News about the Irish & Irish American culture, music, news, sports. This is hosted by the Irish Aires radio show on KPFT-FM 90.1 in Houston, Texas (a Pacifica community radio station)

August 11, 2005

Three Questioned In Boy's Murder

To Index of Monthly Archives
To August 2005 Index
To receive this news via email, click HERE.
No Message is necessary.

News about Ireland & the Irish

IT 08/12/05 Three Questioned About Boy's Murder
BB 08/11/05 Man Freed In Lisa Killing Inquiry
DI 08/11/05 Ongoing Loyalist Attacks Prompt Church Response
IT 08/12/05 Flynn Faces Weapon Charges After Inquiries
DI 08/11/05 'Free O'Hare Now'
IT 08/12/05 Apprentice Boys To March In Derry
SF 08/12/05 McCartney Welcomes Decision On Feeder Parades
BB 08/12/05 On Aug 12, 1969: Police Use Tear Gas In Bogside
IT 08/12/05 Irish Diplomat In Talks Over Colombia Three
DI 08/11/05 PDs, SDLP Call For Action Over Three
UN 08/11/05 Colombia 3 Homecoming Puts Smile On Cllr. Long
IT 08/12/05 Adviser Rejects Remarks On Eyre Square Role
UN 08/12/05 Skibbereen Native Honoured At Cork-NY Assoc
PC 08/12/05 Pittsburgh Takes Pledge From Celebrity Crusader


Three Questioned About Boy's Murder

Gerry Moriarty, Northern Editor

The PSNI has appealed for public assistance in tracking
down the killers of a 15-year-old schoolboy who was stabbed
to death in north Belfast late on Wednesday night. Three
males were being questioned about his killing last night.

Thomas Devlin Somerton Road, died after he was stabbed at
least five times in the back. An 18-year-old friend was
also stabbed in the attack, although his wounds are
understood not to be serious. Another boy managed to
escape, shocked but uninjured.

Sinn Féin Assembly member Gerry Kelly said the killing of
Thomas Devlin, a Catholic, bore "all the hallmarks of a
sectarian attack" and warned people to be extremely
vigilant. He said the boys were not robbed and, while he
did not want to "emphasise" the issue, he believed the
motivation for the killing was sectarian.

The PSNI however said no motivation for the murder was
established and that "currently" it appeared to have been a
"random" stabbing. Senior investigating officer Det Supt
Colin Sturgeon said police were following a number of lines
of inquiry.

Three males, one of them a juvenile, whom local sources
said were arrested in loyalist areas of north Belfast, were
being questioned last night about the killing. So far no
one has been charged with the murder.

Thomas Devlin, a student at Belfast Royal Academy grammar
school, was returning along Somerton Road with two friends
after buying soft drinks and sweets in a nearby garage
around 11.30pm on Wednesday when he was attacked.

Supt Sturgeon said two men, who were walking a dog, were
involved. "These are the murderers of a 15-year-old boy.
There were words spoken, but nothing to indicate a
sectarian motive. It horrifies me because this attack was
totally random in nature."

He said it was not certain whether a knife or some other
weapon or tool was used to attack Thomas Devlin. He asked
for public assistance in finding the murder weapon and in
apprehending the killers.

The boy's parents, Jim Devlin and Penny Holloway, said they
were devastated by the killing. "One thing I am anxious to
say is I think it is incumbent on all elected
representatives to urge people to go directly to the police
if they have information about what happened," said Ms

Mr Kelly said witnesses should use whatever information
they had to help ensure the killers were convicted in a

North Belfast DUP MP Nigel Dodds said the murder "was
sickening and despicable".

SDLP deputy mayor of Belfast Pat Convery called upon
everyone in the local community to help police catch the

© The Irish Times


Man Freed In Lisa Killing Inquiry

A 22-year-old man arrested by police investigating the
murder of County Down woman Lisa Dorrian has been released
without charge.

Lisa, 25, disappeared after attending a party at a caravan
site in Ballyhalbert on 28 February. Despite extensive
searches her body has never been found.

The police are looking at the possible involvement of
members of the Loyalist Volunteer Force in her killing.

Last month, Tony Blair pledged his support in helping to
locate her body.

The case was brought to the prime minister's attention
during a meeting with the Ulster Unionist Party.

It was hoped the remit of a forensic expert being brought
in to investigate the cases of the Disappeared would be
extended to include Miss Dorrian.

Reward offered

In June, the British and Irish governments said the expert
would be funded to help find the remains of five people
abducted, murdered and secretly buried by the IRA during
the Troubles.

The Irish government said it had no problem with the
scientist's remit being widened to include the search for
Miss Dorrian.

Her family have already offered a £10,000 reward for
information leading to the recovery of her body.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/08/11 21:18:33 GMT


Ongoing Loyalist Attacks Prompt Church Response

Connla Young

Church leaders are to come together in a Co Antrim town in
a bid to halt attacks on Catholic churches in the area.

News of the move came after it was revealed that there have
been 21 sectarian attacks in the Ballymena PSNI District
Command Unit area since the start of July.

Most of the attacks have been directed at Catholics living
in and around the staunchly loyalist town.

The fresh effort to bring the attacks to a halt comes after
the Church of Our Lady in Harryville, Ballymena, was
attacked by loyalist paint bombers for the third time in
three weeks.

There have been seven attacks on Catholic churches in the
greater Ballymena area since the end of June.

The latest incident came just a day after the PSNI
distributed fire blankets and smoke alarms to five Catholic
families living in the nearby town of Ahoghill because
residents were under a "general threat" from loyalists.

Householders were advised which window they should jump
from in the event of a loyalist firebomb attack.

Just last week, Oonagh Donaghy and her son Mark were forced
to flee their burning home in Ahoghill after it had been
targeted in a loyalist arson attack. Mrs Donaghy's aunt
Kathleen McCaughey was forced to flee her home in the town
last month.

Earlier this week, two Catholic families in Cloughmills,
near Ballymena, were targeted by loyalist pipe bombers. In
the past month, two Catholic-owned bars have been targeted
in loyalist attacks.

Fr Paul Symonds of All Saints parish in Ballymena said:
"What we need is for the churches in Ballymena to get
together and try to take a common stand on this.

"I feel sorry for the people who are doing this. They are
obviously people who have got no church connections or a
stake in their community. If they had, the last thing they
would want to do is create a mess anywhere, least of all a
place of worship."

Jeremy Gardiner, youth pastor at the Kirk High Presbyterian
Church in Ballymena, said he hoped to bring different
Christian denominations together.

"This will just be a group coming together in solidarity
for something we believe is an injustice on our doorstep.
We would like to say that it is not on from our point of
view and not supported by all Protestants," he said.

Another Catholic church came under attack from vandals in
Lisburn city centre early yesterday. Slogans were daubed on
a wall at St Patrick's Church, which has suffered vandalism


Flynn Faces Weapon Charges After Garda Inquiries

Former senior trade unionist and Government adviser Phil
Flynn has been charged with possession of a "pen gun" that
fires mini-tear gas canisters, as the Garda investigation
continues into his alleged links to IRA money-laundering,
writes Mark Brennock, Chief Political Correspondent.

Mr Flynn has been summonsed to appear in Dublin District
Court on October 10th to face charges of possession of the
weapon and ammunition without a licence.

It is understood that the charge sheets describe the weapon
as a "pen gun" and the ammunition as comprising two rounds
of .38 calibre tear gas canisters.

The Director of Public Prosecutions has directed that the
case be heard in the District Court, indicating that the
offences are seen as minor.

The Criminal Assets Bureau has brought the charges as it
continues its six-month investigation into Mr Flynn's
alleged links with an IRA money-laundering operation. Mr
Flynn has consistently denied any involvement in such

Mr Flynn declined to comment last night on the grounds that
he should not do so until after the case is heard.

The alleged linking of Mr Flynn, confidant of Taoiseach
Bertie Ahern and a former president of the Ictu, to IRA
money-laundering caused a sensation in February.

It is alleged that the "pen gun" and gas canisters, which
are understood to be a considerable number of years old,
were found in My Flynn's office in February, when gardaí
seized documents concerning his involvement in Chesterton
Finance Company, based in Ballincollig, Co Cork.

On the same day, gardaí discovered some €2 million in cash
in the home of the principal in Chesterton, Ted Cunningham.
This and other cash seizures came as gardaí investigated
IRA money-laundering in the wake of the £26.5 million
Northern Bank robbery in Belfast in December.

Mr Flynn travelled to Bulgaria the previous month with Mr
Cunningham. Mr Flynn said they had been there to explore
joint venture business opportunities.

Hours after the controversy began with a series of Garda
raids, seizures of cash and documents and arrests, Mr Flynn
stood down as chairman of Bank of Scotland (Ireland),
chairman of the Government committee on decentralisation
and a director of VHI.

He has always insisted that Chesterton is "clean" and that
he did not believe any money had been laundered through
that company.

He said immediately after these resignations: "I have no
involvement, good, bad or indifferent, in money-laundering,
full stop, for the republican movement or for anybody else.

"And if I'm proven wrong, I'll run up and down the street
naked for you."

He is a former vice-president of Sinn Féin and has
described himself as a lifelong republican, while rejecting
suggestions that he had any involvement in helping the IRA
launder cash.

"Pen guns" are low-capacity weapons which feature in James
Bond-type movies and are seen by some owners as novelty

However, those that fire bullets can kill, and are much
more easily concealed than larger weapons.

The "pen gun" which has given rise to the charges against
Mr Flynn, however, is understood to be one which fires
small canisters of tear gas, sometimes as Mace, a
particular brand name for the chemical. Tear gas pens can
propel a cartridge up to 20 feet, and are often sold as
self-defence or personal security items.

The District Court can only impose a maximum sentence of 12
months for any one conviction.

© The Irish Times


'Free O'Hare Now'

Conor McMorrow

Monsignor Denis Faul has called for the immediate release
of INLA prisoner Dessie O'Hare from Castlerea prison in

Mr O'Hare, who was known as the Border Fox, was given a 40-
year prison sentence in April 1988 for offences including
the kidnapping and mutilation of Dublin dentist John
O'Grady. The sentence was the longest in the history of the
Republic for any offence other than capital murder.

Last week revealed that a number of senior figures in the
Catholic Church had thrown their weight behind the campaign
for Mr O'Hare's release.

Now Monsignor Faul, who has visited O'Hare in prison on a
number of occasions, has spoken out, stating his belief
that O'Hare had served enough time and should be released.

"The man has served his sentence and I don't believe that
he should be left in jail," said Msgr Faul.

"There are so many people that are part of the forgotten
wreckage of the Troubles and while Dessie O'Hare is not so
much forgotten, he is part of that wreckage."

He added that Dessie O'Hare posed no threat to people in

"People are sent to jail to be punished and get
rehabilitated before their release, if they don't pose any
threat to people outside," he said.

"In my opinion Dessie O'Hare has been rehabilitated, has
served his punishment and would not pose any threat to
people when he gets out, so any further detention of Dessie
O'Hare would be purely vindictive. He should be released

Msgr Faul also criticised the way certain sections of the
media have treated Mr O'Hare's case.

"The Dublin media should leave him alone and in my view he
should be left to get on with his life along with his wife
and two children," said the parish priest of Carrickmore,
Co Tyrone.

"The man has been in jail for all these years and the
prison authorities are in favour of his release. There are
other clergymen that have been to visit him and they also
believe that he should be released."

Msgr Faul added: "Family circumstances and the fact that
his wife has been ill means that he should be allowed out."

From Keady, Co Armagh Mr O'Hare was a member of the IRA
before defecting to the INLA.

In December 2002 he was transferred from the Midlands
Prison in Portlaoise, Co Laois to the lower security
Castlerea Prison in Co Roscommon, and put on a pre-release
programme. He has been freed on 15 to 20 temporary paroles
over the past three years as part of that programme.

Eddie McGarrigle, a director of Teach na Fáilte, a group
that provides support for republican socialist ex-prisoners
and their families, has been spearheading the campaign to
have Mr O'Hare released.

Mr McGarrigle, who is also on the Ard Comhairle of the
Irish Republican Socialist Party (IRSP), said: "The
background to the situation is that the Prison Service have
basically washed their hands of Dessie and say that it is
up to Michael McDowell when he gets released.

"Michael McDowell agreed to release Dessie in April and the
prison service is now saying that the decision lies with
the minister."

Mr McGarrigle, who has been working closely with Mr
O'Hare's family as part of the campaign to have him
released, described their anguish as they await Mr O'Hare's

"They have been put under serious mental torture and mental
anguish as they have been waiting for three years for his
release," he added.

No-one from the Department of Justice was available for
comment yesterday.


Apprentice Boys To March In Derry

George Jackson

About 10,000 members of the Apprentice Boys of Derry,
accompanied by 120 bands, will parade through the city
centre tomorrow to mark the 316th anniversary of the Relief
of Derry.

The celebrations will start at midnight tonight with the
firing of a cannon on the city's walls to symbolise the
actions of 13 apprentices who shut the gates of the city
against the advancing army of King James in 1689.

The parade is the culmination of a week-long Maiden City
Festival organised by the Apprentice Boys. The day's events
start with the officers and members of the general
committee of the loyal order walking around the city's

Apprentice Boys will then lay a wreath at the War Memorial
in the Diamond before attending a service of thanksgiving
in St Columb's Church of Ireland Cathedral. After the
service the general committee members will walk to
Craigavon Bridge where, after a Relief of Derry pageant,
the main parade will cross the bridge from the Waterside.

© The Irish Times


McCartney Welcomes Parades Decision On Feeder Parades

Published: 11 August, 2005

Foyle Sinn Féin MLA Raymond Mc Cartney has welcomed the
Parades Commission decision to restrict a number of
contentious feeder parades which were due to pass through
nationalist areas of the north en route to Derry on

Mr Mc Cartney said:

"The decision by the Parades Commission to restrict a
number of Feeder Parades will come as a welcome relief to
vulnerable nationalist enclaves in general and particularly
to the people of Ardoyne who have had to endure the
imposition of unwelcome triumphalist marches on their
community. These Communities can now look forward to a
confrontation free day on Saturday.

"I also welcome the decision taken by the Bogside Residents
Group, in the light of the Parades Commission decisions,
not to oppose this weekend's Apprentice Boys parades in

"Given recent events during marches in this city I would
urge nationalists and republican that have reason to be in
the vicinity not to allow themselves to be provoked into
any action or response that could be construed as

"I call on the march organisers to ensure that bandsmen and
supporters of the march show respect and courtesy to the
people of this City and prevent a re-occurrence of scenes
from previous marches when paramilitary flags were clearly
on display and drunken supporters openly consuming alcohol
were allowed to accompany the return leg of the march into
the Diamond.

"Residents and visitors not connected to the march must be
free to go about their business in a peaceful, lawful
manner. Freedom of movement and access to City Centre
shopping and facilities must be as open as possible. I know
that most nationalists and republicans will refrain from
involvement in any activity that could be seen as
confrontational or provocative. But I would implore those
few that may be intent on confrontation to be mindful of
the possible impact of their actions on others in this city
and elsewhere who will undoubtedly bear the brunt of any
negative publicity from Derry."


On Aug 12, 1969: Police Use Tear Gas In Bogside

The Royal Ulster Constabulary has used tear gas for the
first time in its history after nine hours of rioting in
the mainly-Catholic Bogside area of Londonderry.

There have been numerous outbreaks of violence between
Catholics and Protestants since the start of the summer
marching season. Catholic feeling against the Royal Ulster
Constabulary is also running high over their brutal

The shells were fired just before midnight sending a large
crowd of youths scattering in all directions. Many sought
refuge in nearby houses where residents treated their
streaming eyes.

A police armoured car was then sent at speed to break
through the barricades the crowd had erected and roared off
down Roseville Street, smashing smaller barriers in its

As a crowd started to gather round the vehicle, the doors
burst open and more tear gas grenades were hurled out.

Water cannon

The trouble began during the annual Apprentice Boys march.

There were clashes as the Apprentice Boys marched along the
wall, past the perimeter of the Catholic Bogside area. The
RUC intervened and within hours the trouble had escalated
into a full-scale riot.

The Northern Ireland Prime Minister Major James Chichester-
Clark called a meeting last night of the Ulster Cabinet
security committee at police headquarters in Belfast.

It followed earlier violence in Londonderry city centre.
Rioters threw petrol bombs, stones and iron bars against
the armoured trucks and water cannon being used by police.

Protestants who gathered near the barricade in Roseville
Street were egged on by police, as they aimed catapults
armed with stones at the Roman Catholics on the other side.

One American reporter, Robert Mott of the Washington Post,
was clubbed to the ground and kicked during a police baton
charge. He is said to have resumed reporting after

At one point a crowd from the Bogside began attacking
police in Sackville Street. From the other end of the road
a crowd of Protestant youths started advancing, picking up
stones and hurling them back.

It was only after various Catholic and civil rights
workers, including local MP and prominent civil rights
worker, Ivan Cooper, intervened that some order was

Mr Cooper was later knocked unconscious by a stone.

The Independent MP for Mid-Ulster, Bernadette Devlin,
toured the area of Roseville Street urging demonstrators to
get back behind the barriers, which had been hastily
constructed using paving stones and planks left by building
contractors working on new housing.

Eventually police made another baton charge up Roseville
Street to clear the rioters - but they were followed by a
group of stone-throwing Protestants and gradually beaten

The Protestant Apprentice Boys were set up in memory of 13
apprentice boy supporters of William of Orange who defended
Londonderry against the forces of the Catholic King James
II in 1688

In Context

The Apprentice Boys march was allowed to go ahead despite
repeated warnings of trouble.

The two days of rioting which followed became known as the
Battle of the Bogside. It ended with the direct
intervention from Britain in the affairs of Northern

Four hundred soldiers of the 1st Battalion, The Prince of
Wales's Own Regiment of Yorkshire, were deployed on the
streets of Londonderry.

They were called in at the request of the Northern Ireland
Prime Minister Major Chichester-Clark to prevent the total
breakdown of law and order and give some respite to police.

The troops were already on standby at the Sea Eagle naval
base on the outskirts of Londonderry. They arrived in full
battle kit with steel helmets, self-loading rifles and
machine guns, but with strict orders to keep their gun
safety-catches on.

Their neutral attitude was initially welcomed by residents
on both sides of the barricades and an uneasy peace deal
was struck.

But the violence spread to Belfast where five Catholics and
one Protestant were killed on 14 August.

The following day troops were deployed there.

General Officer Commanding Northern Ireland, Lieutenant-
General Sir Ian Freeland, told the media at the time the
honeymoon period between troops and local people was likely
to be short-lived. He was right, within months the welcome
had turned to violence.

The Parades Commission, an independent quasi-judicial body,
was set up in 1997 with the power to ban or impose
conditions on parades.


Irish Diplomat In Talks Over Colombia Three

12/08/2005 - 00:15:42

A top Irish diplomat pledged today to explore ways in which
Ireland could hand over three IRA-linked men convicted of
supporting terrorism in Colombia, despite the lack of an
extradition treaty.

"Ireland will meet its obligations under international
law," said Art Agnew, Irish ambassador to Mexico, who is
also responsible for Colombia, after discussing the
situation with Colombian vice president Francisco Santos in

Agnew acknowledged that the lack of a treaty between the
two countries "presents a problem", but nevertheless
insisted "there could be other mechanisms" that would
permit the three men's extradition.

He said that the two sides were looking into all the
possibilities and that ultimately a ruling on extradition
would be left up to Irish courts.

Niall Connolly, Martin McCauley and Jim Monaghan were
convicted of training left-wing rebels in terrorist tactics
and sentenced to 17 years behind bars. But the trio
disappeared eight months ago before resurfacing in Ireland
last week.

Santos said today's meeting - the first direct encounter
between the two governments since the trio resurfaced - was
very friendly and he was confident a solution to the
"problematic" issue would be reached.

"What we've found from the Irish government is its complete
willingness to work with us to find a way out of this, and
that's what one hopes for," the Colombian vice president

Earlier this week, Santos said that if Ireland did not
extradite the three men, it should at least force them to
serve their sentences in an Irish prison.

Santos and Agnew would not indicate whether this
possibility was discussed during their half-hour meeting.

The trio's return to Ireland was revealed when Monaghan
gave an interview to RTE on August 5. In the interview,
Monaghan said many people in many countries had helped them
travel from Colombia back to Ireland.


PDs, SDLP Call For Action Over Three

Ciarán Barnes

The Irish government was under mounting pressure yesterday
to take legal action against the Colombia Three following
their return to Ireland.

Acting justice minister Mary Harney said Niall Connolly,
Martin McCauley and James Monaghan could serve out their
sentences in Ireland.

SDLP justice spokesman Alban Maginness said the courts
should hold the trio to account.

News broke last Friday of the men's unexpected arrival back
in Ireland.

They had been on the run from Colombian authorities for
eight months after an appeal court reversed an earlier
acquittal and imposed 17-year sentences on the three for
allegedly training rebels of the Revolutionary Armed Forces
of Colombia (Farc).

The trio have always maintained their innocence, claiming
they were in Colombia to monitor the peace process in the
South American country.

This has cut no ice with the Progressive Democrats or the
SDLP, who say this explanation lacks credibility.

Speaking yesterday, Progressive Democrat leader Mary Harney
said the three men should face charges in Irish courts over
their reappearance here.

"Clearly, if somebody travelled on fraudulently obtained
documentation, that is an offence under Irish law
certainly. I'm extraordinarily concerned how they got back
into the country," she said.

Ms Harney said it was laughable to suggest that the men had
been in Colombia to observe its peace process.

"These three individuals were no ordinary tourists visiting
Colombia, and justice must be seen to be done."

Alban Maginness said that, if the men could not be
extradited to Colombia, then the Irish courts should hold
them to account.

"They certainly have a case to answer about how and on what
travel documents they re-entered Ireland. I believe that a
committee of Dáil Éireann could do a great service to the
peace process by bringing these men to a public hearing
under subpoena and requiring them to explain their presence
in terrorist-controlled areas of Colombia, how they got
there and how they got back again.

"Most of all, the Irish people need to know who financed
their trips and on whose instructions they were acting,"
said Mr Maginness.

Colombian Vice-President Francisco Santos spoke on RTÉ
radio yesterday, calling on the Irish government to return
the men to Colombia.

Mr Santos said that, during the trio's imprisonment in his
country, they had been "treated better than most
prisoners". He described references to Colombia's human-
rights record as "smoke and mirrors".

Sinn Féin campaigned to bring the Colombia Three back to
Ireland and has welcomed the men's return.

Party president Gerry Adams said the men's friends and
family would be relieved.


Colombia Three Homecoming Puts Smile On Face Of Cllr. Long

The return to Ireland of the Colombia Three has prompted
celebrations among the County Wicklow Sinn Féin Comhairle

The comhairle has issued a statement thanking all
supporters who assisted the Bring Them Home campaign.

'Their persistence over the years, against an unprecedented
vicious campaign of lies and misinformation by certain
right wing establishment parties and elements of the media,
in highlighting this case has ultimately achieved the
group's aims, to return the men, Niall Connolly, Martin Mc
Cauley and Jim Monaghan, home safely to their families
where they belong,' the statement reads.

Local Sinn Féin councillor, Eamonn Long, says that the
current demands by some 'out of the way' political leaders,
calling for the immediate return of the three to Colombia,
contrasts sharply with their 'stupefying silence' on the
Rossport Five case.

'We stand shoulder to shoulder with these men and are also
demanding their release,' Cllr. Long comments.

'I for one, and I know I speak for many throughout the
county, was delighted when the news first broke that the
men were back home,' he continued.

'I jumped with joy and haven't lost the smile of
satisfaction off my face yet, nor will I for a long time.'


Adviser Rejects 'Ill-Informed' Remarks On Eyre Square Role

Lorna Siggins and Michelle McDonagh

The landscape architectural consultancy involved with
Galway's Eyre Square refurbishment has criticised "ill-
informed" comments about the project and its role.

The €9 million project is on hold following the sudden
withdrawal of its main contractor, Samuel Kingston
Construction, in late June.

Galway City Council is expected to appoint a new contractor
shortly and has carried out emergency and security works at
the city centre site.

Mitchell and Associates, a Dublin-based landscape
consultancy, said Samuel Kingston Construction was
appointed to carry out the work after a public tender

This took place under the principles of EU public
procurement law and Government public procurement
guidelines, it said, along with a team of consultants and
legal advisers.

The procedure was held in "a fair, open and transparent
manner" and followed publication of a contract notice in
the EU journal, it said.

Four contractors were "pre-qualified" and were then invited
to submit tenders which were also assessed under EU law.

"To do otherwise would have constituted a breach of EU
procurement law and would have exposed Galway City Council
to the risk of a significant claim for damages by Samuel
Kingston Construction Ltd," Mitchell and Associates said in
a statement yesterday.

"Any criticism of Mitchell and Associates, or indeed any of
the other advisers to Galway City Council in respect of the
appointment of Samuel Kingston Construction Ltd, is
completely unfounded and unreasonable."

The city council and project leaders were criticised when
it emerged that the construction firm had been issued a
default notice by Pembrokeshire Housing Association over
difficulties with a housing project in Wales.

In a separate development, the mayoral taskforce set up to
move the Eyre Square redevelopment project ahead has
recommended that more workers and longer working hours be
built into any new contracts for the completion of the

The taskforce, which is led by Galway city's mayor,
councillor Brian Walsh (Fine Gael), will be recommending to
city manager Joe McGrath and his senior officials that the
original plans for Eyre Square be followed through to
completion by March 2006 through a series of initiatives
and new previously unused contractual conditions.

Mr Walsh explained that these conditions included
provisions for more staff and longer working hours which
were designed to minimise the disruption to Galwegians,
city-centre traders and tourists alike.

© The Irish Times


Skibbereen Native Honoured At Co. Cork-New York Association

Sean Minihane (left), formerly of Skibbereen and co-founder
in the USA of the Irish Immigration Reform Movement, who
was an award recipient at the biennual dinner of the Cork
Benevolent, Patriotic and Protective Association of New
York, pictured at the Rochestown Park Hotel, with the
association's president, Pat Hurley, also originally from

THE banqueting suite of Rochestown Park Hotel, Douglas was
packed to capacity recently for the 16th homecoming dinner
of the County Cork Benevolent, Patriotic and Protective
Association of New York.

Guests of honour were co-founder of the Irish Immigration
Reform Movement, businessman and long time association
member Sean Minihane from Skibbereen and Irish American
community activist, noted scribe and past president of the
association Joe Murphy from Cullen, with their families.
Presentations were made to both men and a floral bouquet to
their wives. A special presentation was also made to Mae
O'Driscoll, Skibbereen, one of the organisers of the

Guests at the biennial function included Mayor of County
Cork, Michael Creed; Lord Mayor of Cork, Deirdre Clune;
Mayor of Skibbereen, Adrian Healy; Most Rev. John Buckley,
Bishop of Cork and Ross; Hollywood legend Maureen O'Hara
from Glengarriff; Minister of State Batt O'Keeffe; Senator
Paul Bradford, former GAA president Con Murphy and Larry
O'Sullivan, New York Cork Person of the Year. Present also
were representatives of over 12 county associations
(including Cork-London) and Slattery's Travel who will be
launching their Cork-New York transatlantic service in the

President of the County Cork Association of New York,
Patrick Hurley from Skibbereen, said a biennial banquet had
been held since its first visit to Ireland in its centenary
year 1984. "Much has happened over the last two decades.
Like the vast majority in Ireland, Irish America believes
that the Good Friday Agreement, operating at its full
potential, will provide the mechanism which will bring
about not just territorial unity, but also the essential
unity of Irish hearts and minds".

Mr. Hurley said the association was proud that through its
sponsorship and support of the Irish Immigration Reform
Movement - of which Joe Murphy was to the fore - it was in
the vanguard of the fight to "legalise the Irish" . The
other honouree, Sean Minihane also played a crucial role in
the campaign resulting in thousands of Morrison Visas under
the 1990 Immigration Act.

"In the age of the Celtic Tiger, the USA immigrant visa is
not as coveted as once it was but a significant population
of illegal Irish does continue to exist. The solution to
its problems will not be found in futile efforts to
circumvent commonsensical post 'September 11' security
measures but, in its legalisation and full acceptance into
US society.

Nobody, like the emigrant, can truly appreciate Ireland's
place in the world, a small fragile economy buffeted by
uncontrollable economic forces. Consequently, we in the Co.
Cork Association understand the necessity of establishing
and maintaining a permanent immigration channel for
Ireland, so that any future generation of Irish immigrants
will not have to experience the netherworld of illegal

The president conveyed the sympathy of the association to
the Irish expatriate community affected by the recent
terrorist attacks in London and went on to thank and pay
tribute to fellow members of the association and everyone
involved in organising the function (including Mary Power,
Grenagh) and the reception two days earlier in City Hall.

His closing salutations were: "God bless America ! God save
Ireland ! Up the Rebels !"

—Leo McMahon


Pittsburgh Takes Pledge From Celebrity Crusader

by: Mike Aquilina

Last of two parts

He was Ireland's "apostle of temperance" at the midpoint of
the 19th Century. Father Theobald Mathew was a temperance
crusader who got Ireland to take "the pledge." His every
appearance drew enormous crowds and saturation coverage
from the media. He was a sensation.

And he was coming to Pittsburgh. Father Mathew's ship
arrived at Staten Island in July 1849, greeted by "a
cheering crowd of Irish men and women," as well as the
mayor of New York, members of the city's Common Council,
and several Protestant clergymen and temperance activists.
Bishop John Hughes of New York, however, was "conspicuously
absent," and in private correspondence he continued to
speak of Mathew's "undesirable visit."

As if to confirm Bishop Hughes's suspicions, Father Mathew
had hardly stepped off the boat when he found himself in
hot water. Adopted by the city fathers, Mathew stayed at a
fashionable residence and was soon whisked to a large
temperance meeting at the Broadway tabernacle, "an enormous
interdenominational church." The proceedings there began
and ended with prayer by Protestant ministers, so they had
the appearance, at least, of a worship service — clearly an
illegal outing for a Capuchin priest, and a potential
occasion of scandal.

The word spread among the American bishops, and Father
Mathew soon was summoned to appear before Bishop Hughes.
But this proved to be an upward fall. Father Mathew had
charmed Pittsburgh's Bishop Michael O'Connor, who had
invited him to bring his temperance crusade to the new
Diocese of Pittsburgh. He conquered Bishop Hughes as well.
The bishop insisted that Mathew continue his days in New
York as a guest of the church rather than the municipal
government. Mathew moved into the episcopal residence for
his remaining days in New York. In just a couple of weeks
there, he pledged 20,000 to 30,000 people.

From New York, Father Mathew left for New England. The
Pittsburgh Catholic tracked his every movement with
saturation coverage, always embellished by speculation
about when Father Mathew would steam down our rivers.

But his health took a downturn in New England and he
decided to return to New York for medical treatment. He
changed his plans, so he might spend winter in the warmer
climes of the Southern states.

On his way south, Father Mathew stopped in Philadelphia,
where he won over Bishop Kenrick, who ever after spoke of
him only in superlatives. He traveled on to Baltimore.

In Washington, he dined at the White House, where President
Zachary Taylor raised a toast in his honor — it was a glass
of water, of course. In the Senate, Father Mathew was
admitted to the floor, only the second foreign visitor to
be so honored. (The Marquis de Lafayette had been the

From Washington, he sojourned through Virginia, North
Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana,
Arkansas, Missouri, back to Louisiana. And then he suffered
a severe setback. On his way from New Orleans to Nashville,
he suffered another stroke, and this one almost killed him.
He immediately canceled the western leg of his tour and
decided to return to Ireland. But on his way to the ports
of New York he would stop in Cincinnati ... and Pittsburgh.

By the time he departed from Cincinnati, it was July 1851,
and he had been in America for two years. Pittsburghers had
waited a long time for this celebrity visit, tantalized
almost weekly by their Catholic newspaper.

The delays were hard, but surely Bishop O'Connor thought
Father Mathew's timing to be providentially perfect. In
1851, St. Paul Cathedral caught fire and burned to the
ground. The year also marked the culmination of Bishop
O'Connor's difficulties with the German Benedictines in

The monks there followed the Old World custom of brewing
their own beer; but, through an unusual sequence of events,
they also found themselves owners of a brewery and a tavern
— a situation their bishop found scandalous. He ordered
them to divest themselves of the operation. They dug in and
asserted their right to do what monks had always done. And
in the summer of 1851 their leader, Father Boniface Wimmer,
sailed for Europe to appeal over Bishop O'Connor's head.

The Benedictine controversy was the most recent and most
local of the intensifying cultural clashes between German
and Irish Catholics in America. Moreover, according to
historian Jay P. Dolan, teetotalism marked the most
"significant difference" between the Germans and the Irish.
Churchmen in New York and Cincinnati complained that the
Germans showed no interest in taking the pledge. These
Bavarians were not about to give up their lager on command
from some Irish bishop.

Father Mathew arrived, about 4 p.m. Sunday, July 13, on the
steamer Cornplanter. There was no fanfare, no crowd to
welcome him. He had wired his friends with the news of his
imminent arrival only the day before, so there was no time
to organize an event. The Pittsburgh Catholic was
crestfallen: "Had the fact been generally known, and had it
been possible to calculate with precision on the time at
which the boat might be expected, we have no doubt that he
would have met with an enthusiastic reception at the wharf,
as great anxiety was manifested to see a man of whom all
have heard so much."

Father Mathew proceeded quietly from the wharf to the
bishop's house, where he would stay while he remained in
the city. There was a flurry of notice in the city's Monday
papers, where he was congratulated for having already
pledged 500,000 Americans to total abstinence.

The following Sunday, July 20, Father Mathew preached on
temperance in the lower chapel at St. Paul's Schoolhouse.
After Mass, Bishop O'Connor "made a few brief remarks,
explanatory of the nature of the total abstinence pledge,
and of the immense good which society has derived from its
introduction." Then he himself, Bishop Michael O'Connor,
knelt and took the pledge before Father Mathew. More than
600 Pittsburghers followed him that day. At the end of a
week in Pittsburgh, he had pledged more than 4,000.

On Tuesday, July 22, Pittsburgh's largest Catholic
temperance society, the Brotherhood of St. Joseph, gathered
en masse to process to the bishop's house, where they feted
Father Mathew with speeches.

And the number of visitors actually increased over time. In
order to accommodate them all, Father Mathew had to extend
his visit beyond the span he had originally intended. By
Sunday, July 27, he had pledged 5,400, and three days later
that number had climbed to 8,000. Then, on the last three
days of his visit, 2,600 more took the pledge. So at least
10,600 people (and probably more) took the pledge from
Father Mathew in Pittsburgh — 10,600 out of a total
Allegheny County population of 140,000.

He made a deep impression on the locals because he managed
to do it all so quietly. The Pittsburgh Catholic reported:
"There has been no excitement, no public meeting in which
hundreds have signed in a moment of enthusiasm, and
hundreds more, from a principle of imitation. Those who
have taken the pledge from Father Mathew here have visited
him, one by one, in a private house, and have been urged to
the course by no solicitations other than those of their
personal friends. ... It is not difficult to get men to
take the pledge when it has become the rage to take it in a
particular locality; but to get men to adhere to the pledge
when the temporary excitement is passed is a difficulty
which our most zealous temperance reformers in this country
have found it difficult to overcome."

On his way to New York, Father Mathew stopped in Albany,
Buffalo and Utica. At his tour's end, he had he pledged
500,000 to 600,000 Irish-Americans, about a third of the
total Irish Catholic population in America — and an
impressive portion of the 23 million total population then
living in America.

Father Mathew set sail for Ireland on Nov. 8, 1851.
Arriving home, exhausted, impoverished and physically
broken down, he retired from temperance work. Early in
1856, he suffered another stroke, and Father Mathew died
Dec. 8, the newly established universal feast of Mary's
Immaculate Conception. All of this was dutifully reported
on the front page of the Pittsburgh Catholic over the
course of several weeks. The paper editorialized: "We may
well question if any man has in this age exercised so
salutary an influence on his fellow-beings, or worked more
for their real benefit."

Fifty-four years after Father Mathew's American tour, in
1905, Mark Twain could count on his audience sharing the
memory of the "apostle of temperance" as he made Father
Mathew's crusade the subject of a standup comedy routine.
Father Mathew's effectiveness was the basic premise, as
Twain described the unbearable loneliness of the one and
only man in his locality who resisted Father Matthew and
refused to take the pledge.

Elsewhere, grateful municipalities established more
permanent memorials. Salem, Mass., and Philadelphia both
raised monumental statues to Father Mathew. The one in
Philadelphia is 9 feet tall and 16 tons, built,
appropriately enough, over a drinking fountain. There are
large monuments, too, in Dublin and Cork, Ireland — where
it's customary for the mischievous to place an empty
whiskey bottle in Father Mathew's open hand.

His memory has faded, but his work continues. A century
later, Alcoholics Anonymous would have been unthinkable
without Father Mathew's advance guard. Here in Pittsburgh,
residents are in his debt, though no calculus can tell the
amount. For his was a personal apostolate, one on one, and
it bore its fruit gradually over time in families.

Wherever he went he changed families for the better. That
happens quietly and privately, and its good effects cascade
down the generations and down the centuries. In the long
run, it makes for a most livable city.

This article is adapted from the author's 2005 Lambing
Lecture for the Catholic Historical Society of Western
Pennsylvania. For more on the subject, read "Father
Mathew's Crusade: Temperance in Nineteenth-Century Ireland
and Irish America," by John F. Quinn (Amherst, Mass.:
University of Massachusetts, 2002).

To receive this news via email, click HERE.
No Message is necessary.
To August 2005 Index
To Index of Monthly Archives
Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?