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October 20, 2006

SDLP Expresses Concerns About SAA

News About Ireland & The Irish

BN 10/20/06
SDLP Expresses Concerns About St Andrew’s Proposals
BN 10/20/06 Trial Protection Demand For Ex-IRA British Agent
IM 10/20/06 Judge Somers Supports Michael McKevitt Justice Campaign
BB 10/20/06 Gun Victim 'Had Received Threats'
SF 10/20/06 Adams To Address Major Health Rally In Dublin On Saturday
IM 10/20/06 Icons Of North: Collective Histories Of Northern Irish Art
NY 10/20/06 A Twist On The Old Dream: Looking To Ireland For Jobs
BT 10/20/06 Live Music: Havana Ball At Belfast Festival



SDLP Expresses Concerns About St Andrew’s Proposals

20/10/2006 - 08:01:59

The SDLP has expressed concerns about the St Andrew's
proposals put forward in an effort to restore devolution in
the North.

The party says major problems are being overlooked due to
the current furore over the policing issue.

It says the proposals, as they stand, will mean any three
ministers can veto the decisions of another minister.

This, it says, will lead to ministers suing each other in
the courts, with roads, hospitals and schools being left
half-built while the legal wrangles are sorted out.

The SDLP also says the St Andrew's proposals will prevent
the power-sharing Executive from acting strategically
because it will be bogged down considering resolutions
passed in the Assembly.


Trial Protection Demand For Ex-IRA British Agent

20/10/2006 - 10:05:24

Former IRA man turned British agent Kevin Fulton must be
given special protection if he gives evidence at the Omagh
bomb trial, a court heard today.

Counsel for Mr Fulton told the High Court in Belfast that
his client would be seeking screening over and above the
normal protection granted to witnesses if he gives evidence
at the trial of Sean Hoey in Belfast.

Lawyers for the defendant want to question Mr Fulton about
his role in the 1998 Omagh bombing. He is alleged to have
given five warnings between July and August 1998 about the
blast, which killed 29 people.

Mr Fulton's barrister Andrew Moriarty said: "We are seeking
extensive screening and protection of Mr Fulton.

“We would be looking for screening, perhaps over and above
that which the legislation provides for, and, given the
security concerns that would exist with Mr Fulton giving
evidence, we would be anxious that provisions would be put
in place to allow for his safe entry and exit from the

The Newry informant is willing to give evidence provided
his request for protection is granted.

Hoey’s defence team, which is led by Orlando Pownall,
should begin presenting their position some time next month
and want to call Mr Fulton.

They have a separate application before Mr Justice
Weatherup for disclosure of documents from the Northern
Ireland Police Ombudsman Nuala O’Loan who has investigated
the informant’s involvement in the Omagh case.

The ombudsman concluded in a 2001 report on the police
investigation into Omagh that five warnings which Mr Fulton
gave would not have been enough to stop the carnage.

One of the key focuses of her investigation was on whether
Mr Fulton had been regarded as a reliable informant.

He worked for the police between 1993 and 1994, and 1996
and 2001.

Hoey, 37, from Molly Road, Jonesborough, south Armagh,
denies 58 terrorism charges including 29 murders at Omagh.

A massive car bomb exploded on Market Street in the Co
Tyrone town on a busy shopping day and left the bodies
scattered around the area. It left a large crater in the
road and caused horrific injuries.

Martin O’Rourke, appearing at the High Court for Hoey, said
he was anxious to have the witness and all the police
ombudsman’s documentation on Omagh available as soon as

“We will do everything that the witness seeks in order to
secure his attendance or his evidence in court,” he said.

The trial of Hoey began earlier this month and is expected
to run until the end of this year and possibly beyond that.

Mr Justice Weatherup said it would be for Omagh trial judge
Mr Justice Weir to rule on applications for Mr Fulton’s
protection but added that he would hear arguments about the
ombudsman’s evidence on October 27.


Judge Andrew Somers Supports Michael Mckevitt Justice Campaign

National Rights And Freedoms Press Release

Friday October 20, 2006 11:57 by Political Hostage -
Michael McKevitt Justice Campaign

Veteran American Human Rights activist, retired Judge
Andrew Somers stated he “wholeheartedly” supports the
Michael McKevitt Justice Campaign.

Judge Andrew Somers, who is well known in Ireland for his
involvement in numerous human rights cases, said he
supports the “efforts for a new trial or exoneration” of
Michael McKevitt.

Marcella Sands speaking on behalf of the Sands and McKevitt
families welcomed the support of Judge Somers. She stated:
"The support for the campaign is growing, as more and more
fair-minded people become aware of the facts of Michael's
case. Judge Somers has extensive knowledge of injustice in
Ireland and our families welcome his support."

Related Link:


Gun Victim 'Had Received Threats'

A man shot dead in Belfast city centre five years ago had
received a number of death threats from both republican and
loyalist paramilitaries.

Details of 38-year-old Paul Daly's murder emerged during
Friday's inquest into his death.

Mr Daly was shot 10 times as he sat in a car with his
partner, in Stephen Street in Belfast in May 2001.

The inquest heard most of the threats came from
republicans, but no-one has been convicted of the murder.

Mr Daly had just dropped his daughter off at a relative's
house when he was shot.

His partner Jacqueline Conroy, the mother of four of his
children, said she witnessed one of two men opening fire on
the victim.

She said she saw Mr Daly lying in a pool of blood after he
tried to escape through the passenger door of the car.

Mr Daly's daughter said she heard the shots and saw the men
responsible for her father's death running past her.


A detective superintendent in charge of the investigation
said a number of motives for the killing were being

He said a caller claiming to be from a group calling itself
the Irish Freedom Fighters had claimed responsibility but
he did not believe it to be genuine.

Coroner John Lecky offered his condolences to the family
and said he hoped the perpetrators would be brought to

He also said he did not believe the Irish Freedom Fighters
claim was genuine.

Published: 2006/10/20 11:34:48 GMT


Gerry Adams To Address Major Health Rally In Dublin On Saturday

Published: 20 October, 2006

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams will address a major health
rally in Dublin tomorrow afternoon (Saturday 21st October).
Thousands of people are expected in the city centre to
demand that the government end the crisis in the health
service and deliver on the 3,000 beds required for acute
hospitals. Mr. Adams said: It's time that the government
used public finance to improve the public health system and
not to help property developers build private hospitals.
Now is the time to put the government under pressure'.

Speaking in advance of the rally Mr. Adams said:

"I am calling on people to take to the streets of Dublin
tomorrow and put the government under pressure in the run
up to the budget. We are demanding that the government
intervene to end the crisis in the health service and end
their map cap proposals to privatise health care services.

"A big turnout tomorrow will put the government under
pressure to change their inadequate health care policies.
It can also ensure that health is at the centre of the
public debate in the upcoming general election campaign.

"The health service can be better. Sinn Fein is proposing a
viable, realistic alternative approach which can end the
current inefficient and unequal two tier health system."

Note to editor: The rally will depart from Parnell Square
at 1pm and proceed down O'Connell Street, around by Nassau
Street to the Dáil. Marchers will then return via
Westmoreland Street to the GPO where Gerry Adams will make
his address. Also speaking at the rally will be party
Health Spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin. The rally will be
attended by many of the Sinn Féin leadership.


Icons Of The North: Collective Histories Of Northern Irish Art

National Arts And Media Event Notice
Friday October 20, 2006 11:08 by Aine Kiernan - Solstice Arts Centre,
Navan, Co Meath aine.kiernan at solsticeartscentre dot ie

An exhibition that focuses on socio-political art from the
period 1969 – 1994 and supplies a survey of, and an
introduction to, art produced during ‘The Troubles’ in
Northern Ireland. At Solstice Arts Centre, Railway Street,
Navan, Co Meath from 12th October to 25th November, 2006.
Open Daily from 10am - 5pm. Free of Charge

Featured artists include; Marie Barrett, Tom Bevan, Graham
Gingles, Gerry Gleason, Jack Packenham, Victor Sloan and
Una Walker.

This exhibition is presented in partnership with the Golden
Thread Gallery, Belfast.

Related Link:


A Twist On The Old Dream: Looking To Ireland For Jobs

Published: October 20, 2006

The jobs fair that Ireland is holding tonight in Midtown
Manhattan was envisioned as an invitation home to hard-
pressed Irish immigrants living illegally in New York.
Instead, to the surprise of organizers, it is mainly
American citizens who have shown interest and seem eager
for a new career and a new life in Ireland’s booming

James Estrin/The New York Times

Robert Aspland, 54, an American corporate veteran whose
business dropped off after 9/11, sees international trade
possibilities via Ireland.

Some, like Robert Aspland, 54, are disenchanted veterans of
American business who see a better market in Ireland for
their ideas and experience. Others are young and
frustrated, like Patrick Cahalan, 26, a fourth-generation
New Yorker with a degree in graphic design who is ready to
chuck freelance work at stagnant wages to chase the kind of
opportunity his distant Irish ancestors once sought in

“Their economy is on the way up, their education’s on the
way up,” said Mr. Cahalan, who had just returned from his
first trip to Ireland when he learned of the jobs fair,
which begins at 5 p.m. today and runs through tomorrow
afternoon at the Affinia Manhattan hotel on Seventh Avenue
and 31st Street.

“The reports of economic growth in America may be true, but
they usually don’t include people like me,” he added. “It
seems like getting a full-time job with benefits that also
pays a living wage is like a pipe dream here these days.”

That kind of interest from American citizens is new to
Gregory Craig, director of corporate affairs for FAS, the
Irish national training and employment authority, which has
organized the event and has run similar fairs from Sydney
to Moscow, striving to fill the 60,000 skilled vacancies in
its jobs bank.

But when Mr. Craig checked the immigration figures with his
own foreign ministry, he said, he realized he was at the
front line of a small but unmistakable trend: nearly three
times more Americans moved to Ireland last year than Irish
immigrated to the United States.

The numbers are tiny, though growing: 4,300 Americans
immigrated to Ireland in 2005, and 5,000 are projected by
the end of this year, Mr. Craig said. Only 1,700 Irish came
to America in 2005, and the numbers are expected to

That kind of twist on the past was worth a good laugh to
Timothy J. Meagher, a historian of Irish-American
immigration at Catholic University of America in

“It has a nice symmetry to it, doesn’t it?” he said when he
caught his breath. “It really is a historic pass. It’s kind
of mind-boggling.”

For most of three centuries, Ireland hemorrhaged its
population and served as the image of poverty and failure,
he said. As recently as 1990, 23,000 people left Ireland,
including some who re-greened old Irish neighborhoods in
New York, Boston and Philadelphia but never gained legal

Some joined a return migration to now-prosperous Ireland,
and those left behind without American citizenship seem
like a natural audience for the job fair, which is
described as having 6,500 “live jobs” of every kind, from
posts in the financial sector and the stock exchange to
work for painters, plumbers and decorators. In New York,
illegal Irish immigrants face security crackdowns that make
it harder for those without valid Social Security numbers
to drive, work or plan a future in the United States.

But Mr. Craig worried that fear would keep some away. “Our
undocumented have a problem with this show because they
feel threatened,” he said. “A lot of people are afraid that
your Homeland Security people will be there.”

Others dismissed the idea. “We don’t buy into that at all,
the threat of a swoop,” said Adrian Flannelly, chairman of
the Irish Radio Network in New York, who has served on an
Irish government task force on returnees. “It would be
highly inappropriate for the strong arm of the law to show

Just who will show up remains to be seen. But Mr. Craig,
who has helped run similar events in Poland, Estonia and
Latvia, said that e-mail messages in response to fliers and
notices in the Irish-American press had come overwhelmingly
from Americans, some with ancestral ties to Ireland, but
many without.

“My view is these people are looking for a complete change
of life,” he said, listing some of Ireland’s advantages as
competitive pay, plentiful jobs, four months maternity
leave, full health coverage and free education through

By law, preference is given to citizens of Europe, like the
120,000 Eastern Europeans now working in Ireland. But the
jobs on offer at the fair have already been approved for
others, he said, and the fair will provide information
about visas and work permits for Americans.

Some, like Mr. Aspland, the veteran businessman, who has
never been to Ireland, are eligible for dual citizenship
through an Irish grandparent. His main interest, however,
is parlaying his ties to China into international trade
opportunities from Ireland.

“I’m one of those people who lost everything on the day of
9/11,” he said, describing the abrupt end of a career
putting together “road shows” for stock offerings and
mergers and acquisitions. “Everybody I knew was either dead
or also out of a job — they took all the jobs and sent them
to India.”

His mother, 89, told him that her mother, Mary Elizabeth
Connery, would be spinning in her grave to think of him
moving to Ireland, he said. His grandmother fled Irish
poverty, worked as a domestic in Brooklyn, and died there
at 83 in 1957, happy never to see Dungarvan County again.

But today, he said: “You need to look at being a global
citizen. I love New York City, and it’s the greatest city
in the world, but it’s something you have to consider,
because I have no benefits. There’s more opportunity in
Ireland for someone with my background and my age.”

At a reception for fair organizers last night in the Irish
consul general’s East Side penthouse, guests were plied
with canapés of smoked salmon and stuffed mushrooms as
officials emphasized that Americans brought the skills,
language and comfort with diversity that suited the new

“We’re not offering people a favor,” said Tony Killeen,
Ireland’s minister for labor affairs. “We need them.”

Cassi Feldman contributed reporting.


Live Music: Havana Ball At Belfast Festival

Cuba runs through the music programme of the Belfast
Festival like Blackpool through a stick of rock, as Damien
Murray reports

20 October 2006

With music on offer from Kila, Buena Vista Social Club,
Cherish The Ladies, Lambchop, SWAP, Gipsy Kings, Tunng &
Jill Barber, Iain Archer and Courtney Tidwell, roots music
is certainly well represented in the exciting music
programme at the Belfast Festival At Queen's.

The big attraction, for me, is next Thursday night's
Elmwood Hall concert by Irish-American exponents of Celtic
music, Cherish The Ladies.

For this concert, the girls - Joanie Madden (flute,
whistles & harmony vocals), Heidi Talbot (lead vocals,
bodhran), Donna Long (piano, fiddle & harmony vocals), Mary
Coogan (guitar, banjo, mandolin) and Mirella Murray (button
accordion) - will be joined by special guests Eddi Reader,
Liz Kane (fiddle), Laiose Kelly (harp) and original member
from the Bothy Band, Triona Ni Dhomhnaill (piano).

These former Grammy-nominees have won many other awards
with their unique blend of virtuoso instrumental talents,
beautiful vocals, captivating arrangements and stunning
step dancing.

This powerhouse group combines all the facets of Irish
traditional culture and presents them in a humorous and
entertaining package.

Another world-class concert, at the Mandela Hall next
Friday, will see Nashville's finest collective,
Lambchop, return to Belfast to showcase songs from current
and much-applauded album, Damaged. Also playing a
significant role on the album is support act, Ryan Norris
and Scott Martin, collectively known as the electronic
outfit, Hands Off Cuba.

Speaking of Cuba ? this Sunday night, direct from Havana to
the Whitla Hall, look out for an extraordinary line-up of
Buena Vista Social Club stalwarts (including members of
Ibrahim Ferrer's live band), together with an 11-piece

Set to bring audiences to their feet, each of these artists
has an individual take on the gamut of Cuban music, and
they've each put their stamp on son montunos, cha cha cha,
boleros, and Cuban jazz.

The Gipsy Kings, who appear at the Waterfront Hall on
Halloween night, mix raw flamenco, jazzy guitar, Latin
rhythms, Cuban pop and even traces of reggae and Arabic

These amazing musicians, from the gypsy settlements of the
south of France, display the vigorous guitar work and
passionate vocals that have ensured their domination of the
world-music charts for decades, selling more than 18
million albums worldwide.

A welcome innovation at the Festival is the introduction of
a new venue in the deliciously decadent Spiegeltent,
situated in Custom House Square.

This atmospheric space will play host to a number of great
performers, including the Dublin-based buskers' collective,
Kila (tomorrow night) who have become one of Ireland's most
innovative and creative bands with an essentially
traditional line-up (the seven-piece play a variety of
instruments including whistles, fiddles, pipes as well as
brass and woodwind and the more electric end of the

SWAP, who appear at Spiegeltent on October 29, are a group
of Anglo-Swedes with a lust for life.

The band - Karen Tweed, Ian Carr, Ola Backstrom and Carina
Normansson - are great musicians and great entertainers,
full of passion, inspiration and inventiveness, and have
earned many nominations and awards.

A Spiegeltent double-bill on November 2 presents British
nu-folk collective, Tunng, along with Canada's Jill Barber,
who draws on influences from old-time jazz standards,
bluegrassy-folk and hook-laden pop.

Mixing pop, folk and electronica to come up with something
twisted yet gentle, singalong yet disjointed, Tunng have
rapidly become one of the fresh faces of a new kind of
British folk.

And on the final Festival night, Spiegeltent presents local
singer/songwriter, Iain Archer and Courtney Tidwell, who
has been described as the 'Nashville Bjork'.

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