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October 15, 2005

UVF: Hooked On Bloodthirsty Thuggery

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News about Ireland & the Irish

BT 10/15/05 UVF: Hooked On 'Bloodthirsty Thuggery'
NH 10/15/05 Interface Attacks On Catholic Homes Increase
BT 10/15/05 Sectarian Thugs (UDA) Hit Football Matches
BT 10/15/05 Man Shot And Left To Die (In Loyalist Estate)
IO 10/15/05 Unionists To Discuss Paramilitary Links
BT 10/15/05 PUP 'Must Deal With UVF Killing'
BT 10/15/05 Bail Is Refused On Loyalist Guns Charge
NH 10/15/05 Frazer 'Flew Off Handle Over Lies'
BT 10/15/05 Ulster's Jews Urge Us To Mind Our Language
DI 10/15/05 Opin: The Pot Calling The Kettle Black
NH 10/15/05 'Catholics Forced To Live In Squalor
DJ 10/15/05 Priest's Nazi Comments Were 'Horrendous Drivel'
BT 10/15/05 Opin: Just How Can This Be Compared To Ulster?
BT 10/15/05 Brother Lashes Out Over Suicide Websites
BT 10/15/05 Opin: Fr Mc Manus's Blog On Act Of Settlement
BT 10/15/05 Ltr: Reason For Act Of Settlement Still Stands
BT 10/15/05 Opin: Fear Of SF Coup Stalks Corridors Of Power
BT 10/15/05 Opin: Assembly's Days Look Numbered
TA 10/15/05 The Art Of Terror
GM 10/15/05 Book: How Television Saved The Irish
BT 10/15/05 Book: Old Bones And Shallow Graves
JA 10/15/05 Flatley Missteps With Celtic Tiger
ES 10/15/05 Eat, Drink And Be Irish
BB 10/15/05 Roy Keane Ends International Career (Again)
IO 10/15/05 Veteran GAA Broadcaster Praises Power Of Radio


UVF: Hooked On 'Bloodthirsty Thuggery'

Jonathan McCambridge examines the UVF's links with
criminality and terror

By Jonathan McCambridge, Crime Correspondent
15 October 2005

FOUR men gunned down over the summer as part of a bitter
paramilitary feud has focused the public's attention
directly on the "bloodthirsty thuggery" of the UVF.

Long before the Government removed recognition of the
terror group's ceasefire it had become apparent the UVF was
funding its activities through criminality and trying to
wipe out its enemies through the use of terror and

While the UVF's feud with the LVF has festered ever since
Billy Wright left the fold to form the splinter terror
group, hostilities deteriorated this summer into murderous
internecine warfare.

The summer months saw the murders of Jameson Lockhart,
Craig McCausland, Stephen Paul and Michael Green - all shot
dead by the UVF.

Their members were also responsible for the forced
departure of a number of LVF members from Garnerville and
numerous shootings and explosive attacks.

When police attempted to crack down on a UVF show of
strength in north Belfast, it resulted in several hours of
serious street disorder in September.

UVF men were also responsible for much of the rioting which
flared after Whiterock, including firing live rounds at the
security forces.

This, combined with the IMC slamming the UVF's
"bloodthirsty thuggery", led the Government to finally
declare the group's ceasefire defunct.

The Red Hand Commando - which is closely linked to the UVF
- has been blamed for protests at a Catholic prayer service
in Carnmoney Cemetery where protesters threatened to dig up
the dead.

As well as terror tactics, the UVF is also involved in
organised crime to fill its coffers.

The UVF's main source of income is extortion, particularly
of the building trade, believed to be endemic in east


Interface Attacks On Catholic Homes Increase

(Alex Crumlin,

Despite the intervention of community workers, politicians
and conflict resolution experts, the number of attacks on
Catholic homes in North Belfast interface areas continue to
grow. Two weeks ago the North Belfast News exclusively
revealed that over 350 attacks had taken place between
January and September this year. Now reports of an increase
in both the veracity and relentlessness of the attacks are

Missile attack on residents of Oldpark estate

Residents of Rosevale Street just of Rosapenna Street have
told of the constant barrage of missiles being thrown over
the 60ft high wall and fence, which separates their homes
from the Lower Oldpark Estate.

Kathleen McDonald, who has lived in the street for over 20
years, says the homes were "under sustained attack' for the
whole of last weekend.

"It started about six o'clock on Friday evening and carried
on right through until Sunday evening.

"The PSNI were called but as they came down our street with
the sirens blaring the stone throwers disappeared.

"Everything from screwdrivers and stones to fireworks have
been hurled at us.

"You would think that they would not be able to get stuff
over the big wall but they must be using catapults or

"Our house backs on to the wall but they are actually
managing to get it right across to houses on the other side
of the street.

"We really are in fear of something more serious being
thrown over. I live here with my 20-year-old daughter
Katrina who is about to have a baby any day now.

"The nursery was planned for the back of the house now we
have to move it to the front and redecorate."

Roisin and Phillip Rooney live next door to the McDonalds
with their two children, including a three-month-old, have
had their windows broken and have also suffered from the

Roisin told North Belfast News.

"We are getting really scared now.

"The constant barrage over the weekend terrified our eldest

"Two of our back room windows have been broken a couple of

"Some of the houses have had grills fitted and we will
reluctantly have to consider doing the same although this
seems to be giving in to the thugs. We want to live in
peace and not behind high fences and bars on our windows."

Siege in Catherine Court

Catherine Court, a small new development of about 30 houses
at the bottom of the Whitewell Road, has become a living
hell for the residents who moved into it just over a year

Since around Easter this year the residents of the tidy
little enclave have been living under siege conditions.

Gangs of young thugs have been using an alleyway, which
runs from the loyalist Graymount estate to launch a barrage
of attacks both physical and verbal on the residents and
their cars and properties.

The attacks have escalated in recent weeks with heavy duty
fireworks being launched at the homes.

Roisin Loy, whose home has borne the brunt of the nightly
onslaught has appealed to have gates fitted to the alleyway
to repel the attackers.

Recognising the need for the Graymount community to use the
alley for excess to the shops, which include a Post Office
and a Chemist, the mother-of-three young children said:
"The erection of alley-gates would help stop these attacks.

"The hoods who come from as far away as Mount Vernon use it
as a 'rat run' to mount the onslaught.

"We do not want a no-go area created for the good residents
of Graymount. There are a lot of elderly folk who depend on
the shops here, particularly the Chemist.

"If the gates were fitted and locked every night around six
o'clock it would go a long way to stopping these attacks
before someone is seriously hurt."

Sinn Féin Councillor for Castle Ward, Tierna Cunningham,
has visited the residents and is backing their claim for
the gates to be fitted.

"The sectarian attacks against the small development of
Catherine Court in Whitewell must be brought to an end

"People have a right to live free from sectarian harassment
and attacks and clearly this isn't happening. The residents
are only trying to get on with their lives and to live in

"Sinn Féin have held consultation with local residents in
light of ongoing attacks and on the back of this we will be
meeting with the NIO in a bid to get a secure gateway
constructed on the small pathway.

"This would be similar to other gates across North Belfast
that are opened during the day but closed at night time

"Unionists leaders also need to play their part.

"They need to come out strongly against these attacks and
use whatever influence they have to help put an end to

October 15, 2005


Sectarian Thugs (UDA) Hit Football Matches

15 October 2005

A BALLYMENA soccer league was in turmoil today after two
matches were cancelled because of sectarian tensions with
fears about the presence of paramilitaries on the

Brian Montgomery, secretary of the Ballymena Saturday
Morning League, said the police told him the UDA was intent
on being present at a match involving a mainly Catholic
team in loyalist Harryville.

Because of fears for the safety of players the fixture, due
to have started at 10.15am, was cancelled. Another match,
involving two teams seen as being mainly Protestant, at
Dunfane Playing Fields in a part of the town with a
Catholic majority, was also called off after reports that
republicans were set to gather there.

Now an emergency meeting of Saturday Morning League
officials is to be held this week in an attempt to get
assurances that football matches can go ahead in peace in
all districts.

Sources have said that if that doesn't happen the future of
the league is on the line.

Last season republicans attacked players during a match
involving Demesne Star and Woodside at Dunfane leading to
the match being abandoned and afterwards Broadway Celtic
needed police protection at a game in Ahoghill after a
loyalist crowd turned up.

In recent years Dale Farm were thrown out of the league
after loyalists caused difficulties during matches in
Harryville involving Broadway Celtic and a team from

Brian Montgomery said he was angry and sad at the latest

"It is sickening what is happening. We managed to get
through the worst of the Troubles without this sort of tit-
for-tat situation coming to the league but in recent years
it has reared its head.

"We were worried about Broadway Celtic's first match of the
season in Harryville due to have been played today and when
we spoke to the police about it they said the UDA were
going to be present so a decision was taken to cancel the
game between Harryville Homers and Broadway.

"At the same time we heard that a crowd was perhaps intent
on causing more bother at the Demesne v Woodside match
which suffered last season, so we decided to call that off

"People need to decide what is the best way forward for
football in Ballymena," said Mr Montgomery.

In May a youth team from the mainly Catholic village of
Carnlough pulled out of a Ballymena league after their
minibus was attacked following a match in the mainly
loyalist Ballykeel estate in Ballymena.

Away from football, the Ballymena area was the scene of a
wave of sectarian attacks over the summer which took place
amid a background of community tension surrounding band


Man Shot And Left To Die (In Loyalist Estate)

15 October 2005

A YOUNG man was "left to die" in the early hours of this
morning after being shot and severely beaten during a
paramilitary-style attack in Newtownabbey.

Police are treating the shooting as attempted murder after
the 23-year-old was abandoned in the hallway of a flat in
the Monkstown Estate (Poster's Note: Monkstown is 98%

The victim was found lying in the Hollybank Drive building
with gunshot wounds to his legs and arms at around 1.30am.

"He had also been viciously beaten and left to die," a
police spokeswoman said.

The man was taken to hospital. Police described his
condition as "serious but stable".

Newtownabbey Mayor William De Courcy said he had hoped
paramilitary-style attacks were a thing of the past.

"I'm not aware of the circumstances behind this attack. But
generally speaking, this is a terrible thing to happen to a
young man. Thankfully he is still alive and I hope he makes
a speedy recovery," said the DUP councillor.

"It's sad to hear that these types of attacks are still
going on when they were reported to have stopped. I had
hoped they were a thing of the past."

In a separate paramilitary-style attack, two men were shot
in north Belfast.

Police said they were attacked in the Agnes Street area off
the Shankill Road at around 8.30pm yesterday.

Their injuries were not thought life-threatening.

Police are appealing for information about the various
attacks. They can be contacted on 028 9065 0222.


Unionists To Discuss Paramilitary Links

15/10/2005 - 15:03:20

The Progressive Unionist Party (PUP) is expected to discuss
its links with the Ulster Volunteer Force at its annual
party conference today.

The party, led by David Ervine, has refused to comment on
speculation it could end its connection with the
paramilitary group if it fails to leave violence behind.

The Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) has been linked to at
least four deaths in its feud with the Loyalist Volunteer

In an unusual move, no reporters have been allowed to
attend the conference.

The Progressive Unionist Party (PUP)'s allowances for the
Northern Ireland assembly have been suspended because the
British government has decided it is not doing enough to
curb paramilitary violence by the UVF.

The Northern Ireland Secretary of State Peter Hain is still
deciding whether to continue the suspension of the party's
Assembly allowance.

The PUP has said it will not be commenting on the
discussions at its conference.


PUP 'Must Deal With UVF Killing'

Funding from Stormont hinges on outcome

By Chris Thornton, Political Correspondent
15 October 2005

THE PUP conference today to discuss its links with the UVF
should be used to "confront the issue of UVF violence once
and for all", the SDLP said last night.

With the UVF ceasefire no longer recognised by the
Government, the party's funding at Stormont could hinge on
the outcome of the closed door meeting in Belfast.

The loyalist party was due to discuss their UVF contacts
just prior to the release of a new Independent Monitoring
Commission report on the state of paramilitary activities.

The UVF has been repeatedly cited by the ceasefire watchdog
for engaging in violence - including the ongoing feud with
the LVF - and other crime.

On Thursday, the Secretary of State said he is still
deciding whether to keep cutting off the party's Assembly

He told MPs: "There remains outstanding the question
whether a financial penalty should be imposed on the
Progressive Unionist party following the recommendation
made to me earlier in the year by the IMC.

"I intend to watch developments carefully over the next few
months," he said.

SDLP Assembly member Alban Maginness said: "From the point
of view of the wider community, the PUP really only needs
one item on its agenda this weekend: UVF murder.

"Whether we are going through a lull in their vendetta
against the LVF or actually seeing the end of it, we cannot
live indefinitely under the active threat of murder.

"The UVF also has questions to answer on the orchestrated
violence at the Whiterock parade and the activities of its
units and members in north Antrim.

"The choice is very clear. The PUP has a positive role to
play - if the UVF abandons violence. Either the PUP can
lead this particular section of the loyalist community
towards peaceful democratic goals, or the commanders in the
shadows can lead their members on a road which will lead
inevitably to jail."

The PUP said it was not making any comment on the meeting.


Bail Is Refused On Loyalist Guns Charge

15 October 2005

A MAN stored guns used by loyalists to fire at security
forces in West Belfast last month after an Orange march was
re-routed, a court has been told.

A detective told the High Court in Belfast yesterday that
Colin Harbinson had also loaded the guns which he handed to
masked men who fired them at police and soldiers.

Harbinson (34), of Highfield Drive, Belfast, is accused of
possessing seven handguns, ammunition and bomb-making
equipment with intent to endanger life.

The firearms and explosives were found after police and
soldiers were attacked during rioting at the annual
Whiterock Orange parade.

Harbinson's bail application had been adjourned on Thursday
to hear evidence from a detective who interviewed him.

In court yesterday the officer was asked if Harbinson had
been acting under duress.

He replied: "He said he was told that if he said anything
to anyone he would be killed."

The officer added: "He said he was given the guns to keep
because there was no-one else they could trust and police
would not suspect him."

Lord Justice Nicholson said it was a difficult case.
Harbinson had no criminal record and it was not believed
that he was involved with any loyalist gang. However, he
apparently had the skills to make pipe bombs and put
bullets in guns.

The judge asked the detective if he had objections to bail
and he replied: "My perception is that the defendant was
playing a key role in the Highfield area. A terrorist
incident just does not involve gunmen but the people who
keep and maintain weapons.

"I believe he was involved in a key role and my concerns
are that should he be released he may be able to integrate
back into the structure in the Highfield area."

Refusing bail, Lord Justice Nicholson said he accepted the
police view that Harbinson had played a background role in
the rioting which could have led to loss of life.


Frazer 'Flew Off Handle Over Lies'

(Bimpe Fatogun, Irish News)

Willie Frazer, of Families Acting for Innocent Relatives,
admitted to "flying off the handle" during the public
meeting on decommissioning but insisted it was in response
to Father Alec Reid's "bigoted" remarks.

Mr Frazer stormed out of Wednesday's meeting following a
heated confrontation with Fr Reid.

His comments came just a week after Mr Frazer himself was
the centre of controversy for inviting loyalist
paramilitaries to take part in a 'Love Ulster' rally.

"As paramilitary organisations certainly [they wouldn't be
welcome], but if people come along as individuals they're
more than welcome," he said of the October 29 rally.

Speaking yesterday (Thursday), Mr Frazer described Fr
Reid's comments as "premeditated and calculated to cause

"The audience who were there sought reassurance, but none
was given; they sought insight but were kept in the dark;
they sought truth but were fed lies and contradictions," he

"Rather than answer direct questions the priest tried to
steer the questions away and, in a style very like that
used by senior Sinn Féin spokesmen when they are asked
difficult questions, he evaded the issues.

"Rather than answer the question he chose instead to
lecture the Protestant audience on the alleged injustices
they had carried out against the nationalist people."

Mr Frazer – who lost five members of his family including
his father – during the Troubles, accused Fr Reid of
adopting a "confrontational style" and said he was merely
challenging the "lies and inaccuracies that I heard".

"I could not in conscience listen to such slander and
misrepresentation of my people. I had to defend the honour
of my community."

He said that like "Irish president Mary McAleese", Fr Reid
had "exposed the real feelings of the nationalist and
republican community".

"They hold in their hearts a bitterness and sectarian
hatred that is based on a myth," he said.

October 15, 2005


Ulster's Jews Urge Us To Mind Our Language

Province's past 'can't be compared to holocaust'

By Claire McNeilly
15 October 2005

JEWS in Northern Ireland have urged people to think again
about the enormity of the Holocaust before drawing any
comparisons with discrimination in the province.

Amid finger-pointing by the two main communities over Fr
Alec Reid's contentious comments comparing unionists to
Nazis, a spokeswoman for the executive council of the
Belfast Jewish Community has said that the Redemptorist
priest's words have highlighted ignorance about one of the
worst episodes of genocide in history, in which six million
people died.

Dr Katy Radford, on behalf of the executive council, said:
"There has been a complete lack of understanding and
education about what the Holocaust means and represents."

And in today's Belfast Telegraph Alex Benjamin, who comes
from a Jewish background, outlines how ignorance of Jewry
has spawned such atrocious comparisons.

Earlier this year, Irish President Mary McAleese sparked
outrage when she compared Protestants to Nazis. Both Mrs
McAleese and Fr Reid have apologised for the offence caused
by their comments.

Dr Radford said: "There is a tendency for people to take
their hurts and grievances, and use the reference almost as
a shorthand.

"Pope John Paul did a tremendous amount of work to address
the lack of trust between some members of the Christian
church and some Jews and it would be a shame if his insight
was undermined."

Dr Radford added: "We hope that this sort of cavalier
attitude to the enormity of the Holocaust and to its actual
and symbolic significance to Jews and others affected by
the Nazis is addressed through public awareness so that the
next generation in Northern Ireland see themselves as
survivors and not primarily as victims of the political

Dr Radford also said that the Belfast Jewish Community felt
Fr Reid's utterances were decidedly disproportionate.

"Given that the Nuremburg Laws in 1936 prohibited Jews from
working in their professions as doctors, as lawyers and as
teachers, and from owning certain property, his comments
again don't appear to reflect or mirror any discriminations
experienced in Northern Ireland," she said.

"I think the comments were crass in the extreme, given the
experiences of Jews and of others who were systematically
slaughtered on an industrial scale by the Nazis."

She stressed that the Belfast Jewish Community did not wish
to account for Alec Reid's credibility as an independent
witness to decommissioning.

"However, I feel his comments were both extreme and ill-
judged," she said.


Daily Ireland Editorial

Opin: The Pot Calling The Kettle Black

Editor: Maria McCourt

Fr Alec Reid's choice of language during a heated debate in
south Belfast on Wednesday evening was wrong and he was
right to apologise. That said, the reaction of unionists
and the unionist press is out of all proportion and has as
much to do with cynical political opportunism as with
genuine anger or disappointment.

There's no getting away from the fact Fr Reid's badly
chosen words have made life considerably more difficult for
those unionists who want to move forward into a shared
future – many of them known personally to Fr Reid – and he
has quickly and generously expressed his sorrow and regret.
But for those entrenched unionists who have fallen on the
controversy with ill-disguised glee, the bad-tempered spat
at Fitzroy Presbyterian Church has clearly come as manna
from heaven.

The irony, of course, is those protesting most to be
offended by Fr Reid's words are the very people who have
shunned political discourse in favour of sectarian rhetoric
of the basest kind. The DUP had the good sense not to
choose their leader when it came to picking someone to
respond to Fr Reid's mistake. This they did because no
single person over the past 50 years has done more to
ensure that words should wound and not heal than the
Reverend Ian Paisley. Against that background, the offended
bleatings of DUP representatives who have never had a word
of censure for the most outrageous outpourings of their
leader ring decidedly hollow.

Having accepted that Fr Reid chose the wrong words, it is
important to remember that the 'Nazis' analogy was made in
the context of a discussion on decades of unionist misrule
in the North, an indisputable reality which certain loud-
mouthed loyalists in the audience continue to deny. That
the North was 'a Protestant state for a Protestant people'
is undeniable; that Catholics were brutalised, marginalised
and denied their basic human rights is indisputable. In
pointing this out, Fr Reid came in for provocation in the
form of accusations and lies in relation to his church, his
ministry at Clonard and his personal integrity, and the
result was an outburst he quickly withdrew.

If Fr Reid had not been one of the two clerical witnesses
to last month's IRA decommissioning, that would probably
have been the end of the matter. As it is, it's clear anti-
agreement unionists are determined to use the matter to
undermine the IRA initiative and the chance for political
advancement that it offers.

The regrettable events at that south Belfast church change
nothing, of course. The integrity of both men has already
been impugned by the very same unionists who are now
attempting the political equivalent of double jeopardy.
Those shabby attempts to malign two men of honour and
courage withered when the decommissioning they testified to
was met with approval by the majority in Ireland and
abroad. Efforts on the back of this unfortunate incident to
traduce a priest who has devoted his life to compassion and
peace will similarly fail.


'Catholics Forced To Live In Squalor

(Bimpe Fatogun, Irish News)

The assertion that Catholics were treated "like animals" by
the unionist ascendancy may be extreme but it is not a
million miles from the truth, according to one Protestant
civil rights activist.

Ivan Cooper emerged as one of the major figures of the
1960s civil rights movement.

A Co Derry Protestant, Mr Cooper was initially a grateful
recipient of employment discrimination.

"I can remember whenever I was first approached about
employment as a young executive in the shirt industry," he

"It wasn't advertised but I was approached simply because I
was a Protestant.

"What they didn't know was how my political outlook would
develop over the years."

The trade union activist went on to become a Stormont MP
was an early advocate for equality for all.

"Derry was probably the Achilles heel situation in that
nearly one third of it's population had a proportional
majority on the council," he said.

"The difficulty was because of the lack of universal
franchise. The vote was tied to houses, they just simply
didn't build any houses for the Catholic population.

"In parts of Derry, [Catholics] were living in the likes of
Springtown Camp on the edge of the city."

Springtown Camp was a former US army base, vacated in 1945
by GIs and left to house Catholics families who made their
homes in the discarded Nissan huts.

"There were extremely high infant mortality rates and
people living in absolute squalor.

"There were terrible housing conditions but they wouldn't
build houses because that would have created imbalance in
the council.

"You had men standing on street corners with no chance of
employment opportunities."

He said as far as he is concerned there was clear bias
against Catholics in the north in the 1960s and before.

"Father Reid didn't put it very well, but the essence of
what he was saying was absolutely correct. Even in 2005
unionism hasn't accepted the mistakes of the past.

"As far as I'm concerned it was an unfortunate remark, but
I could understand that he said it when he was faced with

UUP representative Esmond Birnie said on the contrary
unionists are aware that

there was some discrimination in the past against

However, he questioned the scale of such bias.

"It is very important to draw a distinction between what an
individual might do and what may be done as a deliberate
state policy," Dr Birnie said.

"There were bad-minded individuals but it is an
exaggeration to say the province had some sort of apartheid

He pointed out that there was a one-man-one-vote system for
Stormont and Westminster elections at the time, claiming
that the criteria for council elections discriminated
against working-class Protestants as much as working-class

"To say what happened in the past was like the treatment of
blacks in South Africa is to downplay the extent of that
evil. The same is true of Nazi Germany.

"Anyone who draws such comparisons clearly doesn't know
their own history or the history of central Europe in the
mid-21st century."

However, historian Eamonn Phoenix said the 1969 Cameron
Report into "injustices in Northern Ireland" found the
government guilty of such charges.

He also pointed out that Stormont prime ministers and
cabinet ministers had made sectarian calls-to-arms in

"Sir Basil Brooke, then a cabinet minister who went on to
become prime minister, gave a speech telling people not to
employ Roman Catholics, saying he hadn't 'one about the
place (his lands)'," Dr Phoenix said.

"Nationalists felt they were treated as second class
citizens from the inception of the state in 1921 until

October 15, 2005


Priest's 'Nazi, Jew' Comments Were 'Horrendous Drivel' -
Gregory Campbell

Friday 14th October 2005

East Derry MP Gregory Campbell has branded comments from a
Belfast priest comparing the treatment of Catholics in the
North to the way Nazis treated the Jews as "horrendous

Mr. Campbell urged unionists to reflect on comments made by
Father Alex Reid at a public meeting in Belfast that Roman
Catholics 'were not treated like human beings. They were
treated like the Nazis treated the Jews'.

Mr. Campbell said that unionists will "quite rightly" take
grave exception to the comments, adding that many will want
to dismiss it as "utter nonsense".

"I believe however if this is taken with similar comments
made by the President of the Irish Republic (later
apologised for) in a similar vein, the unionist community
can begin to make some sense of the appalling sectarian
murder campaign of the IRA aimed against us since 1969.

"If the wider nationalist community has been fed with this
horrendous drivel, if they hear it from some of their
elected representatives and religious leaders, is it not
small wonder that a narrow minded, sick, sectarian mindset
developed out of which came the IRA.

"Does this in some way begin to tell the unionist community
how some of our Nationalist neighbours have arrived at a
position whereby sectarianism is endemic among them and
their desire to prevent our cultural expression explained
by this outburst."

Mr. Campbell added that the "ultimate insult" in Fr Reid's
comments was when he endeavoured to explain what he meant
in saying Protestants 'were forced to treat nationalists
the way they did'.

"This patronising and inelegant attempt to stop digging the
hole into which he had dug for himself should not detract
in any way from the import of his comments for the unionist
people," he said.


Opin: Just How Can This Be Compared To Ulster?

By Lindy McDowell
15 October 2005

TO wildly paraphrase Oscar Wilde, for one spokesperson of
nationalism to lose the plot and call unionists Nazis may
be regarded as a misfortune; for two spokespersons of
nationalism to lose it and call unionists Nazis looks like
a bit of a pattern emerging . . .

What the hell is going on in people's minds when they say
these things?

Never mind what it tells us about what they think of their
unionist neighbours, comments like those of Fr Alec Reid
this week and Irish President Mary McAleese last January
are a truly shocking insight into where they rate the
crimes of the Nazis. And a truly disturbing reflection of
the contempt they apparently feel for the suffering of Nazi

Six million men, women and children coldly, systematically
butchered in the most horrific act of genocide in the
history of mankind. . . .

And that's regarded as being on a par with gerrymandering
in Londonderry?

It's not primarily Protestants that Fr Reid needs to be
apologising to for his crass remarks. It's Jews. And if he
needs any reminder why, he should read the powerful words
of Alex Benjamin on pages 24 and 25 in this paper today.

In his article Alex, who comes from a Jewish background,
reveals that it's estimated that world-wide the number of
people who bore the Benjamin name was decimated by almost
half during the savage, bloody years of Nazi power.

It sort of puts a housing dispute in Strabane into

One of the arguments used in defence of Fr Reid this week
was the line about how he had been provoked and that he
came out with the Nazi jibe as a sort of unthinking knee-

This is fair enough up to a point - the point is, though,
that when most of us knee-jerk in an unthinking sort of
way, what we come out with tends to be what we really

And what has shocked so very many unionist people this week
is not just the realisation that this is how Fr Reid thinks
- but the suspicion that this might be how a much wider
number of nationalists also think.

Fr Alec's strange follow-up comments when he said that he
was sorry and that he believed unionists acted the way they
did because of Partition, only compounds this belief.

His initial accusation was: "The reality is that the
nationalist community in Northern Ireland were treated
almost like animals by the unionist community. They were
not treated like human beings. They were treated like the
Nazis treated the Jews."

The reality is that the "unionist community" (I assume he
means people like me) did nothing of the sort.

The Sinn Fein spin on history seeks to align the experience
of nationalists in Northern Ireland with just about every
grievance, oppression, pogrom or, in the case of the Jews,
wholesale genocide in history.

The fact is that, not only was the experience of
nationalists in Northern Ireland light years away from the
horror inflicted on the victims of the Nazis, it was also
light years away from the terrible injustice of the
Apartheid system in South Africa and even (it might
interest a few American readers to note) light years away
from the blatant discrimination practised against African
Americans by the American government in the 1960s.

Yet all of these instances are routinely evoked by Sinn
Fein as comparable. Sectarian discrimination did exist in
Northern Ireland, but contrary to accepted wisdom it was
not exclusively confined to one side. Or indeed to one side
of the border. There were inequalities. But as I've pointed
out in this column many, many times in the past, if a more
accurate comparison with the experience of the nationalist
working class in Northern Ireland is to be made, it's with
the experience of the unionist working class.

Hundreds of thousands of us grew up in similar

Nobody ever came to my father's council house door to
assure him there was a job for him anytime just because he
was Protestant. Nobody ever told my mother not to worry
about her children's education because there would
automatically be jobs for us all once we finished school.
At no time was my family ever aware of any special
privileges, advantages or state largesse that might come
our way simply because we were Protestant.

We did not treat anyone "almost like animals", Fr Reid.
Like our neighbours, both Catholic and Protestant, we got
on with our own lives.

PERHAPS Fr Reid can explain this simple point. How is it
that if the "unionist community" were treating their
nationalist neighbours "almost like animals", we were all
living in the same conditions? Surely if one section of the
community had its jackboot on the throat of the other there
would be what Tony might call "transparent and verifiable"
evidence of advantage.

In Northern Ireland the great swathes of the Protestant
working class are proof that somewhere along the line that
spin about the unionist community being privileged
oppressors doesn't really wash.

Along with hundreds of thousands in that community I was
stunned and hurt by what Fr Reid, a man who has been built
up as a paragon of peace, has had to say about us this

I accept, though, that this does not necessarily make him a
bad person. I even feel a bit sorry for him.

His comments about unionists being like Nazis and about IRA
bank raiders being "whiter than white" are verging on that
pecularily local syndrome - Troubles Tourette's. In fact
he's put his foot in his mouth so much this week, he could
even be in the running as a new Orange Order spokesman.

And there may be a positive aspect to the row about his

We have in Northern Ireland two sides of a working class
community which have been often cynically manipulated and
set at each other's throat.

One side thinks they were badly kept down. The other side
thinks they were equally kept down - and then demonised as
the first side's oppressors.

Isn't it time we opened a debate about this so that the
reality of both sides' experience could be expressed?

Wouldn't it be possible to do this in a way that involves
plain speaking but avoids hyperbole, name calling and the
trivialising of genocide?

Above all, one that avoids demonising an entire side of the

For where's the equality Fr Alec, when, to wildly misquote
old Oscar again, all of us have been in the gutters - but
only some are allowed to show the scars?


Grieving Brother Lashes Out Over Suicide Websites

By Claire Regan
15 October 2005

A WEST Belfast man whose brother took his own life last
night branded a rash of 'pro-suicide' websites which
provide advice on how best to commit suicide as "sick and

Sean Connolly, who found his 25-year-old brother Gary dead
at the family home six years ago, said he feared the
details published on the sites would push vulnerable people
into taking their own lives by showing them how to.

The campaigner, who has started the Tools for Life
programme to tackle Northern Ireland's high suicide rate,
spoke out after SDLP Youth highlighted the problem when
members came across the material on the internet.

Party chairman John O'Doherty said he was "completely
disgusted" by the contents of some internet sites, one of
which included instructions on how to tie a noose for

The national origins of many of the sites, which the
Belfast Telegraph has viewed, are unknown.

The information includes the 'best' five methods of
suicide, writing suicide notes, making funeral arrangements
and tying up 'loose ends' such as bills.

The shocking discovery comes against the backdrop of
Northern Ireland's growing suicide rate which is one of the
highest per capita in the whole of Europe, with an average
of 150 lives being taken every year.

"Imagine that you are lost, you are depressed and you are
considering suicide. You might be browsing the internet,
perhaps in search of support or perhaps looking for
information, and then you stumble upon a pro-suicide
website," Mr O'Doherty said. "Having spent some time
researching these sites I was sickened by the content. One
site I came across listed 14 suicides as 'success stories'
but those could not be verified because of the anonymous
screen names used by the people who allegedly died.

"SDLP Youth members have found this issue so distressing we
plan to devote our time and effort to ridding the internet
of this sort of destructive and harmful material. The group
also intends to work with suicide groups throughout
Northern Ireland in order to promote the positive help that
is available."

Mr Connolly, a 35-year-old father of four, said that he was
"sickened" by the discovery.

"The big thing about people who are feeling suicidal is
that they cannot go and ask someone how to do it," he said.

"But these sites actually provide the A, B and C of how to
go about it.

"My worry is that it will push vulnerable or depressed
people into attempting suicide much quicker and with much
more serious intent than they might do otherwise.

"It's sick and distressing. These sites are a massive
setback to the work of people like myself who try so hard
to tackle this problem."

Mr Connolly is one of only two people in Ulster who are
qualified in medical hypnosis by the American Association
of Medical Hypnotherapy and is determined to use his skills
to try and help those in despair.

He believes that "a serious lack of life coaching" in
schools is one of the main problems leading to depression
and suicide here.

lTo find out more about the Tools For Life Programme call
028 90925183.


Opin: Fr Mc Manus's Blog On Act Of Settlement

Ellis Island: US calls time on Ulster squabbles

By Walter Ellis reports from New York
15 October 2005

IT would be hard to imagine any issue further down the list
of US political priorities just now than Northern Ireland.

Perhaps the provincial government of central Norway would
have less resonance with Americans, but I'm not so sure. In
parts of Minnesota, I am told, they hang on every word of
the debates in Trondheim city council.

What is beyond doubt is that eyes glaze over from sea to
shining sea at the mere mention of Sinn Fein, the Orange
Order, No Surrender and Tiocfaidh Ár Lá.

That is why the recent visit to America of Martin
McGuinness passed with virtually no coverage. The only
shred of interest was in whether or not the former IRA
leader would be allowed to raise funds for Sinn Fein while
he was in the country. In the event, he wasn't.

"Enough, already!" the cry has gone up. "If you can't sort
out your squalid little problems after 35 years of trying,
don't expect us to do it for you. And leave your begging
bowl at home."

Quite right, too. To expect America to get worked up about
the decisions of the NI Parades Commission or the
proclivity of thugs on both sides to kill each other over
who controls drug distribution in which housing estate is,
frankly, asking a lot.

I am moved to re-visit this topic because I read the other
day that Father Sean McManus, president of the self-styled
Irish National Caucus, has found a new cause to fill his

Fr Sean is an institution in Washington mainly because that
is how he thinks of himself. When he wakes up each morning,
he sees himself as the embodiment in the United States of
gaelic yearning and Irish Catholic orthodoxy.

The problem is that he has run out of things to complain
about. That is why he decided to spread his net a little

There had to be something that would get the juices going.
But what? Time to get out the history books.

Thus it was that from his plush offices on Capitol Hill,
just an ass's roar from the US Congress, the Good Father
last week denounced the requirement in British law that the
throne of the United Kingdom should be occupied by a member
of the Established Church.

"Tony Blair," he wrote in his weekly Blog
(, "must
immediately remove the constitutional basis for all Orange
bigotry and sectarianism: the anti-Catholic section of the
Act of Settlement of 1700, which is still in force today."

Note the 'immediately'. The Act has been on the statute
books for 305 years, but, at the urging of the Irish
National Caucus [Fr S McManus prop], it is to be removed

No one outside of the Orange Order (and just possibly the
British National Party) argues any longer that the Act of
Settlement is a liberal, or even workable construct. Should
Prince William decide to marry a Catholic, the law will be
changed, and that will be that.

The issue is complicated by the conceit that the monarch is
also head of the Church, but given that Prince Charles has
already styled himself Defender of Faiths, rather than of
the Faith, it's clear in which direction the wind is

But Father Sean's difficulty lay elsewhere. He has so
little in his in-tray these days that his decision to
attack the constitutional arrangements of a foreign nation
(from a third nation) was the only thing that kept him out
of yet another interminable morning reading the Irish Voice
in Starbucks.

No one in America seriously believes that Catholics are
disadvantaged in Northern Ireland. Nor, except for a few
thousand inbreds in the Appalachians, do they view the
Orange Order as anything other than shameful. As far as the
people of the United States are concerned, the big problems
have gone, the central issues are resolved, and it is time
to move on.

If only the people of Ulster took a similar view!

Echoes remain, of course, of former enthusiasms. So long as
Senator Edward Kennedy is alive, the Irish will not lack a
voice in the councils of the great. But the Senator is 73
and increasingly preoccupied with Iraq, the economy and the
impact of Hurricane Katrina. He hardly ever mentions

Is he likely to get steamed up over the fact that Prince
William is expected to be a Protestant? Hardly. As far as
he is concerned, the less said about religion, the better.

But Father Sean has to do something. If he didn't, people
might begin to suspect that the cause he avows isn't really
a cause at all, but a memory. Then he might have to pack up
his fancy office, give up his home in Washington and get
back to the business of saving souls.

Heaven forfend.


Ltr: Reason For Act Of Settlement Rule Still Stands

15 October 2005

FR Sean McManus (Writeback, October 4) correctly observes
that the Act of Settlement of 1701 decrees that the monarch
cannot be a Roman Catholic, and neither the monarch nor the
heir to the throne can marry a Roman Catholic.

This may seem anachronistic in our multi-religious society
today but there is - whatever one may think of it - a

The Coronation Oath asks the new monarch: "Will you
solemnly promise and swear to govern the peoples of the
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland... and
of your possessions and the other territories to any of
them belonging or pertaining, according to their respective
laws and customs... Will you to the utmost of your power
cause law and justice, in mercy, to be executed in all your
judgments... Will you to the utmost of your power maintain
the laws of God and the true profession of the Gospel...
Will you to the utmost of your power maintain in the United
Kingdom the Protestant Reformed religion established by

The Protestant doctrine is that the national monarch is the
supreme governor, next under God, of all estates in his or
her realm.

At the Pope's Coronation it is said to him: "Receive the
tiara adorned with three crowns, and know that thou art
Father of Kings and Princes, Ruler of the World, and Vicar
on Earth of Jesus Christ".

The Roman Catholic doctrine is that the Pope has
international authority over all national monarchs. Thus,
the Protestant and Roman Catholic conceptions of monarchy
are quite different.

A practising Roman Catholic monarch would submit to the
Pope as the highest temporal and spiritual authority in the
land, and this would have religious, constitutional,
political and social implications for us all.

CHRISTOPHER LUKE, Tunbridge Wells, Kent.


Opin: Fear Of A SF Coup Stalks South's Corridors Of Power

Eric Waugh
14 October 2005

The Republic has a claim to uniqueness which is never
mentioned in my hearing, although I have aired it myself
once or twice. Once was at a conference in Dublin, where it
was greeted with what I can only describe as a pregnant
silence. As we dispersed, I was told later that the
strangest people were urgently inquiring, back of hand to
lips, who I was and whom I represented.

What had I said? I had merely remarked that, of all the new
States created in the backwash of the First World War, the
Irish Free State, later the Republic, was the only one
never to have had a coup. I then added that of course it
had come close to it twice, once under de Valera and once
under Lynch.

I mention this because southern politics are once again
governed by fear of a coup: not imminently - but the fear
is that the chips are being stacked in favour of one; and
that, if events continue on their current course, it could
become a real risk following the General Election after

Sinn Fein/IRA is the breeding ground of that fear; and in
the contrariness of politics, the decommissioning event,
far from weakening it, has reinforced it.

Fresh from its "war" and heavy with money bags, the
southern conviction is that Sinn Fein is now poised, with
traditional lack of scruple, to exploit democracy.

In the meantime Bertie Ahern has a certain faith in the
utility of "the north" as a safety valve. Shoe-horning
Adams's crowd into office at Stormont could be useful. It
would keep them busy up there, soften them with the rewards
of office and keep their minds off the south.

It is an illusory hope: first because the resumption of a
workable Executive (whatever one says about the Assembly)
appears more remote by the hour; and second, because - even
if it were realised - Sinn Fein in office at Stormont would
not render them less dangerous to Dublin but more so. In
office Sinn Fein showed themselves resourceful in making
the most of it. Having traded on Clinton's anxiety over his
Irish vote, so that the arms clause in the 1998 Agreement
was reduced to a meaningless bromide, they gleefully
entered office with arms and explosives intact and
dissimulation at the ready.

The arms were silent, they assured London and Dublin, while
the odd murder and rattle of the sabre in its scabbard
continued to produce a shamelessly steady stream of
concessions from Blair. Thus have we reached the current
impasse: for the unionist interest will continue to refuse
to do serious business with Number Ten, still less with
Sinn Fein, on such a basis. But, you say, does not
decommissioning make a difference? To quote the immortal
reporter, Boot, to his proprietor, Lord Copper, it does -
up to a point.

The latest report of the International Monitoring
Commission, given to Blair's and Ahern's offices today,
could help; but the core of the dilemma is no longer
explosives: it is intention. The IMC has been turning its
gimlet eye also on the vicious loyalist gangs, as well it

But the republicans matter much more because their
representatives would be voted into office, albeit while
uniquely denying the legitimacy of the state they would
help to govern; surely an Irish formula for the body
politic if ever there was one.

But they still have done nothing to disown their old
willingness to subvert democracy, this time by using the
proceeds of corruption, robbery and drug-dealing in place
of guns.

The "war" may be over (although no such commitment has been
given), the arms may be dumped, but the intention remains

What about the money? The new old-design notes of the
Northern Bank heist, numbers known, may have been scrapped;
but the proceeds of the unlisted, used notes still amount
to millions. They, or their laundered proceeds, remain in
republican hands. The fear in Dublin is that they will be
used to buy votes at the coming General Election.

No Sinn Fein/IRA spokesman has indicated that steps are
being taken to ensure that the money will be returned. More
important, no such person has indicated that it should be.

Until they do, the notion that self-respecting party men
should share office with republicans, widely regarded as
the bedfellows of bank raiders, will remain ludicrous.

As for the asset recovery agencies, north and south, they
have potential, especially when working together.

But if the law - or the Governments - allow them to be made
a monkey of, or if they are reduced to being handmaidens of
the spin doctors, the last state will be worse than the


Opin: Assembly's Days Look Numbered

SOARING COSTS: Is there a real point in keeping it ticking

15 October 2005

After a bad week for the peace process, following the raids
on republican-owned property in Manchester and the row over
one of the clerical witnesses to IRA decommissioning, the
government must seriously consider the wisdom of keeping
the Stormont Assembly ticking over. It last sat three years
ago and so far it has cost £72m.

Two years on from the last election, there is no suggestion
that the Assembly is about to be reconvened. Its 108
members continue to receive their salaries and allowances -
at a rate of £10m a year - and some may retire without ever
having to make an appearance.

Meanwhile the secretariat, which only functions properly
when the Assembly is operating, has swallowed up more than
£25m. All the departments are fully staffed and ready to
carry out their duties, whenever the politicians can agree
on an executive.

The Prime Minister and the Taoiseach met earlier this week
and again they cling to the hope of restoring devolution.
But they would have to admit that, despite the publicity
given to the IRA's final act of decommissioning, the mood
of politicians and public remains sceptical, if not gloomy.

Firstly, there was the widespread disillusion over the £26m
bank heist - still attributed, only this week, to the IRA -
and the Robert McCartney killing. Polarisation increased
with the Westminster election and, although the IRA
appeared to deliver on its decommissioning promise, it was
surrounded with so much secrecy that many questions remain.

The heavy weapons, explosives and ammunition may have gone,
but what purpose does the IRA now serve? Recently it has
concentrated on its criminal empire, through smuggling,
rackets and theft, and now we are seeing where the money
was being invested.

If the assets recovery people, north and south, can prove
that property in Manchester and eastern Europe is linked to
IRA money-laundering, what effect will that have on
unionist confidence? Will they be anxious to throw in their
lot, in a power-sharing executive, with Sinn Fein
politicians who accuse the police of bias, yet want to
control policing and justice?

The angry outburst by the decommissioning witness, Father
Alec Reid, has only added to the woes of the governments.
He has apologised for accusing unionists of treating
nationalists like Nazis, but his objectivity and judgment
must be doubted.

The hope was that devolution talks could begin in the New
Year, after favourable IMC reports, but the timetable must
be slipping. If the Assembly is not able to meet before
another election, in 2007, the whole operation should be
scaled down.


The Art Of Terror

By Simon Caterson
October 15, 2005

A Union Jack with the slogan, "We are not afraid," is
raised at a vigil at Trafalgar Square in remembrance of the
victims of the London bombings.

TERRORISM is not art, though the parallels between them are
close enough to be disturbing. After certain acts of
terrorism, we are often told, the world will never be the
same again. An impact of such magnitude is analogous to the
lasting effect of great art.

Terrorists seek to influence the way their unwilling
audiences think and feel. Terror caused by an individual or
group may thus be equated with an entire army's tactic of
"shock and awe".

The impulse to destroy is as irrational and irrepressible
as the impulse to create, and history tells us both may be
fuelled by feelings of alienation from and disaffection
with society.

It is no secret that terrorists seek the power and
legitimacy bestowed by symbols, as emerged in the wake of
the July 7 bombings in London. Germaine Lindsay, the 19-
year-old whose bomb was detonated at Kings Cross killing 27
people, went on an unusual shopping expedition just

He bought £900 ($A2100) worth of men's perfume by exclusive
brands such as Jean Paul Gaultier, Hugo Boss and Emporio
Armani. Lindsay went back more than once to the shop to
obtain a "limited edition" bottle of Boss in motion green.

Buying large quantities of expensive scent aroused
suspicion among the staff, though tragically and
understandably, no connection was made with the imminent
bombings. Perfume sold in the West ordinarily contains
alcohol, an ingredient that in purely practical terms
assists in making a bomb more incendiary.

Alcohol consumption is forbidden under Islam. The Islamic
Bookstore in Sydney's Lakemba sells alcohol-free perfume
for $5 a bottle.

Lindsay's choice of a range of upmarket brands represents,
as a British newspaper report noted, a grimly ironic
comment on "the epitome of 'decadent' Western luxury".

This apparent protest against the excesses of modern
consumer society is one that many contemporary artists echo
in their work.

Notwithstanding the murder and mayhem Lindsay caused, can
we say for sure that he was not trying to make a statement
akin to those issued by some of the more controversial
contemporary artists, such as the group known as the
Britpack? Modern art in general is typically intended to
shock, even if it is only the shock of the new.

Whatever else they may be, terrorists are nothing if not
public performers. The London bombers appear to have
anticipated the immense publicity their acts would receive,
their undisguised faces fixed forever in surveillance
camera images.

Terrorism has been described as propaganda by deed, and
there is no deed more impressive than martyrdom, however
false its premise.

According to historian Walter Laqueur, terrorism functions
first and foremost as an attention-seeking device: "Terror
is noisy, it catches the headlines. Its melodrama inspires
horror and fascination. But seen in historical perspective,
it has hardly ever had a lasting effect."

In the minds of those it touches, however, a single act of
terrorism or attempted terror clearly does have a lasting
impact, to say nothing of the death, pain and shock caused
to the immediate victims.

The London bombers, like the September 11 hijackers, have
achieved immortality in the annals of terror. Even among
those of us fortunate enough not to have relatives or
friends directly involved in terrorist attacks, none who
watched the destruction of the second of the two World
Trade Centre towers in real time, or who saw the first news
flashes from London, is likely to forget the images of
death, destruction and injury, precisely because they are
so horrifying.

Unlike natural disasters such as the Asian tsunami, which
are similarly confronting reminders of the fragility of
life and the vanity of human wishes, these events were the
product of human agency. This much was acknowledged by the
controversial Britpack artist Damien Hirst who, in an
unguarded moment a year after 9/11, expressed admiration
for a spectacle he considered "visually stunning". "You've
got to hand it to them at some level," Hirst told BBC News
Online, "because they've achieved something which nobody
would have thought possible, especially in a country as big
as America."

Hirst added: "I think the idea of looking at the September
11 attacks as an artwork is a very difficult thing to do.
But I don't think artists look at it in a different way."

IRONICALLY, at least one author whose specific task it is
to create in fiction this type of event had already
concluded it was impossible. Shortly after the September 11
attacks, popular thriller writer Frederick Forsyth told an
interviewer he had considered using a very similar scenario
in one of his novels, only to dismiss it as too far-

After complaints were made about his remarks, Hirst issued
a statement in which he "apologised unreservedly" for the
offence caused by the "misrepresentation of my thoughts and
feelings", without, that is, actually withdrawing the
comments. While few would be inclined to agree with Hirst
that 9/11 is art, it is difficult to deny the perversely
symbolic intention of the hijackings. The plan included
hitting the White House and Pentagon, targets with obvious
strategic value to terrorists. One of these attacks did not
succeed and there is no clear footage of the other. The
World Trade Centre was of no real strategic value, but
proved to be the most spectacular of the three attacks.

Though not the tallest buildings in the US, the towers
represented something about the West that the hijackers
wanted to challenge. The World Trade Centre was intended as
an icon of Western capitalism when it was designed and was
taken for one by those who destroyed it. And there was no
shortage of cameras in the area to record the event.

An awareness of the symbolism of buildings also partly
explains Timothy McVeigh's choice of the Alfred P. Murrah
Federal Building in Oklahoma as the target for his 1995
truck bomb. In actual fact this building contained not a
single person involved in the event that McVeigh was
supposedly avenging: the alleged 1993 massacre by federal
agents of members of the Branch Davidian sect at their
compound in Waco, Texas.

That detail was of no significance to McVeigh and his
supporters. Their target, the US Government, was embodied
in that structure. The eventual execution of McVeigh, like
all applications of capital punishment, had in turn
symbolic meaning for the victims' families and sent a
message to the wider American public.

Symbolism and theatricality are constant features of
organised terror, which in one form or another is as old as
human civilisation itself, as of course is art.

It is worth reminding ourselves that al-Qaeda and its
affiliates may represent a distinctly contemporary
phenomenon, but such campaigns are by no means
unprecedented. Historically, terrorism is secular as well
as religious in inspiration; it can be revolutionary or
reactionary, and may be instigated by individuals, groups
or even by states. American terrorist groups and
individuals with an obvious artistic bent include the Ku
Klux Klan and the Unabomber.

In Northern Ireland, terrorist groups operate in parallel
on either side of the sectarian divide, with public art
playing a significant role in the conflict.

Anyone who has been to Belfast will have seen the large
murals in each part of town, largely made up of mottos and
iconography. If, like me, you are of Irish descent, then
you don't have to have any sympathy for terrorists or their
methods in order to acknowledge the potency of some of
these symbols.

It was Carl Jung who said that each of us has a race
memory, and he also explored the immense sway held over our
imaginations by symbols, which are integral to human
creativity but may also make us susceptible to their
misuse. The terrorists themselves may be seduced or deluded
by the airy promise of the Caliphate or some other utopian
vision conjured up in order to justify their deeds.

In An Anatomy of Terror: A History of Terrorism, Andrew
Sinclair writes: "Terror has no limits and lacks a
comprehensive definition. It is a humaninduced state of
fear, even when the state induces that fear." The modern
age of terrorism in the West was inaugurated with the Reign
of Terror that followed the French Revolution as a
deliberate government policy designed to secure the new
French republic.

The architect of this policy was Maximilien Robespierre,
and he justified it with a rhetorical flourish: "They say
that terrorism is the resort of despotic government. Is our
government then like despotism? Yes, as the sword that
flashes in the hand of the hero of liberty is like that
with which the satellites of tyranny are armed. The
government of the Revolution is the despotism of liberty
against tyranny."

Dictators routinely use the sensation of fear to maintain
their power. Stalin instigated what historians refer to as
the Great Purge, and to him is attributed the sub-aesthetic
observation that the death of one person is a tragedy while
the death of a million people is a statistic.

One writer who witnessed the excesses of the French
Revolution first-hand was Irish thinker Edmund Burke, who
decried the "thousands of those hell-hounds called
terrorists" unleashed in Paris.

A few decades before the French Revolution, Burke had
written one of the key texts in Western aesthetics. In his
philosophical inquiry into the origin of our ideas of the
sublime and beautiful, Burke drew a distinction between art
whose beauty gives us pleasure, and art that induces fear,
which he called the sublime."

No passion effectively robs the mind of all its powers of
acting and reasoning as fear," Burke wrote. "For fear,
being an apprehension of pain or death operates in a manner
that resembles actual pain. Whatever therefore is terrible,
with regard to sight, is sublime too, whether this cause of
terror be endured with greatness of dimensions or not; for
it is impossible to look on any thing as trifling or
contemptible that may be dangerous."

The sublime is integral to such familiar genres as Gothic
novels and horror movies, and is present whenever we see,
hear or read a dramatic representation of violence, cruelty
or danger. Perhaps no modern tyrant has more fully explored
the relationship between political terror and the sublime
than Adolf Hitler, who is often described as a failed
artist even though he was in fact a watercolourist of some
competence. Hitler involved himself in all aspects of the
regime, including the emblems, uniforms and architecture of
the Third Reich, all of which were meant to capture the

A PRIME example of the Nazi sublime in action is the Stuka
dive-bomber, which was used to attack civilian as well as
military targets, in particular refugees fleeing from the
German advance during the Blitzkrieg. The Stuka was a slow,
inefficient aircraft that could only carry one large bomb
at a time. Pilots disliked it because they would black out
momentarily from the G-forces generated when coming out of
the steep dive. The aeroplane was, however, fitted with
sirens, known as the Trumpets of Jericho, whose loud wail
intensified the fear felt by its victims, both civilian and

The Stuka was an effective terror weapon, even though in
practical terms it was relatively easy to shoot down. As
one French general reported in 1940 during the German
invasion of France: "The infantry, cowering and immobile in
their trenches, dazed by the crash of the bombs and the
shriek of the dive-bombers, were too stunned to use their
anti-aircraft guns and fire. Their only concern was to keep
their heads down and not move."

The Allies responded to German terror tactics with some of
their own, including the controversial bombings of Dresden
and Hamburg. The dropping of the atom bombs on Hiroshima
and Nagasaki announced the era of the most sublime weapons
yet invented. When J. Robert Oppenheimer, the "father of
the atomic bomb", saw for the first time the massive
mushroom cloud rising after a test explosion, he recited a
line from the Bhagavad- Gita: "I am become Death, the
destroyer of worlds."

According to Frederic Spotts in Hitler and the Power of
Aesthetics, the Nazi regime was so fond of the Stuka that a
lavish propaganda feature film - which incorporated another
of Hitler's great loves, the music of Wagner - was made
about a pilot who flew the plane. "In Stukas," Spotts
writes, "the handsome hero had the time of his life
divebombing everything and everyone he could find in Poland
and France. But with the defeat of France and the hiatus in
active hostilities, he lost all interest in life and lay
comatose in a clinic." In the film, the psychopathic
pilot's spirits are only revived when a nurse takes him to
a performance of Wagner's opera Gotterdammerung, and, notes
Spotts, he is soon back in the air bombing away in his
Stuka with new relish for the task.

The association between terror and Wagner, a genius of the
musical sublime, is revived ironically in a famous scene in
Apocalypse Now, when the American officer Colonel Bill
Kilgore, played by Robert Duvall, explains how his
helicopters are fitted with loudspeakers that play Ride of
the Valkyries, simply because "it scares the hell" out of
the villagers being attacked.

In their own way, terrorism and art confront us with truths
of human existence that are as compelling as they are
uncomfortable. In the wake of the London bombings, a
screening of Paradise Now, a thoughtful and humane feature
film about two Palestinian suicide bombers shown at this
year's Melbourne International Film Festival, was cancelled
at the Cambridge Film Festival in Britain "because of
recent tragic events and the sensitivities involved",
according to a statement released by the festival's

The BBC, meanwhile, has postponed its broadcast of a radio
adaptation of Greenmantle, an adventure story by John
Buchan about a German plot to stage an Arab revolt during
World War I that was first published in 1916. Art is not
the same thing as terrorism, but making the distinction
between them is not always as easy as we might wish.


How Television Saved The Irish

By Elizabeth Grove-White
Saturday, October 15, 2005

A Great Feast Of Light:
Growing Up Irish In The Television Age

By John Doyle
321 pages, $32.95

Just who does John Doyle think he is? In his first book, A
Great Feast of Light: Growing Up Irish in the Television
Age, Doyle -- The Globe and Mail's popular TV columnist --
seems set to elbow his way into the ranks of bestselling
memoirists with his own version of how civilization saved
the Irish. Fair enough. But where's the twinkly-eyed
nostalgia? The desperate childhood? The unrelieved misery?

Not content with ditching these mainstays of the genre,
Doyle brazenly upends another familiar cliché, the one that
says Watching Television is a Bad Thing. In Doyle's fresh,
clear-eyed coming-of-age memoir, it's television, not
saints or scholars, that heralds the end of Ireland's Dark
Age and the arrival of modern Ireland.

Born in 1957, Doyle is old enough to remember turning on
the first electric light in his grandmother's house and to
register several years later the powerful cultural tremors
when television spread across Ireland:

"Television arrived and with it the hints of glamour,
modernity and sophistication. The angelus bells still rang
on Irish television to remind everyone of the faith of
their mothers, fathers, and forefathers, but in my house
and in my mind, the angelus was only an interruption
between entertaining programs and stories."

Doyle's memoir begins on familiar territory, with the young
boy's version of comings and goings in his small town of
Nenagh. It may be the Swinging Sixties across the Irish
Sea, but sex (to borrow a celebrated political
pronouncement of the time) hasn't been invented yet in

Instead, young John is caught up with his affectionate,
engaging extended family and their stories, with the petty
injustices of school life, with the bustle of Fair Day,
with the inexorable religious calendar and the drama of the
annual Parish Mission, when strange priests descend on the
town to herd the faithful along the path of righteousness:

"It was hard to know what the big priest was talking about,
as he stood at the pulpit and shouted at us. We had the
gift of faith, he said, and we should live in fear of
losing the gift of faith. . . . Mam and Dad were skeptical
about it by then . . . but as far as the mission priests
were concerned, Ireland was going to be destroyed by
modernity and their goal was to halt it. Dad said they were
headcases, every one of them."

Headcases or not, modernity -- in the shape of the small,
black-and-white TV screen -- has arrived in Nenagh and no
amount of fire and brimstone will stop it.

Young as he is, Doyle is already connecting the world
around him and the world seen on the flickering screen. The
old-fashioned horse operas like Have Gun -- Will Travel and
Gunsmoke strike a familiar chord, and young John readily
imagines Bat Masterson striding through Nenagh's Fair Day:
"[Bat Masterson's] world of cowpokes, gamblers and rough
cowboys wasn't a million miles from Nenagh, even though it
was set donkey's years ago," he thinks. "The farmers with
their livestock and the grain merchants and the tradesmen
who sold to the farmers were only a couple of steps removed
from the saloon keepers, cowboys and gamblers in Bat's

Paradoxically, it's the American sitcoms that feel most
alien and, ultimately, most dangerous. The Donna Reed Show,
I Love Lucy and The Jack Benny Program all show people
comfortable in their skins, untroubled by the weight of
tradition or church. "Eyes had been opened, not only by a
light but by a lightness of feeling that came from far
away, and it was there in the corner, every evening, after
darkness fell on the complacent town of Nenagh, and a
thousand others like it."

As Doyle grows into adolescence, the relationship between
the world of television and the world around him grows more
complicated. A family move to Carrick-on-Shannon brings new
British channels to the family screen, and Doyle is
startled by how familiar these new images seem:

"The characters were not distant American figures living in
New York City or California. They were ordinary people
working in a hotel or a newsagent's, dealing with weather
like ours and daily disappointments like ours. . . . They
didn't look glamorous or sleek. They looked like the people
in Carrick-on-Shannon."

But just as television seems to be erasing the cultural
barriers between British and Irish life, on a cold January
day in 1969, atavistic Ireland rears its head again. Doyle
watches events in Ulster unfold over the next decade: the
street riots, the shootings, the bombings, Bloody Sunday,
the old sectarians on both sides rekindling ancient
hatreds, this time in front of the television cameras. Even
the images of Neil Armstrong walking on the moon are
eclipsed the following day by pictures of Catholic families
fleeing their burning homes in Belfast.

Back in Dublin, television's unsparing light has
illuminated Ireland's other dark corners of social
injustice, political corruption and clerical abuse. For
Doyle, now a student, the worlds of television and lived
experience cross: In the blue glow of the television
screen, what once passed for real life in Ireland seems as
flimsy as pasteboard, while the Muppets and Monty Python
feel more authentic than received Irish platitudes.

Growing up on the cusp of the television age, Doyle has
captured in this book a new kind of cultural sensibility
that Irish critic Fintan O'Toole calls "the ambivalence of
belonging." A Great Feast of Light tracks that ambivalence,
the sense that we're all exiles now, living at equal remove
from reality and from reality TV.

So don't be misled by the green packaging. If you've ever
scheduled your social life around Friends or wondered why
you like The Simpsons better than your next-door
neighbours, this book's for you. For all its sharp insights
into recent Irish history, A Great Feast of Light is as
much post-McLuhan fable as Irish memoir, a gifted writer's
story -- funny, original, compelling -- of his coming of
age in one small outpost of the Global Village.

A former Peabody Award-winner, Ireland-born and -raised
Elizabeth Grove-White is a member of the University of
Victoria's English department.


Old Bones And Shallow Graves

The untold story of the Irish-American Gangster by T J
English, Mainstream Publishing, £9.99

THIS is the shocking true saga of the Irish American mob,
from the mid-19th century to the present day.

History shows that the heritage of the Irish-American
gangster was established in America long before that of the
Italian-American mafioso and, in fact, the highest-ranking
organised-crime figure on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted list -
alongside Osama Bin Laden - is an old-style Irish American
mob boss from south Boston.

Best-selling author T J English provides a lively tour of
nearly two centuries of Irish-American gangsterism, which
spawned characters including Mike 'King Mike' McDonald,
Chicago's subterranean godfather, Big Bill Dwyer, New
York's most notorious rum-rummer during Prohibition and
Mickey Featherstone, troubled Vietnam vet turned Westies
gang leader from Hell's Kitchen.


Flatley Missteps With Celtic Tiger

By TARA MERRIN -- Calgary Sun

A boy, shuffling a soccer ball with his feet, saunters onto
the stage.

As he plays, a tank roars into view and, with a deafening
boom, it fires. The room goes dark, the boy vanishes and a
loud voice declares, "(Ireland) strikes for her freedom."

Enter Lord of the Dance star Michael Flatley, wearing a
leather cap and vest, opened just enough to reveal his
glistening physique. And so begins the story within his new
90-minute Vegas-style dance spectacle Celtic Tiger which
drew about 5,000 people to the Saddledome last night.

Images of Ireland's turbulent history fill the first half
of the show, which, by all standards, is extremely
entertaining, well-performed and even beautiful at times.

The choreography, music and stage presentation nicely
combine to create a moving visual interpretation of the
Irish people's quest for freedom.

But what starts out as a first-rate production suddenly
dissolves in the second act into a cheesy testimonial to
the good ol' U.S.A.

It opens with a flight attendant who, after being groped by
Flatley and his group of pilots, decides to strip down to
her American flag-decorated bra and underwear.

Later Flatley changes into pinstripes and a fedora to play
a mobster in what can only be seen as a fallacious
illustration of America's criminal history before joining
the rest of the cast for the show's overly patriotic finale
set to Yankee Doodle Dandy.

The show ends with the entire cast kicking up its heels
while video of famous Irish Americans plays in the

While Celtic Tiger will certainly will be well-received in
the U.S., it's over-the-top pro-American sentiment misses
its mark here.

That's not to say Calgarians didn't enjoy the show, but
it's likely their applause last night was directed more at
Flatley's talented dancers than towards the story or its
creator himself.


October 15, 2005

Eat, Drink And Be Irish

By Mindelle Jacobs

There is nothing more bracing on a windy Irish day than
hanging upside down over the side of a 15th-century castle
to kiss a cold stone wedged under the battlements.

OK, so no one was actually dangling me over the craggy wall
by my ankles. It just felt like that by the time I had bent
backwards and lowered my body far enough down the wall to
kiss the Blarney Stone.

Fortunately, the stocky fellow with his arms firmly around
my legs was there to pull me back up, not fling me over the
25-metre-high tower.

According to tradition, those who kiss this ancient stone
in Blarney Castle on the outskirts of Cork are endowed with

Not that a columnist needs the gift of the gab but what was
I going to do after the long climb up the narrow, winding
steps to the top of the castle? Not kiss the mysterious
slab of rock, now smooth as glass from the lips of
countless visitors over the centuries?

All those germs. Yuck. But it's easy to fall for Ireland's
charms and I adore castles, so if that means kissing a
dirty stone, the significance of which is lost in the sands
of time, so be it.

It's no more incongruous than seeing a farmer herding a
bunch of cows down the highway as traffic backs up. I am
not making this up. It is no use trying to get anywhere in
a hurry on the Emerald Isle.

Ireland, the so-called Celtic Tiger, may be the Alberta of
the European Union with its super-heated economy and 4%
unemployment but in the rural areas, it's as if nothing has
changed in decades.

If it's not cows, it's slow-moving tractors and curvy roads
that make passing almost impossible. Not that my husband
and I wanted to rush. But we, accompanied by another
couple, had an ambitious itinerary: drive around the island
(about 1,600 km) in two weeks.

That didn't seem too strenuous a pace when we were planning
the trip but driving 150 kilometres on Irish roads is not
the same as zipping down the highway to Red Deer.

We had originally hoped to drive all the way from Galway,
on the west coast, to Waterford on the southeast coast in
one day. We simply adjusted our itinerary, even though it
meant spending one less day in Dublin.

The trip was informally dubbed the "50 pints in 50 pubs"
tour in honour of my husband's 50th birthday. I won't bore
you with the names of all 50 pubs we visited. (Yes, he kept
a list.)

But we did make an unscheduled stop in Ennis, northwest of
Limerick, after my husband spotted a pub called Kenny's Bar
and abruptly pulled over.

I have no idea what else is in Ennis but the important
thing is we had a drink in that pub before heading out of
town. A guy named Pete McCarthy went to Ireland a while
back to reconnect with his Irish roots and wrote a book
called McCarthy's Bar. I haven't read it but apparently his
first rule of travel is never pass a bar with your name on

Confession time: I still don't like Guinness. I gave it my
best shot. I have, however, acquired a taste for Black Bush
whiskey, after touring the Bushmills Distilery, which has
been licensed to distill spirits since 1608.

After the tour, I was the only female to volunteer to take
the taste test. Seven shots of whiskey later, I hardly
noticed the gale blowing in off the Antrim coast.

Now, don't get the impression that we simply drank our way
around Ireland. The B&Bs offer a full Irish breakfast -
including, eggs, sausages, bacon, black pudding and a
variety of hearty Irish breads.

Apparently, there is no such thing as a small lunch in
Ireland. The sandwiches are huge, often accompanied by an
equally large salad and a mountain of fries.

My friend, Sylvia, ordered stew for lunch one day and the
waiter brought a gigantic bowl that dwarfed the little pub
table. How do the Irish eat like this and stay awake at

The dinner portions are even more mind-boggling. We made
the mistake of ordering side dishes with our main meals one
night soon after we'd arrived in Ireland. My husband's
heaping side of potatoes would have fed all four of us.

It didn't matter where we ate. The food was good, there was
lots of it, and it always came piping hot. If I hadn't
walked so much during the trip, I'd have ballooned two

According to Finfacts, an Irish business news website,
almost 80% of Irish householders own their own homes - one
of the highest rates of home ownership in the EU.

I don't know how they do it. The average price paid for a
house in Ireland in July was about $377,000, reports

In Dublin, the average price paid for a house in July was a
staggering $500,000. Houses in the surrounding commuter
counties are only slightly cheaper, at $400,000.

Gas costs twice as much in Ireland as it does in Canada but
the Irish certainly aren't making twice our wages. The
average weekly earnings of Irish industrial workers in the
manufacturing sector last year was $846 for males and $573
for females. I fell in love with Dublin. Could I afford to
live there? Forget it.

Alas, Belfast is still being held hostage by a minority of
terrorist thugs who continue to foment sectarian violence.
A couple of days before we got to Belfast, a Molotov
cocktail was hurled through the window of the home of a
Catholic family. They plan to move.

I pray that by the time I visit Ireland again, the misnamed
"peace wall" dividing the Catholic and Protestant
neighbourhoods in east Belfast will be torn down.


Roy Keane Ends International Career

Roy Keane has announced his retirement from international
football following the Republic of Ireland's failure to
qualify for the World Cup.

"Like all football supporters in the country I am
disappointed the Republic of Ireland failed to qualify for
the World Cup finals," Keane said.

"I feel the time has come when I should retire from
international football and concentrate on domestic

And he said criticism of manager Brian Kerr had been
"unjust and unfair".

It is the second time 34-year-old Keane has retired from
the international scene, the first occasion after a bust-up
with former manager Mick McCarthy prior to the 2002 World

He returned after the departure of McCarthy the following
year and the subsequent appointment of Kerr.

Keane announced recently that he expected to leave
Manchester United at the end of the current season and is
being tipped to move to Celtic.

Keane's last appearance in an Irish shirt was in
September's qualifying match at Landsdowne Road against
France, which the Republic lost 1-0.

His departure from international football has taken place
amid mounting speculation that the Football Association of
Ireland will not renew the contract of Kerr as manager.

Keane won 66 caps for the Republic, scoring nine goals. He
made his debut under Jack Charlton in 1991 against Chile.

Story from BBC SPORT:
Published: 2005/10/14 17:15:00 GMT


Veteran GAA Broadcaster Praises Power Of Radio

15/10/2005 - 12:12:15

The legendary GAA commentator Micheal O Muircheartaigh said
today his broadcasting award showed the impact of radio
over the years.

The 75-year-old picked up a Lifetime Achievement Award at
this year's PPI Radio Awards.

"I think the best thing is the development of radio. It's
not 80 years yet since Ireland's first radio station, 2RN,
the forerunner of RTÉ, and when you see the number of radio
stations all over the place, they all give great service to

He added: "This is not a flagging industry or anything.
It's a very buoyant industry."

Mr O' Muircheartaigh, who is flying out to Australia to
commentate on the International Rules series, said he had
not even considered the prospect of retirement.

"I live in the present. I'm looking forward to next year.
Next year is never far away once one year ends," he said.

Born in Dingle, Co Kerry, he was an 18-year-old student
teacher in 1949 when he applied to RTÉ for a job as an
Irish language commentator. He had never seen a hurling
match before and only knew one player in the match he was
given to commentate on, but he got the job ahead of several
other applicants.

Since then, his colourful radio commentaries, which take in
the backgrounds of players, his own experiences and
greetings to listeners abroad, have made him the voice of
the GAA.

Mr O'Muircheartaigh said he was still enjoying the job.

"It was never better than it was this year. Around 1.3
million people watched the football championship and went
to the games and when you count in as well all the people
that saw it…"

He added that he would like the GAA and other sporting
associations to do more to promote the benefits of sport.

"I don't think they realise yet how sport could be used in
the battle against drug and drinks. They could maybe make
more use of the players who don't drink much of anything.
If that was pointed out to the young, I think it would have
a very positive effect," he said.

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