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March 03, 2007

Collusion: Policy Goes To Heart of Govt

News about Ireland & the Irish

AP 03/02/07 Collusion: Policy Goes To Heart Of Government
BT 03/02/07 Sinn Fein Rejects U-Turn On Policing Decision
IT 03/03/07 DUP Steps Out, Then Steps In Again
IT 03/03/07 DUP Veto On North's Progress At An End- Sinn Féin
BT 03/02/07 DUP Scared That Agreement May Work, Says McGuinness
IT 03/02/07 Constituency Profile: North Antrim
BB 03/03/07 Robinson: Government To Be 'Battle A Day'
IH 03/03/07 DUP Says Power-Sharing With SF Must Be Temporary
BN 03/02/07 Empey Condemns Paisley's Two-Faced Finance Claim
BT 03/02/07 McLaughlin Says Opposition Is Running Scared Of SF
DN 03/02/07 Cloughaneely 4 Join Campaign To Legalise Irish
IV 03/03/07 NYU Furor Over Illegals Game
TW 03/03/07 Analysis: Peace Process - Lessons For Sri Lanka

Election Seats 1997-2005
IT 03/03/07 SF Ardfheis: Rename Merrion Road After Bobby Sands
BN 03/03/07 Expert Blames Irish Doctors For MRSA Problems
BT 03/03/07 Prayers And Vigil For Shot Ulster Missionary
IT 03/03/07 Air Deal Will Mean End To Shannon Stopover
IT 03/03/07 Funding Boost For Mitchell Scholarships
TL 03/03/07 Drink In Spirit Of The Irish With Some Tunes
AA 03/03/07 Best Of Irish Walks


Collusion: Policy Goes To Heart Of British Government

By Laura Friel

Brits/UVF secret talks after Dublin/Monaghan bombings

There is further mounting evidence to support the long-held
belief that the British Government actively colluded with
unionist paramilitaries in murders and bombings. That's the
conclusion drawn by Alan Brecknall of the Pat Finucane Centre.
Brecknall, whose own father is believed to have been killed as a
result of British collusion, was speaking after uncovering the
latest in a series of documents secured through the recently-
enacted Freedom of Information Act.

According to British documents, the government held secret talks
with the UVF shortly after the Dublin/Monaghan bombings in 1974.
The meeting took place at Laneside, MI5's headquarters on the
outskirts of Belfast. It was just 12 days after the bombing that
killed 33 people and injured over 100 more, many seriously.

At the time, UVF involvement in the bombings was widely known.
The British military was suspected but only implicated at a later
date. Twelve days after the bombings, what was not on the agenda
- as Brecknall has pointed out - is sometimes just as revealing
as what was.

The one glaring admission in the meeting between the British
Government and the UVF on 29 May 1974 was the Dublin/Monaghan
bombings. The bombings were not discussed.

The meeting focused on the internal state of unionist politics
and the ongoing Ulster Workers Council strike. Four days earlier,
the then British Prime Minister Harold Wilson had publicly
labelled the strike leaders as "thugs and bullies" while accusing
the strikers of "viciously" defying Westminster.

In other words, the strike was discussed at a secret meeting
because it was at odds with British Government policy. By
implication, the Dublin/Monaghan bombings were not discussed
because no such schism existed.

In October 1974, UVF members suspected of carrying out the
bombings were interned, only to be released six months later. The
then Irish Ambassador complained in writing to the British
Government about the releases. "By the [British] secretary of
state's own admission, the loyalists released were responsible
for the Dublin/Monaghan bombings," he said.

Other documents recovered by the Derry-based Pat Finucane Centre
have also exposed British Government complacency in the face of
evidence of collusion. A British MOD memo to the Cabinet in the
early 1970s outlined collusion by the UDR with unionist

The document admitted that the UDR was the largest single source
of weaponry acquired by the paramilitaries, and their only source
of modern weaponry. It also admitted that up to 15% of the UDR
were also active members of the UVF and other paramilitary

According to another document, during a meeting in 1975, Harold
Wilson informed opposition leader Margaret Thatcher that members
of the RUC were passing information to the UVF. Despite this,
both the UDR and RUC continued to attract the enthusiastic
support of the British Government.

Focusing on the political masters rather than those tasked with
organising or carrying out the killings, Brecknall's findings
expose the secret at the heart of the collusion controversy. It's
a secret so terrible that the British Government and its state
agencies are terrified of it becoming a matter of public record.

It is simply this. Collusion was British policy and went to the
heart of government. Such a truth would sweep away years of
British propaganda that strives to portray collusion in terms of
"rogue elements" and "a few bad apples" while claiming that their
agents "saved lives".

Of course, if that was indeed the case, then the abject terror
with which the British state appears to view the prospect of any
meaningful inquiry would not make any sense. The state's reaction
- to resist exposure at all costs - gives the lie to its own
propaganda. The terrible truth at the heart of collusion is that
the British state orchestrated a campaign of murder which
included sectarian terror against the nationalist community north
and south, summary assassination targeting their political and
military opponents - republicans in particular but not
exclusively - and the expedient deployment of unionists, in their
traditional role as expendable cannon fodder, to protect British
interests in yet another colonial war.

In other words, the British state murdered citizens within its
own jurisdiction and south of the border, in the jurisdiction of
another European state.

Meanwhile, the family of a Catholic taxi driver murdered by
loyalists is to ask the Ombudsman to investigate the role of
Special Branch in the killing. Tommy Hughes was shot dead by the
UVF in Belfast in July 1991.

Last week, a former RUC detective told the media that Special
Branch knew a week in advance that the UVF was planning the
attack. According to the source a Special Branch agent in the
Shankill Road UVF's notorious 'C' company told the RUC that
gunmen were planning to murder a black taxi driver.

The agent also told them where the killing was scheduled to take
place: at the Westlink junction at the bottom of the Falls Road,
in full view of a British Army spy post on the top of Divis

The retired detective named the agent as Colin Craig, a senior
UVF man who was shot dead in 1994. "They knew about the murder
bid. Craig told them. I am absolutely certain of that. Craig was
untouchable. He was a protected species. Special Branch looked
after him. He was their man on the Shankill," he said.

Commenting, the dead man's widow Sharon Hughes said that she
believed her husband's death was a result of collusion. "I always
felt the police never investigated Tommy's death. Right up to
Tommy's murder he was harassed by the RUC. They told him he was
going to be killed," she said.

"Even though there were witnesses and it happened under the Divis
spy post, no one was ever charged. I was later told the names of
those involved. Craig was one of the names I was given."

At the time of the murder, family members who rushed to the scene
of the shooting were verbally abused by the RUC. During the
inquest it was revealed that a British Army intelligence document
containing Tommy Hughes's personal details had been recovered
during raids on the Shankill.

The family of John Harbinson, a Protestant brutally beaten to
death by the Mount Vernon UVF in 1997, said that the possibility
of collusion had "never entered their minds" before the
Ombudsman's report.

"The report really shocked us. It actually said the boys involved
went to Ballyhalbert caravan site that weekend after it to lie
low," said the victim's son Alan.

John Harbinson was strung up by his ankles and beaten with a
hammer by as many as six UVF men. The names of those involved in
the killing were common knowledge in the local Shore Road area
the day after the murder.

Last week, the Harbinsons were one of a number of victims'
families who served a civil action against the PSNI Chief
Constable. The families have alleged negligence during
investigations into a series of murders in the 1990s.


Sinn Fein Rejects U-Turn On Policing Decision

[Published: Saturday 3, March 2007 - 13:58]

The Sinn Fein Ard Fheis has voted heavily against changing its
recent decision on supporting the police in the North.

One resolution which stated it should not pledge allegiance to
policing was withdrawn and others qualifying support were also
defeated by a large majority.

It is only weeks since the party decided at a special Ard Fheis
to support the police but several cumann tabled resolutions
calling for a reversal.

Gerry Kelly, its policing spokesman, urged the party to reject
them, saying if passed they would remove all the pressure now
being heaped on Ian Paisley's DUP to agree to share power.

One resolution from Co. Kerry that said pledging allegiance to
the police amounted to reinforcing British rule was withdrawn.

Others from Fermanagh, Co. Dublin and Monaghan, called for
support for policing to be conditional on loyalists disarming, or
London agreeing a date for ending partition.

In the event, no-one spoke in favour and they were overwhelmingly

c Belfast Telegraph


DUP Steps Out, Then Steps In Again As Coyness Continues

Sat, Mar 03, 2007

Assembly election/overview:As the campaign goes on, hints of a
deal emerge, writes Gerry Moriarty, Northern Editor.

The longer this election campaign rumbles on, the greater the
sense that if there is no deal on or about March 26th then
politicians will have a hard time explaining why not.

On Thursday the DUP said its first ministerial preference in the
Northern executive was for the department of finance and
personnel. Hey, doesn't that mean there is going to an executive,
reporters and opposition politicians asked. Ha! But we didn't say
when, was the diverting response of Peter Robinson.

And Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams yesterday was repeating his
key phrase of the election (these are decided in advance by SF
cabal), "The War is Over" on BBC Radio Ulster's Talkback
programme. Furthermore he wanted to make the Northern executive
and Assembly "work".

But it won't be easy. There are still tensions in the DUP between
its three camps - those who'd deal now, later or never. The Rev
Ian Paisley, though, is the glue, and he probably can hold the
disparate elements to his will, particularly if the DUP fares
well on Wednesday.

Trust is also a huge issue. And that was exemplified by a
unionist phone caller to Talkback, John, who had a unique view of
Anglo-Irish history. He told Mr Adams that his family was in
Ireland for 300-400 years and he could trace his ancestry to
Brian Boru. If republicans wanted "Brits Out" where was he to go?
The upshot of the exchange was Mr Adams inviting him to talk with
him face-to-face.

John didn't want to be next nor near the Sinn Fein leader.

"But, John, you're talking to me now," said Mr Adams who,
incidentally, denied Brian Boru was a Brit.

But that was by phone, said John, adding, "If I was standing
beside you I would probably have my hands around your throat."

So, using that as a guide, be aware that if the Stormont
government is reinstated it will, as Mr Adams also repeats and
repeats, be "a battle a day" from here to close to eternity.

The Belfast Telegraph ran a poll this week, which had the DUP at
25 per cent, Sinn Fein at 22 per cent, the SDLP at 20 per cent,
and the UUP at 16 per cent. Opinion polls are notoriously tricky
in the North because of people's reluctance, particularly those
who support Sinn Fein and the DUP, to state their true political
allegiances. But as society gradually normalises here, it will be
interesting afterwards to see if the poll reflects the result.

It again prompted the DUP's Peter Robinson to exploit the fear
factor by warning that if unionists did not turn out in force and
rally behind Dr Paisley, Sinn Fein could win more seats than the

But what should also upset unionists is that if the figures are
accurate the likelihood is that rather than unionists having the
advantage of six ministers to four, as it had in the last 2003
executive (if it had ever sat), it would be five ministers each
for nationalists and unionists this time.

Finally, spare a thought for Rainbow George, who is standing in
the four Belfast constituencies on a "make politics history"
ticket. (It has a ring to it, you must admit). Rainbow George has
stood in several elections and is considering running in all
Dublin constituencies shortly. He funded his campaigns on the
sale of a house in London for œ710,000 two years ago, but
whatever about politics he has made his bank balance history by
blowing the lot on elections.

He has invested a last œ200 at 250/1 with William Hills to take a
seat. "That would win me œ50,000, enough to pay œ10 each for
enough first preferences to get me in," said George, hope
springing, as always, eternal.

c 2007 The Irish Times


DUP Veto On North's Progress At An End- Sinn Fein

Deaglán de Bréadún, Political Correspondent
Sat, Mar 03, 2007

The Democratic Unionist Party had lost its veto on progress in
the North and if the Rev Ian Paisley refused to accept power-
sharing, the political process would move on through "new all-
Ireland partnership arrangements", Sinn Fein's chief negotiator
Martin McGuinness said in the opening address to his party's
ardfheis in Dublin last night.

"Sinn Fein stands ready for government," he told delegates at the
RDS. "If, for whatever reason, the DUP lose their nerve, we will
continue driving forward our progressive all-Ireland agenda
regardless." The days when unionism could dictate to "a
confident, vibrant nationalist community" were over. "The vetoes
are gone. Second-class citizenship is no more," the Mid-Ulster MP

He had spoken at many ardfheiseanna during the most difficult
times but this was a time of great hope and opportunity. "We have
within our sights the prospect of Ian Paisley, who began his
career with 'never', then moved to 'no', on to 'maybe' and now a
possible, even probable 'yes' - finally accepting his nationalist
and republican neighbours as equals." The policing motion agreed
at the special ardfheis in January had "liberated the political
process" and "placed enormous pressure on the rejectionists and
the naysayers to do the business".

Sinn Fein had created the conditions "in which the DUP have to
accept, for the first time ever, power-sharing and all-Ireland
arrangements if they want to be part of shaping the future.

"If that happens, it will be truly historic, an acceptance by the
undisputed leader of unionism that the days of unionist
domination are over and, potentially, the beginning of a process
of national reconciliation." He continued: "If the DUP refuse at
this time to be part of the process of change, then the process
moves on through new all-Ireland partnership arrangements. The
DUP veto over progress has now been removed and this is the logic
of the Sinn Fein strategy over recent years. Politics, business,
commerce and much more are now pointing in one, all-Ireland

Mr McGuinness accused his party's opponents in the SDLP and the
Ulster Unionist Party of making disingenuous claims that a power-
sharing government "headed by Ian Paisley and myself" could not
succeed. "Their real fear is that such an arrangement just might
work," he said.

"What the media often terms the 'centre ground' would be more
accurately described as a waste ground of failed political
initiative after failed political initiative." The same was true,
he claimed, of parties on the southern side of the Border. "Their
concern is not about our presence in government. Their real
concern is about the job we would do when we get there.

"I believe that we would quickly show to the people that we were
doing a better job than those who have sat around Irish cabinet
tables for years . . . they know and fear that."

The SDLP had been delivering "Discover United Ireland" brochures
through people's doors and its latest manifesto might be
described as "a United Ireland for slow learners", Mr McGuinness

Among the guests at the well attended ardfheis was South Africa's
minister for intelligence services, Ronnie Kasrils.

The ardfheis concludes this afternoon with an address by party
president and member of parliament Gerry Adams.

c 2007 The Irish Times


DUP Scared That Agreement May Work, Says McGuinness

[Published: Saturday 3, March 2007 - 08:57]
By Noel McAdam

Sinn Fein will drive forward its all-Ireland agenda, even if the
DUP " loses its nerve", Martin McGuinness told the party's ard
fheis in Dublin last night.

But the man set to become deputy first minister said he believed
Ian Paisley had moved from "never" to "no" to "maybe" to "
possibly, even probably, yes".

Mr Paisley's potential future partner on a power-sharing
executive hit out at parties who insist a joint office involving
the DUP leader and Mr McGuinness could not work.

"I believe their real fear is that such an arrangement just might
work," he told the gathering at the Royal Dublin Society in
Ballsbridge, just six weeks after its special session
overwhelmingly moved towards full support for policing.

The Mid Ulster MP said Sinn Fein's preference was to work within
an Assembly and Executive "but if, for whatever reason the DUP
lose their nerve, we will continue to drive forward our
progressive all-Ireland agenda."

"You, the people in this hall, have created the conditions in
which the DUP have to accept for the first time ever power-
sharing and all-Ireland arrangements if they want to be part of
shaping the future," he said.

"If that happens it will be truly historic, an acceptance by the
leader of unionism that the days of unionist domination are over
and, potentially, the beginning of a process of national

Martina Anderson, the party's outreach officer to the unionist
community, said there was a new dynamism and reawakening among
republicans in the north who "perhaps for the first time" saw the
opportunity to make change.

Opening the conference, she said the party was confident the
forthcoming " hugely important" election will eventually lead to
the restoration of the Assembly and island-wide institutions.

An all-Ireland Ministerial Council would mean there would be two
internationally recognised spokespeople for all the people of
Ireland - the taoiseach and the deputy first minister, Martin

"The current taoiseach has a tendency to forget this," she told
delegates, "or to wish it were not the case."

The ard fheis is expected today to call on London and Dublin to
"reduce the paucity" of the economic peace dividend and voice
disappointment that the funds mentioned so far "are largely the
same as promised in the past."

Delegates also last night debated a series of motions which
included an invitation to unionists to work with republicans to
guarantee that the economic benefits of Irish unity are based on
a political framework spreading benefits to all sections of

Another called on the British and Irish governments to take steps
to set up an independent North South Consultative Forum made up
of members of civic society.

The executive proposal demanded a "thoroughgoing, publicly
funded" consultation involving trade unions and local communities
to ensure the all-island forum - as set out in the St Andrews
Agreement - includes representatives of the "most marginalised".

A Dublin motion praised the party leadership in the current
negotiations to restore the Assembly which, it said, "will hasten
the day of a united Ireland."

c Belfast Telegraph


Constituency Profile: North Antrim

Buckle of the Bible belt to put squeeze on Paisley

Gerry Moriarty in North Antrim
Sat, Mar 03, 2007

United Kingdom Unionist Party candidate Lyle Cubitt expects to
have recently resigned DUP councillor David Tweed out on the
canvass with him today in North Antrim.

Mr Tweed couldn't be contacted yesterday to confirm but the 61-
year-old ("feeling 40") retired solicitor said the former rugby
player would be tramping the streets with him looking for "number
ones for Cubitt" - which can be translated as unionist votes
against local MP and DUP leader Ian Paisley.

Mr Tweed reputedly said after he won his first Irish cap in the
mid-1990s that he "played 30 times for my country and once for
Ireland". In this case "my country" is Ulster, or the Northern
Ireland element of it, which doesn't accord with the Ulster Rugby
Football Union's geographical perspective.

But you get the point. This is Ballymena, the buckle of the Bible
belt of Northern Ireland, where for a generation and more, Dr
Paisley has reigned supreme preaching an uncompromising political
gospel. Now former disciples are asking questions.

There are posters up in the town showing the North's prospective
first and deputy first ministers, Dr Paisley and Sinn Fein's
Martin McGuinness together under the headline, "Unholy Alliance".

"Had nothing to do with me," says Mr Cubitt.

Ten of the DUP's 15 councillors on Ballymena council, including
Mr Tweed, are refusing to canvass for Dr Paisley because they
fear he will perform a "U-turn, a sell-out" and enter government
with Sinn Fein.

"Would you expect Tony Blair to go into government with the
Muslim terrorists who are bombing London?" asks Mr Cubitt. "You
can't have terrorists in government."

However neither Mr Tweed's resignation nor the stance of the
disaffected councillors will do any damage, says Dr Paisley. "It
will have no effect at all," he predicts.

He's taken flak from UKUP leader Robert McCartney, so he fires
some back by wondering will Mr McCartney, standing in six
constituencies, hold his "real" seat in North Down.

A couple of years ago, Dr Paisley was a shadow of his former
self. Most of that lost weight is returned and he is back looking
for votes. "Porridge in the morning and apple cider vinegar every
night with honey" is his secret health remedy, he says.

The Ulster Unionist Party is running two candidates in North
Antrim, outgoing MLA the Rev Robert Coulter and Robert Swann. Mr
Coulter has been on the flat of his back for the past week with
the flu, relying on canvassers to keep selling the UUP message.
"I hope to be back to make a victory speech," he says, very
hoarsely, from his sick bed to The Irish Times.

He predicts that both in North Antrim and elsewhere, the UUP will
receive a "belated payback" for the risks David Trimble made to
cement the peace. "People are beginning to see the wisdom of what
we were trying to achieve."

Both he and Declan O'Loan, who is running with Orla Black for the
SDLP, enter the caveat that the politicians must overcome the
apathy factor to ensure the so- called centre-ground unionist and
nationalist parties hold their own.

Daith¡ McKay is running for Sinn Fein in place of retired MLA
Philip McGuigan. He says the response on the doorsteps is
positive and is confident he will consolidate that historic first
seat for Sinn Fein won in 2003.

North Antrim


( Quota = 15%)

*Ian Paisley (DUP) 19.8%
*Ian Paisley Jr (DUP) 17.9%
*Robert Coulter (UUP) 14.5%
Philip McGuigan (SF) 14.0%
*Sean Farren (SDLP) 8.3%

Mervyn Storey (DUP) 8.2%

* Also elected in 1998.

UNIONIST BATTLEGROUND: The DUP is trying to manage its vote here
in the outside chance that it might win a fourth seat. With anti-
deal, anti-SF unionists Lyle Cubitt and James Gregg aiming to eat
into the DUP vote, that appears ambitious. Still, even allowing
for DUP internal disaffection Dr Paisley and the DUP would appear
to be worth three seats here, with Ulster Unionist Rev Robert
Coulter the frontrunner to hold a seat for the UUP.

NATIONALIST BATTLEGROUND: Declan O'Loan and Orla Black are
standing for the SDLP. O'Loan's name and Ballymena base makes him
the likeliest of the SDLP candidates to come through. D ith¡
McKay is a first-time SF runner but that shouldn't undermine his
chance of holding the seat, notwithstanding that former INLA
leader Dominic McGlinchey's brother Paul is running on an anti-
deal, anti-policing ticket.

WILDCARD:UKUP's Lyle Cubitt. If the two-thirds of DUP Ballymena
councillors who have turned against Dr Paisley, because they fear
he will enter government with SF, reflect unionist views, then he
could win. But the Paisley brand should prevail.


c 2007 The Irish Times


Government To Be 'Battle A Day'

The DUP's Peter Robinson has acknowledged that a devolved
government dominated by his party and Sinn Fein is likely to be
"a battle a day".

Interviewed for Radio Ulster's Inside Politics, the East Belfast
MP said the relationship between the two parties would be far
from easy.

"That is why we have argued that this cannot be a permanent
structure," Mr Robinson said.

"This cannot be a lasting and enduring form of government."

The DUP deputy leader said he agreed with Sinn Fein leader Gerry
Adams's remarks about an executive dominated by the DUP and Sinn
Fein becoming "a battle a day".

Mr Robinson said it was the one thing he did agree with Mr Adams

"I don't think that it's going to be an easy relationship," Mr
Robinson said.

"There will be no love lost between Sinn Fein and the DUP."

The two parties won the highest number of seats in the last
assembly election and if this is repeated in next week's poll
they would have the most places in an executive as well as the
first minister and deputy first minister.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2007/03/03 09:33:47 GMT


Protestant Party Says Northern Ireland Power-Sharing With Sinn
Fein Must Be Temporary

The Associated Press
Published: March 3, 2007

DUBLIN, Ireland: Forming a government with Sinn Fein in Northern
Ireland will be uncomfortable and must be temporary, a senior
Protestant politician warned Saturday just days before an
election designed to promote power-sharing.

Democratic Unionist deputy leader Peter Robinson said his party,
which is favored to win most seats in Wednesday's elections for
the Northern Ireland Assembly, was prepared to ignore the British
government's March 26 deadline for the assembly to elect a
Catholic-Protestant administration.

Robinson said Sinn Fein leaders had not delivered on their
promise to begin supporting the Police Service of Northern
Ireland, a predominantly Protestant force undergoing wide-ranging
reforms. Both power-sharing and police reform were important
parts of the complex Good Friday peace accord of 1998.

But even if Sinn Fein does convincingly embrace law and order in
the British territory, Robinson said, the Democratic Unionists
should not be expected to govern Northern Ireland in coalition
with the Catholic-backed party indefinitely.

"It will be a difficult working relationship. There will be no
love lost between Sinn Fein and the DUP," Robinson said. "This is
why this cannot be a permanent structure. It can only be a
temporary situation to deal with our emergency circumstances."

As Robinson spoke, Sinn Fein activists in Dublin debated the
party's historic Jan. 28 decision to open normal relations with
the Northern Ireland police. Several motions at Sinn Fein's
annual conference appealed for that decision to be reversed, or
for Sinn Fein to limit its cooperation in various ways.

But Sinn Fein justice spokesman Gerry Kelly, a convicted Irish
Republican Army car-bomber, told the conference that such steps
would give the Democratic Unionists an easy excuse not to share
power by March 26. The anti-police motions were defeated.

Britain insists it will shut down the newly elected assembly if
its members refuse to elect a full 12-member, four-party
administration by the deadline.

Power-sharing failed in October 2002 when a coalition led by
moderate Protestants and Catholics collapsed amid an IRA spying
scandal inside the government.

Reviving cooperation has been complicated by the political rise
of the rival extremes, the Democratic Unionists and Sinn Fein,
which overtook moderates in the last assembly election of 2003.

The top two vote-winning parties can prevent the formation of any
administration. While Sinn Fein has sought power-sharing from the
start, the Democratic Unionists have demanded first that the IRA
disarm and disband and Sinn Fein accept the police, courts and
British rule of law.

The IRA - which killed nearly 1,800 people from 1970 to 1997 in a
failed campaign to oust Northern Ireland from the United Kingdom
- renounced violence and disarmed in 2005, but has not disbanded.

The only opinion poll of the monthlong election campaign,
published Thursday and Friday in the Belfast Telegraph newspaper,
found that 24.9 percent of likely voters said they supported the
Democratic Unionists, while 21.7 percent backed Sinn Fein.

Sinn Fein's moderate rival for Catholic votes, the Social
Democratic and Labour Party, narrowly trailed with 20.2 percent.
The Ulster Unionists - a once-dominant party that hemorrhaged
Protestant support because it included Sinn Fein in the previous
coalition - came a distant fourth with 15.7 percent. The poll had
a 3 percent margin of error.

The Democratic Unionists say Sinn Fein could seize the No. 1 spot
in Northern Ireland politics for the first time, citing a recent
pattern of higher voter turnout in Catholic areas. The No. 1
party gets the administration's top post of "first minister" and
has first choice of Cabinet departments.


Empey Condemns Paisley's 'Two-Faced' Finance Claim

02/03/2007 - 17:43:20

The Rev Ian Paisley was tonight accused of boosting the prospect
of seeing another Sinn Fein Education Minister in the North.

Ulster Unionist (UUP) leader Sir Reg Empey lambasted his
Democratic Unionist (DUP) rival a day after he announced his
party would claim the Finance portfolio in the next Stormont

Sir Reg argued: "Not only do we have the utterly two-faced
approach of the DUP in saying that they will take the Ministry of
Finance to tackle water charges while still point-blank refusing
to say whether they will go into government on March 26 but now,
after all their abuse and mock incredulity over the last few
years about Sinn Fein being in charge of education, their actions
could allow Gerry Kelly or Barry McElduff to take the portfolio.

"This is the worst kind of political hypocrisy imaginable. It is
all very well coming off with a line about wanting to stop water
charges as we all do, but the hue and cry for years about
education cannot go unchecked.

"The DUP should explain clearly why they have all but given a
green light to Sinn Fein to take the Education Ministry."

With the North's controversial new water charges the most talked
about campaign issue of the election campaign, the Democratic
Unionists yesterday declared they would insist as a precondition
to power sharing that England's Chancellor of the Exchequer
Gordon Brown resolve the issue in his economic package to bolster

By claiming first the Finance and Personnel ministry, the DUP
would not only be able to dictate water charging and rating
policy but also the budget for other executive departments.

However, given the controversy over Martin McGuinness's
appointment as Education Minister during the last devolved
government and his moves to scrap the 11 Plus, the Ulster
Unionists claimed the DUP had given Sinn Fein the green light to
claim the post again.

Sir Reg vowed: "I can pledge now that Ulster Unionists will take
the Education portfolio if the opportunity arises, as our first

"The simple outworking of the DUP's decision to take finance is
that by voting DUP unionists could be voting Sinn Fein into the
education ministry."


McLaughlin Says Opposition Is Running Scared Of Sinn Fein

[Published: Saturday 3, March 2007 - 13:43]

Sinn Fein's Mitchel McLaughlin has said southern politicians
travelling north to help the SDLP election campaign are desperate
to stop the rise of the republican vote.

In recent days, the Fine Gael leader, Enda Kenny, the leader of
the Labour Party, Pat Rabbitte, and the Minister for Finance,
Brian Cowen, have all either canvassed for SDLP candidates or
attended party events north of the border.

Speaking at his party's ard fheis in Dublin, Mr. McLaughlin said
they, and others, were running scared of Sinn Fein.

"The peace process has transformed this country. There are those
who would do anything to stop our agenda. Some of them are
unionists," he said.

"Others would claim to be Irish nationalists and indeed Irish
republicans. These are the people who profit from inequality and
injustice and from continuing partition. Our vision is of an
Ireland of equals."

c Belfast Telegraph


'Cloughaneely Four' Join Campaign To Legalise Irish In US

LIVING the American dream is becoming increasingly difficult for
the estimated 50,000 Irish people who are illegal in the US.

Thousands of Donegal people have left the county over the years
to make a better life, flocking to cities like, New York, Boston,
Philadelphia and San Francisco are now unable to make the trip
home to visit family and friends.

Four young people from Falcarragh, now living in New York, are
helping to lead out a campaign mounting pressure on the Bush
Government to adopt a bill to legalise the Irish in America. Anna
Ferry, from Gortahork, Paul Coyle, Falcarragh and Michael and
Christine from Falcarragh will march on Capitol Hill, Washington
this Wednesday as part of a mass rally organised by the Irish
Lobby for Immigration Reform (ILIR). They are hoping that their
relatives and friends in Donegal will show their support at a
planned ILIR rally in Jury's Hotel, Ballsbridge, Dublin on April

Christine has been living in Yonkers, New York for the last four
years. She left Falcarragh with her husband Michael in search of
better opportunities and work. Fearful of the immigration
authorities Christine has asked that their surnames not be


She had worked in the Slendertone factory in Gweedore industrial
estate but was left jobless when the factory closed down.

Like countless other young people from West Donegal she left with
her husband Michael to set up home in Yonkers, first living with

Michael has found work in the construction industry and Christine
works in a bar. It is the mainstay employment niches for illegal
immigrants. Christine and Michael have applied to American Green
Card lottery for 12 years in a row without any success.

"This year there are only 200 Green Cards being given out. What
is so frustrating is that there is no system at all for becoming
legal. There is no application process and very little real
opportunity of obtaining legal status if this Bill fails," said

She says they became involved in the ILIR rallies following a
meeting locally.

"That first meeting was so encouraging. We felt that at last
someone was trying to do something about our situation. Most
people I know here are illegal. There are so many of us, from all
over Ireland in need of a Green card," she said.

Christine has been busy drumming up support for the Irish lobby
bill, putting up posters in Irish bars and local shopping centres
and filling places on the 10 buses leaving Yonkers for the
Washington rally on Wednesday.


"There seems to be no rhyme or reason to how the American
immigration laws work. Our friends, a couple from Armagh and
Tipperary, had recently come to New York on an 18 month working
visa. They returned home for a family funeral and were refused
entry into the US. She got a life ban from ever applying again
and her husband was banned from entering for the next 10 years,"
said Christine.

"I love living in New York but the hardest thing is not being
able to go home and see our family. I have nephews and nieces
born over the last four years I've yet to see," said Christine.

"The Bill proposes to legalise all those who have been living in
America for the last five years undocumented. Those here for
three years had to leave and those here for two years were told
to go home and try again in the hope they'd be allocated a visa
in the future," explained Christine.


The ILRI Chairman, Niall O'Dowds mounted the campaign to legalise
the Irish living in America last year and has garnered the
support of high profile politicians and US senators, including
Ted Kennedy, Hillary Clinton, John McCain, and Charles Schumer.
In Donegal, Bundoran based Councillor, Michael McMahon is leading
the cause. His son, Michael Jr is living in New York at present.

With an estimated 40 million American-Irish living in the US the
lobby group are hopeful of wide support however with a population
of 50,000, the Irish are simply a drop in the ocean of America's
estimated 12 million illegal immigrants.

ILRI are hoping that Irish people on both sides of the Atlantic
will join in the fight to legalise the Irish as their is little
other way of the thousands of Donegal immigrants to be able to
visit in the near future and little prospect for those eyeing the
American dream in the future. For further information on the
Legalise the Irish campaign log on to


NYU Furor Over Illegals Game

By Cahir O'Doherty

THE "Catch the Illegal Immigrant" game carried out by New York
University's College Republicans group attracted about a dozen
participants and over 300 counter demonstrators last week on the
famous college campus.

The controversial event had members of the Republican club posing
as immigration agents for the day searching for undocumented
"immigrants" in the crowd. The rules of the game stated that the
agent who successfully identified the undocumented immigrant
would win a cash prize or a gift certificate.

College Republicans acknowledge the game was planned to garner
attention and make a right wing statement, but expressed their
surprise that it deeply offended many immigrants who turned out
to voice their anger on the day.

President of NYU's College Democrats Nora Fitzgerald Toiv called
the event "ignorant, dehumanizing, and racist." In an interview
with the Irish Voice she added, "We believed that the event was
racist because of the way in which it was conducted. The College
Republicans clearly targeted the border crossing that occurs
between Mexico and the United States. To ridicule what is often a
very traumatic experience is hateful and ignorant.

"It is dehumanizing to make a game of the lives of people who are
often leaving desperate situations to immigrate to this country."

In the past year College Republican chapters throughout the
country have staged the controversial game several times in an
attempt to get students involved in the debate over the

Secretary of the NYU College Republicans Cait Kannall told the
Irish Voice that she regretted the media scuffle that ensued, but
did not regret having participated.

Asked if there were there any reservations expressed about the
event before they staged it she replied, "Yes. I actually was the
illegal immigrant on the day. There was no malicious intent; I
cannot emphasize that enough. We anticipated that it would rile
feathers but we did not anticipate the huge media coverage. That
was the opposition's contribution to the event."

Having decided to address such a contentious issue in a city full
of immigrants, can Kannall realistically claim she was surprised
when the media descended?

"We expected controversy on campus. Did it anger people?
Absolutely. That was the kind of atmosphere we were trying to

"Love it or hate it, it did get people talking and I'll stand by
that. I wouldn't say there was anyone in the group who had
personal feelings about this issue. It was just one that got
brought up and that we thought would inspire the right blend of
controversy and conversation."

The Republican National Committee chose to distance themselves
from the College Republicans immigrant game. "They took a step
back and said we don't condone this behavior. Politicians have
their own agenda on both sides of the issue," Kannall said.

When Kannall was asked if she had any friends who were
undocumented immigrants she replied, "Illegal immigrants, no.
There are people who struggle so long to come to this country
that it almost feels like illegal immigration undermines their
experience. That I'm not okay with."

Kelly Fincham, executive director of the Irish Lobby for
Immigration Reform, said the College Republicans did nothing but
flame tensions without offering any solutions.

"Their event was demeaning to all immigrants who struggle to make
a better life for themselves here, and add so much to the U.S. in
the process," she said.


Brief Analysis Of The Peace Process In Northern Ireland - Lessons
For Sri Lanka

March 2, 2007 At 11:57 Pm ú Filed Under Commentary
By Dr. S. Narapalasingam

Martin McGuinness of Sinn Fein visited Sri Lanka last year to
share with the peace seekers in Colombo and the Tamil Tigers in
Kilinochchi their experience in converting the ceasefire into the
peace process with political objectives agreed jointly with other
political parties in Northern Ireland. The striking difference he
noticed first in Sri Lanka's case was the exclusion of many
stakeholders in the peace talks on the grounds they were not
parties directly involved in the armed conflict. In Northern
Ireland, the search for a just and widely acceptable political
settlement of the internal conflict was not exclusive, restricted
only to the violent antagonists. The reason for the LTTE to
exclude other Tamil parties and significantly the Muslims is
obvious. The Tamil rebels were not seeking a settlement within
undivided Sri Lanka, whereas the others were keen on settling the
ethnic problem via a practical power-sharing arrangement within
one unified State. The rebels were not seeking a solution to the
ethnic problem. On the other side, the constant power struggle
between the two main political parties ruled out direct
involvement of the main opposition party in the peace/political
process. Moreover, unlike in Northern Ireland the people in Sri
Lanka had no say in the process.

Dr. Kim Howells, [Pic.] British Secretary of State for Foreign
and Commonwealth Affairs who visited Sri Lanka February 13-15,
citing Britain's experience in transforming the violent conflict
in Northern Ireland into a credible peace process, conveyed
Britain's willingness to play "a bigger role" in Sri Lanka's
peace process. He said: "We in Britain have some experience of
resolving conflict, in Northern Ireland. That province is now at
peace. It took about 30 years to get to that point. We learned
the hard way that security measures will only get you so far and
eventually you must - if you wish to move towards a lasting peace
- be willing to address the underlying causes of the conflict."
It is true there are some similarities between the two conflicts
but are the conditions similar given the contrasting outlook of
the people and the lust for power of the leaders in Sri Lanka?
The concern over the suffering people with no prospect of
military victory was a major factor that influenced the
antagonists in Northern Ireland to stop fighting and seek a
negotiated political settlement. In Sri Lanka, despite the
intense suffering of the people this feeling has not dawned.

Background information

The population of Northern Ireland was estimated as being
1,710,300 on 30 June 2004. In the 2001 census, 53.1% of the
Northern Irish population were Protestant, (Presbyterian, Church
of Ireland, Methodist and other Protestant denominations), 43.8%
of the population were Roman Catholic, 0.4% Other and 2.7% none.
Now, (40%) define themselves as Unionist, 22% as Nationalist and
35% as neither. According to a 2005 opinion poll, 58% express
long term preference of the maintenance of Northern Ireland's
membership of the United Kingdom, while 23% express a preference
for membership of a united Ireland. This discrepancy is explained
by the overwhelming preference among Protestants to remain a part
of the UK (85%), while Catholic preferences are spread across a
number of solutions to the constitutional question including
remaining a part of the UK (25%), a united Ireland (50%),
Northern Ireland becoming an independent state (9%), and "don't
know" (14%). It is estimated, in general 54% of Northern Ireland
voters vote for Pro-Unionist parties, 42% vote for Pro-
Nationalist parties and 4% vote "other". Opinion polls
consistently show that the election results are not necessarily
an indication of the electorate's stance regarding the
constitutional status of Northern Ireland. Total population of
Republic of Ireland as per the Census 28 April 2002 is 3,917,336.
Thus the total population of Ireland (North and South) is about
5.6 million.

The Government of Ireland Act of 1920 split the island into two
separate political units, a predominantly Catholic south and a
predominantly Protestant north. The south subsequently cut all
ties with Britain, becoming the independent Republic of Ireland
in 1949. The six counties of Northern Ireland remained a part of
the United Kingdom. It is this political division along with
centuries of religious animosity that lies at the heart of the
Northern Ireland conflict.

Most of Northern Ireland's minority Catholic population,
mistrustful of the Protestant majority preferred to belong to a
single, united Ireland. Most of its Protestants, on the other
hand, were determined to remain a part of the UK. The two
communities still remain deeply suspicious of each other. It is
this legacy of antagonism and mistrust that should be dismantled
for stability and lasting peace. The US and British governments
expect the peace process to build mutual trust, understanding and
co-operation between the two communities.

Between 1966 and 1999 a total of 3,636 people were killed and
36,000 injured as the conflict spread beyond Northern Ireland's
borders onto the British mainland. Most of the victims were
innocent civilians. In Sri Lanka, the death toll since 1983 has
reached nearly 70,000 and is rising daily. Several thousands are
in the missing category. No one seems to know the exact number of
the casualties from the violent conflict that intensified after
the 1983 anti-Tamil pogrom.

Sinn Fein and IRA

Sinn Fein is the political party that has its roots in the Irish
Republican party with the same name established a century ago
(founded in 1905) with the objective to end British rule in
Ireland. The party now also referred to as Provisional Sinn Fein
has changed a lot from the earlier formations. It has now shifted
from republicanism to socialism and renounced violence in 1972.
It is organized hierarchically into branches with district and
regional executives throughout Ireland. At national level the
Standing Committee (with eight members), which meets at least
once a month oversees the day-to-day running of Sinn Fein. It is
the only political party to have seats in the Northern Ireland
Assembly (24 seats out of 108) and the Parliament in the Republic
of Ireland (5 seats out of 166). It has also 5 seats (out of 646)
in the British Parliament (House of Commons in Westminster) but
because of the refusal to take the oath of allegiance to the
British monarchy the elected members did not take their seats in
the House. Although Sinn Fein is generally considered as the
political front of the IRA (Irish Republican Army, also known as
Provisional IRA), both have not publicly announced this link.
Some members of Sinn Fein have also been members of the IRA. Each
advocates a United Ireland (merger of South and North) and
avowedly socialist values with nationalist slant. Thus, their
political objectives are similar.

Under the presidency of Gerry Adams (from November 1983) Sinn
Fein sought to explore wider political engagement through
political agitation and 'threat of violence'. It became the voice
of the northern nationalists who considered IRA violence as the
means of forcing an end to British rule and institutionalized
discrimination against the minority group. The British government
legalized Sinn Fein in 1974 along with the paramilitary Ulster
Volunteer Force opposed to the Republicans/nationalists. With the
IRA continuing its violent campaign, the Sinn Fein failed to win
the support of the majority of Catholics in Northern Ireland.
Most Catholics voted for the Social Democratic and Labour Party
(SDLP) under Gerry Fitt and later John Hume, who played a key
role in creating the peace process via the widely known Hume-
Adams dialogue. The successive Prime Ministers of the Republic of
Ireland from Charles Haughey to Bertie Ahern by maintaining close
contacts with their British counterparts and Sinn Fein leadership
also helped to initiate and sustain the peace process. Sinn Fein
succeeded in gaining the support of the majority of the
nationalist community (mostly Catholics) only in 2004, six years
after the Good Friday Agreement (aka Belfast Agreement). The main
reason for the Sinn Fein leadership to seek peace through
political settlement based on sharing power with the arch rival
the Unionists was the realization that a decisive military
breakthrough was unlikely and that the violent stalemate would
continue. The British intelligence successes and the war
weariness of the people also influenced the reassessment of the
earlier inflexible position.

Sinn Fein's commitment to lasting peace based on a negotiated
settlement also embraces the principles of democracy, justice,
freedom and equality. It is also known to have a vision for the
wellbeing of the society beyond the present conflict. It is for
the unity of the people in an egalitarian society, redistribution
of wealth, well-being of the aged, advancement of youth,
liberation of women and protection of children. It sought to
construct the peace process with honesty and integrity reaching
out and embracing everyone on the basis of equality. It wanted a
peace agreement that would earn the allegiance and respect of all
sections of the Irish people.

Sinn Fein's peace strategy was supported by the IRA which also
after some delay ended its armed campaign. It is interesting
Gerry Adams became the leader of Sinn Fein on the plank of his
opposition to ceasefires which later became central to his
approach to political settlement. It is also important to note
that initially the IRA ceasefire was subject to the proviso that
the outfit would retain its capability to return to violence at
short notice. The multi-party negotiations began in 1994 without
Sinn Fein. IRA declared ceasefire in the autumn of that year but
it was not observed strictly. The then British Conservative
government asked for the decommissioning of their weapons for
Sinn Fein to be admitted to the talks. But this was not insisted
by the next Labour government headed by Tony Blair, who let Sinn
Fein in on the basis of the ceasefire.

Despite some initial setbacks, Sinn Fein continued to back the
1998 Good Friday Agreement which it reached with the other
parties in Northern Ireland and the British and Irish governments
following the multi-party negotiations in Belfast. A small
faction opposed to the peace process calling themselves the Real
IRA tried to continue the violent campaign but there was little
backing from the war-weary people. The US administration also
played a key role in the realization of the 1998 Good Friday
Agreement. There were obstacles to the realization of the final
objective of the Agreement because of the Unionists' demanding
Sinn Fein terminates all connections with the IRA; the
Independent Monitoring Commission established to monitor
paramilitary and terrorist activities in Northern Ireland held
Sinn Fein also responsible for some violent actions of the IRA.

At the last Assembly elections, the hardline Democratic Unionist
Party led by Rev. Paisley replaced the Ulster Unionist Party led
by David Trimble (present leader is Reg Empey) as the leading
political party. The DUP refused to share power with Sinn Fein
(dual majority is required under the Good Friday Agreement)
without a visible evidence of the full completion of the
decommissioning of IRA weapons. On September 2, 2006 Martin
McGuinness of Sinn Fein declared that his party would not
participate in a shadowy assembly at Stormont but would take part
in negotiations aimed at restoring a power-sharing government
within Northern Ireland. The decision taken at the party
conference on 28 January 2007 to end the boycott of the Northern
Ireland Police service removed one more obstacle to sharing power
with the Unionists. What is worth noting is that despite the road
blocks that emerged at various times, no party in Northern
Ireland has been keen on going back to the nightmarish days.

1998 Good Friday Agreement

Since 1997 a fragile ceasefire has held among the main
paramilitary groups. Former U.S. Sen. George Mitchell was the
chairman of the all-party peace talks that resulted in the 1998
Good Friday Agreement. He said after the signing of the treaty:
"This agreement proves that democracy works and in its wake we
can say to the men of violence and those who disdain democracy:
Your way is not the way." The Good Friday Agreement of April 10,
1998, laid the grounds for the political process to begin as
specified, offering the best hope of a lasting settlement to the
violence that tormented the people well over a generation.

The following are the main provisions of the Agreement:

:: The principle that the constitutional future of Northern
Ireland should be determined by the majority vote of its

:: Commitment by all parties to "exclusively peaceful and
democratic means".

:: The establishment of a Northern Ireland Assembly with devolved
legislative powers.

:: Introduction of the cross-community principle for any major
decision taken by the Assembly.

:: Creation of a 'power-sharing' Northern Ireland Executive, using
the D'Hondt method to allocate Ministries proportionally to the
main parties.

:: Creation of a North-South Ministerial Council and North-South
Implementation Bodies to bring about cross-border cooperation in
policy and programmes on a number of issues.

:: Creation of a British-Irish Inter-governmental Conference
(replacing the former English-Irish Conference, established by
the Anglo-Irish Agreement), which gives a consulting role to the
Irish Republic concerning matters not devolved.

:: Establishment of a British-Irish Council composed of
representatives from the governments of the Republic of Ireland,
Northern Ireland, the United Kingdom, the Channel Islands, and
the Isle of Man, to discuss areas of common concern.

:: Conditional early release within two years of paramilitary
prisoners belonging to organisations observing a ceasefire.

:: Establishment of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission.

:: A two year target for decommissioning of paramilitary weapons.

:: The repealing of the Government of Ireland 1920 Act by the
British Parliament.

:: The abolition of the Republic's territorial claim to Northern
Ireland via the modification Articles 2 and 3 of its

:: New legislation for Northern Ireland on policing, human rights
and equality.

:: Normalisation of security measures, e.g. closure of redundant
army bases.

:: Police reform, undertaken by the Patten Commission (1998-1999).

:: Equality of social, economic and cultural rights of all ethnic
communities: e.g. official recognition of the Irish and Ulster-
Scots languages as equal to English.

In the Republic of Ireland, the electorate voted upon the
Nineteenth Amendment. This amendment permitted the state to
comply with the Good Friday Agreement and also provided for the
removal of the 'territorial claim' contained in Articles 2 and 3.
In the \Northern Ireland referendum with turnout of 81%, 71%
voted for the Good Friday Agreement while 29% against it. In a
separate referendum in the Republic of Ireland the turnout was
56%. A high 94% voted 'Yes' and 6% 'No' to the Agreement.

The new Northern Ireland Assembly has 108 members and 14-member
executive body in which both Catholic and Protestant political
representatives sit together in government. The Assembly and
Executive were established in December 1999 on the understanding
that decommissioning would begin immediately, but were suspended
within two months due to lack of progress in decommissioning.
These were re-established in May 2000 as IRA eventually started

Aside from the decommissioning issue, ongoing paramilitary
activity (albeit relatively low level compared to the past) by
the IRA - e.g. arms importations, "punishment beatings",
intelligence-gathering and rioting - and loyalist paramilitaries
was also a stumbling block. The overall result of these problems
was to damage confidence among unionists in the Agreement, which
was exploited by the anti-Agreement DUP which eventually defeated
the pro-Agreement UUP in the 2003 Assembly election. The UUP had
already resigned from the power-sharing Executive in 2002
following arrests of Sinn Fein personnel on charges of gathering
intelligence for use by terrorists. (These charges were
eventually dropped in 2005 on the controversial grounds that
pursuit would not be "in the public interest". In 2004,
negotiations were held between the two governments, the DUP, and
Sinn Fein on an agreement to reestablish the institutions. These
talks failed, but a document detailing changes to the Belfast
Agreement, known as the 'Comprehensive Agreement' was published
by the British and Irish governments.

The Good Friday Agreement transformed the politics of Northern
Ireland and inward investment started to come into the region.
The British military presence in Northern Ireland was scaled down
and the main paramilitary groups were observing the ceasefire.
But splinter factions such as the republican Real IRA and
loyalist Red Hand Commandos failed to call a ceasefire. There was
an uneasy peace. However, the general feeling among the parties
promoting the peace process was that "the Agreement is merely the
first tentative step on a long road to a complete and lasting
cessation of hostilities".

Despite the setbacks, there has been the determination among all
parties to make the peace last. British Prime Minister Tony Blair
said in a 1999 speech to the House of Commons: "I accept that
this is often and has to be an imperfect process and an imperfect
peace, but it is better than no process and no peace at all."

On 26 September 2005, it was announced that the IRA had
completely decommissioned its arsenal of weapons and "put them
beyond use". Nonetheless, many unionists, most notably the hard-
line DUP were sceptical and agreement on how to restore the
power-sharing assembly turned out to be difficult. The Northern
Ireland Assembly, elected on 26 November 2003, was dissolved on
30 January 2007. Elections to the Assembly will take place on 7
March 2007.

IRA statement

The IRA in a long-awaited statement said, it would follow a
democratic path ending more than 30 years of violence. Sinn Fein
President Gerry Adams said the move was a "courageous and
confident initiative" and that the moment must be seized. Prime
Minister Tony Blair said it was a "step of unparalleled
magnitude". "It is what we have striven for and worked for
throughout the eight years since the Good Friday Agreement," he
said. In a joint communiqu‚ the British and Irish governments
welcomed the statement and said if the IRA's words "are borne out
by actions, it will be a momentous and historic development".

The IRA made its decision after an internal debate prompted by
Gerry Adams' call to pursue its goals exclusively through
politics. The statement said: "Verified acts of completion will
provide a context in which we will expect all parties to work
towards the full operation of the political institutions,
including the Northern Ireland Assembly and the Executive, and
the North-South structures, at the earliest practicable date."

The main points in the statement are:

:: All IRA units ordered to dump arms.

:: Members ordered to pursue objectives through exclusively
peaceful means.

:: Arms to be put beyond use as soon as possible and two church
witnesses to verify this.

:: Honest and forthright consultation process.

:: Strong support for Sinn Fein's peace strategy.

:: There is now an alternative way to achieve the goal on united
Ireland and volunteers must not engage in any other activities
towards this goal.

It is to be noted that the statement did not say the goal of
united Ireland for which the violent struggle was conducted over
three decades was being abandoned.


In September 1997, the Independent International Commission on
Decommissioning (IICD) was established by treaty between the
British and Irish Governments to oversee the decommissioning of
paramilitary weapons. Legislative provisions in force in Northern
Ireland and the Republic of Ireland ensure immunity from
prosecution in the case of individuals handling illegal arms for
the purpose of decommissioning them.

All groups committed to total disarmament confirmed their
intention to continue to work constructively and in good faith
with the IICD. Although the consensus was to achieve the
decommissioning of all arms with paramilitaries within 2 years of
the referendum in May 1998 this target was missed.

The first act of decommissioning under the scheme was witnessed
by the IICD in December 1998, when it reported that the Loyalist
Volunteer Force (LVF) had decommissioned a quantity of arms. The
IICD witnessed four acts of decommissioning by the IRA. In
October 2001, the IICD reported that it had witnessed an event,
which it regarded as significant, in which a quantity of arms had
been put beyond use. In 2002, the IICD reported that it had
witnessed an event in which the IRA leadership had put a varied
and substantial quantity of ammunition, arms and explosive
material beyond use. In October 2003, the IICD witnessed the
third act of IRA decommissioning, which saw arms of light, medium
and heavy ordnance and associated munitions put beyond use.

In September 2005 the IICD reported that it and independent
witnesses had "determined that the IRA has met its commitment to
put all its arms beyond use in a manner called for by the
legislation". The subsequent IICD report of February 2006
reaffirmed this assessment. In accordance with the Governments'
Scheme and Regulations, the IICD on completion of its task is
expected to present an inventory of the arms decommissioned to
the two Governments.

Lessons for Sri Lanka

There are useful lessons from the Northern Ireland experience for
both the SL Government and the LTTE. The dissimilarities between
the LTTE and Sinn Fein - IRA partnership are important to
understand why the 'Peace Talks' between the GoSL and LTTE
failed. The ways the two emerged, the organizational structures,
the links with the concerned people and the functional methods
are different. Moreover, the top leaders' beliefs, stances,
visions, approach to real peace, political thinking and concerns
for the suffering people directly affected by the violence have
little in common. The relationships with concerned governments
(in the case of Sinn Fein - the British, Irish and American
governments; in the case of LTTE, which the leadership claims to
be a politico-military organization - the Sri Lankan government,
Indian government and the Co-Chairs comprising the US, EU, Japan
and Norway) are also markedly different. From the historical,
regional and religious-cultural angles, India's position can be
compared with that of the Republic of Ireland in the resolution
of the internal conflicts in their close neighbours.
Unfortunately, India is reluctant to play a similar role.

Bipartisan support for dealing with national issues, as in the
case of the problem concerning Northern Ireland, a constituent
territory of the United Kingdom has eluded Sri Lanka for several
decades. This feature essential for the political, social,
cultural and economic advancement of the island Nation is not
part of the country's political culture. Adversarial politics has
been the dominant feature because of the importance given to
gaining or retaining the power to rule. National interest has
been equated with that of the ruling party. Great Britain tried
to bring about the vital bipartisan support to settle the ethnic
problem in the late 1990's through the now forgotten 'Fox
Agreement' between the then President Chandrika Kumaratunga and
the Leader of the Opposition Ranil Wickremesinghe but it turned
out to be a futile effort. President's move to amend the
constitution for devolving powers to the regions was ruined by
the Opposition party. The commitment to political settlement
through power sharing between the unionists (majority group) and
nationalists (minority group) in the new Executive body
established after the Good Friday agreement, the political will
to make it functional, the honesty, determination and courage of
all participants in the challenging effort are worth following.
No party tried to deceive others by giving false promises or

The TNA, as LTTE's proxy in the Parliament is not an independent
party in the democratic mainstream. Nor it is the political wing
of the LTTE. In other words it is not like Sinn Fein whose
leaders as representatives of the Irish nationalists in Northern
Ireland were involved in the negotiation that resulted in the
Good Friday Agreement and the peace process. The TNA is
subservient to the LTTE voicing the views and concerns of the
latter in the Parliament and soliciting the support of foreign
missions in Colombo for the ongoing 'liberation struggle'. The
TNA team visited New Delhi twice last year to meet with the
Indian Prime Minister and other senior officials not on their own
volition. They succeeded only during the second visit that gave
much irritation to the Sinhalese 'patriots'.

On February 3, the President asked the LTTE to renounce violence
and return to the negotiating table. In his Independence
commemoration Day address on February 4, he urged "all democratic
forces to place the motherland before one's family, race,
religion or political party in the national agenda. From this
platform, I also wish to make this appeal to the TNA represented
in parliament, who have so far not entered into a dialogue or
understanding with us. It is only by joining with us that the
innocent Tamil people of the north can be liberated from
terrorist intimidation and the misdeeds of violence; and the
north could be emancipated. If you are anguished in fear and
anxiety; and lack in human freedom, however much democratic the
political ideology you claim to follow, I must state in all
honesty that none of you are free men." Ironically, the 'Tamil
people' are useful for both sides to continue their separate

The LTTE military spokesman I. Illanthirayan on February 6
dismissed President Mahinda Rajapaksa's statement on the
achievement of peace, at the Independence Day function held at
the Galle Face Green, Colombo, as of no importance to the LTTE.
He also said that the LTTE's stance would remain the same despite
its activities being restricted in the east. To quote: "This is a
freedom struggle. Our stance will not change and we will continue
to struggle for the rights of the Tamils despite being restricted
in the east." Although he did not elaborate on the 'rights', this
is understood to be the right to self-determination and the
related creation of independent Tamil state under the control of
the LTTE.

The premature call by President Mahinda Rajapaksa to the LTTE to
lay down their weapons and return to the negotiating table can be
viewed in many ways. Soon after winning the November 2005
Presidential election, he announced his readiness to talk
directly with the elusive LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran.
Former President Premadasa, despite his cash and weapon donations
during 1989-1990 failed to build trust and win the co-operation
of the LTTE leader. Many conciliatory moves during 2002 -early
2005 (immediately after the 2004 Tsunami) to win confidence also
failed. It is difficult to say whether the President genuinely
feels he could undo the Gordian knot or the intention is to
isolate further the Tamil Tigers, taking advantage of the label
put on the LTTE as a 'terrorists' outfit by some powerful

In a recent interview 'The Tamizhan Express' (India) had with
President Mahinda Rajapaksa, he was asked: "Do you still stand by
your offer to hold direct talks with Prabhakaran? Gen. Sarath
Fonseka has said that the Sri Lanka Army would turn to the North
after neutralizing the LTTE in the East". He replied: "As to the
first part of your question my answer is yes. My commitment to
find a negotiated political solution remains uncompromised. With
regard to the ongoing military operations, I want to
categorically mention that these are defensive military
operations and I wish to reiterate my unwavering commitment to
devolve maximum possible powers to the regions, taking into
account the aspiration of all communities. I also wish to point
out that the LTTE is not the sole representative of the Tamil
people. They have continuously eliminated all other Tamil
parties, Tamil leaders, intellectuals and politicians who
presented an alternative view, so there is no democracy or
pluralism within the LTTE nor does it tolerate these values
outside it (the LTTE). Tamils are the most affected by this. In
fact, statistics will demonstrate that it is the LTTE that has
killed more Tamils. I am committed to finding a negotiated
political settlement which will satisfy the aspirations of all
Sri Lankans."

There are some matters in his reply that need clarification.
First, if the phrase 'negotiated political settlement' means
negotiating with the LTTE how could this be justified having said
that "the LTTE is not the sole representative of the Tamil
people"? Also, there is another important question. What is the
main subject for discussion? Is it the set of proposals agreed by
the APC based on the recommendation of the APRC, which is yet to
decide on it, though the recommendations of the Expert Panel in
the majority and minority reports have been integrated in the
report of the APRC Chairman Prof. Tissa Vitharana? Or is it the
autonomy demanded by the LTTE that will be discussed first with
the view to reach a compromise? Will the system proposed by the
LTTE for ending the conflict be submitted to the APC for
consideration? It is the SLFP, led currently by the President of
Sri Lanka that has not submitted the devolution proposals to the
APRC. The motive of setting up the APC, APRC and Advisory
Committee knowing well that consensus is impossible is now being
questioned by the realists. There is the feeling that the process
was not intended for 'negotiated political settlement' albeit the
repeated assertion that the government is committed to it but to
buy time.

It is not only the LTTE but also the Sri Lankan Government that
is yet to realize the folly of their approach to their separate
goals. Negotiation has little relevance in the prevailing
military and political conditions in Sri Lanka. It is just to
deceive those who believe in this approach not realizing the
obstacles. It will make sense once these are removed voluntarily.
Finally, the LTTE could learn from the IRA statement on
decommissioning that the militant Irish republicans did not
abandon their political goal. They said it will be achieved by
other non-violent means.

By Dr. S. Narapalasingam - Tamil week March 4-10, 2007.
[The writer is former Additional Deputy Secretary to the
Treasury, Sri Lanka and UN Advisor, Development


Delegates Say Rename Merrion Road After Bobby Sands

Michael O'Regan
Sat, Mar 03, 2007

Sinn Fein delegates last night demanded that Merrion Road, the
street on which the British embassy is located, be renamed Bobby
Sands Avenue after the dead IRA hunger striker.

The motion, which was passed unanimously, was moved by the Peter
Corrigan Cumann from Armagh.

John Crowley, representing the cumann, said the State was criss-
crossed and peppered with names of British dignitaries and
military killers of Irish people.

"Let us begin to redress the balance by naming a major
throughfare in this city after one of the greatest Irish people
whoever lived, an inspirational icon from a Republican
revolutionary movement."

To loud applause, Mr Crowley referred to the decision by the
Iranian authorities in 1981 to rename the street on which the
British Embassy was based as Bobby Sands Street.

"What is good enough for Tehran should be good enough for
Dublin," he said.

During a debate on political affairs, Wexford delegate Sheila
Mhic R‚amoinn argued against actively promoting the national
anthem as symbol of unity for all the people on the island.

She asked how they could ever ask unionists to accept the
national anthem as the symbol of the unity of people.

She added that she was as proud as anybody to sing it, "but I
can't see Ian Paisley doing it".

Dublin Mid-West general election candidate Joanne Spain said the
party was proposing that maternity leave be progressively
extended to a year with pay.

There would also be four weeks paid paternity leave.

She also said that the party was proposing the harmonisation of
annual holidays and an increase in statutory minimum annual leave
entitlements, excluding public holidays, to 25 days.

Dublin South-East general election candidate Daith¡ Doolin
accused employers of "literally getting away with murder" in the

"People's lives are put under threat by the irresponsible
behaviour of employers. Yet, there are little consequences for
this behaviour.

"In 2005, 88 people lost their lives in work-related accidents on
this island, but only 40 employers were prosecuted with fines
totalling less than ?500,000 being imposed in the State."

He added that this was a tragic reality Sinn Fein was committed
to changing.

"Our policy document clearly states that we believe that everyone
has the right to work in conditions that are not harmful to
health and well-being," said Mr Doolin.

c 2007 The Irish Times


Infection Expert Blames Irish Doctors For MRSA Problems

03/03/2007 - 12:10:32

Doctors have to shoulder much of the blame for the problems with
MRSA in this country, according to Paul Bergervoet, an expert in
infection control from Holland.

Mr Bergervoet is attending an MRSA conference in Donegal this
weekend to give his views on the spread of the infection in

The superbug has been stamped out in Holland, thanks to strict
hygiene measures.

Mr Bergervoet says doctors in Ireland are not working closely
enough with nurses to tackle the issue.

"The doctors do not form a team with (the nurses). They were in
their coats going to see patients - and that's not how it's done
in Holland. Doctors in Holland wear uniforms just like the
nurses," he said.


Prayers And Vigil For Shot Ulster Missionary

[Published: Saturday 3, March 2007 - 09:14]
By Lesley-Anne Henry

Prayers were being said last night for the north Belfast
missionary priest who was shot in South Africa.

Fr Kieran Creagh remains in intensive care in hospital, where his
condition has been described as critical, but stable.

The 44-year-old, who is originally from the city's Crumlin Road,
had major surgery yesterday to remove a bullet from his lung.

And now his family in Belfast, and by his bedside in South
Africa, are eagerly awaiting signs of improvement.

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph last night the priest's
brother, Liam Creagh, said it was a case of "wait and see."

He said: "We are all ready to drop everything but we will just
have to see how it goes. Obviously he has had the operation now,
and he is on a life support machine.

"The next 12 hours are critical and this basically means it is a
machine that is keeping him alive - so nothing will happen for
the next 12 hours. I think what they are concerned about now is
the onset of septicaemia. "

The priest's brother Paul (45) and father Jim (73) flew out just
hours after hearing of the attack on Thursday. They landed
yesterday morning and immediately travelled to be with Fr Creagh
at his bedside.

His mother and sister were standing by in case there is any
deterioration in his condition.

"The doctors took him off sedation just until he recognised them,
but he was in so much pain they had to put him back on the
sedation again. He's in an awful lot of pain and they're very
worried about him," said Liam.

"We are all ready to drop everything but we will have to see how
it goes. We are just waiting for the phone call, which could come
at any time, to tell us how he is doing."

Fr Creagh has lived in Atterdigeville in a deprived area of
Pretoria since 1998. He was shot during a robbery at the aids
hospice he founded almost four years ago.

Sources in South Africa said a gang of 14 robbers climbed over
the hospice wall and demanded that a security guard show them
"where the Father was. "

It is understood that Fr Creagh answered the door thinking it was
a nurse who had come to pray for a patient at the hospice.

A total of three shots were fired, two of which hit him in the
arm and lung.

Added Liam: "We're happy that Paul and Dad are over there. At
least we'll get first hand information because it's hard sitting
thousands of miles away waiting for information to drip out."

Fr Creagh worked as a bank official for six years before he
joined the Passionist Order. After serving in Botswana, he moved
to South Africa where he became the first person to voluntarily
participate in an Aids vaccine trial.

c Belfast Telegraph


Air Deal Will Mean End To Shannon Stopover

Sat, Mar 03, 2007

A draft agreement reached yesterday between the European Union
and the United States opens up the prospect of restrictions on
transatlantic flights between Ireland and the US being lifted
completely, writes Ciar n Hancock

This would allow Aer Lingus and other airlines to operate routes
from Dublin, Cork and Shannon to an unlimited number of cities in
the US. But the deal would also see the phasing-out of the
Shannon stopover.

The Open Skies deal will be put before EU transport ministers at
a meeting in Brussels on March 22nd and needs a unanimous Yes
vote for it to be ratified.

It is hoped a deal can be signed at an EU-US summit to be held in
Washington on April 30th.

The agreement, which was announced yesterday by EU transport
commissioner Jacques Barrot, was welcomed by Minister for
Transport Martin Cullen. Mr Cullen said it was a "good day" for
Irish aviation, tourism and the economy. "I am committed to
increasing air services linking Ireland to key business and
tourism sectors and this draft agreement offers new opportunities
to Irish airports and Aer Lingus."

Aer Lingus is currently limited to serving four cities in the US.
It flies to New York, Boston, Chicago and Los Angeles.

Under a transitional deal negotiated by Mr Cullen in November
2005, Aer Lingus could fly to three more cities initially, with
unlimited access to the entire American market once Open Skies
started next year.

Aer Lingus is due to receive two new long-haul A330 Airbus
aircraft in May and June. The airline wants to use them on new
routes to the US, possibly San Francisco, Florida and Washington

c 2007 The Irish Times


Funding Boost For Mitchell Scholarships

Sat, Mar 03, 2007

The Government has agreed to match up to ?20 million over the
next five years to endow the George Mitchell scholarship
programme, which allows young Americans to pursue graduate
studies at universities in both parts of the island, writes Denis
Stauntonin Washington

Trina Vargo, president of the US-Ireland Alliance which runs the
scholarships, said her group hoped to raise at least ?40 million
to ensure that the programme was permanently funded, like the
Rhodes Scholarships which sent US students to Oxford.

"This is the largest commitment the Irish Government has ever
made to a US organisation," Ms Vargo said.

"We are honoured by this support and encouragement, which is
evidence of the Government's understanding of the many changes
both Ireland and Irish America must address in building a future
relationship based on contemporary realities."

Established in 1998 and named after the former US senator who
helped to broker the Belfast Agreement, the Mitchell scholarships
have sent 80 US students to study in Ireland since then.

Minister for Finance Brian Cowen said that programmes such as the
Mitchell scholarships were increasingly important in maintaining
the close relationship between Ireland and the US.

The scholarships, which also receive funding from the US Congress
and state department, have attracted ever greater private
donations from Irish benefactors.

Ms Vargo said that two fundraising dinners in Dublin recently
raised almost ?5 million, which included $1 million commitments
over the next five years from Pat and Teresa Mooney and Bernard
and Moira McNamara.

c 2007 The Irish Times


Drink In Spirit Of The Irish With Some Tunes

By Shawn Price SqueezeOC

Yes, friends, you can be an Irishman in 60 minutes or less. It's

An hour with some well-chosen emerald-colored tunes will get you
ready for Paddy's Day. Better than dyeing your hair green or
trying to out-vomit your friends after too much Guinness.

Not that there's anything wrong with green hair.

Sing along to the sacred and profane, the cheery and downtrodden.
Traditional and original songs performed by traditional and rock
artists. The Irish sound is deep in American music but still goes
down a little easier with a familiar voice here, or an electric
guitar there.

But you can't become an Irishman without learning a thing or two
about the Irish experience, here and on native soil. Most of the
Irish in the world no longer live on the island, but its history
lives in the music.

It's a tale of love, poverty, oppression, violence, death,
debauchery, perseverance and triumph without a word about chasing
any snakes.

Burn this collection and see if you develop an Irish lilt. Or at
least a hatred of Englishmen.


Whimsical with a bittersweet undertow. Also a little old-
fashioned Irish rebellion to spice things up.


:: "If I Should Fall from Grace with God": One of the greatest
songs from the originators of Celtic punk, The Pogues. Shane
MacGowan is a poet.

:: "Whiskey in a Jar": An Irish standard performed from beer halls
to concert halls everywhere. Here, '70s metal pioneers Thin Lizzy
give it a surprising melancholy.

:: "Thousands are Sailing": The Pogues again, with MacGowan
detailing the life of unwelcome immigrants in New York. More
compelling than "Gangs of New York" in just a few minutes.

:: "Seven Drunken Nights": A Dubliners' favorite about a sort of
Andy Capp couple. Good for a chuckle, even when you're sober.

:: "Rare Ould Times": Taking up where the Pogues left off, L.A.'s
Flogging Molly, led by expatriate (and former Fastway singer)
Dave King, breathe fiery new life in a traditional number about
loving and losing in a Dublin that has marched forward right over

:: "Suspect Device": Written during the IRA's bombing spree of the
1970s, Stiff Little Fingers' punk classic reveals the complicated
hell of Northern Ireland at the time. There is almost as much
underlying contempt for the republican rebel as there is for the
English government.

:: "He Moved Through the Fair": Forget her public persona, Sinead
O'Connor proves she is one of the greatest living Irish singers
with power and yearning in an almost eerie reading of this
standard, typically sung by a man.

:: "Johnny Jump Up": Just one in a great line of Celtic drinking
songs, this one warns the listener to stay away from the potent
cider brewed up and served on the island.

:: "Long Journey Home": Elvis Costello captures the Irish
immigrant experience beautifully in this title track opus for the
PBS documentary series from the '90s.


Best Of Irish Walks

Matthew MacDermott
March 04, 2007 12:15am

With St Patrick's Day almost upon us, MATTHEW MacDERMOTT works
off the daily intake of Guinness and hearty breakfasts with three
of his favourite walks in Ireland.

Croagh Patrick
County Mayo

IRELAND'S holy mountain boasts a dominating presence befitting
its religious significance.

Its pyramid-like shape dramatically rises over the peaceful
coastal setting of Westport and the endless islands dotted in
Clew Bay on Ireland's west coast.

The 765m mountain provides walkers with the challenge of
following in the footsteps of St Patrick, who climbed to the
summit in 441, fasted for 40 days and nights, and banished snakes
from the country.

Tackling the Croagh Patrick climb is steeped in significance -
highlighted by the fact thousands of pilgrims make the trek in
bare feet on the last Sunday of July every year as penance.

Despite this, shoes are highly recommended, as is a wooden
walking stick that can be hired at the visitor centre.

The walk starts off easily enough, following the edges of a
gentle stream before consistently rising in intensity to the
point where you are faced with scaling a vertical wall of loose
rocks to the summit.

The stick (and crawling on hands and knees, and even praying)
comes in handy in reaching the tiny chapel that has been
miraculously built on top.

On a clear day the views over the bay are spectacular, but fog-
laden days like ours only add to the mountain's brooding
atmosphere. Watch your footing on the way back down on the 10km
round trip.

Spinc Trail, Glendalough
County Wicklow

THE Spinc Trail circles the upper lake at majestic Glendalough in
the Wicklow Mountains National Park, just south of Dublin.

It shows what makes walking in Ireland so special- from the
rolling mountain fog and wildflowers to the historic surrounds
and spiritual connections.

Spinc, originates from the Irish "AnSpic'', meaning pointed hill,
and the trail certainly gets right to the point early on with
more than 600 steps taking you high up above the historic
monastic settlement of Glendalough, first sought out as an
isolated haven by St Kevin in 500s.

Every step of the ascent is worth it, though, as once you are
immersed up high in the fog, blanket bog, heath and wildflowers,
it is easy to understand St Kevin's attraction to the area's
solitude and serenity.

Glendalough's upper and lower lakes and the round tower and ruins
of its former monastic city provide a truly inspiring setting to
the walk.

The trail winds back down through a bubbling stream and valley
before linking with a beautiful woodland trail skirting close to
the other side of the lake.

There are a few different variations on the Spinc Trail, but the
full upper lake circuit is a 9km delight that takes you to the
heart of Ireland's spiritual history.

Lake Muskry, Glenof Aherlow
County Tipperary

IT may not be a long way to Tipperary but the Glen of Aherlow is
the lush green Ireland of picture books and postcards.

Located just south of Tipperary town in the landlocked county of
the same name, the glen is a perfect patchwork of pretty farms
nestled between the Slievenamuck Hills and the Galtee Mountains.

The Galtees are the highest inland mountain range in Ireland and
offer a variety of challenging walks, all with stunning views of
the surrounding countryside. The spectacular Lake Muskry, 520m
above sea level, provides a unique mountaintop waterside setting
where you can have lunch and soak up the views.

The trail up to the lake is a mixture of forest dirt roads, rocky
hills and open moorland tracks and presents a couple of stiff
ascents along the way.

But taking a breather is just another excuse to admire the beauty
of the glen below. In keeping with the rules of Irish rambling,
be sure to close any gates you need to open along the way.

The Lake Muskry walk leaves from Rossadrehid village and is an
11km round trip.

And, yes, the local tourist office has flyers with the words to
that most famous of Tipperary songs for you to sing along to on
your walk.


GETTING THERE: Cathay Pacific flies four times a week from
Adelaide to London via Hong Kong with direct connections to
various cities in Ireland, ph 131747,

TIP: Ireland is a "four seasons in one day'' kind of place so
it's advisable to carry waterproof clothing. For a weather
forecast, visit or call 08709000100

WHILE YOU'RE THERE: After all that walking, why not splurge a bit
and stay at the 13th century Ashford Castle, where Pierce Brosnan
was married, in County Mayo (visit

DETAILS: Tourism Ireland can be contacted on 0292996177 or visit

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Gordon Brown is the BRITISH Chancellor, not English. There is no English Chancellor, we're not even allowed a devolved government thanks to him and his racist government.
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