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March 10, 2007

SF Eager For Challenge of Govt

News about Ireland & the Irish

SF 03/10/07 Sinn Féin Eager For Challenge Of Government
BN 03/10/07 Hain: Parties Must Decide On Devolution By March 25
BN 03/10/07 Adams: Partnership Must Continue If Deadlines Not Met
BB 03/09/07 McCartney Multiple Seat Bid Fails
BB 03/09/07 Lo Takes Seat For South Belfast
AS 03/08/07 Lawmakers Join Call For Reform
AO 03/09/07 Some Thoughts On Immigration
IT 03/09/07 Sinn Féin Aims For Dublin Mayor
BT 03/09/07 'Remarkable' Recovery Of Shot Priest


Sinn Féin Eager For Challenge Of Government

Published: 9 March, 2007

Sinn Féin nominee for the post of Deputy First Minister Martin
McGuinness today said that the electorate had delivered a clear
mandate for a power sharing executive.

Speaking at a press conference in Belfast where he was joined by
party President Gerry Adams, Mr McGuinness said:

"Firstly I would like to thank the people who came out in massive
numbers and once again placed their trust in Sinn Féin. It is
clear across the political spectrum that the people have
delivered a clear mandate for progress and for the establishment
of a fully functioning Assembly, Executive and all-Ireland

"Sinn Féin are up for that challenge. We are eager to get down to
the business of delivering for all of the people. We are eager to
get down to the business of tackling the very many social and
economic issues which came up at he doorsteps, be it water
charges, rates increases or health and education cuts.

"People should make no mistake about it, Sinn Féin are ready for
government and there is no reason why this should not happen by
the March 26th. So we will approach the coming weeks positively
and with the intention of securing power sharing government in
the north and agreement with the British and Irish governments on
a substantial peace dividend to allow the new executive to
deliver real and tangible change." ENDS


Hain: Parties Must Decide On Devolution By March 25

10/03/2007 - 09:04:14

The Northern Secretary Peter Hain says he needs an answer from
the parties by March 25 if the next day's deadline for devolution
is to be met.

He was speaking after the trends in the Northern elections became
clear with the DUP and Sinn Féin gaining seats.

The DUP and Sinn Féin have taken more than half the first
preference votes between them.

That gives them a clear mandate to form a new power-sharing
executive in the view of both the British and Irish governments.

Sinn Féin says it is eager to begin work but the DUP are still
stalling claiming republicans have to do more to convince them of
their commitment on policing.

The DUP also wants a massive financial injection from London to
off-set water charges and a mechanism allowing to exclude Sinn
Féin it deems the party has broken its commitments.


Adams: Joint Partnership Must Continue If Deadlines Not Met

10/03/2007 - 09:59:03

The Sinn Féin Ard Chomhairle will meet in Dublin today where
discussions will focus on the preparations for a successful
return of the Assembly, Executive and All Ireland institutions.

The party is calling on the DUP to fulfill its election pledge
having claimed to be ready for government - a platform that
resulted in a massive endorsement at the polls.

The Sinn Féin leader says both governments have to proceed with
the joint partnership arrangements if the power sharing deadline
is not met.

"That's not the best option, I have to say. But it does present a
way forward which allows the equality agenda to continue, which
allows all the other rights to be put in place," Adams said.

"So, if Ian Paisley doesn't do the business, and I still hope
that he will, then he will have to explain to unionism why he got
rid of the only element which Unionism really valued - assembly
in the North."


McCartney Multiple Seat Bid Fails

UK Unionist Bob McCartney has been eliminated in all six
constituencies in which he was standing.

Mr McCartney had been standing for multiple assembly seats on an
anti-St Andrews Agreement ticket.

Launching his "anti-manifesto", he had said it would be "absurd"
to outline priorities for government when he would not be part of
any administration.

A former North Down MP, he was eliminated on the seventh count
there, with his vote down 5.7% on 2003.

He secured just 1,806 votes.

Rival unionist parties had accused Mr McCartney of dividing
unionism and splitting their vote.

Mr McCartney has now been eliminated in North Down, Lagan Valley,
North Belfast, South Antrim, Fermanagh/South Tyrone and West

Mr McCartney had insisted he would not be resigning if he won
more than one assembly seat.

I believe that democracy and terrorism can never co-exist in
government, but clearly the electorate takes a different view

Robert McCartney

He had threatened to take the secretary of state to court if, in
the event of him winning two or more seats, he was prevented from
having more than one vote in Stormont.

One bookmaker had offered odds of 5/4 on his party not winning
any seats, but punters could have got 500/1 on him getting at
least four seats.

Following his elimination in North Down, Mr McCartney said in the
past he had "undertaken the task of analysing and exposing the
defects in the policies of the devolved executive".

"A new opposition spokesman outside the major parties will now
have to be found," he said.

Mr McCartney said he had worked in politics to "put something
back into the community in return of the advantages which it had
given me".

"I am in one sense grateful to the voters of North Down for
releasing me from that self-imposed obligation.

"I believe that democracy and terrorism can never co-exist in
government, but clearly the electorate takes a different view."

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2007/03/09 16:34:26 GMT



Lo Takes Seat For South Belfast

An Alliance candidate has become the first person from an ethnic
minority background to take a seat in the Northern Ireland

Anna Lo, who is the chief executive of the Chinese Welfare
Association, was elected in South Belfast.

Ms Lo, originally from Hong Kong, secured the fourth highest vote
in the constituency, with 3,829 first preference votes.

She said her decision to stand had been an extension of her
community work.

She said she also wanted to give a voice to Chinese people who
never felt they had any part to play in Northern Ireland

She said she hoped that indigenous voters who were fed up with
"tribal politics", would give her their support.

Speaking before her election, Ms Lo said there was a growing need
for "a diversity of society in politics".

She said she was determined "to be much more than a candidate for
ethnic minorities".

Twenty-five different nationalities registered to vote in the
assembly poll.

More than 6,200 migrants from EU countries such as Poland,
Lithuania and Romania signed up to the most recent electoral

However, that did not include thousands of Chinese people who
live in Northern Ireland.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2007/03/09 21:26:30 GMT


Lawmakers Join Call For Reform.

By Gerry Smith
Washington Bureau
Thursday, March 08, 2007

WASHINGTON - More than 1,000 undocumented Irish immigrants and
their supporters rallied Wednesday for an overhaul of immigration

Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., co-author of an immigration bill to
be introduced next week, said one provision of the legislation
would require immigrants to be proficient in English.

"And I think you can do that very well," Kennedy said.

Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., noted that the new Democrat-
controlled Congress would be friendlier to immigrants,
particularly in the House.

"Guess who is no longer chairman of the House Judiciary
Committee?" Schumer said, referring to Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, a
Republican from Wisconsin.

Sensenbrenner was influential in passing a hard-line immigration
bill in December 2005 that backed tough border security and
opposed granting citizenship to illegal immigrants.

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., also joined the rally to
press for "comprehensive" reform that combines tough immigration
law enforcement with a path to citizenship for most of the 12
million undocumented workers now living inside the U.S.

"We cannot just take half steps, and we certainly cannot give in
to those who would undermine the rights of people" working in the
shadows, Clinton said.

Only about 50,000 of the illegal immigrants in the United States
are from Ireland, according to the Irish Lobby for Immigration
Reform, which sponsored the rally.

Kennedy, a descendant of Irish immigrants, told the crowd that
the Irish values of hard work, sacrifice and devotion to family
and faith belonged in America.

"I can't wait for this battle! I can't wait for this fight! Are
you going to be there with me?" Kennedy shouted, provoking loud
cheers. Earlier Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-
Nev., joined other lawmakers at a news conference billed as a
kickoff for the broad immigration bill. No details of the measure
were released.

Reid said that the Senate would vote on "comprehensive
immigration reform" before the August recess.

Additional material from Washington Bureau reporter Eunice
Moscoso and Hearst Newspapers.


Some Thoughts On Immigration

Michael Glass, Ed.D.
National Chairman, Immigration

Last year the US Senate passed a comprehensive immigration bill,
which proposed a new pathway for undocumented residents a chance
to pursue permanent status in America. The House bill did not,
and the differences between the two bills were never resolved in
committee. Current US immigration policies are so restrictive
that such a pathway to citizenship does not exist now for the
estimated 40,000 undocumented Irish in the country and any of the
other millions of undocumented workers.

While immigration legislation was and still is seen by some as
very controversial, Irish immigration to the US has been severely
restricted in recent years. As one example, between 1996 and
2005, our government issued 8.75 million visas of all kinds, but
of this very large number only 13,000 were granted to those who
are Irish, and this is only visas not citizenship.

Very soon new immigration legislation will be introduced in both
houses. These bills will need your support. Please contact your
representatives in Washington and inform them that you expect an
immigration bill that is fair and just for all immigrants. The
following points are for you to consider and use when
communicating with your representatives:

Millions of undocumented workers are filling important gaps in
the US labor market, particularly in certain industries and
businesses. It is estimated by the US Department of Labor that
there will be a shortage of over 3 million workers in the next
five years. Currently, it is estimated that only about 400,000
new immigrants arrive in the US each year to help fill this gap.

Most recent immigrants are employed, productive members of
communities all over America. Some researchers even feel this
immigrant labor pool of millions was a direct result of and
helped fuel the US economic boom of the 1990's.

Most recent immigrants not only work, but pay taxes as well-
income, social security, and unemployment taxes, although they
will derive few benefits from doing so. 84% of immigrants are
between the ages of 18 and 44, and some believe this young group
of immigrants can even fund and help save the social security

Immigrants not only work and pay taxes, but they are significant
consumers of all that America has to offer. A 2006 study in
Barron's Magazine stated that immigrants have a $970 billion net
impact on the US economy.

Immigrants are entrepreneurial as well. They bring a diversity
of cultures, ideas, needs and desires with them, which translate
into thousands of new businesses. Because new immigrants tend to
settle in urban areas in such large numbers, they serve as
significant catalysts in the revitalization of poor and urban

Immigrants tend to send a significant percentage of their incomes
home to their countries of birth producing positive economic
activity in their former countries, and by doing so, help create
a substantial form of foreign aid and good will for America.

A fair and equitable immigration policy, then, will not only
produce US economic growth, but it should reward those who
display the great American ideals of hard work, ownership, and
providing a better life for themselves and their families, and
also foster the great American ideals of freedom and democracy
both here and around the world.

Please take the time to contact your representatives today.
America must and will find an equitable solution to our current
immigration situation. If you don't know who your
representatives are, you can access this information at or or call 202-224-3121.


Sinn Féin Aims For Dublin Mayor

Fri, Mar 09, 2007

Sinn Féin has plans to expand across Dublin and get the first
ever mayor elected in the city, it was claimed tonight.

Launching the party's General Election campaign in the Republic,
party president Gerry Adams insisted that TDs would only go into
government if they could deliver real change.

Buoyant from Assembly success in Northern Ireland, Mr Adams said
he also aims to increase Sinn Féin strength in Donegal, Wexford
and Waterford.

He told tonight's rally that Christy Burke became the first Sinn
Féin party councillor in Dublin 1985 and the party now has 14
councillors, two TDs and a MEP.

He added: "Sinn Féin is a party on the move in this city. We have
made significant gains in every election in the last decade and
will continue down that road after the next election."

Mr Adams claimed that the next few years will be crucial for
republicanism in Dublin.

"We have the ability to hugely increase our representation across
the four local authorities in Dublin and to see a Sinn Féin Mayor

"We have the ability to win further D il seats and to become a
leading voice for people across Dublin."

Mr Adams reiterated last weekend's ard fheis pledges that the
party would deliver 3,000 acute beds in public hospitals and
allocate medical cards for all under the age of 18.

Up to 14,000 social and affordable homes would be built for every
year of the next government and class sizes would be reduced to
15, he claimed.

"Politics for Sinn Féin is about empowering people so that they
can shape their own lives and their own country. We are about the
re-conquest of Ireland by the people of Ireland," he added.

c 2007


'Remarkable' Recovery Of Shot Priest

[Published: Saturday 10, March 2007 - 11:22]
By Matthew McCreary

The brother of the Belfast priest who was shot in South Africa
last week says he is making "a remarkable recovery".

Fr Kieran Creagh (44) originally from the Crumlin Road, had
surgery last weekend to remove a bullet from his lung.

He was shot during a confrontation with a gang of men during an
apparent robbery at the Aids hospice he founded in a poverty-
stricken suburb of Pretoria.

His brother Liam said last night that he would be moving out of
hospital tomorrow to a convalescent home.

"It has been a remarkable recovery, but I think they'd prefer him
in a quiet place," he said. "He seems to be back on form to some
extent. He's still going in and out of lucid moments and he gets
tired very quickly. The amount of drugs he would be on has been
reduced, so he's probably feeling a bit more pain, but at least
he's a bit more conscious."

Fr Creagh's brother Jim and sister Carol-Ann were to fly out this
morning to relieve his brother Paul and father Jim snr, who
travelled to South Africa immediately upon hearing of the

"He's doing so well that he may come back with my sister and
brother when their two weeks are up, but the doctors are still of
the opinion that it'll be about six weeks before he can travel,"
said Liam Creagh.

"I didn't think by this Friday he'd be sitting up in a chair and
talking to people."

Passionist Order member Fr Creagh set up Leratong Hospice in the
black suburb of Atteridgeville, near Pretoria, after witnessing
the devastation caused by Aids among the poor in South Africa.

He became the first person in Africa to voluntarily participate
in an Aids vaccine trial.

His shooting has caused shock in South Africa, and he has had
messages of support from its president Thabo Mbeki and Pretoria
mayor Gwen Ramokgopa.

c Belfast Telegraph

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