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April 16, 2007

Adams To Urge SF To Join Policing Board

News about Ireland & the Irish

BN 04/16/07 Adams To Urge SF To Join Policing Board
SF 04/16/07 Sinn Féin Meet Policing Board Chairperson
SF 04/16/07 Questions Raised After PSNI Staff Member Charged
BB 04/16/07 Purvis Assurance On 'UVF Threat'
BB 04/16/07 Trimble 'Set To Become Tory Peer'
IN 04/16/07 US Undocumented ‘Must Get Stormont Backing’
IN 04/16/07 SF Warned Not To Barter Away Residents’ Rights
ET 04/16/07 McCain Speaks At Co-Operation Ireland's Annual Dinner
IN 04/16/07 Opin: These Times Are Not All About Mr Paisley
IT 04/16/07 Opin: Who Owns Pearse's Letter?
IT 04/17/07 Deprtmt Queries Source Of Pearse's Ltr To Gen Maxwell

(click to see larger version) Patrick Pearse disposed of personal

effects in a letter from Kilmainham Gaol Photograph: The Irish Times

Adams To Urge SF To Join Policing Board

16/04/2007 - 13:39:05

Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams said today that he will urge his
party to join the North's Policing Board at a meeting on May 12,
following the restoration of the Northern Executive.

The announcement came following his party's first meeting with
the leadership of the Policing Board today.

"I have to go to an ard chomhairle meeting post-May 8, and it is
my firm intention when we have an ard chomhairle meeting on May
12 to make a proposal that we take up our positions on the
Policing Board," he said.

"I have given notice to the ard chomhairle of that intention and
that's all in the expectation and very firm conviction that on
May 8 we will see the institutions here reconstituted and the
Executive in place."

He also called on loyalists to withdraw threats against

"I want to deal briefly with the issue of a number of citizens
having been warned that they are actively under threat from, I
believe, the Ulster Volunteer Force - although I cannot say that
authoritatively," he said.

"That is what I believe to be the organisation behind that

"It is totally unacceptable and we look to the threat being
withdrawn and to be withdrawn in a very, very public manner as
quickly as possible."

Republicans in Derry and North Antrim have, in recent days, been
warned of a security risk of attack from loyalists.

The Sinn Fein leader described the meeting with Policing Board
chairman Desmond Rea and vice chairman Barry Gilligan as another
important step in his party's quest for accountable and effective
policing on both sides of the Irish border.

The West Belfast MP would not be drawn on who his party's three
nominees for the Policing Board would be.


Sinn Fein Meet Policing Board Chairperson

Published: 16 April, 2007

A Sinn Fein delegation led by the party President Gerry Adams MP
and including Assembly member Jennifer McCann, Dublin Mid-West
Representative Joanne Spain and the party spokesperson on
Policing issues Alex Maskey met with the Chairperson of the
Policing Board Des Rea in Stormont this morning.

Speaking after the meeting Mr Adams said that he would propose to
the party Ard Chomhairle after the political institutions went
live on May 8th that Sinn Fein would participate in the
reconstituted Policing Board and DPPs.

Mr Adams said:

"Sinn Fein wants to see accountable policing across this island.
That means transparent, robust and democratic accountability
mechanisms like the Policing Board for An Garda Siochana as well
as the PSNI.

"The decision by the special Ard Fheis in late January was only
the start of a process of ensuring that the sort of accountable
and representative policing service demanded by the Good Friday
Agreement is delivered.

"Today's meeting with Des Rea is another stage in that process.
We used today's meeting to discuss in some detail issues such as
accountability and the representativeness of the current policing
structures, the issue of plastic bullets and collusion.

"The Ard Fheis motion commits Sinn Fein to holding the police to
account on the basis of fairness, impartiality and objectivity.
That means legitimate criticism and challenge if particular
actions by the police do not come up to the mark.

"People across society want a policing service which works with
the community in effectively tackling crime. It is the
responsibility of politicians and the Policing Board to play
their part in ensuring that this public service is delivered.

"Sinn Fein will participate fully in policing structures,
including the Policing Board once reconstituted and the DPPs. I
will propose that to the Ard Chomhairle as soon as the
institutions are re-established.

"Sinn Fein is determined to get policing and justice right. We
have been mandated by the Ard Fheis to drive forward this agenda.
It is our intention and determination to do that." ENDS


Serious Questions Raised After PSNI Staff Member Charged

Published: 16 April, 2007

Sinn Fein spokesperson on Policing issues Alex Maskey has
demanded that the British Secretary of State Peter Hain make an
urgent statement after a PSNI Administrative worker was charged
with possessing documents and of illegally accessing the PSNI
computer system.

Mr Maskey said:

"Throughout the weekend republicans and nationalists have been
visited in their homes and warned of a significant threat against
them. They were told that their personal details were in the
hands of unionist paramilitaries. It is believed that the
organisation involved is the UVF.

"This situation has now become even more serious with the news
that a member of the PSNI Administrative team has been charged in
connection with these matters and according to the information
placed before the courts today this intelligence gathering
operation has been ongoing for 5 years.

"This raises a number of very serious questions both for the PSNI
and the British Government.

:: How was this operation allowed to go on for so long without
being detected?

:: What has happened to the much talked about mechanisms and
procedures which we are told were put in place to prevent this
type of policing?

:: Where did this individual work and what documents had he access

:: How many people have been placed in danger?

:: What measures are being put in place to help these people?

"Sinn Fein will be raising this matter with both governments. The
information so far given to those people under threat is
completely inadequate. We need a speedy and detailed statement
from Peter Hain on this matter without any further delay." ENDS


Purvis Assurance On 'UVF Threat'

Progressive Unionist Party leader Dawn Purvis has questioned the
credibility of threats against individuals said to have come from
the UVF.

Mark Thompson, the director of victims' group, Relatives for
Justice was among those visited by police at the weekend.

He was warned of a "significant and substantial" threat to his

But Ms Purvis said she had sought assurances that there was no
threat. "I talked to Mark and assured him that he was not under
threat from the UVF."

She added: "Under human rights legislation the PSNI are obliged
to inform individuals if their details are found.

"After talking to the PSNI I understand their intelligence
suggests that the individuals concerned are not under any threat.

"Certainly I have sought assurances that there's no threat from
any organisation to any of these individuals and I have been
given those assurances."

Earlier, Mr Thompson said he was taking the threat very

"I would see this in the context of the work that Relatives for
Justice and myself are doing, particularly over this past number
of months, in which we have been working with a range of families
across the community, particularly within the unionist
community," Mr Thompson said.

"They are providing sensitive information to us in relation to
the murder of their loved ones.

"This takes us into a terrain that we have never been into, in
terms of some of that information."

In a statement, Amnesty International said it deplored the death
threat made to Mr Thompson.

Patrick Corrigan, Northern Ireland programme director said: "It
is vital that those working to expose human rights abuses are
able to do so free from harassment and threats to their life."

Relatives for Justice is a Belfast-based support group working
with and providing support to relatives of people bereaved and
injured in the Troubles.

The group works primarily with people whose relatives have died
in disputed circumstances where there are allegations of state

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2007/04/16 16:35:26 GMT


Trimble 'Set To Become Tory Peer'

Former Ulster Unionist leader David Trimble is to join the
Conservative Party in the House of Lords.

Lord Trimble would not confirm or deny the reports, but his ex-
colleagues are thought to have indicated that he will join the

He has been a peer since last June. He was leader of the Ulster
Unionist Party for 10 years from 1995.

Lord Trimble was Northern Ireland's first minister from 1999 to
2002. An announcement is expected on Tuesday.

There has been speculation for a number of months about him
moving to the Conservatives.

He won a Nobel Peace Prize along with then SDLP leader John Hume
for their part in the 1998 Good Friday Agreement.

Lord Trimble stepped down as leader of the Ulster Unionist Party,
after losing his Westminster seat in Upper Bann in the 2005
general election.

In total, the Ulster Unionist Party lost four of its seats in
that poll.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2007/04/16 17:35:17 GMT


US Undocumented 'Must Get Stormont Backing'

By Allison Morris

THE 50,000 Irish people fighting for legal immigration status in
the United States should be given the full support of Northern
Ireland's new devolved government.

Families and friends of many of the 'undocumented Irish' gathered
in Dublin at the weekend to lobby the US government to legally
recognise the status of their loved ones.

The Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform, which hosted the
gathering, said it hoped the meeting would provide a platform for
people to tell the human story of the tragedy separating them
from loved ones in the US.

The meeting was attended by minister for foreign affairs Dermot
Ahern and political figures from both sides of the border.

"It is important that this issue is not left in abeyance but
rolled out across the island, north and south," East Derry
assembly member John Dallat said after the meeting.

"The time for worrying about offen-ding American politicians is
over on this issue.

"They must be made to realise the wealth and affluence they enjoy
was created to a significant degree by the people from the Irish
nation they now seek to vilify by draconian immigration laws.

"The unnecessary injustice experienced by Irish men and women
living in the US with no rights of any kind is unacceptable."

Mr Dallat added: "If the United States is to demonstrate their
sincerity towards the Irish nation, which played a major part in
developing its economy over the years, then they should do the
humane thing and regularise the status of their immigrant


SF Warned Not To Barter Away Residents' Rights

By Maeve Connolly

SINN Fein has been warned not to barter away the rights of
Garvaghy Road residents by entering into a deal with the DUP to
allow the Orange Order to march along the contentious route in

SDLP Upper Bann assembly member Dolores Kelly said nationalist
residents had a right to dialogue with Drumcree Orangemen and
that it must not be dismissed for short-term political gain.

"There is a build-up of hints, briefings and media reports that a
political deal is in the offing between Sinn Fein and the DUP to
let the Orange Order down the Garvaghy Road without entering into
dialogue with the residents," she said.

"This is just not on. Dialogue is a requirement of principle and
it cannot just be traded away in some sort of secret, backroom

Ms Kelly said any deal which would offer a solution to the long-
running dispute, which had often erupted in violence in the past,
had to be an "open and transparent one involving all the people
of the area in dialogue with the marching orders".

"Every one of those people has a right to dialogue," she said.

"That is a fundamental principle that has been at the heart of
the whole Drumcree issue for more than a decade, and neither Sinn
Fein nor anyone else is entitled to barter those rights away."

The Orange Order last paraded along the mainly nationalist
Garvaghy Road in 1997 but has had route restrictions imposed by
the Parades Commission ever since.

Five hundred Orangemen and 75 bands took part in the annual
Drumcree par-ade last year.

However, Sinn Fein last night dismissed the accusation that it
was negotiating a deal with the DUP as "complete lies" and a
spokesman said while the party discussed all manner of issues
with other political parties this was one where politicians could
have no influence.

"This is not an issue that can be resolved by political parties,"
he said.

"It is an issue that only can be resolved by the people who live
on the Gar-vaghy Road and the Orange Order just as it is in
Ardoyne or anywhere else.

"It is between the Orange Order and the community they wish to
march through."


Senator John McCain To Be Keynote Speaker At Co-Operation
Ireland's 2007 Annual Dinner

Posted : Mon, 16 Apr 2007 20:20:01 GMT
Author : Co-operation Ireland
Category : PressRelease

NEW YORK, April 16 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following is
being issued by Co-operation Ireland:

WHAT: Co-operation Ireland, will host its 2007 Annual Dinner
keynoted by Senator John McCain (R-AZ). The dinner marks the 28th
year Co- operation Ireland is working to further a lasting peace
between Northern Ireland and Ireland through its innovative
portfolio of cross-community and cross-border reconciliation
programs. Notable Irish-Americans and Irish citizens will attend
the dinner. WHO: Senator John McCain (R-AZ) WHEN: April 24, 2007,
7:30 P.M. NOTE: Media who wish to present equipment for event
need be at the press riser in the event room at the Pierre Hotel
by 7:00 P.M. WHERE: The Pierre Hotel 2 E 61st St, New York, 10021
(212) 751-6430 About Co-operation Ireland

Co-operation Ireland is the largest and oldest non-governmental
organization dedicated to promoting better cross-border and
cross-community relations in Ireland and Northern Ireland. It is
a non-political, non- religious voluntary organization with
offices in Belfast, Dublin and New York.

Co-operation Ireland, USA is a sister organization in the United
States. As a registered 501(c)3 charitable organization based in
New York, its purpose is to raise significant awareness and funds
on behalf of Co-operation Ireland's crucial work. The New York
office seeks to strengthen the relationship between the people of
Ireland and concerned, solution minded American citizens who are
interested in helping mutual understanding become a permanent
reality in Ireland. Our US Board is comprised of influential
corporate and governmental leaders who support the vision of
reconciliation. Their commitment provides a platform from which
Co-operation Ireland USA conducts strategic fundraising, public
awareness and advocacy efforts across corporate, foundation and
U.S. governmental categories alike.

Co-operation Ireland


Opin: These Strange Times Are Not All About Mr Paisley

By James KELLY

Here we are at Easter 2007 wondering whether this is the long-
awaited turning point in our history. Another anniversary of the
Good Friday Agreement but this time with a dramatic difference -
strange signs and portents of a remarkable sea change in the
political scene in Northern Ireland. Out in the streets the
people who have been through hell and back in our years of
turmoil are enjoying the sunshine of these April days determined
at the last election to put the past behind them.

We had hardly recovered from the historic sight, proclaimed far
and wide by the world media, of Gerry Adams, the Sinn Fein
president, and Ian Paisley, the DUP leader, sitting side by side
at Stormont agreeing to work together "for all the people of the
north" in the Stormont executive when the story assumed an even
greater significance in an All-Ireland context.

Surprise, surprise again, here was the elderly, stooped figure of
Paisley down in Dublin in high good humour at the door of
Farmleigh House in the Phoenix Park shaking hands with Taoiseach
Bertie Ahern, both clapping each other's back, like long-lost
brothers. Surrounded by Fianna Fail cabinet members Paisley,
accompanied by his son, Ian jnr, made an astonishing speech of
thanks for the invitation to Dublin and spoke about the two
administrations developing and growing side by side in a spirit
of generous cooperation.

He said old barriers and threats were being removed daily and
business opportunities were flourishing with genuine respect and
understanding of each other's differences now developing.

The taoiseach, in reply, said that at this important time in
their history they must do their best to put behind them the
terrible wounds of their past and work together to build a new
relationship between their two traditions.

Inside the plush Farmleigh House, once the traditional home of
the Guinness family, the Paisleys had an enjoyable meal of tea
and sandwiches. The black stuff and the vintage wines were kept
out of sight in deference to Paisley's denunciation of what he
calls "the devil's buttermilk".

The meeting lasted 90 minutes. Future relations with the Republic
were discussed and the upshot was an invitation from Bertie Ahern
to the DUP boss to visit the site of the Battle of the Boyne!

Paisley accepted and said the visit would help them to learn from
the past so that the next generation would more clearly
understand it.

So there's another 'historic' moment in the offing. What next?

More history-making events on the way? The Queen to Aras an

The Pope to Armagh, Derry or, oh good heavens, Stormont?

I said these were strange times. They are not all about Paisley.
There is the symbolism this week of the bulldozers tearing down
the outer wall of the ill-famed Maze internment camp, the army
watch-towers at Crossmaglen and the preparation for the movement
out of the additional army units.

In sport there's the remarkable welcome in a loyalist pub on the
Shankill Road in Belfast for the mayor of Drogheda and a bus load
of fans accompanying the Drogheda team for its engagement at
Windsor Park.

Finally, as if to dovetail with Paisley's offer of cooperation
with the Republic came an impressive article in the current
Dublin Independent's all-island Business Spring Supplement by the
north's eminent economic commentator, John Simpson.

Mr Simpson points out that the island of Ireland is a small part
of a much bigger European Union.

He says "perhaps the biggest gain in the recent years for the
all-island economy is the acceptance that cross-border trade
services and facilities are no longer controversial".

He adds that after years of aspiration north-south collaboration
on an island-wide infrastructure is nearer to delivery.

So it seems that bordermania, which distracted politicians in the
north for more than 50 years, is dying the death on all sides.


Opin: Who Owns Pearse's Letter?

Tue, Apr 17, 2007

Today, at the showrooms of Adam's auctioneers in Dublin, one of
the last letters written by Patrick Pearse before his execution
will be sold. It was sent to Gen Sir John Maxwell, commander-in-
chief of the British forces in Ireland, and asks for statements
on his business affairs to be given to his mother or sister,
writes Fintan O'Toole

Pearse adds that he would be grateful if his money could also be
given to either of the women. The money in question was a five-
pound note and two gold sovereigns.

The chances are that the letter will sell for rather more than
that: a year ago, Pearse's surrender note to Maxwell fetched

As Pat Cooke, former director of the Pearse Museum, wrote in
History Ireland in 2005: "It is impossible not to be struck by
the irony of it all. A piece of paper Pearse scribbled upon in
the last throes of a failed insurrection sells 90 years later for
an incredible, princely sum. Celtic Tiger Ireland certainly knows
how to value its patriot dead. Patriotism is transmuted into

There is, however, a question that needs to be answered before
the sale of Pearse's letter goes ahead today: to whom does it

Rather unusually, the Adam's catalogue does not answer that
question, giving no provenance for the letter. And there is, on
the face of it, a strong possibility that it actually belongs to
the Irish people, not just in a moral sense, but also in a
literal one.

Before setting out the reasons why this may be the case, let me
be clear about what I am not saying. I am not accusing anyone of
any unethical, underhand or dishonest behaviour in relation to
the offering for sale of Pearse's letter.

There are all sorts of ways in which this document may have
innocently come into the possession of whomever is selling it,
and there is no reason to believe that anyone connected with the
sale is not acting in good faith.

The great authority on the last letters and statements of the
1916 Rising leaders was Piaras Mac Lochlainn, keeper of the
museum at Kilmainham Gaol and organiser of the 50th anniversary
commemoration in 1966.

His book Last Words, published by the Office of Public Works, is
accepted as the definitive account of these documents. According
to Last Words, the letter that is being sold today was part of a
group of documents given to Pearse's sister, senator Margaret
Pearse, in 1946.

They came from a Mrs Norton in Leeds, whose husband, a British
army sergeant, worked in the records department at Kilmainham.

It is clear that Sgt Norton took the letter with him when he left
Ireland and that his widow subsequently returned it to Margaret
Pearse. After her death in 1968, the letter was at St Enda's,
where Patrick Pearse had run his school.

More than a year before her death, in January 1967, Margaret
Pearse signed an indenture gifting St Enda's to the State. I have
a copy of the indenture. It clearly states that the gift includes
the land "with the buildings thereon and the contents thereof".
In the schedule to the indenture, it is stated that the gift
includes "the furniture, furnishings, paintings, pictures,
statues, china, books, manuscripts . . . and such like". The
reference to "manuscripts" seems to suggest that the gift
included Pearse's letters, many of which are indeed held in what
is now the Pearse Museum at St Enda's.

Assuming that Piaras Mac Lochlainn was correct in writing that
the letter to Maxwell was at St Enda's, it is hard to see how it
could be excluded from Margaret Pearse's gift to the State.

There may be a perfectly good explanation for the fact that the
letter is now on private sale, but the absence of any provenance
from the catalogue means that it is less than obvious.

It is at the very least incumbent on the State to establish the
ownership of the document. This is important, not just in this
case, but because the taste for what Cooke calls "patriotica" is
bringing very large amounts of historical material to the
marketplace. Adam's auctioneers are selling 600 items today, and
sold almost 500 in a similar auction last year.

This new market is distorting what has been, up to now, a
remarkable tradition of public donation. The manuscript of
Pearse's address to his court martial was withdrawn from sale at
Sotheby's in 1969 and presented instead to the Irish people.

The late Jackie Clarke left his extraordinary collection of
historical memorabilia to the public, and it is now being housed
in a special library in Ballina.

The instinct to give historic material to the public remains
strong, but curators find that approaches are increasingly
concerned with establishing the price, rather than the value, of
an object.

If today's sale of the Pearse letter goes ahead with no questions
asked, it would send out a signal that the public interest
matters less than a thriving market.

If, on the other hand, the State were to ask for the sale to be
postponed pending an investigation of the document's provenance,
it would be a timely reminder that history is not just a private

c 2007 The Irish Times


Department To Query Source Of Pearse's Letter To Gen Maxwell

Shane Hegarty

Tue, Apr 17, 2007

The Department of Arts, Sport and Tourism confirmed yesterday
that it was examining the provenance of a letter written by
Patrick Pearse before his execution and which is due to be
auctioned in Dublin later today.

Questions have been raised about whether the letter - one of
three written by Pearse on the eve of his death - was left to the
State by his sister, Margaret Pearse, or handed as a gift to a
private individual.

Dated May 2nd, 1916, and addressed to the commanding officer of
British forces in Ireland, Gen John Maxwell, the letter asks that
business statements, poems and money be given to Pearse's mother
and sister. With a note of receipt from Gen Maxwell, it is for
sale at the Independence auction organised by Adam's and Mealy's
auctioneers. They carry an estimate of ?50,000-?70,000.

However, former curator of the Pearse Museum and Kilmainham Gaol,
Pat Cooke, has argued that the State should examine the ownership
of the document.

Before her death in 1968, Margaret Pearse signed an indenture
leaving all the contents of St Enda's, from where Pearse had run
his school, to the State.

While there remains uncertainty as to whether this letter was
among the items kept at St Enda's at the time of her death, Mr
Cooke has asked that the anonymity surrounding its current
holders be removed in order to remove any possible doubt over who
has the right to sell it. "It's for the person who possesses that
document to tell us how it came into their possession," said Mr
Cooke, who from 1981 to 2006 was curator of the Pearse Museum, at
the former site of St Enda's in Rathfarnham, Dublin.

"Otherwise, in my opinion, the default position is that the State
has title to everything in Margaret Pearse's collection that
other people can't prove legitimate title to."

The auctioneers, however, have vigorously denied that there is
any doubt over the letter's ownership.

"We're very happy about the provenance," said Stuart Cole, a
director of Adam's. "The person who owns it is somebody who is
known to us and somebody who is of absolutely irreproachable
character. And I'm more than satisfied that he has the legitimate
right to sell it."

Confusion over the letter's ownership has arisen largely because
of a reference made to it in the book, Last Words, written by
Piaras Mac Lochlainn, keeper of the museum at Kilmainham Gaol.
Published in 1971, the book said that the document was among
several handed to Margaret Pearse in 1946 by the family of a
British soldier who had taken them to England.

It said that the documents were presumed missing, before adding
in footnotes that some of them had come to light in St Enda's
after the death of Ms Pearse, and that: "As stated above, only
one letter to Maxwell has come to light (and it does not refer to
the surrender)."

If the letter was present in St Enda's after Margaret Pearse's
death, then the State would have a claim to it.

However, while Mr Cole would not divulge the identity of the
letter's current holder, or of how it came into that person's
possession, he insisted it was freely given by Margaret Pearse.

"It was absolutely given as a gift," he said, adding that the
auctioneers always went "to great lengths" to establish the
provenance of items. The Pearse Museum yesterday declined to
comment on the matter.

A statement from the Department of Arts, Sport and Tourism
yesterday said the matter "is currently being examined by the
relevant section and cultural institution".

c 2007 The Irish Times

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