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October 22, 2006

Sinn Fein Outlines Pledge Stance

News About Ireland & The Irish

BB 10/22/06 Sinn Fein Outlines Pledge Stance
IT 10/23/06 British-Irish Body To Assess St Andrews Agreement Today
SF 10/22/06 Adams To Meet With Church Of Ireland Bishops Tomorrow
IT 10/23/06 New North Deal May 'Unlock' Potential For Peace
SB 10/22/06 Opin: A Greek Tragedy For Paisley
CB 10/22/06 Hollywood Star In Belfast For Mural TV Show


Sinn Fein Outlines Pledge Stance

Martin McGuinness has said he has no problem signing up to
a pledge of office with Ian Paisley before 24 November, but
it depends what is in it.

However, Sinn Fein's chief negotiator added that the pledge
could not impact on the party's internal debate.

The DUP wants a pledge of support for policing in place
before Mr Paisley and Mr McGuinness can become shadow first
and deputy first minister.

Mr McGuinness said: "It really will depend what is in that

He told the BBC's Politics Show on Sunday: "We will have to
see at the end of our process a very clear situation where
a Sinn Fein ard fheis will take place.

"For Ian Paisley to expect me to sign up to anything, prior
to the membership of Sinn Fein having a say in all of this,
is quite ridiculous. "

On Thursday, party president Gerry Adams said Sinn Fein
would engage in a consultation process with its members on
the proposals contained in the St Andrews Agreement.

Multi-party talks

Mr Adams was speaking in Dublin after attending a meeting
of the party's national executive.

Mr Adams gave no indication of how long the consultation
process would take. He also did not reveal when SF would
call a special ard fheis on policing.

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.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/10/22 16:31:36 GMT


British-Irish Body To Assess St Andrews Agreement Today

Stephen Collins, Political Correspondent, in Belfast

Irish and British politicians will have an opportunity to
debate and assess the St Andrews Agreement, 10 days after
it was signed, when they meet for a formal session of the
British-Irish Inter-Parliamentary Body in Belfast today.

The 68-member British-Irish body will meet for its 33rd
plenary session at Belfast's Waterfront Hall - the first
time the body has met in formal session in Northern

The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Peter Hain,
will deliver the keynote address on behalf of the British
government and will then participate in a questions-and-
answers session with the members.

Prior to this, the body will debate a motion welcoming the
St Andrews Agreement and commending the two governments and
the political parties for their efforts to restore the
political institutions and restore devolution for the
people of Northern Ireland.

The motion also welcomes the position, as set out in the
agreement, that support for policing and the rule of law
should be extended to every part of the community; and that
such support included endorsing the Police Service of
Northern Ireland and the criminal justice system,
encouraging the community to co-operate with the police in
tackling crime, and actively supporting all the policing
and criminal justice institutions, including the Policing

It also encourages all the parties to work towards
accepting the governments' proposals by November 10th to
allow the Assembly to nominate the first and deputy first
ministers on November 24th to allow for restoration on
March 26th, 2007.

Members of all the Northern parties have been invited to
attend the deliberations of the body at its plenary session
this morning.

Other matters to be debated include the economic prospects
for Northern Ireland, the role of civil society, and a body
sub-committee report seeking a multimillion-pound
investment aimed at helping children and young people in
the most deprived areas of Belfast.

The body's British co-chairman is Labour MP Paul Murphy, Mr
Hain's predecessor as Northern Ireland secretary. The Irish
co-chairman is Dublin North-West Fianna Fáil TD, Pat Carey.

The British-Irish Inter-Parliamentary Body was formally
established in 1990 as a link between Westminster and
Dublin, with 25 British and 25 Irish members drawn from the
upper and lower houses of both parliaments.

In recent years the membership of the body has been
extended to include representatives from the Welsh
assembly, the Scottish parliament, the Northern Ireland
Assembly and the Isle of Man and Channel Islands.

© The Irish Times


Gerry Adams To Meet With Church Of Ireland Bishops In Stormont Tomorrow

Published: 22 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
tomorrow, 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


New North Deal May 'Unlock' Potential For Peace

Ruadhán MacCormaic in Bodenstown

The conditions for a "final completion" of the peace
process have never been more promising, Taoiseach Bertie
Ahern has said.

Speaking at Fianna Fáil's annual Wolfe Tone commemoration
in Bodenstown, Co Kildare, yesterday, Mr Ahern said that in
200 years there had never been as much dialogue and
interaction between the political groupings in Ireland as
there was today.

He predicted that the St Andrews accord would "finally and
fully" unlock the potential for permanent peace.

"We are at a precious moment in our history where a shared
future lies before us," he said.

In an optimistic assessment of the prospects for a
political settlement, the Taoiseach noted that the meeting
at St Andrews took place against a background of the ending
of the IRA campaign, the decommissioning of its weapons and
the recent IMC report confirming that the IRA was honouring
its commitments.

Last summer was also one of the most peaceful for decades,
and this confluence of events offered "real hope and
unprecedented opportunity".

"I believe the agreement at St Andrews will finally and
fully unlock the massive potential for permanent peace and
progress on this island.

"As they reflect on the agreement at St Andrews, the
leaders of the Northern parties are carrying the burden of
history on their shoulders. But I believe that they have
the strength and capacity to deliver."

Mr Ahern urged the parties not to "walk away at the first
challenge", and said the push for "final completion" must
not be allowed to stall.

He also quoted the observations of DUP leader the Rev Ian
Paisley following the St Andrews talks. "He said at St
Andrews that we were at a crossroads. He spoke of a new
light that could shine on our children and our
grandchildren. We do not agree on everything, but we fully
share those sentiments," the Taoiseach said.

He praised British prime minister Tony Blair who had made
an "extraordinary historic contribution to the
consolidation of peace in Ireland".

Referring to former British prime minister William
Gladstone's remarks in 1868 that his "mission is to pacify
Ireland", Mr Ahern said: "It is Tony Blair who has actually
achieved it."

Speaking to reporters after the event, Mr Ahern also said
he was in favour in principle of a single all-Ireland
corporation tax rate.

"It obviously would make trading in the island of Ireland
better because what is happening now is more and more of
the multinational companies that are in either part of
Ireland are forced to have one corporate headquarters but
two totally different accounting systems.

"So I think business people from the North - and they're
united, unionist and nationalist - are putting forward a
very strong case."

© The Irish Times


Opin: A Greek Tragedy For Paisley

22 October 2006 By Tom McGurk

Almost everything that Ian Paisley touches turns to black
pantomime; his very presence seems to signal that the
absurd will take over, sooner or later.

No sooner had the negotiating teams from St Andrew’s
returned but there was yet another act of farce: ‘‘Oh no I
won’t; oh yes he will!” The lost tribe of Ulster are led
down the central steps at Stormont and up to the
microphones for another blackly-comic sound bite. We all
wearily sigh and look away, the endless public exorcisms of
his private demons have eaten up too much of all our lives.

In post-reformation Europe, Protestantism became a state
cult on which an empire was built and on which, apparently,
the sun never set. It all began with Henry VIII’s warlords
getting their greedy paws on the monasteries and culminated
along the silk route to the unimaginable riches of India
and China. Three centuries on, little remains except the
memories, the memorabilia and the big colourful Orange
banners they carry down Belfast’s miserable back streets,
featuring Victoria handing out bibles to kneeling Zulu

It all began in Ireland and it’s all slowly ending here.
Under the dreary spires, they never forgave and they never
forgot. Now this quarrel is finally ending, not with a
bang, but with a whimper. It is poor Paisley’s unenviable
task to make the last whimper, to be the last man out, who
finally turns out the neo-colonial lights. For all his
braggadocio, you can see in his eyes that he knows the game
is up; now he’s trying to dress up the end as some sort of
new beginning, trying to sell us his emasculation as some
sort of victory.

But down in Ballygobackwards there are already smoke
signals of discontent. The DUP’s Jim Allister MEP is
warning that the army council of the IRA is still in
existence. Is there anyone of sound mind who could explain
how the non-existence of such a body could be monitored?
Alternatively, should one explain to Allister that they are
actually disbanding to reform as ministers in the new
devolved administration?

The most remarkable thing about all of this is the DUP’s
continuing belief that they - or indeed what’s left of
Irish Unionists - are negotiating from a position of
strength. It seems that it has hardly even crossed their
minds that they are now being spoon-fed, like historical
refugees, on the political charity of the British and Irish
governments. Here’s a roadmap, here’s a political a-to-z
and, if you behave, there’ll be a big wad of cash awaiting
you. Nor has Unionism even begun to understand that the
principal architect of its political, social and economic
destruction has been Paisley himself.

Thirty-two years ago at Sunningdale, he destroyed the
experiment of power-sharing with the SDLP that might have
built a new political society and isolated the Republican
militarists. Indeed, when they were in the worst of times,
Paisley was always there to help claw them back into the

Paisley saved Ulster from power-sharing with political
subversives like Nobel Peace Prize winner John Hume and
later Lord Gerry Fitt. One by one, he hung up the scalps he
took of the leaders of Unionism on the walls of the
Martyr’s Memorial: Terence O’Neill, James Chichester
Clarke, Brian Faulkner and David Trimble.

Over a single generation, he achieved something that
nationalists could only dream of, he destroyed the once-
invincible political machine that was Ulster Unionism. In
parallel, he destroyed its related economic and business
empire that a century of privilege, discrimination and
Masonic influence had created.

He smashed the esteem and purpose of the North’s Protestant
middle classes, as its brightest and best generation of
children fled the North to universities in Scotland and
England - most never to return. Half of them fled to the
golf courses of north Down, while the rest could only look
on helplessly. Tragically, not a single one of them had the
guts to call his political bluff or stand up to him. None
of them could step out of the hysteria that occludes
Unionist perceptions and attempt to spell out the new
economic and political facts of life. The sectarian
Frankenstein’s monster that Unionism had created could not
be put back in his cellar and was now destroying it piece
by piece. The more Ulster said ‘‘No’’, the fewer options

Next came the destruction of its armies. On Paisley’s merry
way, all those historical ‘‘doomsday’’ Unionist armies bit
the dust. First the B-Specials, then the UDR, then the RUC,
and finally the Royal Irish Rifles. Now, he reckons that
having IRA/ Sinn Fein (as he calls them) swearing oaths of
allegiance, before they start infiltrating the PSNI, is a
swell deal! Will they be queuing up in Crossmaglen to join,
I wonder? In all the terrible years after his Sunningdale
wreckage destroyed any political alternative and left the
North to the mercy of its military tribes, official and
unofficial, the human price reached 16th century

Even in his most loyal heartlands - the working class
Unionist housing estates which always answered his calls to
wave their flags outside Belfast City Hall - the price has
been appalling. They live at the mercy of the loyalist
paramilitary gangsters’ drug and protection rackets. They
live on social welfare with dysfunctional levels of
educational and economic achievement. What were once fully-
employed, model Church-fearing communities are now
socially-devastated third world-like sprawls.

Nor were the nationalists unaffected. The civil rights
generation, which largely reinvented itself as the SDLP and
was ready to do a deal, never recovered from Sunningdale.
As Paisley closed the political window on a unique moment,
all the guns came out.

Thousands of dead later - and after the Republican hunger
strike - Sinn Fein was putting on the new suits, and the
SDLP’s major political moment had passed. With Paisley’s
‘‘No’’ ringing in their ears, they trooped off to the wings
and - behold - here was Sinn Fein slouching onto centre

By now, Paisley had destroyed all the political middle
ground. Ironically, he had created a six counties closer to
his own fervid political nightmares than even he could have
imagined. Not only had the lunatics now taken over the
asylum, but they had even carefully reconstructed it in
their own lurid likenesses. Like some dark biblical
prophecy, Paisley must first create his own political
Armageddon before he then takes to miracles.

Now pull up a seat and watch the denouement closely. Will
anyone spell out to Paisley what he has done? That he has
actually spent the last 40 years destroying Irish Unionism
as a political, economic or moral force? That the peace
process has become a charity benefit between Britain and
the Celtic Tigers to help out a poor relative? That he is
to be congratulated on his lifelong, brilliant political
stratagem of destroying the enemies of Ulster with the
clever stroke of bringing them into its devolved

And that, just to complete the political nightmares on
which his fiery imagination had always needed to feed, the
South indeed is poised to invade. Not ‘‘on the one road
with their broad, black brimmers’’, but rather with their
corporate financiers and their bags of lucre. Just as soon
as he says ‘‘yes’’ and battens down the devolved hatches,
the Celtic Tiger will pounce over the border and snap up
all the bargains.

I won’t whisper it too loudly, Paisley, posterity is
listening, but you know as I do that, at the very moment of
your historical triumph, you have finally got your richly
deserved comeuppance. Ulster is for sale, after all. As if
we didn’t know all along . . .


Hollywood Star In Belfast For Mural TV Show

Published on 23/10/2006

One of Hollywood's biggest names proved a big draw for two
Northern Ireland politicians on either side of the divide
at the weekend

Vince Vaughn came face to face with Sinn Fein president
Gerry Adams and loyalist politician David Ervine during a
whistle-stop visit to Belfast.

The star of Swingers, Wedding Crashers and Old School
interviewed Mr Adams in west Belfast and Progressive
Unionist leader David Ervine in the east for a documentary
on the city's murals.

Locals in the republican heartland of Andersonstown were
stunned to see Mr Vaughn with two cameramen interviewing Mr
Adams in front of a mural of the IRA hunger striker Kieran
Doherty at Slemish Way.

A witness said: "You know what it's like. People see camera
crews and they're immediately intrigued.

"People heard he was filming on the Falls Road yesterday
and then they saw him with Gerry Adams.

"Vince Vaughn was really friendly, really open. He talked
to the locals, signed autographs and had a bit of craic
with them.

"He seemed really interested in the murals."

Mr Vaughn, who is dating Friends star Jennifer Aniston,
then travelled to the east of the city to interview Mr
Ervine off the Newtownards Road.

The East Belfast Assembly member said the 36-year-old actor
told him he had developed a fascination with the murals
during a previous visit to the city.

"We did a spot of filming in Dee Street around a mural
depicting people coming to the shipyards," the PUP leader

"I was explaining to him that years ago we would not have a
mural like this because it would all have been about
politics and our divisions.

"I told him that, for me, the mural was the epitome of the
change process that is going on in Northern Ireland. The
murals are changing.

"He was taking a break from shooting a film in London with
Kevin Spacey to do this documentary and came over for this

"There's no question he's genuinely interested in the

"He was telling me his interest was sparked on a previous
visit when he took a black taxi tour from the Europa Hotel.
He knew nothing about the murals before that trip.

"I have to say it was really interesting meeting him."

Belfast's loyalist and republican murals have become a
tourist attraction since the 1994 ceasefires, with buses
and taxis taking visitors to the city to see them.

Comedian Billy Connolly also visited murals on the loyalist
Shankill and republican New Lodge Roads during the filming
of his BBC series on Irish, English and Welsh cities.

There have been moves to encourage republican and loyalist
communities to replace murals depicting paramilitaries with
more positive images reflecting their neighbourhoods, or
idols such as George Best.

by David Gordon

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