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

December 24, 2005

Spy's Revelation Cause Uproar

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

News About Ireland & The Irish

HC 12/23/05 Irish Spy's Revelations Cause An Uproar
UP 12/23/05 Opin: IRA 'In Turmoil' Over Spy Claims
IE 12/23/05 Opin: Reiss: Who Deals With Lawlessness?
IT 12/24/05 UN: State Cannot Rely On US Guarantees
IT 12/24/05 Last Christmas For Limerick Church
WT 12/24/05 Passionate Visions Of Water
IT 12/24/05 Christmas Message: President Mary McAleese


Irish Spy's Revelations Cause An Uproar

By SHAWN POGATCHNIK Associated Press Writer
© 2005 The Associated Press

DUBLIN, Ireland — For 20 years, Denis Donaldson says
he worked both as an important backroom official for
Sinn Fein _ and, to the public dismay of his closest
party colleagues, as a paid informer for the British.

His Dec. 16 declaration to have been a turncoat sent
shock waves through Northern Ireland's peace process.
It raised fresh doubts about why the province's power-
sharing government really collapsed three years ago _
an event triggered by Donaldson's own arrest as a
suspected Irish Republican Army spy _ and whether any
trust remains to build a new one.

Donaldson, 55, today is in hiding somewhere in
Ireland, leaving the IRA-linked Sinn Fein and British
officials to push rival conspiracy theories about what
"their" man was really doing. Moderate politicians and
analysts say the truth probably lies in the middle,
but they question Sinn Fein's claim of a plot by
British "spooks," or intelligence officials, to
scuttle power-sharing.

"The Sinn Fein conspiracy theory _ that the spooks are
out to destroy the peace process _ suffers from a
fundamental flaw. Not only is it rubbish, but the
exact opposite is the truth," said Ed Moloney, author
of "A Secret History of the IRA."

"The peace process represents the wildest fantasies of
the security establishment come true, and the last
thing the spooks want is to see it destroyed."

Yet the central achievement of Northern Ireland's 1998
peace deal, a four-party government that included Sinn
Fein, fell apart in October 2002 because of the arrest
of Donaldson, an IRA veteran who was Sinn Fein's
administration chief in the power-sharing government.

Police charged Donaldson, his son-in-law and a British
civil servant with pilfering piles of British
documents and records that included transcripts of
confidential discussions between British Prime
Minister Tony Blair and President Bush; negotiating
papers of Sinn Fein's political rivals; and the
personal details of more than 1,000 potential IRA
targets, including police and British army officers
and prison guards.

Police said most documents were found in a backpack in
the west Belfast home of Donaldson, who served several
years in prison for plotting to bomb British
government buildings in 1971, then was detained in
1981 by French police while traveling on a false
passport from Lebanon.

On Dec. 8, Northern Ireland was stunned when
prosecutors dropped all charges against the three men,
obscurely citing "the public interest" and refusing to
explain further.

Protestant leaders accused Britain of cutting a secret
deal with Sinn Fein to remove a potential obstacle to
resumed power-sharing. They said such duplicity
demonstrated why they would not cooperate until the
IRA disbanded, something the underground group refuses
to do despite handing its weapons stockpiles to
disarmament chiefs in September.

A week later, people got an even bigger shock. Sinn
Fein leader Gerry Adams announced that Donaldson _ a
veteran diplomat for Irish republican efforts ranging
from Libya to the United States _ had confessed to
Sinn Fein officials he was on the British informer

Within hours, Donaldson made a surprise appearance on
Irish state television to confirm this. Mirroring the
Sinn Fein line, he accused Britain of concocting the
spying scandal.

So far, Britain has refused all Northern Ireland
parties' demands to explain why it charged an alleged
British informer with IRA spying, then dropped the
case. Sinn Fein cites this as proof that the alleged
"spy ring" was a British production, not an IRA one.

On Wednesday, Blair told lawmakers in London he wanted
"to state rather more clearly what had happened" but
warned that any disclosures must "be done within the
right legal procedures, because otherwise we will all
get into trouble over it."

Sinn Fein's moderate rival for Catholic votes, the
Social Democratic and Labour Party, or SDLP, said Sinn
Fein had at least as many questions to answer because
its version made no sense, and its public claims to be
surprised by Donaldson's duplicity ring hollow.

"Everybody agrees that a rucksack with a mound of
documents was found in Denis Donaldson's house over
three years ago," SDLP deputy leader Alasdair
McDonnnell said Friday.

"If there never was an IRA spy ring, why did Sinn Fein
not expel him immediately when these were found?"

The probable truth, said Moloney, was that the IRA spy
ring did exist, Donaldson was part of it, and his
"handlers" in Special Branch, the intelligence-
gathering arm of the Northern Ireland police force,
had disowned him because of it.

Moloney cited as evidence a little-analyzed part of
Donaldson's Dec. 16 admission: He had no contact with
his British intelligence contacts between his 2002
arrest and this month's outing by Sinn Fein.

He said Sinn Fein may be trying to cover up the
possibility of more British agents within its ranks, a
deeply embarrassing prospect for Adams.

A senior Northern Ireland detective, speaking on
condition of anonymity because police officers have
been ordered not to discuss the case, said Sinn Fein
was managing an internal crisis by pinning the blame

"If we had wanted to stage an event as Sinn Fein
claims, you'd have found those documents in Connolly
House, not in Donaldson's house," he said, referring
to Sinn Fein headquarters. "We found the documents in
Donaldson's house because we'd been tracking his
involvement in an IRA intelligence-gathering operation
for many months."

However, the detective refused to discuss why the
charges were dropped.


Opin: IRA 'In Turmoil' Over U.K. Spy Claims

UPI U.K. Correspondent

LONDON, Dec. 23 (UPI) -- The Irish Republican Army is
"in turmoil" over suggestions the recent exposure of a
Sinn Fein member as a British agent might have been an
attempt to protect a more senior spy in the

The group is suspicious the collapse of the trial of
three Sinn Fein members accused of spying at the
Northern Ireland Assembly, and the subsequent
revelation that one of the men had been working for
British intelligence for 20 years, was orchestrated in
order to maintain the cover of a British agent closer
to the heart of the IRA.

This agent was rumored to be a leading figure in Sinn
Fein and the IRA, an intelligence source told United
Press International.

Alban Magenniss, former mayor of Belfast and a
Northern Ireland Assembly member for the republican
Social Democratic and Labor Party, said the IRA was
taking the theory "very seriously" and all members
were "watching their backs."

The organization was scrutinizing members,
interviewing them and checking their bank accounts, he
told UPI.

The affair opened up "a cesspit of espionage and
counter-espionage, intelligence-gathering and counter
intelligence-gathering, and the planting and
manipulation of agents," he said.

Dubbed Stormontgate, the case of the alleged Sinn
Fein/IRA spy ring is a murky affair of the type that
has long blighted the Northern Ireland political

With all the elements of a Graham Greene thriller, the
episode has been described as "as bizarre as it gets"
by Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern and
"preposterous" by senior unionists.

The controversy erupted earlier this month when
prosecutors dropped a three-year-long case against
three Sinn Fein members accused of operating a spy
ring in the offices of the Northern Ireland Assembly,
on the grounds the prosecution was no longer "in the
public interest."

The case took a further twist when one of the men,
Denis Donaldson, a senior figure in Sinn Fein,
admitted Friday he had been working as a British agent
for the past 20 years and claimed that the spy ring
was a fiction created by British intelligence.

The allegations were vehemently denied by Northern
Ireland Secretary Peter Hain, who Monday rejected
calls for a public inquiry into the affair.

Both he and Prime Minister Tony Blair denied there was
any political hand in the decision to drop the case
against the three Sinn Fein members, but their
reticence to divulge details has fueled suspicions of
an ulterior agenda.

The raids on Sinn Fein's offices at Stormont in Oct.
2002 brought an end to three years of devolution, and
led to the return of direct rule by Westminster.

Sinn Fein claims elements in British intelligence were
opposed to the peace process and invented the spy ring
in order to bring down the power-sharing assembly.

Party President Richard McAuley told UPI the operation
had essentially been a "coup d'etat."

A small number of people within British military
intelligence, Special Branch and the Police Service of
Northern Ireland had been "actively working against
the peace process," he said.

He claimed the raids on Sinn Fein's offices had been
"a piece of political theater" organized and
orchestrated by the then head of Northern Ireland's
Special Branch, Bill Lowry.

A prominent supporter of the Democratic Unionist
Party, Lowry had, along with other rogue elements,
been opposed to Sinn Fein taking its place in a power-
sharing assembly, McAuley said.

Lowry had known of Donaldson's status as a British
agent and had sacrificed him as part of a "conspiracy
concocted by the Special Branch, within the PSNI, the
people who were part of the old Royal Ulster
Constabulary," he said. "There is a little nest of
vipers in all this."

He dismissed unionist allegations that Donaldson was
in fact a double agent, and that the British
government had done a deal with Sinn Fein to drop the
case in exchange for IRA disarmament, announced
earlier this year.

Donaldson had only revealed his identity after a
Special Branch agent visited him last week and told
him he was about to be outed, McAuley claimed.

The accusations were no more than "conspiracy
theories," he added.

The DUP's Ian Paisley Junior said earlier this week
that Hain's denial of a political hand in the collapse
of the case was "preposterous," and called for an
inquiry into the affair.

Though he dismissed suggestions that the spy ring was
British-orchestrated, Paisley said he believed a
Northern Ireland Office official had been authorized
to pass information to Sinn Fein.

"If that is the case then the government's refusal to
make a statement is not about protecting the life of
an agent but about hiding their own duplicitous hand
in the mercy business of aiding and abetting Sinn
Fein's political agenda."

Donaldson had in fact been a "double agent," he
claimed, "playing both sides for money and power."

Crispin Black, who formerly worked for the British
government gathering and analyzing intelligence in
Northern Ireland, said certain facts suggested
Donaldson had been some kind of double agent,
particularly that Sinn Fein Leader Gerry Adams had
insisted he need not fear for his safety. Normally
members of Sinn Fein or the IRA who were outed as
spies would be tortured and/or killed, he said. "There
has to be somebody helping him."

The whole affair "did not stack up," he told UPI. Hain
and other ministers were being "very tight-lipped" and
there was "something odd" in the collapse of the court

However it was more likely that there was a political
deal to drop the case than that "rogue elements" in
the intelligence and security services had fabricated
the spy ring, he said.

Black said there was a "long-standing rumor" in the
intelligence services that there was a more senior
British spy operating in the IRA.

The theory has also been alluded to by Irish Foreign
Minister Dermot Ahern, who told media in Dublin on
Monday: "I've heard all the rumors; I've heard even
names mentioned, which I think is very unfortunate and
dangerous. But that's something Sinn Fein has to deal

Rumors though they may be at present, it appears the
IRA is taking them extremely seriously.

Alban Maginness told UPI: "Their organization is in
turmoil over this, and heads will roll."


Opinion: Who Should Deal With Lawlessness?

By By Mitchell Reiss, U.S. Special Envoy to Northern

Much has been achieved in 2005, but the policing
nettle must be grasped by republicans, argues the
United States' special envoy to Northern Ireland.

As 2005 comes to a close, it is clear that the
Northern Ireland peace process has come a long way in
the past 12 months. In fact, 2005 has seen positive
and hopeful developments that many thought would never
take place.

At the top of the list stands the IRA's placing its
weapons beyond use and announcing that it would pursue
a purely peaceful and democratic way forward. This was
a truly great moment for the peace process. Gerry
Adams, Martin McGuinness and the entire Sinn Fein
leadership deserve enormous credit.

The loyalist paramilitaries have also seen the
futility of their criminal behavior and the terrible
damage it inflicts on their communities.

The end of the LVF-UVF feud and ongoing discussions
within the loyalist paramilitaries on how to respond
to Northern Ireland's changed political landscape are
helpful developments.

And the ability of all of Northern Ireland to come
together, regardless of politics or religion, to honor
their favorite son, George Best, made a deep
impression on a global television audience, as well as
suggesting the enormous cross-community potential that
lies largely untapped.

Despite these important advances, we still have some
distance to travel. Currently, two challenges are
especially worrisome. First, there is a crisis of
confidence in unionism, especially working-class
unionism. Many of the people we saw rioting in West
and North Belfast in September feel disenfranchised
from the political process. They are more secular than
the DUP. They are poorly educated and have bleak job
prospects. And unionists harbor a deep sense of
grievance. Some are nostalgic for three centuries of
"Protestant Ascendancy," others for the "good old
days" when they were clearly on top.

And unionist leaders have for years been saying that
the British favor Sinn Fein, that the British make
serial concessions to Sinn Fein, and that unionists
have been losing. All together, that's a pretty potent
mixture. This sentiment is not relegated solely, or
perhaps even primarily, to the loyalists. In fact, it
may be more pronounced among some members of the DUP
than among the loyalist community. Some DUP
politicians have claimed recently that it will be 10
years before they join with Sinn Fein - clearly not a
very constructive approach.

Unionism needs to do more to prepare itself and its
members for the time when we may have agreement on all
outstanding issues. They need to move towards a
position when they can take "yes" for an answer and
stand up the Stormont Assembly. As for the U.S.,
British and Irish governments, we have spent so much
time and effort focusing on Sinn Fein and the IRA,
that we haven't devoted as much attention to the DUP.
That needs to change.

We need to engage unionism in a systematic way that
helps bring them to the table. Second, Sinn Fein is
still reluctant to join policing, the PSNI. The IRA
has largely stood down its activities since July 28.
The recent IMC report independently verified that
point. But the PSNI has not been able to stand up in
nationalist and republican communities.

Today, Sinn Fein is the only political party in Europe
that does not support policing. Gerry Adams often
talks about parity of esteem. It is an important
concept, one the Bush Administration supports. But
parity of esteem implies parity of responsibility. We
think Sinn Fein has a responsibility to tell its
constituents they should cooperate with the police --
without fear of retribution -- whenever dissidents,
thugs and degenerates terrorize their communities.
Gerry Adams and other Sinn Fein leaders have met
repeatedly with Hugh Orde, the chief constable, and
other PSNI officials. If they can talk with the PSNI,
why can't ordinary republicans and nationalists?

By denying republicans and nationalists proper
policing and justice, Sinn Fein has condemned them to
a ghettoized existence. Interestingly, it appears that
Sinn Fein officials themselves cooperate with the
authorities when it suits their personal interests.
Mark Durkan, the leader of the SDLP, recently observed
that "the Sinn Fein leadership admit they go to the
police if they have car accidents. So now we know.
They put their 'no claims bonuses' ahead of a child's
right to justice and protection. So much for their
Ireland of equals."

Now we all recognize that policing is not perfect in
Northern Ireland. It isn't perfect in any city. But
the undisputed fact, acknowledged by even Sinn Fein,
is that there has been tremendous progress in recent
years. The PSNI is simply not the same as the old RUC.
The majority of the Patten Commission recommendations
have been adopted; those yet to be implemented await
only Sinn Fein's support. Catholics are now being
recruited onto the PSNI on a 50-50 basis with
Protestants and others. An independent Ombudsman,
Nuala O'Loan, has a mandate to investigate any
allegations of police misbehavior, and she has done
so. And let's not forget that this past September, the
PSNI took over 150 live rounds from loyalist
paramilitaries while protecting republicans and
nationalists in West and North Belfast. So what is
Sinn Fein's position on policing?

From Gerry Adams's recent comments, it appears that
Sinn Fein will join policing only after the policing
and justice responsibilities have been devolved back
to Northern Ireland and are under the political
control of the Stormont Assembly. But the legislative
process could take another 6-12 months or longer,
while the time needed for the political process of
restoring a power-sharing executive that includes Sinn
Fein and the DUP is impossible to predict. So under a
best-case scenario, we're looking at another year, at
least, of lawlessness in republican and nationalist

And in a worst-case scenario, Sinn Fein will not join
policing for many, many years. Who polices these
communities until then? What options are available
when homes get burgled, cars get stolen, or daughters
get raped? The IRA, thankfully, no longer appears to
be in the business of dispensing its particular brand
of vigilante justice. At the same time, people are
fearful of going to the police and threatened if they
try to do so. There have been reports that republicans
have even threatened women who were victims of sexual
assaults and attempted to cover up crimes committed by
individuals who have ties to the IRA, Sinn Fein or
Community Restorative Justice programs. More victims
will fail to get justice as long as republican and
nationalist communities remain unpoliced.

The United States understands that addressing these
two challenges - unionism and policing -- will not be
easy. But as we look ahead to 2006, we take heart from
the trajectory of the peace process during the past 12
months. What began with the breakdown of the Leeds
Castle talks, the Northern Bank robbery and the brutal
murder of Robert McCartney has ended with the IRA's
decommissioning of weapons, the arrest and prosecution
of loyalist gangsters, the Asset Recovery Agency's
crack down on illicit gains, and some indications that
loyalist paramilitaries may want to wind down their
activities. Much work remains, but we have much to

The Bush Administration, in close cooperation with the
British and Irish governments, will continue to work
with the political parties in Northern Ireland to
bring the blessings of peace to all the people of
Northern Ireland this coming year. In that effort, we
will be guided by the knowledge that a just and humane
Northern Ireland governed by democratic principals and
the rule of law are what its people deserve.


State Cannot Rely On US Guarantees, According To UN

Mark Hennessy

  The UN has made clear that the State cannot rely on
US guarantees that prisoners are not being flown
through Shannon and tortured subsequently elsewhere,
the Irish Human Rights Commission has warned.

The Government has "a positive obligation", said the
IHRC, to ensure that the US are not carrying prisoners
on aircraft chartered by the Central Intelligence
Agency, which have landed over 50 times in the last
three years.

Meanwhile, the IHRC has drawn attention to a ruling
from the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg
which makes it clear that signatory countries are
under "a procedural obligation" to investigate claims
that individuals had been tortured, contrary to
Article 3, said the human rights body.

The UN's leading expert on torture, Prof Manfred
Nowak, reported in August that "diplomatic assurances
are unreliable and ineffective in the protection
against torture and ill-treatment," said the IHRC, in
a detailed statement released yesterday.

Quoting Mr Nowak, the commission said "such assurances
are sought usually from states where the practice of
torture is systematic; post-return monitoring
mechanisms have proven to be no guarantee against

"Diplomatic assurances are not legally binding,
therefore they carry no legal effect and no
accountability if breached; and the person whom the
assurances aim to protect has no recourse if the
assurances are violated.

"States cannot resort to diplomatic assurances as a
safeguard against torture and ill-treatment where
there are substantial grounds for believing that a
person would be in danger of being subjected to
torture or ill-treatment upon return," Mr Nowak wrote.

In a detailed statement, the human rights commission
urged the Government to seek an agreement with the US
to inspect aircraft suspected of carrying such

Pointing to the law in the area, the commission said
Article 1 of the United Nations' Convention Against
Torture clearly defines torture as "any act by which
severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental,
is intentionally inflicted on a person for such
purposes as obtaining from him or a third person
information or a confession, punishing him for an act
he or a third person has committed, or intimidating or
coercing him or a third person, or for any reason
based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or
suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or
with the consent or acquiescence of a public official
or other person acting in an official capacity. It
does not include pain or suffering arising only from,
inherent in or incidental to lawful sanctions."

Furthermore, the commission pointed out that "torture,
cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment is also
prohibited by the provisions of the Constitution and
the carrying out of an act of torture 'whether within
or outside the State' is specifically prohibited by
Section 2 of the Criminal Justice (United Nations
Convention Against Torture) Act, 2000. Attempting or
conspiring to commit an act of torture within or
outside the State, is also an offence under Section 3
of the same Act".

Diplomatic assurances from the US that "individuals
will not be subjected to such treatment are not, in
themselves, sufficient to fulfil a state's obligations
to guard against torture or ill-treatment". The
protections offered by Article 3 are "absolute", while
diplomatic guarantees that cannot be enforced are
useless, said the commission, which is chaired by
former Fine Gael TD and senator, Maurice Manning.

The UN Committee against Torture examined the issue
last year after the United Kingdom claimed that it was
justified in sending prisoners to countries once it
had received a guarantee that they would not be

Since then, the UN committee has demanded full details
from the British on the numbers of prisoners sent

Meanwhile, Section 8 of the legislation that set up
the Human Rights Commission in 2000 itself states that
one of the commission's functions is "to keep under
review the adequacy and effectiveness of law and
practice in the State relating to the protection of
human rights".

Furthermore, Section 8 (d) of the Human Rights
Commission Act "authorises the commission to make
recommendations to the Government about measures to
strengthen, protect and uphold human rights in the

The European Convention on Human Rights also imposes
obligations on the State, since it requires states to
ensure that "everyone within its jurisdiction has the
right to be free from torture, inhuman or degrading
treatment or punishment".

The convention's Article 3 forbids states from sending
individuals to another state "where there are
substantial grounds for believing that the person
faces a real risk of ill-treatment".

© The Irish Times


Last Christmas For Limerick Church

Karl Hanlon

  Churchgoers in Limerick will attend their last
Christmas Mass tomorrow in one of the city's most
historic churches, which has been open to
congregations for almost 150 years.

The Jesuit Church of the Sacred Heart, which is one of
only three Jesuit churches in Ireland, will close next
summer following a permanent presence since 1869.

The decision to close was announced earlier this year
by the provincial head of the Jesuits, Fr John Dardis,
citing a fall in vocations, dwindling congregations
and an abundance of Catholic churches in the city

Campaigners who have fought to keep the church open
will attend a poignant final Christmas service there

Generations of John Leonard's family have attended
Mass at the church. He said yesterday it was ironic
that it was contemplating closure in 2006, which is
due to be a year of great celebration for the Jesuits.

"Next year is a very significant year in the Jesuit
calendar as it marks the 450th anniversary of the
death of St Ignatius of Loyola, and also the 500th
anniversary of the birth of St Francis of Assisi," he

"The Jesuits are deep inside the hearts and minds of
Limerick people, and it's unfortunate that the
proposed closure coincides with a year of such great
celebration for the order."

© The Irish Times


Passionate Visions Of Water

By Joanna Shaw-Eagle
December 24, 2005

Painter-poet May Stevens' passion for water -- as
shouted by the title of her show at the National
Museum of Women in the Arts, "The Water Remembers:
Paintings and Works by May Stevens 1990-2005" -- began
in her seaside hometown of Quincy, Mass., then
solidified when she lived near New York's Hudson River
as an adult.

    Yet, she says, water only "seized" her emotionally
after she viewed an ancient, hollowed-out-log boat at
the National Museum of Ireland in Dublin that reminded
her of the vikings' later longboats. She realized the
timeless, global significance of the waters it and
other craft had traveled. She realized then -- as she
writes in the catalog -- that water's "circularity"
and "continuity" represent a universal spiritual

    Thus began her love affair with water, reflected
in what she calls her "Water Paintings," and we're
fortunate to see 13 large-scale, unstretched canvases
and 14 works on paper here.

    Initially, the paintings and prints seem
enigmatic, but first go, as I did, to enjoy their
brilliantly hued and textured sensuality. Then try
deciphering the stories and poetry in them.

    Consider, for example, Miss Stevens' tenacious
clinging to certain symbols and their continuous
reinterpretation. You'll see that the starkly
simplified, almost abstracted boats act as metaphors
for women who seemingly float through endless "seas."
Miss Stevens' watery expanses -- created by incredibly
tiny gold and silver "writings" -- represent the
continuous, endless cycle of what is, for her, life
and death.

    One feels the silence and solitude.

    Miss Stevens, 81, typically searches for a
mysterious cosmos in "Connemara (Rock Pool, Ireland)"
(1999-2001), a later acrylic on unstretched canvas.
Transparent water streams across craggy rocks to form
a vibrating chartreuse pool. Golden writings wander
aimlessly across rounded stones.

    "Water's Edge, Charles River, Cambridge" (2002) is
a tribute to her happy Quincy, Mass. sunning-and-
swimming childhood.

    Themes of love and loss are introduced gently in
smallish acrylics and glowing mixed-media prints such
as the elegant "Pearl" (1999) and "River Run" (1994),
a view of eight figures in a boat cutting through
purplish-gold waters. Burnished yellows fuse here with
lavenders to create glimmering tension.

    But wait a minute. As you move closer to the
print, you'll see hundreds of tiny illegible "letters"
and "words" impressed with a pen. These grew from Miss
Stevens' childhood love of poetry. Early on, she
meshed her "writings" with images. Like traditional
Chinese scholars, she follows "The Three Perfections"
of Chinese art: a combination of calligraphy, poetry
and painting.

    In the hallway leading to the back room, "Boat
Series No. 6" (1995) could better be called
"Solitude," for it depicts a craft with a single
isolated figure riding the gold-inscribed, pitch-black

    Enormous, brilliantly colored unstretched canvases
in the back room show Miss Stevens at her mysterious
best. Among them are the earthy "Lagoon, Fort
Cronkite, Marin Headlands" (2000-2003), floating "Her
Boats" (1996-1997) and aqueous "Connemara (Rock Pool,

Although she calls her sometimes-in-motion canvases
abstractions -- they move slightly with the gallery's
air currents -- figurative elements sometimes appear
as well. On close inspection, the face of an African-
appearing man emerges at lower right in "Her Boats."

    Miss Stevens mentioned the abstracted realism of
"Hudson I (Night Swim)" (2000) and "Hudson River II
(Eddy)" (1998-2000) while speaking from her Santa Fe,
N.M., home. Both paintings are memorials to her son,
Steven Baranik, who took his own life in the river in

    "Hudson I" shows a ghostly George Washington
Bridge with Steven's little dog struggling in the
water. "Hudson River II" indicates the dog's drowning
with heartbreaking eddies of red and purple.

    Miss Stevens moved to Santa Fe after the death of
her son and that of her husband, Rudolph Baranik. She
says she's happy there with expanses of sky -- not
shown in this exhibit -- seemingly replacing those of

    Honored with many awards, as well as recognition
by the Brooklyn Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art
and the Museum of Modern Art, among others, Miss
Stevens still paints and prints the mystical kind of
works that enhanced her earlier images of family and

    Don't miss this compelling show, which runs here
only through Jan. 15.

    WHAT: "The Water Remembers: Paintings and Works on
Paper by May Stevens 1990-2005"

    WHERE: National Museum of Women in the Arts, 1250
New York Ave. NW

    WHEN: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays;
noon to 5 p.m. Sundays. Through Jan. 15

    TICKETS: $8 for adults, $6 for students and
visitors 60 and older; free for members and those 18
and younger. Free community days for the exhibit are
the first Wednesdays and Sundays of every month.

    PHONE: 202/783-5000



Christmas Message: President Mary McAleese

  Those working for peace have been praised by
President Mary McAleese in her Christmas message.

She said that if peace and prosperity were elusive
dreams for too many people across the globe, they were
now, at last, a precious reality for those who shared
the island.

"The historic announcement of IRA decommissioning was
a crucial step towards creating a climate in which
trust and friendship can flourish and grow as never

"I thank everyone who has worked for peace and I pray
that your work will be rewarded by the fullest use of
the hard-earned opportunities that now exist to build
a future for all to be part of and proud of."

The President said that the spirit of the Yuletide
season inspired people to celebrate everything that
was good in their lives and in particular in homes,
communities and neighbourhoods.

"Families and friends make a special effort to gather
together to show their care for one another and it is
very heartening to see that there are many who make it
their business to bring hope and comfort to the poor
and the vulnerable for whom this can be a particularly
difficult time."

In the past year, she said, they had witnessed the
awful suffering caused by natural disasters, conflict
and poverty in many parts of the world and they had
also seen how generously Irish people of all ages
responded to the suffering of strangers.

"Their greatness of heart and their solidarity with
those in need are a source of considerable pride and

To receive this news via email, click HERE.
No Message is necessary.

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

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