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September 15, 2006

Blair Warning Over Devolution Deadline

News About Ireland & The Irish

BN 09/15/06 Blair Warning Over Devolution Deadline
BT 09/15/06 Virtual Politics 'Is The Future If Deadline Passes'
BB 09/15/06 Minds Focus On Devolution Deadine
NL 09/15/06 Paisley Anger After Remarks On Attacks
BT 09/15/06 Ervine: My Secret Past In The UVF
BT 09/15/06 Opin: Future Will Not Be Orange Or Green But Shared By All
BT 09/15/06 Opin: Turning Poachers Into Gamekeepers
BN 09/15/06 Haughey Estate May Face Massive Tribunal Costs Bill
BB 09/15/06 Sands Book Aimed At Children


Blair Warning Over Devolution Deadline

15/09/2006 - 11:55:49

Tony Blair stood by his deadline for striking a deal over
devolution in the North after holding talks with Bertie
Ahern today.

The British Prime Minister, who met the Taoiseach for
breakfast at Chequers, said it would be “difficult” to get
an agreement for reinstating the Stormont Assembly after
November 24.

Mr Blair’s official spokesman said the British government
was approaching the problem in a “methodical way”.

“At the end of the day it will be for the party to decide.

“But we believe they do need to decide before the deadline
of November 24."

The spokesman said the meeting with Mr Ahern this morning
had been "preparatory'' ahead of intensive private talks
with all parties in the peace process, and a peace summit
due to be held in Scotland next month.

The two leaders had reviewed “what was the calmest most
trouble-free summer since before 1970".

Earlier this week Democratic Unionist leader, Rev Ian
Paisley gave a gloomy assessment of the chances for hitting
the deadline after meeting Mr Blair in Downing Street.

He also told reporters that the planned summit in Scotland
was a “waste of money”, and negotiations should take place
in Stormont.

A report by the Independent Monitoring Commission due early
next month - before the summit - is expected to show that
the IRA is meeting its commitments against paramilitary

The spokesman said negotiations would be “extremely
intensive” and there was “a lot of work going on behind the

“At the end of the day it will be the parties that make up
their minds, but we are very clear that the November 24
deadline sticks and that we believe, for all sorts of
reasons that it would be very difficult to see how progress
can be made after that if we do not meet that,” he said.

He insisted the deadline was not “arbitrary”, but reflected
a “realistic assessment of how possible it would be given
the situation in the Irish Republic where they have an
election next year”.

With Mr Blair quitting within the next 12 months, the
November date is increasingly being seen as the last chance
to revive the Northern Ireland Assembly before he goes.

Devolution was suspended in October 2002 over allegations
of a republican spy ring.

The court case that followed collapsed and one of those
charged, Denis Donaldson, later admitted working as a
British agent.

The North’s parties have been back at Stormont since May,
sitting in a so-called “virtual assembly” which can meet
and debate – but not pass legislation.

The 108 MLAs have been warned that if the deadline is not
met, their salaries and benefits will stop and the assembly
will be put “in mothballs”.

What happens after that remains unclear, although Dublin
and London say they remain committed to implementing the
rest of the Good Friday Agreement, with a step-change in
north-south cooperation.


Virtual Politics 'Is The Future If Deadline Passes'

By Senan Hogan
15 September 2006

If Ulster power-sharing is not achieved by the November 24
deadline, it will confine parties to "virtual politics",
Irish Foreign Affairs Minister Dermot Ahern warned last

Ulster Secretary Peter Hain said on Monday that any new
attempt to revisit devolution may not take place before the
UK General Election due in 2009.

But speaking in Londonderry where he was to meet SDLP
leader Mark Durkan, Mr Ahern said: "My own assessment is
that it could be even longer. The bottom line is that this
effort is likely to be our last for some very considerable
time. We have the opportunity now. Let's grasp it."

Mr Ahern noted that the British and Irish premiers have
devoted almost 10 years in a stewardship role to the peace

He paid tribute to Ulster's political parties who co-
operated on the Preparation for Government Committee at
Stormont during the summer.

But he warned: "Failure to make political agreement on
restoration will have stark implications. It will confine
the parties to the margins of policy making - to a kind of
virtual politics. The power to avoid such a scenario lies
with the parties themselves and nobody else."

DUP leader the Rev Ian Paisley said after Wednesday's talks
with Tony Blair at Chequers that he did not think it was
possible for the parties to reach a deal before the

Taoiseach Bertie Ahern is due to meet Tony Blair for
discussions at the Prime Minister's country residence in
Buckinghamshire this morning.

Dermot Ahern added that the November 24 deadline was real
and there could be no delay.

"Delay would signal drift, and political drift must be

If the deadline passes, the Governments will enforce Plan B
- joint stewardship of the process in a bid to deliver on
issues affecting day-to-day lives.

"For nationalist parties, Plan B is not a win. The argument
that nationalists would prefer Plan B over Plan A holds no
water," said Mr Ahern, who added: "We are as tired of
deadlines as everyone else," he said.


Minds Focus On Devolution Deadine

By Martina Purdy
BBC Northern Ireland political correspondent

Even Ian Paisley has said very clearly he doesn't think
there is going to be a deal by 24 November.

"No, I don't think so... I can't see it," he told reporters
in Downing Street this week.

His frankness ahead of the summit between Tony Blair and
Bertie Ahern in Chequers this week does not, however, seem
to have dampened efforts to find a way forward.

But it has focused some minds on just how firm the Northern
Ireland Office is going to be about the deadline.

Indeed, SDLP leader Mark Durkan issued a statement
expressing alarm that Ian Paisley claimed the prime
minister had not even raised the deadline with him during
their meeting.

It is very clear that the DUP has effectively decided that
the deadline is more of a hindrance than a help and is
hoping to persuade the NIO of this fact.

Indeed, for the chest-beating DUP, breaking the deadline
has almost become a point of principle.


"The difficulty," said one DUP source, "is the deadline is
the story."

The source pointed to three or four issues that need to be
dealt with, issues that cannot "realistically" be dealt
with by the deadline.

Ian Paisley put it this way: "Can we have people in
government not supporting the police and connected to
criminality? That is not going to be settled with a

What was notable was that Mr Paisley did not rule out doing
a deal with Tony Blair - even though the prime minister has
suggested he will be out of office within a year.

Hence, Mr Paisley has hinted that a deal is possible within

By coincidence next spring is also the date that the real
assembly - the one elected in 2003 - expires.

The one due to close in November is merely an artificial
one created by Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain that
operates to his rules.

There is speculation behind the scenes that the DUP is
going to offer hope of progress but not actual power-
sharing by 24 November.

"A deal to get an agreement," was how one talks insider
(not from the DUP) put it.

Under this scenario the DUP could theoretically table a
paper that outlines a timeframe for progress over a longer

What after all would the NIO do if the DUP suggested
keeping the game alive with a face to face meeting between
it and Sinn Fein?

DUP/Sinn Fein relations

Of course, no-one sees Ian Paisley meeting Sinn Fein leader
Gerry Adams within weeks, but could Peter Robinson, his
deputy, have a meeting with Martin McGuinness, with whom he
already sits on the Preparation for Government committee?

The DUP are quick to point out that there are no plans to
change its policy regarding Sinn Fein, but what if the
political landscape changes dramatically?

The DUP is on record as saying it will consult with all
sections of unionism when it believes a prima facie case
has been made that the IRA has made the transition from
violence to democracy.

One thing is clear: Ian Paisley likes being in the game,
particularly if he can get into penalty time

The DUP could decide to hold the consultation following a
positive IMC report or perhaps after the multi-party talks
in Scotland.

The IMC report - which Peter Robinson hopes will be
presented in a new way with lots of graphics - is due out
on 4 October, about one week from the proposed multi-party
talks in Scotland.

Mr Paisley has said he doesn't want to go. But he hasn't
said he won't go.

One thing is clear: Ian Paisley likes being in the game,
particularly if he can get into penalty time.

'Feeling good'

As he left Downing Street this week, he told a journalist
how he was feeling.

"Better than ever I was," he said.

He is thriving on being at the pinnacle of his popularity.

But at age 80 and after a lifetime of saying no, he is not
for moving quickly or changing rapidly.

Besides his propensity to say no, Mr Paisley has also been
consistent in recent years about the fact that he must have
time to make up his mind.

Maybe he has no intention of ever doing a deal, but his
demands for more time - repeated in the assembly this week
- may yet strike a chord with the prime minister and his

Among those in government who have spent years on the
process, what is a few months they might ask?

But others are weary. Sources suggest Taoiseach Ahern, who
has an election to fight, does not want the process dragged
into the spring.

Sinn Fein also has cautioned against moving the deadline.

Irish Foreign Minister Dermot Ahern, playing the firm
parent, warned in Londonderry on Thursday night that
politicians who failed to reach the deadline would be
sidelined on policy issues, effectively doomed to a life of
virtual politics.

Others might well fear the result of a missed deadline is
not virtual politics, but a virtual deal that fails to

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/09/15 06:33:12 GMT


Paisley Anger After Remarks On Attacks

DUP MLA Ian Paisley Junior last night said he was deeply
angry after a statement he made was "misrepresented and
twisted" to make it look like an anti-Catholic comment.

It was reported that he had said some attacks on Catholic
homes in north Antrim had been "self-inflicted", which had
provoked criticism from nationalists.

But what he actually said was that certain incidents, such
as a recent paint bomb attack on Harryville Catholic

were self-inflicted, in that they appeared to be the work
of republicans trying to stoke-up sectarian tensions.

A priest in the area has said he did not believe loyalists
were responsible.

Mr Paisley told the News Letter: "In my statement, I
condemned any attack on anyone's home.

"But I said there was some evidence to suggest that some
recent attacks have been self-inflicted because republicans
carried them out on Catholics.

"This comment was then taken, twisted and misrepresented to
suggest I had said they were self-inflicted in the sense
that someone was asking for it.

"This was a gross misrepresentation of what I said and it
was very unfair to wrongly portray me in this way."

Mr Paisley said that some Catholics who had suffered, such
as in petrol bomb attacks, had come to him for help.

And he went on to accuse north Antrim Sinn Fein MLA Philip
McGuigan of being "in a state of self-denial" over the
situation in the area.

"He claims that in north Antrim the local Roman Catholic
community is 'always under attack'. This is nonsense, and
it is now evident that the attacks are in fact carried out
by republicans on Roman Catholics," said Mr Paisley.

Mr McGuigan said Mr Paisley would "be much better making
his public comments judged on fact".

Local SDLP councillor Declan O'Loan said Mr Paisley was
"making these judgments without any evidence and I don't
think he's correct".

15 September 2006uu


Ervine: My Secret Past In The UVF

PUP leader comes clean about paramilitary links

By Brian Rowan
15 September 2006

Loyalist politician David Ervine spoke out today about his
secret paramilitary past.

In an interview with the Belfast Telegraph, just days after
the collapse of his Stormont partnership with Sir Reg
Empey, the PUP leader reveals he has "never resigned from
the UVF".

He also discloses that 11 years after his release from jail
in 1980, he still had an active role inside the loyalist

Ervine did not detail that position, but the Belfast
Telegraph has learned it was "provost marshal" in charge of
internal UVF discipline in east Belfast. This was between
1988 and 1991.

"I joined the UVF in 1972," Ervine said, "was arrested in
1974, served five and a half years in Long Kesh (and) came
out with no intentions of being involved in paramilitarism

Ervine would not disclose the target for the bomb he was
caught with in 1974.

"There has been much conjecture," he said, but he did not
add to that comment.

At the scene of his arrest, an Army bomb expert tied a rope
round Ervine's waist and it was he who removed the device
from the car.

Years later, on his release from jail, he says he was
"head-hunted" by the UVF "to offer political analysis", and
he "took up" another role "in 1988 to 1991 ? and have never
had a role - a specific role - within the UVF ever since".

"I've never resigned from the UVF," the loyalist politician
told the Belfast Telegraph.

"I've never been asked to resign from the UVF, but then
that would apply to pretty much thousands of people.

"It would apply to a brave few councillors knocking about
the place," he claimed.

On his present links with the organisation, he said: "I
have a relationship with the UVF. I don't actively function
inside the UVF. I deal with the UVF at specific levels and
I do so on a basis of the creation of peace."

Next week, Ervine's party - the PUP - will meet the
Independent Monitoring Commission as it prepares its next
assessment on paramilitary activity ? due to be published
in early October.

The loyalist delegation will tell the Commission that the
UVF supports the peace process and poses no threat to it.

But PUP chair Dawn Purvis says they also want to address
with the IMC the "misperception" that the link between the
PUP and UVF is similar to that of Sinn Fein and the IRA.

Yesterday, as he revealed details of his paramilitary past
to this newspaper, Mr Ervine, who is not part of the
delegation meeting the ceasefire monitoring commission,
also claimed: "No member of the Progressive Unionist Party
leadership during this peace process has been also
functioning within the UVF."

Two years ago, the IMC accused the PUP of not doing enough
to prevent the illegal activities of the UVF and associated
Red Hand Commando.

Ervine's further admission of his role within the UVF
between 1988 and 1991 will add to pressure on politicians,
including Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams, to come clean about
their role in paramilitarism.

Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness has already admitted to the
Saville Tribunal that he was an IRA leader in 1972.
However, he made no disclosure of any paramilitary
activities since then.

Gerry Adams has repeatedly refused to admit to any role in
IRA activities.

Is something worth waiting for on its way from the UVF?

PUP to tell IMC of paramilitary group's political

As the PUP returns to engaging with the ceasefire watchdog,
Brian Rowan analyses the relationship between the political
party and a secret army that hasn't gone away

I've never resigned from the UVF. I've never been asked to
resign but, then, that would apply to a lot of people

THE delegation that the Progressive Unionist Party will
send to meet the Independent Monitoring Commission next
week will not have a balaclava between them, nor a UVF
membership card.

It is the party's way of saying something - explaining that
their link to the loyalist organisation is different, is
not the same, as the relationship and overlap between the
Sinn Fein and IRA leaderships at the top of the Republican

The PUP is sending a doctor, a teacher and three other
members of the party executive to meet and talk to the IMC
- the four-man Commission that is the ceasefire watchdog.
Significantly, David Ervine will not be part of the

That meeting will be held in Belfast next Tuesday.

It is the beginning of a re-engagement and part of the
build-up to the Commission's next report on paramilitary
activity that will be published a few days into next month,
and which will determine the next political steps.

It is a critical point on the road towards the November 24

The IMC wants to meet the UVF leadership before it gives
its next assessment - it has stated that publicly - but has
had no response.

But when the doctor, the teacher and the others from the
PUP sit down with the Commission next week, they will be
able to give them an understanding of the UVF position as
November approaches and as efforts continue to restore
working politics at Stormont.

Yesterday, senior leaders in the UVF briefed some of the
members of the PUP Executive who will be involved in that
IMC meeting.

The Policing Board member Dawn Purvis, chair of the
Progressive Unionist Party, was present.

"We wanted to clarify where the UVF are in terms of their
own (internal consultation) process, clarify their position
post November 24, and clarify their position in terms of
criminality," she told me.

And next week she will offer an opinion to the IMC that
says the UVF are "supportive of the peace process" and pose
no threat to it.

"We are going to talk about all the positive things that
are going on within the progressive loyalist community,"
she said.

But that is only part of the purpose - part of the agenda -
for next week's meeting with the Monitoring Commission.

Dawn Purvis says her delegation also wants to outline to
the IMC the "structure of the PUP" and address the
"misperception" that the PUP/UVF relationship is similar or
the same to the link between Sinn Fein and the IRA.

As the small loyalist party prepares to do that, its leader
David Ervine has spoken exclusively and in some detail to
this newspaper about his UVF past - a past that had him in
an active role inside the organisation 11 years after his
release from prison in 1980.

Ervine served five and a half years after being caught with
a bomb on the Holywood Road in east Belfast in 1974.

He said when he came out of jail he had "no intentions of
being involved in paramilitarism again (but) was head-
hunted by the UVF to offer political analysis".

And, then there was another role, which he "took up in 1988
to 1991".

He did not describe it, but he was "provost marshal" in
east Belfast, in charge of internal discipline inside the
UVF in that part of the city.

According to the loyalist politician, that was the last
time he had "a specific role" inside the organisation.

"I've never resigned from the UVF," he told me.

"I've never been asked to resign from the UVF, but, then,
that would apply to pretty much thousands of people.

" It would apply to a brave few councillors knocking about
the place?People drift away from organisations like that
rather than hand in resignation notes," he added.

So, what about his role today?

"I have a relationship with the UVF," he says.

"I don't actively function inside the UVF. I deal with the
UVF at specific levels and I do so on a basis of the
creation of peace. And they know that. I've said it. It's

"I think that you'd get it confirmed by every intelligence
service that has any kind of understanding of what happens
in the UVF."

Ervine has done what many senior republicans have refused
to do. He has owned up to his "war" role, adding detail
just days after his Stormont partnership with the Ulster
Unionist Party crumbled under a ruling from the Assembly
Speaker Eileen Bell.

Will that decision have any impact as the UVF continues to
deliberate on its future?

"The UVF's future is not related to a relationship between
Reg Empey and David Ervine," the Progressive Unionist Party
leader said.

Decisions on the future of the UVF are "tied now to

"It's probably tied more to Gerry Adams and Ian Paisley's
position than it is to me and Reg Empey," Ervine said.

"You get devolution and the UVF have nowhere else to go
(but away)," he added.

This is something the IMC is also likely to be told next

So, the political fallout over the controversial Empey-
Ervine arrangement at Stormont is not going to play into
the paramilitary decision-making process in terms of the
future of the UVF.

Ervine describes the Ulster Unionist leader as a "political
rival", but someone ? who like John Hume with Gerry Adams
some years ago ? was prepared to take a "risk", a risk for

The UVF's contribution to a better peace is waiting to be

It is waiting on the outcome of the political negotiations
that will begin for real in a few weeks time.

Before then, however, the doctor, the teacher and the rest
of the delegation from the PUP will try to persuade the
ceasefire watchdog that there is something coming that is
worth waiting for - and that depending on the politics,
that something could well be the beginning of the end of
the UVF.


Opin: The Future Will Not Be Orange Or Green But Shared By All

14 September 2006

As our local politicians engage in negotiations for the
return of devolution, Duncan Morrow, chief executive of the
Community Relations Council, calls on them to support
practical measures for building a shared future

Eighteen months ago the government issued its A Shared
Future policy. If this is not to wither on the vine of
cynicism and despair, it is now time to apply it in
practice. The political parties have a critical role in
making this happen.

Northern Ireland has some difficult problems to face, and
not just higher rates and water charges. Segregation and
separation have become part of the 'normality' here;
political party life has polarised around the
constitutional issue, with armed groups in the past
prepared to resolve this by killing those who stood in the

We need a future based on sharing, not separation. The
alternative to sharing a space like Northern Ireland is
that one side or the other is driven out.

It has already happened elsewhere in the world, and we have
experienced it here on a miniature scale in the course of
the Troubles.

There is, thankfully, now a widespread consensus that
violence in Northern Ireland should stop.

There are few who would advocate a return to the mayhem and
fear of the recent past, but we might secretly prefer it if
we could carve up separate spaces rather than engage in
permanent and open-ended partnership. Apartheid, however,
is not available here without a return to antagonism and

For many, the decisions we face will make us uncomfortable.

For nationalists, a shared future means committing to full
engagement in a state with which they have never felt
comfortable and some have dedicated their lives to

For unionists, the hard part of sharing will be making
political arrangements with previously violent enemies who
have deeply traumatised friends and relations and coming to
terms with the Irish dimension to the six counties.

But, in a changing world, the idea that only one sort can
live in any area is unsustainable. We cannot talk on the
one hand about getting rid of private armies and still want
to be defended against our neighbours.

Financially, we cannot provide separate public facilities
like libraries, swimming pools or recreation centres for
Protestants and Catholics.

We cannot build a healthy society on the idea that somebody
in the wrong football jersey was 'asking for it' when he
walked around in the wrong area. We cannot attract
investment into an unstable political setting consisting of
hostile 'bantustans'.

We cannot distribute resources properly when some people
cannot get houses in areas where they are available because
they are 'the wrong sort'.

Without common commitment to a shared future in which
people in Northern Ireland can live, work and play safely
together, the peace process has no central purpose.

Moving forward will require sustained political leadership.
For devolution to succeed all parties need to place the
building of a shared future at the centre of their
priorities, a commitment which will only get tougher after
negotiations on constitutions and frameworks are long past.

Beyond the rhetoric and vision of A Shared Future is the
hard work of negotiating real changes: how do we educate
our children to a real solidarity with one another in spite
of and because of differences?

How do we find ways to share housing space, to agree
policing, to agree rules for our cultural interaction with
one another?

How do we turn the Crumlin Road into a dynamic economic
engine for north Belfast rather than a new interface of
poverty and deprivation?

How do we ensure that Titanic Quarter is really open to
all, or the second city welcoming to those who would call
it either Derry or Londonderry?

All of these questions are easy to ask, but cannot be
resolved without a willingness to take risks with electoral
popularity, tackle vested interests and face puzzled or
even frightened communities with difficult choices and
support in moving forward.


Opin: Turning Poachers Into Gamekeepers

15 September 2006

Not surprisingly, the DUP has moved swiftly to limit any
damage which might have been done to the party's image by
the suggestion from its MP Gregory Campbell that repentant
ex-prisoners might be able to join the PSNI.

Despite his subsequent denials that he had gone off-
message, the East Londonderry MP's comments during a live
BBC radio show did raise eyebrows. The DUP's trenchant
policy, as a spokesman reminded the media, is that no
terrorists with convictions for murder or serious crime
should be allowed to enlist in the PSNI.

While other parties have been quick to exploit the DUP's
discomfiture, the party hierarchy has been playing down the
significance of the remarks. Mr Campbell was speaking off-
the-cuff and appears to have reverted to the party line
quickly enough to have redeemed himself.

Although everyone hopes that former terrorists will repent
of their wrongdoing and be rehabilitated into society, the
idea of people convicted of murder donning a police uniform
is still a bridge too far for most people.

The reform of policing has been a painful process for many
unionists, and was only accepted as part of the overall
peace process. The laudable objective of the Patten
Commission was to create a police service which was
representative of the entire community, and to develop
closer co-operation between both sections of the community
and the police.

Much has changed since the PSNI succeeded the RUC in
November 2001. A service which was only 8% Catholic in 1999
is now more than 20% Catholic, a statistic which reflects
growing support for the police among nationalists.

The 50:50 recruitment rule is still an irritant to unionist
parties, but it has proved an effective means of better
balancing the composition of the police service. As Tom
Constantine, the former Oversight Commissioner says, the
results have exceeded expectations.

The next push must be to persuade Sinn Fein to take its
place on the Policing Board, a step which looks
increasingly inevitable. Unionist parties may be
uncomfortable with such a move, but it is vital if policing
is to become representative.

That, however, is a different matter to allowing anyone -
paramilitary or not - who has served a jail sentence for
murder or other serious crime to become a police officer.
Turning poachers into gamekeepers would undermine the hard-
earned credibility of the PSNI.

Ex-prisoners need not be haunted by their pasts for ever,
particularly if they have seen the error of their ways, but
they should not expect to be recruited into the PSNI. Life
is changing in Northern Ireland, but there are still
certain principles that cannot be breached.


Haughey Estate May Face Massive Tribunal Costs Bill

15/09/2006 - 08:18:55

The family of the late Charles Haughey could reportedly be
hit with a massive costs bill by the Moriarty Tribunal.

Reports this morning say the tribunal intends to conclude
that that Mr Haughey obstructed its work.

The finding, if it ends up in the final report, could
reportedly lead to the former Taoiseach's estate being
denied the legal costs incurred during his dealings with
the tribunal.

It could also lead to some of the tribunal's own costs
being charged to the Haughey estate.

This morning's reports say Mr Haughey's legal fees could be
well in excess of €1m.


Sands Book Aimed At Children

A version of hunger striker Bobby Sands' life story aimed
at primary school children is being launched.

Bobby Sands, an IRA prisoner, died in 1981 aged 27 after
refusing food for 66 days in a protest over political
status for republican prisoners in the Maze prison.

The first of 10 men to die in the protest he was the
subject of a biography Nothing But An Unfinished Song,
published earlier this year.

The author of that book, Denis O'Hearn and former hunger
striker Laurence McKeown have written an illustrated
children's version entitled I Arose This Morning, which has
also been translated into Irish.

The authors plan to distribute the book to every Irish
language primary school and want it to become part of the

Mr McKeown said the book was in essence a simplified story
of Bobby Sands, which someone aged from nine to 14 could
read and appreciate.


He said that the events of that time were now history and
could feel distant, even to him, but that to children it
could seem like a different world.

"It's about that time in history and the life of an
ordinary person, what he did with that life and the impact
he had," he said.

The impact of the hunger strike was huge and is already
taught in history lessons in Northern Ireland's post-
primary schools.

Mr McKeown said he did not want to get "hung up" on the age
range the book was aimed at and that it could be read as
easily by adults as children.

He said the reason for the Irish translation was that
prison was where he learnt the language.

"I learnt Irish in prison, it was part of the whole protest
situation in the H-blocks," he said.

Whether the book itself will form the basis of lessons
could be a moot point.

A spokesperson for the National Association of
Schoolmasters and Union of Women Teachers told the Irish
News in Belfast teachers tried to provide a "balanced

"If a document or material was directly biased a teacher
wouldn't deliver that information, they would prepare their
own material," he said.

"If a school was going to use something like that there
should be a counter to it.

"We are not in the age of burning books."

A simultaneous launch of both the English and Irish
language versions published by Beyond the Pale Publications
and Coisceim, respectively, will take place in An
Culturlann on Belfast's Falls Road on Saturday.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/09/15 10:24:06 GMT

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