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December 12, 2005

Finucane's Press For DUP Meeting

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News about Ireland & the Irish

EE 12/12/05 Finucane Family Press For DUP Meeting
IT 12/13/05 Finucanes Have 'Useful' Talks With UUP Leader
UT 12/12/05 IRA Not Sanctioning Fuel Smuggling- Minister
UT 12/12/05 Ahern: GFA 'Best Chance Of Peace'
UT 12/12/05 Spy Ring Case: Public Inquiry Demanded
IO 12/12/05 McDowell Stands By Colombia Claims
IT 12/13/05 Taoiseach Set To Back McDowell In Passport Case
EX 12/12/05 McDowell: 'Dangerous And Dictatorial'
EX 12/12/05 Opin: Leak - McDowell Set Dangerous Precedent
SF 12/12/05 McDowell Should Now Resign - Ó Snodaigh
NL 12/12/05 Ex-Police Chief To 'Expose Duplicity'
UT 12/12/05 Campbell In Call For RIR Package
IT 12/13/05 MRSA Strains In Republic Not Found Elsewhere
EX 12/12/05 Charles And Camilla Stroll In Central Belfast
IV 12/12/05 Cash's Forty Shades Of Green
IV 12/12/05 Best And Worst Of Irish America
IV 12/12/05 Outreach For Katrina Victims
IV 12/12/05 Inspiring Bogle Heads for U.S.
IV 12/12/05 Largest Ever Irish Conference For Notre Dame
IV 12/12/05 Book Rev: Ireland's Unfinished Revolution
IV 12/12/05 New Classics From Ryan, Casey
HC 12/12/05 Colin Farrell Enters Rehab For Addiction


Murdered Solicitor's Family Press For DUP Meeting

12/12/2005 - 18:36:03

The family of murdered Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane are
to press for a meeting with the Reverend Ian Paisley's
Democratic Unionists as part of their campaign for an
inquiry acceptable to them, they revealed tonight.

After a meeting with Ulster Unionists leader Reg Empey in
Belfast, Mr Finucane's widow Geraldine said they were keen
to discuss the case with the wide range of opinion in the
North and elsewhere.

"We will be seeking a meeting with the DUP," she confirmed.

"The talks we had today with Sir Reg were positive.

"We believe the system which resulted in my husband's
murder has affected a wide range of people in both

"The DUP's Jeffrey Donaldson has been at the forefront of
efforts to get to the truth about what happened to
(murdered loyalist prisoner) Billy Wright and has supported
his father, David's campaign.

"I would hope that if he is supportive in that case that he
is also willing to hear our arguments about the need for
truth and justice in Pat's case."

Mr Finucane was gunned down by the Ulster Freedom Fighters
in his north Belfast home in 1989.

However an investigation by former Metropolitan Police
chief Sir John Stevens has claimed the solicitor was a
victim of collusion between the loyalist gang that killed
him and members of British Army intelligence and the Royal
Ulster Constabulary.

Retired Canadian judge Peter Cory also recommended separate
inquiries into the murder of Mr Finucane and three other
controversial killings in the North - Lurgan solicitor
Rosemary Nelson, Portadown catholic Robert Hamill and
Loyalist Volunteer Force leader Billy Wright who was shot
dead in the high security Maze prison.

The Finucanes, Judge Cory, human rights organisations and
nationalist politicians have been critical of the British
government's decision to set up a tribunal into Mr
Finucane's murder under the terms of a new Inquiries Act
which they say will restrict information.

Under the Act, they claim Government ministers will be
given the power over the inquiry judges to determine what
is heard in public and what information will be given to
the tribunal.

Mrs Finucane said tonight: "We spelt out our position on
the Act and an inquiry into Pat's murder to Sir Reg.

"He said he would go back to colleagues in his party to
discuss the legal implications of the Inquiries Act.

"It was a very good meeting and in my view a very important

The Finucane family has in recent weeks met with the US
Consul in Belfast Dean Pittman, Progressive Unionist leader
David Ervine whose party is linked to the loyalist Ulster
Volunteer Force, Foreign Minister Dermot Ahern, nationalist
SDLP leader Mark Durkan and Sinn Féin president Gerry

They will meet the leader of Ireland's Anglican Church of
Ireland Primate Archbishop Robin Eanes in Armagh tomorrow.


Finucanes Have 'Useful' Talks With UUP Leader

Gerry Moriarty, Northern Editor

Members of the family of murdered Belfast solicitor Pat
Finucane yesterday held what they characterised as useful
talks with the leader of the Ulster Unionist Party, Sir Reg
Empey, in Belfast.

This was the family's first meeting with the UUP leader and
is part of a series of meetings the Finucanes are holding
with politicians to press for a fully independent and open
inquiry into the solicitor's murder at the hands of
loyalist killers in 1989.

An inquiry has been ordered into the murder but the
Finucanes are concerned that the Inquiries Act, under which
the probe will be held, will be used to prevent full
disclosure of alleged British security force collusion in
the killing.

The family has already met the leader of the loyalist
Progressive Unionist Party, David Ervine.

© The Irish Times


IRA Not Sanctioning Fuel Smuggling, Says Minister

Northern Ireland Security Minister Shaun Woodward tonight
distanced the IRA from any involvement in a multi-million
pound illegal fuel racket.

By:Press Association

Even though he accepted rogue smugglers may be operating,
Mr Woodward claimed the Provisionals were holding firm on
their pledge to abandon crime.

After talks with experts heading the cross-border
offensive, he also stressed the significance of the next
report by the Independent Monitoring Commission ceasefire

Mr Woodward said the trade in illegal fuel had been
identified as a huge threat following meetings in Dublin
with Irish Justice Minister Michael McDowell, Assets
Recovery Agency chief Jane Earl and head of the Criminal
Assets Bureau, Garda Chief Superintendent Felix McKenna.

He said: "We are talking about many tens and tens of
millions of pounds.

"(But) we have got to be cautious about saying it`s still
being run by the IRA. It`s being run by people who have
been involved historically with paramilitary organisations.
That`s what we know.

"The IRA have made it clear they have given up criminality.
There`s a lot of evidence to support that.

"That doesn`t mean to say there aren`t individuals out
there on both sides of the equation who may be involved in
it. But that doesn`t mean those organisations are involved
in it.

"I can be confident from the evidence I`m given."

He added: "A big moment is going to come in January when we
get that next IMC report.

"That is so big, it`s so important. Nobody there has an axe
to grind; they have to make an assessment based on all the
people they talk to.

"But nobody should think that the clock stops in January;
there will be another one in April."

The minister also claimed levels of co-operation between
cross-border law enforcement have never been better.

He emphasised the main successes during 2005, with joint
operations carried out in relation to oil fraud, drugs,
counterfeit goods and illegal dumping.

"Both the British and Irish governments are fully committed
to doing everything in our power to tackle organised crime
across the board, from whatever source," said Mr Woodward.

"We must never lose sight of the fact that organised crime
does not respect borders, be they geographical, political
or social and criminals will seek to exploit weakness and
opportunity wherever they can be found.

"Organised crime is not static, it constantly seeks to
change to avoid the attention of law enforcement agencies,
and we too must keep pace with change to ensure that our
efforts remain effective."

Meanwhile, Mr Woodward also agreed with ministers during
separate talks with the British Irish Council that Northern
Ireland will host a meeting on cocaine misuse.

"Today we reviewed successful action programmes to lower
drug related deaths, helping children whose parents misuse
drugs, better education projects and arrest referral

"In Northern Ireland, we want to see a specific focus now
being given to the misuse of cocaine.

"This drug poses a growing threat, not least because of its
wide availability.

"Other countries will take the lead on topics such as the
confiscation of criminal assets, rehabilitation for drug
misusers and commissioning drug treatment services."


Ahern: Good Friday Agreement 'Best Chance Of Peace'

Irish nationalists need to spend more time listening to
unionists and loyalists, Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern
urged today.

By:Press Association

Mr Ahern said he aspired to a united Ireland but that it
would be foolish to force a majority in Northern Ireland to
accept it against their will.

He added that implementing the 1998 Good Friday Agreement
was still the best way to accommodate everybody`s concerns
and aspirations in a peaceful manner.

Speaking at University College Dublin, Mr Ahern said: "I
also think we need to listen to the voice of unionism and
of loyalism. If we are serious about a shared future, we
need to recognise and respect both what we have in common
and what we disagree about."

Mr Ahern was speaking at the `Ireland 1905` conference
marking the centenary of the establishment of Sinn Fein and
the Ulster Unionist Council.

He reminded his audience that major 90th anniversary
commemorations will be held in 2006 to remember Irish men
from all communities who died in the the Easter Rising and
the Battle of the Somme.

The Fianna Fail leader also said he wanted to see leaders
of unionism and nationalism in Northern Ireland sit down
together in 2006 for the mutual benefit of the people they

"We cannot let the opportunity that there now is for
progress to drift away," he explained.

"I want 2006 to be a year of positive politics in Northern
Ireland. I hope that all the parties will join with the two
governments in meeting this challenge."

Mr Ahern said during a visit to Belfast earlier this year
that he passionately believed in a United Ireland.

But he also made clear that it would be foolish to coerce a
majority in Northern Ireland into accepting a united
Ireland against their will.

"No one on this island is threatened or needs to feel under
threat," he said today.

"There are fair and reasonable arrangements through the
Good Friday Agreement to accommodate everybody`s interests,
concerns and aspirations in a peaceful manner."

"While I aspire to a united Ireland, I am utterly convinced
that the Good Friday Agreement is the best chance we have
had on this island for peace and stability and prosperity
for a century, since the foundation of those parties we
commemorate today."

Mr Ahern reiterated that the Irish government will mark the
90th anniversary of the 1916 Rising next year with a
military parade by the Irish Defence Forces.

A similar commemoration will be held to mark the Irish who
fell at the Battle of the Somme 90 years ago.

"5,000 men of the 36th Ulster Division fell in the first
two days of that Battle in July 1916," Mr Ahern said.

"They fought alongside 200,000 Irish men from every county
of Ireland. Their bravery was no less than that shown by
the insurgents of Easter Week."

The Irish Premier said that the loss of Irish people to
war, whether Catholic or Protestant, Nationalist or
Unionist, whether on the streets of Dublin or the fields of
Flanders, was "a tragedy for us all".

"There are no hierarchies of sacrifice, suffering or loss,"
he explained, "only grieving families and lost potential."

He added: "In years to come, we must also recognise, with
less inhibition, the Unionist contribution and tradition on
this island. We need to acknowledge openly that there are
also positive aspects to our long interaction with Britain.

"We must end, once and for all, the scourge of sectarian
hatred. We must become reconciled with each other. We
cannot have real political progress without genuine
reconciliation and friendship.

"This generation must end the violence, the hatred and the
wasted potential for good."


Spy Ring Case: Public Inquiry Demanded

The British government tonight faced demands for an
independent public inquiry into the collapse of a case
against three men accused of operating a spy ring at

By:Press Association

Just hours after Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain said
he saw no reason for a Parliamentary statement on the
decision to withdraw the case, the Ulster Unionists`
Assembly Group said an inquiry was needed to fully assess
the reasons as to why the case collapsed.

In a statement the UUP`s 24 Assembly members said: "The
Stormontgate scandal brought down local government here and
placed Northern Ireland into a politicaluum.

"The Stormontgate case took three years to compile. It was
quality assured by Nuala O`Loan.

"The overall cost to the public purse totals tens of
millions of pounds. It must be in the public interest to
assess why a case which has expended millions, and which
occupied thousands of hours of police manpower, simply
wasn`t proceeded with.

"As sizeable amounts of public funds have been wasted, at
the very least this is a matter for the House of Commons`s
Public Accounts Committee to investigate."

Power sharing and devolution was suspended in Northern
Ireland in October 2002 after police raided Sinn Fein`s
offices at Stormont and charged three people over
allegations that they had gathered information which was
likely to be of use to the IRA.

Denis Donaldson, 55, who was Sinn Fein`s head of
administration at Stormont, his son-in-law Ciaran Kearney,
34, and civil servant William Mackessy, 47, faced charges.

However on Thursday, the Public Prosecution Service
announced at an unlisted case it was no longer in the
public interest to pursue a case against the trio.

The three men claimed after their acquittal last week they
were the victims of a policing operation designed to bring
down the political institutions at Stormont.

However in a statement following the collapse of the case,
the PSNI said while the three men were entitled to a
presumption of innocence the fact was that the Provisional
IRA was engaged in an intelligence gathering operation.

In their statement, the UUP said an inquiry must focus on
whether any political pressure had been brought to bear to
collapse the trial.

Mr Hain stressed again in Belfast today the move had
nothing to do with any Government ministers.

"The Stormont decision by the Public Prosecution Service is
a matter for the judiciary and is not a matter for the
politicians, and I want to be absolutely emphatic about
that," he said.

"To make any suggestion that there was skulduggery is to
make a very serious attack on the judiciary in Northern

"The truth is this was a decision taken in the public

The minister was accused by the nationalist SDLP`s policing
spokesperson Alex Attwood of running away from answering
Parliamentary Questions.

The West Belfast Assembly member said: "Not only should he
be making a statement in the House, so should the Attorney

"Nationalists will remember decisions not to prosecute
security force personnel in shoot-to-kill cases, in the so-
called `public interest`.

"It wasn`t in fact in the public interest then, and
nationalists will be asking what is in the public interest


McDowell Stands By Colombia Claims

12/12/2005 - 17:21:31

Minister for Justice Michael McDowell today said he stands
by allegations linking journalist Frank Connolly to an
alleged IRA plot to sell bomb making skills to Colombian

Facing calls for his resignation, the minister said claims
he made in the Dáil that Mr Connolly travelled to a rebel
controlled area of the Latin American state on a false
passport were perfectly true.

Mr McDowell also admitted supplying information to a
newspaper alleging that Mr Connolly used a bogus name on a
passport application and travelled to Colombia with a
senior IRA figure.

But he denied blackening the experienced journalist's name.

"It is not a concern of mine that that matter appeared in
the Irish Independent, because I supplied it to the Irish
Independent. I provided that document to the Independent,"
he revealed.

"It was a false, bogus application form which was generated
as part of a subversive activity."

Mr McDowell insisted he was well within his rights to use
parliamentary privilege to discuss allegations about Mr
Connolly's past, claiming it was an effort to thwart
subversive activity.

"I answered the question directly and it is the plain,
unvarnished truth as far as I am concerned," the minister
told RTE Radio.

"I won't be brow beaten into silence by people who are
peddling what I regard as complete falsehood and that is
that unless material is proven beyond all reasonable doubt
by admissible evidence in a court of law that it cannot be
the subject matter of any comment of any Minister of

The scandal broke out last week when Independent TD Finian
McGrath tabled a written question to the minister asking
for his views on attempts to undermine the Centre for
Public Inquiry, headed by Mr Connolly.

Under Dail privilege Mr McDowell claimed Mr Connolly had
travelled to Colombia under a false passport along with a
senior IRA figure.

Mr Connolly has strenuously denied the claims.

The allegation first surfaced in 2002 when the Sunday
Independent reported Mr Connolly had been photographed by
the Colombian authorities in Bogota. However, after gardai
questioned Mr Connolly, the Director of Public Prosecutions
decided no to press charges.

The claim was repeated last month in the Irish Independent.

Mr McDowell today admitted that he supplied the newspaper
with information allegedly relating to Mr Connolly's
passport application.

"The Irish Independent sought from me and I gave to the
Irish Independent the document which was the subject matter
of the false application for a passport," the minister

Mr McDowell insisted that under the Official Secrets Act a
Justice Minister was free to make information available to
the media.

"It was not a confidential document. It was a bogus,
fraudulent document. It was a document which was a fraud on
the Irish state," he stressed.

"It is not a question of blackening anybody's name. I stand
by every word I said. It's not blackening somebody to tell
the truth as you see it."

Mr McGrath, Dublin North Central TD, has claimed Mr
McDowell has abused his position in the Dáil, his role as a
member of the Cabinet and demanded his resignation.

But Progressive Democrat leader Tánaiste Mary Harney has
backed her party president.

Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, however, has refused to answer
questions on the controversy.

"I think Michael McDowell was right, the Minister for
Justice has a unique responsibility to ensure that he
protects the state," the Tánaiste said.

"I think nobody has done more to defend democracy in recent
times in Ireland than Michael McDowell therefore I don't
accept the criticism that in any sense he abused privilege.
He would have been abusing privilege if he had not given
the information that he had at his disposal."


Taoiseach Set To Back McDowell In Passport Case

Mark Hennessy and Ruadhán MacCormaic

Taoiseach Bertie Ahern is today expected to defend the
Minister for Justice, Michael McDowell, following his
admission that he leaked details about a bogus passport

The Minister for Justice told RTÉ yesterday that he
supplied documents to the Irish Independent for a report
alleging that journalist Frank Connolly had applied for a
false passport.

Mr McDowell told The Irish Times last night: "I am
delighted with what I have done, and I will do it again and
again and again."

Under Dáil privilege last week, the Minister said Mr
Connolly, now the head of the Centre for Public Inquiry,
had travelled to Colombia under a false passport in 2001,
along with convicted IRA bomber Pádraig Wilson.

At the opening of Senator Tom Morrisey's constituency
office in Swords last night, Mr McDowell said: "I'm
absolutely satisfied with the legality of the steps I've
taken. Under section 4 of the Official Secrets Act, a
Minister is free to impart to the public information which
is official information . . .There's nothing confidential
about a fraudulent application form, no more than a ransom
note in a kidnapping is confidential."

". . . And I just want to make one point to The Irish
Times. Everything I have done has been entirely proper,
unlike some newspapers, which haven't investigated this
matter thoroughly, and I know that everything I've said is
true. So tell your readers."

Mr McDowell also said that some of his ministerial
colleagues were aware of the course of action he was going
to take.

Earlier, Tánaiste and PD leader Mary Harney said the
information was not confidential and that the Minister had
a "duty" to publish it.

The Oireachtas and the media could not operate if "the only
way information can come into the public domain is through
a criminal prosecution", she said.

Under the new Garda Act, piloted through the Oireachtas
last year by Mr McDowell, gardaí can be jailed for five
years for passing information to reporters.

Following a row about the Garda Bill, the Minister,
speaking on RTÉ's Today with Pat Kenny on September 4th,
2003, rejected demands that he should back up his charges
that journalists were bribing gardaí.

"I know what I know as Attorney General, I know what I have
seen on files and I am not going to engage in [ it]
publicly by announcing what I know on the radio and say and
do exactly what I am criticising other people for doing,
saying I know X and I know Y and here's instance A, B and
C, because that's not what I'm supposed to do as Attorney
General and as a Minister. I'm not supposed to just throw
out into the public domain facts which haven't been proven
in court about people," he said, in a quotation sourced by
Fine Gael.

The Taoiseach will be questioned on the issue today in the
Dáil. He was briefed last August about the Centre for
Public Inquiry's objectives by its billionaire funder,
Chuck Feeney.

"The Taoiseach pointed out that the Government had
established a number of tribunals which were dealing with
issues of public concern," a spokeswoman said, adding that
the passport information was not confidential.

The Irish Times understands Mr Ahern had, however, been
strongly exercised about the involvement of Mr Connolly
with the body last March during his St Patrick's visit to

Fine Gael TD Jim O'Keeffe said Mr McDowell believes that
Garda files "are part of his political armoury", while
Labour TD Joe Costello said he had set "an extremely
dangerous precedent".

Sinn Féin TD Aengus Ó Snodaigh said Mr McDowell had shown
that he was not "fit to serve". Even bogus passport
applications should remain confidential, though details
should be passed to the gardaí, he said.

© The Irish Times


'Dangerous And Dictatorial'

By Paul O'Brien and Caroline O'Doherty

JUSTICE Minister Michael McDowell was under mounting
pressure last night after he admitted leaking documentation
from a garda file on Frank Connolly to a national

The opposition claimed Mr McDowell had abused his office,
acting in a "dangerous and dictatorial manner" by releasing
information on Mr Connolly, a former journalist who
allegedly travelled to Colombia on a false passport in
April 2001.

The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) said it was
profoundly ironic that Mr McDowell had leaked garda
documents given the stiff sanctions he introduced against
members of the force who divulged certain information to
the media.

Mr McDowell has accused Mr Connolly of participating in "an
arrangement whereby the Provisional IRA furnished know-how
in the use of explosives" to Colombian rebels.

The minister released to the Irish Independent a copy of
the bogus application which Mr Connolly is alleged to have
used to obtain the false passport.

Mr Connolly, however, insists that he has never been to
Colombia. He is not facing charges, as the Director of
Public Prosecutions (DPP) has directed that no prosecution
be brought against him.

NUJ secretary Seamus Dooley said Mr McDowell had behaved in
a manner prejudicial to Mr Connolly. "Regardless of the
alleged wrongdoing, suspects have a right to due process."

Professor of Law at the University of Limerick Dermot Walsh
said the minister should retract his statements about Mr
Connolly and apologise.

"The central issue here is the extent to which a Government
minister, a partisan politician, can effectively arrogate
to himself the whole power and authority of the courts and
the criminal justice system by making statements as if they
were fact, as if they were judicially proved, about
criminal conduct on the part of an individual. That's what
you get in a police state."

However, Tánaiste Mary Harney gave full backing to her
party colleague. The Taoiseach did not comment on the
matter, his press office saying last night it did not have
opportunity to broach it with him because of his busy
schedule. However, Mr Ahern is expected to endorse Mr
McDowell's stance in the Dáil today, when the opposition
will raise the matter.

Mr McDowell yesterday insisted he stood over "every single
word" of what he had told the media and the Dáil about Mr
Connolly. He rejected assertions that he was damaging the
reputation of Mr Connolly, who heads the independent Centre
for Public Inquiry.

"It's not blackening somebody to tell the truth as you see
it," Mr McDowell told RTÉ Radio.

He was entitled to release the false passport application
to the media, he said, because it was not a confidential

Meanwhile, although Mr McDowell said he told billionaire
businessman Chuck Feeney "the plain, unvarnished truth"
about Mr Connolly, the minister's office insisted he did
not show Mr Feeney the garda case file when they met.

Mr Feeney's charitable organisation, Atlantic
Philanthropies, pulled its €800,000-a-year funding from the
CPI last week.

The CPI had in recent months begun researching the €30
million purchase by Mr McDowell's department of the
Thornton Hall site in Co Dublin, earmarked for a new prison


Opin: Documents Leak - McDowell Set Dangerous Precedent

FAR-REACHING implications flow from the revelation that
Justice Minister Michael McDowell passed confidential
documents to a newspaper for its story on allegations that
journalist Frank Connolly applied for a false passport.

Astonishingly, Mr McDowell now admits that he personally
leaked the bogus passport application form to the Irish

From a minister who threatened to sack and jail for five
years any garda who provided information to the media, this
scenario is breathtaking in its cynicism.

Few will quibble with Labour's assertion that Mr McDowell
has set a dangerous precedent. The revelation puts a
worrying perspective on the provision inserted in the Garda
Bill allowing him to receive on demand any document
relating to any ongoing garda investigation.

Amid mounting calls for his resignation, Mr McDowell stands
accused of undermining the justice system by using the
cloak of Dáil privilege to allege that Frank Connolly
travelled to Colombia on a false passport with a senior IRA
man in 2001 as part of a plot to provide terrorists with
bomb-making information in return for cash.

In the face of scathing criticism, Mr McDowell, who
reiterates that he was protecting the security of the State
against subversion, emphasised yesterday that he stood over
"every word" of his written reply to Independent TD Finian
McGrath about attempts to undermine the Centre for Public
Inquiry (CPI) which Mr Connolly runs.

There is grave public disquiet about Mr McDowell's role in
this affair. His statements give rise to serious questions.

A legal expert has accused him of adopting police state
tactics, arguing that it was unacceptable for Dáil
privilege to be used in these circumstances.

In the words of Professor Dermot Walsh, director of the
Centre of Criminal Justice at the University of Limerick,
there is something legally uncomfortable about a Minister
for Justice asking the public to trust him on the basis of
information supplied by the gardaí and known only to him.

Characteristically, Mr McDowell rejects what he terms the
"constant theme" that unless matters were proven in the
courts, they could not be the subject of comment by a
Justice Minister.

Arguably, it flies in the face of logic to describe the
alleged visit to the FARC stronghold as subversive to
Ireland, whatever about Colombia.

So far, Frank Connolly, who denies the Colombian visit, has
not been charged by the DPP. He has not been brought before
the courts. Nor has he been convicted.

Arguably, if he did not visit Colombia, he has been gravely
wronged. Yet, the journalist's role in this scenario is far
from clear. To date, he has been less than forthright in
his answers. It is time for him to come clean and give a
full account of his involvement, if any, in the murky
Columbian affair.

It is disingenuous of Mr McDowell to claim he was not
getting at anyone. Clearly, Connolly's name has been
blackened in the public mind. And by revealing confidential
garda documents on the case to Irish- American
philanthropist Chuck Feeny, the minister effectively
convinced him to withdraw funding from the CPI.

Doubtless, if Mr McDowell was sitting on the opposition
benches, he would be vituperative in his condemnation of
the kind of tactics he himself has employed.

Justice demands that a person is innocent until found
guilty in a court of law. That precept is a central plank
of any democracy.

The rights of every citizen to their good name must be
carefully balanced against the public's right to protection
from subversion.

By any standard, the tactics employed by Mr McDowell have
opened up an appalling legal vista.


McDowell Should Now Resign - Ó Snodaigh

Published: 12 December, 2005

Commenting on Justice Minister Michael McDowell's admission
that he supplied Independent Newspapers with a
controversial passport application Sinn Féin Justice
spokesperson Aengus Ó Snodaigh has said, "The Minister's
actions have proved that he is not fit to serve in the
position of Minister for Justice and he should now resign."

Deputy Ó Snodaigh said, "Michael McDowell has said that the
document that he leaked to the media was not a confidential
document. However, all passport applications are
confidential. If one is 'bogus and fraudulent', as the
Minister puts it, it does not mean that it is no longer
confidential. It should be passed on to the Gardaí and
remain confidential.

"The Minister has some questions to answer in this case.
Where did he get this document? Did he receive it from the
Gardaí? Or did he pass it on to the Gardaí?

"By passing this confidential document on to the media he
has turned the Justice system on its head. The Minister's
actions have proved that he is not fit to serve in the
position of Minister for Justice and he should now resign.
It is typical of McDowell to interpret the remit of his
role as Minister to serve his own ends contrary to the
basic principles of the judicial system in Ireland –
innocent until proven guilty.

"He has already admitted that he does not believe in
equality and now he has shown that he has scant regard for
the basic principles of the judicial system. So we now have
a Minister for Justice and Equality who does not believe in
equality and who does not understand the justice system."


Ex-Police Chief To 'Expose Duplicity'

By Gemma Murray Security Correspondent
Monday 12th December 2005

FORMER Police Federation chairman Jimmy Spratt has claimed
he is going to lift the lid on PSNI "duplicity". Mr Spratt
said: "The capabilities of the DPP to probe and ask serious
questions of the PSNI is some place below zero."

The former RUC officer, who served 30 years service in
Belfast and Londonderry, and who is taking over as chairman
of Castlereagh DPP, said he is now going to demand serious
answers to serious questions. Speaking out after the names
of the independent members appointed to each of Northern
Ireland's 26 District Policing Partnerships have been
released, the DUP councillor for Castlereagh said: "I am
taking over the chair of Castlereagh now, and I along with
my party colleagues intend to put the pressure on to ask
very serious questions. "We are determined to get to the
truth regarding numbers, how police resources are being
used and why police commanders are reluctant to give
straight answers to our questions. The DPP members who are
now leaving were only getting started and beginning to ask
the right questions - now they are gone." Mr Spratt said
PSNI chiefs "stand indicted" for the way policing has been
handled in Northern Ireland and for the way, "the public
has been conned". "I am not going to sit back and let the
public be conned any more by the PSNI," he said. "I am
going to be vocal - if the police deserve praise they will
get it and where criticism is needed they will also get it.

"The public elected us to make the police accountable and
that is what we are here for. We are not going to be conned
any more by the cover-ups from police headquarters." Mr
Spratt said policing problems appear on a daily basis in
Castlereagh DCU. He believes this is an "example of the
whole of Northern Ireland". He said: "It is now very
apparent that the number of police officers on the ground,
out at the coalface and doing the job for the public is
inadequate. "In Castlereagh, in the period between April
and September 2005 burglaries have gone up 136 per cent -
that is from 89 cases in the previous six months to 210
cases. "For the size of Castlereagh we have one detective
inspector, two detective sergeants and seven detective
constables. "Given my previous police experience I would
say the actual CID presence on the ground is very very slim
given the supervisory roles and file preparation, courts,
training and the other different things that come along.
"The officers out on the ground are working hard but they
have not got adequate resources and back-up. Privately
individual CID officers are telling me their workload is so
heavy they don't know where to turn. If that is happening
in Castlereagh DCU that is the picture throughout Northern


Campbell In Call For RIR Package

The British Government today faced renewed calls for a
generous financial package for Royal Irish Regiment
soldiers who will be affected by security cutbacks in
Northern Ireland.

By:Press Association

During exchanges in the House of Commons with British
Defence Secretary John Reid, Democratic Unionist MP Gregory
Campbell claimed the morale of RIR soldiers from three
Northern Ireland battalions facing the axe in August 2007
was being sapped.

The East Derry MP said: "I challenged the Secretary of
State for Defence to recognise that the morale of the Royal
Irish Regiment was severely dented as a result of the
provisions of the pernicious On-The-Runs Bill.

"To make matters worse they are still waiting on
information to see whether a sufficiently viable financial
package, that recognises the courage and commitment of
soldiers that have served on the front line, will be

"The provision of a viable financial package is a must for
the soldiers of the Home Battalions of the Royal Irish
Regiment and as their representatives we are working for
nothing less."

More than 3,000 soldiers serve in the three home service
battalions of the Royal Irish Regiment which are facing an
uncertain future in August 2007.

They could disappear if the security climate improves in
the wake of July`s groundbreaking IRA statement which
committed the Provisionals to ending their armed campaign.

As part of a series of demilitarisation moves, Northern
Ireland Secretary Peter Hain also announced in August troop
levels in the country would fall from 10,500 to 5,000 in
two years` time if the security climate was right.

A total of 26 army sites out of 40 across Northern Ireland
would also be closed.

Unionists have criticised the Government`s plans, claiming
they were made before there was any evidence that the IRA
was winding down its paramilitary and criminal activities.

Meanwhile Mr Campbell`s Democratic Unionist colleague in
Westminster, Sammy Wilson, pledged his party`s support for
a campaign to ensure that members of the part-time Police
Reserve are also properly recognised for the service they
have given.

After the DUP Assembly Group received representations from
a group of past and current part-time officers, Mr Wilson
said they should receive a gratuity to reflect their
service to the community.

The East Antrim MP said the DUP would work with leaders of
the other parties in writing a joint letter to the Prime
Minister highlighting the concerns of officers who
performed equal duties to full-time officers, who did not
receive the same levels of pay for their work and who after
retirement received nothing to reflect the time and
commitment they put into protecting the community which
they served.

"This is not about the amount of money which these officers
will receive, but it is about ensuring that the Government
gives these men and women the due recognition which they
deserve," he said.

"Policing could not have functioned in Northern Ireland
without these officers and it is imperative that pressure
is maintained at every level to highlight the problems
which this campaign has faced in its quest for


MRSA Strains In Republic Not Found Elsewhere

Eithne Donnellan, Health Correspondent

New strains of MRSA have been identified in the Republic
that have not been found anywhere else in the world.

The strains were identified during a retrospective study of
MRSA isolates recovered in Irish hospitals between 1971 and

Prof David Coleman, head of the biosciences division of the
school of dental science at Trinity College Dublin, said
yesterday the research found there had been several
different strains of MRSA present among Irish patients over
the past three decades.

"The main finding was that we've had waves of invaders over
the last three decades.

"There has not been a single MRSA strain, there have been
many and the population is continuing to change so we are
actually importing MRSA from abroad and we are exporting
it, and there are new ones developing here that nobody else
has seen."

He suspects the reason certain MRSA strains were found in
the Republic and not elsewhere was "people had not done
such detailed analysis" elsewhere. This was the most
comprehensive study on MRSA isolates ever to be undertaken
in Ireland.

Prof Coleman was speaking after the official opening by
Minister for Health Mary Harney of new laboratory and
research facilities at the Dublin Dental School, where work
on MRSA has been ongoing since 1982. It was a problem then
too butjust didn't receive the same attention, he said.
However he suspects the incidence of infections is

MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) is an
antibiotic resistant bug that can prove fatal if it gets
into patients' bloodstreams. There were 315 reported cases
of bloodstream infection reported by hospitals in the first
six months of this year.

The laboratory at the dental school provides "the tools to
track infection from one hospital to another", Prof Coleman

"If you can identify what type of organism is present you
can very easily find the source of infection very, very

"In one case we tracked an infection that occurred in a
large acute hospital to a different continent very, very
quickly, and were able to identify that an outbreak here in
Dublin had originated on a different continent. An Irish
person brought it back. . . from the Middle East."

"It's a case of knowing your enemy. If you know what you
are dealing with it's easier to control it.

"Being able to rapidly identify the organism and track it
is very important from the point of view of antibiotic
resistance and resistance to disinfectants. You must know
what you are dealing with."

Prof Coleman said MRSA, a problem for hospitalised
patients, had recently become a problem in the community,
and was being researched by the new laboratory and research
centre in collaboration with the national MRSA reference
centre in St James's Hospital.

The centre has also recently developed a dental chair which
automatically disinfects its water lines. MRSA, however, is
not a problem for dental patients, Prof Coleman added.

© The Irish Times


Charles And Camilla Stroll In Central Belfast

Camilla Parker-Bowles succumbed to Scandinavian delicacies
tonight as she joined the Prince of Wales for an impromptu
walkabout in central Belfast.

On her first visit to the North since the Royal couple's
marriage, Camilla munched on a ginger thin biscuit from a
continental Christmas market pitched outside City Hall.

As Prince Charles chatted with crowds of well-wishers, his
wife made a dart for the Top of Lapland stall which also
specialises in Swedish Glogg, a traditional winter warmer.

Johnny Olofsson (aged 22) who helps run the stand, said:
"Camilla tried some of our biscuits and I think she liked

"She said if she had more time she would have bought some."

The couple went outside after attending a reception in the
marble hallways of city hall.

They were welcomed by Lady Carswell, Lord Lieutenant of
Belfast, and accompanied by Lord Mayor Wallace Browne and
UK Secretary of State Peter Hain as they met councillors
apart from Sinn Féin representatives, who did not attend.

Mr Browne said: "It was a very relaxed visit. Prince
Charles realises city hall will be celebrating its
centenary next year and he's very interested in

"It was also marvellous that they found time to visit the

Progressive Unionist councillor David Ervine was equally
charmed by the couple.

"Camilla's been through a hard time, yet she seems to be
quite a gracious person.

"It was good to welcome them here and show Belfast off in a
good light."

For Alban Maginness of the nationalist SDLP, it was a
chance to talk to the Prince about an old friend.

"Derek Hill is a good friend of the Prince, who taught him
painting, and I was able to tell him he did my portrait
when I was Lord Mayor."

Members of Strandtown Primary School choir and the Belfast
School of Music's Youth Chorale both performed for the
royal visitors.

During their visit the prince and the duchess, who was
wearing an airforce blue overcoat, were presented with a
gift of an Irish Linen Table Set and posy of flowers.

But it was once they went outside, in the chilly night air,
that the couple thrilled the public.

Young members of a Boys' Brigade company from Ormeau Road,
south Belfast, exchanged chat about what might be in their
respective Christmas stockings.

Ryan O'Neill (aged 11) heard the Duchess tell him that she
hoped Santa brought everything on his wishlist.

And eight-year-old David Cullen recalled: "She said have a
good Christmas and I said 'Right, you too'."


Cash's Forty Shades Of Green

By Debbie McGoldrick

The new Johnny Cash biopic Walk the Line is, in a word,
superb, and it got us thinking about the country legend's
Scotch Irish roots.

Though he was always known as the Man in Black, Cash was
also the guy who loved the green, as in Ireland, so much so
that he penned a song, "Forty Shades of Green," after his
first trip there in the 1960s.

The lyrics go like this: "I close my eyes and picture the
emerald of the sea; from the fishing boats at Dingle to the
shores of Dundee; I miss the River Shannon and folks at
Skipa-Ree; the moor lands and the midlands with their forty
shades of green." Lyrics from a proud Scots Irish American
for sure!

Cash performed all over Ireland on a countless number of
occasions, and he loved the country for being a place where
he could "get away from it all," as he was fond of saying.

Johnny Cash

Of course Johnny's beloved June Carter was with him on his
Irish tours, and in one Internet report we found about a
show they did at the Carlton Cinema in Dublin in the early
1960s, the Statler Brothers were the opening act.

Johnny's lifelong band, the Tennessee Three, elder
statesmen now just as their leader would have been if he
were still alive, are resuscitating their career now that
Walk the Line has reignited interest in all things Cash.

The band is preparing a new Cash tribute album, We Still
Miss Someone, and guess where they just completed a multi-
date tour? Yup, the land of the forty shades of green.

A galaxy of recording artists, both contemporary and old
timers, were influenced by Cash's trail-blazing greatness,
including, of course, U2. At the time of Cash's death in
2003 Bono said, "I considered myself a friend, he
considered me a fan - he indulged me. He showed me around
his house, his ranch, his zoo (seriously, he had a zoo in
Nashville), his faith, his musicianship — it was a lot to
take in. He was more than wise. In a garden full of weeds —
the oak tree."

U2 and Cash recorded a song together called "The Wanderer,"
which appears on the band's 1993 album Zooropa. The band
and Cash go way back, having first hooked up in the 1980s.

In an old Rolling Stone interview, Bono remembered how
Cash's dark humour was on display during a meal he shared
with Cash and U2 bassist Adam Clayton.

"We bowed our heads and John spoke this beautiful, poetic
grace," Bono said, "and we were all humbled and moved. Then
he looked up afterwards and said, 'Sure miss the drugs,


Best And Worst Of Irish America

By Sean O'Driscoll

George Clooney has said that President John F. Kennedy and
Joe McCarthy represent the best and worst of what Irish
America has to offer.

George Clooney in a scene from Good Night and Good
Luck.Speaking recently to promote his new movie, Good Night
and Good Luck, about news commentator Edward Murrow's stand
against Senator McCarthy's Communist witch-hunt, Clooney
said he was struck by the contrast between the two.

He also said he was inspired to make the film by his own
father, Nick, a news anchorman who unsuccessfully ran for
Congress in the last election.

Clooney, who wrote and directed the movie and also has a
co-starring part as Murrow's producer Fred Friendly, said
he was struck by the different styles of Kennedy and

"They were both Irish senators who took very different
paths in life. One was a disaster in the television age and
one shined in it. Television, in some sense, exposed
America and leveled it in some ways," he said.

"They should have been on an even level in the 1950s, but
TV had a way of showing up McCarthy to America for
everything that he lacked and Kennedy had."

Clooney said that Kennedy was the historical figure he
would most love to interview and said he was fascinated by
Kennedy's handling of the disastrous invasion of the Bay of
Pigs in Cuba to overthrow Fidel Castro.

"That interview would have been a fun one because he was so
amazing, if you watched his press conference right after
the Bay of Pigs," Clooney feels.

"It's his first act as president and he comes out like
this, 'What happened yesterday was my fault and I take full
responsibility.' The first question from the press is,
'Isn't it your fault?' And he says, 'I just said that.' And
then they all just kind of sat there for a minute and then
you hear, 'What's Jackie going to wear tomorrow?' He was
funny. That would have been a fun one," he said.

The film, set in black and white, is an intense look at
life inside the CBS newsroom while McCarthyism is flaring
in 1950s America. We never see McCarthy, except for real
life footage of his anti-Communist hearings in the Senate,
and his almost insane televised response to Murrow's
criticism of him, in which he accuses Murrow of being a
member of hardline Communist groups and of being
sympathetic to a socialist writer in London.

There are obvious parallels in the movie to the modern day
search for Islamic subversives in America, but the point is
not overplayed. Instead, the film moves slowly, bringing
the reader into the plot with little explanation and
allowing McCarthy's paranoia to invade the screen.

In one long scene of archival footage, we see him berating
a cleaner turned code dispatcher he accuses of being a
Communist. It's clear that the woman has no idea what he is
talking about but calmly tries to explain that she has
never read a Communist newspaper.

It's a film thankfully lacking in false sentiment, and it
doesn't plunge for violins when it looks like McCarthy's
politics just might win out.

There is much to celebrate about Irish America's
achievements. As Good Night and Good Luck points out so
shockingly, Senator Joe McCarthy's politics is definitely
not one of them.


Outreach For Katrina Victims

By Paul Keating

Danny O'Flaherty. Witnessing the horrible devastation along
the Gulf Coast in the past week and the terrible plight of
all those who suffered so much loss, you know that the
concern and the generosity of the Irish will soon follow.

Rory Dolan's is organizing a massive day on Sunday,
September 18 from 1 p.m. until 10 p.m. indoors and outdoors
for the Red Cross Hurricane Relief Fund that will mirror
the recent successful fundraiser for the area musicians
traveling to Fleadh Cheoil na hEireann.

There will be entertainment for all tastes this time, with
entertainers welcome to contact Rory Dolan's to volunteer
on the day. Also if you have raffle prizes that you can
contribute to the cause, they would be much appreciated as

We know this will be a great occasion and opportunity to
help our fellow Americans in great need and help repay some
of that kindness that made its way to New York after
September 11. If you want to get involved contact Rory
Dolan's at 914-776-2946.

A New Orleans Irish institution, O'Flaherty's Irish Pub in
the French Quarter, probably suffered significant damage in
the flooding that ensued after Katrina left town, and while
owner Danny O'Flaherty from Galway and his family
thankfully are safe, his business and livelihood is gone
for the foreseeable future.

His many friends and musical colleagues like balladeers
Danny Doyle and Gabe Donohue (a fellow Galwegian) would
like to help him specifically to get through this tough
time. Both a benefit CD and concert are in the works by
Donohue and Doyle, but if you can help pay tribute to one
of New Orleans galvanizing Celtic tigers by making a much-
needed donation now, checks can be made payable to Danny
O'Flaherty c/o Danny Doyle, 10836 Moore Drive, Manassas,
Virginia 20111-2925 where the relief will be passed on

Danny has done a lot to unite the Celtic nation down there
and this is time to repay him for that devotion.


Inspiring Bogle Heads for U.S.

By Paul Keating

If you are a fan of singer-songwriters in the folk music
world, you will be aware of the very prolific work of Eric
Bogle, the Scotsman living in Australia for the past 35

That distance may not make him a household name, but with
13 studio albums including a new one called Other People's
Children just coming out, his influence on singers looking
for good material has long been legendary, especially in
the Irish scene.

The Clancy Brothers, Tommy Makem, Furey Brothers, Mary
Black and John McDermott are among the many who have dipped
into the Bogle canon for emotive material that decried the
inhumanity of war, economic hard times and love lost and
won or left behind for the road.

There are few singer-songwriters who cover the human
landscape so vividly in verse as Bogle, and one of those
too rare opportunities to see him in action are coming up
in North America. It is a chance to see the marvellously
talented and engaging performer in person.

Eric Bogle

Most of you will be familiar with his well-covered anti-war
epics "No Man's Land" (alternately known as the "Green
Fields of France") and "The Band Played Waltzing Matilda"
dealing with the horrors of World War I.

Or perhaps "Leaving the Land" recorded by Mary Black,
"Leaving Nancy," "Now I'm Easy" and "One Small Star" which
tenor John McDermott made popular.

One of my own favourites is a comical look at what awaits
folk singers on the road from myriad audiences who think
that Bob Dylan invented folk music in Bogle's "Do You Know
Any Dylan" sendup.

Granted much of the above is among his oldest material but
it should be interesting to see how he has viewed the world
in the many years since I have last seen him in person.

His current tour that began in mid-September brings him to
the Northeast in early November and includes quite a few
opportunities to see him in the Metropolitan New York area.

Coming up first on Wednesday, November 2 is a 7:30 p.m.
show at Satalla (37 West 26th Street in Manhattan, phone
212-576-1155 or ).

On Friday, November 4 he will be at the Stadium in
Garrison, New York (phone 845-734-4000 or

On Saturday in Bergen County, New Jersey the Hurdy Gurdy
Folk Club hosts him at the Central Unitarian Church on
Forest Avenue in Paramus at 8 p.m. (phone 201-262-9866). On
Sunday, November 13 he returns to Pawling, New York's Towne
Crier Café for an 8 p.m. show (phone 845-855-1300 ).

His website, has more comprehensive
details on the tour and is worth checking out for the
extensive lyrics in his wide body of work.

Ironically his tour called for him to finish up down in New
Orleans at his pal's Danny O'Flaherty's Pub in early
December and something may yet develop there, but in the
meantime he is pitching in to help his fellow folk minstrel
(see below). In fact his November 7 concert in Cumberland,
Rhode Island at the Blackstone River Theatre
( is listed as a benefit for O'Flaherty.


Largest Ever Irish Conference For Notre Dame

By Paul Keating

Former Riverdance star Jean Butler is to perform at the
largest ever gathering of Irish studies experts in Notre
Dame University this month.

Best-selling Irish author Nuala O'Faolain, famed for her
two-part memoir, will also join the event to celebrate the
25th anniversary of the Northern Ireland theater group, the
Field Day Theater, which encouraged many new actors,
directors and theatergoers during the worst of the

More than 500 Irish studies specialists will attend the
conference at the Keough Institute for Irish Studies in
Notre Dame, named in honor of former Coca Cola President
and Irish studies enthusiast Donald Keough.

The Irish government will also be hosting an exhibition on
the life and work of James Joyce which is expected to
include some of the original writings the government
purchased on the international market.

The annual American Conference for Irish Studies, this year
entitled "Ireland Beyond Borders," takes place between
April 13-17 and will include about 100 discussion panels on
Irish history, art and culture.

One of the highlights will be a celebration of the Field
Day Theater Company, and founding member Seamus Deane will
lead the discussion.

Deane, from Derry in Northern Ireland, is best known
internationally for his acclaimed mystery thriller/coming
of age novel Reading in the Dark.

Other speakers include O'Faolain, who won wide praise for
her biting memoir, Are You Somebody? and for its follow up,
Almost There.

The panel will also hear from Angela Bourke, author of a
biography last year on Dubliner Maeve Brennan, a star at
The New Yorker magazine before she fell into mental illness
and homelessness.

The Field Day theater event will also be celebrated by the
Irish traditional group Altan.

There will also be many original papers on Irish and Irish
American politics. Among the more unusual, Lachlan Whalen,
from Marshall University in West Virginia, will give a talk
on the published literature of IRA prisoners entitled "No
Frills and No Fancy Words — The Dialectics of Provisional
Prison Literature in Republican News and Faoi Ghlas."

Gearóid Ó hAllmhuráin of the University of Missouri St.
Louis, will give a talk on the effect of the Public Halls
Act of 1935, which was designed to curb rowdy gatherings in
rural Ireland. The paper will be called "Dancing on the
Hobs of Hell — The Response of Musicians and Dancers to the
Public Dance Halls Act 1935."

Johannah Duffy of the National University of Ireland in
Dublin will explore "Jazz in Ireland During the Interwar
Years." (There was once a protest march in Ireland to stop
jazz being played on the radio.)

Meaghan Dwyer of Boston College will talk on how the Irish
and Jewish Communities lived together in Boston tenements
between in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, while
Ely M. Janis, also of Boston College, adopts a slogan of
the time with her study of the Irish Land League in the
U.S. entitled "The Cause of the Poor in Donegal is the
Cause of the Factory Slave in Fall River."

On a more modern beat, Bob Frigo of Savannah College of Art
and Design will look at that old chestnut, political murals
in Northern Ireland.

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Book Rev: Ireland's Unfinished Revolution

Book Review by Sean O'Driscoll
1972, by Morgan Llywelyn
Published By Forge

Morgan Llywelyn is one of those writers who sells huge
amounts of books with little critical notice. With 1972,
she finishes the fourth and final novel in her exhaustively
researched collection on modern Ireland.

It's an ambitious project for a writer much better known
for her massive works on ancient Ireland, sometimes derided
as overblown drama by critics.

When she wrote about Fionn MacCool or Brian Boru, there was
little by which the modern reader could assess the
authenticity of her research. With her new work, the scale
of her work becomes apparent.

This is the first historic novel I've read in a long time
that comes with footnotes. Hundreds of them, detailing
everything from where Ian Paisley made his speeches to the
meaning of Gaelic phrases spoken by the characters.

Her strength comes from her extraordinary ability to place
the story in the surrounding politics of the time. Here,
scenes or riots and murder in Northern Ireland parallel the
rise of Beatlemania and the fortunes of the Kennedy family.

In this work, which follows on from 1916, 1921 and 1949,
Llywelyn explores the life of an IRA member struggling to
find his place in a rapidly changing world. He takes up
journalism, he falls in love with an American singer, and
all the time he watches the political situation explode in
Northern Ireland.

Llywelyn's grasp of Northern Ireland history is superb, and
the immediacy of her writing is extremely gripping. I found
it curious that my heart raced as she described the
building political tension and found myself disappointed
when she returned to the life of her novel's hero, Barry

It made me wonder why she doesn't just abandon the novel
formula altogether and go straight into historical
research. Many readers will not know, for example, that
Northern Ireland Nationalists cleared out housing estates
to prepare some sleeping quarters for Irish soldiers they
expected would invade from the south.

That incursion never came, even after the Irish prime
minister's famous speech in which he warned that the south
would not stand idly by and watch the failures of the
Northern Ireland government lead to worsening violence.

But they did stand idly by, and Llywelyn convincingly
describes the bitter disappointment and the worsening
violence that would culminate in Bloody Sunday in 1972.

This ambitious series proves that Llywelyn is not some
naive outsider writing romantic historical novels about
Ireland's bloody political past. Her research is
accomplished, her narrative style is gripping. I just wish
somebody would take her aside and convince her that she is
a great non-fiction writer.

There is often a joke among journalists that you should
never let the truth get in the way of a good story.
Llywelyn needs to realize that she should never let a story
get in the way of a great truth.


New Classics From Ryan, Casey

By Paul Keating

You might have expected that my preoccupation with
traditional music was a given growing up in a household
where my Clare parents revered the Clare sets and the music
that spawned them.

While I was certainly aware of the Tulla and Kilfenora and
Willie Clancy on vinyl all reinforced weekly by the Irish
Memories radio show hosted by Dorothy Hayden, my journey
towards personally embracing them was a more crooked path
not unlike many Irish Americans.

Ironically, my fascination with American folk music and its
message-driven material with catchy melodies was a high
school and college obsession in the ever so meaningful
1960s. Folk singers who could drive home universal truths
with equal aplomb about love, politics and inhumanity all
wore out my record player back then as the latent magic of
the Clancy Brothers was also coming to the fore leading me
back to my roots.

The melding of both traditions were never far from my mind
as I sampled two recordings just released last month by
Shanachie Records, Karan Casey's Chasing the Sun and Cathie
Ryan's The Farthest Wave.

Ryan and Casey dominated the ranks of Irish singers
initially for their vocal work while singing for groups
like Cherish the Ladies and Solas, respectively, which
certainly helped spark their performing careers.

Both came under the spell of master singers in the Irish
tradition like Joe Heaney, whom Ryan often visited in
Brooklyn, and Frank Harte, who bonded with Casey one
Catskills summer and has continued to inspire and
appreciate her own creativity.

American and Irish folk songs infused their own
sensibilities and awareness, so much so that the need for
self-expression and solo careers blossomed along with their
talents and mastery of folk performance over the years.
They share a hard-lived maturity at this stage of their
lives, which gives a greater poignancy to their music as
expressed on these new recordings.

It was important for both performers to feature their own
written material. They have done so without diminishing
their own knack for choosing solid songs and lyrics (and
songwriters) that compliment their highly personal and
quite different styles.

It is equally important to note that each has a firm grasp
on how the musical arrangements affect their rendering of a
song and they carefully choose musicians who recognize that
essential element of their appeal.

Casey's Chasing the Sun is her fourth solo effort for
Shanachie Records ( and with six of her
own songs, she has boldly moved out onto the singer-
songwriter platform.

It was a natural evolution for the Waterford songstress who
relished the traditional idiom and singers but needed to
voice ideas about a rapidly changing world. Spending time
with her mate Niall Vallely and daughter Muirin has given
her time to think quietly and write about her own life and
thoughts and still give out at times in folk singer mode.

This recording doesn't skip a beat, however, in unveiling
new songwriters like Brian Kerr who has three songs on it
as well as the noticeable touch of her mentor, Frank Harte,
especially for the song "The Brown and the Yellow Ale"
which she sings with an modern twist.

By balancing the new, the old and the personal on this new
recording, Casey has proven herself a polished performer
who seems to just get better with age while still taking
risks professionally.

In addition, her band of Niall Vallely on concertina and
whistle, Robbie Overson on guitar and Paul Meehan on guitar
and mandolin add just the right touch.

Ryan's The Farthest Wave is also her fourth solo CD on
Shanachie Records. She feels it is her best work to date
and many are inclined to agree with her, including this

The production and musical arrangements are first-rate
thanks to John McCusker and compliment a wide-ranging
collection of songs that reflect a very personal life's
journey for Ryan.

Strong images of nature and the sea all create an effective
backdrop for the emotional struggles that life sends her
way. They are captured most vividly in her own creations
like in her title track "The Farthest Wave" but also in
"What's Closest to the Heart" and "Be Like the Sea."

Resiliency is also a key emotional tool to let loose our
feelings and appreciate the freedom and beauty of
"Wildflowers" as penned by John Spillane, or the ode to
growing old "As the Evening Declines," adapted musically by
Dermot Henry for his former wife from the Francis Higgins

Ryan captures the sentiment of both as not giving in to
typecasting or convention but rising above it and even
"flowering, not merely surviving."

This is a recording that grows on you as you experience the
songs anew depending on the time and place and your own
mood, and you'll find yourself humming the words or the
haunting melodies often. In other words, it's a classic.

Casey and her band ( are in the midst of
a brief U.S. tour with a Thursday night CD launch scheduled
for Satalla ( at 9:30 p.m., the Chelsea
home for world music in Manhattan. John Doyle, who was also
a founding Solas member with Casey, will be a special guest
that night.

Then it is on to Chicago for the Gaelic Park Irish Festival
May 27-29, and a June 3 show with Garrison Keillor's Praire
Home Companion from the Hollywood Bowl for airing on public

Cathie Ryan and her band ( appear at the
Jack Frost Celtic Festival in the Poconos on Saturday, May
28 from 3:45 to 5:15 p.m. and on Sunday, May 29 down in
Alexandria, Virginia at the Lyceum at 8 p.m. (800-404-


Colin Farrell Enters Rehab For Addiction To Prescription Medication

Associated Press

LOS ANGELES — Colin Farrell is being treated for
exhaustion and dependency on prescription medication, his
publicist said.

The medication was prescribed to the Irish actor after a
back injury, publicist Danica Smith said in a written
statement Monday.

The statement said Farrell had checked himself into a
treatment center, which wasn't identified.

"No other comments (are) to be made at this time," the
statement said.

Farrell, 29, stars in the upcoming adventure-drama The New
World. His screen credits also include roles in last year's
Alexander and the 2002 thriller Phone Booth.

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