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September 24, 2006

SF: Peace Funding Programme Widen Divide

News About Ireland & The Irish

EE 09/24/06 SF: Peace Funding Programme 'Widening Divides'
TO 09/24/06 Hain Offers £1m In Bid To Disband UDA
SB 09/24/06 Three Northern Parties At Clinton Conference
BN 09/24/06 Haughey Portrait To Go Under The Hammer


Sf: Peace Funding Programme 'Widening Divides'

24/09/2006 - 9:19:17 PM

Sinn Féin tonight criticised a programme designed to
distribute around £134m for peace building in the North for
entrenching sectarian differences.

MEP Bairbre de Brun said separate funding of unionist and
nationalist community groups would encourage competition
rather than encourage people to work together.

The Peace III programme is being organised by the Special
European Union Programmes Body and will help organisations
in local communities.

Ms de Brun said: “Unfortunately the SEUPB appears intent on
dramatically narrowing the scope and potential of the

“What has happened up until now is that the peace programme
had both communities becoming more empowered and working

“Under the umbrella of the British government’s ‘A Shared
Future’ policy and the Community Relations Council we are
going back to the tried and tested formula of making
communities powerless.”

She added a hostile atmosphere could be created in which
separate applications by community groups would spark
disputes and have people “looking at each other” rather
than working together.

The money was secured from the European Commission
following sustained lobbying from local politicians.
Earlier programmes helped establish grassroots groups and
sponsored specific programmes aimed at addressing the
causes of conflict.

Unionist MEP Jim Allister has claimed Protestant groups
were under-represented when the money was handed out last

Ms De Brun claimed: “It is becoming increasingly clear that
the SEUPB is working to a narrow political agenda,
promoting a definition of peace-building that panders to
specific (unionist) political interests.

“In doing so they are actively undermining the great
potential that exists within Peace III and are acting
contrary to the intended purpose of the peace programme as
designed by the European Union.”

She added she would be raising the matter with European
Commissioner Danuta Huebner and Northern Ireland minister
David Hanson in the coming weeks.


Hain Offers £1m In Bid To Disband UDA

Liam Clarke

THE Ulster Defence Association and its supporters could
receive up to £1m from the British government to wind down
the organisation. The loyalist paramilitaries will get the
full amount if a six-month pilot project is successful.

Last week Peter Hain, the secretary of state, announced the
pilot conflict-transformation scheme for the UDA. It was
widely criticised as a “bung” to buy out violence.

But Hain did not mention that £1m has been privately
earmarked for the scheme if the first tranche of £135,000
is handled satisfactorily by the paramilitary group. The
money will be used to employ six workers who have influence
among the UDA’s support base.

Frankie Gallagher of the Ulster Political Research Group
(UPRG), the UDA’s political wing, said: “It will allow work
to be done by people across six geographic areas. The first
stage is to create an environment where paramilitarism is
no longer needed.

“The second part is developing strategies and processes
involving community development, job creation and training.
The third part is to equip people with the skills to end
all paramilitarism.”

The £1m package is separate from a £30m plan to regenerate
loyalist areas, also as part of a conflict-transformation
initiative. Only the UDA and its support base will benefit
from the funds. Other loyalist groups such as the Ulster
Volunteer Force are not involved.

The UDA and the UPRG are to discuss political strategy at
an international workshop in Belfast next month. The
October 11 conference is sponsored by a group of Irish
businessmen led by Martin McAleese, the husband of
President Mary McAleese.

Aine de Baroid, the Irish diplomat who had to leave Belfast
after loyalist threats, has been working on the loyalist
project with McAleese.

The UDA believes she may have been threatened by dissidents
in an effort to derail the process.

Most suspicion about the threat, which is being taken
seriously by police, centres on supporters of Andre and
Ihab Shoukri, the north Belfast loyalists expelled from the
organisation earlier this year.

The UDA’s powerful southeast Antrim brigade is said to be
involved in a number of property development schemes with
the Shoukris.

The close links between Jackie McDonald, who is effectively
the UDA’s leader, and Martin McAleese have resulted in
McDonald being referred to as “the Irish ambassador” by

But Tommy Kirkham, of southeast Antrim UPRG, denied any
involvement in the threat to de Baroid and said they would
make their position on the future of the UDA clear at a
press conference next weekend.

The conference on October 11 is ambitious in scope.
Representatives of five nationalities or national sub-
groups are due to attend.

The areas represented will include Palestine, Israel,
Moldova and Transnistria, a part of Moldova that has
declared independence. Some loyalists feel an affinity with
the region, which is self-governing but not internationally
recognised as a state.


Three Northern Parties At Clinton Conference

24 September 2006 By Adam Maguire

Leaders of three of the North’s four main political parties
attended the second Clinton Global Initiative annual
meeting held this week in New York.

Leaders of three of the North’s four main political parties
attended the second Clinton Global Initiative annual
meeting held this week in New York.

The aim of the meeting, which ran from Wednesday to Friday
and was hosted by former US president Bill Clinton, was to
bring individuals from charities, business and politics
together to discuss international problems and their

Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams, SDLP leader Mark Durkan
and UUP leader Reg Empey were at the invitation-only
meeting, along with former taoiseach Albert Reynolds,
former Irish president and UN ambassador Mary Robinson and
Tom Arnold, chief executive of the charity Concern.

The gathering focused on climate change, global health,
poverty alleviation and also religious conflict such as the
growing rift between Islam and the West.

Last Thursday Virgin boss Richard Branson pledged $3
billion (€2.34 billion) to tackle global warming as part of
the initiative, $500 million more than the total amount
raised at last year’s event.

Other prominent figures at last week’s event included
Microsoft head Bill Gates, philanthropist Warren Buffett
and media mogul Rupert Murdoch. Former US secretary of
state Colin Powell, UN secretary general Kofi Annan and
former US vice-president Al Gore also attended the event.


Haughey Portrait To Go Under The Hammer

24/09/2006 - 16:08:51

One of the last portraits painted of controversial
Taoiseach Charles Haughey goes under the hammer in Dublin
this week.

The 2004 oil painting, entitled ’The General’ by
contemporary artist Philip Moss has a guide price of €5,000
at the James Adam auction.

Mr Haughey died in June after a long illness and was given
a state funeral.

“It’s an unusual, striking, portrait of an Irish political
icon,” said associate director at James Adam, Jane Beattie.

Mr Moss, 45, who lives in Co Donegal, was unavailable for

The portrait is Lot 45 of the Contemporary & Modern Art
sale which is currently viewing and takes place on Tuesday
at 6pm.

The 250 lots include 80 previously unseen items from the
private collection of the late Gordon Lambert, a renowned
art lover and former managing director of Jacob’s Biscuits.

Ms Beattie said: “The sale is an opportunity to get on the
ladder of collecting. The variety is wide with paintings,
prints, photographs, drawings, sculpturesand ceramics – all
reasonably priced.”

Mr Lambert, an Irish Senator in the late 1970s, donated
more than 300 of his works which helped establish the Irish
Museum of Modern Art in 1992.

James Adam chairman Brian Coyle was a friend of Mr Lambert
and helped secure the collection for auction.

Mr Lambert, who died in January aged 85 years, was also a
former governor of the National Gallery of Ireland and a
member of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.

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