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)

January 06, 2005

01/06/05 - Colombian Court Was Split

Overall Table of Contents
Table of Contents - Jan 2005

BT 01/06/05 Colombian Court 'Was Split'
UT 01/06/05 IRA Condemns 'Criminal' Tag
BB 01/06/05 Robbery Blame 'Will Have To Wait'
BT 01/06/05 Police Step Up Heist Hunt Police Step Up Heist Hunt
IO 01/06/05 Arson Attack On Orange Hall
IO 01/06/05 SDLP Slams Lack Of IRA Comment On Belfast Bank Raid
BT 01/06/05 DUP Fail To Stop Donegal Invitation
SA 01/06/05 Kerry Cheered In Baghdad, Decries Bush's 'Blunders'
EX 01/06/05 Hijacked Website Threatens Security
BT 01/06/05 Council Votes To Close Group Theatre
ZW 01/06/05 How The Scots-Irish Shaped America
BC 01/06/05 Free State Art: Judging Ireland By Its Book Covers

(Poster's Note: In the BT story on the "Donegal Invitation" you get
a taste of the petty nature of the DUP. In the San Francisco story
on Kerry in Baghdad, Kerry compares the IRA to the insurgents in
Iraq. Jay)


Colombian Court 'Was Split'

By Tom Brady
06 January 2005

The Colombian appeals court which passed a 17-year jail sentence on
three Irish republicans was split over its decision, it emerged
last night.

Two of the magistrates voted in favour of a heavy prison sentence
for IRA men James Monaghan and Martin McCauley and Sinn Fein
representative Niall Connolly. Details of a minority judgment from
the third magistrate are now being sought by lawyers on behalf of
the missing Irishmen, whose whereabouts remain a mystery, although
arrest warrants have been circulated in 182 countries through
Interpol. The Colombian authorities have warned they will take
action against any person or organisation known to be in contact
with the men.

The defence legal team is expected to travel here from Bogota
shortly to hold talks with campaigners and the families of the
three and a decision will then be taken on what legal route should
be adopted to challenge last month's judgment.


IRA Condemns 'Criminal' Tag

The IRA today condemned opponents who have tried to criminalise the

By:Press Association

As unionists continued to press Northern Ireland police chief Hugh
Orde to say if the Provisionals were behind last month`s £22
million raid on the Northern Bank in Belfast, the IRA said attempts
to criminalise it would fail.

In a New Year statement carried by the republican newspaper An
Phoblacht, the Provisionals also rejected demands in talks to
restore power sharing for photographs of IRA disarmament.

The organisation said: "We reject recent attempts to criminalise
our Volunteers.

"Through two decades, central to Britain`s policy in Ireland was
the strategy of demonising and criminalising republicans. In
prisons and on the streets, similar attempts and tactics were
smashed, most notably by our comrades on hunger strike in 1981.

"Current attempts by those hostile to republicanism will also fail.

"We commend our Volunteers and our support base. Their patience and
discipline have been among our greatest strengths. We share a
vision for the future."

Democratic Unionist deputy leader Peter Robinson has called on Mr
Orde to comment publicly for the first time on whether the IRA was
involved on the December 20 raid on the Northern Bank`s Belfast

The East Belfast MP asked if the political consequences of
identifying the IRA as the culprits had silenced Mr Orde.

He also warned: "Let no one be in any doubt, the consequences of
mainstream republican participation in this colossal crime will be
far reaching.

"The IRA could not have carried out a crime of the magnitude of the
Northern Bank robbery without the sanction of its so-called Army

"Everyone knows that the Army Council contains within its ranks
senior members of Sinn Fein.

"The planning and preparation of the heist would have coincided
with the participation of some of those individuals in a talks
process that was aimed at ending such activity for good.

"Such downright duplicity would not only call into question the
commitment of republicans to the talks process but could not be
ignored by the British Government."

Two weeks have passed since the raid on the Northern Bank`s
headquarters in Belfast.

The homes of a number of republicans were searched before Christmas
Day by police.

Mr Orde is due to brief the chairman and vice chairman of Northern
Ireland`s Policing Board, Professor Desmond Rea and Denis Bradley,
this week on the December 20 break-in.

A republican source has previously denied IRA involvement.

But unionists are anxious to hear from the chief constable and
would regard it as a blow to Sinn Fein`s talks credentials if the
IRA is confirmed as the gang behind the heist.

Efforts to restore devolution in Northern Ireland also stumbled
before Christmas over Democratic Unionist demands for photographs
of IRA disarmament.

In a New Year statement today, the Provisionals said they had been
prepared in the event of a comprehensive agreement to move into a
new mode.

The organisation accused others in the process of rejecting this
initiative by demanding acts of humiliation and said this had
caused deep anger in the republican and nationalist community.

"We set out the contribution we are prepared to make to a
comprehensive agreement to resolve all outstanding issues," the
statement said.

"This included moving into a new mode which reflects our
determination to see the transition to a totally peaceful society
and also concluding the process to completely and verifiably put
all our arms beyond use.

"All of this is being prevented by an unachievable demand for

"The rejection of our substantial contributions has created a deep
anger within the republican and nationalist communities and indeed,
it has generated significant frustration.

"We want to see peace on the island of Ireland and among all the
Irish people. But a just and lasting peace is only possible on the
basis of equality.

"The days of inequality and of discrimination are over. There must
be an end to bigotry, sectarianism and racism."

The IRA also warned the British and Irish Governments that they
must not pander to rejectionist unionism, claiming it would not

The Provisionals said they stood ready to do what they could to
achieve an accommodation.

But the organisation claimed Irish unity and independence remained
the best context for the people of the island to live together in
harmony and prosperity.

Senior Democratic Unionist negotiator Nigel Dodds said it was
imperative that Mr Orde made his position clear on who was behind
the Northern Bank robbery.

The north Belfast MP said: "People in the community out there are
astounded that there has been so little from the Chief Constable
and that there has been virtual silence since the robbery.

"On the ground, it is generally accepted that the IRA are involved
in this.

"The refusal of the IRA to say anything directly in its statement
today on the robbery further underlines this."

Mr Dodds said the robbery showed his party was wise to demand
during talks to restore power-sharing at Stormont that there should
be a period of time after a deal to test republicans` commitment to
the peace process and ending all criminal and paramilitary

He again reiterated the party`s position that there could be no
place in a power- sharing government for a party linked to
paramilitary or criminal activity.

"Sinn Fein still has not committed itself to a conclusively
peaceful and democratic means by severing its links with terrorist,
paramilitary or criminal activity," he said.

"There is a need for genuine acts of completion.

"The DUP will not be turning a blind eye like (Ulster Unionist
leader) David Trimble did. There will be no fudges or half
measures, no more constructive ambiguity.

"If Sinn Fein does not measure up and cannot make the transition to
peaceful and democratic means, there is an onus on the Government
to move on.

"The political process cannot be held to ransom by Sinn Fein and we
have to get democracy and accountability for democrats on all sides
in Northern Ireland, with Sinn Fein being told that they must pass
the democratic test."

The SDLP`s Alex Attwood today urged Mr Orde to comment only on the
facts and figures behind the Northern Bank robbery.

"But he should do so only when he can speak authoritatively," the
west Belfast MLA insisted.

"His judgment will be clearly listened to and listened to more than
DUP finger- pointing or IRA denials.

"He should choose his time and place and the public should be
reassured by that approach."


Robbery Blame 'Will Have To Wait'

Prime Minister Tony Blair has said he will not prejudge the result
of police inquiries into a £22m bank raid in Belfast.

However, he said groups linked to political parties must renounce
terrorism and cease criminal activity.

Mr Blair was responding to a question about suspected IRA
involvement in the robbery at the Northern Bank's head office on 20

"We have to wait for the authorities to make their judgement on
this," he said.

"But be under no misunderstanding at all, there can be absolutely
no place, not merely for terrorist activity, but for criminal
activity of any sort by people associated with a political party.

"There is no way that this thing is going to work or that other
political parties will accept such a thing, rightly.

"We will have to wait and see what happens, but the ban on
terrorist activity includes a complete prohibition on criminal
activity as well."

Mr Blair made the comments during a news conference at 10 Downing
Street on Thursday.

They come a day after DUP deputy leader Peter Robinson called on
the chief constable to "come clean" over speculation about IRA
involvement in the raid.

Mr Robinson said the consequences of mainstream IRA involvement
would be "far reaching".

Police Service Chief Constable Hugh Orde is expected to brief
senior members of the Policing Board about the incident on Friday.

It is thought that he may also make his first public comment about
the crime.

Homes in republican areas of Belfast have been searched by police
as part of their investigation but republican sources have said the
IRA was not involved.

Meanwhile, detectives plan to interview another 100 people as part
of their efforts to catch those responsible for the robbery.

It has also emerged that a team of 45 detectives has examined
hundreds of hours of CCTV coverage taken from throughout Northern

The police said the van used to transport the cash was still a

Commercial properties

A police spokeswoman said the light-coloured van was the focus of a
specialised team.

Another team is trying to determine exactly where a female hostage
taken at the time of the robbery was held.

Police have also set up a Bank Liaison Unit to deal with activities
in and around the bank.

A total of 560 exhibits have been seized during the probe.

The spokeswoman said a team of detectives would conclude their
searches of homes and commercial properties within the next few

She said: "Detectives have conducted over 100 interviews to date
with a further 100 to go.

"This number increases daily as new lines of inquiry develop."

Det Supt Andy Sproule, who is leading the investigation, said on
Wednesday: "Co-ordinating such a large amount of witnesses,
searches and CCTV material is a massive logistical task in itself.

"This is a very large inquiry, covering four crime scenes, and it
will continue to grow as we get closer to establishing the facts
and bringing those responsible to justice."

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/01/06 12:30:38 GMT


Police Step Up Heist Hunt

Specialist teams set up to sift through mountain of information

By Jonathan McCambridge
06 January 2005

Police today revealed details of the massive investigation into the
Northern Bank robbery which will see them carry out over 200

A team of 45 detectives are hunting for the armed gang which stole
£22m from the bank's cash centre after taking the families of two
employees hostage.

They are currently viewing thousands of hours of CCTV footage
collected from public bodies and businesses throughout Northern

So far 560 exhibits have been seized following searches of domestic
properties and commercial premises.

A series of house-to- house and shop-to-shop inquiries are expected
to be concluded within the next few days.

A police spokeswoman said: "Information generated is then co-
ordinated by a team charged with developing and prioritising these
new lines of inquiry.

"Within the investigation there are specialised teams directed
towards different areas of work."

Police are still trying to trace the white or light coloured van
used to transport the cash. A team of detectives are trying to find
where the vehicle came from and are studying the movements of the
van before and after the robbery.

The spokeswoman added: "With four confirmed crime scenes involved
at this stage, there have been four full and meticulous forensic
examinations, unfortunately requiring police to hold the scenes of
the two house take-overs for many days, and further forensic
examinations of items recovered are ongoing."

The four crime scenes are the bank cash centre, the homes of the
two employees and the site where a car was found burnt out in
Drumkeeragh Forest.

So far, detectives have conducted more than 100 interviews with
another 100 to be carried out. This number is expected to rise.

The spokeswoman said: "Members of the public and the business
community have been providing information on suspect notes and a
team of detectives is involved in following up that information.

"It has also been important to the inquiry to determine exactly
where a female hostage was held during her 23-hour ordeal."

Senior investigating officer Detective Superintendent Andy Sproule
said: "This has been a massive police investigation.

"It has generated more than 600 actions already, numerous searches
have been conducted, 560 exhibits have been collected, over 100
full interviews have been conducted.

"Co-ordinating such a large amount of material is a massive
logistical task. This is a very large inquiry which will continue
to grow as we get closer to establishing all the facts and bringing
those responsible to justice."


Arson Attack On Orange Hall

06/01/2005 - 08:55:26

A hall used by members of the Protestant Orange Order in Northern
Ireland has been targeted by arsonists, it emerged today.

A pile of tyres was placed against the front door of a hall in
Douglas Bridge, near Strabane, Co Tyrone, and set alight.

Police and fire crews were summoned to the scene at around 11pm
last night.

The building sustained smoke damage, while the front door was

It is the second attack on an Orange hall in Co Tyrone this week.

On Monday night arsonists attacked another hall in Castlederg
causing extensive damage.


SDLP Slams Lack Of IRA Comment On Belfast Bank Raid
2005-01-06 12:30:02+00

The SDLP has criticised the IRA for not saying clearly whether it
was involved in last month's £22m (€31.2m heist at Northern Bank
headquarters in Belfast.

In its new year message, published today, the IRA criticised what
it said were attempts by the Irish and British governments to
criminalise and demonise republicans, but made no mention of the
December 20 robbery. There was a general comment denying
involvement in criminality.

SDLP Spokesman Alex Attwood accused the republican paramilitary
outfit of evading the issue.

Unionists, meanwhile, are demanding that the PSNI state who it
believes was responsible for the robbery and have warned that IRA
involvement would scupper any peace talks in the short term.

The PSNI has already searched a number of houses and premises in
republican areas of Belfast, but have recovered nothing connected
to the raid.

IRA sources have also denied that the organisation had any
involvement in the heist.


DUP Fail To Stop Donegal Invitation

06 January 2005

A number of DUP councillors in Ballymena have failed in a bid to
block one of their own party members attending a cross-border
conference in Co Donegal.

Ballymena councillors have been invited to the 16th Colmcille
Winter School in Churchill near Letterkenny, where the subject in
February will be the European Constitution.

When the invite came before Ballymena councillors, Councillor
Willie Wright (Independent Unionist), seconded by the leader of the
DUP council group in Ballymena, Councillor Roy Gillespie, proposed
that they should merely mark the correspondence 'read'.

But DUP councillor Robin Stirling said he was interested in
constitutional matters and he was willing to attend.

A vote was taken and a number of DUP councillors objected to
Councillor Stirling and an Ulster Unionist councillor attending the
conference but a majority of the whole council agreed they should

The conference will be held on the weekend of February 25-27 and Mr
Gillespie wished to object to any councillors being present on a

Last year a Ballymena DUP councillor objected to Donegal-made soft
drinks being served at Ballymena council meetings, saying such
products should be sourced from local firms.


Kerry Cheered In Baghdad, Decries Bush Team's 'Blunders'

Once criticized for war stance, he says force alone won't win

- Borzou Daragahi, Chronicle Foreign Service
Thursday, January 6, 2005

Baghdad -- Sen. John Kerry, whose seemingly shifting positions on
the U.S. war in Iraq plagued him throughout his presidential
campaign, came to this war- torn capital Wednesday to see for
himself whether the country was moving toward stability or deeper
into chaos.

Kerry, who repeatedly charged during the presidential campaign that
President Bush had botched the war effort, was greeted warmly by
U.S. soldiers in Baghdad.

"I've been visiting a lot places like Des Moines and Green Bay, and
it has been great," the Massachusetts Democrat said during an
informal lunch meeting with a small group of reporters and
representatives of nongovernmental organizations. "But we are at
war, and I think you can't really make all the judgments that you
need to make without digging in."

He declined to compare the growing insurgency with the one he faced
in South Vietnam as a Navy gunship lieutenant more than three
decades ago. But he insisted that superior firepower alone wouldn't
quell the uprising disrupting Iraq.

"No insurgency is defeated by conventional military power alone,"
he said. "Look at the IRA," the Irish Republican Army, which fought
a decadeslong guerrilla war against the British in Northern Ireland
before a Catholic- Protestant power-sharing government was put in
place. "It was defeated by a combination of time and political

Kerry, who talked with U.S. intelligence officials and Iraqi
officials on Wednesday, was also scheduled to meet with officials
of the U.S. Embassy and with members of the interim Iraqi
government, including interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi and a
deputy to Abdel Aziz al-Hakim, the Shiite leader at the top of an
electoral list favored in Iraq's Jan. 30 elections.

U.S. soldiers approached Kerry inside the restaurant of the Rashid
Hotel, asking him to pose for photographs and sign T-shirts. The
star-struck restaurant manager insisted on serving Kerry the
restaurant's specialty, a plate of grilled chicken and lamb.

Later in the day, Kerry met with about 20 soldiers based in his
home state, including reservists from the 356th Engineer Detachment
and 126th Aviation Company of the Massachusetts Army National Guard
at Camp Victory, where soldiers are bivouacked in luxury villas
once inhabited by Saddam Hussein and his loyalists.

"They all joked about how living conditions had changed since Sen.
Kerry was in Vietnam," said David Wade, the senator's
communications director.

Kerry was scheduled to fly on a C-130 military transport plane
today to visit troops in Fallujah and Mosul.

The senator said he was more interested in asking questions of
soldiers, U.S. officials, Iraqis and even the journalists
themselves instead of rehashing the political battles of the past
campaign season.

But in several instances, Kerry attacked what he called the
"horrendous judgments" and "unbelievable blunders" of the Bush
administration. The mistakes, he said, included former U.S.
occupation leader Paul Bremer's decisions to disband the Iraqi army
and purge the government of former members of Hussein's Baath
Party. Both moves are widely believed to have fueled the largely
Sunni insurgency.

"What is sad about what's happening here now is that so much of it
is a process of catching up from the enormous miscalculations and
wrong judgments made in the beginning," he said. "And the job has
been made enormously harder."

He added, however, that it was time to move forward.

"Mistakes have been made," he said. "Now, it's a different time and
different set of judgments that have to be made. I'm here to make
judgments about what moves are available to us."

Kerry is visiting Iraq as part of a Middle East tour that also
includes meetings with leaders in Egypt, Israel and the Palestinian
territories. He said success in Iraq was vital as part of the
struggle for wider change in the Middle East.

"The stakes are very important, very high, and not just for Iraq,"
he said. "You have another election in the West Bank, a set of
challenges to Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the region that are quite


Hijacked Website Threatens Security

By Alan Erwin

SECURITY chiefs in the North were braced today for a raft of secret
anti-terrorist information being revealed online.

A former agent who hijacked a military website has set up a new
forum urging disgruntled spies or handlers to disclose details on
covert intelligence operations.

All those who join the group are asked to supply details on botched
strategies, criminal activities, personalities involved and
identify alleged wrongdoing.

Sam Rosenfeld, an ex-operative within the ultra-secret Force
Research Unit, has developed the Intelligence Corps site since
seizing control before Christmas when subscription payments were
not renewed.

A source close to Rosenfeld (a pseudonym) said: "This is a
nightmare for the security services.

"There's documentation out there on any amount of murders in
Northern Ireland and I wouldn't be surprised if stuff goes up soon.

"The intelligence community, agents and terrorists all have a lot
to worry about."

The new site forum, which is believed to be based in the United
States, calls for an exchange of ideas and information under the
banner The Pen is Mightier than the Sword.

It requests "absolutely anything which relates to the Intelligence
Agencies of the United Kingdom, such as departments, key persons
and functions".

"Information is most welcome which relates to the recruitment and
management of sources of intelligence by the Army in Northern

"Any information which you feel the public should know."

The FRU, which ran spies inside Northern Ireland's paramilitary
organisations and has been engulfed by claims that it colluded in
terrorist murders, is one of 15 agencies listed.

Scotland Yard chief Sir John Stevens' marathon probe into the murky
world of counter-terrorism operations in Northern Ireland, which
has already uncovered evidence that loyalist killers were aided in
the murder of Belfast lawyer Pat Finucane, has focused on the FRU.

Other units include MI5, MI6, Special Branch, the Joint Services
Group, the MoD and Government Communications Headquarters.

Within hours of the forum going live three members had joined.

Rosenfeld, an English-based building contractor, infiltrated the
IRA during the early 1990s and spent three years spying on the

He has been locked in a bitter legal battle over what he says are
attempts to stop him telling how defence chiefs abandoned him and
plunged his life into turmoil.

But in a move that stunned the Ministry of Defence, he has taken
control of the site used to recruit potential agents.

A message on it read: "The site is no longer owned or operated by
the Intelligence Corps but by myself, a former agent. The corps has
been responsible for the murder of innocent civilians and the
directing of terrorism."

No immediate comment was available from the Ministry of Defence.


Council Votes To Close Group Theatre

By Andrea Clements
06 January 2005

Belfast City Council has voted to close the Group Theatre in a bid
to improve overall prospects for the Ulster Hall.

The theatre, on the first floor of the historic Ulster Hall on
Bedford Street, has been by amateur dramatic groups since 1940.

Richard Mills of the Belvoir Players told the council's monthly
meeting last night that over 1,000 people had signed a petition
objecting to the move.

He said there was "a total absence of medium-sized city centre
performing spaces" in Belfast and people would be deprived of the
"enriching experience at the hub of community theatre".

In 2003 over 17,000 people attended the 137 performances at the
240-seater venue but a council report said audience numbers had
fallen by 16% since 2000.

The council is refurbishing the Ulster Hall to improve health and
safety and attract more concert-goers.

Following last night's decision a cafe/bar may be built in the
space currently occupied by the theatre.

An alternative is to spend £175,000 converting it into a multi-
purpose space which could not be used for performances when the
Ulster Hall was in use.

Sinn Fein's Paul Maskey attempted to gain council support for that

But DUP councillor Sammy Wilson branded the move "play-acting with
people's money and the strong emotion surrounding the issue" and it
did not receive support from other parties.

Ulster Unionist Michael McGimpsey said he did not want to see
groups like the Belvoir Players suffer but there was an
"overwhelming case for investment" in the Ulster Hall.

He suggested the group use a performing space at the Waterfront


How The Scots-Irish Shaped America


BOOK NOTES by Dr. Joan Ruddiman

In our age of hyphenated Americans — African-American, Irish-
American, Chinese-American, German-American, etc., etc. — one
ethnic group does not even recognize their roots, let alone call
themselves by name. They are America's "invisible ethnicity,"
according to author James Webb, preferring to be identified by
region and belief system rather than country of origin. However,
Webb makes a fascinating case that where they came from and how
they got to America literally stamped the image of "American."

"Born Fighting: How the Scots-Irish Shaped America" is a
prototype title for what is an historical thesis. Author Webb,
however, is not an historian. He is a retired Marine, Georgetown-
educated lawyer, former Secretary of the Navy, and fiction writer.
He is also the product of many generations of Scots-Irish from
places like Big Moccasin Gap, Va. and White County, Ark. After a
lifetime of stories of "his people," and observations of others
that seemed to be just like them regardless of where they lived,
Webb tackled the thesis that has percolated within him longer than
30 years.

This invisible people, these "Americans," literally "shaped

Many years ago, I chanced upon a book by Bil Gilbert,
"Westerning Man: The Life of Joseph Walker," that is one of the
best of its kind. Gilbert took the story of an exemplar early
western explorer/trader to tell a larger story of how the tiny
little 13 colonies clinging to the eastern coastline finally burst
through the Appalachian Mountains to the California coast. For 200
years, English and other European settlers hugged the eastern edge
fearing the "dark and bloody grounds" of the mountains to the west.
Even after Lewis and Clark mapped the way and helped dispel fears
of the unknown, the risks seem too great to venture westward.

Gilbert told the story of how Benjamin Franklin brought over the
persecuted Germans with the intent that they would extend colonial
civilization westward. We know these people as the Amish. Those
first immigrants took one look at the lovely farmlands of the
Lancaster area and settled in for a long run.

Webb clarifies that the mastermind who saw the advantages of
importing Scot-Irish was James Logan, a Franklin contemporary.
Logan and Franklin, who had come to know the Scots well in their
travels to England, recognized that these were a hardy group of
people who seemed perfectly suited to the task of pioneering tough
terrain. First and foremost, the Scots-Irish were fierce fighters.
When not fighting, they farmed. However, unlike the Germans, they
were used to hardscrabble farming on rocky, thin soil in harsh

Where Logan/Franklin and company intended these immigrants to go
was into a brutal battle with the tribes of Appalachia, in order to
create farms and settlements in as brutal a wilderness. There was
nothing bucolic about the craggy ridges and dark valleys of what we
now call Pittsburgh, Pa., Louisville, Ky., Gatlinburg, Tenn., and
Asheville, N.C. The emerging America needed more space and really
tough people to settle the lands it claimed to the west.

The third descriptor of these people proved to be their greatest
asset and the bane of anyone who encountered them. They are — and
have always been — clannish. For every fighting man you got a tough
fighting and farming wife, a passel of children, parents, siblings
and an entire contingent of in-laws. A Scots-Irish "family" was the
basis for an entire settlement. And once they settled, it was their
way or the highway for anyone outside their vision of what society
should be.

Webb cites data from the early migration period that Scots-Irish
migrated in groups of 600 to 800 at a time. Astounding! Over a
period of about 50 years in the early 18th century, he cites
estimates that 250,000 to 400,000 Scots-Irish immigrated to
America. Given their penchant for welcoming others into their midst
— fight with us or marry one of us and you ARE us — these
statistics might include others than those coming from the
contentious Ulster region or Scotland itself.

If you are among the legions that have some claim to Scots-Irish
ancestry, this book will captivate and inspire you. For those who
are observers of the state of America, Webb offers insights into
current affairs. The book hooked me on both points.

When Webb described the route taken by thousands of Scots-Irish
immigrants, the pattern perfectly fit my family's story. The Gould
side of my family — absolutely English in origin — somewhere along
the line must have hooked up with or married into a "clan." We've
traced Goulds from Vermont, through Brooklyn, to Kentucky from
where my grandfather went to Texas.

Webb explains that the rough, uneducated, boisterous (to put it
mildly) Scots-Irish — though staunch Presbyterians — were most
unwelcome by the New England Puritans who pushed them right through
to Vermont. Bennington, Vt., to be precise, which is a prominently
mentioned "jumping off" point for many early immigrants as hosts of
genealogists have discovered.

Just like with my Gould genealogy that uses birth and death
records, a circuitous path to the west is traced as the Scots-Irish
move south into Kentucky, Tennessee and ultimately other points
west. Gilbert traced variations of this path years ago in
"Westerning Man" with names like Carson, Houston, Boone, Bridger —
the great Tennessee contingent that tamed the West.

Scratch the surface and the majority of what we refer to as
White Anglo Saxon Protestants are more accurately defined as Scots-
Irish. Webb carefully traces the long history of a people over
1,000 years and significant migrations to explain who they are and
why they behave as they do. As he develops the "born fighting"
thesis, using respectable historical sources, Webb extends the
understanding to "how the Scots-Irish shaped America."

Think red states and blue states. Has always been thus, Webb
claims. The educated, elitist Puritans strongly encouraged the
Scots-Irish to go to Vermont. The Virginia gentry welcomed them
into their western regions to "clear the way" and then gladly
watched them move out of their area, further into the wilderness.
The Germans in Pennsylvania pushed them immediately out of
Lancaster into the hell of unsettled frontier of Pittsburgh and

The "Eastern Establishment" today looks down the same patrician
nose at these "rednecks," "crackers" and "trailer park trash"
(thank you, James Carville, who should know better). These slurs
existed in one form or another for longer than 300 years in

Ask them if they care. Gun control, states' rights, small
government, the war in Iraq, abortion, and the Christian right are
hot-button issues that are grounded, claims Webb, in the very core
of the Scots-Irish passion for independence, democracy, fidelity to
God and family. As Webb puts it:

"Even today, an individual and issue at a time, the Scots-Irish
refuse to accept the politics of group privilege that have been
foisted on America by the paternalistic Ivy-League-centered, media-
connected, politically correct power centers."

This book totally captivated my thoughts. Beyond my fascination
with family history, Webb extended the political dialogue for me to
encompass a totally plausible explanation for why we might look
like "two Americas."

Though Webb makes far too much, I think, of the Andrew Jackson
presidency (adopting an Indian child does not erase the Trail of
Tears and other atrocities), his thesis rises above his own family
history. He is a wonderful writer, weaving complex history with
family anecdotes to build a bigger picture. He does what all good
history should do — answer the big "so what?"

Webb obviously has thought through his thesis as he has lived
the life of a fighting man born of resilient Scots-Irish people.
The world he sees does indeed seem to have been shaped by these
quintessential Americans.

Joan Ruddiman, Ed.D., is a teacher and friend of the Allentown
Public Library.


(Note: VIRTUAL EXHIBIT A virtual exhibit of rarely-seen book cover
art from the Irish Free State has been launched by the John J.
Burns Library of Rare Books and Special Collections at Boston
College. The exhibit, "Free State Art: Judging Ireland by Its Book
Covers," will be permanently displayed online.)

Free State Art: Judging Ireland By Its Book Covers

Virtual Exhibit: Summer 2004

The Irish Free State established by the Anglo-Irish Treaty (1921)
following the War of Independence (1919-1921) pursued a project of
cultural nationalism which among other aims focused on reviving the
Irish language. The Cumann na nGaedheal government established An
Gúm, the publications branch of the Department of Education (later
Oifig an tSoláthair/the State Publishing Agency) in 1925-1926 to
supply textbooks and fiction in Irish for the educational and
recreation needs of the newly independent Ireland. An Gúm, to
fulfil its publishing mandate, cultivated both original authors and
translators. In addition to organizing literary competitions for
original novels, plays and short stories in Irish such as Mícheál Ó
Siochfhradha's collection of short stories Soineann's Doineann, it
commissioned translations of European and American authors, such as
Iain Áluinn, a 1931 translation of Neil Munro's novel of the
Scottish highlands John Splendid (1898). In addition to rendering
foreign authors in Irish, An Gúm also translated English language
texts by Irish authors such as Mícheál Ó Flainn's translation of
Dómhnaill Ó Corcordha/Daniel Corkery's The Threshold of Quiet in
1931 as Log an Chiúinis.

The aims of this display are to preserve these covers, to make them
available to a wider audience, and to celebrate the achievements of
An Gúm. The visual art of the Irish Free State has received much
critical attention and scholars have focused on topics as varied as
paintings, sculptures, coins, and stamps. Art critic Brian P.
Kennedy notes "The visual evidence of Ireland between 1922 and 1949
can tell us much about the Irish Free State and can enable us to
place ourselves more vividly and imaginatively in the history of
the period" (Brian P. Kennedy, "The Irish Free State 1922-49: A
Visual Perspective," Ireland: Art into History, Dublin, Town House,
1994). In an effort to expand our understanding of the Free State,
this virtual exhibition displays dust jackets that accompanied An
Gúm publications and reclaims this "lost" art.

This exhibit consists of An Gúm covers recently acquired by the
John J. Burns Library of Boston College as a gift from John W.
O'Gorman (Class of 1953). The O'Gorman gift includes the library of
the Goody Glover Gaelic Society library that promoted Irish
language and dancing in Boston in the 1950s and conducted classes
at a private house in Joy Street on Beacon Hill. The dust jackets
displayed here are from the Irish Collection of the Burns Library
and from private collections in the Boston area.

Prepared by Brian Ó Conchubhair. Acknowledgements: Philip O'Leary,
Mike Cronin, David Horn, Ed Copenhagen, Ross Shanley-Roberts,
Shelley Barber and Mark Esser.

Overall Table of Contents
Table of Contents - Jan 2005
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