our own and the method of resolving them is, in my view,
the same. A process of national reconciliation and peace
making is essential and central to that process is
dialogue, dialogue and more dialogue.

One big difference between the situations here in Ireland
and that in Sri Lanka is the enormous progress we have
already made. The absence of a real and credible process of
engagement in Sri Lanka threatens all out civil war. In
contrast, the progress we have made over the last 12 years
is a direct result of the real and meaningful engagement
between nationalism and the British government, between
unionism and the Irish government and to a more limited
extent between unionism and nationalism on this island. Our
peace process is far from perfect but it is an undoubted
success. The Ireland we live in now is a very different
place from the Ireland of war and conflict that existed 12
years ago. It is a very different place from the
totalitarian Orange state that existed in the north 40
years ago. The Irish peace process is in many ways the
reworking of the relationships between unionism and the
rest of the people of this island. And between all of us on
this island and the British government.

British policy in Ireland has historically been the
catalyst for conflict and division in our country. That has
to end. A successful peace process is ultimately about
ending the divisive influence and effects of the British
jurisdiction on this island. That is Sinn Fein’s core
political objective.

In the interim, the Good Friday Agreement is about removing
the most extreme aspects and consequences of partition. It
is about delivering acceptable policing arrangements,
ending discrimination, protecting cultural and language
rights, defending human rights and delivering a
demilitarised, politically tolerant and inclusive society.

The current phase of the political talks are not about the
future of the Good Friday Agreement. The Good Friday
Agreement is non-negotiable. It has the democratic
endorsement of referenda both north and south and its is
binding on both governments. The Good Friday Agreement must
be implemented come what may. So the current phase of
discussion is about whether or not the implementation of
the Agreement will include a 6 county Assembly. No more and
no less.

The only obstacle to the restoration of that Assembly and
the power-sharing executive is the refusal of the DUP to be
part of these institutions. That is their prerogative but
let there be no doubt that the process of change will
continue and it is better for all of us in political
leadership, and for our constituents, if we are directing
and managing that process of change through a functioning
power-sharing Executive. That would certainly be preferable
to the bad decisions that are being taken every day by
British direct rule ministers.

But I also believe that a functioning Assembly, with a
power-sharing Executive and cross-community safeguards, is
the best and most efficient means of building trust,
confidence and mutual understanding between Irish
Republicans and unionists. It is the best way of sustaining
and progressing the enormous work already achieved in
reconciling Orange and Green.

It is also the best way of tackling the very real issues
that affect all of the people of the north - and on the
island of Ireland. The reality is that partition has
failed. It has failed the people in the south. It has
failed nationalists in the north. It has failed the very
community it was designed to safeguard. It has failed

Unionist working class communities suffer high unemployment
and educational under achievement.

No one any longer argues that there is any economic merit
in the partition of this small island. On the contrary all
economic advantage lies in Ireland as a single island

No unionist leader can believe that British direct rule is
a good thing. It has resulted in job losses, privatisation,
increased rates, water charges, education cuts, falling
incomes for those working in agriculture, a failure to
produce any strategy to deal with suicide prevention, and
much more. The best people to make decisions about the
lives of people in the north are people who live there.
That is the case with education, the economy, health, the
environment and housing. It is widely recognised that local
ministers in the short-lived power-sharing executive,
including DUP ministers did a much better job that part-
time British ministers.

So also with policing and justice. Last week, here at the
Mac Gill Summer School, the British Secretary of State
addressed this issue and criticised Sinn Fein for demanding
that the Good Friday Agreement commitments on policing and
justice be implemented and delivered in full. So I want to
address this issue directly. Sinn Fein wants to see a
community police service, representative and democratically
accountable to the people they serve through a locally
elected minister.

People have a basic right to feel safe in their homes and
communities. They have a right to a police service which
will act impartially and which will behave in a responsible
and accountable way. They have a right to a police service
which does not engage in political policing. They have a
right to a police service which is not run by MI5 or any
other British security agency.

Sinn Féin is not holding back on policing as Peter Hain
tried to suggest. Indeed many nationalists are puzzled by
the foot dragging of the British government and ask why
seven years on from the Patten Commission’s report we are
still awaiting further policing legislation. Has it
anything to do with Britain’s efforts to cover up decades
of state collusion with loyalist death squads?

Republicans have a vested interest in the creation and
delivery of proper policing. It is our communities which
have suffered most as a result of decades of a unionist
militia posing as a police service. We are determined that
an effective police service, which is democratic and
accountable, becomes part of the fabric of life in the Six
Counties and the entire island..

Substantial progress has been made in relation to policing
because of the work of republicans. We have made sure that
the British can’t walk away from this issue. Policing has
been and continues to be a central part of ongoing
political negotiations.

I am absolutely convinced that the final pieces can be put
in place if the two governments live up to their
commitments on transfer of powers and if the political will
exists amongst all the political parties.

I have no doubt that we can achieve with others a
transformation on policing which will make it democratic,
and accountable and which enjoys community support.

Republicans and nationalists who have suffered from
partisan policing want a new beginning based on
impartiality and accountability more than anyone else.

I have no doubt that some day a republican could hold
Ministerial responsibility for policing north and south.
The need for accountable policing is nowhere more obvious
than in the activities of some members of the Garda
Siochana in this county over many, many years. The focus of
Sinn Fein is on transforming policing, not accepting a
failed status quo.

Sinn Fein wants to work with unionist to deliver this and
to deliver the wider benefits of a stable and effective
local administration. I know that many unionists care
deeply about their community. They want to see stability,
peace and prosperity and they have worked with Sinn Féin in
committees and in local council chambers councils. Yet the
DUP remains implacably opposed to the restoration of a
locally elected and accountable Assembly.

Unionism, and the DUP in particular, need to come to terms
with the new political world in which we are living. There
is no excuse any longer for non-engagement.

Last year the Sinn Fein President appealed to the IRA to
take the courageous step of committing themselves to purely
political means and resolving the issue of IRA weapons. I
endorsed Gerry Adams appeal in the speech I made here in
the Glenties last July. The IRA responded by definitively
and comprehensively addressing all of these issues, which
had been presented as unionist concerns about the IRA’s
future intentions.

Those IRA decisions opened up new and unprecedented
opportunities for progress towards national reconciliation
and of an historic accommodation between Orange and Green.
But unionism also faces challenges and choices in this
project. If they claim to be democrats, then the Democratic
Unionist Party has to accept and respect the electoral
mandate of Sinn Fein. Sinn Fein is the largest nationalist
party in the north; Sinn Fein is the third largest and the
fastest growing party on the island. Republicans and
nationalists have great difficulty in the concept of
sharing power with Ian Paisley who for decades churned out
sectarian and religious extremism. On July 12 this year we
were treated to more of the same. But despite this, Sinn
Fein does recognise and accept the DUP’s electoral mandate.

These are the current political realities which we all have
to come to terms with if we are to put conflict, hatred and
division behind us. We can continue to disagree politically
but that should not prevent us delivering accountable,
democratic government for our shared constituencies. It
should certainly not prevent us building a better more
peaceful future for all our children. And the only way to
do this is through political dialogue.

But whatever the approach of Ian Paisley in the months
ahead, the reality is that the process of change will
continue. And the best option for unionists and the rest of
us is to collectively manage the changes that are coming.

Regardless of the disposition of the DUP, republicans will
continue to engage with unionist communities. Republicans
and loyalists are already working together with enormous
benefits for their respective communities in interface
areas. This summer these on-the-ground efforts and
initiatives delivered the most peaceful marching season in
decades. The DUP played no part in any of this. However,
the DUP need to acknowledge and learn the positive lessons
of these local engagements.

Ten years ago we would have been talking theoretically
about the need to reconcile Orange and Green. In the
Ireland of 2006, we are now taking about completing a
process that is already well underway and which has already
been enormously successful.

The process of reconciling Orange and Green is already
happening based on principles of equality, inclusivity and
mutual respect.

And as this process progresses we have new challenges to
deal with. We can no longer talk only about two historic
traditions on the island. We now have many new Irish who
bring their own traditions, perspectives and cultures to
our island. A small minority on this island have responded
to these challenges negatively through racist intolerance
and violence. We need to confront sectarianism wherever it
occurs and we also need to confront, with as much
determination and energy, racism wherever it occurs. The
New Ireland that we are all part of needs to reconcile
Orange and Green but it also needs to embrace new cultures
and people. We all need to acknowledge and accept
difference - to celebrate the enriching diversity of our
modern, multi-cultural Ireland.”ENDS


Scientists Investigating Material Linked To McCord Murder

Forensic scientists are examining material linked to the
murder of Raymond McCord in a move welcomed as a
breakthrough by the dead man's family.

Mr McCord's father, Raymond Sr, said he hoped the progress
would bring prosecutions after learning that the Historical
Enquiries Team (HET) had submitted potential evidence to

The north Belfast victim, 22, was brutally murdered in
Newtownabbey in November 1997, allegedly by the Ulster
Volunteer Force, and his killers have yet to be brought to

Police sources say the review by forensic experts is
standard practice.

Mr McCord Sr met PSNI Chief Constable Hugh Orde recently
and said: “I am hopeful this will lead to arrests. We are
hopeful the stuff will be enough to allow police to bring

“I know for certain that there's been a forensic
breakthrough. This is the first breakthrough we have seen
for eight and a half years.

“We have to give Hugh Orde credit for starting up this new
team. I am confident that in the long term the individuals
behind my son's murder will be charged.”

The HET was established last January with a £34m (€49.8m)
budget to investigate 3,268 unsolved paramilitary-linked
murders in the North.

Mr McCord Sr's claims that a Royal Ulster Constabulary
Special Branch informant was involved in his son's murder
are being investigated by Northern Police Ombudsman Nuala

The case was raised in the Dáil by Labour Party leader Pat
Rabbitte in October 2005.

Using parliamentary privilege from libel action he said the
murder of the ex-RAF airman, 22, was carried out under the
orders of Mount Vernon UVF figure Mark Haddock.

Mr Rabbitte called for an international public inquiry once
the ombudsman's investigation is complete and claimed
Haddock was not charged with the killing as he was an


No Peace Over US-UK Extradition Treaty

Stephen Beard reports on the growing controversy in Britain
over the extradition treaty that was used to send three
British bankers to Texas last week.

Photo: Carl De Souza © AFP/Getty Images

KAI RYSSDAL: Some British bankers are a long way from home.
And they won't be seeing dear old England any time soon. A
federal judge down in Texas ruled today the NatWest three
won't be allowed to go home before their trial starts.
Sometime next year. The three men used to work for the
National Westminster Bank. They've been charged with Enron-
related fraud in Houston. And they landed there last week
after being extradited under the terms of a new treaty. The
Senate Foreign Relations Committee started debating it
today. It's already in force in the U.K. And highly
controversial. From London, Stephen Beard reports

STEPHEN BEARD: Both houses of the British Parliament have
condemned the treaty. The House of Lords called for it to
be suspended, at least until the US has ratified it. At the
moment, says member of Parliament Boris Johnson, it is much
easier to extradite a British citizen to America than the
other way round.

BORIS JOHNSON: They can hoover over to America, as if by
some electromagnetic power, people against whom they are
not obliged to provide any prima facie evidence. Whereas we
have absolutely no such corresponding right to extradite to
Britain suspects that we want.

Once again, says Johnson, Britain has been humiliated by
the US. America's poodle adopting the familiar posture.

JOHNSON: We roll over and wave our legs in the air and
allow our tummy to be tickled by America and we do
absolutely whatever they want. And I do think it wrong.

But if, as he says, the British government is supine, no
one can say the same about British business people. They
fight like tigers to stay out of the American courts. They
beg to be tried in Britain.

The British legal system may sometimes seem absurdly
antiquated, like the stuff of comic opera, like Gilbert and
Sullivan — wigs, buckled shoes and kneebritches all round.
But for your average, alleged white-collar criminal here,
this pantomime is vastly preferable to the grim rituals of
American process: like the perp walk. And then the terrors
of pretrial detention.

ANDREW HILTON: They're going to be banged up with rapists
and mass murderers. And they're going to be shackled. And
they're going to be treated as a sort of lower form of

But, says commentater Andrew Hilton, in Britain bankers and
financiers and other wealthy people accused of white-collar
crime are treated much more agreeably.

HILTON: Here in the UK they tend to get bail. They tend to
go home to their mansions in the countryside. And, you
know, they get to prepare their case with their lawyers
over a glass of port.

It's hardly surprising that British financiers, champions
of globalization, would rather stay at home when it comes
to standing trial. And if it comes to conviction and
punishment, there's an even bigger incentive to keep out of
the American courts, says British criminal lawyer Roger

ROGER BEST: There's great concern about the severity of
sentences in the US for financial crime. I think we've seen
in the Enron cases sentences up to 20 years, whereas in the
UK we seldom see sentences for financial crime of more than
seven years.

Not everyone favors Britain's comparitive leniency. Some
take Gilbert and Sullivan's line . . .

[AUDIO FROM OPERA: "Let the punishment fit the crime, the
punishment fit the crime."]

One commentator says the real imbalance between the US and
the UK is not in extradition but in punishment for
financial crime. He deplores what he calls Britain's
ultralight sentencing.

In London, this is Stephen Beard for Marketplace.


Schemes 'Must Work With Police'

The government is expected to say the PSNI must play a
central role in community restorative justice schemes if
they are to receive funding.

There are currently 15 of the schemes operating in
nationalist areas of NI and there are five loyalist

The government is expected to publish new guidelines early
next week setting out how the schemes should operate.

They are expected to say any criminal offences should only
be referred to restorative justice schemes by police.

That will anger those who run the nationalist schemes
because they reject any involvement by the police.

The guidelines are also expected to recommend an
independent system for complaints and inspection.

The community restorative justice schemes are controversial
because some former paramilitary prisoners are involved.

The government guidelines will say no one currently
involved in paramilitary organisations can be part of a
scheme - but anyone with a previous terrorist conviction
may be allowed to be involved.

Those who operate the schemes may decide to ignore the
guidelines - but only those who sign up to them will be
eligible to apply for government funding.


Restorative justice is a community-based scheme, designed
to bring together victims and offenders and is an attempt
to resolve their differences without going through the

There are three types of restorative justice schemes
operating in Northern Ireland.

Youth Conferencing is government sponsored and regulated
and works with the police, Courts Service and Public
Prosecution Service. It dealt with 299 cases last year.

Community Restorative Justice Ireland, which operates in
some nationalist areas, has no working relationship with
the police, PPS or courts. It says it dealt with 1,700
cases last year.

Northern Ireland Alternatives operates in five loyalist
areas. It does not work with the PPS or the Courts Service,
but works with the police. It says it dealt with 300 cases
in 2005.

Presently, the restorative justice groups with republican
and loyalist involvement are funded by a charity
established by an American millionaire.

That is due to end shortly. To have any chance of receiving
government money, schemes will have to abide by its

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/07/21 16:00:48 GMT


You're Leaving Us At IRA Mercy, Blair Told

McCartney sisters claim community scheme could harbour

Henry McDonald, Ireland editor
Sunday July 23, 2006
The Observer

The sisters of murdered Belfast man Robert McCartney have
launched a bitter attack on Tony Blair, accusing the Prime
Minister of handing over working-class communities in
Northern Ireland to paramilitary vigilantes.

The McCartneys are furious that the British government is
preparing to fund 'Community Restorative Justice' schemes,
many of which are headed up by convicted IRA members.

They claim that people implicated in paramilitary crimes
could become involved in the scheme already up and running
in the Short Strand area of east Belfast, where Robert
McCartney grew up.

IRA members beat and then stabbed Robert McCartney to death
outside Magennis's bar in central Belfast on 30 January
2005. Seventy people were inside the bar when the fatal
assault began but no one has yet come forward to the police
to give any evidence.

The murdered man's sisters say they are disappointed that
the British government is pressing ahead with funding CRJ
schemes which the moderate nationalist SDLP have claimed
are being set up as an alternative police force by

Catherine McCartney said she conveyed the family's concerns
about the CRJ system and its potential links to
paramilitaries to the Prime Minister last December.

'Inside Downing Street we told Tony Blair about a number of
those involved in the cover-up of Robert's murder and the
fact that they are now involved in CRJ schemes. But he and
his government are just going ahead regardless and creating
justice ghettoes for working-class communities.

'Members of Sinn Fein were involved either directly in
Robert's murder or the cover-up. But it seems the British
government is set against doing anything that would upset
Sinn Fein. It's Sinn Fein that is behind these schemes
because they want to keep control of their communities. The
CRJ has done nothing to bring Robert's killers to justice.'

The SDLP have claimed the guidelines for funding CRJ
schemes will include allowing convicted ex-paramilitaries
to work on projects designed to cope with local

Mark Durkan, the SDLP leader, said the British government
was in danger of 'allowing paramilitary vigilantes to
control their communities while wearing respectable new

The Foyle MP added: 'What the British government is doing
is to negotiate privately and secretly to fund these
existing schemes.

He described the present schemes as 'a threat to human

Durkan also called on the Irish government to persuade Tony
Blair to take on the SDLP's concerns.

The Dublin government has no plans to fund parallel schemes
that republicans are establishing south of the border.
Justice Minister Michael McDowell is known to be extremely
hostile to any community justice system that undermines the
authority of the Garda Siochana.

A spokesman for the Northern Ireland Office declined to
comment on the McCartneys' claims that funding CRJ schemes
would legitimise some of the people who covered up their
brother's murder.

On the government's new guidelines on restorative justice,
the NIO spokesman added: 'We will publish the revised
guidelines before the House rises.'

The new rules governing restorative justice schemes will be
put before the House of Commons this Tuesday. It is
understood they will include a precondition that funding
will only be directed at CRJ schemes that work with the

However, the SDLP fears that this precondition will be
diluted and CRJ schemes that operate a 'third party
system', where victims of crime don't report directly to
the police but rather to a statutory agency.

Sinn Fein has made clear that it will not support the
present policing arrangements unless policing and justice
ministries are devolved to a restored Northern Ireland
powersharing executive.

Martin McGuinness has said he is no doubt that one day 'a
republican could hold ministerial responsibility for
policing north and south.'


Three Held After Attack On Orange Hall

23 July 2006 13:07

Three men have been arrested following an attack on an
Orange hall in Co Armagh.

A window was broken and graffiti smeared on Derryadd Orange
hall in Lurgan early this morning.

It is the second attack on an Orange hall in Northern
Ireland this month.

Damage was caused to an Orange Order building in Kilmore,
Co Armagh just over a week ago.


Facts About Irish Political Prison Protest (And How You Can Help)

by National Irish Freedom Committee
Saturday Jul 22nd, 2006 10:15 PM

How can you help? Get involved and take part in the Cabhair
monthly sustainer! Cabhair, is an Irish charitable
organisation that provides financial assistance to the
dependants and family members of Irish Republican political
prisoners. I would urge everyone who reads this to help
them in this most noble of work by making a contribution.
Cumann Na Saoirse Náisiúnta (National Irish Freedom
Committee) sends all collected donations straight to
Cabhair through its Monthly Sustainer program. The program
is the cornerstone of the NIFC's Irish Republican Political
Activists Support (IRPAS) Campaign. The Sustainer program
operates on the pledge principle, whereby, donors pledge a
monthly contribution: the amount to be decided by the
donor. The National irish Freedom Committee is getting the
word out that there are still Republican political
prisoners in both Irish states and that the dependants of
these prisoners and other political activists deserve our
assistance. Get involved! Participants in the program will
receive monthly bulletins informing them of up to date
information regarding the plight of political activists who
are imprisoned on the inside or in a state of virtual
imprisonment on the outside! The National Irish Freedom
Committee supports the dependents of Republican political
prisoners through Cabhair in Ireland. Cabhair has been in
existence for many years supporting the dependents of
faithful Republican prisoners, and ensnared Éire Nua
political activists throughout the 32 Irish counties.
Anyone wishing to take part in the program should contact
at: IRPAS [at] and visit the NIFC's
website at:

Facts about Republican Prisoners at Maghaberry Gaol

* Thirty-eight Republican Prisoners currently imprisoned in
Maghaberry Gaol.

* "Controlled movement" is imposed on Republican landings
with only three prisoners permitted out of their cells on
the landing at any one time with each prisoners accompanied
by two prison officers. Free Association on landings
completely removed.

* Legislation introduced by British government following
the Good Friday Agreement removed the right of Republican
prisoners to organise themselves on their own landings and
removed the right of Republican prisoners to spend their
time in prison constructively.

* Prisoners made to chose between daily exercise or
education. Prisoners denied educational facilities to
enable them to organise their own education.

* Easter lilies banned in the prison. Other Republican
handicrafts confiscated and destroyed by prison officers.

* PSNI/RUC approval required before prisoners permitted on
Republican landing.

* Republican prisoners’ parole entitlement has been reduced
to half that of other prisoners.

* Denial of compassionate paroles for family and religious
occasions. Parole for funerals of immediate family members
often restricted to 6 hours or less.

* Constant use of strip searching to humiliate prisoners
contrary to international law. One prisoner received 31
strip searches and 1,135 rub down searches in a six month

* Prisoners locked in their cells for alternately 21/23
hours per day.

* Abuse of the sniffer dogs in an attempt to criminalise
political prisoners. Families and prisoners are wrongly
accused of smuggling drugs into the prison. Familes are
forced to have closed family visits which take place
through Perspex screen while prisoners returning from
parole are placed in solitary confinement for 48 hours.

* Family visitors exposed to Loyalist visitors while
visiting prison. Prisoners exposed to Loyalists going to
and from legal visits.

* The power of the Governor to punish a prisoner by taking
away remission was reintroduced specifically for Republican
prisoners after it was banned by the European Court of
Human Rights in 2002.

* Access to a doctor available only once a week.

* Interference with correspondence.

* Irish language and cultural items including handicrafts
made relating to hunger strikes confiscated or destroyed by
prison officers.

Cumann Na Saoirse Náisíunta
National Irish Freedom Committee


Sinn Féin Look Forward To Working With New Foras Na Gaeilge Chief Executive

Published: 21 July, 2006

Commenting after the appointment of Ferdie Mac An Fhailagh
as the new Chief Executive of Foras na Gaeilge to replace
Seomamh Mac Donncha, Sinn Féin spokesperson on Irish
Language issues Francie Brolly said:

“I would wish to pay tribute to the excellent work done by
Seomamh MacDonncha during his time as Chief Executive of
Foras na Gaeilge and I welcome the appointment of Ferdie
Mac an Fhailligh as his successor.

“Foras na Gaeilge was established six years ago. They have
done a very good job in that time but there remains much
work to be done.

“Sinn Féin would like to see Foras na Gaeilge’s Community
Development Plan implemented as soon as possible. When
Foras na Gaeilge came into being we had an energetic active
vision of how we viewed its development based upon the
recommendations of the Good Friday Agreement and the
European Charter on Regional and Minority Languages. We
have a some distance yet to go before we see that vision
become a reality.

“Sinn Féin is looking forward to working closely and in a
positive way with Ferdie Mac an Fhailligh to achieve that.”

Dúirt Francie Brolly, úrlabhraí Shinn Féin ar chúrsaí
Gaeilge sna Sé Chontae inniu, ag tagairt dó ar imeacht
Sheosaimh Mac Donncha agus ceapacháin Ferdí Mac An
Fhailligh mar Phríomh-fheidhmeanach Foras na Gaeilge:

“Ba mhaith le Sinn Féin buíochas mór a tabhairt do Seosamh
MacDonncha as an sárobair atá deanta aige agus fáilte
críoúil a chur roimh Ferdie Mac An Fhailagh as an phost úr
a fháil mar phríomh fheidmeineach le Foras na Gaeilge.

Tá Foras na Gaeilge ar an saol anois le sé bhliain. Tá
obair den scoith déanta sa treimhse sin ach go fóill, tá a
lán eile le deánamh. Ba mhaith le Sinn Féin Plean Forbartha
Phobail an Fhorais bheith curtha i bhfeidhm. Nuair a chéad
tháinig Foras na Gaeilge i réim bhí fís beo bríomhar againn
bunaithe ar Chomhaontú Aoine a’ Chéasta is an Cairt

“Tá go leor le taistil againn go foíll chun an chuspóir sin
a bhaint amach. Tá Sinn Féin ag súil go mór le comhoibriú
dlúth, déarfach le Ferdie, agus foireann s’aige chun an
sprioc sin a bhaint amach”


Minister Should Intervene In Cross-Border Fees Issue - ÓCaoláin

Published: 21 July, 2006

The arrangement whereby students from the 26 Counties can
avail of education and training in the six colleges of
Further Education in the Six Counties without paying fees
is under threat. Up to 5000 students, mainly from the
Border counties, avail of this educational facility and
Cavan-Monaghan Sinn Féin TD Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin has urged
the Minister for Education and Science Mary Hanafin to
intervene with her Northern counterpart to ensure that
students are not forced to leave courses and that a proper
all-Ireland scheme is put in place.

Because of education budget cuts imposed in the North by
the British government students may now be denied places.
They may have to prove residency in the Six Counties or be
required to pay full fees if they live in the 26 Counties.
Deputy Ó Caoláin said:

“Thousands of students take up full-time and part-time
courses in colleges such as Fermanagh, Newry and the North
West Institute. Courses include IT and skilled trades,
including construction. The cost to the Department of
Education in the North is estimated at €9 million per year
which is a relatively modest figure, given the importance
that both governments rightly attach to training and

“I understand that up to now the education authorities in
the Six Counties were not applying ‘residency status’
criteria for students applying for places in these
colleges. Students from the 26 Counties who are living at
home in this jurisdiction have been able to avail of
education and training in these institutions on an equal
footing with their counterparts from across the Border. A
British government budget cut of €13 million now threatens
this arrangement. Teaching posts are also at risk.

“Urgent action is required and my colleague Sinn Féin
Education spokesperson in the Six Counties, Michael
Ferguson MLA, has called for the Education Departments
North and South to meet and to ensure that no student loses
out. We need to work out arrangements which will harmonise
access to education and training on an all-Ireland basis.
Nowhere is that more important than in the Border counties
and I am urging the Minister for Education and Science Mary
Hanafin to intervene directly. No student should be at a
disadvantage because of partition and we should be pooling
the considerable educational resources we enjoy on this
island.” ENDS


Hain's 'Interference' Criticised

Ulster Unionist leader Sir Reg Empey has accused the NI
secretary of interfering too much in the running of the
assembly since its recall in May.

Speaking on the BBC's Inside Politics, he said Peter Hain
should have left the local parties in control.

"People are playing politics with the secretary of state,
trying to push him one way or the other," Sir Reg said.

He said this was happening because those people "maybe
don't want to take their own decisions".

The Ulster Unionist leader said that this was "wrong".

"I believe if he (Mr Hain) hadn't been involved in it in
the first place, and it had been left to the speaker and
the business community to set the business, the business
would have been set and the assembly would have met far
more frequently and done far more business," Sir Reg added.

Devolved government

On 15 May, Northern Ireland's politicians took their seats
in the Stormont assembly for the first time since its
suspension in October 2002.

It has only met a few times since May after its failure to
elect a first and deputy first minister.

A cross-party Preparation for Government Committee has been
formed, but progress has been slow.

Talks are expected to continue until August, with intensive
efforts resuming in the autumn.

If attempts to restore the assembly fail, the two leaders
say that in December there will be a "prime ministerial
summit to launch new British-Irish partnership

The government confirmed the next assembly elections would
be postponed until May 2008 if the executive is restored by
this date.

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

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

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/07/22 08:18:52 GMT


Opin: Hain's Carrot And Stick Approach

By Gareth Gordon

BBC Northern Ireland political correspondent

We already know Peter Hain likes being Frank - and this
week he was Sinatra as well - if assembly members were not
up to their jobs, he would do it "My Way".

Having set the controls firmly in the direction of Plan B
he jets off to the US next week with the sound of rattling
sabres in his wake.

Since the turn of the year and the appearance of "The
Deadline", the secretary of state really has been laying it
on the parties with a trowel.

In the past week, Mr Hain has unloaded on Sinn Fein over
policing; the DUP over not talking to Sinn Fein; and most
recently - everyone.

He effectively sent out to assembly members redundancy
notices reminding them of their responsibilities as
employers should their salaries 'disappear' at one minute
past midnight on 25 November - just in case they hadn't
worked that one out for themselves.

Increasingly, Mr Hain resembles a weary dog-owner trying to
coax his recalcitrant pooch inside at bedtime. One moment
he scolds; the next he tries the choccy biscuits approach.

Most of the time he behaves as if he's calling to all of
the parties - when most of the time he's aiming at only one
- the DUP.

After all, there'll be no assembly unless they say so and
at the moment they're saying no without so much as a thank
you very much.

The only thing which could change that is a decisive move
by Sinn Fein on policing and a report from the Independent
Monitoring Commission in October saying the IRA has ridden
off into the sunset.

But you'd have to be a super-optimist not to believe a deal
next spring is a much more likely scenario and even then...

In the meantime, the grass grows more quickly at Stormont
than the Preparation for Government Committee (was anything
ever more inappropriately named?) does its business.

And Mr Hain has the sniffles. As he said in the House of
Commons this week: "Having a permatan does not prevent one
from getting a cold."

It is, of course, the DUP which is supposed to be catching
cold as he wages his one-man campaign to force them to
snuggle up next to Sinn Fein by 25 November.

Thick skin

Now the DUP has a hide like a rhinoceros - though it
wouldn't need it to fend off "blows" like these.

Cutting the number of Northern Ireland government
departments? The DUP's been calling for it for years.

In fact, knowing a deal isn't possible this year, they may
be quite happy to let the secretary of state tackle the
departments himself because the assembly is unlikely to
reach agreement on the issue.

As much of this is driven by the Reform of Public
Administration, the cynic might just think this is evening
things up after Sinn Fein got its way over having only
seven councils.

It all seems a little tough on parties like the SDLP and
the Ulster Unionists who can do nothing about the assembly,
yet at face value seem to have most to lose if the
departments are reduced.

Yet do they? Must fewer departments mean fewer ministers?

Not necessarily if you take the Scottish model, where each
department has a minister and deputy minister.

Admittedly, such a solution may be less workable in
Northern Ireland - a Sinn Fein minister with a DUP deputy?
- but it is an idea that is likely to be pursued when
officials get around to seriously working out a plan.

Mr Hain refused to outline how he thought the ministerial
cake could be carved in future. But he did give some fairly
serious clues.

Certainly the merging of environment and rural development
looks like a no-brainer.

And, of course, another problem looms.

Scotland has a minister for justice... the timing of
policing and justice powers to Northern Ireland is still a
matter of serious contention between the local parties -
and will it be one ministry or two?

So departmental reform happens whether the assembly returns
or not; there's to be reform of the hated orders in council
system, so MPs will soon be able to amend Northern Ireland

Set that beside the PFG committee and if the government is
not careful it will help create the impression that
devolution's not really a very good idea.

That's not the message, of course, that Mr Hain and Irish
Foreign Minister Dermot Ahern will deliver when they meet
at Hillsborough next week.

In a few days it will be the first anniversary of the IRA
ending its armed campaign.

Politically, after the usual August cessation, expect
hositilities to resume as normal in September.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/07/22 09:16:00 GMT


Two Armies Set Out To Win Over Boyne Tourists

Liam Clarke

THE Irish government and a consortium of Orangemen are
about to re-enact the Battle of the Boyne. But while the
set-to in 1690 was a turning point in Irish history, all
that’s at stake this time is which side has the most
authentic tourist attraction.

A consortium led by Lord Laird has bought a 27-acre slice
of the Boyne battlefield just as the Irish government
prepares to invest €30m in a separate 500-acre site.

The government plans to re-create the battle for visitors
using lasers, computer graphics and actors, but Laird’s
group claims its stretch of river bank is the real heart of
the battlefield, situated between a monument known as the
metal bridge and the shore.

The owner of the 27-acre site is Kevin Cahill, author of
Who Owns Britain. He said “money has changed hands” with
Laird’s consortium, but he is retaining a 10% share in the
site. His wife, Rosalind, is a descendant of the Duke of
Schomberg, William of Orange’s second-in-command who died
fording the river.

“The green grassy slopes of the Boyne that Orangemen sing
about are mainly on my land,” said Cahill. “The battle
ranged far and wide, but it is on this field that the bulk
of the Williamite forces entered the water and where
Schomberg was cut down. There is even an obelisk
commemorating him.”

Laird said his consortium gave the venture a cross-border
dimension and will encourage the Irish government to speed
up its plans.

“It has been promising this development for years and now
we hope to meet the Office of Public Works (OPW) to see how
we can work together,” said Laird. “We want to plug into
what they are doing, we hope to be a catalyst.”

The Irish government and Laird’s consortium believe the
battlefield will become one of the top 10 tourist
attractions in Ireland. The OPW estimates it will attract
100,000 visitors a year.

Eugene Keane, an OPW project director, said it would be
part of a Boyne valley culture trail that includes
established attractions such as the megalithic passage
tombs at Newgrange, Knowth and Dowth.

The OPW plans to start work by the end of this year on an
interpretive centre, including laser displays of the battle
on a giant 3D model of the landscape. It will also
reconstruct key events using actors in period costume, and
build walkways and displays on the battlefield.

“We will have a depiction of the strategies, the armies,
where they came from and the whole campaign of the day. The
model will be exceptional,” said Keane. “It will be 3D with
an overlay of the battle at the time and will also pick up
modern geographical points from which you can view the

He expects planning permission to be granted in early
autumn, allowing work to start later this year. The Irish
government’s plan is centred on Oldbridge house, an 18th-
century mansion.

On the day of the battle, William’s 36,000 soldiers
outnumbered the 23,500 Jacobites. Between 1,500 and 2,000
were killed, a low casualty figure by the standards of the

Both groups plan to present the battle in its European
context. Irish Catholics backed James and the Williamite
wars reinforced the division between Protestants and
Catholics. But on the European stage, William was allied
with Pope Alexander VIII and the Orange victory was
celebrated with a mass in the Vatican.


Queens Democratic Chairman Manton Dies

By Devlin Barrett Associated Press Writer
© 2006 The Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Queens Democratic Chairman Thomas Manton, a
former congressman who for years wielded his influence to
shape New York City's political landscape, has died. He was

The seven-term congressman died Saturday, said Rep. Joseph
Crowley, who took Manton's Queens congressional seat when
he retired. Crowley declined to discuss the cause of death
but Michael Reich, the Queens Democratic Party's executive
secretary and Manton's spokesman, told (New York) Daily
News that Manton died of an undisclosed and lengthy

Elected 20 years ago to his post as county party chair,
Manton was known as a behind-the-scenes politician who
fostered the careers of City Council Speaker Christine
Quinn and other local political figures.

When he announced his retirement from Congress in 1998, he
successfully hand-picked Crowley, then a state assemblyman,
as his successor, and he played a role in the selection of
the two most recent City Council speakers.

"He was a great man and a great friend and he'll be
terribly missed," Crowley said Sunday. "He's left the
Queens Democratic party in a very strong position."

Manton served 15 years on the New York City Council before
taking over Geraldine Ferraro's congressional seat when she
ran for vice president in 1984. As a congressman, he had
little problem getting re-elected, winning with 87 percent
of the vote in 1994.

He said his years as a city councilman made him sensitive
to the needs of constituent service and set the tone for
his congressional career, which was focused on local
concerns and New York City politics.

As the head of the county party, he helped choose the
city's leaders and, Crowley said, helped open up the party
leadership to minority groups.

"He was a steady rudder of the ship who brought the Queens
party back from its lowest ebb. He diversified the
leadership of the county, welcoming minority leaders," said

Born in 1932 to Irish immigrant parents in Manhattan,
Manton carved a colorful career path, serving as a New York
City police officer, an IBM salesman and a flight navigator
for the U.S. Marine Corps. He worked as a lawyer for
decades, reportedly retiring just months before his death.


WW2 Grenade Is Blown Up By Army

Army bomb experts have blown up a World War Two grenade
found on a beach near Millisle in County Down.

The device was found on Saturday by a 16-year-old boy who
is on holiday at a nearby caravan park.

He brought the grenade to his father, John Courtney, who
placed it in a bucket of water and called the police.

"My son had just come up from off the beach and he showed
me the device, I knew right away it was a hand grenade of
some sort," he said.

"It was a bit corroded and I saw that there was a pin still
in it."

Sergeant David Gowdy urged the public to call the police if
they find suspicious objects like the grenade.

"Fortunately it is quite unusual," he said.

"But my advice would be that if they do find something
suspicious on the beach to report it straight away to the
police and not to handle it.

"We will assess the situation and then, if need be, call in
the Army."

The area around the park on the Ballywalter Road was
cleared during the operation.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/07/23 08:20:35 GMT

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