News about the Irish & Irish American culture, music, news, sports. This is hosted by the Irish Aires radio show on KPFT-FM 90.1 in Houston, Texas (a Pacifica community radio station)

November 15, 2006

SF in Serious Discussions With British

News About Ireland & The Irish

SF 11/15/06 SF In Serious Discussions With British
BB 11/15/06 March Date For Assembly Election
IT 11/15/06 North Parties To Be Briefed On New Legislation
SF 11/15/06 Sinn Fein - Diplock Courts Must Go
BT 11/15/06 Outrage Over Laying Of UVF Wreath At City Hall
BT 11/15/06 'Ulster Must Be Led Into The Light'
BN 11/14/06 Paisley's Daughter Presses Case Against DUP
BN 11/15/06 Cameron: Sinn Fein Should Hand Over Killers
BB 11/15/06 Threats To Sinn Fein 'Very Real'
NH 11/15/06 Photos 'A Reminder Of Why SF Must Back Police'
IT 11/15/06 State Announce Plans For Dialogue With Churches
IT 11/15/06 Minister Vigorously Contest Ruling In Court
IT 11/15/06 Imam Calls For Attack In Ireland - BBC
IT 11/15/06 Dervish Selected For Eurovision Contest
IT 11/15/06 Military Event 'Best Option' To Mark 1916
BB 11/15/06 Google Announces 500 Dublin Jobs
IT 11/15/06 Beckett Letters May Fetch 300,000
IT 11/15/06 Port Tunnel To Open On December 20th

(Poster’s Note: Sorry for lack of news posting. Jay)


Sinn Fein Leaders Have Been Involved In Serious And
Detailed Discussions With The British Government

Published: 15 November, 2006

A Sinn Fein spokesperson tonight confirmed that 'serious
and detailed discussions' having been going on in London
for the last two days between Sinn Fein and the British
Government. The Sinn Fein delegation included party
President Gerry Adams, Chief Negotiator Martin McGuinness
and Ard Chomhairle member Gerry Kelly.

Sinn Fein's objective has been to ensure that the timetable
set out by the British and Irish governments in their St.
Andrews proposals is kept to. Specifically this includes
the Assembly meeting on November 24th where Ian Paisley and
Martin McGuinness can be put forward by their parties as
well as the convening of meetings of the Programme for
Government Committee.


March Date For Assembly Election

Northern Ireland voters will go to the polls on 7 March to
elect a new assembly, the BBC understands.

It is thought the move will be revealed in emergency
legislation due to be unveiled by the government on

It is believed the government opted for an election rather
than a referendum to endorse the St Andrews Agreement.

Negotiations between the government, DUP and Sinn Fein are
focussing on issues such as the ministerial pledge of
office and assembly rules.

The law is expected to go before parliament on 21 November
and ministers are due to be nominated on 24 November.

It will change the way in which a future first and deputy
first minister can be chosen.

However, some sources indicate it may not specify that the
DUP and Sinn Fein must formally designate their choices for
the two top jobs by 24 November.

It is understood there will be a reference to the need for
devolved ministers to report back to the secretary of state
within a year on what progress has been made in devolving
policing and justice powers.

The emergency law will also delay any ban on academic
selection until March next year and set out a new code of
office for devolved ministers.

Meanwhile, Sir Reg Empey has said he is angry at the abrupt
cancellation of a government briefing on legislation
dealing with the St Andrews Agreement.

The Ulster Unionist leader said the governments, Sinn Fein
and the DUP, were trying to resolve problems "not properly
nailed down" in Scotland.

The outstanding issues have been the mechanics of
nominating a first and deputy first minister designate, the
wording of the pledge of office and the rules of the power-
sharing executive.

There are also difficulties surrounding policing, including
MI5's proposed role in intelligence gathering.

Sir Reg said: "It is clear that representatives from Sinn
Fein, the DUP and both governments are furiously working
behind the scenes to find a solution to the pledge of
office, academic selection and other matters.

"This is proof, if proof were needed of the UUP's
contention that these matters were not properly nailed down
in St Andrews.

"It appears that today we have attempts to negotiate a St
Andrews Agreement mark 2 to compensate for the failures of
St Andrews mark 1."

The legislation will create a new transitional assembly
operating between 24 November - the day when DUP leader Ian
Paisley and Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness are due to be
appointed shadow first and deputy first minister - and the
restoration date of a new executive.

Under British and Irish government proposals, 26 March has
been set as the target date for restoring a fully
functional power-sharing executive.

The bill will also have a commitment to allow the St
Andrews proposals to be endorsed either through a fresh
assembly election or referendum.

The legislation will also change the procedure for
appointing the first and deputy first minister.

Currently, appointments can only go ahead if the joint
nominees secure the support of a majority of both unionist
and nationalist assembly members.

It was also confirmed that devolved ministers would be
obliged to report back to the Northern Ireland secretary
within a year to update him on any progress made on
devolving policing and justice powers.

Meanwhile, non-jury Diplock trials in which judges heard
terrorism cases on their own are to be scrapped, the
government confirmed in the Queen's speech.

It said the Justice and Security (Northern Ireland) Bill
was being introduced to reflect the more normalised
security environment.

No-jury trials will still be allowed if the Director of
Public Prosecutions believes jurors could be threatened.

Powers for the police, armed forces and Northern Ireland
Secretary will also be reviewed.

This is also intended to reflect the changed security

The Bill will extend the remit of the Security Industry
Authority to Northern Ireland following moves to increase
the regulation of private security firms.

Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission chief Monica
McWilliams and her staff will also receive extra powers,
enabling them to take test cases under the European
Convention of Human Rights.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/11/15 17:40:39 GMT


North Parties To Be Briefed On New Legislation

Dan Keenan, Northern News Editor

The Northern parties are expected to be briefed today on
the details of British legislation designed to enact the St
Andrews Agreement.

The legislation will be published tomorrow, but party
delegations are expected at Stormont today for a video
conference with British officials in London.

The legislation was understood to be still under discussion
last night, with officials from the British and Irish
governments in close contact.

Measures are expected in relation to aspects of the
administration of justice and policing, and the role and
scope of ministers who are scheduled to take their seats
around the Stormont Executive table in March.

One political source said: "Officials are still working
away," but would not comment further.

A Downing Street source denied Sinn Fein members had held a
meeting with Prime Minister Tony Blair but added that
officials were continuing to discuss issues with the

A Sinn Fein spokesman declined to comment other than to
say: "We remain in contact with the two governments." One
key demand, attracting cross-party support, could be
addressed later today by a report requested by Mr Blair.

The Economic Research Institute is reported to have
proposed that companies investing in the North receive an
effective tax break on a significant proportion of their
profits. Parties on all sides have called for the 30 per
cent corporation tax to be brought into line with the
Republic's 12.5 per cent level.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown, who met the
parties two weeks ago in Downing Street to discuss a "peace
dividend", has committed himself only to keeping the issue
open. But he is known to be reluctant to offer a specific
tax break to one region of the United Kingdom.

On another St Andrews-related issue, Stormont human rights
minister David Hanson has opened a short period of
consultation on the remit and membership of the bill of
rights forum.

Establishment of the forum, and the tight timeframe for it
to convene its inaugural meeting, was announced following
discussions at St Andrews last month.

"I am confident that there is a momentum to take forward
the important work on a bill of rights for Northern Ireland
and I want to build on this by getting the forum set up
quickly," he said. "In keeping with the arrangements
announced at St Andrews, it is my intention that the forum
should convene its inaugural meeting in December 2006 and I
would therefore encourage all those who have an interest to
let us have their comments promptly." Comment is invited
before November 28th.


Sinn Fein - Diplock Courts Must Go

Published: 15 November, 2006

Speaking as the British Government confirmed its intention
to remove Diplock Courts from the Justice system here, Sinn
Fein spokesperson Gerry Kelly said that this had long been
a demand of his party and that they needed to be removed
altogether not simply an exception to the norm.

Mr Kelly said:

"Non jury Diplock courts in the Six Counties were a
repressive measure designed to fast-track the imprisonment
of republicans in a conveyor belt manner. They should not
just become the exception to the rule but should be done
away with altogether.

"Sinn Fein has consistently raised the abolition of the
Diplock Courts with the British government and some time
ago we secured a commitment from them that they would move
to abolish these types of courts.

"The use of repressive measures within the Criminal Justice
system is not confined to the six counties. Sinn Fein have
consistently called for the abolition of the Special
Criminal Court in Dublin. The ending of the Special
Criminal Court and the repeal of the Offences Against the
State Act are required under strand three of the Good
Friday Agreement." ENDS


Outrage Over Laying Of UVF Wreath At City Hall Cenotaph

By Claire McNeilly
15 November 2006

SDLP Assembly man Alban Maginness last night called for an
investigation into an alleged wreath-laying ceremony at the
Belfast Cenotaph by the UVF.

Mr Maginness was referring to an incident that occurred on
Remembrance Sunday at the Cenotaph at Belfast City Hall,
when members of the paramilitary group are said to have
formed in ranks around 9am.

This is an outrage," he said.

"The UVF may claim some lineage to their historical
namesakes, but veterans and relatives of the those who made
the ultimate sacrifice in service of their country will be
disgusted at this sullying of their good name."

He added that the wreath, complete with the clear lettering
UVF was yesterday still on the Cenotaph amongst others laid
at official ceremonies.

"Everyone knows their claim to links with the organisation
formed in 1914 is a gross distortion and a ruse to fly
their flags," he said.

"If it is true that this vile practice has been going on
since 1998, I want to know who has tolerated this on city
council property for nearly a decade.

"If the UVF want to become an 'old boys' commemorative
organisation then we will be expecting them to hand in
their guns forthwith."


'Ulster Must Be Led Into The Light'

By Noel McAdam
15 November 2006

Northern Ireland must be led "out of the night and into the
light", says DUP leader Ian Paisley.

In another positive assessment of the St Andrews Agreement,
he urged "true unionists" to give leadership to the

The appeal comes in the latest edition of Mr Paisley's
church magazine, the Revivalist, primarily aimed at Free
Presbyterian members, many of whom are thought to be
opposed to the Agreement.

A delegation of Free Presbyterian ministers last week met
the senior DUP team to voice their concerns.

The editorial has a similar tone and uses much of the same
language as the DUP's consultation document with Mr
Paisley, again arguing the changes obtained by the party in
the new Agreement "must be made".

And the Free Presbyterian Moderator also indicated that he
has secured a commitment to an election opposed by other

The article said: "Of course we have not yet achieved
everything, but we continue to negotiate and remain
determined to make further progress.

"At this vital time in our history, true unionists must
prevail and give leadership to our province. This is not
the time to withdraw. This is the time to withstand. It is
only as informed and dedicated unionists that we can
deliver the vital verdict and lead our province out of the
night and into the light."

It is understood Mr Paisley penned the editorial around the
same time as he wrote his personal address in the party's
glossy consultation paper.

He made clear the Agreement is a document of the British
and Irish Governments rather than the DUP or any other
political party.

"Through our representations we sought, and succeeded, in
obtaining the safeguard that the people of Northern Ireland
would have the opportunity to pass their verdict on the

"Other parties have already opposed the election plan. They
do now want you to have the final say.

"If you want to save the Union and have a devolved
democratic Government, then the changes which the DUP
fought for and obtained in this new Agreement, to safeguard
your British and democratic rights, must be made."

Meanwhile, behind the scenes contacts continue in an
attempt to steer through next Friday week's deadline when
Mr Paisley and Martin McGuinness are due to be nominated in
shadow form as First and Deputy First Ministers.

Secretary of State Peter Hain is expected to confirm an
election date tomorrow when new legislation on the workings
of a future Executive and Assembly is expected to be


Paisley's Daughter Presses On With Case Against DUP

14/11/2006 - 17:40:03

Ian Paisley's daughter is pressing ahead with legal action
against her father's Democratic Unionist Party for alleged
sexual discrimination, an industrial tribunal heard today.

Both sides have been given until December 22 to have
everything ready in preparation for a full hearing sometime
next year.

Rhonda Paisley, a former party councillor and ex-Lady
Mayoress of Belfast has alleged she did not get a job as a
DUP policy officer in 2004 because of her gender.

She was one of a number of applicants for the post which
went one of the party's councillors in Craigavon, Philip

Ms Paisley attended a preliminary hearing in Belfast today
where it emerged that one of the respondents in the case is
a former member of the DUP who resigned from the party
earlier this year amid allegations that he met with a male
masseur in a hotel room in 2004.

Paul Berry is now an independent Newry and Armagh member of
the suspended Northern Ireland Assembly.

He is no longer being represented by the solicitor on
behalf of his former party.

The tribunal vice-president Mrs Mayo Price said she wanted
all factual and legal issues sorted out by December 22.


Cameron: Sinn Fein Should Hand Over Killers

15/11/2006 - 16:14:49

Sinn Fein can demonstrate support for the rule of law in
the North by urging its supporters to turn in the killers
of Belfast father-of-two Robert McCartney, David Cameron
said today.

In his response to the Queen's Speech, the Conservative
leader reiterated his party's support for efforts to revive
devolution at Stormont.

But the Tory leader told MPs that, in order to achieve that
goal: "Sinn Fein must support the police, the courts and
the rule of law.

"And they can start by telling their supporters to co-
operate with the police investigation into the brutal
murder of Robert McCartney."

Mr McCartney, 33, was murdered in a street outside a bar in
Belfast city centre in January last year and a friend was
also wounded.

His family blamed republicans for the murder and a cover-up
to protect the killers.

At the time the IRA said it had expelled three of its
members over their involvement and even offered to shoot
those responsible.

But although one man has been charged in connection with
the murder, the McCartney sisters - Catherine, Paula,
Gemma, Claire and Donna - and his partner Bridgeen Hagans
suspect up to 15 took part in the brutal killing.

Sinn Fein's refusal to endorse policing has meant witnesses
are reluctant to come forward to the Police Service of
Northern Ireland despite public appeals from Gerry Adams.

The McCartneys have been highly critical of Sinn Fein for
refusing to encourage people to go directly to the police
with information about the attack.

Mr Cameron met the McCartneys during a one-day visit to
Belfast last month.

The family told the Tory leader that Sinn Fein had made no
offer to meet them over the past year to discuss the case.

Sinn Fein responded by saying if the McCartneys wanted to
meet, they should contact the party.

As the British government prepared to introduce legislation
in the House of Commons tomorrow which will bring into
effect the St Andrews power sharing plan, Mr Cameron paid
tribute to Tony Blair who was taking part in his last
Queen's Speech as Prime Minister for his persistence with
the Northern peace process.

"When people look back at the Prime Minister's time in
office, they will give him enormous credit for his
unstinting efforts to bring peace in Northern Ireland," the
Tory leader said.


Threats To Sinn Fein 'Very Real'

Police are treating threats made by dissident republicans
to the Sinn Fein leadership as very real, Chief Constable
Sir Hugh Orde has said.

Republican sources say threats to senior Sinn Fein members
have come from disaffected IRA members who left the
organisation in recent months.

Sir Hugh said the dissidents were "determined to wreck
everything that has been achieved in Northern Ireland". He
was speaking on BBC Newsline's i-Generation webcast for
young people.

"The Sinn Fein leadership say their perception is the
threat against them has increased - I don't think they're
wrong," he said.

"Because of where the leadership wants to take their
organisation, which is down a political and an entirely
proper route towards a debate on the future of the island
of Ireland, there are people who don't want that to happen.

"They'd far rather do what they've done in the past, which
is violence."

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/11/15 22:54:17 GMT


Photos 'A Reminder Of Why Sinn Fein Must Back Police'

(Seamus McKinney, Irish News)

The publication of what is believed to be the only pictures
of Sinn Fein MP Martin McGuinness wearing an IRA uniform is
a "dramatic reminder" of why republicans must endorse and
support police and the courts, it has been claimed.

The Irish News yesterday (Monday) published a series of
pictures of the MP taken at the funeral of fellow IRA man
and close friend Colm Keenan in 1972.

Mr Keenan, along with another IRA member, Eugene McGillan,
was shot dead by British soldiers during a gun battle in
Derry's Bogside, although the organisation has denied the
men were involved in the battle.

Taken by former Irish News photographer Willie Carson, the
photographs will be published in a new collection of his
work - Derry Through the Lens: Refocus - to mark the tenth
anniversary of his death from cancer in 1996.

Published by Guildhall Press, the book includes pictures of
Derry through the Troubles and into the peace process,
including one of the photographer himself along with well-
known press camera man Cyril Cain, who was shot in the leg
with a plastic bullet while working in Derry.

Realising the sensitivity around some of the pictures, Mr
Carson ordered that they never be published in his

In August this year his son William discussed the
possibility of publishing the photos with Mr McGuinness,
who told him he had already confirmed to the Saville
Inquiry that he was an IRA member during the early 1970s.

The DUP's Ian Paisley jnr last night claimed the photograph
showed the need for republicans to give their backing to
policing structures and the courts.

"If [Sinn Fein] expect to convince people in Northern
Ireland they are no longer engaged in a subversive campaign
designed to destroy the state and have instead turned to
the pursuit of their agenda through exclusively peaceful
and democratic means then support for, and working with the
police will be evident from Sinn Fein. Decision time for
republicans has arrived," he said.

November 15, 2006


State Set To Announce Plans For Dialogue With Churches

Miriam Donohoe, Political Staff

Taoiseach Bertie Ahern is today expected to outline plans
for the start of a new formal discussion among the State,
churches and faith communities on areas of common concern.

Meetings between senior civil servants and representatives
of various religions to explore the agenda to be pursued in
the talks and to arrange a timetable for meetings with the
Government have been ongoing since the summer.

Mr Ahern will tell the Opposition parties in the D il that
arrangements for the start of dialogue are being finalised.
The structure will allow for a plenary meeting between
representatives of the churches and faith communities every
year, while separate bilateral meetings between the
Government and the different faiths will be held on an
ongoing basis.

The extent of Catholic Church control over primary schools
could be raised in talks, covering practical issues such as
the upkeep and maintenance of school buildings, it is
understood. Issues which impinge on the right to freedom of
worship are also likely to be discussed, while the dialogue
structure may allow for the raising of a range of social
phenomena such as suicide.

While there have been informal contacts between the State
and various churches in recent years, there has been no
mechanism in place for formal talks. In 2004, the Catholic
bishops met the Government over stem-cell research but this
meeting was a rare event.

A Government spokeswoman confirmed last night that
consultations between the State, churches and faith
communities have been ongoing and a formal talks launch
date is under consideration.

At the Humbert Summer School in Killala, Co Mayo, last
August, Archbishop of Dublin Dr Diarmuid Martin expressed
his disappointment at the delay in a formula being proposed
by the Government for its promised formal dialogue.

Last February, the Taoiseach said he believed dialogue
between the Government, churches and non-confessional
organisations should be "transparent and open" and
facilitated under the Freedom of Information Act.

He said in an interview with the Irish Catholic that, as
Taoiseach, he represented "equally not only Catholics but
people of all faiths and none. This is not only my
constitutional duty; it is at the heart of my republican

A spokesman for Dr Martin said last night it was his
understanding matters were "moving ahead" in relation to a
formal announcement on the talks.

A spokesman for Church of Ireland Archbishop of Dublin Dr
John Neill told The Irish Times there were soundings taken
in September on talks and "we will be listening with
interest to proposals and developments". The general
secretary of the Council of Imams, Ali Selim, said the
Government wrote to him a few months ago and he replied
that Muslim communities would be delighted to participate.

Last November, PD deputy and former minister of state Liz
O'Donnell called for an end to the "special relationship"
between Church and State in the D il.

She also demanded that "the church's almost universal
control of education" be "radically addressed".


Minister To 'Vigorously Contest' Ruling In Supreme Court

Kitty Holland

The Department of Justice is to appeal yesterday's High
Court ruling that it had breached the rights of hundreds of
Irish children, in not taking their welfare into account,
when denying their non-Irish parents the right to remain in
the State.

A spokeswoman for the department said the Minister would
"vigorously contest" the decision in the Supreme Court.

Immigrant groups, however, said they were "delighted" with
the ruling by Ms Justice Mary Finlay Geoghegan and said the
hundreds of parents affected must now be contacted and
invited to reapply for leave to remain.

Hilkka Becker, solicitor with the Immigrant Council of
Ireland and legal spokeswoman for the Coalition Against the
Deportation of Irish Children, said the ruling would affect
566 parents.

She said it was not known how many had already been
deported or had voluntarily left the State, although she
thought the majority were still here. "The Department of
Justice should get in contact with them at their last known
address. Not all who are affected will have daily access to
Irish newspapers or the news. We are delighted the court
has ruled the rights of the child must be taken into

"The implication is that the department must now go back
and look at the cases refused on the same grounds and see
whether they were properly refused."

In her judgment, Ms Justice Finlay Geoghegan said the
welfare of the Irish citizen child must be taken into
account by the Minister when deciding on applications from
their non-Irish parents for leave to remain. In her
decision on eight test cases, she said the refusal of the
parents' applications to remain, with no consideration
given to the rights of the Irish- born children, breached
their children's rights as Irish citizens guaranteed under
the Constitution. She also found the children's rights
under the European Convention on Human Rights had been

The background to yesterday's ruling stems from the 2003
Supreme Court decision that non-Irish parents of Irish-born
children did not have automatic entitlement to remain here.

In the cases before the High Court yesterday, the common
cause for refusal was that the parents had failed to prove
they were continuously resident in the State from the birth
of their citizen child.


Imam Calls For Attack In Ireland - BBC

Fiona Gartland

An Islamic cleric who was exiled from the UK for his
support for terrorism has advocated an attack on Dublin
airport,according to a BBC investigation.

Omar Bakri Mohammed, founder in the UK of the now disbanded
al-Muhajiroun movement, has allegedly been broadcasting via
the internet since his exile to the Lebanon and, in a
chatroom conversation, appeared to advocate an attack on
Dublin airport.

A group called Vigil Network, established last year to
monitor and transcribe the online jihadist movement, said
it discovered Bakri Mohammed talking to supporters and
recorded the discussions.

In sessions recorded in May, June and July, one of his
followers, who appeared to confuse Dublin airport with
Shannon airport, is alleged to have described it as "where
kuffar American forces fly to reach Iraq to kill our

"Should this be part of the battlefield?" he is reported to
have asked.

Bakri Mohammed is alleged to have replied: "Hit the target,
hit it very hard and that issue must be understood, the
situation there is quite difficult."

He is reported to have said of Jews: "You have no choice
but to hate them. How do you fight the Jews? You kill the

The cleric was using a pseudonym, but according to the BBC
Newsnight programme broadcast last night, he was identified
by a voice recognition expert.

When contacted in Lebanon by the BBC, Bakri Mohammed
dismissed the programme's claims as "ludicrous" and "a


Dervish Selected For Eurovision Contest

Dervish, a six-piece traditional Irish band based in Sligo,
has been chosen by RT to perform Ireland's entry for the
52nd Eurovision Song Contest in Helsinki in May 2007,
writes Fiona Gartland.

The band will first perform four songs - shortlisted by
judges from entries to a national song contest - on the
Late Late Show in February. The most popular song, voted
for by viewers, will then go forward to the European

Shane Mitchell, Dervish's accordion player, said the band
was honoured to accept RT's invitation and looked forward
to "raising the roof of the 'Areena' in Helsinki".

Songwriters can submit original compositions up to three
minutes long for the competition until January 8th, 2007.


Military Event 'Best Option' To Mark 1916

Marie O'Halloran

An annual military commemoration of the 1916 Rising is
Taoiseach Bertie Ahern's preferred option to mark the
anniversary, he told the D il.

Mr Ahern confirmed to Labour leader Pat Rabbitte that there
would be no major alternative to the military parade, but
he said the annual parade would be much smaller than this
year's 90th anniversary commemoration.

That "would not be sustainable for every anniversary of
Easter week. Nonetheless, there should be a commemorative
event each year."

Mr Rabbitte said he understood the Government would
organise a non-military commemoration next year. The
decision might be subject to consultation with other
parties, but Mr Rabbitte pointed out that the all-party
Oireachtas committee on commemorations had only met once,
at Easter.

He also asked if the Government would commemorate the
anniversary of the first D il and about the progress on
commemorations of the Great Famine. Mr Ahern said the all-
party committee would discuss the commemorations including
that of the first D il, and that the options for the Famine
commemoration varied from a national holiday to a day of

The Taoiseach said there was a great pressure for
commemorations, including the 400th anniversary of the
flight of the Earls.

There was "passionate interest in these by groups which
make tremendous presentations to me", Mr Ahern said. "Every
year I find myself giving bad news to 10 or 15
organisations and we pick very few. That is the hard


Google Announces 500 Dublin Jobs

Google is to create 500 new jobs in Dublin - taking the
workforce at its European headquarters to 1,300 people.

The operation deals with customers and advertisers - with
the existing 800 staff speaking 45 languages and coming
from more than 40 different countries.

Google said the Dublin centre "delivered huge value" to its
customers around the world.

The Irish government said the news confirmed the country's
status as a European hub for technology firms.

"The announcement further endorses Ireland's ability to
provide the technical infrastructure and skills base to
support such operations," said the Republic's Minister For
Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Micheal Martin.

"Its investment here in Dublin is a huge vote of confidence
in our knowledge economy and in our young, educated
workforce," he added.

Google, founded in 1998, first located in Ireland in 2003,
and opened its European headquarters in Dublin in October

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/11/15 15:25:46 GMT


Beckett Letters May Fetch 300,000

A collection of letters and postcards written by Irish
writer Samuel Beckett could fetch up to ?300,000 at an
auction next month.

The correspondence, which spans almost 40 years, features
the Dubliner's famous spidery handwriting and is signed by

Beckett writes openly in fluent French about his health,
family and work in progress. The envelopes and postcards
are postmarked in Paris, Dublin, London, Berlin, Stuttgart,
Ussy-sur-Marne and elsewhere. Sotheby's of London, which is
selling the items on December 7th, described the lot as the
most important series of letters by the eccentric Dubliner
ever offered for sale.

Originally sent to Beckett's friends, painters Henri and
Josette Hayden, the correspondence went on display at a
preview of the sale in Dublin today. "It is the most
extensive and important series of letters by Beckett ever
to be offered at auction," a Sotheby's spokesman said.

The lot has a guide price of œ150,000-œ200,000. Beckett met
the Haydens in 1943 while they took refuge from the Gestapo
in the small French village of Roussillon d'Apt in Vichy

Their lifelong friendship began with their common love of
painting, and Beckett and Henri would often work in close
proximity to one another, or play long silent games of
chess. On their return to Paris after the Second World War,
the Haydens discovered that their studio had been pillaged
by the Germans, with the loss of all Henri's pre-war

Beckett helped restore Hayden's reputation by arranging
exhibitions of his work. Throughout the friendship, Hayden
became increasingly recognised in France as a major

It has been speculated that Beckett's relationship with
Henri was a source of inspiration for Vladimir and Estragon
in Waiting for Godot. Henri died in 1970, but Beckett
continued to write regularly to Josette until 1985.
Sotheby's sale also features early editions of many of
Beckett's books and plays including Krapp's Last Tape and
More Pricks Than Kicks. ends

c 2006


Port Tunnel To Open On December 20th

Patrick Logue

Dublin City Council confirmed this morning the city's port
tunnel is to open on December 20th.

The tunnel, built at a cost of ?752 million, is 4.5
kilometres long and is designed to take heavy goods
vehicles between the city's port and Whitehall, north of
the city. From here, vehicles can access the key M1 and M50

The journey will take about 10 minutes.

The council says the majority of approximately 9,000 heavy
goods vehicles will be taken out of the city by the tunnel.

The tunnel will be toll-free for heavy goods vehicles and
coaches over 25 seats. All

other vehicles, including cars, taxis, motorcycles and
light commercial vehicles, less than 3.5 tonnes, will be

Tolls will be between ?3 and ?12 depending on the time of
the day and day of the week. The revenues received from
toll charges will go toward the operational cost of the
tunnel, with any surplus reverting to the State.

Planning for the Dublin Port Tunnel started approximately
ten years prior to commencement of construction. It was
part of the Dublin Transportation Initiative in 1993. Its
completion is more than two years behind schedule.

Tim Brick, Project Engineer with Dublin City Council said
5,000 construction and engineering staff worked 7.5 million
man-hours on the tunnel.

It is the largest single piece of infrastructure in the
history of the State, the longest road tunnel in an urban
area in Europe but has been dogged by controversies since
its inception. Residents living above the route complained
of structural damage to their homes from the massive boring

Leaks plagued the final months of construction and hauliers
have objected to the design, insisting supertrucks, nearly
5m (16ft) high, would effectively be banned from Irish
roads as they cannot use the tunnel or city centre roads.
The tunnels are 4.9m high with an operating height of 4.65m

It is higher than the Boston Big Dig at 4.45m, Sydney's A6
at 4.5m and Madrid's Calle 30, also at 4.5m. Over 98% of
trucks leaving the port will be able to use the tunnel.
Much of the route is between 21 and 23 metres (75ft), or
seven storeys, below ground level, and dedicated fire crews
will be on hand to respond to emergencies.

The council's HGV strategy to take large trucks off Dublin
city streets will be introduced approximately two months
after the tunnel opens.

Under the strategy all HGVs with 5 axles or more, exiting
the port, must use the tunnel to access the State's
national road network.

A 200-strong firefighting team spent several weeks training
with specialists in Switzerland to prepare them for
accidents. Sixteen jet fans run the ventilation system and
are capable of changing the air within minutes.

The Progressive Democrats recently published a plan, backed
by the Taoiseach, that would see the phased moving of
Dublin port to a location north of the capital and the
development of prime lands in thec current location.

Under such a scenario the tunnel would be used by residents
and workers in the redeveloped area. The proposed moving of
Dublin port, however, is still not Government policy.

Speaking today, the Progressive Democrats transport
spokesman Tom Morrissey said: "We see the tunnel evolving
to be used by residents of this vibrant new waterfront

"There will be commuters driving private cars, but there
will also be large numbers of buses running through the
tunnel and servicing large park-and-ride facilities at each
end," he said.

c 2006

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