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August 23, 2007

Fresh Moves on 26 Killings

News About Ireland & The Irish

BT 08/21/07 Fresh Moves On 26 Controversial Troubles Killings
BB 08/21/07 NIO Has No Record Of Legal Bills
SF 08/21/07 NIO Judicial Reviews
SF 08/21/07 Tara Decision A Blow To National Heritage
BB 08/21/07 Denmark 0-4 Republic Of Ireland
BT 08/21/07 3,000 Birds' Eggs Stolen From Island
BT 08/21/07 New Ulster Movies At Major Film Festival
TD 08/21/07 Celtic Culture

Daniel O'Flaherty of Lake Charles, La., gives Billy Edwards of the New London Police a few pointers before the start of a currach race against the Connecticut State Police during last year's Celts and Currachs Festival. This year's currach race and festival will take place in New London this weekend.

Fresh Moves On 26 Controversial Troubles Killings

[Published: Thursday 23, August 2007 - 08:07]
By Chris Thornton

More controversial episodes from the past are due to
resurface next month as coroners begin dealing with 26
unresolved Troubles killings - including a case that has
been on hold without an inquest for 17 years.

No new inquests have been scheduled yet, but preliminary
hearings in the case of Pearse Jordan, an unarmed IRA
member shot dead by the RUC 15 years ago, and other
killings will take place next month.

The Coroners' Service says it is preparing to deal with 19
cases - some involving multiple deaths - that had been
suspended because of a long-running legal dispute.

That dispute, which concerned the Human Rights Act and
police supplying sensitive evidence, appears to have been
resolved by House of Lords rulings issued earlier this
The rulings should pave the way for new hearings into the
cases, which include several security force ambushes of IRA
members and UVF murders of three Catholics.

However, coroners face obstacles from the passage of time -
including retirement of investigating detectives and in one
case the death of the primary witness to a UVF double

The father of Kevin McKearney saw him and another relative,
Jack McKearney, shot in the family's butcher shop in Moy,
Co Tyrone in 1992. The witness died in 2000.

The murder of pensioner Roseanne Mallon in 1994 was first
reported by an undercover Army unit who were ordered "not
to react" to the UVF attack, and many of those soldiers are
now believed to have left the Army.

In another case - the SAS ambush of IRA members Martin
McCaughey and Desmond Grew - 17 years have passed without
an inquest.

Other cases are currently being reviewed. However, the
Coroners Service says "not all of the cases will
necessarily require an inquest or to be dealt with in the
same way".

The move towards dealing with the cases comes as the
Government sets out on a review for suggesting ways of
dealing with the past.

In March this year, the Law Lords ruled that the PSNI is
obliged to hand over material related to a killing unless
it can secure immunity from the Government.

However, they said they should not be subject to more
sweeping requirements under the Human Rights Act, since the
killings all took place before the Act was introduced in UK

Police insist they have already supplied all relevant
material but the legal teams for the families of the
deceased want intelligence reports and - in the Mallon case
- a secret surveillance video handed over to the coroners
hearing the cases.

In a statement, the Coroners Service said: " Although the
House of Lords delivered its judgments on March 28, 2007, a
number of preparatory steps require to be taken to ensure
that the inquests are conducted in a manner that will
observe the guidance and directions given in those

"Until these steps have been completed it will not be
possible to schedule the inquests.

" There are added difficulties because of the dates of some
of the deaths in respect of which inquests are to be held.

"Identifying and locating witnesses, collating and
assembling relevant documents all require to be

The statement said the Coroners Service is " reviewing the
papers in each case and trying to make contact with the
senior investigating officer and witnesses".

c Belfast Telegraph


NIO Has No Record Of Legal Bills

By Nicola Weir
BBC News

Poor record keeping means the Northern Ireland Office does
not know how much it has spent on fighting legal challenges
over the past five years.

It says accurate figures have not been kept but it is now
taking action to rectify the situation.

The admission followed a freedom of information request
made last January by BBC Good Morning Ulster.

Now, after a nine-month investigation, the NIO has
acknowledged administrative errors.

However, it revealed that the records which do exist show
that the office was involved in at least 43 judicial review
cases from November 2002 to November 2006, at a cost of up
to œ1.5m.

But they say these figures are only estimates because of
the "gap in record keeping".

This "missing period" includes all of 2002 - the NIO says
no figures are available for this period.

The œ1.5m legal bill does not include representation for
the secretary of state to defend the appointment of former
Victims Commissioner Bertha McDougall.

Nor does it include defending the NIO policy on water
charges in an action brought by the Consumer Council.

The office says these figures are held by the Office of the
First and Deputy First Minister and the Department of
Regional Development respectively.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2007/08/23 05:41:23 GMT


NIO Judicial Reviews

Published: 23 August, 2007

Sinn F‚in Policing and Justice Spokesperson, South Belfast
MLA Alex Maskey has said that the judicial review process
where decisions made by any public authority, including the
NIO, can be challenged on the grounds that it is illegal,
unreasonable or illogical provide important democratic
protections and are essential in building public confidence
in the judicial process.

His comments came after a Freedom of Information request
discovered the NIO was unable to provide reliable figures
for the number of judicial reviews brought against it over
the 2002-2006 period; although it did confirm that it had
been represented in at least 43 judicial reviews at a cost
of œ1.5 million.

Mr Maskey said:

"These figures clearly demonstrate the lack of
accountability within the NIO. This further example of
unaccountability highlights the problem of British direct

"The judicial review process where decisions made by any
public authority, including the NIO, can be challenged on
the grounds that it is illegal or unreasonable provide
important legal protections and are essential in building
public confidence in the judicial process.

"As we move forward towards the transfer of powers on
policing and justice it is essential that we build
confidence in the democratic structures and that decisions
made by all public authorities can be effectively

"There is a concern that some of the costs associated with
the judicial review do however make it more difficult for
people to use this important legal protection to defend
their rights. It is important that legal protections for
the person in the street are accessible." ENDS


Tara Decision A Blow To National Heritage - McDonald

Published: 23 August, 2007

Sinn F‚in MEP Mary Lou McDonald has said the decision by An
Bord Plean la to allow the M3 motorway to proceed along its
original route is a blow to Irish heritage and history.

Speaking today as the decision was made Ms. McDonald said,
"The commuters of Meath need and deserve an immediate
transport solution. However, it has been proved that this
does not have to be at the expense of our heritage.

"Those opposing the construction of the road through the
valley have put forward a viable alternative route. This
route should have been used.

"Experts have time and again contested to the
archaeological significance of the Tara/Skryne Valley and
called for it to be preserved.

"The decision by An Bord Plean la to allow the M3 Motorway
to proceed along its original route, through the National
Monument at Lismullen, is a blow to Irish heritage and
history." ENDS


Denmark 0-4 Republic Of Ireland

Robbie Keane and Shane Long both struck two goals as the
Republic of Ireland thumped Denmark in Aarhus.

Nicklas Bendtner hit the Republic woodwork early on but
Keane's clever finish on 29 minutes turned the game.

On 40 minutes, keeper Jesper Christiansen's punch rebounded
off Keane's back and into the net.

Substitute Long pounced for the third on 54 minutes after
debutant Darron Gibson's shot had been parried and the
Reading striker hit the fourth on 66.

Steve Staunton caused something of a surprise by leaving
Kevin Kilbane on the bench with Darren Potter, Stephen Hunt
and fit-again Andy Reid all earning starts in midfield.

Republic goalkeeper Wayne Henderson gave his defence a few
jitters by dropping an early corner before the ball was
cleared but it was a largely lacklustre opening in Aarhus.

However, the Danes picked up the pace considerably in the
13th minute when Dennis Rommedahl breezed past Steve Finnan
and floated over a superb cross which was nodded against
the crossbar by Bendtner.

It was a lucky escape for the Irish and they had another
moment of concern a minute later when Henderson did well to
block a close-range Jon Dahl Tomasson shot after good work
by Bendtner.

The Danes continued to look the livelier and Jesper
Gronkjaer volleyed over from inside the box in the 25th
minute after a deep Bendtner cross.

However against the run of play, the Republic took the lead
on 29 minutes with Keane producing a delightful lofted
finish over Jesper Christiansen after he had been played in
by a defence-splitting Andy Reid pass.

It was the Republic's record markman's 30th international

There was an element of good fortune about Keane's second
goal in the 40th minute although the Tottenham striker was
rewarded for his bravery.

Danish goalkeeper Christiansen attempted to punch away
McGeady's dangerous cross but the ball rebounded off
Keane's back and into the net.

Gibson's introduction was one of three Republic changes at
the interval with Shane Long and Andy Keogh also coming on.

Manchester United youngster Gibson is at the centre of a
dispute between the Republic and Northern Ireland over his

Nigel Worthington has been making attempts to persuade the
Derry-born player to switch his allegiance back to Northern
Ireland and Staunton will hope that his awarding Gibson a
first senior cap ends the controversy.

Gibson made an immediate impact by playing a major part in
the Republic's third goal on 54 minutes with Christiansen
unable to hold the substitute's long-range shot and Long
reacting to fire home the rebound from 12 yards.

Denmark's embarrassment was compounded when Long had acres
of space to stroke in the fourth goal on 66 minutes with
the home defenders nowhere to be seen.

With the Republic continuing to make substitutions, the
Danes had chances in the final quarter with Peter
Lovenkrands and Rommedahl guilty of bad misses and Bendtner
heading against the Republic woodwork for the second time.

The 4-0 margin flattered the Republic but it was
nonetheless a hugely positive evening for Steve Staunton
and his squad ahead of next month's Euro 2008 qualifiers
against the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

Denmark : Christiansen, Bogelund, Gravgaard, Agger, Niclas
Jensen, Wurtz, Rommedahl, Daniel Jensen, Gronkjaer,
Bendtner, Tomasson. Subs : Kvist, Kristiansen, Laursen,
Kahlenberg, Andersen, Thygesen, Kristensen, Lovenkrands,

Rep of Ireland : Henderson, Carr, O'Shea, Dunne, Finnan,
Reid, McGeady, Potter, Hunt, Kevin Doyle, Keane. Subs :
Keogh, O'Brien, Long, Colin Doyle, Kilbane, Murphy, Gibson,
Kelly, Colgan.

Referee : Thomas Einwaller (Austria)

Story from BBC SPORT:
Published: 2007/08/22 19:52:32 GMT


3,000 Birds' Eggs Stolen From Island

[Published: Thursday 23, August 2007 - 07:59]
By Jonathan McCambridge

The theft of 3,000 eggs on the Copeland Islands has led to
the collapse of a major seabird colony in one of Northern
Ireland's most important environmental sites.

Police, the Environment and Heritage Service and the
Copeland Bird Observatory have joined forces after news of
the theft emerged.

Recently a large number of eggs - up to 3,000 - were
reported as stolen by a volunteer of the Copeland Bird

This theft, mainly of Black Headed Gull and Mew (or Common)
Gull eggs, has led to a complete failure of a major seabird

This is not the first time the Copelands, made up of three
islands, have been targeted, with eggs stolen in 2003 and

Sergeant David Gowdy of Donaghadee station said: " This
crime is viewed by police as a crime not only against the
wildlife of the Islands but also against the local
community who hold the Copeland Islands dear to their

"In relation to the specific case of Copelands I would ask
all those involved with the marine environment to contact
Donaghadee Police Station if they become aware of anything
suspicious in the local vicinity."

Sgt Gowdy also said having the support of the local
community would make it difficult for thieves to go

"Volunteer Staff at Copeland Bird Observatory have worked
tirelessly to provide a safe habitat for many different
species of birds and it is devastating to see their work
ruined by callous thieves who seem to have no comprehension
of the damage they are inflicting," he said.

"We are committed to working with the Environment and
Heritage Service and Copeland Bird Observatory to educate
people about these types of crime and put practices into
place to put an end to thefts which endanger the survival
of any species."

If caught the thieves could face a fine of up to œ20,000.

c Belfast Telegraph


New Ulster Movies In The Spotlight At Major Film Festival

Thursday, August 23, 2007
By Dan McGinn

Two movies made in Northern Ireland are to be screened at
one of the world's most prestigious film festivals.

In what is being seen as another boost for the province's
burgeoning film industry, Oscar winning director Sir
Richard Attenborough's Closing The Ring, which was shot in
Belfast, and Londonderry filmmaker Tom Collins' bilingual
feature Kings, will be on the programme for the Toronto

The Canadian festival is viewed on a par with Cannes,
Venice and Berlin and is regarded as a great launch pad for
the North American market.

Closing The Ring tells a story spanning Kentucky and
Belfast, a World War and half a century and stars Oscar
winners Shirley MacLaine and Brenda Fricker, Christopher
Plummer, The OC's Mischa Barton and Pete Postlethwaite.

Shot in the north of the city, it was produced by Belfast-
based Jo Gilbert and has helped boost the career of local
actor Marty McCann, who has since landed a role with Steven
Spielberg's sequel to successful HBO TV series Band of

Earlier this month Kings, starring Colm Meaney, was given
the Directors Finders Series 2007 award by the Screen
Directors Guild of Ireland.

The film tells the story of five men who emigrated from the
west of Ireland to London during the 1970s and return for
the wake of a sixth friend. It will be will be released in
Irish cinemas on September 21.

The Toronto Film Festival's decision to showcase both
movies comes on the back of a number of high profile
successes for the Northern Irish film industry.

Belfast is currently hosting the filming of the children's
science fiction movie City of Ember starring Bill Murray,
Tim Robbins and Marianne Jean Baptiste.

Colin Anderson, chairman of Northern Ireland Screen, said
the decision to feature two movies made in the province in
Toronto was a major boost.

"The inclusion of these two films in one of the world's
most prestigious film festivals is fantastic news and we
send our congratulations to Jo and Tom," he said.

"The film and television sector has strong support in
Northern Ireland - not least through the substantial
investment from Invest NI - and we are consistently working
to bring economic advantage to Northern Ireland, as well as
continuing to support the burgeoning wealth of talent


Celtic Culture

A New London Festival Celebrates That ... And More

By Kathleen Edgecomb , Day Arts Writer
Published on 8/23/2007

If you don't know what a currach is, or, if you think the
pronunciation of "Celt" is like a particular Boston
basketball team, the organizers of New London's second
annual Celts and Currachs Festival have their work cut out
for them.

The festival, which takes place Saturday on New London's
waterfront, features races in the Thames River in
traditional Irish workboats called currachs, workshops on
Celtic culture and a variety of Celtic music.

A currach has no mast and no keel and is rowed. The races
start at 11 a.m.

Janet Buck of East Lyme, one of the volunteers for the
event, says the idea of the festival is to keep alive the
culture of the eight Celtic nations - Scotland, Ireland,
Isle of Man, Wales, Cornwall, Brittany, Galicia and
Asturias. And Celtic, by the way, is pronounced with a hard

"I'm not a rower or a performer. I'm just very interested
in maintaining these cultural heritages,'' says Buck, who
is of Scottish descent.

Last year a couple hundred showed up for the currach races
and entertainment. Two teams raced in two currachs, which
were built in New London for the races. This year, 14 teams
have signed up, including the fire department, the police
department, the Coast Guard and an accounting firm.

"It's going to be fun,'' says Buck.

The racecourse for the canvas-covered boats is along the
Waterfront Park. Competitors include adults and children.
The races are from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. from Custom House
Pier. At 11:15 a.m., Bishop Daniel P. Hart will bless the

Danny O'Flaherty, a currach-rowing expert, is overseeing
the races.

O'Flaherty, who is also a well-known Irish musician, will
perform at 4 p.m. at City Pier. Makem and Spain Brothers,
which is made up of the sons of Irish folk singer Tommy
Makem, will perform at 5:30. Other musical entertainment
throughout the day includes Faire Prospect, Full Gael,
Deirdre & Sean Murtha. The Spirited Souls Irish Step
Dancers and the Mystic Scottish Country Dancers will also

The festival, which is being produced by New London Main
Street, continues into the night when upper State Street
will be closed for a community gathering. Hanafin's Public
House, Kream, and Bean and Leaf are taking part.

New London Main Street is producing the event, which
includes workshops on Scottish and Welsh culture, Irish
history and language, fiddle making and genealogy.

Buck hopes that each year the festival will grow and
include more and more cultural activities.

"We want it bigger but not huge,'' she says. "We're not
shooting for another Sailfest. What we want is over the
years to build a broader variety of Celtic events. We want
businesses to have Irish and Scottish bands, maybe concerts
in the evening at the Garde (Arts Center), vendors and
craftsmen demonstrations.

"We want kids out there rowing, kids learning the highland
games, dancing and learning their own family heritage or
just the heritage of those who live around them,'' she

Celts and Currachs: A Celebration of Celtic Heritage, 10
a.m.-7 p.m. Sat., New London Waterfront Park;, 444-2489.

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