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September 04, 2006

Ahern Warns of Alternatives to NI Impasse

News About Ireland & The Irish

IT 09/04/06 Ahern Warns Of 'Alternatives' To NI Impasse
SF 09/04/06 SF Seeks 12 Wk Plan From Govts To Restore Power Sharing
SF 09/04/06 Hamill Tribunal Deliberately Delayed By Former RUC Men
TH 09/04/06 Praise For Murray And Rangers Over Sectarianism Stance
WT 09/04/06 Celebrities Go To Belfast To Sue For Libel


Ahern Warns Of 'Alternatives' To NI Impasse

Last updated: 04-09-06, 18:36

The Taoiseach Mr Ahern warned that if the political
institutions in Northern Ireland could not get up and
running, then alternatives would have to be enforced.

Speaking at a Fianna Fail party meeting in Co Mayo, Mr
Ahern: "Mr Blair and myself are working to try to get
to the 24th and to get the parties to make the moves on

He said: "This summer was the quietest and most
peaceful summer in Northern Ireland that we've had in
40 years and we have to be thankful for that.

"The people on all sides of the so-called divide that
worked to achieve that, I thank them and praise them
for that."

He added: "I appreciate that the talks have continued
over the summer. They are making better progress. I
have to be frank and say that 'better progress' means
they are now talking to each other and being polite to
each other rather than agreeing things.

"We now need to get the institutions up and running.
"Obviously we've had discussions about alternatives,
but I really don't see alternatives as a success. If we
have to have alternatives, we'll have alternatives.

"But an alternative to what was set out and voted for
north and south and accepted internationally as the
Good Friday Agreement is the only thing that I want to
see implemented. I want to keep the focus on that.
Anything else is a distraction," he added.

© 2006


Sinn Fein To Seek 12 Week Plan From Governments For Restoration Of Power Sharing Institutions

Published: 4 September, 2006

Commenting after today's meeting of the Assembly's
Preparation for Government Committee Sinn Féin Chief
Negotiator Martin McGuinness said: "Sinn Féin is
seeking urgent meetings with the Irish and British
governments. We want to see a 12 week plan of work to
restore the political institutions. He said if the
governments are serious about establishing the
political institutions before November 24th they need
to be setting out their plan of action now.

Mr McGuinness said:

"The Hain Assembly has been in operation since May.
There have been months of meetings of the Assembly and
the Preparation for Government Committee. However the
parties have yet to receive any proper schedule mapping
out the Irish and British governments plans for what is
going to happen over the next twelve weeks up to the
November 24th deadline.

"Sinn Féin has sought urgent meetings with the Irish
and British governments to demand such a plan. Plenary
meetings in the Hain Assembly are pointless if they are
not part of a schedule for the restoration of the
political institutions.

"Our party leadership along with elected
representatives will meet this Friday in Dublin. We
will expect to receive indications from the two
governments on their plan for the coming weeks before

"Public confidence requires a serious effort from the
two governments in the coming weeks. Sinn Féin are
committed to being part of any genuine effort which
will see the institutions put back in place. But the
one outstanding issue to be resolved remains the DUP
attitude to power sharing. That needs to be the focus
of the two governments over the next twelve weeks."


Hamill Tribunal Being Deliberately Delayed By Former RUC Men

Published: 4 September, 2006

Speaking on the day that the public hearings in the
Robert Hamill Tribunal were scheduled to take place,
Sinn Féin Assembly member for Upper Bann John O'Dowd
said that it was a disgrace that attempts by former
members of the RUC to continue their culture of
concealment and cover up had allowed the Tribunal to be

Mr O‚Dowd said:

"The attempts by former members of the RUC to get
anonymity at the Robert Hamill Tribunal despite all of
them appearing publicly at a previous court hearing has
resulted in today‚s planned start to the public
hearings being delayed.

"The delay in proceeding with this stage of the
Tribunal is clearly the fault of those former members
of the RUC who cannot throw off the culture of
concealment and cover-up which became a by-word for the
force in which they served. This case is not about
anonymity, these individuals have already appeared
publicly in a court case associated with the murder of
Robert Hamill.

"This case is about obstructing and delaying the work
of the Tribunal and delaying further the search for the
truth in this sectarian murder." ENDS


Praise For Murray And Rangers Over Sectarianism Stance

TOM GORDON, Scottish Political Correspondent September
05 2006

Jack McConnell yesterday praised David Murray, the
chairman of Rangers Football Club, for his recent
efforts in tackling sectarianism.

The First Minister revealed he telephoned the
millionaire after he relaunched the club's Pride over
Prejudice campaign and issued fans with a Wee Blue Book
at the season's first game, with suggested non-
sectarian songs.

He said that since the Scottish Executive made fighting
religious hatred a priority, trouble around marches and
parades had declined, and communities now felt safer.

"I phoned David Murray personally to thank him for what
he had done," Mr McConnell said. "I think that was a
considerable step in the right direction and he
deserves a lot of credit."

Mr McConnell was speaking after being questioned about
criticism from one of his closest political allies
about his government's drive against bigotry.

Michael McMahon, the Celtic-supporting Labour MSP for
Hamilton North and Bellshill, has claimed in a new book
that the First Minister is "persecuting" Old Firm fans.

The MSP said it was "offensive" to label songs such as
The Sash and the Fields of Athenry sectarian, and
dismissed anti-bigotry campaigners as "well-meaning but

He said: "Genuine expressions of Irish and Ulster-Scots
culture have been demonised. References to the 1916
uprising and the Battle of the Boyne are legitimate
expressions of the heritage of the supporters."

Asked whether he agreed fans were being persecuted, the
First Minister made it clear he disagreed with Mr
McMahon, with whom he had discussed the subject on many

He said his policy was not about criticising people's
traditions, or identifying particular songs. "It's
about saying that certain types of behaviour that are
based on prejudice and hatred are unacceptable, and the
violence that comes from that has a massive impact on
the individual families affected by it," he said.

He added: "I have to say my position as First Minister
is that sectarianism is a cancer in Scotland. It needs
to be tackled at its root causes.

"It needs to be dealt with in education, it needs to be
dealt with in sport, and the force of law and the way
that marches and parades behave. In all of these and
other areas I think we have made huge progress."

He said he had gone out on a limb when he began
addressing sectarianism, but he had "absolutely no


Celebrities Go To Belfast To Sue For Libel

Sep. 4, 2006 at 2:42PM

U.S. celebrities like Britney Spears, Paula Abdul and
Whitney Houston are turning to Northern Ireland courts
to sue British and U.S. tabloids for libel.

The publications only need to have tiny
circulations in Northern Ireland to make filing
possible in Belfast courts, which lure celebrity
plaintiffs with lower court costs, higher damage caps
and an easier burden of proof, Daily Variety reports.

Boxing promoter Barney Eastwood just received the
highest libel payout in Irish legal history --
$850,000, Variety noted.

Libel laws in Belfast have a lower burden of
proof, so many cases that would fail in the United
States have a chance in Northern Ireland. Cases move
more quickly, too, with less crowded courts, Variety

Other lures include direct flights from New York
to Belfast, the four-star Europa hotel downtown and the
Culloden resort not far away. No longer a war zone, the
city has bars, restaurants and clubs and last but not
least -- it is far removed from the U.S. media.

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