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January 10, 2006

McGuinness: People Impatient For Progress

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News about Ireland & the Irish

SF 01/10/06 McGuinness - People Impatient For Progress
SF 01/10/06 PSNI Colluded W/ Loylsts Threatening Catholics
UT 01/10/06 Loyalist Areas Set For Improvement
IO 01/10/06 Fresh Searches In Schoolboy Murder Probe
DI 01/10/06 Weapons Of Shame
DI 01/10/06 SDLP 'Abstentionists'
DI 01/10/06 Informer Story 'Lies'
DI 01/10/06 Senator O'Rourke Refuses To Apologise
DI 01/10/06 Opin: Time To Say Sorry
MN 01/10/06 Seán Mac Bride: De Facto
BT 01/10/06 Archbishop's Murder May Stay Mystery
UT 01/10/06 Plea For Special Olympics Volunteers
IO 01/10/06 Yeats' Family Treasures To Go On Display


McGuinness - People Impatient For Progress

Published: 10 January, 2006

Sinn Féin Chief Negotiator Martin McGuinness MP today said
that people are impatient for the two governments to seize
the political initiative and restore the all-Ireland and
power sharing institutions.

Mr McGuinness said:

"Since the historic moves by the IRA last year in ending
the armed campaign and dealing decisively with the issue of
their arms people have become frustrated at the lack of
obvious political movement.

"However the DUP cannot be allowed to stall the process
indefinitely. All their excuses have been removed. The two
governments have a responsibility to drive the process
forward in the time ahead.

"People across the island are impatient for progress and
want to see the two governments fulfilling their
responsibilities by seizing the political initiative and
restoring the all-Ireland power sharing institutions.

"Progress can undoubtedly be made in the coming period if
all of the parties are prepared to face up to their
political responsibilities. Sinn Féin are ready and willing
to see rapid progress made. The question still remains
however if the DUP are capable and able to share power on
the basis of equality and respect." ENDS


PSNI Colluded With Loyalists Threatening Catholic Students

Published: 10 January, 2006

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Policing Gerry Kelly today
accused the PSNI of colluding with loyalists in the BIFHE
complex at Tower Street yesterday after two men threatening
Catholic students with knives were not arrested by PSNI
members at the scene.

Mr Kelly said:

" Yesterday three catholic students at the BIFHE complex on
Tower Street were victims of sectarian abuse while standing
outside the main building. The three students fearful for
their safety returned to the canteen in the main complex.

" The two men who had previously abused the students
outside the building then followed the three into the
canteen and produced knives. They again hurled sectarian
abuse at the catholic students and threatened them with the
knives. The three were obviously extremely fearful and
sought help from the security staff on duty. The security
guard did not assist the students. The PSNI were contacted
and arrived at the scene. The two men were still present
and still carrying knives.

" The PSNI did not arrest the men and choose instead to
simply ask them to leave the canteen. One of the students
has been in touch with Sinn Féin this morning and is
extremely angry at this incident. The PSNI yesterday
colluded with loyalist thugs, who were carrying knives and
threatening catholic students attending a local college.
This is completely unacceptable and is not the actions of
an acceptable or accountable policing service."


Loyalist Areas Set For Improvement

The Government will launch a strategy this spring to ensure
every pound spent on a loyalist area of Northern Ireland is
as effective as every pound spent on the nationalist
community, it emerged today.

By:Press Asociation

Northern Ireland Office Minister David Hanson confirmed the
plan in March will focus on how Government could empower
working class Protestant communities to tackle deprivation
in their neighbourhoods.

The multi-agency approach has been drawn up following
concerns that Government policies are not having the impact
they should in loyalist districts.

Mr Hanson said today he believed loyalist leaders wanted to
help raise educational and housing standards in their
communities but he reminded them paramilitary groups needed
to do their bit by ending all criminal activity.

"We are very clear, as we have been with the IRA, that
criminality and paramilitary activity are not compatible
with a democratically governed, modern business society in
the 21st century," he said.

"As a Government we have got to be very hard nosed about
this and we will, through the Police Service of Northern
Ireland, take strong action against criminality - drug
dealing, extortion and other activities of that nature.

"At the same time we need to recognise that Government has
to help the process of paramilitaries moving away from all
of that by encouraging moves from a war footing to a
peaceful footing so individuals can play a positive role in

"I sense a debate going on within the loyalist groups about
how they can move away from criminality.

"What we now have to do is encourage confidence in the
political process and show that that type of activity is
actually holding back the community.

"We have to ensure the transformation takes place in
loyalism as I believe it is doing slowly but surely within
the IRA."

In 2004, the then Social Development Minister John Spellar
appointed a taskforce to address social and economic
problems within the loyalist community.

Since taking over from Mr Spellar last year, Mr Hanson has
had 25 meetings with community workers, business leaders,
unionist and loyalist politicians, with at least 16 more
planned in the coming weeks.

He has visited some of Belfast`s most deprived loyalist
neighbourhoods, including Upper Ardoyne, Ballysillan and
Mount Vernon, to witness the work being done by communities
to address social and economic problems.

During a visit to the Shankill in October he announced a
delivery team headed by Northern Ireland Civil Service
chief Nigel Hamilton would take forward the findings of the
taskforce`s report.

The team will report directly to him on how public services
can be coordinated to the maximum benefit of loyalist

Mr Hanson said that while deprivation was more prevalent in
nationalist areas, loyalist communities often found it
harder to tackle problems because they weren`t as well
equipped to deal with them.

"A pound of Government money on Belfast`s Shankill Road
will not buy the same output as a pound spent in
nationalist areas like the Falls Road," he said.

"I am currently developing, in parallel with all of this,
the Neighbourhood Renewal Scheme, which is looking at the
most deprived wards in Northern Ireland.

"The majority of those, about 60%, are in nationalist
areas. The deprivation in individual places on the Falls
Road is no different from the deprivation in some places on
the Shankill Road.

"But the difference is that there is a better
infrastructure in terms of how nationalist communities
focus on these issues and there are better outputs for the
investment we put into those areas.

"There is a more focussed approach as to what the
challenges are and how we get out of them.

"There are certainly pits of depression in nationalist
areas but the challenge to get out of them is much higher
in loyalist areas."

The Minister said during his fact finding visits he had
detected a desire among people in loyalist communities to
move on and tackle social and economic problems.

"I have seen great examples of this such as in Mount Vernon
where there is community involvement in schemes on the
estate," he said.

"Now I don`t think it is for me or civil servants living in
Holywood or Bangor to go into Mount Vernon and tell them
how to improve their community.

"What we can do is look at what the community`s needs are
and see how Government can help them attain that

"I believe there are key people in lots of these areas who
are recognising that the political peace process brings
benefits, that the stability of that process brings
benefits, and that there is a commitment to help them
achieve better results in education, housing and

But Mr Hanson urged loyalists not to expect a dramatic
transformation come March.

"There are long term issues we need to address and none of
them are going to be solved overnight," he said.

"When we reach our conclusions in March, certainly there
are things we will be doing in the short term, but some of
the things we are going to have to do will take three, five
or even seven years.

"You cannot turn round poor educational achievement

"However, I believe there are people out there who
recognise the potential of using the stability of the
political peace process to tackle some of the social and
economic challenges that face them."


Fresh Searches In Schoolboy Murder Probe

10/01/2006 - 10:24:23

Detectives hunting the killers of a Northern Ireland
schoolboy today carried out new searches.

Thomas Devlin, 15, was knifed to death in Belfast after
going out to buy sweets with friends last August.

He was stabbed five times in the back during the attack as
he walked along the Somerton Road, close to his home in the
north of the city.

At the time police said a sectarian motive was one of
several being considered.

And today, weeks after officers seized items during
searches in the nearby Mount Vernon district, a loyalist
paramilitary stronghold, they returned to the area.

A Police Service of Northern Ireland spokesman confirmed:
"Police investigating the murder of 15-year-old Thomas
Devlin at Somerton Road in north Belfast on August 11 last
year are today carrying out searches in the Mount Vernon
area of north Belfast."

Detectives have said the prime suspects in the inquiry were
two young men seen with a black and white dog.

Although several people have been questioned about the
Belfast Royal Academy student's murder, no-one has been


Weapons Of Shame

Fianna Fáil coalition slammed as 'morally bankrupt' over
massive boom in Irish arms exports

David Lynch


MILITARY equipment sales from the Republic have topped €300
million (£205 million) since the present Fianna
Fáil/Progressive Democrat coalition came to power in 1997.

The sales figure highlights the present government's "moral
bankruptcy" in this area, it was claimed yesterday.

Joe Murray, the director of the charity Action from
Ireland, told Daily Ireland yesterday that the "significant
increase in the militarisation" of the Southern economy,
combined with the US military's use of Shannon airport,
showed "clearly where this government stands on these

AfrI is an independent group that seeks to promote debate
and influence policy and practice in Ireland and
internationally on human rights, peace and justice issues.

In 1996, the group published the Links Report, the first
report to highlight the growing links between Irish private
companies and the international arms economy.

News yesterday that Irish companies exported €30 million
(£21 million) worth of military equipment to the
international arms trade in 2005 alone was no shock to

"We gave the warning back in 1996 that this was becoming an
increasing part of our economy, and the government chose to
ignore that advice. They have decided to put their head in
the sand like an ostrich," Mr Murray said.

He said the government had made some "small changes" to the
rules governing the arms trade from the South of Ireland
"but nothing of much significance".

"One of the ways the government gets around this issue is
pointing to so-called dual-use equipment. They can say that
these can be both used for military and civilian use, so we
cannot be sure which.

"However, with the specific military equipment they cannot
hide from the fact that this is directly linked with the
arms trade."

According to yesterday's reports, when dual-use exports are
added to the overall figure, the government granted 352
licences in 2005, amounting to more than €1.8 billion
(£1.23 billion) in sales worldwide.

AfrI said Irish business should not be involved in the arms
trade at all.

"There is no need for us to be involved. There is plenty of
money being made in the economy already. And when people
look at the misery and pain that the arms economy creates
in the world, there is really no excuse for us being
involved," said Mr Murray.

Despite the fact that AfrI has not done any recent research
into the issue, Mr Murray said it was his opinion that some
of the military exports from the state were going to Nato
members as well as other countries with questionable
records on human rights.

The news of the extent and scope of Irish involvement in
the arms economy also drew criticism from Labour Party
deputy Michael D Higgins.

"The government has repeatedly told the public in recent
years that Ireland is not a producer of arms in the normal
international sense.

"How can such a claim stack up when Irish-based companies
exported €30 million worth of military equipment in 2005?"
asked Mr Higgins.

"Previously, Ireland had a reputation of advocating
international disarmament but that status has been
shattered by these figures."

The Irish branch of Amnesty Ireland has called on the
government to support an international campaign to draft a
treaty regulating the global arms trade.

Amnesty, Oxfam and the International Network on Small Arms
mounted the campaign as the United Nations held preliminary
talks on the issue in New York yesterday.

According to Amnesty, the South of Ireland produced €240
million (£164 million) worth of military goods and €23.7
billion (£16.2 billion) worth of so-called dual-use goods
between 1997 and 2002.

Amnesty spokesman Jim Loughran said these so-called dual-
use goods included triggers for Tomahawk missiles, computer
systems to control bomb-dropping equipment, firing
mechanisms, and communications systems for attack

"This is equipment that can have a direct military
relevance, and Ireland is increasingly a significant
player," he said.


SDLP 'Abstentionists'

Party's MP revealed as having worst attendance record at
London parliament

Ciarán Barnes

An SDLP MP is the worst attender at the British House of
Commons, it was revealed yesterday.

Official statistics reveal that of the 640 MPs who take
their seats in the House of Commons, South Down MP Eddie
McGrady is the worst attender.

Since the general election last May, the veteran
politician, who has represented the constituency since
1987, has taken part in just 12 per cent of votes in

Party colleagues Mark Durkan and Dr Alasdair McDonnell do
not fare much better - both are among the top ten worst
attending MPs with voting records of 30 per cent and 27 per

All three take home generous salaries which when coupled
with expenses are well in excess of £100,000 each.

Sinn Féin's five MPs refuse to take their seats in the
House of Commons.

South Down Sinn Féin Assemblywoman Caitriona Ruane believes
the SDLP's three Westminster representatives are
"abstentionist MPs in all but name".

She said: "The fact that they find it unnecessary to attend
Wesminster for 75 per cent of business shows how irrelevant
taking seats there is to republicans and nationalists in
the six counties."

SDLP attendance rates come a poor second to those recorded
by Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and Ulster Unionist MPs.

The DUP's nine MPs took part in an average of 61 per cent
of parliamentary votes, while the Ulster Unionist party's
sole Westminster representative, Sylvia Hermon, attended 48
per cent of votes.

The SDLP's average vote attendance figure of 23 per cent is
the worst of any party at Westminster which takes its

DUP Assemblyman Jim Wells, who stood against Mr McGrady in
the last Westminster election, said his MP title was an
abbreviation for "missing person".

"The people of South Down will be disappointed that Mr
McGrady shows so little enthusiasm about representing them
at Westminster.

"To be fair to him he is active on the ground at a
constituency level, but when you are taking home a total
salary of more than £100,000 per year, paid for by the
public, you need to contribute more.

"Mr McGrady's poor attendance rate is to the detriment of
the people of this constituency, including those who
elected him."

A spokesperson for the SDLP said: "As a united Ireland
party our members do not go to Westminster to take part in
British business. They go there to further the cause of
devolved government in the North and advance the interests
of our electorate.

"Comparisons with the attendance record of other MPs are a


Informer Story 'Lies'

News Briefs

Daily Ireland managing editor Seán Mag Uidhir has dismissed
as "rubbish" a Sunday World report, repeated yesterday by
the Irish News, that he was visited by the PSNI over
Christmas to warn him he was about to be named as an

"I categorically refuted these informer lies when they
first appeared three years ago and do so now when they are
being shamelessly regurgitated," he said.

"I was not visited by the PSNI over Christmas or indeed in
July 2003 when the Sunday World first ran that claim. Those
are the facts.

"That two newspapers have decided to recycle this dangerous
rubbish says more about them than it does about me."


Senator O'Rourke Refuses To Apologise

Ed Carty

Seanad leader Mary O'Rourke yesterday refused to apologise
over claims she had used a racist remark to praise her

The veteran politician controversially thanked her Fianna
Fáil campaign team for working "like blacks" to secure her
nomination in the next Leinster House election.

"The remark was complimentary, made to my workers and
praising their hard work," the senator said.

"I can't apologise for what was a comment to my workers."

After being selected for the third place on the party
ticket for the Longford-Westmeath constituency, Mrs
O'Rourke said: "They listened to my moaning and my groaning
and my upbeat and my downbeat as it went along but they
were there for me and they worked like blacks."

Rosanna Flynn, a spokeswoman for the Dublin-based group
Residents Against Racism, said the remark was most
offensive and that an apology was in order.

"I can understand anyone making a gaffe but, my God, she
should make an apology. She has offended a lot of people,"
Ms Flynn said.

"Don't just wriggle out of having made a most offensive

She went on: "What is not understandable is her not
realising how offensive it is and not giving a full

Mrs O'Rourke said the phrase "working like blacks" was well
known but perhaps not relevant in modern Ireland.

"It was meant as complimentary and absolutely no offence
meant," she said.

The colourful politician was chosen as a Fianna Fáil
candidate in Mullingar on Sunday night after defeating a
challenge from local councillor Kevin "Boxer" Moran.

Mrs O'Rourke has earned many admirers for her work on
behalf of immigrants and asylum seekers in the Athlone

She campaigned last March for the Nigerian mothers
Elizabeth Odunsi and Iabo Nwanzi to stay in Ireland. The
two women were eventually deported and their children left

Mrs O'Rourke also supported Olukunle Eluhanla, a Nigerian
teenager deported from Ireland last year but allowed to
return to complete his Leaving Certificate.

Aisling Reidy, director of the Irish Council for Civil
Liberties, said an apology would go some way to remove any
offence caused.

However, Ms Reidy said the remark was not a reflection of
the senator's attitudes.

"I think it is completely inappropriate that she should use
that remark but I don't think it is a reflection of her
thinking," Ms Reidy said.

"Her actions speak louder than her words.

"She has been quite strong on this and been willing to
speak up for people and has been more compassionate on
immigration issues.

"Any apology would be welcomed by anybody that would be

Sinn Féin Equality spokesperson Aengus Ó Snodaigh said Mrs
O'Rourke should apologise.

"She should remember that she is in a position of authority
and of influence. If she is seen to condone such a remark
others may use this to legitimise its use it in a racist
manner. She should apologise and that should be the end of


Opin: Time To Say Sorry

Editor: Colin O'Carroll

Rather than insist that she has got nothing to apologise
for, Mary O'Rourke should catch herself on, say she's sorry
and let that be an end to it. We might be charitable and
say that it was a surge of adrenalin triggered by her win
in a tense battle for the Fianna Fáil nomination in the
Westmeath constituency that made the normally sure-footed
veteran speak out of turn when she said that she would be
"working like a black". Whatever the trigger, it simply
should not have been said because comments like that have
no place in the political discourse of the 21st century.

Curiously, Ms O'Rourke argued that she saw no need to issue
an apology because she had meant it in a complimentary
sense about party workers. She further offered that the
three people she was referring to had accepted it as such.

That's all very well and good, but it is not just a tiny
number of her colleagues and pals within Fianna Fáil that
Ms O'Rourke has to convince, rather she has some explaining
to do to the vast majority of ordinary people in this
country to whom such insulting and outdated rhetoric is

Ms O'Rourke has described calls for her to apologise as
"political correctness gone wrong", a phrase made clumsy by
her decision to use the word "wrong" instead of "mad".
Perhaps this itself was an example of political correctness
gone wrong. Or mad.

Regardless of how Ms O'Rourke says the phrase was meant, it
is an undeniable fact that the phrase "working like a
black" has its origins in an unlamented past when black
people were considered by Europeans to be at the foot of
the evolutionary ladder.

Indeed, the phrase makes an early appearance in Gustave
Flaubert's Madame Bovary in 1856 – ironically enough, a
novel which explores the inadequacy of language to
communicate complex thoughts and ideas.

More recently the phrase has become associated with the
pre-civil rights Jim Crow era in the Deep South of the
United States when the stereotypical image was of
uneducated black people labouring barefoot in the cotton
field or the sharecropper's patch.

In the year 2006, to resurrect such a baleful and racially
emotive spectre in a meeting room in Mullingar was
inappropriate and ill-judged; Ms O'Rourke's subsequent
refusal to apologise suggests a lack of judgement.

There was a time, not that very long ago, when Ireland was
such a racially homogeneous society that such a turn of
phrase would have elicited barely a flicker, but we don't
collect money for the black babies any more and the black
and white minstrels are no longer on TV.

Our towns and our cities are becoming increasingly racially
diverse, and while that rich mix brings wonderful
blessings, it is a red rag to those who would keep Ireland
Catholic, white and inward-looking.

For people like this, such phraseology is common coin, but
Ms O'Rourke is a respected politician without a racist bone
in her body. Her choice of language was hurtful and wrong
and she should be big enough to acknowledge that she made a


Seán Mac Bride: De Facto

Liamy MacNally on the matters of fact and the facts of the

That day's struggle

Seán Mac Bride will never receive due honour while the
civil war mentality prevails in Irish politics. Apart from
some local acknowledgment in Westport, the centenary of his
birth went almost unnoticed two years ago, a celebration
deficit on the national stage was noticeable. Seán Mac
Bride is still on the outside. Only time will allow the
chipping away of the prejudices, ignorance and power bases
that keep his name at bay. We should be shouting from the
rooftops, as a nation, over the achievements of a man who
was proud to be called an Irishman. His secretary, Catríona
Lawlor, has done a great service by editing his new book,
'That Day's Struggle: A Memoir 1904-195'1, published by
Currach Press. Paris birth His father, Major John Mac
Bride, was a Covie, born at the Quay, while his mother,
Maud Gonne, was the daughter of a British Army officer.
Both were advocates of the cause of Irish freedom. Major
John paid the ultimate price and was executed by the
British in 1916. Maud was also the muse of William Butler
Yeats, who wrote many a verse in her honour. Seán was born
in Paris in 1904. This proved to be an advantage to him in
later life with his linguistic skills and his diplomatic
connections. He was a great advocate of Europe. He moved
from Paris to Ireland with his mother in 1918. Three years
later, he was alongside Michael Collins and company in
London during negotiations for the Anglo-Irish Treaty.
Unlike some of his nationalist colleagues, he vehemently
opposed partition and was an active anti-partitionist in
the following years. For him, the border existed only in
the minds of those who wanted it that way. He took up arms
and ended up as the Chief of Staff of the IRA in 1936. By
then he had experienced the death of a close friend in a
shoot-out with the British and was jailed along with Ernie
O'Malley. The futility of violence eventually dawned on him
and he became a pacifist, of international standing. Clann
na Poblachta In 1943, he became a senior barrister after
interrupted legal studies and defended many imprisoned IRA
men. At that time the Irish state condoned the death
penalty and Seán Mac Bride is credited with saving more
than one life through his legal prowess. He also acted in
legal cases abroad. He founded his own political party,
Clann na Poblachta. It had its gestation at a conference of
20 to 25 people in Barry's Hotel, Gardiner Place, Dublin.
"The meeting which initiated Clann na Poblachta was after
the death on hunger strike of Seán Mc Caughey on 11 May
1946." Seán Mac Bride was a TD from 1947-1958, acting as
Foreign Minister from 1948–1951. During this time. he also
acted as Vice-President of the Organisation for European
Cooperation (OEEC) and in 1950 became President of the
Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe. It was
during his watch that An Taoiseach, Jack Costello, declared
the country a Republic during a visit to Canada on
September 1, 1948. Seán Mac Bride was one of the chief
architects of that speech. In essence, it set out to repeal
the External Relations Act (which gave the British monarch
'power' in Ireland) and leave the British Commonwealth.
Given today's political status, it seems somewhat ironic
that it was a Fine Gael Taoiseach who declared the country
a republic. Seán Mac Bride's book, 'That Day's Struggle',
is full of nuggets of information that give human insights
in the man we have all come to respect so much. It has the
serious side alongside the funny stories. One cannot but
burst into laughter at some of the antics employed by many
of the people he met, from his IRA colleagues and English
vegetarian diplomats, to a fellow Minister whose sole
concern was the cattle trade with Britain. His European and
commonwealth counterparts also enjoyed setting up the Brits
when they, as the colonial power, broke ranks, agreements
and protocols, as was often the way with London diplomacy.
The Argentine Ambassador With Foxford's Admiral Brown's
(the founder of the Argentine navy) celebrations marked in
for next year, there is a wonderful story about the visit
of the Argentine Ambassador to Ireland in 1948. At the
time, Ireland was grappling with a semblance of
independence; the External Relations Act was still a
reality; partition loomed large and the realisation was
dawning that the civil war benefited Britain more than any
Irish. The Argentine Ambassador, Mr Bessone, presented his
letters of credence, which were addressed to the King of
England. It referred to Ireland as if it were a British
colony rather than an independent state. Seán Mac Bride
informed the Ambassador that the credentials should be
addressed to the President of Ireland rather than the King
of Great Britain. The Cabinet agreed 'that it was about
time we put an end to this nonsense of presenting letters
of credence to Buckingham Palace'. Previously, the letters
were addressed to the King, opened in Dublin and forwarded
to London, much to the annoyance of Buckingham Palace.
Ambassador Bessone returned with letters of credence
address to the President of Ireland, Seán T O'Kelly. These
were presented to An Taoiseach, John A Costello, on
Saturday, July 31, 1948. That night the President feted the
Ambassador. Seán Mac Bride writes: "So the episode of the
Argentine Ambassador to Dublin was what I would regard as
the first step in breaking the link with the Crown, the
first step towards the repeal of the External Relations Act
and towards Ireland's departure from the Commonwealth. It
must be remembered, of course, that from the time that de
Valera brought in the External Relations Act, 1938 or 1939,
he had been criticised very strongly, especially by Paddy
McGilligan, who as a constitutional lawyer, considered this
an absolutely absurd device, meaningless, which was rather
infra dig. Indeed, if one read the External Relations Act
carefully, one realised it was badly drafted, among other
things, and went much further than it was intended to go.
It really made the King of Britain King of Ireland,
specifically, and head of State." Man of peace Seán Mac
Bride writes so well about emigration and how it suited
Britain to have an agricultural based economy in Ireland.
This could provide a workforce for industrial areas in
Britain and a ready market for goods. This man was also a
founder of Amnesty International and involved in drawing up
the UN Convention on Human Rights. The book highlights the
double-dealing involved in politics at national and
international level. It offers an inside peek at the Anglo-
Irish Treaty negotiations and is a 'must read' for anyone
with any interest in history, war, peace or politics. Seán
Mac Bride was unique in being awarded the Nobel Peace
prize, the Lenin Peace prize and the American Medal of
Justice. He was a UN Commissioner and author of the Mac
Bride Principles - an anti-discrimination code. He died in
Dublin on January 15, 1988. The call to initiate a lasting
tribute to this great man is getting louder. Westport men
and women can certainly take the lead.


Archbishop's Murder May Stay Mystery

By Brian McDonald
10 January 2006

The mystery surrounding the murder of an Irish archbishop
in Burundi remains unsolved two years after his death and
the reason for his killing may never be known, his fellow
bishops have admitted.

While the Republic's government remains in diplomatic
contact with the government of Burundi in east Africa, it
is unlikely that the killers of Archbishop Michael Courtney
near the capital Bunjumbura on December 29, 2003, will ever
be brought to justice.

Archbishop Courtney's friend, Bishop John Kirby of
Clonfert, said the archbishop had told him five weeks
before his murder that he had good relations with both the
government and the last of the rebel groups in Burundi.

Speaking in Irish at a special Mass in Loughrea to remember
Archbishop Courtney, Bishop Kirby said: "Two years have
passed since the day we buried him in a beautiful graveyard
beside Lough Derg. We did not know then why he had been

"There is every chance we never will."

Archbishop Courtney, who was Papal Nuncio to Burundi, was
murdered when his car was ambushed just south of Bujumbura
as he was returning from a funeral.

His brother, Dr Louis Courtney and sisters Kathleen
Vandenbergh and Mary Spreng-Courtney joined Primate of All
Ireland, Dr Sean Brady, and senior members of the Irish
Hierarchy at the Mass at St Brendan's Cathedral.

Bishop Kirby told the congregation that, while the
archbishop had been due to go on a new appointment as
Apostolic Nuncio to Cuba, he had asked for permission to
remain for a further month in Burundi as he felt he was
close to achieving a peace accord in the country.

Since the mid-90s, Burundi has been devastated by a bloody
tribal war which has claimed the lives of 300,000 people.
Bishop Kirby said the peace accord which was still
tentatively holding in Burundi was largely as a result of
Archbishop Courtney's efforts.


Plea For Special Olympics Volunteers

The organisers of the Special Olympics in Ireland today
appealed to businesses and ordinary people to help them
stage the biggest sporting event in Belfast this year.

By:Press Association

Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain and Irish Foreign
Minister Dermot Ahern joined organisers at a special
ceremony in Belfast Waterfront Hall to herald the
£1.7million national games in Belfast this June.

Belfast`s Odyssey Complex will host an opening ceremony
involving 2,000 athletes with learning disabilities, their
families and around 500 coaches.

The athletes will compete for glory in 12 sports in venues
across Belfast and also in Co Antrim.

But the organisers today said that they needed 5,500
volunteers to help run the event and want them to sign up
early so they could get the appropriate training.

Fergus Finlay, chairman of Special Olympics Ireland told a
ceremony involving athletes from Ulster, Dublin, The
Eastern Region, Munster and Connacht that Belfast would
prove an excellent host city.

"Ever since the Special Olympic World Games were staged in
Dublin, it has been our ambition to hold a very significant
national event in Belfast for a number of reasons," he

"Belfast is a vibrant city and has incredible sporting

"This is the most exciting event we have ever run and we
are relying on the warmth, generosity and the commitment to
sport of the people of Northern Ireland."

During an opening ceremony co-hosted by UTV`s Gerry Kelly
and RTE`s sports broadcaster Des Cahill, there were
appearances by Ulster and Ireland rugby star David
Humphreys, X Factor star Tabby and singer songwriter Juliet

Goodwill messages were also relayed by video from a number
of celebrities including The Corrs, Brian Kennedy, Phil
Coulter, former world champion athlete Eamonn Coughlan and
ex-Irish rugby international Keith Wood.

The Special Olympics torch, The Flame of Hope, was carried
into the auditorium by the Assistant Chief Constable of the
Police Service of Northern Ireland, Duncan McCausland and
by the Deputy Commissioner of An Garda Siochana, Peter

The torch will be carried during a relay between Cork and
Belfast between June 16 and 21 when the opening ceremony
takes place in the Odyssey.

Mr Hain welcomed plans to stage the games in the city.

"It is truly an honour for Belfast to host the 2006 Special
Olympics Ireland Games which will be the largest sporting
event in Northern Ireland, indeed in the whole island of
Ireland this year," he said.

Irish Foreign Minister Dermot Ahern paid tribute to the

"Special Olympics in Ireland has established a proven and
well deserved reputation for running highly successful
events with the capability to infuse communities with its
incredible energy and enthusiasm."

Today`s event was attended by a range of political
representatives in Northern Ireland.

Among those present were the Democratic Unionist Lord Mayor
of Belfast Wallace Brown, DUP Assembly member Ian Paisley
Jnr, nationalist SDLP Deputy Leader Dr Alasdair McDonnell,
Alliance Deputy Leader Eileen Bell and the Ulster Unionist
MLA Jim Wilson.

The organisers of the games today urged businesses to
contribute to the budget with generous donations to help
them feed athletes, provide medical facilities and

People wishing to volunteer were also urged to register
online at a dedicated website,


Yeats' Family Treasures To Go On Display

10/01/2006 - 11:42:43

Priceless family treasures belonging to William Butler
Yeats will be handed over to the National Library of
Ireland tomorrow for its first major exhibition on the
Nobel prize-winning poet.

The hoard includes poems, portraits and a precious Japanese
sword given to Yeats during a lecture tour of the US in

The material will be given to the Library on temporary loan
by Yeats' son, Michael for the forthcoming exhibition,
'Yeats: the life and works of William Butler Yeats' due to
open later this year.

"This will be the first major exhibition developed by the
National Library on the great poet and we are indebted to
the Yeats family for their support," said National Library
director, Aongus O hAonghusa.

"It will draw on a wide range of Yeatsian scholarship and
will attempt to engage with all the major aspects of Yeats'
life and works to give a comprehensive view of him."

The family material will also feature an illuminated copy
of the Lake Isle of Innisfree, printed by Yeats' sister
Elizabeth and portraits of Yeats' wife, George by artists
Edmund Dulac and John Butler Yeats.

The Japanese sword being donated was described in Yeats'
poem Meditations in Time of Civil War.

The artefacts will augment the National Library's permanent
collection of Yeats manuscripts and books donated by the
family over many years including manuscripts or early
printed versions of most of Yeats' best-known poems like
Lake Isle of Innisfree to Circus Animals' Desertion, and
Under Ben Bulben.

The material being assembled for the exhibition will also
include previously unseen pictures of Yeats and Maud Gonne
on loan from Mrs Anna White, grand-daughter of Maud Gonne
and daughter of Sean McBride.

The Yeats manuscript collection is one of the largest
literary collections in the National Library, and the
largest collection of Yeats manuscripts in a single
institution anywhere in the world.

The Yeats Library comprises 3,000 volumes owned and used by
Yeats in his lifetime, and an additional 350 titles by and
about him, published after his death.

The exhibition will make full use of digital media
including electronic 'turning the page' technology and
multimedia to convey the interest and excitement of Yeats'
life and of his creative process.

Born in 1865, Yeats was a leading figure in the Irish
Literary Revival and a founder of the Abbey Theatre.

He published almost 400 poems and 26 plays as well as
volumes of memoirs, essays, ideas, introductions and

He was appointed to the Irish Senate in the early years of
the Irish Free State.

He was awarded the Nobel prize for literature in 1923 and
later died in France in 1939.

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