News about the Irish & Irish American culture, music, news, sports. This is hosted by the Irish Aires radio show on KPFT-FM 90.1 in Houston, Texas (a Pacifica community radio station)

June 04, 2007

Saville Will Not Get To Truth

News about Ireland & the Irish

BB 06/04/07 Saville Will Not Get To 'Truth'
IT 06/04/07 UUP Seeks Halt To Devolved Policing
IT 06/05/07 Paisley Jnr Raises Doubts On Policing Timetable
IT 06/05/07 Paisley Lays Out His Vision & Promises Equality
SB 06/03/07 Where It All Went Wrong For Sinn Fein
SB 06/03/07 Opin: Ahern Solid As A Rock With Cowen By His Side
IT 06/05/07 Irish Man In US Hopes To Get Seanad Nomination


Saville Will Not Get To 'Truth'

The inquiry into Bloody Sunday will not uncover the definitive
truth surrounding the killings, a former senior civil servant has

Irish Senator Maurice Hayes said the œ175m spent on the inquiry
so far could have been put to better use.

His comments came at the Tip O'Neill Peace Lecture at the
University of Ulster's Magee campus in Londonderry.

He warned a fixation with past atrocities could threaten the work
of the devolved policitical institutions.

"The general political will that the institutions should be made
to work (and) should be allowed to do so could easily be
frustrated if we insist on picking at the sores of old wounds,
raising old ghosts, revive old animosities and suspicions, and
most of all shattering the burgeoning trust which is a
prerequisite for peaceful co-existence and co-operation, " he

Mr Hayes is an independent member of the Irish Republic's Senate
and a former Northern Ireland Ombudsman.

His high-profile career has also included roles as a Permanent
Secretary in Northern Ireland's Department of Health and Social
Services and on the Patten Commission on policing.

In January 1972 paratroopers opened fire during a civil rights
march in Derry, killing 14.

The Saville Inquiry was established in 1998 by Prime Minister
Tony Blair after a campaign by families of those killed and

Its findings will not be published until at least the end of next

Mr Hayes warned against expecting too much from the tribunal.

He also suggested other outrages had a case for similar public

"I do not believe that the Saville Inquiry will unearth the
essential truth, the definitive account of the events on Bloody
Sunday, which are so deeply incised on the psyche of this city,"
he said.

"I can think of many better things to do for the families of
victims and survivors for œ200m.

"And if Bloody Sunday, why not inquiries for every other atrocity
beginning at Abercorn and ending at Omagh?"

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2007/06/04 20:00:37 GMT


UUP Seeks Halt To Devolved Policing

Mon, Jun 04, 2007

Controversial moves to devolve policing and justice powers to
Northern Ireland should not go ahead while the police are
investigating the IRA's role in the Northern Bank robbery, the
Assembly heard today.

Ulster Unionist David Burnside said there was no demand in the
community for a local minister in charge of the sensitive

An Assembly committee chaired by the DUP's Jeffrey Donaldson will
consider the political hot potato and report back to the full
chamber by February 29th.

Mr Burnside asked: "Why is this motion is being brought before
the house at this early stage when there's no demand from the
community for the transfer of justice and policing and there
still is a criminal investigation into the Northern Bank robbery
carried out by the republican movement Sinn Fein/IRA?"

Robbers escaped with stgœ26.5m during the raid in Belfast city
centre in December 2004. PSNI chief constable Sir Hugh Orde
blamed the IRA for the operation, in which masked men held a
family at their west Belfast home and forced the bank employee to
open the vaults.

The motion was passed without debate after Speaker William Hay
cut off Mr Burnside.

Mr Donaldson chairs the Assembly and Executive Review Committee,
which will consider the matter.

His party colleague, Finance Minister Peter Robinson, has said it
could be "several political lifetimes" before there was the
community confidence to have policing and justice powers devolved
to Northern Ireland because of "the rate Sinn Fein are going".

He said it was essential Sinn Fein recognise the need to build
confidence in the community.

The new powers, currently reserved by the Northern Ireland
Office, are a key demand of Sinn Fein and were planned for review
as part of the St Andrews Agreement which paved the way for last
month's power-sharing.

c 2007


Paisley Jnr Raises Doubts On Policing Timetable

Gerry Moriarty, Northern Editor
Tue, Jun 05, 2007

The transfer of policing and justice powers to the Northern
Assembly could be delayed for several years, a senior Democratic
Unionist Party politician claimed yesterday.

Ian Paisley jnr said that, contrary to the St Andrews Agreement
target of May next year, the transfer of policing and justice
powers to the Assembly could only happen in a "future Assembly" -
which at the earliest would be in 2011.

Mr Paisley, a junior Minister in the North's new administration,
made clear yesterday that the DUP would use its effective
political veto in the Assembly to prevent any attempt to devolve
policing and justice powers by May next year or at any other time
if the party did not believe there was sufficient public
confidence to justify this transfer.

In the critical political negotiations of recent months, Sinn
Fein made the transfer of these powers by May next year a key
priority for agreeing to devolution.

The British and Irish governments also stated in the St Andrews
Agreement of October last year they believed that sufficient
community confidence should be established by May 2008 to devolve
these powers.

However, at a conference in Belfast yesterday, "Criminal Justice
Facing Devolution", Mr Paisley said he did not believe the
transfer of policing and justice - effectively the creation of a
Northern Executive department of justice - was achievable in the
lifetime of the current Assembly, which runs out in May 2011.

Mr Paisley said this summer's marching season would be a
significant test and a measuring scale of how much was being
achieved in creating public confidence. "If community confidence
can be built during these periods that were once high with
tension then the prospects of devolving policing and justice some
time during the life of a future Assembly will be better than
they are today," he said.

"As a person within the DUP keen to see these powers devolved, I
am realistic enough to know that devolving them prematurely and
before we have built that community confidence would be
foolhardy," said Mr Paisley.

When asked by The Irish Times, on the margins of the conference,
was he categorically stating the devolution of these powers would
not happen by May next year, he replied, "I believe that,
realistically, it will be for a future Assembly. It won't be for
this Assembly mandate . . . I made it fairly clear - I think I
made it explicitly clear - that it is for a future Assembly, and
there is no point in kidding around with that, that somehow
things could be done," said Mr Paisley.

However, Sinn Fein Assembly member Alex Maskey, who also
addressed the conference, said the parties were working to the
"agreed timeframe" of St Andrews. "We are working in the context
that transfer of power will happen next year," he said.

"It is up to the parties to work together and not to be making
silly grandstand headline statements which really would set the
thing back. Our job as politicians is to create confidence within
the public and within the communities and to agree the timeframe,
agree the modality, and get the thing done," said Mr Maskey, who
also serves on the policing board.

Asked could Mr Paisley's statement cause tensions in the
powersharing Executive and Assembly, Mr Maskey said he was not
"that concerned" by the junior Minister's comments. Referring to
last week's controversy over Mr Paisley's comments that he was
"pretty repulsed" by homosexuality, Mr Maskey said, "I don't know
whether he wants to distract from one headline by creating

c 2007 The Irish Times


Paisley Lays Out His Vision For North And Promises Equality

Gerry Moriarty, Northern Editor
Tue, Jun 05, 2007

First Minister the Rev Ian Paisley referred to Martin Luther King
in the Northern Assembly yesterday and spoke passionately about
his dream where people in Northern Ireland could easily live and
work together regardless of their political, religious or ethnic

Dr Paisley, when discussing an Alliance Party motion on the need
for a "shared future" in Northern Ireland, also implicitly gave
an undertaking that he would promote equality for all groups,
including gays and lesbians.

Dr Paisley did not specifically mention homosexuality or the
recent Hot Press remarks of his son and junior Minister Ian
Paisley jnr, that he was "pretty repulsed" by homosexuality. But
it was clear to what he was referring when he "prefaced" his
comments on a shared future with his comment that his office was
"totally committed to promoting equality and human rights".

And he added, "The First Minister and Deputy First Minister are
completely opposed to any form of discrimination or harassment
against any citizen. So are all in their offices and those under

On the motion itself, Dr Paisley said there was no doubt that a
shared society must be created. "Like another King, I have a
dream where children can play together, where people can work
together and where families can live happily side by side,
regardless of their community background, their ethnic background
or their religious beliefs."

Dr Paisley said that conflict and violence had left a profound
legacy and "time was needed to mend relationships, to heal
wounds, to repair fractured communities".

"But let us be clear: intolerance, sectarianism and racism or
violence must have no place in this or any other society." The
First Minister said he sent his children to a mixed school.

"They brought their Roman Catholic mates home with them and my
hadn't they all great appetites. I knew that to my cost. But I
was happy to see them and I am glad today those people are still
friends of mine even though I disagree with them in their
religion and they with my religion, and although they disagree
with me politically and I disagree with them politically."

He added, "It is right that we get the people of our beautiful
province living together, working together, enjoying one
another's company and I trust that we will see more of this.

"I have lived in Northern Ireland 81 years. I have some little
experience of the ordinary man of the street. The ordinary man of
the street today, both nationalists and unionists, Roman
Catholic, Protestant, or any other religion, there is all within
them today a hope that something has changed, that we are going
to move forward to better times.

"We in this Assembly can be the persons that can lead this
community to a community that will do this part of this island
proud, and I look forward to that."

c 2007 The Irish Times


Where It All Went Wrong For Sinn Fein

03 June 2007 By Colm Heatley in Belfast

There was only one question on the minds of Sinn Fein activists
across Ireland last week - what went wrong?

The general election was supposed to be the breakthrough election
for the party, which expected years of work cultivating its vote
in the Republic to pay off.

The restoration of the Assembly in the North on May 8 was
expected to boost Sinn Fein and make the party at least
kingmakers in the next Dail, if not coalition partners.

For a party that has orchestrated electoral victories in the
North and the Republic over the past decade, defeat and losses
weren't in the script.

But the party is now facing the reality that the vast majority of
the electorate in the Republic has rejected it, even with the
historic deal in the North completed.

In Belfast, the engine room of the party, Sinn Fein activists
were left scratching their heads. Electoral success in the
Republic is of such paramount importance to Sinn Fein's strategy
that the results of the election cannot be ignored or glossed

And the importance of electoral success in the Republic cannot be
overstated. Entry to the Dail was what led to the split in Sinn
Fein in the mid1980s, resulting in the creation of Republican
Sinn Fein.

Even then, in the midst of the violence in the North, Adams had
identified gaining power - or at least real influence - in the
Republic as a key objective.

Since the 1990s, and certainly since 2002, when the party had its
first real taste of success in politics in the Republic, the idea
of Sinn Fein holding power north and south has been a lynchpin of
its strategy.

Difficult issues, especially policing in the North, were partly
sold to the party on the basis that electoral success beckoned in
the Republic.

Some party activists complained last week that the policing
debate was rushed through earlier this year with the general
election in mind.

Working solely within the Stormont Assembly has limitations for
Sinn Fein. The party wants to emphasise the notion that the
Assembly operates in a wider all-Ireland context and there would
be no better way to do that than by being in power in the

More importantly, Sinn Fein would have real power if it was in
government on both sides of the border. The party had hoped that
good election results would allow it to push through its
proposals for speaking rights in the Dail for northern
politicians, but that is now in cold storage.

As part of its strategy in the Republic, Sinn Fein has
consciously portrayed itself as the 'can do' party and has
targeted certain groups - the young, the urban poor, the
marginalised - with some success. But it has not been enough to
move the party beyond its current support base.

Undoubtedly one of the biggest problem areas for the party is its
economic policies, which are at best confusing and, at worst,
scaring off voters.

The party's willingness to ditch its corporation tax policy just
weeks before the election suggested desperation.

Privately, Sinn Fein acknowledges that getting its economic
policies in order is a key priority. Economic policies were never
central to Sinn Fein strategy and while the party is beginning to
address its shortcomings, its commitment to left-wing policies
means it will always be vulnerable to accusations that it will
damage the Celtic Tiger.

The party's failure to attract any significant numbers of
transfer votes was a key factor in its failure to capture seats.
Even in the North, Sinn Fein has found that attracting transfers
from SDLP-inclined nationalists is still a real issue.

While Sinn Fein claims that the strong performance of Fianna Fail
and Fine Gael lessened its vote in the election, it has not
explained why floating voters did not give the party second or
third preferences in any real numbers. The lack of transfers was
a crucial factor in the failure of Mary Lou McDonald and Pearse
Doherty to win seats.

The public perception of Sinn Fein as a northern party with no
understanding of issues in the Republic is widespread, and was
not helped by party leader Gerry Adams' admission that he did not
get around to dealing with certain issues in the Republic because
of events in the North.

While Sinn Fein has won some recognition and praise for its work
on the peace process, it has still to prove its credentials as a
party that understands the electorate in the Republic.

Nearly all of its best-known members are from the North, so the
failure of McDonald and Doherty - two fresh-faced southerners -
was a blow, not just in terms of seats, but overall strategy.
Sinn Fein must now try to achieve credibility on issues in the
Republic such as the economy, while still putting Irish unity at
the top of its agenda. It must do this as one, cohesive, all-
Ireland party.

That won't be easy. Irish unity and partition are real, live
issues that affect almost all aspects of civil and political
society in the North. For many in the Republic, however, Irish
unity is an abstract notion, an aspiration rather than a reality
of day-to-day life.

Sinn Fein has been sustained in the North by the appetite of a
significant section of the population to end the existence of the
state. But that is simply not the case in the Republic and the
party will have to recognise that reality.

There is no single reason why Sinn Fein's vote did not
materialise, just lots of smaller ones, which need to be

Some of those reasons are within the party's power to change -
its economic policies, Adams' performance in live debates, the
public perception that it is a single issue party.

Others are outside of the Sinn Fein leadership's control - the
hostility of all the major parties to Sinn Fein being in power in
the Republic, the fact that for many, the republican leadership
is still 'beyond the pale', the fact that events such as the
Northern Bank robbery and the McCartney murder are still
routinely used against the party.

How then will Sinn Fein seek to get its strategy back on track in
the Republic? Clues may be found in its strategy in the North
since the early 1980s,when it entered local councils and gained a
reputation for hard-work and exposing widespread malpractices.

Until the late 1970s, Sinn Fein was a weak party that was
subservient to the IRA. But by building up local political
networks and a reputation for on-the-ground work, the party had,
by the 1990s, developed into probably the best organised, most
sophisticated political machine in the North.

To this end, Sinn Fein will focus on the 2009 local elections as
an opportunity to significantly strengthen its party machine in
the Republic for the next general election. The Assembly will
also be used as a 'shop window' for Sinn Fein when the next
elections are called.

If all goes according to plan, the party will by then have
experience of government, of delivering on issues other than the
peace process, and the North will quite possibly boast a
healthier economy. Sinn Fein will claim credit for any of those
successes and hope that the experience will make it more

All the while, the party will look to develop its policies in the
Republic, promote its candidates in the Republic and position
itself as a party in tune with issues in the Republic.

The challenge for Sinn Fein is to do that without abandoning its
electorate in the North or its emphasis on Irish unity.


Opin: Ahern Solid As A Rock With Cowen By His Side

03 June 2007 By Vincent Browne

Bertie Ahern gave an intriguing interview to RTE's Charlie Bird
last Sunday on the banks of the Royal Canal. It was intriguing
because of two things that he said.

One was that the criterion he would apply to the formation of a
new government would be stability. The other was that he would
consult Brian Cowen on government options, as he consulted him on
almost everything.

First, the stability issue. If Ahern were serious about stability
being the primary requirement of government, the manoeuvring with
the Progressive Democrats and Independents over the last week has
been just a smokescreen.

With the support of the PDs, Fianna Fail would also need the
support of four of the five Independents, Beverley Flynn, Jackie
Healy-Rae, Finian McGrath, Tony Gregory and Michael Lowry.

If Fine Gael is astute, it could nobble Lowry by inviting him to
rejoin the party, and there is good reason why it should do that.
The proceedings of the Moriarty Tribunal now show that there is
no evidence that Lowry delivered the second mobile phone
franchise to Denis O'Brien in return for bribes.

So on what basis can Lowry remain excluded from Fine Gael?
Because he cheated on his taxes? How can that be a problem for
Fine Gael, when that party as a corporation did precisely the
same in making under-the-counter payments to staff and involving
itself in the pick-me-up scam?

Then there is the problem with Tony Gregory. He would not support
a government that persisted with co-location of private and
public hospitals, nor would he go along with the continued use of
Shannon by American troops on their way to and from Iraq. So, no
go there.

There shouldn't be much problem with Beverley Flynn - a nod to
RTE to stop pursuing her for its legal costs and an invitation to
rejoin the party would suffice. A few more piers in south Kerry
should ensure the support of Jackie Healy-Rae.

T h at leaves Finian McGrath. A government reliant on McGrath
would not be stable. The independent TD has recently been taking
refuge in the cliche of politics being the art of the possible.
Is this a prelude to abandoning his previous positions on
hospital co-location and Shannon? If McGrath is prepared to
abandon previously ''principled'' positions, then by the same
token is he capable of reneging on any five-year arrangement -
all the more so if, along the way, he discovers other

Ahern might be tempted to take a chance on a government supported
by the PDs and four Independents, but that certainly would not be
stable. So either Ahern was not serious about stability last
Sunday, or the manoeuvrings with the PDs and Independents last
week was definitely a smokescreen.

It isn't believable that he would opt for government with the
Greens either, although he has given some indication that such a
deal remains an option.

Even if the Greens could be persuaded to agree to government with
Fianna Fail - and that is doubtful - a party ruled by its members
rather than its parliamentary party, would be far too volatile.

The obvious partner is Labour - the only problem being that Ahern
would have to sacrifice five cabinet posts and five junior
ministers - this would involve dropping three cabinet ministers
currently in office - and Ahern hates taking tough decisions that
are unpopular with his party.

But then there would be no volatility with Labour. Pat Rabbitte
would extricate himself from his repeated assurances that he
would not put Fianna Fail back in government with the usual guff
about the national interest.

The Labour conference would stamp on the predictable left-wing
outrage over ''sleeping with the enemy'' and would be oh-so-loyal
and compliant.

But, more than that, a Fianna Fail/Labour government would be
devastating for Fine Gael. No hope of office in five years, a
return to government of Fianna Fail a certainty in 2012.

Back to that other Ahern comment on the banks of the Royal Canal,
about Brian Cowen. Ahern rarely says anything without
calculation, even when what he is saying is unintelligible
(perhaps especially when what he is saying is unintelligible).

Saying he would discuss options for government with Cowen and
that he discussed everything of importance with Cowen was
certainly calculated.

It might just have been a public acknowledgement of the support
Cowen was to him in the election campaign, but it might also be
an insurance strategy. If things get rough for him in government
over the next while because of tribunal revelations, he will have
Cowen on his side - and with Cowen on his side he would be
invulnerable internally in Fianna Fail. Without Cowen, he might
indeed be vulnerable.

For the going could get rough for Ahern in the next year or so if
the tribunal continues its examination of his finances and
questions him about them in public.

There are very difficult issues for him and there might be
pressures from a coalition partner or supporter for him to vacate
the Fianna Fail leadership and go.

He has also caused problems for himself by confirming that he
will go before the next election, as there could be demands for
him to go well in advance to leave his successor time to make his
(or her) mark.

But with Cowen on side, there will be no pressures.


Irish Man In US Hopes To Get Seanad Nomination

Tue, Jun 05, 2007

Ray O'Hanlon will know in July if he is to become the first
emigrant rights representative in the Seanad, writes Se n
O'Driscollfrom New York

A Dublin journalist will know in the next month if he is to
become the first emigrant rights representative in the Seanad.

New York-based Irish Echo journalist Ray O'Hanlon said he had
been having talks with both Fianna F il and Fine Gael and had had
a very good response from Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny.

The aim is to secure the support of the two main parties for an
agreed emigrant candidate.

O'Hanlon says he would eventually like to see a panel for two or
three emigrant representatives but does not want to rush the
political parties into sudden change.

Many emigrant campaigners in the United States, including
O'Hanlon, would like to see emigrants directly voting in Irish

Samantha Morton, a barwoman in Yonkers, New York, says it is a
shame that another Irish general election has gone by without
foreign voting rights.

"I've been on a few of the Irish radio talk shows about
emigration. I get the feeling we're an embarrassment in Ireland.

"The country's trying to look confident and assertive and they
think we're over in America showing the poor mouth," she says.

Nearly 20 years after a Bill allowing emigrants to vote was
narrowly defeated in the D il, the desire for voter rights has
been raised again by US immigration rights lobbyists. Many want
to use their votes to reward Irish politicians who back US
immigration reform that would legalise more than 12 million
undocumented immigrants.

Much of the resistance to emigrant votes has come from
politicians who fear protest votes, especially those going to
Sinn Fein.

Morton, originally from Palmerstown in Dublin, is a socialist and
occasional Sinn Fein supporter, but she admits that republican
sentimentality gives emigrant voter rights a bad reputation.

"You meet old fellas who are ardent republicans. Some of them are
real cheesy idiots who play the Wolfe Tones and they haven't a
clue. The voters from 10 bars in New York could be enough to
swing an election. There's a lot of different dynamics at play."

It might be feasible to put a limit on the number of years a
voter can be outside the country and still retain the right to
vote, she says.

Fellow New York resident Tom Woodlock, originally from Tipperary,
is a Sinn Fein supporter but he also recognises the complex
politics among US emigrants.

Like Morton, he is annoyed by sentimentalists and is particularly
dismayed by small groups of Northern republicans who chant
partisan slogans at meetings on immigration reform and who are
not calling for votes for Irish citizens.

"They're the type who think they have an in with the IRA or
something and they probably ran for their lives to get over
here," he says.

Although he has great respect for Enda Kenny, who met US
emigrants in March, Woodlock does not believe that emigrant votes
are coming soon.

"There are so many politicians out there who will promise you
everything and do absolutely nothing," Woodlock adds.

"If we got the vote at home it would really help, but we don't
see any political will for it."

For O'Hanlon, the internet has allowed emigrants to keep up with
Irish politics and globalisation has greatly increased the
relationship between Ireland and its citizens living abroad.

"There is no longer this sense of exile and distance. The state
may end at the Cliffs of Moher, but the economy doesn't,"
O'Hanlon says.

"People are more aware and more than ever before. Now there has
to be a complementary political voice to match it."

c 2007 The Irish Times

To Subscribe to Irish Aires Google News List, click Here.
To Unsub from Irish Aires Google News List, click Here
For options visit:

Or join our Irish Aires Yahoo Group, Click here

To Get RSS Feed for Irish Aires News click HERE
(Paste into a News Reader)

To June Index
To Index of Monthly Archives
To Searches & Sources of Other Irish News
Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?