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March 24, 2007

Adams: Disappointment At Failure of DUP

News about Ireland & the Irish

SF 03/24/07 Adams - Disappointment At Failure Of DUP
BN 03/24/07 Ahern: 'Plan B' Is Ready If Devolution Talks Fail
SB 03/25/07 Last-Ditch Contacts On North Executive Deadline
ST 03/25/07 Irish Peace Deal On Verge Of Collapse
SB 03/25/07 Poll Shows Election Race In Republic Is Wide Open
SB 03/25/07 No Joy For PDs, SF In Wexford


Adams - Disappointment At Failure Of Leadership By DUP

Published: 24 March, 2007

Responding to the efforts of the DUP to secure a further delay in
Monday's planned restoration of the political institutions the
Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams said: "There will be deep
disappointment and dismay at the failure of leadership by the DUP
and their efforts to frustrate the will of the people".

Mr. Adams said:

"Two weeks ago the people voted overwhelmingly for agreement and
for the restoration of the political institutions. All of the
other parties are ready for government. There are no outstanding

The DUP seeks to frustrate the will of the electorate. It cannot
be allowed to block or delay progress.

Peter Hain has majored on his commitment to devolution or
dissolution by Monday. He needs to keep to this.

If the DUP wants a functioning assembly after March 26 this can
only happen through direct dialogue and agreement with Sinn Fein
and the other parties.

In the meantime the two governments must now proceed to put in
place their all-Ireland partnership arrangements.

The Irish government especially must compensate for the absence
of local political institutions by providing effective
representation in the political institution of the Irish state
for citizens living in the north. The process of change must


Ahern: 'Plan B' For North Is Ready If Devolution Talks Fail

24/03/2007 - 16:30:21

The Minister for Foreign Affairs has said that if the DUP refuses
to share power with Sinn Féin, 'Plan B' is ready to kick in.

The proposed arrangement will see Dublin having a greater say in
the running of the North in conjunction with the British

However, Dermot Ahern - who was speaking at the Fianna F il Ard
Fheis in Dublin - is refusing to reveal the exact nature of the
contingency plan.


Last-Ditch Contacts On North Executive Deadline

25 March 2007 By Pat Leahy

The future of the Northern assembly and the power-sharing
executive hung in the balance last night, as the Irish and
British governments, Sinn Fein, and the people of Northern
Ireland waited on the word of the 80-year-oldRev Ian Paisley and
his party.

Frantic behind-the-scenes contacts continued all day yesterday as
the Taoiseach Bertie Ahern and the British Prime Minister Tony
Blair continued to push for agreement from Paisley's Democratic
Unionist Party to enable the executive to be formed tomorrow.

The two men spoke several times during the day. The DUP's 120-
member executive met in Belfast amid deep divisions within the
party on the way forward. It is believed that Paisley is
stuggling to keep his party together in the face of enduring
opposition to the notion of sharing power with Sinn Fein.

Irish government sources were non-commital about the chances of
the restoration of the power-sharing executive.

Speaking at the Fianna Fail ard fheis in Citywest yesterday, the
Taoiseach said: ''I'm optimistic, but I'm watching the moves. As
always, nothing is simple."

A senior government source said: ''We honestly don't know if he
[Paisley] can get it over the line."

Meanwhile, British government briefings this weekend suggested
that there could be slippage on the Monday deadline, or no
question of a shadow executive appointed for some months before
actually beginning to govern. Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams also
met with his ard comhairle in Dublin yesterday, though he
cancelled a press event after the meeting, releasing a statement

''Sinn Fein has remained in contact with Downing Street over the
last 24 hours, and earlier this morning, I spoke directly with
British prime minister Tony Blair,'' Adams statement said.

''There have been concerns in recent days, as we approach
Monday's deadline, that some within the DUP and the British
system have become unsettled. But the fact is that the people
have spoken. They want to see the power-sharing institutions


Irish Peace Deal On Verge Of Collapse

From correspondents in Belfast
March 25, 2007 12:00

BRITAIN'S plans to forge a power-sharing government in Northern
Ireland are close to collapse after hardline Protestant leader
Ian Paisley failed to publicly back a deal ahead of a Monday

London had demanded commitments from all parties by the end of
Saturday so powers could be transferred to a home-rule assembly,
ending years of political stalemate between the province's
majority Protestants and minority Roman Catholics.

Britain told Dr Paisley's Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and the
predominantly Roman Catholic Sinn Fein party they must start
jointly running the province's day-to-day affairs tomorrow or
accept indefinite direct rule from London.

Dr Paisley, who many believe has come round to the idea of power-
sharing but faces opposition from some DUP members, said after a
party meeting on Saturday that people in Northern Ireland
resented being dictated to by London.

"The Ulster (Northern Ireland) people will be persuaded but they
are not going to be driven," said Dr Paisley, who has described
his Catholic rivals as terrorists in the past.

He declined to confirm Northern Irish media reports he was
looking for a six-week extension to the March 26 deadline for the
launch of a home-rule assembly in Belfast in which he would be
First Minister. Sinn Fein opposes any delay.

The 80-year-old cleric has always rejected as arbitrary the
deadline imposed by British Prime Minister Tony Blair, due to
step down this year and keen for an agreement to crown Northern
Irish peacemaking efforts during his decade in power.

Dr Paisley, who opposed a 1998 peace deal that stemmed three
decades of conflict and rejected earlier power-sharing attempts,
says his hardline stance has extracted key concessions from the
Irish Republican Army (IRA) and its political ally Sinn Fein.

The IRA, responsible for about half of 3600 killings during 30
years of conflict, met Dr Paisley's central demand in 2005 when
it pledged to disarm and pursue its aim of a united Ireland

But Dr Paisley, whose Protestant supporters want to maintain
Northern Ireland's links to Britain, has said he remains to be
convinced Sinn Fein has embraced the rule of law.

Mr Blair and his Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain say the
March 26 deadline is set in stone and have said there is no
question of making the legislative changes that would be required
for a delay.

They say failure to agree in time will mean that in future the
parties will have to get together among themselves and present
London with a ready made power-sharing deal.


Poll Shows Election Race Is Wide Open

25 March 2007 By Pat Leahy, Political Correspondent

For the second month in succession, political support for Fianna
Fail has fallen, leaving the general election race wide open,
according to the results of the latest Sunday Business Post/Red C
tracking poll.

As delegates cheered Taoiseach Bertie Ahern's speech at the
party's ard fheis in Citywest, Dublin last night, Fianna Fail TDs
are faced with the prospect of their numbers being significantly
reduced in the next Dail if the poll's results are repeated on
election day.

Fianna Fail sought to seize the initiative in the general
election race with a package of proposals for far-reaching tax
reform and reductions. Ahern promised reductions in the rate of
income tax, and indexation of the rates and bands. In a dramatic
and unexpected move, he pledged that the rate of PRSI for
employees would be halved.

The tax pledges take place against a background of worrying poll
news for the party. Support for Fianna Fail has dropped from 38
per cent last month to 36 per cent today. However, while Fine
Gael gained one point to move up to 23 per cent, the Labour Party
dropped by two to 12 per cent.

There is good news for Sinn Fein, who gain three points to 10 per
cent, and for the Green Party, who maintain their strong trend at
8 per cent. The Progressive Democrats drop by one point to 3 per
cent, while independents gain one point to 8 per cent.

The poll was conducted among over 1,000 adults nationwide last
week. Today's results will worry the Fianna Fail leadership,
which launched its re-election efforts in earnest this weekend at
its ard fheis in Dublin. Support for the party has fallen from
above 40 per cent, in the wake of the budget and the party's
resurgence at the time of the revelations about the Taoiseach's
finances late last year.

Were the party to achieve today's figure at an election, more
than 15 of its seats would be endangered. Support for possible
coalitions involving Fianna Fail has also fallen.

However, the proposed alternative government has failed to make
gains at Fianna Fail's expense, reinforcing the findings of
focus-group research for The Sunday Business Post which found
many people were not convinced that a viable alternative to the
current government was available.


No Joy For PDs, SF In Wexford

25 March 2007 By Pat Leahy, Political Correspondent

Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and Labour are set to increase their share
of the vote in Wexford, according to an opinion poll conducted in
the constituency for the Echo group of newspapers.

However, though some of the seat occupants are likely to change,
any change in party strengths at the general election is unlikely
in the five-seat constituency, with FF and FG each retaining two
seats and Labour keeping its one.

There is bad news for the smaller parties, with neither Sinn Fein
nor the Progressive Democrats making the progress they had hoped
for. It's particularly disappointing in this constituency,
because five-seaters such as Wexford generally offer a better
chance for smaller parties.

Sinn Fein's John Dwyer has failed to build sufficiently on his
impressive 2002 performance, adding just one point to 9 per cent
in the poll, and, while this does not rule out a seat, it makes
it very unlikely. Dwyer is one of Sinn Fein's strongest hopes for
a seat outside Dublin and the border counties. However, on the
evidence of these numbers, he will struggle to make that
breakthrough for the party.

Colm O'Gorman, the child protection campaigner who joined the PDs
to run for the party in Wexford, has made little impact among
voters in the country and will not challenge for a seat,
according to the poll. O'Gorman, founder of the abuse victims
support group One in Four, registers only 2 per cent in the poll
and is one of the first candidates to be eliminated in a
simulated count. The poll was conducted by Red C among more than
500 voters at over 30 points in the county using a simulated
ballot paper.

O'Gorman's weak showing will worry the party leadership as the
PDs face a struggle to hold most of their eight seats. While the
party routinely faces the threat of oblivion at election time,
O'Gorman's result - allied to the poor showing of the party in a
similar poll recently in the Carlow-Kilkenny constituency - shows
there is little or no party vote in many places, despite the
strong PD presence in government and distinctive political

The party relies on the strength of individual candidates, rather
than party popularity. The projected count was dominated by a
massive vote for Fianna Fail junior minister John Browne, who
doubles his 2002 vote to 30 per cent of the first preference
vote. However, party bosses will probably try to bring down this
total at the election in order to promote their other candidates.

The Red C analysis of the count shows Paul Kehoe and Michael
D'Arcy of Fine Gael winning more of Browne's transfers than Lisa
McDonald of Fianna Fail does, demonstrating again the importance
of geography in each party's strategy.

Browne is likely to come under heavy pressure from party
headquarters to share the votes better, for which, in return,
he's likely to seek assurances of a place at the cabinet table.
He's one of a number of possible ministers from the constituency
- Brendan Howlin would surely feature as a minister in any
government of which Labour was a part.

If Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny leads the next government, Liam
Twomey will be one of the favourites to be nominated as Minister
for Health, assuming he stays ahead of his running mate. Kehoe
would also have a claim, having served as the party's chief whip
in the current Dail.

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