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

January 18, 2006

Minister Clarifies 'IRA Position'

To Index of Monthly Archives
To January 2006 Index
To receive this news via email, click HERE.
No Message is necessary.

News About Ireland & The Irish

BB 01/18/06 Minister Clarifies 'IRA Position'
BB 01/18/06 Sinn Fein 'Wants To Back Police'
UT 01/18/06 More Spies Will Be Unmasked - SF
UT 01/18/06 IRA Urged To Surrender Acquisitions
IM 01/18/06 The Final Surrender
IT 01/19/06 State May Be 'Guilty Of War Crime'
IT 01/19/06 Plan To Honour SF Councillors Angers Unionists
DI 01/18/06 Opin: Unionist Hypocrisy On Display Again
IT 01/19/06 Opin: Sellafield Setback For Government
RT 01/18/06 Clare Family Mystified By New York Murder (V)
SN 01/18/06 Irish-American Heritage Mth & St.Patrick’s Day
IT 01/19/06 Emily For A Girl & James Or Matthew For A Boy


Minister Clarifies 'IRA Position'

The NI security minister has written to the Policing Board
chairman clarifying his position on ongoing IRA activity.

Shaun Woodward's letter to Desmond Rea follows a
confidential Policing Board meeting, details of which were

Unionists reacted angrily to a police assessment that the
IRA was still involved in organised crime.

The comments by Sam Kinkaid, the PSNI's most senior
detective, contradicted Mr Woodward, who last month said
the IRA was not active.

However, in his letter to Sir Desmond, the minister said:
"There is clearly a distinction to be made between the
activity of individuals and the intention of organisations.

"The point I have been making is that government believes
that the Provisional leadership intends to take the
organisation in a different direction."

He added: "I am clear, as are the PSNI, that there have
been significant changes in PIRA activity, including in the
area of criminality, since July.

"But there are complex assessments to be made in
distinguishing between criminality by individual PIRA
members for their own gain and criminality carried out by
PIRA members which is authorised by the organisation.

"It is the job of the IMC to comment on these difficult
issues. We are all agreed, and have repeatedly said, that
what is critical is the forthcoming independent assessment
of the IMC."

The minister said he viewed the breach of confidentiality
at the board with "considerable concern".

Paramilitary attacks

The DUP called for Mr Woodward to resign, while the UUP has
said the police view was a "damning assessment" of his

Sinn Fein's Gerry Adams described the briefing as "a
political intervention".

The SDLP leader, Mark Durkan, said that the contrast
between the police assessment of IRA criminal activity and
last month's comments by the security minister raises
questions about the minister's credibility.

Mr Kinkaid, the PSNI's assistant chief constable in charge
of crime operations, gave his assessment of the IRA's
activities during a private briefing to the Policing Board
on Tuesday.

It is believed Mr Kincaid said there had been significant
progress in terms of ending some activities on the part of
the IRA, such as paramilitary attacks and armed robberies.

However, he told board members that no paramilitary group,
including the IRA, has ceased involvement in organised

He said the police had seen no change in this for a year.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/01/18 22:34:58 GMT


Sinn Fein 'Wants To Back Police'

Sinn Fein will sign up to policing but it is a question of
timing, a prominent United States politician has said.

New York Republican Congressman Jim Walsh, who chairs the
Friends of Ireland group, was speaking after meeting party
president Gerry Adams.

Mr Walsh said he believed the party understood that the US
wanted to see them on the Policing Board, which holds the
police to account.

"I think it is a question of when, not if," he said.

"They know how important it is for there to be devolved
government here in Northern Ireland.

"I do not know their timing but I believe it will happen."

Mr Walsh is heading a bi-partisan Congressional delegation
to promote the peace process, which has been meeting
representatives of Northern Ireland's political parties.

Sinn Fein is the only party to refuse to take its seats on
the Northern Ireland Policing Board and District Policing
Partnerships across Northern Ireland.

Irish republicans will not endorse policing because they
claim reforms have not gone far enough.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/01/18 15:56:19 GMT


More Spies Will Be Unmasked - SF

Sinn Fein expects more British spies operating within its
ranks will be unmasked, Gerry Adams admitted today.

By:Press Association

Even though he insisted his leadership had not been damaged
by the exposure last month of Denis Donaldson, one of his
senior aides, as a police and Army agent, the Sinn Fein
leader said the party expected new names would emerge.

Challenged about revelations over Donaldson`s secret double
life within Sinn Fein, the West Belfast MP said: "You are
going to get more alleged agents or real agents being
trotted out in the time ahead."

Donaldson, 55, Sinn Fein`s former head of administration at
Stormont and a close confidant of Mr Adams, has not been
seen in Belfast since before Christmas, after dramatically
confessing his role as a British agent for more than 20

He was originally arrested by police in October 2002, along
with his son-in-law Ciaran Kearney and civil servant
William Mackessy, amid accusations that they operated a spy
ring at Stormont which went to the heart of former Northern
Ireland Secretary John Reid`s office.

The arrests forced Mr Reid to suspend the Northern Ireland
Assembly and multi-party executive within days.

Devolution has not returned since.

After a three-year legal battle, charges against the three
men were dropped at Belfast Crown Court last month, with
the Public Prosecution Service insisting it was no longer
in the public interest to pursue the case.

However, in another sensational twist, Mr Adams expelled
Denis Donaldson from the party after he told colleagues he
had been spying on them for two decades.

Since then Belfast has been rife with rumours about more
spies being unmasked.

Several senior republicans have been warned by police that
they are suspected of being agents and, although none have
publicly rejected the allegations, it is clear republicans
are bracing themselves for more claims.

After meeting US Congressmen in Belfast, Mr Adams said he
had every confidence in his party`s negotiating team,
despite the revelation that Mr Donaldson was a spy.

"We have had seven years, eight years, nine years, 10 years
of negotiations," he said.

"What we now need to see is delivery of all of the
agreements that were reached, crystallised in the Good
Friday Agreement.

"All of these other issues are very much a distraction. By
the way, you are going to hear more of this.

"You are going to get more alleged agents or real agents
being trotted out in the time ahead.

"You are going to get more efforts by dissident elements
within the British system to stop progress.

"You are going to get this seized upon by the DUP
(Democratic Unionist Party) and others who are afraid of a
future based on equality. What we have to be is tenacious,
resilient and patient about moving all of this forward."

The West Belfast MP said that in his discussions with Sinn
Fein, Mr Donaldson had not been forthcoming about what
information had been passed on to the British.

He also downplayed the impact of the Donaldson affair and
other spying allegations on republicans, claiming the IRA`s
move last July to end its armed campaign had had a greater

"Most thinking republicans would long ago have worked out
that the British do have spies and agents about the place.
But there is turbulence in there because the IRA did mighty
stuff," he said.

"The IRA historically has opened up all the opportunities
which are now before us and which have also given rise to
all the little last-ditch efforts to stop progress from
being made.

"There is certainly turbulence out there but it is our job
to lead.

"If anybody else wants to lead, then fair play to them. At
the moment we are in the leadership and we will lead. Our
leadership is about getting the Good Friday Agreement
firmly in place."


IRA Urged To Surrender Acquisitions

The IRA must surrender every property, piece of land or
business it has acquired over five decades if Sinn Fein is
to have a future policing or justice minister in Northern
Ireland, a unionist claimed tonight.

By:Press Association

After meeting US Congressmen in Belfast, Ulster Unionist
member of the Northern Ireland Policing Board Fred Cobain
MLA warned the Northern Ireland Office (NIO) that it must
not ignore any ill-gotten gains republicans may have
amassed before last July`s IRA statement declaring an end
to its armed campaign.

As NIO Security Minister Shaun Woodward faced calls for him
to quit over claims that the Provisionals are still
involved in criminality, Mr Cobain said the Government must
not be allowed to sweep under the carpet the vast criminal
empire the IRA had constructed since 1969.

"What the British Government is trying to do is play smoke
and mirrors with this issue and say that criminality has
ended from last July," the North Belfast Assembly member
told the Press Association.

"Any of the criminality and ill-gotten gains before that
could be swept under the carpet. There is no way unionists
are going to accept that.

"Criminality in all its forms must end and that means the
criminal empire that the Provisionals have built is going
to have to be brought some way into the light for the
police to deal with.

"Every piece of property, piece of land, business will have
to be surrendered.

"They have a financial empire. We have seen that in some of
the money-laundering stuff it is very sophisticated. Are we
going to allow that to continue just because it was before
the IRA statement in July 2005?

"The fact is these people could be ministers for justice
and policing in a future Stormont administration. There is
no way any other democratic society would allow this
situation to continue."

Sinn Fein has been pressing for the transfer of policing
and justice powers from Westminster to a future government
at Stormont as a pre-requisite for any move it may make on
joining the Policing Board in Northern Ireland.

That would mean a Sinn Fein or unionist minister assuming
responsibility in a devolved government for justice or
policing issues.

Unionists insist they will not sanction the transfer of
those powers until they are sure IRA criminality is over
for good.

Mr Woodward, the Westminster-based minister currently in
charge of policing, was today facing demands for his
resignation after it emerged that during a confidential
briefing of the Policing Board yesterday a senior policeman
contradicted his claim that the Provisionals were not
engaged in criminal activity.

Democratic Unionist leader the Rev Ian Paisley said the
minister should quit after leaks from the meeting revealed
Assistant Chief Constable Sam Kinkaid told the board the
IRA was still involved in criminality.

"I believe he (Mr Woodward) should go," said the North
Antrim MP, who will discuss the matter with Prime Minister
Tony Blair next Tuesday.

"If the British Government is going to use a report in an
untruthful way to try and paint a picture which had not
been painted for them by the security forces, then that is
an act of deception.

"Let the people have the facts, not the colouring of those
facts to suit political policy."

Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams, however, dismissed the
claims by the Assistant Chief Constable, describing him as
a member of the old guard in policing.

"All of this is nonsense," the West Belfast MP said.

"It is all part of what happens in a process when a society
is in transition. Our job is to take that society
collectively as political leaders through that process of

Government sources tonight said Northern Ireland Secretary
Peter Hain was concerned that sensitive information from
yesterday`s confidential briefing to the Policing Board had
been leaked publicly within two hours.

In a statement, the chairman of the Policing Board Sir
Desmond Rea said he was also disappointed that the
confidence of the meeting had been breached.

"By definition private and confidential briefings are based
on trust," he said.

"If the initial breach of confidentiality in respect of
yesterday`s briefing emanated from a member of this board,
I have no doubt that the vast majority of the board will be
disappointed to say the least.

"This breach, regardless of where it emanated, has damaged
that trust and that is a matter of regret."


The Final Surrender

by Des Long - lris Monday, Jan 16 2006, 4:36pm

National / Crime And Justice / Press Release

Provisionals Head To Sit in Westminister

Gerry Kelly one of the Provisional leadership has signalled
a change in policy towards policing in the Six Counties

Media release from Des Long, Chairman
Limerick Republican Information Service

For the attention of News Editor/Newsroom…

The day is not far off when Provisional Sinn Fein will be
policing the police in the Six Counties and as a
consequence, taking their seats in the British Parliament
at Westminister, the chairman of the Limerick Republican
Information Service said today.

Des Long from Corbally said that yet another u turn by
senior Provisionals will impose recognition of the police
on their Supporters and the final sell out will be walking
into the Palace of Westminster.

“The masters of spin are at it again,” said Mr.Long. “They
are now presenting their latest climbdown as a victory for
political action. The fact is the Dublin and London
Administrations are on the public record as saying that
Stormont will not be restored unless the Provisionals
support policing.

“It is as simple as that – the Provisionals have their
backs against the walls of Westminister and their MI5
masters are now pushing them into the Palace.

“The final surrender will come when the Provisionals take
their seats but rather than be truthful with the Irish
people their spin masters will present their action as yet
another tactic on the way to gaining the All Ireland

“The only people who seem to believe the continuing
Provisional lies, are the Provisionals themselves.
Certainly they have no credability left with true
Republicans who oppose the Stormont Agreement because it
will not bring about a new and united Ireland.

“In fact the Agreement is a failure because it copper
fastens the partition of Ireland and ensures the British
presence. Republicans know that the real cause of conflict
is the British presence in Ireland.”

Issued on Monday 16th January 2006

For Confirmation Please Contact Des Long,
or e-mail contact: . website


State May Be 'Guilty Of War Crime'

Deaglán de Bréadún, Foreign Affairs Correspondent

If Shannon was being used by the CIA for transporting
prisoners then the Government would be participating in a
war crime as defined by the Nuremberg Tribunal after the
second World War, prominent anti-war academic Noam Chomsky
said last night in Dublin.

Dr Chomsky, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of
Technology (MIT) and a leading critic of US foreign policy,
was responding to questions from the floor after delivering
the annual Amnesty International lecture before 2,000
people at the RDS.

There was such demand for places that the organisers said
4,000 people had to be turned down and the Shelbourne Hall
had to used to accommodate the crowd. The attendance
included poet Seamus Heaney, Labour Party spokesman on
foreign affairs Michael D Higgins and artist Robert
Ballagh. The task of moderating the occasion was carried
out by broadcast journalist Olivia O'Leary.

During the question-and-answer session, Richard Boyd
Barrett of the Irish Anti-War Movement pointed out to Dr
Chomsky that about 300,000 US troops had gone through
Shannon last year "on the way to Iraq", making for a total
of some 500,000 since the war began in 2003. He claimed
that "about 50-60 of the CIA rendition flights" carrying
prisoners had also gone through Shannon in aircraft that,
he added, "the Irish Government refused to search".

To widespread applause, Mr Boyd Barrett asked Dr Chomsky if
he would agree that, as a result, the Government was
complicit with state terrorism, war crimes and breaches of
international human rights. Secondly, he asked Dr Chomsky
if he would endorse worldwide demonstrations on March 18th-
19th for withdrawal of US-led forces from Iraq.

Dr Chomsky responded: "The second one is easier to answer -
yes." He said this would mean supporting "the overwhelming
majority of the population of Iraq" which, according to
recent authoritative opinion polls, wanted an end to the

Commenting on the Shannon issue, he said: "I can only
respond conditionally. I don't know the facts. But if what
you say is correct, and if in fact even a part of it is
correct, yes, that's participation in what was declared at
Nuremberg to be 'the supreme international crime which
encompasses within itself all of the evil that follows'.
Participation in that is, yes, a crime. And from then on,
it's your business."

The US embassy in Dublin has strongly denied that prisoners
are being transported through Shannon and, visiting Dublin
this week, Republican Congressman James Walsh of New York
also said, "it is my understanding they do not come through

In an hour-long lecture entitled, The War on Terror, Dr
Chomsky strongly condemned the involvement of the Bush
administration and its "pillion-rider", the British
government, in the Iraqi war which had, in fact,
exacerbated the threat of terror.

"Washington planners had been advised, even by their own
intelligence agencies, that the invasion was likely to
increase the threat of terror. And it did, as their own
intelligence agencies confirm."

If reducing the threat of terror were, in fact, a high
priority for Washington or London there were ways to
proceed, even apart from the "unmentionable idea" of
withdrawal from Iraq. A serious counter-terror campaign
would begin by "considering the grievances, and where
appropriate, addressing them" which gave rise to "Islamic

© The Irish Times


Plan To Honour SF Councillors Angers Unionists

There were angry exchanges at a meeting of Magherafelt
District Council on Tuesday night as Sinn Féin put forward
a proposal to erect a plaque to two former council
colleagues who were murdered during the Troubles.

The eight Sinn Féin councillors on the 16-member council
voted for the proposal, but the four DUP and two Ulster
Unionists were against and the two SDLP councillors

There were heated exchanges after Cllr SeáMcPeake (SF)
raised the motion: "That a plaque be erected in this
council building in memory of the two former councillors
for Magherafelt District Council, Cllr John Davey and Cllr
Bernard O'Hagan, who were so brutally murdered whilst
serving the people of the district."

Mr McPeake said yesterday: "We brought it forward at this
time because we felt the two councillors needed to be
remembered by the council. It is long overdue. There is a
plaque in the council to all victims of the conflict, but
we feel these two stand out as they died while they were
serving the council."

Cllr Oliver Hughes (SF) said he believed unionists were
against the plan because it involved his party.

Mr Davey was ambushed by loyalists in February 1989 and Mr
O'Hagan was shot outside his workplace in Magherafelt in

© The Irish Times


Opin: Unionist Hypocrisy On Display Again

Editor: Colin O’Carroll

Here we go again. Just a short time before the Independent
Monitoring Commission is due to make its report on the
condition of the IRA ceasefire, a senior PSNI officer tells
the Policing Board in a private meeting that he believes
that the IRA is still involved in ‘organised crime’. And –
are you sitting down? – the details of the hush-hush
briefing, attended by British Security Minister Shaun
Woodward, are leaked to the media.

For his part, the minister has indicated that he’s sticking
by comments he made last month when he said that the IRA
was no longer involved in ‘criminal activity’.

Like Pavlov’s dog, whose mouth watered at the sound of the
dinner bell even when there was no food to be seen, so
unionists will fall on this latest intervention by the PSNI
as further proof of republican bad faith. Bertie Ahern and
Tony Blair’s reinvigorated efforts of late to get the
political institutions back up and running asap will have
received an early setback.

None of this comes as a surprise or even a disappointment
to nationalists and republicans any more – they understand
all too well that this is a life and death drama that’s
being acted out not on the streets or even in the debating
chamber, but in the newspapers and on the airwaves. As is
increasingly the case, the unionist electorate will make
their minds up on the issue of going into government with
Sinn Féin not by what is real, or right or proven, but by
what screams out at them from the media.

What’s screaming out at them this morning is that the PSNI
has ruled on the ‘criminality’ issue, and as we’ve seen
before, unionists will dismiss and even physically threaten
their own police force when it says or does something to
displease them, but it will invest the PSNI with awesome
powers of deductive and detective prowess when it says or
does something that gives them another excuse to run away
from the future.

For our part, we’d be more inclined to believe the words of
the PSNI’s head of crime operations, Sam Kincaid, if the
force’s record in proving what it so loudly proclaims was a
little more credible. From the Northern Bank to Castlereagh
to Stormont, the PSNI has failed time after time to produce
the goods.

Meanwhile, it’s pass the sick bag in Belfast again as the
DUP displays its very singular idea what turning its back
on terrorists really means. The new High Sheriff of
Belfast, William Humphrey, has refused to invite Sinn Féin
to his installation dinner. He has, however, invited
political representatives of the UDA and the UVF. They
haven’t merely been accused by the PSNI of involvement in
drug-related murders, bombings and co-ordinated street
violence – they’ve quite happily admitted it themselves. Be
nice to think that somebody, somewhere at DUP headquarters
is saying, hold on a minute William. But, this tale of
double standards is a story we’ve heard more often than
that dog ever heard the dinner bell.


Opin: Sellafield Setback For Government

There is no doubt that the legal opinion delivered
yesterday by the European Union's Advocate General amounts
to a significant setback for the Government's campaign to
have Britain's Sellafield nuclear reprocessing complex

The Advocate General, whose opinions almost invariably
presage rulings by the European Court of Justice, has found
that the appropriate legal forum for pursuing this issue of
dispute between Ireland and Britain is the court, and not
via the United Nations Law of the Sea Convention, the
option pursued by the Government.

If the Advocate General's opinion is indeed upheld by the
court, then the Government will have been put in its place.
After all, as it well knows, the issue of nuclear safety is
clearly within the EU's remit. Indeed, this may explain why
former environment minister Martin Cullen took such a
highly publicised case over Sellafield to the independent
Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague in 2002.

It did not get very far in The Hague either. The first
case, taken under the Ospar Convention for the Protection
of the Marine Environment, produced a verdict that
Ireland's demand for the release of commercially sensitive
information on the Mox plant at Sellafield did not fall
within the scope of the convention. The outcome of the
second case, taken under the Law of the Sea Convention, was
even more discouraging. In its preliminary ruling, the
Hague tribunal rejected Ireland's demand for an end to
radioactive discharges from the Mox plant because the
Government had not established that they were of sufficient
magnitude to cause "an urgent and serious risk of
irreparable harm" to the marine environment of the Irish

But whatever about the relatively minor impact on the Irish
Sea, it is unquestionable that the reprocessing - even the
storage - of highly radioactive spent nuclear fuel at
Sellafield poses a continuing threat to Ireland. This
arises not just because of the danger of accidents (of
which there have been far too many), but also because the
plant itself is a potential terrorist target. However,
although it is clearly in our national interest that it
should be closed, it is not within our competence to
achieve this. Closure is even less likely now, given that
the British government's latest energy review will probably
recommend more nuclear power stations - ostensibly because
they would help to reduce the carbon dioxide emissions
blamed for causing climate change; indeed, this argument
has become the principal argument of the nuclear lobby.

Yesterday, Fine Gael TD and MEP Gay Mitchell called for an
end to the legal "posturing" over Sellafield and suggested
that Ireland and Britain "behave like good neighbours" and
seek to establish a bilateral agency to oversee
environmental and nuclear safety issues. After all, it is
not as if the Government comes to this issue with clean
hands: the raft of legal actions by the European Commission
speaks volumes about Ireland's failure to implement
adequate measures to protect its own environment.

© The Irish Times


Clare Family Mystified By New York Murder (V)

Video: Nine News: Paul O'Flynn talks to John and Vera Kelly
about the murder of their son, John Kelly Jnr, outside his
New York home on Sunday

18 January 2006 22:03

The parents and family of the Co Clare man who was shot
dead in New York at the weekend say they cannot understand
why he was murdered.

New York police are still investigating the shooting of 42-
year-old John Kelly Junior outside his home.

The NYPD told RTÉ News this evening that there are no
witnesses so far to the shooting and that no arrests have
been made.

Mr Kelly's family said he had worked hard to pay for
treatment for his daughter who has a medical condition.

They said they have full faith in the NYPD investigation to
find those responsible for his death, adding that Mr Kelly
was a law-abiding citizen who had many friends in the NYPD.


Irish-American Heritage Month And St.Patrick’s Day 2006

Although not an official “federal” holiday in the United
States, St. Patrick’s Day has a long history of being
celebrated with parades and general goodwill for all things
Irish. The day commemorates St. Patrick, believed to have
died on March 17, who introduced Christianity to Ireland in
the fifth century. Because many Americans celebrate their
Irish lineage on St. Patrick’s Day, March was picked as
Irish-American Heritage Month. The month was first
proclaimed in 1995 by Congress. Each year, the U.S.
president also issues an Irish-American Heritage Month

Population Distribution
34.5 million

Number of U.S. residents who claim Irish ancestry. This
number is almost nine times the population of Ireland
itself (4.1 million). Irish is the nation’s second most
frequently reported ancestry, trailing only those of German
ancestry. (The ancestry estimates exclude people living in
group quarters.)

Percentage of Massachusetts residents of Irish ancestry —
about double the national percentage. (The estimate of
people of Irish ancestry excludes people living in group
quarters.) (Source: American FactFinder)

Number of states in which Irish is the leading ancestry
group: Delaware, Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Irish is
among the top-five ancestries in every state but two
(Hawaii and New Mexico).

Number of counties where Irish is the largest observed
ancestry group. Forty-four of these counties are in the
Northeast, with 14 in New York, 11 in Massachusetts and
five in New Jersey. (The number of people of Irish ancestry
in a county may not be significantly different from the
number of people of other ancestries in the county.)
(Source: unpublished data)

Number of Middlesex County, Mass., residents who are of
Irish ancestry. Among the 54 counties where Irish is the
largest observed ancestry group, Middlesex had the highest
population of Irish-Americans, with Norfolk County, Mass.,
second, with 203,285. (Source: unpublished data)

Percentage of the population of Plymouth County, Mass., and
Norfolk County, Mass., that is of Irish ancestry. Among the
54 counties where Irish is the largest observed ancestry
group, these two counties had the highest rate. (Source:
unpublished data)

The Mother Tongue
The number of U.S. residents who speak Irish Gaelic at

Coming to America
Number of U.S. residents born in Ireland. (The estimate
excludes people living in group quarters.) (Source:
American FactFinder)

4.8 million
Total number of immigrants from Ireland lawfully admitted
to the United States for permanent residence since fiscal
year 1820, the earliest year for which official immigration
records exist. By fiscal year 1870, about half of these
immigrants were admitted for lawful permanent residence.
Only Germany, Mexico, Italy and the United Kingdom have had
more immigrants admitted for permanent residence to the
United States than Ireland. (Source: Department of Homeland
Security at

Total number of immigrants from Ireland lawfully admitted
to the United States for permanent residence in the 2004
fiscal year. (Source: Department of Homeland Security at

Trade With the “Old Sod”

$24.0 billion
The value of U.S. imports from the Republic of Ireland
during a recent 10-month period (January-October 2005).
Meanwhile, the United States exported $7.5 billion worth of
goods to Ireland.

Places to Spend the Day

Number of places in the United States named Shamrock, the
floral emblem of Ireland. Mount Gay-Shamrock, W.Va., and
Shamrock, Texas, were the most populous, with 2,623 and
1,821 residents, respectively. Shamrock Lakes, Ind., had
162 residents and Shamrock, Okla., 126. (Statistic for
Mount Gay-Shamrock is from Census 2000; the other
statistics in this paragraph are 2004 estimates.) (Source:
American FactFinder and

Number of places in the United States that share the name
of Ireland’s capital, Dublin. Since Census 2000, Dublin,
Calif., has surpassed Dublin, Ohio, as the most populous of
these places (36,995 compared with 34,301, respectively, as
of July 1, 2004). (Source: American FactFinder and

If you’re still not into the spirit of St. Patty’s Day
after stopping by one of the places named “Shamrock” or
“Dublin,” then you might consider paying a visit to Emerald
Isle, N.C., with 3,648 residents, of which a ratio of 1-in-
6 are of Irish descent. (Source: American FactFinder and

The Celebration

41.5 billion & 2.5 billion
U.S. beef and cabbage production, respectively, in pounds,
in 2004. Corned beef and cabbage is a traditional St.
Patrick’s Day dish. The corned beef celebrants dine on may
very well have originated in Texas, which produced 7.3
billion pounds worth of beef, while the cabbage most likely
came from California, which produced 558 million pounds

The number of gallons of beer consumed per capita by
Americans annually in 2003. On St. Patrick’s Day, you may
be able to order green-dyed beer at one of the nation’s
48,050 drinking places, some of which may be Irish pubs.
See Table 201, Statistical Abstract of the United States:
abstract.html and

Number of breweries in 2003. The nation’s breweries are the
source for the domestic beer that is often an integral part
of St. Patty’s Day celebrations.

$75 million
Value of potted florist chrysanthemum sales at wholesale in
2004. Lime green chrysanthemums are often requested for St.
Patrick’s Day celebrations.

8 million
Number of St. Patrick’s Day cards Americans exchanged last
year, making this observance the ninth-largest card-sending
occasion in the United States.

93.3 million
Number of people who reportedly planned to wear green last
St. Patrick’s Day. (Source: National Retail Federation, via


Emily For A Girl And James Or Matthew For The Boys

Emily, James and Matthew were among the names most
frequently chosen by parents who announced their babies'
arrival in the columns of The Irish Times last year.

While James makes a regular appearance in lists of
favourite boys' names, Matthew's joint first position in
the boys came as a surprise as the name barely made it into
the 10 most popular names in birth announcement columns in
the previous year.

Then, Harry was in joint first position with James. Last
year, Harry slipped to third, after Jack. Andrew was chosen
as frequently as Harry last year, followed by Daniel, David
and Max.

Emily was also a surprise number one choice for baby girls
last year as it failed to make a showing in the top 10
names in 2004. Then, Anna was the most popular name, but
last year it slipped to fifth on the list, after Sarah,
Lucy and Grace.

Other popular girls' names included Sophie and Rachel. Both
Katie and Kate appeared in the top 10 names, but if both
versions were counted as one, the name would have been the
most popular of all. Similarly, variations of Isabel,
including Isobel, Isabelle and Isabella, made it one of the
most popular names in the birth announcements.

The list of more than 1,000 names shows a slight swing
towards Irish names.

Both Cillian and Conor made it into the top 10 boys' names
while Aisling and Aoife both appeared in the top 10 girls'
names. However, Róisín fell off in popularity last year, as
did Gráinne and Ciara.

Other popular Irish names included Finn, Cian, Liam and

The birth announcements column often hosts some rare names
and last year was no exception. Girls' names included Freya
- which appeared on several occasions - Líadan, Scarlett,
Cosette, Lazara and Safia.

Parents of boys also showed some originality, picking names
such as Ajay, Ardán, Breón, Cosmo, Dashiell and Luca.
Overseas adoptions and the State's growing multi-
culturalism were reflected in names such as Mei-Shen, Ke,
Omar, Yiorgos and Gergely.

Meanwhile, some parents saved their creativity for their
babies' middle names, with Zircon, Ptolemy, Loveday and
Atticus all sure to provide an interesting talking point
for their children someday.

The birth announcements also show the growing trend of
adding Rose to a girl's name, with Bláthna-Rose, Lola-Rose,
Anna-Rose and Claudia-Rose all making their debut.

The Central Statistics Office has not yet released national
data on last year's most common baby names, but in 2004,
Seán and Emma were the most popular names.

What's in a name: top 10s


1= James
3 Jack
4= Andrew
6= Daniel
7= Cillian


1 Emily
2 Sarah
3 Lucy
4 Grace
5= Anna
7= Katie,
10= Aisling

Source: Irish Times birth notices

© The Irish Times

To receive this news via email, click HERE.
No Message is necessary.
To January 2006 Index
To Index of Monthly Archives
Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

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