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 21, 2005

01/21/05 – US Effort to Bar Mark Thatcher

Overall Table of Contents
Table of Contents - Jan 2005

BT 01/21/05 Irish Group In US Effort To Bar Thatcher
BT 01/21/05 Plea For PM's Wife To Help Belfast Solicitor
BT 01/21/05 Colombia Three Man 'Didn't Get Peace Funds'
SF 01/21/05 SF MEPs To Raise Finucane Case In European Parliament
BT 01/21/05 Almost 50% Of Police Stations Face Closure
BT 01/21/05 Middletown Police Border Base Is Faced With Closure
BT 01/21/05 McConville Murder Not A Crime, Says SF Candidate
BB 01/21/05 Colm Murphy Conviction Overturned
BT 01/21/05 Big Boost For Ahern As Adams Slips In Poll
BT 01/21/05 No Place For SF In Democracy, Says Church
BT 01/21/05 Fight For South Belfast As Smyth Set To Resign
BT 01/21/05 HIV Is On The Rise In Ulster
BT 01/21/05 Causeway Voted Into Britain's Top Ten
IM 01/21/05 Bloody Sunday Week 24-30 Jan


Mark Thatcher

Irish Group In US Effort To Bar Thatcher

Former IRA men 'banned for less'

By Sean O'Driscoll
21 January 2005

An Irish-American lobby group has called on the Bush administration to ban Margaret Thatcher's son from entering the US after he pleaded guilty to providing a helicopter which was to be used in a failed coup d'etat in central Africa.

The Washington-based Irish National Caucus said that the government was deporting former Irish prisoners released under the 1998 Good Friday Peace Agreement and should apply the same standards to Mark Thatcher.

Thatcher, the son of the former British prime minister, has admitted funding a helicopter that was to be used in a bid to overthrow the government of Equatorial Guinea - although he said he thought he was funding an air ambulance.

The mercenaries had been plotting with a number of European businessmen to install a military junta and invest in oil and gas reserves in the country.

Thatcher pleaded guilty in South Africa early this month and was fined £260,000.

He is now trying to move to Dallas, Texas to be with family.

However, the Department of Homeland Security may refuse to issue a visa because of Thatcher's new criminal conviction.

"Such a (coup) attempt surely comes under the heading of international terrorism," said Irish National Caucus president, Father Sean McManus.

He said that if Irish persons have been banned from entering the US "for far lesser reasons", then Mr Thatcher should also be banned.

In the latest development, a group of British MPs is attempting to take away Mark Thatcher's hereditary baronetcy for his part in the African coup plot.

The group tabled a House of Commons motion calling for "immediate steps" to strip Thatcher of the title.

Father McManus said that the Bush administration was already paying $$293m for Iraqi security contracts to a company owned by Tim Spicer, a close friend of one of the alleged coup leaders, Simon Mann.

Spicer was head of an army unit in Northern Ireland that shot and killed a 19-year-old west Belfast teenager.

Two soldiers were later convicted of murder, despite protests by Spicer.

The two were the only British soldiers ever to be convicted of murder for an on-duty killing in Northern Ireland.

Spicer's Sandline Corporation nearly brought down Prime Minister Tony Blair's government after it was revealed that it was exporting weapons to Sierra Leone during the country's civil war.

The lucrative business deal was in contravention of a UN embargo.


Plea For PM's Wife To Help Belfast Solicitor

By David Gordon
21 January 2005

Campaigners seeking to overturn disciplinary action against a Belfast lawyer are appealing to Cherie Blair for support.

Well-known solicitor Padraigin Drinan has been barred from running a legal practice on her own after an inquiry by the Law Society.

Ms Drinan's clients have included nationalist residents' groups, ethnic minority bodies and the Rape Crisis Centre.

A campaign against the barring order is being planned by Tracey Morris, who was represented by Ms Drinan in child custody proceedings.

Ms Morris today confirmed that contact is being made with the barrister wife of the Prime Minister.

She said: "We are writing to Cherie Blair asking for her support.

"We also want as many people as possible to picket the Law Society offices.

"We are calling on all the organisations and people she has helped to come forward."

"This woman has done so much for so many people and it's now time for them to support her."

It is believed the case stemmed from alleged administrative shortcomings.

Ms Drinan's practice had no comment to make.

A spokesman for the Law Society said complaints had been substantiated by an independent disciplinary tribunal in May last year.

An order barring her from running a practice by herself was deferred until this month, he said.

The Society spokesman said the tribunal had taken into account a "previous history of proven complaints".

He added: "The tribunal formed the view that the respondent was not functioning at any acceptable level as a single practitioner and that in the interest of the public and the respondent herself, they are ordering that she is restricted from practising on her own account."

He added that Ms Drinan is not inhibited from practising as an employed solicitor.


Colombia 3

Colombia Three Man 'Didn't Get Peace Funds'

By Noel McAdam

21 January 2005

A republican prisoners organisation has rejected DUP claims that one of the Colombia Three could have gained from European Union funding.

MEP Jim Allister said if James Monaghan had reaped the benefit of Peace II monies it would be a "national disgrace".

It was confirmed Mr Monaghan worked in Dublin for a sub-group of the republican former prisoners support network Coiste na n-Iarchimi in 1999 and 2000.

But organisation spokesman Mike Hewitt argued Mr Allister's allegations were factually inaccurate.

"He should well know the Peace programme only funds the 12 northern counties. Mr Monaghan was employed in Dublin so could not have been paid by Peace monies," he said.

"Mr Allister gives the impression of having uncovered something but we have always been totally open and honest and we publish all information about our funding. Mr Monaghan's post was actually funded by Irish government money.

"He had also left our employ for a couple of months before going to Colombia. It is also slightly complicated in that each of our groups is also autonomous."

Mr Allister had said: "The notion that a man who has been convicted of training the most violent narco-terrorists in South America should reap pecuniary benefit from the PEACE programme is an insult to the people of Northern Ireland."


Sinn Féin MEPs To Raise Finucane Case In European Parliament

Published: 21 January, 2005

Sinn Féin MEP for Dublin Mary Lou McDonald has today said that "Sinn Féin will bring the case of Pat Finucane to the European Parliament".

Ms McDonald was speaking after herself and Bairbre de Brún MEP met with the family of Pat Finucane in Belfast.

Speaking in Belfast, Ms McDonald said:

"The purpose of today's meeting with the family of Pat Finucane was to receive an update on recent aspects of the case. It is perhaps not surprising that the present British Government continues to resist a full public inquiry into his murder.

"After all, the policy of employing loyalist death squads was endorsed at the highest political level. Successive British governments‚ have never accepted responsibility for the deaths which resulted from this policy. The Finucane family, and hundreds like them require closure. Instead they have been met with walls of silence, denials and cover-ups for many years.

"Today's meeting gave us the opportunity to ascertain what we as MEPs can do to assist the family in their search for the truth. We intend raising this matter in the European Parliament, to highlight the case and lobby on behalf of the family. We intend to bring international pressure to bear on the British Government to hold a full independent inquiry into his death.

"Sinn Féin will continue to support the family of Pat Finucane, and all of those who have been murdered at the behest of the British State, in their pursuit of truth and justice." ENDS


Almost 50% Of Police Stations Face Closure

PSNI outlines strategy for bases

By Jonathan McCambridge
21 January 2005

The dilapidated state of Northern Ireland's police buildings was revealed today with 13 operational stations more than 100 years old.

Another 54 of the province's 135 stations are now over 50 years old, it has also been revealed.

Deputy Chief Constable Paul Leighton unveiled the force's £200m Estate Strategy for the next five years today which will see almost half of current operational stations earmarked for possible closure.

The plan, which was presented today to the Policing Board's finance and general purposes committee, also includes plans for new police stations in Ballymoney, Cookstown, Craigavon, Downpatrick, Omagh and Musgrave Street in Belfast.

There will also be a commitment in the plan to reduce fortifications at stations and make them more user friendly to the public.

It has long been known that senior officers want to reduce the number of police buildings.

Mr Leighton said the Estates Strategy would inevitably lead to the closure of some stations.

He said that a review list of 61 stations had been drawn up with decisions to be taken on their future in consultation with local communities.

The strategy has been influenced by proposed cuts in the PSNI annual budget in coming years and the cost of staffing and securing a number of part-time stations which are seldom open.

It has also been influenced by a reduction in the number of officers and the proposed reduction of the number of local council areas.

Senior officers believe that the closure of stations will free up officers to take part in other duties.

Mr Leighton said: "The strategy is part of our continuing drive to use all of our resources, whether that means officers, staff, equipment and buildings in the most effective and efficient way.

"It will help us develop an estate which is fit for purpose."

There are currently 135 police stations and 56 other police establishments in Northern Ireland.

Fifty-seven of those stations are open 24 hours, 71 are limited opening and seven are designated lock and leave.

Thirteen of the buildings are more than 100 years old and 54 are more than 50 years old.


Co Armagh station in Middletown

Police Border Base Is Faced With Closure

By Michael McHugh in Middletown
21 January 2005

One of the last remaining border outposts of the PSNI could be closed by early 2006, police have confirmed.

The Co Armagh station in Middletown is earmarked for closure despite some residents' opposition.

The heavily fortified barracks is situated in a staunchly nationalist area and police believe its high security requirements and running costs make it a suitable candidate for closure.

A final decision on the future of the site will have to be made by the Policing Board, but police outlined their case for closure at a meeting of Armagh District Policing Partnership earlier this week and will be meeting with concerned parties soon.

Chief Inspector Hugh Hume told the partnership that, following the example of the closure of Andersonstown station, it would be March 2006 when the station closed. It is currently open one hour a day on three days of the week.

"A building does not stop crime or road traffic collisions, it only houses officers.

"We have heard so much about visibility and it would be better if those police officers were on the ground," he said.

"We felt that a small team like Middletown would be very difficult to maintain and by reallocation to Keady they could work with Keady police. Officers from Middletown will remain responsible for Middletown."

Although many nationalists in the area would welcome the closure, one businessman from Killylea said the community would be dismayed and added that he felt the police had already made up their mind.

"It seems to be all cut and dried. Where has the money which has been saved in security costs over the years gone?" he asked.

"The service on the ground to the people who are paying the taxes is not there. We have as much a right to a police service as people living in the big cities.

"I want to see more police out patrolling, out on the ground. We know that there will be some police in Keady who used to work in Middletown but within a few years there will be none who worked in the area and we will suffer as a result."

It costs around £100,000 a year to maintain the station and there would be another £100,000 needed to refurbish it.

Police also say the loss in manpower anticipated from the reduction in the number of full time Reservists and the establishment of the special crime operations department stretches the resources needed to run the station, which receives two callers a month.

One independent DPP member, Mary Wright, said opposition to the closure was understandable but added that visible policing was more important.


McConville Murder Not A Crime, Says SF Candidate

21 January 2005

Sinn Fein's Meath by-election candidate Joe Reilly has backed up the party line that the IRA murder of Belfast mother Jean McConville in 1972 was not a crime, writes Gene McKenna.

"It was wrong but it was not a crime," said Cllr Reilly yesterday, echoing the controversial comments of Sinn Fein chairman Mitchel McLaughlin.

He also said if it emerged there was IRA involvement in the big Belfast bank robbery he would be "morally and politically shattered". He added: "But I don't accept they have lied to us", adding that if he was proved wrong on this it would be "a very, very serious thing for me" and would have "serious political consequences" for him.

He also said that, to his knowledge, no Republican had been jailed for rugs offences and none of them had been involved in drugs trafficking or cross-border drink or drugs smuggling. "Portlaoise was a jail which held Republicans for 10 years and, in its time, it had 3,000 to 4,000 people, maybe 5,000, there," he added. "Check with the Department of Justice how many of those people were ever charged, convicted or sentenced for involvement in drugs."


Colm Murphy

Omagh Bomb Conviction Overturned

The only man jailed over the 1998 Omagh bombing faces a retrial after winning his appeal against the conviction.

Colm Murphy, 51, from Dundalk, County Louth, jailed for 14 years in 2002, said his conviction for conspiring to cause the explosion was unsafe.

At Dublin's Court of Criminal Appeal, Mr Justice Nicholas Kearns granted a retrial on two grounds relating to the evidence of detectives at his trial.

The Real IRA blast in the County Tyrone town killed 29 people and unborn twins.

Presumption of innocence

His original trial found he lent his mobile phone and another phone to the gang who planted the Omagh bomb, knowing they would be used for moving bombs.

During that trial, two gardai detectives were accused by a trial judge of consistent perjury in relation to interview notes.

On Friday, the judge said Mr Murphy's appeal against the garda approach to the alteration of interview notes used at his trial, and evidence given by two detectives in relation to them, was to be allowed.

Mr Justice Kearns added that Mr Murphy's appeal against reference to his previous convictions at his original trial was also being allowed.

He said this represented an invasion of his presumption of innocence.

Mr Murphy had appealed against his conviction on 45 grounds, only two of which were accepted.

He was remanded in custody until he can meet bail conditions.

Mr Justice Kearns imposed a requirement of a 50,000 euro (about £35,000) cash deposit and two independent sureties of 35,000 euro (about £21,000).

He also ordered that Murphy surrender his passport, report daily to Dundalk Garda station and to provide the address at which he will be residing.

Michael Gallagher, whose son Aiden died in the explosion, expressed "total shock" at the news.

"All the promises made at than time from the Taoiseach Bertie Ahern and the prime minister, nothing seems to have come of that," he said.

He added that the relatives of the dead would keep on working to hold those responsible for the bomb to account.

"It seems to me now that's the number of deaths the people in this country are willing to accept - 31 innocent people including two unborn children, and not one person being held to account for that."

In separate court proceedings, two detective gardai, Liam Donnelly and John Fahy, who are accused of perjury relating to their evidence during Mr Murphy's trial, were served with books of evidence at Dublin District Court on Friday morning.

They are both based in Carrickmacross in Co Monaghan.

It is understood a trial date will be set within the next eight weeks.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2005/01/21 10:34:21 GMT



Big Boost For Ahern As Adams Slips In Poll

By Gene McKenna
21 January 2005

Taoiseach Bertie Ahern and his Government have been handed a major boost as they prepare for a new Dail term next week.

The Government's satisfaction rating is up 9pc since October, according to a new poll, and Mr Ahern's personal standing continues to soar, rising by 7pc in the past three months.

But Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams has lost popularity because of the controversy over the huge Northern Bank robbery, falling 9pc since the last comparable poll in October.

Sinn Fein itself has only marginally lost ground and now stands at 11pc, just 1pc down.

The poll standings of the parties are: Fianna Fail 38pc (up 3pc); Fine Gael 22pc (down 2pc); Labour 13pc (unchanged); Sinn Fein 11pc (down 1pc); PDs 4pc (up 1pc); Greens 4pc (unchanged); and others, including independents, 8pc (down 2pc).

Mr Ahern is the most popular leader with a 60pc rating, up 7pc.

The other leaders' ratings are: Enda Kenny (FG) 44pc (down 2pc); Pat Rabbitte (Labour) 49pc (unchanged); Mary Harney (PD) 54pc (unchanged); Gerry Adams (SF) 42pc (down 9pc); and Trevor Sargent (Greens) 33pc (down 2pc).

The TNS/MRBI poll sampled 1,000 voters in every constituency last Monday and Tuesday - before the IRA denied involvement in the Belfast raid.

Mr Ahern will be encouraged to learn that Fianna Fail has continued its recovery after its setbacks in the local and European elections last June.

The poll comes just days before the Dail resumes after the Christmas break.

The Government's caring image took a battering during the nursing homes controversy, but the poll, for the 'Irish Times', indicates that the public is not taking this or any other issue out on Fianna Fail and the PDs.

The Government still faces two real tests of its popularity in the coming months when the Meath and Kildare North by-elections will be held to fill the seats vacated by John Bruton and Charlie McCreevy.

With Mr McCreevy's son, Charles junior, opting out of the selection convention, Fianna Fail now faces a daunting task to hold on to the Kildare seat.

It also faces difficulties in Meath, where Fine Gael's Shane McEntee will be competing with Fianna Fail's county council chairman Tommy Reilly for the seat.

But the poll provides little encouragement for the Opposition in advance of those contests, with Fine Gael likely to be particularly disappointed by the fall in both the party rating and that of Mr Kenny.

The new poll comes in the midst of the major row between the Government and Sinn Fein over alleged IRA involvement in the Northern Bank robbery on December 20.

The Taoiseach will meet Sinn Fein leaders on Tuesday in the first face-to-face talks since the row blew up.

Both Mr Kenny and Mr Rabbitte indicated last night that they would adopt a more robust stance on the Northern talks.

Mr Kenny called for immediate sanctions on Sinn Fein while Mr Rabbitte said the onus was now on the republican movement to rebuild trust.

Meanwhile, much interest in the Dail will be focused on the level of co-operation emerging between the Opposition parties.

Most attention will centre on the chances of an alternative Coalition beginning to take shape and whether the Greens are prepared to row in with Fine Gael and Labour, who already sowed the first seeds of Coalition with the Mullingar Accord last autumn.

But the latest poll findings show the Opposition still has much ground to make up if it is to be in a position to form an alternative Government.


No Place For SF In Democracy, Says Church

By David Quinn
21 January 2005

There can be no place for Sinn Fein in "a settled, democratic parliament" while it is allied to a paramilitary group regardless of who carried out the Northern Bank raid, the Church of Ireland's leading newspaper has said.

An editorial in the current edition of The Church of Ireland Gazette said that "whether or not the IRA was responsible [for the robbery], there never was and there never will be a place in a settled democratic parliament for a political party that is allied to a paramilitary group, armed or unarmed, active or on 'ceasefire'".

It continued: "Under the Belfast Agreement, people were properly prepared to tolerate this for a time, pending the winding up of terrorist groups, but we can now say that the IRA has certainly not gone away."

The editorial concluded: "What the Sinn Fein leader, Gerry Adams, and his colleagues have to realise is that if Sinn Fein is to retain a place in democratic company, it must be a case of the IRA disbanding or of Sinn Fein parting company with its long-time associates."

The same newspaper, meanwhile, has also condemned 'Jerry Springer - The Opera', which was recently broadcast by the BBC and caused outrage among Christian groups who described it as "lewd, offensive and repulsive".

The paper said that the decision to screen the programme "was symptomatic of a wider decay in moral standards in broadcast material generally. There is quite simply too much repulsive language, too much exploitation of sex and too much horrific violence on television".

The musical is a send-up of 'confessional TV' and shows a Jerry Springer character trying to reconcile Jesus with the devil.


Martin Smyth

Fight For South Belfast As Smyth Set To Resign

MP leaving politics to spend more time with his ill wife

By Noel McAdam
21 January 2005

Veteran Ulster Unionist MP Rev Martin Smyth is standing down at the next Westminster Election, expected in May.

His long-anticipated decision paves the way for a battle in the South Belfast constituency between his party and the DUP.

Mr Smyth, who will be 74 in June, is quitting to spend more time with his wife Kathleen, who has been ill.

His party successor will be selected on February 24, with former Executive Minister Michael McGimpsey and Assembly man Esmond Birnie among the front-runners.

But the DUP, which had stood aside in recent years to prevent the seat going to a nationalist, is likely to mount a challenge.

Mr Smyth has been a strong opponent of the Good Friday Agreement and party leader David Trimble, standing against him for the leadership almost five years ago when he gained around 40% support from the ruling Ulster Unionist Council.

Mr Smyth, Jeffrey Donaldson and David Burnside were suspended from the party in controversial circumstances 18 months ago - a decision they had overturned by the High Court.

He has held the South Belfast seat since 1982, taking over from Robert Bradford, who was shot dead by a five-man IRA gang at a community centre in Finaghy.

Just two days ago Mr Smyth told the House of Commons trust would have to be restored before an Assembly can return in the aftermath of the Northern Bank heist.

"How can the people of Northern Ireland be assured when there are denials of the bank robbery on the part of those who hitherto denied certain incidents in the past, such as permitting a young lad to return to Londonderry, telling his mother that he would be safe and then ordering his execution?

"The issue now is how we get into a situation where we can restore those institutions, but before we can do that, we have to restore the trust," he said.

A long-time Grand Master of the Orange Order, he resigned from the position in 1996 in the aftermath of the fallout from the Drumcree stand-off.

After the Agreement was signed in 1998, he aligned himself with the United Unionists 'No' campaign.


HIV Is On The Rise In Ulster

Increase sparks call for better funded care

By Nigel Gould
21 January 2005

Incidence rates of HIV in Northern Ireland have shown a worrying new rise.

Latest Department of Health statistics show that 31 new cases were recorded from January to September of 2004 - the same number for the overall 2003 figure.

And new cases for the first six months of 2003 were double the number for the same period in 2002.

Around 450 people in the province are now believed to have the virus which can cause Aids.

To date, 142 people have died in Northern Ireland from Aids.

The latest figures have sparked calls for services in the province to be better resourced.

The rise in cases follows last month's Belfast Telegraph revelations that five children in Northern Ireland had been diagnosed with HIV.

Recently, too it was revealed that current waiting times for assessment can stretch to six weeks and up to 700 patients are on the Royal Victoria Hospital list - Northern Ireland's regional unit.

DUP MP Iris Robinson said action was needed.

"There were the same number of new cases of HIV diagnosed in the first three quarters of 2004 in the province as there had been in the whole of the previous year.

"The figures for the final quarter of 2004 have not been released yet.

"Controlling HIV requires easy access to provide rapid diagnosis, and good management to prevent onward transmission.

"The rise in HIV, alongside increasing rates of other sexually transmitted infections, indicate the need for genitourinary medicine services in the province to be better resourced.

"Factors that contribute to the increasing rate of HIV are increased sexual contacts from overseas and the fact that many in the current generation did not live through the initial HIV scare and have less awareness of its dangers.

"Government has estimated the cost of preventing each single onward transmission of HIV is between £0.5m and £1m."


Causeway Voted Into Britain's Top Ten

By Ashleigh Wallace
21 January 2005

The Causeway Coast and Antrim Glens area has been named one of Britain's top places of outstanding natural beauty, it emerged today.

The Co Antrim coastline and surrounding area made the top ten in the Period Living and Traditional Homes magazine's 'Best of British' awards.

Over 200,000 readers were asked to nominate aspects of British life they loved in 15 categories, ranging from best country pub to best stately home.

The Causeway Coast and Antrim Glens beat off stiff competition to a top ten place in the outstanding natural beauty category, along with areas such as the Cotswolds and the Western Highlands.

And Cushendall won runner-up in the best village section, while Harmony Hill Country House in Ballymoney scooped runner-up in the best heritage hotel section and McNulty's of Limavady was named runner-up in the best fish and chip shop category.

Welcoming the Causeway Coast's inclusion in the top ten, Don Wilmot, manager of Causeway Coast and Antrim Glens Ltd, said he was delighted.

"What makes it ever better is to know that it was independently voted upon by the readers themselves." For further information on the award-winning area call 028 7032 7720 or visit www.causeway


 BS Victims
Bloody Sunday Victims

 Bloody Sunday
Bloody Sunday March

Bloody Sunday Week 24-30 Jan

by Shane OCurry - Pat Finucane Centre Wednesday, Jan 19 2005, 3:52pm phone: 028/048 71 268846

This Year's Bloody Sunday week draws parallells between British State crimes in Ireland and British/US State crimes in Iraq and Israeli State Crimes in Palestine.

Truth-seeking in the cause of justice

Programme Film Strand

There is a crucial connection between justice and journalism. How can we build the solidarity needed to create justice if facts are distorted and the context that generates the facts is seldom if ever reported? And there is always the ultimate sanction of the powerful, where journalists who seek to report the full picture, themselves become a target.

All screenings 8pm at the Gasyard Centre (except Divine Intervention, see below), Admission Free

Monday 24 January

Free Derry Tours/ Bloody Sunday Tour.

Tours at 2.00pm Monday to Friday, departing from the Bloody Sunday Centre in Foyle Street. Tours at 12noon and 3.00pm Saturday will depart from Pilots Row. Family members or some of those wounded will accompany each tour. Tours cost £4.00 per person Mon-Fri (Saturdays free). For bookings contact Ruairi on 07793 285972.

(EXHIBITION) ‘Murder on a Sunday’, AOH Hall, Foyle Street.

An exhibition of Charlie McLaughlin’s paintings about Bloody Sunday will be on display in the AOH in Foyle Street from 24 January.

(EXHIBITION) An Fhirinne Exhibition Launch, Pilots Row, 7.30pm.

The Mayor Councillor Gearoid O hEara, will launch this powerful photographic exhibition of over 200 victims of state collusion with loyalist paramilitaries, followed by speakers from An Fhirinne Campaign and the Pat Finucane Centre. Exhibition runs each day until Saturday 30th January. All Welcome.

(FILM) News from the Holy Land (UK, 2004, 50 mins, Documentary) Gasyard Centre, 8.00pm.

Written/Directed by Jake Lynch and Annabel McGoldrick this is an illustrated call for a change in the way the Palestine-Israeli conflict is reported.

Tuesday 25 January

Museum of Free Derry Exhibition launch, Bloody Sunday Centre, Foyle Street, 7.30pm.

An exhibition detailing the Bloody Sunday Trust's plans for the Museum of Free Derry in Glenfada Park. Exhibition open Tuesday 25 January to Tuesday 1 February.

(FILM) Death in Gaza (UK, 2004, 80 mins, Documentary), Gasyard Centre, 8.00pm.

Written/Reported by Saira Shah, Filmed/Directed by James Millar, this is his poignant and unflinching look at the lives of three Palestinian children caught up in the cycle of violence, dramatically culminating in the director’s own death at the hands of the Israeli Security Forces.

Wednesday 26 January

(FILM) Bi Dam (With Blood) (US, Work in Progress, 50 mins, Documentary),

Gasyard Centre, 8.00 pm.

By Dan O'Reilly Rowe and Juliana Friedman. Using personal situations to demonstrate the spirit crushing impact of the occupation on health care, Bi Dam gives insight into a crucial aspect of life in the cities, rural villages, and refugee camps of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Introduced on the night by Juliana Friedman (producer/director)

Bloody Sunday Memorial Quiz, Sean Dolan’s GAA Club, Creggan, 9.00pm.

All welcome, £10.00 per team.

Thursday 27 January

(PANEL DISCUSSION) From Bogside to Basra, Gasyard Centre, 7.00pm

Ironically the 30th January is the date the US Government chose for ‘their’ elections in Iraq. From three very different perspectives the panel will discuss the US/British illegal occupation of Iraq through the lens of Fallujah (where 13 civilians where shot dead by US Marines at a peaceful protest on 30th April 2003) and Derry’s Bloody Sunday. Speakers: Eddy Cherry, a former British Soldier, stationed in Derry, now a leading member of ‘Ex Soldiers Against The War’, Dr Abdul Al-Jibouri an Iraqi scientist, living in Derry and Paul O’Connor, Coordinator of The Pat Finucane Centre, Derry. Chair: Jim Keys

(FILM) Divine Intervention (Yadon Ilaheyya) Gasyard Centre, 8.30pm (2002, Fr/Ger/Morocco/Neth/US, 93 mins, Feature)

Divine Intervention (Yadon Ilaheyya) reeled in the Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festive and went on to win the Screen International Award at the European Film Awards. However the US Academy Of Motion Pictures told the producers of the film that it was not eligible to compete in the Academy Awards (The Oscars) ‘as Palestine is not a state we recognise in our rules’. So it’s with great pleasure that we have this opportunity to screen this feature as part of this year’s programme. It’s an engagingly offbeat Palestinian response to how Israeli checkpoints disrupt and frustrate the lives of ordinary individuals. The film begins with a deadpan comic sequence involving neighbourly neuroses, rivalries and rage in Nazareth. There is intelligence and freshness in the film’s mostly wordless comic style.

Friday 28 January

Bloody Sunday Memorial Mass, St Mary’s, Creggan, 7.30pm.

All Welcome.

(MEMORIAL LECTURE) Annual Bloody Sunday Lecture, Guildhall, 8.15pm

The Annual Bloody Sunday Lecture, delivered this year by Geraldine Finucane, widow of the murdered Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane. Event sponsored by the Bloody Sunday trust and the Pat Finucane Centre. Admission by donation.

Saturday 29 January

(PANEL DISCUSSION) Conflicts of Remembrance, Pilots Row, 12noon – 2.00pm.

Panel discussion and question and answer session where guest speakers will explore how and why we remember victims of conflict.

(PANEL DISCUSSION) The Truth of Bloody Sunday: Perspectives

Pilots Row, 2.00pm – 3.30pm.

Speakers John Kelly, brother of Michael, shot dead on Bloody Sunday, legal academic Angela Hegarty, Writer/academic Niall O Dochartaigh. The panel will present their perspectives on Bloody Sunday as people who have followed the Saville Inquiry, before the event is opened up for a Q & A with the audience. The event will close with the launch of an updated edition of Niall O’Dochartaigh’s book ‘From Civil Rights to Armalites’ which includes a new chapter on Bloody Sunday.

(PANEL DISCUSSION) Holy Cross in Context: Communities in Conflict over Shared Space in North Belfast, Pilots Row 3.30 – 5.00pm.

Was the horror at Holy Cross School in 2001, as loyalists attacked the school, the result of a breakdown of relations between two communities? Or just naked sectarianism? What was the damage and were any lessons learned? Anne Cadwallader, author of, "Holy Cross - The Untold Story", Tom Holland, republican community activist and Louanne Martin, who interviewed the children, try to answer these questions.

(FILM) Film Screenings, Pilots Row, 12noon – 5.00pm

‘Dangerous Liaisons’ (BBC Spotlight documentary on collusion); ‘Lifting a Dark Cloud’ (PFC produced documentary on Kathleen Thompson) & ‘Bloody Sunday: Massacre of the Innocents’ (Canada, documentary)

(PANEL DISCUSSION) At A Crossroads: Palestine & Ireland, Road Maps & Road Blocks to Peace Calgach Centre, 7.30pm

Speakers Dr Jamal Zahalka and Mitchel McLaughlin.

Dr Jamal Zahalka, a Palestinian MP who sits in the Israeli Knesset and Mitchel McLaughlin MLA, Sinn Fein Chairperson and senior negotiator, will discuss the Irish and Palestinian peace processes, state repression and violence. Dr Zahalka has been centrally involved in the struggle for truth and justice around Israel’s own ‘Bloody Sunday’ against the Palestinian people. As Palestinians living inside Israel came out onto the streets in support of their comrades staging of a second intifada in the occupied territories, the Israeli police force opened fire, shooting 13 people dead. Since that day in October 2000 Jamal Zahalka has been working closely with the families of the dead in their efforts to take a legal case against the Israeli police force and its government. Dr Zahalka will speak on life as a Palestinian living inside Israel, on Israel’s murderous occupation of Palestinian land and its ruthless response to Palestinian resistance through its intifada. He will also speak on the current situation and the future direction for the peace process following the tragic death of President Arafat and the election of Mahmoud Abbas as the new leader of the Palestinian people.

Traditional Music Night, Solas Arts Centre, Great James Street.

Traditional music, Adm £3.00, BYO.

Bloody Sunday Fundraiser, Gasyard Centre, 9.00pm – 1.00am

Live music and DJs – Cruncher, Gary Og, Declan McLaughlin, Eileen Webster, DJ One-Shot, Eamonn McCann, Joe Mulheron, Paul McCartney and Robbie McVeigh. Adm £5.00, BYO.

Sunday 30 January

Memorial Service at the Bloody Sunday Monument, Rossville Street, 11.30am sharp.

All welcome.

(MARCH & RALLY) Bloody Sunday March and Rally, Creggan shops, 2.30pm.

Speakers from the Bloody Sunday Families, an Fhirinne, Guest International Speaker, Palestinian MP, Dr Jamal Zahalka, Sinn Fein and the SDLP.

Overall Table of Contents
Table of Contents - Jan 2005

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