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August 07, 2006

UUP Pressed Over Ervine Comments

News About Ireland & The Irish

DI 08/07/06 UUP Pressed Over Ervine Comments
SF 08/07/06 SF Launches Postcards Highlighting British State Collusion
HR 08/07/06 Ireland’s Next Step
DI 08/07/06 ‘Orange Change Needed’
BB 08/07/06 Bomber Given Dinner Party Invite
IN 08/07/06 Opin: Hopes Of Cherishing Orange And Green
IN 08/07/06 Opin: Casement No Place For Political Propaganda
TE 08/07/06 U2 Move Their Assets Out Of Ireland
IT 08/08/06 Prop Repr & Single Transferable Vote: Its Use In Ireland
IT 08/08/06 Alaskan Retraces Sledding Route Of Irish Woman (79)


UUP Pressed Over Ervine Comments

By Keith Bourke

Alliance deputy leader Naomi Long has demanded that the
Ulster Unionist leadership clarify its position on
comments made by Progressive Unionist leader David

Her comments come in response to statements made by Mr
Ervine – who joined the UUP’s assembly group – in a
Sunday newspaper that further cross-border cooperation
would mean a loyalist “reaction.”

Mr Ervine is reported as saying:

“It would be my dream that there won’t be violence but
the reality is that when you make a people voiceless
there will be a reaction and a response.”

Ms Long said the UUP must respond to Mr Ervine’s

“David Ervine’s comments cannot be seen as anything
other than a threat of violence if the governments
pursue more cross-border co-operation from November.

“This is totally unacceptable and requires immediate
comment from his Ulster Unionist Assembly colleagues.”

Meanwhile, Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams has called
for engagement between republicans and unionists.

Speaking at the North Belfast Summer School in Belfast
Castle at the weekend, Mr Adams said the two groups
must seek out common goals and values.

“Sinn Fein has established a Unionist Engagement

“This is a very serious effort by Sinn Fein, in a
formal structured way, trying to do something which
should be second nature and common sense to us all,
to talk to our neighbours,” he said.

“The aim of the department is to promote dialogue with
Unionists at every possible opportunity. And as an aid
to this engagement process we are currently working on
a charter of principles and ideas which sets out common
values and provided a basis for discussion,” Mr Adams

SDLP leader Mark Durkan has called for the creation of
North-South funds to improve infrastructure and support
communities across Ireland.

“The North-South agenda has been allowed to wither on
the vine throughout suspension because the British
government has bowed to unionist pressure to keep it on
a ‘care and maintenance’ basis,” he said.

“The SDLP is proposing the creation of North-South
funds to be created by the administration North and

“These would be dedicated funds to overhaul out
infrastructure and strengthen our communities from
Derry to Kerry,” Mr Durkan said.


Sinn Féin MEP Launches Postcards Highlighting British State Collusion

Published: 7 August, 2006

Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún has this morning launched
a range of postcards highlighting the policy of British
state collusion in the Six Counties. The event was
organised by Relatives For Justice (RFJ).

Speaking after this morning’s event Ms de Brún said
that the launch was ‘a novel way for Relatives for
Justice to raise serious issues of British state
violence and collusion during the course of the

Speaking today Ms de Brún said:

“Many people know Relatives for Justice for their
community development and cross community work with
those who have been injured and bereaved as a result of
the conflict. RFJ also carry out campaigning work and
highlight issues related to the role of the state in

“For decades the British government have denied their
role in the murder of Irish citizens and to this day
they deny attempts to cover up their involvement in
collusion. One of the four postcards also highlights
the role of MI5. It is a way for relatives for Justice
to express concerns about the proposed future role of
MI5 in policing and intelligence gathering here.” ENDS

Note to Editor:

The Postcards are a ‘not for profit’ venture and will
be on sale from the Sinn Féin Art Shop and various
outlets across Ireland.


Ireland’s Next Step

IRA disarmament and the hesitant unionist response

By Rory Malone

This summer, after decades of conflict and violence,
the Irish Republican Army suddenly announced “an end to
the armed campaign” and “the development of purely
political and democratic programmes through exclusively
peaceful means.” This may prove to be the most
important development for the peace process in Northern
Ireland since the signing of the Good Friday Agreement
in 1998. That pact, signed in the hopes of ending
sectarian violence in Northern Ireland, has never been
fully implemented due to intransigence from both
nationalists, Irish Catholics who advocate a united,
independent Ireland, and unionists, Protestants who
wish to remain part of the United Kingdom. With the
IRA’s avowed disarmament, the next crucial move in the
peace process lies with the unionists.

A Change of Heart

The IRA’s statement was the strongest renunciation
of violence by any Northern Irish paramilitary group to
date. It maintains a commitment to a unified Ireland,
but affirms that the IRA “believe[s] there is now an
alternative way to achieve this” through democratic
political channels. The statement declared that the IRA
would disarm, and the fulfillment of that promise has
been verified by the Independent Monitoring Commission
(IMC). These actions demonstrate a decisive move
towards peace.

Skeptic’s Corner

It is questionable whether the unionists will see
these statements as genuine. The IRA is distrusted by
many unionists, particularly the majority Democratic
Unionist Party. Its leader, Ian Paisley, announced that
his party would require time to ensure that the IRA
intended to keep its word. He also issued a list of
penalties that the DUP would exact upon British Prime
Minister Tony Blair if the British government continues
making concessions to the IRA.

Progress will not come quickly, it seems. William
Kissane, visiting fellow at the Keough Institute for
Irish Studies at the University of Notre Dame, told the
HPR that the DUP “would not be quick to jump to power
sharing” with Sinn Féin, the political wing of the IRA,
until the majority of their constituency was convinced
that the IRA’s decommissioning was genuine. He
suggested that the DUP won a landslide victory over
moderate unionist parties in the last election due to
their hard-line stance against nationalism and that
they “think Sinn Féin are dictating the settlement to
their advantage.” Given the disastrous political
implications for the DUP if they were to enter into
dialogue with Sinn Féin, only to have the IRA renege,
Paisley will want to make sure that their criminal
activities are over for good.

An Evenhanded Approach

The worry is that nationalists will see this delay
as intransigence, not caution. Frank Durkan, founding
member of the Brehon Law Society, an organization
supporting Irish-American activists, told the HPR that
the DUP’s consistent refusal to negotiate with Sinn
Fein has led many nationalists to believe that they
have no intention of fully engaging in the peace
process. With the IRA’s disarmament, he argues, “the
unionists can see their position of privilege coming to
an end,” as they can no longer point to IRA violence as
the reason for delays in the peace process. Unionist
paramilitary groups are still “engaged in murder and
mayhem,” he says, illustrated by riots during this
summer’s Protestant marching season. The IMC has
resolved to remain in Northern Ireland until unionist
forces have been decommissioned, but unless the IRA’s
moves are soon met in some degree by the DUP or other
unionists, the peace process will not advance.

The next move will likely be an end to direct rule
by London and a return to the power-sharing assembly
incorporating elected nationalist and unionist
politicians. Aodhan Mac an tSaoir, political advisor
for Sinn Féin, characterizes the power-sharing system
and the decommissioning of paramilitary groups as the
keys to the normalization of Northern Irish politics.
Although Paisley suggested that it would take at least
two years for the DUP to be ready to engage in devolved
government, many feel that progress must come sooner.
Mac an tSaoir told the HPR that “the pressure from the
electorate makes the power-sharing system the only game
in town.” The IRA decommissioning is an invitation for
the unionists to play ball.


‘Orange Change Needed’

Senior Orangeman says shared future can be built by
drawing inspiration from basic tenets of both the 1916
proclamation and Orange tradition – but he believes
Orange Order has been corrupted by paramilitaries and
political opportunists

By Mick Hall

A former senior Orangeman has claimed that “an island
of equals” can be built by drawing inspiration and
direction from the fundamental tenets of both the 1916
Proclamation and Orange tradition in Ireland.

The Reverend Brian Kennaway was speaking at a weekend
book signing event as part of this year’s Féile an
Phobail programme in west Belfast.

The signing symbolically took place on the Falls Road
in the Cultúrlann — a converted Presbyterian church and
now one of west Belfast’s best-known cultural centres.
The building was once home to the Broadway Defenders
Orange Lodge.

Mr Kennaway, an Orange Order member for 42 years,
resigned his position as convener of the organisation’s
education committee in 2000, following the Drumcree
marching dispute. He later argued that the order had
been take over by paramilitaries, political
opportunists and those ignorant of the order’s
authentic religious values.

The Presbyterian minister is based in Crumlin, Co
Antrim. In May, he published his book The Orange Order:
A Tradition Betrayed.

He said the book had not set out to “demonise” the
order but had “placed its present position of decline
in historical context”.

Addressing a packed hall, Mr Kennaway said the book
dealt with organisational problems facing the order. He
said addressing these issues would help bring about “a
new dispensation within an island of equals” in

Among these problems were a lack of leadership and
discipline, as well as ignorance among Orange Order
members about the “Orange tradition” that had extended
to the “workings and behaviour of its institutions”.

Another problem had been the maligning of the order by
those outside its ranks, “stating malevolently what the
institution stands for”.

Mr Kennaway told the Féile audience that the order
stood for equality and civil and religious liberty and
that many of its tenets were similar to those found in
the 1916 Proclamation.

“The order’s written position of upholding ‘civil and
religious liberty for all and special privileges for
none’ is not dissimilar to that of the 1916
Proclamation ‘guaranteeing religious and civil liberty,
equal rights and equal opportunities to all its
citizens’, and ‘cherishing all of the children of the
nation equally’. Both traditions can build an island of
equals,” he said.

“We do not have a religious organisation with a
political element any more but a political organisation
with a religious element,” Mr Kennaway added.

He said that a “fundamental change of Orangeism” had to
be initiated, including reversing a process that had
“substituted faith with culture”.

“This must be attempted by using ‘spin’. In an age
where transparency is demanded, no one wants spin. You
cannot change the image of an institution without
changing its practice,” he said.

Roy Garland, a former Belfast unionist councillor
turned commentator, accompanied Mr Kennaway on stage at
the Cultúrlann event.

Mr Garland commended Mr Kennaway’s book as a
“sympathetic but critical” appraisal of the Orange

Emphasising the order’s Irish identity and history, Mr
Garland said many of it members had wrongfully assumed
that its laws “were unchangeable” and had used much of
these to reinforce a “narrowly conservative” agenda
based on “fear, siege and conservatism”.

Veteran Belfast republican and community activist Seán
“Spike” Murray chaired the Cultúrlann event.

Mr Murray has been involved in negotiations with
unionists with regard to the Orange Order’s parade in
the Springfield area of west Belfast.


Bomber Given Dinner Party Invite

The presence of IRA bomber Sean Kelly at a cross-
community dinner party has drawn a mixed reaction.

Two people walked out of the function at Belfast Castle
on Sunday when they realised he was present.

Kelly served just under eight years for planting a bomb
which killed nine people in a Shankill Road fish shop.

However, Alan McBride, whose wife and father-in-law
were killed in the explosion, said the cross-community
meetings should continue.

The invitation-only dinner was organised as part of the
three-day Greater New Lodge Community Festival

Sean Kelly, who was released after the signing of the
Good Friday Agreement, was among guests invited to the
function which featured former Irish prime minister
Albert Reynolds as an after-dinner speaker.

The evening was billed as a Celebration of Culture and
Creating a Language of Hope.

Speaking on BBC Radio Ulster, Alan McBride said it was
unfortunate that the guests from the Shankill area had
not been made aware that Sean Kelly would be present so
that they could have decided whether or not to attend.

Mr McBride said he had just returned from holiday and
had not been at the function.

"It would have been very difficult for me, and I am
widely acknowledged as being some way down the road in
my own healing process.

"I probably would not have gone. On a personal note, I
am not ready yet to meet the person who murdered my

However, Mr McBride said he would encourage organiser
Irene Sherry to continue arranging cross-community

"I think these dialogues are very, very important but
if there is not transparency in them, in other words if
people are not told who is likely to turn up, it
sometimes can have the opposite effect," he said.

Ms Sherry, said she had given invitations to people
from both sides of the community.

Guest speakers and panellists at the three-day festival
included PUP leader David Ervine, Sinn Fein assembly
member Gerry Kelly and Alliance Party leader David

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/08/07 13:36:31 GMT


Opin: Hopes Of Cherishing Orange And Green

By Roy Garland

In the mid 1960s I paraded to Broadway Presbyterian
Church wearing an Orange sash.

Union flags were flying in the breeze on Broadway and
there were no protests and no rerouting. The parade was
dignified and uneventful as we walked freely on Falls
Road. On Saturday I talked with local people who fondly
remember gathering at Broadway to watch the parade.

When asked by Reverend Brian Kennaway to speak at the
re-launch of his book The Orange Order: A Tradition
Betrayed at the former Broadway Presbyterian Church, I
immediately agreed. The church had closed in 1983 but
reopened as Culturlann McAdam O Fiaich in 1991.

Robert McAdam was a Presbyterian pioneer of the revival
of Irish language in 19th century Belfast while O
Fiaich was Cardinal Tomas O Fiaich, learned in Irish
and noted for singing The Ould Orange Flute.

During the later 1960s Orange parades faced more
rerouting but this was generally accepted in the
interests of peace and dignity. It was however a
difficult time for Orangemen who felt the basis of
their security was under threat. What Kennaway refers
to in his book as a break from tradition took place in
1969 with the election of John Bryans. Previously grand
masters were aristocracy whereas Bryans was a Methodist
layman and salesman from Middletown, Co Armagh. This
change coincided with a more radical agenda among some
of the grass roots who sought to turn the Orange Order
in a more hard-line sectarian direction.

David Roberts, a sociologist writing in 1971, predicted
that if this kind of ethos came to dominate – and he
associated it primarily with Ian Paisley and his
followers – energy would be “dissipated in hopeless
attacks on superior forces”.

This is an accurate description of what happened at
Drumcree. Paisley and others depicted the Garvaghy Road
parade as essential to the survival of everything
Protestants hold dear but Eoghan Harris is quoted
perceptively suggesting that Tony Blair would “blow
them away if they stand in his path this summer”.

The Orange Order could not emerge from that stand-off
other than seriously wounded.

The Orange Order today is actively seeking to undo the
damage but re-inventing itself is likely to prove
painful and might involve radical surgery. Although
Kennaway demostrates that changes have taken place
within the Orange institution, it generally resists
change. This is illustrated in an injunction contained
within Orange ritual and taken from Proverbs 24:21:
“Meddle not with those who are given to change.” The
closing prayer at lodge meetings petitions Almighty God
to “deliver us from those great and imminent dangers by
which we are now encompassed” illustrating the endemic
fear of change that has been manipulated by reactionary

On Saturday I suggested that the Grand Lodge of Ireland
is one of our oldest cross-border institutions. In fact
the Orange Order has opened up possibilities of greater
appreciation of Irish aspects of the Ulster Protestant
identity. Rev Dr RR Kane, former county grand master
and patron of the Belfast Gaelic League in 1895, is
said to have signed County Grand Lodge minutes in
Irish, was proud to be an O’Cahan, and on his Falls
Road gravestone there appears the inscription, ‘An
Irish Patriot’.

In 1964 Billy McMillen’s Sinn Fein offices in Divis
Street became the focal point for the first modern
Belfast riots. An Irish Tricolour adorned the window
display incensing Ian Paisley so much he threatened to
lead thousands there in protest. But although McMillen
was leader of the Belfast IRA his grandfather was
master of an Orange lodge in Edinburgh and Billy knew
something of the true meaning of the Irish flag. He was
also nurtured in Biblical teaching to love one’s
neighbour as oneself and so, prominently displayed in
Billy’s election offices, a verse of a poem by John
Frazier, a Presbyterian from Co Offaly: “Till then the
Orange lily be your badge my patriot brother. The
everlasting green for me and we for one and other.” In
line with this, Brian Kennaway expressed his hope, that
greater understanding would come from reading his book
and help make it possible to, “build an Ireland of
equals”, in which, “cherishing all the children of the
nation equally” becomes a reality. Incidentally, the
book was a sell out at Culturlann.



Opin: Casement No Place For Political Propaganda

By Tom Kelly

‘If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs...
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest,
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie; Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori.’

Wilfred Owen’s gory experience of the First World War
haunts us all, as for him and us, there is nothing
appropriate or sweet about dying for one’s country.

As the Provisional movement tries to sanitise the
awfulness of its dirty war, it puts plaques up to
commemorate its fallen – some of whom were guilty of
horrific actions that maimed, destroyed and scarred an
entire generation – one can’t help but think that these
commemorations may encourage a future generation to
believe in the ‘old Lie’.

Obviously, the Provisionals want to move on but do we
really have to have all these anniversaries thrown in
our face in such a shameful manner? Where is the
respect, not only for the victims of these ‘fallen
comrades’, but for the rest of the mainstream community
who have never supported the use of violence?

Many young people, having experienced more than 10
years of relative peace, see Sinn Fein eulogise over
some very nasty individuals who neither cared for nor
valued life, either their own, those of their families,
those of their victims or those of us who were standing
on the sidelines.

Yet we who were witnesses, don’t have our vision
clouded with nostalgic green tinted glasses. We
remember the goriness of what so-called republican and
loyalist paramilitaries did during their reign of

To watch now as both the British and Irish governments
fete, wine and dine them, is sickening to the pit of
one’s stomach. But peace comes with an expensive price
tag. The old Lie is being fed by a government whose
hands are not clean either. It conspired in the murder
of innocents by colluding not only with loyalist death
squads but Provisional terror teams too and thereby
squandered the last remnants of democratic decency.

Now it seems the GAA is the latest organisation to
allow itself to be lulled into the Provisional
mythology by accepting Hobson’s choice on the use of
Casement Park for a Hunger Strike rally.

First and foremost, Casement is a sporting ground,
which has had its potential thwarted by the criminality
of the IRA whose constant robberies of the gate forced
many of our national games out of Belfast and down to
Clones. It was further marred by the merciless mob
murder of two soldiers in a scene that would not have
been out of place in Mississippi Burning. Police
harassment of GAA supporters going to and from Casement
added further indignities to the enjoyment of our
national sport but to embarrass the GAA by
commandeering one of its main football stadiums, the
Provisionals are making a mockery out of legitimate
nationalist grievances about the enforced British
occupation of Crossmaglen pitch.

The Antrim Board should have threatened to resign en
masse rather than allow non-GAA members to dictate the
use of Casement Park for a political rally. And let’s
be clear – this is political as the only political
party represented on the platform is Sinn Fein. The
propaganda attempts to hijack the anniversary of the
Hunger Strike for party political advantage for Sinn
Fein, is as callous now as was the hijacking of the
deaths following Bobby Sands’s for electoral advantage
in 1981. The old Lie wins out as much in Provisional
mythology as its does in British jingoism.

The bravery of those who die is rarely in question
because whether Provisional or loyalist; British or
Irish, it’s the propagandists and political warmongers
who are always sending someone else’s children to die.

As always, the lions are led by donkeys.

If a sporting venue such as Casement Park can be
hijacked for the 25th anniversary of the Hunger Strike,
will it reoccur in five years’ time at the proposed
Pairic I Maze with its Long Kesh hospital on site?

Who knows but it’s hardly an optimistic omen for a new
multi-purpose, inclusive stadium which is allegedly to
be shared by all sporting codes.

Sport is supposed to be about uniting people and its
venues should be treated like the sanctuary of a
cathedral. When a sporting venue becomes less than an
inclusive or shared space, it loses some of its value
and becomes less special. Casement Park has been
violated enough; let the donkeys keep their lies.


U2 Move Their Assets Out Of Ireland

By Tom Peterkin, Ireland Correspondent
(Filed: 08/08/2006)

The rock band U2 came under criticism yesterday after
reports that it has moved a portion of its multi-
million-pound business empire out of Ireland for tax

The band, fronted by Bono, the anti-poverty campaigner,
has reportedly transferred some of its publishing
company to Holland.

Based in Dublin, U2 have long benefited from the
artists' tax exemption introduced by Charles Haughey,
the late prime minister. It is reported that the band's
move has been made in response to a £170,000 cap on the
tax-free incomes introduced in the last Irish budget.

Joan Burton, Irish Labour's finance spokesman, said:
"Having listened to Bono on the necessity for the Irish
Government to give more money to Ireland Aid, of which
I approve, I am surprised that U2 are not prepared to
contribute to the Exchequer on a fair basis along with
the bulk of Irish taxpayers.

"I share Bono's desire to see more resources devoted to
Ireland Aid but it is more difficult to make a case for
it if everyone is not willing to be part of the social
contract that stipulates that everybody should pay
their fair share in what is a low-tax country."

Ireland Aid is the channel by which the Irish
government helps developing countries.

It would appear that U2 are following the example of
the Rolling Stones, who went to a Dutch finance house
in 1972.

Until recently U2 Ltd, which deals with the band's
royalty payments, estimated to be worth one third of
the band's £460 million fortune, was based in Dublin.
According to documents seen by the Ireland on Sunday
newspaper, the company opened up in Amsterdam on June

One of its directors is listed as Jan Favie, a Dutch
financial consultant who is also the managing director
of similar Dutch-based firms owned by the Rolling


Proportional Representation And The Single Transferable Vote: Its Use In Ireland

Stephen Collins

The single transferable vote form of proportional
representation was introduced to Ireland in the dying
days of British rule as a protection for the unionist
minority in the South. The voters took to it with such
enthusiasm that it soon became an intrinsic part of
Irish party politics and the electorate twice rejected
attempts by Fianna Fáil governments to get rid of it.

PR was first tried out in a special election for Sligo
Corporation in January 1919, just a month after Sinn
Féin had swept the boards in the general election
conducted under the straight vote system.

The Sligo result showed Sinn Féin coming in second,
behind the mainly Protestant, Ratepayers' Association.
The implications were duly noted by The Irish Times,
which hailed it as a "magna carta" for political
minorities. The British government imposed it for all
future Irish elections.

PR (STV) was enshrined in the Government of Ireland
Act, 1920, for national elections and was subsequently
adopted in the Free State constitution of 1922 and by
de Valera in his 1937 constitution.

De Valera had second thoughts about PR following Fianna
Fáil's election defeats of 1948 and 1954. When he left
the Taoiseach's office and ran for the presidency in
1959 there was a referendum on the abolition of PR the
same day.

Although the voters made de Valera president they
rejected the proposal to abolish PR. In 1968 Fianna
Fáil came back at the issue but the people for a second
time in less than a decade voted to keep PR.

In more recent times Noel Dempsey as minister for the
environment proposed a change to a single seat system
of PR, linked to a reduction in the number of Dáil
seats, but his colleagues were having none of it.

© The Irish Times


Alaskan To Retrace Sledding Route Of Pioneering Irish Woman (79)

Olivia Kelleher

An Irish mining pioneer who crossed rural Alaska with a
team of husky dogs at the age of 79 has served as an
inspiration for an American adventurer who plans to
carry out a 565km (350-mile) dog-sledding expedition in
an effort to retrace part of her route.

Nellie Cashman was born in Midleton, Co Cork, in 1845.
As a child she emigrated to the US with her mother and
her sister, Frances, and they initially settled in
Boston, Massachusetts, before moving to Washington DC.
As an adult Cashman moved to Tombstone, Arizona, where
she became one of its leading citizens helping to build
one of the first schools in the area. She took up gold
prospecting and it was for her mining exploits that she
became most famous.

At the age of 79 Nellie ran a team of dogs from Koyukuk
in the Arctic Circle to Seward in Alaska to pick up
supplies. The 1,200km (750 mile) journey was her most
famous trek, but it proved too much for her. She came
down with a serious case of pneumonia and died on
January 4th, 1925.

Now an Alaskan kennel owner who first became interested
in Nellie's story as a child plans to recreate the
arduous journey.

Peg Harpham of Fairbanks, Alaska, has built a
traditional sled for the marathon trek which she hopes
to undertake later this year. Her trek will retrace
part of Nellie's journey from Nenana to Nolan in

She aims to keep as true to Nellie's travelling
experience as possible - wearing the same sorts of
clothes Nellie would have worn and using the same
primitive survival equipment.

"It will be as authentic as possible. I'll be keeping a
journal and video diary of the adventure, beginning
with the research right through to the trip itself.
What I am seeking at this stage is information about
Nellie. There might be some history buffs out there who
know her story and may have information I can't get
here in Alaska."

Anyone who can be of assistance to Mrs Harpham should
contact her at 3325 Chena Hot Springs Road, Fairbanks,
Alaska 99712, US.

© The Irish Times

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