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October 16, 2005

Ahern: Fr Reid Is A Great Man

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News about Ireland & the Irish

EX 10/16/05 Fr Reid Is A Great Man, Says Ahern
IT 10/17/05 Taoiseach Makes Overture To Loyalists
IT 10/17/05 Gardaí To Review Death Of Mary Reid
BB 10/16/05 Pictures Of Riot Suspects Issued
BB 10/16/05 Money 'Linked To Northern Raid'
IT 10/17/05 Minister Rejects 'Slab' Murphy Denial
EX 10/16/05 Ltr:Govts Must End Loyalist Attcks On Catholics
IT 10/17/05 Fine Gael To Reclaim Its Sinn Féin Roots
IT 10/17/05 Respiratory Illness Decreases Since Smoke Ban
TE 10/16/05 Ban On Smoking In N Ireland Bars & Restaurants
IT 10/17/05 Historic Lissadell House Damaged By Vandals
IT 10/17/05 Last Roll Taken At Pembroke School
IT 10/17/05 President Receives Veterans Of Intn’l Brigade


Here an RTE Report on this at:

Fr Reid Is A Great Man, Says Ahern

By Michael O'Farrell, Political Reporter

TAOISEACH Bertie Ahern yesterday defended Fr Alec Reid
against fallout from his Nazi comment, describing him as a
great man who had contributed much to peace in the North.

Although he later apologised, Fr Reid caused uproar last
week when he likened the treatment of Catholics in Northern
Ireland by Protestants to that of the Jews in Germany by
the Nazis.

On the day the Police Service of Northern Ireland confirmed
Fr Reid was being investigated on foot of an incitement to
hatred complaint, Mr Ahern said any ill-advised comments
attributed to Fr Reid should be seen in the light of his
contribution to the peace process.

In addition to many other interventions, Fr Reid is
credited with helping to broker the IRA ceasefire in 1994
by setting up talks between Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams
and the then SDLP leader John Hume.

Mr Ahern said: "I've learnt in Northern Ireland that
whenever anyone makes a slip on either side everyone jumps
on everybody. But can I say this: Fr Alex Reid is a great
man. Fr Alex Reid has done enormous work."

Speaking at Fianna Fáil's annual Wolfe Tone Commemoration
on Bodenstown yesterday, Mr Ahern conceded the Nazi comment
had been ill-advised but pointed to Fr Reid's record of

"He has been the one person that's been involved. If you go
through political, religious and community leaders, he has
been involved right through since 1988 and I think that the
part he played in the recent decommission has been a major
part as well," he said.

"He reacted to provocation, shouldn't have, but who doesn't
do that at times. And I think it should be seen in that
light. Fr Alex Reid is an old man, he hasn't had the best
of health ... he has nothing to answer. He has done a good
job. He shouldn't be trying to answer for all of the rest
of us and I think he should be seen in that light. It's not
fair on him."


Taoiseach Makes Overture To Loyalists

Mark Brennock, Chief Political Correspondent, in Bodenstown

The Taoiseach has promised "a positive and open" response
to loyalists wishing to engage in the new politics of
Northern Ireland, saying this State offers no threat to the

In his annual Wolfe Tone commemoration speech at Bodenstown
yesterday, Mr Ahern said he was convinced there were many
within loyalism "who wish to play a constructive part in
the new landscape of relationships emerging.

"As with the journey embarked upon by militant republicans,
I recognise that they need space, encouragement and support
to move beyond their recent past." Speaking to a party
gathering of over 100 including Ministers, Ministers of
State, party officials and ordinary members, he addressed
himself directly to unionists. "There is no constitutional
threat to the position of Northern Ireland within the
United Kingdom from this part of the island," he said.
"Those who used violence to try to force you into a united
Ireland have, thankfully, not only stopped their war, but
have decommissioned the means by which they waged that
war." He said he was convinced that there were many within
loyalism "who wish to play a constructive part in the new
landscape of relationships emerging. As with the journey
embarked upon by militant republicans, I recognise that
they need space, encouragement and support . . .

"I pledge today that those seeking genuine efforts at
transformation will see a positive and open response from
my Government. It will be a response that will not diminish
my commitment to a united Ireland, no more than it will
make loyalists any less unionist, but a response that seeks
to live out the true spirit of Wolfe Tone in the republican
ideals of liberty of conscience, equality of opportunity
and fraternity of relationships."

Speaking to reporters later he said he knew loyalism has
felt a certain alienation from the political process for a
considerable period of time. Yet both he and Minister for
Foreign Affairs Dermot Ahern had detected that there were
"some very serious people within loyalism who are very
anxious to move forward.

"They don't want any threats over them. I was making clear
today that we certainly are not in that business. They do
want to move forward and we want to move forward
constructively with them. We do hope they will note what
was said, because we were taking today as an opportunity to
speak directly to them.

"We see them as people who are prepared to try to change in
their community. They have a lot of difficulties, we
understand those difficulties, and both I and Dermot Ahern
want to help all sides. We particularly want to help
loyalism. We are constitutional republicans - but we want
to move on with them and we believe that they want to move
on with us and the British government as well."

© The Irish Times


Gardaí To Review Investigation Into Death Of Republican

Conor Lally

Garda Commissioner Noel Conroy has ordered an internal
investigation following allegations that gardaí failed to
fully investigate the death in Donegal in 2003 of Derry
academic and well known republican figure Mary Reid.

Mr Conroy has ordered the inquiry to be carried out under
the direction of Det Chief Supt Noel White, the head of the
National Bureau of Criminal Investigation.

Ms Reid (49) was found dead on a beach at the Isle of
Doagh, Co Donegal, on January 29th, 2003. An inquest two
years ago into her death concluded she died as a result of

However, her partner Terence Robinson and her family
expressed doubts at the time relating to the Garda
investigation into the death. They believe the
investigation was not comprehensive enough.

After the inquest their solicitor Robert Eager issued a
statement saying the family had "some doubts about the
circumstances of her death" and the fact that none of her
missing clothes were found. She was naked from the waist up
when she was found.

He added that the family was "particularly unhappy about
the lack of a comprehensive forensic examination of Ms
Reid's car".

An initial examination of her car at the scene revealed
nothing. However, the boot of the vehicle was never

Ms Reid's family and partner were also disappointed that
the State Pathologist was not called to the scene to carry
out a forensic postmortem.

They have campaigned for an inquiry to examine the concerns
they have raised.

In August the dead woman's brother, Joseph Reid, and
sister, Anne Ward, brought their campaign to the Irish
Embassy in London, where they met gardaí. At the time the
family said they wanted to meet gardaí in the UK because Ms
Reid had lived there and because gardaí had agreed to meet
the family there.

At the inquest in 2003, Tommy McCourt, who worked with Ms
Reid, said she was a very political person and was very
annoyed about the US going into Iraq. One night shortly
before her death, he recalled, she had arrived at his home
barefoot. They spoke but the conversation did not make much
sense and she walked home again, he said.

The Department of Justice said that while a review of the
original investigation was being conducted under Det Chief
Supt White, the Garda investigation into the death had not
been reopened.

Ms Reid was one of three people caught up in the "Irish of
Vincennes" case in France in August 1982. She was arrested
at an apartment in Vincennes with Stephen King and Michael
Plunkett on terrorism charges.

All three had links with the Irish Republican Socialist
Party (IRSP) and it was alleged that they were part of an
Irish-Palestinian terrorist cell. The arrests were heralded
in France as one of the first successes of the newly-formed
elite anti-terrorist unit.

However, it later emerged that the gendarmerie had planted
the guns and explosives in the apartment. All three Irish
citizens were cleared of the charges on October 5th, 1983,
after spending nine months in prison.

Ms Reid was editor of The Starry Plough, the IRSP's
newspaper, for several years. She returned to Ireland from
France in 1987 and became involved in community work.

At the time of her death she had been teaching English to
GCSE students, through the Community Resource Centre in
Rosemount, Derry.

© The Irish Times


Pictures Of Riot Suspects Issued

Police investigating attacks on officers following a
controversial re-routed Orange Parade in west Belfast have
issued pictures of riot suspects.

Officers were attacked by loyalists with petrol bombs,
blast bombs and live rounds on Saturday 10 September.

It followed a Parades Commission ruling that the Whiterock
parade could not enter an interface area.

Photographs from video footage are being circulated by
police who have urged those involved to come forward.

West Belfast district commander, Chief Superintendent David
Boultwood said: "Our footage is extensive and clearly shows
us the perpetrators of this violence.

"We are asking them to come forward before our officers
have to knock on their doors."

He appealed to the community to work with the police to
prosecute anyone involved in public disorder.

"Criminal behaviour will not be tolerated. We are
determined to bring before the courts those who have taken
part in serious public disorder," he said.

The march was barred from going through security gates on
the Springfield Road, and had to use a former factory site.

There was a major police and Army presence in the area.
Screens were erected in front of houses.

Security forces came under sustained attack from several
hundred rioters on West Circular Road.

Cars were hijacked and set on fire on Ardoyne Road and
North Queen Street.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/10/16 16:25:16 GMT


Money 'Linked To Northern Raid'

The Irish justice minister has said he is satisfied money
confiscated in Cork was linked to the £26.5m Northern Bank
robbery in Belfast earlier this year.

Speaking on Irish state broadcaster RTE, Michael McDowell
also refused to accept Thomas "Slab" Murphy's denial of
involvement in money laundering.

He also said Mr Murphy was on the IRA's army council and
was chief of staff.

Last week, Mr Murphy denied allegations linking him to a
company at the centre of a probe into IRA money laundering.

Offices belonging to Craven Property were raided by the
Assets Recovery Agency on 6 October as part of its
investigations into alleged IRA links to 250 Manchester
properties valued at about £9m.

In his statement, Mr Murphy said being linked to the raids
had caused him and his family "distress".

However, he made no comment on the widespread accusation
that he is the chief of staff of the IRA.

Mr Murphy said he did not own any property and made his
living from farming. He also denied any connection with the
Craven Property Group.

He said that he had to sell his own home after losing a
libel case to the Sunday Times.

This was in 1998, after challenging the newspaper's
description of him as a prominent IRA member.

Manchester businessman Dermot Craven, whose company
premises were raided during the agency's investigation, has
denied having any dealings with "Slab" Murphy, but said he
had done business with Murphy's brother, Frank.

He has also denied involvement in any illegal activity.

Documents were seized in the Manchester searches, which
took place 10 days after the IRA put its weapons beyond use
and on the day Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams met Prime
Minister Tony Blair in Downing Street.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/10/16 14:28:05 GMT


Minister Rejects 'Slab' Murphy Denial

Marie O'Halloran

Minister for Justice Michael McDowell has rejected the
statement by alleged IRA leader Thomas "Slab" Murphy that
he had no connection with suspected money-laundering

Mr McDowell said in his view Mr Murphy was a man whose
credibility was "very minimal".

The Co Louth farmer issued a statement last week in the
wake of raids on properties in Manchester and Dundalk by
Britain's Assets Recovery Agency and the Garda Criminal
Assets Bureau, in which documents were seized. He said he
had no property interests and made his living from farming.

But Mr McDowell said he did not believe this. On the RTÉ
Radio programme This Week, the Minister said: "Let's
remember that he went before a jury in the Four Courts in
Dublin denying that he had anything to do with the IRA, or
that he was a leading member of the IRA - chief of staff of
the IRA. The Sunday Times defended that case and a Dublin
jury was quite convinced by the evidence that they
received, that he was."

He added that, "sad to say, one of the witnesses who
testified against him in the proceedings ended up dead just
over the Border, shortly after that case was finished.

"He was chief of staff of what they describe as their army
and he was for many, many years a member of the army
council of the IRA. His credibility has to be taken in my
view in that context."

The Minister also warned that all funds illegally
accumulated by the IRA would be sought, by the Criminal
Assets Bureau in the Republic and by the Assets Recovery

"There is no amnesty for the vast amounts of money that the
IRA have squirrelled away. They will be sought wherever
they are, in Ireland or abroad. There is no question of the
Provisional movement being able to hold on to vast
resources which they have accumulated over many years
through crime."

Asked about the Independent Monitoring Commission's report,
Mr McDowell said it would be presented to Government this
week and it covered a period prior to the IRA statement in
July and "that colours the background situation".

He believed the statement of July 28th and the
decommissioning that followed "affords potential for a huge
improvement in the situation in Northern Ireland and
dramatic transformation of the involvement of
paramilitarism and politics".

© The Irish Times



Ltr: Govts Must Act To End Loyalist Attacks On Catholics

THE greater emphasis of the media and Government remains on
the IRA while crime, evictions and blatant acts of
sectarianism are carried out by loyalist paramilitaries
under the benign eyes of British securicrats and the PSNI
in the North.

The siege conditions many Catholic families have lived
under for several months in north Antrim and parts of
Belfast have got limited coverage in the media in the

There is a growing perception that the decommissioned IRA
is now a greater threat to our Government and the economic
interests of those who own our media than when they had a
gun in one hand and ballot paper in the other.

It is not remarkable that Dr Paisley and Reg Empey of the
UUP hold the same fears.

However, the unprotected Catholics of north Antrim, the
heartland of Paisley country, and indeed more Catholics
throughout many areas in the North, feel extremely
vulnerable to the campaigns being launched against them by
sinister forces immune to the law. The inability of our
Government to influence the British government to act
positively to protect vulnerable Catholics is not a
surprise to any observer of Northern Ireland affairs.

Unless loyalist paramilitaries decommission and the attacks
on Catholics are ended, the void left by the IRA could be
filled by others. The urgency to avoid this demands the
attention of the Government.

Justice Minister Michael McDowell's obsession with pursuit
of the IRA, while oblivious to the activities of loyalist
paramilitaries, is a critical flaw in the fulfilment of his

The more he and sections of the national media attack Sinn
Féin, the greater their support base will become in the
next general election.

Both governments and the parties supporting the Good Friday
Agreement must ensure its deliverance in full. The IRA
dithered in fulfilling their part, but could you blame them
in view of the loyalist violence and the sectarianism in Dr
Paisley's constituency?

Mr McDowell, open your eyes and bite your tongue.

John J Hassett
Croke Street
Co Tipperary


Fine Gael To Reclaim Its Sinn Féin Roots

Joe Humphreys

Fine Gael is to hold a commemorative event next month to
mark the centenary of the founding of Sinn Féin, amid
accusations that the history of the republican party has
been hijacked by its latter-day namesake.

Speaking at a Michael Collins remembrance event yesterday,
Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny said present-day Sinn Féin
undermined "the vision and aspirations of constitutional
republicans" like Collins and Arthur Griffith, who founded
the original Sinn Féin in 1905.

Announcing plans to commemorate the founding of that party,
to which not only Fine Gael and Sinn Féin traced their
roots but also Fianna Fáil, Mr Kenny said: "One hundred
years after the founding of the original Sinn Féin party,
the current users of that title dishonour the memory of the
founding fathers of Sinn Féin through their association
with the IRA and its criminal network, that stretches the
length and breadth of this country and spreads even further
afield in its attempts to disguise its operations."

Fine Gael plans to hold the Sinn Féin centenary event at
the Mansion House on November 27th, focusing on the
contribution of Griffith, who also co-founded Cumann na
nGaedhael - the forerunner of Fine Gael - with fellow pro-
Treaty Sinn Féin TDs.

The initiative, being spearheaded by Fine Gael TDs Dan
Neville, Jimmy Deenihan and Liam Twomey and Senator Fergal
Browne, follows a series of centenary events organised this
year by Sinn Féin - including a controversial rally at the

Mr Kenny was speaking as guest of honour at the unveiling
of a new organisation aimed at preserving the memory of
Collins, and archiving records of the revolutionary leader
who was killed in August 1922.

Senator Noel Coonan, president of the Collins 22 Society
(, said it sought to
ensure "no leader of a Fianna Fáil government" would
succeed in deleting Collins and Cumann na nGaedhael from

He said attempts had been made to downplay Collins's
contribution to the founding of the State and "we all know
who was behind that", adding that some would say his
biggest mistake was "to spring de Valera from Lincoln

Among those in attendance were members of the Collins
family, and 104-year-old Comdt Seán Clancy, the last
surviving member of Collins's Officer Corps.

Cooley Distillery was also present, giving details of a new
whiskey carrying the "Michael Collins" label which it
planned to sell in the US.

Mr Kenny quoted Collins's vision of an Irish nation that
had "sufficient wealth" to allow people be "rich in body,
mind and character".

© The Irish Times


Respiratory Illness Decreases Since Smoke Ban

Eithne Donnellan, Health Correspondent

There has been a significant reduction in respiratory
symptoms such as coughing and wheezing among non-smoking
bar staff in the Republic since the introduction of the
smoking ban, a new study has found.

Researchers from universities across the State who
conducted the study found a 16.7 per cent reduction in
reporting of respiratory symptoms of any kind by bar staff
in the Republic since the ban.

But they found no reduction in respiratory symptoms among
bar workers in Northern Ireland over the same period, where
smoking is still permitted in pubs.

Northern Ireland health Minister Shaun Woodward has been
sent a copy of this new research, which was conducted among
staff in pubs in urban and rural areas of Dublin, Cork,
Galway and Derry.

Research teams also measured the level of cotinine, a break
down product of nicotine, in the saliva of bar workers to
assess their exposure to secondhand smoke and found levels
of this dropped by 80 per cent in non- smoking bar workers
in the Republic after the smoking ban.

There was an unexpected 20 per cent drop in the North over
the same period, but one of the authors of the research Dr
Shane Allwright said this could be explained by a downturn
in the bar trade in the North and the fact that bar workers
there who gave samples had worked fewer hours when followed

Dr Allwright, a senior lecturer in epidemiology at Trinity
College, Dublin, said the overall findings had implications
for policy makers and legislators currently considering
smoke-free workplace legislation.

"Shaun Woodward has asked to see this paper, so we have
sent him an advance copy," she said.

The research involved tracking the respiratory health and
amount of exposure to secondhand smoke of bar workers in
the Republic and the North in the six months leading up to
the smoking ban being imposed in the Republic in March

The workers were then followed up one year later. Some 329
bar staff were enrolled, 247 were followed up a year later
and 158 of these were non-smokers.

The research, which is due to be published today in the
British Medical Journal, also found that exposure to
secondhand smoke outside of work among non- smoking bar
staff in the Republic also declined after the smoking ban.

"Now we didn't specifically ask a question about home, but
we asked about exposure outside work and certainly there
does seem to have been a drop in exposure outside of work,"
Dr Allwright said.

"So one can assume that that includes less exposure at home
and there are a number of other studies that have found
this, that when a smoking ban comes in smokers become very
much more aware of the harm of passive smoking, and if they
are prepared to protect members of the public by not
smoking in public, they are obviously going to be even more
prepared to protect the health of their families."

After the first part of the study (before the smoking ban)
65 per cent of non-smoking bar workers in the Republic
reported one or more respiratory symptom. This dropped by
25 per cent a year later (after the ban). Also, after the
ban, significantly fewer reported a cough during the day or
night or phlegm production.

"Similarly, after the ban, reporting any sensory symptom
dropped from 67 per cent to 45 per cent, reflecting
significant declines in reporting red eyes and sore

"I think it (the smoking ban) has had quite significant
health implications and informally some of the bar staff
were saying they haven't had to go to the doctor as often,"
Dr Allwright said.

© The Irish Times


Total Ban On Smoking In Northern Ireland Bars And

By Tom Peterkin, Ireland Correspondent
(Filed: 17/10/2005)

The Government will today announce that smoking in bars and
restaurants is to be outlawed in Ulster, reinforcing
suggestions that a similar ban is to be introduced in
England and Wales.

Shaun Woodward, the Northern Ireland health minister, will
make the announcement that will bring the province into
line with the Republic of Ireland and Scotland by making
smoking in public places illegal.

The Cabinet is still deciding how to proceed in England and
Wales, but there are indications that Labour's manifesto
pledge for a partial ban is to be dropped in favour of a
blanket ban on workplace smoking. Labour had envisaged
exempting pubs and bars that do not serve food. However, a
consultation exercise concluded that it would be unworkable
and unenforceable.

It would also discriminate against those who worked in a
smoky environment by exposing them to the dangers of
passive smoking.

A total ban was brought into the Irish Republic in March
last year. In Scotland, the devolved administration is to
introduce a total ban next April. The Northern Ireland
legislation is expected to be in place by April 2007.

Mr Woodward, a reformed smoker, has been on fact-finding
missions to Dublin and New York, where there is also a ban.

A Northern Ireland public consultation showed that 91 per
cent were in favour of a total ban.

Gerry McElwee, the head of cancer prevention of the Ulster
Cancer Foundation, said: "The minister's decision could end
all smoking in all workplaces and enclosed public places."

"Fudged proposals such as exemptions for some pubs or
separate smoking rooms would fail to protect those workers
and members of the public who are at most risk from other
people's smoke," he added.

The move has been opposed by many publicans, who favour a
partial ban believing that an all out ban will cost them

Nicola Carruthers, the chief executive of the Federation of
the Retail Licensed Trade, Northern Ireland, said: "What we
fear is a complete smoking ban. What we hope is that there
is still room for a small compromise."

She claimed that 400 pubs in the Irish Republic had closed
and 7,500 people had lost their jobs since their ban came

But the Institute of Public Health, part of the Smokefree
Northern Ireland campaign, disputed the figures.


Historic Lissadell House Damaged By Vandals

Paddy Clancy

Gardaí are investigating an attack by vandals on historic
Lissadell House, the ancestral home of Countess Markievicz
which is at the centre of a right-of-way row.

Entrance gates and other barriers on the estate were
damaged and removed. Slogans were sprayed claiming there
has been public access to the 162 hectare (400-acre)
property for more than 100 years.

The damage was discovered by owner Eddie Walsh and his 12-
year-old son, Harry, at 7am yesterday. A heavy wrought-iron
gate was cut from its hinges, carried 20 yards and dumped
in nearby woodland.

The vandals are believed to have used an angle-grinder and
chainsaw just hours before hundreds of visitors were due to
arrive for an open day on the estate. Damage is estimated
at €5,000.

Gardaí, including a forensics officer, were on the scene
soon after the alert.

Mr Walsh said: "The attack seems to have been well planned.
There is little doubt it was deliberately aimed to disrupt
the open day." His wife Constance Cassidy said: "We feel
it's a thing that was planned for some time. It's very

An 18-month-old dispute escalated earlier this year when
the owners closed off vehicle access to a nearby beach
through part of the estate. Locals claimed they were being
deprived of a right they had enjoyed for more than 100

The owners said they had established there was no such
right and they were not shutting down access, just
controlling it for security and safety reasons.

Mr Walsh threatened at the time to walk away from the
estate or develop it as a holiday village instead of
maintaining it as a historical monument. A spokesperson for
Lissadell Action Group said: "There is no way we would
condone the vandalism."

© The Irish Times


Last Roll Taken At Famous Dublin School

Caroline Walsh

It had the air of St Trinian's about it. The teachers
were off duty, the girls had taken over the school and
there was alcohol on the premises - lots of it.

It was the last day in the life of a much-loved Dublin
institution, Pembroke School on Pembroke Road, Ballsbridge,
better known as Miss Meredith's, after Kathleen Meredith
from Co Kerry who founded it in 1929 with just 10 girls.

Maeve Binchy and Joe Dowling were among the dynamic people
who taught there during its 75-year history.

Minister for Justice Michael McDowell was among its pupils.

With the elegant Georgian house where the school was
located now up for sale with a guide price of more than
€3.75 million, a farewell party was held there on Saturday

"Pembroke School welcomes you for the last time!" read the
chalk writing on the blackboard instead of the geometry
theorems of old.

Grown women, some with their new babies, others with their
grandchildren, revisited classrooms and leafed through a
dog-eared leabhar tinrimh (attendance book) written in Miss
Meredith's inimitable, majestic hand.

Until close to her death as a very old lady, she came by
taxi every day to take the roll. The school survived her
death and was run until recently by its new owners, Dr
Pauline O'Connell and her late husband Bill, whose children
were pupils.

"It was a school for the middle-class daughters of liberal
Catholics and there weren't many of those around in the
late 1950s and early 1960s," said economist Candy Murphy
who was there at that time.

Rachel Downes remembered aged six being measured in the
hall, as the mews at the end of the garden was called, by
top fashion designer Nelli Mulcahy.

"We were getting tweed pinafores as uniforms," said Rachel,
who was accompanied by her sister, fashion designer Lucy
Downes, also a past pupil.

Former headmistress Ann Gilleran, herself a past pupil,
said the school was run according to Miss Meredith's
philosophy that if children were happy in their learning
environment, they would learn all the better and have
confidence in themselves.

Fun was a huge part of it, too, as evidenced by people's
memories on Saturday night. One old girl remembered how she
was able to jump down the whole last flight of stairs,
others recalled a hilarious day trip to Wales with teacher
Maeve Binchy and the hockey matches in the grounds at
Sydney Parade. And what about the night Miss Meredith
insisted everyone go to bed early because she was going to
teach them long division the next day?

Legions of girls seem to have been half in love with
conductor Colman Pearce when he taught there as a young
man, and everyone wanted a tour of the basement, out of
bounds in the old days when it was home to the caretaker
Mrs Doran who cooked hot lunches, the aroma of which
permeated the whole building.

When school closed last June, there were 60 boys and girls
in the junior school and 75 girls in the secondary. They
dispersed to other schools like St Louis' in Rathmines, the
High School in Rathgar and St Conleth's on Clyde Road which
has always had close ties with Miss Meredith's.

© The Irish Times


President Receives Veterans Of The International Brigade

John Downes

Four surviving veterans of the International Brigade
attended events in Dublin at the weekend to commemorate
Irish volunteers who fought against fascism in the Spanish
Civil War.

The four veterans - Jack Jones (92) and Jack Edwards (91),
both from Liverpool, and the last two surviving Irish
members, Bob Doyle (89) and Michael O'Riordan (88) - were
received by President Mary McAleese at Áras an Uachtaráin.

Speaking at a wreath-laying ceremony outside Liberty Hall
on Saturday, David Begg, general secretary of the Ictu,
said Irish volunteers had gone to Spain to fight fascism at
a time when many at home were indifferent, if not hostile,
to their efforts.

"It took an extraordinary commitment on their part. What's
commonly referred to as the Spanish Civil War was really a
fight against fascism," he said.

Other participants in the ceremony included Siptu president
Jack O'Connor, and Christy Moore, who sang his own
composition, Viva la Quince Brigada, in honour of those who
died in Spain.

Mr Jones, a former general secretary of Britain's Transport
and General Workers' Union, said: "We did what we could."

At Frank Ryan's graveside in Glasnevin Cemetery yesterday,
Manus O'Riordan, of the International Brigade Memorial
Trust and son of Michael O'Riordan, rejected recent
"sneering references" to Ryan as a "republican saint/Nazi
collaborator . . . He warned against the development in
Ireland of any sympathy for Hitlerism, and specifically
denounced any anti-Semitic hostility towards Dublin's
Jewish community."

© The Irish Times

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