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December 05, 2006

1974 Bombing Inquiry Seeks Further Time

News About Ireland & The Irish

IT 12/06/06 1974 Bombings Inquiry To Seek Further Time
IT 12/06/06 Blair Meets DUP; Moves To Ease SFs MI5 Concerns
BN 12/05/06 Committee Given Deadline To Solve Policing Row
RT 12/05/06 DUP Has One Voice On Policing, Says Dodds
BN 12/05/06 Dissidents Blamed As Bomb Is Defused In Tyrone
NW 12/05/06 Trying To Clear Killer's Name
IT 12/06/06 Call For Travellers Recognised As Ethnic Group
BL 12/05/06 Belfast’s Murder Legacy Curbs Peacetime Boom
AH 12/05/06 Microsoft Releases Windows Vista In Ireland
GU 12/05/06 Derry City Gets Its Day In Court


1974 Bombings Inquiry To Seek Further Time

Miriam Donohoe

The Commission of Investigation into the 1974 Dublin and
Monaghan bombings is expected to ask the Government for its
seventh extension of time before it concludes a final
report, it emerged last night.

The commission was established in April 2005 and its sole
member, leading criminal law barrister Patrick MacEntee SC,
has already sought six extensions in an effort to get more
material from security sources about the bombings.

He has requested a number of extensions to establish if
documents and information in the possession of security
services could be obtained.

In October, the Government agreed to the sixth extension to
December 11th. However, last night a Government spokeswoman
confirmed that a seventh extension request is now expected.

She said the request will be brought by the Taoiseach to
the Cabinet for consideration. It is expected that the
extension will be requested and granted at the Cabinet
meeting next Tuesday or Tuesday week.

The commission made an apparent breakthrough this year when
Mr MacEntee and his team travelled outside the jurisdiction
to interview certain individuals.

Thirty-three people died and 300 were injured when four car
bombs exploded in Dublin and Monaghan on May 17th, 1974. No
organisation claimed responsibility but loyalist
paramilitaries were widely blamed.

The commission of investigation was the first established
under new legislation to fast-track inquiries into matters
of public concern as an alternative to time-consuming and
expensive judicial tribunals.

Last night a spokeswoman for the Justice for the Forgotten
Group, Margaret Urwen, expressed her disappointment. "We
have been very patient and I am very disappointed to hear
another extension is to be sought."

Taoiseach Bertie Ahern said last week, after the
publication of the Dáil Justice Committee report into the
Barron report on eight atrocities in the Border area in
1974 and 1975, that he expected to have the Dublin and
Monaghan report by December 11th. The Dáil committee found
"endemic collusion" between the British authorities and
loyalists in the murders.

The terms of reference of the commission into the Dublin
and Monaghan bombings were to report on why the Garda
investigation was wound down in 1974; why gardaí did not
follow up on information that a white van with an English
registration was parked on Portland Row and was later seen
parked in the deep-sea area of the B&I ferry port in
Dublin; and the subsequent contact with a British army
officer on a ferry boat leaving Dublin.

When Mr MacEntee does bring his final report to the
Taoiseach, he will be required by law to consider certain
issues prior to publication. This is likely to involve
requesting legal advice from the Attorney General.


Blair Meets DUP Amid Moves To Ease Sinn Féin's MI5 Concerns

Frank Millar, London Editor

British prime minister Tony Blair maintained momentum in
the Northern Ireland talks process yesterday, meeting the
DUP in Downing Street amid moves to ease Sinn Féin concerns
over the relationship between MI5 and the PSNI.

As his party put on a display of unity, DUP leader the Rev
Ian Paisley maintained pressure on Sinn Féin - demanding
"universal acceptance of policing" and a resolution of "the
law and order issue" as a prior requirement for restored
powersharing government at Stormont.

Party chairman Lord Morrow and chief whip Nigel Dodds
formed a four-man delegation with Dr Paisley and his deputy
Peter Robinson. And both Lord Morrow and Mr Dodds stressed
the need for Sinn Féin "delivery" as Dr Paisley said the
"authority of government" was required to finally resolve
the policing issue.

The DUP leader said from his soundings across the
communities there was a wave of opinion insisting "that the
people of Northern Ireland deserve security", should have
"the protection of the law" and "be allowed to live in

To Downing Street's relief Dr Paisley resisted the
opportunity to repeat the private predictions of some
senior colleagues suggesting the March 26th deadline for
devolution cannot be met.

Asked to explain his assertion that "time was of the
essence", Dr Paisley observed that the government had set
deadlines. Pressed as to whether that deadline could be
met, he replied only that he did not know. Mr Robinson,
however, insisted that the DUP would not be "driven by
deadlines", again repeating "delivery" was what mattered
and that republicans needed to sign up for policing
"without delay and without conditions".

The possibility that Sinn Féin might hold an ardfheis to
approve an interim or conditional position on the PSNI
prompted one DUP source yesterday to speculate that the
Assembly elections scheduled for early March would now
proceed in any event.

However, there are increasingly strong indications that Mr
Blair, with Taoiseach Bertie Ahern's support, would be
prepared to cancel the elections without prior DUP/Sinn
Féin agreement to form an Executive. While accepting that
the pressure currently is on Sinn Féin to call an ardfheis,
authoritative sources are also making it clear that both
governments are equally committed to the indicative
timetable set out in the St Andrews Agreement for the
devolution of policing and justice powers by May 2008.

Meanwhile, there is speculation about the appointment of an
independent assessor to monitor MI5 activities in the North
as part of an attempt to reassure Sinn Féin that the
security service will not be operating as "a force within a
force" in its future relationship with the PSNI.


Committee Given Deadline To Solve Policing Row

05/12/2006 - 15:19:52

A Stormont committee will have four weeks to resolve the
row between the DUP leader Ian Paisley and Sinn Féin
president Gerry Adams over the transfer of policing and
justice powers from Westminster, it emerged today.

A committee, involving the four parties who would make up a
power-sharing government, will meet from this Friday.

The six-member committee has been given until January 3rd
to come back with recommendations to the Programme for
Government Committee on the type of government department
that will handle policing and justice issues, the timing of
any transfer of those powers and how parties can support
the rule of law.

SDLP Policing Board member Alex Attwood confirmed the move.

"It will be a sub-committee whose work will be pivotal to
the restoration of devolved government and it will be
operating within a tight timeframe," the West Belfast
Assembly member said.

"If the DUP does not move big time on devolution and Sinn
Féin does not move big time on the rule of law, then the
process will run out of time.

"The SDLP believes we can get agreement across the four
parties about the future structure of a justice ministry
and about the powers that can be devolved.

"There will be good work done by the sub-committee but it
will be on the managerial, technical, structural end.

"It is harder to do work around the bigger commitments on
the rule of law and inclusive government."

Mr Attwood was commenting as a Democratic Unionist
delegation led by Mr Paisley headed to Downing Street to
discuss the deadlock over policing and justice with British
prime minister Tony Blair.

Mr Blair and Taoiseach Bertie Ahern met last night to
review difficulties in the process of implementing their
plan for power-sharing next March.


DUP Has One Voice On Policing, Says Dodds

12/5/2006 19:39

The DUP Chief Whip, Nigel Dodds, has said his party is
speaking with one voice on the issue of Sinn Féin's
acceptance of policing.

He was speaking after an hour of talks between British
Prime Minister Tony Blair and a DUP delegation at Downing

DUP Party Chairman, Maurice Morrow said the Prime Minister
had agreed that there could be no half-way house on
policing and that Mr Blair had accepted that Sinn Féin had
to step up to the mark.

Both Mr Dodds and Mr Morrow are two of the party's most
sceptical figures on the issue of power-sharing with Sinn

Party leader Ian Paisley, who was also at the Downing
Street meeting, said the people of Northern Ireland
deserved to have peace, security, and the protection of the
law, and that Sinn Féin should put their money where the
mouth is.

The Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, and Mr Blair reviewed Northern
Ireland's peace process during discussions in Downing
Street last night.

Some in the DUP say the target of a devolved administration
by March is unrealistic.

If their argument holds, that would mean no deal before Mr
Blair leaves Downing Street.


Dissidents Blamed As Bomb Is Defused In Tyrone

05/12/2006 - 14:31:51

British army experts have defused a blast bomb that sparked
a major overnight security alert in Co Tyrone.

The alert began last night following a telephone warning
that a bomb had been left in the area.

Police say the device, which was found in the garden of a
house on Strahulter Road in Newstownstewart, had the
potential to kill and cause serious injury.

Another 'viable device' was discovered at a pub near
Strabane overnight, while bomb remains and a mortar tube
were found across the road from a police station in

Dissident republicans are being blamed for all three


Trying To Clear Killer's Name

Having died in prison where he was serving a life sentence
after having been convicted of murdering his wife and two
children, the family of the Cookstown man, John Torney,
have begun a campaign to attempt to clear his name.

Torney, a former RUC man, died in prison in July, 11 years
into his life sentence, however, his brother Samuel,
sister-in-law Hilary, and sister, Elizabeth Ferguson,
believe he was wrongly convicted of the crimes.

This week they met the Tory Party's Shadow Secretary of
State David Liddington to lobby to have the case re-opened.

Speaking after that meeting, Mrs Torney commented, "Mr
Liddington was very sympathetic and has agreed to write
with his concerns to the Criminal Case Review commission.
That body, should it feel there has been error or malafides
in the conviction, has the power to refer the case back to
the Court of Appeal.

The Police Ombudsman's office is also thought to be
reviewing certain aspects of the case. Torney's 33 year-old
wife Linda, his son 13 year-old son John (jnr) and daughter
Emma aged 11 were found dead at their home in 1994 having
been shot with his revolver.

At trial Torney had tried to say that his son had shot his
mother and sister before turning the gun on himself.

Alban McGuinness, Jeffrey Donaldson and Lady Sylvia Hermon
have all called for the matter to be re-examined.

Mrs Torney said, "We have known John was innocent since day
one." Torney had always claimed he was innocent.


Call For Travellers To Be Recognised As Ethnic Group

Alison Healy

The recognition of Travellers as an ethnic group would not
solve all problems facing Travellers but it would help to
counter discrimination, the Equality Authority said

Laurence Bond, head of research at the authority, called
for a debate on the classification of Travellers as an
ethnic group, at an event to mark Traveller Focus Week.

He said the recognition of Travellers as an ethnic group
was not "some kind of magic bullet" that would right all
wrongs. However, State recognition would bring with it
protections under inter-national conventions.

There was a perception in Government that you had to be
"foreign" or "racially different" and come from somewhere
else to be part of an ethnic group.

"The term they have used is 'we don't believe they are
ethnically different' and yet it's very hard to know how
that squares with all the recognition in official policy
about their different cultural identity. Let's have a

Niall Crowley, chief executive of the Equality Authority,
said international agreements and EU legislation did not
name specific ethnic groups from particular States. He
urged the Government to recognise Travellers as an ethnic
group "to ensure Travellers can enjoy the protections and
benefits that flow from these agreements".

In 2004 the Government told the UN Committee on the
Elimination of Racial Discrimination that it did not regard
Travellers as a distinct ethnic group.

The UN committee had expressed concern at this, and urged
the Government to work more concretely towards recognising
the Traveller community as an ethnic group.

The Government later told the UN it recognised the special
position of Travellers "in a range of legislative,
administrative and institutional provisions", and that it
gave explicit protection to Travellers in equality

Mr Bond said it was "slightly infuriating" that the
Government had not defined "ethnicity" so that people would
understand why the State recognised Travellers' unique
cultural identity but not their ethnicity.


Belfast Murder Legacy Curbs Peacetime Boom, Power Sharing Goal

By Dara Doyle

Dec. 6 (Bloomberg) -- Every morning, property developer
Neil McCann deliberately parks his Aston Martin on
Belfast's Crumlin Road, the scene of more than 40 murders
during three decades of sectarian violence in Northern

``I want to show people this part of the city doesn't have
to be a ghost town,'' says McCann, 36. ``It's the next step
in the city's renaissance.''

McCann's $49 million plan to convert the 19th-century
Brookfield linen mill into apartments reflects the Belfast
real- estate boom triggered by the 1998 Good Friday peace
deal. Yet the neighborhood's pro-British Protestants oppose
the project, saying it will attract pro-Irish Catholics and
erode the traditional peace line that separates the two

The dispute underscores the continuing mistrust that dogs
Northern Ireland, and the scale of the challenge
confronting U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair as he struggles
to forge a ``shared future'' for Protestants and Catholics.

Realizing that ideal is years away, and for now, mixing the
two groups is risky, says Nelson McCausland, a Democratic
Unionist member of the provincial parliament who opposes
McCann's plan. The mill dominates one end of Crumlin Road,
which divides nationalists in the Ardoyne district who
demand a united Ireland and loyalists in Woodvale who want
to remain in the U.K.

Union Jack flags flutter further along the road, once one
of Belfast's busiest thoroughfares, and now lined with
bricked-up houses, derelict stores and betting shops.

Storm Parliament

``It'll take a generation to build trust,'' McCausland
says. ``Although there is a peace process, it hasn't yet
necessarily delivered peace to this area.''

On Nov. 24, police arrested Michael Stone, a convicted
loyalist paramilitary, after he tried to storm Northern
Ireland's Assembly as it met for the first time in four
years. The parliament, which shares power between Catholics
and Protestants, is the centerpiece of the Good Friday
Agreement, which helped end the ``Troubles'' that cost more
than 3,500 lives.

While the killing has mostly stopped, Belfast still has no-
go areas. East Belfast is loyalist dominated. West Belfast,
where McCann grew up, is a Catholic stronghold.

North Belfast, by contrast, is a patchwork of opposing
communities, separated by about 15 specially constructed
iron, brick and steel walls, often topped with fencing to
catch rocks and petrol bombs. The graffiti-covered walls
run to 25 feet in height. Some are equipped with metal
gates that are locked at night to stop sectarian raids.

Security Gates

``While North Belfast used to be dominated by Protestants,
the population is now approaching 50:50,'' says Colin
McIlheney, head of research at the Belfast office of
PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP. ``Among some loyalists, there's
a sense of becoming a hole in a doughnut surrounded by

Those tensions feed the continuing violence. Police say
republican holdouts on Nov. 1 firebombed Home Retail
Group's Homebase store in Belfast and a JJB Sports Plc
outlet, both British owned. In 2001, a bomb exploded at the
Brookfield mill.

In the year ended March 31, North Belfast had 324 sectarian
crimes, 22 percent of those recorded in the province.

House prices in northern Belfast are 25 percent lower than
the citywide average, according to a University of Ulster
index. The average price rose 29 percent from a year
earlier to 172,209 pounds ($340,353) in the third quarter.

``Now is the time to get into North Belfast,'' McCann says.
``It's early days.''

Metal grills are still fitted to the ground floor windows
of the mill, where loyalist gunmen murdered a café worker
in the 1980s. On an overcast morning in November, the
parking lot beside the mill, which now serves as a business
incubator, was mostly empty, as locals shied away from the
zone separating the sides.

Lingering Stalemate

Undeterred, McCann bought Brookfield in July and plans to
fill it with 170 apartments costing as much as 150,000
pounds. McCann says he expects the city to approve the
project within a year. Damien Broderick, the city planning
officer assessing the proposal, didn't return a message
left at his office.

Sinn Fein, which represents nationalists, has no problem
with the development, says Kathy Stanton, a party

Unionists object, saying nationalists would probably buy
the apartments. Nationalists would be able to travel
through the project to launch attacks on Woodvale, leaving
Protestant residents more vulnerable as the political
stalemate persists, says the DUP's McCausland.


The regional parliament was suspended in 2002 amid
allegations that Sinn Fein used it to spy on opponents.
Under proposals Blair put forward to restore the regional
government, the DUP must accept power sharing and Sinn Fein
must back the province's Protestant-dominated police force.

``These aren't obscure political questions,'' McCausland
says. ``Will Sinn Fein encourage police to arrest stone-
throwers on the Crumlin Road?''

As politicians haggle, McCann is compromising. He says
he'll close a pub in the mill courtyard, ban liquor stores
and place offices on the building's top floor to prevent
residents from overlooking Woodvale.

``It'll be a softening between the orange and the green,''
McCann says. ``In the middle will just be everybody and
anybody who just wants to get on with their lives.''

To contact the reporter on this story: Dara Doyle in Dublin


Microsoft Releases Windows Vista In Ireland

December 5, 2006 9:15 p.m. EST

Matthew Borghese - All Headline News Staff Writer

Dublin, Ireland (AHN) - Microsoft had a big name on-hand to
unveil Windows Vista in Ireland; U.S. astronaut, Neil

Microsoft held a big bash for its operating system for
3,000 fans at Croke Park in Dublin.

Vista is now available to business customers, and will be
reaching home PCs by January 2007.

Pierre Liautaud, vice president of Microsoft Western
Europe, tells RTE that Ireland has changed "beyond
recognition" over the past two decades. One of the factors
for change has been the personal computer.


Ruling Sought On Centuries-Long Divide As City Gets Its Day In Court

Owen Bowcott
Wednesday December 6, 2006
The Guardian

Few cities are blessed - or possibly cursed - with such a
profusion of competing identities. According to political
preference, the thriving conurbation that spans the river
Foyle is alternatively Londonderry, Derry, Doire, the
Maiden City or even Stroke City.

The high court in Belfast will today launch a judicial
review to establish the settlement's true name. Lawyers
will pore over 17th-century royal charters and examine
reams of local government regulations in what is believed
to be the first attempt of its kind by any UK city.

The case is the culmination of decades of political
pressure from nationalists, who resent the colonial
connection to the British capital and want to restore the
native Irish name, albeit in an Anglicised version.

Victory for them would be a declaration by the judge that
the city's name is Derry. A decision that it is still
Londonderry is likely to be followed by a formal request to
the government for legislation, or a new royal charter, to
change the name. The action is being brought by Damien
McMahon, the city's solicitor, who is putting into effect a
council motion proposed by Sinn Féin and supported by the
nationalist Social Democratic and Labour party.

"One argument is that past [royal] charters created a
municipal corporation," he said, "but didn't give a name to
a physical location. The Northern Ireland Office has
written to say that it's completely neutral in this

For most unionists correct usage requires Londonderry. For
nationalists and republicans it has always been Derry.
Irish language purists insist the city retains the ancient
title of Doire - meaning an oak grove.

The Maiden City is a nickname, derived from when the
fortified walls stood unbreached through the 1688-89 siege
by Jacobite forces. Stroke City was invented during the
Troubles to overcome sectarian divisions. It is a
contraction of "Londonderry/Derry" - pronounced
"Londonderry stroke Derry".

In the tourist office overlooking the Foyle Michael Cooper,
a guide, admits the proliferation can cause confusion. "You
sometimes get foreign tourists asking how they get from
Derry to Londonderry," he said.

"Because the majority of the population are from the
Catholic [and nationalist] side, Derry is the most commonly
used term. But if someone writes to us using Londonderry,
we'll write back using the same name."

The city's population is now around 110,000, of whom three-
quarters are Catholic. Protestants and unionists live
mainly on the east bank of the river, known as the

In the Bogside, on the west bank, there are Palestinian
flags attached to lampposts to demonstrate political
sympathies. Murals on the gable ends of houses commemorate
scenes from Bloody Sunday, when British paratroopers opened
fire on a civil rights demonstration in 1972. "You Are Now
Entering Free Derry," one sign declares.

"Derry has always been Derry," insisted Seamus Gallagher,
as he sheltered from a downpour at his market stand.
"Ninety-five per cent of the unionist people use Derry as
well. No one uses Londonderry except for point-scoring."

The walls of the city are still owned by The Honourable The
Irish Society, a charitable residue of the corporation of
the City of London that was granted trading privileges and
property rights during the Ulster Plantation in the 17th
century. Edward Montgomery, the society's representative,
said he had recently provided the NIO with 80 pages of
documents to help resolve the issue. "We are apolitical so
we are not getting involved in this," he said.

If the city is formally confirmed as Derry it will not be
the only area in Ireland to have repudiated its British
associations. After partition in 1921 the ferry port of
Kingstown, on the south side of Dublin bay, became Dun
Laoghaire, and Queenstown, near Cork, became Cobh.

Sinn Féin councillor Kevin Campbell said the current "mish-
mash" of names was unacceptable. "If we are looking for
investment we need a clear brand name," he said. "Derry has
been here for 2,000 years. We should be proud of going back
to our roots."

Democratic Unionist party alderman Joe Miller could not
agree. "[Londonderry] ties together the old Irish name and
the London people who helped build the city. It's wrong to
sectarianise this issue. If it was called Newyorkderry
there wouldn't be a fuss."

Troubled past

6th century First historical reference to Doire, or Derry,
when monastery was founded by St Columba

1613 James I grants charter to The Honourable The Irish
Society, representing City of London livery companies, to
build walled city. Name formally changed to Londonderry

1688-89 Gates shut by apprentices against Jacobite army,
which besieged city for 105 days. Siege broken by relief
ship sent by forces loyal to King William

18th century Became a major port for emigrants leaving for

1921 At partition, city it found itself close to border
with republic

1968 During Troubles, became civil rights flashpoint

January 30 1972 Bloody Sunday. Paratroopers fired on civil
rights demonstration; 13 unarmed civilians killed; another
died of wounds

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