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October 06, 2006

Adams Dismisses Delay in NI Deal

News About Ireland & The Irish

RT 10/06/06 Adams Dismisses Idea Of Delayed NI Deal
UT 10/06/06 Adams Delivers Message To DUP
IN 10/06/06 We Are In Line With Policing, Says Sinn Fein
IN 10/06/06 Hunger Striker In Fight For Sight
UT 10/06/06 DUP Warning Over 'On-The-Runs'
IT 10/06/06 Adams Urges EU To Back Basque Peace Moves
BB 10/06/06 Game Ban For Bank Robbery Accused
BB 10/06/06 Reaction To The RIR Disbandment
IT 10/07/06 Deal Gives US Easier Access To Passenger Data
IN 10/06/06 Opin: The DUP Is Preparing For A Seismic Shift
IN 10/06/06 Opin: Ian’s Followers Are Lacking In Independence Of Mind
IT 10/06/06 Garda And Customers Foil Loughrea Robbery
IT 10/07/06 Artists Ask Council To Manage Murals


Adams Dismisses Idea Of Delayed NI Deal

06 October 2006 22:02

Gerry Adams has dismissed suggestions that Sinn Féin and
the DUP could reach any delayed deal on power-sharing which
would not have to be implemented until after the November
deadline imposed by the Irish and British governments.

Mr Adams said it was still possible to get a deal by that
November deadline but he dismissed the idea of reaching any
sort of conditional agreement with the DUP under which it
could be next year before each side has to meet those

The Sinn Féin President was speaking following talks with
Tony Blair at Chequers, the Prime Minister's country
residence in Buckinghamshire.

This afternoon a Downing Street spokesman also dismissed
newspaper reports that the two governments were considering
any deal which would allow the parties to delay meeting
their commitments by the November deadline.

Referring to next week's summit in Scotland, he said:
'We're going for it next week. By this time next week, we
will need to know where we are going.'

The North's parties and the two governments are due to
attend a summit in Scotland next week to assess the chances
of restoring devolution by 24 November.

To succeed Sinn Féin would have to endorse the PSNI and the
DUP would have to agree to share power with Sinn Féin. If
not, the power-sharing institutions will be closed down.

Churches appeal for NI progress

In another development, the leaders of the four main
churches have appealed for progress to be made in next
week's talks on Northern Ireland.

The two Archbishops of Armagh, the Presbyterian Moderator
and Methodist President issued the appeal at a summit in
the Scottish town of Saint Andrews.

They strongly encouraged both governments and local
politicians to look beyond what fragments and divides
Northern Ireland society, and to concentrate on aspects of
the process that would lead towards positive outcomes.

Meanwhile, senior officials from the Department of Finance
have been in discussions with their counterparts in
Northern Ireland about a financial package that might be
provided as part of a deal to restore devolved government.

Yesterday, the Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, told a conference
in Co Antrim that the Government would not be found wanting
on the matter of finance if there is the possibility of an
agreement on power-sharing.

All parties at talks in Scotland next week will be pushing
for money to fund the infrastructure deficit issue in
Northern Ireland, with increased domestic rates charges and
the introduction of water rates on the cards.

A power-sharing deal could mean considerable Government
investment in cross-border infrastructure projects.


Adams Delivers Message To DUP

The Democratic Unionists will consign Northern Ireland to
unaccountable government which will punish their
constituents if they fail to revive power-sharing, Sinn
Fein leader Gerry Adams has claimed.

By:Press Association

At talks with British Prime Minister Tony Blair at
Chequers, Mr Adams, who was celebrating his 58th birthday,
acknowledged the Reverend Ian Paisley`s party was facing a
tough decision at next week`s talks in St Andrews ahead of
the November 24 deadline for power-sharing.

The West Belfast MP said: "I do believe it is not a
question of if we have devolved government, it is a
question of when.

"However, at this stage I am not going to second-guess what
Ian Paisley is going to do. The only one who can speak for
Ian Paisley is Ian Paisley.

"While they can refuse to come on board, the most they can
do is delay devolved government.

"If they do not come on board, the North (of Ireland) will
be run by bureaucrats and our people will be punished by
decisions taken by direct rule ministers on health,
education, the future of our rural communities.

"Decisions will be taken which will punish the people with
punitive rates impositions and water charges and no-one
will be accountable, as is the situation now.

"I do not under-estimate the challenge the DUP is facing
over the next week. It is a big challenge.

"However, republicans have honoured every commitment that
they have made.

"We should all be about serving the people and we can best
do that by being part of an administration."

Mr Adams, who was accompanied by Sinn Fein chief negotiator
Martin McGuinness and Dublin MEP Mary Lou McDonald, said it
was clear from the one-and-a-half-hour discussion with the
British Prime Minister that he was clearly focused on
getting the power-sharing executive and other institutions
back in place by November 24.

"That is our position as well," he said.

"I think there is no point in going to Scotland unless we
can resolve all of these matters.

"That is Sinn Fein`s intention. If there is a political
will, every issue can be sorted out."


We Are In Line With Policing, Says Sinn Fein

By Catherine Morrison

SINN Fein leader Gerry Adams yesterday insisted that his
party had already “come on line’’ with policing, days
before it is set to become the key issue at next week’s
talks in Scotland.

Mr Adams said that the republican movement’s problem lay
with “political policing’’ and that Sinn Fein “believes in
law and order’’.

He was speaking about the ongoing feud between two families
in the Ballymurphy area of west Belfast which has claimed
the life of Gerard Devlin.

It has also sparked a series of petrol bombings, assaults
and shootings and has cost more than £1 million in

The Independent Monitoring Commission’s latest report
mentioned the “attacks and other serious crime’’ in

It noted that the reduction in paramilitary control of
communities combined with a culture of lawlessness had
created a vacuum in which such violence could thrive.

Mr Adams said yesterday that the disturbances had been
caused by “two feuding gangs’’ and the “totally
unacceptable’’ behaviour needs to stop.

“This is a problem which has been caused by two feuding
gangs,” he said.

“They are drawn mostly from two families, not all of the
families can be tarred with that brush. I have met with
representatives of both families on a number of occasions.
They, I think, would agree they can’t control this

He said that he thought the figure of £1.2 million cost of
the police operation was “spin’’ but if true was “money

Echoing the words of the report, Mr Adams said that
republicans in Ballymurphy had looked to the IRA to “sort
the matter out’’ but the IRA was not going to do that.

“Part of the problem in the area, if I may say so, is that
in the old days the IRA would have been looked upon to sort
this matter out,’’ he said.

“Part of the difficulty is a lot of local people in
Ballymurphy expect the IRA to sort it out and there’s no
way the IRA can do that.

“I would like to make it clear that this can’t happen.

“The people who need to sort this out in the first instance
are the families involved.”


Hunger Striker In Fight For Sight

By Allison Morris

The leader of the IRA prisoners in the Maze in 1980 has
undergone an operation to save his sight, badly damaged by
52 days of starvation during the first Hunger Strike.

Brendan ‘The Dark’ Hughes underwent a cataract operation on
Wednesday to save the sight in his left eye.

He will have to undergo a second operation in two months to
restore sight to his right eye.

Doctors have told the former republican prisoner that his
eyesight has been badly damaged due to the time he spent on
hunger strike while a prisoner.

Speaking from his home in Divis Tower in west Belfast the
58-year-old said the lasting mental and physical effects of
the prison protests are the true untold legacy of the time.

“I’m not unique, there are hundreds of men out there
carrying around problems from that time,” he said.

“If not physical problems there are men with mental
problems, alcohol problems, depression, trouble holding
down a job or a relationship.

“The lead up to the Hunger Strikes was well documented we
were brutalised, our food was urinated on we were beaten
and tortured.

“It came to a point where men were coming off the protest
because they just couldn’t take any more, it was considered
our last option.

“I led the first hunger strike and was also responsible for
calling it off, I’ve been criticised for that by certain
people but if the truth be told, and I have never said this
before, not one of those men was prepared to die.

“Before Sean McKenna went into a coma he said to me, ‘Dark
don’t let me die’ and I promised him I wouldn’t.

“They were putting him onto a stretcher to take him to the
hospital, we thought an agreement was on the table and I
just shouted up the corridor, ‘feed him’ and with those two
words the first hunger strike was over.

“I weighed about five stone at the time, you could smell
the rotting bodies in the hospital ward, I was very
conscious of the smell of my own body eating itself.

“The doctor told the orderlies to feed us scrambled egg and
toast, you’d think you wouldn’t be able to eat after all
that time but you can and so that’s what we ate; scrambled

The men were kept in the prison hospital until they had
gained enough weight to be returned to the H-blocks

Hughes says that almost immediately he noticed a problem
with his sight and went from having perfect vision to
needing glasses.

“During hunger strike you notice first your sense of smell
and taste go, then your vision, my sight suffered and that
has been degenerative.

“About 18 months ago my vision became badly blurred, like a
spiders web over your eyes I was lucky to get a
cancellation for the cataract surgery this week and so
that’s one eye done, hopefully it was successful.

“I’ve also got arthritis and chest problems but it is the
mental problems that are the most debilitating.

“I’ve never been able to settle, I don’t like being around
crowds of people.

“The only reason I think I settled in Divis Tower is
because it’s quite cellular, I suppose that’s what I
respond to.”

Strongly opposed to the second hunger strike Hughes says he
feels many ex-prisoners have not been given enough help to
adjust following their release from prison.

Released from prison in 1986 having served just over 13
years in jail, he says he has struggled with life on the
outside and at times turned to alcohol.

“I argued strongly against the second hunger strike but by
then I was no longer OC, I was just an ordinary volunteer.
Bobby [Sands] knew he would die but he thought his own
death would be enough to force the Brits into a settlement,
we know now that was not to be the case and 10 men were to
lose their lives.

“There are men still suffering in silence today, the recent
commemoration events to mark the 25 anniversary of the
Hunger Strike didn’t even touch on that terrible legacy.

“Ex-prisoners groups are fine as long as you conform to the
present political situation – if you voice dissent then
you’re cast aside.

“They are not doing enough because they are too selective
as to who they’ll help.

“Painting murals on walls to commemorate blanketmen after
they have died a slow and lonely death from alcohol abuse
is no use to anyone.

“I would hate for young people now to have this
romanticised versions of the events of that time and what
went on in the prison, the truth is so very far removed
from that and I suppose I’m living proof of that.”


DUP Warning Over 'On-The-Runs'

Any British Government amnesty for on-the-run Irish
Republican Army terrorists will wreck the chances of a
Northern Ireland peace deal, the Democratic Unionist Party
(DUP) has warned.

By:Press Association

Even though Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams said agreement
to get the power-sharing administration in Belfast up and
running again was possible at talks in St Andrews, Scotland
next week, Democratic Unionist MP Nigel Dodds warned
British Prime Minister Tony Blair it would scupper the

He said: "The government needs to listen loud and clear -
if they agree to, propose or acquiesce in any terrorist
amnesty, then the prospects of a deal to restore devolved
government in Northern Ireland will be destroyed."

Mr Dodds issued his stark message after Mr Adams and Mr
Blair met at Chequers.

Next week`s talks, to be overseen by Mr Blair and Taoiseach
Bertie Ahern, are critical to the chances of meeting the
November 24 deadline for resurrecting the Stormont

Mr Adams emphasised their significance, claiming the DUP
risk consigning the country to the mercy of unelected
bureaucrats if devolution is not revived.

He said: "There is no more important work in the time ahead
for the two governments and the parties than reaching

"Sinn Fein believes that a deal is possible on all of the

"It will become clear whether or not the DUP are up for an
agreement. If they are, the opportunity is there - the way
has been cleared."

The West Belfast MP accepted Mr Paisley faced a tough
decision, but claimed any refusal to strike a political
deal would only delay devolved government.

"If they do not come on board, the North (of Ireland) will
be run by bureaucrats and our people will be punished by
decisions taken by direct rule ministers on health,
education, the future of our rural communities," he added.

"Decisions will be taken which will punish the people with
punitive rates impositions and water charges and no-one
will be accountable, as is the situation now."

As pressure built on republicans and unionists to overcome
their differences, church and trade union leaders urged
both sides to overcome their differences.

Peter Bunting of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, which
represents more than 215,000 workers across Northern
Ireland`s public and private sectors, insisted the
politicians were capable of meeting the challenges of

"The future shape of the economy and our society is
currently being decided by direct rule ministers and the
turbulence of our globalised environment," he added.

"It is right and proper that we too have our say in our
present and our future."

The four main church leaders in Northern Ireland - Catholic
Archbishop Sean Brady, Presbyterian Moderator Dr David
Clarke, Church of Ireland Archbishop Robin Eames and
Methodist President the Rev Ivan McElhinney - also issued a
joint statement urging success.

Recognising the courage of those involved in the political
process, they said: "We see this as a journey with many
stages and encourage them to embark on the next stage of
that journey with confidence.

"The talks at St Andrew`s will give a special opportunity
to find ways of moving beyond the divisions and
sectarianism of the past towards a future where as trust
develops so too will emerge creative ways of working and
living together.

"We strongly encourage the governments and local
politicians particularly at this time to look beyond the
things which fragment and divide our society and to
concentrate their efforts on those aspects of the process
which will lead towards positive outcomes.

"The progress already achieved has raised high hopes.

"We ask all people of good will to pray that those hopes
may not be dashed but that the present opportunity may be
taken for the common good of all the people."


Adams Urges EU To Back Basque Peace Moves

Last updated: 06-10-06, 15:35

Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams today urged the European Union
to give its full backing to efforts to promote the peace
process between the Basques and Spain.

After talks with Prime Minister Tony Blair, Sinn Féin
leader Gerry Adams backed calls from the Basque government
for international support for the process.

Mr Adams, who has been involved in efforts to encourage
dialogue between Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Zapatero
and the separatist group Eta, said he believed the Basque
peace process could be successful.

"Obviously there are risks and challenges," he said.
"However, it is my view . . . that, as in our own process,
all their problems are political problems which require
political solutions. The challenge for political leaders
there is to knuckle down.

"I believe that can happen and, while I am not arrogant or
presumptuous enough to teach them lessons about our
process, there are general principles common to the
resolution of conflicts, such as respecting people's
rights, people's mandates and dialogue as well," he said.

"The European Union clearly has a role to play in support
of the efforts to develop the peace process between the
Basques and Spain.

© 2006


Game Ban For Bank Robbery Accused

A County Down gaelic football club's star player has been
stopped from playing a match by a High Court judge.

Dominic McEvoy is jointly charged with the £26m Northern
Bank robbery.

The Kilcoo player cannot take part in the away game against
Loughinisland because one of his bail conditions states he
cannot enter the village.

The judge agreed with a Crown lawyer who opposed a
temporary relaxation of the ban, as the pitch is near where
the robbers held a bank manager hostage.

Crown lawyer Nicola Auret said the Northern Bank manager
and his wife were "extremely distressed at the prospect of
the applicant coming into the locality".

Mr McEvoy's lawyer said that on previous occasions, bail
had been varied before to permit him to play in Dublin and
Wexford, and on each occasion he had honoured his bail as
well as the strict condition of reporting daily to the

He said the player would not leave the ground between his
arrival at 0930 BST and scheduled departure at 1230 BST.

Mr Justice Morgan said he had to balance the entitlement to
go about his normal activities and a duty to ensure that
witnesses were fully supported in their co-operation with
the criminal justice system.

"These witnesses endured a severe trauma which may well
have left indelible marks upon them," said the judge.

"Carrying out the balancing exercise as best I can, I am
afraid it comes down against the applicant and I refuse his

Published: 2006/10/06 15:59:16 GMT


Reaction To The RIR Disbandment

Leading political figures have been giving their reaction
to the disbandment of the home battalions of the RIR.

Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain

"We must never forget those whose lives were taken during
that period. We owe them and their loved ones a huge debt
of gratitude.

"To everyone who has seen service in its ranks, I thank you
for your professionalism, dedication and resilience.

"You have helped to drive Northern Ireland from its darkest
days towards a bright, prosperous and, most of all,
peaceful future."

Colonel Mark Campbell, Regimental Colonel Rir

Colonel Campbell said 274 serving and ex-members "paid the
ultimate sacrifice and many more carry physical and
psychological scars".

"Today is deeply significant, it is about bringing an
honourable and dignified closure to 36 years of continuous
operational service.

"During this time, 60,000 men and women, full-time and
part-time, served within the Ulster Defence Regiment and
the Royal Irish Homes Service.

"There have been many difficult years, but our job is now
done and we march into history with dignity and with heads
held high."


"Through the dark years of the Troubles the men and women
of the UDR and the RIR Home Service, supported by their
families, protected our society from those who sought to
impose their will through the ways of terror.

"While the terrorists' legacy is one of destruction, murder
and tears, the legacy of the UDR and RIR Home Service is of
sacrifice, duty and service, helping to build a Northern
Ireland at peace.

"Today our thoughts and prayers will especially be with the
families and comrades of the 274 serving and former UDR and
RIR Home Service personnel who paid the supreme sacrifice
defending our society."

Alasdair Mcdonnell, Deputy Leader Sdlp

"I met the Queen today because I consider it my duty to
meet her as MP for the area just as I consider it the duty
of all to afford respect to heads of state including our
president, Mary McAleese.''

Sinn Fein Councillor Fra Mccann

"Very few nationalists will be sad to see the end of the
UDR/RIR. It is an organisation marred by controversy and
the clear evidence that members of the UDR were involved in
the killing of many Catholics.

"The Belfast city centre tribute to mark the end of this
discredited paramilitary force will also be extremely
difficult for the many many victims of UDR/RIR violence.

"UDR involvement in the murder of many nationalists has
been acknowledged by the British government as has its role
as the source for much of the weapons used by loyalist
death squads."

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/10/06 13:05:26 GMT


Deal Gives US Easier Access To Passenger Data

Jamie Smyth in Brussels

US intelligence agencies will get faster and easier access
to the personal information of Irish transatlantic air
passengers under a deal struck yesterday by the EU and US.

The draft agreement on the transfer of airline passenger
data from all flights from the EU to the US comes after
months of wrangling between negotiators. It should put an
end to a period of "legal limbo" that has affected all
airlines and passengers flying from Europe to the US since
last Sunday when a previous EU-US deal was annulled.

EU and US negotiators heralded the deal yesterday as a
compromise that would help to fight terrorism while
adequately protecting European citizens' privacy. Many MEPs
however criticised the deal for undermining European data
protection law and blamed the EU negotiators for giving in
to strong pressure exerted by the US authorities.

"It seems that the European Union has totally caved in to
US blackmail," said Dimitris Papadimoulis, a Greek left-
wing MEP.

The key differences in the new deal are that US authorities
can share passenger information they get from airline
reservation systems more easily between their security
agencies. This means the FBI and CIA will be able to
request the personal information of passengers that they
suspect could pose a threat.

Under a previous deal agreed in 2004, very strict
conditions were placed on such requests, but these have now
been loosened.

The US will also be able to request passenger information
72 hours before take-off to help it screen passengers to
determine if they pose a threat. Previously US customs
received the information 15 minutes after take-off from a
European airport, leaving less time for security checks.

Despite demands by the US for access to more passenger
data, the new agreement will offer no additional
information. The same 34 items will be made available to
the US authorities, including the name, address, e-mail
address and phone number of the passenger. The passenger's
travel itinerary and all forms of payment including credit
card data will also be made available on request to US
security agencies.

The EU said it had sought agreement from the US to change
how its customs authorities accessed passenger information.
Currently most EU airlines allow US authorities to access
their reservation systems by pulling out the data
themselves. However, from next year, airlines will "push"
this data to the US authorities instead.

Aer Lingus is one of just two EU airlines that already have
the "push" system, which is considered a more appropriate
way to transmit data by the EU as it protects privacy.

However, a previous US commitment to destroy the data
accumulated on passengers after 3½ years may not be upheld
under this new deal. The US has said the issue should be
addressed in a second round of negotiations.

All 25 EU states must agree to the draft deal, but most
observers believe this is a formality given the current
threat to EU airlines caused by the current legal limbo.

Legal experts have warned that airlines are at risk of
legal suits from passengers who do not want to have their
personal data given to the US authorities.

This is because in May the European Court of Justice
annulled a previous passenger information deal agreed in
2004 on a legal technicality. It gave both sides until
October 1st to agree a new deal.

© The Irish Times


Opin: The DUP Is Preparing For A Seismic Shift

By Brian Feeney

Peter Brooke used to call it “rustling in the undergrowth”.

It’s thought he was referring to political movement in the
north. Then it was always difficult to know what Peter
Brooke’s cryptic comments meant. Wags said that unlike the
mafia, who made you an offer you couldn’t refuse, Brooke
made politicians here an offer they couldn’t understand.

Brooke was talking about movement in the republican camp
all those years ago. Now the ‘rustling’ is coming from the

Publicly their position hasn’t moved at all. They still
oppose the Good Friday Agreement, they still won’t speak to
Sinn Fein, they still don’t believe the IRA has stood down
as a military force and so on.

And yet for the first time in his life Ian Paisley attended
a British Labour party conference and made a speech, no
matter that his remarks were typically churlish and
belligerent. For the first time in his life Ian Paisley is
leading a DUP delegation to meet a Catholic archbishop –
Sean Brady, the primate of All Ireland, a man whose office
and role he has disdained in the most vituperative terms
over the years.

Other examples of movement could be provided. Now why would
the oul curmudgeon be doing any of that do you think? Why
lay himself open to accusations of U-turns, hypocrisy,
turning turtle, that he has used so often against

There can only be one conclusion. The DUP is preparing for
a seismic shift. Isn’t that the phrase that Tony Blair uses
for such events?

Two other pieces of evidence.

First, the DUP made public a few weeks ago that, in
imitation of Sinn Fein, they are conducting a consultation
within the party about the way forward – this in a party
where decisions are carried one-nil. Secondly, and far more
important, at the Labour party conference Ian Paisley told
his listeners that there would have to be an election after
any new deal with republicans. Aha. So it’s not no, nay,
never, never, again no more?

Paisley is quite right. There will have to be an election
for lots of reasons. One is to fire-proof him and his

Remember he and they went into the 2005 British general
election promising they wouldn’t sell the pass to Sinn
Fein. Well all right, he’s been going into elections for 40
years promising not to sell the pass to Sinn Fein. The
point is his party won big time in 2005 because unionist
voters believed the DUP wouldn’t deal with Sinn Fein. Now
if they’re going to deal they need an election to ratify
the deal.

Obvious, isn’t it?

Another advantage of an election on a deal is that it will
wipe out poor old Reg Empey’s lot.

What are they going to do? Campaign against a deal?
Besides, the current assembly is a snapshot of the
political scene in November 2003 and unionist politics have
changed dramatically since then.

Today’s performance by the government’s puppet theatre,
confirming the IRA has run down its military capacity, by a
remarkable coincidence just in time for the parties to take
the report to Scotland with them, will allow Paisley to do
a fair bit of obligatory huffing and puffing about the IRA
– but he knows the game’s up.

By the time of the next IMC report in spring 2007 even
Paisley will no longer be able to sustain the pretence that
nothing has changed. It will be time to tell his voters
that the only way to ‘save Ulster’ from ever-increasing
Dublin interference is to go into an assembly with Sinn
Fein but this time claiming checks and balances that the
dreaded Trimble never achieved.

It doesn’t matter whether the claim is true or not. The
important point is that Paisley knows he will get
overwhelming endorsement from his voters. The icing on the
cake for the rest of the DUP is that they can hide behind
Paisley in such an election.

There is a strong conviction in the DUP that only Paisley
can deliver a sea change as huge as going into an
administration with Martin McGuinness – that if the party
can’t deliver powers to Stormont in Paisley’s lifetime,
then no successor could do so in the foreseeable future
without being accused of being a Lundy.


Opin: Ian’s Followers Are Lacking In Independence Of Mind

First Friday
By Denis Bradley

If Ian Paisley says yes, they will all say yes. If Paisley
says no, they will all say no. Such a grey life for so many
people! If there was the slightest possibility that there
was real human tension going into the political
negotiations in Scotland, then the rest of us might be able
to look forward to it with some relish.

We would at least be able to look forward to the human
drama. But a one-man play has little appeal.

Life and history is peppered with irony. Protestants, in
general, think that it is theologically wrong for Catholics
to have a Pope in Rome who has so much influence and power.
Most Protestants keep a moderate tongue around this issue.
Not so the leader of the Free Presbyterian Church. No half
measures for him. No mealy mouth language for him.

According to Paisley, the Pope of Rome is the Antichrist,
the beast, as described in the Book of Apocalypse. The
beast, which comes from the sea, uttering blasphemies and
conquering the Earth. This beast is connected with the
‘Scarlet Woman’, also from the Book of Apocalypse, who is a
thinly disguised personification of Rome.

The Antichrist is a pretty obscure figure which has many
interpretations but which theologians from all Churches
agree is a poetic way of describing an incarnation of evil.
Ian Paisley has often described the Pope as the incarnation
of evil. Age has brought some moderation into his language
but I have never heard or read anything that would lead
anyone to believe that he has changed his view. And he has
certainly never apologised for the insulting and dangerous

The irony is that, in Protestantism, Ian Paisley is the
nearest thing to the Pope of Rome. He has the same influence,
power, authority and when he speaks ‘ex-cathedra’ his followers
are obliged to obey without dissent.

It is true that Catholics have had a long and unhealthy
regard for the position and authority of the Pope. Every
whim and every theological interpretation has been accepted
with a submissiveness that is at least unhealthy. Some of
the most corrupt and unholy of men have held the position
of Pope. Catholics have excused and justified the most
horrendous behaviour and teachings on a tenuous separation
of office and officeholder.

So when Catholics criticise the lack of gumption and
courage within the Protestant community, we need to be
aware that we are kettles calling other kettles black.

It could be argued that it is unfair to equate Church and
political issues. It could be said that all political
parties are broad churches of opinion and personalities.
Many within the DUP are keen to tell the public that there
is diversity and difference within the party. They say that
about half the party are closely identified with the Free
Presbyterian Church and the other half are neither
influenced nor associated with that Church. That is
probably a fair argument and it would give rise to some
hope and encouragement if those ‘independent’ members
showed the slightest independence of mind and spirit. It is
a harsh thing to say but I have yet to meet a man or woman
in the DUP who has shown any principled dissent when the
leader has said aye or nay.

There is nothing worse than a crowd of men and women
raising their hands in assent as they bow their heads in
embarrassment. Nothing worse except when they are not
allowed to even raise their hands. Real or not, the
perception in the general public and certainly in the
nationalist community is that Paisley alone will decide
whether we will have an assembly and an executive of our
own. The perception is that if he agrees to a deal all his
followers will fall in behind him and praise him for his
courage and wisdom. If he walks away from a deal, all his
followers will praise his courage and wisdom and hail him
as the protector of unionism.

Is there no-one in this broad church who understands how
Catholics/nationalists see things?

Is there no-one in the DUP who has any empathy for the
sensitivities and hopes of these people?

Is there no-one who understands how disappointed, angry and
even bitter the Catholic population will be if Paisley
walks away from what they see as a very fair and healthy

Is there no-one who understands, in the long term, how
destructive this will be for unionism?


Garda And Customers Foil Loughrea Robbery

Last updated: 06-10-06, 21:04

An off-duty garda along with several other customers foiled
an attempted bank raid in Loughrea, Co Galway this

Shortly before 4pm two armed men entered the Bank of
Ireland on Main Street, Loughrea and attempted to rob it.

The off duty Garda who was in the bank on business at the
time tackled one of the raiders and assisted by local
people overpowered him.

The second raider managed to escape from the bank.

An imitation firearm was recovered at the scene and a car
was located nearby.

The arrested man from Dublin is being detained at Loughrea
Garda station under the provisions of Section 30, Offences
Against the State Act, 1939.

A search is ongoing for the second raider also believed
from Dublin.

© 2006


Artists Ask Council To Manage Murals

By Seamus McKinney

DERRY’S Bogside artists have called on the city’s council
to take over the management of their famous Rossville
Street murals.

Over the last 12 years the three artists – brothers Tom and
William Kelly and Kevin Hassan – have painted 11 huge
murals depicting the recent history of the Bogside on gable
walls along the area’s Rossville Street.

The murals, along with Free Derry Wall, the Bloody Sunday
monument and the Museum of Free Derry, have now become one
of Derry’s key tourist attractions, drawing thousands of
visitors annually.

With the completion of the 11th mural earlier this year,
the three artists named the Rossville Street works ‘the
people’s gallery’.

Now they have asked Derry City Council to take over as
“curators” and to manage the work.

Members of the council’s environmental services committee
were due to discuss the request yesterday before making a
recommendation to the full council.

In a report from officials, members were told the artists
intended completing the work with an international peace
mural involving contributions from children locally,
regionally and internationally.

The final work, along with workshops and a book on art and
healing will cost in the region of £15,000 but officials
said no resources were available to fund the project
outside normal grant aid procedures.

Officials are helping the artists with their applications
for grant aid from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.

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