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September 02, 2006

Empey Warns of DUP Stalling

News About Ireland & The Irish

ST 09/03/06 Empey Warns Of DUP 'Stalling'
ST 09/03/06 Ethics Code Bans Police From Joining Orange Order
BN 09/02/06 SF To Take Part In Next Session Of Northern Assembly
ST 09/03/06 Paisley Prepares To Retire In Style
IT 09/02/06 President Warns Of Binge Drinking 'Blight'
SF 09/03/06 Life, No Matter How Simple, Always Fraught With Danger
ST 09/03/06 You Really Think Your Name Is Irish?

(Poster's Note; Empey & the UUP should recognize stalling when
they see it. They brought it to a fine art form. Jay)


Empey Warns Of DUP 'Stalling'

Liam Clarke

THE Ulster Unionist leader has warned that loyalist
paramilitaries may be deflected from their peace strategy
if a political power-sharing deal is not concluded this
year. Sir Reg Empey believes that some in the Democratic
Unionist party (DUP) want to hold out past the British
government's November 24 agreement deadline in the hope
that Gordon Brown as prime minister would be more
sympathetic to unionism.

"In terms of government attention, this may be the optimum
moment to reach agreement," Empey said. "Tony Blair
probably won't be here in a year's time. For a large
variety of reasons we might find that this is the best

"I hear Ian Paisley say, `Gordon Brown is a son of the
manse' [a reference to the chancellor's Scots Presbyterian
background]. That is all hogwash. Brown will have a
learning curve if he takes over. He will have no interest
in Northern Ireland - his focus will be on his own mandate
in England. He is not going to do particular favours for
Northern Ireland, he is a Scottish-based politician."

Peter Hain, the Northern Ireland secretary, and Dermot
Ahern, the minister for foreign affairs, will meet next
Monday to discuss the situation and the two governments are
expected to launch their push for an agreement in the first
two weeks of October.

The Independent Monitoring Commission (IMC) is due to
report next month on the state of the paramilitary
ceasefires. Assuming the report is favourable Bertie Ahern
and Blair will travel to Belfast to announce two days of
intensive talks during which the local parties may be
cloistered in a Scottish stately home. These talks will
decide whether a power-sharing executive can be formed by
the November 24 deadline.

The whole strategy hinges on the IMC report, which will
cover the period from the end of February until August 31
and which must rule on a number of controversial incidents,
including the murder of Denis Donaldson on April 4. The
Sinn Fein official, who was an agent for the PSNI, is
thought to have been murdered by members of the IRA, but it
is not clear that this was sanctioned by the republican

Unless the IRA gets a clean bill of health from the IMC,
Paisley's party can be expected to rule out power sharing.

The UVF has made a number of positive moves in recent
weeks, possibly in an effort to get them on record before
the IMC's August 31 date for taking evidence. These include
the publication of a list of its dead members, which David
Ervine, leader of the Progressive Unionist party (PUP), has
interpreted as a signal that its terrorism campaign might
be coming to an end.

Empey has been criticised by Lady Hermon, his party's only
MP, over the UUP's relationship with Ervine. His assembly
group will meet this week to consider its links to the PUP.
Empey has set a "decision date" by which the UVF must
satisfy him it is leaving the stage if he is to continue
contact with its political wing. He refused to specify what
it was, but mid-October looks likely.


Ethics Code Bans Police From Joining Orange Order

Mark Macaskill

POLICE officers will be banned from joining the Orange
Order under a new code of conduct to root out "unethical"

The Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland
(Acpos) has drawn up a code of conduct that dictates how
staff should behave on and off duty.

Under the charter, which is due to come into force later
this year, officers will be warned not to join groups or
engage in activities that could tarnish the reputation of
their force, or leave them open to blackmail or accusations
of impropriety.

Sources involved in drawing up the code say membership of
sectarian groups such as the Orange Order and extreme
political parties including the British National party will
not be tolerated.

They have also revealed that joining lobby groups such as
Trident Ploughshares, the non-violent anti-nuclear campaign
group, will also be banned. And officers will be warned
that they could face disciplinary action if they visit
strip bars or attend "swingers" parties.

The code will require officers to declare fiscal warning
letters, and fixed-penalty fines for speeding, littering
and dog-fouling offences.

"Attendance at social events, membership of organisations
and affiliation to particular groups should not compromise
(a police officer's) position as a member of the Scottish
Police Service in any way," the code states.

A source involved in drawing up the charter said: "There
are some things that would raise eyebrows and call into
question someone's judgment, such as belonging to the
Orange Order or a wife-swapping club. Some people will pick
faults in this but the guidelines have to be broad and
chief constables have to have some leeway."

The policy follows concern over racism in the police
service, highlighted by the BBC1 documentary The Secret
Policeman, which showed racism among recruits at a training

Evidence has also emerged that officers banned from driving
in Scotland are keeping their convictions secret, leaving
chief constables vulnerable to legal action in the event
that they injure or kill a member of the public while
driving a patrol car.

However, the charter has sparked outrage among police
officers, who claim it would undermine their human rights.
Members of the Scottish Police Federation have claimed the
code could be used to unfairly reprimand or discipline

There is also concern among officers who are freemasons
that they could be targeted under the code.

The Orange Order has branded the code an affront to the
organisation and the integrity of police officers in

Ian Wilson, grand master of the Orange Order in Scotland,
said he was appalled.

"It's political correctness taken to the nth degree. They
are saying they do not trust their own members; that's an
absolute insult."

John Scott, a leading human-rights lawyer, said: "This
could potentially raise human-rights issues. People
involved in the justice system need to be beyond reproach,
but if you want to restrict people's freedom, you have to
be explicit."


SF To Take Part In Next Session Of Northern Assembly

02/09/2006 - 14:50:50

Sinn F‚in has said today that it will take part in the next
session of the Northern Assembly.

The Ard Comhairle made the decision when they met in Dublin

The party also says it will continue to work towards
restoring the institutions set up by the Good Friday
Agreement, despite the DUP's refusal to take part in the

However, chief negotiator Martin McGuinness said his party
will only engage in what he called "meaningful work".

"We made it clear from the very beginning that we wouldn't
be involved in some shadow assembly, .that we would only be
involved in meaningful work, which is about restoring the
institutions of the Good Friday Agreement."


Paisley Prepares To Retire In Style

Liam Clarke and Carissa Casey

HE'S never been the retiring sort, but it seems Ian Paisley
is finally getting ready to wrap up one of the most
controversial careers in Irish history.

The leader of the Democratic Unionist party has acquired a
retirement home on Co Down's gold coast, where he now
spends much of his free time with his wife Lady Eileen.

The three-bedroom, two reception-room apartment is located
in the 20-acre Sharman estate. Paisley's apartment is one
of 20 in Sharman House, a block built in the style of a
stately home with magnificent views over Belfast Lough to
the coast of Scotland.

The revelation will inevitably prompt speculation about
when the 80-year-old will wind up his political role. He
has already given up his seat in the European parliament,
but retains seats at Westminster and in the Northern
Ireland Assembly, as well as being minister at the Martyrs
Memorial Free Presbyterian church in Belfast.

Some in his party expect he will not contest the next
British general election, due within the next four years,
and that if devolution is restored to Northern Ireland as a
result of this autumn's talks, Paisley will quit his
Assembly role after a short period as first minister.

His retirement bolthole, in an American-style gated
development, was selected with an eye to security. Estate
agents boast the development offers "a new lifestyle,
whether for the busy professional on the move or the mature
couple seeking ease of maintenance and `lock and leave'
peace of mind".

It has been bought for Paisley by the Ulster Free
Presbyterian church at an estimated cost of between
œ300,000 and œ350,000 (about ?450,000). Features include
under-floor heating and oak flooring. A helipad is just 50
yards away across manicured lawns.

Paisley founded the church in 1951 and has led it ever
since. At the last census it had 11,902 members in Northern
Ireland, as well as congregations in the republic, Britain,
America, the Philippines, Kenya, India, Germany and Spain.

Paisley's present home in Cyprus Avenue, East Belfast,
valued at œ292,500 (?438,000), is also owned by the church.
A Free Presbyterian source explained that all the church's
clergy are provided with manses during their working lives,
and then retirement homes when they end the full-time

Paisley and his wife Eileen will be entitled to use the
Crawfordsburn apartment as a retirement manse rent-free as
long as they live, but are not allowed to sell it. It will
revert to the church on their deaths.

"This is a facility which we afford to all our ministers,"
the source said. "They are asked to pick an area in which
they would like to live, and we wait for a suitable
property to come on the market."

A Free Presbyterian spokesman said: "Some men have the
apartment for a few months before they retire, that would
be the norm, but some have had them for as long as two or
three years. Nobody is predicting when Dr Paisley will go."

Paisley's daughter Rhonda, an artist, has overseen the
redecoration of the apartment, while bullet-proof glass and
other security measures were recently installed.

Nestled in the heart of the 21-acre Crawfordsburn Country
Park, the Sharman estate has just 60 residences. Next to
Sharman House, the older Crawford House has 17 apartments.

Paisley's building is in the style of the nearby ancestral
home of William Sharman Crawford, a 19th-century MP who
championed tenants' rights and Catholic emancipation. The
estate, which had been used as a hospital, was bought from
the government and developed as a residential complex in

On the far side of the estate, beyond the tennis court,
lies a complex of 21 town houses. It is an affluent
community with many Porsches and Mercedes in the car park.
Neighbours in the gated complex include musician Jim Corr
and footballer Gerry Armstrong.

According to Eric Cairns, who owns Northern Ireland's
largest firm of estate agents and is handling several
properties in Sharman, it is now one of the most desirable
places to live in the region.

"What you have got in Sharman is a nice, well-behaved,
sensible group of people who pay their bills, live quietly,
respect their neighbours, and generally enjoy each other's
company," Cairns said.

"It is a friendly community with a very pleasant social
scene. There were barbecues during the summer and a tennis
club on site.

"It has over 20 acres of gardens which are maintained by a
management company, but it also leads into Crawfordsburn
country park which is 126 acres.You have some gorgeous
north down coastline."

Alan Montgomery, director of the estate's management
company, said that other residents pay little attention to
the Paisleys, who tend to keep themselves to themselves.

"There's a mutual respect for people's privacy here," he
said. During the summer, however, Paisley performed a
christening for a neighbour's baby in Crawford House, the
oldest part of the estate.

One resident said there were some raised eyebrows when the
couple arrived. "They don't tend to mix," he said.

Eileen Paisley is often seen reading in a nearby decking
area, which boasts a spectacular 270-degree view of Belfast


President Warns Of Binge Drinking 'Blight'

Last updated: 02-09-06, 16:44

President Mary McAleese today warned that alcohol addiction
was "the blight of all blights", leaving a trail of wasted
lives and tragic and heartbreaking damage.

Raising concerns over alcohol consumption in Ireland, she
questioned if it was time for Irish people to take
responsibility for their excessive drinking instead of
linking it with every family and social occasion.

Mrs McAleese told staff and volunteers at Cuan Mhuire
Rehabilitation Centre in Athy that the consequences of
irresponsible drinking are the tragedies it brings with it.

She said that regrettably their services, support and care
is needed more than ever before in Ireland. "For individual
lives it fuels so many disasters, everything from suicide
to foetal abnormalities," she said.

"It plays such havoc in society - the consequences found in
our hospitals A&E departments, in the family law courts, on
the dole queues, in the morgues and in the safe havens such
as Cuan Mhuire."

The President helped support workers celebrate the 40th
anniversary of the centre, where for decades they have
committed their time and energy.

"We see in our more affluent Ireland our levels of alcohol
consumption, in every age group, has sharply increased and
the trend is moving more towards drinking in the home,"
continued President McAleese.

"Is it time that we, as a nation, take stock, take
responsibility for our excessive drinking?

"If we want what every parent wants - a better future for
our children - is it then appropriate that we continue to
link inextricably alcohol with almost every life event -
whether a Christening, first Communion, wedding or funeral?

"Is it not time that we adopted a sensible balance in our
drinking habits, for everybody's sake?"



Life, No Matter How Simple, Always Fraught With Danger

Reviewed by Alan Cheuse
Sunday, September 3, 2006
Matters of Life and Death
And Other Stories
By Bernard MacLaverty
NORTON; 231 PAGES; $23.95

If there is a single successor to William Trevor in the
world of English letters -- a term that has a much broader
reach than it used to have -- it would be the Northern
Irish writer, now Scottish resident, Bernard MacLaverty.
"Matters of Life and Death," his latest book, offers once
again some of the most moving and subtle short fiction in
the language.

No Belfast writer is ever far removed from the subject of
everyday violence, and MacLaverty has always faced up to
and declared himself on "matters of life and death." His
story "Walking the Dog" (from a previous collection of the
same name) stands out as one of the finest stories ever
written about the connection between daily life and
extraordinary political violence. The lead story in this
collection, "On the Roundabout," about an incident on a
Belfast roadway after dark, takes up with the effect of
blunt force on the reader the same question as "Walking."
In only four pages, MacLaverty creates a world in which the
border between tedium and terror becomes attenuated to the
point of almost disappearing. In the rest of the stories,
he looks through the same prism at life in peacetime,
finding the flash points and extremes that make the simple
life also quite dangerous.

Occasionally this manifests itself as comedy, as in the
wonderful "The Trojan Sofa," in which a Belfast boy named
Niall ("Niall Donnelly. Sometimes my Da calls me Skinny-ma-
link.") undergoes his apprenticeship in crime by allowing
his Da and Uncle Eamon to hide him inside a fancy piece of
living room furniture sold to a high-living Orangeman. But
most of the time, the tone is more straightforward and
tending toward pathos as the stories focus on such matters
as two boys, recently orphaned, who make their first steps
toward adjusting to their new world of mourning. Or how to
deal with the friction, or surprising lack of it, between
Catholic and Protestant neighbors in a middle-class Belfast
suburb, or the pathos of a woman sliding inexorably into
Alzheimer's, or the worries of a man going for a test to
check for diabetes who brings along a copy of Chekhov
stories to help him pass the time.

The longest story in the collection, a powerful 50-plus-
pager called "Up the Coast," intertwines the questions of
the good life in the West and the problem of violence, not
in overt political terms but more in the context of the
relations between men and women and the middle class and
working class on the fringes of contemporary Irish culture.
MacLaverty dramatizes this with good effect in this
narrative about a young woman recently graduated from an
Irish art college and her dangerous encounter with a
maverick resident of the remote rocky coast where she
chooses to take a little retreat. The result seems at first
like a curious hybrid of Chekhov and James Dickey, but it
stays with you more the way Chekhov does.

Chekhov, of course, is MacLaverty's master. As his man
waiting in the diabetes clinic puts it, Chekhov "draws you
in. He writes as if the thing is happening in front of your
eyes." That man, waiting to hear news about his medical
condition and quite sure he is "about to be told he had
difficult changes to make to his life," is a pretty good
stand-in for the rest of us in relation to matters of life
and death -- and reading. Even as he waits, "by reading
words on a page," we hear, "pictures of Russia a hundred
years ago come into his head. Not only that, but he can
share sensations and emotions ... created by a real man he
never met. ... It was so immediate, the choice of words so
delicately accurate, that they blotted out the reality of
the present."

Or become part of the reality of the present? And enlarge
it in a way that few art forms can?

Novelist Alan Cheuse is a book commentator for National
Public Radio.


You Really Think Your Name Is Irish?

Colin Coyle

PARENTS who choose "traditional" Irish names for their
children in order to be patriotic will have to think again.
A new study has found that many names thought to be from
auld Ireland, including Sean, arrived with the Anglo-
Normans in the 12th century.

A recent vogue for supposedly traditional Irish names, as
documented in David McWilliams's book The Pope's Children,
has led to an increase in popularity for Siobhan, Sinead,
Catriona and Sean, the second most popular name for baby
boys last year. But all of them are relatively recent
arrivals, according to a study by a Trinity College
postgraduate student, published in the Journal of Medieval

Freya Verstraten, the author, said: "The arrival of the
Anglo-Normans caused a radical change in Irish names.
Unlike the Norse, who made use of Irish names for their
children when they settled in Ireland, the Anglo-Normans
didn't assimilate smoothly. Although they did inter-marry,
Irish names for children with an Anglo-Norman father - and
therefore an Anglo-Norman surname - were very rare."

While the Anglo-Normans snubbed traditional Irish names
such as Conor, Cormac, Niall, Brian and Brigid, the
aspirational lower nobility began to use the newly imported
names. So Eoin, the Irish derivation of the biblical John,
eventually gave way to Sean, the Anglo-Norman adaptation.
Now seen as traditionally Irish, Sean is the 75th most
popular name in America and the 39th most popular in New
York state, due to the large proportion of Irish Americans
including actor Sean Penn.

Other names introduced by the Anglo-Normans include Eilis,
Liam, Seamus, Ralph, Richard and Muiris, all of which only
began appearing in Irish records after the invaders turned

In the study, Verstraten says: "The lower-class nobles may
have imitated the names of their Anglo-Norman neighbours to
facilitate an easier entry into their culture, or it may
have been a political statement showing their alliances."

Members of the lower nobility also adjusted their surnames
to make them "easier on the ear and eye" for members of the
new culture and to facilitate communication with the King
of England's officials.

In contrast, the Anglo-Normans resisted Irish names. Sean
Duffy, a senior lecturer in medieval history at Trinity
College, said. "We haven't found a single example of an
Anglo-Norman father calling his son an Irish name for the
first 500 years after they arrived."

Donnchadh O Corrain, a lecturer in history at University
College Cork, agrees that a number of names seen as
quintessentially Irish aren't Irish at all.

"Patrick, for example, wasn't adopted as a name in its own
right until the Anglo-Normans began using it. Until then,
it had only ever been used reverentially as Maol Padraig or
Giolla Padraig, the servant of Patrick," he said.

O Corrain points out that wealthier nobles retained their
ancestral titles such as Conor and Cormac and did not
submit to the "Anglicisation" of their first names until
the "linguistic landslide" of the 19th century. "The upper
nobility, due to many other concessions they made to the
new culture, felt no need to adopt Anglo-Norman names,"
Verstraten said.

"With a new powerful elite coming in, these families sought
to stress their ancient claims to leadership over their
respective territories to make apparent the distinction
between them and Irish families lower on the social scale."

The Irish experience is the opposite to what happened in
Scotland, where Anglo-Norman settlers embraced local names.
"Whereas the English and Scottish rapidly assimilated with
the Normans, the resistance by the colonists to integrate
with the Irish was deliberate," Verstraten said.

"They were ordered by their government not to `degenerate'
and lose their sense of `Englishness'. This meant that by
the 14th century, the Irish and the Anglo-Normans were not
allowed to marry."

Duffy believes Ireland's homogeneity was partly to blame.
"There was a much greater ethnic mix in Scotland. Ireland,
as an island country, was quite isolated and there was
always a `them and us' attitude. If you weren't a `Gael',
you were a `gall', an outsider.

"The Irish have always been open to experimenting with
names, from flirting with glamorous Roman names in the 6th
and 7th century to genuflecting in the direction of
religious names after the country became Christian."

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