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February 13, 2007

ILIR Sets Up Working Group in Ireland

News about Ireland & the Irish

IT 02/14/04 Lobby Group Set Up For Irish In US
BB 02/13/07 Poll Candidate Line-Up Revealed
IT 02/14/07 6 RSF Candidates To Stand In Assembly Election
IT 02/14/07 Constituency Profile: Lagan Valley - 6 Seats
IT 02/14/07 DUP Deputy Rejects UKUP Remarks
IT 02/14/07 Huge Donaldson Vote Could Rebound On DUP
IT 02/14/07 PSNI Praises SF Support
IT 02/13/07 Opin: Elections In The North
IT 02/14/07 Hostility To Travellers Is Worst In 30 Years
IT 02/14/07 Polluted Galway 'Swamp' To Be Treated


Lobby Group Set Up For Irish In US

Denis Staunton in Washington
Wed, Feb 14, 2007

Campaigners on behalf of undocumented Irish citizens in the
United States are setting up a working group in Ireland to
increase awareness of the issue.

The Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform (ILIR) will hold a
public meeting in Dublin on April 14th for relatives and
friends of illegal immigrants in the US to get involved in
the campaign for immigration reform.

ILIR chairman Niall O'Dowd said the group had received
numerous requests from the families of undocumented
immigrants for an opportunity to become involved in the

"We know the trauma every family suffers at the sight of an
empty chair at family functions like weddings, funerals,
birthdays and the desire they have for their children to be
present. Now they can play a significant role in creating
an issue of this in Ireland at a vital time of importance
for Irish immigrants as the immigration debate comes front
and centre in America," he said.

Last November's Democratic victory in US congressional
elections has revived hopes of legislation that would allow
most of the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants to
remain in the US legally and eventually apply for

ILIR estimates that there are 50,000 undocumented Irish
citizens in the US, although US authorities say the number
is closer to 5,000.

The US president George Bush has promised to work with the
Democratic majority in Congress to introduce comprehensive
immigration reform and ILIR is holding a series of rallies
across the US to maintain pressure on legislators.

The group will hold rallies in Philadelphia and Boston
later this month and in Washington DC next month.

c 2007 The Irish Times


Poll Candidate Line-Up Revealed

Nearly 250 candidates are standing in the Northern Ireland
Assembly election on 7 March.

The poll will elect 108 Members of the Legislative Assembly
across 18 constituencies.

The government hopes the March election will set the scene
for a return to devolution. A power-sharing executive is
due to be formed on 26 March.

The Electoral Office has published the list of candidates
on their website. Their address is:

Election on 7 March
108 MLAs across 18 constituencies (see below)
Power-sharing must be restored by 26 March

There are 46 DUP candidates, 38 Ulster Unionist, 37 Sinn
Fein, 35 SDLP and 18 Alliance candidates.

There are also 13 UKUP candidates - which includes the
party leader standing in six different constituencies - 13
Green Party, nine Conservative and six Workers Party

Also running are three Progressive Unionist Party
candidates and two for the Socialist Party.

There is one candidate each for the following parties:
Labour, Make Politicians History, People before Profit,
Pro-capitalism, Social Environmental Alliance and UKIP.

There are 26 independent candidates, which includes six
Republican Sinn Fein candidates. They are being treated by
the Electoral Office as independents, because they are not
registered as a political party.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2007/02/13 22:48:09 GMT

NI Assembly election candidates

The full list of candidates in the Northern Ireland
Assembly election on 7 March is published below.

The names are listed alphabetically in all 18


Anderson John IND
Bailey Mark GP
Beggs Roy UUP
Dawson Thomas DUP
Dickson Stewart AP
Dunn Mark UUP
Hilditch David DUP
Lewis Tim CON
McMullan Oliver SF
Neeson Sean AP
O'Connor Daniel SDLP
Robinson Ken UUP
Robinson Thomas UKUP
Wilson Sammy DUP


Agnew Steven GP
Bell Joseph WP
Black Thomas SOC
Browne Wallace DUP
Chambers Glyn CON
Copeland Michael UUP
Empey Reg UUP
George Rainbow MPH
Long Naomi AP
Muldoon Mary SDLP
Newton Robin DUP
O'Donnghaile Niall SF
Purvis Dawn PUP
Robinson Peter DUP
Rodgers Jim UUP


Beattie Orla SDLP
Brolly Francie SF
Campbell Gregory DUP
Cubitt Joseph UKUP
Dallat John SDLP
Fitzpatrick Bernard AP
Hillis Norman UUP
Leonard Billy SF
McClarty David UUP
McGonigle Michael IND
McQuillan Adrian DUP
Moison Phillippe GP
Robinson George DUP
Stevenson Edwin UUP


Currie Vincent SDLP
Donaldson Kenneth UUP
Elliott Tom UUP
Foster Arlene DUP
Gallagher Tommy SDLP
Gildernew Michelle SF
Leonard Allan AP
Lynch Sean SF
McCartney Robert UKUP
McGeough Gerry IND
McHugh Gerry SF
McManus Michael IND
Morrow Maurice DUP


Anderson Martina SF
Boyle Yvonne AP
Bradley Mary SDLP
Corry Adele GP
Durkan Mark SDLP
Fleming Lynn SF
Frazer William IND
Hay William DUP
McCann Eamonn SEA
McCartney Raymond SF
Munce Peter UUP
O'Hara Peggy IND
Quigley Helen SDLP
Ramsey Pat SDLP


Bell Billy UUP
Butler Paul SF
Craig David DUP
Crawford Ronnie UUP
Donaldson Jeffrey DUP
Farrell Marietta SDLP
Givan Paul DUP
Johnston Neil CON
Lunn Trevor AP
Magee John WP
McCartney Robert UKUP
McCrea Basil UUP
Poots Edwin DUP
Rogan Michael GP


Armstrong William UUP
Forde Elizabeth DUP
Hutchinson Harry IND
Lagan Kathleen SDLP
Marshall Margaret AP
McCrea William DUP
McGlone Patrick SDLP
McGuinness Martin SF
McLaughlin Brendan IND
Millar Walter UKUP
Molloy Francis SF
O'Neill Michelle SF


Berry Paul IND
Boylan Cathal SF
Bradley Dominic SDLP
Brady Mickey SF
Frazer William IND
Haughey Sharon SDLP
Hendron M ire AP
Hyland Davy IND
Irwin William DUP
Kennedy Danny UUP
Morgan Arthur GP
Murphy Conor SF


Black Orla SDLP
Coulter Robert UUP
Cubitt Lyle UKUP
Dunlop Jayne AP
Gregg James IND
McGlinchey Paul IND
McKay Daithi SF
Nelson Deirdre DUP
O'Loan Declan SDLP
Paisley Ian DUP
Paisley Ian Jnr DUP
Storey Mervyn DUP
Swann Robert UUP


Cobain Fred UUP
Convery Pat SDLP
Dodds Nigel DUP
Emerson Peter GP
George Rainbow MPH
Humphrey William DUP
Kelly Gerard SF
Lavery John WP
Maginness Alban SDLP
McCartney Robert UKUP
McCausland Nelson DUP
McCord Raymond IND
McCullough Thomas AP
Ni Chuilin Caral SF


Carter Christopher IND
Chambers Alan IND
Cree Robin UUP
Easton Alexander DUP
Farry Stephen AP
Graham Robert DUP
Leslie James CON
Logan William SDLP
Martin Elaine PUP
McCartney Robert UKUP
McFarland Alan UUP
Page Deaglan SF
Rowan Brian IND
Smith Marion UUP
Weir Peter DUP
Wilson Brian GP


Burns Thomas SDLP
Burnside David UUP
Clarke Trevor DUP
Delaney Marcella WP
Ford David AP
Kinahan Daniel de Burgh UUP
Lucas Mel DUP
McCartney Robert UKUP
McClelland Noreen SDLP
McCrea William DUP
McLaughlin Mitchel SF
Nicholl Stephen UUP
O'Brien Stephen CON
Whitcroft Pete GP


Barbour James SOC
Birnie Esmond UUP
Cooke Brenda GP
George Rainbow MPH
Hanna Carmel SDLP
Hoey David UKUP
Lo Anna AP
Lomas Roger CON
Lynn Patrick WP
Maskey Alex SF
McDonnell Alasdair SDLP
McGimpsey Michael UUP
Park Andrew PUP
Smyth Charles PROC
Spratt Jimmy DUP
Stalford Christopher DUP
Stoker Bob UUP
Wilson Geoffrey IND


Bowles Peter CON
Bradley PJ SDLP
Burns William DUP
Carr Michael SDLP
Clarke William SF
Cunningham Martin IND
Curran Malachi LAB
Griffin David AP
McCallister John UUP
McConvey Eamonn SF
Mussen Ciaran GP
Reilly Henry UKIP
Ritchie Margaret SDLP
Ruane Caitriona SF
Wells Jim DUP
Wharton Frederick UKUP


Boyle Joe SDLP
Carson Angus UUP
Ennis George UKUP
Gregg David IND
Hamilton Simon DUP
Henderson Michael UUP
Kennedy Dermot SF
Little Robert CON
McCarthy Kieran AP
McIlveen Michelle DUP
McNarry David UUP
Robinson Iris DUP
Shannon Richard DUP
Sim Stephanie GP
Wilson Cedric IND


Calvert David IND
Corry Helen GP
Fry David CON
Gardiner Samuel UUP
Hatch George UUP
Kelly Dolores SDLP
McAleenan Patrick SDLP
McCrum John (Junior) DUP
McQuaid Sheila AP
Moutray Stephen DUP
O'Dowd John SF
Peeples Suzanne IND
Savage George UUP
Simpson David DUP
Toman Barry IND
Ward Desmond SF


Adams Gerry SF
Attwood Alexander SDLP
Dodds Diane DUP
George Rainbow MPH
Lowry John WP
Maskey Paul SF
McCann Fra SF
McCann Jennifer SF
McGuinness Daniel AP
Mitchell Sean PBP
Ramsey Sue SF
Taylor Geraldine IND
Walsh Margaret SDLP
West Louis UUP


Bresland Allan DUP
Buchanan Thomas DUP
Deehan Josephine SDLP
Deeny Kieran IND
Doherty Pat SF
Hussey Derek UUP
McCartney Robert UKUP
McElduff Barry SF
McGill Claire SF
McMenamin Eugene SDLP
O'Neill Joseph IND
Shields Seamus SDLP


Six RSF Candidates To Stand In Assembly Election

Gerry Moriarty, Northern Editor
Wed, Feb 14, 2007

Republican Sinn F‚in (RSF) announced yesterday that it is
running six candidates in the Assembly elections and will
be directly challenging Sinn F‚in leaders such as Gerry
Adams, Martin McGuinness and Pat Doherty.

Ruair¡ O Br daigh, who formed Republican Sinn F‚in after
the 1986 Sinn F‚in Ardfheis, under the direction of Mr
Adams and Mr McGuinness, decided to end its electoral
abstentionist policies, said candidates would be
campaigning under the banner of "Smash Stormont".

Mr O Br daigh, who is president of RSF, which is linked to
the Continuity IRA, accused Mr Adams and Mr McGuinness of
abandoning key republican principles such as a rejection of
Stormont and the PSNI, and the IRA refusal to decommission.

"They are rapidly becoming indistinguishable from the SDLP
and ultimately from unionists, with a small U," he said in
west Belfast yesterday.

"What the Provisional leadership is doing is in direct
conflict with the 1916 proclamation of the Republic and
with the declaration of independence of the first (all-
Ireland) D il. Their recent decisions also conflict with
the high ideals for which so many men and women of all
creeds have struggled, suffered and died over the
centuries," he added.

Mr O Br daigh, who is not one of the six candidates, said
that republicans had a right to bear arms to compel Britain
to leave Ireland. "We uphold the right of the Irish people.
President Bush, no friend of ours, has said that every
country is entitled to defend itself. Well, surely the
Irish people are entitled to defend themselves. Are they
the only people on the face of the earth that do not enjoy
that right?" he added.

He said "when elected" RSF Assembly members would not take
their seats. Candidates were receiving a good reception
from voters. Republican Sinn F‚in is not registered as a
party, however, and the RSF party name will not appear
alongside the names of the six candidates.

Among the candidates is Joe O'Neill from Bundoran, Co
Donegal who was one of the senior Sinn F‚in figures who
walked away from the party after the 1986 ardfheis. He will
challenge Sinn F‚in MP Pat Doherty in West Tyrone. He was
dismissive of the Adams/McGuinness leadership and believed
he had a good chance in the election.

"First of all you have true republicans and the people who
sold out republicanism, and that's our former friends. We
are asking for the true republicans to come out and uphold
this principle of republicanism, which is a free and united
Ireland, and non-sectarian," he said.

Former IRA H-Block hunger striker Brendan McLaughlin, who
is confined to a wheelchair after suffering a stroke in
1999, is standing against Mr McGuinness in Mid-Ulster. He
said the hunger strikers "died for nothing" as a result of
Sinn F‚in's current policies. Mr McGuinness was not a true
republican. "Ireland unfree shall never be at peace," he

Former internee during the early 1970s Geraldine Taylor is
running against Mr Adams in West Belfast. "The Provos did
not solve the problems," she said. "They are now part of
the problem by administering British rule here." Former IRA
prisoner Michael McManus from Lisnaskea, Co Fermanagh, is
standing in Fermanagh South-Tyrone where independent
republican Gerry McGeough is also running against Sinn

Dungiven RSF member Michael McGonigle is standing in East
Derry while former prisoner Barry Toman is running in Upper

c 2007 The Irish Times


Constituency Profile: Lagan Valley - 6 Seats

Dan Keenan
Wed, Feb 14, 2007

OUTGOING MEMBERS (first preference votes, %)

Jeffrey Donaldson (UUP, now DUP) 14,104 (34.2% )
*Edwin Poots (DUP) 5,175 (12.5%)
*S‚amus Close (Alliance) 4,408 (10.7%)
*Patricia Lewsley (SDLP) 3,133 (7.6%)
*Billy Bell (UUP) 2,782 (6.7%)
Norah Beare (UUP, now DUP) 1,508 (3.7%)

*Denotes those elected to Assembly in 1998


NATIONALIST BATTLEGROUND- The SDLP did well here in 2003 to
retain its sole Assembly seat against the rising Sinn F‚in
vote. Good council and Westminster elections since then
have given Sinn F‚in fresh confidence that the sole
nationalist quota in this constituency is finally in its
reach. A registration drive by Sinn F‚in in new housing
developments close to Twinbrook boosted that confidence.

The SDLP has lost its high profile incumbent, Patricia
Lewsley, and her less well-known replacement, Marietta
Farrell, will be hard pushed to fend off a strong challenge
from Sinn F‚in's Paul Butler.

The retirement of Alliance stalwart S‚amus Close makes this
seat very unpredictable. He attracted a considerable
personal vote from both unionists and nationalists and it
is anyone's guess where, if anywhere, the Alliance vote
will go.

UNIONIST BATTLEGROUND- This was once the most predictable
and safe Ulster Unionist constituency in Northern Ireland -
but that was before Jeffrey Donaldson's defection to the
Democratic Unionist Party less than a month after the 2003
Assembly election.

This transformed the seat from one where the UUP had a
fighting chance of a fourth seat to one were the DUP now
finds itself in that situation.

Donaldson has a massive personal vote, but the DUP will
only maximise its representation here if the first
preferences are shared out among the four candidates.

It is simply not known if unionist-inclined Alliance voters
who opted for S‚amus Close in the past will stay with the
party or stray.

WILD CARD- With targeted Alliance and SDLP seats, there are
too many variable factors in play to make safe predictions.
The DUP could manage its vote successfully and take a
fourth seat - or the Ulster Unionists could recover enough
to reclaim a second.

At least one party has to take a hit at this election and
the SDLP looks most likely to suffer at this stage.
However, if Alliance loses out because of the retirement of
its long-established candidate, Close, the votes could
scatter, possibly saving the SDLP or helping to push a
second Ulster Unionist over the line.

c 2007 The Irish Times


DUP Deputy Rejects UKUP Remarks

Gerry Moriarty and Scott Jamison
Wed, Feb 14, 2007

DUP deputy leader Peter Robinson has castigated UKUP leader
Robert McCartney over comments he made in yesterday's Irish
Timesabout his wish to see the DUP vote splintered so that
Sinn F‚in would win more seats than the DUP.

In such an eventuality Sinn F‚in's Martin McGuinness would
be entitled to the first minister post rather than DUP
leader, the Rev Ian Paisley.

Mr McCartney said he would welcome such an outcome because
in practical terms it would mean that devolution would not
be feasible because unionists would not tolerate Mr
McGuinness as first minister.

His comments infuriated Mr Robinson. "Robert McCartney's
publicly confessed aim in this election is to split the
unionist vote and ensure Sinn F‚in becomes the largest
party," he said.

He added that anyone proposing fragmenting the unionist
vote must be given their "marching orders".

"By the end of this campaign either the DUP or Sinn F‚in
will be the largest political party in the Assembly. It is
vital unionists mobilise to stop Sinn F‚in achieving their
ambition of becoming the largest party in the province," he

In an implicit reference to Mr McCartney acting as the
rallying focus and effective leader of unionist opposition
to the DUP, Mr Robinson said: "a vote for fringe or
independent candidates in this election endangers the
unionist majority in a future executive".

"The DUP is the only party capable of winning more seats in
this election, thus preventing and frustrating the Sinn
F‚in strategy to become the largest party in Northern
Ireland," he added.

Assembly candidate Anna Lo meanwhile called for the "Berlin
Wall" of segregation to be knocked down in Northern
Irelannd. Ms Lo, who is standing in South Belfast, said
local taxpayers would be shocked at the financial waste
segregation brings, which she put at œ1 billion (?1.492

"If we had one integrated school instead of two segregated
ones, we could save vast amounts of money and reinvest the
cash saved into other key services," she said yesterday.

"Segregation is seriously damaging our economy," said Ms
Lo. "Nowhere else in the UK does the government provide two
separate sets of services so that people remain

Gerry Kelly, Sinn F‚in North Belfast candidate, reiterated
that republicans should assist in convicting the killers of
Short Strand man Robert McCartney.

On BBC Radio Ulster's Talkback programme yesterday Mr Kelly
was challenged by Mr McCartney's sister Catherine to make
clear Sinn F‚in's approach regarding her brother's murder.

Mr Kelly responded by saying: "People should bring forward
information [ about the McCartney murder] and should do it
without delay."

One of the major issues in the election regards water
charges, beginning April 1st, and thus far it seems to be
an issue that unites all parties. Esmond Birnie, UUP
candidate for South Belfast, has called for a change in the

c 2007 The Irish Times


Huge Donaldson Vote Could Rebound On DUP

Wed, Feb 14, 2007

Only in Northern politics could one of the most predictable
unionist constituencies transform itself into one of the
most volatile, writes Dan Keenan, Northern News Editor, in

For this, one has to thank Jeffrey Donaldson, once the
holder of the prized largest vote in the Ulster Unionist
Party. These days he is the standard-bearer for the DUP and
doing much the same job at the polls for Ian Paisley's

Yet for all that, Lagan Valley could provide the surprises
in the 48 hours after polling closes on March 7th.

Overwhelmingly unionist, this constituency also has a
single nationalist quota and a dogged Alliance presence.
There isn't room for a rising DUP vote, a UUP revival, a
Sinn F‚in gain or for the Alliance candidate to retain the
personal vote of his predecessor. Something will have to

The DUP is housed in red-brick splendour in Lisburn city
centre, with Jeffrey Donaldson's immaculate office at its
core. His new party must ensure that his monopoly on first
preferences doesn't cost the party the fourth seat it

Paul Givan (25) is one of the bright young things of the
DUP who is not satisfied with winning a council seat last
year. He wants Stormont.

Affable and clear-headed, he'll tell you why it's the DUP
and not the Ulster Unionists that is attracting a new
generation of politicos born during the hunger strikes.

"I looked at Peter Robinson, Gregory Campbell, Nigel Dodds
and Sammy Wilson. Compare them to the likes of Ken
Maginnis, John Taylor - and I said 'Nah'." For him and his
pragmatic brand of politics there's no crisis of conscience
in sharing power with Sinn F‚in. He doesn't like it - but
he'll do it. He is anxious to get on with things, though
there's a slight worry. There is a canvass this evening -
but no party literature. It's a problem, but it's a laugh
too. He's enjoying it. David Trimble lives in this
constituency too. His door will be knocked. It'll be fun.

No such problems a short distance away in Twinbrook -
M ir‚ad Farrell House to be precise - where Sinn F‚in's
Paul Butler is organising his next door-to-door swoop.

His campaign leaflet is gloriously simple - "Sinn F‚in is
the largest nationalist party in Lagan Valley," it
proclaims - a fact illustrated with a stark graph. "Paul
Butler is the only nationalist who can win the seat." It's
as complicated as that.

The former prison buddy of Bobby Sands now has no war to
fight. The task at hand is an electoral battle and his
natural modesty and common sense mean he will not say it is
over and won.

But the untold truth is that he could be sent to Stormont,
possibly at the expense of the SDLP, who must fight this
seat with a newcomer candidate in Marietta Farrell.

The other parties say they have no idea where the votes of
Alliance pillar S‚amus Close will go. He's retiring after
more than 30 years of flying the party's colours.

Trevor Lunn, currently Lisburn's mayor, is a good
candidate, the thinking runs, but that is no guarantee that
all of Close's voters will stay. His party insists

"It's an Alliance vote, not a Close vote," is the firm
advice. "The two of them worked very closely as part of a
team. Alliance is the only alternative to tribalism, the
only ones delivering a shared future and standing against a

Like the DUP, the Ulster Unionists' Basil McCrea is eyeing
the S‚amus Close vote, hoping enough of his supporters will
spark a revival for his party after the reversal of the
Donaldson defection.

He calculates his party has "about 1.6 quotas".

"The evidence is that if you get to 1.7, then you will
probably get the extra seat." He hopes his better-
established image, his campaigning stance on rates and at
least some disenchantment with "the DUP U-turn" will add
that vital 0.1 to the Ulster Unionist total. There will be
some cheer if they pull it off.

c 2007 The Irish Times


PSNI Praises SF Support

Scott Jamison
Wed, Feb 14, 2007

Police have praised Sinn F‚in's support in their
investigation of a murder in Newry.

Chief Supt Bobby Hunniford said local Sinn F‚in councillor
Marian Matters's comments in support of the Police Service
of Northern Ireland's inquiries about the murder of taxi
driver Stiofan Loughran were an example of improving
police-community relationships.

"We have acknowledged the co-operation which police
received, from a variety of individuals, groups and
community representatives. Sinn F‚in are included in those
who called for support, and indeed I have had assistance
from many political parties," said the chief

"I thank the local representative for the statement that
she made because it made our job on the ground a lot easier
and enabled us to deal with a very difficult situation in a
much more normal manner and have it resolved at the scene a
lot quicker," he added.

Mr Loughran, who was 41 and a father-of-four, died after
being stabbed in the Derrybeg estate on February 8th. An
18-year-old man is on remand charged with his murder.

c 2007 The Irish Times


Opin: Elections In The North

Tue, Feb 13, 2007

Northern Ireland has embarked upon a two-step political
process that may, or may not, result in a devolved
government by March 27th. The Irish and British governments
formally set out their views about what should happen in
the St Andrews Agreement. But, with an election three weeks
away, there is still no certainty the Democratic Unionist
Party will share power with Sinn F‚in.

The leadership of the DUP is being challenged by internal
and external critics and Ian Paisley has come under
considerable pressure. So far, careful management has
focused attention on the election itself and on the
necessity to gain seats in order to deny Sinn F‚in and
Martin McGuinness the position of first minister. But that
strategy may become difficult to sustain as the Ulster
Unionist Party, the Alliance Party and the UK Unionist
Party seek to establish what precisely the DUP intends to
do with its mandate.

There are indications Dr Paisley is prepared to confront
those who are opposed to a deal with Sinn F‚in. Having
indicated a willingness to accept the position of first
minister and declared he would not be found wanting if Sinn
F‚in endorsed the PSNI and actively encouraged full co-
operation with the criminal justice system, the DUP leader
said it would be up to the electorate to decide the issue.
Resistance to power-sharing within the party has been met
by requirements that candidates sign pre-election pledges
and resignation letters that may be invoked in future
disciplinary hearings. In spite of that, however, five DUP
councillors have broken ranks while half of its Westminster
MPs have expressed varying levels of opposition.

Sinn F‚in has already made difficult pre-election choices
through support for the PSNI and the criminal justice
system. The public consultation process that preceded that
exercise has, according to observers, energised the party
while marginalising dissidents. Sinn F‚in is expected to
consolidate its position as the largest nationalist party
and, with a powersharing executive and implementation of
the Belfast Agreement on offer, it could extend its lead
over the SDLP. Some hardcore resistance remains, however,
and Republican Sinn F‚in will launch a spoiling,
abstentionist campaign today.

Winning the election on March 7th would only be a first
step for the DUP. After that, Dr Paisley will have three
weeks in which to convince his party to share power or, in
the words of the British prime minister Tony Blair, to
waste a once-in-a-generation opportunity to make lasting
peace. It will be a difficult time. But, if the DUP polls
well, it can argue from a position of increased strength
for the establishment of devolved government, as an
alternative to seeing Plan B being introduced over the
heads of the electorate. In that situation, support would
be forthcoming from the major parties. The opportunity now
being offered to voters has the capacity to transform the
political landscape in Northern Ireland.

c 2007 The Irish Times


Hostility To Travellers Is Worst In 30 Years, Says Priest

Alison Healy
Wed, Feb 14, 2007

Public hostility to Travellers is worse now than it was 30
years ago, Fr Pat Cogan, head of the Respond voluntary
housing association, said yesterday.

He also expressed concern at the low take-up of second-
level education among male Travellers. Fr Cogan was
speaking at the introduction of Respond's new Traveller
accommodation and support policy. Respond has identified
Traveller accommodation as one of its priorities for the
future and has appointed a Traveller accommodation officer
whose sole responsibility will be to work with Travellers
and Traveller organisations.

Fr Cogan was a chaplain to Travellers in Ennis in the 1970s
and he said that while life for Travellers had improved in
many ways since then, it had disimproved in other ways.
"Life for the Travellers, though it was difficult at that
time, was better than it is now because they didn't suffer,
I suppose, as much of the public display of antipathy that
is quite evident nowadays," he said.

Fr Cogan said the Traveller and settled communities were
"too quick to blame each other" and were not looking
realistically at the problems posed by Traveller
accommodation programmes.

"There are between 2,000 to 3,000 Travelling families still
in inadequate accommodation," Fr Cogan said. Life
expectancy of female Travellers was 12 years less than
females from the settled community while males died ten
years earlier, he said. The take-up of primary education
was developing "very well" but second-level education was
still very poor, particularly among male Travellers.

Former Olympic boxer Francis Barrett launched Respond's new
policy and said he believed the problems faced by
Travellers seeking accommodation had improved somewhat in
recent years.

c 2007 The Irish Times


Polluted Galway 'Swamp' To Be Treated

Lorna Siggins, Western Correspondent
Wed, Feb 14, 2007

A contaminated park on Galway city's seafront may be
"capped" with thousands of tonnes of top soil as a public
health measure.

A preliminary risk assessment of South Park, also known as
the "swamp", on the Claddagh recommends covering parts of
the 12-hectare area with about half a metre of soil.

City councillors have been informed that levels of arsenic
and copper are not as high as originally estimated, but
lead contamination in the northern end of the area will
have to be treated before sports clubs and schools can use
pitches there again.

South Park was closed in December as a precautionary
measure after it emerged that an NUI Galway researcher had
uncovered high levels of heavy metals. The local authority
was criticised by several of its own councillors when it
was confirmed that it had been given the information some
months previously. The park, on reclaimed land, had
originally been used as a landfill up to the 1950s.

The Health Service Executive (HSE) West advised the public
not to collect or eat shellfish from the Claddagh area as a
precautionary measure, while independent analyses were
taking place. Schools and sports clubs using pitches were
advised to find alternatives, but public walkways across
the park have not been closed.

City councillors were presented with the findings of the
preliminary risk assessment by Tobin consulting engineers
this week, and a final report is expected by the end of
this month according to Kevin Swift, senior engineer with
Galway City Council.

No decision on remedial measures will be taken until this
final report is presented to councillors, but it is
anticipated that it will also recommend capping the
affected areas, he said.

c 2007 The Irish Times

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