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November 23, 2006

Up To Brink As Assembly Deadline Looms

News About Ireland & The Irish

BT 11/23/06 Up To Brink As Assembly Deadline Looms
BT 11/23/06 'No-Nonsense' Deadline Vanishes Without Trace
IT 11/23/06 Paisley Warned Over Power-Sharing
BT 11/23/06 Paisley Silent On Free Presbyterian Warning
BT 11/23/06 Opin: Stormont Lights Must Not Be Dimmed
IN 11/23/06 Opin: It Makes Economic Sense For A Single Economy
BT 11/23/06 Opin: Peter Hain- A Law Unto Himself?
BT 11/23/06 New Attack Linked To Feuding Families
BT 11/23/06 Community Fury At Church Plan To Demolish Hall
BT 11/23/06 Just Two Of Ulster's 'Supergeese' Return
MC 11/23/06 Johnny Cash Concert From Ireland Comes To DVD


Up To Brink As Assembly Deadline Looms

By Noel McAdam
23 November 2006

A face-off between the DUP and the Government today
threatened to throw the outworking of the St Andrews
blueprint into a new crisis.

Prime Minister Tony Blair has become involved in detailed
negotiations over tomorrow's planned Assembly meeting at
which the Government insists it needs at least an
indication of who will be First Minister and Deputy First

But no new direct meeting between the DUP and Mr Blair, who
met the party leader Ian Paisley yesterday, was envisaged

For more than a week the DUP has insisted it will not
nominate because that would amount to "jumping first"
before Sinn Fein has moved on policing.

Deputy leader Peter Robinson said today: "The position is
that the party is not going to jump first and therefore it
will not nominate or designate or do anything until Sinn
Fein has moved on policing. The fact is there were supposed
to be twin pillars, it was meant to move along parallel
lines, but if Sinn Fein is not moving the DUP will not be

As the deadlock continued the prospect of tomorrow's
session, a key date on the schedule set out in the St
Andrews Agreement, being postponed appeared to be growing.

Secretary of State Peter Hain was due today to send a
direction to the Assembly Speaker to summon a meeting for
10.30am tomorrow, earlier than had been expected.

And the business committee of the new 'transitional'
Assembly, following Royal Assent being given to the St
Andrew legislation, is due to meet around 9.15am.

Negotiations on arrangements for what actually happens on
the floor when the MLAs meet could continue until minutes
before the session begins.

Ulster Unionist leader Sir Reg Empey said today: "I think
whatever is going to happen it is going to be very limited.
It is still very unclear.

"They have put through a major piece of legislation and yet
now the DUP even declaring any intent appears to be in
doubt. There has been a change of tone between the DUP and

Mr Hain said yesterday that an indication of future intent
was a "key and indispensable part" of the St Andrews
Agreement and rounded on DUP MP Nigel Dodds over his
assertion that the devolution of policing and justice might
not happen for a "political lifetime".

Mr Hain said the "inflammatory statements" were "hardly an
encouragement" to Sinn Fein to meet its obligation to reach
its verdict on signing up to policing arrangements.

"If there is not a willingness to express even an intention
to nominate on Friday for March 26, what is the point of

North Belfast MP Mr Dodds, however, said Mr Hain was in
effect asking his party to "jump first" while Sinn Fein had
"retreated" to a pre-St Andrews position on policing. Sinn
Fein has made clear it will formally nominate Martin
McGuinness as Deputy First Minister at tomorrows' meeting,
while still awaiting details of the actual arrangements for
the session.


'No-Nonsense' Deadline Vanishes Without Trace

The "real" deadline for devolution now appears to be March
26 next year. Whatever happened to November 24? Political
Correspondent Noel McAdam reports that while the Government
thinks the dates can change, the deadlines remain

23 November 2006

If it ever was a line in the sand, it was a fast-fading
one. And now the Government's "firm, no-nonsense"
devolution deadline for tomorrow seems to have all but

Secretary of State Peter Hain may continue to insist, as he
did in the House of Commons on Tuesday, that he can still
pull the plug if tomorrow's envisaged Assembly gathering is
not a "success".

But no-one actually believes him any longer, even if they
ever did.

Instead, our beleaguered Direct Rule chief seems to be
prepared to accept almost anything the parties are willing
to do as a huge symbolic act signalling potential real

The Stormont optimist was doing his finest 'glass-half-
full' act even earlier this week.

The parties had "broadly" signed up to the "architecture"
of the St Andrews Agreement, he told MPs. Hadn't he seen
their formal responses to the last St Andrews deadline a
fortnight ago?

In fact, Mr Hain went even further, describing the written
answers from the parties as giving the St Andrews blueprint
a "fair wind". Instead, in terms of maintaining political
momentum, the parties' replies hardly amounted to a zephyr.

And yet they could still create a huge storm, capable of
blowing away any prospect of devolution, the Government has
warned, for several generations.

The harsh reality is, however, that at their most positive
possible interpretation, the response from both the DUP and
Sinn Fein was a 'definite maybe'.

After several uneasy gatherings of its grassroots
activists, the DUP executive argued Sinn Fein had turned
back the clock to a pre-St Andrews position and then
effectively proceeded to do the same themselves.

So is the promise of St Andrews in danger of fading back
into the Scottish mist?

Will the three days in Scotland come to be viewed as a Good
Friday mark two or a Leeds Castle - best remembered for
what it failed to achieve?

Taking a semantic, not to say strategic, leap or two, Peter
Hain seems to believe that, while the actual date can
change, deadlines remains the same. Without it, this week's
sweeping legislation would not have happened.

Even though it is unravelling, Mr Hain argues that whatever
happened at St Andrews it is the agreement he had wanted
all along.

"In May, when we passed the emergency Bill to set up the
transitional Assembly - the Northern Ireland Act 2006 - I
said that agreement had to be reached by November 24. That
has happened," he said.

"We had St Andrews and the parties' indication that we
should introduce the Bill. If there had been no agreement,
we would have closed Stormont down."

But thus also he has continued to argue that the Peace
Train which Tony Blair told us was leaving the station way
back in 1997, could still "run out of track".

As ever Sinn Fein MPs were absent, but the DUP attempted to
find out if that decoupling decision may have to be made if
republicans haven't held their ard fheis to deliver a
verdict on joining policing arrangements by the end of
January - when the 'transitional' Assembly, expected to
come into effect tomorrow, is due to end its term of

You guessed it, January 31 is yet another deadline - but
again, one which could be changed.

Not least because, before then, Sinn Fein needs precisely
what DUP says it cannot give - increased certainty over the
devolution of policing and justice. If republicans are
being asked to commit to policing, but told it could be
"several political lifetimes" before their political
representatives become operationally involved, how could
Gerry Adams sell that to his own, equally uneasy,

And yet with their mutual vetoes secured - the DUP can halt
Gerry Kelly becoming Justice Minister, but Sinn Fein can
stop Ian Paisley Jnr, too - there could be compromise if
Ulster Unionists and/or the SDLP take the ministry instead.
But, with an election already being factored in, Ulster
Unionists will prove reluctant to do the DUP's dirty work.

Forget lines in the sand. The political process could be in
a bunker. Or beached for the foreseeable future.

The countdown (timeline) to November 24

THURSDAY, APRIL 6 Premiers Tony Blair and Bertie Ahern
formally announce the November 24 deadline in a trip to
Armagh. The date had emerged a few days earlier. Failure to
reach it, they warned, would mean new British-Irish
"partnership arrangements" to develop the "structure and
functions of the Good Friday Agreement" and a "steep change
in advancing North-South co-operation".

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 19 Secretary of State Peter Hain warns
that failure by November 24 means the Government will be
"forced to close the book on devolution for the foreseeable

THURSDAY, APRIL 27 Apart from axed salaries and allowances,
Mr Hain warns if the deadline is bust there will be "no
golden handshakes" for the MLAs concerned.

THURSDAY, JUNE 29 Tony Blair, back in Belfast, warns: "This
is the last chance for this generation to make the process

MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 11 Mr Hain, in Dundalk, warns missing the
November 24 deadline will also mean Northern Ireland
slipping further behind in the global economic race, the
stagnation or deterioration of community relations and
"melting away" of the political class.

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 21 on the BBC's Hearts and Minds, Mr
Hain said: "If they don't make up their minds by November
24 they are probably not going to make their minds up for
years to come. We are saying that the time has come to put
up or shut up."

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 21 Mr Hain told MPs: "I made it clear
throughout to the House and in other public pronouncements,
as did my ministerial team, that agreement had to be
reached by November 24. A deal had to be done by then. That
has been achieved and it is why we are introducing the
Bill. If there had been no agreement at St. Andrews and the
parties had not subsequently given it a fair wind, we would
not be introducing the Bill today."


Paisley Warned Over Power-Sharing

A senior member of the Rev Ian Paisley's Free Presbyterian
Church warned today that many of his congregation were
opposed to the Democratic Unionists entering a power-
sharing Stormont administration with Sinn Fein.

The Rev Ivan Foster issued the warning after a Bill
designed to restore power sharing next March was passed by
the House of Lords last night ahead of a meeting of the
transitional Assembly in Stormont tomorrow.

With Dr Paisley and Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams expected
to indicate at tomorrow's meeting who their choices would
be for Stormont first and deputy first minister next March,
Rev Foster said many Free Presbyterians were alarmed at the
prospect of the DUP and Sinn Fein sharing power.

The Co Fermanagh-based Free Presbyterian minister and
former senior DUP Assembly member said: "I would say most
Free Presbyterians are deeply, deeply troubled.

"In fact I would say I know of no Free Presbyterian who
would welcome seeing Dr Paisley in the position of
political coalition with Sinn Fein and particularly with
Martin McGuinness," he told BBC Radio Ulster.

The British government expects Dr Paisley to confirm he
will be the first minister next March if the St Andrews
agreement for devolution is implemented.

It is also expected Mr McGuinness will be Sinn Fein's
choice as deputy first minister.

Rev Foster is the first clergyman within Dr Paisley's
church to express reservations openly about the DUP
pursuing Prime Minister Tony Blair and Taoiseach Bertie
Ahern's plan for power sharing.

Democratic Unionist MEP Jim Allister broke ranks last month
after the St Andrews talks, raising doubts about the plan.
Veteran councillor Jack McKee in Larne also publicly
expressed reservations.

Emergency legislation to restore power sharing in Northern
Ireland by next March was rushed through Britain's House of
Lords last night.

But during the Lords' passage former Northern Ireland first
minister Lord Trimble raised the spectre of a "deadlocked
Assembly" as the DUP and Sinn Fein remained at odds over
republican support for policing and the courts.

The former Ulster Unionist leader said there was an
agreement between Mr Blair and Mr Ahern but no one else.
"The government is proceeding on optimistic assumptions
which are not likely to be fulfilled," he cautioned.

Northern Ireland Minister Lord Rooker called for a period
of prolonged stability to help the devolution process and
insisted problems could be overcome if "everyone delivers
on their commitments".

Tory former Cabinet minister Lord Tebbit said: "This Bill
is another stage in the relentless march of Sinn Fein-IRA
into power in Northern Ireland - power which has been won
by bombs and bullets because it couldn't be won by the
ballot box alone."


Paisley Silent On Free Presbyterian Warning

By Noel McAdam
23 November 2006

Ian Paisley today declined to comment on claims that most
Free Presbyterians are heartbroken at the prospect of him
sharing power with Sinn Fein.

Longtime associate the Rev Ivan Foster said he knew of no-
one in the church who welcomed their Moderator going into
coalition with Sinn Fein, particularly Martin McGuinness.

His comments came after legislation underpinning the St
Andrews Agreement recieved Royal Assent, the final stage
before tomorrow's Assembly meeting at which the Government
anticipated the DUP and Sinn Fein will at least indicate
who will be First and Deputy First Ministers.

As revealed in the Belfast Telegraph earlier this month, Mr
Foster argued on his 'Burning Bush' website that Gerry
Adams and Mr McGuinness would still defend terrorist
actions. "They have only changed tactics. They are not
changed men," he said.

And earlier this year Mr Foster, a DUP Assembly member in
the 1980s who 40 years ago shared a prison sentence with Mr
Paisley, warned that the party would "reject and betray"
its own past by entering government with republicans.

Today in a BBC interview he added that, while he believed
Mr Paisley will "do his best", most Free Presbyterians are
"deeply, deeply troubled".

"In fact, I would say I know of no Free Presbyterian who
would welcome seeing Dr Paisley in the position of
political coalition with Sinn Fein and particularly with
Martin McGuinness."

Mr Foster, who as this newspaper also first reported,
headed a church delegation to meet senior DUP figures a
fortnight ago, said: "Harsh criticisms of someone that you
hold very dear are very hard to bear.

"You can bear criticism of yourself more than you can bear
criticism of those you admire and desire the very best

But contacted by the Belfast Telegraph today, Mr Paisley
would only comment: "I have nothing to say to you."


Opin: Stormont Lights Must Not Be Dimmed

23 November 2006

Anyone who believes in the democratic process, where local
politicians make decisions according to local needs, must
hope that the Government timetable for devolution will
survive. The initial plan for the DUP and Sinn Fein to make
formal nominations for the top jobs at Stormont tomorrow
has been abandoned but, provided the logjam over policing
and power-sharing can be cleared, there is at least an even
chance that the executive will go live on March 26.

The alternative, of continued direct rule, was starkly on
view during a six-hour Commons debate on the St Andrews
deal, which the Secretary of State called "the most
significant for generations". There was barely a quorum,
although the Government was rushing through emergency
legislation providing for a fresh Assembly election on
March 7 and adding more checks and balances to the devolved

Northern Ireland can hardly complain about the disinterest
of Westminster MPs, since so many initiatives have failed,
over the years. But there should be no complacency, either,
for the common view in Britain is that the Government has
given our politicians every chance to come to an
accommodation, yet they continue to ask for more - from
each other and from the taxpayer.

Nevertheless, the scene is set at Stormont tomorrow for the
DUP and Sinn Fein to indicate, as clearly as possible, that
they are ready to govern together next Spring. They still
have conditions to be met, which currently seem
incompatible but, if they can agree to the principle of
local power-sharing, the Government is giving them time,
before the Assembly election, to resolve the policing

Mr Hain is adamant that this is their last chance, and
hopefully the politicians will take him at his word, for
once. "The Government won't be chasing after the parties",
he warned. "We have done as much as we humanly can". Few
would disagree, but his problem is that so much chasing has
been done and so many side deals have been delivered, that
it will be difficult to convince the politicians that those
days are over. Sinn Fein has to understand how unacceptable
it is - and always was - for a party in government to
withhold support from the PSNI or the justice system until
it has some control over them.

Trust is the missing ingredient, between unionists and
republicans, and it will have to be worked at, over time. A
start has been made, in the Programme for Government
committee, and tomorrow's conditional acceptance of power-
sharing will be another important step forward. Everyone
knows the choice, between devolution and dissolution,
accompanied by oppressive direct rule. No more coaxing, by
governments, should be necessary.


Opin: It Makes Economic Sense For A Single Economy

By Jim Gibney

Britain's occupation of Ireland has lasted for more than
800 years. For most of that time, barring the years after
partition, Ireland was treated by the British as a single

Prior to 1921, the year of partition, there was a single

Partition not only fractured Ireland as a nation it split
its economy.

Partition resulted in two `back-to-back' economies, one in
the 26 counties the other in the six counties.

The Dublin and Belfast-based governments, for a range of
different and competing reasons were driven by the
necessity to prove that each state was politically and
economically viable.

This led to separate development. In the north the economy
was dominated by the unionist party who introduced and
maintained structural discrimination against northern

To assert their `independence' unionist leaders turned
their back on the rest of Ireland and look towards London.

The fledgling Irish government turned its attention inwards
and tried to build a prosperous economy on an insular and
self-reliant basis.

This economic separation has existed for less than 90 years
- a relatively short period in the context of 800 years of

It must also be borne in mind that for most of the years
after partition there was a single currency - the pound -
in use across the island.

While the political shockwaves of partition were fairly
obvious, especially for northern Catholics and nationalists
with the emergence of the six county state, less obvious
and commented on was the economic impact of dismembering a
nation as small as Ireland. Those most affected and most
ignored were the people who lived in those counties
straddling the border.

The economic history of both states makes dismal reading.
But for relatively short periods, the forties and fifties
in the north and the last 15 years of the Celtic Tiger in
the south, both entities were economic as well as political

Today the six county economy would not function without the
œ6 billion annual subsidy from the British Treasury. A
decade or so ago an Irish government minister said that
emigration in the south was unavoidable because the
southern economy could not sustain its growing population.

The repressive nature of the northern state which led to
decades of war following the pogroms of 1969 also
contributed to the failure of the state's economy.

Against this historical background it is therefore all the
more important that significant developments are beginning
to take place which are focusing minds on the need for
Ireland to have a single economy.

A few weeks ago the British and Irish governments published
a joint report mapping out those areas of the two economies
where there could be immediate cooperation. These were in
the sectors of infrastructure, roads, rail, ports and
airports, science, technology, labour skills and the border

Simultaneously two of Ireland's main business groups, IBEC
and the CBI called for more `collaboration' on an island-
wide basis.

Chairman of the CBI, Declan Billington, called for "more
ambition at an all-island level" in the areas of spatial
planning, waste disposal, transport and education.

British secretary of state Peter Hain has publicly said
that the six county economy is "not sustainable in the long
term" and that Ireland's economic future would increasingly
be viewed in terms of the island.

Responding to these developments Sinn Fein's economic
spokesman, Mitchel McLaughlin, urged both governments to
"move from cooperation to joined-up development" in terms
of future economic planning for the island.

Although both unionist parties are opposed to planned
economic reunification they know and are silent about the
economic realities - business people from a unionist
background are already investing in the southern economy
and southerners are increasingly investing in the six

In these days of economic integration it makes economic
sense for a single economy in this country.

That economic drive needs to be led by the Irish and
British governments.

They could start by adopting the euro as a single currency
across the island and follow this up with having single
departments for finance, agriculture, health, education,
social and infrastructural development.

A single economy would also make a valuable

contribution to national reconciliation between
nationalists and unionists and begin to lay the foundations
for political reunification.


Opin: Peter Hain- A Law Unto Himself?

Eamonn McCann
23 November 2006

There were a dozen MPs in the Commons on Tuesday afternoon
when Peter Hain stood up to introduce the St Andrews Bill,
and not one of them shouted: "Resign!"

Herein lies one of the keys to understanding how British
ministers can safely behave in ways here in Northern
Ireland which would make toast of their political careers
anywhere else.

It's been widely observed that last Monday's remarks by
Judge Girvan about Hain's approach to the Victims'
Commissioner case would have sparked calls for his
resignation had they been directed towards any other
cabinet minister. This reflects the disdain in which
Northern Ireland is held across the water, it is said.

But it also reflects the fact that Northern politicians
seem so focused on local concerns that questions of wider
principle, which would arise more or less automatically
elsewhere - even in New Labour Britain or the Fianna Fail
Republic - are seen here as distracting irrelevancies.

Suggestions that Hain should consider his cabinet position
following Judge Girvan's initial criticisms on November 9
came not from NI politicians, but from Plaid Cymru's
Westminster leader Elfyn Llwyd and Clwyd West Tory MP David
Jones. The pair won no backing from their colleagues here
in raising the possibility of Hain being forced out of both
the Welsh Office and the NIO - on an issue solely to do
with Northern Ireland circumstances. Remarkable.

However, it may be that the implications of the case for
Hain's career and the reputation of the NIO are set to
become unavoidable.

Now, it has emerged, the Attorney General, (AG) Lord
Goldsmith, may be asked to expand the inquiry ordered by
Judge Girvan to take in the NIO's role in the court
challenge mounted earlier this year by Garvaghy Road man
Joe Duffy over the appointment of two members of the Orange
Order to the Parades Commission.

Lawyers for Mr Duffy are studying Judge Girvan's ruling on
November 9 and his referral of the issue to the AG on
Monday, with a view to writing to Lord Goldsmith
suggesting, in effect, that the Secretary of State has
previous form in this area which should be taken into

The suggestion which Judge Girvan has asked the AG to
investigate is that Hain sent two senior officials - the
head of the NI civil service, Nigel Hamilton, and NIO
political director, now Permanent Secretary, Jonathan
Phillips - into court to give misleading evidence on oath
in order to conceal the fact (and Judge Girvan found it to
be a fact) that DUP nominee and police widow Bertha
McDougall had been appointed Interim Victims' Commissioner
in October 2005, not because she had been assessed as the
best candidate for the job, but because her appointment
suited Hain's political purposes at the time.

The charge is not of opportunistic or dishonest behaviour,
but of misleading the court in an effort to pervert the
course of justice.

It has been acknowledged by all sides that Bertha McDougall
has been an entirely innocent party in this affair. There
has been less acknowledgement that Judge Girvan also gave
the DUP a clean bill of health. There is nobody in the
frame for the wrong- doing which the court decided had
happened, apart from the NIO and Peter Hain.

The most relevant aspect of the Parades Commission case has
to do not with the validity of the appointments of
Orangemen Don Mackay and David Burrows, but with evidence
given on Hain's behalf by a senior civil servant.

Mackay had cited former SDLP mayor of Portadown Dolores
Kelly as a referee. Hain had the application form
containing this reference in front of him as he made the
appointment. But it turned out Ms Kelly had not agreed to
the reference, and said she wouldn't have had she been
asked. Didn't this mean the appointment had been made on a
false basis, Joe Duffy asked.

No, insisted NIO security official Carol Moore in court.
"Having had the situation checked with the Secretary of
State I am informed by him and believe that the identity of
each of the candidates' referees (including those of Mr
Mackay) played absolutely no part in his decision in
respect of any of the appointments."

Joe Duffy's lawyers are minded to suggest to the AG that
whoever is appointed to conduct the inquiry ordered by
Girvan should examine the possibility that there may be a
pattern emerging.

Meantime, Hain may ponder whether he might have responded
more respectfully to Judge Girvan's initial remarks. On
November 9, the judge had called for an "immediate and
searching inquiry at the highest level". At the highest
level of what, he didn't say.

Hain clearly assumed that it was he who would decide on the
form of the inquiry and who would head it. He gave a number
of interviews in which he cowered behind the unchallenged
integrity of Bertha McDougall while airily insisting that
he'd deal with the inquiry business eventually.

A week ago, on November 16, the Belfast Telegraph's Chris
Thornton reported that the cabinet office believed that
"it's up to (Hain) to decide whether there should be an

Following this, Judge Girvan postponed a hearing scheduled
for the following day until Monday, when he made plain that
it was not at all up to Hain to decide whether there'd be
an inquiry.

There would be an inquiry, conducted through the AG's
office. He listed 67 questions that need answered. He spelt
it out that the AG was required to act in this matter "not
as a Government minister but as the guardian of the public
interest in the due administration of justice".

Peter Hain is in peril. The only thing he has going for him
is that this is Northern Ireland.


New Attack Linked To Feuding Families

By Lesley-Anne Henry
23 November 2006

A petrol bomb attack at a house in west Belfast has been
linked to the feud between the Devlin and Notorantonio

Three people were injured, one suffering from serious
burns, in the incident shortly after 10.10pm yesterday.

It is understood one device was thrown at the property in
New Barnsley Crescent.

The feud between the Notorantonio and Devlin families has
been ongoing since the murder of 39-year-old Gerard Devlin
in February. The father-of-six was stabbed as he called to
collect his children from Whitecliff Parade in Ballymurphy.

So far police have spent more than œ1m tackling the
spiralling tensions.

There have been more than 750 crimes reported in connection
with the feud. These include hundreds of reported incidents
reported to police ranging from verbal abuse to arson.

Sinn Fein representative Maire Cush condemned the violence.

She said there was no place for such attacks in the

"We have made calls on numerous occasions for the people
responsible to stop these attacks," she said.

"There is absolutely no place in this community for people
who are going to continually attacks homes with petrol

Anyone with information is asked to contact police at New
Barnsley on 0845 600 8000.


Community Fury At Church Plan To Demolish Disused Parochial Hall

By Linda McKee
23 November 2006

An unholy row has broken out between the Catholic Church
and villagers keen to transform a partially demolished hall
into a cross-community sports centre.

Drumaroad Community Regeneration says it has been
threatened with legal action by the Diocese of Down and
Connor in the latest sally of a long-standing battle over
Drumaroad Hall.

But the diocese has insisted that the Co Down hall is
parochial property and must be demolished, warning that it
poses a health and safety risk.

A work team arrived to demolish the hall in August but was
forced to give up following objections from up to 20

The group is keen to lease the site to develop a community
resource and recently submitted an outline planning
application to the Planning Service, proposing to transform
the hall into a œ900,000 indoor multi-purpose cross-
community sports centre.

But the diocese has insisted the group failed to serve a
proper notice of application to them prior to the planning

In letters issued through its solicitor, the diocese said
the building was a significant health and safety risk, and
warned that the group had unlawfully trespassed on
parochial property.

The letter said trustees would not meet with the group
while there is a precondition, "namely that the demolition
of the hall cannot be completed until that meeting takes

A Church spokesman said its priority was to demolish the
hall for health and safety reasons.

"It's half up and half down at this stage. The diocese
regards that in the interest of health and safety it is a
priority to demolish the hall," he said.

But health and safety is not an issue because the site is
surrounded by security steel fencing, the group says.
Chairman Liam Quinn called the legal threat "simply


Just Two Of Ulster's 'Supergeese' Return

By Linda McKee
23 November 2006

Two of the 10 Supergeese have finally returned to their UK
wintering grounds following an epic 10,000km round-trip

Howard and Orville are the only light-bellied Brent geese
fitted with transmitters by Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust
(WWT) scientists at Castle Espie in the spring to have made
it back from the Canadian Arctic.

Staff at the Strangford Lough centre fear some of the geese
may have been shot by hunters (as was one of their lot,
Douglas) and others may not be found because their
transmitters have failed.

WWT said Howard was spotted at Strangford Lough several
days ago, less than 3km from the point where he was caught
and fitted with his transmitter in April.

He joins 16,000 geese currently wintering on the lough.

The birds are protected species in the UK, Ireland, Iceland
and Greenland and tracking helps scientists protect them by
finding out what sites they use, how long the journey takes
and how they cope with it.

Meanwhile, Orville's transmitter signal suggests he is now
close to Lough Ryan in Scotland where there is a small
group of Brent geese that may have drifted eastwards due to
the strong westerly winds of recent weeks.

The birds' incredible journeys have been tracked on the website and Howard will be
appearing in a BBC Christmas special of
Springwatch/Autumnwatch. WWT said the return journey from
the Arctic tundra over the Greenland ice-cap through
Iceland and back to Ireland is fraught with danger.

Project scientist Kendrew Colhoun said: "It is great to see
these birds returning safely as we have been receiving
satellite data from only one of them.

"The study has significantly increased our understanding of
the use of spring and autumn staging areas in Greenland and
the breeding range in the eastern Queen Elizabeth Islands.

"This forms the basis of more detailed research work that
we will be conducting with our international colleagues in
2007 and beyond," he said.


Johnny Cash Concert From Ireland Comes To DVD

By Patrick Luce Nov 23, 2006, 13:44 GMT

In the last year or so, the final recordings of music giant
Johnny Cash were issued on 'American V: A Hundred
Highways,' which soared to #1 Pop and #1 Country. A new
hits compilation, 'The Legend Of Johnny Cash,' went #5 Pop
and #2 Country as well as double platinum. Now Cash's
voluminous vault yields a never-before-released live
performance that makes its debut on DVD.

Johnny Cash In Ireland - 1993 (Mercury/UMe), now available,
captures the Man in Black and his entire revue performing
at the Olympia Theatre in Dublin for an Irish television
production. Presented in various superior sound formats,
including 5.1 Surround Sound, the approximately one-hour-
long concert showcases Cash singing many of his greatest
hits--"I Walk The Line," "Folsom Prison Blues," "Get
Rhythm," "A Boy Named Sue," "(Ghost) Riders In The Sky,"
"Daddy Sang Bass" and "Ring Of Fire" plus "I Still Miss

He also sings with wife June Carter Cash (their classic
duet "Jackson"), son John Carter Cash ("No Use In Treatin'
Me This Way"), Kris Kristofferson ("Big River" and "Long
Black Veil"), and The Carter Family, who perform their own
gems too--"Keep On The Sunny Side," "Will The Circle Be
Unbroken" and "Wabash Cannonball." In addition, John
Carter Cash solos Chuck Berry's "Johnny B. Goode" and Irish
popster Sandy Kelly joins Cash, Kristofferson and The
Carter Family on "Forty Shades Of Green," the Johnny Cash-
penned tribute to Ireland.

Though seemingly everything that can be said about Cash has
been said, one aspect of his career rarely explored is how
his popularity in Ireland and the U.K. helped sustain and
revive him. Celtic music was a foundation of both folk and
country and his continued adulation there owed much to that
tradition. Touring Ireland in 1989, he heard on the radio
Kelly's version of the Patsy Cline hit "Crazy"--the
country's biggest selling record of the year.

He invited her to one of his shows and brought her on stage
to sing. He later invited her to Nashville and they
recorded "Woodcarver" together, which went gold in Ireland.
So it was natural that she would again appear with him in
Ireland in 1993.

Between record companies that year, he also sang on "The
Wanderer" from Ireland's biggest music artist, U2, for that
enormously popular group's Zooropa. Buoyed by the praise
of a new generation, he then signed with Rick Rubin's
American Recordings and Johnny Cash began the final phase
of perhaps the most extraordinary career in modern American

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