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November 12, 2006

RUC Officer Implicated in Loyalist Collusion

News About Ireland & The Irish

SB 11/12/06 RUC Officer Implicated In Loyalist Collusion
SF 11/11/06 Govts Need To Deliver On St. Andrews Timetable
TO 11/11/06 Plan To Let Hain Choose Leader
BN 11/12/06 Delay Over Policing May Derail Devolution
SL 11/12/06 Hain Pressed Over IRA Sanctions
SL 11/12/06 LVF 'Caretaker' Denies Estate Feud Situation
SL 11/12/06 Riot Squad Officers Eject Shoukri & Boreland
SL 11/12/06 Violence Fears As New Boss Boots Out Old Guard
SL 11/12/06 Blazers Replace Balaclavas At Services
SL 11/12/06 CIRA 'Won't Lift Death Threats'
BN 11/12/06 Archbishop Calls For Patience In Northern Talks
SL 11/12/06 OAP Suffers Broken Leg After Thug Attack
II 11/12/06 Bertie Rules Out SF Role
SL 11/12/06 Op/Ed: McCartney: DUP Has Caved In To Blackmail
TO 11/12/06 Opin:DUP & SF - Lose Support To Win Peace
BB 11/12/06 Opin: Yeah But No But... What Next?
SL 11/12/06 Opin: Straight Talking: Decent People
HD 11/12/06 Belfast: The `Troubles' Tour
BG 11/12/06 An Untroubled Derry Tries Stirring Up Tourism
BN 11/12/06 Woman Rescued After Falling From Cliffs Of Moher
SL 11/12/06 Concern At Cops Gear Up For Sale
TU 11/12/06 'Irish Christmas' At The Egg On Dec. 12
NT 11/12/06 Conversion To Islam; Man Closer To Irish Roots
MT 11/12/06 AIRE Presents Premiere Of A Christmas In Kerry


RUC Officer Implicated In Loyalist Collusion

12 November 2006 By Colm Heatley

An RUC whistleblower says he is prepared to give
sensational evidence to the Smithwick Tribunal that
implicates RUC chief superintendent Harry Breen, the
highest-ranking member of the RUC to be killed in the
Troubles, in loyalist paramilitary activity.

An RUC whistleblower says he is prepared to give
sensational evidence to the Smithwick Tribunal that
implicates RUC chief superintendent Harry Breen, the
highest-ranking member of the RUC to be killed in the
Troubles, in loyalist paramilitary activity.

John Weir, the whistleblower, served in the RUC from 1970
to 1980 before being convicted of the 1977 killing of a
Catholic shopkeeper in Ahoghill, Co Antrim. He claims that
Breen had been aware of RUC members being involved with
loyalist paramilitaries since the early 1970s.

Breen and his RUC colleague, Bob Buchanan, were shot dead
in an IRA ambush in south Armagh on March 20, 1989, after
attending a meeting at Dundalk garda station.

The Smithwick Tribunal is investigating whether the IRA
received a tip-off from someone in the Garda Siochana.

Weir, who now lives in Nigeria, told The Sunday Business
Post last week that Breen was present when meetings with
loyalist paramilitaries took place and that collusion with
loyalists was ‘‘laughed and joked about’’.

‘‘Breen had connections with loyalism when I knew him,”
said Weir. ‘‘Breen knew of his cops running around with
loyalists. He took no action.

‘‘He was there when submachine guns were handed over to
loyalists - it was the done thing at the time. He was only
one of many, many people who knew about it.”

The loyalist gang of which Weir was a member - and which,
he says, Breen approved of - is believed to be responsible
for the Dublin and Monaghan bombings, as well as a string
of other murders north of the border, including the 1975
Miami Showband massacre.

If Weir’s claims are true, it points to further evidence of
British state collusion in the worst single atrocity of the

An independent panel of international jurors last week
found ‘‘strong and credible’’ evidence of RUC and British
Army collusion in 24 out of 25 murder cases it
investigated, involving the deaths of 76 people.

Weir claims that Brian Fitzsimmons, who was head of the
Special Branch in the early 1970s and was based in Newry,
Co Down, was aware of the extent of RUC collusion but did
nothing to curb it.

Fitzsimmons was killed in the 1994 Chinook helicopter crash
off the Mull of Kintyre, which also claimed the lives of 24
other senior British security figures.

Weir denied media reports in recent weeks which stated that
he had been questioned by Paddy McEntee SC, one of the
country’s leading criminal barristers, as part of his
investigation into the Garda’s handling of the Dublin and
Monaghan bombings.

It is understood that McEntee declined to interview Weir in
Ireland earlier this year, because it was felt that Weir’s
evidence was outside the remit of his investigation.


Governments Need To Deliver On St. Andrews Timetable

Published: 11 November, 2006

Sinn Féin MP for Newry and Armagh Conor Murphy today
demanded that the two governments act decisively and bring
an end to the time wasting and delays which have dogged the
process since St. Andrews. He called on them to convene a
meeting of the Programme for Government Committee.

Mr Murphy said:

"If the two governments intend to move forward then they
need to act decisively and bring an end to the time wasting
which has dogged the process since St. Andrews.

"They need to play their role. If the governments are
serious about fulfilling the timetable they have set
themselves then they need call together a meeting of the
Programme for Government Committee. The real work needs to

"They need to make it crystal clear that the Assembly is
going to be brought together on November 24th for the
purpose of electing the First and Deputy First Ministers.
The St. Andrews document laid out a series of deadlines to

be met on the road to full restoration on March 26th and it
is now time for the governments to start delivering on
these." ENDS


Plan To Let Hain Choose Leader

THE British and Irish governments are preparing to fudge
the November 24 deadline for the nomination of first and
deputy first ministers to the Northern Ireland assembly.

They are considering a plan to allow Peter Hain, the
Northern Ireland secretary, to choose the ministers. This
would require Sinn Fein and the Democratic Unionists to
agree by letter to accept the nominations at some future
date, if their conditions are met.

The situation should be clarified in a bill to be published
on Thursday. It will also specify whether the St Andrews
agreement will be put to the people in an election or
referendum next March.

“We expect it to be an election,” said Jeffrey Donaldson, a
member of the DUP’s negotiating team.

The St Andrews agreement specifies only that there be an
“endorsement by the electorate”.

The SDLP and the Ulster Unionists favour a referendum, as
does the Irish government, but the DUP and Sinn Fein prefer
an election and that is likely to prove the deciding

The DUP stood on a platform of not sharing power with Sinn
Fein at the last election and needs to put any new policy
to the electorate.

Sinn Fein has a similar problem with the issue of policing.
Both parties also feel that they would make electoral gains
at the expense of the UUP and SDLP.


Delay Over Policing May Derail Devolution

12/11/2006 - 10:53:30

A Sinn Féin conference on policing in the New Year will
have a knock-on effect for delays in Bertie Ahern and Tony
Blair's timetable for power-sharing in Northern Ireland,
they were warned today.

Following suggestions that Sinn Féin may not be in a
position to hold a special conference to consider changes
to its policing policy until next January, Democratic
Unionist Policing Board member Arlene Foster claimed that
could result in slippages in some of the deadlines set by
the two leaders.

"My party was quite clear in the statement issued after our
executive meeting on Thursday night that Sinn Féin have to
meet its requirements on support for the Police Service of
Northern Ireland, the courts and upholding the rule of
law," the Fermanagh and South Tyrone Assembly member told

"If Sinn Féin, as some reports suggest, cannot call a
special conference on policing in January, then that will
obviously have consequences for the timetable set out by
the two governments."

On Friday Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain and Foreign
Minister Dermot Ahern announced they would press ahead with
the timetable for power-sharing set out last month after
three days of negotiations with the Northern Ireland
parties at St Andrews in Scotland.

The first key date in the timetable will be November 28,
when Democratic Unionist leader the Reverend Ian Paisley
and Sinn Féin's chief negotiator Martin McGuinness are due
to be appointed in the Assembly as Shadow First and Deputy
First Ministers.

However fears have been mounting in British and Irish
government circles that that deadline could slip because of
DUP concerns about Sinn Féin's inability to call a special
party conference on policing.

The DUP insists Sinn Féin must join with other Northern
Ireland Assembly parties in publicly endorsing the Police
Service of Northern Ireland before it can be considered a
credible partner in a power-sharing government.

Sinn Féin, which has refused to endorse the PSNI and
encourage its supporters to report crimes to it, would need
its leader Gerry Adams to convene a special conference
through his national executive to change its policing

Mr Adams, however, and other senior Sinn Féin leadership
figures have since St Andrews negotiations claimed they are
not yet in a position to be able to call a special

In recent days Mr Adams and Mr McGuinness have said that
there are a number of issues on policing which still need
to be resolved.

These include securing agreement from the DUP on the date
for the transfer of policing and justice powers from
Westminster to Stormont and on the type of departmental
model which will exercise those powers.

Sinn Féin has been alarmed by suggestions from the DUP's
North Belfast MP Nigel Dodds that the transfer of powers
may not be achieved for a political lifetime.

Martin McGuinness, in particular, has argued the devolution
of policing and justice powers is essential if young
republicans are to be convinced that a new policing culture
has taken hold, free from political bias.

Opponents of Sinn Féin dispute the party's claim that there
is political bias.

Arlene Foster noted the two Prime Ministers had insisted
the St Andrews plan for reviving devolution was based on
two pillars - the DUP's willingness to share power and Sinn
Féin's willingness to sign up to policing.

"If Sinn Féin cannot yet support the police, the courts and
the rule of law, then it would seem to me that one of the
twin pillars is missing," she said.

"You therefore cannot have one pillar without the other."


Hain Pressed Over IRA Sanctions

By Alan Murray
12 November 2006

The Government will be pressed to agree a range of
sanctions on Sinn Fein if it or the IRA breaches
undertakings to abide by exclusively peaceful and
democratic means in a new Assembly.

DUP deputy leader Peter Robinson will outline the proposed
sanctions at a meeting with Secretary of State Peter Hain
on Wednesday.

Mr Robinson declined yesterday to spell out his party's
proposals - or indicate how many sanctions he will present
to Mr Hain for consideration.

But DUP sources say a number of measures have been
identified which would ensure that unionists "wouldn't
suffer" if republicans defaulted on their undertakings.

Said one senior party source: "We want to make sure that,
if Sinn Fein doesn't adhere to the ministerial pledges, or
if the IRA is detected engaging in paramilitary or criminal
activity, then Sinn Fein alone will suffer - nobody else.

"If we do enter Government with Sinn Fein after specific
undertakings have been given, and the IRA or Sinn Fein
messes about, we want to ensure that, unlike the collapse
of the previous Executive and Assembly, everyone doesn't

"We want the plug to be pulled on Sinn Fein - not those who
play by the rules and observe the rule of law."

It's understood that only one of the DUP measures would
require a legislative change.

But the party is anxious to keep the proposals under wraps
until they are agreed with Government.

Added the party source: "We know how Sinn Fein and the IRA
operate, so we're not going to divulge the details of the
proposals to allow their strategists to lobby against them.

"These are perfectly reasonable proposals, which all
democratic parties and electors can support.

"They are intended to ensure that the guilty political
wrongdoers are punished and no one else suffers and
Government can continue rather than collapse as it did
before when the IRA undermined the administration."


LVF 'Caretaker' Denies Estate Feud Situation

By Alan Murray
12 November 2006

A former LVF leader involved in preparing the ground for
the disbandment of the outlawed terror group has denied it
is involved in any feud situation in Co Antrim.

The senior loyalist's claim follows the latest violent
incident in the Ballycraigy estate in which a member of a
notorious loyalist family was arrested.

The senior loyalist urged anyone with any information about
drug dealing, prostitution or other crimes by former
members of the LVF to tell the police.

The man, who held a senior position on the LVF's
controlling brigade staff before the terror group was stood
down a year ago, said incidents in the Ballycraigy estate
over the last few months do not involve the organisation.

In the early hours of Wednesday morning, PSNI officers
fired a shot in the air when they arrived at a house in the
estate to deal with a reported abduction incident.

Two men were arrested, one of them a member of a well known
loyalist family.

The former senior figure in the LVF urged local people to
co-operate with the police.

"Go to the police, tell them everything you know about
these characters and help put them behind bars.

"These men have nothing to do with the LVF, it doesn't
exist as an organisation any more and the caretaker
leadership has nothing to do with drug dealing and is not
involved in or interested in the situation in Ballycraigy.

"The only interest we would express is to urge the local
residents to go to the police, tell them who is involved
and give the police every assistance to put them off the
streets. We will support them in doing that."

The former LVF leader said he understood that drug dealing,
prostitution and other illegal activities were being
operated in the area by some members of a notorious north
Belfast loyalist family who were involved in the
organisation before it was disbanded but who, he claimed,
have also acted as Special Branch informers.

"We know things about these people now that we should have
known when the LVF was active, but we are absolutely clear
about them at this time. They don't belong to the LVF, they
don't belong to anyone.

"We want to see their drug dealing in Antrim stopped and
the prostitution racket involving young girls stopped.

"As a caretaker leadership, we are saying to the community
put these people off the streets by helping the police.

"There is no feud between the LVF and anyone else. The LVF
is disbanded and isn't involved in this criminal activity
in any way and we want to see it stopped through firm
police action," the former leader said.


Riot Squad Officers Eject Shoukri And Boreland From Visiting Area

By Alan Murray
12 November 2006

Riot squad officers removed Andre Shoukri and another
leading north Belfast loyalist from an integrated visiting
area at Maghaberry Prison on Wednesday.

The incident occurred after John Boreland attempted to
speak to the 29-year-old former UDA brigadier who is
currently held on restrictions which means he is not
allowed to communicate with any other prisoners.

Boreland, who hadn't seen or spoken to Shoukri for a
fortnight, walked towards Shoukri followed by his two male
visitors and began to speak to him before warders warned
him to return to his own visiting table.

After Boreland pushed past one officer, the emergency alarm
was sounded in the visiting area and 18 riot squad officers
rushed into the room to remove both Boreland and Shoukri.

Earlier Shoukri's brother Ihab was told that his visit with
a leading UDA figure from the South East Antrim Brigade was
being cancelled because there wasn't enough space to
accommodate him in the integrated visiting area.

Prison officers are angry that the Shoukris were earmarked
for visits in the integrated visiting area.

It's believed a shortage of prison staff meant that the
Shoukris could not be given visits in the segregation unit
where they are now held. They were removed from Bush House
on Monday following a defiant interview published in the
Sunday Life (pictured) the previous day.

Nobody was injured during the brief incident but Shoukri's
visit with his girlfriend and Boreland's visit were
terminated as they were escorted from the integrated
visiting area.


Violence Fears As New Boss Boots Out Old Guard

By Stephen Breen
12 November 2006

Tensions were rising last night between the UDA leadership
and supporters of the ousted Shoukri brothers.

A senior loyalist source in south-east Antrim warned that
UDA members loyal to jailed Andre and Ihab Shoukri are
preparing to launch a fresh wave of attacks against their
leadership rivals.

The planned strikes come after the new UDA leadership in
north Belfast expelled a senior figure last week.

The man - a close friend of the ousted terror bosses - was
responsible for a spate of punishment beatings and
shootings before the feud.

Although the thug supported the Shoukris, he remained in
the terror group, but secretly opposed the new leadership.

The terrorist was also blamed recently for a vicious
punishment attack on a disabled man.

Sunday Life knows the identity of the man, but cannot
publish it for legal reasons.

Said the source: "Contrary to reports, there has only been
one man expelled from the organisation.

"This man was found guilty of leaking malicious stories to
the media, endangering people's lives and undermining the
new leadership in north Belfast.

"He was responsible for all the punishment shootings and
beatings in north Belfast before the feud, and has made a
lot of enemies over the years.

"As a result of this expulsion, the UDA believes he is
preparing to launch attacks against members of the
mainstream UDA from his base in south-east Antrim."

Another UDA source also urged the Government to clamp down
on the Shoukris' men in any fresh outbreak of violence.

He said: "As the recent dispute with the Shoukris and their
supporters showed, there was no violence used.

"But if these gangsters and criminals initiate attacks
against the mainstream UDA, it should be measured with a
swift response from the Government and the police.

"The mainstream UDA leadership will hold firm and will not
be drawn into a conflict with men who are only interested
in criminality."

This latest development comes after Andre Shoukri last week
warned his enemies he would be returning to his north
Belfast stomping-ground on his release from jail.


Blazers Replace Balaclavas At Remembrance Services

By Stephen Breen
12 November 2006

The UDA has ordered its members NOT to parade in
paramilitary-style uniforms at today's Remembrance Day

Sunday Life can reveal that the terror group's inner
council issued a ruling last week instructing its foot-
soldiers to wear "civilian-type" clothing at Poppy Day
events across the province.

It is the first time since the UDA's formation in 1971 that
the paramilitary organisation has not worn combat dress at
Remembrance Day services.

Said a senior inner council source: "This year's
Remembrance Day services will bring to an end an era of the
UDA parading in combat dress.

"We are committed to transition and, as part of that
transition, paramilitary dress will give way to civilian-
type clothing.

"It is important for the organisation to remember its
fallen and, indeed, all those who died in this conflict, as
well as those who fell during World War One and World War

"But times are changing and there is a new reality.

"Therefore it is incumbent on the organisation to change
with these times.

"We feel that this is a positive development and one that
should be welcomed by everyone in this society."

It's not clear if other loyalist groups are expected to
parade in civilian-type clothing.

The UDA move has been welcomed by the British and Irish

Said an NIO spokesman: "We have been informed about this
development and we welcome any initiative from loyalist
groupings which attempts to move away from the violence of
the past."


CIRA 'Won't Lift Death Threats'

By Joe Oliver
12 November 2006

Continuity IRA terrorists have made it clear they will NOT
lift death threats hanging over the heads of more than a
dozen men ordered out of Belfast.

The dissident republican group has also refused to discuss
the men's fate with negotiators from a community
restorative justice project.

CRJ director Jim Auld, whose organisation dealt with 1,700
cases last year, admitted: "We have asked to meet with the
leadership of Continuity but, so far, we've been

"I've been involved in the voluntary sector working with
people under threat for the past 30 years.

"We have a link with most of the armed groups right across
the divide that allows us to negotiate the safety of

"But this is the first time I have come across a situation
where a group is not prepared to countenance mediation."

The terror group accused teenagers and young men from
various nationalist districts of the city of anti-social
behaviour and warned they would be shot if they didn't

To date, four have been shot in north and west Belfast
while a number of others under threat have fled their

Conor Weldon (18) lost his right leg after being blasted
with a shotgun on the Falls Road in September and a 17-
year-old victim from Ardoyne was shot twice in the leg.

A number of those under threat have sought refuge in hostel
accommodation in the city and are visited by their families
at weekends.

Ardoyne priest Fr Aidan Troy (right), who has condemned the
shootings and death threats, said he had been in touch with
some of the families, but added that the situation "looks

Senior PSNI officers have already stated their belief that
the CIRA is using the 'punishment' attacks and death
threats in a bid to get a foothold in nationalist and
republican communities following the IRA's decision to
abandon violence.


Archbishop Calls For Patience In Northern Talks

11/11/2006 - 16:38:10

The Catholic Archbishop of Armagh Sean Brady has called for
patience in the wait for devolved Government in the North.

The Archbishop was speaking at an annual Irish Inter-Church
meeting in Sword earlier today.

A series of deadlines has been set out by the Saint Andrews
Accord but disagreement between Sinn Fein and the DUP means
it is looking increasingly unlikely they will be met.

Dr Brady said he's still confident progress will be made
and felt all parties were doing their best to resolve the


OAP Suffers Broken Leg After Vicious Thug Attack

By Stephen Breen
12 November 2006

Residents of a tight-knit community in north Belfast last
night hit out at the evil thugs who left a frail pensioner
with a broken leg.

Outraged families from the Carrick Hill area have vowed to
support William Largey after he was viciously attacked
during a robbery at his home, around 6pm on Friday night.

The 75-year-old, who is a keen Irish historian and lives
alone, was forced to wait 15 hours before raising the

Although the brave pensioner managed to strike out at one
of his four attackers he is being treated at the Royal
Victoria Hospital last night for a broken leg and cuts to
his body and face.

The thieves ransacked the house for around 30mins, before
escaping with a small sum of cash.

Said one angry resident: "The people who did this are
nothing but scum and we can't believe that they have left a
defenceless pensioner with a serious injury.

"This community will do all it can to help Willie Largey."

Detective Inspector Alan Little, who is leading the hunt
for the robbers, urged anyone with information to come

He said: "This was a vicious attack and we are particularly
keen to speak to anyone who knows of a young man who
sustained a head injury during a struggle."

One of the suspects is described as of medium height and
build, with fair hair and a gaunt face with a pale

An accomplice is described as being 6ft tall. Both suspects
wore dark coloured clothes.

North Belfast Sinn Fein MLA Gerry Kelly described the
attack as "disgraceful", while fellow SDLP Assemblyman
Alban Maginness branded the incident as "outrageous".


Bertie Rules Out SF Role

TAOISEACH Bertie Ahern has emphatically rejected any role
for Sinn Fein in a Government led by him, but it is their
neo-Marxist economic policies and anti-European agenda,
rather than links with criminality that rules them out.

The dismissal of Gerry Adams and his colleagues as
potential partners finds favour with voters, according to a
Sunday Independent poll. In all, 67 per cent polled said
No, when asked if Fianna Fail should accept Sinn Fein as a
partner in government after the next election.

In an interview with this newspaper, Mr Ahern said that
there were a number of reasons why Sinn Fein would not be
acceptable, particularly on fiscal policy.

The emphasis on differences over basic economic philosophy,
which are unlikely to ever be resolved, rather than worries
over past paramilitarism, suggests that Mr Adams will never
be offered a place at the Cabinet table by a Fianna Fail
led Government.

The Taoiseach said he had worked hard all his political
life to create a market economy, a low-tax economy; and for
policies that are pro-employment and pro-enterprise.

"I've given 25 years of my life to this stuff, but that is
all anathema to Sinn Fein.

"Sinn Fein don't believe in or agree with that stuff. They
are anti-Europe. I've been over with the Commission and
Sinn Fein have no time for those guys. In all the things
that I've spent all my life working in, they have a totally
different view," Mr Ahern said.

Because of these differences, he could not envisage
"sitting down with them every day.

"It would just be impossible. The differences and
difficulties. I have no problem dealing with them on
Northern Ireland because that is to bring peace and
security, bring a future, and of course the arrangement in
the North is for partnership government."

"Everyone has to be involved. It is different in our system
down here - a parliamentary democracy with an executive.

"People often say to me in an interview, 'But they are
going to change?' Well, when they've changed, guys who are
in my seat in the future might look at them in a different
way," he said.

"You are asking me now, when the election is next year: no,
I won't be in Government with them.

According to the poll, there is no enthusiasm for Sinn Fein
emerging as a political power in the Dail. Respondents
believed that it was too soon for the public to
disassociate Sinn Fein from the past bloodshed and criminal

Many said it is premature for Sinn Fein to be reinvented as
responsible legislators.


Op/Ed: Robert McCartney: 'DUP Has Caved In To Blackmail'

By Robert McCartney QC MLA
12 November 2006

Post the St Andrews talks, the dominant feeling within the
unionist community is one of confusion.

Whether deliberately or not, the DUP has done little to
dispel it.

After eight separate requests for a meeting with the
leadership, the writer was finally granted an interview on
Tuesday last.

When it was indicated that a number of specific issues
required clarification, the response was that they would
merely listen to what was said and give a single overall
comment, but would not address individual questions.

The unionist electorate are entitled to have their genuine
concerns addressed so the questions raised are repeated
here and the DUP challenged to respond publicly.

1. When was the decision made by the DUP to conduct
negotiations on the basis that mandatory coalition with
Sinn Fein under the D'Hondt rules would be an essential
element, contrary to the party's manifesto pledge that such
was "out of the question"?

2. How will the DUP phase out mandatory coalition? And why
would Sinn Fein ever agree to abandon "guaranteed" places
in government in exchange for a voluntary coalition?

3. How can democratic government work when the DUP and Sinn
Fein will have mutual powers to veto each other's
proposals? Does this not give a minority an equal veto and
make for an even worse deadlock than that demonstrated by
the UUP and the SDLP?

4. How will rate-capping without banding help the vast bulk
of ratepayers? Since Sinn Fein favour the proposed new
system, what is to prevent it vetoing any proposal to cap
and band the rates?

5. How will academic selection be implemented if any
proposed method of selection is vetoed in the Assembly by
the SDLP and Sinn Fein, who are both opposed to selection
as a principle?

6. How can the DUP claim that Sinn Fein cannot be trusted
with policing and justice for a political lifetime and yet
be prepared, within months, to accept them as coalition
partners in government who may possibly be in control of
finance, education or health?

7. The DUP assert that it wants "deeds not words", but what
deeds sufficient to satisfy it can it get from Sinn Fein by
March 26, 2007 when, in May 2005, Peter Robinson stated
that it would take "a generation" before Sinn Fein were
sanitised as democrats?

8. If the Government permits a devolved Assembly to revise
its proposals on local government areas, once again is this
not open to a veto by Sinn Fein who are entirely happy with
seven super councils which will see republicans in control
west of the Bann?

9. Why do the Sinn Fein rewards, including Irish language
legislation, all appear on the face of the St Andrews
document, but the alleged and largely illusory concessions
to the DUP are the subject of undisclosed side deals and as
yet unproduced letters of comfort and assurance? If the DUP
has obtained such, let it make them public.

What is now evident is that the DUP has caved in to the
Government's blackmail on rates, academic selection, and
local government, and is now presenting what was always on
offer as triumphs of its tough negotiating.

The truth is that if these issues are remitted to a
devolved government, Sinn Fein could veto the lot under the
very arrangements which the DUP is claiming as a success.

The DUP, while asserting that it has agreed to nothing and
that almost every issue is "work in progress", is clearly
working to a game plan calculated to keep the unionist
electorate in the dark until after a March 2007 election.

One would expect that the DUP would complete its
negotiations and either agree a deal or refuse it prior to
the election date.

If the decision was "no deal", then the Government would
clearly not hold the election which the DUP so dearly

Accordingly, for the DUP, it will still be work in progress
right up to the election date.

The unionist people will be asked to trust the DUP on the
strength of a new manifesto that will allow the party to go
into an enforced coalition with Sinn Fein upon terms as yet
undecided. After the election, the DUP, having satisfied
its thirst for power, will do as it likes.

The unionist people, regardless of the party they support,
must insist in advance of any election that the DUP states
clearly and without ambiguity the exact terms of any deal
it is willing to accept.


Opin: Face It, Paisley & Adams, You Have To Lose Support To Win Peace

Liam Clarke

Muwaffaq al-Rubaie, the Iraqi government’s national-
security adviser, says he took one big idea home with him
following a trip to Belfast last week. When you enter
negotiations, you should have no preconditions; they only
get in the way of settlement.

This is high on the standard “list of lessons from Northern
Ireland” that British-government advisers and academic
conflict-resolution experts pass on to visitors from
trouble zones such as Iraq, the Balkans and Sri Lanka.

There is also a stricture, muttered sotto voce by the
Brits, to keep lines of communication open with your
opponents, no matter how difficult or violent the
situation. Sun Tsu’s maxim — if your enemy looks like
retreating, be prepared to build him a golden bridge — is
sometimes added as a final flourish.

All sound advice, and it’s no wonder the Iraqis were so
taken with it. The only pity is that the two parties now at
the centre of the political process in Northern Ireland are
doing the opposite. Friday was the deadline for local party
assent to the St Andrews agreement. Instead, the DUP and
Sinn Fein came up with a list of preconditions.

Take the DUP leader, Ian Paisley. “The party will continue
with the work in progress to ensure up-front delivery by
government and republicans,” he stated. “As Sinn Fein is
not yet ready to take the decisive step forward on
policing, the DUP is not required to commit to any aspect
of power-sharing in advance of such certainty.”

Sinn Fein also loaded on the preconditions. St Andrews, the
party said, “could represent a way forward”, but only
“subject to delivery” on issues such as the devolution of
policing and justice.

In the strictest terms this amounts to a rejection of the
St Andrews agreement, which looked forward to a process of
reciprocal confidence-building by the two parties, a sort
of virtuous spiral of gestures by which each would build
golden bridges of trust to assist the other’s retreat.

On October 17 Paisley was to have attended the first of a
series of regular meetings of a new Programme for
Government Committee, along with the leadership of Sinn
Fein and other parties. Fat chance. He refused to go until
his preconditions were met.

Sinn Fein’s ruling ard comhairle was supposed to call an
ard fheis at which the party leadership would recommend
support for the PSNI, subject to devolution of policing
powers. They never did. They said they would await

All this was to pave the way for an acceptance in principle
of the St Andrews agreement last Friday. As part of the
process Paisley was supposed to have indicated that,
subject to progress on policing in the coming weeks, he
would be prepared to enter government with Sinn Fein.

If that had been achieved, we could have looked forward to
seeing Paisley and Sinn Fein’s Martin McGuinness nominated
as first and deputy-first ministers on November 24 and
taking office next March.

In the interim, Sinn Fein would have held its ard fheis and
empowered future Sinn Fein ministers to endorse the PSNI.

The International Monitoring Commission would also have
reported, presumably to reassure the DUP that the IRA and
Sinn Fein were keeping to their commitments on peace.

Finally, the electorate would have had its say, either in a
referendum or an election in early March, and the power-
sharing executive would have been nominated in the run-up
to “going live” and Martin McGuinness taking an oath to
support the PSNI and the courts.

That was the choreography mapped out by the two governments
after discussions with the parties at St Andrews. Now
they’ve ripped it up. Instead of building golden bridges,
Sinn Fein and the DUP have been engaged in a destructive
game of beggar-my-neighbour, each refusing to deliver
anything themselves while trying to extract painful
concessions from the other.

This strategy — putting the strain on the other players —
is one that Paisley, Adams and McGuinness have employed
throughout their political careers. Is it any wonder
leaders in the opposing camp distrust their motives? It has
been a winning strategy up to now. The Adams and McGuinness
leadership climbed to the top of the nationalist heap by
putting so much strain first on John Hume and later on
David Trimble that they smashed the SDLP and Ulster

Paisley has made a career of saying no. As a result many
unionist voters see him as a man who will stand firm
against a resurgent Sinn Fein, just as many new Sinn Fein
voters see the party as the one best able to contain the

The factors that have united people behind the two parties
could also make accommodation impossible and deepen
distrust between the two communities.

A joke circulating in political circles asks: “Who would
you prefer to see as security minister, Gerry Kelly or Ian
Paisley Jr?” Answer: Paul Goggins. It speaks volumes for
the suspicion that the current leadership of the DUP and
Sinn Fein must combat if they are to share power.

Paisley, Adams and McGuinness have all been influential
players since the early days of the Troubles. They have
done well politically from the conflict. They reached the
top of their respective heaps and stayed there by putting
the unity of their own parties first and passing the strain
of compromise to others.

More flexible and courageous leaders could settle the
differences that are now deadlocking the process. All it
would take is a couple of days of face-to-face
negotiations. Finding a sequence, like the one hammered out
at St Andrews, is not rocket science, but it means being
prepared to take some pain and sacrifice some support.

The extent of the likely damage is, according to a recent
BBC opinion poll, about a fifth of each party’s hard-core
support. Some 22.2% of DUP voters believe their party
“should never share power”, while 18.2% of Sinn Fein
supporters say the party “should never sign up to

Making progress means being prepared to lose the backing of
these recalcitrant rumps. If their views are taken into
account and their support courted, there will never be a
power-sharing deal and the views of the 70% of the
population (excluding don’t knows) who support the St
Andrews agreement will be overridden.

No doubt many of the diehards are good friends and loyal
supporters of the DUP or republican leaderships. Extremists
tend to be the people who give you the strongest backing
when in a tight corner and never give ground when the going
gets tough. But it is one of the duties of leaders to be
prepared to take casualties and absorb losses in pursuit of
a strategic goal. It is also a fundamental duty of
leadership to give a lead, to bring people somewhere they
might not think of going.

Swallowing hard and taking tough decisions is the only way
that either party can hope to govern. In order to get its
hands on the levers of power, each leadership has to help
the other to do so.

In practical terms this means Paisley not only attending
the Programme for Government Committee, but also speaking
to Sinn Fein and being filmed doing so without any further
preconditions or fuss. That is the sort of courage it takes
to be a successful leader.

On the other side it means Sinn Fein letting its followers
in on the open secret that they cannot hope to sit in a
power-sharing executive without first supporting the police
and courts. It is not possible to be a member of a
government and still regard yourself as a member of the
revolutionary underground operating an alternative justice
system and maintaining a sneaking regard for criminals. It
means calling on people to give information to the police
not only about the crimes that suit you but about
smuggling, racketeering and the murder of Robert McCartney.

If they can’t do it, then power-sharing can be forgotten
until Adams, McGuinness and Paisley have left the political
stage and a new generation of politicians has taken over.
History may conclude that the present political leaders had
too much baggage and too little courage and that people
were right to be suspicious of them.

The final lesson of the Northern Ireland peace process may
be that the men who led the war cannot lead the peace. The
coming months will tell.


Opin: Yeah But No But... What Next?

By Mark Devenport
BBC Northern Ireland political editor

Ian Paisley and Gerry Adams don't appear to have a great
deal in common with Vicky Pollard, the teenager from hell
made famous by the comedian Matt Lucas on Little Britain.

Vicky Pollard's catchphrase was echoed by Paisley and Adams

But this week, both men's responses appeared eerily
reminiscent of Vicky's catchphrase, "yeah but no but".

On Monday, Sinn Fein said the St Andrews deal had
potential, but failed to set a date for a special
conference to endorse the police along the lines envisaged
in the agreement.

On Thursday, the DUP described the deal as a "work in
progress" and declared once again that unless Sinn Fein
moves first on policing the DUP has no intention of sharing

The St Andrews text said the parties must confirm their
acceptance of the deal by 10 November.

Despite the ambiguity of their responses, the governments
have chosen to interpret the parties' comments as

Ministers will now press ahead with the publication of an
emergency law to change the Stormont rules and set the
wording for a future ministerial pledge of office.

Unless it's clear everything has come to a crashing halt,
it looks like ministers will try to keep the Stormont show
on the road until 26 March, the target date for devolution

It has been disagreement over what that pledge should say
about the police and when the shadow first and deputy first
ministers should take it which has upset the timetable laid
down at St Andrews.

There is still no sign of a resolution to the pledge row
and as 24 November draws close, the chances of an assembly
meeting to witness the formal nomination of Ian Paisley and
Martin McGuinness to the two top jobs on that date looks

So will the governments prove as understanding if the
parties stumble at that fence as they have done over the
refusal of Ian Paisley to meet Gerry Adams at a Stormont
committee and the highly conditional responses to St

Interviewed on Inside Politics, Secretary of State Peter
Hain talked darkly about dissolving the assembly if there's
no agreement by 24 November.

But he didn't appear to rule out ways around the 24
November problem, such as the DUP and Sinn Fein confirming
by letter who would fill the top jobs if their various
other concerns are met.

The government could dissolve the assembly and cut the
politicians' wages and allowances if they fail to meet
another deadline.

Back to life

But that might not necessarily be the end of the line as a
fresh election on the first Wednesday in March could bring
Stormont back to life.

The politicians will have to continue swotting up on
education, the ministerial pledge and the other matters up
for discussion over the next few months

Unless it's clear everything has come to a crashing halt,
it looks like ministers will try to keep the Stormont show
on the road until 26 March, the target date for devolution.

Their assessment probably remains that both the DUP and
Sinn Fein leaderships appear to be heading in the general
direction the governments want, even though their pace does
not match the timetable set at St Andrews.

However, if the politicians decide there has been no
sanction for not sticking to the political timetable this
autumn, they might be tempted to play fast and loose with
the timetable for the spring.

Apart from dealing with the Stormont rules, the emergency
law will also put off the ban on academic selection which
had been due to come into force on 24 November.

But will that be as great a victory as the DUP believed
when they negotiated the delay at St Andrews?

Educational vacuum

All the indications are that either the Stormont Programme
for Government Committee over the next few months or the
Assembly meeting after 26 March will be tasked with
designing a new admissions system to fill a complete
educational vacuum.

This means that nationalists who opposed the 11-plus seem
to have a veto on any return to academic selection because
the new admissions system would require the consent of both

The politicians will have to continue swotting up on
education, the ministerial pledge and the other matters up
for discussion over the next few months.

They won't be the only ones doing their homework - the 10
November political deadline coincided with Northern Ireland
primary school pupils sitting their 11-plus, whilst the 24
November deadline falls on the same date that the children
take the second part of the exam.

If any of the 11-year-olds replied to their questions with
a Vicky Pollard-esque "yeah but no but", it's hard to
imagine their examiners would decide, like the two
governments, that they had passed their test.


Opin: Straight Talking: Decent People

By Lynda Gilby
12 November 2006

Wouldn't it be the height of irony if one of the chief
architects of our last crack at devolution turns out to be
the party that scuppers this one?

The UUP has described the St Andrews agreement as the "Good
Friday Agreement for slow learners".

They're not wrong, but if they really have the best
interests of Northern Ireland at heart, if they really want
us to have a snowball's chance of managing our own affairs
from next March, you'd think that having made their point,
they'd lie low and shut up about it. Not a bit of it.

The UUP was wiped out electorally because of the fissure
that split their party in two. When it came to it, Trimble
and his faction couldn't carry their right wing with them.

Now, as I predicted aeons ago, the DUP sit precisely in the
same position.

Now it's them wooing their Neanderthals to not just think
the unthinkable, but to vote for it - to embrace the
prospect of sharing power with Sinn Fein.

To sell the deal the DUP, quite naturally, is hailing St
Andrews as a new, vastly improved dawn. But the signs are
that many of their supporters aren't buying it.

A BBC opinion poll last week found only 47pc of DUP
followers would vote for St Andrews. That isn't nearly
enough. If the figures don't improve pronto, Paisley will
find some pretext to withdraw.

In a referendum or election, votes from supporters of other
parties would almost certainly push it through. But the
last thing the DUP will want is to end up like Trimble,
with a resounding yes vote from the province as a whole,
but with his own party split down the middle.

Part of the DUP's selling technique is to rubbish the UUP,
and it's understandable that they, in consequence, should
feel somewhat miffed at the injustice of it all.

But launching a counter-attack by putting glossy leaflets
in Belfast newspapers pointing out the flaws in the DUP's
sales puff is decidedly NOT helpful. It will reinforce the
worst fears of DUP dissidents.

Galling for the UUP as the situation is, this is NOT the
time to draw attention to the fact that the emperor has no

But obviously, for a struggling party, the scoring of
political points is far more important than playing a long
game to benefit the rest of us.


The `Troubles' Tour

Vijay Parthasarathy

Belfast welcomes tourists. Just be a little wary of making
the residents nervous.

THE flight from London Luton to Belfast takes an hour, the
21-km bus ride from airport to city centre nearly 45
minutes. The weather is nippy, not cold. I drop my bags at
the hostel, call and arrange for a Black Taxi tour in the
evening, and step out into the dull morning sunshine. I
hike up to Belfast Castle, set on the slopes of Cavehill in
the Southeast, and watch as planes approach from over the
harbour. Sun traverses sky. I take the bus back into town.

There is little to distinguish the city centre in Belfast
from any other elsewhere in the U.K. The same retail stores
line the sidewalks on the respective High Streets. The
centre itself is arranged in a confusing grid, and while
the Victorian era architecture is not in any sense
unpalatable, it lacks the character of a city like
Edinburgh. Although Belfast has been inhabited from the
time of the Bronze Age, the city only emerged as a major
industrial centre around the 18th century. The people are
well dressed, even if there is a pattern: gelled hair — in
the West, everyone is obsessed with spikes — shirts
buttoned at the sleeves and worn over jeans, nice formal

My taxi is waiting at the City Hall, four sharp. The driver
opens the back door. He is squat, stout, and dressed in a
T-shirt and trousers; his identification badge says James
Keogh. I explain that I have three days in Northern
Ireland, and that I'd like to see as much of the city as
possible, experience in person what I've only read so far
of its history.

Refreshing cynicism

"The Terror tour is popular here," he says. I like his
cynicism. Most operators are usually sensitive about the
use of the word terror; they prefer the term "Troubles"
without the pejorative connotations. "Derry was bad, but
the violence in Belfast was worse," Keogh continues, as if
holding out the tacit promise of a value-for-money tour. I
have a hard time following what he says initially: his
brogue is thick and he mumbles. Every once in a while, he
licks the tip of his fingers and rubs his hands. It's
distracting to watch him to do this as he speaks, plain
scary when he drives.

The idea, he says, is to begin with West Belfast and travel
clockwise. We stop first in front of a Unionist mural on
Shankill Road, a Protestant working class area. Cars pass
by; people walk swiftly, hands in pockets, along the
pavement. "Anyone could be a paramilitary soldier here,"
Keogh says. "Nobody minds tourists, they bring in the
money. Take pictures of any of the murals in Belfast, but
don't point the camera at people. It makes them nervous. We
don't want to make them nervous." Next, the peace lines —
walls constructed from brick, iron and steel, measuring up
to 30 feet, and reinforced with metal netting. Nearby
stands a Catholic primary school with bullet holes in its
walls, long abandoned, but not entirely forgotten. Keogh
shows me the most famous barrier, the one that separates
Shankill Road from the predominantly nationalist Falls

"The city is much safer than before. The peace process is
working. But it doesn't take much for a riot to start even
now," he says. "A child might throw a stone at someone, and
before you know it, the adults have used that as an excuse
to start a scene."

We drive slowly around the North — "It's too dangerous to
step out, there was an incident here last week." A brief
halt in the East: Samson and Goliath, the pair of
shipbuilding gantry cranes that dominate the Belfast
skyline; more famously, the cranes are located in the yard
where the Titanic was built. Then, back to the Troubles.
While both the IRA and the Unionists run money-laundering
rackets, Keogh emphasises that the former is better
organised politically; the Protestant organisations are
fragmented and cannot match the well-oiled IRA propaganda
machine. "The IRA is like the Mafia, the Unionists are
mostly ordinary thugs," he says, spitting at his fingers
and shrugging sincerely.

A puzzle

By now, I don't quite know what to make of Keogh. He is
enthusiastic, constantly talking over the intercom inside
the cab, offering me a consciously unbiased take on the
city's history; perhaps it is a matter of professional
pride. His sister, he tells me, was shot in the ankle once
when she was walking home, but he didn't pay undue heed to
the incident. A Catholic himself, he sent the youngest of
his four children to a mixed school because this generation
"needs perspective, above everything else." But when I
happen to mention Denis Donaldson, the murdered MI5 mole in
Sinn Fein, Keogh's features contort bluntly. "Bloody spy,"
he mutters.

Anyone could be IRA here.

It's strange, I tell him later, as 35 quid change hands,
religious clashes in India don't receive as much attention
worldwide as the Northern Ireland conflict. "In the end, it
all boils down to the rich exploiting the poor, doesn't
it?" Keogh says, a trifle glibly. "Once the lower middle
class stops relying on unemployment benefits, they won't
have the time for religious wars."


An Untroubled Derry Tries Stirring Up Tourism

By Elizabeth Field, Globe Correspondent November 12,

DERRY, Northern Ireland -- Memories of the "Troubles" here
evoke graphic images of British tanks storming city
streets, armed and masked paramilitaries, and parents
carrying bloodied children. Many people still feel
uncomfortable at the prospect of traveling to the sites of
the events that tore apart Derry and Belfast from the 1960s
into the 1990s.

Since the signing of the Belfast Agreement in 1998,
however, the peace process has moved in a cautiously
optimistic direction. Northern Ireland today is a generally
safe and friendly destination, full of unspoiled areas for
hiking and touring, natural phenomena like the astonishing
rock formations of Giant's Causeway on the County Antrim
coast, and culturally lively cities.

Even the name of Derry, the site of the deadly
confrontation between British troops and civilian
protesters on Jan. 30, 1972, that became known as "Bloody
Sunday ," has its own contested story. Originally called
"Daire Calgaigh " (oak grove of the Calgach), from which
Derry comes, it was renamed Londonderry in 1613 during the
Plantation of Ulster, when the English "planted" the Gaelic
(Roman Catholic) area with loyal (Protestant) subjects.

In 1984, after centuries of sieges, marches , and civil
unrest the Londonderry City Council changed its name to the
Derry City Council. Often these days you see road signs for
Londonderry with the "London" crossed out. What you call
the city now may depend on your sympathies, Protestant
loyalist or Catholic nationalist, or where your map was

The population is 107,000, of which 70 percent are
Catholic, 30 percent Protestant. Fifty-five percent are
under 25 -- a good portent for the future, according to
tour guide Tommy Carlin.

On a recent visit , Carlin took us up from Foyle Street
through the Fountain area, where the curbs are painted red,
white , and blue (for the United Kingdom, of which Northern
Ireland is a part), and a large painted Union Jack kitty-
corners a militant wall mural: "Londonderry West Bank
Loyalists Still Under Siege No Surrender."

Derry is Ireland's only remaining completely walled city.
The hulking but beautiful structure is about a mile in
circumference, six feet thick, 26 feet tall, and between 18
and 30 feet wide. The wall was built between 1613 and 1618
as fortification to protect the city's English and Scottish
"planters" (settlers). From the wall's uninterrupted
walkway there are views of the River Foyle to the west,
rolling hills to the south, and farmland to the north.

Within the city wall, there's a mix of architecture,
punctuated by medieval church spires and the city's last
remaining British Army base, which is soon to be
dismantled. The city is small enough to be eminently

St. Columb's Cathedral, on the east wall, built in 1633 in
"Planter's Gothic" style, is at once soaring and subdued.
It is inextricably linked with the siege of Derry in 1688-
89. On view is an enormous cannonball that landed in the
churchyard, complete with a recess in which the Catholic
King James II's men enclosed a message demanding the city's

Protestant Londonderry didn't budge.

Juxtaposed with this bastion of loyalism is the Bogside,
Derry's traditionally Catholic/nationalist area, which lies
directly below the wall's west side. The Bloody Sunday
Memorial, commemorating the 13 Derry residents shot dead by
British paratroopers, stands just beside a block of ugly
flats that were built to replace homes destroyed during the
Troubles. From the wall, there's a view of a massive mural
of Bernadette Devlin McAliskey, one of the most charismatic
figures of the Northern Irish civil rights movement,
holding a megaphone proclaiming "You Are Now Entering Free

Up close, this mural and nine others done by the group
called Bogside Artists along Rossville Street are powerful,
sober, and strong. The artists, Tom Kelly, Kevin Masson,
and William Kelly, view their work as both an homage to
those who died in the Troubles, and a paean to those who
continue fighting for human rights around the world.

On the opposite side of the conflict, we visited the solid,
crimson-colored Apprentice Boys' Memorial Hall located
between the Royal Bastion and Butcher's Gate just inside
the city walls. Members of this fraternal loyalist
Protestant group take their name from the 13 London Guild
apprentices who shut the city gates against the king's
troops in 1688 , the symbolic start of the 105-day-long
siege .

It's ironic that the Apprentice Boys are mostly elderly
men. William Coulter, dressed in a somewhat threadbare
three-piece suit, showed us around. There are a couple of
meeting rooms and a few musty rooms filled with anti-
republican memorabilia , including a World War I-era snare
drum used in loyalist marches and emblazoned "No Surrender
Flute Band Londonderry." A 20-foot pole awaits a straw
effigy burned every December of the traitorous Governor
Robert Lundy , who contemplated negotiating with King James
during the seige .

Both sides are united in their efforts to move into the
tourism mainstream. The Apprentice Boys would like to
procure a proper museum space in order to display their
history. The Bogside Artists hold regular cross-community
discussions, and now address common social ills in their

There's a much more lighthearted side to the city. The
Edwardian-era Austin's department store, by the city's
central square, called the Diamond, has a 1950s-era Rooftop

"It's braggin' good for young people here, with lots of
karaoke, live music, bars, and night clubs," says busgirl
Leona Kelly, 16. Louise Masterton, 35, agrees that the city
is improving. "It's just a small minority who are staunch
bigots here," she said.

The Nerve Centre on Magazine Street offers cutting-edge
multimedia shows, movies, live bands, music lessons, and
practice rooms geared toward youths who would traditionally
be excluded from the "arts sector."

"I wish some five-star chef would come in and open a
restaurant or boutique hotel," says Joan Pyne , the owner
of the Merchant's House bed -and -breakfast . "I'm hoping
that in 50 years, people will associate Derry with its
walls, not the Troubles."

Contact Elizabeth Field, a freelance writer in Providence,


Woman Rescued After Falling From Cliffs Of Moher

12/11/2006 - 14:26:31

A woman has been rescued from the sea after falling from
the Cliffs of Moher in Co Clare.

She was picked up by the Shannon rescue helicopter shortly
before 2pm and flown to hospital in Galway.

It is understood she fell just south of the public viewing
platform more than an hour earlier.

The full extent of her injuries are not yet known but
Valentia coastguard said the woman was suffering from
severe heart problems.


Concern At Cops Gear Up For Sale

By Phillip Ireland
12 November 2006

Elderly homeowners are being urged to be on their guard for
bogus callers dressed in old RUC uniforms.

Sunday Life can reveal that secondhand shops are selling
genuine uniforms for as little as £40.

A Sunday Life reporter bought one of the uniforms -
including regulation tunic and hat - in Belfast city-centre
last week.

And there are fears that - to an unsuspecting or elderly
householder - old RUC uniforms could be mistaken for those
currently worn by the PSNI.

Age Concern said yesterday that it was worried at the trade
in old uniforms.

Said a spokesman: "Older people should be cautious when
answering the door to anyone they don't know.

"You should always put your door on a chain, always ask for
identification and always keep the door secured while
checking ID.

"If in doubt, contact the organisation the caller is

"If you are still in any doubt, then keep them out."

A PSNI spokesman said: "Any former member of the RUC is
entitled to keep their uniform.

"Any items not needed were handed over to the PSNI and
disposed of appropriately.

"Any items resembling the RUC uniform which are for sale
are not the genuine article."


'Irish Christmas' At The Egg On Dec. 12

First published: Sunday, November 12, 2006

The Irish American Heritage Museum will host a benefit
concert, "Irish Christmas in America" at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday,
Dec. 12, at The Egg, Empire State Plaza, Albany.

The evening's featured performers will be Teada, a young
string quintet from Ireland, and Cathie Ryan, an alumna of
Cherish the Ladies.

Proceeds from the event will go toward the museum's
development of its exhibits and its school programs
presented in Capital Region schools. The museum's seasonal
exhibit center is located on Route 145 in East Durham,
Greene County. It is dedicated to collecting, preserving
and interpreting materials and objects related to the
history and heritage of the Irish American population of
New York State and the United States.

Concert tickets $20, or $18 if purchased by Dec. 1. For
reservations, call the museum at 432-6598 or stop by the
museum's administrative offices on the first floor of 991
Broadway (the Arnoff Building with "Nipper" the dog on
top), Albany.

For more information about the Irish American Heritage
Museum, visit the Museum's Web site at


Conversion To Islam Brings Man Close To Irish Roots

About 1,500 Cook County residents speaking Gaelic language
at home

By Erin Golden
Medill News Service

This story ran on on Sunday, November 12, 2006
12:07 AM CST

Abdul-Malik is not a typical Irish Gaelic speaker. He isn't
elderly, rosy-cheeked, or particularly fond of wool
sweaters -- and his Muslim faith prohibits him from
stopping at the pub for a pint of Guinness.

But for the past several weeks, the 32-year-old Homewood
man has spent Saturday afternoons inside a classroom on
Chicago's Northwest Side, navigating the sometimes
confusing grammatical structure of the Irish language.

And he isn't alone. The language that many think only
survives in the sheep-dotted hills of rural Ireland is
thriving, especially in Chicago.

According to U.S. Census data, Cook County has an estimated
1,500 residents who speak Irish at home, more than any
other county in the nation.

Like most Americans who speak Irish, Abdul-Malik's
classmates at the Irish American Heritage Center tend to
have some Irish branches on their family tree. But beyond
that, it's a diverse group.

It includes teenagers, retirees, young mothers and language
buffs of all kinds.

Despite the students' diversity, Abdul-Malik -- in an Irish
Republican Army T-shirt paired with his long beard and
traditional Muslim prayer cap -- stands out. But according
to Abdul-Malik, Islam and Ireland have more in common than
people may believe.

"I come from an Irish family, so I got interested in Irish
history, especially political issues," said Abdul-Malik,
who was born Michael Ryan and raised in suburban Oak Park.
"But I didn't really grow up feeling like I was part of an
Irish community, like many people in Chicago do."

Eleven years ago, when Abdul-Malik converted to Islam, he
rediscovered his Irish roots and developed an interest in
language, particularly how it was used by Irish political
groups involved in the lengthy struggle against British

"When I became Muslim, I got more into my Irishness ... I
started to see the links between the struggles (of Irish
Republicans) and those of Islam," he said. "A lot of my
Muslim friends are immigrants, and they have their own
language and culture ... and for me, that's the Irish

According to John Gleeson, co-director of the Center for
Celtic Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee,
Abdul-Malik's re-discovery of his Irish identity is not
uncommon phenomenon among Americans who take up the

"It's a key that unlocks their heritage," Gleeson said.


AIRE Presents World Premiere Of A Christmas In Kerry

Maine’s Irish Theater Company Debuts

Local Author’s Play, December 1-10

AIRE (American Irish Repertory Ensemble), Maine’s Irish
theater company, is proud to present the world premiere of
A Christmas in Kerry by Maine playwright Clare Melley
Smith. Based on Christmas Stories and Letters of a Country
Postman by noted Irish author John B. Keane, this charming
play follows a postman on his rounds in the weeks before
Christmas as he and his fellow residents in the fictional
village of Lisnacoo are inspired by the holiday spirit.

Funny and touching by turn, A Christmas in Kerry will run
at the Studio Theater at the Portland Performing Arts
Center, 25A Forest Avenue in Portland, December 1-10. The
matinee performance on Sunday, December 3, will feature an
after-show discussion with the author, director and cast.

A Christmas in Kerry is directed by Tony Reilly, Artistic
Director of AIRE. “We’re excited to be presenting the first
production of this charming and very funny play,” says
Reilly. “It offers audiences another holiday entertainment
choice, and we hope A Christmas in Kerry will become part
of Portland’s Christmas tradition.”

The seven cast members (Nathan Amadon, David Butler, Ian
Carlsen, Janice Gardner, Janet Lynch, Susan Reilly, and
Tony Reilly) play over 40 roles as the lives of the
villagers intertwine over the course of the play. There’s a
failed actor who gives his best performance, and finds the
true meaning of the season, playing Santa Claus. Two “Wren
Boys” (practitioners of an Irish holiday tradition of
performing for donations) eagerly prepare for their yearly
rounds, aided by numerous pints of holiday cheer. And an
elderly woman waiting to hear from her son abroad receives
more than she had hoped for this special Christmas.

A Christmas in Kerry will be performed Wednesday and
Thursday at 7:30, Friday and Saturday at 8:00, and matinees
Saturday and Sunday at 3:00. Tickets are $16 and $12
(students and seniors, Wednesday and Thursday). For
reservations, call 799-5327 or go to

AIRE is dedicated to presenting the best in classic and
contemporary Irish and Irish American theater; it aims to
share the power and beauty of Irish theater with New
England audiences, especially Maine’s large Irish
community. Previous productions include The Playboy of the
Western World, The Cripple of Inishmaan, Dancing at
Lughnasa, The Tinker’s Wedding and Other Tales: Three Short
Plays by John M. Synge, The Colleen Bawn, The Grand O’Neal,
and Ulysses for Beginners.

# # #

Contact: Susan Reilly
Nanaging Director, AIRE

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