Ο ΔΕΛΤΙΟ ΤΥΠΟΥ ΤΟΥ SINN FEIN

TA NEA TOY SINN FEIN.ΓΙΑ ΝΑ ΜΗΝ ΞΕΧΝΑΜΕ ΤΗΝ ΠΑΛΑΙΣΤΗΝΗ ΤΗΣ ΕΥΡΩΠΗΣ ΚΑΙ ΤΟΥΣ ΕΚΑΤΟΝΤΑΔΕΣ ΠΟΛΙΤΙΚΟΥΣ ΚΡΑΤΟΥΜΕΝΟΥΣ

IRISH REPUBLICAN NEWS http://republican-news.org Wednesday-Friday, 20-22 October, 2004 1. WARNING ON BRITISH INTENTIONS 2. Star's anger at British harassment 3. Ahern backs Finucane family on public inquiry 4. Small constituencies a gerrymander - SF 5. Irishwoman abducted in Iraq 6. Millionaires go tax free 7. Feature: Tribute to George 8. Analysis: The Waiting Game ---------------------------------------------------------------- >>>>>> WARNING ON BRITISH INTENTIONS The nationalist SDLP has warned that there is no sign that the British government will not cave into the hardline unionist DUP, which is demanding major changes to the 1998 Good Friday peace Agreement. The SDLP's Alex Attwood said "government on DUP terms is a no go area". "British officials gave little reassurance that the core values and practices of the Good Friday Agreement are still not up for grabs," he said. Mr Attwood expressed concern that, in what he described as "this last lap of negotiation" that the British government was still not saying if the DUP would commit to the proper working and early development of north-south government. "This is a key test for the DUP," Mr Attwood said. After suggesting a deal was imminent on Tuesday, the Dublin and London governments have made a more cautious assessment about progress after admitting there are still "very difficult" issues in bridging the gap between Sinn Fein and the DUP. British Direct Ruler Paul Murphy referred to difficult and tricky issues that remain in attempting to restore devolved government. But he said that there was "a mood of willingness and understanding" among the parties, given that it was the second anniversary of the suspension of the institutions in the North following the 'Bogusgate' police raid at the Belfast Assembly. "For two years, direct rule has been operating in Northern Ireland," he said. "But I want to shed that as soon as I possibly can so that local politicians can take decisions locally." Meanwhile, Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams has said there is "still a mountain to climb for Ian Paisley's party". In an article this week, Mr Adams said: "Sinn Fein is leaving no stone unturned in our effort to bring about a breakthrough. "The big question arising from (British and Irish) ministers' remarks is what they do if there is not a breakthrough. How long must we wait for the DUP to come into the real world?." Mr Adams said the DUP was seeking changes in the agreement which would alter its fundamentals. "The governments have ruled this out and I hope they are serious about this. But I have concerns, not least because both governments have tampered with the agreement already," he said. "The suspension of the institutions is one example of this. The power which a British minister now has, contrary to the agreement, to take action against Irish political parties is another." The Sinn Fein president reiterated that the IRA was unlikely to move for less than the Good Friday Agreement. PSNI MAN STRUCK A member of the PSNI was struck by a driver who failed to stop at a British checkpoint close to the Border in South Armagh. A car with a Southern registration sped North through the checkpoint on the Concession Road in Crossmaglen, South Armagh, striking and injuring the border guard. The driver abandoned the car and made off in another vehicle, which was reported stolen. ---------------------------------------------------------------- >>>>>> Star's anger at British harassment Renowned Irish musician Christy Moore has spoken out against anti-Irish harassment after enduring victimisation at the hands of British police. Mr Moore was questioned about his song lyrics, his Irish family and friends at the port of Holyhead in Wales after he got off a ferry from Dublin on Monday afternoon. The 60-year-old folk singer and his driver were detained and questioned separately for over two hours by police citing the "Prevention of Terrorism" Act. The renowned singer, who appeared in this year's West Belfast Festival, said the police had given him a terrifying experience and said that they refused to give him a reason. None of his equipment, bags or his car were searched, he pointed out. In a statement he said yesterday: "My driver and I were stopped and held for two hours at Holyhead last Monday, under the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2002. My driver and I were held separately in two interrogation rooms. I found the whole experience threatening. I was questioned about the contents of my briefcase." "I was questioned about lyrics of songs and I was asked a lot of personal questions about members of my family and my children and about my home. At no time was I given any explanation as to why I was being held and interrogated in this manner," he added. He said the fact that Irish people are still being treated this way on their way to the UK is very "saddening". "I had hoped to deal with this matter out of the public domain. But seeing as it has become a news item, I feel the need to offer my side of the story. I found the whole affair quite frightening." Dublin's Ambassador in London was informed of the incident, as well as the Department of Foreign Affairs in Dublin. Mr Moore, a former member of Planxty and Moving Hearts, was due to play two gigs in Liverpool before returning home to Ireland on Sunday. The British Home Office last night said it was aware of the incident but could not comment. ---------------------------------------------------------------- >>>>>> Ahern backs Finucane family on public inquiry The Irish Prime Minister, Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, has pledged to support the family of murdered defence lawyer Pat Finucane should they not back the limited inquiry which has been offered into his killing. Mr Finucane's widow and her two sons yesterday told Mr Ahern that they would not cooperate with anything other than a full public inquiry. The British government is due to publish proposals next month for an inquiry into the 1989 murder as recommended by retired Canadian judge Peter Cory. However, British Direct Ruler Paul Murphy has already said that parts of the inquiry may be held in private to protect British interests. Michael Finucane warned that if this happened his family would withdraw and that "the Irish government has said it will support that position if and when it arises". Speaking after an hour-long meeting with Mr Ahern, Mr Finucane said that the Taoiseach believed that "a proper government inquiry was the only mechanism that will address the killing". He said he believed the views of the Irish government had been "conveyed forcefully" to the British government on the matter. The Finucane family will meet British Prime Minister Tony Blair on November 2 to discuss the inquiry. SDLP assembly member Alex Attwood said: "It is outrageous that the British government proposes to pass legislation to hold part of the inquiry in secret. "The SDLP is concerned that the very concept of public inquiries is about to be undermined, not just in the Finucane case but in many other cases where there is a strong public concern about the actions of the state." Commenting on the meeting today between the Finucane family and the Taoiseach Bertie Ahern in Dublin, Sinn Fein spokesperson on Justice, Gerry Kelly, said that it was vital that the Irish government made it clear to the British government that "the years of cover up and concealment had to end". Mr Kelly said: "Since the murder of Pat Finucane successive British governments have failed to allow the sort of independent inquiry which is acknowledged as the only mechanism which can reveal the truth to proceed. In short they have continued to cover-up and conceal their role in the state sponsored murder of citizens. "The approach of the British government to the Finucane case in recent weeks has served to reinforce fears that this British policy of concealment is set to continue." ---------------------------------------------------------------- >>>>>> Small constituencies a gerrymander - SF Sinn Fein has warned that proportional representation is being diluted by small constituencies in the 26 Counties. Arthur Morgan TD suggested that the current legislation for three, four and five-seat constituencies "is a deliberate attempt by the establishment to keep the marginalised, marginalised". He asked if it was "merely a coincidence that there is a proliferation of three-seat constituencies north of the Liffey, whereas the larger constituencies are more common south of the Liffey. "Do the people of Finglas in three-seat Dublin North-West have the same opportunity for putting their chosen party or representative into Leinster House as the people in leafy Dundrum in Dublin South, a five-seat constituency?" He also asked "will the people of Leitrim have any chance of ever electing another representative from the county to the Dail". He added that "we risk losing people's respect for the electoral system in places such as County Leitrim, when it is seen to be unfairly applied in ways that prevent them from electing their chosen representative". Mr Morgan suggested that the current legislation and proposed changes were a more subtle form of "Tullymandering", a reference to the redrawing of constituencies in the 1970s by then minister for local government, Mr Jim Tully, in an attempt to have the outgoing Fine Gael/Labour coalition re-elected. The Government this week accepted recommendations from the independent Constituency Commission and will introduce legislation to give them effect. The number of five-seat constituencies have been cut and three-seaters are growing steadily. The report of the commission mirrors the wishes of the largest parties in the 26 Counties and is constrained by legislation to have constituencies consisting of between three and five seats. Mr Morgan said that the proportionality possible had been diluted from the nine and seven-seater constituencies in the 1920s. The proportional representation multi-seat constituency "is a unique system that is not much practised outside of Ireland. It was not designed with the intention of applying it to three-seat constituencies". It was important to maintain the integrity of county boundaries and he criticised the plan to divide County Leitrim into Sligo-North Leitrim and Roscommon-South Leitrim. He called for the legislation to be amended and the commission to be reconvened to consider introducing a six-seat constituency comprising Sligo, Leitrim and Roscommon. ---------------------------------------------------------------- >>>>>> Irishwoman abducted in Iraq The abduction of Irish-born aid worker Margaret Hassan in Iraq has brought a united appeal by Irish political parties for her release. Ms Hassan, who has worked in Iraq for more than 30 years, was born in Dublin and holds Irish, British, and Iraqi citizenship. The head of the charity CARE International was seized by gunmen on Tuesday on her way to work in western Baghdad. She appeared in a video on Arab television today pleading for her life. "This might be my last hour. Please help me. The British people, tell Mr Blair to take the troops out of Iraq and not bring them here to Baghdad. That's why people like myself and Mr Bigley have been caught. Please, please, I beg of you," a distraught Ms Hassan, said on the video broadcast on Al-Jazeera. Her husband said earlier today he was awaiting contact from her kidnappers. Mr Tahseen Ali Hassan said he had not sought information from or spoken to any Irish officials or other foreign diplomats, who are understood to be making their own inquiries. Speaking on RTE radio this morning, he said he could see no reason - political or religious - why his wife was abducted. "She is doing things for Iraq and has nothing to do with politics," he said. Mr Hassan made a plea on Arabic television yesterday, saying his wife had been helping Iraq for three decades. "In the name of humanity, Islam and brotherhood, I appeal to the kidnappers to free her because she has nothing to do with politics," he told the Al-Arabiya station. Today, he thanked Ireland for its support and said he appreciated the Government's intervention, saying he believed the fact his wife was born in Ireland and has Irish parents could help secure her release. The Dublin parliament united to back a motion calling for Mrs Hassan's release earlier this week. The Government and the political parties hope that drawing attention to her Irish background and commitment to Iraq will attract international media attention and persuade her kidnappers to let her go. "It is very important that it is known that she is Irish," the Irish Prime Minister said. "That may not have been known. We have to stand up for our own." He said the Government's appeals for her release had received widespread international coverage, including in the Middle East. Scores of foreigners have been kidnapped since April and at least 35 have been killed, several of them beheaded. Ms Hassan is believed to be the eighth foreign woman to be abducted. All the others have been released unharmed. Liverpool man Kenneth Bigley, who had an Irish mother, was killed by his captors earlier this month after 22 days in captivity despite appeals by Irish politicians for his release. ---------------------------------------------------------------- >>>>>> Millionaires go tax-free Eleven millionaires in the 26 Counties are paying no income tax, according to figures released by the Dublin government. The figures for 2001 - the most up-to-date available - were released by the Department to the Labour Party. They show that 41 people with incomes of O500,000 or more paid no tax in 2001. Eleven of these had incomes of more than O1,000,000. The figures also show that 242 people with earnings of between O100,000 and O1,000,000 paid no tax for the 2001 tax year, while a further 149 people had paid an effective rate of tax of 20 per cent of less. "The figures are truly astonishing indictment of the range of tax loopholes and avoidance measures which had been built up during the McCreevy years and which allow many of the most wealthy in Irish society to avoid tax," Ms Burton said. "It is difficult for the ordinary taxpayer to continue to accept a situation where people are in crisis situations on trolleys in hospitals while some of the wealthiest in Irish society could avoid all obligations to paying a fair share of tax," she added. Ms Burton said it was "almost certain" that the figures for last year and 2003 will show "an even more extreme and disturbing situation". The party has called for the establishment of a permanent tax reform commission and advocates a minimum effective tax rate "to ensure that extreme distortions of the tax system" are eliminated. Sinn Fein spokesperson on Finance, Caoimhghin O Caolain TD, said PAYE workers, taxed directly through their wage packet at up to 42%, could "rightly feel aggrieved". "As public services continue to crack and crumble under the pressure of poor financial resources, this revelation is concrete evidence, if evidence was needed, of the shameful legacy of Mary Harney and Charlie McCreevy in both the Department of Finance and the Department of Enterprise and Trade over the last seven years. "While they pontificated about the need for a low-tax economy what was really operating for their super rich friends was a no-tax economy. It is absolutely sickening to constantly be lectured to on economics by the likes of Mary Harney and her PD colleagues and fifth columnists in Fianna Fail. This admission alone exposes the flawed, selfish and ultimately dangerous economic policies of the PDs, who are clearly the driving force behind the Government. "If everybody paid their fair share then our public services would not be in the state they are in. People would not be dying for want of a hospital bed; schools would not be rundown and overcrowded; parents would not want for adequate childcare facilities and we would not have endless housing waiting lists. "It takes political will to tackle the vested interests in this country and that is something this Government is seriously lacking in." ---------------------------------------------------------------- >>>>>> Feature: Tribute to George By Bernadette McAliskey (for the Blanket) I met George the very first time I went to America, in 1969 'straight from the Bogside front-line.' I met a lot of people then, and thereafter, but there remains a small core of stalwarts, who have been my friends, compatriots, and companeros ever since that momentous trip; foremost amongst these, were my two great mentors Paul O'Dywer and George Harrison, both gone from us now. I know that George had no belief or expectation that his life, having quietly been brought to a close in the comfort of his own sitting room, he might, against all the odds, find himself before a court once more. He was probably right. But in the possibility however remote of it happening, a celestial emergency call to George's saviour, Frank Durkan was on the cards. 'Hi Frank, it's Paul here. George is at the Pearly Gate, refusing to recognise the court, unionising the gate keepers and demanding to know the calibre of the occupants before pleading. He has also suggested to Peter that his boss isn't a patch on Fidel, and indicating that some of his character witnesses might need temporary release from a warmer place in order to testify. Should I take the case?' I suggested a plan B for Frank - Leave the phone off the hook, just in case. You will each, today, be paying tribute and sharing memories of George's unique contribution to all our lives, his political commitment and principle, his personal generosity, and his lifelong involvement in the struggle for a better world for human beings to live in. When George decided that Eoin McNamee, himself and myself would organise the fundraising for a memorial to Tommy Patten, a young Mayo man who fought and died in the Spanish Civil War, he told me how Eoin and George had been refused permission to go to Spain by the republican leadership, on the grounds that they didn't speak Spanish. They protested that young Patten didn't speaking Spanish either. 'Nor does he speak English' was the reply. They said their goodbyes and parted with their Gaelic speaking comrade at Paddington Station, London. Young Patten headed to Spain with a 'soda round' his mother made and a change of underwear both tied in a brown paper parcel. Eoin was en route to America, where, in California, he quickly learned Spanish from Mexican workers in a bid to get to Spain, and George headed briefly to unionise the Irish Navvies of N. England before following his O.C. to the USA. Many years later, George reassembled the last of his old unit, and those he felt represented them adequately in their absence; he detailed their last duty, which he personally led, until its conclusion - the daily health care of their comrade and commanding officer, who was terminally ill. George saw to it that Eoin's needs in life and his wishes in death were attended to, and his ashes are buried on the mountainside in Broughderg, Co, Tyrone, where his inscription reads in Spanish, Irish and English. I could not persuade George to make the trip for the funeral. His work was done. There was no need, no reason for him to come. These conversations lead to talk of such things and I was somewhat surprised at the strength of opinion with George dismissed his own ashes returning to Mayo. The land which buried one Mayo man in six-foot of concrete hardly needed to be graced with the remains of another. Forgiveness was not high on George's agenda, except where his friends were concerned and the ordinary weaknesses of their human nature. The names many of us identify as 'disembodied' heroes, from many cultures and struggles, George knew as real flesh and blood people who had their strengths and weaknesses, people he had worked with in the vast canvass of his political activity. Loyalty, reliability and discretion were the hallmarks of this old soldier although on occasion he would remark to me, with glee: 'If Joe Cahill gets to hear of this we're court-martialled' - I would always reply 'you'll be court-martialled, George. I'm not one of ye.' - 'You'll be court-martialled, anyway, my girl, if Cahill gets wind of this.' I only once knew George to pull rank. We were on a Noraid picket line and George as usual was cross pollinating the revolution by distributing leaflets from other organisations - Cuba Solidarity, Puerto Rico were to the fore. He was asked to stop and declined to do so. Negotiation was minimal, if he didn't stop he would be evicted from the picket. 'Evict' was an unfortunate choice of word. He threw back his square shoulders and stuck out his solid Mayo neck; 'You don't have the strength for it,' he challenged, and the hapless organiser seeking no public confrontation with George retreated from the threat but insisted that George was 'harming the cause' and proffered a new sanction; he would report this altercation to the leadership. 'You don't have the credentials,' retorted George with undisguised disdain, and continued his revolutionary duty of spreading the word. George Harrison was above all other things a modest, quiet man. Even in the prime of his youth, a stranger passing him in the street, would have no hint, no signal, no reason to suspect that this was an uncompromising radical, a committed internationalist and socialist, a militant, an activist, a man whose every waking hour was devoted to struggle armed or unarmed, to bring about revolutionary change in the world into which he was born. Only a fool like George Bush and a braggart like Tony Blair could delude themselves that the George Harrison's of this world can be defeated by their military intelligence, satellite surveillance, warmongering, human rights denial, and pathetic attempts to seal their borders. George Harrison, Mayo man, Irish Republican, Socialist, Internationalist Humanitarian and Labour Organiser led them all a merry dance for 70 years of adult life and lived and died on his own terms. We shall miss him. Could any of us ask for more? - except - I hear George add - the birth of the 32 County Socialist Republic. ---------------------------------------------------------------- >>>>>> Analysis: The Waiting Game By Gerry Adams MP (for the Irish Voice) This week saw a little flurry of media speculation around the talks process. This attention was sparked by remarks from both the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dermot Ahern, and the British Secretary of State Paul Murphy. They separately indicated some optimism that the process could see a breakthrough in the short term. I have to say that such remarks always irritate me and I always wonder why they are made. Perhaps it's no more than the compulsion of politicians to be positive. Perhaps it is a political instinct to have fingerprints on a process just in case there is a breakthrough. Whatever the reason when you hear such off the cuff comments from either of the two governments, take it with a pinch of salt. Of course, a breakthrough is possible. That's what we're working for and it will happen but better to wait until it is actually achieved before flagging it up. The British Secretary of State also disclosed that there were ongoing intensive discussions. There's no great deal about that, I suppose. We have all the time been engaged with the two governments in an effort to see the outstanding issues resolved. But no matter how much they may pretend or present themselves to the contrary, not all the parties are involved in this process. That's not Sinn Fein's doing or our wish, but I'm sure they are irked to hear public confirmation of such a process because it reduces them to the role of spectators and that can't be good. So what is happening? I won't commit the sin I have accused the governments of, but by following the logic of their utterances over the last number of months it is possible to form certain conclusions. For example, in June there were all-party discussions hosted by both governments in Lancaster House in London. These, despite Sinn Fein protests were brought to a halt because of the advent of theorange marching season and because senior DUP representatives had to go to Harvard. Obviously on business much more important than the effort to get a breakthrough back home. In their absence the big task for the rest of us was to try to get a peaceful summer. We succeeded. Only just. The next summit was at Leeds Castle. There the two governments told the world that they were satisfied that the IRA was going to make an unprecedented contribution to the process. The DUP appeared to hit a wobble. It was obvious to everyone that the IRA would only move in the context of a comprehensive agreement. As I said at the time the IRA was unlikely to move for less than the Good Friday Agreement. So where stood the DUP? For their part they have been sending positive signals. They said they were for power sharing. Ian Paisley visited Dublin to meet with the Taoiseach as part of a publicly stated desire to build good neighbourliness. All this was positive and welcome but a month after the Leeds Talks the process is no further on. If the governments are satisfied with what they have proclaimed the IRA is going to do then who are they waiting on? Obviously the DUP. And if Ministers Ahern and Murphy have said there is going to be a breakthrough then clearly the logic of their position is that this must be coming from the DUP. I see no evidence of that, though it is possible. As I understand it the DUP are seeking changes in the Agreement which would alter its fundamentals. Regular Irish Voice readers may know the governments have ruled this out, and I hope they are serious about this. But I have concerns, not least because both governments have tampered with the Agreement already. The suspension of the institutions is one example of this. The power which a British Minister now has, contrary to the Agreement, to take action against Irish political parties is another example. The DUP are also making their own particular demands of the IRA at a time when their newly proclaimed conversion to power sharing has yet to move beyond the rhetoric. In fact in every local government council where the DUP has majority power in the north of Ireland they refuse to share power. There is also the issue of policing. The DUP is a devolutionist party and obviously it would like to see the powers of policing and justice transferred from London toBelfast, but thus far it has resisted efforts to do this. Why? So, from all of the above there is still a mountain to climb for Ian Paisleys party. I hope the two Ministers are right. Sinn Fein is leaving no stone unturned in our effort to bring about a breakthrough. The big question arising from the Ministers remarks is what do they do if there is not a breakthrough? How long must we wait for the DUP to come into the real world?

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