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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 30, 2004
News 10/28/04 - Grave Concern for New Irish Hostage
News about Ireland & the Irish
BB 10/28/04 Grave Concern For New NI Hostage - V
BT 10/28/04 Derry Mayor Names Remembrance Date
CD 10/28/04 Groups Want Removal Of Anti-Immigrant Provisions
CN 10/28/04 Ireland Asks Britain For Pardons
BT 10/28/04 Unionists Squabble As 'Deadline' Looms
BT 10/28/04 Terrorist Frictions Blamed For Gun Attack
BT 10/28/04 New Twist In Row Over Blast Police Informant
SM 10/28/04 Blair And Ahern Urged To Take A Back Seat –V
IO 10/28/04 Adams: No Dilution Of Agreement
BT 10/28/04 Ulster MEPs Welcome Commission Reshuffle
PW 10/28/04 George Harrison, Irish American Activist, 89
BT 10/28/04 Major New Derry St Patrick's Parade Will Get Funding
IC 10/28/04 Music: The Ordinary Boys - Ordinary They Ain't...
BB 10/28/04 Honour For 'Heroic Co Down Teenager'
RT 10/28/04 Honour For 'Heroic Teenager' –VO
RT 10/28/04 Mary Kelly, Has Been Found Guilty –VO
RT 10/28/04 Fr Horan Acquitted Of Indecency –VO
(Poster's Note: No one acquitted Fr Horan of being a fruitcake.
See 9 News: Annette O Donnell has the Details Of Flooding In Dublin
See the 52-year-old peace activist, Mary Kelly, Has Been Found
Guilty of causing criminal damage to a US military aircraft by a
jury at Ennis Circuit Court.
See Fr Horan, who disturbed the Olympic marathon, acquitted of
indecency act with child - Brian O'Connell, London Editor, reports
from the Old Bailey on the acquittal of Fr Neil Horan over charges
of an indecent act with a child in 1991
Ahern condemns kidnap of Irish woman in Afghanistan - Jonathan
Clynch reports on the kidnap at gunpoint of Northern Irish woman
Anetta Flanigan and two other UN election commission workers in
Nuala Haughey reports from Islamabad on how security was more lax
following the recent elections in Afghanistan
Northern Ireland UN election monitor taken in Kabul - Ken O'Shea
reports on the kidnappings in Afghanistan
Grave Concern For New NI Hostage - V
The family of kidnapped Northern Ireland woman Annetta Flanigan are
gravely concerned for her safety, their minister has said.
She was one of three foreign election workers kidnapped in the
Afghanistan capital Kabul.
Mrs Flanigan is from Richhill in County Armagh.
It is understood she and her husband had planned to return home to
Northern Ireland for Christmas.
She was providing technical assistance for parliamentary elections
due to be held next April.
Mrs Flanigan's mother, Esther, is a member of the Mothers' Union at
St Matthew's Church of Ireland in Richhill.
The rector, the Reverend David Coe, said: "Obviously the family is
gravely concerned about the situation and what more can you say?
"The family just want time and space to try and come terms with
Mrs Flanigan, a graduate of Queen's University in Belfast, worked
as a solicitor in Portadown, County Armagh.
She has previously worked in Bosnia and Rwanda.
She carries joint British and Irish nationality.
Irish Foreign Affairs Minister Dermot Ahern condemned the
kidnapping and called for the immediate and unconditional release
of those taken.
Mr Ahern said he was following the situation closely, including
through the UN offices on the ground and through the Irish Embassy
DUP assembly member Paul Berry said he was shocked to learn of the
"This is a very worrying development and I would call upon Tony
Blair and the British Government to do all in their power to try
and seek the release of the hostages," he said.
The BBC's Andrew North in Kabul says it is unclear if they were
targeted because of election links, or for being foreigners.
A group called the Army of Muslims says it is holding them outside
"There was indeed a kidnapping. The victims were international
staff with the electoral commission here in Kabul," UN spokesman
Manoel de Almeida e Silva told the Associated Press news agency.
He refused to speculate on a motive for the kidnapping and would
not reveal the names of the hostages.
Confirming one of the three - Mrs Flanigan - held dual British-
Irish nationality, UK Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said: "We are in
touch with the family."
The Philippines government said it was praying for the safe release
of one of its junior diplomats, Angelito Nayan, and his co-workers.
The kidnapping - the first of foreigners in broad daylight in Kabul
- has sent shock waves through the expatriate community.
Foreign aid workers and UN staff have been ordered back to their
compounds and told to remain there or in other safe havens until
Observers say the fear is that foreign workers could now be targets
in Afghanistan in the same way that they are in Iraq.
The abducted workers are part of a joint United Nations and Afghan
government team that organised the election and has been conducting
the vote count since polling day on 9 October.
On Wednesday, with 99% of votes counted, the front runner and
interim president, Hamid Karzai, was far ahead of his rivals.
The Nato-led International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) said
that the workers were seized after being stopped by a four-wheel
drive vehicle near Karteh Parwan, a relatively affluent area of
north-west Kabul near the Intercontinental Hotel.
Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2004/10/28 17:11:15 GMT
© BBC MMIV
Mayor Names Remembrance Date
By Brendan McDaid
28 October 2004
The Mayor of Londonderry today announced a date for a controversial
day of remembrance for all those who have died locally as a result
Sinn Fein Mayor Gearoid O'hEara will lead the commemoration to be
staged at Guildhall Square on Friday, December 10 from 1pm.
He said the event would be "totally inclusive and remember all the
people who died as a result of conflict either from or in this
The Mayor declared his intention to stage such an event during his
Mayoral inauguration speech in June.
Protestant church leaders and politicians, however, have since said
they did not envisage the unionist community taking part in any
celebrations which would commemorate those who had been killed
within the republican movement alongside security forces, civilians
and those who died in the World Wars.
Mr O'hEara said he has now met with hundreds of groups and
individuals since becoming Mayor to discuss his proposals.
He said: "One of the issues which has been used in the past to
foster division, is that of remembrance. But this is about everyone
OCTOBER 28, 2004
CONTACT: American Civil Liberities Union
NYC Council, Irish-Americans Ask Congress To Remove Anti-Immigrant
Provisions, Limit Legislation To 9/11 Commission's Recommendations
WASHINGTON -- October 28 -- The American Civil Liberties Union and
New York Civil Liberties Union today welcomed letters sent by the
New York City Council and a coalition of Irish-American groups to
Congressional conferees, asking them to keep anti- immigrant
measures out of their final 9/11 reform legislation. Although the
conferees' attempt to reach a compromise before the election
failed, they are slated to continue working on a measure for
Congress to vote on during a lame duck session.
"If the Red Sox can win the series, lawmakers can put politics
aside to get this done right," said Laura W. Murphy, Director of
the ACLU Washington Legislative Office. "Controversial anti-
immigrant powers and Patriot Act expansions not even called for by
the 9/11 Commission deserve full and open debate - it is shameful
that the House leadership is attempting to use this legislation to
push through unrelated measures."
In a letter sent to the conferees, New York City Council Members
outlined their concerns, including the creation of a de facto
national ID, denial of basic judicial review over unfair or
arbitrary deportations, summary deportations, increased burdens for
asylum seekers, and the potential for individuals to be deported to
countries where they will be tortured.
"We in New York City still feel the impact of the attacks of
September 11th, and the City Council is taking the right step in
saying that Congress must not pass anti-immigrant legislation in
our name," said Donna Lieberman, Executive Director of the New York
Civil Liberties Union.
A coalition of Irish-American groups also wrote to conferees,
raising concerns over the court stripping and expedited removal
provisions. The letter notes that the House bill would allow Irish
immigrants, including permanent residents, to be deported simply
for defending the right of the Irish Republican Army to use weapons
against military targets.
The letter was sent by the Irish American Unity Conference, Irish
Deportees of America Committee, Irish Northern Aid, Irish National
Caucus, Ancient Order of Hibernians, and Lawyers Alliance for
Justice in Ireland.
Groups from across the political spectrum are urging lawmakers to
remove the anti-immigrant and law enforcement expansion provisions.
The inclusion of these measures in the House bill has prompted
opposition from groups as varied as the ACLU, families of 9/11
victims, Gun Owners of America, the National Council of La Raza,
the Mexican-American Legal Defense and Education Fund and the
conservative Cuban American National Foundation.
Ireland Asks Britain For Pardons
DUBLIN, Ireland (AP) - The Irish government called Thursday for
Britain to issue pardons to more than 300 British soldiers, among
them 26 Irishmen, who were executed for alleged cowardice,
disobedience or desertion during the First World War.
A report commissioned by the Department of Foreign Affairs was
delivered to the British government via Ireland's embassy in
London. It investigated the circumstances surrounding the courts-
martial and death by firing squad of the soldiers from Ireland,
which was part of the United Kingdom until 1922.
Foreign Minister Dermot Ahern said Ireland backed a pressure group
called the Shot at Dawn Campaign, which argues that the First World
War executions were unjust and that the men's supposed crimes must
be pardoned posthumously.
Ahern said pardons, even though more than 85 years after the
executions, "would not only be of great comfort to the families of
the men involved - which is our priority - but would also reflect
positively on the already close relationship between Ireland and
Ahern accused the firing squads of discriminating against the
approximately 140,000 Irishmen who served in the British military
during the war. He noted that soldiers from Ireland - who were all
volunteers because Britain didn't impose the draft in Ireland -
represented two per cent of the British army, yet accounted for
more than eight per cent of the men executed.
Until the past decade of peacemaking in neighbouring Northern
Ireland, a British territory, the Irish government had paid scant
attention to the sacrifice of thousands of its countrymen slain
during the First World War. The moderate Irish leader of the day,
John Redmond, encouraged Irishmen to enlist in hopes it would
encourage Britain to grant Ireland home rule after the war. Redmond
lost his brother on the Western Front, and Ireland instead won
autonomy from Britain after a bloody 1919-21 rebellion led by
Redmond's hardline rivals in Sinn Fein.
Ignorance of the history of the First World War, particularly
Ireland's role in it, remains widespread in this neutral nation - a
fact illustrated in Ahern's own statement Thursday. He suggested
that Europe was about to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the
start of the war - but the anniversary was nearly three months ago.
Unionists Squabble As 'Deadline' Looms
By Noel McAdam
28 October 2004
Ulster Unionists have accused the DUP of living off its "hand me
down" policies as the prospect of early agreement on a deal to
restore devolution faded further.
With contacts continuing between London, Dublin and Belfast, the
DUP attacked the UUP as a party "on its back".
Ongoing unionist bickering became a sideshow, however, as
speculation mounted over the likelihood of any deal emerging this
side of the next general election.
Tony Blair and Taoiseach Bertie Ahern are set to meet next week and
the Government would then have to decide whether suspended Assembly
members should face a further pay-cut or be put on ice altogether.
Sinn Fein and the DUP have appeared to play down the prospect of
agreement as the latest mooted deadline of Halloween slips by.
Sinn Fein Assembly member Caitriona Ruane said: "We have been
working hard to try and achieve progress but the bottom line is
that the DUP need to accept that a comprehensive deal is not
possible short of the Good Friday Agreement."
But the DUP were intent on targeting the UUP, with Assembly man
Sammy Wilson saying: "They may claim that things are looking up for
them. I suppose that is the only way they can look now that they
are flat on their backs after two electoral trouncings."
Terrorist Frictions Blamed For Gun Attack
By Jonathan McCambridge
28 October 2004
Tensions among republican groups in Co Antrim were today being
blamed for a gun attack on a police station in the middle of
Detectives have linked the attack to a terrifying incident in which
a family were held hostage at gunpoint in their own home.
Local representatives have called for a heavier security presence
in the town following recent threats against police officers living
in nearby Ballymena.
At 8pm yesterday four or five masked men armed with a gun burst
into a house on the rural Craigstown Road.
They demanded the keys of a van before locking the couple and their
three children in a room.
Some of the men then left the house for a time before returning to
pick up the remaining members of the gang.
The family was were too distressed to talk today.
However, neighbours said they were well-liked in the area and
expressed shock at their ordeal.
At around 10.15pm a number of shots were fired at Randalstown
police station from a passing van. Four strike marks were today
clearly visible on the front gates of the station.
The van was later found burnt out on the Creggan Road.
Inspector Pat Foy said: "This was a totally indiscriminate and
reckless attack. "Police officers were in the station and there was
passing traffic and homes close by."
UUP Randalstown councillor Stephen Nicholl said there had been
suspicions for some time that an incident like this could happen.
"We all know that there have been threats against police officers
in Ballymena and it was only a matter of time before that spread
"The reduction in the number of police officers has meant we have
been left in a situation where these republican gangs can roam
freely and terrorise innocent families."
PUP councillor Ken Wilkinson said Continuity IRA graffiti had
recently appeared in the town.
"We could have had a fatality last night - when bullets hit a gate
they can ricochet anywhere."
SDLP councillor Donovan McClelland added: "This is a very worrying
development and you wonder what the purpose of it all is."
New Twist In Row Over Blast Police Informant
Omagh relatives still 'waiting for answers'
By Michael McHugh
28 October 2004
The row over the revelation of an alleged Real IRA informant who
warned police about the Omagh bomb took a new twist today when it
emerged that Omagh relatives are still waiting for responses to
urgent queries about his treatment.
Victims' spokesman Michael Gallagher wrote to the Secretary of
State, Home Secretary and Chief Constable after alleged bomb
informant Paddy Dixon was questioned by customs officials at
Cardiff airport last summer and released despite the fact that he
was wanted for questioning by the PSNI's Omagh investigator.
Mr Dixon was the agent for Garda detective John White who said he
passed his warnings about a bomb in Northern Ireland on to his
superiors and was told no action would be taken.
Tory Laurence Robertson (Tewkesbury) pressed the Government over
the Dixon case during Northern Ireland questions in the Commons and
Mr Gallagher said he needed prompt answers .
"I have still received no reply to the urgent questions I asked
about PSNI co-operation in August," he said.
"Questions need to be answered by the NIO about what pressure they
are putting on to have this man handed over and about the apparent
lack of co-operation between police forces.
"It is important that victims' issues are raised with the
Government. We are in our seventh year since the bomb and despite
the promises the Government has not delivered on this."
Sup Baxter has requested that the Garda produce Mr Dixon for
interview several times, to be told that the Garda without success.
Mr Dixon is on a witness protection programme operated by the Garda
and is believed to be living in Britain.
"The Chief Constable is well aware of the situation regarding Paddy
Dixon but the Northern Ireland Office has failed to intervene," Mr
Mr Dixon allegedly worked as a car thief for the Real IRA while
informing to the Garda.
He fled Ireland after his identity was discovered.
Yesterday Mr Robertson asked the NIO Minister Ian Pearson in the
Commons: "Can you explain why the Republic refused to hand over
Paddy Dixon who was wanted in connection with questioning with the
"Can you also tell me if Paddy Dixon has been relocated to the
United Kingdom, because recently he was stopped in Cardiff by the
"He was found to have a great deal of cash on him. Why were the
Police Service of Northern Ireland not alerted to the fact that he
was in Great Britain?'"
Junior Northern Ireland Minister Ian Pearson replied: "There is a
good strong level of co-operation between the Police Service of
Northern Ireland and the Garda Siochana on a wide level of issues,
certainly including dealing with paramilitarities and dealing with
the issue of organised criminal activity.
"As far as the individual concerned that you mentioned, I will look
into that issue and get back to you."
Twenty-nine people died in the August 1998 bomb and relatives have
called for a public inquiry into handling of the bomb
investigation, which is one of the most complex in western Europe.
Ahern & Blair to discuss North at EU meeting - Tommie Gorman,
Northern Editor, reports on how the Taoiseach acknowledged today
that difficulties remain in seeking a way to restore power sharing
in Northern Ireland
Blair And Ahern Urged To Take A Back Seat -V
By Dan McGinn, Ireland Political Editor, PA News
Prime Minister Tony Blair and Irish Taoiseach Bertie Ahern were
urged today to consider leaving it to their ministers and the
Northern Ireland parties to find a way of restoring a power-sharing
As the British Government confirmed it had received the latest
report from the Independent Monitoring Commission on paramilitary
activity, nationalist SDLP leader Mark Durkan said Mr Blair and Mr
Ahern did not necessarily have to take the lead role over the
coming months in trying to piece together a deal which would
And the Foyle Assembly member also dismissed suggestions that an
international third party might be needed to help bridge the gap
between political parties in the negotiations.
He told PA News: "I don't think we need to look for some other
eminent third party to move things forward because we are working
within the context of an agreement that was endorsed in 1998 in
referenda on both sides of the border.
"I do not think that we have to reinvent the wheel here and I also
do not think that we have to involve the two Premiers as often
enough as they have been drafted in.
"All of the material is there for us and we do not need a Wizard of
"And even then what would the Wizard of Oz do? All he did was tell
people what was already in themselves and urge them to draw those
Negotiations to restore power sharing at Stormont have stalled
because of differences between nationalists and the Reverend Ian
Paisley's Democratic Unionists over the future operation of the
The dispute has held up moves from the IRA on disarmament and a
statement which will address the republican group's future.
Mr Blair and US President George W Bush's special envoy on Northern
Ireland, Ambassador Mitchell Reiss, have both gone on record since
last month's Leeds Castle talks in Kent as claiming the move from
the IRA represent a significant advance in efforts to remove the
gun forever from Irish politics.
The Democratic Unionists have been pressing for more accountability
in the power-sharing executive, with ministers answerable to their
Cabinet colleagues and with the Assembly able to overturn unpopular
However, the SDLP and Sinn Fein have accused the DUP of trying to
create a veto which it can use against other parties' ministers in
a future administration.
They have also criticised the DUP's approach to cross- border co-
operation between a Stormont executive and the Irish Government,
accusing them of trying to limit its scope and stymie its work.
Mr Durkan tonight again repeated his party's insistence that it
would not accept anything which watered down the Good Friday
With British and Irish officials still considering proposals aimed
at persuading unionists and nationalists to go back into
government, Mr Durkan warned: "We have been constructive in this
process and we have been honest and we will continue to do that.
"But when the emperor is running around short of clothes, we will
not be pretending that there are clothes."
Adams: No Dilution Of Agreement
28/10/2004 - 23:00:46
Sinn Féin will not stomach any proposals to restore devolution
which erode the Good Friday Agreement, Gerry Adams warned tonight.
As British and Irish government officials continued to work on a
formula aimed at bridging the gaps between unionists and
nationalists over power sharing, the Sinn Féin leader again
insisted his party wanted to achieve a comprehensive and holistic
The West Belfast MP said: "We have made it clear that republicans
are prepared to face up to the challenges which this presents.
"But Sinn Féin is not prepared to countenance any dilution or
erosion of the Good Friday Agreement – that remains the objective
of the DUP."
Sinn Féin and the nationalist SDLP have clashed with the Reverend
Ian Paisley's Democratic Unionists over changes they want to the
operation of the multi-party power-sharing government at Stormont.
The DUP has been pressing for mechanisms which would make power-
sharing ministers more accountable for their decisions to cabinet
colleagues and enable the Assembly to overturn unpopular decisions.
Nationalists have argued that what the DUP really wants is to
exercise a veto over the work of other parties' ministers.
They have also accused the DUP of trying to limit the scope of and
stymie the work of cross-border institutions involving Stormont
ministers and their Government counterparts.
Mr Adams said tonight the British and Irish governments had to
understand in the current negotiations to restore power sharing
that there was no middle line between the Good Friday Agreement and
the anti-Agreement position of the Democratic Unionists.
"It is their responsibility to defend the core fundamentals and
principles of the Agreement and to make it clear that they cannot
be changed," he argued.
"Therefore, if there is to be a deal then the two governments need
to drive the process forward while making it clear that any deal
must be within the terms of the Good Friday Agreement.
"If the DUP do not accept this reality, then the pro- Agreement
majority, including the two governments, need to move on.
"The DUP cannot be allowed to paralyse the process of change."
Meanwhile, in a speech tonight to party colleagues in Bangor, North
Down, DUP Assembly member George Dawson challenged claims that his
party had shifted on to the policies once put forward by David
Trimble's Ulster Unionists.
The East Antrim MLA told colleagues: "The DUP is determined that
the situation created by the Ulster Unionists is turned around.
"We are also seeing a remarkable turnaround of confidence amongst
the unionist community since the defeatists and the defeated of the
UUP were swept aside.
"Our policies have turned governments and other parties around. All
that is to be welcomed.
"In recent days much has been made of our statement that the
fundamentals of the Agreement, as outlined to us by the British
government, are not in conflict with DUP policy.
"Our opponents have seized on this and cried U-turn. But what is
the truth of the matter?
"Our opponents have strangely and conveniently forgotten that this
was not always the government's position.
"Once upon a time government, and the pro-Agreement parties' stance
was that we had to take the Agreement, the whole Agreement and
nothing but the Agreement.
"Northern Ireland, it seemed, possess the only constitution in the
world that was not able to be changed, they argued.
"That position has now noticeably changed. Now it is just the
fundamentals that remain."
Ulster MEPs Welcome Commission Reshuffle
By Simon Taylor in Brussels
28 October 2004
Northern Ireland's three MEPs have all welcomed the decision by the
incoming European Commission President to consider reshuffling his
team to avoid an embarrassing vote of no confidence.
On Wednesday, Commission President designate José Manuel Barroso
decided to withdraw a request to the Parliament for approval for
his 25-strong team.
Socialist and Liberal MEPs had threatened to reject the entire
line-up in protest over personal religious views on gays and women
held by Italy's candidate, Rocco Buttiglione.
Ulster Unionist MEP Jim Nicholson said Mr Barroso's decision to put
off a vote was the "best result around".
He said it was good for democracy in the EU that the Parliament had
made it clear that they would not put up with "incompetent
Mr Nicholson warned that the Parliament would take a close look at
some other Commissioners to see if they deserved the posts they had
Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún said her party welcomed the decision.
She said Sinn Féin was calling on Mr Barroso to "seriously reflect
on the events of recent weeks".
Democratic Unionist MEP Jim Allister said that the decision was a
"monumental failure" by Mr Barroso.
Referring to the ceremony of EU leaders in Rome on Friday to sign
the draft EU constitution, he said: "Friday should have been a
celebration but the EU has gone from celebration to crisis in one
"Such is the European way," he commented.
Commenting on the fact that the old Commission will carry on in
office until a new team is approved, the DUP MEP said he wanted to
know whether taxpayers were now paying for two.
George Harrison, Irish American Activist, 89
Author: Gary Bono
People's Weekly World Newspaper, 10/28/04 15:14
A capacity crowd filled the mid-town Manhattan auditorium of SEIU
1199, Oct. 20, to honor the memory of George Harrison, a lifelong
Irish Republican, anti-imperialist activist, socialist, and
People's Weekly World supporter. Harrison died on Oct. 6 at the age
Although Harrison was involved in people's struggles since the age
of 15, he rose to international prominence in the early 1980s when
he and four other Irish-American activists were arrested in a CIA
frame-up for allegedly smuggling weapons to Irish Republicans
resisting the British occupation of Northern Ireland. The trial
took place during the murderous, anti-Irish policies of the
extreme-right British government led by then-Prime Minister
Margaret Thatcher. Because of the blatant nature of the frame-up,
the trial resulted in the acquittal of all five defendants.
Harrison was an activist's activist, who saw the cause of the Irish
people in the context of a broader struggle. Speaker after speaker
at the memorial spoke of Harrison's unwavering commitment to the
Irish struggle, anti-imperialism and the support of people's
struggles all over the world, from the Sandinista revolution in
Nicaragua to the African National Congress' struggle to free South
Africa from apartheid. "No task in the service of justice was too
small or trivial," said lawyer Mary Pike. "His rich legacy is how
to live a principled existence."
Newspaper columnist Jimmy Breslin said Harrison was also dedicated
to the Cuban people and their revolution. Harrison also admired
Cuban President Fidel Castro, Breslin said.
Spanish Civil War veteran Moe Fishman described Harrison's support
for the Spanish Republic during the 1930s and his leading role in
conceiving and financing a monument to Irish International Brigade
martyr Tommy Patton.
Irish radio show host Sandy Boyer said Harrison was the man who
tied the broad anti-imperialist movement together and that "George
hated racism every bit has much as he did British imperialism."
Speakers repeated a unified theme that the best way to honor
Harrison is to defeat Bush and the extreme right in November.
As the memorial ended and the crowd dispersed, people walked into
the New York City night, motivated and energized to do just that.
— Gary Bono ( firstname.lastname@example.org )
Major New Parade Will Get Funding
Derry plans huge St Pat's Day party.
By Brendan McDaid
28 October 2004
Londonderry is set to stage the biggest St Patrick's Day parade the
city has witnessed in decades, it emerged today.
The Arts Council have now agreed to provide funding for a major new
cross- community and cross-cultural event to be staged in the city
in honour of St Patrick for 2005.
A new report from the Town Clerk and Chief Executive's office is
now in the pipeline, but the council today stressed plans were at
an early stage.
A series of workshops will now be held with venues across the city.
The plans will be debated at next month's Recreation and Leisure
The report is being compiled at the request of Sinn Fein, after
local representatives expressed embarrassment at previous
celebrations in the city.
Mayor Gearoid O'hEara said that the move had garnered support from
all sections of the community.
"One of the things I suggested is that we go along and have an
inclusive parade with all sections of the community involved,
including ethnic and racial minorities.
"The template officers have worked out could contribute to that
The Mayor said that the Arts Council had provided "substantial"
funding for a carnival and revealed that a new North West Carnival
group had been set up in anticipation of the event.
He added: "We would have to do a serious bit of negotiating to
create an atmosphere where everybody feels comfortable and not
excluded and insulted, but if we can get there we will have a far
more prosperous city."
His comments come after a row broke out between Sinn Fein and the
DUP over the use of Tricolour flags at the St Patrick's Day event.
DUP councillor Mildred Garfield said: "I have no problem with
people coming to celebrate St Patrick's Day in this town but the
use of the tricolour will alienate certain elements.
"St Patrick was not a nationalist or a republican, he belonged to
Her DUP colleague Willie Hay added: "I celebrate St Patrick's Day
every year and I don't believe we should be allowing the patron
saint to be claimed by one section of society.
"This can be celebrated in a way that does not cause offence to any
section of the community and if we get to that, we have achieved
Sinn Fein councillor Lynn Fleming took issue with the unionist
She said: "Any event at which republicans and nationalists want to
demonstrate their identity in this city is deemed unacceptable.
"Yet thousands of Loyal Orange marches have passed through this
"If we are looking at parity of esteem and equality, then we have
to look at celebrating our national saint and the pandering to
unionists on this council has to stop."
Music - Ordinary They Ain't...
Maybe someday set for Belfast
The Ordinary Boys are one of the most exciting bands to emerge from
the music industry in the last five years.
They are the voice of a suburban generation, and young enough to
understand the issues affecting them.
Their music is a blend of social analysis, hard hitting rock and
attitude that belies the title of anything 'ordinary'.
Debut single Maybe Someday and recent debut chart single, Week In,
Week Out, show The Ordinary Boys taking a raft of influences from
their early hardcore days through classic sixties pop, Tamla Motown
and the early eighties' Two Tone scene.
Debut album Over the Counter Culture distills this world view into
12 bursts of straightforward shots at the state of the nation and
the people of Belfast can hear this live in the Limelight on Sunday
The four lads are from Worthing in England, and three have just
finished their A-Levels.
None of them have been to Ireland yet and this tip to Belfast will
be even the more poignant for lead singer Preston, whose
grandparents on both sides have Irish heritage.
"We haven't been to Ireland yet, even though it is such a short
distance away, but we're looking forward to the gigs in Belfast and
Dublin even more because of that.
"I think because my mum is Irish American, it'll mean a bit more to
me," said Preston.
The band, as Preston explains are very laid back and modest. In
fact they have known each other for ten years.
At the moment that stands for a large slice of their lives
considering band member William who plays guitar is a mere 19, as
is bassist James and drummer Charlie.
While lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist Preston is older at 22.
"As kids we had lots of bands," Preston remembers.
"We use lots of instruments and logos but no songs.
"As soon as talent caught up with our hearts that's when the whole
Their attitude to their relatively recent sky-rocketing success is
laid back too, despite the likes of pop legend Morrissey claiming
to be one of their fans, as well as Modfather Paul Weller.
"We take each gig as it comes, if we do well or we don't it doesn't
matter, as long as we get to play our songs," Preston says.
"When we got together we kind of ostracised ourselves.
"We never expected to be signed, or expected to gain success by
dragging on someone else's coat-trails. Success was a total fluke
"We sent a demo of our songs to someone and he sent it on and
that's it. We signed to Warner Brothers, a year ago."
The boys have had a phenomenal rise since then with sell out
concerts around the summer festival circuit and now their own
British and Irish tour, but they seem to have maintained a level
"Warners taking us on was a break. Total luck and coincidence," the
Ordinary Boys frontman explained.
"I'm sure there are plenty of bands writing great songs out there,
but they just don't get the break.
"We're all very down to earth. We take everything with a healthy
dose of irony. A bit like our songs.
"But we all are really delighted with our success, it has given us
a wonderful chance to see the world."
And from experience Preston explained, it's a world away from
selling double glazing over the phone – a job he carried out with
little to no gusto before the band made it.
"I was working at a computer, destroying my brain, selling double
glazing. It was so repetitive.
"You switched off your mind basically.
"You're the cold caller, you're the enemy, you're the baddie.
"It's terrible. People shout abuse at you, absolute strangers, but
you have to keep cool.
"You can't quit or else you won't have a roof over your head.
"Then when the working week was over you tried to cram all the fun
"I think that's really sad when you force yourself to have fun on a
"And then you go through that sinking feeling about Monday
The Boys' second album is expected to be out before next summer.
It is a test of their worth Preston explained and they intend to
maximise their sound with more strings and horns.
With such a busy schedule it will hard to fit the time in, but the
band are determined not to be another flash in the pan.
Tickets for this show are on sale now from Katy Daly's, Virgin and
all usual Ticketmaster outlets.
Honour For 'Heroic Teenager'
A County Down teenager who tried in vain to save his friend from
drowning is to receive a prestigious bravery award.
David Hackett, 14, will be honoured for his attempts to rescue
Jordan Murdock in Killough in January this year.
The boys had been playing on the pier when Jordan fell into the
David jumped in after him and managed to grab hold of him several
times, but the boys were driven apart by the waves and Jordan
David was pulled to safety by his family.
The award is being made by the Royal Humane Society.
The society has described him as "a remarkable friend and hero".
In March, Jordan's parents presented a new lifeboat for the area in
Jordan had moved to Killough with his family from south Belfast
Coastguards said the search for the teenager, which involved all
the emergency services, community volunteers and divers, was the
biggest ever of its kind in Northern Ireland.
Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2004/10/28 15:26:03 GMT
© BBC MMIV