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May 13, 2007

SF Takes Up Policing Board Places

News about Ireland & the Irish

SF 05/13/07 SF Agrees To Take Up Policing Board Places
IV 05/11/07 Irish American High Hopes For North
BB 05/12/07 Brown 'Has No Extra Cash' For NI
BN 05/13/07 Ahern: 'I Have Done Nothing Wrong, Wronged No-One.'
IT 05/13/07 Full Text Of Ahern Statement
BN 05/13/07 FF Rules Out Coalition With Sinn Féin
BT 05/12/07 Boyne Gun Is Taken Out Of Irish Politics
BT 05/12/07 A Solution To Drumcree Stand-Off Must Be Found
BN 05/13/07 McCabe Killing: O'Neill To Be Released Next Week
SF 05/13/07 SF Will Bring Equality Into Government, North & South
BB 05/12/07 Sinn Féin Plays Down Drop In Polls
TE 05/12/07 Opin: Fragile Calm Behind Ulster's 'Peace Walls'
BT 05/12/07 LA Police In Appeal To O'Loan
DJ 05/12/07 Museum Of Free Derry Vital For City Tourism
RT 05/12/07 Eurovision: Time To Re-Appraise Our Approach


Sinn Fein Ard Chomhairle Agree to take Up Policing Board Places

Published: 13 May, 2007

Sinn Fein spokesperson on Policing Alex Maskey today confirmed
that his party would be taking its three places on the new
Policing Board. The decision was made at a meeting of the party
Ard Chomhairle in Dublin yesterday.

Mr Maskey said:

"Some weeks ago Gerry Adams indicated that in the event of the
political institutions going live he would propose to the Ard
Chomhairle that Sinn Fein take up our places on the Policing
Board. At yesterdays meeting the Ard Chomhairle agreed that
Daithi McKay, Martina Anderson and myself would go forward to
represent the party.

"We have set ourselves a number of objectives which we intend to
deliver through our membership of the Policing Board and the
local DPPS.

* a civic policing service, accountable and representative of the
community is delivered as quickly as possible;

* that the Chief Constable and the PSNI are publicly held to

* that policing with the community is achieved as the core
function of the PSNI;

* that political policing, collusion and "the force within a
force" is a thing of the past and to oppose any involvement by
the British Security Service/MI5 in civic policing;

* that the issue of plastic bullets is properly addressed.

"These are obviously significant challenges for republicans and
over the past two weeks we have been engaged in a series of
meetings with the current Policing Board, the Ombudsman and with
victims. Tomorrow we will meet with the Oversight commissioner.
Sinn Fein are going onto the Policing Board to hold the PSNI to
account. On the Policing Board we will provide the voice for
communities who have in the past experienced only bad policing.
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.

"Sinn Fein argued for a strong and effective Policing Board as a
key accountability mechanism. We argued and gained significant
additional powers for the body over a series of negotiations with
the British government. Our participation on the Policing Board
and local DPPs will I believe ensure that the sort of effective,
accountable and non partisan policing service demanded by the
Good Friday Agreement is delivered in the time ahead." ENDS


Irish American High Hopes For North

By Cahir O'Doherty

Political and Irish American leaders in the U.S. broadly welcomed
the historic start of power sharing in Northern Ireland this
week. As the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) leader Ian Paisley
became first minister and Martin McGuinness of Sinn Fein became
deputy first minister a new era began, bringing to an end over 30
years of sectarian conflict.

President George W. Bush, who sent an official delegation to the
North for Tuesday's opening which included Senator Edward Kennedy
and U.S. envoy to the North Paula Dobriansky, promised to aid the
new government in any way possible.

"This year, on March 7, the people of Northern Ireland took
control of their future and demonstrated their desire to build a
society based on peace, respect and opportunity for all by going
to the polls and participating in the democratic process," Bush
said in a statement.

"Their message was clear: the time had come for a representative
government that would work for the collective good of all the
people of Northern Ireland. I commend the Assembly for your
dedication to Northern Ireland and I applaud the people of this
region for your desire to overcome a history of violence and

"I also appreciate Prime Ministers Tony Blair and Bertie Ahern,
whose leadership and vision were essential in guiding the parties
to reconciliation in Northern Ireland.

"The United States will continue to support your efforts to
further advance the peace process. Together we can build a more
hopeful future for all. Laura and I send our best wishes on this
momentous day."

Senator Hillary Clinton of New York applauded the new Assembly,
saying, "I remember fondly my visits to Northern Ireland, meeting
with women and men, leaders and citizens, who all shared the same
longing for peace. As we mark the start of this new government,
we are seeing the realization of that promise."

Clinton, leading Demo-cratic contender for her party's
presidential nomination in 2008, added words of praise for her
husband, former President Bill Clinton, who issued the first ever
U.S. entry visa to Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams in 1994.

"I am very proud of the role that my husband and I were able to
play in helping to bring about peace in Northern Ireland. I know
many were skeptical that lasting peace would be possible in the
time leading up to the signing of the Good Friday Agreement in
1998. The commitment of everyone involved, their constructive
negotiations, their sacrifice, their faith led us to this day of
a new government and great hope," she said.

Clinton attended an Irish American event with Congressman Richard
Neal, chairman of the Friends of Ireland group, in Washing-ton,
D.C. on Tuesday to mark the start of the new Northern government.
She also accepted the endorsement of Neal for her presidential

Senator Kennedy said, "Northern Ireland has shown the world that
peace is possible, even in the face of tragic history. Guns can
be taken out of politics. Militias can be disarmed. Police
agencies can be reformed to serve entire communities. These are
the lessons of Northern Ireland, and they offer our hope for
other troubled areas of the world too."

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the mayors of five
other U.S. cities with large Irish populations, including Mayor
Richard Daley of Chicago and Mayor Gavin Newsom of San Francisco,
sent a letter to Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Bertie Ahern and
British Prime Minister Tony Blair regarding the power-sharing
agreement, which stated, "For many years the American people have
watched events in Northern Ireland closely, but never with
greater optimism for the future than today.

"America is proud to have played a vital role in the peace
process as a trusted friend of all Northern Ireland's people. As
mayors of cities that owe so much to Ireland and the United
Kingdom, we are particularly pleased to see Northern Ireland turn
this corner and eager to continue to support Northern Ireland's
success. This includes helping the Northern Irish economy grow
and encouraging American companies to invest there."

New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who visited
Northern Ireland in March, told the Irish Voice, "With the new
Assembly at last in place, now is the time for those of us who
care about peace in Northern Ireland to look for new ways to
support this new government and the people living in the North
by, among other things, increasing investment, in full compliance
with the MacBride Principles, in those companies that promote
equal employment opportunities."

In Washington, Connecti-cut Senator Chris Dodd, an early
supporter along with Senator Kennedy of granting the 1994 Adams
visa, said, "I am hopeful that this agreement will establish a
lasting peace in the region, and will signal to the world that
compromise and power-sharing are possible even after years of
conflict that claimed countless lives."

Friends of Ireland Chairman Richie Neal was equally pleased.
"This morning in Belfast, two courageous political leaders put
the future ahead of the past to form a power-sharing government
where they will serve together as co-equals. It is another
example that Northern Ireland is a society in the process of
unprecedented transformation," he said.

Congressman Joseph Crowley, co-chair of the Ad-Hoc Committee on
Irish Affairs, hailed the news. "This day will be celebrated in
the hearts of future generations who will commend the leaders of
the major parties for being able to put aside differences and
come to an agreement that offers a voice in government for
Catholics and Protestants alike," Crowley said.

Speaking of Paisley and McGuinness' leadership, Crowley added,
"Their success will be measured in their ability to bridge some
of the deep divisions that have left the community of the north
of Ireland fractured for generations."

John Fogarty, president of The Irish American Unity Conference
welcomed the new power-sharing assembly as an opportunity for the
people of Ireland to live together in peace and justice.

"While we don't underestimate the compromises that all parties
will have to make, we do celebrate the day when all parties
respect the representatives of democratically run elections and
all peoples start to work together peacefully for a better life
in Ireland," he said.

Jack Meehan, the National President of the Ancient Order of
Hibernians acknowledged the convening of the Assembly in
enthusiastic terms. "Today is about the recognition by the
British government and Loyalists that Irish Nationalists are
willing and equal partners in the promotion of peace and
dialogue. It is now 40 war torn years after Catholics first
marched for an end to the discrimination in voting rights,
housing, and employment and now, hopefully, dialogue will take
the place of arms as a method of solving problems," he said.

Not all political parties were elated by the historic
developments, however. Republican Sinn Fein Vice President Des
Dalton told the press, "The recalling of the Stormont Assembly
today serves to block the possibility of a just and lasting
settlement of the conflict in Ireland. The Stormont assembly is
an obstacle to Irish freedom and unity, it is one of the pillars
of the failed partitionist set-up imposed on the Irish people by
the Treaty of surrender in 1921."


Brown 'Has No Extra Cash' For NI

Health Minister Michael McGimpsey says he is not hopeful Gordon
Brown will give the power-sharing executive extra resources to
tackle its priorities.

Mr McGimpsey believes the chancellor will not be focussing on the
needs of people in Northern Ireland.

The Ulster Unionist minister, whose new department has the
largest budget, was speaking on the BBC's Inside Politics.

"He (Mr Brown) is not Tony Blair, he doesn't have the same
emotional investment in Northern Ireland."

Mr McGimpsey told the BBC programme: "I think that Gordon is
focussed purely on his premiership and that's about the upcoming
election and the voters on the mainland are what concerns him,
not the voters in Northern Ireland.

"I think that Brown has no reason to give us extra money and, as
far as I can see, there's no extra money there.

"We're on our own - it's the block grant and it's dealing with
resources that we can see."


DUP leader Ian Paisley and Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness met Mr
Brown earlier this month to discuss a financial package for
Northern Ireland, ahead of the restoration of devolved government
on 8 May.

Afterwards, Mr Paisley, now Northern Ireland's first minister,
said he was disappointed with the negotiations.

However, on 7 May, Mr McGuinness - now the deputy first minister
- hinted that the chancellor's financial package might be
increased and that talks were continuing.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2007/05/12 08:27:20 GMT


Ahern Statement: 'I Have Done Nothing Wrong, Wronged No-One.'

13/05/2007 - 14:40:08

The Taoiseach Bertie Ahern has issued a lengthy statement on his
financial affairs and the purchase of his house in Drumcondra.

In it, Mr Ahern said: "I have done nothing wrong and I have
wronged no-one."

It follows the publication of an interview he gave to the Sunday
Independent, which was published this morning and was sent out to
the media just before 2pm.

In it Bertie Ahern says he has never received money from any
person or company for any improper purpose, saying allegations
made by Tom Gilmartin that he received money from Owen
O'Callaghan are false and malicious.

He says he took no bribe, engaged in no corrupt act and never
breached the public trust.

The Taoiseach said leaks from the Mahon Tribunal are politically
inspired, and sets out in detail transactions to do with his home
in Drumcondra, saying the period in question was a time of
enormous change in his life.


Full Text Of Ahern Statement

Sun, May 13, 2007
Statement by An Taoiseach Mr Bertie Ahern, 13th May, 2007.

A Background

Over the past number of months I have been the subject of intense
public scrutiny and intrusion into my personal, financial and
family circumstances.

For a number of years I have engaged in private correspondence
with the Mahon Tribunal during the course of which I have handed
over a large volume of material covering details of my personal
finances over twenty years. The selective leaking of some of
this information has given rise to the current controversy.

As is generally known, the reason the Tribunal is engaging in
that wide-ranging investigation is that allegations were made
against me by Mr Tom Gilmartin that I had accepted money from
property developer Owen O'Callaghan in return for doing favours
for him. I have made it clear, and have shown, that I never
received money from any person or company for any improper
purpose. As a consequence of my assisting the Tribunal by giving
it documentation, the Tribunal has come back to me at various
points and asked me to explain particular transactions in my bank
accounts. I provided those explanations. Details of these
transactions came into the public domain because of unlawful and
malicious leaks last September. I explained those transactions
to the public. I detailed at that time all the gifts and loans
which I had received for my own use in the period following the
conclusion of my judicial separation.

B Mr Gilmartin's allegations are false

The two allegations made by Tom Gilmartin are false and
malicious. These allegations are that I received œ50,000 in 1989
and œ30,000 in 1992 or later from Mr Owen O'Callaghan. It is
these allegations (not my financial affairs) which are being
investigated by the Mahon Tribunal.A brief examination of Mr
Gilmartin's allegations will demonstrate that they simply do not
stand up.After almost nine years of investigations there is no
evidence of me receiving any money from Mr. O'Callaghan and there
is no evidence of me doing any favour for Mr. O'Callaghan. The
allegations made by Mr. Gilmartin are hearsay. He has no
personal knowledge of any facts which could support such an
allegation.I simply did not receive any money from Mr O'Callaghan
nor did I do any favours for him. The allegations are baseless.
They are not credible. They are borne out of spite and malice.
To demonstrate this to the public, I will now refer to the
history and changing nature of these allegations. Before so
doing I want to note that between February 1998 and December 2002
Mr Gilmartin had 58 separate communications with the Mahon
Tribunal. The timing of the making of the two allegations
against me is of some importance, as is the changing content of
the allegations.

(i) The œ30,000 allegation

* Mr Gilmartin first referred to me receiving money from Mr
O'Callaghan in his sixth communication with the Tribunal, in May
1998, but didn't mention the sum allegedly paid until his 16th
communication, in October 1998, 5 months after first raising the

* This 16th communication in October 1998 contained the
allegation that I received œ30,000 from Mr.

* O'Callaghan in return for blocking tax designation which had
been applied for by one of Mr O'Callaghan's rivals.

* Mr Gilmartin's allegation followed questions which he had been
asked about the destination of a œ30,000 transaction in the
accounts of a company, Barkhill, in which Mr Gilmartin and Mr
O'Callaghan were involved. The transaction was in June 1992.

* Mr Gilmartin's allegation conveniently explained an otherwise
odd transaction.

(ii) The œ50,000 allegation

*It was not until communication no. 34 in November 1999 that Mr
Gilmartin first alleged that I got an additional œ50,000 from Mr
O'Callaghan in 1989. Mr Gilmartin said that he had been told
this by an unnamed former business partner of Mr O'Callaghan.

*In communication no. 41 in May 2001 Mr Gilmartin changed this
allegation. He now said: "I also recall \[Mr O'Callaghan] telling
me . that he had given œ50,000 to Bertie Ahern in 1989".

*In communication no. 43 in September 2002 Mr Gilmartin alleged
that I received a large sum of cash from Mr O'Callaghan after a
football match in 1990.

*This changing and unreliable story is essentially the same as
the story which was written by Mr Frank Connolly in 2000 and
which was proved to be a lie in the Circuit Court. The œ50,000
payment was allegedly made in 1989 - 5/6 years before the
transactions now under inquiry. The œ30,000 payment was first
alleged to have been made in 1992 - 2 to 3 years before the
payments in my accounts now being looked at by the Mahon
Tribunal. I received no such money at any time.

It is as a result of these allegations that I am now the subject
of inquiry by the Mahon Tribunal.

C My Finances

The general context of my family, matrimonial and financial
affairs needs to be set out. It demonstrates conclusively that I
took no bribe, engaged in no corrupt act and never breached the
public trust. The following facts merit particular comment.

(i)I have been in political life for 30 years and I have held
Government office for 18 of those years. The only transactions
being examined by the Mahon Tribunal cover a period of 24 months
immediately following the resolution of my matrimonial
difficulties and during a period of great flux in my life. The
timing of these transactions needs to be seen in that context.

(ii) There is no pattern over many years or decades in high
office of unexplained financial transactions.

(iii) My lifestyle is as simple as it is honest. There was and
is no vast wealth and no high lifestyle.

D Leaks and questions about my house

The public is already aware of the leaks which occurred last
September and I explained the transactions in question last
October. More malicious leaks have occurred in recent weeks.
There is no doubt in my mind that the motivation behind these
leaks is political. This information has been published in an
effort to discredit me and to damage Fianna Fail. Its purpose is
tosuggest that I misled the public and that I am untrustworthy.
I have great confidence in the good sense of the Irish people who
will see the leaks (based as they are on incomplete and misstated
facts) for what they are - an act of public deception. That
these various leaks are politically inspired is clear from their

(a) The first leaks in September 2006 occurred shortly before the
return of the Dail after the summer recess and was intended to
set the agenda for the Dail.

(b) Near the end of the last Dail session the fact that a
complaint had - several months previously - been made about me to
the Standards in Public Office Commission was leaked. The leak
was clearly designed to set the agenda in the run up to the

(c) On Sunday 14th April 2007 a story appeared in some newspapers
concerning a Garda driver who had made an allegation seven years
ago that I had supposedly brought a briefcase full of cash to
Manchester. The timing of that leak could only have been
designed to set the election agenda. The recent leaks - based on
incomplete data from the Tribunal - are consistent with an agenda
to damage me and the Fianna Fail party. I will now address the
particular question which has arisen relating to the renting and
purchase of my house. I am conscious of the fact that the Mahon
Tribunal is continuing its work. I am also concerned that the
privacy to which certain third parties are entitled has been
violated by these unlawful leaks and the resultant media frenzy.
I do not want to add to the discomfort suffered by those third
parties. However I will try to lay out the full account of these
matters as best I can in the circumstances.

E Ownership of Beresford

I will take some time to explain - in detail - the ownership of
the house at Beresford during the time when I rented the
property. The period we are talking about was a time of enormous
change in my own life. I went from being Minister for Finance,
to leader of Fianna Fail who expected to be Taoiseach, to leader
of the opposition, to Taoiseach. My plans and circumstances were
constantly changing, and that is why the details may be complex.
Let me start by making it clear that Mr Wall owned the house,
paid for its acquisition and later sold it to me at market value.
The main points in relation to the ownership of my house can be
summarised as follows:

Michael Wall's Purchase

1. Mr Wall paid the deposit of œ13,800 sterling on the house from
his own bank account.

2. The stamp duty on the house was paid for out of Mr Wall's own

3. Mr Wall borrowed œ96,600 from the ICS Building Society which,
combined with about œ27,000 from his own bank account, comprised
the remainder of the purchase price. The money from the ICS
Building Society came by way of a normal mortgage, which he paid
off by way of monthly installments from his bank account.

4. Mr Wall and I agreed that I would have an option to purchase
the house. I intended to exercise this option when my political
future was clear and secure. This occurred later, when I was
elected Taoiseach.

Refurbishment and Renovation

5. It was decided to carry out refurbishment and other work and
it was agreed that each of us would contribute to the cost of
this work.

6. My former partner Ms Larkin agreed to administer this work, as
I was very busy and Mr Wall lived in England. About œ50,000 was
spent on this work.

7. Mr Wall provided about œ28,700 for refurbishment and related
expenses and to cover the stamp duty on his purchase. I will
explain in a moment why he paid this in cash. He was spending his
own money on his own house, administered on his behalf by Ms
Larkin. I provided about œ30,000 towards the work on the house.


8. In 1994 I agreed to rent the house from Mr Michael Wall which
he was intending to buy for occasional use on his visits to
Dublin and because of the fact that he was considering setting up
a business in Ireland. It was agreed he would use it as a place
to stay on his visits to Dublin.

9. I rented the house for two years, from 1995 to 1997, over
which period I paid market rent on the house.

10. Mr Wall paid tax to the revenue authorities in the UK on the
rent he received from me.

11. My tenancy was properly registered with the local authority
within weeks of the coming into effect of the Housing (Regulation
of Rented Houses) Regulations 1996, which occurred in May of that

12. Mr Wall stayed in the house 10-20 times during the period
while I was renting it from him and after I bought it from him.

My Purchase

13. In 1997 I bought the house at a price based on a professional
market valuation. I paid œ180,000. I paid the deposit of
œ30,000 on the house out of my building society savings and took
out a mortgage for the remainder of the price, by way of a loan
of œ150,000 from the Irish Permanent Building Society. I paid
stamp duty out of my current account.

F History of my dealings with regard to the house at Beresford

I hope you will bear with me as I give you a detailed account of
these matters.

(i) Mid to late 1994 As everyone is now aware, my marital
separation proceedings concluded in December 1993. During 1994 I
decided that I would rent a house of my own. I had been in
unsettled circumstances for some time, and I wanted to settle
things down. In this period I was living in a flat at the Fianna
Fail constituency office in St Luke's, Drumcondra Road, Dublin 7.
At about the same time, Mr. Michael Wall a friend of mine from my
visits to Manchester, was planning to buy a house in Dublin. I
had known Mr Wall for some years. He had a large coach business
in Manchester with a fleet of 40 or so buses. He also owned a
pub and some other property in Ireland. Mr. Wall and I were both
friends of the solicitor, Mr Gerry Brennan. Mr Wall made frequent
visits to Dublin and was planning to increase the frequency of
those visits, because he was thinking of opening a coach business
in this city. He came to the conclusion that he was better off
owning a house here, rather than staying in hotels on every
visit. Therefore he was interested in buying a house.

I was looking to rent a place. He was looking to buy a place
that he could occasionally stay in. A mutually convenient
arrangement was agreed whereby I could rent a house from him and
he could stay with me whenever he wanted. I was very busy at the
time, as I was Minister for Finance, so I asked my then partner,
Celia Larkin, to make the necessary arrangements with Mr Wall on
relation to this matter.

(ii) November/December 1994 In November 1994, I was elected
leader of Fianna Fail following the resignation of Albert
Reynolds. It seemed for a few days that I would be elected
Taoiseach and the Fianna Fail / Labour government would continue.
I wanted a house urgently at this time, because during the 1992
Fianna Fail leadership campaign, remarks had been made about the
fact that I did not have a permanent residence. In 1994, I was
determined that similar issues would not arise. I thus wanted to
speed up my move into a permanent residence.I therefore moved to
rent the house and I made an arrangement with Mr Wall that I
would have an option to buy it at a later stage. The house which
Mr Wall had selected had been seen by Ms Larkin, and it appeared
that, although it was quite a new house, an amount of work should
be done to it. This included the construction of a conservatory,
the installation of new bathroom fittings, an attic conversion
and the purchase of new furnishings, such as carpets, curtains,
beds and so on.As it was Mr Wall's house, Mr Wall said that he
would, broadly speaking, pay for the structural work and fittings
and I would pay for matters such as the furnishings.

Because of the changing nature of the political situation, I did
not have much time to deal with this issue. Mr Wall put down a
booking deposit on the house at the start of December. Then
several days later, he was visiting Dublin in order to attend a
constituency function on the first weekend in December, so we met
at that time.

This meeting between myself, Mr Wall and Ms Larkin took place on
Saturday 3rd December 1994 in my constituency office. He gave me
the money towards the refurbishment and related expenses and the
stamp duty. The money came to about œ28,700, mostly in sterling
though there may have been some Irish pounds as well. At that
time, the amount was approximate, as we did not make exact
calculations about what everything would cost.

As I understand it, the reason why Mr Wall brought this money in
cash was that this was more convenient for him. He had a large
business which operated in cash. I had not asked him to bring the
money in any particular form. The arrangements for his purchase
and the letting of the house were being made shortly after I was
elected leader of Fianna Fail and at a time when I thought I was
about to be elected Taoiseach.

That œ28,700 or so was also to be used to pay the stamp duty
which Mr Wall would have to pay when the purchase of the house
was finalized. It was convenient for Mr Wall to give money
covering a combination of the structural work and stamp duty at
the same time, as we expected the sale to move quickly at that
stage. As I will go on to explain, Ms Larkin did, in due course,
pass on the money for the stamp duty, to the Revenue. The stamp
duty was paid after the sale of the house.For a day or two, I
held the money in the safe in my office in Drumcondra.

On the following Monday Ms Larkin lodged it into an account she
opened for the purpose of holding Mr Wall's money separate from
other money, so that it could be used for matters relating only
to Mr Wall's house. Ms Larkin also opened another account which
was a 28 day fixed term account. I transferred œ50,000 into this
new account from my own bank accounts. This account related to
the refurbishment of the house and related expenses. This money
was comprised of elements of my savings, gifts and loans which I
described last year. I can confirm that this was not a new sum
of money. This œ50,000 is money I disclosed to the public last
September / October. It is not a separate or additional sum. It
is the same œ50,000 to which I have previously referred. Ms
Larkin found that the bank account into which she had lodged my
own money was not convenient because it was a 28-day fixed term
deposit account. The money was transferred to an ordinary deposit
account from which it was subsequently withdrawn.

(iii) Subsequent Developments As matters transpired, I did not
become Taoiseach in December 1994 and the urgency went out of the
situation. I went into opposition and the matter of renting the
house became less urgent. I gave some consideration to
purchasing this house or another house myself. But I decided
that my personal position was not stable enough. During this
time, I did change some of the monies into sterling. I
subsequently reverted to the original plan that Ms Larkin would
administer my money and Mr Wall's money for the purpose of the
house. Mr Wall bought the house for œ138,000, paid for it in the
normal way, by a combination of deposits and a mortgage.

(iv) The rental went ahead as did the refurbishment I rented the
house from the summer of 1995. Substantial refurbishment work was
done as planned, including the construction of a conservatory and
the purchase of many furnishings and fittings. These works and
the fixtures and fittings were funded from the account which Ms
Larkin had opened to hold Mr Wall's money and the cash which I
was holding comprising my own money. A summary of the financial
position is as follows:*The total amount of money spent on works
and refurbishment was over œ50,000. * In addition, œ8,442 of Mr
Wall's money was passed on by Ms Larkin to pay Mr Wall's stamp
duty bill. * The balance of Mr Wall's œ28,700 or so was spent as
part of the total cost of works and refurbishment and related
expenses of about œ50,000. * Of the œ50,000 I had set aside, only
œ30,000 was spent, allowing me to re-lodge about œ20,000 to my
own accounts after all the work was finished in December 1995.

(v) Proof of expenditure It has been said that it is not credible
that so much money would be spent in the house. Therefore, in
order to clarify this point I am circulating a booklet of papers
comprising various invoices and receipts indicating how this
money was spent (Appendix 1). I also attach a more detailed
explanation of how the money was spent. (Appendix 2).

(vi) The lodgment on 5th December 1994 was not a dollar lodgment

There has been some speculation about this sum. The lodgment of
about œ28,700 on 5th December 1994 was a cash lodgment which is
not exactly œ30,000 sterling but rather is a lesser sum and may
have been a mixture of sterling and Irish pounds. Hence it is in
an irregular amount. It is not a dollar sum. I never had
$45,000 either then, before then or since. There are no dollar
transactions in my accounts. I do not deal nor have I ever dealt
in dollars.

In addition two points need to be emphasized. Firstly, at the
appropriate AIB rate for dollars on that date, a lodgment of
œ28,772.90 would equate not to $45,000 but to $44,277.68.
Secondly, there are a number of combinations of sterling and
Irish pounds that result in the amount which was lodged. The sum
of $45,000 was never lodged to any account maintained by Ms.
Larkin for the purpose of the house

(vii) My purchase of the house

Between 1995 and 1997 Mr Wall stayed in the house from time to
time, though less frequently than we had previously planned,
because after a serious accident in 1995 he abandoned his plans
to open a business in Ireland. After I bought the house, he
continued to stay occasionally. In 1997 I was elected Taoiseach.
My financial situation had settled to a point where I was
comfortable to buy the house, using the option to buy which I had
arranged from the start. I therefore bought the house for
œ180,000 in October 1997. My purchase of my home was financed by
a mortgage of œ150,000 from the Irish Permanent Building Society,
the balance of œ30,000 was financed from accumulated savings in a
savings account with that Society. This was based on a market
valuation from an auctioneer who had put the open market value at
about œ185,000.

I have lived in that same house for 12 years and I own no other

(viii) Mr Wall's will

Mr Wall made a supplementary Irish will, dealing only with this
house, in addition to his main will, in which he left
considerable property to his family. I did not know about this
will last October It was only brought to my attention earlier
this year. There are a number of points about Mr Wall's will
which are inconsistent with the suggestion that I actually owned
the house at Beresford while renting it. They are as follows:

(a) Mr Wall bought the house in March 1995 and I rented it from
him from May 1995. No will then existed.

(b) The will was not made until the 6th June 1996 more than a
year later. If it is alleged that the will proves my concealed
ownership then logic would dictate that it be signed when the
house was bought.

(c) The fact is that I actually bought the house in 1997. I did
not inherit it. I exercised the agreed option.

(d) A will would be a meaningless legal document - if it was to
protect my supposed ownership - as it could be revoked at any
time and with no legal right to insist on a further will or any
right to inherit the house.

However, most importantly of all I was unaware of the will, did
not request it and did not seek that my solicitor put it in
place. It was Mr Wall who - on his own initiative - decided that
he should make the will, not I.

G Conclusion

In political debate, robust exchanges are par for the course. I
accept that as a fact of life. But what I don't accept is the
trawling through my family, matrimonial and personal
circumstances. My family have suffered from the tactic of
selective disclosure and the publication of half-truths.

I stand accused of no crime but find day in day out lurid news
headlines and copious details of my private life distorted,
misrepresented and sensationalised. Some details of my house have
been published but others - which explain what happened - are

The full facts are suppressed. Accusation is presented as fact
and distorted fact is presented as reality. Today I have
presented a complete picture for everyone to view.

I will not accept the verdict of my political opponents or the
masters of the half-truth on how I have behaved. I will place my
reputation and career in the hands of the only people whose
judgment matters - the Irish people for whom I have worked as
hard as is humanly possible.

I know that some people will feel that some aspects of my life
are unusual. I am sorry if that has caused any confusion or
worry in people's minds. All of these issues arose in a period
when my family, personal and professional situations were rapidly
changing and I made the best decisions I could in the
circumstances in which I found myself.

I hope now that we can fight this election on what matters to the
people - the future of our country and not the minutiae of my
life and events which occurred some 14 years ago. Finally let me
state unequivocally: I have done nothing wrong and I have wronged

c 2007


FF Rules Out Coalition With Sinn Fein

12/05/2007 - 14:06:41

Fianna F il has dismissed claims by Gerry Adams that Sinn Fein
will be in power in the Republic following the election.

Speaking in Dublin today, the Sinn Fein leader said his party
could be kingmakers in the forming of a new government.

He said he believes that Bertie Ahern is leaving the door open
for a coalition between the two parties.

Minister for Education Mary Hanafin has insisted that Fianna F il
will not change their position, however.

"Fianna F il will not be going into coalition with Sinn Fein -
the Taoiseach quite firmly ruled it out at the launch of our
manifesto," she said.

"What is happening [in the North] at the moment is very exciting,
but is a very different situation, a very different background
and a very different system. So we will not be entering into
coalition with them."


Boyne Gun Is Taken Out Of Irish Politics

[Published: Saturday 12, May 2007 - 09:15]
By Chris Thornton

Never have two Irish leaders had so much fun with a gun - or at
least it's unprecedented that they could so openly enjoy
themselves on the field of battle.

As the first meeting place of the First Minister and the
Taoiseach, the Boyne battleground was heavy with symbolism - two
leaders meeting to help seal a peace deal at the place where two
kings had fought.

And when Ian Paisley brought a historic weapon to the party, it
was also laden with the opportunity for battle-themed jokes.

After welcoming the DUP leader outside Oldbridge House, which
overlooks the fields where King William fought King James, Bertie
Ahern noted that Mr Paisley had assured him "that he was not
coming to re-fight the battle" .

Mr Ahern said: "I must admit that when he arrived this morning
bearing a cavalry carbine, I had some brief doubts."

"You will have an invasion from Ulster on many occasions," Mr
Paisley hit back.

"I trust that you will not allow any of these weapons to be

The gun in question had been carried by a cavalryman in King
James' army at the time of the battle, 317 years ago.

It came now from one of Mr Paisley's constituents in Ballymena,
which Mr Paisley helpfully told Southerners in the audience is
"the heart of the world".

He added: "I understand they have a very good MP."

Mr Paisley said that his constituent, Hubert Brown Kerr, had
offered the carbine bearing the mark of King James to be
presented to the Taoiseach " on loan, of course".

"Trust a Ballymena man to say that," Mr Paisley said with a
chortle, turning towards Mr Ahern. "See that he doesn't charge
you rent. "

The two men stepped away from the microphones for the actual
presentation of the weapon. "Point it towards us, Taoiseach," one
of the photographers shouted. Mr Ahern looked briefly tempted.

Mr Paisley said he had taken safeguards to make sure the gun
wouldn't go off. "I'm not in the pay of your political
opponents," he told Mr Ahern.

That much was clear, considering the new First Minister was
helping the Taoiseach land a major publicity coup right in the
middle of his general election campaign. But that's just another
example of how the surreal has suddenly become the norm.

There were the DUP leader and the Taoiseach getting on like old
pals. Derry journalist Nell McCafferty was singing the "Green,
Grassy Slopes of the Boyne". Mr Paisley was quoting Patrick
Kavanagh, the poet once resident in Mr Ahern's North Dublin
constituency. The Schomberg Fife and Drum band, from Kilkeel and
dressed in period uniforms, played The Sash for the benefit of
Irish TV.

As a marker of the occasion, Mr Paisley and Mr Ahern planted a
walnut tree together.

"The second Ulster plantation," remarked the Irish Justice
Minister, Michael McDowell.

Considering the number of unionists swanning about in the
sunshine, looking very much at home, Mr McDowell may just be on
to something.

c Belfast Telegraph


A Solution To Drumcree Stand-Off Must Be Found

[Published: Saturday 12, May 2007 - 09:46]
By Alf McCreary

A recent cover on the satirical magazine Private Eye has separate
pictures of Gerry Adams and Ian Paisley. Adams is carrying a
hurley-stick and is depicted as saying: "I come in peace".
Paisley replies: "And I'm the Pope."

This captures well the universal sense of disbelief, as well as
relief, about what happened at Stormont this week.

One national newspaper cartoonist caught the mood well with his
drawing of a stern-faced Paisley and Martin McGuinness releasing
flying-pigs over Stormont with laurels of peace.

Many people deserve credit for this, and they were not all at
Stormont, including Senator George Mitchell.

A special word is also due to the now departing Tony Blair. He
has been disastrous over Iraq, but not a bad Prime Minister, or a
bad man. We in Northern Ireland should be grateful for what he
has done for us.

When political pigs fly in Northern Ireland, history really is
being made.

Even though the choreography at Stormont was predictable, the
television pictures of former enemies standing together was
indeed moving.

I watched the RTE evening news in Kilkenny, after a long day
reporting the Church of Ireland General Synod, and I was almost
reduced to tears at the memory of all the victims and all the
departed friends of mine and so many others who had worked
through the dark days to make this happen.

Now, the opening party is over, and hard reality will pose many
problems, not least from those people who never wished the
Agreement to happen and who will try their awkward best to create
divisions between the new-found allies.

The Stormont coalition will grapple with issues of finance, self-
determination and culture, and mixed loyalties, but one problem
above all which needs to be solved is the stand-off at Drumcree.

Most people wish that it would simply fade away.

Since 1998, Drumcree has caused enormous bitterness and mayhem,
and at one stage it virtually paralysed life in Northern Ireland,
in early July every year.

It also caused incalculable damage to inward investment and to
tourism, and only now are we beginning to recover, under the new
dispensation. The Drumcree dispute still has much poison beneath
the surface that needs to be drained away.

It represents all that has been bad about Northern Ireland, in
terms of bloodymindedness, self-righteousness and the unholy
mixture of bad religion and bad politics. It needs to be sorted
out quickly, and if possible before July this year.

There are some encouraging signs. The new Church of Ireland
Primate Archbishop Alan Harper, who has inherited the Drumcree
dispute as part of his new Armagh Diocese, said in Kilkenny this
week that he was "hopeful" that a solution might be found
quickly. However he told me that this was not a "prediction".

Already, like his predecessor, he is learning the art of saying
very little when there is very little to be said.

Significantly, however, he has indicated that he has talked to
some people involved in the dispute, and he intends to talk to

He also emphasised that his door is open to anyone who wants to
talk to him.

There are also encouraging noises from the Portadown Orangemen
who say that they will enter mediation talks without
preconditions. However, the 'preconditions' are part of what the
dispute is all about.

The Garvaghy Road residents claim that the Orangemen's desire to
complete their homeward march is, in fact, a precondition, and so
it goes on and on and on.

However, if we are to believe what we see on television and read
in our newspapers, a sea-change really has taken place in

Paisley and McGuinness, and a core of others from the DUP and
Sinn Fein, have shown themselves to be hard-headed, pragmatic
politicians who will cut a deal when the stakes are high enough.

Drumcree today seems quiet, but the last thing anyone wants is
more bitter headlines from Portadown and Garvaghy this July.

If the politicians can forge a most unlikely agreement at
Stormont, they can sort out Drumcree.

Northern Ireland flourishes or withers with the right or wrong
symbolism, and there would be no better symbol of peace than a
solution to the marching season, in general, and to Drumcree, in

So, let them get on with it.

c Belfast Telegraph


McCabe Killing: O'Neill To Be Released Next Week

12/05/2007 - 11:01:53

One of the four men convicted for his part in the killing of
detective garda Jerry McCabe is due to be released from prison
next week.

Michael O'Neill from Patrickswell in Co Limerick has served eight
years of his 11-year sentence in Castlerea and has been given
standard remission for good behaviour.

Detective garda McCabe was shot dead during a post office raid in
Adare, Co Limerick, in June 1996.

Jeremiah Sheehy, Pearse McAuley and Kevin Walsh, who were also
convicted of the manslaughter of the garda, are likely to be
released within the next two years.


Gildernew - SF Will Bring Equality Into The Heart Of Government,
North And South

Published: 13 May, 2007

Sinn Fein MP for Fermanagh and South Tyrone Michelle Gildernew
today spoke at the annual Sean MacDiarmada commemoration in
Kiltyclogher County Leitrim before joining Sligo/North Leitrim
candidate Sean MacManus on the General election campaign trail.

During the course of her address Michelle Gildernew said that
Sinn Fein was ready for government North and South and ready to
bring equality into the heart of politics on the island.

Ms Gildernew said:

"In recent days we have witnessed the establishment of a power
sharing government in the north, of which I am happy to be part.
This historic breakthrough came after years of tough negations
and difficult decisions for all concerned.

"And just as we had a strategy to get political agreement, we
have a strategy for the next phase - a strategy for Irish unity.
We must continue to seize the opportunities created by our
strategies. We must continue at all times to move forward.

"In just over a week's time the people of this state will go to
the polls and you have the chance to shape history once again.
Sinn Fein's job is to once gain secure the biggest vote possible
and more importantly the biggest number of seats possible.
Together we can transform the political landscape even further.
Sean MacManus can win here in Sligo/ North Leitrim.

"I have travelled extensively around the island in recent weeks.
People are crying out for change. Only Sinn Fein can deliver
that. As the establishment parties squabble over anything except
the real issues we have to be on the doorsteps convincing people
to become part of the process of change.

"We want to be in government in both parts of Ireland because
that is how we can bring about a truly national government. And
we are ready for that challenge. We want to end the two tier
health system, build social and affordable housing, reduce class
sizes, and tackle the scandal of so many young people dying on
our roads and through suicide. We will go into government to make
a difference for the better, to end partition and unite the
people of this island." ENDS


Sinn Fein Plays Down Drop In Polls

13/05/2007 - 13:02:59

Sinn Fein has said it's not worried by the drop in support for
the party shown in the latest opinion poll.

The party was reported to be down one point to seven per cent in
the latest Red C survey.

Fianna F il is also down two to thirty-five, while Fine Gael is
up three points to 29%.

"It's one of a series of polls that has been taken in the last
number of weeks - some have Sinn Fein rising, and some have, like
this one, where we're dropping in the poll," said Sinn Fein
deputy Sean Crowe.

"It's not reflecting what we're getting at the doors," he said.


Opin: Fragile Calm Behind Ulster's 'Peace Walls'

By David Harrison in Belfast, Sunday Telegraph
Last Updated: 11:37pm BST 12/05/2007Page 1 of 3

The old enemies, Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness, now share
government in Northern Ireland, so does that mean the Troubles
are finally over? David Harrison in Belfast finds only a fragile
peace behind the 'peace walls'

John Bunting was having a cup of tea at his daughter Karen's
house, last week, when a hail of bricks and stones came flying
over the "peace wall", thrown by Protestants.

The 57-year-old showed us the dents and scratches they left in
his old brown Renault, but he was much more concerned for his
two-year-old grandson, Eoin. "They could have killed him," he
said. "My daughter's moving out. She can't live like this. All it
will take is one family to retaliate and we will be back to the
guns and bombs. We don't want that."

This is life today on the border between the
Catholic Falls Road and the Protestant Shankill Road areas, a
frontline in the sectarian conflict that claimed 3,700 lives in
Belfast and the rest of Northern Ireland during more than 30
years of the Troubles. The wall in question is no ordinary wall.
It is a 60ft high, half-mile-long metal barrier that separates
the two communities, one of about 20 in the city. Mostly erected
at the residents' request, they remain the starkest symbols of
the deep divisions in Northern Ireland society.

It is all a long way from the thigh-slapping bonhomie and grand
talk of "a time for peace" on show at Stormont Assembly last
week, when the unionist leader the Rev Ian Paisley and Sinn
Fein's Martin McGuinness sat down together as First and Deputy
First Minister, respectively, in the Province's new power-sharing

It was a scene that many thought they would never see, and one
that many think will not last. The mood on the streets of Belfast
last week was hopeful but cautious, sceptical and, in many cases,
downright cynical. For every expression of joy and every
exhortation to embrace a "great opportunity" there was at least
another that described Paisley as a traitor and said McGuinness
should be kicked out of his party. Both were accused of "selling

Away from the smug smiles and staged photo opportunities at
Stormont, tension still simmers in many parts of Belfast. The
vast majority will tell you that they desperately want peace, but
they are fearful that the leaders' unity is fragile, hypocritical
and not reflected in the daily lives of most ordinary people.

The loyalist and republican communities are still locked in a
cycle of mutual fear and suspicion. It is the residents, not the
police, who want the peace walls ("lines" as they are officially
known) to stay up. "If they took it down it would only take one
idiot with a petrol bomb to start it again," says Ellen Baxter,
47, who lives with her husband and three children 50 yards from
the peace wall on the Shankill side. "No one wants to go back to
the bombings and shootings but these things can escalate quickly.
We will need the walls for a long, long time."

The "armed conflict" may be over and the guns put away, but for
many people the wounds of the past are still raw. Nor is the next
generation being sheltered from sectarianism. In the Ardoyne
area, where Catholic children had to run a gauntlet of abuse and
missiles from adult Protestants as they walked through a loyalist
enclave to get to Holy Cross Primary School in 2001, the children
are now taken to school by bus and allowed to leave on foot only
if accompanied by a parent or a teacher. The school head, Betty
Quinn, says there have been some "minor incidents" in the past
few years, but the new measures have helped to keep things calm.

The Catholics and Protestants in the area, another one with a
peace wall, have slid into surly hostility. "We don't talk to
them and they don't talk to us," says Stuart Cahoon, 21. "How
could I speak to the Catholics after all the things they have
done to our people?" One Catholic mother collecting her child
from the school on Friday said: "It's shameful that we can't let
our children walk, but we know the abuse would start again."

The hostility is not only between different communities, it is
also within them. The paramilitaries who controlled their own
communities for years, acting as arbitrary "police" forces and
administering summary justice in the form of beatings and
banishments, are clinging to power in the working-class areas.

A woman near the Shankill Road told how an 18-year-old youth was
beaten with baseball bats recently by Ulster Defence Association
paramilitaries after they accused him - wrongly, he claimed - of
stealing a mobile phone at a party. "He needed 12 stitches, but
he was too frightened to report them to the police because he
knows they will come for him again," she said. "They may not all
be carrying guns any more, but they are still just as vicious."

The police welcomed the power-sharing agreement as a "positive
move" but they know that they have to break the cycle of
sectarian violence and stop the paramilitary gangs, many of whom
have retained their weapons as they have moved from armed
conflict to crime, including drug dealing, money laundering and
extortion. Senior officers know that the key is to win the
support of the nationalist communities who remain deeply
suspicious of all police officers, a legacy of the days of the
Royal Ulster Constabulary, which nationalists believed was
prejudiced against them and colluded with loyalist

At Antrim Road police station, which covers north and west
Belfast, Supt Nigel Grimshaw, the deputy commander, says
attitudes have shifted "hugely" in the past few years. "The
republicans' recent statement accepting the police was very
significant," he says. "There are signs that we are winning the
confidence of people in the nationalist community and more people
are stepping forward to exert a positive influence. But we know
it won't happen overnight."

The recruitment statistics point to some progress. Nearly 22 per
cent of the Police Service of Northern Ireland is now made up of
Catholics, compared with only eight per cent in 2001, when the
service was created, and the force is on target to reach 30 per
cent by 2010. The eventual aim is for 50 per cent.

The next big test for the police - and the new
government - will come at the height of the marching season in
July and August. After some of the worst violence for many years
in 2005, last year's parades passed off peacefully and police
have been preparing for months, talking to community leaders to
ensure a similar result this year. A group of young loyalists in
the Shankill said they expected things to "flare up" during the
marches, which they referred to as "the ratting season".

Political analysts warn that the new Assembly's unity will be put
under severe strain by looming crises, such as the row over
selection in education, the battle over new water rates and the
general election in the Republic of Ireland on May 24, where
success for Sinn Fein could tempt them to "poke the Unionists in
the eye" in Ulster. "All of these issues could shatter the
political peace and that could find violent expression on the
streets," said John Cobain, a political analyst in Belfast.

Indeed the bickering has already started, after Sinn Fein called
for statues of Republican heroes to be erected at Stormont,
prompting a furious response from members of Mr Paisley's
Democratic Unionist party. "The leaders are keen to damp down the
row," Mr Cobain said. "But it's an early sign of how easy it will
be for the agreement to unravel."

There are, however, signs that Belfast is acquiring a taste for
peace. Some of the murals of west Belfast, depicting hooded
paramilitaries wielding rifles, are being replaced by more
historic or legendary scenes. The top part of one loyalist mural
in the Sandy Row district of south Belfast has been covered with
a poster for BMW, with the slogan: "Every movement needs an

British soldiers no longer patrol the streets. Police officers
are on the beat, on foot and bicycles, in even the most volatile
areas, though with armoured Land Rovers never too far away.
"There is still what we call 'recreational violence', such as
stone-throwing," Supt Grimshaw says, "so it makes sense to have
armoured vehicles rather than face constant repair bills for
shiny new cars."

The streets of west Belfast are no longer littered with burnt-out
cars. Hundreds of new flats and houses are being built and
property prices are up by more than 30 per cent in Belfast in the
past year. Near the Falls Road, a four-bedroom end-of-terrace
house on Beechmount Avenue - known as "RPG Avenue" after attacks
with rocket-propelled grenades on British troops - with a huge
Republican mural painted on the side, has just sold for "well
over" the asking price of œ220,000, according to McGranaghans
estate agent.

Republicans and loyalists run what have been nicknamed "terrorist
tours" of the main sites in their areas linked with the conflict,
often sending groups of tourists over to each other "to hear the
other side's point of view". Some of the tours are run by ex-
prisoners, including former members of the IRA and the Ulster
Volunteer Force. Padraic McCotter, a training officer for the
political tours in the Falls Road area, and a former IRA member
jailed for 15 years for possessing weapons, wants the peace
process to succeed and is "hopeful for the future". But he does
not regret what he did and still wants to see a united Ireland.

On the Shankill Road, Tom Roberts, an ex-UVF member who spent 13
years in jail for killing a member of the Irish National
Liberation Army, runs the loyalist ex-prisoners' organisation. He
is "disappointed" with Mr Paisley's volte-face and "hijacking" of
a path paved by other unionist leaders, including David Trimble,
but says he wants the peace to work. He warns that there is "no
room for complacency". The Unionists and Republicans had not
changed their view and "all the ingredients for conflict that
were there before are still there".

In the Beehive pub, on the Falls Road, David O'Neill, 49, a
father of four who was 10 when the Troubles started, tells how he
joined the IRA at 13. "The next thing I knew, I was 23," he says.
"I missed my teenage years. I grew up too fast, doing things that
no teenager should have to do."

Out of 30 classmates he had at secondary school, 16 are now dead.
"I don't want that for my family, and I'm sure no loyalist does
either," he adds. "We still want different things, but at least
it's a political argument now, not a military one. That's got to
be good. That's why this peace has to work."


LA Police In Appeal To O'Loan

[Published: Saturday 12, May 2007 - 09:36]
By Emily Moulton

Strategies developed by the Police Ombudsman's Office to
investigate heavy-handed police actions are being sought by a US
police commission.

Nuala O'Loan's office has been asked to assist the Los Angeles
Police Commission after heavy rioting during a rally in the city
last week.

Police fired more than 250 plastic baton rounds into the crowd,
which included immigrants from the Hispanic community who were
protesting about worker rights.

The rally got out of control after people began throwing bottles
and rocks. Police in riot gear moved in.

Twenty-four people, including ten journalists, were injured
during the riots which were captured on television. Officers are
seen attacking protesters and journalists.

The LA Police Chief has acknowledged "inappropriate behaviour" on
the part of some of his officers.

Community leaders in Los Angles have now called on the police to
release copies of all documentation they hold in relation to the
event in order to prevent a "cover-up".

The LAPD Commission, the civilian body which oversees the police
in the city, contacted the Police Ombudsman's Senior Director of
Investigations, Justin Felice, for help.

"They had seen a presentation I had given about rioting in the
Whiterock area of Belfast in 2005 and the issues it raised for
policing, and quickly realised that there were similarities,
particularly given the large number of batons they fired," Mr
Felice explained.

He said one of the main concerns the LA Police Commission had was
whether its investigation would stand up to the scrutiny of the
diverse community in the city.

c Belfast Telegraph


Museum Of Free Derry Vital For City Tourism - Colr. McLaughlin

By Staff copy

The Museum of Free Derry must become part of the strategic plan
for the development of tourism in the city, Sinn Fein Councillor
and Chair of the Council Development Committee Maeve McLaughlin
said yesterday.

Councillor McLaughlin told the 'Journal': "Today I accompanied
Paul Sweeney, Permanent Secretary of the Department of Culture
Arts and Leisure on a tour of the Museum of Free Derry and
stressed the importance of this newly opened museum to the
tourist potential of the city.

"The Bogside area with its historical significance, its monuments
and murals has one of the highest footfalls of tourists in Derry.
The Museum of Free Derry compliments these other attractions and
allows for people to learn the history of the early conflict
including the Civil Rights era, Battle of the Bogside and Bloody
Sunday. The story of Derry cannot be fully told without exploring
these events so central not only to Derry but to Ireland as a

"The Tourist Board has recognised the potential of this museum
and early visitor figures have exceeded all expectations yet the
museum has struggled for funding. Along with the Board of the
Museum wef stressed to Mr. Sweeney the importance of funding in
order to maintain the project to the level it is currently at and
asked DCAL to have a look at the situation," she added.


Eurovision: Time To Re-Appraise Our Approach

Sunday, 13 May 2007 22:39

RTE has defended its selection procedure for the Eurovision Song
Contest following Ireland's entry, 'They can't stop the spring'
by Dervish, came last in the competition in Helsinki last night.

RTE has defended its selection procedure for the Eurovision Song

The head of the Irish delegation, Julian Vignoles said it might
be time to re-appraise our approach to the song contest.

The band received votes from just one country, Albania.

The Serbian singer, Marija Serifovic won the 52nd Eurovision Song

The winning song, Molitva, scored 268 points, and had been
second-favourite to win.

The event was held in the Hartswall Areena in Helsinki, Finland.

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