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November 10, 2006

Governments To Press On With Devolution

News About Ireland & The Irish

IT 11/10/06 Governments To Press On With Devolution
RT 11/09/06 Hamill Inquiry Challenges Police Anonymity
IT 11/10/06 Dermot Ahern In New York To Campaign For Illegal Irish
BB 11/10/06 Democrat Victory 'Will Help NI'
SF 11/10/06 Adams: Our Eyes Are On The Prize - Peace & Justice For All
BB 11/10/06 Signs Of Movement In NI Process
IN 11/10/06 US Role In Mural Removal Revealed
BT 11/10/06 Lords To Probe Hain Parade Commission Appointments
RT 11/10/06 McAleese Visiting Belfast & Armagh Today
BB 11/10/06 Fire Attack Man Dies In Hospital
BT 11/10/06 Burned Maze Files May Have Held Truth
IN 11/10/06 PSNI Team Banned Following Pitch Fight
BN 11/10/06 McDowell Accuses Sinn Féin Over Bellenaboy Violence
BN 11/10/06 Ó Caoláin: McDowell's Comments 'Scare Tactics'
IT 11/10/06 Man Shot In Belfast Paramilitary-Style Attack
IT 11/10/06 Cross-Border Body May 'Face Serious Damage'
BT 11/10/06 Opin: Loose Ends In Deal Must Be Tied Up
BT 11/10/06 Opin: Eric Waugh: Bribed Into Devolution?
IT 11/10/06 Opin: Deadline? Pull The Other One
BT 11/10/06 Hotel To Provide Comfort For Shrine's Barefoot Pilgrims
BT 11/10/06 First Tailor-Made Performance Of Play Based On Banned Book
BT 11/10/06 Researchers Impressed By Google's Medical Diagnoses
BN 11/10/06 Irish Have Fourth Highest Quality Of Life - UN Report
IN 11/10/06 Rare Books From Irish Authors On Display At Fair
IT 11/10/06 Death Of Leading Architect At Age Of 72


Governments To Press On With Devolution

Last updated: 10-11-06, 12:39

The Irish and British Governments announced today they
would implement plans drawn up last month to revive power
sharing in Northern Ireland.

Following the responses of parties in Stormont to the
proposals, Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain and
Minister for Foreign Affairs Dermot Ahern issued a
statement saying: "When we concluded our talks at St
Andrews in October 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

"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.

"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.

"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.

"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."

Last night the DUP warned: "The refusal by Sinn Féin even
to begin giving support to the Police Service of Northern
Ireland, the courts and the rule of law has clear adverse
implications for the timetable laid out at St Andrews."

Last month, Bertie Ahern and Prime Minister Tony Blair
produced their best guess plan for reviving power sharing
between unionists and nationalists at Stormont.

Initial reaction from the Rev Ian Paisley and Sinn Féin
president Gerry Adams was positive.

But the DUP insisted that if it was to form a power-sharing
government involving Sinn Féin, that party would have to
change its policing policy in Northern Ireland and publicly
endorse the PSNI.

Sinn Féin is the only one of the four parties who would
qualify for cabinet posts in a devolved government that
does not publicly support the PSNI.

In the weeks following the St Andrews talks, it has emerged
that Mr Adams is not yet in a position to convene a special
party conference to discuss the issue.

In their resolution last night, DUP members insisted that
unless there was movement by Sinn Féin, they could not
commit themselves to sharing power with republicans.

The first major deadline facing the Northern Ireland
parties is in a fortnight's time when the Dr Paisley and
Sinn Féin's Martin McGuinness are due to be appointed
shadow first and deputy first ministers at Stormont.

Government officials on both sides have become increasingly
concerned that the impasse over Sinn Féin's move on
policing could result in that deadline slipping.

In a speech to Irish American supporters in New York last
night, Mr Adams insisted there were still some issues
around policing to be resolved before he could recommend a
special party conference.

"I have made clear that when the British government and the
DUP conclude with us in a satisfactory way on the
outstanding policing issues, I will go to the Sinn Féin
ardchomhairle and seek a special ardfheis," he said.

The DUP accused Sinn Féin last night of retreating to its
position on policing before last month's St Andrews talks.

US Congressman, Martin Meehan, who is visiting Belfast
today urged Northern Ireland's politicians not to let the
power sharing deadlines slip.

© 2006


Hamill Inquiry Challenges Police Anonymity

09 November 2006 20:20

The Hamill Inquiry is to appeal a decision granting
anonymity to police officers giving evidence about a
Northern Ireland man who was beaten to death by loyalists.

Sir Edwin Jowitt's panel wants the retired RUC men to give
evidence openly about their role after Robert Hamill, 25,
was battered to death by a mob in Portadown, Co Armagh, in

It has been claimed that four officers witnessed the
killing and the team is probing whether they could have
done more.

A spokesman for the tribunal said: 'A notice of appeal is
to be lodged on behalf of the Robert Hamill Inquiry against
the judgment of Mr Justice Morgan sitting in the High Court
of Northern Ireland on judicial review.

'The judgment ruled against the Inquiry's decision to
refuse the applications for anonymity made by a number of
serving and former police officers.'

The victim was set upon by a large group in the centre of
the town and beaten to death.

His inquiry is determining whether any wrongful act or
omission was made by the RUC that may have facilitated the

It is also probing whether there were any attempts to
obstruct the murder investigation as well as whether it was
carried out with due diligence.

Mr Justice Morgan held that the inquiry's approach to
Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights - the
right to life - was flawed.

The judge upheld an application at the High Court in
Belfast for judicial review brought by a former officer on
behalf of 20 colleagues who have been called as witnesses.

Police representatives have argued that identifying them
would expose them to threat. Lawyers for Mr Hamill's
relatives have called for full transparency.


Ahern In New York To Campaign For Illegal Irish

Last updated: 10-11-06, 07:03

Minister for Foreign Affairs Dermot Ahern will today visit
New York to raise the plight of the 30,000 illegal Irish in
the United States.

Mr Ahern is meeting immigrant rights groups to support the
campaign for citizenship rights for undocumented workers.

The Minister will also be briefing leading Irish-American
figures on current developments in the effort to achieve
power-sharing in Northern Ireland. Mr Ahern said the
results of US mid-term elections had probably boosted
chances of positive progress in the months ahead.

"My meetings over the weekend in the US will provide me and
my officials with a greater insight into the possibilities
for securing a positive outcome in the coming months," he

"There are certainly congressmen, both Republican and
Democrat, who are very supportive of what we are trying to
achieve. "Ultimately, the message I will be delivering is
that the United States will benefit most by regularising
the documentation of Irish immigrants."

© 2006


Democrat Victory 'Will Help NI'

Northern Ireland's peace process will be boosted by the
Democrats' victory in the US mid-term elections, a member
of the House of Representatives has said.

Massachusetts Congressman Martin Meehan met with community
and business leaders in Belfast on Thursday.

He said there were some Republican Party members who had
worked hard on the Northern Ireland political process.

"However, by and large the people who deeply care about a
lasting peace in NI tend to be Democrats," he said.

"Mr Meehan said he had accompanied President Bill Clinton
during his visit to Northern Ireland in the 1990s.

"The Clinton administration did so much for this part of
the world and not just in appointing George Mitchell.

"Bill Clinton lived it, he breathed it," he said.

"I believe the mid-term elections will give us an
opportunity to re-evaluate what the role of the United
States is in Ireland and how we can be more helpful."

The congressman also said he hoped the US would work with
the British and Irish governments in helping to build up
Northern Ireland's economy.

"You cannot create a sustainable economic development
without investment in infrastructure," Mr Meehan said.

"That has been absolutely critical to what has been lacking
here over the years.

"I would hope that the United States would see a role for
itself in partnering the British and the Irish

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/11/10 08:04:55 GMT


Gerry Adams: Our Eyes Are On The Prize - Peace And Justice For All

Published: 9 November, 2006

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams will make a keynote address
tonight to the annual Friends of Sinn Féin dinner in New
York. Mr. Adams will discuss the course set out by the
British and Irish governments at St. Andrews. the ongoing
negotiations including on the issue of policing and the way
forward for the peace process, He will also make an appeal
to republicans for maximum unity in the time ahead.

During his address Mr. Adams will say "At St. Andrews Ian
Paisley was moved to say that he hoped there could be a
better future for the children of the north. I watched and
listened very closely to him. I think he was genuine. In my
remarks I said the future was for all our children and I
repeated the words of Bobby Sands.

Since then of course Ian Paisley has refused to turn up at
meetings. He has used language which is offensive and
objectionable, but it is my guess that the DUP tomorrow
will signal, in a qualified way their intention to give
conditional support to the process outlined at St. Andrews.

Maybe I'm wrong in that. But that's my guess. And if not
tomorrow, then some day soon.

However if I am wrong then the governments must move on to
fulfill their obligations.

They have set out a sequence and a time table for
implementation - they must stick to it. If the DUP will not
participate then Dublin and London must roll out the
partnership arrangements they have committed themselves to.

Whether there is a power sharing government in the north or
partnership arrangements between the two governments, Sinn
Féin is moving forward with confidence in ourselves and our

Our eyes 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 Ireland."

Extracts from Gerry Adams address to Friends of Sinn Féin

"You will all know that the two governments and the
political parties spent a few days recently in St. Andrews
in Scotland. The governments produced a paper and asked
that the parties respond to it by tomorrow - November 10th.

The governments also set out a timetable which is scheduled
to culminate on March 26th with the restoration of the
Executive and the political institutions, including the
all-Ireland Ministerial Council and bodies.

Earlier this week the Sinn Féin Ard Chomhairle acknowledged
that the St. Andrews process has the potential to deliver
the full implementation of the Good Friday Agreement and
the restoration of the political institutions.

There are a number of key issues which still require
further work, and there are ongoing negotiations in
relation to these. But subject to delivery of these issues
the commitments set out by the governments at St. Andrews
could, we believe, represent a way forward.

Our objective is to advance the peace process and to bring
about the full implementation of the Good Friday Agreement.

This means the DUP and Ian Paisley moving to share power
jointly with Sinn Féin and participating fully in the all-
Ireland Ministerial Council.

Getting Ian Paisley into a power sharing arrangement would
be an historic development. Getting him in as First
Minister sharing power equally with Martin McGuinness is a
development few would ever have dreamt possible.

I know that there are many people who have mixed feelings
about this. That is not surprising given Ian Paisley's
record. But our clear view is that the Good Friday
Agreement presents a route forward out of conflict for all
the people of Ireland.

We remain firmly committed to the principles of
republicanism and the objectives of unity and independence.
So what we are trying to do is to take control of Irish
affairs away from Britain and put it were it belongs in the
hands of the people of Ireland.

This phase of our struggle has been a torturous and
frustrating period for many of us. We want maximum change
and as quickly as possible. The problem is others want
minimum change and as slowly as possible. And it isn't just
the unionists. The two governments also are about keeping
the status quo insofar as they can.

We are about changing the status quo.

The governments pretend that the problems which beset the
process are the fault of two equally culpable parties, the
DUP and Sinn Féin, so that they can avoid making hard

The time for this game to end is now. Let me make it clear
- Sinn Féin has always been ready and willing to deal with
the other political parties, including the DUP, and
everyone, especially the two governments know this.

It is a tool of convenience for London or Dublin to claim

The DUP are entitled not to speak to Sinn Fein and they are
entitled not to form a power sharing government, if they so
chose. But they are not entitled to dilute or delay the
process of change that the Good Friday Agreement involves.

The governments have an obligation to deliver this
agreement. So far they have failed to do this.

One of the big issues which need to be sorted out is the
issue of policing.


I am tired of hearing that republicans don't support law
and order. Republicans do support law and order. But that
doesn't mean that we will roll over and endorse whatever
policing arrangement the British government dictates. We
have been forthright about our position on policing and our
vote continues to increase.

8 years ago addressing the Irish American Historical
Society here in New York I pointed up the difficulties
around policing.

'Imagine' I said, 'that the NYPD has been directly
responsible for the murder of 5,000 people because they
were political dissidents or of a different religion.
Imagine too that the NYPD is linked to right wing death
squads which have killed another 10,000 people - those are
roughly comparible figures. How would New Yorkers view the

Irish Republicans and nationalists have had over 80 years
of the worst kind of state policing. Sinn Féin is totally
opposed to a counter-insurgency led, collusion ridden,
sectarian based paramilitary force which seeks to defend
the status quo and the interests of one section of people
by oppressing another section. And we make no apologies for

The Good Friday Agreement was about changing all that was
wrong with

the northern state - tackling discrimination against
Catholics, resolving deep rooted human rights and equality
issues, constitutional and institutional matters and of
course creating a new start for policing and justice.

The Agreement declared that our society needed a new
beginning to policing and defined the criteria for a civic
policing service. That is the position Sinn Féin supports.

And since 1998 Sinn Féin has worked hard in negotiation
after negotiation with the British to tackle this issue.

Because Republicans are for policing. Republicans are law
abiding people who want a fair and equitable policing and
justice system that is transparent and accountable.

And in our negotiations with the British we have been very
successful in making progress on this issue.

Sinn Féin's focus is about bringing an end to partisan and
sectarian policing. We are determined to ensure that all
elements in policing are accountable.

That is the focus of our negotiations with the British
government at this time.

I have made it clear that when the British government and
the DUP conclude with us in a satisfactory way on the
outstanding policing issues I will go to the Sinn Féin Ard
Chomhairle and seek a special Ard Fheis. That is the
democratic structure of the party which will take any
decision about our future approach to policing.

There are still challenges to be overcome in respect of
policing issues, as well as keeping the British and Irish
governments to their stated public positions around the
Good Friday Agreement, and getting the DUP to play their
full part.

At St. Andrews Ian Paisley was moved to say that he hoped
there could be a better future for the children of the
north. I watched and listened very closely to him. I think
he was genuine. In my remarks I said the future was for all
our children and I repeated the words of Bobby Sands.

Since then of course Ian Paisley has refused to turn up at
meetings. He has used language which is offensive and
objectionable, but it is my guess that the DUP tomorrow
will signal, in a qualified way their intention to give
conditional support to the process outlined at St. Andrews.

Maybe I'm wrong in that. But that's my guess. And if not
tomorrow, then some day soon.

However if I am wrong then the governments must move on to
fulfill their obligations.

They have set out a sequence and a time table for
implementation - they must stick to it. If the DUP will not
participate then Dublin and London must roll out the
partnership arrangements they have committed themselves to.

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

Our eyes 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 Ireland.

Looking forward

The essence of republican activism is about making our
politics relevant to people in their daily lives while all
the time advancing, with increasing strength towards our

At times, as I acknowledged earlier, this means taking

This is such a time.

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 of you
to have a sense of our own strength and our potential. I am
appealing for maximum unity. But in particular I am
appealing for everyone to move forward.

Sinn Féin is not about standing still, marking time or
going backward. Republican activism is about the future. 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
tomorrow or on November 24th - the process of change will
continue." ENDS


Signs Of Movement In NI Process

There are indications of movement in the Northern Ireland
political process with the DUP issuing a cautious response
to the St Andrews Agreement.

The move follows Sinn Fein's qualified support on Monday to
the proposals to restore devolution.

At the meeting of the DUP's ruling executive in
Castlereagh, a resolution was passed neither backing nor
rejecting the agreement.

The agreement requires the parties to respond to the
document by 10 November.

The DUP blamed its unwillingness to commit to power-sharing
on Sinn Fein's refusal to back the police.

The resolution said the party would "continue with the work
in progress to ensure upfront delivery by the government
and republicans".

In a statement on Thursday, the party said a refusal by
Sinn Fein to even begin to give support to the PSNI, the
courts and the rule of law, had "clear adverse implications
for the timetable laid out in the St Andrews Agreement".


The DUP said: "As Sinn Fein 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

It said it recognised that other aspects of the British and
Irish governments' proposals for achieving devolution
"required more work".

"The party will continue with the work in progress to
ensure upfront delivery by government and republicans," the
DUP said.

"The party officers will pursue all the remaining issues
and report back before the central executive committee,
which is the only body that can take a binding decision,
considers the matter."


The statement fell short of an outright endorsement of the
two prime ministers' plan for reviving power sharing.

UUP leader Sir Reg Empey said the DUP statement was "a
fudge, and is confirmation that they botched the
negotiations in Scotland".

"Nowhere in the St Andrews agreement is their any
requirement for Sinn Fein to sign up to policing before
24th November," he said.

On Monday, Sinn Fein gave its qualified support to the St
Andrews road map.

However, in a speech to a Friends of Sinn Fein dinner in
New York on Thursday, Gerry Adams told Irish-American
supporters there was still more work to be done.

"We are determined to ensure that all elements in policing
are accountable," Mr Adams said.

"That is the focus of our negotiations with the British
government at this time.

"I have made clear that when the British government and the
DUP conclude with us in a satisfactory way on the
outstanding policing issues, I will go to the Sinn Fein ard
chomhairle (national executive) and seek a special ard
fheis (party conference)."

The British and Irish prime ministers have set 26 March as
the deadline for the return of a power sharing government
at Stormont.

The St Andrews Agreement was published after intensive
three-day talks between the parties at St Andrews in

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

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/11/10 10:34:45 GMT


US Role In Mural Removal Revealed

By Catherine Morrison

A NEW report has revealed how a powerful US official
intervened in a dispute over a loyalist mural painted on
the side of a fast-food outlet on Belfast’s Shankill Road.

In 2002 the influential New York City Comptroller’s office
stepped into a row over the UFF mural depicting hooded
gunmen on one wall of a Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC)

The mural bore the slogan: “Welcome to the UFF heartland
Shankill Road. Quis separabit”.

The mural was painted over after it threatened to cost the
US chain, which has franchises across the world, more than
$100 million in stock sell-offs from California and other

New York city and state officials indicated that they would
pull $65 million in pension fund stock out of the company
to comply with US anti-sectarian legislation known as the
MacBride principles.

In a new 29-page report on the matter, it is revealed that
the comptroller’s office brought “strong and swift pressure
to bear” on executives at the company’s headquarters to get
the mural removed.

New York City Comptroller William C Thompson jnr is an
independently elected official who is the city’s chief
financial officer and manages almost $93 billion in pension

The report, The MacBride Principles and the Equality Agen-
da in Northern Ireland, details increased willingness on
the part of corporations to enact fair employment

When the mural first hit the headlines four years ago, a
spokesman for the Comptroller’s office said the Shankill
Road branch was in clear violation of the principles, which
forbid many US states from investing in companies that
tolerate sectarian work environments.

Irish-Americans launched a campaign to get the mural
removed and KFC’s parent company, Yum!, finally admitted it
constituted “an unacceptable political symbol”.


Lords To Probe Hain Appointments

By Chris Thornton
10 November 2006

Peter Hain faced the return of a second embarrassing
appointments row last night after the highest court in the
UK agreed to look into his Parades Commission appointments.

The House of Lords has agreed to take up the case
challenging Mr Hain's decision to appoint Orangemen to the
commission last year.

Their decision came as the High Court in Belfast criticised
the Secretary of State for behaving improperly in the
appointment of Victims Commissioner Bertha McDougall.

Earlier this year the High Court also ruled that Mr Hain
acted illegally in appointing Portadown Orangemen David
Burrows and Don Mackay to the commission.

The decision would have thrown Mr Burrows off the
commission. Mr Mackay had already resigned.

But the NIO appealed the ruling. In a 2-1 decision, the
Court of Appeal overturned it, concluding that Mr Hain's
decision was political but not illegal.

In delivering the judgment, Lord Chief Justice Sir Brian
Kerr warned that Mr Burrows' involvement in ruling on
Orange marches would be "bedevilled with difficulties".

Mr Burrows subsequently resigned from the Orange Order.

Joe Duffy, the resident of Portadown's Garvaghy Road who
took the original case, instructed his lawyers to appeal to
the House of Lords.

The Lords' Appeal Committee ruled this week that the case
will go ahead.

Mr Duffy's lawyers have until November 21 to file papers.

A Government spokesman said the NIO was aware of the Lords'
decision, but made no further comment.

The legal battle hinges on the NIO's decision to solicit
applications for the Parades Commission from the loyal

The first ruling said the NIO had been wrong to invite
applications from the Orange Order without considering if
it should also approach nationalist residents' groups.

It also said it was "inexplicable" that the NIO selection
panel could see no conflict of interest for the two Orange

But the Court of Appeal's majority decision said Mr Hain
had given the necessary balance by getting the Orange
appointees to assure him they would operate in a corporate
fashion on the body.


McAleese Visiting Belfast & Armagh Today

10 November 2006 12:43

President Mary McAleese is today meeting representatives of
families who have lost relatives during the Troubles in
Northern Ireland.

The President is visiting her native city, Belfast, and Co

Mrs McAleese will meet members of the Saver/Naver victims
support group (South/North Armagh Victims Encouraging and

The group featured this week in a report by an
international panel of human rights lawyers and activists
investigating security force collusion with loyalist

The report revealed that a member of the international
panel was told by members of Saver/Naver in Markethill
about atrocities carried out against the unionist and
Protestant community in their county.

The panel, which was commissioned by the Derry-based Pat
Finucane Centre to look into collusion, said it would pass
onto the Government concerns from Saver/Naver and other
victims' groups about how the authorities had handled IRA
fugitives from justice who fled over the border.

Mrs McAleese first visited Dominican College in north
Belfast and is opening a conference organised by the Royal
National Institute for Deaf People.

This afternoon she will visit St Paul's High School in
south Armagh, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary.

This evening, the President will be guest of honour at
Queen's University Gaelic Football Club's 75th anniversary


Fire Attack Man Dies In Hospital

A man set on fire in his County Armagh home by a gang of
six men has died in hospital, police have said.

Thomas O'Hare, 33, and his partner Lisa McClatchey, 21,
were doused in a flammable liquid and set alight at their
home in Tassagh on Monday.

Police said they are treating Mr O'Hare's death as murder.
Ms McClatchey remains in a critical condition.

Police and Gardai are trying to establish if four men in
hospital in Dublin are linked to the attack.

The four men were admitted to hospitals in County Louth
with serious burns.

The men, who are aged between 24 and 34, are understood to
be the Smith brothers from Clady.

They have since been moved to St James's in Dublin where a
spokesperson described them as being "stable but critical".

Both police forces are monitoring the situation. The PSNI
have said that no arrests have been made and they are
looking for six suspects.

Detectives investigating the attack searched a house in
nearby Clady on Tuesday and it is understood several items
were taken away for further examination.

Police have not ruled out paramilitary involvement or self-
styled vigilantes and they said they were keeping an open

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/11/10 08:42:39 GMT


Burned Files May Have Held Truth

Hundreds of security files on Maze prisoners have
mysteriously disappeared. Political Correspondent Chris
Thornton asks how important were they to the inquiry into
the death of LVF leader Billy Wright?

10 November 2006

Dead men don't tell tales. The one witness the Billy Wright
Inquiry would probably most like to interview, former
prison governor Martin Mogg, is permanently beyond reach.

Mr Mogg, a jovial former Army intelligence officer, was in
charge of the Maze Prison when Wright, the jailed LVF
leader, was shot dead by INLA inmates in 1997. Known as Mr
Barraclough after the bumbling genial warder in Porridge,
Mr Mogg was responsible for the crucial decision to house
loyalist and republican factions in the same H-block of the
jail. For that alone, he was clearly an important witness.
He died in 2005.

But Mr Mogg's lost testimony took on new significance last
week when it emerged two members of prison staff have
blamed him for a decision to burn 800 security files on
paramilitary prisoners, including the security documents on
every inmate released under the terms of the Good Friday

Those circumstances might be enough for some people to
decide that Mr Mogg was covering his tracks, and merely
died before he could be brought to account. But there are a
few problems with that conclusion: Mr Mogg would have known
he would be caught contradicting Prison Service orders
about the destruction of such files, since he wrote them
himself. Secondly, there is no record that Mr Mogg gave the

And, perhaps more significantly, there is an abundance of
other material that has been kept out of the hands of the
inquiry, much of it destroyed by the Prison Service after
Mr Mogg was no longer working, including further
intelligence material from the Maze Prison, operational
documents specific to the time of the Wright murder and
files that had been available until just before the inquiry
was set up.

Among the missing documents are security files on two of
Wright's three killers, an internal report on the murder -
there is some dispute about whether this ever existed - and
material that could explain how guns were smuggled into the
prison, like visitors' lists and information on contractors
who refurbished H6 not long before Wright was murdered
there. In 2004, 42,000 files were destroyed as part of a
"freedom of information exercise". Most did not relate to
the Wright inquiry, but several were journals that covered
activity in H6 in the weeks before the murder.

At one stage, the inquiry was told by the Prison Service
that security files on Wright or his killers did not exist.
These files were distinct from the general administration
files about prisoners and contained intelligence
information, like the prisoner's role within a paramilitary
group or threats picked up by prison staff. The Prison
Service told the inquiry the only security files were
"escape packs" - photos and last known addresses to be used
if an inmate absconded. It seems the inquiry then found the
security file on one of Wright's killers, John Glennon,
with other material. The Prison Service said it has looked
for the security files on the other two, Christopher
McWilliams and John Glennon, but these have not been found.

The inquiry was also given two files about Wright, one of
which was, according to the inquiry's senior counsel, Derek
Batchelor QC, "devoid of information".

Last week, the inquiry subjected 17 witnesses from the
Prison Service to searching questions about the missing
material. Many of the answers were conflicting. One witness
said there was no internal report on the Wright murder. The
next said he and the first witness had compiled an internal
report together. A security official said RUC Special
Branch officers were not routinely in the Maze; another
said they were a regular presence.

There was also conflict about how the Maze prisoner files
were destroyed. Two security officials told the inquiry Mr
Mogg ordered the destruction of the files in 2002, several
months after the Government first conceded the possibility
of an inquiry. They said he cited the introduction of the
Freedom Of Information Act as the reason. Neither witness
recorded the destruction of the 800 files, although they
had noted when a single file - Wright's - was sent to
Prison Service headquarters.

But another witness had indicated in an email to the
inquiry that the Maze documents had been destroyed in 2004,
after an inquiry was recommended by Justice Peter Cory, the
retired Canadian Supreme Court judge who reviewed collusion
cases for the Government. When called before the inquiry
last week, the witness said he'd wrongly referred to Maze
documents when he meant Maghaberry prison files. The panel
wanted to know why one prison officer was able to burn 800
Maze files in 2001, but it took a team of officers to burn
400 to 500 Maghaberry files in 2004.

The reason wasn't clear. Much of what was burned was done
so against Prison Service guidelines, but several witnesses
said they were unaware those policies existed.

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 dead loyalist's
father. Inevitably, there will be questions about whether
the inquiry's ability to get at the truth will be hampered
by the missing documents, but Mr Wright's lawyers will have
the chance to argue that the inquiry can draw inferences
about the murder from the material that's gone missing and
the reasons for its disappearance. The inquiry panel may
decide that, in all the missing paperwork, there was
something worth hiding.


PSNI Team Banned Following Pitch Fight

By Margaret Canning

THE PSNI soccer team has been excluded from a soccer
tournament for three years after its players were involved
in a fight on the pitch.

PSNI Olympic has said it will challenge the decision which
followed the on-pitch melee during a first round match
against 79th OB (Old Boys) on October 21 in a first round
match of the Junior Challenge Shield.

The game at the Billy Neill Centre in Dundonald was
refereed by a member of the police team after the intended
referee did not attend for the competition run by Co Antrim
Football Association.

It is understood a fight broke out between players and
spectators who came onto the pitch after the referee
awarded a penalty to PSNI Olympic.

The fight was calmed but a decision was made to stop the
game after comments were made by spectators.

The exact nature of the spectators’ comments is not clear.

Spokesman for the Co Antrim Football Association Terry
Pateman said the game was called off because officials
thought “that if the game was to continue, someone might
get hurt”.

“Both sides were equally guilty – basically, both teams
were involved in a stand-up fight.”

Both teams have been excluded from the competition for this
year and for the next three years and been fined £250 each.

A repeat of a similar incident could result in both teams
being excluded from affiliated football.

A police spokesman said “a full investigation” was being
launched by the team.

“If any member of PSNI OIympic is found to have been
involved in any wrongdoing, there will most certainly face
discipline by the club,” he said.

“The findings of the disciplinary committee of the Co
Antrim Junior Shield will be reviewed by the PSNI football


McDowell Accuses Sinn Féin Over Bellenaboy Violence

10/11/2006 - 10:51:14

The Minister for Justice has said Sinn Féin is playing a
significant role in prompting trouble at the Shell gas
terminal site in Co Mayo.

Speaking after this morning's violence at Bellanaboy,
Michael McDowell said the gardaí there have his full

He hit out at key figures in Sinn Féin saying: "I want to
say to Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness and Caoimhin
O’Caolain that this tactic of confronting the Gardaí and of
breaking the law to achieve political notoriety won’t

"We've gone through all forms of due process and we’ve gone
through all forms of conciliation. A tiny minority of
people continue to confront the law and they are being
supported in this by the Sinn Féin party. Provo tactics
won’t work."


Ó Caoláin: McDowell's Comments 'Scare Tactics'

10/11/2006 - 12:35:36

Sinn Féin Dáil leader Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin has dismissed as
"disgraceful scare tactics" comments by Minister for
Justice Michael McDowell that the party was playing a
significant role in prompting trouble at the Shell gas
terminal site in Co Mayo.

Deputy Ó Caoláin said: "Tánaiste and Justice Minister
Michael McDowell’s disgraceful comments this morning are
scare tactics designed to deceive the public.

"The campaign at Bellanaboy is community-led and community-
driven and has won widespread active support from people of
all political parties and none. To try to portray that
campaign and this morning’s protest as being orchestrated
by Gerry Adams, Martin McGuinness and myself is absurd."

One protestor was reportedly taken to hospital with neck
and back injuries after violence broke out between
protestors and gardaí at the site this morning.

Members of the Shell to Sea group also say a number of
other protestors sustained head injuries at Bellanaboy but
did not need hospital treatment.

Deputy Ó Caoláin added in a statement today: "Sinn Féin has
been proud to take our place in support of the people of
North West Mayo in opposition to this pipeline. We have
backed the Shell

to Sea campaign’s demand for the refinery to be offshore."

He said the Tánaiste had today merely taken "yet another
opportunity to have a go at Sinn Féin".


Man Shot In Belfast Paramilitary-Style Attack

Last updated: 10-11-06, 07:32

A teenager (18) in a republican area of west Belfast was
tonight shot in an apparent paramilitary-style attack.

The 18-year-old suffered a gunshot wound to a leg in the
Glen Road area of the city at about 8.50pm.

His injuries are not believed to be life threatening.
Detectives at Grosvenor Road police station appealed to
members of the public to help their investigation.

© 2006


Cross-Border Body May 'Face Serious Damage'

Marie O'Halloran

A cross-Border body could face a complete breakdown between
the North-South elements of the organisation because it has
been continually dogged by controversy, it was claimed in
the Dáil.

Dinny McGinley (FG, Donegal South West) alleged that staff
in the Republic's section of Waterways Ireland were paid
more than their counterparts in the North for the same sort
of work and responsibilities. He said serious allegations
of bullying had been upheld and there was mismanagement and
malpractice in appointments made to the organisation that
"could do serious damage to North-South relations".

Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs Eamon Ó
Cuív said, however, that Waterways Ireland, responsible for
inland waterways across the island, "has an excellent
record in managing its core business".

He added that the bulk of the allegations were not upheld
by independent investigators.

Mr McGinley, who has raised the all-Ireland organisation in
the Dáil on a number of occasions, said Waterways Ireland
was becoming a regular topic of conversation in Westminster
as well as the Dáil.

Serious charges of bullying had been upheld, Mr McGinley
said, and "appointments to senior positions that should
have been publicly advertised for open competitions had
proceeded without adherence to the procedure in spite of
undertakings given in Stormont in 2002" that there would be
open and publicly advertised competition.

He said: "Serious claims have been made of discrimination
in these appointments on grounds of religion, politics and
nationality, which would be disastrous if found to be

Mr McGinley said that one individual had applied to the
Fair Employment Tribunal in the North.

"In spite of the best efforts of Waterways Ireland, this
case is being processed and heard at the moment," he said.

The Fine Gael TD believed that "being continually dogged by
such controversies will do no service to us here or our
people in Northern Ireland". Mr Ó Cuív said, however, that
the serious charges made had been independently
investigated and the bulk of allegations "were not upheld
by the investigation. That is a matter of fact."

A report by the investigators nonetheless had recommended
that a number of actions be taken by the organisation "and
all the agreed actions have now been delivered upon by the
CEO" and the Government departments North and South "are
satisfied that this brings the matter to closure".

He said one of the people with a grievance who was part of
the investigation had taken a case for his dismissal and
was seeking reinstatement, as was his right. Waterways
Ireland would defend itself and its action in that case,
"particularly based on the investigators' report".

Asked about employees in the South being paid more than
those in the North for similar work, Mr Ó Cuív said he
would seek an explanation but "marrying two jurisdictions
with different rates of pay and different tax systems poses
its challenges".

© The Irish Times


Opin: Loose Ends In Deal Must Be Tied Up

10 November 2006

Although the findings of opinion polls always need to be
treated with a certain degree of caution, the survey
commissioned by the BBC's Hearts and Minds programme makes
grim reading for Peter Hain and the Government.

Just a month after the St Andrews talks, support for the
accord has slipped to just 54% overall. But more ominously,
only 47% of DUP supporters came out in favour of the deal,
with 32% opposed and 20% yet to make up their minds.

Divisions also emerged within Sinn Fein, with 58% in favour
of the terms on offer and 23% against. To compound matters,
there is general scepticism across the community as to
whether the Assembly will be up and running by the deadline
set by the Government of March 26.

The first hurdle, of course, is today when the parties are
scheduled to sign up for the St Andrews proposals. But
there should be little surprise that the best the DUP and
Sinn Fein can muster is a qualified acceptance.

At present, there are too many loose ends to be tied up for
either of the main parties to declare unwavering support.
Issues such as the timing of a ministerial oath of office,
the DUP's commitment to partnership and Sinn Fein's
endorsement of policing have not so far been resolved.

As the poll reflects, both Ian Paisley and Gerry Adams are
having difficulty selling the package to some grassroots
supporters. Indeed, to judge from the reports by insiders
of the DUP meeting at Lurgan Town Hall, Mr Paisley now
finds himself in a situation not dissimilar to that of
David Trimble during the many torrid UUP debates on the
Good Friday Agreement.

The DUP is trying to present a united front, and can point
to the returns of its own poll which suggested that more
than 90% of DUP members supported the strategy being
adopted by the party leadership. But on the basis of
reports in this newspaper and the Hearts and Minds poll,
the unavoidable conclusion is that a sizeable rump in the
DUP remains to be convinced.

In some ways, the divisions that have emerged are a sign
that the DUP is evolving into a more mature political
party. Not everyone agrees on everything, and members are
openly debating the direction the party is taking.

Mr Hain may be disappointed that the declarations of
support he has received are conditional. The Government can
play its part in moving the process forward by addressing
remaining concerns and by giving the party leaders enough
time to win round more of their supporters.

With the more crucial deadline of November 24 fast
approaching, greater clarity is required all round. But if
genuine progress is being made, Mr Hain should not rule out
a relaxation of the timetable - as backed by 25% of the


Opin: Eric Waugh: Bribed Into Devolution?

10 November 2006

Bribery is an evil principle. In politics it works as a
lever which corrupts every issue it touches. That is why
the bid to lure the parties into a power-sharing Government
by political bribes is so misguided.

Capping house rates here as they are capped in England
would be simple justice. Allowing grammar schools to select
as their pupils those they consider best qualified to
profit from what they offer, would be common sense. But
neither should be dangled before the voters as a reward for

The DUP eventually may agree to share power with Sinn Fein.
But very patently it is not ready - yet. To force the pace
by introducing a bribe, and launching an Executive
prematurely, may be to guarantee nothing but a short
Executive life.

The trouble with bribes is that the nature of the bribe is
secondary to the objective being sought in exchange for it.
So, on occasion, questionable bribes may be offered for
legitimate objectives. The bending of the law to allow Sinn
Fein, uniquely, to finance itself from foreign sources, is
one example.

President Bush has just removed the ban he imposed on Sinn
Fein's fundraising in the United States. Mr Adams is
already back on the trail of the $$1,000-a-plate dinners.
But there are two objections to his being allowed to do it.

The first is that the verdict of voters in the United
Kingdom should not be opened to undue influence from
citizens unqualified to vote and living outside it. That is
what happens when American money flows into Sinn Fein's

When President Clinton lifted the original American ban on
Sinn Fein fundraising in March 1995 and the party began its
drive in earnest, it took only nine months to raise $$1m -
for a party with no seats and but 10% of the vote!

Half of the money went to buy new offices in Belfast for
Republican News. Much of the rest was spent clearing rates
arrears, equipping the party's Belfast offices with
computers and buying a car for party use.

This shopping list shows how the present practice distorts
the position of the parties. At this same time the budget
of the Ulster Unionists (with one third of the total vote
and nine MPs) was a mere £250,000 and the SDLP's (nearly
one quarter of the vote and four MPs) not more than

This brings us to the second objection to policy-making by
bribes. It is that, because no other party anywhere in the
UK is permitted to solicit, or to accept, foreign funds,
allowing an exception is unjust. Excluding foreign funds is
a sound principle. Foreigners are largely ignorant of, and
safely immune to, the effects of the elections in which
they would interfere.

So we come back to the reason for the current decision of
the Bush administration: that it is a straight bribe to the
unreconstructed element of the Irish republican movement to
convince it that the political path is paying off.

But no political party should have to be given inducements,
monetary or otherwise, to forsake the gun.

If it is not firmly wedded to the political path, but
continues to solicit bribes on the basis that unless ...,
an impossible position is created for the rest.

Nevertheless, the bribery business marches on,
uninterrupted. Earlier this week, tucked away on the last
day of the legislative session, the Lords nodded through
the UK's disgracefully lopsided extradition treaty with the
US. It means that suspects here who are wanted by the FBI
will be extradited forthwith to America; but if the UK
wishes to do the same, all sorts of evidence of presumed
guilt will have to be furnished to Washington first - and
accepted, scrutinised and approved right through an
interminable and very public legal process, before a
suspect in the US can even be considered for handing over

But it was election day in America and no time to be
annoying the Irish vote with critical headlines on the
early evening news; to say nothing of ploughshares being
forged from green swords in Ulster.

Lord Tebbit asked the minister, Lady baroness? Scotland,
whether he was right in assuming her Bill meant IRA
murderers on the run in America would now be safe from

The Rt Hon Lady said she was not saying that at all and
embarked upon a long legal ramble. But her effective,
though unuttered answer, clearly was "Yes". Her final
remark to Tebbit ("I am sure the noble lord would not wish
to undermine the new arrangements we have in Northern
Ireland") said it all.

But bribes live upon shifting sands - which provide an
uncertain platform for the future.


Opinion Fri, Nov 10, 06

Opin: Deadline? Pull The Other One

In line with the two governments' latest deadline, Northern
Ireland's political parties will today give their formal
responses to the St Andrews Agreement. For Sinn Féin and
the DUP in particular, there is a clear choice to be made:
either they support the joint proposals or the Assembly
will be shut down for the foreseeable future, writes David

That at least is the notional situation; the reality,
however, is entirely different. Neither of the two main
parties has any intention of giving a definitive response
today. Nor is there any likelihood that the British
government will carry out its threat to close the Assembly.

Instead, what we will get is more obfuscation and another
government climbdown. Such deadlines mean nothing to the
political parties, and little wonder. They have been
allowed, without censure, to disregard so many in the past
we can hardly expect them to treat one seriously now.

As any parent soon learns, ultimatums are only effective so
long as there is at least a suspicion that they might be
acted upon.

The parties realised a long time ago that they have nothing
to fear on that score: every previous government threat has
turned out to be an empty one.

They know that instead of being forced to grapple with
issues that could be sorted out in an afternoon if there
was sufficient willingness, they will be allowed to
continue grandstanding and arguing around them for as long
as they like.

In our political process, the parties are like spoilt
children who get to set the agenda and dictate the pace,
irrespective of what the governments might want. For their
part, the governments are like the over-indulgent parents
who, at their wits end, struggle to understand why their
spoilt brats won't behave as they would like them to.

Instead of putting their foot down, their eagerness to
placate and even accede to often mutually exclusive demands
has them striking separate little side deals and reaching
nod-and-a-wink understandings that ultimately return to
haunt and further pollute the whole process.

All of this merely encourages the DUP and Sinn Féin to
continue scurrying back and forth to London and Dublin to
lobby for government support for their particular positions
when, instead, they should be knuckling down to the cut and
thrust of genuine negotiations. The upshot is that these
parties take no responsibility at all for finding a way
forward. They are content to simply present demands and
preconditions in the expectation that they will somehow be

How serious the DUP is about actually contributing to the
restoration of an Executive can be measured by its refusal
to meet Sinn Féin and the other parties to discuss
outstanding issues in the Preparation for Government
Committee outlined in the St Andrews Agreement.

They had no such qualms, however, about joining Sinn Féin
in an all-party delegation that travelled to London to
lobby the British chancellor, Gordon Brown, for another
multi-billion pound "peace package" for Northern Ireland.

Extra money from Westminster, it appears, is far more
important to them than taking responsibility for trying to
get the political institutions up and running again. In the
few weeks since St Andrews, both Sinn Féin and the DUP have
been consulting their respective party memberships and
broader constituencies.

Yet, rather than trying to convince people of the merits of
the joint proposals, each has used this period of internal
consultation merely to rehearse and reinforce existing

Promises have been made to their electorates, attitudes
have hardened, and further demands and preconditions have
been added to existing lists.

Today, both the DUP and Sinn Féin will certainly indicate
their willingness to accept the St Andrews proposals, but
only on condition that mutually exclusive requirements are

As compliant as ever, the two governments will make every
effort to present this non-event in the best possible

They and large sections of the media will simply ignore all
of the crucial qualifications and caveats, and scramble to
hail the responses as some kind of political breakthrough.

Far from the party pronouncements being a signal of any
kind of advancement, they will merely be further indication
of how weak the governments are and how counter-productive
is their setting of deadlines and issuing of threats when
they have no real intention of holding fast to them.
Solutions have not been found to the problems around
powersharing, support for policing and a timetable for the
devolution of policing and justice; they have merely been
pushed a little further down the line.

Despite the obvious lack of any real progress, general
focus will now shift to the next "deadline" of November
24th, when a shadow Assembly is expected to nominate the
first and deputy first ministers.

No doubt, Sinn Féin, the DUP and the two governments in
their separate conclaves are already considering how, in
the absence of any agreement, they can get around that
obstacle and keep alive a perpetual process that has now
become an end in itself.

© The Irish Times


Hotel To Provide Comfort For Shrine's Barefoot Pilgrims

10 November 2006

Visitors to the west of Ireland will be able to combine
self-sacrifice and self-indulgence when a new luxury hotel
is built not far from the foot of the country's ancient
mountain of pilgrimage.

Every year up to 100,000 people make the arduous ascent of
Croagh Patrick in County Mayo, one of the most sacred Irish
religious sites. Their climb is regarded as a real test of
endurance and determination, with those who make it to the
top of the 2,500ft conical mountain often rewarded with
spectacular views and a sense of spiritual enrichment.

Soon, however, they will be able to enjoy the comforts of a
new €20m (£13.5m) development when they descend from the
peak. The facility will include a four-star hotel, an
apartment complex and a health spa.

Locals residents, far from protesting, are giving a
generally warm welcome to the project, believing it will
not mar the majesty of the surroundings and will provide

With tourism a vital part of the local economy, people hope
the new facility will encourage visitors to linger for a
few days longer.

"We are happy with it," said the Murrisk Development
Association chairman, Johnny Groden. "It won't interfere
with the scenery of the area, and we would view it as
hugely valuable as a tourist site. It would encourage
people to stay locally, and supply jobs. There was a hotel
there in the past."

The authorities were in two minds about the development,
with one official heritage body opposing it on historical
and archaeological grounds.

But planning permission has been granted, albeit with an
array of conditions that, among other things, will limit
the number of hotel bedrooms to 52 and the number of
apartments to 26.

Saint Patrick is said to have fasted on the mountain for 40
days and 40 nights, and it is here that he is reputed to
have cast out the snakes from Ireland.

But traces of religious and other activity on its slopes go
back well before his day, by some accounts stretching back
5,000 years. There is evidence of a Celtic hill fort and of
a number of prehistoric sites used in rituals and

Some years ago, a hermit's cell, probably used as a
meditative retreat, was discovered 1,000ft below the
summit. This, in its exclusivity at least, is probably the
nearest thing in Croagh Patrick's history to a hotel.

The really big day for today's pilgrims comes each year on
the last Sunday in July, when 15,000 or more make their way
up the slopes, often braving wind and rain which make
conditions on the barren terrain even more difficult.

This year, a survey revealed that those making the trek
came not just from every county in Ireland but from as far
afield as Australia, Brazil, Denmark and Hungary and India.

The particularly devout make the climb without shoes, which
means that jagged rocks inflict many wounds on their feet.
Each year, several people suffering from such wounds and
from other conditions such as hypothermia have to be
airlifted off the slopes.

A Belfast man, who made the climb in July, said: "You see
people whose feet are just masses of mud and blood. You
also see some terrible falls - people don't actually fall
off the mountain but they topple forward and their knees
hit hard rock. It was an excruciating experience, really
hard going. Then you reach the top and it's quite
inspirational, and you kind of forget the pain."

The new hotel should make it easier for pilgrims to forget
their pain after they return from the top.


First Tailor-Made Performance Of Play Based On Banned Book

By Matthew McCreary
10 November 2006

The stage version of a controversial book which was banned
in Ireland more than 60 years ago will be performed for the
first time in Northern Ireland next week.

The Tailor And Ansty caused outrage when it was published
in 1942, and was banned for more than 20 years on grounds
of alleged indecency and obscenity.

It was written by Newry-born author and scientist Eric
Cross who based it on the real-life west Cork tailor and
local storyteller Timothy Buckley and his wife Ansty.

Cross met the couple during the 1930s and 1940s and
recorded their conversations, publishing them in his book.

"Many of the tailor's stories reflected his own love of
nature and had a raw vitality, humour and sexuality, which
was out of step with the mores of the time," said Hugh
Odling-Smee from the Linen Hall Library.

The publication of the book led to controversy and was
debated for four days in the Irish Senate, with one senator
saying he had never read "a finer collection of smut".

"The book is not racy by any means compared to what you can
get today, but it's a different way of looking at Ireland's
past. It brought up something quite individual which wasn't
controllable," said Mr Odling-Smee.

A ban was quickly imposed, which was only lifted in 1963.
It was then adapted for the stage by renowned playwright PJ

After a successful run at theatres across the Republic, the
play will receive its Northern Ireland premiere at the
Linen Hall next Wednesday night.

"We have had a good response from our members as well as
the general public," said Mr Odling-Smee.

"Anything that refers to books and literature and
interesting stories is right up our street."

For tickets and information visit or call
9032 1707.


Researchers Impressed By Google's Medical Diagnoses

By Jeremy Laurance
10 November 2006

It may prove to be a better diagnostic tool than the
stethoscope or the thermometer. Next time your doctor
appears baffled over what is wrong with you, you could
suggest he "google for a diagnosis".

Researchers have found that a simple Google search can
solve diagnostic problems which mystify even the best GPs.

Modern medicine is so complex that the average doctor,
estimated to carry around two million medical facts in his
head, does not have a big enough brain to be capable of
identifying every ailment presented to the surgery or

But Google gives access to more than three billion medical
articles on the web and may be the most powerful diagnostic
aid available to doctors. To test Google's value as a
clinical tool, researchers from Brisbane University
selected 26 of the hardest cases and found the search
engine got the correct diagnosis in more than half of them
(58 per cent) - with just a few keystrokes.

Google successfully diagnosed conditions ranging from
Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, the degenerative brain disorder,
to cat scratch disease, an infection causing lymph node
swelling after an animal wound.

Writing in the online version of the British Medical
Journal, they say: "Search engines allow quick access to an
ever increasing knowledge base.

"Our study suggests that in difficult diagnostic cases, it
is often useful to "google for a diagnosis". Doctors in
training need to become proficientin [its] use."

The cases were taken from the New England Journal of
Medicine which tests the diagnostic skills of its readers
each week by asking them to judge what is wrong with a
patient whose brief medical history and symptoms are given.

The researchers, unaware of the correct diagnosis, entered
between three and five search terms and selected Google's
three most prominent results that seemed to fit the

In some cases they rejected the Google diagnosis as not
being accurate enough. For example it correctly diagnosed
extrinsic allergic alveolitis in a patient with breathing
problems but did not specify it was "hot tub lung" caused
by Mycobacterium avium, a bug that thrives in hot tubs,
which are becoming increasingly popular.


Irish Have Fourth Highest Quality Of Life - UN Report

09/11/2006 - 13:23:01

Irish people have the fourth highest quality of life in the
world, according to the latest United Nations Development

The report says Ireland only ranks behind Australia,
Iceland and Norway in a list of 159 nations when it comes
to life expectancy, literacy, education and GDP per capita.

Ireland's average income per head is put at just over
US$38,000, or just under €30,000.

However, the report also ranks Ireland 17th out of 18
countries when it comes to measuring poverty.

The Government is disputing this ranking, with Social and
Family Affairs Minister Seamus Brennan saying 250,000
people have been taken out of poverty in the past 10 years.


Rare Books From Irish Authors On Display At Fair

By Keith Bourke

RARE and valuable books, including a first edition of James
Joyce’s Ulysses, from the Linen Hall Library’s collection
and a remarkable selection of Patrick Kavanagh’s work are
to feature at this year’s Belfast Book Fair.

In May the executors of the estate of Michael Williams
donated around 5,000 Irish books to the library, the most
important of which is a first edition of Joyce’s Ulysses,
published in Paris by Shakespeare and Company in 1924.

In November a donor presented the library with a number of
signed volumes, including a rare New York edition of
Irishmen in English Jails by Jeremiah O’Donovan Rossa,
dedicated and signed by the author.

Both books will be on display (but not for sale) at the
library’s stand at the Belfast Book Fair on Saturday at the
Wellington Park Hotel. The fair will run from 10am to 5pm.

Among the books for sale by the Linen Hall Library at the
Fair will be the limited edition – In Praise of Michael
McLaverty – by Seamus Heaney.

Published by the library in November 2005, only 250 copies
were printed and each is numbered and signed by the author.

This weekend will also see a hugely significant Patrick
Kavanagh collection come to Belfast.

Almost all of his books will be available along with

the run of his newspaper Kavanagh’s Weekly.

His death mask cast shortly after he died will be at the
Fair as well as signed first editions, a cheque signed by
him, a promotional leaflet for his appearance on Prague
television and several unpublished photographs.

This unique collection is for sale by John Donohoe of Na
Linte an antiquarian bookseller from Athlone.


Death Of Leading Architect At Age Of 72

Architect Sam Stephenson

Ireland's best-known architect, Sam Stephenson, has died
suddenly following a heart operation at St James's Hospital
in Dublin. He was 72 and had been working on a number of
major projects in the weeks prior to his death, writes
Frank McDonald, Environment Editor.

Chiefly known as the architect of the ESB headquarters in
Fitzwilliam Street, the Central Bank in Dame Street and the
first phase of the Civic Offices at Wood Quay, he was one
of the most colourful figures in the architectural

His long-time partner in practice, Arthur Gibney, died last

For many years, their firm - Stephenson Gibney and
Associates - dominated the architectural scene in Ireland,
rivalled only by Scott Tallon Walker.

"It's very sad news", said painter James Hanley, secretary
of the Royal Hibernian Academy. "I had met him at the RHA
gallery only last Friday when he looked a bit poorly and he
told me he was going in to St James's for an operation.

"It's shocking to think that Arthur, Sam and Charlie
Haughey have all now passed away within months of each
other", Mr Hanley said.

Arthur Gibney had been president of the RHA, while the
former taoiseach was a great friend and patron.

Sam Stephenson's eldest son, Sam junior, is administrator
at the RHA's Gallagher Gallery in Ely Place. His wife,
Caroline Stephenson, is a daughter of the late Fine Gael
senator Alexis FitzGerald. The couple had two young sons.

"Caroline wanted me to do a portrait of Sam, but I just
hadn't got around to it", said Mr Hanley, who recently
painted Taoiseach Bertie Ahern.

© The Irish Times

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