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November 11, 2006

British Urged to Acknowledge Collusion

News About Ireland & The Irish

BN 11/10/06 British Govt Urged To Acknowledge Collusion
BT 11/10/06 Team To Probe Alleged State Collusion Murders
UT 11/11/06 McCord Calls For Reward Incentive
BT 11/10/06 Six Years And £30m To Crack Unsolved Murders
RT 11/11/06 Orde Ready To Address SF On Policing
SF 11/10/06 McGuinness - Assembly Should Meet On Nov 24th
BT 11/11/06 Paisley To Meet PM As Rumours Grow About Talks
BN 11/10/06 Paisley: Adams Declared War On Law & Order
DJ 11/11/06 McGuinness: Republicans Set Aside Diffs & Unite
DT 11/11/06 Presbyterians Call On SF To Support PSNI ASAP
NY 11/10/06 NY Times: Progress Seen On Power-Sharing
ME 11/10/06 Sinn Fein's 'Plan B' Call For North
IT 11/11/06 Extra Powers For South Is Raised
GU 11/11/06 Hain Expects Stormont Progress
AP 11/11/06 Parties Fail To Meet The Deadline For Deal
BT 11/11/06 Hain Urged To Reply To Judge
BB 11/11/06 Hain Dismisses Suspension Calls
IT 11/10/06 Fr Alec Reid Honoured At Awards Ceremony
BB 11/11/06 Alert Continues After Bomb Find
BT 11/10/06 Files- 1000s Destroyed/Missing
NY 11/09/06 NY City Comptr's Influence Reaches N Ireland
NY 11/09/06 OP/ED: NYC Comptr Thompson: Investing For Peace
IT 11/11/06 Opin: Will Paisley Finish Career By Doing Deal?
BT 11/11/06 Opin: Political Stability Is Still Within Reach
IT 11/11/06 Garda Given Report On Deaths At Leas Cross
NY 11/12/06 Bk Rev: Damaged Goods
JN 11/11/06 Group Puts On Irish Play – Year Of The Hiker


British Govt Urged To Acknowledge Paramilitary Collusion

10/11/2006 - 14:28:43

The British government was today urged by a senior US
politician to publicly acknowledge members of the police
and British army colluded with loyalist paramilitaries
during the North's Troubles.

During a visit to Belfast, Congressman Martin Meehan said
recognition that collusion took place could help
negotiations to persuade Sinn Féin to sign up to policing.

As he prepared to meet victims of loyalist violence, the
Congressman said: “Fundamentally people should understand
the perspective of Sinn Féin, even in these negotiations,
is directly linked to the atrocities and the murders and
the corruption that have taken place in the past.

“One needs to understand the other’s perspective in

“It’s important in terms of the negotiations to get Sinn
Féin to sign onto policing that you recognise history.

“You also have to recognise that there are some within the
nationalist and republican community who will be sceptical
and will want to make sure every I is dotted and every t is
crossed before they will agree to the new policing system.

“I have long believed it is in the interests of Northern
Ireland and the British government to come forward and come

“Sometimes acknowledging truth is the most powerful way to
acknowledge change. What we need is a change in the way the
police force operates – that is beginning to happen here.

“We are at a historical juncture. I think it would go a
long way for the British government to recognise that
acknowledging the atrocities of the past is a way to
deliver change for a positive future.”

On Monday a report by an international panel of human
rights experts claimed it had uncovered considerable and
credible evidence of British army and police collusion in
74 sectarian murders in Northern Ireland during the 1970s.

The probe of 25 loyalist atrocities, commissioned by the
Derry-based Pat Finucane Centre, found senior Royal Ulster
Constabulary and Ulster Defence Regiment officers were
aware and in some cases approved of collusion.

It also said officials in London had enough information
about collusion to intervene.

On Tuesday the families of six men gunned down by loyalists
in a bar in Loughinisland, Co Down in June 1994 as they
watched a World Cup match went to Westminster to raise
awareness among MPs about allegations of security force
collusion in the atrocity.

The Loughinsiland families have announced plans to take
their campaign to the European Parliament in Brussels later
this month.

Congressman Meehan, a Democrat from Massachusetts, would
not be drawn on suggestions that a Truth and Reconciliation
Commission in Northern Ireland could enable the British
government to admit there was collusion.

He said: “I would be satisfied just to have an
acknowledgement in many instances and investigations which
have integrity and are competent so that these atrocities
have their proper place in history.”


Team To Probe Alleged State Collusion Murders

By Jonathan McCambridge
10 November 2006

The Historical Enquiries Team, established to probe more
than 3,000 Troubles killings, is to set up a new team to
investigate murders where there are allegations of state
collusion, the Belfast Telegraph can reveal.

However, the new unit will be established outside of
Northern Ireland because of difficulties in persuading
former detectives to come to the province. A premises in
London is being sought.

In the first 10 months of its existence, the HET unit in
Lisburn has begun investigating 320 murders stretching back
30 years and will soon conclude its first batch of 40

However, the unit has been criticised by many because it
has been given just six years to investigate 3,268 murders.
Just this week an international panel reporting on
collusion killings said that HET failed to meet UN
guidelines on public disclosure.

HET has two investigation teams - 'red' which is made up
entirely of detectives from outside Northern Ireland and
'purple', which includes former RUC and PSNI members.

However, former Metropolitan police commander Dave Cox said
that their investigations so far had convinced them that a
third team, known as 'white', should also be set up.

He said: "We are establishing a third team to look at a
very different type of investigation where there are
allegations of state collusion. Rather than working from
the bottom up we are taking a listed view of several
incidents and looking for links.

"It is an analytically driven sort of investigation and my
experience on the Stevens' Team indicates they can be
pretty protracted and intense. We have decided the best way
to progress this is to have a specific team to look at it."

Mr Cox added: "However, we are also experiencing
difficulties in recruiting ex-officers from outside
Northern Ireland who want to come over here during the week
and live in digs. There is a much bigger pool if we base it
across the water so we are looking at a site in London. It
is a good opportunity to get good quality independent


McCord Calls For Reward Incentive

A £100,000 minimum reward should be put up for the capture
of loyalist paramilitary killers allegedly shielded by
rogue police officers, a victim's father has claimed.

By:Press Association

Raymond McCord today urged the British government to offer
that level of financial incentive to bring closure to his
nine-year justice campaign.

After holding new talks with a specialist police team set
up to re-examine the brutal killing of his former RAF
operator son, Mr McCord said they were in agreement on who
the Ulster Volunteer Force men involved were.

But the fear of informing on ruthless terrorists means the
authorities must make it worthwhile giving evidence, he

The Belfast man said:

"I want to see the British government put rewards up.

"It could entice people who want to break away from the
paramilitaries and also those on the periphery and know
what happened.

"But £10,000 or £20,000 isn`t enough for people who are
frightened to come forward.

"I`m talking about £100,000 at the minimum for people who
are going to take the risk of their lives and give

Raymond McCord Jr was battered to death and dumped in a
quarry just outside north Belfast in November 1997.

A notorious UVF unit from the city`s Mount Vernon estate is
suspected of killing him.

Police Ombudsman Nuala O`Loan is expected to publish within
weeks damning findings of police Special Branch collusion
with the UVF gang after an exhaustive investigation.

The Historical Enquiries Team, set up by Northern Ireland
Chief Constable Sir Hugh Orde to re-examine thousands of
unsolved murders, has also been studying the case and today
held talks with Mr McCord.

The campaigner is also meeting New Jersey Congressman Chris
Smith, a prominent Irish American politician, along with
other victims` groups in Belfast today.

Mr McCord insisted the reward he wants offered should be
made available for all cases plagued by collusion

He added: "The Government can spend millions going to war,
so if they really want to get justice they should put their
money where their mouth is.

"Greed would get the better of those who know what

"A lot of them would steal from their own grannies.

"We know who murdered young Raymond and a lot of families
know who murdered their loved ones."


Six Years And £30m To Crack Unsolved Murders

This year a new police unit began the historic task of
investigating 3,268 murders committed during the Troubles.
With the first series of cases now nearing completion,
Crime Correspondent Jonathan McCambridge examines the
progress of the Historical Enquiries Team

10 November 2006

In the first 10 months of business the Historical Enquiries
Team (HET) has started to re-investigate 320 murders
committed during The Troubles.

While this is a promising beginning it is only a fraction
of the 3,268 killings that the unit has been set up to deal
with. Much of the public feeling over HET is that it has
been dealt an impossible hand. While high-profile public
inquiries into single events can cost millions and run
interminably, HET has been given little over £30m and six
years to do its job. Just this week an international report
on collusion claimed that the HET approach does not meet
international standards.

Based at Ravernet in Lisburn, the team led by former
Metropolitan police commander Dave Cox is determined that
despite the criticism they can make a difference, even when
faced with huge obstacles in terms of re-investigating
terrorist murders committed up to 30 years ago and opening
up long-buried emotional wounds for bereaved families.

The unit includes two teams of investigators. The red team
is made up completely of former detectives from outside
Northern Ireland for families who do not want local police
re-examining their cases. The purple team includes external
detectives and former RUC/PSNI staff.

They are working through the murder total in chronological
order. One of the first cases they took on was the 1976
Kingsmill massacre when 10 Protestants were gunned down by
the IRA. However, cases can be taken out of order if there
is a significant public interest. The investigation into
the 1997 UVF murder of Raymond McCord jnr, shrouded in
collusion allegations, is also under way.

Soon the team will hand over their first series of
'resolution processes' to families who lost loved ones. The
reaction to these and the ability of HET to turn up
something which can bring a suspect before court will go a
long way to determining if their work is to judged a
success by the public.

Dave Cox knows that what they are trying to do has never
been attempted in the world before. This means coming up
with new policing techniques and methodologies. But their
first responsibility is to try to answer the questions that
the families of victims put before them.

He said: "When we meet with families they often tell us
that we are the first police to sit down with them. There
was no real follow-up from the RUC in the 1970s, it is not
a criticism of them because you cannot carry out liaisons
when you are dealing with 400 murders a year. The questions
the families have are often very simple - why did this
happen? Was it random?"

HET starts looking at 40 new cases every month. Each case
goes through a 16-week process. Four weeks to assess the
paperwork, find the families and identify their questions.
Four weeks spent reviewing the paperwork and looking for
evidential opportunities. Four weeks of focused
investigation, following up any leads. The final four weeks
are spent liaising with families before the printed
'resolution process' is handed to them.

Dave Cox said: "We will not be doing a full investigation,
we do not have the resources. We are staffed to progress 40
cases a month and we have to focus on that.

"This first 10 months has been an evolutionary process. The
big thing is that nobody has done this before, and we have
been refining our processes. This has included a
sophisticated process of actually finding the families and
we have developed a process around inter-acting with

"Our first batch of 40 investigations is ready to go into
that resolution stage, where we sit down with families and
tell them what we have found.

"A major outcome for us would be evidence to charge
anybody. We have 15 or 16 cases where we are looking at
evidential opportunities but that would be subject to
discussion with the prosecution service before we go any

A major problem for a team investigating ancient murders is
the standard and availability of old evidence and exhibits.
The RUC did not have a central storage unit and much
evidence was lost in bomb attacks on police stations.

Mr Cox said "When we arrived one of first things to do was
find what we had to work with. In the RUC individual
stations had their own stores and archives and some kept
things better than others. We had at one stage 900 files we
could not account for but that was a snapshot in time. We
have moved on and have a team out there for 16 months,
physically searching every room in every building of the

"We now have police documentation in over 90% of cases and
if there is no police documentation then we go to other
places. There is always something we can go to a family

"We are a policing operation and if we find evidence to
take a case to court we will do that but there are a lot of
hurdles to leap over. It is great to say we have the latest
DNA techniques and laser fingerprinting but if your exhibit
has not been stored properly then it is useless.

"It all depends on the individual case. If a blood sample
has been stored properly then we have the technology now to
do something with it. If an article was fingerprinted 30
years ago and did not show up anything we might be able to
do something today with laser techniques. The challenge is
to see if we account for it and prove to the court that it
has not been contaminated."

Dealing with more than 3,000 murders, many of which are
inter-linked, is a dizzying logistical task. It has led the
analysts in the HET to attempt to create the world's
largest analytical database of murder victims.

Mr Cox said: "When we started we found there was no
consolidate list of Troubles victims and decided we needed
a comprehensive database to underpin our work. Our analysts
created a computer programme for the Historical Enquiries
Analytical Database.

"For every case we deal with we have to fill in a 60-page
form which captures every piece of information. That is all
fed into the computer. At the end we will have a database
capable of analysing all Troubles deaths."


Orde Ready To Address SF On Policing

11 November 2006 13:49

The Chief Constable of the PSNI has said he is prepared to
go to a Sinn Féin Ard Fheis and give the party members his
views about what he believes are the most accountable
policing structures in the world.

Addressing a conference of the SDLP in Belfast, Hugh Orde
said he believes that Sinn Féin was losing an opportunity
by not taking its places on Northern Ireland's policing

The party led by Mark Durkan participates in Northern
Ireland's policing structures, including the Policing

Sir Hugh also dealt with the threat caused by dissident
republicans, who have caused £25 million pounds' worth of
damage in attacks on commercial premises this year.

The Chief Constable said he was satisfied the PSNI can
effectively deal with that threat.


McGuinness - Assembly Should Meet On November 24th

Published: 10 November, 2006

Sinn Féin Chief Negotiator Martin McGuinness MP and Six
County MEP Bairbre deBrún today held a press conference in
Belfast as parties responded to the proposals put forward
by the two governments at St. Andrews. Mr McGuinness said
that he "firmly believed that all of the outstanding
difficulties can be resolved and that on November 24th the
Assembly must meet as set out at St. Andrews for the
nominations of the First and Deputy First Minister as joint
and co-equal partners in a new power-sharing government."
Mr. McGuinness said he was willing to sit down with Ian
Paisley in the morning and called on the governments to
help make this happen by convening a meeting of the
Programme for Government Committee.

Mr. McGuinness said:

"Earlier this week the Sinn Féin Ard Chomhairle mandated
the party leadership to follow the course set out at St.
Andrews and to continue with the ongoing negotiations to
overcome all of the outstanding issues. We have been in
daily contact with the British and Irish governments since

"Today all of the other parties responded to the proposals
put forward by the two governments at St. Andrews. Now the
serious business has to begin.

"I firmly believe that all of the challenges we face can be
overcome. On November 24th the Assembly must meet as set
out at St. Andrews for the nominations of the First and
Deputy First Minister as joint and co-equal partners in a
new power-sharing government.

"Sinn Féin are willing to sit down with Ian Paisley and the
leadership of the DUP to start preparing for government.

"The British and Irish governments could help make this
happen by convening a meeting of the Programme for
Government Committee. It is important that momentum is
injected into this process and that a political vacuum is
not allowed to develop. Dialogue is the key to all of
this." ENDS


Paisley To Meet PM As Rumours Grow About Talks

By Noel McAdam
11 November 2006

DUP leader Ian Paisley is to hold private talks with Tony
Blair in London today as the countdown begins to the next,
more crucial, deadline towards devolution.

And there were renewed reports last night of a possible
second St Andrews-style round of talks before the November
24 cut-off point for the Assembly and MLAs salaries and

The British and Irish governments, however, sounded an
optimistic note over the prospects for clearing the next
hurdle, while admitting more work involving the parties
still has to be done.

One suggestion, however, is that the governments themselves
nominate Mr Paisley and senior Sinn Fein negotiator Martin
McGuinness as First and Deputy First Minister in shadow

The apparent idea is that the respective parties would then
only be required to indicate their willingness to take up
the positions in the right circumstances.

Mr Paisley is expected to tell Mr Blair, however, that his
party will require a clear commitment from Sinn Fein on
policing before the next fortnight elapses.

The DUP leader claimed comments by Gerry Adams in the
United States, signalling his refusal to support British
law, amounted to "a declaration of war against law and

Mr Blair and Taoiseach Bertie Ahern are expected to become
more closely involved in the detail of negotiations over a
possible pledge of office, which would include a clear
declaration of support for the police service and law and

Ulster Unionist leader Sir Reg Empey said last night the
DUP had failed to "nail down" the pledge issue at St

But Mr McGuinness said Sinn Fein was willing immediately to
sit down with the DUP to resolve the nominations and pledge

He insisted, however: "Sinn Fein requires the DUP to agree
to a model for a new government department (for policing
and justice) and a time-frame for the transfer of powers.
Those are essential requirements."

The target date in the St Andrews blueprint for the
devolution of policing is May 2008.

But the DUP has warned it could be a "political lifetime"
before sufficient unionist confidence is achieved to allow
the transfer to go ahead.

However, Mr McGuinness said yesterday: "That is not a
tremendous encouragement for republicans to sign up to
anything on policing."

Northern Ireland Secretary of State Peter Hain and Irish
Foreign Minister Dermot Ahern, meanwhile, said they
believed the St Andrews Agreement can provide the basis for
a political deal.


Paisley Accuses Adams Of ‘Declaring War On Law And Order’

10/11/2006 - 16:23:40

The DUP leader, Ian Paisley, has accused the Sinn Féin
president, Gerry Adams, of “declaring war on law and

Mr. Adams had said in New York that his party could not
endorse policing until authority had been transferred to
Belfast from London.

Ian Paisley is becoming ever more critical of Sinn Féin.

It's for policing that he reserves his strongest words,
telling republicans there's an absolute requirement that
they endorse policing before they are credible for

There is no justification for Sinn Féin's position, he
said. There can be no fudging and Gerry Adams' comments in
America were in effect a declaration of war against law and

It is ludicrous and hypocritical for Gerry Adams, he said,
to lecture the DUP about playing a full part.

There will be no surrender to those who would settle for
second best.


McGuinness Appeals To Republicans:'Set Aside Differences & Unite'

SINN FEIN's Martin McGuinness last night made an
impassioned plea for republicans to "set aside their
differences" and "unite in pursuit of the common good."

The MP's appeal for "maximum unity" within the republican
family comes at a crucial time in the peace process with
political parties today poised to reveal their intentions
about the St. Andrews proposals.

Speaking to the 'Journal' last night, the Derry republican
said it was a time for "taking risks."

"This is the time for all republicans to suspend scepticism
about the intentions of the DUP or the two governments.
This is a time for us to have confidence in ourselves and
in our ability to deliver for the people of Ireland.

"Republicans do not have to agree on every issue. Indeed,
one opinion is as valid as any other. So, at times, we must
agree to disagree. We must set aside differences of opinion
and unite in pursuit of the common good. I appeal to all
republicans to have a sense of our own strength and our
potential. I am appealing for maximum unity. I am appealing
for everyone to move forward."

Republican activism, said the Mid-Ulster representative,
was "about the future" and "not about standing still,
marking time or going backward."

"We must have confidence in our collective ability to shape
that future. In all of this there is one certainty - and
let this be crystal clear - regardless of what happens on
Friday or on November 24 - the process of change will

'Eyes on the prize'

Mr. McGuinness insists his party's "eye are on the prize":
"peace and justice for every man, woman and child and a
democratic and peaceful way forward into a united and free

He added: "Whether there is a power sharing government in
the North or partnership arrangements between the two
governments, Sinn Fein is moving forward with confidence in
ourselves and our agenda."

11 November 2006


Presbyterians Call On SF To Support PSNI ASAP

THE MODERATOR of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland has
called on Sinn Fein to become supportive of the PSNI "as
soon as possible."

by Kyle White

Rev. Dr. David Clarke made the plea at a public meeting of
Limavady District Policing Partnership held at the Council
offices in the town on Wednesday evening.

He said Sinn Fein needed to accept the PSNI as the force of
law and order in Northern Ireland in order to hasten the
progress towards the restoration of devolution.

Outlining his desire for "justice and equality for all,"
Dr. Clarke quoted former American President Theodore
Roosevelt to underline his view on how the current
political impasse could be resolved.

"I was recently asked to give my contribution to the
devolution debate and in doing so I quoted Theodore
Roosevelt, who once said 'it is not a good community for
any of us to live in, until it is a good community for all
of us to live in.'

"We must ensure that justice, equality and mutual respect
is there for all. We want to move on and build a better
future for all of us," he added.

Dr. Clarke claimed Sinn Fein held the key to unlocking the
door to the restoration of devolution by offering it's
support to the PSNI.

"Sinn Fein should become supportive of the PSNI as soon as
possible," he said. "They need to support the newly
constituted forces of law and order and we can all move

Dr.Clarke - who attended the meeting wife his wife Hazel -
is undertaking a week-long visit in Foyle in his role as
Moderator of the Presbyterian Church.

He has been a Presbyterian Minister in his home town of
Coleraine for 26 years.

11 November 2006


Progress Seen On Northern Irish Power-Sharing

By Eamon Quinn
November 10, 2006

BELFAST, Nov 10 — Britain and Ireland today seized on
guarded words of support from Northern Ireland’s feuding
Protestant and Roman Catholic political parties, saying
that enough progress had been made by the first deadline
set in a timetable for restoring local rule for the
province, that they could attempt to meet the next

But a dispute about policing is casting doubt on whether
the Democratic Unionist Party, led by the veteran
Protestant leader, Ian Paisley, and the main Roman Catholic
party, Sinn Fein, can reach agreement by Nov. 24, when they
are to nominate leaders for the power-sharing government.

A government executive that included Northern Ireland
unionist leaders and Sinn Fein collapsed in 2002. The
unionists seek to maintain the political tie with Britain;
Sinn Fein is considered the political wing of the Irish
Republican Army, which has sought to separate the province
from Britain.

In a joint statement, the British and Irish governments
said they were satisfied that party statements indicated
support for a government. The governments, in St Andrews,
Scotland, last month, proposed a sequence of deadlines,
starting on Nov. 10, for the Democratic Unionists and Sinn
Fein to agree to share authority in an executive that would
take over most governmental powers starting next March.

As for the critical issue of policing, they proposed that
London would cede full powers to the local executive in

But the Democratic Unionist Party has said it will not
nominate Mr. Paisley as first minister-designate to the
coalition government with Sinn Fein’s Martin McGuinness as
deputy unless Sinn Fein gives its full backing to the
police before Nov. 24.

The province’s Catholic population has traditionally felt
that the Protestant-dominated police discriminate against

Jeffrey Donaldson, a member of Parliament in London and a
leading negotiator at St Andrews for the Protestant party,
said today that Sinn Fein must sign up to support policing
and the rule of law. “‘Unless that happens, there simply
will be no power sharing,” he said.

But Sinn Fein leaders have said that they cannot give their
support to the police and courts of the new government
before a meeting later on of all their party members. Sinn
Fein is also waiting to see exactly who would control the
Justice Ministry in the new arrangement.

In a statement, Mr. McGuinness of Sinn Fein made no mention
of the policing impasse. But he urged the governments to
stick by their deadline of Nov. 24 for the parties to
nominate leaders.

“‘The Assembly must meet as set out at St. Andrews for the
nominations of the first and deputy first minister as joint
and co-equal partners in a new power-sharing government,”
he said. “Sinn Fein are willing to sit down with Ian
Paisley and the leadership of the D.U.P. to start preparing
for government."

In their joint statement today, the British and Irish
governments said that the St Andrews Agreement remained the
basis for reaching their goal, and that preparatory
legislation will be worked on before Nov. 24. The
foundations of an agreement, the governments said, are
“support for power-sharing and the political institutions
and support for policing and the rule of law.”


Sinn Fein's 'Plan B' Call For North

Friday, November 10, 2006

Martin McGuinness Tony Blair and Bertie Ahern must
implement their Plan B for Northern Ireland if the Rev Ian
Paisley boycotts an Assembly meeting designed to make him
First Minister, Sinn Fein has insisted.

Just hours after the British and Irish Governments
announced they would press ahead with the St Andrews
timetable for power sharing, Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness
insisted the two governments must hold the DUP to the
deadlines in the agreement.

And he also countered DUP claims his party had retreated
from its St Andrews talks position on policing, arguing
members of Mr Paisley's party were instead making
unreasonable demands.

Following DUP warnings that the St Andrews timetable could
slip, Mr McGuinness told the two Prime Ministers they
should be prepared to put their alternative plan in place
if Mr Paisley would not participate in the November 24
meeting for nominating new Stormont First and Deputy First

"I think it would be a huge mistake if the November 24
deadline were to slip," the Mid Ulster MP said.

"The two governments have in recent times repeatedly said
there would be no slippage. If the DUP are not prepared to
nominate Ian Paisley as First Minister on November 24, the
two governments will have to swiftly move to ensure the
sequence and timetable for implementation is kept.

"If the DUP does not participate in the Assembly meeting on
November 24, it is in the legislation that the Assembly
falls and the two governments will be charged with taking
forward new partnership arrangements."

Earlier after receiving the Assembly parties' responses to
the two Prime Ministers' plan for reviving power sharing,
Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain and Irish Foreign
Minister Dermot Ahern set in train the St Andrews

Both ministers said they were satisfied the St Andrews
Agreement provided a basis for a lasting political
settlement. "That settlement must rest on the two
foundations of support for power-sharing and the political
institutions and support for policing and the rule of law,"
they declared.

"Securing these objectives remains the priority of the two
Governments and of everyone in Northern Ireland. We will
now proceed to ensure full implementation of the St Andrews
Agreement and the British Government will bring forward
legislation to give effect to the agreement."


Extra Powers For South Is Raised

Mark Hennessy, Political Correspondent

The Irish Government will get extra powers over Northern
Ireland's internal affairs from early December if a deal on
the Northern Executive is not agreed, Minister for Justice
Michael McDowell has said.

Asked if the support from both Sinn Féin and the DUP for
the latest proposals from Dublin and London was
conditional, Mr McDowell was blunt.

"We'll see," he said. "There is legislation going to be
prepared at Westminster to implement the process worked out
at St Andrews . . . On the 24th of this month there will be
a nomination of a first minister or a deputy first
minister. Either they are onside or offside on that
occasion. The governments have made it very, very clear
that if there is any failure to implement the agreement,
the immediate response will be that in the first week of
December 'Plan B' will be implemented. We are not in the
business of sliding back on this issue," he said.

Yesterday, Minister for Foreign Affairs Dermot Ahern sought
to emphasise the positive, despite conditional signals
offered by Sinn Féin and the DUP towards the St Andrews
proposals. He said he was "satisfied" there was enough
goodwill between the two parties to guarantee they were
prepared to bring about powersharing and accepted policing.

"We asked the parties to reflect on the agreement, to
consult with their membership on the proposed way forward
and to confirm their acceptance by November 10th," Mr Ahern
said. "These consultations are now complete and the
governments have been in contact with the parties. We are
satisfied from these contacts that the St Andrews
Agreement, implemented in good faith, represents the basis
for a political settlement."

He continued: "That settlement must rest on the two
foundations of support for powersharing and the political
institutions, and support for policing and the rule of law.
Securing these objectives remains the priority of the two
governments and of everyone in Northern Ireland.

"We will now proceed to ensure full implementation of the
St Andrews Agreement and the British government will bring
forward legislation to give effect to the agreement."

Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny said it was "regrettable" that
neither Sinn Féin nor the DUP were able to sign up fully to
the St Andrews deal.

"Their failure to meet the deadline represents a setback to
the process and weakens the negotiating position of both
governments," Mr Kenny said.

"I would urge the governments to make direct contact with
the leaders of both parties in the coming days to establish
if there is any prospect of the November 24th deadline for
the nomination of ministers being met.

"In doing so, they must emphasise that if the rate of
progress in the weeks since the St Andrews Agreement is not
accelerated, then there is no prospect of the outstanding
obstacles being resolved within the timeframe that has been
set," he said.

© The Irish Times


Hain Expects Stormont Progress

Plans for restoration of power-sharing to go ahead
DUP and Sinn Féin hedge over acceptance terms

Owen Bowcott, Ireland correspondent
Saturday November 11, 2006
The Guardian

The British and Irish governments are to enact plans to
restore a power-sharing assembly at Stormont despite the
province's two largest parties offering only conditional

As the first deadline passed yesterday in the timetable for
the return of devolution, Peter Hain, the Northern Ireland
secretary, promised to introduce the necessary legislation
for abolishing direct rule from Westminster.

The announcement came after both the Democratic Unionist
Party and Sinn Féin indicated they would proceed with the
process agreed at the St Andrews summit. Their formal
acceptances were hedged, however, with reservations.

At the core of negotiations is the need for the DUP to
accept power-sharing with its republican arch-enemy and for
Sinn Féin to overcome decades of hostility and sign up to
supporting the police. Neither wants to be the first to
make concessions.

In a joint statement yesterday Mr Hain and the Irish
foreign affairs minister, Dermot Ahern, declared: "We are
satisfied ... that the St Andrews agreement, implemented in
good faith, represents the basis for a political
settlement. That settlement must rest on the two
foundations of support for power-sharing and the political
institutions and support for policing and the rule of law.

"We will now proceed to ensure full implementation of the
St Andrews agreement and the British government will bring
forward legislation to give effect to the agreement."

Asked whether he was disappointed at the parties'
responses, Mr Hain replied: "We didn't expect them to sign
their acceptance in blood at this point ... we are on the
positive track."

A reminder of the dangers of drift came when it was
revealed shots were fired at a police station in Keady,
Armagh, on Thursday evening. Republican dissidents opposed
to the peace process were blamed.

In its formal response the DUP warned of potential
difficulties ahead: "There can only be an agreement
involving Sinn Féin when there has been delivery by the
republican movement, tested and proved, over a credible
period, in terms of support for the [Police Service of
Northern Ireland], the courts and rule of law, a complete
end to paramilitary and criminal activity and removal of
terrorist structures."

Sinn Féin has not yet summoned its special conference to
consider whether to support policing. Speaking in New York
on Thursday at a fund-raising dinner for the Friends of
Sinn Féin, Gerry Adams, the party president, said: "When
the British government and DUP conclude with us in a
satisfactory way on the policing issues I will go to the
[party executive] and seek a special Ard Fheis

The next political hurdle to overcome is on November 24,
when assembly members are due to meet to nominate a first
and deputy first minister. These will be Ian Paisley, DUP
leader, and Martin McGuinness, Sinn Féin chief negotiator.

There is a dispute over whether Sinn Féin will have to give
a pledge then to support the police before it has held its
special conference. The assembly is due to re-assume its
devolved powers on March 26 if the parties can reach


Parties Fail To Meet The Deadline For Ulster Deal

By Shawn Pogatchnik
Associated Press
Published November 11, 2006

BELFAST -- A deadline for Northern Ireland parties to
accept a new formula for power-sharing passed Friday with
the impasse between rival Protestant and Catholic parties
still unresolved.

The British and Irish governments issued a joint statement
vowing to press ahead in hopes the Protestants of the
Democratic Unionists and the Catholics of Sinn Fein would
meet a planned Nov. 24 vote to elect the top two figures in
a future Catholic-Protestant administration.

"There is much to be done, and there is a responsibility on
all to play their part. We will work actively with the
parties to complete this task and clear the way for a new
era for the people of Northern Ireland," said the statement
from Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain and Irish
Foreign Minister Dermot Ahern.

In an Anglo-Irish plan unveiled last month at the end of a
negotiating summit in St. Andrews, Scotland, both
governments emphasized that Sinn Fein must begin supporting
Northern Ireland's police force as part of the deal to
revive a cross-community administration, the central goal
of the Good Friday pact of 1998.

However, while the St. Andrews document was filled with
deadlines, it specified nothing about when and how Sinn
Fein should demonstrate its support for law and order. Such
a step would probably prove divisive for Sinn Fein, a party
that supported the Irish Republican Army's killing of
nearly 300 police during its 1970-97 campaign to overthrow
Northern Ireland.

But Democratic Unionist leader Ian Paisley isn't willing to
give Sinn Fein latitude on the issue. He insists the
Democratic Unionists will not take the first, symbolically
potent step to form a coalition with their enemies unless
Sinn Fein pledges support for the police at the same time.

According to the St. Andrews formula, the Northern Ireland
Assembly must elect Paisley and Sinn Fein deputy leader
Martin McGuinness to the top two power-sharing posts by
Nov. 24.

If the Democratic Unionists refuse, the governments say,
the 108-member assembly will be abolished. If they accept,
the assembly would elect the rest of the administration
March 14. Britain would transfer substantial powers to
local hands March 26.

The Democratic Unionists, who published a formal response
to the St. Andrews package Thursday night, said they are
unwilling to accept McGuinness--a veteran IRA commander--as
a government partner unless he supports the police in his
oath of office. Sinn Fein rejects this as politically


Hain Urged To Reply To Judge

By Chris Thornton
11 November 2006

Peter Hain was told last night to respond "clearly and
publicly" to a judge's accusation that he misled the High
Court over the appointment of the victims commissioner.

Tory spokesman David Lidington said the implications of
this week's ruling by Mr Justice Girvan "go beyond"
controversy over the appointment.

On Thursday, Mr Justice Girvan called for an "immediate and
searching inquiry at a high level" over the NIO's use of
"obviously misleading" information.

The judge said Mr Hain, as respondent, "failed in his duty
of candour".

He said: "The inference to be drawn in the circumstances is
that the respondent was attempting to divert attention from
the true course of events."

Mr Hain has so far refused to comment on the judge's call,
although today he is expected to rule out suspending senior
civil servants involved in the case. The judge also
criticised the two most senior civil servants in Northern
Ireland, NIO Permanent Secretary Jonathan Phillips and
Nigel Hamilton, the head of the Civil Service.

He said both men had made "misleading" statements in their

The judge called for the inquiry because he said someone in
the NIO had "decided that the correct information should
not be placed before the court".

Mr Lidington, the Shadow Secretary of State said: "The
implications of the judgement go beyond this particular

Yesterday, SDLP victims spokeswoman Patricia Lewsley
appealed for an inquiry.

She said the civil servants "need to urgently explain
themselves to the public".

"Bertha McDougall is a good woman doing a good job," she
said. "She - and victims generally - deserved a lot better
than sleazy politics of the NIO."


Hain Dismisses Suspension Calls

The NI Secretary has rejected calls for the suspension of
some of his top civil servants after they were criticised
by a High Court judge.

Mr Justice Girvan ordered an inquiry into the appointment
of Bertha McDougall as Interim Victims' Commissioner.

The judge said Mrs McDougall's appointment had been
motivated by an "improper political purpose".

Mr Hain said he would examine the need for an inquiry.

However, he rejected calls from the Relatives for Justice
group for the immediate suspension of the head of the
Northern Ireland Civil Service, Nigel Hamilton, and the
Northern Ireland's Office's permanent secretary, Jonathan

"I am not intending to suspend them at all, so let's study
the judgement, learn any lessons that need to be learned
and respond accordingly," he said.

"Both Jonathan Philips and Nigel Hamilton are outstanding
public officials with a tremendous record of dedication."

Brenda Downes, from west Belfast, challenged the
appointment of Mrs McDougall, the widow of a police

On Thursday, the judge ruled that Mr Hain had failed to
take account of the fact that there was no evidential basis
for concluding that Mrs McDougall - whose husband was
murdered by the INLA - would command cross-community

Her appointment, he said, was in breach of the accepted
merit norms applicable to public appointments.

Civil servants who had been advising Mr Hain in connection
with the appointment also came in for criticism from the

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

The judge added that the departments had also failed to
"disclose the true nature of the limited consultation which
took place with one political party (the DUP)".

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

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/11/11 09:23:06 GMT


Reid Honoured At Belfast Awards Ceremony

Last updated: 10-11-06, 21:01

Redemptorist priest Alec Reid, who witnessed IRA weapons
decommissioning and urged Basque separatists to call a
ceasefire, has been honoured in an awards ceremony in

Father Alex Reid received the Person of the Year accolade
at the annual Aisling awards in the city.

Fr Reid was one of two clergymen who last year witnessed
the Provisional IRA's final acts of disarmament.

He is based in Clonard Monastery in west Belfast and played
a key role in the early stages of the Northern Ireland
peace process.

Born in Nenagh, Co Tipperary, he was ordained a
Redemptorist priest in 1957 and has been based in Belfast
for 40 years.

In 1988, he was thrust into the public spotlight as he
administered last rites to two British army corporals
pulled from a car and murdered by a mob at an IRA funeral.
The incident left a huge impression on him and he worked to
end violence.

In the late 1980s, Fr Reid facilitated talks between former
SDLP leader John Hume and Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams. He
also acted as a contact between Sinn Féin and the Irish

The dialogue between Mr Hume and Mr Adams eventually led to
the 1994 IRA ceasefires which helped kickstart the process
leading to the 1998 Belfast Agreement.

Fr Reid, who has also been involved in the Basque peace
process, hit the headlines for the wrong reasons last year
when during an angry exchange with victims campaigner
Willie Fraser he compared the treatment of unionists by
nationalists to the treatment of the Jews by the Nazis.

The guest of honour at the awards ceremony, organised by
the Andersonstown News Group in Belfast's Europa Hotel, was
the US Congressman Martin Meehan who has been on a two-day
visit to the city.

The West Belfast-born singer and novelist, Brian Kennedy,
was also among the guests at the ceremony which honoured
individuals in business, culture and art, inter-community
activity and sport.

A special roll of honour award was presented to Irish
language campaigner and activist Gearóid Ó Cairealláin, who
was discharged from hospital for the ceremony. He suffered
a stroke last July.

© 2006


Alert Continues After Bomb Find

A security operation is continuing in County Fermanagh
after a bomb was found.

It was discovered on Friday at Clogh Road near Rosslea
following reports that dissident republicans had abandoned
a landmine in the area.

Chief Inspector Alywn Barton said he had no doubt that the
device could have caused serious injury or death.

He said: "I believe this was an attempt to kill members of
the community police in the area."

Chief Inspector Barton said a member of the public could
have easily stumbled upon the device.

"This was obviously the work of some dissident republican
grouping who are intent on committing murder and are not
looking on the bright future that lies ahead of us in
Northern Ireland," he said.

A PSNI spokesman described the device as "viable" but said
he could not give details on its exact size until it had
been made safe.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/11/11 10:41:00 GMT


Files On Wright Killers Are Among Thousands Destroyed Or Missing

By Chris Thornton
10 November 2006

Security files on 800 terrorist prisoners - including
virtually every inmate released under the Good Friday
Agreement - were burned by prison officials, the Billy
Wright Inquiry has learned.

And another 42,000 files from the Maze Prison were
destroyed in a "freedom of information exercise" in 2004.

The security files on two of Wright's INLA killers have
been confirmed to be among the missing material.

The Belfast Telegraph today reveals the full hidden extent
of the destruction or loss of thousands of files that could
have been of benefit to the inquiry.

The inquiry, which is investigating whether there was any
collusion in the 1997 murder of the LVF leader inside the
Maze, held hearings in Belfast last week about the extent
of material that has gone missing.

The inquiry's senior lawyer says the Prison Service has
supplied "substantial documentation" to the inquiry.

But significant material remains missing, including
documents that could explain how guns were smuggled into
the prison.

The missing material also includes documents that were
previously available to Justice Peter Cory, the retired
Canadian judge who recommended the inquiry.

The sensitive security files on prisoners had been kept
after the Maze closed in 2000 in case any of the inmates
were returned to jail.

The Prison Service also had an agreement with the Public
Records Office to keep the prisoner files in case they had
any historic value.

But two officials claimed last week that Martin Mogg, the
governor in charge of the Maze at the time of the murder,
ordered the destruction of the files in 2002. Mr Mogg died
in 2005.

The destruction contravened an official policy Mr Mogg
wrote in 1997.

Lawyers for David Wright, the father of the murdered LVF
chief, had also warned the Prison Service in 2001 to retain
any material that might be useful to the inquiry.

When the inquiry returns for further hearings in December,
they may now argue that the inquiry can draw inferences
about collusion from the material that has gone missing.

The SDLP's Alban Maginness said today the disappearance of
the files was "highly disturbing".

Told by the Belfast Telegraph about the full scale of the
missing or destroyed documents, he said: "You would have
thought that such files would have been treated with care
and sensitivity. It is very disturbing they have simply
disappeared or been destroyed without proper process.

"I am further disturbed, in relation to the Billy Wright
murder, that the prison authorities either neglected or
were cavalier in dealing with serious and sensitive aspects
of events relating to Billy Wright's murder.

"The fact these files have disappeared creates suspicion
surrounding Billy Wright's death."

Last week the inquiry subjected 17 witnesses from the
Prison Service to searching questions about the missing
material. In many cases, the answers were conflicting. One
witness said there was no internal report on the Wright
murder. The next said that he and the first witness had
compiled an internal report together.

A security official told the inquiry that RUC Special
Branch officers were not routinely in the Maze. Another
said they were a regular presence.

There was also considerable conflict about how the Maze
prisoner files were destroyed.

The inquiry will return to Belfast in December, when it
will hear from one more witness and recall at least one of
those who testified last week. Then it will hear from
lawyers for the Crown and David Wright, the father of the
dead loyalist.


City Comptroller's Influence Reaches Northern Ireland

By Christopher Faherty
Special to the Sun
November 9, 2006

The long arm of the city comptroller's office has reached
out over the Atlantic to attempt to quell the sectarian
struggle in Northern Ireland — at least the one being
played out on a wall of a Kentucky Fried Chicken.

When a Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise in Belfast allowed
a mural depicting hooded gunmen from the Protestant
paramilitary Ulster Freedom Fighters to be painted on the
exterior of the restaurant in 2002, "the Comptroller's
office brought strong and swift pressure to bear,"
according to a new report.

The office of the city's comptroller, William Thompson,
pressured corporate leaders of Kentucky Fried Chicken to
have the illegal and divisive mural removed from the
restaurant, according to the comptroller's 29-page report.

By contacting executives at the company's headquarters and
reminding them that the city's pension funds owned more
than 1 million Kentucky Fried Chicken shares totaling more
than $30 million, the comptroller was able to effect
immediate removal of the offending mural, the report says.
The wall was painted over within 24 hours.

There is, however, still a mural of paramilitary fighters
on a wall across the street from the Kentucky Fried Chicken
on Shankill Road in Belfast, a Belfast city council member,
Diane Dodds, a member of the Democratic Unionist Party,
said in a telephone interview with The New York Sun.

Shankill Road is the main road leading through a
predominantly Protestant working-class area of Belfast,
known as the Shankill.

The report details the willingness of corporations in
Northern Ireland to comply with 1984 MacBride Principles, a
set of anti-discrimination policies for companies doing
business in Northern Ireland.

With about $9 billion invested in about 260 companies in
Northern Ireland, the city has been very influential in the
implementation of the MacBride Principles, the president of
the Irish National Caucus, Father Sean McManus, said. "I
can't say enough about the dedication of Mr. Thompson," he

More than two-thirds of American-based companies operating
in Northern Ireland that are in the city's portfolio have
adopted and complied with the principles, the report says.

The report comes on the heels of a visit to Ireland by
members of Mr. Thompson's office in September, during which
they met with trade union representatives from two
companies that the pension funds have had a history of
engagement with on fair employment issues.

Although working conditions and employment equality have
improved for Catholics in Northern Ireland, the report says
there are still challenges.


OP/ED: NYC Comptroller Wm Thompson: Investing For Peace

NYC & Northern Ireland
By William C. Thompson

November 11, 2006 -- THE Northern Ireland peace process faces
a critical deadline on Nov. 24. The Northern Ireland Assembly
has been suspended since 2002 because its members - the
major Protestant and Catholic parties - haven't been able to
reach agreement on power- sharing. The British government –
in the person of Northern Ireland Secretary of State Peter
Hain - recently warned that if the parties can't resolve
their differences, it could dissolve the Assembly and resume
direct rule from London.

The good news is that Ian Paisley, leader of Protestant-
dominated Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), and Gerry Adams
of the predominantly Catholic Sinn Fein party appear close
to achieving an agreement.

The deadline is an important incentive for the legislators.
The Assembly members are jeopardizing far more than just
their own jobs. At risk are both continued progress in the
struggle for equal rights in Northern Ireland and the
area's recent economic boom, which has been fueled by
foreign investment.

These are matters of great concern to institutional
investors whose portfolios give them a big stake in the
future of Northern Ireland.

As New York City comptroller, I am the custodian and chief
investment advisor for some 100 billion U.S. dollars in
pension funds. New York City has some $9 billion invested
in over 260 companies that do business in Northern Ireland.

The region's favorable infrastructure and highly educated
population have proved attractive to foreign firms - but
prolonged political instability could cause investors to
seek opportunities elsewhere.

In September, I traveled to Dublin and Belfast with members
of my staff and trustees for the New York City pension
funds. We met with the British and Irish governments, human
rights groups, and representatives of the major political
parties, as well as business and civic leaders.

One issue dividing Catholics and Protestants that came up
repeatedly is the ongoing social segregation. Despite some
recent advances, Catholics still face serious obstacles in
housing, education and employment.

The latter area is one where my office has traditionally
exercised its clout. Long before I became comptroller, we
worked with Nobel Peace laureate and former Irish Foreign
Minister Sean MacBride to develop and promote the MacBride
principles - a set of guidelines requiring companies that
do business in Northern Ireland to embrace the goal of
equal opportunity in employment. The MacBride principles
were critical in the development of Northern Ireland's Fair
Employment Act of 1989. They have been embraced by 17
states and 40 major cities in the United States, who
monitor enforcement as I do.

Since 1985, over 88 U.S. and Canadian companies operating
in Northern Ireland have agreed to adopt the MacBride
standards. I am proud to say that a quarter of those firms
have come on board since I became comptroller.

To critics who predicted that the MacBride Principles would
scare away foreign investment, I would counter by observing
that the number of U.S. firms in Northern Ireland is higher
than ever before. At the same time, the workplace is the
most integrated sector of Northern Ireland society today.

This progress shows the power investors have to confront
inequality - but the ongoing disparity between Catholics
and Protestants makes clear that this stick is not enough
to confront the problem alone.

If the Catholic and Protestant parties can't agree to re-
establish a functioning legislature, it will be difficult
if not impossible to confront issues of inequality. And if
they don't deal with the current disparity, a souring
investment climate could drive away firms that are critical
to the region's economy.

It is imperative now that the responsible political leaders
come to the table in good faith to resolve the stalemate
before it's too late.

William C. Thompson is New York City comptroller.


Opin: Will A Pragmatic Paisley Finish His Career By 'Doing The Deal'?


Sinn Féin and the DUP seem to be inching towards a historic
compromise. Or maybe not. Frank Millar in London surveys
the current state of play

Has Ian Paisley finally decided he wants to finish his
career as First Minister of Northern Ireland? "He's gagging
for it," came the knowing reply from his colleague when I
put the question some months back.

This was, as The Irish Times first revealed, the latest
Tony Blair initiative to restore the Stormont Assembly, now
with an "absolute" deadline for the restoration of power-
sharing government. The seeming certainty of the DUP man
was enough to prompt serious doubt. Yet your correspondent
remained sceptical.

The Big Man has always appeared content to remain leader,
as he might put it, of "the loyal opposition".

Moreover, wishful thinking about Dr Paisley's motivation
has long attended his stormy career. Every few years
somebody - in the Northern Ireland Office or the Department
of Foreign Affairs - would float the notion that, once top
of the heap and undisputed leader of unionism, incapable of
being out-flanked on the right, Paisley would "do the deal"
that would stick.

There wasn't much sign of it as the Assembly reconvened
last May. In an interview in this newspaper the DUP leader
dismissed the idea of office as motive. "Do you think I
have come to 80 years of age to sell my soul?" he demanded,
while listing a string of conditions, including the
separation of the offices of first and deputy first
minister - regarded by SDLP leader Mark Durkan as the very
"partnership" heart of the Belfast Agreement.

Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams was the one who spoke of
"progress" towards a united Ireland. But Dr Paisley was
clear: "They cannot tell me I must take a step but it's
only a step to another step and another . . . That progress
is not going to descend on this Assembly."

Just last month he was telling delegates to the
Conservative conference that the IRA army council still
considered itself the legitimate government of Ireland -
hence the continuing failure of Sinn Féin to agree with
anybody else as to what constitutes a "crime". While open
to the idea of unionist unity, Dr Paisley also voiced
doubts about his ability to coalesce with UUP leaders who
could sit in government with terrorists.

Yet it seems clear he was all the while facing both ways,
playing the "blame game" with some skill, while identifying
the ground on which he would finally stake his position.
And in stipulating endorsement of the Police Service of
Northern Ireland as the condition for Sinn Féin's entry
into government he has achieved two things.

First, he has established a bottom line which the Americans
support and which neither the British nor Irish governments
can surely expect him to abandon. Second - should Sinn Féin
oblige - he has raised the prospect for a massive advance
which, in the end, eluded Mr Trimble.

It seems some in the DUP were doubtful about making
policing the big requirement, lest it become, à la Trimble,
"the new decommissioning".

However, a contrary view offered by one Trimble admirer is
that Dr Paisley has honed-in on an implicit requirement of
the Good Friday accord itself - support for the post-Patten
police service - which the Ulster Unionists and the SDLP
failed to enforce.

Those still doubtful about the pragmatic nature of Dr
Paisley's new position might also take instruction from the
complaints laid against him by leading critics like Jim
Allister and Robert McCartney. Both rightly discern that
there is nothing in the St Andrews Agreement, for example,
requiring the disbandment of the IRA. Dr Paisley's
conclusion apparently is that acceptance of the PSNI would
mark the end of the ideological road for republicans and
render the IRA "defunct" - though he will hardly welcome a
reminder that this is the "big picture" view Mr Blair and
Mr Ahern previously urged on Mr Trimble.

The question of the moment therefore might appear to be
whether some compromise can be found to meet the November
24th "deadline" for nominating first and deputy first
ministers - while allowing that Martin McGuinness will not
pre-empt some future decision on policing by a special Sinn
Féin ardfheis. However, that might be to miss the point
that the highly conditional endorsements of St Andrews
acceptable to both governments suggest all of these
deadlines may in fact prove endlessly flexible.

Thursday night's DUP statement certainly suggests it simply
intends to leapfrog this one: "As Sinn Féin is not yet
ready to take the decisive step forward on policing, the
DUP will not be required to commit to any aspect of power-
sharing in advance."

It would even appear that that position could carry the DUP
all the way into the planned March 7th election, since
there is no indication yet that Sinn Féin is committed to
take a final decision on policing before the planned
electoral "endorsement" of the St Andrews deal - and
seemingly nothing in it requiring them to do so. Thus we
could be facing into yet another "election to process",
surely prompting questions as to why, and to whose benefit?

Veteran peace processors on the other hand suggest the
publication of the new pledge of ministerial office in
British legislation due next week will square the circle -
leaving no one in any doubt as to what is to happen come
March 26th and the scheduled date for appointing an
Executive. Some DUP modernisers likewise regarded Monday's
statement by Sinn Féin's ardchomhairle as simply "holding"
to a position which the Adams leadership will change in its
own good time.

Dr Paisley, by contrast, detected a possible step backwards
in the statement combining a reiteration of the party's
long-declared position with rejection of any role for MI5
in "civic policing" of the kind defined in the St Andrews
annex detailing the new arrangements for handling "national
security" issues.

The two governments will trust Mr Adams bluffing, since he
surely knows this is one fight with the British he cannot
expect to win. That said, it would seem a curious way in
which to prepare the republican constituency for arguably
its most neuralgic decision of the entire peace process.

At this writing all that seems certain is that Mr Adams
won't be stretching himself to resolve this issue in
accordance with London's timetable - and that Dr Paisley
may have to wait some time yet to discover if this
generation of republican leaders ever will on his terms.
The process, at least, goes on.

© The Irish Times


Opin: Political Stability Is Still Within Reach

11 November 2006

No matter how much spin Peter Hain and Dermot Ahern put on
it, the plain truth is that the responses given by the DUP
and Sinn Fein to the St Andrews Agreement were not the
answers the two governments wanted.

Instead of the clear-cut endorsements of the terms which
the governmental timetable had stipulated, the two key
parties have given what at best may be described as a
heavily qualified maybe. Both Ian Paisley and Gerry Adams
want to see a number of issues resolved before they will
endorse the deal.

If anything, both the DUP and Sinn Fein have retrenched to
the positions they adopted prior to St Andrews. The process
is once again deadlocked, and once again the main impasses
are over policing and power-sharing.

Despite all his bluster, Mr Hain must now know that there
is little chance of the DUP and Sinn Fein nominating shadow
ministers on November 24. Unless an intensive engagement
can now be convened, and an acceptable programme of
sequencing worked out, the most likely prospect is for
continued drift.

As ever, though, the situation is bleak but not hopeless.
Neither the DUP nor Sinn Fein has completely rejected the
St Andrews Agreement, and there is an acceptance by both
parties that progress is possible if key issues are

The DUP is paying the price for failing to condition its
supporters for change, and now finds itself in a trickier
position than Sinn Fein. The Hearts and Minds poll, which
suggested that just 47% of DUP voters were in favour of the
agreement, confirmed reports of heated exchanges at a
number of party meetings.

Although most focus has been on the DUP this week, Sinn
Fein is not blameless. The delay in convening an Ard Fheis
to debate the policing issue is aggravating matters.

With so much work in progress and regrettably, no sign yet
that the DUP is willing to enter into direct dialogue with
Sinn Fein, no wonder the public is dubious about the
chances of the Assembly being revived by March 26.

The first hurdle to be overcome is the oath of office due
to be taken by prospective Ministers. The Government must
now concentrate on a form of words which will find
acceptance with both parties and which can be incorporated
in the legislation due to be tabled on November 20.

For their part, Sinn Fein and the DUP must be flexible. If
the parties really wish to see devolution restored, they
must not be unreasonable.

The prize is still there to be won and as the BBC poll
showed, a majority still supports the agreement. A chance
still exists to create political stability, and it is vital
that the DUP and Sinn Fein do not allow it to slip through
their fingers.


Garda Given Report On Deaths At Leas Cross

Eithne Donnellan, Miriam Donohoe Martin Wall


The report on deaths at the Leas Cross nursing home in
north Dublin - which found shocking deficits in the care
provided to elderly residents - has now been passed on to
the Garda Síochána.

Following its publication yesterday, it was sent to the
Garda Commissioner by the Health Service Executive (HSE)
and it has also been sent to the bodies responsible for
policing the nursing and medical professions, An Bord
Altranais and the Medical Council.

The HSE, which commissioned the report, said it regretted
what happened at the private nursing home in Swords and was
embarrassed by it.

The author of the report, consultant geriatrician Prof Des
O'Neill, said in his review that his overall findings "are
consistent with a finding of institutional abuse".

In one case he found nurses had difficulty contacting a
doctor for a resident, which extended for three days. And
having reviewed the case notes of 105 people who died at
Leas Cross, or immediately after transfer to hospital from
the home between 2002 and 2005, he said it would be a "very
major error to presume that the deficits in care shown in
Leas Cross represent an isolated incident".

Prof O'Neill found staffing levels at the home to be
deficient. He also identified failures in the regulatory
process, criticised those in management for not taking
complaints seriously and said "there is scant evidence that
the Department of Health has taken cognisance of the huge
concerns internationally over the quality of care provided
to older people in long-term care".

"With a few honourable exceptions there has been a
systematic failure by Government, health boards and
professional bodies to address the issue of appropriate
quality of care for older people with the highest levels of
health and social needs in Irish society," his report

Aidan Browne, director of Primary, Community and Continuing
Care with the HSE, said all recommendations in the report
would be taken on board.

Asked what actions would be taken against staff to ensure
they were held accountable, he said: "If you read the
report and you read the submissions, there is no evidence
that people actually did anything wrong. The evidence is
that the combination of factors came together that resulted
in a wrong outcome."

He said improvements had now been made to the HSE's nursing
inspection process.

Submissions made by people referred to in the report, but
not named in it, were published with the report. In its
submission the Department of Health said that some
criticisms of it by Prof O'Neill were made out of context
and were not backed up by any evidence. And a former senior
health service executive described parts of the report as
"biased and inaccurate".

Minister for Health Mary Harney described the report's
findings as "deeply upsetting" and promised legislation to
allow for the setting up of an independent inspection
regime for all nursing homes. She said she wanted to see
the legislation through the Oireachtas "hopefully before
Easter of next year".

Meanwhile Mr Browne revealed there are still some nursing
homes with problems but the HSE was "working very
diligently" with them to improve them.

Families of some of those who died at Leas Cross confronted
HSE officials at a press briefing on the report yesterday
saying attempts had been made to block their entry. They
said they were "treated like lepers" and demanded that
somebody be held accountable.

Leas Cross first came to prominence in March 2005 when the
Dublin city coroner heard an inquest into the death of 73-
year-old woman who died at Beaumont Hospital shortly after
being transferred to it from the home. Her daughter told
the inquest her mother, Dorothy Black, had bed sores the
size of melons which penetrated into the bone when she was
admitted to Beaumont.

Shortly afterwards Prime Time Investigates sent an
undercover reporter into the home and its programme finally
led to Leas Cross closing in August 2005.

Last night the owner of Leas Cross, John Aherne, told The
Irish Times he should have been informed of any failings in
care standards at the home, but that the HSE did not raise
any concerns with him. "I am the owner of the nursing home.
I have no medical background myself. If anything was wrong,
the inspection team should have informed me we received
certainly no more than four reports over seven years."

© The Irish Times


Bk Rev: Damaged Goods

By Brooke Allen
Published: November 12, 2006

MARY GORDON is often described as a gifted depicter of
Irish-American life, but the classification is misleading:
that subject is just one among the many she has memorably
treated. Starting with the working-class Irish-American
communities of her 1950s childhood, Gordon’s fiction — six
novels, so far, and more than three dozen short stories and
novellas — takes us through scenes that suggest her own
life’s expanding vistas: from the conservative Roman
Catholic school in Queens to the liberal women’s college in
Manhattan, from the capitals of Europe to the Upper West
Side cocktail party.

By Mary Gordon.
457 pp. Pantheon Books. $26.

Gordon’s greatest asset is probably her ear: she brings
myriad voices directly and faithfully to the page. But this
virtuosity can have the odd effect of hiding Gordon’s own
voice beneath those of the characters she reproduces so
easily. A gifted chameleon, Gordon lacks a distinctly
recognizable style. In “The Stories of Mary Gordon” (which
combines new and previously uncollected stories with
material from an earlier collection, “Temporary Shelter”),
you’ll find work that resembles an Alice Adams story, a
Grace Paley story, a Barbara Pym story, a Louis Auchincloss
story. But what exactly is a Mary Gordon story, and how do
you recognize it?

There are specifically autobiographical tales here, and
readers familiar with Gordon’s work will recognize certain
themes. Gordon’s bizarre and disturbing memoir, “The Shadow
Man,” provides a key to many of her preoccupations. “My
father died when I was 7 years old,” it begins. “I’ve
always thought that was the most important thing anyone
could know about me.” Gordon goes on to describe her
inconsolable grief for her adored and adoring father and
the shocks she later received on discovering that this
devout, scholarly Catholic had been born Jewish, had
converted and had subsequently become both a ferocious
anti-Semite and a writer of pornography.

The motifs of Gordon’s life resurface throughout her
stories. Several display a heartbreaking understanding of
childhood grief and the way it isolates the sufferer, who
through age and inexperience lacks the capacity to
communicate its depth. She knows that the too-rare moments
of real comfort often come from unexpected sources.

In one story, the narrator remembers her bereaved small
self and her unpredictable reaction to a slatternly
neighbor: “For the first time, I understood what all those
adults were trying to do for me. I understood what was
meant by comfort. Perhaps I was able to accept it from Mrs.
Lynch as I had from no other because there was no self-love
in what she did, nothing showed me she had one eye on some
mirror checking her posture as the comforter of a grief-
stricken child. She was not congratulating herself for her
tact, her understanding, her tough-mindedness. ... It was
her sense of the inevitability of what had happened, and
its permanence, its falling into the category of natural
affliction, that I received as such a gift.”

Gordon repeatedly demonstrates the ways in which damage
done in youth can twist a person’s future. In her work, as
in life itself, there is often a fine line within families
between innocent love and pathological attachment. She
makes us recognize that distinction in her characters’
relationships — and search for it in our own. She also
conveys the painful truth that real childhood damage can
never be entirely overcome. Thus in the opening story we
come to understand the emotional roots of a young woman’s
fanatical sense of order by tracing it back to the squalid
existence she once lived with her parents, a pair of
hopeless alcoholics. “She heard, as if from a great
distance, people using the word ‘beautiful’ in relation to
things like trees or sunsets, but her faculty for
understanding things like this had been so crippled that
the attempt to comprehend what people were saying when they
spoke like this filled her with a kind of panic.”

Gordon’s depictions of Irish-American culture are
particularly acute. When she ruthlessly skewers the
O’Reillys, an extended family of first-generation
immigrants who appear in several stories, you feel that
Gordon herself has lived among such people, has seen them —
and seen through them. “All the sisters,” the O’Reillys’
young niece notes, “thought of marriage as a sign of
weakness: they made only partial exceptions for
themselves.” The girl and her cousin, hemmed in by the
narrow mores of their culture, gaze at a holy picture of
St. Catherine of Siena as “a sign of something that they
valued but could not find or even name in the world that
they inhabited; excellence, simplicity.”

Gordon’s powers of observation can be considerable. In one
story, she suggests the depths of frustration in a nun’s
brief description of a teacher at a Catholic school in
Manhattan, a pathetic man she deplores but finally doesn’t
have the heart to get rid of: “It was as if he had sat
passively by and allowed someone to push his face in; the
area from his cheekbones to his lower teeth was a dent, a
declivity, a ditch; his lower teeth jutted above his upper
ones like a bulldog’s. Something about the way his teeth
fit made it difficult for him to breathe quietly; he often
snorted, and he blew his nose with what Joan thought of as
excessive, and therefore irritating, frequency. His ears
were two-dimensional and flat, like the plastic ears that
came with Mr. Potato Head kits. His clothes were so loose
on him that she could not envision the shape of his body.
He wore orthopedic shoes.”

Several of the collection’s shorter, more impressionistic
pieces are heavy on whimsy and light on substance. Gordon
has more success with long, expository stories that allow
wider scope for her descriptive skills and her gift for
building a character. Throughout the book, there are many
happy surprises: an original and pragmatic point of view, a
distinctive intermingling of humor and tragedy, a high
level of empathy. It’s a shame, though, that the stories
haven’t been provided with dates or arranged in a clear
chronology. Tracking the progression of a writer’s career
is always instructive — and in a career like Mary Gordon’s
particularly so.

Brooke Allen’s new book, “Moral Minority: Our Skeptical
Founding Fathers,” has just been published.


Cultural Group Puts On Irish Play – The Year Of The Hiker

By Gerald McKinstry
The Journal News

If you go
What: "The Year of the Hiker" produced by the Irish Arts
Forum of Rockland.
When: 8 p.m. today, tomorrow and Nov. 17 and 18; 3 p.m.
Sunday and Nov. 19.
Where: Venture Center, Route 340, Sparkill.
Tickets: Adults $16, seniors $14, members $12.
For more information: Call 845-398-0752 or e-mail

(Original publication: November 10, 2006)

SPARKILL - It's been more than two decades since an Irish
cultural group in Rockland has put on a John B. Keane play
about forgiveness and redemption, and organizers say the
time was right for its return.

So, the Irish Arts Forum of Rockland County is producing
Keane's "The Year of the Hiker" this weekend and next at
the Venture Center, Route 340, Sparkill.

"It was a great story line and it was time to revisit it
again," said Theresa O'Rourke, the play's producer and a
member of the nonprofit for 12 years. "It is always

The play, set in Ireland in the 1960s, is the story of a
man who walked out on his family and returns on his
daughter's wedding day after a 20-year absence. It deals
with regret, pain and the power of forgiveness. Despite its
serious message, O'Rourke said there's a lot of humor, too.

"Often with Irish plays, there's a double edge to it," she
said. "It's both funny and serious."

The Irish Arts Forum has been producing plays in the county
for 25 years. It last produced "The Year of the Hiker" in

O'Rourke said such productions were a great way for the
region's large Irish community to stay connected to their
roots. The Tappan woman said the Forum typically sponsored
two plays a year in addition to readings, art shows and
children's programs so that Rocklanders could remain
connected to Irish culture.

"With so many here, people want to keep a connection to
their heritage," O'Rourke said. "It's a way of celebrating
our culture."

That resonated with David Jacob, an Irish-American who is
directing the play.

A chemistry teacher at Clarkstown High School South, Jacob
spent eight years as a professional actor. He said
directing such a production was an opportunity to take part
in "a unique situation in the metropolitan area."

Outside of New York City, he said, there were few
opportunities for hobbyists and professionals to
participate together in Irish theater.

"I read the play and fell in love with it. I fell in love
with his language," Jacob said of Keane's work. "There's a
certain quality that's uniquely Irish."

Having published 46 works, including "The Field" and
"Sive," Keane wrote about life in rural Ireland. Known for
his gift of storytelling, he is considered one of the
country's highly regarded and most performed playwrights.
Keane died in 2002 in County Kerry.

Reach Gerald McKinstry at or 845-578-

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