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August 29, 2006

Bomb Victims Families Demand British Govt Apology

News About Ireland & The Irish

UT 08/29/06 Victims' Families Demand British Government Apology
BN 08/29/06 Catholic Children To Be Allowed Use Protestant Bus Service
BT 08/29/06 Sinn Fein Set To Reveal Outcome Of Internal Review
NO 08/29/06 Ulster Terrorists To Invest In Bulgaria's Property Market -Report
IV 08/29/06 Barley Gets U.S. Release Date
BT 08/29/06 Opin: Parades Set The Mood For A New Deal
BT 08/29/06 Thatcher Judged Best Prime Minister (By A Left-Wing Historian)
BT 08/29/06 Sign Of The Cross By Celtic Goalkeeper 'Was Not An Offence'
BN 08/29/06 Student Garda Rescues Woman From River Corrib In Galway
N2 08/29/06 Clown Acrobat Crushed To Death


Victims' Families Demand British Government Apology

Families of the victims of the Dublin and Monaghan bombings
have called for an apology from the British government.

A total of 33 people died and 258 were injured in the
Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) attacks of May 1974. No-one
was ever charged with the murders.

The Irish News claims it has obtained a Northern Ireland
Office memo which it says confirms the British Government
knew the identities of the killers in September of that

It says the papers, marked confidential, relate to a
meeting between British and Irish government officials.

A spokeswoman for the Dublin and Monaghan victims`
families, Margaret Urwin, has urged the British government
to explain why the bombers escaped justice


Catholic Children To Be Allowed Use Protestant Bus Service

29/08/2006 - 09:44:40

The row over the provision of seats on a state-funded
school bus service in Limerick appears to have been

The mother of two Catholic pupils who were refused
permission to use the bus because of their religion had
threatened legal action against Limerick City VEC unless it
changed its stance.

The children are students at the mainly Protestant Villiers
school on the North Circular Road, which is served by the
bus at the centre of the dispute.

The VEC said the service was only available to Protestant
children who lived more than three miles from their nearest
Protestant school.

A solicitor for the mother of the Catholic children says
they have now received two passes in the post.

It is unclear who sanctioned the passes, but solicitor John
Devane said the family were happy with the outcome and feel
that they have been vindicated.


Sinn Fein Set To Reveal Outcome Of Internal Review

By Noel McAdam
29 August 2006

Sinn Fein is set to announce the outcome of its internal
review of political strategy in around a fortnight, it
emerged today.
Following a widespread rank-and-file consultation, the
party's executive (Ard Comhairle) is due to meet on
Saturday week, September 9, when it could make its final

The verdict should come just in time for the two-day
Assembly debate on the deliberations of the all-party
Preparation for Government committee.

It has been delayed for a week until Monday and Tuesday,
September 11 and 12.

Sinn Fein MLAs refused to participate in most Assembly
debates prior to the summer recess, branding them
irrelevant to the task of reforming a power-sharing

Then the review was sparked by a growing view that the DUP
was not serious about negotiations, at least within the
November 24 timetable set by the Government.
Senior sources had warned pulling out of the Assembly was
"an option" and the party could shift its focus towards the
next elections in the Republic if it calculates a
devolution deal is unlikely by the November 24 deadline.

Meanwhile, a meeting of dissident republicans aimed at
forging a strategy against the outworkings of the Good
Friday Agreement appeared to have been postponed today.

The gathering of Real IRA, Continuity IRA, INLA and
disgruntled Provisional IRA members was reported as being
due to take place in Toomebridge tonight.

Organisers blamed the cancellation on Sinn Fein attempting
to stifle debate, but said the meeting would still go ahead
at another venue.

There has been speculation that disaffected former
Provisional supporters from South Derry are preparing to
join other dissidents to draw up an 'anti-Agreement'
platform within republicanism.


Ulster Terrorists To Invest In Bulgaria's Property Market -Report

Politics: 29 August 2006, Tuesday.

Alan McClean, the exiled godfather of the Ulster Defence
Association (UDA) is believed to plan to launder cash he
pocketed through the loyalist paramilitary organisation by
investing in Bulgaria's property market, Belfast Telegraph

MacClean has been seen sunning himself in the upmarket
Bulgarian resort of Golden Sands, the report says.

"McClean stunned Ulster holidaymakers when he pitched up in
the Golden Sands resort accompanied by a small number of
the close associates of deposed UDA leaders Andre and Ihab
Shoukri, including their brother Yuk.

He's been spotted flashing his cash in the pubs, clubs and
casinos in the lively Black Sea resort - which has a
reputation for being a favourite holiday spot with Russian
gangsters - since last Monday"

"McClean and his pals certainly didn't look like they were
worried about much," the Belfast Telegraph cites one
surprised tourist from Belfast. "They didn't care who saw
them, even though it would have been clear that some people
would have recognised them, and they weren't shy about
showing off their cash."

McClean is believed to have trousered more than GBP 300,000
from the north Belfast UDA's various extortion rackets and
drug dealing.

The article comments that Bulgaria has been a favourite
location for criminals to launder their dirty cash through
its rapidly expanding property market and slack financial
reporting laws.

The Ulster Defence Association in Northern Ireland is
outlawed as a terrorist group in the UK and Republic of


Barley Gets U.S. Release Date

By Sean O'Driscoll - Irish Voice

The Irish War of Independence epic The Wind That Shakes the
Barley has finally won a U.S. release.

The film is to be released next spring, but might have a
limited release before then.

The film, which won the Palme D'Or at this year's Cannes
Film Festival in France, was directed by controversial
British director Ken Loach, and features two brothers
caught in Ireland's War of Independence and Civil War. It
stars Cillian Murphy in his most successful Irish role to

Surprisingly, the film has been waiting months for a
distributor, despite its huge reception in Europe.

However, Loach, known for hard-hitting leftist movies, is
usually happiest in specialist, limited releases far from
middle America.

It took his production company a long time to persuade the
big distributors that the film could carry a large U.S.

IFC Entertainment has now taken up the rights to the film
and hopes to have it in cinemas early next year.

The company will also be distributing the film to Comcast
subscribers. Under the system, the film will be distributed
via cable to all parts of the U.S. on the same day, ending
long delays in some states.

The Wind That Shakes the Barley has grossed over 2.7
million at the Irish box office since it was released in
June, making it the most successful Irish independent film


Opin: Parades Set The Mood For A New Deal

29 August 2006

Despite earlier fears that the parades season could further
reduce the chances of political reconciliation, it has
ended on a quiet note that reflects credit on all
concerned. The Parades Commission, the police, the loyal
orders and the protesters played their part in keeping the
temperature down and ensuring that the politicians have
every opportunity to settle their differences by the
November 24 deadline.

With few exceptions, which will be taken into account in
next year's deliberations, the conditions laid down by the
Parades Commission were generally adhered to, so that
community tensions were kept to a minimum. Everyone
involved now knows the form: organisers of all parades,
whether of vintage cars or bands, must give at least 28
days' notice. If the Commission decides that a ruling is
necessary - and that applies to only a tiny percentage of
the 13,000 annual parades - it is normally given a week
before, so that changes are possible.

Both the loyal orders and the objectors have taken time to
accept the impartiality of the Commission, set up as an
independent, quasi-judicial body in 1997 and acting under
the Public Processions Act of 1998. But, as the Commission
has increased its mediation role, trust and respect has
grown. People now know where they stand, being able to
follow the course of the deliberations on the internet, and
they can see the explanation for any restrictions that are

There is a simple answer to the frequently-asked question,
why are parades allowed in areas where they are not wanted?
It is because the Commission operates from the fundamental
belief that the rights to freedom of assembly (parades) and
to freedom of expression (protests) should be enjoyed by
all. But they are not absolute, in any society, and any
restrictions that are placed have the force of law.

Clearly it is impossible to please both the marchers and
the protesters all the time, but the fact that the angry
confrontations that have marred past marching seasons have
been rare this year shows an increased maturity all round.
Organisers know that if they refuse to engage with the
protesters, or if conditions are broken, even stricter
rules will be enforced in future. And the protesters know
that if they lose control, or incite violence, their
standing in the community that suffers will diminish.

Slowly but surely, an era when parades lose their capacity
to heighten sectarian tensions as they did in the past is
emerging, thanks to the commonsense approach of the Parades
Commission. Now it is up to the politicians to make use of
the calmer atmosphere to engineer a historic deal.


Thatcher Judged Best Prime Minister (By A Left-Wing Historian)

By Andrew Grice
29 August 2006

Margaret Thatcher was the best prime minister of the 20th
century, according to a left-wing author and historian who
argues that Tony Blair's aspirations to the title have been
wrecked by the Iraq war.

In an article in the BBC History Magazine published today,
Francis Beckett puts Baroness Thatcher at the top of his
list because she "took one sort of society, and turned it
into another sort of society". "She broke the [post-war]
Attlee settlement, which had lasted more than 30 years,
largely by force of will," he wrote.

"Today few people under 40 remember a time when trade
unions were a real force in the land; when the public
sector controlled large swaths of the economy; when local
councils controlled education and other local services;
when benefits were considered rights of citizenship. The
defeat and destruction of the once-powerful National Union
of Mineworkers was a key moment of the last half-decade."

Clement Attlee, whose 1945-51 Labour government introduced
the modern welfare state, shares the top spot with Lady
Thatcher with a maximum five points. Perhaps surprisingly,
they are ahead of Winston Churchill, Britain's war-time
leader, who scores only four points - the same as Sir
Edward Heath, the Tory prime minister who took Britain into
the European Union in 1973 but lost three general

The prime ministers of the last century were judged by Mr
Beckett on their effectiveness as "change managers". He
judged whether they had a clear idea of how they wanted to
change Britain, how far he succeeded in doing so and how
effective they were at simply managing, rather than
creating, change.

Mr Blair is placed in mid-table with three points despite
winning three elections. Mr Beckett argues: "Blair made a
lot of progress in his chosen direction right up to the
time of the Iraq war. The private sector has now been
brought even into the running of schools and hospitals, and
since the Conservatives agree with it, this will probably
be a relatively permanent change.

"The unpopularity of the Iraq war, and the fact that the
reasons given afterwards for going to war were not those
given at the time, have undermined Blair's ability to
implement his vision, probably permanently." Neville
Chamberlain, the Tory prime minister from 1937-40, is rated
the worst of the century, alongside Anthony Eden, who
resigned after the Suez crisis 50 years ago.

Mr Beckett wrote: "He [Chamberlain] utterly failed in his
principal objective of averting war. The moment which
appeared at the time to be his biggest triumph - the Munich
agreement with Hitler of 1938 - is seen in retrospect as a
disaster. He said at the time that it was 'the prelude to a
larger settlement in which all Europe may find peace'. He
never had the chance to do much about his domestic agenda."

John Major, who served seven years before losing to Labour
in 1997, scores only one point.

Dave Musgrove, the editor of BBC History Magazine, says:
"The important point here is that we're not judging these
leaders on their policies, but rather on how well they
implemented them ... Mrs Thatcher undoubtedly scores highly
on that front. I know many people take issue with what
happened to the nation when the 'Iron Lady' was in power,
but no one can deny that she did what she set out to."

Best ... and worst

* [Rated 0(worst) - 5 (best)]

5 Margaret Thatcher 1979-90
5 Clement Attlee 1945-51
4 Edward Heath 1970-4
4 Winston Churchill 1940-5, 1951-5
4 Harold Macmillan 1957-63
4 Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman 1905-8
3 Lord Salisbury 1885-92, 1895-1902
3 Herbert Asquith 1908-16
3 David Lloyd George 1916-22
3 Stanley Baldwin 1923, 1924-9, 1935-7
3 Harold Wilson 1964-70, 1974-6
3 Tony Blair 1997-
2 James Callaghan 1976-9
2 Arthur Balfour 1902-5
1 Andrew Bonar Law 1922-3
1 Ramsay MacDonald 1924, 1929-35
1 Sir Alec Douglas-Home 1963-4
1 John Major 1990-7
0 Anthony Eden 1955-7
0 Neville Chamberlain 1937-40


Sign Of The Cross By Celtic Goalkeeper 'Was Not An Offence'

29 August 2006

Prosecutors have taken the unusual step of clarifying the
caution given to the Celtic player Artur Boruc after the
Catholic Church in Scotland and politicians condemned the

The Crown Office stres-sed that the 26-year-old goalkeeper
was not reprimanded for crossing himself during an Old Firm
match last season, but for other gestures he had made to
the Rangers fans.

Sectarian tensions continue to infiltrate the world of
Glasgow football despite the best efforts of the clubs.
Rangers have been traditionally associated with Protestant
supporters whereas Celtic is regarded by some as a Catholic

The first announcement, on Friday, by the Crown Office,
that the Polish footballer would be cautioned attracted
widespread condemnation. Catholic leaders said that it gave
the impression that in Scotland it was an offence to make a
religious gesture in public. Alex Salmond, the Scottish
National Party leader, accused prosecutors of "taking leave
of their senses" , and wrote to the Lord Advocate, Colin
Boyd QC, claiming that the Crown Office had "bungled" the

Ruth Kelly, the Secretary of State for Communities and
Local Government, added her own criticism by saying she was
surprised officers had taken action against the Polish

The minister, a devout Catholic, said: "I must say I am
surprised because this has traditionally been a country
which has valued religious diversity - and cultural and
racial diversity as well - and where there has been freedom
of expression."

Dennis Canavan, the Independent member of the Scottish
Parliament for Falkirk West, lodged a question in the
Scottish Parliament asking the Lord Advocate to publish
guidelines to prosecutors outlining "the circumstances, if
any, whereby making the sign of the cross may constitute a
criminal offence".

The statement from the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal
Service, responsible for prosecuting crime in Scotland,
said: "We would wish to make it absolutely clear that the
prosecution service in Scotland fully respects religious
belief and practices and would not countenance formal
action against individuals for acts of religious
observance, but we would equally make clear that the police
and prosecutors cannot ignore conduct which appears to be
inciting disorder."

The Right Rev Joseph Devine, a Catholic bishop in Scotland
and communications chief for the Bishops' Conference of
Scotland, welcomed the " clarification". He said: "The
statement, that they fully respect religious beliefs and
practices and would not countenance formal action against
individuals for acts of religious observance, is welcome
and reassuring."

The incident was not caught on camera, but prosecutors
examined witness statements and footage of the crowd's

In May Rangers was fined œ13,300 and severely censured by
Uefa, the European football governing body, over sectarian
chanting by their supporters during the away leg of a
Champions League tie against Villarreal in Spain.

Sectarian game

* DONALD FINDLAY In 1999 the QC resigned as vice-chairman
of Rangers after he was caught on video singing 'The Billy
Boys', a sectarian song, after the Rangers v Celtic
Scottish Cup Final. He was also fined œ3,500 by the Faculty
of Advocates.

* PAUL GASCOIGNE In 1995, the Rangers midfielder provoked
controversy in an Old Firm match as he mimicked playing the
flute, to the fury of many Celtic supporters who saw the
act as a loyalist symbol. Gascoigne, who claimed that he
was unaware of the significance, was disciplined by the
Scottish Football Association.

* MARK SCOTT The Celtic fan was stabbed to death in 1995,
while wearing a Celtic shirt near a pub full of Rangers


Student Garda Rescues Woman From River Corrib In Galway

29/08/2006 - 09:41:58

A student garda is being hailed as a hero this morning
after jumping into the River Corrib in Galway city to
rescue a young woman who got into difficulty.

The woman is believed to have fallen off O'Brien's bridge
shortly after 9 o'clock, but student garda Jason Clarke was
passing by and jumped in to rescue her.

Mr Clarke, who is based at Galway Garda Station, managed to
pluck the woman from the river and bring her to safety.

She was taken to University College Hospital Galway, where
she is recovering from her ordeal this morning.


Clown Acrobat Crushed To Death

29/08/2006 10:27 - (SA)

Dublin - A clown acrobat was crushed to death during a
circus stunt that went wrong when a hot-air balloon caught
on fire and broke, police and witnesses said on Tuesday.

The accident at the touring Royal Russian Circus happened
on Monday night in Scariff, County Clare, a village in
western Ireland, in front of about 100 people, most of them

Police identified the dead performer as a 26-year-old man
from Belarus but didn't release his name.

Balloon exploded

Witnesses said the man, dressed in a clown outfit, was
hanging from a cage that was being suspended from a hot-air
balloon inside the canvas tent. When the balloon exploded
in flames, the cage crashed to the ground on top of the

They said circus workers struggled to lift the cage off the
man, but he was pronounced dead at nearby Ennis General

The man's wife, who was also performing at the time,
suffered a broken arm, police said.

Audience thought it was part of act

"We were all sitting down and they were doing their act.
They were up fairly high, but they were doing fine. Next
thing, he was down on the ground," said one witness, Hazel

She said many people in the audience initially thought the
falling cage was part of the act.

About a half-dozen local circuses, employing mostly Eastern
European performers, tour Ireland each summer.

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