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October 06, 2006

SDLP Criticizes DUP's Refusal To Accept IMC Report

News About Ireland & The Irish

BN 10/06/06 SDLP Criticises DUP Refusal To Accept IMC Conclusions
BT 10/06/06 Sinn Fein Insists 'On The Runs' Issue Must Be Resolved
BT 10/06/06 Devolution Task Force In Secret Sessions
SS 10/06/06 Shooting Of Diarmuid O’Neill In London - Never An Inquiry
BN 10/06/06 McDowell: We're Staying In Govt
BB 10/06/06 Queen Attends RIR Battalions' End
BB 10/06/06 RIR: History Of Sacrifice And Controversy
SF 10/06/06 Overseas Missions Must Remain On Voluntary Basis
BT 10/06/06 Opin: Can Blair And Hain Cope With Sinn Fein's Big Idea?
PS 10/06/06 Opin: Will Dr No Decide To Dance With The Devil?
CM 10/06/06 SF's Martin McGuinness To Visit Canada Oct 25 - 28
HC 10/06/06 Houston Bars Caught Up In Liquor License Scam

(Pictures from IAUC Convention in Chicago last weekend:


SDLP Criticises DUP Refusal To Accept IMC Conclusions

06/10/2006 - 07:58:56

The SDLP has hit out at the DUP's ongoing refusal to share
power with Sinn Féin despite this week's assessment by the
Independent Monitoring Commission.

The unionist party still says Sinn Féin is unfit for
Government despite the IMC's view that the IRA is honouring
its commitment to end all illegal activity.

The DUP claims there is still a grey area over IRA
criminality and the murder of Denis Donaldson and says Sinn
Féin's stance against the PSNI shows it is not committed to
the rule of law.

However, the SDLP's Alex Atwood says the party is simply
making excuses to avoid accepting nationalists as equals.

He is calling on the Irish and British governments to make
it clear to unionists at next week's talks in Scotland that
this is not acceptable.

"The DUP will always look for an excuse to impede the
political process and to hold back on going into power with
nationalists on equal terms," he says.

"They will continue to look for reasons not to do it.
Everybody needs to tell them the time has come to move


Sinn Fein Insists 'On The Runs' Issue Must Be Resolved

By Noel McAdam
06 October 2006

The controversial issue over the 'on the runs' returned to
haunt the political process as Sinn Fein President Gerry
Adams met Tony Blair in London.

Ahead of talks with Taoiseach Bertie Ahern on Monday, Sinn
Fein said it was a matter which still needed to be

But the key question hanging over next week's intensive
negotiations in Scotland was whether the DUP was prepared
to signal its willingness to enter a power-sharing

Mr Adams said that given the deadline of November 24 there
was a "lot of work to do".

"There can be no more important issue facing either the
Irish or British governments," he said.

Legislation heavily criticised by the SDLP and unionist
parties, as well as the Conservative opposition, for
providing an effective amnesty for the remaining 'on the
run' prisoners was shelved by the Government earlier this

Ulster Unionist leader Sir Reg Empey warned Sinn Fein there
could be no 'half-way' house solution to policing.

"The half-way house option which Sinn Fein adopted on arms
is not going to work for them on policing. They either
support the police or they don't," he said.

"There is room for only one police service in Northern
Ireland, and private armies won't fit in to that scenario."


Devolution Task Force In Secret Sessions

DUP and SF figures discuss obstacles

By Noel McAdam
06 October 2006

The Stormont task force set up to pin-point the remaining
obstacles to devolution has gone into secret session twice
in recent weeks, it emerged today.

Just-released minutes of the Preparation for Government
Committee show it went into private session for 40 minutes
last week and just under an hour on September 13.

Senior DUP and Sinn Fein figures are believed to have been
involved in the private exchanges, which focused mainly on
future arrangements for the Assembly and Ministers.

The Hansard, normally a complete transcript of proceedings,
simply records the meetings went into private session and
gives the timing.

DUP deputy leader Peter Robinson is said to have attended
the meetings on September 13 and 25 which also respectively
involved Sinn Fein MP Conor Murphy and Assembly member John

Meanwhile, the political parties were today poring over a
Government paper identifying the remaining areas for
discussion at next week's talks in St Andrews.

The paper - reported in the Belfast Telegraph earlier this
week - does not include the economic peace dividend package
which both the DUP and Sinn Fein have identified as a

In a letter to the parties, however, Secretary of State
Peter Hain said: "I recognise that if next week we achieve
our objective of agreeing our way forward on restoration,
there are financial issues that the parties will want to
discuss with us."

Both the DUP and Sinn Fein yesterday held separate internal
discussions on their strategies ahead of next week's 'hot-
house' talks in Scotland.

The SDLP, however, was outraged over proposed new
legislation which it argued could mean the exclusion of its
Ministers if they refuse to back the DUP and Sinn Fein for
First and Deputy First Ministers.

Leader Mark Durkan said new draft legislation threatened
the SDLP and other democratic parties "not for doing
anything wrong, but simply for exercising a democratic

"This is something that we had been assured by the two
governments was off the table. It must be taken off now,"
he said.

The Foyle MP said the draft legislation seemed meant to
implement the collapsed so-called Comprehensive Agreement
of late 2004 which included the DUP and Sinn Fein.

"Repeatedly, Sinn Fein and the DUP told us in the
Preparation for Government Committee that as far as they
were concerned there was no Comprehensive Agreement. Now
that the legislation has been published, the honesty of
their position will be tested," Mr Durkan added.

His attack followed the letter to the parties from Mr Hain
which said changes to the institutions and support for
policing and the rule of law are the key areas preventing


Shooting Of Diarmuid O’Neill In London - Never An Inquiry

Last week 300 people gathered at the cemetery in Timoleague
to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the extra-judicial
execution of Diarmuid O’Neill by the Metropolitan Police of
London. Diarmuid’s West Cork parents and family were
present at the graveside, as were members of Sinn Féin and
North Belfast MLA, Gerry Kelly.

The young Irishman, O’Neill, was born and raised in West
London. Police suspected he was a member of the IRA and six
weeks prior to his killing put him under intensive
surveillance, which included searching the hotel room that
he and two companions were staying in and installing secret
video recording equipment. On 23 September 1996 they
decided to arrest him.

But far from carrying out his detention, they callously
shot him dead in such an appalling manner that Amnesty
International and other civil rights groups demanded a
judicial public inquiry. At the inquest, coroner John
Burton also called for an inquiry but the Home Secretary,
Jack Straw, refused, and none has ever been set up.

The young man was shot six times by two officers from
Scotland Yard’s tactical firearms group, SO10. O’Neill was
semi-clothed, unarmed, and attempting to open the door to
the police when he was assassinated. His two companions in
the hotel, Brian McHugh and Patrick Kelly shouted, ‘We give
up – we are unarmed’ when the police attacked. They recall
hearing the police shouting, ‘Shoot the’ as they
opened fire on O’Neill, who had his hands raised.

A police officer was seen standing with his foot on
O’Neill’s head as he lay dying before being dragged
bleeding and mortally wounded down six concrete steps to
the street. He was denied immediate medical treatment for
25 minutes although an ambulance was at hand. O’Neill
subsequently died in hospital. The raid was a total
disaster and had a chilling resonance last year when London
police pumped eight bullets into Brazilian Jean Charles de
Menezes whom they mistook for a suicide bomber at Southwell
Tube Station.

In preparation for the capture of Diarmuid O’Neill and his
companions, police were shown video footage of the
aftermath of the Canary Wharf bombing and told that the men
in the hotel room had hand grenades, explosives and
weapons, even though the video bugging made clear this was
not the case. The police were provided with the most potent
form of CS gas, ‘Rip’, which had never been tested properly
and they were unaware of the consequences of using the gas.
Indeed, not only were O’Neill and his friends affected, all
but two of the police raiding party were overcome by fumes
seeping into the corridor.

The raid was marked by a litany of errors. The special key
the police brought to open the door would not fit so they
used an electronic battering ram which, instead of knocking
down the door, merely put a hole in it. The officer in
charge, overcome by the CS gas, stayed outside with a fit
of vomiting. The recording device, installed in the
suspects’ room, gave a clear idea of what then happened.

Two policemen ordered Diarmuid O’Neill to open the door,
after they made sure Brian McHugh and Patrick Kelly were
down on the floor. O’Neill complied, telling the officers
several times that he was unarmed. When he managed to prise
the door open, he was shot three times in the abdomen and
lower spine. He received another three bullets as he was
falling. A post-mortem showed a bruise on his scalp that
the pathologist said ‘probably resulted from an individual
treading on his head’. In the wake of the shooting, one of
the officers commented that Diarmuid O’Neill was ‘dead as a rat’.

The British and Irish media reported that during the arrest
an exchange of gunfire took place and that explosives had
been found. At the inquest two years later, such details
were revealed as lies.

After two years of investigation, the Metropolitan Police
produced a report, never made available to the public,
which exonerated the police officers of any responsibility
for the killing. It concluded that the officer who shot
O’Neill acted in self-defence, describing him as a ‘capable
and good chap’.

Amnesty International sought an impartial inquiry on the
basis that an unarmed man had been shot dead while
reportedly complying with police orders to surrender. The
organisation was also concerned at the use of a very potent
CS gas which made nearly everyone at the scene sick. They
also denounced the denial of vital medical aid to a
severely injured man and were concerned at the
misinformation fed by the authorities to the media. They
warned that the shooting of the young man would result in
further unlawful killings and that this made the need for
an inquiry all the more important. The execution of the
innocent Brazilian last year shows how right they were.

The Irish government, to its disgrace, expressed no
interest in the case and still doesn’t – nor did any West
Cork FG or Labour politician, among whose constituents were
the O’Neill family. The head of Scotland Yard’s anti-
terrorist branch, Commander John Grieve, was later
appointed to the Independent Monitoring Commission, the
body set up by the British and Irish governments to oversee
the implementation of the Good Friday Agreement – and the
British shoot-to-kill policy is still in place.

Last month yet another British naval vessel visited Cork.
On this occasion it was the destroyer HMS Exeter and, like
its recent predecessors, special tours for school groups
were organised – a practice that is increasingly seen as an
insidious form of recruiting, now that the British Armed
Forces find it very difficult to get recruits because of
the number of body bags coming from Iraq and Afghanistan.

Bizarrely the Jolly Jack Tars also invited two Corpo Sinn
Féin councillors, Jonathan O’Brien and Annette Spillane,
who politely declined, stating they preferred to mount a

What Can the Matter Be?

Don Berto has his troubles but, despite all his
misfortunes, he probably never imagined he’d end up like
the characters from the old ditty concerning the Three Old
Ladies Stuck in the Lavatory. In the Don’s case, it was a
lift he got stuck in while on a visit to Griffith College.
Fortunately, with the help of some burly guards, he managed
to force a gap between floors and crawl out.

Perhaps the mishap explains why the Taoiseach’s Office
invited us to a little bit of a doodah at Farmleigh House
at which, we were told, Don Berto would meet with President
Clinton. President Clinton! Whatever happened to George W.
Bush? Clearly Don Berto currently inhabits a very topsy-
turvy world.


McDowell: We're Staying In Govt

06/10/2006 - 13:05:13

Michael McDowell has spoken on the Taoiseach's payments
controversy for the first time in 24 hours.

Admitting that damage had been done to the Government, Mr
McDowell said that damage "can be repaired".

He added the PDs wanted to get on with the business of


Queen Attends RIR Battalions' End

The Queen has attended a parade to mark the disbandment of
the Royal Irish Regiment's home service battalions.

She awarded the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross to the regiment
in recognition of its service at a ceremony in Belfast.

Several thousand members of the regiment, and its
predecessor the UDR, attended the ceremony at Balmoral

The three home service battalions of the Royal Irish
Regiment will be disbanded next July.

More than 60,000 men and women have served in the RIR or
UDR since 1970.

Some 300 home service soldiers drawn from the Holywood-
based 2nd Battalion, the Armagh-based 3rd Battalion, and
the Omagh-based 4th Battalion paraded at the showgrounds.

They were accompanied by musicians from the band of the
Royal Irish Regiment and 100 former UDR soldiers of the
Regimental Association.

The rain-soaked parade was attended by a range of political
figures, current and former members of the regiments,
disabled veterans and relatives of many of the 210 soldiers
killed by the IRA and other republican paramilitaries.

I was obviously thinking of him today as well, but I was
also thinking of everyone else in the regimental family who
has lost a loved one over the years

Corporal Claire Withers

The Duke of York, the RIR's colonel-in-chief, also attended
the ceremony.

Guests included Secretary of State Peter Hain, Church of
Ireland Primate Lord Eames, DUP leader Ian Paisley, UUP
peer Lord Trimble, Ulster Unionist leader Sir Reg Empey and
SDLP South Belfast MP Alasdair McDonnell.

'Operational service'

The vast majority were killed while they were off-duty, and
another 64 were killed after they had left the Army.

The home service battalions are being disbanded because of
the end of Operation Banner, which is what the Army called
its support role for the police during the Troubles.

The Conspicuous Gallantry Cross was received by Corporal
Claire Withers, whose father - Corporal Trelford Withers -
was the last serving RIR soldier to be killed by terrorist

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

Colonel Mark Campbell

It is the first time the medal - second only to the
Victoria Cross - has been awarded to a military unit rather
than an individual serviceman.

Trelford Withers, 46, was shot dead on 8 August 1994 as he
worked in his butcher's shop in Crossgar, County Down.

Claire Withers, 30, said she thought about her father every

"I was obviously thinking of him today as well, but I was
also thinking of everyone else in the regimental family who
has lost a loved one over the years," she said.

"This award is a great honour for the regiment, and I am
extremely proud to have received it from the Queen on
behalf of all members of the regiment, past and present."

Colonel Mark Campbell, who was among those attending, said
today's peaceful society could not have been achieved
without the RIR's help.

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

"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.

"Two hundred and seventy four serving and ex-members paid
the ultimate sacrifice - and many more carry physical and
psychological scars."

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

Published: 2006/10/06 11:38:34 GMT


History Of Sacrifice And Controversy

By Julian O'Neill
BBC Newsline reporter

Withdrawn from active service in September, the three home
battalions of the Royal Irish Regiment - with 3,000
personnel - will formally disband next July.

This will end a service record unparalleled in the history
of the British army.

Together with its predecessor the Ulster Defence Regiment
(UDR), the so-called home service battalions will have
completed 36 years of unbroken operational service. It is a
period marked by great sacrifice, but also controversy.

To many Protestants these soldiers were heroes whose loyal
service was often unsung. During the Troubles they were
part of the frontline against the IRA and took hundreds of

But many Catholics had their judgement coloured by a
minority of soldiers who had over-lapping membership of
loyalist paramilitary groups and committed sectarian
attacks, including murder.

The Royal Irish Regiment was formed by the amalgamation of
the UDR and the Royal Irish Rangers on 1 July 1992. The
decision was presented as a purely military one, but by
then the UDR was regarded with deep suspicion by many
nationalists and the Irish government.


Unionists protested and argued the level of criminality was
greatly exaggerated given more than 60,000 people had
served in the ranks at one time or another.

At its end, only 3% of the UDR's members were Catholic.
Many UDR soldiers went on to serve in the Royal Irish and
this helped explain why nationalist ill-will carried from
one regiment to the other.

The UDR dated back to 1970 and had full-time and part-time
soldiers who provided back-up cover for the police in much
of Northern Ireland. Key duties included patrolling and
manning checkpoints.

A total of 210 members were murdered, the majority of them
killed off-duty when they were easier targets. A further 64
were murdered after they had left the regiment.

By the time the UDR had evolved into the RIR, the Troubles
were drawing to an end. Seven RIR soldiers were murdered
between its formation and the IRA ceasefire in 1994.

Currently, until next July, the RIR consists of home
service battalions for service within Northern Ireland and
a general service battalion, liable for posting anywhere in
the world.

It is the general service battalion which has seen action
in Bosnia, Sierra Leone, Iraq and Afghanistan and will
remain in service, continuing the name, tradition and
memory of those who will pass into history.

Published: 2006/10/06 10:12:35 GMT


Participation In Overseas Missions Must Remain On Voluntary Basis

Published: 6 October, 2006

Responding to discussions at the conference of the
association, representing rank-and-file members of the
Defence Forces, PDFORRA Sinn Féin spokesperson on
International Affairs Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD expressed Sinn
Fein's support for all participation in overseas missions
to remain voluntary.

Deputy Ó Snodaigh said, "Sinn Fein supports the efforts of
PDFORRA to ensure that overseas service by members of the
Defence Forces remains voluntary. Sinn Fein submitted an
amendment to the Defence (Amendment) Bill 2006 which
proposed to delete section 4 of the Bill. That section of
the Bill provides for the secondary conscription of defence
forces personnel. Prior to the Bill's passage members
volunteered to undertake overseas services but under the
terms of the new legislation the voluntary nature of this
service is removed and members may be required to engage in
EU battle group missions under orders."

"Unfortunately because the legislation was rushed through
by Defence Minister Willie O'Dea in the final week of the
Dáil with a total of just 2 hours Dail debate our amendment
was not even reached and so the Bill was passed as drafted.
Sinn Féin voted against the Bill and remains firmly opposed
to any Irish participation in EU battle groups. And we will
continue to oppose any effort by the government to force
Irish soldiers to participate in EU battle group missions."


Opin: Can Blair And Hain Cope With Sinn Fein's Big Idea?

By Eric Waugh
06 October 2006

There is one pivot upon which next week's drive for a deal
in Scotland will turn: the acceptability - or otherwise -
of an administration at Stormont which effectively involves
the IRA.

Peter Hain and the Prime Minister would accept it. So would
Dublin. Four years ago Blair invited Sinn Fein to shed the
IRA and hinted virtually anything would be possible.

But they assume Sinn Fein is a political party like any
other. The Prime Minister's difficulty is that it is not.

Sinn Fein is a movement before it is a party. A movement is
consumed by a single big idea, whereas a political party
exists to pursue a broad social and economic programme.

The members of a movement tend to be total captives of
their big idea. It can never be questioned. Not for them
the light on the Damascus road which, in the early 1990s,
gave birth to new Labour.

There can be no compromise on the big idea. So there is no
room for dissent within the movement.

A movement may harbour democratic instincts; but it will
only use them to twist democracy to its purposes, as did
Hitler's Brownshirts in the years before he became
Chancellor of the Reich in 1933.

The instincts of a movement tend to be totalitarian. In the
case of Irish republicans they derive, not from the Western
liberal tradition, but from the East: in fact, from the
Little Red Book of Chairman Mao. It is Chairman Mao who
licences the routine use of violence.

Mao taught that, when politics could not proceed further,
war occurred as a means of sweeping the obstacles out of
the way. This is where the "armed struggle" fits in.

As with Mao, politics was war without bloodshed; war was
politics with bloodshed. From time to time, it might be
necessary to resort to arms to restore momentum.

That is why republicans never say that a ceasefire is
permanent, and are reluctant to pronounce that their "war"
is over. The very word 'ceasefire' suggests something
temporary. When the big idea has not been realised, they
know they might need to go to war again.

"A future generation of republicans might not rule out a
renewal of the armed struggle," declared Michelle Gildernew
MP, four years ago, when pressed on the issue. "Who knows
what's going to happen in 10 years?"

All this provides a rickety foundation for a new
Government. Another difficulty is republicans' zeal in
defrauding the taxpayer. One Dublin minister has put their
profits from fuel laundering, tobacco smuggling and kindred
activities at £12m a year.

This time last year one Dublin observer counted more than
40 unmarked oil tankers, on the road or parked in farmyards
in south Armagh, in a single hour's driving. And there is
still the unrecovered £26m haul from the Northern Bank.
Where is it? Who has it? Who knows? Not the IMC.

For the other parties, this has consequences. Election
experts estimate that every extra 1,000 euros (£680) spent
in an election in the Republic produce on average 363 more
votes. What about Stormont? What about the SDLP?

Then there is the police. As things stand at present, Sinn
Fein ministers in an Executive could be proposing laws
while their supporters abuse and stone the police charged
to enforce them.

Can a movement with an ambiguous relationship to
criminality be allowed to engage in Government? Is such a
movement's minister a fit person to make privy to Cabinet
secrets, including the security of the state?

A Cabinet, to function effectively, must generate mutual
trust: no trust, no solidarity; and if there is no
solidarity (Adams insists there must be "no erosion of the
independence of ministers"), the fate of a new Executive
may be the same as the last, which ended with ministers
abusively slanging each other in public, others refusing to
attend Executive meetings and yet others taking important
decisions in defiance of the Assembly.

But, hovering over all, even were Sinn Fein to accept the
police, is the continued existence of the IRA - of which,
of course, Sinn Fein is the political wing. The Independent
Monitoring Commission regards the continued existence of
the IRA structure with remarkable equanimity.

The parties are unlikely to share this relaxed view of one
of their number coming to the negotiating table with a
private army - however reduced - at its back. An army is
not democratic. When it denies itself the option of force
it loses its only reason for existence. Yet the IRA

Republicans, rightly, point to the loyalist gangs. They are
as offensive as the IRA. But there is scant hope of
banishing the sectarian killers from the community if the
IRA's adjutants remain entrenched within earshot of the
negotiating table.


Opin: Will Dr No Decide To Dance With The Devil?

(By David Sharrock)

YOU MIGHT be forgiven for thinking that the guns fell
silent just on Wednesday in Northern Ireland, given the
hyperbolic government reaction to the Independent
Monitoring Commission’s report on the Provisional IRA.

The IRA’s campaign “is over” declared Tony Blair, 14 months
after the IRA said that its campaign was, well, over.

In Belfast, Peter Hain, the Northern Ireland Secretary, was
calling it “seismic”, “historic”, “irreversible”,
“fantastic” and “excellent”. Even so, it is not going to
change the Reverend Ian Paisley’s mind about sharing power
with Sinn Fein. Not, at least, by Hain’s November 24

The Government is throwing all its spinning skills at the
IMC report in advance of next week’s talks in St Andrews.
While Blair, Bertie Ahern, the Irish Prime Minister, and
all the Northern Ireland parties will be there, the person
who counts most is Paisley.

For so many decades the “Dr No” of Ulster politics, this
near-Biblical figure now stands at the threshold of his
greatest political triumph.

He can choose to become Northern Ireland’s First Minister.
But to do so he must accept Martin McGuinness, his nemesis,
as his deputy.

There is no doubt that “the Doc” is sorely tempted. The
history books would have to revise their interpretations of
his influence on the Irish Problem from being an obstacle
to the deliverer of a peaceful solution. But he is mightily
afraid of being taken for a sucker by the Provos such as
David Trimble.

Lord Trimble got a peerage for his troubles but left the
Ulster Unionist Party broken by his experiences of sharing
power with Sinn Fein, whose military wing continued to
kill, rob, subvert, spy, recruit and train.

The IMC report says that it has now stopped doing all these
things. In truth, it had already said most of this in its
previous reports, but Wednesday’s document was always going
to be its show-stopper, choreographed to roll out a red
carpet to Blair’s last crack at solving the Irish Question.

The IMC’s conclusions were almost so predictable that it
was the gaps in the picture it painted which stood out.

Curious, for example, that it could only, rather lamely,
say that it did not have enough information to ascribe
blame for the murder of Denis Donaldson, the Sinn Fein
double agent shot dead in a Donegal cottage after his
public confession to be working for “the Brits”.

You might have thought the IMC would at least venture an
opinion on the widely circulated informed speculation that
IRA members were responsible.

If they choose, there is enough here for the Democratic
Unionists to argue that the Republican Movement has not yet
moved far enough down the path of peaceful, democratic
methods. It is Paisley’s call.



Media Advisory –

SF's Martin McGuinness To Visit Canada Oct 25 - 28



TORONTO, Oct. 5 /CNW/ - Sinn Féin Lead Negotiator Martin
McGuinness M.P. will visit Canada on a major speaking tour
from October 25 to 28. During the visit, Mr. McGuinness
will inform Canadians on his party's role in crucial peace
negotiations planned for November, involving the
British and Irish governments and Irish political parties.
While in Canada, Mr. McGuinness will be the guest speaker at
the sixth annual Friends of Sinn Féin (Canada) Inc. Annual Dinner.

Mr. McGuinness will appear at the following Friends of Sinn
Féin (Canada) events:


OTTAWA: Wed., Oct. 25, 8:00 p.m. - Reception
The Heart & Crown, 67 Clarence Street, Ottawa
Tickets $50.00. Information and tickets call Julie
(613) 880-0826.

MONTREAL:Thurs., Oct. 26, 7:00 p.m. - Reception
Hurley's Irish Pub, 1225 Crescent Street, Montreal
Tickets $50.00. Information and tickets, call Georges at
(514) 739-5185

HALIFAX: Fri., Oct. 27, 8:00 p.m. - Dinner
The Holiday Inn Select, 1980 Robie St., Halifax.
Tickets $100.00. Information and tickets, call Brian at
(902) 471-4889.

TORONTO: Sat., Oct. 28, 8:00 p.m. - Friends of Sinn Féin
Annual Dinner
Hilton Toronto, 145 Richmond Street West, Toronto
Tickets $125.00. For information and tickets, call Alan at
(416) 402-3729.

Friends of Sinn Féin (Canada) Inc. is a federally
Incorporated not-for-profit company launched by Gerry Adams M.P. in
2001. The purpose of FOSF (Canada) is to win support in Canada for Sinn Féin and
the Irish peace process.

For further information: For interviews with Mr. McGuinness
Please contact: (416) 258-5381, (416) 402-3729 or (416) 280-6418
(messages only)


Houston Bars Caught Up In Liquor License Scam

By Juan A. Lozano
Associated Press

At least 80 Houston area bars and restaurants have been
caught up in a scam that jeopardized their liquor licenses
and in one case resulted in the temporary shut down of a

Officials with the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission said
that Butera License Service, a Houston-based company that
processes paperwork for bars and other businesses when they
apply for new liquor licenses or renew old ones with the
TABC, has bilked unsuspecting businesses out of thousands
of dollars.

Butera was paid to turn in the paperwork but failed to do
so, leaving many bar owners unaware they were operating
with expired licenses, the TABC and a lawyer representing
bar owners said.

"The licensing service shut its doors and we're working
with the businesses that were going through (Butera) to
help them get things straightened out," said TABC
spokeswoman Carolyn Beck.

No one answered multiple calls from The Associated Press to
Butera's office and attempts to leave phone messages were
unsuccessful as the company's voice mail box was full.

Max McElroy had to close his bar, McElroy's Irish Pub, for
a day after TABC officials came in early Sunday morning and
informed the staff the liquor license had been expired for
two months.

"We didn't know this, of course," said McElroy, who was on
vacation in Ireland at the time. "I'm shocked. (Butera) put
all of my businesses at risk without giving a damn about

McElroy said he had worked with Butera, which had been in
business since 1966, for the past 10 years without any

Butera cashed his checks for renewals on licenses at three
bars he owns as well as an application for a new license at
a fourth bar but none of the paperwork was ever submitted
to TABC in Austin, McElroy said.

McElroy said with the money he lost to Butera and what he
had to pay TABC to actually get his applications processed,
he is out about $15,000. But he was grateful to TABC for
quickly processing his new applications and allowing him to
reopen Monday.

Sandra Roeder said she lost at least a couple thousand
dollars in fees when Butera didn't submit her paperwork for
a new draft house she is opening and when the company
didn't take care of money owed to the city and county by
her current bar.

Roeder said bar owners like herself rely heavily on license
service companies like Butera.

"The application and renewal process is a fairly tedious
one," she said.

There are at least 100 such licensing service companies in
Texas but no one, including the TABC, regulates them.

Beck said the TABC is directing affected business owners to
contact either the Harris County District Attorney's Office
or the Texas Attorney General's Office regarding any
criminal investigation in the case.

Clyde Burleson, an attorney representing McElroy, Roeder
and others affected, said many bar owners are unaware
companies like Butera are unregulated and not required to
carry insurance.

"Here are these people that are trusting these agencies and
there are many good ones, but in this case it appears that
trust may have been misplaced," said Burleson, who also
praised the TABC's handling of the situation.

Beck said the TABC has received a partial list of Butera's
customers and is contacting them to check on any licensing
problems they might have.

"We will continue to help those people that are affected by
this as they come to realize what happened," Beck said.

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