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January 02, 2005

01/03/05 – State Papers Coverage

Monthly Table of Contents 01/05
Monthly Table of Contents 12/04

IT 01/03/05 1974 State Papers: Coverage
IT 01/03/05 1974: The Way We Were
IT 01/03/05 1974: Cosgrave Bombarded Before Bill Was Defeated
IT 01/03/05 1974: Wilson Clearly Wanted To Disengage From The North
IT 01/03/05 1974: Sunningdale's Brief History
IT 01/03/05 1974: Army Intelligence Monitored Anti-EEC Campaigners
IO 01/02/05 Dana Asks Irish Entertainers To Help Quake Victims
IT 01/03/05 Dublin-Cork To Get Hourly Trains
MI 01/02/05 Huge Pierce Brosnan Interview In Best Life Magazine
IT 01/03/05 Young Donegal Angler Lands The First Salmon


1974 State Papers: Coverage

Today and tomorrow The Irish Times examines the Dublin, London
and Belfast Cabinet Papers for 1974.

They are traditionally kept secret for 30 years, and as our
specialist team of historians and journalists shows, the 1974
papers yield fascinating insights into the way politicians and
civil servants dealt with the challenges of the time.

Current events are tripping on the coat-tails of history as we read
of the failure of the first power-sharing Northern Ireland
Executive, and recall Mr Séamus Mallon's description of the Belfast
Agreement as "Sunningdale for slow learners", almost a quarter of a
century and thousands of deaths later.

It was a bleak time, a year which opened with hope and ended in
failure. The power-sharing agreement reached in Sunningdale yielded
a cross-community executive which was soon brought down by the
Ulster Workers Council strike.

A new Fine Gael-Labour government was torn between trying to
support power-sharing in the North and continuing domestic pressure
not to drop the national aspiration for unity.

Rising energy costs and a stagnant economy were crippling problems.
Legislation for contraception collapsed, with the Taoiseach voting
against his own Government's first tentative step to permit married
couples to obtain contraceptives.

Some papers have been withheld and others, notably those from the
office of the chief minister at Stormont, are missing. We also have
access this year to some files held over from previous years. And
tomorrow, reporting on papers released for the first time under
Britain's new freedom of information legislation, we have important
new information on Britain's plans to deal with hunger strikes.


Eamon Phoenix: Dr Eamon Phoenix is the author of Northern
Nationalism, a study of the nationalist minority in Northern
Ireland. He is a broadcaster and a lecturer in history at
Stranmillis College, Belfast. This is his 20th year of reviewing
the release of Cabinet papers under the 30-year rule for The Irish

Jonathan Bardon: Dr Jonathan Bardon OBE is the author of A History
of Ulster. He lectures in history at Queen's University, Belfast.

John Bowman: Dr John Bowman is an historian and broadcaster. He is
author of De Valera and the Ulster Question; 1917-1973. (Oxford
University Press)

Deaglán de Bréadún: Deaglán de Bréadún is an Irish Times journalist
and author of The Far Side of Revenge - Making Peace in Northern

Richard Bourke: Dr Richard Bourke lectures in history at Queen
Mary, University of London. He is the author of Peace in Ireland:
The War of Ideas. (Random House, Pimlico 2003).

Alison Healy: Alison Healy is an Irish Times journalist.

Coverage of the State papers in The Irish Times is edited by Kieran

Public access

The Dublin papers may be inspected at the National Archives, Bishop
Street, Dublin 8, Ireland.

The British papers may be inspected at the National Archives, Kew,
Richmond, Surrey, TW9 4DU, England.

The Belfast papers may be inspected at the Public Record Office of
Northern Ireland, 66 Balmoral Avenue, Belfast BT9 6NY, Northern

© The Irish Times


1974: The Way We Were

JANUARY: The year opens traditionally with Maureen Potter in
pantomime, Cinderella in the Gaiety theatre in Dublin.

The big movie is Jesus Christ Superstar at the Adelphi cinema,
Ireland and Lions outhalf Mike Gibson, gets an MBE. In the columns
of The Irish Times, Edmund van Esbeck wishes our international
rugby selectors well, while making it clear he expects little good
to come of their deliberations. And a busy year begins for a young
woman from a wealthy English background, as Dr Rose Dugdale and
three other Provisional IRA members try to bomb a police barracks
in Strabane

FEBRUARY: Another wealthy young woman, Patricia Hearst, is
kidnapped by a radical group the "Symbionese Liberation Army" who
sought to feed the poor of California from the Hearst newspapers'
fortune. Soon she throws her lot in with her captors and joins them
in bank raids. Designer Louis Feraud decrees "knees well hidden
this spring". Derek "Crosaire" Crozier, then as now doyen of
crossword compilers, deploys a rare topical reference . "That's the
end of half of the Free State (6)". The answer was "demise" ( demi
= half , SE, Saorstat Éireann). Britain holds the first of two
general elections.

MARCH: The letters pages of The Irish Times host a spat between our
intellectuals. One Con Houlihan writes from Castleisland, Co Kerry;
"Dr Conor Cruise O'Brien cannot be all that bad. After all, Desmond
Fennell does not like him." Contraception is now on the political
agenda. Mary Robinson's Family Planning Bill is refused a second
reading in the Seanad, but the minister for justice, Patrick
Cooney, is preparing his own version. That will fix it.

APRIL: A trust is set up to maintain The Irish Times as a "serious
and independent newspaper". A Dublin Corporation bin strike ends,
it had begun in February. Dr Rose Dugdale, is busy again. Some 19
paintings including a Vermeer, a Goya and two Gainsboroughs are
stolen from the Beit collection at Russborough House in west
Wicklow. And Charles Haughey buys an island, Inishvickillane in the
Blaskets, as a holiday home.

MAY: Sgt Patrick O'Leary and Garda William Creedon show that the
force has a good eye for the fine arts when they spot the missing
Beit collection in a rented cottage at Glandore, Co Cork.

JUNE: The first Russian ambassador to Ireland presents his
credentials and the international press is amused by the address of
the new embassy - Orwell Road - and the fact that it had previously
been occupied by the Irish Management Institute.

JULY: The taoiseach, Liam Cosgrave, and six other Fine Gael
deputies vote against their own party's Bill to allow married
couples access to contraceptives. A nine-week Dublin bus strike
ends. The issue - the replacement of a six-day working week by a
five-day working week. The military government in Greece is ousted
and democracy restored to the land of its birth, but there is
trouble looming in Cyprus between the Turks and Greeks.

AUGUST: Author Kate O'Brien dies in exile in Boughton, Kent. Of
late her work has been overshadowed by another O'Brien ( Edna), but
in time the real value of novels like The Land of Spices will be
appreciated. Germany wins the world cup for the second time,
defeating Holland in the final.

SEPTEMBER: Nixon, resigns, forced out of the US presidency by the
lies of the Watergate scandal. Two Nixon aides, John Dean and John
Ehrlichman, receive prison sentences. In Dublin, the attorney
general, Declan Costello, announces the formation of a law reform

OCTOBER: Harold Wilson narrowly wins the second British general
election of the year. A former IRA chief of staff, Seán McBride,
shares the 1974 Nobel peace prize with a Japanese statesman, Eisaku
Sato. British - and some Irish - public opinion is not impressed.
The Irish soccer team defeats the Soviet Union 3-0 at Dalymount
Park, Don Givens scoring all three goals.

NOVEMBER: President Erskine Childers collapses and dies while
attending a medical dinner in Dublin. Former judge Cearbhall Ó
Dálaigh replaces him in December. Irish is no longer obligatory to
get a job in the civil service. The seventh earl of Lucan, "Lucky"
Lucan, goes missing, wanted for the murder of his children's nanny
Sandra Rivett.

DECEMBER: To curb oil imports the price of petrol goes up 30 per
cent. Dublin's much loved artist Harry Kernoff, who chronicled the
life and people of the streets, dies age 74. Georgia's governor,
peanut farmer Jimmy Carter, declares his intention to run for the
US presidency. And Rose Dugdale completes a busy 12 months by
giving birth to a baby boy in Limerick Jail.

... compiled by Kieran Fagan

© The Irish Times


Cosgrave Bombarded With Letters Before Bill Was Defeated

Alison Healy

Contraception: Although family planning clinics now open on
Sundays to provide the morning-after pill, it was a very different
situation 30 years ago for those seeking contraceptives.

In March 1974 the Fine Gael- Labour coalition introduced a Bill
allowing the sale of contraceptives to married people. However, it
was defeated in July, with the taoiseach, Mr Liam Cosgrave, voting
against it.

Before its defeat, the taoiseach was bombarded with letters
opposing the Bill. One mother of six from Drimnagh wrote to Mr
Cosgrave urging that a referendum be held. "The papers are trying
to push it through, particularly the Irish Independent," she wrote.
"Please keep cool, the people are behind you. Should it be passed,
the children of our land will not thank you. Please heed a mother
who foresees nothing but evil should this go ahead."

Another woman strongly objected to "anyone in the Dáil making any
decision about this matter on my behalf. We had a referendum for
EEC membership and for Article 44. This highly important moral
issue must be put to the Irish people for their decision".

A doctor from the Central Mental Hospital, Dundrum, warned about
the "permissive use" of contraceptives. The passing of the Bill
would do huge damage to people's commitment to the value system of
the Christian faith "which they have steadfastly held on to in face
of tremendous difficulties for over four hundred years," wrote Dr
Patrick Cassin. "The architects of our present freedom were
convinced of the value system of Christianity but the present
transition of our people is toward a humanist society with the
consequent loss of their faith. As such they would be no different
from English people."

Some 37 parents of children who made their Confirmation in
Tipperary in 1974 urged Mr Cosgrave "to do all in your power to
prevent its passage".

When the Bill was being drawn up the attorney general suggested
there be a provision to allow a garda ask people suspected of
having illegal contraceptives if they were married. If someone said
they were married, the garda should be able to ask where and when
the marriage took place.

However, the minister for justice, Mr Patrick Cooney, rejected this
suggestion. Gardaí would still have to prove that the contraceptive
was purchased, he said. "Moreover, the provision, as far as it
goes, could perhaps be criticised as (a) an unjustified invasion of
privacy and (b) an attempt to transfer the onus of proof . . ."

In a memo to the government, Mr Cooney said the liberalisation of
contraception laws would help the case for a united Ireland. "From
the point of view of relations with Protestants in Northern
Ireland, it proposes to liberalise our laws sufficiently, in my
opinion, to meet what would be likely, on the available evidence,
to constitute their wishes in relation to the laws to apply in a
future united Ireland."

In the Dáil Mr Cooney said he had "clear evidence" that there was a
black market in the sale of contraceptives. Firms were using street
or telephone directories to get addresses to target people

"It has been rather irately brought to my notice that one firm is
enclosing a sample of its wares with the order form." He did not
accept that single people had a right to contraceptives "because
that implies a right to fornicate and in my opinion there is no
such natural right".

The defeated Bill was drafted following the Supreme Court ruling on
the McGee case in 1973. The court found that a law forbidding the
importation, sale or advertising of contraceptives violated
constitutional protections for privacy in marital affairs.

The 1979 Health (Family Planning) Act finally gave married people
the right to buy contraceptives with medical prescriptions.

© The Irish Times


Wilson Clearly Wanted To Disengage From The North

British State Papers: The British prime minister's idea of an
'Ulster Dominion' was intended to reduce Britain's obligations to
the barest minimum, writes Richard Bourke.

A top secret planning document drafted by the British prime
minister in the immediate aftermath of the collapse of the Northern
Ireland executive betrays the clear desire on Harold Wilson's part
to confer some form of quasi-independence on the North.

In the days directly following the Ulster Workers' Council strike,
Wilson was contending that the best means of realising that goal
would be to negotiate dominion status for Northern Ireland.

In Wilson's opinion, this course represented the best means
available for shedding responsibility for the North, especially
given the kind of dominion which the prime minister had in mind.

The creation of an "Ulster Dominion" was intended to involve
reducing Britain's obligations to the barest minimum, whilst
maximising the protection which could be afforded to her interests.

Quoting a favourite phrase from his own 1971 memoir, Wilson
insisted that Britain enjoyed "responsibility without power" in
Northern Ireland.

But recently this powerlessness had been even more forcefully
driven home by the decisiveness with which the Ulster Workers'
Council had thwarted British policy.

Although Wilson believed that the British press had been generous
in the wake of his government's defeat at the hands of the UWC, he
feared that very soon the press would discover the stark fact that
"the emperor had no clothes". But the dread of imminent exposure
drove Wilson to plan his next move with keener deliberateness and

For instance, on Wilson's reckoning, it was most unlikely that
dominion status for the North would carry with it automatic
membership of the Commonwealth.

In fact, in all probability, Northern Ireland would not even be
made an "associated" state.

That was because if Northern Ireland were to acquire this all-but-
independent, "associated" status, Britain would still be implicated
in her external relations.

And since this set of relations included such plausible
eventualities as the North going to war with the Irish Republic,
Britain could conceivably be drawn against her will into an Irish
quagmire yet again, and so be trapped once more in the predicament
of "responsibility without power".

Consequently, if Britain went for withdrawal, as she certainly
would in the kind of "doomsday scenario" such as seemed to Wilson
to be definitely on the horizon, it would have to be withdrawal on
British terms. As Wilson presented these terms, they would include
securing protection for the minority community in Northern Ireland
in any new-formed Ulster Dominion.

Wilson envisaged Britain's financial subsidies gradually tapering
off over a three- to five-year period. "After that they would be
out on their own," he flatly stated.

But in the meantime, if the new regime began to backslide on agreed
arrangements for the Catholic minority, "an immediate cut-off of
money would follow".

On May 31st, 1974, Wilson's principal private secretary, Robert
Armstrong, wrote to the prime minister thanking him for his ideas
on dominion status for Ulster and offering to get the chief
official at the cabinet office, John Hunt, to direct the
government's top Northern Ireland policy committee towards
prioritising Wilson's initiative.

A hand-written note from Wilson in the margins of Armstrong's
letter adds the thought that more than mere direction might be
necessary if his preferred option was to prevail.

Armstrong duly applied himself to the task. By June 7th the
Northern Ireland Office was supplying him with assorted precedents
in international law, ranging from the Dominion of New Zealand to
the Irish Free State.

The example of Newfoundland, however, seemed most pertinent to
current circumstances in the eyes of the NIO. After all, in 1948,
following on from her own domestic crisis, Newfoundland had freely
chosen to unite with her larger neighbour, the Dominion of Canada.

The analogy with Northern Ireland coming to terms with the South
was at least striking, even if the parallel had no predictive

It was left to the British Embassy in the United States to pour
cold water on the idea of an easy exit from Northern Ireland.

"The worst case, in American eyes, would be withdrawal, with or
without a period of notice," insisted the US ambassador in a
dispatch home to London from the embassy in Washington.

The ambassador, Mr Peter Ramsbotham, anticipated that the Americans
would most likely follow the lead of the Irish Republic in
castigating withdrawal "as a loss of will and a betrayal" on the
part of Britain. As the months passed, this notional US verdict
seems to have actually been accepted by the British government.
"Above all, we must avoid a drift to civil war, defeat, and
withdrawal," runs a memo to the prime minister in October.

However, the profound wish to quit the Northramified through
government circles. It was only stymied by the thought of the
catastrophe that would surely follow.

Yet if literal withdrawal was not a realistic option, a more subtle
disengagement would certainly be possible if it was conducted
within the framework of continuing direct rule. In the words of a
secret cabinet office document on policy trends from December 3rd,
1974, if direct rule was to be necessary well into the foreseeable
future, undoubtedly "it should be direct rule with a difference".

© The Irish Times


Sunningdale's Brief History

Analysis: The Irish Government had no illusions about the Wilson
cabinet's lack of commitment and ineptitude over the Irish issue,
writes John Bowman.

For all the effort which had been invested in the Sunningdale
settlement and for all the optimism which had followed the historic
breakthrough which it encompassed, there was no honeymoon for the
historic power-sharing executive which took office on January 1st,
1974. Most beleaguered of all was the chief minister, Brian

By January 4th the Ulster Unionist Council had voted against the
Council of Ireland, and Faulkner, already at a disadvantage in
attempting to sell a difficult compromise to his electoral base,
was obliged to quit the leadership and the party to which he had
devoted his political career.

Within weeks, his opponents had used the snap Westminster election
of February as a plebiscite on Sunningdale: and, worse for
Faulkner, the election campaign was running at the moment of the
agreement's "maximum weakness", as one Irish adviser put it.

Faulkner wrote to the Taoiseach, Liam Cosgrave, on March 31st
outlining "very frankly" the realities concerning the proposed
Council of Ireland; he believed that, as delineated at Sunningdale,
it was unsaleable to the unionist community. Taking into
consideration the "significant and depressing" election results, he
believed he could not even carry his recently-formed Unionist Party
of Northern Ireland, nor what he termed the "most sensible and
well-balanced people in the professional and business community".

To press ahead with ratification might well result in a break-up of
the executive and "risk the gravest consequences".

The brief written for Cosgrave in preparing for his first summit
with Harold Wilson spelt out the probable consequences of any
failure to ratify Sunningdale: the collapse of the executive; the
reintroduction of direct rule; and a constitutional conference to
explore alternative forms of governing the North with the "tacit
understanding" that the British "would withdraw from their
commitments in Northern Ireland".

Although there was no "hard evidence" for this scenario, Cosgrave
was encouraged "to explore the possibility" that this would be
Wilson's analysis, but "without necessarily pointing the way for

Cosgrave was reminded that in November 1971 Wilson had mooted a
detailed plan envisaging a British withdrawal after 15 years.

Wilson also referred to this plan when he met Cosgrave in London on
April 5th, citing it as a possible explanation for the upsurge in
IRA violence which had followed Labour's return to power in the
February election: perhaps the IRA were "under the impression that
'we were likely to be softies'".

Cosgrave and Irish ministers pressed the Labour ministers for early
ratification of Sunningdale. Rees reported that some of Faulkner's
supporters were now saying: "'All is lost. The party is finished'.
More defections were expected." And Rees emphasised a traditional
British concern: that security "was a must before moving on to
signing the agreement. Something must come out of Dublin on this".

Garret FitzGerald, while admitting that "there was a need to
fireproof Faulkner", still believed that Sunningdale should be
ratified soonest. Callaghan was in agreement.

It was imperative that Faulkner "must be made to take jumps and, if
necessary, would have to be pushed".

Labour ministers were not unaware of Faulkner's vulnerability, with
Rees admitting that he could be "down to only one as an assembly
majority. Bradford could defect and bring a considerable number
with him".

Faulkner had been "publicly and vulgarly abused in the streets of
Belfast about his 'republican friends' and what they had brought

When Sunningdale was ratified the following month, Faulkner's
greatest enemies may well have been those very Labour ministers who
could muster only a policy of appeasement when faced with the
challenge of the Ulster Workers' Council strike. Indeed Wilson's
gratuitous televised insult to the strikers, describing them as
"spongers" - "Who do these people think they are?" - only had the
effect of strengthening UWC resolve.

Wilson can scarcely have been unaware that such would be the result
of this sneer. His motivation must be suspect as he played so
tellingly to the gallery of British viewers who believed that
sufficient resources had already been expended in Northern Ireland
- political, economic and military - and who believed that Britain
should reconsider its commitment to the province.

Another factor in the equation which Dublin policymakers had to
bear in mind was the traditional nationalist myth which presumed
that if the British withdrew, the unionist response would be to
negotiate terms with Dublin for a united Ireland.

This utterly naive belief looked more and more shaky in the wake of
the UWC strike. The SDLP from its pessimistic analysis of
unionist/loyalist opinion manifestly gave it no credence.

Nor did the inter-departmental unit in Dublin charged with
evaluating different scenarios in the North. They (civil servants)
advised the government that the belief that British withdrawal
would be followed by Irish unity was "not well founded".

The unit concluded that withdrawal was more likely to be followed
by an attempt, possibly successful, to establish an independent
state of Northern Ireland, initially over the entire six counties,
but ultimately over those areas dominated by the loyalists.

Once the executive fell, Dublin's policy advisers invested
considerable resources in examining all possible scenarios. Unlike
many of their more propagandistic predecessors, they were willing
to acknowledge the many weaknesses in Dublin's anti-partition

While keeping the ultimate aspiration to unity in mind, they did
not allow it to obstruct the necessity for hard-headed realistic
assessments of the vulnerability of Northern nationalists. It was
emphasised in one position paper that all British policy in
Northern Ireland was invariably limited to "minimum, necessary,

The brief for the Anglo-Irish summit in September advised that the
British should be encouraged to let the loyalists know what the
costs of any attempted unilateral declaration of independence would
be. Such a declaration would result in the loss of the British
subsidy of £400 million; the loss of the "British security
umbrella"; and the "likelihood of a civil war situation in the
North, as minority communities make their feelings on the subject
known. This could involve the South".

Cosgrave was advised that a "process of attrition" by the British
where they spelt out these dangers, "could well convince the
extreme loyalists that power-sharing may the least of the evils
facing them".

The briefing note acknowledged that all shades of unionism were now
opposed to any Council of Ireland, while being prepared to work
with Dublin "on social and economic matters". It was therefore
vital "to approach the question of an 'Irish dimension' with
particular care in the forthcoming discussions".

Wilson reported on the "doomsday terms" in which more than one
member of the SDLP delegation had expressed themselves at a meeting
with him. He assured Cosgrave that power-sharing and an Irish
dimension remained cornerstones of British policy.

Any attempt by a loyalist majority coming out of the convention
election to declare a unilateral declaration of independence was
unacceptable, just as it would be for Yorkshire or Cornwall. "The
North could not live for a day without Britain." The UWC strike
might have been effective "as a destructive tactic, but you could
not run a government or an administration on this principle".

Wilson boasted that "in recent months some very nasty men had been
lifted on the unionist side" including "the perpetrators of the
Dublin bomb outrages". These were now in detention although "it was
impossible to get the evidence to try them in ordinary courts".

There was some discussion of Enoch Powell's decision to contest the
forthcoming UK election, the second of 1974. He had lost his
Wolverhampton seat in February and now proposed standing for south
Down as a candidate for the United Ulster Unionist Council.

Wilson told Irish ministersthat such were Powell's convictions on
economics and Europe that there was "no possibility of a Powell-led
UUUC group and the Conservatives led by Heath getting on together

He quipped that Powell's switch of party and constituency had come
about because of UUUC dissatisfaction with their leaders. They had
"adopted the football club expedient of hiring an expensive
outsider. It was unlikely to work".

Much of this same ground was again covered at a further summit in
London on November 1st. Wilson promised "to put up a barrage of
information, White Papers, etc" to convince the people of Northern
Ireland "that their area would be a very impoverished country if
they strike out on their own".

Wilson again promised that his government would not abandon power-
sharing and an Irish dimension as the cornerstone of its Northern
policy. He claimed that the Conservatives in the October election
had been "toying with the idea" until he had "rumbled it". Perhaps
some Conservatives might still contemplate abandoning power-sharing
"but they certainly would not do so under Whitelaw. 'He would
vomit' at the thought".

Although Wilson attempted to portray his government as custodians
of the values which had underpinned Sunningdale, the files in the
Department of Foreign Affairs and the Taoiseach's office for 1974
reveal that the Cosgrave Government and its advisers remained
appropriately sceptical.

Dublin had been told by John Hume in August that Heath had confided
to him that he believed the Labour government wished to withdraw
from the North. But the most telling guide to Labour's Irish policy
was its ineptitude in May in not defending the executive. The Irish
records for 1974 show an administration in Dublin with no illusions
on Labour's reliability on the issue. Ministers preparing for the
September summit were advised that the Labour cabinet had "no great
political concern or interest in the Northern situation" aside from
four senior ministers: Wilson, Rees, Mason and Callaghan.

Although otherwise preoccupied since becoming foreign secretary,
Callaghan was "probably politically the surest of the four"; and
given the "ineffectiveness of Rees and Mason, and Wilson's loose
style of leadership", it was scarcely surprising that the Northern
situation had "seriously drifted".

© The Irish Times


Army Intelligence Monitored Anti-EEC Campaigners

Deaglán de Bréadún

Newly-released State papers reveal that political activity by
campaigners against Irish participation in the European Economic
Community (EEC) was closely monitored by Army intelligence in 1974.

A secret file on a leading opponent of EEC entry, Mr Anthony
Coughlan, which has been declassified under the 30-year rule, shows
the extent of monitoring by military intelligence.

Even minor details are recorded, such as a reference made to Mr
Coughlan in a letter to the Sinn Féin weekly, An Phoblacht and the
fact that he and his fellow-campaigner, Mr Micheál Ó Loinsigh, had
"signed a letter to An Phoblacht".

A secret handwritten report, dated June 20th, 1974 indicates a high
level of surveillance. The report notes that, "Tony Coughlan has
been invited to a conference of the British-Irish Association in
Oxford on weekend 5-7 July 1974. He has arranged to pass through
London on 4 or 5 July. He is likely to stay with Desmond Greaves
overnight 4-7-74."

A file was also kept on Mr Greaves, a British-based left-wing
historian who died in 1988. The fact that Greaves was also under
close surveillance is apparent from an entry in the Coughlan file,
which sets out his travel plans as follows: "Greaves will be in
Liverpool first week in March; London 8-11 March; Liverpool 12-15
March; travelling in England 16-26 March; London 27-31 March." The
names and addresses of persons who made contact with Mr Coughlan to
obtain information or express support are also recorded.

A report also tells how a body called the External Research Group
had held its "third meeting" in Dublin in 1974. "The meeting
discussed informally the theory and practice of developing a broad-
based movement for democracy, unity and independence, as a credible
alternative to the Fianna Fáil versus Coalition type of politics."

Among the participants understood to be present, the report
continues, were Mr Coughlan, the scientist Dr Roy Johnston and
anti-apartheid campaigner Mr Kader Asmal.

© The Irish Times


Dana Asks Irish Entertainers To Help Quake Victims

02/01/2005 - 10:18:10

Top Irish musicians and entertainers have been asked to consider
taking part in a cross-border telethon in aid of the victims of the
Asian disaster.

Former MEP Dana Rosemary Scallon has approached RTE and the BBC to
propose a dual charity concert in Dublin and Belfast.

Dana has said that it is important to harness public goodwill in
the initial stages of the catastrophe.

Ms Scallon said that she has spoken to representatives of various
artistes and "without exception, they all want to do more".

She said the help we can all provide to the victims will be an
investment in the future of all those affected.


Dublin-Cork To Get Hourly Trains

Liam Reid

Iarnród Éireann is to provide hourly train services between
Dublin and Cork by early next year, as part of a major improvement
in services on intercity rail routes over the next four years.

The company, which announced passenger figures of 34.5 million for
last year, said it hoped to dramatically improve services on major
intercity routes, beginning with the introduction of 67 new
carriages on the Cork-Dublin route. The carriages are being built
in the factories of CAF in Spain and will be delivered in the
middle of the year.

A spokesman for Iarnród Éireann said it planned to introduce the
carriages on the route towards the end of this year, with hourly
services coming into effect in the first few months of next year.
He said Iarnród Éireann hoped to confirm another large order of
carriages for other intercity routes shortly.

This year the company will also complete the major upgrade of DART
platforms to cater for larger trains, which will come into
operation towards the end of the year.

The plans are part of a new investment phase for the company,
following a five-year €1.3 billion programme which has just been

Iarnród Éireann has also put proposals to Government for a €3.4
billion plan, which includes an underground tunnel linking a new
station in the Docklands with St Stephen's Green and Heuston

Although there has been continuing criticism of overcrowding on
some routes and a lack of adequate services on others, the company
defended its record and said it had provided major improvements
since 1999, completing large projects on time and on budget.

CIÉ and Iarnród Éireann chairman Dr John Lynch said the company had
"delivered real improvements for our DART and commuter customers,
and updated our track, signalling, level crossings, stations and
rail communications on intercity routes.

"We now progress to our second phase of investment in the next four
years, which will see continued expansion of services for DART and
commuter customers, and dramatic improvements in quality and
frequency of service for our intercity customers."

The company said there was now 50 per cent more carriages on DART
peak time services, compared with four years ago. In the last five
years, 420 miles of track have been upgraded from jointed track on
timber sleepers to modern continuous welded rail on concrete
sleepers, at a cost of € 300 million.

This, along with safety improvements, has led to quicker times on
most mainline routes.

Other major projects, such as the €176 million upgrade of the DART
line and the €117 million upgrade of Heuston station, were on time
and on budget.

© The Irish Times


Huge Pierce Brosnan Interview In Best Life Magazine

In his first major interview since setting down the martini glass,
Pierce Brosnan talks candidly about how the tragedies of his past
have steeled him for the professional challenges of his future -
reports the official Pierce Brosnan website.

Pierce Brosnan rises from a hospital bed. An unkempt beard covers
his face; his exposed torso is riddled with cuts and bruises. In
this scene from the most recent Bond film, Die Another Day, 007
finds himself in a medical facility, healing after 14 months of
torture at the hands of the North Koreans. Adding insult to the
injuries, Bond's boss, "M", waltzes into the recovery room and cans
him. "Double O status rescinded," she informs him curtly. A harsh
dismissal, but more dignified than the insult Brosnan received in
real life.

Beginning with GoldenEye in 1995, the 51-year-old actor helped
resuscitate MGM's storied, and then troubled, franchise, burnishing
it into a multibillion-dollar asset. Yet this fall, the actor's own
Double O status was rescinded. With Brosnan's four-picture Bond
contract fulfilled, the series producers chose to move on, without

even the courtesy of a final phone call. As Brosnan's close friend
and business partner, Beau St. Clair, puts it: "It's all been a
blur. I wish the producers would talk about it. I have no way of
knowing what happened."

Brosnan is sitting on the deck of his Malibu beachfront home, clad
in a loose-fitting blue linen shirt, white linen pants, Tevas, and
olive tinted shades. Gazing out at the Pacific and the sand where
his wife and their two young children play, he could be any loyal
corporate soldier cut loose in favor of some yet-to-be-determined
kid who's, like, way stoked to have his job. This being Hollywood,
though, it's not as if Brosnan can duck off to a golf course, for
the trade papers replay the slight each time they speculate about
which dandy - Jude Law, Orlando Bloom, Hugh Jackman - might be
strapping on the Walther PPK when the next Bond starts filming.

"I wish I could give you a reason why I'm no longer that
character." Brosnan says. To his credit, he knew the Bond annuity
would end and is embracing the change as an opportunity to redefine
himself. "I'm number five," Brosnan says, noting the fact that he
was the fifth actor to play the charismatic ace of Her Majesty's
Secret Service. Then, in the next breath, he shouts a line from The
Prisoner, an old British TV favorite of his. "I am not a number! I
am a free man!" He makes this proclamation with a mix of theatrical
bravado and self-deprecating charm. But make no mistake, this guy,
who survived a tragic childhood and found himself a 38-year-old
widower with three kids, is ready for this next life passage.

"Come on," Brosnan says, getting up from his seat on the porch.
"Let's go for a little spin." In his front driveway, among his 3-
year-old's Big Wheel and 7-year-old's scooters, is one of the most
beautiful toys a big boy could dream of owning: a bullet-gray 2002
Aston Martin Vanquish. It has a 6.0-liter, V-12 engine that gets to
60 MPH in less than 4.8 seconds and 100 mph in under 10. It also
comes with a price tag well north of $200,000. It's the car his
James Bond drove in Die Another Day. The carmaker approached him to
do some PR. In return, he asked for the car and got it.

Within minutes, on this bright, breezy Friday morning, Brosnan is
driving us south on the Pacific Coast Highway. The engine growls,
aching for the pedal to be pushed. A honking car struggles to pull
even with us so that a passenger-dude can lean from the window and
shout, "Great car, man!" Glimpsing Brosnan, the admirer's eyes
widen, and he gives the actor two thumbs up.

You probably first spotted Brosnan appearing equally stylish and
smooth on Remington Steele, the 1980s TV series. He played a sharp
pretty boy hired by a female detective to be her front man.

Steele, not unlike the movie version of Bond, was a tall, dark,
dashing enigma. If you had to guess at Steele's biography, you'd
probably go with a son of English privilege. Brosnan's life
couldn't be farther from such fiction.

He was born in working class County Meath, Ireland, and his father,
Tom, abandoned him and his mom, May, just before his first
birthday. "My mother was the prettiest woman in the town. He was a
bit older than her. They made me. And he split," he recalls. Now
seated at Geoffrey's - a sun-drenched restaurant overlooking the
ocean in Malibu - and waiting for lunch to be served, Brosnan takes
a long pull on a bottle of Corona as he casts his memory back.

His mother promptly took off to England, where she pursued a
nursing degree, leaving Brosnan's grandparents to look after him
until they passed away. After that, 4-year-old Brosnan lived with
relatives until he joined his mom in England at the age of 11. "I
had to have some balls to be Irish Catholic in South London. Most
of that time I spent fighting."

In high school, Brosnan decided he'd had enough of the beatings -
taking and giving them - and he dropped out. Carrying ignorance,
anger, and a portfolio filled with sketches he'd done, he landed a
position as a trainee artist with a commercial-illustration studio.
One winter's night, a coworker suggested Brosnan go with him to an
acting workshop. "I walked in through those doors," he recalls,
"and I found a life for myself. The people were an outstanding
mixture of society. They all seemed to have some kind of mangled
life, which they had turned to their own benefit. There were street
performers, teachers, poets, sculptors, and writers. I found my
true kind of education. And I found a tribe I could identify with.
Life changed in that moment."

Brosnan quit his job and pursued a life in the theater. Workshop
performances led to starring roles on the London stage, and
Hollywood took notice. After starring in an ABC miniseries about
the Irish potato famine, The Manions of America, Brosnan felt the
time was ripe to cross the pond. A few weeks after arriving in the
U.S., he landed the Remington Steele role. It was a stroke of good
luck that preceded unspeakable heartache.

Brosnan never would have come to America if it hadn't been for the
encouragement of his first wife, Cassandra. They met in London in
1977, while he was starring in a year-and-a-half run in Franco
Zeffirelli's Filumena. Cassandra, an actress, was the mother of two
small children and recently divorced from the brother of actor
Richard Harris. During a party she hosted for the Filumena cast,
Brosnan wandered into her kitchen and was caught eating chicken the
single mom had made for her kids. Shortly thereafter, they married,
and Brosnan's first son was born.

Just as Remington Steele was canceled in 1987, Cassandra was
diagnosed with ovarian cancer. A 4-year battle, including rounds of
chemotherapy and eight surgeries, ensued. In late 1991, at the age
of 50, she died in her husband's arms. They'd been together for
over a decade. "The pain of watching someone's life dwindle away is
like no other pain," Brosnan says. "But because she was such a
fighter and had such strength and great optimism and passion for
life, it always made it seem okay. And when you're dealing with
dying, you appreciate life in a really sweet way. During those
mornings or afternoons or days when she wasn't feeling pain, we
realized how beautiful it all is."

He tried "the therapy route" to allay his grief, but it didn't
work. "I just kind of did it alone. It's up to you at the end of
the day; you're your own psychologist." Prayer was often a comfort.
"I had the traditional [Catholic] prayers," Brosnan says, "but
there was also my own personal dialogue with the man up there." And
he had his work. It was therapeutic but also necessary. He had
bills. Suddenly, he was a single father. There were his two
stepchildren and the son he had with Cassandra to care for. "That
was the toughest part," he says. "You're making decisions for these
lives, and you have no one to bounce the ideas off of."

In 1994, Brosnan found that person to share ideas with. At a fund-
raiser in Mexico, he met Keely Shaye Smith, who was covering the
event for NBC's Today. They went on their first date a few nights
later and began a romance that produced two sons and culminated
with a grand marriage celebration at an Irish castle in 2001. The
change in his personal life marked the beginning of a professional
rebirth. The same year Smith and he met, MGM asked him to play

The sly humor in GoldenEye resonated with audiences, and the film
was a hit. So it went with Tomorrow Never Dies, The World Is Not
Enough, and Die Another Day. He leveraged his box-office clout in a
deal with MGM that got him his own production company, Irish
DreamTime. In 1999, the company produced the successful remake of
the 1968 Steve McQueen classic, The Thomas Crown Affair, with
Brosnan in the lead. A year later, it made Evelyn, a drama about a
down-on-his-luck bloke who tries to win back the family he has
lost. The film was a disappointment. Therein lies the challenge for
Brosnan going forward: Will people pay to see him portray anything
other than a man of mystery like the jewel thief he plays in his
current release After The Sunset? Will he have the after-Bond life
of Scan Connery or Timothy Dalton?

"I've been very blessed," Brosnan says while driving home. "Some
people have a tendency to get knocked down in this business and
sulk and whine, and they just create a rod for their back, really.
You have to have broad shoulders and get through it. When people
don't believe in you, you have to believe in yourself. I suppose
that comes from [my] childhood. That makes you very resilient. Very

In truth, Brosnan had come to regard the spy movies as creative
bondage. He yearned for 007 to be more like the character in Ian
Fleming's novels. "In the books, the guy cracks," Brosnan notes
with admiration. "He knows he's out on Benzedrine and cocktails,
and he's got f--ing blood on his hands. You see his fallibility."

For that reason, Brosnan's favorite of his 007 performances is the
one in Die Another Day. The film starts with Bond being captured
and then doubted and fired by his own agency. Brosnan loves that
the hero had fallen upon hard times and the future looked
uncertain. "There were just moments where you had this exciting
scenario where you don't know who he is, you don't know how he's
going to get out of this situation," he says. "It was much more
[about] the man, the character." The enthusiasm drains from his
face. "And then the film drops back into the old formula, and it's,
like, by the numbers, because it leaves you nowhere to go except
crass one-liners."

Brosnan has always exuded style, but now more than ever he craves
substance. On the set of After The Sunset, in the Bahamas, he found
himself in the midst of a telling moment with Brett Ratner, the
film's 35-year-old director, who not long ago was cranking out hip-
hop music videos. "I'd be sitting in my trailer, listening to
classical music," Brosnan recalls. 'And [I'd hear] hip-hop [music]
going boom-boom-boom. I'd open up the door, and there are about 12
models and Brett in the middle of them ... beaming face. Living his
own music video. Certainly [in a moment like that], you realize
you've been in the game for some time."

On the way home, Brosnan shares another story: Recently; on a
sleepy morning much like today, he was driving along in the Aston
Martin and spotted a Ferrari to his left with a teenager behind the
wheel. The punk revved up the engine and stared Brosnan's way. The
kid wanted to race. Brosnan let his foot drop a bit, and suddenly
they were both doing 95. Brosnan knew that if he were to unleash
the V-12's full power, the boy and his Ferrari would be a rearview-
mirror memory. "I said to myself, 'What the f--- am I doing? I'm a
51-year-old man with a wife and children.' I hit the brakes."
Brosnan is in no hurry to be anyone's character. Now it's about
being his own man.


Young Donegal Angler Lands The First Salmon

A 14-year-old Co Donegal fishing enthusiast has become the
youngest angler to catch the country's first salmon of the new

Andrew Desmond from Dunfanaghy caught the 8lb salmon while fishing
on the River Lennon in Ramelton, Co Donegal, on Saturday.

A nephew of billionaire and Celtic shareholder, Mr Dermot Desmond,
young Andrew had gone fishing with his father Michael at around 8
a.m. The first salmon of the year was caught with a Silver Toby
just over five hours later, at 1.15 p.m.

"I'm absolutely thrilled," Andrew said. "I've been fishing now for
about four or five years, but to be the youngest person to ever
catch the first salmon of the year is just brilliant."

The prize-winning fish was bought for €1,000 by the Silver Tassie
Hotel in Letterkenny, with the money donated to the Donegal Hospice
charity. For his efforts, Andrew wins the Steve Vargo Memorial

It's the second time in three years that the country's first salmon
of the year has been caught on the famous Donegal river.

© The Irish Times

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