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December 18, 2005

Orde On The Spot

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News about Ireland & the Irish

IA 12/18/05 Orde On The Spot
TO 12/18/05 Dublin Inquiry Into RUC Murders
TO 12/18/05 Orange Order Bids For Peace With Catholics
SL 12/18/05 Remember Lisa This Xmas
SL 12/18/05 'Our Pain Is Very Deep'
IT 12/17/05 Nora Wall Case
BB 12/18/05 Dec 18,'74: Compensation For BS Victims
IO 12/18/05 Bishop Calls For Priests To Be Allowed Marry
CT 12/18/05 Six Weeks On A Family Trip To Ireland
NR 12/18/05 Devoted Friend To Ireland & The Catholic Church


Orde On The Spot

By Niall O' Dowd

Hugh Orde, chief constable of the Police Service of
Northern Ireland, (PSNI), is in New York this week and is
bound to face serious questions from Irish Americans about
the police force he heads.

Orde came to his job with a stellar reputation, but given
the recent antics by his force he may be about to prove
that even the greatest cop in the world cannot reform the

Policing in Northern Ireland has always been a key issue.
The legacy of the old RUC, the 93% Protestant force, still
lives in the minds of many Nationalists who grew to hate

The PSNI was supposed to be the new broom, and Orde was
supposed to be the man wielding it. Even mindful of the
extraordinary complexity of the task, it is still very hard
to understand what he is attempting to accomplish at

In the past two weeks we have had adequate reminders that
while the old RUC is dead and gone, there are still
elements of it alive and well in the PSNI.

Worse, there are now serious questions about Orde's
stewardship. Some critics believe he is kept in the dark by
his own police force about what they are up to, others say
he is a part of the obfuscation and obstruction process
that has been going on.

It is more likely the first. No one can believe that a top
cop with his reputation would willingly allow the tactics
to be used that some of his own officers are currently

In the first controversial case, the government announced
that there would be no prosecutions of individuals arrested
in the Stormontgate affair which took place three years
ago. This involved an alleged Sinn Fein spy ring deep
within Stormont which was undermining the work of the newly
elected power-sharing Executive.

The allegation led to the downfall of that Executive, the
very linchpin of the peace process. David Trimble, then the
North's first minister, used the opportunity to walk out of
government, and Sinn Fein took the blame for the collapse
of the institutions. Three years later we are trying to get
back to that power sharing.

Now suddenly, all the charges against those alleged Sinn
Fein spies have been dropped. It was a bombshell
development, especially given the utter certainty of police
statements at the time that they had the goods on the men.

Given that the arrests led to the downfall of the elected
government, you would think that huge questions would be
asked by Orde and others about the quality of the police
work that led to the arrests. Not at all. The PSNI issued a
statement saying that while the men were entitled to the
presumption of innocence, they were basically still
convinced they had a case.

Wonderful isn't it? Damned if they did, damned if they

The reality is that there was never any evidence against
the men, and elements within the PSNI opposed to the peace
process took the opportunity to stick a fork in it. They
almost succeeded in bringing down the entire process, and
in the three years since an enormous amount of effort has
been made to get us back to that position we were in before
the bogus arrests.

Another strange occurrence recently was the release without
charge of Francie Brolly, a Sinn Fein representative who
was recently arrested out of the blue for an alleged murder
committed in 1972.

Brolly, a leading advocate within his party of the peace
process, was subject to screaming headlines and police
innuendo that they had their man. Again he was released.

There have also been a number of other high profile stories
involving who was responsible for last year's Northern Bank
raid blamed on the IRA.

Again, amid garish headlines, a bank employee (Catholic, of
course) was arrested and the rumours had it that he was
part of an inside gang. Soon after he was released.

Can we detect a pattern here? Clearly there are some old
RUC elements still determined to stick it to the
Nationalist community at every turn, and to hell with any
damage they are doing to the new police force as a result.

Sinn Fein must be thanking their lucky stars in recent
weeks that they have not signed on to accepting the PSNI.
Orde may not be fully aware of how much damage these rogue
elements are doing to him at present. Irish Americans
should set him straight.


Dublin Inquiry Into RUC Murders

Liam Clarke

AN INQUIRY into alleged garda collusion with the IRA in the
murder of two RUC officers will open in Dublin next month.

The investigation, led by Judge Peter Smithwick, will
examine the deaths of Chief Superintendent Harry Breen and
Superintendent Bob Buchanan, the two most senior RUC
officers killed by terrorists during the Troubles. They
were shot in March 1989 as they crossed the border into
Northern Ireland.

Smithwick, the former president of the district court,
believes his investigation will take between 18 months and
two years. He has powers of subpoena in the republic and
can grant immunity to witnesses. He may allow some
witnesses, including a former British intelligence agent
known as Kevin Fulton, to give evidence by video link from
Britain if they are afraid to come to Dublin.

"I will start from the premise that everybody will be
interviewed and will give evidence under their own names,"
he said. "They will have to convince me if it is to be

Advertisements will be placed in newspapers on both sides
of the border next month asking witnesses and people with
evidence to come forward.

Breen and Buchanan were returning home after visiting
Dundalk garda station for an exchange of intelligence on
border terrorism. The 2pm meeting had been arranged that
morning and there were rumours that the IRA was tipped off
by a rogue garda.

Eoin Corrigan, a former Special Branch sergeant, has been
named under parliamentary privilege as the person who
tipped off the IRA, but he denied the claim and said his
name had been circulated by other gardai out of spite.

Smithwick will have to consider the possibility that the
IRA recognised Buchanan's car when it was parked in front
of Dundalk garda station and launched the attack based on
this observation alone. However, the officers had a number
of possible routes home and he will also have to examine
whether the IRA mounted ambushes on other roads.

The judge says he will keep an open mind. His inquiry is
one of four set up following a report by Peter Cory, a
retired Canadian judge.

The witness who convinced Cory to recommend an inquiry was
Fulton, a South Armagh-born British soldier who infiltrated
the IRA.


Orange Order Bids For Peace With Catholics

Kathleen Nutt

THE Orange Order and the Catholic church in Scotland have
signalled a rapprochement after years of enmity.

For the first time a grandmaster has agreed to write for
the Scottish Catholic Observer. Ian Wilson will contribute
a column to the weekly newspaper, which is distributed in
hundreds of Catholic churches across Scotland.

The article, to be published in January, will set out a
more conciliatory approach to be adopted by the Orange
Order towards the Catholic church. He will seek to explain
the ethos of the order and its mission to modernise.

"At the end of the day it's not an exercise in apologising
for who we are and what we are," he said. "We're not about
to abandon being a purely Protestant fraternity, that is
going to continue. What it's about is saying we have a
right to exist. We are a legal, law-abiding, perfectly
wholesome organisation — and if you have any doubts about
that come and see us. We're not the ogres that we are
sometimes portrayed as being."

Wilson acknowledged that his decision to write for the
Catholic church's publication was a bold move that would
raise eyebrows on both sides of the religious divide.

"It may well ruffle a few feathers in certain quarters of
the Orange Order, but I don't expect my senior colleagues
to be in the slightest put out because we are at one with
the policy of openness," he said.

Wilson said he quite happily adopted a position of being
against the religious teachings of the Catholic church
while not being anti-Catholic.

"Since being grandmaster I have been in the business of
throwing the doors open to anybody who wants to know more
about us. We've welcomed TDs (members of the Irish
parliament) to our Glasgow headquarters," he said.

"At the first minister's summit on sectarianism in February
I found myself standing beside Archbishop Mario Conti in
the queue for cream cakes. We exchanged a few pleasantries
and I think we both realised that the other did not have
horns and a forked tail."

Harry Conroy, editor of the Scottish Catholic Observer,
invited Wilson to contribute the piece after reading that
he was determined to modernise the Orange Order, revise its
anti-Catholic language, pay more attention to public
sensitivities over marches and give women full membership

Conroy said: "It is, to my knowledge, the first time a
grandmaster of the Orange Order has written an article for
us in our 120-year history. Indeed it's probably the first
time a grandmaster has written for any Catholic paper.

"I find what Mr Wilson is saying very interesting. Until
now Catholics and members of the Orange Order have done
little but shout at each other, so if we can get a reasoned
dialogue going that is all to the good.

"The fact that he is talking about getting the language of
the order modified shows he's a brave man. It may take a
long time for change to come about, but at least Mr Wilson
is recognising and talking about the need for change."

A spokesman for the Catholic church in Scotland said: "I
look forward to reading the article. It is a sign of
progress in relations between the two communities — an
article like this would have been unthinkable even just a
decade ago."


Remember Lisa This Xmas

By Stephen Breen
18 December 2005

THIS time last year, the Dorrian family were busy preparing
for Christmas and the New Year.

But, when Christmas Day falls next Sunday, it will just
seem like any other day to the Dorrians.

For the family's thoughts will not be on opening presents
or the Christmas turkey.

Instead, they will be dominated by the disappearance and
murder of their daughter, Lisa.

Lisa (25), who lived for Christmas, vanished after
attending a party in Ballyhalbert in February.

Since then, the murder-victim's heartbroken family have
embarked on a campaign to have her body returned and her
evil killers brought to justice.

A number of searches have been undertaken in recent weeks
by cops, but they have failed to locate the missing woman.

Although they have not been thinking about Christmas, the
family will do their best to make it special for Lisa's
nine-year-old sister, Ciara, and nephew, Ryan (5).

Speaking to Sunday Life at their home in Conlig, Co Down,
Lisa's dad, John, spoke of his family's pain at spending
Christmas without her.

He said: "There will be an empty space at our table and in
our hearts this Christmas and we can't believe it.

"The last 10 months have been a living hell."

He added: "We will all wake up on Christmas morning with
the same questions that we have had for the last 10 months:
'Where is Lisa?' and 'What have these evil people done with

"Lisa loved Christmas and we had a great time last year.
Little did we know that it would be the last Christmas we
would ever spend with her.

"It will be hard on Christmas Day, but we will have to put
on a brave face for the kids.

"My wife, Pat, and I went out the other night for dinner,
but we had to come home early because we were just thinking
about our daughter.

"Her sisters, Joanne and Michelle, will also be devastated,
because we did the baby-sitting on New Year's Eve and the
girls always went out.

"But, this year, that has been taken away from them. And
for what? What motive lies behind this evil crime?"

The distraught father also made a heartfelt plea to the
killers to tell police where Lisa's body is.

"I want these people to think of their own family, and how
they would think if they didn't have their daughter or
sister at Christmas," he said.

"All we want is for her body to be returned, because we
haven't been able to grieve properly since this whole
nightmare began.

"Our pain is getting worse the longer this goes on.

"That's why, at this time of year, I am pleading with these
people to tell us where she is. All it takes is a

"We know the suspects have brothers and sisters, and if
they could only imagine what we are going through and if it
happened to their family.

"How can they live with themselves by putting us through
this pain? All we want for Christmas is for Lisa's body to
be returned and, when it comes into 2006, we will step up
our campaign for justice."


'Our Pain Is Very Deep'

By Stephen Breen
18 December 2005

THE grieving parents of murdered teenager Thomas Devlin
last night issued a special Christmas plea for anyone with
information on the brutal killing to come forward.

Thomas's heartbroken mum and dad, Jim and Penny, spoke to
Sunday Life about their pain and torment from their home,
in Somerton Road, north Belfast.

And the Belfast Royal Academy pupil's parents have appealed
directly to the partners, friends and relatives of the evil
killers to provide police with the vital clues that could
put the murderers behind bars.

Said Jim: "Our pain is very real and very deep and anyone
who has lost a child will tell you this.

"Thomas was a gift to us, but an evil killer has taken this
away from us.

"I appreciate there may be people out there who know who
was responsible for killing an innocent child, but are
living of fear of such a violent man.

"But any person - no matter how close they are to these
people - who stood up to be counted against a child-killer
would be a hero in our eyes."

Added Jim: "We want justice for our son, but people have to
remember the person who murdered Thomas will no doubt have
the capacity to rob someone else of an innocent child.

"At this time of year, I would plead with anyone who knows
anything - no matter how insignificant they think it may be
- to contact police immediately."

The popular 15-year-old died in August, after he was
stabbed five times in the back as he walked along Somerton
Road in north Belfast with pals.

The teenager's young friend was also seriously injured in
the horrific and unprovoked attack.

Although a number of people were questioned about his
murder, no one has been charged.

Thomas's mum, Penny, spoke of her heartache at her family
having to spend Christmas without him.

She said: "There's no doubt Christmas will be very
difficult for our family.

"Thomas loved Christmas - he would have had a long list of
presents he wanted.

"I would just ask anyone who is sitting down with the
killers at Christmas, and they know what they have done, to
think of us and how we are feeling.

"I hope goodness will come to the fore at this time of

She added: "People need to bear in mind just how violent
the attack on Thomas and his friend was. Whoever did this
crept up behind two kids with the intention of killing

"It is also a very difficult time for my other children,
Megan and James, because they are coming home and their
brother is not here."

"Thomas was the future of this society - part of a new
generation that had no interest in religion or division.

"The killer could do this to his next-door neighbour and
that's why we want to see him behind bars.

"How could anyone take a gift from, or give a gift to,
someone - knowing what they have done to an innocent

The detective leading the hunt for the killers, DCI Ian
Gilchrist, also appealed for anyone with information to
come forward.

He said: "The investigation is progressing well, and we
would like nothing more than to bring the killer or killers
before the courts.

"The people who did this may be violent to those around
them and we would urge anyone with information to come
forward immediately so we can try and bring some closure to
the Devlin family."


Nora Wall Case

There were no surprises in the reasons given by the Court
of Criminal Appeal yesterday for its decision two weeks ago
to grant Nora Wall a certificate of miscarriage of justice,
clearing the way for her to sue the State for her widely-
reported wrongful conviction for the rape of a child in her

The court outlined how the jury convicted Ms Wall on the
sole charge corroborated by Patricia Phelan, a witness whom
the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) had decided
should not be called to give evidence against her. Through
a breakdown in communication within the prosecutorial
system, she was called. It later emerged that she had a
history of making accusations that were not substantiated.
After the trial, she admitted she had fabricated her
evidence. The appeal court also outlined the history of the
complainant, Regina Walsh, including a number of
unsubstantiated allegations by her against other people,
time spent in psychiatric care, and the fact that her
recollection of the central charge against Nora Wall rested
on "flashbacks".

The episode is a salutary lesson in the dangers inherent in
a trial conducted in circumstances where public outrage
against a group of people is combined with a flawed Garda

Although the evidence against Nora Wall's co-accused, the
homeless and psychiatrically ill alcoholic Paul McCabe,
could not be used formally against her, the fact that both
cases were heard together cannot but have influenced the
jury. Paul McCabe confessed to the rape, at which Nora Wall
was alleged to have assisted. He is now dead, but there is
much that is questionable about the case against him, not
least how a vulnerable man confessed to gardaí to a crime
for which the DPP now acknowledges he is entitled to be
presumed innocent. Investigating gardaí would also have
known of the dubious history of Ms Phelan.

The charges were laid at a time when allegations of the
abuse of children in institutions had entered the public
domain. The case was heard within a month of the broadcast
by RTÉ of the States of Fear programmes. The jury could not
but have been affected, it seems, by the horrific abuse
exposed in that series and by the complaints of the child
victims that no-one listened to them.

It is to be hoped, at this stage, that no-one will refuse
now to listen to a child who makes a complaint. Equally,
the Wall case demonstrates that some people, especially
those damaged by their life experiences, can make false
claims or confess to crimes they did not commit. The right
of all accused to a fair trial remains paramount.

© The Irish Times


1974: Compensation For Bloody Sunday Victims

The Government is to pay £42,000 compensation to relatives
of those killed in the Bloody Sunday riots in Northern
Ireland nearly three years ago.

Thirteen men were killed when British troops opened fire on
a group of demonstrators in the Bogside district of
Londonderry on 30 January 1972.

The payments, which range from £250 to more than £16,500,
were being made "in a spirit of goodwill and conciliation",
the Ministry of Defence said.

But the victims' families say they were not seeking
compensation, only to clear their relatives of the
accusation they were gunmen and bombers.

Opened fire

The riots followed a largely peaceful protest against the
policy of internment without trial.

The mood began to deteriorate when some missiles were
thrown at troops manning the security barriers and soldiers
responded by charging the demonstrators.

The army opened fire, insisting it had been fired on first
by two snipers in a nearby tower block.

But the protesters, who were supported by local catholic
priest Father Edward Daly, said they were unarmed and most
had their backs to the soldiers when the first shots were

An inquiry by Lord Widgery in 1972 completely exonerated
the army.

It said their firing had "bordered on the reckless" but
there was no doubt they had been shot at first.

Catholic families rejected the inquiry's findings and
demanded a fresh investigation.

Speaking after today's decision, Dr Daly, who is now Bishop
of Londonderry, said: "I don't think one can put a
financial value on a human life. Any life is priceless.

"The government statement says they accept the fact that
it's been proved [the demonstrators] weren't carrying
weapons but I would have preferred it if they had gone a
step further and stated the full truth that these people
were completely innocent."

The widow of one of the victims and mother of eight
children, Mrs Ita McKinney, is to receive more than £13,000
from the government.

She said: "I will accept the money on behalf of my
children. It will not make any difference to my life. I
have lost my husband, things will still be the same."

Conservative MP John Biggs-Davison spoke out against the
awards. He questioned whether relatives of troops injured
in a similar situation would have received as much

In Context

The relatives did accept the compensation money but they
continued to fight for a fresh inquiry into the Bloody
Sunday killings.

The family of Conservative MP John Biggs-Davison set up a
memorial trust after his death in 1988 to help those who
had suffered in Northern Ireland.

In December 1992 the Prime Minister John Major wrote to
SDLP leader John Hume saying: "The government made clear in
1974 that those who were killed on 'Bloody Sunday' should
be regarded as innocent of any allegation that they were
shot whilst handling firearms or explosives. I hope that
the families of those who died will accept that assurance."

In 1998 Tony Blair's Labour government announced a new
investigation, to be chaired by Lord Saville.

It spent two years taking witness statements and ended in
November 2004. The final result is expected later in 2005.


Bishop Calls For Priests To Be Allowed Marry

18/12/2005 - 10:44:40

The Bishop of Killaloe Willie Walsh has called on the
Catholic Church to allow priests to marry.

In an interview published in this morning's Sunday Tribune,
Bishop Walsh said that there was room for both married and
celibate priests in the church and that he believes this
might happen in the future.

He said the institution needs to have a debate on marriage,
and its whole understanding of sexuality.

Ten years ago Bishop Brendan Comiskey made similar calls.
On that occasion he was summoned to Rome to explain

Bishop Walsh said that the celibacy rule has led to many
priests leaving the priesthood to pursue relationships, and
that they have been a great loss to the church.

He believes it is possible priests will be marrying in the
future, pointing out that the present crisis in the church
could lead to a new beginning.


Six Weeks On A Family Trip To Ireland

An extended vacation results in living a little like
tourists, a little like natives

By Steve Mills
Tribune staff reporter
Published December 18, 2005

There is vacation—a week away, maybe two weeks, if lucky.

Then there is extended vacation.

For years, my wife and I had allowed ourselves to dream
that we could afford some kind of an extended vacation—an
entire summer, say.

It would be one way to avoid that awful feeling that rises
up in most vacationers as soon as they reach their
destination: This all will be over in a matter of days, and
we will have to return to work or school.

What's more, it would be a way to spend more time together
as a family, something that is harder and harder to do as
our children grow older.

What we finally were able to make into reality was six
weeks on the temperate southwest coast of Ireland, in a
pair of lovely homes with spectacular views, living a
little like the tourists and a little like locals.

I bring this up now because, with summer long over, it is
time to plan next summer's extended vacation: to reserve a
home, book the flights, find a car.

And, with my family's experience still fresh in our minds,
not unlike the vivid sight of fuchsia hanging on the stone
walls along the country's narrow roads, I want to offer
some suggestions for a once-in-a-lifetime getaway.

Ours was made possible by some good fortune, to be sure,
but also by my wife's determination to take advantage of
that good fortune, no matter the level of resistance we got
from our three children—Jack, then 3; Michael, then 6; but
particularly our daughter Caroline, verging on teenager-
hood (see accompanying story).

We had to go.

Which left us with some tough decisions to make. Where?

Several countries arose as possibilities. But we always
returned to the notion of Ireland. For us, it was a
natural, even obvious, choice.

My wife's ancestors were from Ireland. We have visited
twice together in the past, and we enjoyed ourselves both
times. And language would not be a barrier, as it could be
in other European countries.

Moreover, Ireland's Dingle Peninsula offered so much of
what we desired: beautiful vistas, little of the drizzly
weather often found in Ireland, a vibrant arts community
and plenty to do with the children.

Becoming a local, if only for a short time, offers a
different view of another land. We shopped at the small
grocery store in town, often forgetting to bring bags with
us to avoid paying the surcharge the store levied. We met
neighbors. We made friends. We even became fans of hurling.

When I played golf, often with my daughter walking along
with me, the locals at the pro shop set a pull cart aside
for me and let me start as early as I wanted, and pay for
my round when I finished or the next time I played.

The most difficult aspect of such a trip is finding
lodging. There are many online sites to search, but we
found our rentals the old-fashioned way—in the newspapers,
albeit the Irish American News, an Irish-themed paper
available here in Chicago.

But by the time we began our search last winter, it was
almost too late. Irish homes go quickly, we soon learned,
restricting some of our choices regarding location. (We
also for a short time considered a house swap, something
that my sister and her family have done in Europe with
considerable success.)

In the end, we rented the home in Dingle from Colleen Grace
Herlihy, who at the time lived in Chicago but has since
moved on to Florida with her family.

From our residence, which the kids called the Blue House,
we could walk along the cliffs through cow pastures to
town, down to a small beach or up a steep hill to a plateau
offering a vista of the Kerry peninsula across the water.

So temperate is this part of Ireland that palm trees graced
the end of the driveway, which we took as an odd but
encouraging sign when we arrived.

We spent the last part of our trip in Glengarriff, a
village set amid a more rugged landscape and with fewer
tourist attractions, although its tropical gardens,
including a bamboo garden, was an allure for travelers.

Cars can be rented online through all the major car rental
firms. Europeans cars are small and expensive, but even in
a small country like Ireland are a necessity if you are
planning to stay for an extended period.

We drove all the time—on day trips and multi-day getaways.

The sagging dollar makes such a trip pricey, with homes
typically costing more than $1,000 a week. But a year later
our children still talk about it fondly, something I can't
say about our other vacations.

They even want to go back.
Copyright © 2005, Chicago Tribune


A Devoted Friend To Ireland And The Catholic Church

By Jennifer Atkins Brown
Staff Writer
Article published Dec 18, 2005

GREENSBORO -- When Michael J. Slane was growing up, his
father didn't talk much about the family's Irish history.

Years later, when some friends told Slane about the Ancient
Order of Hibernians, the largest Irish Catholic men's
organization in the world, Slane decided to go to a few

That was eight years ago, and since then Slane, 75, has
helped start the Guilford County division of AOH, called
NaCara, and hopes to establish others in Winston-Salem and
Greenville. As state director of AOH, he is responsible for
the development of new divisions, resolving issues between
divisions and promoting AOH in our area.

Organized to promote the knowledge of the Irish culture,
including literature, dance and history, as well as to
protect the Catholic church and clerics, AOH in America
received its charter in 1836 from AOH in Ireland.

As the need for militant support of the Catholic church
dwindled, the group shifted its purpose to charitable
activities in support of Catholic missions and community
service and the promotion and preservation of Irish
cultural heritage in the United States.

"The feeling of being a member of an organization so old in
its origins touched on my heart," Slane said.

Slane was a member of the Asheville and Charlotte divisions
of AOH until he was asked to establish a division in
Greensboro six years ago. There also are divisions in
Wilmington and Raleigh. The AOH state convention will be
held in Greensboro in 2007.

"Our motto is 'Friendship, Unity and True Christian
Charity,' " Slane said.

And charity is an area in which the group has grown. The
Guilford County division recently raised more than $6,000
through a raffle for an all-expenses-paid golf trip to
Ireland. The money was donated to worldwide organizations
such as Freedom for All Ireland and Project St. Patrick, as
well as local charities such as the Diocese of Charlotte,
Room at the Inn, St. Vincent de Paul Society and Tracks,
which provides scholarships to children attending Catholic

AOH is sponsoring another raffle for a seven-day trip to
Ireland for four in hopes of raising additional money for
charity. The group also recently sent money to AOH
divisions in New Orleans to help with food and shelter

"We're so happy to be able to fulfill our mission -- true
Christian charity," Slane said proudly.

A New Jersey native, Slane admits turning from the church
for about 10 years when he was younger.

"Things happening in the world brought me back when I was
in my 40s," he said. "My faith has gotten stronger over the

Slane is a member of Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church.

In addition to helping the Guilford AOH division grow to 55
members currently, Slane also found himself enticed to
learn more about his Irish history through his involvement
in AOH. Five years ago he traveled to Ireland to visit Six
Mile Cross, the town his family is from, and meet several
of his Irish cousins. He also learned of a great-uncle who
was involved in the IRA as well as AOH.

"I have some of his mementos now," Slane said. "It was so
stimulating, meeting those cousins and learning more about
my history."

An Army veteran who served in the Korean War, Slane says he
is patriotic and enjoys politics. He ran for a seat on the
Guilford County Board of Commissioners several years ago,
and he is a member of the Knights of Columbus, Veterans of
Foreign Wars and Marine Corps League.

Martin Giff, treasurer of the Guilford County AOH, has
known Slane for 10 years and described him as
straightforward and outspoken.

"Mike is very Irish and very Catholic and is quite
interested in advocating things our organization stands
for," Giff said. "He's also outspokenly patriotic."

Pat Rooney, president of the local group, said he believes
Slane's persistence and take-charge attitude make him a
good leader.

"He inspires people," Rooney said. "He's proud of his
Catholicism and Irish heritage, and he's a good example who
does right in his daily life."

Contact Jennifer Atkins Brown at 574-5582 or

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