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November 20, 2006

Adams: Time To Step Up Pace If Progress Is To Be Made

News About Ireland & The Irish

SF 11/20/06 Adams - Time To Step Up The Pace If Progress Is To Be Made
IT 11/20/06 Paisley Snubs North Government Talks Again
BB 11/20/06 Parties Discuss Future Assembly
BT 11/20/06 Face To Face, But Without Paisley
BT 11/20/06 Church Leaders Hopeful Of A Peace Deal
SF 11/20/06 First Ever Sinn Fein Member Of Housing Executive Board
BB 11/20/06 NIO's Appointment Under Scrutiny
SF 11/20/06 Sinn Fein Calls For Immediate Inquiry Into Appointment
IN 11/20/06 Burning Of Lundy `Peaceful'
IN 11/20/06 Soldiers' Killer Can Move To North Jail
IN 11/20/06 Irish Army Peacekeeper `Cracked' Under Pressure
IT 11/20/06 Priest Seriously Hurt In Co Kerry Attack
RT 11/20/06 Church Outraged By Kerry Priest Attack
BT 11/20/06 Opin: Time Of The Essence To Broker A Deal
IN 11/20/06 Opin: War Is Over - Politics Is New Armed Combat
BT 11/20/06 Opin: P¢L O Muir¡: Ulster-Scots In The Depths
IT 11/20/06 Church Fails To React To Shortage Of Priests
BN 11/20/06 First Irish University TV Station Goes 'On-Air' Today
BT 11/20/06 The Boss Brings Irish Ballad To Belfast Stage
BT 11/20/06 Movie Legend Pacino To Be Honoured By Trinity
IM 11/20/06 Special Screenings From The Irish Film Archive
IT 11/20/06 Council To Recognise Dingle Placename
MF 11/20/06 Saint Of 9/11


Adams - Time To Step Up The Pace If Progress Is To Be Made

Published: 20 November, 2006

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams MP today led a party
delegation including Chief Negotiator Martin McGuinness MP
and Michelle Gildernew MP in the first meeting of the
Programme for Government Committee in Stormont. Speaking
after the meeting Mr Adams said 'a good start was made
today but all of the parties need to step up the pace and
do some serious work in the coming weeks in order to
resolve the outstanding issues.' The Programme for

Government Committee will meet again next week.

Speaking following the meeting Mr Adams said:

"Today's convening of the Programme for Government
Committee is welcome and a good start was made. We now need
to step up the pace. There is a huge amount of work to be
done in a relatively short period of time and we will
only succeed if everyone comes at this in a genuine spirit.

"At today's meeting we proposed that the Programme for
Government Committee meet with the Minister for Finance
Brian Cowen and the British Chancellor Gordon Brown to
discuss in detail the proposals for a significant Peace

Dividend to be used by a future Executive. We also called
for the proposed legislation on Water Rates, due to be
debated next week in the British House of Commons, to be

"There are many other issues which this Committee needs to
address. One of the most important is cross party agreement
on the timetable and departmental model for the transfer of
power on policing and justice away from Westminster to
political institutions on the island of Ireland.

"People across the island, nationalist and unionist, will
be following the work of this committee carefully. Sinn
Fein intends to engage fully with all of the parties,
including the DUP, to resolve all of the outstanding

Our focus is on getting the power-sharing and all-Ireland
institutions up and running as quickly as possible and
delivering for the people who elect us." ENDS


Paisley Snubs North Government Talks Again

Paul Anderson

The North's programme for government committee finally met
today, but Rev Ian Paisley did not attend and sent DUP
deputy leader Peter Robinson.

Four parties are involved in the talks, which are central
to the Irish and British plan for restoring devolution by
the end of March next year. They are the DUP, Sinn Fein,
the Ulster Unionist Party and the SDLP.

The meeting was due to take place days after the St
Andrew's Agreement last month but was postponed after Dr
Paisley refused to allow the DUP attend in a row over Sinn
Fein making a ministerial pledge of support for the PSNI.

Sinn Fein chief negotiator Martin McGuinness said he was
unconcerned by Dr Paisley's absence. "It is a matter for
other parties who they wish to send. What is critical here
is the work that is done here at the committee."

Mr McGuinness said there needed to be "a will and
earnestness" to make progress in the spirit of co-
operation. "At some stage here or in the future people will
appear or not appear, but we will do the business with
whoever the DUP sends along."

London is planning to enact emergency legislation tomorrow
giving effect to the two government's power-sharing plan.
And a "transitional" Assembly is due to convene of Friday
when the DUP and Sinn Fein are due to indicate who will
they will nominate as shadow first minister and deputy
shadow first minister respectively.

A deadline for formal nomination was originally set for
November 25th; otherwise a plan B would have been
introduced without reference to the North's parties.

It is anticipated that the transitional Assembly will be
dissolved on January 30th next year ahead of March 7th
elections, giving a new mandate to a devolved government.

The main hindrance to progress remains the Sinn Fein's
position on policing and justice, with the DUP insisting it
will not share power with a party that fails to declare
support for the PSNI and other policing and justice
arrangements contained in the Belfast Agreement.

Sinn Fein wants the DUP to declare when justice and
policing powers would transfer from Westminster to Stormont
and details of its position on how the policy area would be
administered at departmental level. Sinn Fein says until
there is clarity on the issue it cannot call a special
conference to change their policy on policing.

Minister for Foreign Affairs Dermot Ahern said yesterday
the two main parties needed to reach an understanding.

The programme for Government meeting today will also
discuss other policy areas, including the local economy -
particularly with reference to plans for greater cross-
Border links.

Additional reporting PA

c 2006


Parties Discuss Future Assembly

Senior Sinn Fein and DUP politicians have taken part in a
key meeting of a new Stormont committee aimed at drawing up
a programme for devolved government.

The DUP's deputy leader Peter Robinson led his party's
delegation, including Edwin Poots and Ian Paisley Jnr. DUP
leader Ian Paisley was not present.

The other parties were represented at leadership level.

Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams was joined at Monday's meeting
by Martin McGuinness and Michelle Gildernew.

Sir Reg Empey and David McNarry represented the Ulster
Unionists and Mark Durkan and Margaret Ritchie represented
the SDLP.

The meeting of the "Programme for Government Committee"
took place ahead of Friday's first meeting of the so-called
transitional assembly.

The Northern Ireland Office wanted an official photograph
to record the event but this was rejected.

No television cameras were present to record a meeting
which dealt with economic matters.


It had been due to take place in October, but it was
postponed because of a row over when the parties should
pledge support for the police.

The politicians discussed the shape of any future economic
package which might accompany the restoration of

Speaking afterwards, Mr Adams said it was "a good start"
and a "business-like meeting" but there was a lot of work
to be done.

"There was a large degree of agreement on many issues," he

The line up - three DUP and Sinn Fein politicians and two
representatives from the SDLP and the Ulster Unionists -
appears to quite deliberately look like a shadow power-
sharing executive.

The decision not to invite the Alliance Party to the talks
has been criticised by party leader David Ford who said the
government was prejudging the outcome of next spring's
election and the shape of any future executive.

UU leader Sir Reg Empey was also critical of the government
because his party was only given one working day's notice
of the talks.

BBC political editor Mark Devenport said: "Despite the
problems, the government remains hopeful that the committee
can pave the way towards 26 March, the only devolution
deadline which now appears to count."

Last week, the government announced that elections to a new
Northern Ireland Assembly would be held on 7 March next

A transitional assembly, which comes into effect this
Friday, has been established until then.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/11/20 13:28:20 GMT


Face To Face, But Without Paisley

By Noel McAdam
20 November 2006

Another piece of the St Andrews political jigsaw was today
due to slot into place - almost four weeks late.

And the first meeting of the Programme for Government
committee was also not happening according to the original

The first planned meeting, on Tuesday, October 17, had been
expected to bring Ian Paisley and Gerry Adams face to face
in a huge step towards bringing the DUP and Sinn Fein
closer towards direct negotiations.

But today, DUP deputy leader Peter Robinson was due to turn
up instead, although Mr Adams was still attending along
with Martin McGuinness and MP Michelle Gildernew.

With the DUP and Sinn Fein having three members each, and
the SDLP and Ulster Unionists two apiece, the committee was
being viewed as a model for a future Executive in embryo.

Following on from and parallel to the Preparation for
Government committee, on which Alliance was also
represented, its task is to work out priorities for a
future power-sharing Executive and Assembly. It will also
discuss the Government's economic package which, while it
contains relatively little new or extra money, is designed
to provide "certainty" for an initial four year period for
an Executive.

Mr McGuinness hoped the long overdue engagement would be
genuine and progress can be made on all outstanding issues
"without unnecessary delay".

"Nationalists and republicans will be watching what happens
within this committee very carefully. We won't be unnerved
by intemperate language from some within the DUP.

"People see that the process is edging forward and that
more progress can still be made, even in the run-up to
(this Friday) when it is expected that myself and Ian
Paisley will be put forward by our respective parties."

The DUP, however, has adopted a "wait and see" attitude to
Friday's Assembly meeting at which Secretary of State Peter
Hain has said he needs to know who will be the First and
Deputy First Ministers.

The SDLP's Sean Farren urged parties to conduct "real and
reasonable" business today and show that politics can work.

"Matters such as rates, water taxes and the Review of
Public Administration need the urgent attention and
commitment of a devolved Executive. It is clear that
parties need to get moving on these and other issues and
ensure that there is no unnecessary delay or hold up."

"It would therefore help if both Sinn Fein and the DUP
unambiguously signed up implementing the St Andrews
Agreement without recourse to pre conditions or


Church Leaders Hopeful Of A Peace Deal

By Alf McCreary
20 November 2006

On the eve of major political decisions about the future of
Northern Ireland this week, the four church leaders in
Ireland have expressed guarded optimism about a political
settlement despite the current difficulties about finding

They were speaking yesterday during an interview on BBC
Radio Ulster's Sunday Sequence.

Methodist president, the Reverend Ivan McElhinney, said: "I
am fairly optimistic. We need a locally-elected government
and the time has come for it. This would normalise public
life, bring economic benefit and further the process of

Presbyterian Moderator Dr David Clarke said there was a
great desire in the community for devolved government.

"I would encourage Sinn Fein to sign up to policing, and
also encourage the DUP to accept unequivocally the concept
of power-sharing. We are in a series of negotiations which
I feel will eventually bring a settlement."

The Church of Ireland Primate Archbishop Robin Eames said:
"There is a genuine move towards a new future and a new
understanding and stability.

"Dates should be irrelevant if there is the slightest
possibility of us getting there. Deadlines can be an
obstacle but sometimes we need pushed to a conclusion."

The Catholic Primate Archbishop Sean Brady said also that
there was a great desire in the community for a devolved

He added: " We need to encourage the politicians to do what
they are elected to do, and we can support them by
inspiring and encouraging people on the ground to create
conditions in which trust can be built up."


First Ever Sinn Fein Member Of Housing Executive Board

Published: 20 November, 2006

Newry and Mourne councillor Brendan Curran has become the
first ever Sinn Fein member of the Board of the Housing

Commenting on his appointment following nomination by
Housing Council, Cllr Curran said:

"It has been a long standing anomaly that no Sinn Fein
elected representative has ever been a member of the
Housing Executive Board, despite the fact that
representatives from all of the other main parties
have been on the Board.

"This is an important opportunity at a time when there are
huge pressures on social housing, not least with the year
on year under provision of new social built homes and
increasing numbers of homeless people.

"There are also very serious problems with the allocation
system and concerns that across the north that housing is
not always being allocated fairly. Indeed the spark that
lit the civil rights movement in the 1960's was a result of
discrimination in housing allocation in Caledon.

"The Housing Executive faces a number of challenges. I look
forward to finally being in a position to bring an Irish
republican analysis into the workings of the Board of the
Housing Executive." ENDS

Note to Editor

No Sinn Fein elected representative has ever been a member
of the Housing Executive Board. Cllr Curran has been a
member of the Housing Council for 8 years.


NIO's Appointment Under Scrutiny

A High Court judge has asked the attorney general to
investigate the government's appointment of interim
Victims' Commissioner Bertha McDougall.

Mr Justice Girvan has asked Lord Goldsmith to examine if
the NIO deliberately misled the court during a judicial
review of the appointment.

The judge has tabled 67 questions for Lord Goldsmith to

Earlier this month, he said the appointment had been
motivated by an "improper political purpose".

Mr Justice Girvan said there should be an immediate inquiry
into the appointment, which he said was a confidence-
building gesture to the DUP.

The judge ruled that Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain
failed to take account of the fact that there was no
evidential basis for concluding that Mrs McDougall - the
widow of a police reservist murdered by the INLA - would
command cross-community support.

He also criticised civil servants who had been advising Mr
Hain in connection with the appointment.

He said they "provided partial, misleading and incorrect
information" as to the manner of the appointment".

In Monday's judgement, Mr Justice Girvan ruled that if the
inquiry was to be fair and meaningful it could not be
conducted by those directly involved in handling this case.

The judicial review was taken by Brenda Downes, whose
husband was killed by a RUC plastic bullet in 1984.

Mrs McDougall, 59, a former school teacher, helped set up
the victims' group, Forgotten Families.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/11/20 11:38:22 GMT


Sinn Fein Calls For Immediate Inquiry Into Victims
Commissioner appointment

Published: 20 November, 2006

Sinn Fein Assembly member for North Antrim and party
spokesperson on victims issues Philip McGuigan today said
that the referral of the case taken by Brenda Downes into
Peter Hain's appointment of the interim Victims
Commissioner to the British Attorney General, was
significant and important given the very serious issues
exposed by the case.

Mr McGuigan said:

"The serious issues and abuses of procedure which this case
has exposed raise very significant issues for Peter Hain
and his department. Since the High Court verdict Peter Hain
has attempted to dismiss the court findings and has
arrogantly insisted that neither he nor his department have
done anything wrong.

"This position is clearly not tenable and the decision by
the court to refer the case to the British Attorney General
increases the pressure on Mr Hain to face up to the
enormity of the situation he finds himself in.

"The case has already exposed the fact that the appointment
of Bertha McDougal was a political sop to the DUP and could
never command the sort of cross community support required.

"Peter Hain now needs to stop pretending that he has not
created a serious problem. He needs to begin to undo some
of the damage and hurt he has caused by his approach to
this appointment and indeed the British State approach to

the issue of victims and the role they have played in the

"A first step along this road would be for Mr Hain to
apologise for his conduct and establish the inquiry
demanded by the court into his conduct and
that of his department in this case without further delay
and for its findings to be made public." ENDS


Burning Of Lundy `Peaceful'

By Claire Simpson

An Apprentice Boys parade celebrating the burning of a
Lundy effigy in Co Derry has passed off peacefully.

The event, which had not been held in the village of
Garvagh for more than 50 years, took place on Saturday.

Robert Lundy, who was governor of Derry during the famous
siege of the city, is reviled amongst loyalists as a
traitor and his effigy is burnt at the Apprentice Boys
closing of the gates commemoration each December.

Although the main Apprentice Boys march is due to take

in less than two weeks time, DUP councillor and Garvagh
Apprentice Boy Adrian McQuillan said the Garvagh event was
part of a project to educate new members about the order's

But SDLP assembly member John Dallat claimed the
celebration was a "damp squid" with only four loyalist
bands out of an expected 20 taking part.

Mr Dallat said less than 200 people turned up and claimed
at one point PSNI officers drafted in to police the
demonstration outnumbered spectators.

"Not even Lundy stayed on the scaffolding as it collapsed
shortly after the effigy was set alight and following a few
fireworks the crowd began drifting away," he said.

"Nevertheless there are important questions which need
answers about how legal it was for local Apprentice Boys to
cordon off a section of a public car park without asking
for approval from Roads Service.

"Who is going to pay for the damage to the surface of the
car park which still bears the scars of the July 11 night

"There are of course issues about the licence for the
fireworks which also need to be cleared up.

"Health and safety issues relating to the scaffolding also

"The huge cost of policing time is another matter I intend
raising questions with the PSNI about.

"Taxpayers' money would have been better spent on community
policing to protect elderly people who have been the
victims of anti-social behaviour in the village."

Prior to the demonstration, Mr Dallat expressed concerns
about the parade route.

He also claimed that young Catholics living in the village
had been intimidated by "so-called loyalists".


Soldiers' Killer Can Move To North Jail

By John Manley

A Falls Road man serving a life sentence for the murder of
three Irish army colleagues while on peacekeeping duty in
the Lebanon could be transferred to a prison in the north
by Christmas.

Northern Ireland prison chiefs have agreed to move Michael
McAleavey (45), from Dublin's Mountjoy Prison to a jail in
Northern Ireland.

A solicitor for McAleavey last night urged the Republic's
justice minister Michael McDowell to ensure the transfer
took place as soon as possible.

One of the longest serving inmates either side of the
border, McAleavey has been held for 24 years for the triple
killings, which he committed in 1982 while acting as a UN
peacekeeper, pictured.

Claiming his conditions in Dublin's Mountjoy Jail are
inhumane, he has fought to be relocated closer to his
family home in west Belfast.

If he succeeds, McAleavey is then expected to apply to the
Life Sentence Review board in a bid to win his release.

After Paul Goggins, NIO minister with responsibility for
prisons, had no objections to McAleavey's transfer, the
Belfast man's solicitor, Joe Rice, expressed his hope that
the move to a northern prison could happen before

"We would urge Michael McDowell to deal with it as
expeditiously as possible on humanitarian grounds, given
the age of Mr McAleavey's father," Mr Rice said.

"He is one of the longest serving prisoners and this
request to be transferred back to his home jurisdiction in
Northern Ireland is a reasonable one."

The lawyer said that his client had received a raw deal
compared to paramilitary killers who were released early as
part of the northern peace process.

"If he had joined one of the illegal armies in Northern
Ireland and been convicted he would have been released
under the Good Friday Agreement.

"But because he joins the legitimate army of the Irish
Republic he finds himself in this situation."

The families of his victims and the Republic's military
authorities are understood, however, to be opposed to any
relocation out of the state.

A Northern Ireland Prison Service spokesman said yesterday:
"We will take him and we are about to inform the Department
of Justice in the Republic that is the case but the final
decision as to whether he will be allowed to serve the
remainder of his sentence in Northern Ireland rests with


Irish Army Peacekeeper `Cracked' Under Pressure

By Catherine Morrison and Barry McCaffrey

Twenty-three years ago Belfast man Michael McAleavey was
convicted of murdering three colleagues while serving as a
peacekeeper for the Irish army in the Lebanon. Now, as the
way is cleared for him to serve the rest of his prison term
in Northern Ireland, Catherine Morrison looks back on one
of the most infamous murder cases in the Republic's history

MICHAEL McAleavey had been on peacekeeping duties with the
Irish army in the Lebanon for just six days when his four-
man patrol was sent to guard the Tibnin Bridge.

It was 2pm on October 27 1982.

The west Belfast man was not even supposed to have been
part of that patrol but had agreed to swap places with
another soldier at the last minute.

Four men left the barracks but only one would return -

He initially blamed the murder of his three colleagues on
Lebanese gunmen. However McAleavey later admitted he had
killed the men after "cracking" under a combination of
pressure and heat exhaustion.

Reports compiled by prison authorities reviewing his case
noted that as the patrol set off, the 21-year-old was in an
agitated state due to heat exhaustion and a lack of fluids.

McAleavey had already tried to leave the army but had been
refused permission twice.

He had only volunteered for the six-month peacekeeping tour
of the Lebanon to try and raise enough money for a third
attempt to buy himself out of the army.

There were tensions between McAleavey and some of his


Among the incidents were claims by McAleavey that there was
a practice of Arabs being stopped and searched, while
Israelis were regularly allowed to pass through checkpoints

McAleavey said that in his first six days in the Lebanon he
found himself going without sleep, due to a combination of
extra guard duties and the sweltering heat. He would later
claim he was refused salt tablets to cope with heat

On duty at the bridge that day with McAleavey were Lurgan-
born Corporal Gregory Morrow and Dublin soldiers Thomas
Murphy and Peter Burke.

McAleavey would later complain that despite the soaring
heat, his patrol was forced to go without adequate water
and food.

The patrol was under serious pressure, with each man forced
to take on extra duties without rest periods.

He admits there were arguments among the patrol that day.

The soldiers' orders were to check all vehicles crossing
the bridge but McAleavey claims Israeli vehicles were
allowed through unhindered.

That evening an Israeli truck approached the bridge.

McAleavey challenged the driver for documentation but it is
recorded that he quickly became involved in a row with the
driver and his own commanding officer Gregory Morrow.

As tempers rose McAleavey shouted abuse at the driver and
threatened to open fire on the truck.

When Morrow berated McAleavey for disobeying orders, the
21-year-old threw his rifle to the ground and appeared to
lose control.

McAleavey screamed that he wanted out of the army.

Morrow ordered McAleavey to pick up his rifle and return to

As he picked up his rifle he turned and shot Gregory Morrow
before opening fire on his two other

A court martial later heard how McAleavey reloaded his
weapon during the killings.

The west Belfast man would later claim that his military
training had made the killings feel like an automatic and
unreal reaction.

Last year, McAleavey gave his first newspaper interview in
22 years to The Irish News, appealing to the Irish
government to transfer him to a prison in Northern Ireland.

He said upon realising what he had done, he was "simply

"I suppose it was a feeling of disbelief,'' he said.

"I didn't want to admit what I had done and went into a
kind of shock.''

On September 27 1983 an Irish army court martial found
McAleavey guilty of the murders of his three colleagues and
sentenced him to life in prison.

"I did exactly what I had been trained to do," he would
later recall, "to kill efficiently and without mercy.

"It was a mad outburst, I know, but at that moment I acted

Now more than 23 years later Michael McAleavey is one of
the longest serving prisoners in Irish penal history.

He has spent half his life in Limerick, Portlaoise,
Wheatfield and Mountjoy prisons and last year urged the
Irish government to send him home.

"I have personally suffered in my 22 years away from my
family and friends and although it may sound minor, away
from the sounds, chat and conversation that is peculiar to
Belfast and Ulster,'' he told The Irish News last year.

"I am asking for this humanitarian concession to be able to
serve my time as close to my family, friends and home."


Priest Seriously Hurt In Co Kerry Attack

A priest is recovering in hospital after being attacked in
Co Kerry last night.

Father Michael O'Leary (68) was set upon by a masked man as
he got out of his car in the grounds of St Brendan's
Church, Clogher, Ballymacelligott, shortly after 8.30pm
last night.

The victim was hit several times on the head and body with
a sharp implement, possibly a bat with a blade embedded in

The priest is said to be in a serious condition in Kerry
General Hospital in Tralee. It is understood his hands were
badly injured, and he lost a substantial amount of blood.

However, his injuries are not understood to be life-
threatening. He is undergoing surgery today.

A Health Service Executive spokesman said Fr O'Leary was in
a comfortable condition.

The motive for the attack is unknown, although garda¡ are
investigating the possibility Father O'Leary, who had just
returned home from the annual parish bazaar in the local
community centre, was the target of a robbery.

Sister Bernardine Broderick, parish sister, said local
people were shocked by the attack. "It's terrible that this
has happened," she said. "The only thing is I could have
found him outside the door dead this morning. He got a
bashing anyway but he put up a good fight."

Kerry North Fianna F il TD Tom McEllistrim described the
attack as a "despicable act of cowardice" that was carried
out with no respect for human life.

"The attack on Fr O'Leary, who I know well in my local
parish, was horrific and a reminder to us all that there
still lurk in our communities thugs who will stop at
nothing to carry out their evil deeds," he said. "It is
particularly disturbing that the attack was perpetrated on
a respected priest in our community who is a friend to
everyone and cares deeply about his parishoners."

Any witnesses or anyone with information on the assault is
asked to contact garda¡ in Tralee on 066 710 2300.

c 2006


Church Outraged By Kerry Priest Attack

20 November 2006 14:27

A spokesman for the Bishop of Kerry says the Church is
outraged by the attack on a priest going about his work.

Fr Michael O'Leary, 68, was returning from the annual
bazaar in the local community centre in Ballymacelligott
outside Tralee, when he was set upon.

He has been undergoing surgery at Kerry General Hospital
following an attack during an attempted robbery last night.

Fr O'Leary received serious wounds to his head and hands
after an attack by a man with a slash hook.

The priest managed to alert a neighbour who raised the
alarm and is today said to be in a comfortable condition.

Fr Gearoid Godley, a spokesman for the Bishop of Kerry
William Murphy, said they all wished Fr O'Leary well and
that he is in their prayers.

He added their thoughts are also with the parishioners in
Ballymacelligott who are in shock following last night's

The incident happened at around 9pm as the priest was
getting out of his car outside the presbytery. It is
understood he lost a lot of blood; his injuries are said to
be serious but not life threatening.


Opin: Time Of The Essence To Broker A Deal

20 November 2006

Although Peter Hain has suffered considerable embarrassment
by being obliged to water down his November 24 deadline,
the Government's proposed legislation should at least avert
the prospect of a political meltdown this Friday.

Under the revised terms, formal Ministerial oaths are no
longer required at this stage, although by Friday the
parties will have to declare their intention to put forward
candidates. If this happens, the Assembly will remain in
being, albeit in transitional form, and everyone is given
what was needed - a little more breathing space.

In the absence of agreement between the parties, the
Government was left with few other options. Major issues
remain to be resolved, with the hottest potato at present
being the setting of a date for policing and justice powers
to be transferred to a devolved executive.

The ball is now in the Programme for Government committee's
court, but reaching a compromise that will satisfy all
parties remains a huge challenge. Sequencing is again the
problem, but the onus is on Sinn Fein to make the first
move by setting a date for its Ard Fheis.

Such a move would put the pressure back on the DUP and
strengthen the case for policing powers to be devolved
within a reasonable timeframe. But the longer Sinn Fein
hedges, the more scepticism will grow in the unionist camp.

Clearly it has taken considerable horse-trading to draw up
the legislation, which is due to go through Parliament
tomorrow and Wednesday. As ever, it is based on a
compromise but one bitter pill for the smaller parties to
swallow is the proposal to go for an election in March.

With the DUP and Sinn Fein centre stage, there are clear
dangers that the SDLP and Ulster Unionists will be further
marginalised. The erosion of the centre ground parties,
which have already sacrificed so much in the cause of
agreement, is a valid cause of concern.

But before any election takes place, the Government must be
crystal clear about what is on offer. This time round,
there must be no side deals and no private agreements.

The people of Northern Ireland appreciate honesty and
directness, and any further attempts by Mr Hain to put a
spin on the situation will backfire. An Assembly which is
based on subterfuge will not stand the test of time.

Whether a deal is possible remains open to question, with
much depending on the will within the DUP and Sinn Fein to
do the business. A dynamic has been created, but until both
parties end their posturing, doubts will persist.

The parties must not squander the weeks and months that lie
ahead. November 24 has come round more quickly than anyone
expected, and March 26 is not really all that far away.


Opin: War Is Over - Politics Is New Armed Combat

By Roy Garland

Paddy Joe McClean goes to the heart of the matter when
addressing crucial issues. As a former chairman of the
Civil Right Association he has long engaged in radical
thinking and sought change during difficult times. In a
recent discussion document `1998 Agreement - eight Years
On' based on pertinent questions, he suggests that the
Belfast Agreement, posed new challenges - challenges that
remain in the wake of St Andrews.

He takes for granted that successful power-sharing requires
agreement on the territory to be governed.

On this ground he challenges Sinn Fein's apparent
determination to dismantle the state, which he argues is
the "worst possible basis" on which to secure agreement
because it fosters intransigence.

Shortly after St Andrews, Gerry Adams spoke in west Belfast
and referred to past violence as one "phase of struggle".
The present phase would be judged in terms of whether it
could "move us nearer to the Ireland that we have struggled
so long to achieve". Republicans, he said, were about
ending British rule and the present "phase of transition"
was moving us "towards a national republic".

It was therefore a stepping stone towards a single Irish
state. Already such words are being used to suggest that
Sinn Fein is not serious about power-sharing and that
Paisley has fallen into a trap.

The absolute requirement for consent to constitutional
change has been accepted but Paddy Joe asks why no
nationalist party north or south has actively sought
unionist consent for unity? Most appear rather to have
placed unity on the long finger, knowing perhaps that
consent is not forthcoming. This would appear to imply
acceptance of the status quo of two states on one island.

In view of this, Paddy Joe suggests that nationalists in
the Republic - the majority on the island - spell out this
reality to Northern nationalists so that unionist siege
mentality can be lifted and normal politics begin to
flourish in Northern Ireland? Failure so to do so is the
single biggest factor keeping this society divided along
sectarian lines.

Paddy Joe asks if Irish identity can only be expressed and
enjoyed in a unitary Irish state and calls for new thinking
on this. He refers to young nationalists and young
unionists - beyond party structures and alongside trade
unionists and others - who engaged in fresh thinking on
internal reform rather than constitutional change during
the Civil Rights era. This opened up new possibilities and
incidentally was more effective in challenging old style
unionism than violence ever was. Paddy Joe asks for similar
fresh thinking so that old moulds can be finally broken. He
did not expect a new approach to emerge from recent talks
and has been proven right.

He now assumes that a carve up between two blocks is likely
to follow to produce even more division.

Paddy Joe points out that unionists are from the same stock
as the Presbyterians who founded the United Irishmen but
they now seem entrenched in their thinking - as are most
nationalists. Paddy Joe believes this is because
nationalists withheld freedom from unionists and thus
stymied fresh thinking on all sides. In seeking to push
unionists towards unity they have reinforced the perception
that ultimate extinction of unionism is the real goal.

In another published article Paddy Joe suggests that the
actions of the two governments should be analysed in terms
of their interests. These are, briefly - stability, secure
borders, cooperation, European membership and partnership
with America. The union as seen in this context is more
secure than ever because it is protected by An Garda
Siochana, the army of the Irish Republic and New
Nationalism. Unionism in contrast has been deemed incapable
of securing British and/or Irish interests.

The war is over and the art of politics is replacing armed
combat with a more civilised verbal contest but the dismal
rhetoric about unity remains to haunt us and restrict
progress. Perhaps the rhetoric is designed for electoral
purposes but it is not innocuous and many unionists suspect
that behind the rhetoric lies a real threat. It perpetuates
the impression that the war is NOT over and foments
instability. The time has surely come to lift the siege and
set the hostages free - unionist and nationalist alike - by
a genuine commitment to a shared future for all in a new
Northern Ireland intimately linked with our neighbours - to
the south and east.


Opin: P¢L O Muir¡: Ulster-Scots In The Depths

20 November 2006

Louis Edmondson, a television producer, was writing in this
paper about his new BBC series on the nuclear submarine,
HMS Sovereign.

The local interest is provided by the fact that the
submarine's captain, Commander Steve Aiken, hails from

However, Edmondson provided more local flavour than he
realised when he revealed that the submariners refer to
their food as "scran".

Scran is, of course, an Ulster-Scots word and is still in
use. (I know this because I checked with a friend frae the
Braid in north Antrim.) Gulp!

It is every Irish speaker's worst nightmare; the Ulster-
Scots have taken the saying that a language is a dialect
with an army (and navy) literally by infiltrating the Royal
Navy and procuring Weapons of Mass Discussion.

I know of no Irish words in use on nuclear subs. The only
armed person I ever heard using Irish was John Wayne in
True Grit.

His character Rooster Cogburn uses the word "clabber" in a
rather misogynist reference to women's brains. Cogburn was
as tough as old boots, but had only a Winchester and a
couple of six-shooters as weapons.

This new revelation about the hitherto unknown widespread
usage of Ulster-Scots could well lead to a new language
war, but do not panic. Irish-language and Ulster-Scots
groups do not practise the politics of MAD (Mutually
Assured Destruction) rather they practise MAG (Mutually
Assured Grants).

If Ulster-Scots is being spoken on nuclear submarines, then
the Government will have to give Irish speakers a
battleship of their own - and there will be none of that
auld HMS nonsense either.

Naturally, the Government won't give Irish speakers a
battleship which will lead to accusations of favouritism
towards Ulster-Scots.

Luckily, the Saint Andrews talks have promised a language
act for the North's Irish speakers.

That should take some of the sting out of the story - and
it will not cost as much as a nuclear submarine. Well, not
too much more.


Church Fails To React To Shortage Of Priests

Rite and ReasonOver the past six years 10 Catholic priests
have died for every one ordained. The result is
"catastrophic", writes Fr Gerard Moloney.

Fr Tom is a parish priest in a rural Irish diocese. The
population of the parish is not large, but it is
geographically spread out, with two churches at opposite
ends of the parish.

Until last year, Fr Tom was assisted by his elderly
predecessor, who acted as his curate. But when Fr Tom's
colleague died suddenly, he was not replaced. Nor will he
be. The reason is simple - there is no priest to replace
him. There are no spare priests to go around.

So now Fr Tom ministers on his own. He is on call 24 hours
a day seven days a week, and is able to take a few hours
away from his parish only when his equally busy colleague
in the parish next door can cover for him.

Fr Tom's story is far from unique.

There are many more like him in parishes up and down the
country (and in parishes throughout the western world),
one-man bands, aging, tired and increasingly burned-out -
trying to serve their people as best they can. Though they
have no curates to help them, they still have to fulfil the
entire range of priestly duties which do not diminish even
as the number of clergy goes down.

They have to celebrate Mass and the sacraments, visit the
sick and the schools, chair committees, prepare homilies,
comfort the bereaved, as well as be available morning, noon
and night to respond to whatever emergency may arise.

And the number of one-man parishes, and of no-man parishes,
will continue to increase. It is inevitable.

Since November 1st, 2000, 1,173 Irish priests have died. In
the same period, 101 Irish priests have been ordained.

That means that one diocesan priest in five is being
replaced at present, and just one religious/missionary
priest in 30.

On average, the deaths of Irish priests continue to
outnumber ordinations more than tenfold.

In 2005, 199 Irish priests died, whereas only eight priests
were ordained (Intercom magazine, July/August2006).

And this does not take into account clergy who have left
the active ministry.

These statistics are catastrophic. And they will get only

Priests are an aging band of brothers. The numbers in
ministry will continue to fall - and the decline will
accelerate - and old men past retirement age will be asked
to take on more and more.

This is good news for the Catholic Church's enemies and for
those who want to eliminate religion from society but it is
a tragedy for those who love the church.

For a church with a small and aging bunch of clergy will
not be a vibrant church - no matter how good or committed
those clergy are.

And parishes without priests are parishes where the
Eucharist cannot be celebrated - no matter how many active,
enthusiastic lay ministers may be involved in those

And the other tragedy for the church is that there is no
short or medium-term solution to this crisis.

The number of seminarians in training is tiny and, unless
something entirely unexpected happens, will not increase
any time soon.

Amalgamating parishes and closing churches is not a
solution to the priest shortage but merely a response to

However, the biggest tragedy of all is that the Catholic
Church does not appear to have even a Plan A as to how to
face up to the shortage of clergy, not to mind a Plan B.

Possible radical solutions, such as redefining what we mean
by priesthood, is not being discussed.

Even the possibility of ordaining worthy married men or of
extending the ordained ministry to women are not options.

And all the while the church continues on its merry way,
closing churches here, twinning parishes there, and asking
overstretched priests to take on more and more.

And so Fr Tom soldiers quietly on, silently wondering what
will happen in another few years, when he will be old and
burned out and, unlike the Energiser Bunny, simply won't be
able to keep on going.

Gerard Moloney is editor of Reality, the monthly magazine
published in Ireland by the Redemptorist congregation.


First Irish University TV Station Goes 'On-Air' Today

20/11/2006 - 09:37:04

Ireland's first campus TV station, to be known as CTN and
run by students at UCD, goes "on-air" at midday today.

Featuring a wide variety of programming - all produced,
filmed and presented by UCD students - the channel will be
available to view, 24 hours a day, on the university


The Boss Brings Irish Ballad To Belfast Stage

By Eddie McIlwaine
20 November 2006

Bruce Springsteen will be reviving a traditional Irish
ballad which itinerant singers used to perform in the
streets of Belfast way back in the early 19th century, when
he comes to town tomorrow night.

The song is called Mrs McGrath, a composition which emerged
in Dublin in 1815 - around the time of the Battle of
Waterloo - and it has been researched by The Boss for his
sell-out concert at the Odyssey.

"It surfaced that year as a cheaply-printed edition of the
song's lyrics," Springsteen said, "and is sometimes known
as Mrs McGraw."

The ballad tells the story of Mrs McGrath's soldier son
returning home from the war in which he lost both his legs
after being struck down by a cannon ball.

For a while it was believed the war mentioned in the verses
was World War One until Springsteen unearthed the fact that
Mrs McGrath had been around long before the 1914-18

The war referred to in the lyrics is the Peninsular
Campaign (1808-1814) which was part of the Napoleonic Wars.

"It was commonly and wrongly supposed that the war in which
Tom suffered his injuries was World War One," said
Springsteen. "Mrs McGrath was part of a whole stream of
anti-recruiting songs in its day that encouraged young men
to resist joining up."

Mrs McGrath, recorded by the Clancy Brothers, the Dubliners
and Pete Seeger, made a huge impact as an anti-war song in
the unlikely setting of a green field at Glengormley in the
1950s when the legendary American folk singer and film star
Burl Ives sang it at an open-air festival there.

Ives explained at the time: "The ballad makes an impact
because of its use of wit to paint a tragedy and make the
telling bearable."

The Springsteen concert will be one of the biggest musical
events of the year in Belfast, bringing the superstar back
here for the first time in 10 years.


Movie Legend Pacino To Be Honoured By Trinity

By Maureen Coleman
20 November 2006

Oscar-winning Hollywood actor Al Pacino is set to fly into
Dublin this week to collect an honorary award at Trinity

The A-list actor is to accept the honorary patronage of the
university's philosophical society - following in the
footsteps of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Bob Geldof and Bertie

On Wednesday, Pacino will also give a talk to students on
the works of Irish writer Oscar Wilde and will take part in
a question and answer session.

Society president Daire Hickey said it was a "tremendous
coup" to be welcoming the star of such movie greats as
Scarface and The Godfather to Dublin.

"We are very honoured because Pacino is coming to Dublin
specifically to visit the philosophical society," he said.

"He is very interested in Oscar Wilde and will be talking
about his work, but we also hope he will give us an insight
into life in Hollywood as well.

"There is obviously a lot of excitement among the students
about his visit and everyone interested in coming along to
meet him was asked to sign up online.

"We had thousands of entries and 280 were selected by a
random number generator."

Pacino is also expected to meet the university's Provost
and take a tour of the historic building.


Special Screenings From The Irish Film Archive

National Arts And Media Event Notice
Monday November 20, 2006 14:06 by k - IFI

Did you Miss? Back By Popular Demand

Films from the Irish Film Archive for December

Irish Film Institute monthly screenings from their Irish
Film Archive have become so popular that screenings
regularly sell out. Throughout December they're giving you
a second chance to see some of the most popular titles.

Irish Destiny, dir George Dewhurst, B&W & colour, 74 mins,
1926 Dec 9th, 2.30

Irish Destiny is perhaps the most significant films made in
Ireland in the silent period. It is a love story played
against the backdrop of the War of Independance which
ingeniously incorporates newsreel footage of the Black and
Tans and the burning of Cork within the dramatised
narrative. For decades believed lost, the Irish Film
Archive has now restored Irish Destiny -- to its original
glory it is presented with M¡che l O S£illeabh in's
recently-recorded score - which was performed by the RT
Concert Orchestra.

South, dir Frank Hurley, B&W, 80 mins, 1914, December 10th
, 2.30

Filmed by expedition member, Frank Hurley, South chronicles
the attempt by Shackleton and his team of 27 men, to cross
Antarctica via the South Pole and records their plight when
their ship, Endurance, was crushed by heavy ice, leaving
them stranded for almost two years and fighting against
conditions that made survival look impossible.

Paddy- dir Daniel Haller, 97 mins, 1970, Dec 18th, 6.45

Adapted by Lee Dunne from his notorious novel Goodbye To
The Hill, Paddy was banned by the Irish censor in 1970 due
to its sexual frankness. It finally received its Irish
premiere this year and stars Abbey actor Des Cave as an
`Irish Alfie'

Flann O'Brien's At Swim Two Birds , 90 mins, 1997, Dec 19th

Austrian avant-garde theatre director Kurt Palm adaption of
Flann O'Brien's beer-soaked, brilliantly funny, modernist
masterpiece for the screen

Girl With Green Eyes, dir D Davis, B&W, 1964, Dec 30th ,

Rita Tushingham in this adaptation by Edna O'Brien of her
autobiographical novel The Lonely Girl.

Related Link:


Council To Recognise Dingle Placename

Anne Lucey

Kerry county councillors will move today to revoke the
placenames order of the Official Languages Act 2003 and to
officially recognise An Daingean's English name, Dingle.

That move is expected to be formalised by the councillors
today at their monthly meeting when they will endorse an
application to the Minister for the Environment, Dick
Roche, to act on a plebiscite in the town held under the
Local Government Act 1946, to change the name An Daingean
to the bilingual Dingle/Daingean U¡ Ch£is. However,
protests over the Kerry town's official placename continue.

It has emerged that some Irish-speaking families in the
Corca Dhuibhne peninsula are boycotting shops in Dingle as
part of a campaign to protest against the councillors'

Some 250 Irish speakers turned up on Friday night to a
public meeting in the Skellig Hotel in Dingle, hosted by
the Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs,
amon O Cu¡v.

During the meeting, a number of speakers urged Mr O Cu¡v
"as Gaeilge" to support the legislation to give Irish
placenames in Gaeltacht areas official status.

"N tr‚ig sinn!" ("Do not abandon us") one speaker said.
Others said that the move to give An Daingean an English
name was in the interests of the moneyed and of people
selling property. Culture was more important and allowing
an English name in a Gaeltacht town amounted to "deireadh
r‚ na Gaeilge" ("the end of the era of Irish"), Mr O Cu¡v
was told by one of the speakers.

Other speakers said that the council did not represent
their views and that the wider Gaeltacht community should
have been allowed to vote in the plebiscite.

Earlier on Friday, Mr O Cu¡v had told councillors at a
meeting in Tralee that he would "bow to their wishes" and
would not oppose their application to Mr Roche for a
bilingual name for the town.

Mr O Cu¡v said that his position - under advice from the
attorney general - was that the plebiscite held under the
Local Government Act 1946 to change a placename would have
no validity in a Gaeltacht area because of the Official
Languages Act 2003.

He also apologised to councillors for "a bad read on my
part" and for not consulting the inhabitants of An

In a further conciliatory move to the council, Mr O Cu¡v
advised the councillors that "Dingle" road signs were
acceptable, as long as they had permission and were
official local authority signs.

This was a turnaround from when Mr O Cu¡v declared that
Dingle no longer existed, officially, and "it is An
Daingean, full stop".

According to Fianna F il sources, Mr O Cu¡v has come under
pressure from Minister for Arts, Sports and Tourism, John
O'Donoghue, and former Dingle Fianna F il senator Tom
Fitzgerald, to make a concession to the town's inhabitants.

However, with 7,000 Irish-speaking voters in the Corca
Dhuibhne peninsula, as opposed to just over 1,000 voters in
the town, Mr O Cu¡v may also face pressure to make a
conciliatory move towards those campaigning for an Irish-
only name.

Feargal Mac Amhlaoibh, spokesman for Todhcha¡ na
Gaeltachta, the representative group set up in the
peninsula to campaign for a retention of the Irish name An
Daingean, said that his group was not responsible for
boycotting shops in the town.

The boycott has focused on shops that were active in
supporting the name change to Dingle but Mr Mac Amhlaoibh
said that he knew of families that were involved in the

However, the county council's decision to seek a bilingual
name was "not representative of Corca Dhuibhne", he said.

Mr MacAmhlaoibh said that the new turn in events was a case
of "pass the parcel" and that the attorney general would
have the final say on the matter.


Saint Of 9/11

Last Edited: Monday, 20 Nov 2006, 9:31 AM EST
Created: Monday, 20 Nov 2006, 4:01 AM EST
11/20/2006 --


In an enduring photograph of September 11, a team of rescue
workers carry a Franciscan priest's body from the World
Trade Center. The world came to know Father Mychal Judge,
Chaplain, FDNY, in death as a symbol of courage and
sacrifice. Saint of 9/11 presents the turbulent, restless,
spiritual and remarkable journey of Father Mychal Judge.
Compassionate champion of the needy and forgotten, a
beloved Fire Department Chaplain, rousing Irish-American
balladeer and iconoclast, Father Judge was a humble parish
priest who wrestled with his own private demons while
touching others in powerful and miraculous ways.

Throughout his career as a friar, he lived a life of
witness, action and love. He provided hope, warmth,
compassion, and acceptance.

Mychal Judge knew the pain of loss and suffering. He
struggled with alcoholism and was an outspoken AA advocate.
Through his own vulnerability, imperfection and fragile
humanity, he was able to reach people in their pain, shame
and fragility. Father Judge was a gay man who loved his
priestly work.

Saint of 9/11 weaves interviews with friends, colleagues,
congregants and archival footage with Mychal's words. Saint
of 9/11 portrays Mychal's life as a spiritual adventure and
an honest embrace of life, where alcoholism and sexuality
were acknowledged. Saint of 9/11 is the story of a life's
journey interrupted. Inspired by his life, the documentary
embraces Mychal's full humanity.

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