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September 07, 2005

Loyalist Attack Police Again

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News about Ireland & the Irish

IO 09/06/05 Loyalist Rioters Attack Police Again
UT 09/06/05 Scotsman Ordered Out Of Northern Ireland
SF 09/06/05 Loyalist Protest Intended To Heighten Tensions
BB 09/06/05 Churches Condemn Violence Upsurge
BT 09/06/05 Hain Back As Loyalist Feud Tops Agenda
BT 09/06/05 Orange Supporters Protest Over March
BT 09/06/05 'Help Catch Our Son's Killers'
IO 09/06/05 Unionist Tells Of 'IRA Legacy' In Colombia
IO 09/06/05 C3 Gardaí To Depart For South America Today
UN 09/06/05 Orange Order Wants Meeting Over Columbia Three
IO 09/06/05 Pope Meets President McAleese
BB 09/06/05 McAleese Cancels Shankill Visit
BT 09/06/05 PSNI Insist McAleese Visit Is 'Courtesy Call'
UT 09/06/05 Durkan Urges Govt Over Police Reforms
UN 09/06/05 Aaron Survives Hurricane On The Way 'Home'
UT 09/06/05 Bombed Nelson's Pillar Back On Show In Dublin


Loyalist Rioters Attack Police Again

06/09/2005 - 08:12:08

Police came under renewed attack from loyalist petrol
bombers in the North early today.

Trouble flared again in north Belfast following several
hours of uneasy peace after rioters took to the streets
yesterday following searches linked to a paramilitary show
of strength.

Petrol bombs, bricks, bottles and other missiles were
hurled at officers in the Woodvale area. The Police Service
responded with water cannon.

A police spokesman said five more people had been arrested
for riotous behaviour, but there were no reports of any

Two people arrested yesterday – a 20-year-old man and a 17-
year-old – are due in court in Belfast today charged with
riotous assembly. A juvenile detained at the same time was
released without charge.

The violence began when up to 100 masked youths, enraged by
the police searches, hijacked and set alight a number of
vans and lorries.

Fire crews drafted in to put out the flames were forced to
withdraw after they too were attacked by the mob.

The violence raged for hours after a major police search
operation mounted following a suspected UVF show of
strength on Saturday.

A gun and loyalist paramilitary material was seized and
four men were arrested on suspicion of serious terrorist
offences over the weekend.

Police linked the street violence to the searches and said
there appeared to have been "an element of orchestration
behind it".

The UVF, which is locked in a deadly feud with the rival
loyalist LVF which has claimed four lives, has been accused
of plotting the violence.

After officers were given the green light to fire baton
rounds, the trouble stopped. However, masked youths
remained on the streets throughout the evening and at
around 11pm the trouble resumed and continued for several


Scotsman Ordered Out Of Northern Ireland

A Scotsman accused of being involved in a loyalist riot in
the Woodvale area of North Belfast on Monday was today
ordered to stay out of Northern Ireland.

Twenty year-old Euan Patrick, from Halyburton PLace, Cupar,
Fife, was said to have been caught on CCTV throwing
missiles at police and putting up barricades.

He was remanded in custody yesterday on a charge of riotous
assembly and in the High Court today was granted bail after
police raised no objection provided he left Northern
Ireland immediatley.

Lord Justice Nicholson ordered Patrick to reside at his
home in Scotland and only to return to Northern Ireland for
court appearances when he must stay away from areas of
north Belfast where there have been riots.

A 17 year-old student facing a similar charge was also
granted bail after the court was told he could live with
his grandmother in Donaghadee.

A Crown lawyer said: "That would take him out of Belfast
and police consider that important because there is a large
parade on Saturday and there is the likelihood of public


Loyalist Springfield Road Protest Intended To Heighten

Published: 7 September, 2005

Sinn Féin West Belfast Councillor Tom Hartley has accused
Loyalist Protestors who blocked the Springfield Road this
morning of trying to heighten tensions.

Cllr Hartley said:

"The chaos created this morning was designed to heighten
tensions in the Springfield Road area. The ongoing tension
and stress this imposes upon the nationalist community on
the Springfield Road and the stress it imposes on community
relations is unacceptable and should be removed.

"It is an attempt to try and overturn the ruling of the
Parades Commission. The Orange Order should avail of the
generous compromise route through the Mackies site out onto
the Springfield Road which was put forward by the local
community as a sensible way forward. Instead they continue
with their demand to march along the Springfield Road
through the closed gates at Workmans.

"This protest this morning has been particularly hard on
parents bringing their children to school.

"If the Orange Order want to march through areas where the
local community does not want them then at the very least
they have an obligation to enter into real and meaningful
dialogue. Threatening host communities and raising tensions
in interface areas is not the way forward. The Orange Order
and Loyalist who organised this protest need to understand
that the only way forward is through dialogue and respect
for the community living in the Springfield Road area."


Churches Condemn Violence Upsurge

The leaders of the four main churches in Northern Ireland
have described the present level of violence on the streets
as "totally unacceptable".

They issued a statement after meeting Secretary of State
Peter Hain to discuss the recent violence.

Homes, schools and churches in County Antrim have been
targeted, whilst parts of Belfast have seen rioting and
attacks on police.

The churchmen said such attacks were "immoral" as well as

Catholic Archbishop Sean Brady, Church of Ireland Primate
Archbishop Robin Eames, Presbyterian Church leader the
Reverend Harry Uprichard and Methodist leader the Reverend
Desmond Bain issued the statement on Wednesday.

They said: "The present level of violence on our streets is
totally unacceptable.


5 arson attacks, all on Catholics (2 considered as
attempted murder)
4 petrol bombs: 2 Catholic, 2 Protestant
5 sectarian assaults: 2 Catholic, 3 Protestant
8 paint attacks: 7 Catholic, 1 Protestant
13 criminal damage: 9 Catholic, 4 Protestant
7 intimidation: 3 Catholic, 4 Protestant

Total incidents: 42. Catholic: 28; Protestant: 14

"On behalf of our churches and members we condemn any words
or actions which cause danger to anyone because of their
religious or political identity.

"Attacks from any source on churches, schools, halls,
homes, the elderly and the young cannot be justified,
excused or accepted.

"Apart from their criminality such actions are immoral."

In County Antrim, extra officers were drafted in after a
series of sectarian attack.

Thirty police officers were involved in the fresh security
operation, Operation Striker, which covered 50 Catholic-
owned properties, churches, schools and GAA sports grounds
in recent weeks.

In north Belfast, police, fire crews and vehicle have been
attacked with petrol bombs, bricks and stones.

The UVF was blamed for orchestrating trouble in the
Woodvale area on Monday when about 100 masked youths
attacked police vehicles.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/09/07 11:46:06 GMT


Hain Back As Loyalist Feud Tops Agenda

Report due on UVF ceasefire

By Chris Thornton
07 September 2005

Secretary of State Peter Hain was back to work at Stormont
today with a fresh report on the loyalist feud on his desk
and meetings that could precede new political talks.

Mr Hain's return from a Spanish holiday was greeted by a
new report from the Independent Monitoring Commission, the
ceasefire watchdog.

The IMC's report on the state of the UVF ceasefire is
expected to be published later this month, although it
could potentially be delayed until Parliament returns on
October 9.

The report was delivered to the British and Irish
governments yesterday. It is believed to set out serious
ceasefire breaches by the UVF in its feud with the LVF.

That could require Mr Hain to de-recognise the UVF
ceasefire, which would have implications for the release of
any UVF members arrested or returned to prison.

The LVF does not have a ceasefire which is officially
recognised by the Government.

DUP leader Ian Paisley was sceptical about whether Mr Hain
would be prepared to take action against the UVF.

"We wait with interest the response of the Government to
the IMC report but wonder whether the Government will be
prepared to reject utterly all professions of ceasefires
which are continually crimsoned by more murders," he said.

"The Government has thus far failed in relation to the IRA
ceasefire and it will be interesting to see if they fail
again on this latest report on loyalists."

Mr Hain was also due to meet SDLP leader Mark Durkan to
discuss the loyalist feud and the recent wave of sectarian
attacks by loyalists.

Mr Durkan has also expressed concern at reports that the
Government was considering wiping clean the records of
convicted paramilitaries to allow them to serve as
community police officers.

Chief Constable Sir Hugh Orde last week warned he would
oppose any moves to allow people with criminal convictions
to serve in the police service and the plan has also been
criticised by members of the province's Policing Board.

The SDLP leader said: "We would hope the Secretary of State
knows the importance of adhering to the Patten vision of

"Patten involves a deliberate and delicate balance in terms
of policing, creating a credible, acceptable and
accountable police service for all.

"Reports that suggest that the Government are looking at
creating ancillary policing features which could be aimed
at recycling former paramilitaries as community police
operatives are causing concern across the community.

"Once Patten is compromised in one area of sensitivity, it
only creates a run on the entire Patten package and then
we'd all be the losers."

And, as speculation continued that General John de
Chastelain's Independent International Commission on
Decommissioning will confirm soon a fourth act of IRA
disarmament, the Foyle MP said he hoped the Provisionals
would move quickly.

"I want to see the IRA deliver on what they have promised
sooner rather than later.


Orange Supporters Protest Over March

By Chris Thornton
07 September 2005

Orange supporters launched a series of protests today in an
attempt to force a postponed march along part of the
Springfield Road in Belfast.

As DUP leader Ian Paisley spoke of "serious trouble" in
connection with the Parades Commission's decisions, around
20 protesters said they will protest during rush hour in
west Belfast for the rest of the week.

The protesters are demanding that the Government overturn
the Commission's decision rerouting the Orange Order's
Whiterock parade.

The parade was originally scheduled to take place in June,
but the Orange Order postponed it when the Parades
Commission rerouted the march.

The Order applied to march their preferred route on this
Saturday, but the Commission turned them away from part of
the Springfield Road again, declaring that they should
march through the former Mackie's site.

The DUP has led unionist protests at the decision. A party
delegation led by Mr Paisley met Security Minister Shaun
Woodward on Saturday in a bid to have the decision

Last night Mr Paisley said his party is still waiting to
hear back from Mr Woodward.

He linked the continued existence of the Parades Commission
to "serious trouble" and said: "Enough is enough and we
will not and cannot be stretched any further. Nothing can
justify the violence that we have seen on the Shankill Road
but it must be said that serious trouble will never be far
away so long as the Parades Commission remains in power,
capitulates to Sinn Fein-IRA and comes down against law
abiding citizens.

"The Parades Commission must accept that its flawed
decisions have only served to heighten anger and
frustration within the Protestant community."


'Help Catch Our Son's Killers'

By Jonathan McCambridge
07 September 2005

The heartbroken parents of teenage murder victim Thomas
Devlin were today due to speak of their grief over the
death of their son and urge the public to help catch his

Police were also due to make a new appeal about two
motorbike riders who they believe may have seen something
on the night that Thomas was killed.

The popular teenager, a GCSE student at Belfast Royal
Academy, was stabbed five times in the back as he walked
home with friends from buying sweets at a service station
on the Antrim Road in north Belfast on Wednesday, August

He walked down the Fortwilliam Road and then onto the
Somerton Road towards his home when he was stabbed five
times in the back in an unprovoked attack.

Senior investigating officer, Detective Superintendent
Colin Sturgeon, was today due make a new appeal for
information about two men on motorbikes.

It is believed they may have been at the petrol station on
the Antrim Road at the same time as Thomas and his friends
were there on the night he died.

Police have stressed that the two men on motorbikes are not
suspects but they believe they may have seen something
which could be of assistance to the investigation.

Police have previously said they believe that two men
suspected of the murder were walking a dog in the
Fortwilliam area at 11.50pm on the Wednesday night.

Thomas' mother Penny Holloway and father Jim Devlin were
today expected to talk about how the murder has impacted on
their lives and call on the public to bring forward any
information they have.

Police have previously stated that reports that the murder
of Thomas was sectarian and that there may have been UVF
involvement may be hindering people from coming forward
with information. Police have said there is nothing to
suggest the murder of the Catholic teenager was sectarian
but have not ruled out any line of inquiry.

They have also staged a reconstruction using actors in an
attempt to encourage the public to help the investigation.

Thomas was a popular pupil at Belfast Royal Academy where
he was involved in the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme and
played in the wind band.

He was also interested in computers and had been playing
computer games at his home with friends shortly before his


Unionist Leader Tells Of 'IRA Legacy' In Colombia

07/09/2005 - 06:55:17

A unionist leader in the North invited Colombian terror
victims to visit Ireland to lobby for the extradition of
three IRA-linked men convicted of training Marxist rebels
in bomb-making techniques.

Democratic Unionist Party MP Jeffrey Donaldson made the
comments during a trip to Colombia in which he inspected
rebel mortars and other explosive devices that he said were
identical to weapons used by the IRA.

"It's absolutely clear that the IRA has been involved" in
training the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or
FARC, he said at a Colombian military base where commanders
showed him an array of FARC weaponry.

Donaldson is in Colombia as part of a campaign to push the
Irish government to extradite James Monaghan, Martin
McCauley and Niall Connolly to the South American country
to serve out a 17-year prison sentence for teaching FARC
how to make sophisticated cylinder bombs.

The trio, who returned to Ireland after skipping bail eight
months ago while awaiting an appeal, insisted they were in
Colombia only to observe the country's now-defunct peace

The three men were arrested in August 2001 while trying to
leave Colombia after spending five weeks in jungles
controlled by the FARC, the major rebel group trying to
topple the country's US-backed government.

British anti-terrorist police have identified Monaghan as
the IRA's senior weapons engineer and McCauley as one of
his deputies.

Donaldson, who was accompanied on the trip to Bogota by
representatives from the Northern Ireland Protestant
victims' group Families Acting for Innocent Relatives, said
that as a result of the IRA training many Colombian
soldiers had been maimed or killed.

"We want to show solidarity with the victims of FARC
terrorism," he said. "We believe it will put pressure on
the Irish government for the soldiers to come to Belfast
and Dublin to tell their stories."

Donaldson later held talks with Colombian vice president
Francisco Santos.

Irish officials have pledged to explore ways in which
Ireland could hand over the three men despite the lack of
an extradition treaty between the two countries. Colombia
has raised the possibility that the three men serve their
prison terms in Ireland.


Colombia Three Gardaí To Depart For South America Today

07/09/2005 - 07:56:14

Two senior gardaí are due to travel to South America today
as part of their efforts to build a case against the so-
called Colombia Three.

Niall Connolly, Martin McCauley and James Monaghan are
currently on the run from Colombian justice after being
convicted of training anti-government rebels in the

They recently returned to Ireland and turned themselves
into the Gardaí before being released without charge.

Experts believe they are unlikely to be sent back to
Colombia due to the lack of an extradition treaty with
Ireland and the South American country's poor human rights

However, there have been suggestions that they could be
made serve their 17-year sentences in Ireland.

Minister for Justice Michael McDowell has vowed that all
option will be vigorously pursued.


Orange Order Wants Meeting Over Columbia Three

13:35 Wednesday September 7th 2005

The Orange Order is seeking a meeting with the US consul in
Belfast to discuss the Colombia Three.

The Orange Order said it wants to find out what steps the
American government is taking to force the Irish

government to extradite the three men back to Bogota.

Meanwhile, earlier this week the Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern
said the plight of the Columbia Three rests with the legal

"This issue has to be totally followed by a legal process
in our international contributions. It will all be done as
per the legal criteria," Mr Ahern said at the Fianna Fail
annual think-in.


Pope Meets President McAleese

07/09/2005 - 12:06:11

Pope Benedict XVI today met with Irish President Mary
McAleese, staying on at the Vatican after his general
audience for the talks before flying back to his summer
retreat south of Rome.

The Vatican didn't release the text of Benedict's remarks.
When Pope John Paul II met with McAleese in 2003, he told
her Ireland had an "essential role" to play in affirming
the Christian identity of Europe.

Benedict has often stressed the need for Europe to
recognise its Christian heritage.

Benedict also met today with the Prime Minister of
Madagascar, Jacques Sylla, before flying by helicopter back
to Castel Gandolfo, in the hills south of Rome.


McAleese Cancels Shankill Visit

Irish President Mary McAleese has abandoned plans to visit
the loyalist Shankill in west Belfast because of recent
rioting in the area.

A spokeswoman for the president said Thursday's visit to
Edenbrooke Primary School has now been rearranged.

The president will meet school pupils and staff at a
Belfast hotel instead.

President McAleese is going ahead with her courtesy call on
the NI chief constable and a visit to a school in the
city's Taughmonagh estate.

She is also due to visit a school and a care centre on the
Ravenhill Road in Belfast.

Ms McAleese's decision to cancel her Shankill visit follows
recent unrest in the area in which police, fire crews and
cars have been attacked with petrol bombs and other

"There is going to be a change to the Edenbrooke visit
because of the overall security situation in north
Belfast," her spokesperson said.

"However, President McAleese will be meeting them during
her visit."

It is the second time she has cancelled a visit to the
Shankill area.

In January, a planned visit, including a trip to Edenbrooke
Primary School, did not go ahead after some of her comments
caused controversy.

Mrs McAleese said children in Northern Ireland were taught
to hate Catholics in the same way Nazis taught theirs to
despise Jews.

She later said she was "deeply sorry" for the offence her
remarks caused, but some unionists were not mollified.

Meanwhile, a meeting which is going ahead on Thursday with
Chief Constable Hugh Orde at police headquarters in Belfast
has sparked criticism from the DUP.

Ian Paisley Jr said Thursday's meeting, which was not
raised with the Policing Board, was "highly political".

Mr Paisley said the chief constable had no operational
requirement to report to Mrs McAleese, who is from Belfast.

He also said the meeting was "choreographed to help the IRA
at a time when their statement has fallen on deaf ears".

'Building bridges'

Mr Paisley added: "All sense of protocol has been abandoned
and all to assist a visit by someone who has done her best
to insult the majority of people here by likening them to

But fellow Policing Board member, Alex Attwood of the SDLP,
said it was time to move on as the president had apologised
for her remarks.

"Most people know she got it wrong and then she got it
right by apologising and cancelling her visit.

"I think those people in the Shankill will see it that

A PSNI spokesperson said they would not be responding to Mr
Paisley's comments.

Inaugurated as the Irish head of state in 1997, Mary
McAleese is the first president to come from Northern
Ireland and is now in her second term of office.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/09/07 10:53:44 GMT


PSNI Insist McAleese Visit Is 'Courtesy Call'

By Brian Hutton
07 September 2005

The PSNI last night insisted that a meeting between Irish
President Mary McAleese and Chief Constable Hugh Orde is
merely a "courtesy call" in the face of criticism from the

Although the pair have met before tomorrow morning's talks
will be the first time President McAleese has officially
visited the PSNI headquarters in Belfast.

DUP leader Ian Paisley branded the visit as "a highly
political meeting that ought not to take place" and said
that Sir Hugh "has nothing to report to Mary McAleese".

Mr Paisley said: "He has no operational requirement to
report to her and certainly she has no right to meet with
the Chief Constable when policing remains in the hands of
the NIO. What is more, the decision to meet was not raised
with the Police Board," he added.

The DUP leader called on Sir Hugh to explain why he was
meeting President McAleese.

"For what purpose is he meeting the Head of a foreign
state? Is the Security Minister accompanying him?

"The Chief Constable has stated on a number of occasions
that he is not involved in politics yet this is a
significantly political visit that is choreographed to
assist the IRA at a time when their statement has fallen on
deaf ears," he said.

However, the PSNI has dismissed any notion that talks were
political or that Sir Hugh is reporting to Mrs McAleese.

A police spokeswoman last night said: "This is a courtesy
visit by President McAleese and her husband during which
they will meet the Chief Constable."

Mrs McAleese will also visit Edenbrooke Primary School on
Tennent Street in the Shankill.

A visit to the Protestant heartland had to be postponed in
January after Mrs McAleese, from Rostrevor in Co Down,
caused a storm by comparing some Protestants' attitudes to
Catholics in Northern Ireland to the Nazi hatred of Jews.

She apologised on radio the next day and the UUP accepted
the retraction and declared the matter over.

Mrs McAleese and her husband Martin have been involved in
efforts to reach out to loyalist communities, hosting
visits at her official residence, Áras an Uachtaráin, in
Dublin's Phoenix Park.


Durkan Urges Govt Over Police Reforms

Nationalist SDLP leader Mark Durkan urged the Government
today to avoid tinkering with policing reforms in Northern

By:Press Association

As he prepared for a meeting at Stormont with Northern
Ireland Secretary Peter Hain, Mr Durkan expressed concern
at reports that the Government was considering wiping clean
the records of convicted paramilitaries to allow them to
serve as community police officers.

Northern Ireland Chief Constable Sir Hugh Orde last week
warned he would oppose any moves to allow people with
criminal convictions to serve in the police service and the
plan has also been criticised by members of the province`s
Policing Board.

The SDLP leader said: "We would hope the Secretary of State
knows the importance of adhering to the Patten vision of

"Patten involves a deliberate and delicate balance in terms
of policing, creating a credible, acceptable and
accountable police service for all.

"Reports that suggest that the Government are looking at
creating ancillary policing features which could be aimed
at recycling former paramilitaries as community police
operatives are causing concern across the community.

"Once Patten is compromised in one area of sensitivity, it
only creates a run on the entire Patten package and then
we`d all be the losers."

Currently the SDLP is the only nationalist party to endorse
the Police Service of Northern Ireland and to take part in
the bodies, which hold it accountable.

Sinn Fein has refused to take part, arguing that the
reforms which replaced the Royal Ulster Constabulary with
the PSNI do not go far enough.

Mr Durkan is also expected to raise recent sectarian
attacks on Catholic homes, churches and other property in
north Antrim and elsewhere with Mr Hain today.

The Foyle MP will also press the Government to withdraw
recognition of the Ulster Volunteer Force`s ceasefire
following its bloody vendetta in Belfast this summer
against the rival Loyalist Volunteer Force which has
resulted in the murders of four people.

The Northern Ireland Office yesterday received a report
from the four member Independent Monitoring Commission on
the UVF`s ceasefire.

But Mr Durkan said: "Our argument is that there never
really was a need for the British government to wait on a

"The fact is that the British government could have made a
judgment call on the UVF ceasefire on its own and a lot

The SDLP leader also said he would discuss loyalist
paramilitary involvement in the attacks on Catholic
property and families in North Antrim.

And as speculation continued that General John de
Chastelain`s Independent International Commission on
Decommissioning will confirm soon a fourth act of IRA
disarmament, the Foyle MP said he hoped the Provisionals
would move quickly on honouring their obligations.

"Part of the problem in this process is that the going rate
has been to go slow in terms of paramilitaries delivering
on their parts of the Good Friday Agreement and unionist
parties and the Governments going slow on theirs," he said.

"I want to see the IRA deliver on what they have promised
sooner rather than later.

"Remember, it is not just five or six weeks since they made
their statement but 63 months since the deadline set by the
agreement for decommissioning to be achieved elapsed."


Aaron Survives Hurricane Nightmare On The Way 'Home'

Wednesday September 7th 2005

AARON O'Callaghan had to survive Hurricane Katrina and then
endure a 12-hour drive through Armageddon to make it to
today's start of the Home International Championships.

O'Callaghan, 19, had just spent his first fortnight on a
golf scholarship at Louisiana University getting used to
the blowtorch heat of the gulf states when Katrina
thundered ashore last Monday week.

Originally, Aaron and Peter O'Keeffe, his fellow student
and a long-standing friend from Douglas Golf Club, had
planned to sit out the storm in the apartment they share in
the university town of Hammond, about 50 miles North East
of New Orleans.

When the police came knocking on Sunday evening and ordered
everyone to evacuate, immediately, to the nearby basketball
stadium, O'Callaghan thought it was all just a little bit
over the top.

Now he knows better. As Katrina vented her full fury,
O'Callaghan and O'Keeffe hunkered down among the crowds of
people in the blacked-out sports arena and listened to the
howling, 135 mph wind as it hurled massive trees around
like matchsticks. After several hours, the storm abated yet
the nightmare continued.

For two days, the Corkmen stayed in that arena, safe from
the devastation. In the absence of power, food and water,
conditions outside were primeval - it was as if somebody
had turned the clock back a century or two.

All O'Callaghan and O'Keeffe would have to eat in those
first 48 hours would be one doughnut.

Yet the marathon road journey they would make across the
storm-ravaged states of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama
to the nearest operating airport in Pensacola, Florida,
would reveal to them just how lucky they were.

The two lads believed they'd seen their fair share of
stormy weather on wind-lashed links courses like Lahinch on
Ireland's exposed south west coast.

"Personally, I'd wanted to stay in the apartment to ride
out the storm," Aaron confesses. "I thought we'd be all out
playing golf the following morning."

Selected on Ireland's 10-man team for this week's Home
International Championships at Royal St George's,
O'Callaghan had no choice but to leave the safety of the
basketball arena on Wednesday morning and strike out for
the nearest operating airport and home.

Pensacola in the Florida Panhandle was the best option and
O'Keeffe, a one-year college veteran in Louisiana at the
wheel, agreed to do the driving - first, however, they had
to find a petrol station that had survived the maelstrom.

Hearing there were fuel supplies in the state capital,
Baton Rouge, 50 miles to the west, they set off in that
direction and there were only fumes in the tank when they
eventually found a facility capable of pumping gas.

Only then could their unforgettable 12-hour drive east
through Armageddon to the small regional airport of Fort
Walton, Pensacola, begin in earnest. Thankfully, they
arrived safely and O'Callaghan checked onto a flight to
Newark and then home.

After a couple of days' rest, O'Callaghan linked up with
his Irish teammates and travelled to Sandwich on Sunday
morning. Having experienced the full fury of mother nature
in Louisiana, O'Callaghan is unlikely to be intimidated by
anything he encounters on the relatively peaceful Kent
coastline - not even the prospect of a Home International
debut against the mighty hosts and defending champions,

"On paper, England and Scotland are both very strong but
I've played against a lot of the English players in other
competitions and I think our guys are every bit as good,"
he says. "I believe we can do the business this week."

After watching on TV as Ben Curtis pulled off the shock of
the New Century in the British Open at Sandwich in 2003,
Aaron reckons that Royal St George's might be a happy
hunting ground for golf's underdogs.

O'Callaghan, 16-year-old sensation Rory McIlroy, Conor
Doran and Gareth Shaw all make their Home Championship
debut on a young Irish side this week.

McIlroy's stunning victories in the Irish Close and West of
Ireland this summer and Brian McElhinney's win at the
British Amateur give a hint of the potential in Irish
skipper Mark Gannon's hand.

The Baltray man, who led Ireland to victory in the Home
Internationals in Ballybunion two years ago, knows the odds
are stacked against his team. "If you were to draw up an
Order of Merit among the four countries, we'd probably be
in third," he explains.

"Yet I'm delighted we're playing England in the opening
match today. If we can catch them cold, who knows what
might happen?"

Karl MacGinty


Bombed Nelson's Pillar Back On Show In Dublin

The original head section of Nelson's Pillar, toppled by an
IRA bomb in 1966, has today gone on display at its new home
at the Dublin City Library and Archive.

By:Press Association

The granite sculpture of the famous English Admiral will be
on free public view in the Reading Room on Pearse Street.

Dublin City Archivist Mary Clarke said: "A range of books,
newspapers and original archives relating to Nelson`s
Pillar can also be inspected."

The head has been relocated from Dublin Civic Museum on
South William Street which is temporarily closed for

Other events are also being planned to mark the 40th
anniversary next March of when it was blown up on O`Connell

A bomb planted by a rogue IRA unit blasted the upper half
of the 134ft Nelson`s Column in 1966 to coincide with the
50th anniversary of the Easter 1916 Rising in the city.

The damaged monument was later nicknamed "The Stump" by

The bicentenary of Admiral Nelson`s famous victory in the
Battle of Trafalgar off the Spanish coast also falls next

The Column was erected in O`Connell Street in 1808 on the
general site where the Dublin Spire stands today.

A similar monument in Trafalgar Square in London was built
between 1840 and 1843.

Dublin`s Pillar was the main landmark on O`Connell Street
and a popular meeting place.

The original was 134ft high, with 168 spiral steps inside
and it was topped by a 13ft high statue in Portland stone
of Admiral Nelson by the Cork sculptor Thomas Kirk.

Climbing the Pillar for a panoramic view of Dublin was a
popular treat for visitors to the city, but few Dubliners
did so, believing it would be there forever and could
always be climbed some other time.

After its destruction in 1966, the head of Nelson was
recovered, badly damaged but intact.

It was placed on display in the Dublin Civic Museum and was
popular with tourists as a relic of old Dublin until it
closed for refurbishment last year.

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