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May 01, 2007

No McGuinness Handshake - Paisley

News about Ireland & the Irish

BB 05/01/07 No McGuinness Handshake - Paisley
BB 05/01/07 EC President Confirms NI Funding
BT 05/01/07 Republican Should Be Lord Mayor: UUP Man
BT 05/01/07 Council Member To Quit DUP For The UUP
IT 05/01/07 UVF Urged To Cease Criminality
BT 05/01/07 Adams Hits The Road For South's Poll
BN 05/01/07 Maze Escapee Appeals Charges In Kidnapping Case
BT 05/01/07 Shock As Bull Kills Farmer
BN 05/01/07 Addict Shot Himself In Foot After Brinks Robbery
BT 05/01/07 The Heat Is On ?


No McGuinness Handshake - Paisley

DUP leader Ian Paisley has said he will not shake hands with Sinn
Fein's Martin McGuinness when they are sworn in as first and
deputy first ministers.

Speaking on Tuesday night's Spotlight programme on BBC NI, Mr
Paisley says the formality is not needed.

The pair will take up their new roles on 8 May when the new
power-sharing executive is formed

On Tuesday, they will jointly meet the head of the European
Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, at Stormont.

Speaking about the handshake, Mr Paisley said: "It's not
handshaking we want, it's decision-making we want.

"It's not acting like two actors to impress people, the people
are looking for results.

"We could shake hands 24 hours a day, but if we don't get this
province of ours into a ship-shape economic condition what good's
the handshaking?"


The first and deputy first ministers' talks with EC president Mr
Barroso is expected to underpin EU support for power-sharing.

Earlier this month, Mr Paisley and Mr McGuinness issued a joint
request that the NI Secretary vacate his offices at Stormont.

They later issued their first joint statement - a message of
sympathy to those affected by the Virginia Tech massacre.

Mr Barroso will also hold talks with Secretary of State Peter

Politicians are expected to lobby Mr Barroso for continued
financial support for the peace process and to discuss other
forms of co-operation.

Devolution is due to return to Northern Ireland on 8 May
following an agreement by the DUP and Sinn Fein.

The president of the European Commission will visit Northern
Ireland on his way back from the United States where he will be
attending a European/US summit.

It is understood Mr Barroso's commission is on the verge of
approving a series of new programmes which should benefit
Northern Ireland and areas south of the border.

The various funds will amount to nearly œ600m over the next six
years - roughly half the amount spent in Northern Ireland over
the past six years.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2007/05/01 06:23:36 GMT


EC President Confirms NI Funding

A new taskforce to examine how Northern Ireland can maximise its
share of European funding is to be established, EC President
Manuel Barroso has said.

Mr Barroso made the announcement after meeting Northern Ireland's
first and deputy first ministers.

He said a new study would be held into NI's economy to examine
how entrepreneurship could be encouraged.

He also confirmed that about œ600m of European funds would be
devoted to NI and the Republic's border counties.

The money will be given over the next six years.

Mr Barroso said: "We will set up a taskforce in the commission to
help finalise the programming of European Union funds so Northern
Ireland can benefit from the experience across the EU in creating
growth, jobs, innovation and opportunity."

The meeting with the European Commission president was Ian
Paisley and Martin McGuinness's first joint public engagement.

During the press conference, Mr Paisley told Mr Barroso that they
were highly privileged to have him visit the incoming
administration in person.

Financial help

"We need the help of the European Union. There are two areas
where we need help. We need financial help but also the aid of
the experts," he said.

"You have the finances and the experts. We have called in the
right doctor not just to diagnose our sickness but to prescribe
the right tablets."

Mr McGuinness described the European Commission leader's visit as
a "massive stamp" of approval.

"We are delighted that President Barroso is with us and he has
made a little bit of history in that he is the first president of
the European Commission to actually come into this building," the
Sinn Fein MP said.

"He does so at a time of great hope for all of our people and I
think it is a hope shared by many in Europe and in far distant

Earlier, Mr Barroso met Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain and
Irish Foreign Minister Dermot Ahern.

Political development

Mr Barroso visited Northern Ireland on his way back from an EU-US
summit in the United States.

This visit is being seen as the European Union's way of
signalling its backing for the new executive.

Speaking after he met with Mr Hain and Mr Ahern, Mr Barroso said
the EU would continue to be supportive of political development
in Northern Ireland.

"I think there is a lot of symbolism in this because the message
I want to bring to the citizens of Northern Ireland is that
precisely we are following with great admiration, great respect
very important political transformations here.

"This message I bring on behalf of the European Commission and I
can say on behalf of the European Union," he said.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2007/05/01 15:40:54 GMT


Republican Should Be Lord Mayor: UUP Man

[Published: Tuesday 1, May 2007 - 14:42]
By Victoria O'Hara

A Republican should be elected as the next Lord Mayor of Belfast,
a unionist councillor has recommended.

The groundbreaking proposal was made by Ulster Unionist
councillor Davy Browne, who said the post should be rotated
between Sinn Fein and the UUP over the next two years.

"The DUP and SDLP have both held the mayoral seat during the
first two years of the current term of office," he told the
Belfast Telegraph.

"The only two parties that haven't held these positions recently
are the Ulster Unionist Party and Sinn Fein.

"I think they should hold the posts in the last two years of this
council term.

"So, for example, Sinn Fein would hold the post of Lord Mayor and
the Ulster Unionist Party Deputy - then switch the following

Mr Browne said electing a republican Lord Mayor shouldn't be an
issue, given the example of the DUP and Sinn Fein working
together at Stormont.

"With the progression at Stormont there shouldn't be anyone who
could complain about it," he said.

Mr Browne added: "The position of Lord Mayor of Belfast would be
insignificant in comparison with the First and Deputy First

"If the DUP are prepared to share those positions with Sinn Fein,
then sharing the Lord Mayor and Deputy Lord Mayor should not be a

Alex Maskey was the first Sinn Fein councillor elected Lord Mayor
in June 2002.

Sinn Fein group leader Paul Maskey described the move as

Mr Maskey added that the election of mayor had been sectarianised
for too long and backed Mr Browne's attempts to end "old bear-pit
politics" .

c Belfast Telegraph


Council Member To Quit DUP For The UUP

[Published: Tuesday 1, May 2007 - 14:39]
By Victoria O'Hara

A Belfast DUP councillor is expected to quit tonight and join the
Ulster Unionist Party group after citing unhappiness with the
direction of the party.

Elaine McMillen, who represents the Court area of north Belfast,
will officially leave the DUP during the monthly council meeting.

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph today, Mrs McMillen confirmed
that she will be resigning from the DUP during her second term as
a Belfast city councillor.

"I'll be joining the Ulster Unionist Party Group, but I will be
independent," she said.

Mrs McMillen, who refused to be drawn on the exact reasons for
leaving the DUP, said: "It's just the way the party is going, I'm
not happy".

A UUP source said Mrs McMillen, a mother of two, has been meeting
with unionist councillors, including the UUP leader Sir Reg Empey
to discuss the move.

"I think the main reason is because the way the party was going
to work with Sinn Fein," the source added.

It is understood a letter has already gone to the chief executive
of the council to inform them of her move.

Mrs McMillen will be the eighth DUP councillor to leave the

Banbridge councillor Stephen Herron resigned from the DUP on
April 3.

Five councillors in Ian Paisley's Ballymena stronghold have now
walked away from the party, including the town's Mayor, James
Alexander, over concern with the DUP going into government with
Sinn Fein.

DUP MEP Jim Allister also resigned earlier this year.

c Belfast Telegraph


UVF Urged To Cease Criminality

Tue, May 01, 2007

The loyalist Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) has been called on to
cease all criminal and paramilitary activity when it makes a
statement on the future of the loyalist paramilitary group.

After meeting Northern Secretary Peter Hain and PSNI Assistant
Chief Constable Peter Sheridan at Stormont to discuss recent
threats to individuals from the UVF, the SDLP's Patsy McGlone
insisted the paramilitary group needed to deliver an end to drug
dealing, extortion, targeting and violence.

The Mid Ulster Assembly member, who joined SDLP deputy leader Dr
Alasdair McDonnell, South Antrim MLA Thomas Burns and Magherafelt
councillor Kate Lagan at the meeting, said they had also sought
assurances about the safety of the hundreds of people who had
been warned recently their security was under threat from the

"Any statement emanating from the UVF must reflect the need to
move away from paramilitarism and crime for good," he said.

"It needs to bring to a close all activities from drug dealing to
extortion to threats or violence.

"Mr Hain was very sympathetic today towards those who have
received threats and assured us he was at one with us in wanting
to see a complete end to such activities from loyalist

In recent days the Progressive Unionist Party (PUP), which is
linked to UVF, has met Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, PSNI Chief
Constable Sir Hugh Orde and Mr Hain amid mounting speculation
that the paramilitary group will make a statement on its future.

Northern Ireland's ceasefire watchdog, the Independent Monitoring
Commission (IMC), last week urged the UVF and the other main
loyalist group, the Ulster Defence Association (UDA), to respond
to the changing political circumstances in Northern Ireland by
following the Provisional IRA's lead in winding down their
criminal and paramilitary activities.

Over 100 people were warned about their safety recently by the
UVF and a man was charged by police following the seizure of
documents allegedly relating to the group.

c 2007


Adams Hits The Road For South's Poll

[Published: Tuesday 1, May 2007 - 14:36]
By Noel McAdam

Sinn Fein hit the ground running today as the Irish General
Election campaign shifted into first gear.

Party President Gerry Adams was already out on the hustings
across three constituencies in the north west.

And the party announced plans for "leadership visits" to 27 areas
in the next six days.

It comes as a senior party figure predicted it would be in a
position of power in the new Dail, with horse-trading on a new
coaliton expected in the weeks after the May 24 poll.

Dublin South West TD Sean Crowe said: "We see ourselves in a
position of power in the next Dail, whether we are in government
or not."

Speaking at the launch of the party's education proposals, he
dimissed arguments that Sinn Fein would be marginalised
regardless of how many seats it wins because of the reluctance of
the two main parties, Fianna Fail and Fine Gael, to enter into
coalition with it.

Insisting Sinn Fein would be the "big story" of the election, Mr
Crowe said: "Whether Bertie Ahern or Enda Kenny want to be part
of that story is a matter for them, but it is mainly a matter for
the electorate."

Mr Adams, meanwhile, began the party's "others promise - we
deliver" message today by visiting Donegal South West and North
East and Sligo/North Leitrim.

And in Dublin, party chairperson Mary Lou McDonald announced
details of the tour by the party's leadership which will see
visits to 27 constituencies over the next six days.

c Belfast Telegraph


Maze Escapee Appeals Charges In Kidnapping Case

01/05/2007 - 14:08:52

Maze prison escapee Brendan 'Bik' McFarlane has lodged an appeal
to the Supreme Court in a bid to prevent his trial going ahead on
charges connected with the 1983 kidnapping of supermarket boss
Don Tidey.

The Special Criminal Court was told today that papers have been
lodged in an appeal to the Supreme Court against a High Court
ruling last year that his trial should go ahead.

Mc Farlane's counsel Mr Peter Maguire BL told the court that
papers have been lodged by his legal team and they are now
awaiting a response and a date for a hearing by the Supreme

McFarlane (aged 55), of Jamaica St in Belfast was charged in
January 1998 with falsely imprisoning Mr Don Tidey in 1983 and
with possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life at
Derrada Wood, Ballinamore, Co Leitrim in November and December

Mc Farlane had been in prison at the Maze since 1975 for his part
in the IRA bombing of a bar on the Shankill Road in which five
people were killed.

He was the OC (officer commanding) of the Provisional IRA
prisoners at the Maze prison at the time of the hunger strike in
1981 and escaped in the mass break out by 38 prisoners from the
jail in September, 1983.

He was later arrested in Amsterdam in January, 1986, extradited
to the North and released on parole from the Maze in 1997.

He was arrested by garda¡ outside Dundalk in January , 1998.

Supermarket executive Don Tidey was kidnapped by an IRA gang in
1983 and rescued after 23 days in captivity. A trainee garda,
Gary Sheehan, and a member of the Defence Forces, Private Patrick
Kelly, were killed in a shoot out with the kidnap gang when Mr
Tidey was rescued.

The High Court made an order in July 2003 preventing the DPP from
proceeding with Mc Farlane's trial at the non-jury Special
Criminal Court because certain exhibits from which fingerprint
evidence was taken had gone missing and were not available for
inspection by Mc Farlane or his lawyers.

The Supreme Court was told that the case against Mc Farlane
consists of fingerprint evidence and certain alleged admissions
made by him to garda¡ after his arrest.

At the High Court last month Mr Justice John Quirke dismissed
McFarlane's claim and said that any increased levels of stress,
anxiety and inconvenience which McFarlane complains of as a
result of delays cannot outweigh the community's very
considerable interest in having the offences of the gravity such
as these prosecuted to a conclusion.

McFarlane had contended he could not receive a fair trial because
of "systemic" delays following upon the institution of the
judicial review proceedings initiated by him in 1999.

In the High Court in July 2003, in his judgment upholding
McFarlane's challenge to his prosecution, Mr Justice Aindrias
O'Caoimh made an order prohibiting the prosecution of McFarlane
after hearing that a milk carton, a plastic container and a
cooking pot found at a hideout where Mr Tidey was imprisoned and
on which fingerprints were recovered had gone missing from Garda

However, on April 15th last year the Supreme Court overturned
that decision.

While criticising the fact that important evidence in the case
had been lost by garda¡, the majority of the Supreme Court said
the fingerprints had been photographed and the photos of the
impressions were still available.

The court also said there was a forensic examination of the
missing items prior to their appearance and the results of the
forensic analysis had been preserved.


Shock As Bull Kills Farmer

[Published: Tuesday 1, May 2007 - 08:43]
By Emily Moulton

Tributes have poured in for Sinn Fein councillor Michael
McAnespie who was gored to death by a bull in Co Tyrone

The father-of-nine, who was a member of Omagh District Council
for the past 10 years and chairman last year, died after he was
attacked by the out-of-control animal on his farm in Loughmacrory
around 2.20pm.

Police had to be called to the farm to try and contain the bull,
but it was later shot.

Mr McAnespie's sudden death sent shockwaves throughout the close-
knit rural community. The 63-year-old was a passionate spokesman
on agricultural issues and a staunch supporter for retaining
vital acute services at the Tyrone County Hospital. He also
campaigned for improved ambulance services in the district.

Leading the tributes was Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams who
expressed his " deep shock and sadness" at learning of his party
colleague's tragic death.

He described the farmer as an exceptionally dedicated man who
represented all the people of Omagh.

"Michael was an extremely hard-working councillor who ably and
conscientiously represented the people of Omagh. His loss will be
deeply felt by all who knew him but especially by his family and
friends," Mr Adams said.

Omagh Council chairman Sean Begley said his death was a huge loss
to the area.

"Councillor McAnespie was known for his integrity and diligence
in representing his constituents and in carrying out his duties
as a councillor and was held in high esteem by all his fellow
councillors," he said.

Clarke Black, chief executive of the Ulster Farmer's Union, also
offered his condolences to the McAnespie family, saying tragic
accidents involving animals such as bulls were not uncommon.

"Unfortunately animals can be unpredictable at times.

"Accidents such as these do happen now and again and we would
encourage farmers to take all the necessary precautions when
working with animals."

In the past few years, two Ulster farmers have died at the mercy
of a rampaging bull.

Newtownbutler farmer Wesley Forster (73) died after he was flung
into the air and stamped on as the animal went berserk.

Retired farmer Peter Downey was killed by a bull on his farm at
Meigh, near Newry, Co Down.

c Belfast Telegraph


Addict Shot Himself In Foot After Brinks Robbery

01/05/2007 - 19:50:49

A chronic drug addict who shot himself in the foot after robbing
three money bags from a Brinks Allied van has been remanded in
custody pending sentence at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

Garret Lynch (aged 25) of Spring Garden Street, Ballybough later
called garda¡ to say he had been shot by a motorcyclist in
Buckingham Street but garda¡ followed a trail of his blood to a
basement flat where they found blood covered money bags.

Lynch also robbed a post office after he and an accomplice cut a
hole in the floor of a hairdressers above the shop and accessed
it through the ceiling.

He pleaded guilty to robbery of the Bank of Ireland, Howth Road,
Raheny and the post office on Fitzmaurice Road, Finglas, as well
as an attempted robbery at Paddy Power Bookmakers office on North
Strand Road on dates between November 15, 2004 and July 25, 2006.

Other charges of possession of imitation fire arms and unlawful
taking of a car were taken into consideration. His 13 previous
convictions included road traffic offences, dangerous driving and

Garda witnesses accepted in cross-examination by Mr Luigi Rea BL,
defending, that Lynch carried out the robberies in order to feed
a chronic heroin and crack cocaine addiction.

He was spending between ?5,000 and ?6,000 per week on drugs and
it was also accepted that he had a drug debt arising out of this

Judge Katherine Delahunt told Lynch that she was impressed by the
steps he had taken to combat his addiction and adjourned the case
to consider reports handed into court but she revoked his bail
and remanded him in custody after she said that urine analysis
before the courts were cause for concern.

Garda Barry Malone told L£an O Braon in BL, prosecuting, that
staff who were loading the Brinks Allied van outside the Bank of
Ireland were threatened by Lynch who was wearing a balaclava and
holding a gun.

One of the staff then heard a loud bang and "something fly over
his head" before the raiders got away on a motorcycle. Garda¡
later took blood samples from the crime scene.

The call to say that Lynch had been the victim of a shooting on
Buckingham Street was then received by garda¡ who arrived and saw
that Lynch had an injury to his foot.

Gda Malone said they then followed a trail of blood that led to a
basement flat where the Brinks Allied money bags were found with
blood on them. A bloodspatterd motorbike was also spotted nearby.

Subsequent DNA analysis later found that the blood found at the
crime scene, on the money bags and on the motorbike matched

He was arrested and charged with armed robbery on January 7, 2006
and was released on bail.

Gda Malone said Lynch was still on bail when he carried out the
attempted robbery on Paddy Power's when he and the raiders left
the shop with no money.

Detective Garda Tony Gleeson said a stolen BMW was used on the
robbery of the Fitzmaurice Road post office on October 4, 2005,
when staff saw Lynch and a co-accused come through the ceiling
into the shop, having cut a hole in the floor of the hairdressers

They were apprehended as they were leaving by staff from a local
butchers but managed to escape in the stolen car. Lynch's palm
print was later found on the driver's door of the car and
following his arrest in November that year he made full

His co-accused who also pleaded guilty to the robbery is due for
sentence in October.


The Heat Is On ?

[Published: Tuesday 1, May 2007 - 09:14]
By Linda McKee

It has been one of the hottest Aprils on record - and the balmy
sunshine look set to continue.

Perhaps it is just coincidence, but the run of sunny weather
seems to have started when Ian Paisley and Gerry Adams sat side
by side to announce their historic political deal at the end of

But will the province's weather remain as sunny as the political

This week Northern Ireland will continue to bask in sunshine,
with temperatures predicted to hit 21C in some parts by Friday.

And the outlook for the province is much sunnier than many of the
traditional European hotspots such as Rome and Barcelona where
heavy downpours are forecast.

According to the Met Office, mean temperatures in the province
have been above normal and this pattern is likely to continue
until the end of May.

Stephen Davenport, senior meteorologist at MeteoGroup, said it
was likely to be the hottest April on record.

Last week's warm temperatures mean the record of 1865 is expected
to fall.

Today is expected to be another dry day with any early mist
patches soon clearing to leave plenty of sunshine.

It will be warm generally, but cooler along the east coast with a
maximum temperature of around 19C.

The high pressure will remain for the rest of the week, bringing
dry, settled weather with long sunny spells.

There may be some mist and fog patches at first, but they will
soon disperse.

And over the bank holiday weekend the Met Office predicts dry,
sunny starts with cloud at times.

Afterwards the weather should start mostly dry with variable
cloud and sunny spells, although more cloudy conditions are
expected to spread into the north and north west giving periods
of rain at times.

This unsettled weather will gradually extend further southwards
during the week and it will be windy at times, especially in the
north, becoming less warm with temperatures near or a little
above normal.

Hayfever sufferers can expect moderately high birch pollen counts
and a risk of moderate oak pollen counts.

c Belfast Telegraph

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