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)

April 30, 2007

SF Councillor Killed By Bull

News about Ireland & the Irish

BB 04/29/07 SF Councillor Killed By Bull On Farm
BB 04/29/07 DUP Hay 'To Be Appointed As Speaker'
OC 04/29/07 Sean McManus, SF Candidate, Suffers Heart Attack
BN 04/29/07 Increase In Number Of Men Joining Priesthood
EX 04/29/07 Special Event To Honour Artist Georgia O'Keeffe


Councillor Killed By Bull On Farm

A Sinn Fein councillor has been killed by a bull on a farm in
County Tyrone.

Michael McAnespie died during the incident earlier on Monday. The
bull was shot dead by police.

The accident happened on a farm in Lough McCrory, near Omagh. Mr
McAnespie was elected to the mid-Tyrone area for Sinn Fein in

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams expressed his "deep shock and
sadness" at the death. Mr McAnespie, 63, was a married man with
nine children.

"Michael was an extremely hard working councillor who ably and
conscientiously represented the people of Omagh," said Mr Adams.

"His loss will be deeply felt by all who knew him, but especially
by his family and friends."

The incident happened on the farm, which is close to
Sixmilecross, at about 1420 BST.

"The circumstances are being investigated by the relevant
authorities," said a PSNI spokesman.

'Very high esteem'

Peter Kelly, also a councillor in Omagh, said he was "numb with

"He was my best friend on the council, he was a complete
gentleman, he helped me out a lot when I went on to the council,
he kept me on the straight and narrow," he said.

"He was very outgoing, very talkative. He was concerned about
planning issues, about farming."

A spokeswoman for Omagh District Council said staff's thoughts
were with the McAnespie family.

"Everybody was fond of him; he was a great man of integrity and
dignity," she said.

"He was held in very high esteem here and was involved in the
fight for an improved ambulance service in this area."

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2007/04/30 19:27:26 GMT


DUP William Hay 'To Be Appointed As Speaker'

The DUP's William Hay is to be appointed as the Speaker of the
new NI Assembly, it is understood.

The Foyle assembly member is expected to take over the role from
the transitional Speaker, Eileen Bell, when the assembly meets
next week.

Donegal born, Mr Hay has been Mayor of Derry City Council and has
represented the DUP on the Policing Board.

Meanwhile, sources have said Sinn Fein's Francie Molloy will be a
principal deputy speaker.

It is also understood the party will be seeking the Speaker's
role in a future assembly.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2007/04/30 17:57:14 GMT


Sean McManus, SF Candidate, Suffers Heart Attack

Apr 30, 8:44 am

Sligo Sinn Fein councillor and election candidate, Sean McManus,
has suffered a heart attack.

The Sligo-North Leitrim election candidate was taken ill this
morning and is currently recovering at Sligo General Hospital.

He is, however, to be in good spirits and recovering well.

His son, Cllr Chris McManus, says his father is in fighting form,
and still giving instructions about the election campaign.

The Sinn Fein President, Gerry Adams, is due to launch Sean
McManus' election campaign in Sligo tomorrow evening.


Increase In Number Of Men Joining Priesthood

29/04/2007 - 14:26:40

There has been an increase in the number of men joining the
priesthood, it was claimed today.

In the Dublin diocese alone, five men have been accepted into the
seminary since the beginning of the current academic year.

The diocese also had a stand at the FAS Opportunities Conference
in Croke Park in March.

Today is Vocations Sunday, and director of Vocations Fr Eamonn
Bourke said he believes a number of factors have influenced the

"There seems to be more a sense of optimism in the Church in the
last couple of months, plus there seems to be a sense of
disillusionment with the way society has gone," he said.

"People want to give back something now and they see they the
priesthood as a radical way of giving back something to the
community and to the Church themselves."


Special Event To Honour Artist Georgia O'Keeffe

By Ray Ryan
30 April 2007

THE celebrated US painter Georgia O'Keeffe will be honoured in
her ancestral Co Cork tomorrow evening.

Dromagh Castle will be the venue for a programme of music,
ceremony and talk organised by O'Keeffe clan chieftain Gerard
O'Keeffe, a Kanturk-based solicitor.

The event will focus on the painter whose paternal roots are
believed to be in the Nadd area.

Georgia O'Keeffe was born in Wisconsin in 1887, raised in
Virginia and trained in Chicago and New York, but she is
typically associated with the US south-west and particularly New
Mexico, where she settled. She is known for her paintings in
which she synthesises abstraction and representation in her
paintings of flowers, rocks and landscapes. She died in 1986.

Mr O'Keeffe said he first became acquainted with her work back in
the mid-1980s through a book given to him by his friend, the late
Michael O'Leary, the former Tanaiste.

A pair of hands in bronze by sculpture Paula O'Sullivan,
commissioned by Mr O'Keeffe and dedicated to Mr O'Leary, will be
unveiled at tomorrow's ceremony (5pm to 8pm) by Judge Michael

The sculpture will later go on permanent display in an
antiquarian bookshop that Mr O'Keeffe plans to open in Killarney.

Kanturk author John Dillon will officially open the event and
there will also be an address by Mr O'Keeffe. Musician Liam
O'Connor, singer Cahir O'Doherty and pupils from St Brendan's
national school, Dromtarriffe, will provide entertainment.

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 April Index
To Index of Monthly Archives
To Searches & Sources of Other Irish News

April 29, 2007

Ahern Sets General Election Date

News About Ireland & The Irish

BB 04/29/07 Ahern Sets General Election Date
SF 04/29/07 Adams - SF Is Ready For Govnt, North & South
IT 04/29/07 Election 'Set To Be Most Expensive Ever'
SL 04/29/07 UVF Statement On Its Future Due This Week
SL 04/29/07 McCord Hits Out After Allister Meeting
SL 04/29/07 McCausland’s Family Lose Hope For Justice
SL 04/29/07 UDA Terror Boss Suffers Seizure
SL 04/29/07 Just The Job For Convicted Terrorists
SL 04/29/07 MP Bugged By Hain's Stonewall
SL 04/29/07 Police Chief Expenses Probe Put To Board
BB 04/29/07 Firefighter Hurt In Pellet Attack
SF 04/29/07 Sunday World Story Complete & Absolute Rubbish
SL 04/29/07 Fangs Did Not Happen Way It Was Reported
SL 04/29/07 Ousted UDA Man Sends Message To Leadership
MN 04/29/07 Irish Party Time For Sen. Clinton In Los Gatos
BN 04/29/07 President Leaves For US Visit Today
SL 04/29/07 At Fag End Of An Era
SL 04/29/07 Alan McBride: Raise A Glass To Our Smoking Ban


Ahern Sets General Election Date

Taoiseach Bertie Ahern has confirmed the Irish Republic
will hold a general election on 24 May.

Mr Ahern had kept his own Fianna Fail and opposition
parties guessing, but went to seek the formal dissolution
of the Dail from President Mary McAleese.

Recent opinion polls have suggested a very tight outcome,
with no clear lead for any party or coalition group.

The election could be held no later than June, and
unofficial campaigning has been in full swing in recent

Mr Ahern visited President McAleese's official residence
Aras an Uachtarain at 0800 BST, hours before she was due to
leave for a five-day visit to the US.

"President McAleese has dissolved the 29th Dail
(parliament) this morning," her office said in a statement.

In power since 1997, Mr Ahern is seeking a third term in

Opinion polls have suggested a close race between Mr
Ahern's Fianna Fail-Progressive Democrats coalition
partnership and an alternative partnership of Fine Gael and
Labour with possible Green participation.

Sinn Fein is also among the parties hoping to increase its
presence in parliament.

The Irish Republic uses the Proportional Representation -
Single Transferable Vote system, by which voters in multi-
seat constituencies (electing three, four or five deputies
each) are asked to rank their candidate preferences on a
ballot paper.

If no one party secures enough seats to form a single party
government, a coalition between parties is needed.

The Dail is made up of 166 members representing 41

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2007/04/29 09:44:49 GMT

Mr Ahern is fighting to be re-elected for a third term
which would make him the most successful Taoiseach since
Eamon de Valera.

"In the weeks ahead I pledge to give the Irish people the
campaign they deserve: a campaign of issues and policies,
not insults and attacks," he said.

"I am more interested in attacking problems than attacking

The Fianna F il leader took the country by surprise this
morning with most politicians and observers believing he
would call the election during the week.

But an official trip to the United States by President
McAleese, leaving Dublin this morning, meant he would have
to wait another week if the 29th D il was not dissolved
over the weekend.

"This election is about Ireland's future, protecting the
progress we have made over the last ten years and building
on it," Mr Ahern said.

The only party combination at this stage which appears to
have been ruled out by all the main parties is one
involving Gerry Adams' Sinn Fein party, which polls suggest
could take about 10 per cent of the vote. But commentators
say in highlighting the outgoing government's achievements
in Northern Ireland, Mr Ahern is in danger of giving a leg
up to Sinn Fein too, at a time when Fianna Fail is
competing with Sinn Fein in several urban constituencies
for the republican, working class vote.


Adams - Sinn Fein Is Ready For Government, North And South

Published: 29 April, 2007

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams speaking in Belfast this
morning said "Sinn Fein is going into this election
campaign in a stronger position than every before. Over
the next four weeks we will be campaigning the length and
breadth of the country seeking a mandate for real change
and equality. Our objective is to be in government, north
and south and to deliver strong public services and to
advance the peace process and preparations for Irish

Mr. Adams said:

"Sinn Fein is going into this election campaign in a
stronger position than every before. We are standing in 41
constituencies and our objective is to be in government,
north and south.

"We believe in the right to universal access to decent
healthcare, education and childcare, we believe in the
constitutional right to a home, we believe in building the
economy and using the wealth created for the public good.
We believe in Irish re-unification and are advancing
preparations to bring this about as soon as possible. These
are our priorities for government.

"Over the past decade, republicans have proven our ability
not just to negotiate successfully to advance the peace
process but also to show leadership by taking major and
sometimes difficult decisions in the national interest.
Dramatic progress has been made. Sinn Fein and the DUP are
going to head the power-sharing government in the north and
Sinn Fein's five Government Ministers will work hard in the
interests of everyone on this island. We are about
delivering for Ireland's future.

"Sinn Fein is ready for government, north and south. Over
the next four weeks we will be campaigning the length and
breadth of the country seeking a mandate for real change
and equality. "ENDS


Election 'Set To Be Most Expensive Ever'

A massive ?20 million euro spend by political parties and
independent candidates will make it the most expensive ever
general election battle in the country.

As the Taoiseach fired the starter pistol, teams of party
workers were already erecting posters along the highways
and byways of the state's constituencies.

Fianna Fail has fielded the most Dail hopefuls and is
expected to allocate a war chest of to ?10 million for its
campaign followed by Fine Gael on ?4.3 million.

The Labour Party will spread its ?1.5 million fund among 50
candidates aiming to get elected to the Dail.

The Progressive Democrats have not disclosed how much the
party will spend but it raised tens of thousands of euro in
recent fundraisers and it invested the most money per
candidate in 2002.

The Greens and Sinn Fein are likely to limit their official
spending to around the ?750,000 mark.

The 14 outgoing independent TDs and some other single-issue
candidates could also spend up to ?30,000 each on their
individual campaigns.

Under new rules, candidates are individually allowed to
spend ?30,150 euro in a three-seat constituency, ?37,650 in
a four-seater and ?45,200 euro in a five-seater.

Unsuccessful TDs are also entitled to be reimbursed 6,000
euro if they reach a quarter of the constituency quota in
the election.

Professor Michael March of Trinity College said it will be
shoe leather and not euro notes that will win the election.

The politics expert explained: "All parties would like to
spend more money than they have to spend. However the
candidate that spends the most is not necessarily
guaranteed to get elected.

"Look at what happened to Royston Brady of Fianna Fail in
the European elections in 2004."

He added: At the end of the day, there is nothing more
effective than face-to-face contact with would-be voters on
doorsteps - and that costs nothing, only time."

Prof Gallagher is currently researching a definitive study
on the behaviour of Irish voters in general elections.

The money raised by political parties and Independents will
go into running election bases and placing TV, radio and
newspaper advertisements as well as printing and
distributing posters and flyers.

Fianna Fail and Fine Gael are also known to have financed
extensive private polling in constituencies and hired the
assistance of US and UK public affairs consultants.

All parties receive limited state funding and must raise
the remainder from golf classics as well as lunches,
dinners and raffles.



UVF Statement On Its Future Due This Week

[Published: Sunday 29, April 2007 - 10:11]
By Brian Rowan

A LEADERSHIP statement from the UVF and Red Hand Commando
will be issued this week, soon after Tuesday's talks
involving the PUP and Peter Hain.

It's expected that the announcement on the future of the
terror group will be made on Wednesday or Thursday as part
of the build-up to the May 8 devolution date. Final
preparations - including discussions on wording - are
continuing at the level of the loyalist leadership.

There is no prospect of early decommissioning, although
that does not rule out the possibility of some discussions
with the IMC.

The UVF had planned to tell the IMC of its decision on the
weapons issue, but some wider dialogue is now possible.

In its statement, the paramilitary leadership plans to
convey the message that its weapons have been put away,
never to be used again.

But Chief Constable Sir Hugh Orde is insisting that the
issue is dealt with through "proper channels", which means
de Chastelain.

"We genuinely don't know how the last lot (IRA
decommissioning) was done," a senior security source said.

But he stressed the importance of de Chastelain's role: "If
it's not done that way, we (the police) will still be going
after it, and if we find it, they (the UVF) have a

On Friday Orde, his deputy Paul Leighton and Assistant
Chief Constable Peter Sheridan met a PUP delegation,
including party leader Dawn Purvis.

Yesterday, she met the former president of the Methodist
Church, Harold Good, one of two witnesses to IRA
decommissioning in 2005.

The PUP has also spoken to the former Presbyterian
moderator, Ken Newell.

On the planned loyalist statement, he told Sunday Life:
"The intention is sincere, the determination is strong, but
the challenge to deliver is immense.

"It will take time, but cannot be given too much more

While the focus is on the weapons question, this planned
statement from the UVF and Red Hand leaderships will be set
in a much wider context.

It will declare the future of those organisations and state
positions on a range of activities.

And, within days, the worth of this loyalist initiative
will have been judged in the political, security and public

ANALYSIS - By Brian Rowan

ON BIG statements like this, you'll usually find the
signature of Captain William Johnston, the UVF's equivalent
to the IRA's 'P O'Neill'.

It's the paramilitary way of doing things - of putting the
leadership's stamp of authority on the orders that have
just been given.

The instructions the UVF and Red Hand leaderships will give
in the coming week will be the most important since the
original ceasefire of 1994 - the ceasefire that was
declared in the name of the Combined Loyalist Military

So, in that context, this statement will be of considerable

Yes, there will be a flaw in it, the decision or mistake
not to decommission. But those who know about these things
will tell you it couldn't be delivered; that it's not on
the radar screen and it won't be on the radar screen.

That suggests that any talking with de Chastelain - at
least in the here and now - will be going through the

And, so, there is a responsibility on the part of the
loyalist leadership to be absolutely clear about its

How will it- how can it? - guarantee that these weapons,
with all the killing and all the blood that is attached to
them, will never be used again?

And what if any of those weapons are discovered by the
police and a UVF label put on them? Where then does that
leave this loyalist initiative?

The weapons issue is the big question that will emerge from
whatever is said this week. But that question can only be
one part of the debate.

If the UVF and Red Hand leaderships genuinely intend to
march their war threat off the stage, then that is an order
of some significance.

This must be said and demonstrated in a manner that is

There has been much that has been dark, and, now, there is
a need for new light - for bright words and meanings that
are about making a genuine contribution to the new politics
of this place. The weapons issue will be the unfinished
business when this statement emerges in a few days time.

But let's look to see if the other words are directing a
march away from war and towards the new peace. Can the UVF
and Red Hand convince us?

c Belfast Telegraph


McCord Hits Out After Allister Meeting

[Published: Sunday 29, April 2007 - 10:56]

VICTIMS campaigner Raymond McCord last night hit out at
what he claimed was MEP Jim Allister's "head in the sand
attitude" towards collusion between police and loyalist

McCord met the former DUP man in Strasbourg last week
during a trip to the European Parliament to win support for
his campaign to expose his son Raymond jnr's killers and
the cops who allowed them to get away with murder.

But following the meeting, Mr Allister claimed that Mr
McCord's trip to the European Parliament was being used by
Sinn Fein to "peddle their vindictive vendetta against the

Said Mr McCord: "Sinn Fein are not using me or manipulating
me and at the Press conference the words concerning my
son's murder and Nuala O'Loan's report came from me.

"They have given me a platform, but it's a platform for
Raymond McCord to talk about the Police Ombudsman's report
and my son's murder."

When he returns to Ulster he has arranged to meet with Mr
Allister's former DUP colleagues, justice spokesman Ian
Paisley jnr and North Belfast MP Nigel Dodds, in whose
constituency most of the murders carried out by the UVF
gang that killed Raymond McCord jnr took place.

c Belfast Telegraph


Feud Victim's Family Lose Hope For Justice

[Published: Sunday 29, April 2007 - 10:54]
By Stephen Breen

THE devastated family of innocent loyalist feud victim
Craig McCausland now believe his killers will never be
brought to justice.

Speaking ahead of the UVF's expected announcement on the
terror group's future, Nicola McIlvenny told how victims'
families were being left behind.

Although the 21-year-old murder victim's cousin had
remained hopeful of justice since his killing on July 11,
2005, she fears the godfather who ordered the killing and
the gunmen will never be brought before the courts.

She also told how she had created a profile of Craig on the
popular Bebo website in a bid to keep his memory alive.

Said Ms McIlvenny: "We are no further on to be honest and
it just seems as if nobody wants to listen.

"The police know who the gunmen were, but they have not
been able to do anything about it. We were hopeful at the
beginning, but as each day goes by we are becoming more and
more isolated.

"We know the UVF leader in Woodvale ordered the killing and
he is still working in the area as if nothing happened. We
will never know why they targeted Craig because he was a
totally innocent victim."

Craig's partner, Kathy Gibson, also told how his son Dean
was still traumatised by the shooting of his dad.

"Craig's murder totally destroyed us and my children are
still traumatised by what happened that night," she said.
"Every time I close my eyes I am taken back to that night
when these gunmen smashed their way into my home and shot
Craig five times.

"We will never get over this and I just have to be here to
support my children and to remind Craig's son, Dean, what
his father was like."

c Belfast Telegraph


UDA Terror Boss Suffers Seizure

[Published: Sunday 29, April 2007 - 10:51]
By Ciaran McGuigan

CONVICTED UDA blackmailer Eddie Sayers first lost his shirt
- now he has lost his house.

For a bank has seized the former terror boss's home in
Larne over a five-year debt.

Earlier this month the Ulster Bank was granted a possession
order for the house at Forest Lodge in the Co Antrim town.

It had won a High Court order against Sayer's defaulting on
the mortgage for the property as far back as October 2002.

It's the latest blow for the loyalist crook after he was
declared bankrupt last November following a petition by HM
Revenue and Customs over an unpaid tax bill.

And his financial woes relating to his properties do not
end there.

According to High Court records, at least one other lender
has an outstanding legal action against Sayers and his wife
Gladys over the same property.

The AIB lodged papers with the High Court in October 2004,
in a case that is still active. And yet another mortgage
lender has an ongoing legal action against Mrs Sayers for
defaulting on a mortgage on a property in north Belfast.

And another lender has an action against her in relation to
the mortgage on a property in Omagh.

Papers held at the Enforcement of Judgements Office and the
High Court link the couple to no fewer than seven

Sayers was jailed for 10 years in the 1980s after being
exposed as a UDA extortionist by undercover journalists.

While he was banged up in the Maze, Sayers studied to be a
legal clerk.

When he was released from prison he secured work with a
legal firm that subsequently went bust.

Taylor & Co, which had former UFF godfather Johnny
Adair among its clients, was shut by the Law Society after
complaints that clients' money had gone missing.

c Belfast Telegraph


Just The Job For Convicted Terrorists

[Published: Sunday 29, April 2007 - 11:21]
By Alan Murray

CONVICTED terrorists are set to have their criminal records
wiped when it comes to job applications.

NIO minister David Hanson is expected to announce
employment legislation changes on Wednesday which will
prevent employers from lawfully refusing to consider
convicted paramilitaries for jobs on security grounds.

It is expected the changes will apply to the public and
private sectors - but not be the security sector.

Hanson's move is designed to assist loyalist paramilitaries
in particular, part of a package of sweeteners from the
Government to get terrorists to abandon criminality.

Hanson's announcement will come just days before the UVF is
expected to announce its intention to cease all
paramilitary activities.

But the terrorists group will not indicate when it will
engage in a weapons decommissioning process.

In recent days PUP leader Dawn Purvis has briefed parties
here on the intentions of the UVF and answered questions
about the organisation's future role.

It's understood she confirmed that the UVF move would not
be dependent upon other developments, although there was no
indication from her when the decommissioning of the
organisation's weapons might occur.

c Belfast Telegraph


MP Bugged By Hain's Stonewall

[Published: Sunday 29, April 2007 - 10:31]

PETER Hain has refused to confirm or deny the existence of
MI5 spy tapes at the Maze during the period leading to
Billy Wright's 1997 jail murder.

The Secretary of State referred to ministerial convention
on security matters as he stonewalled a written question by
DUP MP Jeffrey Donaldson concerning claims that LVF and
INLA inmates conversations were bugged at the jail.

Mr Donaldson MP wrote to Mr Hain asking whether he could
make available to the Billy Wright Inquiry surveillance
tapes held by the security and intelligence services of
conversations that took place in H Block 6 during the
period leading up to the LVF chief's murder by INLA

It follows claims by ex-intelligence services soldiers that
MI5 had bugging devices operating inside H Block 6 during

The soldiers also claimed transcripts of all surveillance
tapes were given to RUC Special Branch on a regular basis.

In his written response to Mr Donaldson, the Secretary of
State said that by convention he could neither confirm nor
deny the existence of the material.

Mr Donaldson said he was deeply disappointed with the
Secretary of State's response.

The Lagan Valley MP added that Mr Hain had failed to co-
operate in any way in providing any of the material that
had been requested.

Mr Donaldson said the Secretary of Sate had also refused to
explain why the Northern Ireland Prison Service had
destroyed certain files relevant to Judge Peter Cory's
investigation into Billy Wright's murder without first
informing the judge of their destruction.

The Billy Wright Inquiry is due to begin full public
hearings at Banbridge Courthouse in May.

c Belfast Telegraph


Police Chief Expenses Probe Put To Board

[Published: Sunday 29, April 2007 - 11:17]
By Stephen Gordon

THE Policing Board will this week consider a demand for an
independent investigat- ion into Chief Constable Sir Hugh
Orde's expenses.

Sunday Life revealed last week that DUP Assemblyman Jimmy
Spratt had written to the Board's Chief Executive Trevor
Reaney calling for an inquiry to be carried out by a
"totally independent person".

Mr Spratt, a former leader of the Police Federation,
revealed on Friday that he had received a reply from Mr
Reaney saying his call for an investigation into Sir Hugh's
expenses would be put before the Board at its next meeting.

That takes place on Wednesday at the Waterside Tower,

Mr Spratt told Sunday Life: "I hope the Board will accept
my call for an inquiry into Sir Hugh's expenses which I
believe are excessive compared to other chief constables.

"I hope the Board will appoint someone who is truly
independent and don't just roll over and accept someone
from within the policing system."

The South Belfast MLA added that he had consented for a
second demand in his letter - for a "total breakdown" of
all Sir Hugh's claimed expenses over the last five years -
to be dealt with by the PSNI.

Mr Spratt's call for an inquiry followed disclosures
earlier this year that Sir Hugh has a mistress and child in
the south of England, and has taken part in numerous
marathons and fun runs with his lover.

Even before Mr Spratt's demand, Sir Hugh Orde had taken
steps to have his expenses scrutinised, the PSNI stating:
"The Chief Constable has asked an individual to look at all
of his travel and accommodation over the last three years."

c Belfast Telegraph


Firefighter Hurt In Pellet Attack

A firefighter has sustained a facial injury during a pellet
gun attack on a crew in north Belfast.

It happened in Alliance Avenue after the Fire and Rescue
Service was called to put out a fire in a bin just after
2100 BST on Saturday.

The officers were attacked by a group of teenagers, one of
whom fired a pellet gun. The injured officer was not
seriously hurt.

A senior officer said the potential for serious injury was

The area commander for Belfast said: "It is sad that
firefighters who experience so much danger in their normal
duties are subjected to such a serious attack.

"However, I am reassured by help and assistance given to us
by elected representatives from the area, to ensure such
attacks do not occur in the future."

Sinn Fein councillor Margaret McClenaghan condemned the
attack. "Attacks on the Fire and Rescue Service are
completely and utterly wrong," she said. "This isn't a
matter of fun. It's a matter of life and death."

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2007/04/29 08:55:58 GMT


Sunday World Story Complete And Absolute Rubbish

Published: 29 April, 2007

Sinn Fein Councillor Christy Burke has described the attack
on Sinn Fein in today's Sunday World as complete and
absolute unsubstantiated rubbish.

Councillor Burke said:

"For more than 20 years myself and Sinn Fein members right
across this city have stood with local communities in the
fight against drug dealers, and criminals such as Christy
Griffin. I find it deeply offensive that week after week
unsubstantiated rubbish is printed in the Sunday World and
then repeated as if it is fact. Sinn Fein does not and has
never sought or taken one cent from Christy Griffin or any
other criminal. Their despicable activities are destroying
the very communities that we are working in.

"People in working class areas across Dublin know our
record and know the truth."ENDS


Fangs Did Not Happen Way It Was Reported

[Published: Sunday 29, April 2007 - 10:44]
By Stephen Breen

A CO Down businessman has hit out at vicious rumours that
he carried out a HANNIBAL LECTER-style attack on the son of
a top Sinn Fein man.

Outspoken Bartley Murphy from Downpatrick protested his
innocence about rumours he sank his teeth into the nose of
a son of Eamonn Mac Con Midhe.

The pub owner admitted there was a disturbance on a street
at the rear of his bar, Hogans, two weeks ago, but said he
was outraged at rumours that he attacked the Sinn Fein
man's son and a number of other young people.

Cops are now probing the incident and have taken a number
of statements from witnesses.

Mr Murphy offered to meet the councillor to put the record
straight. He said: "I was just responding to a telephone
call that a window had been smashed in my bar. I then went
to the back of the bar and that's when my vehicle was
attacked. I didn't bite anyone. This is just a vicious

"I didn't touch Eamonn's son and I have nothing against the
man or his family. It's great to see him going to the
police - it's a pity he couldn't have done this 10 years

"I have the footage to prove I was just defending my
property. I am sick to death of people violating my
property and I am confident I will be vindicated in this
case. I have given the footage to the police, and it
clearly shows the offenders in this matter.

"People should get their own house in order before they
criticise or accuse me of attacking people."

Mr Mac Con Midhe urged the publican to produce CCTV footage
to show what exactly happened outside the bar.

Added the Sinn Fein man: "It is a fact my son was attacked
outside this man's bar and a number of other young people
were assaulted.

"Bartley Murphy should produce the footage so we can
establish who did attack my son.

"In this new era of peace this matter is now in the hands
of the police, with various people making statements."

Mr Murphy spoke to us last October after he was branded a
"redneck" following his decision to appear on a BBC
Spotlight programme highlighting racism and immigration.

The businessman denied being a racist and also said his
comments on the programme were "taken out of context".

c Belfast Telegraph


Ousted UDA Man Sends Message To Leadership

[Published: Sunday 29, April 2007 - 10:01]
By Alan Murray

A crowd of around 1,000 has heard one of two men who the
UDA's Inner Council said it had expelled from the
organisation send a defiant message to his former comrades.

Newtownabbey councillor Tommy Kirkham told a crowd at
Queen's Park in Glengormley on Friday night that he would
not be coerced by the British and Irish Governments to
become Irish overnight.

"South East Antrim stands alone, but by standing alone we
can decide our own destiny and our own way forward," he

At the loyalist event to mark the 13th anniversary of the
INLA killing of UDA man Gerry Evans, Kirkham said he was
being reviled by his former comrades because he couldn't be

"What is it that I have that they all fear? Is it the fact
that I cannot be bought, is it the fact that I still have a
love for my country and the organisation I represent. Or
are we just a piece of everyone else's conscience."

Kirkham said that for nine months he had been vilified and
told that he and others in the area had no support.

He said attempts had been made using the media to stain the
characters of many loyalists in South East Antrim by
labelling them as gangsters, extortionists and drug dealers
who controlled property portfolios and ran brothels.

"There is criminality within all communities, but in South
East Antrim there is no place for loyalist criminals, only
loyalists. The criminals must be dealt with by the PSNI.

"We said in the past to Sir Hugh Orde, if you pursue
loyalists for being loyalists then we will protest at the
very highest level, but if you pursue loyalists for
criminality then you have our full support," he said.

Kirkham said that Protestant areas across Northern Ireland
had been neglected by the Government.

But senior UPRG representative, Frankie Gallagher, hit out
at his former colleague's claims.

Added Mr Gallagher: "If these people think they can sit in
splendid isolation and ignore or fail to show leadership in
dealing with criminality by merely passing the
responsibility on to the police, they are out of touch with

"An example of this is when the Shoukris had nowhere to go.
It was Tommy Kirkham who gave them sanctuary and now the
same gang around these people are robbing Larne. Our
reports on Tommy Kirkham's oration, which was supposed to
be a memorial service for a fallen comrade, was that it was
politicised and disgraceful.

"A call has gone out to the good members of south east
Antrim from the UDA. Kirkham or anyone else will not
threaten these men.

"The view of the organisation of which this man is no
longer a member is that we cannot allow paramilitary
structures to be left for the use of gangsters and

Kirkham reveals death threat

KIRKHAM received a death threat just 24 hours after Sunday
Life revealed he led a delegation linked to a breakaway UDA
group to meet the IMC paramilitary watchdog group.

He revealed how police warned him of the threat, which he
believes is linked to the mainstream UDA.

The South East Antrim politician said: "The police wouldn't
say how they knew or where the threat came from, but just
warned me to be careful because they had information that a
paramilitary organisation wanted to harm me. "

Kirkham added he suspects the intelligence information came
from within the UDA's Inner Council faction.

Kirkham was one of two men the Inner Council said it had
"expelled" from the UDA last month, but the councillor says
he was not a member of an illegal organisation.

Last week he led a delegation of representatives from eight
areas in South East Antrim who told the IMC's full panel
that they wanted help to bring about an end to all
paramilitary activities in their area.

The group, which supports the Beyond Conflict initiative to
dismantle paramilitary structures, said it understood the
UDA in South East Antrim was prepared to consider meeting
General John de Chastelain to discuss the possible
decommissioning of weapons.

It is believed the group's approach to the IMC angered the
UDA's Inner Council, which is led by South Belfast
Brigadier Jackie McDonald, and which wants to be the sole
representative of the entire UDA structure. It successfully
removed the previous leadership of the UDA's North Belfast
Brigade, once controlled by Andre Shoukri, and planned to
remove the leadership of the organisation in South East
Antrim and install a new figurehead.

But so far this has been resisted in the area and the UDA
remains under the control of the leaders who approved the
meeting with the IMC.

The move means that when the next IMC Report is written,
there will be a separate chapter created to refer to the
UDA in South East Antrim as a separate entity, a
development likely to further enrage the Inner Council

The IMC's latest report published on Wednesday confirmed
reports that UDA members had continued to be involved in
acts of violence "at an increased rate" from the beginning
of the year.

"The UDA was responsible for a number of shooting incidents
and for the bulk of the loyalist assaults to which we
refer," the report said.

"We believe these incidents were largely as a result of
friction within the organisation or as a result of
perceived anti-social behaviour".

While the report said there had been some improvement in
UDA activity, it concluded that "the pace of movement had
been too slow".

c Belfast Telegraph


Irish Party Time For Sen. Clinton In Los Gatos

By Mary Anne Ostrom
Mercury News
Article Launched: 04/29/2007 01:32:12 AM PDT

Irish connection: After leaving San Diego, Hillary Rodham
Clinton winged her way to a Saturday evening fundraiser at
the Los Gatos home of Palm senior executive John Hartnett
and his wife, Helen. It's part of a series of fundraisers
hosted by Irish-born Clinton enthusiasts, said Hartnett,
himself a native. About 70 guests were expected, both Bay
Area Irish-Americans and tech leaders.

Hartnett, who has lived in the United States for nine
years, however cannot vote for Clinton, just yet. He is
working on getting his citizenship in time for next year's
election, he said. Long an admirer of the Clintons,
Hartnett said hosting the fundraiser "is payback" for the
efforts of Bill and Hillary to bring peace to Northern

To show his appreciation, Hartnett ordered special
chocolate from Dublin and, he promised, "There will be
Guinness in the house."

Peace state: Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio, a vocal opponent
of the war in Iraq and presidential candidate, was asked
how his message is playing in the Golden State. "You know,
anyone who has ever spent time at the beach, why do you go
to the beach? It is peaceful. It is calm. Californians
resonate with that principle of peace."

Cameras, action: Two Santa Clara County legislators
announced their endorsement of Clinton at Saturday's
convention. Assemblyman Jim Beall of San Jose and
Assemblywoman Sally Lieber of Mountain View signed on in
time to be part of a group of 14 legislators

who stood behind Clinton during what had to be the most
heavily covered state convention news conference in
history. More than 250 reporters, camera operators,
videographers and bloggers crammed into the room. "Oh, my
goodness," a surprised Clinton said as she got her first
glimpse of the gargantuan pack.

According to convention planners, some 400 members of the
media were issued credentials for the weekend affair. The
ratio of media members to convention delegates: 1-to-4.


President Leaves For US Visit Today

29/04/2007 - 10:22:39

The President leaves Ireland today for a visit to the
United States.

Mary McAleese will spend five days in Georgia and New York.

The visit is aimed at strengthening links with the Irish
community in the US.

During her trip, the President will receive the American
Ireland Fund Humanitarian Award for her work helping
communities in the North.

She will also meet Mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg.


At Fag End Of An Era

[Published: Sunday 29, April 2007 - 11:15]

Gentle Pier pressure to wean 'em off weed


AN award-winning Ulster pub is bringing an extra breath of
fresh air into the lives of ciggie-craving customers as the
no smoking ban kicks in.

Reigning Pub of the Year Pier 36 in Donaghadee is set to
'dispense' advice to smokers hoping to stub out the habit
with the help of Gordons Chemists.

Pier 36 - perched on the village's picturesque harbour -
has teamed up with Gordons in a novel initiative.

The Waterworth family, which owns Pier 36, is swapping its
ashtrays for 'how to quit' leaflets, ditching cigarette-
vending machines for advice stands and is even planning
special counselling sessions for its customers.

Said Jody Waterworth: "We see the smoking ban as a very
positive move for everyone involved in our industry.

"But we also saw the need to support our customers who want
to stop smoking with a dedicated, advice-driven campaign
with the support of Gordons, who were delighted to get

Added Jody: "We are also planning to introduce a number of
counselling clinics where we will introduce trained
professionals to support our smokers, should they wish to
quit, within our own pub environment, complete with tea or
coffee and scones"

Said Gordons' partner and co-founder Neil Gordon: "It is
vital that smokers realise they don't have to quit on their
own and that there is support and help readily available at
their local pharmacy.

"This initiative with Pier 36 is, we believe, the first
campaign of its kind in the UK where a publican and a
pharmacy will be working together to improve people's

Publican Paul Ahead Of The Game, And There's An Air Of

WHEN pubs across Ulster become smoke-free zones tomorrow,
it will be business as usual for Co Down bar owner Paul

For Paul - who runs the Quoile Tavern in Downpatrick - has
been operating a no smoking policy at the popular pub for
the last year.

And the businessman (left) has told his colleagues in the
bar trade not to worry about losing regulars when the
smoking ban comes into force.

Although Paul admitted it was a gamble for him to introduce
the no-smoking policy a year ahead of schedule, he knows it
was the right choice.

Said Paul: "I obviously knew about the no smoking policy
being implemented in 2007, but I decided to implement it a
year earlier.

"The general consensus among the staff and the regulars was
to go for it. I just thought I would try it and I haven't
looked back."

He added: "When I implemented the policy, I got the place
dry-cleaned and it took about six months for the smell of
the smoke to lift.

"Everyone has been very supportive and it has made a real
difference. Smokers can have a cigarette just outside the
bar so they have also been kept happy.

"I won't take much notice when the smoking ban comes into
force, but it will be interesting to see how other bars
adopt to it. They shouldn't worry because it's a great
thing for everyone.

"We are upgrading the bar at the minute and the best thing
we ever did was introduce the smoking ban last year."

The bar owner's decision to introduce the smoking ban ahead
of schedule has been praised by the Ulster Cancer

Said a spokeswoman: "Introducing smoke-free policies in
public places is one of the most effective things that can
be done to encourage smokers to kick the habit. Paul
deserves credit for taking the initiative a year ahead of

It's Gone Swimmingly For The Mermaid Inn

PUB owner Vincent McKenna has every reason to raise a glass
today - because his new 'extension' measures up to all

For it will allow his customers to light up over a pint
despite next week's smoking ban.

And tobacco addicts relaxing in the impressive courtyard
conversion will even be able to watch racing on the telly
as they enjoy their fix.

The ban, which is due to come into force across the
province in just nine days time, prohibits smoking in all
enclosed public places, including bars, restaurants,
offices and even bus shelters.

But the outdoor extension to the Mermaid Inn at Wilsons
Court in Belfast has passed all planning hurdles with
flying colours.

"It was with the planners for almost 18 months so they
certainly had time to consider it," said Vincent.

The popular pub has benefited from a major interior
makeover that also included the removal of the entire front
wall and its replacement with sliding glass doors.

A canopy covers chairs and tables in the beer garden while
the pub's sliding doors open onto a widescreen TV.

"I'd say that a good 80 to 90pc of my customers are
smokers," said Vincent.

"So the ban could have hit me hard and, indeed, there are
fears in the trade that quite a few pubs could go belly-up.

"A lot of my regulars are also gee-gee men, so I've put a
speaker outside which means they can both see and hear the
racing while enjoying a drink.

"Even if it gets a bit nippy, we have a couple of patio
heaters that can be quickly utilised."

And there could also be light at the end of the smoke-free
tunnel for pubs that have no space to erect awnings,
extensions or canopies.

For ventilated 'smoking booths' - the size of a telephone
kiosk - have been given the green light in some parts of
Scotland and publicans are looking into introducing them in
licensed premises here.

The hi-tech booths are transparent to let the smoker
continue to enjoy the atmosphere of a pub or club. They
have a choice of music to listen to - and a two-way speaker
system allows puffers to have a conversation with friends
outside or at least experience the hubbub of other

Fumes are sucked up by a ventilations system that carries
smoke directly from the cigarette through a series of
filters before returning the cleaned air to the room.

As well as one-person cabins, larger booths for communal
smoking are also available.

No More Puffing Outside Hospital Entrances


SMOKERS will no longer be permitted to light up at hospital
entrances in Belfast, it has been revealed.

Belfast Health & Social Care Trust boss Dr Tony Stevens
says smokers standing at doorways at the Royal, Mater and
City hospitals will be moved on by security staff from

The trust's medical director said all hospital buildings
will be smoke-free from tomorrow.

However, a complete ban on all hospital sites was

Said Dr Stevens: "We will be asking smokers at entrances to
move on.

"But there will still be areas on the grounds where they
can smoke.

"It can be very distressing for patients and visitors
having crowds of people standing at entrances and we
understand that.

"We would very much like people not to smoke on our
premises at all, but that wouldn't be practical or humane.

"As a care organisation, we want to promote the message
that smoking is bad for your health, but we can't stop
people smoking."

Dr Stevens' long-term goal is to make Northern Ireland's
busiest hospital sites completely smoke-free with the
exception of patients.

"We want to see how people react to the ban and if people
are more amenable to the no smoking message," he added.

"We have to respect patients and can't have a draconian
regime, but we can encourage them not to smoke.

"Another element to this is that, if patients leave their
ward to have a smoke and they become ill while outside, we
can't ensure their well-being and can't be as responsive.

"What I'd really like to do is introduce a ban on visitors
and staff smoking on the hospital sites that would make
them a lot cleaner.

"I hope Monday's smoking ban will change attitudes and then
everyone's health will be improved."

c Belfast Telegraph


Alan McBride: Raise A Glass To Our Smoking Ban

[Published: Sunday 29, April 2007 - 10:55]

THEY said it would never work, yet it has been proven to
work in New York, Sydney, Hong Kong and in the south of

I refer to the smoking ban, which, from midnight, comes in
to force across Northern Ireland in all public places.

It may be that I'm becoming a grumpy old man, but I seem to
get more and more irritated on evenings out, with my eyes,
lungs and throat having to endure other people's smoke.

Many of these people are my mates and I enjoy their
company, but not their smoke, thank you very much!

I like to wake up in the morning and remember the good time
that was had the night before - not to still sense the
smell of stale smoke on my clothes and in my hair.

If the smell is so pervasive as to make its presence felt
in my bedroom the next morning, what does that mean its
doing to my lungs?

Taking into consideration the fact that we have one of the
highest rates of cardiovascular and respiratory disease in
the EU, you'd think the ban would have been introduced
sooner - but better late than never, I say.

There are some 'dimwits' who would try to convince us that
'passive smoking' is not so bad. I'm sure you've heard the
argument: "When I was a kid, people smoked around me all
the time and it never did me a button of harm, bla de bla."

Just because it's true for them (they think) doesn't make
it true for the rest of us.

I recall some very uncomfortable journeys on the way up to
Portrush with my five brothers and sisters squeezed into
the back of my Da's Morris Minor (they were also the days
before rear seatbelts had to be worn), gasping for air as
both parents smoked away, totally oblivious to the effect
their smoke was having on us wee'uns.

Secondhand smoke contains more than 4,000 toxins, more than
40 of which are known to cause cancer.

According to the British Medical Association, tobacco
contains arsenic, ammonia, butane, DDT, radon, sulphuric
acid, and . . . wait for it . . . hydrogen cyanide - used
as a method of execution in the US. Now, that's some

So, while one might think that 'passive smoking' is OK, the
reality is that it may also be a 'ticking bomb' waiting to
go off at any moment.

The latest statistics suggest that smoking-related
illnesses are killing about 3,000 people every year in
Northern Ireland. That is nearly as many as died in the

My brother-in-law was among them. A man in his mid-40s who
died last summer having been diagnosed with lung cancer
only four weeks previously, he had no idea what he was
carrying around inside him - an extremely preventable
disease with potentially fatal consequences, and not just
for the individual smoker himself but also for those around

Northern Ireland is about to become a 'cold house' for
smokers and I for one am very glad. Who knows, had it been
introduced some years ago, how many of our loved-ones who
died as a result of smoking would still be here?

While we can't turn the clock back, we can play our part to
ensure that the ban is a success.

There are those diehards (mostly publicans and those who
enjoy nothing better than a pint and a fag) who will raise
all sorts of opposition to the ban coming in. Well,
evidence from other places would suggest that the ban has
limited or no impact on the business life of bars and

There will be some who will no longer want to go out unless
they can smoke in the pub, but so what?

No doubt there are many more who, at the moment, choose to
stay in but would dearly love to have a drink or a meal in
smoke-free environment.

Recently, I had the good fortune to visit Hong Kong and
Australia, both which are renowned for having a high
proportion of smokers.

There the ban had already been in place for some months,
yet I noticed no detrimental effect on the quality of their

The same can be said of Dublin and countless other places,
but even if the opposite were true, at the end of the day,
the health benefits to the nation would always outstrip any
negative impact on the entertainment sector.

For that reason the ban is here to stay, with other areas
of the UK and across Europe to follow suit.

Tomorrow night I plan to go out for a few beers and not
have to put my clothes straight into the laundry bin.

Why don't you join me in raising a toast to a smoke-free
environment in which to unwind after a hard day's work?

c Belfast Telegraph

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 April Index
To Index of Monthly Archives
To Searches & Sources of Other Irish News

April 28, 2007

Blair To Quit on May 10

News About Ireland & The Irish

DM 04/28/07 Blair To Quit On May 10
IT 04/28/07 London Invite A Great Honour - Ahern
MN 04/28/07 UK/US Extradition Treaty Ratified
NW 04/27/07 Town Council Backs Lobby For 'Undocumented'
BT 04/28/07 Opin: Looking To The Future, Not The Past
NL 04/27/07 Opin: A Reality Of Life
IT 04/28/07 Opin: A Terrible Beauty
IN 04/29/07 First Son Of The Royal Hospital Dies Aged 73
IT 04/28/07 Eyre Square Nominated For Major Award
BT 04/29/07 500 Animals Found In Car


Blair To Quit On May 10

EXCLUSIVE: Finally.. we reveal the day when Blair will say
I'm leaving Downing St

By Rosa Prince Political Correspondent 28/04/2007

TONY Blair will announce he is standing down on May 10, the
Mirror has been told.

Senior sources say the Prime Minister has decided on the
date after intense discussions with his family, friends and
key advisers.

His announcement will trigger a seven-week leadership and
deputy leadership campaign.

Mr Blair will stay on until the results are known.

The PM had long been expected to bow out on May 9, when he
will return from Belfast having seen the restoration of
self-government in Northern Ireland - one of his greatest

But the Mirror has learned that he will hang on for one
more day so he can say an emotional farewell to ministers
at the weekly Thursday Cabinet meeting. He will then
confirm what he first revealed in September 2004 - he will
not see through a fourth term.

Speculation that Mr Blair would go earlier deepened after
it was suggested he would stand down on Tuesday - his 10th
anniversary in office. His departure would then overshadow
the local, Scottish and Welsh elections. But the PM's
spokesman said: "The story is wrong."

Mr Blair, asked about it on a trip to Poland, said: "You
know I never discuss these issues but I wouldn't hold your
breath on that story."

He is planning a low-key celebration of his 10th year as
PM, but has written a 22-page dossier of his achievements
for his MPs. The PM says Labour has changed the country and
proved there can be social justice and economic prosperity
at the same time.

Chancellor Gordon Brown is expected to become the next PM.
There are six contenders for the deputy's job.

Mr Brown is likely to face just one left-wing contender
because Michael Meacher and John McDonnell will reveal this
weekend that the candidate with the most supporters will
mount a solo bid.

Barring a major political earthquake, Mr Brown will be
installed at Number 10 by mid to late July.


London Invite A Great Honour - Ahern

Sat, Apr 28, 2007

Taoiseach Bertie Ahern has said he is "greatly honoured" at
the invitation to address the joint houses of parliament at
Westminster in London on May 15th, writes Miriam Donohoe,
Political Staff

Mr Ahern, who is the first taoiseach to be afforded this
honour, said last night the invitation symbolises the new
levels of "friendship, mutual respect and understanding"
between Ireland and Britain.

The invitation will be the third significant event during
the general election campaign marking the advances in the
Northern peace process and the changed relationship between
Ireland and the UK.

On May 8th Mr Ahern and the British prime minister, Tony
Blair, will attend the opening of the new Northern Ireland
assembly while on May 11th he and DUP leader the Rev Ian
Paisley will visit the Battle of the Boyne site in Co

Speculation increased yesterday that Mr Ahern will call the
election between now and next Tuesday for a May 24th poll.
Mr Ahern said the election would take place "shortly".

"The calling of it is just a technicality. People shouldn't
be worrying about this. The election will be shortly.
People can take that for certain. They shouldn't be getting
themselves excited."

Meanwhile, the Quarryvale Two module of the Mahon tribunal
investigating land rezoning in west Dublin is expected to
go ahead as scheduled on Monday following the failure of
the widow of the late TD Liam Lawlor, Mrs Hazel Lawlor, in
her High Court action yesterday to prevent it from

One of the main witnesses, Tom Gilmartin, is due to begin
giving his evidence on Tuesday. The Taoiseach is listed on
the tribunal website as among approximately 80 witnesses
who are listed to be called to give evidence from May 22nd.

c 2007 The Irish Times


UK/US Extradition Treaty Ratified

The treaty will modernise and extend the arrangements for
extradition between the US and the UK and for the first
time allow for the extradition of individuals accused of
twenty-first century crimes, such as child internet
pornography, which were not extraditable offences under the
old arrangements.

( - The United Kingdom and United States
have today ratified a bilateral extradition treaty to
ensure more effective arrangements to bring offenders from
either state to justice.

The treaty will modernise and extend the arrangements for
extradition between the US and the UK and for the first
time allow for the extradition of individuals accused of
twenty-first century crimes, such as child internet
pornography, which were not extraditable offences under the
old arrangements.

At a ceremony in Central London today the Instruments of
Ratification were exchanged by Home Office Minister
Baroness Scotland and US Ambassador to the UK Mr Robert H
Tuttle. This enables the 2003 bilateral extradition treaty
to enter into force under international treaty protocol.
The treaty's new provisions include:

* Defining an extraditable offence as one punishable by a
12 month or longer sentence in both states. This will
replace the list of extradition offences in the 1972
treaty. Offences not on the 1972 list, for example child
internet pornography, will in future be classed as
extraditable offences if they are punishable by a year or
more imprisonment in both states.

* Removing US statute of limitations issues. Extradition to
the UK could currently be barred if the offence is not
prosecutable in the US due to the lapse of time since it
was committed. This will no longer be applicable to
extraditions to the UK.

* Introducing a measure to allow for the temporary
surrender of persons serving a prison sentence in the
requested state. Temporary surrender means the victim does
not have to wait until the suspect has served his sentence
in the US for justice to be done in the UK and vice versa.

* Permitting the waiver of the rule of speciality. This
will enable the prosecution of the extradited person for an
offence for which he was not extradited, providing the
state from which he was extradited consents.

The treaty, and the Extradition Act 2003, have also
redressed the unequal balance that existed under the terms
of the 1972 Treaty in which the UK required more from the
US than they asked of the UK. The US was required to
demonstrate a prima facie evidential case in support of
extradition requests made to the UK, whereas the UK merely
had to demonstrate 'probable cause'.

The 'probable cause' test is broadly comparable to the
requirement for 'information which would justify the issue
of a warrant for the arrest of a person' that the UK will
now require of the US.

Home Office Minister, Baroness Scotland, said:

"This Government is committed to ensuring that we rebalance
the criminal justice system in favour of victims and bring
offenders to book wherever they may be. The ratification of
this treaty is a key example of how we are working with our
international partners to achieve these goals

"The ratification of this treaty will allow us to ensure
that criminals in hiding in the US, who have been wanted by
this country for some time, are returned here to face

"At the same time it will provide full and effective
safeguards for the rights of requested persons from the

US Ambassador, Robert Tuttle, said:

"I am very pleased that the United States and the United
Kingdom have taken the steps to bring this important treaty
into force.

"The implementation of this treaty benefits both our
countries. It's a practical measure that grows out of the
excellent law enforcement cooperation we share."

Notes to Editors:

1. The Treaty was signed on 31 March 2003 by then Home
Secretary David Blunkett and US Attorney General John

2. Certain provisions in the Treaty were given effect in
the UK by the entry into force of the Extradition Act 2003
on 1 January 2004.

3. The 2003 Treaty was formally approved by the US Senate
on 29 September 2006 and the US Treaty Approval Document
was signed by President Bush on 6 December 2006.

4. The previous extradition arrangements between the US and
the UK were those in the 1972 Treaty, as amended by a
supplementary Treaty in 1985.

Client ref 075/2007
GNN ref 146562P


Town Council Backs Lobby For 'Undocumented'

MEMBERS of Letterkenny Town Council have added their
support for the undocumented Irish in America. The Council
has agreed to write to the American Embassy in Dublin
expressing their support for the overhaul of US Immigration

At Monday night's Town Council meeting Councillor Gerry
McMonagle proposed the motion which received the unanimous
support of his council colleagues. Cllr McMonagle said with
over 50,000 undocumented Irish in America 'it was a massive

Over 1,000 Donegal people took part in a rally in Dublin at
the weekend to highlight the plight of undocumented family
members in the US, he said.

"I think it is vital that as a council we are seen to be
supporting their cause. These people are paying their taxes
and contributing to the American economy yet they are
always looking around their shoulder for fear of being
deported. They can't attend funerals and at the weekend we
heard of one man who was 18 years in the US when he was
deported while travelling to his work one day," he said.

"These people are helping to build and maintain the
American economy and we must do all we can to support the
Irish lobby for Immigration Reform," Cllr McMonagle added.

Cllr Dessie Larkin said the Donegal Association in New York
was fully behind the lobby for reform and said as a local
authority the council could make its support known through
the American Embassy.

"There are thousands of undocumented Donegal people in
cities like New York, Boston and Philadelphia and they live
in fear every day of being deported. They're paying their
taxes and contribute massively to the economy and are not
on social welfare. We've all heard the stories about their
inability to return home," he said.

"The power to change this lies with Congress and with the
support of people like Hilary Clinton hopefully the issue
will be sorted out," Cllr Larkin added.

Cllr Neil Clarke said it was imperative the matter was
addressed while Cllr Ciaran Brogan said it was a very
emotional issue for families.

"This reform couldn't happen soon enough," he said.

However, Cllr Brogan acknowledged that Immigration Policy
had been stepped up significantly following the 9-11


Viewpoint: Looking To The Future, Not The Past

[Published: Saturday 28, April 2007 - 08:30]

The relatively muted reaction of the DUP to the nomination
of Martina Anderson as a Sinn Fein representative on the
Policing Board is a sure sign that the political landscape
in Northern Ireland is changing.

Where once there would have been fury and outrage, there
was merely disappointment and disquiet.

Without doubt, the inclusion of Ms Anderson's name is a
bitter pill to swallow for anyone who has been bereaved by
IRA violence, particularly those in police families. A
former prisoner who had been jailed for life after being
convicted of conspiracy to cause explosions in England will
now be holding the Police Service to account.

Ironically, the conviction means that the Sinn Fein
Assembly member would herself be ineligible to apply to
join the police. But the fact that someone once so
dedicated to terrorism should now be committing herself to
an active role in the democratic process is surely a sign
of great hope.

Provided everything goes according to plan on May 8, the
republican movement will declare its support for the Police
Service and Sinn Fein will take its seats on the Policing
Board. It is an event which many doubted if they would ever

The new accord between the DUP and Sinn Fein has yet to be
fully tested in government, but the indications to date are
positive. Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness are unlikely
partners but their words and actions to date have set a new
context for major political realignments.

It is against this background that Sinn Fein's move on
policing should be set. The party's policing spokesman Alex
Maskey - who took risks during his term as Lord Mayor of
Belfast - has pledged that they will treat everyone,
including the police, on a fair basis. The party's
representatives deserve to be judged on their future
approach, not on their previous convictions.

As Gregory Campbell of the DUP comments, it is time to move
on. The hope must be that once Sinn Fein fully endorses the
PSNI, the climate on the streets will change and all
sections of this community will enjoy a new era of law and

Policing has always been a key issue in Northern Ireland
and the focus must now be on reducing levels of
criminality. Every police service operates best when it
enjoys the support of the public and nobody should have any
qualms about giving information to the PSNI.

That said, it will take time for mindsets to change and for
those who have been brought up in an atmosphere of
hostility to the security forces to re-think their

But the fact that Sinn Fein is prepared to embrace the new
order is a major breakthrough. The DUP, too, deserves
credit for its mature response to the latest developments.
At last, all the parties are looking to the future, not the

c Belfast Telegraph


Opin: A Reality Of Life

Remarkable political advances have been made in Northern
Ireland over recent years,

but in some parts of the Province the population is very
heavily segregated along narrow unionist/loyalist and
nationalist/republican lines.

The dark legacy of more than 30 years of the Troubles
whereby high walls divide communities from each other will
not be easily put in reverse, such is the level of fear and
distrust between people of differing political and
religious aspiration.

The housing segregation is most polarised in working class
areas of Belfast and Londonderry and in estates in larger
towns, like Portadown and Lurgan, and, quite apart from the
historic sectarian dividing lines, there are still 46 walls
or fences and 11 gates that prevent any integration of
people from a different culture.

Of course, there are a great many small towns and villages
in Northern Ireland where unionists, nationalists and
others live happily alongside one another, as their
forebears have done for generations, without any sacrifice
of the political and religious views which they hold.

These housing arrangements are harder to implement in
larger urban areas and there is also the difficulty that
people cannot be forced to live in areas where they do not
want to go.

That is the reality of life here!


Opin: A Terrible Beauty

Sat, Apr 28, 2007

W@ would da gr8 poet William Butler Y8s have made of da
news dat txt spk is chngin da way da yung ppl rite? Easter,
1916 mite 2day read like dis: He, 2, has bin chngd in his
turn, Trans4med utterly, A trrble buty is born.

Da st8 chief examiner sez dat da standard of English is
droppin cos "text messaging, with its use of phonetic
spelling and little or no punctuation, seems to pose a
threat to traditional conventions in writing". He sez dat
xam answers r 2 short cos "candidates seemed unduly reliant
on short sentences, simple tenses and a limited

N response, da Assoc of Secondary Teachers in Irel& sez der
is no need to panic, dat "rigidity or conformity with
received standards is not the first port of call in judging
a piece of writing or, indeed, speaking" & dat "language
changes as the world changes: it cannot be set in aspic".

It is tru dat der is a chng in da way we commnc8. Da Irish
sent 4.4bn txts last yr, or 1,053 txt 4 evry 1 in the St8.
We own approx 4.5m mob phones, & cos 96% of 11-12 yr olds
hav a phone, in little tym Irish teens have lrnd to adapt 2
abbrev8d lingo. Dey find it ez 2 switch between txt spk &
traditional langwge.

It is a fascin8n trend, a gr8 shift in da way ppl rite & 1
dat has bin driven by nu tech. B4, tho, txt spk woz ltd 2
txt msgs & Bebo sites. Now it is affecting both Jr Cert and
Levn Cert xams. Dis mns it is bginnin to dsplace Stablished
use of English, ncludn da logicl & conceptual found8ions of
da langwge.

Da rulz of English grammr r bein ignored & may b 4gotten.
Dis cant b good 4 educ8nal standrdz, or 4 how yung ppl
undrst& da language dey spk & rite evry day. Txtin is best
regRded as a parllel funcshnl langwge with its oan rules &
wit, rather dan 1 dat by in10tion or de4llt dsplces
convenshnl English.

& in da long term, it cud affect da lingo of biz and even
cultr. Will ppl pay 2 c an actor deliva da gr8 line: "2b or
not 2b, dat d Q."

1 day, mayB, all of Da Irish Times will b rtn lyk dis. But
not on Mdm's woch! 4 now, txting is still just as hard to
rite as it is 2 read. Which is da rison y dis editorial is
on da shrt side.

c 2007 The Irish Times


First Son Of The Royal Hospital Dies Aged 73

By Marie Louise McCrory

Fond memories: Francis Wisdom as a young boy and
grandfather. Mr Wisdom, a founder member of Donegal Celtic,
with the Donegal Celtic Steel and Sons Cup West

Belfast correspondent Marie Louise McCrory speaks to the
family of the first person born at the Royal Maternity
Hospital more than 70 years ago, who died just a short
distance away this week

When Francis Wisdom was born he had no eyelashes or
fingernails. A tiny premature baby, he had been so eager to
join the world that his mother had to be rushed to the new
Royal Maternity Hospital on the Falls Road in west Belfast
the night before it was due to open.

Mary Alice Wisdom went into labour with her first child on
August 1 1933 at the home she shared with husband Michael
at Dunmore Street, off the Springfield Road.

The Royal was the nearest hospital and Mrs Wisdom was
rushed into the brand new delivery suite.

A swift birth later and Francis was born into the world.

He was the only baby in the hospital and his tiny screams
filled the corridors and later the ward where just he and
his mother cuddled up together on their own.

Francis - who became the oldest of 16 children - went on to
have four daughters and four sons of his own with his wife
Ellen McCorry.

In 1959 he became a bus conductor and later a driver.

On Christmas Day 1973 Francis lost his wife following an
illness and was left to continue bringing up his eight
children alone.

Ten years later, he was invited to the Royal Maternity when
it celebrated its 50th anniversary.

As the first baby born there, he was guest of honour.

This week Francis - who had 13 grandchildren and seven
great grandchildren - passed away at the Royal Victoria
Hospital, just a short distance from where he was born 73
years ago.

His children last night des-

cribed him as "a character".

"He was a founder member of the Donegal Celtic," his
daughter Frances Morrow said.

"My dad was very straight and very witty. He was a great

"Everybody took to him. He was very sharp and very

Her sister Ellen McGrady said her dad had loved to speak
about how he was the first baby born at the new Royal

"The hospital wasn't due to be officially opened until the
following day," she said.

"When he was born he had no eyelashes or fingernails. He
used to tell us about it.

"He always thought he was special. It was his claim to

"He went along for the 50th anniversary of the Royal
Maternity in 1983 and he was so proud."

A spokeswoman for the Royal Victoria Hospital last night
expressed sympathy to Mr Wisdom's family.

"We are saddened to hear about the death of Mr Wisdom and
offer our sincere condolences to his family,'' he said.

"Mr Wisdom was the first baby born in the Royal Maternity
Hospital when it opened its doors in 1933.

"He was also present at the unveiling of a plaque in 1983,
marking 50 years of providing a maternity service to the
people of Northern Ireland.

"Thousands of babies are now born at the hospital. Last
year 5,296 babies were delivered at the Royal Jubilee
Maternity Hospital alone."
Requiem Mass for Mr Wisdom will be celebrated at 10am today
at St Oliver Plunkett Church in Lenadoon, with burial
afterwards in Milltown cemetery.


Eyre Square Nominated For Major Award

Frank McDonald, Environment Editor

Sat, Apr 28, 2007

After all the hue and cry about its controversial face-
lift, Eyre Square in Galway has now been nominated for the
Academy of Urbanism's Great Place award - in competition
with Meeting House Square in Dublin's Temple Bar.

Eyre Square is described as the place "Galway was built
around . . . given a new lease of life in the 21st century"
in guidance notes circulated to academy members, while
Meeting House Square is described as "part of Temple Bar's
sequence of streets and spaces".

The other contenders are Brighton Beach; the South Bank,
Exmouth Market and Duke of York Square in London; Exchange
Square in Manchester; the Quayside in Newcastle; Royal
Exchange Square in Glasgow; and the Winter Gardens in

Two Irish towns - Armagh and Kilkenny - are in contention
for the academy's Great Town award with Brecon, in Wales;
Cheltenham, Huddersfield, Malmesbury and Winchester, in
England; and Inveraray and St Andrews, in Scotland.

The main streets of Ireland's two largest cities -
O'Connell Street, Dublin, and Donegall Place/Royal Avenue,
Belfast - have been nominated for the Great Street award.
Other contenders include Glasgow's Buchanan Street and
London's Regent Street.

For the Great Neighbourhood award, Temple Bar has made the
cut, but it's up against stiff competition from
Castlefields in Manchester, Soho and Shad Thames in London,
Stockbridge in Edinburgh, and Rope Walks in Liverpool,
among others.

The principal award, European City of the Year, will go to
one of 10 contenders - Amsterdam, Barcelona, Berlin,
Budapest, Graz, Helsinki, Istanbul, Lyon, Stockholm and
Turin. Dublin made last year's shortlist, but lost out to

St Stephen's Green was a finalist for the 2006 Great Place
award, but it went to Borough Market in London.

The other winners last year were Ludlow (Great Town),
Merchant City, Glasgow (Great Neighbourhood) and Marylebone
High Street, London (Great Street).

The 2007 nominees will be whittled down to three finalists
in each category at the academy's nominations dinner in the
Royal Hospital, Kilmainham, on May 24th.

Every shortlisted nominee with then be visited before the
winners are selected in November.

All will be judged by academy members on the basis of a
number of key criteria, including governance, local
character and distinctiveness, user friendliness,
functionality, commercial success and viability, and
environmental and social sustainability.

Formed in 2006, the Academy of Urbanism of Great Britain
and Ireland brings together a group of thinkers and
practitioners involved in the social, cultural, economic,
political and physical development of cities, towns and
villages throughout both islands.

The academy's theme, Space, Place, Life, is to be explored
at a conference in Dublin Castle on May 24th, jointly
organised by the Urban Forum. Speakers will include
architects Se n O'Laoire and Sir Terry Farrell, and Dublin
city planner Dick Gleeson.

The conference will be preceded by a study tour of Belfast,
to see its recent transformation by the "peace dividend",
and will be followed by walking tours of Dublin city centre
and the docklands area.

Further details from

 Frank McDonald is a founder member of the Academy of
Urbanism and is its writer in residence.

c 2007 The Irish Times


500 Animals Found In Car

[Published: Saturday 28, April 2007 - 08:14]
By Ashleigh Wallace

The USPCA was last night investigating a shocking incident
of animal cruelty after 500 animals were discovered in the
back of a student's car in Coleraine.

The animals - including birds, hamsters, rabbits, guinea
pigs and a Chinese water dragon - were in boxes and cages
in the Renault Clio parked on Cromore Road yesterday.

No water had been left for them. The USPCA revealed 75 of
the animals died of suspected heat stroke and dehydration.

While many of the survivors were taken to vets' surgeries,
it is feared more may die.

The car owner, believed to be a male in his early 20s, was
spoken to at the scene by the PSNI.

It is understood he may have left the animals in the car
for six hours while at university and was planning to take
them to pet wholesalers in Co Donegal on Friday evening.

The alarm was raised after a member of the public noticed a
number of birds in the locked car acting in a distressed

Local officers arrived and, after the owner was located,
the surviving animals were handed over to the USPCA.

Stephen Philpott, chief executive of the animal welfare
organisation, said: " I'm shocked at what was found in the
car in Coleraine and (recommend) that this man should be
questioned about animal cruelty.

"To leave these small animals in those conditions for over
six hours shows a total lack of regard for their welfare.

"Every year, we bring this sort of problem to the public's
attention - that temperatures in cars can soar, even on a
cloudy day. Every summer lots of pets, particularly dogs,
lose their lives in cars and ignorance is not an excuse.

c Belfast Telegraph

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 April Index
To Index of Monthly Archives
To Searches & Sources of Other Irish News

April 27, 2007

Poll Indicates Ahern Election Disaster

News about Ireland & the Irish

BT 04/27/07 Polls Indicate Ahern Election Disaster
BT 04/27/07 B Clinton Side Steps McAllister’s Deportation Fight
BT 04/27/07 McCain Praises Sinn Fein On Policing Move
BT 04/27/07 McCord’s Victim Commission Rejection Letter Revealed
BB 04/27/07 DUP Ministers May Quit Councils
BB 04/27/07 PUP 'Dissident Talks' With PSNI
BT 04/27/07 Incoming Edu Minister Backs Irish Language Schools
BB 04/27/07 SF: Decisions 'Should Be Put On Hold'
IN 04/27/07 McGuinness Brother-In-Law Denies Abduction
IN 04/27/07 Naming Of Band After UVF Bomber Defended
BT 04/27/07 Ulster Student: How I Survived Virginia Massacre
BN 04/27/07 Average House Prices Down €2,000
IT 04/27/07 Towns And Villages Are Fastest Growing Centres
IT 04/27/07 Revival Of 'Dead' Man Not Unique
IT 04/27/07 Baby Son For Michael Flatley And Wife
TP 04/27/07 Irish President To Visit US Next Week


Polls Indicate Ahern Election Disaster

[Published: Friday 27, April 2007 - 11:15]
By Ben Lowry

The Republic is on course for a change of government with the
ruling Fianna Fail party heading for a general election disaster
as its vote continues to plummet, a new poll has suggested.

Taoiseach Bertie Ahern's party will now be bracing itself for the
loss of up to 25 seats as its vote has fallen to 34%.

That is down 3% on the February figure. This is the third
national opinion poll in a week in which the Fianna Fail vote has
gone down, but the party remains the largest.

The support for Sinn Fein has edged up by 1% to a solid 10% of
the overall vote.

Support for the largest opposition party, Fine Gael, has
continued on the up.

It has soared to 31%, or a rise of 5% in just over two months.

Fine Gael now hovers just 3% behind Fianna Fail and will harbour
realistic hopes not only of heading the next government, but also
of pushing further ahead and becoming the largest party.

If repeated on polling day, the figures mean that not only would
Fine Gael regain the 23 seats it lost in its calamitous 2002
performance, but it would also gain several more seats.

The poll is a huge body-blow to Fianna Fail as Mr Ahern continues
to mull over the date of the general election. Carried out by TNS
MRBI for the Irish Times, it shows that while Labour's vote is
down 1% to 10%, the Fine Gael-Labour axis could form a government
without the support of the Greens.

Together, Fine Gael and Labour have 41%, four points ahead of
Fianna Fail and their current coalition partners, the Progressive
Democrats who have a combined 37%.

If the Greens are added in with Fine Gael and Labour to form a
Rainbow, the three would have a 10% lead over the present
government combination.

The poll shows Fianna Fail on 34% (down 3% on February), Fine
Gael, 31% (up 5), Labour 10% (down one), Sinn Fein, 10% (up one),
Greens, 6% (down two); PDs, 3% (up two), Independents and others,
6% (down two).

c Belfast Telegraph


Clinton Refuses To Back Ex-INLA Man's Fight Against Deportation

[Published: Friday 27, April 2007 - 11:04]
By Sean O'Driscoll

Former US President Bill Clinton has declined to back a campaign
for former Republican paramilitaries after being questioned by an
ex-INLA prisoner.

President Clinton was speaking at a $4,500-a-head fund-raiser for
his wife's presidential campaign at the New York home of actor
Gabriel Byrne.

After inviting questions from the crowd, one member of the
audience introduced himself as Malachy McAllister, who was jailed
in the early 1980s for the attempted murder of an RUC officer.

McAllister, who has been fighting for years to stop his
deportation back to Northern Ireland, asked what another Clinton
presidency could do for his campaign.

However, President Clinton side-stepped the question, talking off
the need to overcome sectarian divides and speaking at length
about the current situation in Rwanda.

"Is there anyone here from Rwanda?" he asked, to laughter from
the almost exclusively Irish-American audience.

However, President Clinton suggested that Mr McAllister take his
case to Senator Clinton's office.

Asked by a younger member of the audience what his wife's
presidency could do for young people, President Clinton said that
America's first female president would make the fight against
global warming a priority, which would affect young people around
the world more than anyone else.

Senator Hillary Clinton was not at the event as she had to fly to
South Carolina for the first debate among the eight Democratic
presidential candidates.

Byrne welcomed President Clinton to his four-storey Brownstone
home in an affluent area of Brooklyn.

The event was expected to earn over $$200,000 for Senator
Clinton's presidential campaign.

President Clinton reminisced about his time in Northern Ireland
while meeting the 200 guests.

c Belfast Telegraph


Senator Praises Sinn Fein On Policing Move

[Published: Friday 27, April 2007 - 11:03]
By Sean O'Driscoll

Republicans cannot use policing as an excuse for violence in
their communities now that Sinn Fein has appointed members to the
policing board, Senator John McCain has said just hours before he
is due to officially announce his candidacy for the US

Speaking at the annual Cooperation Ireland dinner in New York
this week, Senator McCain was reacting to Sinn Fein's
announcement that it is to appoint three people, including an ex-
IRA bomber, to the Northern Ireland Policing Board.

Mr McCain gave his "hearty congratulations" to Sinn Fein and the
DUP on the new Northern Ireland Government - and especially
welcomed Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness' joint letter of
congratulations to the Ireland cricket team as one of their first
official acts together.

Senator McCain noted that Sinn Fein has now made its first
appointments to the policing board.

"In the past, the character of the police was used as an excuse
by some who wished to engage in extra-judicial activities,
actions that rent the fabric of society. That excuse is gone," he
said to applause from the audience.

"Violence, crimes and threats have no place in the Northern
Ireland of today or tomorrow," he added.

Senator McCain made his comments two years after lambasting the
Sinn Fein and IRA leadership in front of Gerry Adams at a similar
black tie event in Washington.

c Belfast Telegraph


You wanted written proof, Mr Paisley? Well then, here it is ...

[Published: Friday 27, April 2007 - 09:38]
By Chris Thornton

Incoming Stormont Minister Ian Paisley jnr wanted to see written
evidence that Raymond McCord had been rejected as Victims'
Commissioner because he didn't know enough about the Troubles -
and here's the proof he asked for.

A letter sent by officials to Mr McCord last month said the
Belfast campaigner - whose son was murdered by the UVF and was
himself severely assaulted by the UDA - had not shown "an
awareness of the consequences of the conflict" in his

Earlier this week Ian Paisley jnr told the BBC's Nolan programme
that he would be very interested in "seeing if that was actually

He added: "I mean, if he has that in writing I will be certainly
interested in that."

Told about the letter yesterday, Mr Paisley - who could have a
role in the final appointment of the new Commissioner next month
- said the rejection had been "very badly and stupidly handled".

The DUP MLA, who will be the junior minister in the First
Minister's office which sent out the letter, said: "It's a
pathetic way to treat a victim.

"People have to get in touch with the community if they're going
to deal with the needs of victims."

The letter could be a key part of potential court action over the

Mr McCord, who was in Strasbourg this week telling MEPs about his
son's murder, is currently taking legal advice.

The campaigner decided to apply for the post in January, after
years of work about his son's murder led to the Police
Ombudsman's devastating report on UVF collusion.

But he was turned down without an interview.

In the letter, an official in the Office of the First Minister
and Deputy First Minister said Mr McCord had been rejected for
"failing to provide enough evidence" in relation to four criteria
for the œ65,000-a-year post.

The letter indicated that the first hurdle he fell at was in
being able to demonstrate "an awareness of the consequences of
the conflict in Northern Ireland or similar situations

He was also rejected because he did not show "a high standard of
oral, written and presentation skills", an "ability to work
effectively with the media" and experience of office management.

A public relations professional has described Mr McCord's media
skills as " excellent".

The assessment panel, which included one independent member,
decided Mr McCord had come up to standard in three areas -
commitment to promoting the interests of victims, an ability to
work with victims from different sections of the community, and
an ability to empathise with victims.

Mr McCord said: "I'm not saying I'm the best person for the job,
but I thought the reasons they gave were ludicrous.

"My son was murdered by the UVF, I've been threatened by that
organisation for daring to ask questions about the murder, and
I've been left for dead by the UDA - but I'm not aware of the

The First Minister's Office said it could not comment on
individual applications.

A total of 46 people applied for the Victims' Commissioner job
when it was advertised in January.

Thirteen people have been interviewed, but no appointment has
been announced. First Minister Ian Paisley and Deputy First
Minister Martin McGuinness will have to agree the appointment
after they are confirmed in their jobs on May 8.

c Belfast Telegraph


DUP Ministers May Quit Councils

DUP deputy leader Peter Robinson may soon be giving up his
council seat in Castlereagh.

The party is currently reviewing potential conflicts of interest
between senior members of the assembly who are also councillors.

A DUP spokesman said about half a dozen members are affected.

They include Mr Robinson, the new finance minister, and the new
environment minister, Arlene Foster, who also sits on Fermanagh

Party leader Ian Paisley will be sworn in as first minister of a
new Northern Ireland power-sharing assembly on 8 May, with Sinn
Fein's Martin McGuinness as deputy first minister.

In the previous assembly both Mark Durkan, the SDLP finance
minister, and the UUP environment minister, Sam Foster, resigned
their council posts.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2007/04/27 10:24:38 GMT


PUP 'Dissident Talks' With PSNI

The Progressive Unionist Party are to hold talks with the police
service in relation to dissident republican activity.

Party leader Dawn Purvis will lead a delegation to meet PSNI
Chief Constable Sir Hugh Orde in Belfast.

It comes after Sir Hugh told the BBC he believed a forthcoming
statement from the Ulster Volunteer Force on its intentions would
not go far enough.

The Progressive Unionist Party is aligned with the paramilitary

Speaking ahead of Friday's meeting, Ms Purvis said: "The purpose
of this discussion is to get an assessment from the chief
constable and his top team on dissident republican activity.

"It is important that our new assembly is given the best possible
start and that nothing is allowed to destabilise that, therefore
it will be helpful to hear from the chief constable his plans to
deal effectively with dissident republicans."

On Wednesday, the PUP leader met Taoiseach Bertie Ahern for talks
in Dublin.

Earlier, an Independent Monitoring Commission report found that
UDA and UVF members were still involved in crime.

The paramilitary watchdog said it was time for the UVF leadership
to show courage to point it in a new direction.

The commission said the UVF was not involved in terrorist
activity and had tried to address the problem of racial crime
during the period under review.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2007/04/27 06:20:22 GMT


Incoming Education Minister Backs Irish Language Schools

[Published: Friday 27, April 2007 - 09:46]
By Kathryn Torney

The incoming Sinn Fein Education Minister has pledged her support
for the continued growth of Irish language schools and integrated
education - despite the Assembly facing the prospect of mass
school closures.

Caitriona Ruane has spoken out in advance of attending a
fundraising event at an Irish-medium nursery school in
Downpatrick tonight.

The Minister will have to juggle her aim along with multiple
school closures and amalgamations due to be implemented as a
result of a dramatic decline in the school aged population.

It is also likely to lead her onto a collision course with the
Education Committee chairman Sammy Wilson - who has been strongly
critical of expansion of the two growing minority school sectors
at a time when pupil numbers are falling.

Ms Ruane told the Belfast Telegraph: "One of the challenges
facing me as future Minister for Education will be to take
forward the idea of sharing within and between schools. Irish-
medium schools offer a valuable educational environment.

"I want to support parental choice and to continue to develop
both the Irish-medium and integrated sectors.

"As with other sectors it is also important that the Irish-medium
sector challenges itself by listening to others and discussing
possible future opportunities."

Among the items under the hammer at tonight's event are single
malt whiskey - one a limited edition to commemorate John Hume's
receipt of the Nobel Prize, and another similar bottle to
commemorate Mary McAleese's election as President of Ireland.
There will also be a football and a Down jersey, both signed by
all the Down All-Ireland winning captains, which will be
presented to the buyer by Down Gaelic football legend Paddy

Other lots are a Bobby Sands biography signed by the surviving
hunger strikers, a copy of the Belfast Agreement with John Hume's
signature, a flight from Newtownards airport over Downpatrick and
Lecale, two nights' bed and breakfast and dinner for two in the
Slieve Russell Hotel and a Manchester United shirt signed by
Diego Forlan and Ruud van Nistlerooy.

The gala dinner and auction event at Russell Gaelic Union
Clubrooms in Downpatrick will raise funds for Na¡scoil Dh£n
P draig - the Downpatrick Irish-medium Nursery School.

The school is a recognised charity and the money raised in the
auction will be used to sustain and develop Irish-medium pre-
school education in the Downpatrick district.

The night begins at 7.30pm and the auction starts at 9.30pm. The
cost is œ25 for dinner (including wine), the auction and
entertainment. Or just œ5 to attend the auction and entertainment
only. Anyone interested in attending the event can telephone
P draig Mac Thiarn in on (028) 44613709 or mobile 07712 667518.

c Belfast Telegraph


Decisions 'Should Be Put On Hold'

A moratorium should be placed on key financial decisions
affecting NI until devolution is imposed on 8 May, Sinn Fein's
Mitchel McLaughlin has said.

Mr McLaughlin, chair of the assembly's finance committee, said
important decisions were being taken by the NIO.

He said appointments had been made and a shortlist for a œ500m
contract known as Workplace 2010 had been drawn up.

A NIO statement said the main decision on the scope and content
of the contract would be up to the assembly.

"Workplace 2010 is in the middle of a commercial process and that
process is continuing. However, the main decision on the scope
and content of the contracts will be for the new Stormont
administration to make," it said.

However, Mr McLaughlin said he could not understand why such
important decisions were being taken by direct rule ministers.

"It has been reported that direct rule minister David Hanson has
taken a decision to shortlist two of the four parties bidding for
the huge œ500m Workplace 2010 contract two weeks prior to the
establishment of the executive and political institutions," he

"I cannot understand why direct rule ministers are currently
announcing decisions that will impact on the discharge of local
ministers' responsibilities when a local administration is about
to be restored in less than two weeks."

The Workplace 2010 contract involves the sale and lease of
publicly owned assets.

It would tie the Department of Finance and Personnel into a 20-
year commercial relationship with a private sector company.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2007/04/27 06:05:40 GMT


McGuinness Brother-In-Law Denies Abduction

By Seamus McKinney

A BROTHER-in-law of Sinn Fein chief negotiator Martin McGuinness
appeared before Derry Magistrates Court yesterday charged in
connection with an abduction and assault.

Marvin Canning (45) faces seven charges in connection with the
abduction in Mullingar and assault in Derry of Co Down man
Brendan Cranston and his partner, Dublin woman Linda Docherty.

Mr Canning is a brother of the incoming deputy first minister's
wife Bernie.

After the hearing, Mr Mc-Guinness confirmed that Mr Canning was
his brother-in-law and condemned the alleged attack.

"Whoever carried out this attack, I absolutely and unequivocally
condemn it," he said.

"Those responsible must be made accountable through the courts."

Mr Cranston and Ms Docherty were abducted at their home in
Mullingar in Co Westmeath and driven to Derry where Mr Cranston
was shot in both ankles and Ms Docherty assaulted.

A small crowd of Mr Canning's supporters jostled photographers
and camera crews as the accused was brought into the courthouse
in a police van.

As he was led in he turned to his supporters and gave a clenched-
fist salute.

There were also a number of disruptions as supporters entered
court for the brief hearing.

When a mobile phone sounded, resident magistrate Barney McElholm
ordered that the owner be fined œ50.

Mr Canning was led into the dock handcuffed to a prison guard.

Dressed in a checked open-neck shirt, he remained silent
throughout the hearing, nodding his head to confirm that he
understood the charges against him.

A detective constable told the court he charged the accused the
previous night.

Detective Constable Derek McLaughlin said Mr Canning maintained
his innocence through seven different interviews.

Questioned by defence solicitor Paddy MacDermott, Mr Mc-Laughlin
also admitted that the evidence against Mr Canning was of an
"identification nature".

The accused faces charges of the false imprisonment, kidnapping
and assault of Mr Cranston and causing him grievous bodily harm.

He is also charged with possessing a firearm with intent to
endanger life.

Mr Canning also faces charges of the false imprisonment, assault
and causing grievous bodily harm to Ms Docherty.

The accused was remanded in custody to appear back in court on
May 24 by video link.

A second man arrested in connection with the incident on Tuesday
has been released without charge while another man arrested on
Wednesday afternoon was released last night.


Naming Of Band After UVF Bomber Defended

By David Wilson

A DUP assembly member has defended a band named in honour of a
UVF man killed by his own bomb by comparing them to GAA clubs
named after republicans.

Adrian McQuillan was responding to claims by SDLP assembly member
John Dallat who said a parade to be held in Coleraine tonight -
led by the Freeman Memorial Band - would "desecrate" the town

Robert Freeman one of four UVF men killed priming a bomb bound
for a Catholic owned restaurant in 1975.

More than 1,500 marchers and 68 bands are expected to attend the
three-hour parade.

Mr Dallat said the timing of the march - only weeks after the
PSNI informed more than 100 people that their names were on a
loyalist list and days after the IMC said loyalist paramilitaries
were still involved in criminality - was inappropriate.

But Mr McQuillan said the parade should not be seen as

"It has been going for more than 20 years and the Parades
Commission has not voiced any concerns," he said.

"It is very funny to hear concerns over the name of the band when
there are any number of GAA clubs in the area named after


Ulster Student: How I Survived Virginia Massacre

[Published: Friday 27, April 2007 - 09:37]
By Judith Cole and Ben Lowry

An Ulster student has described how she survived the horror of
the Virginia Tech massacre - by a split second.

Speaking exclusively to the Belfast Telegraph, 23-year-old Karen
Scott from Coleraine revealed that, at the time of the killings,
she called into her office to pick up a book rather than visit
ill-fated Norris Hall where most of the students and staff were
gunned down last Monday.

The PhD engineering student, who graduated from Queen's
University Belfast last year with a masters degree in
aeronautical engineering, waited out the ordeal in her office,
just metres away from Norris Hall.

Karen recalled how she phoned her mother in Northern Ireland
after gunman Cho Seung-Hui carried out the first two killings,
two hours before he stepped up his crazed attack.

Karen said: "While we were talking on the phone everything turned
upside down. Sirens wailed and police sped past my office towards

"Within minutes, town, county and state police were situated
right outside, closely followed by SWAT teams and K-9 units.

"We were then informed that a gunman was loose on campus and that
we must remain inside."

Karen said things happened so quickly that she did not have time
to get frightened and her sense of security was enhanced by the
teams of SWAT police outside.

"Had there not been a presence outside my door, I might have been
a little more fearful," said Karen.

And she added: "I have, of course, seen armed police from when I
lived in Northern Ireland but I have never seen anything like the
arrival of the SWAT team - there were so many of them and they
were heavily armed."

When Karen was eventually evacuated, she saw people coming out of
Norris Hall with their hands held in the air.

This was because the police did not know that the gunman was
dead, and had to remain suspicious of everyone, she said.

c Belfast Telegraph


Average House Prices Down ?2,000

27/04/2007 - 10:37:03

The average price paid for a house in Ireland in March was ?2,007
below the February figure, according to the latest edition of the
permanent tsb / ESRI House Price Index.

The fall reflects a decline in national prices of 0.6% in March -
the first reduction in national house prices since January 2002,
when prices declined by 0.9%.

The average price paid for a house nationally in March 2007 was
?309,071, compared with ?310,632 in December 2006.

Over the first quarter of the year (January to March inclusive)
prices nationally decreased by 0.5%, compared to growth of 3.5%
in the same period last year.

However, the average price paid for a house in March this year
was still 7.4% higher than the average price paid in March last
year. This was a lower increase than the 9.5% difference in
national prices which occurred between February 2006 and February

Head of marketing with permanent tsb Niall O'Grady said: "The
reduction in average national house prices in March has been
reflected in all market sectors with the exception of Dublin and
houses bought by first-time buyers.

"Clearly stamp duty uncertainty (and) recent ECB rate rises are
both impacting on demand for houses."


Towns And Villages Are Fastest Growing Centres

Paul Cullen
Fri, Apr 27, 2007

Towns, both large and small, and villages are the fastest growing
centres of population in Ireland. Proportionately, fewer people
are living in cities, according to census data published by the
Central Statistics Office.

Galway is the State's fastest growing city, while the numbers
living in Limerick and Cork are actually declining.

The five major cities, Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Galway and
Waterford are losing population share; they grew at only half the
rate of the entire country between 2002 and 2006.

Galway, with a population growth of almost 10 per cent, is the
only city growing faster than the national average of 8.2 per

Overall, the population share of the five cities fell from 35.5
per cent to 34.2 per cent, and less than one-fifth of overall
population growth took place there.

By contrast, the number of large towns (those with a population
of 10,000 or over) increased from 28 per cent to 34 per cent
since the 2002 census. Arklow, Ballina, Midleton, Cobh, Wicklow
and Mallow are now classified as large towns.

Swords in north Co Dublin showed the highest growth with 6,823
moving into the area, while Balbriggan grew by more than 50 per
cent, the highest percentage growth.

Dublin has the highest population density, while Co Leitrim still
has the most open space with the fewest people per square

Smaller towns, with a population of 1,500 to 9,999, grew in size
by one-fifth, as did villages.

The Irish Planning Institute (IPI) said the figures showed that
many small villages were at risk either from depopulation or

"It seems that small settlements are either losing population to
such an extent that their future is at risk or are overwhelmed by
population growth, resulting in the risk of becoming commuter
towns," said IPI president Henk van der Kamp.

"Either scenario is undesirable, and better planning policies
must be put in place to avoid these problems and to ensure
balanced development of settlements in both rural and urban

Meanwhile, the population of the Gaeltacht fell to 92,777 in the
period, the CSO figures also show.

Most of the fall is accounted for by a decrease of over 2,000 in
the most populous Gaeltacht area, Galway city and county. Only
the Mayo breac-Gaeltacht recorded a marginal increase of fewer
than 100, to a population of 10,947.

The population of most offshore islands is also in decline.

While the numbers living on the most populous island, Achill,
remained static at 2,620, there were falls in population on Bere,
Clear and Sherkin islands off Co Cork, Arranmore and Tory islands
off Co Donegal, the three Aran islands off Co Galway, and
Inishbiggle and Inishturk off Co Mayo.

However, Inishbofin off Co Galway and Clare Island off Co Mayo
bucked the trend with small increases in population.

Seven offshore islands have a recorded population of one person

c 2007 The Irish Times


Revival Of 'Dead' Man Not Unique

Fiona Gartland
Fri, Apr 27, 2007

The case of the man who was wrongly declared dead in the Mater
hospital in Dublin earlier this month is rare but not unique, a
city undertaker has said.

Yesterday's Irish Timesreported that the Mater was carrying out
an investigation into how a man in his 30s, who was declared dead
by staff, was subsequently found to be alive when mortuary
personnel came to collect his body on Easter Sunday.

Keith Massey, of Rom Massey & Sons Ltd, said his father, Rom,
experienced a similar case in the 1960s. When he went to collect
the body of a man from a Dublin hospital, he could not find it,
he said.

It emerged that when the man was being moved to another hospital
for post-mortem, he revived. Death notices had appeared in the
newspapers for him, but he went on to live for another 10 years.

Mr Massey said if a person was buried alive, the chances are they
would die of asphyxia before they realised what had happened.
"Human nature being what it is, it is bound to happen now and
again," he said. "Looking at the trade journals, there are
occasional reports of people waking up."

He said he heard of a case in Yorkshire in the 1990s when a
woman, who suffered from a rare form of epilepsy, ended up in a
mortuary on two occasions. The condition resulted in her body
appearing to shut down. She went stone cold and had only a very
faint pulse, which went undetected.

"She was lucky she wasn't put in a fridge in either of the
mortuaries or she would have died of hypothermia," he said.

Undertakers are obliged to carry out a series of basic tests once
they receive a body, including putting a hand over the person's
mouth to check for breathing, putting a mirror to a person's
mouth, searching for a pulse and checking for chest sounds.

"Sometimes we get asked to put a mobile phone in a coffin so that
the person can call if they wake up," Mr Massey said. "We
recommend embalming. This plasticises the body and once you're
embalmed you're gone. To embalm, we cut open an artery - there
should be a trickle of blood, but if it pumped out we would stop
everything. We embalm in four out of five cases."

He added that the mistake made in the Mater hospital might
reflect the amount of pressure doctors are under," he said. "It
is not like forgetting to deliver a piano. In this business, one
error has a huge impact."

c 2007 The Irish Times


Baby Son For Michael Flatley And Wife

Barry Roche, Southern Correspondent
Fri, Apr 27, 2007

Multi-millionaire dancer Michael Flatley and his wife Niamh are
celebrating the birth of their first child, a boy, at Cork
University Maternity Hospital.

The baby weighed 8 lb 1 oz when born by Caesarean section after
Niamh was brought to the new hospital late on Wednesday night
from the family home at Castlehyde, near Fermoy in north Cork.

At the hospital yesterday afternoon, Flatley was clearly thrilled
with the new arrival but was remaining tight-lipped about a name.
He said he would be happy with whatever his wife chose.

"Somebody just asked me if this is the best feeling I've had - I
don't remember any other feelings right now except this one. It's
remarkable and the first time I held my child, I don't think I'll
ever forget that as long as I live.

"We are overjoyed, both mum and baby are doing well. I cannot
wait to get Niamh and our baby son home to Castlehyde. We would
like to thank Prof John Higgins and all the wonderful staff at
the hospital".

Michael (48) who is from Chicago and Niamh (32), from Kilbride,
Co Meath, were married last October at St Patrick's Church in
Fermoy with some 250 guests later celebrating the wedding at

In November, Flatley was struck down by a serious but non-
threatening viral infection that forced him to cancel all dates
of his Celtic Tiger European tour and he spent a week in a London

Flatley first came to prominence in Riverdance at Eurovision in
1994 but has since gone on to stage a series of highly successful
dance shows such as Lord of the Dance and Feet of Flames.

Flatley is worth an estimated ?500 million plus and has homes in
Barbados, Chicago, France and London as well as Castlehyde, which
he bought in 1999 and on which he spent several million euro for

c 2007 The Irish Times


Irish President To Visit US Next Week

Web posted at: 4/27/2007 9:35:25
Source ::: AFP

DUBLIN President Mary McAleese is to make a five-day visit to
the United States next week to strengthen links with the Irish
community and to promote trade and cultural links, her office
said yesterday.

Her programme will begin on Monday in Atlanta, Georgia, where she
will meet state Governor Sonny Perdue and the Irish-American
community before departing for Syracuse, New York. The president
will call on New York City's Mayor Michael Bloomberg before
returning to Dublin on May 5.

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

Or join our Irish Aires Yahoo Group, Click

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

To April Index
To Index of Monthly Archives
To Searches & Sources of Other Irish News

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