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October 26, 2005

Meeting Fails to break Finucane Logjam

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News about Ireland & the Irish

BT 10/26/05 Finucane Family Locked In Wrangle
DI 10/26/05 New Victims' Commissioner Gets Cool Reception
BB 10/26/05 What Defines A Victim In NI?
UT 10/26/05 Boy, 13, 'Targeted Catholic School'
NI 10/26/05 Opportunity For Peaceful & Democratic Future
DI 10/26/05 Ahern: Onus On British Over Omagh
DI 10/26/05 Brady Says Church Should Be Ashamed Over Abuse
SF 10/26/05 Ferns Report Shows Church & State Delinquency
UT 10/26/05 First Moves Towards LVF Group Disbandment
DI 10/26/05 United In Struggle
UT 10/26/05 Hain Rules Out Paramilitaries In Police
IO 10/26/05 Ahern Calls For Stability In Communities
IO 10/26/05 Way Cleared For McBrearty To Travel To US
BT 10/26/05 Irish Hits The Streets In Big Ian's Backyard
BT 10/26/05 McAleese Opens Disability Conference In Armagh
CT 10/26/05 Mayo People Of The Year Recipients Are Named


Finucane Family Locked In Wrangle

Legal summit fails to break inquiry logjam

By Chris Thornton
26 October 2005

The law partner of murdered solicitor Pat Finucane has held
a meeting with the Lord Chancellor in a bid to break the
deadlock over the inquiry into the solicitor's murder.

But the private meeting so far appears to have failed to
close the gap between the Government's insistence on using
a new secrecy law and the Finucane family's objections.

Solicitor Peter Madden, Mr Finucane's law partner and the
family's legal representative, told Lord Falconer that an
inquiry would be "a farce" without the family's support.

But he underlined that the family still want an inquiry to
go ahead - so long as it is given independent powers over
the use of evidence.

At the heart of the deadlock is the new Inquiries Act,
which the Government brought in for the Finucane
investigation. It allows Ministers to order the inquiry to
keep material secret.

An inquiry into the murder of Mr Finucane was officially
recommended two years ago by retired Canadian Supreme Court
Justice Peter Cory, who said there was collusion between
the UDA killers and the security forces.

The Government held back on the inquiry until the Inquiries
Act was passed six months ago, but since then officials
have been unable to find a judge to chair it.

Some sources have said the search for a judge is running
into trouble because the Finucane family, senior legal
figures and human rights groups have launched an
international campaign to tell judges about the
restrictions they would operate under.

The Irish Government has also criticised the basis for the

The Government insists that preparations for the inquiry
are continuing.

During their meeting earlier this month, Mr Madden told
Lord Falconer, that if the inquiry "proceeds in these
particular circumstances, we will not be part of it".

"The family have always made it clear that they want a
public inquiry with all the power to get at the truth," he

"If the family are not in there with the ability to
examine, scrutinise, and challenge, it would be a farce."

Mr Madden said the Finucane family has always accepted that
some material examined by the inquiry might have to be kept
out of the public eye and some hearings might be held
behind closed doors.

"That's the way inquiries are run," he said. "We're talking
about who should make the decision on what's made public?
We say the tribunal should make that decision."

Mr Madden said the family will consider proposals from the
Government, but are concerned that the inquiry could be
dropped if London does not change its position.


New Victims' Commissioner Gets Cool Reception From SF And

Jarlath Kearney

Sinn Féin and the SDLP last night again expressed concern
over the British government's appointment of a victims'
commissioner for the North.

Bertha McDougall was given the key post by secretary of
state Peter Hain, a move praised by the Democratic Unionist
Party (DUP).

Ms McDougall is the widow of Royal Ulster Constabulary
reservist Lindsay McDougall, who was killed in 1981. She
has been active in various organisations for victims and
survivors within the RUC.

DUP leader Ian Paisley described Ms McDougall as "ideally
equipped to champion the needs of victims".

Ulster Unionist Party spokesman Derek Hussey also welcomed
the appointment.

"The innocent victims of terrorist violence need an
independent voice who can act as a strong advocate on their
behalf with government and liaise closely with victims'
groups across the province," he said.

Philip McGuigan, the Sinn Féin spokesman on truth recovery
and victims, said his party had "serious concerns about the
handling of the appointments process".

"Sinn Féin is very concerned at the way the British
government has made this appointment. All public
appointments must be made in a transparent and accountable
manner. The fact that no victims' groups seem to have been
consulted on this appointment is not a good sign.

"Sinn Féin are also seeking a meeting with Ms McDougall.
The bottom line is that the new victims' commissioner must
seek to represent all victims equally."

SDLP victims' spokeswoman Patricia Lewsley also voiced

"It's hard to see how any one victims' commissioner could
have the confidence of all victims. That's why the SDLP's
emphasis has been on getting a victims forum where all the
different victims' interests can speak for themselves.
That's what government must above all do.

"If government is serious about parity of esteem for all
victims, then it should not be consulting with or seeking
the approval of one political party only for an
appointment. That undermines confidence, not just to
victims but the whole of society generally."

In her first public comment yesterday, Ms McDougall said
she would seek to discharge her responsibilities fairly.

"I will have an open door for anyone who wishes to make
representations. I think that my professional reputation
would be such that I will be treating people equally.

"The purpose of this is to find out the scope and
information from many different groups and obviously to
write that up in a report.

"I will also be looking at how we can move forward on the
victims' and survivors' forum. At the end of that, I will
be writing a report on all of those different aspects," Ms
McDougall said.


What Defines A Victim In NI?

By Mark Devenport
BBC Northern Ireland political editor

This week's appointment of Bertha McDougall as Northern
Ireland's Interim Victims' Commissioner has raised an old
debate about exactly who is a victim.

Should the family of a paramilitary killed in the course of
carrying out an attack receive the same recognition as the
loved ones of either a civilian caught up in an act of
carnage or a member of the security forces?

How should the commissioner balance her handling of victims
of terrorism with those whose nearest and dearest have been
killed by state forces?

These concerns were central to the reaction from different
victims' campaigners to the appointment of Mrs McDougall,
the widow of an RUC reservist murdered by the INLA.

Jim McCabe, whose wife Norah was killed by a plastic bullet
in 1981, expressed his doubts about how even-handed the new
commissioner could be.

He told the BBC that he believed Mrs McDougall's judgements
would be "tempered unavoidably because she is a victim".

"I believe someone should have been chosen with no history
of that kind," he said.

Janet Hunter's brother, Joseph McIlwaine, was a UDR soldier
murdered 18 years ago by the IRA.

She had not met Bertha McDougall before attending this
week's announcement, but the new commissioner made a good
initial impression and Mrs Hunter hopes she will treat all
victims fairly.

However, Mrs Hunter draws the line on who she regards as a

"To be honest it shouldn't be a perpetrator", she argues,
"someone who has taken a life."

Having said that, she acknowledges that some bereaved
families might not have known what their relatives were
involved in - in those cases she regards them as victims.

This of course leads to the question of who a perpetrator

The families of the IRA members killed at Loughgall in 1987
regard the SAS soldiers who killed them as "perpetrators".

The British army would reject this, arguing that they were
legally authorised to use lethal force against the IRA gang
attacking the local police station.

The DUP, who were involved behind the scenes in the run-up
to Mrs McDougall's appointment, do not accept that all
casualties of the Troubles are equal.

The Upper Bann MP David Simpson says: "There should be no
question of any recognition being given to those who set
out to slaughter their neighbours, only to run into the
security forces.

"Any attempt to include gangsters, bombers and cold-blooded
murderers will only turn this announcement into yet another
opportunity tossed aside by government."

Mrs McDougall inevitably faced questions on this score when
she met reporters shortly after her appointment.

She neatly turned them away, telling us: "There is a
definition of victims within government documents already
there. It is not at this stage for me to reassess that."

So what is the government definition?

A document entitled "Reshape, Rebuild, Achieve" available
from the Victims Unit within the Office of the First and
Deputy First Minister, defines a victim as "the surviving
physically and psychologically injured of violent,
conflict-related incidents and those close relatives or
partners who care for them, along with the close relatives
or partners who mourn their dead".

It's a bit of a mouthful, but on the face of it, this
definition makes no distinction between IRA, RUC, UVF and
UDR "victims".

So does a woman widely regarded as the DUP's choice for the
job accept a definition which seems at odds with what David
Simpson and Peter Robinson have recently said about

For now, that seems to be the case, although Mrs McDougall
also added: "What may happen as I talk with victims'
groups, there may come a stage whenever we make
recommendations to the department.

"But I wouldn't be able to comment on that now."

If Mrs McDougall tries to change the catch-all definition
she'll please the DUP, but risk alienating the government
who appointed her and nationalists who are already
sceptical about her.

This should be an interesting topic for any future Victims
and Survivors' Forum to debate.

The official definition of a victim appears to exclude no-
one. Do you think that is the way it should be? Send us
your comments using the form below:

The following comments reflect the balance of views

Exclude no-one that lives within Northern Ireland - we all
have been touched and affected by the so-called troubles
for the last 30 years. Please let the politicians grow up
and wise up and move forward to bring a better quality of
life for everyone. Wishful thinking, I know.

Trevor Kilfedder, Belfast, Northern Ireland

No! If a man lives by the sword and dies by the sword then
he is hardly a 'victim'.

Mary Rich, Reigate Surrey, England

I would have to agree with the all-inclusive definition. It
could be fairly argued that those members of society who
joined terror organisations (loyalist and republican) may
not have done so had the political situation in Northern
Ireland been different. At some stage these individuals
were innocent children, it could be argued that somewhere
along the line the system, the government or their
immediate society failed them... as such they are victims

David, Belfast

If there is to be real peace and a real future, then the
definition of a victim cannot exclude anyone. While it may
be impossibly hard for the victim of one side to accept the
victims of another, this gap should be, and must be
bridged. The only ones who can lead this are the victims
and their survivors themselves. It will be up to them to
reach out the hand of fellowship to their neighbour. This
will prove more difficult than merely stopping the war in
the first place.

David Shaffner, Atlanta, Georgia, USA

A victim, without argument, is an innocent person or family
member of an innocent person, who has been wrongfully
murdered or maimed. The guilty are not victims. This
includes all cross-sections of paramilitaries (loyalists
and republicans). To call either of these criminals
"victims" is a complete insult to those whose lives have
been ruined by them.

Dave, Belfast, NI

It's quite simple really. If you start picking and choosing
who should be considered a victim and who should not, then
you will ultimately glorify one side while negating or
demonising the position of the other in the history of "the
Troubles". This has not worked in the past and won't work
now. If healing is the true goal here, people on both sides
of the divide will need to learn to forgive and be able to
move on.

Ryan McManus, New York City, US

I think the definition should include everyone.
Paramilitaries who have died have already paid the ultimate
price. Had the troubles not existed they would still be
alive and would be leading normal lives.

John Ross, Rostrevor, Northern Ireland

Families left behind by those involved in terror
organisations may need extra help to come to terms with
their grief but also to come to terms with the terrorist
involvement of their loved ones. A victim is a victim is a

Sinead, Belfast

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/10/26 08:39:03 GMT


Boy, 13, 'Targeted Catholic School'

A 13-year-old boy accused of setting fire to a school in
Ballymena was alleged in the High Court today to have told
police that it was targeted because it was a Roman Catholic

The fire at St Louis Primary School on the Cullybackey Road
on August 30 destroyed one classroom and damaged 10 others.

The re-opening after the summer break had to be postponed
for four days while the mess was cleared up.

The boy was granted bail earlier this month but today the
Crown applied to have it revoked because he broke
conditions, including a night time curfew.

Crown counsel Joseph Aiken said the boy had admitted being
with two other youths and that one of them poured petrol
through an open window and then set it alight.

"He told police the reason was that it was a Roman Catholic
school but it was not his idea," added Mr Aiken.

The boy`s mother said her son was beyond her control.

"He won`t do anything he is told and I think the public is
at risk when he is out beyond his curfew hours," she said.

"I am not prepared to have him reside in my home any

Lord Justice Sheil said the boy had flagrantly breached his
bail conditions and the court had no alternative but to
revoke bail to protect the public.

The boy was ordered to remain in court while arrangements
were made to take him into custody at a Youth Justice


Opportunity Exists For Peaceful And Democratic Future -

The Secretary of State, Peter Hain MP, has said that the
statement made by General de Chastelain provides an
opportunity for a way forward to a peaceful and democratic

Speaking in the House of Commons, Mr Hain said: "The people
of Northern Ireland want to see a total end to all
paramilitary and criminal activity and the report produced
by the IICD provides an opportunity for a peaceful and
democratic future for Northern Ireland."It is absolutely
crucial that the IMC reports test whether the promises to
end paramilitary and criminal activity have actually been
delivered on the ground, so far so good. If that becomes
clear, there will be no reason for parties not to engage in
discussions towards the resumption of power sharing."


Ahern: Onus On British Over Omagh

Irish foreign minister tells relatives of 1998 bombing
victims that British government must sort out legal matters
in North

ZoË Tunney

Irish foreign minister Dermot Ahern yesterday told people
bereaved by the Omagh bombing that the onus was on the
British government regarding the establishment of a cross-
Border inquiry into the incident.

He was speaking to the families of those killed in the
blast during a special meeting in Dundalk, Co Louth.

Mr Ahern said he could not consider whether or not the time
was right to set up an inquiry until the British government
had "sorted out" other legal matters ongoing in the North.

"It is a matter for the British government at this stage,"
he told the meeting.

Police investigations on both sides of the Border have
failed to convict anyone of organising the bombing on
August 15, 1998. The Real IRA claimed responsibility for
the bombing, which killed 29 people including a woman
pregnant with twins.

Seán Hoey, the first person to be charged with murder in
relation to the bombing, is awaiting trial at Belfast's
High Court.

The electrician from south Armagh has been on remand since
September 2003. He is facing 61 charges — 29 of murder and
32 terrorism and explosives charges.

Nuala O'Loan, the Police Ombudsman in the North, severely
criticised the original RUC and PSNI investigations into
the Omagh bombing.

One other man jailed for his part in the bombing had his
conviction quashed after an appeal judge found that two
investigating Garda officers had committed "consistent
perjury" in court.

The relatives of the victims said the most important thing
for them now was the truth.

Michael Gallagher, whose son Aidan was killed in the blast,
said: "We have given up hope of ever seeing somebody
convicted of murder in relation to the Omagh bombing.

"All we want is to know the truth of what happened that day
and the days leading up to it."

Mr Gallagher said the Irish authorities should back the
campaign in the same way it lobbied for a new tribunal into
the 1972 Bloody Sunday shootings in Derry.

John Kelly, whose brother Michael was killed on Bloody
Sunday, said the Omagh families were entitled to support
from the Irish state. He said the Bloody Sunday inquiry had
benefited greatly from the Irish government's involvement.

"Naturally, the Irish government should do whatever it
takes," he said.

"What the families need is a proper investigation with the
co-operation of both police forces and both governments.

"We lobbied all parties in the Dáil and eventually they
questioned the Widgery report, which enabled us to re-open
an inquiry," he said.

Mr Ahern agreed to appoint a liaison offcer from his office
to work with the Omagh families.

Kevin Skelton, who lost his wife Philomena in the Omagh
bombing, said he was satisfied by Mr Ahern's response to
the relatives' request and the details of yesterday's

"We understand the position the minister is in and he said
he understands the position we are in.

"A liaison officer will keep us all up to speed with
developments. We have to wait and see what happens from
here on," said Mr Skelton.


Brady Says Church Should Be Ashamed Over Abuse

Ciarán O'Neill & Ed Carty

The leader of the Catholic church in Ireland last night
said the church should be ashamed of its past failings
regarding child protection.

All-Ireland primate Archbishop Séan Brady said he was
shocked and saddened by the findings of a report that
yesterday revealed that 21 Catholic priests sexually
assaulted young boys and girls in parishes across Co
Wexford over the past four decades.

The report uncovered 100 complaints of abuse. It said Garda
investigations had been wholly inadequate and bishops in
the diocese of Ferns had failed to take basic precautions
to protect children.

Dr Brady last night apologised to all the abuse victims.

"As priests, they should have been protecting and nurturing
the talents of these young people. The betrayal of trust is
horrendous," he said.

The archbishop said he prayed for the victims and their
abusers, in the hope the abusers would realise the terrible
harm they had done.

He stressed that actions as well as words were required to
show the church's seriousness in dealing with clerical

The bishop of Ferns, Eamonn Walsh, yesterday also
apologised unreservedly for the horrific abuse that people
had suffered at the hands of priests.

"This report is an horrific account and, though I have been
dealing with this for years, reading a litany of such
horrible, horrible gross abuse and rape all condensed
together, it just leaves me speechless," he said.

The government last night said abuses like those that
occurred in the diocese of Ferns should never be allowed to
happen again.

Children's minister Brian Lenihan said the government
accepted the recommendations of the two-year inquiry and
was committed to their implementation and to learning from
the mistakes of the past.

He said he and his cabinet colleagues had also referred the
report to the Director of Public Prosecutions.

The Catholic Church admitted it was ashamed last night
after one of the highest concentrations of clerical abuse
anywhere in the world was uncovered in a small diocese in
south east Ireland.

A major inquiry found 21 Catholic priests savagely sexually
assaulted young boys and girls in parishes across Co
Wexford during the past 40 years.

Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland Dr Seán
Brady last night apologised to all the victims.

"As priests they should have been protecting and nurturing
the talents of these young people. The betrayal of trust is
horrendous," he said.

"Today the Church is ashamed of its past failings regarding
child protection."

The report revealed Garda investigations were wholly
inadequate, while bishops in the Diocese of Ferns failed to
take basic precautions to protect children.

Retired Supreme Court Judge Frank Murphy, who headed the
probe, said steps taken by Bishop Donal Herlihy were
inadequate and inappropriate. The reports stated the
deceased bishop did not recognise that child sex abuse was
a serious criminal offence.

A second senior clergyman, Bishop Brendan Comiskey was also
heavily criticised.

The report stated he had consistently failed to have
priests step aside because he considered it unjust as
allegations of abuse were not substantiated.

Judge Murphy found the bishop failed to recognise the
paramount need to protect children as a matter of urgency,
from potential abusers.

Gardaí were blamed for not keeping records of informal
complaints of abuse including an allegation that ten
children were molested at the altar in the parish church of

The 270-page report stemming from an investigation begun in
2002, details the Catholic Church's handling of more than
100 allegations of abuse against dozens of priests in the
Diocese of Ferns from the 1960s.

A total of 100 abuse claimants were interviewed during the

The inquiry detailed how priests were shifted from one
parish to another following allegations of abuse.

In 1966, Bishop Herlihy moved a priest from Wexford to the
Diocese of Westminster, which was not told the reason why.

The priest was given no treatment, and two years later
returned to the southeast of Ireland.

In 1973, another priest who faced sex abuse allegations was
also transferred to Westminster.

In a third instance during the 1980s, the bishop sent two
priests to a professor in University College Dublin for
assessment and, following unfavourable reports, both were
appointed as curates.

Bishop Comiskey believed priests should be removed from
active ministry when allegations were made against them.
While he received complaints against ten living priests and
four others who had died, none of them were forced to step
aside from active ministry while under his control.

Bishop Comiskey was found to have conducted inquiries or
attempted to begin investigations, but these proved to be
protracted and inconclusive.

The report also revealed money was paid to complainants if
the priest had died.

Judge Murphy reported that, before 1990, there appeared to
be a reluctance by individual gardaí to properly
investigate allegations of abuse.

The report outlined in graphic detail the cruel and devious
methods used by one priest, Father Sean Fortune, who was
facing 29 charges of sexual abuse when he took his own

Abusing the trust of youngsters and grown men, the 45-year-
old attacked teenage boys on camping trips, pretended sex
abuse was just a game and preyed on the anxieties of

In the 1970s Fr Fortune raped a 13-year-old boarder at St
Peter's College seminary in Wexford town as he trained for
the priesthood.

The Bishop of Ferns, Eamonn Walsh, yesterday apologised
unreservedly for the horrific abuse people in the diocese
suffered at the hands of priests.

Dr Walsh, who was appointed as Apostolic Administrator
after Bishop Comiskey resigned, said the report showed the
victims were now being heard and believed.

"I unreservedly and sincerely apologise to all who have
suffered in these or in any other way through the sexual
abuse by a priest of the diocese.

"For those who have been abused, where that abuse was
compounded by the response, or lack of response, by the
diocese, words of apology cannot be left unspoken," he

Children's minister, Brian Lenihan, who launched the report
yesterday, said the government accepted the recommendations
of the two-year inquiry and was committed to their
implementation and to learning from the mistakes of the


Ferns Report Shows "Church And State Delinquency"

Published: 26 October, 2005

Sinn Féin Dáil leader Caoimhghin Ó Caoláin has described
the Report into child abuse in the Ferns dioceses, by
members of the clergy, and the subsequent failure of both
the church and the various arms of the state to deal with
the issue as "a grotesque catalogue of church and state
delinquency that casts a dark shadow over not only the
lives of those directly affected by the abuse but also over
the entire country."

Deputy Ó Caoláin went on to say "it is long past the time
to enshrine the rights of children as individuals in to the
Constitution". He said:

"The Ferns Report is a grotesque catalogue of church and
state delinquency that casts a dark shadow over not only
the lives of those directly affected by the abuse but also
over the entire country. While those who were directly
involved in this systematic abuse of young children over
many, many years are ultimately responsible for their own
actions and should be punished accordingly there has been
serious criminal neglect on behalf of both church and state
authorities, which allowed this abuse go unchecked and
unpunished, and which must be dealt with urgently and
robustly. The cavalier and dismissive approach adopted by
the Church and indeed the Gardai at senior management
level, including the office of the Commissioner, and the
Health Board to the allegations of abuse made by children
in Wexford and beyond indicates a mindset corrupted by its
own sense of infallibility.

"This shocking report highlights that fact that it is long
past time to enshrine the rights of children as individuals
in to the Constitution. It is time that we dealt with the
issue of child abuse in a coherent, strategic and honest
manner, so as to limit if not eliminate the risks posed to
vulnerable children in our society." ENDS

Sinn Fein proposal for new Constitutional article on the
rights of children as submitted to All-Party Oireachtas
Committee on the Constitution

1. The State guarantees to cherish all the children of the
nation equally. All children, in addition to the individual
rights guaranteed to all persons in this Constitution, are
entitled to the special care and assistance essential to
childhood. Each child has the right to reach his or her
potential as an individual and as a member of the

2. The State shall ensure, as far as is possible, that
every child, for the full and harmonious development of his
or her personality, shall grow up in a family environment,
in an atmosphere of happiness, love and understanding.

3. The State shall ensure the child such protection and
care as is necessary for his or her well-being, taking into
account the rights and duties of his or her parents, legal
guardians, or other individuals responsible for him or her,
and, to this end, shall take all appropriate legislative
and administrative measures.

4. Children have the right to be heard, to be consulted in
all matters affecting them and to access information about
their person.

In all actions concerning children undertaken by or on
behalf of the State the best interests of the child shall
be the primary consideration.


First Moves Towards Paramilitary Group Disbandment

Flags have been taken down and murals painted over ahead of
a loyalist paramilitary organisation's anticipated

By:Press Association

Loyalist Volunteer Force (LVF) trappings were removed from
one of its strongholds in the Ballysillan district of north

Negotiators trying to end a violent feud between the LVF
and rival terrorists said it was part of a strategy to wind
up the group before the end of the year.

Two dates for making a formal announcement have been
discussed: Remembrance Sunday, and the anniversary of its
former leader Billy "King Rat" Wright`s murder.

"Total disbandment has been on the cards since last
Christmas," a source close to the LVF said.

"But if you get one big step the hawks would immediately
dive in and spoil it.

"That`s why its being done gingerly, with moves like the
flags and murals coming down."

Even though many will be sceptical of any declaration by an
organisation steeped in murder and drugs, secret
discussions involving a number of clergymen have continued.

But before it can announce its men have been stood down, a
truce with the larger Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) is still
to be brokered.

The UVF has murdered four men since the latest shooting war
with its sworn enemies erupted on the streets of Belfast in

Tensions between the two factions have festered since
Wright formed the new organisation after being thrown out
of the UVF in 1996.

A year later, on December 27, the loyalist chief was
assassinated by republicans inside the Maze Jail.

Allegations that prison staff colluded with the killers are
to be studied when a public inquiry into his murder gets
underway next Spring.

Mediators attempting to end the latest power-struggle among
loyalists are believed to have made significant progress.

Despite UVF pledges to wipe out the splinter organisation,
no one has been shot dead for two months.

During that period the LVF is understood to have discussed
making a major response to the IRA`s September 26
declaration that its armed struggle was over.

The British government has also been approached about
financing and setting-up advice centres and post-conflict
structures if its army council sells disbandment to the
rank and file, sources claimed.

"An awful lot of hard and sensitive work has gone on in the
background," one advisor said.

"If it does happen you could be looking at Remembrance
Sunday or the anniversary of Billy Wright`s death. Both
would be significant."

Pastor Kenny McClinton, who has worked as an LVF
intermediary in the past, refused to comment on any

He said: "If there was anything going on it would be much
too sensitive for me to talk about.

"However, myself and other peacemakers would applaud any
move towards a resolution of the conflict within loyalism
and the wider community."


United In Struggle

There are some people who say if you watch closely enough
and you stare long enough, you can see the dividing line
between the Atlantic and the Indian oceans at the southern
most tip of Africa. In point of fact there is no line, and
the metaphor to understand is one of the togetherness of
humanity. - Ronnie Kasrils

Jarlath Kearney

Intelligence chief stresses bond between two countries and
says Ireland helped to provide inspiration for struggle to
end the era of apartheid and gain freedom

South African leader praises peace effort

Ronnie Kasrils, the South African minister for intelligence
and senior representative of the African National Congress,
last night told 400 republicans in Belfast that the Irish
freedom struggle will succeed.

Mr Kasrils is on a special three-day visit to Ireland at
the invitation of Sinn Féin, as a centre-piece of the
party's 100th anniversary Cead Bliain celebrations.

At a keynote rally last night Mr Kasrils was accompanied by
Sinn Féin chief negotiator Martin McGuinness, along with
other leading republicans.

Following renditions of the South African national anthem
Nkosi Sikelil' Africa and the Irish national anthem Amhran
na bhFhiann, Mr Karils expressed his pride at being invited
to Ireland on behalf of the ANC.

He inisted that Irish national freedom and national
reconciliation are achievable objectives.

"There are some people who say if you watch closely enough
and you stare long enough, you can see the dividing line
between the Atlantic and the Indian oceans at the southern
most tip of Africa. In point of fact there is no line, and
the metaphor to understand is one of the togetherness of
humanity," Mr Kasrils said.

"That's what your cause has demonstrated time and time
again. Two people, one struggle - what a wonderful thought.

"We feel tremendous bonds of solidarity between two
struggling, fighting people - fighting for justice, for
freedom, for independence, for unity, and the Irish cause
has inspired the South African freedom struggle.

"We feel and we hope that the example of reconciliation of
adversarial forces in South Africa in such a successful way
acts as a shining example to people throughout the world -
not least the Irish people, who need peace, justice and
reconciliation very much indeed," Mr Kasrils said.

Welcoming Mr Kasrils to Ireland, Sinn Féin chief negotiator
Martin McGuinness celebrated the strong solidarity between
the ANC and Sinn Féin over many decades.

He also recalled the positive approach taken by some white
South Africans, like former National Party chief negotiator
Roeld Meyer.

"Our message is the message of Mandela," Mr McGuinness

"We are, and we will, stretch out the hand of friendship to
Ian Paisley, Peter Robinson, Nigel Dodds and all the rest
of them, because that is what's required if the peace
process is going to succeed.

"And yes, difficult decisions have been taken in the past,
but I believe they were the right decisions. They caused
anguish and pain and difficulty for many republicans, but
if you stand back and see the effect of those decisions...
there is an air of inevitability about where all of this is

"The end result of this has to be the establishment of the
power-sharing institutions with us and the DUP in them; the
establishment of the all-Ireland institutions with the DUP
sitting with the Taoiseach and ourselves; and the
implementation of the very important human rights,
equality, demilitarisation and policing agendas promised to
all of us in the Good Friday Agreement."

Mr McGuinness said that the full implementation of those
obligations would further the inevitability of Irish unity.

He declared that republicans are "moving forward with great
hope, great confidence and great optimism".

"A transformation has taken place in South Africa and a
transformation has to take place here," Mr McGuinness said.


Hain Rules Out Paramilitaries In Police

Fears that paramilitaries could be recruited to patrol the
streets of Ulster were dismissed by Northern Ireland
Secretary Peter Hain today.

He insisted there was "no question at all" of them going
straight into being police community support officers or
running restorative justice schemes.

Mr Hain gave the assurances as ministers came under fresh
pressure to oppose the creation of such schemes, amid
warnings that Sinn Fein ran them as an "alternative"

Junior minister Shaun Woodward said they could help "secure
a normal society" but that human rights had to be

Public concerns were raised by Peter Robinson (DUP Belfast
E) at question time, when he told Mr Hain: "My colleagues
and I, and indeed the whole community of Northern Ireland,
believe it is time for all the paramilitary organisations,
both loyalist and republican, to shut down and disband.

"Will you also take it from me that the overwhelming
majority of people in Northern Ireland are fearful that the
Government is intent on repackaging the paramilitaries as
community restorative justice officers or indeed as part of
some community support service?

"Will you give an assurance that we can see the back of
paramilitaries rather than see them in a new guise?"

The Secretary of State told him: "There is no question at
all of paramilitaries going straight into becoming either a
police community support officer - if we proceed with them
in Northern Ireland - or to running community restorative
justice schemes.

"Both will be done in accordance with the rule of law; both
will be done, especially in terms of recruiting community
support officers, in terms of the normal criteria subject
for police recruitment.

"Your concerns are not well founded and I am sure you will
come to support what we are trying to do on this."

Earlier the SDLP`s Eddie McGrady (South Down) urged the
Government to discourage the setting up of restorative
justice schemes.

"Many are operated by Sinn Fein, I quote from them, `as a
viable alternative to the PSNI`.

"When is the Northern Ireland Office going to take action
against such bodies which seek to usurp the normal role of
the police and which, in their execution in the local
community - and I say execution - are a gross infringement
of personal human rights?"

Mr Woodward told him guidelines were being drawn up to
ensure safeguards were in place.

"The Government recognises that community restorative
justice schemes do have a part to play in helping secure a
normal society.

"But crucially, schemes need to work actively to uphold the
human rights of all and to be prepared to work with
statutory agencies, which of course means the police."

Tory spokesman Laurence Robertson said no schemes should be
funded by the Government unless they had the full support
and involvement of the police.

"Can you guarantee that the Government will not fund any of
those schemes without the full support of the police being
given to them (and) without their full participation and
attendance at those schemes?" he asked.

"We do not fund at the moment and we are not planning to
fund those schemes at the moment," he told him.


Ahern Calls For Stability In Communities

26/10/2005 - 06:54:50

Taoiseach Bertie Ahern will today reiterate his call to
loyalists to build stability within their communities in
the North.

Mr Ahean is due to hold talks at Government Buildings in
Dublin with Progressive Unionist Party (PUP) leader David
Ervine as he tries to plot a route towards renewed power-
sharing talks in early 2006.

The Taoiseach told a recent Wolfe Tone republican
commemoration in Bodenstown that he wanted to reach out to
loyalists in the wake of recent rioting and internal
paramilitary feuding.

"Loyalists seeking genuine efforts at transformation will
see a positive and open response from my Government," he

The PUP, which has been criticised for a lack of leadership
in the loyalist community by the SDLP, recently reaffirmed
its links to paramilitary groups such as the Ulster
Volunteer Force and the Red Hand Commando.


Way Cleared For McBrearty To Travel To US

26/10/2005 - 10:01:06

Frank McBrearty Jr and his family will travel to the United
States this morning after being refused entry yesterday.

Mr McBrearty was denied permission to enter the country by
US immigration officials at Dublin Airport.

An assault for which he was cleared had showed up on the
Garda Pulse system, despite assurances from senior gardaí
that it had been removed.

The Department of Foreign Affairs moved last night to
ensure the McBrearty family could travel to Chicago this


Irish Hits The Streets In Big Ian's Backyard

By Nevin Farrell
26 October 2005

The way has been paved for the erection of Irish street
signs in the heart of DUP leader Ian Paisley's North Antrim

Nationalist controlled Moyle District Council has agreed to
adopt a street naming policy which, in addition to street
names being in English, will allow the erection of street
name plates in a language other than English.

The change was prompted when the council received a request
from a resident in the mainly nationalist Altanaman estate
in Ballycastle for the nameplate to include Irish.

Under the policy either the council and/or the occupiers of
premises in a street may initiate procedures for the
erection of a non-English street name. The council will
then write to residents whose names are on the Electoral
Register and if two-thirds on a street agree then the
council will consider erecting such signs.

Moyle Sinn Fein Councillor Cara McShane has welcomed the
decision on the street name policy.

Speaking after the council meeting, Ms McShane said: "This
is a welcome development within Moyle District Council.

"Irish is again becoming more and more popular within the
Glens and Ballycastle and has recently received a degree of
formal recognition under the Good Friday Agreement.

"The Irish language has also been accorded the status of an
official working language of the European Union. This puts
a requirement on us to put forward public information in
Irish as well as English.

"The display of street nameplates is a starting point.

"It is therefore welcoming that Moyle Council has taken the
lead in North Antrim in this regard."

Cllr McShane said forms will now be sent out to residents
in Altanaman Park for completion.

The decision to adopt the policy was passed by a seven-six
vote, with DUP representative Robert McIlroy unsuccessfully
asking for the adoption to be delayed until items in the
report could be viewed more closely.

It remains yet to be seen if people in the mainly unionist
Bushmills area will want street names to be erected in the
Ulster-Scots dialect.


Mary McAleese Opens Disability Conference In Armagh

By Nigel Gould
26 October 2005

The Republic's President Mary McAleese has opened a
conference in Armagh on services for disabled children.

The event celebrated 25 years of the Child Development
Clinic in the Southern Area and the Wraparound project,
which promotes partnership working in delivering services
for disabled children. Over 220 delegates attended.

Colm Donaghy, chief executive of the Southern Health and
Social Services Board, said: "We are delighted to get the
opportunity to host this conference and share the new ways
of working we have developed.

"Wraparound is about staff working in close partnership
with parents and young people to develop services that best
suit them."

Highlighting the success of Wraparound, consultant
paediatrician Dr Barbara Bell said: "The redesign of our
multidisciplinary Child Development Clinics is helping
partnership working.

"The service which previously operated from one centre in
the Southern Area can now be accessed from five centres,
meaning that families do not have to travel as far and the
service is more family friendly."

Parent Mary Duffin said: "Wraparound was launched as a
pilot scheme in October 2001 and since then has gone from
strength to strength, redesigning local services for
children with disabilities and their families.

"Through Wraparound, parents and young people have a say in
how services are developed."

Mrs McAleese launched a Fast Track card at the conference,
developed by the Wraparound Parents' Forum, Wraparound's
young persons' forum Sixth Sense and Craigavon Area

The card will allow children with severe disabilities to
avoid long queues when they attend Accident and Emergency
or medical out-patient appointments at hospital. Laura
Fegan from Sixth Sense said: "Wraparound shows how
effective it can be when staff ask for and act on the
opinions of those who are using their services."


Mayo People Of The Year Recipients Are Named

Issue No: 200543

Catriona Bourke, Breaffy, attended the reception in Aras An
Contae, Castlebar, when the recepients of the Mayo People
of the Year 2005 were announced

THE recipients of the Mayo People of the Year Awards 2005
were announced at a reception at Aras an Chontae, Castlebar
last week.

Ten awards will be handed out including an International
Award and a special Hall of Fame accolade.

The event, now in its 13th year, is organised annually by
Rehab Mayo in conjunction with Mayo County Council and The
Connaught Telegraph and the proceeds from the evening go
directly to Rehab.

The recipients are:

The Ballinrobe Musical Society who have brought West End
entertainment to Mayo over a long number of years.

Ballina Stephenites who won the AIB All-Ireland club
competition this year.

Rose of Tralee, Aoibhinn Ni Shuilleabhain.

Mayo Association, Dublin who this year celebrate the
centenary of their foundation.

Transplant athlete, Darren Cawley, from Aughagower,

Bridie Quinn, Bangor Erris for her love and promotion of

Pauline Rodgers, Castlebar for her all round involvement in
community development.

Westport United FC for their victory in this year's FAI
Junior Cup.

International Award:

The Mayo Association Philadelphia who this year celebrate
the centenary of their foundation.

Hall of fame Award:

Michael Mullen who is the most prolific and most successful
writer that Mayo has produced in the 20th century.

Connaught Telegraph editor and chairman of the organising
committee, Mr. Tom Gillespie said since the launch of the
Mayo People of the Year Awards in November 1993 a
staggering €125,000 has been raised through the annual gala
function, which honours people and organisations in all
walks of live, with Mayo connections.

All of the funds went directly towards meeting the
extensive running costs of the Rehab Workshop at Breaffy
Road, Castlebar where over100 workers, with special needs,
undergo training.

He added; "The success of the 'Awards' is in no small way
contributed to the calibre of the recipients - 116 in all
to this year - who were singled out for recognition for
their voluntary work in making their communities a better
place on which to live, work and socialise."

The presentations to the recipients will take place at a
gala function in the Welcome Inn Hotel, Castlebar on Friday
night November 18.

Mr. Henry Kenny, Cathaoirleach of Mayo County Council
congratulated all of the recipients and commended the
awards scheme as unique and very worthwhile.

"It is refreshing to see that so many excellent nominations
come forward each year and all of them deserve to be
recognised for the great work they are doing for their
respective communities."

Ms. Mary Murphy, chairperson, Mayo Rehab said they were
overwhelmed with the success of the awards.

"Each year we are pleasantly astounded with the quality and
quantity of the nominations.

"All of the recipients, have over the years, been
outstanding ambassadors for their communities. It is only
right that their achievements should be recognised in this

Aoibhinn Ni Shuilleabhain – Rose of Tralee

Aoibhinn Ni Shuilleabhain from Carnacon created history
this year by being the Mayo Rose to win the prestigious
Rose of Tralee contest this year.

Aoibhinn received a first class honours degree in
theoretical physics from University College Dublin and
plans to continue her postgraduate studies by completing a
Masters in computational science.

She received her primary education in Scoil Muire na nGras,
in Carnacon and Scoil Rafteiri, Castlebar and her post
primary education in the Convent of Mercy, Castlebar.

Aoibhinn's impressive academic achievements include a
placement in 2004 at the European Nuclear Research Centre
in Geneva, awards in the International Mathemical Contest
in Modelling, an entrance scholarship from UCD in 2001 and
various scholarships from Bord na Gaeilge.

Aoibhill is a native gaelic speaker and she has received
awards for Sean-Nos singing, Comhra Gaeilge and Grupa

As well as being an accomplished Sean-Nos singer she plays
concertina, piano and guitar and has always been actively
involved in the local choir in Carnacon.

The eldest of six, the only daughter of Art and Marie, her
achievement in winning the Rose of Tralee has brought
national acclaim to the 'sleepy' village of Carnacon, Mayo
and like the true ambassador she intends to be, to the
island of Ireland.

Her natural beauty, charm and intelligence, together with
her astounding academic achievements to date made her the
unanimous winner of the Rose of Tralee.

Her homecoming to Carnacon will be a treasured memory in
the hearts of young and old for the people of Carnacon and
surrounding areas.

Mayo Award - Ballina Stephenites

Ballina Stephenites was founded in 1886 by James Wallace
Melvin and a small committee.

They could have hardly realised then, that they were
setting in motion a club, that would, over the next 119
years, play a leading role in the affairs of the GAA, not
only in Ballina and Mayo but at national level as well.

The club first achieved national success in 1908 and 1909
by winning the Croke Cup, a then All-Ireland club

They won the modern AIB All-Ireland club competition this
year, having lost the final in 1999. They have also won 34
county championships.

The voluntary commitment of the club officials and members,
over more than 100 years, has been outstanding.

They have provided free of charge a healthy past time for
the youngsters of Ballina, not only in football and
hurling, but also in handball, squash, racketball and

They cater for all ages from under-10s right up to senior

The club is constantly improving its facilities trying to
provide the best for its area.

Only recently a new planning application was submitted to
Ballina Town Council for further major improvements to
their facilities.

Mayo Award - The Ballinrobe Musical Society

The Ballinrobe Musical Society has brought West End
entertainment to Mayo over a long number of years and this
year its production of Ragtime was selected as runner-up in
the national Best Overall Show category in the annual AIMS

This is the highest accolade the society has ever received
and few who have witnessed their efforts could dispute
their entitlement to such lofty endorsements.

Show week in Ballinrobe is a very special time for the cast
of 70, backed up by 130 off-stage workers, who pull off the
annual miracle that is 'The Show'.

The local community school is transformed into a theatre
and over 4,000 people came streaming through the doors to
savour the latest offering from a society known the length
and breadth of Ireland.

The Society was formed in 1943 during the Second World War.
Its aim was to provide an avenue of escapism for a
community, weary from the drudgery of war, economic
hardship and emigration.

It is a testament to the power of music, that to this day,
despite all the advancements of technology, the members and
patrons of the Society still use this avenue of enjoyment
to entertain and be entertained.

Their first musical, The Mikado was staged in 1944. After
its establishment and four productions during the 1940s,
the Society lapsed, giving way in the 1950s and
particularly in the 1960s to an avid interest in the art of
drama, which manifested itself annually in the Ballinrobe
Drama Festival.

The 1970s saw the pendulum swinging once more in the
direction of musical drama with the late Dr. Christy
Guckian presiding over the rebirth of the Society.

Other productions over the years included Gondoliers,
Pirates of Penzance, Brigadoon, Showboat, My Fair Lady,
Jesus Christ Superstar, Fiddler on the Roof, Oklahoma,
South Pacific, The Student Prince, Anything Goes and

Down the year they have won many awards including Best
Programme, Best Male Voice, Best Comedian, and Best Stage

Mayo Award - Bridie Quinn, Bangor Erris

Bridie Quinn was born in Bangor Erris in 1924. She has
devoted a lifetime of voluntary service to the building of
communities in the places where she has lived – Coventry,
Dublin and Erris. He particular interests are literature
and drama and the raising of cultural awareness has been
the lodestar of her life.

After completing her education, she, like many others of
the time had to seek employment abroad.

She secured a teaching post in Coventry and obtained a
Bachelor of Education degree from Birmingham University.

She founded The Coventry Irish Players which specialised in
the production of Irish plays. She recruited many young
Irish, especially from Mayo into the society.

Each year in March she organised a major concert and dinner
dance. Leading Irish artists took part in the events which
became the highlight of the St. Patrick's Day festivities
in Coventry. Funds raised went towards the well-being of
elderly Irish emigrants in the city and its environs. She
founded and developed a youth club in Walsgrave.

She returned to Ireland in the late 1960s to take up
lectureship in Carysfort College. Joining Muintir Mhaigh Eo
in Dublin she was instrumental in setting up a drama group
and replicated the success she had achieved in Coventry.

She produced and acted in a number of successful plays
which were staged in Dublin, New York, the UK and Mayo.

Along with Seamus Cashman she edited 'The Wolfhound Book of
Irish Peoms for Young People' which appeared in 1975.

On retirement from Carysford, Bridie and her husband Tom
returned to live in Erris. Looking at the sullen landscape
of her native Erris in the 1980s Bridie did not take the
easy way out and just curse the darkness.

She set herself three objectives; to develop Erris as a
tourist attraction; to provide employment opportunities for
youth and to encourage cultural and educational development
in the community.

To achieve this she became actively involved in the LEADER
Board of Management, the Bangor Erris Angling Club; in
organising the 1995 Fleadh Cheoil held in Bangor and the
Erris Literary Festival, her latest venture held for the
past three years.

Drama of course is always close to her heart and she
established the Erris Players who have been successful at
many festivals. She transformed Bangor Parochial Hall into
a theatre venue attracting successful productions from the
Abbey and Druid Theatres.

Mayo Award - Darren Cawley, Aughagower, Westport

At the age of 20 years while studying for a sports science
degree in 1998 at Luton University, Darren Cawley from
Ballinvoy, Aughagower, Westport was diagnosed with renal

Despite his illness he completed his final year and
graduated while receiving dialysis three times a week for
three to four hours each time.

On returning to Ireland in the summer of 1998 he received
his kidney transplant and was able to take up fulltime
employment and lead a normal life.

However, 18 months later his body rejected the transplant
and he had it removed and has been on dialysis since.

Through his illness he has helped raise money for many
charities. In October 2003 Darren cycled for nine hours
with other members of the community to raise cash for

He organised a golfing tournament with the proceeds going
to young people in the Irish Kidney Association.

On Saturday October 23, 2004 he completed The Ultimate
Rowing 26-mile Challenge in aid of Mayo Breast Cancer and
Oncology Unit.

He is press officer and treasurer of Westport Leo Club who
have raised €28,000 for the Cancer Support Group; has
helped to organise race nights and quizzes all for local

Over the past three summers he has worked with special
needs children in summer camps in Castlebar.

In 2001 Darren took part in the World Transplant Games in
Japan where an Irish team had not competed for many years.

He won one silver and two bronze medals in cycling, 100
metres sprint and 200 metres sprint.

The following year he competed in the European Transplant
games in Hungary where he won one gold and two silver
medals in athletics.

Last year he competed in the Transplant Games in Slovenia
where he won a gold and four silver medals.

Last May he organised and led a group of 13 people from
different parts of Mayo on the Togher Padraig Pilgrimage.
This involved walking from Ballintubber Abbey to the first
station on Croagh Patrick and Darren along with another
participant, through sheer determination, climbed to the
top of the Reek.

International Award - Mayo Association Philadelphia

The Mayo Association of Philadelphia is a non-profit making
Irish-American Association having been founded in 1905.
This year marks their centenary.

The proceeds from events run by the Association are donated
to a number of charities all around the world and
particularly in Mayo.

Much work has been done with many organisations in Mayo and
a good example of this is sending donations for the
construction of Knock Shrine and Knock International

The Association also donates much-needed funds to mentally
and physically challenged children's organisations.

The Western Care Association and Aras Attracta in Mayo and
Saint John of God in Westville, New Jersey have benefited
from the magnificent work of the Association.

Members of the Mayo Association of Philadelphia comprise of
immigrants and descendants of County Mayo.

In 1905, three Mayo men, John O'Neill of Foxford, Martin
Clarke of Castlebar and John Green of Newport wrote the
constitution of the Mayo Men's Association of Philadelphia.

At that time the organisation welcomed ships coming in from
Ireland to the port of Philadelphia, taking care of all
young travellers who did not have any family or friends to
greet them.

Every year since a special Mass dedicated to Our lady of
Knock is celebrated.

Mayo Award - Mayo Association, Dublin

The Mayo Association Dublin celebrate the centenary of
their founding this year.

It was established by two great Mayo men, Major John
MacBride from Westport and Mr. Edward Lavelle from Balla,
to enable Mayo People in Dublin to establish their presence
and identity in the capital.

Having done so the Association went on to consolidate its
position by being active with reasonably small numbers.
However, the Association was of the calibre of people that
saw the benefit that could accrue from an active body of

It was hard to provide funds for any eventualities that
might arise in the first 25 years and, indeed, the second
quarter century, were no picnic for its members either.

But they did wonderful work during these years for their
less fortunate county Mayo folk.

The basic goals of the Association are promoting cultural,
social and other functions for its members; assisting in
the revival of Irish as a spoken language; rendering
assistance to people in need, both in Mayo and Dublin;
raising funds for charities and organising the Mayo Persons
of the Year and the Meitheal of the Year Awards.

The Association also sponsors an educational scholarship
for children in Dublin from under privileged schools. They
compile and publish an annual yearbook and organise the
Mayo World Convention every three years which promotes
social, cultural and economic investment in Mayo.

Another project is the co-ordinating and monitoring of the
International Enterprise Fund which was founded in 1996 as
well as organising annual business lunches where business
people meet and share business acumen.

Their annual yearbook will be launched in November and
their annual Mass and Christmas party will be held in the
Garda Club, Dublin on December 3.

The highlight of their year was the annual dinner as well
as the Centenary Ball in September where all former Mayo
Persons of the Year were honoured.

Hall of Fame Award - Michael Mullen, Castlebar

Michael Mullen is the most prolific and most successful
writer that Mayo has produced in the 20th century.

He is generally acknowledged as one of the top children's
writers in the country and as one of the fathers of the
renaissance in children's literature.

He has written in both English and Irish and has been a
recipient of the Pushkin Prize.

His books cover the whole spectrum of life, light and shade
– short stories, novels, history, children's books,
translations and books in Irish.

He had written over 30 books including a trilogy on the
West of Ireland: The Hungry Land, Rites of Inheritance, and
The House of Mirrors; Magus the Lollipop Man, which is on
the primary school curriculum; Kelly, which David Marcus
said was the most unique book written in Irish literature
in 50 years, and The Darkest Years which deals with the
Famine and its effects on County Mayo.

He has twice been short listed for the prestigious Bisto
Book of the Year; he has translated a number of songs from
Irish to English and he has recently produced two of his
books on CD ROM.

In 2004, Cottage Publications selected Michael to write the
text of Mayo, the Waters and the Wild.

An expert on the history of Castlebar, Michael continues to
live in his beloved town with his wife Deirdre.

Michael is currently working on a trilogy of novels that
tell the story of Ireland in the 20th century and he writes
a weekly column in The Connaught Telegraph

Mayo Award - Pauline Rodgers, Castlebar

Pauline Rodgers, Castlebar, has been involved with the
South Mayo Branch of the M.S. Society .

Initially it was a small committee with little in the way
of funds.

But Pauline set about recruiting members and fundraising
events were put in place.

Under her stewardship and drive the committee went from
strength to strength and today is a viable, active group
affiliated to M.S. Ireland and enjoying the benefits that
headquarters provide including respite for sufferers,
swimming evenings, art classes and social outings.

Some years ago her two daughters showed an interest in
music and joined Castlebar Brass Band.

Pauline got involved as a parent and very soon she was to
become secretary. She could see as members moved on for
various reasons that there was no one to replace them, so
she set up music lessons for new members.

At present 60 new members are taking music lessons, thus
ensuring the future of the Town Band and Orchestra.

Pauline became a friend of the Sacred Heart Hospital,
Castlebar and the O'Dwyer Cheshire Home in Bohola, paying
regular visits and chatting for hours with the residents.

Pauline always showed a great interest in the youth of
Castlebar, especially teenagers. She got involved with the
Rounders team and went to their training sessions taking
responsibility for their equipment and well-being. The team
went on to the Community Games in Monsey on a number of
occasions and Pauline travelled each time to support and
help them.

This is just a sample of what she has done over the last
quarter of a century.

Mayo Award - Westport United FC

Westport United's victory in the Statoil FAI Junior Cup in
2005 needs to be set out in context for the enormity of the
achievement to be truly appreciated.

The FAI Junior Cup is the largest amateur football
competition in Europe.

It was first competed for in 1922 when Brideville FC
defeated Cobh Ramblers. No team from Mayo had ever won the
competition before this year and only Sligo Rovers, as a
League of Ireland team in 1932, brought the famous trophy
West of the Shannon.

When the competition was inaugurated Westport United was 11
years old and since then the club has participated in the
competition every single season. That's 94 seasons without
a break and it's that life long association with the Cup
and the quest to attain it that has captured the
imagination of Westport football people.

Down through the years the club came close to ultimate
glory, the closest being in 1969 when they went out at the
penultimate stage.

When Westport United set out on their Junior Cup sojourn on
the last Sunday of September 2004, few would have held out
hope that it would end in such glory. Few except those
intimately involved. And those few made the dream come

Ten matches were contested and all but two were played a
long way from Westport. As each round was negotiated the
draw always seemed to throw up an even tougher hurdle to
climb for the next phase.

On each occasion United faced the bookies favourites but
they seemed to take a perverse type of joy in proving the
bookies wrong.

Something else happened along the march for glory. A
community, with a love of Westport United never far from
their hearts, re-discovered that love and they set about
showing it.

Thousands followed United to each game and it proved, if it
ever needed proving, the uniqueness of sport and how it
bonds a community.

The final against Waterford Crystal on June 19 saw victory
go to United and the reaction to the win was phenomenal.

Five thousand people packed into the area around the
Octagon as the team was welcomed home.

It was a remarkable achievement by Westport United.

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