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January 26, 2006

Reiss Optimistic Regarding Deal

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News About Ireland & The Irish

BN 01/26/06
Reiss Optimistic About Prospects For North Deal
BB 01/26/06 PMs Hoping To Kick-Start Process
BT 01/26/06 Set Up Irish Police Team To Probe Killings
IN 01/26/06 Devlin Murder Suspect In Prison
WT 01/26/06 No Escaping Terror
DI 01/26/06 Council Motion Challenges PM On AllIreland Aims
GV 01/26/06 Grant of €30,000.00 For ILIR
IN 01/26/06 McCartney Cousins Slam SF For Killing Stance
IT 01/26/06 Man Charged In North With 2003 UDA Murder
SF 01/26/06 Dunnes Stores Accused Of Anti-Union Tactics
BT 01/26/06 Opin: Pragmatic Leadership Must Prevail
DI 01/26/06 Opin: IRL’s Struggle Taken To Munich Olympics
BT 01/26/06 Opin: Bishops, Beatniks And Free Derry Corner
IT 01/26/06 Survivor Of US Mine Blast Wakes From Coma
IT 01/26/06 Trad Festival Gets Under Way In Temple Bar
TM 01/26/06 Satire: Embrace An Energetic Blast From Past
IN 01/26/06 E20m Drama To Be Filmed In Ireland
IT 01/26/06 Irish Author Wins Top US Short Story Prize


Bush Envoy 'Optimistic' About Prospects For North Deal

26/01/2006 - 10:45:53

The Bush administration's special envoy to the North has
expressed optimism about the prospects for restoring
devolution in the near future.

Speaking to the BBC this morning, Mitchell Reiss said he
was "very optimistic" that a power-sharing government could
be restored, but it was up to the local political parties
to set a timetable for the move.

Mr Reiss made the comments ahead of a meeting tomorrow with
the leadership of the Democratic Unionist Party, which is
refusing to accept that the IRA has ended all activity.

The DUP has said it will not even consider sharing power
with Sinn Féin until it is satisfied that the IRA is
committed to solely peaceful means.


PMs Hoping To Kick-Start Process

The British and Irish premiers are to meet in Dublin later
as efforts to inject new momentum into Northern Ireland's
political process resume.

The talks between Tony Blair and Bertie Ahern are being
held on the eve of the Independent Monitoring Commission's
report into paramilitary activity.

US Special Envoy Mitchell Reiss was upbeat about the talks.

"You always have to be optimistic, but there may be more
grounds at this time than in the recent past," he said.

"I'm also here to show the (United States')
administration's ongoing commitment and interest in moving
forward with the peace process."

Earlier this month, police said the IRA was still engaged
in criminal activity.

However, the government is hoping the IMC will back its
assertion that the group is no longer involved in crime.

The DUP has also said it remains concerned about
indications that republicans are still involved in


On Tuesday, party leader Ian Paisley presented Mr Blair
with a 16-page document outlining their proposals for a
return to devolution in Northern Ireland.

Although details of the Facing Reality document were not
released, the paper is understood to propose a two-stage
process under which the Stormont assembly might be revived,
without a power-sharing executive.

During their meeting, Mr Paisley warned the prime minister
against putting a positive spin on the IMC's report.

However, Sinn Fein's Gerry Adams has insisted that the DUP
should not be allowed to block political progress.

The Sinn Fein president has dismissed unionists'
suggestions of lesser alternatives to the restoration of an
executive and has said he wants power-sharing at Stormont
within months.

Devolved government at Stormont was suspended in 2003
following allegations of a republican spy ring at the
Northern Ireland Office.

Last December, a prosecution against three people accused
of involvement was scrapped.

Shortly afterwards, one of the three, senior Sinn Fein
official Denis Donaldson who had worked at Stormont,
admitted that he had been a British agent for 20 years.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external
internet sites

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/01/26 08:26:33 GMT


Call To Set Up Special Police Team In Republic To Probe
Terrorist Killings

By Michael McHugh
26 January 2006

A special police team to investigate Troubles murders
involving the Republic of Ireland should be established, a
Dail committee has heard.

The recommendation was made to the joint justice committee
in Leinster House in Dublin yesterday and could boost
efforts to solve murders on both sides of the border.

The PSNI's Historical Enquiries Team (HET) was set up
earlier this month with a £30m budget to investigate an
estimated 3,268 unsolved murders.

The Justice Committee is looking at the police
investigation into the 1976 murder of Dundalk labourer
Seamus Ludlow, for which nobody was ever charged.

A witness to the inquiry, Jane Winter from the
British/Irish Rights Watch lobby group, said a HET in the
Republic would be welcomed by the Northern Irish

I think that (a southern counterpart) would be extremely
helpful. The HET has met with the Garda Commissioner and
are in the process of drawing up a protocol (of information

"If there was such a unit I think it would benefit them and
could help to lay a lot of ghosts on both sides of the

"There is a real desire now to find out or indeed share
information with the families as far as it's possible and
close the door on the past."

The first step in the process would be for the Justice
committee to recommend the measure when it reports its
findings in March.

A spokesman for the Garda said: "I certainly have not heard
of anything like that but if it is going to happen it will
be announced in due course."

Other cases which could benefit from a formal review team
include the Dublin/ Monaghan bombings in 1974, which Mid-
Ulster loyalists have been implicated in.

Many IRA bombings also originated in the Republic,
including the Omagh bombing in 1998.

"It would be very useful for the HET to have a dedicated
body in the Republic which it could work with," said Ms


Devlin Murder Suspect In Prison

By Barry McCaffrey

The main suspect in the killing of Catholic schoolboy
Thomas Devlin was on bail awaiting trial for separate
assault charges at the time of the 15-year-old’s murder,
The Irish News can reveal.

Earlier this month the 20-year-old suspect, who cannot be
named for legal reasons, was sentenced to six months in
prison after pleading guilty to assault occasioning actual
bodily harm.

It is understood that he has been questioned four times
about the murder of Thomas, pictured.

While originally from another part of north Belfast, he was
living in the loyalist Mount Vernon area at the time of the
schoolboy’s murder on August 10 last year.

He is not believed to be a member of any loyalist
paramilitary group but was described in court by his lawyer
as having “difficulties in relation to sectarianism”.

Thomas was stabbed and fatally wounded as he and two
friends walked along the Somerton Road in north Belfast
while returning home from buying sweets at a shop.

At the time of the killing police said the main suspects in
the murder investigation were two young men who had been
seen in the area with a black and white dog.

Three men, including a juvenile, were arrested and
questioned the day after the murder but were later released
without charge.

Police searched the 20-year-old suspect’s flat on the Mount
Vernon estate two weeks ago.

Detectives are understood to be confident that he carried
out the killing but have been unable to connect him to the

During the assault trial the suspect’s lawyer said his
client had “aggressive tendencies” when he took alcohol and
drugs and had “difficulties in relation to sectarianism”.
The court was also told that he had a strained relationship
with his family.

It is understood that a relative of the suspect was
sentenced to eight years in prison in 2002 after component
parts for coffee-jar bombs were discovered in his flat.

Two other relatives were murdered during loyalist feuds in

Despite family connections to loyalist paramilitaries,
security sources believe that the UVF discussed carrying
out so-called punishment shootings on both main suspects
late last year be-cause of the adverse publicity
surrounding Thomas’s murder.

The second suspect, who is from the Shore Road area, is
believed to have fled Northern

Ireland late last year but has now returned to north


Inside the Beltway
By John McCaslin
January 25, 2006

No Escaping Terror

A VIP reception will be held this evening at the
Phoenix Park Hotel on Capitol Hill in honor of Nobel Peace
Prize winner John Hume, former leader of the Social
Democratic and Labor Party (SDLP) of Northern Ireland, and
current SDLP leader Mark Durkan.

One of the two main nationalist parties in Northern
Ireland, the SDLP was formed in 1970 and today draws much
of its support from working Catholics. Just last week, Mr.
Durkan welcomed to Belfast three U.S. congressmen
monitoring the seemingly endless Northern Ireland peace

"The United States Congress is still very much
engaged,"said New York Republican Rep. James T. Walsh, the
delegation's leader.

But while he had their ears, SDLP member P.J. Bradley
told the visiting lawmakers -- including Rep. Tim Murphy,
Pennsylvania Republican, and Rep. Brian Higgins, New York
Democrat -- of concerns surrounding undocumented Irish
workers here in the United States who are now suddenly
threatened by the Border Protection Anti-Terrorism and
Illegal Immigration Control Act of 2005.

"I explained ... the fears of many parents and
families, in all of the 32 counties of Ireland, as a result
of the threat to their U.S.-based family members," Mr.
Bradley said. "I reminded the congressmen that if the
[anti-terror] act in its present form ever becomes a
reality, it will create a break in the 300-plus years'
tradition of the Irish traveling to, working in and
building America. And in a few generations it will no
longer be possible for prominent Americans to refer to
their Irish ancestry in their profiles or biographies.

"Given the fact that all three of the visiting [U.S.
congressmen] are of Irish descent and proud of the fact, I
believe they fully understood what I was saying."


Council Motion Will Challenge Taoiseach On All-Ireland Aims

Bertie Ahern urged to be proactive in working for Irish

Eamonn Houston

Two councils in the North will face a motion next month
challenging Taoiseach Bertie Ahern to pursue the all-
Ireland policies ratified by Irish citizens through their
support of the Good Friday Agreement.

The neighbouring Tyrone councils of Strabane and Omagh will
debate a Sinn Féin motion at their full monthly meetings in

Sinn Féin councillors Jarlath McNulty, who sits on Strabane
District Council, and Omagh district councillor Seán Begley
will place the motion before their respective local
government bodies.

A joint statement from the councillors said: “We welcome
the fact that all of the nationalist parties in Ireland now
subscribe to the objective of a united Ireland but feel
that, unless and until this objective is proactively
pursued through strategies and initiatives, then the stated
objective of nationalist Ireland is little more than empty

The two councillors accused Mr Ahern of paying lip service
to cross-Border arrangements enshrined within the terms of
the 1998 Good Friday Agreement.

As a part of the agreement, the North-South Ministerial
Council was set up to co-ordinate and co-operate over
issues of mutual benefit on both sides of the Border.

This council was given responsibility for policy over 12
areas, including agriculture, education, the environment,
health, tourism and transport.

The Tyrone Sinn Féin councillors added: “All parties,
including the DUP and UUP, accept that it is a legitimate
right to pursue the objective of Irish unity through
political and democratic means, and this motion is a
legitimate mechanism through which to pursue this

“If the motion is adopted, and we are confident that it
will [be], then it will send out a powerful message to the
Dublin government administration that the nationalist
people of west Tyrone expect it to begin to act on the
democratically expressed wishes of its Irish citizens in
this part of the 32 counties.”

The motion will call on the Irish government to publish a
green paper setting out an agenda that will result in the
full implementation of the Good Friday Agreement.

The proposed motion says: “This council therefore believes
that An Taoiseach Bertie Ahern TD has a unique
responsibility in giving practical expression to his
administration’s and nationalist Ireland’s stated objective
on the issue by immediately commissioning a green paper on
Irish unity, a paper focusing on the compelling logic of
this outcome in political, social and economic terms as
well as spelling out what proactive strategy his government
is going to undertake in pursuance of the stated objective
of nationalist Ireland.

“This council further calls on An Taoiseach Bertie Ahern TD
to an initiate an holistic consultation process amongst all
sectors of society North and South to assist in the
formulation of a green paper.”

If the motion succeeds, both Tyrone councils will write to
the Taoiseach challenging him to act on cross-Border
elements of the Good Friday Agreement.


Press Section
23 January 2006

Minister Ahern Announces Grant Of €30,000.00 For Irish
Lobby For Immigration Reform

Dermot Ahern TD, Minister for Foreign Affairs, today
announced a grant of €30,000 to support the work of the
Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform (ILIR) in the United
States. The grant is a further indication of the
Government's strong support for measures which would grant
legal residence status to undocumented Irish living in the

Announcing the grant, the Minister said that the Government
is very supportive of the organisation which aims to
highlight grass-root support for immigration reform and get
the Irish American community involved in the immigration

“ The ILIR has been established at a particularly critical
time in the US as the legislative debate on this issue
enters an important phase. The ILIR is throwing its weight
behind the McCain/Kennedy immigration reform bill. In my
own visits to the US I have expressed the Irish
Government's strong support for this bill. The positive
initiative taken by Senators McCain and Kennedy in the US
Senate, mirrored by Representatives Kolbe, Flake and
Gutierrez in the House of Representatives would enable
undocumented Irish people to participate in the life of
their adopted country, free from fear and uncertainty.”

The Minister added: “Funding to the ILIR can be seen in the
wider context of the Government's strong commitment to
supporting the Irish community abroad. €12 million has been
made available to my Department for emigrant services in
2006. This represents an increase of 45% on 2005. I look
forward this year to increasing our support for the
critical work of those groups in the voluntary sector that
reach out to the more vulnerable members of our community

Note for Editors:

The Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform (ILIR) was set up in
New York in December, 2005 to lobby the US Government on
behalf of the undocumented Irish in the US. It has the
support of leading Irish Americans as well as that of
groups such as the GAA. The purpose of the new organisation
is to lobby for immigration reform at a local level, with a
particular emphasis on the legislation proposed by Senators
John McCain and Edward Kennedy (the 'Secure America and
Orderly Immigration Act'). This will include lobbying
Congressmen and Senators in a bi-partisan manner.

ENDS +++
23th January 2006


Cousins Slam SF For Killing Stance

By Bimpe Fatogun

THE family of Robert McCartney have said that Sinn Fein’s
conduct since the killing has been even more hurtful that
the killing itself.

The 33-year-old died after being stabbed outside Magennis’s
bar in Belfast city centre on January 31 last year.

The IRA later offered to shoot members believed to have
been involved.

After the killing Sinn Fein suspended seven party members
and the IRA expelled three of its members.

But two of Mr McCartney’s cousins have now hit out at Sinn
Fein, whose support, they say, “lay with the people
involved in Robert’s murder, not with the McCartneys”.

The charge has been re-jected by Sinn Fein.

Last May Terence Davison and James McCormick were charged
with murdering Mr McCartney and attempting to murder
Brendan Devine.

But the McCartney family remain convinced more people
should face the courts.

In separate letters to The Irish News Gerard Quinn and his
sister Kathryn accused “democratically elected rep-ublican
representatives” of “using their positions to man-ipulate
opinion on the facts”.

Mr Quinn said rioting which followed police searches in the
Markets area of south Belfast after the killing was “an
orgy of allegedly orchestrated violence aimed at hindering
the investigation”.

“Alex Maskey Sinn Fein MLA for South Belfast – the scene of
the disturbances – publicly stated that ‘the scale and
approach’ of the police operation was completely
‘unacceptable and unjustifiable’,” he said.

“Mr Maskey’s comments angered not just the murdered man’s
family but also the local community and saw an
unprecedented uprising within republicanism.”

Kathryn Quinn said the pain of losing her cousin had got
worse in the past year.

“What in my opinion has to be the worst was the lack of
support – despite proclaiming the opposite – from Sinn
Fein, a party we had voted for and people we had known and
respected for many years,” she said.

Sinn Fein’s Gerry Kelly said the party had “made very clear
our determination to help the McCartney family”.

“The party has clearly and unambiguously repudiated those
who were responsible for Robert McCartney’s murder,” he

“The party president has repeatedly called on everyone with
information to make it available. We have worked hard on
the ground to create the climate in which this can happen.

“Witnesses have come forward and made statements... Indeed
the PSNI confirmed in May that they had received 151
witness statements. This does not square with the
allegation of a wall of silence.”

Mr Quinn appealed to the “at least 45” independent
witnesses he believes were in Magennis’s bar on the night
of the killing to come forward.


Man Charged In North With 2003 UDA Murder

Last updated: 26-01-06, 07:01

A man was charged last night with the murder three years
ago of a close associate of former UDA boss Johnny "Mad
Dog" Adair.

Iain Rea (35) is also accused of a series of gun and
explosive charges.

Roy Green, 32, was shot dead outside a bar at Kimberly
Street in the Ormeau Road area of south Belfast in January
2003. At the time it was claimed he was the victim of a
loyalist feud.

Rea, of Annadale Crescent, Belfast, was also charged at
Belfast Magistrates' Court with possessing four guns, rifle
parts, cartridges, plastic explosives and a detonator.

The accused shook his head when asked if he had anything to
say to the charges.

Rea was also accused of possession of imitation firearms
with intent to cause fear of violence.

He was remanded in custody and will reappear at Belfast
Crown Court on a date to be fixed. Rea is expected to apply
for High Court bail later this week.



Dunnes Stores Accused Of Anti-Union Tactics

Deputy Ó Snodaigh, who is TD for the area, said, "The
sacking of Joanne Delaney, a shop steward with the union
Mandate, from her position at Dunnes Stores in the Ashleaf
centre in Crumlin for wearing a union badge on her store
uniform is totally unjustified and smacks of anti-union

"The company's refusal to attend a meeting about the
disciplinary action with Joanne Delaney because she was
accompanied by her trade union official is clearly designed
to undermine the legitimate role and function of the trade
union movement within the store.

"I am calling on the Minister for Enterprise Trade and
Employment to intervene directly with Dunnes to ensure the
immediate reinstatement of this worker and to make it clear
to the company that such anti-trade union behavior will not
be tolerated." ENDS


Opin: Pragmatic Leadership Must Prevail

26 January 2006

With Tony Blair in Dublin today and a fresh round of
political talks at Stormont due on February 6, the Northern
Ireland parties are anxious to prove they are ready for
action. Their plans have little in common, but it is early
days yet and a visit from the Prime Minister later in the
month should help concentrate minds.

The DUP went right to the source this week, presenting Mr
Blair in Downing Street with their proposals for phased
devolution. Although it is hardly new that until unionist
trust in Sinn Fein can be established they want the 108-
member Assembly to act as a collective government, they
decline to elaborate before they hear the Prime Minister's

Any plan which deviates from the pure Good Friday Agreement
has little chance of winning nationalist consent, as the
government well knows. Mr Blair's job, alongside Bertie
Ahern, will be to persuade the DUP to stay in the hunt for
a solution, when there is so little optimism that anyone is
ready for compromise.

Sinn Fein - together with the two governments - must wish
that the clock could be turned back to December 2004, when
they came so close to agreement with the DUP. It all came
to naught, however, and the atmosphere was soon poisoned by
the Northern Bank raid and the Robert McCartney murder,
which the IRA's "stand down" statement and decommissioning
have done little to cure.

All agree that no lasting agreement is possible unless
there is the necessary level of trust between the leaders
of unionism and nationalism - the DUP and Sinn Fein. Mr
Blair will find there is little change, if any, on this
score - and that disagreements about the IRA's criminal
empire have seriously damaged the government's credibility.
Even if the Independent Monitoring Commission reports a
decline in criminal activity, the DUP will demand a
spotlessly clean bill of health before serious
consideration of power-sharing.

Indeed, the chances of a new "comprehensive agreement"
being arrived at before the autumn - ready for an Assembly
election in 2007 - are slim enough, whatever carrots or
sticks the government has to offer. The DUP and UUP both
want a staged return to full devolution, while Sinn Fein
and the SDLP are wary of interim arrangements becoming

The best weapon in Mr Blair's armoury is the increasing
unpopularity of direct rule, as local politicians are shown
to have minimal influence on water tax, rates, schools,
hospitals and issues of importance to every family, like
gas and electricity prices. People want more say in their
own affairs but, first, old, tribal attitudes must change
and, perhaps, a more pragmatic leadership must emerge.


Opin: Ireland’s Struggle Taken To Munich Olympics

Danny Morrison

Mary Peters — the “Belfast girl” (News Letter) — had just
set a new world record in the pentathlon and won Britain’s
first gold medal in the competition.

Peters said: “When I saw the Union Jacks and heard the
cheers from the British crowd, it lifted me and I knew I
would do well.” When she was told that Prime Minister Ted
Heath was in the stadium, she said: “I hope he’s as proud
to be British as I am.”

Two days later, members of the Palestinian Black September
organisation infiltrated the Olympic village in Munich and
broke into the Israeli compound. Two Israeli athletes died
in the initial confrontation and nine others were taken

The militants demanded the release of 236 Palestinian
prisoners in Israeli jails and their free passage to an
Arab country. When this was refused, they demanded an
aeroplane to fly them to the Middle East. The German
authorities agreed. The captors and their hostages were
flown by helicopter to a nearby airport. German snipers
opened fire and provoked a shoot-out that left nine
Israelis, four Palestinians, a German policeman and a pilot

Later this week, Steven Spielberg’s film Munich opens in
Ireland. It tells the story of Munich in September 1972 and
its aftermath when Israeli agents across Europe
assassinated suspected Palestinian militants in revenge.

“If things had gone according to plan, nobody would have
been killed,” said Abu Daoud, one of the organisers of the
Black September attack. He said that no one in the West
cared or had heard about the 50 Palestinian children who
were killed when the Israeli army bombed a school in al-
Rasheda two weeks before Munich.

“People were more interested in sports than in the plight
of the Palestinians.”

One morning, a year before Munich, 18-year-old Brian Holmes
(aka Homer) was going for an early morning cycle when he
noticed scores of British army Saracens and Jeeps parked in
the Suffolk area of west Belfast. He saw veteran
republicans Jimmy Drumm and Gerry Maguire being marched
over to one of the vehicles. Assuming it was a just a
routine arrest, he waved to them, without realising that
this was the beginning of internment, which would literally
lead to an explosion of IRA activity and a major turning
point in the conflict.

On his return journey a few hours later, Homer couldn’t get
back to his street. The British army had sealed off
Andersonstown. Homer had to scale a fence and cross the M1
motorway, only to get caught up in the middle of a clash
between soldiers and local residents. He saw a soldier take
aim and fire at a young man, hitting him in the chest.
Homer went to help and then realised that it was his
friend, 17-year-old Frank McGuinness. A car was waved down
but McGuinness died shortly afterwards. The British army
claimed he had been throwing a petrol bomb.

Homer said: “That had a profound effect on me and I decided
to join the republican movement. I cut back on the cycling
but then, in the summer of 1972, Con McHugh, a well-known
republican, approached me and asked me to start training
again. He said he would tell me all about it later.”

Homer was a member of the National Cycling Association, a
32-county body that was critical of the official cycling
bodies — the Irish Cycling Federation, which catered for
the 26 Counties; and the Northern Ireland Cycling
Federation, which was set up in 1949 to cater for the Six
Counties — that is, unionist sensibilities. The NCA was
denied access to international sporting events because of
its principled opposition to partition.

1972 was the year of Bloody Sunday and Bloody Friday. It
was also the year when loyalist paramilitaries unleashed a
sectarian murder campaign against innocent Catholics. In
August 1972, the British government introduced Operation
Motorman, and the British army occupied Catholic schools
and GAA grounds.

“It was then I learnt what I was training for. The NCA —
which wasn’t recognised and had been excluded by the Irish
Olympic Committee, despite having some superior cyclists —
was going to organise an unofficial team for the Munich
Olympics. We were aiming to protest against the British
occupation of our areas, including GAA property, the
brutalisation of prisoners, the loyalist murder gangs with
whom the Brits were colluding, and the fact that there was
no all-Ireland cycling team,” said Homer.

Seven members went out to Munich and joined four others.
After the shoot-out and the massacre at the airport, they
thought that the games — and thus the protest — would be
called off. However, the International Olympic Committee
president declared that “the games must go on” and so they
did, with the flags flying at half-mast.

“We weren’t sure what to do but Benny, our manager, said:
‘No, this is an ideal time for us to do it because it’s
going to be a peaceful demonstration.’

“We knew how to beat security by being out at the crack of
dawn before they arrived. We had taken up several positions
around the course and waited for hours. However, the games
had been postponed for a day out of respect for the dead.
We went back the following morning.

“All the teams — about 50 in all — were riding up and down
this long track waiting to be called for the road race and
have their numbers checked. It was our intention to get
into the middle of them and participate and for others, in
front of the stadium, to distribute leaflets and explain
our protest. Four of our members were challenged at the
very start because they had no numbers.

“At another spot, I climbed up a pole which carried the PA
system and severed the wires. The Hungarians and Russians
didn’t hear themselves being called but, when an official
came down and waved to three or four teams, we jumped into
the middle.

“We were challenged by a steward but he was pushed aside
and the lads cycled through to the starting line. A couple
of us had made our way over to the British team. I pulled
off my track top and underneath was my Irish shirt. Over
the speakers around the grandstand, there were calls for
the Irish team to please come to the side. One of the Brits
said: ‘Next time I’m back in Ireland, there’ll not be too
many Irish teams!’ Well, when he said that, I just had to
give him a thump. There was total confusion. Batty Flynn
from Kerry made his way over to the official with the
firing pistol, pulled it from him and fired. Half the
cyclists thought the race had begun. Others were trying to
stop it.”

The protesters scattered leaflets protesting against
British rule in Ireland and handed out press packs in four
languages — German, French, English and Irish. The police
pounced on them but not before Homer had shouted towards
German Chancellor Willy Brandt in the VIP grandstand: “Your
friend Heath has Irish blood on his hands!”

Further out the road, another protester, Jean Mangan from
Kerry, joined Flynn — who, to the consternation of the
official Irish team, opened up a ten-yard lead. For the
next two laps, there were, bizarrely, three Irish teams in
the race and commentators didn’t know the identity of the
lead cyclist because Flynn had no number. After five miles
(eight kilometres), Flynn was forcibly taken out of the
race by police on motorcycles.

All of the protesters were taken into custody until after
the event and their bikes impounded. They took some flak at
a subsequent press conference, especially from RTÉ over the
question of mixing sport and politics. They said they had
been exposing Britain for using the Olympic Games to assert
British occupation.

At the same Olympics, ten African nations forced the
international body to withdraw its invitation to Rhodesia,
and two black American athletes who won gold and silver in
the 400 metres final gave clenched-fist salutes as members
of the Black Panther movement.

Today, one organisation — the Irish Cycling Federation —
represents the majority of cyclists, North and South, with
the exception of a few Northern clubs that prefer to be
licensed by the British Cycling Federation.

Two months after the protest at the Munich Olympics, Brian
Holmes was interned without charge in Long Kesh. In 1973,
the British government introduced quasi-judicial hearings
in an attempt to assuage international criticism of

“I was brought up in front of one of these tribunals,” he
said. “From behind a screen, an anonymous Brit intelligence
officer told the tribunal commissioner that I had attempted
to disrupt the 1972 Munich Olympics and that I and my group
had co-ordinated the protest with Black September. It was
absolute nonsense, of course, but that’s what was said and
that’s what was believed.”

Brian Holmes was interned for another two years.

Danny Morrison is a regular media commentator on Irish
politics. He is the author of three novels and three works
of non-fiction.


Opin: Bishops, Beatniks And Free Derry Corner ...

Eamonn McCann
26 January 2006

Stray thoughts en route to Alan McBride's Bloody Sunday
lecture... Tommy Tiernan gave me a terrible time this
month, with the result that I had to talk at length of
beatniks, Bishop Berkeley and Free Derry Corner.

I'd been asked to read the Footnote to Howl at a fund-
raiser in Dublin for the Down's Syndrome Association. Navan
man Tommy was to read the Ginsberg epic itself. Eamon
Dunphy, Niall Stokes, Hazel O'Connor, B. P. Fallon etc.
were to chip in with other items from the Ginsberg oeuvre.

The gig was on January 5, marking the 50th anniversary of
the first public reading of Howl, at the City Lights
Bookshop on Columbus Avenue in San Francisco. Allocated the
Footnote to the main piece, I was, naturally, the last act

It nearly was my last act, too.

In theatrical parlance, I almost died.

Tiernan became so intoxicated with the exuberance of
Ginsberg's verbosity that he swept joyously on into the
Footnote instead of stepping aside at, "I'm with you in
Rockland in my dreams you walk dripping from a sea- journey
on the highway across America in tears/to the door of my
cottage in the Western night," and allowing me to launch,
as planned, into the ecstatic opening of the Footnote:
"Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy!
Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy! Holy!/The world is holy!"

So there I was, alone at a lectern, facing a sea of
blissed-out, spiritually-sated faces in the ultra-cool,
jam-packed Sugar Club, staring unfocused at the script in
my trembling hands, mind ascatter and without a word to
say. And then I saw it, at the bottom of the page, the way
he'd signed off on Howl: "Berkeley 1955."

Ah, Berkelely. There's a picture of him on the wall in
Weatherspoons in the Diamond, Berkeley having been a bit of
a Derryman. And, a stage or three removed, the inspiration
of Free Derry Wall. So I stumbled and tumbled into a rap
about Berkelely and Derry, civil rights and free speech.
And, in the wondrous way of these things, it worked

I'd stayed in Berkeley a couple of times, when Peter
O'Neill from Baronet Street down the Strand was living
there. It's about 30 miles south of San Francisco.
Unusually, the town's named after the local university, not
the other way round. And the university, in turn, was named
after the once Bishop of Derry.

Berkeley was, with Locke and Hume (no relation), one of the
great rationalist philosophers of the 18th century. Bishop
of Cloyne and then of Derry, he left to spend four years in
Rhode Island, devoted to founding a college for the
education of "Indians." In truth, his main motive was to
convert them to Christianity. But in an era when native
Americans were regarded by the colonists as savages without
souls, his venture was hugely ahead of its time. The
college wasn't founded until after his death in 1753, but,
rightly, took his name, and ever afterwards saw itself on
the cutting edge of intellectual inquiry.

Appropriate, then, that Berkeley provided an arena for
radical dissidence in the stultifying years which followed
World War II. Small wonder that Ginsberg, Kerouac, Cassidy,
Ferlinghetti, Corso and others gravitated towards the
Pacific strip running down from San Francisco. And thus it
was that Howl was completed in Berkeley in late 1955, and
first performed at the City Lights in January 1956. (I made
O'Neill come with me once, so I had an audience to read it
aloud to in the coffee shop in the basement.) Laurence
Ferlinghetti - then, as now, manager of City Lights - was
charged under obscenity laws for allowing the performance.
The trial was one of the key moments in the history of
struggle for free speech: it was the Howl judgment which
established that "redeeming social value" in a work is a
sufficient defence against obscenity.

The vibrancy of beat poetry still shimmered in Berkeley
when the black civil rights and anti-war movements erupted
in the following decade. The college commendably filled its
history-conferred role, and emerged as one of the
epicentres of US student radicalism. The Berkeley Free
Speech Movement was especially significant. (One of its
leaders, Lenni Brenner, aka Glaser, later one of Bob
Dylan's gurus on New York's lower east side, was in Derry
last year as a guest of the Foyle Ethical Investment
Campaign.) At one point, Berkeley students, like their
counterparts at the Sorbonne, the London School of
Economics, Berlin etc, occupied the campus. Whereupon, they
erected a scrawled sign outside: "You Are Now Entering Free
Berkeley." Which came back to mind in the small hours of
the morning of the day after the student march from Belfast
- the Burntollet march - arrived in Derry in 1969.

And that, in case you're ever asked, is where Free Derry
Wall came from.

The slogan was inscribed on the wall on January 5, 1969.
The Sugar Club gig marked the anniversary of that, too.

Strange the way what goes around comes around, repeating,
enriching, replenishing, sometimes making the mundane giddy
with new meaning.

"Holy the sea holy the desert holy the railroad holy the
locomotive holy the visions holy the hallucinations holy
the miracles holy the eyeball holy the abyss!

"Holy forgiveness! mercy! charity! faith! Holy! Ours!
bodies! suffering! magnanimity!

"Holy the supernatural extra brilliant intelligent kindness
of the soul!"

Berkeley 1955.
Derry 2006,


Survivor Of US Mine Blast Wakes From Coma

Last updated: 26-01-06, 07:49

The only survivor of a West Virginia coal mining accident
that killed 12 men earlier this month has awoken from his
coma and is responding to his family.

Randal McCloy (26) has opened his eyes and is chewing and
swallowing food and responding to relatives and commands,
said Dr Julian Bailes, chief of neurosurgery at West
Virginia's Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown, where Mr
McCloy was being treated.

"He has progressively improved and . . . every day he's
been improving," he said.

Twelve men died after the blast on January 2nd at
International Coal Group's Sago coal mine in Tallmansville,
which set off a lengthy underground rescue operation
hampered by high levels of carbon monoxide.

It was West Virginia's worst mining disaster since 1968 and
made more poignant by initial reports saying 12 of the men
had survived, prompting three hours of jubilation that
turned to despair when family members learnt the truth.

Mr McCloy survived nearly 42 hours underground before he
was rescued and has been unconscious for the three weeks
since. Doctors said his exposure to carbon monoxide had
caused organ failure and the coma.

Mr McCloy had not yet spoken, but his doctors remained
"cautiously optimistic" about his long-term recovery

© 2006


Trad Festival Gets Under Way In Temple Bar

Last updated: 26-01-06, 07:31

The first Temple Bar Trad festival of Irish music and
culture gets under way in Dublin today.

A series of musical concerts, children's theatre,
workshops, story-telling and other arts are taking place in
the quarter over the next four days.

Many of Ireland 's top traditional musicians and singers
are performing during the festival.

Organisers are also promising a traditional Irish music
session trail through many of the pubs and bars in Temple
Bar, with late night sessions.

Festival programmer Finbar Boyle said although Dublin was a
stronghold of traditional music, there had not been a
platform for artists in the capital in almost 20 years.

Mr Boyle said an audience already existed and he hoped the
festival would expose them to the best of traditional
culture in song and dance in both English and Irish.



Satire: [January 26, 2006]

Satire: Day Is Nigh To Embrace An Energetic Blast From The Past

(The Irish Times Via Thomson Dialog NewsEdge)Newton's
Optic: With oil and gas supplies under increasing political
pressure, is it time for Ireland to reconsider the nuclear
option, asks Newton Emerson

Since plans for the Sore Point nuclear power station were
abandoned in 1979, energy consumption in the Republic has
jumped from 40-kilo bar heaters to 160-megawatt patio

At the same time the inflation-adjusted price of a barrel
of oil has almost halved - but only after lots of little
changes up and down that make everyone very nervous. This
is why growing numbers of people are now asking if a
nuclear power station might make them slightly less

The idea received a boost this week when Minister for the
Environment Dick Roche revealed that flying to and from
Luxembourg, while failing to close down Sellafield had
injected 400 million tonnes of carbon dioxide directly into
the stratosphere. The Catholic Church also says it will
back a nuclear installation, as long as it is a fast
breeder, although some priests may still hold a critical

Nuclear energy works by generating more heat than light
from a huge negative reaction. This boils over then lets
off steam through the columns of a Sunday Turbine.

"The main attraction of building such a plant is that it
would infuriate the sort of people who oppose it,"
explained Pat Answer, professor of atomic kittens at Dublin
Security Vetting College. "The other attraction is that it
would end our dependence on oil from the Middle East and
gas from Russia by making us dependent on uranium ore from
Kazakhstan instead."

Despite the obvious need for a clean and reliable energy
source based on strip-mining central Asia, there is still
considerable public disquiet over nuclear power in Ireland.

After the subject was raised on last night's RTE Radio
Active, the station was bombarded with callers and

The Green Party opposes the idea, believing that Ireland's
future lies with alternative energy. Alternative energy
works by telling Trevor Sargent that his climate change
predictions mean Irish coastal waters will freeze and
arctic high-pressure systems will sit over the country for
months on end, rendering wind, wave and tidal power
completely useless. This causes Mr Sargent's head to spin,
generating electricity from magnets attached to his ears.

Despite the fears of environmentalists, nuclear technology
has progressed a great deal since last month when everyone
in Ireland still saw it as just another way to bash the

A modern French-built pressurised water reactor could
supply 50 patio heaters in each hectare of Kazakhstan for a
fraction of the cost of going inside and getting a jumper.

However, serious political obstacles still have to be
overcome before Ireland can join the nuclear club.

If Sinn Fein enters a future coalition government, the IRA
would have access to weapons-grade plutonium. If Sinn Fein
held the post of energy minister, retired reactors would
never be properly decommissioned. However if Sinn Fein held
the post of environment minister, Ireland could bury all
its nuclear waste in a field outside Monaghan and nobody
would mention it again.


E20m Drama To Be Filmed In Ireland

By Staff Reporter

CORK actor and Golden Globe winner Jonathan Rhys-Meyers is
taking the part of Henry VIII in a new E20 million (£14m)
drama series being shot in Ireland.

After scooping the gong for his role in the CBS four-hour
mini-series Elvis, he has agreed to take on the part of the
young wayward king in US Showtime drama series The Tudors.

The series will be filmed over 20 weeks in Ardmore studios
in Co Wicklow and it is expected to be broadcast in the US
in early 2007.

The first two 60-minute episodes of the series will be shot
by Charles McDougall, who scooped an Emmy award for
Desperate Housewives.

Rhys-Meyers is wrapping up filming on Mission Impossible 3
with Tom Cruise and he also stars in Woody Allen’s romantic
thriller Match Point opposite Scarlett Johansson, which is
currently in cinemas.


Irish Author Wins Top US Short Story Prize

Last updated: 26-01-06, 11:48

Irish newcomer Patrick O'Keeffe has won the Story Prize for
short stories - which carries the largest cash prize of any
annual US fiction award - for his book "The Hill Road."

Irish-born O'Keeffe won the $20,000 first prize and an
engraved silver bowl for his collection of four novellas
set in a fictional Irish dairy-farming village and
published by Penguin's Viking imprint.

"I didn't think this would happen," O'Keeffe (42) said,
visibly shocked on accepting the award at The New School in
Manhattan. "Thanks a lot." O'Keeffe was born on a rural
Irish dairy farm.

He said in an interview after the ceremony he first came to
the United States in 1986 as an illegal immigrant without a
college education, working in bars, waiting tables and
working on construction sites.

In 1989, he returned to the United States after winning a
green card in a lottery, passed his high school equivalency
exam and enrolled in university in 1990 to study English,
finally graduating at the age of 32.

He then earned a graduate fine arts degree in writing from
the University of Michigan, where he is now a lecturer.
"This is always what I wanted to do. I had nothing to
lose," he said of his desire to be an author, which began
with his first efforts at writing in his late 20s.

"I did not expect my name to come up tonight, I feel really
honored," he said.

© 2006

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