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April 28, 2007

Blair To Quit on May 10

News About Ireland & The Irish

DM 04/28/07 Blair To Quit On May 10
IT 04/28/07 London Invite A Great Honour - Ahern
MN 04/28/07 UK/US Extradition Treaty Ratified
NW 04/27/07 Town Council Backs Lobby For 'Undocumented'
BT 04/28/07 Opin: Looking To The Future, Not The Past
NL 04/27/07 Opin: A Reality Of Life
IT 04/28/07 Opin: A Terrible Beauty
IN 04/29/07 First Son Of The Royal Hospital Dies Aged 73
IT 04/28/07 Eyre Square Nominated For Major Award
BT 04/29/07 500 Animals Found In Car


Blair To Quit On May 10

EXCLUSIVE: Finally.. we reveal the day when Blair will say
I'm leaving Downing St

By Rosa Prince Political Correspondent 28/04/2007

TONY Blair will announce he is standing down on May 10, the
Mirror has been told.

Senior sources say the Prime Minister has decided on the
date after intense discussions with his family, friends and
key advisers.

His announcement will trigger a seven-week leadership and
deputy leadership campaign.

Mr Blair will stay on until the results are known.

The PM had long been expected to bow out on May 9, when he
will return from Belfast having seen the restoration of
self-government in Northern Ireland - one of his greatest

But the Mirror has learned that he will hang on for one
more day so he can say an emotional farewell to ministers
at the weekly Thursday Cabinet meeting. He will then
confirm what he first revealed in September 2004 - he will
not see through a fourth term.

Speculation that Mr Blair would go earlier deepened after
it was suggested he would stand down on Tuesday - his 10th
anniversary in office. His departure would then overshadow
the local, Scottish and Welsh elections. But the PM's
spokesman said: "The story is wrong."

Mr Blair, asked about it on a trip to Poland, said: "You
know I never discuss these issues but I wouldn't hold your
breath on that story."

He is planning a low-key celebration of his 10th year as
PM, but has written a 22-page dossier of his achievements
for his MPs. The PM says Labour has changed the country and
proved there can be social justice and economic prosperity
at the same time.

Chancellor Gordon Brown is expected to become the next PM.
There are six contenders for the deputy's job.

Mr Brown is likely to face just one left-wing contender
because Michael Meacher and John McDonnell will reveal this
weekend that the candidate with the most supporters will
mount a solo bid.

Barring a major political earthquake, Mr Brown will be
installed at Number 10 by mid to late July.


London Invite A Great Honour - Ahern

Sat, Apr 28, 2007

Taoiseach Bertie Ahern has said he is "greatly honoured" at
the invitation to address the joint houses of parliament at
Westminster in London on May 15th, writes Miriam Donohoe,
Political Staff

Mr Ahern, who is the first taoiseach to be afforded this
honour, said last night the invitation symbolises the new
levels of "friendship, mutual respect and understanding"
between Ireland and Britain.

The invitation will be the third significant event during
the general election campaign marking the advances in the
Northern peace process and the changed relationship between
Ireland and the UK.

On May 8th Mr Ahern and the British prime minister, Tony
Blair, will attend the opening of the new Northern Ireland
assembly while on May 11th he and DUP leader the Rev Ian
Paisley will visit the Battle of the Boyne site in Co

Speculation increased yesterday that Mr Ahern will call the
election between now and next Tuesday for a May 24th poll.
Mr Ahern said the election would take place "shortly".

"The calling of it is just a technicality. People shouldn't
be worrying about this. The election will be shortly.
People can take that for certain. They shouldn't be getting
themselves excited."

Meanwhile, the Quarryvale Two module of the Mahon tribunal
investigating land rezoning in west Dublin is expected to
go ahead as scheduled on Monday following the failure of
the widow of the late TD Liam Lawlor, Mrs Hazel Lawlor, in
her High Court action yesterday to prevent it from

One of the main witnesses, Tom Gilmartin, is due to begin
giving his evidence on Tuesday. The Taoiseach is listed on
the tribunal website as among approximately 80 witnesses
who are listed to be called to give evidence from May 22nd.

c 2007 The Irish Times


UK/US Extradition Treaty Ratified

The treaty will modernise and extend the arrangements for
extradition between the US and the UK and for the first
time allow for the extradition of individuals accused of
twenty-first century crimes, such as child internet
pornography, which were not extraditable offences under the
old arrangements.

( - The United Kingdom and United States
have today ratified a bilateral extradition treaty to
ensure more effective arrangements to bring offenders from
either state to justice.

The treaty will modernise and extend the arrangements for
extradition between the US and the UK and for the first
time allow for the extradition of individuals accused of
twenty-first century crimes, such as child internet
pornography, which were not extraditable offences under the
old arrangements.

At a ceremony in Central London today the Instruments of
Ratification were exchanged by Home Office Minister
Baroness Scotland and US Ambassador to the UK Mr Robert H
Tuttle. This enables the 2003 bilateral extradition treaty
to enter into force under international treaty protocol.
The treaty's new provisions include:

* Defining an extraditable offence as one punishable by a
12 month or longer sentence in both states. This will
replace the list of extradition offences in the 1972
treaty. Offences not on the 1972 list, for example child
internet pornography, will in future be classed as
extraditable offences if they are punishable by a year or
more imprisonment in both states.

* Removing US statute of limitations issues. Extradition to
the UK could currently be barred if the offence is not
prosecutable in the US due to the lapse of time since it
was committed. This will no longer be applicable to
extraditions to the UK.

* Introducing a measure to allow for the temporary
surrender of persons serving a prison sentence in the
requested state. Temporary surrender means the victim does
not have to wait until the suspect has served his sentence
in the US for justice to be done in the UK and vice versa.

* Permitting the waiver of the rule of speciality. This
will enable the prosecution of the extradited person for an
offence for which he was not extradited, providing the
state from which he was extradited consents.

The treaty, and the Extradition Act 2003, have also
redressed the unequal balance that existed under the terms
of the 1972 Treaty in which the UK required more from the
US than they asked of the UK. The US was required to
demonstrate a prima facie evidential case in support of
extradition requests made to the UK, whereas the UK merely
had to demonstrate 'probable cause'.

The 'probable cause' test is broadly comparable to the
requirement for 'information which would justify the issue
of a warrant for the arrest of a person' that the UK will
now require of the US.

Home Office Minister, Baroness Scotland, said:

"This Government is committed to ensuring that we rebalance
the criminal justice system in favour of victims and bring
offenders to book wherever they may be. The ratification of
this treaty is a key example of how we are working with our
international partners to achieve these goals

"The ratification of this treaty will allow us to ensure
that criminals in hiding in the US, who have been wanted by
this country for some time, are returned here to face

"At the same time it will provide full and effective
safeguards for the rights of requested persons from the

US Ambassador, Robert Tuttle, said:

"I am very pleased that the United States and the United
Kingdom have taken the steps to bring this important treaty
into force.

"The implementation of this treaty benefits both our
countries. It's a practical measure that grows out of the
excellent law enforcement cooperation we share."

Notes to Editors:

1. The Treaty was signed on 31 March 2003 by then Home
Secretary David Blunkett and US Attorney General John

2. Certain provisions in the Treaty were given effect in
the UK by the entry into force of the Extradition Act 2003
on 1 January 2004.

3. The 2003 Treaty was formally approved by the US Senate
on 29 September 2006 and the US Treaty Approval Document
was signed by President Bush on 6 December 2006.

4. The previous extradition arrangements between the US and
the UK were those in the 1972 Treaty, as amended by a
supplementary Treaty in 1985.

Client ref 075/2007
GNN ref 146562P


Town Council Backs Lobby For 'Undocumented'

MEMBERS of Letterkenny Town Council have added their
support for the undocumented Irish in America. The Council
has agreed to write to the American Embassy in Dublin
expressing their support for the overhaul of US Immigration

At Monday night's Town Council meeting Councillor Gerry
McMonagle proposed the motion which received the unanimous
support of his council colleagues. Cllr McMonagle said with
over 50,000 undocumented Irish in America 'it was a massive

Over 1,000 Donegal people took part in a rally in Dublin at
the weekend to highlight the plight of undocumented family
members in the US, he said.

"I think it is vital that as a council we are seen to be
supporting their cause. These people are paying their taxes
and contributing to the American economy yet they are
always looking around their shoulder for fear of being
deported. They can't attend funerals and at the weekend we
heard of one man who was 18 years in the US when he was
deported while travelling to his work one day," he said.

"These people are helping to build and maintain the
American economy and we must do all we can to support the
Irish lobby for Immigration Reform," Cllr McMonagle added.

Cllr Dessie Larkin said the Donegal Association in New York
was fully behind the lobby for reform and said as a local
authority the council could make its support known through
the American Embassy.

"There are thousands of undocumented Donegal people in
cities like New York, Boston and Philadelphia and they live
in fear every day of being deported. They're paying their
taxes and contribute massively to the economy and are not
on social welfare. We've all heard the stories about their
inability to return home," he said.

"The power to change this lies with Congress and with the
support of people like Hilary Clinton hopefully the issue
will be sorted out," Cllr Larkin added.

Cllr Neil Clarke said it was imperative the matter was
addressed while Cllr Ciaran Brogan said it was a very
emotional issue for families.

"This reform couldn't happen soon enough," he said.

However, Cllr Brogan acknowledged that Immigration Policy
had been stepped up significantly following the 9-11


Viewpoint: Looking To The Future, Not The Past

[Published: Saturday 28, April 2007 - 08:30]

The relatively muted reaction of the DUP to the nomination
of Martina Anderson as a Sinn Fein representative on the
Policing Board is a sure sign that the political landscape
in Northern Ireland is changing.

Where once there would have been fury and outrage, there
was merely disappointment and disquiet.

Without doubt, the inclusion of Ms Anderson's name is a
bitter pill to swallow for anyone who has been bereaved by
IRA violence, particularly those in police families. A
former prisoner who had been jailed for life after being
convicted of conspiracy to cause explosions in England will
now be holding the Police Service to account.

Ironically, the conviction means that the Sinn Fein
Assembly member would herself be ineligible to apply to
join the police. But the fact that someone once so
dedicated to terrorism should now be committing herself to
an active role in the democratic process is surely a sign
of great hope.

Provided everything goes according to plan on May 8, the
republican movement will declare its support for the Police
Service and Sinn Fein will take its seats on the Policing
Board. It is an event which many doubted if they would ever

The new accord between the DUP and Sinn Fein has yet to be
fully tested in government, but the indications to date are
positive. Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness are unlikely
partners but their words and actions to date have set a new
context for major political realignments.

It is against this background that Sinn Fein's move on
policing should be set. The party's policing spokesman Alex
Maskey - who took risks during his term as Lord Mayor of
Belfast - has pledged that they will treat everyone,
including the police, on a fair basis. The party's
representatives deserve to be judged on their future
approach, not on their previous convictions.

As Gregory Campbell of the DUP comments, it is time to move
on. The hope must be that once Sinn Fein fully endorses the
PSNI, the climate on the streets will change and all
sections of this community will enjoy a new era of law and

Policing has always been a key issue in Northern Ireland
and the focus must now be on reducing levels of
criminality. Every police service operates best when it
enjoys the support of the public and nobody should have any
qualms about giving information to the PSNI.

That said, it will take time for mindsets to change and for
those who have been brought up in an atmosphere of
hostility to the security forces to re-think their

But the fact that Sinn Fein is prepared to embrace the new
order is a major breakthrough. The DUP, too, deserves
credit for its mature response to the latest developments.
At last, all the parties are looking to the future, not the

c Belfast Telegraph


Opin: A Reality Of Life

Remarkable political advances have been made in Northern
Ireland over recent years,

but in some parts of the Province the population is very
heavily segregated along narrow unionist/loyalist and
nationalist/republican lines.

The dark legacy of more than 30 years of the Troubles
whereby high walls divide communities from each other will
not be easily put in reverse, such is the level of fear and
distrust between people of differing political and
religious aspiration.

The housing segregation is most polarised in working class
areas of Belfast and Londonderry and in estates in larger
towns, like Portadown and Lurgan, and, quite apart from the
historic sectarian dividing lines, there are still 46 walls
or fences and 11 gates that prevent any integration of
people from a different culture.

Of course, there are a great many small towns and villages
in Northern Ireland where unionists, nationalists and
others live happily alongside one another, as their
forebears have done for generations, without any sacrifice
of the political and religious views which they hold.

These housing arrangements are harder to implement in
larger urban areas and there is also the difficulty that
people cannot be forced to live in areas where they do not
want to go.

That is the reality of life here!


Opin: A Terrible Beauty

Sat, Apr 28, 2007

W@ would da gr8 poet William Butler Y8s have made of da
news dat txt spk is chngin da way da yung ppl rite? Easter,
1916 mite 2day read like dis: He, 2, has bin chngd in his
turn, Trans4med utterly, A trrble buty is born.

Da st8 chief examiner sez dat da standard of English is
droppin cos "text messaging, with its use of phonetic
spelling and little or no punctuation, seems to pose a
threat to traditional conventions in writing". He sez dat
xam answers r 2 short cos "candidates seemed unduly reliant
on short sentences, simple tenses and a limited

N response, da Assoc of Secondary Teachers in Irel& sez der
is no need to panic, dat "rigidity or conformity with
received standards is not the first port of call in judging
a piece of writing or, indeed, speaking" & dat "language
changes as the world changes: it cannot be set in aspic".

It is tru dat der is a chng in da way we commnc8. Da Irish
sent 4.4bn txts last yr, or 1,053 txt 4 evry 1 in the St8.
We own approx 4.5m mob phones, & cos 96% of 11-12 yr olds
hav a phone, in little tym Irish teens have lrnd to adapt 2
abbrev8d lingo. Dey find it ez 2 switch between txt spk &
traditional langwge.

It is a fascin8n trend, a gr8 shift in da way ppl rite & 1
dat has bin driven by nu tech. B4, tho, txt spk woz ltd 2
txt msgs & Bebo sites. Now it is affecting both Jr Cert and
Levn Cert xams. Dis mns it is bginnin to dsplace Stablished
use of English, ncludn da logicl & conceptual found8ions of
da langwge.

Da rulz of English grammr r bein ignored & may b 4gotten.
Dis cant b good 4 educ8nal standrdz, or 4 how yung ppl
undrst& da language dey spk & rite evry day. Txtin is best
regRded as a parllel funcshnl langwge with its oan rules &
wit, rather dan 1 dat by in10tion or de4llt dsplces
convenshnl English.

& in da long term, it cud affect da lingo of biz and even
cultr. Will ppl pay 2 c an actor deliva da gr8 line: "2b or
not 2b, dat d Q."

1 day, mayB, all of Da Irish Times will b rtn lyk dis. But
not on Mdm's woch! 4 now, txting is still just as hard to
rite as it is 2 read. Which is da rison y dis editorial is
on da shrt side.

c 2007 The Irish Times


First Son Of The Royal Hospital Dies Aged 73

By Marie Louise McCrory

Fond memories: Francis Wisdom as a young boy and
grandfather. Mr Wisdom, a founder member of Donegal Celtic,
with the Donegal Celtic Steel and Sons Cup West

Belfast correspondent Marie Louise McCrory speaks to the
family of the first person born at the Royal Maternity
Hospital more than 70 years ago, who died just a short
distance away this week

When Francis Wisdom was born he had no eyelashes or
fingernails. A tiny premature baby, he had been so eager to
join the world that his mother had to be rushed to the new
Royal Maternity Hospital on the Falls Road in west Belfast
the night before it was due to open.

Mary Alice Wisdom went into labour with her first child on
August 1 1933 at the home she shared with husband Michael
at Dunmore Street, off the Springfield Road.

The Royal was the nearest hospital and Mrs Wisdom was
rushed into the brand new delivery suite.

A swift birth later and Francis was born into the world.

He was the only baby in the hospital and his tiny screams
filled the corridors and later the ward where just he and
his mother cuddled up together on their own.

Francis - who became the oldest of 16 children - went on to
have four daughters and four sons of his own with his wife
Ellen McCorry.

In 1959 he became a bus conductor and later a driver.

On Christmas Day 1973 Francis lost his wife following an
illness and was left to continue bringing up his eight
children alone.

Ten years later, he was invited to the Royal Maternity when
it celebrated its 50th anniversary.

As the first baby born there, he was guest of honour.

This week Francis - who had 13 grandchildren and seven
great grandchildren - passed away at the Royal Victoria
Hospital, just a short distance from where he was born 73
years ago.

His children last night des-

cribed him as "a character".

"He was a founder member of the Donegal Celtic," his
daughter Frances Morrow said.

"My dad was very straight and very witty. He was a great

"Everybody took to him. He was very sharp and very

Her sister Ellen McGrady said her dad had loved to speak
about how he was the first baby born at the new Royal

"The hospital wasn't due to be officially opened until the
following day," she said.

"When he was born he had no eyelashes or fingernails. He
used to tell us about it.

"He always thought he was special. It was his claim to

"He went along for the 50th anniversary of the Royal
Maternity in 1983 and he was so proud."

A spokeswoman for the Royal Victoria Hospital last night
expressed sympathy to Mr Wisdom's family.

"We are saddened to hear about the death of Mr Wisdom and
offer our sincere condolences to his family,'' he said.

"Mr Wisdom was the first baby born in the Royal Maternity
Hospital when it opened its doors in 1933.

"He was also present at the unveiling of a plaque in 1983,
marking 50 years of providing a maternity service to the
people of Northern Ireland.

"Thousands of babies are now born at the hospital. Last
year 5,296 babies were delivered at the Royal Jubilee
Maternity Hospital alone."
Requiem Mass for Mr Wisdom will be celebrated at 10am today
at St Oliver Plunkett Church in Lenadoon, with burial
afterwards in Milltown cemetery.


Eyre Square Nominated For Major Award

Frank McDonald, Environment Editor

Sat, Apr 28, 2007

After all the hue and cry about its controversial face-
lift, Eyre Square in Galway has now been nominated for the
Academy of Urbanism's Great Place award - in competition
with Meeting House Square in Dublin's Temple Bar.

Eyre Square is described as the place "Galway was built
around . . . given a new lease of life in the 21st century"
in guidance notes circulated to academy members, while
Meeting House Square is described as "part of Temple Bar's
sequence of streets and spaces".

The other contenders are Brighton Beach; the South Bank,
Exmouth Market and Duke of York Square in London; Exchange
Square in Manchester; the Quayside in Newcastle; Royal
Exchange Square in Glasgow; and the Winter Gardens in

Two Irish towns - Armagh and Kilkenny - are in contention
for the academy's Great Town award with Brecon, in Wales;
Cheltenham, Huddersfield, Malmesbury and Winchester, in
England; and Inveraray and St Andrews, in Scotland.

The main streets of Ireland's two largest cities -
O'Connell Street, Dublin, and Donegall Place/Royal Avenue,
Belfast - have been nominated for the Great Street award.
Other contenders include Glasgow's Buchanan Street and
London's Regent Street.

For the Great Neighbourhood award, Temple Bar has made the
cut, but it's up against stiff competition from
Castlefields in Manchester, Soho and Shad Thames in London,
Stockbridge in Edinburgh, and Rope Walks in Liverpool,
among others.

The principal award, European City of the Year, will go to
one of 10 contenders - Amsterdam, Barcelona, Berlin,
Budapest, Graz, Helsinki, Istanbul, Lyon, Stockholm and
Turin. Dublin made last year's shortlist, but lost out to

St Stephen's Green was a finalist for the 2006 Great Place
award, but it went to Borough Market in London.

The other winners last year were Ludlow (Great Town),
Merchant City, Glasgow (Great Neighbourhood) and Marylebone
High Street, London (Great Street).

The 2007 nominees will be whittled down to three finalists
in each category at the academy's nominations dinner in the
Royal Hospital, Kilmainham, on May 24th.

Every shortlisted nominee with then be visited before the
winners are selected in November.

All will be judged by academy members on the basis of a
number of key criteria, including governance, local
character and distinctiveness, user friendliness,
functionality, commercial success and viability, and
environmental and social sustainability.

Formed in 2006, the Academy of Urbanism of Great Britain
and Ireland brings together a group of thinkers and
practitioners involved in the social, cultural, economic,
political and physical development of cities, towns and
villages throughout both islands.

The academy's theme, Space, Place, Life, is to be explored
at a conference in Dublin Castle on May 24th, jointly
organised by the Urban Forum. Speakers will include
architects Se n O'Laoire and Sir Terry Farrell, and Dublin
city planner Dick Gleeson.

The conference will be preceded by a study tour of Belfast,
to see its recent transformation by the "peace dividend",
and will be followed by walking tours of Dublin city centre
and the docklands area.

Further details from

 Frank McDonald is a founder member of the Academy of
Urbanism and is its writer in residence.

c 2007 The Irish Times


500 Animals Found In Car

[Published: Saturday 28, April 2007 - 08:14]
By Ashleigh Wallace

The USPCA was last night investigating a shocking incident
of animal cruelty after 500 animals were discovered in the
back of a student's car in Coleraine.

The animals - including birds, hamsters, rabbits, guinea
pigs and a Chinese water dragon - were in boxes and cages
in the Renault Clio parked on Cromore Road yesterday.

No water had been left for them. The USPCA revealed 75 of
the animals died of suspected heat stroke and dehydration.

While many of the survivors were taken to vets' surgeries,
it is feared more may die.

The car owner, believed to be a male in his early 20s, was
spoken to at the scene by the PSNI.

It is understood he may have left the animals in the car
for six hours while at university and was planning to take
them to pet wholesalers in Co Donegal on Friday evening.

The alarm was raised after a member of the public noticed a
number of birds in the locked car acting in a distressed

Local officers arrived and, after the owner was located,
the surviving animals were handed over to the USPCA.

Stephen Philpott, chief executive of the animal welfare
organisation, said: " I'm shocked at what was found in the
car in Coleraine and (recommend) that this man should be
questioned about animal cruelty.

"To leave these small animals in those conditions for over
six hours shows a total lack of regard for their welfare.

"Every year, we bring this sort of problem to the public's
attention - that temperatures in cars can soar, even on a
cloudy day. Every summer lots of pets, particularly dogs,
lose their lives in cars and ignorance is not an excuse.

c Belfast Telegraph

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