News about the Irish & Irish American culture, music, news, sports. This is hosted by the Irish Aires radio show on KPFT-FM 90.1 in Houston, Texas (a Pacifica community radio station)

October 17, 2004

IT 10/18/04 Minister Says North Deal Could Be Done In Weeks
IT 10/18/04 Paramilitaries Will Not Define Future - Ahern -V
IO 10/17/04 SF Denies McDowell IRA Claims
BB 10/17/04 Flags Outside Churches Removed
BB 10/17/04 Priest's Hopes For Tragic Families
BB 10/17/04 Taxi Driver Stabbed In Face - V
IO 10/17/04 Irish-British Body Discusses Peace Process
IT 10/18/04 Same-Sex Marriage Option Advised
TE 10/17/04 Pierre Salinger -V
IT 10/18/04 Exonerated Garda Superintendent Dies Aged 105 -V
IT 10/18/04 Poetic Gathering To Honour Kavanagh
IT 10/18/04 Tesco To Build Where First Hurling Final Was Played

RT 10/17/04 Thousands protest in London -VO
RT 10/17/04 New Zealand Ship Designer Succeeds In Ireland - VO
RT 10/17/04 Nuns Move Into A Timber Monastery -VO

(See Thousands protest in London - Eimear Lowe reports on an anti-
war demonstration against the war in Iraq at

See New Zealand Ship Designer Succeeds In Ireland - Tom MacSweeney
talks to Ron Holland whose business in Kinsale in Co Cork leads the
world in maritime design

See Nuns Move Into A Timber Monastery - Valerie Waters visits the
unusual looking monastery, which is situated near the Cooley
Mountains in Louth )


Minister Says North Deal Could Be Done In Weeks

Mark Hennessy, Political Correspondent

The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Dermot Ahern, has expressed
cautious optimism that an agreement to restore Northern Ireland's
Executive and Assembly could be reached within the next fortnight.

"There are only two weeks. I think it will happen, but as my
officials keep telling me, these things come off the rails all the
time. All the signals that we are getting are positive enough," he

Also expressing hope that a deal can be struck, the Taoiseach, Mr
Ahern, said "a small window of opportunity" existed for progress.

"I hope they will be completed, but I can't be certain," he said
speaking after the annual Fianna Fáil Wolfe Tone commemoration.

Meanwhile, the Taoiseach distanced himself somewhat from the
declaration by the Minister for Foreign Affairs last week that Sinn
Féin could be in government in the Republic quickly.

Denying advance knowledge of the Minister's actions, Mr Ahern said:
"I didn't know Dermot Ahern was doing the interview because I was
away. The first thing I heard about DA's interview was your
newspaper's headlines on it," he told The Irish Times following his
Bodenstown speech.

He added: "I have been asked this question 30 times. And I answered
the question in a different way. Naturally enough, the way I answer
it is what Government policy is."

Sinn Féin's possible involvement in a government in the Republic
could not be "speculated about" until the IRA had fully
decommissioned and disbanded.

However, he said Mr Ahern had made "the essential point" that the
Constitution recognises the Defence Forces as the Republic's sole
legitimate army.

"The essential point is that our Constitution states that there can
only be one Óglaigh Na hÉireann. At the moment there are two.
That's it. That answers the question. He said that," said the

Clearly keen to dismiss suggestions that Sinn Féin could be part of
the next coalition, Mr Ahern said he was "not going to speculate on
the timescale".

The implementation of the Good Friday agreement has been tortuously
slow. "Seven years later there is not a chance that I would say
what will happen in the next year. I don't know what I will achieve
by Christmas."

There is no point "making idle speculation about where we might be
at Christmas, let alone where we are at next year, not to mind this
time 2007".

He warned that the restoration of the Assembly and Executive could
be put back for more than a year if a deal was not reached quickly.

"The coming weeks represent a window of opportunity to copper-
fasten peace and stability. This opportunity must not be lost.

"Otherwise we risk having restoration of the institutions deferred
for some considerable time."

The Minister for Foreign Affairs will meet with the Northern
Ireland Secretary of State, Mr Paul Murphy, in Dublin on Wednesday.

Progress has to be made within the next fortnight, the Taoiseach
believes, to allow time for decommissioning, etc to take place in
time for the Northern institutions to be re-established before the
local and Westminster elections in May. If a deal is not reached
quickly, the Taoiseach said, "people will drift back into political
position". Progress could be put off indefinitely because the
British Prime Minister, Mr Tony Blair, has to chair both the EU
Council and the G8 next year.

Expressing little optimism about the talks, the chairman of Sinn
Féin, Mr Mitchel McLaughlin, said the Democratic Unionists were
still "anti-agreement". "I don't know whether the DUP is talking
about months or years," Mr McLaughlin told RTÉ's Week in Politics
programme last night.

(c) The Irish Times


(See RTE videos at & analysis
of comments at )

Paramilitaries Will Not Define Future - Ahern - V

Mark Hennessy, Politicl Correspondent

Fianna Fáil will not "abdicate" its responsibility to uphold the
democratic values of its republicanism, the Taoiseach, Mr Ahern,
declared yesterday.

"The future of Ireland will be defined by democracy, not by
paramilitaries of any description."

Mr Ahern said: "Our Constitution provides for only one army, one
Óglaigh na hÉireann. With the Good Friday agreement and its
implementation, there remains no conceivable justification for
maintaining paramilitary armies. Democracy and private armies do
not mix."

He said many of those once involved in paramilitary activity now
accepted that the time had come to draw a line under the Northern
conflict. "I am certain that the people will not excuse or
understand any party failing to take up the historic opportunity of
bringing a long era of political violence to an end."

Mr Ahern warned that the restoration of the Assembly and Executive
could be put back for more than a year if a deal was not reached

"The coming weeks represent a window of opportunity to copper-
fasten peace and stability," he said at Fianna Fáil's annual Wolfe
Tone commemoration in Bodenstown, Co Kildare.

"This opportunity must not be lost. Otherwise, we risk having
restoration of the institutions deferred for some considerable
time. Such further delay is in no one's interests and it will not
benefit any of the political parties.

"We have talked about the outstanding issues to the point of
exhaustion and frustration. People now want outcomes. Everyone, on
all sides, knows what they must do."

The commemoration was attended by a host of leading FF figures,
including the Minister for Finance, Mr Cowen, the Minister for
Foreign Affairs, Mr Dermot Ahern, the Minister for Education, Ms
Hanafin, the Minister for the Environment, Mr Roche, the Minister
for Defence, Mr O'Dea, the Minister for Community, Rural and
Gaeltacht Affairs, Mr Ó Cuív, and the Government Chief Whip, Mr Tom

Emphasising that the United Irishmen had "started out as
constitutional democrats", Mr Ahern said: "It was only when they
were forced underground or into exile and all meaningful reform was
refused that they became revolutionaries. But their republicanism
was inherently democratic. So, also is our republicanism.

"One of the paradoxes about Wolfe Tone was that he combined a
republican activism for the rights of the oppressed majority with a
critical attitude to the papacy and certain formal aspects of
Catholicism. This latter viewpoint is more typical of a perspective
of unionism.

"But modern Ireland, while continuing to respect the contribution
that organised religion makes to society, has moved to a new,
healthier model of church/state relations than existed in the past.

"Today, we have a dynamic and changing society. We value religious
liberty and practise religious tolerance. Our success is based on
democratic republicanism and is inspired by the principles of
equality and fraternity."

Dealing with Northern policing, Mr Ahern said "little more" could
be done to change the PSNI "from the outside. In any well-
constructed democratic system of government, support for policing
is naturally expected of all those who hold public office. The
agreement instituted a radical reform of policing to make it much
more representative of the community at large.

"The spirit of Patten is clearly being fulfilled. Further
improvements depend on the involvement and engagement of all
sections of the community.

"One of the issues that remains to be agreed is the context for
devolving policing and justice. No party has expressed opposition
to this principle and it remains an objective set out in the Good
Friday agreement. To achieve it, the primary task facing us is to
restore the institutions in a context that inspires confidence for
all the parties concerned," Mr Ahern said.

(c) The Irish Times


SF Denies McDowell IRA Claims

17/10/2004 - 16:00:50

Sinn Féin's Mitchel McLaughlin has accused the Minister for
Justice, Michael McDowell, of talking "rubbish about Sinn Féin".

Mr McLaughlin was responding to claims made by Mr McDowell this
morning on the radio that he knows of direct links between senior
Sinn Féin figures and the IRA.

Mr McLaughlin said that Sinn Féin was "completely and totally
wedded to peaceful and democratic means of addressing our issues".

He described Minister McDowell's claims as "propaganda and abuse of


Flags Outside Churches Removed

Police have removed a large number of flags which were put up
outside two Catholic churches and a convent in Larne, County

The flags were removed on Saturday night from Craigyhill and Larne
Churches as well as Drumallis Convent.

The PSNI said the action was taken as part of their commitment to
ensuring that paramilitary and other flags were not displayed in a
provocative manner likely to cause a breach of the peace.

They added that many of the issues surrounding flags could not be
resolved by policing alone but by the community working together to
find an answer.

SDLP councillor Danny O'Connor welcomed the move but said more
needed to be done.

"There are still a large number of flags flying in mixed areas and
estates and I would encourage them to take a further step and to
remove those as well," he said.

"People are fearful because they can't understand why it's happened

"(They) are used to seeing flags going up at the 12th of July, but
there seems to be no good reason for them going up at the minute,
other than the marking out of territory."

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2004/10/17 17:38:53 GMT


Priest's Hopes For Tragic Families

A County Down priest has said he hopes faith will help the families
come to terms with the deaths of two young boys who drowned in a
neighbour's disused swimming pool.

Father Richard Naughton is to conduct Mass for two-year-old David
Brian Smith and Shea Kieran Laverty, who was to have celebrated his
fifth birthday next week.

The accident happened at Ardaveen Drive, off the Dublin Road, in
Newry on Friday.

It is understood the children, who lived two doors apart at
Ardaveen Mews, squeezed through a gap in a fence into another
neighbour's garden where the outdoor pool was.

The father of one of the boys found them at about 1700 BST and they
were rushed to hospital, but were pronounced dead about two hours

Father Naughton, who will conduct Mass for the boys on Monday, said
he hoped the families would gain strength and support from each

"They have lost a darling child, and you realise that it is within
the family themselves that a lot of healing takes place," he said.

"You are hoping and praying that they can give the strength to each

Police say they have appointed liaison officers to work with the
boys' families and have begun an investigation into how they

The children had recently moved into the housing development with
their families.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2004/10/17 09:04:15 GMT


(See BBC Video at )

Taxi Driver Stabbed In Face - V

The owner of a County Armagh taxi firm which had a driver stabbed
believes the attacker meant to kill his employee.

The taxi driver was attacked by a passenger at Parkmore Avenue in
Lurgan at about 2145 BST on Thursday.

Jim Roycroft, who owns Check Cabs, said the attacker made no demand
for money but stabbed the driver in the face with a knife after
asking him to pull the cab over to the side of the road.

The driver was badly injured but struggled with his attacker who
fled on foot.

The injured man was able to make his way back to the taxi depot
where another driver, who was a former nurse, administered first

He was then taken to hospital where he is still being treated.

Police said they were keeping an open mind as to the motive for the

They are appealing for witnesses to contact them tel: 028 9065 0222
or Crimestoppers tel: 0800 555111.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2004/10/15 12:57:53 GMT


Irish-British Body Discusses Peace Process

17/10/2004 - 15:05:04

Members of the Irish-British Inter-Parliamentary Body will be
briefed by Northern Ireland Secretary Paul Murphy on the latest
developments in the peace process at their twice-yearly conference
in Wales tomorrow.

Mr Murphy will deliver the keynote address and take part in a
question and answer session with members at the St Pierre Hotel and
Country Club in Chepstow.

His speech will focus on the impasse surrounding the Good Friday
Agreement and the prospects of restoring the suspended Northern
Ireland Assembly

The 68-member body began their three-day 29th plenary session

Other issues on the agenda include extending the workplace smoking
ban to the UK and the possibility of providing Ireland's free-
transport to Irish OAPs in Britain.

The British-Irish Inter-Parliamentary Body was formally established
in 1990 as a link between Westminster and Dublin, with 25 British
and 25 Irish members drawn from the upper and lower houses of both

In recent years the membership of the body has been extended to
representatives from the Welsh Assembly, the Scottish Parliament,
the Northern Ireland Assembly and the Isle of Man and Channel


Same-Sex Marriage Option Advised

Joe Humphreys

Allowing same-sex couples to marry would be the best way for the
State to comply with its obligations in the area under European
human rights law, a conference in Dublin was told at the weekend.

Prof Robert Wintemute of King's College London said legislators
should consider "skipping intermediate structures" such as a
registration scheme for same-sex unions in favour of full marriage
rights, in order to avoid the possibility of new legislation being
overturned in the European Court of Human Rights.

Only three out of the 46 countries bound by the European Convention
on Human Rights (ECHR) had moved to grant same-sex couples marriage
rights, but this situation was rapidly changing, he said.

A leading scholar in gender rights, Prof Wintemute said the best
option for Ireland would be to allow three choices for all couples:
civil marriage, an alternative registration system for couples who
object to the term "marriage", and unregistered cohabitation.

Were Ireland to reject the extension of marriage rights to same-sex
unions, the preferable option under human rights law would be to
copy the Danish model of union registration, he said.

He was addressing a conference, hosted by the Irish Human Rights
Commission (IHRC) and the Law Society of Ireland, on the ECHR and
"human rights in committed relationships".

Prof William Binchy, a barrister and member of the IRHC, warned
that the domino effect of European case law meant that "if we do
nothing our law will undoubtedly be changed for us".

He said the recent Law Reform Commission report on the granting of
improved rights to cohabiting couples contained "strains of old

The LRC report should be seen as "very much a first attempt" to
tackle the issue. "We need a coherent attempt to address the
question of partnership."

Options for legislators included the abolition of marriage, the
introduction of a civil partnership, opening marriage to include
heterosexual and same-sex unions, and introducing different
categories of marriage.

On the latter, Prof Binchy said the introduction of divorce in 1995
had replaced a single definition of marriage by another single
definition of marriage.

Speaking from the conference floor, Senator David Norris said
legislation was badly needed in the area, especially in light of
the recent Government decision to revoke social welfare benefits
granted to same-sex couples by the Equality Tribunal.

The decision, taken in tandem with the "savage 16" cutbacks last
year, meant Ireland had become "the only country in the past 10
years in the EU to remove rights and reintroduce discrimination
against same-sex couples."

Meanwhile Mr Donncha O'Connell, lecturer in law at NUI Galway, told
the conference that members of the Government needed to realise
they were in a "committed relationship" with statutory bodies such
as the Irish Human Rights Commission (IHRC) and the Equality

In a reference to recent comments made by Mr McDowell, Mr O'Connell
said to dismiss the reasonably expressed collective view of the
IHRC on the citizenship referendum as 'weak, tendentious and
fanciful' might well be an impactful debating point.

But public discourse was not enriched by the kind of rhetoric that
was intended to close and not open or broaden debate, he added.

Mr O'Connell said there was nothing undemocratic about robust
debate being led by a statutory body, "especially when one
remembers that it was the choice of elected representatives to
create such bodies in both parts of the island of Ireland".

The conference heard that the incorporation of the ECHR into Irish
law could have major implications for local authorities and other
service providers in the State.

(c) The Irish Times


(See Video at

Pierre Salinger -V

(Filed: 18/10/2004)

Pierre Salinger, who has died in France aged 79, was a journalist
who served in the White House of the Kennedy years and went on to a
brief stint in the Senate and a career in business, before working
in Europe for ABC News.

Salinger had a vast range of contacts from his years in Washington,
and before that from journalism in California (where he ran
campaigns for the Democrats) which often gave him an entry when
political stories broke. But there were occasions when he himself
became news.

He was perhaps most widely known as John F Kennedy's press
secretary. He encouraged the president to hold press conferences
live on television, and sat in on the innermost councils of the
cabinet, acquiring a grasp of the pressures on political leaders.
He recalled seeing Kennedy pacing alone, grim-faced, on the White
House lawn, three months after his inauguration, during the hours
when it became clear that the US invasion of Cuba at the Bay of
Pigs was failing. It was the moment, Salinger said, when he came
closest to understanding the loneliness of command.

On the day of Kennedy's murder in Dallas in 1963, Salinger, with
six members of the cabinet, was over the western Pacific at the
start of an Asian tour. He remembered the shocking impact of the
message flashed to the aircraft, using the presidential codeword:
"Lancer is dead".

Quite aside from serving Kennedy from 1959 until his death,
Salinger was a fervent admirer. He had first gone to Washington in
1956 to work on an article for Colliers, exposing racketeering in
Jimmy Hoffa's Teamsters Union. When the magazine folded that winter
he was asked by Robert Kennedy, the moving force in the Senate's
investigation of the union, to join his staff. He became Kennedy's
chief investigator for the Select Committee to Investigate Improper
Activities in Labour-Management Relations.

Robert Kennedy, impressed with Salinger's diligence and his skill
at organising staff, suggested to his brother, then a senator, that
he take Salinger on to his team for the 1960 election campaign. At
the Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles in July, Salinger
was a power in organising much of the support which gained John
Kennedy the nomination. Having defeated Nixon in November, Kennedy
appointed Salinger presidential press secretary, and thereafter
Salinger ran the White House press office and travelled widely with
the president until the assassination. He stayed on to serve under
Lyndon Johnson as press secretary for a few months before leaving
to attempt a political career himself.

Pierre Emil George Salinger was born in San Francisco on June 14
1925, the son of a Jewish impresario and musician. His mother was
French, and a Roman Catholic. Pierre was bi-lingual from childhood
and a musical prodigy at six, when his family was living in
Toronto, he gave piano recitals at the 1931 Canadian National
Exposition. By the time Pierre was 12, his parents judged that
constant practice was making him too solitary, and stopped him
making music an overriding interest. Back in San Francisco, he
graduated from Lowell High School in 1941 and spent a year at San
Francisco State College before joining the US Navy.

By the end of the war he was commanding a sub chaser. In the 1945
typhoon that killed a thousand people on Okinawa he was in charge
of an operation that saved 15 sailors' lives and was decorated for

After the war, Salinger finished university and went to work for
the San Francisco Chronicle. An early assignment was an inquiry
into prison conditions in California. He kitted himself out as a
hobo, got arrested for having no visible means of support and had a
first hand look at affairs in a series of state slammers.

He took a break from journalism to work for various Democratic
candidates in state and federal elections. In the 1952 and 1956
elections, he was on the California staff of Adlai Stevenson. After
these early political efforts he became West Coast correspondent
for Colliers.

After leaving the Johnson White House in 1964, he took an
appointment filling the unexpired term of a California senator who
had died, and tried to win the seat for himself in the subsequent
election, but lost to the actor George Murphy.

He tried a business career, first joining National General
Corporation, a film distribution group, which failed, then going,
from 1965 to 1968, to Continental Airlines, as vice-president for
international affairs. After some other commercial ventures he
returned to journalism as a roving correspondent of L'Express, in
Paris, and freelanced for American and European journals. By 1978,
he had moved to ABC News in Paris. In 1983 he was made chief
European correspondent and in 1988 senior editor for Europe.

It was while based in Paris that Salinger took a French camera team
to Northern Ireland to make a two-part report for ABC News on
Ulster and the IRA. He was interviewing Sinn Fein supporters at a
press conference in a West Belfast republican club when the RUC
burst in and arrested the lot. Salinger was held and questioned,
before being released 12 hours later, to the embarrassment of
Whitehall officials, who were aware that the arrest of a former
presidential press secretary would aid IRA propaganda in the United

Tactfully, Salinger said he understood the authorities' problems -
especially in the aftermath of Lord Mountbatten's murder. The RUC
said they had received a tip-off that illegal weapons would be
displayed at the press conference (though they were, in fact, not).
One theory was that the IRA itself had given the tip-off, assuming
that the Salinger party would be arrested.

Salinger himself made news on another occasion as intermediary in
the negotiations for the release of America hostages in Teheran at
the end of Jimmy Carter's presidency. A French lawyer who had
represented Ayatollah Khomeini when the latter was living in exile
in Paris called secretly on Salinger, asking to be put in touch
with the appropriate people in Washington. Salinger quickly

One result of that encounter was the publication, in 1981, of
Salinger's book America Held Hostage: The Secret Negotiations, a
step-by-step account of the affair. He also made a three-hour
documentary for ABC, which was broadcast after the hostages'

He also played a part in the nuclear test ban agreement negotiated
by Kennedy with Moscow, less than a year after his potentially
disastrous face-off with Khrushchev over Cuban missiles. Salinger
mentioned the test ban affair in The Guardian on the tenth
anniversary of Kennedy's murder. The deal, Salinger wrote, was "the
culmination of an extraordinary and still secret set of letters
between Kennedy and Khrushchev, which went on even during the most
bitter days of cold war confrontation and rhetoric".

As their intermediary, Salinger read the correspondence. "If
today," he wrote in 1973, "some form of understanding exists
between Moscow and Washington, the basis can be found in the
frankness and honesty with which Kennedy and Nikita Khrushchev
discussed the tough subjects which produced international epithets
in public."

A cook, gourmet and golfer, the cigar-chomping Salinger drew on his
Washington experiences and his wide travel for the background of
three novels: For the Eyes of the President Only (1971); The
Dossier and Mortal Games (both with Leonard Gross). Other books
included With Kennedy (1966); A Tribute to Robert F Kennedy (1968);
Je suis an Americain (1975); La France et le Nouveau Monde (1976)
and Above Paris (with Robert Cameron). P S: A Memoir appeared in
1995 and John F Kennedy, Commander in Chief in 1997.

In 1991 he wrote, with Eric Laurent, Secret Dossier: The Hidden
Agenda Behind the Gulf War. Salinger argued that the West had
contributed to the arming of Iraq in the first place, and not made
it clear to Saddam Hussein that they would not stand for an
invasion of Kuwait. In 1997, he advanced the theory that TWA Flight
800, which crashed off Long Island in 1996 on a flight to Paris,
was brought down by an American Navy missile - a claim for which no
evidence was found. He left the United States to live in France
when George W Bush was elected.

Salinger was President of the Trustees of the American College in
Paris, a trustee of the Robert F Kennedy Memorial Foundation and a
member of the Legion d'honneur (1978).

He married, first, in 1947, Renee Laboure: they had two sons and a
daughter. In 1957, secondly, he married Nancy Brook Joy. The
marriage was dissolved in 1965 and the same year he married Nicole
Helene Gilmann; they had a son. That marriage was dissolved in 1988
and he married, fourthly, in 1989, Nicole Beauvillain. She survives
him with a son from his first marriage and the son of his third.


(See video at )

Exonerated Garda Superintendent Dies Aged 105 -V

Conor Lally

A former Garda superintendent who was dismissed from the force in
1928, and campaigned for almost 70 years to clear his name, has
died in New York, aged 105.

Mr William Geary emigrated to New York when he was dismissed for
allegedly accepting a £100 bribe from the IRA in Kilrush, Co Clare,
where he was stationed at the time. He never returned to Ireland.

In 1934 he began a letter-writing campaign to successive ministers
for justice in an effort to have his case reopened. However, it was
not until five years ago that the then minister for justice, Mr
John O'Donoghue, granted him a pardon and a superintendent's

Mr Geary died of heart failure last Thursday at a hospital in
Bayside, New York. He was buried at Mount Calvary cemetery in
Queens on Saturday. Originally from Ballyagran, Co Limerick, he had
spent his final years living in a retirement community in Bayside.

In 1928 the then Garda commissioner, Mr Eoin O'Duffy, summoned Mr
Geary to a meeting, and informed him that he, Mr O'Duffy, had come
into the possession of an IRA receipt for £100 which was signed by
Mr Geary. The accused man was never shown the receipt and, despite
protesting his innocence, was sacked on June 26th.

In an interview in 1999, he told The Irish Times that at the time
of his sacking he was offered a job in Government Buildings if he
admitted his role in the bribery and revealed the full facts.

"Being innocent of the allegations made against me, I could not in
good conscience fabricate some story to avail of the offer," he

Five months after he was dismissed, unable to find another job in
the State, he emigrated to New York.

He worked for an electricity company before retiring in 1967.

(c) The Irish Times


Poetic Gathering To Honour Kavanagh

Conor Lally

Some of Ireland's best known poets came together at the Gate
Theatre, Dublin, last night for a reading of the works of Patrick
Kavanagh to celebrate the centenary of the birth of the Co Monaghan

The first section of last night's event was broadcast live on RTÉ
Radio One, and featured Macdara Woods, Tom McIntyre, Leland
Bardwell and Dermot Healy reading excerpts from The Great Hunger.
In the second half, Paul Durcan, Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin and John
Montague were joined by the other poets to read their favourite
Kavanagh poem, plus works of their own. The evening featured music
played by uileann piper Peter Browne.

Last night's event was part of a festival being held to celebrate
what would have been Kavanagh's 100th birthday on October 21st.
Events will run nationwide up until the end of November. An Post
will issue a special commemorative stamp.

The official centenary commemoration of Kavanagh's birth date will
be held at City Hall, Dublin, on Thursday afternoon. It will
feature actors and musicians in a celebration of the poet's life
and works. They will read their favourite Kavanagh poem, and make
brief speeches explaining why they chose the particular works.
Scheduled to appear are, among others, comedian Ardal O'Hanlon,
author Pat McCabe, broadcaster Mary Kennedy, poet Nuala Ni
Dhomhnaill and actors Mick Lally and Daragh O'Malley. Their
appearance will be followed by the day's main address by poet Paul

(c) The Irish Times


Tesco To Build On Field Where First Hurling Final Was Played

Liam Horan

A piece of Ireland's sporting heritage is set to be lost forever
with plans by Tesco to open a supermarket on the field where the
first All-Ireland hurling final was played in Birr in Co Offaly 116
years ago.

Tesco has purchased the famous field at Railway Road in Birr and is
seeking planning permission for a new outlet.

Birr Town Council chairman, Mr Tony McLoughlin, said he hopes the
site's fascinating history is recounted in the new Tesco.

Mr McLoughlin said he will ask town planners to ensure that Tesco
be asked to do something to remember the 1888 final in its new

The first All-Ireland final was played on the field on Sunday,
April 1st, 1888.

It was actually the final of the 1887 championship, but the decider
was delayed until 1888.

Tipperary, represented by Thurles Sarsfields, won by 1-1 to Meelick
of Galway's 0-0.

Tipperary's captain was Jim Stapleton.

In another local link with the 1888 clash, Stapleton's medal was
purchased at an auction some years ago by Birr jeweller, Mr Paul

The local GAA club and Croke Park have all added their voices to
the call for Tesco to erect a meaningful tribute to the 1888 final.

Tesco was unavailable for comment.

(c) The Irish Times

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