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July 18, 2005

SF Urges Release of Sean Kelly

News about Ireland & the Irish

IT 07/19/05 SF Urges Hain To Release Shankill Bomber
BB 07/18/05 Tory Spokesman Meets Loyalists
DI 07/18/05 UVF Looks To Follow Peace Lead
SF 07/18/05 Short Strand Area Comes Under Attack At Weekend
IO 07/18/05 McCartney Sisters Meet Hain
BB 07/18/05 Heath Was Direct Rule Architect
BB 07/19/05 IRA Declares Ceasefire On 07/19/1997
AP 07/18/05 Actress Geraldine Fitzgerald Dies At 91
GU 07/18/05 Synge For Your Supper...


SF Urges Hain To Release Shankill Bomber

Dan Keenan, Northern News Editor

Sinn Féin has called on Northern Secretary Peter Hain to
free Shankill bomber Seán Kelly, who was rearrested last
month after trouble at an Orange parade in Ardoyne.

Party president Gerry Adams said of Mr Kelly: "The man
should not be in prison and we made that very, very clear.
To my knowledge, no one has given evidence around why the
man was put in prison."

Ardoyne priest Fr Aidan Troy also called for Mr Kelly's
release, claiming there appeared to be no supporting
evidence for the decision to send him back to prison.

"If there is evidence and I am being misled, then present
it and I will be the first to say 'I was wrong, I am
sorry'," he said.

"But in the absence [of evidence] I am absolutely certain
that this is something that has been wrongly done," he

However, both calls for Mr Kelly's release prompted a
defence of Mr Hain's actions by the Northern Ireland Office
and condemnation of the appeals by the DUP.

Mr Kelly was jailed in 1993 for the Shankill bombing, which
killed 10 people including his IRA accomplice.

He was released under the terms of the Belfast Agreement in
2000 and Mr Hain claimed he had been involved in terrorist
activity. Republicans and others say Mr Kelly had merely
been working to ease community tensions in the face of a
contentious Orange parade in Ardoyne.

A well-placed political source at Stormont insisted that Mr
Hain suspended Mr Kelly's licence on foot of sound
intelligence from the PSNI.

"There is no agenda going on here," The Irish Times was

"The Secretary of State took [ his decision] based on
police advice. He knows it's difficult."

He added that the Kelly case would now go through "proper
process" and would be considered by the sentences review

Some 13 paramilitary prisoners, freed on licence under the
terms of the Belfast Agreement, have so far been returned
to prison. The majority to date have been loyalists.

North Belfast DUP MP Nigel Dodds backed Mr Hain and
criticised the intervention of Fr Troy.

"Fr Troy's call for Seán Kelly to be re-released from
prison is crass, insensitive and inappropriate. I am
utterly astounded that anyone would wish to support an
individual who has been responsible for causing so much
pain and Fr Troy's comments can only add to the hurt of
Kelly's victims."

Mr Hain said it was his understanding that the police "has
significant and weighty evidence against Kelly".

"Seán Kelly should never have been let out of jail in the
first place," he added.

"The Shankill bomb was a heinous and brutal crime. Serving
just six and a half years for the murder of so many people
on the Shankill was an absolute insult."

The Sinn Féin delegation at the Hain meeting included
senior negotiator Martin McGuinness and North Belfast
Assembly member Gerry Kelly.

At their request, the talks did not address the question of
the anticipated IRA response to Mr Adams's call for the
organisation to adopt a purely political stance.

© The Irish Times


Tory Spokesman Meets Loyalists

Loyalist paramilitaries are looking for a way to end their
involvement in violence, the Conservative spokesman on
Northern Ireland has said.

David Lidington was speaking after meeting members of the
Loyalist Commission.

The umbrella group represents the UVF, Red Hand Commando
and the UDA.

Mr Lidington said the groups wanted a way out of
paramilitarism to concentrate on working to help their

The Aylesbury MP also met Ulster Unionist leader Sir Reg
Empey and was due to meet Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness.

He said members of the Loyalist Commission, which includes
clergymen and community representatives, stressed very
strongly their "sense of being beleaguered".

"What the UDA and UVF have done and continue to do is
utterly wrong, all violence and criminality must stop.

"But they asserted very strongly to me that they wanted a
way out of paramilitarism, to concentrate on working to
help their communities."

Sir Reg Empey said he told Mr Lidington that Northern
Ireland had been paralysed for three years because
republicans were unable to commit to exclusively peaceful
and democratic means.

"Irrespective of what the IRA say or don't say, this
paralysis cannot continue.

"The political institutions cannot stay in deep freeze any
longer," he said.

On Tuesday, Mr Lidington and party colleague Oliver Heald,
will meet Chief Electoral Officer Denis Stanley.

The Conservatives want the introduction in Britain of the
new system of individual voter registration already in
place in Northern Ireland.

The party has said it is in response to growing concerns
about electoral fraud in Britain.

Mr Lidington and Mr Heald - the shadow secretary of state
for constitutional affairs - will discuss the Northern
Ireland experience with Mr Stanley.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/07/18 17:37:59 GMT


UVF Looks To Follow Peace Lead

by Zoë Tunney

The North's largest loyalist paramilitary group has
launched a consultation process about the group's future
role if the IRA ends its military campaign.

The leadership and members of the Ulster Volunteer Force
have recently been locked in consultations ahead of an IRA
statement expected sometime over the next four weeks.

Members of the IRA have been debating the organisation's
future following a call from Sinn Féin President Gerry
Adams for it to work towards a united Ireland through
political means.

If the IRA announces a move to purely peaceful politics,
the onus will be on the UVF and other loyalist paramilitary
groups to follow suit.

David Ervine, leader of the UVF-aligned Progressive
Unionist Party, yesterday told Daily Ireland: "I am very
aware that such a consultation is currently going on within
the UVF.

"The discussions within that group are based upon the
knowledge that the IRA will make a statement about a
peaceful future."

Mr Ervine refused to be pressed on the issue of what the
UVF would do should the IRA call off its military campaign.

He said: "I'm not prepared to comment on that. We'll have
to wait and see.

"Gerry Adams, Gerry Kelly and all those boys are saying
they will wait to see what the IRA are going to do before
they make statements of their own, so why would I comment?"

However, Mr Ervine added: "We're all expecting them to
announce an end to violence. Prime ministers, foreign
ministers and members of the DUP are all saying they are
expecting that. The whole of society is waiting on that."

The east Belfast assembly member said the consultations
between the UVF leadership and its members have been
disrupted by loyalist feuds and fighting involving drug

"The consultation has been ongoing for some time but it
constantly gets derailed by drug dealers causing mayhem,"
he said.

SDLP chief negotiator Seán Farren yesterday said the timing
of the IRA statement was not the important issue at stake.

"The issue is simple. The people of Ireland voted
overwhelmingly for a complete end to paramilitarism. Is the
Provisional movement now finally ready to deliver?

"Is it prepared to meet and live up to the standards of
Irish democracy? Is it ready to commit to a lawful society
and support all the institutions of a lawful society?" he


Short Strand Area Comes Under Attack At Weekend

Published: 18 July, 2005

Sinn Fein Assembly member Michael Ferguson today visited
homes attacked over the weekend in the Clandeboye Gardens
area of the Short Strand. Speaking after meeting with a
number of local residents Mr Ferguson said:

" In the summer of 2003 this small nationalist area came
under nightly attack from the loyalist Cluan Place area.
Fortunately over the past two years through a programme of
community engagement and other efforts there has been
relative calm in the area.

" However since the Twelfth and particularly over the
weekend nationalist homes in Clandeboye Gardens have come
under a constant barrage of missiles.

The raising of tensions in this area has not been helped my
misinformed and ill advised commentary from leading
unionist politicians like Reg Empey.

" Nationalists residents in the Short Strand want to live
in peace. However it seems that there are still those in
the unionist communities surrounding the small nationalist
district who seem determined to continue attacking homes."


McCartney Sisters Meet Hain
2005-07-18 19:10:09+01

The sisters and fiancee of murder victim Robert McCartney
today met Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain as part of
their campaign to bring the people involved in their
brother's killing to justice.

The family held private talks with Peter Hain at Stormont
Castle, just over an hour after the minister held a
separate meeting with Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams and
senior party figures.

Paula McCartney declined to reveal what was said during the
talks, which lasted an hour, but said it was "a productive

Paula was joined by her sisters Catherine, Gemma, Donna and
Claire and Mr McCartney's fiancee Bridgeen Hagans.

Mr McCartney, a father-of-two, was battered and stabbed in
an alley outside Magennis's Bar near the Markets area of
south Belfast on January 30.

Since then his sisters and Ms Hagans have led a sustained
campaign in Europe and on both sides of the Atlantic in a
bid to prosecute his killers.

Last month a 49-year-old man appeared in court charged with
his murder.

A second man was charged with the attempted murder of Mr
McCartney's friend, Brendan Devine, on the same night.

Both men have been remanded in custody and will reappear on
separate dates.


Heath Was Direct Rule Architect

The former Conservative prime minister Sir Edward Heath,
who was in power during a particularly volatile period of
Northern Ireland's political history, has died.

His four year tenure as prime minister was between 1970 and

In 1972, Ted Heath made the decision to impose direct rule
on Northern Ireland weeks after the events of Bloody Sunday
in Londonderry.

His decision to intervene in the governance of the province
by suspending the unionist dominated Stormont parliament
and the conduct of British soldiers on Bloody Sunday meant
Heath was criticised by both unionist and nationalist
politicians in Northern Ireland.

Giving evidence to the Saville Inquiry into the events of
Bloody Sunday in January 2003, he denied being part of a
high level conspiracy which resulted in the death of 14
unarmed civilians at the hands of the British Army.


In an effort to introduce power-sharing to Northern Ireland
for the first time, Sir Edward used his influence as prime
minister to bring about the ill-fated Sunningdale

The agreement, named after the Civil Service College in
Berkshire where it was brokered on 21 October 1973, lasted
only five months.

The power-sharing executive took office on 1 January 1974
and was led by Ulster Unionist leader Brian Faulkner with
SDLP leader Gerry Fitt as his deputy

However, it was forced to admit defeat on 28 May after
Northern Ireland was brought to a standstill by the Ulster
Workers Strike.

Former Ulster Unionist MP Lord Kilclooney said Sir Edward
did not have a favourable perception of Northern Ireland.

He said his decision to introduce direct rule had been
"traumatic for the unionist population".

"It was the first step towards the British government
giving Dublin executive powers within Northern Ireland," he

"The relationship between the UUP and Ted Heath was not
good. His perception of Northern Ireland was one of
distaste and he did not look kindly upon Ulster Unionists

"In the Sunningdale Agreement he acted very badly as far as
Ulster Unionism was concerned, and the UUP then decided to
reject the Sunningdale Agreement which the people of
Northern Ireland then did."

Former SDLP Stormont MP Ivan Cooper said his party had the
view that Heath had been a prime minister closely aligned
to the Ulster Unionist Party.

"There are pluses and minuses during his term of reign
which I recollect, one particular aspect of his time in
power, of course, was Bloody Sunday," he said.

"I believe that Bloody Sunday was the thing that fuelled
the IRA. It led to the campaign of violence which we had
here for many years and Edward Heath was the prime minister
when that happened.

"I would have the view that Ted Heath was quite close to
unionism in many ways and certainly from our perspective we
saw in him as a man who was mostly aligned with Ulster

"Certainly his government was not one which was respected
by the SDLP."

Sir Edward, who was 89, retired from parliament in 2001
after serving more than 50 years in the House of Commons.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/07/18 10:29:59 GMT


IRA Declares Ceasefire (07/19/1997)

The IRA has announced its second ceasefire in three years
starting at noon tomorrow.

It follows a statement by republican political party Sinn
Fein last night urging the IRA to call a truce, but the
speed of response has surprised politicians.

Northern Ireland Secretary Mo Mowlam MP will monitor IRA
activity over the next six weeks to decide whether Sinn
Fein will be admitted to the all-party peace talks
scheduled for 15 September.

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams said he supported a
ceasefire because of a "commitment by the two governments
(UK and Republic of Ireland) to inclusive peace talks".

British Prime Minister Tony Blair had underlined this
resolve by making his first big speech as head of the new
government from Belfast on 16 May.

In June he set out the conditions for Sinn Fein's inclusion
in the all-party talks in a speech to the Commons.

He offered a clear timetable for talks - to be completed by
May 1998 - within six weeks of a ceasefire.

I don't expect anyone to take a ceasefire declaration at
face value

Ken Maginnis, UUP Security Spokesman

Mr Blair also suggested weapons' decommissioning was not a
pre-condition for negotiation.

Many unionists in Northern Ireland believe IRA disarmament
is essential to any peace process and are angered by
British concessions on the issue.

Security spokesman for the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) Ken
Maginnis said: "I don't expect anyone to take a ceasefire
declaration at face value."

"There will have to be a definite commitment to a
permanent, complete and universal ceasefire with an
indication that disarmament and the disbandment of the
terrorist organisation can take place," he added.

The Irish peace process reached a stalemate under the last
British Government which made concessions to unionists over
decommissioning, in return for their support in Parliament.

Mr Blair is to meet UUP leader David Trimble in the next
couple of days to ensure unionists' participation in
September's multi-party talks.


Geraldine Fitzgerald, Screen And Stage Actress, Dies At 91

AP Drama Writer

NEW YORK - Geraldine Fitzgerald, who appeared in such
classic 1930s films as "Dark Victory" and "Wuthering
Heights" and later had a career on the New York stage, has
died after a long battle with Alzheimer's disease. She was

Fitzgerald died Sunday at her Manhattan home, Tom Goodman,
a spokesman for Fitzgerald's family, said Monday.

The Irish-born actress received an Academy Award nomination
for her performance as Isabella Linton in "Wuthering
Heights" (1939), appearing with Laurence Olivier and Merle
Oberon in director William Wyler's memorable screen version
of the Emily Bronte novel.

That same year she also starred with Bette Davis, George
Brent and Humphrey Bogart in the popular Hollywood
tearjerker "Dark Victory."

Fitzgerald had a tumultuous career at Warner Bros. in the
1940s, refusing roles and being placed on suspension by the
studio. Yet during that decade she managed to appear in
such films as "Shining Victory" (1942), "The Gay Sisters"
(1943), "Watch on the Rhine" (1944) and "Nobody Lives
Forever" (1946), a film noir gem which starred John

In later years, she appeared as a character actress in such
movies as "Ten North Frederick" (1958), "The Pawnbroker"
(1965), "Rachel, Rachel" (1968), "Harry and Tonto" (1974),
"Arthur" (1981) and "Easy Money" (1983).

"I was a great fan. She was a consummate actress, and I
just loved everything she did," said Shirley Jones, who co-
starred with Fitzgerald in the 1970s made-for-TV movie
"Yesterday's Child." "It was a great joy for me to work
with her."

Fitzgerald received a Tony nomination in 1982, for
directing "Mass Appeal," Bill C. Davis' play about the
conflicts between an older and younger priest.

Among her New York stage appearances were roles in several
Eugene O'Neill revivals, most notably as Mary Tyrone in a
1971 off-Broadway production of "Long Day's Journey into
Night," which starred Robert Ryan. In 1977, she starred
with Jason Robards in a revival of O'Neill's "A Touch of
the Poet."

Fitzgerald also developed a nightclub act, called
"Geraldine Fitzgerald Singing Songs of the Street" - later
shortened to "Streetsongs" - in which she would talk and
sing about her life, including reminiscences from her

Born in Dublin, Fitzgerald made her stage debut in 1932 at
the Gate Theater and later appeared in several British
films. She came to New York to act with Orson Welles and
the Mercury Theater, but was quickly signed by Hollywood.

Fitzgerald's first marriage to Edward Lindsay-Hogg ended in
divorce. She later married businessman Stuart Scheftel, who
died in 1994.

Fitzgerald is survived by a son, director Michael Lindsay-
Hogg of Los Angeles, and a daughter Susan Scheftel of New

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights


Synge For Your Supper...

and breakfast and lunch. Michael Billington takes in a
marathon performance of the Irish playwright's six works

Tuesday July 19, 2005
The Guardian

Can one have too much of a good Synge? In Ireland that's a
heretical thought - but it none the less occurred to me on
Saturday, as I forsook the sunshine in Galway to spend
eight-and-a-half hours immersed in the writer's six plays.
But Garry Hynes's marathon Synge-cycle for Druid Theatre
Company is a hugely inspiriting event: one that offers a
rare chance to assess the man who did so much to shape
modern Irish drama.

At the end of this month, the plays tour to Dublin and
Edinburgh, but it helps, I suspect, to see the works in
Galway itself. JM Synge may have been a Dublin-born,
bourgeois Protestant but his abiding subject was Ireland's
wild west. And although Galway today is a cosmopolitan town
with a strong eastern European presence, Synge's language
is never far away; stand in the balcony of the magnificent
Kenny's Bookshop in the High Street and you hear its
manager's soaring eloquence rising steadily upwards.
Synge's work still stirs local passions, too; when, at the
end of The Playboy of the Western World, the hero's father
cried out against "the villainy of Mayo", the lady behind
me let out a great whoop of approval.

Galway's Synge-cycle also has the appeal of all theatrical
marathons. Cynics might say that one of their attractions
is that they give you the chance to sleep for a day with
total strangers. But more often the event acquires a quasi-
religious quality turning the audience into a communal
congregation. What gives the Synge-cycle its unique
interest is that it traverses, in chronological sequence, a
dramatist's entire career. Whereas The Wars of the Roses or
the Mahabharata presented us with a continuous narrative,
here one gets the chance to explore the themes and passions
that occupied Synge's all-too-brief working life.

Doing so, you discover that Synge was a fount of
inspiration for other Irish writers. Beckett was a profound
admirer of Synge in his Dublin youth; you see that clearly
in the way both writers are fascinated by beggars and
tramps, use blindness as a metaphor and wrest laughter from
darkness. Living dramatists like Martin McDonagh and Conor
McPherson also owe a vast amount to Synge. It is said that
Synge, when on the Aran Islands, put his ear to a crack in
the floorboards to listen to peasant speech. One feels that
McDonagh, in particular, has kept his own ear cannily
attuned to Synge's peculiar craic.

Synge's best work also deals with the theme that resounds
through modern drama from Ibsen and Chekhov to Arthur
Miller and Tennessee Williams: the conflict between
illusion and reality. You see this at its greatest in
Synge's 1907 masterpiece, The Playboy of the Western World.
In a famously resonant phrase, Pegeen Mike says that "there
is a great gap between a gallous story and a dirty deed".
In other words, as long as Christy Mahon's alleged murder
of his father is a macabre fiction it gives him heroic
status; the moment he attempts to translate it into reality
it becomes abhorrent.

Hynes first directed this play in 1982; her latest
production not only preserves the tension between dream and
reality, but brilliantly exposes Synge's delicate balance
between tragedy and comedy. Catherine Walsh's youthful
Pegeen Mike, finally realising the truth about Christy's
tale-telling, angrily fans the fire with a bellows and
vengefully scorches his legs. But Aaron Monaghan, kicking
up his heels with joy at discovering that parricide has
turned him into a sex symbol, exultantly reminds us that
Christy is a comic figure; he even shares a strange kinship
with Gogol's Khlestakov in The Government Inspector in that
he is seduced by his own fantasy.

The illusion/reality tension is equally pronounced in The
Well of the Saints, one of Synge's most remarkable plays
and one that left its visible imprint on Waiting for Godot
and Endgame. It hinges on the delusion of a blind elderly
couple, Martin and Mary Doul, that both their partners and
the world at large are objects of wondrous beauty. When a
Saint miraculously restores their sight they discover the
truth and are left craving a return to the consolations of

In some respects the play is a farce: on regaining his
sight, Martin instantly mistakes a tarty village tease for
his wife. But it is also a play filled with personal and
communal cruelty. Seeing Marie Mullen's silver-haired Mary
for the first time, Eamon Morrissey's Martin vindictively
declares: "There isn't a wisp on any grey mare on the ridge
of the world isn't finer than the dirty twist on your
head." The villagers themselves treat the blind couple as
if they were guinea pigs in a social experiment. And behind
the play lies Synge's bleak Becketesque belief that an
imagined world is better than the real Ireland of grey
days, holy men and endless torment.

If there is a dominant image to all the plays, it is that
of female solitude. Few women in drama are more lonesome
than Synge's islanders and farm-dwellers. You see this
straight off in the balefully tragic Riders to the Sea
where, as CE Montague once wrote, "you step straight
through a door into darkness". The opening image of Hynes's
production is of a young girl kneading dough with hands
raised above her head like some Aran Island, Medea; the
final picture is of Marie Mullen's black-clad Maura
stoically accepting the death of her six sons while keening
women beat the cottage walls. Even in a farce like The
Shadow of the Glen, loneliness implacably looms; at one
point Catherine Walsh's Nora, whose dead husband
obstinately refuses to lie down, talks of the mists
eternally rolling up and down the bog in tolling cadences
that bespeak a lifetime's loneliness.

Not all Synge survives that well. The Tinker's Wedding
strikes me as a laboured, anti-clerical anecdote. And
Synge's final play, Deirdre of the Sorrows, for all the
bravura of Hynes's staging and the eloquence of Gemma
Reeves's central performance, is an acquired taste. Drawn
from the Saga of Cuchulain, it tells how the destined bride
of an old king elopes with her lover and, after seven
years, returns to witness the destruction of the city.
Synge's language achieves a rare, pared-down simplicity but
what I most enjoyed was the way the walls and doors of
Francis O'Connor's adaptable permanent set became even more
unhinged than the characters.

I took two vivid impressions away from Galway. One is of
Synge as the inventor of modern Irish drama: he patented
the tragi-comic vision of life that has permeated
everything since from O'Casey and Beckett to McDonagh and
McPherson. The other impression was one of awe at the
achievement of this 44-strong Druid company, who stage six
different shows in a day with miraculous fluency. Marie
Mullen, who appears in five of the six plays, also emerges
as the greatest Irish actress since Siobhán McKenna.
Admittedly there were times when I found my senses lulled
by the wave-like rhythms of the familiar Synge-song. But I
was constantly quickened into life by Hynes's superb
productions and by the ineradicable Synge image of isolated
women suffering at the hands of nature, the sea, death and
incurable male fantasy.

At the Town Hall, Galway (00 353-91 569777), until July 30.
Then touring.
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