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September 21, 2006

Adams: Concentrate on Restoring Devolution

News About Ireland & The Irish

IT 09/21/06 Concentrate On Restoring Devolution - Adams
SF 09/21/06 Gerry Kelly Articles On Policing In Belfast Telegraph
IT 09/22/06 Key Role Of Scottish Meeting Stressed By Hain
BB 09/21/06 Ahern Confirms He Received Cash
IT 09/21/06 Belfast Court Told Politician Used Sectarian Abuse
IT 09/22/06 NI Soccer Teams Pull Out Aftersectarian Incident
BN 09/21/06 MI5 Involvement In Lawyer Murder Case Sparks Secrecy Fears
UT 09/21/06 NYC Comptroller To Use His Clout
LN 09/21/06 Large Crowd Marks 25th Anniversary Of Hunger Strikes
IT 09/22/06 Leas Cross Deaths 'Not Preventable'


Concentrate On Restoring Devolution - Adams

Last updated: 21-09-06, 20:22

Northern Ireland's politicians need to stop focusing on
pre-conditions and should concentrate instead on restoring
devolution, Gerry Adams insisted tonight.

The Sinn Fein president was speaking before he addressed
the Council on Foreign Relations in New York. He said the
Rev Ian Paisley's Democratic Unionists should should stop
coming up with endless lists of demands and respect other
parties' mandates.

And he also dismissed claims that Northern Ireland police
chief Sir Hugh Orde could to be invited to address a
special Sinn Fein conference on the party's policing

Two days after the Rev Ian Paisley called for the IRA to
disband, Mr Adams said: "I just think everybody has to
knuckle down and stay away from pre-conditions.

"We need to respect each other's mandates. "I disagree with
Ian Paisley's views fundamentally but I respect his
mandate. "I could set all sorts of pre-conditions and come
up with a Sinn Fein wish-list. "However we have to set all
of those matters to one side.

"We should all be focused on the fact that we have British
ministers implementing policies which affect our
constituents, who are unaccountable to our constituents.

"We have to ask what are we going to do about it?" Mr Adams
also appeared to knock on the head a suggestion from PSNI
Chief Constable Sir Hugh Orde that he would go and address
Sinn Fein members at a special conference on policing if he
was invited.

"I would not even respond to that," the West Belfast MP
said. "He is not a member of our party. "Anyone who comes
to speak to us would have to be a decision by the party but
it is certainly not an issue."


© 2006


Gerry Kelly Articles On Policing In The Belfast Telegraph

Published: 21 September, 2006

An historic decision by Sinn Fein to participate in
policing could come within weeks of a timeframe being
agreed for the transfer of powers to local politicians.

And with crucial negotiations in Scotland getting closer,
Gerry Kelly has acknowledged "massive changes" since the
days of the old RUC.

In the event of republicans endorsing policing, the senior
Sinn Fein negotiator said their involvement would not be
"half hearted" but "full-bodied".

"You are talking about the full package. You are talking
about having achieved a new beginning to policing, then
being full-bodied behind it," the party's policing and
justice spokesman told the Belfast Telegraph.

"I think that we have proved ourselves in the past, that
when we have said we will do something, and we achieve that
goal, then we go for it," he continued.

But he stressed that the "full package" of police reforms
had yet to be delivered.

Working institutions at Stormont, including agreement on a
new Policing and Justice Department and the powers to be
transferred as well as a timeframe for achieving this, are
all crucial if republican participation is to be achieved.

"Clearly in those circumstances we will be going (to a
special Ard Fheis) with a leadership proposal," Gerry Kelly

And on the timeframe for that, he suggested it could be
"weeks rather than months".

This, he said, was the "biggie". "Some people have
described it (as being) as big as the Good Friday Agreement
in republican terms," the North Belfast MLA said.

And what would republican participation in policing mean?

"I think once you go to that point, you're in the full
package," Gerry Kelly said.

"I want Sinn Fein to be involved in the justice process and
be involved in any Ministry of Justice - You wouldn't be
able to go to an Ard Fheis and say, "Well, we think
somebody should be a justice minister, but not (be) on the
(Policing) Board‚."

And how difficult would it be for him and other Sinn Fein
leaders to encourage young republicans to join the police?

"Well I think if you are convinced, and remember we are
'futuring' here, if you make a decision and you believe
that it is the right political decision to make, then you
have to stand over it.

"There's no point going in half measures and I won't go at
it in half measures," the senior party negotiator said.

He emphasised that policing had to be got right, adding, "I
think we are close to it." ENDS

Policing feature

For Paul Connolly
From Brian Rowan

The 'p' words of the peace process can be heard in pretty
much every political sentence.

There is little talk now of decommissioning or
demilitarisation. These are more or less dead issues -
things that have been dealt with, things of the process's

The political focus now is on Paisley and power sharing,
and the 'Provos' and policing.

This is the agenda between now and the November 24 deadline
- it is the business to be settled and sorted in the
October talks in Scotland, and in whatever negotiations
might follow.

So, how close is Sinn Fein to taking its biggest step in
this long process, the step that brings it from outside to
inside policing - inside a future ministry at Stormont,
into the Board and, for young republicans, into the PSNI.

We may be closer than many people ever believed possible -
closer because republicans want and need policing in their
communities - but the circumstances that will make that
happen have yet to be achieved.

In the waiting, change is acknowledged.

"We haven't achieved the full package (of reforms) yet, and
I think the full package is very necessary."

Gerry Kelly was speaking to me in Sinn Féin's Falls Road
offices yesterday. He is one of his party's senior
negotiators - the policing and justice spokesman.

"I've never taken the position that everyone - even in the
RUC - was bad, neither do I accept that there was only a
few bad apples," he told me.

"I think you had a systemised approach,‰ he continued. "It
(the RUC) was certainly the frontline troops of unionist
rule, and I think that we have made massive changes to
that. I think we have someway (still) to go."

But you sense that wherever it is that republicans need
this process of policing change to go - in order to achieve
their participation - then eventually that can and will be
worked, not easily, but, yes, it can be done.

The policing stepping-stones that somehow have to be
arranged to allow republicans to cautiously tiptoe into
this process have long been identified.

They are in the shape of working political institutions,
agreement on a new and shared policing and justice
department at Stormont, the transfer of powers to local
politicians and an agreed timeframe for achieving this.

Republicans will also want to see and read the changes in

And, if it can be achieved, how quickly then will the Sinn
Fein leadership call that special Ard Fheis - or party
conference - to open the door for republicans into the
world of policing?

"You are talking weeks rather than months is probably the
best way to put it," Gerry Kelly told me.

"Clearly in those circumstances we will be going with a
leadership proposal," he continued.

That proposal can only be written one way if the overall
political project is to be successful.

It is a proposal that has to be about republican
participation - yes, maybe a critical, questioning,
participation in policing, but the Sinn Fein leadership
will have to direct its supporters and community towards
something they have long been suspicious of.

That requires preparation, and a lot of that work has
already been done in small and big meetings on both sides
of the border.

Gerry Kelly and other senior and significant republicans
have already been talking in a structured process to the

Some of this has been about exorcising the policing myths
in the places where republicans meet and talk, and about
introducing new thoughts and the new possibility of a place
in policing.

And what will that mean?

It will mean everything from a hoped for involvement in a
new policing and justice department at Stormont, to being
on the Policing Board, to encouraging young republicans and
nationalists to join the police.

It is what Gerry Kelly calls a "full-bodied" participation,
if the circumstances can be created.

"I want Sinn Fein to be involved in the justice process and
be involved in any Ministry of Justice," he told me. "You
wouldn't be able to go to an Ard Fheis and say, "Well, we
think somebody should be a justice minister but not (be) on
the (Policing) Board."

There are, of course, concerns - big concerns - not least
around the decision to transfer responsibility for national
security matters to MI5.

"If a person is a member of the PSNI, then that person, at
all times, needs to be accountable to the accountability
mechanisms connected with policing," Gerry Kelly argues.

"(They) cannot be separately accountable to MI5. They
cannot become an MI5 operative and therefore not tell about
that part of their duty," he continued.

"And this is crucial and this is something which needs to
be sorted out."

The reading between the lines in all of this is that there
is a preparation, circumstances allowing, for the next big
republican step in this process.

Gerry Kelly, who in an IRA role had an active part in a
long "war", is now part of the Sinn Fein management team
that is moving republicans in a new and different

It is a further confirmation that the IRA war is over -
that the shooting of police officers or anyone else is
finished, and that is what is so hugely significant about
this possible - even probable - next step.

"We are very, very, aware that this (policing) is the
biggest obstacle that we will have to overcome in our peace
strategy and our political strategy," Gerry Kelly says.

But republicans are getting ready to climb over that

It depends on Ian Paisley and power sharing and on an
agreement with the DUP on a policing process and future
that could do more for peace than the ceasefires and all of
the decommissioning and all of the words of the IRA a year
ago. Ends


Key Role Of Scottish Meeting Stressed By Hain

Gerry Moriarty, Northern Editor

Northern Secretary Peter Hain made it clear last night that
the Scottish talks next month, rather than the November
24th deadline for a devolution deal, was the key period in
determining whether a Sinn Féin/DUP power-sharing agreement
was possible.

He hinted that the British and Irish governments might
begin winding down their efforts to strike a deal if it was
apparent from the talks in St Andrew's, from October 11th-
13th that Sinn Féin and the DUP remained deadlocked.

Mr Hain, who played something of a carrot-and-stick game
with Northern politicians yesterday, repeated that if a
deal was not achieved by November 24th then Assembly
members would lose their pay and allowances.

Technically, however, the Assembly is not due to formally
cease until May 2007 - the completion of the full four-year
term of the Assembly that was elected in 2003. This led
some politicians to believe that the technical continuation
of the Assembly would provide leeway for additional
negotiations even were the MLAs to lose their salaries.

However, Mr Hain, on BBC Northern Ireland's Hearts and
Minds programme last night, emphasised that the Scottish
talks chaired by Taoiseach Bertie Ahern and British prime
minister Tony Blair were critical for establishing if
agreement could be achieved by the deadline.

If it could not be struck by November 24th he said that as
well as stopping pay and allowances from November 25th
"what I will have to do the following week is introduce
into parliament an order dissolving the 2003 Assembly".

"And then it isn't a question of Sinn Féin coming to the
DUP or the DUP walking down the Falls Road to Sinn Féin
offices and saying we would really like to do a deal after
all because we have suddenly woken up and realised that the
government was serious after all and we are serious about
this deadline," said Mr Hain.

Earlier yesterday, while addressing the Confederation of
British Industry in Belfast, Mr Hain focused on the
positive rather than the negative.

He told business leaders that were devolution restored
Northern Executive ministers could look again at decisions
taken by direct-rule ministers relating to increased
domestic and industrial rates, water charges, and the
abolition of the 11-Plus transfer exam.

For years many Northern politicians and business people
have urged a harmonisation of corporation tax between the
North and the South, which is 12 per cent in the Republic
and effectively 19 per cent in the UK.

While any change would be a matter for the British
chancellor Gordon Brown, Mr Hain suggested that a Northern
Executive might have a reasonable chance to persuade
whoever was chancellor to make Northern business as
competitive as the South in terms of corporation tax.

"The rate at which corporation tax can be levied has been
raised with me by business interests more than once. The
reality is that no UK cabinet minister can credibly go to
the chancellor and argue for a preferential corporation tax
rate for one part of the UK.

"But powerful representation could be made by an Executive
speaking with the authority of a devolved government. I
can't say how the chancellor would respond, but at least
the case could be made."

Meanwhile, DUP MEP Jim Allister said his party should feel
under no pressure to strike a deal by the deadline.
"November 24th will come and November 24th will go, but
until the IRA and its criminality are gone, I see no basis
for optimism."

He suggested that putting off a deal until the next British
general election scheduled for 2009 could suit the DUP's

"The next election could well produce the rich
opportunities of a hung parliament. So why rush our fences?
We can afford to wait more than most."

Meanwhile, former Ulster Unionist junior minister in the
Northern Executive, James Leslie, has announced his
defection from the UUP to the Conservative Party.

© The Irish Times


Ahern Confirms He Received Cash

Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern has confirmed he received
payments from a number of people in the early 1990s.

The payments have come under scrutiny by the Mahon Tribunal
which is investigating alleged planning corruption in the
Irish Republic.

Mr Ahern said a £70,000 figure quoted in the Irish Times
was "off the wall" and he had no questions to answer.

He said he had spoken to the tribunal in detail and he had
successfully sued a newspaper about the matter.


Mr Ahern, speaking from County Clare, confirmed that the
Irish Times report contained a lot of the information he
gave in a confidential session to the Mahon Tribunal.

He said, however, reports that he received the equivalent
of between £35,000 and £70,000 were "off the wall".

The newspaper reported that the tribunal has been told he
was given the money to pay legal bills.

The taoiseach said it was all part of previously-made
allegations that he received money from a builder, that he
has already spoken to the tribunal about in detail, and
about which he successfully sued The Sunday Business Post

He denied he had any questions to answer, adding that the
question was, who scurriliously leaked from a confidential
session of the tribunal to try to damage him?

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/09/21 16:41:26 GMT


Belfast Court Told Politician Used Sectarian Abuse

Last updated: 21-09-06, 16:45

An former DUP councillor used a term of sectarian abuse
against a council employee he is accused of indecently
assaulting, it was alleged in court today.

The worker told a court in Belfast that Roger Hutchinson
had branded the woman a die-hard republican and insulted
her Catholicism and added that the matter had been raised
with the party leader Ian Paisley.

Mr Hutchinson is denying an indecent assault charge based
on the witness's evidence after she alleged he fondled her
as part of a campaign of religious and sexual harassment.

"I was branded a die-hard republican and a little Fenian,"
she said.

The alleged victim claimed Mr Hutchinson (54) made the
comment at a meeting prior to the alleged indecent assault
in March 2003 at the Newtownabbey council offices.

She said she was told of the remark by another DUP
councillor, Paul Girvan, who allegedly said the comments
were made at a meeting of elected representatives.

"There was a (later) meeting between Dr Paisley, Alderman
Hutchinson and Alderman Girvan at Stormont," she added. She
said the sectarian slur had been discussed then.

Mr Hutchinson left his post as councillor and Assembly
member in 2003. He denies the alleged abuse. This is the
third day of the trial before a jury.

© 2006


NI Soccer Teams Pull Out Aftersectarian Incident

George Jackson

The manager of four junior soccer teams in Derry, which
consist only of Protestant schoolboys, has withdrawn the
teams from a league in the city because of fears of
sectarian attacks.

Wesley Robinson said yesterday that he had decided to
withdraw the Newbuildings FC's under-10, under-12, under-15
and under-17 teams from the Derry Youth League because of
increased fears following a sectarian incident last week.

Last week an under-14 game between Newbuildings FC and Top
of the Hill Celtic, from the mainly Catholic Gobnascale
Estate in Waterside, was abandoned when about 80 loyalists
shouted sectarian abuse at the Top of the Hill players.

The schoolboys sought shelter in dressing rooms beside the
St Columb's Park pitch and police were called to disperse
the loyalist mob.

Mr Robinson said that as a result of that incident, members
of his teams had been subjected to verbal sectarian abuse
at bus stops on their way to school on the predominantly
Catholic West Bank area of Derry.

"We have only three or four games left to play in the Derry
Youth League but after consulting with the parents, I've
decided to pull the teams out and we don't know if we'll be
back. We've been playing in the league for seven years and
it's the first time the games have been marred by

"It all stems back to what happened last week and for the
safety of the children we've had to take this step. Some of
the boys have been verbally abused at bus stops on the city

Mr Robinson said it had been decided to pull the teams out
for the rest of the season and no final decision had been
made as regards next season.

"We informed the league authorities about our decision
earlier this week. They can see our point of view that
young boys should not be playing football in such
situations. It is better keeping young players safe than
putting them into those situations."

© The Irish Times


MI5 Involvement In Lawyer Murder Case Sparks Secrecy Fears

21/09/2006 - 15:11:08

Nationalist politicians expressed concern today that MI5
could use a decision to give it full legal representation
at an inquiry into the murder of a human rights lawyer in
Northern Ireland to suppress sensitive documents.

The Rosemary Nelson Inquiry ruled yesterday the security
services would be granted the status of a full participant
in public hearings into allegations of security force
collusion in the 1999 murder of the 40-year-old solicitor
in a loyalist car bomb outside her home in Lurgan, Co

Sinn Féin Assembly member John O’Dowd was concerned MI5
could use its legal position to view papers and
subsequently suppress them.

“Rosemary Nelson was a highly respected human rights
lawyer, murdered by unionist paramilitaries after receiving
numerous death threats from members of the RUC,” the Upper
Bann MLA said.

“There is a widely held belief that British state agents
were directly involved in her murder. This belief has been
strengthened over the years as successive RUC and PSNI
regimes have sought to frustrate and delay the search for
the truth.

“I share the grave concerns being expressed by the Nelson
family at this turn of events.

“Given the history of MI5 involvement in Ireland and the
fact that they are a by-word for secrecy and concealment,
there is a justifiable fear that their role within the
Nelson inquiry will be to view material and then attempt to
prevent it from either being made public or entering the
inquiry at all.”

The inquiry, chaired by Michael Morland agreed to full
participant status on grounds put to them by the security
service – that it will have assumed the lead responsibility
for national security intelligence work in Northern Ireland
by the time the inquiry makes its recommendations.

MI5 argued to Mr Morloand it therefore needed to be able to
make representations and to understand fully the evidence
behind, and reasons for, any recommendations.

It also said it wanted full legal representation because
the inquiry may wish to consider intelligence material in
the course of its proceedings.

Despite an extensive police investigation nobody has ever
been charged with the murder of Rosemary Nelson in March
1999 which was blamed on loyalist paramilitaries.

In his report into allegations of collusion, retired
Canadian Supreme Court judge Peter Cory recommended the
establishment of an inquiry to look into the circumstances
of the murder and into the allegations of collusion.

He made similar recommendations for inquires into the
murders of Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane – shot dead in
his Belfast home in February 1989; loyalist paramilitary
leader Billy Wright – shot dead by republicans inside the
Maze Prison in December 1997; and Robert Hamill – a
Catholic beaten to death by loyalists in Portadown, Co
Armagh in April 1997.

The Nelson inquiry is scheduled to start oral hearings in
mid January next year.

Full participant status has previously been granted to Mrs
Nelson’s husband and her mother, separately, the police,
Ministry of Defence, Northern Ireland Office and Colin Port
who headed an investigation team which re-investigated the
Nelson murder.

Mrs Nelson’s brother, Eunan McGee, said the decision had
taken the family by surprise and was concerned that MI5
could use its status to remove sensitive documents.

SDLP Policing Board member Dolores Kelly described the
ruling as a strange and unprecedented development.

“Why would MI5 want to be involved in the Nelson inquiry?
Is it because they had intelligence about Rosemary’s
murder?” the Upper Bann MLA asked.

“If so, what did they do with it? Did they just sit on it
for seven years like they did a bomb warning they had about

“Or is this just a warning to us all about the enlarged
role that MI5 wants to have in the North in the future –
involving themselves in more and more aspects of policing?
Whatever the answer, this is a profoundly worrying


NYC Comptroller To Use His Clout

The man with his hands on the purse strings of billions of
pounds of US investment in Northern Ireland has told the
Government more needed to be done to end discrimination in
Northern Ireland.

New York City Comptroller, William Thompson, controls
investments of some $100billion in US companies on behalf
of the city`s pension fund and says he used his power to
ensure those companies promoted equality and tackle
discrimination and disadvantage worldwide.

Speaking at a Belfast conference he said that gave him
"considerable clout" in influencing corporate policy.

And he pledged to use that clout through the US companies
operating in Northern Ireland in which he held a nine
billion dollar stake.

He said he believed he had a statutory duty to ensure those
firms provided fair employment.

He and his predecessors had been campaigners for the
McBride Principles for equality in the workplace, he said.

Mr Thompson claimed some credit for its successes. "The
workplace is the most integrated section of society in
Northern Ireland," he said.

However he said while much had been achieved on the
equality front more needed to be done.

"The Government in Northern Ireland must set goals and
timetables to end disadvantage in all its forms - to reduce
the number of persons currently unemployed and to create
economic opportunity for all on the basis equality," he

Speaking at a Belfast conference hosted by the Committee on
the Administration of Justice and the trade union Unison,
he pledged to continue his efforts to end discrimination
and bring equality to Northern Ireland.

He said he would be "a willing and aggressive partner in
the struggle to bring full equality to Northern Ireland."

Mr Thompson is spending several days on both sides of the
border and while in Belfast is meeting the local political
parties and Secretary of State Peter Hain.

:: Mr Thompson gave a small example of the clout he had
with US companies in which he held investments.

In 2002 he was made aware of a UFF sectarian mural having
been painted on the wall of the Kentucky Fried Chicken
outlet in the Shankill which had not been removed despite

At the time he controlled an investment of $30million in
KFC and contacted the bosses - the next day the mural was
painted over.


Large Crowd Marks 25th Anniversary Of Hunger Strikes

By: Joe Barrett

THE 10 republican hunger strikers who died 25 years ago had
the effect of impressing on republicans that political
negotiations could be used in resolving the impasse between
the British and the Irish over sovereignty of the six
counties in Ulster.

That was Brendan (Bik) McFarland’s opinion when he
addressed a large crowd of local republicans from Laois who
attended an event to mark the 25th anniversary of the
hunger strike in Mountmellick last Sunday.

In 1981, Brendan McFarland was the commanding officer in
the H Blocks when the 10 prisoners decided to go on a fast
to the death to retain their status as political prisoners.

Mr McFarland said the blanket protest, the dirty and no-
wash protest and the hunger strikes were all struggles by
Irish Republican prisoners to regain the political status
that they had enjoyed prior to 1976, when the British
Government decided to end arbitrarily what was known as
special category status and implement a policy of

In 1976 all new prisoners were introduced to a newly
constructed prison , the infamous H-Blocks, where all
previous privileges of political status were denied.

Prisoners demanded rights be restored to them: They
demanded the right not to wear a prison uniform, not to do
prison work, of free association with other prisoners, to
organise their own educational and recreational facilities
and the right to one visit, one letter and one parcel per

When the British authorities refused to grant these, the
prisoners escalated the protests to the point where 10 men
died rather than give in to the British system of
criminalisation, said Mr McFarland.

Mr McFarland said by the time the hunger strike had been
called off 90 other prisoners had signed up to take the
place of the dead men.

The ten who died on hunger strike were Bobby Sands, Francis
Hughes, Patsy O’Hara, Raymond McCreesh, Joe McDonnell,
Martin Hurson, Kevin Lynch, Kieran Doherty, Thomas McElwee,
and Michael Devine.

By the time the hunger strike ended on October 3 1981, the
rights of the republican prisoners in the H Blocks had been
fully restored.

Mr McFarland said it was by these actions that republicans
and others saw what broad support there was for the
republican position in Ireland and further afield.

He said the spin from both the British and 26-county
Governments that there was no support for republicans had
been shattered forever. He said the action by the 10 hunger
strikers paved the way for the IRA to move away from armed
struggle and engage Republicans in political negotiations.

Chairperson of the Sinn Féin Willie Brock Cumann in
Mountmellick Dick Fitzpatrick said he was very surprised
with the huge crowds that had turned out to view the hunger
strike exhibition. He said the exhibition had attracted
quite a number of new people, particularly young people and
he was hoping some would join the local Sinn Féin branch.

Paying tribute to the sole Sinn Féin elected councillor in
the county Mr Fitzpatrick said: “Brian Stanley is the
backbone of Sinn Féin in Laois. In the past few years we
have seen members coming in from Ratheniska, Portlaoise,
Mountmellick, Mountrath, Rathdowney, Stradbally and

“People are taking us seriously as a political
organization, one that gets things done. In Mountmellick,
for instance, there was a problem with a stretch of roadway
at Cloncosney. Residents came to local members and with
them, we started lobbying the council to carry out repairs.
We also got in contact with Cllr Brian Stanley and we are
glad to say the council allocated •26,000 while the local
residents donated •6,000 to resurface the roadway.”

Addressing the gathering on Sunday afternoon Sinn Fein’s
election candidate and Mayor of Portlaoise Cllr Brian
Stanley said: “Republicans have taken numerous initiatives
over the past 12 years to consolidate and advance the peace
process. From the I RA’s cessation of its armed campaign in
1994, to the signing of the Good Friday Agreement right up
to the move by the IRA last year to decommission all its

“Republicans have taken many other initiatives during this
time and worked hard to create the political momentum
necessary to sustain the peace process.

“Others have also made their contribution. However, we also
know that there are those who have done and are still doing
their level best to frustrate political progress and
sabotage all attempts to re-establish the power sharing
executive in the North and the all-Ireland institutions.
“In the event of the DUP failing to form a government,
there will be a responsibility on the Taoiseach and the
Government to ensure that we press ahead with all-Ireland
integration as envisaged by the Good Friday Agreement and
endorsed by the over-whelming majority of the Irish people.
Articles 2 and 3 of the constitutions were amended to
facilitate that agreement.

“For our part Sinn Fein is willing to do everything
possible to play our part in advancing the political
process. Anything less would be a denial of the rights and
entitlements of the Irish people.” mail.


Leas Cross Deaths 'Not Preventable'

Eithne Donnellan, Health Correspondent

An independent review of deaths at the Leas Cross nursing
home in north Dublin over a five-year period has found none
of the deaths were preventable.

However, it recommends the Department of Health establish a
clear policy in relation to care of the elderly and that a
national monitoring system for vulnerable patients be

It also says that a proper ratio of trained staff to
patients must be in place in all nursing homes and that a
statutory nursing home inspectorate must be put in place
for public as well as private nursing homes.

The report was commissioned by the Health Service Executive
(HSE) over a year ago after it moved patients out of Leas
Cross following the highlighting of the manner in which
patients in it were treated in undercover film footage
shown on a Primetime Investigates programme.

However, to date the HSE has refused to publish the report,
which is understood to be critical of health service
management, or to release it under the Freedom of
Information Act.

RTÉ News reported last night that the report identified 105
patients who died at Leas Cross, or shortly after transfer
from the private nursing home to hospital, between 2000 and
August 2005, when it closed.

The review also said that while the annual mortality rate
at 38 per cent was somewhat higher than might be expected,
it did not find that any of the deaths were preventable.
The home, it said, had an inadequate number of suitably
trained staff. Furthermore, it says what occurred at Leas
Cross cannot be assumed to have been an isolated incident.

Last June, the HSE said it had formed a team to devise a
plan for the implementation of recommendations contained in
reports carried out on Leas Cross.

Labour party spokesman Sean Ryan called last night for the
report's immediate publication.

© The Irish Times

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