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September 04, 2006

Demolition Begins In Crossmaglen

News About Ireland & The Irish

BB 09/04/06 Demolition Begins On Symbolic Base
BB 09/04/06 Blair Says Genuine Progress Made
BT 09/04/06 SF To Discuss Stormont And Next Elections
SF 09/04/06 Ferris - Fianna Fail Needs To Reject PDism
BT 09/04/06 Paisley 'Not Quitting Politics'
IN 09/04/06 SF Dismisses Defections Reports As `Balderdash'
BT 09/04/06 Adams Risks US Ties In Palestine 'Peace Mission'
BB 09/04/06 Israel Talks Snub For Sinn Fein
BT 09/04/06 Cemetery Sunday Passes Off Peacefully
BT 09/04/06 McCord Wants To Meet UVF Face To Face
BT 09/04/06 'Love Ulster' Riots Not Organised, Says Top Garda
UT 09/04/06 RIR Soldiers Launch Complaints
IN 09/04/06 Opin: Nothing New In Using Law In Pursuit Of The Political
IN 09/04/06 Opin: High Time For UVF To Disarm
CN 09/04/06 'Crocodile Hunter' Steve Irwin Dead
IN 09/04/06 Last Passenger On Fateful JFK Journey Dies
BN 09/04/06 Westport Wins Tidy Towns Award
CS 09/04/06 Saint Of 9/11


Demolition Begins On Symbolic Base

Demolition crews are moving into Crossmaglen police station
to begin removing one of the best known security bases in
Northern Ireland. BBC Northern Ireland Home Affairs
Correspondent Vincent Kearney reports.

Many army barracks and police stations have been vacated
and demolished in recent years as part of the government's
normalisation process, but few have the powerful symbolism
of Crossmaglen.

For more than 30 years, soldiers and police officers based
there were tasked with confronting some of the IRA's most
deadly units in the heart of South Armagh, an area referred
to by many as "Bandit Country" because of its history of
For the security forces, the base in Crossmaglen was a
vital part of the war against terrorism. For republicans,
it was a blight on the landscape, a symbol of everything
they opposed, and they attacked it many times during the

The area was considered so dangerous that troops and police
officers could not travel by road, and had to be flown in
and out by helicopter.

Newtownhamilton police station will also close in the next
few days, which means there soon won't be any Army presence
anywhere in south Armagh.

Many republicans will celebrate the removal of the
Crossmaglen base, portraying it as part of a process of
British withdrawal.

But the Army insists it is nothing of the sort - they say
the terrorist threat has now been reduced to the point that
the base, like many others across Northern Ireland, simply
isn't needed anymore.

The closure is part of the government's normalisation
programme in response to the IRA's declared end to its

Operation Banner, the name the Army gave to its support
role for the police, will end next August after more than
30 years - the longest running operation in British Army

There are currently around 9,000 troops based in Northern
Ireland, but by next summer that number will be reduced to
no more than 5,000 based in 11 locations.

At the height of the troubles there were almost 30,000
soldiers in Northern Ireland, based in more than 100

The latest report by the International Monitoring
Commission, which will be made public on Wednesday, is
expected to say that the government's timetable for
normalisation is on schedule.

The Crossmaglen base may be among the most symbolic to
close to date, but it won't be the last.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/09/04 15:06:25 GMT


Blair Says Genuine Progress Made

The prime minister believes "genuine progress" has been
made in bringing Northern Ireland's political parties
together to prepare for government.

A spokesman said efforts to restore the assembly would be a
"very important part of the agenda this autumn".

The government set 24 November as the deadline for
agreement to be reached.

Mr Blair and the Irish leader Bertie Ahern are expected to
meet the parties next month as part of the bid to restore
the administration at Stormont.

Mr Blair's official spokesman said the next few months
would be "one of the most important periods in Northern
Ireland that we have seen for some time".

"This autumn will reflect that and the level of the
meetings we have will reflect that," he said.

The prime minister believes genuine progress has been made
in bringing Northern Ireland's political parties together
to prepare for government

Downing Street spokesman

"We have seen some genuine progress in terms of the parties
taking the preparation for government seriously."

The spokesman said co-operation would now "need to be taken
to a new phase".

"A very important part of that will be two Independent
Monitoring Commission reports, one on the normalisation
process which will come probably before too long and the
second, its report on paramilitary activity, which is due
in October," he said.

"We have approached this in a methodical, patient and
painstaking way and I think that does allow a basis for
moving forward this autumn - but that will be for the
parties to decide."

Devolved government was suspended over allegations of a
republican spy ring.

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

Direct rule from London was restored in October 2002 and
has been in place since.

The Preparation for Government Committee was set up to
identify obstacles to the return of devolution. It has been
meeting over the summer months.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/09/04 15:51:26 GMT


SF To Discuss Stormont And Next Elections

By Noel McAdam
04 September 2006

Sinn Fein's MPs, MEPs, Assembly and Dail members are to
meet the party executive this weekend to debate future
strategy regarding devolution and the next Irish election.

The gathering in Dublin comes after the party's ard
comhairle (executive) decided a 'no change' approach to
Assembly meetings - the party will participate only when it
advances the prospects of a deal.

The decision followed the report of an internal review
which was said to have voiced serious misgivings over the
role of the British and Irish governments in the recent
past - with repeated calls for London and Dublin to 'get a
grip' on the political process.

Yet the meeting also received a written undertaking from
Ulster Secretary of State Peter Hain "that achieving the
deadline of restoration on or before 24 November is firm
and immovable."

Senior negotiator Martin McGuinness said afterwards: "It is
still possible to make progress in the coming period but it
will only happen if the Irish and British governments play
a decisive role.

"It is their responsibility to see major progress made in
the time ahead and we need to see an intensification of
efforts if that is to happen.

"Despite the best efforts of the majority of parties very
little progress towards restoration of the political
institutions has been made over the last four months."

The executive meeting had voiced serious concern that
"stringing out" the political process had seriously
undermined public confidence and reduced the potential for


Ferris - Fianna Fail Needs To Reject PDism

Published: 4 September, 2006

The Sinn F‚in Spokesperson on Agriculture and Food, Martin
Ferris TD has said that if Fianna F il is serious about
renewing its appeal to its traditional supporters it needs
to reject the undue influence that the Progressive
Democrats have on current Government policy. Deputy Ferris
was speaking as Fianna F il begins a two day meeting in
Mayo ahead of the new D il session.

Deputy Ferris said: "Last year Fianna F il recognised the
damage done to it in terms of public support by its
subservience to the PDs' right wing agenda by inviting Fr.
Sean Healy to address its meeting in Inchydoney. Following
that, Brian Cowan's budget attempted to reposition itself
by a series of social welfare increases. The extent to
which that was successful must be questioned given the
party's recent performance in opinion polls. The extent to
which its sensitivity to the concerns of working class
voters is genuine must also be called into question given
its continued adherence to PD led policy across a range of
issues, most recently with regard to the proposed
privatisation of Aer Lingus.

"In farming and rural development, Fianna F il also
continues to adhere to a laissez faire approach that is
condemning thousands more farm families to failure, while
the withholding of necessary investment in schools,
transport and other areas is undermining the quality of
life in many rural areas. If the future of Irish
agriculture is allowed be dictated to by EU policy aimed at
'liberalising' markets, and if the Irish Government fails
to frame a proactive strategy itself, then the future for
most Irish farm families is bleak. The PDs, with its right
wing ideology, may be content that this will be case, but
this small party cannot be allowed dictate the future."


Paisley 'Not Quitting Politics'

By Lisa Smyth
04 September 2006

Speculation that DUP leader Ian Paisley is set to quit
politics after the purchase of a lavish retirement home was
last night dismissed by a senior party figure.

The Rev Paisley has reportedly been bought a luxury
apartment on Co Down's "gold coast" - prompting fresh
suggestions about his future.

According to the Sunday Times, the apartment - valued at up
to œ350,000 - has been purchased by the Free Presbyterian
Church in the much sought after Sharman estate outside

Special security measures have been installed at the
exclusive property, and his daughter Rhonda, an artist, has
overseen the redecoration of the apartment.

However, although Mr Paisley has already settled into the
apartment, it will remain the property of the church and he
will not be able to sell it.

South Down MLA Jim Wells last night described suggestions
that Mr Paisley was set to retire as "wishful thinking" and
said he believed he will remain as leader of the DUP for
many years to come.

"My personal view is that he has the constitution that most
50-year-olds would be delighted to have," Mr Wells said.

"I have been in Mr Paisley's company for 30 years and he
never ceases to amaze me with his ability to keep going
when the rest of us have all given up."

Mr Wells also played down the fact that Mr Paisley has
already given up his seat in the European Parliament.

"He was quite unwell a couple of years ago and he has come
back stronger than ever.

"I think he was 79 when he stood for the last Westminster
elections and he returned with an absolutely colossal vote.
If that's an indication of someone on the way out, I would
like to have some of his success," he said.

"Clearly the people of North Antrim felt he was fit for the
job for the next four or five years and I certainly feel
that as far as the party is concerned, he's a great asset
and there's no-one better for the job."


SF Dismisses Defections Reports As `Balderdash'

By William Graham Political Correspondent

Mid Ulster MP Martin Mc-Guinness has dismissed as
"balderdash" claims that there have been defections from
the IRA and Sinn Fein in south Derry.

There have been reports that up to 40 people in that area
have split from the mainstream republican movement and have
offered to co-operate with dissidents.

Earlier this week a meeting of dissident republicans which
was due to be held in Toomebridge was cancelled at short

It was reported that members of the Real IRA and Continuity
IRA were planning to meet along with other republicans.

But Mr McGuinness said yesterday: "The stories about south
Derry are total and absolute balderdash."
Meanwhile, the Sinn Fein Ard Chomhairle is due to meet in
Dublin today and after an internal review on the party's
participation in the Stormont committee and talks process
will decide on future tactics.

The Irish News understands that delegates will discuss a
range of options including continuing participation as at
present, disengagement or engaging in an intensification of
the process.

It is expected the Sinn Fein leadership will press for an
intensification of engagement particularly in the run-up to
the November 24 devolution deadline.

Mr McGuinness said he was working to make power-sharing
with the DUP "a reality" by the British government's
November 24 devolution deadline.

He said that judging from the attitude adopted by DUP
leader Ian Paisley, it was "probable he will not agree to
share power with Catholics, with republican or nationalist
parties, before November 24".

"But it is possible that he might think it is in his best
interests and in the best interests of the people he
represents that he should," he said.

At yesterday's meeting of the Stormont preparation for
government committee the SDLP said the restoration of
devolved government would not be helped by "small steps or
half measures".

SDLP equality spokesperson Patricia Lewsley said: "Now is
the time for full restoration. This would build

SDLP assembly member Alban Maginness said his party put a
number of proposals at yesterday's committee meeting
including further efforts to extend TG4 across the north,
implementation of the European Charter on lesser used
languages as well as a new Irish language act.

Meanwhile, North Antrim SDLP assembly member Sean Farren


Adams Risks US Ties In Palestine 'Peace Mission'

Sinn Fein leader angers Washington with plan to meet Hamas
on visit

By Lisa Smyth
04 September 2006

Gerry Adams is making a "peace mission" to Palestine this
week, despite claims it could harm his standing in

The West Belfast MP will be travelling to the region at the
invitation of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

During the trip, he will meet with members of the Palestine
Legislative Council, including ruling group Hamas.

Hamas is considered a terrorist organisation by the US and
it has been reported that politicians in Washington are
angered at the planned visit by the Sinn Fein leader.

Mitchell Reiss, President Bush's special envoy to Northern
Ireland, is reported to be among those annoyed about the

There has also been speculation that the visit will set
back Sinn Fein's attempts to resume fund-raising in the US.

Sinn Fein confirmed details of the Middle East trip in a
statement issued yesterday, describing it as a "peace

As well as meeting with the Palestine Legislative Council,
Mr Adams is due to make a presentation to the Palestinian-
Israeli Peace Forum.

He said yesterday: "In recent years the Sinn Fein
leadership has shared our experience of the Irish peace
Process with those seeking peaceful alternatives to
conflict both in the Basque Country and Sri Lanka.

"It is imperative that genuine negotiation and dialogue
between the representatives of the Palestinian and Israeli
people commences as quickly as possible.

"While no two conflicts are identical there are key
conflict resolution principles which can be applied in any

"These include inclusive dialogue, respect for electoral
mandates and respect for human rights and international

"This is the message I will be bringing to the Middle East
this week."


Israel Talks Snub For Sinn Fein

The Israeli government has refused to meet Gerry Adams
during his peace mission in the Middle East this week.

The Sinn Fein president is going to Israel and the
Palestinian Authority territories at the invitation of
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Sinn Fein said the mission was meant to encourage efforts
to resolve the Irsraeli-Palestinian conflict.

The Israelis said they would not meet him because he is to
speak to Hamas, viewed by them as a terrorist group.

An Israeli embassy spokesman in Dublin said Israel "would
not talk to those who meet Hamas".

Mr Adams, who leaves for the Middle East on Tuesday, said:
"The intention was always to go to Israel and to Palestine.

'Wrong position'

"We have worked with the Israeli embassy in putting this
trip together, they have wished us well in terms of our

"I understand that the Israeli government will not meet
with us. They have a position which I think is the wrong

Earlier, the Sinn Fein president said that "genuine
negotiation and dialogue" were imperative.

"While no two conflicts are identical there are key
conflict resolution principles which can be applied in any
situation," he said.

"These include inclusive dialogue, respect for electoral
mandates and respect for human rights and international

Israel has been conducting military operations in the
coastal Gaza Strip since Palestinian militants captured an
Israeli soldier in June.

Aid frozen

More than 200 Palestinians have been killed while 11
Israeli civilians have been wounded by rocket fire from

The Sinn Fein president is travelling to the Middle East on
Tuesday and will meet with Mr Abbas and members of the
Palestine Legislative Council, including Hamas.

Hamas, which forms the current Palestinian administration,
is banned by the EU and US and branded a terrorist group.

Earlier this year the US and EU froze aid to the
Palestinian Authority because Hamas has refused to renounce
violence and recognise Israel.

Mr Adams said the Sinn Fein leadership had shared their
experience of the Northern Ireland peace process "with
those seeking peaceful alternatives to conflict both in the
Basque country and Sri Lanka".

The West Belfast MP led his party into a devolved
government in Northern Ireland after the Good Friday
Agreement was brokered in 1998.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/09/04 16:41:48 GMT


Cemetery Sunday Passes Off Peacefully

By Victoria O'Hara
04 September 2006

Fears that a loyalist protest would spark trouble at a
Catholic prayer service were allayed yesterday, as the
annual blessing of the graves in Newtownabbey passed off

Loyalists had threatened to picket the ceremony at
Carnmoney Cemetery on Sunday.

Posters calling for support from "true loyalists" to
support the protest had been erected throughout the nearby
Rathcoole estate last week.

However no protest took place and thousands of people
attended the cemetery for the ceremony, which passed off
without incident.

There was a noticeable police presence in the area.

Loyalist paramilitary organisations had disowned the
planned picket.

In a joint statement issued at the weekend, the Ulster
Volunteer Force, Red Hand Commando and Ulster Defence
Association's South East Antrim unit called on their
supporters to stay away from Carnmoney Cemetery for the
annual ceremony.

In the past, loyalist crowds have picketed the event, with
serious rioting breaking out in their ranks in 2003.

Parish priest of the nearby St Mary's on the Hill chapel
Father Dan Whyte said he was "delighted" that the protest
did not go ahead yesterday.

Newtownabbey PSNI Superintendent Will Kerr commended those
involved in making the day peaceful.

"People demonstrated responsibility and respect.

"This must be welcomed by the whole community," he said.


McCord Wants To Meet UVF Face To Face

By David Gordon
04 September 2006

Anti-UVF campaigner Raymond McCord has challenged the
leadership of the terror group to meet him face to face.

And Mr McCord claimed a refusal from the paramilitary
grouping would show it was still "running away from the

The north Belfast man has campaigned for years to expose
the truth behind the murder of his son Raymond Jnr by a UVF
gang in 1997.

He expects a forthcoming Police Ombudsman report to
vindicate his allegation that the killing was ordered by a
RUC Special Branch informer.

The UVF last week denied that it was targeting Mr McCord.
It also alleged that Raymond Jnr had been an active member
of its organisation for over a year.

Mr McCord hit back, saying: "This is all just a PR

"I was told by the UVF a number of years ago that young
Raymond was not a member of its organisation.

"They said he had previously been a member for a couple of
weeks and was then put out. He was put out because he was
my son and I opposed paramilitaries.

"If Raymond had been a member, then I would say so. He
still wouldn't have deserved to be murdered."

Mr McCord pointed out that he had recently received fresh
police warnings about UVF plots to kill him.

He said: "If they refuse to meet me, then they will be
running away from the truth yet again."


'Love Ulster' Riots Not Organised, Says Top Garda

04 September 2006

Street violence and looting that prevented a 'Love Ulster'
parade earlier this year was not an organised riot, it is

Garda Chief superintendent Bill Donoghue has refused a
request from solicitors representing one of the victims
whose car was burned that he declare the damage was caused
by "rioters". Such a declaration would form part of claims
for compensation from the local council.

His view contradicts the opinions of Taoiseach Bertie Ahern
and Justice Minister Michael McDowell who said the violence
was organised.

More than 250,000 euro worth of damage was caused in the
February 25 chaos in Dublin city centre.


RIR Soldiers Launch Complaints

More than 1,000 disgruntled soldiers in Northern Ireland
have lodged complaints about the Royal Irish Regiment
(RIR)'s redundancy package ahead of possible legal action.

By:Press Association

A mass protest against the deal was launched by part-time
troops facing the sack by next August without redundancy
payments. Army chiefs are anticipating legal proceedings.

Soldiers are calling for redundancy allowances, pension and
paid leave rights.

A letter sent by one aggrieved employee said: "Having been
officially told on 9 March 2006 that my service is being
terminated without redundancy payments being made to me I
now believe that I was wronged in that I have been treated
less favourably than a comparable full-time member of the
Royal Irish, which is contrary to the provisions of the
Part-Time Workers (Provision of Less Favourable Treatment)
Regulations NI 2000 and the Part-Time Workers` (EU)

The Ministry of Defence announced in August 2005 that the
two Northern Ireland-based battalions of the RIR would be
disbanded by August 2007.

Full-time Privates with five years` service will receive a
package worth more than œ40,000, with œ28,000 from the
Government as well as redundancy allowances. Part-timers
will be given a special Government payout of œ14,000.

The œ250 million package to cut 3,000 jobs was part of
security normalisation measures linked to the IRA`s July
2005 announcement that it would end its armed campaign.

It will leave a peacetime garrison of 5,000 troops.

Army chiefs also ordered the dismantling of watchtowers and
security installations across south Armagh and Belfast.

The Army`s headquarters at Thiepval Barracks, Lisburn, near
Belfast, is dealing with the complaints and has asked those
who drew up the settlement package for comments. This is
expected to include the Government.

A spokesman said: "A number of part-time members of the RIR
have submitted redresses and they are being processed in
accordance with a manual of military law and Queen`s Rules
and Regulations.

"As these redresses are subject to possible legal
proceedings it would be inappropriate to comment further."


Opin: Nothing New In Using Law In Pursuit Of The Political

By Patrick Murphy

It is a universal truth generally recognised in Irish
politics that we should never be surprised by the actions
of British ministers.

A fine example emerged this week with the claim that Mo
Mowlam ordered the release of a loyalist murder suspect
from Gough Barracks, Armagh at the request of the UVF in

Mowlam, who temporarily eclipsed Robert Emmet for the title
of Darling of Erin, is said to have acted because the UVF
wanted him to attend negotiations on the Good Friday

As an isolated incident it would have been merely illegal.
But it is one more in a series of disturbing questions
about the political influence which British ministers exert
over the rule of law here.

Former secretary of state Merlyn Rees knew the identities
of the Dublin and Monaghan bombers in 1974 and failed to

The current secretary, Peter Hain, is presumably aware of
the state's selective arrest of some loyalist
paramilitaries and its financial funding of others.

He reportedly fell asleep recently during a meeting with
Raymond McCord, who was complaining about the failure of
the police to bring his son's killers to justice. McCord
believes that the man Mowlam released may be one of them.

British politicians are empowered to make our laws but
their selective application of those laws for political
purposes suggests that, in legal terms, some of us are more
equal than others.

We have a long history of the law as a political weapon -
the state of Northern Ireland was protected by an arsenal
of legislation.

The Flags and Emblems Act forbade the display of the Irish
tricolour and the Special Powers Act allowed indefinite
internment without charge or trial. Thus the use of the law
in the pursuit of the political is nothing new to us.

But these days there is a difference. Formerly we had
selective law. Now we have universal law selectively
applied (it is called progress). Secretaries of state
appear to switch the law on and off, as and when they like.

The law may be imperfect but if it is democratically made
and impartially applied, it is the best we can expect.

Where it is applied partially, it not only undermines the
legal process, it subverts the democracy which made it. (No
doubt the politicians' justification for subverting
democracy would be that they have done so to oppose those
trying to subvert democracy.)

The use of the law for political ends reached its high
point with the Good Friday Agreement.

In return for adopting a political view - recognising the
legitimacy of the state - republican prisoners were told
that they could ignore the law which convicted them and
walk free (loyalists already recognised the state, so they
walked free without any political conditions).

The law became the currency of the political market place.
For the first time in Irish history republicans did not
oppose political law, they borrowed the concept for their
own use. They armed the released prisoners with it and sent
them back to their own communities.

The result was Community Restorative Justice (CRJ), which
is political law at local level. Justice requires that the
law applies to everyone equally. But CRJ adds an extra
layer of law on top of some citizens and not others.

It applies largely to the weak, the vulnerable and the
deprived. The wealthy are excluded (some are less equal
than others?). It even has two political versions -
republican and loyalist.

It is a process which any secretary of state would kill for
(or at least cover up the killing if someone else did it).

It is ironic that those against whom political law was
originally intended - the paramilitaries - grabbed on to
the concept and used it for their own political ends.

By allowing `good' republicans and `good' loyalists to
control `bad' republicans and `bad' loyalists, the British
government has franchised the national concept of law as a
political tool to several local outlets. The only condition
is that it must link through the largely political PSNI
board to the secretary of state.

It is a short-term strategy. When the rule of law is
nothing more than an extension of political ambition,
society has no law, it only has rule.

It is a problem which Ireland has faced in varying forms
throughout its troubled history.

To use it now as some form of solution to our political
problems at national and local level is not only to ignore
history, it is to re-run its mistakes and repeat its


Opin: High Time For UVF To Disarm

By Tom Kelly

FURTHER speculation about a long overdue start to UVF
decomm-issioning will not impress anyone outside loyalism
until the process is conclusively demonstrated to be under

All the main paramilitary groups, both loyalist and
republican, called what were supposed to be permanent
ceasefires back in 1994.

The IRA shamefully resumed its campaign of violence in 1996
and although it returned to a cessation within 18 months,
it was not until last year that it was able to satisfy the
de Chastelain commission that it had finally put its arms
beyond use.

A range of unionist politicians stridently refused to
accept General John de Chastelain's report, while at the
same time trying to ignore the fact that loyalist
organisations had retained their entire arsenals.

This was a particularly hypocritical stance as groups like
the UDA and the UVF had repeatedly used their guns during
sectarian attacks and internal feuds ever since claiming a
commitment to peaceful means 12 years ago.

In all the circumstances, the Ulster Unionist Party's
decision earlier this year to engage in a virtual Stormont
coalition with the Progressive Unionist Party (PUP), the
political wing of the UVF, was deeply questionable.

Ulster Unionist leader Sir Reg Empey has strongly defended
the move and

in the process offered some strikingly honest views on the
previous relat-ionship between loyalist paramilitaries and
mainstream unionism.

However, he still left himself in a vulnerable position and
urgently needed decisive movement from the UVF on the arms

Sir Reg sent a clear message to both

the UVF and the PUP at the weekend when he said: "I'm not
prepared to live a lie that there is progress, when there's
not progress."

The signs are that the pressure he has exerted may soon
produce results in the form of a re-engagement between the
UVF and the de Chastelain body.

It is essential that actual decommissioning follows shortly
and that the Independent Monitoring Commission also
confirms an end to UVF activity.

While many will feel that Sir Reg should not have entered
any arrangement with the PUP until the UVF was at an
advanced stage in discussions with General de Chastelain,
he can still say that, in common with many other leading
unionists and nationalists, he was prepared to take chances
in the search for peace.

The huge irony is that the one group which has remained on
the sidelines while criticising everyone else, the DUP, now
holds a veto over any future settlement.

Politics can be a cruel business but even if his party is
left as the junior partner in unionism, Sir Reg deserves to
have his strategy vindicated by the UVF.


'Crocodile Hunter' Steve Irwin Dead

POSTED: 7:56 a.m. EDT, September 4, 2006

SYDNEY, Australia (CNN) -- Steve Irwin, the TV presenter
known as the "Crocodile Hunter," has died after being stung
by a stingray in a marine accident off Australia's north

Media reports say Irwin was diving in waters off Port
Douglas, north of Cairns, when the incident happened on
Monday morning.

Irwin, 44 was killed by a stingray barb that went through
his chest, according to Cairns police sources. Irwin was
filming an underwater documentary at the time.

Ambulance officers confirmed they attended a reef fatality
Monday morning off Port Douglas, according to Australian
media. (Watch scenes of Irwin, known for his his enthusiasm
and support for conservation -- 2:49)

Queensland Police Services also confirmed Irwin's death and
said his family had been notified. Irwin was director of
the Australian Zoo in Queensland.

He is survived by his American-born wife Terri and their
two children, Bindi Sue, born 1998, and Robert (Bob), born
December 2003.

"The world has lost a great wildlife icon, a passionate
conservationist and one of the proudest dads on the
planet," his friend and producer John Stainton told
reporters in Cairns, according to The Associated Press. "He
died doing what he loved best and left this world in a
happy and peaceful state of mind. He would have said,
'Crocs Rule!' "

Australia Prime Minister John Howard said he was "shocked
and distressed at Steve Irwin's sudden, untimely and
freakish death," according to the AP.

Irwin became a popular figure on Australian and
international television through Irwin's close handling of
wildlife, most notably the capture and relocation of

Irwin's enthusiastic approach to nature conservation and
the environment won him a global following. He was known
for his exuberance and use of the catch phrase "Crikey!"

But his image suffered a setback in January 2004 when he
held his then 1-month-old baby Bob while feeding a
crocodile at his Australian zoo. (Full story)

In a statement released to Australian media, Foreign
Minister Alexander Downer expressed his sorrow and said
that he was fond of Irwin and was very appreciative of all
the work he had done in promoting Australia overseas.

In 2003, Irwin spoke to the Australian Broadcasting Corp.'s
"Australian Story" television program about how he was
perceived in his home country.

"When I see what's happened all over the world, they're
looking at me as this very popular, wildlife warrior
Australian bloke," he said, the ABC reported.

"And yet back here in my own country, some people find me a
little bit embarrassing. "You know, there's this... they
kind of cringe, you know, 'cause I'm coming out with
'Crikey' and 'Look at this beauty.' "


Last Passenger On Fateful JFK Journey Dies

By Staff Reporter

NELLIE Connally, the former Texas first lady who was riding
in President John F Kennedy's limousine when he was
assassinated, has died, a family friend said.

The 87-year-old was the last living person who had been
part of that fateful Dallas drive.

Mrs Connally, the widow of former governor John Connally,
died on Friday of natural causes at an Austin assisted
living centre, said Julian Read, who served as the
governor's press secretary in the 1960s.

As the limousine carrying the Connallys and the Kennedys
wound its way through the friendly crowd in downtown
Dallas, Mrs Connally turned to President Kennedy, who was
behind her, and said, "Mr President, you can't say Dallas
doesn't love you."

Almost immediately she heard the first of what she later
concluded were three gunshots in quick succession. A
wounded John Connally slumped after the second shot. Mrs
Connally said: "I never looked back again. I was just
trying to take care of him."

She later said the most enduring image of that day was the
bloodstained roses.

"It's the image of yellow roses and red roses and blood all
over the car... all over us," she said in a 2003 interview.

"I'll never forget it. It was so quick and so short, so

In 2003 she published a photo-filled book - From Love
Field: Our Final Hours with President John F Kennedy -
based on 22 pages of handwritten notes she compiled about a
week after the assassination and rediscovered in 1996.

Texas Governor Rick Perry called her "the epitome of

Mrs Connally is survived by her daughter, Sharon Connally
Ammann, and two sons, John B Connally III and Mark

She is to be buried near her late husband in the Texas
State Cemetery in Austin.


Westport Wins Tidy Towns Award

04/09/2006 - 13:51:55

Westport in Co Mayo has won the overall prize at this
year's National Tidy Town Awards as well as taking the gong
in the large town category.

Birdhill in Co Laois was awarded the tidiest village title.

Aughrim in Co Wicklow won in the small town section, while
Ennis was named the tidiest large urban centre.


Saint Of 9/11

Release Date: September 6, 2006 (NY)
Studio: IFC Films
Director: Glenn Holsten
Screenwriter: Not Available
Starring: Father Mychal Judge, Ian McKellen
Genre: Documentary
MPAA Rating: Not Available
Official Website:
Review: Not Available
DVD Review: Not Available
DVD: Not Available
Movie Poster: View here
Production Stills: Not Available
View Trailer:

Plot Summary: "Saint of 9/11" presents the turbulent,
restless, spiritual and remarkable journey of Father Mychal
Judge. Compassionate champion of the needy and forgotten, a
beloved Fire Department Chaplain, rousing Irish-American
balladeer and iconoclast, Father Judge was a humble parish
priest who wrestled with his own private demons while
touching others in powerful and miraculous ways.

In an enduring photograph of September 11th, a team of
rescue workers carry a Franciscan priest's body from the
World Trade Center. The world came to know Father Mychal
Judge, Chaplain, FDNY, in death as a symbol of courage and

Throughout his career as a friar, he lived a life of
witness, action and love. He provided hope, warmth,
compassion, and acceptance. Mychal Judge also knew the pain
of loss and suffering. He struggled with alcoholism and was
an outspoken AA advocate. Through his own vulnerability,
imperfection and fragile humanity, he was able to reach
people in their pain, shame and fragility. Father Judge was
a gay man who loved his priestly work.

"Saint of 9/11" weaves interviews with friends, colleagues,
congregants and archival footage with Father Judge's words.
"Saint of 9/11" portrays his life as a spiritual adventure
and an honest embrace of life, where alcoholism and
sexuality were acknowledged. "Saint of 9/11" is the story
of a life's journey interrupted. Inspired by his life, the
documentary embraces his full humanity.

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