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February 22, 2006

Cory Criticises Inquiry 'Changes'

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News About Ireland & The Irish

BB 02/22/06 Cory Criticises Inquiry 'Changes'
IT 02/23/06 White House Has Not Decided On Invite For Sinn Fein
IT 02/23/06 SDLP Condemns Paisley For 'Hate-Filled Rhetoric'
IT 02/23/06 Report Says Homophobia Rife Within PSNI
SF 02/22/06 SF To Reveal Details Of British Spy Operation On GAA Club
DI 02/22/06 SDLP And SF Clash Over Policing
DI 02/22/06 SF: ‘No Going To Back Of Bus’
DI 02/22/06 Ludlow Relatives Say Taoiseach Displays ‘Double Standards’
SF 02/22/06 DUP Search For Excuses Continues
EE 02/22/06 US Urged To Close SF Fundraising 'Loophole'
GI 02/22/06 Galway Exhibit To Mark 25th Anniversary Of Hunger Strike
IM 02/22/06 Various Annoucement of Meetings & Programs
FT 02/22/06
US Determination To Tackle Alleged Offences Overseas
IE 02/22/06 Senator Chuck Schumer: A Prince In Queens
EX 02/22/06 CIA Plane Files Nothing More Than Press Clippings: Ahern
IE 02/22/06 Is Aussie E-3 Visa A Model For The Irish?
DI 02/22/06 Opin: Building Support For Irish Unity In Britain
DI 02/22/06 Opin: Talks Manoeuvre Is Simply Insulting
IT 02/23/06 Opin: Minor Reshuffle Turns Into Major Shambles
IT 02/23/06 B. Ahern Respects All Faiths And None
IT 02/23/06 D. Ahern Calls For Closure Of Guantanamo Bay
IT 02/23/06 Steep Rise In North Hate Crimes, Reports Show
IT 02/23/06 Ó Cuív Defends Law On Translating
IM 02/21/06 1916 Propaganda – BS & Kilmichael - Origins Of Fake News
IT 02/21/06 Festival To Weave A Fantasy World


Cory Criticises Inquiry 'Changes'

Judge Peter Cory has said he is frustrated the government
has "moved the goalposts" following his report into
controversial NI murders.

The retired Canadian judge said he did not know what the
national security interest was in limiting the Pat Finucane
murder inquiry.

"It's like playing hockey and instead of six to each team
you have one team with eight and one with four.

"See how you do for 10 minutes and then we're going to
change," Mr Cory said.

"In the middle of everything you move the goalposts and you
change the rules of the game."

Mr Finucane, a north Belfast solicitor, was shot dead by
the UDA in 1989.

Mr Cory and the Finucane family objects to the Inquiries
Bill, which provides the framework for a hearing into the

Under this bill, a British government minister can rule
whether the inquiry sits in public or private.

In a statement on Wednesday, the Northern Ireland Office
said: "The government is committed to establishing an
independent statutory inquiry with full powers to require
the production of all the relevant documents and most
importantly to compel witnesses to attend.

"The inquiry must also, as Judge Cory recommends, be public
to the extent possible. An inquiry under the Inquiries Act
is the only way to establish the truth."

Speaking ahead of a lecture at Queen's University Belfast,
Mr Cory said he was not sorry he got involved in examining
the controversial killings.

"Do I regret it? No. It had to be done to perhaps shed some
light on an unfortunate situation," he said.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/02/22 20:44:50 GMT

Judge Cory confirmed serious reservations about how the
authorities have handled his recommendation for a probe
into a loyalist paramilitary killing shrouded in
allegations of state collusion, Mr Justice Cory suggested
that with hindsight he may not have become involved.

He said: “If you told me at the beginning no matter what
you do we are going to change the rules then any self
respecting person would say thank-you and I’d just as soon

“This is Micky Mouse, it’s Alice in Wonderland. But you
don’t know that at the time.”

The hearing, under the planned Inquiries Act would allow
crucial evidence to be omitted from publication on the
grounds of national security, they believe.

Mr Justice Cory stressed that he could not put himself in
their position, but admitted that he would be inclined to
agree with the stance they took.

Even though UDA hit-man, Ken Barrett, was jailed last year
after pleading guilty to the shooting, the solicitor’s
family and human rights organisations have continued to
campaign for a full independent hearing into what really

Their long campaign, which ran alongside three separate
investigations by former Scotland Yard chief, Lord Stevens,
into the murder was strengthened when Judge Cory reported
in April 2004 that there was enough cause for concern to
warrant a tribunal.

But while the inquiries into three other murders he
studied, loyalist terror boss Billy Wright, Lurgan
solicitor Rosemary Nelson and Catholic man Robert Hamill,
have been advanced, the Finucane case remains bogged down
in a stand-off between the Government and family.

Asked if the proposals for holding an inquiry could make it
impossible to establish the truth, Judge Cory, who was in
Belfast to give a lecture at the city’s Queen’s University,
claimed: “It may be.”

Revealing that he worried about the chances of finding out
what really happened, he added: “If all the ministries
involved said yes you can have everything you wanted, we’re
not going to frustrate anything and there will be no
motions with regard to it then I think you could (establish
the truth).

“That may be beyond the realms of reality. I don’t know,
but it’s possible.”


White House Has Not Decided On Invite For Sinn Féin Leaders

Denis Staunton, Washington Correspondent

The US government has dismissed as inaccurate a newspaper
report that a decision has been made to invite Sinn Féin
leaders to the White House on St Patrick's Day but to
forbid them from fundraising while in the US.

An administration source told The Irish Times that the
White House had not yet drawn up the St Patrick's Day guest
list and criticised yesterday's report.

"It doesn't profit the peace process to have these
inaccurate leaks," the source said.

Sinn Féin leaders were not invited to the White House on St
Patrick's Day last year when President Bush received the
family of murdered Belfast man Robert McCartney.

Last November Gerry Adams cancelled a visit to New York
after he was told that he could visit the US, but could not
engage in fundraising.

Sinn Féin is allowed to raise funds in the US, but party
leaders have been refused fundraising visas following the
Northern Bank robbery just over a year ago.

The Bush administration has linked the issue of fundraising
visas to Sinn Féin's attitude to policing in the North,
calling for some movement towards co-operation with the

A decision on the White House guest list for St Patrick's
Day is expected within days.

© The Irish Times


SDLP Condemns Paisley For 'Hate-Filled Rhetoric'

Gerry Moriarty, Northern Editor

The SDLP has accused DUP leader Ian Paisley of being
"disgraceful, reckless and inflammatory" after he yesterday
claimed that the IRA has withheld some of its weapons to
use against the Protestant people of Northern Ireland.

Dr Paisley also accused the British government of engaging
in a "cover-up" in relation to IRA decommissioning last

He made his claims yesterday after he met the head of the
Independent International Commission on Decommissioning
(IICD) Gen John de Chastelain in Belfast.

He criticised Gen de Chastelain for informing him that he
would not disclose an inventory of what arms were
decommissioned by the IRA in October until all paramilitary
groups had disarmed.

"We have now a cover-up," said Dr Paisley.

"We have a cover-up by the government who actually are in
the controlling seat and they have agreed evidently with
the IRA that decommissioning is finished, the books were
open, the books were sorted out and this question is now

"The government will not take any step to see that the
whole truth comes out on this matter. So I would indict the
government of double standards. I would indict the
commission for not pushing this thing and saying truthfully
if we can't do this job right, we are not going to stay any

In October Gen de Chastelain, with the corroboration of
independent witnesses, Rev Alec Reid and Rev Harold Good,
said the IRA had decommissioned all its weapons, an
assertion he is holding to despite the Independent
Monitoring Commission earlier this month saying there were
"credible" reports the IRA held on to some weapons.

Dr Paisley, who said he also discussed the issue of
loyalist weapons with the IICD yesterday, said that MI5 and
the PSNI must now release information about what the IRA
had decommissioned.

"They should tell the people what they know so that the
people can be forearmed to meet what is going to happen,
because those arms are going to be used against the
Protestant population of Northern Ireland," he said.

SDLP leader Mark Durkan said Dr Paisley's comments were
disgraceful, reckless, and inflammatory.

"They hark back to the 1970s when his wild hate-filled
rhetoric fanned sectarian strife," he said.

"On the one hand Paisley says that he raised loyalist
decommissioning with the IICD. Then in the next breath he
predicts sectarian warfare and gives them the excuse they
need to hold on to their weapons," said Mr Durkan.

He said Dr Paisley's comments encouraged paranoia and hate.
"His remarks must also prompt a total rethink by the two
governments towards the DUP.

"It beggars belief that any government would be considering
concessions to a party whose leader at the same time
wilfully stokes the flames of hate," added Mr Durkan.

Sinn Féin's chief negotiator Martin McGuinness said Dr
Paisley's meeting with the IICD had nothing to do with IRA

"The IRA have dealt decisively with that issue and the DUP
know this. What [ the] meeting is about is part of the DUP
search for excuses not to engage.

"It is time that the DUP began to live up to their
political responsibilities and began showing the sort of
political leadership they promised to deliver.

"The time for excuses is over and the two governments need
to make this clear to the DUP," he added.

© The Irish Times


Report Says Homophobia Rife Within PSNI

Last updated: 22-02-06, 16:59

Homophobia is rife within Northern Ireland's police
service, a new report claimed today.

Gay and lesbian officers have been allegedly taunted and
harassed because of their sexuality, with senior male
officers ignoring the abuse, according to the Institute for
Conflict Research study.

Even though some victims were too scared to come out,
researchers claimed they had confided in them during an
independent assessment of attitudes and experiences of
policing among black, ethnic minority and gay communities.

Katy Radford of the ICR said of those officers interviewed:
"All of them to a man and woman came up with an
extraordinarily damning experience they had from fellow
colleagues, anything from verbal abuse to continual

"There were people sticking things on people's lockers,
commenting as they walked past or singing jibing songs.

"Most of them chose not to reveal their sexual orientation
to colleagues, but when they did come out it was even

The ICR carried out two separate research projects
commissioned jointly by the Northern Ireland Policing Board
and Police Ombudsman Nuala O'Loan's office.

As well as surveying ethnic minority communities they
questioned lesbian, gay and bisexual groups on their
contact with and perceptions of the PSNI.

The report found 56 per cent of the 233 LGB people
interviewed across Northern Ireland were either satisfied
or very satisfied with the service from police. Nearly one
in three (31 per cent) had been the victim of a crime
within the last 12 months, with more than half of those (58
per cent) believing it was motivated by homophobia.

But one in four (25 per cent) who had experienced problems
with police felt it was due to their sexual orientation.

It also emerged that gays and lesbians in nationalist areas
faced further alienation from their neighbours because of
their association with the PSNI.


© 2006


Sinn Féin to reveal details of British Spy Operation on GAA

Published: 22 February, 2006

A British Army document containing details of their spying
operations in the Dromintee area of South Armagh has come
into the possession of Sinn Féin.

The document clearly shows that the British state is spying
not just on local homes but specifically on the local GAA

Sinn Féin MP for the area Conor Murphy will host a Press
Conference in the party offices on Sevastopol Street
tomorrow morning (Thursday 22nd Feb) at 11am were he will
give further details of the spying operation and outline a
number of steps local people will be taking over the coming
weeks to deal with this attack on their community. ENDS


SDLP And SF Clash Over Policing

By Jarlath Kearney

SDLP Policing Board spokesman Alex Attwood last night
accused republicans of acting “just like elements in the
old RUC”.

He was speaking after press allegations yesterday that the
former leading loyalist John White had been a Special
Branch agent.

In the context of growing revelations that senior loyalists
have acted as Special Branch agents for decades, Sinn Féin
criticised the SDLP position on policing. Belfast South
assemblyman Alex Maskey said the PSNI had been paying
loyalist agents “under the noses of the SDLP on the
Policing Board”.

John White was a notorious Ulster Defence Association
double killer and a close associate of the Shankill UDA
leader Johnny Adair.

He was a high-profile figure during UDA killing campaigns
against both the Catholic community and fellow loyalists
until rivals ousted him in February 2003. It was alleged
last week that the UDA multiple killer Torrens Knight had
acted as a Special Branch agent.

Reacting to allegations that Mr White had operated as a
state agent, Alex Attwood said: “The revelations about
agents confirm how elements of the police had no standards
and were involved in the worst of conduct. The forthcoming
report by the Police Ombudsman in the [Raymond] McCord case
will shed further light on all of this and expose how much
elements in the police knew of and gave cover to the worst
of criminal activity by agents.

“In the last few years, there has been real and fundamental
change. This has been the outcome of robust work by the
Policing Board, Police Ombudsman and police leadership.
Hundreds of agents have been deactivated. The engines of
change, particularly the Police Ombudsman and Policing
Board, must keep vigilant against any person or element
intent on going backwards.”

Reacting to republican criticism of the SDLP position on
policing, Mr Attwood said Sinn Féin “have no credibility”.

He accused those in Sinn Féin of being “people of little or
no standards, just like elements of the old RUC”.

However, Sinn Féin’s Alex Maskey said growing revelations
about the control of loyalist paramilitaries by RUC and
PSNI Special Branch demonstrated that the SDLP could not
hold the PSNI to account.

“The exposure of prominent loyalist drug dealer and
Catholic killer John White as a paid PSNI agent follows on
from a similar revelation around Torrens Knight, the man
responsible for the mass sectarian killings at Greysteel
and Castlerock,” Mr Maskey said. “Nationalists and
republicans throughout Ireland are rightly outraged that
the PSNI have been filling the pockets of such notorious
Catholic killers.

“SDLP members have publicly claimed outrage yet these
payments have been taking place by the PSNI under the noses
of the SDLP on the Policing Board.


SF: ‘No Going To Back Of Bus’

Adams accuses governments of ‘telling lies’ about attempts
to exclude SF from round table talks “I was actually
shocked at the stupidity and naivety of the proposition
which was being put to us. Here we are 11 years beyond John
Major, and here’s the governments thinking that we would go
to the back of the bus or go through a process of excluding
ourselves” - GERRY ADAMS

By Jarlath Kearney

[Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams talks to the media after
their Leinster Cuige AGM in Dublin. 5/2/2005 Photo
Photocall Ireland] Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams
yesterday told Daily Ireland that republicans will not be
sent “to the back of the bus” in political negotiations.

The West Belfast MP also declared that Sinn Féin will
exercise a ‘positive veto’ to keep the peace process on

Mr Adams was speaking after the British and Irish
governments attempted to organise round table talks on
Monday at Stormont from which Sinn Féin would have been

The DUP had refused to attend talks with Sinn Féin. As a
result, both governments – with the consent of the DUP and
SDLP – scheduled a round-table session without inviting
Sinn Féin. After the proposal was rejected by both the
Ulster Unionist Party and Sinn Féin, the planned talks were

“I was actually shocked at the stupidity and naivety of the
proposition which was being put to us. Here we are 11 years
beyond John Major, and here’s the governments thinking that
we would go to the back of the bus or go through a process
of excluding ourselves,” Mr Adams told Daily Ireland

Mr Adams said both governments were engaged in “telling
lies” in justifying the attempt to exclude his party from
roundtable talks. Calling for a greater focus by Bertie
Ahern and Tony Blair on the talks process, Mr Adams said:

“The Taoiseach has to take a personal interest now in this
process. The British prime minister has to take a personal
interest now in this process.

“That’s basically what I said when I spoke to the
Taoiseach’s department on this matter, that they have to
take responsibility for this. This is a project which both
governments are obliged to drive forward.”

Mr Adams highlighted that republicans can exercise a
‘positive veto’ to counter efforts at disrupting the peace

“There is a lot of focus at times on the veto that
unionists have. Well, we have a veto as well and we use it
in a positive way.

“The unionists may seek to use it in a negative way. We use
it in a very, very positive way and we will ensure that –
within a relatively short timeframe – either this goes
forward or it becomes very, very, very clear to everyone
that the current untenable situation has come to an end,”
Mr Adams said.

However in a stinging attack on Sinn Féin, the DUP leader
Ian Paisley claimed republicans have “excluded themselves”
from talks.

“Following the insistence of the Ulster Unionist Party to
have Sinn Féin included in round table talks it was not
possible for the democratic parties to meet to discuss
assembly issues,” Mr Paisley said.

“However we were able to meet with the SDLP on a bilateral
basis and with the Alliance party on a similar basis. I am
determined that the protests and complaints of Sinn
Féin/IRA will not be allowed to halt our programme of the
next number of months.

“There will be no turning back to the failed ways of the
past in these talks. The DUP will continue to very strongly
set and advance the unionist agenda in all these meetings.
The weak, push-over, unprincipled Ulster Unionist Party’s
days are over and IRA/Sinn Féin had better get used to it,”
Mr Paisley said.

While not commenting on his party’s decision to agree with
talks excluding Sinn Féin, SDLP MP Eddie McGrady claimed
Gerry Adams’ party had been ambiguous about the Good Friday

Mr McGrady said the comprehensive agreement proposed by
both governments in December 2004 did not comply with the
Good Friday Agreement.

“It is not too late for Sinn Féin to recognise that, like
on OTRs, they have made a negotiating error. They need to
abandon the comprehensive agreement – or face full
responsibility for the British government passing it into
law next month in the Northern Ireland Bill,” Mr McGrady


Ludlow Relatives Say Taoiseach Displays ‘Double Standards’

Family of loyalist victim say they are ‘no use’ to Bertie

by Ciarán Barnes

[Catholic man Seamus Ludlow who was shot dead in Dundalk on
2nd May 1976. ] Relatives of a Dundalk man murdered by
loyalists have criticised the Taoiseach for refusing to
meet them at a time when he is preparing to hold
discussions with other victims of paramilitary violence.

The Ludlow family have been pressing for a meeting with
Bertie Ahern since he came to power in 1997. They want to
question the Taoiseach about the alleged Garda cover-up
that followed the 1976 murder of Seamus Ludlow.

For two decades, detectives blamed the IRA for the killing,
despite being told in 1979 by the RUC that four loyalists
from north Down were responsible.

Mr Ahern has consistently refused to meet with Mr Ludlow’s
relatives to listen to their concerns.

On Friday representatives of the Taoiseach’s offices met
with Belfast man Raymond McCord whose son, Raymond McCord
Junior, was murdered by loyalist police informants in 1997.
Mr McCord is set for a further meeting, this time with Mr
Ahern, later in the year.

The Ludlow family wants to know why the Taoiseach is
prepared to meet with Mr McCord, but not with them.

Mr Ludlow’s nephew, Jimmy Sharkey, said: “We’ve written to
Bertie Ahern five times in the last six years but he has
refused to respond to our letters.

“There is a real double standard here. Mr Ahern will call
for public inquiries into murders in the North like that of
Pat Finucane and Billy Wright, but won’t do the same for my
uncle Seamus.”

Mr Sharkey believes that if his uncle had been murdered by
the IRA he would be in regular contact with the Taosieach.

“Because Seamus was killed by loyalists Mr Ahern doesn’t
want to know anything about the case. We are of no use to
him,” he added.

“If Seamus had been killed by the IRA, the Taoiseach would
have used us as a stick to beat Sinn Féin with.”

Another nephew of Mr Ludlow, Michael Donegan, claimed the
Taoiseach is afraid of the questions the family might ask
him about the murder.

He said: “Mr Ahern knows we know there was a Garda cover-
up. He is afraid of what we might ask him. It is
disappointing because Mr Ahern seems prepared to meet with
anyone whose name isn’t Ludlow.”

The Ludlow family’s criticism of the Taosieach came on the
same day that their legal representative, Deirdre Murphy,
told an Irish parliamentary hearing in Dublin that it was
unlikely those behind the murder would ever be brought to

She said: “They know that it is highly unlikely that
anybody would ever be brought to justice. The justice
system will not be able to deal with the perpetrators of
this murder and it is because of the actions of the
authorities in this state in relation to the

A spokesman at the Taoiseach’s office said the Taoiseach
and other ministers frequently receive requests for
meetings with victims or their representatives.

“They do their utmost to accommodate these. The Taoiseach
frequently meets victims groups from both North and South.
On occasion he asks Ministers or officials to meet groups
on his behalf. The Minister for Justice has met with
representatives of Seamus Ludlow’s family on two occasions.
Given the particular circumstances of the murder of Seamus
Ludlow, the government established an independent inquiry
into the case by Judge Barron.”


DUP Search For Excuses Continues

Published: 22 February, 2006

Sinn Féin Chief Negotiator Martin McGuinness today said
that the DUP search for excuses to engage had to end. He
also called for the British Prime Minster Tony Blair and
the Taoiseach Bertie Ahern to take a hands on role in the
process if progress is to be made in the coming period.

Mr McGuinness said:

"The DUP are today meeting with the IICD in Belfast. This
meeting has little to do with IRA weapons. The IRA have
dealt decisively with that issue and the DUP know this.
What today's meeting is about is part of the DUP search for
excuses not to engage.

"It is time that the DUP began to live up to their
political responsibilities and began showing the sort of
political leadership they promised to deliver. The time for
excuses is over and the two governments need to make this
clear to the DUP.

"It is still my firm view that progress can be made in the
time ahead. However I believe that the British Prime
Minster Tony Blair and the Taoiseach Bertie Ahern need to
take a hands on approach and begin to inject momentum and
drive the process forward if this is to be achieved." ENDS


US Urged To Close SF Fundraising 'Loophole'

22/02/2006 - 19:43:45

The US government was tonight urged to close any loophole
which would enable Gerry Adams to raise money at American
fundraising events even if he is barred from attending

Democratic Unionist MP Jeffrey Donaldson issued the call
amid speculation the Sinn Féin president and other Northern
Ireland leaders could be invited to US President George
Bush’s St Patrick’s Day function on March 17 after being
frozen out of the event last year.

The Lagan Valley MP also hinted DUP chiefs may not attend
this year’s celebrations even if they are invited and may
instead focus on a visit to the United States in April.

“The US Government needs to look at the whole issue of
fundraising,” Mr Donaldson said.

“There is little point in the US administration placing
restrictions on Sinn Féin leaders’ visas if they can
exploit loopholes like Gerry Adams addressing the Friends
of Sinn Féin dinner in New York last year by satellite.

“In our view it is highly unfair that Sinn Fein is able to
engage in fundraising activity.”

Last November, Mr Adams scrapped plans to go to New York
after the State Department barred him from raising funds
for his party because Sinn Féin will not endorse policing
in Northern Ireland.

The West Belfast MP instead travelled to Canada and
addressed the New York event via a satellite link.

A Sinn Féin spokesman said it would be absurd if the US
Government were to impose fundraising restrictions on the
party leaders’ visas when they travel to America for St
Patrick’s Day celebrations.

He also dismissed claims the relationship between the party
and President Bush’s special adviser on Northern Ireland,
Ambassador Mitchell Reiss, had been strained.

“Any suggestion that our relationship is strained is far
off the mark,” said the Sinn Féin spokesman.

“In fact our last meeting with Mitchell Reiss went well.

“There have been differences of opinion over policing but I
think if US officials have been studying the debate at the
Sinn Féin Árd fhéis at the weekend, it was there for all to
see how serious an issue this is for republicans.

“It was also clear how Sinn Féin will handle with the issue
and what needs to be done by all sides.

“As for fundraising, I think it would be absurd for the US
to impose restrictions on Gerry (Adams) or Martin
(McGuinness) when the British Government have restored
Westminster allowances to our MPs.

“We have also shown Sinn Féin will raise funds even if visa
restrictions are imposed on our leadership. When
restrictions were imposed on Gerry, we raised more than
ever before. Restrictions only galvanise our supporters.”

Last year Northern Ireland’s politicians were frozen out of
the White House bash in the wake of the murder of Belfast
father-of-two Robert McCartney and the £26.5m Northern Bank

The US government would not be drawn tonight on speculation
about the possibility of an invitation for Mr Adams or visa

“There is nothing definite. Nothing has been signed off,”
said a spokesman.

Mr Adams will carry out a number of engagements in New York
and Washington next month, where he will meet a number of
senior US politicians such Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton,
Edward Kennedy and Chris Dodd.

The West Belfast MP is due to visit Buffalo, where he will
join Democratic Congressman Brian Higgins for St Patrick’s
Day celebrations, and Massachussetts to meet Democratic
Congressman Richard Neal.

Congressman Higgins has written to Ambassador Reiss urging
him not to place curbs on the Sinn Féin leader.

Mr Donaldson hinted the DUP, whose leader the Rev Ian
Paisley recently announced plans to appoint a lobbyist in
the US, may not send anyone to the White House event even
if the party is invited.

“We not planning anything around St Patrick’s Day but we
are planning a visit in April,” he said.

“There is a view that it is better to put our message
across in the United States at a time when there is less
focus on green beer and more focus on issues.”


Galway Exhibition To Mark 25th Anniversary Of Hunger Strike

An exhibition to mark the 25th anniversary of the 1981
hunger strike will take place at the Town Hall Theatre in
Galway City on Saturday, 25 February.

The exhibition will be on display in the Foyer from 10am to
5.30pm and there will be a function in Richardson's Eyre
Square at 9pm.

Galway City Sinn Fein Councillor Daniel Callanan said the
National Exhibition would bring back many memories for
anyone who lived through the events of 1981.

The 1981 hunger strike and the enormous sacrifice of the
prisoners is not only one of the most significant events in
modern Irish History, but also had a huge impact worldwide
and this exhibition clearly brings that to life,? he said.


Omagh Vigil to Remember Start of '81 Hungerstrike

tyrone event notice Wednesday February 22, 2006 21:28 by
Ógra B - Ógra Shinn Féin

In memory of the 10

Let us remember the H-Block martyrs with pride - Let us
tell a new generation the heartbreaking but inspirational
story of 10 brave Irish men.

We salute you our fallen comrades - show your support and
attend the vigil!


3.15pm: Whiteline Vigil at High Street and Bridge Street
Junction, Omagh

Onwards to victory!

Related Link:

Dromore Remembers Bobby Sands

tyrone miscellaneous event notice Wednesday February
22, 2006 20:37 by Ógra B - Ógra Shinn Fein

Commemoration For Start of '81 Hungerstrike

Torch Light Procession

25th Anniversary of Hungerstrike

Assembling at St Patricks Hall @ 8.30pm

Torch Light Procession through village to the Hungerstrike
Memorial on Church Street

Ógra Shinn Féin Speaker and Reading From Diary of Bobby
Main Oration: Pat Doherty MP

Remember '81

Related Link:

Annual James Connolly Commemoration

national miscellaneous event notice Wednesday
February 22, 2006 13:25 by Nicholas O'Hagan - Communist
Party of Ireland 7 Bloom Lane,
Dublin 1 (01) 8747981

Annual commemoration of James Connolly's execution made by
the Communist Party of Ireland.

Annual James Connolly Commemoration

Wreaths will be laid on the grave of James Connolly by
representatives of the Communist Party of Ireland,
Communist Party of Britain, Communist Party of Cuba,
Communist Party of India, Communist Party of Venezuela, and
Connolly Youth Movement, followed by a short oration.

Sunday 14 May, 3 p.m.

Venue: Arbour Hill Military Cemetery (behind Collins
Barracks, National Museum of Ireland)

Related Link:

Ninety years of an Irish republic: Is this the legacy of

national miscellaneous event notice Wednesday
February 22, 2006 13:17 by Nicholas O'Hagan - James
Connolly Education Trust
(01) 8747981

A conference on the ideas of James Connolly.

Ninety years of an Irish republic: Is this the legacy of

Meetings and workshops on the ideas of James Connolly to
mark the ninetieth anniversary of his death.

13 May, from 10 a.m.

Venue: Ireland Institute, 27 Pearse Street, Dublin

Related Link:

Public Meeting: Vanguard of the Rebellion: The Irish
Citizen Army, 1916

national history and heritage event notice Wednesday
February 22, 2006 12:58 by Nicholas O'Hagan - James
Connolly Education Trust
(01) 8747981

Speaker: Dr Ann Matthews

A public meeting organised by the James Connolly Education

Tuesday 18 April
8 p.m.

Vanguard of the rebellion:
The Irish Citizen Army, 1916
Speaker: Dr Ann Matthews

(Author of “The Rise and Demise of Women in Irish Politics,
1900–1941,” NUI, Maynooth)

“However it may be for others, for us of the Citizen Army
there is but one ideal—an Ireland ruled, and owned, by Irish
men and women, sovereign and independent from the centre to
the sea, and flying its own flag outward over all the oceans.”
—James Connolly, Workers’ Republic,

30 October 1915.

Venue: Ireland Institute, 27 Pearse Street, Dublin

Related Link:

Public Meeting: Pearse and Connolly and their influence on
each other national history and heritage event notice

Wednesday February 22, 2006 12:48
by Nicholas O'Hagan –
James Connolly Education Trust

connollybooks at eircom dot net (01) 8747981

Speaker: Mícheál Mac Aonghusa

A public meeting organised by the James Connolly Education

Tuesday 21 March
8 p.m.

Pearce and Connolly and their influence on each other
Speaker: Mícheál Mac Aonghusa

(Writer on Irish politics and current affairs)

“If I were to mention the names of individuals, my list
would be a long one. I will mention only that of Commandant-General
James Connolly, Commanding the Dublin Division. He lies wounded,
but is still the guiding brain of our resistance.”—Patrick Pearse,
8 April 1916.

Venue: Ireland Institute, 27 Pearse Street, Dublin

Related Link:


Affair Highlights US Determination To Tackle Alleged
Offences Overseas

By Bob Sherwood and Nikki Tait

Published: February 22 2006 02:00 Last updated: February
22 2006 02:00

Why has the case of the NatWest three attracted so much
attention in the City?

The case has highlighted the increasing determination of
the authorities in the States to use "the long arm of US
law" to make overseas executives face charges in the US for
alleged offences such as financial crime, fraud or price-

Does that mean my potential risks have increased if my
company does business in the US?

It does. As Mark Harding, chairman of the GC100 group of
general counsel, said: "It is not safe for the board of any
company, if it has dealings with the US, to assume it is
immune." Although changes to Britain's extradition regime
were interpreted as a response to terrorism, the law is
being actively used by the US to tackle alleged white-
collar criminals.

So what has changed?

The 2003 Extradition Act largely removed the home
secretary's discretion to block an extradition request on
the grounds that it would be "wrong, unjust or oppressive".
In addition, the UK no longer requires a number of
"trustworthy countries", including the US, to provide
"prima facie" evidence that there is a case to answer
before a UK citizen can be sent abroad. A judge must simply
rule that the charges constitute "extraditable" offences.

Then the British government has greater powers to extradite
US citizens, too?

You might have thought so. In fact, the US has not yet
ratified the new US/UK extradition treaty, even though the
provisions are in force in the UK. Britain would have to
demonstrate "probable cause" were it to seek the
extradition of an American citizen.

What would count as an extraditable offence?

A relevant English criminal offence must have existed at
the time of the alleged activity for extradition conditions
to be met. For example, price fixing is now extraditable
after the 2003 Enterprise Act created a criminal cartel
offence. However, Ian Norris, the former chief executive of
Morgan Crucible, is facing possible extradition to
Pennsylvania to face price-fixing charges, even though the
alleged offences took place before the new law came into
force, after a judge ruled that a "dishonest cartel" was
equivalent to the English common law offence of conspiracy
to defraud.

But if the alleged crime took place in the UK, would it
fall to the domestic authorities to prosecute?

Not necessarily. The NatWest trio were unsuccessful in
their claim that Robert Wardle, director of the Serious
Fraud Office, had acted unlawfully in not investigating
allegations of fraud against them.

If the UK authorities have decided not to prosecute
following an investigation, would that weigh against the
extradition request?

No. Under the 2003 act, an extradition request takes
precedence over a decision not to investigate or not to
prosecute by the UK authorities. Sally Ireland, a senior
legal officer at the campaign group Justice, said: "A
person who has never been to the US can be removed from
their family and extradited there without anyone in the UK
ever seeing a shred of evidence against them - even if the
UK authorities have decided not to prosecute them.

"So will more executives face the prospect of a trial in
the US?

It seems likely. Lawyers have talked privately about other
extradition demands "waiting in the wings". Yesterday in
court there were also references to more proceedings
building up behind the NatWest/Norris test cases.Is the
government concerned about the way the US authorities are
using the extradition laws?

Apparently not. The Home Office says the US has a mature
legal system with appropriate safeguards. However, concerns
are increasingly being voiced, not just by civil liberties
groups, but also by business organisations such as the CBI,
the employers' body, and, most recently, the GC100 group of
in-house lawyers. Bob Sherwood

Nikki Tait


A Prince In Queens

Senator pledges his support for Irish immigration reform

By Ailbhe Jordan

There can be little doubting who was the star of the show
at last Friday's meeting of the Irish Lobby for Immigration
Reform, which took place in St. Mary's Parish Hall,
Woodside, Queens.

Democrat Senator Chuck Schumer received a reception worthy
of a rock star as he took to the microphone in front of a
crowd of hundreds of Irish supporters, many of whom were
undocumented, to address the issue of immigration reform in
the U.S. Senate.

In a night that included speeches from Republican Party
member and high-profile lawyer Grant Lally and former Bill
Clinton advisor John Dearie, the Brooklyn-born senator
stole the show, vowing to do everything in his power as a
member of the judiciary committee to ensure the passing of
the McCain-Kennedy immigration bill.

Schumer was pivotal in bringing in diversity visas, which
came to be named after him and are currently the only legal
path to green cards for Irish people without family
connections wishing to emigrate to the United States.

The busy Brooklyn senator was moved to attend the meeting
after ILIR lobbyists flooded his office with telephone
calls, faxes and emails in the wake of recent meetings in
Yonkers, Boston and Philadelphia, requesting his presence
in Queens.

"I had promised my wife I would take her out for dinner at
7.30 p.m., but I guess I'm going to be late," Schumer said
as the crowd rose to their feet, clapping and cheering

"The Schumer visas were written for the Irish," he
continued. "Not because I was raised in an Irish
neighborhood, not because so many Irish people knocked on
doors for me when I ran for Senate. Not because my chief of
staff, Martin Brennan, is Irish or because I gave my sister
into an Irish family. The reason is because I love America,
and I truly believe that the more Irish there are in the
U.S., the better it is."

Schumer condemned the Border Protection, Antiterrorism, and
Illegal Immigration Control Act of 2005, which was
sponsored by House Judiciary Committee Chairman James
Sensenbrenner and passed by the House of Representatives.
Amongst its provisions, the Sensenbrenner bill makes
undocumented workers subject to imprisonment as well as

"That bill is the biggest door closer of them all," Schumer
said. "I will do everything I can to make sure the bill has
a dagger passed through its heart."

Meanwhile, the message from the ILIR Executive Director
Kelly Fincham was more practical.

"Get on that bus, go to Washington, make your voices
heard," she said, urging members of the audience to join up
for the ILIR's planned lobby day in Washington on March 8.
Reminding the audience that March is likely to be a
critical month for the McCain-Kennedy bill, she asked: "Do
you want your future to be decided behind closed doors, or
do you want to have your say?"

Lally, who has dedicated much of his time in recent weeks
to ILIR activities, also had some practical advice.

"If you go, you will meet senators, you will meet members
of Congress, you will make a difference," he said.

"In the meantime, call your local senators, these calls are
logged, they are heard, they do make a difference."

The real heroes of the night, however, were not
accomplished public speakers, but two brave women who have
been living in the shadows for years as undocumented Irish

ILIR Queens organizing committee members Samantha and Mary
shared their stories with the audience in an attempt to
convince people of the importance of traveling to
Washington next month.

"I came here and I overstayed my visa because I love this
country," said Samantha, who has been living as an
undocumented immigrant in New York for six years.

"I'm taking the day off work to go. We took the day off
work to come here, we can take a day off work to try and
stay here. There's no need for us to be ashamed or afraid
or depressed anymore. We're going to Washington and we're
going to get our green cards."

Speaking to the Echo after the meeting, Samantha said how
delighted the group was at Schumer's attendance.

"Senator Hilary Rodham Clinton is next on our list," she

Mary, a native of Kerry, has been living in New York for 15
years and faces a 10-year ban if she returns.

"Every year passes and I pray for my name to be pulled out
of that hat," she said.

"I want to travel, I'm a registered nurse, but I cannot
fulfill my dream of working as a nurse. We need the McCain-
Kennedy Bill to be passed to give us a future and to make
sure that our kids and grandchildren don't go through what
we had to go through."

After the meeting, a positive mood prevailed amongst the

"I've been here 12 years, and I've never seen anything like
this," one young woman commented as she signed up for the bus

For more information about the ILIR lobby day, log on to , or call: 718 598 7530.

This story appeared in the issue of February 22 - 28, 2006


CIA Plane Files Nothing More Than Press Clippings: Ahern

By Michael O’Farrell, Political Reporter

TWO Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) files on the
suspected use of Shannon by US torture flights amounted to
nothing more than press clippings, Foreign Affairs Minister
Dermot Ahern said yesterday.

As Sinn Féin handed in a further book of evidence relating
to CIA extraordinary renditions through Shannon to the
gardaí yesterday, Mr Ahern said any cases investigated by
gardaí had proved groundless.

“As regards the two cases that were referred to the DPP, it
is quite clear that he said there was a lack of sufficient

“The complaints related to a regurgitation of media reports
of allegations that Shannon was being used,” Mr Ahern told
the Dáil.

Mr Ahern said any decision on whether there was enough
evidence for the gardaí to search CIA planes was purely a
matter for the gardaí and the DPP.

However, Labour foreign affairs spokesman Michael D Higgins
accused the gardaí of not doing enough to investigate
allegations that illegally-detained prisoners had been
transported through Shannon.

Citing a 24-page Government report sent to the EU
investigation into secret prisons and CIA flights
throughout Europe, Mr Higgins said the Irish allegations
were only investigated at a distance.

“They were investigated second hand by talking to cleaners
and others who serviced the aircraft,” he said.

Mr Higgins also said senior gardaí had said the force did
not have the right to search suspect planes.

However, he said, gardaí are entitled to search aircraft if
they obtained a search warrant “on suspicion of a crime
being committed”.

Meanwhile, Sinn Féin justice spokesman Aengus Ó Snodaigh
yesterday handed over a fresh book of evidence to gardaí in
a bid to provoke an investigation.


Aussies' sweet deal

Is E-3 visa a model for the Irish?

By Ray O'Hanlon

A visa program aimed at Australians is drawing close
scrutiny from campaigners advocating relief for the
undocumented Irish.

The program was introduced last year and has the potential
to open America's doors to tens of thousands of Australians
in the coming years.

The apparent generosity towards Australia seems to go
against the current view of many in Congress, one that is
in favor of placing greater immigration restrictions on
foreign nationals, including the Irish.

The visa for Australian nationals is called an E-3. It was
approved by Congress in last May and the scheme allows for
10,500 visas for successful Australian applicants on an
annual basis -- annual meaning the fiscal year.

And it goes beyond this number in that an E-3 visa holder
can bring a spouse and children to the U.S.

The spouse is allowed work but, as is the case with the
children, does not count against the annual 10,500 ceiling.

A primary effect of the E-3 program is that Australians no
longer have to compete with people from around the world,
including the Irish, for the annual allotment of H-1B
visas, which, not to make light of their appeal, go faster
these days than shrimp off a barbie.

The advantage to Australians is clear in both relative and
absolute terms - 10,500 visas a year is not a small number
in a country with low migration levels and a population not
much more than 20 million.

And it is a significant number indeed when matched against
an annual total of just 65,000 H-1B visas that is open to a
worldwide pool of applicants.

The E-3 visas do have specific requirements, not least the
fact that a successful applicant must at least have
attained a bachelor's degree and is traveling to the U.S.
to take up a post in what the program calls a "specialty

It should be noted that undocumented Australians in the
U.S. are not eligible for E-3s.

In overall terms, the standards applied to applicants and
employers by U.S. immigration authorities are the same as
applied to the H-1B visas.

But a significant difference between the two visas is with
regard to renewal.

Under current rules, an H-1B holder can stay in the U.S.
for six years, the visa being initially awarded for three
years and renewable for a further three when it is up.

While people in certain fields can apply for additional
extensions, most H-1B holders must leave the U.S. after six
years. After a year outside the country they are eligible
to apply for a new visa, but given the global demand the
chances of securing a new H-1B are slim.

The E-3 visas are renewable every two years but of
particular significance is the fact that they can be
renewed indefinitely.

As such, the holder has a strong chance after a number of
years of making a case for permanent residence and securing
employer sponsorship to that end.

Congress granting a specific visa to one country is not
entirely new.

But it is rare and few allocations have been as broad, or
as generous as the E-3 program.

Even the Donnelly and Morrison visas - programs that many
to this day view as being inextricably linked to Ireland -
were open to applicants from many nations. The Donnelly
program, for example, was open to applicants from 36

The ongoing Walsh visa program is aimed exclusively at
Ireland, but it is confined in both its application and
scope compared to the H-1B and E-3 initiatives.

The diversity visa lottery, often referred to as the
Schumer visa program, offers a 50,000 visa pool annually to
eligible countries but also has a set aside of 5,000 visas
each year for a group of central American countries.

Congress viewed the set aside as a way of helping refugees
from natural disasters and civil war.

War is in the background of the E-3 program as well.
Australia, of course, is at peace with itself, but it has
been an important U.S. ally in the war on terror.

And this was a factor in the emergence of the E-3s which
were shepherded through an approving and sympathetic U.S.
Senate by majority leader, Sen. Bill Frist.

At the time of the program's approval, sections of the
Australian media noted the close ties between Washington
and Canberra.

A report by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation stated
that "[Prime Minister John] Howard government's close
relationship with the Bush administration has secured a
major easing of immigration restrictions for Australians
wanting to work in the United States."

The report stated that the new visa gave "preferred status"
to Australians but added that the E-3 would be

To this end, the report said that Australian officials had
tried to keep negotiations for the deal secret "to prevent
anti-immigration lobbyists from persuading members of the
Congress to vote against it."

Indeed, the ABC report added, the negotiations had been
"top secret" while "one of the tactics included attaching
the Australian changes to a much more significant piece of
legislation, a bill approving more money for the wars in
Afghanistan and Iraq.

"That meant the Australian deal slipped through with little
discussion or attention, and it also ensured the bill was
voted on swiftly, because it was attached to something of
high importance."

A spokeswoman for the Australian consulate in New York was
less at pains to distance the E-3 program from Australia's
military ties with Washington than from an Australia/U.S.
free trade pact -- The Australia/United States Free Trade
Agreement, or AUSTFA -- which was negotiated and concluded
a few months before the E-3 deal became public.

The visas and the trade agreement were not related, the
spokeswoman told the Echo.

This might not be for the want of trying.

An Australian government web site reference to the
negotiations leading up to the trade agreement states: "The
Australian government sought outcomes in the AUSFTA
negotiations to further facilitate the conditions for the
temporary entry of Australian business persons and
professionals to the United States.

"While it did not prove possible to include a chapter on
temporary entry in the AUSFTA, cooperative efforts since
the agreement was concluded have resulted in the U.S.
Congress passing legislation to create a new visa category
for Australian professionals, the E-3. "

In the end, according to the consulate spokeswoman, the E-3
visas were more a reflection of the warm and strong
relationship between the United States and Australia.

This, in a sense, is good news for the Irish in that
Ireland, because of its European Union membership, is not
in a position to negotiate a bilateral trade pact with

At the same time, the relationship between Ireland and the
United States is certainly warm and strong in a variety of
contexts, though by no means an exact replica of that
between the two continent-sized signatories to AUSTFA.

As Irish politicians have been increasingly willing to
openly advocate on behalf of the undocumented Irish in
recent months, groups such as the Irish Lobby for
Immigration Reform have little to lose by holding up the E-
3s as a possible model of relief - though perhaps with
lower qualification bars - for an undocumented Irish
population it estimates at close to four times 10,500.

This story appeared in the issue of February 22 - 28, 2006


Opin: Building Support For Irish Unity In Britain

Danny Morrison

[Gerry Adams reading Daily Ireland before doing his speech
at the Sinn Fein Ard Fheis in Dublin.18/2/2006 Photo:Leon
Farrell Photocall Ireland] In the 1860s, the Irish
Republican Brotherhood was so well organised that it had
80,000 members in Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales. It
had infiltrated the British army in such numbers that it is
estimated that it had 8,000 men – that is, one out of every
three – within the garrison in Ireland.

In England itself, it was able in 1867 to mobilise 2,000
people for a planned, albeit aborted raid for arms on
Chester Castle, near Wales.

For a variety of reasons – informers, an indecisive
leadership, military suppression, raids and arrests – the
Fenian uprising of 1867 failed, but the Fenians differed
from previous movements in that they drew support not just
from Ireland but substantially from Irish emigrants in
Britain and the USA.

Over the past century and a half, the Irish republican
cause has attracted varying degrees of support in Britain
and has occasionally impinged on British politics. British
interference in Ireland has certainly sullied Britain’s
name throughout the world.

In his presidential address to the Sinn Féin Ard-Fheis last
weekend, Gerry Adams outlined “five great strategic
challenges facing Sinn Féin,” the third one of which was
“to build support for Irish unity in Britain. There is a
potential to create in Britain a solidarity movement
similar to that in the USA.”

In the early days of the most recent conflict, many among
the Irish community in Britain actively supported the civil
rights movement and closely followed events back home. They
protested against internment and Bloody Sunday and, again,
during the hunger strike they staged demonstrations in many
of the large cities. A smaller number supported the IRA
and, of course, there was the presence of republican
prisoners in jail throughout England as a reminder of the
ongoing conflict.

Many anti-imperialist activists on the left also supported
the republican cause, the demand for troops out, British
withdrawal and the right of the Irish people to national

During the armed struggle, the IRA killed soldiers and set
off bombs in Britain in an attempt to create popular
domestic opposition to British rule in the North (Many
unionists and Conservatives remain convinced, for instance,
that Labour’s initially different approach to the peace
process – taking care to involve Sinn Féin - was partly
governed by a desire to avoid more ‘Canary Wharves’).

The IRA’s campaign was designed to shake the British public
out of its apathy, not to win sympathy. Naturally the
bombings caused difficulty for supporters and those in
solidarity. Generally, they caused the Irish community to
run for cover, especially when IRA bombings caused civilian
casualties which led to antagonism and reprisal, and an
increase in discrimination and racist abuse.

The IRA campaign against the British army was aimed at
creating an anti-war sentiment similar to that in north
America which forced the USA to withdraw from Vietnam.
However, the IRA’s infliction of a large enough number of
military fatalities which would trigger an anti-war
movement was continually thwarted by repression and
counter-insurgency. A mass ‘troops out movement’ never

Nevertheless, British public opinion remained remarkably
consistent in its opposition to the union with the North.
Of 18 surveys conducted between 1971 and 1993, 16 showed
more than 50 per cent of Britons supporting withdrawal. A
Guardian/IMC opinion poll in 2001 found that only 26 per
cent of Britons believe that the North belongs to the
United Kingdom.

Unfortunately, republicans and their supporters were never
able to politically exploit this phenomenon. Now, given
Gerry Adams’ announcement, it would appear that all is set
to change.

I have spoken at literary events in England over the past
ten years and have been encouraged at the interest in and
goodwill towards Irish republicanism when the topic has
arisen. If Sinn Féin is to create support for Irish unity
in Britain it will need to invest significant resources –
financial and personnel. Certainly, the ending of the armed
struggle has created a more peaceful atmosphere making
audiences more receptive to a republican appeal.

If unionists want to combat the argument and present their
case then so much the better. Fingers crossed that they
send in Ian Paisley. What an advertisement he is for
‘traditional British values’.

The story of the republican struggle in all its facets –
from street protest through to armed struggle (including
the tragedies of war), the blanket, the hunger strike,
prison escapes, the electoral rise of Sinn Féin, the
progress of the party across Ireland, its challenge to the
status quo – is more compelling than a clip on television
of Mark Durkan waving an order paper in the House of

But that is just the background.

An appeal to the British can be made on several different
levels: on the basis of correcting a historic injustice and
recognising the sovereign rights of the Irish people; to
help counter unionist obstruction to political progress; to
explaining the union as an economic millstone (billions of
pounds in subventions for which the British public gets
nothing but ingratitude in return); and as an issue for

There is great potential for building a powerful Irish
lobby within Britain which if properly shaped, and given
the size of the Irish community, could also play a
progressive role in the issue of domestic British politics.

The lesson from the prisons and from the streets where the
struggle was fought is clear: if republicans put their
minds to it, it can be done.


Opin: Talks Manoeuvre Is Simply Insulting

Editor: Colin O’Carroll

The Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams has described as
“naive” failed attempts by the Irish and British
governments to convene what the British side described as
“parallel” talks at Stormont on Monday. “Naive” is one way
of putting it – “insulting” would be a better way.

As far as we can make out, and not surprisingly the
governments are being deliberately coy about the botched
plan, wherer the DUP, SDLP, UUP and Alliance were to sit
round a table and discuss the political way forward. Then

DUP was to be allowed to slip out the back door and Sinn
Féin invited to come in and take their place.

That anyone would consider for even a fleeting moment that
this kind of outdated and discredited thinking has any
place in the 21st century would once have been considered
disappointing – after all these years it is now outrageous.

It had been hoped that we had reached a point where the
Irish and British governments had learned the lessons of
the past and that unionists would no longer be allowed to
dictate the pace and nature of political progress.

That’s clearly not the case and the familiar and wearying
process must begin again of telling Dublin and London that
we are not second class citizens and will not be treated as

Secretary of State Peter Hain tried to put a gloss on the
debacle when he said: “Nobody would have been excluded,
there were parallel meetings, consecutively, on the same
issues with all the parties.” Of course this is just so
much nonsensical guff. The fact is that Irish and British
officials were running around like headless chickens trying
to find some way – any way – of giving the DUP what it
wanted – a key part in political negotiations without
playing a full part. What needs to happen, and what will
happen sooner or later, is that enough chairs for all the
parties will be placed around the table, all will be
invited to take a seat, and the talks will commence
regardless. For decades the DUP refused to breathe the same
air as Sinn Féin, but at the first chill of the wind of
change, when it became clear that the days of separate
studios and political apartheid were over, rather than lose
their place on the screen, senior DUP figures fell over
themselves to take their places beside Sinn Féin.

Similarly, as long as they are indulged in their
hypocritical refusal to parlay with Sinn Féin while at the
same time cosying up to loyalist paramilitaries on various
social and political fora, the DUP will continue to turn
their backs on shared dialogue.

We’re told that Mr Hain considers March 8 as the deadline
for parties to agree on new legislation that will pave the
way for a return to power-sharing.

Insulting the largest nationalist party while indulging the
largest unionist party is a great way of ensuring that the
deadline is missed.


Opin: Minor Reshuffle Turns Into Major Shambles For

The farce over a junior ministerial reshuffle has cast
doubt on the Taoiseach's judgment, writes Stephen Collins.

Taoiseach Bertie Ahern's shambolic handling of the junior
ministerial reshuffle turned into farce yesterday when it
emerged that he had an arrangement, dating back to last
November, with Minister of State for Education Síle de
Valera, that she will leave office before the end of this

At any stage over the past two months Mr Ahern, or Ms de
Valera, could have cleared up the confusion over her
position by making a simple announcement about the deal
they had struck over her ministerial future.

Instead both gave media interviews which conveyed a very
different, and quite misleading, impression about the
junior Minister's political intentions.

By their words, and their tone, the Taoiseach and his
Minister fuelled speculation among Fianna Fáil TDs, and the
media, that there was some kind of dispute between them
about when and if Ms de Valera would relinquish her

The saga began in early November when Fianna Fáil
headquarters took a decision to hold the selection
convention for the Clare constituency on January 10th,
2006. The decision prompted Ms de Valera to go to the
Taoiseach on November 6th and tell him she would not be
standing at the next election.

According to her statement yesterday, she also raised the
matter of her stepping down as Minister of State. "I was
immediately told by the Taoiseach to carry on with the job
in hand. I suggested that a time limit should be set for my
stepping down as Minister of State. The Taoiseach and I
agreed that I would vacate that position in December 2006."

However, a few days later, when Ms de Valera announced her
decision not to contest the next election, she not only
made no reference to her decision to step down from her
ministerial post at the end of this year, she let it be
known that she intended to stay on in the position in the
present Dáil. A few weeks later Ivor Callely resigned from
his junior ministerial post after a long-running
controversy over building work to his house, which had not
been declared in the register of members' interests.

Seán Haughey was installed as the favourite to fill the
position, with other Dublin TDs like Jim Glennon and Pat
Carey also figuring in speculation. Mr Ahern delayed
filling the Callely post until the New Year and as January
dragged on, the gossip in Fianna Fáil circles was that he
might carry out a wider reshuffle. Fianna Fáil TDs spoke
openly about the fact that as Ms de Valera was not going to
run for election again, the Taoiseach might avail of the
opportunity to appoint two new junior Ministers. When the
Dáil resumed at the end of January and the Taoiseach still
had not filled the Callely vacancy, Leinster House was rife
with rumours that he wanted Ms de Valera to step down but
that he had not asked her to do so.

She went on radio to state emphatically that there had been
no change in her position. Meanwhile, speculation continued
that Mr Haughey was going to get a post.

At any stage the Taoiseach and Ms de Valera could have
revealed the fact that she had agreed to resign by the end
of this year but neither chose to do so.

Then last week the Taoiseach made his surprise announcement
that Meath TD Mary Wallace was getting the junior vacancy.
Mr Haughey was indignant and the controversy took off. Mr
Ahern spoke to Clare FM last Friday and gave a strong hint
that Ms de Valera would be stepping down before the end of
the Government's lifetime. She made no comment. The whole
controversy had just about died down by yesterday when Ms
de Valera came out with the revelation about the deal
agreed last November. There was astonishment all round.

How the Taoiseach got himself into such a mess over a
relatively minor appointment is the real mystery. A routine
issue has turned into a huge embarrassment that has thrown
the Taoiseach's judgment and competence into doubt. Going
by what has happened over the past few weeks, we are
unlikely to have heard the last of this saga.

© The Irish Times


B. Ahern Respects All Faiths And None

Patsy McGarry, Religious Affairs Correspondent

Taoisaech Bertie Ahern has said that as a Catholic his
faith "is both a personal matter for me as well as being an
important part of my life and of my perspective of public

He said that as Taoiseach he represented "equally, not only
Catholics, but people of all faiths and none. This is not
only my constitutional duty; it is at the heart of my
republican values."

Writing in this week's Irish Catholic newspaper, he said
that the "assertion of the importance of the spiritual and
the non-material is a powerful antidote to a purely
functional view of human beings and society. In that sense,
religious belief and practice is not a purely private
matter, with no place in public discourse. On the contrary,
a truly democratic and inclusive society values its faith,
community and respects the voice of those who offer
spiritual insight and leadership."

He said "there is a fundamental goodness in people,
reflected in all the major faiths, that accepts
responsibility to provide support for people where it is
needed". Beyond "the inherent value and prophetic impact of
their social service" they played "a vital role as a source
of values and meaning for our people".

He hoped that dialogue between the Government, churches and
non-confessional organisations would "commence in coming
months" and believed this "must be transparent and open"
and facilitated under the Freedom of Information

© The Irish Times


Ahern Calls For Closure Of Guantanamo Bay

Last updated: 22-02-06, 18:56

Minister for Foreign Affairs Dermot Ahern has called on the
United States to shut down Camp Delta at Guantánamo Bay in

It is the first time the Government has publicly called for
the closure of the controversial naval base.

Ireland regards torture as totally unacceptable and
unjustified under any circumstances

Minister for Foreign Affairs Dermot Ahern

Last week, the European Parliament voted overwhelmingly for
a resolution urging the prison be closed and the 500
inmates given a fair trail. This followed the publication
of a UN report which said the US was violating a host of
human rights, including a ban on torture, arbitrary
detention and the right to a fair trial. The US denied the

Speaking during Priority Questions in the Dail tonight, Mr
Ahern said Ireland agreed with the UN that all forms of
torture were illegal and Guantánamo Bay must be closed.

"As far as we are concerned, issues of alleged torture
there have to be investigated, in our view," he told TDs.

"As far as we are concerned, we would endorse the view of
UN secretary general Kofi Annan in relation to the
necessity to either charge or release those people who are
detained in Guantanamo and ultimately that the Guantánamo
facility should be closed."

He said all prisoners should be protected under
international humanitarian laws. "Ireland regards torture
as totally unacceptable and unjustified under any
circumstances," he said.

"I fully endorse the Secretary General's view that those
held in Guantánamo Bay should either be charged or released
and that the United States should close this facility.

"This would be highly desirable on human rights grounds.

"Closure of Guantánamo Bay would also serve to reassure all
of the US's friends, including Ireland, who recognise the
role of the US as a global leader in combating terrorism
and promoting democracy."

Labour's international affairs spokesman Michael D Higgins
welcomed Mr Ahern's comments but noted that senior gardaí
had told him that they have no powers to enter or inspect
planes or arrest suspects.

Most of the roughly 500 inmates at Guantánamo have been
held for four years without trial. The prisoners were
mainly detained in Afghanistan and are held as part of
President Bush's declared war against terrorism.

© The Irish Times


Steep Rise In North Hate Crimes, Reports Show

Gráinne McWilliams

There has been a steep rise in hate crimes across
Northern Ireland, according to reports released yesterday.

The two reports, commissioned by the Police Ombudsman of
Northern Ireland and the Northern Ireland Policing Board,
found that racist attacks in the North have increased by
nearly 80 per cent, while homophobic attacks rose by 175
per cent.

Hate crime was also shown to be low on the list of
priorities of the North's population, with only four of the
26 policing districts mentioning it in their policing

The survey examined attitudes of people in black and
minority, lesbian, gay and bisexual communities towards
policing in the North.

Speaking at the launch of the reports in Belfast yesterday,
representatives from the Institute for Conflict Research
(ICR), which compiled the findings, said half the ethnic
minorities interviewed were "satisfied with the police
response to reported hate crime". However, a quarter
expressed dissatisfaction with how the PSNI treated their

"Many of the ethnic groups felt that the police did not
take crime against them seriously, particularly
Travellers," said an ICR spokesperson.

Almost a quarter of the gays, lesbians and bisexuals
surveyed said they would consider joining the PSNI, while
46 per cent wouldn't join, as they would have "little
confidence in how they would be treated". The reports
recommended the PSNI adopt a "screening process" for new
recruits to identify homophobic attitudes.

© The Irish Times


Van Morrison Pays The Devil


(Press Release) Van Morrison's 'Pay The Devil' will be in
stores March 7th.

There's a reason they call Van Morrison the Belfast Cowboy.
Now with Morrison's latest album Pay The Devil, that good
reason has resulted in a great new album. From the start,
the deeply soulful sounds of the American South helped
inspire Morrison to one of the most enduring and
consistently impressive careers in music history. For
forty-years, he's drawn upon the greats of Rhythm & Blues
to create his own distinctive and influential blend of soul
and Celtic influences. On Pay The Devil, Morrison explores
his inner cowboy more than ever before - recording a
compelling mix of his favorite country compositions as well
as a few equally strong originals that more than earn their
place among such distinguished company. Morrison has taken
some enduring, endlessly relevant songs of the south and
somehow made them all his own.

Those who have been following Van Morrison for years might
praise him for his remarkable range in taking this turn
down a country road. Recent years have seen Morrison cover
the musical waterfront with recordings that touch upon
traditional Irish music, jazz, skiffle and other musical
forms that move him. But the secret of Morrison's ongoing
artistic success is that he has never followed fashion in
the slightest. Rather he continues to be a working musician
who simply follows his own soulful muse wherever it may
lead him. This dogged individuality has been true of Van
Morrison straight down the line - from his days leading the
Irish group Them back in the Sixties, to his early solo
days of "Brown Eye Girl" and "T.B. Sheets" to such late
Sixties and Seventies masterpieces as Astral Weeks (1968),
Moondance (1970) and Tupelo Honey (1971) to more recent
classic albums like Irish Heartbeat (Morrison's stunning
1988 collaboration with the Chieftains), Avalon Sunset
(1989), Enlightenment (1990), The Healing Game (1997) and
Magic Time (2005).

The outstanding, plainspoken songs on Pay The Devil range
from the familiar, like Morrison's impressive take on Hank
Williams' "Your Cheating Heart" and Webb Pierce's "There
Stands The Glass" to somewhat less familiar Country &
Western gems. It is a true tribute to Morrison's genius as
a vocal stylist that he can take a song as often covered as
"Half As Much" -- recorded over the years by everyone from
Hank Williams to Patsy Cline and Emmylou Harris - and
manage to make it feel new all over again. He does so by
clearly connecting with country's timeless themes of love
and loss and life, sin and salvation. Through it all,
Morrison proves to be one hell of a fine, subtle straight-
ahead country singer in the grand tradition of George
Jones. Indeed, one of Pay The Devil's many highlights is
Morrison's take on "Things Have Gone To Pieces," a dark gem
written by Leon Payne that Jones made famous. Then there's
"What Am I Living For?" -- an old Chuck Willis number.
Listen to how Morrison delivers Rodney Crowell's early
masterpiece "Til I Gain Control Again" -- one of the more
recent copyrights included here and a standout effort on an
album full of them.

Yet even among such high standards, Morrison's originals
here are among the highlights - including "Playhouse" a
sly, infectious song that one wishes the Genius of Soul had
lived to record, and the title track - a reflection on
making the devil's music and a fine reminder that "one
man's meat is another man's poison"

To listen to Pay The Devil, one might naturally assume that
Morrison has traveled to Nashville and handed himself over
to Music City's finest players and producers. Remarkably,
Morrison has done nothing of the sort - recording Pay The
Devil in Ireland with the same wonderful musicians who have
been playing with him for years now with exceptional
results. Even more remarkably, it turns out that Morrison
has never even been to Nashville before. Regardless of
that, he has made a classic album that sounds like
Nashville at its finest and stands as tall as anything
that's come out of the town in recent years. Pay The Devil
is not just great country music, it's great music -
whatever country you happen to come from. We've come to
expect no less from Morrison.

Finally, the Belfast Cowboy has come home.


Ó Cuív Defends Law On Translating

Martin Wall

Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs Éamon
Ó Cuív has said he doubted anyone was suggesting that local
authorities with a statutory obligation to translate some
official documents into Irish should disregard the law.

The Minster was speaking after it emerged that Clare County
Council had spent more than €30,000 on translating three
statutory development plans into Irish. No copies of the
Irish language version of the documents were ever sold.

The council said it spent the money on translating the
documents to comply with the Official Languages Act.

The Minister said the requirement for local authorities to
translate some official documents into Irish had been
supported by all parties in the Dáil.

Mr Ó Cuív said the legislation required that a small number
of documents - policy documents and annual reports - had to
be provided in Irish and English.

"If there is a statutory obligation then people have an
obligation to adhere to it. If there is not a statutory
obligation, the translation then is purely on a voluntary
basis. I doubt if anybody is suggesting that anybody
disregard the law," he said.

The Minister said that with smaller groups in society, an
excuse in the past for not doing something was often that
there would not be much use for it.

He said Irish speakers were used to the argument which said
"why bother" because only a small number of copies might be

© The Irish Times


Propaganda In 1920 In Ireland – Bloody Sunday & Kilmichael
- The Origins Of 'Fake News'

National History And Heritage Event Notice Wednesday
February 22, 2006 10:15 by Niall Meehan

How the 'official' version found its way into the media and
into the history books

“The Origins And Organisation Of British Propaganda In Ireland In 1920”

by Brian P Murphy.
Published by the Aubane Historical Society and Spinwatch

Book Launch: FRIDAY MARCH 24 - 7.45pm Teachers Club Dublin


From Ireland to Iraq governments attempt to control and to
direct the media in order to disseminate the 'official'
version of the facts. Brian Murphy shows how the British
government did it in Ireland. This important work details
how the British propaganda machine in Ireland was organised
in 1920. Murphy's original research illustrates the power
of, and the origin of, 'spin'.

Murphy's research has been praised widely, and this is
reflected in comments on the back cover of the book from
Edward S Herman, Mark Curtis, Meda Ryan, Ruan O'Donnell,
John Borgonovo and Farrel Corcoran.

Book Launch Friday March 24 Teachers' Club Dublin - All

In the 100-page book (part of a larger projected study)
packed with detail, Murphy contrasts the widely differing
Irish and British approach to information provision. He
also outlines the extent to which modern historiography is
still affected and distorted by the ‘spin’ disseminated by
Basil Clarke, Charles Foulkes, Hugh Pollard, Major John
Street and their colleagues operating from within Dublin
Castle. In particular, Murphy mentions the work of Roy
Foster and of Peter Hart as being distorted by over
reliance on apparently factual information that was in fact
designed to mislead. The work of Peter Hart came in for
sharp criticism in the pages of History Ireland last year
and within the pages of the Indymedia web site. [1]


That misinformation should have a ‘shelf life’ long after
its original political and military purpose had passed
indicates why historians should be ever skeptical of
apparently pristine and original source material. It also
indicates that readers should be ever vigilant and not take
historical research itself at face value. Finally, this
work will reinforce the need for journalists to be wary of
the information machine that governments have at their
disposal, used to define and to distort information in the
interests of the status quo.

In his extensive foreword, David Miller, Professor of
Sociology at Strathclyde University and author of ‘Tell me
Lies: Propaganda & Media Distortion in the Attack on Iraq',
outlines the links between what happened in Ireland in 1920
and events in Britain and elsewhere later in the Century.
He indicates how Clarke and Admiral Reggie “Blinker” Hall,
who was centrally involved in blackening the name of Roger
Casement when Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and others were
seeking clemency, were involved in subversion of left wing
and industrial politics in Britain after World War One.

The following excerpt from the extensive foreword by Miller
indicates how Murphy’s research resonates with an
examination of the development and organisation of British
imperialist propaganda during the 20th Century and up to
the present day.


“Contaminating The Historical Record

The use of some of these propaganda documents as genuine
historical sources by pro-British historians, as exposed by
Murphy, is a testament to the power of propaganda as well
as of the extent to which official historians are capable
of fabricating history in the interests of great power.

“Unfortunately for those historians who have made their
living trotting out history which allows the powerful of
today to rest easy, Murphy’s research exposes to the light
the dubious empirical basis of some of their work. Murphy
is one actor in the vigorous historical debate on the
Rising and the War of Independence. The “revisionist”
school has tried to bury the achievement of the struggle
for Irish independence. Ireland was the first British
colony to throw off the shackles of British rule. It was
the culmination of a long struggle carried out in the last
instance by an armed revolution after the British state had
emphatically rejected the overwhelming majority for
independence at the 1918 election. The revisionists instead
want contemporary elites in Ireland, Britain and elsewhere
to be allowed to paint the Irish revolution as a dirty
sectarian affair springing out of the special ethnic
hatreds so well incubated by the Catholic Irish. [2] Murphy
undermines this lie by showing the process by which these
historical account emerged in the propaganda dens of some
of the most vicious British imperialists and racists.

“Murphy quotes one of the more restrained propagandists,
Major John Street, who had conducted propaganda in the
1914-18 war as saying “the IRA rank and file” were “poor
dupes of the designing criminals who pose as their
officers”. His views are positively civilised besides those
of his colleague Hugh Pollard, who hated the Irish with a
passion. “The Irish problem is a problem of the Irish race,
and it is rooted in the racial characteristics of the
people themselves” wrote Pollard in 1922. The Irish he
thought were “racially disposed to crime”, have “two
psychical and fundamental abnormalities… moral
insensibility and want of foresight” which “are the basic
characteristic of criminal psychology”. Furthermore, noted
Street, warming to his theme “the Irish demand for an
independent Irish Republic is… a purely hysterical

“Pollard, Street and Clarke also worked closely with the
head of Special Branch in London, Basil Thomson. Through
him they were connected to the key imperialist lobby
networks in London. These individuals were not abashed
about their politics, describing their network as the
“diehards” and the “London Imperialists”. Central to it and
very close to Thomson was Admiral Reggie “Blinker” Hall,
who was the director of Naval Intelligence in the 1914-18
war. Together with Thomson, Hall interrogated Roger
Casement in 1916 and personally leaked his “black diaries”
to the press in order to ensure that Casement would not be
reprieved as a result of the campaign being run by Arthur
Conan Doyle. According to historians of the period, Hall’s
victory in ensuring Casement was hanged, “was all very
gratifying; an object lesson in secret service power which
Hall… was never to forget”. [3]

“The Rise Of Public Relations

This was the milieu which produced the public relations
industry in Britain. Its lineage can be traced right
through to the rise of Thatcher in the 1970s. Clarke left
government service in the early 1920s and set up one of the
first PR agencies: Editorial Services. By the end of the
1920s this was a significant operation with 60 staff.
During this period (1929-31) Clarke worked as an early PR
man for the Conservative Party. [4]

“A year before Clarke was posted to Ireland, Hall, by then
a newly elected MP, convened the meeting which led to the
creation of National Propaganda: the first business-wide
propaganda group in Britain in 1919. It engaged in very
similar techniques to the British propaganda operation in
Ireland. Amongst the tactics were the hiring of former
“black and tans” from the Irish conflict to conduct what
they called a “crusade for capitalism”. This involved
propaganda, intrigue, subversion and violence, taking the
fight to the factory gates all over the UK from 1920 right
through to the 1950s and 60s. Today National Propaganda is
better known by the name it adopted in 1924, the Economic
League, as an organisation which blacklisted workers for
its big business clients. For at least half of its history
until its dissolution in the 1990s, the Economic League’
primary role was propaganda. [5]

“Colonel Hugh Pollard, as he became, turned up again in
“diehard” circles in 1936 when he flew from Croydon airport
on a Dragon Rapide light aircraft to the Canary Islands.
They brought General Francisco Franco back to Spain to
launch his murderous coup against democratic Spain.
Accompanying him was one of the leading lobbyists, and an
early Conservative party spin doctor, of the post-1945
period, Toby O’Brien. [6]

“In other words the link between what happened in Ireland
in 1920 and in Britain afterwards is real and direct,
featuring the same people, linked over the generations by a
shared hostility to democratic politics. Linked also to the
rise of the spin industry which is now an attendant feature
of every political controversy and which uses and develops
techniques intended to ensure that democratic politics
cannot function effectively to implement the will of the
people. This is a long and involved story, but the work of
Brian Murphy has a lot to teach us about its origins.”

[END foreword excerpt]


David Miller’s research indicates how propaganda was part
and parcel of the preparation of the public mind for war in
Iraq. Recently he wrote on the development of a “fake news”
operation by the British government, that permits of “some
critiscism” of the US, so as to add verisimilitude to the
enterprise – this is straight out of the propaganda manual
of Basil Clarke and his colleagues. [7]

Miller adds the international dimension that links
Ireland’s War of Independence with contemporary events in
both Ireland and in the wider world. Brian Murphy’s
research widens our understanding of historical events such
as the 1916 Rising and the War of Independence. It will
place these events in the international context of the
fight for democracy and the end to colonial rule.

The narrowly introspective and conservative parameters of
revisionist historiography will continue to be found
wanting in this exercise.


Both Brian Murphy and David Miller will speak at the
launch, which will be chaired by newspaper columnist,
author and playwright, Danny Morrison, formerly Sinn Fein
Director of Publicity.

Signed copies of the book will be available at the launch.

This is sure to be a very interesting discussion about a
very important piece of research – all those interested in
the relationship of the past to the present should be
there. All are welcome.


[1] See History Ireland 2005 Vol 13, Nos 2 to 5
( ).

[2] For a discussion of the inability of mainstream
academia to take on empirically based independent line on
Northern Ireland see D. Miller (1998) 'Colonialism and
academic interpretations of Northern Ireland' in Miller, D.
(ed.) Rethinking Northern Ireland, London: Longman. For a
discussion of revisionism more generally see Ciaran Brady
(Ed.) Interpreting Irish History: The Debate on Historical
Revisionism, 1938-94, Dublin: Irish Academic Press, 1994.
(Contains “The Canon of Irish Cultural History: Some
Questions Concerning Roy Foster’s ‘Modern Ireland’” by
Brian P. Murphy).

[3] Bernard Porter, Plots and Paranoia: A history of
political espionage in Britain, 1790-1988, p141

[4] Alan Clarke 'The life and times of Sir Basil Clarke, PR
Pioneer', Public Relations, 1969 Vol. 22(2) p. 9-13.

[5] The best existing account is Mike Hughes Spies at Work,
1 in 12 publications, 1994.

[6] Graham Turner and John Pearson, The Persuasion
Industry, London: Eyre and Spottiswoode, 1966 p. 177.

[7] See The Guardian, Wednesday February 15, 2006
(,,1709959,00.html ).

Book Launch: FRIDAY MARCH 24 - 7.45pm Teachers Club Dublin


Festival To Weave A Fantasy World

Kitty Holland

Aerial acrobatics, supermodel donkeys, Slovenian gypsy
music and Harry Potter as Gaeilge will be some of the
offerings at next month's St Patrick's Festival. Some 4,000
performers will be watched by an expected 1.5 million
spectators at the five-day, five-night event in Dublin.

Details of the State's biggest party were announced in
Dublin yesterday.

"The biggest and most exciting new event will be the 'Money
Oíche'," said Donal Shiels, chief executive of the
festival. Describing it as "a big acrobatic spectacle in
Smithfield, with acrobats suspended on a futuristic globe,
50 feet up in the air", he said it would open the festival
on the Wednesday night and would "transfix" Irish audiences
the way it has others across the world.

Performed by the internationally renowned Argentinian and
Spanish company Grupo Puja, the opening night show will be
preceded by a special music performance with 150 drummers.
It will run from 8pm on Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday
nights and will be free, though ticketed.

The focal event of the festival will be the parade on
Friday 17th, which this year has a theme of "Wishful
Thinking". The route - the same as last year, which
reversed the traditional route - will see the parade begin
in Parnell Square at noon, run along O'Connell Street and
on to Westmoreland Street, making its way around College
Green, up Dame Street and on past Christ Church to end at
Patrick Street.

It will take about one and a half hours to pass at any
given point, according to parade director Carina McGrail.

As part of the "wishful thinking" theme there will be a
feature depicting the Ireland football team playing Brazil
in a World Cup final.

Another display with a Caribbean theme expresses the wish
that it might one day always be sunny in the Gaeltacht.

Though the parade is free, tickets for viewing platforms
can be bought for €60 per person.

The extremely popular Céilí Mór is on again this year at
Earlsfort Terrace, between 2pm and 6pm on St Patrick's Day.

An increased emphasis on Irish culture will be evident
throughout the festival. "Another new thing is An Lá
Gaelach on the Saturday," said Mr Shiels, adding he hoped
it would encourage people to "engage with the city" through
Irish. There will be bellydancers, drummers and children's
entertainers performing throughout the day, throughout the
city and all through Irish. There will also be a screening
of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone in Irish in
Meeting House Square.

Among other events will be Donkeys at Docklands - an
exhibition of 50 life-size photographs of donkeys, by
Italian photographer Oliviero Toscani; a concert for
children at the Ark Theatre in Temple Bar on Saturday 18th;
the Big Day Out on Sunday 19th with "fun activities" and
stalls at Merrion Square; and the festival market at Wolfe
Tone Square, off Jervis Street, each day.

Full details and ticketing information at or 01-6763205

© The Irish Times

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