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September 19, 2006

Nationalists Urge Drumcree Review

News About Ireland & The Irish

BB 09/19/06 Nationalists Urge Drumcree Review
SF 09/19/06 Parades Commission Failure Causing Anger In Portadown
BB 09/19/06 Can UDA Be Brought In From Cold?
SF 09/19/06 Adams To Meet Snr Politicos In US In Adv Of Peace Talks
IT 09/20/06 Paisley Attaches More Strings To SF Deal
BB 09/19/06 DUP Consult On SF Power-Sharing
4N 09/19/06 Sinn Fein Boycott Stormont Debate
SF 09/19/06 Meaningless Assembly Debate Will Not Adv Policing Issue
SB 09/19/06 Opin: Citizens Or Consumers?
IN 09/19/06 Opin: IMC’s Legitimising Of ‘Structures’ Creates Problems
IN 09/16/06 Opin: Paisleys Twist More Than ‘Biased Media’ Ever Could
UT 09/19/06 US Mayor Hails Belfast's Potential
IM 09/19/06 Hungerstrike Commemorative Mass
IT 09/20/06 'Magdalen' Author Challenged
IT 09/20/06 Dingle Port May Be Taken Over
IN 09/19/06 Hold Onto Your Drinks The Pogues Are Back
IN 09/19/06 ‘Sybil’ To Visit Spiritual Home Of Fawlty Towers


Nationalists Urge Drumcree Review

Nationalists in Portadown have asked the Parades Commission
to place restrictions on an Orange Order Drumcree parade
planned for Saturday.

Orangemen said it was to mark 3,000 days since they were
first banned from walking down the Garvaghy Road.

Orange Order spokesman David Jones said the Drumcree
protest in the County Armagh town was still very much

"It has become a protest now that is still ongoing - very
much a protest by Portadown LOL Number 1," he said.

"It does have the backing of all Orange brethren throughout
the country itself.

"It is more than just a parade along Garvaghy Road, it
actually is a stand for the civil and religious liberties
of which the Orange Order gives particular importance to."

However, the Garvaghy Road Residents' Coalition has
requested the Parades Commission to review its decision not
to impose any any restrictions on the march.

"In the absence of any stoppage point being imposed, this
in effect means that participants in the parade can make
their way along that part of the notified route to the
junction of the Drumcree Road and Garvaghy Road," said
spokesman Breandán Mac Cionnaith.

"The extremely volatile situation which such a scenario
could create is simply beyond the comprehension of many

'Rightly concerned'

Sinn Fein said it had also requested a review of the
Parades Commission decision.

Assembly member John O'Dowd said: "The commission was aware
of the controversy over this march and had received
representations in relation to it."

SDLP assembly member Dolores Kelly said the parade was "in
no way a 'traditional' march".

The DUP MP for the area, David Simpson, said he had agreed
to speak at the rally.

"The 3,000 days... in realistic terms, Portadown district
should not have been there for a day," he said.

"This is not about celebration - in talking to the district
- this is about commemoration."

"The people of the Garvaghy Road are rightly concerned by
this parade. It is certainly not the best way to improve
relations in the area," she said.

The parade has been marked by serious violence in the past,
but it has passed off peacefully in the last three years.

The march has been one of Northern Ireland's most
contentious. The route was last used by Orangemen in 1997.

Each July, the Portadown Orange Lodge attends a service at
Drumcree church to commemorate the anniversary of the
Battle of the Somme.

Since 1998, their homeward route has been blocked by the
security forces, following a determination by the Parades

The Commission was set up in 1997 to make decisions on
whether controversial parades should be restricted.

The Orange Institution is the largest loyal order in
Northern Ireland.

Its origins date from the 17th century battle for supremacy
between Protestantism and Catholicism. Prince William of
Orange, originally of the Netherlands, led the fight
against Catholic King James.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/09/19 06:48:52 GMT


Parades Commission Failure Causing Anger In Portadown

Published: 19 September, 2006

Sinn Féin Assembly member John O'Dowd today said that the
failure of the Parades Commission to issue a determination
regarding this weekends planned loyalist rally in Portadown
was causing anger and apprehension within the nationalist
community in Portadown.

Mr O'Dowd said:

"Given the history of policing in Portadown and in
particular the policing of Orange Order parades in
Portadown the nationalist community are rightly uneasy at
the prospect of this weekends Drumcree rally going ahead
without a determination from the Parades Commission. If the
Commission fails to issue a determination then issues such
as the route on the day will once again falls into the
hands of the local PSNI. That nationalist community in
Portadown have no confidence in the PSNI handling such a
situation impartially.

"It is clear that this weekends rally is part of a DUP and
Orange Order agenda to try and place the issue of the
Drumcree parade onto the political agenda in advance of
planned talks early next month. The residents of Garvaghy
Road have become accustomed to this type of pressure over
many years. People should not forget that the Orange Order
effectively laid siege to the nationalist community in
Portadown for years with the active support of all of the
main unionist paramilitary gangs. Sectarian violence became
a by-word for the Drumcree protest.

"We have submitted a formal application to the Parades
Commission to review their failure to issue a determination
and we look forward to a speedy response. However up until
now all discussions and deliberations regarding this
weekends loyalist rally have been done behind closed doors
with no transparency or explanation." ENDS


Can UDA Be Brought In From Cold?

Secretary of State Peter Hain this week announced that the
government is giving £135,000 to a project aimed at helping
the UDA move away from paramilitary activity and crime.

Is it a simply a hopeful shot in the dark, or part of a
strategy to bring the organisation in from the political
wilderness? Home Affairs Correspondent Vincent Kearney

Secret talks seem a pre-requisite for political initiatives
in Northern Ireland, and this loyalist project is no

Back in November 2004, senior members of the UDA and their
political representatives held tentative talks with senior
officials from the Northern Ireland Office to discuss the
future of the largest loyalist paramilitary organisation.

Those talks intensified during the past nine months, with
Prime Minister Tony Blair and his senior advisors kept
informed of the progress.

In July, senior members of the UDA, four of its so-called
brigadiers, met Secretary of State Peter Hain, and then
took the unprecedented step of travelling to Dublin to meet
Taoiseach Bertie Ahern. Those meetings were made public,
but it was the discreet, behind the scenes talks that laid
the foundations.

During those talks, NIO officials made it clear that the
British government would respond if there was evidence of a
genuine attempt by the UDA leadership to abandon terrorism
and criminal activity.

Peter Hain reinforced that message when he faced the media
after announcing the funding on Monday.

The secretary of state said he could understand that
victims of UDA violence might feel angry and bitter about
the move, but insisted that he had to look to the future
and try to help people if they wanted to move away from
gangsterism and violence.

The UDA leadership insists that it is genuine about wanting
change, and the government funding is the start of the
positive response that was promised.

It is a clear manifestation of political support.

It is also a test of that declared commitment to change,
with more money promised if the government is satisfied
that the UDA is serious.

So what does the UDA mean by change?

It doesn't mean that the organisation is going to vanish
overnight, or even in the foreseeable future, and it
certainly has no intention of decommissioning its weapons.

The Ulster Political Research Group, the organisation's
political representatives, says the money will be used for
"conflict transformation".

The aim is to prepare members of the UDA to find a new role
in their community, and in the long term this could include
training and educational courses to help increase their
chances of employment.

People can think what they want, but most of our members
did not join the UDA to be drug dealers and criminals

UDA source

But there is a long way to go. The International Monitoring
Body, the Organised Crime Task Force and other government
agencies have all declared that crime is rife within the
organisation, and that it is still actively involved in

The last IMC report, published earlier this month, said
there was evidence that some of the organisation's leaders
"appear committed to ending criminality amongst their
members", and added that this "may reflect a positive
strategic decision."

That was heavily qualified and far from a ringing
endorsement, and all eyes will be on the next report, which
is due to be published early next month.

Senior UDA members and their representatives have been
talking about change for some months now, and now
effectively they are being asked to prove it.

During the dispute between the organisation's ruling Inner
Council and a faction in north Belfast that remained loyal
to Ihab and Andre Shoukri, those close to the leadership
described the rift as a clash between those who wanted to
end criminality, and those who were actively engaged in it.

Many took this with a very large pinch of salt because of
the known levels of crime within the ranks of the UDA.

But those who talk of change insist they mean what they

"People can think what they want, but most of our members
did not join the UDA to be drug dealers and criminals,"
says one senior loyalist.

'At war'

Another senior source accepts that the organisation did
engage in crime throughout the Troubles, but argues that
this was justified because the organisation was "at war".

"Yes, of course we robbed banks and ran extortion rackets
in the past," he explains.

"But that was for the organisation, to fund the purchase of
weapons and other activities.

"Anyone engaged in that kind of activity now is doing it
for themselves, not for the UDA."

The government will hope that those voices are an accurate
reflection of the current thinking of the UDA leadership.

If that proves to be the case, and the organisation is
genuinely looking to a new future, it may come to consider
the investment of £135,000 as good value for money.

If the UDA fails to deliver, the government will have lost
relatively little, but the loyalist leadership will have
lost any credibility it has achieved in those months of
talks that convinced Peter Hain that it was worth taking a

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/09/19 17:52:54 GMT


Gerry Adams To Meet Senior Political Figures In The US In Advance Of Key Peace Talks

Published: 19 September, 2006

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams MP is travelling to the US
today for a series of engagements with senior political
figures in advance of upcoming peace talks. Mr. Adams will
update them on what is happening in the peace process and
seek their support for ongoing efforts to restore the
political institutions and implement the Good Friday
Agreement. During the trip Mr. Adams will make a number of
keynote speeches including an address to the Council on
Foreign Relations in New York.

Mr. Adams will also travel to Philadelphia to speak at
Eastern University, which is a Christian University
committed to integration and reconciliation. Mr. Adams is
there at the invitation of the President of the University
David Black and at the event Mr. Adams will set out Sinn
Féin's vision to create an inclusive society and to promote

On Wednesday 20th Mr. Adams will attend the Clinton Global
Initiative in New York.

On Thursday 21st at 3pm Mr. Adams will be the Guest Speaker
at the Council on Foreign Relations at the invitation of
it's President Richard Haass, who is the former US envoy to

On Friday 22nd Mr. Adams will meet with Bill Flynn of the
National Committee on American Foreign Policy.

On Saturday 23rd - Keynote address at the Eastern Campolo
School for Social Change in Philadelphia at 12.30pm


Paisley Attaches More Strings To SF Deal

Gerry Moriarty, Northern Editor

DUP leader the Rev Ian Paisley appeared yesterday to impose
new conditions on republicans before he would agree to
share power with Sinn Féin in a restored devolved Northern

At Stormont he told the Assembly that the IRA must be
"stood down" and that in relation to criminality, the
organisation's "multi-million pound empire" must be handed
up and those involved in it made accountable to the police.

He reiterated that there could be no chance of a deal by
the November 24th deadline set by the British and Irish
governments without Sinn Féin fully supporting the police.

While some observers characterised Dr Paisley's comments as
typical "hard-balling" ahead of the intensive Northern
party talks in Scotland next month, the DUP leader
nonetheless was demanding more of the IRA than last year's
IRA decommissioning and formal declaration that its "armed
struggle" was over.

On alleged IRA criminality, Dr Paisley said, "The multi-
million pound empire has to be given up practically and
openly. Those involved in the £300 million [ €445 million]
empire must be handed over to the police. The ill-gotten
gains of crime will be abandoned and law enforcement
agencies will be supported in the seizure of these illegal
gains." He also called for the disbandment of the IRA.

"Republicans like all other citizens must submit themselves
to the rule of law by the police and courts. That means
that the organisation of the IRA must be stood down and
abandoned," he said.

Dr Paisley, who with senior party colleagues also met the
Independent Monitoring Commission yesterday to discuss IRA
activity, further demanded in the Assembly that those IRA
members who refused to abandon criminality should be handed
over for prosecution by the PSNI.

"Those republican activists who will not give up crime and
are integral to the republican movement in the past must be
handed over to the police with available evidence. There
are no get out of jail free cards to be handed out to the
IRA or any other terrorist organisation," he said.

Dr Paisley did, however, offer up some hope of a deal if
Sinn Féin fully signed up for policing. "It is Sinn Féin
who must tackle their failure to support the police and the
forces of law and order in Northern Ireland. They must
support them and encourage others to support them. And when
that happens we will then be on the way to establishing
full democracy in our beloved province."

Meanwhile, the Police Ombudsman's office has issued a
jaundiced response to comments Ulster Unionist Assembly
member Danny Kennedy made about Police Ombudsman Nuala
O'Loan in the Assembly yesterday.

Mr Kennedy said of Mrs O'Loan, who is married to SDLP
councillor in Ballymena Declan O'Loan: "Her position is
slightly compromised by family relationships which link her
to the SDLP. And that in the perception of the wider
unionist community remains a significant chill factor."

He added that there was a widespread perception that Mrs
O'Loan was "not only anti-police but particularly and most
especially anti-RUC".

A Police Ombudsman spokesman said Mrs O'Loan had never been
a member of any political party and had previously served
on the Police Authority, which the SDLP opposed. "I think
some politicians should realise that women have views of
their own. It may even surprise some politicians that women
can have independent views from their husbands," he added.

Meanwhile, DUP MLA Mark Robinson defended his claiming
£18,000 in travel expenses last year despite the fact that
he sits for South Belfast. He said he travelled from
Bushmills, Co Antrim, to Belfast which "considerably
altered the journeys for which I claim from the Assembly".

© The Irish Times


DUP Consult On SF Power-Sharing

The DUP has begun its process of internal consultation on
whether or not to share power with Sinn Fein.

After meeting the Independent Monitoring Commission in
Belfast, DUP leader Ian Paisley again called for the IRA to

His deputy, Peter Robinson, revealed that the party was
already consulting its grassroots on the way forward.

"Our party always consults internally and always has in
mind the people who know most on the ground," he said.

"They give us feedback. It's a two-way process. We pass
information to them and it also comes back from the
grassroots organisation.

"Our consultation will take into account what the IMC has
to say and the information we have ourselves."

In April, Mr Robinson said that the DUP would start an
internal consultation on whether to share power with Sinn
Fein when it considered that the IRA had moved from
violence to democracy.

However, speaking in Tuesday's assembly debate on law and
order, Mr Paisley said that power-sharing required Sinn
Fein to sign up to policing in word and deed.


BBC Northern Ireland political correspondent Martina Purdy
said that while the DUP was consulting with its grass
roots, Sinn Fein was busily consulting on republican
attitudes to policing.

During the law and order debate, the SDLP attacked Northern
Ireland Secretary Peter Hain for suggesting Sinn Fein could
work with police on the ground even if it was not prepared
to sign up to the Policing Board.

The SDLP's Alex Attwood described the government's approach
as "flawed" and said Sinn Fein must be encouraged to sign
up to the same structures as all the other parties.

The remarks come amid speculation Sinn Fein may agree to
cooperate with police on the ground, while refusing to sign
up to the Policing Board until there is a deal on power-
sharing and devolved policing.

Northern Ireland's parties have been back at Stormont since
May, sitting in a so-called "virtual assembly" which can
meet and debate - but not pass legislation.

The 108 MLAs have been warned that if the deadline is not
met, their salaries and benefits will stop and the assembly
will be put in mothballs.

It has now emerged that Mr Hain is considering firming up
the November deadline by announcing that he also intends to
formally dissolve the assembly elected in 2003 which is not
legally due to expire until next Spring.

Devolution was suspended in October 2002 over allegations
of a republican spy ring.

The court case that followed collapsed and one of those
charged, Denis Donaldson, later admitted working as a
British agent.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/09/19 17:41:35 GMT


Sinn Fein Boycott Stormont Debate

The Democratic Unionist Party have today hit out at Sinn
Fein after they failed to attend an assembly debate on a
law and order report they helped produce.

Speaking at the Stormont Preparation for Government
Committee, DUP leader Ian Paisley confirmed that its
members had agreed to back proposals for the government to
transfer policing and justice powers to a single devolved
government department. However, he also said republicans
had to sign up to policing before there could be power-

He added that unionists would not accept devolution of
policing and justice until they were convinced that the IRA
was out of action.

Sinn Fein currently has members sitting on the committee
who helped to prepare the initial report, but has since
said it will not take part in debates on matters over which
the assembly has no power.

Ian Paisley added that unionism resented the notion that
Sinn Fein would only move when it gets what it was

Mr Paisley said: "A party wishing to sit in government over
the people of Northern Ireland yet at the same time not
supporting the police will be resisted by all right-
thinking people.

"We will not have any truck with those who try to foist
such a programme on us for their own narrow political

He continued by saying that “the days of those who would
undermine democracy and the rule of law in government are
over for ever.”

Responding to Mr Paisley's comments, Sinn Fein MP Conor
Murphy said that today's debate on the report was pointless
and added that it was yet another instalment in the
“charade politics” which has been the hallmark of these
meaningless debates.

Mr Murphy added that just like other issues, such as rates
and the economy, the issue of policing would not have been
resolved or progressed during today's meeting.

He concluded: "The reality remains, and all of the parties
and the two governments know this, that the policing issues
will only be resolved with the British government honouring
the public commitments it has made, on issues like
transfer, and the DUP entering into fully functioning
power-sharing institutions with the rest of the parties."



Meaningless Assembly Debate Will Not Advance Policing Issue

Published: 19 September, 2006

Sinn Féin MP for Newry and Armagh Conor Murphy today said
that the issue of policing would not be resolved in
meaningless Hain Assembly debates but in the British
government honouring the public commitments it has made and
the DUP entering into fully functioning power sharing

Mr Murphy said:

"Today's plenary in the Hain Assembly is the latest
instalment in the charade politics which has been the
hallmark of these meaningless debates. Like the other
issues discussed including rates and the economy the issue
of policing will not be resolved or advanced with today‚s

"The reality remains, and all of the parties and the two
governments know this, that the policing issues will only
be resolved with the British government honouring the
public commitments it has made, on issues like transfer,
and the DUP entering into fully functioning power sharing
institutions with the rest of the parties." ENDS


Opin: Citizens Or Consumers?

17 September 2006 By Tom McGurk

It’s time to ask if Republicanism has any meaning in our
global, multinational, transnational and international-
governance 21st-century world.

It’s time to ask if Republicanism has any meaning in our
global, multinational, transnational and international-
governance 21st-century world.

Not only are the questions facing such a project truly
immense, I don’t think we have even begun to start asking

We might begin by asking how, in an Ireland dedicated to
the ideology of economic liberalism and ‘free trade’ - and
dealing on a daily basis with the transnational power of
institutions like the European Union, the International
Monetary Fund and the World Trade Organisation - can the
concept of liberty, equality and fraternity, contained
within the concept of the sovereignty of the people, be

Now that even the nation-state itself is fast disappearing
- and Irish Republicanism has traditionally seen itself as
a nation-state enterprise - where is sovereignty now? Is
not the very subtext of globalisation and transnational
governance the antithesis of the notion of a national
sovereignty in the first place?

This is not a conversation to be had at the graves of our
patriot dead, but among the living in 21st century Ireland.

Once upon a time, our government was the only actor on the
stage. Now there is a vast chorus line, issuing
instructions and attempting to govern us.

Isn’t it the indisputable fact that republican citizenship,
popular sovereignty and accountable democracy, are all
ultimately limited by their incorporation into a world

That world system is dominated by globalisation, driven by
huge corporations, transnational institutions and the
military, commercial and strategic interests of the United

Where is what Rousseau called ‘the general public good’
under this dispensation? Is it still the implementation of
the traditional will of classical republicanism, or the
effective functioning of capitalist market relationships?

Or - to put it in simple and stark terms – do we live in a
society or just an economy? Are we citizens or are we mere

This debate applies as much to French republicanism or
American republicanism as it does to Irish republicanism.

At this moment in history, following the collapse of
socialist totalitarianism, all government, particularly in
Europe, has moved to the social democratic middle ground.

Whatever about the ‘‘end of history’’, one wonders whether
we have reached the end of politics.

Is this why the area of disputed political territory grows
smaller all the time? Are all elections doomed to be social
democratic beauty contests?

Politicians going about campaigning for next year’s general
election will begin to sense a growing disinterest in
politics, a massive decline in franchise participation,
particularly among the young.

Why is this? What is happening?

Could it be that the sense out on the street, that politics
and politicians are increasingly irrelevant, except for
social and medical emergencies of course, is itself a
reflection of a growing perception that, as citizens, we
are increasingly powerless?

Take two small-print examples of where this manifests
itself in our lives. We live in the most drunken country in
the EU. The statistics are there to prove it. Any weekend,
our main streets are shocking sights, with levels of
drunkenness I doubt you will see anywhere else in the

We always had drunks in Ireland, they were familiar in our
childhoods. But can you imagine a generation ago, our
mothers, our own mothers, spending their weekends binge-
drinking, lying on street corners in their own vomit, laid
out in A&E?

What, as a society, do we do?

What, as politicians and legislators, do you do? The
subtext to our binge-drinking is market-induced, a thousand
messages every day, from various media, telling us that
alcohol is about enjoyment, about the good life, about
rebellion, about sex, about being young, about being old,
about being happy.

Sport and alcohol have become synonymous in the young
popular imagination.

This is an interesting crisis, because here we see market
forces actually involved in the destruction of society,
particularly of our youngest and brightest generation.

If we can’t just ban alcohol and don’t have the political
courage to ban it for under 21s, then what can we, as
convinced free-marketers, do?

Take obesity, another health crisis in society. There is
now considerable scientific evidence that processed foods
are deliberately structured to have addictive properties.
Our obese people are now food junkies, principally victims
of what they eat rather than of their appetites.

Has the liberal, free-market society no social and civic

Is profit the bottom line? Has all authority disappeared,
except the credit reference? In 20 years, will we find a
whole generation’s health devastated, placing enormous
burdens on our future health and social services?

Are we as citizens helpless in the face of this free-
market-induced crisis? Or do we simply abandon the precepts
of society and our lives to mere market forces and tell
these people that what they eat and drink is their problem
and not ours?

Do we tell them they are not citizens in a society any
longer, but rather consumers in a marketplace, and that
government - even republican government - can do nothing
for them?

Liberty, equality and fraternity are out the window, in the
face of market gale force.

These are just two everyday examples of the crisis that
faces all of us. They are mere cameos of the deepening
crisis that we face in the relationship between the old
politics and the old notion of society on one hand, and the
awesome and unstoppable power of market forces on the

Why is it that, despite levels of economic wealth and full
employment, among the general public there is a growing
sense of the collapse of society?

Ask any doctor and they will tell you about an increase in
depressive disease and levels of suicide never known

These doctors will tell you too that where once the
extended family in Irish society picked up so many of the
problems, they have now become the responsibility of the

To date, the political argument about this crisis has
centred around the question of resources, hospital beds,
more police, more laws, bigger prisons, identity cards,

Political life has become an argument about resources,
instead of a debate about where the crisis is coming from.
The next election threatens to become the standard argument
about resources, levels of management and personality

There is a row on the bridge about who should steer the
ship, but no debate at all about where the ship is headed.
The power of unfettered market forces, combined with an
increasing sense of the failure of political control, are
parallel fault-lines in this crisis.

It is our post-modern political crisis, if you like. Isn’t
it interesting that these two forces parallel each other,
these twin jaws which now grip our society.

I further believe that the loss of sovereignty and the loss
of society are deeply interlinked and symbiotic. Where now
Tip O’Neill’s famous dictum, that ‘all politics is local’?

Here then is the task facing republican post-modernisers:
to establish again for the electorate the visible link
between their franchise and what is happening to their

There is a sense now that governments are no longer
governing at all, that they have instead become, in the age
of transnational governance, mere facilitators to a wider
‘permanent’ form of governance.

This new rule is dominated by officials and specialist
agendas associated with capital accumulation and Ireland’s
role in the EU. Will the new government elected next year
have anything more than a coordinating or mediating role
between a variety of interest groups, aimed at managing
economic development and Ireland’s role within the EU and
global governance?

Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz recently
spoke in Dublin about globalisation and its wider impacts.

He wondered aloud whether a revolution is happening and no
one is in charge, or whether those in charge don’t know
what they are doing.

Stiglitz said the spread of global capitalism has not been
balanced by a spread of democracy or values.

I was in Berlin in 1989, the night the wall came down. It
was a moment of historical epiphany.

We had won. They had lost.

But what had we won? Is this it now, our new society out
there, is that what we have won?

Eamon de Valera’s republican modernisation programme in the
1920s and 30s was about creating a new Irish sovereignty in
a post-colonial Ireland.

It was about giving the citizens of the new state the
ability to control their lives and their society. And it
was done in the context of the immense poverty and economic
chaos that post-colonial Ireland inherited.

Given the choice then, we valued our sovereign freedom
above all the apparent materialist benefits of the British

Eighty years on, we are wealthy beyond the dreams of our
grandparents’ generation, which made that original choice
for us.

But has the price of that wealth been the loss of the
sovereignty that brought us down the hard years, from there
to here in the first place? Has history swung full circle
and found us, like de Valera back in the 1920s, again stuck
between the rock of an increasingly invisible republic and
the hard place that is people’s embrace of the global
market? If politicians genuinely seek to modernise or post-
modernise the republican faith, this is the emerging 21st
century crisis.

This is a an extract from a speech made by Tom McGurk at
the recent Fianna Fail party conference in Westport.


Opin: IMC’s Legitimising Of ‘Structures’ Creates Problems

By Roy Garland

The IMC, composed of former security and justice personnel
and a former Alliance Party leader, concluded that the
Provisional IRA is committed to a political path.

They say the IRA leadership opposes criminality and the use
of violence to control communities.

It is not planning or executing terrorist attacks,
procuring weapons or training members and has engaged in
successful dialogue to prevent violence during this year’s
parading season.

Leading IRA figures are active in Sinn Fein encouraging
members to engage in community work.

However, the IRA retains ‘command and control’ structures
which, the IMC insists, is helpful in keeping the
organisation on a political path.

This goes beyond what might be expected. It may be that
retaining IRA structures lessens possibilities of factions
returning to violence but by appearing to justify IRA
structures the IMC engages in a dangerous exercise.

Too many people remain sceptical about IRA intentions.

So retaining effective control and command structures and
expertise means the IRA could, if it so wished, rob banks,
engage in disruption and initiate further violence – so the
IMC’s words don’t inspire much confidence.

Loyalists seem prepared to accept this IMC assessment but
are angry at what seems an imbalance in their comments
about loyalists, whose organisations developed primarily to
resist anti-state terrorism and other threats or perceived
threats to their existence.

Given this, the retention of IRA structures seems

Until ordinary people can feel assured that the threat is
gone, loyalists feel bound to retain their organisations
and perhaps weaponry, intact.

If the IMC can legitimise IRA structures, they should
perhaps accept loyalist paramilitary structures for the
same reason.

But this would surely leave them with a dilemma in that
appearing to legitimise paramilitary structures sets a
dangerous precedent.

The IMC makes the bald statement that loyalists are
involved in violence but offers no evidence to justify

They give stint praise to loyalist leaders for contributing
to a quiet parading season but minimise the impact of this
by reminding loyalists that they did not achieve peaceful
parades in 2005.

Yet the IMC chose NOT to remind the IRA that, despite their
‘stance’ against criminality, it was IRA personnel who
murdered Robert McCartney in 2005 and engaged in other
serious crimes such as the Northern Bank robbery a few
months earlier.

The IMC commends ‘some’ loyalist leaders who ‘appear’
committed to ending criminality, whereas it commends the
IRA leadership as a whole for opposing criminality.

But most loyalists seem deeply embarrassed by criminality,
even if they never inflicted robberies on the scale of the
notorious Northern Bank heist.

The IMC highlights the UVF’s ‘refusal’ to clarify its
position on decommissioning or reduction in its capacity
for terrorism before November 24.

But, with the best will in the world, loyalists must find
this more difficult after the IMC report.

Many of their people are sceptical about the removal of the
threat from the IRA, and by welcoming continuing IRA
structures the IMC adds to the difficulties facing
loyalists who have engaged in serious consultations on
these issues for a number of years. The IMC report set the
scene for former Alliance politician Eileen Bell to judge
that the invitation to David Ervine to join the UUP
assembly grouping had broken the rules. The move was
mischievously described by Alliance’s Naomi Long as a
“blatantly crass and sectarian move” that appalled “decent
people”. Alliance thus contends that a voluntary coalition
within a mandatory coalition is sectarian – a contention
that seem little more than political opportunism.

In contrast, Reg Empey has tried to rectify the imbalance,
boost loyalist confidence and hasten the day when loyalist
paramilitaries leave the scene. The IMC must know that some
rank and file loyalists mistakenly trust the DUP
leadership, who say that the IRA has not decommissioned all
its weapons, remains a serious threat and that unionists
have lost the war and are now virtually in a united

The IMC/Alliance have come to the aid of the DUP by
seemingly undermining confidence in loyalist communities.

However, it seems unlikely that loyalists leaders can
easily be dissuaded from the task they have set themselves
– to facilitate the transformation of their communities.


Opin: Paisleys Twist More Than ‘Biased Media’ Ever Could

Susan McKay

It became obvious last week, not for the first time, that
the young loyalist who told me after a vicious Drumcree
riot that it had only looked bad on television because “the
TV cameras are against us” was stating official DUP policy
on the media.

Ian Paisley jnr attempted to exonerate loyalist bigots for
attacks on Catholics living in Ballymena.

He and his father have a history of muddying the waters
over sectarianism in their constituency.

On this occasion ‘Junior’ said that far from Catholics
being “always under attack” as asserted by Sinn Fein, “it
is now evident that the attacks are in fact carried out by
republicans on Roman Catholics”.

He also used the term “self- inflicted” and said that he
was referring to “a considerable amount” of recent attacks.

They represented an “orchestrated effort by republicans to
stir up sectarian activity”; inevitably, the remarks caused
offence and anger. Afterwards, though, Junior declared
himself furious that his comments had been “twisted and
misrepresented”. Meanwhile, police commander Terry Shevlin
disagreed, albeit in an overly mild way, with Paisley’s

They were “not how I would particularly see it,” he said.
Later in the week Gregory Campbell made a show of his party
on the BBC, and gave everyone else a good laugh, when he
attempted to be blase about the DUP’s utterly hypocritical
attitude to paramilitaries. Paisley’s party refuses to
share power with Sinn Fein because of its IRA links and is
fresh from thwarting the alliance between the Ulster
Unionists and the Progressive Unionists (the sadly singular
David Ervine).

Stephen Nolan, well-briefed and thoroughly enjoying the
pursuit, asked the foolish Campbell about the DUP’s
attitude to former paramilitaries in its own ranks and
whether the party would allow former paramilitaries to be
in the police or not. The hapless MP replied in the
affirmative: “Provided they demonstrate they have
repented”. Oh dear. Imagine the sort of legislation the DUP
would like to frame, full of the sort of terms that would
lead to scenes of high biblical melodrama in the courts.
(Of course, only certain sorts of proof of repentance would
be acceptable, Protestant ones.) Leaving that aside,
Campbell had blundered badly.

Two party spokesmen stepped forward to try to restore
order. One, a former paramilitary, convicted in relation to
a sectarian murder, said he would never try to join the
PSNI. The other was the party leader, Dr Ian himself.

“Mr Campbell said he was misrepresented,” Paisley declared.
Nolan, meanwhile, was gleefully playing and replaying clips
from the interview. Paisley did not dispute Campbell’s
ridiculous disclaimer.

Instead he stated that the DUP’s policy was that there was
“no room” in the police “for anyone who engaged in violence
or broke the law”. This is the man who once proposed that
if the security forces didn’t deal with the IRA, others
would have to do it for them. Who donned a red beret and
led a crowd brandishing firearm licences?

Who was found by a British government commission early in
the Troubles to have a “heavy share of responsibility” for
the disorders in the streets? Who did time in prison and
was proud of it?

“There is a difference,” Paisley said last week, “between a
man who repents joining a political group and joining the
police.” Does anybody recall Paisley repenting, by the way?
But then he was already ‘saved’ by the time he was 10 so
maybe that makes it all right. “People expect very strict
standards in relation to the police”, he went on, implying
that standards in relation to his own party were somewhat
more lax.

SoS Hain yesterday tried a little belated damage limitation
on the forthcoming report from Police Ombudsman, Nuala
O’Loan, into the activities of the UVF.

The report might be “uncomfortable” for the government, he

The report will, in all likelihood, reveal an extraordinary
level of collusion between loyalist paramilitaries and the

High standards? Higher than when men like Billy McCaughey
were in both the RUC and the UVF?

No wonder the Police Federation has to resort to hurling
insults at the formidable O’Loan. The unionist position,
shared by Ervine – who admitted last week he never left the
UVF – is that no former paramilitaries should be allowed to
join the police. This means that such a person may not
serve in the police but would be perfectly entitled to be,
say, minister for justice, with responsibility for policing
and security matters. Sounds mad to me. But then I’m a


US Mayor Hails Belfast's Potential

Belfast has all the ingredients of a city on the up,
according to an American politician.

On the third day of a four-day visit to Belfast, the Mayor
of Washington DC Anthony Williams said he believed both
cities could learn from each other`s experience of emerging
from segregation and strife.

He said: "I am very impressed by what I have seen in

"You have a beautiful natural setting, stunning countryside
and a beautiful waterfront area.

"Belfast has a rich commercial history and as a student of
history, I`ve been particularly impressed with the
shipyard`s link to the Titanic and the other Olympic

"It`s also great to see a city that has lived through and
is moving beyond sectarian strife. You have all the
ingredients of an exciting city on the move."

During his visit Mayor Williams has met business leaders,
sports and tourism chiefs and also signed a declaration of
intent to forge closer ties with Belfast.

He revealed a steering committee would be formed to look
into developing those links.

"There are many similarities between our two cities," he

"There is a history of strife in my own city from the Civil
War and the fight against slavery to segregation and there
has also been a history of crime and violence.

"We are overcoming that and Belfast can overcome it too.

"What has also been remarkable is the shared experience we
have over the troubled relationship between my city and the
federal government and Belfast`s relationship with its

Among the organisations Mayor Williams met were Invest
Northern Ireland, the Sports Council as well as key tourism

He also met his Belfast counterpart, the nationalist SDLP
Lord Mayor Pat McCarthy.

Michael Browne, chairman of Belfast City Council`s economic
development sub-committee, said closer ties with Washington
DC would benefit Belfast.

"Our aim at Belfast City Council is to use the development
of such a civic relationship to promote business, academic
and cultural links," the Sinn Fein councillor revealed.

A member of the Mayor`s delegation, attorney Mark Tuohey, a
regular visitor to Northern Ireland who chairs the
Washington DC Sports and Entertainment Commission, said the
mayor`s visit was of huge significance.

"I think it signifies the growing importance of the
relationship between Northern Ireland and the United
States," he said.

"There is an awful lot linking Belfast and Washington.

"Just as Washington has undergone a renaissance during
Mayor Williams` tenure, as a regular visitor to these
shores I have witnessed Belfast`s renaissance.

"We have much to learn from each other. Certainly under
Mayor Williams, the city and District of Columbia has a new
financial infrastructure which has enabled it to flourish.
The same is true in Belfast."

Like her husband, Mayor Williams` wife, Diane, was also
paying her first visit to Northern Ireland.

"We arrived on Sunday and I have to say I like what I`ve
seen," she said.

"The people have been welcoming, very friendly, and we feel
very relaxed here.

"Now I am going to do something for our economic links. I`m
going shopping."


Hungerstrike Commemorative Mass

Louth Miscellaneous Event Notice
Monday September 18, 2006 15:24
by Eugene Garvey - Ógra Shinn Féin

A Mass will be held in St Patrick¹s Cathedral Dundalk on
Tuesday 3rd October 2006 at 7.30pm. this is to commemorate
the 25th Anniversary of the ten young Irish men who died on
Hunger Strike in Long Kesh in 1981 for political status.

It is also to commemorate the sacrifice made by their two
comrades Micheal Gaughan who died on Hunger Strike June 3rd
1974 Parkhurst Gaol and Frank Stagg who died on Hunger
Strike 12th February 1976 Wakefield Prison.

The Mass has been organised to mark the ending of the 1981
Hunger Strike on the 3rd of October 1981 and to mark this
tragic period in Irish history in a proper, fitting and
dignified manner. The committee wish to stress that
everyone is welcome to attend and participate in the Mass.

County Louth was deeply affected by the trauma of the
Hunger Strikes and in electing Paddy Agnew as TD signalled
their support for an end to the inhuman conditions which
the prisoners had endured for many years. Commenting on
what he witnessed in the H Blocks in 1978 the late Cardinal
Tomás O Fiaich said, "One would hardly allow an animal to
remain in such conditions let alone a human being. The
nearest approach to it I have seen was the spectacle of
hundreds of homeless people living in sewer pipes in the
slums of Calcutta". These circumstances forced the
prisoners to embark on Hunger Strike.

In remembering the suffering of these men and their
families, we would ask all those who were involved in the
various committees during the Hunger Strikes, those who
marched in support of them, those who prayed for them, and
the many people who remember these tragic times to attend
this Mass to commemorate the lives of these courageous
young men.

Related Link:


'Magdalen' Author Challenged

Patsy McGarry, Religious Affairs Correspondent

The Sisters of Charity and the family of a woman who
alleged in a bestselling book that she was sexually abused
during years in a Magdalen laundry have vigorously
challenged her claims.

Dubliner Kathy O'Beirne's book, Don't Ever Tell: Kathy's
Story - A True Tale of a Childhood Destroyed by Neglect and
Fear, was published in 2005 by Mainstream Publishing and
has sold over 300,000 copies in the UK. It was ghost-
written by Michael Sheridan.

In a blurb for the book, Mainstream said Kathy O'Beirne had
spent nearly 14 years in a Magdalen laundry where, it
alleged, she was sexually abused and beaten. It said that
when she rebelled she was classified as mentally ill and
transferred to a mental hospital where abuse continued. It
claimed that at 13 she was raped in another laundry and the
baby born subsequently died and was buried in a mass grave.

In a statement yesterday the Sisters of Charity repeated
that all four religious congregations which ran Magdalen
laundries confirmed as far back as 2004 that Kathy O'Beirne
never spent any time in the laundries. "The only time Kathy
O'Beirne spent with us was for a six-week period in a
reformatory school for young people," they said.

At a press conference in Dublin yesterday five of Kathy
O'Beirne's siblings produced a detailed account of where
she was in the years she claimed to be in a Magdalen
laundry. A statement signed by Oliver, Eamonn, Mary,
Margaret, John, Tommy and Brian O'Beirne said "our sister
was not in a Magdalen laundry or Magdalen home".

"She was in St Anne's Children's Home, Kilmacud, St Loman's
psychiatric hospital, Mountjoy prison, and Sherrard House
for homeless people. Our parents placed her in St Anne's
for a brief period when she was 11 because of behavioural
difficulties," they said.

They denied their sister was pregnant at 13 or gave birth
at 14. "Our sister, to our knowledge, was not raped by two
priests, and did not receive an out-of-court settlement for
the same," they said. They rejected her "horrific
allegations of child abuse against our father, a religious
congregation, and a psychiatric hospital" .

They dismissed as "totally untrue" weekend statements by
Bill Campbell of Mainstream Publishing that he had checked
their sister's story with the congregations running the

Mr Campbell's assertion was also challenged by the Sisters
of Charity. They said that on April 21st, 2005, their
solicitors wrote to Michael Sheridan following articles he
had written linking Kathy O'Beirne to Magdalen laundries
and homes. A copy of the letter was sent to Mainstream. "In
the letter it was categorically stated the only time Kathy
O'Beirne spent with us was for a six-week period in a
reformatory school for young people. We received a curt
response to this letter from Mr Bill Campbell of Mainstream
dated 11th of May 2005," they said.

Kathy O'Beirne has already rejected the claims of her
family and of the nuns.

© The Irish Times


Dingle Port May Be Taken Over

Anne Lucey

The Department of the Marine is considering taking over
responsibility for Dingle Harbour - thereby fulfilling a
15-year campaign begun in the time of former taoiseach
Charles Haughey.

There were no plans to take responsibility for any other
port, the department spokesman said.

This would make Dingle the country's sixth fishery harbour
centre alongside Howth, Dunmore East, Castletownbere,
Rossaveel and Killybegs.

A spokesman said officers from the department were carrying
out a due diligence report on Dingle with a view to taking
control of it. An advisory board would replace the existing
harbour board.

There has been a drastic decline in local fishing activity
in Dingle in recent years.

Under the proposals, the department would take
responsibility for salaries, maintenance and capital works
and it is hoped the takeover would lead to significant
development works.

According to harbour vice chairman Séamus Cosaí Fitzgerald,
who is also a local councillor and Údarás na Gaeltachta
member, the department's designation of Dingle as a fishery
harbour centre had been promised in 1991. There was an
urgent need for a deepening of the Dingle harbour channel
and for additional marina berths. The harbour was now
turning away customers, he added.

© The Irish Times


Hold Onto Your Drinks The Pogues Are Back

By Keith Bourke

Once described as the Sex Pistols setting fire to The
Chieftains, legendary band The Pogues are set to treat
their fans to all the old favourites again. Keith Bourke

AS FAMED for their rabble-rousing and hard drinking as they
were for their music The Pogues are now set to attract a
new generation of fans as they re-issue all five of their

Classics including Peace & Love and If I Should Fall from
Grace with God are being re-released ahead of a Christmas
tour later this year.

The re-issues mark yet another reunion tour for the
troubled band.

The group were founded in King’s Cross in London in

1982 under the name Pogue Mahone but the name later changed
to The Pogues due to lack of radio play.

Shane MacGowan, James Fearnley and Spider Stacy were the
original members, with Jeremy ‘Jem’ Finer, Cait O’Riordan
and Andrew Ranken joining the group later on.

They began busking on the streets of London and formed when
MacGowan, in the presence of Stacy, began to play a
breakneck version of an Irish ballad.

The band rapidly developed a reputation, releasing
independent work and ended up opening for The Clash on a
tour in 1984.

They releases their first album Red Roses for Me that

Phil Chevron joined the group soon afterwards and with the
aid of punk and new wave forefather Elvis Costello they
recorded the follow-up Rum, Sodomy & the Lash.

The album’s title is a quote attributed to Winston
Churchill and others in describing the traditions of the
British Royal Navy.

Fusing traditional Irish music with contemporary punk they
reached international prominence in the 1980s and 1990s.

However, MacGowan’s increasingly erratic behaviour always
loomed over the band.

The singer’s alcoholism and drug-taking were soon
overshadowing his critically-acclaimed songwriting

Their record label, Stiff Records, went bankrupt soon after
the 1987 release of the hit single The Irish Rover with the

However, the band remained stable enough to record If I
Should Fall from Grace with God in 1988, which featured the
Christmas classic Fairytale of New York, followed by 1989’s
Peace and Love.

The band was at the peak of its commercial success, with
both albums making the top five in the UK but MacGowan was
spiralling out of control and he and the band that he had
formed parted company in 1991.

With his departure, the Pogues were thrown into a state of
flux and in 1996 they disbanded with just three original
members remaining.

MacGowan remained in the

public eye, founding Shane MacGowan and the Popes in 1993,
and his wild lifestyle continued to hit the headlines.

In 1999, Sinead O’Connor reported him to the police in
London for heroin possession in an attempt to get him off
the drug.

His autobiography, A Drink With Shane MacGowan, appeared in

The band, including MacGowan, reformed for a Christmas tour
in 2001 and have continued to perform together

They were presented a lifetime achievement award at the
annual Meteor Ireland Music Awards in February this year
and are now planning another Christmas tour.


‘Sybil’ To Visit Spiritual Home Of Fawlty Towers

By Staff Reporter

The hotel that inspired the classic comedy series Fawlty
Towers will welcome four of the cast at its million-pound
relaunch today.

Disaster-prone hotelier Basil Fawlty’s waspish,
hairsprayed, chocolate-munching wife Sybil will be there in
the person of actress Prunella Scales.

But if she utters the familiar bark of ‘Basil’ she will be

The frenetic, beanpole host and his hard-drinking cook Kurt
will be there but only in the shape of mannequins.

Ms Scales will arrive in a replica of the flame-red Austin
1100 henpecked Basil so famously thrashed with a tree
branch in the Gourmet Night episode of the 1970s series.

Devotees will recall how black-tied Fawlty, enraged at the
car’s repeated stalling as he was driving a pre-cooked duck
back to the hotel, rushed off screen to grab the weapon he
used to belabour the car’s bonnet.

The Austin will make an appearance following an appeal by
the new owners of the Gleneagles Hotel in Torquay, Devon,
Brian Shone and Barry Taylor.

Cleese and his then wife Connie Booth, who played the
waitress Polly in the series, wrote Fawlty Towers after the
Monty Python team booked into the Hotel Gleneagles in 1971.

They were confronted by the hotel owner who berated them
for their table manners and threw their briefcase out of
the window for fear it was a bomb.

When they asked the time of the next bus to town, the hotel
manager, the late Donald Sinclair, threw a timetable at

The Python team reacted like most offended customers by
packing up and leaving.

Cleese based the Basil Fawlty character on Mr Sinclair,
describing him as “the most wonderfully rude man I have
ever met”.

Mr Sinclair, who died in 1981, is said to have thrown Eric
Idle’s suitcase out of the window “in case it contained a
bomb” and complained about Terry Gilliam’s table manners.

He would probably have something to say about the
transformation of the shabby premises into a three-star
boutique hotel.

Mr Shone said of Ms Scales’ visit: “I am amazed she’s doing
this. Not only is she doing it, she’s so enthusiastic about
the red car.

“She’s never visited the hotel before so this will be her
first time here, which is amazing.”

The actual hotel seen at the start and end of the sitcom
was the Woodburn Grange Country Club in Buckinghamshire but
that burned down in 1991.

Coach-loads of tourists turn up to the Hotel Gleneagles in
the Wellswood area of Torquay every day – just to take a
look at the place which inspired arguably the most famous
comedy series ever made.

“We get about eight or 10 coaches a day stopping outside,”
Mr Shone said.

“Some people just want to walk about inside.

“It is the spiritual home of Fawlty Towers,” he said,
adding that the relaunch event is by invitation only.

Mr Shone keeps Fawlty Towers memorabilia inside the foyer,
which is otherwise very different from the hotel in the

Only 12 episodes were made of Fawlty Towers for BBC1 and
they ensured lasting international fame for the cast, which
also included Andrew Sachs as the hapless Spanish waiter

The Austin 1100 is being loaned by retired printer Fernand
Pinkney, a 59-year-old Fawlty Towers fan and collector of
Austin 1100s.

A member of the international Austin 1100 club, Mr Pinkney,
from Edmonton, London, is lending a model he picked up for
£40 at a scrapyard two-and-a-half years ago.

He spent 18 months restoring the car and sprayed it harvest
gold until he entered it at the International Classic Car
Show last November at the Birmingham NEC.

The theme was TV series so Mr Pinkney sprayed the 1973
vintage car flame red, and made mannequins of Basil Fawlty
and Kurt to go with it.

Mr Pinkney also has six other Austin 1100s.

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