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December 04, 2006

1,100 Turn Out to Support Schumer at ILIR Meeting

News About Ireland & The Irish

IL 12/04/06 1,100 Irish Turn Out To Support Schumer
IN 12/04/06 Loyalists Force Three Families From Homes
IN 12/04/06 Relatives Mark Anniversary Of McGurk Bombing
IT 12/04/06 Ahern To Raise Collusion Concerns With Blair
EX 12/04/06 Deadlock Over Policing Threatens Election
NH 12/04/06 DUP Rocked By Dissension
IN 12/04/06 Sinn Fein Veteran Quits Over Policing
EX 12/04/06 Concerns On Restorative Justice To Be Heard
IN 12/04/06 Opin: Negotiation Key To Resolution
IN 12/04/06 TV Interest In Sunken Secrets
BN 12/04/06 Record 9 Million Tourists Visit Ireland Last Yr


ILIR: 1,100 Irish Turn Out To Support Schumer

The Dream Is Alive! More than 1,100 people squeezed into St
Barnabas High School Auditorium in the Bronx on Friday
night to hear NY Senator Charles Schumer predict victory
for immigration reform in 2007.

The overflowing crowd spilled out onto the sidewalk. Local
businesses closed down for an hour as customers and staff
packed into the church.

Senator Schumer was greeted with a roar of deafening cheers
as he was given the traditional Irish bagpipe escort into
the rally. The cheering continued as the crowd heard what
the Senator had to say about immigration reform.

"Without the Irish this would be very difficult to get
done," said Senator Schumer. "The Irish are a hugely
important part of the lobby on this issue. They have proved
in the past how successful they can be when they address
this topic and I am delighted to be working with them."

ILIR Chairman Niall O'Dowd said: "Senator Schumer's
comments make it clear that this is the year for victory
and that the Irish lobby will play a critical role".

"The level of support that we have received and the
incredible reaction to Senator Schumer's remarks makes it
clear that the Irish lobby is back in action in a big way
and demanding progress.

"We will be back in Washington, we will be back in the
corridors of power, we will be back to get what is
rightfully ours - a fair immigration system which will
allow the Irish undocumented to legalize their status and
which will allow future generations of Irish to emigrate
legally to the US, something they can not do at present".

ILIR Vice-Chairman Ciaran Staunton said; "I thought the
roof would come off when Senator Schumer (whose nickname is
Chuck) said "Tiocfaidh ár lá " (our day will come). It was
an emotional night, one that I feel meant an awful lot to
the Irish who came".

"For too long, we have been on the outsde, now we have the
king of the Senate, Chuck Schumer, who delivered victory
for the Democrats coming in to our community and telling us

Executive Director Kelly Fincham paid tribute to the
volunteers, saying they were the real reason behind the
ILIR's success. "Every time you show up, every time you put
on the Legalize the Irish T-shirt, you make a huge impact.
Twelve months ago, we were calling Senator Schumer looking
for support. Now he's calling us!"

The event was deemed so significant that the editorial
board of The New York Times, the US paper of record, sent a



Loyalists Force Three Families From Homes

By Catherine Morrison

THREE families have been forced to leave their Co Derry
homes under threat from loyalist paramilitaries, just weeks
before Christmas.

Last Saturday, a gang of masked men burst into one of the
houses at the Ballyness Park estate in Coleraine and
ordered the family to move out. They also named two other
families in the estate and said they had 48 hours to vacate
the properties.

Two of the families have young children.

Police officers visited the three homes last Friday to hand
over warning notices informing them of the threat, which is
believed to emanate from the UDA.

A senior UDA so-called ‘brigadier’ called ‘The Mexican’
lives in the same estate.

One of the families is believ-ed to be refusing to leave
their home until after Christmas, while the other two have
already left.

It is not known what lies behind the threats but it is
believed at least one of the families is a mixed marriage.

SDLP assembly member John Dallat said he is seeking an
urgent meeting with the PSNI and the Housing Executive to
find out why the families had been left to fend for

“These are families who are both Protestant and Catholic,”
he said.

“For one family of mixed relationships it is the second
time in nine years that they have been intimidated out of
their home over religion.

“In the lead-up to Christmas this is what life is for these
families who have lost their homes? I have no doubt that
this is the work of loyalist paramilitaries who have mov-ed
on a stage to intimidate anyone, Catholic or Protestant who
is not aligned with them and their cronies.

“The expression ‘suffer little children’ came to mind as I
met some of the victims in a friend’s home.”


Relatives Mark Anniversary Of McGurk Bombing

By Staff Reporter

RELATIVES and friends of those who died in the McGurk’s bar
bombing in Belfast will today mark the 35th anniversary of
the atrocity.

Fifteen people including children were killed when the UVF
left a bomb in the entrance of the Tramore Bar better known
as McGurk’s in North Queen Street on December 4 1971.

The Police Ombudsman’s office is carrying out a review of
the first police investigation into the attack.

Relatives of those who died in the attack have launched a
website – – to coincide with
the anniversary.


Ahern To Raise Collusion Concerns With Blair

Taoiseach Bertie Ahern will meet Prime Minister Tony Blair
in London today to discuss efforts to see the full
implementation of the St Andrews Agreement.

Mr Ahern will also raise concerns about allegations of
security force collusion in loyalist terror attacks in

Last week an Oireachtas committee published a report with
evidence that army and police officers in the North aided a
paramilitary gang as it carried out a string of murders in
the Border region in the 1970s and 1980s.

One of the attacks saw terrorists shoot dead three members
of the Miami Showband in 1975.

The meeting is the first time the two leaders have met
since the transitional Assembly was established at Stormont
under the St Andrews Agreement.

With legislation now passed in Britain and a commitment to
powersharing by the relevant party leaders, it is
understood the focus of the talks

will be on ensuring the St Andrews timescale is maintained.

Mr Ahern is also expected to raise the issue of the peace
dividend and to follow up on his recent meetings with
victims of terrorism.


Deadlock Over Policing Threatens Assembly Election

The British government may be forced to pull the plug in
the new year on plans for an Assembly election in the North
because of the deadlock over policing, ministers were
warned today.

As Assembly members prepared to debate a motion accusing
Northern Secretary Peter Hain of dictating how Stormont
conducts its business, UUP leader Reg Empey alleged the
rival DUP were not as keen as his party about a March
election because of problems within the party.

Empey also claimed the DUP’s refusal to name a date for the
transfer of policing and justice powers, a key demand of
Sinn Féin if it is to endorse the police, could result in
Mr Hain facing an awkward choice on January 30 when he is
supposed to dissolve the Assembly for fresh elections.

Empey said: “I’m not convinced by DUP claims that
everything has been resolved by their meeting last Friday.

“As someone who has been through these sort of crisis
meetings before, I can tell you all they have done is paper
over the cracks for the time being.

“From what we can pick up there are serious problems with
this process, particularly on the issue of policing and
justice, and the secretary of state may yet face a real
challenge at the end of January over whether there should
be elections.

“Originally the DUP were pushing for an election. I am not
so sure they are as enthusiastic now as they were after the
St Andrew's talks. They have realised it is not going to be
as smooth a process as they thought it was.”

The DUP insists Sinn Féin must publicly declare support for
the Police Service of Northern Ireland, the courts and the
rule of law if there is going to be a power-sharing
administration at Stormont.

In an article last Thursday for a republican newspaper,
Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams said it was possible for
both parties to resolve their differences and deliver
power-sharing by March as envisaged by Taoiseach Bertie
Ahern and British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

However, Mr Adams said he needed a definite date for the
transfer of justice and policing powers from Westminster to
Stormont, agreement on the type of government department
that would handle it and no role for MI5 in civic policing
before he could recommend a change in Sinn Féin’s policing
policy at a special party conference.

The DUP is adamant it could take years before policing and
justice powers are devolved.

Senior negotiators insist there will have to be a credible
testing period for Sinn Féin before unionists could have
any confidence in a devolved administration handling
policing and justice.

As MLAs gathered for today’s debate, Empey said Assembly
members needed to assert their own independence from Mr
Hain rather than let him dictate their business.

“The way the secretary of state conducted the Hain Mark One
Assembly between May and November this year) was to stifle
debate and interfere as much as possible,” the East Belfast
Assembly member said.

“He vetoed motion after motion properly brought forward by
the Business Committee, especially any attempt by us to
debate his plans for local government under the review of
public administration.

“The first meeting of the Hain Mark Two Transitional
Assembly on November 24 also saw the secretary of state
trying to stage manage events even down to the trivial
detail of who would or would not be allowed to speak, even
though the Business Committee had already decided.

“How can public confidence be established in the Assembly
if it is seen merely as a creature of the NIO, with no
independence whatsoever, even over minor matters?

“How can we establish any credibility that we are capable
of taking on responsibility for a huge budget and
government departments if we cannot work together here to
determine simple matters like debates etc?”

Today’s debate was also expected to focus on Mr Hain’s role
in the controversy over whether Ian Paisley fulfilled
requirements on November 24 that he should indicate he
would be first minister next year.


DUP Rocked By Dissension

(by Suzanne Breen, Sunday Tribune)

He's the man they said would never compromise. Not that
long ago, he wielded a plastic red, white and blue hammer,
pledging to smash Sinn Féin. Republicans were outraged but
his supporters rejoiced as the Rev Ian Paisley inhabited
traditional territory.

But now aged 80, when they all thought him too old and
stubborn to shift, the DUP leader is moving onto new
ground. If Martin McGuinness "takes heart" from Paisley's
recent pronouncements on forming a power-sharing government
with Sinn Féin, some veteran DUP members are dismayed.

He's still held in deep affection in party ranks but, for
the first time, some elements are publicly questioning
Paisley's decisions. While there's no possibility of a
leadership challenge or a split, personal and political
divisions are emerging as the DUP grapples with the St
Andrew's Agreement.

It's always been more like a family than a political party.
The establishment's hostility to the DUP bonded its leading
figures together. They weren't just colleagues, they were

The rivalry, back-stabbing, and manoeuvring, so common in
other parties, was absent. 'No Surrender' was a slogan
which cemented unity. Negotiating a deal is a trickier

"We're in turmoil over St Andrew's'," says a source who
last week was one of 12 Assembly members to sign a
statement interpreted by some as challenging Paisley. The
signatories are known as the '12 apostles'.

"There's deep concern at the speed and direction in which
things are moving. It's not that we don't trust the Doc –
we do – but we don't trust those around him. He's being
encouraged down the St Andrew's path by Ian jnr who wants
to be Security Minister in any new Executive.

"The DUP policy unit is dominated by ex-Ulster Unionists
who have far too much influence. They're a law unto
themselves. They write new policy without any regard for
existing policy."

However, a pro-leadership DUP figure says: "Ian Paisley is
his own man. He's in nobody's pocket. Nobody tells him what
to do or takes him places he doesn't want to go." Other
sources claim criticism of Ian jnr is motivated by

Officially, St Andrew's is a work in progress for the party
with many issues unresolved. Those in the DUP fully or
broadly supporting the document include MPs Jeffrey
Donaldson, Peter and Iris Robinson, Sammy Wilson, and the

Those who oppose it outright, or are sceptical, include MPs
Nigel Dodds, Gregory Campbell, David Simpson, and the Rev
Willie McCrea, and Jim Allister MEP.

Asked why he thought Paisley was on the more moderate wing,
an anti-Agreement source says: "He's in the final years of
his political career. He sees himself as Northern Ireland's
Nelson Mandela – leading his country to a lasting

According to the government's timeframe, after Sinn Féin
holds a special ard fheis to change policy to support the
Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI), Assembly
elections will be held on March 8 and a power-sharing
executive formed on March 26.

DUP hardliners want their leadership to reject this time-
frame. "Sinn Féin is foot-dragging on an ard fheis. The
earliest it will hold one will be January, and a clear
endorsement of the PSNI isn't guaranteed. We could get a
motion so heavily qualified it's meaningless," says one of
the 'apostles'.

"But even with an unambiguous statement, it's deeds not
words that count. Sinn Féin signed up to the Mitchell
principles of non-violence, and the IRA went on to murder
20 people.

"We should tell the governments to stuff their deadline.
The balls in Sinn Féin's court. Let them hold their ard
fheis and then we'll test their sincerity by seeing what
happens on the ground. If that test period takes years, so
be it. David Trimble kept meeting government deadlines. The
IRA made all sorts of promises to Trimble and never kept
one of them. We can't end up looking as foolish as he did."

The hardliners are also concerned that the St Andrew's Act
contains no exclusion mechanism which, in the event of IRA
activity would bar Sinn Féin from government but allow the
Executive to continue. They are also demanding the Army
Council disband and the IRA hand over its criminal assets.

The DUP leadership says these matters are part of ongoing
negotiations. Their critics claim they've been swept under
the carpet. "When you raise them at meetings you feel like
a maiden aunt at a wedding – ignored," says one Assembly

However, a St Andrew's supporter says: "The situation may
be far from perfect but we must use our heads. If unionists
walk away from negotiations now, we will cop the blame and
the (British) government will impose their Plan B – joint
authority with Dublin.

"Of course, people have concerns about St Andrew's, and
it's hard for those whose family were murdered by the IRA
to contemplate government with Sinn Féin.

"But, ideologically, the DUP has achieved a lot. We've
secured decommissioning and brought the IRA to accept
partition and Northern Ireland's position within the UK.
They're also on the brink of supporting the police.

"The IRA have fallen way short of the objectives they set
out to achieve in 1969. We must hold our nerve and not let
them off the hook."

Warnings about joint sovereignty if St Andrew's is rejected
have been relayed to the DUP by Michael McDowell. The
hardliners dismiss this as scare-mongering: "We were told
we had to accept the Belfast Agreement because the
alternative would be worse. It was all nonsense. We didn't
capitulate then and we shouldn't now."

Another argument put forward by St Andrew's supporters is
that the British government's reorganisation of local
government in the North – seven new super-councils will
replace the existing 26 district councils – can be revised
if the Assembly is reconvened.

"If this doesn't happen, Sinn Féin will run West of the
Bann – Conor Murphy will effectively be president of
Armagh. The Sinn Féin councils will tie up with councils
across the border to create various cross-border bodies.
That would be disastrous for unionists."

But the greatest conflict in the DUP concerns the party's
internal procedures. St Andrew's opponents allege a lack of
democracy. An anti-deal source says South Antrim MP, the
Rev Willie McCrea, only found out accidentally that an
important meeting between the DUP and the British
government was taking place:

"A Northern Ireland Office official rang Willie about
something and during the conversation said he was surprised
Willie wasn't in London at the meeting.

"Willie said 'what meeting?'. He felt a fool. He rang Nigel
Dodds (North Belfast MP) who also didn't know about it and
neither did Maurice Morrow (party chairman).

"There had been a two-hour meeting of the 19 senior party
officers the previous day, but nobody had bothered to
inform them about London. They didn't want anyone not keen
on St Andrew's there. They wanted the 'awkward squad' kept
in the dark."

The greatest divisions emerged on November 24 when Paisley
had to signal in Stormont that he would be prepared to
accept the nomination for First Minister in March if
progress is as planned.

One of 'the apostles' said: "There was a DUP officer team
meeting that morning. Paisley was reluctant to divulge the
statement he was about to read to the Assembly on his
position regarding nomination.

"Eventually, his statement was read out but people weren't
allowed to physically see the text. This was the most
important DUP statement in 30 years. It should have been
photocopied and openly handed around. Gregory (Campell),
Nigel (Dodds) and Maurice (Morrow) were very angry. They
walked out at one point. They felt they were being treated
like schoolboys."

The situation deteriorated further later that day when some
Assembly members thought there wasn't enough clarity that
Paisley hadn't signed up to nomination next March. So 12 of
the party's 32 Assembly members released a press statement
stressing that the DUP hadn't agreed to anything.

Tensions were high with Fermanagh Assembly member, Arlene
Foster, trying in vain to act as peace-maker between the
two sides. The leadership was infuriated by the 12
apostles' statement.

A DUP leadership source declined to comment on the details
of these incidents but would only say: "This is all
baseless rumour and gossip."

One of the 'apostles' said the anti-St Andrew's feeling
couldn't be ignored: "Of our 32 Assembly members, 13 are
against St Andrew's, 11 are pro-deal and eight are an in-
between position. Four of our nine Westminster MPs have
serious doubts, as does our MEP.

"There won't be a leadership challenge and nobody will
leave the party. But, with such opposition, we can
influence the leader and ensure we get back on the right

"Many of the supporters who stood by us for 30 years, when
it wasn't popular or acceptable to be DUP, are confused and
disorientated about what's happening now. These people are
more important than the 'garden centre Prod' voters – the
former Ulster Unionist supporters who might have switched
to us but whose loyalty can't be relied on."

The DUP is used to combating its opponents, but the
internal battle over the party's future is proving a far
more uncomfortable conflict.

December 3, 2006

This article appeared in the December 3, 2006 edition of
the Sunday Tribune.


Sinn Fein Veteran Quits Over Policing

By Catherine Morrison

A Co Antrim Sinn Fein veteran has resigned from the party
after a disagreement over policing, it has been claimed.

Laurence O’Neill, who ran for a seat on Ballymena council
in 2005, told a Sunday newspaper he left the party after
coming under pressure from republicans to support the Sinn
Fein leadership.

The 62-year-old, from Glenravel, Co Antrim, claimed there
was “a lot of unhappiness” within the party about policing.

A Sinn Fein spokesman declined to comment.

Ballymena SDLP councillor Declan O’Loan said Mr O’Neill’s
resignation was “significant”.

“Laurence O’Neill was one of the core members of Sinn Fein
locally,” he said.

Meanwhile, Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams has expressed
concern at the drop of more than 80,000 voters from the

“I intend to urgently speak to the British government and
demand that the previous register should be rolled over to
allow for its use in any assembly election in March,” he

Mr Adams’s West Belfast constituency dropped 8,000 voters.

In a separate development, the DUP’s Ian Paisley jnr has
said his party is not bothered about any power-sharing
deadline or dates for devolving policing.

Mr Paisley told the BBC it was up to Sinn Fein to prove
republican credentials and build confidence before any
restoration of devolved government.

He insisted Mr Adams would not get a date from the DUP for
the transfer of policing to Stormont.

“It’s not about us giving them a date, it’s about them
convincing people they are fit to measure up to
government,” he said.

“They are the ones who have got to move – not us.”

Ulster Unionist leader Sir Reg Empey said evidence of
division with the DUP was obvious.

“They have launched on a policy for which they have no
mandate and which is against everything they stood for for
the last 40 years.”


Politicians To Hear Concerns On Restorative Justice

A committee of MPs will hear directly from neighbourhood
justice schemes in the North today why they want state
funding despite concerns about how they operate.

Members of the House of Commons’ Northern Ireland Affairs
Committee will hear evidence in Belfast from community
restorative justice groups operating in loyalist and
republican neighbourhoods on controversial British
government proposals for state-funded schemes.

Nationalist and unionist parties in the North, with the
exception of Sinn F-in, have expressed real concerns that
the British government’s plans could be exploited by ex-
paramilitaries and used to create a two-tier system of
policing in the North.

Representatives from Northern Ireland Alternatives, which
operates in a loyalist area, and Community Restorative
Justice Ireland, which operates in a republican
neighbourhood, will tell MPs how the programmes they run
prevent people turning to paramilitaries to carry out so-
called punishment attacks.

As the committee prepared for two days of evidence,
nationalist SDLP deputy leader Dr Alasdair McDonnell warned
Northern Ireland Office Minister David Hanson’s plans could
leave some neighbourhoods exposed to the law of the jungle.

The South Belfast MP warned: “Although the new restorative
justice protocols have some improvements, they still leave
communities exposed.

“The danger of state-paid vigilantes under Sinn Féin’s
control remains. That really would be ’political policing’.
We owe it to nationalist communities to prevent that.”

Fifteen restorative justice schemes currently operate in
republican areas and five in loyalist neighbourhoods.

They are designed to bring the perpetrators of low-level
crime face-to-face with their victims to agree an
appropriate punishment.

The schemes, of which Sinn Féin has been supportive, have
operated until now with private financial backing.

In July, Mr Hanson revised his plans for state-funded
schemes after the British government was originally accused
of appeasing Sinn Féin by keeping police contact with
restorative justice groups at an arms length.

Dr McDonnell expressed concern that in the revised
protocols restorative justice groups are now only required
to deal directly with the police in writing.

He insisted there must be face-to-face discussions.

The SDLP deputy leader also complained there was no proper
complaints system, nor was there a requirement to ensure
restorative justice groups were independent and impartial.

The committee will also hear evidence tomorrow from Police
Service of Northern Ireland Chief Constable Hugh Orde.


Opin: Negotiation Key To Resolution

It has been well documented that each of the two largest
parties in the Northern Ireland Assembly need to resolve a
key issue before devolution can be restored.

The DUP must commit itself to power-sharing, while Sinn
Fein has to endorse our new policing structures.

Progress on both fronts has been frustratingly slow since
the St Andrews talks but it is becoming clear that it is
the DUP which faces the most serious internal problems.

While some republicans still have a difficulty in
supporting the police on both sides of the border, most
accept that it is a step which is both necessary and

The circumstances have still to be finalised, but the
outcome of the policing debate within Sinn Fein is largely
down to a question of timing.

However, in the DUP, a range of senior figures retain basic
objections to sitting in a partnership administration with

It all represents a major dilemma for a party which has
managed to stick to a fundamental approach for most of its

The huge change for the DUP is that

Ian Paisley, according to well-placed observers, definitely
wants to become Northern Ireland’s first minister and is
finally prepared to work in tandem with Martin McGuinness
of Sinn Fein.

Mr Paisley may have assumed that his party would
automatically go along with his judgment, as it always has
done in the past, but it is increasingly plain that he has
yet to convince some of his closest associates.

Although the idea that prominent DUP figures would defy
their leader, and possibly even contemplate a split in the
party, would have appeared ludicrous until recently, it is
suddenly becoming more and more credible.

In many ways, the DUP is starting to find itself in the
same position as the other main groups did in the run-up to
the Good Friday Agreement.

At that stage, for different reasons, the then leaders
David Trimble and John Hume, who have since retired, and
Gerry Adams, who remains in place, had to deal with the
fact that not everyone in their respective parties was
happy with the direction in which they were heading.

Lord Trimble ultimately paid the highest price, with his
Ulster Unionist Party effectively falling apart in the face
of the challenge from DUP opponents who had the luxury of
being able to reject proposals without putting forward
viable alternatives.

Now that his party is in the ascendancy, Mr Paisley, for
probably the first time in his long political career, must
address the full responsibilities which accompany

The DUP is slowly but surely discovering that aspiring to
power involves entering the real world of negotiations and
compromise. That has to be a positive development.


TV Interest In Sunken Secrets

By Staff Reporter

Hundreds of shipwrecks – including 116 German U-boats – lie
deep in the treacherous waters around Malin Head.

David Wilson hears about plans to chart this treasure trove
for divers from all over the world

THE coastline around Ireland’s most north-erly point – the
final resting place of hundreds of ships – could soon be
the subject of a major television project.

For generations the waters off Malin Head in Co Donegal
have been fraught with danger as scores of ships have been
lost to the Atlantic.

Wrecks dating back as early as the 16th century, as well as
more than 100 of Germany’s wartime U-boat fleet, litter the
seabed, making the area a favourite destination for the
world’s wreck-hunters.

Geoff Millar, a member of the Dive North Technical Diving
Club, which has been exploring these waters for nearly
three decades, said their rich history made Malin Head a
“region of global im-portance” for divers.

“There are 116 U-boats from World War II, many scuttled
after surrendering at Lisa-hally and many more undiscovered
from the First World War lying in these waters,” Mr Millar

“More ocean-going liners have sunk off Malin Head than
anywhere else in the world. All the great companies,
including White Star, Cunard and the Federal Line, all lost
ships here.”

Now the area has captured the imagination of the Nat-ional
Geographic television channel.

Mr Millar said he felt compelled to contact makers of the
Sea Hunters programme after a feature on the wreck of the
U-215, a German U-boat discovered off the coast of Canada
in 2004.

“That vessel’s sister ship, the U-218, is wrecked off Malin
Head. These are the only two mine layers of the German
fleet that can be dived anywhere in the world. I contacted
the producers about the U-218 and they were interested,” he

“But it is two other wrecks connected to Malin Head that
John Davis, the producer, seemed more keen on.”

These are the undiscovered wrecks of the Arandora Star,
believed to lie around 100 miles off the coast, and the
Curacoa, about 30 miles from the shore.

The Arandora Star was built in 1927 and acted as a luxury
transatlantic liner until the outbreak of war in 1939.

Built to accommodate 350 passengers, it was commandeered
for the war effort and assigned to transport German and
Italian internees being deported to Canada from England.

More than 800 lives were lost when the liner was struck by
a U-boat’s torpedo in July 1940. A further 820 passengers
were rescued.

The HMS Curacoa, meanwhile, was one of the British navy’s
biggest accidental los-ses of the Second World War.

In October 1942 it was rammed by the ocean liner the Queen
Mary. There were 338 deaths as the cruiser was torn in half
by the collision.

Mr Millar said Malin Head was now on a list of programmes
to be made and he called for Ireland’s tourism authorities
to also realise the significance of the wrecks.

“The tourist industry does not realise what is here on
their own doorstep. I would like to see one of the wrecks,
possibly one of the U-boats, raised and put on display.
Technically, it would not be difficult to do,” he said.

“The whole area is unbelievable and there is much more to
be discovered.”

The quest for further discoveries will see Dive North
undertake an expedition next summer in previously un-
charted waters.

“In many ways what we have dived so far is only the tip of
the iceberg.

“The expedition next June will take us further into the
abyss,” Mr Millar said.

Among other important ships discovered off Malin Head is
the White Star-owned Laurentic, converted into an armed
merchant cruiser during the First World War.

The ship struck a mine off the Donegal coast in 1917 while
ferrying a cargo of gold bullion to Canada.

Much of its cargo remains on the ocean bed.

The Justicia, HMS Raccoon, the Empire Heritage, the SS
Athenia and La Trinidad Val-encera of the Spanish Armada
are also among the scores of vessels resting off the coast
of Donegal.

For more information, including video footage of many of
the region’s shipwrecks, see


Record Nine Million Tourists Visit Ireland In Past Year

04/12/2006 - 12:27:04

Tourism in Ireland is continuing to grow at record levels,
according to new figures out today.

Tourism Ireland says almost nine million people have
visited the country in the past year, generating a record
€4bn for the economy.

More than one million tourists have visited from North
America, while a record five million have come from

Visitor numbers are also expected to increase by half a
million next year, with new advertising campaigns set to
focus on attracting tourists to areas outside Dublin.

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