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November 22, 2006

Hain Warns SF & DUP on Devolution Deadline

News About Ireland & The Irish

IT 11/22/06 Hain Warns SF, DUP On Devolution
WT 11/22/06 DUP Attempts To Bait Republicans Will Fail
BB 11/22/06 St Andrews Bill Goes To The Lords
IN 11/22/06 Devolved Policing `On Target'
BT 11/22/06 Security Service To Deliver 5 Key Principles
LA 11/22/06 Tomas O Raghallaigh: United Ireland
MM 11/22/06 Blog: A Forgotten Face Of Immigration Reform
BN 11/22/06 Former Prison 'Could Stage Agriculture Show'
BT 11/22/06 Hain Probe: Three Papers Are Key
IN 11/22/06 CIRA `Hit List' Man Appeals To Dissidents
BB 11/22/06 Murder Attempt Charge Is Dropped
IN 11/22/06 Opin: Unionists Still Believe They Own North
BT 11/22/06 Opin: Inquiry Must Not Hold Up Devolution
IN 11/22/06 Opin: New Spook Palace Is Last Thing We Need
WP 11/22/06 Famous Bohola Born Lawyer Dies In US

(Poster's Note: To see a 9 minute clip from the "Wind
that Shakes the Barley" go to: Jay)


Hain Warns SF, DUP On Devolution

Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain today warned the DUP
and Sinn Fein that if they are not prepared to make key
moves by Friday there would be no point in proceeding with

Speaking during questions in the House of Commons in
London, he told the Democratic Unionists that it was not a
question of them "jumping first" in their dispute with Sinn
Fein on supporting police and the rule of law.

The DUP MP Nigel Dodds had claimed that asking parties to
designate, nominate or indicate on Friday who people will
be to take up certain offices in the future "is asking
people to jump first before Sinn Fein have made the
slightest move whatsoever".

Mr Hain warned that if the parties were not prepared to
indicate their nominations on Friday for First and Deputy
First Minister, "what is the point of proceeding".

He said DUP statements appearing to suggest it could be
some years after Sinn Fein endorsed the Police Service of
Northern Ireland before unionists could consider supporting
the transfer of policing and justice powers were "hardly an
The Northern Ireland (St Andrews Agreement) Bill being
rushed through the Lords today sets out a timetable for
reviving devolution by March 26th. It would create a
transitional Assembly from this Friday.

Northern Ireland's hopes of securing power sharing by March
are dependent on the DUP and Sinn Fein resolving their
dispute over republican support for policing and the rule
of law.

The DUP wants Sinn Fein to publicly endorse the Police
Service of Northern Ireland, while Sinn Fein insists it
cannot do that until it holds a special party conference to
change its policy towards the PSNI.


DUP Attempts To Bait Republicans And Nationalists Will Fail-Doherty

West Tyrone Sinn Fein MP Pat Doherty, speaking about the
current political situation, says that while many
outstanding issues remain to be addressed, particularly
around the issue of policing, his party has been and will
continue to work constructively towards the objective of
restoring the power-sharing and all-Ireland institutions.

The local MP said,

"Sinn Fein will not be deflected from this objective by the
juvenile antics of the DUP and its continued attempts to
bait republicans and nationalists around issues such as the
11 plus and policing. The DUP game plan is clear- it wants
republicans and nationalists to give up on this project so
that it will not have to face the daunting prospect of
having to share power with republicans and nationalists on
the basis of equality nor have to fully operate the all-
Ireland institutions for the first time.

"It is understandable that in the present climate many
republicans and nationalists could find the prospect of
Plan B, as alluded to by both governments, as a more
attractive proposition than trying to tie the DUP into
power-sharing and all-Ireland institutions.

"However, I would caution those who believe that Plan B
would amount to some form of Joint Authority to look at the
minimalist approach taken by the Dublin government to the
potential contained in the All-Ireland architecture of the
Good Friday Agreement to date, and then consider the
unlikely prospect of the Dublin government changing from
this minimalist approach in a Plan B scenario.

"The reality is that Plan B would not be much different
from the current political status quo, with all the people
of the six counties being subject to the unaccountable and
punitive nature of British Direct Rule for years to come.

"In the absence of the power-sharing and all-Ireland
institutions the British Treasury will be given carte
blanche to continue with its asset stripping and stealth
taxes crusade against the people of the six counties while
at the same time cutting public expenditure in health,
education and other public services.

"The restoration of the institutions is by no means a
panacea for all our ills but without locally elected and
accountable representatives at the helm we will remain
powerless to effect positive change, whether it be
political, economic or social change.

"For those of us who seek to bring about maximum change on
this island the current political status quo is not an
option and Sinn Fein view the restoration of the
powersharing and all-Ireland institutions as a key beech
head from which to progress the all-Ireland agenda and the
trajectory towards Irish Unity.

In terms of the issue of policing and justice and the
restoring of the institutions, issues that must be agreed
include the timeframe for the transfer of powers and the
model for the department on policing and justice.

"Sinn Fein is committed to bring and end to decades of
repressive and sectarian policing. As such, we reject any
role for MI5 in Ireland or in Civic policing. We want to
see democratically accountable civic policing and we will
continue to work until we achieve this.


St Andrews Bill Goes To The Lords

The Northern Ireland St Andrews Bill is set to go to the
House of Lords later.

The bill - which the government hopes will pass into law
before the end of the week - was debated in a six hour
session in the Commons on Tuesday.

It is expected to receive Royal Assent before the
transitional assembly's first meeting on Friday.

At the weekend, Secretary of State Peter Hain said the DUP
and Sinn Fein must make their choices for first and deputy
first minister on Friday.

This had to be done before an election is to be held in
March, he said.

The move will fall short of the formal nomination and
assembly vote, which the government had initially demanded
in the St Andrews Agreement.

But the Northern Ireland secretary said the parties would
nevertheless be keeping to the 24 November deadline.

In Tuesday night's Commons debate, Mr Hain warned the
parties: "No-one should see this as some kind of virility
test, to see who will blink first.

"The time has come for action on restoring devolution, on
ending the democratic deficit and closing down direct

He added: "If at any stage between now and March 26 we run
out of track then devolution becomes dissolution.

"The clock is stopped. The election scrapped. That is the

'Accept policing'

DUP leader Ian Paisley said there must be "full and
unequivocal" support from Sinn Fein for the rule of law,
the police and the courts.

"I will not move my party in any shape or form into any
power-sharing arrangements until the circumstances are

SDLP leader Mark Durkan said the St Andrews Agreement was
fundamentally about getting the DUP to accept power sharing
and Sinn Fein to accept policing.

"Giving vetoes to the DUP is like asking Attila the Hun to
mind your horse," he said.

Shadow Northern Ireland Secretary David Lidington said the
parties had "inched closer" to an agreement but the missing
element was Sinn Fein's support for the policing and

"If Sinn Fein is to be accepted as a normal, democratic
political party and if its leaders are going to serve as
ministers, Sinn Fein must both say and show by its action
that it supports the police and the courts of the place
they will be helping to govern," he said.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/11/22 07:43:52 GMT


Devolved Policing `On Target'

By William Graham Political Correspondent

Secretary of State Peter Hain last night said that the St
Andrews Agreement target date of May 2008 for devolution of
policing and justice should be taken seriously.

There have been claims by some DUP politicians that it
could be a political lifetime before these
powers are devolved to a Stormont executive.

However, Mr Hain, pictured, said the St Andrews agreement
included a clear commitment and a target of May 2008.

"We expect all concerned to take this target seriously,''
he said.

Mr Hain also said that once policing and justice were
devolved that there was nothing in the pledge of office
which would remove or unreasonably constrain any future
minister for policing and justice from making legitimate
criticism of the police.

Meanwhile, as the transitional assembly prepares to meet
this Friday afternoon, Mr Hain said that the future of
devolution for Northern Ireland rested on the twin pillars
of the St Andrews Agreement.

These twin pillars relate to power-sharing on a fair and
equitable basis and support for policing and the rule of

The transitional assembly is expected to see DUP leader Ian
Paisley named as first minister and Sinn Fein chief
negotiator Martin McGuiness named as deputy first minister
for participation in a future powersharing executive but at
this stage ministers will not be formally designated or
have to take a pledge of office.

Mr Hain was speaking during
the second reading of the NI (St Andrews Agreement) Bill.

"Since the Good Friday Agreement Northern Ireland has been
in transition from conflict to peace, from instability to
stability, from economic stagnation to increasing
prosperity, from a divided past into a shared future," he

"The time is now right to complete this transition, with
the local parties delivering on a stable and lasting
political settlement.''

SDLP leader Mark Durkan said the bill had many welcome
provisions such as the right of inclusion in government and
of parties to make ministerial appointments unhindered.

At the same time Mr Durkan said there were also serious
defects such as choosing an election rather than a

In addition Mr Durkan said the ministerial code contains an
unnecessary clause which could encourage ministers not only
to veto each other but to sue each other.

"It could cause gridlock and deadlock,'' Mr Durkan said.


Security Service To Deliver On 5 Key Principles Of Working

Brian Rowan
22 November 2006

The British Security Service will sign up to the five
principles that senior police officers here believe must
form the basis of future working arrangements between the
PSNI and MI5.

Those principles are about agent running, accountability
and ensuring that all MI5 intelligence relating to Northern
Ireland is visible to the police.

According to an informed source who spoke to the Belfast
Telegraph, MI5 sees this as "deliverable".

The source also confirmed that there would be "a national
aspect" to the new MI5 headquarters being built at Palace
Barracks in Holywood.

He described the new headquarters as "part of the UK
national security infrastructure", and said those who will
work there "will be doing a substantial amount of UK-wide
analysis and assessment".

Information technology will be used to relay "GB-wide
information to analysts sitting in Northern Ireland and in
the eight other (MI5) stations outside London."

Late next year, the Security Service will take over
responsibility for national security matters here - meaning
monitoring the international terrorist and dissident
republican threats.

Asked how the IRA fits into the national security threat,
the source said: "When you look at the description of what
MI5 does - protecting national security - they are looking
at terrorism.

"If the IRA don't fit into that, they are not going to be
the subject of focus."

The source pointed to recent comments by the head of MI5
Dame Eliza Manningham-Buller - comments relating to 30
terror plots threatening the UK and to 1,600 individuals
being kept under surveillance.

"That's where the imminent threat to public safety is," the
source continued.

In political negotiations here the SDLP is still pushing
for the Police Ombudsman's Office to be given
responsibility to deal with complaints against MI5.

But the source who spoke to this newspaper said: "I can't
see how the Ombudsman can oversee a national security

The SDLP and Sinn Fein are also concerned that MI5 could
recruit ex-RUC Special Branch officers to work in the new
Palace Barracks headquarters.

Nearer the time of national security responsibility being
transferred to MI5, an advertisement for a small number of
staff to work in Northern Ireland will appear on its

Applicants must have lived in the UK for nine out of the
last 10 years, and must hold a British passport.

The source would not discuss the question of ex-RUC Special
Branch officers being recruited, other than to say:
"There's no bar on anyone (applying)."

A new building for a new war must be seen in a wider frame

MI5's new building in Holywood is being constructed to deal
with a different type of war. Security writer Brian Rowan

From inside the intelligence world, I am told that the big
building that has just grown out of the ground inside
Palace Barracks in Holywood has to be seen in a much wider

Politically, here in Northern Ireland, there isn't a more
controversial building right now - a controversy that has
nothing to do with design but everything to do with

The structure that has appeared inside the army barracks is
a new headquarters for MI5 - a new war building in a place
where there is a developing peace.

But the new building is about the new war - not about the
old war in Northern Ireland but the new threat that is
international terrorism.

In the words of one source, it is "part of the UK national
security infrastructure".

So what does that mean? To quote the same source, it means
those who will be working there "will be doing a
substantial amount of UK-wide analysis and assessment", not
"if required" but "as required".

And to see the building in purely Northern Ireland terms
"is wrong".

MI5's UK infrastructure is a 10-building jigsaw branching
out from its Thames House London headquarters to its six
regional "stations" in England and then into Scotland,
Wales and Northern Ireland.

Such are the wonders of IT and the security service
database and methodology that intelligence assessments can
be done anywhere and everywhere across those buildings and
much of that work will be "piped" into Northern Ireland.

This is the wider MI5 context for the new Palace Barracks

"There will be a national aspect to the Northern Ireland
headquarters," a security source told this newspaper.

That will mean "information technology relaying GB-wide
information to analysts sitting in Northern Ireland and in
the eight other stations outside London".

The future of the security service in Northern Ireland is
something that is still being talked about, fought over and
teased out in the political background - in separate
negotiations that are continuing between the SDLP and the
British Government and between Sinn Fein and the British

The negotiations in which the SDLP has been involved are
different in that the party has been talking directly to
MI5's director and co-ordinator of intelligence in Belfast
and to Assistant Chief Constable Peter Sheridan, who has
control of Special Branch.

A third person involved in these negotiations is the
Northern Ireland Office's most senior security official,
Nick Perry.

Peter Sheridan is the author of the so-called five
principles, which are about establishing the new working
arrangements between the PSNI and the British security
service in Northern Ireland when MI5 takes responsibility
for national security matters here late next year.

National security now means monitoring the international
terrorist and republican dissident threats.

The Sheridan principles are about agent running,
accountability and about ensuring that all relevant MI5
intelligence information relating to Northern Ireland is
visible to the PSNI and is disseminated within the policing

I am told the security service sees all of that "as
deliverable" and is "actively working with the police to
deliver" on the five principles.

As far as the SDLP and Sinn Fein are concerned, that will
not settle the accountability argument.

The SDLP wants the Police Ombudsman's office in Belfast to
deal with complaints against MI5 but that argument is far
from settled and far from won.

"I can't see how the Ombudsman can oversee a national
security service," said the source who spoke to this
newspaper. "There is a good dialogue between MI5 and the
Ombudsman's office," the source continued.

"There will be a good degree of visibility by the Ombudsman
of what MI5 are doing."

The PSNI officers who will work on attachment to MI5 will
remain "warrant-carrying police officers", the source
added. This means they will be fully accountable to the
mechanisms and structures that grew out of the Patten

Gerry Adams said recently there could be no role for MI5 in
civic policing - a comment that brought a swift response
from the source who spoke to the Belfast Telegraph.

"It's not MI5's role," the source said. The security
service was "purely focused on threats to UK national

The source pointed to recent comments from the head of MI5,
Dame Eliza Manningham-Buller - comments about 30 terrorist
plots threatening the UK and 1,600 individuals being kept
under surveillance.

"That's where the imminent threat to public safety is," the
source said.

MI5 has 2,850 staff. "You can do the maths," he added -
meaning MI5 has enough on its plate or on its 2,850 plates
without having to worry about matters of routine or civic

Indeed, the security service is no longer investigating
serious and organised crime.

These are matters for the police and the Serious Organised
Crime Agency.

The resources of MI5 are now firmly focused on that growing
threat of international terrorism.

On where the IRA fits into the national security picture,
the source continued: "When you look at the description of
what MI5 does - protecting national security - they are
looking at terrorism.

"If the IRA don't fit into that, they are not going to be
the subject of focus."

Republicans are not going to take the word of MI5 for that.
The old war is still too fresh in the memory.

But if the objective of the continuing background political
negotiations is to ensure that national security is kept
separate from civic policing and that PSNI officers on
attachment to the security service remain accountable to
the policing system, then those things are achievable.

"Some argue that that's possible in theory," SDLP policing
spokesman Alex Attwood said.

"We say that only by having proper accountability and
complaints mechanisms will people know that in practice
those objectives are being achieved."

As the old war in Northern Ireland fades, it is the new war
and the international threat that has got the attention of

That new building in Palace Barracks may have been grown to
meet the needs of the security service - a service that is
still watching and listening - but Northern Ireland and the
IRA are no longer what they used to be. MI5 knows that.


Tom S O Raghallaigh

The Sinn Fein assemblyman on the ongoing struggle for a
united Ireland

he political career of Sinn Fein's Tom s O Raghallaigh -
"Thomas O'Reilly" on the English-language side of his
business card - began when he was just 12 years old. While
waiting for the school bus one day just outside
Newtownbutler, a mostly Catholic fishing village in the
southwest corner of Northern Ireland, he and his friends
were met by British soldiers apparently looking for a bit
of twisted fun. Like many of his neighbors who would spend
hours each day navigating government-imposed roadblocks, O
Raghallaigh was used to being pushed around by the
military. But this time, one stuck a gun in his mouth and
threatened to kill him.

"It certainly changed your mind about how the struggle for
Ireland was taking shape," he remarked after telling that
story to members of local Northern Aid groups during a
visit to Los Angeles earlier this month. That kind of
behavior "politicized an awful lot of people," he said at
the event, where O Raghallaigh, now 42 and a father of
three, was speaking as an elected member of the Northern
Ireland Assembly.

Created under 1998's Good Friday Agreement, the assembly is
meeting on an ad hoc basis to work out power-sharing terms
of the St. Andrews proposal, which would empower it to
officially govern the region. Progress, however, has
stopped with the issue of police control. While pro-British
unionists are insisting Sinn Fein endorse the local police
force - a descendent of the paramilitary Royal Ulster
Constabulary once virtually at war with the Irish
Republican Army, Sinn Fein's militant allies in the fight
for a united Ireland - Sinn Fein is demanding more local
checks and balances on the cops. If no agreement is reached
by November 24, the assembly will be dissolved and direct
British rule will likely be re-imposed.

-Joe Piasecki

CityBeat: Why should Americans care about what's happening
in Ireland and how can people help?

Tom s O Raghallaigh: Certainly when Thanksgiving is over
and the celebrations are done, the people here in the U.S.
have a major role to play. They can raise it in the
consciousness of their politicians, who ultimately will
take that message to the White House. Over the years, the
intervention and the support that has been there from the
USA made a major difference in Irish politics. I appeal to
the people of the U.S. of A to go out there and take this
very, very just cause to their heart. Talk to your
politicians, take it to the media and raise the profile of
this - I believe the final - campaign for the reunification
of Ireland.

Is it just public anxiety, or is there a real danger that
police will become a tool of oppression in Northern

That has been a continuous threat for the last 30-plus
years, that the PSNA [Police Service of Northern Ireland]
or the RUC, previously, were the strong arm of the state.
And that, we have absolutely no doubt, will change only
when Sinn Fein and the elected representatives in the Six
Counties [Northern Ireland] can have some accountability of
that police service. The institutions need to be
transferred on so that the PSNA understand they must treat
people with equality to do all the different things that
any proper police service does for its citizens - to
protect and serve, not to beat up the streets whenever it
suits them.

Currently, local police work with MI5, the British version
of our Department of Homeland Security. Should there by any

Any police service should be for the people of the Six
Counties, not with MI5 coming in there with its weight.
During the St. Andrews proposals, MI5 walked in to [see]
one of our negotiators, [North Belfast Assemblyman] Gerry
Kelly, and they were going to let him know what their
vision of their role in policing was. He said, "There's the
door, go back on out it because you have no role."

With the history of violence in the movement to unite
Ireland, how has your party and its cause fared under the
Bush administration's war on terrorism? Are you still
banned from fundraising in America?

While the ban was lifted for Gerry Adams coming over there,
it is still to be seen whether that is a unilateral lifting
of the ban. It is ironic if Gerry Adams can go over and
fundraise in London, but he can't come to the U.S.

Has anything else about the war on terrorism affected your

We have been used to repressive legislation, and through a
system that didn't take into consideration whether you were
guilty or innocent. If you were in the wrong place at the
wrong time, through [British run, non-jury] Diplock courts,
you were sentenced to 25 years in jail. So there was this
forerunner of the powers that George Bush is advocating
around the world for the war on terrorism that were already
operating in the Six Counties.

As part of or in addition to reunification, what else does
Sinn Fein stand for?

We believe that the people, all of the people, should have
access for education, for health services, and all the
different services that they need in their lives. We want
to see peoples' rights respected.

What happens if everything goes right with the St. Andrews

We had a functioning assembly, and . we need to see that
functioning assembly coming back in, where we don't have
fly-in ministers coming out of England who have more
interest in their own constituencies where they get
elected. We want to see locally elected ministers taking
charge of services. If on the 24th we get the agreement to
move forward and we work the details out between then and
March, then we should have a functioning assembly back up.

What happens if there is no agreement on November 24?

Sinn Fein has clearly stated its position that if there is
not agreement there and the institutions are not reformed
on an equal power-sharing basis, then they should be closed
down, elected representatives' wages should be stopped, and
that it is finally put to bed as a non-workable entity.
This thing where deadlines are set and continuously broken
or moved is not helping anybody. If the agreement is not
there, then there is a Plan B, which is the administration
by both London and by Dublin.

If agreement is not reached, do you fear the area will go
back to armed conflict?

I don't see it going back to armed conflict. What I do see
is a continuation by Sinn Fein and by the supporters of
Sinn Fein to do what they can . to ensure that the status
quo which has been trying to be maintained by the DUP
[Democratic Unionist Party] is broken down and we can then
move, because if we don't keep on moving we're going to
stagnate. And certainly Sinn Fein has continuously taken
initiatives that have moved the peace process forward and
will continue to keep taking steps to move it forward.

Did you ever have any involvement with the IRA?

Everybody asks the question. My role has always been in
Sinn Fein, to advocate for a united Ireland and to work for
the people who elected me. This is it. That is what I was
elected to do, to be a politician and nothing else.

Some here in the audience seemed to doubt the power of the
political process, and wonder if they wouldn't rather just
let Northern Ireland fail.

Sinn Fein is there to ensure there is no going back to
second-class citizenship. Since Sinn Fein has come to
prominence in the political arena over the years, that has
gone. The people will never accept there is a second-class
citizen in Ireland, and we will make sure there is no going


Blog: A Forgotten Face Of Immigration Reform

by Duke1676

Contrary to the vitriolic rhetoric that comes from anti-
immigration proponents like Tom Tancredo, Lou Dobbs and Pat
Buchanan, the majority of the nations undocumented
immigrants don't arrive under the cover night, smuggled
over a porous Mexican border by unsavory characters
profiting from the trade in human cargo. They enter the
country through legal channels with visas in hand to work,
study or visit. After time, they fall out of status and
join the growing ranks of the undocumented. They do so not
out of malicious intent, but rather because there are no
legal channels available for them to change their status
and make a new more permanent life in a country they now
want to call their own.

The other popular misconception perpetuated by the anti-
immigration right is that immigration reform centers almost
exclusively on poor, unskilled, uneducated immigrants from
Mexico and Central America. But in reality the face of
immigration reform is diverse, and the issue affects many
immigrant groups whose voice is often drowned out by the
din of xenophobic rhetoric coming from those who oppose
true reform.

While the majority of the nations 11 to 12 million
undocumented do come from Mexico and Central America,
roughly one quarter come from countries outside Latin
America, such as Russia, Poland, Canada, Haiti, Korea,
India, China and the Philippines. Many of theses three
million non-Hispanic undocumented immigrants have skills
and higher educations that are much needed in today's new
economy, yet for most Americans they are a forgotten face
in the immigration debate. A face intentionally left out of
the conversation by the anti-immigration right because they
don't fit neatly into the carefully crafted stereotypes
that demonize the undocumented and play on ignorance and
bigotry to further an exclusionary agenda.

One group that has tried to avoid relegation to the
periphery of the debate is the 40,000 to 50,000
undocumented Irish immigrants presently living and working
in the US. They have taken an active role through groups
like the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform to advocate in
Washington on behalf of comprehensive immigration reform
and marched in the massive demonstrations throughout the
country last spring. Yet like so many other immigrant
groups, their story often gets omitted when immigration
reform is debated.

"We've had some very surprised reactions when they hear it
is an issue for the Irish," said Celine Kennelly, executive
director for the Irish Immigration Pastoral Center in San
Francisco, an advice and referral service sponsored by the
Irish Catholic Conference of Bishops.

"They are in as dire straits as any other ethnic group,"
said Kennelly, who estimates there are 3,000 to 4,000 Irish
illegal immigrants in San Francisco, most working in
construction, in restaurants or as nannies and caretakers
for the elderly. "They cannot get driver's licenses, it's
harder to open bank accounts, they cannot travel home and
return again. ... The relationship between Ireland and
America is so long and fantastic, but it's in danger now."

More than 250,000 Irish immigrants reside in the United
States, according to the census, and most of them are here
legally. But in recent decades, most arrivals from Ireland
have overstayed their visas and become illegal immigrants,
said Kennelly, because the government is issuing fewer work
visas. A 1991 program offered legal permanent residence to
about 16,000 undocumented Irish, but there has been no
legalization plan since then.

San Francisco Chronicle

According to Marianna Corvan, also of the Pastoral Center
and an organizer for the Irish Lobby for Immigration
Reform, one of the biggest problems facing Irish immigrants
is the limited number of work visas issued each year. She
arrived 18 months ago on a J-1 visa to work with an
immigration law firm in San Francisco as part of her
studies in international human rights law. When that visa
was set to expire she was able to obtain an H1b work visa
with her employer's sponsorship so she could remain on.
According to Corvan, "I was just lucky to get the
application in on time, there are only 65,000 H1b visas
available each year, this year they ran out in a record
time.six weeks"

But for many Irish immigrants the chances of obtaining a
work visa are slim. "A lot of them came from Ireland with
degrees but they can't get any legal path. to get a social
security number to get a real job" said Corvan, "so they're
forced into babysitting or working in bars."

This lack of work visas coupled with the limited number of
green cards issued each year to Irish immigrants (only 2088
out of 1,122,373 issued worldwide in 2005), has led to a
situation where many Irish immigrants are starting to
return to Ireland out of sheer frustration.

Martin is going home to Ireland for Christmas, and it's not
just for the holidays. He isn't coming back.

Martin, 29, an illegal Irish immigrant who has been here
for seven years, has had enough. He came to America looking
for a better life, but has not been able to obtain legal
status in this country. He will soon join the growing trend
of Irish immigrants moving back to Ireland, where they can
reap the benefits of a booming economy and legal

"I've had enough of being a subject here. I have to find a
life somewhere," said Martin, who requested his last name
be withheld.

Statistics show Martin is one of many Irish immigrants who
are opting to return home as a result of the current
immigration situation in the United States and the
burgeoning economic state back home. According to Ireland's
Department of Social and Family Affairs, 132,000 Irish have
returned since 2001, with more than 61,000 returning
between 2002 and 2004.

Queens Chronicle

Another factor that has led to this exodus of Irish
immigrants is the inability to return home for family
emergencies or celebrations. Like all other immigrant
groups, increased enforcement has made them virtual
prisoners of the immigration system.

Those who return home know they risk never being able to
return. Cathal Kennedy, a 22 year old carpenter, said some
Irish immigrants won't even go home for a wedding or
funeral for fear they'll have difficulty re entering the
country or will be denied the opportunity to enter at all.
"If people could come and go as they please, not as many
people would go home," Kennedy added.

Queens Chronicle

Corvan sees the situation as one that could essentially
bring an end to the long standing relationship between the
Untied States and Ireland and effectively put an end to an
immigrant community that has been an important part of the
nation since its inception. "A lot of people just aren't
coming here anymore because there just isn't a legal
channel for them to do so." said Covan "In my opinion
unless there is some type of comprehensive immigration
reform legislation passed, the Irish community in the
United States is going to be no more"

The Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform is planning to take
part in a national lobbying day in January 2007 in
Washington DC to lobby the new congress to take up
comprehensive immigration reform. For information see:The
Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform

Marianna Corvan will be featured in a new documentary from
San Francisco's KQED titled: "Immigrant Voices - American
Stories". The half hour documentary is part of KQED's
"Immigration in Focus", a year long multimedia collection
of programs, special reports and events about the issue of
immigration. The documentary will air on November 24th at
7:30PM. It will also be available for viewing at


Former Prison 'Could Stage Agriculture Show'

22/11/2006 - 10:59:38

The North's main agricultural show could be staged on the
site of the former Maze Prison, it was confirmed today.

The British government said the Royal Ulster Agricultural
Society, which stages the annual Balmoral Show in Belfast,
had inquired about relocating their showgrounds to the site
of the former prison outside Lisburn, Co Antrim where a
42,000 seat multi-sports stadium is also being planned.

The RUAS formally asked the government if it would be
willing to sell 40 acres of the former prison as a zone for
rural, equestrian and associated showgrounds use.

Northern Ireland Office Culture Minister David Hanson said:
"The potential development of the Maze/Long Kesh site
continues to gather considerable momentum.

"The RUAS interest in the regeneration proposal is another
positive step towards turning the Maze/Long Kesh concept
into reality."


Hain Probe: Three Papers Are Key

Attorney General to examine judge's 67 questions

By Chris Thornton
22 November 2006

Three key documents will form the backbone to the
forthcoming cover-up inquiry that will look into the
conduct of Peter Hain and his two most senior civil

Lord Goldsmith, the Attorney General, has approved the
inquiry after a senior judge posed 67 questions about
misleading material in the three documents that the NIO
supplied to the High Court.

Mr Justice Girvan said the inquiry needs to find out if the
NIO tried to deliberately mislead the court - which is a
criminal act - to hide the DUP's role in a sensitive

Mr Hain "absolutely" rejected "any suggestion that there
was a deliberate attempt to mislead the court".

The dispute arose during a judicial review of Mr Hain's
decision to appoint Bertha McDougall as Interim Victims

The three documents were supplied by the Northern Ireland
Office at various stages in the hearing.

In the first - a letter that the NIO relied on in initial
hearings - an unnamed official said there was no
consultation with the DUP or any other party about the

In the second, the head of the Civil Service said Mr Hain
had been "mindful" of DUP support for Mrs McDougall when he
made the appointment, but the appointment had been made on
merit alone.

Crucially, that statement by Nigel Hamilton was read and
approved by Mr Hain.

The third document - provided by a second senior civil
servant - said Mr Hamilton may not have known all the facts
when he made his statement.

The third document revealed that the NIO had actively
approached the DUP to nominate a candidate.

Essentially, the inquiry will try to find out who knew what
and when.

One of the central questions will be why Mr Hain approved
Nigel Hamilton's affidavit if it left out crucial

"The Secretary of State was clearly privy to the whole
reasoning process leading to the appointment since he was
the real decision maker in the matter," Mr Justice Girvan

The judge noted that almost to the very end of the case,
"the respondent was seeking to rely on ambiguous and
misleading affidavits and was unwilling to openly set the
record straight".

The inquiry will want to know why.

Judge scathing over Hamilton's statement

As questions were building about the NIO's letter, top
civil servant Nigel Hamilton gave an affidavit - a sworn
statement - to the High Court.

Crucially, that statement was

read and approved by the Secretary of State.

It also came under scathing criticism from Mr Justice

Mr Hamilton, the head of the civil service, interviewed
Bertha McDougall and wrote the final memo recommending her

But his description of the process leading up to her choice
used, in the judge's words, "guarded, shrouded and
carefully crafted language".

In his affidavit, Mr Hamilton said "merit was the sole
criterion applied" in filling the post, but also said Mr
Hain was "mindful that Mrs McDougall's name had been put
forward by the DUP".

When Brenda Downes' lawyers wanted to cross examine Mr
Hamilton about what "mindful" meant, the NIO produced a
second affidavit -
indicating Mr Hamilton "may not have had personal
knowledge" of the whole process.

The NIO admitted the DUP was actively approached to suggest
a candidate for the post, a point "that did not clearly
emerge from the affidavit of Mr Hamilton".

The judge said Mr Hamilton's affidavit "which was seen and
sanctioned by the Secretary of State was ambiguous and
failed to disclose all the relevant material pertaining to
the appointment."

He added: "No explanation was provided as to how the
Secretary of State came to approve and sanction the
swearing and filing of an affidavit which Mr (Jonathan)
Phillips acknowledged was incomplete."

The judge wondered why Mr Hamilton had not fully acquainted
himself with the facts before he made his statement.

"One would have expected the Secretary of State, who read
and sanctioned the affidavit, to have taken steps to ensure
that it fully and accurately explained the situation," said
Mr Justice Girvan.

The judge wants to know:

 What information didn't Mr Hamilton know when he swore
his affidavit?

 Was he was aware that the NIO letter contained false
information when he gave the statement? If so, why didn't
he correct it?

 When he swore that merit was the sole criterion, was he
aware that Mrs McDougall's merits had not been compared to
another candidate?

 Were there any drafts of Mr Hamilton's affidavit? Did the
Secretary of State make any changes to it?

'NIO's problems start with letter'

The NIO's problems start with a letter that was "evasive,
misleading and in certain respects clearly wrong",
according to Mr Justice Girvan.

Before the case ever got to court, lawyers for Brenda
Downes wrote to the NIO and asked for information about the
appointment of Bertha McDougall as Interim Victims

In the reply to Kevin Winters & Co., an unnamed NIO
official said there had been no consultation about the

In fact, the DUP had been asked twice to nominate a person
for the post.

The letter also said Mrs McDougall - the only person
interviewed for the post - had been appointed on merit.

NIO lawyers later "unequivocally accepted", in the judge's
words, that the letter "should not have conveyed the
impression that the appointee was the best candidate on

The letter avoided answering a question about how Mrs
McDougall came to be aware of the unadvertised post.

It gave "a wholly misleading impression that Mrs
McDougall's name was put on the list by senior officials
thereby impliedly suggesting that this was done

In fact, Mrs McDougall had been approached by DUP MP
Jeffrey Donaldson and her name was put forward by the DUP's
Ian Paisley.

Mr Justice Girvan said the letter had been carefully
written, so the wrong information in it could not be put
down to any "mere drafting error".

The letter took on a legal status - contributing to the
possible contempt of court - because the NIO initially
relied on it in its defence.

The judge wants to know:

 Who wrote the letter?

 Who authorised the wrong and misleading information in

 Did Peter Hain consider the letter before it was sent?

 Did the senior officials involved in the case consider

 Were NIO lawyers given access to information showing the
letter was wrong?

 When did Mr Hain and his officials realise the letter was

Issues with second statement from NIO

When it became clear Nigel Hamilton might be called in to
court, the NIO produced a second sworn statement.

Jonathan Phillips said Mr Hamilton may not have had all the
facts when he made the first affidavit.

Mr Phillips' statement is crucial because it marks the
point where the NIO admits information was obscured from

The probe is to determine if any of that information was
withheld deliberately.

Mr Phillips interviewed Mrs McDougall with Mr Hamilton
before the appointment.

In his statement, Mr Phillips said Mr Hamilton "may not
have had personal knowledge" of the whole appointments

The judge said Mr Phillips' was "careful in his choice of
words" - by saying "may not" instead of "did not", he was
implying that he had not asked Mr Hamilton if he was fully
aware of the facts. The judge found it "somewhat difficult
to understand how he came to swear his affidavit without
any discussion with Mr Hamilton".

Nor did he explain what Mr Hamilton didn't know and why he
didn't have all the facts.

"No effort was made to explain how Mr Hamilton's affidavit
came to be formulated in a way which was ambiguous and
incomplete and implicitly Mr Phillips did not ascertain
what aspects of the case as set out in his affidavit
actually fell outside the knowledge of Mr Hamilton," the
judge said.

He also declared part of Mr Phillips' affidavit misleading.

The permanent secretary said Mr Hain could have consulted
with other political parties, but "he did not opt to do

The judge said Mr Phillips chose a "striking" way of
expressing himself, because Mr Hain had previously agreed
to take informal soundings from the parties.

"At some stage he must have made an actual decision to
abandon what he had earlier regarded as a more inclusive
way of taking views," the judge said. "It is thus
misleading to say that "he did not opt to" take informal

He said "the fact is" that Mr Hain "deliberately decided
not to consult the other parties".

The judge wants to know:

 Who decided Mr Phillips should make the second affidavit?

 Did Mr Phillips see Mr Hamilton's affidavit before it was
sent to court without all the facts?

 How did the NIO find out that Mr Phillips' had
information of which Mr Hamilton may not have been aware?

 Was there any information in Mr Phillips' statement that
Mr Hain did not know?

 If Mr Hain knew everything that was in Mr Phillip's
statement, why didn't he tell Mr Hamilton?


CIRA `Hit List' Man Appeals To Dissidents

By Allison Morris

A 49-year-old man named on a republican paramilitary `hit
list' has spoken out publicly to urge the gunmen: "Let me
clear my name."

Desy McGeown said he has been in fear of his life for the
past month after he discovered his name was on the
Continuity IRA list.

Four of the 20 men and youths threatened with "execution"
if they did not leave the north have already been shot. One
lost a leg in a brutal assault.

There has been scathing condemnation of the dissident
republican group's renewed tactic of so-called punishment
shootings, following the decision of the Provisional IRA to
end the practice.

Mr McGeown, from the Markets area of south Belfast, said he
has been living rough for four weeks since he discovered
his name was on the list.

"I just want to ask these people to meet with me or members
of my family to let me clear my name,'' he said.

"I've been accused of being a drug dealer but that's
rubbish. It's an out-and-out lie. I don't know anyone in
the CIRA and they don't know me.

"All I can think is that someone in the Markets has it in
for me and has passed on false information.

"Since this threat I've been sleeping rough or on friends'
sofas but there's only so long you can impose on people."

Mr McGeown, who lives with his twin sister Bernadette in
Friendly Street, says he has been constantly looking over
his shoulder since the threat was issued.

"I've had to come home, not because I want to but because
I've nowhere else to go. I'm living in constant fear,
watching out the window all the time," he said.

"My sister lives with me and this has been hard on her as
well, not knowing if someone is going to come to the door.

"You can't imagine the stress of living with this over your

"All I want is to clear my name. I would ask these people
to meet with me or a member of my family so this can be
sorted out once and for all."

The Continuity IRA issued the threat last month. At the
time the group admitted responsibility for a shotgun attack
on 18-year-old Conor Weldon in west Belfast the previous

The teenager lost his right leg after being shot at close
range as he walked along the Falls Road.

Two more north Belfast youths were also injured in
paramilitary-style attacks admitted by the dissident
republican group. Others have fled their homes in fear.


Murder Attempt Charge Is Dropped

A man accused of attempting to murder former UVF leader
Mark Haddock has had the charge against him dropped.

Ronald Bowe, 29, from Mount Vernon Gardens in north Belfast
had been in custody since June following a gun attack on
Haddock a week earlier.

Haddock, 37, was jailed for 10 years on Monday for plotting
an attack on nightclub bouncer Trevor Gowdy in 2002.

Mr Bowe's solicitor said Haddock had indicated he did not
wish to purse a complaint against him.

This had also been the case in relation to Mr Bowe's co-
accused Darren Moore, the solicitor told Belfast
Magistrates Court on Wednesday.

Mr Moore, 36, also from Mount Vernon Park, was remanded in
custody for a week, but is due to apply for High Court

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/11/22 13:21:26 GMT


Opin: Unionists Still Believe They Own The North

By Brian Feeney

You could be forgiven for thinking that the only issue in
Irish politics at present is whether Sinn Fein `will sign
up to policing'.

Even the phrase is biased. It accepts the unionist spin on
the issue and implies that Sinn Fein is opposed to
policing, that some day the party will experience a
Damascene conversion and support policing, law and order
and the criminal justice system.

Accepting that unionist spin assumes automatically that any
system of law and order, policing and criminal justice the
British administration in the north establishes is ideal
and ought to deserve the immediate and unquestioning
support of republicans.

Of course when unionists don't like policing or the way law
and order is administered they riot, shoot at the police or
try to bring the north to a standstill, as one UUP
spokesman threatened a few years ago over Drumcree. That's
okay, you see, because unionists still believe they own the

That's an attitude which raises the other issues that
hardly anyone mentions.

Poor Dermot Ahern in Cork on Sunday tried to remind people
that a deal requires two moves, not one. "One, a move on
power sharing by the DUP. Two, support for policing by Sinn

We all know, and are reminded daily, that SF haven't got
support for the PSNI through an ard fheis yet. What
virtually no-one points out is that no-one in the DUP has
expressed support for power sharing and no-one says when
they're going to do so.

Oh yes, there's a lot of `If Sinn Fein do this and Sinn
Fein do that and then maybe some day in a shimmering
Shangri-La we will consider and blah blah'.

So register that - no-one in the DUP supports sharing power
as a principle and no-one asks them when they're going to.

In fact the DUP officially opposes sharing power in

The party leadership is engaged in a do-or-die struggle
with political dinosaurs in their membership who because of
a toxic mixture of religious and politico-ethnic hatreds
can't contemplate sharing power with any nationalist or
Catholic, never mind Sinn Fein.

However, being the complete opposite of its name the DUP
will railroad this 180-degree turn through regardless of
the dinosaurs.

What about the other items of the ministerial pledge which
the DUP remain silent about?

`To participate fully in the Executive Committee, the
North-South Ministerial Council and the British-Irish
Council; to observe the joint nature of the offices of
first and deputy first minister'.

You don't hear too much about them, do you?

This is the party which refused to sit in the executive
because they oppose the Good Friday Agreement - and still
do - and would not engage in `north-southery' as they
derisively call it.

Remember, only a fortnight ago Gregory Campbell suffered an
acute attack of foot-in-mouth disease on this very issue.

Won't it be delightful to hear that oul curmudgeon Paisley
actually saying those words about all-Ireland bodies? Won't
it be amazing to hear him accepting that Martin McGuinness
is his equal in office. Oh joy. What a turnaround.

Talk about selling the pass.

Now perhaps you know why none of this is ever mentioned.
Those members of the DUP who can read would be likely to
have a collective apoplectic fit if they saw what their
leader is pledging to do - nothing less than the opposite
of everything he has ever proclaimed anathema.

Smash Sinn Fein. Remember the stunt with sledge-hammers? No
Dublin interference. Remember the `Nevaar Nevaar Nevaar
Nevaar' bellow at the city hall? No sharing power.

Remember the previous pledge of only true democracy in the
north, by which he meant majority rule?

At present the DUP is relying on the fact that virtually
no-one in the party will read the bill putting the inter-
governmental St Andrews agreement into law. If they did
they would see that almost the only change is that the DUP
assembly members do not have to vote for a Sinn Fein deputy
first minister.

As for all the other matters the DUP opposed in the GFA,
the new arrangements compel them to comply.

They must sit and act with SF and they must sit on the all-
Ireland bodies.

Some changes.


Opin: Inquiry Must Not Hold Up Devolution

22 November 2006

As if he did not have enough on his political plate, Peter
Hain also has to cope with an inquiry by the Attorney
General into whether there was an attempt by the Northern
Ireland Office to mislead the High Court on the appointment
of the interim victims' commissioner. The sooner this
important matter is dealt with, the clearer will be the air
for the next crucial stages in the peace process.

Lord Goldsmith wasted no time ordering the inquiry
requested by Mr Justice Girvan, as any suggestion that the
Secretary of State might himself make the decision would
have been ridiculed. No fewer than 67 questions have been
listed by the judge, concentrating on a letter replying to
a question from a west Belfast widow, Brenda Downes, about
the appointments process.

In the opinion of the judge, the letter, dated January 6,
and the evidence in an affadavit to the court by Nigel
Hamilton, the head of the NI civil service, "had the
tendency to mislead". The question was "whether there was a
deliberate attempt to mislead and, if so, by whom".

Already Mr Justice Girvan has found that Mr Hain was
motivated by an improper political purpose when he
appointed Bertha McDougall. The judge decided that the
proper procedure had not been followed and that she was
appointed as a confidence-building gesture to the
Democratic Unionist Party, which nominated her.

In a further statement, the judge said it was now accepted
that the letter sent to Mrs Downes had wrongly created the
impression that Mrs McDougall had been appointed as the
best candidate. There had been "inadequacies and errors" in
the letter, and nothing had been done to correct the false
impression until the court had directly intervened.

Mr Justice Girvan's comments could hardly be more critical
of both the Secretary of State and senior civil servants
whose duty was to make the appointment according to strict
rules and, if challenged, to provide factual answers. Few
will disagree with the judge that if incorrect and
misleading information was deliberately given to put the
applicant, Mrs Downes, on a false trail, such conduct
"would appear to fall within the concept of perverting the
course of justice".

Mr Hain has denied any wrongdoing, although he would have
overseen the entire process, and clearly he is facing
serious accusations. While no one is questioning the
ability of Mrs McDougall or the valuable work she has done,
she has inadvertently become involved in a legal battle
that should have been foreseen by a less politically-
motivated Secretary of State. With efforts to restore
devolution on a knife-edge, the inquiry must produce its
conclusions, either way, in double quick time.


Opin: New Spook Palace Is The Last Thing We Need

By Breidge Gadd

The most surprising thing about the policing debate is not
the speculations about the level of difficulty facing Sinn
Fein in persuading their faithful followers to take that
final deep breath and support the PSNI but the lack of
debate about the new super headquarters for MI5 and
associated spooks currently being built in Holywood.

While the SDLP and Sinn Fein indeed query the need and
reporting arrangements for these autonomous intelligence
services, Brendan Duddy, Derry business man and recent
appointee to the Policing Board, is the only voice I have
heard raise questions about the need, in the first place,
for this new spook palace.

During 35 years of the Troubles the secret services worked
out of (unknown to the public) low-profile buildings in the
Stormont estate. Now that the IRA war is over, what on
earth do they need with a new, publicly-recognisable,
costly big building?

Yes, we know that there are dissident republicans around
but aren't they already known to the PSNI, who so far - and
fingers crossed - seem capable of preventing their worst
excesses? A new visible building isn't going to make a jot
of difference to success or failure in that regard.

As for the continued existence of loyalist terrorists; the
only interest in these groupings the secret service ever
displayed was to infiltrate them in order to better attack
what they were preoccupied with as their real and only
enemy in Northern Ireland - the IRA.

Certainly in the past the existence of a large contingent
of intelligence people may have been necessary. But now
even Ian Paisley agrees that the war is over.

As Brendan Duddy requested some weeks ago, could someone in
government please tell us what this visible and increased
presence is all for then? Why, at a time that they should
also be going away, are MI5 coming out instead?

There is no doubt that nationally and internationally the
threat of major terrorist outrages has never been greater
and if one believes that secret services can foil that
threat, then it stands to sense that MI5 and its ilk needs
to be bigger and better resourced than ever.

But why in this country? The threat does not come from or
within Northern Ireland where hopefully people, who for
many years lived with the constant reminder of terrorist
attacks, can now live out the rest of their lives free from
bombs and assassination attacks.

We need anything but a visible intelligence headquarters
which in itself could become a target for international

What we need is time to establish a civilian police service
that for the first time in the history of the country
secures the support of all the people.

That civilian police service's priority, as recommended in
the Patten report, must be developing a partnership with
communities in order to tackle ordinary crime.

More than ever before, and in stark contrast to the
continuing total lack of accountability of the intelligence
services here, the PSNI must continue to be open and

It must continue to have tight accountability links to the
PSNI board and through the responsibilities and powers of
the Police Ombudsman.

At local level, the PSNI must establish policing
partnerships which in themselves need real, not proxy,
community representatives, people who live in the
high-crime areas and who have a real interest in working
with the police to tackle local crime.

So far the PSNI has shown that it can transform itself and
that such processes take time. No-one should know that
better than republican activists engaged at the same time
in a parallel process.

And if they are to be given the chance and the space to
become successful politicians and/or respected citizens
hopefully they will show the same generosity of spirit to
police personnel to do the same.

Such change after existing as mortal enemies is sensitive
and for some painful.

It matters too much to risk being wrecked by a regrouped,
renewed MI5 who, even in their house of splendid isolation,
account to no-one here but still have as their primary
objective the defeat of the IRA - even though the IRA in
effect has gone away.


Famous Bohola Born Lawyer Dies In US

By: Marian Harrison

BOHOLA lawyer Frank Durkan who fought tenaciously for the
rights of the Irish in America went to his eternal reward
in the United States last week, writes Marian Harrison.

The 76-year-old Mayo man, who carved out a reputation as a
fierce and clever defendant of Irish nationalists died on
Thursday last, November 16, with the funeral taking place
yesterday (Monday). He was extremely well-known in Irish-
American circles and was one of the most influential
members of the Irish community in New York

Mr Durkan's talents were not confined to law and he wrote
political pieces for a number of newspapers and was
chairman of Americans for a New Irish Agenda, which was
established in 1992 to support the Clinton-Gore presidency

"He was one of nature's gentleman," said Kilkelly man,
Jimmy Duffy, a long time friend. "He influenced a lot of
politicians but he always worked behind the scenes. He
wasn't a self seeker."

Durkan, who was born in 1930 emigrated in New York in 1947
and worked as a liquor store clerk and racetrack parking
attendant, before graduating from Columbia University in
1951 and joining the O'D-wyer family law firm.

Mr Durkan is survived by his wife, Monica, and two
daughters, Ashling and Mary Louise, and his many friends in

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