News about the Irish & Irish American culture, music, news, sports. This is hosted by the Irish Aires radio show on KPFT-FM 90.1 in Houston, Texas (a Pacifica community radio station)

November 27, 2005

Daily Ireland: Discrimination In B&W

To Index of Monthly Archives
To November 2005 Index
To receive this news via email, click HERE.
No Message is necessary.

News about Ireland & the Irish

IE 11/27/05 Daily Ireland: Discrimination In Black & White?
SL 11/27/05 Loyalist Commission In Snub To Arms General
IE 11/27/05 Spicer Fails To Show; McBrides Up Campaign
IO 11/27/05 Ahern To Discuss 'Undocumented' Irish In US
BB 11/27/05 'Bully Boy' Tactics Or Better Service?
SL 11/27/05 Union Flag Policy To Be Put To The Test
UT 11/27/05 Remembrance Ceremony For Griffith
BB 11/27/05 Ferry Dispute Likely To Escalate
SL 11/27/05 Opin: Time To Move Forward
II 11/27/05 Opin: DUP Ill-Equipped To Fight Unholy Alliance
IO 11/27/05 Man Dies After Falling From Cliff In Co Donegal
FL 11/27/05 The Timeless Rhythms Of The Irish Life
SL 11/27/05 Running Riot!


Daily Ireland: Discrimination In Black And White?

By Niall Stanage

An Irish-American attorney who says he invested in Northern
Ireland only to be "burned" by the British government has
pledged to protest at a major economic conference that will
likely be endorsed by President George Bush and British
Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Mark Guilfoyle, 45, of Edgewood, KY, is one of several
American investors in Daily Ireland, a newspaper based in
West Belfast that was launched in February.

The British government does not place recruitment
advertising in the newspaper. Guilfoyle, among others,
alleges the policy amounts to economic discrimination. He
argues that the newspaper is being treated unfairly because
of its republican editorial line and because the bulk of
its sales come in strongly nationalist areas.

The British government is organizing a conference next year
that it hopes will help attract international investment to
Northern Ireland. The conference's exact date and location
remain to be decided, but it is expected to carry the
imprimatur of the American president.

Guilfoyle said he would go to the conference to give his
perspective on investing in Northern Ireland - a
perspective that is certain to discomfit the organizers.

"I plan to attend it whenever and wherever it's held,"
Guilfoyle told the Irish Echo in a telephone interview. "I
am not at all anti-investment in the North, but people need
to go into this with their eyes wide open. You've got to be
very cognizant of how the British government can influence
the business environment there. I feel like I've been

The British government strongly denies any discriminatory
policies in relation to press advertising. Furthermore, its
defenders point to government grants given to the
Andersonstown News Group, Daily Ireland's parent company.

In June, a written answer to a question posed in the
British House of Lords noted that grants totally just less
than one million pounds sterling ($1.7m) had been made
available to the Andersonstown News Group and associated
companies between April 1 1999 and June 17 2005. (Some of
those grants came from bodies jointly funded by the
governments of the United Kingdom and the Republic of
In a controversial interview in last week's Irish Echo, the
British Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Peter
Hain, noted that other, non-recruitment types of
advertising - for example, ads concerned with public health
campaigns - do appear in Daily Ireland.

He said that the Northern Ireland Office (NIO) was in the
process of reviewing its advertising policy as a whole to
ensure that taxpayers' money was not being wasted on
campaigns that were not cost-efficient.

Hain also gave short shrift to the idea that the British
government should be obliged to advertise in all media

"Government advertising is not some kind of taxpayers'
subsidy for the press," he said. "It has got to produce
some kind of benefit. That's the criteria.”

Guilfoyle vehemently objected to Hain's remarks.

"I find that comment about a taxpayers' subsidy to be
insulting - and, as we say in Kentucky, 'that dog won't
hunt'," he said. "Daily Ireland has never asked for
anything other than a level playing field.”

Guilfoyle argued that many of the specific rationales
provided by the NIO for the lack of recruitment advertising
in Daily Ireland did not hold water. In one letter
Guilfoyle received from Hain's private secretary, seen by
the Echo, the British official suggested that no decision
could be taken on advertising with the new paper until its
circulation was independently audited.

However, Daily Ireland's backers claim that the Alpha
Newspapers group owned by unionist peer and former MP John
Taylor receives ads despite its publications' circulations
not being audited by the standard industry body, the ABC.

Guilfoyle also scorned the government's claim that
advertising is placed in The News Letter, a unionist
newspaper, and not Daily Ireland primarily because the News
Letter's circulation is significantly higher.

The News Letter's ABC-audited circulation is 28,403, while
Daily Ireland's is 10,008. However, Guilfoyle noted that
the management of Daily Ireland offers a deal by which
advertising can be placed in the newspaper itself and
across a range of local titles owned by the same company.

He said the total circulation reached under such an
arrangement was around 46, 000.

"The better value for money is with us," he insisted. "But
The News Letter is unionist. It has half the circulation
[of the group that includes Daily Ireland] and it gets
advertising but we do not. Is it fair that nationalist
readers in West Belfast are being denied access to job

Guilfoyle repeatedly emphasized that he did not wish to be
seen to be actively discouraging investment in Northern
Ireland. Instead, he said he wanted to raise awareness of
how business interests could be affected by the actions of
the British government.

"I would hope that Americans will invest in the North in
droves," he said. "But be aware that the British government
can affect your investment in a negative way.

Accusing the UK government of "blatant discrimination"
against Daily Ireland, he added, "a start-up newspaper is
tough enough [as a business proposition], but I didn't
anticipate this.”

This story appeared in the issue of November 23 - 29, 2005


Loyalist Commission In Snub To Arms General

By Alan Murray
27 November 2005

GENERAL John de Chastelain has been given the cold shoulder
by the Loyalist Commission.

The retired Canadian army officer was hoping to meet the
group during a six day visit to Belfast and Dublin. But
loyalist sources say they see no reason to meet at the
moment because neither the UDA or the UVF is planning to
decommission soon.

General John de Chastelain, who is in Belfast until
Wednesday, has made approaches to meet representatives from
the Commission which includes church, community and
political figures as well as representatives of the UDA,
UVF and Red Hand Commando terror groups.

But a loyalist source said: "There wouldn't be much point
in the meeting.

"The UDA is meeting with the General and the UVF is not and
isn't likely to do so in the near future.

"It's not really the Commission's role to speak on matters
like that for all three organisations.

The three groups have different strategies and are all
working to different timetables.”

The General is being accompanied on his trip by his fellow
commissioners of the independent arms decommissioning group
- the Finnish Brigadier Tauno Nieminen and the former
diplomat Andrew Sens from the United States.

Loyalist sources say that while they respect the General
they suspect he was seeking to probe how decommissioning of
their organisations could come about and what they would be
seeking in return.

Said a senior loyalist source: "We suspect that the General
was wanting to get an overview of where the main
organisations are on the issue of decommissioning and was
trying to work out what would move things along.

"That's something we will tell the Government in due course
when they begin to take us seriously.

"At the moment many loyalists feel that the Government is
making noises but isn't coming up with the goods. The IRA
squeezed more and more concessions from Tony Blair in
return for decommissioning including the 'on the runs'

"Loyalists will be looking at many things that we want
changed and we'll see in the new year how the Government
will respond."


Spicer Fails To Show; McBrides Up Campaign

By Anne Cadwallader

BELFAST -- The commanding officer of two British soldiers
convicted of murdering a Catholic teenager has sidestepped
an attempt by the dead boy's mother to confront him at a
conference in London.

Jean McBride, mother of Peter McBride, shot in the back as
he ran down a street in north Belfast in 1992, had hoped to
speak to former colonel Tim Spicer who has defended his
men's actions in the years since the murder.

Several U.S. senators and congressmen have queried a
decision by the U.S. Department of Defense to award a $293
million contract to security firm Aegis (headed by Spicer)
in Iraq.

Spicer failed to turn up at the London meeting, however,
preventing McBride from speaking directly to the man who
has persistently attempted to justify the shooting of her
son, both in court and in print.

Undaunted, the McBride family are stepping up their
campaign to have his killers expelled from the British

Soldiers Mark Wright and James Fisher were sentenced to
life imprisonment in 1995 for shooting the teenager after
he had passed through a checkpoint.

They spent just three years in jail before being released
to rejoin the army. In 2001 the pair were sent to Iraq.

McBride's family have since fought a lengthy legal campaign
to have both men expelled from the army.

The McBrides are also involved in a wider campaign calling
for the removal of a legal loophole that allows soldiers
convicted of serious crime to remain in the British Army.

Last year, an officer who cheated in a TV game show was
expelled from the British army, leading campaigners to
claim that a young Irish life was less important.

The new campaign called "Article 7 - End Immunity" is
backed by McBride's family and a range of human rights

They include British human rights lawyer, Phil Shiner, SDLP
leader Mark Durkan, Labor MP Joan Humble, Liberal Democrat
MP Sarah Teather, Paul O'Connor of the Pat Finucane Center
for Human Rights in Derry and Helen Shaw of INQUEST.

The group has launched a parliamentary campaign against the
readmission of all soldiers convicted of rape, murder and

"Article 7" refers to the Universal Declaration of Human
Rights which states: "All are equal before the law and are
entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of
the law.”

The campaign is also supported by Public Interest Lawyers,
a firm representing Iraqi victims of alleged British army
human rights abuses in Southern Iraq.

"The Ministry of Defense dismisses soldiers who fail a
drugs test but not those who murder another human being.

This is quite simply unacceptable," said Shiner who was
among the speakers at an "end impunity" meeting in London.

Durkan, who also addressed the meeting, said: "Nobody who
has been convicted of serious human rights abuses - like
murder, rape or torture - should be allowed to serve in the
British Army.

"Be it on the streets of Belfast or Basra, the public are
entitled to know that killers and torturers are not
sheltered in army ranks," he said.

Mother Liz Green, from Durham in Northern England, whose
son Anthony died after he was shot at Ballykelly military
base, Co. Derry in 2001 said there were similarities with
her own case.

"Another soldier was convicted of manslaughter for the
killing of my son. He served a year, was released and
readmitted back into the army the next day," she said.

"Soon after he was promoted just as in the McBride case.”

"The MoD [British Ministry of Defense] thinks it's above
the law and it's time the law was changed. The soldier who
shot my son dead should have been automatically dismissed.

The soldiers who shot Peter McBride dead should have been
automatically dismissed.”

Meanwhile, Pat Finucane Center representative Paul O'Connor
was in the U.S. last week and lobbied Congress against the
Aegis contract.

"We were heartened by the supported we got," he said.

The PFC is urging Irish Americans to contact their
political representatives to call for the Spicer contract
to be withdrawn.

This story appeared in the issue of November 23 - 29, 2005


Ahern To Discuss 'Undocumented' Irish In US

27/11/2005 - 11:52:21

Foreign Minister Dermot Ahern is to meet with US Secretary
of State Condoleezza Rice in Washington DC this week to
discuss the peace process in Northern Ireland and the
plight of the estimated 25,000 undocumented Irish in the
United States.

Mr Ahern will also meet US Northern Ireland special envoy
Mitchell Reiss to brief him on re-establishing the power
sharing government in the North, and talks he and Northern
Irish Secretary Peter Hain have recently had with the main
political parties.

A meeting has also been arranged with Senator Ted Kennedy.

The discussions in Washington DC on Thursday will follow a
meeting with United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan in
New York on Wednesday to pledge Ireland's continuing
commitment to the UN, in particular the supply of troops to
serve as international peace keepers.

Ahead of his trip to the US, Mr Ahern said securing rights
for the thousands of Irish people living in America without
legal status was of top priority for the Government.

"The concerns of our community in the US, and the
particular problems of the undocumented, have the highest
priority for the Government.

"Estimates on numbers of undocumented Irish vary. The very
nature of their circumstances means that they tend to stay
below the radar. A figure close to 25,000 appears

"The real issue is not the size of the undocumented
community, but is that of the stressful personal
experiences: the strain and anxiety of living in the
shadows, the sadness of being unable to return to visit
Ireland to be with ageing or dying parents, or to attend
wakes and funerals – or, indeed, happy family occasions
such as weddings," he said.

The Foreign Minister said he would be asking for the the
Kennedy/McCain bill - an immigration programme which
provides for temporary residency and a path to permanent
resident status – to be given positive consideration.

He said he hoped the passing in Ireland of an all-party
resolution supporting the Kennedy/McCain bill would
encourage US legislators to amend the immigration law.

"We know that there is some way to go in the debate and we
will continue to support any measures that benefit our
community in the US," he said.

Mr Ahern said that during his meeting with Ms Rice he would
also be stressing the close relationship between Ireland
and the US, and the administration's important and
supportive role in the North's peace process.

In addition, he will also be discussing the Middle East
peace process and a number of bilateral issues between the
two countries.


'Bully Boy' Tactics Or Better Service?

By Mark Devenport
BBC Northern Ireland political editor

So was the decision to slash Northern Ireland's councils
from 26 to seven, "bully boy tactics" by the government to
push unionists into sharing power with Sinn Fein?

Or was it simply "the optimum for service delivery" to

The first description is the view of the Ulster Unionist
Michael McGimpsey.

The second is the technocratic language chosen by Secretary
of State Peter Hain.

The decision was undoubtedly dramatic, flying in the face
of the views of four of the five major parties, with only
Sinn Fein supporting the government.

The usual process of political haggling would have been
expected to end in a compromise somewhere between the
seven-council model favoured by the team behind the Review
of Public Administration and the 15 councils backed by most
of the parties.

Indeed, speaking on the BBC's Inside Politics programme
Peter Hain's predecessor, Paul Murphy, revealed this was
exactly the line he had been thinking along - something
between 11 and 15 councils.

Instead, Mr Hain took the radical path by opting for seven.

The implicit message seems to be that if the local parties
don't like it they should hurry up and get hold of the
levers of power themselves.

If so, Michael McGimpsey claims this is a futile exercise -
his leader Sir Reg Empey says Peter Hain should have sought
the "wise counsel" of Paul Murphy.

So is the die cast?

The local government minister, Lord Rooker, says councils
should get used to the reality that seven is now the

He wants them to start planning jointly with their near
neighbours any future projects involving capital
investment, and warns that ratepayers won't thank any
existing councils which indulge in illogical spending

But, interestingly, Lord Rooker would not answer a
colleague who enquired whether any legislation required for
the council shake-up would go through a future assembly or
through Westminster.

At first hearing this question may sound academic, but it
could prove crucial.

The government has promised legislation to abolish the dual
mandate of councillors and MLAs "following the restoration
of devolution".

Will any legal changes required to merge 26 councils into
seven also come after the assembly is up and running?

If so such a law would surely be a devolved matter to be
dealt with by the restored assembly.

Presuming the parties don't shift their current stances on
local government, any attempt to start the process of
legislating for the merger in the assembly would not get
off the ground, because the dearth of unionist support
would deny it cross community consensus.

However, if the legal process was already in train it would
be extremely hard to stop it as Sinn Fein would be able to
block any attempt at a legislative U turn.

Soon the government will press ahead with appointing a
local government Boundary Commissioner to examine the
suggested new council borders.

'Contentious task'
Interestingly, Lord Rooker predicted that the Belfast
council area would "expand in future to recognise the
natural growth of the city and its boundaries".

That sounds a harmless enough aspiration but it will raise
eyebrows amongst those interested to see whether any
changes will alter the current 50/50 unionist/nationalist
split in Belfast City Hall.

Take a chunk to the south and west, and the city gets
greener, take a chunk to the north and it could get more

How can you, as the government does, "expect the
commissioner develop more natural boundaries for the
population who see themselves as living within the city
area", without taking in large swathes of east Belfast,
hitherto the main part of Castlereagh council?

If you don't, then you aren't really dealing with a natural

But if you do, Belfast would surely become unionist once
more, upsetting the careful balance of three green, three
orange and one "hung" council achieved by last week's

Defining Belfast could prove a contentious task for the new
Boundary Commissioner.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/11/27 11:05:05 GMT


Union Flag Policy To Be Put To The Test

27 November 2005

A GROUND-breaking policy which will decide when and where
the Union flag can be flown by councils is to be put to the
equality test.

Ards Borough councillors have drafted a policy which they
believe will set a new standard and prevent the threat of
legal action.

The Newtownards-based council has decided to fly the flag
from its HQ and sites in neighbouring towns and villages.

But the decision has already sparked a row after SDLP
councillor Joe Boyle claimed the Union flag is now more
closely associated with the trappings of loyalist terror

DUP councillor Simon Hamilton said the claim was

"The Union flag represents everyone. The cross of St
Patrick is an integral part of it. Patrick is the patron
saint of everyone and therefore everyone is represented.”

But Mr Boyle said flying the flag, particularly from public
buildings , shows a lack of equality and mutual respect.

"I don't believe this council should be promoting part of
the colour trappings of loyalist paramilitaries," said the
Portaferry SDLP councillor.

The council is now awaiting the results of an equality
impact assessment before it implements the new policy.


Remembrance Ceremony For Griffith

A remembrance ceremony is being held today in honour of the
founder of Sinn Fein.

Relatives of Arthur Griffith will join the Lord Mayor of
Dublin and others at the event in the city`s Mansion House
to mark the one hundredth anniversary.


Ferry Dispute Likely To Escalate

An Irish Ferries stand-off is in its fourth day, with union
claims that 30 crew members are barricaded in ships at
Pembroke Dock and Holyhead.

They are protesting at plans to replace staff with cheaper
workers from abroad.

The dispute is set to escalate after port workers said they
would not handle a ferry arriving from France on Sunday.

Taoiseach Bertie Ahern criticised Irish Ferries' handling
of the row, but the company said it had to bring in foreign
staff in order to remain competitive.

The MV Normandy left Cherbourg at 2330 GMT on Saturday and
was due to dock in Rosslare at 1645 GMT on Sunday.

About everything that they have done in their handling of
this I fundamentally and totally disagree with
Taoiseach Bertie Ahern criticises Irish Ferries
But port workers in Rosslare, and their counterparts in
Dublin, announced they would turn the vessel away when it
arrived. There were reports suggesting that the Normandy
could head to Cork instead.

They were the latest developments in a row which began on
Thursday when some crew members seized control of the Isle
of Inishmore after new eastern European crew members

The Isle of Inishmore had been due to run between Pembroke
Dock and Rosslare. Another vessel, the Ulysses, which was
due to go from Holyhead to Dublin, also remained in dock.

Irish Ferries said the workers were there to familiarise
themselves with the vessel and their roles and the security
personnel were put there to ensure the continued access of
company staff and port officials.

Norrie McVicar, of the International Transport Federation,
complained because officials of the National Union of
Marine, Aviation and Shipping Transport Officers (Numast)
were not allowed on board at Pembroke Dock. Some crew had
asked for union help.

Mr McVicar said about 15 crew were barricaded on each ferry
in Holyhead and Pembroke Dock.

Unions said the existing staff were upset by the manner of
the security guards' appearance.

They said the men had boarded in Ireland as passengers, but
had then changed into their uniforms in the toilets as the
vessel approached Wales.

Irish Taoiseach Bertie Ahern described the company's
approach as "a retrograde step".

"This is not in line with Irish industrial relations, they
are trying to turn back the clock," said Mr Ahern.

"About everything that they have done in their handling of
this I fundamentally and totally disagree with.”

We have a duty and responsibility to protect our assets
Alf McGrath, Irish Ferries
Irish Ferries has said it had been completely open about
what it was doing over bringing in new crews as part of a
cost-cutting exercise. It said it was justified in
employing security staff.

Spokesman Alf McGrath said: "The security measures were
necessary because in December of last year Siptu (Services,
Industrial, Professional and Technical Union) staged two
strikes... and totally locked up the ship in Holyhead and
would not allow regulatory agencies or any management on to
the ship.

"So we have a duty and responsibility to protect our

Bob Carrick, general secretary of the Seaman's Union of
Ireland, said up to 90% of the crew had agreed to voluntary
redundancy terms which had allowed the firm to bring in new

But Mr Carrick said the wishes of the remainder to keep
their jobs and terms of conditions should be respected.

He said: "That's not a choice, if somebody says you can
keep your job but we're going to slash your wages in half.”

Around 70 crew members are thought to be on board the Isle
of Inishmore. Police said they were keeping a minimal
presence at the port in Pembroke.

Irish Ferries has told passengers it does not expect
services to resume until Monday.

A spokesman said there were "no plans for formal talks
between the management and workforce, but managers are
represented on both ferries and so there is the possibility
of dialogue".

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/11/27 12:04:48 GMT


Opin: At The Heart Of The Matter: Time To Move Forward

By Alan McBride
27 November 2005

AT LAST, an opportunity to talk about something other than
the Shankill Bomb - we have a tendency here to put each
other in pigeon-holes and, so, I am grateful for the chance
that this column gives me to step out of the 'box' into
which I have been placed these past 12 years.

That's right, the 'Shankill Widower', or 'Tragic Alan' (as
I have sometimes been referred - even by this very paper),
has something else to say - quite a lot, in fact, but
little of it likely to be any more palatable in my own
loyalist, Protestant, British community than in the
community I was brought up to regard as the enemy; and this
first week will be no exception.

You see, I happen to support the Good Friday Agreement and
still believe that Northern Ireland is a better place to
live in today as a result of that historic agreement.

In saying that, I totally accept that the word "historic"
is often used too glibly when applied to events in Northern

However, I doubt if there is anyone outside of Northern
Ireland who would not attach "historic" to the IRA
statement of July 28, declaring that their war was over,
and the substantive move on decommissioning that followed
just a few weeks after.

The terrorists who murdered so many innocent people from
the community I was born into, not to mention those from
their own community, hanging up their weaponry? Wake me up!

I must be dreaming!

Never did I imagine that such an act was possible - I
always hoped, mind you, but never really believed that it
would happen.

But it has happened and now the Good Friday Agreement has
the potential to deliver the sort of changes and create the
kind of society that those who signed it and those who
voted for it (an overwhelming majority of people) wanted to

That was seven years ago - little wonder that so many
people got fed up waiting and disillusionment set in.

Too many false dawns - I almost gave up hope myself, if I
am being honest - but fresh life has been breathed into the
process once again and now, if the IRA are given a clean
bill of health when the IMC reports in January, it may well
be time to take devolution out of cold storage and give the
citizens of this country local, accountable, democracy.

Who would have thought: Northern Ireland, local,
accountable and democratic?

Is this not what my community wanted and what some fought
for over the past 30 years, to make Northern Ireland work
and defeat those that were trying to tear the place apart?

So, what are we afraid of? Come on Big Ian, I know that you
are used to shouting from the sidelines, but now that you
and your party are in the political ascendancy you no
longer have that luxury. You have responsibilities.

So, what is it going to be? A new Northern Ireland at peace
with itself, confident and moving forward - or more of the
same, the same old fears and suspicions, shouts of
treachery aimed at anyone who would dare to think outside
the box or disagree with your diatribe of fundamentalist

For me, I don't want to live in that kind of Northern
Ireland. We are at a cross-roads - the next few months are
crucial; lots of things remain to be addressed.

But we must go forward. Failure to do so would be
indefensible and who knows, it could be another 30 years of
senseless violence before we get another chance.


Opin: DUP Ill-Equipped To Fight 'Unholy Alliance'

'NEVER in my many years in this House," said Ian Paisley
last Wednesday a propos the 'On-the-Runs' (OTRs), "has such
a discredited piece of legislation been brought forward.”

But this happened on your watch, Ian. What's gone wrong?

Didn't you promise the electorate that when you succeeded
David Trimble as the Number One guy in unionism,
concessions to republicans would come to an end?

Six months after the General Election, the British
Government is now by common consent Best Friends with Sinn
Fein and on all major issues tramples all over the DUP,
occasionally contemptuously throwing them a shiny bauble.

Take the OTRs, for instance. Realists knew that some nasty
deal had to be done, but what had been envisaged was that
there would be a deadline, that the OTRs would have to turn
up in person in court to enter a plea and answer charges,
and that as a quid pro quo, those exiled by terrorists on
pain of death would be allowed home. Instead, Government
endorsed Sinn Fein's preferred option, where returning OTRs
could go home when they liked without setting foot in court
and exiles were ignored: it was so horrifying and offensive
to victims that a DUP MP actually burst into tears in the
Commons as he talked about his murdered young cousins.

(True, Gerry Adams is pretending to be annoyed because of
provisions to include the security forces, but he has good
legal advice that he can get that aspect overturned in a
European court and that the outcome will be that offending
members of the security forces will have to face the full
force of the law.)

So squalid is the OTR deal that it is also bitterly opposed
by the Alliance Party, the SDLP, the UUP, the Conservatives
and the Liberal Democrats and most of the media. It may
fall or be amended in the House of Lords, but the DUP won't
be able to claim the credit.

Then there's the police; the British seem set to agree to
finance community restorative justice schemes - run by
paramilitary mafia - without requiring endorsement and co-
operation with the police. This outrages all political
parties, but pleases Sinn Fein.

A further big issue is the just-announced shake-up in
public administration, which includes a commitment to cut
the number of local authorities from 26 to seven - as Sinn
Fein wants - rather than to 15 - as every other political
party wants.

The nightmare of a green West and an Orange east horrifies
anyone who wants the people of Northern Ireland to be less,
not more, sectarian. True, some members of the DUP wouldn't
mind having their own Bantustan, but the party leadership
is smart enough to grasp that Sinn Fein will brilliantly
use their new-found power entirely for party advantage.

And what have been the DUP's baubles?

Well, Ian Paisley was made a Privy Councillor, which is an
honour he has made much of, even though it is automatically
conferred on the leader of the biggest party in Northern
Ireland and means nothing in practice.

Tony Blair promised the party three peerages, though they
have been much delayed because the independent scrutineers
are unhappy about the inclusion of Paisley's wife.

The DUP is claiming credit for the derating of Orange
Halls, but under new rules this requires them to hold
cross-community events, which in many areas willbe
completely impossibleand will land them in a nightmare of
argument and bureaucracy.

The DUP was allowed to nominate the Victims' Commissioner,
an RUC widow (who can expect endless hassle from
republicans), but her appointment is temporary, unlike that
of the Human Rights Commissioner.

To compound the DUP's problems, Peter Hain is making it
clear that he is going to be as nasty as possible to them
unless they go into government with Sinn Fein on the basis
of even 5/10 in January from the International Monitoring

THIS is causing great tensions in the party, split as it is
between those who want power at all costs and those who
feel they shouldn't go into government with republicans
while they're still only slightlyconstitutional.

It's no accident that Rhonda Paisley applied for a job as a
DUP policy officer, for policy is the terrority of the
modernisers and compromisers. Since they don't want her
father to know quite what's going on, it's no surprise that
she was turned down.

And it's a smart move for the Paisley family to have her
sue the party on the grounds of sexual discrimination. But
these odd events further weaken a party now proving itself
unable to defend unionism against the unholy alliance
between Tony Blair and Gerry Adams.

I'm sorry for unionists: but they voted for the DUP.

Ruth Dudley Edwards


Man Dies After Falling From Cliff In Co Donegal

27/11/2005 - 10:21:20

One man has died following a cliff fall in Donegal early
this morning.

Two men fell from cliffs at Rossnowlagh at around 6.30am.

Both men were taken by ambulance to Sligo General Hospital
where one later died.


The Timeless Rhythms Of The Irish Life

Thomas O'Malley effectively captures both the timeless
rhythms and of his native Ireland and its awkward struggles
in 'In the Province of Saints.'

Date published: 11/27/2005

Thomas O'Malley effectively captures both the timeless
rhythms and of his native Ireland and its awkward struggles
through a painful moment in time. The setting is the rural
south near Wexford from 1976 to 1981, that is, before
membership in the European Union has spread prosperity over
the region and while it is being roiled by the troubles in
the north. The initial perspective of Michael, the 9-year-
old narrator, re-enforces this condition of isolation. His
capacities are necessarily circumscribed and confused by
events impinging on his world; but by the time he is 14 the
pieces have begun falling into a coherent and unsettling
pattern of political treachery and family betrayal. But by
then he may be too implicated to escape.

"I was nine the year winter came in spring," he thus sets
the tone for his coming-of-age story, "and Cait Delacey's
mother, Mag of Slevecorragh, died." That morning he rushes
outside where "ice crystals sparkled on tree limbs" and
"crows were already gathering." Lugh, the farm laborer was
kneeling before a frozen lamb, his "black shaggy head
flecked with frost." Michael gazes over the fields "all
covered in white death.”

Two years before, Michael's father had fled to America, and
with his mother suffering poor health, Michael has to make
the humiliating trip to collect the dole. Rumors connect
Michael's renegade dad with Mag, whose death begins looking
more suspicious than natural. Soon, Michael and Cait become
attracted to each other, only to be pulled apart by the
long reach of the past--like winter returning in spring.

Michael's father will also return and resume his quarreling
sessions with his wife, promising Michael before he leaves
to bring him to America. And then there are the aunts and
uncles, especially Una, with her curses and spells, and
Brendan, with his colorful but disastrous drinking
escapades. Beyond them are the river with its hidden
inhuman forms and the bog, which sucks down animals and
humans indiscriminantly.

On the radio and TV come reports of the troubles in the
north, especially of IRA prisoners going on hunger strikes.

Closer to home there is sabotage and secret gun-running,
which Michael stumbles onto, forcing him to take sides and
betray those he has been close to.

The story has the vivid immediacy of autobiography, but the
events are carefully selected and arranged for effect.

Throughout, the prose sharply etches the most minute
details of a hardscrabble preindustrial world dependent on
farming, trapping eels and tending livestock. But amid the
myriad concrete details, readers gradually discover greater
implications and a larger world taking shape.

O'Malley can join the ranks of recent Irish writers--Seamus
Heaney, Eavan Boland, Frank McCourt and Roddy Doyle, among
others who have rethought the Irish experience mainly by
returning to roots. Thinking small and proceeding locally
rather than globally, their works bypass the great Irish
Moderns--Wilde, Shaw, Joyce, Yeats--and so one assumes a
definite break with a more illustrious literary past. Yet
Joyce's coming-of-age hero is infected with political
grievances around the family dinner table, and neither
Joyce nor O'Malley have much regard for the clergy. Both
writers' worlds are haunted by Yeats' somber assessment:

"Out of Ireland have we come/Great anger, little
room/Maimed us at the start." So O'Malley's debut novel
continues a tradition of visionary truth-speakers after

Formerly a member of the UMW English department, Dan Dervin
is now devoted to writing full time.

Date published: 11/27/2005


Running Riot!

Toy soldier buffs are now re-enacting battles of the
Troubles, complete with plastic mobs

By Bill Smyth
27 November 2005

THE battles on the Bogside, Shankill and Falls are being
fought all over again - on dining room tables!

For just like Culloden and Waterloo, Ulster's riots are
being recreated using models.

A Ballymena store is doing a roaring trade in miniature RUC
officers, soldiers and rioters.

Army 'pigs' and Saracens, police Land Rovers and water
cannon trucks are also flying out the door.

Kevin Irwin, owner of the recently opened Country Comes to
Town store, says he's taking orders from across the world
on his website.

"For years model buffs have re-fought famous battles in
history using toy soldiers. This is the modern equivalent -
with an obvious Ulster setting," said Kevin.

"The players sit for hours moving the models around just
like chess players.

"And, of course, they can determine the outcome of the riot
according to their views. That's their business and at
least nobody suffers."

Added Kevin: "I am picking up orders all the time through
our website from America, Canada and Australia. The French
and Germans have started going for them too.

"I think it's part of the fascination with The Troubles,
when images of our darkest moments were regularly flashed
across the world's TV screens.”

Kevin admits there is occasionally animosity shown to his
merchandise by passers-by, when they spot the models in the

"Maybe some of them don't like to be reminded of the bad
old days. Some may even have been involved in some way. To
me the models are just reminders of what we all witnessed.”

There is constant demand for new additions which are made
in great detail by a company in England from photographs
and drawings.

"The UDR recently joined us," said Kevin.

"And the Army bomb disposal unit turned up last week."

To receive this news via email, click HERE.
No Message is necessary.
To November 2005 Index
To Index of Monthly Archives

Links to News Sources Frequently Used Here:

(Irish Aires News is not responsible for
content of external internet sites.)

BBC Northern Ireland
Belfast Telegraph
Daily Ireland
Derry Journal
Democratic Unionist Party (DUP)
Financial Times
Galway Advertiser
Ireland Online
Irish Abroad
Irish Aires News Search
Irish American Magazine
Irish American Information Service
Irish Echo
Irish Emigrant
Irish Examiner
Irish Independent
Irish News (free access in Nov 05)
Irish People
Irish Times
Irish Voice
News Hound
News Letter
Northern Ireland Office
Sinn Fein News
Sunday Business Post
Sunday Life
Times Online
Ulster Herald
Ulster-TV Headlines
Ulster Unionist Party (UUP)
Wild Geese Today
Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?