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March 19, 2005

Court Rejects Nelson Murder Bid

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Table of Contents - Overall
Table of Contents – Mar 2005

News about Ireland & the Irish

IO 03/18/05 Court Rejects Bid To See Files On Nelson's Murder
BG 03/19/05 Finucanes - 2d Belfast Family Seeks Justice
WT 03/18/05 Congressional Hearing On Finucane Slaying
IT 03/19/05 US Senate Resolution Condemns IRA Activities
WT 03/18/05 Analysis: Irish War Could Revive If IRA Disbands
BJ 03/18/05 Sinn Fein Leader Cheered
CT 03/18/05 Gerry Adams Puts Positive Spin On Snub By Bush
AF 03/18/05 Irish PM Hopes For Substantial Talks With SF
NN 03/18/05 SF Leader Gerry Adams Ends U.S. Swing At John Carroll
IT 03/19/05 SF Reputation Seriously Dented In US
WT 03/18/05 Alarm Over Use Of Control Orders On IRA
IT 03/19/05 Irish Could Be Minority Group Here By 2050 – Professor
IT 03/19/05 SDLP Leader Warns Of Orchestrated Violence
BB 03/18/05 Pact Proposal Talks 'Break Down'
4N 03/18/05 Woman Sexually Assaulted In North Belfast
BB 03/18/05 SF Man's Son Jailed Over Robbery
VI 03/18/05 Acclaimed Poet Shares Irish Imagination
WF 03/18/05 A Moon For The Misbegotten At Triad Stage
NJ 03/18/05 Stained-Glass Windows Put Irish In A Good Light
HC 03/19/05 Shake-Up Planned At KPFT

NW 03/18/05 Longford-Born Showjumping Legend –VO
NW 03/18/05 Declan Nerney - Irish Country Music Star –VO
NW 03/18/05 Furniture Restoration Enterprise –VO

(Poster’s Note: Don’t miss This Week (ABC): Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.); Gerry Adams, leader of Northern Ireland's Sinn Fein party; and Rumsfeld.

Also Read the Article about “Shake-Up Planned at KPFT” (the home of Irish Aires). If you want to express your support for your favorite show(s) on KPFT, drop a note to the manager: Jay)

Longford-Born Showjumping Legend - Mary Fanning meets Irish showjumper Capt Gerry Flynn from Lanesboro and discusses his sporting successes

Irish Country Music Star - Mary Kennedy speaks to Declan Nerney in Edgestworthtown, the home of Irish country music in Longford

Furniture Restoration Enterprise - Ciaran Mullooly reports on a group of young people taking part in a training project to set up a small enterprise re-cycling old furniture


Court Rejects Bid To See Files On Lawyer's Murder
2005-03-18 17:50:04+00

A human rights group today lost a High Court bid to gain access to files on the murder of lawyer Rosemary Nelson.

The Belfast-based Committee for the Administration of Justice was seeking papers from Police Ombudsman Nuala O'Loan's probe into claims the RUC ignored threats against Mrs Nelson.

Although Mrs O'Loan had briefed the CAJ on her inquiry, the organisation applied for a judicial review after other confidential documents were refused by her team and police.

In his ruling the Lord Chief Justice, Sir Brian Kerr, stressed the applicants should only be given access if they could show the Ombudsman had not been thorough enough.

He said: "I am satisfied that they have not done so.

"As I have said the Ombudsman's office was prepared to go to significant lengths to involve the applicants at all material stages of the investigation.

"They have been open to suggestion and comment and have met representatives of CAJ on a number of occasions.

"This approach betokens a willingness to listen and to reassure.

"Judged objectively, I consider that it constitutes proper procedures for ensuring the accountability of agents of the state."

Mrs Nelson, a high-profile lawyer who represented nationalist residents during the Drumcree marching crisis, was killed by loyalist terrorists in a booby-trap car bomb attack at her home in Lurgan, Co Armagh in March 1999.

It emerged at an earlier court hearing that the ferocity of the intimidation she faced included a letter sent to her with the chilling message: "We have you in our sights you republican bastard, we will teach you a lesson RIP.

Allegations that police failed to investigate the threats prompted Mrs O'Loan to launch an inquiry which is due to be completed later this year.

A public inquiry into the killing is also due to begin next month following recommendations by Canadian Judge Peter Cory.

The CAJ, where Mrs Nelson sat on the executive committee, had insisted it should be allowed to see papers including relevant correspondence between the RUC and Northern Ireland Office.

The organisation declined to make any comment after today's ruling.

A spokesman for the Police Ombudsman said the decision would be studied as she prepared to reveal her findings.

He said: "We will look at what the judge has said with a view to establishing when we can publish the main findings from our report into the circumstances surrounding the death of Rosemary Nelson."


2d Belfast Family Seeks Justice

Finucanes want slaying's truth to be known

By Kevin Cullen, Globe Staff March 19, 2005

WASHINGTON -- The sisters of Robert McCartney, who was brutally murdered by members of the Irish Republican Army Jan. 30, were not the only Belfast family seeking justice in the corridors of power here this week.

Away from the glare of the international spotlight that fell on the McCartney sisters, the family of Patrick Finucane, a Belfast lawyer who was shot and killed by Protestant extremists in 1989, made a more lonely trek to the offices of senators and congressmen, seeking support for an official inquiry into the collusion between British government agents and the loyalist paramilitary hit men who carried out the murder. Finucane had represented IRA suspects, frequently winning acquittals, and was a legal thorn in the side of the Northern Ireland security forces.

By defying the IRA, and demanding that their brother's killers be tried in a court of law, the McCartney sisters have won international acclaim, and challenged the very premise of the continued existence of the Provisional IRA, which rose in 1969 to protect Catholics who lived in vulnerable enclaves like the Short Strand in East Belfast where the McCartneys live.

While expressing support for the McCartneys, the Finucanes say their exasperating 16-year fight for justice underscores why there is still lingering support for the IRA, seven years after the Good Friday Agreement was supposed to transform the dispute in Northern Ireland from a violent argument to a strictly political one.

As the McCartney sisters got ready to meet President Bush at the White House, an image beamed out to the world, John Finucane, the slain lawyer's son, cut a lonely figure in the Capital Hilton.

Dozens of reporters had come there to dog Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams, whose party is the political wing of the IRA, and who was snubbed by President Bush and US Senator Edward M. Kennedy this week because of the IRA's admitted role in McCartney's murder and its alleged involvement in a $50 million Belfast bank robbery Dec. 20. But when Adams left the hotel, after giving a speech to supporters, so did the pack of journalists, none of whom bothered to talk to the Finucanes.

Similarly, when US Representative Christopher Smith, Republican of New Jersey, convened a House subcommittee hearing on the Finucane murder Wednesday afternoon, hundreds of journalists from all over the world were too busy following the McCartney sisters around Capitol Hill to drop in and listen to Finucane's widow, Geraldine, who was wounded by the gunmen who killed her husband, explain the family's frustration at being denied the truth to the circumstances surrounding the attack.

John Finucane was 8 years old, and had just sat down to dinner with his parents and siblings, when loyalist gunmen burst into the family's North Belfast home. The images of his father's murder still haunt him, but they also drive him to seek the truth, to find out how high up the chain of command in the British government the assassination went.

''It's not just my father's case," said John Finucane, now 25. ''A lot of families are looking to us, to see how our case is handled, and to see whether you can obtain truth and justice in the new political situation" in Northern Ireland.

Martin Finucane, the murdered lawyer's brother, said a full and honest accounting of how his brother was killed will have a more lasting effect on convincing the IRA to disband than the recent widespread heaping of abuse on IRA leaders and republican political leaders like Adams.

''When you have true, proper policing, and a real democracy, you can see the end to armed groups. Everybody wants that," said Martin Finucane. ''The underlying issues must be dealt with, and politics must be seen to work."

The Irish government's line against the IRA has become much harder in recent weeks. But even the Irish premier, Bertie Ahern, mentioned Finucane's murder in the same context as McCartney's. Speaking here at Wednesday night's American Ireland Fund gala, Ahern said he supported the Finucane family's demand for justice, and recognized Geraldine Finucane in the audience, before welcoming the McCartney sisters and describing them as being among the bravest people he has ever met.

Peter Cory, a Canadian judge appointed by the British and Irish governments to investigate Finucane's murder and five other contentious killings during the Troubles, said he found evidence of possible British government collusion in Finucane's killing, and recommended the establishment of a public inquiry. But in a letter sent to Smith's subcommittee, Cory said the current British legislation to create a public inquiry into the murder did not go far enough, and urged other judges to boycott it.

Over the years, the sons of men who were murdered like Finucane would often join paramilitary groups in Northern Ireland, to seek vengeance. John Finucane and his brother, Michael, chose to become lawyers, to seek justice.

John Finucane allowed himself a smile at the thought, saying he believed that those who conspired to murder his father will one day regret the forces they unleashed.

''They've created a family of lawyers," he said. ''We're not going to stop until we get the truth."

© Copyright 2005 Globe Newspaper Company.


Congressional Hearing On Finucane Slaying

Rep. Christopher H. Smith has been focusing on the 13-year-old slaying of Patrick Finucane, a defense attorney who represented IRA suspects, including one defendant acquitted of plotting the deaths of two police officers.

An independent inquiry headed by retired Canadian Supreme Court Judge Peter Cory last year cited "strong evidence" that the Northern Irish police and British army intelligence knew that Mr. Finucane was targeted for assassination in 1989 by the Ulster Defense Association, an outlawed Protestant paramilitary group. He recommended a public inquiry by the British government.

Mr. Smith, New Jersey Republican, took advantage of the week of St. Patrick's Day to hold a congressional hearing on the case he has monitored for 10 years.

"The case has widespread implications for the rule of law in Northern Ireland, as Mr. Finucane was targeted simply because of the politics of his clients," said Mr. Smith, chairman of the House International Relations subcommittee on Africa, global human rights and international operations.

He called on the British government to honor a commitment made in 2001 to hold a public inquiry if Mr. Cory recommended one.

"After a year and a half of delays, exceptions and excuses, it is time for the British government to comply," Mr. Smith said. "If the citizens cannot count on the institutions of government to deliver on their commitment to secure equal justice for all, confidence will erode and hope for a just and lasting peace could slip away."

He noted that Mr. Bush recently signed a resolution he sponsored calling for a British government investigation.


US Senate Resolution Condemns IRA Activities

Conor O'Clery in Washington

The US Senate has passed a resolution condemning IRA violence and criminality and expressing support for the sisters of murdered Belfast man Robert McCartney in their pursuit of justice.

Initiated by Senator Ted Kennedy, the resolution calls on the Sinn Féin leadership to insist that those responsible for the murder co-operate with the PSNI.

Meanwhile, Gerry Adams protested that Sinn Féin was being unfairly condemned for the McCartney killing. "There's politics in this," he said at Washington's National Press Club on Thursday.

"I have asked why there has been no identity parade, why, when a key witness came forward on Monday, he was told there was nobody there to interview him, and why another key suspect was told the same thing? I can't imagine another situation where, if there was a high-profile murder like this one, a chief suspect would come forward and be told to come back another day."

PSNI chief constable Hugh Orde, also visiting Washington, defended his force's handling of the investigation. "I think the public understand the difference between intelligence and evidence," he told BBC Radio Ulster. "I think the public are ahead of us on this. They know very well that we need a case to put to people."

He said questioning someone who would then exercise their right to silence would "not develop the case. We know, we are the professionals, not Sinn Féin, not Provisional IRA."

The Senate resolution, supported by Senators John McCain, Chris Dodd, Joe Biden, Pat Leahy, Hillary Clinton and Frank Lautenberg, calls on the leaders of Sinn Féin to insist that those responsible for the murder of Robert McCartney co-operate with the PSNI and to refrain from resorting to vigilante justice. It notes that the McCartney sisters "refused to accept the code of silence" and bravely challenged the IRA by demanding justice.

It condemns the IRA's "outrageous" statement in which it said it "was willing to shoot the killers of Robert McCartney". The resolution also urges the US government to offer "all appropriate assistance to law enforcement authorities in Northern Ireland to see that the murderers of Robert McCartney are brought to justice".

On Thursday, President Bush told the sisters he was "100 per cent" behind their campaign.

In a statement Senator Kennedy said: "It is time for the IRA to fully decommission its weapons, end all criminal activity, and cease to exist as a paramilitary organisation, and it is time for Sinn Féin to achieve the respect it aspires to as a legitimate political party."

Mr Adams visited Cleveland yesterday at the end of his week-long visit to the US, during which he was snubbed by President Bush and Senator Kennedy.

© The Irish Times


Analysis: Irish War Could Revive If IRA Disbands

By Martin Sieff
UPI Senior News Analyst

Washington, DC, Mar. 18 (UPI) -- Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams, under intense U.S. and domestic pressure, repeatedly said in the United States this week he believes the Irish Republican Army may eventually wither away or disband. But he stressed that it must happen gradually to prevent the danger of a new and far more deadly IRA springing up in its place.

On Monday, the Sinn Fein president made a revealing comment while addressing the Council on Foreign Relations in New York. "No one wants the IRA to go back to war, and in my view, people want to see the IRA leaving the stage - and I think the best way for the IRA to leave the stage is in a dignified manner that prevents any recurrence of another IRA growing up alongside," Adams said.

Longtime critics of the Sinn Fein president dismiss such comments as tactical cover to buy time and avert pressure on the IRA to decommission its arms caches and survive the current wave of criticism directed against it. Adams has just experienced his worst St. Patrick's Day ever in America. He got the cold shoulder Thursday from President George W. Bush, Democratic Sen. Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts and major Irish-American politicians throughout the country who in the past were eager to applaud him for embracing the peace process.

Instead, the heroes of the hour in Irish America this St. Patrick's Day were the five sisters and fiancee of Robert McCartney, a 33-year-old Catholic father of two who was savagely hacked to death in bar brawl in central Belfast on Jan. 30.

McCartney's murder was not a political killing, but the Northern Irish police are convinced, and even the IRA has acknowledged, that his murderers were members of the organization, including a senior officer. The murder was followed by a classic cover-up. Security videotapes in the bar vanished, and none of the 70 eyewitnesses to the killing was willing to talk to the police about it.

But the cover-up set off a firestorm of rage throughout Ireland, North and South, especially as it came right after a $50 million bank robbery, the biggest in European history, in Belfast that police said was carried out by the IRA.

Even Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., a longtime supporter of Adams and Sinn Fein's participation in the peace process, issued a St. Patrick's Day message calling on the IRA to disband and condemning it for the bank robbery and the McCartney murder. "That has caused me and other concerned Irish-Americans to conclude that the IRA must disband without delay," he said.

However, the long, and even the most recent history of the militant Irish republican movement provides abundant evidence that Adams' concern about a splintering of it that could unleash a new wave of violence worse than any seen in Northern Ireland for well over 20 years is a justified one.

As respected Canadian analyst Gwynne Dyer noted in the Toronto Globe and Mail earlier this week, the Irish republican movement has split five times in the past century, and on three of those occasions, the split has led to widespread violence, even on occasion civil war.

The IRA proclaimed its current cease-fire in 1994 and has honored it ever since. The discipline and effectiveness it has shown over the past decade in doing so indeed contrasts very favorably with the failure of late Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat to rein in different Palestinian groups, including his own Fatah faction and some of its paramilitary groups, from continuing to carry out lethal attacks against Israeli civilians during the period of the 1993-2000 Oslo Peace Process.

But the regular IRA's restraint was not universally applauded or accepted in the militant Irish republican community. A radical group called The Real IRA split off from the regular, or Provisional, IRA. And they carried out the most deadly terrorist attack in Northern Irish history: The 1998 car bombing in the town of Omagh that killed 29 people.

Since then, tensions have been well documented within the IRA between the leadership that has honored the cease-fire, even while permitting widespread and extremely lucrative criminal activities, and local IRA groups, especially from the tough, implacable veterans of the IRA's South Armagh Brigade who were in the forefront of its long struggle against Britain's Special Air Service commandos in the so-called "bandit country" along the Northern Ireland-Republic of Ireland border. British, Irish and Northern Irish security officials believe the South Armagh Brigade still numbers hundreds of potential activists. It remains extremely difficult for security forces to penetrate, and opposition to decommissioning the organization's arms caches and disbanding is particularly widespread and deeply felt among its members.

Republican insiders also say that Adams has reason for his concerns. In December, the Irish Republic's security forces successfully cracked a plot by The Real IRA group to launch a Christmas season wave of terror bombings across Northern Ireland. A wave of defections from the regular IRA to the Real IRA could give the latter group the men and resources it needs to unleash a new terror campaign.

Over the past decade, Adams has been the key figure in persuading IRA local commanders to honor the cease-fire and enforce it on their supporters. But for all the proven efficiency of British and Irish security, they cannot guarantee safety 100 percent. And Adams is said by republican insiders to be particularly obsessed with the possibility that he may meet the same fate as Michael Collins, key leader of the IRA in Ireland's 1920-21 War of Independence, who was shot dead in an ambush during the Irish Civil War by fellow republicans who believe he had sold out in a compromise peace treaty with Britain.

His fears may not be misplaced. It is familiar cliche, but a repeatedly proven one, that in Ireland, the past is usually prologue to the future.


Sinn Fein Leader Cheered

Gerry Adams speaks on Northern Ireland

By Stephen Dyer
Beacon Journal staff writer

UNIVERSITY HEIGHTS - The leader of Northern Ireland's largest all-Irish political party, which wants its homeland to be independent from the United Kingdom, told an enthusiastic crowd of several hundred at John Carroll University on Friday that despite centuries of conflict and two months of setbacks, peace remains attainable in Northern Ireland.

Gerry Adams -- leader of the Sinn Fein party -- denounced a recent bank robbery and a gruesome murder committed, many believe, by members of the Irish Republican Army, the armed resistance to British rule.

However, he did not denounce or push for disbanding the IRA itself, as American political leaders have urged Adams to do in recent days.

Adams said of Sinn Fein and the IRA: ``The two elements draw water from the same well.''

Several politicians, including U.S. Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., whose brother's picture still hangs on many an Irish Catholic wall, refused this week to meet publicly with Adams in the wake of the recent violence.

Disbanding the IRA ``is easier said than done,'' Adams said in his heavy, lilting accent. ``If (American politicians) are frustrated, how do you think I feel?''

Adams' goal

Adams said his goal is to create a Northern Ireland where the IRA is no longer needed because it's free from both violence and political persecution -- both elements necessary to create a true peace, he argued.

``One of the objectives of Sinn Fein is to bring about conditions that bring about the end of the IRA,'' he said. The only way for that to happen, he said, is to keep working at the peace process.

He acknowledged that not all IRA members may be happy with the change to the centuries-old violence paradigm that has ripped the north. ``Changing society is a huge enterprise,'' he said.

A peace accord reached in 1998 would provide some self-government to Northern Ireland; it would be run by both those who want union with the Irish Republic in the south and those who want to remain a part of the United Kingdom. But the plan has stalled, and each side blames the other.

The recent violence is ``a huge test for us as a people,'' Adams said.

Ovation and laughs

Adams received a standing ovation after his 15-minute-long remarks. He also got some laughs -- for example, when he opened his speech in the traditional Irish tongue. Or when 20-year-old John Carroll (or as Adams pronounced it, ``John Carl'') student David Schuld asked Adams what it was like being a 20-year-old in Belfast, the capital of Northern Ireland. ``I mostly realized there were other human beings called girls,'' Adams quipped.

Adams also garnered applause when radio station WCPN's David Barnett -- who conducted an interview in front of the crowd following Adams' remarks -- asked him whether Sinn Fein is the political wing of the IRA, an oft-used media explanation.

``No,'' Adams answered. After a long pause, the crowd applauded Adams' silence.

Views of the island

Adams also told the audience about differences between what he called the occupied north and the independent south, such as how the mailboxes in the south are green and the ones in the north are red -- the color of the Royal Mail used by the United Kingdom.

As a child, whenever he ventured south, he also looked for the border that appeared so clearly not only on maps, but also in minds. ``We couldn't find it,'' he said.

Outside the gymnasium where Adams spoke, a small yellow house adjacent to the parking lot bore a flag, tucked into a brace at a 45-degree angle.

A slight early spring breeze unfurled the orange, white and green stripes of Ireland that danced slowly in the gentle wind.

Stephen Dyer can be reached at 330-996-3523 or


Gerry Adams Puts Positive Spin On Snub By Bush News Staff

Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams appeared on CTV's Canada AM on Friday, putting a positive spin on his snub this week in Washington by U.S. President George Bush.

For the first time in a decade, Adams and other Northern Ireland politicians were not asked to visit the White House on St. Patrick's Day.

"Let's not be too pessimistic on this visit to the U.S.A.," Adams told Canada AM.

"I had a very good meeting with President Bush's special envoy on Ireland and we discussed all the matters that are required to be put in place for the peace process to succeed."

As well, Adams said he remains committed to "bringing about a situation where we have the IRA ceasing to be."

Still there was no getting away from the intense international interest in what happened in Washington when Adams was not invited to meet Bush.

Instead, outspoken advocates for a brutally murdered Belfast man wre front and centre in Washington as they took their campaign to the U.S. leader.

The sisters and partner of Robert McCartney, a Catholic man allegedly murdered by members of the Irish Republican Army, presented Bush with a dossier on his case.

The late Robert McCartney's sister, Catherine, said she got the impression that Bush "had a very good understanding about what our cause is about, what had happened to Robert. And as I said we didn't need to explain anything to him, he already knew it and gave us his 100 per cent support for it."

The sisters are hoping that public support in the U.S. for their cause will encourage the Irish nationalist Sinn Fein party and the IRA to get witnesses to offer evidence directly to Northern Ireland's police force.

On Friday, Adams was asked on Canada AM about a warning reportedly from his Sinn Fein colleague, Martin McGuiness to the McCartney sisters, telling them to stay out of politics.

"I haven't heard those remarks," Adams said.

But he said the issue of the family being threatened is false.

"I want to make it absolutely and totally clear that is not the case," he said.

"I believe the family have the right to do whatever the family wants to do. I support them in their quest for justice."

Also on Thursday in Washington, Bush greeted Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern for the annual presentation of a crystal bowl brimming with shamrocks.

Talking to reporters after the shamrock ceremony on Thursday, Bush said the three-leaved plant illustrates, "the unity that people can achieve when they commit themselves to peace and freedom."

"As you work for peace, our government and the American people will stand with you," Bush told Ahern.

Signaling his ongoing commitment to the 1998 Good Friday agreement, Ahern said his people's confidence has been shaken, but not broken.

"Recent events have damaged confidence. But they have also crystallized what must now be done to finalize the process and achieve stable partnership government in Northern Ireland," he said, acknowledging the strain McCartney's death and a December bank heist blamed on the IRA.

Those two events played a large part in Bush's decision to not invite Adams.

Northern Ireland leaders have been welcome at the White House since the Good Friday agreement set the stage for local government in Northern Ireland again, after more than a quarter century of rule from London.


Irish PM Hopes For Substantial Talks With Sinn Fein On N Ireland

Web posted at: 3/19/2005 9:52:31

Source ::: AFP

DUBLIN: Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern said yesterday he hoped to hold "substantial" talks soon with Sinn Fein, the political wing of the IRA, to help get Northern Ireland's shaky peace process back on track.

Ahern was speaking from Washington, where the previous evening he had an hour-long meeting with Gerry Adams, the leader of Sinn Fein, British-ruled Northern Ireland's biggest Catholic political party.

Adams, usually feted in the United States, has found himself snubbed during his current trip due to allegations of rampant criminality on the part of the Irish Republican Army (IRA).

"We are due to have a meeting after Easter which would be a substantial meeting, I hope, if we can make some progress," Ahern said, referring to the Christian festival which falls on March 27 this year.

"We are not going to go soft on any of the issues of the last few months. We are determined to try to see these last outstanding issues dealt with," he said in an interview with Ireland's state-owned RTE radio.

However, Ahern said he did not envisage another round of discussions about reviving Northern Ireland's suspended power-sharing administration, which he said had been "talked to death".

"I am not getting back into a long-drawn out negotiating process that goes on for six or nine months and then find ourselves down to the last handful of hours waiting for questions from the IRA. We are not starting that process again."

The IRA and Sinn Fein, which seek a united Ireland, have faced intense criticism following a massive bank robbery in December and the later murder of Belfast man Robert McCartney, both blamed on the paramilitary group.

Political groups could not be involved in democracy and still think it was still possible "to be hijacking trucks, involved in huge racketeering and taking out the odd bank", Ahern said.

"It is just not possible. People have voted for a democratic peace, not an armed peace or not some kind of a mid-way position. That is the way it is and that is the way it is going to remain."

McCartney was beaten and stabbed to death on January 30 after a bar room argument in Belfast. His family claim members of the IRA were responsible and that they then destroyed evidence and intimidated witnesses.

While Adams was shunned by US politicians in Washington during celebrations marking St Patrick's Day, the feast of Ireland's patron saint, President George W Bush met the McCartney family and pledged his support for their campaign for justice.

White House spokesman Scott McClellan said Bush had promised McCartney's five sisters and former fiancee that the United States would do "whatever we can to assist".

The president also "let them know that he shared in their grieving over the loss of their loved one. And he expressed to them that justice will prevail", the spokesman added.

While in Washington the McCartney family also met Senator Ted Kennedy, one of the leading US voices on Irish issues, who pointedly shunned Adams.

The murder of McCartney was a "litmus test", Ahern argued.

Success for the McCartneys' campaign would be "a clear signal that things are changing and that we can move forward away from the murder, the mayhem, the paramilitarism and the criminality", Ahern said.

In December, efforts by the Irish and British governments to revive a power-sharing administration in Northern Ireland collapsed.

That semi-autonomous government, established under the 1998 Good Friday peace agreement, was suspended in October 2002 following allegations of IRA spying.


Sinn Fein Leader Gerry Adams Ends U.S. Swing At John Carroll

Head Of IRA's Political Party Spends Week Touring U.S.

POSTED: 10:31 am EST March 18, 2005

UNIVERSITY HEIGHTS, Ohio -- Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams, snubbed by President Bush on St. Patrick's Day, was headed Friday to John Carroll University to return a visit by students who are using violence-plagued Northern Ireland to study peacemaking.

The visit capped a weeklong effort by the head of the outlawed Irish Republican Army's political wing to stem criticism that the IRA mounted a $50 million bank heist in Belfast on Dec. 20 and was responsible for killing a Catholic civilian outside a Belfast pub on Jan. 30.

Adams, a reputed IRA commander since the mid-1970s, has been part of the White House celebration of St. Patrick's Day for years but was barred from official U.S. government functions on Thursday.

The campus invitation to Adams was extended by John Carroll students who spent five weeks in Northern Ireland last summer as part of the Jesuit-run university's Belfast Institute. Participants met with various sides in the sectarian conflict, including Adams.

The Adams visit generated some nasty e-mails from people who thought the institute was taking sides, according to Director Pamela A. Mason. She emphasized that the invitation came from the campus student affairs office.

"It's sort of a touchy subject," said Nicholas Reif, 20, a sophomore from nearby South Euclid who was part of the summer program last year.

He said the program had tried to reach out to all sides to avoid any suggestion that the Catholic campus was biased. "The program goes that much beyond to disprove that," he said.

John P. Harrington, a Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute dean and president of the American Conference for Irish Studies, said the Belfast focus of the John Carroll program would succeed if it keeps up with changing political tides.

"People in Ireland and Northern Ireland frequently feel that Americans are following obsolete perceptions of Ireland _ the issue for any Belfast Institute is how to avoid replaying old polarities," he said in an e-mail.

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


SF Reputation Seriously Dented In US

The McCartney family's campaign has been hugely successful, although the backbiting has already begun back home, writes Mark Hennessy, Political Correspondent

Like so many others in Ireland, the McCartneys grew up with the Child of Prague on the mantelpiece, the picture of the Sacred Heart on the left, the picture of slain US president, John F Kennedy on the right.

Sitting in Senator Ted Kennedy's Capitol Hill office on Wednesday, Gemma, one of the five sisters of Robert McCartney, told him how their mother Donna had idolised the youthful president.

"What's her number," quipped Kennedy, who knows more than most about losing siblings at the hands of violent men, before he reached for the telephone and rang Mrs McCartney in Belfast.

Such are the changes that have taken place in the lives of the women ever since their brother was murdered in late January.

Whereas the road to Washington has been long and painful, the road home for the five women and Mr McCartney's partner, Bridgeen Hagans, is paved with even more difficulties.

The backbiting has already begun, particularly after images of the women attending the American-Ireland Fund dinner on Wednesday night were shown on UTV and the BBC. "Do you know what they are calling them already in Belfast," one Northern journalist said sadly, "The Corrs".

Though the campaign for justice launched by the women has been successful beyond their wildest dreams, few looking on believe that a successful prosecution, for murder at any rate, will ever be brought.

However, the six, who have endured a crash course in the media and high politics in recent weeks, have repeatedly been underestimated and have proved their critics wrong.

"There will be a minority of people who will feel that we shouldn't be doing what we are doing. But they should ask themselves what would they do. Would they not fight for justice?" asked Catherine McCartney yesterday.

The McCartneys presence in the United States has done serious damage to Sinn Féin's reputation, even though the family has not tried to pick a fight with Gerry Adams, or others.

"Sinn Féin have been the ones to inflict the damage on themselves, not the McCartneys," SDLP leader Mark Durkan said yesterday afternoon as he prepared to leave Washington.

Unlike so many other stories out of Ireland, the death of Robert McCartney is a simple, if horrible, one. There was a brutal killing, there was a cover-up, and there were denials, evasions and lies.

Though the upper reaches of establishment Irish-America closed its doors this week to the Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams, he and Martin McGuinness and others are still trusted deeply by many.

Indeed, the speech made by Republican senator John McCain on Wednesday night, when he condemned Sinn Féin and described the IRA "as nothing better than a criminal syndicate", has caused fury.

On Thursday morning members of Friends of Sinn Féin were still livid when they gathered for a breakfast meeting with Mr Adams. "I got to bed at 3am. I was still raging with that bastard," said one man.

However, Irish-American opinion has changed radically since 9/11. In times past, many would have been happy to shout "Up The 'Ra" openly and put their hands in their pocket for "the Struggle".

Today, most, bar the dimmest, realise that those days are over.

In Boston recently, Sinn Féin's Alex Maskey faced tough questioning when he attended a meeting with blue-collar Irish-Americans.

"What are you doing to us, Alex?" one demanded.

Nevertheless, Irish-America will be slow to close the door completely on Adams, if only because they have invested so much of their own faith in him.

If Adams has lied, then their own judgment will be called into question.

But patience is wearing thin. Irish-Americans were slow to believe the charge that the IRA was involved in the Northern Bank raid. Some still do not, but most have been persuaded otherwise.

If evidence is produced, and convictions are ever imposed on IRA members then Adams's credibility will have been fatally damaged.

However, convictions in cases such as these are slow to come.Further robberies or further killings will make his presence in the United States intolerable, particularly when some, including the British embassy in the US, are already comparing him with Yasser Arafat.

Such a charge, if it ever stuck, and it has not yet, would end his credibility with a US audience still seared by the memory of 9/11 and the loss of their feeling of invulnerability.

In January the US special envoy to Northern Ireland, Mitchell Reiss, took questions from journalists after a meeting with Minister for Foreign Affairs Dermot Ahern.

"One woman from Fox News asked: "Would we be letting these people in if they were Arabs."

"Reiss nearly died at the microphone," said one witness to the envoy's discomfiture.

However, the McCartney case and the frenzy of this week will eventually fade from people's memory in the US, as journalists and time move on.

Sinn Féin is depending heavily on that happening.

Although the McCartneys have delivered a simple message well and often this week, they will have been wise to note the presence of two other women in Washington, Geraldine Finucane and Ann McCabe.

Sixteen years on, the British government is still refusing to hold a full public inquiry into the 1989 murder of Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane.

Ann McCabe, on the other hand, has seen men convicted, but for manslaughter and not murder of her husband, while she has also had to repeatedly contend with the prospect that they could be released early.

Neither has seen justice in their eyes.

© The Irish Times


Alarm Over Use Of Control Orders On IRA

By Hannah K. Strange
UPI UK Correspondent

London, England, Mar. 18 (UPI) -- Police and political parties in Northern Ireland have reacted with alarm to the prospect of British government applying its controversial anti-terror control orders to the IRA.

British Home Secretary Charles Clarke revealed Thursday that it was possible the orders would be used in Northern Ireland.

"Recommendations may be made, and if they are made I will make a report to Parliament in the way set out in the legislation," he said.

The control orders -- which range from restrictions on movement to house arrest or detention in a government-controlled building and can be applied to terror suspects without trial -- were introduced under the Prevention of Terrorism Act approved last Friday after a long parliamentary battle.

The home secretary's revelation has alarmed many in Northern Ireland, who see such measures as reminiscent of the British government's use of internment without trial in the 1970s.

Sinn Fein spokesman on policing and justice Gerry Kelly said: "If Paul Murphy (Northern Ireland secretary) thinks he can return to the agenda of repression, he's got another thing coming. Republicans will not be cowered by emergency powers, with a return to internment without trial and other draconian laws.

"For Paul Murphy to say that the British government is prepared to use this anti-democratic and repressive Prevention of Terrorism Bill against republicans in the six counties shows that he has learned nothing about British rule in Ireland. Criminalization has never worked (and) ... will be resisted."

Others expressed concern that control orders would not be effective in Northern Ireland.

Alban Magennis, a Northern Ireland Assembly member for the moderate nationalist Social Democratic and Labor Party told United Press International that experience with internment had proved such measures to be counterproductive, gaining support for the IRA rather than diminishing it.

"They're more likely to stir support for the Provos (IRA) rather than against them," he said. "They (the IRA) flourish against that sort of victimization, or perceived victimization."

Clarke's statement, he believed, was a "political afterthought," and he had not given it proper consideration. Once he had, he would probably drop the idea, which he "would be wise" to do.

The IRA will never be defeated by the security services, he said, only by losing community support.

However, some parties welcomed the move.

Timothy Leighton, a spokesman for the Democratic Unionist Party, said the application of the control orders to the IRA would be a "very positive development." It was important to be consistent in fighting terrorism both at home and abroad, he said.

Asked whether the control orders could be reminiscent of internment, Leighton said it would have been problematic if politicians had made the orders, and the party had been opposed to that, but now with a judge's involvement the right balance had been struck.

The police, however, were more cautious. Chief Inspector Stephen Crockard from the Police Service of Northern Ireland said such a measure would be "political dynamite" given the British government's use of internment against republican paramilitaries during the Troubles.

Internment without trial was introduced in Northern Ireland in 1971, at the height of the conflict. Over 300 men were arrested during dawn raids on the first day, Aug. 9. The strategy backfired, as it was directed almost exclusively at the Catholic community, and within hours rioting and shooting broke out in Belfast, Derry, Strabane, Armagh and Newry. At 11:15 a.m., then-Northern Ireland Prime Minister Brian Faulkner announced his government was at war with the terrorists.

Violence escalated, and thousands of people left their homes in Belfast because of sectarian attacks.

Over four years many more were arrested -- including Gerry Adams, now leader of Sinn Fein -- and subjected to inhumane and degrading treatment. Determined to get up-to-date intelligence, the army introduced interrogation techniques including sleep and food deprivation and beatings. Detainees were spread-eagled for hours against a wall with hoods over their heads and subjected to disorientating electronic white noise. The techniques introduced have been used by U.S. interrogators at Guantanamo Bay, in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Civil rights lawyers accused the government of torture. The Irish government made a formal complaint to the European Commission for Human Rights and later the European Court of Human Rights. The commission found Britain guilty of torture, but the European Court ruled that the treatment was inhumane and degrading but did not constitute torture.

Writing years later, Home Secretary Reginald Maudling, who sanctioned the action, said the experience from 1971 to 1975 "was by almost universal consent an unmitigated disaster which has left an indelible mark on the history of Northern Ireland."

The practice is now widely considered to have furthered the cause of republican paramilitaries, galvanizing support for the IRA and enabling them to fundraise in the United States.

Ironically, internment in Northern Ireland was raised by several members of the House of Lords when arguing against Clarke's anti-terror proposals last week.

Lord Mayhew of Twysden, a Conservative peer, said that arguments for internment in Northern Ireland had been very similar to those used for the anti-terror proposals today. And the measures "did great things for advancing the cause of the enemy."

Peers also expressed concerns about the orders' use in Northern Ireland Thursday.

Labor's Lord Dubs said: "Just when public opinion in Northern Ireland is moving stronger than ever against terrorism and criminals there, the worst thing we could do would be to give the people who perpetrated these crimes a sense of being victims."

It is clearly a quandary for the British government, which has been accused of being softer on the IRA than other terrorist groups. While hard-line unionists such as the DUP are pushing for orders, Paul Murphy will have to take into account the horrific legacy of internment in the minds of Northern Ireland's people and the possible consequences of stirring up such memories.

No doubt he will not take the decision lightly. A spokeswoman for the Northern Ireland Office told UPI: "The secretary of state for Northern Ireland will be considering carefully the application of the powers in the Prevention of Terrorism Act to Northern Ireland. However, this is an exceptional piece of legislation, aimed at exceptional circumstances. Our aim is if individuals are suspected of involvement in terrorist acts, the police will seek to gather the evidence necessary to secure a conviction in court."


Irish Could Be Minority Ethnic Group Here By 2050 - Professor

John Downes

Ireland's native population could be in a minority by the middle of this century, the president of Dublin City University (DCU) will claim today. But large-scale immigration is still essential if we are to remain prosperous, Prof Ferdinand von Prondzynski will say.

Unpublished UK-based research, which he does not identify, has indicated that by 2050, Ireland's population will consist of a multicultural and multiethnic mix in which the indigenous Irish will form a minority.

He says this is based on some demographic projections which also suggest that people of Chinese origin may form the largest of the new ethnic groups.

"Whether this turns out to be an accurate prediction or not, we have to prepare for a very different kind of society," he says.

"It needs to be a planned process to ensure our skills needs are being met . . . a very substantial increase in population will be needed over a long period of time.

"And I don't think people have quite realised this yet."

In a speech to be delivered at a conferring ceremony in DCU later today, Prof von Prondzynski will also argue that any attempt to stop migration here will lead to a significant decline in the Irish economy, and a return to Ireland's peripheral status in Europe.

This is because a major population expansion is needed for the next wave of economic growth.

Universities have a particular obligation to prepare the country for the increasingly multicultural nature of Irish society, he believes.

Inter-cultural studies and research should be prioritised, while care needs to be taken to ensure the "new Irish" gain equal access to higher education.

Universities should also be "active contributors" to anti-racism policies, and should offer support to industry and to Government agencies in this regard.

However, Prof von Prondzynski will stress that they should maintain an interest in, and support for, Irish traditional culture as part of this development.

"Ireland as a multicultural society will be able to make a particularly valuable contribution to the new Europe, and will be able to continue to lead as a country in which high-value innovation takes place and strong community values are espoused."

Although the immigration issue is a difficult one for the Government, recently introduced measures - such as increased restrictions on citizenship - are frequently counterproductive, the professor said yesterday.

"People are nervous about immigration. But immigration is almost always a good thing. People think immigrants come here and take jobs, but the opposite is true. They will come and create jobs."

© The Irish Times


SDLP Leader Warns Of Orchestrated Violence

Mark Hennessy, Political Correspondent in Washington

Sinn Féin and the IRA may orchestrate violence in nationalist and republican areas in Northern Ireland during the coming marching season, the SDLP leader, Mark Durkan, has warned.

Speaking before he left Washington yesterday, Mr Durkan said Sinn Féin could subsequently try to claim advantage by calming tensions in such areas.

"People are conscious that Sinn Féin might well try and use 'ground control' during the marching season as a way of reminding people that there are some things that the IRA are needed for," he told The Irish Times.

Sinn Féin, he said, had received "a very clear and clean message" from US political leaders during the St Patrick's Day celebrations.

"This is a town that works on bottom lines. There are no ifs and buts. People are getting fed up with the euphemisms and evasions of the peace process.

"People here don't want something that is halfway between a hint and a stunt. And they don't want some separation between Sinn Féin and the IRA.

"They will not see any substitute for what needs to be done with the IRA. It needs to go away, and Sinn Féin have got that message very clearly," Mr Durkan declared.

The SDLP leader was not invited to the White House or the annual Speaker's lunch on Capitol Hill, following the decision of both to impose a blanket ban on Northern political leaders, although the ban was principally designed to penalise Sinn Féin.

Meanwhile, the Taoiseach, who attended the annual St Patrick's party hosted by the Irish Ambassador, Mr Noel Fahy, on Thursday night, left Washington for Ireland early yesterday morning.

Ms Catherine McCartney, one of the sisters of Mr Robert McCartney, murdered in Belfast in late January by IRA members, said they would now take their campaign to the European Parliament.

Saying that they had received a warm welcome from President George Bush and senior US political figures, Ms McCartney said they understood that media and political interest would inevitably begin to decline in the killing of their brother.

However, the family would continue to push for justice.

Sharply rebutting the charges levelled against them this week by Sinn Féin, she said the party insisted on believing the family's campaign was being orchestrated by outside forces.

The SDLP leader said the British government was prepared to look at his party's proposals for a re-establishment of the Northern Ireland Assembly.

"Bill Clinton has told us that it is the only good idea that he has heard in two years. People here were told last December that if there wasn't a deal there wouldn't be one until 2006. They are asking now if they have to wait that long," he commented.

The SDLP has proposed that the Assembly be re-established, though the ministerial posts on the Executive would be filled by appointed commissioners, rather than by politicians.

The British, he said, had circulated "loose paper" ideas that would see the Assembly "scrutinising" the work of direct-rule ministers, or having legislative powers alongside those same ministers.

However, he said, "we want the highest common denominator, not the lowest. The parties say they are in favour of the agreement, or in favour of the fundamentals of the agreement. This would flush them out."

© The Irish Times


Pact Proposal Talks 'Break Down'

Talks over a potential anti-Sinn Fein election pact between the UUP and the DUP have broken down without progress, the DUP's Peter Robinson has said.

The UUP put forward proposals aimed at unseating three Sinn Fein MPs and preventing others being elected.

But the UUP said the DUP preferred to discuss only two constituencies.

The DUP's Peter Robinson said the UUP proposals were "an admission of defeat" by the UUP in unionist-held seats and a bit to boost the nationalist vote.

The talks, facilitated by the Orange Order, took place on Friday.

Mr Robinson, the DUP deputy leader, said a deal would have been in the wider interests of unionism.

However, he said the UUP had "decided to dig its heels in over the two constituencies in which a deal could have helped."

"The reality is that in only two seats, South Belfast and Fermanagh and South Tyrone, could a voting pact between the two parties result in a positive outcome for unionism," he said.

"The Ulster Unionist proposal that unionists should not contest seats presently held by either party is an admission of defeat which has absolutely no practical benefit.

"Their priority is to save their own skin rather than improve the overall result for unionism.

"The only reason for the UUP to put forward such a proposal is because of the state of panic that grips its campaign. "

He said the UUP proposals would have resulted in unionists in a number of constituencies being asked to vote for the SDLP.

"The Ulster Unionist suggestion would lead to a situation where in all likelihood, Sinn Fein would have emerged as the largest single party in Northern Ireland".

In a statement, Ulster Unionist leader David Trimble said his party had argued for an approach that would "do maximum damage to Sinn Fein".

"The DUP, however, preferred only to talk about South Belfast and Fermanagh and South Tyrone where the positions of both parties are established and well known," he said.

Later, Ulster Unionist Chairman James Cooper said his party was not aware the talks had broken down, as the DUP had agreed to consider the proposals.

"It is a ridiculous assertion to say that our proposals amount to an admission of defeat. Far from it," he said.

"They amount to a plan to remove Sinn Fein from their Westminster seats and prevent them from gaining any more. This remains, in our view, in unionism's best interests. "

He urged the DUP to "think again", adding that if they "allow more seats to fall to republicans, the unionist electorate will know who is to blame."

UUP proposals

Both parties agree not to contest each others existing seats but appeal for a maximum united unionist vote.

Both parties stand down in West Tyrone in favour of an independent candidate to try to unseat Sinn Fein's Pat Doherty.

The UUP would stand down in Mid-Ulster and support a DUP candidate to unseat Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness.

The DUP would stand down in Fermanagh/South Tyrone and support a UUP candidate to unseat Sinn Fein's Michelle Gildernew.

The UUP would stand down in West Belfast in favour of a DUP, or other agreed united unionist candidate.

Both parties would consider how best to proceed in South Down, Newry and Armagh, and Foyle to maximise damage to Sinn Fein.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/03/18 20:45:58 GMT


Woman Sexually Assaulted In North Belfast

A woman has been sexually assaulted following a burglary in north Belfast early on Friday.

The 36-year-old victim awoke in her Brookvale-Cliftonville Road home at around 4am to find two men standing in her bedroom.

One man ransacked her room whilst the other seriously sexually assaulted her. She was also hit on the head and body.

Police investigating the incident said the woman was extremely traumatised by the attack and has since been treated for a head wound and extensive bruising on her body.

Sinn Féin Assembly member for North Belfast Cathy Stanton expressed her shock at the incident.

“Local people who I have spoken to this morning are shocked and angered at this attack and I would wish to extend to the woman involved my best wishes," Ms Stanton said.

“Until the individual involved in this attack is apprehended then women in North Belfast and indeed across the city need to exercise even more caution and vigilance than usual.”

Police have appealed for anyone with any information about the attack to contact them on 028 90650 222 or Cimestoppers on 0800555111.


SF Man's Son Jailed Over Robbery

Two men, one of them the son of a leading republican, have each been jailed for three and half years for a "violent" supermarket robbery.

Kevin Patrick Liam Meehan, 39, of St Rita's Park in Rostrevor, and Emmanual Patrick Pearce Curran, 35, of Glasvey Drive in Belfast admitted the offence.

Two people were threatened in a shop on Belfast's Crumlin Road on October 2003.

Meehan, the son of Sinn Fein's Martin Meehan, was said to have been on a drink and drugs "binge" at the time.

Belfast Crown Court heard that the pair threatened a 16-year-old shop assistant and a 60-year-old security guard at the Co-Op shop with a hammer and a hatchet.

They made off with £360 in cash and £230 worth of cigarettes on 8 October 2003.

The prosecution said the pair had been wearing balaclavas during the "violent and frightening" incident which had left their victims "shaken".

'Drunken escapade'

He said police caught the pair after they crashed their car into a parked vehicle with children inside.

Meehan's solicitor said his client had become addicted to crack-cocaine during the 17 years he had lived in London before returning to the province in 1999.

He told the court that the robbery came after a "three-day binge on drink and drugs" and that Meehan was "deeply ashamed".

Curran's defence said the incident was "more of a drunken escapade than a pre-planned robbery".

Judge Derick Rodgers said the robbery had been "quite a bad offence of its type".

He ordered each of the men to spend a further 18 months on probation on their release from prison.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/03/18 16:30:43 GMT


Acclaimed Poet Shares Irish Imagination

By Andrea Ford
Published: Friday, March 18, 2005

One of Ireland's most esteemed contemporary voices, Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin, appeared on campus to read some of her poetry as part of the seventh annual Literary Festival on Tuesday.

The poet read several of her older works and a few poems from her most recent collection, "The Girl Who Married the Reindeer."

A few of the more recent readings, which Ní Chuilleanáin said were "as close as I get to writing political poems," indirectly addressed the idea of peace in Ireland.

Asked why she has not written any poetry in the Irish language, Ní Chuilleanáin explained that she would feel limited since she does not experience most of the world through the Irish language.

The poet has never lived in a primarily Irish-speaking community larger than her own family. However, she has not ruled out using Irish in the future.

"There is a certain range of language that I have," she said. "I have translated poems into Irish, so who knows, I may actually get to doing a whole poem in Irish."

Fluent in many languages, Ní Chuilleanáin is currently working on learning the Romanian language, since she has been translating the work of Romanian poet Ileana Malancioiu.

She also offered her thoughts on the changing attitudes in her home country, where the perception of poets continues to evolve.

She told a story about an encounter with some Irish schoolchildren who doubted that any live person could be a "real poet."

The nation's rich poetic tradition, both written and oral, has had an ambivalent relationship with Irish society throughout history.

"The narrowness of the mid-century expressed itself in the idea that poetry is not something that you should be doing," she said. "Poets were best avoided and unlikely to be the real thing. Better off dead, really."

Much of Ní Chuilleanáin's work, known for its opacity, is concerned with the mysteries of religion and gender.

She has been especially interested in the seeming contradictions that have confronted women and the Catholic church, addressing the fury over the abuses of thousands of women in Ireland's Magdalene laundries.

Ní Chuilleanáin comes from County Cork, Ireland, and was educated in Cork and at Oxford.

She has published seven collections of poetry and has been awarded the Patrick Kavanagh Prize and the O'Shaughnessy Award of the Irish-American Cultural Institute. Her "Magdalene Sermon" was acknowledged as one of the year's three best books of poetry by The Irish Times in 1989.

She currently teaches Renaissance literature, folklore and literary translation at Trinity College in Dublin.

Previous guests of this year's Literary Festival include novelists Edward P. Jones and Karen Tei Yamashita.


A Moon For The Misbegotten At Triad Stage

The Play is about an Irish-American family at the turn of the century.

Greensboro, N.C. -- St. Patrick's Day is over, but the celebration of Irish traditions continues in a new play called "A Moon For The Misbegotten."

Leaders at Triad Stage were reluctant at first to bring the play by Eugene O'Neill to the theatre, but with overwhelming requests from audience members, they decided to give it a try.

The play is about an Irish-American family at the turn of the century and takes place on a somewhat stark family farm.

"A Moon For The Misbegotten" is both thought provoking and funny with a unique set design that draws the audience into each scene.

The play runs through March 27th.

WFMY News 2
Erin Coleman , Web Producer
created: 3/18/2005 10:09:33 AM
Last updated: 3/18/2005 10:15:01 AM


Stained-Glass Windows Put Irish In A Good Light

State's biggest graces St. Mary, Star of Sea

Friday, March 18, 2005
By Kathleen O'Brien
Newhouse News Service

Surely there must be more.

That is the thinking of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, the Irish fraternal group, which has embarked on a national search for stained-glass windows its chapters donated to Catholic churches a century ago.

Just seven such windows have been found in New Jersey - and only one in Hudson County, at St. Mary, Star of the Sea, Bayonne. It is a surprisingly small number given how many Irish immigrants settled in Hudson County and New Jersey.

The 227 windows they've located nationwide in the past three years are probably only a fraction of those out there, but given the continued consolidation and closing of churches, "We're literally in a race against time," said Michael Cummings, of Albany, N.Y., the group's national spokesman.

Anyone looking at the windows today might assume they represent a mere celebration of Irish heritage.

In fact, their presence hints at a more contentious time in the history of Irish-Americans, one in which there was a tug of war about who would represent the face of Irish-America to the country's Protestant majority.

Faced with public outrage over the violent radical labor movement that had secretly operated in its midst, the AOH first had to distance itself from the movement, then get back into the good graces of the Catholic Church.

The windows are the visible sign of the group's desperate attempt to claw its way back to respectability after the reputation of all Irish-Americans was tainted by the "Molly Maguire" labor violence of the 1870s.

By far the largest window cataloged so far is the roughly 40-by-15-foot triptych of St. Patrick in the northern wall of St. Mary, Star of the Sea in Bayonne. If the snakes at the saint's feet don't give away its origins, the shamrock, harp and Celtic cross telegraph the pride behind the 1880 donation.

In addition to the window in Bayonne, the other six that are known to exist in New Jersey can be found in Camden (whose Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception has two), Franklin in Sussex County, Phillipsburg, Lambertville and Florence. By contrast, AOH spotters have located 53 windows in Massachusetts and 26 in Pennsylvania.

The group has encountered two problems in its search, Cummings said. Many of the older inner-city parishes no longer have active churches, or if they do, a new ethnic group speaking a different language hampers communication.

Also, AOH volunteers are reluctant to go exploring in "blighted" neighborhoods, he said.

So while the Irish were initially a heavy presence in Jersey City, Hoboken, Newark and Paterson, no windows have been cataloged there. Many AOH chapters are defunct: Jersey City once had 12 chapters; now there are just two for all of Hudson County.

Bayonne, the location of the largest AOH window located in New Jersey to date, no longer has a chapter. The organization learned of the window from Leo Hurley, who belongs to several different Irish-American groups in town. (His grandfather belonged to the AOH chapter that likely donated the window.)

The American branch of the AOH was founded in the 1830s as a secret society dedicated to protecting Catholic churches. The name goes back to the 14th Century in Ireland.

In the 1860s and 1870s, a secret subset of its members in the anthracite coal-mining region of Pennsylvania attacked and killed mine owners and supervisors. After their cell was infiltrated by a Pinkerton spy, 20 of the so-called "Molly Maguires" were tried for murder and executed.

In 1830, Catholicism in America was seen as a small, insignificant religion that was mostly Southern, of genteel French origins, he said. By the Civil War, that had changed drastically. Catholicism became the largest Christian denomination; in New Jersey, the number of foreign-born residents doubled in the single decade from 1850 to 1860.

In that context, the Molly Maguires presented a grave threat to the social acceptance of Catholic Irish-Americans.

The Catholic Church repeatedly condemned the coal-country violence, even as that meant distancing itself from the Ancient Order of Hibernians.

The AOH had to convince Protestant America that it was simply a fraternal organization that had been badly used, and it had to win back Church approval.

It tackled both problems head-on, first by publicly disowning the violence. At its 1877 convention, the AOH addressed the people of the United States, stating it had no connection whatsoever with "that terrible band of misguided men."

Next, it amended its bylaws so the secret oath against disclosing AOH business made an exception for Catholic clergy. This let the Church feel it could monitor AOH activities to keep them legal and respectable.

Into this context came the stained-glass window donations.


March 19, 2005, 1:04AM

Shake-Up Planned At KPFT

Manager says all possibilities 'are on the table'

By Allan Turner
Copyright 2005 Houston Chronicle

Faced with a "stupendous drop" in listenership and a troubling inability to meet fund-raising goals, Houston's listener-supported KPFT-FM (90.1) — long an iconoclastic voice in a radio market dominated by corporate giants — is planning a series of programming and scheduling changes that could dramatically reshape its offerings.

"There's a possibility we could shake this whole thing up," General Manager Duane Bradley said this week. "I think that right now all programming considerations are on the table. I don't think we have any options that we're not willing to discuss."

Bradley, 50, stressed that despite the expected changes, the station, which celebrated its 35th anniversary March 1, will remain true to the peace-and-justice philosophy of its parent, Pacifica Foundation. The left-leaning network, founded in 1949 by pacifist Lewis Hill, also operates stations in Berkeley, Calif., Los Angeles, New York City and Washington, D.C.

Second broadcast added

Bradley's first change, which became effective March 10, was to add a second weekday broadcast of commentator Amy Goodman's news and opinion program Democracy Now! at 7 a.m. The previous 9 a.m. airing, which brought the station a fourth of its listener-generated income, will be retained for the immediate future, Bradley said.

The general manager also announced the departure of program director Otis Maclay, who will become national technology director for the network. Maclay, who had held his position since 2002, will be replaced by news co-director Ernest Aguilar.

Bradley said the changes, which will be put in place during the next several months, were prompted by Arbitron figures showing KPFT's weekly cumulative listenership had plunged to about 110,000, from 150,000, in the past year. By comparison, KODA-FM, the most popular of broadcast giant Clear Channel Radio's eight Houston stations, routinely draws a weekly listenership in excess of 500,000.

Fund raising falls short

Also worrisome were shortfalls in recent fund-raising efforts. Spokeswoman Gina Rodriguez-Miller said 94 percent of the 30,000-watt station's annual income comes from listeners. The balance comes from a Corporation for Public Broadcasting grant. The station gets no money from Pacifica.

During last fall's fund-raising campaign, Bradley said, the station fell 7 percent short of its $390,000 goal; earlier this year, it fell 20 percent short of a $360,000 goal. The station has an annual budget of about $1.4 million and a paid staff of 13.

The general manager suggested the Arbitron figures simply might reflect a falling-off of listenership after the heady days of listener anger generated by the invasion of Iraq. The decline in contributions may be a result of listener disappointment in the re-election of President Bush or "donor fatigue."

Bradley said the number of the station's financial supporters has remained steady at about 9,000.

Vital role praised

Despite the setbacks, University of Houston communications professor Fred Schiff argued that KPFT fills a vital role in the Houston radio world. No other station, he said, provides similar views on news issues or is so finely attuned to Houston culture. He predicted that the station is "on the cusp of gaining a whole new audience."

Historically, the station has been tough. It's survived two Ku Klux Klan attacks on its transmitter and uncounted internecine wrangles. Yet the current problems, which Bradley rated at "a 6 or 6.5 on a scale of 10" are daunting.

Despite the Pacifica goal to engage young and ethnically diverse listeners, the typical KPFT fan is a 51-year-old, college-educated white male, Bradley said.

"This was a youth-oriented station that every young person in Houston knew about," Bradley said. "Asked about KPFT now, most kids don't know who we are. We have this generation gap. It's very disconcerting. It does not bode well for the future."

Christopher Sterling, a broadcast expert with George Washington University's School of Media and Public Affairs, noted Pacifica is not alone in facing such problems.

"The larger picture is that much of public radio is trying to find a stable place," he said in an e-mail. "The local (Washington, D.C.) NPR member station, WETA, just dumped all its classical music for an all-talk format — in a city not short of talk. There's a (Pacifica) outlet here, but I virtually never hear anyone talk about it."

All FM stations, he said, face competition from satellite radio, low-power FM and other entertainment alternatives eroding their audience.

"While I'm sympathetic to the concerns about homogenization of radio, I don't see Pacifica playing a huge part in balancing the problem," said Sterling, who is writing a history of FM broadcasting. " ... A small audience for KPFT is not bad if there are enough of them to keep the station going. But one may well ask, what's the point if it is only talking to the choir?"

Smallest Pacifica station

KPFT is the smallest of the Pacifica stations, most of which have listenership approaching or exceeding 200,000, said Phil Osegueda, the network's director of special projects and administration. Houston-Galveston is the nation's seventh-largest radio market.

For Bradley and his staff, crafting a new programming format — one that will satisfy the station's fervent backers — could be explosive.

Six years ago, accusations that network management had abandoned topical programming in favor of music led to a months-long dispute at KPFA, Pacifica's Berkeley flagship station. As thousands picketed the station, management padlocked the doors and broadcast taped Marxist analyses of the 1960s. The Houston station, which had dramatically increased listenership by adding musical programming, was excoriated as a Pacifica apostate and a "jukebox" — a model not to be followed.

'Still a need for KPFT'

Bradley became general manager in Houston in February 2002 as dissidents assumed control of the network. Today, KPFT's weekday programming features a 50-50 talk-music mix. Weekend programming leans heavily to music shows.

"There is still a need for KPFT," Bradley said. "If Pacifica's mission had been achieved, we wouldn't be in places like Iraq, we wouldn't be basing the largest part of our global economy on weapons manufacture, people wouldn't be starving to death in the Congo, they would be fed.

"There's still an awful need for peace and social justice."

Table of Contents - Overall
Table of Contents – Mar 2005
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