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January 17, 2007

Collusion Report To Name RUC Officers

News About Ireland & The Irish

IT 01/17/07 Collusion Report To Name RUC Officers
IT 01/18/07 Orde Warns About Scrutiny Of PSNI
BN 01/17/07 Patten Commission Urges SF To Accept Policing
BB 01/17/07 From Armalites To Assets
BN 01/17/07 Families Of Shot IRA Men In Lords Challenge
RT 01/17/07 O'Dea Promises 1916 Military Ceremony
IT 01/18/07 Primate Says End Royal Ban Against Catholics
IT 01/18/07 Opin: Devolution Now No Longer If, But When
BT 01/18/07 Opin: Why We Need To Spy On The Spies
IT 01/18/07 Opin: Prices Rising Faster Than Average Incomes
BN 01/17/07 Irish-Language Newspaper Launched
IT 01/18/07 Famous First Words: Gaeilge Makes Its EU Debut
RT 01/17/07 Death Of Seán Mac Réamoinn At 85
IT 01/18/07 Irish Battlefields To Be Better Protected
IT 01/18/07 Historic Irish Battle Sites
PR 01/18/07 Irish-American Heritage Month (March) Facts


Collusion Report To Name RUC Officers

Wed, Jan 17, 2007

Senior RUC officers are believed to have been implicated in
a report on an investigation into a series of controversial
murders in the North, it emerged tonight.

Their names will be passed to Chief Constable Sir Hugh Orde
and Secretary of State Peter Hain when details are
published on Monday.

It follows a massive probe by the Police Ombudsman Nuala
O'Loan into how a gang of north Belfast loyalist
paramilitaries, some working as Special Branch informants,
were allegedly allowed to murder at will.

One of the victims was Catholic taxi driver Sharon McKenna,
27, who was shot in the back 14 years ago tomorrow, while
she cooked dinner for a Protestant pensioner friend.

The report will likely be the most complex and devastating
ever published on the intelligence work of the RUC, and
will claim shocking levels of collusion between detectives
and a gang of UVF men based at that time in the Mount
Vernon area of north Belfast.

Downing Street has already been warned that the fall-out
over Mrs O'Loan's findings will be enormous and deeply,
deeply embarrassing for authorities in the North.

Several former policemen, including a number who worked at
a senior level within the RUC before the Police Service of
Northern Ireland took over have been linked in the report.
Their names and those of the agents who worked for them
will be withheld in the published findings, but the Chief
Constable and Mr Hain will give the identities in more
detailed reports.

Files are with the Crown Prosecution Service which will
consider if criminal charges are to be pursued.

The Ombudsman's report centres on a Special Branch agent
Mark Haddock, who was shot and wounded in an attempt on his
life by former associates last year.

Mrs O'Loan's spokesman tonight refused to make any comment
in advance of Monday's publication. The allegations of
collusion - so far unchallenged - are linked to a series of
murders, and attempted murders, which run into double
figures going as far back as the early 1990s.

The Ombudsman's investigation which began in May 2002
followed the murder in November 1997 of an ex-RAF man
Raymond McCord 22, who was beaten to death by the UVF. It
was ordered by a high-level informer within Special Branch,
the same man who was allegedly involved in the killing of
the woman taxi driver in January 1993.

Today marks the 14th anniversary of the shooting of Ms
McKenna from Newtownabbey, who was gunned down when she
answered a knock on the front door by a man who demanded
her car keys.

Nobody has ever been charged in connection with the McCord
and McKenna murders, but politicians on all sides will
expect a quick response from the Crown Prosecution Service
after Monday's findings are revealed in Belfast.

The McKenna killing is one of 3,268 unsolved murders being
examined by a special investigations unit.

© 2007


Orde Warns About Scrutiny Of PSNI

Dan Keenan, Northern News Editor
Thu, Jan 18, 2007

Chief Constable Sir Hugh Orde has warned that high levels
of scrutiny could cause problems for the PSNI.

Speaking at a justice conference in Co Antrim, he said the
effect of the number of outside agencies examining the
police could become "dysfunctional". Sir Hugh has stressed
since his first day in office that he welcomes oversight
and constructive criticism from others.

However, he told The Irish Timeson arriving in Belfast in
2002 that the levels of monitoring could impede good

"There's Stevens [ the inquiry he joined into RUC-loyalist
collusion]; the Oversight Commissioner; there's some major
crime advisers; there's her majesty's Inspectors of
Constabulary about to look at us in relation to Special
Branch and into how we manage crime. We'll have eight,
nine, 10 groups of people looking, pulling us apart, while
we are trying to get ourselves organised," he said at the

He returned to the same theme at yesterday's conference in
Templepatrick. "We are the most accountable police service,
probably in the world, and I have no difficulty with that,"
he said. But he added: "At some stage a question needs to
be asked of when does oversight become dysfunctional?" He
warned that problems could arise if senior officers spent
more time and resources examining official recommendations
than investigating crimes against the public.

Speaking at the same conference, Kathleen O'Toole, head of
the Garda Inspectorate and a member of the Patten
Commission, said she was hopeful that the thorough reform
of policing could be realised.

"My hope continues to be that all of the goals we
established during the Patten Commission work will be
realised," she said.

Referring to Sinn Féin moves to endorse the PSNI and
policing systems on both sides of the Border, she added:
"Certainly policing in Northern Ireland has come a long way
in recent ways and I am optimistic that progress will

Kit Chivers, Chief Inspector of Criminal Justice in
Northern Ireland, also said police accountability was the
key to reform. "With Sinn Féin on the Policing Board there
will be scope for consolidating the progress that has been
made, without them it will be difficult to achieve the
comprehensive support for policing across the community
which the community itself needs," he said.

Looking to the future and the effects of the Review of
Public Administration he warned: "There is going to be a
financial squeeze for the justice system and it will become
imperative to find ways of delivering greater effectiveness
in terms of law and order with static or diminishing

© 2007 The Irish Times


Patten Commission Inspector Urges SF To Accept Policing

17/01/2007 - 19:21:19

The woman charged with overseeing the Garda urged Sinn Féin
today to accept the new policing arrangements in the North.

As Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams prepared for a series of
public meetings in advance of the party's special
conference in Dublin to debate policing, Garda Inspectorate
Chief Inspector Kathleen O'Toole said there needed to be a
fully inclusive police force.

She was one of the commissioners, headed by Lord Patten,
who recommended sweeping changes to the old Royal Ulster
Constabulary in 1999.

``My hope continues to be that all of the goals we
established during the Patten Commission work will be
realised,'' she said.

Whether in Boston or Belfast or Dublin, a police service
needs to represent those it serves in order to have

``Certainly policing in Northern Ireland has come a long
way in recent ways and I am optimistic that progress will

Republicans are to hold their conference on January 28 to
consider a motion from the Sinn Féin leadership that
representatives sit on police scrutiny bodies like the
Policing Board and District Policing Partnerships.

The issue has provoked a split within Sinn Féin with
several independent candidates opting to stand against them
over the issue in elections to the Northern Assembly
anticipated in March.

A total of 19 bullets were discovered at graveyards in
Omagh and Newtonstewart, Co Tyrone, as a suspected threat
against Sinn Féin's representatives in the area from
republicans opposed to accepting policing.

The shift is part of a broader political deal that would
see Ian Paisley's Democratic Unionist party share power
with Sinn Féin.

The former Boston police commissioner was in Templepatrick,
Co Antrim, today for a conference examining the changing
nature of the North's justice system.


From Armalites To Assets

By Jeremy Scott-Joynt
Business reporter, BBC News Online

All across Belfast, police stations squat on the landscape
like fortresses.

The barbed wire, reinforced concrete and observation towers
are testament to the hard, often vicious fight against
paramilitary crime and terrorism.

But those at the sharp end of Northern Ireland's fight
against modern organised crime inhabit far less well-
armoured premises.

The staff of the Assets Recovery Agency (ARA) spend their
days in non-descript - even down-at-heel - offices near
central Belfast.

Their work reflects the fact that despite radical changes
in the political landscape, many of the hard men behind the
violence are still there.

Now, though, the smuggling and extortion, bank raids and
protection rackets are for personal gain rather than for
political advantage.

"There are people in groups across society who are not
engaged in further paramilitary activity - but will engage
in organised crime because it funds their lifestyle," says
Northern Ireland security minister Paul Goggins.

ARA's heavy presence in Northern Ireland reflects the view
that as organised crime in Northern Ireland has evolved, so
have the means for tackling it.

If profit is now the motive, then taking the profits away
is one solution.

You've got £300,000 worth of cars and you haven't worked
in ten years, so don't come complaining to me if you're
being done

Brendan Duddy

That way, so the argument goes, you can weaken the hold
that former paramilitaries have on the communities in which
they are deeply embedded.

'People know'

But what about the preconception, widely held in the rest
of the UK, that people on both sides of Northern Ireland's
sectarian divide still back the paramilitaries?

Far from it, leaders from both communities say.

"People know who the crooks are," says Brendan Duddy, a
nationalist member of Northern Ireland's policing board,
and once one of those who helped make communications
possible between the government and the Provisional IRA.

"No-one is opposed to saying to someone: you've got
£300,000 worth of cars and you haven't worked in ten years,
so don't come complaining to me if you're being done."

Similarly, on the Unionist side, Democratic Unionist Party
MP Sammy Wilson is in no doubt.

"There's immense support for this kind of thing," he says.

"In my own constituency, there are women associated with
the UDA (one of the Loyalist paramilitary groups) who
protested when police came to seize documents and computers
on a raid.

"But 95% of people don't want these criminals getting away
with it."

Soft targets?

ARA's job is to go after criminals through the civil

This has led to accusations - admittedly often from its
targets - that it is breaching people's human rights.

It also means that its work has taken a very, very long

I think lots of our clients are being advised to fight,
and good luck to them, that's their right... But we think
they'll lose

Alan McQuillan, ARA

"Perhaps, in the first 12 months, we were naive," says Alan
McQuillan, ARA assistant director and its chief in Northern
Ireland. "We had no way of knowing how long the civil
recovery process was going to take."

The result was that the agency fell short of government

In 2005-6 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, ARA
managed to convert £4.1m in assets into hard, recovered
cash against a target of £6-12m.

Other criticism has come from the fact that initially, it
targeted many more Protestants than Catholics - sparking
suspicions of a political agenda.

Mr McQuillan resists this suggestion.

"When we first started up, perhaps the Nationalist
community had fears that we wouldn't act fairly," he says.
"That's changed."

Settle up

In the future, Mr McQuillan says, the emphasis will be on
persuading criminals to reach settlements.

One example of the new methods in practice was Northern
Ireland businessman Dylan Creavan, who recently agreed to
pay ARA £18.5m - despite being acquitted of VAT fraud.

"I think lots of our clients are being advised to fight,"
Mr McQuillan says.

"And good luck to them, that's their right. But we think
they'll lose."

Uniform effect

ARA, however, is only one part of Northern Ireland's asset
recovery strategy.

Government policy demands that police and other law
enforcement bodies should always go for a criminal
conviction first - and only hand a case to the agency if
they decide not to prosecute or when a prosecution fails.

So the Police Service of Northern Ireland has first crack
at any given target, and is adding new staff to deal with
this responsibility.

The biggest change will be to put financial investigators
(FIs) - specialists in asset recovery - in each of its 29

And the criminals are paying for it, thanks to a policy
which gives half the money seized back to the organisation
responsible for the confiscation.


January 2007: Abolition? The Home Office announces that ARA
will cease to exist as a separate agency in 2008, becoming
part of the 4,000-officer Serious Organised Crime Agency.

November 2006: Dylan Creavan, £18.5m. Creavan was acquitted
of VAT "carousel" fraud in 2005, but after being shown
evidence that his property was funded by crime, agreed to
hand over assets including a villa in Marbella and four

June 2006: ARA announces it has restrained £85m in 2005-6 -
three times its target, of which £15.9m was in Northern
Ireland. But only £4.1m (£800,000 in Northern Ireland) had
actually been realised.

November 2005: Jim Gray: £200,000. ARA froze property worth
£200,000 which had belonged to the late Jim Gray, formerly
"brigadier" of the East Belfast UDA.

October 2005: Dermot Craven and Brian Pepper. ARA, together
with police, raids premises of Manchester property empire.
According to the two men, the agency believed they were
involved with Thomas "Slab" Murphy, widely regarded as a
senior IRA member. They denied any such involvement.

The beauty of the plan, one senior PSNI officer says, is it
creates an opportunity to embed asset recovery in how the
police operates.

"Police forces are driven by targets," he says. "That's
what commanders are measured by.

"We'll try to get every penny staying in the district -
then you'll get commanders coming to the FIs every day and
asking: 'What have you got for me?'"

View from below

This kind of bottom-up activity could be crucial.

A common criticism of ARA has been that by going after the
top dogs - and with so many cases taking so long - the
effects have not always been felt by the people at ground

"What people want to see is £10,000 or £20,000 being frozen
from some criminal in their area," says Brendan Duddy.

"There's the satisfaction, and the link with the man in the
street who thinks: at last, they've got him."

Police officers are inclined to agree.

High-level organised crime is certainly being tackled
through asset recover, one high-ranking officer says. But
in the meantime, so-called "Level 1" crime - which affects
communities and districts directly every day - is slipping
through the net.

But it is the small-time crooks on whom the big fish
depend, he argues - and so tackling the ground level can
help put organised crime on the back foot.

"The impact there is far greater than the sum of its
parts," he says.

Uncertain future

ARA is now promising to devote a third of its resources to
Level 1 crime - but the agency's days are numbered.

By 2008, it will have been abolished and rolled into the
Serious Organised Crime Agency, and Soca - as its name
suggests - focuses on high-level crime.

Then again, the civil powers once wielded by ARA alone will
be much more widely spread, usable by any Soca officer and
by prosecutors.

Meanwhile, Soca is promising to keep the pressure up in
Northern Ireland, as well as guaranteeing jobs to all ARA

And with the government doubling its target for asset
recovery nationwide to £250m a year by 2009-10, there is
clearly still work to be done.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2007/01/17 23:38:49 GMT


Families Of Shot IRA Men In House Of Lords Challenge

17/01/2007 - 15:41:11

Lawyers representing the families of two IRA men shot dead
by security forces in controversial circumstances went to
the House of Lords today to challenge the manner in which
the inquests into their deaths will proceed.

Pearse Jordan was shot dead by an RUC officer after the
stolen car he was driving was involved in a collision with
a police vehicle on Belfast’s Falls Road in 1992.

Martin McCaughey was shot dead near Loughgall, Co Armagh,
by an undercover SAS unit two years earlier.

Jordan’s father Hugh, who successfully took the British
government to the European Court of Human Rights in 2001
for a breach of its obligations under the European
Convention on Human Rights, is seeking to secure changes to
the inquests system to permit a jury in the North to return
a verdict of unlawful killing.

McCaughey’s father Owen is seeking to compel Chief
Constable Hugh Orde to produce key documents including
intelligence reports relevant to the death of his son and
the report of the RUC’s investigating officer.

In January 2002 Northern Ireland High Court Judge Mr
Justice Weatherup ordered the disclosure of the documents.
However, Mr Orde successfully appealed the ruling in
January 2005.

Peter Madden of Madden and Finucane, solicitor for both
families, said: “The decision of the House of Lords will
have profound implications for the manner in which inquests
shall be conducted by coroners in Northern Ireland.”

He said previous judicial challenges his firm had taken had
secured amendments to the Coroners' Rules, which now compel
those members of the security forces responsible for the
use of lethal force to appear at inquests and be subject to
cross examination by lawyers for the families.

“We hope that the outcome of these further challenges will
enable the families to have access to all relevant
documents and permit the jury to return a verdict of
excessive force and unlawful killing, in protection of the
families’ legitimate interests, the public interest and in
a manner which is compatible with Article 2 of the European
Convention, the right to life,” said Mr Madden.

The Jordan killing sparked controversy after witnesses
claimed he was shot several times in the back by an unnamed
RUC sergeant while trying to run away after his stolen car
was rammed by a police vehicle.

McCaughey was allegedly unarmed when he and fellow IRA man
Dessie Grew were shot by the SAS as they walked towards a
barn where weapons were stored.

The killing raised fresh allegations of a shoot-to-kill
policy being operated as McCaughey was said to be a “marked
man” after being wounded in a shoot out with soldiers
earlier in the same year and escaping across the border.


O'Dea Promises 1916 Military Ceremony

17 January 2007 22:26

The Minister for Defence, Willie O'Dea, has said there will
be another military ceremony on Easter Sunday this year to
commemorate 1916.

However, he said, there will not be a parade along the
lines of the 90th anniversary, though there will be a
military ceremony centred on the GPO with appropriate
military honours rendered.

The Easter ceremonies were resumed last year following an
absence of three decades due to the Northern troubles.


The minister also said that research into the issue of
recruitment and retention of women in the Defence Forces is
now at a very advanced stage and he expects to receive the
findings in the next couple of weeks.

Speaking at the commissioning of cadets at The Curragh, Mr
O'Dea said he will shortly be revealing the chosen design
for the national memorial to members of the Defence Forces
who died in service.

He said the memorial, at the Rutland Fountain on Merrion
Square in Dublin, will be a permanent and prominent tribute
to those who have given their lives in the service of the

Mr O'Dea said 2007 will also see the completion of the
modern protection and load carrying system for individual

This major procurement programme commenced in 2006 with the
purchase of 8000 new units of modern lightweight body
armour and 12,000 modern helmets.

2007 will see the delivery of 12,000 new Battle Vests and
12,000 new light weight Back Packs.

The minister said a competition will provide serving non-
commissioned officers with an opportunity for promotion to
the commissioned ranks will soon take place.

He said every recruit joining the Defence Forces should
have a reasonable expectation of being promoted to
commissioned officer level.


Primate Says End Royal Ban Against Catholics

Patsy McGarry, Religious Affairs Correspondent
Thu, Jan 18, 2007

The new primate-elect of the Church of Ireland has called
for the removal of the ban on Catholics, or those married
to Catholics, from becoming British monarch.

English-born Bishop Alan Harper said that in his personal
view, the Act of Settlement (1701) "belongs to its time and
we should move on". It bans Catholics and those married to
Catholics from ascending the British throne "forever" and
applies also to Australia, Canada, Jamaica, New Zealand and
all other Commonwealth countries where Queen Elizabeth is
recognised as monarch.

Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, Catholic primate of
England and Wales, has pointed out that under the act's
terms Prince William "can marry by law a Hindu, a Buddhist,
anyone, but not a Roman Catholic" and still be king.

Bishop Harper agreed that repeal of the act could have
implications for the Church of England, of which the
British monarch is governor. But he felt disestablishment
of the Church of England (whereby it would no longer be the
state church) was something it would "not only get over,
but would be the better for it".

Looking from Ireland, where disestablishment took place in
1869, he asked of the Church of England whether "the price
to be paid for 'establishment' is worth paying?"

Referring to the controversy over a new national children's
hospital in Dublin, he expressed concern at the direction
decision-making process in the issue was taking and its
implications for Tallaght hospital.

He hoped the contribution of the Protestant community to
the Irish health service could be safeguarded in whatever
shape the new national children's hospital took.

He expressed admiration for the way the Republic had begun
to tackle the issue of difference where inward migration
was concerned, pointing out that it was now a destination
of choice for immigrants. "The great thing about Ireland is
not just the Celtic Tiger but that it is a good place to
come to. It is quite a turnaround," he said.

Reflecting on experience elsewhere, he commented favourably
on policies of integration as opposed to multiculturalism,
and said such policies should be about "reinforcing bonds
of one community".

But he warned against tolerance in the Republic of growing
disparities between wealth and poverty, which was "not
always about absolute poverty".

The Republic was now "self-confident, young, vibrant, an
exciting place to be," he said.

He was hopeful politicians in the North were "edging
towards a political accommodation which would permit people
to govern themselves". There had been "too many deadlines",
which did not always contribute to a positive outcome.

© 2007 The Irish Times


Opin: Question Of Devolution Now No Longer 'If', But 'When'

Thu, Jan 18, 2007

Northern peace process enters what finally begins to
resemble endgame, writes Frank Millar, London Editor

This must be a truly maddening moment for Tony Blair. For
few serious politicians or pundits now must doubt his
assessment of the dispositions of Ian Paisley and Gerry
Adams as the Northern Ireland peace process enters what
finally begins to resemble endgame, rather than all-too-
familiar "blame game".

The British prime minister is convinced the Sinn Féin
president wants, and intends, to "do the right thing" on
policing - and that the DUP leader would very much like to
end his career as co-equal first minister in a powersharing
Executive at Stormont. After all the interminable talk, Mr
Blair thinks it would be crazy for either side to retreat
now. As his spokesman puts it, "if they do, we shall never

Among the serious players as yet unconvinced by Mr Blair,
of course, are senior members of what is sometimes referred
to as the DUP's "collective leadership". This may in the
past have been an amusing concept to an all-powerful Dr
Paisley, but it is an extreme irritant now as his seemingly
monolithic party battles perceptions of doubt and growing

Before members of the leadership rush to complain, this is
not to suggest the DUP is about to split, Ulster Unionist-
style. Even as they manoeuvre to define/shift/maintain
positions, the DUP's elected representatives show
remarkable discipline.

"We're like family when all is said and done," explains one
of their number: "We're not going to go the way of [ David]
Trimble's party."

That said, the attempt to hold Dr Paisley to a defined
period in which to "test" Sinn Féin's bona fides - and the
resistance to any commitment to a timetable for the
devolution of policing powers - has every appearance of
being confident and co-ordinated. Former diehard loyalists
no longer exhibit quite the same faith in "the Big Man",
while some potential successors sense the march of time and
suspect him in too much of a hurry to secure a radically-
revised "legacy" of his own.

Peter Hain may be right to see a dissident DUP minority as
divided between those forever against a deal with
republicans and those who would prefer, for a variety of
perfectly comprehensible reasons, to carry the moment of
decision on to Gordon Brown's watch. And mere
"backbenchers" they may be.

However, in a parliamentary party of nine MPs, Nigel Dodds,
Gregory Campbell, David Simpson and William McCrea, acting
apparently in concert with party chairman Lord Morrow and
MEP Jim Allister, represent a significant strand of
unionist opinion.

Coalescing around a strict interpretation of stated DUP
policy, it seems reasonable to assume this group was at
least a factor in preventing the further advance in Dr
Paisley's position that Mr Adams and the two governments
had hoped to hear over the Christmas period.

Some at the heart of the Paisley project may seek to
marginalise Mr Allister and otherwise dismiss all talk of
internal dissatisfaction.

However, it would seem an objective fact that Dr Paisley
has not arrived as majority leader only to commit the crime
of which he accused all unionist leaders before him,
namely, dividing the unionist people.

British ministers might also reflect that Mr Blair once
thought to cast Dr Paisley, Jeffrey Donaldson (then an
anti-Agreement Ulster Unionist) and Robert McCartney into
the outer darkness after they persuaded nearly half the
unionist electorate to vote 'No' in the 1998 referendum on
the Belfast Agreement.

Anyone who thinks completing the DUP transition to power-
sharing will be comfortable - or is cavalier about Dr
Paisley's need for maximum unity in the next phase of
hoped-for political development - could actually undermine
the prospect of eventual agreement.

Better then, perhaps, to discard name-calling and abuse,
allow Dr Paisley to conduct his own internal debate, and
acknowledge that there is much in the current state-of-play
to concern even some enthusiasts for a new deal. Better,
too, for Downing Street to resist the temptation to
liberally interpret Dr Paisley's chosen words or the terms
of the policing motion for Sinn Féin's special ardfheis.

Understandably convinced it knows the underlying realities,
Number 10 has been seeking to prevent people rushing to
opposite (and in its view wrong) conclusions in the
aftermath of last Saturday's Sinn Féin ardchomhairle

However, any perception of an ongoing "spin" operation by
them could be wholly counter-productive. It would also seem
unnecessary, since cool examination of what has occurred
between the St Andrews negotiations and now would suggest
that - on the big issue as defined by Dr Paisley - the DUP
leader has won an argument on which London and Dublin
thought to deny him as recently as last summer.

For sure, the policing motion for the Sinn Féin ardfheis
comes laden with conditionality. Unionists may also be
offended by the accompanying threat - that if Sinn Féin's
terms for restoration of the institutions and the timetable
for devolution of policing powers are not met - the
republicans with the British will find an alternative "Plan
B" way to proceed. The point should not be lost that, even
in that context, Sinn Féin's promised commitment is to
endorse the PSNI.

And here again it is instructive to know that the DUP
leadership is as unimpressed by suggestions that "Plan B"
can ever amount to tacit Joint British/Irish Authority, as
it is about the much-hyped British/Sinn Féin deal over the
relationship between the PSNI and MI5.

Moreover, the widespread perception within the republican
community may be that, in real terms, the Adams leadership
has already gone through the pain barrier. Taoiseach Bertie
Ahern, like Mr Blair, certainly appears to anticipate that
changes in attitudes to the PSNI will swiftly follow on
foot of the ardfheis.

Indeed, Mr Blair's insistence that full support for the
police can still facilitate devolution by March 26th might
seem to suggest - contrary to the ardfheis motion - that
Martin McGuinness will be able to take the pledge of office
promising to uphold the rule of law and support the PSNI by
that date.

If he cannot (whether because of Sinn Féin's conditions -
or because in such circumstances they choose to interpret
the pledge itself as conditional) that will not be a
problem for Dr Paisley, though it would certainly torpedo
Mr Blair's March deadline.

Yet even that - and the possibility that he might have to
make good Mr Hain's threat and dissolve the newly-elected
Assembly - should not deter Mr Blair now from his chosen
course. The fear immediately after St Andrews was that the
forthcoming Assembly contest would prove but an election to
further the "process". But Mr Blair has ascertained the
direction of travel and, though grinding slow, the process
has moved on significantly.

Even if interrupted by temporary breakdown on March 26th,
the prime minister can calculate that Mr Adams has nowhere
else to go and that for Dr Paisley - for whom, unlike Mr
Adams, devolution is actually a strategic goal - the
question is probably no longer "if", but "when".

In that context it is interesting to note a new DUP
calculation that they might, on balance, fare better under
Mr Blair than Mr Brown - and that Mr Blair seems intent on
staying in office at least until June.

© 2007 The Irish Times


Opin: Why We Need To Spy On The Spies

[Published: Wednesday 17, January 2007 - 12:01]

MI5 cultivates a culture of arrogant unaccountability and
boasts that it doesn't even have a press office. Now, it's
building a new £20m regional centre inside Palace Barracks,
Holywood. But, says Chris Ryder, the legacy of the work of
its 'silky spies' during the Troubles proves the SDLP is
right to demand MI5's conduct in Northern Ireland is
subject to effective scrutiny

The Prime Minister's assurance that there will be a
definitive line between 'civic policing' and 'security
service counter-terrorist investigations and operations
relating to Northern Ireland' is hopelessly hollow and

It flies in the face of reality because the picture he
paints of the two firms working separately to protect
public tranquillity and national security is starkly
idealistic, for both are locked in a long-standing rivalry
born of the different philosophies and rules that govern
their professional behaviour. The congenital competition
between the police, Army and security service, which
continues, was one of the most defining characteristics of
security policy here during the years of conflict.

Each organisation ruthlessly battled to recruit informers
and get them into key positions in the various terrorist
groupings so that they could have first-hand information to
capture their hardware, interdict their violent activities
and claim the credit.

Notionally they were supposed to share and exchange
information to protect life and property, and the vast
majority of brave officers in all three services did so,
shrewdly analysing intelligence and often risking their own
lives handling informers.

However, in this clandestine environment, ruthless
individual ambition and personal prejudice sometimes
prevailed, and vital intelligence was not shared and
exploited as vigorously as it should have been.

Such was the shambles that sometimes well-paid informers
were able to sell the same information to both the police
and army for months on end before they were rumbled.

More seriously, a minority of police officers and soldiers
took the law into their own hands, betrayed the integrity
of their task and engaged in damagingly treacherous

They leaked supposedly secret material to terrorists to
stimulate revenge attacks and others actively colluded with
gunmen and bombers to settle personal scores.

Such criminal conduct was all too often ignored for
pragmatic political reasons or because of the mutual
distrust and deadly rivalry between the police and Army.
Further, each organisation resented what they saw as the
swaggering superiority of 'the silky spies', as one Special
Branch officer described them, who ran the security

Senior police officers like him privately railed against
the 'UK Eyes Only' classification applied to many documents
which were only circulated to senior British officials and
soldiers. Inside the RUC itself there was a particularly
wary atmosphere for its own main intelligence gathering
arm, Special Branch, acted as a 'force within a force' and
all too frequently internally suppressed information it
regarded as too sensitive to be shared.


On one notorious occasion when a chief constable asked for
details of a particular operation, his head of Special
Branch refused to tell him: " Need to know goes up as well
down, sir."

Although the lives of informers were undoubtedly at stake -
as evidenced by a string of grotesque murders and
abductions - the full extent and the implications of this
dubious 'cloak and dagger' regime are still being

Because it is already clear that the legacy is so highly
damaging, multi-layered rigorous oversight and
accountability mechanisms now circumscribe the conduct of
the PSNI, which replaced the RUC five years ago.

Special Branch has been integrated into mainstream criminal
intelligence gathering, safeguards are in place to regulate
the handling of informers and there are protocols governing
surveillance and the interception of communications.

Independent scrutiny is provided for through the Policing
Board and other organisations.

Because of the special circumstances of Northern Ireland,
and the historical difficulties associated with policing
and security matters, this comprehensive accountability
regime is rightly more exacting than in the rest of the
United Kingdom and is indeed unparalleled elsewhere in the

However, it does not and, according to present government
policy, will not apply to MI5, the expanding Security
Service, which, at a time when the police and Army are
downsizing to take account of 'normalisation' in Northern
Ireland, is building a £20m regional centre inside Palace
Barracks, Holywood and actively recruiting staff to operate

Since the new building appeared above the north Down
skyline more than a year ago, the SDLP, alone among the
political parties here, has been robustly trying to
penetrate the fog of secrecy that traditionally cloaks the
organisation, its personnel and their activities.

More importantly, the SDLP has been campaigning to have
suitable mechanisms put in place here, to make MI5 fully
accountable for its work.

Apart from differing standards applying to the PSNI and
MI5, they argue that the current levels of oversight of MI5
are both impotent and ineffective.

Parliamentary scrutiny of the security services is cursory
and virtually powerless. Above all, the complaints
procedure is both opaque and toothless.

Of the 380 complaints made to the Investigatory Powers
Tribunal - which investigates MI5 - not one has been upheld
and not once were reasons given.


The figure is hardly surprising for MI5 cultivates for
itself a culture of arrogant unaccountability. Its website
loftily boasts that it does not have a press office and
does not comment on intelligence matters.

It also promotes a sense of self-righteous superiority
among its staff as its recruitment documentation
demonstrates: Discretion is an integral part of working for
MI5, so before you consider applying, ask yourself this:
would you be content for your own and your team's successes
to remain unknown outside the intelligence community?

There is, of course, a compelling case for discretion and
secrecy when having to deal with the current terrorist
threat to the free world, one that dwarfs even the worst
capacity of our home-grown subversives and there must
remain adequate provisions to prevent any of this work
being inhibited.

But because the intelligence community abused its blank
cheque in the past - and not just in Northern Ireland as
the debacle over Iraqi weapons of mass destruction all too
damagingly illustrates - there is an equally unanswerable
case for having open and transparent scrutiny over the way
they exercise the considerable invasive powers they have
been given and the intrusive technology at their disposal.

As we move, however grudgingly, into a new dispensation
here with political stability and a much reduced subversive
threat, it is all the more important that there is
effective scrutiny of its conduct in Northern Ireland.

The SDLP is therefore right to look around several corners
and not to accept Tony Blair's assurances designed, as they
are, to suck Sinn Fein into an historic, unprecedented and
belated acceptance of the new beginning for policing,
rooted in the 1999 Patten Commission report.

Unionists, loyalists and republicans should urgently
support the effort the SDLP is making to force the British
government to ensure the Police Ombudsman, the Human Rights
Commission, the Policing Board and other arms of the
oversight community are provided with the right and the
means to hold the security service publicly to account just
as rigorously as they do the PSNI.

Such powers must be granted to inspire public confidence
and dispel any notion they have that maintaining national
security is an unaccountable pre-occupation for the
intelligence community alone.

The biography of Gerry Fitt, Fighting Fitt by Chris Ryder,
is available from Brehon Press, £12.99

© Belfast Telegraph


Opin: Prices Rising Faster Than Average Incomes

Thu, Jan 18, 2007

Consumers have a right to feel aggrieved, writes Paul
Cullen, Consumer Affairs Correspondent

The latest inflation figures due out today from the Central
Statistics Office will tell many consumers what they
already feel in their pockets; that the cost of living is
increasing faster than it has for years.

The Economic and Social Research Institute has already
forecast that the rate of inflation for December will rise
close to 5 per cent, the highest level for six years.

And, it says, further price increases in the new year will
see the rate of inflation for this month touch the 6 per
cent barrier.

You have to go back to the dark days of the 1980s for the
last time inflation rates reached this kind of level.

While this in itself is hardly a cause for panic - after
all unemployment rates are much lower than they were 20
years ago - consumers have a right to feel aggrieved at the
general complacency evident in official circles about
continuously rising prices.

It is true that the economy is performing well but what
value is this if inflation is making people poorer?

If the average citizen is unable to prosper sufficiently in
the halcyon days of the Celtic Tiger by putting away
savings for a rainy day, how is he or she expected to cope
when a downturn arrives?

It's true that the ESRI believes the current rates are a
"spike" that will pass as the year goes on; its predictions
are that inflation will drop to 4 per cent by mid-year and
3 per cent by its end.

Yet there is, as the saying goes, "many a slip twixt cup
and lip" and such medium-term forecasts are inevitably
subject to the vagaries of local and international
economics; just look at the gyrations in the price of oil
and gas over the past year.

For the moment, certainly, consumers can see that prices
are rising significantly faster than average incomes.

The recently negotiated national wage agreement, for
example, envisages wage increases of just 2 per cent over
the next nine months and 2.5 per cent in the six months
after that.

So while high earners and other workers not subject to the
agreement might well be able to negotiate bigger pay
increases in the current economic climate, the vast
majority of low and average earners are seeing their
spending power steadily eroded.

Since last September customers have been hit with a barrage
of price hikes across a variety of sectors (see panel), and
more are to come. While the international price of oil goes
through the floor, Irish consumers are being forced to pay
24 per cent more for gas and over 12 per cent more for
electricity. The explanation given by the utilities is that
fuel supplies were purchased almost a year ago when prices
were high, yet few expect a concomitant drop in prices
later this year when cheaper oil becomes available for
power generation and heating.

Falling oil prices have had little impact on the transport
sector either, where bus, rail, tram and toll prices have
all been increased. Imminent increases in bread prices are
being blamed again on oil prices, as well as bad wheat
harvests. Waste charges have risen significantly, while
last month's budget also contributed to inflation, notably
through a 50c increase in the price of cigarettes.

There's more to come, too. VHI charges, which went up by
12.5 per cent last September, will go up even more later in
the year. An Post will charge 15 per cent more for sending
a standard letter next March and Eircom wants to increase
its line rental charges.

Then there are the increasing number of non-standard
charges increasingly levied on consumers, such as Aer
Lingus's new baggage charges or NTL's €2 charge for those
not paying by direct debit and a €7.68 charge for late
payment by cable television customers

The detail of today's inflation figures from the CSO will
show that inflation is rising far faster in some sectors
than others. Food prices, for example, are relatively
stable, perhaps thanks to the abolition of the Groceries
Order last year.

In contrast, the cost of services is rocketing, allegedly
due to rising wages. Yet many of the areas where prices are
rising most steeply share a single defining characteristic
- a lack of real competition. Attempts to deregulate the
electricity and gas markets, for example, have clearly
failed, if the delivery of lower utility prices is to be
the aim.

This is true of the private sector too; for example,
Eircom's stranglehold over telephone line rental or NTR's
control of the M50's Westlink. If inflation is to be reined
in, competition - real, meaningful competition - will have
to be introduced into the market.

© 2007 The Irish Times


Irish-Language Newspaper Launched

17/01/2007 - 16:05:06

An Irish-language newspaper backed by the Irish and British
governments was launched today.

Lá Nua will be produced from west Belfast and the Donegal
Gaeltacht and published five days a week.

It will offer podcasts, an online version and entries on
YouTube, a website offering home videos.

Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs Eamon Ó
Cuív said he was delighted with the innovative technology
on offer.

“This shows the great progress being made by the Irish-
language media and the understanding that Lá Nua has of the
modern society in which Irish speakers live today.”

The title will be stocked in newsagents but copies will
also be distributed to Irish-speaking offices across Dublin
and the top 300 schools using the language.

A contract worth £400,000 (€609,100) was awarded for two
years’ printing by language promotion agency Foras na
Gaeilge, a cross-border body funded by both governments.

Lá Nua managing director Connla Lawlor said there were
Irish Government plans for a 20-year development strategy
for Irish and an Irish Language Act envisaged in the North.

The paper replaces the Andersonstown News Group’s daily Lá.


Famous First Words: Gaeilge Makes Its EU Debut

'Is mór an onóir dom labhairt i mo theanga dúchais anseo
tráthnóna inniu'

Seán MacConnell in Strasbourg
Thu, Jan 18, 2007

The atmosphere around the European Parliament is infectious
- all the Irish MEPs contributing to debates are opening
their contributions with a few words of Irish to test the

It has even spread to the press centre when a number of
Irish language journalists are working for the week, and
where most of the conversations are handled in the first

The Government also threw a party to mark the Irish
language becoming an official language of the EU since
January 1st last, when the necessary arrangements were put
in place. The event even prompted the Irish EU Commissioner
Charles McCreevy to dig into the past and talk about his
struggle with the first official language which in his time
was compulsory.

When he finished his speech which was "as Gaeilge", the
commissioner said: "I haven't spoke as much Irish as that
since I took my orals during my Leaving Cert."

The honour of delivering the first official cúpla focail in
the chamber went to the Munster MEP Brian Crowley. His
words were interpreted by Eoghan Ó Loinsigh, a freelance
Irish interpreter who had been brought to Strasbourg for
the occasion.

Labhras Ó Finneadha and Róisín Ní Úrdal, the official EU
Irish translators who will translate all important
documents into Irish were at the party, with the EU's
newest legal linguist, Fionnula Croker, who will supervise
the legality of the work.

Five full-time EU interpreting staff to handle the Irish
business of parliament are currently being trained in the
University of Westminster in London. It appears that there
is no such university course available back on the old sod.

And the sensitive issue of cost? Not much for such an
important happening. The budget for the current year to
cover the implementation of the language is €677,048 which
language lovers say is only a pittance.

For the record: what Brian Crowley said

"Uachtaráin Is mór an onóir dom labhairt I mo theanga
dúchais anseo tráthnóna inniu. Ba mhaith liom buíochas ó
chroí a ghabháil le rialtaisí uilig an Aontais Eorpaigh
agus le feisirí an tí seo, as ucht a gcuid tacaíochta chun
stádas oifigiúil oibre a bhaint amach don nGaeilge.

Tá cur chun cinn teangacha rí - thábhachtach ó thaobh
forbairt iomlán a dhéanamh ar Aontas na hEorpa.

Tá ceangal láidir idir éagsúlacht Cultúir agus Co-Oibriú
Eacnamaíochta san Eoraip, agus creidim a Uachtaráin Borrell
gur éirigh leat an dá aidhm seo a bhaint amach le linn do
théarma in oifig an Uachtaráin."

© 2007 The Irish Times


Death Of Seán Mac Réamoinn At 85

17 January 2007 23:04

Tributes have been paid to the veteran broadcaster and
journalist Seán Mac Réamoinn, who died in Dublin this
morning. He was 85.

Labour leader Pat Rabbitte described him as a radical and
provocative voice, and a great raconteur. He will be sorely
missed, Mr Rabbitte said.

In a career with RTÉ spanning more than 30 years, Mr Mac
Réamoinn presented a number of programmes on television and
radio in both Irish and English.


He provided memorable radio reports on the Vatican Council,
and was a noted writer and commentator on religious issues.

Seán Mac Réamoinn was born in 1921 in Birmingham, but grew
up in rural Ireland.

He studied Irish, English and French in college, and after
graduating he joined the Department of External Affairs.

He joined Radio Éireann in 1947 and was a member of the RTÉ
Authority between 1973 and 1976.

He was also Controller of Programmes for RTÉ Radio in the
late 70s.

Current Director of RTÉ Radio Adrian Moynes described Seán
Mac Réamoinn as 'a renaissance man, who was an authority on
many issues'.

He is survived by his wife Pat, daughters Laoise and Seona,
and son Brian.


Irish Battlefields To Be Better Protected

Thu, Jan 18, 2007

Experts in history, archaeology and mapping appointed to
committee to examine 75 sites Compiled by Liam Reid

Famous battlefields which were key moments in Irish history
are to be given enhanced protection under proposals from
the Department of the Environment.

Minister for the Environment Dick Roche is to launch a
study of at least 75 sites around the country with a view
to establishing a register of important battle sites,
including their location and extent.

It is also planned that national monuments legislation
could be amended to allow battlefield areas to be
designated as protected sites. Battlefield sites from the
early middle ages right through to the 1798 Rebellion are
to be included.

A group of experts in history, archaeology and mapping has
been appointed to a steering committee to examine the

A member of the unionist community is also to be asked to
join the committee in light of the importance of some of
the battle sites in the Williamite wars to unionist

The move comes as a number of important battle sites have
come under threat from the increased levels of road
construction and housing development.

Plans for the M6 motorway between Ballinasloe and Galway
were the source of serious controversy because of the
impact of the proposed road, which is now under
construction, on the site of the Battle of Aughrim.

This battle was a key military encounter during the
Williamite wars, and one of the biggest land battles ever
in Ireland or Britain in terms of casualties.

The move to create a register of battlefields follows
similar moves in Britain and the US.

Mr Roche told The Irish Times yesterday that the initiative
"would research the key battlefield sites in Irish history
on Irish soil, their location, extent and historical and
archaeological backgrounds".

"Where they survive, battlefields may contain important
topographical and archaeological evidence that can increase
our knowledge and understanding of momentous events in
Irish history.

"The eventual aim of the project would be to assist in
identifying the appropriate statutory protection under the
National Monuments Acts that should be extended to
battlefield sites."

There is at present very limited work carried out in
relation to Irish battlefields with a view to their
protection. The only site that has received considerable
State attention has been that of the Battle of the Boyne,
with the Government having bought a large swathe of the

There is also considerable information on the sites of
battles during the Confederate Wars in the 1640s, the
Williamite wars of the 1690s and the 1798 Rebellion.

However, the expert Irish group faces a considerable
challenge in relation to battlefields prior to the 17th

The lack of precise historical data, coupled with the
running tactics of combatants, makes it extremely difficult
in many cases to identify the precise sites of many Irish

The establishment of the group has been welcomed by experts
and academics. Prof John Waddell of the department of
archaeology at NUI Galway, who will sit on the new
committee, said the initiative would ensure better
information about battlefields in Ireland.

"It's a highly-desirable thing because, apart from the
Battle of the Boyne, there has been very little [
archaeological] research on Irish battlefields." He said
such fields were not only of historical value but they
often included mass graves and were, therefore, "places of
significant memory" for communities.

He said such archaeological research could provide
invaluable insights into key historical moments, and
disprove folk myths that build up around them.

He cited archaeological research in the US at the Battle of
Little Bighorn, known as Custer's Last Stand, which is
portrayed as a gallant stand by Gen Custer and his men in
the face of overwhelming odds. Recent excavations had
unearthed evidence from shot dispersal which suggested the
US cavalry attempted to flee in disarray.

© 2007 The Irish Times


Historic Irish Battle Sites

Thu, Jan 18, 2007
Compiled by Liam Reid

Battle of Kinsale, Cork

The pivotal battle during the nine years war between the
Elizabethan English forces and the native Irish, headed by
Hugh O'Neill and Red Hugh O'Donnell. O'Neill marched his
army 250 miles in the depths of winter from Donegal and
Tyrone to Kinsale to aid a Spanish expeditionary force,
which had been surrounded by the English forces. O'Neill
and O'Donnell attacked on Christmas Eve 1601, but their
forces were routed and they returned to the northwest,
surrendering in 1603.

Battle of Aughrim, Galway

It is the Battle of Aughrim rather than the Battle of the
Boyne which was the decisive encounter in the Williamite
Wars. It occurred in July 1691 just outside the village of
Aughrim in east Galway and was fought between the Jacobite
forces and those of William III. The Jacobites were routed
in what is believed to be the bloodiest battle on Irish
soil, with the loss of 7,000 lives.

Battle of Curlew Pass, Roscommon One of the most successful
actions undertaken by the native Irish during the nine
years war, the forces of Red Hugh O'Donnell ambushed the
English army led by Sir Conyers Clifford, at a pass in the
Curlew mountains, north of Boyle in Co Roscommon, in August

Battle of Ballinamuck, Longford

The last traditional land battle to take place on Irish
soil, it was the last stand of the French expeditionary
force that had landed in Mayo in 1798. With the French and
Irish forces of little more than 1,500 overwhelmed by more
than 15,000 British troops, the battle lasted less than
half an hour. The French who surrendered were repatriated,
but the Irish participants were hunted down and killed.

Battle of Clontibret, Monaghan

The Battle of Clontribret in Co Monaghan in 1595 was the
first major setback for the forces of Queen Elizabeth, who
were defeated after a two-day running battle. Irish leader
Hugh O'Neil was almost killed in hand-to-hand combat during
the battle.

Battle of Dysert O'Dea, Clare

A key battle during the Irish Bruce wars in the 14th
century, it took place at Dysert O'Dea near Corofin, Co
Clare in 1318.The Norman forces of Richard de Clare
attacked the Irish chieftain Conor O'Dea, but de Clare was
killed and his forces defeated. The Kingdom of Thomond,
which includes the modern counties of Clare, Limerick and
parts of counties Kerry and Tipperary, remained independent
of English control for a further 250 years.

Battle of Piltown,Kilkenny

An Irish battle which was essentially an extension of the
War of the Roses (above), it occurred near the Co Kilkenny
village in 1462. The Earl of Desmond, fighting on the side
of the House of York, defeated the Butlers, fighting for
the House of Lancaster, resulting in more than 400
casualties for the Butlers.

Battle of Vinegar Hill, Wexford

The largest battle during the 1798 rebellion, it pitted a
force of 15,000 British against an army of 20,000 rebels.

There were two battles in the engagement, at nearby
Enniscorthy town and on the hill itself, causing the rebels
to retreat.

Hundreds were killed by the British army, but most escaped
to fight skirmish and guerrilla warfare throughout the

Battle of Collooney, Sligo

Also known as the Battle of Carrignagat, it was a minor
battled during the 1798 Rebellion when English forces from
Sligo met the French and Irish force of more than 2,000 led
by General Humbert. The English troops were forced into
retreat and fled back to Sligo.

© 2007 The Irish Times


Census Bureau Facts for Features: Irish-American Heritage
Month (March) and St. Patrick's Day (March 17) 2007

WASHINGTON, Jan. 17 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The
following 'Facts for Features' were released today by the
Census Bureau:

Originally a religious holiday to honor St. Patrick, who
introduced Christianity to Ireland in the fifth century,
St. Patrick's Day has evolved into a celebration for all
things Irish. The world's first St. Patrick's Day parade
occurred on March 17, 1762, in New York City, featuring
Irish soldiers serving in the English military. President
Truman attended the parade in 1948, a proud moment for the
many Irish whose ancestors had to fight stereotypes and
prejudice to find acceptance in America. Congress
proclaimed March as Irish- American Heritage Month in 1995,
and the president issues a proclamation each year.

Population Distribution

34.7 million

Number of U.S. residents who claim Irish ancestry. This
number is almost nine times the population of Ireland
itself (4.2 million). Irish is the nation's second most
frequently reported ancestry, trailing only those of German
ancestry. (The ancestry estimates exclude people living in
group quarters.) (Source: 2005 American Community Survey

24% Percent of Massachusetts residents who are of Irish
ancestry. This compares to a corresponding rate of 12
percent for the nation as a whole.
(Source: 2005 American Community Survey)

Irish-Americans Today


Percentage of people of Irish ancestry, 25 or older, who
had a bachelor's degree or more education. In addition, 91
percent of Irish-Americans in this age group had at least a
high school diploma. For the nation as a whole, the
corresponding rates were 27 percent and 84 percent.
(Source: 2005 American Community Survey) $51,937

Median income for households headed by an Irish-American
householder, higher than the $46,242 for all households. In
addition, 9 percent of people of Irish ancestry were in
poverty, lower than the rate of 13 percent for all
Americans. (Source: 2005 American Community Survey)

39% Percentage of employed civilian Irish-Americans 16 or older
who work in management, professional and related
occupations. Additionally, 28 percent work in sales and
office occupations, 15 percent in service occupations, 10
percent in production, transportation and material moving
occupations and 9 percent in construction, extraction,
maintenance and repair occupations.

(Percentages add to more than 100 due to rounding.)
(Source: 2005 American Community Survey)

72% Percentage of householders of Irish ancestry who own the
home in which they live, with the remainder renting. For
the nation as a whole, the homeownership rate was 67
percent. (Source: 2005 American Community Survey)

Trade With the "Old Sod"

$23.8 billion

The value of U.S. imports from the Irish Republic during a
recent 10-month period (January-October 2006). Meanwhile,
the United States exported $6.9 billion worth of goods to

Places to Spend the Day

4 Number of places in the United States named Shamrock, the
floral emblem of Ireland. Mount Gay-Shamrock, W.Va., and
Shamrock, Texas, were the most populous, with 2,623 and
1,841 residents, respectively. Shamrock Lakes, Ind., had
162 residents and Shamrock, Okla., 125. (Statistic for
Mount Gay-Shamrock is from Census 2000; the other
statistics in this paragraph are 2005 estimates.) (Source:
American FactFinder and

9 Number of places in the United States that share the name
of Ireland's capital, Dublin. Since Census 2000, Dublin,
Calif., has surpassed Dublin, Ohio, as the most populous of
these places (39,328 compared with 34,964, respectively, as
of July 1, 2005). (Source: American FactFinder and ) If you're still not into the spirit of St. Paddy's Day after
stopping by one of the places named "Shamrock" or "Dublin,"
then you might consider paying a visit to Emerald Isle,
N.C., with 3,686 residents. (Source:

The Celebration

41.6 billion and 2.4 billion U.S. beef and cabbage production,
respectively, in pounds, in 2005.

Corned beef and cabbage is a traditional St. Patrick's Day
dish. The corned beef celebrants dine on may very well have
originated in Texas, which produced 7.3 billion pounds
worth of beef, while the cabbage most likely came from
California, which produced 466 million pounds worth, or New
York (456 million pounds).

21.6 The number of gallons of beer consumed per capita by
Americans annually in 2004. On St. Patrick's Day, you may
be able to order green-dyed beer at one of the nation's
47,984 drinking places, some of which may be Irish pubs.
See Table 201, Statistical Abstract of the United States:
2007 and

387 Number of breweries in 2004. The nation's breweries are the
source for the domestic beer that is often an integral part
of St. Paddy's Day celebrations.

$69 million Value of potted florist chrysanthemum sales at wholesale in
2005 for operations with $100,000 or more sales. Lime green
chrysanthemums are often requested for St. Patrick's Day

Following is a list of observances typically covered by the
Census Bureau's Facts for Features series:

Editor's note: The preceding data were collected from a
variety of sources and may be subject to sampling
variability and other sources of error. Questions or
comments should be directed to the Census Bureau's Public
Information Office: telephone: 301-763-3030; fax: 301-457-
3762; or e-mail:

SOURCE Census Bureau

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