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January 17, 2006

Hain Hails US Support For Peace Process

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News About Ireland & The Irish

UT 01/17/06
Hain Hails US Support For Peace Process
IT 01/18/06 Ahern Seeks End To The 'Shadow Boxing' On North
BT 01/17/06 New Parades Body Line-Up Rules On Drumcree
SF 01/17/06 Demands For Island Wide Policing Reforms
IT 01/18/06 PSNI And Minister Disagree Over IRA Criminality
SF 01/17/06 Govts Needs To See Off The Likes Of Sam Kinkaid
IT 01/17/06 Exclude IRA Members From Scheme, Say Tories
BB 01/17/06 Man Jailed Over Loyalist Bonfire Stabbing
SF 01/17/06 Sinn Fein Comment On British Troop Reductions
BB 01/17/06 Croke To Host 2007 Internationals
IT 01/18/06 Opin: History At Croker
SI 01/17/06 Scientists Discover Most Fertile Irish Male
NY 01/17/06 Irish Noble Blood, Science May Back Up Blarney
IT 01/18/06 Irish Meyers Wins Globe Award For 'Elvis' Role

(Poster’s Note: Patrick O’Flaherty can be seen regularly at
Pat Troy’s Ireland Own in Alexandria, Va. While Danny
O’Flaherty is back in New Orleans (at least for a night) –
Danny O’Flaherty. Loyola University, Music Building, second
floor, Rousell Hall, Calhoun Street and St. Charles Ave.,
865-3728. the Loyola Institute for Ministry sponsors a
performance by the Celtic singer and musician. Tickets $15,
$12 students/Loyola community, free for kids 12-under. 2


Hain Hails US Support For Peace Process

Northern Ireland owes a huge debt of gratitude to the
United States for its unwavering support of the peace
process over the past decade, Secretary of State Peter Hain
said tonight.

By:Press Association

The praise was issued at a reception in Hillsborough
Castle, Co Down, for a delegation of US Congressmen
visiting Belfast, London and Dublin to reinforce American
support for the peace process and the full implementation
of the Good Friday Agreement.

Mr Hain told them: "The United States has been a good and
loyal friend to Northern Ireland and the peace process.

"Through its support and encouragement, the American
administration has helped to move Northern Ireland

Much had been achieved over the past decade in Northern
Ireland. Yet there was still more to be done and 2006 was
an important year for everyone who supports devolution,
said the Secretary of Sate.

He added: "Both the British and Irish governments value the
continued support from politicians on Capitol Hill who want
to see the return of the Assembly, all party support for
policing, the full implementation of the agreement and a
better future for all in Northern Ireland."

The bipartisan US delegation is led by Congressman James
Walsh, chairman of the Friends of Ireland in the US

He is accompanied by Congressmen Tim Murphy and Brian

During a brief visit they were meeting representatives of
the Northern Ireland parties, the British and Irish
governments, and the US Ambassadors to the two countries.

Congressman Walsh said: "We see our role as one of
providing encouragement and focused international attention
on the fact that this stalled process needs to regain its
momentum, especially now with the confirmed decommissioning
of weaponry by the Irish Republican Army."


Ahern Seeks End To The 'Shadow Boxing' On North

Dan Keenan Northern News Editor

Talks involving the British and Irish governments and the
Northern parties scheduled for February 6th must tackle
outstanding issues blocking the return of devolution, the
Minister for Foreign Affairs has said.

Speaking in Co Louth before a meeting with a delegation of
US congressmen, Dermot Ahern said: "We need to move on this
quickly for the very simple reason that the landscape has
dramatically changed given the IRA statement and actions.

"It's now really for people to stop the shadow-boxing and
to get down to hard negotiations and discussions."

Reacting to the Rev Ian Paisley's insistence that there
could be no power-sharing executive at Stormont involving
Sinn Féin, Mr Ahern insisted the Belfast Agreement must be
the basis on which the return of power-sharing to Stormont
is made.

There could be no dilution of the principles of that
accord, he added, because the people of Ireland voted for

Asked specifically about Monday's statement by Dr Paisley,
Mr Ahern said he would try to help build trust and
confidence, thus facilitating a shift in that party's

Referring to the imminent report by the Independent
Monitoring Commission, Mr Ahern added: "We're hoping that
when we get positive soundings from the IMC, that may very
well be the key to getting both sides to move - the DUP on
the whole issue of participation in power-sharing, and also
on the other side Sinn Féin to move on policing."

He denied that the principles of the Good Friday agreement
could be diluted in any way.

"People on both sides of the Border voted for the
agreement, and that's the template under which both
governments and the political parties have to work.

"I've heard what people are saying about alternative
arrangements or interim arrangements. But while the two
governments are willing to discuss issues generally, we
have to work within the template and the principles set out
in the Good Friday agreement."

Jim Walsh, chairman of the Friends of Ireland, said he and
his congressional colleagues, Brian Higgins and Tim Murphy,
hoped to play a "positive and constructive" role and
emphasised that the US did not wish to be partisan in its
approach to the peace process.

He recognised that much progress had been made but added
that he wanted to see a positive conclusion.

The three later met Northern Secretary Peter Hain at
Hillsborough, who told them that Northern Ireland owed a
huge debt of gratitude to the US for its support.

"The United States has been a good and loyal friend to
Northern Ireland and the peace process," he said.

"Through its support and encouragement, the American
administration has helped to move Northern Ireland

He added: "Both the British and Irish governments value the
continued support from politicians on Capitol Hill who want
to see the return of the Assembly, all-party support for
policing, the full implementation of the agreement and a
better future for all in Northern Ireland."

Congressman Walsh said: "We see our role as one of
providing encouragement and focused international attention
on the fact that this stalled process needs to regain its
momentum, especially now with the confirmed decommissioning
of weaponry by the Irish Republican Army."

The US delegation will meet the DUP in London later today
or tomorrow, although Dr Paisley's participation has yet to
be confirmed.

© The Irish Times


New Parades Body Line-Up Rules On Drumcree

By Chris Thornton
17 January 2006

The Parades Commission's new line-up, including two
Portadown Orangemen, will make its first ruling tomorrow
when it considers a Drumcree protest parade.

The Commission, which was officially formed on New Year's
Day, is expected to hear from political representatives
when it meets in Belfast tomorrow morning.

But it is not expected to suddenly reverse almost eight
years of precedent and grant the Orange Order's application
for a parade down the Garvaghy Road on January 29.

New chairman Roger Poole wants to build a greater mediation
role for the Commission and meet the loyal orders, but
signalled recently that it is likely to follow the path of
the previous Commission in its early days.

No parade has been granted for Drumcree since 1997, the
year the Commission was formed.

Rejection of the parade would put particular focus on the
Commission's two Orange members, former Portadown District
Master David Burrows and Don MacKay, a member of the
Portadown Ex-Servicemen's Lodge. The two men were surprise
selections when the new line-up was unveiled last year.

As Portadown District Master, Mr Burrows regularly opposed
the Commission and routinely led the sort of weekly protest
parades that the Commission will rule on tomorrow.

Orange sources expect both men to support the application
for a parade, but wonder how they will respond if, as
expected, the Commission rejects the application.

"The question is, will these boys come out and say
something afterwards?" said one Orange source.

"They're really on a hiding to nothing - if they don't come
out, they're seen as part of the decision. If they do, the
whole thing about collective responsibility is going down."


Kelly Sets Out Demands For Island Wide Policing Reforms
Prior To UCD Debate

Published: 17 January, 2006

Sinn Féin Assembly member Gerry Kelly will take part in a
debate on Policing in UCD this evening. Others taking part
in the discussion include former Taoiseach Garret
Fitzgerald, Alliance party MLA Eileen Bell, Fianna Fail
adviser Martin Manseragh and SDLP leader Mark Durkan.

Speaking before the debate Mr Kelly said that Sinn Féin
were determined to deliver effective and accountable
policing throughout the island.

Mr Kelly said:

"Sinn Féin wants to see an all-island police service
established. In the interim, we want policing services
North and South that can attract widespread support from,
and that are seen as an integral part of, the community as
a whole.

“We want effective policing with local democratic
accountability, shaped as a community service and imbued
with that human rights ethos. We have an opportunity now to
shape the policing of the future for the people of Ireland.
It is critical that we get it right.

“Any modern society needs and wants an effective and
responsive police service. Ireland is no different in that
regard. Where we differ substantially is in the history and
experience of policing as an instrument of repression
particularly in the six counties.

“Rightly because of the legacy of the RUC as a unionist
paramilitary militia and the failure to date of the British
government to implement Patten in full there has been much
focus on getting policing right in the north.

“Seven years ago, the negotiating process culminated in the
Good Friday Agreement. We won the argument that the status
quo had failed, including policing and justice. The
Agreement declared we needed a new beginning to policing
and defined the criteria for a civic policing service. That
is the position Sinn Féin supports. Achieving this is a
priority issue and task for Sinn Fein.

“Since 1998, we have seen the British government enact
flawed legislation on policing and on justice. On both
occasions, we have fought and eventually won amending
legislation to repair some of the damage and restore the
agenda for change.

“The record of the last seven years shows the huge advances
which have been made. We know that good laws will not in
themselves end bad policing. But bad laws would make good
policing all but impossible.

That is why the onus is on the British government to bring
forward its proposals and to enact legislation to give full
expression to the transfer of powers away from London and
out of the hands of British securocrats.

“However our vision is much wider than that. At the weekend
we held a conference in Belfast as part of the process of
setting out an all-Ireland vision of policing and justice
on the island.

“People whether they be in Kerry or Derry deserve
accountable, civic policing in which they can place their
trust. Reform and greater accountability of the Gardaí are
urgently needed . The onus for change is on the Minister
and the key to this is reform that introduces effective
oversight of the Garda Síochána and real accountability to

"The Gardaí are a legitimate police service, and I
recognise the good work done by many Gardaí over the years.
However, their history is not unblemished. And it is not
just a case of a few bad apples in the Heavy Gang, or a
bushel of them in Donegal. Misconduct has been much more
widespread. The Special Branch has also been used as a
political police force against republicans. The power of
the Gardaí has been abused and those guilty have generally
gotten off scot-free.

"Clearly it is long past the time for the establishment of
the fully independent complaints procedure under a single
Garda Ombudsman. Indeed, the Good Friday Agreement
commitment to equivalence in human rights protections north
and south requires the establishment of a single Garda

“Republicans don’t pretend to have a monopoly on ideas in
relation to justice and policing. There are questions about
the future development of policing and justice on this
island which we must consider as a society. Sinn Féin are
determined to make our contribution to that debate. “ ENDS


PSNI And Minister Disagree Over IRA Criminality

Dan Keenan, Northern News Editor

A significant split has developed between the PSNI and
the Northern Ireland Office in relation to the IRA's claim
that it has ended all criminal activity.

A senior PSNI officer yesterday contradicted claims by a
British minister that the IRA is no longer involved in
organised crime.

Asst Chief Constable Sam Kinkaid is understood to have told
members of the Policing Board at a private meeting in
Belfast that the Provisional IRA had still not ceased all
criminal activity.

This was in sharp contrast to comments made at the same
meeting by the British minister Shaun Woodward. He is is
understood to have repeated the view he expressed in
interviews last month when he said he believed IRA
criminality had ended.

The Irish Times understands that both Mr Woodward's and Mr
Kinkaid's contradictory comments were made and restated,
leaving members of the board in no doubt of the divergence
between the security minister and the assistant chief

It is further understood that Mr Kinkaid sought an
adjournment once the contradiction emerged so that he could
consult his colleagues.

Mr Kinkaid, head of the PSNI's crime division and one of
Chief Constable Sir Hugh Orde's most trusted and senior
officers, was giving board members a confidential
assessment of the activity of paramilitary groups.

The PSNI would only say last night: "The briefing was
confidential and given to a private meeting of the Policing
Board, something that happens often." No further comment
was given.

However, The Irish Times understands that Mr Kinkaid told
the board he believed that involvement in organised crime
by the IRA and other groups had not ended.

In an interview with The Irish Times last month, Mr
Woodward said he believed the IRA was honouring its July
28th statement to end both paramilitary and criminal
activity. "I have no reason to believe that the IRA is
involved in any criminality at all," he said at the time.

A reliable source told The Irish Times last night that Mr
Kinkaid's briefing on IRA activity was "encouraging" in
relation to terrorist activity. But he is understood to
have told board members that its criminal operations had
not completely stopped.

The source said that Mr Kinkaid's assessment of IRA
involvement in terrorism was "a positive picture".

The source added that while Mr Kinkaid's assessment of
criminal activity was objective and not entirely negative,
it still pointed to ongoing criminality.

Ian Paisley jnr, a Policing Board member, last night called
for Mr Woodward's resignation.

He confirmed he was present at the private briefing but
would not give details of Mr Kinkaid's assessment or
anything else that was said at the meeting.

However, he said that the briefing he heard "was the same
which Shaun Woodward received".

He added: "There is only one conclusion that can be arrived
at regarding the IRA and its activities.

"Shaun Woodward has no right to draw those conclusions. As
a result . . . I have no confidence in the security
minister and I am calling on him to resign."

Mr Woodward was said to have left the meeting before its

© The Irish Times


Governments Needs To Uphold Peoples Rights And See Off
Dissidents Like Sam Kinkaid

Published: 17 January, 2006

Sinn Féin spokesperson on policing Gerry Kelly has
dismissed this evening’s political intervention from PSNI
Assistant Chief Constable Sam Kinkaid, describing it as ‘a
blatant example of political policing’ and said ‘it is the
latest in a series of serious efforts by anti-republican
elements to prevent progress in the political and peace
process.’ He said the the Irish and British governments
need to uphold the democratic rights of citizens and see
off dissidents, like Sam Kinkaid.'

Mr. Kelly said:

"This evening’s ‘confidential briefing’ from Sam Kinkaid is
a blatant example of political policing and is the latest
in a series of serious efforts by anti-republican elements
to prevent progress in the political and peace process.

“Sam Kincaid is a political detective. He is part of the
RUC old guard and is expected to leave the PSNI in the
coming weeks.

"It is no accident that his comments are made at this time
just two weeks in advance of an expected report from the
IMC. This is a last ditch effort from securocrats who have
opposed political and policing change since the start of
this process,

“These spurious allegations will no doubt be seized upon by
the DUP and others who have set their face against the
democratic rights of citizens. The Irish and British
governments need to uphold those rights and to see off
dissidents, like Sam Kinkaid." ENDS


Exclude IRA Members From Scheme, Say Tories

Frank Millar, London Editor

The Conservatives are pressing Northern Ireland ministers
for an assurance that members of the IRA will not be
allowed to participate in any community-based restorative
justice schemes to be funded by the British government.

In a fresh intervention on the controversial issue last
night, shadow Northern Ireland Secretary David Lidington
also suggested that vetting procedures for such schemes
would have to have regard to intelligence information as
well as criminal records.

Draft protocols governing the operation of schemes to help
with low-level crime of concern in local communities are
the subject of an ongoing consultation due to end next
month. The SDLP has been to the fore in raising doubts
about the protocols.

Both unionist parties and members of the North's Policing
Board have also raised questions about an alleged failure
to require persons operating the schemes to accept and
fully co-operate with the PSNI, and the possible
involvement of people convicted for scheduled offences.

Now the Conservatives have extended their campaign to bar
members of the Provisional IRA and other proscribed
organisations from participation. In the Commons last week
the North's criminal justice minister David Hanson said he
would want "to reflect" on the point raised by Mr
Lidington's colleague Laurence Robertson.

Noting that for a number of years people had not been
arrested for being members of the IRA, Mr Robertson asked:
"If they are members of the IRA will they be able to
partake in the scheme?"

Mr Hanson replied: "As I have already said, the guidelines
make it clear that nobody involved in paramilitary activity
or criminality can be involved in the scheme."

In a letter to Mr Hanson, Mr Lidington observes that the
IRA remains an illegal organisation in the UK and the
Republic, that membership remains a criminal offence in
both jurisdictions, and that Irish Ministers have only
recently stated that the existence of the Provisionals as
"an army" was incompatible with the Constitution of the

"I therefore hope you are now able to give an assurance
that [ British] government policy is that no member of a
proscribed terrorist organisation will be allowed to take
part in a CRJ scheme," Mr Lidington told Mr Hanson.

He added that, in deciding who should be subject to such a
ban, he hoped the minister would accept that "it will not
be sufficient to refer to the records of convictions" and
that "it will be necessary also to have regard to
intelligence information".

© The Irish Times


Man Jailed Over Bonfire Stabbing

A father of two who stabbed a teenager three times at an
11th night bonfire has been jailed for four years.

Barry Simpson, 34, from Highpark Drive, Belfast, stabbed
the 19-year-old at a bonfire in the Springmartin area in
the early hours of 12 July last year.

Simpson was told but for "prompt and effective medical
treatment" on the man he could have faced a murder charge.

He was accused of attempted murder, but this was dropped
when he admitted wounding with intent to commit GBH.

Bonfires are lit in loyalist areas of Northern Ireland on
11 July before the main celebrations of 12 July to
commemorate the Battle of the Boyne in 1690.

The injured man had to have emergency surgery for injuries
to his liver and spleen.

At Belfast Crown Court, Mr Justice Weir said no coherent
reason may ever be discovered for the unprovoked attack.

He said it appeared that a drunken Simpson was involved in
an earlier fight and may have gone home and armed himself
with a folding knife, later used in the attack.

The judge said while there were no mitigating factors
whatever surrounding the attack itself, the accused had
pleaded guilty at the first opportunity and had shown
genuine regret for what he had done.

However, he added that while Simpson had no record for
violence, it did surprise and concern him, that he should
carry out "such an unprovoked act of madness".

The judge said alcohol had played a major part and warned
Simpson that unless he stopped drinking in the future,
"your life will be ruined".

Simpson agreed to serve a year's probation to help tackle
his drinking.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/01/17 15:51:39 GMT


Sinn Fein Comment On British Troop Reductions

Published: 17 January, 2006

Commenting on the reduction of British army personnel to
9,000 Sinn Féin Assembly member for Newry & Armagh and the
party spokesperson on demilitarisation Davy Hyland today

“Any reduction in the number of Crown Forces on Irish soil
is obviously a welcome development. However it says much
about the attitude of the generals in Whitehall that 11
years after the first IRA cessation 9,000 British soldiers
still remain in Ireland.

“The British government knows it has to deliver on
demilitarisation and a welcome start was made in the months
after the historic initiative by the IRA last July. However
much more needs to be done.

“In addition to the removal of British troops from Ireland
and returning them to their bases in England, the remainder
of the British war machine in Ireland needs to be
dismantled including the forts and spy posts and equally
significantly the structures which were used to murder
citizens through the control and manipulation of the
loyalist death squads need to be removed.” ENDS


Croke To Host 2007 Internationals

Ireland's Six Nations games and the Republic of Ireland's
European Football Championship qualifiers will be staged at
Dublin's Croke Park next year.

The Gaelic Athletic Association has reached agreement with
the IRFU and the FAI over the use of the 80,000-capacity
stadium for rugby and soccer in 2007.

Lansdowne Road is set to close early next year for
redevelopment work.

Croke Park will stage two Six Nations rugby internationals
next February and at least three football games.

The football internationals are likely to take place in
March, October and November of next year.

France are expected to be the first rugby visitors to Croke
Park on the weekend of 10/11 February while England will
take to the field at the north Dublin venue later that

The joint-statement said that terms and conditions of the
agreement would remain confidential although it is
understood that the GAA will receive around £1m per game.

It added that the situation post-2007 had not been
discussed or considered and that any future application
would "be reviewed in the context of the Lansdowne Road
Development project in 2007".

It will be a major celebration for Irish sport

IRFU chief executive Philip Browne

The GAA is unwilling to commit itself beyond 2007 at this
stage because of concerns that the objections by residents
could delay the beginning of the Lansdowne Road

GAA president Sean Kelly said he was pleased that agreement
had been reached.

"The development is practical and necessary to ensure that
Irish sport and Irish sports followers do not have to
travel abroad," he said.

"The Irish economy will also benefit from having access to
home games while Lansdowne Road stadium is being

IRFU chief executive Philip Browne described the agreement
as a "significant milestone in Irish sport" while FAI chief
executive John Delaney described the development as

"We are delighted to have reached agreement with the GAA in
a very positive, productive and businesslike manner," said

"It will be a major celebration for Irish sport and indeed
for the general public in Ireland. The entire rugby
community looks forward to what will be magnificent
sporting occasions at Croke Park," added Browne.

The GAA's ruling body set aside the organisation's
controversial rule 42, which banned the use of their
headquarters for foreign sports, last April following years
of sometimes bitter internal and external debate.

Story from BBC SPORT:
Published: 2006/01/17 13:56:06 GMT



Opin: History At Croker

The agreement reached yesterday between the GAA, the FAI
and the IRFU on the use of Croke Park in 2007 for soccer
and rugby internationals is a milestone in the history of
Irish sport.

Although a deal to open the magnificent stadium was
effectively made at last year's GAA Congress the detailed
negotiations between the three sporting bodies had still to
be teased out and nothing was an absolute certainty until
yesterday's announcement.

Fears that the Irish national soccer and rugby teams would
be forced to play their games in Britain while Lansdowne
Road was being redeveloped have finally been allayed. The
sporting public can eagerly look forward to next year when
Six Nations rugby and European Championship soccer will
grace one of the finest stadiums in Europe.

Although expediency may have been the driving force in
opening Croke Park, the symbolism of watching the national
rugby and soccer teams at the home of the GAA should not be
underestimated. For so long criticised as being too
conservative and inward-looking, the GAA has shown an
enlightened approach in recent years and this agreement
underlines how far the association has moved towards
embracing change in Irish society.

Occasionally, the public has become frustrated at the pace
of that change, but it was never going to be an easy sell
to elements of an association that still views with
suspicion the "garrison games" of soccer and rugby. History
and tradition are two cornerstones of the GAA's success but
they have also been used by recalcitrant members as a
barrier to progress on and off the field.

Much of the credit for convincing the grassroots that there
was more to be gained than lost by opening the gates of the
stadium must go to outgoing president, Seán Kelly.

His tenure at the helm of the GAA has been marked by a
refreshing honesty and openness that has percolated through
to all areas of the association's activities. Yesterday's
agreement is a fitting tribute to his astute handling of
the most delicate issue in the GAA's recent history. He
deserves credit for delivering what he described as an all-
inclusive Ireland in sport.

Sport has often been badly served by the rivalry between
the three principal sporting associations. Yesterday's
accord reflects a new maturity that will have economic,
social and sporting benefits for years to come. Financial
windfalls aside, they have also served up the thrilling
prospect of watching history being made as Steve Staunton
and Brian O'Driscoll lead their soccer and rugby teams on
to the famous turf of Croke Park in 2007.

© The Irish Times


Scientists Discover Most Fertile Irish Male

Wednesday, 18 January , 2006, 08:23

Dublin: Scientists in Ireland may have found the country's
most fertile male, with more than 3 million men worldwide
among his offspring.

The scientists, from Trinity College Dublin, have
discovered that as many as one in twelve Irish men could be
descended from Niall of the Nine Hostages, a 5th-century
warlord who was head of the most powerful dynasty in
ancient Ireland.

His genetic legacy is almost as impressive as Genghis Khan,
the Mongol emperor who conquered most of Asia in the 13th
century and has nearly 16 million descendants, said Dan
Bradley, who supervised the research.

"It's another link between profligacy and power," Bradley
said. "We're the first generation on the planet where if
you're successful you don't (always) have more children."

The research was carried out by PhD student Laoise Moore,
at the Smurfit Institute of Genetics at Trinity. Moore,
testing the Y chromosome which is passed on from fathers to
sons, examined DNA samples from 800 males across Ireland.

The results -- which have been published in the American
Journal of Human Genetics -- showed the highest
concentration of related males in northwest Ireland, where
one in five males had the same Y chromosome.

Bradley said the results reminded the team of a similar
study in central Asia, where scientists found 8 per cent of
men with the same Y chromosome. Subsequent studies found
they shared the same chromosome as the dynasty linked to
Genghis Khan.


If City's Irish Claim Noble Blood, Science May Back Up The

By Nicholas Wade
Published: January 18, 2006

Listen more kindly to the New York Irishmen who assure you
that the blood of early Irish kings flows in their veins.
At least 2 percent of the time, they are telling the truth,
according to a new genetic survey.

The survey not only bolsters the bragging rights of some
Irishmen claiming a proud heritage but also provides
evidence of the existence of Niall of the Nine Hostages, an
Irish high king of the fifth century A.D. regarded by some
historians as more legend than real.

The survey shows that 20 percent of men in northwestern
Ireland carry a distinctive genetic signature on their Y
chromosomes, possibly inherited from Niall, who was said to
have had 12 sons, or some other leader in a position to
have many descendants.

About one in 50 New Yorkers of European origin - including
men with names like O'Connor, Flynn, Egan, Hynes, McManus,
O'Reilly and Quinn - carry the genetic signature linked
with Niall and northwestern Ireland, writes Daniel Bradley,
the geneticist who conducted the survey with colleagues at
Trinity College in Dublin. He arrived at that estimate
after surveying the Y chromosomes in a genetic database
that included New Yorkers. About 400,000 city residents say
they are of Irish ancestry, according to a 2004 Census
Bureau survey.

"I hope this means that I inherit a castle in Ireland," the
novelist Peter Quinn said by phone from the Peter McManus
cafe in Chelsea. Some McManuses also have the genetic
signature. ("I hang out with kings," Mr. Quinn said.)

He said his father used to tell him that all the Quinn men
were bald from wearing a crown. But he added, "We spent 150
years in the Bronx, and I think we wiped out all the royal
genes in the process."

The report appears in the January issue of The American
Journal of Human Genetics.

Dr. Bradley said he was as surprised at finding evidence
that Niall existed as he would have been to learn that King
Arthur had been real. Niall of the Nine Hostages was so
named because in his early reign he consolidated his power
by taking hostages from opposing royal families.

He estimated that two million to three million men
worldwide carry the distinctive Y chromosome signature,
which he named the I.M.H., for Irish modal haplotype. (A
haplotype is a set of genetic mutations.)

If he was indeed the patriarch, Niall of the Nine Hostages,
would rank among the most prolific males in history, behind
Genghis Khan, ancestor of 16 million men in Asia, but ahead
of Giocangga, founder of China's Manchu dynasty and
forefather of some 1.6 million.

The writer and actor Malachy McCourt said he was not
surprised, since every Irish person is related to a king.

"They didn't mind who they slept with, and they had first
dibs," he said. "It's so boring. It's not like the house of
Windsor; every tribe had its own king."

He said Niall was "a highwayman. He was a slave trader,
nothing noble about him. He was a pirate."

The link between the Niall Y chromosome and social power,
which would have enabled the king to leave many
descendants, "stretches back to the fifth century, which is
a long time in Western European terms," Dr. Bradley said.

Asked if he himself carried the Niall signature, Dr.
Bradley said he did and was "quite pleased," even though
tradition holds that Niall captured and enslaved St.
Patrick, who brought Christianity to Ireland.

Niall is said to have obtained hostages from each of the
five provinces that then constituted Ireland, as well as
from Scotland, the Saxons, the Britons and the Franks. He
is thought to be the patriarch of the Ui Neill, meaning
"the descendants of Niall," a group of dynasties that
claimed the high kingship and ruled the northwest and other
parts of Ireland from about A.D. 600 to 900.

But historians have tended to view the Ui Neill as a
political construct, doubting their genealogical claims of
descent from Niall and even whether Niall existed at all.

When the Irish took surnames, however, around A.D. 1000,
some chose names associated with the Ui Neill dynasties.
Dr. Bradley tested Irishmen with Ui Neill surnames and
found the I.M.H. signature was much more common among them
than among Irishmen as a whole.

The men with Ui Neill surnames tested by Dr. Bradley
included those with the names, in anglicized form,
O'Gallagher, O'Boyle, O'Doherty, O'Donnell, O'Connor,
Cannon, Bradley, O'Reilly, Flynn, McKee, Campbell, Devlin,
Donnelly, Egan, Gormley, Hynes, McCaul, McGovern,
McLoughlin, McManus, McMenamin, Molloy, O'Kane, O'Rourke
and Quinn. (The prefix "O" is sometimes dropped.)

Dr. Katherine Simms, a Celtic historian at Trinity College
who advised the geneticists and was a co-author of their
report, said some historians had assumed that the common
ancestor of the Ui Neill was "merely a mythical divine
ancestor figure, imagined in order to explain the political
links that existed between the dynasties themselves in the
later period."

But Dr. Bradley's findings, she said, "appear to confirm
that the Ui Neill really did come from a common ancestor,"
and perhaps that the mythical narrative of Niall's birth
and ascent to kingship "had a genetic basis."

The earliest Irish genealogies, if true, must have been
recorded in oral form for several generations, since
writing did not become common in Ireland until 600. Dr.
Daibhi O'Croinin of the National University of Ireland in
Galway said he was confident that "extensive genealogical
material" could have been memorized and put into writing
later, but "whether Niall of the Nine Hostages ever existed
is itself a moot point."

Another Celtic expert, Dr. Catherine McKenna of Harvard
University, said that "historians will be skeptical about
the notion that all of the Ui Neill descend from the
ancestor who seems to be implied by the genetic evidence,
or that this ancestor was Niall Noigiallach (Niall of the
Nine Hostages) himself."

Michelle O'Donnell contributed reporting for this article.


Irish Actor Rhys Meyers Wins Globe Award For 'Elvis' Role

Donald Clarke

Jonathan Rhys Meyers, who showed his talent nearly a
decade ago in Neil Jordan's Michael Collins, has been
slightly overshadowed in recent years by his compatriots
Cillian Murphy and Colin Farrell.

On Monday night at a Golden Globe Awards ceremony dominated
by Ang Lee's gay romance Brokeback Mountain, the Cork man
stole back some limelight by winning the award for best
actor in a miniseries or television movie. He starred as
the young Elvis in a TV series shown so far only in the US.

Murphy, shortlisted for his gender- bending performance in
Jordan's Breakfast on Pluto, was there to watch Rhys Meyers
pick up his statuette. The other unsuccessful Irish
nominees were Kenneth Branagh (up for the TV series Hope
Springs) and Pierce Brosnan (for the thriller The Matador).

This recognition for Rhys Meyers's charismatic, sinuous
turn as the king of rock 'n' roll in the CBS miniseries
Elvis is just one part of a satisfying double whammy for
the actor. Last week Woody Allen's Match Point, in which
Rhys Meyers, now 28, plays a former tennis professional
romancing Scarlet Johansson, opened to the best reviews the
director has received in many years. Match Point was up for
four awards on Monday night, but failed to pick up a

Pausing to clear up one important detail - "No hyphen!" -
Rhys Meyers, cheekbones now a little less terrifyingly
sharp than before, chatted amiably and enthusiastically to
the press gathered in the Beverly Hilton hotel in Los
Angeles before heading off to the parties.

"It's a really nice thing to happen to anyone," he told The
Irish Times yesterday morning from his hotel room. "Myself
and Cillian then went off to the party and it was just
great. We were sitting there and saying: 'We are from Cork
and we are taking over'."

Does winning a Golden Globe change things for an actor? "In
the space of a 15-minute gap things do suddenly change for
you, just in terms of the way people think about you. I
think it is just that you have this award and nobody can
argue with it. You've won. You are a Golden Globe winner.
It's not like a performance where one critic might praise
you and another might disagree. It's like: who won the
World Cup in 1986? Argentina."

Delightful as the honour is for Rhys Meyers, the television
awards often seem something of a sideshow at this unusual
event. Awarded by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association -
a mysterious body, viewed more as an exclusive club than a
professional entity - the Golden Globes, despite the
increasingly lavish nature of the ceremony, are of
particular interest as a pointer to success at the Academy

If Monday night's bash was any guide, Ang Lee and his
colleagues should clear some space on their mantelpieces.
Brokeback Mountain, the overpoweringly sad tale of a
romance between two sheepherders in the American west, ran
away with four awards: best motion picture (drama); best
director; best original song; and, for Larry McMurtry and
Diana Ossana, best screenplay.

Surprisingly, the film failed to pick up any acting awards.

Heath Ledger, who stars opposite Jake Gyllenhaal in Lee's
picture, was beaten in the best actor in a drama title by
second-favourite Philip Seymour Hoffman, for his turn as
Truman Capote in Bennett Miller's well-received Capote.

The other big winner of the evening was the Johnny Cash
biopic Walk the Line. Joaquin Phoenix and Reese
Witherspoon, playing respectively Cash and his wife June
Carter Cash, both picked up Globes. The James Mangold film
carried away the award for best picture (musical or

Walk the Line's producers will, however, probably be aware
that they have profited from the Globes' eccentric
tradition of breaking the film awards into two categories.
At the Oscars, Walk the Line will have to go head-to-head
with Brokeback.

The bookies suggest that - despite increasing mutterings of
disgust in America's red states - the gay cowboys may give
the man in black a damn good whupping.

Golden Globes: full list of winners

Complete list of winners at 63rd annual Golden Globes
presented by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association


Picture, Drama: Brokeback Mountain
Actress, Drama: Felicity Huffman, Transamerica
Actor, Drama: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Capote
Picture, Musical or Comedy: Walk the Line
Actress, Musical or Comedy: Reese Witherspoon, Walk the
Actor, Musical or Comedy: Joaquin Phoenix, Walk the Line
Supporting Actress: Rachel Weisz, The Constant Gardener
Supporting Actor: George Clooney, Syriana
Director: Ang Lee, Brokeback Mountain
Screenplay: Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana, Brokeback
Foreign Language: Paradise Now, Palestine
Original Score: John Williams, Memoirs of a Geisha
Original Song: A Love That Will Never Grow Old from
Brokeback Mountain


Series, drama: Lost, ABC
Actress, drama: Geena Davis, Commander-in-Chief
Actor, drama: Hugh Laurie, House
Series, musical or comedy: Desperate Housewives
Actress, musical or comedy: Mary-Louise Parker, Weeds
Showtime Actor, musical or comedy: Steve Carell, The Office
Mini-series or movie: Empire Falls
Actress, mini-series or movie: S Epatha Merkerson,
Lackawanna Blues
Actor, mini-series or movie: Jonathan Rhys-Meyers, Elvis
Supporting Actress, series, mini-series or movie: Sandra
Oh, Grey's Anatomy
Supporting Actor, series, mini-series or movie: Paul
Newman, Empire Falls
Cecil B DeMille Award: Anthony Hopkins

© The Irish Times

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