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February 09, 2007

Ex-UDA Leader Found Hung

News about Ireland & the Irish

BT 02/09/07 Ex-UDA Leader Is Found Hanged At Football Pitch
BB 02/09/07 Politicians Urged To Do Business
BT 02/09/07 Assembly: Is This What We're Voting For?
BT 02/09/07 More DUP Splits Emerge
BT 02/09/07 Former DUP MLAs To Stand For UK Unionists
BB 02/09/07 DUP Members Agree Resign Clause
BB 02/08/07 Omagh Probe Seeks Sinn Fein Help
AP 02/08/07 Diplock Courts Must Not Return By Back Door
AP 02/08/07 Collusion: Govt Needs To Take Head Out Of Sand
BT 02/09/07 PSNI Holds New Inquiry Into Kingsmill Massacre
BT 02/09/07 Woman Bids To Clear Name Over £26m Heist
BN 02/09/07 SF Calls For Solidarity w/ Rossport Protestors
IN 02/09/07 Opin: Making Peace With Past Is Major Issue
MG 02/09/07 Rugby Invading Ireland's Hallowed Ground
BT 02/09/07 £25,000 Restaurant Review Libel Bill
IT 02/09/07 Muintir na Tire Founder Commemorated
RT 02/08/07 Bacon Painting Fetches €21.2m In London
RT 02/08/07 Way Cleared For Harris Statue In Kilkee
IN 02/09/07 Cliffs Of Moher Go Hollywood


Ex-UDA Leader Is Found Hanged At Football Pitch

[Published: Friday 9, February 2007 - 10:49]
By Deborah McAleese

A former leading UDA man has been found hanged at a
football playing field in Belfast, it has emerged.

Mark Barr, who has been linked with Johnny Adair's C
Company and was once charged in connection with the murder
of Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane, was found hanging at
Forthriver Road on Wednesday morning.

A spokesman for the PSNI said that no crime was suspected.

It was claimed today that officers from the Historical
Enquiries Team have applied for a court order for
permission to take Barr's fingerprints.

Belfast councillor Jim Rodgers said: "I understand that
officers from the Historical Enquiries Team went to the
mortuary to take fingerprints but were refused permission.
They have now applied for a court order to be able to do

"This causes me great concern. While I support this team
and hope they will be able to bring people to justice for
past crimes I do not think it is proper doing this on a
dead man."

No one from the Historical Enquiries Team was available for
comment this morning.

Barr's funeral is due to take place tomorrow morning from
his mother's home at Shankill Parade.

The 36 year-old, who is understood to have once being one
of the main men in C Company, became the second man charged
by detectives over the brutal slaying of Mr Finucane.

He was brought to a Belfast court by the Stevens Inquiry
Team and was convicted in 2001 of having documents likely
to be of use to terrorists. He received a suspended jail
sentence for having the documents which included Army and
police intelligence reports.

The documents were photocopies of originals taken from
Thiepval Barracks by the Stevens Inquiry team during their

Mr Rodgers, who was a general manager of the Youth Training
Scheme on the Shankill Road when Barr was a member, said
that he had always found him " a committed young man" and
added that he sends his sympathies to his family.

"This man has died in very tragic circumstances and I feel
for his family," he said.

c Belfast Telegraph


Politicians Urged To Do Business

Northern Ireland politicians have been urged to restore
devolution by the head of a business leaders' organisation.

Frank Bryan told the Institute of Directors' annual dinner
failure would condemn NI people to a lower standard of
living and a lack of opportunity.

Speaking on Thursday night he said that stable government
was urgently needed to help build a stable economy.

"Northern Ireland is now presented with a chance to turn a
talking shop at Stormont into real government" he said.

"If our political leaders are looking for the key to a
better future, let me offer this simple analysis: 'It's the
economy, stupid'.

"We value the progress our political leaders have made. But
I say to them that the stakes are too high for you to fail

"It is time - indeed past time - for you to get down to

Mr Bryan said that stable political institutions are a
prerequisite if Northern Ireland is to compete to win new
investment and open up new world markets.

He also called for a more ambitious economic strategy for
Northern Ireland to deliver the 140,000 high-value, highly
skilled, sustainable jobs he said are required in the next
10 years.

About 540 business leaders attended the event.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2007/02/09 07:07:57 GMT


Assembly: Is This What We're Voting For?

[Published: Friday 9, February 2007 - 08:58]

Just over six weeks from today, should the Government's
efforts go to plan, Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness will
become First and Deputy First Ministers in a new power-
sharing administration.

They will hardly stand on the steps of Stormont for their
first photo opportunity. The two men have never spoken to
each other, so even a handshake must be considered some way

Yet Prime Minister Tony Blair and Secretary of State Peter
Hain say they fully expect this to happen. And Taoiseach
Bertie Ahern indicates if Blair believes it, that's good
enough for him. Few others share their optimism.

The electorate is not voting on a deal. No deal has been
done yet. This is not a referendum on the St Andrews
Agreement, though some will interpret it that way.

For most parties the Good Friday Agreement remains their
template, while the DUP needs to be able to argue it has
been at least superseded.

So hard-headed negotiations will begin again as soon as the
polls close - after one of the most bruising battles the
province may ever have endured.

The political parties will next week fire the first major
salvoes in the Assembly election race amid fears the real
winner will be voter apathy.

From Monday, election strategies will stagger into full
action, even as the Government reiterates that it could
still pull the plug on the entire thing. The fact is the
parties don't believe that will happen, and, in some
regards, don't much care if it does. It would simply mean
more cash compensation from the taxpayers for party

Moreover, however, no-one from Mr Hain up has explained
precisely what criteria they will apply in making any
decision to render the March 7 poll null and void. Nor are
they likely to.

And yet the threat cannot be entirely dismissed, if only
because the Government has done it before.

Tony Blair called off the election in the spring of 2003 -
after a full three days of campaigning - and the election
finally followed in November that year. There is a

Nonetheless the parties are gearing up for full engagement.
Campaigning will begin in earnest following the close of
nominations, around teatime on Tuesday of next week.

And even then some of the parties will hold back on their
official launches, fearing the old mistake of peaking too
soon, or boring an already largely switched-off public to

While it is holding a campaign launch on Wednesday, the DUP
may therefore hold onto its manifesto until later into the
campaign, while Sinn Fein has a tendency for cranking up

Despite concerns over a massive 'stay-at-home' effect, the
major party machines - Sinn Fein and the DUP - will be
mobilising their forces not least on the door steps.

And even if the total turnout should falter, a party's
overall share of the vote can still remain the same.

There are major issues for all the big parties. Is the DUP
campaigning for a vote to endorse the St Andrews
arrangements or some further modification of another power-
sharing structure?

It is the party most in favour of the election, believing
it can make more gains and consolidate four seats on an

Will Sinn Fein's seismic shift towards supporting policing
bring electoral rewards, and will its focus switch towards
the also-imminent General Election in the Republic?

The party is facing some tests west of the Bann,
particularly South Derry, West Tyrone and Fermanagh/South
Tyrone where dissident republicans and former party members
are expected to stand.

What message will the Ulster Unionist Party choose to send
to moderate supporters still in favour of a stabilising
deal - or does it move into the role previously played by
the DUP?

And what about the SDLP? What shape is it in for an
election? Does it claim success in helping force Sinn Fein
towards policing, or continue the focus on areas of
difference such as the role of MI5?

Alliance is in danger of losing key seats. It is likely to
attack the St Andrews arrangements while continuing to
emphasise the need for accommodation.

Take a deep breath. Let battle commence ...


From today the Belfast Telegraph team will be providing
full coverage of the election battle which could bring back
devolution at Stormont

NEWS: The inter-party tussles. Manifesto launches. Policy
documents and campaign news

ANALYSIS: We examine the big election questions. Will the
DUP agree to share power by March 26? Can Sinn Fein face
down the challenge of dissidents and former members? Is the
Government serious, at last, about its deadline?

MAJOR ISSUES: The Telegraph puts the key questions -
including water charges, rates reform and the 11-plus -
directly to the four main parties in a special feature

CONSTITUENCY PROFILES: The runners and riders and issues
where you live in the race to decide who will be your six

THE PANEL: A group of experts examine party manifestoes in

HUSTINGS: The candidates' concerns - and exchanges - direct
from the campaign trail

CAMPAIGN CRAIC: The lighter side of electioneering with a
focus on the off-beat

KEY QUOTES: Choice of the sound-bites and best election

c Belfast Telegraph


More DUP Splits Emerge

[Published: Friday 9, February 2007 - 11:14]
By Noel McAdam

Further divisions within the DUP emerged today as the party
prepared to launch its Assembly election campaign.

As leader Ian Paisley said the DUP was the only party which
wanted the March 7 poll, councillors in his heartland North
Antrim constituency confirmed they will not campaign for
the party on the doorsteps.

While the party's executive met in east Belfast last night
to ratify the manifesto, it was learned only six members
attended a meeting of its North Antrim Association.

Councillor Davy Tweed said today: "I am not going to
campaign for the party to bring Sinn Fein/ IRA into
Government. I have fought two elections to keep them out of

"I will not accept the word of Sinn Fein and I am sad the
DUP is maybe falling into a trap of almost saying they are
dragging Sinn Fein screaming into Government. I don't
accept that."

The Ballymena councillor, who has served 12 years, said
people on the doorsteps had told party representatives they
are not in favour of the St Andrews Agreement, which they
regarded as "worse" than the Good Friday Agreement. But he
said the party leadership, which last night endorsed the
election candidates, had been "distant" from councillors
"on the ground".

It is understood Mr Tweed has been joined by five others,
including Roy Gillespie, a party member for almost 40
years, who was not immediately available for comment today.

However, North Antrim candidate Ian Paisley Jnr, who was
among the half-dozen at the meeting, said he believed the
councillors had "jumped too soon" and could end up
regretting their decision.

The executive meeting at the Park Avenue Hotel last night
also drew a small protest, which included Willie Frazer of
the Families Against Intimidation and Terror (FAIR) group.

Mr Frazer, who is also standing as an independent candidate
in Newry and Armagh, said after discussions with MPs David
Simpson, Gregory Campbell and Sammy Wilson he believed the
DUP was ready to go into government with Sinn Fein.

"The concern seems to be about the timing now, rather than
the principle. Basically we got no reassurance from any of
them," Mr Fraser said.

As the DUP executive meeting last night ratified all 46
candidates, it also agreed to reduce fines which would be
imposed on future MLAs if they fail to attend meetings or
breach party policy, from a reported œ20,000 to œ2,000. The
party leader, in a BBC Hearts and MInds interview, revealed
he himself had been required to pay a penalty in the past
for not attending a meeting.

c Belfast Telegraph


Former DUP MLAs To Stand For UK Unionists

[Published: Friday 9, February 2007 - 11:11]
By Noel McAdam

Three candidates for Robert McCartney's United Kingdom
Unionists will be former DUP members or associates, it was
claimed today.

And Mr McCartney intends personally to stand in six
separate constituencies, although he has not finally
decided which ones yet.

The UK Unionists will also be fielding between eight and 10
candidates in other constituencies, and will reveal their
identities next week, Mr McCartney said today.

"The reason I am standing in six constituencies is that,
given the short time for this election, we have as yet no
clear picture from the DUP as to what they intend to do on
March 26," the outgoing North Down MLA said.

"I want to give an opportunity to all those who brought the
DUP to the pinnacle of their election success to vote

Mr McCartney said he had yet to decide which constituencies
were the most favourable electorally. He added: "I would
also prefer that other candidates make their own
announcements, but I can say three of them are former DUP
MLAs or have other associations with the party."

His attack came as the DUP lumbered up to launch its own
election campaign, with leader Ian Paisley planning to
visit nomination centres in Belfast, Banbridge and
Ballymena on Monday.

c Belfast Telegraph


DUP Members Agree Resign Clause

DUP candidates have agreed to pre-sign a letter of
resignation to be invoked if they breach party rules.

A penalty for failing to comply with rules has been reduced
from œ20,000 to no more than œ2,000.

The news came after an executive meeting on Thursday when
the party ratified its election manifesto and its 46

Protesters who picketed the meeting urged the party not to
share power with Sinn Fein under any circumstances.

About two dozen demonstrators gathered outside an east
Belfast hotel, as the DUP leadership arrived to unveil the
election manifesto.

The demonstrators included victims' campaigner William
Frazer, and Cedrick Wilson, a former Northern Ireland
unionist assembly member.

Some of those present were carrying posters, one of which
read "DUP/SF/IRA Collusion", another said "No DUP sell-

Some of the protestors vowed to stand against the DUP if
the party fails to rule out power-sharing.

The manifesto will not be officially published for some

An election to the Northern Ireland Assembly will take
place on on 7 March.

A new power-sharing executive is due to be formed on 26

However, DUP leader Ian Paisley told the BBC's Hearts and
Minds programme on Thursday night he did not see
"anything... about dates in this matter".

Asked if there were any circumstances he could foresee that
would allow him to sit in a power-sharing executive with
Sinn Fein on 26 March, Mr Paisley replied: "If Sinn Fein

He added: "We have made it clear we will listen to the IMC,
we will also listen to the other agents of law enforcement
and we will also take our own study of the situation on the

"The dates are the governments, they have set down certain
dates. I have done everything I need to do and can do under
the (St Andrews) Agreement.

"There has been no real effort made by IRA/Sinn Fein to
really forswear their violence. I am glad that the steps
they have taken, they have taken them, but that is only the

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2007/02/09 10:28:03 GMT


Omagh Probe Seeks Sinn Fein Help

The officer leading the 1998 Omagh bomb investigation is to
ask Sinn Fein to help catch those responsible for the Real
IRA attack which killed 29 people.

Chief Superintendent Norman Baxter is expected to write to
Sinn Fein representatives in south Armagh and Dundalk to
formally request their help.

Detectives believe its decision to back policing may be a
turning point.

Mr Baxter wants a public declaration that anyone with
information should speak to his inquiry team.

Only one man has so far been charged with the murders.

Sean Hoey, 37, of Jonesborough in south Armagh, is
currently awaiting a judge's verdict after standing trial
in Belfast.

A Police Service of Northern Ireland spokesman confirmed
the move may be imminent.

He said: "In light of the new attitude towards policing in
a substantial part of the republican community, the senior
investigating officer in the Omagh bomb investigation is
examining the possibility of requesting the assistance of
public representatives in the south Armagh and Dundalk
areas to encourage people to come forward with

The 1998 Real IRA bomb killed 29 people, including a woman
pregnant with twins.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2007/02/08 17:57:11 GMT


Justice: Diplock Courts Must Not Return By Back Door

Concerns over British security bill

By Laura Friel
February 8, 2007
Top Stories

Sinn F‚in's spokesperson on Policing and Justice, Gerry
Kelly, has expressed concerns at the draft legislation
relating to justice issues which is currently passing
through the British parliament. The party met with British
Secretary of State Peter Hain earlier this week following a
series of meetings with NIO minister Paul Goggins.

Sinn F‚in has highlighted four main areas of concern with
the Justice and Security (NI) Bill. These include an
attempt to place restrictions on the Human Rights
Commission; a provision for non-jury trials; and powers of
stop and search, raid and arrest envisaged for both the
British Army and PSNI.

Gerry Kelly said:

"We are concerned that aspects of the draft justice
legislation may undermine the effect of the repeal of
repressive legislation which is scheduled for July this
year. Sinn F‚in has raised these concerns consistently in
discussions with the British Government."

During negotiations, the British Government committed
itself to the repeal of emergency powers as part of the
programme of demilitarisation in the Six Counties. This is
due in July of this year and includes the abolition of the
non-jury Diplock courts.

Provisions currently under consideration at Westminster
have the potential to allow the continued use of some
emergency powers in particular circumstances. Sinn F‚in is
also contesting provisions within the bill that would give
the Public Prosecution Service discretion to allow a case
before the courts to be a non-jury trial.

Diplock courts

"There must be no re-introduction of Diplock courts through
the back door," said Kelly.

"Similarly, the provisions that allow extended powers of
arrest to the PSNI and the British Army, and those which
seek to limit the application of new powers for the Human
Rights Commission, should be withdrawn.

"New powers for the Human Rights Commission were agreed as
part of the recent negotiations as a necessary step in
driving forward the human rights agenda. It is essential
that the commission has all the necessary powers to be
fully effective."

The proposed legislation will make it impossible for the
Human Rights Commission to investigate retrospective cases
even where there are clear implications for the future.
Gerry Kelly said: "We made it clear this is a huge

The legislation curtails the commission's right to
investigate any alleged abuses the British deem to be
"national and security issues" and restricts the
commission's ability to make unscheduled visits to places
of detention, including prisons, youth detention facilities
and secure hospitals.

These proposed restrictions have been specifically
earmarked by the British Government for the North of
Ireland. The new Human Rights Commissions in England,
Scotland and Wales will not be restricted. Even more
incongruous is the fact that such restrictions are not to
be imposed in the 26 Counties.

"It is clear that the transfer of powers is critical to
realising the fundamental reform of the criminal justice
system and the new beginning to policing envisaged in the
Good Friday Agreement.

"Sinn F‚in wants this to happen sooner rather than later.
The British Government have signalled that, in the event of
a refusal by the DUP to agree the transfer of powers in the
timescale set out in St Andrews, they will take the
necessary steps to ensure this happens. There must be no
retreat from this commitment."


Collusion: Irish Government Needs To Take Head Out Of Sand
- Doolan

February 8, 2007
Top Stories

Dublin City Council demands collusion inquiry

Dublin City Council has passed a motion calling for a full
public enquiry in to the Dublin/Monaghan bombings of May

The motion, tabled by Sinn F‚in Councillor Daith¡ Doolan,
was passed at last Monday night's council meeting.

Speaking after the meeting, Councillor Doolan said:

"The public know that collusion took place on that fateful
day in 1974. British forces acted in unison with loyalist
paramilitaries which resulted in 33 people being killed in
the car bombs.

"It must be remembered that Britain's dirty war was never
confined to the North but was played out here on the
streets of Dublin.

"It is high time that the Irish Government took their head
out of the sand and set up a public inquiry in to the
circumstances that surrounded the bombing of Dublin and

"The demand by Dublin City Council will be communicated
directly to An Taoiseach Bertie Ahern; the citizens of
Dublin await his reply."

Daith¡ Doolan added:

"I am delighted that this motion has received cross-party
support and this will send a very clear message to An
Taoiseach that a public inquiry in now needed to out the
truth and bring closure to one of the worst atrocities
during the conflict on this island.

"The citizens of this city deserve nothing less than the
truth made public on the matter."

Meanwhile, the Sinn F‚in MP for Fermanagh/South Tyrone,
Michelle Gildernew, has accused unionist politicians of
failing to face up to truth about collusion.

Former UDR major Ken Maginnis, now a member of the British
House of Lords, has claimed that too much money is being
spent on the Police Ombudsman's office.

Maginnis, formerly a UUP MP for Fermanagh/South Tyrone,

"It is totally over-resourced and possibly totally
unnecessary. If we had someone with more judicial and
investigative knowledge than the current Police Ombudsman
we might do things a lot less painfully."

Maginnis claimed the fact that just six police officers
officers were convicted from completed investigations shows
the police in the Six Countires in a different light
compared to the damning details of RUC Special Branch
collusion with loyalist paramilitaries contained in a
devastating Ombudsman report published two weeks ago.

Responding to Maginnis's outburst, Sinn F‚in MP Michelle
Gildernew said:

"The Police Ombudsman's report into the murder of Raymond
McCord Jnr represents the tip of the iceberg. Yet not only
did it expose the extent and nature of collusion it also
cruelly exposed the deep and profound failure of unionism
to face up to the truth about collusion.

"You have to wonder whether certain unionists really have
any commitment to delivering real accountability into the
policing structures and to the rule of law and policing
that is free from partisan political control.

"Ken Maginnis would make a more positive contribution to
the future of our society and the development of a new
beginning to policing and justice if he challenged both
former and serving members of the PSNI, RUC, RIR and UDR,
of which he was a member, to co-operate fully with the
Police Ombudsman.

"The fact is that former members of the RUC and PSNI have
not co-operated with Nuala O`Loan and, indeed, the
Ombudsman has highlighted the destruction of evidence by
former members as frustrating future prosecutions and

Dublin City Council motion

Dublin City Council, in welcoming the recent publication by
Police Ombudsman, Nuala O'Loan into collusion between
RUC/PSNI and the UVF, calls on the Irish Government to hold
a public, independent inquiry into the circumstances
surrounding the Dublin/Monaghan bombings of May 1974.


PSNI Team Set To Hold New Inquiry Into Kingsmill Massacre

[Published: Friday 9, February 2007 - 08:32]

The PSNI's Historical Inquiries Team is expected to reopen
the investigation into the murder of 10 Protestants in the
Kingsmill massacre 31 years ago.

The victims were shot dead in January 1976 when republicans
stopped the van bringing them home from work in south

A group calling itself the Republican Action Force claimed

However, the killings are widely believed to have been
carried out by the IRA in revenge for the murder of three
members of the Reavy family in Whitecross the previous day.

The Historical Inquiries Team set up to investigate
unsolved murders during the Troubles is expected to begin a
new investigation into the case within the coming weeks.

c Belfast Telegraph


Woman Steps Up Bid To Clear Name Over œ26m Heist

[Published: Friday 9, February 2007 - 09:09]
By Noel McAdam

The plight of a woman quizzed in relation to the Northern
Bank robbery and now on hunger strike in a bid to restore
her reputation is to be raised in the Dail, it emerged

Kathryn Nelson, who was arrested and questioned by Garda in
relation to the œ26m Northern Bank heist, has now gone
almost two weeks without food.

As revealed in the Belfast Telegraph, she is outraged that
reports following her day-long police interviews last year
linked her to the Provisional IRA.

Formerly from Co Kildare, Ms Nelson said: "I am about as
far away from the IRA as you will ever find."

Now living outside Douglas on the Isle of Man, the 57-year-
old wants a statement from the Republic's Department of
Justice clearing her name - and compensation.

And now her demands may be taken up by Irish Labour Party
president Michael D Higgins, the veteran Galway TD.

Mr Higgins told the Belfast Telegraph: "It would appear to
me that if someone is arrested and that charges are not
made to stand against them then they are entitled to be

Ms Nelson said: "I am delighted that at least someone seems
prepared to try to help. But I will remain on hunger strike
until this is sorted out."

Ms Nelson was arrested while staying at the Ballymascanlon
Hotel in February last year and taken to the Garda station
in Balbriggan.

She said she was questioned by two senior detective
sergeants a number of times and then released.

Her arrest came after papers from her office, then based in
Sofia, Bulgaria, where found in premises linked to
businessman Phil Flynn, who was also questioned in relation
to money-laundering allegations.

Ms Nelson had worked in a diplomatic liaison capacity for
Irish firms interested in projects in Bulgaria.

She said approaches were made to the Garda and the
Republic's Department of Justice after her name appeared in
newspapers majoring on the Northern Bank robbery story. One
report used the term 'IRA moll'.

But in the aftermath there was no statement making clear
she was no longer a suspect, and, she says, the failure to
restore her good name helped ruin her business. Ms Nelson
also claims she is now owed more than œ100,000.

Ms Nelson also rejected suggestions by the department in
Dublin that she make a formal complaint either to the Garda
Commissioner or to the Garda Siochana Complaints Board.

"I don't have faith in them and, quite frankly, now heading
into my 13th day I don't have the time," she said.

c Belfast Telegraph


SF Calls For Solidarity With Rossport Protestors

09/02/2007 - 13:08:11

Sinn F‚in's Dublin environment and local government
spokesperson Daithi Doolan has called for the public to
support the day of solidarity with the people of Rossport
on February 16th and the demonstration planned for Dublin
on the 24th.

Speaking today at a press conference to announce details of
the Dublin demonstration, Mr Doolan pledged the party's
support for the campaign against Shell's pipeline and the
theft of Ireland's natural resources.

Mr Doolan said: "Sinn F‚in is supporting this demonstration
on February 24th and has supported the Rossport Shell to
Sea campaign from the beginning. We hope that as many
people as possible come out onto the streets to show their
support for the campaign against Shell's pipeline and the
theft of Ireland's natural resources.

"But even more importantly, we need people to get down to
Mayo for the day of solidarity with the people of Rossport
and Bellanaboy on February 16th. Busses will be going down
on the 15th from all over the island.

"On the last day of support at Bellanaboy there were people
from Dublin, Belfast, Cork, Limerick, Galway and Monaghan
showing their solidarity with the men and women who have
maintained a vigil on Shell's activities for so long.

"Since the start of October there has been a daily peaceful
protest at the site of the refinery at Bellanaboy to oppose
the infliction of this dangerous pipeline on a small, rural

"We support the calls for people to turn out on the 24th,
but we would ask people to do whatever they can to get down
to Bellanaboy on the 16th, to get down to the frontline of
this struggle."

"Demanded that the Irish government protect both its
citizens by supporting the people of Rossport in their
reasonable demand to have the Shell pipeline moved off

Opin: Making Peace With The Past Is Last Major Issue

By Breidge Gadd

The peace process here does progress literally by fits and

Nothing much seems to happen for a time, then there is
noticeable movement, such as the republicans' historic
change of approach regarding policing.

This is invariably followed by people - usually political
grandees - throwing a fit about a comparatively minor
issue. Then everyone assimilates the latest developments
into their political psyche and readjusts their prognosis
for the future.

The last few weeks have had quite a share of starts, with
the O'Loan report followed swiftly by republicans' policing
decision. We then had the storm in a teacup fuss over the
poorly-worded SDLP advertisement but no doubt we'll settle
down again.

This strategy seems to be working though and in our
stop/start way all the obstacles to devolved power sharing
have been removed.

There is nothing else we can ask republicans to do. They
have conceded every demand made on them. The only thing
that will stop power sharing is the determination of
unionists not to. And we will know their answer to that
question in a few short weeks after the election.

A no vote will be a clear message to both London and Dublin
that Northern Ireland as a separate political entity is
ungovernable and that the two governments will have to make
long-term alternative arrangements.

This is a road hopefully we will not need to go down.
Having come so far together it is not overly optimistic to
hope that soon we will have our own assembly back and
politicians can begin to work together on the big issues
that impact on people's lives now and in the future, not
exercise their political skill on reminding us of what
happened 10, 20 or 40 years ago.

It is vital that this new assembly does look forward and is
not dragged back into recriminations about the past.

How, then, do they handle the pain and hurt that still
dominates some people to the extent that their future
possibilities are still trapped in their past?

There has been endless talk of what might help move
everyone on together, whether it be a truth commission,
more judicial tribunals or something else. There are and
have been also many good projects supporting victims and

Understandably they have not achieved their full potential,
as such schemes tend to be localised and because of lack of
funding, short lived.

An assembly should be able to do better in future. Now that
we can have a fresh start it is imperative that our own
elected politicians make provision for remembering the
past, not by continuing to make this issue a political
football but by funding and properly funding, secular
society to enable us to make as much peace as possible with
our past.

The politicians will not have to look far for a vehicle to
take this sensitive issue forward. Healing Through
Remembering is a non-political, broadly representative
group working quietly since 2002 to find ways to help us
move forward.

Their recent report Making Peace with the Past, compiled
after opportunities for wide consultation, makes six
recommendations: establishment of a network linking
together and thus synergising all the diverse forms of
remembering work; a storytelling process collected from all
who want to tell of their experiences of the conflict - a
process standardised and recorded; a day of reflection,
serving as an universal gesture of recognition; a permanent
living memorial museum - a dynamic memorial to all those
affected by the conflict; acknowledgement - that all
organisations involved in the conflict including the
British and Irish states honestly and publicly acknowledge
responsibility for past political violence due to their
acts of omission or commission.

Obviously some of these recommendations, particularly the
last, will be more controversial than others but as Healing
through Remembering points out, successful implementation
will depend on correct timing and all-community support.

This organisation has now asked for all-party political
support .The new assembly should recognise its worth and
its work, acknowledge that making peace with the past is
our last outstanding major issue, fund Healing Through
Remembering properly and then ask it to take forward its
recommendations on all our behalf.


'Foreign' Rugby Invading Ireland's Hallowed Ground

Shawn Pogatchnik Dublin, Ireland
09 February 2007 09:34

For nearly a century, Ireland's patriotic guardians of
homegrown Gaelic games observed an inflexible rule: No
British sports permitted on the hallowed ground of Croke

That era ends on Sunday when Ireland and France take to the
field of the sold-out, 82 300-capacity stadium for a Six
Nations rugby clash.

France is being followed two weeks later by Ireland's
ancient enemy. The introduction of England at Croke Park,
accompanied by the British anthem God Save the Queen,
appears certain to mix past hatreds with modern passions in
what remains a cathedral for Irish nationalism.

"I never believed for one moment I would see it in my
lifetime," said former Ireland flyhalf Tony Ward. "The move
to Croke Park is full of symbolism and shows a young
country maturing in front of our eyes.

"The moment the band strikes up God Save the Queen before
the England match will be the moment the 'war' is
officially over."

The decision to open Croke Park to Six Nations rugby and,
next month, Ireland's national soccer team for European
Championship qualifiers involved years of bruising debate
within the Gaelic Athletic Association, the dominant sports
organisation of rural Ireland.

The GAA runs more than 2 000 clubs involving 350 000
players of Gaelic football and hurling. Both sports field
county-based teams of unpaid amateurs that battle for the
all-Ireland championships each September in Croke Park.

GAA strength is embodied in the past decade's ?260-million
($330-million) expansion of "Croker," on Dublin's gritty
north side, into one of Europe's biggest and most luxurious

But the GAA's rule 42 -- its 122-year-old ban on hosting
"foreign" games -- reflected deep-seated fears that
Gaelic's status as an amateur, intensely Irish institution
must be physically shielded from contact with big-money
international sports. That resonates in a country where
schools choose to play either Gaelic sports or rugby, not

Resistance to dumping rule 42 also was in keeping with
Croke Park's bloody place in the fight for independence
from Britain.

On November 21 1920, police and British troops stormed
Croke Park during a Dublin-Tipperary football match in a
supposed search for Irish Republican Army men who, that
morning, had shot to death a dozen British intelligence
agents in their Dublin homes. The day's competition was an
illegal fundraiser for the families of IRA suspects
imprisoned by the British.

Security-force personnel shot wildly into a fleeing crowd,
killing a dozen people, including Tipperary captain Michael

Two other fans were trampled to death on what became known
as Bloody Sunday.

Today, one side of Croke Park is named after Hogan. Plaques
honouring him and other Bloody Sunday dead adorn stadium

Some Irish fans have suggested adding banners that say
"Lest we forget" --a slogan normally associated with
British war memorials -- when England comes to town.

A 2001 GAA vote to drop the ban failed by a single ballot.
The step received strong backing in 2005 following
unprecedented pressure from the public and the government.

The catalyst was the pressing need to raze and redevelop
Ireland's other major stadium, 35 000-seat Lansdowne Road,
which closed to rugby and soccer for redevelopment three
months ago thanks to the Croke Park deal.

Had the GAA refused, Ireland's national soccer and rugby
teams would have been forced to play outside the country
and the GAA would have been pilloried as backward and

Instead, the already cash-rich organisation can collect 26%
of ticket sales, or more than ?1,5-million ($2-million) per
game, from the Irish Rugby Football Union and the Football
Association of Ireland into 2008 and, probably, beyond as
construction of the new 50 000-seat Lansdowne Road falls
behind schedule.

"We felt an obligation to help for the good of the country.
We do have a level of membership very unhappy with the
decision," said GAA president Nickey Brennan, who has
tickets to the rugby and soccer matches but has mixed
feelings about going.

"I'll be a stranger in my own stadium," he said. "If you'd
have asked me three or four years ago, I'd have said no

Ireland's rugby team -- the early favourites to win the Six
Nations crown versus France, England, Scotland, Wales and
Italy -- might feel like strangers, too.

A Gaelic pitch is 144m by 86m, while a rugby pitch measures
100m by 70m. The crowd will be more than double the usual
size and much farther away from the touch lines.

But the Irish say they will play with even more passion
because it's Croke Park.

"It's every Irish kid's dream to play at Croke Park no
matter what sporting background you're from," said Ireland
prop Marcus Horan. "We all had a great sense of pride just
walking into the place last week, and I think that pride is
going to be even greater against France."

The French get that, too.

"We understand it is the cradle of Irish sport, the heart
of Ireland in a way. A historic challenge is awaiting us at
Croke Park," said France captain Raphael Ibanez.

France fullback Clement Poitrenaud said the match would be
"in a new stadium, in a historic context, in an even more
highly charged atmosphere. I hope that our performance will
make it a historic sporting occasion as well." - Sapa-AP


Irish News Faces œ25,000 Libel Bill Over Review Of

[Published: Friday 9, February 2007 - 09:07]
By Ashleigh Wallace

The Irish News has been ordered to pay a restaurateur
œ25,000 after a jury found a review printed in the
newspaper about a west Belfast eatery to be defamatory.

The Belfast newspaper printed a review of Goodfellas
restaurant, written by esteemed food critic Caroline
Workman, in a Saturday edition in August 2000. The review
of the Kennedy Way restaurant criticised the quality of
food and drink, the staff and the smoky atmosphere. She
gave it a rating of one mark out of a possible five.

Owner Ciarnan Convery, a former taxi driver who opened the
restaurant in 1991, claimed the article was a "hatchet job"
and launched a libel action against the Irish News.

The case was opened at the High Court in Belfast last week
and has been heard in front of Mr Justice Coghlin.

Mr Convery's legal team claimed the review was defamatory,
damaging and hurtful and said the Irish News has failed to
apologise or print a retraction. The claim was denied by
the newspaper with its legal team pleading justification
and fair comment.

The jury of four men and three women deliberated the action
for an hour and a half yesterday before returning with a
unanimous verdict concluding the review contained
defamatory comments.

The jury also said the Irish News should pay Mr Convery
œ25,000 damages plus court costs. Following the verdict, an
Irish News spokesman said: "We have instructed our lawyers
to launch an immediate appeal," while Mr Convery expressed
his delight at the ruling.

The Belfast businessman said: "I think justice has been
done. Goodfellas is a successful business and today's
verdict has proved to me, my staff and my customers that we
did the right thing by launching the libel action."

c Belfast Telegraph

Muintir na Tire Founder Commemorated

Fri, Feb 09, 2007

Canon John Hayes, founder of Muintir na T¡re will be
commemorated today by Taoiseach Bertie Ahern.

The 50th anniversary of the death of Canon Hayes will be
marked in Bansha in Co Tipperary where he served as parish
priest from 1947 until his death in 1957. Mr Ahern will
today lay a wreath at Canon Hayes' grave in Bansha
graveyard during a constituency tour.

Muintir na T¡re - an umbrella organisation of community
groups - now has 1,220 active branches across Ireland.

Event spokesman Martin Quinn said: "Canon Hayes inspired
communities to pursue their own local social, economic,
environmental and cultural development.

"He promoted a form of patriotism based on self-reliance,
neighbourliness and community spirit in serving the common

"He challenged people of local communities to put aside
their apathy and become involved in local activities aimed
at improving the quality of life for all.

"In Bansha, he spearheaded many initiatives including Rural
Electrification, the Parish Plan for Agriculture and the
setting up of small industry like the Bansha Jam Factory."

Canon Hayes was born in a Land League hut in Murroe, Co
Limerick in 1887.

Five of his brothers and sisters died of malnutrition and
disease before he reached seven years of age.

He was educated at the Jesuit College in Limerick and began
studying for the priesthood in St Patrick's College,

In 1907 he went to the Irish College in Paris where he was
ordained in 1913. From 1915 to 1924 Fr Hayes worked in
Liverpool before returning home.

c 2007


Bacon Painting Fetches ?21.2m In London

Thursday, 8 February 2007 22:29

A papal portrait by Irish painter Francis Bacon has been
sold at Christie's in London for ?21.2m.

It is a record for a work by Bacon sold at auction. The
painting - entitled 'Study For Portrait II' - has not been
seen in public for over 40 years. The identity of the new
owner is not known.

The hammer price was ?18.9m, but the auction house's
commission brought the total purchase price to ?21,198,240.

The painting, which was completed in 1956 and
is one of a series papal portraits, is said to be the most
important work by Francis Bacon to come on the open market.

It has always been held in private hands, and the
successful bidder left tonight without wishing to be

Francis Bacon was born in Baggot Street in Dublin in 1909
and brought up in Co Wicklow. He left Ireland when he was
in his teens. He died in Madrid in 1992.


Way Cleared For Harris Statue In Kilkee

Thursday, 8 February 2007 17:08

An Bord Plean la has cleared the way for the construction
of a statue of the late actor Richard Harris at Kilkee, Co

The proposal from the Richard Harris Memorial Committee had
been passed by Clare County Council last August.

Today the board rejected an appeal against that decision,
subject to two conditions.

An Bord Plean la said the proposed development
would not impact upon the character of the architectural
conservation area or of any protected structure.

It also said the statue would not detract from the visual
amenities of the area or the residential amenities of
adjoining properties and would be acceptable in terms of
traffic safety and convenience.


Cliffs Of Moher Go Hollywood

By Staff Reporter

HOLLYWOOD-STYLE technology will draw one million visitors a
year to the Cliffs of Moher, it was predicted yesterday.

An underground visitor centre will use computer-generated
imagery to showcase the 418-metre (1,370ft) crag
overhanging the Atlantic Sea in Co Clare.

Viewers will be taken on a sensory virtual reality trip as
life-size gulls swoop down the majestic cliffs while whales
and dolphins swim underwater.

"The audiovisual experience will help visitors become one
with the nature of the Cliffs of Moher," a spokeswoman

Outside paths have been improved and new viewing platforms
built as part of the E31.4 million (œ21 million) facility.

A team of rangers has been hired to patrol the cliff edge
area, which is eight kilometres (five miles) long.

More than 900,000 people visited the attraction last year
but tourism officials have said they expect the figure to
top one million this year.

The regional tourism authority Shannon Development said the
centre would help to sell Co Clare and the Shannon region
as a "must-visit" holiday destination.

The cliffs are close to the Burren region, famous for its
ancient rocky terrain of dolmens, ring forts and megalithic

"We are confident of improving on the reputation of the
Cliffs of Moher as an iconic tourism attraction for
Ireland," Shannon Development spokesman John King said.

The ambitious project was financed through the European
Regional Development Fund under the Irish government's
National Development Plan.

The facility was designed by Reddy O'Riordan Staehli
Architects and constructed by the Co Kildare-based firm
Rohcon Ltd.

Last week the local council was forced to license buskers
after visitors had complained about the quality of the
traditional Irish music.

Coach drivers protested at the site yesterday over a
proposed increase in parking charges.

Planning for the visitor centre began 15 years ago.

A competition to design it was held in 1993. Construction
began in 2005.

Clare County Council is campaigning for the cliffs to be
designated a Unesco World Heritage Site.

Taoiseach Bertie Ahern officially opened the new centre.

"We can only marvel at the natural phenomenon of the
majestic Cliffs of Moher as they stand like a giant
cathedral on our western shore facing the broad Atlantic,"
he said.

"The visitor centre represents a major enhancement of this
place where land meets ocean, the wind meets the sky and we
see the majesty and power of nature in all its glory.

"It is a special place which has drawn visitors over the
centuries and will continue to do so in the future thanks
to the initiative of those who have made this project

The taoiseach unveiled a commemorative plaque at the
centre's main entrance and was taken on a tour of the

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