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February 07, 2006

SF Mary Nelis Is Dirty Tricks Victim

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BT 02/06/06
SF's Mary Nelis 'Is Dirty Tricks Victim'
DI 02/06/06 Fr McManus: US Sp Envoy To North Criticised
DI 02/06/06 US AOH Campaign To Clear James Kelly’s Name
IT 02/07/06 Early Recall Of Assembly Ruled Out
IT 02/07/06 Ahern: No Paisley Lectures On Sectarianism
SF 02/07/06 DUP Forced To Apologise To Sinn Féin
IT 02/06/06 SDLP Claims Greysteel Murderer Was Police Agent
SD 02/06/06 Understanding The Troubles In Northern Ireland
BB 02/06/06 Opin: How Badly Do Parties Want Power-Sharing?
BT 02/06/06 BS Opin: McGuinness Fails Queen's English Test
BN 02/06/06 Nun Shortage Forces Kylemore Abbey To Close
IM 02/06/06 Natl Irish Freedom Com Annual Awards Dinner
IT 02/06/06 Setback Delays Salvage Of 'Rising Sun' Wreck


SF's Mary Nelis 'Is Dirty Tricks Victim'

By Clare Weir
06 February 2006

A FORMER Sinn Fein Assembly member for Foyle has accused
police of waging a "dirty tricks" campaign against her,
claiming police visited her home and told her she was due
to be named in the media as an informer.

Writing in a Sunday newspaper column, Mary Nelis - recently
appointed honorary life president of Sinn Fein in
Londonderry - hit out at "Chinese whispers" following a
visit by the PSNI to her home last Friday.

On Thursday Mary Nelis told the Telegraph she was puzzled
at claims that she has been warned of a threat from

She dismissed media reports that police had warned her of
the threat.

However, writing for a local newspaper this weekend, she
said that officers called to her Bogside home on Friday.

"The PSNI/RUC arrived at my door and handed me a bit of
paper," she wrote.

"It was handwritten and informed me that 'intelligence
indicates that certain members of the press believe you are
a police informer and intend to reveal your name as such in
the media'."

"The Chinese whispering campaign circulating in the city
this week is clearly emanating from the force within a
force, the PSNI/Special Branch," she said.


US Special Envoy To North Criticised

by Ciarán Barnes

The leader of an influential Irish-American pressure group
has criticised the US special envoy to the North for his
praise of the PSNI.

In a letter to Mitchell Reiss, Irish National Caucus
president Fr Sean McManus, said recent comments by Mr Reiss
could lead some people to view him as a “recruiting
sergeant for the PSNI”.

Speaking last week, Mr Reiss said the PSNI is among the
best police forces in the Europe.

Responding to this assessment Fr McManus called on the US
official to be “more critical and cautious”.

The Washington-based priest said: “Many of us wish your
support for the PSNI were a little bit more critical and
cautious. It would be a pity if your good work for Ireland
became overshadowed by your exuberant and uncritical
support for a police service about which there are still
many profoundly disturbing questions.”

Fr McManus said Catholics would have difficutly with Mr
Reiss claiming the PSNI is among the best police forces in
Europe, especially when former CID officer Jonty Brown
claimed last week that he was being targeted by his former

He said: “No Catholic from the North can read that quote
without profound resonance. You have remained silent on
matters like this, while being quite vocal about other
accusations regarding republicans.

“I feel it is very important that you avoid any appearance
of a double standard. So I urge you to speak out on these
matters so that your good work for Ireland will not be
overshadowed by headlines like ‘PSNI the best in Europe’ –
and, yes, I know you don’t write the headlines. It would be
a profound tragedy if the honest broker title of the
special envoy for Northern Ireland came to be replaced by
that of recruiting sergeant for the PSNI,” he said.


US AOH Campaign To Clear Captain James Kelly’s Name

Irish-American group’s concerns over James Kelly’s

by Ciarán O’Neill

A leading Irish-American organisation has backed a campaign
to clear the name of an Irish army captain involved in the
1970 arms trial.

Captain James Kelly was charged – along with Charles J
Haughey, former minister Neil T Blaney, former Sinn Féin
assembly member John Kelly and businessman Albert Luykx –
with illegally importing arms into Ireland in 1970.

Four of the five men went to trial after it was claimed
they had imported arms for transfer to the North. All four
were acquitted but the crisis caused great controversy in
the Republic.

Captain James Kelly, who died in 2003, worked as an
intelligence officer for the Irish army. He was a key
conduit in the late 1960s between the Irish government and
the Northern nationalist community.

Despite his acquittal, Captain Kelly’s family claims that
his reputation never recovered and that he was shunned by
the Irish state.

A campaign was launched several years ago to clear his

The president of the Ancient Order of Hiberians (AOH) in
the United States has thrown the weight of his 60,000-
strong organisation behind the campaign.

In a letter to Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, Ned McGinley, who
met Captain Kelly’s relatives last year, urged Mr Ahern to
take action.

“In your past comments, you have noted that you believe
Captain Kelly was operating under what he believed were
proper orders and you had no reason to doubt his integrity,
which would mean that the step to clear his name is very
close,” said Mr McGinley.

“We request that your move to completely clear Captain
James Kelly’s name should be sooner rather than later.

“This action will help to close a sad chapter in the
conflict that has been known as ‘the Troubles’ for more
than 30 years and is important to total reconciliation.”

AOH websites across the United States have created links
with the Captain Kelly Justice Campaign website
( ).

Campaign activists in the United States will send the AOH
president’s letter this week to former US president Bill
Clinton, together with Captain Kelly’s last book on the
arms trial, The Thimbleriggers, which was written in 1999.


Early Recall Of Assembly Ruled Out

Dan Keenan, Northern News Editor in Hillsborough, Co Down

Northern Secretary Peter Hain has said he will not recall
the Northern Assembly to see it "shipwrecked" a short time

Speaking alongside Minister for Foreign Affairs Dermot
Ahern after multi-party talks at Hills-borough, he said a
deadline was approaching for the parties to find an
accommodation leading to devolution.

The ministers had talks with all the Assembly parties,
including the DUP, Ulster Unionists, Sinn Féin and the
SDLP, in separate meetings yesterday to push for progress
leading to the restoration of Stormont.

A letter signed by both ministers was given to all the
delegations stating that a clear sense of direction should
be agreed by April so both governments could take "the
necessary steps".

The governments made clear the onus lay with the parties
and that their role was to facilitate and encourage

To that end the joint letter proposed "an intensive
programme of discussions from now until April with our next
meeting on February 20th, and dates diaried thereafter".

Rejecting calls from Sinn Féin and the SDLP for the
Assembly to be reconvened, Mr Hain said: "I'm not going to
convene the Assembly only to have it shipwrecked
immediately afterwards. There is no point in doing that.
But at the same time the clock is ticking. We can't keep
off reconvening the Assembly forever. It's costing millions
of pounds to stay idle. People won't stand for that."

Both ministers said that the answer to the stalemate which
has gripped politics since the suspension of the Belfast
Agreement in 2002, lay in the hands of the local parties.

Neither Mr Hain nor Mr Ahern wished to impose "artificial"
deadlines. But both insisted there was a timetable working
backwards from scheduled elections to the Assembly in May

Mr Ahern insisted twice that whatever the politicians
agreed had to fit into the "template of the Good Friday

Mr Hain indicated that legislation would be tabled at West-
minster which would enable the devolution of policing and
justice powers to any restored Executive.

However, enabling legislation could also be put before the
House of Commons to enable aspects of the so-called
"Comprehensive Agreement" to be enacted. This was
negotiated by the governments, the DUP and Sinn Féin in
December 2004 and was designed to facilitate the
restoration of Stormont.

However, the agreement fell over the issue of the
transparency of any IRA decommissioning.

That agreement was still on the table, Mr Ahern said.

Despite the current difficulties, Mr Hain said he was
confident the necessary progress would be made to
facilitate the restoration of power sharing.

The main principles of the Belfast Agreement remained in
place, including power sharing and North-South co-
operation, Mr Hain confirmed.

"Now the detail - we have always committed to reviewing the
detail in the light of experience," he said.

"That is what we propose doing in the discussions starting
next week. All the parties have agreed to that."

© The Irish Times


Ahern Told Paisley He Would Not 'Take Lectures On

Gerry Moriarty, Northern Editor

Minister for Foreign Affairs Dermot Ahern told Ian
Paisley at Hillsborough yesterday that he would not "take
lectures on sectarianism" from him after the DUP leader
said the South was a sectarian state, talks sources have

The comments were made at the multiparty talks at
Hillsborough where Mr Ahern informed Dr Paisley that his
complaints about President Mary McAleese on Saturday were
"unacceptable, unwarranted and untrue".

Dr Paisley had stated at the DUP annual conference that he
did not like President McAleese, that she was dishonest,
and that she hated Northern Ireland.

Mr Ahern confirmed yesterday evening that the exchanges on
the issue between him and Dr Paisley were "robust". He
explained that he raised the matter with Dr Paisley after
talks yesterday morning with the DUP chaired by the
Minister and Northern Secretary Peter Hain.

Mr Ahern said he complained to Dr Paisley in case any
silence on his behalf would be misinterpreted. "I said to
him that I, on behalf of the Irish Government, but also on
behalf of the Irish people, categorically found his remarks
unacceptable, unwarranted and untrue."

A senior talks source elaborated that Dr Paisley told Mr
Ahern he was standing over his comments. He said that Mr
Paisley junior interjected to protest that when President
McAleese last year made her controversial remarks about
Nazism and unionism, Government ministers had not

After it was put to him that President McAleese had
apologised for her comments, Dr Paisley then said the South
was a "sectarian state", further complaining of attacks on
Protestant churches, the source explained.

Mr Ahern quickly responded, saying he would not "take
lectures on sectarianism" from Dr Paisley, the source

Dr Paisley at a press conference yesterday defended his
conference remarks. "The Foreign Secretary raised the
matter of my remarks about the President of the Irish

"He was told in no uncertain language that when she made
remarks about Northern Ireland and called us unionists
Nazis that they were strangely silent," he said.

The Northern Secretary said the British government held
President McAleese in "very high regard" and that Queen
Elizabeth felt similarly about her.

© The Irish Times


DUP Forced To Apologise To Sinn Féin

Published: 6 February, 2006

The DUP Mayor of Coleraine Cllr Timothy Deans has
apologised to Sinn Féin councillor Billy Leonard for trying
to exclude him and his colleagues from a Christmas
reception, paid for by the ratepayers.It is thought that
this is the first time a DUP representative has had to
admit that he acted against the law and apologise to a Sinn
Féin representative as a result of legal proceedings. Seven
unionist councillors now face the threat of being
surcharged as a result.

Cllr Leonard instigated High Court proceedings against the
Mayor and Coleraine Borough Council under Equality
legislation. It is believed that the council received legal
advice to settle out of court because they were on very
weak legal ground and Leonard was bound to win.

The Sinn Féin councillor said:

"This was a clear cut case of misrepresenting the
ratepayer. The DUP mayor tried to pursue his party policy
of excluding Sinn Féin from a function paid for by the
ratepayer. It didn‚t work and perhaps the DUP in Coleraine
and elsewhere will learn from this episode.

"There may be only one Sinn Féin councillor on Coleraine
Borough Council but we as a party are determined to pick
our challenges wisely. I believe this is the first time
that the DUP have admitted that they acted against the law
and apologised to a Sinn Féin representative.

"Eight months into this Council term and Sinn Féin has
drawn a firm line against unionist intransigence and there
will be more."

And Leonard is determined not to let the question of costs

"Sinn Féin has already notified the Local Government
Auditor of its opinion that the seven councillors who voted
for this exclusion should be personally liable for the
costs of this case. Local electors will now take the
necessary action to instigate this process.

"Seven councillors cannot act in this way and think there
is no comeback. That is why Sinn Féin proposed a motion
before the event and demanded a recorded vote. If six DUP
councillors, including the Mayor, and one Ulster Unionist
councillor believe that they can act against equality
legislation they need to pay for the case that has proved
otherwise." ENDS


SDLP Claims Greysteel Murderer Was Police Agent

Last updated: 06-02-06, 15:03

A loyalist murderer responsible for one of Northern
Ireland's worst terrorist outrages was a police agent, it
was claimed today.

Loyalist killer Torrens Knight was shielded by Special
Branch before he massacred eight people at Greysteel, Co
Derry, SDLP Assembly member John Dallat has been told.

Allegations that a rifle later used in the atrocity was
moved before officers could recover it are being examined
by the Northern Ireland Police Ombudsman Nuala O'Loan.

Mr Dallat said a Royal Irish Regiment (RIR) soldier had
backed up his concerns.

He said: "In recent weeks a serving member of the RIR
telephoned me to say the guns were moved by a member of the
Special Branch who was protecting the identity of Knight,
who was a double agent.

"He went on to claim that one of the guns was used at
Greysteel, while the whereabouts of the other is unknown.
"His knowledge of the event clearly indicates that his call
is genuine."

Knight (36) was part of an Ulster Freedom Fighters (UFF)
team behind the horrific attack on the Rising Sun bar on
Halloween, 1993.

Gunmen walked into the packed pub, shouted "trick or treat"
and opened fire. By the time they had finished 19 people
were wounded. Eight died from their injuries, seven of them

Knight was jailed for life for those murders and the
killing of four Catholic workmen in Castlerock, Co Derry,
seven months earlier.

He was released from the Maze prison in July 2000 under the
terms of the Belfast Agreement and is believed to have
moved to England.

Mr Dallat, who has been studying the case for years, has
disclosed new details of a weapons find he was told of
between the attacks in Castlerock and Greysteel.

"I have waited a long time for this investigation and I
hope the investigation team are successful in gleaning why
so many innocent people lost their lives and why the UFF
ran amok for so long before finally being caught," he said.

© 2006

Understanding The Troubles In Northern Ireland

By Everett A. Vieira III

Professor James C. Dingley from Belfast kicked off SDSU's
semester-long lecture series about terrorism. More than
250 attended the event last week in Hardy Tower, where this
Thursday's lecture about modern terrorism will also take

Dingley began his lecture with a concise outline stating
the objectives of the evening: to provide a brief overview
of the origins of the state in Northern Ireland; to explain
much of the terminology used in the region; to touch on the
origins of the "troubles;" and his suggestion for ending
the prolonged period of violence in Ulster (the six
northern counties of Ireland.) Dingley also made it clear
from the beginning that the troubles in Northern Ireland
are not to be considered a war as they are often referred
to, but rather a prolonged terrorist campaign. Terrorism
by its very nature defies all norms of war, as it
specifically targets the rules and regulations of warfare
as seen in Northern Ireland.

Dingley said that the explanation of the Irish conflict
rests with two separate world visions, rooted in the
asymmetric industrialization of Ulster. The key to the
troubles is not the religious differences between Roman
Catholics, Episcopalians and Ulster Scot Presbyterians as
is so often assumed. Rather, he said, it is a history of
unbalanced economies between the industrialized North and
the unindustrialized South of Ireland that has led to the
prolonged terrorist campaign, waged by all sides. It was
the embracement of the Scottish Enlightenment and the
Industrial Revolution that resulted in Ulster developing a
different set of economic interests than the rest of
Ireland. This in turn led to the animosity and breakdown
of relations between all parties involved and thus, the
troubles took root.

Dingley claimed that the current peace process is doomed to
fail because it reinforces peoples' separate identities and
formalizes the differences between them. For example, in
order to participate in the political sphere and join any
one of the four major political parties in Northern
Ireland, one must define themselves as a sectarian to get
in; one must identify with either a Nationalist party (Sinn
Fein or the Social Democratic and Labour Party) or a
Unionist party (Democratic Unionist Party or Ulster
Unionist Party). This self-identification by most
political participants in the region reinforces Dingley’s
argument that the idea of nationalism plays an integral
role of dividing rather than uniting the population of
Northern Ireland.

Dingley said that the only solution to the problem lies in
the formation of a unified civic identity, much like France
used with Emile Durkheim’s social theory to create a new,
unified French state full of civic nationalism. Dingley
argued that Northern Ireland must somehow leap-frog all
divisions within the Ulster province and unite the
population under one nationalist governing body. The
problem with the power-sharing government in Northern
Ireland, according to Dingley, was the idea of a government
alienated so deeply along partisan lines that it removed
all possibilities of ever reconciling the underlying
problems of the Troubles. Leaving open the possibility of
unifying the entire island of Ireland only
institutionalizes instability in the region, and by their
very nature, groups will only lead to divisions.

James C. Dingley can be reached at


Opin: How Badly Do The Parties Want Power-Sharing?

By Martina Purdy
BC Northern Ireland political correspondent

Ian Paisley and Gerry Adams don't have to talk to get a
deal, the Good Friday negotiations proved that, but their
interests at least need to converge.

That is, they must both need - or at least want - a deal.

The Good Friday Agreement was forged because the SDLP
leader John Hume desperately wanted a deal, and the Ulster
Unionist leader David Trimble decided he desperately needed
one to stabilise the union and stop the drift towards

Does anybody sense any desperation for devolution from
either Mr Paisley or Mr Adams?

Does Gerry Adams want to see Stormont reopened? Does Ian
Paisley need it?

Mr Adams insists he wants power-sharing to return - but one
might ask how badly.

Certainly not badly enough to allow it to reopen in a less
ambitious form while trust is built. Mr Adams might well
calculate that his interests lie in proving Northern
Ireland is an unworkable political entity.

After all if Northern Ireland works, does that help or
hinder his goal of Irish unity?

If on the other hand it becomes apparent that Stormont will
never reopen, no matter how much progress the IRA makes
towards keeping its promises, Sinn Fein can step up demands
for joint authority while focussing on building his party's
strength in Dail Eireann.

The price

Getting power in Dublin would give Sinn Fein great
influence in any Anglo-Irish axis that runs Northern

The DUP says it wants devolution, but not at any price.

The DUP is trying to keep Stormont open by proposing a two-
step process whereby the assembly opens but power is not
exercised by local ministers until there is sufficient
confidence that the IRA has gone away.

But the DUP, bullish after stunning election victories,
does not feel the need to compromise at present. As far as
Ian Paisley is concerned, it is for others to move.

When the DUP leader came to power, questions arose about
whether he was willing to do a deal. That is not the right

The question is: can he do a deal with Sinn Fein even if he
wanted to?

The realpolitik would suggest he cannot because it is too
much to ask any politician - even one with Ian Paisley's
powers of persuasion - to sell power-sharing with Sinn Fein
in the short-term.

Mr Paisley has said too much about the IRA, and David
Trimble, over the years to shrink from his uncompromising
position the minute he gets power.

It could split his party as surely as the Ulster Unionist
Party split.

To keep his party united, Mr Paisley requires time and
context before he can compromise.

He needs to be able to explain why he has changed his mind
- and his time-frame is probably years (he suggested at
least two in August 2005.)

He is certainly in no hurry. In fact, there was a very
telling quote from the DUP leader in the News Letter to
mark his party's annual conference.

He suggested he did not have to worry about sharing power
with Sinn Fein in an Executive because the IRA would never
be able to pass the democratic test.

Monitoring report

Only the ballot box will shift the DUP and Sinn Fein.

But there is no sign that the electorate will punish either
party for failing to deliver devolution. Stormont closed
without so much as a whimper from a public more used to
direct rule than devolution.

In fact, it could be argued that the person most desperate
for devolution is Tony Blair.

But his failure to turn up in Belfast, as expected, to
kickstart the talks - and press the politicians to
compromise - is a sign that even Mr Blair knows there is
little point in delivering any ultimatums just now.

The Independent Monitoring Commission report contained too
many black marks against the IRA for him to argue that the
DUP must shift.

While there were some positive aspects to the report, the
allegation that senior republicans remain involved in
money-laundering has given the DUP the cover it needs to
resist London.

So instead of an upbeat message from Tony Blair, the talks
have begun in an atmosphere of gloom.

It has been left to Peter Hain and Dermot Ahern to talk to
the parties.

Both spent the day at Hillsborough on Monday and are set to
return later this month. But to what end?

They both say they want progress by April but the comments
of both Gerry Adams and Ian Paisley afterwards suggest they
can't even agree on a time-frame for progress.

Mr Adams said it must be short; Mr Paisley says he won't be

What is more Mr Paisley said Sinn Fein should not even be
allowed into talks - and raised the bar for power-sharing.
It is not good enough, he said, for the IRA to be
transformed - they must be disbanded.

When this was put to Mr Adams, he said he didn't want to
talk about the IRA. But Ian Paisley is unlikely to hold his
tongue on the issue.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/02/06 19:01:22 GMT


Bullshit Opin: McGuinness Fails Test On Use Of The Queen's

By Pol OMuiri
06 February 2006

WHY are Provos such potty-mouths? Gerry Adams once answered
a query from a reporter by telling him he was "p****d off"
with such questions.

The journalist in question was, if memory serves me right,
John Irvine from UTV. Luckily for Irvine, he transferred to
the Middle East.

The Israeli hit squads and the Palestinian suicide bombers
might not be any friendlier than Irish republicans but I
bet they are better spoken.

Adams' bad humour has certainly rubbed off on Martin

Speaking about the IMC allegation that the IRA had held on
to a number of guns, McGuinness said that it was "bull****
of the highest order".

Somehow I just can't see any other local political leaders
using the same word to describe anything or anyone.

McGuinness, no doubt, is frustrated by the fact that the
IMC don't believe the IRA.

Indeed, the IRA are frustrated that the IMC don't believe
them and issued their own statement rubbishing the IMC's
claims - though P. O'Neill wasn't quite as forceful as
McGuinness in his communique.

Still, the Mid-Ulster MP's bad language must be cause for

In these days when the Republican Movement's highest
echelons have been penetrated by foreign intelligence
services - Ciao, Freddie! Dia duit, Denis - it is
disconcerting to hear the down-to-earth Derry boy talk like
some pumped-up Texas Republican.

Have all those trips to Capitol Hill and meetings with
George Bush finally re-programmed Martin? Does he think he
is Tom "The Hammer" DeLay, formerly the most fearsome
(American) Republican in the whole of Washington DC?

DeLay is a Texan famous for wielding political power with
brutal effect - hence the nickname.

(Sad to say, DeLay is before the American courts over
allegations - which he denies - of money laundering. What
is it about republicans the world over and dodgy dosh?)

Next thing you know, McGuinness will be giving interviews
in his cowboy suit and a big old Stetson - though,
obviously, he will leave the six-shooters at home. Not that
he has any six-shooters at all, you understand.

The Republic looks set to follow the UK by introducing
civil partnership for gays and lesbians.

Not surprisingly, the Catholic Church will not be happy but
won't go over the top in opposition either.

It is not as if the Church doesn't have trouble in this
area itself.

A friend recently attended a pre-marriage course for
Catholics in Dublin. Of the 24 unmarried couples attending,
22 were already living together.

The organisers told them that one third of them would end
up divorced. And the number one reason the couples gave for
tying the knot? Tax relief. So much for the Sacrament of

Peter Stringfellow has just opened a new club in Dublin but
does not believe that Belfast is ready for one.

Hang on. We had a motorway before the Republic (the Real
M1); we had the car bomb before Beirut and the door-step
assassination when Don Corelone and the New York mob were
in nappies.

We are a sophisticated, cosmopolitan place and we are
certainly ready for women showing us their wobbly bits in

Oh wait, a minute, that happens in Shaftesbury Square every
weekend - and it's free.

Alex Bruce, a defender with Birmingham City, qualifies to
play for Northern Ireland and the Republic due to the
granny rule.

Unfortunately for local football fans, Bruce has declared
for Stan the Man and the Republic and has jilted Lawrie

The bold Bruce said: "I am very flattered that Northern
Ireland and the Republic are both showing an interest in
me. But I am going to pick the Republic purely because I
think they are a better team. That's no disrespect to
Northern Ireland."

Very blunt. He is definitely from here all right.


Nun Shortage Forces Kylemore Abbey School To Close

06/02/2006 - 15:55:14

A drop in the number of nuns entering the Benedictine Order
has forced the prestigious Kylemore Abbey School in
Connemara, Co Galway to shut its doors.

After operating for 84 years as a boarding school, Mother
Abbess Magdalena FitzGibbon OSB said the decline in
vocations to the order had necessitated the closure of the
secondary school.

“In common with other orders, many of our sisters have
reached retirement age and with no new entrants, we no
longer have the personnel necessary for the management and
trusteeship of the school. We very much regret having to
make this decision but having looked at the options, we are
left with no alternative,” she said.

In a letter to parents, staff, the Department of Education
and Science and local primary schools, Mother FitzGibbon
said it was with great sadness that the trustees decided to
close the school in August 2010.

The Benedictine community at the Abbey has now fallen to
around 14 nuns.

After the Benedictine nuns took possession of Kylemore
Castle in November 1920, they opened the Abbey as a girls
secondary school two years later.

There are 137 students enrolled in Kylemore, 49 boarding
students of which 34 come from outside Ireland.

The school was opened to day students from the surrounding
area since 1928. Around 36 people are employed in the
school. Twenty-three are teaching staff but only one is a
member of the Benedictine community.

In her letter, the Abbess said: “We are anxious that the
period between now and the closure should be ordered and
well managed and should include a celebration of the
history and significance of the school.”

The Abbey has been placed on the tourist map over the past
decade after a visitor centre was developed to welcome
visitors to the garden and Gothic Church in 1993.

The Benedictine Order has placed a high priority on
maintaining the Abbey, and a major restoration of the
Victorian walled garden was completed in the late 1990s.


National Irish Freedom Committee
Cumann Na Saoirse Náisiúnta
Cumann Na Saoirse Náisiúnta

11th Annual Awards Testimonial Dinner

Cumann Na Saoirse Naisiunta (National Irish Freedom
Committee) held its’ 11th annual Michael Flannery Awards
Testimonial Dinner at The Astorian Manor in Astoria,
Queens, New York on Friday January 27th 2006. This annual
event recognizes and honors Irish Americans and others for
their contributions to the promotion of Irish history,
literature, human rights and Irish freedom.

The hall was full when Brian Mor O Baoighill, master of
ceremonies, welcomed the guests who came from the North
Eastern states including contingents from Philadelphia and
Harrisburg Pa.

In his opening remarks Brian Mor thanked the three honorees
for accepting the awards, despite late efforts of a self
appointed Provo ombudsman to pressure the honorees to turn
their backs on the event. Brian also noted that even if
Noraid were still in business this particular testimonial
would still be the only Irish republican one in the US.

Máire Ní Holt, Bean Ui Mhórdha, the recipient of the 2006
Pearl Flannery Humanities Award was introduced in Gaeilge
(Irish) by Séamus Ó Dubhda, veteran Irish republican
activist and a native speaker from Co Kerry. There was no
translation forthcoming or needed from Seamus, because
Máire has spent a lifetime involved in all things Irish,
including teaching Gaeilge. After Máire finished delivering
her acceptance speech, the younger generation present
understood why Séamus offered no translation and
furthermore they were ‘ like really totally impressed by
the cool lady’. So was everyone else in attendance.

Máire, who comes from a long line of serious Irish
activists to British occupation of Ireland going back to
1798, explained in easy to understand language the nature
of Irish resistance to British rule down through the
centuries. In a role reversal, Máire used many of the same
words and phrases to refute all forms of British influence
in Ireland that the British and their Irish cohorts have
used down through the centuries to denigrate Irish
patriots. She said that she once told Cardinal O Connor
that the Mordha family was proud to come from a long line
of unrepentant excommunicated convicts. Speaking of the
need to promote Gaeilge, Máire said that one word of Irish
passed on to a child is one part of an Irish soul that
England can never conquer

Maggie Trainor introduced Karen Ingenthron Lewis the
recipient of the 2006 Sr. Sarah Clarke Human Rights Award.
Maggie was chosen to introduce Karen because Maggie’s own
chosen profession closely resembles that of both Sr Sarah
and Karen Lewis. Maggie spoke movingly about Karen’s life
of activism in caring for the disenfranchised and the
homeless in New York and the prisoners incarcerated in
overcrowded prisons. She also mentioned Karen’s
participation in anti-war rallies going all the way back to
the Ban-the-Bomb campaign. Maggie said that Karen chose
this life when another life on Broadway in Neil Simon’s
California Suite called and added that Karen Lewis was the
perfect choice for The Sr Sarah Human Rights Award

Upon accepting the award Karen told the audience that prior
to presenting the 2005 Sr Sarah Human Rights Award to Fr
Lawrence Lucas, she read Sr Sarah’ book No Faith in The
System and from that moment on she was in awe of Sr Sarah.
Karen said that Sr Sarah’s performed heroically on behalf
of Irish political prisoners in British prisons and their
visiting families in a frighteningly hostile environment.

The audience was fascinated by Karen’s earnestness in
professing her admiration for Sr Sarah Clarke’s
extraordinary life in the service of the marginalized Irish
political community in England. Karen who hosts a weekly
radio show on WBAI every Saturday at 1.30 pm does not shirk
away from unpopular issues. She is a beacon of hope for
many a lost soul in the U.S. prison population. For that
alone Karen is eminently qualified to be the recipient of
the Sr. Sarah Clarke Human Rights

Radio Free Eireann (RFE) host John Mc Donagh introduced
Larry Kirwan (Lorcánaig O Ciardubháin) the recipient of the
2006 Michael Flannery Spirit of Freedom Award. John spoke
of Larry early years in New York when he was befriended and
shown the ropes by Malachy McCourt. John said that even
back then Larry was showing signs that he had an important
role to play in life. That role was to speak out about
injustice whenever or wherever he encountered it. He
opposed the Vietnam war and was not afraid to made his
opposition known. In the mid seventies he helped make an LP
record on the Eire Nua label. Since that time he has become
a household name despite the political character of his
many popular songs. John noted that the name Black 47 that
Larry chose for his band. Is taken from the year 1847, the
blackest year in Irish history when England allowed half of
the Irish population to die of starvation.

Upon accepting the award, Larry spoke of his awe when, in
1981, he visited 3rd. Avenue in New York and witnessed the
determination, dignity and commitment of those souls
marching on the Long Green Line. He said that they were the
anonymous who were there to protest the awful tragedy
unfolding in Long Kesh prison camp where ten young Irishmen
were on hunger strike, some already dead and others in the
process of dying. He said that he wanted to accept The
Michael Flannery Spirit of Freedom Award on behalf of the
many people who marched on The Long Green Line. Larry said
that he would also accept the award in memory of his
grandfather, Thomas Hughes who played a big part in raising
him. He said that Thomas was a cipher of Irish history. He
told Larry about his own father who survived the Great
hunger of 1845-1847 and how his father told him to tell the
world about the people who died during that period with
grass stains on their mouths. He told him of being inducted
into the IRB by no less a person than Sean Mc Diarmada. He
also told about meeting a man with a Glasgow accent named
James Connolly in Wexford. Larry said that his grandfather
also made him promise that he, Larry, would never forget.

Larry concluded his speech by dedicating the award to the
young Irish Americans who were in Baghdad or in any other
place in Iraq. He said that he wanted to dedicate it to
their coming home safely.\Brian Mor O Baoighill, in
addition to acting as master of ceremonies, designed the
awards presented to the recipients. These superlative
annual awards that have been designed by Brian Mor have
become very special to their different over the years.

Robert W. White Dean of the Indiana School of Liberal arts
and Professor of Sociology at Indiana University – Purdue
University Indianapolis, recently completed a book titled,
Ruairi Ó Brádaigh The life and Politics of an Irish

Prof. White addressed the audience at the 11th annual
Michael Flannery Testimonial Dinner. He explained how he
spent years researching the material for the book and also
‘spent many, many hours’ interviewing Mr. Ó'Bradaigh. While
the author did not divulge too many specifics, he gave the
impression that this work is not a piece of fluff that
would that would portray Ruairi as a romantic rebel.

He went on to say that Ruairí was a complex man whose life
could be divided into four phases, intertwined with his
commitment to principled Republican ideals. He said that
Ruairi was born of activist Republican parents. He
inherited those traits and actively promoted them
throughout his entire educational period. He went to work
as a teacher, married his wife Patsy and they had six
children and now have thirteen grandchildren. Prof. White
said that he was involved in the ‘56 Border campaign, was
jailed as a political prisoner and was elected to the
26county parliament (on an abstentionist ticket). He rose
to leadership roles in the IRA and Sinn Fein and he spent
additional time in prison and ‘on the run’

Prof. White said that when the split came in 1969, Ruairi
led the walkout as he did in 1986 because he believed that
constitutional politics could not lead to Irish unity. He
said that Ruairi holds firm to that belief today.

Prof White paid particular attention to the development of
the Eire Nua program co-authored by Daithi Ó Conaill and
Ruairi Ó Bradaigh. He said that it was an important
development because it was based on a federal system that
took into account the concerns of the northern Unionists
and the concerns of those who were becoming marginalized
such as the small farmers and Gaelic speakers. He told how
the Eire Nua program was used by Adams and Co. to undermine
Ó'Bradaigh and Ó'Conaill

It appears that matters like the Eire Nua program, the
Feakle Talks, the visa denial by the US, the splits and the
issues that caused tensions in the Irish Republican
Movement (IRM) are all well covered in this book.

Cumann na Saoirse Naisiunta wishes to thank the band and
the piper for providing excellent entertainment and extends
its appreciation to the professional staff of the Astorian
Manor for the great food and outstanding service

Video and photos from the dinner are now up on the NIFC
National Irish Freedom Committee
Cumann Na Saoirse Náisiúnta

Related Link:


Setback Delays Salvage Of 'Rising Sun' Wreck

Lorna Siggins Marine Correspondent

Salvage of the Co Wexford lobster boat Rising Sun was
continuing off the Saltee Islands late last night after a
setback delayed the lifting operation earlier yesterday.

Wexford salvage company Tuskar Rock Marine is working with
the Irish Lights vessel Granuaile and the Coast Guard to
raise the boat from a seabed depth of 52 metres over nine
kilometres offshore.

The salvage team had hoped to lift the boat early
yesterday, but one of the slings attached to the hull by
divers is understood to have come loose. The Granuaile,
which is under the command of Capt Dermot Gray, has
anchored in a three-point mooring over the wreck, and a
spreader was lowered to keep the slings from damaging the
waterlogged hull.

Three lives were lost after the boat sank on November 29th,
one a diver in the search for the missing skipper, and the
salvage was ordered by Minister of State for the Marine Pat
"the Cope" Gallagher at the request of the family of the
skipper, Pat Colfer.

"It is a very difficult and slow operation, because of the
water depth, and the fact that the divers can only stay
down for so long and must decompress periodically," Capt
Kieran O'Higgins of the Commissioners of Irish Lights

"Once the vessel reaches the surface, water must be pumped
out before it can be transferred to the ship's deck. The
hull will then be searched, and equipment, including the
remotely operated vehicle for monitoring seabed operations,
has to be recovered before the ship can leave the area."

The missing skipper's family is hoping the hatch to the
engine room will be examined when the vessel is on deck, as
this area was not searched by Naval Service divers last

The wreck will be transferred by the Granuaile to Rosslare
harbour for further examination by Coast Guard officials
and the Marine Casualty Investigation Board. Under the
salvage contract, a report on the condition and securing
arrangements of the emergency radio beacon and life raft
must be prepared.

A delay in picking up a signal from the beacon, and the
failure to deploy the life raft, are key subjects for the
official investigation into the sinking.

© The Irish Times

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