Roughly 600,000 words will be translated into Irish for the software

Computer software in the Irish language is being developed in conjunction with Microsoft and the University of Ulster.

Versions of Microsoft Windows XP operating system, and its Office suite of business software are being developed for the Irish speaking computer user.

The project also involves experts at the National University of Ireland in Maynooth, Foras na Gaeilge, the body responsible for the promotion of the Irish language, and the University of Limerick.

The University of Ulster input into the project, which concerns software localisation, is led by senior lecturer Dr Greg Toner.

"The translation of the Windows interface represents an extremely important advance for the Irish language. It brings the Irish language into the everyday sphere and will enable users of Windows XP and Office to carry out their work through the medium of Irish," he said.

"Electronic media are central to 21st century life and it is vital for lesser-used languages to establish themselves in that arena if they are to survive into the 22nd century."

"In addition to helping Irish speaking families and businesses, we also expect the final product to be widely embraced by teachers and students throughout the island."
--Terry Landers
Microsoft Ireland

A community glossary website for Irish is one of the key components of the programme, which was announced by the Irish Republic's Minister for Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, Eamonn O Cuiv.

The glossary of technical terms has been pre-translated by Foras na Gaeilge using their new Dictionary of Computing and Information Technology.

The glossary initiative will enable the Irish-speaking community the opportunity to make comments or contributions on the use of this technical terminology.

The final glossary will be used in the translation of the products into Irish and can also be used by the public as a reference source thereafter.

The full translation of the roughly 600,000 words involved will be undertaken by Irish Departments at the University of Ulster and NUI Maynooth and some testing will be carried out at the University of Limerick.

The final quality and consistency of the translation work done will be overseen by Foras na Gaeilge.

Terry Landers, Head of Corporate Affairs, Microsoft Ireland said the company was committed to working with governments all over the world on programmes that help address specific challenges and meet the needs of citizens.

"We are proud to be part of an integrated approach bringing together the academic, corporate and government sectors to produce a truly representative product, which will help to increase access to technology in our native tongue," he said.

"In addition to helping Irish speaking families and businesses, we also expect the final product to be widely embraced by teachers and students throughout the island."


Group takes bomb case to Europe

Thirty-three people died on the Troubles' bloodiest day

A relatives' group of people killed and injured in the 1974 Dublin-Monaghan bombings have said they will take their case to the European Court of Human Rights.

Justice for the Forgotten claimed they now have evidence to back up claims of collusion in the loyalist bombings which killed 33 people.

A total of four bombs exploded and resulted in the biggest loss of life on a single day in the Troubles.

Solicitor Greg O'Neill said the group had "moved beyond the suspicion and speculation."

"Having spent 11 years working on this case in different forms, the families and their lawyers are satisfied we have now prima facie evidence of collusion and participation in the bombings," he said.

Survivors and relatives of those killed in the bombings want a public inquiry into the attacks, which has been ruled out by the Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern.

Mr Ahern has ruled out a public inquiry into the bombings

However he said his government remained committed to finding the truth about what happened in the bombings.

The Ulster Volunteer Force admitted 10 years ago that it was responsible for the bombings.

However, no-one has ever been convicted of the attacks which injured more than 250 people.

In April, an inquest into the bombings re-opened almost 30 years after the attacks.

The inquest came a month after an Irish parliamentary committee recommended that a public inquiry into the bombings should be held in the UK.

It also recommended an inquiry into the investigation by the Gardai at the time.

Last December, a report by Mr Justice Henry Barron said there were grounds for suspecting the bombers may have had help from members of British security forces, but there was no conclusive proof.

However, this did not rule out the involvement of individual members of the security forces.

Many of the grieving relatives believe the UVF was helped by British intelligence service operatives aiming to warn the Irish Government not to interfere in Northern Ireland's affairs.

The bombings took place while Protestant workers held a general strike in Northern Ireland to bring down the power-sharing government set up under the Sunningdale Agreement.



The district partnerships are monitored by the Policing Board

Members of a district policing partnership in County Tyrone say they have been threatened by loyalist paramilitaries.

Members of Cookstown DPP have been told they will be harassed if any controversial loyal order parades are re-routed during the marching season.

The chairman of the body, Trevor Wilson, said the threat would not affect their decisions.

"To date there has been no contentious loyalist parades re-routed in Cookstown and to be honest I don't foresee it being a problem," he said.

"I would ask those who are thinking of issuing these sort of threats, or indeed have issued these sort of threats, that they really serve no useful purpose."

Cookstown DPP chairman Patsy McGlone condemned the threat and said it would not deter the partnership from its work.

"I don't know what these people are trying to achieve by it, but all it does is show them up for what they really are - thugs, gangsters and fascists," said the SDLP member.

Mr McGlone called on the Orange Order to condemn the threats.

"In instances where threats have been made around parades then quite clearly those associated with the parades and responsible for their organisation should make a very clear stance and repudiate this action from paramilitary organisations," he said.

The threats are the latest intimidation against DPP members across the province, who until now have been the target of dissident republicans.

In the past year there have been several arson attacks and intimidation directed against Catholic members of the partnerships.

District policing partnerships were set up across Northern Ireland under reforms initiated by a commission headed by former Hong Kong Governor Chris Patten and implemented by the government.

They fall under the auspices of the Northern Ireland Policing Board which handles some of the most sensitive issues facing policing.

District policing partnerships are made up of councillors and members of the local community, who work alongside the Police Service of Northern Ireland's 29 District Command Units in trying to meet local community policing needs.

News Letter


By Ian Graham
Friday 18th June 2004

MOREthan one in five people in Northern Ireland think the Province's police service is doing a poor job, according to a survey published yesterday.

The number of people who think the performance of the PSNI is poor has been growing over the past year, the poll carried out by the Policing Board showed.

Its report on public perceptions of the PSNI showed that 57 per cent of people - 61 per cent Protestant and 52 per cent Catholic - thought the force did a very or fairly good job.

However, that was down from a 62 per cent satisfaction rating in a similar survey last October and 63 per cent recorded in April last year.

The number of people questioned who thought the police did a very or fairly poor job was 22 per cent - 27 per cent Catholic and 20 per cent Protestant.

That dissatisfaction rating was up from 18 per cent in October and 16 per cent in April, 2003.

Fewer than two-thirds of people believed the police treated the two communities equally. Only 49 per cent of Catholics believed there was equal treatment and 37 per cent said Protestants got better treatment.

In contrast, 75 per cent of Protestants thought there was equal treatment and only 8 per cent believed Catholics were better treated by police.

There was high confidence - 75 per cent in the force's ability to provide ordinary day-today policing for all people in Northern Ireland - but that was four per cent down on the last survey.

Confidence was higher among Protestants and they were equally more confident in the PSNI's ability to deal with public order situations.

Policing Board chairman Professor Desmond Rea said that "generally the results show that there is still a broad level of confidence in, and support for, policing and this is to be welcomed".

However, he added: "The overall results paint a somewhat mixed picture and there are a number of areas where there is an apparent fall in confidence levels from the last survey."

Derry Journal


Friday 18th June 2004
Daniel Browne

Born under the shadow of Ibrox Stadium the home of Rangers Football Club, Sinn Fein's PEARSE DOHERTY went within a whisker of winning a seat to the European Parliament.

Sinn Fein's Pearse Doherty may just be 26-years-old but his life has already been surrounded by lay offs, emigration and unemployment.

These first hand experiences pushed him to become politically aware and hungry for change from an early age.

Last Friday 65,500 people across the north West decided Pearse Doherty was the man they wanted to represent them in Europe.

He may have missed out on that, but he won a seat on Donegal County Council in the Glenties area, and believes it is the start of a new era of politics in Donegal.

Pearse was born under the shadow of Ibrox stadium in Glasgow in a working class area his parents had been driven to by unemployment at home in Derrybeg.

His father, Michael had been a player on the Gweedore team that won the 1961 championships before tough times forced him and his wife, Grainne, (nee McFadden) to emigrate to Scotland.

When he was just four years old the family of six returned to Donegal. He went to Bunbeg national School where Deputy Dinney McGinley was headmaster at the time.

At his parents' request he went from there to the Irish speaking Pobail Scoil Gweedore. It was during his secondary schooling that Pearse began to "politicise" himself.

By his own admission his first thoughts of Republicanism were from listening to the words of Wolfe Tones songs.

"I began to be more aware of the world around me, I was working in different jobs each summer and I managed to get a student from Dublin to bring down An Phoblacht to me", he remembers.

The Gweedore youth's eyes were opened. "The first article I remember reading was about some youths coming out of a night club in the six counties somewhere and getting badly beaten up by the RUC, just because they were nationalists.

"This was the early 90's. I thought that sort of stuff was over 20 years ago," he said.

The stories about Republican resistance in his own area, and family in the times of the Black and tans began to make their way back to him and by the time he was 14 he applied to join Sinn Fein.

"They wrote back and said that I was too young but they told me that my nearest branch was in Letterkenny.

"Sure, we never had a car in the house until I got one a few years ago so there was no way I could have got to meetings," he said. Instead he contented himself with fundraising locally for the relief of prisoners' families.

But Pearse was nothing if not determined. In about 1993 while still at school and working in the local butchers he heard that the luminaries of the Sinn Fein galaxy were to speak in Derry at the Bloody Sunday commemoration.

"I heard Adams and McGuinness were going to be at the Bloody Sunday rally, so I left the house and hitched to Derry and went to rally with my Tricolour with me.

"There were TV cameras all over and everyone had a Tricolour. At the end I went up and spoke to Gerry Adams, he was taken away for an interview and I was left talking to Martin McGuinness and we started to talk about getting the party off the ground in Donegal.

"I had no idea but when I went home my parents had seen me talking to Martin McGuinness on the 6pm news. That's how they found out about my political involvement," he said.

Living in west Donegal however, Pearse has had all the evidence and motivation he needed to become politically active.

His mother and brother who were working in Comer Yarns have recently lost jobs in west Donegal and another brother has been forced to go to America to find work.

After leaving school he went to College in Bolton Street where he qualified as a civil engineer. Prohibited from starting a branch of Sinn Fein he and (now a fellow Sinn FÈin Clr) Matt Carthy along with others, set up a "Political Awareness Society". Both he and Matt went on to set up Ogra Sinn Fein.

After leaving college and working in Dublin on various projects from the Four Seasons Hotel to Wheatfield prison he was approached by Pat Doherty of Sinn Fein to see if he would contest the council elections in 1999.

He agreed to move home and help organise the party locally but declined to run at that stage and he now notes with some sadness that it was the Glenties area was the only one not contested by the party that year.

Pearse meanwhile worked on setting up the party and eventually allowed his name to go forward in 2002 for the general elections. He polled an impressive 2,800 or so first preferences and while it was not enough, it was a significant shot across the bow of the establishment.

Pearse is engaged to Roisin Boyle of Monaghan, a nurse in Letterkenny General Hospital. The couple are to marry in Derrybeg Chapel in 10 weeks or so and are presently living in his family home in Magheraclogher.



Sean O Lubaigh • 14 June 2004


**click on link to read entire article

Fred A Wilcox • 17 June 2004

When I was young, I often encountered strange children on the streets of my city. These boys and girls had huge sad eyes, they never laughed, and they were skin and bones. "Displaced people," said my father, who had seen kids like these in the war-shattered ruins of Europe. Displaced from what? From families that perished in concentration camps. From towns that had been blown to pieces. From mass murderers who, when hauled before a court at Nuremberg, showed no remorse, did not apologize for the atrocities they had committed, and even expressed pride in their contribution to exterminating millions of Jews, Gypsies, Socialists, Communists, and Homosexuals. After all, said these men, "We were only following orders."


**click on above link to read the whole article

Martin Mulholland, IRPWA • 17 June 2004

Yesterday a delegation from the IRPWA that had just visited Maghaberry Gaol was targeted by the British Army and the RUC/PSNI. The delegation was returning to Derry after visiting the Republican prisoner's O/C John Connolly when they were stopped by the British Army at Drumahoe.

It has emerged that a British Army helicopter had followed them from Maghaberry the whole way to where the British Army was waiting for them. A stinger type device was placed on the road to make sure that the men would stop and also to make passers by believe a security operation was in progress and drive on.

The delegation was ordered onto the road and held in a search position while the Army tore their car apart. When one of the delegation enquired under what legislation the men were being held the British Army became extremely abusive and called the RUC/PSNI who arrived and began the process all over again.

The men were not questioned about anything specific and after a period of almost 2 hours they were allowed to proceed. . .

Irish Independent


THOUSANDS of people are expected to attend three major novenas taking place this month providing "strong evidence of the continued strength of traditional devotions and popular piety in Ireland".

The novenas are run by the Redemptorists at Clonard, Co Antrim, Limerick city, and Esker, Co Galway.

A novena consists of nine days of prayer for help with a specific problem.

The biggest novena, which began on Wednesday, centres on Clonard Monastery and is expected to attract an average of 15,000 people each day.

Fr Seamus Enright, who helps to organise the novenas, said they are "bucking the trend towards lower church attendance".

"Obviously the crowds are not as big as they were 30 years ago, but they have more than held their own over the last five years against all the other trends facing the Church."

David Quinn
Religious Affairs Correspondent


IRA bomb blast horse dies aged 36

17 June 2004

Four men and seven horses died in the Hyde Park blast in July 1982

The last horse to survive an IRA nail-bomb attack in London's Hyde Park more than 20 years ago has died peacefully.

Yeti, of the Household Cavalry, escaped physically unharmed from the blast, which killed four men and seven horses.

He was traumatised but returned to service until 1986 when he retired to the Home of Rest for Horses, Buckinghamshire, where he died aged 36.

A car bomb exploded as Blues and Royals troopers made their way to the Changing of the Guard ceremony on July 20, 1982.

Sefton, a Household Cavalry horse badly injured in the blast, became a national hero after recovering from his wounds.

'Old gentleman'

He retired to the same home as Yeti, near Princes Risborough, along with Echo, a Metropolitan Police horse also wounded in the blast.

Echo and Sefton have since passed away.

The home's chief executive, Brigadier Paul Jepson, called 16-hand high Yeti "the epitome of a grand old gentleman, increasingly frail but never losing his zest for life and never, ever forgetting his manners".

Yeti's memory is sure to live on, however, as, according to a Household Cavalry tradition, another horse will now bear his name.



Outcry over move for women prisoners
18/06/2004 - 10:00:08

The Northern Ireland Prison Service and the Human Rights Commission were at loggerheads today over where women prisoners should be housed.

The Prison Service has decided to move women out of the top-security Maghaberry Prison in Co Antrim and rehouse them in a young offenders’ centre outside Belfast.

But the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission today urged them to abandon the idea of moving the women out of Mourne House at Maghaberry into the Hydebank Young Offenders’ Centre.

The commission said it had “grave concerns” about the decision.

Chief Commissioner Brice Dickson said that academic research and international standards recognised women’s experiences in prison were significantly different from those of men.

“It is therefore expected that regimes for women should be distinctive and discrete. The facilities being prepared for women in Hydebank do not meet these standards,” he said.

The commission understood that not only would the female unit be very near the male units, but there would also be shared visiting facilities and no separate health care centre for women, he said.

“International standards and the Prisons Inspectorate’s expectations will not be complied with in this situation,” he added.

The commission published a report of an inspection of Maghaberry carried out on its behalf and one of authors, Professor Phil Scraton of the Queen’s University of Belfast, said no convincing case had been made for the transfer of the women to the YOC.

“The Northern Ireland Prison Service has failed to provide the necessary safeguards for women prisoners in a male prison in the Mourne House context and has not demonstrated that it can meet them at Hydebank.”

He said while a reduction in security levels for women prisoners in Northern Ireland was long overdue, the designated house at the YOC was adjacent to a house accommodating young men.

“There are profound implications in this decision for the women and girls and also for the boys and young men. We anticipate that women will face intimidation and harassment in this context,” said Prof Scraton.

But the Prison Service said it had carried out a full public consultation exercise on the proposed move of female prisoners to Hydebank.

“Anyone and everyone, including the Human Rights Commission, could have submitted their views before any final decision was taken.

“The commission did not offer a response,” said a statement.

It said they welcomed the commission report recognised the inadequacies of the current regime for women at Maghaberry, but “strongly disputed” the assertion it would be unable to deliver a suitable regime at the YOC.

The decision to move the women had been taken after a feasibility study by prison professionals.

“We are confident of our ability to deliver a suitable regime and are prepared to be judged by our results,” it said.


Irish Independent

Return of Colombia Three could take five years

THE three Irishmen released from jail in Colombia may have to wait for up to five years for the appeals procedures to be completed.

Niall Connolly, James Monaghan and Martin McAuley were last night enjoying freedom after 34 months behind bars.

In a secure location in Colombia, its location kept secret because of fears they might be the target of right wing death squads, the men were said to be "very disappointed" that they could not return home immediately.

Catriona Ruane of the Bring them Home campaign said: "We are calling on the Colombian Judicial system to expedite this case in the interests of natural justice."

The so-called Colombia three were arrested in August 2001 at Bogota airport after returning from a region controlled by the country's largest rebel group,the Revolutionary Armed Force of Colombia or Farc.

After a lengthy trial, Judge Jaime Acosta found them not guilty of the bomb training charges, but guilty of travelling on false passport. He sentenced them to time served and almost €6,000 each in fines.

The men were released from La Modelo prison in the Colombian capital at 5.30pm on Tuesday and whisked away to the secret location in two green off-roaders.

After reaching the property where they are staying the men ordered in chicken and chips and chatted to their supporters, who included Ms Ruane, her sister Therese and Sinn Fein's Gerry Kelly.

According to one report, a private security firm has been hired to protect them.

A court document that authorised their release said they must stay in the country until the State's appeal of the not guilty verdicts is heard. According to legal experts, if the case reached the Supreme Court the process could take up to five years.

Ms Runae said last night: "We are very disappointed and surprised at the magistrates' decision not to allow them to go back to Ireland pending the appeal by the Colombian Attorney General.

"Colombia is not a secure environment for the men. The Judge's decision that the men were innocent of the serious charges should have been the end of the matter.

"We believe it is unjust that they have to remain in the country."

Frank Khan and Mark Duffy


**This summer I am working at a job which doesn't allow me as much time as I would like to sit and post news, so please consider going to the above link at YAHOO (or click on the one below) and joining Seán's wonderful news list group. All you need do is sign up for a free Yahoo account if you don't already have one and then join the group and decide whether you would like to receive your news in emails or from the group's website. You will soon have all the news you can handle! It's a great source. :-) Also, don't forget to check my links page for lots of great information sources.




17 June 2004

An incensed Turf Lodge man is to institute civil proceedings against the PSNI after charges that he assaulted cops were dismissed.

And the presiding Magistrate stated last Friday that a beating the defendant received from the PSNI members who arrested him was “unjustifiable”.

Peter Dorrian said last night that the ordeal is just the latest incident in a seven-year saga of harassment by the RUC/PSNI.

Speaking last night, Mr Dorrian voiced his delight that the charges were thrown out last Friday.

But he said that the RUC/PSNI has been harassing him since an officer fired a shot into his house in April 1997.

A number of months ago, PSNI members also made threatening remarks to Mr Dorrian that, fortunately, were overheard by his solicitor on the other end of a telephone.

“I am just sick of these people torturing my family,” said Mr Dorrian.
“Last Friday’s judgement proves that there is another agenda to the way I have been treated.

“In 1997 the RUC fired a shot through my front door as I was standing in the hallway and it lodged in the stairs.

“That was investigated by the Independent Commissioner for Police Complaints and we later heard that the guy involved had been ‘reprimanded’ and sent away for retraining.”

The assault charges brought by the PSNI against Mr Dorrian related to an incident in 2002 when the Turf Lodge man responded to a phone call from his father-in-law.

“It was ten o’clock on a Sunday morning when I got a call that the peelers had my brother-in-law down in Brittons Parade.

“We went down and the whole street was sealed off with jeeps and the car that my brother-in-law had been in had been rammed.

“There was blood on the windscreen and the side where they had trailed him out of the car and broken his collar bone.

“I went up through the jeeps and asked the peelers where they had taken him and a very heated argument started.

“Then they grabbed me, shoved my hands up my back and put a headlock on me over the bonnet.

“Another one began to beat me with a baton – over 30 times, particularly on the front of the legs and the base of the spine.”

Peter was then arrested and taken to Grosvenor Road barracks, where wrist restraints placed on him were so tight that a doctor ordered them to be removed.

After being charged with assaulting a number of PSNI members, he was then released.

In a subsequent incident some months ago, an altercation developed when seven PSNI members came to his front door and demanded the settling of an outstanding £25 fine.

When Mr Dorrian tried to hand over the money, he says the PSNI refused to accept it and claimed they could arrest him.

As Mr Dorrian’s wife argued with the PSNI, he phoned his solicitor.
And at that point a number of PSNI members started to threaten him and told him to come into the street, but Mr Dorrian declined.

Both Mr Dorrian and his solicitor have since made statements to the Police Ombudsman declaring that a PSNI member shouted at Mr Dorrian that he was “a weapons expert” and would “come back and do it”.

An official from the Ombudsman’s office was in court last Friday as the Magistrate cleared Mr Dorrian of assaulting the PSNI.

Following the acquittal, Mr Dorrian declared that, “enough is enough”.
“These people have got away with this for far too long, but I am going to ensure they are made properly accountable for their victimisation of me and my family.”

Journalist:: Jarlath Kearney

Belfast Telegraph

Friendship can fight bigotry, says study

16 June 2004

KNOWING your friend has a friend "from the other side" can reduce your own sectarian prejudices, Northern Ireland research suggests.

Two surveys conducted for the University of Ulster by Professor Ed Cairns have found evidence that even our friends' friends may have a subtle influence.

The knowledge that our friend knows them can tone down our own anxiety, he said.

"Our study suggests that, for example, even one child living in a segregated neighbourhood who attends an integrated school or a cross-community workshop could be having a positive ripple effect."

Two studies - one of 300 students and another of 700 members of the public - could have important implications for cross-community work.

"Research such as this is beginning to tell us not only whether cross-community contact is effective but to reveal the psychological processes that underlie when it works and how it works," said Professor Cairns.



Colombia Three 'must be tried quickly'
16/06/2004 - 09:45:32

Three Irishmen freed from a Colombian jail should face a speedy retrial if they are forced to remain in the country, a former Irish foreign minister said today.

David Andrews, who visited Niall Connolly, James Monaghan and Martin McCauley during their time in prison, said today he was surprised by reports from the Colombian capital, Bogota, that the men had been released overnight from La Modelo prison.

In April, the three men were found guilty by a Colombian judge of travelling to the country in 2001 on false passports.

They were acquitted of charges that they trained Marxist Farc rebels.

Colombian prosecutors are appealing the case.

The release of the prisoners came after Taoiseach Bertie Ahern lobbied Colombia’s President Alvaro Uribe at a summit of EU and South American leaders in Mexico last month either to speed up the appeal or let the prisoners return to Ireland on condition that they would return for the case.

A Department of Foreign Affairs spokeswoman confirmed in Dublin today that the prisoners were released last night on condition that they remain in the country.

She said: “It is a matter for Colombian officials to decide if the three men can return home.

“They left prison at about midnight (Irish time) last night. That option was always available to them.

“They have gone to an undisclosed location. The legal position is that they must remain in the country until an appeal has been heard unless magistrates decide otherwise.”

Witnesses saw two green off-roaders leave La Modelo prison last night.

Sinn Féin Assembly members Gerry Kelly and Caitriona Ruane have been in Colombia for the past week, lobbying for the three prisoners’ return home.

Mr Andrews said today: “It appears to me that if they are released that they should have an expeditious trial if they are to be tried based on the magistrate’s view that they should not be out of the country.”


Community calls for Interface gates to prevent further attacks

Lower Ormeau residents have called for alleyways dividing McClure Street and Donegall Pass to be sealed off in a bid to prevent further attacks across the interface.

Their call came after two petrol bombs were thrown into Vernon Street on Monday evening, narrowly missing pensioners' homes. This was the second serious missile-throwing incident to occur across the interface within the past month.

According to Lower Ormeau community worker Gerard Rice teenagers gathering in an entry off Cameron Street were responsible for the attack. The previous night they had thrown a frying pan at the same Vernon Street old folks' homes.

Mr Rice insists community representatives on both the Lower Ormeau and Donegall Pass have been working tirelessly to keep the peace along the interface. However, he says that they cannot monitor the area 24-hours a day and without the help of agencies like the Housing Executive their job is made more difficult.

"Teenagers have been using the alleyways dividing Donegall Pass from McClure Street as drinking dens," said Gerard Rice.

"The potential then exists for stupid, drunken antics. We need the Housing Executive to take action and put gates on these alleyways. That would help us to maintain calm."

The interface phone network used by community workers on the Lower Ormeau and Donegall Pass ensured trouble remained at a minimum following Monday's petrol bomb attack.

However, Donegall Pass residents want to see added security measures such as a 25 feet high fence introduced along the interface to protect homes.

"Despite our best efforts there is a risk that one day serious damage is done to property or that someone is injured," said local community worker Terry Watson.

A spokeswoman for the Housing Executive confirmed an approach had been made by community workers regarding the erection of alley gates between the Lower Ormeau and Donegall Pass.

She added that as the HE does not own the alleys in question it was not able to provide the gates direct, although bosses did fully support the proposal.
The HE forwarded the alley gates proposal to the Department of Social Development who rejected the scheme.

"In the meantime we have advised community workers to approach the DSD direct to see if this would now be a feasible initiative," said the spokeswoman.

Journalist:: Staff Reporter

::: u.tv :::

Sinn Fein calls for repeal of Offences Against State Act
15/06/2004 17:49:19

Powerful legislation used to combat the IRA and other illegal organisations should be repealed, Sinn Fein said tonight.
By:Press Association

The party said the Offences Against the State Act, which allows for non-jury trials and limitations on the right to silence, was repressive and had eroded human and civil rights.

Dublin South Central TD Aengus O Snodaigh said the legislation was originally intended for emergencies but was now being renewed on an annual basis.

"It is not good for any democratic society to be depending on legislation in this way," he said.

Mr O Snodaigh is introducing a repeal bill into the Dail tomorrow, when the Offences Against the State Act comes up for renewal.

Sinn Fein`s justice spokesman said the act was no longer relevant since the Good Friday Agreement and the continuous seven year IRA ceasefire.

"I don`t think the situation in Ireland at this given time warrants this repressive legislation," he argued.

Mr O Snodaigh also said illegal groups which were not on ceasefire - such as the Continuity IRA and the Real IRA - could be dealt with using existing legislation.

The first Offences Against the State Act was introduced as emergency legislation in 1939 in response to a resumption of the IRA`s bombing campaign in England.

Further amendments were made in 1972, after a series of bomb blasts in Dublin, in 1986 and in 1998, in the wake of the Omagh bombing.

Under the legislation, suspects can be tried before the Special Criminal Court, which has three judges instead of a jury.

There are also powers to award life sentences for membership of an illegal organisation, the detention of suspects for 48 hours, with a possible 24-hour extension if approved by a judge, and further restrictions on the right to silence.

If an accused person does not answer questions about his suspected membership of an illegal organisation that may be used in court to imply guilt.

In the last 12 months, there were 14 convictions under the act for subversive activities and another 30 people charged with offences are awaiting trial.

According to a report prepared by the Republic`s Department for Justice, Gardai will support their minister Michael McDowell`s move to renew the emergency legislation tomorrow.

The report said: "The Garda Authorities have indicated that in view of the current security threat posed by dissident republican groups and international terrorist groups, it is considered imperative that the relevant sections of the Act remain in force."

The Irish government set up a review of the emergency legislation as part of its obligations under the Good Friday Agreement.

It was chaired by Judge Anthony Hederman, who personally recommended that the Special Criminal Court be abolished.

However, this was not the view adopted by the majority of his committee, who said the continued threat of paramililtarism justified its existence.

Irish American Information Service

06/15/04 05:26 EST

Rushing into coalition government in the Republic could backfire on Sinn Féin, party president Mr Gerry Adams said today.

Mr Adams said aligning with other parties, either in opposition or government, would be a mistake unless the peace process and radical social reforms were a priority.

"It was always a mistake for parties like the Labour Party, which argue that they are radical and progressive, to be even contemplating going into coalition, " he said.

"Instead of being the vanguard of Labour they become the mudguard. If we were going to contemplate involvement with any other party in opposition or government they would have to be good on the North," Mr Adams said.

Mr Adams added political partners would have to be focused on the national question and offer unequivocal support to the peace process.

He said the party would make decisions on coalition involvement "in the fullness of time" based on whether the party's mandate could be advanced.

The Sinn Féin president ruled out coalition unless other parties agreed to terms on the peace process and called on them to work to resolve the current impasse.

"I think any party that is involved in trying to bring about change can only be involved in a government, first of all if you have a mandate and we don`t have such a mandate yet. And if the platform for that government honors and fulfils that party`s manifesto."

"I think the focus we all have to be involved in, and it`s above party politics, is getting this peace process sorted out and getting it bedded down and moved ahead," he said.

He also pointed to the need for radical reforms to reverse social inequalities, not just for those on the poverty line but also those struggling to get on the property ladder.


By DAN MOLINSKI, Associated Press Writer

BOGOTA, Colombia - Three men linked to the Irish Republican Army
were freed from prison Tuesday after spending 34 months behind bars
on suspicion they trained Colombian rebels.

After a lengthy trial, Niall Connolly, James Monaghan and Martin
McCauley were found innocent in April of training members of the
Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, to build bombs but
were found guilty of traveling on false passports.

The three sped out of La Modelo Prison in Bogota in cars after paying
a fine. Journalists at the gate saw them sweep past, and prison
spokeswoman Ana Maria Escobar confirmed they had been freed.

Judge Jaime Acosta had imposed prison sentences and fines of $6,500
each after finding them guilty of using fake passports to reach
Colombia and a safe haven granted to the rebels during peace talks
that collapsed in February 2002.

The trio were arrested in August 2001 in Bogota's airport after
returning from the rebel stronghold. Acosta determined they had
already served sufficient time behind bars during the trial and could
leave jail upon payment of fines.

After the government appealed the innocent verdicts on the terrorism
charges, however, the three said they would rather remain in jail for
their own safety, fearing they might be targeted by right-wing death
squads for their alleged ties to the FARC.

The men would normally be obligated to remain in Colombia during the
appeal process. But the government said it would let the three return
to Ireland, if Irish authorities guarantee the men would be returned
to Colombia if ultimately found guilty.

The men's destination was not immediately known.

All three have links to the IRA.

Monaghan was convicted in 1971 of possessing explosives and later
served on the executive board of Sinn Fein, the IRA-linked political
party. McCauley was shot during a police ambush at an IRA weapons
dump in 1982 and later was convicted of weapons possession. Connolly
was the Cuban-based Latin American representative of Sinn Fein.

Their arrests sent shock waves 8,000 miles away in Northern Ireland,
where a decade-old peace process was built partly on hopes that the
outlawed IRA would renounce violence.

The trio said they had come to Colombia to study the peace process
between the FARC and the government, and that they had used false
passports because they would have had difficulty traveling under
their real names because of their IRA links.


News Letter

Security Barriers May Be Scrapped

Tuesday 15th June 2004

THE Government is considering scrapping a number of town centre security barriers - a feature of life in many areas during the Troubles, it has emerged.

A programme of removals could start as early as autumn this year.

The gates were swung open after the terrorist ceasefires were declared in the 1990s.

During the Troubles the security gates, which ringed major towns, were often closed at night and also shut in the late 1990s at times of increased threat from bombers.

Now the Government is considering taking many of them away altogether.

The Northern Ireland Office has started a review of all town centre security barriers and has already contacted local councils for their views.

In a letter to councillors, Cathy Clements, Private Secretary to Security Minister Ian Pearson, said any decisions to remove barriers will be taken after a security assessment by the PSNI and the Government is currently liaising with the police on the matter.

The letter added: "The Minister is conscious that any programme of barrier removal will impact, to varying degrees, upon each town and felt it appropriate to provide early communication of the review.

"It must be stressed that at this stage no firm decisions have been made on the way forward, although the Minister is hopeful that a programme of barrier removal can commence as early as autumn this year."



By David McKittrick and Paul Kelbie
15 June 2004
The Independent

Sinn Fein were the most conspicuous winners in both parts of Ireland
yesterday, taking the party's first-ever European seats in the
Republic and in Northern Ireland.

Its performance was accompanied by success in Belfast for the
Democratic Unionist Party, which topped the poll even though its
charismatic leader, the Rev Ian Paisley, did not stand in the contest.

These results confirm that efforts to restore devolution in Belfast,
which will begin later this week, will only succeed if the DUP and
the republicans can strike a deal together.

The third Northern Ireland seat last night went to Jim Nicholson of
David Trimble's Ulster Unionist Party. The fact that the DUP took
almost twice as many votes as the UUP emphasised the new DUP
ascendancy within unionism.

The new Sinn Fein MEPs are Bairbre de Brun in the north and Mary Lou
McDonald in Dublin.

In the south, the main features were Sinn Fein's performance, which
some commentators regard as a breakthrough into mainstream southern
politics, and the punishment meted out by voters to Fianna Fail, the
main governing party.

Fianna Fail took a hammering both in Europe and in the simultaneous
council elections, with commentators suggesting that voters regarded
the government as arrogant.

The Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, conceded that the election was a serious
rebuff to his government, saying his party took no comfort from the
results. There would be a major cabinet re-shuffle in September, he

The result was a boost for Fine Gael, the major opposition party,
which has been struggling for several years and which yesterday
claimed it had turned a corner. The advances it has made in these
elections mean it can argue that it is becoming a credible leader of
an alternative coalition government.

Mr Ahern's government did, however, score a comfortable victory in
last week's referendum on Irish citizenship, with a 79 per cent vote
in favour of his government's call for new restrictions. Citizenship
will now only be granted to babies with at least one parent who has
lived in Ireland for at least three of the last four years.

In Scotland, a higher than expected turnout maintained the status quo
for the three main parties in the European election as Labour, the
Tories and the Scottish National Party each emerged with two seats.

As the final results were announced yesterday it appeared that the
biggest surprise of the campaign was the turnout - 30.7 per cent, or
6 per cent higher than in 1999, and far higher than predicted.

The final seat in the seven allocated to Scotland was won by the
Liberal Democrats, who achieved 13.06 per cent of the ballot,
although the UK Independence Party staged a credible performance to
come from nowhere in 1999 to 6.68 per cent of the votes - a whisker
behind the Greens at 6.75 per cent.

The Tories achieved a respectable 17.7 per cent while Labour won
26.33 per cent and the Scottish Socialist Party obtained 5.2 per cent.

Although the Scottish Nationalists emerged with 19.61 per cent of the
vote and held on to two seats, the result was yesterday seen as a
failure of the party leadership to overtake Labour.

Critics of the SNP leader, John Swinney, called it a disaster for his
credibility as he "failed miserably" to beat Labour's share of the
vote - eventually coming in nearly 7 per cent behind.

At the 1999 European elections they had come less than 2 per cent
behind Labour - Labour with under 29 per cent of the votes and the
SNP with more than 27 per cent.

"We achieved our major objective which was to hold our two-seat
position," said Mr Swinney, in his defence.

Scotland's MEPs are now David Martin and Catherine Stihler for
Labour; Ian Hudghton and Alyn Smith for the SNP; Struan Stevenson and
John Purvis for the Tories, and Elspeth Attwooll for the Liberal


**from yesterday morning

Dissidents blamed for club bomb

Army bomb experts were called to the golf club

Dissident republicans are being blamed for an early morning bomb attack at a golf club in County Armagh.

The device, which is believed to have contained about 70lbs of explosives damaged windows and drainpipes at the Lurgan clubhouse.

The police said the bomb appeared to be an improvised device.

The explosion happened shortly before 0230 BST on Monday.

Army bomb disposal officers are at the scene.

No-one was injured in the blast.

Dissident republicans are opposed to the Good Friday Agreement and the political process in Northern Ireland.

Ulster Unionist assembly member for Upper Bann, Samuel Gardiner, said lives would have been lost if the bomb had gone off during the day.

"The suggestion made is that it is the dissident IRA - that's my information," he said.

"Lives definitely would have been lost if that had gone off through the day because golfers would have been there either getting into a car or getting out of a car."

Muriel Sharpe, secretary-manager of the golf club, said the damage was centred around the professional's shop.

"The golf club is close to housing and the park runs alongside it," she said.

"There is a road which has been closed off to traffic since the Troubles and hasn't been reopened, but it is used very frequently by people getting access to and from the shops and back to their houses."

Irish Examiner

14/06/2004 - 2:37:51 PM

Ex-IRA man's Saville evidence a 'pack of lies'

An ex-IRA man who claimed Sinn Fein’s Martin McGuiness handed out nail bombs on the morning of Bloody Sunday was branded a liar today by his former father-in-law.

In evidence to the Bloody Sunday inquiry last year Paddy Ward said Mr McGuiness gave him detonators for 16 nail bombs on the morning of civil rights march, which ended with paratroopers shooting dead 13 civilians on January 30 1972.

Mr McGuinness has strenuously denied the accusation.

Today Daniel McGilloway, whose daughter was married to, but now separated from Paddy Ward, rejected further evidence given by Ward.

Mr McGilloway refuted allegations by Ward to the inquiry that, after the shootings on Bloody Sunday, he [Ward] had run through Mr McGilloway’s home in the Bogside carrying a rifle, went into the back garden where he fired two shots at a military helicopter.

Mr McGilloway told the inquiry at the Guildhall in Derry that it simply never happened. “He just wasn’t there.”

He said: “You would not forget something like Bloody Sunday or a man with a rifle in your house.”

Mr McGilloway declared: “I do not know why Paddy Ward is telling these lies. He is the biggest liar ever and this story of him coming to our house is a whole pack of lies.”

The inquiry was adjourned until Wednesday.



>>>garda alert



North Belfast man in court on ‘Castlereagh’ charges

A North Belfast republican was rounded up during a massive PSNI operation, codenamed Operation Hezz, following the “very embarrassing” break-in at Castlereagh Special Branch offices on St Patrick’s Day 2002, the Crown Court heard on Friday.

But despite a seven hour house search, the PSNI failed to recover a single piece of evidence from a warrant listing 23 specific items which could have connected John O’Hagan with the apparent incident at Castlereagh barracks.

The warrant list included a blue pillow-case, a box for a Sony walkman, silver-grey duct tape, green braided rope, gloves, footwear, a dark coloured baseball cap, a sports bag, videos and maps of Castlereagh barracks, and a vehicle. The Crown, however, alleges that a number of other items were found which substantiate the charges brought against John O’Hagan.

Mr O’Hagan’s trial for possessing information that could be useful to terrorists commenced on Friday – two years and two months after his arrest.

Justice Morgan heard that Operation Hezz was mounted early on Saturday, March 30, 2002, after a number of different briefings were delivered by various senior PSNI detectives, including Acting Detective Superintendent Roy Suitters.

At 7.36 am, a PSNI team – using a sledgehammer to smash the door and dressed in boiler suits – entered the New Lodge house where Mr O’Hagan was staying.

In line with the instructions of senior officers directing Operation Hezz, Mr O’Hagan was arrested and removed from the scene immediately, at 7.42 am.
Crown Counsel told the court that a number of items were subsequently seized at the house, which – according to a defence solicitor during the initial PSNI questioning – was not, in fact, Mr O’Hagan’s home address.

Based on these finds, and other items obtained during a second search of the same house several days later, the Crown preferred eight specific charges against Mr O’Hagan.

These include allegations that he possessed personal details of members of the Tory Party, information on anti-interrogation techniques, details of police and military radio frequencies, and details about key public utilities in England.

The Crown is also linking a number of identity documents, written documents, computer equipment, and two books about Tory Party members John Major and Norman Lamont, to Mr O’Hagan. Crown Counsel told the court that, “other documents will be used as background evidence to set the find in a context”.

“Consideration of all the evidence will show that the accused was involved in intelligence gathering.”

Under cross-examination from Defence Counsel, a number of PSNI members who were responsible for the original search and arrest operation against Mr O’Hagan, admitted that the incident at Castlereagh had been “very embarrassing” to the police.

Defence Counsel suggested that the house search and the arrest of John O’Hagan was “a complete washout” in terms of the PSNI’s failure to recover any of the 23 items stipulated on the warrant in relation to Castlereagh.

Courtroom tension was broken at one point when Defence Counsel – using PSNI photographs of the interior of the house – pointed out a series of books in a bedroom, including one about pop star Gerri Halliwell.

“Would Gerri Halliwell be a target or a Spice Girl?” he asked.
Constable John Weir told the court that Operation Hezz was mounted based on “information received, intelligence gathered and inquiries made”.

He said that during briefings, senior PSNI officers indicated that it was “believed from intelligence that the Provisional IRA was responsible” for the Castlereagh incident.

Sergeant Andrew Duncan confirmed under cross-examination that his orders had been only to arrest John O’Hagan – despite the presence of a female in the house where the allegedly incriminating evidence was found. He stated that he had no knowledge of members of the press travelling with police to any of the locations searched and was not in a position to answer questions about media coverage of Operation Hezz.

Sergeant Duncan also confirmed that no items were found in the house which related to the Castlereagh investigation.
The trial continues.

Journalist:: Jarlath Kearney


Tragic Loss
Untimely death of talented and committed champion of West Belfast community

Community mourns the passing of ‘tireless worker’

Belfast is in mourning today for esteemed community leader Eileen Howell who passed away on Saturday. Respected and admired for her work with the Falls Community Council, West Belfast Partnership and the EC-backed Belfast Partnership Board, Eileen was also a tireless peace campaigner. Her efforts ensured the famous handshake between Irish President Mary Robinson and Gerry Adams took place in West Belfast in 1992 — despite the fierce opposition of the establishment on both sides of the Border.

Eileen died in the Royal Victoria Hospital after a short illness. She leaves behind her husband Ted and sons Eamonn and Proinnsias.

Eileen was the Director of Falls Community Council for 14 years, one of the largest and most progressive community-based organisations in West Belfast.
Just 54, her death has shocked community and political leaders from across the city who worked with her over the past two decades.

Last night Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams spoke of the “great sense of loss” at the death of Eileen Howell.

“As a community activist and leader, Eileen Howell repeatedly demonstrated over many years of service, her commitment to the people of West Belfast.

She had a deep-rooted belief in the imperatives of equality and human rights and of economic and social justice and these were her guiding principles.

“During the early ’70s Eileen was a frequent visitor to the Maidstone Prison Ship and Long Kesh where her husband Ted was interned. She was also active in defence of the H-block and Armagh political prisoners, particularly during the 1980 and 1981 hunger strikes.

“Later she went back into education and earned a degree in social policy.
“She was a voluntary worker for the Obair campaign, which followed the publication of the Obair report publication on West Belfast in December 1998.

This groundbreaking analysis of the problems and challenges confronting West Belfast, along with the Clár Nua report in 1995, where again she took a leadership role, helped lay the foundations for the recent West Belfast Economic Taskforce initiatives.”

Mr Adams said that as Director of the Falls Community Council and the Chair of the Belfast Local Strategic Partnership she organised, planned and campaigned for investment, jobs and a better quality of life for the citizens of this area.

“Eileen was a fearless champion of West Belfast in its countless discussions and negotiations with the British government. She frequently lobbied the Irish and US governments as well as representatives of the EU.

“She was a visionary who was determined and sincere in her desire to build a new society. In her address at the opening of the Clar Nua conference Eileen said: ‘The time has come to end those processes through which others decided what was best for us. Gone are the days of mediation between policy decision makers and the West Belfast community. This community demands a process which listens to us, which involves us, a process in which decisions are made with us, not for us’.”

And on a personal note the West Belfast MP said: “I knew Eileen for over 30 years. She was a good friend and a wonderful dancer. She was a wife and mother and just before she died a grandmother also.

“To Ted and Proinnsias, Karen and baby Micéal and to Eamonn I want to extend solidarity and condolences on my own behalf and on behalf of the people of West Belfast our deepest sympathy and condolences.

“Go ndéanfaidh Dia trócaire ar anam dílis.”

Mr Adams’ sentiments have been echoed by many people who worked with and knew Eileen.

“Eileen’s death is a tragic blow to all of us who have had the honour and privilege of working with her during some of the most historic phases of community development in West Belfast,” Falls Community Council spokesman Gerry McConville said. “I would like to offer our heartfelt and deepest sympathy to her family and extended family circle.

“This loss is even more accentuated by the fact that during her illness Eileen became a grandmother for the first time. Her family have lost a loving wife, mother and friend while we and the people of West Belfast in particular have lost a major community leader, champion of the peace process and advocate for the achievement of social, economic and political justice.”

Chief Executive of the West Belfast Partnership Board Geraldine McAteer said she was devastated by the news. For two years Eileen was the Chairman of the Board, from 2002-03 and prior to that she had been a board member for five years.

“Her loss to this community is immeasurable,” Geraldine McAteer said.
“We have been good friends and colleagues over the years and I know that she was absolutely fearless. She was a woman whose whole life was given over towards championing the cause of the people of West Belfast. Whether it was here, on the Shankill or in the offices of politicians or in the White House, she argued the case that money and investment was desperately needed in West Belfast.

“Her death is a terrible loss and I know that a person who has that level of commitment, with all that experience and know-how, is hard to find these days. Champions don’t come around very often.”

Geraldine’s colleague, Gerry Carson, who is the current chairman of the West Belfast Partnership Board said that Eileen was one of the most talented and committed champions of community activity ever to take up the cause of regeneration and the empowerment of local people.

“The untimely death of Eileen has taken from her family and the people of West Belfast, one of the most talented and committed champions of community activity ever to take up the cause of regeneration and the empowerment of local people,” he said.

“A tireless figure in the pursuit of economic regeneration and determined to improve the health, education and social well-being of the community to which she was totally dedicated, her strong character and moral convictions earned her great respect in all the many varied aspects of her life.”

And last night Sammy Douglas from the East Belfast Partnership Board described Eileen as “a strong willed woman of great dedication and commitment – a passionate advocate and champion for those in our society who are marginalised and excluded”.

“Very often at BLSP board meetings she would remind us of the need to take seriously our responsibility for social inclusion,” said Sammy. “Her family will be comforted in hearing how many lives she touched for the better - our thoughts and prayers are with them at this sad time.”

And paying their own tribute to Eileen, Mark Thompson of Relatives for Justice said community development in West Belfast has been synonymous with the name of Eileen Howell.

“She brought leadership, courage, determination and vision to a community vilified and marginalised.

“She provided example to others in how to stand against censorship, discrimination and inequality whilst always maintaining principle, integrity and honesty. Her emphasis was always on how to impact on the real lives of real people who suffered because of economic and political discrimination. Eileen never lost sight of this and that made her special.

“Throughout her life she made an enormous contribution to the political, economic and social development of our community. Her hard, diligent work and inspiration will not be lost. For those of us lucky enough to have worked alongside her these indelible features of Eileen’s characteristic approach will live on.”

Michael Doherty of the Lenadoon Community Forum said they too were deeply shocked by Eileen’s death. “On behalf of the Forum we would like to express our condolences to Ted and the entire Howell family,” he said.

“Eileen was at the forefront of many human rights campaigns and has campaigned tirelessly for justice and equality in this community. Her untimely death is a tragic loss to this community.”

Eileen’s remains will leave the family home at 9.15am on Tuesday June 15 for 10am Mass in St Michael the Archangel Church on Finaghy Road North. She will be buried afterwards at Milltown Cemetery.

Journalist:: Staff Reporter

Today in Irish History

**Well, YESTERDAY in Irish history

13 June 1865 - Birth of W.B. Yeats in Dublin

Fenian Voice

Irish Independent
14 June 2004

Sinn Fein shooting ahead with target to triple its number of council seats
Brian Dowling
Political Correspondent

THE surge in votes for Sinn Fein was evident in virtually every constituency
with the party comfortably on target to triple its seats in city and county

Sinn Fein entered the election with 23 councillors; as of late last night the
party was predicting it would have about 60 councillors when the votes were

When account is taken of urban district councils and town councils, the party
expected to hold at least 110 seats and perhaps as many as 130.

Nationally the party will take about 10pc of the vote, again a three-fold
increase on its performance in 1999.

The party's leadership will be heartened by the fact that the gains have come
from almost every electoral area, with Sinn Fein doing particularly well in
Dublin and other cities.

As expected, the party performed exceptionally well in Donegal, Cavan and

Indeed, such is the party's huge organisation in Cavan-Monaghan - at the
latest count last night it held 27 seats - Sinn Fein will now be ready to mount a
serious challenge for a second Dail seat in this constituency.

However, that strong showing is not confined to the Border areas. The party
made several gains in Cork, Tipperary, Laois, Mayo, Meath, Kildare, Galway,
Kerry, Wexford and Waterford.

In city councils the party started the election with 5 councillors - and now
has 15. In county councils it started out with 18 seats - and had 33, heading
for 38, late last night. The party is now alongside Fianna Fail and Fine Gael
in Dublin City Council with ten seats; it has taken three seats in South
Dublin and one seat in Fingal.

Sinn Fein has now established a strong foothold in local politics; with the
party's attention to detail and its well-organised electoral machine, it can
look realistically to increasing its Dail representation from 5 to possibly
double figures at the next general election.

Apart from the success of local candidates in urban and rural areas, two of
its unsuccessful Euro-candidates - John Dwyer in the East constituency and
David Cullinane in the South - are firmly positioned to launch challenges for the

In Waterford, David Cullinane performed exceptionally well. Throughout the
city and county, the party polled over 10,000 first-preference votes. On those
figures, Sinn Fein can target Waterford as a likely gain in the next general

There's a similar story in Wexford where John Dwyer, along with three party
colleagues, was elected to both the county council and New Ross town council.

Dwyer's campaign in the Euro election also gave him a high profile that
should leave him positioned to mount a credible challenge for the Dail.

The party's two best hopeful's for Europe - Mary Lou McDonald and Pearse
Doherty - were still in contention for seats at the time of writing. If they don't
succeed, both of them are in strong positions for the next general election

All told, Sinn Fein has achieved the kind of breakthrough that was predicted
in the polls.

Yesterday, Martin McGuinness was quick to scotch any notion that this would
be a once-off breakthough.

Mr McGuinness predicted that Sinn Fein would successfully build on the
results of these elections in the years ahead.

Party leader Gerry Adams also sent a message to Fine Gael and Labour that he
believed they should not automatically rule Sinn Fein out of the equation of a
possible coalition after the next general election.


Sunday Life

Labour pains

13 June 2004

PRIME Minister Tony Blair had little to smile about last night, as Labour took a hammering in the local council elections.

And he appealed to his party to hold its nerve, after it crashed to third place behind the Liberal Democrats.

It's believed to be the worst performance by a governing party in a mid-term election.

But Mr Blair insisted his party could bounce back.

He said a shadow had been cast over the elections by the war in Iraq.

"What we have got to do is to hold our nerve and see it through," he said.

Sunday Life

**Deal with SF possible: Robinson

By Alan Murray
13 June 2004

THE DUP is not ruling out making a deal with Sinn Fein before the next General Election - but senior party figures have rubbished claims that an agreement is close.

With political talks scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday in Belfast, party leaders insist that a deal is some distance ahead if one can be secured.

And they say it is highly unlikely that a deal could be concluded with Sinn Fein before the end of the summer.

Peter Robinson, the DUP deputy leader and senior negotiator, told Sunday Life: "There is a broad outline of what is necessary, but there are many issues we haven't touched upon in the talks we've had to date with the government.

"By the time we're finished, Sinn Fein will know what is required of them and then they'll have to deliver or walk away," he said.

The East Belfast MP added: "The two governments may be planning a summit, but there are so many issues yet to be resolved that I can't see any likelihood of a deal before the end of this month.

But one senior source, who didn't want to be named, said a deal could be done ahead of the next General Election.

"The European election count on Monday will indicate if Sinn Fein has wiped out any SDLP hopes of clawing back from the Assembly Election disaster.

"If Adams and McGuinness demolish the SDLP again, then they may be prepared to take a risk.

"And if Nicholson polls poorly and doesn't get back in, then our party might think it is in a position to push on to a new Agreement," the senior DUP figure said.

Sunday Life


13 June 2004

A SPECIAL Mass will be held in Co Down next Friday for the victims of one of the last major atrocities of the Troubles.

The church service has been organised to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Loughinisland pub massacre.

Relatives of the victims, who lost their lives when UVF gunmen burst into the Heights Bar on June 18, 1994, will be joined by local politicians.

Six men died after the loyalist killers sprayed the quiet Co Down bar, where locals had been watching the Ireland-Italy World Cup match.

The victims included 87-year-old Barney Green, one of the oldest people to be murdered during the Troubles.

The anniversary Mass comes after we revealed last month that fresh information on the atrocity was set to be presented to Police Ombudsman.

New details on the loyalist attack were unearthed, by SDLP Assemblyman, Eamonn O'Neill, and later delivered to Nuala O'Loan's office.

Although former LVF leader Billy 'King Rat' Wright and notorious UVF killer Robin 'The Jackal' Jackson were the main suspects, no one has ever been charged with the killings.

Local SDLP councillor, Patsy Toman, told Sunday Life many of the families were still "angry" that no one had been brought to justice for the atrocity.

Said Mr Toman: "The massacre is still very vivid in the minds of the villagers, and the people who were brutally murdered will never be forgotten.

"Relatives have been trying to get their lives together, and many feel the atrocity has been one of the forgotten tragedies of the Troubles.

"It may be 10 years on, but families still need closure and they are not going to get this until someone is brought to justice for this awful crime.

"I can't understand how the police never prosecuted anyone, especially with the technological and DNA advances they have made in recent years.

"The families have every right to demand justice and it would be good news on the 10th anniversary if they could get this."

Sunday Life

In the right ball park
Hunger strike museum may be enough to clinch Maze stadium deal

13 June 2004

THE derelict Maze Prison will be unveiled later this year as the location for Northern Ireland's first national sports stadium - but only after the Government agrees to Sinn Fein demands for a museum on the site.

The disclosure over the £55m project is certain to cause an outcry.

But we can reveal that a series of behind-closed-doors meetings have already set in place a carefully-choreographed programme that will lead to the announcement of the Maze as the preferred site.

The proposal is understood to have the backing of the Sports Council and also the Strategic Investment Board.

Other possible locations like the Titanic Quarter and the north foreshore landfill site - both in Belfast - are already seen as non-runners.

A well-placed source told Sunday Life: "There is, no matter what anyone says, a certain inevitability to this. It now has its own momentum.

"The former Maze Prison will be the location of the national stadium and for a variety of very good reasons, not the least being costs.

"It is Government-owned, has all the infrastructure in place and would, unlike Belfast, be viewed as a neutral environment.

"But the tricky part is the final element and that is something which, I understand, has already been the subject of talks between the Government and Sinn Fein representatives.

"They believe a museum should be erected at the site in memory of the hunger strikers and those interned and jailed throughout the Troubles, which they maintain form a major part of republican history.

"The site is, of course, big enough to accommodate many such proposals."

Our source added: "The Government view, as far as it is known, is that by acceding to the museum proposal it may also be possible to bring on board the GAA as a stakeholder in the stadium."

Ulster Unionist Assembly member Esmond Birney said last night: "This is consistent with rumblings in republican circles.

"But like many people I would find this idea of a museum a rather repellent suggestion."

He also warned that, like so many major projects, costs would undoubtedly escalate.

"It's all very well having a grand political gesture.

"But money has to be used carefully when you are talking about spending so many millions of pounds."

The main tenants of the proposed 30,000-seat stadium would be the Northern Ireland international football team - sharing with other mainstream sports, including rugby and, possibly, GAA.

The sheer size of the site would also allow for the development of state-of-the-art training facilities for a wide range of sports.


David Rupert, IRA Supergrass



Photos of Portlaoise, Ireland's highest security prison:




Donald Trelford, former Observer editor
Sunday June 13, 2004
The Observer

It falls to few journalists to change the course of history. If Mary
Holland didn't quite achieve that, she certainly altered public
perceptions in London, Belfast, Dublin - and, crucially, in the
media, about the situation in Northern Ireland. She also challenged
all sides in the dispute to rethink their positions.

I still vividly recall the Observer editorial conference in 1967 at
which she forecast the coming crisis in Ulster - the
institutionalised discrimination against Catholics in housing and
education, the brutality of the police, the poverty, anger and
despair of people on both sides of the community. The editor at that
time, David Astor, spoke for all of us around the silenced table when
he said: 'Please, Mary, go and report it.'

This she did for the next three decades, mostly for The Observer, but
also for the New Statesman, for television and the Irish Times. Her
first Observer article on Northern Ireland - headlined 'John Bull's
Alabama' - forced other Fleet Street news desks, then obsessed with
the Vietnam war, to start taking the story seriously.

What made Mary's impassioned political eloquence at conference all
the more surprising was that she was at that time the fashion editor -
she had joined us from Vogue and had been seen around the office in
a mink coat. She was a small, gentle, unassuming person, but she was
always determined to get at the truth. Her intelligence and manifest
integrity won her the confidence of fierce men on all sides of the
Irish divide. She sometimes seemed over-serious, but was capable of
delivering wicked shafts of humour from the corner of her mouth.

Her coverage of Irish affairs was interrupted by her marriage to
Ronald Higgins, a bright diplomat who was posted to Indonesia. Mary
was miserably unhappy in Jakarta; the staff were housed in bungalows
protected by barbed wire from the violence outside.

Without her husband's knowledge, Mary wrote articles on Indonesia for
The Observer, which were published under a male pseudonym. The
marriage didn't survive and, after nine months, Mary returned to her
destiny in Northern Ireland. She later had two children with Eamonn
McCann, the colourful Irish radical.

By this time Mary was a much more radical figure herself, and was
involved in campaigns for reform of the abortion and divorce laws in
Ireland. Her firebrand image led some critics to brand her 'the
Observer's Provo' - a charge invalidated by the respect in which she
was held by many Ulster Unionists - though it may be argued that she
was slow to recognise in print that the early civil rights movement
had been taken over by the Provisional IRA.

Mary abhorred violence on all sides. She always emphasised the human
suffering involved - not just by Catholic and Protestant families,
but by the working-class British soldiers sent to fight the working-
class Irish.

When the distinguished Irish writer and politician Conor Cruise
O'Brien became editor-in-chief of The Observer in 1979, he took issue
with Mary over an article on Mary Nellis, now a Sinn Fein councillor
in Derry, accusing her of culpable naivety about Irish nationalism.
Although her fellow journalists stopped him from dismissing her, she
no longer wrote for The Observer while he was there. When O'Brien
left a few years later, I quietly brought her back.

Mary died unhappy that the Good Friday Agreement, for which she had
such high hopes - and on which she had a scoop - seemed to be falling
apart. She should be content, however, that she had done all she
could to bring peace to the island she loved.

· Donald Trelford was editor of The Observer, 1975-93.

Sunday Independent


Sunday June 13th 2004
John Drennan,
Jimmy Guerin,
Eoghan Williams,
Jerome Reilly,
and Liam Collins

LOOKING BAD: Royston Brady and Bertie Ahern. Photo: David Conachy

THE voters' love affair with Fianna Fail is over, with local and European elections showing a swing against the party in the most dramatic mid-term reversal in recent years.

Fianna Fail's loss of support - spread around the country - was mostly to the benefit of Sinn Fein, which was last night poised to treble its vote in the local elections, and possibly win two seats in Europe.

Non-party candidates, as well as Labour candidates, have also shared in the gains - Labour is set to overtake Fianna Fail as the largest party in Dublin - while Fine Gael has held its own.

By last night, criticism of Bertie Ahern's leadership was building up among some elements in the party.

If Fianna Fail were to lose more than 80 local council seats, a crucial drop below the 300-seat threshold, the future of Bertie Ahern as Taoiseach and leader of the party would come into question.

Though the Taoiseach will seek to take comfort from a performance that is nowhere near as disastrous as Tony Blair's meltdown, already last night several party sources were talking about his future.

The Taoiseach's brother, Maurice Ahern, pondering the possible loss of his own seat on Dublin City Council, told the Sunday Independent: "The Ahern name did the damage."

And the Fianna Fail TD for Dublin South Central, Michael Mulcahy, said: "I don't blame the TDs. I blame the Government. I wasn't invited to become a member of the Government. Yet this Government has given the people at least 100 reasons to hate us. Look at the bin tax, the anti-smoking legislation, decentralisation. How can you expect people to look at us?"

Mr Ahern's other brother, Noel Ahern - a junior Minister for the Environment - said: "We had expected a poor result, but we had not expected things to be this bad. Today's results are a serious problem for Fianna Fail."

While most of his critics are awaiting more definitive results, Fianna Fail senator Liam Fitzgerald was also downbeat, based on tally figures.

He said: "It's a dark day for Fianna Fail, probably one of our darkest."

Responding to predictions of major Fianna Fail losses, FF TD Charlie O'Connor said that the next parliamentary party meeting would be "an exciting affair".

Asked if the losses presented a threat to Taoiseach Bertie Ahern's leadership of FF, he added that he was a committed supporter of Mr Ahern and would be devastated if the Taoiseach "took a decision to go anywhere else".

There is speculation that Mr Ahern may opt for the European Union presidency, particularly if the party does as badly in local elections as early tallies predict.

But if Mr Ahern does not seek the plum position, his anticipated autumn Cabinet reshuffle (including second-tier ministers) will represent one of the most significant moments of his political career.

Mr O'Connor said: "If we are to analyse these results, they are clearly sending a message."

He added: "The Government has to look at its policies, at what the people want. There are some messages there certainly on a wide range of things such as waste management."

Fianna Fail TD junior Minister for Health Brian Lenihan said that the election results gave rise to concerns on the part of the Government.

"Of course, with mid-term elections, it is customary to have an anti-Government vote," added the minister, who appeared shocked at the extent of his party's losses in the capital's local elections.

But he rejected as "out of the question" any threat to Bertie Ahern's leadership of Fianna Fail as a result of the party's bad showing.

Neither was it a good election for the junior party in government, the Progressive Democrats. Party leader Mary Harney will be bitterly disappointed that the PDs failed to make any substantial inroads in the target constituencies of its sitting TDs.

Last night, Dr Ruairi Hanley, a PD candidate for Wicklow County Council and a doctor in Loughlinstown Hospital, questioned Ms Harney's future.

He said: "It's time to relaunch and rename the Progressive Democrats, and the issue of the leadership cannot be deferred for any longer.

"It's desperate that, in Wicklow, Sinn Fein will end up with three councillors more than the PDs."

Early tally figures for the local and European elections suggest a strong performance by Sinn Fein and by the Independents.

In the Dublin constituency, with half of the ballot boxes for the European election opened, Fine Gael's Gay Mitchell is currently heading the poll with just over 22 per cent of the vote.

Eoin Ryan is the leading Fianna Fail candidate, with 16 per cent, compared to just 8 per cent for Royston Brady, who appears to have been badly damaged by the controversy surrounding his unsubstantiated claim that his father's taxi was used as a getaway car after the Dublin-Monaghan bombings in 1974.

Labour's Proinsias de Rossa is on almost 13 per cent, ahead of running mate Ivana Bacik on 10 per cent.

The final seat, according to the tallies, will be between Ms Bacik, Sinn Fein's Mary Lou McDonald on 12 per cent and Patricia McKenna of the Greens on 10 per cent.

In the South constituency, tallies show Simon Coveney of Fine Gael ahead of Brian Crowley of Fianna Fail at the top of the poll.

The third seat will be between Kathy Sinnott and Gerry Collins, with most tallies showing her ahead.

In the North West constituency, the big surprise is the strong performance of SF's Pearse Doherty, although he would still need substantial transfers to take a seat.

Fianna Fail's two candidates, Jim McDaid and Sean O Neachtain, appear to be neck-and-neck, while Marian Harkin is ahead of the sitting Independent, Dana Rosemary Scallon. Tallies indicate that Ms Harkin could take more than 60 per cent of the vote in her home base of Sligo.

Jim Higgins is the leading Fine Gael candidate, battling to take a seat.

In the East constituency, Fine Gael's Mairead McGuinness is out-polling running mate Avril Doyle. It is now looking unlikely at this stage that Fine Gael will take two seats in this area.

Liam Aylward of Fianna Fail and Labour's Peter Cassells look likely to take the other two seats.

First indications in the citizenship referendum suggest that it will be passed by a comfortable majority. The result will be announced early this evening.


Sinn Féin to gain from FF losses
13/06/2004 - 10:07:01

As counting resumes in the local elections today, Fianna Fáil is bracing itself for major losses.

With 190 of about 900 seats now filled, early indications are that the party will lose a large number of its seats in local councils, including up to half of its councillors in Dublin City.

The vote in Limerick City has reportedly collapsed, while it seems the party will struggle to keep at least two of its seats on Cork City Council.

The party that seems to benefit most from the drop in Fianna Fáil's vote is Sinn Féin.

It is in the running for a number of seats in areas where it has never been represented before.

Fine Gael appears to have polled well, and should hold onto their strong position since the 1999 local elections.

Labour are also doing well, and are set to become the largest party on Dublin City Council.

The Greens are under pressure to hold their seats in a number of constituencies, while the Progressive Democrats have not made much progress. Independent candidates have also polled well.


Irish voters back 'baby law poll'

Irish voters have overwhelmingly backed the tightening of their citizenship laws, final referendum results show.
With tallying completed in all 34 counting centres, 79.17% of voters wanted to end the automatic citizenship right for all babies born in Ireland.

The government said change was needed because foreign women were travelling to Ireland to give birth in order to get an EU passport for their babies.

Ireland has been the only EU country to grant such a right.

The poll results showed that 20.83% of voters rejected the proposed changes. The turnout was 59.95%.

Voters were making their decision on the constitutional issue at the same time as they elected MEPs to the European Union's parliament.

To be approved, the government's referendum on a constitutional amendment requires only a simple majority.

The amendment will allow the government to pass a bill that would allow Irish-born children to receive automatic citizenship only if at least one parent is Irish or if parents have been resident in Ireland for at least three years.

Delicate issue

Ireland's Justice Minister Michael McDowell said there was evidence of what he termed "citizenship tourism".

The government says the law, as it stands, provides a loophole that is being exploited.

Opponents - including political parties such as the Labour Party, Sinn Fein and the Greens - see the situation differently.

They say the government is playing politics with the delicate issue of race and immigration.

Critics believe there is no reason to hold a referendum on this matter and say the numbers of women coming to Ireland to give birth is so small that it does not warrant a poll.

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