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November 05, 2005

Neo-Nazi Anti-GAA Posters Condemned

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News about Ireland & the Irish

DI 11/04/05 Neo-Nazi Anti-GAA Posters Condemned
DJ 11/04/05 Greysteel Killer Will Serve Life Sentences
UT 11/04/05 Loyalists Named In Barron Report
DI 11/04/05 Heist Suspect Talks Of Arrest Ordeal
DI 11/04/05 It's A Done Deal - For Bertie
IO 11/04/05 Govt Has Concerns Over Use Of Shannon By US
EX 11/04/05 Opin: Be Wary Of Interfering In Affairs Of US
GU 11/04/05 An Irish Rag-Bag
IT 11/05/05 Up To 330 Acquired MRSA In Beaumont Last Year
BB 11/04/05 Wilde Play Casts Light On Carson
HC 11/04/05 Enjoying The Swans Of Ireland


Neo-Nazi Anti-GAA Posters Condemned

Connla Young

A County Derry politician has slammed a loyalist poster
campaign which calls for the elimination of the GAA.

East Derry SDLP assemblyman John Dallat hit out after a
loyalist poster denoting the number 5711 was placed on the
door of his constituency office in Kilrea, Co Derry.

Decoded, the numerical sequence means 'eliminate GAA', with
each number corresponding to the letter's position in the
alphabet .

The code for the elimination of the GAA is similar to that
used by the ultra right neo-Nazi group Combat-18. The one
and eight referring to the numerical position of the
initials of Adolf Hitler's name.

Mr Dallat says supporters of the Loyalist Volunteer Force
may have been responsible for producing the poster.

The organisation formed by Billy Wright in 1996 was stood
down by its leadership just last week.

"The appearance of this latest hate material comes as a
disappointment given that we have just been led to believe
that loyalist paramilitaries are either redundant or
'working their notice'.

"Those involved in these hate campaigns need to understand
that there is no role people involved in this kind of

"To suggest that the GAA is associated with fascism is
grossly insulting and a total misrepresentation of what
this sporting organisation stands for."

"I am honoured to be a member and continue to be associated
with it because I know and understand what it has done to
create healthy sport and cultural events for young people.
That work is increasingly appreciated and supported by the
wider community and that is evidenced by the interaction
between gaelic, rugby and soccer in fund-raising events."

In recent years loyalists in Co Derry have waged a campaign
against the GAA. In 1997 County Derry GAA man Sean Brown
was gunned down as he locked up at club premises in

Earlier this year GAA clubs in south Derry were contacted
by the PSNI who warned of a loyalist plot to spread grated
glass on football fields across the district. In September
the British Army squad was called to the grounds of
O'Donovan Rossa GAA club in Magherafelt to defuse a crude
explosive device left by loyalists. In recent weeks posters
have been erected in south Derry and south east Antrim
branding the GAA a fascist organisation.


Greysteel Killer Will Serve Life Sentences

Friday 4th November 2005

Greysteel killer Stephen Irwin is to serve out the
remainder of eight life sentences for his part in the 1993
'Trick or Treat' massacre after being convicted of slashing
a football fan with a Stanley knife.

The 32-year-old, originally from Derry, still has a right
to appeal - despite not responding to two previous chances
to appeal.

Last week, Irwin was sentenced to four years in jail for
slashing a Glentoran fan with a knife during a brawl during
last year's Irish Cup final.

Irwin was part of a UFF gang which carried out a gun attack
on the Rising Sun bar over the Halloween weekend 12 years
ago. Eight people lost their lives in the attack.

Irwin received eight life sentences for his role in the

In 2000, he was released under the terms of Good Friday
Agreement but was last year arrested in connection with the
stabbing claim.

The Sentence Review Commission yesterday confirmed that his
licence was revoked by the then Secretary of State Paul

According to the Sentence Review Commission spokesman, the
former UFF man was given leave to appeal the decision but
declined to do so.

While it is understood he still has the right to appeal,
prison authorities have confirmed that, when he finishes
the sentence for the Stanley knife slashing --which left
his victim needing 200 stitches - he will continue to serve
his terms for the Greysteel massacre.

A spokesman for the Life Sentence Review Commission said:
"Stephen Irwin had his licence revoked by the Secretary of
State in July 2004.

"This recent slashing charge means he will be in jail until
next year at least; immediately he finishes this sentence
he will begin serving the eight original life sentences
handed down to him [for the Greysteel killings]."

He added that, upon the revocation of his licence, the
Sentence Review Commission had written to Irwin to afford
him the chance to appeal the decision.

"At that time the Commission wrote to Irwin informing him
that he had the right to appeal, but received no response,"
said the spokesman.

"Irwin was contacted twice more on the issue but no
response was ever received. On the last occasion he was
informed that the Commission had no further involvement."

A spokesman for the Northern Ireland Prison Service
confirmed that Irwin is "now serving eight life sentences,
which take primacy over this more recent charge. He still
has the right to appeal.

"The Sentencing Review Commission wrote to him a number of
times asking him whether he wished to appeal and he did not
respond, but he still retains that right."


Loyalists Named In Barron Report

A report into the murder of a Dundalk man who was killed
nearly thirty years ago has named four loyalists suspected
of carrying out the killing.

The Barron Report was heavily critical of the Garda
investigation into the murder in 1976.

Mr Ludlow`s family claim there was a cover-up by the Gardai
and the Irish government and they are demanding a
independent public inquiry.

Seamus Ludlow was shot dead after he was abducted making
his way home from a Dundalk pub.

His body was found less than half a mile from his home in
Thistle Cross. He had been shot three times.

For years it was believed that the 47-year-old forestry
worker had been killed by the IRA for being an informer.

However a judical report has found that loyalists were

In his 100 page report published yesterday Mr Justice
Barron took the unusual step of naming the four men he
believes carried out the killing.

All four are from Northern Ireland and at the time one was
a serving UDR corporal.

The judge says the murder was never properly investigated.

Most damning of all he alleges gardai were prevented from
questioning the four Northern Ireland men because of fears
that the RUC might have demanded reciprocal rights in the

For the Ludlow family the report is a welcome step but they
believe that the cover-up goes much further than that.

In response to the report the Garda has acknowledged that
there was what it describes as issues in the investigation.

Those issues will no doubt be scrutinised by a government
committee which is due to begin a probe into the case early
next year.

But the family says only a independent inquiry will get to
the truth.


Heist Suspect Talks Of Arrest Ordeal

Connla Young

A man named as being a suspect in the Northern Bank robbery
has spoken of his terrifying ordeal while in PSNI custody.

Peter Morgan hit out after spending almost 48 hours under
PSNI interrogation in connection with last year's £26.5
million (€39 million) robbery.

His comments came after a man was charged in connection
with the heist last night.

The 23-year-old Co Down man will appear at Laganside
Magistrates Court in Belfast this morning charged with the
false imprisonment of Karen and Kevin McMullan, possession
of a firearm or imitation firearm with intend to commit an
indictable offence and the robbery of £26.5 million (€39
million) in December 2004.

Peter Morgan was arrested in the same series of raids in
Kilcoo, Co Down, in the early hours of Wednesday as the man
charged last night.

Speaking to Daily Ireland last night Mr Morgan said the
entire experience has been shattering.

"I am devastated that my liberty has been taken from me for
the past two days for something I had absolutely nothing to
do with.

"I'm in shock that in this day and age I can be taken away
from my life and work for absolutely nothing.

"I was terrified by the aggressive and heavy handedness
shown by the PSNI during my arrest.

"There is not one bit of evidence against me from a legal
point of view and there was no evidence produced during my
arrest and detention.

"I'm just relieved to be out and going back home."

Mr Morgan's solicitor Niall Murphy, of Kevin Winters and
Company, said he was concerned by the nature of his clients

"I would be greatly concerned about the fact that my
client's Article Two human rights were grossly infringed.

"I am also concerned that some media outlets named my
client and the approach adopted by them. I am suspicious of
the choreographed media coverage in this matter.

"I will be advising Mr Morgan of his rights with in
relation to a civil prosecution regarding his unlawful

"I will also be advising him in relation to his rights with
regard to the Police Ombudsman and the Press Complaints

The man due to appear in court this morning was one of five
detained in the North this week.

Two were arrested in County Down, one in Belfast and two in
County Tyrone when the PSNI raided homes in Dungannon and
Coalisland on Thursday.

The Northern Bank heist made international headlines last
year when the families of two bank officials, Kevin
McMullan and Chris Ward, were held captive while the pair
were forced to carry £26.5 million to a van parked close to
the Northern Bank's cash centre HQ at Donegall Square West
in Belfast City Centre.


It's A Done Deal - For Bertie

"The constitutional question is now settled. The use of
violence to achieve a united Ireland is a thing of the
past. Many people, including myself, aspire to a united
Ireland, but it will not happen without the consent of the
people of Northern Ireland." Taoiseach Bertie Ahern

Mick Hall

Taoiseach Bertie Ahern said yesterday that the
constitutional question in Ireland no longer existed.

Mr Ahern made his comments during a one-day visit to
Belfast at a meeting of the Committee of Directors at the
Culloden Hotel.

He was outlining his vision of the "economic challenges of
a changing island", including increasing global economic
competition and the need for political stability to build
peace and prosperity in Ireland.

He told the audience of business and local representatives:
"The constitutional question is now settled. The use of
violence to achieve a united Ireland is a thing of the

"Many people, including myself, aspire to a united Ireland,
but it will not happen without the consent of the people of
Northern Ireland."

His remarks came on the same day his government was blasted
by Sinn Féin TD Arthur Morgan who said his party was making
progress towards unity "dependent on the response of
rejectionist unionism".

The Louth TD was speaking yesterday after a Dáil private
member's business motion, tabled by his party's leader in
the Dáil Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin, was amended by the

The original motion had called for the government to renew
its support of the Good Friday Agreement (GFA), promote
all-Ireland strategies and publish a Green Paper to outline
a transition towards a united Ireland.

Mr Morgan said yesterday: "There is not one word in it [the
Sinn Féin motion] that any reasonable person could object
to, let alone those who claim to be committed to unity.

"This motion was put forward in the spirit of
constructiveness with the aim of achieving a consensus
among the parties in this House, who avow to support

The Sinn Féin man accused Fianna Fáil of "running away"
from having a constructive debate on Irish unity.

The government amendment stated that it "opposes any
political move or initiative which would increase tensions
between the two positions on this island".

Mr Morgan said: "Arguably to advocate the restoration of
the institutions is enough to increase tensions among some
sections of unionism."

He called the government position "absurd".

Mr Morgan has appealed for Fianna Fáil grassroots members
to now step back and reappraise whether their party
represents their aspirations for a united Ireland.

"Are you happy the Progressive Democrats and Minister
McDowell have a veto on unity; that your party leader is so
much under the thumb of a man who opposed the Good Friday
Agreement that he is willing to drop minimalist proposals
on northern participation under instruction from the
justice minister?"

A spokesperson for the government told Daily Ireland
yesterday that the position of the government was not

"Any suggestion that we should promote political
initiatives, which could increase tensions on the island,
flies in the face of the peace process itself."

He said confidence must be rebuilt if political
institutions were to be re-established.

"That is in the interests of all parties who signed up to
the Good Friday Agreement," he said.

Mr Ahern also visited the Somme Heritage Centre in
Newtownards and met with community groups in the New Lodge
area of north Belfast.

A local Sinn Féin representative welcomed the visit saying:
"We hope that his visit to one of the most social and
economically deprived areas [in Ireland] is the start of a
significant engagement by the Irish government."

The Taoiseach also attended a function at the Christian
Brothers' Past Pupils Union on the Antrim Road and visited
the Creative Crosslinks Project, an EU-funded cross-
community project in west Belfast's Poleglass estate.


Government Has Concerns Over Use Of Shannon By US Forces

04/11/2005 - 16:31:22

The Minister for the Environment said today the Government
had concerns about the use of Shannon Airport by the US

The International group Human Rights Watch claimed the
Americans were using the airport to transfer suspects to
secret detention centres in Eastern Europe.

This has been denied by the Government.

Minister Dick Roche said we should retain some perspective
when discussing Shannon.

"Obviously we have concerns about that and to try and
portray the Government as not being concerned would be a
disservice," he said.

"I don't think you can debate an issue like Shannon just
with a uni-focus, I think you need to have a wider focus."


Opin: We Should Be Wary Of Interfering In The Internal
Affairs Of The US

By Ryle Dwyer

THE Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dermot Ahern, spent the
last week in the US meeting Irish immigrant groups and
lobbying American politicians to help the 25,000
undocumented Irish immigrants in the light of new
legislation being considered by the US Congress.

Senators John McCain of Arizona and Ted Kennedy of
Massachusetts have proposed a bill that would allow
undocumented immigrants to obtain temporary working visas
for six years.

Afterwards they would become eligible for permanent visas
if they stayed out of trouble, learned English and paid a
$2,000 fine. Representatives Jim Kolbe and Jeff Flake, two
Arizona Republicans, proposed the same bill in the House of

The McCain-Kennedy Bill is clearly bipartisan, but nobody
should be deluded into thinking that supporting it is
therefore non-partisan. Legislation usually has cross-party
sponsors in Congress.

The whole thing is really about Mexican immigration to the
US, not illegal Irish immigrants. Three of the four main
sponsors of the legislation are from Arizona, which is one
of the crossing points for Mexicans entering the US

Ted Kennedy has a good record on humanitarian issues, but
his kind of liberalism is anathema to Republicans, as well
as more than a few within his own party. John McCain is
primarily concerned about illegal Mexican immigrants.

Last year 300 Mexicans died trying to get into the US; two-
thirds of them perished in the desert of McCain's home
state of Arizona.

The total number of undocumented Irish immigrants is
estimated at around 25,000, which is virtually
insignificant when compared with the estimated nine million
illegal Mexicans in the US.

In the last analysis the main political consideration will
be nine million Mexicans, not 25,000 Irish.

Of course, that does not mean that some of politicians are
not trying to attract Irish-American support. Most Irish-
Americans think of themselves strictly as Americans. The
Irish prefix is indicative of their ancestry, not their
loyalty. But they do have an attachment to Ireland and a
folk memory of their starving ancestors fleeing to the US.
Those ancestors were not exactly welcomed with open arms,
but this is all the more reason now that descendants could
be persuaded to take a particular interest in the current
plight of Irish immigrants, even if they constitute only a
fraction of the overall problem.

Dermot Ahern has been generally sure-footed in dealing with
the US. He has not allowed those trying to distort our
supposed neutrality to block US flights to Iraq passing
through Shannon, and he has obtained solemn assurances that
the US is not transporting prisoners to Guantanamo through
this country.

"If a government of the stature of the US government, which
has such a connection with this country, gives us an
absolute assurance in this regard, we accept it," he told
the Dáil. "Every time this matter has been raised in the
media and in this House my officials have contacted the US
embassy and people in Washington, and on every occasion
they have said there has been no such transiting. They have
said that they do not intend to do so and that if they did,
they would ask the Irish authorities about that."

Mr Ahern was responsible for the gesture in providing money
and personnel for relief of distress in New Orleans
following Hurricane Katrina. In the overall context it was
essentially only a token gesture. But at least it was a
positive move in marked contrast with the asinine attitude
and fatuous comments of his critic John O'Shea. But one
wonders what prompted the minister to introduce a
resolution in the Oireachtas endorsing the McCain-Kennedy
Bill. The extraordinary resolution was passed unanimously
by the Oireachtas, but it has the potential of doing more
harm than good.

Americans traditionally resent foreign interference in
their domestic political affairs. This country effectively
used the Americans to stay out of World War II.

Churchill wished to seize Irish bases, but he dared not act
because of the likely repercussions in the US.

THE Roosevelt administration was particularly resentful
when de Valera sent Frank Aiken to America, and he
associated openly with Roosevelt's main political
opponents. Believing that de Valera would try to involve
Americans in the partition issue after the war, Roosevelt's
people came up with a scheme to discredit de Valera by
smearing him as pro-Nazi. This was done by getting him to
refuse to expel Axis diplomats who were depicted as a
threat to the lives of US soldiers.

On April 30, 1945 the Americans asked to be allowed to
seize the German legation in Dublin on the crazy pretext of
getting German codes in case U-boats continued the war in
the Atlantic.

The whole thing was just a ploy to get another refusal from
de Valera, but he then played into American hands himself
the next day by proffering condolences to the German
minister on learning of the death of Hitler. The Americans
succeeded in discrediting de Valera to the extent that much
of the world still thinks this country was at best
indifferent to the Allied cause. A great many people here
think we were actually neutral, whereas de Valera secretly
gave the Allies all the help he could. Hence we have no
real tradition of neutrality.

Last week a memoir by Seán MacBride was published in which
he admitted interfering in American affairs as minister for
external affairs from 1948 to '51.

"I had serious hopes of being able to build up pressure on
the White House from Congress," he explained. "I had hopes
that I might be able to get something tangible done in
regard to partition."

In reality, he never had a chance because Americans had
been led to believe that while the unionists at Stormont
had provided bases during the war, Dublin was supposedly
selfishly indifferent, if not secretly hostile, to the
Allied cause.

There are at least three different bills currently before
Congress dealing with the issue of illegal immigrants. It
would have been understandable if the Oireachtas resolution
called for specific help for the illegal immigrants, but it
went further. It specifically expressed "strong support for
the Secure America and Orderly Immigration Act introduced
on 12 May, 2005 in the US Senate by Senator Edward Kennedy
and Senator John McCain and in the US House of
Representatives by Rep. Jim Kolbe and Rep. Jeff Flake."

Whatever about his influence in the Democratic party, Ted
Kennedy has little appeal among the Republicans, who
control the White House and both houses of Congress. John
McCain is a Republican who opposed George W Bush for the

Hence the McCain-Kennedy Bill would not seem to have much
chance of ultimate success. So why has the minister run the
risk of offending Americans by interfering so blatantly in
their internal affairs? Is the whole thing just a political
stunt to impress people at home?


An Irish Rag-Bag

Lionel Shriver would have welcomed a little more discipline
in Thomas Lynch's wide-ranging memoir, Booking Passage

Saturday November 5, 2005
The Guardian

Booking Passage: We Irish & Americans - A Memoir
by Thomas Lynch
301pp, Jonathan Cape, £12.99

Pilgrims of the Irish diaspora who do a stint in the old
country and then proselytise about its charms now
constitute an entire subgenre of memoirist - thus raising
the bar rather high when another such pilgrim comes along.
Unsentimental and self-deprecating, Briton John Walsh
distinguished himself from the pack in The Falling Angels.
And now, as a fine stylist, Thomas Lynch rises head and
shoulders above the bog of other Irish-Americans who adopt
Ireland as a second home and then, with much time on their
hands in lousy weather, get fired up to write about it.

Yet the formal incoherence of Booking Passage is
frustrating. The flap-copy attempts to flaunt its kitchen-
sink approach as a selling point, promoting the book as
"part travelogue, part cultural study, part memoir and
elegy, part guidebook". Why stop there? Try adding "part
political diatribe, part story of the author's life back in
Michigan, part poetry anthology, part long boring name-
dropping diary of the author's poetry readings . . ." One
is tempted to draw Lynch aside and explain to him what a
book is. Yet Lynch also writes poetry, and perhaps imagines
that the same broad associative license extends to prose.

Early on, he explains that he was some way into this
manuscript when 9/11 led him to question - as so many
Americans then at work on efforts unrelated to Islamic
terrorism would also question - what he was on about. Yet
after the dust settled, most savvy American writers got a
grip. The world hadn't changed that much, and it was still
possible to write a book about Ireland, for example. Not so
Lynch, for the planes that ripped through the World Trade
Center seem to have left permanent holes in his original
proposal. Into these holes he has poured philosophising
about nearly anything, from the gender wars to the invasion
of Iraq.

As far as one can make out, Lynch's modest original concept
was to write a memoir about having visited distant
relatives in County Clare as a youth, and his regular
visits to the country of his forebears over the span of 30
years, during which time the former European basket-case
transformed itself from the land of soda bread and cabbage
to a brave new world of focaccia and rocket. Had he stuck
to this model, the results would have been a slight though
unified book whose formal cliché was more than redeemed by
astute observation and almost evangelical prose. This
discipline of writing about something in particular instead
of everything that has popped into the author's head in the
course of a manuscript might just about have allowed the
asides on Lynch's life as a Michigan funeral director,
about which his observations are trenchant.

Apparently, rather than being shaped by tradition and
creed, contemporary American funerals are often themed like
parks, and the bereaved may choose a casket and accessories
garishly appointed with totems of the deceased's favourite
pastime, such as golf. Lynch's description of the "golf bag
urn" is as hilarious as it is depressing. Of this new
funereal formula, he writes: "Distanced from communities of
faith and family, the script has changed from the
essentially sacred to the essentially silly. We mistake the
ridiculous for the sublime . . . Instead of Methodists or
Muslims, we are golfers now; gardeners, bikers and dead
bowlers . . . The dead are downsized or disappeared or
turned into knick-knacks in a kind of funeral karaoke."

I told you he could write. Whether that passage belongs in
a memoir about Ireland is another question.

When Lynch does write a memoir about Ireland, the results
are sometimes splendid. His outrage about the sex scandals
in the Roman Catholic church is fresh and stinging. The
rash of priests caught with their hands in little boys'
shorts "has, in the space of a decade, disestablished a
church that had been rooted for centuries". He notes: "Such
misconduct does not shake the faith, it kills it."
Moreover, the Irish laity has found some mean satisfaction
in bringing the lofty down to earth. In a nation that
professes to be 90% Catholic, "Beneath the religious
conformity was a current of popular contempt . . . There
were, apparently, deep reserves of anger and resentment
towards a clergy that had 'lorded it over' the people for
far too long."

Lynch is on shakier ground regarding Northern Ireland, if
he imagines declaring preachily that Ulster's conflict is
not about religion but "otherness" makes a contribution to
the vast library of literature on the subject. Insertions
on Iraq smack of an insecure urge to be right-on. But then,
ultimately the reader can always skip the irksome for the
good bits. In Lynch's defence, these are numerous.

· Lionel Shriver's We Need to Talk about Kevin is published
by Serpent's Tail. Order Booking Passage for £11.99 with
free UK p&p on 0870 836 0875.


Up To 330 Acquired MRSA In Beaumont Last Year

Martin Wall

The board of Beaumont Hospital in Dublin, which finished
at the bottom of the Government's national hygiene audit
this week, was warned by its internal infection control
committee last July that up to 330 patients had acquired
the MRSA superbug in the hospital last year and that there
were major problems in preventing the condition arising.

A report submitted to the board by the chairman of the
committee, Prof Hilary Humphreys, criticised a lack of
isolation facilities and the hygiene practices of some
staff. It revealed that, at some stages last year, 15 per
cent of patients with MRSA had to be cared for in open
wards against international best practice because of a
shortage of single rooms and pressure on beds.

The report, seen by The Irish Times, warned the board that
there was "a serious cause of concern at the number of MRSA
patients, some with serious or even fatal infections,
arising from the increasing pressures on our facilities and

The report said about one quarter of those observed
entering isolation rooms were not wearing protective

"The infection control nurses and consultant
microbiologists have a proactive approach to the control of
MRSA but we are hampered by the lack of isolation
facilities, the large number of complex patients in this
hospital and deficiencies in compliance with best practice
by some hospital staff," Prof Humphreys said.

The report said an internal audit of hand hygiene had
highlighted over-use of gloves, a lack of hand hygiene
after glove removal and the absence of hands-free mixer

"During 2004, we calculate that approximately 330 patients
were identified with MRSA 48 hours or more after admission
to hospital. Forty-eight hours or more after admission is
generally taken as an indication of acquisition in that
institution compared with acquisition before admission
either in the community or elsewhere," the report said.

A spokesman for Beaumont confirmed last night that up to
330 patients could have acquired MRSA last year. He said
two-thirds of these were carriers of the bacterium. The
remainder had a range of infections. He said up to 45
patients who contracted MRSA could have developed
bloodstream infections.

The spokesman said the report was part of an ongoing
attempt to identify and deal with problems.

Beaumont had previously refused to release details on MRSA
rates in the hospital.

The governance and services committee of the board
maintained in a separate report that hand hygiene was an
issue of serious concern. It said: "One of the main factors
which affects Beaumont Hospital in the control of infection
is the rate of occupancy, which is constantly in the region
of 100 per cent."

© The Irish Times


Wilde Play Casts Light On Carson

The 70th anniversary of unionist leader Lord Carson's death
coincides with the staging of a new play in his home city
of Dublin. It recreates the famous Oscar Wilde libel trial
and casts new light on Carson's brand of unionism says BBC
NI's Diarmaid Fleming.

It was the trial that mesmerised the chattering classes.

In 1895, the literary wit of his generation, Oscar Wilde
took a libel action against the Marquis of Queensbury, the
father of his homosexual lover Lord Alfred "Bosie" Douglas.

The devastating cross-examination by fellow Dubliner and
contemporary Edward Carson destroyed Wilde, leading to his
later prosecution and imprisonment.

Currently running in Dublin, A Trinity of Two, written by
Ulick O Connor, stars Dubliner and Hollywood star Patrick
Bergin as Carson, and Fermanagh actor Adrian Dunbar as

O Connor's novel dramatic treatment makes the trial a tough
act to follow for those on stage.

"It is difficult - there are a huge amount of lines to
learn, that's not necessarily a burden really," said

"What we have is really two one-man shows that are
interweaved between each other and come together at various
points during the trial."

While the trial has become a classic, less is known about
how revolutionary nationalists admired the man who was
later to lead the Ulster Volunteers.

"Carson could save Ireland and make Ireland", said Irish
nationalist hero Sir Roger Casement.


"I like him far better than those craven, scheming,
plotting Englishmen, whose one aim is to see how little
freedom they can give Ireland."

Casement was to be executed in 1916 for trying to land
German guns in County Kerry to overthrow British rule -
something Carson's Ulster Volunteer Force succeeded in
doing at Larne, County Antrim, in 1914 for an opposing

Patrick Bergin said exploring Carson's character had been a

"It was a shock for me to discover he was from Dublin - I
always assumed he was from Belfast or somewhere else in the

"He was born in Dublin and raised in Harcourt Street into a
middle class family and went to Trinity College.

"People like Padraig Pearse (the 1916 nationalist leader)
and Sir Roger Casement actually found him a man of
integrity, a man they could deal with, and they could trust
him: when he said something he really meant it.

"The other thing I find which was really interesting for me
personally, because I was brought up a Catholic, was to
really understand his desire to separate Church and State,"
said Bergin.

The play also shows Wilde in a different light from
conventional portrayals, said Dunbar who comes from
Enniskillen where Wilde attended Portora Royal School.

"I hope that having played the part here in Liberty Hall I
have brought quite a bit more than what we usually see as
some kind of foppish dandy.


"It is a part of Wilde's personality, but it's not all of
his personality. There was a lot of darkness there; there
was a lot of hurt, a lot of pain.

"But there was also a lot of pride and a huge amount of
courage there too, to be what he was when he was it," says

The playwright, Ulick O Connor, argues that Carson's
unionism was in his view, closer to Irish nationalism than
the loyalism promoted in Carson's time by the British

"He was an Irishman who believed the Union [with Britain]
would work. He did actually want a nine-county Ulster for I
think the best possible reasons: he knew that it would be
very close in its two allegiances, unionism and
nationalism, and eventually it would work out into a sort
of a good 'Commonwealth Ireland'," says O'Connor.

"To my mind he was always an Irish patriot," he smiles,
aware that many in Ulster have almost deified him as the
father of modern Unionism.

The play at Liberty Hall in Dublin runs until 12 November,
commemorating the 70th anniversary of a Dubliner not
readily associated with the city.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/11/04 19:01:18 GMT


Enjoying The Swans Of Ireland

For the Chronicle

Maybe it was not so much the green fields or ancient abbeys
but the swans that most enchanted me in Ireland. Especially
the autumn swans at Coole Park in County Galway, of which
W.B. Yeats wrote in The Wild Swans at Coole:

The trees are in their autumn beauty,
The woodland paths are dry,
Under the October twilight the water
Mirrors a still sky;
Upon the brimming water among the stones
Are nine-and-fifty Swans.

The swans of Yeats' poem were mute and whooper swans, the
former resident and the latter migratory. When Yeats saw
the leaves of elm, oak and copper beech trees display a
riot of color, he also watched the whooper swans arrive to
swell the population of swans on the lakes of Coole Park.

I witnessed the same scene in October, the autumn leaves
and majestic swans at Coole Park and throughout western
Ireland. Mute swans were everywhere, and the whooper swans
had just arrived from their breeding grounds in Iceland and
Greenland to spend the winter.

The two species look alike. They both glide regally on the
water, they both stretch their long, sinewy necks
underwater to feed on tubers and root stalks, and they both
fly on a spectacular 7-foot wingspan.

They patter along the water for eight to 10 yards with
wings flapping frenetically before taking flight. As they
fly, their powerful wings plow the air with a bold "whoosh"
at every downbeat, often audible from several hundred yards

But the two swans have different profiles. The whooper swan
has a sloping forehead that evenly blends into a straight
yellow bill with a black tip. It holds its neck up
vertically with the bill held straight out as it floats on
the water, and it snakes its head and neck underwater when

The mute swan holds its neck in an S curve with the bill
pointed downward, typical of the swan profile in
advertisements. Its bill is orange with a black knob at the
base. When feeding, it upends like a duck to lower its head
and neck beneath the water. When drifting on the water, it
often holds its wings arched above its back to act as sails
to catch the breeze.

Mute swans with clipped wings have long been imported to
the United States as decorative birds on private ponds.
Some feral populations pose a threat to native waterfowl.

But in Ireland, mute swans are wild and native — whooper
swans are wild and spend the winter.

Both are stunning sights on ponds set against variegated
autumn trees and glistening green fields.

Gary Clark is a dean at North Harris College. Contact him
at wonders of nature.

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