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

February 24, 2006

MI5 Kept Police In Dark Over Omagh Bomb

To February 2006 Index
To Index of Monthly Archives
To receive this news via email, click HERE.
No Message is necessary.
To Get RSS Feed for Irish Aires News click HERE
(Paste into a News Reader)

News About Ireland & The Irish

BN 02/24/06 MI5 'Kept Police In Dark Over Omagh Bomb'
NL 02/24/06 Empey - DUP Inconsistent On Sinn Fein
BT 02/24/06 Police Probe Links Between £50m Heist And Belfast Raid
BT 02/24/06 I Can't See Why They Would Move Finucane Goalposts
BT 02/24/06 Ludlow Family Seek Answers Over Dropping Of Charges
IM 02/24/06 Justice For Forgotten No Manipulation Of Terror Victims
SF 02/24/06 SF: Prices Of Apts Highlights Need For Social Housing
IT 02/24/06 Observe The Sons Of Ulster Marching To The Dáil
BB 02/24/06 Funds Boost For Town Regeneration
BB 02/24/06 Ten Crocodiles Found In Car Boot
JN 02/24/06 Ball Raises Funds For St. Patrick's Day Parade
MT 02/24/06 Karan Casey & Flook: ‘Innovations In Irish Music’
BS 02/24/06 A Focus On The Irish


MI5 'Kept Police In Dark Over Omagh Bomb'

24/02/2006 - 09:56:41

MI5 withheld vital anti-terrorism intelligence just months
before the Omagh bomb atrocity, it was revealed today.

Although the agency helped thwart an attack planned on the
Co Tyrone town or Derry at the time of the signing of the
1998 Good Friday Agreement, it kept police in the North in
the dark about the bomb plot, according to authoritative
security sources.

Even after the outrage which killed 29 people, MI5 failed
to inform Special Branch of the threat, and details have
only just emerged as part of an investigation into an FBI
agent who infiltrated the Real IRA, the dissident
republican group, which carried out the attack.

Relatives of some of the Omagh dead said today they were
astonished by the disclosure, and with MI5 preparing next
year to take control of national security intelligence in
the North, one MP called on Downing Street to abandon its

SDLP leader Mark Durkan said: “Allowing MI5 to have a lead
role in intelligence in Northern Ireland would be like
appointing Herod as childrens’ commissioner.”

Michael Gallagher, whose son Aidan, 21, was among those
killed, said: “At best, this is criminal negligence. At
worst, it’s assisting a terrorist murder plot.”

Three dissident republicans were arrested and later
released without charge at the time of the foiled April
1998 bomb plot.

It followed an MI5 tip-off involving American FBI agent
David Rupert, who was working undercover in the ranks of
the Real IRA, warning that Omagh or Derry - but most likely
Omagh – was to be hit by a dissident republican unit based
in Fermanagh and the Letterkenny area of neighbouring Co

The car containing a mortar bomb was never found, although
it is believed the device may have been the same as one
used in an attack on security forces in the border town of
Belleek, Co Fermanagh, three weeks later.

At the time, the Royal Ulster Constabulary was aware that a
planned terrorist operation had been disrupted, but
according to authoritative security sources today, police
found no trace on their records of any MI5 intelligence
that Omagh, or Derry, was going to be a target.

Details emerged after inquiries in the United States where
detectives investigating Omagh spoke with Rupert and
examined emails which the agent once exchanged with his FBI
and MI5 handlers.

It was Rupert’s evidence to a court in Dublin in 2003 which
helped convict the Real IRA leader Michael McKevitt, who
was jailed for 20 years for directing terrorism.

Police in the Irish Republic are not being blamed for
holding back on any information linked to the failed bomb
plot, four-and-a-half months before Omagh was attacked in
August 1998 by a gang based in south Armagh and Co Louth.

But there is serious unease among security chiefs about
MI5’s handling of the affair.

It is understood the agency also failed to inform two
senior UK police officers called in by the Northern Ireland
Policing Board and the Police Service of Northern Ireland
to quality-assure a new investigation after the initial one
came in for such fierce criticism by Police Ombudsman Nuala

Mr Gallagher said today’s revelation would heighten the
pressure on the British and Irish governments to set up a
full cross-border independent inquiry.

He said: “MI5 is considered one of the top intelligence
agencies in the world and had their finger very much on the
pulse, yet they failed to notify the RUC that Omagh was a
chosen target of a very active terrorist group.”

Mr Gallagher, who met British prime minister Tony Blair in
Downing Street last month, added: “There must be a cross-
border pulic inquiry to establish a truthful account of all
events surrounding Omagh.

“It must be thorough, comprehensive and impartial to find
out exactly what happened and who should be held
responsible for any failings. It is only then that the
families can begin to heal.”

The Omagh relatives are pressing ahead with a High Court
civil action seeking £14m (€21m) compensation against the
five men they blame for the bombing.

Next September the trial is due to begin of Sean Hoey, 36,
from south Armagh, who has denied murdering the 29 people.
The case is expected to last six months.

Last week Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain introduced
a Bill in the House of Commons which would give MI5 the
lead role in handling agents and informers from 2007 – a
move heavily criticised by the SDLP and Sinn Féin.

Nationalists claim the agency’s new role also undermines
policing reforms because it will not face the scrutiny of
the Policing Board.

Mr Durkan said: “This latest revelation underscores the
case that MI5 cannot be trusted to work in the true public
interest, or relied upon to cooperate properly with other

“This also highlights MI5’s culture of intelligence for its
own sake, used and handled for its own ends rather than
through lawful democratic public interest.”

A spokeswoman for the chief constable, Hugh Orde, said that
over the next two years, police would work to ensure that
proper systems existed between MI5 and the PSNI to
disseminate intelligence between both organisations.

She said: “That preparatory work will continue right up
until 2007 and will take into consideration lessons learnt
from the past.

“The Chief Constable is already on record as saying that he
will not sign up to any arrangement that does not have his
complete confidence.”


Empey - DUP Inconsistent On Sinn Fein

By Simon Hunter Political Correspondent
Friday 24th February 2006

ULSTER Unionist leader Sir Reg Empey has labelled the DUP
"inconsistent" because of their refusal to sit with Sinn
Fein during this week's talks at Stormont.

Sir Reg used a front page of the News Letter from February
2004, which clearly shows the DUP leadership at the same
table as Sinn Fein, to illustrate that they do deal with
republicans and have done in the past.

He added that DUP representatives sit with their Sinn Fein
counterparts on local councils across the Province and on
the Maze national stadium panel.

His comments were a direct response to remarks made by the
DUP in these pages earlier this week when they said they
would not sit down at round table talks with Sinn Fein
while the IRA were still engaged in criminal activity.

But Sir Reg said the DUP have regularlysat down with Sinn
Fein at all levels, and asked why they refused to do so

"I think the DUP should confront Sinn Fein and not run away
from them," he said. "They have already sat at the table

years ago and the risk is they are letting Sinn Fein play
the martyr and this doesn't help unionism.

"This picture was taken two years ago and significantly
preceded decommissioning - there's no question that there
was criminality ongoing at that particular stage. What's
different now?"

Sir Reg said he believed the DUP would have been in
government with Sinn Fein by now "but for the photographs
they wanted", and that there are regular faceto-face
dealings with republicans.

"The point is that they said very specifically that they
have this policy of not talking to republicans while
paramilitaries continue," he said.

"How, then, do they sit on the Maze panel with them? And I
know they are working away with them at local council
level. That's not a sustainable position. It's
inconsistent. Are they afraid of them?

"Their policy at the moment is still not to share power
with them, but it's only a matter of time.

"How can you make such a big issue of coming to a table
when only a relatively short time ago you were nearly in
government with them?

"I think unionism is better to take on Sinn Fein and not
let Adams seek martyrdom with his people."

The DUP's delaying tactics at the recent talks are giving
Sinn Fein the upper hand, said Sir Reg.

"They allow Adams to play the martyr, and all that does is
reinforce support for him in the nationalist community.
What we are doing is giving Sinn Fein the keys to Stormont.
They are the gatekeepers now," he said.

"The DUP didn't confront Sinn Fein on the television, but
now they do it on a Sunday. There's no sustainability. Get
it out in the open. If they call round table meetings,
everyone should be there."


Police Probe Links Between £50m Heist And Belfast Raid

By Jason Bennetto
24 February 2006

Detectives in Britain are investigating possible links
between a record £50m cash heist in Kent and the Northern
Bank raid in Belfast.

Both raids bore remarkable similarities.

They were carried out with military precision; both
involved the kidnapping of family members of high-level
staff with access to keys; and police believe both took
place with "inside" help.

A record £2m reward was offered yesterday for the recovery
of the banknotes and capture of the raiders who carried out
the heist at the Securitas cash warehouse in Tonbridge,
Kent on Wednesday.

The gang were described as a team of "top-level" criminals
and Kent Police said yesterday they feared some of them may
have already fled to Europe via the Channel Tunnel.

Assistant chief constable Adrian Leppard said an alert had
gone out to all points of entry, footage from CCTV was
being examined, and police forces abroad had been contacted
in the hunt for the gang.

He also said Kent Police were in contact with police in the
North to investigate links with the £26m Northern Bank
robbery in Belfast in 2004.

Staff at the Securitas warehouse are being investigated by
police who believe the robbers almost certainly had
"inside" help in the raid.

The gang took between £25m and £50m in cash.

Two people - a man and a woman - were arrested last night
in connection with the robbery. They were being held at
undisclosed police stations and will be questioned today on
suspicion of conspiracy to commit robbery.


I Can't See Why They Would Move Finucane Goalposts

Justice Peter Cory tells Chris Thornton why he's upset with
the handling of Pat Finucane's murder inquiry - and how a
secret agent's drugs hunting past ended up delaying the
probe into Rosemary Nelson's death

24 February 2006

You don't get to be a judge, never mind a Justice of the
Canadian Supreme Court, without understanding a little
about fine distinctions.

So the Honourable Peter Cory sat earlier this week,
patiently explaining why he disagrees with the Government
about the murder of Pat Finucane, but can't say they are

Or why he has no regrets about investigating the case, but
might not do it again if he had life to live over.

At issue is the Government's response to Justice Cory's
recommendation - made over two years ago - that public
inquiries should be held into possible collusion in the
murders of Mr Finucane, Rosemary Nelson, LVF leader Billy
Wright, Portadown man Robert Hamill and RUC Superintendents
Bob Buchanan and Harry Breen.

Most are proceeding. The superintendents' inquiry is due to
open shortly in the Republic, and three of the others have
formally opened in Northern Ireland.

The thorny one remains the Finucane murder. Justice Cory
knows more than most about this 1989 UDA murder, it being
the most high profile of the six cases he spent a year and
a half looking over.

The major reason for the delay - and for editing out, or
redacting, sections of the Cory report - is the
Government's contention that national security issues are
at play in the Finucane case.

Justice Cory says that, based on what he knows, he
disagrees. But back in Northern Ireland this week to
deliver a lecture at Queen's, he was also careful to say
that the Government has not filled him in on what their
security concerns are.

"Personally do I agree with it? No," he said. "Do I find it
frustrating? Yes. It must be doubly frustrating for the
family. Is it a correct decision or not? I cannot tell you.

"It's just one of those difficult situations. Who's at
fault? I don't know because I haven't got facts from the
Government side as to why it would be necessary that this
now involves matters of state security and as a result
we're not going to do this.

"I do not know because I cannot get behind at this stage
and see why is it a matter of state security.

"A government obviously knows far more about aspects of
state security than I do," he said. "As I've said, I
disagreed with their decision with regard to redaction and
I may well have disagreed with their opinion with regard to
state security.

"But I have to emphasise I'm not in the position of the
Government to know what is necessary to protect state
security, so I have a difficult position as far as
answering because I haven't all the facts.

"You can't judge a situation until you have all the facts
and you explore them and test them and decide what is right
and true. I don't have all the facts on that aspect. On the
surface, I disagree with the decision, that's all."

He added: "All I can say is that I differ with their
opinion on the basis of what I saw. I'm not going to say
over-cautious or any other danged expression.

"I differed with them on what I saw, whether it constituted
a matter of state security or not."

The Finucane case has become a stalemate. To protect the
unspecified national security concerns, the Government
passed legislation that gives Ministers direct control over

The Finucane family has opposed an inquiry under these
terms, but Secretary of State Peter Hain says it is this
way or no way. So far he has been unable to find a judge
who will take the inquiry on.

Justice Cory says the Government is trying to "change the
goalposts". While he says he was "upset" at that decision,
he does not have "a damn bit of regret".

"It was a job to be done and it's damn well done and it's
finished. Do I regret it? No. It had to be done and perhaps
shed some light on an unfortunate situation.

"I was asked to do it. I did it to the best of my ability.
I made the recommendations I did. I stand behind those

During his review of information about the Finucane murder,
Justice Cory got unprecedented access to Cabinet papers
referring to the killing. That revelation fed speculation
that repercussions for the murder went all the way to
Downing Street.

But Justice Cory says he does not remember "anything of
tremendous significance in the Cabinet papers as compared
to papers I got from other people".

He says it is "wonderful" that other inquiries are
proceeding, adding that he is "responsible for a couple of
months of delay" in the Rosemary Nelson case.

"What was happening was that I was asked to keep some very
sensitive material secure," he said.

"My way of keeping it secure for a number of reasons was to
take it personally to the Canadian High Commissioner and
say 'take that in your security pouch back to Canada and
file it with CSIS', our security agency. And that's what
they did.

"Now then it came time when the (Nelson) commissioner
wanted to see those papers. I'd given the opinion that they
were sensitive but they didn't affect my decision.

"But of course he wants to explore the background. And it
took me a while to get them back from CSIS.

"And it involves this: the agent who took them there, who
stored them for CSIS has now retired.

"They don't want him pinpointed as an agent of CSIS or a
CSIS person involved as he was with significant drug crime.

"So it had to be done carefully and slowly. So when you're
looking at Rosemary Nelson, charge all three months of the
delay with me. And I'm not a dang bit sorry."


Ludlow Family Seek Answers Over Dropping Of Charges

By Michael McHugh
24 February 2006

The family of Co Louth loyalist murder victim Seamus Ludlow
may write to the Irish Director of Public Prosecutions to
find out why the decision to prosecute four suspects was

Mr Ludlow's nephew Jimmy Sharkey said he was encouraged by
recent news the DPP in the Republic is reviewing a policy
of not giving reasons for his decisions and is to discuss
the development with his lawyer.

The victim was shot dead by north Down loyalists in May
1976 close to his Dundalk home after being picked up in a
car. Four suspects were quizzed by the RUC in 1998, but the
Ulster DPP decided not to prosecute. Counterparts in the
Republic concurred with the decision.

"We would be keen to get as much information as we can
about the case," Mr Sharkey said.

"We have our suspicions about why the case was dropped but
we would like some answers from the DPP.

"Two of those questioned made admissions of involvement,
although they contradicted each other, and we know that
cases have been taken in the past on the basis of

There have been a string of inquiries into the killing
after the original 1976 Garda investigation failed to yield

The Irish parliament's justice committee is considering
alleged failings in the police's handling of the matter,
based on a review by Irish Justice Henry Barron, made
public last year.

Investigating officer Superintendent John Courtney says he
requested permission to interview suspects named by the RUC
in 1979 but was refused authority to go north.


Justice For The Forgotten. No Manipulation Of The Victims
Of Terror.

National History And Heritage News Report Friday
February 24, 2006 10:58 by don't forget

The news that the minority irish republican armed force
party, "RSF" intend to manipulate the Dublin and Monaghan
bombings of 1974 by laying a wreath to co-incide with the
mildly controversial Orange Order march in Dublin later
this year, ought present us with an opportunity to revisit
the events of May 17th, 1974 and the other "Dublin

It is simply offensive that a party which refuses to engage
in constitutional politics either side of the border in
Ireland, seek to promote their agenda by associating their
protest against Orangeism with the suffering of victims of
terror. Two "wrongs" may never make a right. A quick recap
of what occured in Dublin Ireland between 1/12/72 and

A series of terrorist attacks occured in both Dublin and
Monaghan on the 17th of May 1974.

A total of 33 people were killed [including one near full
term pregnant woman], and many others (approaching 300)
seriously injured and / or maimed. Most of the injured are
still living. It is unthinkable that a tiny extremist party
which promotes a "four province" federal solution to
Ireland (in which one would presume the Orange order would
have a right to march were the hypthotetical parliament of
Uladh or Ulster democratic) use the suffering of those
families in 2006.

Three car bombs exploded across a time frame of only a few
minutes on Parnell Street, Talbot Street and South Leinster
Street in the centre of Dublin. They were followed shortly
after by a fourth car bomb in Monaghan.

This was yet another dark page of the Irish "Troubles" or
British / Irish conflict of the late 20th century which was
covered up, not investigated and "almost forgotten". Only
in June 2005 did the Irish government announce it would
bring a case against the British government at the European
Court of Justice, to force them to release files relating
to the main suspects (for the most part members of Loyalist
paramilitary organisations). Many of those suspects are now
dead and in the meantime popular opinion in Ireland has
laid responsibility for the logistic support at the door of
the British covert security forces active on both sides of
the border in Ireland at that time.


"Justice for the Forgotten was formed in January 1996 with
the aim of campaigning for truth and justice for the
victims of the Dublin and Monaghan bombings of 17 May 1974.
Its membership includes the overwhelming majority of the
bereaved families and many wounded survivors. In January
2001 the bereaved families and survivors of the Dublin
bombings of 1 December 1972 and 20 January 1973 joined with
those of 1974 and amalgamated into a united organisation
demanding to know the truth as to how and why all their
loved ones were cruelly murdered and so many were maimed."

The group "Justice for the Forgotten" has compiled much
information in the public domain at its website which is
available to read, including their submissions to the Irish
Government (Oirechatas) and the Barron report (which under
justice Barron was the initial Irish Governmental inquiry).

If you consider the laying of a wreath ["To show that there
is not a hierarchy of suffering Republican Sinn Fein
President Ruairi O Bradaigh will lead a wreath at the
monument in Talbot St, to the 33 victims, Protestant and
Catholic of the 1974 Dublin and Monaghan bombs."] (sic)
offensive, considering that the tiny republican
abstentionist grouping is opposed to the Irish Peace
Process, and has never renounced armed struggle or
condemned terrorism and is de facto as sectarian an
organisation as many argue the Orange Order is : then -
contact the representative groups of the victims of terror
in Ireland & demand that protest be registered .

Justice For The Forgotten,
64-66 Lower Gardiner Street,
Dublin 1,
Tel No: +353-1-8554300
Fax No: +353-1-8193258

Also consider contacting your local political and religious
representatives that this wanton display of manipulation
not go unchallenged.


Obscene Prices Of Apartments In Sandyford Highlights
Chronic Need For Social Housing - Sinn Féin

Published: 24 February, 2006

South Dublin Sinn Féin representative Shaun Tracey has
described as "obscene" the price and the demand for
apartments in the Sandyford area. Mr. Tracey was commenting
today after it was revealed that more than 200 apartments
were sold within 24 hours yesterday in a new development in
Sandyford. One bedroom apartments on the site started at
€330,000 and three bedroom duplexes were available at

Mr. Tracey said, "The obscene amounts of money being spent
on tiny apartments in the Sandyford area shows the lengths
some people will go to, to buy property in Dublin. It also
highlights the fact that many investors are mindful of the
money to be made in the private rented sector. It is ironic
that the Government can afford to finance some 60,000
mortgages for rich landlords through the rent supplement
yet it cannot provide social housing for the near 44,000
families on the social housing waiting list.

"The demand for these apartments -- more than 200 sold in
less than 24 hours -- once again highlights the chronic
need for social housing to be provided in this Council
Borough. Yet Dún Laoghaire -- Rathdown County Council
continues to capitulate to the demands of developers
instead of the needs of its citizens.

"There are currently 2,699 families on the social housing
waiting list in DL/RD. With the thousands of houses and
apartments that have been built across the borough in the
last number of years serious inroads in to the Council's
chronic housing waiting list could have been made if Part 5
of the planning act had been used properly." ENDS


Observe The Sons Of Ulster Marching To The Dáil

By Piaras Murphy Last updated: 24-02-06, 12:22

Anyone who happens to be in and around Dublin's city centre
tomorrow lunch time will be more than a little curious at
the sight of a 1,000-strong force of unionist politicians,
Orangemen, and loyalist bands marching on the streets.

The parade has been organised by a group representing
victims of IRA violence, Families Acting for Innocent
Relatives (Fair).

Starting at 12.30 tomorrow the marchers will travel down
O'Connell Street and D'Olier Street, past Trinity College
and up Kildare Street to Leinster House, where they will
congregate for a meeting.

A Garda spokesperson said commuters could expect severe
disruption to traffic in the area.

Traffic can also be expected to be heavy around Fairyhouse
race course, Co Meath, for the meeting there tomorrow, and
around the Naas race course on Sunday.

Also on Sunday, Ireland take on Six Nations champions Wales
at Lansdowne Road with the match kicking off a 3pm, so
traffic will be very heavy in and around Dublin 4.
Commuters can expect Dart trains to be full of rugby
supporters before and after the match.

There are National Hurling League matches in Cork city,
Thurles and Wexford on Sunday. All games have a 2.30 throw-

© 2006


Funds Boost For Town Regeneration

Plans to transform Portadown have been given a boost by the

The Department for Social Development has offered more than
£600,000 to a regeneration firm to implement the town's
development framework.

Proposals include developing the River Bann, a new health
centre, regenerating eight sites for shops and offices and
building homes near the town centre.

Minister for Social Development David Hanson said it was an
"exciting and ambitious strategy".

He said the plans would "bring significant physical, social
and economic benefits to local people" in the County Armagh

"DSD looks forward to working in partnership with Portadown
2000 and others to achieve real progress and to revitalise
the town," Mr Hanson said.

The initial areas earmarked for development include
Shillington's and Foundry Street, the Pleasure Gardens, the
Obins area, the former Gaswork's site, Woodhouse Street,
Market Street and High Street, Edward Street to Meadow
Lane, Cecil Street, Hanover Street, Carleton Street, Fair
Green and Tavanagh.

Funding of £607,500 has been made available from the
Integrated Development Fund for the development.

The regeneration is to be carried out by Portadown 2000,
which was set up in 1994.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/02/24 06:28:14 GMT


Ten Crocodiles Found In Car Boot

An animal welfare charity has recovered 10 crocodiles and a
variety of poisonous reptiles from a car boot.

Backed by police, officers of the Ulster Society for the
Prevention of Cruelty to Animals stopped the car just
outside Newry on Thursday.

The USPCA said the animals were all destined for sale in
Northern Ireland.

Afterwards, more dangerous reptiles were taken from a house
near Omagh during the investigation into the illegal
trading of wild animals.

The charity said a diminishing demand for big cats was
being replaced by a craze for dangerous reptiles, which
were "often bought on a whim" and frequently died through
the owners' ignorance.

Stephen Philpott of the USPCA said legislation was urgently
needed to stop illegal trading by unlicensed dealers.

He said the Dangerous Wild Animals Act was due to be
brought into force in Northern Ireland two years ago.

"As of yet, we haven't got it and for as long as we don't
have it, the trade in these exotic and dangerous animals
will continue," he said.

"You are not allowed to do it anywhere else, why are you
allowed to do it here?"

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/02/24 07:39:50 GMT


Annual Ball Raises Funds For State's Second-Largest St.
Patrick's Day Parade.

By Gerald McKinstry
The Journal News

Pat Barry and her husband, Dan, started planning in April
for this weekend's celebration, when the Irish community
will honor several residents while raising funds for the
upcoming St. Patrick's Day parade in Pearl River.

The annual Emerald Ball sponsored by the Rockland County
Ancient Order of Hibernians and Ladies AOH will be held
tomorrow at the Sheraton Crossroads Hotel in Mahwah, N.J.

"Everybody is there. Every Irish organization in the county
is represented," said Pat Barry, who has co-chaired the
ball with her husband for 16 years. "It's really a nice and
elegant evening."

The Nanuet woman expected more than 400 people to attend
this year's ball. Tickets are $85 per person and include
cocktails, dinner and dancing; entertainment will be Celtic
Cross and the Edward V. Larkin Memorial Pipe Band. James
McDonnell of Stony Point will be the emcee.

The ball is the primary fundraiser for the AOH's annual St.
Patrick's Day parade in Pearl River, the second-largest
parade of its kind in the state. This year's parade will be
March 19.

This year's honorees are

• Hibernian of the year — Phil Sheridan

• Businessperson of the year — Martin Shanley

• Grand marshal — James Teague

• Rockland County aide to the grand marshal in New York
City — Gerry Walsh

• Parade commanders — P.J., John and Kevin Clancy.

Barry said the honorees were selected by the five AOH
division presidents, two Ladies AOH presidents and the
Emerald Ball chairman and chairwoman.

Sheridan, a vice president of Division 3 in Pearl River,
said the recent "explosion of Irish culture" including
history, language and contributions to society, made it an
exciting time to be Irish and a particularly nice time to
be honored.

"It means a lot to be picked out of a few thousand people,"
Sheridan said. "The contributions of Irish-Americans are
coming to (the) forefront."

For Shanley, the award melds two of his passions — work and
community. The Blauvelt man is director of catering at the
Sheraton Crossroads and a member of AOH Division 5, the
Irish-American Cultural Center and the Leitrim Society.

"It's extra-special," Shanley said. "It's a great honor.
It's nice to have people support you for the work you do."

In addition to the awards, Cy Hughes, last year's grand
marshal, will present Teague with the sash customarily worn
by the leader of the county parade.

George Leahy, president of the Rockland County AOH, said
the ball was an opportunity to honor those who had
contributed to the county's Irish community.

"These people have always put others before self," Leahy
said. "They have contributed greatly to the organizations
and the AOH."

In addition to the honors, Pat Dwyer, president of the
county Ladies AOH, said the evening was a kickoff to the
March festivities.

"It's a great get-together," Dwyer said. "You get to see a
lot of people you haven't seen in a year."

If you go

What: The Emerald Ball, sponsored by the Rockland County
Ancient Order of Hibernians and Ladies AOH.

When: 6:30 p.m. tomorrow

Where: Sheraton Crossroads Hotel in Mahwah, N.J.

Tickets: $85 per person, includes cocktails, dinner and
dancing. Tickets are not sold at the door.

Information: Call Pat or Dan Barry at 845-627-5720.

The honorees

• Phil Sheridan, Hibernian of the year: A Pearl River
resident, Sheridan is a retired operating engineer. He is
vice president of AOH Division 3 and a member of the Sons
of the American Legion and the Pearl River Elks Club.

• Martin Shanley, businessperson of the year: A Blauvelt
resident, Shanley is the director of catering at the
Sheraton Crossroads Hotel. He is a member of AOH Division
5, the Irish-American Cultural Center and the Leitrim

• James Teague, grand marshal: A Blauvelt resident, Teague
is a member of AOH Division 5 and active with the Rockland
Irish American Cultural Center and the county Gaelic
Athletic Association. He is a member of the county's Sean
MacBride Unit and served as its president and vice
president and has been chairman of many Irish fundraising

• Gerry Walsh, aide to the grand marshal in New York City:
A Pearl River resident, Walsh has been active with the
Rockland County AOH and served in various capacities with
AOH Division 2 including as president and vice president.
In 2000, he was grand marshal of the Rockland St. Patrick's
Day Parade and has been chairman of the Emerald Ball
Journal Committee. He is chairman of the Great Hunger
Memorial Committee and vice president of the Friendly Sons
of St. Patrick.

• P.J., John and Kevin Clancy, parade commanders: The three
brothers are members of the New York Police Department.
John, an Orangeburg resident, is a police officer in the
Midtown South Precinct and a PBA delegate. P.J., a Pearl
River resident, is a sergeant assigned to the Transit
Bureau and a drummer with the NYPD Emerald Society Pipes
and Drums. Kevin, a Sparkill resident, is a detective
assigned to the Intelligence Division.


‘Innovations In Irish Music’

One World Concert Series will present "Innovations in Irish
Music" featuring the Karan Casey Band and Flook for an
evening of Celtic music at 8 p.m. Saturday, March 4, at the
Southern Oregon University Music Recital Hall, Ashland.

The first of two bands to perform will be Grammy-award-
winning singer Karan Casey from Ireland. Casey is known for
her soulful interpretations of both contemporary and
traditional material.

After moving to Dublin for university studies in Italian
and Classics, Casey also trained in piano and voice at the
Irish School of Music and The Royal Irish Academy of Music.

In 1993 she emigrated to New York and began a jazz degree
in Brooklyn’s Long Island University. Later she joined
Seamus Egan, Winifred Horan, John Doyle and John Williams
to form the group Solas.

The band recorded three albums in just four years, and won
NAIRD awards for each. They played with Bela Fleck, Iris De
Ment, Jerry Douglas, Stuart Duncan, The Chieftains, Donal
Lunny, Sharon Shannon and Paul Winter while touring
extensively in America, Europe and Japan.

Casey has performed at many venues including the Kennedy
Center, WOMAD USA, A Prairie Home Companion, Mountain
Stage, Philadelphia Folk Festival, Strawberry Music
Festival, Symphony Space, Knitting Factory, Kentucky Center
for the Arts, and participating in Paul Winter’s Solstice
Celebrations at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine.

From Ireland via the U.K. comes Flook, a quartet of two
Irish and two British musicians featuring two flutes over a
hard-driving rhythm section of guitar and bodhran, an Irish
hand drum. Flook gives traditionally rooted tunes a subtle
contemporary twist.

The group’s latest recording, "Haven," is steeped in the
tradition of jigs and reels but features Flook’s distinctly
non-traditional approach to the material.

Flook has toured extensively in the U.S., Europe, Japan and
Australia and headlined Peter Gabriel’s WOMAD Festival in
Adelaide. They were also nominated as Best Album in the BBC
Folk Awards in 2002 and Flook members Sarah Allen and John
Joe Kelly were voted Best Female and Male Musicians of the
Year by the Irish-American News.

Flook’s current incarnation — Sarah Allen on flutes and
accordion, Brian Finnegan on flutes and whistles, John Joe
Kelly on bodhran and mandolin and Ed Boyd on guitar and
bouzouki — has been together for five years.

Reserved tickets cost $32, general and $16 for SOU students
and children up to age 12 are available at SOU’s Raider Aid
in the Stevenson Union, the Music Coop in Ashland, at on the Web or by calling 552-6461.



A Focus On The Irish

HoCoPoLitSo to celebrate the culture in fundraiser

By Lauren Scott
Sun reporter
Originally published February 24, 2006

Hundreds will gather tonight for a taste of Irish culture
at Howard County Poetry and Literature Society's biggest
fundraiser of the year.

After a reading by award-winning Irish author Anne Enright,
Irish musicians and step dancers will perform at the
society's 28th "Evening of Irish Music and Poetry" in Jim
Rouse Theatre at Wilde Lake High School.

"The mission of our organization is to enlarge the audience
to the appreciation of contemporary literature," said Tara
Hart, Howard County Poetry and Literature Society's
(HoCoPoLitSo) managing director. "The [Irish evening] is a
celebration of literature and Irish culture."

Nearly 300 tickets had been sold as of midweek, and a crowd
of more than 400 is expected.

"Our ticket sales have been very good this year," Hart

HoCoPoLitSo's chairwoman, Catherine McLoughlin-Hayes, a
native of Ireland, has picked the evening's writer for the
past 20 years. She said she enjoys bringing the "best of
the best" Irish authors to Columbia each year, and that
Enright is no exception.

"I usually keep up to date with the new Irish writers, and
Anne Enright came to mind as a very good writer, speaker
and someone who had won notable literary prizes both in
Ireland and the United Kingdom," McLoughlin-Hayes said.
"She's hilariously funny. ... I expect that she'll give a
very entertaining reading."

Born and raised in Dublin, Enright won the Rooney Prize for
Irish Literature in 1991 for her collection of stories, The
Portable Virgin. She also has won the Irish Times/Aer
Lingus Irish Literature Prize for her 1995 novel, The Wig
My Father Wore, and the Royal Society Authors Encore prize
for her 2000 novel, What Are You Like? from which she will
be reading excerpts tonight.

Enright writes about personal experiences and unnoticed
patterns of living, McLoughlin-Hayes said. Enright also is
a broadcast journalist for BBC Radio.

Past writers who have read at HoCoPoLitSo's annual
fundraiser include Nuala O'Faolain, Eavan Boland, Paul
Muldoon and Seamus Heaney, who won the Nobel Prize in
Literature in 1995.

"I just like the fact that we bring the best ... Irish
writers to the local community," McLoughlin-Hayes said.
"They're not just Irish writers, they're internationally

Terry Winch, a songwriter, author and musician, started
performing at the event in 1980 with the Irish-music group
Celtic Thunder. Winch and other former Celtic Thunder
members, including his brother, Jesse Winch, Dominick
Murray, Linda Hickman and Tony DeMarco, later formed
Narrowbacks, the band that will be performing tonight.

Irish immigrants used the term "narrowbacks" to describe
their children, who in America would grow up to be taller,
leaner and wouldn't have to do backbreaking labor, Terry
Winch said.

He said the combination of music and writing at the Irish
evening is a "winning formula."

"People get a lot of variety in the course of the night,"
said Winch, a son of Irish immigrants. "Tony DeMarco is one
of the most incredible fiddlers. There are Irish dancers
every year, and they're quite good. They get some of the
top writers in Ireland. It's a pretty good deal for an
audience member."

Murray, also a son of Irish immigrants and Narrowbacks'
singer, said music and story is an integral part of Irish

"Ireland has an affinity for poetry and music, and the fact
that we've been asked for more than a quarter of a century
to be a part of that lineup is a delight and honor for us,"
Murray said.

McLoughlin-Hayes called the event a "seasonal rite of

"People look forward to it," she said. "It's not just for
Irish-Americans. ... There is something for everybody."

The "Evening of Irish Music and Poetry" will begin at 8
p.m. in Jim Rouse Theatre at Wilde Lake High School, 5460
Trumpeter Road, Columbia. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. Tickets
are $25 and will be available at the door. Information:
HoCoPoLitSo, 410- 772-4568, or

To receive this news via email, click HERE.
No Message is necessary.
To Get RSS Feed for Irish Aires News click HERE
(Paste into a News Reader)
To February 2006 Index
To Index of Monthly Archives
Ive been to the Irish Evening several times. Ms McLoughlin-Hayes doesa superb job on organizing this event. The Irish ambassador also addresses the audience & the poets/authors are ALWAYS the best of the best.
Post a Comment

<< Home

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