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October 31, 2005

Will Dublin Love Ulster

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News about Ireland & the Irish

DI 10/31/05 Will Dublin Love Ulster?
BB 10/31/05 'Cautious Welcome' For LVF Move
UT 10/31/05 Hain Welcomes Paramilitaries' Stand Down
BB 10/31/05 LVF's Short But Turbulent History
NL 10/31/05 Priest's 'Nazi' Remark Down For Debate
NL 10/31/05 Ahern Is 'Not Being A Good Neighbour'
NL 10/31/05 Colombia Three Top Of Agenda For Paisley Jnr
NL 10/31/05 Former Uda Leader Heads For Scotland
BB 10/31/05 Policing Parade Trouble Cost £3m
IN 10/31/05 You Never Know Who You're Related To
IN 10/31/05 Opin: Hateful New World Is Not Ireland Of Old
IN 10/31/05 Opin: The Compromise Of Good Friday
IN 10/31/05 Loyalist Working Class Lost Cause For UUP
DE 10/31/05 A Woman Who Found A Way To Write
AL 10/31/05 Interview With Maura Conlon-Mcivor
IT 11/01/05 Luas Derailment Adds To The Marathon Disruption
IT 11/01/05 Kilmainham Chairman Wants ‘16 Relic Returned


Will Dublin Love Ulster?

After weekend gathering in Belfast loyalists plan protest
rallies across the North and in capital city

Ciarán O'Neill

"We will wait to see how
the British government reacts to our campaign
but we aim to keep the pressure and the rally in Dublin is
a definite goer"
- Willie Frazer

Organisers of the controversial Love Ulster campaign are
planning to stage a rally in Dublin in the New Year.

Willie Frazer, one of the main organisers behind the
campaign, last night told Daily Ireland that the "wheels
are in motion" to hold a protest in Dublin.

The Love Ulster campaign was recently launched by unionists
who claimed that the British government was ignoring their

Several thousand people took part in the campaign's first
parade in Belfast on Saturday, although organisers had
originally predicted that up to 30,000 people would turn

Mr Frazer last night said plans were underway to extend the
campaign to other areas of the North and Dublin.

"We have not set a date for the Dublin rally but it will
probably be after Christmas," he said.

"We believe that many people there are unaware of the
reality of the situation in Ulster and we believe it is
important to take our message to them."

Mr Frazer said the proposed rally would be made up of a
number of bands and people who have suffered during the
conflict in the North.

"The rally held in the Belfast will not be a one-off," he

"We will wait to see how the British government reacts to
our campaign but we aim to keep the pressure and the rally
in Dublin is a definite goer."

Concern was raised yesterday about the cost of policing the
weekend parade after it was revealed that £2.2 million
(€3.2 million) was spent policing another recent loyalist
parade in Belfast, which erupted in violence.

Loyalists rioted for several days after a controversial
Orange Order parade was prevented from marching through the
nationalist Springfield area of west Belfast on September

SDLP councillor Tim Attwood last night said money spent on
policing the parade and subsequent violence would have been
much better spent on improving essential services.

"The SDLP has been informed that the cost of policing the
Whiterock parade and the rioting and disorder that followed
was £2.2 million," he said.

"Furthermore, the repair bill for police vehicles damaged
in the rioting was £900,000 [€1.3 million]. These figures
are shocking.

"The violence that followed the Whiterock parade made no
sense and only damaged community relations. Now, these
figures highlight the staggering cost to the taxpayer of
policing parades in Northern Ireland."

Mr Attwood said the money could have been used to provide
more nurses, schools and efforts to tackle crime.

"How much more money was wasted on policing the Love Ulster
rally yesterday?" he added.

"It is time for people to get sense and ensure that limited
financial resources are not wasted on parades but properly
invested in our community."

The Love Ulster rally heard speakers from Protestant
church, Orange Order and victims' groups criticise British
prime minister Tony Blair, secretary of state Peter Hain
and the PSNI.


'Cautious Welcome' For LVF Move

Sinn Fein has given "a cautious welcome" to the Loyalist
Volunteer Force move to stand down.

The splinter loyalist paramilitary group said the decision
was taken in response to IRA arms decommissioning.

The LVF has been blamed for more than a dozen sectarian
killings since it was founded in mid-Ulster in 1996.

SF's Gerry Kelly said: "Given the LVF's history,
nationalists and republicans will of course be cautious of
anything being said or promised by them."

He added: "This grouping has a history of sectarian
violence, murders and widespread drug dealing, so with
relation to the LVF, it is very much wait and see."

On Sunday, a group of church and community figures said a
loyalist feud between the LVF and the rival UVF was over.

A statement by the LVF said that the move to stand down its
so-called military units would take effect from midnight on

The LVF was formed by Portadown loyalist Billy Wright after
the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) leadership stood down his
unit in 1996.

Wright was shot dead in the Maze prison by republicans in
December 1997.

On Sunday, the Reverend Mervyn Gibson said the loyalist
feud, which claimed four lives in Belfast in July and
August, had "permanently ended".

He said the group of church and community figures had been
holding mediation talks "for some time".

Two murder bids

The end of the feud had been widely expected, with no fresh
violence happening since August.

The Independent Monitoring Commission had blamed the UVF
for the four summer murders.

A special report in September by the ceasefire watchdog
said the LVF carried out two murder bids, but their
violence was mainly a response to UVF attacks.

The report on the loyalist paramilitary feud led Northern
Ireland Secretary Peter Hain to declare the UVF ceasefire
had broken down.

Speaking in the House of Commons, Mr Hain said he welcomed
the LVF move.

He said there should be a complete and permanent end to all
paramilitary activity and also welcomed Sinn Fein President
Gerry Adams using the phrase "the war is over" - saying it
was a further sign that things were moving in the right

Ann Trainor, whose son Damien and his best friend Philip
Allen were murdered by LVF gunmen in County Armagh in 1998,
said she found the move hard to believe.

"Both sides are just as bad," she said.

"There is a lot of evil and jealousy. It is hard to
believe. The evil will never quit - you can see it every

The mother of Catholic taxi driver Michael McGoldrick
murdered in 1996 said she believed the move offered some
glimmer of hope for a better future.

"It is a wonderful day. It is a start and we should really
grasp it," said Bridie McGoldrick.

She added: "That is not just from the people on the ground
- I think the politicians have to grasp it as well and we
have to sit down and talk."

DUP North Belfast MP Nigel Dodds said he "warmly welcomed"
the end of the feud.

"Communities have been set on edge and put into turmoil. I
pay tribute to those who have worked so hard to bring this
resolution about," he added.

Ulster Unionist leader Sir Reg Empey said the move was
another positive development in the political process.

"Yesterday's announcement that the feud is over, last week
the UDA sent a delegation to see the decommissioning body
and Gerry Adams, for the first time allowed the words 'the
war is over' to pass his lips," he said.

The SDLP's former assembly member, Brid Rogers, said many
people in the Upper Bann constituency had been murdered by
the LVF.

"The litany of atrocities in this area is awful and it is
too late for all those people too late for them, too late
for their families."

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/10/31 15:56:36 GMT


Hain Welcomes Paramilitaries' Stand Down

A paramilitary group's decision to stand down its military
units was welcomed as a "step forward", by Northern Ireland
Secretary Peter Hain today.

The Loyalist Volunteer Force took the step in direct
response to the IRA`s decision to decommission its weapons

It also followed a formal end to a feud between the LVF and
the rival Ulster Volunteer Force.

"I welcome any move which brings such murderous violence to
an end," Mr Hain told MPs.

"The statement is therefore a step forward and one that I
hope will give encouragement to those who are working to
establish the primacy of politics in their communities.

"Of course, words must also be matched by deeds from all
loyalist groups. What we need to see is the full
decommissioning of all paramilitary arsenals and the
complete and permanent end to all paramilitary and criminal
activity from all paramilitary groups."

He also welcomed last week`s declaration from Gerry Adams
that the IRA`s war was "over".

"Hearing the President of Sinn Fein use the words `the war
is over`, words we have wanted to hear for such a long
time, is also a further sign that we are continuing to move
in the right direction," he added.

Mr Hain made his comments as he introduced legislation to
extend the life of anti-terrorism measures for the province
which would otherwise expire in February 2006.

The Terrorism (Northern Ireland) Bill means the powers,
exclusive to Ulster, will stay in place for at least an
extra year, with a further 12-month extension available if

While the security situation had been "changed
fundamentally" by the IRA`s actions over the summer, the
measures remained necessary for the moment, he insisted.

He said Lord Carlile of Berriew, the independent reviewer
of the operation of anti-terror legislation, had ruled the
extension was "justified on the merits and proportional".

"These provisions have been on a temporary footing since
1973 but have been necessary to tackle the security
situation," Mr Hain said.

"They were never intended to be permanent. We`ve always
remained committed to their ultimate removal when the
security situation allowed."

But he faced criticism from Unionist MPs who questioned why
the British government believed the situation had changed
enough to restore allowances to Sinn Fein but not to repeal
the anti-terror measures.

Democratic Unionist leader the Rev Ian Paisley told him:
"Surely there`s a contradiction? You cannot have it both

"Either things are not good in Northern Ireland or else
things are good in Northern Ireland. Those of us who live
there know exactly what the answer to that is."

Mr Hain retorted: "We are absolutely right to do this as a
prudent safety mechanism just in case there were to be a
repeat, perhaps by a dissident republican group, perhaps by
one of the loyalist groups that`s not yet announced that
it`s disarming and standing down, that we are in a position
to meet that threat.

"I am sure that every citizen in Northern Ireland will be
reassured that as the normalisation measures are taken
forward in terms of reductions in the armed forces numbers
and so on, that they are absolutely sure that we have as a
fall back, the legislation necessary."

Mr Hain said the Bill created a power to make "any
necessary interim provisions to ensure a smooth transition
to normalised arrangements".

But he said it could only occur if conditions were right
and promised: "We will not take chances with the safety of
the people of Northern Ireland or the effective operation
of the justice system."

Shadow Northern Ireland secretary David Lidington said he
agreed with the Government that it was right to extend
these "exceptional" powers because of the gravity of the
security situation.

But it was also right they should continue to be subject to
a time limit and the need for regular parliamentary

Mr Lidington welcomed the LVF move but said the
organisation must be judged on its actions, rather than its
words in the weeks and months ahead.

Of the IRA`s decommissioning, he said it should be
decommissioning its command structure as well.

"If the republican movement has fundamentally changed and
it is permanent and irreversible, it can have no need for a
private army."

A "profound ideological change" was required, showing it
had changed to democratic methods with support for the
police and the rule of law.

Emphasising the need for caution, Mr Lidington said he
found it impossible to believe that by 2008 none of the
powers would be needed.

Mr Lidington hailed the British government for showing
"good sense and proper caution" in renewing the anti-
terrorism powers.

"I hope they will show the same good sense and proper
caution when they approach the question of people who are
on the run from justice," he added.

Mr Liddington called for an early debate on the
Government`s proposals in this area.

Labour`s Tom Harris (Glasgow S) dubbed the legislation
"cautious", but said the Government`s priority must always
be public safety.

He continued: "This could well be a historic moment. I am
cautious in saying that because so often in Northern
Ireland historic moments turn out to be nothing more than a

"It could well be that today for the very last time we are
going to renew these powers in a debate on the floor of the

"If that is the case then I think everyone involved in
Northern Ireland matters, everyone in Northern Ireland,
should be celebrating."

Liberal Democrat Northern Ireland spokesman Lembit Opik
said that his party would support the British government if
the measures went to a vote.

But he expressed concern about some areas of the
legislation including Diplock trials, which he said should
be adjudicated by three judges, not just one.

And he added that there was an "inconsistency" between how
the British government dealt with terrorism which
originated in Northern Ireland and globally.

"There are so many people now, in these debates, who feel
that the Government somehow delineates between good and
sane terrorists in Northern Ireland but bad and insane
terrorists from elsewhere," he said.

" the Government obsessed with negotiating on
problems in Northern Ireland, and on many occasions I agree
with them, but simply seeking to incarcerate suspected
terrorists on the mainland?"

Mr Harris intervened to make a distinction between
republican terrorists who had clear political aims which
allowed for the possibility of negotiation, while with
Islamic terrorism, "there is no negotiation since the death
of innocent people is the aim".

Mr Opik said that his point underlined the "frustration"
felt by many over the Government`s position.

Jeffrey Donaldson (DUP Lagan Valley) said that an example
of this alleged distinction would be on-the-runs
legislation which is expected to give a "de facto amnesty
to terrorists".

Mr Opik said that this was one example of many which "serve
to undermine our confidence at times that the Government
really does have a joined-up understanding of the problems
of terrorism".


LVF's Short But Turbulent History

Kevin Connolly
BBC Ireland Correspondent

A loyalist paramilitary group, the Loyalist Volunteer
Force, says it is to stand down in response to the IRA move
to decommission arms in September. Kevin Connolly examines
the background and implications.

The short but turbulent history of the Loyalist Volunteer
Force mixed bouts of savage blood-letting with bizarre and
unpredictable political gestures.

The organisation was created when a faction of the UVF in
Portadown rejected the decision of their leaders in Belfast
to declare a ceasefire in 1994.

Under the leadership of the local paramilitary warlord
Billy Wright, the LVF committed itself to the traditional
loyalist belief that the nationalist community could be
terrified into demanding an end to IRA violence by a
campaign of random murder directed against it.

UVF 'wary'

The UVF leadership was furious at Billy Wright's act of
rebellion - but they were wary of his reputation for
savage, clinical efficiency as a killer and also of his

When the UVF tried to order him out of Ulster, thousands of
Protestants turned out at a rally called to support him.
The seeds were laid for future conflict between the UVF and
the LVF.

Few take the statement at face value - it's much more
likely that the LVF was forced to disband to secure the
UVF's agreement to a truce

BBC's Kevin Connolly

Billy Wright was killed in 1997 - shot dead inside the Maze
prison by republican paramilitaries armed with a smuggled
handgun - and the LVF lost the focus which his cold-eyed
fanaticism had given it.

But it remained an unpredictable and dangerous

Even though it had no political wing, and no clear
political agenda, it became the first paramilitary group to
decommission any weapons late in 1998.

The gesture was meaningless - the guns it handed in for
destruction were old, and formed only a small part of its
arsenal; the LVF remained armed and ready for violence and
no convincing explanation for its act of decommissioning
was ever offered.

It did not confine itself to killing Catholics either.
There were feuds with both of the two larger and older
loyalist organisations, the UVF and the UDA.

Often it seemed that disputes over the proceeds of drug-
dealing or racketeering lay behind these bouts of violence,
but always in the background was the ill-feeling between
the UVF and the smaller, more violent grouping which had
broken away in the original dispute.

This summer that ill-feeling boiled over into a new feud
and this time the whisper was that the UVF was determined
to wipe out its smaller rival once and for all.

There were four killings - all by the UVF - and twice UVF
gangs moved into loyalist estates and forced families
associated with the LVF to leave their homes.

The LVF tried but failed to kill in retaliation, a telling
indication of where the balance of power between the two
organisations now lay.

The last of the killings was carried out in mid-August and,
since then, Protestant churchmen and community leaders have
been conducting secret talks aimed at finding some sort of

Political gesture

When the breakthrough came, it brought with it another of
those bizarre political gestures from the LVF.

Within hours of the news that the loyalist feud was over
came an LVF statement that it was "standing down" its
"military units" in response to a similar move made over
the course of the summer by the IRA.

Few take the statement at face value - it's much more
likely that the LVF was forced to disband to secure the
UVF's agreement to a truce and is simply trying to cloak a
moment of humiliation in the language of grand strategy.

So it would be a mistake to expect any direct or immediate
political movement to follow the LVF's gesture, although
that doesn't mean that its statement has no meaning.

In referring to the IRA statement, the LVF is providing a
reminder that if the main republican paramilitary grouping
really has given up political violence for good then it
will have changed the rules of the political game in
Northern Ireland, and changed them permanently.

Loyalist groups after all have always argued that their
very existence was justified by the threat of IRA violence
and, if that threat is gone for good, they are either going
to have to come up with some new justifications or in some
way match the IRA's move.

The LVF statement brings to an end another of those
familiar rounds of murderous instability with which
loyalists are so familiar - it also leads us to an
intriguing question about just what we can expect from the
other, larger loyalist groups in the coming weeks and

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/10/31 16:12:17 GMT


Priest's 'Nazi' Remark Down For Debate

By Joanne Lowry
Monday 31st October 2005

Comments made by Fr Alec Reid which compared unionists to
Nazis will be debated at tomorrow night's meeting of
Belfast City Council.

The DUP has tabled a motion condemning the remarks made by
the priest during a public meeting in south Belfast earlier
this month.

Fr Reid, who was one of the clerical witnesses to the IRA's
decommissioning, has since apologised for his remarks.

He had said Catholics hadn't been treated like human
beings. "It was like the Nazis' treatment of the Jews," he

Fr Reid's remarks sparked outrage among unionists and
Willie Frazer of the victims' group FAIR has lodged a
formal complaint with the PSNI.

Belfast DUP councillor Nelson McCausland has tabled a
motion stating: "This council deplores the recent attack by
Fr Alec Reid in which he compared the unionist community to

"It believes that this unjustified and very public
demonisation of an entire community has caused immense hurt
among unionists and has increased sectarianism and damaged
community relations.

"It also expresses its sympathy to the Jewish community in
Belfast, who were clearly offended by this comparison, in
that it so grossly diminished the immensity of the


Ahern Is 'Not Being A Good Neighbour'

By Alistair Bushe
Monday 31st October 2005

Sir Reg Empey last night re-opened the war of words between
the DUP and Ulster Unionists on possible speaking rights
for Ulster MPs and MEPs in the Dail.

The UUP leader said he found the comments of DUP deputy
leader Peter Robinson on a proposal from Bertie Ahern
"profoundly worrying".

Mr Ahern had suggested that Ulster MPs and MEPs be invited
to attend and speak at meetings of the Dail in committee
when matters of the Agreement or Northern Ireland would be

"While these proposals may fall far short of Sinn Fein's
demands, to lightly brush this off as little consequence is
reckless," said Mr Empey.

"This could be the foot in the door that republicans have
been craving for years and the reaction from the DUP to
date has shown no sign that they recognise the full
implications of what is being proposed.

"Peter [Robinson] indicated that if it transpired that
Northern Ireland MPs are to become members of this
committee as of right instead of invitees and are treated
on an equal basis with those members of the southern
parliament then he would consider this to be a quasi-
constitutional claim on Northern Ireland."

But Mr Empey said Mr Ahern had "made it clear that our MPs
will not be members of this Dail committee by right" and
would not be treated on an "equal basis" as members of the
southern parliament.

He continued: "The implication of what Peter is saying it
that provided neither of those two qualifications is
violated, he will be content for the Ahern proposal to

"I hope this is not the case, because while it may seem a
minor proposal at present, it can grow and be developed in
the years ahead."

Mr Empey said the proposals violated the "norms of
democracy throughout Europe" and claimed Mr Ahern was "not
acting as a good neighbour" towards Northern Ireland.

He added: "If this speaking rights issue proceeds then the
UUP will consider itself relived of its obligation to the
strand two section of the Belfast Agreement.

"What is being proposed is the Belfast Agreement plus. As
usual republicans are trying to have their cake and eat it
at the same time. I hope all unionists oppose these


Colombia Three Top Of Agenda For Paisley Jnr

By Alistair Bushe
Monday 31st October 2005

Ian Paisley Jnr said he will put the Colombia Three at the
top of the agenda when he attends a policing conference in
Colombia this week.

The DUP MLA is a special guest of the Colombian president
at the launch of the conference tonight, when terrorism and
fighting crime are expected to be significant talking

Mr Paisley said he would speak on countering terrorism and
the role of the Policing Board and District Policing
Partnerships in Northern Ireland.

He said he will also reiterate his support for the Colombia
government's bid to extradite the three Irish men convicted
of training Marxist rebels.

"I am certain that, given that the subject matter for
discussion will be countering terrorism, the subject of the
Colombia Three will be discussed," said Mr Paisley.

"I will certainly be indicating my support for the
authorities there to pursue these fugitives and to seek
from the Dublin government the extradition of these on-the-
run terrorists.

"I understand from my colleague that the Colombian
authorities could request the European Community to require
that its member state (Republic of Ireland) make these
fugitives amenable to the Colombian authorities."

Mr Paisley said he will also have the chance to speak about
the Policing Board's role and democratic accountability in

He added: "The Government's handling of the appointment of
a new Policing Board will be aired to an international

"The importance of the Government ensuring that the
Policing Board retains its unionist majority and that the
10 political members are not downgraded to eight is

"I will be stressing the importance of the role of the
Policing Board to hold the police to account.

"UUP spokesman Tom Elliot has proposed that the Policing
Board and the DPPs should tell the police what to do -
though I notice he is now retracing his steps on this - I
will demonstrate how inappropriate it would be for any
Policing Board or local DPP to instruct police officers,
especially in a society that has been tortured by


Former Uda Leader Heads For Scotland

Monday 31st October 2005

Former UDA leader Johnny Adair has fled Bolton after a
court conviction on Friday for assaulting his wife.

It was claimed yesterday that the 42-year-old has moved his
family and friends to Scotland, with Glasgow believed to be
their intended destination.

Adair, formerly of Chorley New Road, Horwich, was sentenced
to a 12-month supervision order at Bolton Magistrates

The court heard that he attacked his wife Gina in a park in
the town on September 26, hours after being released from

Adair was seen kneeling on his wife and "punching her
repeatedly with both arms".

He walked free from jail, but was ordered to pay her £250

Gina Adair suffered bruising to her face and cuts but did
not require hospital treatment. The couple have been
married for 23 years and have four children.

Adair originally moved to Bolton, Greater Manchester, after
an internal feud in the UDA.

He had been released from jail on the day of the attack
after serving 39 days for harassment.

A group of children and their parents reported the incident
to police after they saw him drag his wife by the hair as
she tried to run away.


Policing Parade Trouble Cost £3m

The cost of policing September's Whiterock parade and
subsequent rioting was £3m, the police have confirmed.

They also said that damage and repairs to police vehicles
over the summer period totalled £938,000.

Chief Constable Sir Hugh Orde said the costs were
unacceptable not only in financial terms but in the human
cost to the police and local communities.

Officers were attacked with petrol bombs and blast bombs,
as well as live rounds during the trouble.

The violence started after an Orange Order march was barred
from going through security gates on west Belfast's
Springfield Road, and had to use a former factory site.

"My officers, as I have said before, acted like heroes in
the face of the worst public disorder this police service
has ever witnessed," Sir Hugh said.

"It gives us no pleasure to stand in numbers between
communities who refuse to engage with each other to resolve
their differences but until they do we will continue to do
our job and it will continue to cost money on this scale."

Police also revealed that from 10 - 17 September 82 people
were arrested, 12 weapons recovered and 93 police officers
were injured.

One hundred and fifty live rounds were fired at police, 167
blast bombs were thrown at police lines, 167 vehicles were
hijacked and over 1,000 petrol bombs were thrown. Police
fired 216 impact rounds.


Meanwhile, police probing the disturbances have again
appealed for information.

A PSNI spokesperson appealed to those involved to "come
forward and to speak to police directly".

Chief Superintendent David Boultwood said the perpetrators
of the violence had been clearly and extensively shown on

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

"I would appeal to the community to work with us to
prosecute anyone involved in public disorder."

Meanwhile, two men have been charged with riotous assembly
and petrol bombing relating to the trouble after the
Whiterock parade.

They are expected to appear in court in Belfast on Tuesday.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/10/31 22:35:47 GMT


You Never Know Who You're Related To

The Monday Column

IN the 1950s my dad told me there was an IRA man who bore
our surname. This was Dublin born Sean Garland who became
president of the Workers Party and was arrested at their
party conference to face possible extradition to the USA on
charges related to counterfeiting – which he denies.

I first saw Sean Garland during the 1960s when I went to a
rally in Milltown Cemetery on the Falls Road. As a fairly
militant unionist standing at the edge of the crowd I felt
uneasy and began thinking, "What if they sing the Soldier's
Song?" I foolishly thought I could not honour the Irish
National Anthem and imagined taking to my heels but then I
wisely moved on.

Later while working in a store in Aberdeen Street on the
Shankill I noticed a republican newspaper – United Irishman
– had blown in and was lying at my feet. My eyes fell on
the name Sean Garland and the speech he gave at a Wolfe
Tone Rally at Bodenstown in June 1968. This confirmed the
IRA's move to the left and Sean Garland's efforts to
initiate change. A few years later he helped bring about
the Official IRA's ceasefire but in the article Sean said
"no longer would the army of the Irish revolution stand
idly by". This seemed ominous but it is said, Sean was
reassuring the faithful while trying to take the gun out of
Irish politics. In the 1990s I contacted him through the
Workers Party in Dublin hoping to discuss family history.
He knew little beyond the fact that his family hailed from
near Dublin. However both families appear to stem from a
certain Roger Garland/Gernon who came from Essex with
Strongbow in the 12th century and settled mainly near

During the conversation Sean spoke about his time in
Belfast's Crumlin Road Prison in the 1950s. On Sunday
afternoons he would listen to evangelical mission choirs
singing hymns. This was a means of getting a break from
prison routine but he was deeply impressed by these people.
They gave their time freely and while observing their
demeanour Sean was struck by their sincerity. Something
about them challenged him deeply, "they were so committed
to what they were doing" he realised the Irish problem was
not a "simplistic question of freeing territory".

He went on to question many things, to digest new ideas and
was influenced by Cathal Goulding, the IRA's radical chief
of staff in Dublin.

Some years later I met Sean again this time at
Castlebellingham – in Irish Baile anGhearlanaigh –
Garlandstown. There his wife Mary shared vivid memories of
a day in 1975 when he was nearly taken from her by extreme
left nationalists. I could almost feel the pain her story
was so vivid. It was as if it had only happened yesterday.

Walking home they noticed men loitering near their home and
Sean began to run. It was too late, he was hit in the leg
and as he lay on the ground they pumped 15 bullets into his
arms, legs and abdomen. Mary was literally knocked against
a wall and then ran forward screaming at Sean's attackers.
He managed to whisper to her, "get word to Cathal and the
others" knowing there would be further attacks. When the
Garda arrived they wanted to interview Mary right away but
she demanded they take Sean to hospital first. There Sean's
health deteriorated as he underwent major surgery. When he
regained consciousness he noticed there was nothing in a
vital tube going into his body. There was no one available
to help and so, despite his weakened condition, he managed
to free up the drip himself and save his own life. Sean
Garland survived and with others who believed in Wolfe
Tone's message about replacing Catholic, Protestant and
Dissenter with the common name of Irishman, he rejected
narrow nationalism, supported peace-making and encouraged
others to move towards socialist politics. Attempts were
made to influence loyalists and although there was no
meeting of minds, some were attracted by non-sectarianism
and the willingness to put working class interests before
the holy grail of Irish nationalism. Other lessons were
learned and Sean Garland and his Workers Party helped to
humanise nationalists and to move people beyond the morass
of a deeply flawed sectarian conflict.


Opin: Hateful New World Is Not The Ireland Of Old

By James KELLY

Romantic Ireland is dead and gone, said the poet WB Yeats
away back in 1914 and later he cautioned us to tread softly
because you tread on his dreams. I thought of his wise
words that "peace comes dropping slowly like great black
oxen tread the world. And God the Herdsman goads them on
behind and I am broken by their passing feet".

I felt that was prophetic as we all gazed at the week's
shocking headlines of child abuse from the Diocese of Ferns
over 40 years and the awful story of the cover-up revealed
in all its nakedness in a judicial report which an Irish
cabinet minister said would "make the hair on your neck

stand up".

Yes, all part of a worldwide disease of sex and perversion
but this is not the Ireland of our young days. This is the
hateful new world of murder, rape, crime, drugs and
paedophile priests, the rotten apples in the barrel of our
beloved saints and scholars. The story has even overtaken
the other malicious character assassination of the heroic
peacemaker Fr Alec Reid by loud-mouthed, bigoted, partisans
now threatening a mob 'Love Ulster' of thousands close to
the Shankill scenes of violence a few weeks ago.

The motive behind this dangerous gathering is obscure and
dangerous in the present political vacuum and breakdown in
unionist political leadership.

In the House of Commons secretary of state Peter Hain told
SDLP leader Mark Durkan that if the IMC Report, due in
January, is positive there will be no excuse not to engage
in discussions towards the resumption of power sharing.

Meantime, using the big stick he is on record telling
northern politicians that if they don't like the coming
shock increase in rates bills of 19 per cent it's up to
them to form a power sharing executive and make the tough
budgetary decisions themselves.

But neither the DUP nor unionists led by Sir Reg Empey seem
worried about the cost to the electors of the Brits' threat
to put them on par with the better-off taxpayers across the

Michael McGimpsey, Empey's sidekick in his latest
'platform' says devolution with Sinn Fein in government
would be rejected, adding: "Unionists would rather embrace
direct rule with all its faults and inherent dangers."

How's that for a kick in the teeth to its unionist
householders worried about up coming demands for rates and
water charges?

It's ironic that the only sympathy for the hard-pressed
northern householders should come from the tiny Progressive
Unionist Party which still links itself with the UVF
paramilitary. David Ervine, its leader, stepped out of line
with the other unionist groupings when he led a four-member
deputation – including chairman Dawn Purvis – to government
buildings, Dublin, to meet Taoseach Bertie Ahern.

He said his party was worried about water charges and other
issues. There was no excuse, he said, not to have the
Northern Assembly by this time next year.

They had no right to be involved in politics if they
allowed themselves to drift into another summer without
doing some practical work on the restoration of devolution.

Mr Ervine said the taoseach agreed with him that attempts
to begin power sharing should start as soon as possible. He
insisted that the UVF loyalist paramilitary group would
remain in support of any exploratory talks on power

David Ervine is the mystery man of northern politics.
Despite the PUP link with the paramilitary group he remains
one of the most articulate spokesmen on the loyalist side
and has surprised Dublin politicians with his readiness to
engage in dialogue.

Here is his definition of the loyalist paramilitaries:
"They are citizens of society who genuinely recognise that
the only way that we are ever going to enjoy the space that
we've got is to share it."

The voice of reason coming from a strange quarter.


Opin: The Compromise Of Good Friday

By Staff Reporter

The 1998 Good Friday Agreement was essentially a series of
trade-offs, whereby both main traditions had to accept what
were perceived as some negative proposals in order to gain
a range of strongly positive developments.

This meant abandoning the Irish government's constitutional
claim to the entire island, as well as the key provisions
of the 1985 Hillsborough treaty and all reservations over a
return to devolved government at Stormont, in return for

cross-border bodies and a new era of

political equality.

The deal also meant that a promised end to all paramilitary
campaigns had to be balanced against a phased system of
prisoner releases.

Perhaps predictably, the jails were emptied by the British
government long before loyalist and republican groups got
round to honouring their side of the bargain.

Unionist public opinion found the freeing of convicted
prisoners under licence hard to swallow, although every
subsequent official statistic has confirmed that
paramilitary activity, which has been significantly reduced
overall, is now largely confined to the loyalist sector.

While republicans took a considerable period to face up to
their responsibilities under the spirit of the agreement,
both the decommissioning witnesses and the Independent
Monitoring Commission have indicated that the IRA has
either already been stood down or is about to reach such a

The weekend UTV interview in which Gerry Adams finally used
the phrase 'the war is over' was another important piece of
symbolism in this regard.

If any settlement was ever to be reached, it was obvious
that the issue of prisoner releases would have to be

Ian Paisley certainly admitted as much in a letter to the
convicted loyalist murderer and former RUC officer William
McCaughey long before the Good Friday Agreement was

Northern Ireland had the highest pro rata jail population
in Europe before the agreement, and the majority of inmates
were not hardened offenders but individuals who would never
have found themselves behind bars in normal circumstances.

Although many undoubtedly perpetrated heinous crimes,
others were found guilty in dubious circumstances before
courts which had dispensed with the services of juries.

Despite predictions to the contrary, the overwhelming
number of released prisoners have either gone quietly home
to their families or managed, in one form or another, to
make contributions to the search for progress.

Remarkably, only a tiny handful, including Stephen Irwin,
who shot dead eight innocent people in a Catholic-owned bar
at Greysteel, Co Derry, almost exactly 12 years ago, have
brazenly returned to the path of violence.

Irwin was granted early release, but was last Friday jailed
for four years after carrying out a brutal knife attack
when a loyalist feud lead to fighting during the 2004 Irish
cup final at Windsor Park.

The sentence review commissioners must now decide whether
or not he should additionally complete his outstanding
punishment for the Greysteel atrocity.

Their decision should be straightforward and immediate.
Irwin is a dangerous thug, who was given a second chance
and threw it back in the face of society.

He must serve the remainder of his life sentence, plus four
consecutive years and any loyalist or republican who is
convicted of following his example should suffer a similar


Loyalist Working Class Lost Cause For UUP

The Wednesday Column
By Brian Feeney

Sir Reg Empey made an effort to tell his dwindling band of
supporters the truth in his conference speech at the
weekend. It was the least he could do after an abysmal
first 100 days as UUP leader being led by the nose by Ian

Empey told his audience that the mistake the UUP made was
to allow the DUP to sell the lie that the Good Friday
Agreement was all pain for unionists and all gain for

Unfortunately it's about seven years too late for that to
dawn on a unionist leader. His predecessor, unmentioned,
unlamented, soon to be kicked upstairs into the Lords,
never sold the agreement in any shape or form.

On the contrary, he spent so much time denigrating his
partners in the administration that the DUP didn't have to
do anything except ask, if it was so bad, why was he still
in the executive?

Empey also acknowledged, in a rare admission for a unionist
of his vintage, that "political unionism cannot wash its
hands of what happened 20 or 30 years ago". He referred to
"blood-curdling speeches in the Ulster Hall", "the days of
Ulster Resistance and middle-of-the-night mountainside
adventures". No need to mention the name of the culprit

And yet, he couldn't resist one wee slip. Calling on
loyalist paramilitaries to pack it in, he told them "they
need to recognise that they no longer have any reason to
maintain their structures".

So what was the reason for 'their structures' they no
longer need?

To defend the sick counties against the IRA?

To terrorise ordinary Catholics?

To carry out murders on behalf of the security forces?

Surely we should be told.

Are we still so far from the day any unionist can say there
was never any need or justification for loyalist
terrorists? Can no unionist admit the UVF began its murder
campaign four years before the Provisional IRA existed and
began its bombing campaign six months before loyalist mobs
torched Bombay Street?

It's a pity Sir Reg couldn't have included some reference
to the loyalist onslaught on vulnerable Catholics this year
or condemned the series of UVF murders during the summer.

Still, he's not alone. Our present proconsul remained
equally silent during the campaign of sectarian attacks in
north Antrim but worst of all, continued to pay the PUP its
assembly allowances monthly while their UVF mates were
carrying out savage murders.

As Newton Emerson calculated in this paper, the NIO was
paying the PUP at the rate of £1,350 a murder. Even so,
unionists are up in arms that the same proconsul has
decided to reinstate Sinn Fein's allowances because they
haven't been killing anyone. Have you noticed that not one
unionist has objected to the PUP receiving money while
their UVF mates carried out four murders and 15 attempted

Here's the really interesting point. No unionist has
noticed that either. They just can't see how sectarian
their position about loyalist terrorism is. It doesn't even
occur to them that there are double standards. Then why
should they, when the NIO gives the lead?

It's the one item where the British administration has been
consistent for 33 years. Their attitude and response to
loyalist terrorism has been to regard it as understandable,
misguided, a reaction to the IRA. This toleration of
loyalists is perhaps explicable because the UDA was largely
a creation of British intelligence which sustained it,
armed it, guided it and scandalously kept it legal until

Now that its creature has split into a monster with
multiple heads the NIO is at a loss what to do with it. Try
to pay it to go away?

Try to cultivate 'good' UDA leaders and jail 'bad' ones?

No chance.

Not with the judges we have who share the NIO's benign view
of loyalism.

What, then?

The NIO seems to have decided to contain them in the
districts they've already ruined and where they can only
turn on each other. Despite the DUP playing footsie with
these gangsters, anyone who votes there, votes DUP

Sir Reg has at last apparently copped on to that and
accepted Belfast's loyalist working class is a lost cause
for the UUP.


A Woman Who Found A Way To Write

By Maureen Dowd

MY mom always wanted to be a writer. In 1926, when she was
18, she applied for a job at The Washington Post. An editor
there told her that the characters she'd meet as a reporter
were far too shady for a nice young lady.

But someone who wants to write will find a way to write.
And someone who wants to change the world can do it without
a big platform or high-profile byline.

Besides raising five kids in high heels, my mom wrote with
a prolific verve that would have impressed one of her
idols, Abigail Adams.

In her distinct looping penmanship, learned from the nuns
at Holy Cross Academy in Washington, she regularly dashed
off missives to politicians. I'd often see form-letter
responses on her table from the White House or Congress.

She loved Ronald Reagan and when he landed in a firestorm,
she'd write to tell him to buck up. She also appreciated
Bill Clinton - his sunny style, his self-wounding
insecurity and his work on the Ireland peace process - and
would write to compliment him as well. (Literally catholic,
she liked both Monica and Hillary.)

She wrote to any member of Congress who made what she
considered the cardinal sin of referring to Edmund Burke as
a British, rather than Irish, statesman.

In 1995, after reading a newspaper analysis suggesting that
Al Gore was not sexy enough to run for president, Mom
swiftly dashed off a note reassuring the vice president
that he was sexy and that he'd done a great job as host of
Pope John Paul II's visit to Baltimore.

She carefully addressed it, "The Honorable Albert Gore Jr.,
Home of the Vice President, Observatory Circle; 37th Street
and Massachusetts Avenue, Northwest, Washington, D.C." The
letter was returned a few days later, stamped "Addressee

It was an omen.

She wrote her last name in black marker on the bottom of
the Tupperware she used to bring food to anyone in her
building or sodality or family who was under the weather or
having a party. On holidays, plates of food were always
handed out to those in the building who had to work or
might be lonely before she served her family.

When her dinner rolls stuffed with turkey and ham were
snapped up at my first cocktail party, as the expensive
catered cheese wheel and goose pâtés went untouched, she
told me with a smug smile: "Simplicity pays."

Mom - a woman who always carried a small bottle of Tabasco
in her purse - wrote out hundreds of recipes, adding
notations of her own, including Mamie Eisenhower's Million
Dollar Fudge (1955), which she deemed "Rich as Croesus, but
oh so good," Mrs. Nixon's Hot Chicken Salad and Barbara
Bush's High Fiber Bran Muffins.

In the middle of her recipe cards, she wrote down a quote
that appealed to her: "The Talmud says, If I am not for
myself, who will be? If I am only for myself, who am I? If
not now, when?"

When my mom still hoped I would transcend takeout, she'd
write away for booklets for me: "150 Favorite Pickle
Recipes From Iowa," "Confessions of a Kraut Lover" from
Empire State Pickling and "How to Cook With Budweiser,"
including a chocolate beer cake.

Without ever mentioning it to anyone, she constantly wrote
out a stream of very small checks from her police widow's
pension for children who were sick and poor.

She didn't limit her charity to poor kids. When 6-year-old
Al Gore III was struck by a car in 1989, she sent him a
get-well card and a crisp dollar bill. "Children like
getting a little treat when they're not feeling well," she

She had a column, "Under the Capitol Dome," in the National
Hibernian Digest. In 1972, she chronicled her debut, at 63,
as a protester.

After Bloody Sunday, when British soldiers fired on a
Catholic demonstration in Londonderry, Northern Ireland,
killing 13 people, Mom went to the Kennedy Center in
Washington to picket the British ambassador, who was going
to a performance of the Royal Scots Guards. She proudly
wore her green Irish tweed cape and waved a placard
reading, "Stop killing innocent civilians."

"The triumph of the evening," she wrote in her column, "was
when the British ambassador had to be taken in through a
basement door."

She wrote me relentlessly when I moved to New York in 1981
with everything from fashion tips ("Hang your necklaces
inside your blouse so your bra will catch them if the clasp
breaks") to strategy on breakups ("Put all his pictures in
a place you won't see them, preferably the trash") to
health tips ("I hope you will never take a drink when you
are unhappy. It would break my heart to think you had
become a jobless derelict, an easy prey for unscrupulous
men, me dead, and a family who held you in contempt because
you had tossed aside your beauty, youth and talent.").

Mom was not famous, but she was remarkable. Her library
included Oscar Wilde, Civil War chronicles, Irish history
and poetry books, as well as "Writing to the Point: Six
Basic Steps," and the 1979 "Ever Since Adam and Eve: The
Satisfactions of Housewifery and Motherhood in the Age of

As her friend Leon Wieseltier, the literary editor of The
New Republic, eulogized her last week: "She was venerable
without any of the fuss of venerability; worldly, but
thoroughly incorruptible; hilarious, but ruthlessly in
earnest; unexpected, but magnificently consistent; wicked,
but good. She could be skeptical and sentimental in the
very same moment. She set things right just by being in the
midst of them."

When I told her I was thinking of writing a memoir, she
dryly remarked, "Of whom?" And when reporters just starting
out asked her for advice about journalism, she replied
sagely: "Get on the front page a lot and use the word
'allegedly' a lot." The daughter of a manager of an Irish
bar named Meenehan's, with a side entrance marked Ladies'
Only, she grew up in a Washington that was still a small
Southern village with horses and carriages. As a child she
saw the last of the Civil War veterans marching in Memorial
Day parades, and as the wife of a D.C. police inspector she
made friends with her neighbor, Pop Seymour, the last
person alive who saw Lincoln shot at Ford's Theater. (He
was 5 and saw the president slump in his box.)

Intensely patriotic, a politics and history buff, in her
life she spanned the crash of the Titanic to the crash of
the twin towers, Teddy Roosevelt to W. One of her big
thrills came in 1990 when she went to the White House
Christmas party with me and President Bush gave her a kiss.
On the way home, she said to me in a steely voice, "I don't
ever want you to be mean to that man again."

As my mom lay in pain, at 97 her organs finally shutting
down, my sister asked her if she would like a highball.
Over the last six years, Mom had managed to get through
going into a wheelchair and losing her sight, all without
painkillers or antidepressants - just her usual evening
glass of bourbon and soda.

Her sense of taste was gone, and she could no longer speak,
but she nodded, game as ever, just to show us you can have
life even in death. We flavored her spoonful of ice chips
with bourbon, soon followed by a morphine chaser.

Peggy Dowd died last Sunday at 6:30 a.m. I'm not sure if
she was trying to keep breathing until the 8:30 a.m. Mass
for shut-ins or Tim Russert's "Meet the Press."

I just know that I will follow the advice she gave me in a
letter while I was in college, after I didn't get asked to
a Valentine's Day dance. She sent me a check for $15 and
told me to always buy something red if you're blue - a
lipstick, a dress.

"It will be your 'Red Badge of Courage,' " she wrote. And
courage was a subject the lady knew something about.

(Maureen Dowd, winner of the 1999 Pulitzer Prize for
distinguished commentary, became a columnist on The New
York Times Op-Ed page in 1995 after having served as a
correspondent in the paper's Washington bureau since 1986.
The above article first appeared in The New York Times )


She's All Eyes Brings
Fresh Approach to Memoirs

An exclusive Authorlink Interview
With Maura Conlon-Mcivor
author of She's All Eyes (Warner Books, 2005, previously
published as FBI Girl)

by Ellen Birkett Morris
November 2005

Writing a fresh, engaging memoir in an age of memoir is no
easy task, but Maura Conlon-McIvor makes it look easy.

She's All Eyes: Memoirs of an Irish-American Daughter
(Warner Books, 2005, previously published as FBI Girl)
tells the story of young Maura's attempt to understand her
silent father, FBI Special Agent Joe Conlon, and crack the
"code" he used to communicate with the family.

"The fact that my father was a secretive FBI agent lent
such an air of mystery to my childhood home. Yet, it was as
if he left crumbs for me to follow," said Conlon-McIvor.

The coming of age story paints a vivid picture of a young
girl growing up in suburban Los Angeles in the 60s and 70s.
Though outwardly quiet, Maura is full of curiosity that she
channels into reading Nancy Drew mysteries, devising
special agent wardrobes, and keeping a log for spying on
neighborhood vehicles. The story is made richer by turning
points that include the birth of her brother, Joey, whose
Down syndrome allows her father to find his affectionate
side, Maura's theater debut, which helps her find her own
voice, and the murder of a family member.

"As writers we do an archeological dig of sorts to find the
true story behind the silence. I learned that silence is
often a mask for trauma, the lack of ability to express
deep emotion. Silence was our family's code—all families
have their code," said Conlon-McIvor.

She began writing the book around five years ago, after her
father's death. She struggled with the first 100 pages. She
was writing the story in omniscient voice until the voice
of "child as narrator" emerged. "Bang. Bang. Bang. Strike
three. You're dead." She'd found her opening lines, her
narrator, and tapped into a font of material that fueled
her writing from that point forward.

"Writers need to realize that there is so much available to
us at those deeper levels of the mind. I realized that the
young girl was going to be our guide in that journey
(through childhood). She was going to take our hand and
lead us down the rabbit hole. The words came like a geyser
after that," said Conlon-McIvor.

She discovered the lure of writing at an early age. "I've
been writing since I was eight. I had an uncle, a
stereographer at the New York Post, who typeset a poem of
mine. I realized then the magic of words printed on the
page," said Conlon-McIvor.

Her personal turning point was when a drama teacher
encouraged her to act and she "found her own voice." As she
grew, Conlon-McIvor pursued studies that would give her the
tools needed to understand her family dynamic and to write
about it in an interesting way.

She received her B.A. in Communication Studies from The
University of Iowa, and her M.A. in Literature from Wake
Forest University, where she wrote on the Irish poets. She
holds a Ph.D. in Depth Psychology from Pacifica Graduate
Institute in Santa Barbara, California.

As a freelance journalist, she interviewed authors
including Alice Walker, Ernest Gaines and Leo Buscaglia, in
addition to writing features on issues such as drug and
alcohol abuse in professional sports and of her experience
teaching poetry to the chronically ill.

Though known for being shy as a child, she had found her
own voice and went from writing about others to writing
about her own experience.

"My silence as a child was synonymous with a burgeoning
curiosity. I was a sponge listening to the words, listening
between the sentences. I've found the quietest people often
have the most to say," said Conlon-McIvor. Her
observational skills are evident in scenes from She's All
Eyes, such as one at the dinner table where the effects of
her father's "hard edged silence" are palpable.

Her book was spurred by a gift her father gave her before
his death, his correspondence from bureau chief J. Edgar
Hoover. "Dad was a special agent for 27 years in the Los
Angeles area. And that's about all we knew growing up. When
I sat down and read his stash of letters, I found scribbled
all over them his wry observations about being in the FBI,
or his reflections about life in general. This gift was
typical of what he and I had shared all our lives—
communication wrapped in code. It was always my job to read
between the lines and uncover the real meaning. Perhaps my
father was like many of our fathers in that respect," said

A proponent of the work of psychologist Carl Jung, Conlon-
McIvor believes that the child archetype is a compelling
one for many people. "I believe the first fourteen years
are critical. That is when you experience so much of life
for the first time. I hope the child narrator in my She's
All Eyes reaches out to the child in all of us and connects
us to our own story," she noted.

Finding the right narrative voice made the writing "a
delight." Conlon-McIvor writes around twenty to twenty-five
hours a week and works without a written outline. It was a
process she described as following the images that led her
to the larger story.

She found having a critique group was helpful for "getting
out of a place of isolation, getting constructive feedback
from the group, and setting a deadline for myself."

"It is important to know when to join a group and when to
leave the group and trust your own inner eye," she noted.
She also suggests that all writers find a third party to
give their manuscripts a close read before sending them on
to an agent or editor.

"My best advice is to have your work be a work of art
before you worry about finding an agent," said Conlon-

She found her agent, Stephanie Kip Rostan of the Levine
Greenberg Literary Agency, through an editor friend who
served on a panel with Rostan at a literary conference.
Once the book sold to Warner Books, she worked with Editor
Beth DeGuzman, who suggested the book feature photographs
of the Conlon family. "Readers develop such intimate
relationships with the characters," Conlon quipped. "So
including photos made sense."

The silence now broken, Conlon-McIvor recalls the words of
Alice Walker, who she once interviewed. "She said the
mission of a writer is to go back and give voice to those
who are deemed irrelevant or nonproductive. There is a
sense of mission to all art."

Maura Conlon-McIvor is the author of the L.A. Times
bestseller She's All Eyes: Memoirs of an Irish-American
Daughter (previously published as FBI Girl). She is
currently working on a follow-up memoir. For more
information, visit:

Ellen Birkett Morris is an award-winning writer whose work
has appeared in national print and online publications
including The New York Times. She also writes for a number
of literary, regional, trade, and business publications,
and she has contributed to six published nonfiction books
in the trade press. Ellen is a regular contributor to
Authorlink, assigned to interview various New York Times
bestselling authors and first-time novelists.


Luas Derailment Adds To The Marathon Disruption

Joe Humphreys

Shoppers, bank holiday staff and city-dwellers struggling
to get around Dublin amid the marathon runners yesterday
suffered additional disruption due to a derailment on the
green Luas line.

A tram came off the tracks around Sandyford just after
11am, causing extensive delays for part of the afternoon.

Commuters were stranded at Luas stations for up to half an
hour at lunchtime, and when services resumed they were
limited to the route between Balally and St Stephen's

Extensive road closures and diversions left the city centre
largely traffic free for the day.

As ever, some city-dwellers complained about the disruption
caused by the marathon, citing the smaller than average
attendance in the city centre as evidence of an error in

However, a spokeswoman for the race organisers said the
drop in spectator numbers early yesterday was "completely
down to the weather".

Dismissing suggestions that the road closures had deterred
spectators from coming into the city, she said numbers had
increased in the afternoon when the sun came out.

"You will always get some people complaining but we would
direct them to the likes of London and New York, which are
much bigger cities, and their major thoroughfares are all
cut off for their marathons."

She said "a lot of the route" had been decided by the Garda
and Dublin City Council, and the latter had ruled O'Connell
Street off-limits for this year's race due to road works

She added: "It's just one day of the year and we would hope
most Dubliners would embrace it as a special occasion, and
an opportunity to showcase their city to the world."

Conor Faughnan, public affairs spokesman with the
Automobile Association, was also somewhat dismissive of
complainants - and not just because he had twice run the
marathon "many moons ago".

"We do need roads and transportation, but we have to
reflect on why we want to live in the city," he said.

"Yes, the marathon is inconvenient to an extent, but it's
very much part of the sporting and cultural fabric of the
city. And, if you think about it, a bank holiday Monday is
the ideal time for it."

Dublin Chamber of Commerce said it was also "very
supportive" of the event, not least because it brought
6,000 overseas runners to the city this year, along with
countless supporters.

A spokesman for the chamber said: "We did not get any
complaints from any of the stores around the city centre. I
don't think any of the retailers have been particularly put
out. And if they have, the bars and hotels will have
benefited instead."

© The Irish Times


Kilmainham Gaol Chairman Wants 1916 Relic Returned

Olivia Kelly

A relic of the 1916 Rising, expected to fetch more than
€20,000 at auction in Britain next month, should be donated
to Kilmainham Gaol Museum, the chairman of the museum has

The item, a finger-printing machine used to take prints
from the leaders of the Rising in Kilmainham Gaol before
their execution, is in private ownership and is due to be
auctioned at Ludlow Racecourse in England on December 14th.

Chairman of the museum's board of trustees Damien Cassidy
is calling on the owner, who is remaining anonymous, not to
go ahead with the auction and to give the machine back.
"This is an item of great historical importance and it
should not be anywhere other than the museum," he said.

The printing machine is contained within a wooden box
inscribed with the names of the 14 volunteers executed
after the Rising. In the centre of the box is a 70mm
calibre British shell engraved with a harp emblem. There is
also a dedication to all those who were killed during the

The machine was given to Rev Fr Augustine for safekeeping
after the War of Independence but later fell into private
hands. It is being auctioned by Mullock Madeley auctioneers
with a guide price of €20,000. A surrender letter
handwritten by Pádraig Pearse at the time of the rising
sold for €700,000 at auction in Dublin last May. It had a
guide price of €50,000 to €80,000.

Mr Cassidy, who unsuccessfully petitioned the State to buy
the Pearse letter, said the finger-printing machine was of
"at least equal importance to the Pearse letter". He said
"this haemorrhaging of our national treasures" had to stop.

© The Irish Times

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