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December 20, 2006

Bid To Break Policing Deadlock

News About Ireland & The Irish

BN 12/19/06 Bid To Break Stormont Policing Deadlock
BT 12/20/06 DUP Blames Attacks On Elderly On SF's Policing Stance
SF 12/20/06 SF Commits to Commissioner For Older People
BB 12/20/06 Report On Confidence In NI Police
BN 12/20/06 Catholic Confidence In PSNI Up To 79% In Survey
BB 12/19/06 Dropped MLA Wants Policing Debate
BB 12/20/06 Sinn Fein Drops Second Politician
BT 12/20/06 The £1m Stormont Advisers: Probe Call
PG 12/20/06 O'Hagan: Police Know Killers But Lack Evidence
RT 12/19/06 Inquest Confirms LVF Link To O'Hagan Murder
BN 12/20/06 Schools Meet Over Sectarian Hate Messages
BT 12/20/06 Opin: Stop Paying Salaries For The 'Advisers'
IM 12/20/06 Opin: Haughey, One Of Many
IM 12/20/06 Opin: What Is Haughey's Legacy?
BB 12/20/06 Ex-Irish PM Haughey 'Took Bribes'
SF 12/20/06 Response To Moriarty - Golden Circle Still Exists
BN 12/20/06 Minimum Wage Increases To €8.65/Hour ($11.24)
BN 12/20/06 Taoiseach Formally Opens New €750m Dublin Port
IT 12/20/06 Study Shows Decline In B&Bs
NW 12/20/06 Marking The Anniversary Of Two Irishmen's Deaths
BJ 12/20/06 Beaumont To Celebrate An O’Flaherty Celtic Christmas


Bid To Break Stormont Policing Deadlock

19/12/2006 - 19:08:57

Behind-the-scenes negotiations were taking place at
Stormont tonight in a bid to break the deadlock between
Sinn FEin and the Democratic Unionists over policing.

Sinn FEin policing spokesman Gerry Kelly and DUP deputy
leader Peter Robinson were involved in the talks with the
Northern Ireland Office as both parties tried to close the
gap between them.

A Stormont source said: "The talks that are taking place
involve senior personnel in both parties. There is no face-
to-face dialogue.

"It would appear the British government has bought into
suggestions that there could be a meeting of Sinn FEin's
ard chomhairle (national executive) called by Gerry Adams
either before or over Christmas.

"The question is whether the DUP and Sinn FEin can reach
agreement on which party moves first on support for the
police or a date for the devolution of policing and justice

Taoiseach Bertie Ahern and British Prime Minister Tony
Blair have identified Sinn FEin support for the Police
Service of Northern Ireland and a commitment from the DUP
to share power as the twin pillars of their plan to revive
power sharing in the North by next March.

DUP leader the Rev Ian Paisley has already indicated his
willingness to share power with Sinn FEin provided Gerry
Adams and his party clearly demonstrate support for the
police, the courts and the rule of law.

Sinn FEin is the only one of the four parties who would
qualify for posts in a Stormont power-sharing government
which refuses to publicly support the PSNI or encourage its
voters to cooperate with police investigations.

If Sinn FEin is to change its policy towards the PSNI,
Gerry Adams will first have to call a meeting of his
national executive and secure two thirds backing for a
special party conFerence on the issue.

However Mr Adams and Mr Kelly, who have both received
police warnings that they are being targeted by dissident
republicans, have insisted Sinn FEin needs a date from the
DUP for the devolution of policing and justice from
Westminster to Stormont before they can set in motion a
change of policy.

They also want agreement from the DUP on the type of
government department that will handle justice and policing
powers and assurances that MI5 will have no future role in

The DUP has said Sinn FEin must move first, endorsing the
PSNI and then demonstrating its support for the police on
the ground before the devolution of policing and justice
can be contemplated.

Today's talks were taking place as members of the Stormont
Programme for Government Committee failed to reach
agreement on a timeframe for the transFer of policing and
justice powers.


DUP Links Attacks On Elderly To Sinn Fein's Policing Stance

[Published: Wednesday 20, December 2006 - 10:45]
By Noel McAdam

Attacks on vulnerable elderly people across Northern
Ireland are linked to general lawlessness, the Assembly was
told yesterday.

The DUP used the issue of the recent spate of assaults and
robberies on isolated pensioners, often living alone, to
underpin its demand for Sinn Fein to sign up to policing.

Ian Paisley Jnr, said the attacks had been aided and
abetted by those " especially in Sinn Fein" who refuse to
support law and order.

A significant section of the community was being encouraged
to ignore the rule of law and to hate the courts, the North
Antrim MLA argued.

"And we wonder why there are those who Feel free to attack
the most vulnerable in our society. There is a challenge
being thrown down here today, " he said.

Sinn Fein MLA John O'Dowd said, however, it was unfortunate
the DUP had used the issue of attacks on the elderly to
lambast Sinn Fein over its concerns about accountable

Accusing Mr Paisley Jnr of insulting the nationalist
community, Mr O'Dowd said: "The only place for people who
attack older people is in jail.

"There is no hiding place for them in the
nationalist/republican community."

Assembly members, in their last debate before the Christmas
break, backed the DUP motion for the establishment of an
interim commissioner for the elderly.

The motion, seconded by Lord Morrow said the commissioner
could urgently identify a strategy to assist, protect and
develop provision for the elderly in the province.

And a Sinn Fein amendment said the independent commissioner
should have the necessary powers "to efFectively promote
saFeguard and protect the rights of older people".

Sinn Fein MLA Patricia O'Rawe said that there was no magic
wand, quick fix solution to the attacks but a pro-active,
centrally-driven policy was urgently needed.

Ulster Unionist Billy Armstrong said for the elderly
population isolation was a huge issue afFecting their lives
yet the Direct Rule administration was not taking into
account how rural Northern Ireland is.

Alliance member Kieran McCarthy, who chaired a cross-party
group on the elderly in the last Assembly said he hoped
there would be action to " catch these morons" who should
be dealt with severely.

c Belfast Telegraph


Independent Commissioner For Older People - A Sinn FEin

Published: 19 December, 2006

Sinn FEin Spokesperson on Older People, Newry Armagh MLA
Pat O'Rawe has said that all party agreement on the
creation of an Independent Commissioner for Older People
sent out a very positive signal.

Ms O'Rawe was speaking after the DUP accepted a joint Sinn
FEin and SDLP amendment brought forward through Help the
Aged and Age Concern to a motion that was debated in the
transitional Assembly today.

Speaking during the debate Ms O'Rawe said:

"In Ireland by the year 2020, more than half the population
will be over 60. Yet increasingly older people are
marginalised. They are no longer willing to be
marginalised, or treated as less than equal citizens.
Campaigns by Help the Aged, Age Concern and others have
moved the issues afFecting older people from the periphery
to the centre of the political debate. Negative attitudes
to ageing, across this island have prevented the
development of the policies and structures needed to
address poverty, ill health, isolation and violent attacks.

"Earlier this year Sinn Fein outlined our agenda for older
when we published our Forget-me-not Charter for Older
People. It recommended a number of actions to ensure that
the rights of Older People were fully protected, including
a Commissioner for Older People. And while there is no
magic quick-fix solution to either the cancerous attacks on
older people or the wider barriers older people face, it is
clear that we need a pro-active centrally driven response.

"In terms of violence directed at older people we need a
joined up approach that is grounded in local communities
and implemented on the ground where it can make a real
difFerence to the lives of older people. While we need more
resources to improve security in the homes of older people
that improves saFety and the sense of security, such
measures only deal with the symptoms they are not a cure
for the problem of attacks on older people.

"We need to support older people in realising their vital
role in our communities; we are all the losers without
their contribution. This means addressing issues such as
low income, access to transport, health, education and
housing and ensuring that the voices of older people are

"Older people should be consulted in decision making at all
levels of government. A Commissioner would provide an
important mechanism for challenging and reviewing policy
and decision making and would give a focused role in
decision making and articulate the demands and rights of
older people. The aim of a Commissioner for Older People
would be to promote and saFeguard the rights and best
interests of older people. A Commissioner for Older People
should have powers of enforcement to enable the process of
change that is needed to bring our older people in from the

West Belfast MLA Fra McCann, making his maiden speech in
the Assembly said welcomed the putting aside of traditional
political animosities to find common ground in agreeing a
mechanism to prioritise the needs of older people.

Mr McCann said:

"Agreement sends out a very strong and positive message
that we can put traditional political animosities to one
side and find common ground. No matter what our political
opinion, our background we can all agree that our older
people are being sold short - that the lives of older
people are being made harder because of the barriers they
face - economic barriers, housing problems, difficulties in
accessing the services they require.

"A Commissioner would have the necessary powers to
efFectively promote, saFeguard and protect the rights of
older people.

"We as politicians have a duty to put right all these
practices that discriminates against any section of our
community; the obligation is on us to rectify those many
wrongs. The unity taking place today sends the all
important message that we will be the bringers of change
when we have an opportunity.

"The one issue most to the fore at present is that of
community saFety and how we can make liFe a saFer place for
elderly people, how we can all work together tackle this
blight which has seen attacks on older people grow over
this past several years.

"Fully resourced residents associations I believe would
also encourage elderly representation on committees, help
break down barriers and Feelings of isolation and ensure
that the needs of older people within our communities are
properly addressed." ENDS

Note to Editors

:: 49 per cent of older people live in a household that has
income less than œ10,000;

:: 54 per cent of householders aged 60+ live in fuel

:: Over 80,000 older people live alone;

:: 2,020 excess winter deaths among aged 65+ in the winters
between 2000 and 2005.


Report On Confidence In NI Police

Almost 80% of people in Northern Ireland say they have
confidence in the PSNI a new survey has indicated.

The figure is contained in a survey published on Wednesday
by the Policing Board.

The latest independent six-monthly findings of public
perceptions of policing will make good reading for the
police service.

However, the Policing Board has said it could still be

More than 1,000 people were questioned and nearly four out
of five said they had some, a lot, or total confidence in
the ability of the PSNI to provide an ordinary day-to-day
policing service.

The figure is up 2% on the last six-monthly survey - but it
falls short of the 83% target set by the Policing Board.

ProFessor Sir Desmond Rea, chairman of the board, has
welcomed the findings.

However, he said the fact that the target had not been
achieved demonstrated that the police still had some work
to do.

The police have also welcomed the findings.

Assistant Chief Constable Roy Toner said the increase in
confidence was a reflection of the hard work of officers
and staff.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/12/20 06:30:22 GMT


Catholic Confidence In PSNI Up To 79% In Latest Survey

Catholic confidence in the Police Service of Northern
Ireland is continuing to grow, according to the latest
study by the Policing Board.

The board says 79% of Catholics involved in the survey had
some level of confidence in the PSNI, compared to 76% last
April and 75% in September 2005.

Among Protestants, the confidence level has remained steady
at 80%.

However, the survey has also uncovered a fall in public
satisfaction with the performance of the PSNI in local


Dropped MLA Wants Policing Debate

Sinn Fein MLA Davy Hyland has said he is surprised and
saddened at being de-selected as a candidate for the
forthcoming Assembly election.

Mr Hyland, who represents Newry and Armagh, said he was now
considering whether to stand as an independent.

He said he had disagreements on local issues with Sinn Fein
and accused them of moving too quickly on policing.

"It's difficult for us to get our heads round some of the
things being requested of us," he said.

"Meetings with Hugh Orde in Stormont still seem maybe a
step too far for many people."

Mr Hyland said more discussion was needed on the issue.

"My experience and my family's experience of policing in
the north hasn't been a very good one, like many other
republicans," he said.

Last week, Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams met PSNI chief
constable Sir Hugh Orde against a backdrop of growing
pressure on republicans to support the police as part of
the deal to restore devolution.

Mr Adams described the meeting held at Stormont as "good"
but said he could not yet call a special convention on

The chief constable also said the meeting "had been good"
and described the conversation as "testing".

Sinn Fein is facing demands from other political parties in
Northern Ireland as well as the British, Irish and US
governments to fully endorse the PSNI.

The DUP has insisted without such a move from Gerry Adams'
party there will be no power-sharing at Stormont next

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/12/19 17:23:43 GMT


Sinn Fein Drops Second Politician

A second assembly member from Newry and Armagh has been de-
selected, the BBC has learned.

Pat O'Rawe failed to be chosen at a selection meeting two
nights ago, when Davy Hyland was also rejected by the local
party members.

Sinn Fein confirmed Mr O'Rawe's de-selection while
announcing that three candidates were chosen to stand at
the forthcoming assembly elections.

The party has so far declined to name the candidates.

The names are expected to be announced after ratification
by the party's ard comhairle (executive).

It is likely that the sitting MP, Conor Murphy, was among
the three.

Two other names have been given to the BBC but have not
been confirmed.

One is thought to be a newcomer.

It is not clear why the two sitting members were

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/12/20 13:35:41 GMT


The œ1m Stormont Advisers: Probe Call

[Published: Wednesday 20, December 2006 - 10:22]
By David Gordon

The Northern Ireland Audit Office is to be asked to review
the cost of keeping special advisers to ministers on the
Assembly payroll after the collapse of devolution.

Four special advisers to ministers on the ill-fated
executive are still being paid more than four years after

It has also been revealed that a further three advisers
stayed on in their jobs for several months after the
Assembly's fall.

The cost of retaining the posts had reached œ1,065,936 by
the end of March this year.

More than half of this came directly from the Office of the
First Minister and Deputy First Minister (OFMDFM), while
the rest was funded through the Assembly.

The cost - uncovered by the Belfast Telegraph through the
Freedom of Information Act - has been described as
"outrageous" by the Alliance Party.

Its leader David Ford last night said: "Alliance will be
reFerring this to the Northern Ireland Audit Office."

The four main parties each have one remaining adviser.

Eight further posts have been agreed by Secretary of State
Peter Hain in recent weeks to help the parties prepare for

c Belfast Telegraph


O'Hagan Inquest: Police Know Who Killed Sunday World
Reporter But Lack Evidence

By PA Mediapoint, Dominic Ponsford
Wednesday, 20 December 2006

A Northern Ireland journalist was gunned down in the street
for exposing the drug dealing activities of a loyalist
paramilitary gang, an inquest heard.

Martin O'Hagan, 51, a reporter with the Sunday World, was
shot three times as he walked hand-in-hand home from a
local pub in Lurgan, Co Armagh, with his wiFe.

Over five years later the killers have not been charged,
although a senior police officer told the inquest in Armagh
that he was satisfied eight people interviewed following
the murder were responsible.

Coroner John Leckey said the bravery of journalists seeking
to expose criminals must be recognised. He said he was
satisfied with the police theory the murder of Mr O'Hagan
was "related to investigative journalism in relation to
drug dealing by the Loyalist Volunteer Force in the Mid
Ulster area."

Branding the LVF a sinister organisation he said a number
of newsagents in the area, Fearful for their own saFety,
had stopped selling the Sunday paper after being

Mr Leckey said: "There were widespread threats not only
against journalists like Mr O'Hagan who was seeking to
expose these criminals but also against those who
distributed the newspaper which contains his articles."

He noted Mr O'Hagan was the first journalist to be murdered
in such circumstances in Northern Ireland but he said it
was something which happened worldwide and pointed to the
recent murder of a Russian investigative reporter.

He said Mr O'Hagan and others were "bravely seeking to
expose criminals and sometimes with dreadful prices paid.
"Their bravery needs to be recognised," said Mr Leckey.

The murdered journalist's wiFe Marie said they were walking
home through Lurgan after visiting a local pub when she
noticed a car slowing beside them. She said her husband
pushed her into a hedge and she heard a number of shots.
She turned and his last words to her as he slumped to the
ground were: "Marie, get an ambulance."

She said she ran to her nearby house and got one of her
children to make the call and returned to her husband. "I
ran back and Martin was lying on his back. I knelt down to
speak to him, he seemed unconscious. I continued talking to
Martin but got no response."

He was declared dead by an ambulance crew which quickly
arrived at the scene.

Mrs O'Hagan told the inquest she didn't know exactly what
her husband had been working on before his death but was
convinced it was something in connection with his work as a
journalist. She told the inquest that in the early 1990s
her husband had been forced to move to his newspaper's
Dublin office because of threats made against him in
Northern Ireland.

She had remained in Lurgan and he had returned to her after
the IRA and loyalist ceasefires were announced.

Chief Inspector Charles Patterson told the inquest that Mr
O'Hagan's killers walked the streets freely despite him
being certain who was responsible. He said eight men had
been arrested and questioned in the weeks after the murder
and he was confident they were behind the killing.

"These people are associated with the LVF in the Lurgan
area. Unfortunately despite extensive investigations I
don't have the evidence to proceed against these persons."

The coroner appealed for anyone with information to pass it
to police and Mr Patterson said he was prepared to take any
information, however trivial it might be. He said the
inquiry into the murder remained alive but admitted it was
not actively being worked on.

However he said the case would be internally reviewed by
the PSNI in the New Year and the O'Hagan family would be

The unsolved case had not been passed to the Historic
Inquiries Team - set up to re-examine many hundreds of
unsolved murders - because the team's terms of reFerence
limited it to covering murders during the Troubles from
1968 to the signing of the Good Friday Agreement in 1998.

O'Hagan's boss, Jim McDowell, Northern editor of the Sunday
World, called for the review of the case to be held

He said: "It should be thorough and done with vigour and

He said it was an exceptional case, the killing of a
journalist trying to protect the freedom of speech - five
and a quarter years on no one had been convicted and that
was appalling.

He said: "If the case has hit a brick wall bring in fresh
faces, open a fresh file and let's get Martin O'Hagan's
killers where they belong - behind bars.

"I have to believe we will see them in court because if
these people get away with this, where do the rest of us

"The police know who did it but they don't have the
evidence, I know who did it."

He said the paper had come close to identifying those
responsible but had pulled back in case it prejudiced any
future case.

National Union of Journalists official Ronan Kelly called
for the murder case to be resolved to remove the continuing
threat to Mr O'Hagan's journalistic colleagues.

He said: "The NUJ has called on the chief constable to call
in assistance from an outside police force to bring this to
a head.

"I believe there should be assistance from outside - if a
case like this is not solved then enough has not been

Reacting to the PSNI statement NUJ Irish Secretary Seamus
Dooley said "it represented an admission of failure to deal
with one of the most significant unsolved murders in
Northern Ireland."

Dooley said "the inquest was a grim reminder of the pain
and sufFering of the O'Hagan family. There needs to be a
greater sense of urgency about this investigation.

"We find the approach of the PSNI unacceptable and at this
stage the only solution is the involvement of an outside
police force."


Inquest Confirms LVF Link To O'Hagan Murder

19 December 2006 19:59

An inquest into the killing of the Sunday World journalist
Martin O'Hagan has heard that he was shot for exposing the
drug-dealing activities of a loyalist gang.

The 51-year-old reporter was shot three times as he walked
home from a local pub with his wiFe, Marie, in Lurgan, Co
Armagh, five years ago.

So far, no one has been charged in connection with the
killing, although a senior PSNI officer told the inquest
that he was satisfied that eight people interviewed
following the murder were responsible.

Coroner John Leckey said the bravery of journalists seeking
to expose criminals must be recognised.

He said he was satisfied with the theory that the murder of
Mr O'Hagan was related to his investigation of drug-dealing
by loyalists in the Mid-Ulster area.

Branding the LVF a 'sinister organisation', he said a
number of newsagents in the area, Fearful for their own
saFety, had stopped selling the Sunday paper after being

Mr Leckey said there were 'widespread threats' not only
against journalists like Mr O'Hagan, but also against
'those who distributed the newspaper which contained his

He noted Mr O'Hagan was the first journalist to be murdered
in such circumstances in Northern Ireland, but he said it
was something which happened worldwide and pointed to the
recent murder of Russian investigative reporter, Anna

He said Mr O'Hagan and others were 'bravely seeking to
expose criminals and sometimes with dreadful prices paid'.

Case to be internally reviewed

Mr O'Hagan's wiFe, Marie, said she and her husband were
walking home through Lurgan on the night in question when
she noticed a car slowing beside them.

She said her husband had pushed her into a hedge before she
heard a number of shots.

Mrs O'Hagan said she ran to her home nearby and got one of
her children to ring an ambulance and then returned to her

Mr O'Hagan was pronounced dead by an ambulance crew which
arrived at the scene.

PSNI Detective Chief Inspector Charles Patterson told the
inquest that Mr O'Hagan's killers walked the streets freely
despite him being certain who was responsible.

He said eight men had been arrested and questioned in the
weeks after the murder were associated with the LVF in the
Lurgan area.

Mr Patterson insisted that despite 'extensive
investigations' he did not have the evidence to proceed
against them.

The coroner appealed for anyone with information on the
murder to come forward and Mr Patterson said he was
prepared to take any information, however trivial it might

He said the inquiry into the murder remained alive but
admitted it was not actively being worked on.

However, he said the case would be internally reviewed by
the PSNI in the New Year and the O'Hagan family would be

The unsolved case has not been passed to the Historic
Enquiries Team, set up to re-examine hundreds of unsolved
murders in Northern Ireland, because the team's terms of
reFerence limited it to covering murders from 1968 to the
signing of the Good Friday Agreement in 1998.


Schools Meet Internet Company Over Sectarian Hate Messages

19/12/2006 - 15:40:37

Police and representatives from schools in a town blighted
by sectarian violence in the North today met an internet
company about tackling hate messages on its site.

Representatives from hit teen site Bebo, which carried
threats against teenagers in the wake of 15-year-old
Michael McIlveen's murder in Ballymena in May, met police
from the town and representatives from grammar and
secondary schools on both sides of the religious divide.

Michael McIlveen was beaten by a gang, who identified him
as a Catholic and chased him from cinema.

His murder attracted widespread revulsion, with the Rev Ian
Paisley visiting his family to express his condolences.

The Orange Order, Independent Orange Institution and Royal
Black Preceptory marching institutions condemned the murder
as wicked.

Around 1,000 people attended his funeral, including scores
of Protestant and Catholic teenagers.

The schools represented at today's meeting included St
Louis Grammar, St Patrick's College, Ballee High School,
Dunclug High School, Dunfane (special school), Slemish
Integrated College, Ballymena Academy, Cullybackey High and
Cambridge House Grammar School.

Ballymena police district commander Superintendent Terry
Shevlin said the delegation had shared with Bebo
experiences in relation to tackling sectarian violence and
explored practical suggestions on sectarian attitudes among
online and offline communities could be limited or

He said: "The internet brings the world into our living
rooms and provides a great educational tool for everyone.
However, unfortunately sometimes the internet can be a
place which opens the door to risk. The meeting was a
multi-agency approach, which has proved extremely useful.

"We welcome the opportunity to talk to anyone that will
reduce the level of risk to anyone within our society."


Opin: Stop Paying Salaries For The 'Advisers'

[Published: Wednesday 20, December 2006 - 12:30]

At a time when health and education budgets are sufFering
from significant underfunding, expense still seems to be no
object up at the Northern Ireland Assembly. Even though
power-sharing collapsed more than four years ago, the bills
keep on mounting.

The latest revelation is that more than œ1m has been
disbursed by the Government over the past four years on the
employment of seven special advisers to former Assembly

Data secured by The Belfast Telegraph under the Freedom of
Information Act shows that four of the seven are still in
post, even though the MLAs they advise are no longer

As the Alliance Party says, it is an outrageous squandering
of taxpayers' money. Logic would have dictated that when
the Ministers ceased to hold office, their advisers should
have gone too.

Instead, the seven officials remained in situ, and although
their numbers have since been reduced to four, their
salaries are still a drain on taxpayers' resources.

The advisers enjoy a privileged status as temporary civil
servants. According to the Office of the First Minister and
Deputy First Minister, their role has included the
provision of advice to former Ministers during suspension
and to work for a smooth return to devolved government.

The role of special advisers has long been a matter of
controversy in London, where they often seem to dictate
Government policy. Much to the anger of Parliament, the
unelected officials enjoy a remarkable degree of influence.

But what is their role in Northern Ireland? With the
Assembly executive in deep freeze, and little sign of
progress in the negotiations between the DUP and Sinn Fein,
special advisers look like an unnecessary appendage.

If a political deal is done, a limited number of key
advisers will have a role to play, but until then the
existing coterie of permanent secretaries and senior civil
servants should surely be capable of providing the parties
with all the briefing that they require.

This latest disclosure will do nothing to restore public
confidence in the Assembly. In May, this newspaper reported
that the cost to taxpayers since 2002 was set to hit the
œ100m mark and this is too high a price to pay for a
talking shop.

Northern Ireland needs political stability but the appetite
for devolution is diminishing as the squabbles at Stormont
intensify. Direct rule, for all its ills, at least provides
some certainty and continuity.

Next month it will be time for the Government to make up
its mind about an election in March. Terminating salaries
for redundant advisers would be one way in which Peter Hain
could concentrate minds within the political parties.

c Belfast Telegraph


Haughey, One Of Many

National Miscellaneous Opinion/Analysis
Wednesday December 20, 2006 13:23
By Jim Travers

Gone but not forgotten

The Moriarity Tribunal has given us a clear indication of
the past state of Irish politics. if we are to learn
anything, it should be that political liFe must be more
carefully scrutinised and that initatives proposed by
politicians must be more openly debated before taxpayers
are asked to pay for such proposals. Charlie was not a bad
man, he was just give toys to play with and his friends
made the game more real.

Looking at it from the ground level.

So after 20 million euro's of taxpayers money and the
carry-on Mahon tribunal ,with no doubt more of the same to
be revealed in future tribunals that what has come out of
the Moriarty Tribunal has confirmed to every dog in the
street (and the dogs knew this a long long time ago) that
Irish politics is rotten to the core. We must not blame
Charles J, alone for this saga, but a collective
intertwined political party system of silence and towing
the line that divides the real purpose of politicians being
elected to represent the people by the people and for the
people. This Alice in wonderland belief that one political
party would be more caring and openly honest to the people
above all other parties is but a method of promoting and
justifying our belief in a so called democratic process
where the people have a choice but that choice is basically
the same. If the Charles J Haughey saga was an isolated
individual problem then we could believe and say that we
slipped a bad apple into the pot, but these saga's appear
to carry over from one era to another, disguised as another
problem where lessons will be learned and the taxpayer once
again makes everybody else financially happy (including the
guilty) as political representaives play another game of
cat and mouse. The Garda stop drivers for driving 10 KPH
over the speed limit, throw the book at them and collect
for the state a nice amount of extortion money so that
tribunals can investigate people who milk the same people
dry and walk away with a pension or possibly a fine that
was accummulated over time as interest on the initial sum.
Bertie as an accountant, now leader of a political party
and taoiseach of this country signed cheques and never
asked "what for". Brian Lenihan received money to help him
with his operation and nobody asked "why", for the man did
not need to secure money that might be questionable and
open to investigation in the future. Or was it that
politicians seen taxpayers money as being like candy to a
baby . Will the Mary Harney, mammy saga comeback to haunt
yet another politician because her poor sick mammy took
instant priority over another less fortunate citizen who's
poor sick mammy was told to Feck off and wait, Mary is

Remember in the bad old days of the seventies when we were
all told to tighten our belts, (Fianna Fail ground
supporters included) as politicians of all political
persuasions sat confortable in the knowledge that while the
nation struggled and sent its sons and daughters to foreign
lands in order to secure a living ,our so called
republican, nation once again political leaders watched a
world recession pass by and wondered why such a recession
never really afFected Ireland. Kick our Fianna Fail put in
Fine Gael, for what, we get the same old system of
political power that is so far away from the realities of
what people want and need that eventually the same problems
of political corruption and wrongdoings are once again
regurgitated, only this time looking difFerently but
smelling just the same.

Haughey was alowed to do what he done because everybody
around him had some part of the action and therefore
financiall benefitted from his actions. There is no
difFerence in taking a single Euro or taking a thousand,
the Gardai will pursue you for theft, that's if you are an
ordinary joe soap and not a political untouchable. What we
find in the Moriarty tribunal is but the tip of the iceberg
that will not come to haunt other politicians, for in the
final analysis politicians will not serve one single day in
prison, nor will they pay a heafty fine that represents the
wealth accummulated out of the crimes he or she executed
against the people. Like the IMO, political party politics
is like a closed shop where the boys and girls look after
one another because some day they just may need one another
to dampen the aftershocks created by their ill doings.

We see it today, in the dying years of the Celtic Tiger as
taxpayers money is being used like conFetti

at a church wedding to finance project that seem to cost
more and more money despite the fact that the same projects
need to be reajusted again and again in order for them to
work. Look at the M50, port tunnell, transport services,
health, education, security, all becoming an increasing
burden on taxpayers for services that appear to be getting
worse and worse. constructions companies can complete
projects at half the cost in other countries but when they
come to Ireland the cost goes out of all proportions.

But what happens when the Celtic Tiger collapses and all
the economic workers quit this land to greener pastures?
The irish people are left with a massive financial burden
that will only be resolved through higher taxes on money we
can least afford to give to a crime riddled political
system. Haughey told us we had to tighten our belts during
tthe imes of our recession but failed to release the
tension of the belt once the tiger began to roar. The only
real benefit ordinary Irish people received from the Celtic
Tiger was their ability to borrow beyond their means, but
now the time has come to pay back for the privlidge of
being handed those benefits. I dont blame Charle Haughey, I
blame the people who collectively made up the room of
political power and debate for allowing such a system to
pervail without any real opposition to its progress.
Opposition parties had the collective power in threatening
to walk out of the house and cause a destablisation of the
democratic system if the government party at that time did
not act. Do not tell me that nobody was aware or that it
was just speculation at that time, everybody knew what was
going on, everybody had a thought ,a Feeling a sense of
wrong doing and the people on the streets knew the sleeze
that made up political liFe at that time. So why did our
political representatives not know, when they were sitting
in the heart of politial administration?

There is a litany of political wrong doings by politicians
over many years, who despite the educational, financial,
career and political backgrounds appear to be hell bent on
corruptive practices that make our own wrong doings(
speeding, parking, drinking ect, ect) that really only
efFect ourselves but are pursued with great vigour by the
state in the courts against us. We criticise the antics of
the late Martin Cahill (the general) but we fail to
appreciate the magnitude of these political crimes against
the people and in so doing take no positive action that
really and meaningfully bring to justice the people who
take part in these crimes.

Once again big business plays its part in the sleeze of
personal political financial gain,but this sleeze is
happening even to the present day where taxpayers money is
being channelled in all direction on projects, iniatives,
support and donations to people, orginisations and state
bodies without any real analysis being undertaken regarding
the value for money issues to the taxpayer.

What the people built up in social service since the
foundation of the state, politiclal parties appear to be
hellbend on dismantling everything in favour of private
enterprise, which in the long run will cost the taxpayer
more than what it current costs. A clear example of
privitisation working against the interest of the people
was Eircom. Eircom may have been percieved to be bad but
let us not forget that politicians from all the main
political parties played their part in digging a hole for
our state run telecommunications company. What have we now,
a privately operated telecommunication system that is now
classed at third world standard despite the houls of Mary
O'Rourke telling us to buy, buy, buy shares, she very
quickly got rid of hers and left a lot of people with a
burden around their necks.Smart telecom also proved that
the private sector is not there to make liFe better for us
all with lower costs and added benefits, its there as a
business first and a provider second.

We now see our political parties including the PD's turning
to our transport services and attempting to dismantle what
the state on behalf of the people has built up over the
years. Privitisation of our transport services will not
improve the current problems we face in the provision of
service, if anything it will make things worse. Academics
appear to support the opening up of the transport market to
private operators but the same academics fail to take into
account the failures of the private sector in the provision
of transport service for all classes of people in many
other European countries, combined with the most obvious
knowledge that the irish public transport market is a
unique market in that the main concentration of commuters
are located in Dublin and that number of commuters do not
make account for the majority of the population in Dublin.
Once again privitisation will not bring to commuters any
real beneift in both the cost of commuting or the frequency
of services. And we must not forget that what the RTE Prime
Time television program failed to realise when it mentioned
lucrative financial routes operated by Dublin Bus, wa that
lucrative routes in one area helps finance the operation of
less profitiable routes in other less usd areas. If we take
the Dualways private bus company sinario when the same
company withdrew the 631 service to Lucan, simple because
it was loosing money on the route, where was all the
politicians when the people of Lucan needed this service.
They turned on Dublin Bus and screamed on behalf of their
constituents, why did they not do the same to the private
operator for after all the same private operator blocked
Dublin Bus from using the same route in order to provide a
service to communters.

Now you might ask "what has all this to do with poor old

Well even to this present day politicians are looking for
new and innovative ways in defrauding the public of
services they have build up over the years and that means
lots of money. They say its a better and newer system, they
say its is more evenly distributed system, they even say it
will benefit the public in the long run. But time and
experience has shown us that when politicians put their
hands on anything that is in the interests of the people,
you can saFely say that money is at the top of their agenda
and personal gain will follow once that time has
passed.Take for example Olivia Mitchell ,Fine Gael's shadow
minister for transport vigoursly supporting the
privitisation of our transport services when the same
person has absolutely no experience in the provision and
operational processes of providing public transport
services to the public. She probably has never sat on a
bus, never mind stand in an operational control room and
try to understand the complexities of providing such a
service. So what is her interest in the provision of public
services and her hell bent belief that the private sector
can do a better job or be a replacment for our current
public transport providers?

Money, money, money and private eneterprise at heart, even
if that enterprise is increasingly supported by the
taxxpayer under the guise of an open market economy where
consumerisation is at the heart of any service provided.
Are you contributing to a VHI health plan at its highest
level? No, well wait in a long line queue or join a
political party and have that queue dramatically reduced by
your ability to pay your way out of death. Charlie Fed
bread to the pidgeons but kept the meat for himself. He
left some meat on the bone so his faithful followers and
party colleagues could lavish on his unwanted remains.
Colleague, leader, BOSS this man rode his horse on a
stretch of sand where no other mortal was allowed to walk
his or her dog, all compliments of the local authority who
fined others but wiped the shit off the sand when the horse
decided a drop was necessary. You and I carry a doggie bag,
Charlie carried a mobile phone to inform the city manager
that shit was cluttering his space.

And when we all stood outside the local supermarkets
shouting Charlie,Charlie Charlie, clammering to shake his
hand and wish him well, we all placed our hand deep in our
pockets to take out the last Few pennies we had to support
the political cause and then walked home and waited for pay
day and the labour exchange to open its gates. If we had a
dislike for Fianna Fail then we done it for Fine Gael , a
diffrent party with difFerent colours but with the same
traits as their opposition.And Charlie went home in full
confidence that the people were behind him and his
political colleagues were on his bandwagon, eager to be
part of the action and take the part in the gratitude
showered on politicians by the public for steering Ireland
out of another famine and a hell hole state they were in.
Charlie took what was presented to him with very little
opposition. Politicians today still play their games of
take and take more, the only difFerence today is that they
do it under the guise of being politically correct. Take
our Dail for example, a country with a population of just
over 4 million people has more political representatives
than that in the United Kingdom. Politicians lavish in more
holidays, rest days and overseas trips during Festive
occasions than any other main political representative in
the western world. They are better paid than MP's in the UK
and command expenses that George Bush woul give his right
are for a position of a lesser responsibility but with a
greater take. And Bertire walks across the lawn with
George, a statesman a superpower Irish leader who cannot
send a naval ship across the seas unless the weather is
fine, and George sniggers" let this little irish minnow
have his day of power once American interests are secure in

A lot of things have happened in politics since the Charlie
days and we cannot blame Charlie for all of them. Its
amazing how reports and criticisms come hot and heavy long
after that person has ceased to be able to refute them or
be challenged to refute them. There were a lot of people
who benefitted from Charlie being at the helm and a lot of
people covered their trails as best they could, should
Charlie fall from power. Ben Dunne may be at the forefront
of criticism and a lone target for those who could not
secure his favours at that time, but Ben Dunne was just one
cog connected to a wheel containing many other cogs that
used the political system to advance their own personal
objectives. If you or I were ofFered the keys of a new car
would you be worried and insistant on the car being a
Nissan rather than a Toyota before you accepted the ofFer.

Charlie is gone, and I was not one of his supporters, but
its time to let the man rest and turn our attentions to the
bad tasting soup that lies in the pot of Dail Eireann .
Mary O Rourke said it yesterday that her brother got an
operation in America and that was all she was prepared to
comment about. Once again the living have more to Fear from
the living and not the dead.


Opin: What Is Haughey's Legacy?

National History And Heritage Opinion/Analysis
Wednesday December 20, 2006 00:56 By Deselby

In light of the Moriarty Tribunal report into payments made
to Charles J. Haughey, it seems as good a time as any to
reflect on the career and influence of one of the most
controversial politicians - some would say the most
controversial politian - that Ireland has ever seen. We now
have a clearer, almost forensic, understanding of what
Haughey gained from public office, but what about the
balance to that? What did he give to the Irish people? What
did he leave behind? What is his true legacy?

On 11 February 1992, Charles J. Haughey stood up in the
D il and gave his own political epithet. 'This is not the
time to outline any special list of claims or
achievements,' he said. 'Let the record speak for itself.
If I were to seek any accolade as I leave office it would
simply be: he served the people, all the people, to the
best of his ability.' The former Taoiseach praised his
party, civil servants, the opposition, and the character of
the Irish people on what was his final, significant day in
the D il. He had been a sitting TD for 35 years. Earlier in
his speech he had quoted Othello: 'I have done the state
some service. They know't. No more of That.'

contrary to popular belief, Haughey did not invent Irish
political corruption - any decent study of the Irish land
commission in the 1930s would soon put paid to that
assumption - but he was by far its great proponent.
DeFenders of Haughey constantly reFer to him as the true
father of both the Celtic Tiger and the Irish Peace
Process. But how accurate are this assertions? Was he the
true savior of Ireland, albeit with a 'flawed pedigree'? Or
will be remembered as the man who stole his best friend's
liver money?

I Feel that Haughey, on balance,was a disaster for the
country and for his party. I believe that he destroyed any
talent within Fianna F il that did not conform to his
interests and those of his backers. He decimated the left-
wing element within Fianna F il and alligned that party
forever with big business and vested interests. He was the
master of the simple gesture - the travel pass, butter
vouchers, and artist tax-breaks - that promoted the
illusion of Fianna F il as firmly rooted with the working-
class and small farmer. On an economic level, Ireland's
economic recovery had as much to do with the Fine Gael/
Labour government of 1982-87 than with the minority Haughey
government of 87-9 and PD coalition of 89-92- governments
that wisely decided to continue those policies. His
greatest legacy, however, lies in the fact that the
overwhelming belief that Irish politicians are easily
bought. Not only that, they must be bought before anything
can happen.

On the issue of the North, however, I am not so sure. I'll
leave that to others more qualified to flesh out and
debate. but even on the points I have raised, I do so in
order to give a side to either agree with or amend, or
reject altogether. I do believe Haughey was a disaster, but
let's hear the other side.


Ex-Irish PM Haughey 'Took Bribes'

Former Irish Prime Minister Charles Haughey, who died this
year, accepted bribes and followed unethical business
practices, a tribunal has found.

The Moriarty Tribunal into Haughey's finances was launched
in 1997.

Its 600-page report stated that the former premier was paid
IRœ50,000 (œ42,000) by a Saudi sheikh to support passport

It said he accepted cash from wealthy businessmen over a
17-year period, including eight years as Taoiseach.

Haughey was elected in 1979 and remained in office until he
resigned in 1992 after a bugging scandal.

Correspondents said he was loved and loathed in almost
equal measure.

But his finances were long a matter of suspicion.

He enjoyed a lavish liFestyle, despite not having a huge
official income. He owned a yacht, his own island, race
horses and a mansion.

The Moriarty inquiry said it had identified payments
totalling œIR8.5m made to Mr Haughey between 1979 and 1996.

Its report on Tuesday included a reFerence to money he
received from Saudi Arabian diplomat and businessman
Mahmoud Fustok, who it said paid IRœ50,000 into one of
Haughey's bank accounts in February 1985.

The report said the payment was made in a secretive and
clandestine manner and connected to Mr Fustok's relatives'
passport applications.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/12/19 13:37:23 GMT


Response To Moriarty Tribunal - Golden Circle Still Exists

Published: 19 December, 2006

Commenting on the publication of the Report of the Moriarty
Tribunal, Sinn FEin D il leader Caoimhgh¡n O Caol in said:

"No-one will be surprised with the findings in this Report
on the personal finances of the late Charles J. Haughey.
The manner in which he conducted himself while holding high
office has been well exposed before now and is confirmed by
the Report.

"What is equally if not more important is the light the
Report sheds on the relationship between privileged people
in politics, big business and financial services. Charles
Haughey benefited from this relationship. While small
customers were treated by AIB with the utmost severity, the
privileged, such Mr. Haughey, were allowed to default on
huge debts. As an Ansbacher account holder, the late
Taoiseach was one of a select Few wealthy Irish people
facilitated in hiding their money off shore and evading tax
in the 1980s. This was when our hospitals and schools and
other public services were being cut back or closed, when
unemployment was at record levels and when communities were
ravaged by the heroin crisis.

"That era has also left a legacy of appalling planning as a
result of which communities are still sufFering.

"While legislation has made it more difficult for
politicians to personally benefit from such dealings, a
golden circle still exists. This is where decisions have
been taken by Government against the public interest and in
the interest of their friends in big business. These
decisions include:

ú The changing of Part V of the Planning and Development
Act after intensive lobbying from developers. The original
Part V required developers to provide 20% social and
affordable housing in all developments. This was changed by
the FF/PD Government at the developers' behest so that they
can buy their way out of their obligations by paying money
to local authorities. As a direct result lower income
families have been deprived of homes.

ú The unbridled control of the housing market by land
speculators and the building industry with house prices
beyond the reach of people on above-average incomes.

ú The granting of major tax concessions to developers of
private hospitals. Former Finance Minister Charlie McCreevy
admitted that he brought in this concession after lobbying
from a private hospital developer in his constituency. Mary
Harney has extended the concession by making public
hospital land available to developers of private hospitals.

ú The ongoing robbery of our natural gas and oil resources
by multinationals who have been handed these resources by
successive governments, including the present

ú Public contracts for private developers and property
speculators that have seen the public purse ripped off. A
prime example is the purchase at over twice the market
value of the Thornton Hall lands for the proposed super-

ú The privatisation of Eircom to the benefit of multi-
millionaires such as Tony O'Reilly and at the expense of
many thousands of conned small shareholders and with the
result that we have a sub-standard telecommunications
infrastructure in the hands of a private monopoly.

ú The privatisation of Aer Lingus, despite the experience
of the disastrous Eircom privatisation.

"All of these measures are legal but totally unethical and
against the public interest. The Moriarty Report states
that the conduct of Charles Haughey 'devalued the quality
of modern democracy'. That devaluation continues to this
day and has done so under successive administrations." ENDS


Minimum Wage Increases To ?8.65/Hour ($11.24) Next Year

20/12/2006 - 12:40:15

The Government has approved the Labour Court's
recommendations for a ?1 increase in the minimum wage next

Minister for Labour Affairs Tony Killeen confirmed today
that the recommendation for a two-phase increase in the
first half of the year would be implemented.

The decision will see the minimum wage rise from ?7.65 an
hour to ?8.30 an hour on January 1 and to ?8.65 an hour on
July 1.

The news will be a welcome Christmas present for the low-
paid, but will disappoint business representative groups,
particularly those representing smaller firms.

These groups had claimed that the Labour Court proposals
would push up costs and erode Ireland's competitiveness.


Taoiseach Formally Opens New ?750m Dublin Port Tunnel

20/12/2006 - 10:40:42

The Dublin Port Tunnel has been officially opened by the
Taoiseach today after taking five and a half years to
construct at a cost of ?751m.

The 4.5km tunnel is designed to relieve congestion in the
city centre by taking thousands of trucks from Dublin Port
to the M50 motorway ever day.

It will be toll-free for trucks and buses, but other
vehicles will have to pay between ?3 and ?12 to use it.

The tunnel plans were approved after a public inquiry in
1999 and it was originally expected to cost ?450m and open
in 2005.

However, the project has been dogged by delays and

Early in the scheme, critics argued that the tunnel would
not be high enough to take large trucks, while the
structure was also hit by major leaks and more than 200
households are seeking compensation for damage caused to
their homes during the construction phase.

Despite being designed to ease congestion, there are Fears
that the tunnel will actually create more gridlock by
putting thousands of extra trucks on the M50 every day.

Truckers want roads around Dublin Port to remain open to
heavy goods vehicles for a number of months until the M50
is upgraded to accommodate the extra traffic.


Study Shows Decline In B&Bs

Eoin Burke-Kennedy

The supply of traditional bed-and-breakfast accommodation
in Ireland Fell by 23 per cent between 2001 and 2005,
figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) show.

During the same period the number of four-star hotels in
the State grew by 41 per cent reflecting changing nature of
Irish tourism.

According to the CSO's Domestic Tourism in Ireland 2000-
2005report, the supply of B&B beds available Fell by 21 per

But while the number of registered guesthouses Fell by 7
per cent, the supply of guesthouse beds increased by 2 per
cent despite the drop in premises.

The report found the number one and two-star hotels
declined by 34 per cent and 6 per cent respectively during
the period.

The figures also evidenced the boom in holiday homes in
Ireland. Domestic nights spent in owned holiday homes more
than doubled between 2000 and 2005, growing from just under
1.1 million nights in 2000 to almost 2.2 million nights in

The number of registered self-catering premises increased
by 27 per cent with the growth being most pronounced in the
south-west region, where the supply of premises grew by 58
per cent.

The report assessed the importance of domestic tourism - as
distinct from foreign tourists coming to Ireland or Irish
tourists travelling abroad - to the overall tourism market
in Ireland

It found that during the five-year period some 39 million
domestic trips involving an overnight stay away from home
were taken and almost 139 million domestic nights were
spent away from home.

The annual number of domestic trips grew from just under
5.5 million in 2000 to almost 7.2 million in 2005 which
represented a growth of almost 1.7 million trips or 31 per

Nights spent away from home grew by 19 per cent or almost 4
million nights, rising from 20.7 million in 2000 to just
over 24.6 million in 2005.

The CSO said the average number of domestic trips taken per
head of population increased from 1.4 in 2000 to 1.7 in

Of the 39 million domestic trips taken during the period,
almost 31 million or almost 80 per cent were taken for
recreational purposes with 45 per cent these considered to
be holidays by the participants.

73 per cent of all domestic trips consisted of short breaks
of between one and three days, representing a 40 per cent
increase whereas the number of longer trips ( four nights
or more) taken grew by 9 per cent.

The south-west was the most visited region between 2000 and
2005, attracting 8.5 million trips or almost 22 per cent of
all trips taken.

Almost 35 million nights were spent in the region,
accounting for 25 per cent of all domestic tourism nights
spent in the country.

Dublin was the most visited county, attracting 5.3 million
trips, followed by Cork (4.5 million), Galway (4.5
million), Kerry (4 million) and Wexford (2.8 million).


Marking The Anniversary Of Two Irishmen's Deaths

The Feargal O hAnnuluain and Sean Sabhat Commemorative
Committee have announced that a major event will be held on
1st January 2007 to mark the 50th Anniversary of the deaths
of Feargal O hAnnluain and Sean Sabhat. The two IRA members
were killed in Brookeborough whilst serving in the Pearse
Column of the Irish Republican Army.

A parade will commence at 1.30pm at Moanes Cross, with a
walk to the monument at Altawark which marks the spot where
the bodies of the two young Volunteers were placed by their
comrades after the attack on the Brookeborough RUC

Special guest speakers will include Sinn Fein president,
Gerry Adams and Padraigin Ui Mhurchadha, a sister of
Feargal's who is a Sinn Fein Councillor in Monaghan.


Logon Cafe To Celebrate A Celtic Christmas

Slip back in time and savor the yuletide season with Irish
Balladeer, Danny O'Flaherty, as he brings the precious
ancient gifts of music, song and storytelling to the Logon

In a one-night-only performance on Friday, Dec. 22nd, at 8
p.m., O'Flaherty will share authentic Irish Christmas songs
and contemporary ballads - all reminiscent of the music
played and sung around the peat fires in Ireland.

International performer O'Flaherty, grew up in an isolated
village in Connemara, Ireland, where he spent evenings
listening to centuries of rich history passed on to him
through story and song. After immigrating to the United
States in the early 1970's, Danny has continued to "Pass
the Music On" for more than 35 years, sometimes as part of
a group and other times as an individual performer.

O'Flaherty's Irish Christmas will Feature a concert length
mix of wistful

and merry Irish tunes that reflect home, hearth, and the
Christmas spirit. Come, by My Nice Fresh Ivy (John Keegan
Casey) is a lyrical song of a street vendor who maintains
her Christmas spirit even on the dreary, rainy Dublin
Streets. On the flip side, the ballad, Christmas Without
Family, reflects on the many reasons people celebrate
Christmas alone.

The sentimental An Nollaig Sa mBaile Le Cheile (Christmas
at home together) by O'Flaherty, is a tribute to his own
family traditions in Connemara that are now scattered
world-wide. Danny's mesmerizing songs and tantalizing
stories will rekindle the true Christmas spirit in every
audience member's heart.

The Logon CaFe is located at 3805 Calder Avenue. Tickets
will be $15 each and will be available at the door - no
advance tickets will be sold. For more information,call

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