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August 11, 2006

Hain Backs Diplock Courts

News About Ireland & The Irish

IN 08/11/06 Hain Backs Jury Trials With Diplock Courts ‘The Exception’
SF 08/11/06 Special Criminal Court Must Follow Diplock Into Extinction
SF 08/11/06 British Must Move Quickly To Abolish Diplock Courts
UT 08/11/06 Soldiers To Be Quizzed In 'Troubles' Probe
BB 08/11/06 Two Freed In Boy's Murder Inquiry
DI 08/11/06 Thomas’ Killers Could Easily Kill Again Say Parents
DI 08/11/06 Fresh Investigation Into UVF Murder Of Teenager
IO 08/11/06 Belfast: PSNI Officers Attacked With Petrol Bombs
DI 08/11/06 Riots Blamed On Loyalist Gang
IN 08/11/06 Apprentice Boys And Residents Reach Agreement
DI 08/11/06 Republican Parade Prompts PSNI Siege Of Event
DI 08/11/06 Shameful Desecration Condemned By Family
BB 08/11/06 Legacy Of NI Peace Movement
BT 08/11/06 Ulster's Hottest Daytrip... A Once-Inaccessible Island
IN 08/11/06 Ancient Place Names Bring Old Meaning To Townlands
DI 08/11/06 Rush-Hour Travel Limits To Be Abolished


Hain Backs Jury Trials With Diplock Courts ‘The Exception’

By Claire Simpson

Non-jury trials in the north are to be the “exception” in
future, as the British government signals an end to the era
of controversial Diplock trials.

However, the director of public prosecutions will still
retain a right to try some people before a judge alone,
although the decision will be open to legal challenge.

Diplock courts were introduced as a ‘temporary’ measure in
1973 as an attempt to deal with paramilitaries without
using internment.

A review by then British law lord Lord Diplock recommended
that the long-established right to trial by jury be
suspended and replaced with trial by a single judge.

The trials were justified on the grounds that jurors were
being intimidated by paramilitaries or unable to be
objective because of their own political beliefs.

Under new proposals being published today the Director of
Public Prosecutions will still be able to decide that if a
case meets a “defined statutory test”, it should be tried
without a jury.

Writing in The Irish News today, Secretary of State Peter
Hain, pictured, says non-jury trials should be-come “the

“Northern Ireland has now moved forward sufficiently for
the government to propose a new system where there is a
return to a presumption for jury trial for all serious
cases, even those which would currently be heard in a
Diplock court,” he writes.

The new proposals will include safeguards to prevent jurors
being intimidated.

Mr Hain says that the right of defendants to change up to
12 jurors without giving clear reasons before the start of
a trial would be abolished.

Criminal checks to ensure that a juror was not disqualified
will also be introduced.

“There will be a range of measures including police
protection, separate accommodation for jurors and screening
jurors from the public gallery,” he writes.

“Anonymity for jurors will be increased by withholding
personal information from the defence.”

Although the changes are designed to decrease the number of
non-jury trials, Mr Hain says there would still be cases
where they would be “necessary”.

However, SDLP justice spokesman Alban Maginness said the
government is

“pretending to abolish Diplock courts but is actually
keeping them”.

Sinn Fein’s justice spokes-man Gerry Kelly said it was
important that the government moves quickly to remove this
“ repressive measure” from the justice system.

Diplock courts have been one of the most controversial
elements the Northern Ireland legal system.

Republicans accused the non-jury courts of providing
“conveyor-belt justice”. They were also widely opposed by
human rights groups.

The courts were criticised during the ‘supergrass’ trials
in the 1980s when many were convicted solely on the
information of paid informers.

High-profile cases dealt with by Diplock courts include IRA
bomber Sean Kelly’s conviction for murdering nine people in
the 1993 Shankill bomb.

Notorious loyalist paramilitary gang the Shankill Butchers
were also convicted under the Diplock system for the murder
of Catholics in north and west Belfast.


British Must Move Quickly To Abolish Diplock Courts

Published: 11 August, 2006

Sinn Féin Justice spokesperson Gerry Kelly MLA this evening

"Sinn Féin has consistently raised the abolition of the
Diplock Courts with the British government and some time
ago we secured a commitment from them that they would do

"It is important that the British government move quickly
to remove this repressive measure from the Criminal Justice


Special Criminal Court Must Follow Diplock Courts Into Extinction

Published: 11 August, 2006

Sinn Féin Justice spokesperson Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD
speaking following signals from the British Government that
they are to reduce the number of trials in non-jury Diplock
courts in the Six Counties has called on the Dublin
Government to follow suit and get rid of the Special
Criminal Court and the Offences Against the State Acts.

Speaking today Deputy Ó Snodaigh said, "Non jury Diplock in
the Six Counties were a repressive measure designed to
fast-track the imprisonment of republicans in a conveyor
belt manner. They should not just become the exception to
the rule but should be done away with altogether. However,
this is a step in the right direction.

"The Special Criminal Court in the Twenty-Six Counties was
set up in much the same manner as the Diplock Courts in the
North. However, Justice Minister Michael McDowell has been
moving in the opposite direction to the British. He has
consistently supported the broadening of the use of the
Special Criminal Court despite the UN twice calling for an
end to its existence.

"Repressive legislation has no place in a democratic state
in the 21st century and certainly not in Ireland 12 years
into the peace process, 9 years into a continuous cessation
by the Irish Republican Army, 8 years after the conclusion
of the Good Friday Agreement, and one year after the IRA
took the courageous and unprecedented step in formally
ending their armed campaign and putting their arms beyond
use. The ending of the Special Criminal Court and the
repeal of the Offences Against the State Act are required
under strand three of the Good Friday Agreement which was
endorsed by the vast majority of people on this Island.
Michael McDowell must act on this endorsement and move
forward with the ending of the Special Criminal Court and
the repeal of the Offences Against the State Acts." ENDS


Soldiers To Be Quizzed In 'Troubles' Probe

Old soldiers will be among hundreds of ex-servicemen who
face being questioned as part of a major investigation into
unsolved murders in Northern Ireland, it has been revealed.

By:Press Association

With defence chiefs due to appoint a firm of lawyers to
represent their men who fought a 30-year anti-terror
campaign, the probe, which is expected to take seven years
to complete, will stretch back to when the British Army
arrived on the streets of Belfast and Derry at the end of
the 1960s.

The specialist Historical Enquiries Team (HET), set up by
the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) and headed by
ex-Scotland Yard commander Dave Cox, is re-examining 3,268
killings in a bid to bring closure for victims` families.

And it has emerged that soldiers, some now pensioners, are
believed to be involved, either directly or indirectly, in
400 of the cases under review, according to Ministry of
Defence estimates.

Although the military has pledged full co-operation with
the HET, Whitehall top brass are privately perplexed by the
decision to investigate military action so long ago,
especially cases where no prosecution was recommended at
the time.

Sources have also revealed their despair that retired
servicemen could face questioning about incidents in the
distant past.

One document revealed Ministry of Defence (MoD)
disillusionment has been compounded by Lord Saville`s
marathon inquiry into the 1972 Bloody Sunday shootings by
paratroopers in Derry.

That tribunal, which has cost £172 million so far, is not
expected to publish its findings until next year.

"The MoD experience of the Bloody Sunday Inquiry suggests
that the PSNI initiative will come as an unwelcome surprise
to many former soldiers who will have put the past behind
them," a military paper said.

"Most will have been told at the time that no further
action would be taken.

"Some may even have had cases put to the Director of Public
Prosecutions in Northern Ireland which decided not to
prosecute at the time."

Although it is not known exactly how many of the killings
during 30 years of violence have been blamed on soldiers,
374 are attributable to either police or the Army.

It has also been estimated that 170 troops were involved in
deaths during the first five years of the Troubles, from
1969 to 1974, according to Army documents.

Defence ministers have agreed to offer help and legal
assistance to all soldiers - both former and serving -
questioned by police, as well as those facing potential
criminal charges.

"Support could range from guidance about process for
someone who might have witnessed an incident but from whom
no statement was required, to full legal representation in
criminal proceedings for a soldier who might be charged
with an offence," the document said.

The HET has a £34 million budget and squad of around 100
detectives and support staff to re-investigate unsolved
killings between 1968 and the 1998 Good Friday Agreement

It has been trawling through files and collecting all
available evidence.

For any incident linked to the Army, the MoD will be asked
to provide papers from military police and intelligence

Anyone detectives want to question, whether as a witness or
under caution, will be encouraged to co-operate.

But military lawyers are not expected to offer advice in
cases with a potential conflict of interests, such as where
a soldier`s version of events conflicts with what the Army
said at the time.

Democratic Unionist MP Jeffrey Donaldson insisted that no
soldiers investigated should face murder charges.

He is to to raise the issue in the House of Commons after
its summer recess, in a bid to clarify the exact number who
face questioning.

He added: "I can understand soldiers who served in Northern
Ireland maybe 25 years ago and were involved in shooting
incidents in which members of the IRA or another terrorist
organisation were killed, to expect the matter would be
closed long ago.

"I don`t believe the Historical Enquiries Team should
devote any significant amount of resources to
reinvestigating these deaths."


Two Freed In Boy's Murder Inquiry

Police have released a man and woman arrested in north
Belfast in connection with the murder just over a year ago
of 15-year-old Thomas Devlin.

Thomas was stabbed in the back as he and two friends walked
home along the Somerton Road in the north of the city, on
10 August 2005 after buying sweets.

The pair were arrested on Thursday. The man was released on
police bail, while the woman was released without charge.

Earlier this week, police made a fresh appeal over the

They said more than 900 statements had been taken about the
killing and more than 60 properties had been searched.

Thomas's 18-year-old friend was injured in the attack, but
not seriously. A 16-year-old boy managed to escape.

Thomas, a student at Belfast Royal Academy, was a talented
musician who played the horn at school.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/08/11 09:05:13 GMT


Thomas’ Killers Could Easily Kill Again Say Parents

One year on the family of Thomas Devlin remember their
murdered son

By Áine McEntee

The parents of the murdered Belfast teenager Thomas Devlin
have said they know who killed their son.

Today marks the first anniversary the 15-year-old’s murder.
Thomas was stabbed in the back in August 10 last year but
no one has been brought to justice for his murder.

Thomas’ parents believe his killers are capable of killing

The former Belfast Royal Academy student was walking home
from a shop with two friends when they were attacked by at
least two armed men.

The trio were just metres away from Thomas’ home on the
Somerton Road in north Belfast when the attack occured.
Thomas was stabbed five times in the back while his 18-
year-old friend was also injured.

Thomas’ parents Jim Devlin and Penny Holloway said the
assailants had carefully planned the attack.

“It is known who the two prime suspects in Thomas’ murder
are, and their family members and girlfriends know who
murdered Thomas,” Ms Holloway said.

“To me, they are just as responsible because they haven’t
been able to turn them in. They certainly don’t value
Thomas’ life because they know who killed him.

“It’s our view they don’t value Thomas’ life or that of
others because they could kill again but, in the meantime,
family members are allowing both to walk about freely,” she
said yesterday.

Thomas’ mother said the family and the PSNI were keen to
issue a fresh appeal for any information that could help in
the investigation.

Jim Devlin said: “These men effectively tried to kill all
three of them but they were able to get away.

“They were going out to kill someone and it didn’t matter
who. It was certainly premeditated. They took a knife out
and looked at the Somerton Road and carefully planned where
they would attack. There was nowhere to run for the boys —
no gardens to run into because it happened beside the
bishop’s house, the school and the church.

“I believe these two men with their dog were just trawling
for a victim. It could have been anybody. To me it was
random, not sectarian.”

The two parents said the attack had been planned in an area
where many householders would walk their dogs.

“The dog was a good lure,” Mr Devlin said.

“No one would think that was out of place. They are the
ultimate cowards.”

Ms Holloway said she had taken the family dog Rosie out for
a walk along the same path the night before her son was

“These two men jumped Thomas and his two friends from
behind. Nothing was said. There was no altercation.

“The police haven’t ruled it out but it’s not the prime
drive. It doesn’t bear the hallmarks of a sectarian
killing,” she said.

“These people shouldn’t be shielded behind sectarianism.
They are just pure evil.”

The two parents, who have twins older than Thomas, said it
was important for the family to keep strong but also
important to ensure that progress was made regarding
finding those who killed Thomas.

“It’s important that society sees the people responsible
punished,” Ms Holloway said. “I basically live from day to
day. We have two other children, and they have found it
utterly and incredibly hard to deal with. But we have to
keep on. For me, the only time I’ll get justice is when the
people responsible are behind bars.”

Tonight relatives and friends will gather for a quiet
ceremony in St Thérèse’s Church on the Somerton Road to
mark Thomas’ anniversary.


Fresh Investigation Into UVF Murder Of Teenager

By Eamonn Houston & Connla Young

The PSNI’s Historical Inquiries Team has told the family of
a Donegal teenager shot dead by the Ulster Volunteer Force
in 1973, that a fresh probe will take four months.

Henry Cunningham (16) died after his work van was raked
with gunfire by UVF members on a footbridge over the M2
motorway at Dunsilly, near Templepatrick in Co Antrim, in
August 1973.

The teenager was struck by a single bullet and shrapnel.

The van was travelling to Collon, near Carndonagh in Co
Donegal, from a building site on the outskirts of Belfast.

An inquest into the teenager’s murder was carried out three
weeks after the ambush and before a Royal Ulster
Constabulary investigation had been completed.

Earlier this year, members of the dead teenager’s family
met representatives of the Republic’s Department of Foreign
Affairs at the Pat Finucane Centre in Derry. Both Robert
and Herbert Cunningham were in the van when their brother
Henry was killed.

Robert Cunningham said last night that many questions about
the murder remained unanswered.

Mr Cunningham said: “We know that five UVF men were
apprehended earlier in the year with the gun that was used
in Henry’s murder.

“There are also no records of the motorbike used in the
murder. The inquest into his death was held just three
weeks later, which is very strange.

“There are so many grey areas and a lack of action by
security forces on both sides of the border. Nothing has
been done North or South. It has now been confirmed to us
that the UVF committed the murder.”

The Historical Inquiries Team was set up earlier this year.
It has been given five years to re-examine more than 3,000
Troubles-related deaths.


Belfast: PSNI Officers Attacked With Petrol Bombs

11/08/2006 - 11:25:42

Police in the North came under attack with petrol bombs and
other missiles during several hours of trouble last night
in west Belfast.

At least three petrol bombs were thrown at PSNI vehicles,
while another also came under attack with stones.

The PSNI says officers were also pelted with bricks,
bottles and other missiles, but there were no injuries or

The violence happened on the Springfield Road, near the
nationalist Ballymurphy area.


Riots Blamed On Loyalist Gang

By Connla Young

Loyalists have been blamed for sparking a full-scale riot
in a Co Derry town during a bonfire to mark the 35th
anniversary of internment.

Fierce fighting broke out after a gang of loyalists
attacked dozens of people standing at a nationalist bonfire
at a playground at Sperrin Drive in Magherafelt on Tuesday

According to nationalists, loyalist youths launched an
attack from the nearby loyalist Leckagh estate. Several
Catholic families have fled the estate in recent years
after being targeted by loyalist pipe bombers.

Local sources have said loyalist youths taunted nationalist
bystanders about the murder of the 15-year-old Catholic
schoolboy Michael McIlveen in Ballymena, Co Antrim, in May.

During the clashes, petrol bombs and other missiles were
thrown by the rival groups. Several people were attacked at
Leckagh Walk, Leckagh Drive and Sperrin Drive. A lamppost
was shaken out of its foundations at Sperrin Drive during
the disturbance.

The PSNI was targeted during the incident and a 33-year-old
man was beaten over the head with an iron bar.

Tensions in the south Derry town have been high throughout
the summer after the erection of dozens of loyalist flags.

In recent weeks, a number of Tricolours and other
nationalist flags were erected in the vicinity of Tuesday
night’s bonfire. It is understood that Sinn Féin
representatives removed several of the flags in the area
last weekend in a bid to reduce tension in the run-up to
the internment anniversary.

Local Sinn Féin councillor Seán McPeake said loyalists had
sparked the trouble.

“The whole thing has to be condemned, and the blame rests
on the shoulders of those loyalists who antagonised

“There has been tension in Magherafelt. There have been a
lot of bonfires in Magherafelt, and there’s an underlying
problem there,” he said.

Magherafelt SDLP councillor Jim Campbell condemned the

“It appears this entire incident was pre-planned, as it has
been reported that petrol bombs were used. This is very
worrying and such behaviour is completely unwelcome by the
people of Magherafelt.

“No cause can justify such destruction. Local residents
should not have to deal with riotous scenes in the early
hours of the morning. Those responsible really have a lot
to answer for,” he said.

Magherafelt Democratic Unionist Party councillor Paul
McLean said nationalist youths had started the trouble.

“This was orchestrated. Forty to 50 nationalist youths
vandalised and terrorised homes in Leckagh Drive and threw
bricks, blocks and petrol bombs. This was a hostile

“There were people willing to defend their homes but that
wasn’t necessary. This bonfire appeared out of nowhere on
Tuesday and, within hours, it was erected with a big effort
from a lot of people,” he said.


Apprentice Boys And Residents Reach Agreement

By Barry McCaffrey

The Apprentice Boys and Ardoyne residents last night
announced that they had reached an agreement ahead of a
march in north Belfast tomorrow.

In a joint statement last night the Ardoyne Parades
Dialogue Group (APDG) and the North and West Belfast
Parades Forum (NWBPF) said they had reached an agreement
over tomorrow’s parade but would also be intensifying
discussions in September to find a long term agreement over
contentious parades.

The two groups said the agreement was an effort to
strengthen confidence and respect between the two

As part of the deal nationalists will not protest during
tomorrow morning’s parade of one band of 30 Apprentice
Boys, which will go ahead under an agreed format.

However, in an effort to find a long- term resolution to
all contentious parades along the Crumlin Road both groups
have agreed to intensify discussions in September,
including the issue of evening marches.

“From September 2006 both sets of representatives commit
themselves to a wider and intensified process of discussion
and consultation, both within and between the two
communities, in a broader context,” the statement said.

“The NWBPF agrees to proactively exploring a lasting
resolution to the problems associated with evening parades,
including their continued organisation or otherwise.”

Welcoming the agreement, NWBPF spokesman Tommy Cheevers
said: “The forum recognises how difficult it was for
Ardoyne to bring this about and acknowledge the hard work
that was put in.

“From September we will endeavour to broaden discussions
within and between our respective communities to address
outstanding difficulties around parades and related

APDG spokesman Joe Marley said the decision to withdraw
tomorrow’s protest demonstrated their commitment to working
towards a resolution of the issue of contentious parades on
the Crumlin Road.

“We feel that the commitment, both from ourselves and the
NWBPF to intensify the negotiations in September can help
to create a new context which can completely transform the
climate around the marching season in 2007.

“The next round of negotiations will take place in a less
charged atmosphere and we view it as an opportunity to
address the issue of all contentious parades and
particularly the heightened problems around evening

Supporting the efforts made by both the residents and the
Apprentice Boys, Parades Commission chairman Roger Poole
said: “There has been real progress in north Belfast over
the last number of months and we are acutely aware of the
level of commitment and energy invested in this process by
all sides.“I am pleased that once again we have been able
to agree that no Parades Commission determination is


Republican Parade Prompts PSNI Siege Of Event

By Connla Young

A massive PSNI operation swung into place last night during
a republican parade in Co Antrim.

Hundreds of PSNI personnel sealed off the nationalist north
end of Ballymena as a parade organised by the Friends of
William Orr got under way.

For the first time ever, Parades Commission chiefs ordered
bands not to play music for the duration of the event.

Parade organisers had applied for permission for take five
bands into a nationalist end of the town.

However no bands participated in last night’s parade.
Instead, a republican colour party marched the length of
the parade route at Fisherwick Crescent.

Just 24 hours earlier, Sinn Féin held a hunger strike event
in a Ballymena housing estate during which a republican
band played music.

Spokesman for the 32 County Sovereignty Movement Paddy
Murray spoke about the right of nationalists to march in
the town.

“I congratulate those who took part in the parade last
night. Nationalists and republicans have a right to
parade,” he said.

The huge PSNI operation was put in place just hours after
an unscheduled republican parade was held in Ballymena’s
Dunclug estate.

The parade, which is understood the have involved a flute
band from north Antrim, took place on Tuesday night during
an anti-internment anniversary bonfire and vigil to hunger
striker Tom McElwee. It is believed a single band formed on
local playing fields and played music for 30 minutes.

During the event north Antrim Sinn Féin representative
Laurence O’Neill addressed the crowd.

It is understood the PSNI swamped the district during the
parade but later withdrew after being approached by
community representatives.

Ballymena Sinn Féin spokesman Padraig McShane said the
parade was a success. “It was a good community event and
shows that nationalists and republicans can hold such an
event. It showed that the young people of the area can
behave themselves and as long as the PSNI stayed away there
would be no trouble.”

The PSNI last night said it had adopted a “cautious
approach to the incident”.


Shameful Desecration Condemned By Family

Rival gang suspected over attack on republican’s memorial

By Ciarán Barnes

A memorial to a Belfast man murdered by loyalists in one
of the Trouble’s most controversial killings has been
attacked by paint bombs.

A plaque erected in the Ballymuprhy area in memory of
Francisco Notarantonio and his murdered grandson Joseph
O’Connor, was defaced during the early hours of yesterday

The Notarantonio family believes members of a rival gang
who they have clashed with were responsible.

A spokeswoman for the family said: “The memorial to these
two dead republicans was attacked by those who clearly do
not possess an ounce of decency.

“The memory of the dead is sacred and our dead are no less
sacred than anyone else’s. All republicans should condemn
this disgraceful desecration.”

Four members of the Notarantonio family are currently out
on bail charged with the brutal February murder of
Ballymuprhy father of six Gerard Devlin.

Mr Devlin was stabbed in the back during a street fight on
Whitecliffe Parade. At the time of his death he had a
£10,000 (€14,818) bounty on his head. He had been involved
in a series of clashes with the Notarantonio’s prior to his

In the weeks after the murder, a number of houses belonging
to the Notarantonio’s were petrol bombed.

Friends of the Devlin family, Wayne McComb and Jim
Reynolds, were injured in a drive by shooting and hammer

Both the Notarantonios and Devlins were warned by the PSNI
their lives are under threat.

Francisco Notarantonio, who is commemorated on the
Ballymurphy plaque, was shot dead in 1987 by loyalists
acting on information provided by the British army.

It has since been claimed that the pensioner was murdered
in order to protect a senior British army IRA mole who was
the gunmen’s original target.

Joseph ‘JoJo’ O’Connor was shot dead outside his west
Belfast home in 2002.

He was a leading member of the Real IRA. The IRA was blamed
for killing him.


Legacy Of NI Peace Movement

The tragic deaths of three children in Belfast in August
1976 spawned a mass movement for peace. Thirty years after
the formation of the Peace People, BBC Northern Ireland
political correspondent Martina Purdy examines their

It was described in a BBC report as "part traffic accident,
part terrorist incident".

In truth, it became much more than that in the summer of

On 10 August, Anne Maguire was walking along Finaghy Road
North with her three children when an out-of-control car
plunged into them.

The car's driver, IRA man Danny Lennon, had been fatally
wounded by a British army patrol which was chasing him.

The car plunged into the Maguires, instantly killing six-
week-old baby, Andrew, who was in his pram and his eight-
year-old sister, Joanne, who was on her bicycle.

Their brother John, just two-and-a-half, died the following
day in hospital.

Their mother, Anne, was maimed physically and mentally -
and would take her own life some years later.

Anne's sister, Mairead Corrigan, made a grief-stricken
appeal on television for peace.

Her impassioned appeal struck a chord with a community
traumatised by the Troubles.

Within three days of the awful tragedy, the Peace People
was born.

Led by Mairead Corrigan and her friend Betty Williams, the
Peace People won attention at home and abroad.

The women were soon joined by Belfast journalist, Ciaran
McKeown, among others.

In the weeks and months that followed, they were forming
street groups, leading marches, campaigning in the United
States against funds for the IRA and had even opened their
own office.

Hundreds of letters were pouring out of post bags, and
Betty Williams issued a defiant message to the gunmen at
the opening of the office: "The paramilitaries think we are
just a funny little movement.

"This is to let them know we mean business."

They marched in cities and towns such as Belfast,
Enniskillen and Ballymena and held one of their most high
profile rallies in Trafalgar Square in London.

Hopes of a 50,000-strong crowd did not materialise.

But more than 10,000 people demonstrated for peace, while
legendary folk singer, and political activist Joan Baez
serenaded the crowd with the anthem: "We Shall Overcome."

Their efforts to bring peace to Northern Ireland won
Mairead Corrigan and Betty Williams the Nobel Prize for

But in Trafalgar Square, a persistent heckler, who shouted:
"Vengeance for Bloody Sunday", was a sign of underlying
hostility to their cause.

When the women marched on the Falls Road, they came under
attack from stone-throwing republican youths.

Sinn Fein's Alex Maskey, reflecting on republican attitudes
to the Peace People, said their good intentions were
hijacked by the British government intent on an anti-
republican peace.

The best memory we can give in tribute to those who had
died is to build the peace in Northern Ireland

Mairead Corrigan

Mr Maskey said their emotional response touched a chord
with a lot of people, but added: "For me and others, the
Peace People and their good intentions were quickly
exploited and absorbed into British state policy."

Mairead Corrigan, 30 years on, rejected the criticism. She
insisted the Peace People from the beginning were "no-one's

She said the Peace People were clearly opposed to all forms
of violence, condemning paramilitaries "across the board"
and challenging state violence.

She said the movement also underscored the need for states
to uphold human rights - and had long advocated dialogue as
the only solution. She added: "Looking back, I think we got
some things right."

Ms Corrigan also claimed the Peace People helped sow the
seeds of peace in Northern Ireland.

But it is a view challenged by the movement's critics, who
claimed it ultimately failed to make any difference.

Commentator Brian Feeney said their project was "hijacked"
by the Northern Ireland Office, its impact "diminished" by
rows over the Nobel peace prize money and an emotional
message that did not fit a complex situation.

"It was too simplistic... simply to come out in the street
and shout for peace and an end to violence," he said.

"For a huge number of people who had suffered from violence
their response was: 'Well, what about justice?'"

Whatever the legacy, 30 years on, Mairead Corrigan
continues to work for peace at home and abroad.

This year she was in the Middle East and this week took
part in an event in Belfast to commemorate the 61st
anniversary of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima.

As she reflects on the deeply personal events of 30 years
ago, she remains hopeful good can come from the tragedy.

"The best memory we can give in tribute to those who had
died is to build the peace in Northern Ireland," she said.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/08/11 06:45:06 GMT


Ulster's Hottest Daytrip... A Once-Inaccessible Island

By Linda McKee
11 August 2006

More than 2,000 visitors have taken advantage of a new
ferry to discover Lough Neagh's largest island.

Ram's Island is becoming Ulster's hottest new daytrip
destination, as visitors flock to see its bird populations,
mature trees and monastic ruins.

Rats have been eradicated from the island in an effort to
increase the number of nesting birds, while tree surgery
has been carried out to help improve the the habitat.

Under a £170,000 redevelopment programme, the island has
received funding from Lough Neagh Partnership, supported by
the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, to
finance a new ferry, The Island Warrior.

Plans for a new jetty, interpretative centre and
environmental works are also in the pipeline and this year
Ram's Island has already been visited by 2,500 people.

Project manager Michael Savage, from River Bann and Lough
Neagh Association, said: "This is the first year the island
has become truly accessible to people, and many locals,
having seen the island from afar on the shores of Lough
Neagh, are now using the Warrior to visit Ram's Island and
discover first hand what it has to offer.

"So far, our new visitors have blended in with the unique
biodiversity on the island, and we have seen no negative
impacts, but as the island becomes increasingly popular we
will keep a close watch in our role as guardians.

"The mix of funding for Ram's Island has helped us carry
out a diverse range of actions, from removing predators
from the island which has helped local birds to flourish,
to increasing accessibility by boat, and when on the
island, by foot."

Vince McKevitt of DARD said: "The island is a really
beautiful place. With financial support from DARD and the
Programme for Building Sustainable Prosperity through the
LNP, and the hard work of the RBLNA, I can see the island
becoming an important recreational facility for local
people and visitors to Lough Neagh.

"The work on Ram's Island is a good example of how rural
development funding can contribute to the development of
rural areas."

Anyone interested in visiting Rams Island should log onto for details.


Ancient Place Names Bring Old Meaning To Townlands

By Keith Bourke

Using ancient townland names reinforces a sense
of place and belonging in a way postcodes never could,
according to the author of a new book. Keith Bourke reports

‘Witch’s Mouth’, the ‘Bog of the Wild Swans’, the ‘Ridge of
the Midges’ and the ‘Hillock of the Nuts’ may sound like
fantastical locations from Celtic mythology or JRR
Tolkien’s Middle Earth.

However, as Irish Names of Townlands around Irvinestown and
Tempo Co Fermanagh by Father Joe McVeigh reveals, all these
placenames and more can be found right here in Northern

Fr McVeigh examines the origins of placenames around the
Irvinestown and Tempo areas of Co Fermanagh, translating
many from the original Irish.

A native of Ederney in Co Fermanagh, Fr McVeigh is now
based in Donegal.

This is Fr McVeigh’s third compilation of Fermanagh
placenames and their origins. He has already completed work
on the Ederney, Pettigo, Garrison and Belleek areas and has
plans for another looking at Derrygonnelly and Belcoo.

“When I finish the fourth that’ll be half the county done,”
Fr McVeigh said.

The sounds of the placenames and his
love of the Irish language have fuelled Fr McVeigh’s

“I love the names. I love the sound of the Irish language.
I was always fascinated by the names and curiosity got the
better of me,” he said.

“I had an interest since I was a boy, really. I was curious
about the meaning of the townlands in my own area of

“I remember as a schoolboy in St Michael’s asking a teacher
about the meaning of ‘Moneyvriece’ where I lived. He
suggested that the most likely meaning was ‘Muine
Mhuirish’, ‘the thicket or shrubbery of Morris’ – that is
still the most likely explanation.”

Once he started delving into the world of townland names,
Fr McVeigh said he realised “there is no end to this
investigation and discovery”.

“I discovered that there was once a townland in Co Antrim
near Randalstown called Baile Mhic and Bheatha, which in
fact, means ‘the town of the McVeighs’, only to discover
that it has been renamed Staffordstown,” he said.

“Obviously the Staffords replaced the McVeighs in this part
of the world in the years of the Plantation of Ulster.”

About 95 per cent of the placenames in Co Fermanagh are
Gaelic in origin, with the rest English or Scottish.

Some of the placenames pre-date Christian times while
others can be dated according to when the event their name refers to

“Keeping these townland names alive also strengthens the
Irish language,” Fr McVeigh said.

“People are speaking Irish every day without realising when
they uses these placenames.”

Fr McVeigh believes townland names must be preserved.

“It’s so important. Postcodes are trying to change all
that. The electoral office in Co Fermanagh uses postcodes
but the post office retains the townland names,” he said.

“During my time as a priest in Fermanagh I got to know
people by the townlands they lived in.

“It’s a way of identifying people and a community – the
Milligans of Bracklin, Johnstons of Magherameena,
McCaffreys of Tattycam, and so on.”

In an age were addresses are listed by number and postcode,
Fr McVeigh believes the romance, history and tradition of
townland names is a vital piece of Irish heritage.

“The original townland names reinforces a sense of place
and belonging in a way that road numbers and postal codes
can never do,” he said.


Liscreevin: Lios na Craobhín – Fort of the little branchy

Monalla: Móin eala – Bog of the wild swans

Moneykee: Muine Caoth – Shrubbery of the swamp

Gobingallagh: Gob na gcailleach – Witch’s mouth

Brocagh: Brocach – Place of badgers

Camgart: Cam gort – Crooked field

Cullion: Cuilleain – the place of the holly

Drumanweel: Droim na mhiol – Ridge of the ants

Tattykeeran: Taither a ‘chaoran – the tate of the rowan

Tullynaglug: Tulaigh ullach/ullagha – the hillock of the

Garvary: Garbh – the rough terrain

Leam: Léim – a leap

Lignameeltoge: Lag na Míoltóg – Hollow of the midges

Conerick: Con Amharac – Place of hounds

Coolgarran: Cúl garráin – Back of the shrubbery

Devenish: Daimhnais – Ox island


Rush-Hour Travel Limits To Be Abolished

By Brian Hutton

Rush-hour restrictions on public transport for free-pass
holders are to be abolished, it was announced yesterday.

The limits affect more than 600,000 pensioners, the
disabled and other pass holders during peak-time traffic.
The restrictions are to be lifted on September 25.

Social affairs minister Séamus Brennan said he was
finalising reciprocal free-travel arrangements with the
North and Britain, to be announced shortly.

The new agreement being hammered out at EU level with his
ministerial counterparts would let eligible pass-holders in
the Republic avail themselves of similar arrangements in
other jurisdictions.

The present restrictions on free transport have been in
place since Charles Haughey introduced the popular scheme
in the 1967 budget.

Mr Brennan said they had been appropriate at the time but
had become obsolete as people now lived and worked longer.

“In a 21st-century, progressive and enlightened Ireland,
such restrictions are no longer acceptable,” he said.

The government is abolishing the limits to encourage older
people to continue working or take up new employment,
hobbies or pursuits, Mr Brennan said.

The role of older people in society was changing as they
lived longer, healthier and increasingly active lives.

“It would be a contradiction if the government was
encouraging people to stay in the workplace longer but not
allowing [older people] to travel at peak times.

“A 66 or 70-year-old is as entitled to be on the bus going
about their business as a 25-year-old who has an equally
important agenda,” he said.

Holders of free travel passes are presently unable to use
the scheme from Monday to Friday between 7am and 9am and
from 4.30pm to 6.30pm.

In Dublin, Cork and Limerick, there are extended
restrictions on Fridays between 4pm and 7pm within a 20-
mile (32-kilometre) radius of the cities.

Some 430,000 free-pass holders are aged over 66. About
145,000 have invalidity or disabled passes, and a further
25,000 are carers.

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