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

December 11, 2006

EC President To Offer Talks on Power Sharing

News About Ireland & The Irish

IT 12/11/06 Barroso To Offer Talks On Power Sharing
IT 12/11/06 Conservatives Push Adams On Policing
BB 12/11/06 Adams Gets Dissident Death Threat
BT 12/11/06 Sectarian Attack Victim: I'm Lucky To Be Alive
SF 12/11/06 Sectarian Attacks Continue In Ballymena
BT 12/11/06 Santa With Machine-Gun: Season Of Good Will?
BN 12/11/06 DUP Opposes Brits Giving Gays Equal Rights
SF 12/11/06 Sinn Féin Challenge DUP Homophobia
IM 12/11/06 Govt Terrified By Brits-Unionist Bombs In 1974
IM 12/11/06 Report From Save Tara Campaign Meeting
BB 12/11/06 GAA Decides To Scrap 2007 Series
BN 12/11/06 Dublin Behind In Moves To Tackle Litter Problem
BT 12/11/06 Another Drink-Sodden Saturday Night In Belfast


Barroso To Offer Talks On Power Sharing

European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso is to
urge all political leaders in Northern Ireland to agree on
power sharing.

Mr Barroso is to write to the leaders of the four main
parties inviting them to Brussels for talks.

The move was confirmed today by Minister for Foreign
Affairs Dermot Ahern, who will discuss the plan with Mr
Barroso in Brussels today.

A month ago Taoiseach Bertie Ahern asked the president of
the EC to meet the North's four main party leaders.

It is understood a number of areas on how the EU might be
able to support a devolved power-sharing administration at
Stormont are to be explored. Among them are additional
funding and the thorny issue of corporation tax, which is
more than double that of the Republic.

The intervention of Europe will also heighten the pressure
on Democratic Unionist leader the Rev Ian Paisley and Sinn
Féin president Gerry Adams to end the deadlock over
policing and justice.


Conservatives Push Adams On Policing

Tony Blair and Bertie Ahern's hopes of achieving power
sharing in Northern Ireland by March will be dashed if Sinn
Féin fails to endorse the police by the end of next month,
Britain's shadow Northern Ireland secretary has warned.

As he prepared to meet community leaders in Belfast's
loyalist Shankill area on a fact-finding visit,
Conservative MP David Lidington, called on Sinn Fein to
change its attitude to the police by January 30th.

He said: "My view is the end of January is a critical time
for this process. I find it very hard to see how devolution
can happen in March if Sinn Féin has failed to endorse
policing wholeheartedly by the end of January.

"Sinn Féin has been dragging its feet on this issue for far
too long. It needs to catch up with everyone else who has
recognised that policing has changed," Mr Lidington said.

Sinn Féin is facing demands from other political parties in
Northern Ireland as well as the British, Irish and US
governments that it should support the PSNI.

The Democratic Unionists insist without such a move there
will be no power sharing at Stormont.

But Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams insists he cannot hold
a special conference to change its policing policy without
agreement on a date for the transfer of justice and
policing powers to Stormont, details of the department that
will oversee security and assurances that MI5 will have no
role in civic policing.

But the DUP has warned Mr Adams there will be no transfer
of powers without republicans moving first to endorse the



Adams Gets Dissident Death Threat

Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams has received a warning from
police about a fresh attack by dissident republicans.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland told him dissidents
had intended to shoot him, but called off their attack
because of his security arrangements.

The threats follow internal party discussions on Sinn
Fein's strategy on policing.

However, Mr Adams accused the hardliners of using the
policing issue as an excuse.

Speaking at Stormont on Monday, he said it was clear that
certain elements were opposed to Sinn Fein's peace

"The issue of policing is an excuse which is being used and
exploited by them," he said.

"It is clearly an important issue, but it is being
manipulated as part of the wider hostility to Sinn Fein's
peace strategy."


Mr Adams said the warning indicated that dissident
republicans had been planning to shoot him, but were
deterred by enhanced security arrangements taken by Sinn
Fein once it was alerted to the possibility of an attack.

Disaffected members of the Provisional movement and
dissidents in the Real IRA, Continuity IRA and other
republican organisations oppose any move by Sinn Fein to
endorse publicly the PSNI.

However, Democratic Unionists have made Sinn Fein support
for the police a pre-requisite for a new power sharing
government next March.

Last month, Sinn Fein said it had evidence that dissidents
were planning to attack senior members of the party
including Mr Adams, Gerry Kelly and Martin McGuinness.

A police spokeswoman said it was not policy to comment on
the security of individuals.

Ulster Unionist party deputy leader Danny Kennedy said the
time had come for Sinn Fein to deal with the issue of
policing so that party members could receive police help to
deal with such threats.

"The right thing to do for the republican leadership is to
give their full unqualified support to the PSNI, the lawful

"They can then expect the full cover and reasonable support
of the lawful institutions."

Mr Kennedy said it was not a question of not accepting that
threats had been made, it was about how Sinn Fein should
deal with those threats.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/12/11 11:36:12 GMT


Sectarian Attack Victim: I'm Lucky To Be Alive

[Published: Monday 11, December 2006 - 09:49]
By By Nevin Farrell

A 17-year-old Catholic said last night he is "lucky to be
alive" after being viciously beaten by a loyalist gang
close to where schoolboy Michael McIlveen was beaten before
dying in hospital.

Sean O'Hara (17), from Glenravel, eight miles from
Ballymena, was in the town with friends in the early hours
of yesterday when he was attacked. He underwent surgery in
hospital on a finger injury and received several staples to
a head wound.

He said he was left unconscious in the attack, which was
carried out as he sat with friends in a hut in a back
garden close to Garfield Place car park in the centre of
Ballymena at around 4am.

He said that people were drinking in the hut when a
loyalist gang burst in.

"A lot of Protestants came in and jumped me. I feel lucky I
wasn't killed," said Sean last night.

One friend said: "Sean was lucky he didn't become the next
'Micky Bo' because that area near the Garfield Place car
park is where Michael McIlveen was beat up before he died.

"Loyalists were out in a car last night looking to attack a
Catholic and other people said they were approached but got

Police confirmed they are treating a serious assault on the
17-year-old Catholic as sectarian.

Yesterday, the PSNI sealed off a section of alleyway at
Garfield Place car park close to the hut. It stands behind
houses at Granville Drive, just feet from where Catholic
schoolboy McIlveen was allegedly set upon by a baseball-bat
wielding loyalist gang in May.

The scene of yesterday's attack is adjacent to an
electricity generator which was turned into a shrine to
McIlveen after hundreds of messages of sympathy were
written with marker pens.

The shrine was paint-bombed in a suspected loyalist attack.

A PSNI spokeswoman said the serious assault was reported to
them around 4am. It is believed a gang of between four to
six people attacked the youth.

One male has been arrested.

The police are appealing for information. They can be
contacted on 0845 600 8000 or at Crimestoppers on 0800 555

15-year-old Michael McIlveen died in hospital in May this
year after being set upon by a mob.

Several teenagers have been charged with murder.

© Belfast Telegraph


Sectarian Attacks Continue In Ballymena

Published: 11 December, 2006

North Antrim Sinn Féin MLA Philip McGuigan has condemned
the latest sectarian attack on a Catholic teenager in
Ballymena. The attack resulted in the 17-year-old, who is
from Martinstown, being hospitalised.

Mr McGuigan said:

"This latest sectarian attack in Ballymena again highlights
the need for young nationalists to be extremely vigilant in
the town. Local people have informed me that there was a
gang of loyalists driving around the town intent on
carrying out an attack last night and this is obviously the
end result of that.

"It is obvious from this that there are those from within
the loyalist community who have not learned from, or worse,
have no concern about this activity even after the tragic
death of Michael McIlveen. I have always said that
political leadership, particulary from within the unionist
community, is needed to bring this to an end, and that is
still quite clearly lacking." ENDS


Santa With A Machine-Gun: So Much For The Season Of Good Will

[Published: Monday 11, December 2006 - 09:33]
By By Sinead McCavana

Christmas killjoys of Republican Sinn Fein give festive
cards a sinister twist

Sick Christmas cards being sold in a republican shop were
condemned by a leading church man last night.

The cards depicting Santa Claus with an AK-47 rifle were
branded " abhorrent" by Rev David McIlveen.

In another sketch, a gun-carrying snowman wears a black
IRA-style beret.

The Republican Sinn Fein cards are on sale in west Belfast.

Calendars for 2007, with chilling photographs of masked
gunmen, can also be bought at the outlet.

Rev McIlveen, a prominent Free Presbyterian minister, last
night hit out at the shocking cards and calendar.

He said: "It is totally reprehensible that, at a time when
people's minds are focusing on Christmas and peace, these
types of cards are published.

"Republican Sinn Fein is obviously still thinking about
violence and it has manifested itself in these cards.

"I think the vast majority of people would think they (the
cards) are totally abhorrent."

The latest controversy is an echo of a major row two years
ago when mainstream republicans were at the centre of a

At that time, Sinn Fein sparked outrage by selling an IRA

A Sunday newspaper reporter claimed to have bought the
calendar at Sinn Fein's headquarters on Belfast's Falls

The 12-picture Republican Resistance Calendar showed Provos
in training.

At the time, the show of strength, published by hardline
republicans, flew in the face of Sinn Fein's Gerry Adams'
peace-making efforts.

This year, Sinn Fein's official 2007 calendar, on sale on
its website, marks the 35th anniversary of Bloody Sunday
and the 20th anniversary of the killing of eight IRA men in

© Belfast Telegraph


DUP Opposes British Move To Give Gay People Equal Rights

11/12/2006 - 08:39:21

The Northern Assembly is due to debate a DUP motion today
opposing the British government's decision to give gay
people equal rights in the North.

Under the Equality Act, discrimination against homosexuals
in the provision of goods and services is specifically

The DUP says this should be an issue for the Stormont
Assembly and not the British government, but Sinn Féin and
the SDLP both oppose the DUP motion, accusing the party of


Sinn Féin Challenge DUP Homophobia

Published: 11 December, 2006

Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Equality and Human Rights, South
Down MLA Caitriona Ruane commenting on the debate in the
Assembly today on the rights of people to protection
against discrimination on the grounds of sexual.

orientation has said that 'everyone should have the same
rights and legal protections, there is no half way house -
you cannot have equality for some'.

Ms Ruane said:

"Ian Paisley Senior, and Martin McGuinness, as FM/DFM
Designate and Arlene and I as human rights and Equality
spokespersons should all be sitting down together and
working out how do we put together a comprehensive
programme across the board for the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual
and Transgendered Community. We should be talking about how
to protect the people who are suffering homophobic attacks,
and there has been an increase of 175% of reported attacks.

"Everyone should have the same rights and legal
protections, there is no half way house - you cannot have
equality for some.

"The DUP is using homophobia for political gain, it is
attempting to whip up homophobic sentiment that leads to
discrimination and violence.

"This is serious stuff - while the DUP wring their hands
and say - of course we are for law and order and we abhor
any crime against anyone and people should go to the police
- what they fail to do is to take responsibility for

the actions that come from their words. By failing to
provide leadership they are part of setting the context for
the attack on the young man in a club, or park." ENDS

Full text of Speech

Ambassador Strommen at the 3rd session of the United
Nations Human Rights Council speaking on behalf of 54
states, including 18 members of the Human Rights Council.

"At its recent session, the United Nations Human Rights
Council received extensive evidence of human rights
violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity,
including deprivation of the rights to life, freedom from
violence and torture. We express deep concern at these
ongoing human rights violations."

Ireland and Britain were two of the states that signed this

I welcome the fact that we are having a debate on sexual
orientation but this is the wrong debate.

Ian Paisley Senior, and Martin McGuinness, as FM/DFM
Designate and Arlene and I as human rights and Equality
spokespersons should all be sitting down together and
working out how do we put together a comprehensive
programme across the board for the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual
and Transgendered Community.

We should be talking about how to protect the people who
are suffering homophobic attacks, and there has been an
increase of 175% of reported attacks. How do we resource
the organisations working for the welfare of the GLBC. How
do we link with the human rights and equality sector to
bring about change?

Everyone should have the same rights and legal protections,
there is no half way house - you cannot have equality for

DUP is using homophobia for political gain, it is
attempting to whip up homophobic sentiment that leads to
discrimination and violence.

It is setting the context for gay bashing and human rights
violations that the United Nations spoke about in its
communiqué. This motion is coming from a party that has a
track record on anti gay and lesbian rigthts:

In 2004 DUP Councillor Arthur Templeton was found guilty of
harassment and fined after making homophobic taunts against
a Council candidate. Templeton was suspended from the DUP.

In November 2005 another DUP councillor Maurice Mills
shared with us other pearls of wisdom when he described
Hurricane Katrina as being sent by God to punish gay and
Lesbian people and to prevent the gay Southern Decadence
week-end in New Orleans from going ahead.

Ian óg obviously not wanting to be outdone said (in
relation to the gay marriage of former UUP adviser Stephen
King ) said "Most people in North of Ireland find
homosexual relationships offensive and indeed obnoxious and
I say that from the position of research that I have done"

This is serious stuff - while the DUP wring their hands and
say - of course we are for law and order and we abhor any
crime against anyone and people should go to the police -
what they fail to do is to take responsibility for the
actions that come from their words. By failing to provide
leadership they are part of setting the context for the
attack on the young man in a club, or park.

Martin Luther King said : "Injustice anywhere is a threat
to justice everywhere".

They can dress it up in fancy words and provide
smokescreens claiming it is better if it is brought to
Stormont rather than Westminister - the real issue here is
that there should be no delay in bringing legislation
forward - the GLBT community are protected in the South of
Ireland and this legislation will provide protection for
GLBT community here in the North of Ireland. That is to be
welcomed and there should be no delay.

What are the effects of this gay bashing - The findings of
every reputable research carried out into the effects of
homophobia show that the gay community is disproportionally
affected by suicide and self harm. Ireland has one of the
highest incidences of suicide in Europe. The next time
Jeffrey, George go to a wake of a young man (who may or may
not have been gay) was in such agony that he chose to take
his own life examine your consciences and ask yourself did
you say or do anything that contributed to that despair.
And that person could be any of our children - yours or

It is a poor excuse for any politicians to say they are
defending the rights of Christians to discriminate. Firstly
there are many Christians who support this legislation -
and who do not believe in discrimination.

There is also a lot of hysteria and misinformation about
this legislation

Opponents claim the legislation will:

Force primary schools to actively promote Homosexual civil
partnerships to children from primary school age to the
same degree they teach the importance of marriage.

Force a printing shop run by a Christian to print fliers
promoting gay sex

Force a family run B+B to let out a double room to a
transsexual couple, even if the family think it is in the
best interests of their children to refuse to allow such a
situation in their own home.

Let's debunk some of those myths :

Printers won't be forced to print flyers promoting gay sex
or any other kind of sex, they'll simply not be allowed to
hang a "no gays served here sign"

Regulation 9 simply prohibits educational establishments
from refusing to accept students on grounds of their sexual

Regulation (7) (2) (a) states that anyone providing
accomation such as a b+b is exempt if the "relevant
occupies resides and continues to reside on the premises".

I would like to pay tribute to the Gay and Lesbian
community for their courage and bravery in standing up for
their rights and to the other groups who are supporting
them. I call on all other groups fighting for rights to
stand alongside them.

This motion is part of yesterday's agenda, part of the bad
old days of the past. Move on - show leadership. Days of
second class citizenship and hiding our identities are

Take a good look at yourselves - what does your gay son or
brother or lesbian daughter or sister think about you now.
Don't comdemn them to a lifetime of silence and despair.

Arlene - how does this motion fit into your equality brief.

DUP talk a lot about law and order and respect for the law
- are you going to uphold S75 and this law when it comes in
in January? Or is your support for law and order selective
and only "your law and order"

So lets move from the dark ages into the light of the 21
century - there is no room for discrimination in this
century and where it happens we should challenge it - no
one suffering discrimination should stand alone. The people
who should stand alone are the discriminators.

Now I don't know about the rest of you but I think I would
give more credit to an Independent Mori poll than Ian's or
indeed Maurice Mills wonderful research.

A recent Mori poll asked people here (1100 people) if they
believed it was right for business to discriminate against
GLB people. 88% said no - and it also shows that attitudes
among young people are the most progressive in terms of gay
rights. So your gay bashing is not even a vote winner.
Don't dig a hole for yourself - get out of this hole and
join with the rest of us in supporting anti discrimination
legislation which protects everyone. You never know when
you might need it.


Southern Government Terrified By British-Unionist Bombs In
1974 - The Lessons For Today

National Rights And Freedoms Opinion/Analysis
Monday December 11, 2006 02:27 by Harry Wells –
The Well, Well, Well Foundation

MI5 and RUC special Branch set up 'pseudo gang' to kill the
agreement, nationalists and republicans

The Mail on Sunday returns today to the story the Irish
Times and Irish Independent don't want to touch with a
forty-foot pole. It is ironic that an Irish edition of a
Conservative English newspaper shows more gumption in
exposing this scandal than Irish owned newspapers.

See also: - for
previous Mail coverage of this story and how the Times and
Indo have effectively ignored it.

Who are these newspapers protecting? The Fine Gael-Labour
coalition of 1973-77, who ran scared from the bombs and
instituted a reign of repression and terror against
republicans and the (minority) of socialists who stood up
to them, that's who.

The Cosgrave coalition turned on republicans after British

It was the era of Conor (‘UK Unionist’) Cruise O'Brien,
Paddy ('cockroach') Cooney, Paddy ('Thundering disgrace')
Donnegan and Liam ('tin pot') Cosgrave. It was the era of
the ‘Heavy Gang’ in the Gardai, of censorship in RTE, of a
President - Commander in Chief of the Army - forced to
resign after Donnegan referred to him as a “Thundering
Disgrace” in front of army officers. The two most
reactionary ministers, Cooney and O’Brien, lost their seats
in the 1977 general election. O’brien was infamous after
1974 for arguing that no one should say anything that might
anger loyalists, in case they might bomb Dublin again. MI5
had the unionist appeasers in Dublin on the run. The Gardai
wound up The Dublin Monaghan bombing enquiry – still the
biggest single mass murder of the Troubles - very quickly.
The Justice Minister, Paddy Cooney (who denied that the
‘Heavy Gang’ existed) and the rest of the Labour-Fine Gael
cabinet did not protest.

The incoming Fianna Fail government in 1977 sacked the
Garda Commissioner, Ned Garvey, who had set up the ‘Heavy
Gang’. They never said why.

Unionist killer and “long time supporter” of DUP dissents

Fianna Fail and the mainstream media do not want to
embarrass Fine Gael Labour too much on the issue today, as
it also draws in British responsibility for acts of
terrorism. It is important for all these forces to maintain
a clear focus of pressure on Sinn Fein.

The DUP and the unionist killers that Ian Paisley
influences also want to maintain this agreed focus on Sinn
Fein. The clear link between the DUP and unionist killers
is revealed in The Sunday Tribune today. The story is not
on the Sunday Tribune website – most peculiar, just like
the (page 17) Irish Independent report of November 30th on
British collusion with unionist killers is not on the
Independent website (see link).

Ian Paisley Jnr and Jeffrey Donaldson are revealed as
trying to persuade “loyalist double murder Pastor Kenny
McClinton” (who Paisley calls a “long time supporter”) to
keep the focus on trying to split Sinn Fein. At one point
Donaldson, in warning against a “deeply green Plan B”, asks
the loyalist killer: “Is this what you fought for, Kenny?”.
The insane sectarianism that characterises unionist
politics is revealed in this exchange, with unionist
killing supporting unionist politicking - and vice versa.

Donaldson addresses McClinton as a “brother in the Lord”,
while McClinton opens an email with:

“Grace and peace unto you and yours in Christ’s great and
omniscient name, my friends, may your hearts and minds be
filled with thoughts of Him, and the peace He alone can
bring. Amen.

McClinton explains at one point how he ”shot a man DEAD” in
support of Paisley’s 1977 loyalist strike. Mr Holier than
though Donaldson, who has nothing to say about this
sectarian killer’s killings, says in the body of the
article that the release of the emails is ”unchristian”
(possibly because the Bible did not reveal the big C as
having ever sent or received any).

Fianna Fail DUP alliance on police

While Paisley’s DUP put pressure on Sinn Fein to “support”
the PSNI in order to try and split republicans, Bertie
Ahern reinforces the DUP message today by demanding that
Sinn Fein to call an Ard Fheis on policing before the
British government have brought in the Patton reforms that
destroy the Special Branch 'force within a force'. Fianna
Fail do not care that they are in support of DUP bigots in
making these calls on Sinn Fein.

In 1976 the Labour-Fine Gael government were acting as
loyalist appeasers. Is Fianna Fail playing the same role
today? Has anything changed? In a taunt to Republicans,
former SDLP leader Seamus Mallon called the Good Friday
Agreement "Sunningdale for slow learners". Maybe he was
right in ways he did not intend, since the SDLP and
successive Irish governments have tried to blame
republicans for the bringing down of the Sunningdale Power
Sharing Agreement in 1974. The Dublin Monaghan bombings
went off in the middle of the loyalist 'strike' and mass
intimidation that brought down the Faulkner-Fitt executive.
Maybe the SDLP and the Dublin government will learn that
they are up against the same forces today as they were in
1974 - the combined weight of unionist sectarianism, the
remnants of RUC Special Branch and elements of British

Maybe they are the “slow learners”. They should cop on and
cop out of making demands of Sinn Fein on policing.

Related Link:

Click on graphic to read full article

The link between DUP and unionst killers revealed - click
to read


Report From Save Tara Campaign Meeting
Sun 10 Dec

Dublin History And Heritage News Report
Monday December 11, 2006 12:05
by Secretary - Save Tara Campaign

10th Dec 2006 - Meeting of the Save Tara Campaign Capel
Building, Dublin

Another very positive meeting of the Save Tara campaign was
held on Sunday. Facilitating was an experienced community
worker and facilitator from Galway, who has worked closely
with the Zapatistas in Mexico and in Ireland.

The mission of the Save Tara Campaign is to keep Tara’s
landscape protected for future generations.

This goal unites all strands and stakeholders in the issue
– e.g. ecological, economic, academic, spiritual, and

Best efforts were made to contact all campaigners and
invite them to attend the meeting.

The decisions made were a result of co-operation between
Save Tara Valley group, Tara Solidarity Vigil, TaraWatch,
and other campaigners, who have agreed to work in a
respectful and consensual manner; and now are the
spokespeople and co-ordinators of the Save Tara Campaign.

The meeting represented a powerful new beginning point,
which has created a participatory mechanism for continued
unity, growth, direction and accountability.

The approach taken involved:
- Creating a Positive Structure,
- Revisiting The Vision
- Evaluating Where We Are
- Setting up a Calendar for Short Term Work
- Jobs and who is doing what
- Utilising a participatory methodology for the meeting

As a result of the meeting, certain decisions have been

1. Regular meetings, using this methodology, will be held,
and all inputs are valuable and vital to the success of the
campaign. The next meeting will be held on 17th December
at 3.00pm, in the Capel Building, Dublin 7. The methodology
used guarantees that we stay focused and that there is
dignity within the broad campaign and between all campaigners.

2. Events are being planned, which include:
- Awareness raising demonstration at Newgrange, early
morning - December 21st.This must be peaceful so as not to
disturb people celebrating ceremonies there.
- Possible holiday celebration at Tara on night of 21st,for
- Possible demonstration at Dail Eireann on the last day
before the holidays.
- The Climate change conference in January 07 – date and
location to be decided.

3. Temporary Task distribution
We will continue to have participatory facilitation of
meetings and train others in these skills. General division
of labour focusing on:
- giving feedback to broad supporters through email
- engaging new supporters
- lobbying politicians and high profile people
- legal research

Work to be discussed at next meeting:
- media relations
- camp support
- recruitment


GAA Decides To Scrap 2007 Series

The GAA Central Council has decided that there will be no
International Rules series in 2007.

The move follows violence which marred the second Test
between Ireland and Australia at Croke Park last month.

GAA president Nicky Brennan said that about 50% of players
contacted had given their views and all wanted the games to

Work will now start on clarifying rules and disciplinary
procedures so that the internationals can resume in 2008.

Players' representative Dessie Farrell said that, while
there would be disappointment that the 2007 series would
not take place, the decision was probably a wise one.

Brennan informed Saturday's meeting of the council that
Irish team manager Sean Boylan and his selectors were also
in favour of keeping the series going.

However, he added that those who wanted the series to
continue stated the need that any future Rules contests be
"conducted to the accepted norms of sportmanship".

It was agreed that a document would be prepared by the GAA,
which would put on record the basis of structures and
rules, their implementation and penalties on which the
future of any series will be considered.

The document will be brought back to Central Council for
decision after which it will be forwarded to the Australian
Football League for their consideration.

If the GAA's terms are acceptable to the AFL, then
discussions on the future of the series could take place.

Story from BBC SPORT:
Published: 2006/12/09 17:11:26 GMT


Dublin Lagging Behind In Moves To Tackle Litter Problem

11/12/2006 - 10:20:39

Dublin remains a major litter blackspot, according to the
latest survey by the Irish Business Against Litter

The survey has found that most other parts of the country
are making massive improvements, with almost half the areas
involved reaching litter-free status.

However, the capital is lagging behind and showing no signs
of improving.

Maynooth, Naas, Navan and Wiclow are also named as litter
blackspots, while Dundalk, Fermoy, Galway city, Wexford and
Youghal are all litter free.


Just Another Drink-Sodden Saturday Night In Belfast

[Published: Monday 11, December 2006 - 09:39]
By By Sam McBride

Belfast's booming nightlife means thousands of revellers
are on the streets every Saturday night. Sam McBride tours
the nightspots with police officers trying to prevent

Belfast's burgeoning nightlife will lead to unprecedented
levels of crime unless urgent action is taken, a senior
police officer has warned.

Assistant Chief Constable Duncan McCausland called for the
introduction of four zones throughout the city, with
staggered closing times to reduce alcohol-fuelled weekend

On Saturday night, Operation Nightlife saw more than 50
police officers stationed at city centre hotspots to
prevent crime - double the number deployed five years ago.

The 40 custody cells at Belfast's police stations are
increasingly proving inadequate for the numbers arrested at
weekends, with police routinely having to take people to
cells in Bangor or Newtownards.

Superintendent Ken Eccles said the lack of police cells is
a weakness in the present system.

He described Saturday night as "fairly quiet", despite nine
arrests for offences including assault, robbery and
possession of a class A drug.

He added that the problem of people urinating in public at
weekends was a common complaint and although police have
powers of arrest for the offence, officers often chose to
just take the person's details.

"People are now coming from all over to Belfast at weekends
- including people from Great Britian," he explained.

"Cathedral Quarter is now coming into play and I expect the
Odyssey to become an increasingly big issue for the future
- tonight there are about 6,000 people down there.
Thankfully, officers have not sustained a serious injury
recently, but cuts and bruises are not rare."

Belfast now has about 320 licensed premises, and they must
act responsibly, according to Lord Mayor Pat McCarthy, who
on Saturday night joined Policing Board vice-chairman Barry
Gilligan with police.

Mr McCarthy said: "Vintners have to take some of the
responsibility. I saw a sign advertising a 'pound a drink'
promotion. That sort of thing helps nobody - young people
are going out with a tenner and getting absolutely

Mr McCausland said the vast majority of publicans act
responsibly and realise that to sustain a vibrant
nightlife, Belfast has to be safe.

He added: "We are nowhere near the situation in cities like
Glasgow, Manchester or Birmingham, but we have to address
the problems now before Belfast becomes like them.

"One of the big issues is that the numbers of people on the
streets are simply too much for the infrastructure."

Violence and public disorder reach their zenith in the
early hours as people pour out of closing bars and stand
around waiting for a taxi.

Mr McCausland said numerous high visibility police officers
mingling with crowds, and mobile CCTV evidence gathering
units, help act as a deterrent to crime.

Mr McCausland said: "As Northern Ireland becomes more
normal and people over-indulge they become a risk to
themselves; problems involving alcohol have increased
enormously in recent years."

In the early hours of yesterday morning a shivering police
officer debated the merits of the Patten Report with an
inebriated reveller outside the Botanic Inn, content that
for now it is harsh words he has to endure, not attempts on
his life.

Late night checks for taxis that are illegal or unsafe

Illegal taxis in Belfast are being targeted in the run-up
to Christmas by a specialist inspection squad.

Saturday night saw the latest crackdown by the Driver and
Vehicle Testing Agency (DVTA) inspection unit, set up in
2003 to improve taxi safety.

DVTA officials, working in conjunction with the police,
made roadside inspections in Belfast, searching for
unregistered or unsafe vehicles being used as taxis.

The searches uncovered a stretch limousine without
insurance or a Public Service Vehicle (PSV) licence in the
area of the Odyssey Arena.

DVTA enforcement manager Stephen Spratt said the driver's
details had been passed on to the Public Prosecution

The popular luxury taxis are often operating without having
undergone mandatory safety tests and could be structurally
unsound, according to DVTA.

At the moment, the US-style limos do not meet PSV
requirements - because they are left-hand drive.

But legislative draftsmen are working on a new bill that
will allow limousines to be licensed as private hire taxis
on Ulster's roads.

"No left-hand drive vehicles can be PSV licensed to operate
as a taxi. The limousine industry has grown in size in
recent years, with the demand for so-called 'fun
vehicles'," Mr Spratt said.

He said there are serious questions about the structural
reliability, turning circle, brakes' safety and seatbelt
provision of some "end of life" vehicles imported from the

Mr Spratt said that, up until now, these vehicles had not
been involved in many accidents because they are generally
driven very slowly, but insisted there was a potential for

"We are seeking more powers to seize illegal PSV vehicles
and issue fixed penalty tickets," he said.

Overall, he said that, since 2003, the unit had detected
thousands of taxis without proper insurance and thousands
more had been found to be without a licence.

A further 500 drivers were found to be driving taxis
without a driving licence.

"The reality is there is far more to be done and we really
need new legislation," he added.

The DoE is finalising the Northern Ireland Taxi Order,
expected to give enforcement officers increased powers.

Under the proposals, police and DVTA would have the power
to seize unlicensed taxis and all taxis could pick up
customers on the streets without a booking.

Five enforcement officials are attached to the unit on a
full- time basis. A further 20 part- time officials take
part in operations when required and police provide support
for the searches.

© Belfast Telegraph

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