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May 19, 2007

DUP To Veto Irish Language Act

News about Ireland & the Irish

BB 05/19/07 DUP To Veto Irish Language Act In The North
BT 05/18/07 Sinn Fein Makes Inroads South Of Border
BN 05/18/07 No Clear Winner Of TV Debate
BT 05/18/07 ‘In The Mainstream At Last’,Says Tory New Boy Trimble
BB 05/19/07 Three Held In Serious Crime Probe
BN 05/19/07 Sinn Féin Accused As Republican Is Arrested
BB 05/18/07 'Unholy Row' Over First Communion
BB 05/19/07 Two Years For Elf Lingerie Thief
BB 05/19/07 NI Woman Reaches Everest Summit


DUP To Veto Irish Language Act In The North

19/05/2007 - 09:58:30

The DUP will veto an Irish Language Act for the North, one of its
senior members said today.

Gregory Campbell, MLA for East Derry and one of the Ian Paisley's
closest associates, said there needed to be more money for the
development of Ulster-Scots.

An act is a key demand from Irish language advocates who feel it
deserves the protection granted to other minority languages
across Europe.

Edwin Poots (DUP, Lagan Valley) has to decide on any future
legislation as culture minister once a consultation exercise is
complete this summer, but Mr Campbell said his position was

"It is a no-brainer. It is my view that the party will not
introduce or allow this," he said.

"It is more about cultural equality rather than the introduction
of an Irish Language Act. As things stand at the minute, Ulster-
Scots is under-funded in comparison to the Irish language. It is
about making up (the funding gap) for Ulster-Scots rather than
extending the Irish language."

Draft plans issued by the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure
in March envisage the appointment of an Irish language
commissioner and the establishment of Irish language schemes for
public bodies.

Irish lobby groups like Pobal have been calling for the changes
to correct the North's position as the only region of the British
Isles without legal protection for the language.

Mr Poots has said he will not make any decision until the second
consultation period closes.

However, Mr Campbell said the matter would require cross-
community consent to be passed by the Assembly and unionists
would clearly oppose it.

"If there's a lobby for Ulster-Scots, which I know there is, it
is difficult to argue against that if the Irish language is
getting so much more money," he added.

Other changes in consultation include the use of Irish in court
proceedings and having official documents printed in Irish.

A total of four options are being considered for the protection
and promotion of the language in the North.

Provision for Irish was made in last autumn's St Andrew's
Agreement which paved the way for the return of power sharing.

Belfast City Council has already unveiled plans for a Gaeltacht
Quarter in the west of the city capitalising on extensive use of
Irish in the area.


Sinn Fein Makes Inroads South Of Border

[Published: Friday 18, May 2007 - 10:59]
By David McKittrick

Sinn Fein is poised to double its representation in the Irish
parliament in the current general election, establishing the
party as a significant player in the Republic of Ireland.

Most observers believe it will increase its present tally from
five to ten seats in the Irish parliament, which has 166 seats in

Sinn Fein has already declared its readiness to talk to the
Republic's larger parties about the possibility of coalition
after the election. There is, however, strong opposition to any
such move across the political spectrum.

This means Sinn Fein would only be included in a coalition, or
even included in some informal deal, if some major party was
desperate and could find no other suitable partners.

At the moment, the polls indicate that when voting takes place
next Thursday the result will be inconclusive. A hung parliament
would trigger a round of inter-party negotiations as the major
players seek to put together a majority.

Depending on the arithmetic, Sinn Fein could find itself either
at the centre of negotiations or left frustrated on the

The dream would be to gain entry to a Dublin government. Earlier
this month Sinn Fein became part of the power-sharing
administration in Belfast, with its chief negotiator, Martin
McGuinness, taking the office of Deputy First Minister.

Most Irish politicians say, however, that Sinn Fein's association
with the IRA is too recent for it to be treated as anything like
a conventional political party. The political system in general
dreads a situation where Sinn Fein could hold the balance of
power in the next parliament.

Most of the other parties would not even entertain an arrangement
with Sinn Fein, but there is a widespread belief that, despite
public declarations to the contrary, the Fianna Fail party might
think of it if there was no other choice.

Bertie Ahern, the outgoing prime minister, and other party
figures have ruled out a coalition or other type of pact with
Sinn Fein. The public tends, however, to take a sceptical view of
such statements, which have in the past been subject to hasty
post-election reappraisals.

In an opinion poll earlier this year, when voters were asked
whether they believed Mr Ahern when he said he would not be
dependent on Sinn Fein votes, 31 per cent said they believed him
but 46 per cent said they did not.

In the election campaign, Sinn Fein has made several adjustments
to policies which might have scared off voters, ditching plans
for increased taxation of the well-off and a hike in corporation

The party's left-wing approach has nonetheless been denounced
during the campaign by the right-wing Progressive Democrats as "a
decline in the student politics of the 1960s - Marxist dream

Asked about the declarations that other parties would not go into
power with Sinn Fein, Gerry Adams, the party president retorted:
"Ian Paisley was saying the same thing." Insisting his party was
"ready for government" in Dublin, he added: "We are not
interested in being in government for the sake of it. We don't
want to see Sinn Fein bums on ministerial seats just for the

The possibility of a post-election deal was raised by one leading
bookmaker, Ivan Yates, who was once a member of the Irish
parliament. He said: "Nobody has mentioned the elephant in the
sitting-room, but whatever way you cut it Sinn Fein are going to
hold the balance of power.

"I think people who have been slow to shake Gerry Adams's hand
before the election will be giving him a bearhug after the

c Belfast Telegraph


No Clear Winner Of TV Debate

18/05/2007 - 07:27:50

The two candidates to become Taoiseach failed to land a knockout
blow during their only televised debate of the election campaign
last night.

Bertie Ahern and Enda Kenny squared off for 80 minutes at RT
studios in Montrose last night, setting out their stalls on a
range of issues from health and the economy to crime and quality
of life.

Mr Ahern used the occasion to play up his experience as a
minister and Taoiseach and also handled himself well during
questions about his personal finances in the 90s.

Mr Kenny, meanwhile, pointed to the Government's broken promises
and vowed that he would not see re-election if he failed to
implement even one of his party's key pledges.

Most pundits this morning say Mr Ahern narrowly won the debate,
but failed to land a knockout blow on his opponent.


I'm In The Mainstream At Last, Says Tory New Boy Trimble

[Published: Friday 18, May 2007 - 12:25]

By Sam Lister

Lord Trimble says he regrets not pushing the UUP closer to the
Tories when he was its leader.

But he said his new allegiance has allowed him to become fully
involved in mainstream politics.

The former First Minister also claimed the reason he lost his
seat in the last election was because voters had "failed to
understand" what he was doing.

He said: "I had always wanted to see the UUP and Conservatives
developing a new relationship.

"It was something I explored while party leader and in retrospect
I'm sorry I didn't pursue that more vigorously.

"I resigned as party leader nearly two years ago and it's
slightly awkward to be politically active in Northern Ireland
when there is a new party leader, especially with the small
political class that we have. That's part of the reason why I
decided not to seek re-election to the Assembly.

"Now that I am in the Lords and the situation is becoming settled
along the lines that we negotiated in 1998, then that part of my
political life has come to a successful conclusion.

"I am free now to move on and that is how I looked at joining the
Conservative Party.

"I am hoping to become more fully involved in politics here. It
is not a matter of ambition for office, it is a matter of finally
being in the mainstream of British politics."

The former MP for Upper Bann joined the Conservatives last month.

c Belfast Telegraph


Three Held In Serious Crime Probe

The police in Northern Ireland are now questioning three people
as part of an investigation into serious crime.

Prominent republican Brian Arthurs was arrested after searches in
the Armagh and Dungannon areas on Friday. Two others were
arrested on Saturday.

Sinn Fein's Alex Maskey accused the police of being "heavy
handed" over Mr Arthurs's arrest.

However, the police said the searches were necessary and carried
out in a "proportionate and appropriate manner".

"Anyone who has a complaint about the actions of police should
contact the offices of the Police Ombudsman," the PSNI said in a

"We do not comment on named individuals and we do not comment on,
or confirm, the identity of those arrested by police."

Sinn Fein's Alex Maskey said the PSNI operation was
"unacceptable" and said he had complained to the British
government about the nature of the operation.

Mr Arthurs is being questioned at the serious crime unit in

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2007/05/19 11:08:11 GMT


Sinn Fein Accused As Republican Is Arrested

19/05/2007 - 15:24:48

Sinn Fein critic Jim Allister has accused the party of reneging
on its support of policing after it criticised the arrest of a

MEP Mr Allister, who defected from Ian Paisley's DUP in protest
at power sharing, said Sinn Fein were retreating to their old
ways and challenging the rule of law after yesterday's arrest of
Brian Arthurs at his home in Dungannon, Co. Tyrone.

Detectives made two further arrests in Armagh this morning as
part of their probe into serious organised crime.

He said: "I am saying that Ian Paisley told us that Sinn Fein had
signed up for policing, had sworn allegiance to the police, and
yet here we have them, true to form, complaining when the police
do what they should be doing and conduct a lawful arrest," he

"It seems that nothing has changed and that is a test for Sinn
Fein and the DUP."

He accused Republicans of cherry picking support for the police
when it suited them and asked what the DUP were going to do about
the "non-compliance" of Sinn Fein in signing up to the new

And Policing Board member, Alex Maskey from Sinn Fein, last night
said police had been over-zealous in sending six vehicles to the
home of Mr Arthurs.

Police have said the operation was proportionate and designed to
investigate serious organised crime.


'Unholy Row' Over First Communion

By Marie-Louise Connolly
BBC Radio Ulster

An unholy row has broken out among some families living in south
Belfast over arrangements concerning First Holy Communion.

In some parishes, the traditional Mass for children, normally
held on a Saturday, has been changed to being celebrated
alongside the weekly Sunday mass.

Some families are complaining that the focus has moved away from
the children and it is no longer being regarded as a special day
in the Catholic calendar.

However, Father John Forsyth from Christ the Redeemer parish in
Poleglass, said the move was to give children "a far deeper
meaning and appreciation of the Eucharist".

"It's to try and get a far greater appreciation of the Eucharist
and integrate the Eucharist more into the regular parish Sunday
Mass," he said.

"Sunday is the regular day in Catholic churches for Mass."

Traditionally, First Holy Communion is held on a Saturday in May
and takes place during a special Mass organised by the school and
the parish church.

But recently, in a growing number of parishes, including St
Anne's in Dunmurry and St Michael's and Holy Rosary on the Ormeau
Road - children have been receiving the sacrament - during the
weekly Sunday morning Mass sitting alongside other parishioners.

Last Sunday, in The Good Shepherd parish in south Belfast,
children from St Michael's primary school on the Ravenhill Road
joined with pupils from Holy Rosary to celebrate Holy Communion.

Normally, the pupils play a significant role in the Mass - taking
part in the readings, bidding prayers, the choir and entrance

'Totally unsuitable'

According to Seamus Bradley, whose grandson is a pupil at St
Michael's, the Mass was anything but special.

"It was shambolic. In my experience, children and their parents
sit together. Instead, we were all separated," he says.

"My son-in-law couldn't even sit beside his son and wife. The
children did not participate in the Mass, they did not do the
readings, bidding prayers - they didn't even participate in the

Mr Bradley also complained that the Homily was totally unsuitable
for children, particularly those making their First Holy

The school principal, Dominic Donnelly, says he can't imagine it
any other way

"The Homily was on abortion. It was a mish-mash of history, and
really something of no interest to children."

Mr Bradley says he is curious as to why the Catholic Church
appears to be moving away from the traditional day without any
explanation for families.

However, Fr Forsythe said the homily was about the story of
Fatima when the Virgin Mary was said to have appeared to three
children in Portugal.

He said the word abortion was mentioned just once during the

Meanwhile in Carryduff, pupils at St Joseph's Primary School made
their First Holy Communion last Saturday. The school principal,
Dominic Donnelly, says he can't imagine it any other way.

"First Holy Communion is one of the seven sacraments and marks an
important landmark in the child's religious development.

"On a Saturday, the focus remains on children, on a Sunday it
wouldn't be the same and the children would not have the same
role to play.

"It would also be difficult to accommodate all the family and
extended family who often want to enjoy this very special family

Many of the families I spoke to were too afraid to be

But many said they felt they hadn't been consulted and in some
respects felt pushed aside by the Catholic Church.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2007/05/18 05:56:58 GMT


Two Years For Elf Lingerie Thief

A man who claimed he thought he was a female elf when he stole
underwear from a Belfast shop at knifepoint, has been jailed for
two years.

Robert Boyd, 45, from Broadlands in Carrickfergus, held up staff
at the Orchid shop on the Lisburn Road disguised in a wig, hat
and glasses.

He told the court he had been in a role-playing game at the time
and may have blurred reality and fantasy.

Boyd stole bras, knickers, suspender belts and stockings worth

Before sentence was passed a lawyer for Boyd revealed that since
the incident he had lost his job at Queen's University Belfast
and both he and his wife had been subjected to ridicule.

The lawyer said he had been suffering from depression when the
robbery happened in December 2005.

'Serious offence'

However, Belfast Crown Court Judge Patrick Lynch QC told the 45-
year-old that while he may have "convoluted your character with
that of Buho the elf" at the end of the day "I have to get back
to the basics - it's a very serious offence with very serious

The judge added: "The courts will not tolerate (armed robbery)
and will clamp down upon it - you must take responsibility for
your own actions."

He also said the female member of staff, who was on her own in
the shop at the time of the robbery, had been terrified.

"She said: 'He was standing there with a knife like a kitchen
knife, standing there holding the knife towards me
horizontally'," the judge said.

"She was not actually physically harmed by virtue of what
occurred. But I have read the statement from the injured party
and it's clear she has suffered mentally."

Boyd was ordered to serve a further two years on probation after
his prison sentence.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2007/05/18 12:33:35 GMT


NI Woman Reaches Everest Summit

A County Londonderry dentist has become the first Northern
Ireland woman to conquer Mount Everest - four years after
abandoning a previous attempt.

Hannah Shields, 41, was part of a team which made it to the top
of the world's highest peak on Friday morning.

In May 2003, she narrowly failed to reach the summit due to
exhaustion and atrocious weather conditions.

Friend and fellow runner Dermot Connolly said the Kilrea woman
was exhausted but ecstatic.

"It was a tremendous achievement. She thought long and hard about
going back.

"She was so near yet so far last time, it was a big decision to
go back but the determination was there."

Exactly four years ago Ms Shields was forced to abandon her
attempt less than 300 ft from the summit.

She had to return to camp suffering from exhaustion and the onset
of frostbite. However, she vowed to try again at some point.

She set off for her latest expedition in April as part of the
"Seven Summits" team of international climbers.

Her attempt to scale the world's most unforgiving peak was
expected to take about two months - but she managed the challenge
in about six weeks.

She scaled Everest by the arduous north face shortly before
midnight on Friday and has returned safely back down the most
dangerous part of the mountain.

The 23-strong expedition team, led by Russian Alex Abramov and
including John Delaney from County Laois, comprised of 17
climbers, four guides and a doctor.

'Well prepared'

Her victory has delighted her coach at City of Derry Athletics
Club, Noel McMonagle.

"We are over the moon," he said.

"We couldn't be more happy for Hannah because Hannah is one of
these people that takes these challenges on and she follows
everything through.

"Every bit of preparation went into Everest and to get so close
the last time... And then come back now this time it shows, the
resilience that Hannah has."

Ms Shields is no stranger to challenges and has been a member of
the local Sparta athletics club for about seven years.

She represented Northern Ireland in international cross-country
running as well as having track and cross-country championships
to her credit.

In May 2003, Terence "Banjo" Bannon, 35, from Newry, County Down,
reached the top of the Everest.

It was the first time a team from Northern Ireland had reached
the summit.

Dawson Stelfox from Lisburn became the first man from the
province to make it to the top in 1993.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2007/05/19 15:43:00 GMT

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