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February 27, 2006

Intelligence Saw No Plan For Dublin Violence

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News About Ireland & The Irish

IT 02/28/06 Intelligence Saw No Plan For Violence, Says Report
IT 02/28/06 Garda Think Football Hooligans Intended To Cause Chaos
IT 02/28/06 Rioters Are ‘No Friends Of Ireland’, Says McGuinness
IT 02/28/06 Riots Low On List Of Priorities For International Press
EE 02/27/06 Adams Backs Murder Victim's Father's Search For Justice
IT 02/28/06 Orangeman Urged To Resign Position Over False Reference
IN 02/27/06 Hugh Orde Rebuts Columnist’s Claims
IN 02/27/06 Finucane Inquiry No Cover-Up: Hain
IN 02/27/06 Court To Hear Extradition Result
DI 02/27/06 Alderdice Quits Party (Full Story)
BB 02/27/06 Man Found Guilty Of Assaulting MP
IT 02/28/06 Irish Troops May Be Sent To Congo
IN 02/28/06 Opin: Stretching Democracy To Its Absolute Limits
IN 02/28/06 Opin: Love Ulster – Rebels Without A Cause
IT 02/28/06 Opin: Time We Learned To Deal With The Past
BN 02/27/06 40 Jobs To Go At Wexford Prawn-Processing Plant
DI 02/27/06 Bobby Sands: Childhood Before Sectarian State Got Vicious
BB 02/27/06 City Plans For St Patrick's Day
IT 02/28/06 Top Irish Chefs Plan Culinary Events In New Tourism Drive
DI 02/28/06 Brave Explorer’s Life Inspires Play


Intelligence Saw No Plan For Violence, Says Report

Liam Reid and Conor Lally

Minister for Justice Michael McDowell will brief the
Cabinet today on a preliminary Garda report into Saturday's
riot in Dublin, ahead of a special Dáil debate on the
violence this evening.

The report, which was submitted to the Minister last night
by the Garda Commissioner, outlines in considerable detail
the Garda planning in the run-up to the Love Ulster parade.
It also describes in detail the counter-demonstration,
which erupted into violence on Saturday afternoon and led
to the loyalist march being abandoned.

The Garda report on the events outlines the intelligence
reports from Special Branch detectives that there was no
indication of any planned violence by republican dissidents
at the counter-protest.

Amid growing criticism by Opposition TDs and Garda
representative bodies about the level of Garda preparation
for the event, the Taoiseach last night moved to defend
Garda management, saying that they "did a great job on the

Bertie Ahern said gardaí could have been kitted out with
riot gear at the outset of the operation, but "if they did
that, they'd be accused of over-reacting".

Gardaí have also begun gathering thousands of images of
rioters on O'Connell Street on Saturday and will distribute
them among intelligence officers with a view to arresting
and prosecuting those involved.

Mr McDowell will give a statement to the Dáil about
Saturday's events and will refer in detail to the report
during his speech as part of a 2 ½-hour special debate. The
report provides limited information on who is suspected of
being responsible for the violence and is believed to state
that the investigations are at a very preliminary stage.

The Irish Times has learned that one line of inquiry being
pursued by gardaí is whether football hooligans may have
played a significant part in the trouble.

Many Dublin-based hooligans who support Celtic Football
Club congregated in a pub in the O'Connell Street area
popular with Celtic fans, which broadcasts all Celtic
fixtures. As the disturbances broke out, a large group was
seen coming from the pub dressed in Celtic jerseys. There
have been a small number of violent incidents involving
Irish football supporters in the last 12 months.

During this evening's Dáil debate, the Government will be
asked by the opposition to justify the policing and routing
decisions made by gardaí in advance of Saturday's planned

Mr Ahern indicated on RTÉ last night that he was concerned
about the impact of the violence on Ireland's image abroad.
"Personally I feel we let ourselves down," he said. "It's
always upsetting when people ring you from the other side
of the world to tell you you're item two on the news."

Tánaiste Mary Harney yesterday described the violence as
"downright thuggery". Ms Harney said those involved had
"brought shame on themselves, shame on the city, shame on
the country".

Minister for Foreign Affairs Dermot Ahern said the riots
were "a sad day for Dublin" but welcomed the fact that Sinn
Féin had condemned the violence on Saturday. Sinn Féin TD
for Dublin South-West Seán Crowe yesterday reiterated his
party's condemnation of the violence and said he expected
that any Sinn Féin member convicted of involvement in the
disturbances would be expelled from the party.

He said the party had consistently advised its supporters
to avoid the march.

Meanwhile DUP MP Jeffrey Donaldson, who was in Dublin for
Saturday's aborted march, said there would be no rush to
decide on the holding of another rally in Dublin.

"It will be some time in truth before such a decision is
arrived at," he said.

© The Irish Times


Garda Think Football Hooligans Intended To Cause Chaos

Conor Lally and Liam Reid

The rioters: Gardai believe much of the rioting witnessed
in Dublin on Saturday was driven by football hooligans who
congregated in the city-centre intent on taking advantage
of more formal protests being held against the "Love
Ulster" parade.

One line of inquiry being explored by gardaí is that many
Dublin-based hooligans who support Glasgow Celtic Football
Club congregated in a pub in the O'Connell Street area
which is popular with Celtic fans. The pub broadcasts all
Celtic's fixtures.

As the disturbances orchestrated by suspected dissident
republicans broke out, a large group was seen coming from
the pub wearing Celtic jerseys even though there was no
Celtic game on Saturday.

Many of the rioters later pictured in the media were
wearing Celtic jerseys.

Security sources said that while there was no history of
soccer hooliganism in the Republic on the scale of
Saturday's riots, a relatively small group of Dublin-based
soccer supporters had been involved in mini-riots in recent
years and would be "quite capable" of causing a major

One senior Garda source said that because the disturbances
seemed to have been at least in part organised by soccer
hooligans, gardaí would have found it almost impossible to
detect the plans in advance. The same source said that
those involved could simply have rung and texted each other
to arrange a meeting in pubs around O'Connell Street, and a
small number could have started and sustained much of the
trouble witnessed.

Last week, the Shamrock Rovers Ultras website for fans was
visited by a number of people who posted inflammatory anti-
unionist comments. Some of these predicted serious violent
disturbances on O'Connell Street.

Other postings claimed that those marching in the "Love
Ulster" parade would be carrying photographs of at least
one man linked to the bombings in Dublin on May 17th 1974,
which claimed the lives of 34 people.

One visitor to the site commented: "I'd be astonished if
this event passes off peacefully."

Many of those who visited the site, including a poster
claiming to be from Sinn Féin, repeatedly appealed for calm
over the weekend.

A spokesman for Shamrock Rovers said that the club
condemned the violence, which was in no way linked to it.
He said that any person could visit a noticeboard under a
false name and leave postings. The spokesman said that the
Ultras fan club had always condemned violence.

Saturday's riots were not the first time that gardaí have
been confronted with serious civil unrest on O'Connell
Street linked to drunken Celtic supporters. In May 2001,
some 29 people were arrested for public order and criminal
damage offences after Celtic fans who had been drinking in
pubs around O'Connell Street came on to the streets to
celebrate their victory against Glasgow rivals Rangers in a
match televised earlier that day.

Last May, Linfield supporters clashed with a group of rival
supporters wearing Shamrock Rovers and Celtic jerseys
before the Setanta Cup Final in Tolka Park, Drumcondra,

There were disturbances last May and June at three games in
Dublin involving fans from Bohemians FC, Shelbourne FC and
Shamrock Rovers FC. A League of Ireland committee set up to
investigate those incidents concluded: "Militant elements
of teenagers and young males who align themselves to
National League teams view matches, especially those of a
traditional crunch nature, between rival clubs as a vehicle
for violent behaviour, hooliganism and general misconduct."

Web postings on SRFC Ultras: before and after riot

• "Remember, they marched past the Falls Road, symbolising
the number five for the five people the UVF slaughtered in
the bookies a few weeks previous. They'll be symbolising
the Dublin bombings from the 70s if they're allowed to
march Saturday."

• "You can be sure that Republicans of all shades will be
out for this one . . . Are we expected to welcome the
British queen as well, because this weekend is a feeler for
Lizzie's visit? Anyone intent on protesting against
loyalists has my 100 per cent backing."

• "So maybe 50 loyalists will need hospital treatment
afterwards. Like I say to my kids - don't play with the

• "There WILL NOT be any peaceful protest at this. Anyone I
know that's going to protest is going to bash heads."

• "If there's any flags, placards supporting loyalist
paramilitaries . . . beat them back on to their buses,
that's if they haven't been set on fire."

• "The kids out rioting were exactly the same as ones who
would cause trouble at a Rovers game."

© The Irish Times


Rioters Are ‘No Friends Of Ireland’, Says MP

By Eamonn Houston

Sinn Féin chief negotiator Martin McGuinness last night
described those who rioted in Dublin on Saturday as “no
friends of Ireland”.

He accused people “acting under the guise of Irish
republicans” of being responsible for the outbreak of
violence associated with the controversial Love Ulster

“I unreservedly condemn the violence. It was totally
unimaginable and appalling behaviour. These people operated
under the guise of Irish republicanism.

“The attacks on the Garda, a journalist and citizens was
wrong. The Love Ulster campaign and William Frazer will be
delighted to have been handed such a victory by such a tiny
minority, and both have a common cause — both are hostile
to Sinn Féin. They are no friends of Ireland,” the Mid-
Ulster MP said.

In today’s Daily Ireland, editor Colin O’Carroll and Dublin
correspondent David Lynch relate the scenes from Dublin on
Saturday as eyewitnesses.

Daily Ireland’s editorial brands the violence a “shocking

“Taoiseach Bertie Ahern said dissident republicans had
initiated the violence and had quickly been joined by local

“Not everyone has been as measured in responding to the
violence. Opposition parties have called for an inquiry
into the apparent state of unreadiness of the gardaí, as if
somehow the gardaí can be made to shoulder some of the

“Nothing should be allowed to detract from the central
truth — the blame lies with those who think they can bring
violence to the streets of Dublin and get away with it,”
says the editorial.


Riots Low On List Of Priorities For International Press

Deaglán de Bréadún, Foreign Affairs Correspondent

International media: Despite the shockwaves generated at a
national level by events on Dublin's streets last weekend,
the disturbances generated few ripples in the international

Compared to the rioting in the Muslim world over the
Muhammad cartoons, the number of casualties - 14 people
injured - was relatively low and clearly insufficient to
persuade the world's press that this was a major news

Coverage in yesterday's Guardian, published in London, was
confined to a three-column photograph and caption.

There was little interest also on the part of the French
media, but reports of varying length were carried in the
German press.

A news story of about 500 words in the Suddeutsche Zeitung,
published in Munich, was accompanied by a photograph of a
burning motorcycle and the headline "Looting and riots in
Dublin". The Berlin-based Die Welt carried a dispatch of
similar length and there were brief reports in the
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung and the Frankfurter

The Sunday Territorian, published in Australia's Northern
Territory, carried a single paragraph as follows: "Several
hundred Irish Republican Army supporters opposed to a
Protestant march in Dublin attacked police for several
hours on Saturday, bringing damage and danger to Ireland's
normally peaceful capital."

Rioters were also depicted as "IRA supporters" in the
Chicago Tribune. "In scenes rare for the Republic of
Ireland, protesters hurled bottles, bricks, concrete blocks
and fireworks for more than an hour at officers trying to
clear the crowd from Dublin's famed O'Connell Street," the
paper said.

An Associated Press dispatch carried by the Monterey County
Herald in California reported the events in similar terms:
"The protesters, mostly young men covering their faces with
scarves, chanted pro-IRA slogans as they waged running
battles with riot police and other officers on horseback
for more than an hour, forcing shops on Ireland's most
famous street to close."

Meanwhile, a report by Brian Lavery of the New York Times
was carried on the website of the International Herald
Tribune under the headline "Dublin riots damage fragile
peace efforts".

Lavery wrote that the disturbances had "significantly
damaged British plans to restore Northern Ireland's power-
sharing local government".

In the far-flung Canadian province of Alberta, the Calgary
Herald carried an Associated Press photograph with a 400-
word account of the protest from the Bloomberg news
service, which took the long view, in historical terms,
reporting that Ireland had seen "some of the worst street
violence since the country acceded from British rule 84
years ago".

© The Irish Times


Adams Backs Murder Victim's Father's Search For Justice

27/02/2006 - 19:13:41

Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams today held talks with the
father of a loyalist murder victim and vowed to back his
campaign for justice.

Raymond McCord met Mr Adams at the party’s headquarters in
west Belfast to discuss the Ulster Volunteer Force killing
of his son, Raymond Junior.

Mr McCord claims a UVF man involved in the murder has been
protected because he is a police Special Branch agent.

His son, a 22-year-old former RAF operator, was beaten to
death and dumped in a north Belfast quarry in 1997.

Mr Adams today pledged to raise the case with British Prime
Minister Tony Blair and Taoiseach Bertie Ahern later this

After the 45-minute meeting the West Belfast MP said: “I
think the McCord family have the right to truth and that is
essentially what Raymond McCord is looking for.

“He is looking for the truth about the murder of his son.

“I think there is a huge amount of evidence to suggest that
British agents were involved in that killing.

“It is a matter of fact that collusion by British forces
with unionists was a big part of how they ran their
operation here and I intend to raise this case and support
the family in any way I can.”

Nuala O’Loan, the Northern Ireland Police Ombudsman, is due
to report on her investigation into the allegations later
this year.

Mr McCord has already held talks with SDLP leader Mark
Durkan, Alliance leader David Ford and Ulster Unionist
leader Reg Empey.

He is currently trying to arrange meetings with Mr Ahern
and DUP leader Ian Paisley.


Orangeman Urged To Resign Position Over False Reference

Dan Keenan, Northern News Editor

An Orange Order member of the North's Parades Commission
has been urged to resign after an SDLP Assembly member
found he had used her name as a referee in his application
without asking her permission.

Donald McKay was one of two Portadown Orangemen appointed
last November by Northern Secretary Peter Hain to the board
which rules on contested parades.

Dolores Kelly, an Assembly member for Upper Bann which
includes Portadown, said last night that Mr McKay had
written to apologise.

However, she said his position was untenable and that Mr
Hain had to find explanations. "I'm amazed no-one in the
Northern Ireland office contacted me before he [ Mr McKay]
was appointed," she said.

"It doesn't make sense that a nationalist representative
for Portadown, of all places, would nominate a member of
the Orange Order to the Parades Commission when our
positions on parades, sectarianism and the Drumcree march
have been so far apart." She said his use of her name as a
referee was discovered "quite by chance". Party officials
had been discussing the commission with the NIO when the
revelation was made.

For his part, Mr McKay said he had used Ms Kelly's name
because they had both served on Craigavon Borough Council.

The Northern Ireland Office said last night: "Appointments
were made on the basis of candidates successfully
displaying competence across a range of areas. References
were not sought for any of the candidates and the
appointment procedure was regulated by the office of the
commissioner for public appointments."

© The Irish Times


Hugh Orde Rebuts Columnist’s Claims

By William Scholes

Chief Constable Sir Hugh Orde has taken the unusual step of
writing to The Irish News to respond to an article written
by columnist Brian Feeney.

Mr Feeney wrote last week that there was “growing anger and
frustration among nationalists at the refusal of the PSNI
or anyone else in authority to deal with loyalist

He also cited the “failure of the prosecution service and
the Assets Recovery Agency (ARA) to act against prominent
loyalists except when one of their rivals kills them”.

Sir Hugh said that the PSNI tackled “all crime in all

“Any suggestion that the police are failing to tackle
loyalist criminality is completely unfounded,” he wrote.

“Last year 137 loyalists were charged with serious
offences, including murder, attempted murder, firearms and
explosives offences, armed robbery, hijacking, arson and

This, Sir Hugh said, was a “significant rise on the 57
charged in 2004”.

In 2005 “106 republicans were charged in connection with
serious crime, up from 87 in 2004”, he said.

Sir Hugh also said police worked “very closely with the
Assets Recovery Agency to tackle organised crime”.

“Last year we made 70 referrals to the ARA – more than the
four largest police services in the UK put together.”

Mr Feeney had claimed that one reason police did not act
against loyalists was because “the self-proclaimed shiny
new police are still protecting loyalist informers taken on
the pay roll”.

But Sir Hugh insisted that “intelligence-led” policing had
resulted in the “locking up of so-called loyalist


Finucane Inquiry No Cover-Up: Hain

By Margaret Canning

SECRETARY of State Peter Hain has insisted an inquiry into
that the murder of Pat Finucane would not amount to a

The solicitor’s family have said they will not support a
planned public inquiry into state collusion in the 1989
murder under the controversial Inquiries Act.

They continue to demand a full and independent public
inquiry, fearing the recently-passed legislation will allow
ministers to keep vital evidence outside the public domain.

In a letter to Geraldine Finucane, Mr Hain condemned her
husband’s murder as an “outrageous crime”. He said he was
determined that the facts behind it were established and
had “no interest whatsoever in covering anything up”.

“If members of the security forces are found

to have colluded in that appalling murder, then their
actions must be exposed and steps must be taken to ensure
that nothing like could ever happen again,” Mr Hain said.

He said the Inquiries Act gave the best possible framework
for an independent, statutory inquiry “with full powers to
require the production of all relevant documents and, most
importantly, to compel witnesses to attend”.

He denied that using the act amounting to “changing the
rules” and said evidence at the inquiry would go to “the
heart of national security”.

Mr Hain said the family agreed there was “evidence which
cannot be made public, because it would cause real damage
to Britain’s national security or put lives in danger” but
did not agree who should decide what such evidence was.

He said he was aware the family felt that allowing
ministers to evaluate evidence amounted to a loss of
independence. But he said the machinery of the act –
particularly the use of restriction notices limiting the
publication or onward disclosure of evidence – would help
ministers protect national security and individuals’ right
to life.

He said any attempt to use restriction notices to ‘cover-
up’ would be illegal.

He said the Saville Inquiry into Bloody Sunday contained
little sensitive information but a Finucane inquiry would
contain so much that to deal with it other than by
restriction notices would hamper the inquiry’s progress.

Mr Hain insisted that other figures in the judiciary did
not share the concerns of Judge Peter Cory and Bloody
Sunday Inquiry chairman Lord Saville.

“I hope that you will be able to accept that the act in
general is viewed by many as a useful reform measure and
one which will improve the effectiveness of future
inquiries,” he wrote.


Court To Hear Extradition Result

By Barry McCaffrey

Belfast High Court is expected to hear this morning if the
British government is still seeking the extradition of
American chef Larry Zaitschek.

Mr Zaitschek’s solicitors launched a legal challenge
earlier this month in a bid to force the Public Prosecution
Services (PPS) to state if it ever intends to pursue the
chef in connection with the March 2002 raid on Special
Branch offices at Castlereagh.

Nearly four years after the St Patrick’s Day theft of
documents from the east Belfast police station, there has
been no attempt to extradite the 38-year-old from the US to
Northern Ireland.

At the time Mr Zaitschek denied any involvement in the raid
and insisted he had cooperated fully with the PSNI before
leaving to take up full-time employment in his home city of
New York.

In his judicial review case, the former Castlereagh chef
argues that the ongoing threat of arrest means he cannot
return to the north to seek access to his son, who has been
in police protective custody with Mr Zaitschek’s former
partner since 2002.

It is understood one of the difficulties facing the PPS is
the fact that a special extradition treaty, signed between
the British and American governments in March 2003, still
has to be ratified in the US.

Under the treaty the governments, rather than the courts,
have the power to extradite suspects between Britain and
the US.

Legal sources have suggested the PPS’s delay may be linked
to a desire to wait until that special treaty passes into
US law, possibly later this year.

There was speculation last night that the PPS may inform
the courts it does intend to apply for Mr Zaitschek’s
extradition in the future but not at this stage.

It is understood Mr Zaitschek returned to Ireland last week
in the expectation that his case could be dropped by the
PPS at a hearing in Belfast.

That hearing was postponed and is due to take place this

He has since returned to New York.


Alderdice Quits Party (Full Story)

“At no time during Lord Alderdice’s period as speaker or
since has anyone raised this question in any form until the
Daily Ireland journalist did so.”

By Jarlath Kearney

Lord John Alderdice of the Independent Monitoring
Commission has resigned from the Alliance Party just days
after Daily Ireland revealed that he continued to be a
formal member of the party.

During an in-depth interview published in Daily ireland
(February 17), Lord Alderdice disclosed, under direct
questioning, that he was still a formal member of the
Alliance Party. He stated that he had not addressed or
attended any Alliance Party meeting since he was made
speaker of the North’s Assembly in 1998.

When Daily Ireland queried whether his continued Alliance
Party membership could raise questions about a possible or
perceived conflict of interest, Lord Alderdice discounted
the possibility.

“The situation is no different than it was during the six
years that I was speaker and ... there was never any
complaint about me being partisan, including being partisan
in support of the Alliance Party,” Lord Alderdice said.

Following publication of that interview, Daily Ireland
understands that solicitors acting for Sinn Féin - which is
mounting a legal challenge against the legitimacy of the
IMC at the High Court in London - wrote to the IMC
questioning Lord Alderdice’s continued Alliance Party

In a response last Friday, dated 24 February, 2006, lawyers
acting for the IMC revealed that Lord Alderdice has
“forthwith” resigned from the Alliance Party to prevent any
“perceived risk of bias”.

It was stated that Lord Alderdice only considered the issue
arose in the “limited reason” of potential future
complaints vis-a-vis the IMC’s function of monitoring the
assembly when it restored.

Daily Ireland underdstands that Sinn Féin’s lawyers have
also raised the matter in writing with the British
Secretary of State Peter Hain, who has been joined as a co-
defendant to Sinn Féin’s High Court case against the IMC.

In their letter last Friday, the IMC’s lawyers stated:

“At no time during Lord Alderdice’s period as speaker, or
since, has anyone raised this question in any form until
the Daily Ireland journalist did so.

“Lord Alderdice therefore takes the position, as he
outlined in the interview with Daily Ireland, that he does
not believe that there is in the public mind any perception
of him being biased against Sinn Féin, or any other
political parties in Northern Ireland.

“Nevertheless... Lord Alderdice has decided that to put the
matter beyond peradventure, he has resigned forthwith his
formal and inactive membership of the Alliance Party.

“This is on the basis that there may be a perceived risk of
bias should a claim be made to the IMC under Article 6 of
the International Agreement, either against the Alliance
Party or by it. It is for this limited reason he has
decided it is appropriate to resign from the Alliance

The letter from the IMC’s legal representatives declared
that there is “no new material which would render Lord
Alderdice’s position as an IMC Commissioner untenable”.

Sinn Féin MP for Newry and Armagh, Conor Murphy, said last
night that Lord Alderdice’s resignation from the Alliacne
Party “raises very profound questions for both governments
in relation to the continued role of the IMC”.

Mr Murphy said his party has been focused throughout the
last year on “examining the IMC’s procdures and, exposing
their apparent bias, their lack of independence and their
failure to employ any of the normal standards of proof
required of other tribunals or similar bodies”.

“Throughout all of the written and oral communications,
undertaken in conjunuction with our legal representatives,
the IMC consistently failed to disclose that John Alderdice
remained a formal member of the Alliance Party.

“Sinn Féin was astonished, thanks to Daily Ireland’s
probing questions, that John Alderdice was still a member
of the Alliance Party.

“At the time he acted as speaker of the assembly, the rules
and conventions governing his role were very clear: ‘On
appointment, the speaker relinquishes all connections with
his party’. There are very serious questions now to be

“John Alderdice’s decision to now resign from the Alliance
Party - two years and eight reports after the IMC was
formally established in January 2004 - once again bolsters
Sinn Féin’s view that the organisations should be

“We have told both governments that the IMC is a problem
they created and it is one which they must resolve - that
unless the issue of the IMC is addressed, then the
political process will continue to be at the mercy of a
body which is outside the Good Friday Agreement,” Mr Murphy

Opponents of the IMC have consistently alleged that real or
perceived bias existed in relation to the composition of
the organisation. As well as Lord Alderdice, the other
commissioners are former Metropolitan Police Special Branch
head, John Grieve, former CIA deputy director, Dick Kerr,
and the Irish government’s former Department of Justice
Secretary General, Joe Brosnan.

However, despite repeated complaints by republicans, both
the IMC and the governments have robustly defended the
organisation against criticism of real or perceived bias.

In its fifth report, published in May 2005, the IMC

“Some have challenged us on grounds that we may be or
appear to be biased, and we continue carefully to consider
that issue.

“We question whether there might be any bias either in our
own approach or in that of others and take steps to ensure
it does not influence our conclusions inappropriately.”

Daily Ireland understands that the following month - in
Junue 2005 - the IMC’s solicitors told Sinn Féin’s legal
representatives that the four Commissioners “do not
consider that there is any additional material which in
their opinion gives rise to a real possibility of bias in
their roles as members of the Independent Monitoring

Eight months later, Lord Alderdice’s decision to forthwith
resign his formal membership of the Alliance Party - which
he first joined in 1978 - has been explained “on the basis
that there may be a perceived risk of bias” in relation to
future potential complaints relating to political parties
in the assembly.

Lord Alderdice - together with his fellow Commissioners -
travelled to the United States last week where the IMC was
meeting a range of groups and organisations. Daily Ireland
attempted to contact the IMC last night but no-one was

When asked about Lord Alderdice’s resignation from the
Alliance Party, a senior British government official told
Daily Ireland last night that the issue was “not
appropriate for us to comment on at this point”, in light
of ongoing Judicial Review proceedings by Sinn Féin.


Man Found Guilty Of Assaulting MP

A man has been found guilty of assaulting the DUP East
Antrim MP Sammy Wilson in Belfast.

The politician was pushed up against a car after leaving a
restaurant in the Botanic area in July 2004.

Seamus O'Kane, 39 and from Cromwell Road in Belfast, will
be sentenced at Belfast Magistrates Court next month.

Magistrate Ken Nixon said because of aggravating factors
there was a possibility that O'Kane, who has no criminal
record, could go to prison.

These included the defendant's "patent lying throughout the
proceedings" and the "element of hatred involved", Mr Nixon

Mr Wilson had told the court that O'Kane shouted into his
face: "This is a Catholic area. Get out of here."

He said O'Kane tried to kick him but missed and then pushed
him up against a car and tried to hit him with the lead of
his dog.

O'Kane had claimed he was out for a walk with his son and
dog when Mr Wilson walked through the lead sending the dog
"into the air".

The defendant had denied assaulting Mr Wilson or using any
words that were political or sectarian.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/02/27 17:48:16 GMT


Irish Troops May Be Sent To Congo

Jamie Smyth in Brussels Conor Lally

Irish troops could be sent on a potentially dangerous
mission to the Democratic Republic of Congo as part of an
EU force to safeguard new elections this June.

Minister for Foreign Affairs Dermot Ahern confirmed
yesterday that the EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana
has asked the Government to supply troops on the mission.

Mr Ahern said in principle he would look favourably on the
request if it satisfied the triple lock mechanism of UN,
Government and Dáil approval to ensure Irish neutrality.

A deployment in Congo would have historical resonance for
the Defence Forces, which undertook their first
peacekeeping operation in the then Belgian Congo between

Some 27 Irish soldiers died in the mission, including nine
in an ambush in November 1960, the worst single incident in
the Defence Forces' history.

Mr Solana has requested assistance from several other
countries for the mission amid an initial reticence among
EU countries to supply troops because of the risks involved
in the mission and existing troop commitments in states
such as Afghanistan and Iraq.

A spokeswoman for Minister for Defence Willie O'Dea said a
decision would be made by the Government within the next
four weeks on whether to take part.

She said that due to existing commitments of 760 troops
abroad in Liberia, Kosovo and Bosnia just 90 Irish troops
would be available for deployment in any proposed
peacekeeping force.

Three years ago the French rebuffed an offer by the
Government to send Irish Rangers to join the UN mission in
Congo to help stabilise the state.

But France and the UN are now actively seeking the
involvement of more EU troops to boost the Congo mission.

The UN initially made a request to the EU in December for a
force of about 800 men to protect Congo's first free
elections since independence from Belgium in 1961.

The EU wanted to announce the composition of the mission by
the end of February but concerns in Germany and France,
which are both reluctant to lead the mission, have delayed
a final decision on the make-up of the contingent.

The Democratic Republic of Congo is recovering from the
1998-2002 war that cost four million lives and has left
much of the country lawless. Despite the presence of 16,000
UN peacekeepers sporadic fighting continues ahead of the
June elections.

The request from the EU for Irish troops to serve in Congo
comes as Mr O'Dea starts a three-day visit to Liberia,
where 480 Irish troops are based as part of a 15,000 strong
UNMIL deployment there.

Mr O'Dea and the Chief of Staff of the Defence Forces Lieut
Gen Jim Sreenan were this morning due to leave for the
Liberian capital Monrovia. They will visit the Irish troops
based at Camp Clara in the city. Mr O'Dea will also meet
tomorrow with the new Liberian president Ellen Johnson-
Sirleaf. The Irish party will visit a number of NGOs before
returning to Ireland on Thursday.

© The Irish Times


Opin: Stretching Democracy To Its Absolute Limits

By Tom Kelly

“Our society, perhaps more than most, requires a clear
understanding among all sections that law is enforced by
the police service and the criminal justice agencies and
that any attempt by individuals to take the law into their
own hands will be dealt with severely.” These are the words
of Lord Chief Justice Sir Brian Kerr as he handed down
stiffer sentences to three loyalists who mounted an armed
roadblock in July 2003. His decision was welcomed by
nationalists and republicans.

His Irish counterpart may reflect on his sentiments on ‘our
society’ if and when he gets to sentencing any of the thugs
and rabble who so violently disrupted Dublin at the
weekend. The actions of these urban bullies, who clearly
were organised, prove – if proof is needed – that there are
those in Irish society who simply do not understand the
concept or freedoms that democracy affords its citizens.

The organisers of the Love Ulster parade must be smirking
all the way back to their various lodges across Northern

They have succeeded in ways that they could never have
hoped for and at the very heart of ‘Ireland of the
welcomes’ the thugs who opposed their right to march
discredited our nation across Europe.

As a young student I learned a lesson in democracy while
working in the mayor’s office in Atlanta.

The mayor had been a contemporary of civil rights activist
Martin Luther King.

He had been the first black mayor of Atlanta and went on to
become the first black US ambassador.

On the way to work I passed an ultra white group protesting
outside city hall. The very sight of this racist and
sinister group made my blood boil.

I remember exchanging more than a few expletives with some
of those who were not wearing masks. The mayor noticed me
and asked why I was so upset.

I said that I could not believe that “these people” could
march and protest, given their views. He reminded me that
freedom of movement and free expression are true tests of a
democracy, providing they are exercised within the law.

The sight of Orange bands on O’Connell Street may be
provocative to some elements of republicanism and indeed
there is no doubt that some of the organisers intended it
to be provocative.

However, whatever one feels about the politics of partition
or whatever side of the nationalist/unionist debate one is
on, if we cannot live side-by-side as two legitimate
traditions on one island, if we cannot live up to the
aspirations of tolerance so implicit in the spirit of true
republicanism, if we cannot “cherish all the children of
the nation equally” as stated in the proclamation, then we
need to take a second look at the symbolism of our national
flag – for there is no Ireland if green cannot reconcile
with orange.

The aspiration of a united Ireland will remain just that
unless Orange demonstrations are as welcome in Dublin as
they are in Ballymena.

Our role as persuaders for that cause is undermined by
those who on Saturday wore T-shirts (on sale in most Sinn
Fein political shops) with slogans such as ‘IRA –
Undefeated’ and ripped bricks from beneath the statue of
Parnell to hurl at Irish police and Irish media.

The rioters on Saturday have set back the cause of Irish
unity and further alienated mainstream Irish society from
engaging in the northern question.

For once, Jeffrey Donaldson was right – we can’t talk
seriously about getting speaking rights in the Dail if
there are those who would prevent unionists speaking
outside of it. The organisers of the Love Ulster parade
could and should have been welcome to march past not only
the historically significant GPO but the statue of that
great Irish Protestant Charles Stuart Parnell, and that of
Labour leader Jim Larkin who supported the rights of
workers in Belfast and Dublin.

They should have been allowed

to pass the former home of Grattan’s Parliament, Carson’s
birthplace and his alma mater at Trinity, for these things
are of their heritage too.

Republicanism as spouted by Republican Sinn Fein or
Provisionalism as espoused by Sinn Fein falls way short of
the inclusiveness of Tone, Parnell and Collins.

For as WB Yeats once wrote: “In dreams begin
responsibilities.” The dream died a little last Saturday
and the irresponsibility and intolerance of those who used
violence to oppose the Love Ulster parade very clearly
demonstrated that they don’t even love Ireland.


Opin: Love Ulster – Rebels Without A Cause

The Monday Column
By Roy Garland

At least one unionist is rejoicing at the spectacle of so-
called republicans attacking gardai over the Dublin Love
Ulster parade.

This, he believes, demonstrates that loyalists are not
welcome and has exposed the sectarian underbelly of the
Irish state. All talk of “cherishing all the children of
the nation equally” now seems hypocritical. But no-one
should feel happy at violence in any town or city in

Violence can take on a life of its own and find
justification in the violent reactions it stimulates.

But no amount of regret or condemnation can now change the
fact that the centre of Dublin was convulsed in riots and

The most reactionary elements of violent nationalism
determined that loyalists would be denied freedom to
demonstrate. Saoirse, the Republican Sinn Fein newspaper,
carried the headline ‘Oppose loyalist march’ alongside
pictures of rioting Orangemen at Drumcree. The paper
previously carried adverts urging youths to join the
Continuity IRA. On the day itself, RSF members were
reportedly joined by militants from mainline Sinn Fein
north of the border. These people are not friends of Irish
democracy. They share with right-wing unionists a rejection
of compromise and the idea that peacemaking, other than on
their undemocratic terms alone, is treachery. Just as the
RSF are misnamed republican, their counterparts – British
or Ulster nationalists – are misnamed unionist. Stupid
unionism was alive and well and looking for new fields to
be defeated in and so turned its attention to Dublin.
Little preparation was made on the ground.Willie Frazer had
hoped Ian Paisley would participate but Ian wisely left the
hapless Jeffrey to carry the can.

Love Ulster represents rebels without a transparent cause.
They have no consistent message but include various
groupings with grievances that trade on the deep hurts
within the unionist community that generally go
unrecognised. Love Ulster first opposed Irish unity,
believing this was being foisted on them but then seemed to
discover that unity was not, after all, on the cards and
turned instead to other issues.

This particular parade was planned at the end of last year
when Love Ulster decided the Irish government had to be
made aware of how unionist victims felt about the projected
legislation allowing paramilitary fugitives to return.

But when Sinn Fein hypocritically opposed the same
legislation when it became clear it would apply to security
force personnel, the legislation was scrapped.

Undaunted, Love Ulster decided to proceed. The parade was
now in danger of being about nothing but victims remained
an emotive core matter and the blood of martyrs could yet
become the seeds of further martyrdom. An alternative issue
was the Irish government’s perceived wish to have Sinn Fein
in government in the north while refusing them in the
south. This issue became confused in that decommissioning –
which hard-liners believed would never happen – had
happened. Unionist victims of IRA violence were easily
highlighted as Love Ulster supporters descended upon
Dublin. It was as if they had awakened from years of
hibernation having missed all that happened in the
intervening years.

They succeeded in energising the dinosaurs of dissident
republicanism and perhaps damaging future prospects of
legitimate Orange parades in Dublin. RSF sees things almost
in religious terms and their approach is similar to that of
traditional DUP supporters.

Raising these spectres threatens all that has been achieved
in recent years. But many Love Ulster supporters still live
in fear and forget that people living under these
conditions are not confined to their tradition alone. Over
the past decade we have achieved what seemed impossible.
The war is over, weapons have been destroyed and it is only
a matter of time before Sinn Fein supports the PSNI and
breaks links with criminality. The Republic has
relinquished claims on Northern Ireland territory and
British/Irish relationships have never been better. The
future is ours if we can grasp and run with it but Rome was
not built in a day.

Love Ulster should look to the future with confidence and
determination that is, if they really do Love Ulster and
engage in genuine dialogue with all-comers to reverse the
damage done by the DUP’s refusal to engage opponents openly
and to achieve stability, peace, prosperity and happiness
for all.


Opin: Time We Learned To Deal With The Past


We know what happened over the last four decades, so just
what was Saturday's march down O'Connell Street meant to
achieve? asks Jim Dougal

So there goes another €10 million down the political drain.
And the shopkeepers of central Dublin and the reputation of
a modern European City have been damaged. But only for a
short time, I suspect. The shopkeepers will soon recover,
as will Dublin's reputation.

Those who have suffered in the North and elsewhere through
40 years of violence will take much longer to mend.

Here, the tit-for-tat verbal battle across the radio
airwaves continues interminably, often in squalid terms
with each new caller criticising the last.

One senior unionist politician had hardly arrived back from
Dublin when he told a BBC Radio Ulster programme that the
republican protest, which led to the abandonment of the
Love Ulster parade on Saturday, was a sad reflection of
society in the Republic. "If the government of Ireland
wants to be a modern western European democratic state, it
should listen to the views of others," he said.

This argument suggests that the Republic is inherently an
undemocratic state which purposefully nurtures within it
the thugs who subverted the intentions of a rally by those
who love Ulster.

It is clear who Love Ulster represents - the survivors and
victims of IRA terrorism - but I have some difficulty in
discerning the precise overall aim of Saturday's rally.

Whose views were they hoping to influence? And to what end?
Were they simply demonstrating that they too have suffered?

There can be few on this island not aware of what the last
four decades and more have meant. How was a parade down
O'Connell Street going to provide an answer?

However, the right of the loyalists to parade peacefully
and lawfully, without interference, must be respected.
Their hurt must be acknowledged. The vast majority of the
people of the South were happy to let it be. The proposed
parade did however manage to provoke a small minority
longing to be provoked.

It is such a pity that the preparation by the authorities
was so inadequate, and that the march could not proceed.
Mindless bigotry, violence and bully boy tactics, assisted
by the looters, won the day.

The Garda Síochána bent over backwards to ensure the safety
of the marchers, sustaining several injuries in the
process. Are they not a more accurate reflection of the
modern democratic Irish State?

Were the bandsmen then provoked into playing The Sash? And
this, at a time when the guardians of the State were doing
their utmost to protect them. It was a long way to go to be

For many years I worked closely with colleagues in the
Republic of Ireland. Sometimes I found a desire on their
part that the problem of Northern Ireland would simply
disappear and let them get on with their lives. After
Saturday, is it any wonder? However, I always found an
anger and sympathy for what their counterparts in the
North, on both sides, had to suffer. There was a great
resentment that some terrorists purported to act in their

To attempt to create an analogy between the Love Ulster
parade and a march on the Shankill Road by people who have
suffered from the loyalist paramilitary bombings in Dublin
and Monaghan, as some have, is mischief-making.

Love Ulster, which by its very title would seem to exclude
many Catholics, wanted to march in the centre of the city.

Unionists and nationalists alike have a capacity to believe
that only their version of events reflects the truth.

Was the IRA, when it killed relatives and injured some of
the people who wanted to march in Dublin, representative of
the majority of nationalists north and south of the Border?
Of course not. Neither were those who killed at La Mon or
Enniskillen or carried out other countless acts of wanton
murder and destruction.

Loyalist murderers of Catholics were not representative of
the unionist Protestant community. And neither were those
who jeered at and threw urine and pornography in the faces
of Catholic children going to school at Ardoyne in north

The past will always be with us and until we learn from it
and, most of all, learn how to deal with it, the distrust
and hostility will continue.

Northern Ireland is used to commissions and quangos. They
make up a major part of the government.

Isn't it time the people of Northern Ireland took
responsibility for and control of the past?

A commission could be established under suitable and agreed
chairmanship, comprising representatives of people who have
suffered, and in some cases those who have caused much
suffering and the wider community, to decide precisely how
to deal with the past.

It could be its remit to establish how best people can live
with what has happened and go forward.

On Sunday I switched to Downtown Radio where presenter
Harry Castles was fielding calls from throughout Northern
Ireland about the scenes in Dublin.

Towards the end of the programme he spoke to a man from
Bristol in England who had been listening on the internet.

"Do you realise," he said, "that all this can be seen and
heard throughout the world on the web? You are a disgrace.
In the Nineties you got peace but you haven't moved on. Why
can't you move on?"

It is an important question.

Wouldn't it be a more comprehensive tribute to those who
have suffered and died if the people of this island found a
way to do so?

• Jim Dougal is a political journalist and broadcaster,
former Northern editor of RTÉ and former Northern Ireland
political editor of the BBC

© The Irish Times


40 Jobs To Go At Wexford Prawn-Processing Plant

27/02/2006 - 18:21:13

Co Wexford is to lose 40 jobs with the closure of a prawn-
processing plant in Kilmore Quay, it was announced this

Wrights of Howth Exports is to close its factory after four
years of business in the area.

Management claims it can't compete with foreign companies
buying Irish prawns and processing them abroad.

The staff will remain at the plant until a date is set for


Childhood Before Sectarian State Got Vicious

Every day this week Daily Ireland is running excerpts of
Denis O’Hearn’s biography Bobby Sands: Nothing But an
Unfinished Song. Today’s excerpt describes Bobby’s
childhood in Belfast.


For six months when Bobby was seven, the Sands family lived
with relatives. In December 1961, they finally got a house
in the new estate beside Abbots Cross. In the 1950s, the
northern Irish government had begun building big public
housing estates for some of the thousands of working-class
families who urgently needed somewhere decent to live. The
first estate, called Rathcoole after the Irish rath cúil,
meaning “ring-fort of the secluded place”, was built in
phases, working its way up the foot of Carnmoney Hill. By
1961, Rathcoole comprised three square miles of public
housing for 14,000 people.

Rathcoole was planned as a model estate for the
“respectable working-class,” with jobs in nearby industrial
projects. It was to be another utopia. But unlike Abbots
Cross, a third of its new residents were Catholics. Among
them was the Sands family, in a spacious house at 68
Doonbeg Drive, at the foot of Carnmoney Hill.

Bobby was surrounded by huge open green spaces. He and his
sisters could go out their front door and climb up the
Carnmoney mountain on trails that wound through dense gorse
and nettles. They visited adventurous places on the
mountain including the remains of ancient Celtic forts and
monuments. It was thick with birds, which Bobby learned to

Kids from the surrounding streets joined them. They would
build a hut while Bobby built a fire. He took out his
mother’s pots and some food and they toasted bread or
potatoes, imagining they were camping out. When Rosaleen
caught them, says Bernadette, she would “half kill” them.

Bobby was always doing something. He faced regular fights
with the neighbourhood kids with a degree of stoicism,
bordering on stubbornness. If he got hit, he hit back. If
he was badly beaten, he walked around the corner before he
cried. He often turned his stubbornness on his mother. If
Rosaleen sent him outside to play as punishment, he refused
to come back when she called.

Yet he was very protective of his sisters. If anyone hit
them he jumped to their defence. He was smaller than the
other kids but he stood up for his sisters, no matter what
the consequences.

Bobby’s education began at Stella Maris primary school, a
mixed gender Catholic school close to his house that also
served the surrounding districts of Glengormley, Bawnmore,
and Greencastle. Later, he attended Stella Maris secondary
school, next door to the primary school. He was never a
very serious student, instead concentrating on organized
sport. According to schoolmate, Dessie Black, he was
intelligent but lazy in school.

“All we wanted to do was just play football. More time was
spent round picking football teams for matches and that
than doing schoolwork and that.”

Outside of school, Bobby played soccer with a religiously
mixed group of local boys, always including his best mate
Tommy O’Neill. Together, they joined the youth team of
Stella Maris, the local amateur football club. Stella Maris
was a remarkable institution for the north of Ireland,
where religious sectarianism was rampant. Although the team
trained in the gym of Bobby’s school, it attracted
Protestant boys from surrounding areas. Terry Nicholls, a
Mormon, joined Stella Maris because he had just one
interest, football, and would have played for anybody.
Willie Caldwell and Geordie Hussey, two more Protestant
“football fanatics”, also joined. Nobody asked if you were
Catholic or Protestant. If you were a half-decent football
player, you were on the team.

Dennis Sweeney never liked Bobby Sands much. He thought he
was an insecure person who tried to cover it up by showing
off, sometimes even using violence on the football pitch.

“Certainly not a leader by any means, more a person who was
led,” he thought.

But others describe Bobby Sands as an amiable team-mate.
Their recollections also reflect a trait that others would
notice in his later life: extreme enthusiasm, sometimes
expressed in behaviour that went “over the top”.

Geordie Hussey says Sands was “a bit of a grafter” who did
his best at his position of left half. He didn’t score many
goals but he could be counted on to get the ball and he was
a good tackler. What he lacked in natural ability, he made
up in enthusiasm.

His enthusiasm extended into other sports. Bobby loved
swimming but cross-country running was his real sporting
passion. He won cross-country medals and his love of
running came through later in his prison writings. In The
Loneliness of a Long-Distance Cripple, he compares his
strength as a teenager winning a cross-country race to his
deteriorating physical state in prison. In the story, Sands
describes a long-distance race in the cold Irish winter
that “bites deep into the lungs and reddens the nose and
cheeks”. He is excited by the race but surprisingly aware,
even sad at how the incursion of the runners scars the
countryside. He is at once part of the environment and
against it.

“Bang. The thrush fled and I sprang forward. The marshy
ground churned and sucked and squelched as hundreds of
foreign spiked feet mutilated and scarred its face. Across
an open field we charged in a bunch. My mind was racing as
I tried to weigh up the situation and opposition as the lay
of the land was seen then gone in a matter of a few

Sands struggled to overcome the challenges both of the
environment and the other runners until, finally, “I broke
the finishing line, breathing like a racehorse in deep vast
gulps.” Although it was only a schoolboy race, “Victory was
mine and I felt like an Olympic champion.”

As Sands grew into his teens, his circle of friends
widened. He went to the Alpha picture house or to dances at
the local church hall. There was roller-skating in the
religiously mixed Floral Hall in Bellevue near Belfast Zoo.
Weekend dances there were mainly Protestant, but mixed. On
Sundays, a more Catholic, but still mixed, group attended
dances in the Star of the Sea hall in Rathcoole or St
Etna’s hall in Glengormley. Bobby’s friends at the time
remember him as a “happy-go-lucky” boy who loved dancing
and the socializing that went with it.

Things were beginning to change, however, in the society
around him. Systematic sectarianism was emerging. By 1966,
Rathcoole was sitting on a powder keg. Many Protestants
worried about losing their marginal advantages as
traditional sources of employment dried up in the shipyards
and elsewhere. Either they or someone they knew had lost a
job. They responded by excluding Catholics.

Protestants clung onto cultural advantages that assured
them that they, and not Catholics, could fly certain flags,
walk certain streets, and call on the support of the police
and B-specials. But a liberal unionist prime minister named
Terence O’Neill began talking about reforms that looked a
bit too much like civil rights to many Protestants. O’Neill
did such provocative things as visiting a Catholic school
and inviting the southern Irish Taoiseach to visit Belfast.
While O’Neill’s image as a reformer scared many
Protestants, it raised Catholic expectations that
discrimination would finally be addressed.

Simultaneously, 1966 was a highly emotive year for
Protestants because it was the 50th anniversary of the
Battle of the Somme. Although Catholics also died there,
some Protestants held them responsible for treason against
Britain because the mostly Catholic Irish republicans
launched an independence struggle while their forefathers
were fighting and dying for Queen and country. Loyal
Protestants were, therefore, on high alert for public
manifestations of republicanism. This was a problem, since
1966 was also the 50th anniversary of the Easter Rising in
Dublin, the most significant event in the history of Irish
republicanism. Protestant paranoia increased after the IRA
blew up the huge statue of Admiral Nelson that stood on an
imposing pillar in the middle of Dublin for many years. You
did not have to go far from the Sands’ front door to find
the centre of Protestant intolerance. Ian Paisley, whose
power-base was in the area around Rathcoole, freely mixed
his religion with his politics. He was the head of his own
church, the Free Presbyterians, and he received an honorary
doctorate from the fundamentalist Christian Bob Jones
University in the United States.

During 1966, while Paisley preached against treason and
popery, the re-formed Ulster Volunteer Force launched a
series of attacks on Catholic homes, schools, and shops.
Late at night on May 7, the UVF killed an old Protestant
woman who they mistook for a Catholic. On May 27, a UVF
unit went to the Catholic lower Falls area and shot dead
the first Catholic they could find. A few weeks later, some
UVF men went for a late-night drink and shot dead a
Catholic as he left the bar.

About this time, Sands later told a friend, he noticed some
of his Protestant friends starting to withdraw from his
social circles. The parents of a Protestant friend from the
Stella Maris football club told him not to bring Bobby
around to the house. Sands wondered why some of his mates
no longer treated him as a friend. He was still naive about
the virulence of sectarianism, and he had only a distant
memory of how his mother was treated at Abbots Cross. Over
the next few years these divisions would intensify, until
things erupted after the rise of a Catholic civil rights
movement in 1969. For Bobby Sands, this would be an
education in sectarianism.

Tomorrow’s excerpt describes Bobby Sands’ first time in the
Cages of Long Kesh.

Bobby Sands book launches:

Belfast: Thursday, March 9 at 7pm, St Mary’s College, Falls

Dublin: Friday, March 10 at 7pm, Pádraig Pearse Centre,
Pearse Street.

Dundalk and Drogheda: Monday, March 13. Details to be

Derry, Tuesday, March 14. Details to be confirmed.

Mid-Ulster, Wednesday, March 15 at 7pm, Mid-Ulster
Republican Centre, Gulladuff.


City Plans For St Patrick's Day

Details of the first council run Saint Patrick's Day
celebrations have been announced by Belfast City Council.

The council has banned alcohol and emblems, including
flags, at the celebrations, which will cost £100,000.

The city's deputy Lord Mayor, Pat Convery, said he hoped
the parade on 17 March would be an inclusive event.

"We are saying there should be no emblems or symbols that
would be deemed as sectarian, racist, or anything that
would be offensive to anyone," he said.

"We are depending on the citizens of this city to have good
faith and to help us generate a situation whereby there
will be a good event and all will feel welcome."

The day will be marked with a carnival procession from city
hall at 1300 GMT featuring more than 400 participants from
community groups across Belfast.

A concert is also being held at Custom House Square
headlined by the chart-topping Bodyrockers.

Entrance to the concert, which begins at 1330 GMT, is free
and will be on a strictly first come first served basis.

The bill will also feature traditional Irish and Ulster-
Scots performers, as well as other artists reflecting
different cultural traditions now living in Belfast,
including the Chinese, Indian and Bahai communities.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/02/27 13:24:02 GMT


Top Irish Chefs Plan Culinary Events In New Tourism Drive

Alison Healy

Six of Ireland's best-known chefs are preparing to travel
to the United States to showcase modern Irish cuisine.

The promotional drive has been organised by Tourism Ireland
and involves Darina Allen (Ballymaloe House); Neven Maguire
(MacNean's Bistro); Kevin Dundon (Dunbrody House); Michael
Deane (Restaurant Michael Deane); Richard Hart (Glenlo
Abbey Hotel) and David McCann (Dromoland Castle).

The campaign will start with a series of events in Boston
and New York to celebrate St Patrick's Day.

One of the highlights will be a "gourmet gala" on March
15th where the Irish chefs are paired with six of Boston's
top chefs to prepare an Irish and American version of the
same dish.

Darina Allen has been using St Patrick's Day to promote
Irish food in the US for about 20 years. "It's unbelievable
how many people in America still think we live on corned
beef and cabbage," she said.

"I think we cannot hammer the message home enough. So many
Americans love Ireland and are dying to come here for so
many reasons, but they think they are going to have to
endure the food. I want to show them that the food in
Ireland is as good as anywhere in the world."

As well as appearing on television and radio shows, she
will act as the guest speaker at a gathering of food
writers and editors in New York.

Cavan chef Neven Maguire has been invited to cook at James
Beard House in New York during his visit. The James Beard
Foundation invites chefs to "perform" at the culinary
centre, which was set up in memory of one of the US's best
known chefs and cookery writers.

Guests will pay $115 (almost €100) to sample Maguire's
menu, which will include dishes such as Dublin coddle,
black bacon-wrapped scallops on west Cork black pudding,
and smoked-salmon sausage. The young chef said it was "a
huge honour" to be asked to showcase Irish food in the US.

David McCann, master chef at Dromoland Castle, will deliver
several cooking demonstrations at the New England
Horticultural Show in Boston.

Meanwhile American gourmet food and wine publication Saveur
will devote 40 pages to Irish food in its March issue.

Joe Byrne, Tourism Ireland's vice- president for the US and
Canada, said it wanted to spread the word that Ireland was
a "premier holiday destination with an outstanding food

© The Irish Times


Brave Explorer’s Life Inspires Play


Adventure-seekers are queuing up to hear the tales of
heroic Irish explorer Tom Crean’s efforts to conquer the
Antarctic in a play which continues to wow Irish audiences
almost a century later.

Aidan Dooley, the Galway man behind the one-man show, said
the intrepid Antarctic Explorer’s journeys with Robert
Scott and Sir Ernest Shackleton in the early 1900s still
left people in awe.

Dooley said there was a vast mix of people in the audience
of the show Tom Crean – Antarctic Explorer which is playing
Dublin’s Andrews Lane Theatre, fresh from a stint in the

“Around 50 per cent of people who have never been to
theatre before, these include walkers, climbers, boatsmen
and people involved in yachting,” he said.”

Crean, born on a farm near Annascaul, Co Kerry, was the
only man to serve with Scott and Sir Ernest Shackleton and
survive three famous expeditions. After signing up for the
British Navy, aged just 15, he ended up taking part in
three of the four major Antarctic expeditions: He was on
the Discovery, from 1901 to 1904, the Terra Nova, from 1910
to 1913, and Endurance from 1914 to 1916.

Dooley said Crean’s story was a testament to the willpower
to battle the elements and survive. During the disastrous
Terra Nova expedition, Crean was forced to trek over 30-
miles through a blizzard, fuelled with just two sticks of
chocolate and three biscuits, to save a comrade’s life.”

Historians have branded it one of the finest feats of
individual heroism from the Antarctic explorations.

“People find great optimism in the show. He persevered
through fantastical hardship which resonates greatly with
modern people,” he said, of the man who eventually retired
from the Navy in 1920 after taking part in World War I. He
went on to open a pub, named the South Pole Inn in his
native Kerry, and he died aged 61, in 1938.

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