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August 23, 2006

UVF Man Revealed as Top Paisley Aid

News About Ireland & The Irish

SF 08/23/06 Seawright Revelation Exposes Paisley Hypocrisy Once Again
IO 08/23/06 New York Mayor's Plea Over Irish Immigrants
NY 08/23/06 Bloomberg, On Ireland Trip, Rules Out White House Run
SF 08/23/06 British Govt Must Come Clean On Use Of CR Gas In Long Kesh
SF 08/23/06 UDR Monument Sends Out Message to Nationalists In Lisburn
KA 08/23/06 Ógra Sinn Fein Is 'Awaiting The Lark'
BT 08/23/06 Hamill Inquiry Start Held Up By Officers' Anonymity Case
BT 08/23/06 DUP's Price For Progress: IRA Must Go
BT 08/23/06 Scenes Like This Can Draw Kids To Violence, Says Expert
BT 08/23/06 Should Wall Come Down? Down Council: Yes, Police: No
BT 08/23/06 Growing Support For Integrated Schools, Says Survey
DN 08/23/06 Hibernians & Gays On Same Page


Seawright Revelation Exposes Paisley Hypocrisy Once Again

Published: 23 August, 2006

Sinn Féin Assembly member for West Belfast Fra McCann today
said that the admission from the UVF that former DUP
Belfast City Councillor George Seawright was one of their
members raised serious questions for Ian Paisley to answer.

Mr McCann said:

"The revelation that former DUP councillor George Seawright
was a member of the UVF will not surprise many within the
nationalist community who had first hand experience of his
sectarian politics in City Hall and elsewhere.

"However it does raise serious questions for the DUP leader
Ian Paisley. Seawright was one of Ian Paisley's right hand
men for many years. We can only presume that he was also a
member of the UVF at this time while the UVF was heavily
involved in a sectarian murder campaign against Catholics.

"This revelation exposes once again Ian Paisley and the DUP
hypocrisy when it comes to the issue of loyalist violence.
Time and again clear links between the DUP and loyalist
death squads have been established. Time and again the
media allow the DUP leader off the hook. It is now time for
the DUP and Ian Paisley to come clean and to live up to
their responsibilities in bringing an end to unionist
paramilitary campaigns and use their undoubted influence to
see them engage with the IICD.

"The days of DUP hypocrisy on the issue of unionist
violence must end if progress is to be secured." ENDS


New York Mayor's Plea Over Irish Immigrants

22/08/2006 - 15:24:53

US politicians must inject some common sense into the
country’s immigration policies to continue to attract the
brightest and best Irish immigrants, it was claimed today.

The Mayor of New York Michael Bloomberg said he was
lobbying hard to increase the number of visas issued to
newcomers and undocumented Irish people.

Mr Bloomberg was speaking in Ballymote, Co Sligo where he
unveiled a monument to the Fighting 69th Regiment which was
led during the American Civil War by Sligo native Michael
Corcoran. The memorial includes some of the original steel
beams from the Twin Towers destroyed by terrorists almost
five years ago.

Mr Bloomberg told a civic reception in his honour: “The
histories of New York and Ireland have been so intertwined,
I would expect that our economic relationships will
continue to grow in the future even more so.

“For that to happen, we need to convince the US Congress to
adopt a federal immigration policy that makes sense.

“It means significantly increasing the number of visas that
we give to those who want to come to America and ensuring
that those who are already in America have an opportunity
to stay.

“I know there are many Irish-born New Yorkers who are
caught in the trap of our federal immigration policies.

“If we’re going to continue to attract the brightest and
the best to the United States, and Ireland has more than
its fair share, we need to inject some common sense to our
immigration laws and I’m doing my best to make that case.”

Local Fine Gael TD John Perry, chairman of the organising
committee, said the centuries-old relationship between
Ireland and the US has been nurtured and nourished over the
years by the millions of Irish who made their home in

“They brought with them their love of their native culture,
language and arts. One of the most profound features of the
Irish American story is the way that the love of Irish
culture and heritage has been passed from one generation to
the next,” he added.

Members of the 69th are currently serving in Iraq where 19
have been killed - ten from New York and nine from
Louisiana. More than 50 others have been wounded.

Mr Bloomberg said he was deeply moved by the supreme
sacrifices still being made by the unit.

The brigade was formed from Irishmen who emigrated to the
US and it fought one of the bloodiest American Civil War
battles on behalf of the Southern Confederate forces in
Fredericksburg, Maryland, on September 13, 1862.

Former US president John F Kennedy referred to the 69th in
a speech to the Dail on June 28, 1963, and even presented a
green flag on behalf of the 69th Brigade which still hangs
in the corridors of Leinster House.

A museum to honour the 69th is now being planned in

“It will keep alive in our hearts the history, the valour,
and the untameable legend of this Regiment and its
leaders,” Mr Perry said.

The 69th’s mascot is the Irish wolfhound and its patron
saint is St Patrick.

Mr Bloomberg’s visit was picketed by anti-war protestors
opposed to the mayor’s support for Israel’s offensive
against Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Mr Perry said the the 108th mayor of New York had been a
good friend to Irish Americans in the city.

Tim Mulcahy of the Sligo Anti-War Group said that Ted
Kennedy would have been a more preferable guest to unveil
the monument.


August 23, 2006

Bloomberg, On Ireland Trip, Rules Out White House Run

By Eamon Quinn

SLIGO TOWN, Ireland, Aug. 22 — During his first trip to
Ireland since winning election in 2001, Mayor Michael R.
Bloomberg on Tuesday ruled out a run for president in 2008,
saying that he would serve out his remaining three years as
mayor before leaving politics and starting a full-time
career in philanthropy.

Speculation about the political plans of Mr. Bloomberg, 64,
a multibillionaire whose term runs through 2009, has
escalated over the past few months as he appeared to flirt
with the idea of a presidential run. But his comments in
Ireland appeared to close the door on that.

“I am the mayor of the greatest city in the world,” Mr.
Bloomberg told reporters in Ballymote in west Ireland, the
ancestral home of a brigadier general of the American
Army’s 69th or Fighting Irish Infantry Regiment, where he
went to unveil a cylindrical statue. “I have the greatest
job in the world, and it’s got 3 years, 4 months and about
10 days left to go, and I plan to serve all of that.”

The mayor said that he was flattered by the speculation and
his mother enjoyed news reports about it, but he added that
he planned to leave politics. “I think you can expect me to
be mayor through my term and leave political life and try
and do something else and continue to make the world better
for my kids,” he said.

Asked whether that was a definite no, Mr. Bloomberg said:
“I do not know how many times I have to say I am not going
to run for president. But I’ll say it one more time. I have
no plans to run for president.”

During the eight-hour visit, Mr. Bloomberg unveiled a
seven-and-a-half-ton copper monument to the 19th-century
soldier Michael Corcoran and his 69th Regiment. The
general, who was born on the outskirts of Ballymote, played
a prominent role in the Union cause in the Civil War. The
69th Regiment has lost 19 soldiers in Iraq.

The statue, which depicts scenes from Corcoran’s life, is
set in a concrete base encased with steel from the World
Trade Center. The ceremony was attended by guests from the
United States, including the father of a victim of the
Sept. 11 attack, and a widow of a member of the Fighting
Irish regiment who was killed in an ambush in Iraq in 2004.

A small group of demonstrators, protesting America’s role
in the Middle East, displayed banners some distance from
the unveiling in a cordoned-off area.

The trip to Ireland completed Mr. Bloomberg’s trilogy of
“I” ’s that New York mayors traditionally visit, which also
includes Italy and Israel, and he used the trip in part to
promote the role of business leaders in politics. Speaking
earlier to civic leaders here, Mr. Bloomberg said that
promoting an all-island economy between north and south in
Ireland was the right policy.

“Sometimes, business leaders and entrepreneurs provide
civic leadership by finding the common ground that all
people share: a desire for good jobs and a secure future —
and a willingness to work together to create them,” Mr.
Bloomberg said.

But the visit also seemed to inspire a more relaxed mood
than the mayor has often displayed at public events in New
York. Outlining his relationship to Irish culture in his
speech, he spoke fondly of his Friday nights as a young man
at O’Flanagan’s Pub on the Upper East Side.

And at the dedication ceremony, attended by the Irish-
American dancer Michael Flatley, Mr. Bloomberg posed for
photographs with Alaska, a bald eagle from a nearby bird
sanctuary, on his arm and an Irish wolfhound, one of the
largest breeds in the world and a mascot of the Fighting
69th, by his side.

Diane Cardwell contributed reporting for this article from
New York.


British Government Must Come Clean On Use Of CR Gas In Long Kesh

Published: 23 August, 2006

Sinn Féin Assembly member Raymond McCartney has called on
the British government to finally come clean on the use of
the lethal CR gas in Long Kesh in October 1974. Mr
McCartney's call comes after a group of former British
soldiers admit in interviews with the Daily Ireland
newspaper that the gas used was not CS gas as previously
stated by the British government.

Mr McCartney said:

"For decades republicans have believed that the British
army used lethal CR gas fired from helicopters during the
aftermath of the burning of Long Kesh in October 1974. The
British government has long denied this claiming that the
substance used was CS gas. However those present who knew
the effects of CS gas from the streets were adamant that
the effects of the gas used on that night were completely

"In the years since more than 50 former prisoners who were
present on that night and were attacked with the gas have
died or are suffering from cancer. In interviews with the
Daily Ireland newspaper this morning three British soldiers
present on the night confirm that the substance used was
not CS gas. We also know that CR gas was being stored on
the Long Kesh site at that time.

"The British government now need to come clean. Thirty
years on the people deserve to know the truth. A group of
former prisoners are preparing a legal challenge on this
issue. The British government attempts to conceal the truth
about that night in October 1974 must end and the truth
must emerge." ENDS


UDR Monument Sends Out Clear Message Nationalists Not Welcome In Lisburn

Published: 23 August, 2006

Sinn Féin Group leader on Lisburn Council Paul Butler today
described the proposed memorial for the UDR in Lisburn City
centre as deeply insulting to the many victims of this
unionist militia.

Cllr. Butler said:

"It is high time that Lisburn Council stopped pedalling the
myth that Lisburn is a ŒCity for All‚. The council excludes
nationalists and republicans from the top positions, it
insists on breaking equality law by flying the Union Jack
365 days every year and has now decided to place a monument
to the UDR militia in the city centre.

"The UDR was involved in the murder of many nationalists
and it has been acknowledged by the British government as
being the source for much of the loyalist death squads‚
weaponry. If monuments are to be erected to the UDR then it
should be in non contentious areas or indeed within the
military bases from where they operated. A city centre is
no such place for such a memorial of this kind. A clear
message is being sent out that Catholics and nationalists,
the victims of this force, are not welcome in Lisburn, a
fact which will have to be acknowledged by any potential
future investors in the area.

"Tonight within the Lisburn Borough a local family will
hold a vigil to remember their son killed 20 years ago. It
is widely accepted that the UDR are involved in this
murder, yet UUP, DUP and Alliance Councillors think that it
is appropriate that a monument to the killers of Michael
Power be erected in the centre of the Council area in which
he lived." ENDS


Ógra Sinn Fein Is 'Awaiting The Lark'

A new book recently published by Ógra Sinn Féin
commemorates the 25th anniversary of the 1981 hunger
strikes, and documents the input of young people during
this difficult period in our history.

‘Awaiting the Lark’ will be launched officially in Kilkenny
city on Monday August 28, in the Clubhouse Hotel at 8pm.

All this year commemorations, marches and rallies have
taken centre stage as Republicans the length and breadth of
the country celebrate the 25th anniversary of the hunger
strikes, and the sacrifices of the brave men who endured
the agony of that protest, so that neither they nor their
people would be criminalised by the British establishment.

In this year of celebration and commemoration Ógra Sinn
Féin has taken the initative to remember the extraordinary
role of young people during this time by publishing this
book Awaiting the Lark.

Awaiting the Lark is a collection of personal memories,
recollections and accounts from a host of prominent
Republicans, about the hunger strike period. This
publication is unique in comparison to other literature
published about this era as it focuses primarily on the
involvement and participation of young people.

The role played by young people during this challenging
time was indeed a pivotal one, both outside and inside the
prison, where 80 per cent of those involved in the 1981
Hunger Strike were under the age of 25.

Those featured in the book include TDs, past and present,
former hunger strikers, relations of the hunger strikers
and a lot more besides. The book offers a fresh perspective
on this period and shows the reader just how deeply
different people were affected by what transpired in the H-

The launch of Awaiting the Lark will follow a vigil in
memory of the 1981 hunger strike outside Town Hall in the
city at 7pm.

For further information contact Peadar on: +353851443832;
or e-mail


Hamill Inquiry Start Held Up By Officers' Anonymity Case

By Chris Thornton
23 August 2006

Hearings about the sectarian mob murder of Portadown man
Robert Hamill will be delayed, the inquiry investigating
the case confirmed last night.

Public sessions had been due to open on September 5, but
have now been pushed back while about 20 former RUC
officers battle to remain anonymous.

The officers went to court yesterday to appeal a ruling by
the inquiry panel which said they should be named and give
evidence in public.

Robert Hamill, a father of three, died after being beaten
by a loyalist mob in Portadown town centre in April 1997.

The inquiry will examine allegations that police at the
scene failed to stop the attack and claims about the
handling of evidence.

Earlier this month the panel granted anonymity to one of
the 60 former RUC officers linked to the case.

But around 20 other officers who were turned down argue
that they are entitled to the same protection.

Their appeal will be heard in a judicial review on August

The inquiry panel is unable to hand documents concerning
the officers to the Hamill family's legal team until the
anonymity issue is decided.

"It is inevitable that the judicial review proceedings will
delay the start of the inquiry's public hearings," the
inquiry team said in a statement last night.

Barra McGrory, the solicitor for the Hamill family, said
his clients want the case dealt with as quickly as


DUP's Price For Progress: IRA Must Go

By Noel McAdam
23 August 2006

The DUP last night set out in more detail its terms for
potential power-sharing with Sinn Fein, reiterating that
the Provisional IRA will have to effectively disappear.

As the parties prepared for futher debate today on the
complexities of devolving policing and justice, a senior
DUP MP said confirming reports from both the
Decommissioning and the Independent Monitoring bodies would
also help create the right conditions for a return of

Gregory Campbell, who has been representing the party on
two key weekly sessions of the Preparation for Government
committee, said even if Sinn Fein backed an Assembly motion
calling for the disbandment of all paramilitary groups "we
still need to see action."

But Sinn Fein Assembly member John O'Dowd, who has
represented his party at recent meetings of the groups,
said it was time for the DUP to "get real".

"The last thing the unionist community should be worried
about is the IRA. There are much more serious concerns at
the moment," he added.

Mr Campbell, however, said it would be necessary for the
Provisionals to be wound up in a credible way.

"There would be no evidence of activity: they would need to
have effectively disappeared. After that, we would need to
allow sufficient time to show that that had actually
happened, there is no activity on the ground," the East
Londonderry MP stressed.


Scenes Like This Can Draw Kids To Violence, Says Expert

Psychologist's warning over paramilitary displays

By Clare Weir
23 August 2006

A child psychologist todaycorrect warned that paramilitary
shows of strength can entice children into joining armed

Professor Ed Cairns was speaking after a masked INLA gunman
fired off a volley of shots from a sub-machine gun at a
hunger strike commemoration in Londonderry at the weekend.

Many children were present at the event, which was also
attended by Sinn Fein chief negotiator Martin McGuinness,
party whip Mitchel McLaughlin and MLA and former hunger
striker Raymond McCartney.

Such displays have also been carried out by loyalist
paramilitaries at 11th night bonfires.

Professor Cairns is based at the University of Ulster in
Coleraine and specialises in the effect of political
violence on children and social phychological aspects of
the Northern Ireland conflict.

He said that research suggests that "learned behaviour"
from adults is one of the reasons why young people join
paramilitary groups.

The Fellow of the British Psychological Society, who has
also worked in America and Australia during his
distinguished career, said he was more worried about the
influence of such actions on children rather than any
possible trauma caused.

"It all depends on the individual child, but there is
always the possibility that a child could be inspired by
this as a model of how they should behave," he said.

"Children who would be frightened of this type of behaviour
would normally get over it very quickly, but more worrying
is if a child is impressed.

"One of the mysteries about all conflicts, including our
own, is how people are drawn in.

"There is research that suggests that one of the reasons
why young people join paramilitary organisations is because
of the behaviour of older people around them.

"Some of these children may have not had a choice over
whether or not they were able to attend this event and it
is easy to sit on the sidelines, but there is a possibility
that some children could be affected by this."

However Willie Gallagher of the IRSP, the political party
linked to the INLA, dismissed the claims and denied that
the group's ceasefire was breached.

"This is the first I've heard of this, it really is
scraping the barrel," he said.

"I had my own kids of three and six there and the eldest
boy talked about it but he wasn't disturbed and neither was

"It was a tribute to Mickey Devine, nothing more, nothing
less, there's nothing more to be read into it.

"The INLA is on ceasefire and its guns have been silent for
years. Firing into the air is not an aggressive act."

Policing Board member and DUP MLA William Hay said he would
be raising the matter with the Chief constable Sir Hugh

"More of these events are attracting people who are
prepared to fire a gun in public," he said.

A police spokesman today urged anyone with knowledge about
illegally held firearms to contact the PSNI.


Should This Wall Come Tumbling Down? Down Council Says Yes, But Police Say No

By Deborah McAleese
23 August 2006

The PSNI last night said it has no intention of removing a
blast wall from Downpatrick Police Station - despite
demands from the local council.

Down District Council has passed a Sinn Fein motion calling
for the removal of the wall, claiming it is impeding
business growth in the town.

However, Chief Superintendent Ralph Taggart said that after
a security assessment it was decided the wall cannot be

He said: "At this time there are no immediate plans to
remove the wall from around Downpatrick station due to the
current security assessment. However, this remains under
constant review."

The motion stated that the wall serves no practical purpose
and is a "severe impediment to businesses in the area" and
contributes to traffic congestion.

Sinn Fein Councillor McConvey said: "The PSNI must now
decommission this blast wall as it serves no purpose
whatsoever yet it is having a very detrimental impact on
Downpatrick's town centre.

"It is a significant impediment to local businesses on
Irish Street because of how it contributes to traffic
congestion in the area, a fact consistently highlighted by
Roads Service, and at the same time is hampering the
economic expansion of the town.

"It beggars belief that any elected representative who
claims to have the best interests of Downpatrick at heart
could put forward arguments in support of the continued
existence of this blast wall."

An amendment to the motion by the DUP, calling for a
security assessment to be carried out first, was rejected.

DUP councillor William Walker said: "If the local PSNI
Commander comes back and tells us that there is no longer a
security threat in the town or district then by all means
take down the wall. I agree it is unsightly but until there
is no longer a security threat it must stay up."


Growing Support For Integrated Schools, Says Survey

By Kathryn Torney
23 August 2006

A large majority of the Northern Ireland public would like
their political representatives to support integrated
education, according to the results of a new survey.

The Millward Brown research, which involved face to face
interviews with over 1,000 people last month, found strong
support for the growing integrated schools movement in the

When asked if they would like to see their MP, MLA or local
councillor supporting integrated education in Northern
Ireland, 80% of the respondents said 'yes'.

They were then asked if the next time they voted, would
they be more or less likely to vote for a political party
or candidate that included in their or its manifesto
support for integrated education in Northern Ireland?

Fifty-nine percent said they would be more likely - with
35% saying they would be "much more likely".

Stephen Young, director of Millward Brown, said: "The
research indicates, yet again, very high levels of public
support for integrated education in Northern Ireland.

"It also shows the public's interest in backing political
candidates and parties whose manifestos include a
commitment to integration in our schools."

Michael Wardlow, chief executive of the Northern Ireland
Council for Integrated Education, said: "This survey
confirms the fact that public opinion is strongly behind a
shared future in which children are educated together as
the norm."

Baroness Blood, campaign chair for the Integrated Education
Fund, said: "This important research should send out a
clear message that the majority of people in Northern
Ireland want to see integrated education. Our political
parties should now address the issue of how to reconstruct
our education system in a way that facilitates the clear
desire from the electorate for more integrated choice."


Hibernians & Gays On Same Page

St. Pat's Parade leaders aim to save church in the East Village

By Joe Mahoney
Daily News Albany Bureau Chief

Brendan Faye, organizer of gay-inclusive St. Pat's Parade
in Queens, outside St. Brigid's.

The ancient order of Hibernians - which won't let
homosexuals march in the St. Patrick's Day Parade - wants
to create a museum in the gay-friendly East Village.

The move would save historic St. Brigid's Church from
demolition by converting it into the state Irish American
History Museum, now located in Albany.

In a letter yesterday to Edward Cardinal Egan that was
obtained by the Daily News, Hibernian President Jack Meehan
said his group stands ready to raise millions of dollars to
renovate the church.

"We are not asking for a single dollar from the diocese to
repair the church," Meehan told Egan. "All we are doing is
asking you not to destroy it."

The Hibernians' stance puts them in the same corner as some
Irish activists who have battled the group over its refusal
to allow gays to march under their own banner in
Manhattan's annual parade.

"This church was built with the blood, the sweat and the
tears of Irish immigrants," said Brendan Faye, organizer of
the gay-inclusive St. Patrick's Day Parade in Queens.
"Isn't it ironic now that the gays and the [Hibernians] and
everyone else are coming together over a planned

But getting the Archdiocese of New York to pull back the
wrecking ball may be no easy task. Egan's spokesman, Joseph
Zwilling, said the archdiocese wants to use the property
for "another ministry" - one that would not include the

"Museums are fine things, but that is not what the
archdiocese is in place for," Zwilling told The News.

The fate of the church, at Avenue B and Eighth St., could
be determined tomorrow by Manhattan Supreme Court Justice
Barbara Kapnick, who is being asked by archdiocese lawyers
to lift an injunction holding up the demolition.

The takedown was halted after some initial work that
included smashing stained-glass windows etched with the
names of survivors of the devastating Irish potato famine
of the 1840s.

Meehan told Egan that the destruction of the glass was
"particularly sad," since the Hibernians had informed the
archdiocese it wanted to assist in preserving such windows.

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