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January 30, 2007

Full House Approves Finucane Resolution

Cliffs of Moher

News About Ireland & The Irish

PR 01/30/07 House Approves Finucane Resolution
NE 01/30/07 House Citing Cory Presses For Finucane Probe
BB 01/30/07 IRA 'Dismantling Its Structures'
BN 01/30/07 Final Hurdle To Devolution Gone, Says Hain
SF 01/30/07 Sinn Féin Will Press Ahead Regardless Of IMC
UT 01/30/07 IMC Warning Over Republican Group
DS 01/30/07 PM And Bertie Ahern Joint Statement On NI
IT 01/30/07 Assembly Elections Confirmed For March 7th
IT 01/31/07 Restore NI Govt Without Delay, McDowell Urges
SF 01/30/07 Sinn Féin Ard Chomhairle Meet In Dublin
BB 01/30/07 Sinn Fein Backing 'Joining PSNI'
IT 01/30/07 Call For SF To Assist In McCartney Case
IT 01/31/07 Opin: This Is A Good Time For Ireland
BN 01/30/07 Woman & Boy Die In 600ft Cliffs Of Moher Plunge
BJ 01/30/07 Joseph Cullinan A Driving Force In Oil Business
HC 01/30/07 Blog: Better Living Through Chemistry


House Overwhelmingly Approves Finucane Resolution

Smith-Authored Resolution Calls for Investigation of

WASHINGTON, Jan. 30 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The U.S.
House of Representatives today approved a resolution
introduced by U.S. Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.) that calls on
the British government to continue to advance the recent
historic progress in the Northern Ireland peace process by
following through on their promise of full "independent
public judicial" investigation into the murder of Northern
Ireland defense attorney Pat Finucane.

Smith's resolution -- H.Con.Res. 20 -- passed the House of
Representatives by a vote of 364-34, with 25 members voting

"This resolution calls on the British government to live up
to its commitment -- as part of the Northern Ireland peace
process -- to implement a public, independent, judicial
inquiry into the murder of courageous human rights attorney
and activist, Patrick Finucane. The questions of police
collusion surrounding his murder need to be answered. The
British government must comply with their own pledge to
investigate the Finucane murder in order to build on the
recent progress we have seen with the peace process," said

Smith added, "New developments from the past week regarding
community policing are greatly welcomed. And there is a new
optimism that elections for new, devolved, power-sharing
government will be held this spring. Yet, with
reconciliation must come full disclosure of the truth."

In 1989, Patrick Finucane was gunned down in his home in
Belfast as his wife and three children watched. Numerous
non-governmental human rights organizations have connected
loyalist paramilitaries and British Security forces to his
horrific murder.

Among other things, Smith's resolution specifically calls
on the British government to "reconsider its position on
the matter of an inquiry into the murder of Mr. Finucane,
to amend the Inquiries Act of 2005, and to take fully into
account the objections ... raised by the Finucane family."

"The lack of resolution of charges of official collusion in
the murder of a defense attorney, such as Mr. Finucane,
leaves people to question the government's commitment to
accountability. His murder symbolizes the depth and danger
of official State-sponsored collusion in Northern Ireland
and a total disregard for the rule of law. It has left
victims who deserve answers," Smith, the author of three
separate bills regarding human rights abuses by the police
force in Northern Ireland, said during House consideration
of the resolution.

In 2001, as part of the Weston Park Agreement and in an
attempt to help jump-start the stalled Good Friday
Agreement, the British and Irish governments pledged to
follow Cory's recommendation. After public release of the
Cory report in 2004, the United Kingdom enacted legislation
that limits the scope of an independent investigation. The
legislation was subsequently rejected by Judge Cory, the
Finucane family, the Irish Government and human rights

Last week a report was released by the police ombudsman
detailing collusion between Northern Ireland police and
criminals in dozens of violent attacks and murders of
Catholics from the 1990s all the way to 2003. The report's
release came prior to a historic vote by Sinn Fein this
past Sunday to back the police force in Northern Ireland,
which is a significant step in the peace process.

Smith noted that the fact that a police ombudsman exists
indicated that policing in Northern Ireland is in fact
"much improved" over what it was when the Good Friday
Agreement was signed in 1998 and that Sunday's vote by Sinn
Fein is an acknowledgement of the policing reforms that
will help push the peace process forward.

Smith -- who has held eleven hearings on the peace process
in Northern Ireland during his tenure as chairman of the
subcommittee on human rights and as chairman of the
Helsinki Commission -- said that resolution of the Finucane
murder case is vital to the peace process.

"During the Congressional hearings, one central, recurring
theme was the concern about human rights abuses committed
by members of the police service in Northern Ireland. It is
vital to the peace process that human rights abuses by
members of the police service in Northern Ireland are fully
investigated. This includes an exhaustive investigation
into the concerns about collusion in the Finucane murder,"
said Smith.

CONTACT: Patrick Creamer of the Office of Rep. Chris Smith,


U.S. House, Citing Canadian Report, Presses U.K. To Probe
Irish Lawyer Death

January 30, 2007 - 3:11 pm

WASHINGTON (CP) - The U.S. House of Representatives, citing
a Canadian investigator, urged the British government
Tuesday to undertake a full investigation of the death 18
years ago of an Irish lawyer gunned down in his house as
his family watched.

On a vote of 364-34 with 25 members voting "present," the
House accepted a resolution that demanded "the
establishment of a full, independent and public judicial
inquiry into the murder of Patrick Finucane."

The resolution quoted a Canadian investigator's findings
that Finucane, a Roman Catholic, probably was a victim of
collusion between loyalist Northern Ireland paramilitary
gunmen, helped by British security personnel.

It urged the British government to scrap the 2005 law that
allows it "to block scrutiny of state actions," under which
a previous investigation into Finucane's death was carried

Republican U.S. Representative Chris Smith, who has
advocated Finucane's case for years, said as sponsor of the
resolution the British government should "live up to its
commitment as part of the Northern Ireland peace process to
implement a public, independent, judicial inquiry into the
murder of courageous human rights attorney and activist."

"The questions of police collusion surrounding his murder
need to be answered," he said.

"The time to bring justice and put an end to this tragic
matter is long past due," Democratic Representative Tom
Lantos, chairman of the House foreign affairs committee,
said in arguing for the resolution.

One man, Ken Barrett, a police informer, was convicted and
served three years of a 22-year sentence, was paroled last
year and fled to England. He was freed under terms of the
U.S.-sponsored 1998 peace deal.

Finucane was a prominent lawyer for Irish Republican
causes, although he also represented loyalists. He came to
the public's eye in 1981 as the lawyer for Bobby Sands and
other IRA members who starved themselves to protest against
their imprisonment.

Amnesty International, in a news release about the Finucane
case, said in May 2002, the British and Irish governments
appointed Peter Cory - a former Canadian Supreme Court
judge - to investigate a number of killings in which
government security forces were reported involved,
including the killing of Finucane.

Cory submitted his reports in October 2003 but it was not
until April 2004 that British authorities finally published
them, Amnesty International said, simultaneously announcing
the creation of public inquiries into three cases.

However, they refused to announce a public inquiry into
Finucane's case, despite Cory's "unequivocal conclusion
that in his case 'only a public inquiry will suffice,"'
Amnesty International said.


IRA 'Dismantling Its Structures'

The Independent Monitoring Commission says the IRA
leadership has continued to dismantle its structures and
remains committed to a political path.

The body also said Sinn Fein's endorsement of the police
was a major step forward in the IRA's move away from

The organisation set up to monitor levels of paramilitary
activity said it was "a very major development".

Its 13th report covers the period 1 September to 30
November 2006.

NI Secretary Peter Hain said the latest report from the
ceasefire watchdog demonstrated the Provisional IRA's
"commitment to the political path".

The Irish Government welcomed the IMC's "very positive
assessment" of the PIRA's commitment to democratic
politics, and added that power-sharing should not be
delayed any further.

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The IMC delayed finalising its report until the outcome of
Sinn Fein's special ard fheis on policing was known.

It said: "The decision of the ard fheis (special party
conference) held on January 28, 2007 to support policing
and the criminal justice system was a very major

"That decision and the efforts invested by the leadership
of the republican movement in presenting the arguments in
favour of the change were further substantial evidence of
their commitment to the democratic process."

The commission said during months of consultation about its
policing plans, republican leaders encountered some

However, this had been expressed politically rather than
through violence.

The IMC report said the PIRA was no longer involved in
attacks nor preparatory acts such as recruitment, training,
weapons procurement and development or targeting.

It said the organisation continued to disband paramilitary
structures, although some members had tried to acquire
small arms for their own purposes against the leadership's


The UVF has scaled down its violence, with no record of any
so-called punishment shootings and assaults

IMC report

The report said they did not appear to have been

Some individual members were still involved in activities
such as smuggling and fuel laundering, but this was
declining as a result of instructions from the IRA
leadership, it added.

It also the republican movement was continuing to gather
intelligence, but did not think this was for paramilitary


The IMC said dissident republicans continued to be active
and the it reported the recent formation of a "dangerously
active" new hardline group, Oglaigh na hEireann.

It has launched pipe bomb attacks against the police and
seeks to recruit dissident republicans.

The IMC welcomed moves within the UDA and the UVF to move
away from paramiitarism and criminality.

However, it said the two main loyalist paramilitary groups
needed to accelerate those moves and were still involved in
racist and sectarian attacks and criminality.

The report said UDA members were behind attacks against
immigrants in Antrim and had tried to force some foreign
nationals from their homes.

The organisation was responsible for the majority of
loyalist shootings and beatings, it said.

The commission said the UVF "had scaled down its violence,
with no record of any so-called punishment shootings and
assaults and leadership instructions for members not to get
involved in crime.


DUP deputy leader Peter Robinson said the report seemed to
mark further progress in the winding down of the IRA's
paramilitary campaign.

"This latest report, whilst welcome, does still leave a
number of issues which need to be addressed particularly
the involvement of IRA members in criminal activity," he

Ulster Unionist leader Sir Reg Empey said the report had
provided clarity over the IRA.

"It is clear that barring some sporadic and unsanctioned
activity, the IRA continues to make progress towards
exclusively peaceful and democratic means," he said.

Despite the positive report on IRA activity, Sinn Fein's
Conor Murphy said the IMC should be "wound up".

"The IMC should never again be allowed a say over people's
democratic rights and entitlements," he said.

SDLP leader Mark Durkan said the report contained the
progress that should have happened years ago when the Good
Friday Agreement was signed.

"It is vital that the DUP stops burying its head in the
sand and denying the progress that is being made," he said.

The Alliance Party's Stephen Farry said the IMC was
"playing a critical role in facilitating the path to
political progress".

The four-strong Independent Monitoring Commission was set
up by the British and Irish governments in January 2004.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2007/01/30 16:39:20 GMT


Final Hurdle To Devolution Gone, Says Hain

30/01/2007 - 14:24:00

The final obstacle to the restoration of stable power
sharing in the North has been cleared by the ceasefire
watchdog, Peter Hain claimed today.

As speculation mounted that the Irish and British
governments will press ahead with plans for a fresh
Stormont Assembly election, the Northern Secretary said the
latest positive assessment of the Provisional IRA by the
Independent Monitoring Commission (IMC) meant the pressure
was now on the North's politicians to deliver devolution.

“Today’s report is further proof – if proof is needed –
that Northern Ireland is a much different place to what it
was only 18 months ago,” said Mr Hain.

“This report removes the final, major impediment to the
restoration of stable and lasting devolution in Northern

“It is now up to the politicians to show courage and grasp
the historic opportunities before them in the coming weeks.
It will be a tragedy if this opportunity is lost.”

The Independent Monitoring Commission was set up in January
2004 to report to the Irish and British governments on the
activities of republican and loyalist terror groups and on
how other aspects of the Good Friday Agreement are being
implemented such as demilitarisation.

Its members consist of former Northern Ireland Assembly
speaker Lord Alderdice, retired Irish civil servant Joe
Brosnan, ex-Metropolitan Police anti-terror chief John
Grieve and the former deputy director of the Central
Intelligence Agency (CIA) in the United States, Dick Kerr.

Today’s publication is the 13th report produced by the

Since the Provisionals’ declaration in July 2005 that its
armed campaign was over and the completion of their
disarmament programme, the IMC has reported that the
organisation has been making significant headway in its
efforts to become a purely political movement.

The commission has continued to express concern about
hardline republican and loyalist paramilitary activity.

However, it has also noted the desire of some loyalist
leaders to move their organisations away permanently from
paramilitarism and criminality.

Mr Hain said the North had come a very long way from 18
months ago when the IRA ended its armed campaign.

“That commitment to peace was reinforced when it
decommissioned its arsenal of weapons,” he said.

“Since then, the IMC has published a series of reports and
has given its assessment which charts the process of peace
being followed by the republican leadership and records the
seismic shift which has occurred.

“Only a few days after the Sinn Féin ard fheis (party
conference) gave its support to policing and the criminal
justice system – a decision which the IMC has itself
described as a 'very major development' – it is important
for everyone to remember just how far we have come in such
a short space of time.”


Sinn Féin Will Press Ahead Regardless Of IMC

Published: 30 January, 2007

Speaking as the IMC delivered its latest report to the two
governments Sinn Féin MP for Newry & Armagh Conor Murphy
today said that it was time to end the negative role played
by the IMC and remove the veto it is attempting to exercise
over peoples democratic rights and entitlements.

Mr Murphy said:

"The IMC operates entirely outside the terms of the Good
Friday Agreement. It should have no role in the political
process and it should be wound up. The IMC should never
again be allowed a say over peoples democratic rights and

"Regardless of what this unelected and unrepresentative
quango does or says Sinn Féin will continue with our
positive agenda of attempting to ensure that the power
sharing and All-Ireland institutions are put back in place
by March 26th. That remains our firm focus." ENDS


IMC Warning Over Republican Group

A hardline republican terror group in Northern Ireland is
becoming more dangerously active, security chiefs in the
country have been warned.

By:Press Association

In its latest assessment of paramilitary activity, the
Independent Monitoring Commission (IMC) said Oglaigh
nahEireann had been involved in pipe bomb attacks against
the police and an attack at a site used by the travelling

The four-member commission also observed the Real IRA had
stepped up its activity with a spate of firebomb attacks
and aspired to mount an attack in Britain, while the
Continuity IRA remained a threat.

A year ago, the IMC revealed a breakaway faction from the
Continuity IRA, Oglaigh na hEireann (ONH) had been formed
and was trying to poach new members from the Real IRA.

The group had been involved in robberies and bomb hoaxes
and had sought weapons.

In the latest report, the commission said the group was
posing a greater threat.

"ONH has become more dangerously active," the IMC warned.

"We believe it was responsible for two pipe bomb attacks
against PSNI officers and premises in September and
November and for a bomb which failed to detonate at a
travellers` site in Coalisland in November 2006.

"These are the first explosive devices that ONH has

"Members of ONH undertook a `tiger` kidnapping in October,
we think largely for personal gain. ONH continued its
attempts to recruit disaffected republicans, in which it
had little success, and it was responsible for bomb hoaxes,
of which three were discovered in the Castlerock area in

The IMC said there was still heightened activity from the
Real IRA (RIRA), which was responsible for the 1998 Omagh
bomb, between September 1 to November 30 last year.

RIRA was responsible for a firebomb campaign against six
DIY stores and two other shops across Northern Ireland in
October and November.

It was also behind two bomb hoaxes in the border city of
Newry during November, one shooting and, significantly, a
mortar attack against a police station in Craigavon.

"This amounts to the highest level of sustained
paramilitary activity since RIRA`s incendiary campaign in
the winter of 2004/05," the commission noted.

"The position is broadly unchanged both as regards RIRA
seeking to sustain itself as an organisation (through
efforts to recruit and train members, monitor potential
targets, gather intelligence and attempts to procure
weapons) and as regards criminal activity by members.

"We think that the organisation continues to aspire to
mount an attack in Great Britain. We note that the
continuing efforts of the law enforcement agencies, north
and south, against RIRA have brought a number of

The Continuity IRA was blamed for firing shots at a police
station in Keady, Co Armagh, in November and for two,
possibly three, so-called punishment shootings, one assault
and threats against a number of people.

The commission believed one of the shootings and the
threats were not sanctioned at leadership level.

CIRA was also accused of continuing to engage in other
criminal activity and of trying to maintain its
paramilitary capability by acquiring weapons, recruiting,
training members to use firearms and developing bombs.

The report noted other dissident republican incidents
occurred which could not be attributed to a specific group.

These were assaults - some of them sectarian - the
targeting of police officers and intelligence gathering on
drug dealers.

"We also believe that dissidents from south Derry have held
a training camp," the IMC said.

In previous reports, the Irish National Liberation Army`s
(INLA) activity was assessed as low, with its members
showing no real desire to mount a sustained campaign of

The INLA was accused of raising funds through the smuggling
and sale of black market tobacco, drug dealing and
operating protection rackets.

"The position is not materially different as regards either
terrorist or other criminal activity in the period under
review," the latest report said.

"We believe the INLA was responsible for two shootings in
September and November 2006, two assaults both in October
and for exiling some people from Strabane in October."


PM And Bertie Ahern Joint Statement On NI

In a joint statement - Taking The Final Steps - issued
following a meeting in Downing Street tonight, the Prime
Minister and Taoiseach set out the progress of recent
months since the St Andrews Agreement was finalised.

See our Northern Ireland section

PM: No reason for further delay on NI

Full text of the statementThe St Andrews Agreement: Taking
the Final Steps

Joint statement by the Prime Minister and Taoiseach

We met this evening to review progress on the
implementation of the St Andrews Agreement.

There has been significant and welcome progress since St
Andrews and we remain fixed in our determination to see
shared government returned to the people of Northern
Ireland. Since St Andrews we have agreed practical changes
to the operation of the institutions, we have announced
financial packages to help underpin restoration and we have
made progress across a range of equality, human rights,
victims and social exclusion issues.

The Sinn Fein Ard Fheis on policing opens up the prospect
of inclusive support for policing across the entire
community and today's IMC Report provides further important
reassurance that Northern Ireland has moved on and can look
forward to a peaceful future. Our purpose now is to ensure
that Northern Ireland can build on all of these positive
developments through the restoration of shared accountable
government committed to serving all of the people.

There is no reason for any further delay.

The Assembly election due to be held on 7 March is an
integral part of the process and timetable agreed at St
Andrews. It is being held for the explicit purposes of
endorsing the St Andrews Agreement and of electing an
Assembly that will form a power-sharing Executive on 26
March in accordance with that agreement and timeframe. If
at any point it became clear that parties were unwilling to
fulfil their commitments in the St Andrews Agreement to the
twin pillars of power-sharing on 26 March and support for
policing, it would be unreasonable to expect the people of
Northern Ireland to continue with an election to an
Assembly which would not exist.

The Governments are proceeding on the basis that all
parties understand and accept this position and that they
also understand that the Assembly to be elected on 7 March
will be dissolved, in accordance with the law, if it fails
to meet its legal responsibilities fully by 26 March.

We have prepared new partnership arrangements in the event
they are required. But we have made clear that this is not
our preferred outcome. After four years of suspension, the
people of Northern Ireland are entitled to see devolved
government restored and their elected representatives
working actively and openly for them in a fully restored
Assembly and shared government.

30 January 2007


Northern Assembly Elections Confirmed For March 7th

Aoife Carr
Tue, Jan 30, 2007

The Taoiseach Bertie Ahern and British Prime Minister Tony
Blair have confirmed that assembly elections in Northern
Ireland will go ahead as planned on March 7th.

The announcement was made this evening after the two men
met in Downing Street.

They warned, however, that if it became clear that there
would be no power-sharing government, they would pull the
plug on plans for an election.

"The assembly election, due to be held on March 7th, is an
integral part of the process and timetable agreed at St
Andrew's," said Mr Blair.

"It is being held for the explicit purposes of endorsing
the St Andrew's Agreement and of electing the assembly that
will form a power-sharing executive on March 26th in
accordance with that agreement and time frame," he said.

Asked whether he thought DUP leader Ian Paisley was ready
to go into government with Sinn Fein, Mr Ahern said: "I'm
satisfied that he's signed up to the St Andrew's agreement
if the issue of policing was dealt with. And it has been."

"If there isn't an executive elected by March 26th the
whole thing falls apart. I don't think any politician wants
that," he said.

Today's meeting followed the release of a new report by
Northern Ireland's ceasefire watchdog, the Independent
Monitoring Commission and was the first time the two men
have met following Sinn Féin's endorsement of the Police
Service of Northern Ireland.

Mr Blair and Mr Ahern have long believed that Sinn Féin
support for the police was essential if the DUP were to be
persuaded to form a devolved government.

DUP leader the Rev Ian Paisley yesterday acknowledged Sinn
Féin's new policy was a step forward.

However, Dr Paisley warned republicans that he was not
prepared to accept a "post-dated cheque," with Sinn Féin
only moving on support for police in the event of a
devolved government being formed.

Mr Adams responded that he and his colleagues would urge
their community to co-operate with the police on crimes
such as rape and aggravated burglary.

With the writ for a new Assembly election due to be moved
tomorrow, Northern Ireland politicians were preparing for
an election in anticipation of the prime minister
confirming March 7th would be polling day.

But British government sources insisted nothing should be
taken for granted.

Mr Adams will today meet members of the Methodist Church
before heading to another session with his party's national
executive to discuss how they will implement the motion
passed at their special conference in Dublin on Sunday.

Additional reporting: PA

© 2007


Restore Devolved NI Government Without Delay, Mcdowell

Miriam Donohoe, Political Staff, And Alexandra Cochrane

Wed, Jan 31, 2007

Minister for Justice Michael McDowell yesterday welcomed
the Independent Monitoring Commission's (IMC) latest report
which found that the IRA has abandoned terrorism and

Mr McDowell said the positive IMC assessment, together with
Sinn Féin's decision to support policing and the criminal
justice system in Northern Ireland, means that there should
now be no more delay in the restoration of a full-devolved
government to Northern Ireland.

"I urge the parties involved, for the good of the people
they represent, not to allow this opportunity to slip from
their grasp," he said, adding that the DUP must now address
the new situation in line with the understanding in the St
Andrews agreement.

Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny and Labour Party leader Pat
Rabbitte also welcomed the IMC report findings.

Mr Kenny said he hoped the report will act as a further
boost in the ongoing efforts for the full restoration of
devolved government.

"I now hope that the decision taken by Sinn Féin at the
weekend will lead to real co-operation in the investigation
of criminal activity so that, as outlined in the report,
the individual IRA members still benefiting from crime are
brought to justice."

Mr Rabbitte said he welcomed the report, especially its
relatively positive assessment of the Sinn Féin decision to
endorse the PSNI and the IRA's move away from

Northern politicians greeted the IMC report positively,
however, Sinn Féin continued to criticise the organisation.

Northern Secretary Peter Hain said the report is proof that
Northern Ireland is "a different place".

Mr Hain said: "Since [the IRA announced the organisation
was standing down in July 2005] the IMC has published a
series of reports and has given its assessment which chart
the process of peace being followed by the republican
leadership and records the seismic shift which has

"This report removes the final, major impediment to the
restoration of stable and lasting devolution in Northern
Ireland," he said.

UUP leader Sir Reg Empey said it is clear that IRA violence
belongs in the past.

"With regards to loyalist paramilitaries I would encourage
them to quicken the pace of change to ensure a complete and
unambiguous commitment to exclusively peaceful means," he

DUP deputy leader Peter Robinson welcomed the report,
although he said it leaves "a number of issues to be
addressed, particularly the involvement of IRA members in
criminal activity". Unionists "overwhelmingly reject" any
terrorist activity, whether it is committed by loyalists or
republicans, he said.

SDLP leader Mark Durkan said it was essential that
everybody now faces up to the threat posed by loyalists.
"Now is the time for the governments to deliver them a
clear choice: wind up or shut down," he said.

He said dissident republicans have nothing to offer Ireland
but "hardship and suffering".

Sinn Féin's Conor Murphy said the IMC operates outside the
terms of the Good Friday agreement and should have no role
in the political process. "Regardless of what this
unelected and unrepresentative quango says or does, Sinn
Féin will continue with our positive agenda of attempting
to ensure that the powersharing and all-Ireland
institutions are put back in place," he said.

© 2007 The Irish Times


Sinn Féin Ard Chomhairle Meet In Dublin

Published: 30 January, 2007

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams MP speaking following a
meeting of the party's Ard Chomhairle in Dublin today said:

"Sunday was a huge day for Irish republicans. Despite the
enormity of the issue and the personal experience of many
of the delegates and their families at the hands of
political police, party activists showed huge courage and

"The Ard Chomhairle met today to discuss how we now
implement the position adopted at the Ard Fheis. We are
calling on people in the community to co-operate with the
police to solve crime and take criminals off the streets.
The issue of political policing will take longer to
resolve. Further progress will happen either with the
return of the power-sharing institutions on March 26th or
in the context of new all-Ireland partnership arrangements.

"I know that all of this is very difficult for many people
and I know that it will take time for all of us to come to
terms with what has happened in recent days.

"And there is a huge onus on the PSNI to earn the trust and
confidence, which at this point does not exist.

"At the weekend when closing the Ard Fheis, I called on
republicans to enter the next phase calmly and not to be
put off by how others respond to our decision.

"The DUP's reaction has been sadly predictable. Assertions
by the DUP that they are going to test republicans don't
wash. They have no veto over how we deal with this issue.
What republicans did at the weekend was done in the
national interest and in the common good. It wasn't done
for the DUP. And they are in no position to lecture anyone
on law and order. So rather than unionist politicians
competing with each other on a negative agenda surely now
is the time to grasp the opportunity and adopt a more
positive approach. This, I am sure would be welcomed by
many unionist people." ENDS


Sinn Fein Backing 'Joining PSNI'

Young republicans have the backing of Sinn Fein to join the
Police Service of Northern Ireland, the party's president,
Gerry Adams, has said.

He was speaking in Dublin after a meeting of the Sinn Fein
ard chomairle (executive).

At a weekend meeting his party voted to back the PSNI.

"If young republicans, or indeed any age of republicans,
want to join it that's their right and we would support
them doing that," he said.

"There's no point us calling upon people to work with the
police if we are not also prepared to support those who
want to join, but I think there's a big onus on the PSNI to
win that sort of confidence."

Mr Adams differentiated between civic policing and the
ongoing problems over "political policing", and said there
were republican concerns about collusion.

He said "abusers" within the ranks of the PSNI needed to be
"weeded out".

DUP leader Ian Paisley said he welcomed any move in support
of law and order but still has serious concerns about the
republican attitude to policing.

Referring to the murder of Belfast man Robert McCartney he
asked: "What about McCartney?"

When asked about Prime Minister Tony Blair's expectation
that the election will be to a power-sharing executive on
26 March he said that "was not a matter for Tony Blair" but
for him.

The British and Irish governments have identified Sinn Fein
support for the PSNI as crucial to persuading the DUP to
share power in a devolved government with Sinn Fein by
their deadline of 26 March.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2007/01/30 18:22:36 GMT


Call For SF To Assist In McCartney Case

Tue, Jan 30, 2007

Republican assistance with the investigation into Robert
McCartney murder will be the test of Sinn Fein's new
support for policing in Northern Ireland, the victim's
sister said tonight.

As detectives hunting the gang of IRA men blamed for
stabbing the father of two outside a Belfast bar urged
witnesses to break their silence, Catherine McCartney
insisted nothing less than full co-operation would do.

She issued her challenge on the second anniversary of a
killing which plunged the republican movement into crisis
amid allegations that the murderers were being protected,
and just days after Gerry Adams won overwhelming backing
for his strategy of ending Sinn Fein opposition to the
police service.

Ms McCartney said: "This is the litmus test for them. "They
have no excuses. If it was purely a policing issue for Sinn
Fein that has now been removed.

"Sinn Fein members (in the bar) refused to speak to police.
They had a nonsense of talking to third parties like
priests, but that was fruitless. Police are trained to take
statements, not priests.

"I want Gerry Adams to say he will encourage everybody to
come forward and say they will help with the investigation
into Robert's murder.

"That will prove there was no culture of cover-up going
on." Mr McCartney (33) was attacked with his friend Brendan
Devine after a row inside Magennis' Bar on January 30th,
2005 spilled outside. He was beaten and knifed to death in
a nearby street.

© 2007


Opin: This Is A Good Time For Ireland

Wed, Jan 31, 2007

Policing was always the issue in Northern Ireland, says
Vincent Browne.

It was because a sizeable proportion of the nationalist
population refused to accept the authority of the RUC from
the outset that there was conflict in the North - or at
least the refusal of a sizeable proportion of the
nationalist population to accept the authority of the RUC
was indicative of a general refusal to recognise the state,
which was at the core of the conflict.

It was always the case that if the authority of the police
force could be accepted across the communities there, the
conflict would be resolved, or would be resolvable. Without
acceptance, the conflict could not be resolved, would not
be resolved.

Now there appears to be an acceptance of the authority of
the state, represented by the Police Service of Northern
Ireland (PSNI). If this transpires to be so, the Northern
Ireland conflict is resolved. The end of violence or of the
"armed struggle" did not signal the end of the conflict, it
might have been only a deferral.

The acceptance of the PSNI as a legitimate police force, as
signalled most vividly by the remarks of Gerry Adams on
Monday, represents the acceptance of the Northern Ireland
state by the vast majority of nationalists.

It is of enormous significance in the history of Ireland.
In the space of a mere 13 years the political contours of
the island have been transformed, transformed in a way that
will change the future fundamentally.

This development was telegraphed in 1993 in a statement
issued hurriedly one Saturday night (April 24th, 1993) by
Gerry Adams and John Hume. Ironically, it was Eamon McCann
who was responsible, indirectly, for that statement.

Someone had told Eamon they had seen Gerry Adams going into
John Hume's home in the Bogside, Eamon rang a Dublin
newspaper, who contacted Hume and Adams and that caused the
statement to be issued.

Ironic, because Eamon McCann is opposed to the outcome of
the peace process, which flowed from the statement issued
that night, believing that it consolidates sectarianism.

They said in that statement: "We accept that the Irish
people as a whole have a right to national self-
determination. This is a view shared by a majority of the
people of this island, though not by all its people." But
it was the next sentence that was significant: "The
exercise of self-determination is a matter for agreement
between the people of Ireland."

And later in the statement they said: "We both recognise
that such a new agreement is only achievable and viable if
it can earn and enjoy the allegiance of the different
traditions on this island, by accommodating diversity and
providing for national reconciliation."

It was the first time a leader of the republican movement
had acknowledged the political imperative: that any
constitutional change would have to "earn and enjoy" the
allegiance of the different traditions on the island.

Previously, the position had been that the British would
have to be coerced into ceding Irish unity, irrespective of
the wishes of the majority in the North. From that evening
onwards, for anybody with a wit to see and not blinded by
prejudice, it was obvious that the Provos were headed in
the direction at which they have now arrived: acceptance of
the state of Northern Ireland underlined by acceptance of
its police force. That Gerry Adams has been able to bring a
largely united republican movement to this point is an
achievement of extraordinary political skill, aided and
abetted by the internal military disciplines of the IRA.

It hardly matters now whether there will be powersharing
next March. The key issue was acceptance of the police.

Powersharing will follow some time - maybe it will take a
few years and if that prediction is correct, it will defy
many previous predictions (including some of my own), who
thought it might not happen for a generation.

Sectarian tensions and animosities are still very raw, and
how could it be otherwise given the scale of the slaughter
that was perpetrated for a quarter of a century up to 13
years ago? But the chemistry already has changed.

On Seán O'Rourke's The Week in Politics programme on Sunday
night, Ian Paisley jnr invoked in support of a point he was
making remarks by Bertie Ahern. The point he was making was
not of special significance, but for Ian Paisley's son so
unselfconsciously to quote with approval remarks of a
southern Taoiseach is symptomatic of a changed relationship
on the island. That DUP members can appear on Questions and
Answers as a matter of routine now and engage in banter
about southern Irish politics, is also significant.

The demeanour of that same Ian Paisley jnr is also
interesting. There remain a few rough edges - the instinct
to sneer at and belittle women and gays for example - but
there is a maturity there and now an acknowledgment of the
advances made by the other side.

In fairness to Sinn Féin, the likes of Gerry Adams, Martin
McGuinness and others have displayed that generosity for
quite some time too. Yes, yes they have, or should have, a
lot on their consciences, (if that phrase means anything
now), but it is fair now to acknowledge the extraordinary
transformation they, primarily, have brought about.

This is a good time for Ireland.

© 2007 The Irish Times


Woman And Boy Die In 600ft Cliffs Of Moher Plunge

30/01/2007 - 19:30:46

A woman and a young boy today plunged 600ft to their deaths
off the Cliffs of Moher on the west coast.

A major rescue operation was launched when they were
spotted in the sea at the world-famous tourist spot.

Their bodies were recovered and airlifted to Galway's
University College Hospital.

They are believed to be from Galway and to have travelled
to the Co Clare cliffs on a bus trip.

The woman and child, thought to be around five years old,
were spotted in the water north of O'Brien's Tower at

Doolin Coastguard and the rescue helicopter from Shannon
scrambled to the scene.

"The helicopter and boat arrived roughly at the same time,
and the helicopter directed the coastguard boat to the
causalities," said John Falvey, from Valencia coastguard.

"These were taken on board the coastguard boat, which
brought them to Doolin, and from there they were taken to
the University College Hospital, Galway.

"I don't think anybody observed them falling so we are not
sure exactly where they fell, but at that location the
cliffs are quite high, I'd say 600 feet."

In November, a 35-year-old Polish woman sightseeing on the
cliffs with a friend died when she was swept into the sea
by high winds.

Mr Falvey said visitors and walkers frequently walk too
close to the edge of the cliffs.

He said there were safety signs warning of the danger.

Mr Falvey said weather conditions were good at the scene,
making the recovery much easier.


Joseph Cullinan Was Driving Force In Oil Business

By Kent Conwell

In March of 1901, Joseph S. Cullinan established the Texas
Fuel Company, later to become Texaco.

For years, Texaco, founded as the Texas Fuel Company in
1901, was the only company selling gasoline in all 50

Arguably the first worldwide giant among oil companies,
Texaco became a household name, but there would have been
no Texaco to merge with Chevron in 2001 had it not been for
one of the consummate oil men in the United States, Joseph
S. Cullinan whose business acumen and solid experience
created a worldwide oil company.

A Pennsylvanian, Cullinan was born Dec. 31, 1860, in Mercer
County to Joseph and Mary Cullinan, recent emigrants from
County Claire, Ireland.They married at Dubuque, Iowa in
1856 and shortly after moved to Sharon, Pennsylvania.

Young Joseph attended school in Sharon, but at the age of
fourteen, he went to work in the oil fields. His duties
ranged from that of messenger boy, oil wagon teamster,
pipeline laborer to drilling crewmember, all of which
provided him a wealth of practical experience in the oil
industry, which he literally learned from the ground up.

In 1882, Cullinan joined the Standard Oil major
transportation affiliate, Nation Transit Company of Oil
city, Pennsylvania, and he advanced rapidly in that
organization. Six years later, he was transferred to Lima,
Ohio, where he was appointed superintendent of the natural
gas and tankage departments of the Buckeye Pipeline

While in Lima, Cullinan married Lucy Halm. They had five
children; John Halm (1893); Craig Francis (1894); Nina Jane
(1896); Margaret Ann (1898); and Mary Catherine (1901).

Cullinan continued to move up Standard Oil's ladder, having
been made division superintendent for another Standard Oil
subsidiary, the Southwest Pennsylvania Pipeline Company of
Washington, Pennsylvania.

He left Standard Oil in 1895 and organized his own company,
Petroleum Iron Works, specializing in fabrication and
erecting steel storage tanks and steam boilers. Despite
stiff competition in the storage tank business, PIW was a
profitable venture for Cullinan and the six partners who
had backed the effort.

His early years as managing partner of Petroleum Iron Works
were vital in the development of Cullinan's career. He was
involved in the design of the equipment sold by his
company, giving him first hand knowledge of the problems
and practices of different petroleum producing areas. His
role in this company required him to make on-the-spot
decisions so vital in highly competitive business

Consequently, Cullinan was well qualified to meet the
challenge presented to him by a group of Corsicana, Texas
businessmen who wanted to develop their newly found oil

In 1897, Cullinan moved to Corsicana where he organized the
first pipeline and refining company in Texas, J.S. Cullinan
and Company, which later became the Magnolia Petroleum

Prior to his arrival, the production and marketing of
petroleum at Corsicana was chaotic. More capital and
experienced managerial direction were needed to bring order
and reliable operations to the field. Through his Standard
Oil contacts, Cullinan secured outside funds and soon had
constructed storage and gathering facilities and a
refinery. He found market for Corsicana crude oil and
natural gas with the assistance of several experienced
Pennsylvania oilmen he had coaxed to come to Texas.

After successfully developing the field, Cullinan moved to
Beaumont. In March of 1901, he established the Texas Fuel
Company for the purchase and transfer of oil from the
Spindletop field. The next year, he formed the Texas
Company for the storage and transportation of oil, and
marketed its products under the brand name, Texaco.

Quickly Cullinan formed subsidiaries to deal in petroleum
products. In 1905, he acquired new oil field leases,
including one at the Humble field in northern Harris
County. He constructed refineries at Port Arthur and Port
Neches and initiated an international marketing program. By
1908, Cullinan had relocated the Texas Company headquarters
to Houston.

Cullinan served as president of the Texas Company from 1903
to 1913, the year the company's headquarters moved to New
York. From there it continued diversifying and expanding,
both nationally and internationally and by 1929, it
operated refineries in six Texas cities.

J.S. Cullinan died at the age of 76 in Palo Alto, Calif. in
1937. Twenty years later, the name of His Texas Company was
officially changed to Texaco, Inc.

- Kent Conwell is a retired Port Neches teacher and author.
His e-mail address is:


Blog: Better Living Through Chemistry

Stephanie, babymama

Lately both MMM(Heather) and Ree the Pioneer Woman each
wrote how they met their husbands, and Margaret wrote about
her dear Mark. I thought I'd share how I met the good Dr.

I had been working for a medical services company and
essentially living out of a suitcase. My poor kitty
Phydeaux Pheline spent more time in kitty cat hotels and
friends' homes than with me for a while. And I had become
quite accustomed to travel days from hell where my flight
would inevitably be delayed, my luggage would be lost, and
I'd have to do the OJ Simpson* run through an airport in
order to meet a connecting flight or try to make at least
part of a scheduled meeting at some hospital on some coast
other than the Gulf Coast. (*That's what he was known for know.)

Oh, and let me just say that while I did date during this
time in my life, there was very little meaning to any of
it. Usually, I was just interested in a dinner at a nice
restaurant and conversation that wasn't about my job.

While the jet-setting was undeniably fun initially, I had
grown weary of it. I had also become jaded with the whole
corporate game. After a series of trips that had left me
mentally and emotionally spent and kept me out of Houston
for several months, I came home for what I hoped would be
an extended period that would allow me to refocus; I needed
to decide to either fall in love with my job all over
again, channel my efforts at my company in a more
fulfilling direction, or just leave the company altogether.

When I returned home, I also returned to working in the
Houston area hospitals. While my job at that time was
largely administrative, I also still did clinical work in
our client facilities.

One day I was working in an operating room with a surgeon I
had worked with several times before, and he brought up the
subject of Irish traditional music. Now this isn't a topic
you hear brought up in conversation every day, and I was
surprised. Surprised because I actually knew a little about
it and liked it.

Now we weren't just talking about the Chieftains, although
that's who everyone thinks of when they think of Irish
traditional music. We actually discussed folks like Joe
Burke and Tommy Peoples and Paddy O'Brien. By the end of
the surgery (and you all wondered what really goes on in an
operating room!), the surgeon was suggesting I pay a visit
to McGonigal's Mucky Duck on a Wednesday night to hear
Houston's longest continuously running Irish session, which
I had never heard.

The very next Wednesday night, I did just that. My friend
the surgeon was there, and he was playing the music
himself. And there, up on the stage, playing the mandolin,
was the most handsome guy with the most sparkly eyes I had
ever seen. Oh, and he had this lovely thick hair. And he
had these beautiful hands that I watched enraptured while
he played his instrument. (Whoa, Nellie!! No double
entendres here!)

Maybe it was the music (and it's very happy music, indeed),
maybe it was the Guinness (who am I kidding, it was
probably the Guinness), but I sat at my table grinning like
a fool at the sight of this amazing man. And, wonder of
wonders, from across the room he saw me. And, wonder of
wonders - and I swear I am not exaggerating - he and I
locked eyes, and right then he put down that mandolin and
came off the stage and sat down with me!!! We talked the
rest of the night.

Over the next few weeks we met at the Mucky Duck every
Wednesday night until Matthew finally asked me out. Only
then did we exchange phone numbers and email addresses. But
once we had met, that was it; there was never any interest
in anyone else for either of us. And I also don't remember
how much Matthew actually played music with the session
during that time, but I do remember he spent a great deal
of time with me.

We found out months later that the whole thing was a
complete set up. Our mutual friend the surgeon had decided
that Matthew needed a wife and I needed a life. He
concocted a plan, initiated it, and the whole Houston Irish
session conspired to carry it out.

If you're wondering, I went on one more trip for my
company, came home, and quit. I guess you could say after
meeting Matthew I successfully refocused the direction of
my life.

At our wedding when the minister asked who was giving this
couple to be married, the members of the Houston Irish
Session stood together and said, "WE DO!"

And for Willowtree: it takes a real man to wear a kilt and
look sexy in it, and it also takes a real smart man to do

This is Matthew and his friend Dennis, now a faculty member
at a prestigious university in Oz, land o' Willowtree.

Yep. Matthew brewed 30 gallons of beer for our wedding. Our
guests had homemade black & tans.

Now that's better living through chemistry.

Ben Franklin said, "Beer is God's way of saying He loves us
and wants us to be happy." So, Willowtree, have a beer and
be grateful to chemistry nerds everywhere. No pocket
protector required!

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