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News about the Irish & Irish American culture, music, news, sports. This is hosted by the Irish Aires radio show on KPFT-FM 90.1 in Houston, Texas (a Pacifica community radio station)
April 04, 2007
Paisley & Bertie In Handshake
Ian Paisley and Bertie Ahern shook hands
in public for the first time
News about Ireland & the Irish
BB 04/04/07 Paisley And Irish PM In Handshake
BB 04/04/07 City Talks On Moving Loyalism On
BT 04/04/07 Report Raises Concerns Over Irish Democracy
Paisley And Irish PM In Handshake
The first public handshake between DUP leader Ian Paisley and
Irish premier Bertie Ahern has taken place ahead of talks between
the two in Dublin.
They are likely to discuss political developments including the
restoration of the NI Assembly on 8 May.
Mr Paisley, accompanied by son Ian Paisley Jr, said: "Good
morning. I better shake hands with this man and give you a firm
The DUP may also raise the issue of a financial package for the
Meanwhile, Irish foreign minister Dermot Ahern has said the
Northern Ireland parties have "grasped the opportunity of a
lifetime" by agreeing to share power.
However, he said much work remained to be done.
Mr Paisley and Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams announced at their
first joint news conference last week that they agreed 8 May as
the date to start power-sharing at Stormont.
Dermot Ahern said last week's meeting "saw a shift in the
political paradigm of Northern Ireland".
"The parties grasped the opportunity of a lifetime and committed
themselves to support and participate fully in a partnership
government and in all of the institutions of the Good Friday
"Restoration of the power-sharing institutions on 8 May, as now
agreed by the parties, will mark major progress, but it will not
be the end of the road."
Mr Ahern said it would lead to the creation of a society where
"questions of identity, culture and tradition are no longer
identified with discord and division, but are seen through a
prism of tolerance, generosity and mutual respect".
Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2007/04/04 11:12:26 GMT
c BBC MMVII
City Talks On Moving Loyalism On
The UDA's political representatives and PSNI chief constable Sir
Hugh Orde are to attend a conference in Belfast.
More than 100 delegates are to attend the day-long event on how
to move loyalist paramilitaries away from violence and crime.
It will be chaired by former Ulster Bank chairman Sir George
It is part of a government-funded plan to move the UDA away from
paramilitary activity and crime. The four main churches will also
Under discussion will be problems within loyalist communities and
how best to spend the œ1.2m the government has given to a project
to transform the UDA.
Sir George Quigley said loyalists were genuine in their attempts
to quit crime.
He said: "They are determined to do what they can from within the
loyalist community to transform that situation and help create a
much more stable and peaceful society.
"All of us have a stake in the success of what's being attempted.
"We have got to buckle down and see how we can help the
constructive elements within that society to move forward."
BBC Northern Ireland's home affairs correspondent Vincent Kearney
said it was the first time loyalists have taken part in such an
"The organisers say it is a sign that they are serious about
wanting to change," he said.
"The fact that senior civil servants will also attend signals
that they also believed they are genuine - but there are many
sceptics who have yet to be convinced."
Barney McGaughey - chairman of west Belfast community
organisation Farset - said the workshop was a serious attempt by
those within loyalism to engage and improve the lives of the
people living within their communities.
The UPRG's Frankie Gallagher said he believed work being done in
the communities was making a difference.
"The work that we have been doing has added to the political
climate that we are enjoying today," he said.
"Our influence at the interface areas, where we have managed to
keep tensions calm, has helped play its part in the process.
"We have been working hard on the ground over the years to free
our communities from criminality and there has been some success.
"But there are still challenges that need to be addressed and
today's workshop is about facing these challenges head on and
working to build a new future not just for loyalist communities,
but as part of a new vision for Northern Ireland."
Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2007/04/04 08:03:19 GMT
c BBC MMVII
Report Raises Concerns With Aspects Of Irish Democracy
04/04/2007 - 11:55:45
A leading social change think tank has raised a number of
concerns with aspects of the democratic system in Ireland.
In a report today, the think tank says Ireland has a strong
commitment to democratic values and citizens are well protected
by the law.
However, it also says the country has high levels of social
inequality, too few women in politics and weak oversight of
The think tank report says there is a serious gap between
Government policies, the resources to implement them and the data
to evaluate whether they're working.
It also says there is no way of knowing the extent of State
corruption or how public appointments are made.
Elsewhere, the report's authors are also criticising the use of
questionable crime statistics in the development of Government
They say official figures show that serious crime is falling, but
credible sources flatly contradict this.
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