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February 22, 2006

Loyalist White A Police Informer

Adair (right), Andre Shoukir (center) and John White (left)

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News About Ireland & The Irish

BT 02/22/06 Loyalist White A Police Informer
BT 02/22/06 We Never Trusted White
BB 02/22/06 DUP Claims 'IRA Arms Covered-Up'
BN 02/22/06 Files On US Flights At Shannon Examined By DPP
BN 02/22/06 Irish People ‘Have Worst Linguistic Skills In Europe’
CR 02/22/06 Irish Immigration Slips Into Reverse
BN 02/22/06 IRA Suspect Charged Over Attack On British Army Base
BM 02/22/06 Bus Eireann Charged With Owning Defective Bus In Crash
IT 02/22/06 Taoiseach Called Upon To Explain FF 'Amnesia'
WP 02/22/06 Commemorations In Ballycroy And Ballina For Jack McNeela
IT 02/22/06 Pope Benedict Leaves Irish Off List Of New Cardinals
IT 02/22/06 President To Name Playwright Friel A Saoi
ML 02/22/06 Cannon, Lunney Get Hibernians Awards


Loyalist White A Police Informer

Special Branch recruited killer

By Brian Rowan
21 February 2006

One of the most notorious sectarian killers of the Troubles
worked for the Special Branch, the Belfast Telegraph can
reveal today.

According to a senior intelligence source, Belfast loyalist
John White was a police informer.

He was jailed for life for the 1973 murders of nationalist
politician Paddy Wilson and Irene Andrews, both of whom
suffered multiple stab wounds.

White is said to have become an informer after his release
from prison.

The loyalist, who was once a close associate of Johnny
Adair, has been living in exile since February 2003, when
he was forced out of Northern Ireland during a feud inside
the UDA in which White had sided with Adair's so-called "C"
Company in the lower Shankill.

A senior intelligence source said during the summer of 2004
that White was an informer ? a covert human intelligence

And his coded details are believed to have been among those
stolen in the robbery at Special Branch offices at
Castlereagh in March 2002.

In recent days, another senior security source appeared to
confirm White's role as a Special Branch informer.

Asked if there was any doubt in his mind about what was
being suggested, he replied: "Not a lot."

After his release from jail in the early 1990s, White first
emerged as prisoners' spokesman for the then Ulster
Democratic Party.

He was at the loyalist top table with Gusty Spence, David
Ervine, William Smith, Jim McDonald, Gary McMichael and
David Adams when the original Combined Loyalist Military
Command ceasefire was announced in October 1994.

But, on the Shankill Road, he became closely associated
with Adair. Both men were later expelled by the leadership
of the paramilitary organisation.

White eventually fled Belfast in February 2003 when the UDA
moved against Adair's associates after the murder of the
senior loyalist John Gregg.

White was a suspected drug dealer. Sinn Fein President
Gerry Adams came close to naming him as such during a
private session of political talks leading to the Good
Friday Agreement.

Loyalists also blame him for the collapse of the CLMC ? an
umbrella leadership covering the UDA, the UVF and the Red
Hand Commando.

"He had a deep hatred of the UVF," one loyalist source

Another source described him as "the most malign figure
within loyalism ."

The police do not comment on reports of this kind, but the
source who named White as an informer has detailed
knowledge of the intelligence world.

The truth about the Dirty War

John White is the latest name to be uncovered as a Special
Branch informer but, asks security expert BRIAN ROWAN, how
useful was he in the war on terror?

Just how dirty was the so-called Dirty War? Were the
loyalist killers John White and Torrens Knight really
informers? What other secrets might emerge as war becomes
peace in Northern Ireland?

"We would look through the whole range of who we could
recruit or who we thought we could recruit, and we would
look at anybody that we thought would be helpful to save
lives and to stop the terrorism in Northern Ireland."

This is a senior intelligence source speaking during the
summer of 2004.

"We would not rule anybody out. We looked at a number of
people, and a number of people were rejected. We looked at
a number of people and a number of people were successful,
but we don't rule in and don't rule out until the very last
moment," the source said.

Were John White and Torrens Knight really ruled in?

If they were, was anyone ruled out?

Were the worst elements in the paramilitary world working
for the Branch?

By the time of that conversation in the summer of 2004, I
had been told that White was as an informer, and, in the
past few days, in conversations with another senior
security source, I believe this was confirmed.

I asked the source if there was any doubt in his mind about
what was being suggested in relation to White, and he
replied: "Not a lot."

This source would know.

He said he would be "astounded" if the Special Branch had
recruited the Greysteel killer Torrens Knight, but in this
specific case, he was not in a position to say whether the
suggestion was true or false.

In the case of John White, you can understand why the
Special Branch would have considered him useful, and why
they would be prepared to pay for his information.

There was his association with Johnny Adair, no-one was
closer, his role within political loyalism after the
ceasefire and in the run-up to the Good Friday Agreement
and his links to the Inner Council of the UDA.

White sat in meetings attended by the so-called brigadiers
- the six most senior figures in the paramilitary group.

So, on the face of things, he would have been a valuable
listening device inside this part of the loyalist
community, but, of course, there is another side to the

He is a convicted killer. He was also a suspected drug
dealer, and he and Adair became two of the most
destabilising influences inside loyalism during the peace
process years.

Indeed, it could be argued that they are largely
responsible for the mess that loyalism now finds itself in.

In the run-up to the Good Friday Agreement, during a
private session of political talks in Castle Buildings at
Stormont, the Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams came close to
naming White as a drug dealer.

"It was very pointed," a source, who was present, said. "It
wasn't a case of missing and hitting the wall. It was
obvious to everyone (who Adams was talking about), not
least John."

In the post-ceasefire period, White was blamed by loyalists
for the collapse of the Combined Loyalist Military Command
- the umbrella leadership of the UDA, the UVF and the Red
Hand Commando.

This command structure was crucial to achieving the
ceasefire and pointing these groups in the direction of
politics and peace.

"The most malign figure within loyalism," is how one source
described White ? an "agitator, always putting people
against each other".

This source said that at one meeting of the CLMC, White had
said he could see "no contradiction in being a drug dealer
and a patriot".

Another source said that he had attempted to take overall
control of the UDA: "At one time John wanted to be part of
the Inner Council, and wanted to be leader of the whole

Was this John White operating on his own initiative, or
were others directing him towards the decision-making table
of the UDA?

In the intelligence world and in the Dirty War there were
all kinds of puppets on all kinds of strings.

White sided with Johnny Adair during his Shankill feud with
the UVF and during a period of infighting inside the UDA.
Indeed, he stood with him until he had to run with Adair's
associates - driven out of Belfast in February 2003.

If it is true that White was an informer - and there is no
reason to question the sources I have spoken to - then what
was his role in this period? What did he do to stop the
terrorism in Northern Ireland?

Questions of this kind do not get answered. We are
dismissed with talk of national security and of it not
being in the public interest.

But the public and the politicians are interested -
interested in the goings on of the so-called Dirty War.

"It's significant enough to talk about the informers, but
to get the whole picture - what about the handlers?"

This is not a republican speaking, but the loyalist
politician and MLA David Ervine.

The Pat Finucane murder is surrounded by loyalist informers
and agents - Brian Nelson, William Stobie, Tommy Lyttle,
Ken Barrett and at least one other significant UDA figure
on the Shankill.

There was an agent - Stakeknife - operating inside the
IRA's internal security department, there is all of the
stuff of Stormontgate, and, soon, evidence of the
involvement of a "series of (UVF) agents" in "a series of
murders" will emerge as part of another investigation.

On top of that, we now have the allegations about John
White and Torrens Knight.

How dirty did it all get?

"Stinking", is how one source responded to that question.


We Never Trusted White

Killer Stone says: He was always pumping me for information

By Jonathan McCambridge and Deborah McAleese
22 February 2006

John White's former UDA associates last night backed the
Belfast Telegraph's revelation that the sectarian killer
was a Special Branch informer.

Milltown murderer Michael Stone said that White tried to
"pump" him for information about other loyalists while they
were prisoners at the Maze while UDA sources said his love
of the flash lifestyle led to his recruitment by security

Yesterday the Belfast Telegraph reported that senior
intelligence sources had revealed that White, a former
associate of Johnny Adair, had become a police informer
after he was released from prison.

He had been serving a life sentence for the 1973 murders of
nationalist politician Paddy Wilson and Irene Andrews, both
of whom suffered multiple stab wounds.

Michael Stone, convicted of six murders, said: "I was
always told not to say anything in front of him. He was
always pumping me for information about all sorts of

A senior UDA source said: "He was driven by money and there
was always speculation over his wealth. The ranks were
warned not to talk in front of him."

Stone not surprised at Telegraph revelation

By Jonathan McCambridge

Milltown murderer Michael Stone has revealed how John White
- exposed in the Belfast Telegraph as a tout - tried to
gather intelligence on fellow loyalists while they were
prisoners in the Maze.

Stone, convicted of six murders, said that sectarian killer
White tried to "pump him" for information and claimed the
UDA leadership suspected he was being "controlled" by the
security forces.

Yesterday this paper reported that senior intelligence
sources had revealed that White, once a close associate of
Johnny Adair, had worked for Special Branch as an informer.

White was jailed for life for the 1973 murders of
nationalist politician Paddy Wilson and Irene Andrews, both
of whom suffered multiple stab wounds. It is believed he
became an informer after his release from prison.

But Stone said he believed that White may have already been
a grass during his time in the Maze.

He said he was "not surprised at all" by the Belfast
Telegraph revelations.

"White was always really dodgy and for years had a terrible
relationship with the leadership of the UDA. He had no
credibility at all with them.

"We all knew what he was inside for and we all thought he
was sick because he had mutilated a body.

"I was always told not to say anything in front of 'Coco',
which was the name he was known as. He was not trusted."

Stone added: "He was always pumping me for information
about all sorts of things.

"He asked me what I knew about Brian Nelson, he asked me
what I knew about the Mid-Ulster UVF and Ulster Resistance.
He was the only person inside who would talk openly about
these things and I always told him it was information he
did not need to know.

"We all thought he was being controlled because he was
always trying to push the UDA in directions it did not want
to go.

"Later on he turned into this big money man. He had a big
house and an affluent lifestyle with the fancy clothes and
car but he had no visible means of support.

"The security forces knew how much he liked the money and
the flash lifestyle and that was how they were able to turn
him. The last I heard he was pleading poverty in different
parts of England.

"Geographically he is safe because he is out of the way,
but I would not think he will be in any rush to come back
to Northern Ireland because he has so many enemies."

White has been living in exile since February 2003 when he
was forced out of Northern Ireland during a feud inside the
UDA in which White had sided with Johnny Adair's so-called
'C' Company.

He was nicknamed 'Coco' because of his alleged involvement
in drug dealing.

Special Branch saw 'easy target'

By Deborah McAleese

John White's drug dealing and greed made him an easy target
for Special Branch recruitment, senior UDA sources said
last night.

However, it was not until he was forced from the province
with Johnny Adair following a feud inside the UDA in 2003,
that they became convinced of his involvement.

One senior UDA source said: "He was driven by money and
there was always speculation over his wealth. A lot of
eyebrows were raised at his lifestyle and the ranks were
warned not to talk in front of him. As far as we know he
was recruited about two years after he got out of jail. He
was turned by security forces who knew about his drug
dealing and started playing a dangerous game," said a
senior UDA source.

Former detective Johnston Brown, who put Adair in jail,
last night said recruiting someone so close to Adair would
have been a "feather in the bonnet" for Special Branch.

Stressing that he was not the senior intelligence source
who leaked the information to the Belfast Telegraph, Mr
Brown told the BBC White may have helped prevent further
violence in the summer of 2000 when Adair was released
under the Good Friday Agreement.

Brown - who recently met Adair in Manchester for a
documentary - added that he will always be grateful to
White for warning him of a plot by Adair to attack his home
and family.

"In July 2000 he (White) did come forward to tell me about
Adair's plan to attack my home and family."

He added: "He was very close to Adair, who wanted to take
them back to war and could not accept peace, so to have
someone so close to Adair and monitor his thinking would
have been a feather in anyone's bonnet, never mind Special

John white's dark deed

By Linda McKee

Senator Paddy Wilson (right) had been out for a drink with
friends in the Old Vic Lounge of McGlade's public house on
the evening of June 24, 1973.

Among the company was Irene Andrews, a Protestant from the
Crumlin Road who was a former Belfast Telegraph employee.

The 29-year-old was regarded as one of the top ballroom
dancers in Ulster and was a former member of the Northern
Ireland 'Come Dancing' team.

When Mr Wilson gave Miss Andrews a lift home, it was the
last time either of them was seen alive.

Early the next morning, their bodies were found lying on
the Hightown Road near Glengormley, following a phone call
to a Belfast paper by a man purporting to be Captain Black
of the Ulster Freedom Fighters.

Senator Wilson had been stabbed 32 times and his throat
cut. Miss Andrews had been stabbed 19 times. The
pathologist's report said the wounds indicated both had
died in a deliberate and frenzied attack.

More than five years later, John White pleaded guilty to
the double murder and was jailed for life. Recommending
that White should serve at least 20 years, the judge
described it as the most horrific murder he had ever seen.

"That incident to me was a frenzied attack, a psychotic
outburst. It was far removed from any shooting," he said.

After his release in the 1990s, White became a prominent
member of the UDA-linked Ulster Democratic Party. As part
of the UDP's negotiating team at Stormont, he was one of
four loyalists who met the then Prime Minister John Major
in Downing Street on July 22, 1996.


DUP Claims 'IRA Arms Covered-Up'

The head of the decommissioning body and the government
have engaged in a "cover-up" over claims the IRA has kept
some weapons, the DUP has alleged.

Party leader Ian Paisley made the claims after meeting
General John de Chastelain on Wednesday morning.

He called called on the security forces to provide more
information on claims that some IRA members kept arms.

Mr Paisley demanded the publication of what the IRA
decommissioned and estimates of what remains.

It follows fresh concerns about the extent of IRA
decommissioning after simultaneous reports by the
Independent Monitoring Commission and arms body.

Both cited intelligence reports from unspecified NI
security sources that some IRA members had retained arms.

Ealier, DUP Lagan Valley MP Jeffrey Donaldson said
releasing a decommissioning inventory was one way of
building public confidence.

"We want to get some clarity injected into this situation,"
he said.

"What we will be asking the general to do is publish the
inventory of the IRA weapons that were decommissioned under
the supervision of his commission."

Sinn Fein chief negotiator Martin McGuinness said the DUP
"search for excuses" to not share power had to end.

"This meeting has little to do with IRA weapons," he said.

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

Last month's IMC report said the IRA was still gathering
intelligence, primarily for its political strategy.

The body's 8th report said the activity had been authorised
by the IRA leadership. It also claimed some IRA members
were still involved in organised crime.

However, General de Chastelain said Irish police had no
intelligence to support the weapons retention claim and the
IRA assured him it was not.

However, Lord John Alderdice of the IMC said he could not
share the general's assessment.

The IRA denied the intelligence assessment that it held on
to some weapons.

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

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/02/22 12:19:16 GMT


Files On US Flights At Shannon Examined By DPP

22/02/2006 - 08:08:15

The Director of Public Prosecutions has reportedly
concluded that there is not enough evidence to back claims
that suspected Islamic militants are being illegally
transported through Shannon Airport by the CIA.

Reports this morning said gardaí investigated three
complaints relating to so-called CIA "torture flights"
passing through Shannon and passed files on two of the
investigations to the DPP.

However, the DPP decided not to pursue the cases due to a
lack of evidence.

This morning's reports said details of the Garda
investigation were contained in the Irish Government's
submission to a Council of Europe investigation into the
CIA flights.

The submission confirms that the use of Shannon Airport as
part of the US programme of "extraordinary rendition" would
be illegal and insists that no Irish officials have been
involved in such activity.

It also reiterates assurances from the US authorities that
Shannon is not being used as part of this programme, which
the Council of Europe has said amounts to the effective
"outsourcing" of torture.


Irish People ‘Have Worst Linguistic Skills In Europe’

22/02/2006 - 08:06:48

An EU study has reportedly found that Irish people have
poorer linguistic skills than the citizens of any other
member state.

Reports this morning said two-thirds of Irish people
questioned as part of the research admitted they could only
speak English and few believed they should bother learning
any other.

The reports said Ireland was currently the only EU country
with no provision for teaching modern languages in primary

Meanwhile, a separate study has also reportedly highlighted
falling literacy levels among Junior Cert students.

This morning's reports said the assessment put together by
some of the examiners of Junior Cert papers had concluded
that literacy standards were in decline, particularly the
ability to write coherent prose.


Irish Immigration Slips Into Reverse

Wednesday, February 22, 2006 By Michelle Garcia The
Washington Post

NEW YORK--By now the shipping container carrying Jonathan
Langan's material life in the United States has arrived in
Ireland. The plush green furniture, his American flag and
the construction tools of his trade are all gone from his
Queens apartment.

Langan, a lanky, red-haired Irishman, was bidding a final
farewell to his adopted country. He didn't leave for want
of work--his fledgling construction company was booming.
Success was his problem. The more prosperous his company
became, the more Langan feared he would get snared by
immigration agents.

``You don't want to give off red flags because you're not
supposed to be working,'' said Langan, 24, who lived
illegally in the United States for three years. ``It's too
dangerous, what happens if you get caught.''

The green is draining out of the Irish immigration boom
that revitalized neighborhoods across New York over the
past two decades. Fear of getting caught in a post-Sept. 11
net coupled with the booming economy in Ireland is drawing
thousands of Irish back to the Emerald Isle. Numbers vary
on how many have left: The Irish government estimates
14,000 Irish returned from the United States since 2001,
with more than half of them coming from New York. The
Census Bureau reported that between 2000 and 2004, the
Irish population throughout the United States shrank by
28,500 people, to 128,000.

The Padded Wagon, a popular moving company among the Irish,
shipped 30 containers to Ireland in the past three months,
each containing the possessions of an Irish family. The
Irish games--Gaelic football and hurling--have suffered
losses. More than 200 players returned to Ireland in the
past year, said Seamus Dooley, president of the Gaelic
Athletic Association, which has its games at Gaelic Park in
the Bronx.

Last month, the Irish minister for social affairs visited
New York, to unveil ``Returning to Ireland,'' a guide for
Irish preparing for a permanent return.

``A travel agent was saying they had sold 1,700 one-way
tickets to Ireland,'' said Geraldine McNabb, an Irish-born
naturalized citizen, while she sipped a cranberry cocktail
at a pub. ``They're not coming back.''

Although few experience immigration raids in their homes
and job sites, post-Sept. 11 security procedures have
disrupted life for the city's undocumented Irish, who
number about 20,000, according to estimates by Irish
officials and activists. In 2005 just 43 Irish nationals
were deported from the United States, none from the New
York area, according to U.S. immigration officials.

But federal and state policy changes, the fingerprinting of
foreign nationals at airports and a crackdown on driver's
licenses have made it much more difficult to hop a plane to
visit relatives or drive a car. Tighter scrutiny of banking
transactions to prevent the financing of terrorism has
scared off families and made starting a business far more

``What's more alarming to me is people who've been here for
years and years are packing up. Families are moving,'' said
Nollaig Cleary, president of the women's division of the
New York Gaelic Athletic Association. ``You've had the
community people who set up business and their families,
they're going.''

Brenda Flannagan, 31, immigrated illegally to the United
States in her twenties. Now she has a husband and a baby. A
trip back to Ireland to visit her parents could leave her
open to discovery by immigration officials--so she is going
home for good.

``You can't drive. It will get more difficult,'' said
Flannagan, who expects to leave in the fall. ``Things like
play dates and after-school activities.''

Irish immigrants poured in by the hundreds of thousands in
the 19th century and again in the early 20th century. A
third wave came in the 1980s when the Irish economy tanked,
and it rejuvenated Irish culture in New York.

``You have a great Irish neighborhood beginning to
crumble,'' said Niall O'Dowd, publisher of the Irish Voice
and chairman of the newly formed Irish Lobby for
Immigration Reform. ``Unfortunately Americans are mixing up
terrorism and immigration.''

O'Dowd and other activists are lobbying for an immigration
reform that includes a path to citizenship.

The Irish government contributed 30,000 euros, ($40,000 at
today's rate) to the effort. Tim O'Connor, Ireland's consul
general in New York, stresses that the United States played
a vital role in helping to stimulate Ireland's economic
boom with investments.

``It's in the interest of both countries that we have
people who have the ability to go back and forth between
both countries,'' said O'Connor, noting that 15 percent of
new businesses in Ireland were built by returning Irish.

Flannagan held her baby girl, a U.S. citizen and last link
to the United States. ``Maybe she can sponsor us when she's
21,'' she said. Then, she added, ``I think the notion of
coming back, by then, will be gone.''


IRA Suspect Charged Over Attack On British Army Base

22/02/2006 - 12:43:52

Prosecutors in Germany today said they had charged a
suspected member of the IRA with attempted murder in a 1989
attack on a British military base in Germany.

Leonard Joseph Hardy, 45, from Antrim, Northern Ireland, is
also charged with deliberately causing an explosion,
federal prosecutors said. He could face a sentence of life

Four others implicated in the attack were convicted of
attempted murder in Germany in 1995 and were jailed for
between nine and 12 years.

Hardy, who was arrested in August in a hotel in the Spanish
resort city of Torremolinos and extradited to Germany last
month, is accused of being a member of an IRA “Active
Service Unit” that attacked the British army’s Quebec
barracks in Osnabruck on June 19, 1989.

Prosecutors say the five wanted to explode several bombs at
the barracks but were disturbed by a workman as they tried
to lay the charges.

Only one of the bombs exploded, causing damage but hurting
no one.

No date has been announced for Hardy’s trial.


Bus Eireann Charged With Owning Defective Bus In Crash

22/02/2006 - 12:34:05

Bus Eireann was today charged with owning a defective
vehicle during the Navan bus crash.

Five schoolgirls were killed and 46 other school children
were injured when the bus crashed on the Navan to Kentstown
Road on May 23 last year.

At Navan District Court Bus Eireann and its holding
company, CIE, faced a separate charge under section 64 the
1961 Road Traffic Act in connection with the crash.

Senior counsel, Paul McDermott representing Bus Eireann,
said both charges related to owning a vehicle which had a
defect which made it a danger to the public.

Mr McDermott said he wished to make a formal admission that
Bus Eireann were the owners of the bus involved in the
crash and added that the prosecution had consented to
strike out the charge against CIE on foot of that

He said there was consent from the Director of Public
Prosecutions to adjourn the case until May 3 so that the
DPP could decide if further charges would be brought. Judge
John P Brophy asked him if Bus Eireann was contesting the

“Until my client knows precisely what its been charged
with, we’re not in a position to take instruction,” replied
Mr McDermott.

It is understood that the charge under the road traffic act
is based on allegations that the anti-lock brakes on the
school bus were not working at the time of the crash.

Solicitor Michael Finnegan, representing the DPP made minor
amendments to the charges, one of which was to change the
title of the company charged to Bus Eireann ’Irish bus’
instead of Bus Eireann ’Dublin bus’.

He told Judge Brophy that he would check to see if there
were further charges being brought. Judge Brophy set May 3
as the date for the case to be heard again.

“I would have preferred a day before or after that date,
because it will be coming up to the anniversary of the
event,” he said.


Taoiseach Called Upon To Explain FF 'Amnesia'

By Éanna Ó Caollaí Last updated: 22-02-06, 12:58

The Taoiseach was challenged in the Dáil today over the
revelation that two Fianna Fáil members of the Oireachtas
failed to disclose details to an internal party inquiry of
donations made to them during the 1990s.

Green Party leader Trevor Sargent called on Mr Ahern to
explain what he described as "chronic amnesia" suffered by
Fianna Fáil members Senator Don Lydon and GV Wright TD in
submissions made to the Fianna Fáil inquiry and asked if he
would be asking his members to step aside.

Mr Sargent was referring to newspaper reports this morning
detailing admissions made to the Mahon tribunal when
Senator Lydon said he forgot to tell the Fianna Fáil
inquiry about £7,000 he received from Dublin landowner
Christopher Jones in 1992 and an admission by Mr Wright
that he gave incorrect information to the Fianna Fáil
inquiry held in the aftermath of Frank Dunlop's allegations
about corruption in 2000.

The Taoiseach replied that the Government had set up the
Moriarty and Mahon tribunals to inquire into payments to
politicians and into the planning process.

He said the position of the Government and of the Fianna
Fail party was to "get to the end of any wrongdoing that
was going on anywhere, including at Dublin County Council."

Mr Sargent said when he asked a basic question about
payments in the Council in 1993, that he was put "in a
headlock" by a Fianna Fáil member. He went on to ask what
anyone has to do to get thrown out of the Fianna Fáil

Mr Ahern responded by saying he was sorry if any of his
party members had put Deputy Sargent in a headlock in 1993,
and added that if he had been there "he would have stopped

There was laughter in the chamber when the Taoiseach said
"I have never condemned wrongdoing in any area," before
correcting himself to say that he had never "condoned"

He barbed to Deputy Sergent that if he wanted to know about
the internal Fianna Fáil inquiry that "I will fill you in
on that when you fill me in on your chemical shares one."

© 2006


Commemorations In Ballycroy And Ballina For Jack McNeela

THE National Graves Association will hold the first
commemoration in fifty-four years in honour of Jack
McNeela, O.C. West Mayo Brigade, who died on hunger strike
in Arbour Hill Prison on April 19, 1940.

The commemoration will take place at Claggan Cemetery,
Ballycroy, on Sunday, February 26. All who are attending
have been asked to assemble at Ballycroy Post Office at 1pm
when they will march to Claggan Cemetery.

There will also be a short ceremony at the Republican Plot
in Leigue Cemetery on Saturday, February 25 at 2 pm in
honour of Michael Gaughan and Frank Stagg, who died on
hunger strike. This will be followed by the unveiling, by
National Graves Association, of the addition of Jack
McNeela’s name, on the Roll of Honour as O.C. of the West
Mayo Brigade, I.R. A.


Pope Benedict Leaves Irish Off List Of New Cardinals

Last updated: 22-02-06, 12:01

Pope Benedict today named 15 new cardinals but the list of
the red-hatted prelates did not contain any Irish names.

Earlier this week it had been rumoured that the Archbishop
of Dublin, Dr Diarmuid Martin, was in line to become a

It was the first time Benedict had nominated cardinals
since he became Pope last April, allowing him to start
putting his stamp on the body of men that will one day
elect his successor.

Benedict announced the nominations at his weekly general
audience, saying the formal installation of the new princes
of the Church would take place on March 24.

There are two types of cardinal, the elderly non-electors,
who are all aged 80 and over, and the electors who enter a
conclave to chose a new Pope after a papal death and must
be aged under 80.

Church rules set a ceiling of 120 such electors. There are
currently 110 electors but two men turn 80 before April.

To make sure that the Church has a full complement of
cardinal electors, the Pope's list included 12 men aged
under 80 and three over the age limit.

Currently, there are 110 voting-age cardinals but between
now and the end of March, Cardinal Bernard Agré of the
Ivory Coast and Archbishop of Dublin Emeritus Desmond
Connell will both celebrate their 80th birthdays.

This means that by the end of March, Ireland will be
without a vote in a future conclave.

Among those set to become cardinals was Stanislaw Dziwisz,
archbishop of Krakow, Poland, and the long-serving
secretary of Benedict's predecessor, Pope John Paul.

US Archbishop William Levada, whom the Pope appointed to
succeed him as head of the Vatican's powerful doctrinal
department, will also become a cardinal, as will Archbishop
Sean O'Malley of Boston, Archbishop Nicholas Cheong Jin-suk
of Seoul and Bishop Joseph Zen Ze-kiun of Hong Kong.

Additional reporting Reuters

© 2006


President To Name Playwright Friel A Saoi

Last updated: 22-02-06, 07:02

One of Ireland's finest playwrights, Brian Friel, is to be
presented with a major award by President Mary McAleese
today in an honorary ceremony.

Ms McAleese will present the Donegal playwright with a gold
torc after the members of Aosdána elected him a Saoi.

Aosdána, which was established by the Arts Council in 1981,
honours artists whose work has made an outstanding
contribution to the arts in Ireland.

The 208 members of Aosdána elect a Saoi for sustained
distinction in the arts following nominations by its

The secret vote is made by post, and over 50 per cent of
the electorate must agree on the choice of Saoi.

Up to five people are granted the honour at any one time,
with Friel joining Louis le Brocquy, Benedict Kiely, Seamus
Heaney and Anthony Cronin.

Friel's Faith Healer, starring English Patient actor Ralph
Fiennes, Ingrid Craigie and Ian McDiarmid, is currently
playing to sold out audiences in the Gate Theatre, where
all tickets were snapped up before the opening night.

The playwright has also won Best Play in London's Evening
Standard Theatre Awards for The Home Place last November.


© 2006


Cannon, Lunney Get Hibernians Awards

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

HOLYOKE - James Michael Cannon of Holyoke and Paula Lunney
of South Hadley have been named winners of the top Ancient
Order of Hibernians (AOH) awards for this year.

The awards will be presented at the annual AOH Irish Night
Friday at The Whererhouse? on Lyman Street in Holyoke
beginning at 6 p.m.

Cannon, who will receive the Mr. Hibernian Award, was the
original chairman of the AOH scholarship in 1979 and
designed the framework that would guide future scholarship
committees. The scholarship was named for Maurice A.
Donahue, Holyoke's long time state senator and former
president of the state Senate in 1980.

The scholarship became a memorial following Donahue's death
several years ago.

Cannon is the AOH representative for the board of trustees
for the Irish Cultural Center at Elms College. He is
chairman this year of the Donahue Scholarship.

Lunney, who will receive the Ms. Hibernian award, has
worked on nearly all committees for the Ladies AOH
especially on the Children's Christmas Party, Irish Night,
Brightside Angel Committee and the Quilt Committee.

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