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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)
November 01, 2004
News 10/30/04 - Govt Should Press DUP on Power Sharing
News about Ireland & the Irish
UT 10/30/04 Governments 'Should Press DUP On Power Sharing'
BB 10/30/04 Card 'Proof' Of NI Hostage
GU 10/30/04 Truth, Not Self-Pity, Is The Way Ahead
WP 10/30/04 Expatriates Feeling The Urge To Return And Campaign
LT 10/30/04 Dearth Of Priests Forces Dublin Parishes To Merge
LT 10/30/04 Donegal Port Hit By Fish Quota Probe
LT 10/30/04 De Valera's Fortune Was Built On Trick
RT 10/30/04 Buttiglione Withdraws Candidacy VO
RT 10/30/04 Anti-Racism March In Belfast -VO
RT 10/30/04 Maureen O'Hara Honoured At IFTA -VO
Buttiglione Withdraws Candidacy - Seán Whelan, Europe Editor,
reports on the controversy over the nomination of Rocco Buttiglione
to the EU Commission
Anti-Racism March In Belfast - Tommie Gorman, Northern Editor,
reports on a march attended by over 1,000 people
Maureen O'Hara Honoured At IFTA - Clare Murphy reports on the Irish
Film and Television Awards
Governments 'Should Press DUP On Power Sharing'
The British and Irish governments were today urged to press the
Democratic Unionists over their attitudes to power sharing in local
councils and at Stormont.
Nationalist SDLP deputy leader Dr Alasdair McDonnell and Sinn Fein
chairman Mitchel McLaughlin criticised the DUP after its
councillors voted last night against power sharing in Castlereagh
Council, where their deputy leader, Peter Robinson, is a member.
Noting the DUP and other unionist parties` rejection of an SDLP
motion calling for the sharing of key posts on the council among
parties, Dr McDonnell said: "Peter Robinson has made the DUP`s
position on power-sharing very clear - they are opposed to it
wherever they are in a position to cobble together a majority.
"The two governments now need to be just as clear with the DUP and
ask them how they square this position with their acceptance of the
fundamentals of the Good Friday Agreement at Leeds Castle.
"Power-sharing must be a fundamental by anyone`s definition, but it
can`t be cherry-picked to suit any one party.
"Peter Robinson says Castlereagh doesn`t need power- sharing because
it is not divided.
"This will be news to nationalists in the district, who may not
know that they have lived in a enclave of peace and prosperity for
the last 30 years, but it seems that the DUP definition of a non-
divided community is simply one with a unionist majority."
Ulster Unionist councillors and independent unionists last night
backed a DUP amendment to a motion calling on the Reverend Ian
Paisley`s party to practise power sharing.
SDLP councillor Brian Hanvey argued non unionists should be given
the chance to serve as mayor, deputy mayor and committee chairs
under the d`Hondt mechanism for allocating posts.
He was supported by cross community Alliance Party councillors.
However during an impassioned debate, DUP deputy leader Peter
Robinson insisted his party was not a supporter of power sharing.
The East Belfast MP said it should only be deployed in certain
conditions in a divided society but in this case, it was not
suitable for Castlereagh.
Dr McDonnell, the SDLP Assembly member for South Belfast, said:
"The two governments must now put the DUP`s commitment to power-
sharing and partnership at Executive level under new scrutiny.
"That commitment must extend beyond tactical arrangements to take
ministerial posts and embrace the needs of the whole community."
Sinn Fein chairman Mitchel McLaughlin said the denial of power
sharing on Castlereagh council illustrated the need for the cross
community safeguards and power sharing requirements under the Good
The Foyle Assembly member said it had become increasingly clear in
recent negotiations to restore the Assembly that the DUP remained
fundamentally opposed to power sharing and cross-border
Mr McLaughlin said: "The rejectionist demands of the DUP are now
the primary obstacle to a comprehensive agreement.
"Last night the DUP Deputy Leader illustrated this in his outright
rejection of power sharing in Castlereagh Council.
"Here was an opportunity for the DUP to show some generosity and
imagination. Instead we saw the domination, intolerance and
exclusion which have characterised Paisleyism over the past three
decades." Mr McLaughlin said his party would not countenance any
dilution or erosion of the Good Friday Agreement.
"The two governments need to understand that there is no middle
line between the protection of the Agreement and the destruction of
the Agreement which the DUP seeks," the Foyle MLA continued.
"It is the responsibility of the governments to defend the core
fundamentals and principles of the Agreement and to make it clear
that they cannot be changed.
"If the DUP do not accept this reality then the pro- Agreement
parties, including the two governments, need to move on. The DUP
cannot be allowed to paralyse the process of change."
Democratic Unionist MP Gregory Campbell responded to nationalist
criticism of his party, insisting unionists were not going to be
bullied into signing up to a political system which had failed.
The East Londonderry MP hit back: "Nationalists and republicans
must realise that unionists will not be going back to the days of
the humiliation and failure of the Belfast Agreement.
"Unionists are not going to be bullied into a system that has been
proven to be an utter failure over the last six years.
"Unlike the weakness of the position of previous unionist
negotiators, the DUP will not be forced to abandon our manifesto
commitments of no terrorists in government and of holding to the
absolute necessity of ensuring that there is a system of government
that unionists as well as nationalists can support.
"The DUP wants to arrive at a settlement for all the people of
Northern Ireland. However, nationalists need to get real and accept
the inevitability of change.
"It is only when structural changes are implemented will there be a
settlement in Northern Ireland."
Mr Campbell said the future Northern Ireland Assembly, Executive
and individual ministers would have to be more accountable.
He also insisted the relationship between Stormont and other
institutions in the British Isles would have to be given the same
status to its relationship with the Irish Republic.
The DUP MP said the cultural identity of the pro-Union people of
Northern Ireland would also have to be offered the same facilities
as those who have an Irish identity, with genuine equality in the
The East Londonderry MP continued: "It is time for them to step
forward into reality and begin the job of informing their people
that change is coming even if it isn`t the type of change they had
"No self-respecting Unionist will consent to go back to the
failures of the past.
"The strong, confident message to Messrs Adams and Durkan is that
there will be no turning back. The Belfast Agreement era is over."
Card 'Proof' Of NI Hostage
An Islamic group which said it kidnapped an NI woman and her two
colleagues in Afghanistan has produced evidence that it is holding
The Army of Muslims released two credit card numbers on Saturday.
One belongs to Annetta Flanigan, the UN worker from Richhill who is
one of the three hostages.
Mrs Flanigan and her two colleagues were helping to organise
Afghanistan's recent presidential elections when they were seized
at gunpoint in Kabul on Thursday.
Nato troops and Afghan forces are involved in the hunt to find
Seven suspects have been arrested and are being questioned over the
Earlier the group had said the hostages were "safe so far".
But the Army of Muslims threatened that they could face death if
Taleban prisoners were not released.
'Safe so far'
Meanwhile, a church in County Armagh opened for prayers on Saturday
for Mrs Flanigan's release.
Saint Matthew's Church, Richhill, remained open for the afternoon
as the community prayed for her safe return.
The three UN workers had been helping to organise the country's
presidential election when they were seized by the group which
claims that it is holding them outside the city.
On Friday, leader of the Army of Muslims, Syed Akbar Agha, said the
search for the hostages must stop to allow negotiations for their
release to begin.
The group's demands would include the release of Afghan prisoners
being held in Afghanistan and in the US naval base in Guantanamo
Bay, Cuba, he said.
A videotape was being prepared to show the group had kidnapped Mrs
Flanigan, of Richhill, County Armagh, Filipino Angelito Nayan and
Kosovar Shqipe Habibi.
The three work for a joint UN Afghan commission overseeing the
landmark presidential election vote count since polling day on 9
Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2004/10/30 17:40:53 GMT
© BBC MMIV
Truth, Not Self-Pity, Is The Way Ahead
Who won the Troubles? The lawyers and counsellors who profit from
Sunday October 31, 2004
When future historians of Northern Ireland's Troubles ask, 'Who won
the war?' their collective reply will undoubtedly be contained in
just one word - lawyers.
M'learned friends have certainly done rather well from the fall-out
from 25 years of conflict. The battery of public inquiries, both
present and pending, have become a massive money spinner for the
legal profession, the sums earned in marathon investigations such
as that into Bloody Sunday being both staggering and obscene.
Combined with the millions in legal aid doled out during the
violence, the state's largesse to the Selective Inquiry Culture has
become one of the few peace process growth industries.
However, the silks and wigs are not alone in benefiting from the
paramilitary cease-fires. Dr Chris Gilligan of the University of
Ulster argues that what he terms the 'trauma' industry is also
doing rather well out of the post-Troubles environment.
In a paper delivered in Glasgow last Wednesday, Gilligan noted the
growth in referrals for trauma counselling in recent years.
Ironically, the UU sociologist pointed out, this rise in Northern
Ireland people seeking psychological help did not correlate with
any rising level in mental health problems. All the research
suggested that there was little significant difference in mental
health indicators before and after the 1994 ceasefires. Instead of
an upsurge in mental health problems following the end of terrorist
warfare, the levels of conditions such as post-traumatic stress
disorder (PTSD) remained relatively constant.
So what is going on here if the hard facts demonstrate that there
hasn't been a significant upsurge in mental illness? Gilligan uses
academe-speak to explain. He argues that the expansion in
counselling was 'part of an increasing medicalisation of society
and social issues'. Or to put it another way, the rise is down to
the exponential growth in California-style psycho-ivel where the
personal will always replaces the political.
Gilligan focuses his thesis on ex-police officers diagnosed with
PTSD. Controversially, he claims that their 'trauma' is more
political than medical or psychological, that the sight of the old
paramilitary enemy they militarily defeated sitting in government
was the real basis of their mental anguish rather than some delayed
psychological reaction to specific horrors witnessed during the
It would be unfair, however, to locate this fake-trauma synome down
to one segment of northern society. Other groups like to portray
themselves as 'victims', even those who perpetrated the vast
majority of the violence from 1969. They retreat into medico-
psychological excuses to escape from asking themselves fundamental
Thus you have the unseemly, endless caravan of complaint-fest
involving 'prisoners' groups' (loyalist and republican) talking
about their pain. This, however, is merely a psychological
mechanism to avoid the idea of human agency, the notion that they
were free to choose between a life of terror and a life outside of
that brutal universe, to elude their own personal responsibility in
More crucially still, donning the mantle of victimhood creates the
illusion that the conflict in the first place was reactive, an
understandable response to the injustices inflicted on their
community rather than a deliberate political project. Masquerading
as the great put-upon, seeing yourself as a patient in need of
help, also avoids asking the most critical question of all: What
the hell was all that for?
Why, after all, do you think Gerry Adams goes around hugging trees
Tens of thousands of people simply got on with their lives after
the Troubles ended, just as they did in Lebanon after the civil war
and are doing in the formerly war-torn states of the Balkans such
as Croatia and Bosnia.
The masses in these two latter conflict zones didn't need an army
of therapists, counsellors or touchy-feely quacks to 'ease their
pain'. Instead they demonstrated one of the most admirable
qualities of humanity - they bit their collective lip, refused to
dwell in the past and moved on.
Our own predecessors learnt the value of this long ago. In the
century past they endured two world wars, economic depressions,
poverty, pandemics and almost a half-century of incipient civil war
but never sought the comfort of the couch or the soothing
assurances of the psychotherapist.
It is too easy to sentimentalise the working class, especially in a
time when it has become weakened and atomised. None the less
workers - in the trenches, on the factory floor or the picket lines
- never broke down into blubfest-introspection. They faced
hurricanes of steel on the battlefield and endured inhuman
conditions both at home and work without the post-modern prop of
Gilligan is right. Feeling their pain; treating them as passive
victims (even the most active in the conflict); reversing the Sex
Pistols' maxim that 'no one is innocent' with 'everybody is
innocent'; it won't help society move beyond the Troubles. The
'first step' on the road to national recovery is to seek that one
elusive palliative - the truth.
Expatriates Feeling The Urge To Return And Campaign
Overseas Volunteers Motivated by the Belief That the Election Is
the Most Important in Their Lifetime
By Mary Fitzgerald
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, October 31, 2004; Page A04
Five months ago, Anthony Glavin decided he had had enough. Not
satisfied with observing the election campaign from his adopted
home in Ireland, the Massachusetts-born editor and writer felt he
had to get involved in some way; he itched to do something that
would make a difference. So he took seven weeks off, leaving his
family to work as a volunteer coordinator for the Kerry- Edwards
campaign in Florida.
Glavin is one of scores of American expatriates who have given up
days, weeks and even months of vacation time to return to the
United States and help rally voters in battleground states.
What began as a steady trickle of overseas volunteers two months
ago has developed into a concentrated final push in the last week
before the election. Some expats are returning to their home towns
in crucial swing states to take part in door-to-door canvassing;
others are running phone banks or driving voters to the polls. A
number have arrived in Florida to act as election observers.
Whether they are from as far afield as Japan or Europe or are
simply crossing the border from Canada, these expat volunteers, for
the most part describing themselves as anti-President Bush, say
they are motivated by the belief that this election is the most
important in their lifetime.
"This administration and its policies, both domestically and
internationally, have been so painful to watch that I realized I
was not going to be able to survive watching this election from
afar," said Glavin, who has lived in Dublin for the past 20 years.
Not only does volunteering mean sacrificing precious vacation time,
but for the expats, it also spells a financial commitment. Those
coming from abroad bear the costs of flights and living expenses
themselves, with the majority staying with host families during
their time here.
Karin Robinson, 30, a marketing manager who has lived in Britain
since 1999, said she had no hesitation in giving up a week to
volunteer in Harrisburg, Pa. "I really felt like I had to do
something hands-on. The last thing I want is to wake up on November
3 and wonder if there was something that I could or should have
done as an American," she said.
So many expats contacted the Democratic Party to inquire about
volunteering that a program, dubbed the 2004th Airborne, was set up
to help assign people to swing states, explained Jim Brenner of the
Americans Overseas for Kerry group. "There has been a lot of
interest," Brenner said. "These people are coming a long way. I
don't want to say it's surprising, but it's certainly gratifying."
Most of the volunteers traveling from overseas are firmly in Sen.
John F. Kerry's camp. Joan Hills, co-chairman of Republicans
Abroad, said she was unaware of GOP expats returning home to help
with the campaign. "It's not something people have been contacting
us about," she said.
While Glavin is a veteran campaigner, volunteering over the years
for various Democratic hopefuls, many of the expat volunteers said
they had never worked for a political campaign. Others, such as
Terri McMillan, had not even voted before. McMillan, who has lived
in Japan for eight years, is a member of the Tokyo-based Sunshine
and Alligators group, a band of 11 volunteers working to get the
vote out and ensure voting rights are protected in Central Florida.
"I don't think I'll ever be politically inactive again," she said.
"But right now, thoughts of the future focus on being in Florida,
helping the folks on the ground keep doing what they're doing and
helping to keep spirits high and hopeful."
Matt Grayson, 36, a research scientist from St. Louis living in
Germany, feels the same. "I'm not a political person. I had never
done this kind of thing before. In any other situation, I would
consider myself an independent, but this year is different," said
Grayson, who spent a week manning the phones for the Democratic
Party in Missouri.
For Clarisse Morgan, an expat living in Switzerland, volunteering
was a family affair. She and her two teenage sons devoted four days
of their summer vacation to the Kerry campaign in Pennsylvania.
Morgan spent the time phone banking and coordinating volunteers.
Her sons helped with passing out leaflets. "I just felt like I
really, really had to do this," she said.
"Living abroad, you notice that while people don't quite hold it
against you personally, there really is a feeling that people think
the U.S. has lost its mind," Morgan said. "I think we owe it to
ourselves, our kids and to the world to get a change here. I have
never experienced a more important moment in our country's
Dearth Of Priests Forces Dublin Parishes To Merge
DUBLIN parishes are being forced to merge because of a shortage of
Ireland's largest archdiocese, serving more than 1m Catholics, is
to "cluster" some of its 200 parishes and cancel Masses because of
declining priest numbers and low Mass attendances.
Until now, parish mergers have been confined to often remote rural
towns and villages. But now priests in Dublin's densely populated
inner city and sprawling suburban parishes, are joining forces to
ease workloads. They will also increase lay participation in the
running of the church through parish pastoral councils. Future
closures have not been ruled out by the hierarchy.
"Where parishes are losing priests and they are not being replaced,
that is where it hurts the most," said Sarah Barry, one of five
area co-ordinators from the Parish Development and Renewal office
"We are still very much in the experimental stages compared to
other parts of the country such as Limerick, but already the inter-
parish projects and collaborations have been a tremendous success.
It is inevitable, even in Dublin, that parishes will have to reach
out and find ways of working together."
With the decline in vocations, workloads have increased leaving
individual priests struggling to fulfil roles played by several of
their counterparts in the past. "Parishioners understand the
position that we are in, they know what is happening," said Fr
Terence Harrington, the parish priest of Halston Street and Church
Street on Dublin's northside. Last week, Harrington issued a
circular inviting parishioners to identify Masses that could be
discontinued. "The number of priests assigned to the parish has
been reduced, so we've had to look at Mass times," he said. "It is
too much for just two priests, but this is something that is
happening in all deaneries. There are many positive benefits in
looking to fellow parishes for support."
Earlier this year, Diarmuid Martin, the archbishop of Dublin,
warned it was possible that in one generation a faith culture could
be lost in the capital.
He identified parish renewal as a priority for the diocese and
voiced his support for the introduction of a lay diaconate. That
would see ordained lay deacons performing most of the functions of
a priest, apart from celebrating the Eucharist.
Last year, the priests' council of the Dublin diocese proposed the
recruitment of American-style business managers to free up
overworked and underpaid parish priests. The measure was proposed
as a way of dealing with the problems created by falling numbers of
vocations. It is one of several reforms, including clustering,
being implemented in an effort to promote increased lay
participation in diocesan affairs. Some priests whose parishes have
been merged see it as a positive thing.
"It has been an enriching experience," said Fr Liam O'Cuiv, a
parish priest at Ballymun. "It is an excellent model, and to be
able to share what you are going through with other priests is
wonderful. We also benefit from working with our lay parishioners.
They have a different insight into life than we sometimes have and
that is enriching for the church. It has been very good for us to
share on that level."
"In former times, the priest did everything, but that is no longer
desirable," said Fr John Sinnott, from Bonnybrook parish.
"Clustering is really about everyone working together, it's not
just about priests. Parishes are teams, we share the work together.
It is a process of much broader collaboration and is beneficial for
There are now just 3,000 active diocesan priests in Ireland, but
empty seminaries and an ageing membership have increased the
workload of parish priests.
There are approximately 700 priests working in Dublin parishes.
Only 13 seminarians from Dublin are studying in Maynooth; one
priest will be ordained in the archdiocese this year and none will
be ordained in 2005.
The Catholic church has already recruited psychiatrists to help
priests cope with stress caused by clerical scandals and an
At least one parish is already relying on the services of a lay
manager. Ireland's first "priestless parish" was formed in
Killanena, Co Clare, when the parish priest was not replaced.
Instead, a parish council manages the collections and the funds,
and a visiting curate conducts Mass.
Last week, the director of the Catholic Communications Office
acknowledged that certain dioceses will face closure of churches.
The diocese of Tuam has indicated that it will phase in the closure
of churches over the next 10 years. Only two men, the lowest figure
for Tuam since the mid-19th century, are currently studying for the
October 31, 2004
Donegal Port Hit By Fish Quota Probe
IRELAND's biggest fishing port has been brought to a standstill
following allegations that Donegal fishermen are flouting European
A garda investigation into claims that fishermen in Killybegs have
been breaking EU catch limits has prompted much of the fleet to
land in Scotland and Norway instead.
Sean O'Donoghue, a local industry representative, said: "It's a
cloud hanging over us. We feel it's totally unjustified. In terms
of money for Christmas, this is when they'd normally be earning it.
"It's easier for the vessels to go away and land somewhere else
where the suspicion is not the same. It is serious, not only for
the fishermen but the whole community."
The allegations were made in a letter sent to the marine minister
and the European commission by Pat Cannon, a local fisherman. He
claimed to have evidence of widespread fraudulent reporting of fish
catches, falsification of logbooks and illegal fishing in closed
areas. The claims are being examined by the garda fraud squad.
Last week, Sean Ward, a Killybegs fish processing plant owner,
closed both of his factories, which employ 110 people in the town.
"Things have been very tight in Killybegs for the last few years
without the carry-on that's going on now which is all lies
anyway," he said. "We're being hung out to dry. Every factory is
closed at the minute, there are about 1,000 people out of work.
"It's unreal. It's like a ghost town. The pubs are empty, nobody
can afford it."
Cannon also alleged collusion between local fishermen, the
Killybegs Fisherman's Organisation (KFO), and the Department of the
Marine. Martin Howley, the chairman of KFO, has denied the
allegations, which he says threaten the local industry's existence.
"The gardai are in town and they've been talking to some of the
fisheries officers," he said. "What people are concerned about is
that the boats are going to be forced out of town, and with them
will go the industry.
"It's been built up from nothing. I started here when it was day
trips with five or six men in old wooden boats with oars and a
solid fuel stove. Today we have a modern port. It is the envy of a
lot of places in Europe, with one of the most modern fleets."
Following dramatic drops in fish stocks since the 1970s as much
as half in some fisheries the EU Common Fisheries Policy was
formulated to prevent over-fishing. It regulates the fishing of all
EU members and allows any nation to fish in any other nation's
waters, imposing quotas on how much fish may be caught.
Belgium, Spain and the Netherlands were all fined by the European
commission this year for having breached quotas in 2003. The
European Court of Justice recommended a fine of Â115.5m against
France for consistent overfishing.
Killybegs has been the base for more than 20 modern large trawlers,
Ireland's largest fishing fleet.
Howley said: "If you take the fishing out of here, you kill the
whole of southwest Donegal. Every town within a 40-mile radius
relies on this industry. We won't be getting Microsoft or someone
The fishermen's representatives say the allegations of over-fishing
are false, and argue that the port has been under a "watertight"
regime of checks, with 12 Department of Fisheries officers based in
the town and two EU audits in the past two years.
They complain that restrictions unique in Europe to Killybegs, such
as a ban on night-time landings, have already damaged their
"You can never say someone isn't outside the system but I am
absolutely confident in our own documentation," said O'Donoghue.
"There'll be no problem when they come looking for whatever
documentation, they can have it.
"Not for one minute do I believe that there was collusion between
the department, the fishery control officers and ourselves, because
I for one have been complaining for the last four years that the
level of control is too high.
"We need a level playing field and Killybegs was the most
controlled port in Europe in terms of fisheries."
Cannon insists his allegations are true. "I am standing up for the
small fishermen of Ireland who are being neglected. If they go on
the way they are going on now, there would be no fish in Ireland in
a few years."
De Valera's Fortune Was Built On Trick
Jan Battles and Nicola Tallant
EAMON DE VALERA persuaded investors to buy essentially worthless
shares in the Irish Press, enriching his family in the process.
Newly discovered files reveal how the former president convinced
investors to put their savings into shares that paid almost no
dividends. Their money helped to fund a lucrative family business.
Almost 10 years after the collapse of the newspaper group and the
loss of 600 jobs, a documentary reveals the full story.
Founded in 1931, the Irish Press was launched as a paper for the
people, committed to telling "the truth in news". It was also to be
used as a platform for the newly formed Fianna Fail party.
Thousands of ordinary men and women in Ireland and America answered
de Valera's call to invest their savings in the newspaper that was
seen as an emblem of an independent Ireland.
Few received a return on their investment despite the company
becoming one of the most successful in Ireland. The only real
beneficiaries were members of de Valera's family.
The RTE Hidden History documentary, to be screened on Tuesday,
shows how de Valera sent fundraisers to America in 1928 to drum up
interest in his planned newspaper. Despite the great depression,
$250,000 was entrusted to him, mostly by supporters. De Valera told
his fundraisers not to suggest that investors would get shares or
certificates directly from the company but to say they would get
In 1931, Irish American subscribers received one "A" class share in
Irish Press Corporation, a Delaware company, for every $5 they
invested. More than 60,000 "A" class shares were issued but they
were effectively valueless because control of the company rested
with the owner of 200 "B" class shares de Valera himself which
were purchased for a mere $1,000.
There was no market for A shares, which paid their first dividends
in the 1980s, meaning they were effectively useless. "In this
simple transaction, Eamon de Valera gained the power to control
over $250,000 of the American investment," says the documentary.
The former president then used the American company to purchase a
large block of shares in the Irish Press in Ireland. For $1,000, de
Valera had secured 43% of the newspaper group.
De Valera knew that more savvy investors would realise what he had
done, so he put aside 5,000 shares from the Irish company to give
to those who complained.
On September 5, 1931, the Irish Press began publication and was an
instant success. Distributed at masses by priests, the paper
targeted anti-treaty republicans and sought to rally support for
the Fianna Fail party.
Throughout the 1930s and 1940s the paper flourished and, by the
late 1940s, it had added a Sunday title to its stable. In the
1950s, it started to publish the Evening Press but shareholders had
yet to be paid any dividends.
By the end of that decade, Vivian de Valera was appointed by his
father as the new controlling director despite having no experience
in publishing. Papers reveal how de Valera gave his son the
controlling "B" shares in 1962, ensuring the family's fortune.
By the mid-1960s, questions were being asked as to why no dividends
had been paid. For a few years in the 1970s when profits were
booming, a dividend was paid on each share to stockholders in the
Irish company. Irish-Americans were told their shares in Irish
Press Corporation were effectively worthless. No dividends were
paid out by the American company until 1980, 50 years after they
had initially stumped up. By that stage, most had died or
disappeared only about 75 investors could be found.
Nora B McCoy, whose husband Patrick invested $100 in the Irish
Press in the late 1920s after emigrating to America, tells the
documentary that her family have yet to receive a penny from their
investment. "Anyone who has shares would like to know what has
become of it, who's benefiting. It's definitely not the people who
put the money up to put the paper on the road," she said.
In the early 1980s Vivian de Valera appointed his own son Eamon as
his successor but for the original investors, the change at the top
meant nothing. In 1985, Terry de Valera, the former taoiseach's
youngest son, sold his 100 "B" shares for IR£225,000.
Shortly after that the Irish Press, which had its fair share of
industrial relations problems, started to implode. In 1995, after
journalists went out on strike, the controlling director decided to
cease operations of the newspaper.
The company still exists but it does not print its titles. "It is
just a sad story of how idealism and revolutions start in hope and
glory and end up fumbling in a greasy till," said Tim Pat Coogan.