News about the Irish & Irish American culture, music, news, sports. This is hosted by the Irish Aires radio show on KPFT-FM 90.1 in Houston, Texas (a Pacifica community radio station)

October 19, 2006

SF To Discuss St Andrews Summit

News About Ireland & The Irish

BB 10/19/06 SF To Discuss St Andrews Summit
SF 10/19/06 SF Meets Finance Minister Re: Peace Dividend Proposals
BT 10/19/06 Blair In Vow To Help Troubles Victims
SF 10/19/06 Gerry Adams To Meet With Church Of Ireland Bishops
BT 10/19/06 Day To Reflect On Troubles Is Proposed
BT 10/19/06 'Divisive' Ulster Schools Slammed
BT 10/19/06 Opin: SF Need To Keep Horse Before Cart Over Policing
BT 10/19/06 Name Of Dingle Dangles In Row Over Language
BT 10/19/06 Church In Legal Threat To Residents


SF To Discuss St Andrews Summit

Sinn Fein's party executive is due to meet in Dublin to
discuss the Saint Andrews Agreement.

The ard chomhairle is the body which is expected to respond
to the government by 10 November.

The meeting has been described as a briefing session. It
will also decide on the shape of the party's internal
consultation in the coming weeks.

On Thursday, Sinn Fein policing spokesperson Gerry Kelly
said the party was not ready to vote on the issue.

"We wanted to get to the point where we could put a
proposition to an ard comhairle - we have not reached
that," he said.

The DUP wants a pledge of support for policing in place
before party leader Ian Paisley and Sinn Fein's Martin
McGuinness can become shadow first and deputy first

Mr Paisley and Mr McGuinness are due to become shadow first
and deputy first ministers on 24 November.

The Northern Ireland parties have been given until 10
November to respond to what the governments are calling the
St Andrews Agreement.

It was published after intensive three-day talks between
the parties at St Andrews in Scotland.

If all goes to plan, a first and deputy first minister will
be nominated on 24 November and the devolved institutions
will be up and running by 26 March.

Published: 2006/10/19 06:34:24 GMT

The Sinn Féin Ard Chomhairle will meet in Dublin today
(19th October) in the Gresham Hotel on O'Connell Street.
The Ard Chomhairle will also decide on the consultation
which will take place in the party in the coming weeks.


Sinn Féin To Meet With Minister For Finance To Discuss
Peace Dividend Proposals

Published: 19 October, 2006

Sinn Féin General Secretary Mitchel McLaughlin MLA and
Arthur Morgan TD will meet Minister for Finance Brian Cowen
at 12 noon today (Thursday 19th) in the Department of
Finance to discuss the Irish government’s contribution to a
peace dividend for the north and the border counties. They
will also discuss proposals in relation to the government’s
upcoming ‘National Development Plan’.

Speaking in advance of the meeting the Sinn Féin
representatives said:

“Sinn Féin has been in ongoing discussions with British
Prime Minister Tony Blair and Taoiseach Bertie Ahern for
some time now in relation to the need for a substantial
peace dividend for the north and the border counties. We
met with officials in London earlier this week. Today we
are meeting with the Minister for Finance Brian Cowen to
discuss how the Irish government will contribute to such a
peace dividend.

“We will also be discussing a range of proposals in
relation to the government’s upcoming ‘National Development
plan’. These include recommendations in relation to joint
north south infrastructural projects, economic regeneration
of the border region and the removal of barriers to cross
border mobility for business, employment and a range of
public services. We will also be calling on the government
to look imaginatively at ways to restore towns/communities
to their natural hinterlands where they have been disrupted
by the border.”ENDS


Blair In Vow To Help Troubles Victims

By Mark Hookham
19 October 2006

The Government yesterday vowed to provide long term funding
for victims of the Troubles.

Prime Minister Tony Blair vowed that ministers will "look
positively" at recommendations for future funding from
interim victims' commissioner Bertha McDougall.

Mrs McDougall has warned that funding for victims and their
support groups is poised to fall sharply next year. She
said that to date there was no long-term strategic plan to
fund or provide adequate services to victims.

Her case was yesterday taken up with Mr Blair by Lagan
Valley MP Jeffrey Donaldson.

Speaking during Prime Minister's Questions, the DUP MP
asked: "Will the Prime Minister give a commitment to
provide that long term funding for those who have suffered
so much?"

Mr Blair replied: "Yes I can give that commitment to the
honourable gentleman.

"Let me just point out that we have committed some £38
million to victims groups since 1998. The current spending
is at £5 million pounds a year.

"I am aware of the excellent work that is being done by
Bertha McDougall as the commissioner. I look forward to her
final report. We will look positively at her
recommendations for future funding and her suggestions for
spending the money."


Gerry Adams To Meet With Church Of Ireland Bishops

Published: 18 October, 2006

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams will lead a party
delegation including Caitriona Ruane MLA, Mary Lou McDonald
MEP, Conor Murphy MP, Alex Maskey MLA and the head of the
party's unionist outreach project Martina Anderson for
talks with the Head of the Church of Ireland Archbishop
Robin Eames and a senior Church delegation in Stormont on
Monday 23rd October at 11am.

This will be the first public meeting between the Sinn Féin
leadership and the Church of Ireland.

Speaking today in advance of the meeting Sinn Féin
President Gerry Adams said:

"This meeting is an important and significant part of our
overall strategy of engagement with the Protestant

"I look forward to meeting with the Archbishop to brief him
on recent developments in the political process and outline
what we believe are the necessary next steps as we seek to
put back in place the suspended political institutions.

"The Churches have an important role to play in shaping a
new shared future for all of the people who live here and I
hope that this meeting will mark the beginning of a
dialogue between ourselves and the Church of Ireland in the
time ahead." ENDS


Day To Reflect On Troubles Is Proposed

By Noel McAdam
19 October 2006

A day of private reflection across Northern Ireland, the
Republic and Britain has been proposed as a mechanism for
dealing with the legacy of the Troubles and moving forward.

The Healing Through Remembering (HTR) project suggested
June 21 next year as the first initial Day of Reflection,
which would be held in private.

Following a conference earlier this month in Armagh, a sub-
group working on the proposal said inclusive and careful
preparation would be required.

"We are mindful that the issues around the hurts of the
past are difficult, complex and sensitive and that there is
no single solution to addressing the suffering brought
about by the conflict in and about Northern Ireland," their
report, released today, said.

The sub-group said their work over the last two years had
led them to conclude that a special day "could make a
valuable contribution to enabling society to deal with the
legacy of the conflict and to move forward to a better

And while the initial day would be held privately, the
group said there is "at least the potential" to hold the
day publicly in future and move towards public, shared
events over time.

Sean Coll, chair of the sub-group, said the purpose of the
day was to provide the opportunity for reflection on the
conflict and assess the viability of holding future days.

He has asked for responses to the proposal, which will need
the involvement of many, to be submitted by Friday,
December 1.

HTR's initial report four years ago recommended an annual
Day of Reflection as a "universal gesture of
reconciliation, reflection, acknowledgement and recognition
of the suffering of so many . . . "


'Divisive' Ulster Schools Slammed

Former Tory minister says religious split produces 'savage

By Mark Hookham
19 October 2006

A former Conservative education secretary has accused
Northern Ireland's separated religious school system of
producing a "savage harvest".

Lord Baker of Dorking - formerly Kenneth Baker - told the
House of Lords that the Ulster school system proves the
case for a quota system of non-believers at new religious

Margaret Thatcher's former education minister said the
experiences in the Northern Ireland show how divisive
religious schools can be. He made his comments this week as
he introduced an amendment in the Lords to the Government's
flagship Education Bill, which shakes up the English
schooling system.

He proposed a legal quota on new religious schools to
allocate 25% of places to pupils who do not follow the same

The Tory peer, who was education secretary from 1986 to
1989, said: "It is wrong to divide children by religion at
the ages of five and 11.

"Where that has happened in societies such as Northern
Ireland, that crop has produced a savage harvest. The
comparison with Northern Ireland is fair.

"There is great intransigence, but there is now hope in
that country because community schools are being
established in which there are 40% Catholics, 40%
Protestants and 20% others.

"I have talked to the prime mover of that in Northern
Ireland and it is a very inspiring move indeed."

Lord Baker said the he was concerned that a new generation
of Muslim schools would seek to turn their pupils into
"total Muslim personalities".

In a major change of policy, the Government last night
agreed to bring forward its own amendment which would hand
local authorities in England the power to set a 25% quote.

Education Secretary Alan Johnson has said the measure is
"only a start".


Opin: SF Need To Keep Horse Before Cart Over Policing

The St Andrews plan has created a thorny issue for the
republican leadership. And, as security expert Brian Rowan
reports, Adams and McGuinness have only one opportunity to
sell it to the rank and file

19 October 2006

Walking the route set out in that St Andrews road map just
a few short days ago was always going to take careful,
thoughtful steps.

We knew that last Friday, when the talking in Scotland gave
shape to a potential new deal - a deal of the kind that
could really end a very long "war".

It poses difficulties for the DUP's Ian Paisley as it does
for Sinn Fein's Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness.

So, we shouldn't be all that surprised that on the walk
towards its March end - the new deadline date for
devolution - that there will be stumbling moments, times
when the politics and the politicians will lose their

That is the context for Tuesday's postponement of the
meeting that was meant to bring Mr Paisley and Mr Adams
into the one Stormont room.

Mr Paisley still needs to be convinced that republicans are
going to fully endorse and participate in policing, and
republicans need to be convinced that the DUP leader and
his party are for power sharing.

On the road towards that end, and on policing, republicans
need to keep their horse in front of the cart.

"The mood on the ground with republicans is we need to be
convinced," one source told this newspaper.

The Adams, McGuinness, Kelly leadership is only going to
get one shot at this - one special ard fheis - or party
conference - one debate, one chance to be convincing.

"Gerry doesn't want 50% plus one," the source said -
meaning that Mr Adams, on this most difficult of all
issues, needs a convincing vote when the ard fheis meets
and then decides.

Mr McGuinness will have a big part to play in that

Inside republicanism, his IRA credentials give extra weight
to his voice and his arguments in today's political debate.

That is why the November 24 pledge that the DUP wants - on
the day of nominations for First and Deputy First Minister
- causes Mr McGuinness and the Sinn Fein leadership such a

He cannot pre-empt the decision and the vote of the ard
fheis, and at this stage there is nothing to suggest that
that special conference on policing can be held before that
Stormont date for nominations.

"The ard fheis has to speak on this subject," a source
said. But before it speaks it will have to know what it is
being asked.

That is a matter for the Sinn Fein Ard Chomhairle - or
party executive. It meets today for an update on all that
happened at St Andrews.

Then, on some other day - not yet decided - that same party
executive will consider a proposal from Mr Adams on the
policing question. It can amend that proposal, and it will
require two-thirds majority support to get to a special ard

The most that could be in the public domain by November 24
will be the Sinn Fein leadership proposal - a proposal, if
the St Andrews Agreement is to work, that has to support
the police.

Mr Adams and Mr McGuinness will win the debate - that is my
firm belief - but the question is by how much.

In the build up to that ard fheis and that vote, it is
interesting to watch what is happening at republican

This newspaper, just a few days ago, carried a photograph
of Adams pictured with Bobby Storey - one of the IRA's most
senior figures.

At a rally in the Europa Hotel on the eve of the St Andrews
talks there was a very public IRA presence - not
necessarily people whose faces and names would jump out,
but people who inside that organisation are respected, and
whose thinking and direction are followed.

Is it just a coincidence that we are seeing them now? The
answer is no.

They are being seen, because they need to be seen. It is a
way of them saying that they are with Mr Adams and Mr

It is the republican way of demonstrating support for the
Sinn Fein leadership, and all of that is important to those
inside the republican movement and community who have
doubts about policing, about this process and about where
it is leading.

Inside the DUP people know this issue, this process, "poses
ideological problems" for republicans.

Some might even think or fear that republicans will still
"come up short" on what is needed on policing.

But remember what Gerry Kelly - the Sinn Fein policing and
justice spokesman - said in this newspaper recently; that
if the conditions can be got right then participation will
be "full-bodied".

Republicans know that if policing and justice powers are to
be transferred to local politicians, that if they are to
have a place in a future policing and justice department at
Stormont, then they have to go on to the Policing Board,
and they have to create a situation in which young
republicans believe they can join the PSNI without fear of

In all of this, republicans have to keep their sequence
right - keep the horse in front of the cart.

That is why Mr McGuinness needs to speak to an ard fheis
before he speaks a pledge in Stormont.

He, the IRA leaders that we are now seeing in more public
roles, and the IRA leadership that is still in place, will
have critical roles both in the preparation and in the
actual debate that is coming.

That leadership and those leaders are no longer directing a
war. They are delivering a peace and they are moving
republicans ever closer to participation in policing. We
may not have the vote by November 24, but we should be able
to see where this thing is going to end up.

That is if we are looking.


Name Of Dingle Dangles In Row Over Language

19 October 2006

People in the internationally known town of Dingle, one of
the west of Ireland's most popular tourist draws, are
mobilising against an Irish government edict that the
town's name no longer officially exists.

Kerry county council has organised a plebiscite of Dingle
residents, asking them whether they want the town's long-
standing name restored as part of a new bilingual title.

At present, its official name is An Daingean but the most
likely outcome of the vote will be a recommendation to
rename it Dingle - Daingean Ui Chuis. This, though
unwieldy, would at least resurrect the name.

With 1,220 people eligible to vote, the result will be
known tomorrow. The question is viewed locally as not just
one of sentimentality or preferring the Irish language to
English but as an important economic issue.

The Dingle peninsula, an area of outstanding natural charm
and beauty, attracts many thousands of visitors from the
rest of Ireland and elsewhere each year. It is a highly
valuable brand name. The local fear is that the tourist
industry could suffer because baffled visitors would be
unable to find the town since Dingle no longer appears on

A local councillor said this represented a disaster,
complaining that tourists were "getting dizzy in the head"
trying to find the town. He declared: "We must write to the
minister and tell him foreigners do not understand the
Irish language. Perhaps a new sign should now be put up,
'If you don't understand Irish, don't go beyond this

The relevant government minister, Eamon O Cuiv, appears
particularly determined to scrap the name of Dingle. He
comes from a line of Irish language enthusiasts: his father
was a noted Irish scholar and his grandfather, Eamon de
Valera, was one of the Republic's founding fathers, a
former President, and a lifelong advocate of Irish.

The minister's point is that the name, catchy and
internationally recognised though it may be, has no meaning
in Irish and is situated in a Gaeltacht area, one of the
districts where the Irish language is still commonly spoken
and officially encouraged.

The minister said: "The days of walking both sides of the
street are over. It's a nonsense not having linguistic
criterion attached to the Gaeltacht. If you are in the
Gaeltacht, one would imagine the first brand you would sell
is the Irish language. The Irish language brand is the

But the counter argument, put by Sile Gorman, the Dingle
Peninsula tourism spokesperson, is: "Twenty years ago, our
children had to emigrate but now, because of tourism, they
have a real choice and can remain on the peninsula. The
government has spent millions promoting the Dingle
peninsula brand and now they want to throw it away."

If, as expected, the plebiscite confirms a strong desire to
retain the Dingle name, the minister will face calls from
the local council to allow the title to reappear on
signposts and other designations.


Church In Legal Threat To Residents

By Deborah McAleese
19 October 2006

The Catholic Church has threatened a group of residents
with legal action if they attempt to obstruct the
demolition of a community hall.

Residents from Drumaroad, outside Castlewellan, Co Down,
have been warned by the Diocese of Down and Connor that a
High Court injunction will be sought against them if they
continue blocking the bulldozers from moving in to demolish
Drumaroad Hall.

The threat has angered residents who have accused the
diocese of refusing to meet them to discuss their
opposition to the demolition.

However, the diocese has said the building is not safe and
needs to be knocked down as soon as possible.

This is the latest twist in a six year battle between
residents and the diocese after Parish Priest Fr John Moley
decided to demolish the community hall in 2000.

Residents staged a number of protests and even attempted to
secure a High Court order preventing the Diocese from
carrying out the work.

The local regeneration group said it wanted the hall to be
kept for community use. However, the diocese claimed that
the property was an unnecessary financial burden.

In August the hall was partly demolished but completion
work was forced to a halt when residents moved in to

The diocese fears that the hall now poses a health and
safety hazard and said if necessary it will go to the High
Court to stop residents from obstructing any further
demolition work.

A spokesman for Down and Connor said: "The trustees of
Drumaroad Hall have been advised that the premises are not
safe and therefore the hall must be demolished."

Patrick Clarke, project development officer for Drumaroad
Community Regeneration Group, said residents are upset that
the Diocese will not meet with them.

He added: "It seems incredible that the diocese of Down and
Connor would rather resort to taking legal action against
our members instead of meeting with our group to discuss
Drumaroad hall.

"Our group cannot understand why no-one from the diocese
office will sit down and discuss the hall in order to reach
some form of agreement, which our group believes will
ultimately benefit the local school, the local parish and
the local community in the long term. Instead the diocese
are happy to take legal action rather than meeting with

To Subscribe to Irish Aires Google News List, click Here.
To Unsub from Irish Aires Google News List, click Here
For options visit:

Or join our Irish Aires Yahoo Group, Click here

To Get RSS Feed for Irish Aires News click HERE
(Paste into a News Reader)

To October Index
To Index of Monthly Archives
Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?