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November 03, 2006

RUC Has Hamill Inquiry Ruling Overturned

News About Ireland & The Irish

RT 11/03/06 RUC Officers Have Robert Hamill Inquiry Ruling Overturned
BT 11/03/06 No Complaint Ever Upheld Against MI5
BT 11/03/06 PSNI: The Gains After All The Pains
BT 11/03/06 PSNI: The Force Of Change
BT 11/03/06 Delay Fears For Sinn Fein Special Police Conference
BT 11/03/06 'Unveil Any Side Deals To Ensure The Public's Confidence'
BT 11/03/06 Tories Brand Ulster Œ50bn Cash Package Smoke And Mirrors
BT 11/03/06 DUP Questions 'Unrealistic' Deadline Date
DT 11/03/06 Claudy Report Could Embarrass Church - Claims Source
CP 11/03/06 Explosives Found On Mount Leinster
BT 11/03/06 Stone: I Planned To Kill Mayor
BT 11/03/06 Education Of Kids 'Is Important To UVF Leadership'
BT 11/03/06 Opin: Ulster Parties Must Not Be Sold Short
BL 11/03/06 Blog: Bertie, A Part-Time Republican?
RT 11/03/06 Fish Stocks May Be Wiped Out Within 50 Years
BT 11/03/06 Voters Turn Against Republicans' Hard Line On Migrants
GC 11/03/06 Andy Cooney Show: High Praise For Step Dancers
IT 11/03/06 Development Of Largest Retail Park In State Announced


RUC Officers Have Robert Hamill Inquiry Ruling Overturned

03 November 2006 11:24

Former RUC officers due to give evidence at the Robert Hamill
murder inquiry have succeeded in overturning a ruling that they
are not entitled to remain anonymous.

A judge in Belfast's High Court upheld an application for
judicial review brought by a former officer, known only as L, on
behalf of about 20 retired colleagues who have been called as

The ruling means that individual ex-officers will now be able to
make their own claim for anonymity.

Robert Hamill, a 25 year-old Catholic, was beaten and kicked to
death by a loyalist mob in Portadown, Co Armagh, in 1997.

Police have denied claims that four RUC officers in a Land Rover
saw what was happening and failed to intervene.


No Complaint Ever Upheld Against MI5

SDLP calls for change over MI5 watchdog

By Chris Thornton
03 November 2006

The watchdog that looks after complaints about MI5 has never
upheld a grievance against the security agency, according to the
most recent Government figures.

Statistics released to SDLP leader Mark Durkan show that in the
first three years and three months of its operations, the
Investigatory Powers Tribunal has ruled on 380 complaints about

"No complaint was upheld," Home Office Minister Tony McNulty
confirmed as he published the number of complaints between
October 2000 and December 2004 - the last period for which
figures are available.

The SDLP said the results show that existing complaints system
doesn't work. The party is pushing the Government to introduce a
more effective, Northern Ireland-specific system when MI5 takes
charges of national security next year.

The party says Osama bin Laden could lodge a complaint against
the agency but the Omagh families - who learned MI5 did not tell
the RUC about dissident plans to bomb the town - can not.

The Government says third parties may be able to complain, but
the Tribunal's website describes its powers as applying to
"anything you believe has taken place against you, your property
or communications".

SDLP policing spokesman Alex Attwood said the Prime Minister
needs to become personally involved in the issue.

"Only he has the authority to break the previous structures and
conventions around MI5," he said.

"People in the north know the value of a strong complaint system
as a result of Nuala O'Loan's work.

"They're clearly going to see through the fiction of a complaints
system that the MI5 tribunal is.

"The proof is that no complaints get upheld and no citizen of the
north could complain anyway, unless they were under

The SDLP met Security Minister Paul Goggins on Monday about the

"There's been some useful progress and we're trying to work that
up, but there are big gaps in the Government's response," Mr
Attwood said.

"In the view of the SDLP this is the biggest single issue since
the radical restructuring of the police Special Branch and
intelligence branch.

"We'll keep talking and negotiating but the British Government
has to put into shape the principles that they appear to accept.
There needs to be a lot more meat on the skeleton, but at the
moment it is still short."

The lack of upheld complaints could show that MI5 scrupulously
avoids errors, but the Government does not comment on the
Security Service's activities.


PSNI: The Gains After All The Pains

Sir Ronnie Flanagan was the last Chief Constable of the RUC and
the first of the PSNI - Five years on, he tells Jonathan
McCambridge about the pain of leading Northern Ireland's police
force through a period of unprecedented change.

03 November 2006

On August 25, 1999, the Belfast Telegraph published leaked
details of the Patten Report weeks before it was due to be
published. The bombshell report by the former Tory MP and
Governor of Hong Kong Chris Patten, would urge that the RUC name
be scrapped along with the badge and uniform.

The leak sent shockwaves through the ranks of serving RUC members
as well as the relatives of many of those who had been murdered.

The immediate reaction from the unionist community was that they
had been betrayed and it was openly suggested that this could
kill off the fledgling Belfast Agreement.

The then-RUC Chief Constable Sir Ronnie Flanagan immediately
called an emergency summit at police headquarters on the Knock
Road in east Belfast.

He invited along representatives from the Police Federation, the
Superintendents' Association and the RUC Widows' Association.

It was during these meetings that the ideas of an RUC Garden of
Remembrance and the RUC George Cross Foundation were first
expressed. Sir Ronnie went to then-Secretary of State, Peter
Mandelson, and received guarantees that the sacrifices and
achievements of the RUC would be permanently marked.

Today, Sir Ronnie is Chief Inspector of Her Majesty's
Inspectorate of Constabulary, which reviews every police force in
England, Wales and Northern Ireland. However, he still remembers
vividly the difficulties, anger and raw emotion that was
expressed when the details of Patten were revealed.

"My message that weekend, after the Belfast Telegraph story, was
that any change would require legislation," he says. "We were an
organisation which had had 302 of its members murdered and that
could never be forgotten. There would undoubtedly be pain, but if
it achieved this great step forward then it would be worth it.

"I remember the Widows' Association thought the garden was a
lovely idea, but they also wanted to look to the future. That was
how I came up with the idea of a fellowship and this became the
RUC GC Foundation to honour the force in perpetuity.

"When you are making a transition like this you need these
bridges to honour the past but also to look to the future."

Although Patten was regarded as a bombshell report, Sir Ronnie
insists that the majority of his recommendations were of little
surprise to those within the RUC.

In 1996, when he was Deputy Chief Constable under Sir Hugh
Annesley, Sir Ronnie conducted the RUC's Fundamental Review Of
Policing. Northern Ireland was getting used to paramilitary
ceasefires and there was a growing recognition that policing had
to change.

The review was an attempt to address the fact that a force that
was overwhelmingly Protestant, male, white and middle class could
never be accepted by the whole community.

However, within months the IRA had bombed Canary Wharf, and the
reforming ideas were put on hold.

Three years later, when Patten was touring Ulster and putting
together his report, he was presented with the RUC's Fundamental

More than 80% of what he eventually recommended came from this

But this did not lessen the difficulties Sir Ronnie faced selling
Patten to his own officers, particularly when there were parts of
the report which he had his own doubts about.

As the deadline for change approached more and more time was
spent selling the report to his own officers.

"I was on duty night after night and spent more and more time out
and about," he says. "I wanted to send a message to the entire
organisation that they did not become different people overnight.
I had great pride in the officers and I knew they would do
equally well in challenges of a different nature.

"It was a challenge but I never despaired. We planned it very
carefully; the team who had put together the Fundamental Review
became the team to implement the changes. It was a structured
approach to change and we never became disheartened about it.

"I asked the team who were implementing the changes to make sure
that all the recommendations would work operationally. Many of
them were security dependent and could not be implemented, we
were still facing loyalist and dissident republican violence and
there was no way we could move on many of them.

"Night after night I had meetings with everyone right from part-
time reserve members right through to assistant chief
constables," he adds. "I opened a hotline and said to everybody
that they were free to question me about any aspect of it.

"If people in Northern Ireland were truly to live in a changed
environment then policing also had to change, it had to be
brought closer to normalisation. The body armour for officers,
the barricades on the stations, the military back-up - these were
things that were never wanted by the men and women of the RUC.

"There was undoubtedly pain but it was eased by the fact that we
made sure the RUC was properly cherished. That made it more
palatable to bring about these great changes.

"If the Catholic Church and constitutional nationalists were to
be brought on board then the pain was something we were prepared
to take to make that gain."

Policing with the community lies at heart of what we do

Today, on the fifth anniversary of the birth of the PSNI. Chief
Constable Sir Hugh Orde sets out what has been achieved and the
challenges which remain.

This week the Police Service of Northern Ireland marks its fifth
anniversary. Policing here has changed dramatically over the past
five years. So, too, has society. The Patten Report, published in
1999, set out the vision for a new beginning to policing here.
That vision has largely been realised. Policing with the
community lies at the heart of the work we do.

The accountability measures that are in place make us one of the
most accountable police services in the world. Over 20% of police
officers are now recruited from the Catholic Community, and we
are on target to reach 30% by 2010. It is of note that over 20%
of officers are now female, and over 30% of applicants are

The Oversight Commissioner has said that we have delivered on the
vast majority of the Patten recommendations and those few, which
are outstanding, are political and societal in nature.

The Police Service, perhaps more than any other organisation
here, has embraced and undergone substantial reform and
restructuring to ensure it is fit for purpose and able to deliver
an effective policing service to all the people here.

That work is paying off. Crime rates have been broadly falling
since 2002. Burglaries are decreasing, and vehicle crime is down.
However there is significant work to be done this year to reduce
rates of violent crime and criminal damage.

The world has moved on in the last five years. Policing has moved
on since the Independent Commissions Report was published in

The Police Service cannot afford to simply implement the Patten
recommendations and pat itself on the back. Crime and the nature
of crime continues to change and there is a need for the police
service to continue to adapt its approach to ensure that it is
effective and efficient.

One of the biggest challenges facing the police service is
dealing with organised crime. It is broadly accepted that where
some used to have a strategic intention around bombings,
shootings and murders - the strategic intention in many cases is
now the illegal acquisition of money.

We have had to restructure to ensure it is able to deal with that
threat. In 2004, the Crime Operations Department was created,
which brought together Crime Branch and Special Branch under the
command of a single Assistant Chief Constable.

The creation of the Serious Crime Branch as part of the new
Department was one of the most significant developments in crime
investigation undertaken by the Police Service.

A central role for the new Intelligence Branch within that
department is providing information for the investigation of
serious and organised crime. The results are clear: the Police
Service is making real inroads in tackling organised crime.

Other challenges that perhaps weren't envisaged half a decade ago
are now a reality. The size of the ethnic minority population in
Northern Ireland has gradually increased in recent years, to at
least 20,000.

The Police Service needs to be fully representative of society in
order to be fully effective and that means not only attracting
officers from the Catholic community but also attracting members
of minority ethnic communities.

Just 0.28% of current officers are from visible ethnic minority
backgrounds, although 4% of applications from new recruits are
from ethnic minorities, bringing the level almost up to census

In order for the Police Service to be fully effective it has to
be representative of the community it serves. As the make-up of
the community changes so, too, the police has to look at how to
it ensures the organisation reflects those changes.

The increase in the numbers of ethnic minorities living and
working in Northern Ireland has also, sadly, resulted in an
increase in crimes being perpetrated against those individuals.

DCUs are working hard to put in place structures including having
a Minority Liaison Officer in each DCU to help tackle hate crime
and ensure that members of minority ethnic communities have
confidence to report and allow police to deal with complaints.

A large piece of work being undertaken the police service this
year is around the restructuring of DCUs, following the Review of
Public Administration. The Police Service has recognised for some
time that 29 District Command Units are just too many.

While we continue to deliver a quality service, we believe that
we could do an even better job with a smaller number of much
larger DCUs. In 1999, the Patten Report said that there should be
29 DCUs, but it also said if the numbers of councils were to
reduce in future then DCUs should follow.

The selection and appointment process for eight new District
Commanders has begun. These individuals will help shape the
future of policing through the new DCU structure.

This week another group of student officers will graduate from
the Police College. Over the past five years I have met with many
of the new recruits as they have begun their journey in policing.

The men and women that I have met, whether they have worked in
policing for one year, five years or 30 years, have been united
by some common goals - the desire to serve their community, the
desire to work with members of their community and the desire to
make Northern Ireland safer for all.


PSNI: The Force Of Change

Crime Correspondent Jonathan McCambridge considers how policing
in Northern Ireland has changed in the five years since the birth
of the PSNI

03 November 2006

It is often the case in Northern Ireland that the things which at
first seem unthinkable quickly become commonplace. It is only
five years since the PSNI replaced the RUC but the glittering
prize of Sinn Fein acceptance of policing is already almost
within reach.

While that will be unpalatable to traditional supporters of the
police it is worth remembering the outcry when the Patten vision
was first revealed. The RUC name, uniform and badge have all gone
but policing goes on.

The nature of how we are policed has also been transformed. The
armoured Land Rover is now much less common a sight than officers
in shirtsleeves on foot patrol. Heavy fortifications at police
stations are being removed where appropriate and many smaller
bases are closing to be replaced by mobile stations.

The full time Reserve has been massively downsized and the
security situation has changed so much that military back-up from
the Home Battalion of the RIR is judged to be no longer required.

Perhaps the best example of change in Northern Ireland is the
fact that the media are now almost as concerned with everyday
crime matters as they are with security. Issues such as hate
crime and attacks on the elderly are given much more exposure
than they would have been five years ago. Rising violent crime
levels and criminal damage are the statistical headaches for PSNI

Policing in Northern Ireland was once almost exclusively the
domain of the Protestant white male but we are now heading
towards a multi-cultural force. The numbers of Catholic and
female recruits continues to grow and the PSNI leadership are
trying to break down barriers between them and ethnic minorities
and gay communities.

The idea of the police trying to recruit members of the
travelling community would have seemed absurd five years ago but
that is the reality of the PSNI in 2006.

There have been numerous crisis points for the PSNI in the five
years since it was established - the Castlereagh break in, the
Northern Bank robbery, the dropping of Stormontgate charges,
Whiterock riots - but the leadership has proven to be robust in
dealing with all the criticism thrown at it.

Recently the shadow of dissident republican attacks has returned
to Ulster and police believe there could be even more sinister
events planned.

It is hard to shake the conviction in some that the intelligence
war was lost when the PSNI replaced the RUC and Special Branch
was brought under the control of Crime Operations. The reality?
Intelligence continues but is managed differently.

But the ability of the PSNI to investigate, disrupt and solve
serious and organised crime remains unproven for many.

Northern Ireland remains the most heavily policed part of the UK
but the environment is changing. Next year MI5 will take over
national security matters from the PSNI. At the other end of the
spectrum the police this week surrendered the power to hand out
parking tickets to a privatised company.

Bit by bit the PSNI is beginning to look more and more like an
everyday UK police force.

Five years of transformation: major events in the history of the
new force since 2000

April 2000: RUC is awarded the George Cross. Constable Paul Slane
collects the medal from the Queen on behalf of the force.

November 3, 2001: At midnight, the force changes from the RUC to
the PSNI. Chief Constable Sir Ronnie Flanagan announces he is to
step down the following year.

November 4: The first PSNI recruits begin training at Garnerville

November 7: Policing Board meets for the first time.

January 24, 2002: Sir Ronnie meets with Omagh bomb victims'
relatives after he is personally criticised in a Police
Ombudsman's report into the atrocity. Police publish a response
rebutting her criticisms.

March 15: Advertisements are placed for a new chief constable to
replace Sir Ronnie Flanagan.

March 17: Police chiefs face a barrage of questions after a raid
on Special Branch offices at Castlereagh police station and the
theft of confidential documents. Republicans are blamed.

March 27: The new PSNI uniform and badge are unveiled.

April 5: The first 44 PSNI recruits graduate at a ceremony in

May 29: Hugh Orde is named as the new chief constable of the
PSNI. He takes up his position in September.

October 4: Around 200 police officers raid Sinn Fein's offices at

January 10, 2003: Chief Constable Hugh Orde says, during a speech
in America, that some of his own officers want him to fail.

January 30: Paul Leighton is named as PSNI deputy chief

February 1: UDA boss John Gregg is shot dead at the height of a
loyalist feud. Days later, supporters of Johnny Adair's notorious
'C' Company, who are blamed for the shooting, flee Northern

March 1: Hugh Orde addresses the SDLP conference, the first chief
constable to speak at a nationalist party conference.

May 1: The first District Policing Partnership meeting is held in

February 6, 2004: The investigative capabilities of the police
are criticised in a Police Ombudsman's report into the LVF murder
of GAA official Sean Brown.

February 19: The Policing Board approves Cookstown as the site
for the new PSNI college. However, there are concerns over the
finances of the plan.

February 20: The IRA is blamed for trying to abduct dissident
republican Bobby Tohill from a Belfast city centre bar.

May 19: The PSNI appoints Judith Gillespie as first female
assistant chief constable.

July 12: Twenty-five police officers are injured as serious
rioting breaks out in the Ardoyne.

September 9: The Chief Constable announces his decision to cut
the number of full-time Reserve officers by more than half. The
Police Federation passes a motion of no-confidence in him.

December 20: The PSNI launches its largest-ever investigation
after œ26.4m is stolen from the vaults of the Northern Bank HQ in
Belfast. The theft is a major blow to the PSNI's reputation.

January 7 2005: The Chief Constable blames the IRA for the
Northern Bank robbery, sparking a political crisis.

January 30: Catholic father-of-two Robert McCartney is stabbed to
death outside a Belfast city centre bar. The IRA is blamed and
the McCartney sisters begin a long battle for justice.

February 21: Hugh Orde and the Garda Commissioner, Noel Conroy,
sign an historic agreement which allows personnel exchanges and
secondments on both sides of the border.

April 2: UDA Godfather Jim Gray is arrested as part of a money-
laundering probe. The same inquiry leads to the arrest of Belfast
estate agent Philip Johnston.

July 23: The PSNI is criticised for not acting after the UVF
occupies the Garnerville housing estate in east Belfast to ensure
LVF factions do not enter the area.

August 10: Thomas Devlin (15) is stabbed to death as he walks
home from buying sweets in north Belfast.

September 10: Violence erupts throughout Ulster following the re-
routed Whiterock parade. The Chief Constable rules that both the
UDA and UVF have broken their ceasefires.

September 14: The Orange Order blames the PSNI for the Whiterock
crisis, accusing them of "third-class policing".

October 4: Deposed UDA boss Jim Gray is shot dead in east Belfast
just days after he is released from prison on bail.

November 2: Police investigating the Northern Bank robbery make
their first arrests.

November 7: More than 5,000 serving and former police officers
launch the UK's largest-ever civil case suing the Chief Constable
over trauma suffered during The Troubles.

December 8: The Stormontgate trial collapses as Denis Donaldson,
Ciaran Kearney and William Mackessy are acquitted of a total of
seven charges of possessing and collecting information useful to
terrorists - three years after PSNI raided Sinn Fein's offices at
Stormont. Donaldson is outed as a British spy within weeks and
109 days later is shot dead in Co Donegal.

January 20 2006: The Historical Enquiries Team is launched to
investigate all unsolved murders during The Troubles.

February 6: An Ulster lawyer, Johnny Sandhu, appears in court
charged with attempting to incite murder. Police bring charges
against him after secretly recording conversations he had with
clients at a police station.

March 2: Police arrest 17 loyalists, including Ihab Shoukri,
after a major offensive against the UDA in north Belfast.
Officers leave the Alexandra Bar riddled with holes after they
discharge cartridges during the raid.

March 7: The Chief Constable fails in a court bid to have Ihab
Shoukri's bail revoked.

March 9: PSNI and gardai launch a massive security force
offensive against the IRA's financial empire. The actions include
a raid on the house of former Provo chief of staff Thomas 'Slab'

April 1: The Policing Board stops consultancy work on the
Cookstown police college because of a œ40m funding shortfall.

May 5: A bench warrant is issued for the immediate arrest of four
men who admitted the kidnap of leading Republican Bobby Tohill
from a bar in Belfast city centre in February 2004 after they
failed to appear in court to be sentenced. The abduction was
linked by the Independent Monitoring Commission to the
Provisional IRA. The affair caused the withdrawal of Assembly
allowances from Sinn Fein.

May 10: Michael McIlveen, a 15-year-old Ballymena Catholic
schoolboy, dies after he is beaten in a brutal sectarian attack.

May 30: Leading loyalist Mark Haddock is shot in Newtownabbey
while in violation of his bail conditions.

August 30: All charges against Belfast estate agent Philip
Johnston are withdrawn.

September 25: The trial of Sean Hoey, the only man charged with
murder over the Omagh bomb atrocity, begins in Belfast.


Delay Fears For Sinn Fein Special Police Conference

By Noel McAdam
03 November 2006

Uncertainty over a timetable for the devolution of police and
justice powers could lead to Sinn Fein delaying its special
conference on policing, it emerged today.

As both Sinn Fein and the DUP moved towards concluding their
grassroots consultation exercises, Secretary of State Peter Hain
again insisted he will pull the plug on the present Assembly
unless First and Deputy First Ministers are nominated by November

The London and Dublin governments appear less nervous, however,
about the next post-St Andrews' deadline of next Friday, November
10, when all the parties are required to formally sign up to the
Agreement reached in Scotland, and its timetable.

Mr Hain is also facing a decision, however, on whether to attempt
to summon a meeting of the Programme for Government Committee,
which he cancelled 10 days ago after DUP leader Ian Paisley
threatened to boycott it.

That was over the issue of the Ministerial pledge of office,
which the DUP insist both the First and Deputy First Ministers
must take even before they can be appointed in nominated form.

Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness, who with Gerry Adams met Taoiseach
Bertie Ahern yesterday, said: "Our concern is that while the DUP
fight out their little sham fight (over the pledge) the timeframe
set out by the two governments is slipping and it cannot be
allowed to slip."

Mr Paisley warned, however, that Sinn Fein would have to bear the
brunt of blame if the Governments' deadlines prove unrealistic
for failing to move sooner on the policing issue.

The ard fheis, which will reach a verdict on dropping mainstream
republicans' historic opposition to policing in Northern Ireland,
may not happen, however, until the New Year.

Sinn Fein wants to examine in detail legislation underpinning the
devolution of justice and policing, which is due to be published
around November 16, and then ensure it is enacted.

The party is particularly wary given the experience when, in its
view, former Secretary of State Peter Mandelson thwarted and
watered down the initial Patten proposals on policing six years

Mr Adams will receive a report next week on party opinion on the
ground following around 60 meetings conducted by Newry and Armagh
MP Conor Murphy, MEP Mary Lou McDonald and Kerry North TD Martin

Mr Ahern, meanwhile, said there were now lengthy meetings taking
place at Ministerial and officials level every day.


'Unveil Any Side Deals To Ensure The Public's Confidence'

By Noel McAdam
03 November 2006

The SDLP has demanded the Government disclose any side deals with
the parties at the St Andrews talks.

And it warned that the uncertainty over issues like the future of
academic selection - which the DUP has insisted has been saved -
should not be politicised.

MP Eddie McGrady said he was disappointed Prime Minister Tony
Blair had failed to clarify the position on academic selection
and even the best deal could be threatened by side deals.

"It is vital at this stage in the St Andrews Deal process that
all side deals be unveiled in an effort to secure political and
public confidence in the process, and that the public are made
aware of exactly what the changes to their lives and community
may be," he said.

Ulster Unionists, meanwhile, claimed to have detected a 'No' camp
emerging within the DUP.

But former Executive Minister Michael McGimpsey added: "I have no
doubt too, that Sinn Fein can deliver on their side of the
bargain and I think we are about to see something that none of us
actually anticipated happening - a DUP-Sinn Fein government
through the Paisley-Adams deal."


Tories Brand Ulster Œ50bn Cash Package Smoke And Mirrors

By David Gordon
03 November 2006

The Conservative Party is challenging Chancellor Gordon Brown to
spell out just how much new money is contained in his œ50bn
"package" for Ulster.

The Tories also branded Mr Brown's announcement on Wednesday as
"mainly smoke and mirrors" and alleged that he does not have the
cash to fund a new investment drive here.

Conservative spokesman on Northern Ireland David Lidington MP
said: "I have now tabled written questions to Gordon Brown,
asking him to set out in which respects his announcement differs
from public expenditure announcements already made by Ministers
about Northern Ireland.

"He has also been asked to state explicitly whether his figures
include expected revenue from rates and water charges. I suspect
they do."

Mr Lidington added: "It's becoming increasingly clear that this
is mainly smoke and mirrors.

"We've learned with Gordon Brown that you always need to inspect
the small print very carefully and never take his offers at face

"I'm afraid the reality is that he has mismanaged the public
finances so badly that there is very little in the Treasury's

"It really is the proverbial crock of gold at the end of the
rainbow and nobody's yet managed to get there.

"As far as our shadow Treasury team can tell, Brown has simply
not got money to spend on Northern Ireland or anything else.

Mr Lidington added: "He's deeply in the red."


DUP Questions 'Unrealistic' Deadline Date

DUP warnings that the St Andrews timescale is not going to be met
were last night vexing London and Dublin.

MPs Nigel Dodds and Gregory Campbell have both publicly
questioned the March 26 deadline for devolution, when Sinn Fein
has not moved at all on calling meetings to change its policy on

Their party leader Ian Paisley said: "The message cannot be
clearer - no upfront delivery (on policing and other issues)
means no deal."

The DUP has repeatedly said it will need time to judge
republicans on any commitment to the PSNI and justice system.

The period of time for this was
always going to be short, and is
getting shorter - three weeks after the Scottish talks.

Mr Dodds said it was now "totally unrealistic" to expect
unionists to meet their end of the St Andrews Agreement.

"Its clear that Sinn Fein aren't even prepared to make the first
minimum move that needs to be done on policing and remember, we
still have an IMC report that has to deal with the whole issue of
terrorist structures, the Army Council..." he said.

"So what we will do is judge everything by the delivery and
actions of the IRA and Sinn Fein and that will be the crucial
issue, not any date set on the calendar by the

But Secretary of State Peter Hain warned that the timetable must
be met.

The public, he claimed, was "tired of this" waiting for MLAs to
do their jobs properly.

If the political parties cannot say yes to the St Andrews deal -
with its March 26 deadline for devolution - he said he will close
the Assembly and withdraw politicians salaries.

"We will close the place down if they do not want to do this," he

In Dublin, after talks with Irish Premier Bertie Ahern, Sinn Fein
President Gerry Adams was saying the time-frame must not be
allowed to slip.

Part one is a yes or no to the deal from the parties by next
Friday, November 10.

Part two, the swearing in of the First Minister Ian Paisley and
Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness on November 24.

A Sinn Fein Ard Fheis (special conference) to vote on policing is
not in the timetable, but it had been
envisaged as coming soon and the meeting of Ard Comhairle (party
executive) which calls the Ard Fheis is listed in the Agreement
as a priority.

Mr Adams gave no hint of these meetings being soon.

He also reminded people that the swearing of the Oath of the
First Minister and Deputy First Minister is currently deadlocked
on what commitment to policing will be in it.

He said: "Our concern is that the time-frame set by the two
governments have been slipping. They should not be allowed to

"The governments have to stick by their own agreement. There has
been a setback and the setback is that the time-frame has already

But Mr Paisley questioned why the Secretary of State was blaming
everyone "for the delay of one

party in accepting the necessity to support the police, the
courts and the rule of law".

He also indicated that overwhelming numbers of unionists across
the Province are backing the DUP talks strategy.

"Mr Hain knows that it is Sinn Fein/IRA that now needs to fulfil
its obligations and to fully support the police, the courts and
the rule of law," said the DUP leader.

"No other party refuses to support the rule of law in Northern
Ireland and the Secretary of State and the Prime Minister have a
Special responsibility to hold firm and
ensure that Sinn Fein deliver."

The DUP will hold firm on
demanding support for the police and clear evidence of this
support in deeds, as well as words, he added.

"Both the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State need to
concentrate their efforts on Sinn Fein," he continued, or else
there may be no deal.

03 November 2006


Claudy Report Could Embarrass Church - Claims Source

AN EAGERLY-awaited report into claims that there was a high-level
cover-up of a Catholic priest's alleged involvement in the 1972
Claudy bombings will be published later this month, it's been

Police Ombudsman Nuala O'Loan's report will come four years after
the PSNI revealed that re-discovered documents revealed details
of talks over a Co. Derry priest's alleged involvement in the
Claudy atrocity in which nine people died.

While he was never questioned about the bombings, Fr. James
Chesney was transferred from a south Derry parish to Donegal -
where he died in 1980 - after the case was reportedly discussed
privately by the-then Secretary of State William Whitelaw and the
late Catholic Primate, Cardinal William Conway.

The Ombudsman's office this week confirmed that its report will
be released this month.

"The finishing touches are being put to this report," said a
spokesman. "It will be released on a date in November but the
process is still ongoing and we cannot comment further."

However, sources have indicated that the document may include
details that "could cause embarrassment" for the Catholic Church,
British government and police.

"Basically, the report will confirm a lot of what (PSNI Assistant
Chief Constable] Sam Kincaid said in his announcement a few years
ago," said a source.

A police review was triggered when an anonymous letter -
allegedly written by a priest but which has never been
authenticated - materialised. Following this, the Ombudsman began
preparing a report.

In December 2002, PSNI ACC Sam Kinkaid informed relatives of the
nine people killed of the concerns expressed over the priest's
alleged involvement.

He said material from 1972 indicated that an unnamed priest -
identified elsewhere as Fr. Chesney - "was a member of the
Provisional IRA and was actively involved in terrorism".

He said RUC intelligence linked him to the Claudy bombs and that
records showed he provided an alibi for a person suspected of
playing a prominent role in the no-warning blasts.

'Spirited away'

"There was talk at the time of (the priest) being 'spirited away'
and that issue will be clarified."

Billy Eakin, father of the youngest victim of the bombings, nine-
year-old Kathryn, said he is looking forward to reading the

"I hope this will shed some light on what happened. I look
forward very much to reading it," he said.

Earlier this week, the 'Journal' revealed that Father Chesney
told a former IRA Chief of Staff that he had no involvement in
the Claudy outrage.

Ruari O'Bradaigh, president of Republican Sinn Fein, said the
priest told him in the late 1970s that he had "nothing whatever
to do with the bombings".

03 November 2006


Explosives Found On Mount Leinster As Investigation Continues
Leighlin Men Charged With Membership Of The IRA

Two Leighlinbridge men, believed to be members of the Real IRA,
were arrested in Carlow last week following a lengthy garda
investigation into their activities.

Mark Doran (26), Barrowlough, and Patrick Dermody (20), New
Street, were arrested and questioned in Carlow last Thursday
before being brought before a special sitting of Dublin Central
Criminal Court on Saturday. They were remanded in custody and are
due to appear in court again tomorrow (Wednesday).

They were charged with membership of an unlawful organisation
styling itself on the IRA/ Oglaigh na hEireann.

The arrests were made following a garda investigation involving
Carlow gardai and members of a special detective unit in Dublin
into dissident republican movements in the locality.

Meanwhile, as part of an ongoing investigation into dissident
activities, members of the Army Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD)
carried out a controlled explosion on a device at Kilbranish,
close to Mount Leinster, on Saturday morning.

The device consisted of a gas cylinder packed with powdered
explosives from shotgun pellets mixed with petrol, and Gardai
believe it was destined for use in Northern Ireland in the near

A premises in Newtown, Bagenalstown, was also technically
examined after evidence of explosives were found during a
separate search. A garda spokesperson said items were removed
from the house for technical examination.


Stone: I Planned To Kill Mayor

Notorious Ulster hitman plotted Ken Livingstone hit in the 1980s

By Mark Hookham
03 November 2006

Notorious hit-man Michael Stone has revealed that he planned to
kill Ken Livingstone because he was being blackmailed by another

Stone has told how he came within three days of murdering Ken

The Milltown murderer has said how he planned to carry out the
assassination when Livingstone was Greater London Council leader
in the 1980s.

Stone planned to kill Livingston, now Mayor of London, by
shooting him as he entered the Tube.

In an interview with London's Evening Standard he said he has
gone public about the assassination plan because a former
loyalist colleague had tried to extort œ30,000 from him in
exchange for keeping silent about it.

Stone is reported to have said: "If the police want to charge me,
they can go ahead. But I won't be blackmailed and I won't be sold
by someone who has betrayed the cause I fought for."

He told the paper: "One of my biggest regrets is that I had to
call it off."

Ken Livingstone sparked outrage in 1982 for inviting republican
leaders Gerry Adams and Danny Morrison to County Hall.

Loyalists placed him on a hitlist and contracted Stone, then 29,
to carry out the killing.

Stone told how he was introduced to a Scottish loyalist who
arranged for him to work as a bar manager in a hotel in
Scarborough, Yorkshire.

He was given an intelligence dossier to study, which revealed
Livingstone used the Underground and walked short journeys. He
said: "The guy was a gift. On my first reconnaissance trip I
ended up following him to the Tube.

"There was no sign of security at all. He was on his own, with a
kind of attach‚ case slung over his shoulder.

"I thought that's how I would do it. I'd clip him on the steps of
the Tube."

During a second dry run he dressed as a jogger and came within
yards of his target.

He told the Standard: "I decided I would run up behind him when
he was on the step going down, fire one shot into the back of his
head, then a double-tap to his torso - to make sure.

"He'd go down head first and I'd turn around and jog out of the
station, towards Embankment, and drop the gun into the river."

Stone said he called off the planned assassination after
believing he had been compromised.

"I was within three days of doing it but the whole thing was
suddenly very iffy. From what I learnt later, if I had gone
ahead, I would probably have been ambushed by Special Branch."

Stone, now 51, said the Beretta may still be where he hid it -
behind the brickwork of the cellar in the Scarborough Hotel.

He claims he was questioned three weeks ago about the Livingstone
plot during two days of interviews by PSNI detectives in Antrim.


Education Of Kids 'Is Important To UVF Leadership'

Last month, the Belfast Telegraph revealed the devastating impact
of the loyalist conflict on the lives of schoolchildren in the
Shankill. Today, former loyalist inmate Tom Roberts from ex-
prisoners' organisation EPIC explains the UVF's view to Education
Correspondent Kathryn Torney

03 November 2006

Happy children in Halloween costumes streamed past me as I
arrived at our meeting place in the Shankill.

Their laugher and smiles were a stark contrast to the subject
matter of my interview - the horrendous impact of the loyalist
feud on children in the area. Tom Roberts is the director of an
an ex-prisoners' organisation which represents the interests of
former UVF prisoners. He served 13 years of a life sentence for
murder and his views would broadly reflect those of the UVF

During the high profile UDA-UVF dispute in the Shankill area of
Belfast in 2000, children were forced out of their homes at
gunpoint, others witnessed shootings and many had to adjust to
the reality that close neighbours for years had become their
family's enemy. Many young people were seriously emotionally
damaged by the bitter internal conflict within their community
and some of primary school age even considered suicide.

"During the feud in 2000 things just took on a life of their own.
It is not surpising that there was an emotional impact on
children," Mr Roberts said.

"Certainly the people that would have been involved in it showed
a great determination afterwards that that sort of situation
would never arise again.

"The formation of the Loyalist Commission did get people talking
together and makes the likelihood of future trouble between the
organisations more remote.

"And it would be my understanding that the UVF, in the process of
their own transition, will be endeavouring to return these
communities to normality. Schools should be a completely neutral

Mr Roberts said that he was shocked by the low level of
educational attainment in the Shankill.

"I find it frightening that people can go through their whole
school life and come out with very little in terms of education
achievement and even life skills. There is an extreme gulf in

"You cannot tell me that babies born in the Shankill do not have
an intellect. The environment they live in plays an important

"What we need is a collective approach involving all of the
statutory agencies and we also need to realise that many of the
problems can be two generations or more deep.

"I believe that the UVF at leadership level would be keen to help
in whatever way they can to enhance the education system in these
areas - even if it is just by creating a favourable atmosphere in
the schools."

The father-of-two also warned that a lack of options for young
people increased the risk of them getting involved in

I asked what he thought of one pupil at Edenbrooke Primary in the
Shankill saying that he wanted to be an ex-prisoner when he grew

"I think it is very sad that anyone should aspire to be an ex-
prisoner," Mr Roberts said, "I certainly wish I wasn't one.

"We do community intervention work to try and dispel the
romanticism children may have about violent conflict,
andencourage them to deal with any conflict in a non-violent way.

"You always want your children to have a better life than you
have and I do not think that paramilitary people are any

Can he give any assurance to parents and schools in the area that
the situation would never again be as bad as it was during the

"No one can give cast iron guarantees, but the fragmentation
within loyalism was cultivated and allowed to happen.

"We are 12 years into ceasefires and hopefully the spectre of
paramilitarism is receding all the time.

"I think if a lot more leadership was shown at political level,
it would perhaps set a better example to these communities about
how people can work together, albeit retaining their cultural

His hopes for the future include a fully functional Northern
Ireland Assembly.

"I would like people to be able to assume whatever identity they
wish, to work towards any political objective they have in a
peaceful fashion and for all paramilitarism to be consigned to
the history books.

"However, I think people in Northern Ireland have lost sight of
what constitutes a normal society. They are aspiring to some
utopia that does not exist. All western democracies are plagued
with some of the problems we have in relation to criminality."

The UUP's David McNarry, the Loyalist Commission member who
facilitated the interview, said: "We have the opportunity now to
so something for today's primary school children that was not
afforded to their parents or grandparents.

"I am pleased that what Tom said was further endorsement of the
situation coming closer where the paramilitaries will not be a
role model for young children."


Opin: Ulster Parties Must Not Be Sold Short

03 November 2006

Despite the best efforts of Gordon Brown and Peter Hain, the
Government has been unable to pull the wool over the eyes of a
justifiably suspicious Northern Ireland public. The much
trumpeted economic package unveiled in Downing Street turns out,
as so often with New Labour, to rely more on spin than substance.

As the numbers are crunched, the burning question is how much of
the œ50bn, 10-year package would be additional to funding already
committed to Northern Ireland. So far, the estimates range from
œ1bn to œ2.5bn over four years.

The largest chunk of the œ50bn is the sum of œ35bn which the
Government says represents an enhanced annual subvention rising
to œ9.2bn by 2010. But Mr Hain himself had already pledged that
spending would be increased from its current level of œ8bn to
œ9bn by that time.

Likewise, the Government had previously made a commitment to
allocate œ16bn to much-needed infrastructure upgrades over the
next 10 years. Now the Treasury has announced this is to be
"updated" and the proposed capital spend now stands at œ18bn over
12 years, and of course, many of the projects are likely to be
funded under the private finance initiative.

Still to be costed are Mr Brown's promises of support for science
and innovation, and to simplify R&D tax credit rules, but such
incentives will not transform the province's economy.

Mr Brown and Mr Hain have done their best to sell this package,
but have let themselves down by trying to over-egg the deal. All
people wanted to hear was the extent of the net gain.

As more details of the Chancellor's announcement are awaited, the
business community is right to react initially with some
disappointment. But the hope must be that this is just the
Treasury's opening offer in a negotiating process.

At this defining moment in the province's history, the parties
must not be sold short on the economic package. In particular, a
major effort is needed to secure meaningful fiscal incentives.

As this newspaper has argued, the single most effective measure
would be a cut in corporation tax. The Chancellor has warned of
difficulties, but it is significant that the issue is still on
the table.

While the money on offer so far falls short of expectations, it
still represents a significant sum. But the parties should press
for a better rounded and more generous package. Once the fine
print has been studied, and the questions answered, they must
again knock on the Treasury's door.

A step change is needed if the Northern Ireland economy is to
move from one which is public sector dominated to one which is
private sector led. But without key incentives such as a cut in
corporation tax, it is unlikely to pass the test of
sustainability which Mr Hain himself has set.


Friday, November 03, 2006

Blog: Bertie, A Part-Time Republican?

Yesterday Taoiseach Bertie Ahern met with Sinn Fein's Gerry Adams
and Martin McGuinness to discuss the current state of progress in
meeting the November 24th deadline for agreement on the
restoration of devolved Government in Northern Ireland.

The visit included a photo opportunity in the Taoiseach's office,
with a black and white portrait of Padraic Pearse hanging on the
wall behind the Taoiseach's desk.

However, on RTE News last night, the camera angle revealed a
small framed landscape painting resting against the wall,
directly behind the Taoiseach's swivel chair. The implication was
obvious - the Pearse portrait was a temporary installation for
the benefit of the cameras and, perhaps, the Sinn Fein
delegation. The landscape would be back in place after the

There's not much you could teach Bertie about spin!

# posted by mollox @ 4:33 AM


Fish Stocks May Be Wiped Out Within 50 Years

03 November 2006 11:05

An international team of scientists has warned that fish stocks
may be wiped out within 50 years if present levels of overfishing

Writing in the American journal, Science, the researchers say
they have carried out the most comprehensive analysis yet of the
human impact on declining marine life.

They have also warned of serious knock-on consequences for water
quality and shoreline environments.

They have called for steps to be taken to safeguard stocks by
protecting some sea areas.

The group says that stocks have collapsed in almost one third of
the world's fisheries and the rate of decline is accelerating.

The head of the study Canadian Professor, Boris Worm, said
despite the gloomy prediction it is not too late to reverse the


Arizona Voters Turn Against Republicans' Hard Line On Migrants

By Andrew Gumbel
03 November 2006

Randy Graf thought 2006 would be his big year to run for
Congress. As a conservative Republican from southern Arizona, his
biggest issue was immigration, and his attitude was unbendingly
tough: mili-tarising the border, rounding up and deporting
illegal immigrants and slapping fines on employers who hired
workers without proper work-permit documents.

He had reason to think the mood of his electorate, and the
country as a whole, was swinging his way. Since 11 September 2001
Republican politicians have done very well on "scare" issues such
as terrorism and border security. Immigration was topic A in
Washington for much of the first part of this year, and a bill
even passed the House of Representatives calling for the
criminalisation of the 11 to 12 million undocumented immigrants
estimated to be working in the country.

But Mr Graf was wrong. The Republicans have lost their magic
touch with the electorate over the past year; the scare tactics
do not appear to working any more and public attitudes on
immigration have matured, to the point where hardline attitudes
like those of Mr Graf are, if anything, an embarrassment.

And so the Republicans look set to lose a seat in Arizona's
eighth congressional district - covering roughly half of the city
of Tucson and the borderlands to the south and east - after
holding it for the past 22 years.

Few races in next week's midterm elections illustrate better why
the Republicans appear to be losing their grip on power after 12
years of dominance on Capitol Hill. A party that was once
brimming with confidence and rigorous in controlling its message
is now divided, demoralised and hamstrung by the very radicalism
that has driven its past successes.

The eighth district's outgoing congressman, the moderate Jim
Kolbe, has refused to endorse Mr Graf. The entire party
establishment, in fact, worked to defeat him in the September
party primary. When that did not work, the national party pulled
all its funding.

Mr Graf did not help his cause by failing to distance himself
from supportive white supremacist groups such as the Ku Klux
Klan. He also embraced a state legislator from the Phoenix area,
Russell Pearce, who caused a public furore by proposing a return
to Operation Wetback, an Eisenhower-era deportation policy, and
sent out campaign literature from the neo-Nazi National Alliance.
Mr Graf said in a candidates' debate earlier this month that Mr
Pearce was "a very good friend of mine" with whom he agreed

While other Republican candidates in swing districts are
receiving visits from popular national figures such as John
McCain, the Arizona senator and presidential aspirant, or Laura
Bush, the First Lady, Mr Graf has had to do with Dennis Hastert,
the uncharismatic Speaker of the House, who is embroiled in the
scandal over the disgraced Florida congressman Mark Foley.

All this has been music to the ears of Gabrielle Giffords, a
Democrat so centrist she used to be a Republican. Ms Giffords,
who comes, like Mr Graf, from the state legislature, supports a
comprehensive solution to stem the tide of Mexicans risking
dehydration and death to cross the desert border. Like President
George Bush - who has angered many of the party faithful with his
moderate stance on immigration - she wants to secure the border
better, but she also wants to institute a formal work-permit
programme and lay out a path to citizenship for long-term US

According to Earl de Berge, Arizona's leading public opinion
researcher, that is almost exactly where mainstream voters stand
too. A poll he conducted in May showed that seven out of 10
Arizonans want immigrants to have a legal path to enter the
country. Barely 4 per cent agree with the contention, touted by
hardliners such as Mr Graf, that the immigrant wave from Mexico
poses a terrorist threat. "The public is maturing on this issue.
It's a very different atmosphere from even two years ago," Mr De
Berge said. "Some Republicans have tried to use fear of illegal
immigrants as a way of deflecting attention from the Iraq war.
It's just not working."

With the polls giving her a 12 to 15-point lead, Ms Giffords has
spent the week basking in some high-profile attention. On
Wednesday, she was embraced by Janet Napolitano, Arizona's
Democratic Governor, at a meeting of Tucson's cultural and
political elite. Yesterday, she was sharing a stage with Bill

Mr Graf, meanwhile, is struggling to find anyone still willing to
listen to him. On Wednesday, he had a tooth pulled - a portent of
where his campaign is going, perhaps - then addressed a community
service group whose entire membership barely reaches 30. Wearing
a tie emblazoned with the original Declaration of Independence,
Mr Graf poked less than charitable fun at Al Gore and pooh-poohed
global warming as a "cyclical" phenomenon that was no cause for
concern for anybody.

He tried to recast his immigration stance as a by-product of his
fiscal conservatism - in other words, worrying that the tide of
immigrants was sapping state education and health-care funds. But
it is almost certainly too late for him to start tapping into his
inner moderate.


High Praise For Step Dancers

Recording star Andy Cooney has added a new magic touch to his
"Classic Irish Christmas" show this year--the Niall O'Leary Irish
Dance Troupe of Irish step dancers. And from advance reports on
their skills in the New York TIMES this week, their performance
should bring down the house on Friday evening, Dec. 1 at St.
Anne's McCloskey Auditorium, Dartmouth St. and New Hyde Park
Road, Garden City.

Already loaded with talent, the show co-stars Cooney, Noel
Ginnity, "Ireland's Funniest Man," a quartet of "Ireland's Finest
Musicians" plus Musical Director, Ken San Filippo.

Sponsored by "Msgr. John's Knights" to help fund its high school
scholarships and other Knights charitable efforts, it attracted a
sell-out crowd of over 750 in 2005 and strong early ticket sales
forecast a repeat this year, Concert Chairman "Jay" Lynch
reports. Tickets are $25 each and may be ordered by phone: 516-

The youthful step-dancers from the Niall O'Leary Irish Dance
Troupe are from all parts of the world but now live in New York
City. Director Niall O'Leary is a former All-Ireland and World
Champion step dancer from Dublin, Ireland and a skilled
choreographer. The troupe has a history of competing in Irish
step-dancing festivals and in 2001 and 2002 toured America with
the famed "Three Irish Tenors."

The TIMES, which had christened Andy Cooney "Irish America's
Favorite Son,"ran a feature story on page one of its Arts Section
on Tuesday, October 31 reporting on the dancers stellar
performance at "Summer in the Square" held annually in New york
City's Union Square.

The review noted "A quick look suggests that step-dancers pop up
and down, arms rigidly at their sides, feet flying. But there is
surprising variety in the Irish folk style particularly in the
use of the legs and feet, which are as lusciously ornamental as
in any ballet and often also provide the momentum for sudden
shifts in direction." The reviewer hailed the "intriguing style
and intimacy of the dance forms and the irresistibly lilting
music to which they were set.."

This year's show is dedicated to the late Msgr. William F.
Costello who passed away suddenly on July 18 while on vacation.
He served 54 years in the clergy on Long Island. His first
assignment was at St. Joseph's Church in Garden City and his last
eight years in "active" retirement at St. Anne's, here. He was
renowned for his cheerful demeanor and keen sense of Irish wit
and humor.

To order tickets, at $25 each, to Andy Cooney's "Classic Irish
Christmas," please call 516-352-2457.


Development Of Largest Retail Park In State Announced

The development of the largest retail park in the history of the
State was announced today.

The 20,000 square metre park in Tyrrelstown will cost around ?200
million to develop, according to the Dublin-based firm Twinlite

The company is the lead developer at Tyrrelstown in north west
Dublin - the State's first mixed-type, planned town development
with over 2,000 homes and extensive retail space.

Other firms involved in the development include Merville Homes,
McInerneys and Krannock Builders.

Situated north of Mulhuddart, Tyrrelstown is eight miles from
central Dublin located south of Hollystown Golf Course and set
between the N2 and N3.

The site has been under development since 2001. A 10,000 square
metre retail space in the town centre opened for business earlier
this year, the second phase of a major housing development was
launched in the summer and a 4-star hotel opened last month.

Twinlite describes the entire development as "a village style

Company director Rick Larkin today said: "The [retail] park
represents a serious investment in Tyrrelstown on our part and
will greatly enhance the area for local residents in addition to
creating significant employment opportunities for the 4,000
people living in the locality."

The new scheme will consist of retail warehousing and six large
motor showrooms. Building is due to commence at the same time as
the construction of the new N2 - N3 link road which is planned
for completion in early 2008, the company says.

Planning permissions has yet to be applied for but major
difficulties are not expected.

A similar scheme at Adamstown near Lucan in west Dublin is under
construction and Minister for the Environment Dick Roche last
month announced another scheme at Balgaddy/Clonburris to the
south west of the city.

c The Irish Times/

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