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May 04, 2007

UVF Urged To Destroy Weapons

News about Ireland & the Irish

BB 05/04/07 UVF Urged To Destroy Its Weapons
IN 05/04/07 UVF Leader ‘Ready To Meet Top Republicans’
IN 05/04/07 UVF: Blood-Soaked History Spanned Over Four Decades
IT 05/04/07 A Dark Past: UVF Victims
BB 05/04/07 Loyalist Duo Jailed For Extortion
UT 05/04/07 Martin McGuinness Looking Forward To May 8
BB 05/04/07 NI Power-Sharing 'Bit Of Miracle'
BN 05/04/07 Cash Row Dominates FF Campaign
BN 05/04/07 'Dutchy' Holland Arrested In London
IN 05/04/07 Defendant Accused Of Tax Fiddle In Republic
IN 05/04/07 Hundreds Turn Out For Funeral Of Sinn Fein Councillor
BT 05/04/07 Battle Over Teenager's Right To Abortion
IT 05/04/07 Government To Recognise Famine Event
IT 05/04/07 Tara Monument May Have Been Royal Site
BT 05/04/07 Pandemonium As ATM Hands Out Free Cash
BB 05/04/07 Race On For Paisley Life On Film


UVF Urged To Destroy Its Weapons

The Ulster Volunteer Force has come under pressure to destroy its
weapons after its announcement it will cease to exist as a
terrorist organisation.

The UVF said it will keep its weapons, but has put them "beyond

However, the body which oversees arms decommissioning said it was
"concerned" by the UVF's intention to deal with weapons without
their involvement.

During the Troubles in Northern Ireland, the loyalist
paramilitary group murdered more than 500 people.

Its campaign also claimed the lives of 33 people in bomb attacks
in Dublin and Monaghan in 1974.

The UVF declared that it is renouncing violence and will cease to
exist as a terrorist organisation on Friday from midnight.

In a statement, it said its weapons would be stored in a number
of arms dumps "under the control of the UVF leadership, but not
accessible for use by members".

We are prepared to meet with the UVF representative to discuss
how we can work together in dealing with arms

Independent International Commission on Decommissioning

The statement was read by Gusty Spence, who helped found the
modern day UVF in 1966.

It declared a ceasefire 13 years ago, but since then its members
have been blamed for more than 20 murders.

Speaking in Fernhill House in west Belfast on Thursday, Gusty
Spence said the UVF and its associated group, the Red Hand
Commando, "will assume a non-military, civilianised role".

On the issue of weapons, the statement said these had been put
beyond reach and that the Independent International Commission on
Decommissioning led by General John de Chastelain had been

However, it did not elaborate on what this means, or whether the
general will be allowed to verify its claim.

The statement also condemned any criminal activity by its
members, and said they should "cooperate fully with the lawful
authorities in all possible instances".

The UVF has accepted that "the IRA's war is over" and said it was
making this move now because it was satisfied that Northern
Ireland's place within the United Kingdom was now safe.

However, the Independent International Commission on
Decommissioning urged the UVF to work with it to destroy its

It said it welcomed the statement, but was "concerned by their
intention to deal with their arms without the involvement of the

Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain welcomed the move as "a
further welcome confirmation that Northern Ireland is emerging
into a new and positive era".

Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern said the UVF should work with
the decommissioning body "with a view to full decommissioning".

Sinn Fein's John O'Dowd said: "This is a welcome statement if it
signals a recognition of the new political reality where there is
no room for armed or violent actions."

The DUP's Peter Robinson said: "The decision that the UVF is
moving to a civilian mode is undoubtedly a major development and
it is critical that all paramilitary groups follow this clear

The SDLP's Patsy McGlone said there was "a yawning credibility
gap for the UVF on the issue of targeting and intelligence-

The Ulster Unionist Party's Fred Cobain said: "We hope it signals
the destruction of materials of war so that they cannot again be
used to inflict harm."

The PSNI said: "Whilst we welcome today's announcement,
individuals and organisations will be judged by their actions -
actions always speak louder than words."

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2007/05/03 21:26:06 GMT


UVF Leader 'Ready To Meet Top Republicans'

By Barry McCaffrey

A senior loyalist has said he is ready to meet his one-time sworn
enemies in the Sinn Fein leadership in an effort to move the
peace process forward.

Shankill loyalist Winston 'Winkie' Rea (56) is regarded as a
leader of the UVF and Red Hand Commando and was a key player in
yesterday's announcement that their 'war' is over.

He said he was now prepared to hold talks with republican

"If Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness rang me this afternoon I
would have no hesitation in meeting with them," he said.

"Like ourselves I believe they are ab-solutely genuine people and
that we now have to work with each other."

Insisting that the UVF announcement was "genuine and absolute",
he said: "This statement is saying more than the UVF is leaving
the stage; it is saying that the UVF and Red Hand Commando's war
is over.

"The lights have been turned off on the UVF today. There will be
some people, such as myself, who will be left in place to make
sure it stays that way but for all intents and purposes it's

There was a cautious political welcome for the UVF statement last
night but criticism of a commitment only to leave arms "beyond

The group was urged to meet decommissioning inspectors and give
up its weapons.


A Blood-Soaked History That Spanned Over Four Decades

UVF stands down

By Staff Reporter

The UVF was responsible for nearly 570 deaths throughout the
Troubles, including the notorious Shankill Butcher murders.

However, in recent years it has been rocked by feuds, revelations
about highly placed informers within its ranks and the sudden
death of its political voice, David Ervine.

The UVF was responsible for what is generally acknowledged to be
the first killing of the Troubles, when Catholic storeman John
Scullion died on June 11 1966 two weeks after being shot by
loyalist gunmen near his Falls Road home.

Later that month it murdered another Catholic, Peter Ward (18),
as he left a Shankill Road bar where he had been celebrating a
friend's birthday.

UVF founder Gusty Spence was sentenced to life imprisonment for
the killing.

The loyalist organisation was also responsible for the third
murder of the Troubles when 77-year-old Protestant pensioner
Matilda Gould died after the UVF accidentally fire-bombed her
Shankill Road home while attacking a Catholic-owned bar next

Hundreds more murders would be carried out over the next 40
years, with 60 of the UVF's own members being killed.

The bloodiest years were in the 1970s when it was responsible for
365 killings, including the single biggest loss of human life
during the Troubles when 33 people were killed in the
Dublin/Monaghan bombings on May 17 1974.

While the UVF has always denied it received help from the
security forces, it has long been suspected that there was
collusion in the mid-Ulster area.

In April 1974 Merlyn Rees, then secretary of state for Northern
Ireland, removed a ban on the UVF - making it a legal
organisation - in a bid to encourage constitutional politics.

However, on October 2 1975 the UVF killed 12 people, six of them
Catholic. Within 24 hours it was again banned.

The years 1975-1977 saw the emergence of the Shankill Butchers,
who were responsible for 35 of the most gruesome murders of the

Seven involved the abduction of Catholic men who were then
tortured and hacked to death.

Although it was claimed the killings were carried out without the
sanction of the UVF leadership, the gang's leader, Lenny Murphy,
was given a full paramilitary funeral when he was shot dead by
the IRA in November 1982.

Unlike its counterparts in the UDA, the current leaders of the
UVF have managed to remain firmly in the shadows and well away
from the glare of publicity.

The organisation's leadership, which has remained largely
unchanged throughout the Troubles, was developed by Gusty Spence
in the cages of Long Kesh during the 1970s.

Key figures who would later emerge as voices for the loyalist
group included Billy Hutchinson, David Ervine, William 'Plum'
Smyth and Eddie Kinnear.

In 1991 the UVF and the UDA established the Combined Loyalist
Military Command to coordinate the activities of the two groups.
It was instrumental in calling ceasefires following political
talks during the early 1990s.

However, UVF killing continued throughout the period, with one of
its most notorious units being run by Billy Wright in Portadown.

In 1993 the group also attempted to smuggle 300 assault rifles
and two tons of explosives into Northern Ireland but the
container ship from Poland was intercepted by British police at
Teesport docks in England.

Senior loyalists privately admitted that a number of similar
shipments had got through previously.

Wright, nicknamed King Rat, was said to have been responsible for
dozens of murders, including those of two Catholic teenage girls
at a mobile shop in Craigavon and 76-year-old pensioner Roseanne
Mallon at her home near Dungannon.

The organisation continued to kill in the months leading up to
the 1994 ceasefires.

In June of that year UVF gunmen burst into the Heights Bar in the
Co Down village of Loughinisland and opened fire as patrons were
watching a World Cup game between Ireland and Italy. Six men were
killed and dozens injured.

Last year victims' families asked Police Ombudsman Nuala O'Loan
to investigate if the killers were protected because they were
Special Branch agents.

On Thursday October 13 1994 Gusty Spence announced the loyalist

The Provisional IRA had already called its own cessation six
weeks earlier.

However, the UVF has found itself involved in a series of bloody
feuds throughout the past 13 years, first with the UDA and later
the LVF.

It has been blamed for more than 25 murders since its 1994

Earlier this year the organisation was rocked by revelations that
senior UVF member Mark Haddock had been a Special Branch

An investigation by the Police Ombudsman found that he and other
UVF members had been involved in up to 16 murders but were
protected from prosecution by their Special Branch handlers.

The organisation was also hit by the death of its only political
voice, David Ervine, in January.

The 53-year-old had played a key role in bringing about the 1994
ceasefire and had developed strong links with both republicans
and the Irish government.

In November last year he travelled to Colombia with Catholic
priest Fr Alec Reid to share experiences of the peace process in

Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams, SDLP leader Mark Durkan and former
taoiseach Albert Reynolds all attended Mr Ervine's funeral.

In March Dawn Purvis retained Mr Ervine's assembly seat, ensuring
the loyalist organisation maintained its political voice at

However, last month the UVF was accused of targeting nationalists
in the south Derry area after a police employee was charged with
illegally obtaining the personal details of more than 100 people
from PSNI computers.

The UVF is believed to have access to a variety of weapons
including AK-47 rifles, pistols and revolvers.

In the mid-1990s it used Powergel explosives, stolen from mining
companies in Britain, in a number of attacks in the Republic.

Arms shipments smuggled into Northern Ireland prior to 1993 would
suggest it may have access to at least 300 rifles.

It is also known to have a small number of RPG-7 rocket launchers
which it used in attacks on Sinn Fein offices in the late 1980s
and early 1990s.


A Dark Past: UVF Victims

The UVF was responsible for some of the worst sectarian
atrocities of the Troubles. The organisation, which took its name
from the anti-Home Rule Ulster Volunteer Force established by Sir
Edward Carson in 1912, was founded by Gusty Spence in 1966,
predating the Provisional IRA.

Its first three victims, a Protestant woman and two Catholic men,
who had no IRA connections, were murdered in 1966 when Spence was
leader. The UVF sought to justify these killings as a response to
the rise in Irish nationalism stemming from that year's 50th
anniversary commemorations of the 1916 Easter Rising.

Twenty-eight years later Spence read out the loyalist
paramilitary ceasefire statement of October 1994 that expressed
"abject and true remorse" to all innocent victims of loyalist

The UVF carried out the Dublin-Monaghan bombings in which 33
people were killed - the largest loss of life in a single day
during the Troubles. It was responsible for the McGurks Bar
bombing of 1971 in which 15 were killed; it murdered three
members of the Miami Showband in 1975; Lenny Murphy's Shankill
Butchers in the 1970s were implicated in up to 30 killings.

In 1994 it carried out the attack on the Heights Bar in
Loughinisland, Co Down, as patrons were watching the Ireland
versus Italy World Cup soccer game on television. They killed six
Catholic men including one of the oldest victims of the troubles,
87-year-old Barney Green.

After the 1994 ceasefires its political wing, the Progressive
Unionist Party tried to lay political foundations under the late
David Ervine and former MLA Billy Hutchinson. Even during this
period the UVF was involved in widespread criminality and several
killings and feuds including a bitter dispute with the late
former UVF Mid-Ulster leader Billy Wright, who later founded the
Loyalist Volunteer Force.

c 2007 The Irish Times


Loyalist Duo Jailed For Extortion

Two Belfast loyalists who admitted attempting to blackmail an
undercover policeman they thought was a builder have each been
jailed for six years.

David Coleman, 21, Hopewell Crescent, and William McClean, 45,
Hopewell Place, offered "security" for œ5,000 to a firm enduring
vandalism and thefts.

They told the undercover policeman who caught them they were from
the UDA.

Judge Burgess said neither man was "just a messenger" as "they
knew the threat was a real threat".

Offer ignored

McClean first approached staff at the east Belfast building site
in November 2005 but the offer was ignored.

He came back two weeks later but this time he brought Coleman,
and the pair left a mobile phone number where they could "sort
the matter out".

The builders again ignored the threats, and a week later McClean
told the site foreman if the cash was not paid, "the existing
security would be put off the site".

A prosecution lawyer said undercover officers became involved at
this stage, and arrangements were made to hand over cash at an
east Belfast hotel.

When the pair arrived they claimed they were from the UDA and
left with the money, but were arrested by police who were on
standby nearby.

Sinister elements

During questioning, the two men claimed they had been put under
pressure to become involved by more sinister elements because of
debts they had.

Lawyers for the pair said it was clear that neither of them had
been the "prime movers or chief architects" of the extortion.

Sentencing them, the judge ordered Coleman and McClean serve
probation for a further 18 months and year respectively.

The judge said he was offering probation as each has their own
problems to deal with, and "it's not just for them but hopefully
to protect the public".

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2007/05/03 18:26:30 GMT


Martin McGuinness Looking Forward To May 8

Irish politics is set to be transformed by the re-emergence of
all-island institutions of government within weeks, Sinn Fein has

The party`s chief negotiator Martin McGuinness said he looked
forward to the launch of a new power-sharing administration in
Northern Ireland on Tuesday.

But as he joined Sinn Fein candidates in Dublin lodging
nomination papers for the Republic`s general election, he
highlighted that within weeks he and Ian Paisley will be working
the new Irish government in all-island institutions.

"We are living in historic times," said Mr McGuinness.

"Next Tuesday, myself and Ian Paisley will sit down together at
the head of the power-sharing government in the north.

"And weeks later Sinn Fein and DUP Ministers in the north will
sit down with ministers in the new government in the south taking
governmental decisions on the all-Ireland Ministerial Council.

"This is a hugely important development which will fundamentally
change politics on this island."

Mr McGuinness said Sinn Fein is aiming to secure government posts
on both sides of the border to promote Irish unity.

Looking forward to the south`s General Election on May 24, he
said: "Among our priorities in government will be the completion
of a Green Paper on Irish Unity within one year, identifying
steps and measures to promote and assist a successful transition
to a United Ireland.

"We will also appoint a Minister of State with the specific
responsibility to oversee this work and to direct and co-ordinate
the Government`s all-Ireland policies across Departments."

He added: "Sinn Fein is seeking a mandate to be in government in
the south.

"The implementation of the all-Ireland agenda would be hugely
strengthened with Sinn Fein Ministers working in government,
north and south at the same time."


NI Power-Sharing 'Bit Of Miracle'

Irish President Mary McAleese has said there is a "hint of the
miraculous" about the agreement between Sinn Fein and the DUP to
share power.

Speaking at the American Ireland Fund gala dinner in New York,
she said "old sworn enemies" would head the new administration in
Northern Ireland.

Her comments come just days ahead of the expected return of
devolution to Northern Ireland on 8 May.

Mrs McAleese also urged loyalist paramilitaries to decommission.

The British and Irish prime ministers are to travel to Stormont
for the restoration of power-sharing, almost five years after the
previous institutions were suspended.

DUP leader Ian Paisley and Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness will
become first and deputy first ministers respectively.

The Irish president told those at the dinner: "In a couple of
days a new administration headed jointly by those old sworn
enemies, the DUP and Sinn Fein, will take on shared
responsibility for the future of Northern Ireland.

"If there is a hint of the miraculous about these hope-filled
times, and there is, then it is very important that we
acknowledge those who believed that miracles could happen.

"The dead grip of history was prised open by the efforts of a lot
of people on this side of the Atlantic."

However, Mrs McAleese also said part of the peace process jigsaw
puzzle was the weapons issue.

"It is important that we remember the cost of this peace in terms
of cruel suffering and that we commit to nurturing it especially
through these early days," she said.

"Not all the guns have gone, regrettably, and we particularly
look forward to the promised dismantling of the extensive network
of Protestant loyalist paramilitaries as they complete their
journey from war to peace."

She said Ireland, both north and south, was embarking on "an
irreversible and hugely exciting journey towards the island's
best future yet".

"So many of history's shadows have lifted in recent times," she

"The old vexed relationship between Ireland and Great Britain has
been superseded by a new level of friendship and partnership
showcased by the success of the two governments in jointly
steering the peace process."

The power-sharing institutions were suspended in October 2002
amid allegations of intelligence gathering at Stormont. Direct
rule has been in place since that date.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2007/05/04 05:49:12 GMT



Cash Row Dominates FF Campaign

04/05/2007 - 07:35:57

A fresh row over the Taoiseach's finances is again dominating the
sixth day of the election run-up.

The Irish Times has published what it says is new information
relating to the purchase of the Taoiseach's house in Drumcondra
in the 1990s.

It gives further details of the relationship between Bertie Ahern
and businessman Michael Wall in connection with the renting and
purchase of the house.

Fianna F il has responded by saying the allegations are part of a
carefully orchestrated campaign to cause mayhem during the
General Election. It says the information is being unlawfully
leaked from the Mahon Tribunal.

A party spokesperson has said Bertie Ahern will not respond to
the latest revelations as it would only fuel the alleged smear
campaign against his party.


'Dutchy' Holland Arrested In London

04/05/2007 - 08:12:29

The notorious Irish criminal Patrick 'Dutchy' Holland has been
arrested in London.

The 68-year-old, who was named in court as the man who shot
Veronica Guerin, was detained by police on Tuesday.

He is one of five people charged with plotting to kidnap a man in
the city.

It is understood the group was under surveillance by undercover


Defendant Accused Of Tax Fiddle In Republic

By Staff Reporter

A brother-in-law of Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness was involved in
a tax fiddle in the Republic, it was alleged in the High Court in
Belfast yesterday.

The claim was made by a Crown lawyer during a bail application by
Marvin Canning (45), from Glendara in Derry, who denies seven
charges arising out of the kidnapping of a couple in Mullingar,
Co Westmeath last month.

The court heard that Co Down man Brendan Cranston and his
partner, Dubliner Linda Doherty, were tied up after two men
rushed into their home and demanded e170,000.

They were put into a van

and driven away and eventually arrived in Derry where Mr Cranston
was interrogated and struck several times.

The pair were then driven to another location where Ms Doherty
was told to walk away and not look back, while Mr Cranston was
shot in both ankles.

Barrister David Reid said Canning was arrested at his home the
next day and denied involvement.

Canning, a brother of Martin McGuinness's wife Bernie, has been
charged with kidnapping and false imprisonment of Mr Cranston and
Ms Doherty, causing them grievous bodily harm with intent and
possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life.

The lawyer told the court: "Police believe the

applicant was using Cranston's 'C2' form with the object of
avoiding tax in the Republic."

Mr Reid claimed there was "a great risk" admitting him to bail at
this stage because "a number of suspects are still at large and
there could be interference with the police investigation".

Mr Justice Treacy adjourned the application until May 17 so that
police statements running to 80 pages and the results of forensic
tests could be made available to the defence.


Hundreds Of Mourners Turn Out For Funeral Of Sinn Fein Councillor

By Allison Morris

Hundreds of mourners turned out yesterday

to pay their respects to Sinn Fein councillor Michael McAnespie
who died on Monday after being gored by a bull on his farm near

The father of nine, had served on Omagh District Council for 10
years as a representative for the Mid-Tyrone area.

Mr McAnespie (63) had been tending to livestock in a field close
to his Loughmacrory home when he was attacked by the Charolais
bull on Monday afternoon, the animal was later shot by police.

Mr McAnespie's wife Patricia was joined by hundreds of family and
friends along with members of the Loughmacrory GAC of which the
councillor was a founding member.

Leading members of Sinn Fein including West Tyrone MP Pat Doherty
were also in attendance.

Speaking of his party colleague he said: "Mickey made such a
positive contribution to so many peoples' lives in his 63 years
and his tragic passing has left behind a gaping void which will
be impossible to fill.

"His friendly and down to earth manner endeared him to everyone
he met regardless of political allegiance."

The monthly meeting of Omagh District Council was adjourned on
Tuesday as a mark of respect to Mr McAnespie following
expressions of sympathy from all parties.

UUP councillor Allan Rainey paid tribute to the Sinn Fein man's
contribution to the Omagh council during his term as chairman.

"He went the extra two miles to reach out to all sides of the
community and political persuasion and honoured all sections of
the community equally with chairman's receptions," he said.

Mr McAnespie was chairman of the council in 2005/06 and vice-
chairman in 2002/03.

He was particularly active on rural issues and was a strong
supporter of the campaign to retain acute services at Tyrone
County Hospital.

Requiem Mass was held at St Theresa's Church, Loughmacrory
followed by burial in the adjoining cemetery.


Ireland Caught In Battle Over Teenager's Right To Abortion

[Published: Friday 4, May 2007 - 12:04]
By David McKittrick

The authorities in the Republic of Ireland are embroiled in
complex legal proceedings centring on a teenage girl who wishes
to travel to the UK to abort a foetus which cannot survive for
long outside the womb.

The case has reopened the abortion issue which has, in the past,
produced social and political convulsions in a country which is
traditionally Roman Catholic but is now increasingly liberal.

The 17-year-old, who is four months pregnant and can only be
identified as Miss D, sought an abortion after discovering that
the foetus suffers from a brain condition which means it could
live for, at most, three days after birth.

Because the girl is in care, the health authorities moved to
prevent her travelling to England to have an abortion. She is now
asking an Irish court to overturn the decision.

The court case now under way is grappling with complex arguments.
It involves the government, health authorities and the girl
herself. In addition, the Irish Attorney General has appointed a
lawyer to represent the interests of the unborn child.

Politicians from various parties have expressed sympathy for the
girl but they are seeking to prevent the case becoming an issue
in the current general election campaign.

The proceedings have been brought by the girl's boyfriend since
she is a minor and cannot do so. Taken into care following a
domestic incident, she discovered last week that the child she is
carrying is anencephalic, a condition which means much of the
foetus's brain is missing.

In an affidavit, the girl described her experience in hospital:
"As I was lying on the bed for the scan and the nurse was showing
me various parts of the baby on the monitor, it became clear that
the baby had no head."

She added that she was extremely distressed by this news, and
found it "most upsetting to contemplate carrying a baby to term
in circumstances where it has been been condemned to death once
born." The girl went on: "The fact that they expect me to carry
this baby to term, despite the trauma this would naturally
inflict and the inhumanity of the ordeal, does not show any real
appreciation of a concern for my best interest or well-being."

In a point which is central to the case, she stressed that, while
she was upset, she was not at all suicidal. Abortion in Ireland
is illegal except where there is a real and substantial risk to
the life - as distinct from the health - of the mother. This
includes the risk of suicide.

In a very few similar - though not identical - cases, young women
have been officially allowed to go to England for abortions.
Unofficially, hundreds make the trip every year for this purpose.

Irish politicians have been criticised for not clarifying the
country's abortion law, with critics saying the area is a moral
and political morass from which legislators have shied away.

Changes to the law involve changing the constitution of the
Republic, a move which requires a referendum. In the past, these
have proved extremely divisive while failing to establish a
definitive legal position.

Diarmuid Martin, the Catholic Archbishop of Dublin and Primate of
Ireland, said the foetus was "still a human person and therefore
has rights. The legal problem was there for the entire last
session of the Dail and I saw no politician rushing to address

The Alliance for Choice criticised successive governments from a
different point of view. Its spokesperson, Dr Mary Muldowney,
said of the girl: "She cannot afford any further delay and the
Irish people will not thank the government for brutalising a
young woman in their name."

c Belfast Telegraph


Government To Recognise Famine Event

Campaigners have won a four-year battle to force the Government
to officially recognise its annual event to commemorate the

The Cabinet has declined invites since 2003 to a procession in
Dublin to mark the 19th-century disaster that decimated the Irish
population through deaths and emigration.

However, Taoiseach Bertie Ahern has finally agreed to give State
support to the May 27th event by holding a State reception
afterwards in Iveagh House.

Minister of State at the Department Conor Lenihan will represent
the Government and guests at the event, at which the US and
Australian ambassadors will attend.

The Tallaght-based Committee for the Commemoration of Irish
Famine Victims has been lobbying TDs and organisations on the
issue for the past four years.

Every year up to 50 committee members and supporters dress in
peasant clothes in the annual procession from the Garden of
Remembrance on Parnell Square to the Famine Sculptures on Custom
House Quay.



Tara Monument May Have Been Royal Site

Elaine Keogh

Archaeologists believe the new monument discovered along the
planned route of the M3 motorway may have been a royal site,
probably used for open-air rituals at the same time that similar
ceremonies would have taken place on the Hill of Tara just 2km
(1.2 miles) away.

It is a late prehistoric circular enclosure, but unlike similar
enclosures at Emain Macha, seat of the kings of Ulster, in Co
Armagh, and Tara, which had many phases of building and
rebuilding, this new site seems to represent just a single period
of use for such rituals.

Why this is the case is one of the many questions the discovery
has raised. Radiocarbon dating will reveal later this month how
old it is; it is believed to be from the late Bronze Age/Iron

The outer circle is about 80m in diameter and it lies across what
would be the northbound lane of the ?850 million motorway.

The future of the site, and particularly whether archaeologists
will be told to excavate it, is in the hands of the Minister for
the Environment, Dick Roche.

During a guided tour of the site for the media yesterday, about a
dozen members of the Campaign to Save Tara group arrived and hung
large banners calling for the road to be re-routed.

"We believe the Government is not prepared to accept the
significance of what has been found here," said its spokesman
Michael Canney. The protesters took pictures and video footage of
the site and one woman claimed there was a "cover-up" of the

The Department of the Environment denied claims that the Minister
has made a decision and said yesterday the process was ongoing.
It is understood Mr Roche is awaiting a response on the find from
the director of the National Museum, Pat Wallace, which is
expected to come today.

Senior archaeologist with the National Roads Authority Mary Deevy
said there were a number of factors which hint at the likelihood
that the site was of great significance and potentially a
national monument.

The first discovery was an arc of stakeholes which had once held
wooden poles. This led to further work and the discovery of a
large outer circle of stakeholes.

Archaeologists then found signs of an east-facing entrance and a
smaller enclosure within the larger one. It is an exact circle
with closely spaced stakeholes. The site is at the bottom of a
natural basin and does not appear to have been roofed.

"It didn't appear to be defensive, was perfectly circular - we
checked that on computer - and there is this circular enclosure
perfectly centred in the middle of the larger one. When we put
the plan of the enclosure together and looked at it, it was like
'Eureka!'," said Ms Deevy.

"It reminds us of Emain Macha and D£n Ailinne, which are major
royal sites. They are sister sites of Tara where there was
millennia of activity. This site is different, it is very simple
but appears to have been built just once and we can't say how
long it was here for," she added.

The discovery marks the conclusion of nearly two years of
archaeological work on the planned route of the motorway.

c 2007 The Irish Times


Pandemonium As ATM Hands Out Free Cash

[Published: Friday 4, May 2007 - 08:45]
By Lesley-Anne Henry

A faulty cash machine sparked scenes of pandemonium in west
Belfast after it began giving away free money.

Scores of people swooped on the First Trust ATM on the Falls Road
yesterday after it began dishing out double the cash amounts

At one stage a queue of up to 60 people stretched from the Bank
Link machine close to Iveagh Parade along the busy Falls Road
with a constant stream of people arriving to join the line which
was up to three people deep. It is unclear exactly how much the
blunder has cost First Trust or if it will be able to reclaim the

Last night the bank refused to reveal the total amount of money
which was lost or how long the machine had been faulty. It is
understood the machine was shut down just before 1pm after police
and Securicor engineers arrived.

One man who had been in the queue but had not received any money
said: " It's class. People said it was paying out double so we
just came up to see if it was true. I can't believe it.

This is the second time it has happened."

In a statement First Trust said: "First Trust Bank can confirm
that its ATM service on Falls Road, Belfast, experienced a
malfunction on Thursday, May 3 2007.

"An investigation is currently under way and First Trust Bank is
confident that normal service will resume as soon as possible."

c Belfast Telegraph


Race On For Paisley Life On Film

The race is on to produce the first feature film of the life of
DUP leader Ian Paisley.

A second production company - Holywood Productions in County Down
- has announced that Belfast playwright Graham Reid is to write
the script.

It is funded by the NI Film Commission and the Irish Film Board.

A few weeks ago, Belfast writer Gary Mitchell revealed he had
been asked by the Paisley family to work on a biopic of the first
minister elect.

The producer of this latest movie is Chris Parr who worked with
Graham Reid on the Billy Plays series.

He said there was room for two Paisley movies.

The BBC revealed several weeks ago that Gary Mitchell had been
commissioned by the Paisley family to write a script about the
DUP leader's life.

Mr Mitchell said that although the actor who would play the the
DUP leader was yet to be decided, they were hoping a major star
would take on the role.

Liam Neeson, who played the title role in the story of Michael
Collins, has said he is interested in playing the part.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2007/05/04 05:52:13 GMT

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