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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)
May 14, 2005
Brian Nelson Linked to 4 Murders
News about Ireland and the Irish
DI 05/14/05 Brian Nelson Link To Four Murders
BT 05/14/05 Bail Hope For Alleged UDA Chief Courtney
BT 05/14/05 Rejection For Benn's Westminster Call
BT 05/14/05 Children In Shock After Cars Stoned
IO 05/14/05 President In Road Accident In Co Meath
BB 05/14/05 UUP Leader To Be Elected In June
BT 05/14/05 This Life: So Who Can Claim Gods Vote?
DI 05/14/05 Laurence McKeown: The Personal Is Political
BT 05/14/05 Opin: Lackies Failed To Alert Emperor To The Bare Necessities
BT 05/14/05 Homes Beat Fierce Gorse Fire Menace
BT 05/14/05 Books: The Twists And Turns Of Pals, Work And Women
GA 05/14/05 Top Cop Tom Calls It A Day
BG 05/14/05 Roxbury's Hibernian
EX 05/14/05 De Valera's Finest Hour Came After Churchill's Attack On Him
Brian Nelson Link To Four Murders
By Ciarán Barnes
A rifle used in the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) murder of two young
brothers in Co Armagh 12 years ago was used in at least two other
killings, Daily Ireland can reveal.
Rory and Gerard Cairns were shot dead at their home in Bleary in 1993.
The brothers were aged 18 and 22.
Daily Ireland has learned that the AK-47 assault rifle used in the
shootings was one of hundreds shipped into the North from South Africa by
British army double agent Brian Nelson. The same weapon was also used to
kill Lurgan republican Sam Marshall in 1990 and Catholic factory worker
Gervais Lynch the following year.
For 15 years the security services have failed to make public the
ballistics of the AK-47 or reveal to the Cairns, Marshall or Lynch
families the history of the weapon.
Relatives of the dead men are convinced this is because it would have
proved their loved ones' murders were a result of loyalist/security
Johnny Marshall, the brother of Sam Marshall, yesterday said he was
stunned by news concerning the AK-47.
He said: "This begs the question why did the RUC not provide us with this
information a decade ago? Why has it taken 12 years for these ballistics
reports to come to light?
"It is clear to me that the RUC have been trying to hide something here.
"Detectives knew that a rifle imported by a double agent was being used
to kill people throughout Armagh by another double agent, Robin Jackson,
yet they chose to keep this secret.
"If that doesn't prove collusion existed, I don't know what does," added
A Police Ombudsman probe into RUC misconduct concerning its investigation
into the Cairns' killings unearthed the history of the AK-47 assault
The Cairns family were unavailable for comment yesterday.
The Police Ombudsman would not comment yesterday on either the Cairns'
investigation or the history of the weapon used to murder the brothers.
Sam Marshall was murdered by the UVF in 1990, minutes after signing bail
at Lurgan RUC barracks. On the day of his death he was believed to have
been tailed to and from the barracks by an RUC undercover car.
In January 1991, Gervais Lynch was shot dead in his home near Lurgan, Co
His UVF killers calmly opened the back door of his house before shooting
him three times.
Two years later, the same loyalist gang murdered Rory and Gerard Cairns
at their home.
All four killings are believed to have been carried out by a Portadown
UVF gang led by British agent Robin 'The Jackal' Jackson, who died of
cancer in 1998.
Prior to the UVF receiving its stockpile of weapons from the 1989 Nelson
arms shipment, the organisation had not murdered anyone in the north
Armagh area for six years
Bail Hope For Alleged UDA Chief Courtney
By Staff Reporter
14 May 2005
THE alleged UDA chief of west Belfast William 'Mo' Courtney is to be
freed on bail provided he can come up with £5000.
Courtney was also required to produce an address outside Belfast so long
it is not within the radius of Larne in the north, Holywood in the south
and Lisburn in the west.
Belfast Crown Court judge Mr Justice Hart said, because of prosecution
delays, it could not be justified in keeping Courtney in jail any longer
while awaiting his trial.
Courtney was to go on trial on Monday accused of murdering Alan 'Bucky'
McCullough, a former associate of Johnny Adair.
Mr McCullough, who fled to England along with Adair's ousted 'C' Company,
was found dead on May 28, 2003, at Mallusk - about a week after he'd
returned home to Northern Ireland.
Mr Justice Hart yesterday gave Courtney a week to come up with the cash
surety and the address.
Mr Justice Hart, who also agreed to release Courtney on his own bond of
£1000 and one further surety of £5000, said that in addition to police
vetting Courtney's proposed address, he would also vet it.
Reviewing Courtney's bail application, the judge said he did not propose
to go over again the many delays in his case.
However, he said that the primary reason for the delay in the trial, "was
simply because the prosecution" had served evidence against Courtney on
his defence at a late stage.
He added that it was still not certain that the trial could be listed for
hearing at the beginning of the new Crown Court term in September.
Mr Justice Hart said by then Courtney will have spent over two years in
jail and, "that cannot be justified".
Courtney will also be required to report twice daily to police, observe a
curfew and stay within five miles of the agreed address.
Snub For Benn's Westminster Call
By Ruairi McLaren
14 May 2005
SINN Fein MP Martin McGuiness last night rejected a call by veteran left-
wing politician Tony Benn that republicans should take up their seats at
Sinn Fein recently won five seats in the general election but the party's
abstentionist policy means its MPs refuse to swear the oath of allegiance
to the Queen and therefore cannot enter the Commons chamber.
Mr Benn said he personally objected to the oath but was prepared to take
it under protest to get into the Commons.
"It's entirely for Sinn Fein to decide, but I wondered whether this
wouldn't be a time to rethink the position," he said.
Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness responded by saying his party had "the
greatest respect for Tony Benn" but stressed they would only take up
seats in an Irish parliament."
Children In Shock After Cars Stoned
By Clare Weir
14 May 2005
TWO young children in Londonderry have been left traumatised after
separate stoning attacks in the city.
A two-year-old girl was showered with glass after a thug threw a rock at
her parent's car in Londonderry last night.
The tot was sitting in the back of the family's red Renault Megane Scenic
when it was attacked at Fern Park in the Galliagh area at around 11.30pm.
She needed treatment in Altnagelvin Hospital for a cut to the head after
the missile was thrown through the rear window, smashing the window and
showering her with glass.
Although the family did not wish to speak publicly about their ordeal,
police slammed the incident as "reckless and irresponsible".
At 4am this morning, trouble also errupted in the city's Waterside, when
youths threw a kerbstone at a man's car and also broke windows at his
home in Mountainview.
The area has been the scene of ongoing trouble at the Irish
The attack comes just days after a new cross-community initiative was set
up in the area.
The householder, who did not wish to be named, said that the incident had
left his five-year-old daughter "traumatised".
"They threw a kerbstone through the back window of the car, which will
cause £350 to repair, and also at the window of the house, but it didn't
break," he said.
"My daughter opened the curtains on the window this morning and was in
hysterics when she saw the car.
President In Road Accident In Co Meath
14/05/2005 - 09:50:23
President Mary McAleese has been involved in a minor road accident, but
suffered no injuries.
The accident happened near Enfield in Co Meath. The President's car was
It is understood President McAleese was en route to her holiday home in
Co Roscommon when the accident happened.
No-one else was injured in the accident.
UUP Leader To Be Elected In June
The new leader of the Ulster Unionist Party will be elected at a special
meeting of the party's ruling council on 23 June.
Until then three prominent members will be in charge - party president
Lord Rogan, assembly member Sir Reg Empey and its only MP, Lady Sylvia
The decision was made at a meeting of the UUP's executive on Saturday.
David Trimble resigned his leadership after the party lost all but one of
its seats at Westminster.
Potential leadership candidates could include Sir Reg, David McNarry or
Lord Maginnis, possibly with Basil McCrea.
The party's only surviving MP, Lady Hermon, is still considering whether
She wants the party to head in a more liberal direction.
However, former South Antrim MP David Burnside told Radio Ulster on
Saturday he did not think she was up to the job.
"She does not have the presence in the House of Commons, I believe, to be
a leader of the Ulster Unionist Party," Mr Burnisde said.
"If the party wants to go off on some sort of softy, wishy-washy, liberal
sort of route they'll have a lot of other people who are still in the
party stepping aside from it. We don't need to go that route."
Mr Burnside had backed Lord Kilclooney to be interim leader of the party.
After losing all but one of its MPs and 40 councillors in the elections,
the UUP must decide who should lead the party and what direction it
The party lost four of its MPs in the election.
Mr Trimble, the former first minister in the suspended Stormont Assembly,
lost his Upper Bann seat.
The UUP now has one MP, compared with the Democratic Unionists' total of
Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/05/14 12:46:47 GMT
© BBC MMV
This Life: So Who Can Claim Gods Vote?
By Alf McCreary
14 May 2005
One of the most noticeable results of the general election was the way in
which the successful DUP politicians attributed their success to god.
The Rev Ian Paisley, though not in such strong a voice as before, intoned
the doxology, and Gregory Campbelland David Simpson also mentioned God
early on in their acceptance speeches.The old DUP slogan, For God and
Ulster, seems less dominant than in the past, probably because the party
wants to have an appeal far beyond that of the Free Presbyterian Church.
Historically, the Paisleyites are not alone in twinning supposed Divine
guidance with earthly political ambitions.
It was not so long ago that departed ( often murdered) republicans were
remembered in newspaper death notices with the exhortation: "Mary, Mother
of God, pray for him." There has always been a strong tendency for
political rivals and battlefield enemies to claim Divine backing, and
I do not believe that God takes political or national sides, any more
than He takes note of any heartfelt prayers for the success of, say, a
well-known football team. Divine power is far above all such human
frailties, which neatly answers the shrewd question of a lady on radio
who asked this week if God indeed had backed the successful DUP
politicians, did he also back Gerry Adams?
In other words, is God a unionist or a republican?
Wisely, He remains neither Orange nor Green - and this begs the question
as to whether God is interested at all in politics. Certainly not in
party politics, but perhaps in the sense that politics, at best, should
inspire and help people to work together for the good of all. Indeed, the
leader of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales, Cardinal
Murphy-O'Connor, said as much when he asked people to consider carefully
the attitudes of voters towards such subjects as abortion, before
granting them a vote.
The cardinal was roundly and wrongly accused of "interfering in politics"
by the trendy secularists who argue naively that Christianity should be
imprisoned within the walls of a Church. The best of Christianity should
also be at the heart of the best of politics.
Members of the DUP may believe sincerely that God has called them to a
career in politics, but the rest of us will judge them not so much on
what they say or believe, but on what they do to prove that they are,
indeed, for God and Ulster.
In their mission to save the Union, they would do well to note the words
of a noted Protestant who wrote some time ago: "Let us resolve not to
hurt one another, to do nothing unkind or unfriendly to each other... to
say all the good we can, both of and to one another."
These words were part of John Wesley's Letter to a Roman Catholic and
they remain a model to members of every political party, including Sinn
Fein whose indifference to the fate of David Trimble, whom they so
callously shafted, was chilling to behold.
The DUP and I would not be the best of bedfellows, but they are in the
ascendancy at the moment, and I wish them well in their dealings with
Sinn Fein, arguably one of the most untrustworthy and cynical party in
Anyone campaigning For God and Ulster, to the enhancement of both, has
his or her work cut out.
I noted with amusement a recent survey of church services in England
which listed some of the goings on in the pews - "a yelping dog sits
through a sermon 52 minutes long" and "Back row bother-four old ladies
heckle minister." If the churches didn't exist, you couldn't invent them!
Prayers at Stormont
THE inter-community Day of Prayer at Stormont tomorrow will hopefully
attract thousands of people who want permanent peace for this land.
It is being organised by a group called Transformations Ireland, which is
anticipating a very good response.
I would have thought that nobody could object to people praying for a
better future for all, but I was wrong. I noticed a very sad letter in
this newspaper last week from a Tyrone Presbyterian outlining why he
could not join the day of prayer "because those taking part do not agree
on how God can be approached."
This narrow and sanctimonious attitude beggars religious belief, and
underlines why we are so divided. If that is what ordinary people are
really thinking, God help us all.
Take Five - The Personal Is Political
I sent an email last Saturday to newly elected Unionist MP, Sylvia
Hermon. I don't usually send emails to MPs, not even to Conor Murphy whom
I wrote about in such glowing terms recently. I wrote not to congratulate
her on her victory but for the manner in which she dealt with the DUP
hecklers. At the end of a long day during which the electoral decimation
of her party had become increasingly apparent, leaving her the sole
remaining Ulster Unionist MP, she behaved like a true star. She smiled at
the hecklers and carried herself with style and even a smile upon her
I didn't hear her the following day when interviewed by RTÉ but
apparently she spoke in very gracious terms about how Gerry Adams and
Martin McGuinness during the negotiations had inquired about her
husband's health (he has Alzheimer's disease) whereas the DUP members (so
loud in their support for the RUC) had never once done that. For
republicans, Jack Hermon will be remembered for his role as Chief
Constable at a time of shoot-to-kill policies and collusion with unionist
paramilitaries but it didn't make Gerry or Martin any less republican to
behave towards his wife, Sylvia, in the manner they did. I would expect
nothing less from them.
Republicans have a humanity, derived to a large extent from the suffering
our community has experienced - often at the hands of the RUC - but also
because republicanism is about an objective, an ideal, a better way of
life. It's not about bitterness, revenge, or gloating, nor do republicans
personalise conflict. They can argue vociferously against their
opponents' views without degenerating into personal abuse and bad
Maybe if David Trimble, like Sylvia Hermon, had been a bit more gracious
in his dealings with republicans and hadn't tried to mimic his unionist
rivals he would have achieved much more and we might all be in a very
different place today. He and his party certainly would be.
The UUP will choose a new leader and won't want any advice from us in
that regard but just imagine if it was someone with flair and style and
confidence who wasn't afraid to praise his political opponents when
appropriate? I say 'his' because the thought of the Ulster Unionist
Council electing a woman as leader just seems so far off the radar screen
at the moment. But then again, just imagine.
Laurence McKeown was a republican prisoner for 16 years in Long Kesh and
spent 70 days on the 1981 hunger strike. He is the author of a doctoral
thesis, the co-author of a feature film, H3 and two plays, The Laughter
of Our Children and A Cold House.
Lackies Failed To Alert Their Emperor To The Bare Necessities
By Barry White
14 May 2005
OH DEAR, what will we do without him? David Trimble's farewell reminds me
of what a former President said when he lost his bid to become Governor
of California in 1962. "As for you," he told the Press, "You won't have
Richard Nixon to kick around any more."
He was wrong, of course, there was a lot more kicking to be done, but it
is a measure of David Trimble's contribution to the political scene, over
the last 10 years that the media will miss him far more than the public.
We kicked him, usually because of his unjustified optimism but he always
put up a good defence and came back for more.
Like any lawyer -Tony Blair is another one - he could convince himself
and enough of his supporters that black was white and that Sinn Fein were
worth trusting one more time.
He refused to accept the one rule in politics that never changes: that,
whatever they say, Sinn Fein and the IRA will always let you down.
Because of his supreme intelligence, and towering self-belief, he thought
that even if they failed to come up to the mark, he would find a way of
retreating without his party suffering.
He took risks that were never worth taking because they were certain
losers, and frittered away the enormous leverage which he once had, by
not making more demands of Tony Blair.
So many times he should have said: "No, I can't do that because I'd lose
support. But if you'd guarantee me this (take your choice between PR for
Westminster elections, lower company tax rates and lower fuel duty) I'll
He beat the odds, in the Unionist Council, so many times he must have
thought he couldn't lose. Yet he was losing all the time, among unionists
in general, and was surrounded by lackies who were unwilling or unable to
tell the emperor he had no clothes.
As an intellectual who was never close to the grassroots, he wouldn't
have known that the UUP slogans and advertisements were hopeless. "Simply
British" wasn't going to win a single vote, and "Decent People vote
Ulster Unionists" invited the opposition to disprove it.
Don't get me wrong. David Trimble has always been approachable, helpful
and courteous, in my experience. But he was a backroom boy, lacking the
ability to communicate his ideas, know his limitations and generate the
warmth which a real political leader must have.
Maybe that "decent people" slogan is the key to what has gone wrong. In a
divided society, where the Belfast Agreement has unwisely decreed that
politicians have to be either "unionists" or "nationalists", there is
little room for decency. You stand up for yourselves alone, or stand
• What on earth has Peter Hain, our new Secretary of State, done to Tim
Hames, a Times columnist and co-editor of a book with Andrew Adonis,
Tony's new education minister in the Lords?
"After 800 years of subjugation by the English, the mother of all potato
famines and Mo Mowlam's let's-snog-a-terrorist" antics," he writes, "what
on earth have the Irish done to deserve having Peter Hain thrust upon
"I appreciate they have been difficult of late voting en masse for the
DUP and Sinn Fein - but collective punishment is the kind of activity
that democracies customarily deplore."
• All the talk about VE Day reminded me of the barrage balloon tethered
in the green in front of Inst, the foreignness of the neutral south,
which has never left me, and my first banana. Actually, it was boiled
parsnip flavoured with banana essence but we didn't know any better.
By the way, what were Dublin's representatives doing at the
commemorations at Auschwitz and Moscow?
Homes Beat Fierce Gorse Fire Menace
By Lisa Smyth
14 May 2005
RESIDENTS living perilously close to an overnight gorse fire in the
Mournes spoke of the incident today, in which up to 25 firefighters
battled for several hours to contain the blaze.
The fire broke out at around 11pm at Old Killowen Road outside
Warrenpoint and quickly took hold, spreading over four hectares of gorse.
Six appliances, including a control unit, were called to the scene and
fire officers fought for a number of hours to extinguish the flames.
Several Killowen homes, sitting at the base of a mountain which overlooks
Carlingford Lough, are only yards from the acres of gorse ravaged by the
One woman, whose home stands 200 yards from the blackened remains, said
she was alerted to the blaze by a passer-by.
She said: "We have had gorse fires around here before so we did not feel
in any danger. The first we knew about it was when a friend was driving
by at about 11pm and stopped to tell us the mountain was on fire. By that
time the mountain was well alight but the wind seemed to be blowing the
flames away from our house.
"The Fire Brigade arrived shortly after and to be honest the kids who
were with our friend thought the whole thing was great."
Another nearby resident was completely unaware how close her home came to
being engulfed by the fire. At the height of the blaze her home was just
100 yards from the fire but she only discovered what happened when she
woke early this morning.
Assistant area commander operator Don Mackay said that the fire looked
more spectacular than it was, due to high winds fanning the flames on the
"In saying that, four hectares is about a mile in layman's terms, so it
was quite a large fire," he said.
"There were a few houses nearby, but at no stage were lives at risk and
we did not have any evacuations.
"The firefighters brought the fire under control by 1am."
However, Mr Mackay said the fire could have been worse if the winds had
"Gorse fires are strange animals," he said. "If the winds change
direction they can be whipped up.
"Sometimes they start after a spell of dry weather or are caused by
"At this stage it's too difficult to say how this one started."
Books: The Twists And Turns Of Pals, Work And Women
Utterly Monkey by Nick Laird, Fourth Estate, £10.99
By Grania McFadden
14 May 2005
WRITERS, like puff ball skirts and sticky toffee pudding, go in and out
of fashion, and each season sees a new name hailed as the author of the
year and a new face splattered across the Sunday supplements.
In recent years, we've had Amy, Zadie, Monica and Dan. Now it's the turn
of Nick Laird - young, good-looking, sensitive (his first volume of
poetry was published earlier this year).
He has an intriguing past (born in 1975 in Co Tyrone, he talks of growing
up through The Troubles), he's smart (working as a City lawyer before
jacking it all in to write full-time) and a homelife to thrill any social
editor (he's married to writer Zadie Smith). Laird certainly ticks all
So, does his debut novel, Utterly Monkey, live up to the hype? Do you
know what? I think it does.
His hero Danny, who leaves Northern Ireland to work for a London law
firm, certainly carries echoes of Laird's own life.
The book covers five hectic days in Danny's life, which begin when an old
school friend from his home town of Ballyglass turns up on the doorstep
of Danny's chic London flat, carrying all the baggage of the past.
Petty criminal Geordie is on the run from home, after sleeping with
loyalist hardman Budgie's sister and making off with a cool £50,000 of
Budgie's drug money.
Laird contrasts the slick, stylish life of well-heeled Londoners with the
strange Wild West air that permeates Ballyglass. When Geordie - a
loyalist - arrives in the Big Smoke, he's struck by how very different it
is to home. No flags or thugs with guns, for starters.
As Geordie's dilemma unravels, Danny is grappling with the more usual
problems of a twenty-something male - work and women ? oh, and arranging
a birthday party.
He's recently split from his weepy girlfriend Olivia, and has fallen
heavily for his sassy colleague Ellen.
While Geordie is fleeing from his past, Danny once again embraces his, as
he heads for Northern Ireland on a working trip with Ellen, who is right
at the top of his 'to do' list.
The thriller element of the novel is ground covered with a surer hand
(and keener wit) by writers like Colin Bateman - yet Laird's poetic prose
helps carry it off. He writes well of the relationship between men - the
banter, the shortcuts in speech, the unspoken understanding between them.
But there's so much happening between the twists and turns that Laird
almost blows Danny's big moment with Ellen - their relationship is
beautifully built, but seems to run out of steam just at its climax.
Happily, there's enough in the writing itself to keep the reader hooked.
Laird's keen observations, wry jokes and easy, flowing style make Utterly
Monkey an utterly absorbing read. If it ends with a whimper, rather than
a bang, there's still much to savour throughout Danny's exhausting
And anyone who describes drinking a pint of Guinness as: "The first sip
is like cutting a wedding cake" is definitely worth a second visit.
Laird has earned his place on the writers' catwalk. Expect to hear much
more from this season's smash hit.
Top Cop Tom Calls It A Day
Chief Superintendent Tom Monaghan will retire from the force this
Saturday after heading the Galway West Garda division for the past 12
years. He told Una Sinnott about some of the most memorable events of his
There was nothing out of the ordinary about the centre of Monaghan town
as Maura Monaghan drove through the streets with her baby son in the
evening of May 17, 1974. She was still driving when a bomb ripped through
the town centre, but luckily the car was far enough away from the
epicentre of the devastating blast and both mother and baby escaped
"Our eldest, Gerald, was just a year old," Chief Superintendent Tom
Monaghan recalled. "My wife had just driven by and they were just 100
yards away when the bomb went off. It lifted the car but thankfully they
weren't injured. A lot of other people were."
Chief Supt Monaghan is well known to Galway people as one of the most
senior gardaí in the county, and he has seen much tragedy visited on the
victims of crime during the 12 years he has spent here. However before he
came to Galway he spent a total of 26 years working in the volatile
environment of Ireland's border towns during the height of the Troubles.
The narrow escape of his wife and child on the day of the Dublin and
Monaghan bombings was just one of many incidents which saw Chief Supt
Monaghan, then a young garda based in Clones, catapulted into the violent
upheaval of the Troubles. He was sent to Monaghan town that evening with
other gardaí to deal with the terrible aftermath of the incident.
"I remember that evening quite vividly, the fear it created, and I knew a
lot of people who died in that bombing," he said.
At 7pm that evening, a green Hillman Minx which had been parked close to
a bus stop in North Road exploded, killing seven people and injuring more
than 30 bystanders.
"It was the main bus stop between Derry and Dublin," he recalled. "There
was a lovely woman, Mrs White, who ran the cafe there. She was killed
While undoubtedly the Dublin and Monaghan bombings represented the worst
single day in the history of the Troubles, there were many other
incidents which saw innocent people slaughtered, including some of Chief
Supt Monaghan's friends and acquaintances.
"Just prior to that, in March 1974, we had the killing of the only member
of the Oireachtas who died in the troubles, Sen Billy Fox (FG) from
Ballyboy," he told the Galway Advertiser. "I got to know him when I went
to Ballyboy, indeed he was one of the first to welcome me. He was shot
dead by the IRA near Clones.
"The house owned by his girlfriend was attacked and burned," he
continued. "He came on the scene and he didn't know what was going on. He
ran away and the IRA chased him and shot him. I was on the search for him
the next day, and we found his body about four fields away from the
house. He was shot through the back twice with a heavy calibre, and he
was still in a running position.
"That was the kind of activity that went on along the border from Omeath
right up to Muff in Co Donegal. You had bombings in Castleblaney, Clones,
Dundalk, and Belturbet, and people died. What stands out in my minds was
the level of bitterness and hatred you would see on both sides."
The border between north and south was a relatively peaceful, if
politically tense, place when Tom Monaghan joined the force in 1964. He
took up his first post in Ballybay, Co Monaghan in 1965 and saw first
hand the descent into chaos in the following years.
"The troubles and the civil rights marches and the riots got out of hand
until the RUC weren't able to cope and the British army came in," he
recalled. "Soon after that you had internment and the IRA re-emerged and
became very active along the border.
It was a quite amazing time and a dangerous time
"Suddenly working as a garda in Monaghan became very exciting. From 1969
to the mid 1970s you had an increase in crime along the border. Every day
of the week you had shooting incidents and bombings and burnings and
hijackings and cross-border activity of one kind or another involving the
IRA and the British army. Everything changed utterly and we had to change
our way of operating to try to prevent these things happening. It was a
quite amazing time and a dangerous time.
"Such was the level of attacks that the British army decided to close the
cross border roads, initially by blowing up roads and bridges, but later
by digging craters," he added. "They built concrete barriers but those
were challenged by the local people who didn't like to see their right of
way being closed and roads they had travelled all their lives not being
available. Only the main roads were kept open.
"The IRA used every available opportunity to booby-trap or shoot at the
soldiers. There were also lots of robberies and 12 or 13 guards were shot
dead during the course of the Troubles. We lost an inspector in Cavan,
Sam Donegan, who was blown up in the early 1970s."
Chief Supt Monaghan often witnessed the atrocities carried out along the
border during the Troubles, including the killing of a British soldier by
an IRA booby trap bomb.
"I remember one day in the very early stages after the British army
arrived, we got word they were doing a clearance," he revealed. "They got
out of a transport and they went on foot, and there were two of us on our
side of the border in case anyone tried to take a shot at them. One of
them jumped on a Claymore mine. The IRA had made it and buried it in the
field. He was blown to bits about 100 yards from where I was standing.
"The soldiers were afraid to move," he continued. "We couldn't cross the
border. We were there all day and it turned into a big operation. They
brought a helicopter in, and in the evening they were out picking up body
parts and putting them in a plastic bag."
Being in a uniform and standing between the warring factions was a no-win
The hunger strikes of the early 1980s marked another turning point in the
Troubles, with the deaths of several republican prisoners fuelling the
frustration and anger of many people along the border towns.
"Kieran Doherty, an IRA man who lived in Monaghan, died on hunger
strike," Chief Supt Monaghan said. "They burned the courthouse in
Monaghan town. It was an awful time along the border. Being in a uniform
and standing between the warring factions was a no-win situation.
"It affected everybody in some fashion or other. Everybody felt bad about
what was going on and no-one knew how to react. It made everyone very
uncomfortable. It was just a horrible time."
Chief Supt Monaghan has hopes that the tension which still exists in
Northern Ireland, and which still spills across the border, will be eased
"The peace process is staggering away, but it will probably take hold and
I would still be optimistic that it will," he said. "There is a lot of
pessimism out there but at the end of the day there are a lot of people
who want peace. There is certainly a lot of polarisation in parts of the
North still, and that will take time. It's certainly worth sticking with
rather than going back to where we were in the 1970s and 1980s, or
After 26 years spent mainly in border towns, Tom Monaghan moved to the
relative quiet of Longford to take up the position of chief
superintendent. Shortly afterwards, in 1993, he came to Galway to head
the county's Galway West Garda division.
"There has been an amazing transformation during my time here," he said.
"The speed of the growth of the city has been amazing. It's all for the
better but growth creates problems, but thankfully crime figures have
remained static for a number of years. That's due in a large measure to
the hard work of the men and women based in the division.
"Change has brought a downside as well. You have drugs everywhere, but
thankfully it's not a major problem in Galway. A lot of criminal
offending results from over-indulgence in drink, and a lot of people
become victims because of over-indulgence in drink.
"We have had huge success with help from the public but it's a growing
problem and there are a lot of people out there making a lot of money
from drugs. We are relying on the people of Galway to be conscious of
precisely how dangerous the misuse of drugs is and the damage it can do
to people, and it will be fought and countered. Our drugs unit will be
very proactive and will help anybody who needs help."
According to Chief Supt Monaghan increases in the number of gardaí on the
street, along with CCTV and the co-operation of a vigilant public have
help to keep the incidence of violent crime and public order offences
down in recent years.
"We have received a steady increase in [Garda] numbers in the last couple
of years and we have built up our numbers in the working unit quite
considerably, and that has had a major impact on crime and public order,"
"I enjoyed my 12 years here. It has been an absolute pleasure to work in
Galway. The level of co-operation we get from the public here and the
relationship between the public and the guards is excellent. We have had
a number of high profile crimes here but very few serious crimes remain
One of the first atrocities which Chief Supt Monaghan faced after moving
to Galway was the murder of Fr Joe Walsh, a parish priest from Eyrecourt,
who was found dead along with 29-year-old Imelda Riney and her three-
year-old son Liam in Cregg Wood, Co Clare, in May 1994. All three had
been abducted and shot in a senseless massacre carried out by Brendan
O'Donnell, who was successfully convicted of murder and later died in
"That was unprecedented in a rural area and it shocked everybody at the
time," he said. "It's one of the crimes I remember most vividly because
it was so sad and unnecessary."
The deaths of elderly sisters Eileen Coyne, Bridget McFadden, and
Margaret Concannon when their house was burned in an arson attack also
affected Chief Supt Monaghan and the other gardaí who carried out the
investigation into their deaths.
"Their house was set on fire. It was motiveless really. From a Garda
point of view it was a very difficult operation, but nonetheless a very
successful one. The level of co-operation we got from the people in
Inisbofin was amazing."
The killing of Eileen Costello O'Shaughnessy, who was beaten to death in
her taxi in November 1997, is one brutal chapter in Galway's annals of
crime which remains unfinished. Despite numerous appeals for information
and the lure of a € 32,000 reward for information leading to her killer's
capture, no-one has ever been charged with her murder. However Chief Supt
Monaghan remains confident that someone will eventually be jailed for her
"The investigation is still ongoing," he said. "It was reviewed recently
and it's still very much a live investigation. It won't be put away until
the culprit is put away. We are following it all the time and it's an
active investigation despite the passage of time, and I am confident it
will be brought to a successful conclusion."
Chief Supt Monaghan will retire from the Garda Síochána on Saturday,
bringing to an end a long career of fighting crime. His influence has
been instrumental in making Galway the pleasant place that it is and we
wish him well in his retirement.
Dance hall past to unite with educational mission
By Megan Tench, Globe Staff May 14, 2005
It was a Saturday night in April, 1958, when Mary McEleney put on her
fancy blouse and ankle-length skirt and took the train to Dudley Station
in Roxbury. As thousands of other Irish immigrants in Boston did at the
time, the 19-year-old headed to Hibernian Hall, where big bands played,
people danced, and, on that particular night, McEleney met her future
Fifteen years later, the grand dance hall had been transformed into
classrooms filled with typewriters and office equipment. The neighborhood
had changed, too. Irish residents had largely moved away, and many
African-Americans had moved in.
One of them was Mukiya Baker-Gomez, who went every day to Hibernian Hall
to help run a massive job training center for blacks and other racial
minorities. Hundreds of men and women lined up outside to get their names
on the waiting list for classes.
''It was an extremely exciting time," Baker-Gomez said yesterday. ''It
was during a time when black people in this town were really getting
clued in on how to stand up and fight for themselves in a way that was
not negatively aggressive, not by having confrontations with other races,
but positively aggressive."
The two eras are starkly different slices of Boston's history. Now, the
Roxbury Center for the Arts, housed in the old Hibernian Hall, is staging
a reunion to bring together Irish and blacks whose lives were indelibly
On Sunday, jazz and traditional Irish music will mix, and organizers hope
that two communities that once clashed in Boston will share common bonds
in the historic building that transformed each of them.
''There's an awful lot of fond memories there for a lot of people," said
Thomas Keown, spokesman for the Irish Immigration Center in Boston, which
is sponsoring the event, along with the Roxbury arts center, the
Consulate General of Ireland, the Irish Cultural Centre in Canton and the
Ancient Order of Hibernians.
''We try to recognize that in Boston, throughout its history, people fail
to understand their similarities and what we have in common," Keown said.
''It seems for the past hundred years we've all used the same resource,
The building was constructed in 1913 by the Hibernians, and it soon
became a social center on Dudley Street, where there were five Irish
dance halls in all. Those who socialized at the Hibernian said the three
decades after its opening were great times to be Irish in Boston.
On Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights, the neighborhood was jumping,
said 75-year-old Joe Derrane, who played accordion as part of a 10-piece
band at the Hibernian and other dance halls in Roxbury. Irish immigrants
from across the city rode the train that once served Dudley Square. They
spent nights jigging and reeling inside an elegant ballroom that reminded
them of home, he said.
''It was going full blast in the '30s, but what happened was World War II
came along, and all the young men gone off to the war," Derrane said.
Dancing at the Hibernian waned for a time, but when the war ended, a new
wave of immigrants from Ireland arrived in Boston. Homesick, many yearned
for the comforts of home. They found some of them on Dudley Street at
''All those pretty Irish girls," Derrane reminisced. ''On a Saturday
night you can have anywhere from 1,000 to 1,200 people dancing away like
It was a time when women dressed to the nines, and men in tuxedos were on
their best behavior. There was no liquor served at the hall, Derrane
said, ''but that wasn't a problem at all, because you can go a block on
either direction and hit a bar."
Mary and Cornelius McEleney of Medford remember it well.
''I was going out with a fellow, but he couldn't go out that night, so I
said, then I'll go ahead and go with my girlfriends. And I danced with a
man who I married," said Mary, who still has an Irish accent.
Calling it the ''ballroom of romance," Cornelius McEleney said he longs
for the old days when folks knew how to live it up.
''Back then when you went out on the dance floor, you went all the way
around the dance floor," he said. ''Today, you stay in one place all
Roxbury's Irish dance hall era faded when people began moving to suburbs,
when young people started listening to Elvis and hanging out in pubs, and
when the city's demographics shifted and more and more blacks, and
Hispanics began moving into the neighborhood.
The Hibernians lost the hall in 1960, when a bank foreclosed. It was used
sporadically for union meetings and banquets. But not until 1972 did it
regain a full-time use as headquarters for blacks seeking job training in
The Opportunities Industrialization Center, a Philadelphia-based
organization founded in 1964 at the height of the civil rights movement,
bought the building and took it over. The four-story building was
renovated, creating classrooms where black men and women learned clerical
skills, office equipment repair, banking, and bookkeeping. Some received
high school equivalency diplomas. Thousands were trained in Boston over
the next 20 years.
''There was a lot of civil rights activity around that time, and we
really thought freedom was going to be tomorrow," said Sarah Ann Shaw, a
member of the OIC's board of directors in the early 1970s. ''People were
pressing for better housing, NAACP was very active, and the OIC was right
there with its job-training program trying to change attitudes and gather
While the city was in the throes of racial tensions over school
desegregation and busing, the OIC was making partnerships with businesses
such as Bank of Boston and securing jobs for blacks in places where
racial minorities were few.
''When you walked into the OIC building, you felt the energy
immediately," said Baker-Gomez, a former OIC worker who is now chief of
staff for state Representative Gloria Fox, Democrat of Boston. ''You saw
the interaction of human being to human being that was very positive and
very motivating. It was similar to a family environment, because
everything you needed to get focused and your life on track was right
For more than a decade, instructors at the OIC trained people to get jobs
and handle difficult workplace situations. Counselors for OIC would check
in on their clients, mediate problems with their bosses, and make sure
they were successful.
''There was still racism, but there were small things opening up," said
Shaw, WBZ-TV's first black reporter and a longtime community activist.
''You started to see black reporters, black bus drivers, and
The OIC continued through the 1980s and purchased additional buildings on
Dudley Street for conversion to affordable housing. But it struggled
financially. The program shut down in the early 1990s, when its executive
director, Clarence Donelan, became ill.
''It was a very difficult period," said Baker-Gomez. ''It was like the
pulling of your heart. No one wanted to see it go."
The building sat empty until recently. Baker-Gomez said she sees people
here and there in Boston who had some affiliation with the training
program, but that members of the Boston chapter have not formally stayed
in touch. But she hoped she would see some of them Sunday at the
''I really hope they come and bring their stories and any memorabilia,"
© Copyright 2005 Globe Newspaper Company.
De Valera's Finest Hour Came After Churchill's Post-War Attack On Him
By Ryle Dwyer
SIXTY years ago the country was waiting for Eamon de Valera to respond to
Winston Churchill's stinging criticism of his wartime conduct.
When it came, the response was masterful, and those who heard the speech
never forget where they were when they heard it.
Vincent Massey, the Canadian High Commissioner in London, thought it was
in reaction to the Taoiseach's condolence gesture following the death of
Hitler that Churchill lashed out at de Valera during a victory address
over BBC on May 13, l945. In fact, it was more likely that the prime
minister was seizing the chance to contrast the loyalty of Northern
Ireland with what he considered de Valera's rancid indifference. This
would weaken any attempt the Taoiseach might later make to cause trouble
Churchill pulled out all the stops in referring to the Long Fellow with
dismissive contempt. He actually emphasised the different syllables of de
Valera's name in such a way as to conjure up a subliminal suggestion of
the Taoiseach as the personification of the devil, evil, and Éire by
pronouncing the name as if it were 'D'evil Éire'.
"Owing to the action of Mr de Valera, so much at variance with the temper
and instinct of thousands of Southern Irishmen who hastened to the
battlefront to prove their ancient valour, the approaches which the
southern Irish ports and airfields could so easily have guarded were
closed by the hostile aircraft and U-boats," Churchill said. "This was
indeed a deadly moment in our life, and if it had not been for the
loyalty and friendship of Northern Ireland we should have been forced to
come to close quarters with Mr de Valera or perish forever from the
"However, with a restraint and poise to which, I say, history will find
few parallels, His Majesty's Government never laid a violent hand upon
them, though at times it would have been quite easy and quite natural,
and we left the de Valera government to frolic with German and later with
the Japanese representatives to their hearts' content."
It was a gratuitous swipe, and there was an air of anticipation in
Ireland as people waited for a response. It was generally assumed de
Valera would answer in kind, and expectations mounted over the next three
days. Then on May 16, 1945 he went on Radio Éireann to deliver what was
generally considered by Irish people to be the best and most effective
speech of his long career.
He began by thanking God for sparing Ireland from the conflagration,
which had left much of Europe in ruins. Next he expressed gratitude to
the various people who had contributed to the successful efforts to keep
the country out of the war.
And then he turned to Churchill's speech.
He knew what many people were expecting him to say and what he would have
said 25 years earlier, but the occasion now demanded something else.
With an exquisite touch of condescension, he explained that Churchill
could be excused for being carried away in the excitement of victory, but
there would be no such excuse for himself.
"Mr Churchill makes it clear that, in certain circumstances, he would
have violated our neutrality and that he would justify his action by
Britain's necessity," de Valera said calmly. "It seems strange to me that
Mr Churchill does not see that this, if accepted, would mean that
Britain's necessity would become a moral code and that, when this
necessity was sufficiently great, other people's rights were not to
count. It is quite true that other great powers believe in this same code
- in their own regard - and have behaved in accordance with it. That is
precisely why we have the disastrous successions of wars - World War
Number 1 and World War Number 2 - and shall there be World War Number 3?"
The Taoiseach then praised Churchill for resisting the temptation to
violate Irish neutrality. "It is, indeed, hard for the strong to be just
to the weak. But acting justly always has its rewards," he said. "By
resisting his temptation in this instance, Mr Churchill, instead of
adding another horrid chapter to the already bloodstained record of
relations between England and this country, has advanced the cause of
international morality an important step."
THE public reaction to the address in Ireland was overwhelming. "With
little exception," John D Kearney, the Canadian High Commissioner
reported, "Mr de Valera's broadcast is regarded in Ireland as a
masterpiece, and it is looked upon as probably his best effort. It has
served to almost still the criticism which his visit to the German
minister provoked and, in so far as I can judge, on balance, Mr de Valera
now stands in higher favour in Ireland than he did before his visit to
the German minister."
"We had him on a plate," Kearney told Sir John Maffey, the British
Representative to Ireland, the morning after the Taoiseach's speech. "We
had him where we wanted him. But look at the papers this morning!"
Churchill's remarks were a great mistake, according to Maffey, because
they gave de Valera the opportunity to escape from the consequences of
his condolence gesture following Hitler's death. In the last analysis,
Maffey said, it was not Churchill's speech, but de Valera's reply "which
bore the stamp of the elder statesman".
Maffey was particularly critical of the suggestion that it would have
been natural for Britain to seize Irish bases.
"I felt that something was lost in the moral plane by suggesting that we
might have seized them," he explained. "However, where we lost most
tricks in the rubber here was in the fact that after five-and-a-half
years of war the British prime minister, in a historic speech, gave
prominence to Mr de Valera, attacked him personally and thereby
introduced him to the spotlight and a world radio contest."
The Dominions Office noted, however, that the international perspective
of this so- called "radio contest" was quite different. Unlike
Churchill's address, which was broadcast around the world, only the
people at home in Ireland heard de Valera's response on Radio Éireann.
Thus his international standing remained seriously damaged by the Hitler
condolence gesture. The San Francisco conference to establish the United
Nations Organisation (UNO) was going on at the time. Reports from there
suggested that de Valera's condolence gesture had "inflicted a profound
and enduring shock on the American people". As a result Churchill's
"severe remarks were therefore accepted and even applauded as a salutary
rap over the knuckles".
"On balance," the Dominions Office concluded, "we have certainly gained
in the eyes of the world, whatever may be the effect in Éire itself."
Among the bulk of the Irish people, however, de Valera had redeemed
himself. "For the Irishman in the homeland and overseas," Maffey wrote,
"it is once again a case of 'Up Dev!'"