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February 22, 2007

DUP Denies Dragging Feet On Powersharing

News about Ireland & the Irish

IT 02/22/07 DUP Denies 'Dragging Feet' On Powersharing
IT 02/22/07 UDA Will Recognise Sinn Fein Authority
BB 02/22/07 Negotiations Planned Over Parade
SF 02/22/07 Launch Of Irish Language Manifesto & Website
BP 02/22/07 Islands Battle For Father Ted Title
IT 02/23/07 Rural Pubs Shutting Down At More Than 1 Per Day


DUP Denies 'Dragging Feet' On Powersharing

Gerry Moriarty and Scott Jamison
Fri, Feb 23, 2007

DUP deputy leader Peter Robinson has denied that his party
is dragging its feet on powersharing with Sinn Fein while
reiterating that "upfront delivery" was required from
republicans to create the chance of a deal by the St
Andrews Agreement deadline of March 26th.

Mr Robinson said that republicans faced hard decisions now
that the politics of "constructive ambiguity" and
"gestures" were ditched.

"The DUP is not dragging its feet in order to delay
devolution. The DUP is dragging others to meet the
standards that will allow lasting devolution to be
established. We want to ensure that we never again have the
stop-start devolution which ends in suspensions and chaos,"
he said yesterday.

SDLP Lagan Valley candidate Marietta Farrell meanwhile said
that the windows of her office in Lisburn were smashed
shortly before 7pm yesterday evening. No one was injured
although staff suffered shock. Police were at the scene,
she added.

Eamonn McCann, a candidate in Foyle for the Socialist
Environmental Alliance, accused Sinn Fein of telling people
"to be obedient to the British government and pay their
water charges, or else they'll end up like the rent and
rates strikers in the 1970s".

"We give notice to Sinn Fein and all the other conservative
parties that we fully intend to defeat water charges, and
that in the course of carrying this fight forward, we will
face up to them just as we are facing up to Peter Hain and
the Northern Ireland Office," he added.

Francie Brolly, Sinn Fein candidate for East Derry,
yesterday responded to the North's security minister Paul
Goggin's announcement that a review will take place on the
site for a new prison.

Mr Brolly said the Magilligan prison site should be closed,
while also calling for the removal of the local British
army barracks.

"Sinn Fein has made it clear that Magilligan is an area of
outstanding natural beauty that should be demilitarised as
a priority," he said.

David Hoey, South Belfast candidate for the UKUP, said
yesterday he would rather "stand beside [ party leader] Bob
McCartney than be a cheerleader behind the Rev Ian

c 2007 The Irish Times


UDA Will Recognise Sinn Fein Authority

George Jackson
Fri, Feb 23, 2007

Northern Ireland's largest loyalist paramilitary
organisation, the Ulster Defence Association, has announced
that it will recognise and accept the authority of future
Sinn Fein ministers following Assembly elections.

The UDA, which also includes the Ulster Freedom Fighters,
also confirmed it has decided to accept the legitimacy of
Sinn Fein's electoral mandate. The decisions, which have
been described as "ground-breaking, historic and
unprecedented" by the UDA's political advisers, the Ulster
Political Research Group, were taken at a meeting in
Derry's Guildhall.

Among those at the meeting were the UDA's five brigade
commanders as well as members of the UDA's inner council.

"We deliberately selected the Guildhall in Londonderry for
two reasons.

"The Guildhall is the lion's den of republicans for
loyalists and Londonderry is the city where the Troubles
started in 1968, so let it be where the troubles have come
to an end," said UPRG executive member David Nicholl.

c 2007 The Irish Times


Negotiations Planned Over Parade

A decision on a planned march through Dumfries town centre
by the Apprentice Boys of Derry has been deferred for four
weeks by councillors.

The move is to allow time for talks between the organisers
and the police who have objected to the procession.

The march has been earmarked for 21 April and would involve
up to 350 people and eight flute bands.

Chief Constable David Strang has expressed concerns about
the event but welcomed the chance to hold talks.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2007/02/22 16:37:51 GMT


Adams And de Br£n Launch Of Irish Language Manifesto And

Published: 22 February, 2007

Speaking after the launch of the Irish language manifesto
in Cult£rlann Mac Adam O Fiaich today, Gerry Adams
reaffirmed his party's position on the rights of Irish
speakers on the island of Ireland and assured a bright
future for the language, providing the British government
keep the promises made during the St Andrews Agreement.

"I believe our manifesto lays out clearly the needs for an
Irish language Act in the six counties and the case of high
school teacher Maire Nic An Bhaird, arrested for speaking
Irish, and the threatened closure of Scoil anna in
Glengormley strengthens our demand."

"We demand an Irish Language Act which is based on the
following principles;

:: Keep to the time-frame and spirit of the St Andrews

:: Place Irish speakers Rights at the heart of the Act

:: Make available adequate resources to implement the Act

:: Appoint an Irish Language Commissioner for the North."

Note to Editors

Webite address is


Islands Battle For Father Ted Title

Festival will mark the anniversary of Dermot Morgan's death

® Previous ® PreviousNext ¯ Next ¯

View GalleryThe panic to get tickets for the biggest
sporting event in Ireland is reaching fever pitch - but
this time the game is miles away from Dublin's Croke Park.

The big game in question is not Ireland's Six Nations clash
with England, but a challenge match to decide which of two
island communities should host a festival paying homage to
the Father Ted comedy series.

Fans have organised a three-day event running from February
23-25th on the largest of the Aran Islands off the coast of
Co Galway to mark the ninth anniversary of the death of
comic Dermot Morgan, the star of the series.

Competition has been hotting up for the planned five-a-side
soccer match between Inis Mor island, and its neighbour,
Inis Oirr, to settle a row over which island has the
closest links to the television programme.

The sides will be managed by Irish soccer legends John
Aldridge and Tony Cascarino. The winning side will be
awarded the title of 'The Real Craggy Island' for the
following 12 months.

The smaller island, Inis Oirr, insist they should be
hosting the event as the Plassey shipwreck featured in the
opening sequence of the award winning comedy series is a
recognisable landmark of their coastline.

Bookies Paddy Power have slashed the odds ahead of the
match taking place on Sunday as the festival draws to a

Ken Robertson, spokesman for Paddy Power, said: "The odds
have been slashed on the match. Quite a bit of money has
been placed on it. If Inis Oirr win we are looking at a
five figure payout."

Organisers of the Friends of Ted festival have revealed all
100 tickets for the series of events on the island have
been snapped up but droves of people are continuing to
flock to the small island.

The biggest of the Aran Islands is experiencing a major
off-season cash injection as all the accommodation on the
island has been booked up by fans.

Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2007, All Rights


Rural Pubs Shutting Down At Rate Of More Than One Per Day

Paul Cullen, Consumer Affairs Correspondent
Fri, Feb 23, 2007

Rural pubs are closing at a rate of more than one a day as
drinkers move their custom to urban bars and off-licences,
new figures show.

Almost 440 fewer pub licences were issued or renewed last
year compared to 2005, according to the figures compiled by
the Revenue Commissioners. This is the steepest decline
ever recorded.

The Vintners' Federation of Ireland (VFI) responded to the
figures yesterday by calling on the Government to give
rates relief to rural pubs and reductions in vehicle
registration tax for members who provide transport for
their customers.

"Small post offices are gone, corner shops have been
decimated and even the church is suffering a shortage of
priests. Now the last bastion of rural Ireland where people
interact socially is under threat," said Paul Stevenson,
president of the VFI.

The biggest falls were recorded in the Border, Midlands and
Western (BMW) counties, where 227 pub licences were lost,
and in counties Kerry, Cork, Clare and Limerick, where
licences fell by 130.

In contrast, Dublin lost just 10 licences and the rest of
Leinster 70.

While pub numbers are plummeting, the off-licence trade is

There were 46 additional off-licences in Munster last year,
155 in Leinster and 46 in Dublin.

In the BMW region, however, the number of off-licences fell
by 40.

Vintners' groups have been warning about the difficulties
faced by rural pubs since the smoking ban was introduced in
2004 and random breath-testing started last year.

However, these figures are even worse than they predicted,
as the opening of new pubs in urban centres is partly
offset by a bigger fall in pub licences in rural areas.

"The number of rural pubs closing is even greater than was
thought," said Constance Cassidy SC, an expert on licensing

"However, there has been a redistribution of licences in
accordance with public demand, rather than any being lost.

"People want to drink at home, or in hotels."

Although drink licensing has been liberalised in recent
years, it is still necessary to extinguish one drinks
licence to create another.

Many rural pub licences are being bought by business
interests who use the permit to open an urban pub or off-

Demand has been particularly heavy from convenience stores
which need a licence to sell beer.

Another trend has seen up to 40 per cent of pub sales,
particularly in high-value urban areas, go to developers
who seek to build apartments on the site.

According to Ms Cassidy, the market price for a pub licence
is about ?175,000-?185,000, compared to about ?85,000 in

The counties suffering the greatest loss of pubs are Mayo,
which lost 91 licences last year, and Galway, down by 55.
Limerick had 43 fewer licences, Kerry 33, Clare 29,
Tipperary 27 and Cork 25.

Overall, there are about 8,500 pubs in the State.

c 2007 The Irish Times

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