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January 30, 2006

IMC Outside The GFA

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News About Ireland & The Irish

SF 01/30/06 IMC Operating Outside The Terms Of The GFA
IN 01/30/06 IMC Independence Challenged In Court
SF 01/30/06 SDLP Support For IMC Latest Departure From GFA
BB 01/30/06 Crossmaglen School Closed After Arson Fire
NL 01/30/06 50pc Of Our Petrol Is Illegal
BT 01/30/06 Loyalists In Talks On Standing Down
IM 01/30/06 US Warplanes At Fianna Fail Convention
NH 01/30/06 Killing Fractured A Once Close-Knit Community
ZW 01/30/06 Making World A Peaceful Spot - BS Rally
NS 01/30/06 New Immigration Mvmnt Forms In Irish Community
TH 01/30/06 School Twinning Campaign To Tackle Sectarianism
SL 01/30/06 'End Criminality Now' Plea
IN 01/30/06 Opin: Big Decisions Yet To Come
IN 01/30/06 Opin: Tony & Bertie’s Dreams Ship-Shape
IN 01/30/06 Opin: Mrs Mcaleese Is Playing With Fire
MG 01/30/06 Opin: C#!&S List (Warning: ‘Adult’ Language)
BT 01/30/06 Ulsterman's Horror Leap From Ferry
BN 01/30/06 School Seek Scrapping Of Holy Communion Lessons
BN 01/30/06 Average Dublin House Price Now €468,273
IN 01/30/06 Paintings By Irish Greats Go Under The Hammer
TR 01/30/06 Dublin Tourism Intros Audio Guides For Visitors


IMC Operating Outside The Terms Of The GFA

Published: 30 January, 2006

Speaking as the IMC delivered its latest report to the two
governments Sinn Féin MP for Newry & Armagh Conor Murphy
today said that it was time to end the negative role played
by the IMC and remove the veto it is attempting to exercise
over peoples democratic rights and entitlements.

Mr Murphy said:

"It has now been well established that the IMC is little
more than a tool of British securocrats hostile to the
development of the peace process. It compiles reports based
totally on information supplied by the political
detectives, the same people who engineered the collapse of
the political institutions in 2002.

"The IMC operates entirely outside the terms of the Good
Friday Agreement. It is attempting to exercise a veto over
the democratic rights and entitlements of people on this
island and the time has long since passed to end the
negative role this body plays in the wider peace process.

"Given the make-up of the IMC their reports and
recommendations are politically loaded, discriminatory and
they subvert the democratic rights of the electorate who
voted for the Agreement." ENDS


IMC Independence Challenged In Court

By Barry McCaffrey

The IMC’s independence is being challenged in the courts
with a claim that a company connected to one of its members
receives payments from the PSNI.

The Independent Monitoring Commission is expected to report
this week on whether the IRA remains involved in
paramilitary or criminal activity.

However, High Court proceedings in London, issued on behalf
of Sinn Fein MP Conor Murphy, argue that it cannot be seen
as independent because of former Metropolitan Police Deputy
Assistant Commissioner John Grieve’s position as director
of the John Grieve Centre for Policing the Community

Legal submissions obtained by The Irish News state: “The
John Grieve Centre has confirmed that it receives payments
from the PSNI for PSNI delegates who attend Commissioner
Grieve’s centre.

“The John Grieve Centre also confirm that PSNI officers
deliver lectures to seminars and conferences organised by,
and for the benefit of [the centre].”

Mr Murphy’s lawyers argue that any direct or indirect
financial relationship between Mr Grieve and the PSNI
renders the IMC incapable of delivering “independent or
fair” reports.

There is no suggestion that Mr Grieve has acted illegally
or improperly.

An IMC spokeswoman said it would be inappropriate to
comment on an ongoing court case, but reiterated the
commissioners’ public statement on their independence in
March 2004.

“We wish to make clear now, for the avoidance of any doubt,
that we are an independent commission,” the four-member
body stated.

“None of us would have accepted appointment as a
commissioner or would continue in office if that were not
the case. Nor would we continue if we felt that the
governments were denying us access to the information we

“All the views we express will be ours and ours alone,
reached after careful consideration of the material we have


SDLP Support For IMC Latest Departure From GFA

Published: 30 January, 2006

Sinn Féin MP for Fermanagh & South Tyrone Michelle
Gildernew today accused the SDLP of departing further from
the Good Friday Agreement in their support for the IMC
exercising a role in the political process.

Ms Gildernew said:

"In recent weeks with public admissions by senior SDLP MLAs
that they are looking at options short of the rights and
entitlements demanded by the Good Friday Agreement and
ongoing discussions with the DUP and UUP on these proposals
the SDLP have clearly been moving away from the Agreement
and towards some watered down option favoured by unionism.

"Their support for the IMC exercising a role over the
political process is another step along this road. The IMC
are no part of the Good Friday Agreement. They are a tool
of British securocrats and those opposed to further
political and policing change. They are attempting to
exercise a veto over the democratic rights of the people.
This is completely unacceptable and the SDLP support for
this organisation will anger many nationalists and

"The SDLP have no mandate to try and water down the demands
of the Good Friday Agreement. Sinn Féin as the lead
nationalist party will continue to defend the Good Friday
Agreement from attack by rejectionist unionism, British
securocrats or elements of the SDLP." ENDS


Crossmaglen School Closed After Kitchen Fire

Arsonists are suspected to have been behind a fire at a
secondary school in County Armagh.

Fire crews who were called to St Joseph's on the Dundalk
Road in Crossmaglen at 0300 GMT on Monday, discovered a
fire in the kitchen.

The Fire Service said a window had been broken in the
kitchen. Water damage was also caused to the canteen area
but the rest of the school was unaffected.

The school, which has more than 600 pupils, is closed on

District Fire Commander Victor Spence said it would take a
long time to repair the damage.


"At the moment we are treating the fire as arson as there
are indications there has been a break-in into the school,"
he said.

"We just don't understand why anybody would want to carry
out wanton vandalism to a school like this."

SDLP Newry and Armagh assembly member Dominic Bradley said
the fire came at a key time for students preparing for

"It is imperative that the Department of Education, the
SELB and the other key agencies involved do everything in
their power to ensure disruption to teaching and learning
in the school is kept to a minimum," he said.

Sinn Fein councillor Terry Hearty described the fire as "a
devasating blow not only to the school but the entire

"It is now time for the community to stand together and
state to those engaged in this type of behaviour that
enough is enough" he said.

Police have appealed for witnesses and want anyone who saw
anything suspicious to contact them on 0845 600 8000, or
call the confidential Crimestoppers number on 0800 555111.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/01/30 11:31:21 GMT


50pc Of Our Petrol Is Illegal

By Philip Bradfield
Monday 30th January 2006

IRA fuel laundering is dominating the Northern Ireland
economy to such an extent that three retail giants have
been forced to pull out of petrol station forecourts.

The News Letter can reveal that BP, Shell and Esso no
longer own filling stations in the Province, and that
illegal petrol and diesel account for 50 per cent of all
fuel used here, seriously damaging reputable businesses.

It is estimated that smuggling is worth more than £130
million a year in Northern Ireland, of which illegal fuel
comprises the major part.

Ray Holloway of the Petrol Retailers' Association said the
problem shows no signs of abating.

"Government figures in 1998 showed that around 50 per cent
of expected fuel tax revenues were missing and it has still
not recovered today," he said.

"That is why the fuel companies pulled out. The reason is
smuggled and laundered fuel and it is a major problem, with
no end in sight."

He is to give evidence on the problem to the Northern
Ireland Affairs Committee in February, but said that
without political will, nothing is going to change.

"In 1998, the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee made 28
recommendations to deal with the problem, but almost none
of these has ever been implemented," he said.

The DUP's Ian Paisley Jnr recently went public on a
Policing Board briefing which showed the IRA was still
heavily involved in organised crime.

"Is it any wonder that in a recent meeting with the Prime
Minister our party leader expressed his fear for the entire
Northern Ireland economy from IRA criminality?" he asked.

"I am not at all surprised by this withdrawal by fuel
companies. My understanding is that the IRA is by far the
biggest player in fuel crime here, and the Government
hasn't any idea how it is going to deal with it."

Esso, Shell and BP confirmed they no longer own filling
stations in Northern Ireland, only allowing licensees to
use their names and logos.

All three, which continue to own filling stations
throughout Great Britain, cited "economic" reasons for
their Ulster withdrawal. Esso sold all of its Northern
Ireland sites last year.

Banbridge filling station owner Mervyn Campbell said: "We
make virtually no profit on the fuel we sell, and illegal
fuel at artificially low prices undermines us further.

"The amounts regularly seized by Customs are only cosmetic
in comparison to the true scale of the problem."

Mr Holloway acknowledged that innocent motorists can be
duped into buying fuel which will damage their engines.

However, he said the best protection is still to buy at
reputable stations supplying well-known brands.


Loyalists In Talks On Standing Down

But imminent guns handover is ruled out

By David Gordon
30 January 2006

Cautiously optimistic signals were being given today on the
prospects for loyalist paramilitary organisations
announcing an end to their activities.

But speculation over an imminent move on decommissioning by
the UDA was being strongly discounted by informed sources.

Internal discussions are known to be under way within both
the UDA and UVF on their futures, in the light of moves by
the IRA.

Dialogue has also being taking place between senior UDA
representatives and both the British Government and General
John de Chastelain's decommissioning body.

A source close to the Loyalist Commission, an umbrella
group that involves both the UDA and UVF, today said
progress is being made.

"Both sides are moving in the right direction - the UDA is
probably moving faster than the UVF at present," he

"Things have changed on the ground in terms of criminality.
Extortion has stopped in certain areas.

"There is also a different ethos on drugs, although that
doesn't mean they are squeaky clean."

The source said he did not believe decommissioning is
likely at present. It was reported in a Sunday newspaper
that some loyalist arms could be handed over in six to
eight weeks.

There has also been speculation that the UDA could "stand
down" its so-called military wing, the Ulster Freedom
Fighters (UFF). The UDA used the UFF as a cover name for
its murder campaign.

SDLP policing spokesman Alex Attwood today said: "The issue
is not whether one faction steps down. The issue is - do
all the organisations, the UDA, UVF and all the rest of
them on the loyalist side, end all their activities, both
criminal and paramilitary?"

Mr Attwood said efforts by the "best elements" in loyalism
should be encouraged but there would be a "high dose of
realism" over what would be achieved.

"The best elements in loyalism should keep doing what they
are doing. All the other elements in loyalism need to be
faced down," he added.

A leading member of the UDA-linked Ulster Political
Research Group today said that it is due to resume face-to-
face discussions with Secretary of State Peter Hain in the
near future.

Newtownabbey councillor Tommy Kirkham also stated:
"Everybody's moving forward. Everybody is part of the

"A lot of the jigsaw is already in place. The loyalist part
hasn't been put in place yet."

Mr Kirkham said the UDA is seeking investment in unionist
areas, rather than anything for itself, and its demands are
beginning to achieve results.

He stated that "confidence-building measures" are also
needed for rank and file members.

"You can't have 35 years of conflict - members killed and
members going to prison for long periods of time - without
coming out the other end having gained something."

He added: "In a normal society, there would be no need for
paramilitary activity. We see that in terms of years as
opposed to weeks or months."


US Warplanes At Fianna Fail Convention

Monday January 30, 2006 11:22
by John C - GAAW

The Fianna Fail selection convention for Galway West was
abandoned yesterday. According to the headlines, the reason
for the abandonment was the refusal of delegates to accept
a head office ruling that only three candidates should be
selected. The precise circumstances of the abandonment, as
reported in the Irish Times however, indicate that it was
not quite that simple.

Tony 'Don't mention the warplanes' Killeen

The convention chairman, Tony Killeen –a TD for Clare whose
support for the use of Shannon by US forces is on record–
insisted that delegates accept the party’s rules in the
matter. It was at this point that Clonbur delegate, John
Joe Halloran, jumped on stage and grabbed the mike from
Killeen. The Irish Times report continues:

‘After he made some remarks on the US military planes
passing through Shannon, Mr Killeen grabbed the microphone
back, while Mr Halloran continued to shout from the stage.
Mr Killeen said at that stage, the only thing he could do
was declare the proceeding a non-convention…’


Aftermath Of Killing Fractured A Once Close-Knit Community

(Bimpe Fatogun, Irish News)

A Republican outpost in the middle of loyalist east
Belfast, the Short Strand's sense of community emerges from
more than 80 years of vicious interface violence.

Dotted around the grounds of St Matthew's parish church,
which serves the Short Strand residents, are little crosses
no larger than five inches in height.

The black crosses, inserted into the tarmac on smooth white
disks, represent parishioners killed during the parish's
turbulent history.

The church's vulnerable position at the edge of the Short
Strand close to the loyalist Newtownards Road has seen it
come under attack at various times in the past.

As early as 1920 the church found itself under attack from
a large mob, partly made up of workers from the nearby

The church railings were breached and stones were hurled at
the church itself and troops brought in to defend it.

Former Irish News journalist RPP Hayes recalled in Watching
for Daybreak, a history of the parish: "I remember vividly
the struggle to save St Matthew's church from armed
fanatics at the outset.

"The fighting was fierce in the extreme. Anarchy prevailed
in the east end, with soldiers entrenched in the church
grounds, while youthful members of the congregation kept
the mobs at bay at side avenues to the sacred quarters."

St Matthew's was also targeted on Sunday April 23 1922 when
a bomb was thrown into its grounds as the congregation was
entering the church for evening devotions.

Elizabeth McCabe, a woman in her early thirties, was killed
and a member of the RIC was seriously injured.

On May 21 1922 the congregation was fired on as it left
Mass, with one man wounded.

Summer 1970 marked the start of another turbulent period
for the area with loyalists and residents clashing amid
gunfire and petrol bombs.

British troops moved into St Matthew's Parochial Hall,
making it the only Belfast parish where the military took
up residence to defend a church.

St Matthew's became a focus for attacks with an arson
attempt in July 14 1989 and another two months later.

It was again set on fire after a sectarian clash in Bryson
Street in May 1993.

"All through that time the feeling in the area was that the
IRA was protecting us," one resident said.

"For years the area has been surrounded by loyalist areas
and has been attacked lots of times and the IRA has
defended the area. Everyone has seen them very much as
being saviours and protectors."

More recently violence sparked during the Orange Order's
marching season has escalated into serious disturbances.

In 2001 and 2002 the area came under sustained attack amid
accusations from both sides that the other was
orchestrating the violence.

On one occasion St Matthews was attacked during a funeral.

However, according to people living in the Short Strand the
Robert McCartney case has now caused internal tension.

One resident claimed: "For the last five, six, seven years
the whole area has just gone downhill badly. There is no
community spirit."

Another resident, speaking anonymously, said: "Everyone
knows everyone else in the district and everyone knows who
was involved in what happened," he said.

"These people are still walking along the streets and being
involved in various other things. Basically they are a gang
of bullies. They have been involved in a lot of skirmishes
and fist-fights.

"For years teenage kids have been regularly threatened and
when parents would have gone round to complain they would
have been told the IRA did it."

He claimed people were too frightened to speak out.

The decision of Mr McCartney's five sisters and his fiancee
to speak out against his killers and demand that they be
brought to justice made headlines across the world.

"The majority of people I would say are fully behind the
McCartneys," the resident said.

"The McCartneys went through a hard, hard time and a long
time and in the end they couldn't take anymore of the
constant harassment and reminder."

Patricia Johnston of the Short Strand Women's Group said
there was no division in the area.

"This community stands behind the McCartney's in their
fight for justice. I don't know if anybody can say who did
it," she said.

Others in the area say they feel that the image of the
community has been damaged by the fallout from the sisters'

Christy Keenan, a Sinn Féin activist and "republican of 35
years standing", said Mr McCartney's death shocked the
whole community.

"He was a member of the community too and I would have
called on him for help as quick as anyone else," he said.

"However, we are angry at the way his death has been used
to demonise republicanism.

"As a republican I would be working towards getting the
justice that the family deserve."

He was particularly angered by the sisters' account to
Irish America last St Patrick's Day of an IRA which had
turned away from its "romantic past" to gangsterism.

Despite these feelings of anger Mr Keenan insists there has
been no split in the area.

"There are 2,500-odd people here. You are talking about a
group of extended families. You are talking about a falling
out between families and you know what that can be like. It
can be very bitter," he said.

"But at the end of the day you can not say this community
is fractured. This community has come through 30 years and
it's going to still be here in another 30 years."

The resident who declined to be named disagrees, insisting
that the continued existence of people known to be the
killers in the area is placing it under enormous strain.

"People draw a distinction between these people and
republicanism," he said.

"A lot of people in the area were republicans years ago.
They would have served prison terms. They are proper

"A lot of community spirit has been lost going back for
years because these people formed a Mafia gang. Now people
are standing up to them but it's still not the same.

"To be honest, if I had the opportunity I would move out

January 29, 2006

This article appeared first in the January 27, 2006 edition
of the Irish News.


Making The World A ‘Peaceful Spot’ Bloody Sunday In N.
Ireland Recalled At Rally

By Jeff Sonderman Staff Writer

A few dozen solemn people gathered on Courthouse Square on
Sunday night to commemorate “Bloody Sunday,” one of the
darkest moments in the history of Northern Ireland’s
conflict with British rulers.

Thirty-four years ago today, the Northern Ireland Civil
Rights Organization held a large rally protesting the
detention without trial of Catholic Irish.

The rally turned violent in the town of Derry, as British
troops shot and killed 14 Irish, one of whom died months
later, and wounded more than a dozen. All were reportedly

The shootings made 1972 a turning point in the Northern
Ireland conflict, recalled bitterly by many local residents
of Irish heritage.

“It brings back a lot of emotional ties of oppression,”
said Martin Bell, 37, who was born and raised in Northern
Ireland. “The people were trying to bring a peaceful end to
the occupation.”

The resulting outrage among Catholics boosted attention and
recruitment for the anti-British movement, led by the
guerrilla militia Irish Republican Army.

Local residents attended a 5 p.m. Mass at St. Peter’s
Cathedral on Sunday night, followed by the vigil at the
courthouse, where some participants held 14 white crosses,
each bearing a name of a Bloody Sunday victim.

The vigil was sponsored by the Ancient Order of Hibernians,
a Catholic, Irish-American organization. The Lackawanna
County branch has three members in Ireland for the main

“We’ve had as many as two-dozen Scrantonians there at one
time,” said John Garrah, 71, a past president of the order
who led the vigil. “We have not forgotten.”

Mr. Bell said he attends the vigil every year in hopes
people today still can learn a lesson about peace and
tolerance from that bloody day 34 years ago.

“It is hoped that we can move past this and bring the world
to a more peaceful spot,” Mr. Bell said.

Contact the writer:


A New Immigration Movement Forms In Irish Community

By Daniela Gerson –
Staff Reporter of the Sun
January 30, 2006

The din from Rory Dolan's pub trickled in, but the hundreds
of Irish immigrants packing an adjacent banquet hall in
Yonkers last Friday night listened with rapt attention to
the speakers before them. Mostly in their 20s and 30s,
fair-skinned and clean-cut, they included construction
workers and waitresses, small-business owners and parents
of American citizens. Scores more were stuck in the
hallway, and others pressed their faces against the fogged-
up windows to get a glimpse in from outside. All wanted to
hear if it was true Congress might change immigration laws.

When one speaker joked, "When they asked for your Social
Security numbers, you made them up," the overfull crowd
laughed knowingly. When he continued, "people were leaving,
they were giving up, and you stayed with it," they nodded.
And when another speaker said, "We strongly object to the
fact immigrants are equated with terrorists," they erupted
in cheers.

To read this article in its entirety, you must be a
subscriber to


School Twinning Campaign Aims To Tackle Sectarianism

Douglas Fraser
January 30 2006

Jack McConnell will today set out plans for the twinning of
Catholic and non-denominational schools in his latest move
to tackle sectarianism.

The first minister is going to St Mirin's Primary School in
Glasgow to announce proposals that would involve pupils
sharing in sports, arts and trips and activities out of

He wants to see pupils appearing together in drama
productions that tackle sectarianism and in joint projects
outside the school gates to improve their local communities
and the environment. Such a scheme already operates at St
Mirin's, which is twinned with nearby Croftfoot primary.

The proposals are aimed at moving the focus away from
shared campuses for Catholic and non-Catholic schools.
These have met resistance and court action from the
Catholic Church, where there is a feeling that the
distinctive ethos of church schools is threatened.

While critics of separate schooling say it is one of the
main vehicles for promoting sectarianism – by ensuring
children are educated separately where misunderstandings
and hostility can build up – ministers have tried not to
alienate the Catholic Church by pushing for more shared
campuses than have already been built.

It is not clear whether all schools can expect to be
twinned. In much of Scotland, there are too few Catholic
schools for each non-denominational school to have its own
religious twin.

However, resentment has built up in the past year over what
is seen as a lack of continuing engagement by the
executive. The Orange Order led the criticism of St
Andrew's House since Mr McConnell convened a high-profile
"summit" involving 30 groups with a link to the
denominational divide at Glasgow University last February.
Since then, there has been executive money put into new
teaching resources to help tackle the subject.

There were reports yesterday that participants in last
year's event were unhappy about the way the executive has
acted since then, without involving them and without even
an invitation to this morning's event.

Peter Kearney, spokesman for the Catholic Church,
questioned whether the executive was merely posturing on
the issue rather than acting to tackle it.

Ian Wilson, grand master of the Orange Lodge, said the
first minister appeared to use the issue to deflect
attention when he faced bad headlines on other fronts. He
linked last year's sectarianism summit to attacks on Mr
McConnell for accepting hospitality during a new year
holiday in Majorca, and suggested the first minister may be
using the issue to move attention away from recent tensions
with Downing Street.

A spokesman for the first minister dismissed the idea that
the event is a diversionary tactic as "complete and utter


'End Criminality Now' Plea

By John McGurk
29 January 2006

REPUBLICANS must put an end to "acts of criminality" now
and build confidence with sceptical unionists - that was
the powerful message from Shankill bombing widower Alan

The peace campaigner and Sunday Life columnist (pictured
right) made his blunt "make your mind up" challenge - at
the Bloody Sunday Memorial Lecture in Londonderry.

Alan, who lost his wife, Sharon and father-in-law, Desmond
Frizzell, in the 1993 IRA bomb atrocity, made history as
the first person from a unionist background to deliver the
annual lecture at The Guildhall on Friday. He told the
audience - including Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness - that
republicans needed to help get the political process back
on track.

Said the 40-year-old youth worker: "I did not mince my
words. I challenged republicans - telling them that they
have to build confidence in the unionist community.

"While the IRA statement last July was one thing and the
act of decommissioning last October another, the ongoing
accusations of republicans being involved in criminality is
not building confidence within the unionist community."


Opin: Big Decisions Yet To Come

By Staff Reporter

It has regularly been suggested of late that nothing of any
consequence is happening in Northern Ireland politics and
no-one cares anyway.

The former claim is factually incorrect and the second is
very much open to question.

An eagerly awaited report from the Independent Monitoring
Commission is due to be published within a matter of days
and a fresh round of talks involving all the main parties
will follow next Monday.

Movement on the crucial issue of policing remains quite
possible in the short term and there is all to play for
over the coming months.

With a number of failed initiatives having been attempted
during the three years since devolution was suspended, it
is hardly surprising that many people regard the wider
political process with a considerable degree of cynicism.

However, there are still strong feelings over forthcoming
developments in a range of areas, including health,
education and the economy.

Major decisions lie ahead and they simply cannot be left
indefinitely in the hands of ministers who are temporarily
passing through Stormont and are not answerable to any
section of the electorate in Northern Ireland.

Politicians from all backgrounds are frustrated by this
state of affairs and it is inevitable that there will be a
particular spotlight on the largest party, the DUP.

While its leader Ian Paisley can be expected to continue
dismissing any prospect of a deal with Sinn Fein, his 80th
birthday is barely two months away.

Delegates at the DUP’s annual conference will give him
their usual standing ovation next week but many will be
quietly wondering where their party goes from here.

Although it has decisively emerged as the majority voice
within unionism, having seen off the Ulster Unionists for
the foreseeable future, its senior figures are still
deprived of ministerial office.

Only 14 months ago Mr Paisley came close to concluding an
arrangement with Sinn Fein which would have allowed him to
conclude his remarkable political career as Northern
Ireland’s first minister.

Even if he has permanently ruled out reviving this idea,
something which remains to be seen, others on the DUP front
bench may yet be prepared to explore similar options.

Mr Paisley has made an astonishing return to excellent
health over the last year but speculation over his
successor can only intensify as he enters his ninth decade.

He has a duty to signal during his party conference whether
he intends to remain at the helm until the next UK general
election or whether he might have other plans.

Those who believe that politics are dull in Northern
Ireland might have to revise their opinion if the first
leadership contest in the history of the DUP emerges.


Opin: Tony And Bertie’s Dreams As Ship-Shape As Nomadic

By Tom Kelly

In his poem Locksley Hall, Sir Alfred Lord Tennyson wrote:
‘For I dipt into the future, far as human eye could see,
saw the vision of the world and all the wonder that would
be; till the war drum throbb’d no longer, and the battle
flags were furl’d, in the parliament of man, the federation
of the world. There the common sense of most shall hold a
fretful realm in awe, and the kindly earth shall slumber,
lapt in universal law.’

Tennyson proves that poetry has a timeless relevance and
resonance. The future can seem as bright as we want it to
be or indeed as bleak as we need it to be.

The world is still ‘fretful’ but ‘common sense’ seems no
more common in the 21st century than the 19th.

Our two optimistic prime ministers have been out and about
shoring up the political process with cheery soundbites
reflecting more wishful thinking than realism.

The soon-to-be-announced Independent Monitoring Commission
report has been diminished by over-enthusiastic ministers
pontificating but without the Papal infallibility clause
and yet we are told to look forward to meaningful political
progress in the near future.

That is about as reliable as Mystic Meg forecasting next
week’s lottery numbers.

However, the headlines over the past few weeks have been
hogged by the personal and personality issues surrounding
politicians rather than the policies or positions they

The humanness and fragility of their position seems all too
evident, as does their sheer arrogance.

If you lived in Bethnal Green you would be feeling pretty
short-changed had you opted for George Galloway as your
member of parliament. Whatever the merits of this
publicity-seeking politician’s rationale for going into the
Big Brother house, his antics in it were cringeworthy.

Can you imagine Ian Paisley doing robotics in a leotard or
Gerry Adams mimicking a cat and having his whiskers
stroked? Galloway came across as an opinionated bully boy
and his party – Respect – is now on a one-way ticket to

The Liberal Democrats seem to be in free fall as three
senior members took a hammering from the British tabloid
press over their personal lives.

Of Kennedy, Oaten and Hughes, most sympathy has to be with

Being an alcoholic is not a crime and doing something about
being an alcoholic is to be admired not admonished.

Many Irish politicians are and were known to be heavy
drinkers but it did not seem to dull their abilities or
affect their relationship with their constituents.

Churchill was reputed to have been in a fairly intoxicated
state throughout his premiership but he still managed to
motivate a nation and win a war.

The predicament for the Liberal Democrats is a short-term
opportunity for Cameron and the Tories.

Though it is only a matter of time before the tabloid
honeymoon with the ‘Cameron Islington set’ is to end.

All of this media attention must be welcome relief for
Blair as he limps on with his reform agenda.

However, the recent Channel 4 programme highlighting his
‘rock ‘n’ roll’ years was a bit unedifying.

Over here, DUP wannabe Paul Berry is continuing his legal
action to remain part of that party but even a legal win on
this issue may end up being a fairly Phyrrhic victory as it
remains to be seen if the DUP has a forgiving nature.

Other unionists have been exercising their vocal chords and
hitting the headlines thanks to NIO minister David Hanson,
who generously bought the asbestos-filled Nomadic for
Belfast for the princely sum of £171,000 and who now leaves
the soon-to-be-hard-pressed Northern Ireland ratepayer,
taxpayer and water-ratepayer with a neat £7 million
refurbishment bill.

What is it they say about ‘Greeks bearing gifts’?

Well with hospitals to build, roads to upgrade and schools
to be funded, it’s not as if we have anything else to spend
it on!

Now even the George Best statue looks good value at

The British government seems intent on giving us quite a
few things (like the Nomadic) that we don’t want or need
but as long as the asylum on the hill stays empty we will
continue to be recipients of such meaningless largesse.

However, on the brighter side, with Ikea coming to Belfast
maybe the Nomadic refit could take place at the Holywood
Exchange. Let’s face it – they will be a lot cheaper than
Harland and Wolff.


Opin: Mrs McAleese Is Playing With Fire

The Monday Column
By Roy Garland

In claiming ownership of 1916 with military parades in
Dublin, Bertie Ahern is taking serious risks.

Perhaps he doesn’t have much choice. If the Irish
government could be accused of a 1916 sell-out, Sinn Fein
would pick up the pieces.

President McAleese offers support. Speaking at UCC, she
lauds the voices of Patrick Pearse and 1916 ‘heroes’ as
having fostered a new confident Ireland in the longer term.

Mrs McAleese has taken risks for peace but now plays with

Coming in the wake of her comments – subsequently retracted
– that Protestants raised children to hate Catholics as
Nazis hated Jews, her words are disturbing.

She would be wise to meditate upon fascist elements within
early republicanism.

The IRA had no authority for violence or for subsequent
rejection of both Irish governments. They utilised the
crazy notion that their authority derived from the 1919
Dail. Their subsequent terrorist struggle against authority
and the Irish minority left a terrible legacy of division.

She rejects the idea that Irish nationalism is sectarian,
imperialistic or ‘narrow’.

Ignoring the close relationship between these islands from
time immemorial, she also contrasts dark British
imperialists with poor upright ‘naive’ Irish patriots, even
though Irish representatives sat in the British parliament.

Mrs McAleese, seemingly assuming that nationalists are
Catholic, claims Irish nationalism introduced people to a
‘wider segment of the world’ in the universalism of
Catholicism. Dietrich Bonhoeffer certainly appreciated what
he saw as Catholic universalism but the Irish hierarchy was
not always in tune with this, as the President knows. The
special constitutional position of the Catholic church was
only removed in the early 1970s but its imperialistic grip
and theology underpinning it remained strong until quite

Bonhoeffer lived with and died at the hands of the ultimate
in nationalism in Nazi Germany.

Before his execution he regarded nationalism, which can pit
one people against another, as incompatible with

The terrorism of the small physical force minority of 1916
led to the virtual elimination of the unionist tradition
throughout the 26 counties. Their bombs and bullets were on
occasion aimed at entirely non-political Protestants and
motivated by sectarian, ethnic and nationalist concerns.

Since then, the Irish authorities sometimes adopted a soft
line on the IRA as long as their campaign was confined to
the north.

Fearing the influence of leftist republicanism in the
1960s, ministers even encouraged a new and ‘safer’ IRA,
closer to the violent antecedents of 1916.

Unfortunately no taoiseach can disown the legacy. But
playing up 1916 is a risky strategy and so advisors,
perhaps with more intimate knowledge of the north, came up
with the idea of linking the Rising to the ‘sacrifice’ at
the Somme. Hey Presto, noone is offended and Fianna Fail is

When the President welcomed Orangemen to Aras an Uachtaran,
however, Mr Ahern remained at a safe distance. Now she is
again taking risks in the Taoiseach’s shadow. There is a
parallel between Fianna Fail and the Ulster Unionists in
the 1960s. The UUP tried to take ownership of 1912 and the
UVF through a massive demonstration at Balmoral. UVF relics
were displayed and the largest Union Flag ever was flown.
Terence O’Neill later went to Larne to unveil a plaque to
1914 gunrunners.

All this to undercut extremism while, behind the scenes,
Paisleyites planned to upstage the supposed traitors.

The Ulster Hall resounded to the prayers of thanksgiving
for the guns of 1914. A year later, the UVF was

reformed. The 50th anniversary of 1916 brought massive
republican and Paisleyite parades in Belfast. Tensions were
raised and bloodshed returned to the streets.

Mrs McAleese says of 1916 ‘heroes’ that “their deaths rise
above the clamour – their voices insistent still”.
Thankfully, their lust for blood is at the moment only a
whisper and the dogs of war are silent.

But their legacy is the utter decimation of the southern
unionist community, the cowering of many 26-county
Protestants, partition and fratricidal strife in the north.

Dismal ancestral voices have gained electoral success and
Fianna Fail tries to restrain the spirit of 1916 by
patronising its ghosts. But wiser and quieter voices urge
us to reject blood and sacrificial nationalism in favour of
a more peaceful and prosperous world that can accommodate
increasingly diverse and free human beings.


Opin: The C#!&S List (Warning: ‘Adult’ Language)

It’s that time of year – too cold to play outside, no money
for chips and beer, just overwhelming amounts of TV and
newspapers up in your grill, all chock-filled with cunts.
Accordingly, we have skimmed the scummiest scum off the top
of the scumbucket and collated the top cunts to watch in
2006. Last year's ranking in brackets.


First out the block, McDowell is Satan’s number First out
the block, McDowell is Satan’s number one guy in Ireland.
When he’s not plucking out one guy in Ireland. When he’s
not plucking out babies’ eyelashes this fat, bald-pated
Nazi is babies’ eyelashes this fat, bald-pated Nazi is
working tirelessly to make sure the country working
tirelessly to make sure the country is kept free of black
people. As the fruit of is kept free of black people. As
the fruit of McDowell most recent labour, a mother-
McDowell most recent labour, a motherof- two is rotting in
Mountjoy while he of-two is rotting in Mountjoy while he
gets ready to boot her and the kids gets ready to boot her
and the kids back to Nigeria. Since her first child back to
Nigeria. Since her first child bled to death from legally-
sanctioned bled to death from legally-sanctioned genital
mutilation there, Izebekhai genital mutilation there,
Izebekhai is understandably anti-her home is understandably
anti-her home country. She hid out from fatboy country. She
hid out from fatboy and his cronies for five weeks before
and his cronies for five weeks before eventually being
snagged in Sligo eventually being snagged in Sligo and
thrown in the slammer. Not and thrown in the slammer. Not a
big believer in being nice, he ignored her pleas for the
family to be together on Christmas day. In other news the
minister pulled off a stunning coup for democracy when he
leaked confidential documents to the Irish Independent. The
papers related to journo Frank Connelly, related to journo
Frank Connelly, whom he decided to publicly accuse of
trafficking cocaine, even though the independent Director
of Public Prosecutions has decided there is not enough
evidence to prosecute. Physically evidence to prosecute.
Physically an unappealing cross between Karl Rove and a
turkey, McTool has maintained a ruthlessly dodgy has
maintained a ruthlessly dodgy agenda since assuming office,
a tactic once earning him the high tactic once earning him
the high praise of the KKK. The IRA has praise of the KKK.
The IRA has tried to take him out on various occasions and
we would like to publicly acknowledge that in this publicly
acknowledge that in this (and only this) they have our full
(and only this) they have our full support. We’ve said it
before and we’ll support. We’ve said it before and we’ll
keep saying it, McDowell is a horrible little keep saying
it, McDowell is a horrible little bastard and deserves a
good bastard and deserves a good kicking.


Pat Kenny is a cunt. This is a fact with a great weight of
evidence behind it (see last year’s cunts list). And he
hasn’t stopped being a cunt in 2005. Witness his
sadistically cruel treatment of Darina Allen on the Late
Late recently. Okay, some mention of the (ahem) troubles
with her hubby is understandable but you’d want to keep it
brief, tasteful and to move on quickly. Embattled Darina is
simply here to promote her new cookbook. Kenny has
different ideas. Sample:

PK - It must have been a difficult time for you...

DA - Yes, yes... but now we just want to move on. We’ve got
the new book out you know?

PK - Yes, the book. Of course. So did attendances drop
afters Tim’s exposure as a raging paedo?

DA - A little yes. But we just want to move on...

PK - Of course. Yes - the book... Tell me - did Tim ever
try to interfere with the book?

Kenny’s words verbatim (not really). Almost as appalling is
Kenny’s young padawan, Ryan Tubridy. Physically a bastard
son of Henry Kelly and Peter Crouch, Tubridy infects our
living room like a weeping rash. Charm, grace, congeniality
- all these Tubridy lacks in spades. Take the ordeal of
Rachel Allen, (daughter-in-law of Darina - oh, how RTE make
that family suffer) made to recite her Leaving Cert results
on TV. 45 years of age and forced to talk about her French
paper, all cause Tubridy’s fresh out of chat. Suggestions
for future use there Tubs:

• How much hard dead skin is there on the heel of your

• Would you like to see my penis?

• Is anyone watching do you think?


Funnyman. Whenever you hear that word - funnyman – you know
you’re in for some dreadful bullshit. Just even repeat it
to yourself a few times. Funnyman funnyman funnyman. You
can begin to feel your eye twitch with irritation. Mainly
because what’s coming isn’t going to be funny at all. Mario
Rosenstock is always described as a funnyman. The Hooray
Henry fronting Today FM’s Gift Grub ‘comedy’ show and the I
Keano musical offended us for years with his plank-ish
acting as the local doctor on RTE’s Glenroe. When the show
finished in 1997 we naturally assumed it would take him
down with it. Not so. He got a horrible second wind on the
radio doing goonish, often unrecognisable impressions of
Irish public figures. This led to the success in 2005 of
both Gift Grub and I Keano plus the odd novelty record. The
secret of these ventures’ success lies in their mining of a
uniquely unfunny brand of Irish humour: fucking gas. ‘You
should hear it, man. He has Roy Keane down to a tee. He’s
exactly like him, it’s fucking gas it is’. It’s a final,
telling measure of the smug tosser that one of his main
earners is corporate parties - dishing out painfully shit
jokes and mugging to drunk businessmen already pissing
themselves at the sight of their own tie-pins. And what
kind of a fucking name is Gift Grub? Everyone stopped using
the phrase ‘gift’ in 1993 and no-one in Ireland calls food
‘grub’. The sooner Keano stuffs a Celtic jersey in his
mouth and rides him mercilessly over the dressing room sink
for crimes against humour, the better it will be for all of


This is the guy who runs Bord Na gCon, the greyhound racing
board. We wrote a big feature detailing exactly why Taggart
should be force-fed a warm glass of greyhound piss for
every day he holds his job and how some of the taxpayer’s
cash in Bord Na gCon’s bank account should go towards a
stadium where we can race him, Pat Kenny and all the other
‘celebrity’ endorsers of his shitty operation around a
track where they could be whipped along by dwarves. And
then, right, we could slice the prick’s ears off, pump him
full of Ketamine and shove him in a room full of hungry
rats. Just thought we’d mention it again here.


There are two possible options: (a) Jockstrap McWilliams
has hoodwinked the nation into believing his poisonous guff
about how we can divide all children born between 1975 and
1980 into either breakfast-roll eating men who are obsessed
with decking or high-achieving Gaelgóirs who masturbate
over the EU flag; or (b) (and infinitely scarier) David
knows that one day house prices are going to fall. He’s
been saying this for years, apparently, and no one will
listen to him. When that day happens, expect to see Dave
using his carefully invested millions to buy up half of
Dublin and throw off the mantle of neo-con-economist-
journalist to reveal his true identity: Satan’s property
developer. He’s going to be your landlord and you will be
forced to use his bilious jargon every day for the rest of
your life.


Does Mr Egan actually have a soul? If you cut him open,
would dust just spill out? Has he made a Faustian pact with
Independent News and Media? Any big-name Irish ‘band’ - the
Corrs, Westlife etc... or Irish 'celebrity' - Tony Fenton,
Karla Elliot etc... always get referred to in the most
glowing terms - his criterion for this probably involves
whether said people will help him skip the queue into
Lillies or Reynards the night before. Also check out his
article in the Sunday Independent Life magazine from 18th
December. In it he describes a dinner party at the Clarence
Hotel or “Bono’s Penthouse” as Barry calls it, hosted by
Jasper Conran with the “great and good” of Irish society.
He refers to each guest with a silly descriptive adjective:
“Luscious Lorraine”, “Lovely Louis”, “darling Diarmuid,”
“krazy Kathryn,” “naughty Nell.” Its sheer awfulness can’t
be done justice in such a short space, but here’s a
snapshot: “It was the kind of evening you couldn’t make up.
Marty talked about old times with Gay. Louis and Jasper
realised they each have an apartment in the same swish
complex in Miami. Diarmuid told Jasper he is working with
his father Terence on a new project.” Minus a soul.


Credit where its due - Hot Press’ system for rating films
using bottles of Jameson (sponsors) instead of stars is a
twisted stroke of genius. You know, where one whiskey
bottle means the film is terrible, five whiskey bottles
means its brilliant and - can we assume - five whiskey
bottles and a jar of sleeping tablets would mean that bad
boy was pretty goddamn unmissable. And we thought Niall
Stokes had sold out! Turns out he’s attacking the system
from within - d iscrediting capitalism through its
association with himself. He still makes the list, though,
for the editorial he wrote after the July 7th attacks in
London. In a piece entitled ‘State Sanctioned Murder’, the
line that usually distinguishes a Hot Press editorial from
a tape- editorial from a tape- recorded message from al-
Qaeda actually became quite blurred. “Avoid further
bloodshed at home” warned Stokes, “Britain must withdraw
from Iraq and from other theatres of aggression in Arab and
Muslim countries.” Incredibly, he also noted that, “Bin
Laden has been very clear about his demands in relation to
the activities of the US, the UK and others in invading and
repressing Arab nations”. As a final coup de grace, Hot
Press readers were informed that, readers were informed
that, “as sure as night follows day, the US, the UK, Italy,
Australia, Poland and others who were implicated in the
invasion of Iraq will be hit and hit and hit again.”
Whether the Hot Press editor intends to participate
personally editor intends to participate personally in
these operations is not revealed. Luckily for the deluded
old hippy, however, no one actually reads his magazine -
let alone pays any heed to his opinions - so his bizarre
outburst failed to provoke even a flutter of controversy.
In fact, were it not for the eagle-eyes of an Ann Sexton-
obsessed Mongrel staff member, it might very easily staff
member, it might very easily have been lost to the ages.
Niall Stokes, ladies and gentlemen - what a stupid prick!



AKA the fey, slender-faced milksop who gets a lift with the
homely bird from his office. Again, he is the owner of a
very slender face and is probably the most eminently
slappable person on the television.


Conor Lenihan referred to Turkish Workers as ‘kebabs’ and
Mary O’Rourke thanked her assistants for working ‘like
blacks’. We also heard that Bertie calls Mary Harney ‘my


It’s a depressing sign of celebrity devaluation when this
monolithic gobshite from Cabra can go from security guard
to nation’s favourite in as short a time as it takes you to
say ‘Gerra life, gerra number!’ As Boyzone’s (or was it
Westlife? Who gives a shiny turd?) security Who gives a
shiny turd?) security man he wasn’t famous at all. Then he
was only famous for chucking one up an Atomic Kitten and
allegedly blackmailing Jodie Marsh. People were quite
rightly asking ‘Who the fuck is Fran Cosgrove?’ when he
turned up on last year’s I’m A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of
Here. He played the Colin Bleedin’ Jaysis Farrell card,
belching his every word out in comedy Ronnie Drew-ese and
finishing each sentence with ‘nowhorroimeanloike?’
Desperate bitches from Essex to Ennis bought it hook, line
and eyebrow ring. By the end of the year, he’d bagged
another one of these programs, Celeb Love Island, and
actually won. But he’s still the same pikey who’d have
mashed your face into the wall if you’d tried to get
Moanin’ Keating’s autograph a few years ago. Most laughably
offensive of all, he’s claiming to be a big name DJ.
Considering he spends most of the ‘gigs’ he gets offered
signing pairs of tits and posing for local photographers,
we reckon he DJs like Ronnie Corbett on Cyclobenzaprine.
Gerra life ya knacker.


Word to the wise, O’Driscoll. It wasn’t Tana Umaga who
dislocated your shoulder. It was the collective will of
every right thinking individual on this island. And if we
ever see your ugly fucking mug on the television again
it’ll be your balls, you stupid smug prick.


Many have remarked on the phenomenon of 2005’s new
entertainment figures - be they popstars, actors, whatever
- being even less interesting or talented than their
predecessors. Nowhere was this devaluation more apparent
than than in the ugly world of celebrity. And no better
example of celeb devaluation, bar Fran Cosgrove (see cunt
#11) than gawky Belfast wannabee Orlaith McAllister. With
her modelling career flatlining at ads for self-tanning,
she ditched any remaining shred of dignity she had and
successfully applied for Big Brother 05 (after how many
failed attempts we wonder? That orange prick who won had
been turned down twice before.). At this point she began to
move into minus-dignity, turning her sole attention
grabbing trick - showing her tits - with the same grim
enthusiasm as your dog doing a little hind-legs dance for a
sausage. Even the bap-hungry tabloids were ripping the piss
out the piss out of it after two days. And she of it after
two days. And she didn’t win. Since then, she’s filled the
days lifting up her skirt for the photographers on the way
in and out of Chinawhites and posing for lads mag ‘shoots’
while sweaty journalists make up quotes about her nipples,
orgasms and nights of passion with David Walliams. Come
back Abi!

14 GOD (-)

Yeah, we’re talkin’ to you cuntyballs. You think you’re
really the man, don’t you? You think you got it made in the
shade. Making us worship you.Making us build churches and
monuments and cathedrals. Pitting us against each other in
all these different religions - and all for the
gratification of your massive ego. But deep down you know
what an inadequate fuck you are. So you go out and get
tanked and you come home and start beating us around the
place like you’re Ike Turner and the world is your own
personal Tina. Hittin’ us with earthquakes, tsunamis,
hurricanes, stampedes and innumerable series of Celebrity
Stars In Their Eyes cos, hey, the world is your bitch and
you can treat it anyway you like. Right? Wrong
motherfuckerrrr. The world is a strong independent black
woman it ain’t taking any more of your shit. Who’s with


Q: What’s worse than the most exploitative, self-serving
multinational fat cat ever spawned from the radioactive
filth bled from the eyes of a thousand migrant wage-slaves?

A: A protestor that dons a silly hat, makeup, banner, drum,
amusing t-shirt, ironic pants or (worst of all) balaclava
and/or any that indulge in dance, mime, tableaux, chanting
or song. The display of multifarious cringeinducers on show
at Edinburgh last year was enough to make anyone look upon
the global distribution of wealth with a certain fondness.
March by all means, but do so with a modicum of dignity.
You’re supposed to be cooler than the opposition, not
exactly the hardest task in the world. Dressing up as a
half-naked clown and chanting slogans with swears in them
is no good.


Another survivor from last years cunts list, Gavin might
feel aggrieved at his inclusion here given that, well, he
hasn’t really done much since then. He did turn gay of
course - in typically nauseating fashion. But for the most
part he’s kept himself to himself, sometimes only venturing
out in public to bring his beloved dog Dior for a walk.
(This is according to an article we found on the internet,
you understand. We don’t follow the fucker around or
anything.) It matters not. He still breezes effortlessly
onto this year’s list ahead of murderers and child
molesters the country over. In fact, he could climb into a
box and stay there for the next 12 months and he’d still
probably be on next year’s list. Because, Gavin, you are a
cunt and we do not forget.


No-one cares about the Scottish League.


There’s something about having religion shoved in your
face. It’s like your gin-sodden gran forcing you into a
half-nelson and attempting to smack one on you at
Christmas. You can’t run away, due to the innate fear of
the wrath of God. But, cunt-me, you want to. The Jovos’ are
plucky bastards. No matter how many times they must have
been told to fuck off, their faith in the Lord never
wavers. Perhaps there’s something to be learnt from that
level of positivity & conviction. Let’s see:

- They won’t accept donated human blood, but they will
accept derivatives of both human and cow’s blood. They will
also undergo organ transplants. Think about that for a

- They believe that precisely 144,000 Christians will be
admitted to heaven. As there are six million Witnesses in
the world, someone, somewhere is deluding themselves.

- They believed Christ would return to earth in 1873. He
didn’t. They predicted 1874. He didn’t. To save face they
concluded he had returned, but invisibly. Wooooooo.

- The prediction of Armageddon in 1914 was tied closely to
the invisible return of Christ. It didn’t happen, so they
revised their predictions and predicted it in 1914, 1915,
1918, 1920, and 1925.

Don’t ever darken my door with your particular brand of
bullshit again thank you very much. What a bunch of cunts’.


It isn’t just their own shitty organisation these morons
are laying to waste. By appointing Steve Staunton manager
of the Irish soccer team, the FAI have effectively killed
any possibility of us qualifying for the World Cup for the
forseeable future. Which means no more long summer months
when turning up drunk for work isn’t just tolerated, it’s
practically mandatory. When everyone - young or old,
culchie or jackeen, bouncer or guy with puke all down the
front of his shirt - can speak with a common voice about
something other than hating the English and assuming Louis
Walsh is gay. So no, this isn’t just their own organisation
they’re fucking with. This is the glue that holds our
fragile society together. One of the few things that stands
in the way of us all just killing each other and being done
with it. Nice one, lads.


Ulsterman's Horror Leap From Ferry

Four hour sea search fails to find body

By Andrea Clements
28 January 2006

A SEARCH in the Irish Sea early today failed to find a 35-
year-old Belfast man who jumped overboard from the Belfast-
Liverpool overnight ferry.

A Norse Merchant Ferries spokesman said its staff had tried
to calm down the passenger, who was travelling with a
female, about an hour before the incident.

The loss of the man, 11 miles south of the Isle of Man, was
reported to Liverpool Coastguard at 2.20am and a four-hour
search was launched involving a lifeboat crew and

The Lagan Viking had left Belfast at 10.30pm.

Norse Merchant Ferries spokesman Pat Adamson said the man
had been identified as being "aggressive" at 1.30am, about
50 minutes before he had jumped overboard.

"The captain, hotel manager and hotel steward got involved
because they were concerned he would jump.

"They calmed him down and later he asked if he could go for
a cigarette.

"He jumped up on the rail and they tried to talk him down.

"It was a most regrettable incident.

Mr Adamson added: "The ship stopped immediately and turned
around to the position where he jumped. Buoys and lights
were put down and the coastguard was immediately called."

Liverpool Coastguard said the search had involved the Port
St Mary Lifeboat, based on the Isle of Man, the Moondance -
a cross channel cargo vessel, the Mersey Viking and
Corystes, a survey vessel.

A helicopter from RAF Valley in Anglesey in North Wales was
also drafted into the operation.

Watch officer John Travis said: "We thoroughly covered the
area but unfortunately nothing was found.

"The four-hour search was worked out by computer and so is

Inspector George Dawson of Merseyside Police said his force
had met the Lagan Viking on its arrival in Birkenhead and
was speaking to a number of witnesses to the incident at
the terminal.

As a result of the search operation the ferry, which had
been due to dock at 6.30am this morning, was delayed until
about 9am.


School Principals Seek Scrapping Of Holy Communion Lessons

30/01/2006 - 07:44:52

The union representing Ireland's primary school principals
is reportedly calling for the scrapping of lessons on Holy
Communion and Confirmation.

Reports this morning said the Irish Primary Principals
Network wanted parents to take responsibility for preparing
their children for the Sacraments and for religious
education in general.

It has reportedly pointed out that religious instruction is
not practical in classrooms where anything up to 15
different faiths may be represented.

The issue is set to be a major talking point at the IPPN's
three-day annual conference which begins this Thursday.


Average Dublin House Price Now €468,273

30/01/2006 - 11:18:37

Demand for second-hand homes strengthened during the final
half of 2005, according to figures released today by
leading Auctioneers Douglas Newman Good.

The latest rise in property values means that the average
price of a second-hand home in Dublin now stands at
€468,273 – up from €448,980 at the end of September.

The average length of time to agree a sale on a property
falling to 59 days from 63 days in the first half of 2005.

The Douglas Newman Good House Price Gauge (HPG) reveals
that the underlying strength of demand for property
continued apace in the second half of the year, with 72% of
sales being agreed within 60 days of the property coming
onto the market, up from 69% for the first six months of
the year.

Second-hand homes across Dublin and surrounding area
increased in value by 4.3%, or more than €200 per day, in
the final three months of last year, double the rate for
the same period 12 months earlier but lower than the 5.7%
rise in quarter 3.

The report also reveals that for 2005 as a whole, house
price inflation climbed above 21% in Dublin for the first
time since 2002 when prices rose by a 21.2%


Paintings By Some Of Irish Greats Go Under The Hammer

By Staff Reporter

A collection of paintings by some of Ire-land’s best-loved
art-ists is to go under the hammer – including an early
work by Belfast-born John Lavery valued at up to £600,000.

The annual Irish sale at Sotheby’s in London, which will go
on display in Belfast beforehand, has also gathered
together sought-after works by Jack B Yeats and James

The catalogue includes 14 works with a wide range of guide
prices, but Arabella Bishop, Irish art specialist with the
auctioneers, insisted price was not always a guide to the
most interesting.

She pointed to The Black Avenger, a water-colour and
gouache by Yeats, which has a relatively low estimate of
£18,000 but could appeal to many buyers.

“Although it’s not the most expensive in the collection it
is one of Yeats’s earliest,” she said.

Sir John Lavery’s Bathing, Lido, Venice from 1912 – valued
at up to £600,000 – is also considered a great addition to
the sale.

“It’s a very significant picture and what’s quite unusual
about it is that there are so many figures in it. It’s a
beautiful picture,” Ms Bishop said.

The sale, due to be held in May, has already caused a stir
with collectors and new buyers showing interest, Ms Bishop

“Obviously we have collectors. We have had Irish sales for
over a decade now and we do have Irish collectors but there
are also

others coming in to the market,” she said.

James Barry’s King Lear and his daughter Cordelia, on
display in Cork’s Crawford Gallery, is for sale with a
guide price of £300,000 to £400,000.

Roderic O’Connor’s A Breton Girl, valued at £300,000, will
also be auctioned.

The paintings and buyers come from all over the world, with
the catalogue containing only about one tenth of what could
be expected at the auction.

The paintings will be on display in Belfast’s Waterfront
Hall between April 19-22 and in Soth-eby’s Molesworth
Street office in Dublin from April 24-29.


Dublin Tourism Introduces Audio Guides For Visitors

Dublin Tourism has launched the first in a series of
‘podcasts’ or audio guides, becoming one of the first
European tourism organisations to use such marketing tool
to attract visitors to its website and provide an easy way
of touring the city.

Two podcasts, or “iWalks”, are now downloadable from the
website – , onto an iPod or MP3 player.

According to the tourism organisation, the “iWalks” tell
the story of Dublin in a series of twelve themes and are
narrated by Irish historian and artist, Pat Liddy. The
first two that are now available are ‘Georgian Dublin’ and
‘The Historic Northside’.

The iWalks are accompanied by a brochure and map in pdf
format that can also be downloaded from the website, or
picked up in any tourist office in Dublin.

“The iWalks have a distinct advantage over traditional
guidebooks because they are free to download and can be
regularly updated with fresh information. Dublin Tourism
predict that these podcasts will prove to be extremely
popular in the future as generic themes have been abandoned
in favour of podcasts that are specific to visitor’s
interests, eg Literary Dublin, Georgian Dublin,” stated a

The other ten iWalks that are planned will be of the
following themes: Viking and Medieval Dublin, Castles and
Cathedrals, Temple Bar to the Docklands, In the steps of
Ulysses, Howth, Kilmainham Gaol, Dalkey and Dun Laoghaire,
Phoenix Park, A Bracing Walk – Malahide to Portmarnock, and
the Rock N Stroll Trail. These will be uploaded over the
next two months.

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