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October 17, 2006

Parties Fume Over DUP Boycott Threat

News About Ireland & The Irish

IT 10/18/06 Parties Fume Over DUP Talks Boycott Threat
SF 10/17/06 Adams - Disappointment At Paisley's Decision Re: Meeting
IT 10/18/06 Hain Gives DUP And SF Warning To Settle Dispute
BN 10/17/06 Garda Detectives 'Lied At Omagh Bomb Conspiracy Trial'
RT 10/17/06 Death Of Former State Archivist
EX 10/17/06 Cleaning Up: Duo To Sell Auld Sod To The US
MN 10/17/06 Catholic Church In Focus


Parties Fume Over DUP Talks Boycott Threat

Dan Keenan, Northern News Editor

Sinn Féin chief negotiator Martin McGinness and party
president Gerry Adams arrive at the Parliament Buildings in
Stormont, Belfast yesterday.

Ulster Unionists, Sinn Féin, Alliance and the SDLP rounded
on the DUP after it threatened to boycott a meeting which
would have seen the Rev Ian Paisley and Gerry Adams in
face-to-face talks at Stormont.

Northern Secretary Peter Hain attempted to play down the
difficulties and postponed the meeting.

He called the problem over ministerial pledges and the
timing of Sinn Féin's endorsement of policing "a glitch".
He had expected a problem and forecast there would be more.

Mr Adams said Dr Paisley had gone back on his word and was
"trying to reshape" what was agreed at St Andrews last

"People will be disappointed that Ian Paisley went back on
what he publicly committed to do," he said.

Ulster Unionist leader Sir Reg Empey said the DUP was now
involved in "panic politics".

SDLP leader Mark Durkan hoped Dr Paisley "would think
better" of his "boycott" of the meeting with Sinn Féin.

David Ford, the Alliance leader, described yesterday's
events as "shambolic".

However, the DUP was having none of the criticism and
hosted a defiant press conference in Stormont's Great Hall.
"The squeals from the opposition are the best proof we are
succeeding," Dr Paisley said.

"We are teaching the British government a lesson, they will
not pull the wool over our eyes."

Dr Paisley said he would hold the government to the letter
of its written commitments and "would push it down their
throats, publicly" if they attempted to do otherwise.

Gerry Adams referred to a general perception that the
public was dismayed by the events at Stormont. Pointing to
a possible solution Mr Adams said: "We have put forward our
suggestions about the pledge of office so why doesn't he
come along and talk to us? I certainly hope he does so

Mr Adams indicated he was prepared to meet the November
10th timetable set by the British and Irish governments.

"The two governments want Sinn Féin to respond and I have
agreed to do that and will do. We will consult, it is
ongoing and we will do as we always do, keep our pledges.

"I take people at their word and I listened very intently
to what Ian Paisley said at the close of the St Andrews
talks. I think particularly the words at the end of his
remarks were spoken in a very genuine way," he said.

Ulster Unionist Party leader Sir Reg Empey warned it was
obvious that part of the understanding between the British
government and the DUP "has started to unravel".

Sir Reg added: "We had a nervous groom, a reluctant bride
and a marriage of convenience - but we don't have a civil

SDLP leader Mark Durkan referred to obvious difficulties
over pledges of office and commitments to policing, but
advised all involved to avoid any panic at such an early

Meanwhile the DUP MEP Jim Allister voiced reservations
about aspects of the St Andrews Agreement.

"We cannot even consider going into government with Sinn
Féin in a situation where the IRA army council still
exists," he said.

He publicly questioned aspects of the St Andrews deal and
criticised what he saw as the lack of a default mechanism
in the event of any IRA activity.

Later the DUP issued a statement issued in the name of the
Assembly group. They welcomed "the progress made for the
interests of unionism and the cause of democracy by the
party's negotiating team at last week's talks at St

© The Irish Times


Adams - Disappointment At Ian Paisley's Decision Not To
Attend Programme For Government Meeting In Stormont

Published: 17 October, 2006

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams speaking late this
afternoon on the days developments in the peace process

"A lot of people will be disappointed by the refusal of Ian
Paisley to attend the Programme for Government Committee.
There was a lot of hope among people that today would see
the political parties stepping into a new phase of this

"Mr. Paisley has accused the British government of bad
faith. He has not accused Sinn Féin of bad faith. He
obviously has the political resolution to that problem in
his own hands. He should talk directly to Sinn Féin on
these matters.

"Sinn Féin has put forward suggestions about the pledge of
office which would, in our opinion strengthen it. If Mr.
Paisley has other suggestions then he should come along and
talk to us and resolve these issues. I hope he does so

"There was a problem today. We didn't create the problem.
Mr. Paisley has to resolve the problem he has highlighted
and I wish him well in doing that. Within the terms of the
Good Friday Agreement and our rights and our entitlements,
and the future for all of the people who live on this
island, then Sinn Féin will be helpful."ENDS


Hain Gives DUP And SF Warning To Settle Dispute

Gerry Moriarty and Dan Keenan

Northern Secretary Peter Hain has put it up to the DUP and
Sinn Féin to resolve the pledge of office dispute which
forced the postponement of what was scheduled to be a
historic encounter between the Rev Ian Paisley and Gerry
Adams yesterday.

He warned that if the controversy over when Sinn Féin
should sign up to the pledge, which is expected to
incorporate a commitment to policing and law and order, was
not quickly settled he would wind up the Assembly.

"The parties know that if we hit an immovable roadblock at
any time we will dissolve the Assembly and politics in
Northern Ireland and locally accountable politics will
close down. It is their choice," said Mr Hain.

The British and Irish governments were disappointed that
DUP leader the Rev Ian Paisley balked at the very first
hurdle that the St Andrews Agreement threw up yesterday,
particularly as it was to feature symbolic engagement
between Mr Adams and the DUP leader. But nonetheless both
Dublin and London and the other parties including the DUP
said this obstacle could be surmounted.

Mr Hain postponed the programme for government committee
meeting when Dr Paisley made it clear he would not be
attending because of confusion over when he as prospective
first minister and Martin McGuinness as prospective deputy
first minister should sign a pledge of office.

Senior Northern Ireland Office and Dublin sources expressed
the conviction that the pledge of office involving support
for policing would kick in on March 26th when devolution is
due to be fully restored.

Dr Paisley, however, indicated that he had a personal
assurance from British prime minister Tony Blair and his
ministers at the St Andrews talks that he and Mr McGuinness
must sign up to this pledge when they become first minister
and deputy first minister designate on November 24th.

Dr Paisley said he had a note of such a commitment. "None
of these promises are verbal. They are promises which are
written down. They know if they don't keep them, these
writings will be taken out and pushed down their throats
publicly," he said.

Downing Street refused to comment on whether such a side
assurance, which is not in the actual St Andrews Agreement,
was given. Mr Hain dealt with that question obliquely.
"What was or wasn't said, and different parties'
interpretation of this, is best decided in private rather
than in public," he said.

One potential resolution mentioned by the SDLP and the
Ulster Unionist Party yesterday referred to a possible
interim or "shadow" pledge of office to be made on November
24th. There is a precedent for this as there was a similar
"transitional" pledge incorporated in the 1998 Belfast
Agreement when Ulster Unionist leader David Trimble and
SDLP deputy leader Séamus Mallon were first minister and
deputy first minister.

Neither the DUP nor Sinn Féin would spell out whether such
a compromise could work. Privately DUP sources said the
issue could be resolved.

Mr Adams also said the issue could be resolved, and that
the best way was through direct engagement between Sinn
Féin and the DUP. He noted that Dr Paisley had directed his
criticism at the British government rather than at Sinn
Féin. He believed Dr Paisley was committed to doing a deal.
"I take people at their word and I listened very intently
to what Ian Paisley said at the close of the St Andrews
talks," Mr Adams said, referring to the DUP leader's
statement that he kept his pledges.

Meanwhile, the DUP Assembly Group unanimously endorsed the
DUP leadership's handling of the St Andrews talks, which
was interpreted by observers as a rebuff to DUP MEP Jim
Allister's criticism of elements of the agreement.

Mr Allister said the agreement must not only include the
pledge by November 24th but that it should also have
incorporated a requirement for the disbandment of the IRA,
a clear cut mechanism to evict Sinn Féin from the Executive
should it default on commitments, restrictions on support
for the Irish language, and a ban on civil servants from
the Republic applying for senior posts in the North.

© The Irish Times


Garda Detectives 'Lied At Omagh Bomb Conspiracy Trial'

17/10/2006 - 15:40:22

Two detectives lied under oath while giving evidence at the
trial of a man accused of being involved in the Omagh
bombings, a court heard today.

The senior gardaí are accused of falsifying statements from
Colm Murphy, who is alleged to have conspired with the
bombers in August 1998.

Detective Garda Liam Donnelly and Detective Garda John Fahy
appeared at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court today charged
with two counts of perjury.

The pair also face two counts of forging notes and a single
count each of using a forged document at the 2001 trial.

The men deny the charges.

Both men were part of teams of officers based at
Carrickmacross, Co Monaghan, who systemically interviewed
Mr Murphy during his 48-hour detention in February 1999,
senior counsel for the state Paul O’Higgins said.

He told the jury that the gardaí had been investigating the
Co Tyrone bombing atrocity when they arrested Mr Murphy for

Mr O’Higgins said the prosecution would prove a third and
final page of interview notes taken by the pair had been
replaced with a new sheet before it was submitted as
evidence in court.

He said a forensic test known as electrostatic document
analysis (ESDA) would prove the case.

“The foundation for this application is in relation to
these three pages of notes and the prosecution will call
evidence in relation to a process known a ESDA,” said Mr

“The process enables evidence to be found in relation to
indentations which have been left on paper after other
sheets of paper have been written on and the top of the
sheets on which the indentations have left.”

The prosecution claims the gardaí knowingly and falsely
swore under oath that notes of their interview with Mr
Murphy, on February 22, 1999, had not been rewritten and
were an accurate account at his trial in 2001.

It is also alleged they forged notes of an interview with
Mr Murphy on a date between February 21 and 22, 1999 and
used a forged document at the trial with the intention to

The prosecutor told the jury that if they came to the
conclusion that one person had forged the notes, but in the
course of a scheme both people misrepresented what took
place, each person is guilty of everything that happened.

Detective Garda Fahy, of Glaslough, Co Monaghan, and
Detective Garda Donnelly, of Cavan Town, sat side by side
in the courtroom, which is presided over by Judge Desmond

Mr Murphy, 53, was accused of lending his mobile phone and
another phone to the people who planted the Omagh device,
knowing it would be used for moving bombs.

He denied conspiring to cause an explosion between August
13 and 16, 1998.

The court heard the unsigned and hotly disputed statements
formed a significant part of the prosecution’s case.

The builder and pub owner, from Jordan’s Corner,
Ravensdale, Dundalk, Co Louth, was convicted at the non-
jury Special Criminal Court in 2002 of conspiring to cause
the explosion and jailed for 14 years.

During the trial, Donnelly lied 13 times claiming that he
had not rewritten an interview statement. The claims were
backed up by Fahy.

In January last year, the Court of Criminal Appeal quashed
Mr Murphy’s conviction and ordered a retrial.

At the time he had been the only person to have been
convicted in relation to the bombing.

Sean Hoey, 37, is currently on trial in Belfast Crown Court
facing 58 terrorism charges arising out of the Omagh

Hoey, from Molly Road, Jonesborough, South Armagh denies
all of them, including the separate offences of murdering
29 people in Omagh on August 15, 1998.

The dissident republican bombing produced the highest death
toll in a single day of the Troubles.

Around 20 members of An Garda Siochana, plus civilians, are
due to give evidence during the trial which is expected to
last eight days.


Death Of Former State Archivist

17 October 2006 20:43

The archivist and former chief custodian of the State
papers, Breandán Mac Giolla Choille, has died. He was 86.

Mr Mac Giolla Choille died in New Jersey in the US last

Born in Holywood, Co Down, in 1920, Mr Mac Giolla Choille
worked in the State Paper Office until 1985.

His study 'Intelligence Notes, 1913-16, Preserved in the
State Paper Office', assembled some of the most important
documentary sources for historians of the Easter Rising.

It was published in 1966 by An Gúm as part of the events
marking the fiftieth anniversary of the Rising.

After his retirement, the Public Record Office and the
State Paper Office were amalgamated, and both functions
were transferred to the National Archives.

Breandán Mac Giolla Choille was a founder-member of
Foilseacháin Ábhar Spioradálta, a company dedicated to the
publication of books on spiritual matters.

A former member of Bord na Leabhar Gaeilge, he was also
active in other Irish language organisations.

He is survived by his wife Eilís, two sons (one of whom is
RTÉ journalist Cathal Mac Coille) and three daughters.


Cleaning Up: Duo To Sell Auld Sod To The US

By Stephen Rogers

TWO enterprising Irishmen are literally selling dirt to the
US, and nostalgic Irish Americans cannot get enough of the
“auld sod”.

Pat Burke, from Tipperary, and Alan Jenkins, from Lisburn,
have set up a base in Ovens, Co Cork, to process Irish soil
so that it can pass strict US restrictions.

Now they are sending million-dollar containers of the
product across the Atlantic and predict it will become as
“familiar as Coca-Cola” to Irish Americans.

They expect their venture to be so successful that the two
men have pledged 80% of their profits to charity.

Explaining the origins of the idea, Alan said a doctor
friend of his in Florida took him to a local “Sons of Erin”

“The only thing everyone would give their right arm for was
a drop ‘of the auld sod’ to put on top of their casket.
Some of them were second and third generation who had never
made it back to Ireland, but they wanted a piece of mother
earth to rest with them.”

Alan sought advice from a commercial chemist on how he
could manufacture soil that would pass the strict
requirements placed by the US Government on the import of
soil to stop diseases such as foot and mouth or non-
indigenous insects from being brought into the country.

However, the expert was not able to create an acceptable

Alan then met agricultural science student and Teagasc
trained expert Pat Burke who, over the course of two
months, was able to process Irish soil to pass all the US

The two men have put a global patent on the process and are
now contracting soil from all over Ireland. It is packaged
in 0.75lb bags each with a sale price of $15 (€12). They
have already shipped a $1 million (€800,000) container
containing 70,000 packets of the product to the US and have
a distribution agent over there.

There is also a huge demand for Irish shamrock grown from
Irish soil so the men have contracted high quality shamrock
seed which can be grown in their soil. Each sachet of seed
costs $2 (€1.60).

They hope that, given the quality of their product, proud
Irish Americans will then grow shamrock all year round and
not just on St Patrick’s Day.

“There is an American tradition of throwing a fistful of
soil on a coffin before it is placed in the ground. The
Irish in the US love the idea of burying their relatives
with Irish soil. Also, there’s a US tradition of planting a
tree for each newborn. Large numbers would like to have the
tree set in Irish soil,” said Pat.

The men’s website,, will go live
within the next fortnight and they will be appearing on
RTÉ’s new daytime show Seoige and O’Shea on Friday.


Catholic Church In Focus

Monday, 16 October 2006

“We are the ones who, because of our inadequacies, wonder
about the value of our presence, but we always turn up. At
a time when the Church in Ireland is in crisis we manage to
rescue for it some shards of credibility.”

Fr Kevin Hegarty

I like the RTÉ series ‘Reeling Back the Years’. I don’t
recall a programme on 1981. I have, however, a clear memory
of that year.

There were notable happenings on the Irish and world
calendar - the Stardust disaster, Charles Haughey’s first
general election as leader of Fianna Fáil, the Long Kesh
hunger strike and the failed assassination attempt on Pope
John Paul II. It was also the year of that memorable Harp
advertisement of the lonely Irish engineer in the Middle
East recalling how Sally O’Brien might look at him in the
local pub.

In the summer, I and my classmates in the Diocese of
Killala were ordained. The event merited no national
headlines, only a few paragraphs of purple prose and a
photograph in ‘The Western People’! It is only now when
ordinations to the Catholic priesthood in Ireland are as
rare as calling corncrakes in an Irish meadow field that
they generate any national media interest.

A report in a recent Irish Times on the profession of Sr
Karen Kent, the first woman to enter the Ursuline Order in
Ireland in 14 years, had the awed tone one might expect in
the recording of a rare sighting of an almost extinct

I was asked to speak in Maynooth in June, at the Eucharist
to celebrate the Silver Jubilee of our ordinations. It
seemed to me that it was an opportunity to reflect on, give
thanks for, and celebrate the ministry of the ordinary

We are painfully aware of our fragilities and failures but,
mostly, we try to do our best. Some years ago I read a book
on leadership from which I remember just one thing. The
author wrote of the need to catch people doing things right
- an interesting inversion of the usual phrase. In my talk
in Maynooth I applied it to the lives of ordinary priests.

We are the ones who, Sunday after Sunday, celebrate the
Eucharist with our communities. We speak to them and try
valiantly to make faith connections with their lives. We
are the ones for whom the celebration of the sacraments is
at the core of our ministry. We stand at baptismal fonts
and share in the joy of new life. We participate in the
exuberant happiness of weddings, communions and

We are there for the funerals, and in the words of the poet
Thomas Kinsella, try to give “discipline to shapeless
sorrow”. We encounter regularly stories of human misery
that match Job’s travails in the Old Testament and we try
to respond.

We are the ones who, because of our inadequacies, wonder
about the value of our presence, but we always turn up. At
a time when the institutional Church in Ireland is in
crisis we manage to rescue for it some shards of

It has not been easy. We have lived through trying times.
We were ordained less than two years after the papal visit
to Ireland. Some saw that occasion as a new dawn for Irish
Catholicism. Now we know it was a golden twilight. There is
a line in a John Lennon song that life is what happens when
you are making other plans.

Since 1981 we have met with realities that were never
predicted. We are witnessing the final decay of the old
model of Catholicism in Ireland. We have failed, so far, to
create a new model that resonates with the needs of our
society in the 21st Century, and also challenges its
consumerist mores. Since the 1990’s the dark litany of
clerical sexual abuse cases has seriously undermined the
image of the Catholic priesthood in Ireland.

In the circumstances all we could do is keep going. We
remain committed to the vision that the Christian ideals of
love, justice and peace are relevant to the communities we
serve. The phrase ‘keeping going’ calls to mind a poem of
that title that Seamus Heaney wrote to honour his brother.
Some of his words we can make our own. We have often been
at the end of our tether. We have wondered, “is this all?”
Yet we have “good stamina”. We have stayed on “where it

We left Maynooth after our jubilee celebrations with some
words of another Irish writer fermenting in our minds.
Samuel Beckett once said, “Try. Fail. Try again. Fail
better”. We heard more idealistic things as we left
Maynooth 25 years ago, but now it is a time for realism.

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