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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 06, 2004
News 11/05/04 - Parade Report: Where's The UDA?
News about Ireland & the Irish
IC 11/05/04 Parade Report: Where's The UDA?
IC 11/05/04 Ardoyne Policing Report Is Slammed By SF's Kelly
BB 11/05/04 Afghans Lose Track Of Annetta Flanigan
IT 11/06/04 Phased Restoration Mooted In Absence Of North Deal
IT 11/06/04 Adams's Call For Power Sharing By Govnts Angers DUP
BT 11/06/04 Imminent Deal Unlikely As De Chastelain Departs
BT 11/05/04 Adams Backs Day Of Reflection For Victims
DJ 11/05/04 A Challenge To The Whole Community
IC 11/05/04 Court Hears Drugs Find Is Linked To Loyalists
IO 11/05/04 Former Power-Sharing Minister In NI Dies
BB 11/05/04 Guns And Government – Again
GU 11/05/04 We Worked From 4am To 9pm, Sending All Our Wages Home
IT 11/06/04 Kenny Says FG Is Ready For Government
IT 11/06/04 Challenge To Tara Motorway Planned
IT 11/06/04 O'Donoghue Decries 'Myth Of Rip-Off Ireland'
IC 11/05/04 Marrowbone Bombed
IT 11/06/04 Cargo Deliveries To Aran Islands Disrupted
IT 11/06/04 Gardai Investigate Killings On Island –V
IT 11/06/04 Bush's Victory Is Not Good For Blair-UCD Students Told
HC 11/06/04 Loretta Lynn, The Chieftains To Debut At Merlefest
Parade Report: Where's The UDA?
A report which cleared the PSNI of any wrongdoing at the
controversial Orange parade past Ardoyne shops on July 12 makes not
one single mention of the presence of a leading UDA figure among
the crowd of loyalists which was pushed through the area.
As our picture (right) shows, feared UDA North Belfast brigadier
William John Borland was to the fore in the crowd of parade
hangers-on which was controversially allowed to return home via
Ardoyne shops. Widespread violence erupted in the area in the wake
of the incident.
And while the Policing Board-commissioned report examines a wide
number of relevant issues, there's disbelief that no mention is
made in the document of the presence of Borland which so inflamed
nationalist residents on the day.
See Aroyne policing report is slammed by SF's Kelly
Journalist:: Staff Reporter
Ardoyne Policing Report Is Slammed By SF's Kelly
A report by the Policing Board into this year's notorious Orange
march that saw loyalists pushed past Ardoyne shops, including
senior members of the UDA, has been slammed by Sinn Féin's Gerry
Kelly after it completely exonerated the policing operation.
And the Sinn Féin man is among many who are angry that no mention
was made of the central presence of feared UDA brigadier William
John Borland on the day.
The July 12 parade reached new heights of controversy after the
PSNI forced through the loyalists despite a Parades Commission ban
on supporters going up the Crumlin Road.
One of these was William John 'Bonzer' Borland, the leading member
of the UDA's North Belfast brigade.
The police actions of that day led to a fierce nationalist backlash
and some of the worst civil unrest seen in North Belfast for many
years. It led to calls from former SDLP mayor Martin Morgan for his
party to leave the Policing Board.
But today the PSNI was said by the Policing Board report to have
"complied with the Human Rights Act".
The report says the PSNI "only had power to prevent the
followers/supporters proceeding along that part of the route if
they presented a threat to the peace sufficient to trigger police
powers to deal with a breach of the peace". But the report later
states that police on the scene described the loyalist crowd as
"well behaved, but impatient... no threat of violence, nor was
there any physical pressure on the police line."
It goes on to state the possibilities that might have happened if
the loyalists did not get up past the Ardoyne shops.
"There was concern that holding back the group for a prolonged
period might increase the risk of disorder at least, or serious
violence at worst if followers/supporters from other parades joined
those at the junction of Woodvale Road and Woodvale Parade swelling
the numbers from the 200 or so to a much larger number, possibly
even 1,000. It has been suggested to us that the PSNI over-stated
this concern, but we have seen a leaflet recovered by the police
that urges East Belfast Orange to 'delay their return to Templemore
Avenue until all Brethren, bands and loyal supporters return safely
to Ligoneil (sic) Orange Hall'."
But Gerry Kelly said the report held no surprises for the
nationalist community in North Belfast.
"Unfortunately this is no surprise and we said at the time the call
for the report was to keep the SDLP on the Policing Board," he
said. "The PSNI wrested the powers of the Parades Commission and
they themselves forced a UDA mob up through a Catholic area."
Gerry Kelly said the anger was still palpable in Ardoyne five
months after the loyalists were forced up the Crumlin Road as
protesting nationalists were hemmed in behind walls of steel
"Anger is still felt in the Ardoyne area because Des Rea, the
chairman of the Policing Board, exonerated the PSNI even before the
outcome of any report.
"Martin Morgan, who was in the SDLP, said at the time the party
should consider coming off the Policing Board. People won't be
surprised that the Policing Board found the PSNI had behaved
properly when it was the PSNI who forced an anti- Catholic march
through a Catholic area. Here you have the PSNI, who have policed
this parade before, having the choice of whether to force these
loyalists up the road or not. They knew it was being led by well-
known UDA men and they forced it through a Catholic area. Here you
have a report that doesn't even mention that."
A spokeswoman for the Policing Board admitted the UDA issue "was
raised" but that it was nothing to do with the report."This was our
human rights lawyers considering how the police met their
responsibilities in compliance with the Human Rights Act."
Journalist:: Andrea McKernon
Afghans Lose Trace Of NI Hostage
Afghan authorities have lost trace of a Northern Ireland woman and
her fellow hostages.
The country's interior ministry said it did not know the
whereabouts of the three UN election workers and their kidnappers.
Annetta Flanigan, from Richhill in County Armagh, was kidnapped in
Kabul by a hardline Islamic group last Thursday.
She had been helping to organise last month's presidential
The group holding the three is known as the Army of Muslims and is
believed to be a splinter group of the Taliban movement.
On Friday evening, there were reports that the kidnappers had
extended the deadline for negotiations to secure their release. It
was to expire early on Friday, but contacts said it had been
extended until Saturday.
The group has said it will kill the hostages if its demands for the
release of prisoners from Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay are not
Interior ministry spokesman Lutfullah Mashal said: "We know that
they are still in Afghanistan but we don't know exactly where.
"We are trying to locate them."
Mr Mashal said there had been "progress" in seeking a "peaceful
release" but would not elaborate.
"We continue our efforts to gain their release peacefully -
progress has been made in this regard," he said.
"We ask those holding them to release them immediately and
The BBC's correspondent in Kabul, Roland Buerk, said: "The picture
we are getting is from spokespeople who are ringing up news
agencies and saying that they are representing the kidnappers, the
people who are holding the hostages, including Annetta Flanigan.
"We have got no way of knowing how close those people really are to
the kidnappers and the Afghan authorities and the United Nations -
which are leading the efforts to free the hostages - are not saying
anything to us."
The three hostages had been helping to oversee Afghanistan's first
"The hostages have been taken out of Kabul province," an official
close to the investigation told the AFP news agency.
Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2004/11/05 18:53:41 GMT
© BBC MMIV
Phased Restoration Mooted In Absence Of North Deal
The Irish and British governments are set to propose a phased
restoration of the North's political institutions to be completed
by next spring, in exchange for an IRA commitment to destroy its
weapons and end its war for good, writes Mark Brennock, Chief
Political Correspondent, in Brussels.
The Taoiseach, Mr Ahern, said yesterday the plan would see the
Northern Assembly restored first in "shadow" form, with the power-
sharing Executive to be functioning by spring. This would be part
of a deal involving a permanent end to the IRA's campaign and the
resolution of the decommissioning issue which has plagued the
Speaking to reporters in Brussels, Mr Ahern conceded that he and
the British Prime Minister, Mr Tony Blair, had not yet decided what
to do if political agreement was not reached in Northern Ireland by
the deadline of November 25th that they have set.
Waiting until after the Westminster elections, which many expect
next May, was not "an acceptable strategy", however.
After a 75-minute meeting with Mr Blair on the margins of the
European Council meeting, Mr Ahern said they had gone through the
proposals they would put to the parties, probably the week after
next, unless the parties had themselves reached agreement by then.
"If there is agreement we will move into shadow Assembly format,
then on into the spring into full Executive mode," he said.
His stated uncertainty over what the governments would do if the
parties did not accept their proposals comes after Mr Gerry Adams
demanded "power sharing" between the two governments and the
dissolution of the Assembly following a failure to reach agreement.
At a Sinn Féin dinner in New York, he said unionists must not be
"allowed to determine the pace and depth of change".
The Taoiseach said the elements of a deal had been outlined by Mr
Blair in his speech at the Belfast Harbour Masters in October 2002,
and had not changed.
First, there had to be a resolution of decommissioning. The
independent decommissioning body "would find a satisfactory way of
ending the decommissioning argument, either in phases or all
Second, the IRA would have to issue instructions to its people to
end the conflict and enter a different mode.
Third, unionists would have to guarantee that if the political
institutions were re-established they would be stable, and "they
wouldn't bring them down again". Finally, issues such as policing,
demilitarisation and other matters in the joint declaration by the
two governments would be resolved.
If all of these things happened, "we would re-establish the
Assembly and the Executive and get ahead with the North/South
bodies", Mr Ahern said.
If no deal is reached by the week after next, "then we will put our
best shot to the parties and seek agreement". They hoped not to
have to consider how to proceed if those efforts failed. "We are
looking at lots of suggestions but it is not the way we want to
The negotiations had "nearly got there" but failed in the past,
when the largest parties involved were the Ulster Unionists and the
SDLP. "People then changed their votes and voted for the DUP and
Sinn Féin" and the governments were now continuing to try to
resolve the issues mainly through talks with those parties.
"Two years on we are reaching the end of that phase. Some people
say we should wait until after the Westminster election, some say
we will never do it. Our preferred position is to do it now.
"It's not going to change. These are the issues and we are trying
to bring finality to it. If we don't do that we have to consider
where to go. The best solution is that they agree to this. It will
create problems across all communities if we don't achieve this.
"After so many decades of conflict and turmoil, we are now down to
literally a handful of issues. We were looking at all of the pros
and cons this morning, and our best intelligence on where the
parties are at.
"Everyone has to be prepared to take risks. I do not believe that
if there is a will to finish it once and for all that these risks
are unmanageable for any one party," Mr Ahern said.
© The Irish Times
Adams's Call For Power Sharing By Governments Angers DUP
Dan Keenan, Northern News Editor
The DUP has reacted "with contempt" to calls from the Sinn Féin
president for the two governments to act if the Northern parties
fail to agree on the restoration of Stormont.
Mr Gerry Adams, addressing supporters in New York on Thursday, said
London and Dublin should share power in Northern Ireland if what he
called "rejectionist" unionists obstructed the peace process.
If the Democratic Unionists refused to agree on the return of
devolution, Mr Adams said London and Dublin should press ahead with
the full implementation of the Belfast Agreement and dissolve the
Assembly, if necessary.
"It's not just parties who can share power, governments can share
power also," he said.
"The British and Irish governments must look to formal
institutionalised power sharing at governmental level," he added.
The demand for dissolution of the Assembly and a form of joint
authority over Northern Ireland has enraged the DUP.
Mr Maurice Morrow, a Fermanagh Assembly member, said: "Any notion
of joint authority or anything that resembles it is pie in the sky.
Arrangements for the governance of Northern Ireland will only work
where there is agreement from both unionists and nationalists." He
said unionists could take heart from the fact that Mr Adams was
demanding that the British and Irish governments intervene.
"Sinn Féin/IRA have realised that for the first time in this
process, the unionist community is being represented by a party who
will not be rolling over to accept anything less than an end to
terrorist and criminal activity and devolved structures that are
fair to both unionists and nationalists," he said.
He claimed: "The days of Sinn Féin/IRA getting their way on
everything are over."
The SDLP also criticised Mr Adams's comments, but from the point of
view that they did not go far enough.
Dr Seán Farren, the party's senior negotiator, said the DUP did not
appear to want an agreement after "spinning" for months.
"That is why Sinn Féin, like ourselves, are right to be looking at
how we can be getting as much of the agreement now as we can," he
However, Dr Farren criticised what he called Mr Adams's "vague
proposals for power-sharing by the governments".
He said: "Far better are the SDLP's proposals for ending suspension
and getting the agreement moving." The SDLP's plans for appointed
commissioners to take the place of a power-sharing Executive would
"send the direct rulers packing", he said.
© The Irish Times
Imminent Deal Unlikely As De Chastelain Departs
By Chris Thornton
05 November 2004
General John de Chastelain and his fellow arms disposal
commissioner have left Ireland, it was confirmed today.
Their departure indicates that it is unlikely a deal to restore
Stormont and resolve the issue of IRA arms will be completed in the
General De Chastelain and American Andrew Sens, the other member of
the International Decommissioning Commission, are due to return at
the end of this month for further consultation with the British and
General De Chastelain's movements frequently trigger speculation
about a new arms disposal by the IRA.
The latest indication that no movement is expected was reinforced
by Gerry Adams.
The Sinn Fein president told supporters in America last night that
the talks have failed "so far".
Adams Backs Day Of Reflection For Victims
Proposals by Sinn Fein mayors for a day of reflection for all
people killed in conflicts are an attempt to come up with
remembrance events which can include everyone, Gerry Adams insisted
05 November 2004
Proposals by Sinn Fein mayors for a day of reflection for all
people killed in conflicts are an attempt to come up with
remembrance events which can include everyone, Gerry Adams insisted
The Sinn Fein president, who is in New York during a week-long tour
of the United States, paid tribute to party colleague, Londonderry
Mayor Gearoid O hEara's proposal for an event on December 10, which
coincides with International Human Rights Day.
The idea was criticised last night by Democratic Unionist MP
Gregory Campbell who accused Sinn Fein of coming up with the idea
to help Mr O hEara evade his civic duty to attend as Londonderry's
mayor the city's Remembrance Day event.
Mr Adams said: "The initiative launched by Gearoid Ó hÉara in Derry
is the culmination of months of engagement with many different
sections of the community within that city.
"It builds upon the important work initiated by Alex Maskey during
his term as Mayor of Belfast.
"Sinn Fein mayors and (council) chairs throughout the six counties
have worked hard to build an initiative that reflects our
commitment to providing civic leadership for the people we
"Sinn Fein 'First Citizens' are guided in their role of providing
civic leadership by a commitment to equality and to tackling
difficult and divisive issues."
A Challenge To The Whole Community
Friday 5th November 2004
The Mayor of Derry, Councillor Gerry O'hEara has said that the
civic remembrance ceremony planned for next month is a challenge to
the whole community and an essential part of the healing process.
The ceremony is due to be held at 1 p.m. on Friday, December 10 in
the Guildhall Square and the theme is 'in memory of all of those
who have lost their lives as a result of war and conflict from and
within the city and district.'
Speaking yesterday at the launch of the ceremony, the Mayor said
that this was an attempt to be all inclusive and that the
initiative presented a challenge to all the citizens of the city.
He said: "If we are to move forward people must step outside their
comfort zone and face up to challenges like this." "This
remembrance can go back to the Apprentice Boys who died in the
siege, participants in World War One or World War Two, in fact
anyone who died in conflict."
As he announced details of Derry's first ever act of civic
remembrance in the city today, the Mayor asked that people make a
judgement on the initiative based on its contents, not its author.
Mayor O' hEara said: "On the night I was elected Mayor I announced
my intention to attempt to deal in a new and imaginative way with
the potentially contentious issue of remembrance." "In attempting
to do this I have been in contact with hundreds of individuals and
dozens of organisations in the city and beyond as to how we might
go about achieving this objective.
"I have been heartened by the response of these people and am
confident that this Council can lead the way in creating an act of
civic remembrance that will create the space for people to remember
all those who died as a result of conflict."
He went on: "I appreciate and fully understand that remembrance is
a very personal and voluntary act and I am not seeking to take
anyone to a place they are not yet comfortable going to.
"Remembrance is too personal and too sensitive an issue to become a
political football. It cannot be forced and should never be faked.
"As Mayor I am also conscious of the many victims of conflict and
war, and their loved ones left behind, who are either overlooked by
the existing exclusive acts of remembrance or who are uncomfortable
with aspects of them."
The Mayor added: "I would also like to state that this event is not
intended to replace any of the existing commemorations that take
place in the district and which mean so much to those who organise
and attend them.
Yet as Mayor I have a responsibility to all the people of the city
and district and it is as Mayor, the civic representative of the
people of this city and district, that I am initiating A Day of
"A Day of Reflection is a civic remembrance act that is dedicated
to the memory of every man, women and child who has died in and
from the city and district as a result of war or conflict. It will
consist of the erection of a plaque that will incorporate a civic
logo and the following dedication:
'In memory of all those who have lost their lives as a result of
war and conflict from and in the city and district.'
"There will be no speeches or statements, no opinions offered on
the nature of the wars and conflicts in which people fell and no
judgements made on the circumstances of their death. Each was
someone's loved one, and each had a connection with this city and
district. For us, that will be enough."
Court Hears Drugs Find Is Linked To Loyalists
A court heard this week that police had uncovered a major loyalist
drugs operation in North Belfast and ecstasy tablets worth a street
value of £80,000.
The comments were made by a crown prosecution barrister as two men
appeared at Belfast magistrates court charged with possessing
ecstasy with intent to supply the drug.
The accused are Mark McMahon (26) of Whitewell Road, and John David
Robert Smith (19) of Ballysillan Avenue. Both deny the charges.
The crown lawyer said the two accused were found in an outhouse
adjacent to a property on the Flush Road with 6,000 euro and bags
of ecstasy tablets that appeared ready for distribution. Viagra-
type tablets were also found.
The court heard that 10,000 ecstasy pills were found in grounds to
the rear of the property along with another 3,000 euro.
The court also heard that when the police arrived at the scene a
hooded figure ran from an outbuilding and across neighbouring
gardens and escaped.
Crown counsel said police believed they had found a major
distribution centre organised by loyalist paramilitaries for the
supply of class A drugs in North Belfast.
She said it was a highly sophisticated and developed system with
purpose-built hides in fields not on the property but convenient to
an address on Flush Road.
Nothing had been found in a follow-up search of Smith's house, but
that a search of McMahon's home uncovered 3,740 euro and a
substantial quantity of figures which police say related to drug-
dealing figures because of their references to halves and quarters
alongside names, the court heard.
A lawyer for Smith told the court that his client protested his
innocence and would maintain that the sheds in question were pigeon
sheds which his client had been cleaning when the PSNI raid
occurred. He said there was no forensic evidence against his
The court heard that McMahon had told police he had gone to the
property at Flush Road to leave off a car to be prepared for MOT.
The pair were refused bail and remained in custody until November
Journalist:: Staff Reporter
Former Power-Sharing Minister In NI Dies
A forward thinking unionist minister in the first failed attempt at
a power-sharing government in Northern Ireland 30 years ago died
Basil McIvor, 79, collapsed and died while playing golf in
Ballynahinch, Co Down.
Mr McIvor dropped out of politics after the power- sharing executive
set up following the Sunningdale Conference foundered in the mid-
After studying law at Queen's University Belfast he served as a
barrister before entering the old unionist dominated Parliament at
Stormont as a Belfast MP.
He was Minister of Community Relations when the parliament was
closed and direct rule imposed in 1972.
He was one of the unionist team at the 1973 Sunningdale conference
which established the power-sharing administration at Stormont at
the start of the next year.
He took the role of Education Minister and announced a scheme for
shared schools for Catholic and Protestant children, but it was
never implemented because of the collapse of the Executive.
He later became active in the drive for integrated education and in
1981 he became the first chairman of Lagan College, Northern
Ireland's first integrated school.
When devolution returned after the Good Friday Agreement he wrote
to Sinn Féin's Martin McGuinness, Education Minister in the new
Executive, wishing him well and inviting him to visit the college.
After leaving politics Mr McIvor sat as a Resident Magistrate for
many years. In 1987 four unionist MPs tabled a motion in the House
of Commons calling for his removal from the bench on the grounds
that he had shown bias against unionists and Orangemen in a case in
Guns And Government - Again
By Martina Purdy
BBC Northern Ireland political correspondent
Guns and government dominated politics once again this week.
Specifically, the government wanted to know when loyalist guns were
going to be decommissioned.
This prompted Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams to remark, with some
sarcasm, that the government would first have to ask for them back.
Loyalists had their own questions for the government - what was it
going to do for their areas, which are clearly suffering serious
The point came back to loyalists, however. Ask not what the
government can do for you - but what you can do for your community?
This week's Independent Monitoring Commission pointed the finger at
loyalist paramilitaries, as well as the IRA.
The UVF was linked to two of four paramilitary-related murders. And
the UDA was accused of being "deeply involved" in criminality.
The negative report makes it difficult for the government to lift
sanctions on Sinn Fein and the Progressive Unionist Party, both of
which have lost assembly office allowances.
The PUP leader, David Ervine, said without the £27,000 support his
party may have to close its Shankill offices.
"We're on a wing and a prayer," he told the BBC's Inside Politics
Some will be unsympathetic, but the government - which is anxious
to keep loyalists anchored in politics - may be alarmed by his
Mr Ervine rejected the IMC's criticism of his party as failing to
exert sufficient influence on paramilitaries to prevent criminal
The PUP leader suggested the IMC provide him with a list of things
he might do - as he is at a loss.
Following his meeting with the secretary of state this week, he
said loyalist decommissioning was no closer - and moves from
loyalists would depend on the IRA removing its capacity to wage
Northern Ireland Secretary Paul Murphy also met the Ulster
Political Research Group. The delegation included senior figures in
the UDA, such as Andre Shoukri.
A senior government source described the meeting as " very
interesting" and "the start of a process" which it is hoped will
lead to decommissioning within months.
A loyalist source said "no punches were pulled" at the three-hour
meeting - and looked forward to developments in the months ahead -
subject to consultation with grassroots.
On the wider political front, Gerry Adams' remarks in New York - in
which he demanded London and Dublin stand up to the DUP and "game-
playing" - unleased some reaction.
This was, in part, because he demanded the two governments formally
and institutionally share power if the unionists won't.
Sounds like joint authority, but it's now the policy that dare not
speak its name.
Mr Ervine is of the view, however, that a DUP "no" will lead to a
deeper relationship with London and Dublin - and that means direct
rule with Dublin bells on.
An optimistic voice, he is predicting the DUP will be dragged back
to Stormont while protesting they have no choice but to accept Mr
The tactic did not work for the Ulster Unionists, and more
pessimistic voices suggest the DUP will avoid friction within its
ranks by holding out.
The DUP deputy leader, Peter Robinson, was swift to crush
speculation of dissent - ignoring the rule that no one should
believe anything until it is officially denied.
The Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, claimed there were three camps in the
party: Those that want a deal now, those that want to wait until
after a Westminster election and those who do not want to
Nonsense, says the DUP - perhaps a little too loudly.
Mr Ahern said he wanted to get a resolution before the first
anniversary of the assembly election on 26 November. The media
immediately deduced this meant a 25 November deadline.
And so, we wait - for Gerry Adams to return from the United States,
and for the DUP to decide if it can live with the paper the two
governments have drawn up.
Tony Blair and Bertie Ahern discussed the impasse for more than an
hour on Friday in the margins of an EU summit.
A spokesman for Mr Blair described the meeting as "good" before
adding: "Time is getting short."
The view was echoed by Mr Ahern who noted to reporters the
impending deadline - and said the governments would soon "have to
call it". In other words, success or failure. He urged all sides to
British and Irish officials are due to meet in London next week.
Without a deal, the government is certain to cut assembly salaries.
London will face demands from some unionists for a "soft landing" -
a shadow assembly with no executive. This requires legislation.
Mr Adams suggested, however, he wanted the assembly dissolved, and
an election. And then when that fails...er joint...London and
Dublin sharing-power institutionally.
Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2004/11/05 18:38:09 GMT
© BBC MMIV
'We Worked From 4am To 9pm, Sending All Our Wages Home'
Saturday November 6, 2004
Mary Caffrey, 83, from Achill Island, Mayo, recently returned to
Ireland from a high-rise in Manchester:
"I left when I was 13 to go into domestic service in Hampstead,
London. I had never been out of the village, and never left Achill
Island. My parents and six children lived in a two-room thatched
house with two beds.
"As soon as I heard mention of London, well, it was like Judy
Garland going over the rainbow. The lady from London sent clothes
and shoes. It was the first time I had worn shoes in my life.
"When she saw how small I was she nearly fainted. I was a kitchen
maid, the lowest of the low. I got up at 6am to light the fires,
and worked until midnight washing pans from dinner. Some of the
pots were so big I could have taken a bath in them. It was like
Upstairs, Downstairs. I had one day off a week but they were good
to me. I sent my wages home.
"At 15, I went with my mother to Scotland, to work as a tatty-
hoker, digging potatoes, for two years. My mother would dig and us
smaller ones were down on our knees in the earth picking the
potatoes, cold with dew dripping on us.
"Thank God I have my health. I wonder how our generation is not
crippled with arthritis. The Irish workers slept on a stone floor
in the cowshed. We worked from 4am until 9pm sometimes, sending all
our wages home. They badly needed the money here, they were
"When I married in Glasgow, I would work 16 hours a day, starting
cleaning at 5am, then in a biscuit factory or firelighter factory,
then cleaning at night. My husband drank, I was in Scotland, I had
no father or mother to run to. I had to protect myself for the sake
of my children.
"In the 1970s, when there was [sectarian] trouble in Glasgow, I
moved to Manchester alone - the 12th floor of a high- rise. At first
I was frightened to go out on the veranda. When my children were
grown and happy, all I lived for was returning to Ireland.
"People like us that had to leave at 13 made Ireland what it is
today. I left an awful lot of broken hearts in Manchester - a lot
of Irish women my age would love to get back home but will probably
never make it."
Kenny Says FG Is Ready For Government
Mark Hennessy Political Correspondent
The economy will be "in safe hands" if Fine Gael, the Labour
Party and the Greens are elected into office after the next general
election, according to the leader of Fine Gael.
Addressing 1,200 Fine Gael supporters at the party's first annual
presidential dinner in Dublin last night, Mr Enda Kenny said: "The
Irish people can have every confidence in our ability to manage and
steer our vibrant economy.
"They can have every confidence that with us, the economy is in
safe hands, not least because we know the difference between the
economy and an electioneering fund," he added.
"This is your economy. You built it by your graft, your sweat. That
is why every euro must be well spent. Every euro must be accounted
for. Every euro must be put not just to good use, but to the best
use. No more mindless waste."
Referring to the Greens as Fine Gael's "democratic partners", Mr
Kenny said: "Tonight, we want business to know we would work
closely with you in safeguarding and making the most of our strong
The Fine Gael/Labour /Democratic Left Rainbow administration laid
the foundations for the Celtic Tiger and became the first
government in 25 years to report an Exchequer surplus by "keeping a
close eye on the public finances".
It set corporation tax rates at 12.5 per cent "making Ireland the
number one choice for US companies wanting to locate in Europe", it
increased workers' tax allowances by 25 per cent and created 1,000
jobs a week.
"Tonight, we're celebrating. Fine Gael is on the up. The summer
elections produced a new generation of Irish politicians. Bright
new people, proud old values. Now, we move to the next level.
"We strike for government and, I'm proud to tell you, that with our
democratic allies we are determined to provide Ireland with, not
just an alternative government, but an infinitely better one," he
The next government "must be brave enough, daring enough, to be
intuitive, insightful and compassionate", though, "that compassion
must have a hard edge" to deal with society's problems.
The government "on its own cannot give us safer streets and
communities, greater knowledge and better learning", Mr Kenny
continued. "This happens when the person, the community and the
State work together, support each other, respect each other,
understand each other. This happens when we assert our rights, but
live up to our responsibilities.
"At the next election, people won't just be choosing between
candidates and parties. Their choice will be much more stark.
They'll be choosing the kind of Ireland they want to live in."
He said these changes were necessary before the people would "start
to see their government as a true reflection of themselves.
"That's a huge challenge, a huge opportunity and it demands huge
courage. Courage to say to the people - the government on its own
cannot, should not, do everything."
Voters faced the choice between a Fine Gael-led government or "an
Ireland run for the short-term good of the parties under Fianna
Fáil and the Progressive Democrats or even, perhaps, the spectre of
Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin in government".
Mr Kenny said the election "battlegrounds" would be "health,
education and justice, but I believe that battleground will be
about something more, how . . . we need a government that will keep
its contract with the people."
© The Irish Times
Challenge To Tara Motorway Planned
Conservationists have threatened legal action if the Minister for
the Environment, Mr Roche, gives the go-ahead to excavation of the
proposed M3 motorway through Co Meath.
The Save Tara Skryne Valley group made the warning after they
presented the Minister with a petition listing 10,000 signatures
asking him not to proceed with the motorway plan.
The group's public relations officer, Mr Vincent Salafia, said its
legal advisers were preparing a constitutional challenge to the
National Monuments Act.
Nobody wanted "a repeat of Carrickmines", Mr Salafia said. But he
added: "If the Minister gives the go-ahead during the next couple
of weeks, we'll be into court immediately."
Although Mr Roche did not accept the petition in person, the group
still hopes for a meeting with him before a decision is made.
In a letter accompanying the petition, the Minister was urged not
to approve excavation, because the proposed route "unnecessarily
traverses and partially demolishes the national monument of the
Hill of Tara".
The letter claims that a decision to proceed would be "contrary to
Irish and European law because it [ would allow] Ireland's premier
national monument to be excavated and dissected by a motorway
project when there were alternative routes considered that did not
encroach on the monument.".
The letter and petition were accompanied by letters of protest from
British archaeologists, the Archaeological Institute of America and
Irish and international academics.
"All the expert advice worldwide is: just don't go there," Mr
He acknowledged, however, the people of Meath were "very much
divided" on the motorway plan, because traffic problems were a
source of frustration.
© The Irish Times
O'Donoghue Decries 'Myth Of Rip-Off Ireland'
The Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism has called for an end to
"the myth of rip-off Ireland," which he said was endangering
tourism and the Irish economy.
Mr O'Donoghue said the notion that Ireland was a rip-off
destination had gone too far and would have serious consequences in
what was a very competitive market since the opening up of eastern
"It's going to have international repercussions. No tourism
industry in the world runs itself down," Mr O'Donoghue said.
The Minister was in Killarney on Thursday night where he officially
opened the €25 million Brehon Hotel, owned by Fáilte Ireland
director Mr Patrick O'Donoghue and the O'Donoghue family. The
O'Donoghues were described on the night as long-standing friends of
After his speech, Mr O'Donoghue denied to reporters that he had
himself contributed to the notion by constantly referring to the
need for price competitiveness in the industry since coming into
"One of the great myths is there is in existence a rip- off Ireland
mentality," he said. "That myth must be laid to rest for the sake
of Irish tourism and the Irish economy."
Ireland had never been a low-cost sun destination, but "a
destination for the discerning traveller", he said.
Tourism in Ireland was worth €4 billion in foreign earnings, it was
worth €1.3 billion in domestic earnings, it employed 140,000 people
and it contributed €2.2 billion in tax receipts to the Exchequer
each year, he said.
However, following the doubling of foreign visitor numbers in
recent years, tourism was "at a crossroads", he warned. Tourism was
in a competitive market since the opening of eastern Europe and it
could not afford to sit on its laurels. Cheap holidays were being
offered out of Britain to eastern Europe. "The industry has become
more difficult," he said.
He welcomed low-cost airlines into Ireland, but access had to be
increased from north America. An open-skies agreement was required
and he believed US visitor numbers could double "in a matter of a
few years if we do that".
He denied he had contributed to the rip-off belief. As recently as
August, in a press statement on the overall increase in visitor
numbers to the country, the Minister had said "value for money and
overall competitiveness continue to be huge issues facing the Irish
Mr O'Donoghue said he had always spoken about the need to give
value for money". The industry had responded and he now believed
there was good value in restaurants and hotels.
"All I ever said was we had to offer people value for money. By
that I never meant we were a low-cost destination and I got a
response from the hotel and restaurant sector. We are offering good
value all over the country."
The open-skies agreement was ready to be renegotiated now that the
presidential election in the US was over, Mr O'Donoghue said. Aer
Lingus was restricted to four destinations: New York, Boston,
Chicago and Los Angeles - but it could fly out of 12 to 18
destinations if given the opportunity.
"We are also poised to attract major US airlines into Ireland," Mr
They had a new confidence in the Ireland as a destination. He was
"hopeful" even before the open-skies bilateral agreement was
renegotiated, "some American airlines will take the initiative and
travel to Shannon and to Dublin".
Shannon had to be given "certain guarantees" under the open-skies
agreement. Those were up to the Minister for Transport, but Mr
O'Donoghue said Shannon had nothing to fear and could have a great
deal of confidence.
© The Irish Times
This week Joe looks back to the troubles of the 1920s and to an
incident when shots were fired and hand-grenades exploded in the
Here's an extremely interesting picture which I came across
recently and which I think most readers will find fascinating.
OK, at first glance it seems be just a funeral but this is no
ordinary funeral as it is that of the murdered members of the
McMahon family in March 1922.
It is seen here on Donegall Street after leaving St Patrick's just
outside the Congregational Church.
For those who state that this is not the Congregational Church as
it looks nothing like it then I need to put in a reminder that this
was the original facade before the front was demolished to widen
Staying on the subject of the 1920's troubles here is an
interesting newspaper report which I think perfectly describes what
life was like at the time.
It is taken from the Irish Weekly of Saturday, 24th September, 1921
and reads as follows:-
A determined attack by gangs of Orangemen armed with rifles and
revolvers and carrying a number of hand grenades was made upon the
Marrowbone district of Oldpark on Tuesday night.
Two men, named Joseph Corr aged 46, of 4 Saunderson Street and
Henry Brown aged 22 of 56 Everton Street were wounded.
The former received a gunshot wound to the back and was removed to
the Mater Infirmorum Hospital, and the latter was wounded by a
bullet in the knee and taken to the Royal Victoria Hospital.
The people residing in the area appear to have been taken
completely by surprise, so sudden was the onslaught made upon their
For a considerable time past the district, which was last year the
centre of heavy fighting, had been peaceful so far as outward
appearances indicated, and on Tuesday evening there had not been
the slightest portent of a break in this happy condition of
But when darkness set in at about 8.30pm the inhabitants in the
Catholic quarter of Glenview Street and the adjoining streets were
thrown into a state of terror by the explosion of bombs and the
reports of rifle and revolver shots.
The attack appears to have been directed from several points as
numbers of men were observed at Louisa Street, Enniskillen Street,
Ewart's Row, and a number of other streets converging upon Glenview
Three hand grenades were thrown and two at least exploded, while a
heavy fusillade of shots was also poured into the Catholic quarter.
Excitement naturally rose to the highest pitch and the women and
children were terrorised.
Two policemen were on duty at the Ewart's Row end of Glenview
Street, and they pluckily held their ground and returned the fire
of the invading gunmen until their supply of ammunition was
In the meantime the authorities at head quarters were apprised of
the outbreak and several police lorries arrived on the scene and
succeeded in dispersing the mobs, who had advanced partly into the
There was much suppressed excitement until Curfew hour. but no
attempt was made to resume the firing.
Several Protestant residents of the district around Ewart's Row,
off the Crumlin Road, have written within the past few days asking
that the attention of the authorities should be directed at once to
the state of affairs which prevails at present in the locality.
These Protestant Correspondents are anxious that the peace of the
district should be preserved and they are gravely apprehensive
regarding the immediate future, owing to the conduct of many among
All agree that a great store of arms and ammunition has been
brought into Ewart's Row.
Rifles revolvers, and bullets were it appears, stored for a few
days at the rear of some buildings and the weapons and ammunition
have now been, for the most part, "distributed."
As a result, "Protestant and Irishmen" writes:- "Revolvers are as
plentiful as blackberries on the bushes.
"Every fellow from the age of fourteen years up has a gun, with
ammunition to match in his pocket, and boys go around the streets
pulling out these dangerous weapons, flourishing them, and
threatening 'what they will not do' when they are called upon to
"The people here are in a state of terror and if steps are not
taken a deadly outbreak may be looked for.
"If the proper steps were taken, and if the persons behaving in
this way were rounded up and deprived of their arms, peace could be
"It is no wonder that the inhabitants of the Marrowbone area are in
a state of apprehension, and are anticipating attacks. Most of us
who do not live in the Marrowbone area are in the state of mind or
"The authorities I maintain are not doing their duty and it seems
useless to be making private representations to some of them: so on
behalf of a number of residents who want to live in peace. I ask
you to give publicity to this alarming state of affairs."
Another Correspondent, also a Protestant, says the responsible
residents of all creeds, shopkeepers and working people "abominate"
the behaviour of the section who are "copiously" supplied with
But, he adds - "There is not one of us dares open his mouth in
public, and if any inquiries are made about the authorship of this
letter I trust my identity will not be revealed."
For more on our local history (including free downloads) go to my
website at www.thebarrack.com
Cargo Deliveries To Aran Islands Disrupted
Lorna Siggins, Marine Correspondent
Delivery of cargo to the Aran Islands has been disrupted by a
decision to halt sailings of the regular ferry from Galway docks
for both safety and financial reasons.
Marine surveyors have detained the Oileann Arainn until a range of
technical difficulties are addressed, according to the Maritime
The vessel, which is under Government contract to provide cargo
deliveries and passenger sailings to the island, was inspected in
Galway late this week and did not sail as usual yesterday.
In a separate development, Galway Harbour Office also took steps to
prevent the vessel from sailing or from loading cargo yesterday,
due to non-payment of harbour dues. The ferry, owned by O'Brien
Shipping of Clare, owes €25,000 in unpaid dues, according to the
harbourmaster, Capt Brian Sheridan.
However, last night a spokeswoman for the Department of Community
Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs said the difficulties between the ferry
company and the Galway harbour company appeared to be close to
resolution. A reserve vessel would deliver cargo to the islands
today and normal sailings would resume on Monday, if technical
difficulties with the vessel could be sorted.
The Department pays the €603,000 annual subsidy to the ferry
company, which has provided the cargo and passenger transport at a
cost of €7 million over 12 years. This contract is due up at the
end of this year and has already been the subject of criticism by
the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG).
A CAG report into subsidised ferry services to the Aran Islands
found serious flaws and questioned a Government decision to renew
it in 1997 without conducting an evaluation of the company's
performance or the use of its service.
The Department intends to end the Galway service altogether in two
years and to run cargo from the fishing harbour and passenger
ferryport of Rossaveal from January 2007.
Last year, O'Brien Shipping was fined €3,000 for hygiene breaches
in delivering foodstuffs to the islands. The directors of the
company, Mr Kevin O'Brien and Mr Bill O'Brien (not related), also
own Doolin Ferries in Co Clare. They were jailed in September for a
night after being found in contempt of a court order aimed at
easing tensions between rival ferry companies in the Clare harbour.
O'Brien Shipping was not available yesterday for comment.
© The Irish Times
See Video at:
Gardai And Wildlife Officers Investigate Killings On Island -V
Gardaí and wildlife and conservation officers are investigating
the discovery of more than 40 dead grey seals, the majority of them
pups, on the foreshore on Beginish Island north of the Great
Blasket off Co Kerry.
A further five adult seals were found shot in the head in nearby
Brandon Bay. All of the seals on Beginish appear to have been shot,
although a small number of the pups may have died of natural
Divers with a local diving school discovered the seals on
The Minister for the Environment, Mr Roche, who has responsibility
for the National Parks and Wildlife Service, condemned the
slaughter as "cruel and barbaric". The seals were a protected
species under the Wildlife Act 1976, he said, and it was an offence
to hunt or kill them.
Sgt Mossie O'Donnell of Dingle Garda station said the seals had
been shot - they had not been bludgeoned and they had not been
disembowelled as suggested earlier in the day. "This is a
despicable type of crime," Sgt O'Donnell said. "It has happened in
this area before."
Conservation officers also denied the pups had been clubbed or
hammered with nails. "The evidence so far is the seals were shot,"
the National Parks and Wildlife Service manager in the region, Mr
Paddy O'Sullivan, said. Last night he said the service was
preparing to mount a round-the-clock watch on the seals in west
Fewer than 600 grey seals, or a third of the country's total seal
population, live on the Blasket Islands. The seals breed during
August and September. They are particularly vulnerable during and
after the breeding season.
There has been concern in recent years over a rapid decline in the
grey seal population in the area. The bulk of the seals live on the
Great Blasket and their presence is one of the reasons it is being
put forward for World Heritage site status.
Conservation officers fear that the attacks on Beginish could have
wiped out most of this year's pups.Mr Roche urged has anyone who
had information about the killings to contact Kerry gardaí.
Ms Pauline Beades of the Irish Seal Sanctuary called on the
wildlife service to protect the seals. Seals were part of the
attraction of west Kerry, where Fungie the Dingle dolphin was
"living proof" that eco-tourism worked, she said.
© The Irish Times
Bush's Presidential Victory Is Not So Good For Blair, UCD Students
The result of the US presidential election is bad news for the
British prime minister, the BBC's world affairs editor has told
students in University College Dublin.
John Simpson said a Kerry victory would have given Mr Tony Blair
the chance of a fresh start, whereas he was now locked into his
alliance with the Republicans for another four years. "I think Bush
will be even more unpopular than before in Europe, and Blair will
get all that unpopularity plus a large dollop of his own. I think
he's in serious trouble now."
Mr Simpson was addressing a meeting of UCD's Literary and
Historical Society, at which he became the first journalist to be
awarded the 150-year-old society's honorary fellowship.
The veteran broadcaster said that when he returned to Iraq next
month, he would travel - as he always did in trouble spots - on his
Possession of the passport made him feel "a bit safer", although he
admitted he was "terrified" of the prospect of kidnap.
Mr Simpson said he was struck not only by the comparisons between
Iraq and Vietnam, but by the repetition of history within Iraq
In 1920, Britain was given the mandate to govern the territory by
the League of Nations, yet despite having the world's best fighting
force and the support of the international community, it had to
begin negotiations on withdrawal after only six months.
"Except in Iraq, nobody mentions 1920," he said. "Nobody seems to
be interested in history any more."
Mr Simpson defended the US networks for getting the presidential
exit polls wrong again, saying the US may now be experiencing what
Britain did in 1992, when many conservative voters disguised their
views from pollsters.
"The only outfit to get the polls right this time was the one you
wouldn't want to be right - Fox News," he said.
© The Irish Times
Loretta Lynn, The Chieftains To Debut At Merlefest
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- Loretta Lynn and The Chieftains will make
their debut appearances next year at MerleFest, the Americana music
festival begun by bluegrass legend Doc Watson.
Dozens of acts are to perform at the 18th annual festival, from
April 28 to May 1, including returning favorites Ricky Skaggs and
Kentucky Thunder, and Alison Krauss and Union Station.
Lynn won album of the year and artist of the year from the
Americana Music Association earlier this year for Van Lear Rose.
"The really neat thing about it is it appeals to young people and
old people and everybody in between," said Claire Armbruster,
MerleFest's artist-relations coordinator. "It's just a great piece
of work. It's rooted in country, not the slick country of today,
but the roots of country."
The Chieftains, longtime performers of Celtic music whose more
recent albums have featured many popular and country artists, will
headline two nights of performances.
Guests will include artists who performed on Down the Old Plank
Road, such as Skaggs, Bela Fleck, John Hiatt and Earl Scruggs.
The music festival raises money for the Eddy Merle Watson Garden
for the Senses, named like the festival for Watson's son and fellow
musician, who was killed in 1985 when a tractor rolled over on him.
MerleFest is held at Wilkes Community College in Wilkesboro.
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