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April 10, 2007

Aegis Mercenaries Want Iraq Security Contract

Slea Head, County Kerry

News about Ireland & the Irish

SW 04/10/07 Aegis Mercenaries Want Iraq Security Contract
BB 04/10/07 Petrol Bomb Is Thrown At Officers
CF 04/10/07 Opin: Mick Fealty - The Secrets Of Success
IT 04/10/07 Trim 'May Name Road After Paisley'
BN 04/10/07 First Trains Arrive At Adamstown
IT 04/10/07 Flight Of The Earls Anniversary Marked
IT 04/10/07 Cliff Falls Into Sea On Scenic Kerry Route

Local residents Pádraig O'Mathuna and Micheál de Mórdha
observe the damage yesterday morning, following the massive landslide of earth and stone. Irish Times Photograph: Don McMonagle


Aegis Mercenaries Want Iraq Security Contract

The US Pentagon was to decide this week whether to renew the Iraq
security contract held by Aegis since 2004. The contract is worth
a potential $475 million.

Aegis has a $293 million Pentagon contract to coordinate the
dozens of private security forces operating in Iraq as well as
providing its own teams of bodyguards to the Pentagon.

Aegis is run by Tim Spicer, a former British army lieutenant
colonel. Two soldiers in a British unit under Spicer's command
shot and killed a Catholic teenager Peter McBride in Northern
Ireland in 1992. The soldiers were subsequently convicted of

The McBride family are campaigning for the contract not to go to

Lawyers for Jean Mc Bride, Peter's mother, have confirmed they
will shortly be lodging legal papers in a bid to block Aegis from
British security contracts.


Petrol Bomb Is Thrown At Officers

A petrol bomb and other missiles have been thrown at police in
east Belfast.

They came under attack after they were called to the Mount
Pottinger area following reports of youths throwing stones. One
person has been arrested.

Meanwhile, four people have been arrested following a number of
disturbances in Bangor, County Down.

Trouble broke out after a junior Orange Order parade in the town.
Police were deployed in full riot gear to bring the crowd under

A spokesman for the Orange Order said they were unaware of any
trouble involving orangemen.

"The organisers of the parade feel it passed off peacefully and
was enjoyed by thousands of people," he said.

Meanwhile, there was fighting on a train coming from the town.

The police boarded it in Belfast and escorted all the passengers
off at Central Station.

Police said it was necessary to prevent any further public

Translink said it has a zero tolerance policy to anti-social
behaviour and requested the police to take the action.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2007/04/10 22:12:01 GMT


Opin: Mick Fealty - The Secrets Of Success

April 10, 2007 3:30 PM

It seems that in one respect Northern Ireland is going to depart
quite rapidly from the South African settlement, which has so
often been held locally as a role model for the peace process.

According to Sandra Laville, Northern Ireland sees (or rather
doesn't see) another epic subterranean battle for the truth of
the past. A source within the Stevens Inquiry, established some
18 years ago, reports it is under considerable pressure to hand
back documents. She names the MoD and MI5:

"In some cases we have handed them back and they have been
shredded. The pressure on us is growing and it has got to the
stage where we have told them what part of the word 'no' don't
you understand? However, that doesn't stop people coming and
saying we want the documents back and we want an assurance that
you haven't got copies."

The catalyst for such institutional defensiveness appears to be
the onset of a full inquiry into the murder of Loyalist Volunteer
Force man Billy Wright, in the Maze Prison in 1997 at the end of
May this year. The inquiry was recommended, along with others
such as the murdered solicitors Pat Finucane and Rosemary Nelson,
and a young Catholic man Robert Hamill beaten to death on the
Garvaghey Road by the Canadian judge Peter Cory.

But the inquiry has been beset all the way with delay, firstly by
the police, and then with the secretary of state unlawfully
changing its terms of reference. Interestingly, Wright's father,
who has campaigned for his son's death to be investigated waived
his right to have those amended terms quashed. Possibly for fear
that, without the amended terms, no inquiry would be made

It's of a piece with other developments. One of the toughest bits
of bargaining in the last rounds of negotiation appears to have
taken place between Sinn Fein and the British government, when it
was agreed that MI5 would no longer be amenable to scrutiny by
the police ombudsman.

The picture was complete when the human rights commissioner would
not only not be able to look into the past, but would also not be
able to investigate any abuses taking place before August 1 this

It does not augur well for a successful outcome to a set of
inquiries that was once very high on the political agenda of the
republican movement. And it must be worrying for those currently
in the grip of ongoing human rights abuses. In the shifting
context of a peace process that is in the final stages of
delivery - a means to decide the future of Northern Ireland, both
civilly and peacefully - perhaps such burying of awkward past
truths is a necessary step towards the future.


Trim 'May Name Road After Paisley'

Tue, Apr 10, 2007

An Irish town will decide tonight whether to name a street after
DUP leader Ian Paisley for his historic deal on powersharing with
Sinn Fein.

The proposal to immortalise the controversial unionist leader
inside the ancient walled settlement of Trim, Co Meath, has
sparked huge debate.

The town's councillors unwittingly opened a can of worms when
they asked residents to suggest names for the first street to be
built inside the ramparts since the 12th century.

The call drew an unforeseen campaign spearheaded by local
historian Noel French and his weekly publication to call the
street after Dr Paisley.

The gesture, intended to mark the historic meeting between Dr
Paisley and his one-time arch foe Sinn Fein president Gerry
Adams, created a stir in the normally sedate market town - used
for filming of Mel Gibson's Braveheart.

One Fianna Fail councillor party claimed many people in the town
were furious at the proposal put before Trim Town Council.

"Back in 1985 Mr Paisley said there were 101 terrorists in Trim,
referring to the first preference votes for Sinn Fein," said
Jimmy Peppard, a former Sinn Fein representative.

"Two weeks later there was a bomb left in a dust bin outside the
young Catholic men's club in the town and then another one in
Market Street.

"People can still remember that."

But Mr French said his idea was intended to recognise all who had
contributed to the seismic political shifts in Northern Ireland
which will see a power-sharing executive set up next month.

"It's not something I would be completely comfortable with - it
was an inspiration," he said.

"It was meant as an over-generous gesture made to someone of the
opposite political persuasion. It was meant to create debate but
unfortunately it has limited debate."

If given the green light at a meeting of the town's nine
councillors it will see Paisley Parade cross Emmet Street - named
after Irish rebel leader Robert Emmet.

Mr Peppard however believes the likelihood of that happening
would command odds in the bookmakers of "50 million to one".

"There's been a few other suggestions too. Elvis Street,
Graceland Place, Bono Street. Ian Paisley wasn't the weirdest by
any measure," he said.

Mr French hinted his idea may have been more tongue-in-cheek than
he was given credit for by some of his neighbours.

"It was a modest proposal," he said, in a reference to the
satirical pamphlet of the same name written by former Trim native
and Irish writer Dean Jonathan Swift.

c 2007


First Trains Arrive At Adamstown

10/04/2007 - 12:57:07

Ireland's first purpose-built commuter town signalled its arrival
today when trains rolled into its gleaming new station.

Adamstown in west Dublin is unique because community facilities
are being built before residents move into local houses and

The new station is also the first fully privately-funded one on
the Irish Rail network and will operate 15 daily services,
beginning at 7.04am.

Commuters can reach Heuston Station in only 15 minutes.

"As times go on, the capacity can be expanded in tandem with the
needs of local residents and commuters," Irish Rail spokesman
Barry Kenny said.

The station, near Lucan, will be officially opened next week by
Taoiseach Bertie Ahern.

Under Adamstown's status as a Strategic Development Zone (SDZ),
roads and general infrastructure must be in place before
residents arrive.

Residents are slowly moving into phased housing developments
which are focused on family living.

Other amenities in place or being completed in the months ahead
include schools, creches, parks, cafes, bars, a library and
playing fields.

Irish Rail opened its Docklands Station opened last month - the
first in the capital for 116 years.

Phoenix Park Station is due to be launched later this year.


Flight Of The Earls Anniversary Marked

Jamie Smyth, in Brussels
Wed, Apr 11, 2007

The Irish diaspora in Belgium turned out in force at the European
launch of the Flight of the Earls 400th anniversary exhibition at
the European Parliament last night.

Four centuries after Earl of Tyrone Hugh O'Neill and Earl of
Tyrconnel Rory O'Donnell fled to Belgium to escape English rule,
Ireland's latest generation of emigrants gathered to commemorate
an event that spread Irish people throughout Europe.

"The Flight of the Earls marked the first stage of emigration
from Donegal, which was followed by the Famine in the 19th
century and waves of emigration ever since," said Enda Bonner,
chairman of Donegal County Council, who co-hosted the exhibition.

"It is important to launch the exhibition here because so many
people that took part in the Flight of the Earls came to Belgium
and some stayed in Belgium."

The exhibition displays the history of the earls, who left
Rathmullen, Co Donegal, by ship in 1607. On board were the
chieftains of some of the leading Gaelic families that had fought
a nine-year war against English forces.

After landing in France, many of the 99 people on board settled
in Belgium, Spain and Italy.

"The Flight of the Earls marked the end of an ancient Gaelic
order and made way for the Plantation of Ulster," said Aidan
Haughey, marketing manager of the exhibition.

"It also was a key event that established the Irish diaspora

The exhibition details how many of the Gallaghers and O'Briens on
board went to Spain and became high ranked officers in the
Spanish army. Over the years, the O'Briens of Spain changed their
name to Obr‚gon. Many people of this name now live in Spain and
Latin America. "In Belgium there are up to 500 people with names
derived from people that arrived from the Flight of the Earls,"
said Mr Haughey.

Paul Marley of Letterkenny-based Marley Designs, who designed the
website ( and panels used in the
exhibition, said the response was extraordinary. "There are
currently 100,000 hits per month and huge interest in the

The exhibition is one of more than 60 events being held in
Ireland and abroad. These include archaeology field trips, Celtic
music festivals and history conferences, with some of the events
taking place in Italy and the US.

Fianna F il MEP Se n O Neachtain co-hosted the event. Ireland's
Ambassador to Belgium, Brian Nasan, also attended the launch.

c 2007 The Irish Times


Cliff Falls Into Sea On Scenic Kerry Route

Anne Lucey
Tue, Apr 10, 2007

One of the country's most popular coastal tourist routes, the
Slea Head drive in the Dingle peninsula, is likely to remain
closed for at least the rest of the tourist season after a
dramatic cliff collapse below it at the weekend.

Hundreds of tonnes of earth and rock suddenly crashed into the
sea below the road at Cuas na gCol£r between Coumeenole Bay and
D£n Chaoin shortly after 7pm on Easter Sunday.

The collapse was witnessed by a local ferry operator who was out
at sea.

At the time, two people were on the Atlantic cliff top, believed
to be taking photographs. They stepped back when a crack appeared
beneath their feet.

Major cracks now line a 10m (33ft) stretch of roadway, which has
been closed and diversions put in place.

The site is adjacent to the D£n Chaoin graveyard, where Blasket
writer Peig Sayers is buried.

The 48km (30 mile) Slea Head circular route is one of the most
dramatic in western Europe and attracts thousands of visitors. It
passes by some of the richest archaeology in the State, including
Bronze Age forts and early Christian beehive huts.

Ceann Sib‚al (Sybil Head), the Great Blasket Island and the
Blasket Island interpretative centre all line the route.

Local people say that 40 years ago the cliff and road in the area
also collapsed. They believe the extremely wet winter weather
followed by the recent dry period accelerated the collapse of the

Kerry County Council said yesterday it was clear coastal erosion
was responsible. Its engineers were assessing the damage but the
road would not immediately re-open.

In response to the development, the council was already
negotiating with landowners for an entire new road further
inland. It is also holding a public meeting today with business
and media in the Skellig Hotel in An Daingean.

A council spokesman acknowledged the urgency of the situation,
given that the beginning of the tourist season was "the worst
possible time" for such an event.

However, the area was not cut off, diversions were in place, and
places of interest were still accessible, he said.

The collapse was witnessed from the sea by eco-tour and Blasket
Islands D£n Chaoin Pier ferry operator Michael Sheeran.

Mr Sheeran was skippering the Blasket Princess, having finished
his trips to the Blasket Islands for the day, and was half a mile
out at sea from the main land when he heard "an almighty bang"
behind him.

"I looked behind me and the whole cliff had collapsed and there
was dust rising. Within five to 10 minutes, all the water had
turned brown around me," Mr Sheeran said. He alerted the coast
guard immediately.

Manager of the Ionad an Bhlascaoid Mh¢ir, Miche l de M¢rdha said
thankfully the road was quiet at the time or a major disaster
could have occurred.

Several local businesses fear they will be badly affected,
including museums, restaurants, pubs, cafes, boat operators,
pottery industries, B&Bs and other attractions which depend on
passing trade on the circular route. The town of An Daingean
would also be badly affected, Mr de M¢rdha said.

The Slea Head drive from Ventry to Ballyferriter was the ultimate
tourist experience and was what people came to see. "An Daingean
is a base camp for Slea Head. People come to An Daingean to see
the Slea Head area," Mr de M¢rdha said.

The situation demanded an emergency response and he called on
Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism, Kerry South TD John
O'Donoghue, along with the council, to lead it.

Further east in the Dingle peninsula, at Inch Strand in Dingle
Bay, Kerry County Council is already dealing with a cliff
collapse and is carrying out work.

c 2007 The Irish Times

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