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April 23, 2007

SF Policing Board Nominees Named

News about Ireland & the Irish

BB 04/23/07 SF Policing Board Nominees Named
IN 04/23/07 City Stadium ‘Would Be Sectarian’
RT 04/23/07 Ferris 'Embarrassed' By His Actions
CO 04/23/07 Opin: Peace In Northern Ireland
IN 04/23/07 Opin: UVF Disbanding Is An Issue Solely For Loyalists
IN 04/23/07 Opin: Sectarian Attack Unacceptable
BT 04/23/07 Just One Week To Go Before Smoking Is Banned
BN 04/23/07 Dublin Teen Detained After 45th Conviction


SF Policing Board Nominees Named

Sinn Fein has announced the names of its three nominees to sit on
a newly reconstituted NI Policing Board.

Party policing spokesman Alex Maskey will be joined by Foyle
assembly member Martina Anderson and North Antrim MLA Daithi

The board will be set up after the political institutions are
restored on 8 May 2007.

Mr Maskey said the party would play "a constructive role",
providing a voice for communities.

"The Sinn Fein members on the Policing Board will provide the
voice for communities who have in the past experienced only bad
policing," he said.

"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."

Last week, Sinn Fein held their first talks with the Northern
Ireland Policing Board.

The party's leader, Gerry Adams, led a delegation to meet board
chairman, Sir Desmond Rea.

Sinn Fein members voted to support policing in Northern Ireland
for the first time in the party's history at the ard fheis, or
conference, at the end of January.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2007/04/23 10:42:04 GMT


City Stadium 'Would Be Sectarian'

By Catherine Morrison

SINN Fein is threatening to boycott the proposed multisports
stadium at the Maze unless representatives get a guarantee that
part of the former prison will be opened up to the public.

In a joint statement assembly members Paul Butler and Raymond
McCartney outlined their concerns that plans for a visitor
attraction at the Co Antrim site along the lines of Robben Island
in South Africa had fallen by the wayside.

The politicians, who sit on the Maze/Long Kesh Monitoring Group,
warned that the proposals for a conflict resolution campus and
visitors centre must be given as much importance as the


Mr Butler, the group's vice-chairman, said no sporting venue
would be built without agreement on developing the prison
buildings for tourists.

"Both the stadium and the preserved prison buildings projects are
joined at the hip if you like and must proceed simultaneously,"
he said.

He also rejected any proposals to build a stadium in Belfast out
of hand.

Mr Butler said it would be "nothing more than a sectarian
stadium, which will only cater for one section of the community".

"In all of the debate about stadiums in Belfast, the GAA has been
ignored and treated as if they do not exist," he said.

"Sinn Fein will not back any plans for a stadium in Belfast."

SDLP assembly member Alasdair McDonnell, a long-time advocate of
the Belfast plan, said: "I would have to disagree with Mr Butler.
There's a large body of opinion that believes that a stadium will
only work commercially if it's based in or near Belfast.

It emerged last month that assembly members are to get the final
say on where the new multisports stadium will be located when
devolution is restored.

Mr McDonnell said the debate would be "long and hard" and that
opinion on the best site for the stadium was divided, even within


Ferris 'Embarrassed' By His Actions

Monday, 23 April 2007 11:59

The Sinn Fein TD for Kerry North, Martin Ferris, has said he is
embarrassed, and disappointed with his actions which led to his
arrest on suspicion of drink-driving in the early hours of
yesterday morning.

In an interview on local radio, Deputy Ferris admitted that he
had had two pints and a glass of red wine in the course of
Saturday night.

He said he is awaiting results of analysis on a urine sample that
he gave to garda¡.

He said he is hoping he will be okay but if the results show that
he was over the limit he would be putting his hands up.

Deputy Ferris said he would commend the garda¡ for what they are

He said they did the right thing and if the results of the
analysis show that he was over the limit he would owe the people
of north Kerry a huge apology.

He said he expected the results of the analysis within the next


Opin: Peace In Northern Ireland



The promise of a new era of peace in Northern Ireland will be
realized on May 8, when the 108 members of the Northern Ireland
Assembly meet and elect a 12-member administration.

It is to be led by Ian Paisley, the leader of the Democratic
Unionist Party, the largest Protestant party in Northern Ireland,
as first minister, and Martin McGuinness of Sinn Fein, the
largest Catholic party, as deputy first minister.

The new government will represent another attempt at the power-
sharing between Protestant unionists and Catholic republicans
that was envisioned by the Good Friday agreement of 1998, and it
should bring to an end three decades of sectarian conflict that
has claimed more than 3,600 lives.

The first assembly convoked after the 1998 Good Friday agreement
was not able to reach agreement on authority over various
ministries and collapsed in October 2002. This time around,
however, agreement on the broad terms of the new government was
announced at a historic meeting between Paisley and Gerry Adams,
the leader of Sinn Fein, the first time the two parties had met
in direct negotiations.

They did so under pressure from the governments of Great Britain
and the Republic of Ireland, which had set March 27 as the
deadline for fulfillment of commitments made in the October 2006
St. Andrew's Agreement, which called for elections for a new
Northern Ireland Assembly that would appoint a power-sharing
administration. Sinn Fein was prepared to meet the deadline, but
Paisley, facing bitter opposition within his own party, asked for
more time. When Sinn Fein agreed to the extension, the British
government suspended its threat to impose direct rule from London
once again.

The photo of Paisley and Adams, long bitter adversaries, sitting
together in Stormont Castle to announce their agreement on a
future government was hailed by ordinary citizens on both sides
of the divide in Northern Ireland as a sign of new hope for that
troubled province. The two sides remain in fundamental
disagreement about the long-term future of Northern Ireland.
Paisley and his followers are committed to continued union with
Great Britain; Adams and his fellow republicans still seek
eventual unification with the Republic of Ireland. Both sides,
however, agree that this question should be determined at some
future date through peaceful elections.

Despite their disagreement on the long-term future of Northern
Ireland, both leaders expressed confidence that the immediate
future held the promise of peace and progress. In Paisley's
words, "After a long and difficult time in our province, I
believe that enormous opportunities lie ahead." Adams hailed the
start of a "new era of politics, a time for generosity [and] a
time to be mindful of the common good and the future of all our

Both men recognized the tragic violence that had marked three
decades of sectarian struggle. In Paisley's view, "We must not
allow our justified loathing of the horrors and tragedies of the
past to become a barrier to creating a better and more stable
future for our children. And looking to that future, we must
never forget those who have suffered during the dark period."

While his interpretation of that past is undoubtedly quite
different from Ian Paisley's, Gerry Adams sounded a similar note:
"We are very conscious of the many people who have suffered. We
owe it to them to build the best future possible." Both Paisley
and Adams face the challenge of recalcitrant hard-liners in their
respective parties. A prominent member of the D.U.P., Jim
Allister, resigned from the party in protest, suggesting that the
"lure of office" had clouded Paisley's judgment and declaring
that Sinn Fein was "not fit for government." Allister, however,
will retain his seat as a member of the European Parliament. For
his part, Gerry Adams will have to continue his efforts to
persuade the Sinn Fein rank and file to cooperate with the
largely Protestant Northern Ireland police, as the party had
voted to do in January.

Both Protestants and Catholics in Northern Ireland have watched
the dramatic transformation of economic conditions in the
republic to the south and have hoped that "the Celtic tiger"
might travel north where decades of sectarian violence have
undermined economic development. The republic has offered
millions for infrastructure projects in border areas and held out
the possibility for other joint ventures. The promise of greater
prosperity for all the citizens of Northern Ireland has at last
freed both Protestants and Catholics from the wasteful violence
of sectarian conflict.


Opin: UVF Disbanding Is An Issue Solely For Loyalists

By Roy Garland

It is reported that the UVF is planning to disband and
decommission. This is largely speculative although not entirely
based on thin air.

For a number of years the UVF has been involved in internal
consultations on its future role. These matters are sensitive and
such momentous decisions cannot be taken easily but further
developments are likely in the near future including
consultations with governments by the Progressive Unionist Party.

As I understand it, the primary aim of the UVF, as the UVF sees
it, is to secure the future for its people. Plan B was a very
unattractive option for loyalists who wanted power returned to
local hands. The UVF is not however a political party and the
impression that the PUP is the UVF engaged in politics is
misleading. UVF members support various political parties and are
not all committed to the PUP.

The relationship between the UVF and PUP is very different from
the relationship between the IRA and Sinn Fein. It would, for
example, seem incredible that IRA people might support the SDLP,
whereas it is entirely credible that some UVF people would
support the Democratic Unionists or even the UUP. Divided
political loyalties within UVF ranks does not make it easy for
UVF politicos, particularly when unhelpful pronouncements are
made by other politicians and easily conveyed to the men on the

For major change to take place people in loyalist communities
need to feel secure. Disarmament was always a non-runner in
almost every circumstance, although it could never be entirely
ruled out and can be seen as an honourable objective. When the
issue raised its head during the 1990s with reference to the IRA,
the dominant UVF view, as put to me, was that raising the issue
was a serious mistake. UVF people never believed that IRA
decommissioning could take place and they felt that demanding it
at that early stage had the potential to destabilise.

UVF sources insisted that unionists should never have been caught
up in the matter and it seemed that premature wholesale IRA
decommissioning might have grievous unintended consequences.
Republicans and indeed the whole nationalist community had also
to know that there was no external impediment to full
participation in government. The old world of unionist domination
had to be finished with and so David Trimble took significant
risks to get peace established and helped to open the door to
further progress among republicans.

However, Sinn Fein knew it would become a potential partner in
government and this made IRA decommissioning more possible but
also more urgent. Some loyalists still cannot understand how the
IRA managed to achieve it without raising a hornet's nest of
internal opposition and external dissidence. The only possible
explanation is that, whereas loyalists have little tangible to
gain from standing down and disarming, republicans faced the
prospect of what is a powerful sweetener - full access to state
power. Once the issue of IRA decommissioning was on the table it
seemed it had to be dealt with. But Ian Paisley was watching from
the sidelines and saw his chance. The DUP began undermining trust
within the wider unionist community with the help of the IRA,
which failed to deliver as much as expected. Paisley harped on
about Ulster having been sold down the Swanee River and the DUP
strengthened what it may not have intended to strengthen - a
determination among loyalists not to decommission. When IRA
decommissioning began, the DUP and a fifth column within the UUP
said it was totally naive to believe it was happening in the
absence of tangible proof. When full decommissioning took place
Ian Paisley again denied it - in the absence of photographs - but
Peter Robinson admitted to substantial decommissioning and in the
end the DUP summarily dismissed and forgot its own demand for
photographic evidence.

PUP meetings are expected with the Independent International
Commission on Decommissioning and governments to address
remaining concerns.

The UVF is determined not to offer any impediment to further
progress and although the UVF leadership has never liked Ian
Paisley's bluster, it wants a return to local control and wishes
the power-sharing parties well. However, it seems that it is
primarily for the UVF itself to assess when and how far it can go
in dismantling organisations and disposing of war materials.

There can be no equivalent sweeteners available to it that were
available to the IRA.


Opin: Sectarian Attack Unacceptable

By Staff Reporter

While enormous political progress has been made over recent
weeks, we are still a long way from a society which is at peace
with itself.

The leaders of nationalism and unionism may have reached
agreement on the return of devolution but across Northern
Ireland, blatant examples of sectarianism are still commonplace.

Bigoted attitudes remain present on both sides of the divide,
with the latest manifestation taking the form of an arson attack
at Whitewell Orange Hall in north Belfast over the weekend.

The battered appearance of the building testifies that it has
been regularly attacked down the years and a determined effort
was made to burn it down in the early hours of Saturday.

It fortunately survived on this occasion but the impact of the
incident in a flashpoint area can only be highly negative.

There is little point in engaging in prolonged claims and
counter-claims about the reasons behind past tensions in the

All community representatives need to look to the future and
concentrate on developing relationships and increasing mutual

Important work has already taken place, most of it understandably
away from the spotlight of publicity.

However, the image of an Orange Hall blackened by smoke and
splattered with paint, represents a setback.

Violence directed against symbolic targets, whether they are
associated with the Orange Order, the GAA or, as has regularly
been the case, religious congregations, is entirely unacceptable.

The police are entitled to expect that in all such cases they
will be given every possible assistance from the public as they
set out to bring the perpetrators to justice.

Sectarianism must be confronted whenever and wherever it attempts
to exert its evil influence.


Just One Week To Go Before Smoking Is Banned

[Published: Monday 23, April 2007 - 09:13]
By Claire Regan

Northern Ireland's smokers have just one week left to enjoy a
cigarette in the comfort of a pub before the habit is stubbed out
for good.

While businesses here make last-minute preparations for the new
legislation to come in force next Monday, one group of people
looking forward to reaping the benefits of smoke-free pubs,
restaurants and work-places are cystic fibrosis sufferers.

Smoky atmospheres are currently a no-go area for sufferers
because of the effects second hand smoke has on their lungs.

Cystic Fibrosis causes sufferers' lungs to become clogged with
thick secretions of mucus, containing bacteria and dead cells.
Cigarette smoke, even second hand, makes matters considerably
worse by lessening their lung capacity.

The Cystic Fibrosis Trust said that even people with mild CF lung
disease can suffer serious strain on their lungs because of
passive smoking. As a result, many people have had problems doing
simple things like joining friends for a night out in a pub.

Rosie Barnes, chief executive of the Cystic Fibrosis Trust, said:
"We are delighted smoking has been banned in all enclosed public
places in Northern Ireland.

"There are over 300 people in Northern Ireland with CF who will
now be able to go out and socialise in pubs and restaurants
without exacerbating their condition."

Meanwhile, district councils who are responsible for enforcing
the new laws, have issued advice to firms making last-minute

The councils' Smoke-Free Environment Team advises:

communication with customers and staff, advising them of the
areas and vehicles which will be smoke-free

that you have the correct signage displayed at all your public
entrances of smoke-free premises and vehicles

that you have provided facilities for disposing of cigarette ends
in your smoking areas/shelters

you have procedures in place to deal with someone lighting up.

Roisin McDaid, manager of the smoke-free team, said: "It is
important that businesses are fully prepared to comply with the
new law and that they use this week to make final preparations
such as putting up their signs and informing their customers and
staff on where they can and can't smoke."

More guidance is available for businesses on

c Belfast Telegraph


Teen Detained After 45th Conviction

23/04/2007 - 11:56:58

A teenager, who took part in a spree of car break-ins, has been
detained for two years after attaining his 45th criminal

The 17-year-old south Dublin boy had broken into 17 cars, at
underground car parks in Kilmainham and Inchicore, Judge David
Anderson heard at the Dublin Children's Court.

The boy, a father-to-be, pleaded guilty today morning to 17
criminal damage charges, four larceny charges and five theft

However Judge Anderson noted that the teen's guilty plea came
just before his hearing and he had necessitated 17 injured
parties coming to court needlessly.

"It is normal when someone pleads guilty to give them credit for
it. In this case I am struck by the enormous number of witnesses
who were here in court. He had made cautioned statements yet we
have eight dates in court before he chooses to plead guilty and
brings those people here," he said.

"For that there is no credit for pleading guilty at this late
stage," he added as he imposed two one-year sentences, which are
to run consecutively.

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