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 26, 2004

News 11/26/04 - Parties Promise Response Today

News about Ireland and the Irish

BT 11/26/04 Parties Promised Blair Response Today
BB 11/26/04 Arms Report 'Possible By New Year'
BT 11/26/04 Viewpoint: Time For Parties To Measure Up
DJ 11/26/04 You Funded War Now Fund The Peace - Mclaughlin Tells Murphy
DJ 11/26/04 Get Derry To Belfast Motorway Council Tells Roads Chief
BT 11/26/04 Gardai Seek Recruits North Of The Border
BT 11/26/04 Hotelier: I Helped In Release Of Annetta
BT 11/26/04 Pressure Rises For Smoking Ban
AU 11/26/04 Peace Dividend Bypasses Poor
IC 11/26/04 Photos: A Troubling Image
NL 11/26/04 Council Calls For Parades Group To Stand Down
DJ 11/26/04 Bloody Sunday: The Beginning Of The End
BB 11/26/04 Kilmichael 84 Yrs On: 'War Of Words' Over Battle
IO 11/26/04 Sargent Says Bertie 'Worse Than Bush' On Environment
BT 11/26/04 How Uister Scots Put Bush In Power
CC 11/26/04 Opin: Bush Could Win Nobel For Irish Peace


Parties Promised Blair Response Today

By Noel McAdam and Chris Thornton
26 November 2004

Sinn Fein and the DUP were today expecting written responses from the
governments on their detailed points of clarification.

Tony Blair's spokesman said the DUP would have the document in time for
the crunch meeting of its 80-strong executive tonight.

Then the governments expect a definitive answer from the parties by early
next week. "We'll wait and see. But there isn't much time to go," the
spokesman said.

The two key parties continued to finger-point each other today - but
remained optimistic over the prospects for a deal.

Major differences remain, however, over verification of IRA decommiss-
ioning, the election of the First and Deputy First Minister and other

Republicans are understood to be resisting the DUP demand for
photographic evidence of disarmament along with independent witnesses,
likely to be Protestant and Catholic church leaders.

After the latest meeting of his ard chomhairle (executive) Sinn Fein
President Gerry Adams said: "If they (the DUP) do not come up to the
plate on all of this, the governments need to move ahead."

But DUP deputy leader Peter Robinson said the time had come "for
republicans to face up to the decisions they need to make".

Meanwhile, the DUP Assembly member who attended economic talks that also
involved Sinn Fein said the media was "making a mountain out of a
molehill" about the issue.

George Dawson took part in the talks organised by the Business Alliance
along with Dara O'Hagan of Sinn Fein and representatives of the UUP, SDLP
and Alliance.


Arms Report 'Possible By New Year'

More details have emerged on British-Irish proposals to deal with the
demand for visible decommissioning.

Talks sources suggest that by the end of December, General de Chastelain
could report that all IRA weapons have been "put beyond use".

Photographic proof of this would be held by the head of the Independent
International Commission on Decommissioning until March.

There would then be a new power-sharing executive.

The details emerged as Sinn Fein and the DUP were preparing to receive
the governments' responses to their queries over the governments' joint
proposals aimed at restoring devolution.

The two governments have said they are ready to publish their proposals
if the parties do not sign up to a deal.

The DUP's executive meets on Friday evening, while Sinn Fein leader Gerry
Adams has met Tony Blair for further talks at Downing Street.

Insiders have told the BBC that the proposals from the two governments
are very clear: if a deal is done, then, by the end of this year General
de Chastelain would report that all IRA weapons have been put beyond use.

This would open the door to a shadow assembly at the start of January.

Two churchmen - agreed by the DUP and republicans - would witness the
acts of decommissioning.

Sources say that under the governments' proposals, photographs would be
taken, but would not be published immediately.

It is not yet known how much of this will be agreed to by the parties,
although the DUP is saying no deal will be made without photographs.

BBC Northern Ireland security editor Brian Rowan added that "nothing was
coming from republicans at this time to suggest that the IRA has agreed
to this proposal".

A Sinn Fein spokesman said that republicans were not the sources of these
reports and were unhappy about them.

DUP MP Jeffrey Donaldson said his party would not go into government with
republicans unless transparent decommissioning had taken place.

Mr Donaldson added that he was confident they would reach agreement on
the issue.

"We are closer than we have ever been. We are hopeful that we can close
the outstanding issues, but we're not there yet," he said.

"I have to say that on the issue of 'no guns, no government' ... we have
made significant progress on that front and I believe that we can close
the gap."

At the conclusion of intensive political talks at Leeds Castle in Kent in
September, Mr Blair and Mr Ahern said the thorny issues of IRA
disarmament and future paramilitary activity appeared to be resolved.

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

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2004/11/26 13:05:57 GMT


Viewpoint: Time For Parties To Measure Up

KEY WEEKEND: Give and take policy is paramount if a deal is to be struck

26 November 2004

Although no formal deadline has been set, there is a general acceptance
that this weekend is "make up your mind" time for both the DUP and Sinn
Fein as the peace process enters yet another crucial phase.

The British and Irish Governments have indicated that the current
negotiations cannot extend beyond the middle or end of next week. After
weeks of tortuous negotiations a decision now has to be taken.

The agenda has been set by the final clarification document which the two
governments presented to the DUP and Sinn Fein. The parties are taking
soundings from their executives and will report back at the start of next

The question is whether the new British-Irish blueprint will close the
gap between the two parties or widen it. And more importantly, are the
DUP and Sinn Fein willing to accept that in order to reach a deal,
neither party is going to get everything it wants?

After so many false dawns, there are bound to be many doubts. One major
area of concern is that these two key parties have still not met face to
face to discuss the terms of an agreement.

The sticking point now, as it has been since the Good Friday Agreement,
is the reluctance of the IRA to complete the decommissioning process. As
this paper has argued over the years, full implementation of this aspect
of the accord would transform the situation.

Compromise is a word that does not loom large in the vocabulary of either
the DUP or Sinn Fein. Yet if these two parties want to get their hands on
the levers of power, concessions will have to be made.

To judge from the public utterances of both parties, a deal is
tantalisingly close. The twin goals of the IRA going out of business and
the DUP sharing power with republicans may yet be achieved.

Everything now hinges on the willingness of the two parties to strike a
deal. By next week, it should be clear if Northern Ireland is to receive
an early Christmas present or be consigned to an extended period of
direct rule.

A heavy responsibility rests on the shoulders of the DUP and Sinn Fein.
Neither party should be required to abandon any fundamental principle,
but both are being asked to bring their supporters further than they have
ever gone before.

Today, everything hangs in the balance and the DUP and Sinn Fein are
entitled to seek to extract the best possible deal they can. But both
parties should rest assured that they will be judged harshly by the
public if they let minor difficulties become major problems.


You Funded The War Now Fund The Peace - Mclaughlin Tells Murphy

Friday 26th November 2004

Sinn Fein's Mitchel McLaughlin told the British Secretary of State that
if the British government could find the money for the war here then they
should be able to find money to fund the peace.

He was speaking after meeting with Mr. Murphy to discuss the so called
peace dividend which both Sinn Fein and the DUP have said should be paid
by the British government to underpin any agreement here.

Mitchel McLaughlin said: "There is an onus on the British government to
financially underpin the peace process here and to promote well being and

"Also there is a £7 billion shortfall that cannot possibly be covered by
the present revenue funding or by levying increased rates or imposing
water charges."

He continued: "Over the past three decades the British government were
more than capable of finding all the money they needed to fund the war
here, now they should show the same commitment and determination to find
the money to fund the peace."

Mitchel McLaughlin went on: "The British government are engaged in a
peace process as this society emerges from a conflict they were a major
player in.

"They have to deal with the economic legacy of that conflict as well as
address the years of economic neglect of the infrastructural needs of
society here."

He added: "At the minute the parties are engaged in a very delicate
process and if any agreement reached is not underpinned with funding from
the British government then there is a danger that everything could


Get Derry To Belfast Motorway Council Tells Roads Chief

By Ian Cullen
Friday 26th November 2004

Roads service chiefs have been told that a motorway linking Belfast with
Derry is essential to allow the North West to compete economically with
other areas.

Councillors supported SDLP Councillor Pat Ramsey's comments calling for
action on issue at a meeting of senior Roads Service officials and Derry
City Council.

Colr Ramsey told Divisional Roads Manager, Dr Andrew Murray and his
officers that "lack of proper infrastructure" was denying Derry the
access opportunities afforded to smaller towns such as Ballymena and
Antrim, which are served by motorways.

"We are four times the population but we're 50 miles from the nearest
motorway," he said.

He added that Derry must be "joined up" with other parts of the North in
terms of forward planning for roads infrastructure.

He called for "positive discrimination" for the Derry area to allow the
region to economically challenge other major centres.

"We have to ensure we don't miss any opportunities because we cannot
compete economically without a level playing field in terms of
infrastructure," he said.

Sinn Fein Councillor, Tony Hassan, threw his support behind the SDLP
councillors calls, adding that single lane by-passes would not go
anywhere near to meeting the access needs of the North West.

SDLP Councillor, Helen Quigley agreed that the provision of a motorway is
"critical to the economic health and well being of the city".

Both Colrs. Quigley and Barney O'Hagan (SF) hit out at the Roads Service
suggestion that the Dungiven may have only a single-lane by-pass because
funding restraints would not allow adequate land to be purchased for a
dual carriageway such as was constructed at Toome.

Colr O'Hagan suggested that "surely enough land should be purchased at
this stage if a dual carriageway is envisaged".

Responding to the comments Dr. Murray suggested that, "should money
become available . . . Roads Service would be in a position to" purchase
enough land to build a dual carriageway bypass at Dungiven.

He also suggested that the issue of dual carriageway access may be dealt
with in the Sub-Regional Transport Strategy document to be published next

"I would be confident that if additional money was made available then
Roads Service would be in a position to deliver it," he said.


Gardai Seek Recruits North Of The Border

3,000 are sought in new campaign

By Jonathan McCambridge
26 November 2004

The Garda has launched their first ever recruitment drive for trainee
police officers from Northern Ireland, it emerged today.

The Republic's police force has placed an advertisement in the Jobfinder
section of today's Belfast Telegraph and also in the Irish News seeking
3,000 new recruits.

The Garda recruitment campaign could attract those who are unwilling to
join the PSNI or who have been turned down because the PSNI is

The advertisement for An Garda Siochana is seeking applicants for a two
year trainee programme.

The annual salary for trained officers starts at €22,523 - significantly
below the starting rate for PSNI officers.

The PSNI recently said that it had achieved success in attracting
southern applicants.

A Garda spokesman said: "We have had applicants from Northern Ireland
before but it is the first time we have actively sought recruits north of
the border."

DUP Policing Board member Sammy Wilson said: "You may well find people
who have been left disappointed because of 50/50 recruitment in the PSNI
could get a career in the Garda - it would be the ultimate irony.

"At least they seem to be recruiting on merit and are not subject to the
same politically correct mechanisms which exist here.

"I was talking to senior Garda officials this week and they told me that
many of the PSNI officers who are taking redundancy here would be snapped
up in the South."

SDLP Policing spokesman Alex Attwood said: "A wider membership of the
Garda from the North must be welcomed.

"The PSNI is already attracting people from the South and this broadens
the base of policing throughout Ireland," Mr Attwood added.


Hotelier: I Helped In Release Of Annetta

By Mary Fitzgerald
26 November 2004

The mystery surrounding the freeing of Co Armagh woman Annetta Flanigan
and two UN colleagues in Afghanistan deepened today after a British
hotelier claimed to have helped negotiate their release from captivity.

Peter Jouvenal, a guesthouse owner in Kabul, said Afghan officials
quizzed him about the kidnapping of the three UN workers, who were in
Afghanistan to oversee last month's presidential election.

Ms Flanigan, a 43-year-old former lawyer from Richhill, was seized at
gunpoint along with colleagues Shqipe Hebibi from Kosovo and Filipino
diplomat Angelito Nayan in Kabul on October 28.

The trio were freed on Tuesday in mysterious circumstances after being
held for almost a month.

According to reports, Jouvenal claimed police were refusing to release
him from a house in Kabul where he was questioned about his attempts to
free the hostages on behalf of a wealthy European businessman.

A spokesman for Taliban splinter group Jaish-al Muslimeen, believed
responsible for the kidnappings, said officials agreed to free 24
prisoners in return for the hostages' release, a claim both the Afghan
government and the UN have denied.

Jouvenal said he helped negotiate the release after contacting Jaish-al
Muslimeen's leader, Akbar Agha, through "old friends from the jihad" -
veterans of the struggle against Soviet occupation in the 1980s.

He claimed he wasn't asked to hand over a ransom and didn't know if any
was paid.

Meanwhile, Angelito Nayan issued a statement after returning home to the
Philippines, saying he and his fellow hostages developed a rapport with
their captors and were allowed to listen to music and fly kites.

"The kidnappers made sure that my friends and I were warm enough in
freezing weather at night, fed us quite generously ... even allowed us to
listen to pop hits broadcast by a station for British forces", he said.

The hostages spent their time playing games, singing and chatting about
loved ones, Nayan said.


Pressure Rises For Smoking Ban

By Nigel Gould
26 November 2004

Pressure for an immediate province-wide smoking ban was stepped up today
after a dramatic drop was revealed in cigarette sales in the Republic.

Doctors, leaders, politicians and charities all said the time to
introduce legislation similar to that across the border was "now".

Their urgent calls came as sales of cigarettes fell by 17.6% over the
year in the Republic, cutting Government revenue by €128m.

Officials at the Department of Finance had expected that the smoking ban
would result in a loss of about €70m in revenue but the new figures
reveal it is nearly double that.

Newry-based consultant anaesthetist, Dr Peter Maguire, one of the UK's
leading British Medical Association officials, said it was "unacceptable"
Northern Ireland was "still wait ing" for such a ban to be implemented

"The time for action is now," he said. "The fall in cigarette sales in
the Republic is absolutely great news but not entirely unexpected.

"We applaud the bravery of the Government in the Republic.

"We need the Northern Ireland Office to stop stalling. Every fortnight we
stall yet another Ulster worker dies as the direct result of passive

"Legislation must be put in place now."

Carmel Hanna, SDLP spokesperson on health, said: "This is conclusive
evidence that the ban on smoking in public places, introduced earlier
this year, is working.

"The direct rule Minister, Angela Smith, should take note of what is
happening in the South and introduce an immediate ban on smoking in
public places."

The Ulster Cancer Foundation and Macmillan Cancer Relief also said it was
time for a ban.

Meanwhile, the Republic's Finance Minister, Brian Cowen, said the large
drop in cigarette consumption proved that the Government's "brave"
decision on the smoking ban was a good public health initiative.

In the first six months of the year about 260 million fewer cigarettes
were sold and the expectation is that this trend will prove to have
continued for the full year.


Peace Dividend Bypasses Poor

By Mary O'Hara in Belfast
November 27, 2004

Orla McManus has decided not to cook roast dinners for the six weeks
leading up to Christmas. Money is so tight that she cannot give her
children "a proper Christmas", so she has decided to manufacture a sense
of occasion. By denying them roast chicken now, she hopes the turkey she
serves up on the big day will feel like a treat.

"It's Christmas, for God's sake," she says. "It should still be special.
How do you look your children in the eye and tell them you can't afford
decent presents?"

This is not the way it was supposed to be in post-Troubles Northern
Ireland. With the signing of the Good Friday agreement in 1998, people
such as Ms McManus allowed themselves to believe they could look to a
brighter future. But while many people in the region are indeed more
prosperous, thousands of families remain trapped in poverty.

As a whole, Northern Ireland has benefited greatly from the "peace
dividend". Unemployment is at an all-time low; tourists are pouring in,
and so is their cash; house prices have soared; and second homes have
been springing up like daisies around popular coastal resorts.

In Belfast, now a popular European short-break destination, the trappings
of a boom are everywhere: heaving bars, packed restaurants and trendy new
boutique hotels.

But scratch the glossy surface and it quickly loses some of its sheen.
Behind the facade are thousands of disadvantaged children and their
families enduring some of the worst levels of poverty in the United

A study by the charity Save the Children and Queen's University Belfast
has found 32,000 children across Northern Ireland are living in severe
poverty - 8 per cent of all youngsters.

The report warns that these are children living in "unacceptable
circumstances", deprived of many of life's necessities. It says: "One in
five do not have fresh fruit or vegetables, and one in seven do not have
three meals a day. These children do not have enough clothing or a warm,
safe and healthy environment."

Forty per cent of these children live in households where the gas,
electricity or telephone have been cut off. Half live with a lone parent,
while 27 per cent have parents with health problems or disabilities.

The areas most affected suffered badly during the Troubles. The three
worst areas for child poverty are in the city of Derry. The fourth is the
Falls Road, Belfast - notorious for the severity of its street riots
during the 30 years of conflict.

Poverty levels are compounded by a number of factors, including the
culture of low pay and the lack of affordable child care, said Patricia
Lewesly, spokeswoman on poverty issues for the Social Democratic and
Labour Party.

A spokeswoman for the charity Barnardo's, which runs family community
projects in poverty-ridden areas all across Northern Ireland, says one of
the bitterest pills is that before the regional assembly was suspended
two years ago, progress - albeit slow - was beginning to be made.

But the political deadlock over weapons decommissioning has reduced the
momentum on children's issues, poverty campaigners say. In the latest
Northern Ireland budget there is no mention of any new money for families
and children.

"We are really worried," the Barnardo's spokeswoman said. "If the budget
is not available a lot of vital anti-poverty projects will go to the

The Guardian


A Troubling Image

This week Joe asks if this image of his father being manhandled by
British soldiers is the most famous image of the modern Troubles

Here's an interesting question to start this weeks article. Throughout
the whole period known as The Troubles what would you say is the single
most famous photograph?

Would it be the well known picture of IRA hunger striker Bobby Sands or
even the image of the priest waving a white handkerchief to seek help for
one of those struck down during Bloody Sunday?

It may even be the picture of body parts being scraped up after Bloody

Sometimes the most simple picture can go on to become world famous and
bearing this in mind (I know I'm going to be a bit biased) I think I can
claim that one of the most well known images is not only a North Belfast
picture, and indeed a New Lodge one, but I'll go one step further and
claim that the extremely famous picture I'm talking about is of my Da!

Understandably there are many readers who are going to instantly dismiss
this claim but before you do allow me to present my case.

On the 4th of May, 1971, a major disturbance broke out in the New Lodge
area following a number of incidents at the Gallaher Tobacco Factory at
its North Queen Street end.

My Dad was the caretaker of the nearby Artillery Flats and came out to
see what was going on.

At the same time members of the Royal Highland Fusiliers arrived and
being one of the few men at the scene he was grabbed, severely beaten,
thrown into the back of a military scarcen, taken away, and lobbed into
Crumlin Road Jail.

Another group of people who arrived on the scene at the same time as the
British Army were sections of the world's media and so, in a few short
seconds, one of the most famous images of the Northern conflict was born.

Now my Dad was never a political man and was one of the most respected
people in the whole New Lodge area (I guess the opposite of me!).

During the conflict he would often comment after a British soldier was
killed that he and his family should be pitied.

While having a pint he often stated to me that if we lived in Manchester,
Liverpool, Glasgow, Cardiff or London we would more than likely have
ended up in the British Army only to end up dead in a place like this
over a conflict we knew absolutely nothing about.

His example was the occasion when he was stopped by members of the
Parachute Regiment on the New Lodge Road.

One of the soldiers came over and said "All right uncle Charlie."

Imagine what his face must have been like but before members of the Baker
clan arrive at my door to find out who the traitor is, it's on Mum's

But although my Dad was a very forgiving character the beating he got on
that occasion must have left its mark because every time the Fusiliers
were mentioned it was a good idea to get out of the way.

Not only that, but every time the Black Watch was mentioned a similar
reaction was obtained.

Now I don't have a clue if the Fusiliers and the Black Watch are the same
or if the both were involved in said incident but the forgiving nature
was lost upon hearing the names of these regiments.

Now growing up and listening to my Dad going on about above named
regiments, his Dad being an extremely active IRA member during the 1920's
and 30's.

He had family members involved in various Republican groups, having an
Brother-in-Law pretty high up in the RAF and his two sons (namely my
cousins) in the Parachute Regiment and my Dad's grandfather being an

Could you try and imagine what it must have been like for me growing up
trying to work all that out!

My Dad's dead now, but to complicate matters the story continues with the
fact that he now has a Grandson, to a Protestant mother from the
Shankill, in the Irish Army!

The basic image was my Dad being beaten by British soldiers and this was
the picture which has appeared in dozens of books written on the Northern
conflict, international magazines, posters and of course TV.

The whole incident was recorded on television and shown across the world.

Those who drink in a well known New Lodge bar (which was his local) will
be aware that the "Brit Thugs Out Now" poster is displayed behind the bar
in a framed picture.

The reason for this is due to the amount of bets my Dad won here due to
the fact that he appeared in a well known American TV programme.

His bet was that he was in an episode of Kojak even though he was never
in America in his life.

Those taking him up thought they were on a sure thing until they
discovered that Kojak walked into an Irish bar and what was on the wall
of the bar? - You've guessed it!

On the subject of bars even I, as a die hard Commie, believe that fate
has a way of controlling our lives.

Now my Dad was scooped, badly beaten and thrown into jail at the time of
this famous image.

We lived in Churchill Flats (Now renamed CuChuliann House) and guess what
the nearest bar was?

Well for those not familiar with the area McGurk's was only yards away
and have another guess where Dad's watering hole was?

So although he got a bad beating from the Scots in May 1971 it could have
been worse.

He could have been in his local on the 4th of December, 1971 but was in
jail instead!

I am interested to hear what you think is the most famous image of The


Council Calls For Parades Group To Stand Down

By Richard Sherriff
Friday 26th November 2004

The Parades Commission was called on to resign last night after a motion
from unionists at Castlereagh Borough Council was passed by 15 votes to

Branding it a "vehicle for division", the motion from Ulster Unionist
Deputy Mayor Michael Copeland said the Commission represented an attack
on the freedom of "association, expression and assembly".

Proposing the motion, Mr Copeland stressed that he had no animosity
towards nationalist council colleagues. "I value their friendship. I
value their contribution," he said.

Donning a collarette, he continued: "I still value their friendship, for
there is nothing in this that makes me anything other or less than what I
am. It doesn't make me a bad person."

Seconding the motion, DUP deputy leader Peter Robinson said there was
nothing aggressive in either the Orange or Black tradition.

"There is nothing that aims to demean or belittle any other person or
section of the community or tradition," he said.

However, the motion accused the Commission of systematic discrimination
and expressed the council's "outrage" at the apparent way in which the
threat of republican violence during the summer had been "rewarded" with
limitations being placed on parades.

Welcoming the motion, Chairman of the North and West Belfast Parades and
Cultural Forum Tommy Cheevers said the Commission was "part and parcel or
the attempts to demonise and criminalize" Protestant culture.

"Since 1997, rather than resolve parade issues, the number of disputed
parades has grown and spread across Northern Ireland."

Alliance member Michael Long said the motion was further evidence of
unionist negativity.

"It is important to remember that problems with parades did not start
with the introduction of the Parades Commission."

SDLP member Brian Hanvey said: "We need the Parades Commission because
the Orange Order has clearly demonstrated that it is incapable of solving
the problem unilaterally."


The Beginning Of The End

Friday 26th November 2004

On Sunday, January 30, 1972, one of the worst atrocities of the
'Troubles' happened on the streets of Derry, when thirteen unarmed,
innocent civilians were murdered by members of the First Battalion of the
British Parachute Regiment.

Over the intervening 32 years, the families of those killed, as well as
those who were wounded, have had to endure not only their bereavements
but also scandalous accusations that they were not all innocent.

The now discredited Widgery Inquiry even insinuated that some of the dead
might have been carrying guns and bombs; it also came to the scandalous
conclusion that the soldiers concerned were blameless.

It would have suited the British establishment to allow Widgery's charade
to stand as the definitive verdict. But the dead men's families battled
against obstruction of all kinds, and refused to allow this travesty of
justice to be the last word.

At times it seemed that, despite ceaseless efforts, the search for the
truth and nothing but the truth of what happened would never be
reactivated. But persistence paid off, and in the end the British were
forced to reopen the issue by establishing the Saville Inquiry.

Six and a half years on, and more than 900 witnesses later, Lord Saville
and his two colleagues have at long last retired to write their final

One of the most striking features of the Inquiry proceedings was the
extent of the conflict between the evidence of British Army witnesses, on
the one side, and that of civilians and journalists on the other.

Broadly speaking, it would be fair to say that the vast majority of
evidence from civilians and journalists pointed to the army opening fire
on unarmed civilians in circumstances where the lives of soldiers were
not seriously threatened.

Conversely, however, the evidence from Army sources was largely to the
effect that a legitimate and necessary decision was taken to carry out an
arrest operation against rioters, and that individual soldiers opened
fire only where they had identified a gunman or bomber who was
threatening their lives or the lives of their comrades.

Indeed, the fundamental task of the Saville tribunal is to determine
objectively and authoritatively where the truth lies among these
dramatically conflicting versions.

The truth of Bloody Sunday, however, is known to the people of Derry. It
is something we have known for 32 years.

It was a massacre carried out in broad daylight in full view of hundreds
of eyewitnesses, including scores of independent media witnesses.

Irish people, North and South, have known for years that unarmed civil
rights demonstrators were murdered in cold blood by British paratroopers.
Yet, at the highest level of the British political and judicial
establishments a crude cover up was concocted. This cover-up, conspiracy
of silence, call it what you will, continues to this day. One only had to
listen to the "evidence" of successive military witnesses at the Saville
hearings for confirmation of this.

Indeed, at times, one could only marvel at the testimony of some of the
soldiers which, in a number of cases, reached the realms of absolute

It is no exaggeration to say that the soldiers' evidence frequently
appeared to be treating the people of this city and the events of Bloody
Sunday as something of a joke.

Spurious and inconsistent evidence by soldiers only made the task of the
Inquiry even longer and indeed more painful and insulting to the families
of the dead, those injured, and everyone who went through the trauma of
that day.

The people of Derry, knowing the hurt that Bloody Sunday caused, trust
that Lord Saville and his team will robustly discredit such outrageous

The facts boiled down to the simplest level are that 13 unarmed civilians
were shot dead by the so-called elite of the British military.

The families of the dead and wounded are not seeking recrimination,
simply the truth about what happened on January 30, 1972.

Their concern is to establish the truth and to close this painful chapter
once and for all.

Indeed, one can't help but be struck by the dignity of the families in
their quest for the truth.

At times it may be hard and at times it may be harsh, but the truth
always provides the basis upon that which is bad can be remedied and that
which is good can be made better.

It is said that "truth is the first casualty of war". By the same token,
as we emerge from conflict, establishment of truth, thereby ridding
society of past-through-to-present injustices, should become a hallmark
of a new society.

Thirty-two years on, the relatives of those innocent men gunned down on
Bloody Sunday, backed by the people of Derry, remain steadfast in their
demands: we simply want truth, justice, and most important of all,

We can only hope that justice, at whatever level, will prevail.


Kilmichael 84 Yrs On: 'War Of Words' Over Battle

By Diarmaid Fleming
BBC Northern Ireland

Sunday sees the 84th anniversary of one of the bloodiest battles in
Ireland's War of Independence.

But it will be taking place amid intense debate among historians over
recent research by a former Queen's University, Belfast, academic
alleging that an IRA leader had surrendered soldiers shot in cold blood.

Now, another expert says he has found new evidence of a British
propaganda "spin" operation which discredits all official British
accounts of the time.

For nationalists, the ambush at Kilmichael in County Cork, was seen as a
turning point in their fight against British rule, which was to lead
eventually to the foundation of the Irish State in 1921.

Seventeen auxiliary officers and First World War veterans died in the
ambush by an IRA flying column led by Tom Barry.

Three IRA men also died - two of them shot, according to Barry, after
they stood up to take the surrender of a group of auxiliaries.

Speaking on film before his death in 1980, Barry said: "The Auxies opened
fire immediately (on the IRA men) and they killed them with revolver fire
after surrendering.

"I shouted at the same time to the Section 'Keep firing and don't stop
until I tell ye'. They tried to surrender again and I said 'Don't take
any surrender'.

"We wouldn't take prisoners after their false surrender and after killing
two of our men."

But Barry's account has been challenged by Canadian historian, Dr Peter
Hart, in his book The IRA and its Enemies.

British fury over the ambush was reflected in newspaper articles which
wrote false reports of the mutilation of the bodies with axes of those
killed at Kilmichael

He says the notion of a "false surrender" was made up to excuse the
execution of defeated auxiliaries in cold blood.

As well as presenting a report allegedly made by Barry to his IRA
commanders - which some historians dispute as a British forgery - he
cites seven unpublished accounts, including two from anonymous witnesses
he interviewed.

"Seven accounts by eye witnesses, two of whom were interviewed by me, say
there was no false surrender. Either they explicitly deny it or they make
no mention of it at all in their accounts.

"So I think there is an enormous preponderance of evidence giving
accounts of the ambush radically different from Tom Barry's," says the
former Queen's University academic and now associate professor of history
at the Memorial University of Newfoundland.

British fury over the ambush was reflected in newspaper articles which
wrote false reports of the mutilation of the bodies with axes of those
killed at Kilmichael.

The ambush intensified the war in Cork: Martial Law was declared on 11
December 1920 citing the mutilations, and on the same night the centre of
Cork was sacked by British forces.

But new research by another historian, Dr Brian Murphy, reveals that
fictitious "official" accounts were run from a British propaganda office.

It was established in August 1920, just three months before Kilmichael,
headed by British army Major CJC Street in London, and former journalist
Basil Clarke in Dublin, to counter propaganda from the underground Irish
parliament Dail Eireann publication Irish Bulletin.

"Basil Clarke said we must engage in propaganda by news rather than
propaganda by views and he said we must do this in accordance with truth
and verisimilitude, that is the air of being true but not strictly true,"
says Dr Murphy.

"Major Street said that for propaganda to work it must be dissolved in
some fluid which the patient will readily assimilate and official news is
the best way of doing that."

In his book published before Dr Murphy's research, Dr Hart says that the
British information on the ambush "seems to have been remarkably
accurate" while Tom Barry's account was "riddled with lies and evasions".

He also cites a report captured by the British from Barry to his IRA
commanders to back his analysis - a document which others say is a

Dr Hart - who's also finalising a new biography of Michael Collins -
says he does not mind criticism, but feels that some of his critics are
not open to debate

Dr Murphy says that because reports were labelled "Official", newspapers
carried accounts, often false, which represented British "spin".

Any analysis of the time which relies on official British papers must
take this into account, he says.

"To dismiss - as Dr Hart does - Barry's account as 'lies and evasions' I
don't think is tenable.

"It must be now very close as to whether Peter Hart has to qualify his
statement in the light of the fact that the hand of Basil Clarke was at
work in defining what happened at Kilmichael," says Dr Murphy.

But Dr Hart disagrees: "My account is based on IRA witnesses, not on the
British report. One of the points of my looking into Kilmichael was to
examine the kind of stories and labels which came out of the event - both
sides calling each other terrorists for example and to try and get to the
truth behind it.

"The truth is, as I think the whole book shows, that really in many ways
the two sides acted in much the same way whether in terms of propaganda
or thinking or violence."

But Barry's biographer Meda Ryan - who recently published a book on the
IRA leader - maintains that her interviews with the IRA leader and
Kilmichael survivors, including her uncle who was beside one of the IRA
men when he was shot, do not corroborate Dr Hart's analysis.

"Admittedly it was years later but it was so vivid in their minds," she

"This was a major event and if a major event occurs in somebody's life
then they will remember it with stark reality. In fact they were really
adamant about the 'false surrender'."

Dr Hart - who's also finalising a new biography of Michael Collins - says
he does not mind criticism, but feels that some of his critics are not
open to debate.

"The typical reaction of critics is not that I have some things wrong,
but that I have everything wrong and that everything Tom Barry says has
to be right.

"It's almost a kind of faith-based history, a pseudo-history rather than
a real debate where people concede some things and put forward others or
are sceptical about weak points and accept the strong points."

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2004/11/26 10:49:10 GMT


Sargent Says Bertie 'Worse Than Bush' On Environment

26/11/2004 - 14:05:58

The Taoiseach has been accused of being worse than US president George
Bush when it comes to caring for the environment.

200 delegates from across Europe are gathered in Dublin for the first
conference of the European Green Council.

Irish Green Party leader Trevor Sargent said the Government's policies
have ensured we are amongt the most car- and oil-dependent countries in
the world.

He said the Kyoto Protocol on climate change is "a joke" in this country
because we continue to burn peat and operate a coal-fired power station
at Moneypoint.


How Uister Scots Put Bush In Power

25 November 2004

They were the people from this side of Atlantic credited with shaping
America and American democracy. But unlike the Irish Americans, the
Scotch-Irish in America have until recently been "all but invisible." Now
all that may be about to change as leading writers and commentators in
the US salute the values and culture of a group which Lord Laird calls
the "ethnic dog that now barks".

The Scotch-Irish - accounting for perhaps as many as 27m Americans – are
frequently and unsympathetically stereotyped as rednecks or hillbillies.

Yet, as distinguished a commentator as Tom Wolfe has recently described
the Scotch-Irish, or as we call them Ulster Scots, as 'the all-but-
invisible ethnic group that. . . created the core beliefs of democracy

They are 'all-but-invisible' because they are not interested in 'group-
identity politics' or the politics of ethnic labels.

Patrick Griffin, the American historian, has underscored the point by
entitling his scholarly and much admired history of the Scotch-Irish, The
People with No Name.

At the beginning of November, Paul Greenberg of the Arkansas Democrat-
Gazette, the Pulitzer Prize-winning commentator and the coiner of 'Slick
Willy', significantly attributed John Kerry's defeat and George W Bush's
victory to the former's failure to connect with the Scotch-Irish
constituency and the latter's undoubted ability to tap into the values
and culture of that same constituency.

By writing Born Fighting, who is James Webb, descended from a Scotch-
Irish/Ulster Scots family which settled in Virginia in 1732, has given
Americans a new and heightened appreciation of the Scotch-Irish
contribution to the making of their society.

Webb's choice of title recalls the words of W F Marshall's poem, Hi!
Uncle Sam!

Whenever there was fighting, Or wrong that needed righting, An Ulsterman
was sighting His Kentucky gun with care: All the road to Yorktown, From
Lexington to Yorktown, From Valley Forge to Yorktown That Ulsterman was

As a top graduate of the U S Naval Academy and the most highly decorated
marine officer of the Vietnam War, Webb's experience and knowledge of
fighting is not simply academic.

He was also Secretary of the Navy in Ronald Reagan's first administration
and is the author of six best selling novels.

Beginning his account in Scotland, Webb narrates the story of how they
moved across the North Channel to settle in Ulster in the 17th century
and then streamed across the Atlantic during the course of the 18th
century to escape religious persecution and economic hardship in Ulster
and to create a new life for themselves and their families in the New

They settled the mountainous regions of today's Pennsylvania, Virginia,
West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, and South Carolina.

Within decades, they had spread to southern Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois;
northern Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana. In another
generation, they were the dominant culture in parts of Texas, Arkansas,
Kansas, Iowa, and Missouri.

After the Civil War, they helped settle the Rocky Mountains and the Far
West. If they did not coin the phrase - and they probably did - the
Scotch-Irish certainly believed in 'Manifest Destiny' and practised it.

With them, they brought a fierce individualism, a persistent
egalitarianism, and a strong sense of personal honour. These, James Webb
identifies as quintessentially Scotch-Irish values.

They have been praised, perhaps extravagantly so, by Theodore Roosevelt,
John Fiske and Henry Cabot Lodge, especially for their role in the
American Revolution and the winning of the West.

From the 18th century to the present day, they have made a huge
contribution to education, religion and politics. Webb credits them with
a culture that "shaped the emotional fabric of the nation, defined
America's unique form of populist democracy, created a distinctively
American musical style, and, through the power of its insistence on
personal honor and adamant individualism, has become the definition of
'American' that others gravitate toward."

The Scotch-Irish/Ulster Scots are not a materialistic people. They place
greater value on their way of life than the size of their bank balance.
They take their Protestantism seriously but they are not right wing in
any conventional sense. Because they are religious they take a dim view
of gay marriage and abortion. Because their 'culture is founded on guns'
they do not vote for politicians who favour gun control.

They are patriotic, heavily over-represented in the armed services and
don't burn 'Old Glory'.

Indeed, the lyrics of Merle Haggard's 'Okie from Muskogee' resonate with
Scotch-Irish cultural values.

Their values helped shape the formation of America's strongly independent
blue collar mentality. Evangelical Protestantism, country music and
NASCAR racing figure prominently in their way of life. They are 'Middle
America' and not just geographically.

Recently Nell McCafferty told Belfast Telegraph columnist, Gail Walker
that 'Unionists are boring, though I will say this about them - you can
throw everything you have at them, and we did, and they're still f******
standing there. It's like that film Zulu. You have to respect them for
that. Yep, I salute them, the b******s.'

There is a compliment somewhere in there.

As an Ulster-Scot. I can recognise the same dogged determination and
resilience in my Scotch-Irish cousins across the Atlantic in the post
9/11 world.

Recognition on both sides of the 'pond' of the importance of Ulster-
Scots/Scotch-Irish identity and values is a very welcome development.

I welcome, too, the fact that the Ulster-Scots/Scotch-Irish are no longer
confused with the Irish block vote in the US. The Irish only account for
18m descendants in the US as opposed to the 27m Ulster-Scots.

Furthermore, the Irish contribution to the growth and development of the
US is pretty modest compared to the scale of the Ulster-Scots/Scotch-
Irish contribution.

Our contribution to the growth and development of the super power is
clearly much more important and is now being belatedly recognised.

Perhaps we, Ulster-Scots/Scotch-Irish, are the ethnic dog that now barks.


Opin: Bush Could Win Nobel For Irish Peace

Want Your Voice Here?

Send your column or proposed topic, 400 words or fewer, along with a
photo of yourself, to assistant editorial editor Ray Cooklis at; (513) 768-8525.

Four more years, so let's make the most of it. President Bush says he
wants to cash in on his electoral mandate. Maybe in the back of his mind
he's thinking Nobel Peace Prize?

In 2002, former President Carter won for his global conflict-resolution
efforts. President Wilson received the 1919 award for founding the League
of Nations. And in 1906, President Theodore Roosevelt received the honor,
drawing up a peace treaty between Russia and Japan.

This is heady stuff, but which hand should W. back? Iraq isn't likely to
pay off in the near future. Afghanistan could take years. A satisfactory
Israeli-Palestinian settlement is a long shot. Resolving Iranian, North
Korean or Sudanese issues might take too long.

But wait, what about little old Ireland? No nukes there. The island's
death, destruction and terrorism levels are at an all-time low. All the
groundwork has been laid: the 1998 Good Friday peace accord is written,
signed, ratified and partly implemented. A burgeoning Northern Irish
assembly has been seated, then unseated, four times in the past six
years. Paramilitaries on both sides of the political divide have honored
formal cease-fire pledges and have decommissioned some weapons.

Today, both nationalists and unionists in Northern Ireland are chafing
for a peaceful political settlement. America's recent advocate and
defender, Britain, is crying out for a resolution. The Irish government
is there to lend a hand. Dublin will go to almost any lengths to see a
working assembly succeed in Belfast. In 1998, President Clinton showed
the world that American diplomacy can have a positive influence, filling
a much-needed void.

I couldn't help but wonder, as No. 42 and No. 43 stood side-by-side in
the rain at the dedication of Clinton's presidential library, whether
opinions were sought or suggestions offered.

Today, another one of those narrow windows in time is open in Ireland. If
Bush II would personally reinsert America into the Anglo-Irish political
mix, Ireland, the world and his political stature might receive a huge
injection of peace with justice. If Bush himself, not some lesser
diplomatic envoy, would sit down with Sinn Fein (nationalist), the
Democratic Ulster Party (unionist) and other influential Irish, W. might
just deliver the elusive solution to the 1998 agreement.

Imagine it - the world applauding George W. Bush at the 2006 Nobel Peace
Prize banquet.

Cathal Liam of Sycamore Township is an author and authority on Irish

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