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October 08, 2006

Pat Finucane Center: Human Rights Warning

News About Ireland & The Irish

UT 10/08/06 Pat Finucane Center: Human Rights Warning
BN 10/08/06 Call For Police Powers To Be Devolved
BN 10/08/06 DUP Wants Exiles To Return Home
BN 10/08/06 Ahern To Be Quizzed On MI5 Expansion
BN 10/08/06 Dublin Prostitutes Top Of European Earners

Pat Finucane Center: Human Rights Warning

Human rights safeguards in Northern Ireland could be threatened
if a Conservative Party proposal to abolish the Human Rights Act
is implemented, campaigners have claimed.

By:Press Association

Tories want a British Bill of Rights to replace the Act, which
has underpinned landmark legal cases surrounding security force
killings in Northern Ireland.

Conservatives believe current legislation could hamper the fight
against terrorism but Paul O`Connor from the Pat Finucane Centre
said he was alarmed.

"This is the latest in a number of worrying developments in the
last couple of months which threaten human rights.

"These are hard-fought for legislative changes that are
absolutely vital in a democratic society and any attempt to
wither them away must be opposed."

UK legislators are bound by the European Convention of Human
Rights, which also guarantees the right to a fair trial, so cases
alleging security force misconduct could still be brought to the
European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

The Human Rights Act 1998 allows domestic resolution of issues
arising from the Convention.

One of the most significant cases to be taken to Europe involved
the security force killing of IRA man Pearse Jordan at a
checkpoint in west Belfast in November 1992.

The Government`s investigation into the death was criticised by
the European judges in May 2001.

Conservative leader David Cameron pledged to scrap the HRA during
his party`s conference in Bournemouth this week.

Their Northern Ireland spokesman David Lidington said the details
had not been decided.

"We have said that we would take account of the position of
Northern Ireland and the obligations under the Convention and
that is something which the group of lawyers that David is
setting up will have to consider," he added.

"We are aware that there are particular issues concerning
Northern Ireland and that`s something that will be dealt with as
part of the work that this committee is doing.

"We will be involving Northern Ireland lawyers as well as those
from other parts of the UK."

Northern Ireland is awaiting its own bill of rights, which could
plug some of the loopholes in the Act`s right to life, including
one which excepts rioters from its protection.

Maggie Beirne, director of the Committee on the Administration of
Justice, said provisions of the Convention would still apply
unless Britain was taken out of the European Union.

"I think it is a non-runner at the minute. It could cause
problems at international level so I think that`s probably why
David Cameron is talking about a bill of rights," she said.

"A bill of rights could include rights to housing and health and

"It could be better from a human rights point of view than the

The Conservatives will be bidding for power in the next election,
to be held in under four years.

Call For Police Powers To Be Devolved

08/10/2006 - 15:57:14

Devolution of policing powers to the Northern Assembly should
proceed as soon as possible, the province's chief police officer
said today.

Chief constable Hugh Orde said politicians elected in the country
should be taking decisions on law and order in line with the
policing blueprint drawn up by Lord Patten in 1999.

Mr Hugh also urged republicans to join the policing structures as
soon as possible.

The issue is crucial to political talks being held between the
local parties in Scotland on Wednesday.

Sir Hugh told the BBC: "I think it just needs to happen, before
or after (the St Andrew's talks) is a matter for politicians.

"This deadline is a deadline and I think that's a good thing
because hopefully it will help focus minds.

"For me the next stage is that local government, because then you
can see the real vision of pattern, which was devolution of
policing to the local Assembly."

DUP Wants Exiles To Return Home

08/10/2006 - 11:02:22

The IRA's death threat against people intimidated out of the
North during the conflict will be on the agenda for next week's
talks aimed at restoring devolution, unionists said today.

The Democratic Unionist Party has called on republicans to allow
those driven out to come home as part of a deal on power-sharing.

The political parties are meeting at St Andrews to agree a deal
to restore the apparatus of government by November 24.

DUP victims' spokesman Jeffrey Donaldson said: "Clearly if the
IRA is no longer involved in terrorist activity as the
Independent Monitoring Commission suggests then there is no
reason why the people they have exiled cannot return home."

"The IRA needs to issue a very clear statement saying that it is
no longer a threat to these people."

"Gerry Adams talks about the need to address the issue of the on-
the-runs (IRA fugitives wanted by the British Security Forces)
but it is time to end these double standards."

The IMC issued a report last week stating that the IRA had
disbanded several elements of its command structure in a report
widely seen as paving the way for future ministerial positions
for Sinn F‚in.

The Families Against Intimidation And Terror Group has already
written to the Irish and British governments calling for action
on the issue of exile and the claim there could be thousands
living outside Ireland and afraid to return home.

The IRA statement standing down its members in July 2005 didn't
mention the exiles.

Sinn F‚in president Mr Adams wants to discuss the issue of on-
the-run during next week's negotiations but has emphasised that
it was not a deal-breaker.

The government tried to legislate to allow IRA on-the-runs to
come home during the last parliamentary sessions but the bill
collapsed and met string opposition from the North parties.

Ahern To Be Quizzed On MI5 Expansion

08/10/2006 - 17:56:13

The expansion of MI5's role in the North is to be raised with
Taoiseach Bertie Ahern in Dublin tomorrow.

SDLP leader Mark Durkan will ask Mr Ahern to make the issue a
priority during Wednesday's political talks at St Andrews in

He said: "The expansion of MI5 means faceless men doing secret
deeds without any public accountability. It goes against Patten
and the whole ethos of his report.

"It is not just bad for policing, it is bad for politics. It
could undermine the whole devolution of justice project and place
a future Minister for Justice in the unenviable position of
knowing nothing about MI5 security operations and there being
nobody to call them properly to account."

The Patten Report was drawn up in 1999 by a commission chaired by
Lord Patten and recommended a number of changes to policing
including changing the police service's name and recruiting more

"We will be urging the Taoiseach to raise this matter with the
British Government and push them to rethink their plans," Mr
Durkan added.

"At a time when MI5 are blaming their failure to monitor the men
who carried out the 7/7 attacks in London because of lack of
resources, it is scandalous that they are wasting money expanding
their operations in the North in a way that is unwarranted,
unneeded and damaging to our society.

"The lesson of the last 35 years is that the North needs fewer
unaccountable men lurking in the shadows, not more of them."

The SDLP claimed former PSNI Special Branch members could be
recruited to MI5, creating a new force outside the police.

The party has also pointed to the lack of a mechanism to
investigate and publicise complaints against MI5.

Nationalists are also concerned information will not be shared by
MI5 with the PSNI as well as MI5 running its own informers to
lower standards than the police.

There is no independent international oversight of individual MI5

Mr Durkan added this week should mark a watershed for politics in
the North.

"People on the ground who are suffering under Direct Rule
desperately want us to make progress. We must not let them down,"
he said.

"That means open and honest negotiations and not a crazed rush to
hand out secret side deals.

"Negotiations can only succeed when all can see all, everyone
knows what they are giving and getting with no secrets or

Dublin Prostitutes Top Of European Earners

08/10/2006 - 11:06:05

Eastern European prostitutes working in Dublin are earning up to
400 euro an hour - significantly more than what can be earned in
most other European countries.

It is also reported that they are experiencing the same rush hour
lunch as coffee shops and restaurants.

Operation Quest - a Garda investigation into organised
prostitution has found no evidence of exploitation or

It also concluded that none of the girls are underage and most of
them pocket 50 percent of their earnings.
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