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January 15, 2007

Adams Out To Win SF Supporters on Policing

Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams and Alex Maskey
attend the funeral on the loyalist Newtownards
Road (Click pic to enlarge)
News About Ireland & The Irish

IT 01/15/07 Adams Out To Win Over SF Supporters On Policing
IT 01/15/07 SF Supporters Accept Change Inevitable
IT 01/15/07 SF May Face Dissident Candidates
IN 01/15/07 Mother Of Hunger Striker Stands For Election
IN 01/15/07 Supporting PSNI ‘Disturb’ Family Of IRA Man
BT 01/15/07 Stakes High: Gamble SF Will Back Policing Move
IT 01/15/07 DUP Criticises SF Policing Motion
BT 01/12/07 Sinn Fein President On Loyalist Road
BB 01/15/07 Attacks Force SDLP Ex-Mayor To Leave Derry Home
BB 01/15/07 Deal Reached On UDA Man's Assets
BB 01/15/07 Victims' Appointment Not Quashed
BB 01/15/04 QC Findlay Guilty Of Sectarian Misconduct
IT 01/15/07 Opin: Adams Needs To Win Convincingly
BT 01/15/07 Opin: Parties Must Step Up To Their Marks
IT 01/15/07 Reynolds' Secret Meeting With Ervine & Spence
IT 01/15/07 High-Speed Trains Link Cork And Dublin
IT 01/15/07 Promotion Flights Between US And Knock
IT 01/15/07 Fáilte Ireland Staff Picket Offices
IT 01/15/07 Kerry Salmon Rivers Closed To Anglers


Adams Sets Out To Win Over SF Supporters On Policing

Gerry Moriarty, Miriam Donohoe and Dan Keenan
Mon, Jan 15, 2007

Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams was last night preparing to
embark on a series of potentially fractious public meetings
to try to convince rank and file republicans that now is
the time to support the PSNI.

After persuading Saturday's Sinn Féin ardchomhairle that
the party should press ahead with an ardfheis on policing
on Sunday week, Mr Adams must in the coming two weeks
convince the "republican base" to endorse the PSNI.

He said yesterday that he and MEP Bairbre de Brúwould
participate in a series of town hall meetings ahead of the

A vote of 50 per cent plus one would carry the ardfheis,
which is to be attended by up to 2,000 delegates. However,
to achieve a convincing endorsement and to avoid a split or
serious splintering of the party, Mr Adams would need to
carry the ardfheis by two-thirds support or more.

The motion that will be put to the ardfheis includes
support for the PSNI and the North's criminal justice
system as well as Sinn Féin joining the Policing Board and
the district policing partnerships.

This decision has caused anxiety among many supporters and
provided an opportunity for republican dissidents to
challenge the Sinn Féin leadership.

In the Assembly elections scheduled for early March,
several republicans who oppose any move on policing are
likely to stand against Sinn Féin candidates.

Yesterday Paul McGlinchey, a former Sinn Féin supporter and
brother of murdered INLA leader Dominic McGlinchey, was the
latest to signal his intention to stand on an anti-policing
ticket as an independent republican.

Mr Adams said he wanted a full and open debate at the
public meetings and that people opposed to his standpoint
would be welcome.

"We don't want anyone to say that they have not had their
say in this debate," he told RTÉ's This Week programme

There appeared to be an element of conditionality about the
motion that will be put to the ardfheis, as it leaves it to
the ardchomhairle to decide how and when an ardfheis
decision endorsing policing would be implemented. It states
that such a decision would "only" be implemented when the
DUP shared power with Sinn Féin and when Sinn Féin was
satisfied policing and justice powers will be transferred
to a restored executive.

Failing such a DUP commitment, the motion "only" would be
carried out when Plan B was put into effect, ie the
strengthened British-Irish "partnership arrangements" on
how the North would be run.

A senior London source appeared sanguine about this element
of the motion, stating that "the clear understanding" was
that as soon as such an ardfheis motion was passed Sinn
Féin would provide demonstrable support for the police.

DUP MP Jeffrey Donaldson said he welcomed the decision on
the ardfheis but what was crucial "was action on the

Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, welcoming the ardfheis decision,
said for the first time there was the prospect of all
parties "giving their full support to policing and the rule
of law".

© 2007 The Irish Times


Supporters Accept Significant Change Inevitable

Dan Keenan, Northern News Editor
Mon, Jan 15, 2007

Grassroots:Sinn Féin members and supporters accept that
significant change to the long-held view on policing
appears inevitable. But some cautioned that the leadership
had to engage closely with grassroots supporters.

Máirtín Ó Muilleoir, a former Sinn Féin councillor and now
a newspaper publisher in Belfast, said he was "delighted to
see Sinn Féin engage the contentious issue".

He referred to the findings of a "vox pop" of people in and
around west Belfast compiled for the Andersonstown News
which, he said, had revealed little popular acclaim for the
PSNI despite five years of the new policing dispensation
and new forms of accountability.

"I was surprised, and I know that some people who are
trying to move this issue forward were taken aback that no-
one had any warm words at all for the PSNI. After so many
years of sophisticated propaganda and PR and with things
changing and so on Most people are lukewarm about Sinn Féin
getting involved in this and some are very opposed."

He cited the opinions of a range of people who gave their
opinions to his newspaper.

They included Theresa, from the Glen Road, who said: "I
don't think it's right for Sinn Féin to jump on the
bandwagon of policing now. They've held out for so long and
suddenly it's like they're giving in to Paisley's mob."

However Michael, from Lenadoon, differed: "One side has to
relent at some stage and maybe it'll help push things
forward. No-one wants a return to how it was. I think we
should just go ahead and do it." Gerard, from
Andersonstown, concurred: "I agree with it, but only as
long as Gerry Adams gets what he's looking for - which is
accountability. The only way to beat them is to join them -
annoy them from the inside."

Francie Brolly, from south Co Derry, was confident that
republican opinion in his area would row in behind the Sinn
Féin leadership. He further believed that stated levels of
opposition to any move to back the new dispensation were

"We need policemen," he said. "But the policing thing can
only happen when Stormont happens." Referring to the
reported high levels of concern about the party's latest
move, he added: "I think it's overstated by a long, long
way." He forecast that people locally would work with the
police "if they are happy that these policemen are not the
RUC, [ and] that they are accountable".

© 2007 The Irish Times


SF May Face Dissident Candidates

Dan Keenan Northern News Editor
Mon, Jan 15, 2007

Opposition:Republicans opposed to Sinn Féin moves towards
acceptance of the PSNI and the courts may run candidates in
up to 13 of the 18 Northern constituencies at the scheduled
Assembly election in March.

Paul McGlinchey, former Sinn Féin worker and brother of
murdered INLA leader Dominic MGlinchey, has said Sinn
Féin's move at the weekend was "a step too far for him" and
he will run as an independent.

Republican Sinn Féin (RSF) has also condemned Sinn Féin's
move to hold a special ardfheis on policing later this

Party president Ruairí Ó Brádaigh said republican "martyrs"
would not have crossed over to support for the PSNI-RUC.

Speaking at ceremony in Co Monaghan to mark the 50th
anniversary of the deaths of two IRA men, Mr Ó Brádaigh
said he could not imagine either Fearghal Ó hAnluain or
Seán Sabhat sanctioning the destruction of IRA weapons or
support for the police.Dedicated Irish republicans, he
continued, could not see either of them following a path of
"deceit, duplicity and treachery over 20 years".

© 2007 The Irish Times


Mother Of INLA Hunger Striker To Stand If Elections Go

By Connla Young

The mother of INLA hunger striker Patsy O’Hara said she
will stand as an independent candidate if assembly
elections go ahead later this year.

Peggy O’Hara said she is opposed to Sinn Fein’s policing
strategy and confirmed she is to stand on an anti-PSNI
ticket in Foyle if assembly elections planned for March get
the green light.

The 76-year-old grandmother’s announcement came just hours
after Sinn Fein confirmed the party will hold a special ard
fheis on policing on January 28.

Mrs O’Hara said she decided to put her name forward in
memory of her son Patsy, who died after 61 days on hunger
strike in May 1981.

“Patsy would have been against this,” she said.

“I was there for years and years when Patsy got lifted and
was taken out in his bare feet by the police.

“A lot of people, including young people, have the same
opinion as me.

“No-one has come to me and asked me what I think of the
policing debate.

“I am standing in memory of Patsy if the elections take

Meanwhile, Socialist Environmental Alliance member Eamonn
McCann said he has no intention of withdrawing from any
future assembly race.

Reports had indicated that anti-PSNI republicans were set
to rally around the Derry campaigner if the March elections
go ahead.

Any such support is now expected to shift to Mrs O’Hara.

“We will be putting most of our emphasis on water charges
and the non-payment campaign,” Mr McCann said.


Plans ‘Disturb’ Family Of IRA Man

By Claire Simpson

The family of an IRA man killed by undercover British
soldiers in Derry in 1981 have voiced opposition to moves
to support the PSNI.

George McBrearty, a married father-of-three from the city,
died aged 23 when he was involved in a shoot-out with
soldiers from the 14th Intelligence Company.

In a letter to The Irish News the mother, sisters and
brothers of Mr McBrearty said they were “deeply disturbed”
by Sinn Fein plans to endorse the PSNI.

“We believe that if Sinn Fein support the RUC/PSNI, then
not only do the ideals of our volunteers remain
unfulfilled, they will be reversed,” their letter states.

“Despite their assurances that the families of dead
volunteers would be consulted, we find that this
‘consultation’ on policing is meaningless if you don’t
adhere to the leadership-driven strategy.

“Indeed, it is now clear that far from conducting
meaningful consultations, the Sinn Fein leadership has been
systematically dishonest with the republican base.”

In the letter, Mr McBrearty’s family make an appeal to
republicans to “carefully consider the implications for
republicanism of supporting a political party that is now
attempting to legitimise the continuation of British rule
in Ireland, something that we as a family believe our son
and brother would never have given his life for”.

Yesterday Sinn Fein’s aim of persuading grass-roots
republicans to support the PSNI were dealt another blow
when a former election agent said he intended to stand as
an independent republican candidate in the planned March
assembly elections.

Paul McGlinchey, a brother of murdered INLA leader Dominic
McGlinchey, said Sinn Fein’s stance on policing was “a step
too far”.

He said republicans who opposed Sinn Fein’s policy intended
to put forward candidates in at least 13 constituencies.

Mr McGlinchey, who left Sinn Fein last month, was released
from Long Kesh in 1985 after almost 10 years.

Last night a founding member of the Provisional IRA denied
rumours that he would stand as one of the candidates.

John Kelly confirmed he would not stand but said he had
been approached.

Republican Sinn Fein president Ruairi O Bradaigh condemned
Gerry Adams’s party yesterday when he spoke at a
commemoration to remember the IRA volunteer Fergal


Stakes High As Adams Gambles That SF Will Back Policing

[Published: Monday 15, January 2007 - 08:45]
By Chris Thornton

Less than 24 hours before Sinn Fein convenes its ard fheis
on policing, the venue will be filled with blank faces and

Tournament Poker Ireland is holding a tournament in the
same hall of Dublin's RDS that the Shinners usually use.

It couldn't be more appropriate. It's not that Gerry Adams
is thought to be facing too much of a gamble - received
wisdom is that Adams wouldn't have called the meeting
unless he was confident of carrying it.

What's apt is that the ard fheis - presuming Sinn Fein
delegates approve the leadership's plans - will be the
signal for further brinkmanship with the DUP.

The fine print of Sinn Fein's statement about the ard fheis
suggests that a yes vote will be nothing like a
breakthrough in the current political climate. An advance,
yes, and history may well decide it is as significant as
Tony Blair, Peter Hain and Mr Adams say it is.

But in terms of immediate, practical effects on policing,
there won't be any. According to the Sinn Fein statement, a
successful ard fheis will empower the party executive to
make the final decision about supporting the PSNI and
joining the Policing Board.

Sinn Fein's ard chomhairle won't take that step, according
to the statement, until there has been the "re-
establishment of the political institutions and
confirmation that policing and justice powers will be
transferred to these institutions".

So this is what Peter Hain's diary is looking like, with
all the court dates and trips to Wales taken out: On
January 28, the ard fheis is set to allow the ard
chomhairle to approve policing.

Two days later, the Assembly dissolves.

On March 7, there's an Assembly election and on March 26
Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness pledge their political
troth as First and Deputy First Ministers.

Mr Paisley's diary has most of the same dates pencilled in,
except possibly the last one. What he and his DUP
underlings talk about is delivery.

They expect that some time after a successful ard fheis -
but before an Executive is formed - Sinn Fein will actually
show practical support for the police.

In Sinn Fein's scenario, Stormont is restored and they join
the Policing Board. In the DUP's, Sinn Fein joins the
Policing Board and all that goes with it, and they'll start
thinking about a restored Stormont.

The intriguing thing is that Sinn Fein added another idea:
if Stormont isn't restored, they will put on their 'PSNI
abu' T-shirts "when acceptable new partnership arrangements
to implement the Good Friday Agreement are in place".

This looks a promise to the Government to accept policing
if things move on to plan B. Which has to make the DUP
wonder what else the Shinners hold in their hand.

© Belfast Telegraph


DUP Criticises SF Policing Motion

Mon, Jan 15, 2007

The DUP today criticised Sinn Féin over its motion on
policing in Northern Ireland that is to be put to Sinn Féin
members at an ardfheis in Dublin later this month.

Democratic Unionist MEP Jim Allister said the motion for
the special ardfheis on January 28th was unacceptable
because it made support for the PSNI conditional on the
formation of a power-sharing government and assurances that
policing and justice powers would be transferred.

"True to form Sinn Féin is bowling short in its ardfheis
motion," he claimed. "It makes all its trumpeted support
for policing conditional on its demands on power-sharing
and devolution of policing and justice first being met.

"What this amounts to is that the DUP jumps first by
permitting Sinn Féin into government before they will deign
to support the police. That is not acceptable," he said.

"Upfront delivery by Sinn Féin, tested and proved over a
credible period, is non-negotiable."

Sinn Féin's 56-member executive agreed on Saturday to put
the motion to 2000 rank-and-file members at the ardfheis.
The motion to be voted on includes support for the PSNI and
the North's criminal justice system as well as Sinn Féin
joining the Policing Board and the district policing

A vote of 50 per cent plus one would carry the ardfheis,
which is to be attended by up to 2,000 delegates. However,
to achieve a convincing endorsement and to avoid a split in
the party, Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams would need to
carry the ardfheis by two-thirds support or more.

Additional reporting: PA

© 2007


Sinn Fein President On Loyalist Road

[Published: Saturday 13, January 2007 - 10:40]
Lesley-Anne Henry

Gerry Adams took a leap of faith when he stepped onto the
loyalist Newtownards Road for David Ervine's funeral

The Sinn Fein president's first official visit marked a
historic moment that many people thought they would never

There was much anticipation among the mourners as to who
would represent the republican movement.

And on the arrival of the Sinn Fein president, in a
blacked-out four-wheel-drive, the crowd remained dignified
and quiet.

There were whispers of "fair play to him", but some were
not as gracious in their welcome and saw it as a "missed

Following the funeral service Mr Adams, flanked by a team
of bodyguards, made his way through a sea of mourners, many
of whom were hardened loyalists from the UVF and UDA.

But again the crowds simply looked on as Mr Adams made his
way to his car.

It truly was a remarkable scene.

One east Belfast resident summed it up when he told the
Belfast Telegraph: " I never thought I'd see it. These are
definitely changed times.

"It just goes to show what sort of a man Davy Ervine was."

© Belfast Telegraph


Attacks Force Ex-Mayor To Leave

An SDLP assembly member is to leave his home in the Bogside
area of Londonderry following a spate of attacks on it.

The most recent attack on former mayor Pat Ramsey's house
in Meenan Drive was in September of last year when a petrol
bomb was thrown at it.

It was the 15th such incident, mainly blamed on dissident

Last July, the Army had to carry out a controlled explosion
on a device which was later described as an elaborate hoax.

In 2004, Mr Ramsey's three-year old daughter was overcome
by fumes after two hooded men ran into his office and
sprayed a substance into the air.

Mr Ramsey is to move to the Waterside area of the city on
the other side of the River Foyle.

After the attack last September, he said his family were at
their "wits end dealing with ongoing attacks".

"We are just sick, sore and tired of these endless attacks
on our home and on our family."

He added: "I fear that if these attacks do not stop here
and now then it will result in the loss of life of my loved

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2007/01/15 09:07:52 GMT


Deal Reached On UDA Man's Assets

The Assets Recovery Agency has agreed a a settlement over
the assets of murdered UDA leader Jim Gray.

The settlement will see £62,730 being forfeited to the

The ARA had previously been granted a freezing order at the
High Court in Belfast in November 2005 on Mr Gray's assets.

Gray, who was 47, was shot dead outside his father's home
in east Belfast in October 2005, while on bail on various
criminal charges.

His former colleagues in the UDA are believed to have been

Before his death, his assets had been frozen under a
restraint order obtained by the Public Prosecution Service
in relation to the criminal proceedings against him.

The ARA argued Gray's expenditure was substantially higher
than his declared income, and that he derived his assets
from a wide range of criminal activity including terrorism,
drugs and money laundering.

Alan McQuillan, deputy director of the ARA, said the agency
was using its powers firmly and fairly "to make sure crime
does not pay".

He said Gray was a "notorious figure in the UDA and in
organised crime in Belfast".

"Many people will be surprised to see the low value of the
money recovered in this case, but the reason is simple -
while Mr Gray led a flamboyant lifestyle, our investigation
showed that, at the end, this was really all that was left.

"Mr Gray had significant debts, was largely living on
credit and was spending freely.

"In the end there was nothing more to recover."

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2007/01/15 10:47:04 GMT


Victims' Appointment Not Quashed

A High Court judge has decided not to quash the appointment
of Bertha McDougall as Northern Ireland Interim Victims'

Lord Justice Girvan said this would allow for the
publication of her annual report, to be launched shortly.

The report will contain recommendations to Secretary of
State Peter Hain on the interests of victims and survivors.

The judge had ruled that her appointment was "improper and
politically motivated".

Mrs McDougall's one-year contract in the post ended on 5
December, 2006 but she made it clear her report would not
be published until at least the end of January and was
granted a two month extension.

On Monday, Lord Justice Girvan ruled in Northern Ireland's
High Court that he would not be quashing her appointment so
her report can be published - but reinforced his view that
the appointment was improper.

The appointment of Mrs McDougall - the widow of a murdered
RUC reservist - was challenged by west Belfast woman Brenda
Downes, whose husband was killed by an RUC plastic bullet
in 1984.

'Practical matter'

Mrs Downes launched the legal bid on the grounds there was
no evidence to suggest Mrs McDougall would command cross-
community support in her role as the interim victims'

She also stated the appointment was a sop to the DUP.

Following a lengthy court battle, Lord Justice Girvan ruled
that Secretary of State Peter Hain's decision to grant Mrs
McDougall the post was both improper and politically

Following his findings, Lord Justice Girvan was asked to
terminate Mrs McDougall's appointment.

He told Monday's hearing: "As a matter of common sense and
practicality it would be desirable for Mrs McDougall to be
able to complete work on her report."

Speaking following the ruling, solicitor John McBurney,
acting on behalf of Mrs McDougall, said: "We welcome the
fact that the court has recognised the importance of Mrs
McDougall's work and has taken no steps in this judgement
to jeopardise that work.

"She can complete her contract term as interim victim's
commissioner and will shortly publish her report."

The case is due before Lord Justice Girvan again on Friday
to allow the secretary of state time to consider the

Mr Hain welcomed the decision not to quash the appointment.

He also confirmed that he will appeal the earlier court
ruling that her appointment was unlawful.

"Whilst I welcome the court's refusal to quash Mrs
McDougall's appointment, I am disappointed by the finding
that the appointment was unlawful and I will be appealing
that in the strongest possible terms," he said.

The case has led to a senior QC investigating if the
secretary of state misled the High Court. Peter Scott was
appointed after Mr Justice Girvan asked the attorney
general to look at the case.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2007/01/15 12:39:48 GMT


QC Findlay Guilty Of Misconduct

One of Scotland's most high-profile courtroom lawyers has
been found guilty of professional misconduct.

Donald Findlay QC was accused of making sectarian jokes
during an after dinner speech in Northern Ireland and
during an interview with an American reporter.

It is understood he has refused to accept a disciplinary
ruling from the Faculty of Advocates and will now face a

If found guilty, he could face suspension, or a heavy fine.

Mr Findlay is Scotland's highest earning defence advocates.

Eight years ago, he resigned as vice-chairman of Rangers
Football Club after he was filmed singing a sectarian song.

He has always denied he is a bigot and declined to comment.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2007/01/15 12:32:49 GMT


Opin: Adams Needs To Win Convincingly On Next Stage Of
Policing Mission

Mon, Jan 15, 2007

Analysis:Gerry Adams is on the high wire without a safety
net, writes Gerry Moriarty, Northern Editor

Between now and Sunday week Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams
is going to haul republicans through a brutal exercise in
soul-searching and hope to bring them out the other side
still standing, still broadly united - and supporting the

Mr Adams and Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brúare about to
embark on a series of public meetings telling republicans
that the threshold for accepting the PSNI as a legitimate
police force has now been reached.

On Sunday week Mr Adams will also argue before up to 2,000
Sinn Féin ardfheis delegates in Dublin that the dye is
cast, that there is no going back on the required St
Andrews commitment to policing. The atmosphere should be

Odds remain that he will carry the meeting, but he must do
so by a convincing margin - probably by two-thirds and

And, needs must, he is performing this high wire act
without the aid of a safety net. There are some honeyed DUP
words for sure but no guarantees that Ian Paisley will
share power with Martin McGuinness on March 26th, or accept
the devolution of policing powers by May 2008, as envisaged
by the St Andrews Agreement.

If you read Mr Adams's statement after Saturday's
ardchomhairle meeting you may detect an undercurrent of
conditionality to the Sinn Féin decision to call the

The relevant paragraph says: "The ardchomhairle is
proposing that an extraordinary ardheis adopts this motion
and gives the ardchomhairle the responsibility and
authority to fully implement all elements of it. The
necessary context for this is the re-establishment of the
political institutions and confirmation that policing and
justice powers will be transferred to these institutions or
when acceptable new partnership arrangements to implement
the Good Friday agreement are in place."

Translated, that means that it will be for the
ardchomhairle to decide how and when to implement an
ardfheis decision backing the police. There are two strands
to the "necessary context" for this to happen, as mentioned
by Mr Adams.

The first is the DUP accepting the March 26th and May 2008
requirements. But this won't happen, the DUP insists,
unless there is evidence of "on the ground" Sinn Féin
support for the police.

Mr Adams knows this, and if you read the rest of his
statement where he says "it would be entirely wrong to
allow the most negative elements of unionism a veto over
republican and nationalist efforts to achieve the new
beginning to policing", he appears to be acknowledging that
right from the off there must be proof of Sinn Féin
endorsement of the PSNI.

A Sinn Féin source appeared to confirm this when he said
what Mr Adams did on Saturday was a "unilateral" act.
However, it is clear that any procrastination after the
ardfheis in terms of supporting the police would cause

But again, the second strand of the "necessary context" for
allowing support for the police refers to the alternative -
if the DUP won't share power by March 26th - of new
British-Irish "partnership arrangements". This is Plan B,
where it would be a continuation of direct rule but with
the strengthened involvement of Dublin.

And it is reasonable to assess that for Sinn Féin - having
done the historic deed on policing - Plan B would be to its
liking. Some in the DUP have also made that assessment and
understand why there is a mutuality of approach to this
project, and why if they don't reciprocate, it could be
unionism, not republicanism, that will suffer in the long

The DUP hardliners think differently, however, and they
could still wreck this project, especially if there is any
Sinn Féin equivocation.

© 2007 The Irish Times


Opin: Parties Must Step Up To Their Marks

[Published: Monday 15, January 2007 - 09:27]

Despite the ongoing row about the timing of moves to
devolve justice powers to the Assembly, the stage is now
set for a Sinn Fein ard fheis on policing. Delegates will
be asked later this month to vote on a motion which would
tie the party to support the PSNI and the rule of law.

Although the world has been waiting a long time for this
development, the ramifications of such a vote will be
enormous. It really will be a seismic shift if, after
decades of trying to murder and maim officers, republicans
agree to support the police and join the policing board.

Gerry Adams still has his problems with the DUP, but he was
assisted in his battle for the hearts and minds of his own
party by being able to point to several key concessions
which had been secured in the run-up to the meeting.

Tony Blair's clarification of the role of MI5 and Hugh
Orde's commitment to restrict the use of plastic bullets
addressed long-standing Sinn Fein concerns. For once, the
Government has managed to reassure Sinn Fein without
sparking unionist protests.

In common with the DUP, Sinn Fein is still experiencing
some internal dissent, but there is only one way for the
party to go. Support for the police is a key prerequisite
for any party which aspires to be in an Assembly executive
and which wishes to advance electorally in the Republic.

The pressure has been on Sinn Fein, but if everything goes
as planned at the ard fheis, the focus of attention will
return to the DUP. The Rev Ian Paisley has already said
that if Sinn Fein can commit to backing the police, his
party will "not be found wanting" in its response.

That is an open-ended phrase but provided Sinn Fein's
commitment to policing is unambiguous and unconditional,
the DUP will be expected to step up to the mark on power-

Although the waters have been muddied by the dispute over
devolution of justice powers, the St Andrews' sequence of
events is taking shape. Soon, it will be decision time for
the DUP and Mr Paisley may face a choice between total
party unity and the prospect of political progress.

Just like their counterparts in Sinn Fein, the DUP
hardliners have had their say. To judge from their
comments, some can never countenance a day when their party
will share power with republicans. But what is their
alternative strategy?

Nobody should underestimate the challenges confronting Mr
Paisley but he must be encouraged to rise to the challenge.
If this opportunity is let slip, there is no doubt that the
Assembly will not be simply suspended, but abolished.

As far as most people are concerned, the issue of
republican support for the police is the acid test. As Sinn
Fein comes to the crunch, unionists should not seek to add
to Mr Adams' difficulties.

© Belfast Telegraph


Reynolds' Secret Meeting

Mon, Jan 15, 2007

Ervine death:Former taoiseach Albert Reynolds outlined
yesterday how his daughter Cathy drove him to a secret
meeting with loyalist leaders David Ervine and Gusty Spence
in the early 1990s.

Mr Reynolds was attempting to broker paramilitary
ceasefires. Mr Ervine and Mr Spence feared for their lives
if it became known they were meeting him.

In an interview with Newstalk radio, Mr Reynolds said he
had dispensed with his official car and driver and got his
daughter to drive him to the Berkeley Court hotel in

Mr Reynolds said Dundalk had been suggested as a location
for the meeting but this was dropped for security reasons.
Cathy had driven him from his apartment near the hotel.
"There was no security. They arrived at the hotel car park
and came up on the lift to the top apartment. When they
were going, three hours later, they went the same way."

© 2007 The Irish Times


High-Speed Trains Link Cork And Dublin

Mon, Jan 15, 2007

High-speed trains are running every hour from Cork to
Dublin for the first time today.

The weekday services between the country's largest cities
will operate between 7am and 9pm as part of Irish Rail's
new timetable.

The fastest journey on the Dublin-Cork route, a distance of
160 miles, will now take just under two-and-a-half hours.

Irish Rail boasts a record number of new routes due to
increased investment in locomotives and recent track

The company claims to be the European Union's fastest
growing railway with more than 43 million passenger
journeys in 2006 - a 14 per cent increase on 2005.


© 2007


Businessman Aims To Promote Flights Between US And Knock

Tom Shiel, in Castlebar, Co Mayo
Mon, Jan 15, 2007

A Mayo-born entrepreneur, who has just been appointed to
the board of Ireland West Airport Knock, is aiming to
promote long-haul passenger business between the airport
and the United States.

Ulick McEvaddy has also not ruled out the possibility in
the long-term of the airport being used as a stopover for
US military flights.

Mr McEvaddy, whose refuelling company, Omega Air, has
lucrative contacts and ties with the US military, is back
on the Ireland West Airport Knock (IWAK) Board after an 18-
year absence.

On the possibility of Knock being used as a stopover for US
troop flights in much the same way as Shannon is at
present, Mr McEvaddy said he did not think that Knock could
ever compete with Shannon for US military business due to
the limitations of its runway and the fact that extensive
duty-free facilities were available at the Co Clare base.

However, he added: "Never say never. I have huge
connections with the US military and if it came to using
them I would."

Mr McEvaddy agreed that the use of Knock for US military
flights would be controversial but he said he would have no

One of Mr McEvaddy's more immediate aims as a director of
IWAK will be to develop long- haul passenger business
between Knock and the US.

The US market could bring up to 100,000 extra passengers
into Knock every year, he estimates. "Knock will eventually
be a useful hub for Europe, not as big as Dublin but I
predict it will grow into a reasonably serious perimeter-
of-Europe airport," he said.

Mr McEvaddy is one of a number of new appointments to the
board of IWAK. Others are property developer Arthur French;
John Travers, chairman of the Strategy Implementation
Group; Lisa McAllister, who is on sabbatical from her job
as chief executive of the Western Development Commission,
and Mgr Joseph Quinn, parish priest of Knock.

© 2007 The Irish Times


Fáilte Ireland Staff Picket Offices

Eoin Burke-Kennedy
Mon, Jan 15, 2007

Up to 60 staff in Fáilte Ireland claim they have been
locked out of their offices in Dublin by management in a
dispute over relocation.

The staff - who work in the tourism authority's marketing
division in Pembroke Row - say their work stations have
been moved to the agency's headquarters in Amiens Street
without adequate consultation or agreement.

Siptu - which represents the workers - described the action
by management as "provocative" and said its members had
placed pickets on Fáilte Ireland's Baggot Street and
Pembroke Row offices.

Siptu branch branch organiser Owen Reidy said: "This type
of aggressive action by Failte Ireland's management is
unprecedented in the non-commercial State agency sector."

But Fáilte Ireland rejected the claim that workers had been
locked out of their offices and described the union's
actions as "disproportionate, unnecessary and not in
accordance with a Labour Court decision".

A spokesman said the staff had been fully consulted about
the relocation, which was part of an overall plan to
amalgamate all the agency's divisions in one centralised

He said the Labour Court had issued a binding agreement
last year that the marketing function was to move to Amiens

The relocation was originally scheduled for December 15th
last, but the threat of industrial action had forced
management to postpone the move, the spokesman said.

Mr Reidy of Siptu said the dispute "could have been avoided
if the authority's management had engaged meaningfully with
Siptu on the proposed relocation

"Industrial relations in Fáilte Ireland are at an all-time
low. Morale in the marketing division has hit rock bottom -
with union members feeling alienated from senior

© 2007


Kerry Salmon Rivers Closed To Anglers

Anne Lucey
Mon, Jan 15, 2007

Some well known salmon and sea trout rivers, which would
normally open this week, will remain closed this year in
the southwest, as part of new salmon conservation measures.

Among those barred to salmon and sea trout anglers are the
Maine and Flesk rivers near Killarney, both of which would
be due to open on Wednesday.

However, trout fishing on these rivers can go ahead when
that season opens in February.

Other salmon rivers which would ordinarily open in February
such as the Sheen, will also remain closed for 2007. Some
20 salmon rivers will remain closed in Kerry, as well as a
small number in Cork including the Upper Lee and the

Dr Patrick Buck, assistant chief executive of the South
Western Regional Fisheries Board, says the situation will
be reviewed next year.

Most of the rivers closed in the southwest this year, were
only just under the scientific guidelines, Dr Buck noted.

Fisheries rate payers will still have to pay rates on
closed fisheries. Two of the three biggest fishery rate
payers this year in the southwest, with rates bills of up
to €3,000, will have their rivers closed, a board meeting
heard last week.

John Lucey, the Environmental Protection Agency
representative on the fisheries board, said these rivers
will still need protection by the fishery board and the
intention behind the closure is to increase fish stocks.

© 2007 The Irish Times

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