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September 18, 2006

Britain Remains Object of Suspicion & Mistrust

News About Ireland & The Irish

NH 09/18/06 Britain Remains Object Of Suspicion And Mistrust
UT 09/18/06 Hain: 'McCord Rpt Will Be Uncomfortable For Britishstate'
EE 09/18/06 Police Chiefs Defend Handling Of Belfast Violence
BT 09/18/06 Hain Meets 'Restoration Of Stormont' Committee
BB 09/18/06 Hain Backs Loyalist Project Grant
4N 09/18/06 Government Urges Sinn Fein To Support PSNI
4N 09/18/06 PSNI Pay Journalists 'Damages'
BB 09/18/06 Parties Work On Community Issues
EX 09/18/06 Fianna Fáil And Pds On Course For Third Term
BT 09/18/06 Opin: PUP Requires More Than A Makeover
UT 09/18/06 Washington Group Visit Belfast
SF 09/18/06 Adams Protests For Teacher Arrested For Speaking Irish
IT 09/18/06 JFK Sister Patricia Kennedy Lawford (82) Dies
BN 09/18/06 War Of Independence Veteran Dies Aged 105


Britain Remains Object Of Suspicion And Mistrust

(Ray O'Hanlon, Irish News)

The great majority of ex-British servicemen who spent time
in Japanese prisoner of war camps have for years presented
an unforgiving face towards their one-time jailers.

Take it up to the present and it is all too easy to discern
the lingering mistrust in Northern Ireland that remains
part and parcel of what is now the peace process.

Just mention the Provos in proximity to a DUP member. He or
she will not burst into songs of praise.

The same can be said for the more seasoned veterans of
Irish-American activism as it has been directed at the
events in Ireland over the last few decades.

The British government, no matter what party guise it comes
in, remains an object of suspicion and distrust.

This has been plainly evident in the battle by leading
Irish-American activists and organisations to turn back, or
at least have amended, the revised extradition treaty
between the US and United Kingdom.

The treaty came up for a vote on Capitol Hill last week
before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Irish-American groups, such as the Irish American Unity
conference and Ancient Order of Hibernians, were
represented in the hearing room. They were supported in
their objections to the treaty by the influential American
Civil Liberties Union.

But it turned out to be a tough day for the distrusting

The senators, Republican and Democrat, unanimously voted to
support the revamped treaty and send it onwards for a vote
in the full 100-member Senate.

That vote is expected before year's end and it's hard to
imagine anything other than a resounding affirmation of a
document that has been gathering dust, much to the
annoyance of her majesty's government, since it was signed
by US attorney general John Ashcroft and then home
secretary David Blunkett in March 2003.

In his remarks at the signing ceremony, Ashcroft made no
specific reference to any conflict, group or country.

British government representatives have repeatedly denied
that the treaty was drawn up with Northern Ireland or
Irish-American activists in mind.

In a July visit to Washington, minister of state Baroness
Scotland sent a letter to each of the 18 members of the
Foreign Relations Committee.

In the letter, she stated that full Senate approval was of
"paramount importance".

What was at stake, the baroness told senators, was "not
only the continued status of the US as a 'trusted partner'
for extradition but also the perception in the UK of how
the British/US relationship worked in practice".

The baroness stated that the purpose of the treaty was to
"modernise" extradition arrangements. It was not, she said,
aimed at speeding up the extradition from the US of people
"suspected of involvement in terrorism" connected with
Northern Ireland.

"The concerns about the treaty raised by certain Irish-
American groups are groundless," she stressed.

Groundless or not, two leading members of the committee,
its Republican chairman Senator Richard Lugar and Democrat
Chris Dodd, sought some extra assurances from London.

At last week's hearing, however, they might as well have
been Chamberlains waving paper as far as the Irish-
Americans activists in the room were concerned.

Lugar indicated that he was quite satisfied with the
soothing words from London.

Senator Dodd, who has been a close supporter of Irish-
American causes over the years, said that a series of 11th-
hour letters exchanged between the US attorney general,
Alberto Gonzalez and Peter Hain had reassured him that
Irish-American opponents of British policy in the north
would be safe from extradition.

This didn't impress James Caldwell of the IAUC.

"It's a really bad day. We're looking at a treaty where
once that knot is tied it's going to be very, very
difficult to untie it. The executive branch at this point
appears to hold all the aces. I believe that this is a very
unconstitutional day for Americans," he said.

At the heart of the argument is a revised treaty provision
transferring ultimate authority for extraditions from the
federal courts to the executive branch of government.

"If the new treaty were ratified, an American who opposed
British policy – for example an investigative journalist
who wrote of police abuses in Northern Ireland for an
Irish-American newspaper – could face arrest and
extradition without having any ability to challenge, in an
American court, whether the criminal charges are really a
pretext for the punishment on account of race, religion,
nationality or political opinion," the ACLU said in a
prepared statement.


September 18, 2006


Hain: 'McCord Report Will Be Uncomfortable For Britishstate'

Northern Ireland Secretary of State Peter Hain has
predicted an upcoming report on police handling of a murder
by the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) is likely to be
'extremely uncomfortable for the British state'.

By:Press Association

The Police Ombudsman, Nuala O`Loan is due to publish a
report on police handling of the murder of Raymond McCord

The 22-year-old former RAF man was beaten to death and his
body dumped in a quarry in Newtownabbey, County Antrim, in

His father, Raymond McCord senior, mounted a constant
campaign for an investigation into the police handling of
the murder claiming that it was carried out by UVF members
who were police informers and who had been protected from
prosecution by their handlers.

Mr Hain insisted whatever the report said should not be
used by Sinn Fein as an excuse for not supporting current
policing structures in Northern Ireland.

He said the murder, which he described as `an appalling
stain on the history of Northern Ireland`, had been
committed a long time ago.


Police Chiefs Defend Handling Of Belfast Violence

18/09/2006 - 11:14:42 AM

Police chiefs in Northern Ireland today defended their
handling of mob violence that left 11 officers injured.

A crowd of up to 150 people hurled debris from a builder’s
skip at security lines as rioting erupted in the New Lodge
district of north Belfast last night.

Two of the officers hurt suffered serious wounds – one
woman was cut in the face and a male colleague was taken to
hospital with abdominal injuries.

Disorder flared when a stolen car collided with a police
Land Rover in the area.

As the driver was being arrested missiles began raining
down on police.

Police used CS spray and batons to drive back the crowd.
Sinn Féin representatives accused the force of mounting a
shoddy operation.

Faced with the criticisms the District Police Commander for
North Belfast, Gary White, insisted his officers appeared
to have used proportionate methods for quelling the

He said: “The individual use of both CS spray and batons
will be examined carefully by the police ombudsman.

“But looking at the situation in the round, I have 11
police officers hurt after facing a crowd of up to 150

“The person we arrested on suspicion of stealing a car was
hurt himself during the fracas by a rock being thrown from
the crowd.

“I think it seems to be a proportionate use of force.”

Earlier Sinn Féin councillor Caral Ni Chuilin said she had
advised residents in the area to lodge complaints with the
Police Ombudsman.

“CS spray was used and some of the people were batoned
while there was debris thrown at the police Land Rovers,”
she said.

“At one stage there was up to 11 police vehicles on the
scene and we had to speak to the Northern Ireland Office to
try to get a reduction in the police presence.

“I am not questioning the fact that the driver of the
stolen car needed to be arrested.

“The difficulty is that he was arrested in front of a crowd
of young people and he could have been stopped somewhere
else where this would not have been noticed.”


Hain Meets 'Restoration Of Stormont' Committee

By Noel McAdam
18 September 2006

Ulster Secretary of State Peter Hain was today being
quizzed over law and order issues crucial to the
restoration of devolution.

Mr Hain was meeting the Preparation For Government
committee at Stormont for the first time. An expected
plenary session of the Assembly has been delayed for the
public session.

The SDLP said Mr Hain would have the opportunity to provide
reassurance on a number of law and order matters.

Policing Board member Alex Attwood said his party wanted
new accountability mechanisms applied to M15 with 'national
security' remaining in the hands of the Chief Constable.

It also wants changes to the Government's planned
restorative justice schemes - out to consultation for a
second time - and a policing template to increase cross-
community confidence in the PSNI.

The West Belfast MLA said the three issues "go to the root"
of future policing and wider stability and "if got wrong"
could jeopardise the progress on policing over recent

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams reaffirmed he will call a
special ard fheis of his party if the Government keeps its
commitments on policing.


Hain Backs Loyalist Project Grant

The government is to fund the first stage of a new conflict
transformation initiative in loyalist areas, NI Secretary
Peter Hain has announced.

The project was proposed by the Ulster Political Research
Group (UPRG), which advises the illegal paramilitary Ulster
Defence Association.

The initial stage of the project will last up to six
months, and the £135,000 fund will employ project workers.

The SDLP said it would be closely monitoring how the money
is spent.

Mr Hain said: "Setting communities free from criminality
and the influence of paramilitaries will not just happen of
its own accord or overnight.

The announcement recognises the need for a process
involving loyalism and will assist them in working with
other agencies, community groups and public bodies

Ulster Political Research Group

"It needs to be worked for and those who have shown that
they are committed to doing that, and have ideas about how
it can be done, deserve support.

"That is why I have authorised this funding."

The secretary of state said he understood victims of
loyalist violence may feel angry and bitter about his
decision, but said it was his responsibility to encourage
those who wanted "to turn their back on loyalism's
murderous past".

The funding will be administered by Farset Community
Enterprises, an organisation based in north-west Belfast.

Staff will work with community representatives and key
stakeholders in loyalist areas to develop ways of ending
the influence of paramilitaries and criminality.

Irish Foreign Minister Dermot Ahern said he hoped the
initiative would be "a further step along the road to
definitive transformation".

"There are many within loyalism who want to break from the
past - it is right that those who are genuinely engaged in
efforts to move their organisations away from paramilitary
activity and criminality should be supported in that work,"
he said.

The UPRG said it welcomed the announcement, which it said
"recognises the need for a process involving loyalism and
will assist them in working with other agencies, community
groups and public bodies".

"The project would help loyalism "define the need for all
to continue to examine ways of assisting loyalist
paramilitaries to move beyond conflict and assist them in
their search for an inclusive peace, which is sustainable
and enduring".

SDLP assembly member Alban Maginness said although it was
right to fund disadvantaged areas, he was opposed to any
reward for people involved in crime.

"It is important that this money is used for the right
reasons and over the course of this six-month project, the
SDLP will be monitoring how it is used to better the lives
of people living in deprived areas," he said.

Sinn Fein's equality spokeswoman Caitriona Ruane said she
was concerned the NIO was investing "public money into
certain loyalist communities at the expense of other areas
where greater levels of actual need exist".

"If people are to have confidence in the administration of
public money, then it is vital that the process of
allocating such funds is transparent and driven by economic
and social realities, not the whims of political expediency
within the NIO system."

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/09/18 16:06:23 GMT


Government Urges Sinn Fein To Support PSNI

The government has today urged Sinn Fein to give its
support to the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) in
a bid to help boost the prospects of a political deal being
reached in restoring devolution by the November 24

Commenting on this, Northern Ireland Secretary of State
Peter Hain said that he feels that it would be “an enormous
boost to the prospects of doing a deal by November 24 if
the Sinn Fein leadership made an unequivocal commitment to
support policing."

He added that there have been indications that the
Republican leadership is moving towards a position where it
can recommend support for the PSNI.

Speaking earlier today at a press conference at Stormont
Castle, he said that republicans had no excuse not to
support the new policing structures in Northern Ireland.

The meeting followed the announcement that both British and
Irish Premiers were to embark on devolution talks at St
Andrews in Scotland at the start of next month.

The talks are due to take place between October 11 and 13,
and Tony Blair and Bertie Ahern are expected to focus on
discussing a joint British-Irish strategy aimed a bringing
about the re-establishment of the power-sharing executive
at Stormont.

The Secretary of State also warned the DUP not to think
that if there is an agreement reached with Sinn Fein that
it will have any bearing on the November 24 deadline being

Mr Hain stressed that there would be no decision to extend
the deadline and added that if there is no deal by November
24 “then Stormont shuts down.”

Earlier today, when addressing the all-party Preparation
for Government Committee, the Secretary of State suggested
that it could take up to ten years before fresh efforts
were made to restore devolution.



PSNI Pay Journalists 'Damages'

The PSNI have paid an “unprecedented sum of damages” to The
Sunday Times' Northern Ireland editor and his wife.

Legal action was launched against the PSNI in May 2003,
after they carried out a raid at the Ballymena home of
journalists Liam Clarke and Kathryn Johnston.

It is understood that the search operation was carried out
under the Official Secrets Act after the publication of
transcripts of conversations carried out between Sinn
Fein's Martin McGuinness and senior government officials.

The couple complained to the Ombudsman`s office who
investigated the incident and branded the police raid as
“poorly led and unprofessional.”

The case was eventually settled out of court.

Earlier today, a barrister acting on behalf of the couple
announced that the PSNI had agreed to pay an undisclosed
amount of damages as well as their court costs.



Parties Work On Community Issues

The Progressive Unionist Party and Sinn Fein in Londonderry
have said they will work together on community issues.

In a statement the unionist and republican parties said
they were committed to "sustained dialogue".

Derry Sinn Fein Councillor Lynn Fleming said the groundwork
for the alliance had been laid over some weeks.

"We are a society coming out of conflict and if we are to
have a shared future we need to sit down with our unionist
neighbours," she said.

The statement said: "We must be confident in building a
better future for ourselves and our children.

"We must show leadership and not be afraid to take risks.

"In this regard our two parties have committed to and
embarked upon a sustained dialogue to develop initiatives
based upon common and agreed community issues that will
function within and between our communities."

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/09/18 10:46:50 GMT


Fianna Fáil And Pds On Course For Third Term

By Harry McGee, Political Editor

FIANNA FÁIL and the Progressive Democrats are on course for
a third term in office, according to an Irish
Examiner/Lansdowne Market Research poll.

The Coalition partners hold an 11% advantage over Fine Gael
and Labour with less than nine months to go to the General

Support for the two Government parties is relatively
unscathed following a bruising political year during which
it suffered setbacks over the continuing A&E crisis,
electronic voting and the shock release of a convicted
child rapist.

Fianna Fáil now commands the support of 39% of voters,
according to the poll. This is a marginal improvement on
the Irish Examiner poll of September 2005 and a drop of
only 3% from the 2002 elections.

Likewise, the PDs seem to have bucked a decline evident in
earlier polls.

The party and its new leader Michael McDowell will be
encouraged by its 6% showing, a point up on last year.

Elsewhere there is strong endorsement for Mr McDowell’s
leadership, with more people viewing it as a positive
development in Irish politics.

The poll was conducted on Wednesday and Thursday of last
week, in the immediate wake of his elevation to party

For the alternative coalition, the findings make sober
reading. While Fine Gael, at 24%, is one point higher than
September 2005, its support is short of its targeted 28%.
However, the indications are that the party is performing
strongly in Dublin. Its 18% showing in the capital is a
six-point increase on September 2005 and suggests the party
will make a strong recovery from its dismal performance
there four years ago.

The findings are deeply discouraging for Labour, which is
now at 10%, down two points on last year and very close to
the party’s core vote. One finding in particular — that 60%
of Labour voters from 2002 do not intend to support the
party — will concern party strategists. But, like Fine
Gael, the party remains strong in Dublin, winning the
support of one-in-six voters.

As the fieldwork was conducted before the Labour think-in
in Cork and just as the Fine Gael one was getting underway,
both parties may have suffered from the lack of media

The combined support of the Government parties is 45%, 11
points ahead of the 34% combined total FG and Labour. Even
when the support of the Green Party — which remains a
respectable 6% — is added, the putative ‘Rainbow’ is still
five points behind the FF/PD vote.

Elsewhere, there is evidence that support for Sinn Féin is
declining. Its 9% figure is a point down on last year, but
the party’s support in Dublin has fallen to 5%, most of
that from young blue-collar workers and the unemployed.
That low figure is offset by a very strong showing of 16%
in Connacht/Ulster. Support for independents and others
remains static at 6%.

The Government will also take heart from surprisingly
strong satisfaction ratings, which reverse the clear
dissatisfaction levels of September 2005.

However, there are potential vulnerabilities. Health is now
the number one issue of importance among voters, replacing
the cost of living in the rankings. Crime is the third area
of greatest concern to voters.

Public concern about the A&E crisis is reflected in other
findings, particularly stunningly low confidence levels in
Health Minister Mary Harney’s ability to turn around the

While the main opposition parties will be disappointed with
their figures, they will take solace from popular approval
for the credibility of the ‘Mullingar Accord’. Voters view
it as an equally effective coalition option to the present
Government arrangement.

The poll was conducted among a sample of 1,056 adults,
representative of all demographic groups.

Labour leader Pat Rabbitte said the findings of the poll
seemed to be out of kilter with the findings of previous
ones and did not convey the feedback the party was getting
on the doorstep.


Opin: PUP Requires More Than A Makeover

18 September 2006

Peter Hain's deadline of November 24 may not be
concentrating the minds of the main political parties, but
it seems to be exercising groupings which are more on the
periphery. The Progressive Unionist Party is re-engaging
with the Independent Monitoring Commission and talks are
due to take place tomorrow.

In advance of the meeting, the PUP has been at pains to
improve its image. The party's chair, Dawn Purvis, says
that although the party provides political analysis to the
UVF, the relationship between party and paramilitary
grouping is different to the linkage between Sinn Fein and
the IRA.

The resumption of dialogue is being prompted by the fact
that the IMC is due to publish a report next month on the
various paramilitary bodies. Last October, the IMC
described the UVF as "a dangerous organisation" which had
been involved in murder and other violence during the
preceding summer, so clearly there is a lot of ground to be
made up.

For all its support for the Good Friday Agreement, the UVF
has yet to disarm and disband, which is what the vast
majority of people want. There never was any moral
justification for loyalist violence and now that the IRA
has stood down and decommissioned its weaponry, there is no
rational reason for the continued existence of either the
UVF or the UDA.

As is clear from the time taken by the republican movement
to honour its commitment to a peaceful way forward, such
changes cannot be expected to happen overnight.

But the PUP must persuade the UVF to do more than pay lip
service to the peace process. Although the PUP's attempts
to align itself with the Ulster Unionists have now been
derailed, loyalism must continue along a political path.

As long as the PUP is associated with an organisation which
has been involved in terrorism, racketeering and
criminality, it will be shunned by most people at the
polls. But if it cleans up its act, it may find its
policies can curry more favour.

The door is being held open but it will require more than
fine words for the PUP to convince the IMC. The best way
that the UVF can demonstrate that it does not pose any
threat to the peace process will be to decide to dispose of
its arms.

For too many years, the paramilitaries have exerted a
malevolent influence on Northern Ireland. Now the province
is trying to break free from the past, but democracy will
be contaminated if political parties of any hue insist on
retaining their paramilitary links.

The PUP deserves credit for making a new start, and should
be encouraged along the path upon which it has embarked.
There must be no return to Malvern Street.


Washington Group Visit Belfast

A new relationship is being forged between Washington DC
and Belfast during a four-day visit by a high powered
delegation from the US capital.

A group headed up by the Mayor of Washington Anthony
Williams arrived in Belfast yesterday to explore closer
economic, educational, cultural and tourism ties between
both cities.

During a visit to City Hall today, Mr Williams was welcomed
by the Lord Mayor of Belfast, Pat McCarthy.

He also attended a presentation on Belfast by council

Mayor Williams met key investment and education figures in
the city.

During the visit a declaration of intent between the two
cities is also being signed committing them to a more
formalised partnership, with collaboration on areas of
mutual interest.

Councillor Michael Browne, chairman of the Council`s
Economic Development sub-committee, said closer links with
Washington would present many opportunities for Belfast.

"Our aim at Belfast City Council is to use the development
of such a civic relationship to promote business, academic
and cultural links," the Sinn Fein councillor said.

Among the organisations the delegation will meet are
Investment Belfast, Invest NI, the city`s education sector,
key tourism organisations and the Northern Ireland Sports

Mayor Williams, a Democrat, has been in his post since 1999
and previously served as DC`s chief financial officer
during former Washington Mayor Marion Barry`s final term in

He played a key role in the relocation of the Montreal
Expos Major League baseball team to the US capital where
they became the Washington Nationals.


Gerry Adams Joins Protest For School Teacher Arrested For Speaking Irish

Published: 18 September, 2006

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams MP has today branded the
trial of Irish language teacher Máire Nic an Bhaird "a

Mr Adams was speaking after the resumption of the case
against the Belfast woman arrested after speaking Irish on
a Belfast street earlier this year. The Sinn Féin President
joined a protest this morning outside the court in Belfast
city centre. Mr Adams was joined by party colleagues
Caitríona Ruane and Francie Brolly. This morning's session
was due to rule on whether Ms Nic an Bhaird will receive
relevant papers in Irish and that she herself will be able
to address the court in Irish.

Speaking today Mr Adams said:

"It is an absolute disgrace that this young woman is up in
court for using her own language on a Belfast street. Had
she spoken German, French or Italian she simply would not
have been arrested. People have inalienable rights,
including language rights.

"This case once again clearly highlights the urgent need
for an Irish Language Act for the six counties. Sinn Féin
is working to ensure that Irish language speakers in the
six counties are afforded the same rights as speakers
throughout the rest of the country and have raised the
issue of an Irish Language Act in negotiations with the
British Government." ENDS


JFK Sister Patricia Kennedy Lawford (82) Dies

Last updated: 18-09-06, 11:19

The sister of former president John F. Kennedy and wife of
English actor Peter Lawford died yesterday at the age of

Patricia Kennedy Lawford supported the political campaigns
of her brothers and was a lifelong lover of the arts who
devoted much of her time to charity work,

She died surrounded by family at her home in New York from
complications from pneumonia.

"Everyone who knew Pat adored her," her brother, Senator
Edward Kennedy, said in a statement issued by the family.
"She was admired for her great style, for her love and
support of the arts, her wit and generosity - and for the
singular sense of wonder and joy she brought to our lives.
We grieve her loss."

Born in Brookline, Massachusetts, in 1924, the sixth child
and fourth daughter of daughter of Rose and Joseph Kennedy,
Lawford was educated partly in London where her father was
US ambassador to Britain.

She married Peter Lawford, whom she had met through her
brother John in 1954, and the couple had four children.
They lived in Santa Monica, California, but divorced in

Apart from her work in show business, Ms Lawford campaigned
for her brothers, holding tea parties with her mother and
sisters during John Kennedy's race for Congress in 1946.
She was also active in the Senate and presidential
campaigns of her brothers and Robert and Edward.

© 2006


War Of Independence Veteran Dies Aged 105

18/09/2006 - 19:12:41

A 105-year-old War of Independence veteran who served
alongside Michael Collins, died today.

Lieutenant Colonel Sean Clancy, a former Commanding Officer
of the Fifth Infantry Battalion, fought against British
forces in the Dublin Brigade of the Volunteers from 1919 to

The Co Clare native also shared the historic moment in
Dublin Castle in 1922 with Collins when Britain handed over
power to the new Irish Government.

In a statement the Defence Forces said: “It is with great
regret the Defence Forces mourn the death of Lieutenant
Colonel Sean Clancy at the age of 105 years.

“At the time of his death Lieutenant Colonel Clancy was the
oldest surviving person receiving a military service
pension for his role in the War of Independence.”

Lt Col Clancy died in a Dublin nursing home.

After serving in the War of Independence, Lt Col Clancy
signed up to join the National Army on May 22, 1922.

He was commissioned as a lieutenant the following year and
held a number of posts during the Civil War years and in
the Emergency.

Lt Col Clancy retired on age grounds in July 1959 after
years as Commanding Officer of the Fifth Infantry

He was honoured on his 104th birthday last year when
Defence Forces Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Jim
Sreenan hosted a lunch in McKee Barracks the present home
of the Fifth Infantry.

Lt Col Clancy was also one of a handful of veterans of the
War of Independence and the Civil War who attended the 90th
anniversary commemorations of the Easter Rising in Dublin
earlier this year.

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