Friday, December 4, 2009

Irish deserve “some kind of compensation”

Fifa president Sepp Blatter admits that the Football Association of Ireland deserves some measure of compensation arising from last month’s controversial World Cup exit.


Blatter was speaking in South Africa ahead of Friday evening’s finals draw, in which Ireland’s conquerors France are one of eight unseeded sides in the European pot.

And while he indicated that any award would not be financial, the Fifa chief conceded that the FAI deserves some recompense.

He said: “If you started to compensate teams not qualified you will have others coming to us but you are right when you see this kind of matter where the whole world has seen foul play, then maybe there could be some kind of compensation for Ireland.

“We will look at that. Yesterday, Ireland withdrew their demands [to be accommodated at next summer’s finals as an extra participant] and they asked to meet with us and we will do that next week.”

Source: eleven-a-side.com


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Irish deserve “some kind of compensation”

Fifa president Sepp Blatter admits that the Football Association of Ireland deserves some measure of compensation arising from last month’s controversial World Cup exit.


Blatter was speaking in South Africa ahead of Friday evening’s finals draw, in which Ireland’s conquerors France are one of eight unseeded sides in the European pot.

And while he indicated that any award would not be financial, the Fifa chief conceded that the FAI deserves some recompense.

He said: “If you started to compensate teams not qualified you will have others coming to us but you are right when you see this kind of matter where the whole world has seen foul play, then maybe there could be some kind of compensation for Ireland.

“We will look at that. Yesterday, Ireland withdrew their demands [to be accommodated at next summer’s finals as an extra participant] and they asked to meet with us and we will do that next week.”

Source: eleven-a-side.com

Shaun Woodward 'confident' on Northern Ireland policing handover

Shaun Woodward, the Northern Ireland Secretary, said he remained ''confident'' that a deal would be reached on the handover of policing and justice powers to the Stormont executive.



Woodward, the Northern Ireland Secretary Photo: EDDIE MULHOLLAND
Martin McGuinness, Sinn Fein Deputy First Minister, has warned that the province is facing a ''full-blown crisis'' unless there is an agreement in place by Christmas.

Sinn Fein has accused the Democratic Unionists (DUP), led by First Minister Peter Robinson, of stalling on a deal which would see control over law and order powers pass from Westminster to Northern Ireland politicians - including republicans.

The DUP, in turn, has accused Sinn Fein of ''sabre-rattling'' and warned against the setting of ''arbitrary deadlines''.

Mr Woodward insisted that ''real progress'' was being made towards an agreement.

''I think that in the coming weeks it will be possible to achieve these last parts of the package that will allow devolution to go through for policing and justice,'' he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

''I am confident that the political leaders in Northern Ireland will manage to find an agreement.''

Source: telegraph.co.uk/

Ireland likely to give gay couples more rights

Submitted by NewsSystem on Fri, 12/04/2009 - 04:00 SFGate Features: Gay & Lesbian
Ireland's lawmakers opened debate Thursday on a bill to grant marriage-style rights to gay couples, a social milestone in a country long observant of Roman Catholic opposition to homosexuality. Justice Minister Dermot Ahern said the bill would give gay...


Source: tips-q.com/

Fears of fresh bomb attack on Northern Ireland's Policing Board HQ

Dissident republicans who tried to blow up Northern Ireland's Policing Board HQ in Belfast are likely to target the building again, a senior officer warned yesterday.


Intelligence suggests that another attack on the Policing Board in Belfast is a "strong possibility", Police Service of Northern Ireland assistant chief constable Drew Harris revealed.

While the main threat is to the building, Mr Harris told members and staff of the independent body that they were at "moderate" risk.

Last month terrorists drove a car carrying 200kg (440lb) of home-made explosive through an entry barrier and abandoned it outside the towerblock in the Clarendon dock area. However, the device failed to detonate and no one was injured.

Security was tight at the building today as senior officers briefed members at the first meeting since the bomb plot.

As guards manned newly-erected steel barriers outside, Mr Harris indicated that the terrorists would try to strike again.

"Obviously following the events of Saturday evening 21st of November when a vehicle borne improvised explosive device was left at this building - it was a device consisting of 200kg of home made explosives that failed to fully detonate," he said.

"Subsequent to that, staff or members of the Policing Board are assessed to be at moderate threat but this building itself is defined as being at substantial threat, which is an attack is a strong possibility.

"That's the current situation at this time."

The Policing Board was set up as part of peace process reforms designed to make the police more accountable.

The failed attack at its HQ was blamed on republican extremists who continue to target the agencies of law and order in a bid to destabilise the political process.

The board is made up of independent and political members who scrutinise the PSNI's performance.

In the wake of Mr Harris's report, Democratic Unionist member Ian Paisley Jnr praised the board staff for the work they continued to do in the face of the threat.

"Could I pay tribute to our staff? Our staff don't deserve to be targeted, our staff do an excellent job for the public," he said.

"And for them to be subject to an attempt to destroy their place of work and indeed destroy them I think is completely reprehensible and needs to receive the firmest possible condemnation."

The North Antrim representative also commended the independent board members for their fortitude.

Sinn Fein's Alex Maskey said it was ironic that terrorists would attack what was a symbol of police reform.

"It is very ironic indeed that the building that is precisely here to house very important accountability mechanisms was targeted," said the South Belfast Assembly member.

"And I do want to make sure that the members of staff here who do provide invaluable work and support in this regard are recognised for the very professional standards for the work they do uphold."

The attempted bombing happened within hours of a murder bid on a trainee police officer in the Co Fermanagh border village of Garrison. An undercover police unit thwarted that attack and two people have since been arrested and charged.

At yesterday's meeting, Mr Harris was accompanied by members of the PSNI's senior command team, including Chief Constable Matt Baggott.

Mr Baggott told the board that his officers would not let the violent renegades prevent them from providing a professional service to the public.

"We have a difficult time in dealing with the security situation. We have never said that it's not severe but I know that I have the most incredibly professional colleagues working on that - Garrison showed that in a very clear way," he said.

"We are determined that we won't allow a minority of people to undermine our accountability to you (the board)."

The chief added: "I know we are motivated by a desire to serve everybody and we won't let a number of people who are going in a completely opposite direction stop us from doing that."

Source: belfasttelegraph.co.uk/

Simply Red stars in row over Ireland hunting rights


Simply Red lead singer Mick Hucknall and a bandmate are suing the owner of a neighbouring County Donegal estate in a row over fishing and shooting rights.

Mr Hucknall and saxophonist Chris De Margary bought Glenmore Lodge near Ballybofey in 2005.

They claim a neighbour, John Wilde, has been interfering with the sporting rights on their estate, a court heard.

Mr Wilde claims the previous owners of Glenmore transferred the rights to his father.

Lawyers for the two musicians say they bought the exclusive fishing and hunting rights to about 19,000 acres of land for £1.3m.

They have developed a tourism business on the land, the Glenmore Rivers Sporting Estate.

River

Continental game-sports parties can fly there directly by helicopter or chartered jet, bringing their own guns and fishing rods.

Although the musicians do not own the land on which they have claim to own the fishing and shooting rights, they said this was transferred to them when they bought the lodge.

However, John Wilde, who owns Cloghan Lodge on the far side of the River Finn, insists he owns the exclusive rights to hunting on the land.



Mr Hucknall and Mr De Margary sought an injunction to prevent Mr Wilde interfering with their rights until a full hearing of the case.

The judge said that could take years to sort out.

He adjourned the case for a period to give both sides time to sort out their differences, but they failed to come to an agreement.

The musicians' barrister said they would be happy not to interfere with Mr Wilde's estate if they got a similar undertaking from him.

He said Mr Wilde had huge areas to use on his estate but Judge O'Hagan said he would make no orders because if he did it would "stir up trouble".

He adjourned the case until later this month to allow Mr Wilde to reply to the claim.

Source: bbc.co.uk

Northern Ireland UK Touts 10Mbps Minimum Broadband Speed by 2011

The Northern Ireland Executive appears to have bested the UK government's Universal Service Commitment (USC) to bring a minimum broadband connection speed of 2Mbps to everybody in the country by 2012. Instead N.I has gone one step further and promised a minimum of 2Mbps for rural areas and 10Mbps for urban areas by May 2011.

BT is investing close to £30m in the project, with a further £18m coming from the Department of Enterprise Trade and Investment (DETI), under the European Regional Development Fund's (ERDF) European Sustainable Competitiveness Programme and the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD), under the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) Rural Development Programme.

Under the project, BT will deploy Fibre-to-the-Cabinet ( FTTC ) technology to a majority of businesses with other fixed line solutions being used where appropriate. Businesses can thus expect maximum speeds of up to 40Mbps, with the lowest performance being more like 10 to 15Mbps downstream. Upstream speeds of 2 to 15Mbps are possible.

Enterprise Minister, Arlene Foster, said:

"Following a competitive tender exercise, the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment has entered into a contract with BT for further development of Northern Ireland’s telecommunications infrastructure, specifically the provision of Next Generation Broadband Services.

“This is hugely significant. At a time of economic slowdown when private sector companies are scaling down their investments, this multi-million pound injection in our infrastructure has the potential to indirectly create up to 1,000 additional jobs per annum."
The contract with BT will deliver faster speeds through the accelerated deployment of fibre optic cable. There will be upgrades to equipment across 166 exchanges (plus 1,176 new access points) and the introduction of new technology to increase broadband speeds to businesses.

However, upon closer inspection, we note that the project is only designed to deliver on the key Programme for Government objective to ensure 85% of businesses in Northern Ireland will have access to next generation broadband speeds by 2011. That is not 100% and the remaining businesses are likely to get just 2Mbps.

The Minister explained:

"All of the technologies to be used will be fixed line with fibre being the predominant solution. There are few, if any, parts of the British Isles which will have anywhere near the amount of fibre that is going to be deployed in Northern Ireland, particularly in our rural areas.

Telecoms is one of the jewels in our crown and this investment in faster broadband, which builds upon our earlier investments and the provision of 100% access to first generation broadband, provides further opportunity for companies based here to improve their productivity."
The news is certainly very welcome because Northern Ireland is known to have some of the slowest broadband speeds in the UK and it is in desperate need of an upgrade, which this appears to deliver. Still, the Executive’s statement reads more like a network enhancement announcement than a specific pledge to deliver 2Mbps to every single rural area and 10Mbps for every single business in Northern Ireland.

Source: ispreview.co.uk/

N Ireland 'doing well' to recover lost jobs by 2015


Northern Ireland's economy will take several years to rise back to the levels before the downturn, an Ulster Bank economist has said.

In the bank's quarterly economic review, Richard Ramsey predicted NI would emerge from recession next year.

However, he warned that growth would be limited by inevitable cuts in public spending as well as factors such as the performance of the Republic's economy.

He said NI would be doing well to get back to peak employment levels by 2015.

Mr Ramsey predicted unemployment would peak at about 8.5% during mid-2010 and would remain relatively high for years to come.


Eventually some parts of our local retail sector will be left exposed when the current influx of RoI shoppers subsides

Richard Ramsey
Ulster Bank chief economist
The economy may be "moving out of intensive care" but the period ahead would be one of higher unemployment and rising taxes, he said.

He said the scale of impending public expenditure cuts were of major concern.

"There are short-term spending pressures, including funding the water charge subsidy, a civil service back-pay claim and a shortfall in capital receipts, running into several hundred million pounds," he said.

"And in the slightly longer-term, Northern Ireland will experience the biggest public sector expenditure cut on record.

"A reduction in expenditure of £730m, which some are predicting, would be the equivalent of shutting down the Department of Agricultural and Rural Development for three years."

'Economic fundamentals'

Mr Ramsey said the issue of public sector pay must be addressed to "ensure that public sector wages better reflect true economic fundamentals".

He said it was "extremely important" that Northern Ireland firms take advantage of the current weakness of sterling against the euro, as he believed this would be short-lived.

"Eventually some parts of our local retail sector will be left exposed when the current influx of RoI shoppers subsides," he said.

The strength of retail was one cause for optimism, he said, along with some areas of manufacturing.

He said food, drink and tobacco were performing particularly well, driven by the exchange rate.

Other positives were that unemployment would not hit levels experienced in the early 1980s recession as well as the return to growth in new house starts, mortgage approvals and new car sales.

Source: bbc.co.uk