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August 18, 2005

Connolly Arrested For Alleged Passport Offence

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News about Ireland & the Irish

IT 08/19/05 Connolly Arrested For Alleged Passport Offence
SF 08/18/05 C3 S/B Given Time & Space To Rebuild Lives
DI 08/18/05 Fr McManus: Harney Blasted On Colombia 3
IO 08/18/05 SF Seeks Unionist Outcry About Loyalist Attacks
DI 08/18/05 PSNI Ignored Vital Witness
DI 08/18/05 MP Calls On SF To Back GFA
SF 08/18/05 Kelly: Careful Determinations On Marches
DI 08/18/05 Opin: Jude Collins- Myth Of Media Impartiality
IT 08/19/05 Results In North Better Than England And Wales
UT 08/18/05 Mowlam's Health 'Has Deteriorated'
IT 08/19/05 Swimmers Set To Dive In To The Lovely Lee
IT 08/19/05 Water Supplies Delivered To Aran Island
TC 08/18/05 LAOH: Burke Teen Seeing Green


Connolly Still Under Arrest For Alleged Passport Offence

One of the so-called Colombia Three remained under arrest in Dublin late last night over an alleged passport offence, after all three dramatically turned up for pre-arranged interviews with gardaí. Mark Brennock, Chief Political Correspondent, reports.

Niall Connolly was being questioned at Harcourt Terrace Garda station for several hours after the other two, Martin McCauley and James Monaghan, left the stations they arrived in between 11am and 1pm yesterday.

McCauley and Monaghan remained voluntarily at Kilmainham and Terenure Garda stations respectively until close to 7pm but Connolly was arrested shortly after he went to Harcourt Terrace station.

Gardaí are understood to have questioned him in connection with allegedly obtaining a false passport at the Dublin Passport Office.

All three were convicted in Colombia of using false passports in 2001. Connolly was travelling on an Irish passport while McCauley and Monaghan had British passports.

The men's choreographed appearances at Garda stations appears to have taken the Government by surprise, just as their announcement did that they had returned to Ireland earlier this month. The three jumped bail in Colombia late last year having been convicted on appeal of training Farc terrorists and sentenced to 17 years in jail.

It is believed that no one in Government knew before yesterday morning of the arrangements made between the Garda and the men for them to attend at the stations.

A spokesman for the Minister for Justice said Michael McDowell had asked the Garda yesterday for a report on issues relating to the men.

The Minister arrived home from a holiday abroad on Wednesday night and was told yesterday morning that the men had arranged to meet gardaí.

"This is a Garda operational matter but the Minister is being kept briefed on developments," his spokesman said.

Taoiseach Bertie Ahern is not believed to have known of the imminent development until yesterday, but no confirmation of this could be obtained last night.

Gardaí first held Connolly for six hours yesterday before extending his period of detention shortly after 6pm for a maximum of a further six hours. They were therefore obliged either to release or charge him shortly after midnight at the latest.

James Monaghan left Terenure station before 7pm yesterday after talking to detectives for close to eight hours. Martin McCauley left Kilmainham station shortly afterwards. Neither made any comment.

Neither the Garda nor the group which campaigns for the men, the Bring Them Home campaign, would say yesterday when the appointments with gardaí had been made.

A spokesman said yesterday the Garda Síochána was "maintaining liaison with the State's law officers" and that this was "normal practice".

In Colombia the men had been convicted of travelling on false passports, but acquitted of more serious charges of training Farc terrorists.

An appeal tribunal reversed the acquittal and convicted the men of training terrorists giving them sentences of up to 17 years in jail.

© The Irish Times


Colombia Three Should Be Given Time And Space To Rebuild Lives

Published: 18 August, 2005

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Justice Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD has called for the Colombia Three to be allowed time and space to get over the trauma of the last four years. Deputy Ó Snodaigh made his comments after it emerged that the three men voluntarily presented themselves to the Gardaí today.

Deputy Ó Snodaigh said, "Sinn Féin is of the firm view that these men have no case whatsoever to answer and that they should be allowed to get on with the process of rebuilding their lives.

"In his media interview after returning home Jim Monaghan said that then men were not on the run and had no difficulty in making themselves available to speak to the Gardaí, if they were requested to do so.

"Today the men went voluntarily to speak with the Gardaí.

"The men should now be given the time and space to get on with their lives here in Ireland with their families." ENDS


Harney Blasted On Colombia 3

Jarlath Kearney

Irish-Americans are appalled that Tanaiste Mary Harney and other politicians in the Republic are not supporting the right of the Colombia Three to stay in Ireland, a leading lobbyist on Capitol Hill declared yesterday.

Top Washington-based campaigner Fr Sean McManus also told Daily Ireland that only “right wing fundamentalists” in America are demanding the three Irishmen should be extradited back to Colombia.

A fortnight ago that Jim Monaghan, Niall Connolly and Martin McCauley returned to Ireland after spending over eight months in hiding.

The trio – known as the Colombia Three – were first arrested in August 2001 at Bogotá airport. Last year the men were found innocent of charges that they illegally trained Colombian guerillas and were subsequently released from prison.

However, in December, a closed appeal by the Colombian prosecution overturned the original judge’s decision and sentenced the men to lengthy jail terms.

Fr McManus insisted that the Irish-American community supports the right of the three men to stay in Ireland. He also rounded on the campaign by some politicians in the South and sections of the Irish media to deport the men back to south America.

“Irish-Americans are appalled by the reaction of some politicians, especially in the South, to this case. I personally find it truly distressing that they would react in such an incredible fashion, because the safe return home of the Colombia Three to Ireland should be a cause of rejoicing for all true democrats,” Fr McManus said.

“From an Irish-American point of view the case was all about elements of the US government using the presence of those three guys in Colombia to make the argument that, in effect, we should send in the marines as part of a wider militarist strategy in Colombia.

“Only right-wing fanatical fundamentalists who want to see an increase in American militaristic intervention in the region, and who used this case as their spurious justification, are recommending the extradition of these men. In my view, elements of the US government and Congress tried to exploit the case to pull an ‘Ollie North-type’ move in Colombia.

“I find it incredible that Mary Harney and others cannot see what’s happening here. I find it appalling that Mary Harney and others would be joining with those right-wing fanatics in America,” Fr McManus added.

As president of the influential Irish National Caucus, Fr McManus was instrumental in generating opposition to a controversial congressional hearing into the case of the Colombia Three in April 2002.

He slammed elements of Congress for convening the hearings and argued that they effectively prejudiced the trial of the three Irishmen which had not then commenced.

He also equated unproven allegations that the men were IRA members as being equivalent to comments made about Catholic solicitors in the House of Commons before the 1989 murder of Pat Finucane.

By contrast, Fr McManus pointedly praised the approach of the former US special envoy to Ireland, Richard Haass, in relation to the Colombia Three case. “Richard Haass’s position was very impressive as opposed to those right-wing elements of Congress, because he made it very clear that he was not prejudicing the case nor making wild or crazy allegations about these men,” he said.

“It is a matter of some importance that Mr Haass’s successor Mitchell Reiss has continued that considered approach to this case,” Fr McManus said.


SF Seeks Stronger Unionist Outcry About Loyalist Attacks

18/08/2005 - 14:11:44

Sinn Féin has called on unionist politicians in the North to be far more vocal in condemning loyalist violence.

The party made the call at the launch of a dossier detailing scores of loyalist attacks against Catholics in north Antrim and Derry over recent weeks.

Several Catholic families have left their homes as a result of the sectarian campaign, which is allegedly being orchestrated by the UDA.

Speaking at today’s launch, Sinn Féin spokesman Gerry Kelly said the DUP in particular should be more outspoken in its condemnation of such attacks, as well the ongoing feud between the LVF and the UVF in Belfast.


PSNI Ignored Vital Witness

Connla Young

A Catholic man caught up in the sectarian pogroms currently sweeping Co Antrim has been waiting almost five months to have a vital witness statement taken by the PSNI.

Paul Johnston, who was in the home of a nationalist family when it was attacked by loyalists in March, has criticised the PSNI for failing to fully investigate the current round of anti-Catholic attacks.

Mr Johnston, from North Antrim, was in the Brookfield Gardens home of Kathleen McCaughey in Ahoghill when it was targeted by loyalists. During a terrifying incident, two loyalists kicked down the Catholic woman’s front door and ordered her to leave within 48 hours. The grandmother eventually left the house on July 11 after being attacked on four subsequent occasions.

Mr Johnston, who was involved in a relationship with Mrs McCaughey’s daughter at the time of the March incident, said the PSNI failed to take a written statement from him despite his willingness to provide one.

“I gave them my details after the first incident and then gave a verbal account to the police,” he said.

“They said they would come back to me for a statement but I have never been contacted. They know who is doing this and to me their lack of action shows they are not interested in catching these people.”

Mr Johnston, who was also in the house on another occasion when it was petrol-bombed, said that until then he had no idea of the level of violence being directed towards nationalist residents in the area. He also dismissed nationalist support of the PSNI in the wake of the attacks.

“We are supposed to be equal now with a new police force but I can’t see who is going to support a new police force like that. The whole experience was very frightening, I had never come across anything like that before. I never saw such sectarianism; it’s not right. I have never been back in Ahoghill since. If I had known it was as bad as that I would not have been there in the first place.”

A spokesman for the PSNI said they were “unable to establish” if Mr Johnston’s statement was taken.

“If this man hasn’t been contacted by now and he wants to make contact he can do so with the duty inspector at Ballymena,” he added.

In the past month, two Catholic families have abandoned their homes in the unionist village of Ahoghill after a sustained campaign of intimidation.

On Tuesday, Pat and Patsy McGaughey vowed to leave the village when their “dream” home was targeted by loyalist paint bombers. A Catholic church and primary school as well as a Catholic-owned public house in the town have also been targeted by loyalists recently.

Yesterday the PSNI’s Deputy Chief Constable Paul Leighton sparked a furious response from nationalist representatives by claiming that the attacks in Ahoghill were not “purely sectarian”.

Ballymena Sinn Féin councillor Monica Digney criticised the senior policeman’s remarks.

“He must be the only man in Ireland that doesn’t believe these incidents are purely sectarian. The kerb stones in Ahoghill are painted the same colour as the paint thrown at houses. These attacks are sectarian and to suggest otherwise is ridiculous.”

Ballymena SDLP councillor Declan O’Loan said he was baffled by the PSNI man’s remarks.

“I am not aware of anything that suggests this is not sectarian. Where Paul Leighton is coming from I don’t know.”


MP Calls On SF To Back GFA

Jarlath Kearney

SDLP deputy leader Alasdair McDonnell yesterday accused Sinn Féin of acting against the interests of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement.

Dr McDonnell’s scathing attack came after Sinn Féin rejected similar allegations by the SDLP man earlier this week.

Claiming that Sinn Féin’s negotiations with both governments and the Democratic Unionist Party last December violated the 1998 agreement, Dr McDonnell said:

“Let me challenge Sinn Féin again. Do you support the Good Friday Agreement or the so-called ‘Comprehensive Agreement’ that you did with the DUP last year?

“Surely, the people of Ireland, who voted for the Good Friday Agreement, have the right to know where Sinn Féin stands.

“We are clear that it undermines the Good Friday Agreement. Of course Sinn Féin are in it for themselves, not the Good Friday Agreement.

“No amount of dishonest claims about the SDLP can cover this up. Smoke and mirrors will never make us stop asking Sinn Féin where they stand on the Good Friday Agreement,” Dr McDonnell said.

He earlier criticised Sinn Féin for negotiating in a way which “no democrat and no republican” could countenance. The South Belfast MP called on Sinn Féin to abandon the outcome of last December’s political negotiations and join with the SDLP in defending the Agreement.

Meanwhile Sinn Féin general secretary Mitchel McLaughlin has urged unionist business leaders to “assist in dispelling the concerns and fears of unionists about the all-Ireland nature of the Good Friday Agreement.”

The Foyle MLA called for the North’s business community to publicly acknowledge the profitable nature of their engagement in an all-Ireland economy.

He also said that the delivery of “the long overdue peace dividend” by the Irish and British governments could create confidence in unionist and nationalist areas.

“Many in the unionist community have grown not only politically but economically dependent on the British military presence in the North.

“I understand unionist fears, but I don’t think unionist fears should be allowed to hold up the full implementation of the Good Friday Agreement,” he said.

Referring specifically to the recent announcements on further demilitarisation and the partial disbandment of the RIR by the British government, Mr McLaughlin said:

“The vision of this ‘security economy’ slipping away has aroused concerns in sections of unionism and given the anti-change brigade of unionist politicians an opportunity to feed into those fears.

“Unionism must be encouraged to recognise the positives in the peace process and to see that change towards equality can liberate them from the shackles of dependency on the false economy of conflict and military domination.

“There is an enormous responsibility on the two governments, the churches, as well as the business and community interests to ensure that political unionism is not permitted to drag this process backwards.

“They should not be allowed to sit on their hands when there is now a context in which together we can build for the future,” Mr McLaughlin said.


Kelly Calls For Careful Determinations On North Belfast Marches

Published: 18 August, 2005

Sinn Féin MLA for North Belfast Gerry Kelly has called for the Parades Commission to pay a constructive role in keeping interface tensions down when approaching upcoming Royals Black Preceptory marches. Speaking after this mornings meeting with the Parades Commission Mr Kelly said:

"Tensions are already very high in north Belfast given the rise in sectarian attacks against the nationalist community and the events surrounding the loyalist Tour of the North and the Twelfth of July where, following provocative marches being forced through nationalist communities, the PSNI resorted again to attacking the nationalist community in Ardoyne, Carrickhill and Whitewell.

"There is a strong onus on the loyal orders to move away from controversial and confrontational applications for marching and engage in dialogue with nationalist residents. This applies especially to interface areas such as Ardoyne, Mountainview and the Dales along with the Whitewell Road.

"In the absence of this we are calling on the Parade Commission to make careful and sensitive determinations surrounding the upcoming marches. They have a role to play in keeping interface tensions down while also not rewarding those who refuse to engage with local residents in attempts to resolve the issues surrounding loyalist marches." ENDS


The Myth Of Media Impartiality

Jude Collins

The media and the people who work there can be pretty sick-making at times, but it’s when they attempt to present themselves as impartial messengers of truth that they invite projectile vomiting.

There are few certainties in life, but one is that journalists who attempt to pass off their reports as untouched by bias are stupid or wicked or maybe both, and should be hit with a rolled-up copy of your least favourite daily newspaper until they whimper and promise to retract.

My thinking on this subject got stirred last week when the excellent people who run the Gasyard Féile in Derry’s Bogside invited me to speak on a panel there. ‘Can journalists be impartial in a divided society?’ was the topic of discussion and it drew a big and informed audience.

When talking about the print media, it helps to distinguish between columnists and journalists. Eamon Dunphy used to write a column and during a trial for something derogatory he’d written, the judge asked him if he considered his column to be balanced. Dunphy’s reply: ‘I certainly hope not!’

Right again, Eamon. The whole point of a column is to have a point of view, preferably one that will stir people’s feelings and stretch their thinking. An impartial columnist would make as much sense as a celibate gigolo.

Regular journalists are different. Their job is to report on facts and events, not opinion, and on the face of it they might be expected to be impartial. Closer examination shows this to be an illusion.

For a start, all journalists work within the bias of space available. As a child I was constantly amazed that, each day, the news from all over the world fitted exactly into the 15 minutes Radio Éireann had available for it. It took me years to realise that the news was a tiny selection, carefully arranged and reported, of possible items. For every item included, hundreds were left out, and what went in and what stayed out were decisions – subjective, value-laden decisions - made by Radio Éireann journalists and their editors.

Beyond space, journalists’ reporting is shaped by the politics of their owner. People such as Rupert Murdoch and Tony O’Reilly, owners of vast tracts of media, like to insist that they leave their journalists and editors free to make decisions about what stories feature in newspapers and programmes.

Maybe they do. But it would be a foolhardy journalist who wrote a feature presenting Mr Rupert or Sir Tony in a bad light. ‘Freedom of the press is guaranteed’ as somebody once put it, ‘but only to those who own one.”

Sometimes the institution censors itself. Remember the Real Lives TV documentary in the 1980s, which was to show Martin McGuinness in a family setting? The impartial BBC board of governors had a preview look at it and banned it for making McGuinness look too much like a family man. This kind of impartial decision fitted in nicely with the impartial banning of the voices of members of Sinn Féin from the airwaves north and south. Many journalists disliked this so much, they promised the British government that if the ban were lifted, they would adopt a really combative approach to Sinn Féin people during interviews.

There are some who would say that promising to be harder on one political party rather than another isn’t exactly a recipe for impartiality, but of course that’s rubbish.

The idea behind impartiality in the media is that there is a need to give the public a balanced picture of the world. This could be achieved if each report was free from bias. It could also be achieved at a more general level if the range of media was sufficiently wide, if room was made so that all voices were heard. That’s the theory. In practice, any branch of the media that sticks out awkwardly, that doesn’t bunch comfortably towards the centre, is liable to be lopped off.

There was a particularly vivid example of this a short time after Christmas, when the South’s minister for justice, Michael McDowell, dismissed Daily Ireland as a Nazi propaganda sheet before the paper was born. The fear of a voice in the media that might not follow the well-worn establishment line excited and continues to excite fierce criticism from those who feel threatened by it.

That’s not to say that we can or should expect complete impartiality from our newsgatherers. At every turn constraining factors such as space, ownership and censorship nudge journalists towards a position of caution and bias in favour of the powers that be.

So let’s be realistic. Media people are human beings and each sees the world from his/her own perspective. To claim detachment is stupid and wrong. Worse still, though, would be to abdicate responsibility.

What journalists must do is, first of all, be honest about the lens through which they see the world; don’t insult the reader’s intelligence by claims of bogus impartiality. After that, they must struggle to present, if not all of the facts of the case, at least its major features. And finally, they must rely on facts and logical argument in their writing, not on name-calling and abuse.

In the end, impartial news reporting is a bit like the perfection of sainthood. Getting there may be beyond our powers but that doesn’t excuse us from trying, each day, every day.

Jude Collins is an academic, writer and broadcaster. His latest novel is Leave of Absence (Townhouse, £6.99.) Email Jude at Website .


Results In North Better Than England And Wales

Gerry Moriarty, Northern Editor

Northern Ireland's 31,000 A-Level students fared better than their counterparts in England and Wales, the latest exam results for the UK have shown.

More than three out of 10 Northern students achieved As in the final-year second-level exam compared to 23 per cent of students in England and Wales achieving the top grade.

In total, 31.2 per cent of Northern students attained As, an increase of 1.2 per cent from the previous year. In England and Wales, 22.8 per cent were awarded As, up 0.4 per cent from last year, illustrating that in the North, students continue to do better than in England and Wales.

Overall pass rates were up slightly in the North, from 97.4 per cent to 97.5 per cent.

As the debate opens in Britain on whether the A-Level exams are getting easier, Gavin Boyd, chief executive of the Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment, said allegations of "dumbing down" of exams annoyed him.

He believed exam results were improving because teachers and students were better prepared than in previous years. He said there was no evidence that exams were getting easier and people advocating changes in exams should exercise caution.

"Behind it all, I think there's some sort of generational jealousy," added Mr Boyd. "Old fogies like me don't like the fact that young people are now doing better."

Girls continued to perform better than boys, although the gap has narrowed. "The difference in overall performance at grades A to E has dropped from 0.8 per cent in 2004 to 0.6 per cent this year. And at the top A grades, while girls still have a significant lead on boys, this has been reduced by almost 1 percentage point this year to 3 per cent," said Mr Boyd.

Ulster Unionist education spokesman David McNarry said the results proved that "once again Northern Ireland has outperformed the rest of its counterparts in the United Kingdom" and that Northern Ireland had an excellent record in educational standards.

"However, more must be done to ensure that our young people are encouraged to stay in Northern Ireland," he said. "Too many students, especially those from a unionist background, leave Northern Ireland every year to study at English, Scottish and Welsh universities, never to return.

"The brain drain is robbing Northern Ireland of some of its brightest talent and . . . is a huge loss to Northern Ireland's economy."

SDLP education spokesman Dominic Bradley also rejected claims that exams were getting easier.

© The Irish Times


Mowlam's Health 'Has Deteriorated'

The condition of critically-ill former Northern Ireland Secretary Mo Mowlam has deteriorated, friends said today.

By:Press Association

Ms Mowlam, 55, who previously suffered a brain tumour, is being treated at the Pilgrim Hospice in Canterbury, Kent.

Ms Mowlam had difficulties with her balance as a result of radiotherapy treatment for the tumour. Earlier this month she fell and injured her head and has not regained consciousness.

She was taken to King`s College Hospital and was transferred to the hospice last week.

She had earlier asked in a living will not to be resuscitated and in the last few days food and water have been withdrawn.

Ms Mowlam, one of New Labour`s most popular figures, stood down from the Commons at the 2001 general election after 14 years as an MP.

Tony Blair made her Northern Ireland Secretary when Labour swept to power in 1997 and she quickly made a name for herself as a down-to-earth and brutally honest operator.

She won widespread acclaim for her perseverance in working towards the Good Friday peace agreement the following year. Her achievements were all the more remarkable because she was recovering from treatment for the brain tumour at the time.

Renowned for her light-hearted disregard of formality, kicking off her shoes and chewing gum in meetings, she reputedly took her wig off to break tension in tense talks.

She took a political risk in 1998 by entering the infamous Maze Prison to speak to convicted paramilitaries when it became clear the peace process needed their backing.

Loyalist UDA/UFF prisoners had previously withdrawn their support. After her face-to-face talks with the prisoners, the paramilitaries` political representatives then announced they were rejoining the talks.

But there was growing opposition to her from more mainstream unionists.

In 1999 she was replaced by Peter Mandelson and moved to become Cabinet "enforcer".

But her time in the post was marked by a steady stream of reports that someone in high places was briefing against her. There were also claims the British Prime Minister had been angered when the Labour Party conference gave her a longer standing ovation than him.

She became even more outspoken after she stood down as an MP, saying it was "harder and harder to defend what the Labour Government is doing".

Ms Mowlam was born in Watford on September 18 1949 and nearly died of pneumonia three months later. Her father was an alcoholic and the family was invariably short of cash.

They moved to Coventry where she attended Coundon Court Comprehensive School before going on to study at Durham and Iowa universities.

Ms Mowlam worked as a lecturer and university administrator before being elected MP for Redcar in 1987.

In 1995 she married Labour-supporting merchant banker Jon Norton, already a father of two.

Ms Mowlam`s husband, Mr Norton, has been at her bedside since this morning.


Swimmers Set To Dive In To The Lovely Lee

Barry Roche, Southern Correspondent

More than 100 people will take to the ever-improving waters of the River Lee this weekend, in the first Lee swim to be held in the city centre in more than 50 years.

Endorsed by Cork 2005, the Lee swim has already attracted swimmers from Australia, the US and Italy, with 72 men and 32 women signing up for the 2,000m swim down the north channel and back up part of the south channel.

Joe Donnelly of the Cork Masters Swimming Club said: "It's the first time the swim has been done in the city centre since the late 1940s ."

Cork's drainage scheme has improved the water quality, while the ESB is releasing water from Inniscarra Dam to further enhance the river.

© The Irish Times


Water Supplies Delivered To Aran Island

Lorna Siggins, Western Correspondent

The Aran island of Inis Oirr was anticipating its first delivery of emergency water supplies last night via a fishing vessel from Killybegs, Co Donegal.

Water supplies on the island have been rationed for the past few weeks, due to continuing dry weather, and Galway County Council commissioned a series of supplementary deliveries.

The Girl Stephanie, which is designed to carry fish catches in seawater holding tanks, was due to transport between 60,000 and 80,000 gallons to the island from Rossaveal, Co Galway, yesterday evening.

The county council is constructing a new reservoir on the island which will double the capacity, but this will not be completed until October - and will depend on rainfall to fill it.

The current reservoir is inadequate for summer demand and is exposed to seawater when it drops below a certain level, according to the island co-op.

Inis Oirr has a population of just under 300, but this multiplies during the summer with Irish college students and visitors.

Water supplies have been shut off between 9pm and 8am and between 2pm and 6pm this week. While householders can learn to cope, businesses are seriously affected, the co-op said.

The council said there was still storage capacity on the island and that yesterday's deliveries would supplement this over the next few days.

A 1996 report highlighted the strain on island infrastructure during the summer season. The island's population can quadruple during peak summer periods, the report said.

© The Irish Times


Burke Teen Seeing Green

By Jason Jacks


Burke's Brian Doyle might not have the name recognition of James Joyce, Oscar Wilde or George Bernard Shaw just yet. But what this high school student does share with these famed Irish scribes is a way with words.

The writing work of this 17-year-old rising senior at Lake Braddock Secondary School was recently honored as being the best in the country by the Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians.

In July, this national organization of Irish and Irish-American Catholic women picked Doyle's essay on the 1972 Bloody Sunday Massacre, in which British paratroopers shot and killed 13 protesters in the northern Ireland city of Derry, as tops for a high school student.

Doyle won $1,000 for his efforts.

“It was a surprise to me,” he said of his victory.

Last fall, he said, a teacher at Lake Braddock, knowing Doyle's interest in history, suggested he enter the contest. This history buff said it took him about two months to research and write the 1,500-word piece.

Doyle, who is planning to apply to the College of William and Mary and the University of Mary Washington, among other colleges, said the award does not necessarily mean he will be following in the same literary footsteps of Joyce, Wilde or Shaw.

But, then again, if Irish eyes are indeed smiling and a few four-leaf clovers take root in his yard, then he might.

“Who knows where it will take me,” he said.

©Times Community Newspapers 2005

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