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December 03, 2005

SF Consistent On Victims Policy

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NH 12/03/05 SF Consistent On Victims Policy
II 12/03/05 A Bill On The Run From Truth And Justice
DJ 12/03/05 OTR Law Scandalous - BS Victim's Brother
UT 12/03/05 SDLP Condemns Casement Raid
BT 12/03/05 Parade Commission: Burrows 'Not Out Of Order'
BT 12/03/05 Opin: Orangemen Take A Vital Step Forward
BT 12/03/05 UFF Suspect's Bail Is Altered
BB 12/03/05 RIR Staff 'May Switch Department'
BT 12/03/05 Hain Puts Paid To Hopes For A Regional Tax
BB 12/03/05 Appeal For Peaceful Lundy's Day
BT 12/03/05 Best: Half A Million Say Farewell
BT 12/03/05 Links To Various Other George Best Articles
BT 12/03/05
Books: Traditional Music Down To A Song

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SF Consistent On Victims Policy


The British government legislation introduced last week to
deal with the issue of those politically displaced by the
conflict – the so called 'On-the-Runs' – was greeted by
condemnation by Unionist and British Tory politicians.

That was entirely predictable. Alongside them, and just as
predictably, the SDLP used the British House of Commons as
an opportunity to mount a baseless attack Sinn Féin. But
less visible was the hurt caused to victims of the conflict
and their families by confusing and inaccurate
representations of this particular issue. For the benefit
of those victims I want to clarify Sinn Féin's position on
the issue of OTRs.

The Good Friday Agreement was an attempt to address, or
create a means to address, all of the causes of conflict
and to put in place a peaceful and democratic alternative
to the violence that has afflicted this state since its
inception. An inevitable and essential element of this
approach was the release of political prisoners, the vast
majority of whom would never have seen the inside of a
prison had there not been a conflict in our country. Sinn
Féin argued for and achieved this in the negotiations and
the prisoners were subsequently released. As part of this
we accepted, despite our deep opposition to them, that
loyalist prisoners would also benefit from this approach if
the organisation to which they belonged were genuine in
their commitment to the peace process. British forces were
not included in this scheme for the simple reason that
despite their involvement in hundreds of killings and their
collusion in hundreds of others, not one member of the
British forces was in prison as a result of the conflict at
that time. In fact, the British Secretary of State at the
time, Mo Mowlam, released the British army murderers of New
Lodge teenager Peter McBride to ensure this was the case.

In subsequent negotiations with the British and Irish
governments, Sinn Féin raised the issue of the small number
of people on the run. These are political exiles who are
displaced from their families and who, if arrested and
convicted, would have been eligible for release under the
terms of the Good Friday Agreement. All of those we were
aware of are Irish republicans and all are firm supporters
of the peace process. The reality is that the IRA has fully
accepted its role in the conflict, called a cessation in
1994 and has this year formally ended its armed campaign.
The various loyalist organisations have all continued to be
involved in sectarian and other violent activity. The
British state has never acknowledged the full extent and
nature of its role in the conflict and continues to conceal
its involvement in killings and to protect the killers from
exposure and prosecution.

Accordingly, there are no members of the British state
forces on the run because there have been no proper
investigations of these events. But not unpredictably, the
British government has used the introduction of this
legislation as a further protection of its agencies and
agents – a tacit admission that their forces were involved
in illegal activities throughout this conflict.

Sinn Féin did not support, propose, discuss, or accept that
members of the British state forces should be part of this
process, nor did we argue for a blanket amnesty. On the
contrary, we sought to ensure the scheme would not provide
an amnesty to members of British state forces who carried
out or were responsible for state killings or collusion and
whose activities have always been covered up by the British
government. The scheme published by the two governments at
Weston Park in 2003 related only to OTRs and did not
include members of British state forces.

Our position on collusion and state violence is clear. We
support the families of the victims in their pursuit of
truth and justice. The reality is that the British state
has always protected members of its forces against
prosecution and in the small number of unavoidable
convictions, the perpetrators have enjoyed minimum prison
sentences, early releases, re-admission to the British Army
and subsequent promotion.

Sinn Féin has always supported the victims of state
violence and collusion. Many of our party members were
among those targeted, injured and killed. I have personally
lost close friends and comrades. Sinn Féin continues to
stand beside these families. The bare-faced dishonesty of
the SDLP in claiming that we support amnesty for British
killers is disgraceful. During the long years that our
party was targeted by loyalist death squads directed and
controlled by the British state and the RUC Special Branch,
the SDLP dismissed our assertions of collusion. They
supported the RUC in "the impartial exercise of their
duties" and they have done nothing to support these
families except when it is politically advantageous for
them to do so. The SDLP's MPs ignored the victims of
collusion when they lobbied MPs at Westminster. They
ignored the victims of collusion who organised an
information event in Stormont. Sinn Féin attended, the
Alliance party attended, but not one SDLP MLA turned up to
talk to the victims of collusion.

The issue of collusion and state violence is a fundamental
issue. Sinn Féin will continue to confront the British
government on this. The apparatus of collusion remains in
place. It must be dismantled. The British continue to deny
the policy of collusion exists. They must be forced to
acknowledge the truth and those who operated and controlled
this policy, including senior British political figures,
who have always enjoyed impunity, must be held to account.

Sinn Féin will continue to face the British government down
on this and the other injustices which result directly from
the British partition of and presence in Ireland.

The SDLP, meanwhile, will continue to line out in
Westminster alongside the DUP and the Conservative party
attacking Sinn Féin while they never once raised the issue
of collusion with Margaret Thatcher who was in charge of
the British government at the height of the campaign of
collusion against nationalists and republicans in the 1980s
and early 1990s.

December 3, 2005


A Bill On The Run From Truth And Justice

The British Government has succeeded in annoying everybody
for the possible gratification of a very few by the
proposals contained in the Northern Ireland Offences Bill
now before the House of Commons.

The Bill proposes to deal with the problem of those
fugitives from justice or those under suspicion who have
been on the run (known in the business as OTRs). It has
succeeded in drawing the fire of the Tories, the Lib-Dems,
Ulster Unionists and DUP as well as the SDLP. If Sinn Fein
were not abstaining, they would be against it too. Whatever
its fate in the House of Commons - where even some Labour
backbenchers oppose it - the Bill in its present form has
no earthly hope in the Lords.

Since the Good Friday Agreement and subsequent discussions
at Weston Park, it has been well known that the OTRs
presented an awkward problem, a piece of unfinished
business which would have to be dealt with.

Once prisoners were released under the terms of the Good
Friday Agreement (and without any collateral in the form of
decommissioning) it was obvious that those who had gone on
the run, either to avoid charge or conviction, or as a
result of jailbreak, presented an anomaly. They could be
tried if they came back and there was evidence, but if
convicted would spend a minimum period in custody before
being released like the others under the terms of the

Under the present proposals, those who wished to do so
could return to the North; those who never left could apply
for certification to a tribunal. If complicity in criminal
activity was established, then the matter would pass to a
court in another paper exercise, in which the appellant
would not even appear before being given a clean bill of
health and released on licence.

One great imponderable is the number of people likely to be
involved. Some estimates run into the high hundreds. Sinn
Fein maintain that the people they are interested in
clearing are a mere handful, many of whom, after a lapse of
years and having made lives for themselves elsewhere, might
not even want to come back.

Sinn Fein are exercised by the extension of the procedure
to members of the security forces and police by an
explanatory phrase, of which they claim to have been
unaware, that the measure would apply to actions taken to
counter acts of terrorism. In this, they demand a higher
standard of answerability from the forces of the State as
being bound by the law and rules of behaviour, than on
amateur killers who respected no rules at all.

Conversely, this is the proposal which most offends the
Unionist electorate, of whatever hue, in granting what
seems to them to be moral equivalence between the actions
of paramilitaries who were attacking the State and society,
and those who were defending it.

Members of the SDLP have not been slow to point out that
this means that those police and soldiers involved in
collusion with loyalist paramilitaries to murder their
chosen targets would be given a virtual amnesty, and a veil
would be drawn over a very murky episode in the activities
of RUC Special Branch and British intelligence services.

They also point out how the measures proposed could
disproportionately benefit loyalist paramilitaries, and
would allow those involved in drugs, extortion and
racketeering to bring themselves within the ambit of the
legislation by arguing that it was all done for the cause.

Crucially, there is no complementary process which would
ensure the safe return of the hundreds who have been
expelled or exiled by paramilitary justice and vigilantism
over the years.

In the face of the rush to amnesty it is paradoxical that
the British Government should have committed €100m to the
investigation of unsolved crimes going back 30 years, since
the effect of the Bill, if passed, would be to negate any
prosecution. Similarly, it is something of an oxymoron to
talk of OTRs in the South, since that is where most of them
are reputed to be on the run (or, more correctly, enjoying
a quiet life undisturbed by the law). Yet there is to be a
parallel process for an unnumbered few, leading to
Presidential pardons.

In all of this the forgotten people are the victims and the
relatives of those who perished. Without a complementary
Truth Commission, this process would deny them the
opportunity of knowing the truth, or any version of it, of
what happened to their loved ones, while seeing the
perpetrators walk free into a future uncomplicated by guilt
or the burden of loss.

Maybe the Government should withdraw the Bill and start
again. There will still be a problem with the OTRs, but
there must be simpler ways of dealing with it which would
be less totally offensive to so many people.

Conor Cruise O'Brien is unwell


On The Runs Law 'Scandalous' - Bloody Sunday Victim's Brother

Friday 2nd December 2005

The brother of a teenager shot dead by British paratroopers
in Derry on Bloody Sunday has branded the controversial 'on
the runs' legislation "diabolical and scandalous".

John Kelly, whose 17 year-old brother Michael was killed on
the streets of the city on February 30, 1972, is angered
that the legislation offers effective amnesty to those
responsible for the atrocity.

Speaking to a national Sunday newspaper, Mr. Kelly said the
law would allow security force killers to laugh at their

"Those who committed murder and those in the British
establishment, who organised and approved it, must have a
big smile on their face.

"They can now walk away without repercussions. They will
never have to appear in court. All they will be required to
do is meet their solicitor, sign a licence and they can
walk off laughing at us."

He has called on all nationalist politicians to oppose the
British Government bill which was debated in the House of
Commons last week. The SDLP are strongly against the
legislation while Sinn Fein support it - although the
republican party insists that security force killers should
not have amnesty.

The Saville Inquiry established that soldier F killed my
brother. My dreams of seeing him prosecuted and jailed are
now over.

"They have ripped justice from under us. It will be the
same for the families of Rosemary Nelson and Robert Hamill.

"This grotesque piece of legislation should be opposed by
all nationalist parties and right thinking people."

The 'Sunday Tribune' also reported that Liam Wray, brother
of Jim, who was shot dead on Bloody Sunday, said the
legislation changes must include a time limit for security
force killers to come forward.

According to the report he said that those who didn't come
forward in the given period should be subject to the full
rigours of the law.

The SDLP have accused Sinn Fein of "selling out" bereaved
families and urged the party to immediately withdraw
support for the legislation.


SDLP Condemns Casement Raid

The SDLP has condemned a police raid on Casement Park
grounds in West Belfast, which was allegedly carried out
without any prior notification to the GAA.

It is thought that the raid was connected to last
December`s multi-million pound heist at the Northern Bank,
but a police spokesperson would only say that the operation
was part of a probe into serious crime.

SDLP Deputy Leader Alasdair McDonnell has expressed his
anger at the raid.


Burrows 'Not Out Of Order'

By Michael McHugh
03 December 2005

The appointment of one of the central figures at Drumcree
to the Parades Commission may give the body some
understanding of the mindset of the Orange Order, the Upper
Bann MP said last night.

David Simpson from the DUP said he would not condemn David
Burrows for taking a place on the Commission but added that
having him and another Portadown Orangeman, Donald McKay,
on the body, could lend it more "insight" into the position
of the loyal orders.

The Orange Order has been vehemently opposed to the
Commission and refused to engage officially with it while
it considers controversial marches. Grassroots members have
expressed anger at the decision of the prominent Orangemen
to join the body after the new members were introduced
earlier this week.

Mr Simpson said that he wanted to see the Commission
disbanded, regardless of who was on it.

"At the end of the day it is a personal decision for David
Burrows. Irrespective of who is on the Parades Commission I
want to see the Commission done away with and something
else put in its place and that would be the feeling right
across the province," he said.

"Only time will tell how the Parades Commission deals with
disputes and how it operates.

"At the end of the day, having David Burrows and Donald
McKay on the Commission may give that body some insight
into what the parades are about and where they are coming

Mr Burrows was Orange District Master for Portadown before
resigning his post earlier this year for personal reasons.
It is unclear whether he will take part in the Drumcree
parade this year or what his future involvement in the
Order will be.

Meanwhile, a former member of the Orange Grand Lodge, well-
known leadership critic the Rev Brian Kennaway, claimed the
appointment of Mr Burrows had thrown senior officers into

"I think it's a very clever move by the Government because
it is an attempt to link the Orange Order into the Parades
Commission and the decisions of the Commission," he said.


Opin: Viewpoint: Orangemen Take A Vital Step Forward

02 December 2005

When things go wrong the results are disastrous, both for
the image of Northern Ireland and for community relations.
In addition, the taxpayer has to pick up an extra bill for
policing, estimated in the case of September's unrest as
being around £3m.

Until 1998 it was the role of the police to decide whether
parades could take place. Since then, responsibility has
rested with the Parades Commission, which has had its
successes and its failures.

The previous two Commissions have been handicapped by the
refusal of the Orange Order to meet it or take part in
negotiations about parades. But now that a change of
personnel has taken place, with two Orangemen joining the
new Commission, there are signs that a fresh start may be

The Orange Order, the Royal Black Institution and the
Independent Orange Order still view the body as
"fundamentally flawed" but their commitment to engage with
the Government and "other stakeholders" in the New Year is
a significant step forward which must be built upon.

If they are wise, the loyal institutions will follow the
lead of the Apprentice Boys whose talks with the Parades
Commission produced an accommodation with local residents.
The result is that its parades in Londonderry can proceed
unhindered by protest.

This is not rocket science. If all sides engage in
constructive dialogue, compromise can be reached which
recognises the respective and often equally valid rights of
marchers and local residents.

Too often in the past, the missing ingredient has been a
will to arrive at a solution. If people refuse to give any
ground, it is impossible to strike a deal.

The new chairman of the Commission, Roger Poole, comes to
Northern Ireland with no political baggage and with an
impressive track record in the area of mediation. He can
expect to find his skills tested by the nuances of the
parading problem, but he deserves to be given a fair wind.

Already, the make-up of the new Commission has been
criticised by republicans who see it as unbalanced, but
they should reserve judgment. One safeguard is that the new
line-up includes former West Belfast MP Joe Hendron, who is
well versed on the problems faced by nationalist

The time has come for the Orange Order to accept that
changes have taken place and to engage with the Commission.
Nothing will be gained if the organisation continues to
bury its head in the sand.


UFF Suspect's Bail Is Altered

03 December 2005

THE bail of suspected leading loyalist terrorist Ihab
Shoukri was altered yesterday correct to allow him to move
out of his mum's home and also to play football on a

Belfast Recorder Judge Tom Burgess, however, refused to
lift a 7pm curfew on the 31-year-old north Belfast man, who
is awaiting trial for membership of both the UDA and the

Shoukri, described in court as "no mere foot soldier,"
plans to move around the corner from his mother's Westland
Way home.


RIR Staff 'May Switch Department'

Civil servants working for the Royal Irish Regiment who
face compulsory redundancy may be able to move jobs.

NIO minister Angela Smith made the announcement in the
Commons in reply to a question from DUP MP David Simpson.

She said the Civil Service had agreed in principle to allow
staff from UK departments based in NI to apply.

The NI-based battalions of the regiment are to be disbanded
on 1 August 2007, the same day as the Army ends its support
role to the police.

More than 3,000 soldiers serve in the three battalions,
many part-time.

Troop levels in the province are to fall from 10,500 to
5,000 in two years time.

The Royal Irish Regiment was formed in 1992, with the
merger of the Royal Irish Rangers and the Ulster Defence

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/12/02 12:58:26 GMT


Opin: Hain Puts Paid To Hopes For A Regional Tax

By Barry White
03 December 2005

WITH a single sentence, Peter Hain may have put a stop to,
or at least put on hold, hopes that Northern Ireland might
eventually break out of its dependence on the British

"We don't have any plans for regional tax rates," he said,
when I asked if the Government was considering the advice
of economists who want to boost the private sector by
giving Northern Ireland special tax concessions. We're part
of the UK economy and that's that.

He was speaking after addressing the British-Irish
parliamentary body in Edinburgh but he hadn't heard the
arguments of Stephen Kingon, who sits on the board of
Invest Northern Ireland.

Like anyone who knows the advantage of the Republic's 12.5%
corporation tax over our 30%, Kingon would like
harmonisation but, realistically, he'd settle for tax
credits for businesses investing in research, improving
skills and marketing.

That's where we're lagging but we'll have to soldier on,
hoping that skill shortages elsewhere will force investors
to add us to their list. We are picking up some business
but if the Government is serious about reducing the public
sector, it will have to do more to replace lost jobs.

Why have I bothered to present the case for more special
treatment for little old Northern Ireland, when nothing
seems to matter but restoration of devolution? Because what
matters most, to most people, are job opportunities.

We may seem more peaceful and prosperous, but behind the
façade we've got a per capita public sector larger than
that of the former Soviet States. It employs one-third of
the workforce, including 60% of women workers, and provides
61% of our wealth.

Oh dear, and with incapacity benefit claimants rising to
more than 100, 000, 41% of the working-age population isn't

It's not hard to see why Hain thinks such an economy, where
there is a widening gap between rich and poor, is
unsustainable - except that the Government is obliged to
pick up the annual £5bn deficit. Yet when it is asked to
provide incentives, to encourage private employers to take
over from the State, it says "no".

It's putting all its efforts into reviving devolution,
rather than concentrating on the faltering economic base,
but is that the right emphasis? Professor Paul Bew of
Queen's regards it as a gamble that might conceivably come
off, but probably won't.

His feeling, in a cold douche of a speech to members of the
British and Irish Parliaments, was that too much capital
had been invested in keeping Sinn Fein on side, resulting
in the sidelining of the UUP and SDLP.

The July statement, committing republicans to non-violence,
and the massive decommissioning had little impact on
unionists, because of all the sweeteners that had been
handed out earlier.

The climate had been poisoned and was unlikely to improve,
with the on-the-run legislation being debated and Sinn Fein
apparently insisting on a return of policing and justice
powers to the Assembly. After Colombia, Florida and
Stormontgate, unionist experience of republicans in
government was that it meant instability.

As for the future, Bew predicted that if the Good Friday
Agreement was Sunningdale for slow learners, the next one -
now that the existing Agreement was effectively dead - may
be the 1985 Anglo-Irish Agreement for slow learners. That
sounds like London and Dublin making the big decisions,
while the new super-councils get on with advancing their
separate republican or unionist agendas. Welcome to the


Appeal For Peaceful Lundy's Day

The police in Londonderry have appealed for a peaceful
Apprentice Boys parade to mark Lundy's Day on Saturday.

Originally, 3,500 marchers, including 25 bands, were due to
take part in the parade, but numbers may be affected due to
George Best's funeral in Belfast.

The parade marks the 316th anniversary of the shutting of
Derry's gates by 13 young apprentices against the forces of
the Catholic King James II in 1688.

Bandsman will march in the Ardoyne area of Belfast, before
heading to Derry.

The PSNI said they intended to police the Derry event in a
way which would enable city life to continue as normally as

Police said they would seize drink and said anyone
displaying illegal emblems would have them confiscated and
could face prosecution.

Traffic restrictions will be in operation but the bottom
deck of Craigavon Bridge in Londonderry will remain open.


The Parades Commission has placed conditions on the parade
by the Ligoniel Walkers Club in north Belfast.

No music other than a single drumbeat is to be played
between the junction of Crumlin Road and Hesketh Road and
the junction of Woodvale Parade and Woodvale Road.

The parade must have passed the junction of the Crumlin
Road and the Woodvale Road by 0815 GMT.

Earlier this week, Belfast Ulster Unionist councillor Jim
Rodgers suggested the parade should be postponed as a mark
of respect to George Best's family on the day of his

However, DUP assembly member William Hay said it would not
be possible due to the large numbers of people who were
coming to Derry from England, Scotland and Wales.

Colonel Robert Lundy is reviled by loyalists as a traitor.

He was governor of Derry when the city came under siege
from King James' army and his notoriety stems from his
efforts to persuade the defenders to surrender.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/12/03 08:37:47 GMT


Best: Half A Million Say Farewell

By Claire Regan
03 December 2005

HALF a million mourners will today stand united in grief
with the family of George Best as the world pays a final
farewell to the unforgettable legend.

The streets of east Belfast, where one of history's
greatest footballers spent his childhood, were expected to
grind to a complete halt.

Hundreds of thousands of fans are expected to turn out for
what will be the largest funeral ever witnessed here.

A private service for the Manchester United icon's closest
relatives and friends was being held at his family home on
the Cregagh Estate early this morning. Best's coffin rested
there overnight after being returned to Northern Ireland by
private plane yesterday afternoon.

The star's 24-year-old son, Calum, father Dickie (86),
brother Ian and sisters Julie, Barbara, Grace and Carol
were able to say a goodbye to their loved one before his
public funeral service at Stormont, beginning at 11am.

After the family service, Best's remains will be taken from
the Burren Way home, which he left over 40 years ago to
achieve worldwide fame with Manchester United, and then on
the three miles through throngs of mourners to Stormont.

Massive crowds from all over Northern Ireland, the UK and
further afield are expected to flank the cortege's journey
from the Cregagh Road through the Upper Knockbreda Road,
Knock Road and Upper Newtownards Road to Stormont estate.

There, it will be met by 30,000 people packed into the
grounds of the estate to watch proceedings from the
Parliament Buildings ceremony on large screens.

The proceedings will also be broadcast live to millions of
viewers throughout the world.

Best's hearse is scheduled to enter the Stormont estate
through the main gates and travel up Prince of Wales
Avenue, where it will be met by soccer friends Billy
Bingham, Peter McParland, Derek Dougan, Harry Gregg, Denis
Law and Gerry Armstrong.

There will be two minutes of silence before they carry the
coffin to the bottom of Stormont's steps.

Undertakers will carry the remains up the steps before
handing over to a second team of pallbearers, members of
which will include Calum, Best's friend and agent Phil
Hughes, Ian Best, Dr Akeel Alisa, who cared for the
footballer in London's Cromwell Hospital in Chelsea where
he died, and brothers-in-law Alan McPherson and Norman

The group will bear the coffin into the Great Hall, where
300 VIP guests, including stars from the worlds of sport,
music and television, will be seated for the public

Belfast television presenter Eamonn Holmes, a passionate
Manchester United supporter, will act as master of
ceremonies and singers Peter Corry and Brian Kennedy will
sing two songs each.

Footballing figures such as Sven Goran Eriksson, Sir Alex
Ferguson and Bobby Charlton are expected to attend this
ceremony along with the family, Best's ex-wives Alex and
Angie, and representatives of the Queen and Tony Blair.

After the Stormont service, Best will make his final
journey to Roselawn Cemetery, where he will be buried with
his mother Ann in a closed ceremony.

The family have asked the public to stay away and allow
them some privacy in the hilltop cemetery.

Ulster's most famous footballing son was finally brought
home from England yesterday, when his coffin was flown in
to RAF Aldergrove on a private plane.

Also on the plane were Phil Hughes and a tearful Calum, who
kissed the coffin as it was put into a hearse on arrival.

The star's immediate family circle, including Dickie,
greeted the plane before following the hearse in a small
convoy on its 20-mile journey to Belfast.

They were accompanied by police motorbike outriders and
many cars travelling on the M2 motorway at the time came to
a stop as a mark of respect.

A policeman saluted as the hearse pulled up outside the
terraced house in Burren Way at exactly 1.15pm.

Moments later, his coffin, draped in a red Manchester
United flag, was wheeled into the house where the blinds in
all the windows were closed.

Both ends of the 200-yard-long street were sealed by police
but neighbours from the houses in the street gathered
opposite the Best house and stood silently in pouring rain
as the coffin was taken inside.

Dickie stood in the front garden with Calum for several
minutes, showing him the shrine of wreaths, flowers and
football shirts and scarves which has built up in the week
since the football legend died.

Just moments before the cortege arrived at the house,
police allowed a teenager through the cordon to place one
more wreath outside the house.

Several hundred fans stood at the end of the street paying
their respects to their footballing hero, but most adhered
to the request from the Best family to stay away.

Other Best Stories from the Belfast Telegraph:

Vantage points to view the cortege
Publication Date: 03 December 2005
BELFAST will come to a halt today for the funeral as around
half a million people flock to the city to say a final
farewell to Ulster's much-loved son.

Tears from heaven
Publication Date: 03 December 2005
Rain adds to sombre mood as george is brought back home

Famous names say it with flowers
Publication Date: 03 December 2005
TONY Blair and Mickey Rourke are among the international
names to have ordered floral tributes for today's funeral.

Motorists warned over road closures for funeral cortege
Publication Date: 03 December 2005
SIX police motorcycle outriders are to escort George's
funeral cortege to the Stormont estate today.

Statue memorial at Gasworks planned
Publication Date: 03 December 2005
A SCULPTURE of George could be erected at Belfast's
Gasworks site by September next year.

Tele readers have hours left to vote
Publication Date: 03 December 2005
WITH only hours to go until poll lines close thousands of
people have been casting their vote on the best way to
remember George.

The funeral line-up
Publication Date: 03 December 2005
Worlds of sport and showbiz link-up to provide send-off for

George was sober, in great form and stayed and chatted for
over an hour
Publication Date: 03 December 2005
I DOUBT if George realised just how much so many people
thought of him.

The television and radio coverage of the funeral
Publication Date: 03 December 2005
LIVE television coverage of the George Best funeral begins
on BBC NI at 9.30am, co-hosted by Noel Thompson in studio
and Donna Traynor at Stormont.

Cries of foul as Scots writer sticks the boot into our
football hero
Publication Date: 03 December 2005
A SCOTTISH newspaper columnist scored an own goal with
local football fans with a vitriolic attack on George.


Books: Traditional Music Down To A Song


By Neil Johnston
03 December 2005

IRISH traditional music enjoys a worldwide popularity but
it has long been lacking a handy ready reference work. Now
that gap has been filled.

This 427-page paperback, presented in A-Z format, is a
reader-friendly fount of information for all who love and
follow the music.

Its 900 entries are a veritable who's who of the
tradition's most important and influential musicians,
singers and groups, both past and present.

Among the many northern instrumentalists and singers listed
are Cathal Hayden, Arty McGlynn, Paul Brady, Cathal
McConnell, Marcas O Murchu and the late Sean McGuire, Derek
Bell and Sarah Makem.

The author recalls, for example, how folk song collectors
from all over the world would visit the remarkable Co
Armagh singer Sarah Makem at her home in Keady.

She was a living archive of rarely heard songs and ballads,
many of which she passed on to her famous son Tommy. During
the 1950s, one of the traditional songs for which she was
best known, As I Roved Out, became the signature tune of a
popular BBC radio series of that name. She died in 1983 at
the age of 83, having gained an international reputation
without ever leaving Keady.

The history and development of Irish song and dance over
the years are examined in the book, and there are also
detailed references to the instruments which have become
associated with Irish music, from the Uilleann pipes to the
fiddle and the bodhran to the bouzouki. (The fife and the
Lambeg drum, representative of the loyalist musical
tradition, both get their due mentions as well).

The copiously illustrated book also includes a select
discography and bibliography, as well as helpful lists of
specialist record companies, festivals and summer schools.

The author of this folk encyclopaedia, which has taken 10
years to research and write, is the whistle player, teacher
and Irish music lecturer, Harry Long, from Slane.

He first became involved in the music when, as a schoolboy
on holiday at his uncle's hotel in Carrick-on-Suir, he
heard many of the country's finest musicians playing in the
session room down in the basement.

Among them was Liam Clancy of the famous Clancy Brothers,
and he paid tribute to Long's dedicated work in compiling
this comprehensive guide.

He said: "For those of us who love Irish music and the
people who play, sing and foster it in all its forms, this
book is a treasure trove and an essential resource. I
highly recommend it."

Long himself says that writing the book had been a journey
of discovery for him.

"While it is difficult to capture the spirit of Irish music
in words, I hope the book can offer a few pointers and
enrich the reader's knowledge," he said.

He has certainly achieved that aspiration as far as this
reader is concerned.

This informative and entertaining volume is tailor-made for
delving into between the jigs and reels.

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