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February 10, 2007

O'Caolain Admitted To Hospital

News about Ireland & the Irish

BT 02/10/07 O’Caolain Admitted To Hostpital
IN 02/10/07 Suicide Loyalist Believed To Be Finucane Killer
IN 02/10/07 Finucane: Mural To Honour Murdered Solicitor
SF 02/10/07 SF Seeks Summit On Collusion
SF 02/10/07 Irish Govt Must Lift Lid On Collusion
AP 02/10/07 Irish Needs To Take Head Out Of Sand - Doolan
EX 02/10/07 Relatives Of Victims Stage Collusion Conference
UH 02/10/07 Hussey: Collusion Allegations Were Unfounded
SF 02/10/07 SF Will Not Permit DUP Veto Over Change
UH 02/10/07 Plan B Not Best Option For Republicans- Doherty
IN 02/10/07 Republicans Need Support To Join Police
BB 02/09/07 Paisley 'A Political Rough Rider'
BN 02/09/07 Paisley Buoyant At Launch Of Election Campaign
BT 02/10/07 DUP 'Founding Father' Quits
IV 02/09/07 Irish In Fight Over Illegal Immigration
BB 02/10/07 Orange Order Gives Hain Dossier
IN 02/10/07 PSNI Links To GAA ‘Should Be Notified’
BT 02/10/07 Loyalists's Bid To Prevent A Retrial Adjourned
BB 02/10/07 Durkan Clarifies Controversial Ad
IN 02/10/07 Opin: Restrictions Undermine Their Usefulness
BT 02/10/07 Croker Ready To Write New Chapter In History
IT 02/10/07 Preparations For Historic Rugby Clash
IT 02/10/07 Feature: The Croker Conversion
IT 02/10/07 Feature: Anna Nicole - No More Blonde Ambition
IT 02/10/07 Feature: Can't Get Enough Of Your Love
BT 02/10/07 Artist Benedict Kiely Dies Aged 87
BB 02/10/07 Lifetime Award For TV's Gay Byrne
RT 02/10/07 Cork Donnelly’s Bakery Set To Close


Sinn Fein TD Admitted To Hostpital

[Published: Friday 9, February 2007 - 15:04]

It's reported that the Sinn F‚in TD for Cavan/Monaghan,
Caoimhghin O'Caolain, has been admitted to hospital.

Sources at Monaghan General Hospital are unable to confirm
if the TD and Sinn F‚in leader in the D il is being treated
for a heart scare.

Mr O'Caolain, who lives in Monaghan town, has been an
elected representative for the past twenty years and the
first Sinn F‚in T-D elected to the D il after the 1997
General Election.

c Belfast Telegraph


Suicide Loyalist Believed To Be Finucane Killer

By Allison Morris

A loyalist gunman who died by suicide had escaped a
conviction for the murder of a Catholic father-of-three in
1990 despite his then girlfriend giving evidence against

The body of Mark Barr was discovered at a football pitch in
Forthriver Road, north Belfast, on Wednesday.

Police are not treating his death as suspicious.

Barr, originally from the lower Shankill, was always
believed to have been the second gunman involved in the
shooting of Pat Finucane.

He was also named in a 1993 court case as a "laughing
assassin" after his then girlfriend gave evidence saying he
had laughed when he heard a radio report about the murder
of north Belfast man Dermot McGuinness.

Described as one of the closest friends of former UFF 'C-
company' leader Johnny Adair, Barr was questioned but never
charged over the murder of Mr McGuinness, who was shot six
times as he made his way home along Rosapenna Street.

Barr's girlfriend at the time was later convicted of
withholding information after she told police he had
admitted being a UFF gunman and had laughed at the news.

Under questioning she had told police that Barr had
returned home on the night of Mr McGuinness's murder
boasting about having killed him. He was named in court
only as 'Mark'.

Along with convicted murderer Ken Barrett, Barr was also
believed to be the second gunman who burst into the north
Belfast home of Pat Finucane, gunning him down in front of
his family.

In 1999, following investigations by the Stevens team, Barr
was charged with possessing information likely to be of use
to terrorists.

However, he never faced trial for his part in the murder.

Special Branch informer William Stobie was also charged
following investigations by Sir John Stevens's team.

On his release from prison Stobie was gunned down outside
his Forthriver Road home just minutes away from where Mark
Barr's body was found on Wednesday.

After transferring from UFF 'C-company' to 'D-company' in
the Woodvale area in the mid-1990s, Barr remained a member
of the loyalist paramilitary group.

The 38-year-old is to be bur-ied in Roselawn cemetery after
a private prayer service at his former home in Shankill
Parade this morning.


Mural To Honour Murdered Solicitor

By Staff Reporter

A mural in honour of murdered human rights solicitor Pat
Finucane will be unveiled in west Belfast tomorrow in the
run-up to the 18th anniversary of his death on Monday.

The artwork, by artist Danny Devenney, will be unveiled at
Beechmount Drive, off the Falls Road, by Peter Madden, who
was a partner with Mr Finucane in Madden and Finucane

Mr Finucane was shot dead by gunmen in front of his wife
and three children on February 12 1989.

It was one of the most high profile murders of the
Troubles, with allegations of collusion between the
security forces and his loyalist killers.

Seamus Finucane, a brother of Mr Finucane, said the mural
would "hopefully reinforce the emphasis" of the family's
campaign for justice.

"It will reinforce the dedication we have into achieving a
proper enquiry for Pat," he said.


Sinn Fein To Table Dail Motion Calling For A British Irish
Summit On Collusion

Published: 10 February, 2007

Sinn F‚in Justice Spokesperson Aengus O Snodaigh TD has
said Sinn F‚in will be putting forward a D il motion
calling for a British Irish summit on collusion. He went
on to say "given the seriousness of what has been exposed
by Nuala O'Loan and previous Oireachtas and Barron reports,
the government needs to set aside at least one full day for
debate on the upcoming McEntee report." He said there was
concern that the government would try and rush the debate
as had happened in relation to the Barr, Nally and Morris

Deputy O Snodaigh was speaking this morning at a conference
on collusion organised by Sinn F‚in that will be addressed
by family members and campaigners for victims of British
State murder.

He said, "I welcome the commitment given by the Taoiseach
to schedule a D il debate on collusion following the
publication of the McEntee report. Patrick McEntee
may present his final report to government as early as this
coming Wednesday. I would call on the government to set
out now their proposals regarding the duration and format
of the debate and the type of action that would follow.

"Last November the Barr Report, Nally Report and Morris
Reports were all taken together and this debate was also
subjected to a government imposed guillotine. The D il
spent a total of just 5 hours on some of the most
significant reports ever published on the topic of
Garda corruption, indiscipline and mis-management. And
the D il debate on the Moriarty Report which has been
scheduled to take place next Wednesday is set to conclude
within 90 minutes.

"Given the seriousness of what had been exposed by Nuala
O'Loan and previous Oireachtas and Barron reports, the
government needs to set aside at least one full day for
debate on the upcoming McEntee report. Preferably this
debate should take place on a special sitting day to
accommodate the families many of whom will wish to travel
to Dublin to be in attendance.

"Previous debates on reports have been reflective in their
nature. It is essential that the debate on collusion is
focused on how we get the truth - about what the government
can and should do. Therefore Sinn F‚in will be putting
forward and seeking broad political support for a
D il motion, informed by participants at today's
conference. that recognises the reality of collusion
between the British State and loyalist death squads,
the suffering and campaigns of victims of such
collusion and their relatives, and calls for a British
Irish governmental summit on collusion to follow an
Oireachtas debate. I will be raising this issue with the
government at the whips meeting next week." ENDS

Full text of speech:

We heard earlier this morning from speakers representing
the families of collusion victims. I want to pay tribute
to them, and to the many others who are not here today, for
their courageous and enduring efforts to uncover the truth
and achieve justice for their loved ones. Governments here
and in Britain, past and present, have colluded in a deep
cover-up that masks the truth and this continues to
compound the suffering of relatives. Recovering the truth
is essential if that suffering is to be lessened.

When Sinn F‚in's Dublin and Leinster Cuig¡ decided to
facilitate a conference on collusion we had a number of
objectives. We wanted to use the conference and the
publicity surrounding it to raise public awareness of
collusion in the 26 counties, to provide an update for
those already familiar with some of the cases in terms of
where the campaigns are at, and to create an opportunity
for the various campaigns to come together and discuss
approaches to truth recovery. The focus must be on 'where
to next.'.

I want to address two aspects of truth recovery the first
is from a political perspective and the second from a legal
point of view.

Politically, the Oireachtas is one site of struggle where
the truth recovery agenda can be pursued. I welcome the
commitment given by the Taoiseach to schedule a D il debate
on collusion following the publication of the McEntee
report. Patrick McEntee may present his final report to
government as early as this coming Wednesday. Now I
believe, we must work together to get the maximum out of
that commitment in terms of the duration, format and
outcome of that debate.

The government are responsible for the D il schedule. The
D il debate on the Moriarty Report has been scheduled to
take place next Wednesday and it is to conclude within 90
minutes. Last November the Barr Report, Nally Report and
Morris Reports were all taken together and this debate was
also subjected to a government imposed guillotine. The
D il spent a total of just 5 hours on some of the most
significant reports ever published on the topic of Garda
corruption, indiscipline and mis-management. It is
essential that the government allow for a D il debate on
collusion that is free from any overly restrictive
guillotine. The debate should be allowed to last as long
as is necessary. At least 8 hours should be devoted to
dealing with the issue of collusion this would allow for 18
full speaking slots in addition to the spokespersons slots.
Preferably this debate should take place on a special
sitting day to accommodate the families many of whom will
wish to travel to Dublin to be in attendance.

Previous debates on reports have been reflective in their
nature. It is essential that the debate on collusion is
action focused. Therefore it should be motion-led. In our
view the debate should culminate in the D il and Seanad
passing a motion that mandates the government to call for
an inter-governmental summit with the British government on
the specific issue of collusion and uncovering the truth.
I will be making our views on this matter clear to the
government at the whips meeting this week.

Now I would like to highlight a legislative development
that has significant implications for future truth recovery
opportunities. That is the Tribunals of Inquiry Bill.
This Bill was published by government in 2005 but has not
yet commenced any further through the Oireachtas.

No one can deny we are in need of new legislation to govern
the work of tribunals. The existing legislation dates back
as far as 1921. And it must be clear to everyone that
spiralling legal costs and the refusal of witnesses to co-
operate with tribunals needs to be addressed. However, as
the Tribunals of Inquiry Bill is currently drafted Sinn
F‚in must oppose it. Because we believe the proposed
legislation could be used by future governments to stop
public inquiries from delivering the truth to the public
and to the families of victims of collusion in particular.

The Bill as currently drafted is very similar to the
British Inquiries Act. That Act is widely viewed as having
been constructed to act as a barrier to a full public
inquiry taking place into the murder of Pat Finucane. This
Bill if passed would not only jeopardise the ability of any
future tribunal to uncover the truth surrounding the Dublin
and Monaghan bombings and the murders of Seamus Ludlow,
Cllr. Eddie Fullerton and Martin Doherty amongst others.
It would also undermine the cases of all those in the 6
counties who are seeking inquiries into state collusion
because the British government could point to this
legislation in order to justify their own.

This government signed an all-party demand for a full
inquiry by the British authorities into the collusion
surrounding the murder of Pat Finucane - yet their own
Tribunals of Inquiry Bill would gravely undermine that

This Bill would effectively give the government power over
whether to establish a Tribunal of Inquiry at all, its
members and crucially its terms of reference. It would also
effectively give the government the power to suspend or
dissolve a Tribunal for unlimited reasons and to prevent
the publication of a Tribunal's report. In our view this
is completely unacceptable and will not instil any
confidence amongst either the general public or more
crucially those who have been specifically affected and are
seeking the full truth about events.

I wrote to the Minister for Justice Michael McDowell
outlining our concerns last October and I know Sinn F‚in's
leadership team raised it with the T naiste and Taoiseach
last November.

The relatives and those representing victims of collusion
have long sought full, independent and public inquiries. I
believe we must work together to ensure that no legislation
is introduced that would jeopardise and compromise the
independence of future inquiries that we have been seeking
for so long.


Irish Government Must Lift Lid On Collusion - McDonald

Published: 10 February, 2007

Sinn F‚in Dublin MEP Mary Lou McDonald speaking at the
opening of a Sinn F‚in organised conference on the
collusion issue in Dublin today said "The lid will only be
lifted on collusion if the Irish government makes it
happen. They have to confront those within the British
system, who directed and controlled this policy, and who
are now desperately trying to cover their tracks and
conceal the extent of their activities." Ms McDonald also
said that "those Ministers in the Labour/Fine Gael
government at the time of the Dublin and Monaghan bombs
need to provide answers for their failure to act, even when
the British said they had interned those they believed

Ms McDonald said, "Ten days ago I was part of a Sinn F‚in
delegation to Downing Street as part of our ongoing
campaign to get to the truth about the deaths of hundreds
of people in Ireland as a result of British state sponsored
murder. Next week we will raise this issue directly with
Hugh Orde. Sinn F‚in will continue to stand with the
families in their demand for the truth.

"There are serious questions to be answered by both British
and Irish governments including those Fine Gael and Labour
ministers who headed the government in this state in the
mid 1970s. It is time for the truth from those who
sponsored state murder, from those who covered it up and
those who did nothing even when they knew what was

"Why did the Fine Gael-Labour government of the day, when
they were told by the British that they had interned those
who they believed were responsible for the Dublin Monaghan
bombings do absolutely nothing? Why did they not seek the
arrests of these men? Maybe some of those attending today's
Labour Party conference could answer that question? The
families of those killed on that day want answers. They
deserve the truth.

"The families of those killed through collusion deserve
better than words of support from the present Irish
government. They deserve action. It is time for the
government to demand answers. It is time for the government
to stand with the victims. It is time for them to publicly
back demands for an international inquiry into this
scandal. Hundreds of Irish people were killed through this
policy. Each one of them deserves justice.

"The lid will only be lifted and a light shone on collusion
if the Irish government make it happen. They have to
confront those within the British system who directed and
controlled this policy and who are now desperately trying
to cover their tracks and conceal the extent of their
activities. ENDS

Full Text of Speech

Monday marks the 18th Anniversary of the murder in Belfast
of Human Rights Lawyer Pat Finucane. From the minute Pat
Finucane was gunned down

in front of his wife and family it became clear that he had
become the latest victim in what was a very well planned,
controlled and directed British State policy.

And I would wish to pay tribute to the Finucane family for
the way they have conducted their campaign for the truth in
the years since. They have become an inspiration for others
and have given strength to other families who have stepped
forward and refused to accept the lies and the cover-up.
And in a way that is the real legacy of this policy.
Hundreds of Irish families have been left to pick up the
pieces in the wake of the terror unleashed by sectarian
death squads, controlled, directed and armed by Whitehall.

And we must be very clear about the motivation behind this
policy. Collusion was a policy designed to maintain the
Union. That is why the belated exposure of this policy
raises such fundamental questions, not just for the British
government, but for ordinary unionists in the north.
Britain murdered your fellow citizens in your name. That is
the reality.

Nuala O'Loan's report into the activities of a unionist
death squad in North Belfast is just the tip of the
iceberg. And it is just one of many reports which have come
out in recent years including into the killing Pat
Finucane, into the Dublin Monaghan bombing and last
November's Oireachtas report into attacks in Armagh and
Louth. This committee concluded "We now have enough
information to be fully satisfied not only that it
(collusion) occurred, but that it was widespread."

And there are many other cases such as the killing of Sinn
F‚in Councillor Eddie Fullerton in 1991 and Dublin
republican Martin 'Doco' Doherty who was killed on Pearse
Street in this city in 1994.

Ten days ago I was part of a Sinn F‚in delegation to
Downing Street as part of our ongoing campaign to get to
the truth about the deaths of hundreds of people in Ireland
as a result of British state sponsored murder. Next week we
will raise this issue directly with Hugh Orde. Sinn F‚in
will continue to stand with the families in their demand
for the truth.

There are serious questions to be answered by both British
and Irish governments including those Fine Gael and Labour
ministers who headed the government in this state in the
mid 1970s. It is time for the truth from those who
sponsored state murder, from those who covered it up and
those who did nothing even when they knew what was

We have demanded that the British government tell us who in
the British state authorized the running of death squads
and the cover up of their activities.

Although 25 files were sent to the Public Prosecution
Service by Sir John Stevens, why has no-one been charged?

Why has the British government refused to cooperate with
the Barron investigation into the Dublin/Monaghan bombs?

There are also questions for successive Irish governments

Why was there no proper investigation into the Dublin
Monaghan bombing and other attacks in this state?

Why did the Fine Gael-Labour government of the day, when
they were told by the British that they had interned those
who they believed were responsible for the Dublin Monaghan
bombings do absolutely nothing? Why did they not seek the
arrests of these men? Maybe some of those attending today's
Labour Party conference could answer that question? The
families of those killed on that day want answers. They
deserve the truth.

The families of those killed through collusion deserve
better than words from the Irish government. They deserve
action. Just as the current British government is
implicated in this sordid policy by its refusal to end the
concealment and cover-up the current Irish government is
equally as culpable as its predecessors if it fails to
deliver now for these families.

It is time for the government to demand answers. It is time
for the government to stand with the victims. It is time
for them to publicly back demands for an international
inquiry into this scandal. Hundreds of Irish people were
killed through this policy. Each one of them deserve

The lid will only be lifted and a light shone on the dark
collusion secrets if the Irish government make it happen.
They have to confront those within the British system who
directed and controlled this policy and who are now
desperately trying to cover their tracks and conceal the
extent of their activities. ENDS


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

February 8, 2007

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.


Relatives Of Murdered Victims Stage Collusion Conference

A conference takes place in Dublin later today bringing
together many different families who all believe their
relatives or friends were murdered by British state forces
in collusion with loyalists.

Among those taking part are relatives of the
Dublin/Monaghan bombings, the family of murdered Belfast
solicitor, Pat Finucane and the Bloody Sunday Justice

"This is an opportunity to give relatives a voice", said
Robert McLenaghan, whose grandfather died in the McGurk's
bar bombing of 1971, in which fifteen people died.

"Collusionists have affected many families over many years.
The Dublin conference hopefully will give those families a
chance to raise the issue in the capital city of Ireland."


Hussey Welcomes News RUC Collusion Allegations Were

West Tyrone UUP assembly member Derek Hussey has welcomed
belated clarification by the Police Ombudsman that her
alleged collusion within the RUC was not institutional.

Mr Hussey said, "During his visit to Omagh last week UUP
Leader, Sir Reg Empey, met with the local RUC GC
Association and following that meeting he issued a
challenge to the Ombudsman, Nuala O'Loan to clear the name
of the RUC now.

Following his comments a statement was issued by the
Ombudsman's Office where she stated, "My investigation has
not shown that the RUC deliberately set out to conspire
with the UVF in the commission of any of the terrible
crimes which came to my attention in the course of the

Responding to this statement from the police ombudsman,
Cllr Hussey said, "It seems that many nationalist
politicians in Northern Ireland seemed to totally disregard
the fact that the RUC have been cleared of institutional
collusion, and many journalists in newspapers throughout
the Kingdom seem to be backing away from some of the more
insulting comments that they had made against the RUC.

"Perhaps now those that have clambered upon the back of
this report to attack the RUC will see that their
allegations are unfounded and perhaps we will also be able
to find out who leaked this report to the press and
nationalist politicians before it was published.

"Their aim was clearly an attempt to destroy the name of a
proud force but as the motto of the RUC GC states 'Strong
towers shall decay but a good name will never pass away'."


A Strong Sinn Fein Will Not Permit DUP Veto Over Change

Published: 9 February, 2007

Sinn F‚in General Secretary and South Antrim Assembly
Candidate, Mitchel McLaughlin has said that following the
elections, a strengthened Sinn F‚in will hold the DUP to
account and ensure that they are not permitted a veto over
the right of any community to the process of change.

Mitchel Mc Laughlin said:

"Sinn F‚in enters this election determined to further build
political strength that we will use to ensure that the
change the people of Ireland voted for in 1998 is delivered
in full and then built upon.

"The delivery of the progress achieved in the GFA and in
negotiations since then is a product of strong leadership
from Sinn F‚in and other pro-agreement parties. Despite
strenuous attempts by not-an-inch unionists Sinn F‚in have
succeeded in advancing the Equality and all-Ireland agenda.
This was achieved despite the mistaken belief of some
nationalist politicians that it was not possible to make
further progress in areas such as the equality agenda,
Irish language rights, demilitarisation and policing. We
persevered and made gains in these areas and more.

"We will apply the same determination to holding the DUP to
account in regard to its responsibilities to participate in
good government for all.

"Our people want locally accountable ministers who will be
committed to reversing the growing financial burden imposed
on them through bad decisions by British Direct Rule

"The DUP refusal to commit itself to participate in a
power-sharing Executive has created the conditions in which
damaging NIO policies are emerging. Parties, which are
prepared to accept the responsibility of Government, must
use our collective strength to negotiate a proper peace
dividend - to be ring-fenced for projects such as water,
sewage and infrastructure.

"Following the elections, Sinn F‚in will act in the best
interest of the electorate but in the event that the DUP
continues to abdicate its responsibility to participate in
a power-sharing government we will apply what I believe
will be an increased mandate to ensure that the DUP does
not stunt or dictate the pace of change. We will hold the
DUP to account to ensure delivery of the change that the
people desire." ENDS


'Plan B' Not Best Option For Republicans, Says Doherty

By Adrian Mullan

WEST Tyrone Sinn F‚in MP Pat Doherty says that the 'Plan B'
scenario talked about by both governments in the event of
the DUP refusing to share power by March 26 may be a case
of far-off fields looking green.

Speaking to the UlsterHerald yesterday, he said, "It is
understandable that in the present climate many republicans
and nationalists could find the prospect of Plan B, as
alluded to by both governments, as a more attractive
proposition than trying to tie the DUP into power-sharing
and all-Ireland institutions.

"However, I would caution those who believe that Plan B
would amount to some form of Joint Authority to look at the
minimalist approach taken by the Dublin government to the
potential contained in the All-Ireland architecture of the
Good Friday Agreement to date, and then consider the
unlikely prospect of the Dublin government changing from
this minimalist approach in a Plan B scenario."

"The reality is that Plan B may not be much different from
the current political status quo, with all the people of
the six counties being subject to the unaccountable and
punitive nature of British Direct Rule for years to come."

Mr Doherty went on to say that in the absence of the power-
sharing and all-Ireland institutions, the British Treasury
will be given carte blanche to continue with its asset
stripping and stealth taxes crusade against the people of
the six counties while at the same time cutting public
expenditure in health, education and other public services.

"While 50 years of unionist misrule at Stormont officially
ended in March 1972, and a while a procession of British
Direct Rule ministers have come and gone since then,
political unionism has retained its ability to control and
manipulate affairs in the Six Counties through the offices
of the NIO.

"As former hunger striker, Laurence McKeown recently said
of this unionist power base, 'Those who staffed the highest
positions of the NIO throughout the decades of conflict and
devised and implemented discriminatory policies against
working class communities and republicans are seldom
mentioned. The structures and processes they set in place
still remain today and we bear the impact of them, most
particularly in terms of financial investment. It has been
repeatedly identified in post-insurrectionary phases of
struggle around the world that the civil service apparatus
of the former regime is the greatest block to bringing
about radical and progressive change under a new system of
government. It's easy to spot an armoured jeep pass through
our estates or identify the uniformed figure but less so
the hand of oppression in the pin-striped suit.' "

Mr Doherty added that the restoration of the institutions
is by no means a panacea for all our ills but without
locally elected and accountable representatives at the helm
people here will remain powerless to effect positive
change, whether it is political, economic or social change.

"Republicanism directly confronts partition and the legacy
of eight decades of British misrule in the six counties.

"Republicans have worked systematically to expose,
undermine, and ultimately dismantle the traditional power
bases of the Orange state, its sectarianism and
discrimination, its denial of Irish identity and cultural
rights, its repression through a militarised state
apparatus, the hard edge of which was a sectarian,
paramilitary police force. Policing has been a key power
base of the failed Six County state that we have sought to
dismantle," Mr Doherty concluded.


Republicans Need Support To Join Police

Assembly Election
By William Graham Political Correspondent

Young republicans who want to join the PSNI should be
supported and no harm should come to any police recruits,
Sinn Fein's policing and justice spokes-man Gerry Kelly
said yesterday.

Asked if young Sinn Fein members should join the police
following the recent ard fheis vote to endorse the new
policing structures, he replied: "If a young republican
comes to me and says I am joining the PSNI... then we
should support their right to do that.

"However, the only caveat is that the PSNI have a huge job
of work to do to build confidence, especially after the
Raymond McCord revelations and all of that.

"There is a building process that goes both ways.''

Asked whether young people who joined the PSNI would be
able to live in their own (republican) communities, Mr
Kelly, pictured, said: "I think they would be clearly

"We have said it continually that no harm should come to
anybody or no intimidation etc on recruits. We say the same
about district policing partnerships.''

He said that the political institutions needed to be up and
operating or else acceptable partnership arrangements
should be sorted out.

"We argued for 50/ 50 politics recruitment," he said.

"You can have the best of legislation - but it is not
enough in the end. You need legislation to move forward but
then it is down to will.''

Mr Kelly emphasised that if you are talking about a
policing service which is representative of the people "it
surely has to come from the people'' and that includes
those in all areas.

He also indicated that if the political institutions were
up and operating then Sinn Fein will be on the Policing
Board "fairly rapidly".

At present Sinn Fein are entitled to two seats on the

Mr Kelly, a former IRA man who was convicted of the Old
Bailey bombing, was asked if he had ambitions to be justice
minister at Stormont?

"I look upon myself as someone who is here to serve the
party, to serve the struggle. I never thought, to be frank,
that I would end up being an MLA," he said.

"The challenge of justice and policing is a huge challenge.
I would think that anyone involved in Sinn Fein would take
that challenge up with gusto. It is about making a real
difference to people on the ground.

"It would be a challenge and an honour for anybody to take
up the job.''


Paisley 'A Political Rough Rider'

Ian Paisley says seven DUP councillors in Ballymena
refusing to campaign for him during the assembly election
have been "got at" by other people.

Mr Paisley said it was a pity the seven did not know what
was in his party manifesto, especially on the issue of
sanctions against Sinn Fein.

He denied it was a personal blow, as he is a "rough rider
in politics".

The DUP leader said the party manifesto was unanimously
passed on Thursday night by its ruling executive.

DUP candidates have agreed to 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.

This move was branded "anti-democratic and anti-British" by
the Ulster Unionist leader Sir Reg Empey.

But the DUP said Sir Reg was wrong to suggest that Mr
Paisley alone can invoke the resignation, and insisted it
was designed so the DUP kept its word.

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 Cedric 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

Meanwhile, the UK Unionists say they hope to have eight or
nine individual candidates standing on an anti-St Andrews

The party says their leader Bob McCartney will stand in six
different seats himself to ensure unionists have an anti-
agreement option wherever they live.

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

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

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2007/02/09 16:25:40 GMT


Paisley Buoyant At Launch Of Assembly Election Campaign

09/02/2007 - 13:54:07

DUP leader Ian Paisley has formally launched the party's
Assembly election campaign in Belfast today.

The DUP's slogan for the election in four weeks' time is
"Getting it Right" and the party says it is confident of
its prospects in the vote.

Dr Paisley used today's launch to claim his party had
forced republicans to change to their tune, saying Sinn
F‚in was a broken movement that has had to retreat and bow
to pressure.

Asked about dissent in the DUP ranks, he said the party's
executive had approved the election manifesto unanimously
and the rebels had been misled.


DUP 'Founding Father' Quits

[Published: Saturday 10, February 2007 - 09:29]
By Noel McAdam

One of the DUPs' 'founding fathers' has resigned in protest
over the prospect of power-sharing with Sinn Fein, it was
revealed last night.

George McConnell (pictured), a party branch chairman for
more than 20 years, said he would not even vote for the DUP
in the March 7 election.

And a second veteran member, councillor Jack McKee, also
said he would not back his former party at the polls.

The Larne man who resigned from the party following the St
Andrews Agreement, said: "I don't just feel like not voting
- I will not be voting."

Their attack amid other signs of unrest will increase
tensions in the party gearing up to launch its Assembly
election campaign next week.

Mr McConnell (68) said: "I am one of the people who helped
put the party where it is, but now we have just been cast
aside, no longer needed."

The Kilkeel man attended the inaugural meeting of the DUP
with leader Ian Paisley and then-Shankill MP Desmond Boal
in September, 1971 and had also been active in its
predecessor, the Protestant Unionist Party.

And he stressed: "This is nothing personal with Dr Paisley.

"I have known him for 40 years.

"Ulster owes him a lot. I feel I owe him a lot."

But Mr McConnell also said he had told DUP MLA Jim Wells he
would not even be voting for him in this election.

"I think the world of Jim," he told the Belfast Telegraph.

"But I have resigned on principle and I could not vote for
the party.

"The fact is we are coming out with stuff that is totally
alien to what we have said all along.

"We are now saying that under certain circumstances we
could go into power-sharing with Sinn Fein in the
government of Northern Ireland. I just could not go down
that road."

Also a former publicity officer in the party, Mr McConnell
said he did not believe the sincerity of Sinn Fein moves
towards support for policing - and feared that drugs, fuel
smuggling and other crime would continue "with impunity".

He said: "We are told they (Sinn Fein) are signing up for
policing and justice, but the Police Service of Northern
Ireland has already been tailor-made for them."

"The RUC, the UDR and the 'B'-Specials, which had great
success in fighting terrorists, but they were done away
with, at the behest of the IRA," he added.

Mr McConnell said he felt the current crisis was similar to
the political situation when the party was formed. "The
talk then was of rescuing as much as possible from a united
Ireland situation. We seem to have gone back to that," he

Asked about his personal feelings, Mr McConnell went on:
"It's an absolute disaster. I don't understand what has
changed. I think of nothing else: it is just so grieving."

A senior party source said last night the resignation of Mr
McConnell was to be regretted.

As Mr Paisley repeated it was up to Sinn Fein to deliver,
it was also confirmed six councillors are refusing to
campaign for him in his heartland constituency of North

The DUP leader said: "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 beginning."

c Belfast Telegraph


Irish Make Their Presence Felt In Fight Over Illegal

150 from Bay Area to rally in D.C. for legalization

Tyche Hendricks, Chronicle Staff Writer
Friday, February 9, 2007

Irish immigrants and Irish Americans in the Bay Area are
mobilizing for another round of activism in the debate over
illegal immigration.

About 1,500 people turned out for an immigration reform
rally in San Francisco last week, and 150 plan to head to
Washington, D.C., next month to join a protest with the
Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform, a national group
working to legalize undocumented immigrants.

Elaine, a San Francisco nanny who wouldn't give her last
name because she lacks legal immigration status, plans to
leave her 6-year-old son with her sister and fly to the
nation's capital to join the call for comprehensive
immigration reform on March 7.

She said she feels a sense of commonality with illegal
immigrants from Mexico, who make up the majority of the
estimated 12 million people living in the United States

"We're all in the same boat," she said. "The Irish are
lucky because we speak English and we're white: We do get
treated better. But we (undocumented immigrants) are all
hard workers. We all want a better life."

Though the Irish are only a small slice of the country's
illegal immigrant population, their outspoken activism has
added another dimension to the public perception of illegal
immigrants, said Angela Kelley, deputy director of the
National Immigration Forum in Washington.

"They came last year with these white T-shirts that said
'Legalize the Irish,' and people kind of stopped and paused
and looked twice at them on Capitol Hill," she said.
"There's a substantial Asian population, a substantial
Irish population; it's not just a Latino issue. They serve
as a helpful reminder of how multifaceted the debate is. "

The Irish have a lot in common with other immigrant groups
in America, said Margaret McPeake, co-director of the Irish
Studies Program at New College of California in San
Francisco. Irish Americans have a sense of their deep roots
in the United States, combined with a sympathy for the
difficult economic and political realities in Ireland that
spurred the last big wave of immigration in the 1980s, she

"That understanding makes people willing to band together
and see the Irish experience as part of a larger immigrant
story," said McPeake.

Celine Kennelly, director of San Francisco's Irish
Immigration Pastoral Center, estimates that 50,000 of the
country's 150,000 Irish-born residents are illegal, with
many thousands of them in the Bay Area. Most of them
entered the country on a legitimate student, work or
tourist visa and stayed after it expired.

"The immigration system absolutely needs to be fixed," said
Kennelly. The undocumented Irish "have employed people,
they've paid taxes, they've contributed favorably to
society, they've tried every visa option and entered the
'green card' lottery every year. But it's becoming
impossible to live here without a Social Security number
and a driver's license. It's a pressured situation."

Elaine said she wants to become a legal permanent U.S.
resident so she can build a stable life in her adopted city
without fear of being picked up by immigration authorities.
She also wants the laws to change so she take her son back
to his homeland so he can stay connected to his
grandparents and his Irish heritage.

"If everyone's quiet, nothing will happen," said Elaine. "I
might as well speak out and feel like I've done something."

Kennelly said she's hopeful that, with Congress now in
Democratic hands, it will pass an immigration bill this
year that includes a path to citizenship for illegal
immigrants and more legal avenues for foreign citizens to
work in the United States.

"We're going to keep knocking on doors and letting people
know this is a huge Irish issue," she said. "We need to
have it addressed in a timely and proper manner."


Orange Order Gives Hain Dossier

The leadership of the Orange Order has met with Northern
Ireland Secretary Peter Hain to hand over a report
detailing several concerns.

The 50-page dossier included concerns about attacks on
Orange halls and restrictions on parades.

The Orange delegation was led by its grand master, Robert
Saulters, and was accompanied by the DUP leader Ian

A spokesman for the order described the meeting as
"definitely constructive".

"We reminded the secretary of state that the Orange
Institution is the biggest cultural organisation within the
Protestant community and encompasses all opinion within

"It has strong support right across Northern Ireland,
illustrated by the fact that between 400,000 and 500,000
people attend the 12th every year," the spokesman said.

Mr Hain said he would read the document and return to them
with responses on issues raised.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2007/02/10 09:47:28 GMT



PSNI Links To GAA 'Should Be Notified'

By Claire Simpson

Police officers should have to declare if they are members
of the GAA or Opus Dei, the Orange Order has said.

Under the Police (NI) Act 2000, officers must say whether
or not they are part of any organisation which may affect
their ability to act impartially and effectively.

At a meeting in Co Antrim, Robert Saulters, Grand Master of
the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland, said the GAA and Opus
Dei should be added to the list of notifiable memberships.

Although the order is opposed to its own inclusion on the
list Mr Saulters said the two bodies should be added on the
grounds of "balance and equality".

"Why should orangemen in the PSNI have to list their
membership like some sort of notifiable disease when
members of GAA clubs with facilities named after IRA hunger
strikers do not?" he said.

He said that links between some GAA clubs and "republican
events" meant that the organisation was "viewed with
suspicion within the Protestant community".

Mr Saulters said while there were "many genuine and
dedicated sports enthusiasts within the GAA" research
carried out by the order had "highlighted links with
republicanism and it is in this context that we are asking
for the GAA to be formally added to the list".

Martin McAviney, public relations officer for the GAA, said
it did not need to be included.

"Given that we are non-sectarian, non-party political and
community-based, we cannot understand why anybody could
have an issue with the organisation," he said.

The order also called for the inclusion of Catholic
organisation Opus Dei, claiming that the group was a
"secret society" which "discourages its members from making
public their affiliation".

Mr Saulters said the order also had "concerns about some of
the allegations in relation to Opus Dei and the context of
some of the rules of the organisation".

"We feel it is unjust for the Orange Institution and other
loyal orders and others from the nationalist community to
be on the list and yet one of the largest nationalist
organisations, the GAA, and also one of the potentially
most influential groups within the Roman Catholic
community, Opus Dei, are not listed," he said.

"It is discrimination, plain and simple."

At present seven organisations are listed: the Ancient
Order of Hibernians; Apprentice Boys of Derry Association;
Freemasons; Independent Orange Order; Knights of St
Columbanus; Loyal Orange Institution and the Royal Black

However, a PSNI spokeswoman said the list of notifible
organisations was "not exhaustive".

"An officer is obliged to notify the chief constable of any
organisation, which the individual officer believes might
reasonably be regarded as affecting their ability to
discharge their duties effectively and impartially," he


Courtney's Legal Bid To Prevent A Retrial Adjourned

[Published: Saturday 10, February 2007 - 10:16]
By Ashleigh Wallace

A Bid to challenge an Appeal Court ruling launched on
behalf of Shankill loyalist William 'Mo' Courtney has been
postponed for a fortnight.

An application for leave to appeal to the House of Lords
was due to be held in Belfast's High Court yesterday.

But defence barrister Arthur Harvey QC requested the matter
be adjourned for two weeks.

He told the three Appeal Court judges: "There are a number
of issues currently being addressed in relation to this
matter and they will have a bearing on the decision whether
or not I proceed with this application."

Courtney (43), from Fernhill Heights in Belfast, was
acquitted last November on a charge of murdering Alan
'Bucky' McCullough during a loyalist feud in 2003.

The 21-year-old victim, a former ally of Johnny Adair, fled
to England when the feud broke out but returned to Northern
Ireland after his family sought assurances he would not be

Mr McCullough was last seen leaving his mother's house in
Denmark Street, in the lower Shankill, on May 28 2003.

Eight days later, his remains were found in a shallow grave
on the outskirts of Mallusk.

Courtney stood trial for the murder at Belfast Crown Court
and was acquitted of the charge by Mr Justice McLaughlin.

Following the verdict, the Crown launched a legal bid to
overturn the judge's decision, which was heard in front of
three appeal court judges last month. They concluded
Courtney "stand trial again on the charge of the murder of
Alan McCullough".

His legal team responded by lodging an application to take
the case to the House of Lords and earlier yesterday the
application was adjourned for a fortnight.

c Belfast Telegraph


Durkan Clarifies Controversial Ad

SDLP leader Mark Durkan has clarified a controversial
newspaper advertisement on policing, published last month.

Alan McQuillan is suing for libel over what he regards as a
derogatory reference to him being part of what the advert
called "the old RUC order".

Mr Durkan said the advert did not link the former assistant
chief constable to collusion as the SDLP did not suspect
this, and affirmed his good reputation.

He said "the old RUC order" reference should have been in
inverted commas.

"In doing that, we were actually refuting what was a
constant Sinn Fein refrain in recent weeks that when the
SDLP went on the Policing Board, and with all we had done
on the Policing Board, we had accepted and endorsed the
'old RUC order'," he said.

"It was partly rebutting that language used by Sinn Fein,
and so those words should have appeared inside quotation

Mr Durkan was speaking on BBC Radio Ulster's Inside
Politics programme.

The newspaper advert related to the SDLP's role in the
selection process which led to the appointment of Sir Hugh
Orde as PSNI chief constable.

Mr McQuillan, who is currently head of the Assets Recovery
Agency, had also applied for the job.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2007/02/10 09:28:26 GMT


Opin: Restrictions On New Rights Undermine Their Usefulness

By Susan McKay

Today in the House of Commons, Tony Blair will make his
latest attempt to push shut the door on Northern Ireland's
clamorous past.

The Justice and Security (NI) Bill will make it impossible
for the Human Rights Commission here to investigate alleged
abuses which happened or began before August 2007. It will
also forbid the commission to investigate any alleged
abuses connected with national security or intelligence. It
will restrict the commission from making unannounced visits
to places of detention.

The bill has already been criticised by nationalists
because, as SDLP leader Mark Durkan puts it: "It puts no-
jury Diplock courts on a permanent basis. It gives the
British army permanent policing powers and it even
overrules the European convention on human rights." Durkan
suggests that with peace hovering ever closer, it would be
more appropriate for the government to be dismantling
draconian provisions.

Many people are impatient with the ever growing demand for
inquiries and investigations into the wrongs of the past.
Unionists, like the government, are clearly aggravated by
calls for a range of post-Good Friday Agreement bodies to
probe the murky past of the institutions of state. Faced
with such demands they retort - what about the human rights
abuses committed by the IRA?

It is a bad argument. The Healing Through Remembering group
has already made a range of suggestions about dealing with
the past, including some form of truth and reconciliation
commission. This, and other options it suggests, would
confront the IRA, as well as the other parties to the
conflict, with appalling injustices committed in the name
of its struggle.

However, the government and unionists, on the whole, have
tended to reject such proposals, without, apparently,
giving them much serious thought. There is the frequently
expressed belief that the IRA would hijack such a
commission for propaganda purposes. It would not fall to
the Human Rights Commission to conduct such a truth inquiry
in any case.

Human rights abuses usually have a history - they emerge
and develop and investigators can discern patterns of abuse
which have taken time, sometimes years, to become
established practice. The commission is to be denied the
right to explore such patterns. The new Human Rights
Commissions in England, Scotland and Wales will not be so
restricted and nor is the Human Rights Commission in the
Republic. The Police Ombudsman, the Children's Commissioner
and the Equality Commission all have retrospective powers.

After a conflict such as we have experienced, we need to be
able to look back. That, surely, was one of the main
reasons for setting up all these commissions - to identify
past abuses of power and to build into the new system
safeguards which ensure such things can't happen again.
They are also meant to make all of the new institutions
properly and effectively accountable.

It is very worrying that the Human Rights Commission is
being denied the right to investigate abuses in relation to
national security and intelligence. This at the same time
as the army is being given powers to stop and search
civilians - in NI, though not elsewhere.

Such powers were removed from legislation relating to
terrorism because they were no longer considered necessary.
Now they are to be made permanent in a law which has no
"sunset clause" and no mechanism for review. Equally
disturbing is the fact the commission's powers are to be
limited at the same time as intelligence gathering is to a
great extent being handed over to MI5. Nuala O'Loan has
already expressed concern that the Police Ombudsman's
office can't investigate this body. MI5 is being
effectively fenced off from scrutiny. This isn't just about
the Troubles. The Human Rights Commission needs to be able
to investigate, for example, possible abuses against the
rights of children in adult mental hospitals. How can it do
so without looking into the history of how they ended up
there in the first place?

The commission is engaged in a major study of immigration
and is currently completing a report on women in prison.

This bill gives the commission the power to compel
witnesses and receive evidence, and that much is welcome.

However, the restrictions placed on these new rights
seriously undermine their usefulness.

It is in everyone's interests that the state should be
accountable to its citizens and the Human Rights Commission
in particular exists to protect the most vulnerable people
in society. Our commission got off to a shakey start. In
the able hands of Monica McWilliams it has a chance to
work. Her hands must not be tied.


'Croker' Ready To Write New Chapter In History

[Published: Saturday 10, February 2007 - 09:38]
By Mathew McCreary and Claire Regan

Thousands of fans from Ulster will to make the journey to
Dublin tomorrow to witness a historic moment for Irish

The Ireland rugby team will not only be taking on the might
of championship holders France in their second RBS 6
Nations 2007 match, but will be doing so for the first time
in the magnificently refurbished Croke Park.

The headquarters of Gaelic games, 'Croker' has opened its
doors to the visiting rugby teams while Lansdowne Road
undergoes a massive œ231m refurbishment programme.

Ticket prices for tomorrow's crunch match have been soaring
on the internet, with some reaching almost œ500 each.
However, the IRFU yesterday urged people not to "encourage
this market".

Meanwhile, pub owners plan to bus thirsty fans back to bars
near Lansdowne Road on the city's southside in an effort to
recoup the usually lucrative trade which surrounds big
match days there.

Fans are hoping that a victory over France is on the cards,
following last year's memorable loss in Paris.

But Eddie O'Sullivan's' boys will be in no doubt of the
challenge that awaits them, particularly with the loss of
Ireland captain and team lynchpin, Brian O'Driscoll, due to
a hamstring injury.

The match will count as one of the most historic ever to be
played in Ireland.

Until recently the GAA's Rule 42 prohibited the use of its
property for games which might have interests in conflict
with that of the organisation.

However, a motion to temporarily relax the rule was passed
in 2005 by the GAA. This allowed the ground to be rented or
leased for events other than those controlled by the
association while Lansdowne Road - the usual venue for
rugby and football - is redeveloped.

Two Six Nations games and four Euro 2008 football
qualifiers will be played at Croke Park this year.

Former Ireland rugby international turned peace campaigner
Trevor Ringland last night hailed the match as "an
important landmark in the road to a shared future for the

Mr Ringland, chairman of the One Small Step campaign, spoke
of his hopes as Ireland gear up for the French.

"This match and the one next week against England are very
important steps as they reflect the true nature of sport
and demonstrate that if people in our society are prepared
to move on from the past and to work together for each
other's mutual benefit then we can achieve very positive
things" Mr Ringland said.

"Sport is a great unifier and as we strive towards
integration in our schools, towns and cities, it is a
pretty big boost when such an influential organisation as
the GAA stretches out a hand to other sports in a gesture
of integration and co-operation.

"These matches will be fantastic occasions and a great
celebration of Irish sport.

"Let's hope the team can put on a performance to mark such
an important occasion."

c Belfast Telegraph


Preparations For Historic Rugby Clash

Sat, Feb 10, 2007

Final preparations are under way at Croke Park today before
the Six Nations clash between Ireland and France.

More than 82,000 rugby fans are to fill the stadium
tomorrow, as the Gaelic Athletic Association's headquarters
opens it doors for the first time to a foreign sport.

The historic event comes just a week after the stadium
hosted its first floodlight game, with Dublin loosing to
Tyrone in the Allianz National League.

Pubs next to the rugby stadium at Lansdowne Road, which is
closed for a ? 350 million redevelopment, are expected to
shuttle bus supporters to the ground on the north side of
the city tomorrow, while gardai are advising fans driving
to the game to be aware of parking restrictions in the

There will be two supervised car parking facilities at
Clonliffe College, Clonliffe Road, Drumcondra (access via
Lower Drumcondra Road), and in O'Connells School, North
Circular Road, open from 10am.

No traffic will be permitted to leave the car parks until
approximately 45 minutes after the game to allow supporters
on foot to leave the area safely. Although Dublin Port
Tunnel is accessible to all vehicles, those arriving via
the M50 and M1 motorways are advised to allow time for
traffic delays.

"All those attending the game, either on foot or by car,
are asked to have consideration for local residents," added
a garda spokesman.

Croke Park is expected to attract more than two million
sports and music fans this year alone, hosting four Ireland
soccer matches, two international rugby games and four
music concerts as well as 25 days of GAA games.

c 2007


Feature: The Croker Conversion

Sat, Feb 10, 2007

The playing of rugby and soccer in Croke Park is simply
proof of the dissolution of the boundaries between
Ireland's sporting tribes, writes Fintan O'Toole

In the odd history of Irish sporting tribalism, two
memories stand out for me. One is of the All-Ireland
football semi-final between Dublin and Cork in Croke Park
in 1974. Like many fair-weather fans, I had lost interest
in the Dubs through their barren years of the early 1970s.
I turned up that day more out of curiosity than
expectation, pleased that they had somehow got that far and
certain that they were in for a heavy defeat by a fine Cork
side. But before the shock of discovering how good Dublin
were, there was another, even greater shock. The far side
of Hill 16 was now occupied by creatures the likes of which
could not be imagined within the GAA's sanctum sanctorum
even a year before.

They were young, working-class Dublin males. They sang and
chanted and threw shapes, pointing in mocking unison at the
culchies in the Hogan Stand. There was not a paper hat or a
rosette between them, just scarves draped over their
angular shoulders or held aloft in swaying exultation. They
were, in short, soccer fans. Anfield and Dalymount Park had
come to Croker like Birnam Wood coming to Dunsinane, a
physical migration as wondrous as it was unsettling. Around
me, in the stands, respectable country people looked at the
self-proclaimed Heffo's Army as monks must have looked from
the high windows of round towers at the first Viking

The second memory dates from 14 years later. It was the
glorious summer of 1988 and I was in a holiday cottage in
Co Clare. The holiday had been booked early, long before
there was the glimmer of an unprecedented possibility -
that Ireland might qualify for the finals of the European
soccer championship. Now, Ireland's first game, against
England, was due to kick off, and there was no television
in the cottage. I went down to the hotel in the village,
expecting to find an expectant crowd. There were, in fact,
just two of us, and the other bloke was also from Dublin.
We actually had to ask the barman to turn the television

Yet this just happened to be exactly the right place to
see, not just the match, but the beginnings of a cultural
shift. Ray Houghton, famously, scored early for Ireland.
And gradually, almost imperceptibly at first, something
started to happen.

Middle-aged and elderly men in wellingtons began to filter
one by one into the bar. They were GAA people to a man. But
the word had gone out that Ireland were beating England -
it didn't matter at what. They peered at the screen and
could make out enough to know that the fellas in green
shirts were Ireland. By the end of the game, the place was
jammed with people (or, to be accurate, with men) shouting
frantically at the screen. The next morning there was a run
on the village's scant supply of English newspapers. The
soccer team had provided a historic opportunity to gloat
and, in the process, insinuated itself into the affections
of GAA Ireland.

THESE MOMENTS ARE no more than snapshots of a slow and
complex process that will culminate tomorrow when the first
rugby match is played at Croke Park: the dissolution of the
borders between Ireland's sporting tribes. No sport is ever
only a game, and there is no such thing as unpolitical
football. Questions of class, gender, nationality and
identity are always at play. But Ireland's sporting culture
has carried an especially heavy freight of political
connotations. Our boys' schools were, and to some extent
still are, either rugby schools or GAA schools. Sporting
allegiances have been read as codes for where you stand on
the Protestant/Catholic, urban/rural and nob/yob fault-

In typical Irish fashion, however, we tended to insist on
these identities, not because they were clear-cut but
precisely because they were not. Munster's working-class
rugby traditions, the transition from GAA to professional
soccer of Kevin Moran, Niall Quinn or Shane Long, the rich
seam of soccer fandom within Irish political nationalism
(Todd Andrews, Brian Lenihan, Bertie Ahern), the
significant, if often submerged, Protestant presence in the
GAA, the fact that last year's big GAA star, Kieran Donaghy
of Kerry, is a basketball player, all hint at an underlying
promiscuity of allegiance. But when the borders are so
porous, it becomes all the more important to police them.
For the GAA, which defined itself explicitly as a national
and amateur alternative to "foreign" and increasingly
professional games, the need to maintain the distinction is
particularly acute.

Big forces - media globalisation, the death of the old
rural Ireland, the transcending of nationalism, the waning
of religion as a marker of national identity in the
Republic - have all changed the nature of the game.
Identity has become more complex, and though we still use
sport to mark it, we use it in different ways. Instead of
the old either/or sense of belonging, we have become a
both/and people. Instead of belonging to the rugger tribe
or the GAA tribe or the soccer tribe, we have evolved a
sophisticated system in which we use different sports to
express different levels of identity.

Irish sports fans have worked out a system of allegiances
that is more complex, and more honest, than the old
apartheid. At the level of the parish and of the county,
the GAA teams are the standard-bearers. But rugby teams
represent their provinces best, and the national soccer and
rugby teams do battle in the international arena. And for
the weekly fix of televised glamour, Manchester United,
Liverpool and Glasgow Celtic provide both a globalised
cosmopolitanism and (the darkest secret of all) a sense of
belonging to what used to be called the British Isles. A
single red jersey can cover the Cork hurlers, the Munster
rugby team and Manchester United.

This system evolved spontaneously, but it is remarkably
robust and relatively fixed. At its own level, the position
of the dominant sport is formidable. Local rugby teams and
League of Ireland soccer clubs are in decline because the
local is now the GAA's patch. Conversely, the provinces
used to belong to the GAA. The Railway Cup, in which
provincial football and hurling teams played against each
other, was once a prestigious second to the All-Ireland,
and the final drew huge crowds. Now, interest is so minimal
that the final has to be played as far away as Boston or
Paris to engender some exotic interest. Instead, provincial
allegiance is owned by rugby. And for all the hype about
Croke Park as foreign territory for non-GAA fans, it's a
fair bet that a good proportion of the Irish fans at the
rugby game tomorrow and a majority of those at the Ireland
v Wales soccer match next month will already have been
there to support their GAA club or county.

Croke Park itself, after all, is an embodiment of
globalisation. It was co-designed by HOK Sports, which has
worked on stadiums from Bolton to Nanjing. The surface of
the pitch is based on the turf at Anfield and Villa Park.
The money to build it - both public and private - came from
the new, ultra-globalised Irish economy. Its scale, its
sleekness and its efficiency all mark it out as the most
outstanding piece of international infrastructure in
Ireland. The GAA itself sees the stadium in both an
international and a modernist context, declaring it on its
website to be "one of the most modern and spectator-
friendly stadiums in Europe". There was always an obvious
contradiction between wanting to show Croke Park off to the
world and declaring that the only sports that can be played
in it are ones that are of exclusively Irish interest.

The truth is that nothing could be more distinctively Irish
in the 21st century than rugby and soccer at Croke Park,
with all the conflicting and complementary resonances,
memories, and emotions that this will trigger.

The ultimate triumph of the GAA is that it owns the field
on which this new and utterly contemporary spectacle will
play itself out.

c 2007 The Irish Times


Feature: No More Blonde Ambition

Sat, Feb 10, 2007

She wanted fame and fortune, but Anna Nicole Smith was a
public joke and her death a sad punchline, writes Denis
Stauntonin Washington

As doctors in Florida performed an autopsy on Anna Nicole
Smith yesterday morning, lawyers in California were making
the first moves in a battle for custody of her five-month-
old daughter and control of a fortune worth up to $474

Smith claimed that Howard K Stern, a lawyer who says he
married her on a yacht last year, is the father of the
baby, Dannielynn. But one of her former boyfriends,
photographer Larry Birkhead, has demanded DNA samples from
Smith and her daughter, claiming that he is the child's
real father.

"He is inconsolable, and we are taking steps now to protect
the DNA testing of the child. The child is our number one
priority," Birkhead's lawyer said.

Smith died at a Florida hospital on Thursday after she was
found unconscious at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, a
sprawling complex on Seminole Indian land where she had
been staying for four days. Friends said the former Playboy
centrefold, whose 1994 marriage to octogenarian billionaire
J Howard Marshall III made her an overnight celebrity, had
been complaining of flu-like symptoms and was grieving over
the death of her 20-year-old son Daniel last September.

Smith's mother, Vergie Arthur, said yesterday that she did
not need an autopsy to work out what was responsible for
the deaths of both her daughter and her grandson.

"I think she had too many drugs, just like I tried to warn
her about drugs and the people she hung around with. She
didn't listen. She was too drugged up," Arthur told ABC's
Good Morning America.

Married and separated in her teens, widowed in her 20s and
now dead at 39, Smith's bottle-blonde, curvaceous beauty,
her baby-voiced air of innocence and her turbulent private
life put many in mind of her heroine, Marilyn Monroe.

"She always wanted to be like Marilyn Monroe. She even
wanted to do a remake of the movie Niagara," said Len
Leeds, another of Smith's lawyers. "Sadly, there are so
many parallels. They died at around the same age. She
wanted to be like her; she wanted to look like her. She
used to pretend to be her. It is so tragic that she met the
same fate as her idol."

Where Monroe was a sexual icon with a unique cinematic
talent who inspired almost universal affection, however,
Smith had become a grotesque parody of America's celebrity
culture, and her death has been greeted as the punch-line
of a long-running national joke.

Born Vickie Lynn Hogan in 1967 in a small town south of
Dallas, Texas, Smith was a high-school dropout whose first
job was as a waitress at Jim's Krispy Fried Chicken
restaurant in Mexia, Texas. At 17, she married 16-year-old
Bill Smith, a cook at the restaurant, and gave birth to
Daniel a year later.

THE MARRIAGE ENDED after just two years and Smith moved to
Houston, where she began working at a succession of topless
bars, including Rick's Cabaret. It was here, in 1991, where
she was onstage one lunchtime when Marshall rolled in in
his wheelchair.

An oilman worth $1.6 billion, Marshall immediately decided
that Smith was "the light of my life" and, to the dismay of
his family, the couple married three years later. Marshall
was 89; his bride was 26.

During their courtship, Marshall encouraged Smith in her
career as a glamour model; she became Playboy magazine's
Playmate of the Year in 1993 and won a three-year modelling
contract with Guess jeans. Smith enjoyed her sudden fame
and welcomed the attention of photographers.

"Oh, no, I like it. I love the paparazzi. They take
pictures, and I just smile away. I've always liked
attention. I didn't get it very much growing up, and I
always wanted to be noticed," she said in 1994.

Marshall fell ill and died in 1995, just 13 months after
his wedding day, leaving nothing to Smith in his will. She
appeared at his memorial service wearing a white dress and
her wedding veil and started a lengthy legal battle with
Marshall's family for a share of the estate.

A court initially awarded her $474 million but the family
contested the award and got it reduced, first to $89
million and finally to nothing at all. Last year, the US
supreme court ruled that Smith could continue to pursue her
claim through the courts in California.

After Marshall's death, Smith was hospitalised for drug and
alcohol abuse and, as she began to put on weight, she
became a staple target for misogynist comedians. In 2002,
she launched her own reality TV series, The Anna Nicole
Show, which became an instant, if short-lived hit, as
millions tuned in to sneer at Smith's vain, vacuous
progress through everyday life.

HER SON DANIEL was a constant presence on the show and
appeared to enjoy a warm relationship with his mother,
whose successful loss of 30kg won her a new job as
spokesperson for Trimspa diet pills. Trimspa was last month
fined $25 million (along with three other companies) by the
US Fair Trade Commission for false advertising, in
particular relating to its 'before' and 'after' shots of
Smith. Last September, three days after the birth of
Dannielynn, Daniel died while visiting Smith in her
hospital room in the Bahamas. A pathologist engaged by the
family said he was killed by an interaction between
methadone and two anti-depressants.

Smith's grief did not prevent her from selling, within
weeks of his death, photographs of herself, her baby and
Daniel in her hospital room for a reported $650,000.

Meanwhile, Dannielynn's paternity became a matter of
dispute, with Stern's name appearing on the birth
certificate while Birkhead insisted that DNA testing would
prove he is the father. In an interview last week, the last
before her death, Smith told Entertainment Tonight that she
saw no reason to take the test.

"You've got this guy who's saying, 'Take a paternity test'.
But why should I? It's crazy to me that it's gone this far
for him to go to a judge and say, 'I want Anna Nicole Smith
to take a paternity test'. And, just because I'm Anna
Nicole Smith, we have to do it. . . I think he's after
money and fame. I think he's just trying to stay in the
limelight," she said.

With lawyers predicting a legal tangle that could take
years to unravel, Birkhead and Stern will both remain in
the limelight as they struggle for possession of Dannielynn
and the millions of dollars that could come with her. Among
the first to express his sorrow at Smith's death was
Playboy founder Hugh Hefner, and the magazine's editors
were reported to be meeting within hours of her death to
discuss commemorating Smith in a forthcoming issue.

c 2007 The Irish Times


Feature: Can't Get Enough Of Your Love

Sat, Feb 10, 2007

Profile St Valentine:His popularity is growing along with
sales of his cards, but the origins of this saint are still
a mystery, and even the Catholic church doubts his
credentials, writes Shane Hegarty

Russia, 2003. St Valentine's Day has begun to consolidate
its grip on the country's imagination; in only a decade it
has become a day of cards and roses, beginning to catch up
on the popular International Women's Day, a Soviet-era
holiday celebrated two weeks later. But the western feast
day has been marching steadily east, headed by the ever-
willing foot soldiers of Hallmark.

In the city of Ekaterinburg, one man has had enough of this
nonsense. In a local newspaper, the Russian Orthodox
Church's main cultural official denounces Valentine's Day
as "a day of fornication, a day of bestiality" brought to
Russia from abroad. Perhaps Rev Andrei Kanev's ire is
fuelled by a long-running feud with the city's small Roman
Catholic population. Perhaps he is really, really angry
that no one sent him a card.

Either way, he has no intention of popping into the local
garage on his way home to pick up a dozen roses and a box
of Milk Tray for the missus. "The cultural sewage pipes of
Europe have burst and everything is coming up here," he

A day of fornication and bestiality? Only for the lucky
few. For most, Valentine's Day will be the usual mix of
inflated expectation, deflated wallet and the customary
panic of men trying to make a late date for dinner and then
pretending that they've had it arranged for months.

It has been estimated by America's Greetings Card
Association that, around the world, one billion cards will
be sent on St Valentine's Day. They don't all have to be
dedicated to lovers. St Valentine is also a patron saint of
bee keepers, epileptics, fainters, travellers, young people
and - handily, as we wait for our roast chicken to sneeze -
the plague. Most notably, he is the patron saint of
greeting card manufacturers. After foxholes, the
headquarters of Hallmark is the place on earth where you
are least likely to find an atheist.

Only Christmas betters February 14th as a more profitable
time for the greetings card industry. Eighty-five per cent
of Valentine's cards, according to that same survey, are
bought by women. One presumes that the remaining 15 per
cent bought by men are the 15 per cent left in the shop in
the last hours of February 13th.

At some stage in the day, many men - on whom evolution has
thrust a stubborn reluctance to connect with their more
"emotional" side - will quietly wish they could get their
hands on the fellow who came up with this whole wheeze.

THE FIRST PROBLEM is that we're not entirely sure which St
Valentine we're celebrating. The number of recorded St
Valentines runs into double figures, although the Catholic
Encyclopaedia lists three of them as having been mentioned
in early martyrologies: one a priest in Rome, another the
bishop of an Italian town now known as Terni and the other
a mysterious martyr said to have suffered with some
companions in Africa.

To complicate matters further, the Roman priest and the
Terni bishop seem to have been the same Valentine. Either
way, the latter now gets the greater recognition, even if
his achievements have been somewhat embellished over the

He is said, for instance, to have covertly married Roman
soldiers, who would otherwise have been packed off to war
by Emperor Claudius II, who preferred a front line of
bachelors, and he is reputed to have been executed and
beheaded for refusing to renounce Christ.

Further legend has it that, having ministered to a jailer's
blind daughter, before his death he wrote a note to her
which he signed off, "from your Valentine". Upon receiving
this letter, the girl could suddenly see again. If this
were true it would certainly have set an unattainable
benchmark, because the gift of sight is far greater than a
glitter-covered card and a jumbo box of Minstrels.

The second reason why he is a tough man to get hold of is
that several churches across Europe claim to already have
him. Or bits of him at least.

Relics claiming to be from St Valentine can be found in the
Church of St Praxed in Rome and in Terni, as well as in the
Austrian capital, Vienna, and the German town of Eltville.

Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor, is said to have brought
Valentine's shoulder blade to Prague in the 14th century,
where a church still houses it today.

The French town of Roquemaure had relics bought for it by a
local landowner at an auction in Rome in 1868, as an effort
to cure the area's vines of a calamitous disease. Blessed
St John Duns Scotus church in Glasgow also claims to have
his bones. In fact, Glasgow now declares itself as the City
of Love at this time every year - a sound idea given that
it has already given its name to a type of kiss.

But the Irish don't need to trawl the continent in search
of St Valentine. So impressed was Pope Gregory XVI by a
visiting Carmelite priest, John Spratt, that in 1835 he
handed some of Valentine's blood and other items to the
Irishman as a gift. Fr Pratt returned with them to the new
church on Dublin's Whitefriars Street which he had helped
build; the relics remain there to this day and are placed
on the high altar on February 14th each year.

The Carmelites are sanguine about St Valentine's talent for
being in many places at once. As the order explains on its
website, "the remains of a saint could be found in many
places, which does not detract from what is found in any
one place or the veneration of the saint by the faithful."

As for the celebration he has inspired, February 14th is
the day attributed to St Valentine in those martyrologies,
and it has been suggested that it was subsequently picked
as a lover's day primarily because of the medieval belief
that this was the date on which birds chose a mate.

From that period on, the cult of Valentine grew. As early
as the 15th century, a Dame Elizabeth Brews wrote to her
man, addressing it, "Unto my rightwell beloved Valentine,
John Paston Esquire".

And when he received it, presumably he clasped the letter
to his chest loudly and decried the fact that he'd
forgotten to book a restaurant.

THE DAY IS mentioned by Ophelia in Hamlet, which was
written in 1600, and, as early as the 1820s, card-giving
had become so popular that British post offices had to take
on extra staff to cope with the added volume. It was
British settlers who brought the idea to America, and the
Americans have since brought it to the world.

It is becoming increasingly popular in several countries,
even though many cultures have their own feast days
dedicated to love. The Colombians celebrate Love and
Friendship Day in September. The Slovenian celebration of
love traditionally takes place on St Gregory's Day, March
12th. And Valentine's Day has become a big thing in China,
placing it alongside Qixi (Night of Sevens), in which two
celestial lovers are believed to reunite, and Lantern
Festival Day, on which single folk venture out in search of
love, assisted by matchmakers.

In fact, the Roman Catholic church is one of the few not so
easily enticed by Valentine's Day. In 1969, the Church had
a look at the list of saints and pruned it of those it
couldn't be sure had ever existed or lived a life of
holiness. None of the St Valentines made the cut.

So this February 14th you might instead want to celebrate
the officially sanctioned feast day of St Methodius and his
brother St Cyril. Together, they are the patron saints of
Bulgaria. Instead of an overpriced bunch of roses, why not
give your lover something far more appropriate; a small
apartment on the Black Sea sounds about right.

The Valentine File

Who is he?That's a question that has long occupied
historians, given that there were several of them, but we
know him now as the patron saint of love and (we kid you
not) greetings card companies.

Why is he in the news?If you're asking that question, then
it's probably too late to get a dinner reservation.

Most appealing characteristic?Once a year, his memory
encourages the world to spread a little love around

Least appealing characteristic?But that love must be spread
at three times what it costs any other day of the year

Most likely to say?"Get your roses, ?50 a dozen!"

Least likely to say?"Love? It's overrated."

c 2007 The Irish Times

Ben Kiely dies at 87

[Published: Saturday 10, February 2007 - 10:08]
By Claire Regan

Ireland lost one of its best acclaimed writers last night
after the death of Ulster-born author and journalist Ben
Kiely at the age 87.

The Tyrone author, considered one of Ireland's best known
writers, passed away at St Vincent's Hospital in Dublin
yesterday where had been seriously ill in recent days.

A former pupil of Mount St Columba Christian Brothers
School in Omagh, his career spanned six decades and
produced many short stories and novels, as well as his
autobiography Drink to the Bird: An Omagh Boyhood.

He was born in 1919 somewhere between Drumskinny in Co
Fermanagh and Dromore, Co Tyrone.

The father of four began his distinguished career in the
spring of 1938 when he moved to Dublin from Omagh, where he
had worked in the local post office, to become a part-time

After graduating from University College Dublin in 1941, he
began a full-time career as a journalist and broadcaster in
the Irish Press, of which he became a full-time critic in

c Belfast Telegraph

The Co Tyrone-born Kiely up in Omagh and wrote a number of
novels including: Land without Stars(1945), The Cards of
the Gambler(1953) and Nothing Happens in Carmincross(1985).

Mary Cloake, Director of the Arts Council said: "The
Council is deeply saddened at the passing of Benedict Kiely
who was a major figure in Irish arts and literature.

"Over six decades he has created a body of work which is
impressed indelibly in contemporary literature."

Kiely received the highest honour awarded by the Arts
Council of Ireland and was named Saoi of Aosd na in 1996.


Lifetime Award For TV's Gay Byrne

Irish chat show legend Gay Byrne has won a lifetime
achievement award at the Irish Film and Television Awards.

Byrne, who hosted state broadcaster RTE's The Late Late
Show for 37 years, was presented his award by singer Bob
Geldof and actor Gabriel Byrne.

Other winners at the Dublin ceremony included Ken Loach,
whose Wind That Shakes The Barley was named best film.

Meanwhile, British actress Dame Helen Mirren picked up yet
another award for her role in The Queen.

She was named best international actress, while Leonardo
DiCaprio won best international actor for his part in
Martin Scorsese's mob drama The Departed.

Cillian Murphy, who stars in The Wind That Shakes The
Barley, won the best Irish actor award for his portrayal of
a transvestite cabaret singer in another film, Breakfast On

The movie also picked up a best director and best writer
award for Neil Jordan.

Best Irish actress went to Eva Birthistle for religious
drama Middletown, while Oscar hopeful Little Miss Sunshine
was named best international film.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2007/02/10 14:33:10 GMT


Cork Bakery Set To Close

Saturday, 10 February 2007 11:49

One of the oldest bakeries in the country is to close in
Cork city with the loss of 10 jobs.

Donnelly's Bakery, which supplies bread to Cork city its
suburbs, is to close after increasing costs and cheaper
competition no longer made the niche bakery viable.

Staff at the family-owned bakery on Shandon Street, which
has operating since the 1920s, are to be made redundant due
to the closure.

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