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December 30, 2004

12/31/04 – Concern Over Fate of Tyrone Man

Monthly Table of Contents 12/04

IT 12/31/04 Concern Over Fate Of Tyrone Man On Phi Phi
IT 12/31/04 Cork's Year Of Culture To Light Up City


Concern Over Fate Of Tyrone Man On Phi Phi

Dan Keenan, James Fitzgerald and Martin Wall

Fears are growing for a Co Tyrone man who is thought to have been on
the Thai island of Phi Phi when the tsunami struck.

Mr Conor Keightley, from Cookstown, who is 31 today, told a family friend
in an e-mail he was taking a boat trip on Christmas Day. Friends believe
he was on Phi Phi at the time.

His father, Dermot, said it was a difficult time for the family. "We've
been writing e-mails and other things, but we've come up with nothing,"
he told the BBC.

Friends of a missing Dublin woman are also anxious for her safety.
Accountant Ms Lucy Coyle (29), from Killiney and her English boyfriend,
Mr Sean Sweetman, were on Phi Phi. They left London on December 17th but
have not been in contact since the disaster. "The family is very upset,
as you can imagine, but they are concentrating all their efforts on
trying to find Lucy," said a friend.

There was one piece of good news from Thailand yesterday, when a Co
Antrim historian who had been feared dead made contact. Mr Alex Blair,
who was in Sri Lanka, left a message for his neighbour in Ballymoney on
Wednesday, but she only heard it yesterday. He said he was not in a
stricken area and was returning home. As many as 20 Irish people are
still unaccounted for, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs.

Irish aid agencies say there has been a large response to appeals for
donations to help survivors, with close to €2 million being raised so
far. Publicans and hotel owners are to hold a collection for the
humanitarian effort over the New Year weekend. Collection buckets are
expected to be placed in every pub, club, restaurant and hotel. Proceeds
will be delivered to Garda stations and given to the Irish Red Cross. In
Belfast, Dean Houston McKelvey, also known as 'Black Santa', has
collected stg£240,000 (€339,000) in two days on the steps of St Anne's
Cathedral in Donegall Street.

The Minister for Defence, Mr O'Dea, said last night if a State affected
by the tsunami requested Irish soldiers for the relief effort, he would
seek Cabinet approval.

© The Irish Times


Cork's Year Of Culture To Light Up City

Barry Roche, Southern Correspondent

The people of Cork will wake up tomorrow as residents of European
Capital of Culture.

Cork 2005 officially begins on January 8th but preparations for a
spectacular street festival and international carnival are gathering

The President, Mrs McAleese, will officially open Cork 2005 at a civic
reception in City Hall on the afternoon of January 8th in a ceremony
which will include a specially commissioned theatrical production, Red
Sun, performed by 106 children from the Cork Children's Chorus.

Some 180 performers from all over the world will take to the streets of
Cork for a street festival expected to attract 80,000 people into the
city centre to see a range of characters from giant puppets to feathered
carnival queens and fiery dragons.

The highlight of the opening ceremony promises to be Awakening - a unique
event on the River Lee created by the Waterford street theatre company
Spraoi, which was specially commissioned by the European Capital of
Culture and sponsored by the National Lottery.

The director of Cork 2005, Mr John Kennedy, said: "The River Lee is
central to the pulse point of Cork life and so we are very excited to
mark the beginning of such a momentous year by presenting the river, the
harbour and Cork's own myths and legends in the most contemporary of

"Awakening will bring to life a huge serpent stretching over 600 metres
of the River Lee which will rise from the water and span three city
centre bridges in an explosion of light and fire with water effects,
pyrotechnics, lighting and music combining for an amazing display."

Following Awakening, the Ten Alps company will stage the biggest
fireworks display witnessed yet in Ireland, when between up to four
tonnes of fireworks will light up the night sky over Cork.

Access to the quays for Awakening is by ticket only but tickets are free
and will be available from most SuperValu and Centra outlets throughout
the city from noon tomorrow.

Before the official opening, Corkonians can look forward to a New Year
gala concert when the National Youth Symphony Orchestra of Ireland takes
to the stage of Cork City Hall on Sunday.

The orchestra - which is this year celebrating 35 years in existence -
will be under the baton of Japanese maestro, Takua Yuasa, and will be
accompanied by acclaimed young Finnish pianist, Antii Siirala, while they
will be joined by Cork-born soprano, Cara O'Sullivan.

© The Irish Times

Monthly Table of Contents 12/04
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