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February 27, 2007

£1bn Dividend If Sectarianism Is Tackled

News about Ireland & the Irish

IT 02/28/07 £1bn Dividend If Sectarianism Is Tackled – Ford
IT 02/28/07 Newry: Unpredictable Election Battle Ahead
IT 02/28/07 Constituency Profile: Newry & Armagh
IT 02/28/07 Pupils' Grilling Turns Up The Politicial Heat
BN 02/27/07 Dubliners:Highest Income In Ireland
SL 02/27/07 Black Donnellys: TV Doesn't Get More Irish


£1bn Dividend If Sectarianism Is Tackled - Ford

Gerry Moriarty, Northern Editor
Wed, Feb 28, 2007

A financial package of œ1 billion (?1.48 billion) would be
created in Northern Ireland if the sectarian segregation of
society was tackled, Alliance leader David Ford stated at
the launching of his party's Assembly election manifesto in
Belfast yesterday.

Alliance, which is running 18 candidates in 17 of the 18
constituencies - it is supporting Independent Dr Kieran
Deeny in West Tyrone - won six seats in the 2003 Assembly
poll despite seeing its overall vote cut by half from the
1998 election, when it also took six seats.

The SDLP and Sinn Fein particularly are targeting some of
these seats, while the DUP and the Ulster Unionist Party
also believe that they have a chance of taking seats from

Despite this threat, Mr Ford was in bullish form at the
Alliance manifesto launch, arguing against "tribal"
politics and parties and contending that Alliance could
emerge with eight seats, and possibly more, after polling
day on March 7th.

Mr Ford, whose South Antrim seat is targeted by Sinn Fein's
Mitchel McLaughlin, said he believed he could hold the
seat. He also contended that Kieran McCarthy, whose
Strangford seat is seen as the second most vulnerable of
the party seats, would withstand the challenge from Joe
Boyle of the SDLP.

He predicted that Alliance would hold its six seats, adding
that there was a real chance of an additional seat for Anna
Lo in South Belfast and saying that Se n Neeson in East
Antrim could take a second candidate, Stewart Dickson, with
him to the Assembly.

Mr Ford said that œ1 billion was wasted every year through
segregation. This figure, he added, had been costed by the
party and also formed part of the Northern Ireland Office's
findings on the economy. Money was being squandered through
separate Catholic and Protestant or state schools, through
separate leisure and health centres for nationalist and
unionist areas, and through other forms of segregation.

"Just think what we could do with that œ1 billion if it was
spent on providing quality services to all the community,"
he added.

On the prospect of powersharing by March 26th, the Alliance
manifesto pointed out that since the DUP and Sinn Fein were
not talking to each other at present it was "a big leap to
see them effectively running a regional government in

Rather than working together, Sinn Fein and the DUP might
end up operating "government by memorandum, with civil
servants acting as messengers between various ministers who
are not prepared to talk to one another".

"Our manifesto is about delivering a brighter future for
everyone. Only Alliance will create a shared future and
improve local services by ending segregation and ending
waste," Mr Ford said. "The four tribal parties totally
failed to deliver a shared future in the last executive,
when they had the opportunity."

Mr Ford said that Alliance had a target that 10 per cent of
children would be in integrated schools by 2010 and that
there would be "a place in an integrated school" for every
parent who wished to have their child educated in this

c 2007 The Irish Times


Newry: Unpredictable Election Battle Ahead

Dan Keenan, Northern News Editor, in Newry
Wed, Feb 28, 2007

Newry is a place transformed these days. Now a city, thanks
to the say-so of Queen Elizabeth on the occasion of her
golden jubilee, it is thriving.

Shopping centres, a grand new hotel and traffic congestion
all illustrate the rebirth of a place which, rather like
Dundalk just down the road, is unrecognisable from 25 years

Paramilitary ceasefires and the removal of customs stops
and British army watch towers have all played their part.
Peace process politics too have shaken the old

Sinn Fein is trying to follow a spectacular performance in
2003, when it won half the seats here, with a candidate
line-up drastically altered by fallouts and deselections.

Gone are Assembly members Pat O'Rawe in Armagh and Davy
Hyland in Newry - the latter running as a republican
independent. In come Cathal Boylan, an anti-Orange march
protester, and new party member Mickey Brady.

The SDLP dearly wants to recover its lost seat and is
running Dominic Bradley, who won his party's sole seat here
in 2003, accompanied by 20-something party press officer
Sharon Haughey.

She won a council seat on Newry and Mourne Council last
year and consequently shoulders much SDLP hope in what was
once Mallon country.

The nationalist electoral mathematics are complicated. Sinn
Fein squeaked the final seat in 2003, but has since
followed that up with resounding success in Westminster
last year and a showing in the council elections that,
possibly, points to a repeat performance.

However, and it is a big however, things are shaping up
rather differently this time.

The Hyland factor, both in terms of first preferences and
transfers, remains unpredictable.

Deprived of party backing, Hyland has managed a few posters
around Newry in contrast to the near wallpapering of the
place by Sinn Fein clearly fighting hard to advance its
fresh-looking ticket.

Add to the mix the possibility that Ulster Unionist
transfers from a safely re-elected Danny Kennedy could aid
the SDLP and you have one of the most unpredictable battles
for the final seats anywhere in the North.

Things are no clearer on the unionist side.

Gospel-singing DUP man Paul Berry was the youngest member
sent to Stormont in 1998. Still only 30, he is now fighting
as an independent, this time courtesy of allegations about
an encounter in a Belfast hotel room with a male masseur.
His party suspended him pending disciplinary proceedings,
but the boyish-faced member of three loyal orders quit.

As with Davy Hyland's case, the loss of big party backing
is all too evident around the unionist pockets of the

In contrast, the bright posters bearing the name of William
Irwin illustrate the power of the DUP electoral effort both
within the unionist heartlands and elsewhere. Fighting them
both is victims campaigner William Frazer who is best known
for picketing just about anything nationalist Ireland can

Hoping to attract unionists repelled by the thought of Ian
Paisley doing a deal with Sinn Fein, Frazer is intent on
raising his showing well beyond that of an also-ran in
previous outings.

The DUP candidate could be best placed to pick up the
second unionist quota here if, for no other reason, it
looks a big task for either Frazer or Berry to do so

What's important here is not only who gets elected, but
also at what stage of the count, as transfers will be
central to the outcome.

c 2007 The Irish Times


Constituency Profile: Newry & Armagh

Wed, Feb 28, 2007
Newry & Armagh.

NATIONALIST BATTLEGROUND:This constituency shows how the
SDLP grip has eased in strongly nationalist areas. Former
deputy first minister S‚amus Mallon used to top the poll
here with nearly two quotas and was the MP for the best
part of 20 years. Now the SDLP enters this election with
just one seat, although it is hoping that transfers will
help it to regain a second of the six seats.

Sinn Fein benefited from good vote-management and a little
luck in 2003 and picked up three seats. This time, however,
the party is fielding a ticket headed by new MP Conor
Murphy and two newer faces following the de-selection of
Davy Hyland and Pat O'Rawe. Hyland, who is now running as
an independent, could cause Sinn Fein some problems in
Newry, and it is anyone's guess how the final seat here
will go.

Strangely, the nationalist dog-fight for the last seat
could be decided not by nationalist voters at all, but by
unionist transfers.

In 2003, the surplus votes of UUP deputy leader Danny
Kennedy were never distributed, nor was the tiny surplus of
SDLP man Dominic Bradley. If Kennedy is elected early
enough in the counting, the SDLP could benefit.

UNIONIST BATTLEGROUND:Here, too, the role of independents
makes this constituency hard to call. Danny Kennedy seems
assured of his seat, one of the Ulster Unionists' safest.
However, the clarity ends there. Paul Berry is the outgoing
DUP member, but he is running as an independent, having
resigned from his party following allegations about his
private life. Also chasing unionist votes is another
independent in the person of victims campaigner William
Frazer. He has contested elections before and never broken
the 1,000 mark. The level of anti-St Andrews Agreement
feeling among unionists is hard to estimate, but it seems a
fair guess that Frazer's vote will go up, especially in the
absence of any Robert McCartney-style anti-power-sharing

WILD CARD:Can Paul Berry survive without the slick DUP
election machine and following the rumpus over newspaper
allegations against him? Is Davy Hyland's vote a personal
one or a Sinn Fein one or a mixture of both? Will Willie
Frazer's expected rising tally affect the result or could
Ulster Unionist transfers actually help the SDLP to regain
some lost ground at republican expense? Nobody knows - and
those who say they do are probably kidding.

c 2007 The Irish Times


Pupils' Grilling Turns Up The Politicial Heat

Scott Jamison
Wed, Feb 28, 2007

Some of Northern Ireland's politicians yesterday faced what
many would say was their toughest test yet on the campaign
trail - questions from more than 180 pupils from several
schools, many of them first-time voters.

Facing a political grilling were SDLP leader Mark Durkan,
Simon Hamilton of the DUP, Naomi Long from Alliance, Sinn
Fein's Niall O Donnghaile, Michael Copeland of the Ulster
Unionist Party and Progressive Unionist Party leader Dawn
Purvis, with proceedings chaired by Seamus McKee, presenter
of BBC radio's Good Morning Ulster.

Several issues were aired at the event, held at Lagan
College, the North's first integrated school, in east
Belfast. These included the old favourite, water charges,
although most were specific to the young voter, including a
lowering of the voting age, university fees and closing of
integrated schools.

Pupils were asked for their viewpoints regarding how
political parties can appeal to younger voters. Alex Parry
(17) summed up the general mood among the pupils when he
said: "Politicians don't look at young people enough. I
remember looking at a few websites and finding nothing
devoted to young people."

Youthful idealism reared its head. Laura Devenny (18) said
she believed this generation is "the one that is going to
make the is our turn to try and fix
Northern Ireland."

The wisdom of youth also shone through. Maeve McGlone (18),
a pupil at the school, asked the panel: "If integration is
so important, why can't work together in the Assembly?"
There was no answer forthcoming.

c 2007 The Irish Times


Dubliners Have Highest Level Of Disposable Income In

27/02/2007 - 19:44:05

The latest official figures show that people in the Dublin
area have higher disposable incomes that those in the rest
of the country.

According to the Central Statistics Office, the average
disposable income in Dublin was almost 12% higher than
elsewhere in the country.

Disposable income is a defined as a person's total income,
less expenses such as income tax, PRSI, mortgage
repayments, health insurance, rent or interest on loans.

In 2004, the average disposable income was almost ?18,800.


Black Donnellys: Television Doesn't Get More Irish Than

By Troy Patterson
Posted Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2007, at 4:53 PM ET

The Black Donnellys

Taking the gun and leaving the cannoli, the Irish-American
gangster is enjoying a moment in the pop-culture sun and
the film-noir shadows. The Departed-Martin Scorsese's
spiritual update, by way of Hong Kong, of James Cagney's
Angels With Dirty Faces-has its Oscar. Brotherhood-the
Showtime series about a Rhode Island politician and his
mobbed-up kin-will be back later this year, presumably to
retail its dark and overheated crypto-fantasy about the
Kennedy family. And now we have The Black Donnellys (NBC),
which premiered last night. The next four episodes are
nowhere near as patient and controlled as that cinematic
pilot, but, man, are they Irish: the wakes, the neon
shamrock, the epigraphs from W.B. Yeats and D.P. Moynihan.
And the show keeps this magnificent blarney up even as it
swipes half its ideas from the playbooks of Scorsese and
The Godfather.

So, the Donnelly boys: As explained by one charismatic
little weasel of a narrative device named Joey Ice Cream,
there are four of them. Kevin is the problem gambler with
the sensitive eyes and a touch of Fredo Corleone. Little
Sean is the ladies' man with the sensitive eyes and a touch
of Fredo Corleone. Jimmy is the hophead, the hothead, the
loose canon; there's some Fredo to him and some Sonny, too,
but he's mostly a store-brand version of Johnny Boy from
Mean Streets. Then there's Tommy, limned by Jonathan Tucker
in a performance that is all darts of the eyes, ducks of
the chin, and menacing baby steps. In essence, it's a
complete De Niro pantomime kept fresh by Tucker's sunken

As Joey said last night, "Tommy had a knack for two things,
drawing and getting his brothers out of trouble. What he
didn't seem to understand is that he'd never go anywhere
with the first if he couldn't let go out of the second."
Tommy thought he was out-in the pilot, they pulled him back

"They" is the Italians and also family loyalty. Kevin and
Jimmy kidnapped a bookie whose uncle ran the local Mafia
franchise. In recompense, pretty boy Sean got his face
split open in a beat down. Tommy intuited that the only way
to keep Jimmy alive was to off the bosses of both the Irish
and Italian mobs, which created a whole new set of hassles.
The show is highly erratic, veering from the comedic to the
grotesque to the poignant to the overwrought-and that's
just the upcoming scene where Tommy and Kevin try to
dispose of a body. Jimmy is one of the more inconsistent
characters ever to make it to air; they keep telling us
he's junkie, and we keep not believing them. I'm not even
going to get into Tommy's romance with Jenny Riley. Still,
there are some fine fraternal moments here, and some moral
force, and a good slow-motion pummeling.

The show is supposedly set in contemporary New York, but
it's not until the fourth hour that we see either cell
phones or minorities. For ethnic contrast, we get a
smattering of extraordinarily entitled WASPs. Meanwhile,
the Irish call the Italians guineas, and the Italians call
the Irish micks, and the neon shamrock looks quite handsome
reflected in the barroom floor.

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