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October 17, 2005

Anger At PSNI Investigation of Fr Reid

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News about Ireland & the Irish

SF 10/17/05 Anger At PSNI Investigation Into Fr. Reid
DI 10/17/05 Support Voiced For Peace-Making Priest
DI 10/17/05 'A Brighter And Better Reality'
BT 10/17/05 Report Will Verify IRA's Inactivity
SA 10/17/05 Dlamini-Zuma (South Africa) To Host Adams
SF 10/17/05 SF Meet Ombudsman On Anderson File Scandal
BT 10/17/05 Durkan In 'Don't Indulge DUP' Warning To Blair
BB 10/17/05 Bradley Pledge After Bar Assault
NH 10/17/05 RIRA 'War' Must End Says Senior Dissident
IO 10/17/05 Liam Cosgrave Appears In Court
BT 10/17/05 Ulster Judicial Reform Is 'Too Slow'
DI 10/17/05 Opin: Some Of My Best Friends Are Nationalists
DI 10/17/05 Opin: Comparing Nazi Germany To No. Is Bizarre
DI 10/17/05 Opin: Biting Tongues
BT 10/17/05 Opin: Mass Attendances Drop, SF Support Grows
BT 10/17/05 Opin: Scales Of Justice Can Not Be Tilted
EP 10/17/05 Ltr From Newspaper Publisher’s Ireland Visit
BB 10/17/05 A Titanic Dive To Remember
ST 10/17/05 Flatley: Feet Don't Fail Him
UT 10/17/05 Lansdowne Stadium Plans Unveiled
TO 10/16/05 Michael Collins Whiskey For US


Anger At PSNI Investigation Into Fr. Reid Comments

Published: 17 October, 2005

South Belfast Sinn Féin Assembly member Alex Maskey has hit
out at the PSNI after they announced they were
investigating remarks made by Fr. Alec Reid last week on a
foot of a complaint by prominent loyalist Willie Frazer.

Mr Maskey said:

" Surely after a summer which has witnessed a campaign of
sectarian violence from unionist paramilitaries and in the
very week that former Special Branchman Eric Anderson
admitted on camera to stealing and possessing confidential
PSNI files the PSNI would have more to occupy their time
than going on a pointless witch hunt against a catholic
priest on the foot of a complaint from an individual like
Willie Frazer. This move by the PSNI will cause widespread
anger within broad nationalism and is further evidence of
how out of touch the PSNI remain from our community.

" It is not the job of the PSNI to try and provide succour
to individuals who simply do not want to have the debate
about the origins of the six county state and the sectarian
discrimination which underpinned its very existence.
Whatever about the choice of language from Fr. Reid some
sections of unionism are to a large degree in denial about
the past and its role in the conflict over the past 30

" Are the PSNI now also going to open investigations into
the anti-Catholic statements articulated by unionist
political leaders and the DUP in particular over the past
30 years, statements that were used by unionist
paramilitaries as justification for killing innocent people
over many years.

" Fr. Reid has apologised for his choice of words last week
in a heated public meeting and that should be left at that.
However unionist politicians need to have the debate about
the origins of the six counties and the institutionalised
discrimination which did exist and the role of all of this
in creating conflict. Otherwise unionist communities will
continue to view the moves towards equality demanded by the
Good Friday Agreement with suspicion and hostility." ENDS


Support Voiced For Peace-Making Priest

Taoiseach says Fr Reid was provoked

Zoë Tunney

Support was voiced yesterday for Fr Alex Reid, who is
facing a police probe into comments he made likening
unionists to Nazis.

The tireless peace worker and eyewitness to IRA
decommissioning is the focus of a PSNI investigation after
a complaint about his recent comments was lodged with the
PSNI on Friday.

Fr Reid will be investigated over the comments he made at a
meeting with members of the unionist community last

During a heated argument with William Frazer from the group
Families Acting for Innocent Relatives, Fr Reid said
unionists had treated Catholics "almost like animals". "It
was like the Nazis' treatment of the Jews," the Catholic
priest said.

On Friday, Mr Frazer went to a PSNI station with his legal
representative, Arlene Foster of the Democratic Unionist
Party, and lodged an official complaint against the

The PSNI has confirmed that the force received a complaint
and is now looking into allegations that Fr Reid incited
hatred by his remarks. Mr Frazer said he had been taunted
by people in his local area making Nazi salutes to him.

The Reverend Harold Good yesterday said he believed Fr
Reid's comments had damaged the confidence of people in the
unionist community. However the Methodist clergyman added
that he did not want the controversy to overshadow the two
men's work relating to the IRA's disarmament.

"I have disassociated myself from Fr Reid's comments but I
have not distanced myself from the man," Rev Good told
Daily Ireland.

"I have accepted his apology to me, and I hope the
community can accept his apology to them," Mr Good said.

The Methodist minister also said he had arranged a meeting
with Willie Frazer adding that he too had had a part to
play in the controversy over Fr Reid's comments.

"I want to speak to both parties who are hurting over
this," he said.

"I want to meet Willie Frazer in a pastoral context. I
realise he is upset and I want to be helpful to both.

"But his [Mr Frazer's] outburst must not be forgotten

"Things were being said on both sides and that has to be
remembered," insisted Rev Good.

Taoiseach Bertie Ahern showed his support for Fr Reid
yesterday when he said the clergyman had reacted to

Speaking after the annual Fianna Fáil Wolfe Tone
commemoration in Bodenstown Cemetery in Co Kildare, Mr
Ahern said: "Fr Reid's comments were not advisable but they
were said after provocation and we all let that happen from
time to time."

A PSNI spokesperson said the force was investigating the
nature of the complaint before deciding whether to charge
Fr Reid with inciting hatred.

Fr Reid is on retreat in Medjugorje in Croatia and was
unavailable for comment yesterday.


'A Brighter And Better Reality'

"If we succeed, and we shall, then we will change life on
this island for the better, forever." - An Taoiseach Bertie
Ahern at Bodenstown yesterday

Ciarán O'Neill

Taoiseach Bertie Ahern described the peace process as "the
great opportunity" of the current generation.

He said yesterday that ensuring peace in Ireland was the
most important issue of his political life.

"If we succeed, and we shall, then we will change life on
this island for the better, forever," he said.

Speaking at the annual Fianna Fáil Wolfe Tone commemoration
at Bodenstown in Co Kildare, Mr Ahern stressed there was
much work still to be done.

"I want to build upon the last decade of momentum and
achievement in the peace process. I want to transform the
process into positive results on the ground, North and

"The absence of violence is only the precondition for, not
the realisation of, the progress that people desperately

"Peace must be supported by reconciliation, and progress
must be underpinned by investment, by education and by
equal opportunity," he said.

Mr Ahern said the IRA had "yielded" to the will of the
Irish people by putting its weapons beyond use.

"It has taken an unconscionable length of time and
unforgivable pain and suffering but finally they have
realised that it is the ballot box and not the Armalite
that can bring about change in the Ireland of the 21st

"I have made it clear that we must see an end to all
paramilitary and criminal activity. There will be a report
from the Independent Monitoring Commission next week and
again in January that will address these issues.

"Rebuilding trust and confidence is a challenge but, if
these reports are positive, we will want to get back into
serious discussions with the parties in the new year with a
view to the restoration of the institutions as soon as
possible thereafter," said Mr Ahern.

The Taoiseach praised all those involved in the peace

"Due to the combined efforts of many men and women of
goodwill, I believe we remain on course to forge a brighter
and better reality," he said.

"Our generation has borne witness to the tragic results of
a conflict that has cost well over 3,000 lives and caused
colossal damage and disturbance to the lives of many more
people, holding back the natural progress of a whole
society and indeed an entire island. Yet today, we stand on
an exciting threshold of a new era of peace and prosperity
where, when fully implemented, the Good Friday Agreement
has the potential to wholly change the river flow of
history, to consolidate peace and slam the door on over 30
years of conflict, 80 years of alienation and hundreds of
years of bitter enmity and hate."

He said he and his party were determined there would be no
turning back in the process.

"A fully implemented Agreement will provide a new beginning
— based on partnership, co-operation and mutual respect —
in relationships within Northern Ireland, between North and
South, and between Ireland and Britain. It does not mean an
end to difference.

"It does not spell defeat for either of the two great
traditions of republicanism or unionism. Instead, it spells
victory for all the people who want to coexist in peace and
harmony on this island," he said.

Mr Ahern said he wished to tell the unionist community that
there was no constitutional threat from the Republic to the
position of the North within the United Kingdom.

He added that loyalists must now also be carried forward by
the current "tide of opportunity".

"In the end, the peace process must leave no one behind,"
said Mr Ahern.

This week, Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams is expected to
update political leaders in South Africa on the Irish peace
process during a visit there.

Mr Adams has travelled to South Africa following an
official invitation from Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, the South
African foreign minister.


Report Will Verify IRA's Inactivity

By Chris Thornton
17 October 2005

London and Dublin were today preparing for publication of
the latest report on the IRA's ceasefire, which is expected
to confirm that the group has stuck to its pledge to end
all activity.

The Independent Monitoring Commission's seventh report was
delivered to the two governments on Friday afternoon.

After lawyers and other government officials review the
material in the report, it will be published simultaneously
in London and Dublin.

Earlier this month, Secretary of State Peter Hain said that
intelligence reports - the basis for the IMC's work -
indicated that the IRA was sticking to its pledge to end
all activity.

That was followed by the IRA's fourth act of
decommissioning, which General John de Chastelain said had
accounted for their entire arsenal.

The IMC's next report - due in January - is considered to
be more important in determining whether the IRA has
remained inactive for a sustained period of time.

The current report deals only with activity in the weeks
after the IRA's July 28 announcement.

But the January report will cover a much longer period
after that announcement. It is expected to include
reference to recent threats against Sunday World reporters
alleged to have come from "mainstream republicans" -
usually code for the IRA.

The reporters who were notified of threats by Special
Branch officers were interviewed by the Commission for more
than an hour last week.

IRA involvement in criminality will also be a key element
addressed in both reports.

The current report is expected to clear the IRA of any
involvement in recent robberies.

But the IMC has also previously linked all paramilitaries
to illicit profits from apparently legitimate businesses
and money laundering through fake charities.


Dlamini-Zuma To Host Adams

17/10/2005 13:11 - (SA)

Cape Town - Foreign Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma will
host Northern Ireland's Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams for
discussions in Pretoria on Tuesday, her department said on

Sinn Fein is the political wing of the Irish Republican
Army (IRA).

Adams will pay a special visit to South Africa from Tuesday
to Friday, the department said in a statement.

"This visit follows the recent historic decision by the
IRA, in response to the courageous and far-sighted call
made by Gerry Adams in April 2005, to end the armed
struggle and put all of its weapons beyond use."

With the announcement by the Independent International
Commission on Decommissioning that the IRA had destroyed
the totality of its arsenal, the stage had now been set for
a revival of the peace process and for creating a lasting
peace after many decades of a protracted struggle.

A core focus of the visit would be sharing experiences on
decommissioning and disarmament, and particularly the
lessons that could be learnt from the various peace
processes in Africa.

"In this context, it should be noted that the
decommissioning of arms has become a key element of
conflict resolution world-wide," the department said.

The discussions between Adams and Dlamini-Zuma would focus
on, among others, the latest developments in the peace
process and the next steps on the road to implementing the
Good Friday Agreement.

While in South Africa, Adams was also scheduled to pay a
courtesy call on President Thabo Mbeki, and hold
discussions with Intelligence Minister Ronnie Kasrils and
other prominent South Africans.

He would also lay a wreath at Freedom Park in Soweto,
before addressing the South African Institute of
International Affairs in Johannesburg on Wednesday.


Sinn Féin To Meet Ombudsman On Eric Anderson File Theft Scandal

Published: 17 October, 2005

Sinn Féin MP for West Tyrone Pat Doherty will tomorrow meet
with the Police Ombudsman Nuala O'Loan to discuss the
admissions from former senior Special Branchman Eric
Anderson that he had stolen confidential PSNI files in a
bid to frustrate the work of the Ombudsman's office.

Mr Doherty said:

" Eric Anderson was involved in many high profile PSNI and
RUC investigations. Since he admitted last week on a UTV
investigation into the murder of Arlene Arkinson to
stealing confidential files in a bid to frustrate the work
of the Police Ombudsman I have been contacted by a number
of people deeply concerned over the implications about all
of this.

" Remarkably neither Peter Hain nor Security Minister Shaun
Woodward have made any comment regarding this matter. The
PSNI have made no moves to arrest Mr Anderson or retrieve
the missing files. Indeed if Eric Anderson had not made the
revelations in the first place it seems that the PSNI did
not even know that the files were missing.

" Given the nationalist experience of policing over decades
and in particular the use of files like this by unionist
paramilitaries this unfolding scandal raises very serious
issues about future attitudes towards policing in general.

" Sinn Féin will jot be letting this matter drop. I will
meet with the Police Ombudsman tomorrow and we will be
raising this matter with the British and Irish governments
in the time ahead. We have been highlighting for some years
the role of the RUC Special Branch old guard both inside
and outside the PSNI as they bid to frustrate further
policing and political change. The attitude of the PSNI and
British government to this case will in a very public way
demonstrate if they are at last going to tackle the
securocrats head on." ENDS


Durkan In 'Don't Indulge DUP' Warning To Blair

By Noel McAdam
17 October 2005

The Republic's Foreign Affairs Minister Dermot Ahern was
today to meet the heads of North-South bodies in Northern

The talks in Armagh involving the cross-border chief
executives came as the SDLP vowed to push the Government to
inject fresh momentum into the work of the North-South

The Armagh meeting was due to follow an informal meeting in
Newry of the North-South "roundtable" group, a private
sector initiative aimed at developing economic and business
policy, which Mr Ahern was also due to attend.

SDLP leader Mark Durkan is heading a party delegation to
meet Tony Blair in Downing Street tomorrow afternoon.

The party said its main focus would be to warn the Prime
Minister against giving in to the DUP's "shopping list" of

A spokesperson said: "We will be urging Tony Blair not to
indulge the DUP, not to go the road of concessions no
matter how many demands they present.

"Single-party shopping lists is not the way forward.
Instead, we should bet back to the Good Friday Agreement.

"It is time to produce a strategy for ending the cancer of
sectarianism so that we can move towards a shared future."


Bradley Pledge After Bar Assault

The vice chairman of the Policing Board has said he will
not resign after being attacked in a pub in Londonderry
nearly four weeks ago.

Denis Bradley suffered serious head injuries when a masked
man hit him with a baseball bat in the Brandywell area.

He had previously decided to resign from the board when it
is reconstituted next April, but said the assault almost
made him reconsider that decision.

Dissident republicans were blamed for the attack.

It was the latest in a series of attacks on the former
priest, including a petrol bomb attack on his home and
death threats.

"It was the only thing that came close to making me
reconsider my decision not to go back onto policing in
April," Mr Bradley said.

"It came very close to driving me in the opposite

"The fact that the board was rolled over and is now open to
April, there's a number of months left to actually begin to
do whatever work I think is left in me."

Last week, Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain announced
that the make-up of the Policing Board would change next
April to reflect recent election results.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/10/17 11:26:51 GMT


RIRA 'War' Must End Says Senior Dissident

(Barry McCaffrey, Irish News)

A senior Real IRA prisoner last night (Thursday) called on
dissident republicans to accept that their 'war' was over.

Ciaran MacLochlainn, pictured, who is serving 18 years for
possession of weapons and explosives, said the dissidents'
campaign had failed – partly due to a lack of public

The 51-year-old was the Real IRA's leader in Maghaberry
Prison in 2002.

Writing from prison the Derry republican said: "Looking
retrospectively, one cannot pin-point exactly the reason
for the collapse of these military initiatives, so complex
and varied are their nature, but collapse they have, of
that there can be no doubt.

"Perhaps it is safe to say that the structures around which
these initiatives were built simply could not bear the
pressures of what such an immense task brings.

"Ultimately what made the structure fragile was an absence
of popular support."

The Real IRA carried out the 1998 Omagh bombing, which
killed 29 people, including woman pregnant with twins,
while the Continuity IRA has attacked a number of British
army bases.

While insisting that republicans had a moral right to use
"armed struggle", MacLochlainn said their war should now be
brought to an end.

"Sometimes the truth hurts and is hard to accept," he said.

"But the fact is that out of these initiatives no credible
military or political alternative has emerged that would
justify any of the sacrifices made in its name."

The grandfather said dissidents were now caught between an
"illusion of war and an aspiration to wage war, but there
is no war".

Warning that they were becoming an increasing irrelevance,
he said: "Somewhere inside this negative transition, the
decision to place the lives and liberty of young
republicans at risk stops being merely wrong and becomes

"What was once called a sacrifice simply becomes a waste.

"There is no shame in admitting and accepting the truth,
but to ignore it is to misrepresent original aspirations
and can only lead to disgrace.

"The vast, vast majority of republicans now believe that
the war, as we have known it, is now over.

"For what it is worth, I and many more of my imprisoned
comrades agree."

Anthony McIntyre, who served a separate jail term with
MacLochlainn in the 1980s, supported the call for an end to
the dissidents' campaign.

"I am pleased that Ciaran has come out and called for an
end to the war," he said.

"It took courage for him to say it and I hope that the Real
IRA and Continuity IRA heeds what he has said."

October 17, 2005


Liam Cosgrave Appears In Court

17/10/2005 - 12:51:32

A former leas-chathaoirleach of Seanad Eireann who failed
to declare donations exceeding IR£500 has been remanded on
bail for sentence by Dublin Circuit Criminal Court.

Liam Cosgrave, 49, Merrion Park, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, who
was elected to the Seanad in 1989, pleaded guilty to
knowingly furnishing a falsified donation statement where
he failed to declare that he had received any single
donation exceeding IR£500 (€634) between May 15 and
December 31, 1997.

He is son of former Taoiseach, Mr Liam Cosgrave and
grandson of William T. Cosgrave who was president of the
Executive Council of the Irish Free State from December
1922 to 1932.

Judge Desmond Hogan adjourned sentencing to February 27,


Ulster Judicial Reform Is 'Too Slow'

By David Gordon
17 October 2005

A government-appointed watchdog today accused court chiefs
of not moving quickly enough to reform the process for
appointing Ulster judges.

Commissioner for Judicial Appointments John Simpson also
highlighted the low numbers of women among judges and
magistrates in the province.

Mr Simpson made his observations in his annual report for
2004-05, which has been submitted to Lord Chancellor Lord

Responsibility for recommending candidates for Northern
Ireland judge and magistrate positions to the Lord
Chancellor now rests with a newly-established Judicial
Appointments Commission.

Mr Simpson's report stated: "I have been disappointed at
the lack of progress on the recommended changes in
appointment procedures that could have been made ahead of
the transfer of functions to the Commission.

"There remains a formidable agenda for the Commission in
the enhancement of the impartial and more professional
procedures for judicial appointments."

In a 2003 special audit report 2003, Mr Simpson made 86
reform recommendations to the Northern Ireland Court

His report stated that just under half of these proposed
changes were still "under consideration".

These covered a wide range of issues including monitoring
the religion and gender of the entire judiciary; interviews
to be held for filling High Court judge posts; a register
of interests for members of the judiciary; and a more
flexible format for interviews.

Responsibility for these issues has now passed to the new

The report accepted that everyone involved in judicial
appointments is "committed to the principle of appointment
on merit".

But it said shortcomings left the process "vulnerable to

Mr Simpson also stated that there are nine female county
court judges in Northern Ireland and 40 male. The number of
resident magistrates breaks down into eight women and 28
men, while there are no women judges in the High Court, the
report said.

Mr Simpson added: "There has been only very limited
progress in the identification and discussion of issues
that might move the debate forward on how to achieve a
judiciary more reflective of society."


Opin: Some Of My Best Friends Are Nationalists

"When someone of the eminence of Mary McAleese or Alex Reid
stands up and punctures that narrative, albeit with a
parallel that is in some features is excessive, unionism
becomes angry. Not because they've been compared to Nazis –
unionists have been called similar names often before – but
because an alternative narrative is being proposed."

Jude Collins

There are just three questions worth asking about Fr Alex
Reid's remarks in south Belfast earlier this week: were the
remarks true, why were some people so upset by them, and
what do the remarks and the reactions tell us about

As to the first, the answer is 'No' and 'Yes'. I'm aware
that's disappointing for those who see the world in black
and white and don't believe in mixing the two, but
sometimes you have to grow up and accept complexity.

So no, the unionists over a 60-year period did not act like
Nazis, insofar as they did not build gas chambers and
attempt to put nationalist population into them. History
has no evidence that any unionist leader, with the
exception of George Seawright, ever suggested such a thing;
and it's a reasonable surmise the unionist people would
have rejected to such a suggestion with outrage and

But yes, there are parallels between the unionist attitude
to nationalists and the Nazi attitude to Jews. Nazi
persecution of the Jews came out of a conviction that Jews
were innately inferior to members of the Aryan race. There
are clear signs that unionists thought in similar ways
about nationalists. They were not to be trusted: Lord
Brookeborough "would not have one about the place".
Unionist children were taught to never trust a fenian, in
the same way that German children were taught to see Jews
as devious and scheming. "Know your enemy," Hitler told the
German people. "It is the Jew," he said. Unionism has
thrived since the inception of the state on the notion that
northern nationalists – probably in league with Dublin and
the Vatican – are the enemy, and must be dealt with
accordingly. Anti-Jewish laws made it possible to
confiscate Jewish property; discrimination, official and
unofficial, denied nationalists in the North their rights
in the areas of housing, employment, political

The distrust of Jews in Germany and nationalists in the
North of Ireland is understandable. In the post-World War
One years, the German people were in dire political and
social straits. The contrast between their penury and the
relative wealth of many Jews in Germany created a climate
of suspicion and hatred. These people, it seemed, must be
the reason Germans were experiencing humiliation; and so
persecution became possible

Similarly, there are historical reasons for unionist
distrust of nationalists. In the early 1920s, the link
between most of the island of Ireland and Britain had been
effectively broken. Unionists looked at the map and saw
themselves pushed into a small north-eastern corner, with
one third of the new state's population apparently keen to
rid the entire island of the British connection. Of course
distrust and hatred thrived.

But just as history explains but does not excuse the Nazi
treatment of the Jews in Germany, nothing excuses the
decades of unionist gerrymander and discrimination here.

So, Fr Alex Reid got it wrong and at the same time right in
drawing the analogy he did.

Why were unionists such as Ian Óg Paisley so upset by Fr
Reid's remarks? Well, it provided an opportunity for the
heir apparent to refresh his credentials as a critic of the
Catholic clergy. It also allowed him to speak as though he
were the embodiment of the unionist people. Unionists – not
just Ian Og Paisley – were experiencing "outrage and
righteous fury".

It was truly shocking that a clergyman, a religious leader,
should be talking this way, injecting his "poisonous
hatred" into the political system, while displaying a total
failure to understand the other community. (You can tell
Ian Óg doesn't do irony.)

This charge, with varying degrees of stridency, was
repeated by other unionist representatives – until now we
are presented with a picture of a deeply-hurt community,
one which cannot be expected to make generous gestures to
the other side but rather must look for gestures from the
people who have inflicted the hurt – i.e., the
Catholic/nationalist community.

In short, the remarks of Fr Reid have been quickly forged
into yet another giant brake on any movement to the point
where unionism might emerge from its bunker and begin to
construct a power-sharing government for this part of the

What do the remarks tell us about ourselves? Well, Fr
Reid's Nazi comparison, echoing that from Mary McAleese,
suggests that nationalists are keenly aware of the
injustice and suppression that unionism enjoyed here for so
many decades. What's more, they feel confident enough to
articulate that awareness, and in doing so have burst open
what Professor Angela Hegarty has called the 'unionist
narrative' that prevails in this state.

The nature of that unionist narrative is many-stranded, but
in essence it says that this was a great wee country until
some murderous thugs got guns and explosives in the late
1960s, the IRA and its criminals are what is wrong with
this country still, and anyone who criticises the police,
votes for Sinn Féin or expresses a belief in a united
Ireland is at best an IRA sympathiser and at worst an IRA

When someone of the eminence of Mary McAleese or Alex Reid
stands up and punctures that narrative, albeit with a
parallel that in some features is excessive, unionism
becomes angry. Not because they've been compared to Nazis -
unionists have been called similar names often before - but
because an alternative narrative is being proposed. This
new narrative says the pain of the past 30 years is the
shared responsibility of all sides in this state and that
only when all those involved admit to having inflicted
hurt, will social healing and political progress be

So, Fr Reid was wrong and right to say what he did. The
fact that his remarks in south Belfast and subsequently
were made shows the increasing confidence of nationalism.
The reaction to his remarks shows a unionism that is
fearful of having the past painted in colours other than
black (nationalists/republicans) and white

The final irony is that Fr Reid could not have wished for a
more emphatic validation of his claims than the reaction of
the Willie Frazer/Ian Óg wing of unionism. There are those
unionists who cannot break free of the old habits of rage
and contempt, when confronted with articulate nationalism
saying things they cannot bear to hear.

Fingers-in-the-ears-time, lads. La-la-la-la, can't-hear-

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


Opin: Comparing Nazi Germany To North Is Bizarre

Damien Kiberd

Some time ago, Channel 4 in Britain broadcast a documentary
about what is referred to as the "Limerick pogrom" — an
event that took place at the beginning of the 20th century.

The programme was made by writer Simon Sebag Montefiore and
dealt with a disgraceful series of events in the city of

After a rabble-rousing attack from the pulpit on Jewish
people during what is known in the Catholic church as a
"retreat", a group of the citizens of Limerick threw stones
through the windows of the homes of a number of Lithuanian
Jews who had settled there and who earned their living as
traders in the city. The experience of the attacks was so
terrifying and hurtful that these families simply left and
went to live elsewhere.

The final ten minutes of the programme consisted of a
rather unusual digression. A rather clumsy attempt was made
to link the clerically inspired anti-Semitism in Limerick
with modern Irish republicanism. There was a prolonged
interview to camera with David Ervine of the Progressive
Unionist Party – a political consultant to the Ulster
Volunteer Force – in which he compared Ulster Protestants
to the persecuted Jewish people of central Europe in the
1930s. I watched the denouement of the programme with a
growing sense of disbelief.

Nobody had died in the Limerick pogrom. But many hundreds
of uninvolved Catholic civilians had been murdered in a
small number of parishes in north and west Belfast by the
Ulster Defence Association and UVF, not a few of them
tortured brutally before being killed.

Yet here was a spokesperson for Ulster loyalism equating
himself and his people with those who were gassed at Dachau
and Auschwitz. It was beyond belief.

Some Jewish friends of mine who work in the media were
appalled by the attempt to link loyalist paramilitarism
with the victims of the holocaust. They wrote to the
directors of Channel 4 to complain.

I recalled this programme last week when I heard the voice
of Fr Alex Reid comparing the Ulster unionist community to
the Nazis. Here was yet another bizarre attempt to draw
comparisons between what happened between 1933 and 1945 in
Germany and what happened in the six counties between 1922
and 1970.

There is no such comparison. What took place in the six
counties did not involve gas chambers or mass

It may have involved the creation of ghettos into which
people were herded so as to minimise their political voice.
It may have involved the periodic burning and looting of
districts with the assistance of the police and the B
Specials. It may have involved sectarian murders
perpetrated on an apparently random basis in almost every
generation. And it most certainly involved discrimination
in relation to the allocation of public housing and

But it does not bear comparison with Nazism. It was simply
prolonged and institutionalised sectarianism, operated in
favour of Ulster unionists, and punctuated by outbreaks of
psycopathic loyalist violence.

Fr Alex Reid, who has led a blameless and holy life and who
is probably the main architect of the peace process, is not
the only man in Ulster given to bouts of overblown

Leave aside those references to a "Protestant state for a
Protestant people" or to "not having a Catholic about the
place". Consider the remarkable words of former cabinet
minister and Vanguard leader Bill Craig, who urged his
supporters at a paramilitary-style rally to compile
dossiers concerning their political enemies because
ultimately they would have to be "liquidated".

Consider also that man of the cloth the Reverend Willie
McCrea, who spoke about "Christmas coming early for the
good folk of Ulster" hours after four young men from the
nationalist community had been gunned down in Tyrone.

The Reverend Ian Paisley, who has this time chosen not to
denounce Fr Reid, is no stranger to the bitter word either.
He regards Fr Reid's superiors in the Vatican as running a
"harlot church", the equivalent of a "scarlet woman". He
has built a massive political career on the back of over-
the-top rhetoric, much of it overtly anti-Catholic.

Rhetorical overkill perhaps reached its high point one
evening when a unionist councillor in Belfast City Hall
actually suggested the forcible sterilisation of members of
the Traveller community because they tended to have very
large families.

Rhetoric will get us all nowhere. In the current climate,
over-the-top rhetoric directed against unionists merely
provides them with political cover, an alibi for doing
nothing soon.

Study the media in recent weeks and you will see what I
mean. On the occasion of the first meeting between Sinn
Féin president Gerry Adams and Tony Blair, the Assets
Recovery Agency raids business premises in Britain.

Stories appear suggesting that a massive Provo cash pool
running to £40 million (€59 million) has been uncovered —
250 properties in total. Experienced reporters and
political correspondents spend days frothing off to camera
about vast "Provo pension schemes" being wiped out.

Even the august Irish Times buys into the drivel and
devotes two full pages to depicting the life and alleged
times of a Border republican who has been linked to the
property portfolio by those involved in spinning the story.

Days later, it emerges that the reality is completely
different. The Border republican has no connection to the
British properties and is forced to issue a statement to
that effect through a Belfast firm of solicitors. What has
happened is that a businessman from south Armagh has bought
seven council houses worth £700,000 (€1 million) with about
80 to 90 per cent of the finance coming from the Royal Bank
of Scotland. The net amount of equity in the properties is
about £100,000 (€147,000) – not enough to buy you a shed in
greater Dublin.

Do we get any retractions from the buffoons in the media
who bought into the drivel that leaked from the Assets
Recovery Agency? Not a line of print. Not a sentence on
air. Duped again.

And the point of this bizarre story? Well, of course, to
take the heat off unionism and provide it with an alibi for
its inaction in the wake of decommissioning.

Expect more of the same. Fr Reid's comments are, as the
editor of Daily Ireland put it, like manna from heaven for
unionists who do not want to face up to the new realities
of six county politics.

Fr Reid will undoubtedly revert to a quieter mode in coming
days. But this will not mean an end to the provision of
political cover to the most backward forces within

The securocrats are at work on both sides of the Border.
The south's minister for justice now operates like a
pantomime actor who would be out of a job were it not for
the bogeyman of Sinn Féin. Various newspaper groups have no
coherent editorial philosophy other than a strident
antagonism to modern republicanism.

They haven't gone away, you know. And they won't go away
any day soon.

Damien Kiberd is a writer and broadcaster. A presenter for
NewsTalk 106 in Dublin, he was previously editor of The
Sunday Business Post.


Opin Biting Tongues

Editor: Maria McCourt

It is time for nationalists to bite their tongue again as
the furore over Fr Alex Reid hits a new low with the news
that he is to be investigated by the PSNI for saying that
unionists treated nationalists like Nazis.

No matter that he subsequently withdrew and apologised for
that piece of hyperbole.

As a nationalist hero of the peace process is pilloried,
nationalists must also take a deep breath and allow the
Progressive Unionist Party even more space to bring the
venomous sectarian gangsters of the Ulster Volunteer Force
to their senses.

Turning the other cheek has been elevated to an art form by
nationalists, who, over three decades, have refused to
stoop to the level of their adversaries. There is no
reason, therefore, why they should now declare that the PUP
has run out of road and that the drug dealers and
blackguards of the UVF should be forcibly put of business
before they murder more of their own kith and kin.

"Gheibh foighid furtacht" ("Patience gets its reward"),
says the Irish. When the leader of Irish nationalism asks
at Bodenstown for generosity and tolerance to be shown
unionism, then he should get a positive response.

But the Taoiseach should be aware that the day when
sectarianism is truly tackled in the squalid Six County
state cannot be put off forever. With a wink and a nod, the
British have allowed sectarianism to fester in the North,
from shopfloor to boardroom, from playing field to pulpit.
Nationalists have shown zero tolerance to sectarianism
within their own community. They have a right to insist
that unionism and the British do the same. If they need
more time to get their act in order, so be it. But
democrats cannot wait forever while the unionists and their
sponsors move from 1690 to 2005.

Meanwhile, it is hard to know where to start with the news
that Fr Reid's spur-of-the-moment comments are now to be
probed by the forces of law and order.

Where were the boys in green, one might ask, when we had
these gems from unionist elected representatives?

"Taxpayers' money would be better spent on an incinerator
and burning the whole lot of them [nationalists]. The
priests should be thrown in and burnt as well."

"Sinn Féin councillors are evil human pus who are part of
the Republic's poison in this city."

"No Pope and no priests, no rosary beads. Every day is the
Twelfth of July."

"Cliftonville supporters are black bastards."

"West Belfast is a parasites' paradise."

Of course, we don't have to look at unionism to find
political representatives inclined to use intemperate
language. Didn't our own justice minister compare a certain
newspaper that had the audacity to disagree with him to a
Nazi propaganda sheet?

We suggest all sides choose their words carefully as the
prospect of a just peace moves ever closer.


Opin: As Mass Attendances Drop, Support For Sinn Fein Grows

Pól O Muirí
17 October 2005

Without doubt, Fr Alec Reid will still be suffering in his
soul for his comments comparing unionists to Nazis.

That he has apologised and reframed his remark by
suggesting that nationalists would have treated unionists
the same way had their positions been reversed has done
little to soothe unionist anger.

That Reid - a member of an Order famed for preaching -
should have used the comparison at all is astounding,
especially given that the Republic's President, Mary
McAleese, used the same phrase in a radio interview in the
recent past. She too, rightly, apologised.

Apart from the hurt that Fr Reid's comments will have
caused, there is also the damage that he will have caused
to his image as honest broker in the peace process.

The DUP greeted Reid's and the Rev Harold Good's witness to
IRA decommissioning with great scepticism and Reid's very
injudicious comments will give them further excuse to
question his integrity.

It is interesting to note, however, that the exchange
between Fr Reid and some members of the audience at Fitzroy
Presbyterian Church was not all one way, as accusations
about the 'butchering' of Protestants were hurled back.

In the best tradition of Ulster, one slur is answered by

There seems to be an inclination among some unionists to
view the Catholic Church and the Republican Movement as one
and the same.

It will come as some surprise to republicans to realise
that the Church was part of their movement.

The truth is, of course, that the Church opposed the IRA
throughout its campaign. It wanted people at Mass on
Sundays, not in the drill hall.

Indeed, it would not be an exaggeration to say that the
Church wanted its flock to think of themselves as Catholic
Irish rather than Irish Catholics; religion is always
supposed to trump nationalism.

It should be remembered too that nationalism was at its
most conciliatory when Catholicism was at its strongest.
The SDLP vote throughout its golden years was a vote from
practising Catholics and the SDLP's policies are profoundly
Christian in their outlook.

The MP for West Belfast throughout the 1970s was Gerry Fitt
- and the chapels were packed then. The ballot boxes may
well be stuffed full of votes from Catholic areas for Sinn
Féin now but the pews have never been emptier.

Sinn Féin's rise in support has happened as Mass attendance
has fallen - and the bishops wish they had the same blind
devotion of their flock as Gerry Adams has from his.

This is not to suggest that there are not republicans who
attend Mass but the Church was never a recruitment agency
for the IRA and it defies all sense to even suggest it was.

Sinn Féin's vote is one that increasingly comes from people
who are nominally Catholic, that is, who are baptised
Catholic but who do not have any meaningful ties to the
Catholic faith.

Their Catholicism is political, not religious. Republicans
know that the Church did not support them in their
political or paramilitary aims - and those few priests most
identified with the republican cause tend to be regarded as
mavericks by many ordinary Mass-goers. While they might
respect their office, they do not necessarily agree with
their politics. Anecdotal evidence is not scientific but I
will offer this anyway. I was educated by the Christian
Brothers in west Belfast.

In the aftermath of the hunger strikes, our headmaster, a
Brother, took one of our religious education classes. "Is a
united Ireland really worth all the killing?" was his blunt
question and the answer he wanted was "No, Brother, it
isn't." Hardly the talk of a butcher.


Opin: Scales Of Justice Can Not Be Tilted

Abuse warning: Any moves must be directly linked to PSNI

17 October 2005

Restorative justice is a process used widely around the
world to help both victims of crime and offenders, but SDLP
MP, Eddie McGrady, has pointed out how it can be abused. He
accuses Sinn Fein of promoting Community RJ (CRJ) as an
alternative to the police, in order to maintain their
control over communities.

This has been denied by Sinn Fein's Brendan Lewis, in a
plea for funding from Downpatrick council, but a statement
by Catriona Ruane, MLA, contradicts him. In January 2004
she gave notice that "in the coming months Sinn Fein plans
to set up similar (CRJ) schemes throughout South Down in
order to offer a viable alternative to the PSNI".

If this is the plan - described by Mr McGrady as
"traditional double talk" and "underhand politics" - it is
time the authorities and the public woke up to the
implications. As the MP says: "There is not, nor can there
be, any alternative to the PSNI."

Restorative justice has a respectable pedigree, permitting
all parties with a stake in a conflict or offence to reach
a satisfactory conclusion, but strict rules have to be
applied. According to Mr McGrady, Sinn Fein's version "is
not legally recognised, is vigilante in its operation and
is a clear attempt to create an alternative police force".

The basic premise of CRJ is that it works in tandem with
the police and the justice system. It receives referrals
from the police or other agencies, providing them with an
alternative to the courts when dealing with reparation for
crimes against individuals or a community.

The problem, identified by Mr McGrady, is that CRJ Ireland
has no ties with the police. It acts, he says, "as the
judge and juror with no outside assessors".

When ratepayers are being asked to finance such schemes, it
is only right that strict rules should be imposed. Yet it
appears that the NIO has failed to respond to a request for
guidelines and that ad hoc groups can apply for funding by
councils, European bodies or charities, taking no
responsibility for their actions or training.

This state of affairs cannot be allowed to continue. The
CRJ movement must be put on a proper footing, as the
Criminal Justice review recommended, with links to the PSNI
and the ordinary justice system.

It must be tempting for the government to let CRJ take over
the functions of the courts, where there is little co-
operation with the police, but the dangers are obvious.
People could find themselves wrongly accused or
dissatisfied with an outcome, without any redress, except
to ex-paramilitaries.


Letter from the Publisher

by Vanessa Johnson

Dear Readers:

Across his eight knuckles, our guide had a LOVE/HATE prison
tattoo that I noticed about halfway into the drive. My
brother and I were in Belfast, which was fresh from the
previous week's political drama of IRA decommissioning.
Dublin's headlines on Tuesday, September 27, read "IRA arms
put beyond use." While the Irish Times, along with several
independent witnesses, proclaimed a landmark development,
Protestant leader Ian Paisley stubbornly insisted that
"Instead of openness there was the cunning tactics of a
cover-up." The rest of the world is certainly more
optimistic about peace than the residents of Belfast, which
has been left behind in the wake of Ireland's "Celtic
Tiger" economy.

I was on vacation in Dublin, but as I have always been
fascinated by borders and political conflict, Northern
Ireland was the natural choice for a side trip. Formalized
by the Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1921, the six northern
counties on the island of Ireland belong to the United
Kingdom, but the history of British domination of Ireland
is centuries old.

In my study of international relations, I had always seen
the conflict as very low-intensity, a recurring
conflagration that comes from mixing religion and politics.
Whether or not the conflict can be considered globally
significant or not, it has permeated Irish society in a
very deep way that is probably noticed more by an outsider.
While my brother's Irish friends would consistently state
they were fairly apolitical, their words and attitudes
consistently said otherwise, whether it was through a
drunken rendering of the Michael Collins speech at a party
or the deliberate choice of stocking either Bushmills or

One and a half million people live In the six counties that
make up Northern Ireland, less than the metropolitan
population of El Paso/Juarez. Over the past 30 years, 3,700
people have been killed, with an additional 30,000 injured,
meaning that everyone has been personally touched by the
violence. With our guide we were able to drive through many
of the conflict zones, which had recently seen 30 policemen
injured in riots between rival Protestant groups. The
murals on this page are from Shankill, where our guide had
been unable to take tourists (who are not so many now)
during the previous month. And so it continues: a high
profile murder of the recently deposed leader of the
paramilitary U.D.A. was shot dead on his doorstep the day I
flew home.

There is a "Peace Wall" separating Catholic and Protestant
neighborhoods, which many tourists have visited over the
years. Nearly forty feet high, it was constructed in three
parts, as each level has not yet been high enough to
prevent firebombs or rocks that are thrown at the houses on
the Catholic side. "You've got to have quite an arm now.
Baseball would be more a more productive outlet," our guide

The wall itself is a palimpsest of murals, graffiti,
writing, layer upon layer, with messages like "Fuck the
IRA." "Le radici profondo non gelano mai. (Deep roots never
freeze.)" "Learn to like each other." "I'm from planet
Earth. How about you?" We each added our own missive to the
multilingual multitude of mostly good wishes from people
around the world.

Apart from the fun I had being away on vacation, I did
think a lot about my own country and the war that it is
fighting, and how often it seems as if peace among peoples
and nations is historically an exception. I thought about
the walls and murals and writing that separate Mexico and
the United States, the divisions that exist within walking
distance from where I live. I thought particularly about so
many people I know, who work toward peace in his or her own
way, through art and education and yoga, or even as
mistrusted journalists and politicians. It has been good to
come home to them all.

Enjoy this issue of Newspaper Tree.

Vanessa Johnson


A Titanic Dive To Remember

On a dive to the wreck of the ill-fated Titanic, BBC
Northern Ireland's environment correspondent Mike McKimm
helped place a plaque to the hundreds who died in the
disaster. The memorial from her home city comes 93 years
after the liner left the slipway at Belfast's shipyard.

I'd glanced up at the tiny monitor above the Mir
submersible's captain, heart racing.

Slowly, I began to pick out the shape of a ship's bow - a
huge ship's bow.

Then, as the tiny Russian sub's lights probed into the jet
black at the bottom of the Atlantic, an eerie shape loomed
towards us.

It was unmistakable. We were floating just about 20 feet
above the bow of Titanic.

The lights were trained on the ship and I began the five-
hour job of filming the icon of all shipwrecks.

Even in the gloom and poor visibility, the wreck takes your
breath away. It was huge and partly buried in the sea bed,
having plunged there from more than two miles up.

Forty-six thousand tons, even broken in two, causes a
massive impact when it hits the bottom of the Atlantic.

I was part of an expedition to place a plaque remembering
those who died on the ship in the early hours of 15 April

It bore the message: "In memory of all those who died on
RMS Titanic. From Harland and Wolff and the people of

One of the crew in the tiny sub was Dublin diver Rory
Golden. It was his second dive to the ship.

In 2000, he placed a memorial plaque from Cobh, Titanic's
last port of call before heading out into the Atlantic.

The three of us were crammed into the tiny six-foot wide
capsule of the 18-ton Mir.

Inside, at the surface, it was hot and humid but 12,850
feet down, it felt very cold and damp.

Turning to rust

Condensation dripped continuously from the unlined nickel
steel shell. The secret was to distinguish condensation
from a leak. The former is a nuisance, the latter, a
warning of imminent disaster.

As we silently glided along, just feet above the ship's
deck or followed her vast sides, one thing was apparent -
Titanic was being eaten away by bacteria that were slowly
turning the ship to rust.

It has become increasingly dangerous for submersibles to
explore parts of the structure, and it's estimated that
within 80 to 100 years, the top of the ship will have
fallen into the hull.

Structures are already collapsing and chunks are falling
off her. The bow was cluttered with all the equipment
liners of her days would have had, such as winches,
bollards, anchors and anchor chains.

But sprawled across much of it was Titanic's huge forward
mast. Felled by the sheer pressure of water as the ship
sank, it had started to collapse into itself.

The small door from where a crew member saw the iceberg
that was the ship's undoing was clearly visible.

The unpredictable currents at such depths are a real
danger. They vary both in strength and direction.

They can even be vertical and push unsuspecting subs onto
the wreck. We kept a respectful distance but as our mission
was to lay a plaque on the remains of the bridge, we had to
get very close at one stage.

The Mir's captain, Anatoly Sagalevitch, a veteran of many
Titanic dives, inched us to the edge of the bridge and we
adopted negative buoyancy.

This meant that the Mir went from weightlessness to
weighing a few pounds. Using this to hold ourselves against
the edge of Titanic, we began the long and delicate job of
placing a small brass plaque alongside the other plaques
already there.


Hit iceberg on 14 April 1912 - sank next day
Wreck lies about 365 nautical miles off Newfoundland
Sank in 12,850 feet of water
More than 1,500 passengers and crew lost
About 700 survivors

It took more than 20 minutes. The plaque was held in an
exterior basket at the front of the Mir. Using its
manipulator, Anatoly lifted the plaque, snapping the small
copper wires securing it during the dive.

It was put in position but, because it was so light, it
fell against the arm and toppled into the sediment on the

We tried again but this time it sank into the sediment
while standing up.

We tried to clear the sediment but the plaque fell over
again. But it fell silently. There was absolutely no noise.

Then, before Anatoly could lift it, the Mir juddered
backwards. The movement of the manipulator arm and the
currents had dislodged the sub.

We fell backwards, away from Titanic, into the dark. The
thrusters whirred but in the dark, and with the sediment
stirred up, we could no longer see the ship. Hearts raced

Grave site

Then we nudged the side of Titanic and, using the
thrusters, held the Mir there until the sediment cleared.
It did this quickly - an indication of the strong current
that day.

After a further struggle against the current, the plaque
was put in place and we looked on silently.

It was then that it really hit home. This was a grave site
- the resting place of some of the 1,500 people who were
lost in the disaster.

The reason the bridge was missing was because it was torn
off as the ship sank.

We drifted slowly past the other plaques marking the
terrible loss that dark night 93 years ago.

Then we moved on to film the rest of Titanic. As we glided
past the side of the ship, her size became apparent. She
was enormous. The portholes and windows went on and on into
the dark.

Our lights could not find the end of the forward part of
the hull, even from half way along her. But they did bounce
off the glass still in the portholes and windows. The light
reflected back like a phantom in the ship walking inside
her with a torch.

As we came to each porthole or window, the light flickered
and was gone.

We soared past the circular holes where the funnels once
stood. We circled around the officers' quarters and dived
down to get a view of a white enamel bath exposed by the
collapsing sides of the deck cabins.

It had been Captain Smith's bath. He died in the disaster
and now here we were, staring at his private bath. At this
depth it was unreal and created a slightly uncomfortable
feeling of voyeurism.

We circled over the top of the ship to look at the Marconi
Room. It was here that the radio operator stayed at his
post sending out the CQD and SOS distress messages.

A single window with a white frame lay open. The roof of
the Marconi room was full of rusting holes.

We slid past, just inches from it, and dropped back to the
side of the ship, narrowly missing a lurching lifeboat

But when we reached a gaping chasm that was once the grand
staircase, I was transfixed.

We could see, but only just, down seven decks, deep into
the bowels of the ship. It was just bent, rusting steel
today but still demonstrated the sheer scale of Titanic.

Then on to the stern: sheared off in the sinking, it lay
several hundred metres behind the main section.

The fracture looked as if someone had taken a French bread
stick and wrung it in half. Twisted steel plates lay

We hurried past this area, climbing for safety. The Mir
pilots dread being caught in some lurking cable or steel

The day after our dive, a Mir was caught by a steel
structure and only escaped when the second submarine came
to its rescue. They had to break off the structure
protecting the back propeller to get free. Titanic is a
dangerous place, especially around the stern.

As the ship crumbles away, parts of her, once hidden from
sight, are now exposed to the camera. Two huge engine
cylinders about seven feet across stood proud near her

Crumpled piping was still fastened to them but the steel
plates were twisted and tangled at the side.

It took two and a half hours to get down to Titanic and
about two hours to ascend. After more than five hours
exploring we pumped out water ballast and began our slow
climb to the surface.

In seconds Titanic was gone. The darkness reclaimed it. In
the black of the Mir, with just the instrument lights
illuminating the interior, we sat back, eating sandwiches
and sipping warm, sweet Russian tea.

It was a chance to consider what we had seen.

Even weeks later, the Titanic is never far from one's
thoughts. It was a huge visual and emotional experience to
try to process, if indeed you ever could.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/10/17 10:45:52 GMT


Feet Don't Fail Him

By Brangien Davis

Special to The Seattle Times

Brian McEvoy

Michael Flatley stars in "Celtic Tiger," but he insists
he's not the title character: "It's the heart and soul of
the Irish people."

Henny Ray Abrams / AP


One can't be faulted for thinking unkind thoughts about
Michael Flatley. A man who christens his life's work "Feet
of Flames" is simply begging for charges of cheese. His
self-proclaimed title, "Lord of the Dance," could be
considered less than humble.

Not to mention Flatley's wardrobe of choice: The shirts
either scandalously unbuttoned or entirely absent, the
array of shiny leather goods, the googol of sequins, the
revealing trousers. And the astonishing collection of posed
photos on, at least one which might well
be captioned Speedo of Flames.

But say what you will about this Chicago-born showman's
style, the fact is he packs in and pleases the crowds.
Considered the highest-paid dancer in the world (at well
over $1 million a week), Flatley has patented a particular
blend of Irish dance and Vegas bling that continues to wow
audiences the world over.

Coming up: "Celtic Tiger"

With Michael Flatley, at

8 p.m. Thursday, Everett Events Center, 2000 Hewitt Ave.,
Everett; $49-$69 (http://www.everett

events or 866-EEC-TIXX).

His latest show, "Celtic Tiger" (which he created, produced
and directed), is a top-o-the-mornin' tribute to all things
Irish, from Druids (not particularly known for their
choreography) to Yankee Doodle Dandies (who never met a
jazz hand they didn't like). The extravaganza features 60
dancers and 50 crew members backstage, and the whole
shebang is currently traveling across North America in a
convoy of 11 semi trucks and five tour buses.

If the sheer enormousness of Flatley's vision fails to
impress, consider this: In 1998, Flatley broke his own
Guinness World Record by tapping 35 taps in a second.

Think about that, and then think about the comparative
uselessness of your own feet. Suddenly Feet of Flames
doesn't sound so far off, does it? Cheese charges aside,
there's no denying the Lord of the Dance can cut a rug.

More information

We spoke with Flatley during the Canadian leg of his
massive tour, somewhere between Ontario and Manitoba. In
startling contrast to his showy image, the Flatley on the
phone was unassuming, soft-spoken, and honestly? A heck of
a nice guy.

Q: How do you prepare for a show of this magnitude?

A: I spent 27 weeks putting the show together, and it was
really worth it. Personally I think it's my best show ever.
It's very close to my heart — it's my thank-you to America
for accepting all the Irish immigrants. The show finishes
with a "Yankee Doodle Dandy" number, which is a celebration
of the 54 million Irish Americans.

Hot-foot it

"Celtic Tiger," at 8 p.m. Thursday, Everett Events Center,
2000 Hewitt Ave., Everett;

tickets $49-$69; or

Q: Are you the Celtic Tiger?

A: [Laughs] No. The Celtic Tiger refers to the spirit of
Ireland. It's a phrase used in the financial pages
referring to Ireland's recent economic success. But it's
also the heart and soul of the Irish people, who've had to
overcome so many obstacles.

Q: At age 17, you won a Golden Gloves boxing championship,
as well as the All-World Irish Dancing Champion title. Are
boxing and dancing connected?

A: I'm still in training — I still hit the bag. I work out
with gloves. Boxing teaches you a lot about discipline. And
advance preparation makes all the difference in all walks
of life.

Q: Were you ever made fun of for being interested in dance?

A : As a boy I was more known for boxing, so that was never
the case. And as you see in the shows, our form of dance is
very masculine. Which is why it draws such a large female

Q: Both your mother and grandmother were champion Irish
dancers. How did they influence you?

A: My mother never danced in front of me — she only danced
as a child. And I didn't get to see my grandmother dance
often, since she lived in Ireland. That's why it's lucky
that the dancing came from inside of me. That's also why
it's so different from traditional Irish dance.

Q: Why do you think the shows "Riverdance" and "Lord of the
Dance" became such runaway hits?

A: "Riverdance" was the first time people saw this form of
dance on such a big scale. And the shows appeal to people
of all nationalities, races and ages. It's good clean
family entertainment.

Q: Who else would you call a Lord of the Dance?

A: Who wouldn't admire Fred Astaire and Gregory Hines?
There are many great dancers in the world.

Q: Why are your legs worth being insured for $40 million?

A: If I go down, the whole show goes down.

Q: Does that mean you have restrictions on how you can use
your legs?

A: There are all sorts of restrictions. I'm only supposed
to dance for live shows, never for television, and I have
to bring my own stage with me everywhere I go. But these
are all good problems to have.

Q: What's next for the "Celtic Tiger"?

A: The show will eventually get a home on Broadway, and
probably in Vegas. But I'll be on the road with it for
about a year, so right now I'm focused on putting on the
best show possible.

Brangien Davis is a regular contributor to The Seattle


Stadium Plans Unveiled

A €365 million (£249 million) redevelopment of Lansdowne
Road was unveiled today, with officials claiming the arena
would become an icon for Irish soccer and rugby fans.

By:Press Association

As details of the imaginative design were revealed, Irish
Sports Minister John O`Donoghue said the 50,000-seater
arena would be a superb modern sports ground.

"This is another major piece of sporting infrastructure in
the city of Dublin which will be enjoyed by all Irish
people," the Minister said.

"We can be proud of this imaginative and attractive

design. It is a superb modern structure and one which I
hope will come to be an icon for Irish rugby and soccer

The stadium will be made up of continuous curved stands
enclosing all four sides of the ground. The south, east and
west stands will have four tiers, with the bottom and top
levels holding most spectators.

The north stand will sweep down to one low level of
seating, minimising the impact on residents close to that
end of the ground. This will also allow plenty of sunlight
to hit the playing surface.

Philip Browne, chairman of the Lansdowne Road Stadium
Development Company, said it was an innovative design for a
challenging project.

"This is a very different stadium to the one which we
looked at in our original feasibility study. We believe the
team has taken on board many of the concerns and have
addressed them without compromising their design," Mr
Browne said.

"They have also built in a great deal more facilities than
we originally had hoped for. This in turn has given us a
wider range of funding opportunities."

Some 10,000 seats will be set aside on the second tier for
premium ticket holders while the third tier will cater for
around 1,300 corporate visitors with hospitality

Designer HOK Sport Architecture plans to use translucent
materials all around the ground to reduce the impact it has
on the area by reflecting light back off the building.

An application for planning permission will be made in
December and it could take one year to finalise. It is
understood the local residents` association in the
exclusive Dublin 4 area could be a major hurdle to securing
permission for the building.

It is hoped work on the stadium will begin in early 2007
and that it could be ready to host major soccer and rugby
games in 2009. The existing stadium will host matches
during 2006.

The 50,000-seater stadium compares with a 36,000 all-seated
capacity for soccer and 49,000 mixed standing and seating
for rugby. All seats will be under a roof but this will not
cover the pitch.

The design brief stated: "Lansdowne Road stadium has a long
and proud tradition as a venue for exceptional sporting
encounters. The new stadium will provide an international
arena worthy of this past and ready to play host to an
exciting future."

The architects added that space for the development has
been created by realigning the pitch and creating new
access over railway lines allowing spectators entry at
premium seat level.

The ground will also provide better disabled access, press
facilities for up to 300 journalists and improved player
facilities for both home and away teams.


Michael Collins Whiskey For US

Ciaran Hancock

COOLEY Distillery, Ireland's last remaining independent
whiskey maker, has signed a potentially lucrative deal to
supply a Michael Collins-branded Irish whiskey to Sidney
Frank Importing, a US drinks distributor.

Lee Einsidler, Sidney Frank's chief executive, said he
expected Cooley, headed by the entrepreneur John Teeling,
to supply 50,000 cases of whiskey to the company in year
one of the deal. This is an ambitious target given that
550,000 cases of Irish whiskey are sold in America each
year. It would make the company Cooley's biggest customer.

"We eventually hope to bring the brand worldwide,"
Einsidler said.

Sidney Frank, a privately owned, New York-based company, is
hoping to cash in on the recent growth in Irish whiskey
consumption in America, where sales are increasing by 15% a
year. This comes at a time when spirits sales as a whole
are flat. There will be two types of whiskey: an original
blend and a single malt. It will be distilled and bottled
by Cooley and aimed at the "ultra premium" end of the
market, said Einsidler.

Sidney Frank's decision to launch a Michael Collins whiskey
was inspired by the 1996 film about the Irish rebel leader,
starring Liam Neeson.

Sidney Frank, the company's founder, saw the movie and then
read Tim Pat Coogan's 1990 book, Michael Collins: A
Biography. Coogan has been retained as an adviser for the
launch. The company has trademarked the name. Einsidler
said a percentage of sales would be paid to Collins'
descendents, to be given to a charity of their choice.
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