By Ray O’Hanlon
Calls for the disbanding of the RUC and removal of recently enacted antiterrorism laws in Northern Ireland were aired Tuesday in Washington at an open meeting of the House Subcommittee on International Operations and Human Rights.
The meeting, chaired by Rep. Chris Smith, heard testimony from U.N. Special Rapporteur Param Cumaraswamy, who compiled a report earlier this year on the independence of judges and lawyers in the North.
Cumaraswamy stopped short of recommending complete disbanding of the RUC but said he wanted to see the force radically reformed.
Paul Mageean of the North-based Committee on the Administration of Justice, a group which recently won the Council of Europe Human Rights Prize, urged removal of the anti-terror laws.
Peter Madden, partner of slain Belfast attorney Pat Finucane, said that the only way to solve the problems of the RUC was to disband the force.
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— Susan Falvella Garraty in Washington
Birthday boy Gerry
Friends of Sinn Féin is holding a 50th birthday party for Gerry Adams on Saturday, Oct. 17, at Webster Hall, Third Avenue and 11th Street in Manhattan. Admission is $20. Meanwhile, the Massachusetts leg of Adam’s upcoming East Coast tour is being revised. Adams was due to appear in Lowell and Boston on Oct. 10 and 11 but these events are now being rescheduled. New dates will be announced.
Calling all Santas
Volunteer Santas are needed by San Francisco-based Santa Express to carry toys to Northern Ireland children this Christmas. The tour is being sponsored by Santa Express and Celtic Travel with Virgin Atlantic providing the jet powered sleighs.
"We selected Ireland this year," SE spokeswoman Martha O’Brien said. Chosen Santas receive substantial travel discounts. The deadline for applying for the Irish trip is Oct. 15. For details, call toll free (877) 882-4484 or (415) 488-0124.