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September 26, 2006

Holy Cross School Dispute Appeal Dismissed

News About Ireland & The Irish

BB 09/26/06 Holy Cross School Dispute Appeal Dismissed
BT 09/26/06 Decommissioning: Beginning Of The End
BT 09/26/06 Pol Workers To Receive Job Termination Ltrs As Nov Nears
PT 09/26/06 Local Irish Bartender Sent Home
LA 09/26/06 O.C. Bartender Linked To N. Ireland Murders Deported
BT 09/26/06 Brown Stakes His Claim To Be Country's Next Prime Minister
BT 09/26/06 Opin: New PM Needed For Political Progress?
BT 09/26/06 Opin: Nationalism Goes Global
BT 09/26/06 School's Tribute To Beckett
ML 09/26/06 Irish Music Concert A Fund-Raiser For Africa
IT 09/26/06 Ireland Near Bottom Of European Road Safety Ranking
SF 09/26/06 Government Failing To Improve Road Safety - Crowe


Holy Cross School Dispute Appeal Dismissed

Five years after violent scenes outside a north Belfast
primary school, the Court of Appeal has endorsed the way
police handled loyalist protesters.

Two judges dismissed the case brought by the mother of a
child at Holy Cross Primary School over police handling of
the dispute on the Ardoyne Road .

She said police should have pushed loyalist protesters away
from the road.

But judges said that if police had done so, there would
have been a risk of trauma or injury to school children.

The three-month protest in 2001 by loyalist residents at
the Ardoyne interface saw pupils of Holy Cross being
escorted to and from the school by the security forces on a
daily basis.

The mother who brought the legal challenge was known only
as "E" because she feared for her life if her name was


In June 2004, Lord Chief Justice Sir Brian Kerr dismissed
her application for a judicial review of police handling of
the dispute.

At the same time, he described the dispute as "one of the
most shameful and disgraceful episodes in recent history".

In a reserved judgement on Tuesday, Lord Justice Campbell,
sitting with Lord Justice Sheil, said: "This court and any
objective observer could only agree with this comment."

"The objective in policing the protest was to allow the
children to get to school in safety and to pursue their
education," he said.

"The appellant and others wished to see the police confront
the protesters and presumably use force to drive them back
from Ardoyne Road ."

The judge said a police superintendent had told the school
principal that if the children had been adults going to
work he might have been disposed to push the protesters

However, in dealing with young children, he had serious
concerns that they could be traumatised or injured.

Lord Justice Campbell concluded: "Although we have differed
form the trial judge on some aspects of issues raised in
the appeal, we are satisfied that he was correct to refuse
the application for judicial review and the appeal is
therefore dismissed."

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/09/26 11:25:49 GMT


Decommissioning: Beginning Of The End

One year after the IRA decommissioned its arsenal, Brian
Rowan speaks to Methodist clergyman Harold Good, who was
one of the witnessess to the historic act

26 September 2006

It was in many ways a blind journey, but one he travelled
with his eyes opened wide.

It was blind because of all that was unknown and uncertain
about where he was going, who he would meet and what
precisely he was being asked to do.

But at all times in those "many days and nights" of last
September he was alert and watching because of what he was
being asked to witness.

It is exactly a year since Harold Good watched the IRA do
whatever it did to put its many weapons beyond use.

And since then, not one bullet has been fired nor bomb

In that silence is the significance of the decommissioning
that is now 12 months old, and in the quiet of an ending
war, so the statements and commentary of those who
witnessed what happened have become all the more relevant
and all the more credible.

Harold Good - a former President of the Methodist Church –
was there with the priest Fr Alec Reid and the three men of
decommissioning John de Chastelain, Tauno Nieminen and
Andrew Sens.

They were with the IRA for many days, preparing for and
then seeing the weapons being put beyond use.

None of them has said what republicans were present, but
Brian Keenan - seen as one of the hardest men and hawks of
the IRA organisation - had a part in what happened a year
ago and in that ending of the long war.

His presence, in itself, was a significant statement - a
confirmation of the new direction in which the IRA is now

"I understand the doubts of some," Harold Good told me,
"particularly those who may have suffered at the hands of
the IRA.

"(But) these 12 months have shown beyond any shadow of
doubt that this was for real."

Even now, long after the event, Harold Good will not go
into specific details - to catalogue the weaponry and to
describe the methods used to get rid of it.

But he says the arsenal that was decommissioned was
"massive" and "frightening" in its potential for death and

In that description you can sense the scale of what

The churchman asks people – especially the doubters, the
sceptics - to let his eyes be the lenses through which they
witness that scene of "the physical decommissioning of the
arsenal of the IRA".

And, he says, the fact that not one bullet has been fired
nor bomb exploded since last September is something that
"speaks for itself".

"People challenged me, did I not think of the victims who
may have suffered from these weapons?" Harold Good recalls.

And then he replied: "Of course I did, but I was also
deeply conscious of the lives that would now be spared
through the final decommissioning of these guns, explosives
and bullets.

"People had been calling for deeds not words," he
continued. "This was for me the deed that confirmed the

For Harold Good there was much more to last September than
just witnessing the weaponry being put beyond use.

In conversations with "high-ranking IRA personnel" he says
an "intention" was "expressed" that was "no less
significant than the act of decommissioning in terms of
long-term peace and stability in our community."

"This year has confirmed for me that what I heard as well
as what I saw has been for real," he told the Belfast

Harold Good believes that recent comments from some inside
the DUP and from those on the loyalist side of Northern
Ireland 's "war" have begun to acknowledge the "validity" of
the decommissioning of last September as well as its

In his own words he believes that the IRA has now accepted
"that there has to be a better way" and that the symbolic
importance of decommissioning was its confirmation that the
IRA had abandoned armed struggle as a means of achieving
its goals.

In its statement ending its armed campaign last July and in
the follow-up acts of decommissioning, the IRA was saying
in its own words and in its own way that its war was over.

Twelve months on - despite all of the political doom and
gloom still preached by some - there is good reason to
believe that those things of a year and more ago were the
beginning of some end of the IRA.

That organisation may well still exist in some structured
form but is it fighting a war?

The answer to that question is No.

Is it going back to war?

The answer to that is also No.

This has been a consistent security assessment and is
something that is also now accepted by the loyalist
paramilitary leaderships.

In a conversation with me during the long political
negotiations of 2004, a senior DUP figure said the
following on the question of IRA disbandment: "If the arms
are gone, there's no paramilitary activity, if the
terrorist structure is away, even if the body is there, it
is no longer a paramilitary group."

How close will the Independent Monitoring Commission - the
ceasefire watchdog - come to that description when it next
reports on the IRA?

The answer to that question is pretty close.

If it does and if that thinking outlined by a senior DUP
figure in 2004 is unchanged, then the process is left with
just two issues to settle.

In this newspaper a week ago, Sinn Fein's Gerry Kelly
described the republican route into policing and how
quickly a historic decision on "full-bodied" participation
could be reached in the event of a deal.

It all depends on Ian Paisley and on power sharing and on a
timeframe and details for the transfer to local politicians
of policing and justice powers.

A year on, decommissioning is no longer an issue - except
for those who can't believe and those who won't believe.


Political Workers To Receive Their Job Termination Letters As November Deadline Nears

By Noel McAdam
26 September 2006

Workers and officials in Northern Ireland 's political
parties will today begin to receive official notices that
their jobs are on the line.

Staff members in the Assembly at Stormont and at party
constituency offices across the province are expected to
receive the statutory letters confirming the grim news that
they stand to lose employment in the next seven weeks.

A number, including some highly experienced and long-
serving individuals, are believed to have already accepted
other jobs.

The SDLP and Alliance are believed to be among the first to
issue formal notices - as required by Tony Blair and
Taoiseach Bertie Ahern in their 'work plan' issued at the
start of the summer.

But some other offices are believed to be intending to
attempt to keep staff on their books for some months, even
if their salaries are being met from party coffers.

Alliance Party leader David Ford said: "It is a very
unsatisfactory situation.

"Since the Secretary of State has made clear there will be
no pay for anyone after November 24 we have got to serve
notice while at the same time we expect them to work hard
to bring back devolution.

"I am not an expert on employment law, but it does not seem
logical to me. We are telling staff we need to pull out all
the stops over the next few weeks but, by the way, your job
will probably not be here."

SDLP Assembly member Carmel Hanna also had criticisms of
the supposed necessity of paying off able and hard-working

Apart from their salaries, the province's 108 MLAs will
also lose their expenses and constituency office allowances
without agreement to re-establish the Assembly and power-
sharing Executive by November 24.


Local Irish Bartender Sent Home

Link to 1988 murder prompts deportation.

By Joe Segura, Staff writer

SEAL BEACH - Immigration agents have deported a popular
Irish bartender who had been convicted in Northern Island
for aiding in the slaying of two British soldiers nearly 20
years ago.

Sean O'Cealleagh, 37, and two other men were convicted of
aiding and abetting the 1988 murder of two undercover
British Army corporals who were pulled from their vehicle
in Belfast and shot after they attempted to drive around a
funeral procession for a member of the Irish Republic Army.

O'Cealleagh, pronounced O'Kelly, along with Michael Timmons
and Patrick Kane, were dubbed the Casement Three. They were
convicted in separate trials presided over by the same
judge. Various human rights organizations, lawyers
associations and elected officials have criticized the

After serving 8<>1/<>2 years
of two life sentences, O'Cealleagh received a political
prisoner pardon under the Good Friday Accords.

O'Cealleagh asserted that the case was strictly political,
and that the conviction - unlike other criminal verdicts -
was not grounds for deportation under immigration law.

However, a Board of Immigration Appeals ruled last month
that the 37-year-old bartender, who worked at O'Malley's On
Main, could be removed from the United States for his

The board found that anger and revenge were the primary
motives for the crime.

It sent the case back to a local immigration court, which
had originally found that O'Cealleagh's role in the murders
was a "purely political offense" - and not grounds for

The immigration law's political exception, according to ICE
spokeswoman Virginia Kice, was tailored to guarantee that
foreigners could not be deported for convictions on
trumped-up or politically motivated charges.

O'Cealleagh arrived in Dublin , Ireland , on a commercial
flight Sunday, escorted by U.S. Immigration and Customs
Enforcement officers, following a judge's signature for his
removal, Kice said Monday.

O'Cealleagh's attorney, Jim Byrne of San Francisco , said
his client continues to assert innocence in the double-
murder case.

The bartender was granted permanent U.S. residency in 2001,
but was later declared inadmissible by government

He was detained in February 2004 but freed on a $15,000
bond in May, while the government appealed a decision by
Terminal Island immigration court Judge Rose Peters. Peters
had agreed that O'Cealleagh had been a political prisoner
and ruled that he be allowed to remain here permanently.

In part, she ruled that O'Cealleagh was tried in a
politically charged atmosphere and that the deck was
stacked against him from the beginning. She also noted that
he was convicted in the controversial Diplock courts.

However, during the Terminal Island hearing, the Irish
government's attorneys introduced a video showing an angry
mob in Belfast surrounding a vehicle containing two
undercover British Army soldiers, pulling the men out of
the car and dragging them to a park, where they were shot.

The government argued that O'Cealleagh was visible on the
tape as part of the angry mob.

On Monday - as in prior statements - defense attorney Byrne
emphasized that his client was not in the park, the site of
the shootings.

"He was nowhere near where those two were killed," the
attorney said.


O.C. Bartender Linked To N. Ireland Murders Deported

A long federal campaign targeting Sean O'Cealleagh ends a
saga that began with an IRA funeral in 1988.

By H.G. Reza, Times Staff Writer
September 26, 2006

A Seal Beach bartender who charmed patrons by singing Irish
ballads was deported Sunday, one month after an immigration
appeals court ordered him removed from the United States
for his role in the murder of two British soldiers 18 years

Sean O'Cealleagh was returned to Ireland aboard a
commercial flight under the escort of two federal
immigration officers, U.S. officials said. His deportation
ended a nearly three-year effort by Immigration and Customs
Enforcement to remove him from the United States after
giving him permission to live here in 2001.

ICE spokeswoman Virginia Kice said O'Cealleagh's removal
came three days after an immigration judge in San Pedro
signed the final deportation order. This month, a federal
judge had denied a petition to allow him to remain free
while he contested deportation, Kice said.

O'Cealleagh, 37, who lived in Westminster , is married to a
U.S. citizen and has a young son. His family did not
accompany him back to Ireland , Kice said.

A British court convicted him in 1990 of aiding and
abetting the murders of two British corporals in Belfast ,
Northern Ireland . The soldiers were pulled from their car
and shot at an Irish Republican Army funeral in 1988,
according to an ICE news release.

Sentenced to life, he was released after eight years and
immigrated to America . He had lived in the U.S. legally for
three years when immigration officers detained him at Los
Angeles International Airport in February 2004 upon his
return from Northern Ireland . Immigration authorities said
he should never have been allowed into the U.S. because of
his conviction.

An immigration judge in April 2004 blocked the government's
effort to deport him, ruling that his conviction was for a
"purely political offense." The government appealed and an
immigration appeals board overruled the judge in August.

A few days after the board's ruling, O'Cealleagh was taken
into custody and jailed until his deportation. Immigration
Judge Rose C. Peters, who initially blocked O'Cealleagh's
deportation, signed the removal order Thursday.

His attorney, Jim Byrne of San Francisco , did not return
calls Monday.


Brown Stakes His Claim To Be Country's Next Prime Minister

By Andrew Grice
26 September 2006

Gordon Brown staked his claim to be Labour leader and Prime
Minister yesterday with a highly personal speech to the
party conference in which he set out his political

The Chancellor sought to halt a slide in his opinion poll
ratings which has sparked doubts in the minds of some
Labour MPs that he is the right man to take on David
Cameron at the next general election. He insisted he was a
team player who would include "all the talents" in his
Cabinet and peppered his speech with praise for Blairite

Mr Brown won a warm rather than ecstatic standing ovation
after a sober speech aimed more at the country than the
party. He told how his parents were his "inspiration" and
the reason he entered politics: his father, a Church of
Scotland minister, whose "motivation was not theological
zeal but compassion" and a mother who "taught my brothers
and me that whatever talents we had, however small, we
should use them".

Outlining his vision of a "good society," he went on: "Most
of all my parents taught me that each of us should live by
a moral compass. It was a simple faith with a fundamental

"Each and every one of us has a talent. Each of us a duty
to use that talent. And each of us should have the chance
to develop that talent. And my parents thought we should
use whatever talent we had to help people least able to
help themselves."

He admitted: "It's right that people should know where I
come from and for what I stand."

Drawing a deliberate contrast with Mr Cameron, he said: "As
a quite private person, what drew me into public life was
not a search for fame or headlines, but a determination to
make a difference. If I thought the future of politics was
just about celebrity, I wouldn't be in politics.

"If being in public life becomes about image above all else
then I don't believe politics would be serving the public."
Pleading for his party's support, Mr Brown said: "I know
where I come from, what I believe and what I can
contribute. And I am confident that my experience and my
values gives me the strength to take the tough decisions."

Amid fears that Mr Brown might be associated with the Blair
era at a time when voters want a fresh start, he stressed
how he had learnt lessons in nine years as Chancellor -and
wanted the chance to address the new challenges facing the

While promising to keep New Labour firmly in the political
centre ground, he promised "progressive" reforms to create
opportunity for all and tackle what he called "the poverty
of opportunity and aspiration."

"As the tasks of government change, the way we govern must
change, not just new policies but a new politics too, a new
politics founded on responsibilities as well as rights," he

That would include a "radical shift of power from the
centre". He explained: "I believe we must now examine how
elsewhere we can separate the decisions that in a
democracy, elected politicians must make from the business
of day-to-day administration." Councils, not Whitehall ,
should be given more power over economic regeneration and
public transport. Parliament, not the Cabinet, should have
the final say on going to war while leaving "scope for
emergency action".

Mr Brown said governments across the world had been too
slow to recognise the threat of climate change. "I don't
want our children to say to us, 'You knew what needed to be
done, you had the political power but you lacked the
political will'." He called for a $20bn global fund to help
the poorest countries combat climate change.

Addressing doubts that a Scot could win a general election,
Mr Brown said: "When I'm in England some people say I talk
about Britishness because I'm now embarrassed about being
Scottish. Let me say I am proud to be Scottish and

How would Britain be different under Brown?

Public Service Reform

Blair: Believes in so-called "permanent revolution" with
greater "choice, diversity and contestability" - involving
greater use of private firms to deliver state-financed

Brown: Resents Blairite suggestions that he is "anti-
reform" but did not mention the word "choice" in his speech
yesterday; keen to preserve "ethos" of public service.


Blair: Sees no need to impose a limit on the amount of
health care delivered by private firms so long as treatment
remains free and based on need; sceptical about independent
NHS board.

Brown: Sees limit to role of market in health care;
believes politicians should set budget and overall strategy
but leave day-to-day running of service to independent

Tax and Spending

Blair: Agreed to Brown plan to raise national insurance for
NHS. But keen to keep lid on taxes to ensure Britain can
compete in global economy and reassure Middle England .

Brown: Keen to allay voters' fears he would raise taxes
before next general election; open to long-term debate on
tax levels to safeguard public services.

Foreign Policy

Blair: Determined to maintain his "shoulder-to-shoulder"
support for the United States and refuses to criticise
George Bush in public. Still haunted by Iraq war.

Brown: Says he wants a good relationship with all world
leaders, including US President. May be prepared to differ
in public and acknowledge mistakes in Iraq .


Blair: Introduced devolution for Scotland and Wales but has
blown hot and cold on House of Lords and electoral reform.

Brown: Might bring in written constitution in attempt to
restore people's trust in politics. Would reform Lords.
Changes to voting system a long-term possibility.


Community/ies 25
British/ness 21
Values 15
Responsibility/ies 13
Let me say/promise/tell 11
Opportunity/ies 10
Rights 7
Parents 7
Tony/Tony Blair 6
New Labour 6
Environment/al 5
Promise 4
Service 4
Security 4
Progressive 2
Conservatives/Tories 2
Soul 1
Prudence 1
Green 1
Arctic Monkeys 1
Can and will 1
Can and must 1
Must and will 1
Was and is 1

Voices from the floor

Lucinda Yeadon Leeds/GMB

"It was a sound speech, spelling out a lot of his positive
policies. One of the good things about Gordon Brown is that
he doesn't believe in 'personality politics' like Cameron.
But it's important that we have a contest and not a
coronation. We are a democratic party and it's important
that the members can vote on the leadership."

Howard Dawber Labour Party member from Camden

"This sounded very much like the first speech of a party
leader rather than the last speech of a chancellor. He
talked about his background much more than we have come to
expect. If you look at Tony Blair and Gordon Brown the
Labour Party is incredibly lucky to have such successful
figures. David Cameron could not have made a speech like

Kumar Jacob Lewisham East/Christian Socialist Movement

"The thing Gordon Brown did well was make the connection
between the values of the party and the values of Britain .
Voters will recognise that. After this, I will absolutely
support him. He is by far the best candidate. I don't think
Mr Blair should be rushed though - we should leave it up to
him to decide his exit."

Malcolm Wood Nottingham Councillor

"That was a superb speech, articulating the concerns we
grassroots members have. I am usually a fan of the
democratic process, but Gordon is now so head and shoulders
above the others that it almost kills any contest."

Ali Syed Glasgow

"Gordon Brown has a completely different style from Tony
Blair and what we got was Gordon. He has come up from the
grass roots and I think people are ready for a different
style. A change is always good. We have had 10 years of
Tony Blair and that should be enough."

Peta Vaught Hounslow

"Mr Brown understands that he needs to be a force of
cultural change and support for the most vulnerable in
society. I have never been a fan of Tony Blair and I don't
really believe in the cult of the individual. But Mr Brown
certainly appeared to have the support of the majority."


Opin: New PM Needed For Political Progress?

26 September 2006

Despite Peter Hain's warning that Tony Blair's successor -
he is backing Gordon Brown - will not spend as much time on
Northern Ireland , he is unlikely to change attitudes here
in time for the November 24 deadline. The Prime Minister
wants devolution to be part of his legacy, and has devoted
months of his career to it, but he has been unable to
convert peace on the streets into agreement on political

He will have one more try, before his premiership ends, and
the knowledge that another Prime Minister would have to
deliver a deal hardly helps his cause. Mr Hain must think
it should encourage the parties to act now, instead of
waiting for the new incumbent to alter the rules, but the
politicians have been round the course so often with the
same personalities that the chances of instant
reconciliation must be small.

Policing has become the biggest stumbling block, although
the parties are far from unanimous in their acceptance of
the template of the 2004 comprehensive agreement, with its
subtle changes to the power-sharing arrangements. While
Sinn Fein prevaricate, claiming that they will deliver a
"full package" in support of the PSNI if their conditions
are met, the DUP, in common with the SDLP and UUP, insist
that support for law and order should be unconditional.

Republicans demand an early transfer of responsibility for
policing and justice to the Assembly, before putting a
positive proposal to a special Ard Fheis - but how can the
others agree, until they see how Sinn Fein intends to work
the devolved institutions? The DUP have made it clear that
there can be no deal without republican endorsement of the
police and, although the deadline should concentrate minds,
it cannot mark the end of attempts to get agreement on this
vital issue

Mr Blair's approach to difficult problems has become well
known, over the years, and generally involves giving
concessions of a kind - setting up inquiries or offering
financial inducements - to both unionists and nationalists.
Although the constitutional issue was apparently solved by
acceptance of the will of the majority, in the Good Friday
Agreement, the big stick of closer north-south relations
has increasingly been used to win unionist compliance.

Already it is being suggested that a Plan B is ready, in
case of failure, involving much more of Dublin in Northern
Ireland affairs, but what degree of support would that
have, north or south? Tony Blair and Bertie Ahern know the
risks only too well and Gordon Brown, an unknown quantity
on Ireland , would hardly begin so daringly. It would be no
surprise if progress will have to await a new Prime


Opin: Nationalism Goes Global

'When I consider Irish nationalism as practised by the
Irish Government and their many supporters, I am appalled
at what I see - an inward-looking, monocultural sectarian

By Lord Laird of Artigarvan
26 September 2006

Nationalism is dying, if not dead. In the modern global
community, nationalism may be giving a strong kick, but it
is a dying kick.

Today the world is a village – with sky TV, mobile phones,
emails, and the internet, every part of the world is
accessible within seconds. International travel, now on a
massive scale, can have an individual at the other end of
the world in 24 hours.

The concept of the nation state in charge of its own
affairs and responsible to no-one outside its bounds is
forever gone.

The idea of nation is changing and must change faster in
years to come. In future, it will be the norm to live
anywhere and be able to regard oneself as being of any
ethnic group. The USA has always been impressive in its
ability to bring many cultures into a single area and have
people live together in a broadly content manner. The law
in the States protects the human rights of each person in
each group.

In future, the idea of nations will be worldwide and not as
it has been - location-based. In other words a Scot will be
able to enjoy being a Scot anywhere in the world and be
free to celebrate his culture within the human rights based
laws of the area in which he lives. Ethnicity will no
longer be defined by location of birth but rather by what
is in your individual minds.

Clearly this changing idea is very appropriate for the vast
number of people who, for economic reasons are relocating
to other countries.

Muslims should not, for example, be made to feel outsiders
in the UK especially at a time when terrorists are active
and claiming to act in their name.

Northern Ireland itself has become home to many from
eastern Europe and elsewhere. In my view, they are most
welcome and I look forward to more exposure to their

Individuals should be allowed to regard themselves as being
from any background in any part of the world.

No one should be told what they must be in order to accept
the approval and benefits of the state in which they live.

"What has this to do with nationalism?" In my view

This international view is the reason why people like me
are unionists. I must always be allowed to be what I want
to be and cannot be told what I have to be. For many in
Northern Ireland , the desire is to remain free and out of
the clutches of the narrow confines of nationalism is
paramount. We, from the Ulster Scots section of the
community, have a very proud record of internationalism.
Seventeen presidents of the USA , major political, business
and academic figures all around the developed world, were
and are Ulster Scots or, as we are known in the US , Scots

When I consider Irish nationalism as practised by the Irish
Government and their many supporters, I am appalled at what
I see - an inward-looking, monocultural sectarian state.

I think it is sad that some people wish to live like that
but I suppose it is fine provided they do not wish to
impose their narrow views on me.

According to a recent report, the Republic of Ireland has
the worst human rights record in Europe . In Galway , for
example, in order to purchase property one has to, by law,
have a qualification in the Irish language and there are
similar restraints in the civil service where, to get a
job, one must be qualified in Irish. This helps to explain
why in Donegal, where the population is more than 11%
Protestant the civil service is less than one per cent

A state's use of any language in order to discriminate is
contrary to the European Convention on Human Rights.

The operation of the Cross Border bodies has been an eye
opener for many of us in unionism. We can see that
standards of Irish governance and particularly of political
and religious discrimination are now being stealthily
introduced into Northern Ireland .

It is plain to many that to be accepted in the Republic one
has to be Irish - there is just no room at the inn or
elsewhere for those of us who are not Irish.

The UK is not perfect but for anyone who wishes to
celebrate their non-Irish culture in a multicultural
society it is much more acceptable than the option of the

Can anyone seriously suggest that Ulster Scots or Unionists
should give up their freedom for involvement with a
monocultural, narrow society?

Let us remember that all of this is bigger than the island
of Ireland . Let us say to nationalists: your day is over -
think outside the box and become internationalists like us.
Look to the future as we do and do not crave for the past.
The great tide of history is running with us. Please do not
try to hold it up.

Lord Laird is a cross-bench member of the House of Lords
and a member of the Ulster Unionist Party


School's Tribute To Beckett

By Fiona McIlwaine Biggins
26 September 2006

The 100th anniversary of the birth of one of Ireland 's
greatest writers is being celebrated today and tomorrow at
the Ulster school where he was educated.

Portora Royal in Enniskillen will play host to a specially
com missioned performance of a selection of Samuel
Beckett's work as part of a series of tributes to the
refuted writer.

Poetry Ireland , a group of well known Irish actors, will
come together for the unique performance that will consist
of vignettes from the plays, poetry and prose of the world
renowned writer.


Irish Music Concert A Fund-Raiser For Africa

Tuesday, September 26, 2006
By Mary Ellen Lowney

CHICOPEE - In between her move from New York to a small
town in Ireland , singer Cathie Ryan is taking time to
perform here at a benefit concert that will help fund an
HIV-AIDS clinic in Malawi, Africa .

Ryan, who earned an international reputation with the
Irish-American band "Cherish the Ladies," will share her
musical gifts on Oct. 3 at 7:30 p.m. at the Elms College ,
courtesy of the Irish Cultural Center .

Tickets are $12, and all proceeds will go to the ongoing
expansion of the Billy Riordan Memorial Health Clinic,
which opened two years ago in the impoverished village of
Cape McClear, Malawi, in memory of a young Irish man who
drowned in the lake there while swimming.

For Ryan, an accomplished soprano singer and bodhran
player, anything to improve the living standard for poor
people is fine with her. Even better is the fact that the
driving force behind the clinic, Riordan's mother Margaret
"Mags" Riordan of Dingle, County Kerry , is a personal

"This concert is special to me because of the cause," said
Ryan, who grew up in Detroit the daughter of Irish

"I'm really grateful that I'm being given the chance to
help the Billy Riordan Clinic. The world is so unstable
right now, so many people need help. This is the perfect
way to give and share," she said.

The clinic opened in the summer of 2004, five years after
Billy Riordan drowned while swimming in the lake at the age
of 25. He was a young man who loved to travel, and who made
frequent stops at Cape McClear because he loved the people
and the area.

His mother, who lost two other children in the 1970s as
babies, visited the town in 2001 as a way to help her
recover from the devastating loss of her son. She saw the
poverty and the poor health and suddenly found a focus.

"It began in memory of my son. I knew I had to do
something," said Riordan, who left her job as a high school
guidance counselor to follow a new mission in life.

"It's taken on a much bigger importance now. We're the only
clinic with access to medicine and a doctor for 200 miles
around. People travel long distances to come to us," she

Malawi, a country with 13 million people, has just 100
doctors, she said.

Riordan has raised $150,000 with donations from around the
world, including Western Massachusetts . Riordan spends time
here every September, with a booth in the Irish Cottage in
the Young Building at the Eastern States Exposition, and
fundraising events at the Elms College .

The money she has raised has paid for the health clinic and
adjoining visitors center for the volunteers doctors,
nurses and assistants who work there. Now, Riordan is
seeking another $140,000 for the HIV-AIDS clinic.

In Cape McClear , an estimated 40 percent of residents have
HIV or AIDS. Other major health issues are malaria,
bronchitis and infection. There is also a 98 percent
unemployment rate in the town of 15,000.

"People were dying from infections. It's unacceptable that
people die of illnesses we don't even have here," she said.

Since the clinic opened, infant mortality dropped from 20
percent to less than 1 percent.

Riordan was recognized earlier this month as the
International Person of the Year in Ireland, a prestigious
award given by the RTE, the country's public radio network,
and the BBC of Northern Ireland .

Ryan said she could think of few things as important as
helping people in need gain access to health care. And
music is the perfect way to do that.

"Irish music is about the heart and the spirit. It's really
about the human condition, and it reaches beyond all
borders," she said.

Ryan was a member of Cherish the Ladies for seven years,
leaving in 1995 to go on her own. Since then she has
released four collections, including her latest, "The
Farthest Wave," last year.

At the Elms, she will perform with Greg Anderson on guitar
and Sarah Milonovich, an award winning fiddle player who
also plays keyboard and sings.

Tickets can be bought at the door at Veritas Auditorium in
Berchmans Hall, which is handicap accessible. For
information, call Sister Judith Kappenman at (413) 265-


Ireland Near Bottom Of European Road Safety Ranking

Ireland has one of the worst records in Europe for reducing
road deaths, according to a study published today.

The ETSC is expected to rank Ireland seventh from bottom in
a league of 25 member states.

The European Transport Safety Council (ETSC) ranks
countries in order of their success in adhering to a
commitment in 2000 to halve road deaths within a decade.

Ireland is seventh from the bottom in the list of 27
countries having only reduced road deaths by just over 3
per cent between 2001 and 2005.

The Republic is accompanied at the end of the list by
Poland where deaths only fell by 1.63 per cent. The
situation was only worse in Hungary , the Czech Republic ,
Cyprus , Malta and Lithuania where road crash-related deaths
have actually increased between 2001 and 2005.

According to Garda figures, 276 people have died on the
State's roads so far this year, almost exactly the same
figure as for 2005.

The top performer in the EU is France , which has cut road
deaths by 35 per cent. Luxembourg and Belgium have cut road
deaths by 34 per cent and 27 per cent, respectively.

Labour Party spokeswoman on Transport Roisin Shortall said
political will to implement reforms was key to cutting road
deaths. "However, given the lackadaisical attitude of
Fianna Fail and the Progressive Democrats towards
prioritising this vital issue, it seems we may have to wait
for a change of Government before action is taken."

© The Irish Times/


Government Failing To Improve Road Safety - Crowe

Published: 26 September, 2006

Sinn Féin Transport spokesperson Seán Crowe has expressed
his deep concern at a new report to be issued by the
European Transport Safety Council today which will place
this state near the bottom of EU member states on road

The Dublin South-West TD said: "It is extremely worrying
that Ireland has one of the poorest road safety records of
all EU member states and doubly shocking that according to
the report we are one of four countries that not made any
noteworthy progress since 2001. France , Luxembourg and
Belgium have been able to cut road deaths by over 25%
according to the report, yet 276 people have lost their
lives on this state's roads this year, no improvement from
last year.

"The Government has stood idly by while our roads becoming
more dangerous. Sinn Féin proposes a comprehensive all-
Ireland approach to road safety. It makes no sense to have
different road signs, driver education and speed limits on
this small island.

"Driver education is key, and we propose that it should
become part of the school curriculum. There also needs to
be a reform of the provisional licence system to encourage
driver training and practice instead of widespread test
avoidance. The driving test backlog of 140,000 also needs
to be cleared, with people having to wait up to a year in
my own constituency.

"Driving instructors should be regulated as set out in the
Road Safety Act. This measure will prevent the current
situation, which is nothing short of scandalous whereby a
driver can put a sign on the roof of their car and 'teach'
the public how to drive. In addition driving lessons should
be made affordable to boost uptake.

"There needs to be high visibility deterrents to combat bad
driving behaviour such as speeding. Check points and speed
cameras should be deployed in risk areas with accident
black spots rather than largely concentrating on major
roads. We need these measures to improve road safety not
merely collect guaranteed revenue for the state.

"A single avoidable death on our roads is one too many. As
many people are forced to purchase private cars due to the
incompetency of this government's public transport
management, it is the government's duty at least to ensure
that the roads on which they drive are safe."


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