News about the Irish & Irish American culture, music, news, sports. This is hosted by the Irish Aires radio show on KPFT-FM 90.1 in Houston, Texas (a Pacifica community radio station)

September 07, 2006

Extradition Treaty Closer to Senate Approval

News About Ireland & The Irish

MS 09/07/06
Extradition Treaty Closer To Senate Approval
IH 09/07/06 Senate Panel Approves Extradition Treaty With Britain
DC 09/07/06 Ombudsman's Collusion Report Delayed
IT 09/07/06 Harney To Step Down As PD Leader After 13 Years
IT 09/07/06 Harney First Woman To Lead Irish Political Party
SF 09/07/06 FF/PD Govt Should Resign & Call General Election
BN 09/07/06 Fine Gael: Without Harney PDs Are 'Finished'
IN 09/07/06 Fr. Mc Manus On Visit To Garnerville PSNI Training Center
IM 09/07/06 Opin: Daily Ireland....Alas Goodbye. But Why!!
IM 09/07/06 Armagh Ógra Shinn Féin Remember The Hunger Strikes
UT 09/07/06 Belfast To Get Gaeltacht Quarter
HC 09/07/06 Inflation In Ireland Jumps To 4.5 Pct.
SB 09/07/06 Truthiness: Real Story Of 1st Ellis Island Immigrant
BN 09/07/06 Travellers A 'Distinct Ethnic Group'


Extradition Treaty Closer To Senate Approval

By Holly Yeager in Washington
Updated: 27 minutes ago

The Senate foreign relations committee approved the US-UK
extradition treaty on Thursday, after key senators said
their concerns about its potential impact on supporters of
the Irish nationalist cause in Northern Ireland had been

The treaty, negotiated in 2003, now moves to the full
Senate, where leaders hope to ratify it before the end of
the year. The recent extradition of three former NatWest
bankers to the US on Enron-related fraud charges has put
Tony Blair, the prime minister, under intense domestic
pressure to win US ratification of the treaty.

Critics say that while Britain has incorporated most of its
provisions into its own law, allowing the quick extradition
of British citizens to the US, corresponding benefits had
not been secured from Washington.

Christopher Dodd, a Democratic senator from Connecticut
with close ties to the Irish-American community, said that,
at the committee's request, letters were exchanged this
week between the US attorney-general and the British
government's secretary for Northern Ireland restating UK
policy that "British authorities have no intention of
seeking the extradition of individuals for crimes involving
the Northern Ireland conflict that occurred before the
conclusion of the Good Friday Accords".

Complaints from civil liberties groups that the treaty
weakened judicial review of cases by giving the executive
branch the final work on extraditions were also addressed,
he said.

A resolution that accompanies the treaty makes clear that
US courts would continue to play a role in the extradition
process, particularly in determining whether an offence is
political and therefore not extraditable.

The resolution also requires a report from the secretary of
state about the implementation of the treaty.

The pact had languished in the Senate for several years,
but the NatWest case revived interest in the matter and, in
July, Mr Blair dispatched government officials to
Washington to press for action.

The Bush administration has argued that the updated treaty
is needed to prosecute its "war on terror" and senators
endorsed that view.

"This treaty is not about Ireland," said Joseph Biden, the
top Democrat on the panel. Instead, he said, it was aimed
at strengthening relations with a "close defence partner".

Copyright The Financial Times Ltd. All rights reserved.


Senate Panel Approves Extradition Treaty With Britain

The Associated Press
Published: September 7, 2006

WASHINGTON A Senate panel on Thursday endorsed an
extradition treaty with Britain that had caused political
turbulence for British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved the treaty
by voice vote, despite some reservations by senators. It
now goes to the full Senate for ratification.

British and American officials say the treaty is aimed at
combating terrorism and dealing with other criminal cases.
But British critics say it makes greater demands of Britain
than of the United States.

Blair came under intense political pressure after the
treaty was used to send three British bankers to the United
States to face prosecution on charges related to the
collapse of the Enron energy company, which cost
shareholders billions of dollars.

The extradition of the bankers, known as the NatWest Three,
sparked an unusual protest outside the U.S. Embassy in
London by British businessmen who said it was aimed at
white collar crime.

Blair has defended the treaty repeatedly, saying it
safeguards suspects' rights and requires a level of
evidence on the part of American authorities that is
"roughly analogous to the one that we apply in this

In the United States, Irish-Americans opposed the accord,
arguing Britain could use it to prosecute Irish-Americans
who support separatists in the British province of Northern


Ombudsman's Collusion Report Delayed

A major new report into alleged police collaboration with
loyalist killers in Belfast has been put back until
November, it has emerged.

By:Press Association

Northern Ireland Police Ombudsman Nuala O`Loan`s
investigators have uncovered new documents as part of their
exhaustive probe into the murder of former RAF man Raymond

The inquiry is understood to have identified shocking
levels of collusion between rogue Special Branch officers
and a ruthless Ulster Volunteer Force unit operating in the
north of the city.


Harney To Step Down As PD Leader After 13 Years

Tánaiste Mary Harney has announced she is stepping down as
leader of the Progressive Democrats.

Ms Harney (53), made the revelation at a press conference
in Dublin's Merrion Hotel this afternoon.

I have come to the conclusion that now is the right time
for the Progessive Democrats to elect a new leader and it's
also the right time for me to vacate that position: Mary Harney

She told the press conference she would leave her post as
soon as the party had elected a successor. She has been in
the position for 13 years.

Ms Harney has been Tánaiste since 1997 and is currently
Minister for Health, a position she took up in September

While she said she would like to remain as Minister for
Health, Ms Harney said that was a matter for the new party
leader. The PD's were allocated two senior Cabinet
Ministers as part of the coalition agreement with Fianna

She said she had taken a longer holiday than usual this
summer and that during three weeks off she had taken time
to "reflect on matters political".

The PD leader said she had come to the conclusion that now
is the right time for the party to elect a new leader, and
also the right time for her to vacate the position she has
held for 13 years.

"This afternoon at a meeting of the parliamentary party, I
informed my colleagues of my intention to stand down as
leader of the party as soon as my successor has been chosen
by the party.

The leadership issue within the Progressive Democrats arose
in June and at that time I received the unanimous support
of my parliamentary colleagues, and I did commit to leading
the party on to the next election.

"However, over the summer - and I took an unusually long
holiday this year, I went away for three weeks - I had time
on my own, with my husband, to reflect on matters political
and I have come to the conclusion that now is the right
time for the Progessive Democrats to elect a new leader and
it's also the right time for me to vacate that position."

Mary Harney

Ms Harney said that when she had been chosen as party
leader 13 years ago, she had never envisaged she would stay
in the position for so long.

Her predecessor, Des O'Malley, was leader for just eight
years, she noted.

Ms Harney said it was important for political parties to
reinvigorate themselves.

"I'm conscious that there is less than a year to go to the
next election. However, we are a small party, we have very
strong personalities within the party who are well known to
the electorate.

"We have people who, in my view, can more than ably
articulate the vision of the Progressive Democrats, and I
feel proud to say that, I think, as a small party we have
played a very important part in the politics of this
country, particularly in Government in two periods between
1997 and to the current date, and in the previous period
between 1989 and 1992."

The Tánaiste said she was privileged to serve the country
in those Governments as a Progressive Democrats minister.

She told reporters she hoped the new PD leader, who must be
a member of the Dáil, could be elected before the House
resumes sitting in three weeks' time. Nominations for the
election will close at noon next Monday, Ms Harney said.

PD deputy leader and Minister for Justice Michael McDowell
is front runner for the leadership position but remained
tight-lipped at today's press conference.

He paid tribute to Ms Harney, saying she was "the most
spectacularly successful employment minister in Western
Europe: The person who brought Ireland from a country of
mass unemployment to huge employment."

"Nobody in Europe, no Employment Minister, can match her
achievements and in relation to health, nobody can match
the scale of the reform programme that she is piloting
through," he added.

On his own leadership aspirations, Mr McDowell said: "I'm
reflecting the situation today, I'm making no further

Ms Harney said she would not participate in the leadership
election as it would not be right for her to do so.

However, she said she would give her successor her "total
support" and would work hard for the party to increase its
electoral strength at the next general election.

Ms Harney also denied there had been pressure on her to
step down following reports recently of a rift between
herself and Mr McDowell.

The PD leader said that when she had "reflected" and knew
she was not going to stay in the position "much after the
general election", she felt it would have been "dishonest
of me to put myself forward, knowing I was going to stand
down very quickly afterwards".

The Progressive Democrats currently have eight TDs in
Leinster House, including Ms Harney. The others are Michael
McDowell, Tim O'Malley, Tom Parlon, Liz O'Donnell, Fiona
O'Malley, Noel Grealish and Mae Sexton.

© The Irish Times/


Harney First Woman To Lead Irish Political Party

Profile: Born in Ballinasloe in 1953, Mary Harney began her
political career when she was appointed to the Senate by
Taoiseach Jack Lynch in 1977.

At 24 years of age, she became the youngest person ever to
serve in the Seanad and went on to become one of the
country's most popular political leaders.

She was elected to Dáil Éireann on a Fianna Fáil ticket in
1981 representing the constituency of Dublin West.

In 1985, she was expelled from the Fianna Fáil party over
her support for the Anglo-Irish Agreement and became one of
the founding members of the Progressive Democrats (PDs) -
along with former Fianna Fail colleague Dessie O'Malley.

Four years later, in 1989, the PDs, which was founded on
principles of low taxes and free market reform, entered
coalition with Fianna Fáil and Ms Harney was appointed
Minister of State with responsibility for Environmental

During her tenure as minister she introduced a ban on the
sale of bituminous coal in Dublin and established the
Environmental Protection Agency.

She became the first ever woman to head an Irish political
party when she was elected leader of the Progressive
Democrats in October 1993.

In June 1997 the PDs formed a minority Government with
Fianna Fáil, and she made history again by becoming the
first woman in the history of the State to become Tánaiste

Over the next five years the Fianna Fáil/PD government
presided over unprecedented economic growth.

In the 2002 general election Ms Harney led the Progressive
Democrats back into Government after doubling her party's
representation in the Dáil.

She has been Minister for Health since September 2004. Ms
Harney lives in Clonskeagh, Dublin 6, and is married to
Brian Geoghegan.

© The Irish Times/


The Whole Fianna Fáil/PD Government Should Resign And Call A General Election - Ó Caoláin

Published: 7 September, 2006

Responding to the resignation of Mary Harney as leader of
the Progressive Democrats, Sinn Féin Dáil leader Caoimhghín
Ó Caoláin TD has said the Fianna Fáil/PD Government is "at
the end of the line and the whole lot of them should now
resign and call a General Election".

He said, "As far as the vast majority of people are
concerned Mary Harney's leadership of the PDs was an
irrelevant. Relevant to every citizen is the crisis in our
health services over which she has presided as Minister for
Health and Children. Her stewardship of our Health Services
has been appalling as was that of her predecessors in the
Fianna Fáil/Progressive Democrats Coalition since 1997.

"In Government the PDs have been given free rein by their
Fianna Fáil partners to pursue their right-wing policies.
This has included Mary Harney's hospital privatisation
which will reinforce the grossly unfair two-tier public-
private system in our hospital services. The Fianna Fáil/PD
Government has failed dismally to effectively address the
health service crisis, has failed to ensure the provision
of housing for those who need it most and has deepened
inequality in our society and economy.

"Mary Harney's departure as leader of the PDs comes on the
day when the axe has finally fallen on most of the
remaining services in Monaghan General Hospital. It will
effectively no longer be a hospital. That will be the
abiding memory of Mary Harney for the people of this
constituency and the Government's betrayal of the people's
trust is replicated throughout our health services.

"The Government is in disarray. This week we had Finance
Minister Brian Cowen issuing an ultimatum to the Health
Service Executive not to reduce services at Roscommon
General Hospital. There was no such ministerial
intervention here in County Monaghan and Fianna Fáil TDs
and councillors have remained equally silent in the face of
their Government's effective destruction of Monaghan
General Hospital. Like the Government itself, their
commitments have proved worthless. Their threats to act
against their party interest if Monaghan General Hospital
was threatened have proved to be hollow.

"This Government is at the end of the line and the whole
lot of them should now resign and call a General Election.
Sinn Féin is up for the challenge." ENDS


Fine Gael: Without Harney PDs Are 'Finished'

07/09/2006 - 17:33:33

In response to the announced resignation of the PD leader
Mary Harney, FG Councillor Lucinda Creighton described the
party as heading towards the next elections "as a
rudderless ship, set to run aground on the many rocks that
will impede their course".

Ms Creighton: "My experience on the doorsteps over the past
few months in Dublin South East has revealed a sharp
decline in support for the PDs. Mary Harney alone was the
one figure in the Party who commanded respect.

"Without her, I believe the PDs are finished. None of the
pretenders for the leadership of the Party are up to
scratch. Liz O'Donnell turned down a Ministerial position
in 2002, Michael McDowell showed he has lost all sense of
reality during the 'A Case' scandal.

"Tom Parlon is a dead duck who has lost the agri-vote after
the crisis with Greencore and the decentralisation
disaster. There is no-one capable of taking over the mantel
and leading the PDs to a successful election next year,"
said Lucinda.


Fr. Mc Manus On His Visit To Garnerville PSNI Training Center

Thursday, September 7, 2006

On Thursday, August 17, 2006 I spent three and a half hours
visiting the Garnerville PSNI Training Center.

My visit was urged, and arranged, by the Special Envoy for
Northern Ireland, Dr. Mitchell Reiss.

Dr. Reiss made the argument to me that, since I have been a
long time critic of Northern Ireland policing, I ought to
hear in person the PSNI point of view.

Because of the intrinsic merit of his argument, and because
of my respect for Dr. Reiss and his Office, I consented to
the visit.

I met with Deputy Chief Constable, Paul Leighton and three
of his male colleagues. Deputy Leighton immediately
apologized on behalf of Chief Constable Hugh Orde who could
not be present as he was on vacation.

I raised all the tough questions. And they answered in an
upfront and business-like manner. I was impressed by their
openness, professionalism and their evident concern to
convey their commitment to a " new beginning '' to policing
in Northern Ireland. They struck me as fine, decent men. I
found myself, I must confess, wanting to believe that they
accurately and authentically reflect the new approach to
policing -- both institutionally and individually.

I was also given the opportunity to speak privately
(without supervision or recording, I was assured) to about
nine recruits, men and women. I was impressed by their
caliber and enthusiasm.

We all know that an acceptable police service -- "Š
effective and efficient, fair and impartial, free from
partisan political controlŠ'' as envisioned by the Good
Friday Agreement -- is absolutely essential if the peace-
process is to succeed. It is my hope that the PSNI can
prove to the Catholic community that it can be trusted,
that the bad old days are truly over, that sectarianism and
collusion are gone, root and branch. That means that the
British Government must first come clean on collusion,
something that has now been made harder by the key role
given to MI5 in Northern Ireland and by the gutting of the
Public Inquiry legislation.


Father Sean Mc Manus
Irish National Caucus
P.O. Box 15128
Capitol Hill
Washington, D.C. 20003-0849


Opin: Daily Ireland....Alas Goodbye. But Why!!

International Arts And Media Opinion/Analysis
Thursday September 07, 2006 18:41 by Michelle Clarke -
Social Justice and anitics.

A Balmy September Day, the cafe culture, the dog, the
coffee and the Daily Ireland. I liked this....The history
synopsis and quote for the day provided the reminder of
times yor and the wisdom that it is nice to have.

It saddens me to hear of yet another Irish (home grown)
paper going to the wall. Why?

Let us just remember: The Irish Press and writers like Con
Houlihan, Freeman's Journal from Michael Davitt and Land
League times.

I scare to the idea that tycons like Sir Anthony O'Reilly,
and Murdoch monopolise the world market. Media is their
market and they hold the major part of it.

I hope the Village magazine is not nudged out of the
market. Writers like Vincent Browne, Emma Browne, Frank
Connolly, Colin Murphy and other's are the eyes and ears
that keep us focused on reality time Ireland; the
corruption, the social injustice, the political
assasinations that ensure checks and balances in line
democracy principles and the Rule of Law are possible......

Daily Ireland, as far as I am concerned has great
potential. I hope this is recognised and the necessary
capital is injected to put it back in print in time for
November 24th 2006.....when hopefully the shackles will be
removed and all people will be prepared to 'Give Peace a

Throughout Irish history, and back in each centuries, local
newspaper with local news provided an integrity and a
consolidation of identily. Daily Ireland received unfair
negative support that was endorsed by accusations of
certain Irish ministers as to its allegiance with IRA

Who do we support now: What values apply; what politics
predominates; who reports on the real issues that apply
like health, injustice; evolution perrhaps.

Good luck to all staff.

Michelle Clarke

'Each generation must, out of relative obscurity, discover
its mission, fulfill it or betray it'

Writer Frantz Fanon 1925-61 Psychiatrist, Philosopher and
political activist.


Armagh Ógra Shinn Féin Remember The Hunger Strikes

Armagh Miscellaneous News Report Thursday September
07, 2006 22:18 by The Sun Burst - Ógra Shinn Féin

Armagh Ógra Shinn Féin took part in commemorative day to
remember the Hunger Strikes of 1980-1981 on Friday 1st
September in the Armagh City Hotel.

With a large exhibition and guided tours of Armagh Jail by
ex-prisoners running from 2.00pm there was plenty on show.

Armagh ÓSF activists set up stall

Armagh Ógra Shinn Féin was joined by Lurgan Ógra members
for our tour of the jail, Mary Doyle (ex Hunger Striker)
and Sile Darragh (OC of women prisoners during the Hunger
Strikes) were our guides. They told us how they were forced
onto the “no wash” protest and later went on Hunger Strike
with the men in Long Kesh. They explained the layout of the
jail where they were moved to and from and the harsh
treatment that they were subjected to while they were in

Armagh Ógra Shinn Féin would like to thank all the ex
prisoners who took time out to do the guided tours. We
would also like to remind people that “Awaiting the Lark”
Ógra Shinn Féin tribute to the Hunger Strikers is available
at local Sinn Fein offices or through the ÓSF website.

Related Link:


Belfast To Get Gaeltacht Quarter

Belfast is to have its first Gaeltacht Quarter dedicated to
promoting Irish.

By:Press Association

The area stretches from the city centre to Milltown
Cemetery in west Belfast and outlines the history of the
area using four information trails and several signs.

A guide with maps and material on places of interest has
been produced and will be available from the Belfast
Welcome Centre and tourist information bureaux across the

Jake MacSiacais, Director of the Forbairt Feirste cultural
awareness organisation, said: "The development of the
Gaeltacht Quarter is one of the great challenges and
opportunities for Belfast, offering us the opportunity to
capitalise on the riches of the Irish language and culture
for all the citizens of this great city of ours."

This is the final quarter of the city to be rebranded. The
others centre on Queen`s University in the south, St Anne`s
Cathedral to the north and the Titanic area around the
docks where the ill-fated vessel was built.

This pamphlet describes the attractions around the lower
Falls Road.

These include An Culturlann arts centre and the Conway Mill
craftsmen`s facility which produces wood carvings, metal
work and jewellery.

Visitors can tour political and social murals in the area.

There are also four Irish language schools in west Belfast.

Sinn Fein councillor Paul Maskey welcomed the development.

He said: "Here the ancient language of Gaelic thrives in
modern times in an area renowned got its community
festivals and hospitality.

"As a council we are committed to developing the cultural
quarters in our city and enhancing their availability to

"Our aim is to raise awareness of the diversity and all
that is on offer in Belfast."

The designation is part of the Celebrate Belfast initiative
advertising Belfast`s cultural quarters, sporting prowess
and festivals.

It includes a maritime carnival and a CS Lewis showcase
featuring the well-known author with connections to east


Inflation In Ireland Jumps To 4.5 Pct.

By Shawn Pogatchnik Associated Press Writer
© 2006 The Associated Press

DUBLIN, Ireland — Inflation in the Republic of Ireland
jumped unexpectedly last month to a 3 1/2-year high of 4.5
percent, the government's Central Statistics Office
reported Thursday.

The rise from July's rate of 4.2 percent reflected the
worldwide rise in the cost of fuel and energy, but also a
bevy of Irish factors connected to the country's rapidly
growing economy, the report said. It surprised economists,
who had forecast a milder rise to 4.3 percent.

Some economists said inflation was being fueled by the
maturation since June of tens of thousands of government-
sponsored savings accounts. Surveys indicate that people
are using their accounts, which average about euro13,800
(US$17,650) each, to splash out on everything from home
improvements to down payments on helicopters.

But opposition parties accused the government of not doing
enough to protect the value of hard-won wage increases for
Ireland's approximately 500,000 unionized workers.
Employers and union leaders on Tuesday formally ratified a
new national wage pact _ an important plank of Ireland's
economic success because it discourages strikes _ that will
deliver a 4.4 percent annual pay rise over the next two

Sinn Fein lawmaker Caoimhghin O Caolain said 4.5 percent
inflation, and forecasts that the rate could reach 5
percent in coming months, would mean that workers' pay
rises were "wiped out in record time." He called for the
pact, which took five months to negotiate, to be changed so
that pay rises were pegged to inflation fluctuations.

Richard Bruton, finance spokesman for the opposition Fine
Gael party, accused government agencies overseeing health
and education, and government-owned utilities, of
conspiring to raise prices above the EU average and exploit
Ireland's cash-rich economy.

"Irish inflation is now well ahead of price rises in the
rest of the euro zone, even though these countries are
coming under the same pressure of rising interest rates and
rising fuel prices," Bruton said. "A big part of our
problem is bad value from government and the sectors it

The EU statistics agency Eurostat on Aug. 31 said the
average inflation rate in the 12-nation bloc that uses the
euro, including Ireland, was 2.3 percent.

On the Net:

Inflation report,


Truthiness Invades Our Shores: The Real Story Of The First Ellis Island Immigrant

Thursday, September 07, 2006 11:48 AM
(Industry: Leisure and Lifestyle)

Note: Announcement to be made at 3:00 p.m. on September 15,
2006 at The New York Genealogical & Biographical Society,
122 East 58th Street, New York, NY 10022-1939.

New York, NY -- (SBWIRE) -- 09/07/2006 -- It’s a classic
case of truthiness. For years, we’ve chosen to believe an
oft-told myth about Ellis Island when the truth was readily
available. But on September 15th, that will change.

13-year-old Annie Moore was the first immigrant to enter
our country via Ellis Island. She tripped down the
gangplank on January 1, 1892 along with a pair of younger
brothers, and was greeted with much fanfare. Officials
welcomed her arrival and presented her with a $10 gold coin
in commemoration of the special event.

Her statue stands both at Ellis Island and the Cobh
Heritage Centre, the Irish emigration counterpart in Co.
Cork. Everything from Irish-American cultural awards to
pubs has been named after her, but she remained a mystery
until the 1990s when Ellis Island was refurbished and
opened to the public. Then we learned what happened to
Annie after Ellis Island -- how she ventured to New Mexico,
married a descendant of an Irish patriot, had a handful of
children, was widowed, became a businesswoman, and died in
an accident.

It was a terrific go-West-young-woman tale tinged with
tragedy. Just one problem. It was wrong.

40 percent of all Americans have at least one ancestor who
entered the country via Ellis Island, and in the midst of
our current immigration debate, politicians allude to their
Ellis Island roots on a daily basis. It’s part of the
fabric of American history and who we are as a people – and
yet, we’ve got the wrong Annie.

That irked genealogist Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak (her real
name) when she accidentally discovered that the much-touted
Annie was actually born in Illinois. Determined to learn
the truth, she launched an online contest with a $1,000
prize for the first proof of what became of the right
Annie. It took only six weeks and an eager gang of amateur,
history-mystery detectives to uncover the real story.

The true story will be shared by Smolenyak, Brian G.
Andersson (Commissioner, NYC Department of Records), and
family members of the real Ellis Island Annie at 3:00 p.m.
on September 15, 2006 at The New York Genealogical &
Biographical Society


Travellers A 'Distinct Ethnic Group'

07/09/2006 - 13:33:07

The Equality Authority is calling on the Government to
recognise Travellers as a separate ethnic group.

In 1994, a government report argued that Travellers do not
constitute a distinct group in terms of ethnic origin.

However, the Equality Authority has published a new report
which goes against this stance.

It is now calling on the Government to recognise Travellers
as an ethic group and change its policies, programmes and
practices to take account of this.

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