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September 28, 2006

Hain Warns of Deadline Failure

News About Ireland & The Irish

UT 09/28/06 Hain Warns Of Deadline Failure
JN 09/27/06 $198,000 Penalty Imposed On Woman In US Immigrant Scam
BB 09/28/06 PSNI Reforms 'May Be Undermined'
SF 09/28/06 Ferris Questions Shell's Motive For Dropping Legal Action
BT 09/28/06 Still The Teflon Taoiseach?
NH 09/27/06 Opin: Politics Here Remain Firmly Stuck In Allegiance
BT 09/28/06 Opin: We Can Safeguard The Union
EE 09/28/06 Sinn Féin Leaders To Attend Ferguson Funeral
ML 09/28/06 Cathie Ryan Embodies 'Celtic Intensity'


Hain Warns Of Deadline Failure

The British government will press ahead with implementing
Labour policy in Northern Ireland if the November deadline
for power-sharing at Stormont is missed, Peter Hain has

By:Press Association

In an uncompromising speech to the Labour Party conference
in Manchester, warning of the consequences of missing the
November 24 deadline, the Northern Ireland Secretary said
the parties were facing an historic choice between the
future and the past.

"If the deadline passes without agreement to restore an
inclusive power sharing executive, the consequences are
serious," he said.

"Assembly members will no longer be paid. They will have to
make their staff redundant. Party funding will be stopped
immediately. Stormont will shut down.

"Even more serious, if there is no deal by the 24th, the
Assembly will be dissolved the following week - and that is
the real moment of truth for Northern Ireland`s politicians
because they all know that the opportunity to try again may
not come around for years."

Unionist and nationalist Assembly members will head to St
Andrew`s in Scotland next month for hothouse talks aimed at
breaking down the barriers to a power-sharing government.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Taoiseach Bertie
Ahern, who will attend the talks, hope a report next month
by the ceasefire watchdog, the Independent Monitoring
Commission, on paramilitary activity will provide the
perfect mood music for the negotiations.

However the Rev Ian Paisley`s Democratic Unionist Party
(DUP) remains to be convinced that the Irish Republican
Army (IRA) has given up paramilitary and criminal activity
for good, despite the Provisionals declaring last year an
end to their armed campaign and the completion of their
process of disarmament.

The DUP has also insisted Sinn Fein will have to change its
policy on policing to become a credible partner in

Sinn Fein is the only one of the four parties who would
serve in a power sharing executive which has not endorsed
the Police Service of Northern Ireland or asked its
supporters to co-operate with the police.

Mr Hain focused on the need for parties to realise that if
the November deadline was not met, they could lose the
reins of power for many years.

He also stressed that in the event of there being no power
sharing, the British and Irish Governments would work
together within the terms of the 1998 Good Friday

There was praise for Prime Minister Tony Blair`s unstinting
efforts in Northern Ireland.

A power sharing executive would, Mr Hain told delegates,
have been secured as a result of Mr Blair`s personal
dedication and tireless effort.

Mr Hain, who has also made no secret of the fact that he
wants to serve as Labour`s deputy leader to Gordon Brown
once Mr Blair has quit, also praised the Chancellor of the

"Thanks to Gordon Brown`s exceptional management of our
economy - and his insistence that we must massively
increase spending in education and health, Northern Ireland
has been able to share the fruits of that economic success
and public investment.

"And (it has) enabled us to start rolling out Labour
policies to Northern Ireland such as Sure Start, breakfast
and after-school clubs - policies to support hard-working
families and ensure children have the best start in life."

Mr Hain said his ministerial team in Northern Ireland
would, in the event of there being no devolution, continue
to take the decisions the country`s politicians were unable
to take.

He said his ministers were implementing Labour policies and
driving through a radical agenda in Northern Ireland to
revamp government, reform taxation, introduce water
charges, educational reforms, energy and environmental

During the speech Mr Hain invited Betty Orr, a head teacher
from Edenbrooke Primary School on Belfast`s Shankill Road,
on to the stage to talk to delegates about her work.


$198,000 Penalty Imposed On Woman In Immigrant Scam

By Desiree Grand
The Journal News

Consumers who have been victims of immigration assistance
fraud may contact the state attorney general through the
Consumer Helpline at 800-771-7755 or through the Office of
the Attorney General's Web site at Any
former clients of Christine Owad may call 845-485-3913 to
speak confidentially with the attorney general's staff.
Join the conversation on illegal immigration in the "Issues
in the Lower Hudson Valley" forum at

(Original publication: September 27, 2006)

A woman who posed as an immigration consultant and instead
scammed thousands of dollars will have to pay restitution
to her clients, the first enforcement under the Immigration
Assistance Services law.

Christine Owad of Windham, N.Y., a small town in the
Catskills, will have to pay her clients $198,000 for
claiming she was a paralegal and promising speedy green
cards and visas.

State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer sued Owad in 2005
after an investigation revealed the immigrants who paid her
didn't receive what she promised.

"This is a good win with an important message," Spitzer
said. "People must be careful with those who promise green
cards for money under the table. That will lead to a road
of disappointment. And we will try to find those who are
perpetrating these crimes."

Owad's victims included Irish immigrants in and around New
York City, including in Yonkers' Irish community, and
British and Ukrainian immigrants.

The $198,000 will be divided up according to the amount
each person paid, which generally was between $2,000 and
$4,000, said Spitzer spokeswoman Christine Pritchard.

In total, 55 consumers filed complaints with the Attorney
General's Office. During the legal proceedings, Owad was
forced to turn over her business documents, which revealed
more than 100 more potential victims.

State Supreme Court Justice Thomas J. Dolan in Dutchess
County ordered Owad to pay restitution and $105,000 in
civil penalties.

Pritchard stressed that during the litigation of the case,
the identities of the victims have been keep confidential,
and all identifying information has been redacted from
court records. Immigrants who paid Owad may still come
forward to submit a claim. Part of the justice's ruling
included allowing additional claims to be submitted through
Dec. 15.

Owad's attorney, Allen Morganstern of Garden City, N.Y.,
said, "The documents speak for themselves." He would not
comment further.

Several immigrants who use the services of the Emerald Isle
Immigration Center, which has offices in the Bronx and
Queens, fell prey to Owad.

Owad's clients were people who were in dire situations,
said Siobhan Dennehy, executive director of the Emerald
Isle Immigration Center.

They are people seeking a way to stay in the country and
fall for the promises of a quick fix.

Dennehy understands their predicament. Many years ago, as a
22-year-old college student whose visa had expired, she was
offered a document if she turned over her passport and

"I know people are so desperate to hear they can stay,"
Dennehy said.

She urged immigrants to use the services of agencies like
hers who can steer them to correct information and

Eamonn Dornan, an immigration attorney with the Manhattan-
based firm Smith, Dornan and Dehn, assisted some of those
who were tricked by Owad.

Dornan said Owad operated by word-of- mouth, meeting her
clients in their homes, bars and restaurants.

"She was a very convincing fraudster," Dornan said.

The state law, which took effect in November 2004,
regulates business standards for providers of immigration
assistance and requires a list of regulations for

Owad now is barred from provided immigration assistance
services unless she posts a $200,000 performance bond.


PSNI Reforms 'May Be Undermined'

Plans to reduce the number of police command units could
undermine key reforms of the Patten Report, the Oversight
Commissioner has warned.

The police have 29 district command units across Northern
Ireland - but by next year there will be just eight.

The number is being cut in response to the reform of local
government, which will see the number of local councils
drastically reduced.

However, Al Hutchinson said this could affect intelligence-

The police oversight commissioner said the re-organisation
of policing must not reverse the devolution and delegation
of decision-making to local commanders.

"While there is no denying the advantages offered by
merging district council areas for the sake of both
governance and policing efficiency, adapting to the Review
of Public Administration has the potential to at least
temporarily disrupt local police and community
relationships," he said.

"This was about getting policing down to the local policing

"We have local beat and community policing teams and police
in sector areas patrolling a local area working with the

"There is also an inherent risk to the decision-making
authority of the leadership of neighbourhood policing
teams, as DCU commanders grow geographically more distant
from their neighbourhoods and their local policing

In his 17th report on the implementation of the Patten
reforms, Mr Hutchinson said the proposed devolution of
policing and justice to the assembly would be a step
forward, but warned of the consequences of political

"As long as collective politics continue to fail policing
in Northern Ireland, and society fails to give its support
to policing, the success of further policing reforms will
be impeded," he said.

SDLP policing spokesman Alex Attwood said the proposed new
"super-district commands" needed to be very carefully

"It is imperative that any adjustments to the Patten
structures of policing jump all the other Patten hurdles
around community policing, local accountability for police
conduct and performance and increasing the numbers of
police officers on the beat in local neighbourhoods," he

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/09/28 05:39:37 GMT


Ferris Questions Shell's Motive For Dropping Legal Action

Published: 28 September, 2006

The Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Natural Resources, Martin
Ferris TD has questioned the motivation behind Shell's
attempt to abandon its legal action against Mayo landowners
who are objecting to the Corrib gas pipeline. Shell will
make the application this morning in the High Court and if
successful will not have to comply with the order of
discovery made by Justice Mary Laffoy in July which would
require the company to hand over documents concerning the
lease and development plan to representatives of the

Deputy Ferris said: "Having pursued this issue through the
courts for over a year, and having engineered the
imprisonment of the five men from Rossport, Shell's
decision to drop the legal action is entirely disingenuous.
I have absolutely no doubt but that they are doing so for
the sole reason of not exposing the terms of the deal that
was made with regard to their securing of the lease. This
of course begs the question as to what exactly Shell are
attempting to hide?

"It is vital that this information is made public and in
that spirit I have requested Minister Noel Dempsey to make
these documents available not only to the representatives
of the protestors but to the public who have a right to
know on what basis a valuable national resource was handed
over to a multi-national corporation." ENDS


Still The Teflon Taoiseach?

Ireland's Bertie Ahern is toughing out the biggest crisis
of his career after admitting he accepted payments from

By David McKittrick
28 September 2006

Dublin's most astute political operator, whose outstanding
political skills always kept him clear of the Irish
Republic's recurring financial scandals, has finally become
entangled in allegations of impropriety.

The Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, defended himself in the Dail
yesterday against opposition charges that he had been at
fault in accepting money from a dozen business figures more
than a decade ago. Attempting to defuse the crisis which is
proving one of the most serious in his political career, he
insisted he had done nothing wrong in the affair.

He has admitted, however, that he has suffered political
damage from revelations which have tarnished his reputation
as a figure largely untouched by the corruption scandals
which have swirled around his Fianna Fail party for
decades. He now faces an anxious wait while the Irish
electorate decides whether his actions were excusable or
unacceptable. Last night the general sense was that he is
set to survive this crisis, providing no further damaging
disclosures emerge.

While his coalition partners, the Progressive Demo-crats,
often present themselves as keeping Fianna Fail honest and
maintaining the highest standards, they will be most
reluctant to walk out of government and force an early

In an emotional television interview following revelations
that he was under investigation by a corruption tribunal,
he described 12 donations, totalling €50,000, as a personal
matter rather than a political one. The money is said to
have been raised by friends who were anxious to help him
out following a lengthy marriage separation which had left
him bereft of funds. He was at the time finance minister.

While no one has accused him of illegality, opposition
parties have claimed his behaviour conflicted with his
frequent refrain that politicians should not place
themselves under personal obligations to anyone. Some of
the friends who chipped in were later appointed by Mr
Ahern's government to the boards of public concerns.

In the Dail, opposition leader Enda Kenny declared: "You
don't need legislation to know what is right or wrong,"
suggesting double standards. Mr Ahern said he had never
taken a bribe and had done nothing wrong, though he
conceded it, "could be made to look wrong".

With an election due next year, the affair is seen by Mr
Ahern's opponents as a chink in the armour of the man who
has been called "the Teflon Taoiseach." The two main
opposition parties, Fine Gael and Labour, have been working
closely together in the hope of convincing voters that they
can form a workable coalition.

One line of opposition attack is that Mr Ahern says the
payments were not gifts but loans, which he fully intended
to repay. He has acknowledged however that in more than a
decade he made no repayments and paid no interest.

Mr Ahern's television interview was generally view-ed as a
bravura performance in which he spoke of his marriage
break-up as "a dark, sad time" which had eaten up his
savings as he made provision for his wife and children.
Repeatedly saying he regarded it as "a debt of honour" to
repay the donations, he declared: "The money was raised by
close friends, people who were close to me for most of my
life. They are not political friends. They are personal
friends and they are long-standing friends."

He insisted: "I've broken no law, I've broken no ethical
code, I've broken no tax law." He has described as
"calculated and scurrilous" the leaking of material which
he said he had disclosed in confidence to an official
tribunal. He claimed it had been twisted into a political
smear against him.

"It was done to damage me. I suppose those people who set
out in a calculated way to do that, whoever they were,
probably have succeeded to some extent."

The Irish Times, which broke the story, said it had
received "an unsolicited and anonymous communication". Its
editor, Geraldine Kennedy, and a reporter have been
summonsed to appear before the tribunal tomorrow and
ordered to hand over documents.

Mr Ahern made an uncertain start in responding to the
allegations, describing the figures quoted by the paper as
"off the wall" when they have since been shown to be
accurate. Presenting the matter as a personal one, he
originally said he felt he had no questions to answer about
the affair.

But he quickly changed this stance giving many details in
his TV interview. These included the identities of the 12
donors. They include Jim Nugent, a senior business figure
later appointed to the board of the Central Bank, who was
also chairman of an official training agency, and Fianna
Fail fundraiser Des Richardson, who became a member of the
Aer Lingus board.

Another donor, publican Charlie Chawke who owns half a
dozen bars and is a major shareholder in Sunderland
football club, said yesterday that on at least four
occasions Mr Ahern had made "very serious" efforts to repay
the money, but he had refused to take it.

He said on Irish radio: "I don't know anything about gifts
or otherwise, other than he accepted it as a loan. This
wasn't a politician accepting money from people, this was a
friend helping out a friend, or friends helping friends,
and that was the only way I looked at it.

"I'm not involved in politics but I'm a friend for a long
time of Bertie Ahern's. I was only too delighted. I hold
the man in the highest of esteem."

Mr Ahern told the Dail he had calculated that, at 3 per
cent, interest on the monies would amount to €20,000.

Peter Hain, the Northern Ireland Secretary, yesterday paid
tribute to Mr Ahern, describing him as a man of outstanding
stature. He added: "My belief is that he will come through
this and work with us in the coming weeks and months."

Fianna Fail figures in disgrace

Charles Haughey

Charles Haughey, one-time leader of Fianna Fail, was
compared to Richard Nixon, narrowly escaping prison but
being formally condemned for accepting illicit payments. He
took millions in surreptitious payments from business
figures, denying any impropriety at tribunal hearings. But
his reputation collapsed when he was confronted with
incontrovertible evidence. He died this year.

Liam Lawlor

A prominent member of the Dail, he was jailed for contempt
on three occasions for his obstructionist approach to a
tribunal investigating his financial affairs. Regarded as
one of the toughest brass necks in Irish politics, he was
temporarily released from prison to hear the leaders of all
parties call for his resignation. He defied them all. He
died last year in a car accident in Moscow.

Ray Burke

The former Justice minister was last year jailed for six
months for tax evasion following a long political career
littered with suspicions of wrongdoing. A search of his
home uncovered undeclared building society accounts. He was
at first defended by Bertie Ahern, but later the Taoiseach
said he was "saddened and betrayed". A tribunal concluded
he had accepted a number of corrupt payments.


Opin: Politics Here Remain Firmly Stuck In Allegiance

(Brian Feeney, Irish News)

Years ago, at a time when the loony left was strangling the
British Labour party, one of its hard-left MPs, might-have-
been Frank Allaun, graced us with his presence.

He gave a hilarious interview to the local BBC in the
course of which he confidently asserted that if Labour
stood here they would win four seats in the next
Westminster election, probably 1983.

Oh, asked the interviewer, could you tell us the name of
one of these seats? Without pausing for breath, Allaun said
East Belfast. And why East Belfast? "That's where the
shipyard is, quoth Allaun".

Ah, the naivete – if they are 'workers' they must vote
Labour. Needless to say, the interviewer didn't bother
asking for the names of the other three constituencies.

It's a hardy annual.

Every Labour Party conference, we are treated to the
fantasy that if the British Labour party organised here
everything would be different.

Every year Kate Hoey MP is trotted out to prove that you
can take a woman out of Newtownabbey but you can't take
Newtownabbey out of the woman.

Each year she demands the right for Labour's national
organiser to make a right royal ass of himself by allowing
the party to come last in any constituency here.

Suffice to say the British Labour party has no intention of
exposing itself to such ridicule.

The party hides behind the fiction that if you want to vote
Labour you can vote for its 'sister' party in the Socialist
International, the SDLP.

Ho Ho Ho.

The real reason is that both Sinn Féin and the SDLP would
slaughter any Labour candidate. As for unionist districts,
the DUP would wipe the floor with Labour.

Any doubts which may have lingered about such an outcome
were dispelled years ago by the fate of the Conservative
Party, which was suckered into putting up candidates here
and, incredibly, even sending ministers to canvas. They got

The very fact anyone would propose a British party should
organise and fight seats here is a certain indication that
the proposer is devoid of political nous – in short, lives
in cloud cuckoo land.

The truth is that such proposers are in reality unionists,
either right wing or left wing, people who ignore the
political facts of this place.

The truth is that the British got out of Ireland in 1921
and hoped never to have anything to do with the place
again. Dragged back into the quagmire in 1972, they have
spent the last 34 years trying to find the exit again.

Demanding that a British party organise here goes against
the whole stream of British political history for the last

The logic of that absurd demand is to reestablish the
union, a position against which all British parties have
set their faces for generations but most explicitly since

After the 1985 Anglo-Irish Agreement there was no going
back. Mrs Thatcher banged the arm of her chair in Downing
Street at a meeting with Molyneaux and Paisley and told
them there would be no integration. Nor could there be with
the Irish government's officials ensconced at Maryfield and
the British government required to consult the Irish for
'views and proposals' on all matters affecting the north.

The Good Friday Agreement has taken the whole process of
British withdrawal onto a new plane. The refusal of
unionists to share power with nationalists is going to lead
to an ever-growing connection with the Republic in social
and economic and financial affairs. No nationalists are
going to vote for a British party, that's a given.

What the fantasists who want Labour to pretend this is a
normal society forget is that the one aim unionists have is
to control a party of their own which will look after their
own sectional interests here. They're certainly not going
to vote for a party which is busily strengthening links
with the Republic any more than they voted Conservative
when that party was promoting the Anglo-Irish Agreement.

In other words, politics here remain firmly stuck in
allegiance and identity, not about the issues which concern
the Labour Party in Britain. The fantasists will of course
pretend that is not so. That's why Labour, correctly,
doesn't take them seriously.

September 28, 2006

This article appeared first in the September 27, 2006
edition of the Irish News.


Opin: We Can Safeguard The Union

As the devolution deadline approaches, some observers might
be asking if the Ulster Unionist Party is dead in the
water? Not so, protests party officer John Andrews. Here,
he presents a new vision for unionism and argues that
history shows that the UUP can work with nationalism to
make Northern Ireland work

28 September 2006

Reg Empey is pioneering radical change in our party
following the end of the formal link to the Orange Order.
He has followed up this break with traditional unionism
with brave statements in his interview last June in the
Irish News, recognising that unionism in general must come
to terms with its past and recognise that over the last 35
years, unionist rhetoric from both unionist parties has
been on occasion negative, divisive and in certain cases
encouraging violence and sectarian hatred.

This big gesture shows a more tolerant and pluralist
vision; history shows us UUP has proved it can work with
nationalism to make Northern Ireland work.

Even Sinn Fein is now realising we have a fairer, more
tolerant, more meritocratic, and a more open and
transparent society here than in the Republic, but what is
missing is accountable democracy.

While the Republic undoubtedly has become more secular and
multicultural, the Celtic Tiger has also created a deprived
underclass whose votes Sinn Fein have successfully

It is with this vision of a fairer, inclusive and more
meritocratic society that we must reach out as a party to
pro-Union Catholics who can benefit equally from the
social, welfare and public service provisions of the United

For this reason we have changed our values and objectives
clause in our party rules to espouse the need to promote
and strengthen the Union rather than just maintain it.

The Union has been strengthened as a result of the vision
and decisions taken by UUP in 1998.

The benefits are now clearly seen as illustrated in the
recent Life and Times survey commissioned by the Electoral
commission and carried out by the two universities which
shows more Catholics accepting that the Union remains the
only practical constitutional arrangement for the
foreseeable future.

The results show 32% of Catholics now recognising the Union
as an acceptable way forward and wanting to stay within the
Union (previous survey 25%).

This clearly illustrates the Union is now more secure.

We also see the two governments now recognising the Union
as the only practical way forward for Northern Ireland.

We no longer have Irish governments playing the green card
as in the days of former leader Charles Haughey, or the
Labour Party in Britain flirting with Irish unity.

The Irish political parties are now justifiably concerned
at the threat of Sinn Fein with their growing power base
which has found succour in growing social and economic

The conclusion of the Life and Times survey clearly
illustrates that the Union is secure as noted by the Sunday
Times recently when it said: "Partition is unlikely to be
abandoned within the present generation and that even among
Catholics a majority would not abolish the border ... all
the signs in the survey suggest Northern Ireland is
stabilising under direct rule from Britain with Irish
government input."

We see Sinn Fein accepting a partitionist settlement as the
only practical way forward and while they talk of unity by
2016 they realise Northern Ireland is now a more fair,
meritocratic, multicultural, tolerant society.

The UUP took risks electorally and it has taken time to
reap the rewards. Northern Ireland is stabilising under the
Union with Irish government input, and this appears be an
acceptable way forward for both communities.

Similarly, while many in UUP are wrestling with our
consciences over the link with the PUP, this may not be
electorally popular in the short term, but in the longer
term this vision again shows UUP taking risks for the
benefit of all communities in Northern Ireland.

We cannot ignore these deprived loyalist areas and have an
obligation within unionism to reach out to bring them in
from the cold. Improving standards and aspirations in these
communities depends on making Northern Ireland work and
giving jobs and prosperity to all.

Too often DUP rhetoric espouses the opposite, as it remains
in their and Sinn Fein's electoral interests to perpetuate
polarisation through the politics of fear. Only the UUP can
offer the politics of progress and can work for a Northern
Ireland that works and is united and at ease with itself
through a truly tolerant and inclusive society.

Our new values and objectives also emphasise the UUP as a
party that promotes a tolerant and inclusive society where
individuals have equal rights to welfare, education and
health benefits regardless of race, gender or creed. This
is an essential basis towards creating a truly secular and
fair society.

It is to be welcomed that the DUP are finally engaging in
the Assembly committee set up to restore devolution. It is
notable now that recent Sinn Fein statements are showing
the party getting cold feet as devolution suddenly is being
talked up after the summer's work.

But we in unionism must be careful - the DUP walked away
before, when a deal was near in 2003, with the 'sackcloth
and ashes' speech which scuppered those talks.

The truth is DUP are so uncertain and split about where to
go they are paralysed into inaction and run for cover every
time they are pushed.

What of their new agreement? While we see progress in
Stormont, the proposals are basically just a repackage with
tweaking of the Belfast Agreement.

If there is no agreement, all that is on offer is
increasingly hard-nosed direct rule with joint stewardship,
the new governmentspeak for a watered down version of joint

We are now faced with unpopular decisions imposed by Blair
to blackmail us into devolution on education, RPA, rates,
water rates and even a threatened police precept charge.

The big prize is Sinn Fein's acceptance of the police,
which will be lost if the DUPs fail to engage seriously. We
will then be consigned to joint stewardship, with continued
north/south bodies, as each deal on offer gets worse for

We in the UUP are engaging seriously and will work with DUP
where possible to ensure the best deal for unionism. We
will continue to reach out confidently and represent
unionism to promote the Union and make Northern Ireland
work within the union for the benefit of all its citizens

Meanwhile, the biggest single issue facing the majority of
voters is increasing levels of crime, with vandalism, petty
burglary and antisocial behaviour which have all become a

Until we get a grip with the real problems in deprived
areas through our own tailor-made policies for tackling
these real issues, such problems will only increase.

There are signs that society is breaking down, partly due
to breakdown in traditional family structures, leading to
an increasingly lawless society.

The UUP's 'let's get real' campaign projects radical family
friendly policies to encourage the family, with childcare
provision and implementation of the proposals of the Hart
report to provide counselling support at an early stage to
prevent family break-ups.

Sectarianism, and increasingly racism, are now endemic
within our society, and perhaps the most serious problems
facing our community, and must be tackled by politicians
taking a lead.

Children born after the Troubles are now entrenched in
sectarian division.

It is time for all politicians to act as shown by the
example in Scotland, where the new devolved executive has
made the defeat of sectarianism a priority.

Too often our politicians simply stoke up fear to
perpetuate polarisation for their own gain, with
rejectionist negative unionism enjoying the opportunity to
use emotive arguments to inflame division and thus destroy
any progressive ideas emanating from unionism.

Until we recognise that maintaining the Union means making
Northern Ireland work, we are consigning our children to
under-achievement, poverty and crime in a stagnant economy
and especially in the deprived loyalist communities.

It is only the UUP that has worked and delivered, that can
make Northern Ireland work within the Union.


Sinn Féin Leaders To Attend Ferguson Funeral

28/09/2006 - 9:11:12 AM

The funeral of Sinn Féin Assembly member Michael Ferguson
will take place today in west Belfast.

Mr Ferguson, who represented west Belfast in the Assembly
since 2003, died suddenly on Sunday night.

His death came as his first public interview on his battle
with testicular cancer was published in a Belfast

Mr Ferguson, a lifelong republican and the party’s
education spokesman, will be buried in Milltown Cemetery
after Requiem Mass at St Teresa’s Church on the Glen Road.

Senior Sinn Féin leadership members will attend.

The 53-year-old father of four had planned a charity
fundraising event for Macmillan Cancer Relief tomorrow at
the offices of the West Belfast Partnership.

The event will go ahead despite his death.


Cathie Ryan Embodies 'Celtic Intensity'

Thursday, September 28, 2006
By Ronni Gordon

Irish-American singer/songwriter Cathie Ryan, known for her
clear voice and insightful songwriting, comes to Elms
College in Chicopee Tuesday for a benefit performance
sponsored by the Irish Cultural Center.

Beginning with her work as lead singer of the female vocal
group Cherish the Ladies and continuing through a decade-
long solo career, Ryan has established herself as a popular
performer recognized for her contributions to the

"Her voice is just absolutely beautiful," said Sister
Judith Kappenman, spokesperson for the Irish Cultural

Former U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins said of the singer,
"There is a powerful sweetness in Cathie Ryan's voice, as
well as a Celtic intensity that can be felt in all the
songs she writes and sings - songs of place, songs of
memory, poignant songs of the heart."

Her parents, born in Ireland's counties Kerry and
Tipperary, emigrated to Detroit in 1957 to work in the
automotive industry.

As singers, their social life focused on the Gaelic League,
an Irish community center. From age 7, Cathie Ryan spent
most of her free time at the league, singing and learning
about Irish culture.

And in the summers, she visited her grandparents in
Ireland. From her paternal grandmother, a noted fiddler and
singer, Ryan learned traditional songs.

"She loved music," said Ryan, who now lives in South Salem,
N.Y., near the Vermont border. "Every evening, after
everything was tidied up, she would sit down by the fire
and start playing. I saw her take such joy in music."

Ryan has never been a fan of love songs, preferring instead
a mix of historical ballads, traditional songs and
contemporary songs with varied subject matter.

She has released four CDs on Shanachie Records: "Cathie
Ryan," "The Music of What Happens," "Somewhere Along the
Road" and "The Farthest Wave." She also is featured on more
than 40 compilations of Celtic music.

Proceeds from the concert will benefit the Billy Riordan
Memorial Trust and an undertaking called Billy's Malawi
Project that raised money for a medical clinic.

It was started by his mother, Mags Riordan, of Dingle,
Ireland, after her only son, Billy, drowned at age 25 in
Lake Malawi while visiting the small African nation of

He drowned in 1999, after many visits to the village of
Cape McClear, whose people he had grown to love. In one of
his last e-mails to his mother, he referred to it as

When his mother traveled to Cape McClear to place a
memorial stone at the lake shore a year after her son's
death, she was struck by the poverty of the tiny mud-hut

She raised money to build a clinic that is now operating
with volunteer doctors and nurses. Construction of an
AIDS/HIV clinic is under way.

More information about the project and the woman at its
helm is available at

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