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April 24, 2007

Catholic Children Attacked in Ballymena

News about Ireland & the Irish

SF 04/23/07 Catholic Children Attacked In Ballymena
BT 04/24/07 DUP: ‘Time To Move On’- Ex Prisoner On Policing Board
BB 04/23/07 Commission Seeks 'Eyes And Ears'
BT 04/24/07 Parades Group Gaffe Over 'Reruited' Monitors
SF 04/23/07 SF MEPs Facilitate Raymond McCord In Strasbourg
BT 04/24/07 Series Of Crucial Meetings For PUP
IT 04/24/07 Ahern Expects Immigrant Influx To Decline
IN 04/23/07 On This Day 1938: Hyde Choosen As President


Catholic Children Attacked In Ballymena

Published: 23 April, 2007

North Antrim Sinn Fein MLA Daith¡ McKay has voiced his concern
after another sectarian attack took place in Ballymena, this time
in the People's Park in the town.

Mr McKay said:

"The incident occurred when three schoolgirls, one as young as
twelve, were approached by a group of young women who asked them
if they were Catholics. When the children refused to answer they
were called 'Fenian b******s' and 'Catholic scum'. The group then
assaulted one of the girls before chasing them out of the park.

"I have been speaking to one of the parents involved who has said
that the children have been extremely traumatised by the ordeal.
The level of sectarianism which exists in this area, as
demonstrated by the amount of sectarian attacks in recent times
here, remains a major concern for us.

"We need to see strong leadership from all sections of society in
this area if these attacks like these are to be brought to an
end." ENDS

- Ballymena Sinn Fein Councillor Monica Digney will raise this
issue at tonight's Council meeting.


It's Time To Move On, Says DUP As Ex-IRA Prisoner Gets Policing
Board Seat

[Published: Tuesday 24, April 2007 - 08:39]
By Victoria O'Hara

A former IRA prisoner is among the first members of Sinn Fein set
to sit on the new Policing Board.

Martina Anderson, newly elected MLA for Foyle, was convicted of
conspiracy to cause explosions in England in 1986 and spent over
13 years in prison.

She was jailed for her part in a series of explosions in the
1980s, including the Brighton bomb which killed five people.

However, she was later released under the terms of the Good
Friday Agreement.

Ms Anderson will be joined by policing spokesman Alex Maskey and
North Antrim MLA and Ballymoney councillor Daithi McKay (24), who
is the youngest member of the Assembly.

They will sit on the Policing Board once it is restarted after
the political institutions go live on May 8. Speaking at the
launch, Mr Maskey said Sinn Fein members on the Policing Board
"will provide the voice for communities who have in the past
experienced only bad policing".

"We want to play a constructive role on the board, but we will
not shy away from challenging, or criticising or questioning
policing decisions and policy when the need arises," he said.

Ms Anderson's appointment was criticised by Democratic Unionist
MP Gregory Campbell, who noted she was jailed in the 1980s for
terrorist offences.

The East Londonderry MP said: "Difficult as it may have been for
Sinn Fein, I am sure it may have been possible out of their team
of 28 MLAs to have found one person that did not have a serious
terrorist and criminal conviction to serve on the Policing Board.

"If they had done this it would have been at least a gesture of
sorts to the rest of the law abiding community that they were not
treating appointments to the board with utter contempt.

"Given they have already appointed Martina Anderson with her
serious terrorist conviction as a director of their unionist
outreach work, it is in keeping with the disdain which they
appear to hold for these positions.

"Nonetheless we have to move on and see how former terrorists
adapt to their new role in the law abiding community."

Current SDLP Policing Board member Dolores Kelly MLA said Sinn
Fein's decision to appoint board members was welcome.

The Upper Bann MLA said: "The Board, District Policing
Partnerships, the PSNI and the Ombudsman have been the biggest
achievement of the Good Friday Agreement.

"Sinn Fein can now join with the other parties to continue the
process of change."

c Belfast Telegraph


Commission Seeks 'Eyes And Ears'

The Parades Commission, the body set up to make decisions on
controversial marches in Northern Ireland, is seeking to recruit
more people to be its eyes and ears at the events.

The commission has been advertising for more parade monitors -
members of the public who attend parades and report back to the
commission on what they observe.

A newspaper advert on Monday says volunteers could be expected to
monitor parades "at any location thoughout Northern Ireland".

And despite the fact that the work is unpaid - monitors are
reimbursed travel and out of pocket expenses - Parades Commission
spokesman Brendan Mulgrew said there had already been "a fairly
healthy response" to the adverts.

Mr Mulgrew said many of those who work as monitors were retired
people who remained physically active.

All, he said, wanted to "make a contribution to society".

"We're always trying to replenish our numbers. The last time we
did so was about two years ago" Mr Mulgrew said.

"If 10 come forward, great, if it's five that's still good."

He said the commission currently has about 20 monitors working
for it.

They may be asked to report on specific aspects of a parade - for
example if a parade has a history of going on longer that it's
supposed to - but will more often provide a general report.

The Parades Commission says "the use of properly trained and
briefed monitors is critical to supporting the commission in its
duty to keep itself generally informed, of the conduct of public
processions and protest meetings".

Before parades, police are informed of the presence of monitors
at a specific location.

The monitors carry identification cards but are not publicly
identifiable - they don't wear identifying armbands or any other
distinguishing apparel.

Mr Mulgrew said thankfully there had never been a situation where
a monitor had been threatened or harmed at an event.

"Monitoring parades can involve long hours, often at weekends,
with very early starts and/or very late finishes.

"The contribution monitors make against this demanding backdrop
is particularly appreciated," the commission says.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2007/04/23 17:31:40 GMT


Parades Group Marches Into A Gaffe Over 'Reruited' Monitors

[Published: Tuesday 24, April 2007 - 08:50]
By Chris Thornton

The Parades Commission has marched into an embarrassing gaffe by
running a misspelt word in an ad for volunteer observers.

Normally a missing letter in a job ad might not attract notice -
but it was the sound of this typo that one prominent Commission
critic found diverting.

By accidentally dropping the 'c' in 'recruitment', the Commission
announced that it was engaged in the 'reruitment' of parade

Ulster Unionist parades spokesman Michael Copeland described the
mistake as a Freudian slip.

Mr Copeland said: "The Parades Commission has announced a
'reruitment of monitors'.

"Grammatically, we've got a spelling mistake. And phonetically,
we might also have a Freudian slip on our hands.

"Of course, the Parades Commission is pretty accomplished at re-
routing things, but they're breaking new ground by 'reruiting'
their own monitors.

"Monitors are there to observe parades. But sadly the Parades
Commission's observation skills have let them down. Their
'reruitment' drive has been advertised in daily newspapers.

"Could I suggest in future that the Parades Commission goes down
the traditional route of proofreading their ads before going to

The gaffe appeared in all major Northern Ireland newspapers

Volunteer monitors are the Commission's eyes on the street during
the busy marching season.

The unpaid observers travel across Northern Ireland to watch
selected parades, often working in pairs.

Applications for the monitoring posts, which involve travel and
pocket expenses, will close on Friday, May 4.

c Belfast Telegraph


Sinn Fein MEPs Facilitate Raymond McCord In Strasbourg

Published: 23 April, 2007

Sinn Fein MEPs Bairbre de Br£n and Mary Lou McDonald will
facilitate a visit by Raymond McCord to the European Parliament
in Strasbourg on April 24th and 25th. The visit will provide Mr
McCord with an opportunity to meet with and brief MEPs from
across the 27 member states on the murder of his son Raymond
McCord Junior. The delegation will include a press conference at
16.00 on the 24th followed at 16.30 by a public meeting.

Speaking before the visit Dublin MEP Mary Lou MCDonald said:

"This is a very important visit. It is important that the
European Parliament and individual MEPs are made fully aware of
the extent of British state collusion with unionist
paramilitaries in the north of Ireland."

Six County MEP Bairbre de Brun added:

"This visit is part of our ongoing work in support of those who
have suffered as a result of collusion. It is the third such
visit to the European Parliament by families affected by the
British government policy of collusion." ENDS

Note to Editors

Raymond McCord visit to European Parliament

Strasbourg - 23-26 April 2007

Mon April 23
22.15 Arrival

Tues April 24
9.00-12.30 Meetings: Group Leaders, Commission.
9.30 Keith McBean, Counsellor Irish Perm Rep. (LOW T05/038)
10.00 Kathy Sinnott MEP, Ind/Dem Group (LOW T11/028)
12.30 Lunch
14.00 Pre-briefing for journalists (LOW S2.1)
16.00 Press Conference: Police Collusion in Murder, says
R.McCord and MEPs: B.deBr£n, MLMcDonald, M.Harkin. (LOW N-1/201)
16.30 General meeting for all MEPs, Assistants and Group staff.
(LOW S2.1)
18.00 Francis Wurtz President of GUE/NGL (LOW T06/008)

Wed April 25
9.00-13.30 Meetings with MEPs,Group Leaders,Commission. (LOW
Time unconf'd Brian Crowley Co-President UEN Group
12.30 Lunch
14.30-15.00 Ra£l Romeva, Greens/EFA Group (LOW T05/048)
16.00 Meeting with Irish MEPs and staff. (LOW S3.7)

Thur April 26
10.40am Depart


Series Of Crucial Meetings For PUP

[Published: Tuesday 24, April 2007 - 11:10]
By Brian Rowan

More details are emerging on the crucial political talks that
will take place before a paramilitary statement is issued on the
future of the UVF and associated Red Hand Commando.

A six-strong delegation from the Progressive Unionist Party will
meet the Taoiseach in Dublin tomorrow, where the latest report
from the Independent Monitoring Commission will also be

Then this Friday the PUP will meet the Chief Constable Sir Hugh
Orde, while a meeting with the Secretary of State Peter Hain has
been pencilled in for next Tuesday.

It had been hoped that meeting would be scheduled for this week
and the date may still change.

The PUP will also meet a senior DUP delegation including deputy
leader Peter Robinson and is waiting for details of a meeting
with Ulster Unionist leader Sir Reg Empey.

These talks are the build up to a major statement from the UVF
and Red Hand leaderships on the future of those organisations and
their activities.

The loyalist command will also address the issue of its weapons,
but there is nothing to suggest imminent decommissioning.

It is thought the paramilitary statement could be made before the
May 8 date for devolution, but this has yet to be confirmed.

The statement is the endpoint in a long internal consultation
inside the UVF and Red Hand organisations, which dates back to

Last weekend, the ceasefire watchdog - the IMC - met the PUP in
Belfast, before finalising its latest report and sending it to
the British and Irish Governments.

That report will be read tomorrow for its assessment on what
progress is being made within the loyalist paramilitary world.

c Belfast Telegraph


Ahern Expects Immigrant Influx To Decline

Miriam Donohoe, Political Staff
Tue, Apr 24, 2007

The economy has reached the point where it cannot accommodate the
same influx of immigrants as over the past 10 years, according to
Taoiseach Bertie Ahern.

Stressing that the economy could not have prospered without the
level of immigration of recent years, Mr Ahern said yesterday he
had great doubts about our capacity to continue to move beyond
the 10 per cent growth in immigration of the last decade.

"I am not saying you can't go to 11 . . . but you can't go in one
decade from 2 per cent to 10 and in the next decade from 10 to
20," he said in an interview on The Last Wordwith Matt Cooper on
Today FM. "The numbers that we will be able to take in over the
next 10 years will not be able to match the numbers that came in
in the last 10 years."

Mr Ahern said that if we did not have the immigrants that made up
10 per cent of the workforce today, we would not have been able
to keep the economy strong. "We have to be fair to the immigrants
that are here. If we hadn't got to that 10 per cent, the Irish
economy wouldn't be growing at 5 per cent."

He added: "We have to be very careful there is not displacement
of workers."

He predicted that the first thing that would happen in a downturn
would be that immigrant numbers would fall.

"Very quickly they would realise it is not a good place to come."

Mr Ahern was highly critical of RT for broadcasting its Future
Shock: Property Crashprogramme last Monday, saying it was
irresponsible and inaccurate and he "disagreed with almost
everything in it".

On hospital consultants, Mr Ahern said they were the vested
interest most responsible for stifling necessary reform of the
health service.

c 2007 The Irish Times


On This Day/April 23 1938

By Eamon Phoenix

Protestant Gael is selected as Ireland's first president

Eire is to have a Protestant as its first president. Dr Douglas
Hyde, historian, poet and folklorist, was last night chosen for
the presidency at a private conference in Dublin between Mr De
Valera's Fianna Fail party and Mr Cosgrave's Opposition party.

This selection has obviated the necessity for an election.

Dr Hyde has accepted the high office.

Dr Hyde, who is 73, was one of the 11 nominees of Mr De Valera to
the Senate.

He is known in Gaelic circles as An Craoibhin Aoibhinn ('The
Lovely Little Branch') as a result of his pen name during the
early days of the Gaelic League.

Dr Hyde will be installed in the old Viceregal Lodge in Phoenix

Dr Hyde's nomination reveals in a more unpleasant light than ever
the bigotry of the northern regime with its slogan 'A Protestant
parliament for a Protestant people' since both the big political
parties in the 26 counties have now decided upon a Protestant
president for a Catholic people.

Dr Hyde, son of a Church of Ireland rector in Co Roscommon,
combines all the virtues of the cultured gentleman with a
simplicity of the Irish mind, loving the land and striving to
bring Irish culture to the forefront.

His work for the revival of the language as a living thing will
be his greatest monument.

Back in the 1880s, when he was a young student in Connemara, he
was touched as if by a magic wand and given a mission which he
has followed in all the years since.

Dr Hyde came to Trinity College in Dublin as a young student -
into an institution then considered as the strongest bulwark in
Ireland for English and imperial domination.

He kept to his studies, devoting a great deal of his time and
energy to everything Irish.

It might be said with truth that Hyde opened up the Celtic
renaissance and, later, when his work was recognised by Yeats,
Synge and others, many rallied to the banner and gave the
practical support which was urgently required.

Dr Hyde founded the Gaelic League in 1893 and became its

It is important to recall a famous speech he made advocating
'Irish for the Irish'.

He said: "Preserve the Irish language, but have as many other
languages as you please. Fit it into all the purposes of modern
life; nationalise Irish education; make Ireland intellectually
interesting and the resulting zest, energy, thought and temper
will react on everything in the nation, economics included."

That might be said to be his philosophy.

(Born at Frenchpark, Co Roscommon, in 1860, the son of the Rev
Arthur Hyde, a Church of Ireland clergyman, Douglas Hyde
developed a passion for the Irish language which he learned from
the old people in the surrounding district.

He collected folklore popularising it in Love Songs of Connaught.

In 1893 he founded the Gaelic League with his compatriot, Eoin
MacNeill from the Glens of Antrim.

Hyde advocated the 'de-Anglicisation of Ireland' but avoided
party politics.

He always insisted that the league must remain non-sectarian and
non-political, resigning the presidency in 1915 when IRB elements
pledged the language movement to sovereign independence.

Hyde served as first president of Ireland from 1937 to 45. He
died in 1949.

His verse translations from the Irish have appeared in many

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