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September 15, 2006

Hain Always Sucking Up to DUP

News About Ireland & The Irish

DT 09/15/06 Hain 'Always Sucking' Up To DUP
TO 09/15/06 Ulster Endgame
IT 09/16/06 Opin: Paisley & DUP Appear To Be Holding All The Cards
IM 09/15/06 Mexico Salutes Irish Intl Brigade, Ireland Winks Back


Hain 'Always Sucking' Up To DUP

Foyle MP Mark Durkan has accused Secretary of State Peter
Hain of always sucking up to the DUP.

The SDLP leader, who held talks in Derry yesterday with
Foreign Affairs Minister, Dermot Ahern, also accused Ian
Paisley's party of not taking the November 24 devolution
deadline seriously.

"In effect, this means the DUP doesn't take the two
governments seriously," he told the 'Journal'.

Mr. Durkan says it is time for both the Irish and British
Governments to "start pressing rather than praising" the

The DUP, he said, had adopted such a stance after
"studying" the two governments' form during the political

Turning to Peter Hain, the SDLP leader said: "The Secretary
of State is spending a lot of his time rubbishing,
misrepresenting and threatening other parties while
humouring and flattering the DUP.

"While Dermot Ahern has indicated priorities for progress -
with or without restoration - unfortunately the British
Government is thrashing around with half-baked, ill-planned
measures that seem to be aimed at threatening people in the
phoney name of strong government."

Dermot Ahern, meanwhile, says a failure to make political
agreement on restoration will have stark implications.

Speaking at the City Hotel last night, he said: "It will
confine the parties to the margins of policy making – to a
kind of virtual politics. The power to avoid such a
scenario lies with the Parties themselves and nobody else."

15 September 2006


Ulster Endgame

Can Blair secure a deal that would be a worthy legacy?

While much of the Labour Party may want to see the back of
Tony Blair as soon as possible, politicians in Northern
Ireland and the Republic would certainly prefer him to
soldier on into 2007. The Prime Minister’s commitment to
the Province’s peace process has been strong and he has
endured the frustrations that are inevitable with this
matter. Despite the present deadlock, however, Ulster today
is unrecognisable from the place it was when Mr Blair
arrived in Downing Street. This summer has been the most
benign since the Troubles first exploded more than 35 years
ago. If the Prime Minister were to embark on a “legacy
tour”, Belfast is where it should start and end.

Northern Ireland’s future will not be absolutely sound,
though, until a peace settlement has been agreed and the
Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and Sinn Fein are in a
coalition administration. To that end, Mr Blair held talks
with Bertie Ahern, his Irish counterpart, at Chequers
yesterday. Their discussions are a prelude to a marathon
negotiating session that will start in Scotland after the
party conference season. The aim is to find a consensus by
November 24, after which, London and Dublin insist,
salaries and benefits will no longer be paid to the members
of the Northern Ireland Assembly and the institution itself
is mothballed. This is supposed to be a final, final

In theory, such a bargain should be achievable. It is a
year since the IRA instructed its “volunteers” not only to
“dump arms” but to engage in no activity related to
terrorism or to criminality. The indications are that the
republican movement is largely delivering. The next report
of the International Monitoring Commission — a body that
has been fiercely candid about clandestine IRA operations
in the past — is expected to conclude that recruitment and
training of potential terrorists, punishment beatings,
robbery and smuggling have been virtually extinguished. The
IRA has not put itself out of business, but it is a
radically different company. That should be enough to allow
for devolution to be restored permanently in the near

In Ulster, nevertheless, brinkmanship usually means
travelling beyond the brink before returning to the edge.
The Rev Ian Paisley and his supporters have,
understandably, loathed the republicans for so long that
taking a “yes” for an answer is a challenge. The chances
are that this “final” deadline will be missed, as the DUP
would not want to be seen to be dancing to a ministerial
tune, but that an accord could be obtained early next year
before the Irish general election campaign starts.

The task for Mr Blair is to help the DUP to shift position.
There are incentives that he can offer. The commission
could be asked to produce reports more frequently so that
any backsliding by the IRA would be swiftly identified. The
rules for electing the Northern Ireland Executive could be
altered so that DUP members do not have to vote directly
for Martin McGuinness to serve as the Deputy First
Minister. A fresh election for the Assembly next spring
must not be discounted. A deal can be done. Mr Blair should
put it on his “to do” list for his last year.


Opin: Paisley & DUP Appear To Be Holding All The Cards

Noel Whelan

The Democratic Unionist Party is either deliberately
sending out negative messages to diplomatic and
journalistic sources in Dublin, London and Belfast or it is
being transparent when it says that it sees no real
prospect of restoring the Northern Ireland Executive before
November 24th.

Looking at it objectively one can see many reasons why
waiting, at least for a while longer, before going into
government with Sinn Féin would suit the DUP very well.

There exists in the more optimistic quarters of the Irish
and British administrations a presumption that, if not
Paisley himself, then at least his younger colleagues are
motivated (as it is assumed all politicians are) by a
desire to be in power and to run government departments.
Even if this were the case - and since many of them already
have full political lives as Westminster MPs - then for the
DUP there are currently a number of negative aspects
associated with restoring the powersharing executive which
outweigh the attractions.

In accepting ministries themselves they would also be
handing ministries to their political enemies.

Not only would they be restoring Sinn Féin to government
and thereby jumpstarting the republican movement's stalled
political project, they would also be resuscitating the
Ulster Unionist Party.

In the absence of the Assembly and devolved ministries, the
DUP is the only unionist show in town. The Ulster Unionist
Party gets only occasional attention, most of it negative,
especially since Reg Empey embarked on the bizarre and now
defunct strategy of engagement with David Ervine and the
Progressive Unionist Party.

The governments are hoping that the threat to mothball the
assembly after November 24th and cut off salaries to MLAs
and their staffers will push the DUP towards devolution.

However, although it is the biggest party, the financial
pain for the DUP would be relatively mild by comparison to
that which other parties would have to endure.

The DUP is insulated by its cohort of nine Westminster MPs
(and an MEP), their generous staffing allowances and the
support it enjoys from substantial backers.

By comparison the paid political component of the Ulster
Unionist Party would be decimated by the ending of assembly
funding. This is an attractive prospect for that sector of
the DUP for whom destroying the Ulster Unionist Party has
been the primary objective.

For decades Paisley and his ilk have been derided and
looked down on by the unionist establishment but now he is
the unionist establishment. He sits on the privy council;
his spouse has just been appointed to the House of Lords
and it is he the prime minister calls.

In the endeavour to pressurise the DUP there have also been
hints of greater "partnership" between the two governments,
not only on cross-Border initiatives but also on internal
Northern Ireland affairs.

However, an unspecified notion of increased partnership
between the two governments is something which the DUP
electorate can wear, at least for now.

It can certainly wear it much easier than the "in your
face" reality of a Sinn Féin minister having responsibility
for their schools, or their policing.

In any case the Dublin Government is no longer the bogeyman
for unionism it once was and certainly not a Dublin
government led by Bertie Ahern with Michael McDowell as

Yesterday the governments again reiterated that unless
devolution is restored soon, Northern Ireland politicians
will exert no influence on significant policy decisions
which are about to be made on things such as rate
valuations, water charges, the abolition of the Eleven Plus
exam and the establishment of new local councils.

However, much of the legislative basis for those decisions
has already been put in place and the DUP's capacity to
reverse or alter them in the Assembly or Executive would be
very limited, not least because cross-community consent
would be required.

There are advantages for them, therefore, in letting London
appointed ministers continue to take the flak for the
implementation of these unpopular policies while they
remain free to continue to rail against them.

In October the Independent Monitoring Commission is likely
to confirm that the IRA has not only decommissioned but has
also wound down criminality. The DUP now says that this
clean bill of health will no longer suffice and are
insisting that simultaneously Sinn Féin kick-start the
process of securing ardfheis approval for joining the
Policing Board. There are some suggestions they may even
require a period during which the Sinn Féin commitment to
policing is confirmed by republican communities feeling
free to openly co-operate with police investigations into
crimes in their area.

DUP politicians must know that Sinn Féin cannot deliver on
policing before devolution. The underlying suspicion has to
be, therefore, that what the DUP is actually seeking to
achieve is a further "decontamination period by stealth".
One thing which may pressurise the DUP, to some extent, is
the risk that if they don't agree a deal in November they
could get more time than they bargained for.

© The Irish Times


‘Mexico Salutes Irish International Brigade, Ireland Winks Back.

international history and heritage news report Friday
September 15, 2006 19:52 by Fiachra Ó Luain foluain at
yahoo dot ie

Account of Tuesday's ceremony.

Late last Monday night I scatched together a quick notice
about ceremony on the 159th anniversary of the Saint
Patrick's Battalion here in Mexico. Today on the day of
Mexico's Independence celebrations I'll try to give a
better account of the actual event.

Plaza De San Jacinto, San Ángel, Mexico City-

Just before 10am on Tuesday last Mexicans, members of the
Irish community, artists and students paid solemn tribute
to those volunteers who gave their live for Mexico after
switching sides drom the invading US Army to the defending
Mexican side in the war of 1847 which lead to the
annexation of half of Mexico's National Territory.

The leader of the Saint Patrick's Battalion was Captain
John Reilly, native of Clifden, Co. Galway and many others
in the ranks of the battalion were also Irish. There were
also many conscientious (Non-Mexican North-) American,
German, French, Polish, Scottish and English volunteers.
Among the names there are surnames from both of the major
traditions in Ireland as it was only fourty nine years
after Wolfe Tone's Rebellion. There is also one name that
is Jewish and even one man called William A. Wallace!!!
It's almost too romantic to believe.

The Mexican Republic sent an Admiral from the Navy and a
General from the Army, numerous policeman and a brass band,
the municipal "Delegacion de Alvaro Obregon" sent a local
representative who gave an almost Chavezista speech on how
by nature Mexico and Ireland are two peoples who will
always recognise and fight against injustice, the member of
the Irish Embassy of he Republic of Ireland spoke of how
other non-military exchanges between Ireland and Mexico
have helped enrich ours cultures and mentioned artist Juan
O'Gorman and vitner James Concannon as examples.
Representing the Irish community Martin Foley read out the
names of the deadmen, the tricolours of the two republics
were unfurled and the brass band played their national
anthems as wreathes were laid. Also present in the crowd of
about 50 was the grandnephew of Spanish Second Republic's
President Manuel Azaña, novelist Javier García-Galiano.

My teacher Vicente Quirate, poet and playwright, invited
our whole class to the Plaza as he didn't want me to miss
the event. Quirarte has written a play on the last days of
Oscar Wilde and is currently writing about Bram Stoker's
youth in Dublin and the influence his Sligo mother had on
him with Irish fairytales. In our group were Mexicans, a
Colombian, a Spaniard and myself from Cork/Donegal. We had
class over breakfast in a café in the Plaza after the

It's very good of Mexico to put the time, thought, energy
and money into such a ceremony. They certainly seem more
comfortable with their revolutionary heritage than the
Irish State does. The main streets in the city are called
Insurgentes and Reforma, with another which runs through
San Ángel called, quite simply, Revolución.

It was was however strange to think that the same army and
police who came to the ceremony are involved in the
murderous oppression of the desires of the people of
Chiapas, the teachers of Oaxaca and the farmers of Atenco,
Mexico City. Even more unnerving is to imagine that one of
the pistols that were biilited to the waists of the
policemen might soon be shooting at those who refuse to
accept the recent electoral fraud.

In 1968 these pistols killed hundreds of activists in the
Plaza De Las Tres Culturas in the north of the city. In
April a death squad abducted, Noel Pavel González, a
student activist from my Faculty. He was found three days
laters, hanged from a cross in Ajusco, south of the city,
having been tortured and raped for an extended period of
time. In May, Alexis Benhumea another student from UNAM was
shot in the temple by a gas-cannister fired by riot police,
right in front of his father in Atenco, the police refused
to let ambulances take away the injured, causing his death
after some time in a coma.

1968 is a shadow over 2006 and last Tuesday the deaths of
Pavel and Alexis were a shadow over my presence in the

I hope that more people will travel to Mexico for the
ceremony in future. Next year is the 160th anniversary and
we should all try and make it somewhat special. Please
start spreading the word and making some plans.

Fiachra Ó Luain

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