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May 29, 2005

Finucane Hit Was A 'Mistake'

News about Ireland & the Irish

SL 05/29/05 Finucane Hit 'Was A Mistake'
SL 05/29/05 Wright Inquiry Set To Begin
SL 05/29/05 Snap! Shankill Bomber At Riot
SL 05/29/05 Shankill Butcher Goes Into Hiding
SL 05/29/05 Leave No Stone Unturned (Michael, That is)
SL 05/29/05 UDR Granite Memorial 'Desecrated'
SL 05/29/05 Provo Decommissioning On The Cards
SL 05/29/05 Time To Hail Gallant Unit
SL 05/29/05 Suicide Horror Is 3rd Tragedy To Strike Family
IO 05/29/05 Police Hunt Gang After £200,000 Chemist Raid
BB 05/29/05 Boots Review Security Procedures
UT 05/29/05 McCartneys:'IRA Protecting Killers'
SL 05/29/05 Couple Of McCartney Suspects Do Runner
SL 05/29/05 Mother-Of-Five Living In Fear Of More Attacks
BB 05/29/05 Scotland: Police Vow Over Marching Season
SL 05/29/05 Ghana Wear Our Sashes Proudly
SF 05/29/05 SF Conference On EU Constitution Continues In Dublin
SF 05/29/05 Ó Snodaigh - Another EU Is Possible
TO 05/29/05 Chirac Plan 'To Shift Blame' For EU Vote
SB 05/29/05 A New French Revolution
SB 05/29/05 Motorists 'Being Ripped Off By Soaring Petrol Prices'
TO 05/29/05 Good Friday Was Yesterday
BT 05/28/05 This Life: In The Name Of Sport
GU 05/29/05 Ireland Comment: There Goes A True Man
SL 05/29/05 Bum's Rush For Nude Statue
UT 05/29/05 Island Off Mayo Coast For Sale
SL 05/29/05 Films: Leading Role For Ireland
TO 05/29/05 War: Rules Of Engagement By Tim Collins
BT 05/29/05 Books: Hoping To Blossom On The Common Ground...
CT 05/29/05 The Birth Of A Canadian Nation
CA 05/29/05 Introduction To The Directory Of Murals
TO 05/29/05 Biography: Carson By Geoffrey Lewis


Finucane Hit 'Was A Mistake'

By Stephen Breen
29 May 2005

A SERVING officer in British Intelligence has branded the brutal
murder of Catholic lawyer Pat Finucane a "mistake".

The shock claim by the Army spymaster comes in a new book just
published on one of the most controversial killings of the Troubles.

The book - Killing Finucane: Murder in Defence of the Realm - is
written by Queen's University academic Justin O'Brien.

The officer tells Dr O'Brien - a former editor of UTV Insight - that
the UFF killing was "worse than wrong - it was a mistake".

Although views on Mr Finucane's killing have previously been made by
former Army spooks, this is believed to be the first time a serving
officer has spoken about the murder.

The book also focuses on other controversial issues surrounding the
murder, including events leading up to the killing, the role of the
Government before and after the event and the part played by MI5, RUC
Special Branch and the Army's shadowy Force Research Unit (FRU).

It also raises questions about the Government's war against the
terrorists in the late 1980s and how it changed with the advent of the
1994 IRA ceasefire.

According to the author, the book can also be used to help people
"navigate" the new public inquiry into the Belfast solicitor's

Said Dr O'Brien: "I think the book goes beyond appropriating blame for
Pat Finucane's murder to individuals or rogue units.

"Instead, it examines, in a clinical way, how the FRU, MI5 and Special
Branch were connected to an over-arching security network.

"Mr Finucane's family has received a copy of the book, but I don't
know what their opinions are. It pulls together a lot of information
from over the years.

"The killing of Mr Finucane raises all sorts of questions about the
role of the State and the Home Office and I believe this book answers
some of them.

"It should appeal to an international audience, because it focuses on
the anatomy of a murder, acts as a guide to the public inquiry and
raises questions about the accountability and openness of a state."


Wright Inquiry Set To Begin

By Chris Anderson
29 May 2005

THE public inquiry into allegations of collusion in the murder of LVF
terror chief Billy Wright will finally get under way in Belfast next

Wright's father David yesterday received official confirmation the
inquiry would open at The Europa Hotel on June 22.

Mr Wright again called for the inquiry's terms of reference to be
broadened to include events leading up to and after his son's killing.

He said: "The inquiry cannot limit itself solely to events inside the
Maze Prison on December 27, 1997.

"The political conspiracy to remove Billy Wright started long before
then, and the conspiracy to suppress the truth about his killing is
still ongoing.

"The inquiry must examine the politics surrounding the murder of Billy

The inquiry will be headed by retired Scottish Judge, Lord Randal

He will chair a three-member panel that will determine whether any
wrongful act or omission, by or within the prison authorities, or
other state agencies, facilitated the LVF leader's killers. Wright was
gunned down by three INLA inmates as he waited in a prison van in
front of H-Block 6 at the Maze.

They had managed to cut through a fence and clamber over a roof

A camera scanning the roof wasn't working at the time.

Minutes before the attack, a prison guard had been ordered out of a
watchtower overlooking the scene.

The Government agreed to set up an investigation into the killing on
the recommendation of the Cory Report.

Judge Peter Cory found sufficient evidence of possible collusion to
warrant a probe.

Jane Winter, director of the London-based British/Irish Rights Watch,
said: "It is vital that all the circumstances of Billy Wright's
murder, including what led up to it and its aftermath, are subjected
to rigorous scrutiny."


Snap! Shankill Bomber At Riot

By Sunday Life Reporter
29 May 2005

THIS is the face of Shankill bomber Sean Kelly - caught on camera
during violence that erupted in north Belfast last week.

Merciless mass-killer Kelly (33) is no stranger to confrontation.

It seems that, whenever trouble flares in Ardoyne, he is never far

Republican sources insist Kelly is a committed community worker, whose
presence at interface disturbances is aimed at encouraging younger
elements from becoming embroiled in sectarian clashes.

But, last night, one Shankill Road councillor hit out, saying: "When
we see this man on our TV screens, or in the papers, it is an affront
to our community."

Eighteen police officers were injured during running battles between
Celtic and Rangers fans last Sunday, after the 'Gers clinched the
Scottish Premier League title.

A female officer was dragged from her Land-Rover in Ardoyne and
beaten, before having a bottle smashed over her head.

Besieged cops were forced to close off the Crumlin Road, Woodvale Road
and Twadell Avenue as they tried to calm a 200-strong mob.

More trouble also flared on the Whitewell Road and Limestone Road, and
at Lanark Way.

Two years ago, loyalist politicians demanded that Kelly should be
returned to prison, after claiming he was orchestrating rioting.

He was also photographed at the time mingling with senior IRA figures.

Kelly was sent down for life for the murders of nine innocent people -
two of them children - in the Shankill bomb horror, in October 1993.

But he served only four years, before being freed on licence under the
Good Friday Agreement.

Councillor Hugh Smyth, whose Court ward takes in the Shankill and
Crumlin, said: "Kelly has never uttered the word 'sorry' for that
terrible deed.

"The people of the Shankill are still trying hard to come to terms
with what happened on that fateful day.

"Yet the man who visited such pain on them is able to strut the
streets in such a grotesque manner.

"We occasionally see his face during disturbances, and it only brings
back the pain of his wicked act."

One eyewitness to the riot told Sunday Life: "There were a couple of
Sinn Fein members at the front of the crowd trying to get the rioters
offside. Kelly was with them.

"There were known IRA players from Ardoyne and the Markets there, too.

"Kelly seemed genuinely to be trying to calm things down, ushering
people away.

"He was ducking to avoid incoming bricks and stones.

"I didn't see him with anything in his hand at any stage. He did seem
to be saying to them [the rioters]: 'Cool it'."

Kelly said, in 1995, that he "deeply regretted" the loss of innocent
lives in the atrocity.

His mother, Anne Kelly, commented in the aftermath of the outrage: "If
I'd known what he was going to do, I would have shot him myself and
buried him in the garden."

• A 27-year-old man was arrested yesterday in connection with last
Sunday's riot.

The man, who is from north Belfast, was charged with riotous behaviour
at Twaddell Avenue, in Ardoyne.

A police spokeswoman said he would appear before Belfast Magistrates
Court on Tuesday.


Shankill Butcher Goes Into Hiding

By Stephen Breen
29 May 2005

ONE of the notorious Shankill Butchers has turned into a paranoid
recluse, it was claimed last night.

Senior security sources told Sunday Life that cutthroat killer Sam
McAllister has refused to leave his west Belfast home, over fears that
he will be attacked by former comrades.

McAllister - part of the ruthless UVF gang that tortured, mutilated
and slaughtered Catholics between 1975 and 1982 - has been keeping a
low profile since he was subjected to a vicious beating last year.

It is understood the evil killer had an arm broken after he was
involved in a row with a number of younger loyalists.

The teenagers are believed to have taunted him about his weight and
role in the UVF.

McAllister also received hospital treatment in 2000 after he was
attacked with a hatchet.

The thug had been living in Lisburn since his release from the Maze in
1995, but later returned to the Shankill.

Local sources say he has refused to answer his door to former comrades
in recent weeks.

Said a senior security source: "Big Sam was last seen helping out
during the election campaign but that has been it

"He's keeping a low profile since the beating, which turned him into a

"He thinks everyone's out to get him, including other paramilitary


Leave No Stone Unturned

Cemetery killer's demand to sleuth after forger rips off his art

By Stephen Breen
29 May 2005

CEMETERY killer Michael Stone was last night left fuming - after he
was stitched up by a mystery fraudster.

Sunday Life can reveal that the former UFF hitman has now hired a
private eye, in a bid to establish the identity of the conman.

Stone called in the sleuth after he was asked by a Belfast-based art
company to confirm that two paintings - sold in the Irish Republic and
England - were his authentic pieces of work.

But when the graveyard murderer said it was not his work, it was soon
realised the paintings were clever forgeries.

The items - which cost £4,000 each - were similar to some of Stone's
other paintings, and even included an exact replica of his signature.

One of the paintings is dated 1997, when Stone was still in the Maze
prison and the other in 2003, when he went into hiding following the
publication of his controversial book, None Shall Divide US.

The prices of some of Stone's other paintings range from £2,000 to

Former Secretary of State, Mo Mowlam, and nightclub boss, Peter
Stringfellow, are just some of the people who have bought Stone's

The killer-turned artist believes he has been deliberately targeted by
the conman, because of his notoriety.

Stone was told the two paintings were sold by the same man, and he is
now hopeful that cops will catch the crook.

Said the ex-terrorist: "Whoever is doing this is just chancing their
arm, and they have already made £8,000 from these two paintings.

"They are very similar to my contemporary forms of work, and the
signatures are very similar. The conman must have known he would make
a few pound from the paintings."

Stone said he had been told the man who sold them came across as very
respectful, and the people who bought them had no reason to doubt that
it was the killer's work.

"I have brought in this private detective, because the trail has
started in England and then ended up in the Irish Republic," he added.

"I'm not going to sit around and let people plagiarise my work, and
I'm hopeful of finding out who has been doing this.

"Can you imagine the outcry if I plagiarised Picasso's work."


UDR Granite Memorial 'Desecrated'

By Sunday Life Reporter
29 May 2005

AN APPEAL has been made for an end to the attacks on a Co Down
memorial to four UDR soldiers.

A fresh attempt has been made to smash a granite memorial to the four
soldiers, killed in a landmine blast near Downpatrick, in 1990.

Down District DUP councillor William Walker said it was "deplorable"
that another attempt has been made to smash the monument on the
Ballydugan Road, on the outskirts of the town.

"The people who attack this, and desecrate what is a sacred site are
nothing but scum," he said.

"I have been contacted by people who are worried. This memorial should
not be touched."

Over the years, the edges of the granite have been chipped away but
the memorial remains intact.

It was placed there to commemorate the four soldiers killed in what
became known as the Holy Week Massacre, when the IRA detonated a
1,000lb landmine as a UDR patrol made its way from Ballykinlar Army
base to Downpatrick, in April 1990.

The four men who died were John Bradley, John Birch, Michael Adams and
Steven Smart.


Provo Decommissioning On The Cards

By Alan Murray
29 May 2005

A MAJOR act of IRA decommissioning could come as early as next month,
after the organisation issues a new statement pledging not to carry
out any further acts of violence.

Speculation is mounting in political circles that the Provos will make
a statement shortly that will satisfy the British, Dublin and US
governments about the organisation's intentions in response to Gerry
Adams' call for it to take "big decisions" in April.

Following the issuing of an IRA statement, it is suggested by
Government sources that a major act of decommissioning could happen
before the end of June.

In order to lay the foundation for multi-party talks, republicans will
make strenuous efforts over the summer months to prevent sectarian
clashes like last weekend's disturbances at Ardoyne.

While senior republican figures like Adams, Martin McGuinness and
Gerry Kelly have declined to indicate a definitive date for a response
from the IRA, it's understood there is optimism in Government circles
that major steps could be taken "within weeks".

Said one senior source: "They are optimistically suggesting that there
could be major decommissioning by the IRA in three or four weeks' time
- decommissioning greater than that undertaken before by the

"This would follow another statement, which goes a bit further towards
saying the war is over without actually uttering that phrase."

Tony Blair's chief Northern Ireland negotiator, Jonathan Powell, has
continued to make regular visits to Belfast since the General

And while new Secretary of State Peter Hain has promised there will be
no "side deals", he has also said he is optimistic about progress
being made.

Hain has refused to divulge the reasons for his optimism, but there is
mounting speculation that behind-the-scenes negotiations between
Powell and McGuinness and other leading republicans have been
progressing well.

McGuinness is due back from the States today(correct) after a four-day
visit to Wahington and New York.


Time To Hail Gallant Unit

By Chris Ryder
29 May 2005

LAST week, the SDLP's Alban Maginness outlined his commitment to
power-sharing and partnership between nationalism and unionism in
Belfast as the way forward in bringing about lasting peace and

"Only by sharing political power and decision-making at a civic level
can we move forward as a city and community," he added.

Hours later, the SDLP were as good as their fine sentiments, helping
to vote in the DUP's Wallace Browne as Lord Mayor. In turn, their man
Pat Convery received DUP support to become deputy Lord Mayor.

Both sides demonstrated power-sharing and partnership in action at the
City Hall.

There's another issue on which both sides could unite in a similar
spirit of cross-community generosity - awarding the Freedom of Belfast
to 321 Explosives Ordnance Disposal Squadron.

They would not only demonstrate the respect and gratitude of the
citizens of Belfast for the 'Bomb Squad', but they'd also be righting
an unjustified slight to the skilled and selfless soldiers of this
unit, which has served constantly here since the start of the

In 1993, the general purposes and finance committee of the council
unanimously decided to award 321 EOD the Freedom of Belfast.

Although the decision had to be formally ratified by the entire
council, those behind the honour believed that, in spite of the
presence of Sinn Fein councillors, there would still be sufficient
support to approve it by the required two-thirds majority.

However, when the matter came up, Sinn Fein councillors walked out.
What was not expected was that SDLP councillors would join them,
leaving just 33 members, one short of the required majority.

Mr Maginness said it was a highly-political motion, they were not
consulted about it, and declared it was impossible for the SDLP to
support such a motion until there was political consensus in this

He claimed the SDLP had withdrawn to avoid the appearance of snubbing
the unit, and stressed he and his colleagues had "the greatest respect
and admiration" for the bravery of the Bomb Squad.

Their attitude was criticised by Alliance's Tom Campbell, who had
proposed the honour.

He accused the SDLP of administering "a slap in the face" for the
brave men and women in the Bomb Squad.

Twelve years on, in the spirit of the new co-operative political
generosity we have seen on Belfast City Council, it is time for
members to revisit this issue and reverse the snub.

Above all, it is time for the SDLP to again match its fine words with
ground-breaking action.

The selfless officers who pitted their skills and their lives against
the bombers did not ask who planted the bombs or why - they moved in
to save lives and protect property.

Twenty sacrificed their lives over the years in doing so, and many
more were injured.

A fifth of the 1,000 EOD personnel who served here have been decorated
for outstanding acts of gallantry in defending our social and economic

To this roll of honour, the elected representatives and people of
Belfast, the principal beneficiaries of the work of this world-
renowned Army unit, should urgently add their own fitting tribute.

There could be no more telling evidence of the city's commitment to
power-sharing and partnership, and lasting peace and reconciliation.


Torn asunder

Another Suicide Horror Is Third Tragedy To Strike Family

By Pauline Reynolds
29 May 2005

DECLAN McCluskey was known for his support and calming advice for
anyone considering taking their own life.

Declan (32) knew better than most what it felt like to deal with a
suicide in the family.

His own brother, Frank, took his life in 1996, and it had a dramatic
impact on young Declan.

He was no stranger to mourning, having lost his father, Francie, to a
UFF killer gang, in August 1982.

Francie McCluskey was cut down a short distance from his home,
murdered because he was a Catholic.

That day - aged just nine - Declan took on the role as man of the

"He stuck to me like glue," His mum remembers, "a great wee lad."

And when, years later, Frank gave up hope on life, Declan was there to
support his mum and family.

"Ma, if our Frank would have known what he was going to leave behind,
I don't think he would ever have done it," he told her.

"What in the name of God would make anyone commit suicide?

"I would never put my mother through that."

Those words now add to Theresa's grief.

In a tragic irony, Declan has also given up the will to live; he took
his own life by hanging - like his brother - just over a week ago.

And Theresa and her family are desperately trying to deal with a third
heartbreaking loss.

They believe the Government needs to provide some support for those
who are suicidal.

"No one could have guessed that Declan would ever have contemplated
killing himself," said Theresa.

"He was a real gentleman, who could sort out everybody else's
problems, God love him, but not his own.

"He was great fun, and appeared happy.

"The last time I spoke to him he told me: 'I love you, ma; you'll
never know how much I love you.'

"We were the best of friends, and if he couldn't talk to me when
something was troubling him, then where was he to go?

"The sad thing is, there are so many others out there, just like him,
and someone has got to provide proper counselling to stop this

Declan was well respected in Ligoniel, where he grew up and lived all
his life.

He worked for the St Vincent de Paul and would go out of his way to
help people in need.

Said Theresa: "After he died, a man came to the house to tell me how
grateful he was that Declan had talked his young son out of suicide.

"Declan asked him did he really want his mother and family to suffer
as our family had, when Frank died.

"Luckily, the boy listened to him. Coping with a suicide in the family
is something you wouldn't wish on your greatest enemy."


Police Hunt Gang After £200,000 Chemist Raid

29/05/2005 - 16:07:40

Detectives probing a £200,000 (€290,443) robbery from Boots chemist in
Belfast city centre tonight shifted their suspicions away from the

The Provisionals were linked to the raid which saw two employees'
families held hostage because similar tactics to the multi-million
pound Northern Bank heist were used.

Republican involvement would destroy any lingering hopes of restoring
Northern Ireland's power-sharing regime, unionists warned.

But while police have yet to blame anyone, it is understood that an
IRA operation is not a major line of inquiry.

Police may instead be scouring the underworld networks for possible
clues to the crime gang behind a carefully planned theft.

The store reopened today after forensic teams examined the premises on
Donegall Place where the robbery was carried out.

While two families were held captive at their homes in the south and
west of the city overnight, the staff members were ordered to go into
work on Saturday and clear out all cash.

The money was put in sports bags and given to gang members at a nearby
branch of Alliance and Leicester Building society.

The handover, in front of early morning shoppers, took place just
yards from the scene of the audacious December raid on the Northern
Bank's HQ.

In that robbery, which shattered attempts by London and Dublin to put
together a new deal to revive the Stormont Executive, hostages were
also taken while employees brought the cash to waiting thieves.

With question marks also surrounding alarm systems in place,
Democratic Unionist MP Sammy Wilson claimed the operation was almost a
mirror image of the bank heist blamed on the Provos by security chiefs
and the British and Irish governments.

The East Antrim representative warned: "It looks like the finger is
again pointing at the IRA and if that's the case it will have very
serious implications.

"It would simply reinforce what we have been saying, that they have no
intention of giving up criminality.

"If there's even the slightest approach by police to put the blame on
the IRA it has blown any chance of discussions about devolution
involving Sinn Féin.

"That will be true for everybody, not just the DUP. Everybody will
simply say: 'Shut them out and find another way'."

Boots is expected to carry out a major review of its security at the
department store.

As staff returned to work and signs that had told shoppers the shop
was closed due to unforeseen circumstances were taken down, area
manager Mary Woods was unable to talk about the robbery.

She said: "Our major concern is with our staff and their families and
with our customers at this moment.

"Obviously we had a difficult day yesterday, but at this stage I can't
really make much more comment on that.

"We are working closely with the PSNI who are currently carrying out
an investigation. We have got to let them get on with their work."

Belfast's Deputy Lord Mayor, Pat Convery, was outraged by the theft.

The SDLP representative said: "This was a chilling and cowardly

"It must be made clear that these are anything but victimless crimes.
Families are traumatised and businesses damaged.

"The reputation of Belfast as a business and commercial centre is put
in jeopardy after each of these incidents and many companies may have
second thoughts about locating in the city."


Boots Review Security Procedures

Boots chemist in Belfast has said it will carry out a review of its
security procedures following a robbery in which tens of thousands of
pounds were taken.

The store, in Donegall Place in the city centre, has since reopened
after Saturday's robbery.

Two employees were ordered to go to the shop and get money while their
families were held hostage at their homes in the south and west of the

It is believed between £100,000 and £150,000 was taken.

However, the amount full stolen has not been disclosed by either the
company or the police.

The cash, which was hidden in sports bags, was handed over to the
thieves at Wellington Place at about 0915 BST.

Boots area manager Mary Woods said the robbery made Saturday a
difficult day for all their employees.

"We have 200 staff working in the store and thankfully, although what
happened was extremely traumatic for those involved, no-one was hurt,"
she said.

"We are continuing to work closely with PSNI in their investigations."

Detectives want to speak to anyone who may have witnessed the money
being exchanged.

No-one was injured during the incident, however, the hostages were
said to be deeply shocked.

The chemist, which is Boots' main store in Belfast, remained closed
throughout Saturday while the police investigation took place.

It re-opened on Sunday at about 1300 BST.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/05/29 14:43:28 GMT


McCartneys:'IRA Protecting Killers'

The McCartney family tonight said the IRA was still protecting the
people who killed their brother outside a Belfast city centre pub.

By: Press Association

Catherine McCartney and her sister Paula were in Kerry to address the
annual conference of the Labour Party.

"The central message is that the IRA are still protecting people who
murdered Robert and that is the reason why there have been no
arrests," said Catherine McCartney.

It is now four months since Robert McCartney was beaten and stabbed to
death outside Magennis`s bar in Belfast.

Ms McCartney said the IRA had initially wanted to protect all of their
members but had then decided after the wave of international pressure
to allow some to face minor charges.

"We believe there were 15 people involved and that the key republican
is still being protected," she said.

Ms McCartney said it was natural that media interest in their campaign
for justice would dwindle but added that the actions of politicians
and police were more important.

"We can`t just rely on the media. It`s political leadership that is
needed to resolve this. And we`re in close contact with people in
Europe, America and obviously here in Ireland," she said.

Last week, the family received threats from republican elements.

"Republicans have allowed this to go on by encouraging this perception
that we are damaging the republican movement - when the only people
damaging it are the people who murdered Robert," said Ms McCartney.


Couple Of McCartney Suspects Do Runner

By Stephen Breen
29 May 2005

TWO of the main suspects in the murder of Robert McCartney have fled

Senior security sources told Sunday Life one is living in the
Republic, while the other is in England.

And the sources claim top republican Gerard 'Jock' Davison, who was
questioned about the killing and later released, has been spending his
weekends away from the Short Strand, so as to avoid meeting members of
the McCartney family.

It's also understood other republicans allegedly involved in the
murder have been keeping a low profile in the Co Down fishing village
of Killough.

Robert's sister Paula confirmed that some of the suspects had not been
seen in the Short Strand for a while.

Said Paula: "In the week's after Robert's murder, the main suspects
could be seen walking around because they thought they were

"But we haven't seen them in recent weeks. Of course, we hear
different rumours about where they might be, but we don't know for

"They could be in the Republic or in England. I am sure the police
will know where to go to find these butchers if they are to be brought
before the courts.

"We will not be intimidated by these people or their supporters. It is
the barbaric murderers who have brought shame on the republican
movement, not us."

Paula, whose family were guests at the Irish Labour Party's conference
in Dublin yesterday, also spoke about the "terrible effect" Robert's
murder is having on her elderly parents.

Explained Paula: "Robert's murder will finish my dad - there's no
doubt about that. "My mother wants to see justice, but she's a very
private and deep person. She can hardly bring herself to speak about

"This whole nightmare has ripped their world apart and they are very
stressed at the minute. They are even more worried because of the
recent threats we have received.

"But we will stick together as a family and do our best to help our
parents through a terrible ordeal that has been caused by ruthless


Bigotry's open season

Mother-Of-Five Living In Fear Of More Attacks

By Joe Oliver
29 May 2005

WORKING mum Angela Rooney dreads the onset of the loyalist marching

For it inevitably signals another wave of mindless attacks on her
home, at a flashpoint interface in north Belfast.

But even out-of-season there is little let up in the relentless
campaign of sectarian hate.

It has been like that since September 1991 - when her partner, Kevin
Flood, was shot dead by UVF killers.

"I've practically lost count of the number of attacks since then,"
care worker Angela told Sunday Life.

The latest, just over a week ago, came during a series of arson and
paint bomb attacks across the north of the city.

Several homes and cars were also damaged in the sectarian crime spree.

And Angela was left to clear up following the explosion of paint on
the doorstep of her home, at Ligoniel Road.

"It was the second time in three years that the house has been paint
bombed and it was terrifying because the children were here," she

"The windows have come in around us on other occasions and my car
windows have been smashed by bricks.

"It's the same for a lot of families in this district because we are
easy targets."

So, too, was her partner Kevin (31) who was working on his tax outside
the house when he was shot by loyalists.

His killers have never been caught and at the time police described
the murder as a "random sectarian attack".

Escaping gunmen also struck a car belonging to Angela two years later
after the murders of John Todd and Brian Duffy in the same area.

Kevin had worked along with John Todd's father and brother.

"A few years ago a friend told me that a couple of guys had driven
down the street shouting, 'We shot Kevin Flood'."

"Of course, it is upsetting - especially for the children - but what
can you do?

"Now, we're coming up to July and you can almost feel the tension and
the apprehension. You are alert to every sound and every passing car
and always fearing the worst.

"After the last paint-bomb attack, the Housing Executive assured me
that they would be reinforcing my windows.

"But they never did and it denies us that little bit of security and,
at least, some small comfort of mind."

When we contacted the Housing Executive, a spokeswoman told us:

"We were in contact with Angela, a private homeowner, some time ago to
offer additional security measures as part of the POPPI (Protection of
Private Properties at Interfaces) scheme.

"Unfortunately, this work did not proceed.

"However we have called again with Angela and will be providing the
security measures to her home as a matter of urgency."


Scotland: Police Vow Over Marching Season

Tough action against unruly elements during this summer's marching
season has been promised by police.

Officers said they would use their new powers to prosecute anyone
committing sectarian offences.

It follows a parades review earlier this year which called for marches
to be better organised.

However, local council group Cosla said the Scottish Executive had not
yet committed to fund the extra measures brought in by the review.

Good behaviour bond

The parades review, carried out by former Strathclyde Police chief
constable Sir John Orr, recommended that every march should be
assessed so that the community can be consulted.

He suggested marches be blocked if there was a risk of intimidation to
the local community or of serious disruption.

Under the measures, groups must give 28 days notice of a march,
instead of the present seven.

They may also be ordered to pay a good behaviour bond, which will be
forfeited if marchers cause trouble.

Sir John also said that there should be fewer marches in Scotland.

There were about 1,700 parades in 2003, with almost half being held by
the Orange Order.

He said that there were occasions when there were three Orange marches
in one area on the same day, which fuelled controversy over the

Cosla president Pat Watters said: "There is a lot more bureaucracy
which goes along with what the Orr report says and that means a lot
more work for local authorities.

"We need the funds because there is a lot of bureaucracy attached to
this: the consultation with the communities; the assessment reports;
the consultations with the marchers, but there is also necessary
legislation that needs to go through as well."

The Orange Order said its lodges wanted to create "a family
atmosphere" at its parades and urged those who were intent on causing
trouble to stay away. Sectarian behaviour

Robert MacLean, a spokesman for the Orange Order in Scotland, said:
"As far as the teenagers who storm down the pavements and cause
problems, we'd ask them to away.

"We'd ask the police to be more robust when it comes to that and they
should take more action against this type of people."

Strathclyde Police Deputy Chief Constable Ricky Gray said officers
were ready to deal with sectarian behaviour.

He added: "The main area of focus for us this year will be on those
who follow the parades, those who perhaps behave in a loutish manner,
don't conduct themselves in an appropriate manner, that's the area of
attention for us.

"We do that already around football matches, where we have
aggravations of a breach of the peace.

"If it was a sectarian-aggravated offence then that would be
incorporated in the police report and the court would give due
cognisance to that."

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/05/29 10:43:43 GMT


Ghana Wear Our Sashes Proudly

Why the Orange is blossoming in west Africa

By John McGurk
29 May 2005

THE future is bright, the future is Orange Order for young people
thousands of miles away in west Africa!

For while Orange Order membership may be getting older in its Ulster
stronghold, there has been a surge in support for the organisation in
Ghana and Togo.

The remarkable growth of Orangeism is revealed in a new University Of
Ulster study.

UU sociology lecturer Dr Rachel Naylor discovered the upturn in the
Orange Order's fortunes during three months' research in west Africa.

During her time there, the lecturer discovered over 300 junior Orange
members in the Republic Of Ghana and Togo.

On the Twelfth, African men and women gather in their countries to
commemorate the Battle of the Boyne - marching behind banners and
proudly wearing their collarettes.

Rachel revealed: "Although numerically small, those involved are
highly committed and the level of interest is certainly significant.

"The current emphasis in Ghana is very much on the spiritual and
social support elements of the Order.

"There is really a very limited knowledge of the Northern Ireland
political situation, although members would be aware that there have
been problems in the past.

"Generally, the issue is understood as a religious conflict, not a
political one."

Rachel's research revealed that Orangeism in Ghana - a former British
colony with a population of 21 million - has recovered, after a marked
decline in the 1980s and 1990s.

It is thought that possible reasons for the revival include the
restoration of democracy in Ghana; an upsurge in Bible study interest
and increasing interest in forging links with the western world.

Rachel's findings are to form part of a new UU course that begins this

A university spokeswoman told Sunday Life that Dr Naylor may reveal
even more startling findings about Orangeism in Africa, within the
next two months.


Sinn Féin Conference On The Proposed EU Constitution Continues In

Published: 29 May, 2005

Sinn Féin's two day conference on the proposed EU Constitution
continues in Dublin this morning in the Irish Film Institute in

Session 1: 10.45: Civil Society Against the Constitution

:: A platform of NGOs outline the case against the Constitution
:: Trade Unionists Against the Constitution (England)
:: Matthew McGregor: Centre for a Social Europe (England)
:: Roger Cole: Peace & Neutrality Alliance (Ireland)
:: Lilian Halls-French - European Feminist Initiative Against the
:: Claudio Meloni: Attac (Italy)

Session 2: 12.30: Another Europe is Possible

:: A panel of MEPs and commentators looking beyond the EU Constitution
:: Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD (Ireland)
:: Jonas Sojestat MEP - Swedish Left Alliance (GUE/NGL)
:: Cllr Deirdre de Burca - Green Party (Ireland)


Ó Snodaigh - Another EU Is Possible

Published: 29 May, 2005

Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD, Sinn Féin Spokesperson on International Affairs
addressing the Sinn Féin Conference on the EU Constitutional Treaty in
Dublin this afternoon said: "Democracy is best exercised at local and
national level where the citizen and the community have maximum input.
The further the unit of democratic-decision making gets from the
citizen and the local community the less democratic it becomes. There
is no democratic demand for the diminution of popular sovereignty
through the nation-state in favour of an EU superstate. Democracy is
built upon the sovereignty of the people expressed in the form of the
democratic nation-state."

Deputy Ó Snodaigh said:

"We are firmly opposed to the federalist agenda, but we also have our
own positive vision for what the EU could be. We have an agenda for
radical change at the European level. Our agenda for change is based
on our vision of an EU of Equals. That is, an EU that is a true
partnership of equal states, cooperating in social and economic
development within Europe and beyond. An EU that respects and promotes
national, collective and individual rights (including human,
political, social, economic and cultural rights).

"We want an economically and socially just EU, not an EU that is
merely another economic or military superpower. In fact we want a
demilitarised and nuclear-free EU that promotes peace and conflict
resolution under the leadership of a reformed, renewed and
democratised United Nations. There is no need for the EU to act as a
subsidiary to NATO, and it is wrong for the EU to trap other countries
into disadvantageous EPAs (Economic Partnership Agreements).

'We want to build an EU that is globally responsible, a fair-trading
EU that leads the way on reaching the Millennium Development Goals for
halving global poverty by 2015. And this vision is completely
consistent with the kinds of social change we have been working and
campaigning for here at home. We would be proud for a future United
Ireland to take a leading role in such a reformed EU.

"We want an EU that promotes peace and Irish independence. We want an
EU that ends all occupations. We want an EU that supports the
development of an all-Ireland economy, and all-island development. We
are campaigning to restore economic sovereignty and to refocus the
Lisbon Agenda on the social economy and social protections. We want an
EU of sustainable rural economies, that supports rather than
undermines the Irish fishery. We want an EU committed to eliminating
poverty and protecting public services in the member states. We want
an EU that protects our right to a clean environment, that champions
workers rights, and our full equality in our diversity. That
recognises the equal status of the Irish language as a European
language. We want an EU that defends human rights and civil liberties,
instead of giving them a back seat to security and policing concerns.

I am glad to say that this vision is shared by many across Europe. It
is shared by our colleagues in GUE-NGL. It is shared by many
grassroots activists in other European countries. It is also shared by
about one third of the electorate in this state.

I want to talk about the democratic deficit, because it is a major
issue we have with the EU as it has been constructed.

The whole current direction of EU development is towards even more
powers for the EU institutions and diminished powers for national
governments and parliaments. Ironically, much of this process is being
justified on the basis that it "democratises" the EU.

In fact "democratisting" the EU would imply, at its most extreme, an
EU citizenry directly electing an EU Government and an EU President in
effect establishing a federal EU state, and hugely increasing the
powers of EU institutions as against member state parliaments.
Therefore, to merely speak of "democratising" the EU can be

Democracy is best exercised at local and national level where the
citizen and the community have maximum input. The further the unit of
democratic-decision making gets from the citizen and the local
community the less democratic it becomes.

There is no democratic demand for the diminution of popular
sovereignty through the nation-state in favour of an EU superstate.

Democracy is built upon the sovereignty of the people expressed in the
form of the democratic nation-state.

In keeping with these principles, we want to see the EU evolve as a
partnership of equal, sovereign democratic states. We are arguing for
the primacy of national and local democracy. The issue is therefore
how citizens best exercise their democratic rights. Even in the
context of EU decision-making, those rights are most effectively
exercised as citizens of sovereign states.

We propose that scrutiny of EU measures and the ability to enforce the
principle of subsidiarity must be recognised as the right of national
parliaments ˆ and such a right should also be extended to regional and
local levels of government as appropriate. This requires the
development of standard mechanisms and meaningful sanctions. We have
detailed proposals in relation to how the Houses of the Oireachtas can
address in some way the democratic deficit, as the Assembly could
also. We should develop constructive recommendations to make this
civil society mechanism more effective and meaningful. As they say,
the democratic deficit begins at home.

Nothing illustrates this more starkly than the fact that the 6 County
electorate have never previously been allowed to vote in referenda on
proposed EU Treaties, or the 26 County Government‚s rejection of the
democratically expressed will of the electorate in the Nice Treaty
referendum and the subsequent referendum re-run.

In conclusion, to be more precise, instead of using the term
"democratising the EU" in future we should speak of strengthening
democracy within the EU by:

:: retaining the principle of the EU as a partnership of equal
sovereign states regardless of size (or wealth, or military might)

:: resisting further erosion of the powers of member state governments

:: enhancing the role of national parliaments and regional assemblies
in EU affairs

We should also call for:

:: increased EU institutional transparency and accountability

:: increased domestic democratic accountability with respect to EU

:: increased participation in decision-making on domestic EU policy
formation by member state citizens

In terms of the EU Constitution I am opposed to it because it
repackages the EU as a military and economic superpower. This world
does not need more superpowers or military alliances. There is an
alternative. Instead of increasing its military might, the EU should
follow a different path by participating in a non-aligned movement
that includes the developing world countries as full equals. The EU
could increase security for everyone by focusing on the delivery of
what all humans need for security - food, shelter, employment,
healthcare, education, community safety and human rights. The EU has a
role to play in achieving global social justice, but not as another
world‚s police force.

While the architects of a new Europe are dreaming of empires and
military adventures, untold wealth global dominance, 70m people are
living in poverty in the EU alone and millions are dying of
starvation, disease and AIDs. There must be a better way, as a
socialist and a republic I have to believe there is an alternative to
a world which is intent on perpetuating that greed, and I can‚t see
how other so-called socialists don‚t see the logic of that position.
The only stance of socialists, republicans or environmentalists should
be against the ethos and the EU project as it is currently being
moulded, whether that is the Irish Labour party or An Comhaontas Glas
here in Ireland.

Nuclear-free, human security, making positive alliances, not seeking
the dominance through imperialism of the last era

Logic of military alliances is war, they perpetuate conflict

More than one way of counterbalancing US, through leading a non-
aligned movement that includes the developing world countries as full


Chirac Plan 'To Shift Blame' For EU Vote

By Andrew Porter and Peter Conradi

FRANCE and Britain appeared to be on the verge of open hostilities
over the European constitution if as expected French voters reject it

President Jacques Chirac, who will broadcast on television after the
polls close tonight, is set to urge other countries to continue with
the ratification process. This includes insisting Britain goes ahead
with its planned vote. But government sources in London said that was
likely to cut little ice in Britain, which is ready to drop the
referendum if the French vote 'no'.

"Chirac will attempt to shift the blame for the defeat and urge the
other countries to go on and ratify because he does not want to carry
the can for the constitution falling down," a foreign office source
said. "The feeling now is that we do not really want to try to
struggle on just to save his face."

The last opinion polls in France put the no vote at 54%. Polls in
Holland showed the no camp leading with 57%. Denmark, Poland,
Portugal, Ireland and the Czech Republic say they intend to press
ahead with referendums.

Tony Blair, whose government takes on the EU presidency on July 1, and
Gordon Brown, the chancellor, are already preparing to go on the
offensive against Chirac's claims, saying it is the failure of
countries like France and Germany to embrace economic flexibility that
has soured attitudes to the EU. They will argue this week that
economic reforms including market liberalisation are essential. Blair
will also take this message to a summit of EU leaders in Brussels in
two weeks' time.


A New French Revolution

29 May 2005

By midweek, the European Union may be a very different place. Millions
of voters in France and the Netherlands are being asked in referendums
today and Wednesday to accept the new European Constitution. If the
most recent eve of poll opinion figures are anything to go by, both
will reject the proposition.

Given that both nations were essential parts of the original
architecture of the great post-war European experiment, the
implications and the consequences of a No vote are immense.

Forty years ago, the French and the Dutch were among the most
enthusiastic supporters of what was then known as the Common Market.
Both nations, along with Germany, had learned salutary lessons about
the perils of nation state politics in Europe. For the second time in
the century, and barely a generation on from the first cataclysm,
continental Europe was devastated by world war.

After Stalin had drawn his protective line across the map of Europe
trapping millions in totalitarianism, what was left of Europe began to
contemplate the future. As the United States established military
bases across Europe, and as Nato and the Warsaw Pact armies began
circling each other like aggressive dogs, the Iron Curtain began
hardening into what looked like historical permanence. If the world
war had done anything, it had reinforced in the minds of the former
great European powers the insignificance of their now post-imperial

There were only two world superpowers - and now, it seemed, Europe's
principal destiny was to be a giant US aircraft carrier, should the
unimaginable ever happen. Even worse, should Warsaw Pact forces
invade, continental Europe was doomed to be the first nuclear

Many political lessons were learned at the time. But perhaps the most
important idea to emerge was the belief that Europe's century-old
division into nation states made neither political nor economic sense.

In the first wave of enthusiasm that followed, the once unimaginable
sight of France and West Germany in each other's economic and
political arms was quite remarkable.

If they could bury the hatchet, why not everyone else? There were
other significant currents in the underground stream. Europe was weary
of playing second fiddle to the almighty dollar, and already the
growing consumer marketplace was well ahead of the politicians in
regarding all high streets - wherever they were - as essentially the
same place. As ever, politics was hanging onto its hat and chasing
economics across the headlines. Six states rapidly grew to 12 and then
15, as the sleekblackMercedes stuffed with politicians and Eurocrats
ranged ever more widely across the continent.

Soon, these political ambulances had visited pretty much all European
capitals. In 1989,when Gorbachev hesitated to send in the tanks,
people all across the old Soviet-controlled eastern Europe dumped
their party cards and headed for McDonald's. And when the Brandenburg
Gate opened in November 1989, exactly 50 years after it had begun in
1939,World War II finally ended. Post-Soviet Europe emerged from the
secret policeman's grasp as a patchwork of economic chaos and
political naiveté.

Who could resist such a bonanza? Certainly not the dreamers of
European dreams in Brussels and Strasbourg. Fast-tracking became the
new Euro-buzzword, and, in no time, the EU stretched from the Atlantic
to the Urals. Last May, in the old Guinness garden at Farmleigh, they
hoisted all the new flags, and a Europe - unimaginable only a
generation ago - headed in for a purposeful summit with the smoked
salmon and the Chablis.

Not surprisingly, the political air was filled with expectation and
the backslapping could be heard all the way to Washington DC. There
the neo-cons were wondering whether to laugh or cry. But for all the
euphoria, there were already growing signs that the natives in the new
happy clappy Euroland were getting restless. The Irish (as ever
contrary) had given the Nice Treaty a resounding No - until enough
money was spent to persuade them to give it a Yes. But apparently
Ireland's decisive No/Yes vote was misunderstood in Brussels as
truculence from a folk far too wedded to democracy and individualism.

After all, we were now the fatted pig of Europe, rescued from being 'a
basket-case' by Europe, as 'Mother 'McAleese put it in the USA only
this week. But the Irish No vote was actually the first significant
signal that, while there was no quarrel with economics sans
frontieres, there was growing concern about 'decisions sans
democracy'. The golden consumerist calf was truly magnificent to
behold, but questions were now being asked even beyond the European
awkward squad.

Where was this massive experiment heading, and what exactly was the
relationship between citizen and democratic accountability? Who was
the wit at the back of the class who said that the Incas built their
temples like this? The Eurocrats' response was truly conciliatory.
They gave us a 400-page document called the European Constitution and
told us to be sure we read it before we voted Yes.

And just so that we got the message about who was in charge, they
signalled too that our frontiers were now heading up the Dardanelles
to include Turkey at some future date. Nice one. This weekend, I
suspect that many of them are regretting that they didn't properly
bury the corpse of the nation state, and wishing they hadn't left old-
fashioned things - like citizens' referendums - hanging about. Of
course, the French and the Dutch will behave in a totally subjective
manner in the next 48 hours and think of themselves, not the great
European dream. Funny how a generation on, 'come to liberal no-holds-
barred Holland' has turned to barbed wire immigrant-holding centres
and closed frontiers.

Strange how French workers perceive that their social contract stands
in the way of European cheap labour and transnational work practices.
And if either or both of the original architects of the EU vote No,
what's Plan B? Well, it's back into the black Mercs again, and, after
gallons of all-night mineral water, more reams of unimaginable
obscurantist press briefings. Translated, that means that they will
muddle on, but also cherry pick the essential bits (as they see it) of
the constitution and dress it up later as agreed ministerial

Simple, isn't it - but then, who could have thought that democracy
would be such a 'flexible friend' to the new Europe? And no more talk,
please, about the Incas.


Motorists 'Being Ripped Off By Soaring Petrol Prices'

29/05/2005 - 12:25:57 PM

Irish petrol prices are rising 12% faster than in the rest of Europe,
it was claimed today.

Fine Gael deputy leader Richard Bruton said motorists were being
"ripped off" by retailers who were taking increased profit margins and
the government, which was taking more tax revenue.

"Rising international oil prices have been used by Irish suppliers as
an opportunity for increasing profit margins. But the minister for
Enterprise and Employment Micheal Martin has not lifted a finger to
ensure that Irish consumers are being treated fairly in this period of
oil markers turmoil," he said.

Mr Bruton said the EU Bulletin of oil prices showed that the prices
for the three main oil products – petrol, diesel and home heating oil
– have increased faster in Ireland than in the rest of Europe, on
average rising by 12%.

He said of the 15.5 cent increase in the price of petrol since 2001,
only 3.5 cent was due to rising oil prices, with 9 cent coming from
higher tax and 3 cent from higher margin. He added that only 10 cent
of the 24 cent increase in the price of also diesel was due to oil
price rises, with eight cent coming from higher taxes and six cent
from higher margins.

The rising oil prices has been blamed on the demand for oil in the
Chinese economy and the uncertainty over oil supplies in Iraq.

Mr Bruton said diesel had swung from being 8% cheaper than petrol as a
motor fuel to becoming 18% dearer.

"Even allowing for the traditional lower tax take on diesel, the price
at the pump of the two fuels are now almost equal," he said.

He said this was putting severe pressure on the haulage industry,
which depended on cheaper diesel to maintain its competitiveness.

Mr Bruton called for an investigation of profit margins in the oil
distribution business, a cut in motor tax on haulage sector vehicles
and a diversion of the extra tax earned from rising fuel prices into a
better fuel use fund.

"It could fund installation and fuel efficient system for the elderly,
promote free off peak travel on public transport and develop park and
ride integrated ticketing," he said.

Mr Bruton called on Mr Martin to address the rising fuel prices.

"We have a minister who sounds like Mighty Mouse when a microphone is
open in front of his mouth but is like a church mouse when it comes to
challenging the grab by the Minister for Finance and by the oil
companies for a bigger slice from the consumer. Now is an opportunity
for him to show that something has changed," he said.


Good Friday Was Yesterday

Watching Bill Clinton and Ian Paisley tearing strips off each other
over the Good Friday agreement has been amusing, if nothing else.
Clinton insists it is the only path to peace while the Democratic
Unionist leader has declared it dead.

It's a false argument but Paisley is closer to the truth than Clinton.
The mandate granted for the agreement in 1998 is getting old and it
has been overturned by the recent elections in Northern Ireland.
Insisting that it must be fully implemented come what may, because
"the public do not want to go back to the conflict", Clinton's
argument, is nonsense. The fact is a majority of the unionist
population, whose consent is essential, neither want to implement it
nor to return to conflict.

Even among nationalists, the general murmur of polite support for the
agreement never turns into a roar of protest at the suspension of the
assembly. There are no mass demonstrations at the absence of power
sharing. People, by and large, get on with their lives and nobody, not
even the IRA, hints that armed struggle will be resumed.

The problem for Paisley is that the agreement has left a powerful
legacy that he is powerless to overturn. The agreement has shaped
everything in Northern Ireland — its legacy is evident everywhere. The
heat has gone out of the constitutional issue largely because the
principle that Irish unity can only come about by consent was
enshrined in the agreement. It is now written into the Irish
constitution and accepted by every political party with a popular

The agreement has also made it possible for the Irish government to
maintain a permanent presence in the centre of Belfast. Cross-border
bodies exert a huge and generally beneficial influence in many areas
of the economy. The IRA is still on ceasefire despite lapses and the
prisoners are free and walking the street. All these things flowed
directly from the agreement.

The bit that did not work was the 108-member local assembly with 10
ministries, but then who really believed that it would still be
around? The assembly was an attempt to bribe the Northern Irish
political class with jobs for everyone. Such a vast, overblown
structure was always going to have been past its sell-by date in 2005
or 2006.

Comparisons give some idea of the scale and waste of the assembly that
failed. In it, there is one MLA for every 15,700 people. In the
Scottish parliament, a much more formidable body, it is one for
39,240. In Wales, it is one representative for every 48,235.

People voted for this structure, with its ministries given out on a
mathematical formula and its intricate committee set-up, without
counting the cost. It was done to secure peace at almost any cost, not
for reasons of efficiency or good government.

It had to have 108 members so the smaller parties would be guaranteed
representation; it had to have 10 ministries so there would be enough
jobs for everyone; there had to be an automatic system for allocating
ministries because there wasn't enough trust to do it any other way.

The bribe was taken by the politicians but the system never worked for
longer than a few months. It always collapsed and it is on the floor
now. Other parts of the agreement, by contrast, worked well.

We are now in a post-Good Friday agreement era. Its legacy is
undeniable but its current relevance is fading. These realities will
be brought home to Peter Hain, the Northern Ireland secretary, in the
coming months when, in his other role as Welsh secretary, he prepares
to devolve more powers to Cardiff as Stormont remains stubbornly

Most people are now voting DUP or Sinn Fein, it seems, because they
don't want a sellout of their position. Yet politicians are unanimous
that, in the recent elections, the main issues were water rates and
education cuts. Civility is also breaking out all over. In Belfast, we
have a DUP mayor and an SDLP deputy and the DUP man is saying he will
travel to republican areas if he is invited.

A survey of teenagers by the think tank Democratic Dialogue last year
also showed unexpected results. More of them tended to vote DUP and
Sinn Fein, the parties of the future, than their elders but nearly
half believed that young people were not interested in politics. What
they are not interested in is the remaining workings of the agreement,
the aspect of Northern Ireland politics that seems to obsess Downing
Street and the Dublin government. Subjects such as the Iraq war, world
poverty, healthcare and crime all ranked above the peace talks as
issues of concern for the young.

A sensible plan B for a post-Good Friday agreement Ulster would
involve increased cross-border co-operation and a smaller consultative
assembly that could scrutinise British ministers and the activities of
the cross-border bodies.

Neither unionists or nationalist politicians would be entirely
comfortable with that. The DUP would see too much Dublin influence and
Sinn Fein would rail against direct rule. At that point, the
governments could make it clear that it was up to them to reach
agreement on something better.


This Life: In The Name Of Sport

By Alf McCreary
28 May 2005

THE ugly scenes in north Belfast this week after one Scottish team won
and another lost a soccer championship bodes ill for the future of
football, and of community relations in Northern Ireland this summer.

Last Sunday Glasgow Celtic unexpectedly lost the Scottish Premier
championship by conceding two late goals to Motherwell, thus allowing
an unlikely triumph for their bitter rivals Rangers, who narrowly beat
Hibernian to lift the title.

What for many people would have been a somewhat eccentric turnaround
in the fortunes of two teams who are scarcely good enough to grace the
English Premiership permanently, seemed to be a matter of almost life
and death to their supporters. The television pictures of grown men
either crying or rejoicing uncontrollably were difficult to

Even allowing for the tribal sectarianism which is associated with
Rangers and Celtic, it seems amazing that sport can drive people into
such a frenzy. Irrespective of the crowd's reaction in Scotland, it
was almost inevitable that rioting would break out in Belfast later in
the evening, which it duly did. The media reported that 18 police
officers had been injured at an Ardoyne flashpoint, including one
women officer who was dragged from her vehicle and hit on the head
with a bottle.

The disturbance was condemned by politicians from all sides, with a
Sinn Fein councillor predictably blaming the police for over-reaction.
Whatever happens in Northern Ireland, you can be sure that Sinn Fein
always blames somebody else.

Within a relatively short period the situation calmed down, and north
Belfast went about its daily business. It was almost as if violence
had become an extension of what happens on the playing field: if your
team loses, you resort to violence.

This is not just a one-sided phenomenon. Only a few weeks ago, there
was serious trouble at a match between Linfield and Glentoran.

What worries me, apart from the violence itself, is that people now
almost acccept this yob behaviour as a part of football itself.

Soccer used to be the 'beautiful game,' and at times it still is, but
it is now surrounded by ugliness, violence and greed - and not all of
it off the pitch. The wages of more than £100,000 a week for some
individual players are totally obscene on a planet where two-thirds of
the people are dying from disease and malnutrition. The simmering
violence on the field, where even once-respected players are now
'diving' to win an advantage, is disturbing, as is the almost open
animosity of some players and managers.

What a poor role-model they are for young people who virtually worship
such doubtful 'celebrities.'

I use the word worship deliberately because sport is fast becoming the
new religion of our times. It is probably still true that more people
in Northern Ireland go to church on Sunday than watch Irish League
football on Saturday - which wouldn't be hard, given the poor standard
of local football.

In the rest of secular Britain, however, sport appears to be the major
preoccupation and some churches have even changed the times of their
services to allow their members to watch the England team playing
live. Somehow, I could not have imagined Jesus waiting for the end of
a game before preaching in the synagogue.

Our modern heroes are no longer figures of Biblical proportions, but
rather the icons of the sports field where the prizes are flagrantly
excessive, and where success is the only yardstick. I wonder if our
churches, which rail against other aspects of our materialistic
society, have anything to say about this. Or are church members just
as blind as everyone else ?

PS: In Cyprus this week, I watched the astonishing come-back of
Liverpool to win the European Champions' League. Sometimes you can
forgive football and footballers anything.


Ireland Comment: There Goes A True Man

Ardoyne's rioting morons could learn much from Martin O'Neill

Henry McDonald
Sunday May 29, 2005
The Observer

Bill Shankly was wrong after all; life and death are in fact much more
important than football.

The shining example of Martin O'Neill, the outgoing Glasgow Celtic
manager, has overturned Shankly's homespun hyperbolism. O'Neill's
decision on Wednesday to retire as Celtic boss in order to look after
his gravely ill wife Geraldine proves that there is more to existence
than what goes on between 22 men and a ball on a field every week. The
trouble, however, is that there are far too many people out there who
believe the opposite to be true and quite a few of them seem to live
in North Belfast.

Within seconds of Celtic losing at Motherwell and hence handing the
Scottish Premiership title to Rangers, fans of the former team thought
they should defend their club's honour. Ardoyne's Sons of Erin set
about attacking homes in the nearby loyalist Twaddell Avenue in order
to express their anger over Celtic's defeat. And, of course, minutes
later the self-proclaimed defenders of the loyalist community emerged
to do battle and thus chaos ensued. The 'two traditions' were united
once more in the regular Belfast tradition of rioting and mayhem every
time two 'Scotch' teams clash.

Even before last Sunday's final games, Celtic fans everywhere were
aware that their beloved manager was on the verge of resignation. They
knew that O'Neill was moving out of Celtic Park because his wife was
unwell. Yet none of that deterred the more zealous followers of the
club, in those parts of Belfast where the Troubles raged most, from
using Celtic's defeat to drag the side's colours through the mud once
more. (This despite a pointed plea from Celtic Park in 2003 that no
one should turn up in their club's colours at disturbances,
flashpoints, riots and so on anywhere in Northern Ireland.)

It is worth contrasting the nihilistic bigotry and stupidity of those
idiots (on both sides) who went on the rampage at the Ardoyne shops
with the quiet dignity of O'Neill, whose priorities, unlike the
rioters and the thugs, are, and always have been, in the right place.

There are other telling comparisons to be drawn between O'Neill's act
of selflessness and other less altruistic figures connected to modern
football. By sheer coincidence, the O'Neill resignation occurred in
the same week as it was revealed that Bolton Wanderers' El-Hadji Diouf
had won legal aid to fight a court case related to allegations that he
spat at a Middlesbrough fan last November. This was despite Diouf
earning £40,000 a week. The player's ability to defend himself using
taxpayers' money instead was, for many ordinary soccer supporters, yet
another example of the venality and greed poisoning the heart of
modern football.

Aside from Everton's unexpected achievement in reaching the Champions
League this season and Liverpool winning the European Cup last week
(two examples of cash-strapped clubs defying the experts and the doom
mongers), Irish and British soccer has been blighted and besmirched by
scandal after scandal over the past 12 months: riots both on and off
the pitch in Belfast's big derby; tapping-up in some London hotels,
and roastings in others; and tycoon-sharks with no real love for the
game seizing control of historically successful English clubs - the
'beautiful game' has turned increasingly into an ugly ego-fest for
players on astronomically high wages and their transnational mega-rich
owners/directors. Yet in the midst of all this madness, Martin O'Neill
has emerged as someone who put family before career and love before
future glory.

Some of the morons in the green and white hooped jerseys throwing
rocks at Protestant homes and police vehicles last Sunday were
probably outraged on learning that Martin O'Neill received a gong from
the Queen for his services to 'British' football last year. So before
the retiring Celtic manager receives a knighthood, perhaps it is time
on this side of the Irish Sea for the powers that be on both sides of
the border to be thinking about honouring Kilrea's most famous son.

A trip to Aras an Uachtarain must surely be on the cards now that the
pressures of management have been lifted from his shoulders. Freedom
of the cities of Belfast and Dublin, too, should be considered by all
those on this island who have long admired O'Neill's tenacity on the
pitch as a Distillery, Notts Forest and Northern Ireland player, as
well as his recent managerial achievements on the touchline.

Most importantly, when the time is right for Martin and his family,
the ex-international and European Cup winner would make an excellent
educator for the next generation of young players and fans who, on
either side of the Irish Sea, need to be weaned off the sectarian
tribalism associated with the game and inoculated from the
Footballers' Wives' values of self-gratification and personal
aggrandisement. As Napoleon was reputed to have said on first meeting
the great German poet Goethe, so with O'Neill: There goes a true man.


Bum's Rush For Nude Statue

29 May 2005

COUNCILLORS in Belfast have been plunged into a major controversy over
plans to erect a 70ft-high sculpture of a NAKED female in the grounds
of the City Hall.

Last night one councillor branded the proposal "a bare-faced cheek".

And another predicted that the sculpture - by internationally renowned
artist David Mach - would be given the bum's rush.

The giant nude structure is being promoted as a centrepiece of next
year's celebrations to mark the centenary of the City Hall.

The project, managed by Belfast Festival and Queen's University, has
already been submitted for funding to the Northern Ireland Events
Company and the Arts Council.

It would also be featured as part of this year's Festival at Queen's,
before being installed at the front of the City Hall's ornate

Scots-born Mach is the youngest member of the Royal Academy and
specialises in spectacular, large-scale sculptures and installations.

Supporters of the shock plan claim the power of large public works of
art engage the public imagination and are an icon for regeneration.

The issue did come before the full council last month, and was sent
back for reconsideration by the policy and resources committee, who
had originally said a firm 'No' to the sculpture.

Ulster Unionist councillor, Jim Rodgers, said last night: "There is no
way the people of our city would tolerate this.

"It's a bare-faced cheek, and I'm convinced the committee will again
take the view that it would only detract from the centenary

Party colleague Davy Browne agreed, saying the nude structure would
have no relevance to Belfast and would be "wholly inappropriate" for
display at the City Hall.

"I feel quite sure the council will ultimately decide to give this
proposed sculpture a wide berth," he said.


Island Off Mayo Coast For Sale

An uninhabited island is being put for sale by its owner - with a
£750,000 price tag.

By:Press Association

Duvillaun Mor, off the coast of Mayo in the Irish Republic, is a 177-
acre island which has been uninhabited for more than 100 years.

Owner Robin Deasy said he was confident of selling the island by the
summer for at least the 1.1 million euro (£750,000) guide price.

"If you buy a semi-detached house in Dublin, a two-up, two-down will
cost you 500,000 euro (£344,000). With the island, you`re getting 177
acres, wildlife, privacy, beaches, coves, fresh water and fields.
You`re getting the whole thing for peanuts, relatively speaking."

The prospective buyers so far include a Dublin couple, a community
services group and investors from Britain and the USA.

However, Mr Deasy said he would only sell the island to someone who
would respect its unique wildlife, which includes 400 geese, 20 grey
seals and two colonies of black beaked gulls.

"You have to be someone who appreciates that and if you`re somebody
who can`t live five miles away from Lidl or a pub, you`re in trouble,"
he said.

The island is two miles off the coast of Mayo and has spectacular
views of Achill Sound, Blacksod Bay and the Iniskeagh Islands.

Mr Deasy, a grain farmer in Portumna, County Galway, is hoping to buy
a large farm in Australia with the proceeds of the sale.

In the wake of the Asian tsunami, he has had to reassure prospective
buyers that the island, which is up to 200ft above sea level in
places, could survive such an event.

"Two of them have mentioned it without my prompting," he said.

Duvillaun Mor is designated as a special area of conservation which
should preclude any buyer from developing a hotel on it.

"I`d be absolutely appalled at the idea of a hotel. I think the island
will be sold to some guy who`s looking for privacy but also to share
the island with all the wildlife," said Mr Deasy.

The last people to live on Duvillaun Mor were three Galway families
who moved after the Famine to farm there.

However, they were evicted around 100 years ago by the landlord and
now only the ruins of their stone cottages remain.

The island also boasts an early Christian six-foot tomb stone with
hieroglyphic inscriptions and is reputed to have been one of the
places where the mythological Children of Lir spent their 900 years in
exile after being transformed into swans by their jealous stepmother.


Leading Role For Ireland

Island - north and south - gears up as location for raft of movies
this summer

By Pauline Reynolds
29 May 2005

IRELAND is taking lead role in a host of movies being shot this summer
- both north and south.

For the once-floundering film industry is on its feet again.

Belfast and north Antrim are scene setters for Wilderness - a thriller
about six inmates from a youth detention centre. Six weeks of filming
begins on Tuesday, part of a raft of movie-making all over the
country. Starring Sean Pertwee (Dog Soldiers) and Alex Reid (The
Honeymooners), it's set in a 'boot camp' island.

There, the six encounter a mysterious hunter who begins to pick them
off ruthlessly.

Trapped on the island, they soon realise the attacks are not random,
but motivated by vengeance.

At the end of next month, Belfast will again be the setting for
another new movie - Johnny Was - with a big-name line-up. Samantha
Mumba (main picture) will star alongside Vinnie Jones and Roger
Daltrey in the film about an IRA bomber trying to escape his violent

However, his old colleagues track him down to London and try to
persuade him to do one last 'job'.

Most of the re-ignited interest in making movies in the Republic is
due to the government's extension of tax incentives for filming in

One of the biggest projects is old favourite Lassie, which has just
begun shooting in Dublin and Wicklow.

The cast includes seven-time Academy Award nominee Peter O'Toole,
Samantha Morton, Newry's own John Lynch, Jemma Redgrave and Gregor

In complete contrast to Lassie, one of the most violent films to be
shot in Ireland is currently in production, and will be completed by
the end of next month.

Starring a number of little-known actors, Crosses also features
Caprice, Keith Duffy and Gail Porter.

The storyline involves the turbulent relationship of two brothers
trying to come to terms with the murder of their younger sibling.

It's being filmed in Dublin, Wicklow and the US.

If you're keen to stumble across an alien set, check out the west of
Ireland in July and August.

The Summer Of The Flying Saucer is set on a Co Mayo farm in 1967 and
tells the bizarre story of a man who finds out his girlfriend is from
another world!


War: Rules Of Engagement By Tim Collins


by Tim Collins
Headline £20 pp406

The subtitle of Colonel Tim Collins's autobiography accurately
describes both his extensive experience of military operations in
Northern Ireland, the SAS and Iraq, and the premature demise of his
career following trumped-up accusations of war crimes. Collins was
accused of dousing with petrol, igniting and then shooting a Ba'ath
party official; the men of his battalion, the 1st Royal Irish
regiment, were also accused of massacring nine prisoners in cold

From the very start of the Iraq invasion, Collins had been a marked
man, after the words of a last-minute briefing to his battalion were
broadcast to the world by an embedded journalist. Collins's
intelligent, humanitarian credo provided George W Bush with an
articulate justification for his invasion (the president even
displayed the speech on the wall of the Oval Office). But the upper
echelons of the Ministry of Defence are more comfortable with less
egotistical, more reticent leaders. The speech made Collins few
friends in the MoD, so much so that, two months later, despite the
fact that neither Collins nor his men had visited Basra where the
atrocities were alleged to have occurred, the MoD's army spokesman
Brigadier Matthew Sykes told Collins he wasn't going to do anything
about refuting the story. He advised him instead to be "more thick-

As well as concentrating on Iraq, this well-written, evocative book
also focuses on the author's deeply personal relationship with his
regiment and men, whose lives were always close to his heart. As their
commanding officer, Collins took the 1st Royal Irish to Northern
Ireland, where they quelled riots in streets in which many of them had
played as children (and where they mixed with paramilitaries when on
leave). Like Collins, a lot of his men have long family traditions of
service in the regiment. He describes the unique atmosphere this
creates, how it is the envy of other armies around the world, and why
he and many other military men despair of the present government's
destruction of that tradition (a destruction that today's senior army
officers appear unwilling to do anything about).

Collins gives us a few unsettling examples of his sometimes
inappropriate sense of humour, and he can be disarmingly honest. As
SAS operations' officer, for instance, he helped organise the dramatic
Special Forces mission in Sierra Leone that rescued a group of Royal
Irish soldiers captured by the West Side Boys terrorist gang. In an
anecdotal footnote, he says that 1 Para recovered a former British
Army SLR rifle from the gang. The serial number revealed that it had
been used by 1 Para on Bloody Sunday in Londonderry 1972. The footnote
adds that the rifle had been declared destroyed when the Saville
inquiry into the shootings asked for it.

Collins was effective as commanding officer (though he clearly ruffled
a few feathers). A DIY recruiting campaign restored his half-strength
battalion to fighting size. He rooted out a gang of drug dealers,
dealt with a homosexual rape, then a suicide in Northern Ireland and
the death of a soldier on a training exercise. He also took his men on
three operations: Northern Ireland, fire-fighting in Nottingham, and
the invasion of Iraq.

His style, however, inevitably created enemies. He describes the
American who accused him of war crimes as a "sad, confused" school-
careers-guidance counsellor and part-time police patrolman, who was
humiliated after attempting to ignore Collins. One complaint, though,
was quickly followed by others. His former unit chaplain Nick Evans
alleged that he'd been "bullied and struck" by Collins, and a Royal
Military Police corporal claimed that, when ordered by Collins to
stand on protection duty outside his office in the sports stadium at
Al Armarah, he was being "abused".

After a year of investigation, Collins was cleared of all accusations,
promoted and given an OBE. But enough was enough, and he resigned,
feeling that the army had left him high and dry. He now works with
Lieutenant-Colonel Tim Spicer, another unashamed egoist, who has
proved himself remarkably effective outside the constrictions of
peacetime military life. It may be that private military companies
such as Spicer's Aegis Defence Services are the way that future
conflicts will be resolved — but hopefully not because good operators
such as Collins have left the army, wearied by wading through the
treacle of bureaucracy and peacetime politics.

Available at the Sunday Times Books First price of £16 plus £2.25 p&p
on 0870 165 8585


Books: Hoping To Blossom On The Common Ground...

THIS HUMAN SEASON by Louise Dean, Scribner, £12.99

By Grania McFadden
28 May 2005

TO everything there is a season - and in the late 1970s of Louise
Dean's novel, the deadly flower of terrorism is in full bloom, choking
the fields and streets of Northern Ireland.

Set on the eve of the republican hunger strike in the Maze, This Human
Season views this terrible time through the eyes of two people on
different sides of the conflict.

Kathleen Moran is a Catholic mother of four, whose eldest son is 'on
the blanket'. She's struggling to keep his younger brother out of jail
and her husband sober, while searching for some sustenance of her own.

John Dunn is a former soldier who has stayed behind in Northern
Ireland and joined the prison service. He's fallen in love with the
country, and, with nothing to lose, chooses to stay and take advantage
of a well-paid job he imagines will lead to life on Easy Street. Same
country, different worlds.

Dean's uncynical eye and even-handedness allows us to see events
through fresh, unfettered eyes as she switches from the teeming
streets of west Belfast, filled with chatter and chaos, to the
threatening world of the Maze, with its macho banter and casual

Kathleen's life is a vivid portrait of minor domestic dramas - the
quarrels, the endless cigarettes, the visits from neighbours and the
fry-ups at mealtimes with Morecombe and Wise on the telly - while
outside, the bombings and shootings provide a background hum to this
not-so-ordinary life.

Dunn's world is more insular. He lives an isolated life with his
girlfriend, afraid of going out for a drink and quietly questioning
the actions of some of his colleagues. It is through his eyes that we
experience the horror and squalor of life behind bars - the stench,
the violence and the corruption. We see him struggle with the notion
that, in Northern Ireland, there's no such thing as a neutral

Dean introduces some unexpected elements when Dunn discovers he has a
teenage son. They set out on day trips to the beautiful countryside,
learning to know each other, as Kathleen is giving up her child to a
world of smeared excrement, dirty blankets and urine-soaked

As Dunn finds himself pulling away from his girlfriend - too many
things about his new life cannot be explained - Kathleen searches for
companionship with a dashing Sinn Fein representative who feels no
qualms about betraying her husband while he fights for the rights of
her son.

These two storylines are delicately balanced, and only overlap in one
scene, when Dunn is confronted by Kathleen's son in prison.

This Human Season draws no conclusions as to the rights and wrongs of
the participants. Dean is more interested in individual tragedy.
Kathleen is, above all, a mother, struggling to do the best for her
children and Dunn, to his surprise, looks forward to a future with a
child he didn't know he had.

The most poignant scenes come where parents and children try to find
some common ground between them, while the world beneath their feet
appears to be shattering.

Dean spent many months in Northern Ireland researching this novel -
and her time has paid dividends, not least in her faithful rendition
of the Belfast dialect. She conjures up the Ulster of the 1970s, a
world of extraordinary contrasts, where the Nolan Sisters feel In The
Mood for Dancing, and men are decorating their cell walls with
curtains, pictures and fireplaces made out of excrement.

In one wonderful scene, a screw plays Pink Floyd's The Wall to the men
on the blanket, who find themselves swept away by the album's rallying
call to disaffected youth.

Dean captures the essence and atmosphere of this most deadly of
seasons. Her novel tells us that we're all in this together, no matter
what colour the flowers that blossom above our bloody roots.


The Birth Of A Canadian Nation

A first step to union on Prince Edward Island

By Michael Schuman
Special to the Tribune
Published May 29, 2005

CHARLOTTETOWN, Prince Edward Island -- Unlike its neighbor to the
south, Canada never fought for independence from anybody. No
massacres, no shots heard 'round the world, no strident liberty-or-
death speeches.

Which doesn't mean the story of the founding of Canada is not
exciting. For one thing, a war did play a part—but it was the American
Civil War. So did money and pride and ethnic prejudice. But unlike
many other countries, the unification of Canada in 1867 was
accomplished peacefully.

As citizens of the United States make pilgrimages to the site of their
nation's founding in Philadelphia, Canadians similarly seek out their
national roots in Charlottetown, the capital of Canada's smallest
province, a place best known for "Anne of Green Gables."

However, a step inside Founders' Hall, housed in a 1906 former rail
car repair shop on the Northumberland Strait waterfront, can make
anyone, history buff or not, at least temporarily forget Anne. Here is
a multimedia, multisensory time tunnel trek filled with life-sized
historic tableaux. There are also computer games and a multitude of TV
monitors presenting send-ups of "Jeopardy"; "contemporary" 1867
newscasts; and even a complex and amusing look at the mid-1860s
Canadian "news front" as seen from the point of view of a channel-
surfing TV viewer ("Here in Nova Scotia hot air collides with a" . . .
"cold shoulder, that's what we think of confederation").

In the early and mid-1860s today's Canadian provinces were colonies in
British North America, closer in spirit to England than to each other.
The name "Canada" referred to only two colonies—one English-speaking
(Canada West), the other French-speaking (Canada East)—covering what
is now present day Ontario and Quebec.

With the American Civil War raging south of the border and England
sympathetic to the South, British North Americans were concerned that
attacks from the U.S. could lead to forced annexation. About the same
time a group of Irish-American, anti-British guerillas called Finians
threatened to invade British North America to draw attention to its
quest for Irish independence.

A "news of the day" report shown on a TV monitor illuminates
contemporary Canadian prejudices as a camera crew follows a family's
report that a band of Irish Finians vandalized its property—a claim
based more on bigotry than reality. With such fears looming, pro-
confederationists urged the colonies' citizens to consider the merits
of a strong federal military.

Colonists were also lured with the temptation of—what else?—money. The
colonies were saddled with different currency policies, and trade
between them was limited due to varied customs regulations.

But residents of Prince Edward Island (PEI) were enjoying the lush
fruits of their shipbuilding-based economy and wanted nothing to do
with confederation. These independent islanders felt their interests
would be lost if they were one small part of a big country. For that
very reason, those favoring confederation decided to hold a conference
on PEI, hoping to lure the locals toward their point of view.

The conference began on Sept. 1, 1864, inside the seat of PEI's
government, Province House (see accompanying story).

The proposed confederation was initially meant to be only for the
maritime colonies of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and PEI, but John
Macdonald, Canada West's attorney general, a smooth talker with an eye
for the ladies and a penchant for a good drink, crashed the party with
a group of would-be delegates from Canada East and Canada West.

Nobody was there to greet Macdonald when he arrived with his party by
boat in Charlottetown Harbor until 39-year-old William Pope, PEI's
colonial secretary recognizable for his Father Time-like beard, hired
a crab fisherman to row him out to meet the delegates. A stark tableau
in Founders' Hall depicts the historic occurrence.

For seven days, 23 men with 22 names—two delegates had the identical
name of John Hamilton Gray—debated the merits of confederation. As at
a corporate convention, business mixed with pleasure. The men met
during a luncheon aboard the SS Queen Victoria; on leisurely carriage
and boat rides across the city; and over supper at Ardgowan, Pope's
spacious, rural cottage home. In fact, it was at the social gatherings
that the delegates let loose, allowing impasses to be broken. One
tableau portrays a Victorian-era couple chatting in a wicker chair on
the Ardgowan front lawn.

Although no details were worked out at the Charlottetown meeting, the
delegates agreed in principle to join together in a federal union. It
took two more conferences, one in Quebec City later in 1864 and
another across the sea in London in 1866, to finalize details.

The Dominion of Canada was born July 1, 1867, with four provinces: New
Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Quebec and Ontario. Prince Edward Island still
wanted nothing to do with a big union they felt could only hurt their
financial well-being.

In a not so subtle dig at its southern neighbors' lack of knowledge, a
"newscast" from 1867 shows a U.S. citizen congratulating the new
nation Canada on its first "independence day." A Canadian answers
abruptly, "We're not independent. We're still loyal subjects." The
American then wishes the best for the Canadians' first president. "We
have a prime minister," the Canadian replies. Um, well, best wishes
anyway, responds the flustered American.

The story told in Founders' Hall does not stop in 1867. Tableaux
representing each province and territory details how it joined the

In 1869, the vast Northwest Territories—signified by a stark panorama
of brown grass growing through a barren expanse of snow—became the
next segment of the new nation.

Manitoba—represented here by a walk-in mockup of a period fort—
followed in 1870. Carved out of the Northwest Territories, Manitoba
was the only province born in true conflict. A resident group of
people of mixed European and Indian descent known as Metis were
concerned about losing their land and language rights if they remained
part of the expansive Northwest Territories; they became the primary
residents of this new province.

As for the birthplace of Canada? Stubborn Prince Edward Island
reluctantly caved and joined the union in 1873. The province was in
dire need of debt relief after a troubled investment in a provincial
railroad. "Guess those mainlanders finally decided to join up with
us," grumbles a proud PEI woman in one of the museum's period

A few postscripts:

The last province to join the federation was Newfoundland in 1949. The
last autonomous area to join was Nunavut, an Inuit-dominated territory
broken off from the Northwest Territories in 1999.

As for partying legislator John Macdonald, while at the London
conference in 1866 he met a woman named Susan Agnes Bernard; they
married soon after. In 1867, he became Canada's first prime minister.


Introduction To The Directory Of Murals

by Dr Jonathan McCormick

Within these pages are brief details of over 2,000 murals across
Northern Ireland. The Directory contains a brief description,
information on location, and status of the mural. The Directory is
based on information supplied by Dr Jonathan McCormick. Dr McCormick
has been photographing murals in Northern Ireland since 1996. The
albums mentioned in the web pages refer to photographic albums that he
holds at home.

The Directory does not claim to be comprehensive but does cover many
of the murals that have been painted in the past nine years. The list
is intended to act as a guide for people who are trying to locate a
particular mural, or who may want to know what murals are to be found
in a particular area. The album numbers in the table below provide
links to the individual albums - click on a number to view a
particular album.

Users can search the Directory using the new search page
( This search
facility will allow users to locate murals based on a range of six
criteria including location and a full text search of the
descriptions. There is also a separate web page
( which contains a list
of the albums with details of the number of murals, the number and
dates of photographs included, and the geographical location of the

The intention is to update the Directory as further murals are located
and photographed. Further 'albums' will be added as they are
completed. A selection of 408 images have been made available at this
time (November 2004) and these are to be found in the form of
thumbnail images within the albums. Users can 'click' on the small
thumbnail images to view a large version of the photograph . If the
pages prove useful some consideration will be given to including more
images. Users who are aware of murals that have not been included in
the Directory are welcome to send details of the location to the
author using the email link below. Links have also been provided to
the main menu page on the CAIN site for murals, and a page explaining
the various acronyms that are used in the murals.


Biography: Carson By Geoffrey Lewis


CARSON: The Man Who Divided Ireland
by Geoffrey Lewis
Hambledon and London £19.99 pp277

There is a timelessness about Northern Ireland. The Rev Ian Paisley,
who has just succeeded David Trimble as the leading voice of Ulster
unionism, epitomises a centuries-old tradition of roaring clergy who
repel the British government as much as the southern Irish. A century
ago, Arthur Balfour, the great Conservative statesman and Edward
Carson's mentor, could no more abide Ulster Protestants than these
days can the majority of new Labour. Peter Hain, the new secretary of
state for Ulster, already looks like a chap who wishes he had stayed
safely in his Tardis instead of straying into what sounds like the
17th century.

Yet there have always been outsiders who saw the merits of these
flinty, disciplined, straight-talking people, not least those
Americans who recognise what they owe to the work ethic and raw
courage of innumerable immigrant Presbyterian Ulster-Scots who fought
valiantly on the frontiers and in the war of independence. Among those
admirers closer to home were two romantics: Rudyard Kipling (who wrote
elegiacally at the time of the home-rule controversy of the betrayal
of loyal Ulster) and Carson.

It is one of the many paradoxes of Carson's life that he was born and
brought up in Dublin of Scottish and southern Anglo-Irish stock, made
his career in the south and in London, yet became the greatest of all
the heroes in the Ulster Protestant pantheon. An Irish patriot, he was
passionately devoted to the Union. And although he hated the very idea
of partition, he became indeed (as the book's subtitle emphasises) the
driving force behind the division of Ireland. He is venerated by
bigots such as Paisley, yet there was nothing sectarian about him.

This is retired solicitor Geoffrey Lewis's third legal biography, and
unsurprisingly he is particularly illuminating about Carson as a
barrister. In Ireland, where flamboyance and entertainment value were
held in higher esteem than the absolute mastery of a brief, that was
Carson's strength. He won his cases but no popular reputation. He was
in his mid-thirties when a stint as crown p rosecutor during a period
of land agitation won him the regard of the establishment, and he was
only 38 when, in 1892, he became Liberal Unionist MP for his alma
mater, Trinity College, and solicitor-general for Ireland.

He moved to London, where he became enormously successful. His
eloquent attack on the second home rule bill in 1893 made his
reputation as a parliamentarian and his cross-examination of Oscar
Wilde in the Queensberry libel case in 1895 made him a national
figure. He took no pleasure in the destruction of Wilde, but much in
his triumph in 1908 in a case that was later dramatised by Terence
Rattigan in The Winslow Boy. The issue was whether a 13-year-old cadet
had been wrongly accused of having stolen a five-shilling postal
order, which had led to his dismissal from the Royal Naval College.
Convinced of the boy's innocence, Carson took on the Admiralty and won
what proved to be an exhausting and sensational case. His qualities as
a fighter, never in doubt, now achieved legendary status.

Carson was solicitor-general for England from 1900 to 1905. There were
many who believed he could go to the top of British politics, but,
because he believed Irish home rule would destroy the Empire, he
accepted, in 1910, the leadership of first the Irish Unionist
parliamentary party and then the Ulster Unionists. He couldn't block
home rule for Ireland, but, by his gifted and ruthless leadership and
through the power of the words he delivered in his soft Dublin accent,
he fashioned the spiky Ulster Unionist people into a resistance
movement that would bring about partition. "We used to say that we
could not trust an Irish parliament in Dublin to do justice to the
Protestant minority," he told his followers in 1921. "Let us take care
that that reproach can no longer be made against your parliament, and
from the outset let them see that the Catholic minority have nothing
to fear from a Protestant majority."

But timid Unionist politicians, who had watched with alarm the exodus
of frightened and alienated Protestants from southern Ireland and who
saw nationalists as the enemy within, built what Trimble memorably
described as "a cold house for Catholics".

In Belfast, before he died in 1935 and in his presence, a huge statue
of Carson was unveiled in front of the parliament building. "There he
stands," writes Lewis, "bare-headed in a rumpled suit, his arm raised
in a gesture of sombre defiance against the grey Belfast sky. He
appeared to his friends as a saviour, and to his enemies as the grim
icon of Protestant Ulster intransigence."

Misunderstood by friends and foes alike, Carson is a towering figure
in British history who sacrificed his health and his reputation for a
people who were as unfashionable then as they are now. Lewis's book is
well researched and fair-minded, but it is modest in scope and
competent rather than inspiring. The great modern biography of Carson
and assessment of his legacy remains to be written.

Available at the Sunday Times Books First price of £15.99 plus £2.25
p&p on 0870 165 8585
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