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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 14, 2004
News 11/14/04 - Direct Rule Simply Not An Option
News about Ireland & the Irish
SF 11/14/04 Doherty - Direct Rule Simply Not An Option
SL 11/14/04 Unionist Solicitor Set To Face Fraud & Theft Charges
SF 11/14/04 Ombudsman Team On Trail Of UVF Bar Massacre Gang
SL 11/14/04 'Maverick' Pipe Bomb Gang Sought
SL 11/14/04 For Sale: Former UDA Brothel House
GU 11/14/04 UDA Pledges End To Violence V
IP 11/11/04 Racists Must Be Faced Down
GU 11/14/04 Polish Man Hurt In Ulster Racist Attack
IT 11/15/04 IRA Accused Of 'Sell-Out' By RSF
SL 11/14/04 Top War Crime Suspect 'Sheltered By RIRA'
IP 11/11/04 Butchers May Have Been Responsible For 1976 Killing
IP 11/11/04 Remembering The Past - IRA Executed Butchers' Leader
SL 11/14/04 Human Rights Commission Seeks Omagh Cop Meeting
SL 11/14/04 'Emotive' Atrocities Of '98 Exhibition
SL 11/14/04 Soldier's Restorick Claims Investigated
SL 11/14/04 Islam: 'Radical Doesn't Speak For Us'
SL 11/14/04 Irishmen United In Poignant Memorial
SL 11/14/04 Book: Eiremen Of The RAF And Their Northern Comrades
IT 11/15/04 Ahern Backs Legal Recognition For Gays V
IP 11/11/04 Opin - Linda Coleman: What's On The Label?
IT 11/15/04 Two Men Die Putting Up Lights At Wake House
IT 11/15/04 Pope's Visit To Ireland Still Possible
IT 11/15/04 Irish Reaction To Rise Of Hitler Recorded
IT 11/15/04 Granting Salmon A Better Chance At Sea
IT 11/15/04 Words We Use
Doherty - Direct Rule Simply Not An Option
Published: 14 November, 2004
Sinn Féin Vice President Pat Doherty MP will this afternoon warn
the British government that Direct Rule for the six counties is not
an option in the longer term. In the course of his speech to the
annual Edentubber commemoration in County Louth, Mr Doherty said,
"The Good Friday Agreement was an admission by the British
government that the six counties had failed as a political entity.
Unionist rule for 50 years had failed and Direct Rule for 30 years
"Given this it is unacceptable and unreasonable to expect
nationalists and republicans having signed on for the Good Friday
Agreement to once again be inflicted with Direct Rule in the main
administered by the unionist dominated NIO.
"If there is to be no political institutions in the north because
of intransigence by a unionist political leadership, then the onus
falls on the
two governments to jointly move the situation forward. Direct Rule
is a direct subversion of the Good Friday Agreement and is not
sustainable in the longer term. It is as simple as that.
"Whatever political arrangements are put in place they must have an
all-Ireland dimension and they must deliver equality and human
"In the early hours of November 11th 1957 five Republicans were
killed when a land mine exploded prematurely in a house here in
Edentubber. They were Paul Smith (19) from Bessbrook, Oliver Craven
(19) from Newry, Michael Watters (55) in whose cottage the fatal
explosion occurred, George Keegan (29) from Enniscorthy and Paddy
Parle (27) from Wexford Town.
From differing social and family backgrounds, they would have
expected to live long and productive lives in a normal society, in
whatever trade or profession they would have chosen. But as has
been the case throughout the troubled history of our country, these
brave Irishmen from North and South, like so many before them,
opposed the injustice of British occupation of our country and
choose the hard but noble road of freedom struggle.
They came from a tradition that has borne the brunt of the struggle
for Irish freedom. That is our tradition.
The then Sinn Féin TD for Sligo and Leitrim and my predecessor as
Vice President of Sinn Féin John Joe McGirl, delivered the
graveside oration. In the course of it he said: "The tragedy which
brought to a sudden end the lives of five great Irishmen is a
tragedy of the Irish nation, the tragedy of an Ireland that is
unfree and divided. These men came from the North and the South to
join together to end the tragedy of our nation and her people.'
The IRA Volunteers who died here 47 years ago and the hundreds of
men and women Volunteers who have since given their lives for Irish
freedom have paved the way for the achievement of the dream of
Irish Unity and the end of that tragedy.
This generation has the greatest opportunity since partition to
finally achieve genuine national self- determination. But if we are
to be successful then we must resist those in the political
establishment who would have us lower our expectations.
Nobody is pretending that it will be easy. Nobody is pretending
that difficulties will not pave the road ahead. But as Irish
Republicans we have a responsibility to finish off the job.
We have just seen the 10th anniversary of the first IRA cessation
pass. When republicans set out on that course over a decade ago
none of us could have predicted the journey we would have travelled
since then. Today Irish Republicanism is growing, strong and
This decade has also seen the n remarkable growth of Sinn Féin. We
now have representation across our island and in Westminster,
Leinster House and further afield in Brussels. Indeed in the coming
months I am confident that the people here today will see both
Conor Murphy and Caitriona Ruane join that growing band of Sinn
Féin MPs and TDs. The republican message of Irish Unity and
Independence is now reaching arenas for so long closed to us by a
combination of state repression and censorship.
But another lesson of the past ten years is that republicans cannot
make peace on our own. We cannot make agreement on our own. That
requires the British and Irish governments. That requires unionist
It is now almost a year on from the last Assembly elections. In
that time we have been involved in a variety of discussions with
the governments, in London, Dublin and elsewhere. But all of this
has to date failed and failed for one reason only. The DUP, the
party in the leadership of unionism, cannot accept you or I, or any
republican or nationalist as an equal.
The Good Friday Agreement is as good as it gets for the unionists.
There is no alternative. So they have to decide and decide quickly
if they are up for sharing power or they are not. Are they up for
all-Ireland institutions or are they not? Are they up for Equality?
or Human Rights?
I have seen nothing to indicate that they are.
In fact what we have seen is the opposite. Unrealisable demands to
change the fundamentals of the Agreement, in particular the all-
Ireland and power sharing aspects. These demands cannot and will
not be met. These issues were negotiated and agreed six years ago.
There will be no return to unionist domination, or unionist misrule
or second class citizenship.
The DUP do not currently want to face up to this but rest assured
they will eventually have to face up to the reality of negotiating
with Sinn Féin because change will happen anyway. It is already
underway and the confidence within republicanism and nationalism is
a general reflection of that reality.
The unity, vibrancy and continual growth of Sinn Féin frightens the
DUP. They are so afraid of the logic of our analysis that they
cannot yet find the courage to negotiate face to face.
But the failure of the DUP to enter the 21st Century cannot be
allowed to paralyse the political process. If the DUP are unwilling
or incapable of doing the business now then the rest of us on this
island cannot be expected to wait around for them to catch up.
The Good Friday Agreement was an admission by the British
government that the six counties had failed as a political entity.
Unionist rule for 50 years had failed and Direct Rule for 30 years
had failed. Given this it is unacceptable and unreasonable to
expect nationalists and republicans having signed on for the Good
Friday Agreement to once again be inflicted with Direct Rule in the
main administered by the unionist dominated NIO.
If there are to be no political institutions in the north because
of intransigence by a unionist political leadership, then the onus
falls on the two governments to jointly move the situation forward.
Direct Rule is a direct subversion of the Good Friday Agreement and
is not sustainable in the longer term. It is as simple as that.
Whatever political arrangements are put in place they must have an
all-Ireland dimension and they must deliver equality and human
The British government have time and again defended unionist
interests. The democratically elected political representatives of
Irish national opinion, and in particular the Irish government, has
a responsibility to vigorously defend the interests of Irish
nationalists across the island in any dealings with London.
In this respect the Irish government should deliver on
representation in the southern institutions for those elected in
the six counties as a herald of a national and democratic agenda.
If provision is to be made at Westminster for unionist MPs to take
up their seats then similar provisions must be made for six county
MPs in Leinster House.
Irish citizens in the six counties must have voting rights granted
in advance of the next Irish Presidential election.
There is also a heavy responsibility on both governments to deliver
on the other outstanding aspects of the Agreement which lie
directly in their gift.
We do not have proper policing. We do not have human rights. We do
not have equality. We do not have justice. Qualifying republican
prisoners remain in jail six years on from the Good Friday
Agreement. And if ever there were a physical manifestation of the
failure of Tony Blair to honour commitments and deliver obligations
it is the hillsides and towns in this area.
Local communities demanding demilitarisation might embarrass the
SDLP Councillors in South Armagh or elsewhere, but you certainly do
not embarrass Sinn Féin and I pledge our continuing support for
your campaign until the spy posts and those who occupy them are
removed from our country.
We also must not forget the three Irishmen still being held in
Colombia. Simply because they have slipped off the media agenda
having being found innocent does not mean that they are not still
in extreme danger and in need of our help, support and assistance
until they are once again home with their families.
So, many challenges lie ahead in the coming months.
Sinn Féin has demonstrated a commitment to this process and to
finding a resolution to the current crisis. But make no mistake we
are equally determined to pursue our primary goal of Irish unity
Sinn Fein will celebrate our centenary in 2005 with a year-long
series of events beginning in January.
We will face into elections, north and south. There will be a
sustained effort in these campaigns by the opponents of Irish Unity
and Irish republicanism to stop the advances we have made in recent
But I believe that we as Irish Republicans are up to the task. We
have an opportunity to realise the objective for which brave IRA
Volunteers died here 47 years ago.
A united, independent Irish Republic is not rhetoric for us, it is
a real and live political project which if we are prepared to work
hard and win even more people to our objective will be achieved.
That is a responsibility we all share.
Unionist Chief In The Dock
Solicitor Set To Face Fraud And Theft Charges
By Stephen Breen
14 November 2004
This is the top Ulster Unionist due in court on fraud charges.
Raymond Ferguson (pictured right) - a solicitor and chairman of the
Ulster Unionist Party's disciplinary committee - is set to appear
at Enniskillen Magistrate's Court tomorrow.
The Fermanagh District Councillor faces two fraud charges, and a
It is understood the charges relate to the development of a golf
course, in Fermanagh.
Ferguson, of Lakeside Avenue in Enniskillen, has been a councillor
for more than 20 years, and sits on various council sub-committees.
He is also a member of the Fermanagh University Partnership Board,
and the Enniskillen Cultural Expression Group.
Widely recognised as a senior member of the UUP, Mr Ferguson acted
as chairman of his party's disciplinary committee when North Down
MLA, Peter Weir, was disciplined for his decision to oppose the
Good Friday Agreement.
He was also chairman of the committee when then UUP Lagan Valley
MP, Jeffrey Donaldson, South Belfast MP, Martin Smyth, and South
Antrim MP, David Burnside, appeared before the committee, for their
opposition to the agreement.
Sunday Life contacted Mr Ferguson this weekend, but he refused to
comment on the charges.
A UUP spokesman also refused to discuss the case, saying: "We are
not in a position to comment on Mr Ferguson's charges as it is a
matter for the courts."
We also contacted the party's chairman, but he also refused to make
Said one senior Ulster Unionist: "Everyone in Enniskillen is
talking about the Ferguson case, because he is such a well-known
figure across Fermanagh.
"The Ulster Unionist leadership is obviously worried because, if he
is found guilty, many believe it could cause more damage to the
party in the county.
"This is a case which will be closely watched by everyone in the
Ombudsman Team On Trail Of UVF Bar Massacre Gang
14 November 2004
The Police Ombudsman's office says she is still investigating why a
prime suspect in the Loughinisland massacre was never charged.
Nuala O'Loan revealed that her investigators are currently sifting
through a dossier of unanswered questions about the UVF massacre of
six Catholics a decade ago.
It has now been revealed that members of her investigative team
have started to review 'cold-case' police files, in the hunt for
the UVF gang that carried out the atrocity in the Co Down village,
in June 1994.
The investigation was prompted by a dossier compiled by the SDLP's
former South Down MLA, Eamonn O'Neill, on behalf of relatives of
the men killed at The Heights Bar.
Mrs O'Loan's office is assessing if everything possible has been
done to catch the killers - and if there was security force
A former soldier has long been suspected of helping plan the
killings and acting as getaway driver for the Belfast-based murder-
gang, in what was the last UVF atrocity of the Troubles.
A spokesman for Mrs O'Loan's office said yesterday: "We are
currently reviewing police files in relation to the case, and
liasing closely with the families involved.
"At the end of that process, we will make a decision as to what
further action is necessary."
The Loughinisland killings have become known locally as the
'forgotten' tragedy of the Troubles, because no one was ever
The victims were shot dead as they watched a World Cup football
game on television at the bar.
They included the oldest victim of the Troubles - 87-year-old
His 59-year-old nephew, Dan McCreanor, died beside him; the
youngest to die was 34-year-old Adrian Rogan. Brothers-in-law Eamon
Byrne and Patsy O'Hare, and Malcolm Jenkinson were the other
'Maverick' Pipe Bomb Gang Sought
14 November 2004
Maverick loyalists are being blamed for a pipe bomb campaign, in Co
In the latest incident a fortnight ago, the home of a pensioner in
Killyleagh was targeted by renegade UDA members.
Earlier this year, the home of a prison officer in the centre of
the village was also attacked.
Security sources believe a similar device was used in both
The most recent attack was an embarrassment to the UDA, coming 48
hours before a joint UPRG/UDA delegation met Secretary of State
Paul Murphy, to indicate the terror group wanted to put its violent
past behind it.
UDA sources claim the attacks were not sanctioned.
SDLP MLA Margaret Ritchie said it was a matter of concern that
after going years without any attacks, there had now been two
incidents in Killyleagh.
She said: "The police need to take urgent action. They must act
solidly to eradicate all forms of terror.
"One would have thought the days of the pipe bomb were long past."
For Sale: Former UDA Brothel House
By Ciaran McGuigan
14 November 2004
A house as a brothel by UDA thugs has been put up for sale.
The loyalist sex den in Templepatrick, Co Antrim - which was raided
by cops last year - is believed to have raised thousands of pounds
a week for the UDA's west Belfast 'brigadier' Mo Courtney, before
he was locked up, accused of murder.
Now it has gone on the market, and is attracting bids of more than
However, the Presbyterian minister selling the property was not
aware of its past as a loyalist brothel. The Rev Brian Boyd told
Sunday Life yesterday that he'd bought the house earlier this year,
and was making a quick sale "to make a few bob".
Said Mr Boyd: "I did not really know anything about the background
of the house."
Cops raided the bungalow - 953 Antrim Road, Templepatrick - on May
17 last year, and arrested a woman suspected of running a brothel.
But when a Sunday Life reporter visited the house, just three days
later, it was back in business.
Courtney and his henchmen had foreign hookers turning tricks at
£100-a-time in the two-bedroom property, after they muscled in on
the lucrative prostitution racket - close to Belfast International
Loyalist sources claim that the house was also used by the killers
of Alan McCullough, to torture the young pal of ousted UFF boss
McCullough's body was later found buried in a shallow grave, in
The same prostitution racket was earlier run from another nearby
property by heroin trafficking pimp, Michael Wyatt.
But Courtney and then-ally Adair torched Wyatt's Ballyutoag Road
brothel, and later forced him out of the next property he moved to.
A 'For Sale' sign was raised outside the bungalow last week.
Estate agents say they have already received
See Video at:
UDA Pledges End To Violence -V
Boost for Ulster peace process after minister recognises ceasefire,
but nationalists remain cautious over paramilitaries' announcement
Monday November 15, 2004
The loyalist paramilitary Ulster Defence Association yesterday
delivered a huge boost to the Northern Ireland peace process by
pledging to end all violence and to work towards complete
Forty-eight hours after the Northern Ireland secretary, Paul
Murphy, committed the government to recognising the UDA's latest
ceasefire, a statement from the Ulster Political Research Group
(UPRG), which provides "political analysis" for the UDA, promised a
The announcement was witnessed by a crowd of more than 2,000
people, including a group of masked men, on the loyalist Rathcoole
estate on the outskirts of north Belfast.
Mr Murphy's decision to recognise the ceasefire was made despite a
report by the independent monitoring commission which blamed the
UDA for running organised crime rackets and carrying out
The UDA declared a ceasefire last year but the government refused
to acknowledge it. The UPRG's Tommy Kirkham said: "From today we
are prepared to move into a process. Our commitment to that process
will be to work towards a day when there is no longer a need for a
UDA and a UFF [Ulster Freedom Fighters]."
He said the new strategy was to begin immediately. "The strategy of
the organisation will become one of community development, job
creation, social inclusion and community politics."
Mr Kirkham said that the organisation would support Unionist
leaders in securing a lasting peace in Northern Ireland: "We have
agreed with our government to enter into a process, a process that
will see the eradication of all paramilitary activity."
He said the organisation would engage with the arms decommissioning
commission but added that it must be confident that there was no
longer a threat to the loyalist community from a republican group.
"History tells us all that whenever the need arises or there is a
threat to our very existence, there will always be some form of
defence association," he said.
Mr Kirkham said the UDA hoped to persuade people of Northern
Ireland that the organisation could change tack. "We recognise the
need for change. We will be more effective in our new role but will
remain protectors of our community."
While many hailed the announcement as a vindication of the
government's decision to deal with the UDA, others were more
Alban Maginness of the nationalist Social Democratic and Labour
party said that the UDA continued to cause terror in many parts of
Northern Ireland. "The UDA must be judged on actions rather than
words. For nationalists and ethnic minorities who have been
repeatedly attacked by the UDA this is the only test that matters,"
A representative of Mr Maginness, the member of the legislative
assembly for North Belfast, called on Mr Murphy to withdraw
recognition of the group's ceasefire if it commits any violence.
"Whilst any move to bring their activities to an honest and
complete end should be welcomed, it must be made clear to the UDA
and others that their only options are to shut down or to be closed
"To wind up or to be locked up. That is the message the UDA needs
to hear," he added.
Alex Maskey of Sinn Féin told the BBC that there was widespread
scepticism about the UDA announcement.
"We are faced with a dilemma because in the first instance we want
them to stop the kind of activity they have been involved in. We
have heard all of these statements before and there is a huge dose
of scepticism out there," he said. "But I hope and my party
certainly hopes that it is successful."
The UDA, which has thousands of members, was formed in 1971 to
amalgamate various loyalist vigilante groups. It adopted the motto
Law Before Violence and remained legal until it was banned in 1991.
The group, which is run by an inner-council of six so-called
brigadiers, is estimated to have killed about 408 people between
1979 and 1999, including those killed under its cover name, the
Ulster Freedom Fighters.
Andre Shoukri and Jacky McDonald, two senior members of the inner
council, held talks with Mr Murphy at Stormont, prompting him to
recognise the ceasefire last Friday. He said then: "I am persuaded
that UDA is now prepared to go down a different road, moving away
from its paramilitary past."
But he added: "All paramilitary groups ... remain illegal
organisations and any criminal activity will be pursued
relentlessly by the police. I will continue to judge them not just
by their words but by their deeds."
Racists Must Be Faced Down
Sinn Féin MEP for Dublin, Mary Lou McDonald has urged people
throughout Ireland to stand with ethnic minority communities
against the scourge of racism. The Sinn Féin MEP said the party is
committed to tackling all forms of racism and building an inclusive
and multicultural Ireland.
She was speaking after racist attacks this week in Belfast and
Armagh, and following the publication of a report that shows that
the last six months have seen the single largest number of racist
attacks in the 26 Counties since records were kept in 2001.
"We are witnessing a consistently high level of violence against
some of the most vulnerable groups within Irish society," said
McDonald. "Let us be clear - the racists must be faced down. Recent
attacks are only the tip of the iceberg, as many incidents are not
"Condemning racist attacks is not enough. We need to actively work
for the removal of racism from our society. This requires action as
much as words. It requires adequate resourcing and support for
ethnic minority communities and their support groups. And it
requires meaningful partnerships between all sections of society.
"We must stand with ethnic communities throughout Ireland in
solidarity with them and against the narrow- minded racists."
Polish Man Hurt In Ulster Racist Attack
Monday November 15, 2004
A Polish man was taken to hospital after being injured in a racist
attack in Co Armagh, police confirmed yesterday.
The attack happened in the mainly nationalist Ballyoran Park area
of Portadown early yesterday. One man has been arrested. The
migrant worker was injured in the face.
It was reported that an armed gang burst into the house he shares
with two others and assaulted the man at around 4am. Police said
they believe the attack was racially motivated. The man has been
released from hospital.
Nationalist politicians and community representatives have
condemned the attack.
Sinn Fein Member of the Legislative Assembly John O'Dowd said those
responsible were not representative of the community.
He said: "Speaking to people in the area this morning, there is a
very clear sense of anger. I intend to meet up with community
groups, clergy and others to discuss what steps can be taken to
prevent any re-occurrence and to try to re- assure other members of
the migrant worker community."
Breandan Mac Cionnaith, chairman of Drumcree Community Trust, said
local people were ashamed. "Those responsible are hoods and thugs
who prey on the most vulnerable within our community."
IRA Accused Of 'Sell-Out' By RSF
The president of Republican Sinn Féin, Mr Ruairí Ó Brádaigh, has
said that any move by the Provisional IRA to decommission its
remaining weapons would amount to a "sell- out". Arthur Beesley
Mr Ó Brádaigh said in his address to the party's ardfheis in Dublin
at the weekend that such a development would be "a deed without
precedent in Irish history". It was akin to accepting British rule
in Ireland, he said.
"The Provo leadership, for its part, has agreed to another act of
decommissioning immediately and the surrender of all their
remaining military equipment by Christmas." He said it would cease
to be "a military body" and would become "an old comrades'
association", something which he said "P. O'Neill has not denied".
"Having secured this, the DUP went further and demanded that all
decisions by power-sharing Executive ministers and cross-Border
bodies should be sanctioned by the Stormont assembly, which is of
course Unionist-dominated. The Provisionals would yield on the
question of policing - joining the Policing Board and urging their
members to join and support the British police in the six counties.
Who is to oppose all this sell-out?"
Mr Ó Brádaigh said his party had carried out a "SWOT" analysis of
its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. The failure
of the Stormont process presented an opportunity, while personnel
issues emerged as weaknesses. There were also problems with the
© The Irish Times
Top War Crime Suspect 'Sheltered By RIRA'
By Stephen Breen
14 November 2004
Renegade republicans are believed to have helped the third most-
wanted man in Europe flee to a secret bolthole in the Republic.
Senior security sources told Sunday Life, one of the main arms
dealers for the Real IRA in Croatia, sought the terror group's help
last month, in finding a base for General Ante Gotovina.
And the former Croatian military chief, who has a 5m dollar bounty
on his head, is also believed to have visited Belfast before
Sources claimed MI6 agents had been searching for the suspected war
criminal in his homeland, but their undercover operation was
abandoned when the general fled.
Although it was reported that the general had been in hiding in
Italy, security sources claim he later fled to a remote part of
Donegal, after receiving help from the renegade gang.
The suspected war criminal's right-hand man is a dissident
republican sympathiser known as 'The Striker', who is understood to
have approached the Real IRA for help.
This latest development comes after we revealed in August how 'The
Striker', who is believed to have killed Serbian warlord Arkan, is
understood to have Irish grandparents.
We also revealed how the hitman placed a bounty on any arms dealer
who set up deals with the LVF.
He placed the bounty after a senior LVF gang, posing as dissident
republicans, visited Croatia earlier this year, to secure a major
Both dissident republicans and loyalists have been making secret
visits to the Balkans throughout the year, in a bid to secure more
weapons for their terror campaigns.
Sources told us dissident republicans helped the Croatian warlord,
because of the arms they had received from the Balkans.
Said a source: "Both the Croatian and Italian security services
believe 'The Striker' was responsible for organising General
Gotovina's escape to Ireland.
"'The Striker' claims to have romantic links to Ireland, and when
he helped arrange for the Real IRA to get some weapons from
Croatian mobsters, he wasn't long in asking them to return the
"Many Croatian diplomats also now believe he is in hiding in the
Irish Republic, and they have asked Interpol to work closely with
the Gardai on this case.
"They also believe 'The Striker' has also been making secret visits
to Ireland, and they also believe he may have been responsible for
the Real IRA rocket attack on the MI6 HQ in London, in 2000.
"He may have also have brought the general to Belfast first, before
bringing him over the border - and this is one theory currently
General Gotovina is wanted for war crimes his officers allegedly
committed against civilians during the Bosnian conflict, in 1995.
Butchers May Have Been Responsible For 1976 Killing
Rosaleen O'Kane's body was found at her Cliftonpark Avenue, on 17
September 1976, stripped naked and burnt.
A postmortem examination, carried out at the time, failed to
determine the exact cause of her death, partly because a
pathologist could not conclude whether O'Kane's skull had been
fractured before or after her death. In a sinister twist, blood and
other forensic samples taken during the postmortem were destroyed
in a fire at the Six-County Forensic Science Laboratory the next
Relatives of O'Kane were told by senior PSNI members that they had
intelligence information that two men from North Belfast were
suspected of being involved in the killing and that they could not
rule out the possibility that the Shankill Butchers were involved.
Lawyers acting for the O'Kane family said they have now obtained
funds from the Legal Services Department for a review of the
original postmortem evidence, which will be carried out by Dublin
state pathologist Professor Marie Cassidy.
Solicitor Patricia Coyle said O'Kane family has unanswered
questions about the cause of death, the original investigation and
who was responsible.
"The only thing they know is that their sister was murdered and
possibly tortured and they further believe that the fire at the
forensic laboratory may have been more than a coincidence," she
UVF commander Lenny Murphy led the Shankill Butchers gang that,
during a reign of terror in the mid-to late- 1970s, killed over 30
Catholics. In 1979, eleven members of the sectarian killer gang
were convicted of 19 killings and jailed for a total of 1,885
Remembering The Past - IRA Executed Butchers' Leader
On 16 November 1982, 22 years ago, the IRA executed the
psychopathic leader of the Shankill Butchers, Lenny Murphy.
The Shankill Butchers were a group of Belfast loyalists who
abducted nationalists their victims were usually walking home
from a night out tortured, beat them, and killed them, usually by
cutting the throat.
The leader of the Shankill Butchers was one Lenny Murphy. He
possessed seething anti- Catholicism/nationalism, and was a member
of the Ulster Volunteer Force. He soon gathered together a gang,
the core being Murphy himself, Robert 'Basher' Bates, and 'Big' Sam
McAllister, who used his huge frame to intimidate the Butchers'
victims. Typical of this gang's ritualistic killings was the case
of Francis Arthurs, who was abducted, beaten and stabbed for over
an hour before being killed.
The murder of Tom Madden is seen as one of the most gruesome
examples of the Butchers' brutality. Madden was abducted and then
stripped naked. He was hung upside down from the beam of a lock-up
garage and slowly skinned alive. He eventually died of slow
Francis Crossan, aged 34 and a father of two, was walking home from
a night out when he was spotted by one of the gang. He was hit from
behind with a wheel brace and dragged into a black taxi, which
drove into the Shankill area. Francis was then tortured and badly
beaten. He was repeatedly hit by Murphy, both with fists and with
the wheel brace. Murphy repeatedly said things like, "I'm going to
kill you, you bastard!" Francis Crossan was then dragged into an
alley, and his throat was cut almost through the spine by Murphy.
Pieces of glass found in Francis Crossan's head showed that a beer
glass had been shoved into his head, either in the black taxi or in
More killings followed, until 1979. One of the Butcher's victims
was found barely alive. He identified the Butchers, and they were
all convicted of murder, except Murphy, who escaped on firearms
charges. By 1982, he was out of prison, and he set about re-
assembling his gang.
Murphy's gang re-grouped around the time a UDR man was kidnapped.
The IRA had kidnapped him and was demanding a ransom. Murphy
decided to kidnap a nationalist and demand the release of Cochrane
in exchange. Murphy hijacked a black taxi and headed to the Falls
Road, where 48-year-old father-of-two Joseph Donegan waved them
down. He was taken to Murphy's house, where he was tortured. He had
his teeth pulled out with pliers by Murphy until only three were
left. He was finally killed by Murphy. Donegan's body was found in
the back of Murphy's house. Murphy was arrested but the RUC said
there was no evidence to suggest that he had committed the crime.
The IRA, meanwhile, had set in train an operation to execute
On 16 November 1982, Volunteers of the IRA's Belfast Brigade drove
a blue Marina van to Murphy's girlfriend's house at Forthriver Park
in the Upper Shankill. Murphy was waiting outside. The van pulled
up beside him and IRA Volunteers, armed with a 9mm sub-machine gun
and a .38 special, opened fire on Murphy. Murphy was hit by 26
rounds and died instantly. The blue van used by the Volunteers,
which had been specially purchased for the operation, was abandoned
and set on fire in Glenside Park, a predominantly loyalist area of
North Belfast. The setting of the abandoned vehicle, and the fact
that Murphy had recently been involved in the typical internal
feuding within the UVF, led the RUC to concentrate their enquires
in the wrong direction
The IRA, taking full advantage of this confusion, delayed its
statement claiming responsibility for the execution until a few
days later, when it said the following:
"Lenny Murphy (master butcher) has been responsible for the
horrific murders of over 20 innocent nationalists in the Belfast
area and a number of Protestants. The IRA has been aware for some
time that since his release recently from prison, Murphy was
attempting to re-establish a similar murder gang to which he led in
the mid-'70s and, in fact, he was responsible for a number of the
recent sectarian murders in the Belfast area. The IRA takes this
opportunity to restate its policy of non sectarian attacks, while
retaining its right to take unequivocal action against those who
direct or motivate sectarian slaughter against the nationalist
Human Rights Commission Seeks Omagh Cop Meeting
14 November 2004
The Human Rights Commission is to seek a meeting with the senior
police officer investigating the Omagh bombing.
The move comes after relatives of the victims asked the commission
to back calls for a public enquiry, into events leading up to the
Former Garda sergeant, John White, who "handled" a thief who stole
several cars used in Real IRA bombings prior to the Omagh attack,
has claimed that the criminal told him that a Vauxhall car was
being sought by the terrorists for a bombing in Northern Ireland,
two weeks before the outrage.
But the intelligence wasn't passed to the RUC, to enable them to
frustrate the attack.
Paddy Dixon - currently on a Garda witness protection programme -
has yet to be interviewed by police here - even though it's
believed he has been living in England for several months.
Efforts by the officer in charge of the Omagh investigation, Chief
Superintendent Norman Baxter, to interview the car-thief have been
thwarted by the authorities in Dublin.
It's believed Dixon is in a postion to verify Sergeant White's
In a letter last week to Michael Gallagher, the chairman of the
Omagh support group, Brice Dickson, of the Human Rights Commission,
said he is seeking an interview with Mr Baxter before deciding
whether to support a public enquiry.
Mr Gallagher said: "I understand where Brice Dickson is coming
"He has asked us to consider sending a letter to his counterpart in
Dublin, the Irish Human Rights Commission, outlining our points,
and we will do that."
'Emotive' Atrocities Of '98 Exhibition
14 November 2004
An exibition recalling two terrible terrorist atrocities which
grabbed international headlines, will open in Omagh tomorrow.
Entitled The Summer of '98, the exhibition recalls the appalling
Omagh bombing and the tragic deaths of three young brothers at the
height of the Drumcree protest, that year.
Award-winning local artist, Ray Duncan, created an emotive canvas
to commemorate the lives lost in the bombing, which tore apart the
Co Tyrone town, and the sickening deaths of Richard (11), Mark (10)
and Jason Quinn (9).
The three brothers were burned to death in their home, in
Ballymoney, in the early hours of July 12, as the Drumcree protest
raged across the province.
A 24 year-old salesman, Garfield Gilmour, received three life
sentences for murdering the three Catholic children - but in
January, 2000, the convictions were overturned and Gilmour was
convicted of the boys' manslaughter.
Duncan says he was motivated to paint several canvases of the two
events, partly because of the historic dates on which they fell.
He said: "The year of '98 has a resonance with the past, and July
12 and August 15 have contemporary symbolic importance.
"These two events, just in their sheer horror on different scales,
were driving forces."
While the exhibition, which has more than a dozen paintings,
including a 24ft x 6ft canvas depicting Omagh in the hours after
the devastation, has been on display at two galleries - including
Benburb Priory - bringing it to Omagh has special significance to
the bereaved families.
Michael Gallagher, chairman of the Omagh Support Group, has
welcomed the exhibition, which will be held at the town's Tourist
He added: "I first heard about the paintings when I attended the
25th anniversary of the La Mon bombing, in Belfast.
"I'm delighted the local tourist board has managed to secure the
exhibition for the town."
Soldier's Restorick Claims Investigated
14 November 2004
The Police Ombudsman has now interviewed a former soldier who
claims that the life of the last serviceman murdered by the IRA
could have been saved.
The Ombudsman's director of investigations, Justin Felice, spoke to
the former Special Forces soldier, who uses the pseudonym 'Tony
Buchanan', in the last few days.
Buchanan claims that surveillance of the IRA's infamous border
sniper team was halted by the RUC's tasking and co-ordination
group, just hours before 23 year-old Lance- Bombardier Stephen
Restorick was shot dead, in February 1997.
The former soldier has alleged that the decision was taken to
protect an informer, within the IRA unit which operated along the
border using a powerful rifle, which fired devastating half-inch
After making the allegation public last month, Buchanan was served
with a legal gagging order by the Ministry of Defence, which
prevented him from making any further reference to his military
experiences in Ulster.
But Stephen Restorick's mother, Rita, and his father, John, asked
the Police Ombudsman to investigate the claim that soldiers
attached to the specialist 14th Intelligence unit were told not to
intercept the sniper gang - led by South Armagh terrorist, Michael
Caraher - as it headed towards the Army's Bessbrook base.
Caraher, who was sentenced to life imprisonment, but then released
under the terms of the Prisoner Release Scheme, is believed to have
killed six members of the security forces using the powerful
American Barrett Light Fifty rifle.
Buchanan - who is believed to have served in Iraq recently - has
admitted that he was not part of the 14th Intelligence unit, but he
claims that he has spoken to members of the unit tracking Caraher.
The Treasury solicitor - acting for the MoD - rejected approaches
from the Police Ombudsman to interview Buchanan in London and,
since then, a legal battle has been fought between the two bodies.
But after the Ombudsman threatened to launch a High Court action,
the Treasury solicitor agreed to give O'Loan's investigators access
to the former soldier.
One legal source told Sunday Life yesterday: "This is an important
landmark for the Police Ombudsman, because - even though she has
absolute powers to interview serving and former members of the
police service - the military is a grey area.
"It appears that Mrs O'Loan's office has established the important
precedent that, if a soldier has information that may be relevant
to her investigations into police actions, then interviewing that
soldier is a legally compellable request."
'Radical Doesn't Speak For Us'
14 November 2004
The leader of Ulster's Islamic community last night hit out at a
radical Muslim activist, for justifying the kidnapping of Annetta
Jamal Iweida - president of the Belfast Islamic Centre - slammed
Anjem Choudary, after he described hostages in Iraq and Afghanistan
as "legitimate targets".
The Muslim activist accused Annetta Flanigan, from Co Armagh, and
Irish-born aid worker Margaret Hassan of "shoring up" the
occupation of the two war-torn countries.
He also claimed the Koran justifies the kidnapping and killing of
people from the West, in Muslim countries currently occupied by the
Choudary, part of the Ahl ul Sunnah Wal Jamma group, which supports
Osama Bin Laden, also refused to express any sympathy for the
beheaded British hostage, Ken Bigley.
The fundamentalist is believed to have made the comments during a
visit to Trinity College, in Dublin, last week.
He said: "The women only have themselves to blame.
"These people are legitimate targets. If you go out to any occupied
Muslim land to work, then you are undoubtedly a legitimate target."
His comments caused outrage in the Republic - and the head of
Belfast's Islamic community also branded them "totally
Speaking to Sunday Life, Mr Iweida said the radical activist's
views do not represent the views of the majority of Muslims.
Said Mr Iweida: "This man does not represent the majority of Muslim
views and his versions of the Koran are also incorrect.
"The Koran clearly states that you cannot justify the kidnapping of
civilians who have no role in any battles, especially individuals
who are involved in humanitarian work.
"I also think the majority of Muslims would rather listen to their
scholars, than this man. His views would only be shared by a tiny
minority of people.
"I would hope there would be a positive outcome sooner rather than
later, to the hostage situation in Iraq and Afghanistan."
Mr Iweida spoke to us after making a personal appeal for Annetta
Flanigan's kidnappers to release her.
She is being held by a group calling itself the Army of Muslims.
Irishmen United In Poignant Memorial
14 November 2004
Old soldiers from Northern Ireland travelled to Co Louth yesterday,
to recall the sacrifice of thousands of Irishmen from north and
In particular, they paid tribute to a courageous Victoria Cross
recipient from Drogheda, Samuel Emerson.
A colour party and around 30 members of Whiteabbey Royal British
Legion took part in an inter-denominational service at the town's
Emerson - an Inniskilling Fusilier - was posthumously awarded the
VC for his bravery at Cambrai, where he was killed fighting with
the 36th Ulster Division in 1917.
Royal Ulster Rifles veteran Billy McConnell, who piloted a glider
behind enemy lines on D-Day, said: "Fusilier Emerson's bravery has
long been recorded as part of Whiteabbey Legion's extensive
collection of wartime memorabilia, in a framed display of VC
winners who fought in the Great War.
"It was especially important to recall his sacrifice at this time."
The ceremony at the Drogheda War Memorial, which was built in 1925
to remember the 400 men from the district that died in World War I,
was recently revived by the then Fianna Fail mayor, Sean Collins,
after a 30-year hiatus.
D-Day hero Billy, meanwhile, will this morning be reflecting on the
ultimate sacrifice made by thousands of his comrades.
After a moment of contemplation at the imposing East Antrim War
Memorial monument at Knockagh, high above Belfast Lough, he and
civic representatives from across Co Antrim, as well as comrades
from Whiteabbey Royal British Legion, will observe the traditional
two minutes' silence at 11am.
Brought To Book: Eiremen Of The RAF And Their Northern Comrades
By Bill Smyth
14 November 2004
Aircraft historian John Hewitt has completed a lifetime's work ?
and achieved his life's ambition.
For the retired British Airways engineer (pictured left) has
finally seen his book - Ireland's Aviator Heroes of World War II -
on the shelves.
It has taken him 23 years of painstaking research to tell the
stories of 140 men and women - many long dead - who served in the
Royal Air Force during World War II.
His job done, and the book in high demand all over the world, John
had considered resting on his laurels, but only fleetingly, he
"In actual fact, I had more than enough material left over from the
first book to take me well on the way to completing book number
"The amazing thing is, even though the war ended almost 60 years
ago, I keep getting people contacting me with previously untold
stories of relatives from Northern Ireland, who performed
incredible feats all those years ago. Their courage has never been
Featured in the second book will be one of Ulster's few surviving
Battle of Britain pilots, Noel Corry from Carrickfergus, still
alive and well in his mid-80s.
Added John: "Noel is one of those rarities, in that he flew
fighters and bombers in World War II - very few pilots made the
"He was involved in many hairy incidents over London during the
Battle of Britain, and, having survived that, went on to fly
Lancasters over Germany night after night, as the war drew to a
"And, because of his wartime experiences, Noel is still very much
in demand as a speaker at ex-service dinners all over the UK."
See video at:
Ahern Backs Legal Recognition For Gays -V
The Taoiseach, Mr Ahern, has indicated that the Government is
willing to grant legal recognition for tax and inheritance purposes
to couples in same-sex relationships. While Mr Ahern said that
marriage for homosexual couples is "a long way off", he agreed that
such couples should be treated fairer within the tax and legal
codes. Arthur Beesley, Political Reporter, reports.
A Government spokeswoman said last night that there was nothing to
add when asked whether unmarried heterosexual couples in long-term
relationships should be granted the same form of recognition.
Mr Ahern outlined his views in an interview on The Week in Politics
on RTÉ last night to mark the 10th anniversary of his leadership in
He said Mr Charles Haughey would be remembered as a "great" leader
in politics, despite the scandal surrounding his tax affairs. "He
did do wrong things," Mr Ahern said. "If you look at the sporting
world, if a person plays 100 matches and they play a few bad ones,
will they be remembered for being a great player or remembered for
the few bad ones? They'll be remembered as a great player and so
will Charlie Haughey."
In another interview on the Political Party on TV3, he said the
next general election was likely to be his last and insisted that
the Government will continue in office until the end of its mandate
in summer 2007.
The Taoiseach's remarks on same-sex relationships came days after a
lesbian couple - Dr Katherine Zappone and Dr Ann Louise Gilligan -
went to the High Court to seek recognition for their marriage in
Canada last year. Mr Ahern said he had talked to many of the gay
community and people who are in same-sex relationships. "The issue
that they raise with me, they say we want more equality and we want
to be treated fairer. I agree with that. I totally agree with
He said it was wrong to group the question of marriage with the
broader equality issues raised by their treatment on income tax,
inheritance and in the legal code generally.
"These people who are in relationships which are not illegal,
they're not immoral, they're not improper, we should try deal with
some of the issues they have to surmount in their daily lives. And
I think that's the fairest, caring and Christian way to deal with
© The Irish Times
Opin - Linda Coleman: What's On The Label?
So I'm in the grocery store. It's the end of a very long day, the
store is crowded, and I'm dead tired. All I want is to get one of
the boxes of generic store brand Honey Crisp Medley cereal that I
saw advertised in the weekly flier, so I can have a nice breakfast
in the morning before heading out to face the next long, tiring
day. I grab the first box I see and check the labelit says "honey
oat clusters," it says "toasted multi-grain flakes," it says
"almonds." I'm happy. There's no one in the express line, which
makes me even happier. I check out, I go home, I fall into bed for
a nice night's sleep.
Over the next few mornings, I'd wake up, get a bowl of cereal, sit
at the computer, log onto the internet and read the morning news
around my cat, Nicodemus, who's walking all over my desk reminding
me to let him lap up the leftover milk out of my bowl when I'm
One day, my other half comes into the office, shaking the nearly
empty box of Honey Crisp Medley cereal.
"How do you like this cereal?" says he.
"It's good," says me, elbowing the overly anxious cat away from my
bowl, telling him to wait his turn.
"Did you notice anything missing?" says he.
"Like what?" says me.
"Like almonds," says he.
So I look in the bowl. There are almonds in here, I'm sure of it.
I've been eating this stuff all week, so I should know if any
almonds had gone missing. I search the bowl, pushing the contents
around with my spoon. There are toasted multi-grain flakes, there
are honey nut clusters, but
"Hey," says me. "Where are the almonds?"
So he shows me the box, and there it is right on the label: "Honey
Crisp Medley Cereal Without Almonds." The word "without" is in
noticeably smaller print than the part about the honey crisps and
the word "almonds."
"Without almonds?" I shriek, sending Nicodemus scrambling for the
safety of his fallout shelter under the bed. "What kind of freak
marketing group came up with that? Gee, why didn't they list all
the other stuff this cereal's 'without'like marshmallows and
I felt betrayed. I felt angry. I felt like writing the CEO of Honey
Crisps International complaining about being lied toexcept they
didn't actually lie. It said "without" right on the label. Then I
felt stupid. I'd been eating this stuff for a week and never
noticed the difference! I did exactly what the makers of this
deceptive product expected me to doI bought the goods at the end
of a long day, consumed the product half- asleep at the beginning of
another long day, too tired at both ends to notice the phantom
Gee whiz, after all I've learned from the republican movement about
reading between the lines, I miss the word "without" on a stupid
cereal box. Good grief.
Oh, well, I've never been much for labels, anyway. The media makes
a big deal of labels, trying to categorize all of us into types,
pitting us against one another, liberals against conservatives,
Republican versus Democrats, telling us we've never been more
Gerry Adams probably wondered what kind of mess he was walking
into, coming to the States so close on the heels of our contentious
Presidential election. At my annual "I wish I was At the Friends of
Sinn Féin Dinner" dinnerfeaturing Totino's Pizza and Merlot,
followed by a dessert tray featuring a tantalizing array of
leftover Halloween candyI read the text of Gerry's speech at the
dinner in New York City.
"I know there are many issues of contention between you," he said,
"but there are Republicans and Democrats in this room. Why? Because
despite your political differences you care about Ireland."
Americans in general have a lot more in common than the media
portrays, anyway. The media tells us we're a nation of red states
and blue states, but if you study a county- by-county map based on
the popular vote, you'll see very few solid reds or blues. The hue
of the average American is more of a reddish, bluish, purple.
And, of course, all of us in the republican movement are green
anyway, so what do we care about red and blue?
"There are a wide range of Irish organizations and solidarity
groups in the U.S.," Gerry reminded us, " discuss, argue if you
must, but agree a plan of campaign that will ensure that as Sinn
Féin grows in political strength in Ireland that here in the United
States there is a growth in the popular demand for Irish unity and
So back to the table, everybodynuts and flakes included, of
course, just to keep things interestingthere's work to be done.
Two Men Die Putting Up Lights At Wake House
A small rural community in Co Limerick was plunged into grief
last night when two men were electrocuted while erecting temporary
lighting for mourners attending the wake of a 21-year-old local
man. Kathryn Hayes reports.
Two other men and a 16-year-old boy were injured in the accident at
Boolaglass, near Askeaton, shortly after 5 p.m.
The two victims were erecting flood-lighting beside the home of
Billy Sheehan who was killed in a car crash on Friday night. The
son of Mr Willie Sheehan, proprietor of the Arena Supermarket in
Askeaton, Billy Sheehan died when his car collided with a wall on
the N69 road on Friday night.
Due to the large number of mourners at the family home, temporary
lighting was being installed in a nearby field which was being used
as a car park. The accident happened when a tower light came in
contact with an overhead power cable.
The two men were pronounced dead at Limerick Regional Hospital. The
other men suffered burns. The 16-year-old was moved to the special
burns unit in Cork University Hospital last night.
The names of the dead men were not released last night but they are
aged in their mid 30s and early 40s. One was married with a family
and both were from the Co Limerick area. The dead and the injured
were friends of the Sheehan family and one of the deceased and two
of the injured were related.
"The accident on Friday night was bad enough because everyone would
know the Sheehan family but for this to happen on the evening of
the wake is beyond comprehension," said one local.
The Health and Safety Authority was informed and are liaising with
© The Irish Times
Pope's Visit To Ireland Still Possible
Pope John Paul II's proposed visit to Ireland next year remains a
possibility, according to both the Archbishop of Armagh, Dr Seán
Brady, and the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Ahern, writes Paddy
Agnew in Rome.
Both Archbishop Brady and Mr Ahern met the Pope in Rome last week
and both confirmed that it was still very possible that the ailing,
84-year-old Pope may yet visit Ireland next year.
The visit would probably take place in the late spring.
Mr Ahern had a 15-minute private audience with the Pope in the
Vatican on Saturday morning during which the question of the papal
visit was discussed.
"We talked about his possible visit to Ireland. He nodded but he
didn't say yes or no. I think the reality is that these sort of
decisions will be made as time goes on," the Minister said
"I reminded him that the Government and the people of Ireland would
very much welcome such a visit. I have to say, though, that I found
the Pope in very good form, very alert and we talked about a number
of issues, including the Middle East situation, given that I had
just come back from Yasser Arafat's funeral," said the Minister.
Archbishop Brady met briefly with the Pope during a Vatican general
audience last week and took the opportunity to reissue the Irish
Bishops' invitation to visit Ireland.
"At that type of audience, you just pass in front of the Pope but I
did say to him, 'Holy Father, I hope you will be able to return to
"He didn't say anything, he doesn't usually in those situations,
but I am sure it is deep in his heart, that it is one of the things
he would deeply like to do."
It still seems probable that the Pope's visit to Ireland, if it
happens, will come next May or June and will be a two day, one
overnight affair with the centre-piece of the trip a visit to
Archbishop Brady, however, was keen to stress that no details for
the trip have yet been fixed, pointing out that much obviously
depends on the ailing Pope's state of health.
© The Irish Times
Irish Reaction To Rise Of Hitler Recorded
Irish diplomatic reaction to the rise of Adolf Hitler to power in
Germany in the 1930s is a prominent feature of Volume Four in the
series Documents on Irish Foreign Policy, published by the Royal
Irish Academy in association with the Department of Foreign Affairs
and the National Archives. Deaglán de Bréadún, Foreign Affairs
Edited by Dr Michael Kennedy, Prof Ronan Fanning, Prof Dermot
Keogh, Prof Eunan O'Halpin and Ms Catriona Crowe, the new book is a
documentary history of the development of Irish foreign policy from
March 1932 to December 1936.
It includes a letter to his superiors in Dublin from the Irish
charge d'affairs in Berlin, Leo T. McCauley, the day after the
burning of the Reichstag in February, 1933. McCauley indicates that
the incident will facilitate Hitler's quest for absolute power.
He describes Hitler as "a mystical and mysterious figure: no one
knows what his principles and true policy really are". Reporting on
a public meeting addressed by Hitler, McCauley writes: "He shouted
at the top of his voice, becoming almost inarticulate with
excitement before each sentence was well begun, and frequently
being quite incoherent before the sentence was ended.
"All the foreign observers who were present and with whom I have
spoken, agreed that he simply raved. Yet his speech was received by
the audience with the wildest enthusiasm."
© The Irish Times
Granting Salmon A Better Chance At Sea
Angling Notes: The Atlantic Salmon Trust (AST) has allocated
Â100,000 for new research on salmon behaviour at sea, writes Derek
The money will be used to get a better understanding of the impact
of trawl nets, predators and fish farms, and is the largest grant
the conservation body has ever given.
The first phase next spring will focus on the use of research
vessels to test equipment and methodology at sea. These trials will
be of benefit to the internationally-agreed SALSEA (Salmon at Sea)
programme, which is scheduled to commence in 2006 under the
auspices of NASCO, the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation
SALSEA will determine where salmon go at sea and how they use the
ocean's currents and resources. It will also identify factors
regulating their migration and overall survival at sea.
There is now universal agreement among scientists that the decline
in Atlantic salmon stocks is due to poor marine survival. Despite
an improvement in the freshwater environment, numbers have fallen
by more than 50 per cent in the last 30 years. Gaining a better
understanding of the problems facing salmon at sea offers the best
chance to reverse the decline.
AST research director and project leader Dr Dick Shelton said: "As
the improved management of salmon rivers has flowed from a thorough
understanding of freshwater requirements, the time has now come to
apply the same approach to their needs at sea."
AST funds will allow new research, using the latest tagging
technology, on the impact of seals on salmon and sea trout, and
better management of fish farms to enable depleted salmon rivers to
recover their former prosperity. AST executive director Seymour
Monro said: "We believe this research is the most important ever
carried out on salmon." For further information, tel: Andrew
Graham-Stewart at 07812-981531.
Alphonse Island Fishing Company in the Seychelles has become known
as one of the finest bonefishing and saltwater experiences. There
are more than 40 species to tempt on the fly including the
legendary milkfish. With its four-star facilities, the resort is
also an ideal holiday destination for non- fishers and families.
Frontiers Travel now offers an opportunity to experience this at a
reduced cost. The weeks of January 1st, 8th, 22nd and 29th are
available on a first-come first-served basis for $3,995 (Â3,078).
This is a $1,000 (Â770) discount based on double occupancy and a
shared guide and skiff.
Contact Peter McLeod at firstname.lastname@example.org
Around the fisheries
Annamoe Trout Fisheries, Co Wicklow: Water temperatures are still
holding at nine degrees, allowing trout to continue to feed on
minnow. Lures on intermediate line retrieved slowly along with
buzzers proving best. Rathdrum angler Bob Gilbert won Â50 courtesy
of a tagged fish.
Results of Airflo Winter League (Heat 3): 1, P. Doyle (Co Wexford),
5 fish; 2, R. Phillpot (Co Wexford), 4f; 3, M. Francis (Co
Wicklow), 3f. Heat 4 is scheduled for Saturday, November 20th.
Corkagh Park, Dublin: Local angler John Daly used a combination of
cat's whiskers and dabblers flies to land a 3.5lb rainbow and
topped his bag with 12 smaller fish.
Tallaght angler Noel Foley managed a fine common carp of 6lb on his
first attempt at carp fishing (Tel: 01- 4592622).
Maynooth Fisheries, Co Kildare: The fly lake is fishing well for
the time of year. Michael Cazabon landed several fish, the best
weighing 12lb on a small dry fly, and Roger Fowler had 25 on
bobbies and buzzers. Bigger fish during the week included four to
6lb for Brian Payne.
Popular patterns include cat's whiskers and small spider
imitations. The carp lake is proving a little harder. Three fish
for syndicate member Steven Fitzsimons included a 25lb 7oz mirror
carp and John McDonnell landed four to 22lb. All were caught on
boilies. (E-mail: email@example.com )
© The Irish Times
Words We Use
The word henchman has come down in the world since the Middle
Ages when it meant a trusted, loyal follower, writes Dr Diarmaid Ó
It now carries a slightly sinister sense, an unsavoury underling in
skulduggery and shady dealing. The compound is interesting in that
it has survived almost intact from the Old English hengstmann, a
groom, from a Germanic origin, hengst, stallion. Stallions, then as
now, were prized animals and very difficult to handle; they were
entrusted only to the care of loyal, expert handlers. In Middle
English a hengstmann had become a henxman or a henchman, and the
word had changed its meaning to a nobleman's ceremonial attendant,
a post of honour.
That word skulduggery is a bit of a mystery. It seems to have its
origins in Scotland in the early 18th century, when it was spelled
sculduddery, and meant both fornication and verbal and written
obscenity. Its origins are obscure. The Americans spelled it
skulduggery (just one l, note) in the nineteenth century and gave
it the meaning "misappropriation of funds". It is in constant use,
need I say, and not only in the US.
Cemetery puzzles Mary Corcoran of Carlow. Did it come into being as
a euphemism for churchyard or graveyard in modern times, she
wonders. No, it became a euphemism in the days of the Roman
persecution of the Christians, in fact.
It comes from the Greek koimeteron, sleeping quarters -
specifically, slaves' quarters. Latin adopted the word in the form
coemeterium, for the sleeping quarters of a garrison. Then the
early Christian writers got hold of the word and used it
specifically to denote the catacombs, and later any consecrated
burial ground - the resting place or sleeping place of the
Christian dead. Hence Italian cimitero.
This early use of the euphemism sleeping for dead ignored the
original sense, slave quarters, and prompted the American
lexicographer John Ciardi to fume: "If any preacher presumes to
stand over my corpse (whenever) and say I am not dead but only
asleep, I instruct my friends to explain to the man that I am
damned well as dead as I am ever going to be, and gone (to quote,
of course, myself) into the dormitory tombs where old boys sleep."
The great John Donne's no-nonsense attitude would have pleased Mr
Ciardi. Up he rose from his sick bed on the Sunday before his death
and delivered his own funeral sermon in St Paul's, dressed in his
winding sheet and funereal headgear. That fairly shook his
audience, I'd say.
© The Irish Times