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March 06, 2007

Candidates Get Bullet In Post

News about Ireland & the Irish

BB 03/06/07 Candidates Get 'Bullets In Post'
IT 03/06/07 Paisley Should Have The Numbers To Do Deal
BN 03/06/07 Ahern And Blair To Meet Over Assembly Poll Results
BB 03/06/07 Bombings Report Expected In Week
EX 03/06/07 McCabe Family Has ‘No Interest’ In Killer’s Release
SF 03/06/07 OO Need To Accept Unionist Domination Is Over
NL 03/06/07 News Letter Puts Paisley To The Test
WP 03/06/07 Irish In America - The Forgotten Immigrants
DN 03/06/07 For Some N.Y. Irish, It's Erin Go Back
IT 03/07/07 Opin: Northern Voters Go To The Polls
IN 03/07/07 Opin: Why Is NIreland Voting, & Does Outcome Matter?
IT 03/07/07 3 Arrested Over Burglary At Home Of Marian Finucane
CG 03/06/07 City Guide: St Patrick's Parade & NYCs Top Irish Bars


Candidates Get 'Bullets In Post'

Two candidates standing in Northern Ireland's assembly elections
have said they have been sent bullets in the post.

Sinn Fein's Billy Leonard and independent republican candidate
Davy Hyland said they received the bullets on Tuesday.

A Police Service of Northern Ireland spokesman would not disclose
any details.

"We do not discuss the personal security of individuals," he

"However, if we receive information that somone's life may be put
at risk, we take steps to inform them. We never, ever ignore
anything that would put someone's life at risk."

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2007/03/06 20:04:04 GMT


Paisley Should Have The Numbers To Do Deal

Gerry Moriarty, Northern Editor
Wed, Mar 07, 2007

You wouldn't sense it and you wouldn't hear it out on the streets
- although you'd see it with the posters - but today's Assembly
elections are big, critical and vital in terms of the future of
Northern Ireland as a locally, politically governable state.

For years Northern politicians have failed to disprove the barbed
accuracy of Charles Haughey's description of Northern Ireland as
a failed political entity. Now they are to be given another

Apathy is a serious factor in this election but behind the public
ennui and despite people's perfectly understandable aversion to
perpetual political process, deep down they should know this is
an important election.

In any case at gut level it's tribalism that gets people out,
particularly west of the Bann, and that will hardly change. A
total of 1,107,904 people are entitled to vote, and at least
650,000 of them should exercise that franchise.

For the first time, notwithstanding the uncertainty as to whether
Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness can sit in government together,
there is a real prospect of a powersharing government involving
the main parties.

Furthermore, unless the anti-St Andrews Agreement unionist
candidates led by Robert McCartney of the UK Unionist Party
inflict unpredicted damage to the DUP, then Dr Paisley should
have the numbers to strike an agreement with his bitterest foe,
Gerry Adams, should he be so minded.

And behind all the electoral posturing the impression remains
that Dr Paisley is up for a deal and that even some of the
sceptical so-called DUP Twelve Apostles, such as MPs Nigel Dodds
and Gregory Campbell, are gradually moderating their positions.
And that's because the canvass message ringing in the ears of DUP
and most other candidates is this: get on with it.

That said, the likes of MP William McCrea and MEP Jim Allister
should remain implacable in their opposition to Sinn Fein being
anywhere near the seat of government. So, March 26th will be a
difficult choice for Dr Paisley, and he will make enemies
whichever way he goes. The impression is that some unionists
won't forgive him if he goes into Stormont with Martin McGuinness
but many, many more won't forgive him if he doesn't.

To be able to deal he wants a strong mandate, and that means
encroaching further into the UUP vote, and smiting the opposition
posed by Mr McCartney.

On the nationalist side Sinn Fein is also seeking a solid
mandate. It must put paid to the challenge from republican
dissident candidates and maintain its position ahead of the SDLP.

On the bread and butter issues such as water charges, rates,
health and education it's difficult to cite any major differences
between the DUP and UUP, and between the SDLP and Sinn Fein. Even
on constitutional matters there is little difference: Sinn Fein
and the DUP want a united Ireland, the unionist parties want to
maintain the union. Boiled down it's what politics is mostly
about: a power struggle, within unionism and within nationalism
and, of course, Orange versus Green.

So, there are two key nationalist and unionist battlegrounds as
well as the wildcards as to whether Alliance has a future, and
whether some of the Independent candidates or minor parties can
puncture the grand ambitions of the big players.


Steadily and inexorably the DUP has gained supremacy over the
once-dominant Ulster Unionist Party. Look back to the 1998
Assembly elections when the UUP won 28 seats to the DUP's 20

Five years later in the last Assembly poll the tide had turned,
the DUP winning 30 seats, the UUP in second place with 27. Even
by the British general election of 2001 the DUP was also eating
into the UUP vote - six seats for the UUP to five for the DUP. By
2005 it was almost a wipeout for the UUP at Westminster, the DUP
gaining nine seats, Lady (Sylvia) Hermon the lonely Ulster
Unionist representative.

With defections and Paul Berry's resignation the Transitional
Assembly ceased to function in January, with the DUP holding 32
seats to 24 for the UUP. Unless us political pundits are
misreading the public mood the DUP should significantly increase
that representation. On a perfect day the DUP could win 39 seats,
although 36 or 37 would seem more likely.

Whichever, it would be sufficient for Dr Paisley to do business,
without making him and his party a new unionist monolith.

On a most imperfect day the UUP could see its seat numbers drop
to 20, or even slightly below that. Yet, the UUP just might
surprise itself by remaining a force, albeit a further marginally
weakened one, within unionism. The UUP has a reasonable chance of
just dropping one or two seats, which would be a good result for
leader Sir Reg Empey. Its vote must come out though.


What the DUP did to the UUP was not quite replicated on the
nationalist side, although Sinn Fein is the ascendant voice over
the SDLP in nationalism. In 1998 the SDLP had 24 Assembly seats,
Sinn Fein 18. By 2003 that position was exactly reversed, 24 for
Sinn Fein, 18 to the SDLP.

By Westminster 2001 Sinn Fein had four MPs to three for the SDLP.
Four years later, when there was talk of SDLP meltdown, it was
five MPs for Sinn Fein, but still three for the SDLP.

On a bad day the SDLP might only take 16 seats. But equally it
has chances of winning up to 21, three ahead of 2003, and a
reasonable chance of taking 19, which could include a Sinn Fein
scalp in Newry and Armagh. That would be very good for the SDLP.

On a very good day Sinn Fein could win 28 seats, although a more
realistic forecast would appear to be 25 or 26.

So, while the gap between the DUP and the UUP should be
considerable - 13 seats or more - there should be less daylight
between the two main nationalist opponents, with ministries for
all four main parties if the deal is done.


Alliance is fighting for its survival and that of its leader
David Ford. The word is out to voters from unionist parties in
difficult constituencies such as Mr Ford's South Antrim and
Kieran McCarthy's Strangford that after voting unionist they
should transfer to Alliance. Those transfers will determine
whether Alliance can keep in range of its current six or be
diminished to two or three.


UKUP leader Robert McCartney, standing in six constituencies and
fielding 13 candidates altogether, including the six versions of
himself, hopes that he and other anti-deal unionist candidates
will win enough votes to demonstrate that unionists oppose
powersharing with Sinn Fein. His view doesn't seem to reflect the
mood on the ground, but his overall vote will be carefully

Another wildcard: can Independent Paul Berry hurt his old mentor,
Ian Paisley, by holding his former DUP seat from the DUP in Newry
and Armagh? Republican Sinn Fein and other dissident republican
candidates also hope to damage Sinn Fein.

An advertisement in yesterday's Irish News signed by over 300
"Irish republican ex-POWs against the RUC/PSNI and MI5" urging
support for dissident candidates illustrates that there is
disaffection out there. Again though, like the "dissident
unionists", they don't appear to be tuned into the Northern

c 2007 The Irish Times


Ahern And Blair To Meet Over Assembly Poll Results

06/03/2007 - 18:49:09

Taoiseach Bertie Ahern is to meet British Prime Minister Tony
Blair on Friday morning to discuss the early results of the
Northern Ireland Assembly elections, it emerged tonight.

The leaders, who have worked side by side on the peace process
for a decade, will hold talks on the fringes of the European
Council's spring summit in Brussels.

Voters go to the polls tomorrow and early indications of the
state of the parties should be known by the time Mr Ahern and Mr
Blair meet.

Almost 250 candidates in 18 constituencies will be vying for 108
seats in the Assembly. The Democratic Unionist Party and Sinn
Fein are expected to be the largest parties and will be urged by
the two governments to share power in devolved institutions.

As the pace of developments increases, Foreign Affairs Minister
Dermot Ahern will hold talks with Northern Ireland Secretary of
State Peter Hain next Monday.

The latest Independent Monitoring Commission (IMC), which acts as
a watchdog for paramilitary ceasefires, is also due to issue its
latest report next week.

Irish Government officials will keep in close contact with their
US counterparts in Washington in coming days.

The Taoiseach today briefed his Cabinet on the latest
developments in relation to the North at its weekly meeting.

"Mr Ahern said the two governments and the political parties were
entering into an intense period of activity in the following
three weeks," his spokeswoman said.

According to the timetable set out under the St Andrew's
Agreement, the power-sharing institutions must meet on March 26.


Bombings Report Expected In Week

The final report into aspects of the 1974 Dublin and Monaghan
bombings is expected next week, the Irish prime minister has

The report is partly into the Irish police investigation of the
attacks, which killed 33, and missing Department of Justice files
from the time.

Taoseach Bertie Ahern told the Irish parliament, the Dail, he
expected to receive the report next Tuesday.

Mr Ahern said it was clear important new information had been

Mr Ahern said he could not say when the final report will be
published because there could be legal issues arising from it.

A commission headed by Patick MacEntee - one of the Irish
Republic's leading barristers - has been investigating the
attacks since 2005.

No-one has ever been convicted of the attacks on 17 May 1974,
which injured more than 250. It was the biggest loss of life on a
single day in the Troubles.

Twenty-six people were killed in Dublin, and 90 minutes later
seven died in a bombing in the town of Monaghan. One of the
Dublin dead was a pregnant woman.

The loyalist paramilitary group the UVF admitted the atrocities -
which took place while loyalist workers held a general strike in
Northern Ireland to bring down the power-sharing government set
up under the Sunningdale Agreement.

A 2003 report by Mr Justice Henry Barron said there were grounds
for suspecting the bombers may have had help from members of the
British security forces, but there was no conclusive proof.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2007/03/06 16:07:21 GMT


McCabe Family Has 'No Interest' In Killer's Release

By Jimmy Woulfe

THE widow of Detective Garda Jerry McCabe will be celebrating her
grandson's Holy Communion on the day the first of her husband's
killers is released from prison.

The Irish Examiner yesterday revealed that Michael O'Neill is
scheduled for release on May 17, having served just eight years
of his 11-year sentence.

But a spokesman for the McCabe family said yesterday they had no
issue with O'Neill's early release, and that their focus would be
elsewhere on the day.

"We've no more interest in Michael O'Neill," Pat Kearney,
brother-in-law of the slain detective, said.

"Mrs McCabe will be attending the Holy Communion of her grandson
on May 17, so it will be a day of celebration for her and for the
McCabe family. Therefore, this release will be the furthest thing
from her mind and from all our minds on that day."

O'Neill, from Patrickswell, Co Limerick, was one of four IRA
members jailed in February 1999 for the manslaughter of Det Garda
McCabe and the malicious wounding of his colleague, Det Garda Ben

Like most prisoners, O'Neill is legally entitled to remission of
one-quarter of his sentence dependent on good behaviour in

He is slated for release on May 17, provided he does not come to
the attention of the prison authorities between now and then.

That could cause a headache for the Government, given that the
election is scheduled for around then and the release of the
McCabe killers has been a hugely sensitive political issue.

However, Mr Kearney, an auctioneer in Limerick, said the McCabe
family regarded O'Neill's release as being in line with standard

"Michael O'Neill's early release with remission is part of the
system and there is nothing we can do about it," he said.

"What happens to Michael O'Neill is no longer part of our lives
and we have no interest in Michael O'Neill as such," he added,
"Ann McCabe made her stand and her views known to the Government,
over the past number of years, that she wanted them to serve
their full legal sentences."

Another of the convicted killers, Jeremiah Sheehy, will be
eligible for release with remission in February next year.

The remaining two, Pearse McCauley and Kevin Walsh, will be
eligible for release with remission in August 2009.

Mr Kearney said the family was satisfied the Government would
keep its word and not release the three prematurely as qualifying
political prisoners under the Good Friday Agreement, as has been
demanded by Sinn Fein.

"The family trust that the Government will honour their word and
their commitment to us and to the people of Ireland that these
people will serve their full terms," he said.

He pointed out, however, that the Government had been on the
brink of releasing all four several years ago, until Mrs McCabe
made a public stand on the matter.

"I must say the people of Ireland rallied around Ann McCabe in
huge numbers. It was very reassuring for Ann and the family, that
the decent, honest people of Ireland were supporting her in her

He said Ms McCabe now has given the matter closure in her life.

"She is moving on with her life and her family are doing
exceptionally well in their own lives and things have settled
down for her," he said.

Two suspected members of the gang involved in the IRA attack,
Paul Damery from Cobh, Co Cork, and Gerry Roche, from Shannon,
fled the country after the killing of Det Garda McCabe and are
still on the run.

Mr Kearney appealed to the authorities not to let up in the
search to bring them to justice.

Ann McCabe flies out to New York next week for the annual McCabe
Fellowship ceremony on March 16.

The fellowship was set up by the John Jay College of Criminal
Justice in honour of her husband, and it sponsors an exchange
programme between students at the Garda College in Templemore and
rookie police officers in New York.


Orange Order Need To Accept Unionist Domination Is Over

Published: 5 March, 2007

Commenting after the Orange Order issued their vision for the
future, Sinn Fein representative in Upper Bann John O'Dowd said
that the test for the Orange Order in the future was whether or
not they could accept for the first time that the days of
unionist domination were over and that all citizens had to be
respected as equals.

Mr O'Dowd said:

"It is all well and good for the Orange Order to produce what
they describe as their vision for the future. But for anyone to
take the Orange Order seriously when they talk about the future
then the Order will have to accept that the days of unionist
domination are over. Unfortunately there remains many within that
organisation who hark back to the days of discrimination and
domination. They need to get a reality check.

"The first thing the Orange Order need to do to bring themselves
into line with the political realities of 2007 is accept that
they cannot march where and when they want. They need to accept
the realities that they have to engage with the communities they
wish to march through and they need to ditch the unionist
paramilitary trappings which accompany their parades.

"If they take these types of steps then people from within the
nationalist community may begin to accept that the Orange Order
are serious about playing some sort of constructive role in the
future a marked departure from their often violent past." ENDS


News Letter Puts Paisley To The Test

Traditionally, in the final days of the election campaign, the
leaders of the main parties write in the News Letter. This year,
however, we have instead posed 10 questions on key issues and
asked for their replies. Today, the DUP's Ian Paisley is the last
leader to be tested...

Question 1

NEWS LETTER: All of the other political parties are prepared to
see power-sharing with Sinn Fein on March 26. Republicanism isn't
perfect and is still in the process of eradicating paramilitary
and criminal links, but that takes time and it is getting there,
it has been argued. Why not go into government - having achieved
decommissioning and policng support - and test Sinn Fein there?

IAN PAISLEY: You are recognising our success in achieving
decommissioning, forcing Sinn Fein towards becoming a solely-
democratic party and ensuring that they must give unconditional
support to police, the courts and the rule of law. We have forced
republicans to jump first.

Further work is required after the election, not least to ensure
there is full delivery by republicans. Parties who have foolishly
committed to entering Government are letting republicans off the
hook. All the pressure for completion from republicans would have
ended. The only way to secure durable devolution is to keep the
pressure on Sinn Fein to conform to normal democratic standards.

Question 2

NL: The DUP has said a financial package to accompany devolution
is "a deal breaker". You want Chancellor Gordon Brown to vastly
improve the œ50 billion over 10 years offer or there won't be a
government, because without the finances the Executive is doomed
to fail. But what if the British Government - under pressure from
the Scottish and Welsh devolutionists - just will not divvy up?
The DUP will stand accused of blocking the way to a local,
accountable Executive...

IP: A satisfactory financial package is essential. Devolution is
not an end in itself. It must be capable of succeeding. An
executive must be capable of making a difference to people's

Northern Ireland will never have a better opportunity to make up
for the decades of under-investment during the Troubles or to
help us compete economically with the Irish Republic.

Unfortunately other parties ignored this in 1998. We have made it
a precondition for establishing Government.

Question 3

NL: Your party opposes water charges. But if you are soon in
government, you will desperately need the revenue they provide.
So can you categorically say you will abolish them?

IP: The DUP is a low tax party. I realise this is a huge issue on
the doorsteps and I am not someone to duck difficult issues. That
is why I have said we will take the Department of Finance.

Everyone in Northern Ireland already pays for their water. We
will ensure they don't have to pay twice.

Unlike those parties who made up the last Executive, we have been
consistent in our opposition to water charges. We will deliver on
this issue

Question 4

NL: And what about the new rates system which charges people in
relation to the value of their house and not their income or
wealth. That is in place and bringing in more resources for
government. Will you change that?

IP: We believe reforming Government's new rating arrangements
must be a priority for a new Executive, with short-term measures
for dealing with the most serious problems.

Capital values are not a sufficiently reliable indicator of
ability to pay to be used as the sole basis for determining

We demanded that a cap on rates be introduced but Government has
set it too high. More generous reliefs should apply for older
people and other vulnerable groups.

Question 5

NL: For many, if not all, affordable housing in the Province is
becoming a major, major issue. Prices are rocketing at the
fastest rate in Europe. How will you tackle this issue which
could ultimately have serious social and economic implications if
not checked?

IP: Land must be zoned for development, with guarantees it will
not be land-banked by developers, but used for new homes.
Similarly there should be provision to de-zone land if work is
not commenced. The Area Plan system needs radically overhauled to
meet the needs of the community here.

Provision must be made so that Housing Associations can obtain
land at a reasonable price for social housing with an effective
licensing system for the private rented sector.

Question 6

NL: Organised crime gangs and drugs gangs are replacing
paramilitaries as the big threat. Crime, fear of crime and the
preception of crime... what is your strategy for protecting the
public and clamping down on the law-breakers?

IP: It is essential that tough measures are taken to tackle the
scourge of crime. A tough message must be sent out to those who
have been involved in attacks on the most vulnerable in society,
as well as those motivated by sectarianism or racism. We support
stiff minimum sentences to act as a deterrent.

It is important that Serious and Organised Crime Agency is
sufficiently resourced to ensure the work of the Assets Recovery
Agency is not only continued but improved.

Question 7

NL: The 11-plus is going for good. You are against the abolition
of the transfer test and claim you have stopped it being
scrapped. But is it not the truth that in a new Assembly the
matter would be in deadlock, as to introduce a new selection
system requires cross-community backing and nationalism opposes a
test? What are you going to do and if selection remains how will
you ensure those who are under- achieving at age 11 are still
encouraged to succeed?

IP: New common arrangements will require agreement but we have forced
Government to retreat on abolishing academic selection. Until
other parties engage realistically on an alternative to the 11-
plus, while far from ideal, schools or groups of schools
will be able to set their own academic criteria in the interim.

We want the best educational experience for all young
people - accessible, and sufficiently resourced. Urgent action is
required to deal with underachievement.

Education must be promoted before children become disengaged.

Question 8

NL: In recent times the British Government has been attempting to
cut waiting lists and waiting times with, they tell us, some
success. However, the public's experience of hospitals continues
to involve long delays, trolley beds and sub-
standard facilities. How do you plan
to go about improving front-line services and create a 21st
century NHS?

IP: We support reducing bureaucracy and streamlining decision-
making. Efficiency within the system and turnover rates can be
improved. We must have more staff trained, recruited and

Our focus must be on investing in health promotion, early
intervention and prevention of illness. Mental health, disability
and needs of ageing population remain key priorities. We support
enhanced intermediate and community care.

Question 9

NL: Agriculture remains the backbone of our economy, yet farmers
feel frustrated by European restrictions, red tape, environmental
demands and now rural planning restrictions. The Government and
EU demand good practice on the ground but regulations hinder our
farmers. How can you resolve that conundrum?

IP: Red tape is a major problem for our farmers and we believe
that the amount of paper work and number of inspections must be
reduced. We believe that European and national monies should fund
a future rural development programme delivered to benefit rural

We oppose the removal of CAP money via voluntary modulation to
fund wider rural development programmes. We are working to
improve the fortunes of all sectors of the agricultural industry.

Question 10

NL: Northern Ireland has a poor record on waste management and
are set to be fined by the EU for failing to meet sewage disposal
standards. Isn't it the case that our political parties pay
lipservice to environmental concerns but have no firm policies?
What measures would you take at government and ground level to
ensure the Province plays its full part in protecting against
climate change and potential global catastrophe?

IP: The protection of the environment is vital to preserve the
world we live in for future generations. Northern Ireland must
play its part in the UK's effort to cut Carbon emissions and we
supported the introduction of a Climate Change Bill as well as
calling for year on year targets.

It is important that there is effective implementation of
environmental laws and that our natural environment and built
heritage are sustained and protected.

06 March 2007


Irish In America - The Forgotten Immigrants

06 March 2007

With St. Patty's Day fast approaching, many people in the United
States will proudly wear their Irish heritage as a badge of honor
... except for the estimated 50,000 Irish nationals currently
living in the country illegally.

Before Ireland's current status as the economic envy of Europe,
many Irish nationals left their homeland for America, the
traditional destination for migrants since the mid-19th Century
when the potato famine decimated the population.

However, since the 9/11 attacks and the surge in immigration from
Latin countries, America tightened its grip on legally entering
the country - leaving most of the legal routes into the country
to marriage, family reunification, visa lotteries, and special
worker programs with stringent caps.

Among those granted U.S. citizenship in 2005, only 0.002 percent
were Irish ... an enormous drop from its past, considering that
more than 34 million Americans can trace their ancestry to the
Emerald Isle.

As Ireland continues its upward economic climb, many Irish
immigrants (legal or not) are returning to their homeland. While
the current prosperity and healthy job market in Ireland surely
play a part, the U.S. chill towards immigration is not helping.

However, some Irish immigrants want to stay and are doing
something about it. There are migrant coalitions which include
Irish interests intent on getting more visas issued to fill job
shortages. They hope that their similar ancestry will give them
an advantage in their cause - and they may be right.

Senator John McCain, despite his belief in stronger boarders and
immigration enforcement, showed up at a rally of Irish immigrants
in Washington a year ago to show his support. Also attending was
Hillary Clinton, who rebuked the House for passing a
controversial bill by telling them not to "turn your backs on
what made this country great." Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House
of Representatives, recently sent a representative with a letter
of support to an Irish event in her home district.

Whether such support will have any affect on allowing
undocumented immigrants a path to legal residence is still up in
the air.

The Irish can certainly identify with the plight of immigrants in
the US. During the 19th Century, Irish immigrants were persecuted
and discriminated against, something that many Latinos and Asians
face in America's increasingly heated debate on immigration


For Some N.Y. Irish, It's Erin Go Back

Celtic Tiger, crackdown reverse trend

By John Lauinger

America has long been a haven for Irish immigrants. When the
Irish Potato Famine of the mid-1800s changed the face of the
Emerald Isle, hundreds of thousands of starving Irish sought a
new start in America.

When America prospered in the 1990s, hordes of Irish crossed the
Atlantic - some with papers, but many without - to improve their
fortunes or find their fate.

But today, with the Irish economy the envy of Europe, and the
United States cracking down on illegal immigration like never
before, the situation is different - both for Irish who want to
come to America and those already stateside.

Perhaps the most significant change is that Irish no longer have
to leave the Old Sod out of economic necessity.

"The economy in Ireland is known as the Celtic Tiger because, for
the last 10 years, it has been the most buoyant economy in
Europe," said Debbie McGoldrick, senior editor of the Irish Voice

Since Ireland is at full employment, McGoldrick said, Irish no
longer face a sense of urgency to immigrate to America or
anywhere else. "Immigration is something they don't have to do as
they used to," she said.

For Irish who want to immigrate to America, getting a green card
has been a tall order since 1965. In that year, McGoldrick and
other experts said, the federal government abolished its regional
quota system for issuing visas - a change that lumped Ireland in
with the rest of the world and forced Irish-visa seekers to
compete with the countless would-be immigrants in more populous

"The lottery system does not favor the Irish," said Monsignor
James Kelly of St. Brigid's Church of Ridgewood, Queens, who is
also a lawyer and the coordinator of the Irish Apostolate in

As for the Irish already in America, some have recently begun
returning to the Emerald Isle. This reverse migration can be
explained, in part, by the emergence of the Celtic Tiger, experts
say. The Irish who go home are going home to jobs, McGoldrick

But the bigger picture reveals a post-9/11 America that is
cracking down on illegal immigration and making it extremely
challenging for undocumented Irish to earn a living and raise
their families.

"Since 9/11, the walls have really closed down," said McGoldrick.

Many undocumented Irish have been forced to pack their bags and
leave New York in light of the state's newly beefed-up procedures
governing driver's license issuance and renewal, which now
require a valid social security number.

"The driver's license thing is killing them," Kelly said of
undocumented Irish (and other immigrants, for that matter),
particularly construction workers and others who rely on their
cars to make money.

In Queens, Kelly said, one can sense the shift in the Irish
population by looking at the Irish pubs in heavily Irish
neighborhoods like Woodside. "The Irish bars in Woodside are not
throbbing with life like they once were," he said.


Opin: Northern Voters Go To The Polls

Wed, Mar 07, 2007

The people of Northern Ireland go to the polls today more in hope
than in expectation. Great opportunities beckon, in terms of a
devolved, powersharing government, innovative local
administration and economic development. But years of
discrimination and violence, of tribal loyalties and political
mistrust have the capacity to stultify progress and derail the
hopes of an entire generation. All that can be said with
certainty is that the necessary adjustments are closer now than
they were before the last Assembly elections.

Interminable political bickering and the stop-go nature of the
peace process disguise important developments that have taken
place. Since 2003, the IRA has got rid of its weapons and Sinn
Fein has endorsed the Police Service of Northern Ireland. The
Democratic Unionist Party has consolidated its position as the
leader of unionism and the Rev Ian Paisley has indicated a
willingness to become first minister in a powersharing
administration. But, conditions apply.

It is to be hoped that a weary electorate will realise that the
basic building blocks for a functioning executive and assembly
are now more available than ever before. While the Irish and
British governments have pushed for a powersharing arrangement
under the St Andrews and Belfast agreements, they have also
signalled their intent to dissolve the Assembly by March 26th and
administer control of Northern Ireland in the event of that not
happening. Such a development would, inevitably, breathe life
into dissident and paramilitary forces.

Large sections of the electorate in Northern Ireland are losing
confidence in the ability of politicians to take responsibility
for running their lives. Reports from constituencies suggest
there is a growing level of apathy among voters, frustrated at
the lack of progress, who aspire to a better quality of life.
Nine years ago, an outline political settlement was agreed on
both sides of the Border but the details are still being
squabbled over. The two governments are running out of time and

In spite of disagreements and difficulties between and within the
various political parties, it is important for voters to remember
that today's election can mark a turning point in the politics of
Northern Ireland. It can bring about the formation of a devolved
government, a newly-empowered police force for the whole
community, a real opportunity to put the Troubles behind and
chart a new course for the younger generation in a new

The voters of Northern Ireland must be tired of being told that
history could be made, once again; that much is at stake, once
again; that they are on the cusp of something or other, once
again. Just imagine that rhetoric in the Republic! It is far more
realistic to say that this is the election that is closest to
producing an inclusive government in Northern Ireland. And if the
electorate want it, they must cast their vote. They must put
their future in their own hands.

c 2007 The Irish Times


Opin: The Big Question: Why Is Northern Ireland Voting, And Does
The Outcome Matter?

By David McKittrick, Ireland Correspondent
Published: 07 March 2007

Why are voters going to the polls today in Northern Ireland?

Although Belfast has an Assembly that is supposed to help run
Northern Ireland, its powers have been suspended for years, a
step taken after reports of an IRA spy ring caused unionists to
pull out of government. The election is needed if the
administration is to be revived.

The sense that the time may be ripe for a new beginning is
palpable in Northern Ireland, with major relaxations in security,
a sharp rise in house prices and a general feeling that the
society, though deeply divided, is capable of improvement. The
widespread belief, however, is that a comprehensive political
settlement is necessary to underpin the gains that have already
been made, and to provide the basis for long-term stability.

But aren't the Troubles over?

It is certainly true that violence has dropped dramatically: last
year there were just three troubles deaths, and the last killing
in Belfast was a year and a half ago. The IRA has disposed of its
guns and gone out of business.

But in the aftermath of the troubles the sense is that Belfast
needs a level political playing field, to involve everyone in the
business of government and give them a stake in society, thus
removing the need for any future resort to violence. Nearly all
elements subscribe to this, with Sinn Fein especially eager to
get into government.

Within months the party will be fighting another election, this
time in the Irish Republic where it hopes to make gains and is
prepared, if invited, to join a coalition.Its ambition is to be
in government in both north and south, which it believes would
put it in a strong strategic position to advance its programme
for eventual Irish unity.

Tony Blair and Irish Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, who together have
toiled for 10 years to reach this point in the peace process,
meanwhile strongly feel that devolution is necessary to provide
some common ground among the various parties. Both feel that they
are within reach of a successful outcome which would put both of
them into the history books.

Mr Ahern also has an election to fight this year, and would like
to do so as one of the architects of peace in Ireland.

What is unusual about this contest?

It has been carefully tailor-made to suit the particular
circumstances. The 108 Assembly members are being elected under a
system of proportional representation, which allows voters to
support a range of candidates.

Under very precise mathematical arrangements, the various parties
will then get to choose the local ministries they wish to head.
And at the top of the new government will be two people,
nominated by the two largest unionist and nationalist parties.
The idea is that, since such disparate groups are unlikely ever
to reach a deal on their own, the reliance on arithmetic means
they must either sit in government together or face the fact that
neither will wield power.

Who is likely to top the polls?

The Reverend Ian Paisley's Democratic Unionist party is
confidently expected to improve its position as the primary voice
of unionism. His old unionist rival David Trimble has been
vanquished, his Ulster Unionist party decimated in a previous

On the nationalist side, Sinn Fein is the largest outfit, having
bypassed the once pre-eminent Social Democratic and Labour party,
which was headed by Nobel Peace Prize winner John Hume. Its
nominee will be Martin McGuinness, who was regarded as a
successful minister in a previous short-lived devolved
government. The bottom line is that if an administration is
formed it will be headed by the once mind-boggling Paisley-
McGuinness combination.

Would Mr Paisley and Mr McGuinness work amicably together?

You must be joking. This pair, and their warring traditions, have
been deadly enemies for decades: there is going to be a lot of
confrontational glowering involved, and no touchy-feely stuff at

As a recent opinion poll showed, many expect their relationship
would be characterised by fireworks, rather than any warm feeling
of reconciliation and harmony. The Sinn Fein president Gerry
Adams, though much in favour of powersharing, has acknowledged
that it would be "a battle a day".

Mr Paisley's position, in fact, is that he does not speak to any
member of Sinn Fein; until recent years his people would not even
share a television studio with republicans. But this lack of
direct contact, though difficult, does not necessarily doom a new
arrangement from the start, since previous arrangements have been
worked, albeit awkwardly, by politicians who were not speaking to
each other.

So is Mr Paisley going to make a deal?

Nearly everyone wants to conform to Tony Blair's timetable, which
lays down that members of the new Assembly should convene on 26
March to form the new government. The weeks up to that date are
expected to be filled with a welter of last-minute negotiations
as the parties seek to gain the maximum in terms of any last-
minute advantages.

Mr Paisley, though leaning towards participation in a new
administration, has not said formally he will play his part,
showing an uncharacteristic coyness about his intentions. This is
because this is uncharted territory to him: now in his 80s, his
lengthy career has until now been based on rejecting deals such
as this. But today, as unionism's new top dog, he has the
opportunity of becoming First Minister and wielding considerable
power, even if he has to do so alongside Martin McGuinness.

The other new factor is that his monolithic party is suddenly
sprouting dissident wings which are unenthusiastic about sharing
power with republicans. Some in the ranks oppose making a deal
with Sinn Fein; others might but want to put off doing so. He may
feel he should postpone things.

How would others react to an impasse?

With alarm, dismay and anger. Mr Blair, Mr Ahern and Northern
Ireland Secretary Peter Hain say that 26 March is an absolute and
unbreakable deadline, the last chance saloon for devolution.
Their assertion is that if the deal is not done on that day then
the entire architecture of devolution will be shelved.

All are hoping that Mr Paisley will make no attempt at
postponement but, possibly buoyed by a good showing in today's
poll, seize his chance to lead Northern Ireland into a new era.

Could these elections lead to a lasting breakthrough in Ulster?


* The IRA has gone away and loyalist extremists are less active

* The improved atmosphere will help bind together any new

* The prospect of power appeals to both Ian Paisley and the Sinn
Fein leadership


* Four decades of violence have left deep-seated bitterness and

* Mr Paisley and Sinn Fein are too far apart ever to co-operate

* Agreement may be possible at some stage, but not yet


Three Arrested Over Burglary At Home Of Marian Finucane

Niall Cronin
Wed, Mar 07, 2007

Garda¡ in Naas have arrested three men in connection with an
aggravated burglary on the home of RT broadcaster Marian

The men, all of whom are in their 20s, were detained following
early morning raids by armed garda¡ in the Jobstown area of
Tallaght yesterday.

The men are being questioned under Section 4 of the Criminal
Justice Act 1984 and can be held for 24 hours without being

Ms Finucane's home in Co Kildare was broken into on February 20th
while her son, Jack Clarke, was alone in the house. Her son, a
student, was tied up and beaten.

He was subsequently treated in hospital.

The raiders, who also targeted other houses in the area of Ms
Finucane's home near Punchestown, got away with a small quantity
of cash and two mobile phones.

Speaking after the ordeal, Mr Clarke thanked garda¡ and medical
staff before stating: "I would like to thank from the bottom of
my heart the friends and family that have helped me in the last
number of days."

c 2007 The Irish Times


The Annual St. Patrick's Day Parade & NYC's Top Irish Bars

The St. Patrick's Day Parade is a quintessential celebration of
Irish-American identity. On Saturday, Mar. 17, almost 200,000
marchers will parade up Fifth Avenue in a display of the vibrancy
and vitality that is Irish culture. This culture is a special
component of the diversity that is the essence of New York and
America. In many ways, the parade is a celebration for all

The annual parade for St. Patrick in New York City is in its
246th year. As it has for many years, it begins at Fifth Ave. &
44th St. at 11am. It marches north along Fifth Ave., led by the
historic Fighting 69th. The Fighting 69th is a New York State
militia regiment, made up of 1,000 Irish-American volunteers,
that first served in America's Civil War at the Battle of Bull
Run. The contributions of the Fighting 69th helped bridge the gap
between Irish settlers and the rest of the American community by
sharing common sacrifices and goals. The regiment went on to
serve the U.S. in later wars. Now veterans of the regiment and
their descendants hold the esteemed honor of leading the parade.
Marching along with the Fighting 69th is a host of political
figures, including New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and
Governor Eliot Spitzer.

As the procession moves up Fifth Ave., thousands of well-wishers
of all backgrounds cheer on the marchers. At selected spots along
the route, there are 32 large green banners. These banners depict
the emblems of the 32 Irish counties and are sponsored by the
various Emerald Societies and delegations of Irish descendants.

At Fifth Ave. and 86th St., the procession turns right and
marches east on 86th St. until First Ave., where it ends at about
3pm. Many of the marchers and participants move on to the various
Irish pubs, taverns, and restaurants around Manhattan.

After the parade, celebrate at these great Irish pubs

With its lovingly restored turn-of-the-20th-century architecture,
Brendan's Bar & Grill (42 W. 35th St. btw. Fifth & Sixth Aves.,
212-564-5405) is a grand slice of old New York. Located near
Macy's and the Empire State Building, Brendan's offers top-of-
the-line bar and grill delights that range from comfort foods and
steaks to seafood dishes and pizzas. Plus, you can catch the best
of New York-area sports on the big-screen TV.

Channel 4 (58 W. 48th St. btw. Fifth & Sixth Aves., 212-819-0095)
has returned to 48th Street! No, not the TV station, but the
Irish bar and restaurant. Originally opened over four decades
ago, and back since Halloween 2004, Channel 4 is a two-story
affair with a long, sleek Irish bar beneath a cozy restaurant
serving pub food and a vast array of steaks, chops, sandwiches,
burgers, pastas, and specials with an emphasis on hearty, no-
nonsense dishes. Favorites include lamb chops with rosemary
sauce, a polenta featuring fresh shellfish, and fish and chips.

A classy Irish bar & grill, T¡r Na N¢g (5 Penn Plaza, Eighth Ave.
btw. 33rd & 34th Sts., 212-630-0249) incorporates New American
cuisine with typical Irish fare while preserving the warmth and
charm you'd find in an Irish pub. The decor conjures up images of
Ireland with furniture and architectural pieces from Irish
castles and churches. Traditional dishes such as shepherd's pie
are available, and T¡r Na N¢g boasts a wide variety of beers and
wines. Oh, and in case you were wondering, T¡r Na N¢g is a Gaelic
phrase meaning "land of eternal youth."

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