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December 09, 2006

Thatcher Congressional Medal Award Blocked

News About Ireland & The Irish

IT 12/09/06 Thatcher Congressional Medal Award Blocked
BB 12/09/06 No Agreement At Policing Meeting
BN 12/08/06 SF 'Could Contaminate Justice If Given Control'
IT 12/09/06 DUP Casts Doubt Devolution Timetable
UT 12/09/06 Paisley Urges Members Not To Split
BB 12/09/06 Dodds Denies Internal DUP Split
BB 12/08/06 Murmurs Of 'Betrayal' Over Power-Sharing
BT 12/08/06 Paisley Hits Back At 'Joke' Attack By Mccartney
UT 12/09/06 Education System Failing Protestants
BT 12/08/06 Loyalists & Priest Tackle Conflict In Colombia
BB 12/08/06 Fresh Criticism Of Omagh Evidence
IT 12/09/06 Killing Of Postmaster Condemned As Cowardly
IT 12/09/06 Shock As Kilkenny Man Shot Dead
BT 12/08/06 £300,000 For Blank Screens
SF 12/08/06 SF Welcomes Support For Registration Action
LJ 12/07/06 One In Four Voters Not On The Register
UT 12/08/06 SF Slam McFarlane Trial As "Nonsensical"
IT 12/09/06 'Obscene' System To Blame For MRSA Deaths
BT 12/09/06 Opin: Lost In The Maze?
BT 12/09/06 Opin: The Relief Of Derry?
GB 12/09/06 Blog: Paisley’s Word Games Won't Work!
IT 12/09/06 Boy Died In Bedroom Accident
II 12/09/06 Profile: John Stevens: The Guv'nor
BT 12/09/06 Stone's Art Pulled From eBay
RT 12/08/06 Commemorative Statue Installed In Bantry Bay
BT 12/06/06 Walk Of The Week: Causeway Coast Way


Move To Award Thatcher A Congressional Medal Blocked

Seán O'Driscoll in New York

A group of Irish-American politicians has blocked the
Republican-led Congress from awarding a congressional medal
to former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher.

Illinois Republican congressman Mark Kirk has admitted that
plans to award Mrs Thatcher the Congressional Medal of
Honour had to be abandoned after Massachusetts Democratic
congressman Barney Frank said he would do everything he
could to stop it because of the Irish community's "very
legitimate and strong" reaction to Mrs Thatcher.

He was joined by a group of congressmen from Irish
districts, including Joe Crowley of New York, who said
yesterday that it would be "just plain wrong" to give
Congress's highest award to Mrs Thatcher on the 25th
anniversary of the IRA hunger strikes.

"Many people in the British government who came after her
did great work to end the conflict, but she certainly
didn't," he said.

Mr Frank said there was "absolutely no way" that
Republicans could obtain the required two- thirds vote
required to allow Congress to give Mrs Thatcher the medal
of honour, also known as the congressional gold medal.

Mr Frank is the most senior Democrat on the Financial
Services Committee, which makes a final approval on
congressional medal of honour candidates after they are
nominated by two-thirds of the members of Congress.

"I told the Republican members that I would use the full
time allotted to debate the medal and that I would call a
full roll-call before the vote would be allowed to go
through. I don't think anyone had the stomach for it, so
they've dropped it," he said.

Mr Frank, an openly gay member of Congress, said that he
also opposed Mrs Thatcher's stand on gay issues when she
was in power.

"I don't think we should be giving out medals to people
just because they were friends of Ronald Reagan," he said.

Mr Frank also successfully fought to stop former Spanish
prime minister Jose Maria Aznar from receiving the
congressional medal last year. "They gave one to Tony Blair
in 2003 and then Aznar wanted one for Spain's contribution
in Iraq. He had medal envy and that's not enough reason,"
Mr Frank said.


No Agreement At Policing Meeting

Politicians have failed to reach agreement on policing and
justice in the first meeting of a new Stormont sub-
committee on the issue.

The DUP maintain that Sinn Fein must support policing and
justice before a date can be set for devolving these powers
to Northern Ireland's parties.

But Sinn Fein insist on the transfer of powers before they
can support police.

Speaking after the meeting, Ulster Unionist Fred Cobain
said the stalemate may put the assembly's future at risk.

"The Democratic Unionist Party have made their position
absolutely clear, through a number of spokesmen, that
devolution of policing and justice won't happen for a
political generation," he said.

"If that's the case, at the end of the day I don't see much
future for the assembly.

"I think tensions are going to rise quite quickly in the
committee if that issue is not resolved."

Devolution programme

The policing and justice subcommittee, which also involves
the Ulster Unionists and SDLP, is one of six groups
designed to forge a devolution programme.

The committee is working against the clock to overcome the
deadlock on policing before the dissolution of the assembly
at the end of January.

The deadline for devolution is 26 March, with fresh
assembly elections set for 7 March.

Sinn Fein is refusing to hold a special ard fheis (party
conference) on policing until the DUP agrees a date for the
transfer of policing powers for the assembly.

The party also wants agreement on a new policing and
justice department and has concerns about the proposed role
for MI5.

The DUP has firmly resisted giving a date for the transfer
of policing powers.

Before the meeting, the SDLP's Alex Attwood described the
stand-off between the two parties as a "sham fight".

He claimed substantive policing powers were already
devolved and hoped progress could be made quickly.

DUP opposition

Meanwhile, UK Unionist leader Robert McCartney addressed a
public meeting in Portadown on Thursday night called to
harness opposition from within the DUP to the St Andrews

About 80 people gathered in Carleton Street Orange Hall to
hear Mr McCartney claim the DUP was guilty of political

"I cannot convey to you how sick to the pit of my stomach I
feel each time I realise the magnitude of that betrayal and
the fact they will actually use that betrayal to squeeze
votes out of the unionist community," he said.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/12/08 16:05:38 GMT


SF 'Could Contaminate Justice If Given Control'

08/12/2006 - 19:34:42

Sinn Féin could contaminate policing and justice if the
party gets control over it in a devolved government, a
hardline Democratic Unionist said tonight.

As Assembly members discussed policing and justice powers
being transferred from Westminster to a future power-
sharing government, Northern MEP Jim Allister said the
first anniversary of the dropping of spying charges against
three people including republican turned British agent
Denis Donaldson served as a reminder of why unionists
should be concerned about Sinn Féin having any say.

“Firstly, Stormontgate itself graphically illustrated the
folly of admitting Sinn Féin to government without an
enforceable mechanism to exclude only them upon default by
them,” he argued.

“The St Andrews Act does not address this deficiency, which
properly is a requirement of the DUP. Thus a workable
legislative default mechanism remains a key outstanding

“Secondly, it underscores the deep-seated concerns that any
possibility of control over policing and justice by a
party, such as Sinn Féin, would increase the prospect of
this most vital of subjects being contaminated and
corrupted by political tampering.

“Little wonder there is a prevailing determination that if
devolution should occur, the transfer of policing and
justice is impossible during the currency of this
generation of highly tainted Sinn Féin politicians.”

Mr Allister was commenting after his colleague Arlene
Foster told Sinn Féin after today’s meeting at Stormont it
was up to them to deliver political progress by publicly
declaring support for the Police Service of Northern
Ireland, the courts and the rule of law.

The Fermanagh and South Tyrone MLA said: “I listen to
people talking about us stopping the devolution of policing
and justice.

“The people that are stopping the devolution of policing
and justice are Sinn Féin by not giving the delivery that
is needed to bring that about.”

The new sub-group met after it emerged Sinn Féin’s policing
spokesman Gerry Kelly had been warned two days ago by
police of another death threat by hardline republicans.

Mr Kelly and the party’s Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney faced
Mrs Foster and her fellow DUP Policing Board member William
Hay across the committee table.

Ulster Unionist Policing Board member Fred Cobain and
nationalist SDLP Policing Board member Alex Attwood also
took part.

Policing and justice is seen as a key issue which could
determine whether there is a power-sharing government next
March in Northern Ireland.

The DUP wants Sinn Féin to join with other parties in
publicly endorsing the PSNI before it will form a power
sharing government featuring Mr Kelly’s party.

However, Mr Kelly insisted agreement on a date for the
transfer of policing and justice powers from Westminster to
Stormont and on the type of government department were
needed before any move from his party.

The North Belfast MLA said: “The DUP cannot demand of
nationalists that policing and justice be supported and
then say: however, you will have no influence over it.

“They cannot have it as their own private arena.

“Let us get the timing sorted out. You cannot move without
the timing. It just simply cannot be done. You cannot talk
about generations of doubt, you cannot talk about no
control or no influence.

“If a police service and justice ministry is representative
of all of the people of the North (of Ireland) and indeed
only island, then that involves everybody.”


DUP Casts Doubt Devolution Timetable

It is getting increasingly hard to believe that Sinn Fein
can meet its commitment under the St Andrews Plan for power
sharing at Stormont, a senior Democratic Unionist MP
claimed today.

North Belfast MP Nigel Dodds cast doubt on the Governments'
timetable for devolution by March 26th.

And he also moved to scotch suggestions that the Democratic
Unionist Party was divided over the party's handling of the
St Andrews Plan.

He saids: "The DUP has a clear united policy which is the
resolution that was passed by our executive on November
9th. That was unanimously supported and that is where the
DUP stands.

"It says there can only be agreement when there is delivery
by the Republican Movement on a host of issues. "Those are
a commitment to uphold the rule of law, support the police
and the courts, a commitment to purely democratic means and
an end to paramilitary and criminal activity.

"That will have to be tested over a credible period. "We
have almost 100 days between now and March 26, the target
date for devolution. "It is getting increasingly difficult
to imagine any circumstance now under which Sinn Fein, even
if they held their ard fheis (party conference) on policing
on Monday with a credible testing period, could meet the
governments' timeframe."

Mr Blair and Mr Ahern are hoping that fresh Assembly
elections will take place in early March in preparation for
a new devolved Government on March 26th. However major
stumbling blocks remain, primarily over policing.

Sinn Fein is the only party of the four parties who would
qualify for devolved ministries which does not support the
Police Service of Northern Ireland. The Reverend Ian
Paisley's DUP wants Sinn Fein to publicly endorse the PSNI
before a power sharing Government will be formed.

But Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams has warned his party
cannot hold a special conference to change its policing
policy without agreement first on a date for transferring
policing and justice powers from Westminster to Stormont, a
deal on the type of Government department that will handle
it and the exclusion of MI5 from any role in civic


Paisley Urges Members Not To Split

Democratic Unionists have been urged to stay on message and
remain united by their leader the Rev Ian Paisley.

The North Antrim MP told the DUP`s annual dinner in Kells,
Co Antrim last night that divisions within unionism only
encouraged its enemies and would cost the party badly at an

And he once again repeated his warning to Sinn Fein that if
it aspired to be in government, republicans must give up
the gun for good, end all paramilitary and criminal
activity and support the Police Service of Northern

"A house divided cannot and will not stand," the DUP leader

"The greatest succour to our enemies is public divisions at
the critical time amongst unionists.

"I have a warning for those who peddle lies against us.
Beware accepting the snake oil of untruths told about the
DUP and its leader.

"I have heard and I have seen all manner of suggestions
about what I am supposed to have said, done or agreed to,
none of which is true but all of which is peddled by those
who are being used by our enemies to divide unionism.
Beware of such mischief making as it only aids and abets
our greatest enemy."

In the weeks following the St Andrews talks in October, a
number of DUP members and ministers in Mr Paisley`s Free
Presbyterian Church have been critical of Mr Paisley`s
handling of British and Irish Government plans to revive
power sharing.

The party`s MEP Jim Allister, veteran Larne councillor Jack
McKee and Free Presbyterian minister the Rev Ivan Foster
are among those who have expressed reservations about Mr
Paisley adopting the two governments` St Andrews plan for
power sharing.

A statement by 12 Assembly members, including four MPs,
issued independently of the party two weeks ago over
attempts to get Mr Paisley to commit himself to becoming
Stormont First Minister was also interpreted as a challenge
to the leader.

Mr Paisley last night warned unionists against believing
their opponents` words.

"Too often we see unionists believing the words of Gerry
Adams as if they are gospel before they would accept the
words of a unionist," he observed.

"Last week, I heard one unionist panic because Gerry Adams
announced he would have a united Ireland by 2012. That
cannot and will not happen.

"Unionists by their very force of numbers are in charge of
the future sovereignty of Northern Ireland. Only by giving
up and giving in, as some would do, will the Union be

Mr Paisley said he was not about to betray the trust he had
built up with voters over his political career.

"I am committed to deliver a fair deal, an end to the
trouble that has beset our land and seeing our enemies
humbled by accepting democracy, and the rule of law," he

"The DUP has spelt it out loud and clear that nothing will
happen in terms of a new government unless and until we
achieve satisfactory delivery on the vital matters of
democracy, the rule of law, and support for the police.

"Satisfactory delivery means real support for the police,
giving up the gun, ending all criminality and paramilitary

"That is the only delivery that actually counts. The sooner
people realise that we are in charge of the terms of any
settlement then the nonsense and nervousness will be

"The sooner people realise that no government can exist nor
is likely to exist unless and until we get satisfaction
then and only then will wise council prevail."

Mr Paisley reminded supporters the DUP had established that
if a party wants government, they were bound by certain

They would have to accept democracy is the only way
forward, accept the rule of law and accept the police and
courts were the only legitimate service.

"For over 30 years, we have suffered at the hands of a
terrorist organisation that has opposed democracy, the rule
of law and the police," he said.

"Republican ideology is to oppose the rule of British law
and oppose Crown services in Ireland.

"Accepting that rule and submitting to the Crown forces
diminishes all that republicans stand for no matter what
they say publicly."


Dodds Denies Internal DUP Split

North Belfast MP Nigel Dodds has denied the DUP is
following the Ulster Unionist example by embarking on a
period of crippling internal division.

Mr Dodds was one of 12 DUP MLAs who said Ian Paisley and
Martin McGuinness should not get status as prospective
first and deputy first ministers.

Mr Dodds argued comparisons with the Ulster Unionists were

He said the DUP would ensure leadership and grassroots were
united around a single policy towards power-sharing.

"David Trimble didn't do that, he presented his party with
a fait accompli and rammed it through, whatever the
dissent," he told BBC Radio Ulster's Inside Politics

"Any sensible party leader knows, and the DUP is very
sensible, and pragmatic and principled, all of those
things, and it knows that you cannot carry a country and
you cannot carry a party which is divided.

"We will ensure that things are properly delivered by Sinn
Fein and the government first."

On Friday, the DUP leader, Ian Paisley, said public
divisions amongst unionists could only provide succour to
his party's enemies.

In a speech to DUP supporters in County Antrim, Mr Paisley
urged unionists not to be misguided or detoured.

On Thursday night in Portadown, UK Unionist leader Bob
McCartney accused the DUP of betraying and blackmailing the
unionist people over the St Andrews Agreement.

But Mr Paisley insisted he was not about to betray the
trust placed in him over the past four decades.

Mr Paisley pledged that nothing would happen in terms of a
new government unless republicans deliver satisfactorily on
real support for the police, giving up the gun and ending
all criminal and paramilitary activity.

The deadline for devolution is 26 March, with fresh
assembly elections set for 7 March.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/12/09 09:15:46 GMT


Murmurs Of 'Betrayal' Over Power-Sharing

By Gareth Gordon
Political correspondent, BBC Northern Ireland

They're used to talk of betrayal in Carleton Street Orange
Hall, Portadown.

Its walls echoed with the word during the long years of the
Drumcree dispute.

The other night in a room named after the late figurehead
of Drumcree defiance, Harold Gracey, the word was used
again, this time - odd as it may seem - about Ian Paisley
and the DUP.

John Watson is a life-long member of the party and was one
of its election agents.

When his party membership runs out at the end of the year
it won't be renewed "in light of the DUP's overwhelming
immoral compulsion to put the IRA murderers and terrorists
into government," he says.

Then, he did something he probably doesn't do often. He
borrowed from Gerry Adams.

"We have gone away you know. We won't be voting for you
again. No surrender, Paisley."

To help galvanise others who feel like himself, John Watson
booked the Gracey Room on a cold December night and invited
the anti-Agreement UK Unionist leader Robert McCartney to
address as many people as he could attract.

About 80 turned up. Some, but not all, DUP voters and

Some, but not all, members of Ian Paisley's Free
Presbyterian Church.

A poster stuck to the door proclaimed the DUP/Sinn Fein
"unholy alliance."

They listened as Mr McCartney attempted to forensically
deconstruct the DUP's position over the St Andrews

He spoke for a full hour and a half. Most seemed to have
their minds made up before he even spoke a word.

For David Trimble to go into government with Sinn Fein was
bad enough but for Dr Paisley - a man they once revered -
to even think of doing it is another thing altogether.

The fact he so far hasn't done so didn't seem to be the
point. "He's going down that road," said one man.

John Gray, whose son is a Free Presbyterian minister, was
more harsh.

"If you're a Christian and promise your people who vote for
you that you'll never sit down with terrorists - and I
believe he's about to sit down with terrorists - the very
thought of him even thinking about it is treason."

Mr McCartney said at the beginning there had been an
attempt to blacken the meeting with false claims that it
had been organised by paramilitaries.

Pastor Kenny McClinton, the LVF's intermediary with the
decommissioning commission, was there.

So was victim's campaigner Willie Frazer and a former DUP
councillor in Belfast, Harry Toan.

Then there was David Calvert, once a member of the DUP
executive; a previous Stormont assembly member and a
councillor for 20 years before he fell out with the party
and was expelled in 1993 following a row over the selection
of candidates.

In 1987 he was shot and wounded by republican terrorists.

"It is of deep regret to me to see the way in which the
party is going at the moment, " he said.

"I have no wish to see the party colluding with Sinn
Fein/IRA in government.

"I think it is wrong. Dr Paisley always deemed it to be
wrong and I really don't understand why he has decided to
go down this road. I do not believe he has the party
backing. I do not believe that the people on the ground
support that."

Mr McCartney had a theory on why Ian Paisley was apparently
thinking the unthinkable.

He claimed the DUP leader was gradually being "encapsulated
in the British establishment."

He added "it's nice you know for him to be loved instead of
reviled." It sounded like a calculated insult.

But generally the mood was one of sorrow not anger. Many
hoped the DUP would "come to its senses."

If it didn't they wouldn't be voting for it again. Although
some seemed to still need convincing about the argument
from Mr McCartney that anti-Agreement candidates should run
in all 18 constituencies.

Better still there be no election seemed to be the

That would mean the DUP had not done a deal. Then there
would be no more talk of betrayal.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/12/08 17:09:06 GMT


Paisley Hits Back At 'Joke' Attack By Mccartney

[Published: Friday 8, December 2006 - 15:06]
By Neil Crossey

DUP leader Ian Paisley today branded as a "joke" a stinging
attack on him and his wife by Robert McCartney.

The former North Down MP accused Mr Paisley of becoming
"comfortable" as part of the British Establishment.

Mr McCartney also told a public meeting last night that
since "Eileen (Paisley) has become a Baroness she has been
meeting nice people every day over there", and said of Mr
Paisley, "it's nice for him to be loved for once rather
than reviled".

"He is becoming very comfortable. At St Andrews he was
photographed with Bertie and with Tony Blair receiving
gifts on their 50th wedding anniversary".

Mr Paisley countered that the personal criticism did not
bother him.

"I'm not worried what Mr McCartney thinks of me.

"It's a joke - when you come down to that level of
criticism you don't have much of a case."

Mr McCartney also accused the DUP of "political blackmail"
over the St Andrews Agreement.

Addressing about 80 people in Portadown's Carlton Street
Orange Hall, he said the DUP's stance on the St Andrews
Agreement made him feel sick.

He said: "I cannot convey how sick in the pit of my stomach
I feel each time I realise the magnitude of that betrayal,
and the fact they will use their betrayal to squeeze votes
out of the unionist community.

"They will come out roaring at this election and their
warning will be: 'if you don't vote for the DUP you will be
putting Martin McGuinness in as First Minister'.

"They will have blackmailed the unionist electorate into
giving them a vote."

The meeting was advertised on the guestbook of the Burning
Bush website, run by Rev Ivan Foster, the Free Presbyterian
minister who last month said the denomination was
"heartbroken" at the deal.

© Belfast Telegraph


Education System Failing Protestants

The education system is failing pupils in loyalist areas of

By:Jamie Delargy, UTV

A watchdog committee at Westminster has said the Goverment
isn`t tackling the underperformance of Protestant pupils
urgently enough.

The committee has sent the Department of Education an end
of term report.

It grades the department on what it has done to lift exam
results in loyalist areas.

The verdict: could do a lot better.

GCSE Maths: Appalling performance; literacy and numeracy:
progress manifestly unsatisfactory.

In fact the latter criticism applies across Northern
Ireland. The Public Accounts Committe reports that one in
five pupils leaves school here without being able to read
and write properly.

But though concerned with the broad question of educational
under achievement in Northern Ireland, it is the plight of
pupils in deprived Protestant areas of Belfast that most
worries MPs.

Research shows that children in loyalist areas of the city
do much worse in GCSE exams than their counterparts in
nationalist districts.

Looking at schools in deprived areas the MPs found that
while 24% of Catholics got at least a C grade in Maths,
only four per cent of Protestants managed the same score.

Similarly while 29% of Catholics got at least a C grade in
English, only 17% of Protestants achieved the same mark.

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) doesn`t believe the
Department of Education is tackling the problem of
underperformance with enough urgency.

The PAC was not convinced by the explanations of officials
who said paramilitarism and peer pressure was to blame for
underachievement in loyalist areas.

It is waiiting to hear from the Department on how it plans
to improve exam performance in deprived Protestant
districts of Belfast.

When you look at exam results generally in Northern Ireland
it`s remarkable how similarly Catholics and Protestants

Not so in Belfast`s deprived areas where Protestants

It`s claimed change is underway, if so it needs to be


Loyalists And Priest Tackle The Conflict In Colombia

[Published: Friday 8, December 2006 - 10:44]
By By Brian Rowan

Back out of Colombia and into Belfast - the loyalists are
back with a message that more help is needed.

The loyalists are David Ervine and Tom Roberts - both ex-
prisoners, both able to talk about war and peace, talk
about it in the context of our process - the killing, the
ceasefires and now the business of the politics beyond

That's what the Colombians and specifically the ELN or
National Liberation Army wanted to talk about in a dialogue
in Medellin that Mr Ervine describes as "absolutely

The priest, Father Alec Reid - witness to the IRA's
decommissioning, and such an important figure in the making
of the ceasefire of 1994 - was also there.

So, clearly there are those in Colombia who want to hear
the voices of those who were and are part of a process that
has worked.

Francisco Galan, out of jail - but technically not yet
released - was part of those recent talks in Medellin as
was Juan Carlos Cuellas, freed for one day to take part in
the dialogue but then escorted back to prison.

Mr Ervine said he would not "define their ranks", but
added: " We certainly met high level people in the ELN".

"Sometimes we don't realise the amount of knowledge we have
accumulated over many years," Mr Roberts said.

"Only the Colombians can judge if we can be helpful."

They need help and clearly they are looking to this

"The magnitude of their problems puts ours into
perspective," Mr Roberts said.

In a recent period spanning only a few months the ELN and
another rebel group, the FARC, fought and killed each other
in battles on the Colombia-Venezuela border.

It was a fight to control territory where there is oil.

Around 400 were killed, and that is only part of the story.

In the wider Colombian situation, Mr Ervine said they were
told of "40 violent actions a day resulting in death or
multiple deaths".

"The massive effect of the conflict is just everywhere," he

It is a country that has three million displaced people -
about twice the Northern Ireland population, yet they are
looking to here for advice, for information, for something
that might give them a starting point, give them the
confidence to begin a real peace process of their own.

According to Mr Ervine, the ELN now wants to talk to
republicans. "They want to be in touch with the IRA and
those who assisted the IRA's process," the leader of the
Progressive Unionist Party said.

The last time the IRA was in Colombia it was secret and
there were all sorts of suggestions about its activities.

Next time, if there is a next time, it will be different.
My understanding is that the one peace process they (the
ELN) are interested in is the Northern Ireland process," Mr
Ervine said.

"And they need, I believe, to talk to all sides -
loyalists, IRA, British, Irish, militant people, non-
militant people, government people.

"If invitations come to people in Northern Ireland they
should genuinely think about how we help others along the

In Colombia, the two loyalists were asked all the things
they expected to be asked.

How do you structure a process? What "methodology" do you
use for negotiations?

How do you manage expectations?

They talked about "victimhood" and "healing".

"People in Northern Ireland just don't realise how the
world's conflict areas look to here; how high on the agenda
in conflict regions around the world Northern Ireland is,"
Mr Ervine told the Belfast Telegraph,

This place is that high on the agenda because somehow it
found its way out of a 30-year war - and not just one side
but all sides.

That is why the ELN wants to broaden its dialogue with
those who have been a part of this process.

It is why there will be more visits to Colombia.

"You find it a very humbling experience," Mr Roberts said.

And maybe it is in these far away places that people from
here really begin to fully realise what we have achieved in
our own peace process - that thing that we don't yet
properly appreciate - certainly not like others looking in

Yes, it took a long time.

And, yes, the journey through ceasefires and broken
ceasefires, decommissioning and non-decommissioning,
politics and no politics has been long and sapping - far
too long and far too slow.

Yet we are closer to an end than many others are to a

And that's what makes us different and wanted - wanted in
those faraway places like Colombia, where the loyalists and
Father Reid have just been.

It seems likely that others will follow them there - others
from here to tell their stories, to give their advice, to
maybe help organisations such as the ELN make some
beginning towards a better end.

Do we really know what it is we have to offer, or do we
still need others to tell us, to remind us, to convince us
that having changed this place we can help do the same

© Belfast Telegraph


Fresh Criticism Of Omagh Evidence

There has been fresh criticism of forensic evidence at the
Omagh trial.

Dr Peter Gill, an exponent of the Low Copy Number DNA
technique, conceded some of the results presented in the
bomb trial were "valueless".

Mr Justice Weir warned Dr Gill about "blowing backwards and
forwards" on "an important topic".

The judge said it was "very unhelpful" to give apparently
contradictory evidence. Sean Hoey denies 58 charges,
including 29 murders in Omagh in 1998.

Mr Hoey is a 37-year-old electrician from Molly Road,
Jonesborough in County Armagh.

Low Copy Number DNA - a technique whereby DNA profiles can
be obtained from samples containing only a few cells - is
an important part of the prosecution case.

Dr Gill had been asked to comment on claims that control
samples tested at the same time as parts of a device in
Lisburn had come up positive for Mr Hoey's DNA type.

That finding, said defence QC Orlando Pownall, should have
meant that the tests were run again. The fact that they
weren't meant the results were invalid, he claimed.

"I think it invalidates the result," Dr Gill agreed.

Dr Gill was also challenged over what appeared to be
conflicting evidence on the reliability of Low Copy Number
DNA testing.

Mr Pownall was questioning him about the amounts of DNA
below which results could be relied on.

Giving evidence, Dr Gill said at a certain DNA level
information taken from the results could be "informative".

But Mr Pownall pointed out that in papers Dr Gill had
written on the subject he had said that at that level the
results were "uninformative".

Mr Justice Weir intervened to say it "seems rather an
important topic on which to be blowing backwards and
forwards on.

'Shades of grey'

"One minute it's informative, the next it's uninformative."
He asked which he should accept as expert evidence.

Dr Gill replied that it was a complex area in which there
were "shades of grey".

The judge said: "When this evidence is presented on behalf
of the prosecution no one talks about it in terms of shades
of grey. It's put forward as evidence I can rely on."

This is not the first time the judge has intervened during
the evidence of a forensic expert and on Friday, he once
again commented that "this is not a scientific symposium,
this is an important trial".

Mr Justice Weir then told Dr Gill that it was "very
unhelpful for me to have you saying, 'informative one
minute and 'uniformitative' the next", adding "why are you
saying that?"

"I do not know," Dr Gill replied.

The case continues.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/12/08 16:21:34 GMT


Killing Of Postmaster Condemned As Cowardly

The killing of a post office worker in an armed robbery in
Kilkenny has been condemned as cowardly and senseless.

The victim, named locally as Alan Cunniffe, was shot in the
stomach as he tackled a lone gunman who robbed his family
business in the city centre. The raid took place in the
busy John's Green post office on Wolfe Tone Street shortly
after 12.10pm yesterday.

Mr Cunniffee (32) had only recently taken over the
businesses from his mother.

Colleague Tom Hickey said the dead man was working in the
shop when he heard the commotion, gave chase and tackled
the gunman. It is understood women working behind the
counter had already handed over a sum of cash.

Alan was shot around 300 yards from the post office and was
taken to St Luke's General Hospital where he later died.

A man was arrested in Wolfe Tone Street in connection with
the incident shortly afterwards and a handgun and a
quantity of cash were recovered. He is being detained at
Kilkenny Garda Station where he can he held for 24 hours.

The Minister for Justice Michael McDowell said he was
shocked and horrified by the killing.

"This is a cowardly, senseless slaying of a good young man
who was only doing his best and words really fail me in
trying to express to his family and loved ones my sense of
shock, and horror and grief of what has happened to them,"
he said

"The taking of life is such a terrible thing, but the
senseless taking of a fine young man's life in these
circumstances just leaves me with very little to say.

"My heart goes out to his family."

An Post has extended its deepest sympathy to the family and
staff of Mr Cunniffe.

"We are shocked and horrified by the savagery of this
criminal act," said chairperson Margaret McGinley and chief
executive Donal Connell in a joint statement.

"Postmasters and their staff play an integral role in the
lives of Irish people and their safety, and that of our
customers, is at all times our primary concern. A senior An
Post team is working closely with gardai and the post
office assistants at the office have received medical

John Kane, general secretary of the Irish Postmasters Union
(IPU) said the killing was a tragedy for the postmaster and
his family.

"We want to extend to them the sympathies of all the
postmasters and postmistresses from all around the
country," he said.

The IPU last week criticised the Government for
highlighting in the media that post offices would be
holding more cash for double Christmas welfare payouts. "It
is not a secret that there is more money in post offices,
but I was concerned what affect highlighting it would
have," he continued.

"What this does highlight is the risks run by postmasters
and postmistresses every week and the responsibility they
carry that's not often appreciated by the gardai or An

Fine Gael's justice spokesman Jim O'Keeffe expressed his
revulsion at the shooting said he was sickened by the
increased targeting of post office staff by ruthless

"This is just the latest in a spate of criminal efforts in
which innocent post office staff have been targeted," he

"The Irish Postmasters' Union is rightly concerned about
this trend."

Labour's Tommy Broughan condemned the fatal shooting,
adding: "This is a shocking incident that illustrates once
again the vulnerability of post office workers and others
who handle large sums of money on our behalf. Today's
shocking attack creates a new dimension of seriousness. "


Shock As Kilkenny Man Shot Dead Trying To Catch Post Office Raider

There was widespread shock and revulsion in Kilkenny
yesterday as news of the death of Alan Cunniffe spread
through the city, writes Michael Parsonsin Kilkenny.

Dr Joseph Sweeney, a GP from the John's Green Medical
Centre, just feet way from where Mr Cunniffe was gunned
down, said: "I'm here 30 years and I've never come across a
shooting in Kilkenny before."

In John's Green, a small square close to the railway
station and just yards from John Street, one of the city's
busiest thoroughfares, the lights on the Centra supermarket
were dimmed by mid-afternoon. News had come through from St
Luke's Hospital that Mr Cunniffe (32) had died just hours
after being shot in the stomach.

Throughout the afternoon and evening gardaí were on duty at
a number of locations, at John's Green, Wolfe Tone Street
and along the banks of the river Nore at the Peace Park
close to Green's Bridge where a man was apprehended by

There was an outpouring of emotion from shoppers and local
residents for the deceased man and grief and sympathy for
his family. One shocked resident of Wolfe Tone Street
described Mr Cunniffe as "a total gentlemen"; another said
that "he was a very nice fellow who would stand on his head
for you".

Mr Cunniffe was at work in the family-run supermarket next
door to the sub-post office on John's Green. When he was
alerted to the robbery shortly after midday he chased the

He followed the man down Wolfe Tone Street, a quiet road
lined with houses on one side and the Padmore & Barnes shoe
factory and shopping outlet, as well as a busy medical
surgery on the opposite side.

About a hundred yards from the post office, the gunman
stopped, turned and shot him in the stomach. A number of
witnesses said the gunman was "of Chinese appearance".

The man then continued to run down Wolfe Tone Street,
discarding a grey jacket en route and entered a small green
area, known as the Peace Park beside the river Nore.

Shortly afterwards, a man was arrested beside Green's

A woman who lives on Wolfe Tone Street, who did not wish to
be named, said she had heard a commotion outside her house
and then heard a man shout, "I'm shot". She was one of many
who called the emergency services and said gardaí and an
ambulance arrived quickly at the scene.

Mr Cunniffe was shot just feet away from the John's Green
Medical Centre and two of the GPs on duty, Dr Joseph
Sweeney and Dr Frank Chambers, attended to him on the
pavement. They managed to stabilise Mr Cunniffe before he
was transferred by ambulance to St Luke's Hospital.

In a statement on behalf of "everyone in An Post" last
night, chairwoman Margaret McGinley and chief executive
Donal Connell said they were "shocked and horrified by the
savagery of this criminal act".

The statement added: "Postmasters and their staff play an
integral role in the lives of Irish people, and their
safety and that of our customers is at all times our
primary concern."

Local residents said that the post office on John's Green
had been "robbed a number of times" in the past. No one
else was injured in the raid although An Post said that
staff at the post office had received medical attention.

Tom Hickey, who had been working in the post office earlier
yesterday but had finished his part-time job and left the
premises by 11am, said he was "in a state of shock.


£300,000 For Blank Screens

[Published: Friday 8, December 2006 - 09:43]
By By David Gordon

Taxpayers have been shelling out thousands of pounds per
month for television coverage of an empty Northern Ireland
Assembly, the Belfast Telegraph can reveal today.

Stormont's plush debating chamber has been back in action -
to some degree - in recent months, as efforts to restore
devolution gathered momentum.

But figures now show that one company, Macmillan Media,
received a total of £299,927 from Stormont over three
financial years when local politicians were members of a
legislative assembly (MLAs) in name only.

The broadcasting service contract with Macmillan dated back
to 1999, when devolution was first being established.

Payments covered management fees and sums for maintaining
TV equipment.

Macmillan Media was also paid £273,575 in 2002/03.
Suspension occurred midway through this financial year.

A new broadcasting contract was put in place at the
Assembly in August last year - almost three years after the
collapse of the devolved institution.

It went to Belfast media company Pi Communications.

Its payments have also been disclosed and, predictably, are
lower than the arrangements agreed when devolution appeared
to be a reality.

However, the figures still show monthly payments were made
when there were no proceedings from the Assembly to

Politicians finally returned to the debating chamber in May
this year, after an interim devolved body was established
by Secretary of State Peter Hain.

In the preceding nine months, while the Assembly remained
mothballed, the Stormont broadcasting contract earned Pi
Communications a total of £79,982.

The Assembly has previously stressed the rates paid to its
broadcasting contractor vary, depending on Stormont's
needs. It has also emphasised that costs are "lower during

There has been repeated criticism because MLAs have
continued to pick up pay and expenses since suspension.
Last year, salaries and allowances cost the taxpayer almost

Other controversial costs include a £308,591 subsidy paid
in a single year for the Assembly's restaurant and cafe

The broadcasting contract payments were released to this
newspaper by Stormont officials following a freedom of
information request.

© Belfast Telegraph


SF Welcomes Electoral Commission Support For Registration Action

Published: 8 December, 2006

Sinn Féin National Director of Elections Pat Doherty MP
today welcomed the comments of the head of the Electoral
Commission in the six counties Seamus Magee supporting
demands for people to be able to register up to 11 days
before any election.

Mr Doherty said:

"The current electoral register is not fit for purpose.
Tens of thousands of people have disappeared from what was
already a deeply flawed roll. Urgent action is required to
remedy this situation if an Assembly election is to proceed
on the basis of a level electoral playing field.

"Sinn Féin have proposed to the British government rolling
over those missing from current register but who registered
the last time onto the new document. We have also proposed
that the British government allow people to register up
until 11 days before any election, a procedure incidentally
which they have already legislated for but have not brought
into force.

"I welcome that fact that the head of the Electoral
Commission here Seamus Magee has now added his voice to
those calling for registration to be allowed up until 11
days before an election. The British government now need to
listen to the advice being given to them by the Electoral
Commission and introduce this measure without further
delay." ENDS


One In Four Voters Not On The Register
By Damian McCarney
Andersonstown News

THE MP Sinn for West Belfast, Gerry Adams, has called for
the urgent introduction of two measures to help address the
shortfall of voters on the electoral register.

As the register stands, one in four potential voters in the
West of the city will be unable to use their vote in the
forthcoming Assembly election, scheduled for March 2007.

Mr Adams has called for last year’s register, comprising
over 54,000 names, to be rolled over. This would
effectively add those who were on last year’s register, who
are not yet registered, to the 45,923 names on the December
2006 register.

The same procedure occurred last year when 95,000 names
across the North’s 18 constituencies were rolled over from
the previous register.

Mr Adams is also urging the British government to introduce
a provision into the electoral legislation which will push
the registration deadline back, enabling voters to register
up to 11 days before March’s Assembly election.

“Sinn Féin has raised this issue with the British
government at the highest level, and with the Electoral
Office, and we intend to challenge this injustice in every
way possible,” said Mr Adams.

“Specifically, we are demanding that the register used in
the last election be rolled over to allow for its use in
any Assembly election in March. Citizens should also have
the ability to register to vote up to 11 days before
polling day.”

And the Sinn Féin President claimed that nationalists were
disproportionately affected by the registration shortfall.

“It is no coincidence that 19 of the 20 electoral wards in
the North with the worse figures for voters being ripped
off the register have majority nationalist populations.
West Belfast has been the hardest hit with 8,000 voters
(see table right) – twice as many as any other constituency
– stripped from the last register. When taken with the
numbers of people already taken off the register in
previous years, it means that an estimated 18,000 people,
or one in four of eligible voters in West Belfast, are
currently denied their vote.

“Forty years ago the Civil Rights movement fought a long
and dangerous campaign to secure a number of fundamental
human rights, including the right to vote. Since that time
nationalists faced a concerted effort by elements of the
political system to disenfranchise them.

“Tens of thousands of nationalist voters are currently
being denied their vote. The purpose of this is to minimise
nationalist political influence,” said Mr Adams.

Douglas Bain, the Chief Electoral Officer, said that the
British government had given a commitment to the
introduction of ‘late registration’ to the North, however
he went on to say that legislation was not yet in place to
implement this, and even if it were, practical
considerations would prevent its use in March.

“I would not be able to do this,” said Mr Bain, “even if
the law was in force, if I was required to put the
necessary arrangements in place in advance of a March
election. And having to do so within such a tight timeframe
would undoubtedly limit my ability to develop and deliver
the most effective arrangements possible, which must be a

He added that he was opposed to the idea of a rolling
register on which votes would be carried forward.

“The law that allowed for the ‘carry forward’ is no longer
in force. If the law is changed then I will implement it,
but as the Chief Electoral Officer I would be very strongly
opposed to any such change,” he continued.

“I see no reason for anyone who wishes to register not
doing so by January 11 and would be opposed to any carry
forward which would inevitably include some names and
address that were no longer accurate.

“In Northern Ireland we have by far the most accurate and
comprehensive register anywhere in these islands and any
restoration of the carry forward would inevitably undermine
this,” said Mr Bain.


SF Slam McFarlane Trial As "Nonsensical"

An Irish court has cleared the way for the trial of Maze
prison escapee Brendan "Bik" McFarlane on charges connected
with the 1983 kidnapping of supermarket boss Don Tidey.

Sinn Fein described today`s High Court decision as deeply
flawed and nonsensical and labelled the process a judicial

Mr McFarlane had challenged legal proceedings on the
grounds that a delay on the part of the state in providing
a hearing and determination of the criminal proceedings
within a reasonable time had exposed him to the risk of an
unfair trial.

Refusing the application, Mr Justice John Quirke, sitting
in Dublin, ruled that Mr McFarlane had not established that
culpable or blameworthy delay within the state`s court
process had affected or interfered with his rights.

However, the judge acknowledged that if there had been a
culpable or blameworthy delay on the part of the
prosecution it did not warrant prohibition of a trial.

Mr Justice Quirke added that any increased levels of
stress, anxiety or inconvenience caused to Mr McFarlane by
the delay did not outweigh the community`s interest in
having the alleged offences prosecuted to a conclusion.

Mr McFarlane, 52, of Jamaica Street, Belfast, was charged
in January 1998 with falsely imprisoning Mr Tidey in 1983
and with possession of a firearm with intent to endanger
life at Derrada Wood, Ballinamore, County Leitrim, in
November and December 1983.

He had been in prison at the Maze since 1975 for his part
in the IRA bombing of a bar on the Shankill Road in which
five people were killed.

The defendant was the leader of the Provisional IRA
prisoners at the Maze prison and escaped in the mass
breakout by 38 prisoners from the jail in September 1983.

He was arrested in Amsterdam in January 1986, extradited to
Northern Ireland and released on parole from the Maze in

Mr McFarlane was eventually arrested by gardai outside
Dundalk in January 1998 and has been remanded on bail since
then pending the outcome of various legal challenges to his

Sinn Fein`s justice spokesman Aengus O Snodaigh said:

"During earlier hearings into this case gardai had to admit
to losing all of the alleged evidence against Brendan
McFarlane. That should have been the end to the matter.

"However, in a vindictive move the director of public
prosecutions sought to go down the road of a trial.

"The decision to allow a trial to proceed in a case where
the guards have lost the supposed evidence is deeply flawed
and nonsensical. Republicans will be angered by this turn
of events.

"Brendan McFarlane is a solid supporter of the Peace
Process and Sinn Fein will continue to demand the end of
this judicial farce."

In his 16-page judgment, Mr Justice Quirke said the
evidence from the applicant`s side had established two, or
perhaps three, periods of unnecessary delay on the part of
the prosecuting authorities.

But he added that no evidence had been adduced indicating
any consequence flowed from those delays which interfered
with any interest which the applicant`s right to an
expeditious trial was intended to protect.

"It is undeniable that the applicant was not brought to
trial in respect of the relevant offences on November 9
1999, and has not been brought to trial since because he
has been successful in preventing his trial from
proceeding," he continued.

"If there has been a culpable or blameworthy delay on the
part of the prosecuting authorities in and about the manner
in which they sought to conduct the judicial review
proceedings, that delay was not of a kind which would
warrant prohibition of the applicant`s trial."

The judge stated that the applicant had not established by
way of evidence or otherwise in these proceedings that
culpable or blameworthy delay within the state`s court
process affected any of his rights.

"It follows from what I have found that the applicant is
not entitled to the relief which he seeks and his claim
will be dismissed," he concluded.


'Obscene' System To Blame For MRSA Deaths

Eithne Donnellan, Health Correspondent

It is shocking that in a country awash with money the
Government is incapable of funding the installation of
sufficient single rooms in our hospitals to prevent the
spread of infections such as MRSA, an Irish missionary
priest said yesterday.

Fr Brendan Forde was speaking two days after the funeral of
his sister Barbara (67), who picked up MRSA, the
antibiotic-resistant superbug, after being operated on in a
Dublin hospital.

"You get great tax breaks if you build luxury hotels for
the super-rich but they are incapable of building in our
hospitals some individual units for the most vulnerable
people, those who are in intensive care, and they will put
them into a ward where there are hospital-acquired
infections," he said.

"We can spend our millions or our billions on stadiums and
everything and we are not capable of doing that. I just
kind of think it's a question of our values and I think it
is horrific and obscene that they don't care for the most
vulnerable patients," he added.

Fr Forde said his sister went into Beaumont Hospital for
"an ordinary operation" on a blocked intestine at the end
of October. She was getting over the operation and he was
about to return to his work in Colombia on November 5th
when he got a call to say she had developed pneumonia and
had been admitted to the intensive care unit.

She was in the unit with other patients for about five
weeks, where, he understands, she picked up MRSA and VRE,
another hospital-acquired infection. She died last Sunday.

Fr Forde told The Irish Times he believed Barbara would
still be alive today if she hadn't gone in to hospital.

At her funeral Mass on Wednesday he told the congregation
he was very angry, because he believed Barbara didn't have
to die. "She went in for an ordinary operation and she came
out dead from a hospital-acquired infection, which we were
told was MRSA. I find it a disgrace and abomination in a
country where we have so much money that the Government
doesn't know what to do with it," he said.

"This isn't going to bring Barbara back but I would like
maybe in the tragedy of her death that it will in some way
wake up people to the fact that there should be a far
better system."

He stressed he had no criticism of the doctors and nurses
at Beaumont, who were wonderful. "The whole system isn't
fair to them. They are fighting . . . it's not fair for
them to be working under those circumstances either," he

"How can it be that somebody goes in for an operation and
they are in intensive care and you bring them into a ward
that's riddled with MRSA? I mean that's not fair, it can't

"I would be afraid if I had to go in for an operation now,
I would think twice about it. I'd be very afraid, not on
account of the competence of the doctors and the nurses,
but on account of the structure they have to work under."

Barbara, who lived in Clontarf, Dublin, and worked for many
years with Bord Fáilte, was "a gutsy woman", he recalls.
She visited him several times in Latin America, where he
has worked for 35 years.

"She was on the first plane that arrived in Chile after the
military coup about 30 years ago . . . she was instrumental
with other people in bringing the first Chilean refugees
here to Ireland," he said.

The Forde family are awaiting the results of her

A spokesman for Beaumont Hospital said last evening the
hospital extended its sympathy to her family but for
reasons of confidentiality could not comment on individual


Opin: Lost In The Maze?

[Published: Saturday 9, December 2006 - 09:38]

By By Lindy McDowell

The Government has been accused of keeping plans for what
precisely it intends to build at the Maze under wraps. What
will the proposed stadium look like?

What sort of transport arrangements do they envisage? Who's
to say?

Then suddenly this week NIO minister David Hanson made an
unexpected revelation about what he describes as the
'Maze/Long Kesh Masterplan'.

The Government's looking for backers to help foot the £400m

Exactly. Four hundred million pounds.

This should be interesting.

According to Minister Hanson, the private sector is just
gagging to throw money at the project.

At least that's what he appears to be saying when he
announces: "I am delighted that the market's strong message
has been that the site represents a significant development
opportunity for the whole region and, indeed, for the whole

True, there may be aspects of the plan (such as housing
development and a business park) which may represent a good
investment. But you have to wonder how many private
investors will be lining up to back the stadium itself.

Those of us who worry about the white elephant potential of
a stadium being built miles and miles from the centre of
anywhere, won't be joining the queue.

Especially since it's been revealed that a rival stadium is
to be built in Belfast close to the city centre and
existing transport links - and, perhaps more pertinently,
close to hotels, restaurants, carry-outs and any number of
local hostelries.

The Government makes much of the fact that the Maze plan
has the support of both the DUP and Sinn Fein.

But it isn't cross party political support a sports stadium
needs to make it a winner.

It's the support and, more precisely, patronage of sports

The Maze prison was built on that particular site because
it was well out of the way. But what works for a prison
doesn't necessarily work for a major entertainment

The artist's optimistic impression of the proposed sports
stadium show crowds flocking to its doors. A lot of them, I
notice, are carrying hand baggage. Are they coming prepared
to camp out for the night?

Put it like this - the Government assures us that it will
be able to efficiently and effortlessly transport 35,000
people to and from the site. Bearing in mind the current
regular hold-ups on the M1, which the Government appears to
be powerless to do anything about, we'll take that one with
a spoonful of caution.

Caution, of course, is something you tend to associate with
private investors.

So here's the question.

What if investors don't come up with the required whack of
the £400m bill that the Government envisages?

Will the Maze Masterplan still be realised? Downgraded? Or
just quietly forgotten all about?

That is something taxpayers here will have to think about
long after Messers Hain and Hanson have vacated these
shores for a whole new political ball-game.

All we want for Christmas is a bit of common sense

I'm fast coming to the conclusion that the most divisive
element in society today is not - as some would argue -
religious fanatism, but the legal profession.

What lies at the back of all those stories we are daily
bombarded with, about how this or that firm has cancelled
Christmas on the grounds that decorations may injure or
offend, is fear of litigation.

It's not the concern that a worker may be taken out by low-
flying tinsel or that a colleague could take the hump at
the sight of a nativity scene that actually has bosses
hyperventilating with worry.

It's the possibility that the aggrieved party might beat an
immediate path to the door of Sue-it, Screw-it and Line-my-
pocket and take a costly action against the company.

Of course, it's only fair that if a worker gets toasted on
a set of dodgy Christmas lights he or she should have
recourse to the law. Equally, those parties whose lives are
made hell in the workplace should be able to turn to the

But the law as it now stands - the law that sides with
every perceived injury, 'offence' or slight, no matter how
minor - increasingly looks like an ass.

Do employers' have to go along with this madness, though?

Whatever happened to common sense?

Or have we finally reached the stage that before a firm
chances using a bit of gumption, it has to first call in a
team of consultants to assess any risk this might entail?

Another week, another horror

Another week - another horror story concerning attacks on
the elderly. This week, it was a 92-year-old lady assaulted
in her own home by five young men. We're told they took her

It goes without saying that they also took her peace of
mind. And could just as easily have taken her life.

So wouldn't it be good to hear just a little more public
outrage voiced by our public representatives on the matter?
Not just condemnation of this week's attack - but of all
similar attacks on the elderly.

Our politicians tend to have no problem making their
presence felt over any issue they suspect there might be a
vote or two in.

But lives are more important than votes. Their combined
pressure on this one would not only push it further up the
news agenda.

It would also put the onus on the authorities to deal more
forcefully with the lowlife who prey on vulnerable people
living in terror in their own homes.

A friend, indeed

The former head of the Armed Forces, General Sir Michael
Jackson, said this week that for Britain to pull out of the
wars in Afghanistan and Iraq would be morally wrong.

When did being morally wrong ever bother the current

War games

IN the old days, when a celebrity couple insisted that they
were "just good friends" it was taken as shorthand for
being romantically involved.

These days, it's the other way round.

This week, Jennifer Aniston announced her break-up with
Vince Vaughn by releasing a statement that says they're no
longer together but still " good friends".

With friends like these € the gossip columnists no longer
expect wedding bells.

© Belfast Telegraph


Opin: The Relief Of Derry?

[Published: Saturday 9, December 2006 - 10:38]

At time of writing the jury is still out as to whether the
official name of the city in which I live should be Derry
or Londonderry.

The problem is going through the motions of being thrashed
out in court and, in the interests of passing the buck, I
predict a reserved judgment.

But, before you raise your eyes skyward, let me say that I,
personally, don't give a hoot one way or the other.

However, for the benefit of those who care about these
things (and their numbers are legion), let us linger a
while and ponder the arguments.

This is a typical Northern Ireland problem in that neither
the appellation Derry nor Londonderry is widely acceptable
within the confines of the city. Great minds have been
taxed in a bid to secure a compromise.

It's a typical Northern Ireland problem. There is no
solution. I'm not proud to say that I once, in a moment of
madness, applied my own considerably less than great mind
to the task at hand and came up with a version of the
city's name that even today is used by the desperate.

But Stroke City doesn't please everybody, particularly
health professionals who claim that it sends out the wrong
message about the physical well-being of the city's

I used to sneer at this approach until I once discovered a
book I had written (called Surviving In Stroke City)
nestling in the medical section of a major Belfast

Other minds have been at work recently allocating tens of
thousands of pounds to the erection of stone monoliths on
the outskirts of the metropolis upon which is carved the
legend, 'The Walled City.' This pleases nobody, least of
all tourists who, upon glimpsing these stark pillars, may
still have no idea into which city they are transporting
their tourist dollar or yen. The nettle remains, as always,

It's a tale of two cities and a battle between two tribes.
Those who talk up the peace process often conveniently
ignore the fact that Derry/Londonderry is now, for the
first time in its history, completely segregated, slashed
down the middle by the curiously ignored River Foyle. The
happy clappers rejoice in the fact that sectarian violence
is on the wane. They neglect to point out that this is
because Protestants and Catholics rarely see each other

It's only fair to point out that a person using the name
Londonderry in casual conversation was often regarded as a
person going out of his way to make a crude political
point. It was user-friendlier to say 'Derry' and many did
just that. Those who did use 'Derry' may well have been
making a political point, too, but it was less likely.

On the other hand, these were also days when the choice of
using either 'Derry' or 'Londonderry' could have a
considerable effect on a person's health.

Picture a lonely road in the dead of night.

A man is driving wearily home along country roads only to
observe ahead the sinister outline of shadowy figures
wielding bobbing flashlights. He stops and winds down his
window€he has little choice. It could be a legitimate
checkpoint. But maybe not.

One of the shadowy figure asks the driver where he is

The driver's continued presence on this earth may depend on
the answer. If the interrogators are looking for a
Protestant to work out on, a reply of 'Derry' may be enough
to be granted a welcome gruff: "Off you go, then" . If it's
bad luck to be a Catholic that night, a 'Derry' might just
be enough to seriously spoil a man's night.

And that's why people with long memories take these things
seriously. I fear it will be forever thus.

But the people of Derry/Londonderry have always displayed a
highly developed sense of self-preservation.

During a particularly prolonged gun battle between the
Provos and the Army in the Bogside one day many moons ago,
a number of more or less innocent bystanders were caught in
crossfire and took refuge behind one of the many
functioning barricades. One of them had drink taken and,
unable to take any more the clatter of wild gunfire, stood
up and screamed in the direction of the terrified
squaddies: "Go on! Shoot us all, you b******s!"

After an awkward pause, a small, frightened voice was heard
from somewhere further along the protective barricade:
"Speak for yourself, hi!€"

© Belfast Telegraph


Blog: Paisley’s Word Games Won't Work!

Paisley is, yet again, trying to play word games with the
process. He has said that Sinn Féin must humble itself by
endorsing the RUC/PSNI.

This sounds a lot like his "sackcloth and ashes" speech of
the recent past. That speech didn't work and neither will

He is trying to create division with Republicanism as his
own party is split in more places than a Terry's choclate
orange. The prospect of Republicans in government with the
DUP is enough to give your average DUP voter a coronary

The DUP is scared that Sinn Féin will call their bluff and
show them up for what they are, sectarian bigots!

This is a time for Republicans to stand as one and take
those tough decisions together. The policing issue is quite
simple, it hasn't went far enough yet.

The party has already said that unless there is significant
movement from the Brits there will be no special Ard Fheis
called. Even when one is called it is up to the Sinn Féin
membership to decide what is acceptable.

Given all that Sinn Féin members and Republicans in general
should have nothing to worry about.

It is the DUP who are on the ropes, let's keep them there!


Boy Died In Bedroom Accident

Michelle McDonagh

A nine-year-old boy was found by his father hanging from
his bunk bed by his scarf, an inquest in Galway heard.

Jamie Stone, Corrach Buí, Rahoon, had returned from a
friend's birthday party a short time before the accident
occurred, on the evening of Saturday, April 8th.

The inquest heard the child had gone upstairs to play in
his bedroom while his mother, Carmel, prepared his tea

Ten minutes later, when he did not answer after being
called, his father Stephen found him hanging by his scarf,
which was caught on the bedpost. He immediately took him
down, started cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and
called downstairs to his wife to call an ambulance.

The boy's mother, Carmel, a trained nurse, took over the
CPR until the ambulance arrived and took him to University
College Hospital Galway.

After more than an hour of CPR at the A&E, he was moved to
the intensive care unit, where he never regained
consciousness and died on April 29th when he was taken off
a ventilator.

The inquest heard that Jamie's scarf was usually left on
the end of the bed and it was likely that he had been on
the top bunk playing with toy cars before the accident.

Coroner for Galway West, Dr Ciarán McLoughlin, said it was
possible the child jumped or fell off the bunk bed,
thinking the scarf would uncoil but tragically it did not.

Dr McLoughlin said it only took seconds for a person to
lose consciousness and the ability to save oneself or even
cry for help.

Kevin Dunne, a consultant paediatrician, said that
following 21 days on a ventilator, it was decided to take
Jamie off as there was CAT scan evidence that he had severe
brain injury and that it was unlikely he would regain an
independent life.

Dr Dunne described it as an unfortunate accident but added
that boys got involved in these activities all the time and
he remembered swinging off a rope when he was the same age,
but was thankfully rescued by his mother.

Dr John Connolly, consultant pathologist, said there had
been evidence of extensive brain cell death, similar to
that of a stroke, and it was as a result of the accident.

Dr McLoughlin said it had been a very tragic accident.
"What started out as a very happy day for a party-going
child suddenly turned into a nightmare," he said.

He recorded a verdict of cardio respiratory failure
associated with irreversible brain damage due to an


Profile: John Stevens: The Guv'nor

While he is widely considered to be charming and a great
networker, Stevens also has a fierce temper

By Jason Bennetto
Published: 09 December 2006

A lifetime of dealing with conniving, obstructive, abusive
and occasionally violent individuals is about to be put to
good use by Lord John Stevens. Next Thursday, the former
head of the Metropolitan Police is due to publish a report
into one of the most sensational and controversial events
in modern times: the death of Diana, Princess of Wales. The
following week the 64-year-old is expected to unveil his
final judgment on the explosive sporting issue of whether
English soccer clubs are offering hefty bungs to secure

The contents of these two hugely anticipated - not to
mention costly - reports will test the decorated former
police chief's reputation as a fearless investigator who
gets results. It will also test out the theory held by
several of his senior ex-colleagues that the man
affectionately known to them as "JS" is blessed with good
fortune, or luck.

But if - as widely tipped - Stevens fails to come up with
any hard evidence of illegal football backhanders, and
merely confirms previous findings that the Princess died at
the hands of her drunken chauffeur, then get ready for some
ferocious mauling by the sports media, Mohamed Al Fayed -
whose son Dodi perished in the 1997 crash in Paris - and
the millionaire's supporters in the press.

But if anyone can pull off this two-report trick and end up
satisfying and surprising most people, then the evidence to
date would suggest that John Arthur Stevens is the man. In
a way his 42-year career has been building to this moment.
He started as a tough street cop who on his way to the top
of the police career ladder restored the Met's reputation
and saw off one of the country's most powerful politicians
- David Blunkett, the then home secretary.

Since stepping down as the Met's commissioner in January
2005, he has moved seamlessly from the label of "Britain's
top cop" to become "Britain premier private investigator".
Added to that title could arguably go "Britain's best-paid
former bobby".

Born in Kent, the young Stevens wanted to emulate his
father and become a pilot, but poor eyesight wrecked his
boyhood dream. Instead he joined the Metropolitan Police at
the age of 20 and spent his formative policing years on the
beat on Tottenham Court Road in London. He moved over to
CID and earned the nickname "Swifty" Stevens for his
impressive arrest record. There followed various senior
posts on several police forces before he took over from Sir
Paul Condon, now Lord Condon, at the Met in 2000.

He proved his staying power and appetite for handling long,
complex and dangerous investi-gations with a series of
inquiries into collusion between the Army, police and
loyalist gunmen in Northern Ireland. The linked inquiries
lasted 13 years and ended in 2003 with a hard-hitting
report that led to convictions.

His experiences in Northern Ireland proved he would not be
intimidated. During the early investigations, a supposedly
secure office used by the police in Northern Ireland was
burnt down in a suspect arson by rogue members of the Army
- yet this failed to scare him off. On another occasion
while conducting his collusion inquiry, he famously
confronted a group of loyalist paramilitaries who had come
to a hotel bar apparently to scare him off, two of whom he
later described as "particularly notorious loyalist
murderers". Stevens later recalled that he walked over to
them and said: "You're not going to frighten us. Bugger
off." They turned tail, "leaving their drinks unfinished".

His experiences in Northern Ireland also revealed a tactic
he has successfully repeated throughout his career - making
sure he has a good deputy to carry out much of the hard
graft and deal with the unglamorous, tricky material. In
Northern Ireland he had Hugh Orde, who went on to become
the head of the police force in Northern Ireland and is the
front runner to become the next commissioner of the Met. At
Scotland Yard he had Ian Blair, now Sir Ian, who took over
the force in 2005. Sir Ian spent much of his time as deputy
making apologies for various blunders made by the Met.

Similarly, the current Princess Diana inquiry is being
carried out by a 12-strong team of top detectives, which
was headed by a hugely experienced detective, assistant
commissioner Alan Brown, until he surprised many by taking
up a £250,000 post this summer as head of security at

Stevens admits that detail and micro-management are not his
strong points. He prefers strong inspirational leadership,
broad messages and delegation. One former colleague put it
another way: "He would bark out orders and expect everyone
to make them work. He didn't want a great deal of debate
about things - it was very much do it, or face a

While Stevens is widely considered to be a genuinely
charming man and a great networker, he also has a fierce
temper and was notorious for ripping into officers who
failed to impress him. "Being bawled out by JS was a pretty
unpleasant experience. He could seem as nice as pie one
minute and then roast you," recalled one of his senior
aides at the Met. Others say that his outburst were
"controlled and deliberate". "He knew what was doing," said
one insider.

His temper did have its comic moments. On one occasion he
pulled a police staff member out of the lift and was about
to give him a tongue lashing for ignoring several questions
from the commissioner, only to be told that the man was

It was Stevens' combination of strong leadership,
rebuilding the London force, and focusing on catching
criminals that helped him to turn around the fortunes of
Met. When he arrived as deputy commissioner in 1998, the
Macpherson inquiry into the handling of the killing of the
black teenager Stephen Lawrence, which had branded the
police as "institutionally racist", was gnawing away at the
reputation of an underfunded, undermanned, sometimes
corrupt and generally unloved force. By the time he left in
2005, the Met was nearing full strength at 35,000 (it has
since risen to 40,000) and meeting its targets, and enjoyed
the highest public confidence of any force in the country.

While Stevens has been credited with reversing the Met's
fortunes and regaining public confidence, some of his
senior officers believe that is not the whole story.
"Throughout his time as commissioner he was bloody lucky,"
said one senior Met officer. "He never had to deal with the
aftermath of a major terrorist attack - unlike Ian Blair
who had the July 7 suicide bombers land on his plate within
months of taking over - and the Home Office was keen to
dish out money. He was good, but he also had good fortune."

Many people also forget that Stevens was commissioner when
the Met adopted the controversial "shoot to kill" tactic
for dealing for suicide bombers, yet it is his successor
Sir Ian who is getting the flak for the fatal shooting of
Jean Charles de Menezes, a Brazilian electrician, who was
mistaken for a terrorist.

One area in which things did not run smoothly was Stevens'
relationship with David Blunkett, the former home
secretary. Stevens was convinced that Blunkett continually
ran him down in newspaper articles and briefed against him.
Eventually the commissioner snapped, informing "friends
close to senior sources in the Government'' that he would
come out fighting if Blunkett continued to snipe at him.
After that the damaging press reports ceased.

While his work has always been controversial, his family
life is much more straightforward. He has been married to
Cynthia, a former nurse, for more than 40 years and they
have three children, one of whom is a policeman. He is
considered by most who meet as a decent and honest man -
old-fashioned virtues, perhaps.

His conservative tastes were reflected in his choice of
music on a recent appearance on Radio 4's Desert Island
Discs - among the tracks were "Jerusalem", "Reach for the
Sky", performed by the RAF central band, and "When the
Saints Go Marching In" by the band of the Royal Marines.
His love of fine wines - which once earned him the nickname
of Captain Beaujolais - was also evident in his choice of
luxury on his imaginary island: a cellar of champagne.

Since leaving the post of commissioner, Stevens has
capitalised on his expertise and good name. He has a
lucrative contract to write a weekly column for the News of
the World, and is a non-executive director for Travelex,
the foreign exchange firm, a forensic science firm, and a
financial services company.

He continues to head the Princess Diana inquiry, which has
so far cost an estimated £2m; that includes Stevens'
personal fee - paid directly by the Metropolitan Police
Authority. The former police chief is well aware of the
significance and interest in his three-year inquiry,
codenamed Operation Paget. But it seems unlikely that,
whatever the inquiry uncovers, it will satisfy Mohamed Al
Fayed who refuses to believe the crash was an accident,
persistently claiming that Princess Diana was pregnant and
the couple were assassinated by MI6 or security forces to
prevent embarrassing the Royal Family. Others see the
inquiry as a waste of time and money, that is partly being
carried out to appease the media and the owner of Harrods.
A French investigation has already blamed the driver Henri
Paul for driving while drunk and at high speed when the car
they were travelling in hit a pillar in the Pont de l'Alma

Stevens acknowledges the huge interest in the case and
seems to revel in being in the thick of it. He said
recently: "The press see the deaths of Princess Diana and
Dodi Fayed in the same light as the deaths of JFK and
Marilyn Monroe. Make no mistake about it - it is news
around the world. People are watching and waiting to see
what conclusions we come up with, so the thoroughness of
the investigation is very, very important. We must do it
absolutely right.''

For his other inquiry, into football corruption, Stevens is
using the private investigation company Quest, of which he
is chairman, to carry out the work for an estimated
£900,000. The 20-strong team has been concentrating on 39
transfer deals involving eight Premiership clubs to try to
establish whether illegal payments were made to agents and
other interested parties.

Some commentators have suggested that the Premier League is
using the reputation of the former commissioner to help to
clear its name. The argument goes that Stevens and his team
lack the powers and time to uncover evidence of dirty
deals. In response Stevens has vowed: "This inquiry will be
thorough, detailed and robust. We will make sure it is

Today it is arguable that no other former or serving police
officers is held in such high esteem as Stevens. But if he
is to get through to Christmas with his reputation and
temper intact, he will need all of his vast experience and
charm. Not to mention a bit of luck.

A Life in Brief

BORN 21 October 1942 in Kent; the son of an airline pilot.

EDUCATION Leicester and Southampton universities

FAMILY Married to Cynthia; two boys and a girl - a
policeman, an accountant and a barrister.

CAREER 1962: Joined Metropolitan Police, first job as a PC
on Tottenham Court Road, rising to detective chief
superintendent; 1986: assistant chief constable, Hampshire;
1989: deputy chief constable, Cambridgeshire; 1991: chief
constable, Northumbria; 1996: HM inspector of
constabulary;1998: deputy commissioner, Metropolitan
Police; 2000: knighted and made commissioner; January 2005:
retired as commissioner and out of police service; April
2005: created a life peer as Baron Stevens of

HE SAYS "There are things I know, certain secrets, that I
could never tell anyone - not even my wife. They will go
with me to the grave, and that is where some of them should

THEY SAY "I have faith that Lord Steven's investigation
will come to the right conclusion" - Mohammed Al Fayed, on
the investigation into the death of his son and Princess


Stone's Art Pulled From eBay

[Published: Saturday 9, December 2006 - 09:16]

A painting by notorious loyalist Michael Stone has been
withdrawn from an internet auction site.

The oil painting, titled, Kneeling Nude on a Red
Background, had appeared on eBay with an asking price of
almost £10,000.

Four offers were made for the painting since it was put up
for sale on November 29, but the "buy now" price of £9,995
had not been met before it was pulled 20 hours before the
auction was due to close.

A spokesperson for eBay could not tell the Belfast
Telegraph if the painting had sold or had simply been

Stone is currently in custody charged with attempting to
murder five people, including Sinn Fein leaders Gerry Adams
and Martin McGuinness in a one- man attack on the Assembly
building at Stormont during a debate last month.

Images of the 51-year-old were flashed around the world as
cameras captured him trapped in a revolving door while
being held by security staff.

He was later charged with five attempted murders,
possession of pipe bomb-style explosives, knives and a
replica firearm.

Stone had previously been sentenced to almost 700 years in
jail for six murders, three of which were committed during
a lone gun and grenade attack on an IRA funeral in Belfast
in 1988.

Stone learned to paint during his time in the Maze prison.

He was released on licence in 2000 as part of the Good
Friday Agreement after serving 12 years in prison.

His early-release licence has since been suspended by
Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain.

The eBay text describes the 37in x 29in painting as "an
original signed masterpiece from Michael Stone's collection
complete with a signed photoset dated 2006.

"His paintings are vivid and not so much political as
topical, but masterpieces of history."

© Belfast Telegraph


Commemorative Statue Installed In Bantry Bay

08 December 2006 21:35

A seven-metre bronze sculpture has been installed in
Bantry, west Cork, to commemorate around 400 people who
died in tragedies in and around Bantry Bay.

The dead include 51 people who lost their lives when an oil
tanker exploded at Whiddy Island in 1979, and 329 people
who perished when an Air India flight was bombed 21 years

On 8 January 1979, a French tanker, Betelguese, exploded as
it unloaded 22,000 tons of Saudi crude oil at the Whiddy

50 people, including locals and tanker crew, died in the
explosion. Another person died subsequently.

Six years later, 329 people lost their lives when an Air
India flight from Toronto via London to Bombay was blown up
off the Irish coast.

Cork County Council, Bantry Town Council and the local
harbour board commissioned the sculpture.

It was created by Paddy Campbell, owner of the Campbell
Bewley catering group, at his studio in Florence in Italy.

The sculpture, 'The Spirit of Love', comprises a man and a
woman reaching towards each other to touch hands. It is
located on a promontory on the water's edge.


Walk Of The Week: Causeway Coast Way

[Published: Wednesday 6, December 2006 - 19:59]
By By Linda McKee

Take a trek past rolling white surf and pale sands cradled
in the fresh green headlands of the Causeway Coast as you
follow the waymarked trail from Dunseverick Castle to
Carrick-a-rede Rope Bridge.

Please send your favourite walks to

It's one of the most peaceful sections of the 33-mile
Causeway Coast Way, which follows a waymarked track along
the spectacular north coast of Ulster between Portstewart
and Ballycastle.

The Waymarked Way passes through magnificent coastline
scenery with fine views of wide bays, sandy beaches,
dramatic cliffs and offshore rocks. It takes you through an
Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, several Areas of
Special Scientific Interest and a World Heritage Site.


From Dunseverick lay-by, cross the stile beside a telegraph
pole; a grassy track leads around the cliff tops. Cross the
Milltown Burn at the footbridge, from which the path winds
through a cove and joins the minor road leading to
Dunseverick Harbour. At the harbour car park a stile leads
to a series of rocky bays. The walk passes through the arch
at Gid Point before passing uneven rocks at Portbraddan.

More uneven rocks and chalk boulders can be crossed to
reach White Park Bay.

Alternatively, and during high tides, the beach can be
reached by taking the winding road up to the main coast
road and rejoining the shore further east via the track at
the Youth Hostel onto White Park Bay. The beach offers easy
walking along its length.

At the narrow end cross a stile leading past rock stacks.
The path follows low dunes and damp pastures to Ballintoy

From the harbour, follow the winding road uphill towards
the main coast road.

At the corner opposite the church, a stile leads to a
fenced path. The path crosses fields leading to Larrybane,
giving spectacular views of Sheep Island, with Rathlin and
the Scottish islands beyond.

This section offers the option of following the pathway
around the bay to the famous rope bridge of Carrick-a-rede.

Return from Carrick-a-rede to Larrybane car park.

What to bring

As a general rule, it is best to be over-prepared.
Waterproof and windproof clothing are essential and strong
walking boots are also advised. Walkers should carry enough
food and water for the walk and for emergencies, as well as
taking a first aid kit. Let someone know of your intended
route before you leave.

The history

The Causeway Coast has a rich maritime heritage of historic
monuments and buildings.

From earliest times, the sea has been important for its
trade and communications and as a source of food. Fishing
and gathering seaweed and shellfish have been an integral
part of life on the coast.

Before refrigeration was available, ice collected in winter
was stored in ice-houses, some of which are dotted around
the landscape. These stone buildings were usually covered
by earth and sods for insulation.

Farm settlements often took the form of clachans -
irregular groups of single storey farms, many of which
retain their traditional character.

Part of a tower is all that remains of Dunseverick Castle,
which was destroyed by a Scottish army sent here in 1642
under the command of General Munro to combat the 1641
rebellion. The ruin dates to the mid-1500s and was probably
built by the McDonnell clan who had established a power
base along the north coast.

Surrounded by the ocean on three sides, Dunseverick was a
key ancient site in Ireland and one of the royal roads from
Tara, seat of the Kings of Ireland, ended there.

The National Trust pioneered today's waymarked route in the
early 1960s when it established the North Antrim Cliff Path
from the Giant's Causeway to Dunseverick Castle. Parts of
the route were put in place more than 150 years ago as
paths created by fishermen, seaweed gatherers and coastal

The backdrop

White Park Bay is breathtaking in its beauty and pristine
landscape and an excellent place to sit for a picnic. The
dunes of White Park Bay form an Area of Special Scientific

Whitepark Bay was one of the first settlements of man in
Ireland. Neolithic man manufactured and exported axes and
arrow heads from here due to the limestone cliffs being a
rich source of flint nodules.

Three passage tombs stand on the high points of surrounding
hills overlooking the bay, the most striking being the
dolmen known as the Druid's Altar, which was placed on the
highest point above the bay.

White Park Bay's archaeological, biological and geological
riches became a magnet to the scientifically curious from
the early years of the 19th century.

It became a rich collecting ground for organisations such
as the Belfast Natural History and Philosophical Society,
the Belfast Naturalists' Field Club and a continuing
pilgrimage of eager amateurs and professionals because of
the ammonite, bivalve, brachiopod and gastropod fossils
abundant in the rocks.

Grey seals have been spotted here, and there have been
sightings of the common lizard and pigmy shrew. Fulmars and
swifts nest in the cliffs, and the bay is noted for its
wild orchids, with eight species recorded.

Sheep Island, visible from Ballintoy port harbour, is
important for its colonies of birds, such as cormorants.
The island was once used for grazing sheep.

Larrybane Quarry is one of the most sheltered bays along
the coast, as it is protected by Sheep Island and a shallow
reef. The silent, beautiful quarry now has a unique
industrial archaeology feel to it.

Carrick-a-rede marks the sea migration route of salmon past
the island. Local fishermen have kept a summer rope bridge
here for 300 years. Now more of a tourist attraction,
Carrick-a-rede Rope Bridge has challenged the nerve of all
its visitors. Those brave enough to cross the 24m deep
Atlantic chasm will enjoy stunning views over the sea to

Waymarked Ways

This walk is part of the Moyle Waymarked Way, a route of
almost 33 miles extending from the tourist town of
Portstewart through the magnificent causeway coast to

The Waymarked Ways are an initiative of the Countryside
Access and Activities Network and are a series of walking
routes which pass through some of the most beautiful
scenery in Northern Ireland.

These walking routes are well signed with waymarked posts,
have excellent infrastructure in place and interpretation
panels throughout the walks, providing information on local
history, natural features and wildlife.

For further information on walking and other outdoor
activities, contact CAAN at 028 9030 3930. Countryside
Access and Activities Network (CAAN) in association with
Belfast Telegraph have provided this information. Every
care has been taken to ensure accuracy. CAAN and Belfast
Telegraph, however, cannot accept responsibility for errors
or omissions but where such are brought to our attention,
the information for future publications will be amended

© Belfast Telegraph

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