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October 13, 2005

Alex Reid: IRA Not Involved In Bank Robbery

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News about Ireland & the Irish

IO 10/13/05 Priest: IRA Had No Truck With Bank Robbery
IT 10/14/05 Fr Alec Reid: How The Belfast Meeting Unfolded
BB 10/13/05 Opin: If You Ask Me
UT 10/13/05 Priest's Apology Falls On Deaf Ears
SF 10/13/05 UTV Expose Special Branch Files Scandal
IO 10/13/05 Irish Americans Want End To IRA Criminality
IO 10/13/05 'Moment Of Truth' For SF Over Bank Robbery
DI 10/13/05 'No Foundation' To Property Allegations
II 10/13/05 SF Launches Campaign Against EU Constitution
CD 10/13/05 Evening Of Playlets A Comical Look @ Irish Life


Watch Hearts & Minds (Not for the first time a leading
nationalist has compared the Unionist treatment of
Catholics to the Nazi persecution of the Jews. Like
President McAleese before him, Father Alex Reid has
apologized, but unionists are unconvinced. We ask if the
deep and running sores uncovered by these accusations can
ever be truly healed.)

Disarmament Priest: IRA Had No Truck With Bank Robbery
2005-10-13 21:40:04+01

A Catholic priest who witnessed the completion of IRA
disarmament was tonight embroiled in a fresh political
storm after he refused to accept that the Provisionals were
involved in the £26m (€37m) Northern Bank robbery.

Redemptorist priest Father Alex Reid, who along with
Methodist minister the Rev Harold Good witnessed weapons
decommissioning by the IRA two weeks ago, also angered
unionists in a television interview broadcast in Northern
Ireland tonight by trying to explain why republican
paramilitaries had carried out so-called punishment
beatings and shootings in their areas.

Fr Reid was last night forced to apologise after he likened
the treatment of Catholics by Protestants to the treatment
of the Jews by the Nazis when he appeared at a public
meeting at a Presbyterian church in Belfast.

He said tonight he believed the IRA's denial that it was
involved in criminality and robbery like last year's £26m
Northern Bank heist.

"On that issue their leadership has denied it," he told BBC
Northern Ireland's Hearts and Minds programme.

"I believe absolutely that they had no truck to do with

Fr Reid conceded that it was possible IRA members out to
feather their own nests could be involved in criminality
because every organisation could have individuals prepared
to go to such lengths.

However he said he did not accept the IRA was a criminal

"The whole spirit of that would be a betrayal of the whole
meaning of the Republican movement," he said.

"In their own minds they are fighting a war."

The decommissioning witness said he was also opposed to so-
called punishment attacks carried out in nationalist
neighbourhoods and he knew republicans who wanted an

However he tried to explain that the attacks occurred in
the context of there being no police service in nationalist

"There is an absence of a police force that has
functionality in nationalist districts and people are going
around who are raping, who are breaking into houses, who
are joy-riding and knocking people down, who are
terrorising the elderly people. There are drugs of course
... Those people, whoever they are, they will do something
about it themselves."

Fr Reid was criticised by Ulster Unionist Assembly member
Fred Cobain and his fellow DUP Policing Board member, Ian
Paisley junior.

Mr Paisley said: "Fr Reid appears to have totally, utterly
lost it.

"His credibility has been blown to pieces and once again
this expresses the folly of letting the IRA pick who should
have witnessed decommissioning.

"He is in denial about criminality and if he is in that
sort of denial there can be little credibility in what he
says or what he claims to have seen.

"If he had not made the Nazi comment last night, these
comments alone would have struck at his credibility."

Mr Cobain described Fr Reid's latest comments as shocking.

"No one has the right to take a child up an entry
(alleyway) and shoot it in the hands, arms or the feet,"
the North Belfast Assembly member said.

"No one has the right to crucify someone in that way to
make a point.

"There is no justification for this type of action and
people should not be trying to even explain it. It is wrong
and Fr Reid should know that. He is a priest.

"The danger of comments like these is that they are used to
legitimise this type of activity."

Fr Reid's comments on the treatment of Catholics at last
night's public meeting involving his fellow decommissioning
witness, the Rev Harold Good, were today criticised by
Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain in the House of
Commons, who noted the priest's apology.

Mr Good and Fr Reid both explained that those comments were
made in the heat of the moment after bitter exchanges with
some in the audience.

Based in Clonard Monastery, Fr Reid was a pivotal figure in
efforts to bring the IRA into the peace process and helped
set up talks between Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams and
former SDLP leader John Hume, which brought republicans in
from the political cold.

He has also recently been involved in efforts to bring
about a peace process involving Basque separatists.

In one of the most gruesome images of the North's Troubles,
he was photographed administering the last rites to one of
two British army corporals killed by a mob in west Belfast
after their car drove into a cortege at the funeral of an
IRA member in March 1988.


What Fr Alec Reid Said: How The Belfast Meeting Unfolded

Gerry Moriarty, Northern Editor

Fr Reid, accompanied by the Rev Harold Good, made his
controversial remarks before a 200-strong audience at
Fitzroy Presbyterian Hall in south Belfast which had
gathered to discuss IRA decommissioning. The Redemptorist
priest, who helped broker the 1994 IRA ceasefire, had
listened to some negative comments about the Catholic
Church and "butchering priests".

At one stage, William Frazer, a campaigner for victims of
IRA violence, asked why Protestants should believe Fr Reid
from Clonard monastery in west Belfast where "weapons were
fired and where priests at funerals had spoken about IRA

Fr Reid said the IRA was chiefly occupied with opposing the
"invader, the foreigner, the British".

"It would be completely against their whole philosophy to
be attacking anybody in the unionist and Protestant
community. They don't exist for that."

Mr Frazer said: "You're going to have to be tackled on
that." He later added: "You two gentlemen seem to be
putting the IRA on a pedestal, that these are great guys
because they gave up their weapons. Let's not forget that
they killed 1,800 men, women and children."

Another member of the audience said: "When we see the
Orangemen walk the Garvaghy Road and the Ormeau Road - then
we'll think about moving on. Fr Reid actually mentioned
earlier, we have to forget the Provisional IRA. Well that's
not the case."

Fr Reid said: "I don't want to be hurtful here, but I'm
going to be straight. The nationalist community was
persecuted for up to 60 years by the unionist community,
for which the unionist community should be thoroughly

Mr Frazer replied: "Excuse me sir, can you come back to the
subject . . . can I get you to answer this question?"

Fr Reid said: "No, you see you're trying to stop me telling
the truth. You see, I'm answering his question." (Heckling
from the audience) "No, he's brought these topics up and
I'm going to answer them. I'm going back to 1968." (More
heckling) "No, you see you don't want to hear the truth.
Look, if you don't listen to me, I'm not going to answer
any more questions, I'm going away. You either listen, or
I'm going away." (Applause)

The Rev Ken Newell pleaded for calm, saying: "We've had a
very serious question, and we're going to have a serious

It was then that Fr Reid said: "The reality is that the
nationalist community of Northern Ireland were treated
almost like animals by the unionist community."

Mr Frazer shouted: "What about the massacres? What about
what you did in south Armagh? You butchered Protestants for
years in this country."

Fr Reid continued: "They were treated like the Nazis
treated the Jews. When the . . . you see you won't listen
to the truth. You come from a community that should be
absolutely ashamed of itself for the way it conducted
politics in Northern Ireland for 60 years. You are in the
same category as the Nazis as far as I'm concerned." At
this point, Mr Frazer left the meeting, ignoring calls for
him to return.

Back in the meeting Fr Reid said many nationalists believed
that a significant number of unionists "don't want to give
equality to nationalists and especially to republicans . .
. That is not on. There is no way nationalists are going
back to that, even if it means civil war. And we should
never forget we have the potential for civil war in
Northern Ireland". Many nationalists believed "that
significant elements in the unionist community still want
to keep the old system and still want to keep [
nationalists] in a way that they can control them and
oppress them. That is not on".

Nationalists "will say that a significant element of the
unionist community still want to keep the nationalist
community in subjection. And all this talk about the IRA,
the weapons of the IRA, getting rid of the weapons of the
IRA, is all a cloak for the reality which is they do not
want to give equality to nationalists and especially to

Nationalists argued that the way unionists treated
nationalists for 70 years "created the IRA". "The
nationalists will blame the unionists for the very
existence of the IRA, because when the nationalists tried
to get civil rights they were batoned off the streets and
shot off the streets.

"In so far as we were saddled with the IRA, the primary
people responsible for the IRA were the unionist
community.People got the impression that they were fighting
for a united Ireland, but they fought for a united Ireland
because they believed only in a united Ireland would
nationalists get justice, that they never would get justice
under a British system." He later also said that had the
political roles been reversed, nationalists probably would
have acted the same way towards unionists.

"I believe the greatest asset the people of Ireland have is
the unionist community because they are a very able

© The Irish Times


Opin: If You Ask Me

by Fionnuala O Connor

While loyalists fired on police, and the IRA
decommissioned, it was a bit of a pressure-cooker there for
a while, political temperature rising fast. Now the whole
stew has been turned out into a nice heavy casserole, which
will simmer away until we've worked through all the

Or at least until some have worked their way through. It's
almost hackneyed already to say that formerly heartland
loyalist districts have been destroyed from within, and
that unionism generally is in a bad way. You'd think –
given that degree of recognition – that there'd be a push
for a genuine, community-wide effort to figure out how to
regain direction and self-respect.

Instead some make the startling suggestion that the only
remedy is in the gift of nationalists. What is it? Simple –
they should stop being nationalists. North and south, they
should just abandon the desire to see Ireland united. so
that unionists can relax and move on. Indeed, it's a moral
imperative. Nationalists must give up nationalism – or be
responsible for indefinite unionist instability, and
loyalist violence that will just go on and on.

Unionists can't help themselves, this theory goes. But
since nationalists are so clever politically, they'll do
the decent thing. Which is also the smart thing, because if
unionists stay in their current state it won't be nice for

The strange thing about this argument is that it generally
comes from unionists of one shade or another – strange
because it is so insulting about unionists. It's also
unrealistic beyond belief: a bit like dispirited rivals
telling unbeaten Chelsea that they will have to give up
soccer in favour of sudoku.

And it mirrors the generations of republicans and
nationalists who behaved as if unionism was a problem to be
wished away, as if unionists were irrelevant or not
serious: a light people, ready to switch sides when the
scales fell from their eyes. To some of this way of
thinking, there were indeed good Protestants. They all
happened to be born-again republicans, devotedly Irish,
keen on the language, hostile to the beliefs they were born
into – converts, in fact.

That was when a "convert" was a Protestant who became a
Catholic – and a "pervert" was a Catholic who became a

The increasing dominance of the DUP and Sinn Fein reflects
the reality that unionists aren't going to stop being
unionist and nationalists aren't going to stop being
nationalist. It took northern Catholics long enough to find
a way out of the Troubles. Decency and sense should urge
the nationalist world not to sneer at the collapse of

But unionists need to speak truth unto unionists, not ask
nationalists to turn themselves inside out. Republicans
wrecked their own districts until they learned how futile
that was. The wisest unionists say out loud that loyalist
paramilitaries wrecked the Shankill, not the IRA.


Priest's Apology For 'Nazi' Outburst Falls On Deaf Ears

The Catholic priest at the centre of a political storm
after comparing Northern Ireland unionists to Nazis was
deeply contrite, but still under fire, tonight.

By:Press Association

Father Alec Reid, one of the churchmen who witnessed IRA
decommissioning last month, apologised profusely for his
ill-chosen words.

He was condemned on all sides, particularly by unionists,
and even by Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain on the
floor of the House of Commons.

Challenged by Democratic Unionist MP Sammy Wilson to
admonish the Redemptorist priest, Mr Hain responded:
"Although Father Alec Reid has apparently apologised for
those remarks, of course I condemn what he said."

The Ulster Unionist Party leader Sir Reg Empey said Fr Reid
had destroyed confidence in the decommissioning process.
"How can the word of somebody using that sort of language
be taken seriously," he asked.

The apologetic priest said he lost it in the heat of the
moment during angry exchanges at a public meeting on IRA
weapons decommissioning in a Belfast church last night.

Father Reid said: "I was deeply provoked and offended by
comments, many comments, about my church , my integrity and
Clonard Monastery.

"In the heat of the moment I lost my temper and I deeply
regret what I said. I have the highest regard for unionists
and I regard them as a gifted people".

During clashes with some audience members at the Fitzroy
Presbyterian Church hall he blurted out: "The reality is
that the nationalist community in Northern Ireland were
treated almost like animals by the unionist community.

"They were not treated like human beings. It was like the
Nazis` treatment of the Jews."

Father Reid said today what he had been trying to say was
that nationalists had not been given the respect they were
due by unionists. "I didn`t put it very well," he conceded.

Fr Reid added: "It was not the type of language I should
have used and I regret using it. I regret very much hurting
the feelings of anyone and I would like to apologise

"I would like, if it were possible, to meet everyone I have
offended, and I am sure I have offended people in the
nationalist community as well, and apologise to them
directly and allow them to express how they feel about what
I said."

William Frazer, of the victims group Families Acting for
Innocent Relatives, who claim Protestants were butchered by
Catholics during the Troubles, walked out of the public
meeting in disgust after Fr Reid`s comments.

He refused to accept the apology. "He is trying to
backtrack. Of course he would apologise after it all took
place. Given the situation he is in, he had no other

It is the second time in a matter of months the Nazi
accusation has been thrown at unionists. Irish president
Mary McAleese was forced to apologise after making her
comments in a radio interview marking the 60th anniversary
of the Holocaust.

The Belfast-born President said Protestants had raised
their children to hate Catholics in much the same way as
Nazis had instilled a hatred of the Jews.

She was later forced to cancel a visit to the loyalist
Shankill Road during a cross-border trip.

DUP MP Nigel Dodds said Fr Reid`s comments were far more
offensive that those of the President.

"By branding an entire community as Nazis and slandering
Protestants as treating Catholics like animals is

"Thousands of Protestants volunteered to fight the Nazis
and their descendants and the entire Protestant community
have every right to receive a total unequivocal apology
without weasel words of excuses about provocation.

"If unionists were to make similar remarks, they would be
threatened with prosecution for inciting hatred. It is no
defence to claim provocation."

Sir Reg said he had been "absolutely appalled and deeply
shocked" by the priest.

He said it was extremely sad he had damaged the community`s
confidence in the decommissioning process.

"I am convinced that a lot of decommissioning did take
place, but Fr Reid has fundamentally undermined the very
work he was part of.

"With comments like that it is extremely difficult for this
Province to move forward.

"Decommissioning weapons is one thing, decommissioning
mindsets is another."


UTV Expose Special Branch Files Scandal

Published: 13 October, 2005

Commenting after an admission on UTV Insight last night by
former Special Branchman Eric Anderson that he removed
confidential files from the PSNI and was attempting to sell
them to journalists Sinn Féin MP for West Tyrone Pat
Doherty demanded that the British government get to grips
with the role being played by former senior figures in the
Special Branch.

Mr Doherty said:

"Eric Anderson was a very senior figure within both the RUC
and PSNI Special Branch. Last night on a programme on the
failed investigation into the murder of Arlene Arkinson,
Anderson he was secretly filmed attempting to sell
confidential papers relating to the case to the UTV team.
Anderson then went on to confirm that he had removed other
files from the PSNI in a bid to frustrate the work being
carried out by the Police Ombudsman Nuala O‚Loan. I will be
in contact with the Police Ombudsman to discuss this very
serious matter.

"Anderson has been involved in countless high profile cases
and the revelation that he has stolen files will cause
immense unease within a wide section of society given the
already well documented negative role which the Special
Branch has played here for decades, including the supply of
information to loyalist death squads.

"Last nights revelations fit into a pattern which has been
emerging for some time. Former RUC Special Branch figures
hostile to the development of the peace process have been
using their positions to try and undermine the process. How
many others have illegally removed files and evidence?

"People will now watch closely the response of the PSNI to
all of this. Anderson has admitted on camera to very
serious offences. This case may well become an acid test of
the British government commitment to tackling the
securocrats within its own system who have for so long
tried to undermine and frustrate political progress." ENDS


Irish Americans Want End To IRA Criminality - Attwood
2005-10-13 22:10:07+01

Irish Americans are still focused on the demand that the
IRA ends all its involvement in criminality and recognises
the rule of law, a nationalist member of Northern Ireland's
Policing Board said today.

Belfast Assembly member Alex Attwood, who is in Washington
DC for a series of meetings on Capitol Hill, said people in
the US wanted to see progress in the wake of the IRA's
pledge to end its armed campaign and its move to complete

"What Irish America is saying, and we acknowledge this, is
that the recent moves by republicans are significant," Mr
Attwood told the Press Association.

"However policing and criminality are still centre-stage.

"For Irish America it is not an either or. It is not either
weapons or an end to criminality. It is both.

"So people are saying good work has been done on the issue
of weapons but we need to get more and end the criminality
from republicans and on respect for law and authority.

"They have not lost the focus on policing and organised

Mr Attwood said his discussions had also revealed concern
in Irish America that the British government would approve
community restorative justice schemes in republican areas,
which would not require the people involved to endorse
policing in Northern Ireland.

"There is real concern that the British Government is about
to approve and fund community policing schemes, community
restorative justice without requiring that Sinn Féin
endorses policing," he observed.

"They can see the folly of a Government approach that
leaves republicans under no obligation to move on

The SDLP Police Board member criticised the announcement by
Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain today that the board
would be revamped next April to reflect the political

Under the British government plan, the Rev Ian Paisley's
Democratic Unionists, Northern Ireland's largest party,
would have four members instead of their current tally of

The Ulster Unionists would have two instead of their
present four, the SDLP would have two instead of three and
Sinn Féin would be offered two.

However the government also indicated that in order to
maintain community balance if Sinn Féin refuses again to
take its two seats, those would be allocated to
nationalists nominated as independent members of the board.

Mr Attwood said this was a big victory for those pressing
for the implementation of policing reforms in Northern
Ireland envisaged by the Commission chaired by former EU
Commissioner Chris Patten.

"The DUP did not get what they were looking for," he said.

"The argument made by the Irish Government and the SDLP
that those seats should remain in nationalist hands if Sinn
Féin cannot come up to the mark has got through to the
British government.

They are not going to let the board be used as a sword to
attack the Patten agenda."


'Moment Of Truth' For SF Over Bank Robbery
2005-10-13 16:10:03+01

Sinn Féin faces a moment of truth after police chiefs
confirmed they believe the IRA carried out the Northern
Bank robbery, Minister for Justice Michael McDowell said

Garda Commissioner Noel Conroy said yesterday there was
evidence money seized during a probe into alleged IRA
criminality in Cork was part of the £26.5m (€38.8m) stolen
in the raid in Belfast.

Mr McDowell accused Sinn Féin leaders, who claimed they
asked the IRA whether it was responsible for last
December's theft and believed its denials, of misleading
the public.

"The moment of truth is now coming for those people," he

"There's clear evidence now that the IRA did the Northern
Bank robbery and all the denials and all the people who
said that they went back and checked out the story and that
it was untrue and all the Army Council members who spoke in
public and said there was no truth in it, now they are
getting their comeuppance."

Sinn Féin chief negotiator Martin McGuinness was among
those who said the IRA told him it did not carry out the

But Mr McDowell said Commissioner Conroy has proved the IRA
was responsible.

"Very serious political repercussions flow from that and
that is that all criminality must end and that the lying
must end and that senior Provisional politicians must stop
lying to the Irish people," he said.

Commissioner Conroy said: "I am satisfied at this stage of
the investigation that we will show the money recovered
during Operation Phoenix is part of the takings from the
robbery of the Northern Bank in Belfast."

During the operation in February, detectives seized cash,
believed to total around £5m (€7.3m), in raids in Co Cork,
including money which was being burned in the back yard of
a house.

Commissioner Conroy refused to say whether the link to the
Northern Bank raid had been established through forensic
analysis of the notes.

"What I have seen at this stage, I am now satisfied that we
will get to that position in the near future," he said.

Although the Irish police had already hinted at their
strong belief that the recovered money was linked to the
bank raid, Commissioner Conroy's comments at a cross-border
cooperation seminar in Dublin yesterday were the first
official confirmation of his position.

Mr McDowell also hit out at Thomas "Slab" Murphy, the
alleged Chief of Staff of the IRA, who yesterday claimed he
had nothing to do with properties searched in Manchester
over alleged IRA links.

"His denial that he has any connection with these matters
must be taken in the context that he swore on a Bible that
he had nothing to do with the IRA and wasn't a senior
member of the IRA and that a Dublin jury who heard all the
witnesses regarded him as a liar on that occasion," he

Mr Murphy failed in a libel action against The Sunday Times
in 1998 after the newspaper described him as a top


"Those opposed to the peace process are obviously hoping
that, in vilifying me personally and republicanism in
general, they will scupper attempts to build peace" - Tom

'No Foundation' To Property Allegations

Jarlath Kearney

Crossmaglen farmer Tom Murphy yesterday said that claims he
owns an illegal property empire in Manchester have
"absolutely no foundation".

Belfast solicitors Madden and Finucane, acting for Mr
Murphy, issued a statement on his behalf following serious
and sustained allegations in the media over the past ten

The allegations have linked Mr Murphy with an investigation
by the Assets Recovery Agency. Last Thursday, the agency
targeted the Manchester property developer Dermot Craven,
purportedly as part of the same investigation.

The agency claimed in a statement that its investigation
was focused on 250 properties in Manchester worth £30
million (€44 million) in total.

On Monday, Mr Craven told a press conference in Manchester
that he had only ever had business dealings with a relative
of Tom Murphy.

Mr Craven said those transactions related to just seven
properties, worth a total of £700,000 (€1 million). The
last transaction involving both parties took place
"approximately two years ago", Mr Craven added.

Mr Murphy's solicitors yesterday said their client had been
"the subject of media coverage of last week's CAB [Criminal
Assets Bureau] and ARA searches and seizures in Dundalk and
Manchester respectively".

In a personal statement, Mr Murphy said: "There is
absolutely no foundation to the allegations about me which
have been carried in the media for some time, and repeated
at length over the past week.

"I have never conducted any business with the Craven
Property group, nor have I any link with other businesses
run by them.

"It is distressing to myself and my family to see false
allegations being made by anonymous staff in the Assets
Recovery Agency and repeated as fact in the media.

"I want to categorically state, for the record, that all of
these allegations are totally untrue. I believe that
questions have to be asked as to why these raids were
conducted in the full glare of the media and why my name
was leaked in connection with this case.

"My name has appeared on no ARA statement that I am aware
of, and no agency has been in contact with me in relation
to any of this.

"My solicitors are in contact with those concerned to
ascertain why my name has been falsely linked to this case.

"I do not own any property and, in fact, I had to sell my
own home some years ago to cover legal fees following an
unsuccessful libel case. Despite losing this case, I take
an attack on my reputation very seriously.

"The premises depicted in the media is not in fact my home
and I do not live at that address. I make a living from

"Those opposed to the peace process are obviously hoping
that, in vilifying me personally and republicanism in
general, they will scupper attempts to build peace.

"They will not succeed. I have been a republican all my
life and fully support the peace process. I will continue
to play whatever role I can, to see it work."

Speaking to the BBC in Dublin yesterday, Alan McQuillan,
the Assets Recovery Agency's assistant director for the
North, denied criticisms that his organisation was acting
to a "political agenda".

"My motivation is taking assets off criminals… without fear
or favour. We don't take account of political
considerations," he said.

Mr McQuillan said his agency's operations "are driven
solely by our desire to recover the proceeds of crime.
We're not driven by any political or other considerations
and that's the basis on which we take our decisions."

He added: "I certainly am not aware of any briefings by the
ARA that put Mr Murphy's name in the frame. We are not
confirming any name at this stage."

He also denied assertions that the agency was pushing a
political agenda because it has failed as an institution.

"I don't think the ARA has failed in the past… We are
making great progress," he said.

No agency representative was available for comment last


Sinn Fein Launches Campaign Against EU Constitution

15:23 Thursday October 13th 2005

Sinn Fein today launched a nationwide policy campaign on
the EU.

Yesterday the Taoiseach announced that there were no plans
to hold a referendum on the European Constitution in the
lifetime of this Dail.

Ratification by member states was halted when French and
Dutch voters decisively rejected it.

Sinn Fein TD Aengus O'Snodaigh said the public would have
told the treaty is dead: "I don't want to see an EU
Constitution," he said, "I want an EU of equal nation
states which have their own constitution but who agree to
cooperate together that's the basis of it."


Evening Of Playlets Takes A Comical Look At Irish Life

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Ken Carey, left, and Joe Dellacqua in Gillespie's Son

The Irish Theatre Project this weekend will explore — and,
in some cases, explode — Irish stereotypes.

Thru A Rearview Mirror, opening Friday at the Shamrock
Club, is a collection of five one-act comedies by central
Ohio playwrights.

The evening "gives the Irish a chance to laugh at
themselves and gives other audience members a chance to
laugh with them while increasing their understanding of
Irish culture," Executive Director Vivian Lermond said.

"We wanted to pursue the theme of looking back and having a
different perspective on Irish culture and the things that
make the Irish unique."

The Divination by Billie E. Hazelbaker is a dark comedy
about an Irish man's obsession with dying and his wife's
concern about him. Irish-American actor Mic O'Hollaran

Lucky Charms by Sue Stanton focuses on a husband who
believes in a charm that he hopes will change his life.

"All that can be a stereotype, but there's also a reality
to it," said Lermond, a thirdgeneration Irish-American.

"The Irish are certainly down-to-earth but superstitious.
They are obsessed with death and dying, and they drown
their sorrows in liquor."

The Irish Hunky Shuffle by Kip Knott revolves around a
woman and her grandson playing cards.

The piece "looks at the parallels between the luck of the
shuffle in a card game and the life lessons of playing out
the hands you're dealt," Lermond said.

She wrote the two other pieces: Seannachie, about a widowed
mother who runs a bed-and-breakfast visited by Japanese and
American tourists; and Gillespie's Son, the only previously
staged piece, about an Irishborn male swinger who moves to
southern California.

Seannachie, which takes its title from the Irish word for
"storyteller," comically offers the moral that "No matter
how far you travel, you don't escape your roots," Lermond

Performances will take place at 7:30 p.m. Friday, 8 p.m.
Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday — and 8 p.m. Oct. 21-22 and 2
p.m. Oct. 23 — at the Shamrock Club, 60 W. Castle Rd.
Tickets cost $12, or $10 in advance. For more information,
call 614-451-4406.

— Michael Grossberg

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