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 23, 2004

News 10/23/04 - Political Process Hits Snags

News about Ireland & the Irish

BB 10/23/04 Political Process Hits Snags –A
BB 10/23/04 DUP 'Wants To Humiliate IRA'
SF 10/23/04 DUP Cannot Be Allowed To Paralyse Process Of Change
UT 10/23/04 Dublin Bombings Inquest To Reopen
IO 10/23/04 Care Appeals To Release Margaret Hassan –V
IC 10/23/04 Human Rights Body Denied Monitoring Female Prisoners
IO 10/23/04 Sackville Bus Bomb Inquest Adjourned Again
IC 10/23/04 Opin: Danger Of Turning Belfast Into A Two-Tier City
IC 10/23/04 Queens: 'We're Sorry' For Calling You Brits
TB 10/23/04 Bk Rev: Himself Alone - Arise Ye Bored And Read Again
EX 10/23/04 Bk Rev: Writer Pilloried 4 Not Pandering To Prejudice

NW 10/18/04 Black Family Release Second Album –VO
NW 10/18/04 Cavanagh Takes His Students Through Their Paces

See the RTE Nation Wide video: Black Family Release Second Album -
Mary Fanning meets the Black family

See the RTE Nation Wide video: Watercolorist, Dermot Cavanagh,
Takes His Students Through Their Paces - Dermot Cavanagh shares
some tips with prospective artists


Hear Inside Politics at:
(Poster's Note: At the time of posting this, the above link did not
include Mitchel McLaughlin, however it should be updated with this
weeks show in the near future.)

Political Process Hits Snags -A

By Mark Devenport
BBC Northern Ireland political editor

It hasn't taken long for the latest peak of optimism in the peace
process to turn into a trough.

First, Secretary of State Paul Murphy talked about the final two
weeks in October providing the DUP and Sinn Fein with the
opportunity for dramatic steps forward.

But within two days, he was qualifying his assessment, stressing
the tricky and difficult nature of the problems still facing the
British and Irish Governments.

By this weekend, the parties were back to mutual recriminations.

Sinn Fein's Mitchel McLaughlin used the Inside Politics show to
accuse the DUP of trying to humiliate the IRA.

While he didn't want to get into details, the Sinn Fein chairman
indicated that the DUP's demand for a "Spielberg" - shorthand for
an act of visible disarmament - was central to the logjam.

He claimed the DUP were "moving goalposts and raising thresholds"
and not providing proper leadership for their followers.

DUP sources appear equally downbeat.

With a report from the Independent Monitoring Commission due to go
to the governments next week, they point to allegations of IRA
involvement in recent supermarket and cigarette robberies.

They question how this alleged activity sits alongside an apparent
willingness for the IRA to go out of business.

The details of the negotiations over the questions of paramilitary
activity, policing and changing the Stormont rules remain under

Republicans appear relaxed about altering the voting system at
Stormont so Assembly members vote for the entire Executive, not
just the first and deputy first minister.

But they claim the DUP has made a "tactical retreat" on this front.

There is apparently still no meeting of minds over limiting the
independence of ministers in a future Executive.

And the disagreement over a timetable for transferring policing and
justice powers remains unchanged.

There's little doubt both the DUP and Sinn Fein retain an appetite
for power

Some Irish sources indicate the DUP's problems of internal
management may be holding matters up.

The DUP say they simply have not been offered sufficient clarity on
the IRA's intentions.

Sinn Fein appear to be getting sufficiently frustrated that they
may be thinking about doing business with the two governments, if
not with the DUP.

'When, not if'

Mr McLaughlin told Inside Politics pointedly that the governments
should be prepared to push forward with the Good Friday Agreement
in the absence of a deal.

Both governments say they are still working for a comprehensive
deal which will see the restoration of Stormont.

But if they are offered an end to IRA activity as part of a side
agreement, they are hardly likely to look such a gift horse in the

Alternatively the whole negotiation could end up being put on hold
until the Westminster election - widely expected next May - is out
of the way.

Talk to politicians from both main parties and ask them which
devolved department they would like to be in charge of, and they
will start talking options.

There's little doubt both the DUP and Sinn Fein retain an appetite
for power.

Despite this trough, so far as an overall deal is concerned, we
still seem to be talking when rather than if.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2004/10/22 21:52:33 GMT


DUP 'Wants To Humiliate IRA'

The DUP is seeking to humiliate the IRA over its demand for visible
decommissioning, Sinn Fein's chairman has said.

Mitchel McLaughlin told the BBC's Inside Politics programme on
Saturday that the DUP were moving the goalposts and increasing the
threshold in relation to an end to IRA arms and activity.

"We have heard all the stuff about Steven Spielberg-type coverage
of IRA initiatives (on decommissioning)," he said.

"Those kind of things are designed to be provocative and also
designed to be counter-effective in terms of any goal of taking
arms out of the equation."

The institutions in Northern Ireland were suspended two years ago
amid allegations of IRA intelligence gathering at the Northern
Ireland Office.

Earlier this week, Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams accused the DUP
of making demands on the IRA when its own power-sharing credentials
were "unproven".

Mr Adams said the governments were satisfied the IRA was going to
make an "unprecedented contribution" to the process in the context
of a comprehensive agreement.

But, he said, Ian Paisley's party still had a "mountain to climb"
if there was to be a resolution.

Writing in the Irish Voice newspaper on Thursday, Mr Adams said the
DUP was demanding fundamental changes to the Agreement which were

'Difficult issues'

Northern Ireland Secretary Paul Murphy warned the British and Irish
Governments still faced some "very difficult" issues in bridging
the gap between the DUP and Sinn Fein.

Speaking on Wednesday after meeting Irish Foreign Minister Dermot
Ahern in Dublin, Mr Murphy said both governments were determined to
continue their efforts.

He said he hoped the outstanding difficulties could be resolved
within weeks rather than months.

Earlier this week, Mr Ahern said he hoped for an improvement in the
political situation but could not guarantee it.

The sticking points have included the method of electing a first
and deputy first minister, a date when the assembly can control
policing, and whether or not 30 assembly members can challenge
ministerial decisions.

At the conclusion of intensive political talks at Leeds Castle in
Kent last month, Prime Ministers Tony Blair and Bertie Ahern said
the thorny issues of IRA disarmament and future paramilitary
activity appeared to be resolved.

However, the two governments were unable to get the Northern
Ireland Assembly parties to sign up to a deal over power-sharing
after unionists and nationalists clashed over future devolved

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2004/10/23 08:35:48 GMT


DUP Cannot Be Allowed To Paralyse Process Of Change

Published: 22 October, 2004

Sinn Féin Vice President Pat Doherty MP has said that the DUP
cannot be allowed to paralyse the process of change indefinitely
and that they must move from their anti-Agreement position if a
deal is to be secured.

Mr Doherty said: "It is now almost a year on from the Assembly
election. In that time we have been to Lancaster House in June and
then Leeds Castle last month. It has time and again been hinted at
that the DUP are prepared to do a deal which would see the
institutions restored and the outstanding elements of the Good
Friday Agreement implemented.

"However one year on the DUP have shown no willingness to move away
from their anti-Agreement position and this remains the greatest
obstacle to seeing a comprehensive package agreed. It is my view
that the Leeds Castle engagement demonstrated that the other
outstanding issues can be resolved. But as Martin McGuinness has
already indicated this work needs to be completed quickly if we are
to achieve a deal.

"We cannot wait on the DUP forever. If it becomes clear that the
DUP are not going to move then it is inevitable that we will have
to explore other options of moving the process forward and seeing
the Agreement implemented. The DUP cannot be allowed to paralyse
the process of change indefinitely." ENDS


Bombings Inquest To Reopen

The inquests into the deaths of the victims in Dublin bombings of
December 1972 and January 1973 will fully re-open on February 22

Full hearings have had to be postponed on two occasions as the
families of the victims still await the publication of the Barron
Report into these attrocities.

The Report has been with Government since June 29 last.


See RTE Prime Time Video at

Care Appeals To Kidnappers To Release Margaret Hassan -V

23/10/2004 - 09:06:15

The aid agency Care International has made a direct appeal to the
kidnappers of Margaret Hassan for her release.

The Irish-born aid worker was kidnapped on Tuesday as she walked to
work in Baghdad, where she has lived for more than 30 years.

Yesterday she was shown in a video tape weeping as she pleaded for
her life and begged British Prime Minister Tony Blair to pull UK
troops out of Iraq.

General Secretary of Care International Denis Caillaux has appeared
on Iraqi television appealing that she be set free.

"Mrs Hassan works for Care - a non-governmental humanitarian
organsiation. She is a naturalised Iraqi citizen and always holds
the people of Iraq in her heart," he said.

The unidentified group holding Mrs. Hassan have demanded the
withdrawal of British troops from the country.


Human Rights Body Denied

A leading human rights group is being prevented from monitoring the
treatment of female prisoners in a Castlereagh based young
offenders' centre it was claimed this week.

Representatives of the Human Rights Commission have been denied
access to Hydebank Wood Young Offenders Centre since female
prisoners were transferred there from Mourne House at Maghaberry
prison in June.

Prison chiefs were left reeling after a Human Rights Commission
report published this week revealed the shocking extent of abuse
and neglect of vulnerable female prisoners at the shamed County
Antrim prison prior to June.

Last night, one of the authors of The Hurt Inside report, Dr Linda
Moore, said she has no faith that women prisoners will receive
adequate care at the all-male Hydebank facility.

"We have no confidence that the move to Hydebank Wood will end the
problems of women's imprisonment," said Dr Moore. "Indeed, we have
already stated that the situation there for women is entirely
inappropriate and fails to meet the Prison Inspectorate's
expectations that women in custody should be held in a discrete,
women-only setting.

"A body like ourselves that can go in and carry out our own
inspections is currently unable to get in and verify the situation.
The Prison Service tell us things are going well but we have heard
there are problems particularly relating to the fact that Hydebank
is a male young offenders' centre."

Castlereagh councillor Brian Hanvey backed the call for human
rights activists to be allowed access to women prisoners in

"Above all else, it's important to make the public confident that
every effort is being made to ensure that the human rights of these
individuals are being observed," said the SDLP man.

A spokesperson for the Northern Ireland Prison Service said access
to Hydebank has been denied to allow prisoners and staff a
"settling in period".

"What we said to the Human Rights Commission is that they are only
just finished their report into Mourne House," said the
spokesperson. "Structured research is intrusive and they need to
come back to us in the new year.

"Brice Dickson from the Human Rights Commission is going into
Hydebank in the coming weeks and Kit Chivers, the Criminal Justice
Inspector for Northern Ireland, will visit before Christmas and
produce a report.

"Also, there is nothing stopping Linda Moore from making a visit
arrangement with an individual prisoner."

Journalist:: Staff Reporter


Sackville Bus Bomb Inquest Adjourned Again

22/10/2004 - 20:16:05

Decades after the car bombs claimed the lives of three young bus
workers in Dublin's Sackville Place the inquest into the tragedy
was today again adjourned.

Dublin City Coroner's Court heard that Justice for the Forgotten,
which has campaigned for the deaths caused by the Troubles to be
recognised, was still awaiting an independent report from Justice
Barron into the early 1970s bombings.

The group said the families of bus conductor Thomas Douglas, 21,
from Scotland, bus driver George Bradshaw, 30, of Fethard in Co
Tipperary and Tommy Duffy, 23, had been waiting more than 30 years
for the inquest.

Margaret Irwin, a spokeswoman for Justice for the Forgotten, said
the families had not travelled this time as they knew it would have
to be adjourned.

Cormac O'Dulachain, barrister for the group, told the Dublin City
Coroner's Court that it was "very unsatisfactory".

"The inquests were very much delayed, we are now concerned and
deeply suspicious as to why they (The Barron Report) have not been
published under the circumstances, they have had it three months,"
he said.

Mr O'Dulachain said the Government had told him the report, which
it received in June, would be published in September, then October
and it still had not appeared.

"It is extraordinary that it has been going on for so long and no
firm date for publishing has been forthcoming," he said.

Several decades later, no one has claimed responsibility for the
car bombs at Sackville Place, just off Dublin's O'Connell Street,
which killed the men and injured dozens of other people.

Dr Brian Farrell, the coroner, said: "I think the inquest is
nothing to do with the Barron report but it would be of assistance
to the coroner's court."

He set a date for mid-February of next year.

The bombings happened on the evening of December 1, 1972 the
ministers in the Dáil were debating an amendment to the Offences
Against the State Act.

The crowd heard as the ministers considered the legislation to take
stronger measures against terrorists a bomb exploded at 7.58pm at
Liberty Hall. No one was killed but dozens were injured.

Another car bomb then exploded at 8.15pm killing Mr Bradshaw and Mr

The anti-terrorist law was then pushed through the following
morning and a third bomb then exploded on Saturday January 20, 1973
in Sackville Place claiming the life of Mr Douglas.


Political Platform

Danger Of Turning Into A Two-Tier City

The last ten years have undoubtedly seen a resurgence in the good
fortunes of Belfast.

With the relative peace, the city has begun to become more alive.
The fear of terrorism which accompanied every minor trip or
excursion has given way to hopes of prosperity and normality.

The possibility of attacks remains whilst paramilitaries retain
their arsenals, but Belfast is building on the potential that it
has always had, but has been unable to fulfil due to murderous
bombing campaigns.

With this renewed vigour has come much investment from near and
far. Apartments, office blocks, shopping facilities and hotels have
sprung up all over the city at a rate one could scarcely imagine.

Such rapid developments are perhaps only possible in a place that
has lacked investment for a long period, and the city has witnessed
a scramble for its land and custom.

These projects are to be welcomed in principle. However, there is
the danger that the good fortune of certain areas masks the poverty
of others.

Neighbourhoods such as Donegall Pass, the Village and the Holyland
have yet to see the benefits of such rejuvenation, whilst less than
a stone's throw away multi-storey hotels and apartment blocks are
being built. The permanent residents of these areas are not
benefiting in the same manner.

Many of those who have grown up during the darkest days of the
Troubles are being left behind in the race to take advantage of the
city's change in circumstances.

We are in danger of becoming a 'two-tier' Belfast, with pockets of
plenty in otherwise poor districts. Initiatives such as the
Waterfront Hall, the Odyssey Arena and the BT Tower, as well as the
numerous hotels, are developments that the people of Belfast have
always deserved.

Likewise, new housing projects are needed to deal with a lack of
accommodation for those who wish to live in and contribute to the

Yet the people who have lived in Belfast all their lives are
finding it harder than ever to buy property. In order to make a
fast buck, houses and apartments are being built all over the city
and then sold at prices most people simply cannot afford.

We are at a very critical time in the development of our city.

On the one hand, Belfast could be like any other city, becoming
overly commercialised with lavish penthouses for some and one-
bedroom, cramped houses for others.

On the other hand, we can take advantage of this renewed vigour and
investment to maintain Belfast's history as a city for all.

Belfast does not have to become a carbon copy of other places. The
blue-collar worker, the young professional, the family, the student
and the pensioner all contribute to Belfast's individuality and we
must make sure that all who made it what it is can continue to live
in the actual city.

We are also lucky to have many beautiful buildings in the city such
as the City Hall and Queen's University, as well as numerous
Victorian houses, particularly in South Belfast.

Whatever investment there may be must take this history into
account. Property developers cannot be allowed to throw up whatever
monstrosity they wish merely because it is cheap to do so.

Architectural and historic heritage should be preserved. That is
not to say that new buildings cannot be stylish and imaginative,
but each new property must be viewed in relation to its impact on
the surrounding area.

Since it was completed, the Waterfront Hall is already hidden by
the office blocks built beside it.

For years, many companies, particularly the large shopping chains,
would simply not invest in Northern Ireland. Other international
businesses have come to the province to take advantage of the
untapped resources and the well-educated work force.

They are all to be welcomed. But the advantages they bring must be
spread across the board.

Simply because companies are providing opportunities for some does
not mean that the government can slack off with its
responsibilities to help others.

Opportunities to shape a city such as Belfast are very rare. All
neighbourhoods deserve to benefit from this rejuvenation.

We cannot allow the destruction of the old in favour of the new,
simply because it seems easier.

We must remember that there is a difference between enterprise and


'We're Sorry'

Apology issued after thousands of Irish students were registered as

The university enrolment body UCAS has said "sorry" to Irish
students attending Queen's after bosses admitted it had mistakenly
registered many of them as British.

The UCAS apology comes after a sustained campaign by Sinn Féin
Deputy Mayor Joe O'Donnell to have the rights of Irish nationals
studying in the North recognised.

Last month, the South Belfast News revealed that northern-born
students who had put their nationality on UCAS forms as 'Irish'
found their identities had been changed to 'British' without their
knowledge during registration day at Queen's.

This prompted a furious response from the students and Sinn Féin,
who wrote to the university, UCAS and the Equality Commission
demanding an explanation.

After a month-long investigation, UCAS admitted this week that it
was at fault and had incorrectly changed to 'British' the
nationality of students who had described themselves as 'Irish'. A
spokeswoman for UCAS said it has now scrapped this policy and
apologised to any student affected by the nationality mix-up.

"When students are filling in their UCAS forms they are asked to
put down their address, nationality and date of entry into the UK
if their nationality is not British," said the spokeswoman.

"Students with addresses in Northern Ireland who were describing
themselves as Irish were not filling in the date of entry to the UK

"Because of this, our computers were changing the applicants'
nationality to British because they had a UK address without an
entry into the country date, regardless of what nationality they
had put on the form."

The UCAS spokeswoman added that they now accept this was wrong.

"In some cases we were incorrect and we apologise to those students
affected. We have changed our policy and now all students who
describe themselves as 'Irish with a Northern Irish address are
registered as Irish'" said the spokeswoman.

Short Strand Sinn Féin councillor Joe O'Donnell welcomed UCAS's
policy change.

However, he said it did little to quell the anger of the thousands
of former northern-based Irish students who studied at Queen's in
the past and had their nationality wrongly registered without their

"I'm glad UCAS has changed its Irish nationality registration
policy, but it should have been aware of this problem years ago
before thousands of Irish students were wrongly registered as

Journalist:: Staff Reporter


Arise Ye Bored And Read Again

Book Review

Himself Alone: David Trimble and the Ordeal of Unionism.
By Dean Godson. Publisher Harper. Collins. Price HB £35.
Anthony McIntyre • The Other View, Autumn 2004

If the devil is in the detail then Dean Godson's magisterial tome
on David Trimble is a devil of a work to get through. Not because
it is tedious – far from it – but even the best of anything, if
served up in outsized quantities, can bloat the recipient. More
knowledge is invariably better than less – where to retain it all
is the challenge. The brain's storage vault is like the receptacle
used by a hobbyist to store a collection of model cars. Then this
juggernaut of a thing lands in search of parking space. The
immediate dilemma is, 'there is no room for it, but it absolutely
has to go in.' We know the rest.

Arguably, it is the second truly great book of the millennium that
saw its fecundity nourished in the Northern conflict. It delves
into the political life of David Trimble in a fashion similar to
the work of Ed Moloney on Gerry Adams; the one crucial difference
being Trimble's raw courage in cooperating with a cross examiner
whose thrusts would be anything but tepid. In their respective
genres, republican and unionist historiographies, both books have
set the standard. Any qualitative epistemological advance must
first pass both, or forever sport the tag of 'also ran'.

When Trimble first assumed the leadership of the UUP I recall
someone bemoaning his lack of experience – he had been an MP only
five years. To which the response was 'but he has been an orange
bigot for fifty.' While a view genuinely held, shaped to a great
extent by the visceral resentment stirred by the 'Dancing Davy of
Drumcree' imagery, Godson leaves little room for doubt that it was
patently untrue. In both his social life and academic career,
sectarianism was not the prism though which others were viewed. The
'not a Catholic about the place' jibe seemed one of the few
traditional refrains republicans held on to, having discursively
administered hari-kari to almost everything else, before it too saw
its currency devalued.

There are many reasons that David Trimble would have for being
uncomfortable with this biography. It positions him, in the early
1970s, as being too close to the UDA. A similar relationship on the
nationalist side between a 'constitutional' political activist and
the IRA may have led to the arrest of the former and possible
internment. Michael Farrell was gripped for much less.

Godson, while not sympathetic to the arrangements that Trimble
eventually settled for, provides his readers with enough material
to conclude that Trimble was the first strategic unionist leader to
emerge. Paralleling the 1970s Adams position of 'active
abstentionism', Trimble aggressively pursued active consent. It
meant a readiness to 'go anywhere and speak to anyone.' It was here
that his formidable intellectual prowess was able to come through.
Difficult to measure in the UUP where finding like to compare with
like was almost as difficult as finding a nationalist in the party,
when Trimble came to the negotiating plate he took considerably
more from it than his republican adversaries managed.

A crucial sub-narrative weaved throughout Himself Alone, is the
enormous impact of Tony Blair on Trimble. The relationship forged
between the two men offers a fascinating window into the crucible
where structural and ideological unionisms converge more often than
they clash.

Setting aside the concentration on Trimble, Dean Godson has handed
us an unrivalled account of the minutiae of the peace process. In
mastering its brain-death inducing tedium, he has performed an
intellectual miracle and, in literary terms, brought the dead back
to life.


Yet Again A Writer Is Pilloried - For Not Pandering To Readers'

By Ryle Dwyer

HAVING written full-length biographies of both Charlie Haughey and
Jack Lynch, I was particularly interested in Frank Dunlop's book,
Yes, Taoiseach.

Although it is a great and interesting read with some fascinating
insights into his periods as government press secretary under Lynch
and Haughey, Dunlop has been somewhat savaged by reviewers. He has
been accused of inserting too much of his own ego in the book. But
how can somebody writing about his own experiences exclude ego?

His real problem is that he admired Charlie Haughey and that has
always been a sin with certain Irish journalists. Dunlop is not
criticised for what's in the book so much as what's not there, such
as his own subsequent involvement in political corruption at the
local government level. Of course, if he had included this, he
would have been lacerated for writing about himself, rather than
about his involvement with the two taoisigh. Such criticism
frequently tells us more about the prejudices of the reviewers than
the contents of the book. They are engaging in the male equivalent
of bitchiness, and they really belong among those that PJ Mara
categorised as "the clitorati".

Aspects of Haughey's behaviour are indefensible. He lied repeatedly
under oath; abused the party leader's fund for personal purposes;
evaded income tax; demeaned his office by accepting money from
people with whom the state was doing business, thereby exposing
himself to charges of conflicts of interest.

While he was helping himself, his government was instituting savage
health cuts and some people were denied their last chance.

He was also the person who first appointed such disappointments as
Ray Burke and Pádraig Flynn to cabinet. Burke characterised Flynn
as being like the barber's cat - "full of wind and piss". Ah, the
pot and the kettle!

Haughey got Allied Irish Banks to write off most of the interest he
owed in 1980. He agreed to pay £100,000 of that interest as "a debt
of honour". While did not show much honour, he was dealing with a
crowd that not only loaded him but have given the term "bank
robbery" a whole new meaning.

People may conclude that all the good Haughey achieved was
destroyed by his misbehaviour. To justify that conclusion, however,
one must examine the good as well as the bad. What we usually get
is the blanket condemnation of anyone who suggests that Haughey did
any good at all. He is contrasted with people who are depicted as
virtual saints.

Such an approach is intellectually lazy and patently dishonest.
George Colley, who made a career of attacking Haughey, famously
complained about "low standards in high places". But when
challenged to explain the comment, he said that he was referring to
Fine Gael leaders. His own behaviour was an example of the conduct
he was condemning. Colley had poor judgment, epitomised by his role
in the 1977 election manifesto. He actually approached Frank Dunlop
to run for the Dáil in one of the new north Dublin constituencies
that year. Frank refused, suggesting there were others candidates.

"There's a young fellow there called Ahern," Colley said, "but I
don't think he'll amount to much."

While there are few real surprises in Dunlop's book, there is
plenty of detail throwing new light on events, such as the
opposition move to have Rita Childers succeed her late husband as
President in 1974. Some thought Lynch was prepared to agree until
Tom O'Donnell of Fine Gael went public with the idea. Lynch then
reacted to what he supposedly considered an opposition ploy to gain
political credit for the whole thing. Dunlop suggests that Lynch
never really considered appointing Erskine's widow, as he had
already approached Cearbhall Ó Dálaigh. Rita later reacted bitterly
by announcing that she hoped Erskine was close to God where he
could intercede to ensure that Fianna Fáil never got into power

There was no love lost between Erskine Childers and Haughey. After
the late President's state funeral through Dublin, his body was
taken for interment in Wicklow. Charlie invited Dunlop to accompany
him. "We're going down to Wicklow to make sure this f**ker is
planted," Haughey said.

WHEN Cearbhall Ó Dálaigh resigned the presidency a couple of years
later, Lynch came under pressure to stand for the office. He
skilfully exploited the situation. At a parliamentary party meeting
he invited members to be as open and frank as they wished. He then
listened for a couple of hours as some of his secret critics sang
his praises in an effort to kick him upstairs.

It was a masterful political ploy. The meeting adjourned for lunch,
and Lynch killed the speculation by issuing a statement to RTÉ News
that he would not be a candidate for the presidency under any
circumstances. He had flushed out his critics and got them to sing
his praises at the same time.

Once he got back into power, however, he tended to coast towards

"Jack was basically hands-off in his approach," Dunlop noted, "and
this intellectual laziness got him into trouble." He appeared to be
drinking too much and sometimes became uncharacteristically testy.

After the Pope made his famous appeal to the IRA in Drogheda, a
journalist asked Dunlop for the Taoiseach's response.

"Jack bared his teeth and told me not only to tell him to 'f**k
off' but to 'f**k off yourself'," Dunlop recalled. George Colley
was present at the time and he looked as shocked as the press
secretary felt.

"There wasn't a day when I was working closely with Charlie Haughey
that wasn't in some way exhilarating," Dunlop writes. He has been
criticised for not providing gossip. He only mentions Terry Keane
once, for instance. That was when Charlie called him to bring up a
copy of the latest edition of Private Eye, in which their affair
was mentioned. Haughey doubled up with laughter as he read the

"Frank, she'll go f**kin' bananas when she reads this,' he said,
pointing to a reference to "the ageing Terry Keane".

The language in the book is sometimes crude, but that was often the
way it was. Telling it as it was is the real value of the book.

While generally sympathetic to Lynch, the author clearly admired
Haughey more. Some of Lynch's admirers therefore suggest that
Dunlop was disloyal to Lynch, and even helped Haughey to undermine
him. The truth was very different. Those who were plotting against
Lynch were the same people who later ousted Haughey. It was Colley,
Martin O'Donoghue and company (the progenitors of the PDs) who
undermined Lynch by seriously damaging the economy with their
blinding incompetence. They also got things disastrously wrong when
they persuaded Jack to go early. Haughey had many flaws, but the
incompetence of his opponents was not his fault. There is evidence
that they did to him what they - without any evidence - accused him
of doing to Lynch.

They conspired to oust Haughey, beginning on the night that his
cabinet held its first regular meeting. Colley and company were not
just losers; they were sore losers.

It is time the "clitorati" realised that a book should be judged on
its content, not its failure to support their misguided prejudices.

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?