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November 18, 2006

O'Loan Investigates Murder of SF Councillor

News About Ireland & The Irish

IT 11/17/06 O'Loan Investigates 91 Murder Of SF Councillor
NW 11/17/06 Taoiseach Promises To Help Fullerton Campaign
BT 11/17/06 North-South Veto Cannot Be Enforced
BT 11/17/06 I Can Still Shut Assembly: Hain
BT 11/17/06 New Pledge Set To Move Power-Sharing Forward
IT 11/18/06 Alliance Anger After NI Talks Exclusion
BT 11/17/06 Welsh MPs Call For Probe Into Hain Conduct
SF 11/17/06 Hain: Complete Arrogance Over Verdict
BB 11/17/06 Omagh DNA Evidence 'Unreliable'
BB 11/17/06 Ex-Mayor Jailed For Voter Fraud
NH 11/17/06 Opin: Some Republicans Sow Seeds Of Confusion
IT 11/17/06 Opin: Paisley And Adams Can Overcome Hurdles
IT 11/17/06 SF TD Headbutted By Repeat Driving Offender
NW 11/17/06 Women Make Dramatic Addition To Ramelton
IT 11/17/06 RTE Radio Shows Lose Listeners
IT 11/17/06 Ashley Judd Film Tells Tale Of Irish Priestess
IT 11/17/06 Flatley Illness Not Life Threatening


O'Loan To Investigate 1991 Murder Of SF Councillor

The Northern Ireland Police Ombudsman is to investigate the
1991 murder of Sinn Fein councillor Eddie Fullerton, it
emerged yesterday. Senior investigators from the office of
ombudsman Nuala O'Loan have already interviewed the
victim's family, who met Taoiseach Bertie Ahern in Dublin

Mr Fullerton was shot dead in front of his wife at his
Buncrana, Co Donegal, home in an attack blamed on the UDA.

The family yesterday raised fresh demands for a public
inquiry at a long-awaited hour-long meeting with Mr Ahern
at Government Buildings.

Mr Fullerton's daughter Amanda said: "The Police
Ombudsman's office has sanctioned an inquiry into RUC/PSNI
activities across the Border and investigators interviewed
us about daddy's case in Dublin yesterday."

The Fullerton family gave Mr Ahern a summary of their
campaign to date and asked him to ensure that the State and
garda¡ co-operated with the police ombudsman's inquiries.

Chief Supt Noel White was appointed in 2004 by Minister for
Justice Michael McDowell to re-examine evidence in the

He met the Fullerton family in August and later submitted
an initial report to them on his findings.

"The response was totally unsatisfactory and raised more
questions than answers," Ms Fullerton said.

Mr Ahern told the Fullertons that Chief Supt White was
continuing his work on the issue.

Ms Fullerton met Mr Ahern with her mother, Diana; sisters
Anita and Marina and brothers Eddie and Johnny. They handed
over a dossier on their key concerns to Mr Ahern after the

Mr Ahern's decision to meet the Fullertons comes after
intensive campaigning by the family and Sinn F‚in for an
independent public inquiry into alleged collusion between
loyalists and British security forces on the 1991 murder.

Mr Fullerton served 12 years as a Sinn F‚in councillor on
Donegal County Council and Buncrana Urban Town Council. His
son Albert had spearheaded a 15-year family campaign for
justice until his death in a road accident last March.

The issue was also raised by Sinn F‚in at the multi-party
talks at St Andrews in Scotland last month.


Taoiseach Promises To Help Fullerton Campaign

By C.J. McGinley

THE family of murdered Sinn Fein Councillor Eddie Fullerton
have welcomed the commitment from Taoiseach Bertie Ahern to
support their call for a cross border inquiry into his

Speaking to the Donegal News yesterday, Thursday, following
an hour long meeting with Mr Ahern in Dublin the alte
councillor's daughter Amanda said they were very encouraged
by the Taoiseach's support and his interest in their
pursuance of the full facts surrounding his murder.

"He has agreed to put pressure on the British authorities
to release any intelligence documents that would help our
investigation. We're not satisfied with Garda review of the
original investigation into our father's murder. We gave
the Taoiseach a full memorandum of the case and he gave us
an assurance that he would read it personally. A copy will
also be given to the Tanaiste," Amanda said.

"From our point of view this was a very positive meeting
and an important step in our campaign," she added.

She was joined at the meeting by her mother Diana, sisters,
Marian McLaughlin, Anita and brothers Johnny and Eddie.

The family demanded the meeting with the Taoiseach after a
Gardai re-examination raised "serious questions" about the
case. The family are "extremely disappointed" by the
content and findings of a confidential 'Briefing' document
they have received.

The Fullerton family have learned that weapons used in the
murder of Eddie were directly connected to 13 other murders
and a number of attempted murders in Northern Ireland.
Although there have been a number of convictions for those
same murders, it was confirmed to the Fullerton family that
those convicted had not been questioned by An Gardai.

"Our father was a dedicated Sinn Fein Councillor who worked
tirelessly to help others irrespective of their political
or religious affiliations. Having served 12 years as a
Councillor on Donegal County Council and Buncrana Urban
District Council, he was looking forward to a possible
third term after the coming elections in June
1991.Tragically, he did not live that long. On 25th May
1991, during the early hours of the morning, he was gunned
down at home in front of our mother, by a Loyalist death

"The callous murder received wide-spread condemnation from
many across the political spectrum, not least from the then
Taoiseach, Charles Haughey, who vowed to 'leave no stone
unturned until those responsible were brought to justice'.
From the outset, we, Eddie Fullerton's family, had serious
concerns about how the killers managed to cross the border,
assassinate Dad and then escape back over the border into
the North without any obstruction, nor it would seem, any
fear of obstruction. Those concerns have been further
compounded by the failure of the Buncrana Gardai
Investigators to conduct an adequate investigation into the

"The standard mandatory procedures required of a murder
investigation were never carried out by the Buncrana
Investigators. Since 1991, the Gardai have made little
attempt to brief our family on the status of the murder

"The findings of the recent Morris Tribunal have exposed
certain Buncrana Gardai as corrupt. Given that some of
those same Gardai had key roles in the murder enquiry in
1991, concerns raised by our family in relation to the
integrity of the murder investigation have been vindicated.
In June 2003, we presented a Preliminary Memorandum to
Justice Minister Michael McDowell outlining our concerns.
In response, Minister McDowell announced in 2004 that
Letterkenny-based Chief Superintendent Noel White would be
re-examining the case.

"In March 2006, our beloved brother Albert (45), was
tragically killed in a road accident in Donegal. As
spokesperson for the Eddie Fullerton Justice Committee,
Albert spearheaded the Campaign for truth and justice in
relation to our father's murder. The long awaited meeting
with Mr Noel White to report on the Review findings would
subsequently take place without Albert.

"On 31st August 2006, Mr White finally met with us to brief
the family on the findings of the Investigative Review. We,
the Fullerton family, were extremely disappointed with the
content and findings of the 'Briefing' document, which for
legal reasons cannot be disclosed at this stage.

"However, the Gardai did disclose to us that weapons used
in the murder of our Father were directly connected to 13
other murders and a number of attempted murders in Northern
Ireland. Although there have been a number of convictions
for those same murders, it was confirmed that those
convicted had not been questioned by An Gardai. We, the
EFJC, feel that this raises serious questions about those
individuals, their relationship with the British State, and
An Gardai's role in pursuing them for questioning.

"15 years on, and amidst great public concern in relation
to the circumstances surrounding the murder and the Gardai
investigation, we the Fullerton family, welcome this
opportunity to discuss the case with An Taoiseach and his
officials, and to seek agreement on how key concerns may be
best addressed."

Sinn Fein Councillor Padraig MacLochlainn welcomed the
meeting with the Taoiseach.

"The Taoiseach's decision to meet the Fullertons comes
after intensive campaigning by the family and by Sinn F‚in
during the past decade for a full, independent, public
inquiry into the collusion of unionist paramilitaries and
state forces before, during and after the 1991 murder. Sinn
F‚in again raised the demand for the Taoiseach to meet the
Fullerton family during last month's St Andrew's
negotiations - a demand the Taoiseach has now finally
accepted," he said.

"The Fullerton family have demonstrated remarkable courage
and huge dignity during the past fifteen years. Despite the
deep hurt caused to the family by the dismissive attitudes
of state authorities during that period, the Taoiseach's
decision to meet the Fullertons this week is to be
welcomed. It is vitally important that this meeting at the
highest level is simply the first stage in further
progressive and productive Government action on Eddie
Fullerton's case.

"There is overwhelming and disturbing evidence of collusion
between state forces and the unionist paramilitaries who
murdered Eddie. It is a testimony to the diligence and
determination of the Fullerton family that Sinn F‚in
succeeded in gaining cross-party support for a new
independent public inquiry at Donegal County Council last

"It is clear from the chilling new report issued by the
Derry-based Pat Finucane Centre last week that collusion
was an official British Government policy in Ireland.

"The Irish Government now has a moral and constitutional
responsibility to finally and fully address the brutal
legacy of the British Government's collusion policy,
particular in the murder of Eddie Fullerton - an elected
and highly respected Buncrana Councillor assassinated in
his own family home," Cllr Mac Lochlainn said.


North-South Veto Cannot Be Enforced

By Noel McAdam
17 November 2006

DUP ministers in a future Executive would be unable to
prevent Sinn Fein attending north-south meetings, it
emerged today.

The sanction applied by former First Minister David Trimble
against Martin McGuinness and Bairbre de Brun - which went
to the High Court - is superceded by the requirement to
"participate fully" in the new Pledge of Office.

And, according to republican sources, DUP ministers would
also be unable to boycott Executive meetings in the future.

But DUP leader Ian Paisley insisted the cross-border bodies
would come under the aegis of a new Assembly.

"North-south cooperation will, for the first time, become
fully accountable to the representatives of the people of
Northern Ireland," he said.

Sinn Fein, the DUP and other parties were today poring over
the details of the new Northern Ireland legislation ahead
of the anticipated first meeting of the Programme for
Government committee on Monday.

But it appeared likely the initial meeting will be attended
by DUP deputy leader Peter Robinson and Mr McGuinness
rather than, as first envisaged, Mr Paisley and Sinn Fein
President Gerry Adams.

Sinn Fein claimed it had thwarted a DUP attempt to
"decouple" the First and Deputy First Ministers offices,
but their joint nature was underpinned in the legislation.

"Ian Paisley appeared to want to be Prime Minister of
Northern Ireland, but the basis of First and Deputy as co-
equal is underpinned," a senior republican source said.

Sinn Fein also rejected concerns from the SDLP that the
accountability levels required of ministers could lead to
government gridlock.

"Ministers still retain their Executive authority. There
can be a time-delay, but they cannot stop decisions being
taken," the source said.

But Mr Paisley said: "Ministers will be accountable to both
the Executive and the Assembly. There will be no question
of individuals taking major decisions against the wishes of
the Executive and the Assembly.

"The bill also provides for the Assembly to review matters
such as community designation and mandatory coalition
within a given time period.

"We have succeeded in retaining academic selection and,
even if there is no agreement in the Assembly, schools can
continue to use academic selection."


I Can Still Shut Assembly: Hain

By Noel McAdam
17 November 2006

Secretary of State Peter Hain has insisted he could still
shut the Assembly if next Friday's meeting is not a

But, while Northern Ireland Office officials argue it must
include the nomination of First and Deputy First Ministers,
Mr Hain declined to define what might constitute success.

His warning came, however, as the DUP said it had "busted
through" the governments' November 24 deadline, after which
Mr Hain has said for months the Assembly could be closed
and MLAs' salaries and allowances axed.

DUP leader Ian Paisley confirmed his party would not be
nominating into a shadow designation for the so-called
Transitional Assembly.

"There will be no Ministers and no government until there
has been full delivery on policing," he said.

"There will be no First Minister designate and no Deputy
First Minister designate on November 24. Sinn Fein has not
delivered on policing and therefore no nomination or shadow
process will occur.

"Designation will only take place after the election and
after delivery on the part of Sinn Fein."

Alliance, meanwhile, has hit out at the decision of the
Assembly business committee not to put the election of a
First and Deputy First Minister on the agenda for next
Friday's planned meeting.

Assembly member Kieran McCarthy said it was disgraceful and
appalling that the committee yesterday was given "no
indication of what is going to happen in the Assembly on
November 24, because Peter Hain had not stated what is to
take place".

"The lack of agreement on this matter shows the wide chasm
which exists between the DUP and Sinn Fein. For genuine and
effective power-sharing, they must work together.

"If the devolution timetables are met, we face 'government
by memo', with the DUP only communicating with Sinn Fein
through notes carried by civil servants, because they won't
talk to them. This is a recipe for disaster for the people
of Northern Ireland," Mr McCarthy added.


New Pledge Set To Move Power-Sharing Forward

By Noel McAdam
17 November 2006

Around the end of next March, Ian Paisley and Martin
McGuinness are supposed to rise in the Assembly and utter
just six words.

"I affirm the pledge of office," they must say, separately,
according to new legislation which last night began its
course through Parliament.

Orally, Mr McGuinness will not be required to mention
policing nor will Mr Paisley need to say anything about

The actual pledge of office includes a clause "to uphold
the rule of law based as it is on the fundamental
principles of fairness, impartiality and democratic

These include support for policing and the courts as set
out in paragraph six of the St Andrews Agreement, which
states "essential elements of support for law and order
include endorsing fully the Police Service of Northern
Ireland and the criminal justice system".

But the new pledge also includes promoting the whole
community "towards the goal of a shared future", full
participation in North/South issues and recognition of the
Joint Office of the First and Deputy First Minister.

But that's next March. Neither Mr Paisley or Mr McGuinness
will likely be required to take any oath on the upcoming
deadline of November 24.

Instead, the parties only need to make clear their choice
for First and Deputy First Ministers at Stormont.

The first meeting of the Programme for Government
committee, set up under the St Andrews Agreement, is also
on the cards for next Monday.


Alliance Anger After NI Talks Exclusion

The only non-sectarian party in Northern Ireland is to be
excluded from crucial talks drawing up a programme for
devolved government, it emerged last night.

Alliance Party leader David Ford criticised the British
government after learning that his party would not be
invited to next week's Programme For Government meeting in

He said this was another example of the marginalisation of
his party, which has resulted in a senior member of his
team resigning in disgust.

"Whilst I am happy to remain distant from the sectarian
dogfight and making the case for building a genuine future
including power-sharing, I think it is a bizarre example of
how disorganised the government is," he said.

"I was told today that I was being 'uninvited' and the
simple position is that at the time of the St Andrew's
Agreement the expectation was that we would be preparing
for an executive of ministers to be formed on the basis of
the current Assembly membership."

Officials are planning elections next year and the Assembly
is expected to be restored by next March.

The British and Irish governments agreed a blueprint for
resurrecting the institutions during a summit at St
Andrew's in Scotland.

They envisaged the nomination of Democratic Unionist leader
Ian Paisley as First Minister with Sinn F‚in's Martin
McGuinness as his deputy.

The Alliance Party's representation at present does not
entitle it to a ministership in the Executive but Mr Ford
argued that nobody could rule out the possibility that his
party would not secure a greater share of the vote next

The Programme For Government committee postponed its first
meeting earlier this month after disagreements meant the
DUP would not be represented. The party is at loggerheads
with Sinn F‚in over the issue of taking a pledge of
allegiance to support the police service before accepting
ministerial posts.

Republicans are consulting on policing but are calling for
speedy transfer of policing and justice powers to the
province, a move the DUP opposes.



Welsh MPs Join Calls For Probe Into Hain Conduct

By Mark Hookham
17 November 2006

MPs have called for an urgent inquiry into Peter Hain's
conduct following the recent broadside of criticism
levelled at the Secretary of State by a senior judge.

Welsh nationalists Plaid Cymru said Mr Hain should
"seriously consider his position" if accusations made by Mr
Justice Girvan last week are proven by an independent

The call by the Welsh nationalists means the controversy
surrounding the way Bertha McDougall was appointed as
interim Victims Commissioner has finally become a
potentially explosive issue in Westminster.

Mr Hain yesterday made his first detailed comments on the
controversy by declaring: "I was acting on behalf of

Mr Justice Girvan last week found the appointment of Ms
McDougall had been an improper political concession to the

He called for an "immediate and searching inquiry at a high

This could directly involve Mr Hain, since he "read and
sanctioned" misleading affidavits made to the High Court by
the two most senior civil servants in Ulster.

Mr Justice Girvan said Mr Hain, as the respondent in the
case, had "failed in his duty of candour" and had tried "to
divert attention from the true course of events".

The Cabinet Office last week washed its hands of the case -
saying it's up to Mr Hain himself to decide how to address
the issues raised in the judgment.

But Plaid Cymru last night said a probe into the affair was

The party's parliamentary leader Elfyn Llwyd said: "Mr Hain
cannot shy away from this damning verdict. An urgent and
detailed inquiry is needed to determine the facts in this

"The judge's comments can not be taken lightly, and only an
independent inquiry into the matter will be acceptable.
Should these comments be proven then Mr Hain will have to
seriously consider his position."

Speaking earlier to Welsh parliamentary journalists, Mr
Hain said he was looking at the "consequences" of the

He said: "I think the people of Wales should look at the
facts on the ground. Those facts on the ground were that we
had to do important preparatory work to deal with the
problem of thousands of victims of the Troubles of Northern

"I think the victims of the Troubles have been neglected
for far too long. The preparatory work which was done on an
interim basis has been leading up to that.

"Obviously we are studying the judgement carefully and we
are looking at the consequences of that but the big picture
is that I was acting on behalf of victims and will continue
to do so."


Hain Accused Of 'Complete Arrogance' Over Victims Commissioner Verdict

Published: 17 November, 2006

Sinn F‚in MP for Fermanagh and South Tyrone Michelle
Gildernew has accused the British Secretary of State Peter
Hain of 'complete arrogance' after he defended his decision
to act illegally and appoint Bertha McDougall as interim
Victims Commissioner.

Ms Gildernew said:

"Peter Hain's approach to the appointment of Victims
Commissioner was bad enough in the first instance. Having
been found in court as acting illegally and receiving
unprecedented criticism from the judge in the case many
would have thought that Mr Hain would have tried to undo
the damage and offence he has caused to many victims and
act on the verdict of the court.

"Instead in an arrogant almost colonial fashion Mr Hain has
attempted to laugh off the implications of the judgement
and has instead sought to defend the indefensible. His
comments over the past two days in relation to Brenda
Downes court challenge have displayed insensitivity and a
complete arrogance. It has to be said that this is typical
of the approach being adopted to the wider issue of victims
and truth by the British State.

"Mr Hain needs to realise that the judgement in this case
does have serious implications both for himself and his
department. Ignoring it or attempting to minimise its
implications simply will not wash with victims
organisations." ENDS


Omagh DNA Evidence 'Unreliable'

A second forensic scientist has called into question the
DNA evidence at the Omagh bomb trial.

Professor Allan Jamieson said in his view, low copy number
DNA was unreliable and the test results were open to

This technique, where DNA profiles can be obtained from
samples with only a few cells, is an important part of the
prosecution's case against Sean Hoey.

Mr Hoey denies 58 charges including the murder of 29 people
in Omagh in 1998.

Belfast Crown Court heard that molecules used in low copy
number DNA were the size of a millionth of a grain of salt.

Giving evidence for the defence, Professor Jamieson said
that in his opinion, the less DNA being tested, the less
chance there was of a reliable result.

Also giving evidence on Thursday was a forensic scientist
in the unit specialising in the technique, who examined
items in this case.

Samantha Underwood said she wore a lab coat, hair net,
gloves and face mask to prevent contanimation of exhibits
as they were being swabbed.

She said it was common practice to change gloves between
swabs, but said she and her colleagues shared lab coats
that were cleaned once a week.

The case continues.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/11/16 21:44:34 GMT


Ex-Mayor Jailed For Voter Fraud

A former DUP mayor of Coleraine has been jailed for four
months for electoral fraud.

Disgraced councillor Dessie Stewart had admitted pretending
to be someone else to cast postal votes, and fraudulently
stopping free exercise of a proxy vote.

The charges related to the last general and local
government elections, which were held on the same day in
May 2005.

The court heard Stewart impersonated residents in a nursing
home in Portrush by using their postal votes.

The irregularity was discovered during the election count
in Londonderry and the votes were not counted.

He was sentenced on Friday at Antrim Crown Court sitting in

Stewart, 57, of Parker Avenue in Coleraine, was also banned
for five years from holding public office, contesting
elections and voting.

A councillor since 1989, Stewart had been re-elected to
Coleraine Borough Council with 773 votes.

He is a democrat who, through a moment of human weakness
and naive folly had betrayed the democracy he espoused

Stewart's lawyer

After his conviction, he resigned from the DUP and the

Describing him as a "broken man who has lost everything",
Stewart's lawyer called his action "a spontaneous and
absolute moment of madness".

The investigation began at the Guildhall in Derry when
postal votes for the East Londonderry constituency were
being counted.

It was noticed that 15 papers were filled in the same
handwriting and signed by the same person. They all related
to residents of the Tieve Tara Nursing Home in Landsdowne
Crescent, Portrush.

This was drawn to the attention of the deputy returning
officer and police were soon called in.

They found that Stewart had called at the same home five
days earlier. He discovered the owner was on holiday and
that postal votes had not yet been handed out.

His trial was told he demanded the ballots from a member of
staff, saying, "this is how it's going to be done from now
on. Everyone has the right to vote."

She told the police his manner had been overbearing and
that she had given them to him because he was a councillor
and would know best.

The next day, the owner of the nursing home returned from
holidays and demanded Stewart give back the ballot papers,
but he refused.

None of the residents had ever seen or signed any of the
papers and, through his lawyer in court on Friday, Stewart
apologised to them and to the staff.

A defence lawyer said his client was "a democrat who,
through a moment of human weakness and naive folly had
betrayed the democracy he espoused".

He said the 15 votes had not been counted, nor would they
have had any impact on the result of either the local
election of the general election where Stewart's then-
colleague Gregory Campbell was standing.

However, he acknowledged that at least some of the voters
would have voted a different way, given the choice.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/11/17 19:34:11 GMT


Opin: Some Republicans Sowing Seeds Of Confusion

(Jim Gibney, Irish News)

The news at the start of this week that a tiny number of
disaffected former IRA personnel, members of the INLA and
other micro groups, are threatening the lives of Sinn
F‚in's leadership is causing great anger among republicans,
disbelief among nationalists and is a source of deep

Concern obviously for the well-being of those being
targeted and their families but concern also that a group
of individuals who live among us and claim to be
republicans fighting for Irish independence have
degenerated to the level where they would turn their minds
to such dastardly deeds.

Although disturbing to have to deal with, I am not
completely surprised by the threat.

Conflict situations, especially conflicts which are in the
'end phase', throw up organisations and individuals whose
primary role is to sow the seeds of confusion destabilise
the situation, demoralise people and delay change.

We saw this is in South Africa in the dying days of
apartheid when Chris Hani, the chief of staff of MK, the
ANC's armed wing, was shot dead and thousands of blacks
were killed. It also happened when the peace talks between
Palestinians and Israelis were at a pivotal point and
Yitzhak Rabin, Israel's prime minister, was assassinated.

We saw it here with the loyalist organisations being used
to serve the interests of British securocrats through their
murder campaign against Catholics and their internecine

The threat against Sinn F‚in's senior leadership has a
number of potential sources.

First among them is the mentality induced by the failure of
the organisations and individuals behind the threat to be
of any relevance to the political realities of our time.

They fail to see that even groups like the Continuity and
Real IRA have demonstrably failed to have any political
impact on the nationalist people.

The massacre at Omagh is the legacy of their failure.

So, in part, their threat stems from desperation engendered
by failure. Their inability to affect the peace process has
led to distorted thinking whereby Gerry Adams, Martin
McGuinness and Gerry Kelly have become their enemy.

Those republicans who inhabit this distorted world
continually find themselves pressed further back into a
corner by their unpopular beliefs, actions and isolation.
They live on the edge of irrelevance.

In this suffocating and dangerous atmosphere they retreat
even further into a nihilistic outlook where any form of
military activity is considered worthy, including attacking
other republicans.

For these people existing in splendid isolation is
considered a victory in itself. Using armed struggle and
elevating its use to an untouchable, unquestionable,
totemic principle binds them together.

This rigid, theological purity lacks the capacity to see
the world as it really is. Such an approach is not, nor can
it ever be, the basis on which a struggle for national
freedom is conducted.

Such organisations and individuals are also vulnerable to
infiltration. We have seen this regularly with both CIRA
and RIRA. Many of their operations were compromised and
their activists arrested.

Even in relation to the Omagh bombing there has been a
cover-up amid persistent allegations that British
intelligence agents manipulated the Real IRA.

At a time when Sinn F‚in has put the spotlight and pressure
on MI5 and its relationship with the PSNI, MI5 have the
ability to further manipulate the situation in its struggle
with Sinn F‚in to hold onto its power.

The current threat to Sinn F‚in is a stark reminder of the
dangers inherent in moving out of a conflict situation into

Those responsible for this threat are so bereft of argument
that they cannot produce credible spokespersons - or even
spokespersons - with which one could debate.

They have chosen to ignore and organise against the peace
process and the benefits that are flowing from it for all
the people of this island.

They are entitled to organise and oppose the peace process
on a political basis. They have no justification whatsoever
to use armed force.

This threat should be a wake-up call to those involved. It
should not only be withdrawn the people involved should
desist from their activities forthwith.

The peace process has created new and positive political
conditions for all republicans not least for those behind
this threat.

November 17, 2006

This article appeared first in the November 16, 2006
edition of the Irish News.


Opin: Paisley And Adams Can Overcome Hurdles

A deal to restore devolution is now down to the two party
leaders, writes Gerry Moriarty, Northern Editor

In the Pharmaceutical Jobs supplement last Friday an
article entitled "Better standard of living makes Cork easy
choice" wrongly referred to Helen McGardle as managing
director of Berkley Recruitment. She is in fact managing
director of Science Recruitment Ireland, as was correctly
stated in several other articles in the supplement.

1Where errors occur, it is the policy of The Irish Times to
correct or clarify as soon as practicable.

Readers may contact the Readers' Representative's office by
e-mail or by telephone 01 6758000

March 7th it is then: the third Assembly elections, as
announced yesterday. And elections, just like a hanging,
concentrate minds.

It will certain focus the thoughts of the very capable vote
crunchers in the DUP and Sinn F‚in who believe they can
make further advances at the expense of the Ulster Unionist
Party and SDLP.

That's as maybe. Backs against the wall the UUP and SDLP
will fight doggedly and who can say what the political
climate will be like on Wednesday, March 7th. Indeed, who
can say we will get to an election on that date? That's the
immediate and important question.

Next Friday, November 24th, is the next hurdle to be
overcome. It's supposed to be a red-letter occasion, the
day when Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness are to be
nominated as first minister and deputy first minister
designate, a symbolic moment when the great Northern public
realises that Dr Paisley and Mr Adams actually will do
historic business together.

But it won't happen like that. The politicians can't
surmount the hurdle because of the row over the pledge of
office on policing. So, therefore they will go around it.
What's new.

Publication of the Northern Ireland (St Andrews Agreement)
Bill yesterday permitted further progress. The DUP and Sinn
F‚in got their election and were generally happy with the
bill. The legislation allows Assembly members to continue
in work and in receipt of pay until next March, if we can
get past next Friday.

There are checks and balances in the bill so that both
nationalists and unionists can argue that their
requirements on North-South matters, ministerial
accountability, the Irish language, Ulster Scots and other
issues were met. After Friday we should have a transitional
Assembly that will dissolve on January 30th next year for
the election over five weeks later.

Implicit here is that if the policing issue is to be solved
Sinn F‚in will call its ardfheis before January 30th.

So the argument from Dublin and London is that there is
movement, that there is no need to panic. At least not yet.
The governments have a point. What remains to be achieved
to get full-blown devolution on March 26th is not
complicated: it's simply down to the will of Dr Paisley and
Mr Adams.

They have crossed the river on policing and powersharing.
They have yet to formally commit to these issues but Dr
Paisley has already said he is up for powersharing if Mr
Adams is up for policing. Mr Adams is up for policing if Dr
Paisley is up for powersharing. If they could stop going
around in circles for a moment they could settle the

There are two significant problems left: devolving policing
and justice to the Northern Executive and Mr McGuinness
adopting the pledge of office enshrined in the St Andrews
legislation published yesterday. It requires him to affirm
a pledge that he will support the PSNI and law and order.
Dr Paisley says he will not be nominated as first minister
designate if Mr McGuinness refuses to make this affirmation
on Friday.

It's not going to happen on Friday because Mr McGuinness
says that would be prejudging the outcome of a Sinn F‚in
ardfheis on policing, yet to be called.

The solution under consideration amounts to a fudge, but
again what's new. In the Assembly on Friday, Sinn F‚in
plans to nominate Mr McGuinness as deputy first minister

While Dr Paisley will not be nominated as first minister
designate the governments hope he or his party will make
clear to Speaker Eileen Bell, or through some other
mechanism yet to be finalised, that subject to Sinn F‚in
signing up on policing he will be first minister on March
26th. The governments will be satisfied if Dr Paisley and
Mr McGuinness are conditionally or informally deemed as
shadow first minister and deputy first minister next

"It's the symbolism that is important," as a senior Dublin
source said.

The remaining obstacle, therefore, is when responsibility
for justice and policing transfers from Westminster to a
Northern Executive department of justice.

The St Andrews Agreement sets a target, as opposed to a
specific date of May 2008.

To sell policing at an ardfheis, republicans need a date
for devolution, Sinn F‚in insists.

It won't happen in a "political lifetime", countered DUP MP
Nigel Dodds last week, triggering Sinn F‚in fury.

"In Ian Paisley terms a political lifetime is 60 years, so
how could we sell that to grassroots," as one senior Sinn
F‚in figure put it. But again it's down to will. It was
significant yesterday that the first Programme for
Government committee, which was aborted almost four weeks
ago because Dr Paisley boycotted it over the pledge row, is
scheduled to meet on Monday, and on a weekly basis

Its predecessor, the Preparation for Government Assembly
committee, after initial regular rows allowed real
engagement between the DUP and Sinn F‚in. The strategy is
that the programme committee will permit a further thawing
of relationships between the two parties, and that it is
through this contact that Sinn F‚in and the DUP will arrive
at an accommodation over when policing and justice will be

Oh, if it were so easy, the politicians lament. There are
rumblings within the DUP and Sinn F‚in heartlands about the
planned seismic moves on powersharing and policing. Yet
both leaderships remain strong and appear capable of
managing any opposition to St Andrews.

The question, therefore, is if Dr Paisley and Mr Adams are
committed in principle to making this work, as they say
they are, where's the problem?


Sinn Fein TD Headbutted By Repeat Driving Offender

A Sinn Fein TD was headbutted by a repeat driving offender
with whom the politician had remonstrated for doing "wheel
spins" in a residential area, a court heard yesterday.

Aengus O Snodaigh managed to throw his attacker, Mark Moran
(23), into a garden hedge in an effort to defend himself
before garda¡ arrived.

Moran, who has 32 previous convictions mostly for car-
related crime, had been doing 360-degree handbrake turns
near Mr O Snodaigh's home in Ballyfermot, Dublin. A tyre-
fitter from Cremona Road, Ballyfermot, Moran was at the
time under a five-year ban for a previous uninsured driving

He denied assaulting Mr O Snodaigh but said his head may
have unintentionally hit the TD's head during a scuffle
between the two of them.

Dublin District Court heard Mr O Snodaigh had been
returning from a Sinn F‚in ardfheis on March 6th last year
when he had to swerve to avoid two cars which were racing
each other up his street.

Mr O Snodaigh said incidents like this and "joyriding"
occurred regularly in the area, but it usually happened at
night and not in daylight when there were children around,
as was the case on this evening.

He tried to speak to the driver of one of the cars but it
sped away. He rang garda¡ about it.

A short time later, Mr O Snodaigh was buying ice-cream for
his children from a van parked near his house when he saw a
car driven by Mr Moran doing wheel spins in the street.

He tried to speak to Moran who told him "F**k off, you and
your IRA mates, I'm not afraid of you." Mr O Snodaigh said
Moran got out and headbutted him. He managed to grab Moran
and throw him over a garden wall into a thorn bush.

At that point, Mr O Snodaigh's son said the garda¡ were
coming and Moran jumped back into his car and sped off.
Garda¡ followed the car and after stopping it, Moran gave
his brother's name.

The ice-cream van driver told the court he saw Mr O
Snodaigh being headbutted but did not see anything else
because he was telling Moran's passenger to keep out of it.

Moran told the court he had had a couple of drinks earlier
because it was Mother's Day. He claimed Mr O Snodaigh "was
fairly intoxicated and using threatening and abusive
behaviour". When they started scuffling, Mr O Snodaigh
"gave me a few punches". He added: "I do admit at some
point my head hit off his face but not intentionally."

Judge Ann Ryan found him guilty and said he must realise,
as the father of a young child, the danger his driving was
posing to children in the area.

She was prepared to give him a chance "to give something
back to society" and remanded him on bail to January 26th
to see if he was suitable for 240-hour community service.

The court heard Moran had been given a five-year driving
ban and a three-month prison sentence a year earlier for
uninsured driving. Last September, he was disqualified for
40 years for another no insurance offence.

Most of his 32 convictions were for similar driving


Women Make Dramatic Addition To Ramelton

A dramatic addition is to be made to the outside of
Ramelton Town Hall, following the unveiling of Donegal's
first external public art fountain feature sculpture
tonight (Friday).

Eleven one-foot-square limestone blocks have been placed on
top of each other, each carved individually by women from
the Mna san Ealain, a group of enthusiastic women from
Ramelton who came together from in 2005 through the Second
Chance Education Project for Women; Community Arts
Education Project.

The Ramelton-women decided to take a different route from a
similar group in Creeslough who have recently produced a
short film entitled, 'Beaches, Bogs and Breakdowns', based
around the lives of country women in Donegal.

Siobhan Gallagher, the Project Co-ordinator explained: "The
group from Ramelton decided to produce a sculpture piece as
they discovered during a series of taster courses in
different artistic fields that they preferred to work with
their hands. They really wanted to hone a variety of
different skills they had learned including visual art,
photography, and crafts whilst also working with a new

The unique sculpture gave each of the women an opportunity
to design and work on their own block. The women have also
incorporated a water feature which will flow down it when
it is turned on. In creating the magnificent piece, the
group worked very closely with renowned Donegal sculptor,
Redmond Herrity in the Letterkenny Sculpture Centre.

Funding for the project came from Dormant Accounts under
educational disadvantage funding. Women who were excluded
from mainstream community and education activities were
targeted and elements of the neighbourhood work model were
utilised to engage potential participants.

Ms Gallagher commented: "The women are extremely excited
about the launch, not just about their own creations, but
on a collective level they are very proud of each other's
work. Given that these women had no previous arts training
experience this is a marvellous achievement and we are
hoping as many people as possible will come to the launch
to help celebrate this."

The sculpture will be unveiled by Deputy Cecilia Keaveney
this evening in Ramelton Town Hall at 7pm.


RTE Radio Shows Lose Listeners

Alison Healy

RT radio has lost listeners in nine of its top 10
programmes, according to the latest figures from a Joint
National Listenership Research (JNLR) survey covering the
period from October 2005 to September 2006.

The greatest loss in listenership was suffered by Morning
Ireland, which lost 17,000 listeners during that time, when
compared with the period from July 2005 to June 2006.
However, it is still the most listened to show in the
State, with 442,000 listeners.

Today with Pat Kenny lost 16,000 listeners, which caused it
to slip from sixth to seventh in the top 10 most listened
to programmes in the State. Ryan Tubridy also suffered a
setback with 14,000 fewer listeners to The Tubridy Show.
However, it remains the second most listened to programme.

Gerry Ryan had halted the slide in his listenership in the
last survey, but the drift in listeners began again in the
new one with 10,000 fewer listeners for his 2FM show.

RT's star performer in this survey was 2FM presenter Will
Leahy. He gained 12,000 more listeners for his Saturday
show, securing his place in the top 10 and passing out
Derek Mooney's nature programme in the process.

Since the survey, Derek Mooney has moved from the weekend
slot to present a daily two-hour afternoon show.

Pat Kenny's slide in listenership helped Marian Finucane to
move up to sixth place in the top 10 programmes but she
still suffered a loss of 1,000 listeners.

Adrian Moynes, managing director of RT Radio, said the
figures showed RT still broadcasted the top 10 most
listened to programmes in Ireland.

"RT Radio's remit is to provide quality and choice for
listeners of all ages and tastes. Ireland's top 10 radio
programmes and 17 of the top 20 programmes listened to by
all adults [ 15+] are all on RT Radio," he said.

RT Radio One's market share was 21.1 per cent while
regional stations marginally increased their share to 52.1
per cent.

Today FM also saw a slight increase in its market share
from 11.5 to 11.7 per cent. The station's very strong gains
in the earlier July 2005 to June 2006 period did not
continue in this latest period.

Back then, Ian Dempsey, Ray D'Arcy and Matt Cooper all
increased their listenership by thousands. This time
around, Matt Cooper's drivetime show was the only one of
the trio to gain more listeners. He won another 3,000,
bringing his listenership to 183,000, a gain of 33,000
listeners on the October 2004 to September 2005 period.

Today FM's chief executive Willie O'Reilly said the station
continued to surge ahead in an increasingly competitive
radio market. Independent radio stations, including Today
FM, now have a weekday market share of 63.8 per cent, an
increase of 0.6 per cent on the previous period.

2FM's market share fell by 0.4 per cent to 13 per cent but
Lyric FM held at 1.1 per cent.

The figures cover the year up to September 2006, before
NewsTalk 106FM went national. Its flagship evening
programme, The Right Hook, lost 2,000 listeners, compared
with the earlier period, but NewsTalk said the year-on-year
growth in the Dublin audience was very encouraging.
Newstalk chief executive Elaine Geraghty said flagship
programmes such as The Breakfast Show, Lunchtime and Life!
with Orla Barry had all performed very well.

Meanwhile, Highland Radio in Donegal continues to have the
biggest market share of any local station at 64.7 per cent,
followed by Mid West Radio at 60 per cent and Radio Kerry
at 55.8 per cent.

Most local stations in Dublin held their "reach" figures
(the number of people who listened yesterday) apart from
FM104, which increased its reach by 1 per cent. It also
increased its market share, as did 98FM and Spin 103.8FM.
Cork 96FM/County Sound 103FM still holds the biggest
weekday market share in Cork at 51.9 per cent.


New Ashley Judd Film Will Tell Tale Of Irish Priestess

Sean O'Driscoll in New York

Movie star Ashley Judd is to make a film about a 14th-
century Kilkenny priestess who was condemned by the
Catholic Church.

Judd said this week that she has bought the rights to The
Burning Time, a novel by feminist writer Robin Morgan about
14th-century Kilkenny woman Dame Alice Kyteler, who was
condemned by the Bishop of Ossory.

The book portrays Kyteler sympathetically as a practitioner
of both Catholicism and paganism until the anti-heretic
inquisition arrived in Ireland. She was placed on trial in

Judd, star of DeLovely, Kiss The Girls and Double Jeopardy,
said she would be seeking advice from screenwriters. The
film will depict Ireland as successfully mixing Catholicism
and paganism until the European inquisition arrived in

Kyteler, a priestess who was on her fourth husband when the
inquisition arrived, was accused by the newly installed
bishop, Richard de Ledrede, of indulging in the occult and
forming herself into a black cat and, occasionally, a black

She ignored threats from Bishop Ledrede, but fled as other
supporters came under attack. One, Petronilla de Meath, was
flogged and burned at the stake.

The bishop wrote to the Chancellor of Ireland, Roger
Outlawe, to have her arrested but the chancellor, Kyteler's
brother- in-law, had him jailed.

Judd, a supporter of feminism, said in New York she was
taken with the story and believed it would show how
organised religion had suppressed women's spiritual role in


Flatley Illness Not Life Threatening

Barry Roche, Southern Correspondent

Multimillionaire dancer Michael Flatley remains in a London
hospital recovering from a serious but non-life threatening
viral infection that has forced him to cancel all dates of
his Celtic Tiger European tour.

According to a spokeswoman for Flatley, he is continuing to
receive treatment at the London Clinic after being admitted
there almost two weeks ago when he took ill en route to
London to join up with the dance troupe for rehearsals for
Celtic Tiger.

"Michael is okay," the spokeswoman said. "Like everyone in
hospital, he wants to get out as soon as he can but he's
going to be there for several more days at least. He's
overwhelmed by all the get-well messages that have come
into the hospital for him."

Flatley was due to begin the Celtic Tiger tour in Belgium
last Tuesday and he had been scheduled to perform up to 20
dates on the tour, including a show at the Point in Dublin
on December 2nd, before finishing the tour in Wembley Arena
in London on December 6th.

However, a notice on his website confirmed all shows had
been cancelled.

"Celtic Tiger Touring Inc has cancelled all European dates
for Celtic Tiger starring Michael Flatley due to serious
illness. Michael Flatley remains in hospital and is
unavailable for comment."

Mr Flatley (48) married one of his leading dancers, Niamh
O'Brien (32), from Kilbride, Co Meath, at St Patrick's
church in Fermoy on October 14th. The couple are expecting
their first child early next summer.

Yesterday, Mr Flatley's spokeswoman confirmed Ms O'Brien
was with her husband at the London Clinic and they were
looking forward to coming home to his stately Castlehyde
mansion near Fermoy when he is discharged from hospital.
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