Haass peace proposals under threat if Unionists agree to back 'contract'
THE two main unionist parties in the North will this week decide whether to sign up to a 'contract' which would all but scupper the proposals drafted by US diplomat Richard Haass at the beginning of the year to overcome a political impasse at Stormont.
Both the Unionist Party and the Democratic Unionist Party are expected to endorse the Innocent Victims United (IVU) charter, which has already been endorsed by Traditional Unionist Voice leader Jim Allister.
Sources within the parties indicated yesterday that it was likely that both would support the victims' charter, which vetoes any plans for a conflict-resolution centre at the former Maze Prison. The seven-point contract was presented at a public meeting in Cookstown on Thursday.
IVU spokesman Kenny Donaldson described the contract as an "agenda for change, which, if implemented, would transform the landscape within which victims and survivors' issues operate".
Election candidates and their party leaders have been given until 5pm on Wednesday to decide whether to sign or reject the contract. The SDLP is also expected to consider the contract at Stormont tomorrow morning, while copies were sent to Sinn Fein and the Alliance Party.
MINISTER IS 'ROBIN HOOD IN REVERSE'
JUNIOR Health Minister Alex White was yesterday accused of acting like Robin Hood in reverse by taking medical cards from the poor and giving them to the rich.
He came under fire during a stormy question and answer session at the AGM of the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO). Dr Kevin Kelly, an IMO delegate, said he had been told by the Primary Care Reimbursement Service that they were conducting a "blitz" on medical cards for over-70s.
Mr White responded: "The discretionary card is not based on illness, it's all based on income."
NO WINNER OF €4M LOTTO JACKPOT
THERE was no winner of last night's €3,942,107 Lotto jackpot. The numbers were 2, 3, 5, 14, 24, 41 (bonus 37). Plus 1 numbers were 22, 23, 31, 33, 35, 40 (bonus 45) and the Plus 2 numbers were 4, 8, 11, 18, 36, 44 (bonus 38).
MAN CHARGED OVER €120,000 OF DRUGS
A 30-year-old man appeared in court yesterday, charged in connection with a €120,000 drugs seizure. Scott Prendergast of Cappagh Road, Finglas, made no reply when charged under Section 15 of the Misuse of Drugs Act at Dublin District Court.
Mr Prendergast was arrested by the Garda National Drugs Unit on Friday after officers seized 6kg of cannabis herb worth an estimated street value of €120,000 following a search of a car on the Naas Road in Dublin.
GUILTY ANGLO PAIR AWAIT SENTENCES
THE sentencing hearing of two former Anglo Irish Bank directors convicted of providing illegal loans to 10 individuals is due to open at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court tomorrow. Anglo's former director of finance, William McAteer, and former head of Irish lending, Pat Whelan, were convicted on April 17 of providing the loans to the group known as the 'Maple 10'.
The jury found them guilty on 10 charges each of breaching Section 60 of the Companies Act 1963.
FARMER'S BODY RECOVERED FROM SEA
GARDAI believe that an elderly man whose fully clothed body was recovered from the sea in Bundoran, CO Donegal, on Friday may have died in a tragic accident.
The body of 73-year-old retired farmer Jim Kelly, from Irvinestown, Co Fermanagh, was identified yesterday.
Irvinestown parish priest Fr Michael McGourty said: "Jim got a dizzy spell in the church about a month ago. We wonder if a similar incident happened in Bundoran."
WAR OF INDEPENDENCE GRENADE FOUND
A HISTORIC but viable grenade dating back to the War of Independence has been found during building work.
The Defence Forces' Explosive Ordnance Disposal Team was deployed on Friday after it was found at a site during building works in Raheen, near Caherlistrane, Co Galway.
The device was moved from the scene to an open area nearby, where a controlled explosion was carried out.
COLLINS MURDER TRIAL TO START THIS WEEK
THE trial of a number of men charged with the murder of Limerick businessman Roy Collins will begin this week.
Wayne Dundon, 35, of Lenihan Ave, Prospect, and Nathan Killeen, 23, of Hyde Rd, Prospect, are charged with murdering Roy Collins, 35, at Coin Castle Amusements, Roxboro Shopping Centre, Limerick on April 9, 2009. They are due to stand trial at the non-jury court on April 29.
PROTEST OVER ESTATE MANAGEMENT FEES
A NUMBER of residents held a day-long street protest yesterday after they received summonses to court for estate management fees.
The homeowners in Tyrrelstown, Dublin 15, claim they have been "unjustly placed under a management company when the estate was built," which has led to them incurring fees of several hundred euro, despite Fingal County Council maintaining the estate.
GANGSTER IN HIDING OVER DEATH THREATS
ONE of Ireland's most volatile gangsters is under pressure after a major contract was placed on his head by up to five different crime mobs. Sources said he is a walking target because of his alleged involvement in two murders and a number of botched assassination attempts.
The Clondalkin hood remains in hiding this weekend after criminals linked him to an attempted murder that led to Ballymun criminal Michael 'Mad Mickey' Devoy being shot dead in a revenge attack in January.
The botched hit that gardai believe the Clondalkin criminal was involved in with Devoy, 41, was the attempt on the life of convicted heroin dealer Greg Lynch outside a north Dublin pub last October. Lynch, 28, is a key member of a drugs gang with close links to gangland godfather Christy Kinahan, who is based in the Costa del Sol.
MAN HELD OVER CASH VAN ROBBERY
A 20-year-old man was arrested yesterday after he threatened a cash-in-transit employee with an iron bar before making off with a cash box.
The botched robbery took place shortly after noon at Clare Hall Shopping Centre on Dublin's northside.
At 12.10pm the raider approached and threatened the cash-in-transit worker. He took a cash box containing an undisclosed sum of money and escaped in a waiting car. However, he was later arrested and was last night being detained at Coolock Garda Station.
The car used in the raid was located a short distance from the scene. The cash box has not been recovered.
CREDIT UNIONS MOVE INTO CAR INSURANCE
CREDIT unions are to begin offering members online car insurance. The initiative was unveiled at yesterday's AGM of the Irish League of Credit Unions (ILCU) in Belfast.
The ILCU is to team up with insurance company AIG in a joint venture. In recent months Irish credit unions have also started offering travel insurance to their members.