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February 19, 2006

SF Votes To Delay Policing Decision

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IT 02/19/06 SF Votes To Delay Policing Decision (A)
SL 02/19/06 Sinn Fein 'Softening On Attitude To PSNI'
BN 02/19/06 Up To 60 Shortlisted For North's Police Board
RT 02/19/06 IMC A Problem For Govts: McGuinness
BN 02/19/06 Oireachtas Committee Discuss Illegal US Irish
BB 02/19/06 Party Will Not Be Badgered - SF
BN 02/19/06 Hain Signals Reform Of Shadow Assembly
II 02/19/06 Ahern Attacks Adams' Ard Fheis Speech
SL 02/19/06 Cory To Deliver Inquiry Lecture
SL 02/19/06 'Deep Throat' Blows Lid On LVF Crimelord
SL 02/19/06 UVF Is To Stand Down At Somme Commemoration
SL 02/19/06 No Parade Change For Orange Order
SL 02/19/06 Bloodbath Fears Over Border Fox
II 02/19/06 SF And The Race To The Bottom
SL 02/19/06 Fraud Squad Probe Into MLA's Expenses
II 02/19/06 Was This Loyalist Murderer In The Police's Pay?
SL 02/19/06 DUP: How Devolution Is Possible
IV 02/19/06 Opin: IMC A ‘Disgrace’
BB 02/19/06 Opin: Situation Needs Wisdom Of Solomon
II 02/19/06 Opin: SF And The Race To The Bottom
SL 02/19/06 Brave Police Reservist Dies From Illness
BB 02/19/06 Campaigners Occupy Closed Church
SL 02/19/06 Surefire Film Hit
SL 02/19/06 Romantic Release For Majella
SL 02/19/06 Historic Wells Drying Up
BG 02/19/06 The Ginger Man: A Man Amuck
ML 02/19/06 Events Celebrate Irish Culture, Art

(Poster’s Note: See “SF & The Race to the Bottom” for an example of
bottom feeding journalism. Jay)


SF Delegates Vote To Delay Policing Decision (A)

Last updated: 19-02-06, 15:57

(Audio: This Week: Gerry Adams, Sinn Féin leader, explains
some of what he said in his speech

Sinn Féin delegates today voted against a bid to tie the
party into a policy of refusing to participate in policing
in Northern Ireland ahead of a united Ireland.

During the debate, leadership figures including North
Belfast Assembly member Gerry Kelly urged the party to
commit itself to a policy of holding a special conference
to change its approach to policing if it felt reforms went
far enough.

Mr Kelly told the ArdFheis in Dublin that legislation
initiated by the Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain on
Thursday committing the British government to the transfer
of policing and justice powers to a future administration
at Stormont was not sufficient on its own to get Sinn Féin
to change its policy.

"It is important for delegates to be reminded that Sinn
Féin's position on policing has been consistent and is also
very public and open," he said.

"Any major change in Sinn Féin policy will only be as a
result of a special ard fheis on this subject. It will be
up to delegates at such an ard fheis to debate and vote on
this important issue."

Mr Kelly claimed Sinn Féin's opponents had used policing to
prevent the growth of the party and the changes that needed
to occur in society. However, he said the Sinn Féin
leadership believed that in the context of a comprehensive
agreement the issues of policing and justice could be

"Whatever happens in negotiations, key issues such as
policing and justice cannot be put on the shelf to be
dusted down when we achieve a united Ireland," he stressed.
"People want us to deal with the everyday issues as well as
the big picture. We must develop further our all-Ireland
vision for justice and policing."

During the debate there were calls from some party members
for Sinn Féin to refuse to participate in policing in
Northern Ireland until there was either a timetable for
British withdrawal or in the context of a 32-county Irish

Barry McColgan, a member of the executive of the party's
youth wing, warned colleagues not to get involved in a
police force which would be used to oppress the working-

"The transfer of powers (from Westminster to Stormont) is a
red herring," he said. "It would be transferring control of
a flawed state police force."

Sinn Féin's Six Counties chairman Declan Kerney said while
the sentiments of those urging the party not to move until
there was a united Ireland were understandable, they were

"Whether it is intended or not these motions send a message
to the securocrats that Sinn Féin is long fingering this
issue," he said. "We need to go toe to toe with the
political detectives and break their counter-insurgency

"Let's send a message from today's debate to the political
detectives and the securocrats in Castlereagh, Knock, that
the days of PSNI cosmetics and Northern Ireland Office spin
are over.

"We are going to confront and challenge you. We are
unified, have got our strategy sussed and we are coming for



Sinn Fein 'Softening On Attitude To PSNI'

19 February 2006

SINN Fein is quietly advising victims of crime in
republican areas to report it to police, Sunday Life can

The disclosure is a further hint that the party is slowly
paving the way towards taking up seats on the Policing
Board and DPPs.

Sinn Fein have long maintained they'd have no truck with
the police until the Patten reforms were fully implemented.

Young Catholics have also been urged not to join the PSNI.

But we have learned that in recent months the official Sinn
Fein line on non-co-operation with the police has softened.

One republican, whose home in the Ardoyne area of north
Belfast was recently burgled, told us: "There's been a
definite sea-change. When I sought advice, I certainly
wasn't discouraged when I said the cops should be involved.

"It was done very much on the 'QT', but the same thing is
happening in more and more areas.

"The restorative justice people do a fair job, but they
can't always get your car back or deal with insurance and
compensation claims.

"For that, particularly if your home has been turned over,
you have to involve the PSNI. It's a recognised fact of

One father-of-two, who was the victim of a violent assault
near his Falls Road home, said: "With the IRA no longer
operating, it was the only option.

"I know for a fact that people living around here
desperately want to see police back in the area, because
vandalism, street crime and anti-social behaviour is out of

"No one has reproached me for calling in the cops, and,
whether they admit it or not, local Sinn Fein
representatives are giving people tacit support to involve
police in such cases."

North Belfast MLA Gerry Kelly recently provided another
clear indication that Sinn Fein's attitude to policing is

He told a conference that a new beginning to policing was
possible and in such a scenario republicans would have to
make difficult decisions, saying "change brings turmoil and
soul-searching. It also means breaking moulds".


Up To 60 People Shortlisted For North's Police Board

19/02/2006 - 10:43:12

Up to 60 people have been shortlisted for independent
positions on the North’s reformed Policing Board, it
emerged today.

The authority's vice-chairman Denis Bradley has urged the
political parties to strengthen female representation on
the new panel, which will begin scrutinising PSNI chief
Hugh Orde's performance in April.

Mr Bradley, 60, who is standing down after defying death
threats and an assault to complete four years' service,
insisted his post and the chairmanship should remain with
independent members.

He said: "Politicians should be gracious and wise enough to
stay away from them for at least the next four or five
years. It's too early in the process.''

The ex-priest from Derry, who once brokered secret peace
talks between the Government and IRA, exposed himself to
attack from those still opposed to the North’s policing
arrangements when he took on a key role on the body set up
as part of a major overhaul of the largely Protestant

While his dispute with Sinn Féin remains ideological,
dissident republicans singled him out for violent

Bullets were sent through the post, death threats issued
and his home petrol-bombed.

The sinister campaign took a terrifying turn when a thug
battered him around the head with a baseball bat in a pub
in Derry's Brandywell district last September.

He took weeks to recover from the attack, understandably
shaken by how ferocious a minority were in their opposition
to his support for the new policing regime in the North.

But Mr Bradley insisted he never felt like quitting, even
though he recognised the anxiety it caused his wife and
three children.

"There are some people who hit me over the head and put a
few wee things outside my home," he accepted.

"But I don't think they were big in number and I don't
think it was personal. Although that's maybe like the Mafia
boss who's about to shoot you saying: 'This isn't

"I've never been terribly frightened, but then I lived for
20 years before that in the midst of stuff that was far
more scary than this.

"I was involved with the Provos and British government and
things like that.''

With a grin, he added: "Those were long dark nights when
not a lot of things were happening. You were wondering who
was going to find you out and take you out.''

One of the few certainties about the board, which is due to
be reconstituted on April 1, is that Mr Bradley will not

A major shake-up is expected among the 10 political seats,
with Ian Paisley's Democratic Unionists set to increase on
their three members to reflect growing electoral strength.

The Ulster Unionists and SDLP are expected to lose a
position each.

With Sinn Féin still refusing to accept its two places,
Northern Secretary Peter Hain faces a challenge to prevent
the authority becoming unionist-controlled.

He will wait for the parties to nominate representatives
before deciding which independents could best achieve the
delicate balance needed to protect the Board.

A major focus should be put on getting more women than the
two current members, particularly as neither of them were
political appointees, Mr Bradley insisted.

"There are about 60 people who have been shortlisted for
independent seats; 40-60 people being interviewed," he

"I have no idea who will come out of that batch. But if the
politicians once again fail to appoint any women to this
board then the responsibility falls on the NIO (Northern
Ireland Office) to try to equal that by putting women in.
Our political parties have a responsibility not just to
appoint men.''

Uncertainty still surrounds whether Board Chairman Sir
Desmond Rea, with whom Mr Bradley formed a close working
relationship, will stay on in the top role.

Unlike first time around, when the chair was appointed by
the government, the members will elect from among their


IMC A Problem For Govts: McGuinness

19 February 2006 11:44

Sinn Féin's chief negotiator, Martin McGuinness, has told
the party's Ard-Fheis that the current round of political
discussions in the North will run aground unless the issue
of the Independent Monitoring Commission is resolved.

Mr McGuinness told delegates the IMC's most recent report
contained 'unsubstantiated allegation, fantasy and fiction
presented as fact'.

He said they had told both governments that the IMC is a
problem they created, and it is one which they must

Mr McGuinness also said that if it becomes clear in the
next few months that it is not possible to restore
political institutions, the Assembly should be scrapped and
the salaries of MLAs withdrawn.

He also criticised the PDs, Fine Gael and the Labour Party
for opposing northern representation in the Oireachtas, and
the Taoiseach for announcing that he is not proceeding with
the proposal.

The Ard-Fheis concludes in Dublin today, with most
attention likely to focus on the debate on policing.

Delegates are also likely to renew calls on the Government
to release the killers of Garda Jerry McCabe.

The party leadership is proposing a motion setting out the
conditions under which a special conference would be called
to discuss signing up to policing arrangements in the

This would only happen when the British government has
enacted legislation to transfer policing and justice powers
from London to Belfast, and the DUP has agreed to a
timetable for the transfer.

But other motions up for debate rule out Sinn Féin
participation in policing in the North under any

Delegates will also vote on motions calling on the
Government here to release the five men jailed for the
killing of Garda Jerry McCabe, as well as other IRA
prisoners around the world.

In his leader's address yesterday evening, Gerry Adams
accused the Taoiseach of 'bad faith' in backing away from a
commitment to allow Northern MPs speak in the Dáil.

He also claimed the two Governments were 'pandering' to the

Mr Adams commended the IRA decision to formally end its
campaign, and said the Sinn Féin leadership was firmly
opposed to any return to an armed struggle.

He promised to effectively tax high earners, with increased
taxes on capital gains, property speculation and corporate
profits, and to provide more housing and childcare, and a
better health service.


Oireachtas Committee To Discuss Illegal Irish In US

19/02/2006 - 14:38:52

The Oireachtas Committee on Foreign Affairs is to discuss
the situation of the illegal Irish in America next week.

A bill working its way through the US Congress makes it
virtually impossible to live in America unless one has the
correct papers.

It is estimated that there are close to 50,000 Irish people
living illegally in the US.

The Chairman of the Oireachtas Committee on Foreign
Affairs, Michael Woods said: “It is a very critical time –
we’ve got to get across to our people that these will cause
great difficulty between Ireland and the States and our
members are very strongly opposed to the bill.

"We understand that it is in reaction to 9/11, and that was
a tragedy, but this is an over-reaction,” he said.


Party Will Not Be Badgered - SF

Sinn Fein will not be badgered on the policing issue,
senior spokesman Gerry Kelly has told his party's annual
conference in Dublin.

Mr Kelly said the party would not be forced into accepting
"anything less than a new beginning to policing".

He said the main issue was the transfer of powers from
London to a restored assembly and all-Ireland institutions.

Mr Kelly warned delegates the issue "could not be dusted
down and put on the shelf until a united Ireland".

Earlier, chief negotiator Martin McGuinness said the future
of the Good Friday Agreement "was on the line".

'No dilution'

However, he said republicans should not be worried because,
even if the agreement fell, its substance "had been secured
as the minimal threshold for anything that might replace or
supercede it".

On Saturday, Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams told the
conference there could be no dilution of the Good Friday

He added that Sinn Fein's engagement with unionism must

The months ahead were crucial, he said, and he had huge
reservations over the way the governments were approaching
talks aimed at restoring devolution.

Mr Adams poured cold water both on the idea of a two-stage
return of local government and on British-appointed
commissioners running Northern Ireland.

The Sinn Fein leader welcomed the IRA's move to formally
end its campaign and said no one should harbour the
illusion that the republican struggle could be advanced any
further by an armed campaign.

The future, he said lay solely in politics.

"Undoubtedly there are some who believe that the IRA has
made a mistake.


"They are entitled to their opinion but to no more than
that," he said.

But the Sinn Fein leader said Ian Paisley and the DUP also
faced challenges.

Are they ready to build a shared future and "is their war
over", he asked.

Mr Adams said Sinn Fein would be in government in Northern
Ireland and would, depending on its mandate, consider being
in coalition in the Republic.

"We will never meekly serve our time. Our objective is an
all-Ireland parliament for all of the people of Ireland,"
he said.

More than 1,000 party delegates from the north and south of
Ireland are debating almost 500 motions at the party's
three-day conference in Dublin's Royal Dublin Society hall.

Speaking before the conference, Mr Adams said his party
would not join a new Policing Board due to be in place by 1

His comments come a few days after the publication of a new
bill on the devolution of policing and justice.

Speaking on BBC NI's Inside Politics, Mr Adams said the
bill was not sufficient for his party to drop its
opposition to the PSNI in time for the new board.

"Can we get an extraordinary ard fheis (conference) before
that, can we get legislation before that, can we get the
DUP on board before that - that all appears to be unlikely.

"If we do all of that, of course I'm quite prepared to go
before ard chomhairle (party officers) whether it's April
fool's day or not," Mr Adams said.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2006/02/19 14:01:38 GMT



Northern Secretary Signals Reform Of Shadow Assembly

19/02/2006 - 14:16:37

The British government may be prepared to reform a shadow
Northern Assembly before power-sharing is fully restored,
Northern Secretary Peter Hain signalled today.

With the Stormont Parliament costing £78m (€114m) since it
was suspended more than three years ago, attempts are being
intensified to get all sides in Belfast to break the
political deadlock.

And Mr Hain, who will head fresh political talks at
Hillsborough Castle, Co Down tomorrow, insisted a series of
ideas were up for discussion.

He said: "Obviously, in order to get a power-sharing
government to develop power through an executive in which
all the parties are represented - and that remains the
objective - to get that, you have to have the Assembly in
place first.

"Now there is a sequence here as to how long the bridge
between the Assembly convening for the first time in over
three years - and everyone is agreed that that has to
happen - how long the bridge is to when you get the power-
sharing executive up and running, and that is what we will
be discussing."

The Northern Secretary gave his assessment after he was
asked about a shadow Assembly with an end date set for the
point when power-sharing should start.

The devolved regime at Stormont was halted amid allegations
of an IRA spy ring that soured trust between unionists and

Mr Hain, who can call a snap election, warned he was not
prepared to go through the charade of a scheduled May 2007
poll to an Assembly that does not exist.

"I mean, that is just absurd," he told ITV1's Dimbleby

"Given that, if there were to be the conditions for an
election I have taken the power to bring it forward because
I want to see the Assembly up and running, I want to see
power-sharing government devolved to Northern Ireland

"It is a question of building trust because there is a lot
of distrust and suspicion, particularly between the
Democratic Unionist Party of Ian Paisley and Sinn Féin and
Gerry Adams.

"We have got to bridge that gap and move forward together
because I think the people of Northern Ireland want this
all to be brought to a head."

Mr Hain also denied British Prime Minister Tony Blair had
cancelled a planned trip to the North this week to deliver
a keynote speech.

"The exact timing and date for that visit were still being
discussed," he insisted.

"What the Prime Minister wants to do - and we are working
on this together with the Irish Prime Minister and Foreign
minister - is to get real momentum into the talks which are
taking place at Hillsborough Castle tomorrow, which I will
be leading.

"I think there is a real chance now of the parties agreeing
that we can't continue this existing state of political

"We need to make progress. The clock is ticking and the
Assembly has now been suspended for three years - more than
three years.

"It has cost £78m (€114m) to keep it idle. We can't keep on
like this and I think there is a willingness on all the
parties to find a way forward.''


Ahern Attacks Adams' Ard Fheis Speech

Joe O'Malley, Don Lavery And Alison Bray

THE Taoiseach last night strongly rebutted Sinn Fein
president Gerry Adams' criticism of the Government's
planned military parade commemorating the Easter Rising -
and effectively told the IRA to stop hijacking the Irish
Army's title.

Mr Ahern told the terrorist group there was only one
Oglaigh na hEireann - the Irish Army. The Taoiseach's hard-
hitting words came in response to remarks made earlier by
the Sinn Fein president at his party's Ard Fheis, on the
prospect of the first military parade in 35 years to
commemorate the Easter Rising.

Mr Ahern said: "The military parade on Easter Sunday will
be a celebration of Oglaigh na hEireann, successors to the
Volunteers, who serve a democratic State which is engaged,
through the United Nations, in the search for global

Mr Ahern went on to strongly attack SF/IRA's use of the
title Oglaigh na hEireann, saying the attempt by the
Provisional IRA to appropriate the title to their
organisation was rejected by successive Irish governments.

"There is only one Oglaigh na hEireann - the Irish Army -
who will take their rightful place in the parade to
celebrate the legacy they have inherited," he bluntly told
the Provisional movement.

Mr Ahern continued that the Proclamation of 1916 continues
to have "inspirational power in our own time".

"In looking back to it and its continued resonance, we will
commemorate not only the events of 1916, but also the
achievements of the State which has evolved out of that
revolutionary moment, and which looks forward to the
peaceful reunification of the island on the basis of
consent," he said.

He added Ireland's recent achievements include
unprecedented growth and economic success that have
improved the standard of living of people throughout "this
sovereign Republic".

"Our membership of the European Union has been a key factor
in helping us to achieve that success. We are now finally
in a position 'to pursue the happiness and prosperity of
the whole nation and all of its parts', as was stated in
the 1916 Proclamation," Mr Ahern said.

The Taoiseach's robust statement followed criticisms voiced
by Mr Adams at the Sinn Fein Ard Fheis of the parade by the
Irish Defence Forces.

Mr Adams said while he agreed with the Taoiseach's decision
to mark the 90th anniversary of the 1916 Rising, he
disagreed with the military role in the event.

"Is a military parade of two-and-a-half thousand soldiers
the best way to do this? I don't think so." Instead, he
suggested "an inclusive, civic and cultural celebration".

In his presidential address to party members, Mr Adams
claimed the other parties had sold out Ireland to the
multinationals, "the giants of globalisation". Ireland's
destiny, he said, had been "handed over to the bureaucrats
of the European Union".


Cory To Deliver Inquiry Lecture

By Chris Anderson
19 February 2006

RETIRED Canadian Judge Peter Cory will this week make his
first public visit to Northern Ireland since the April 2004
publication of his reports into allegations of state
collusion in six controversial murder cases.

Judge Cory will give his verdict on public inquiries as he
delivers the annual McDermott Lecture at Queen's University
on Wednesday.

This year's lecture is called 'Public Inquiries: The Good,
The Bad and The Ugly'.

The respected former Canadian Supreme Court Judge spent
considerable time here during the Collusion Investigation
of 2002/03 and recommended public inquiries into the
murders of Pat Finucane, Rosemary Nelson, Robert Hamill and
Billy Wright.

He also recommended a public inquiry to examine allegations
of Garda/IRA collusion in the border murders of RUC
officers, Harry Breen and Bob Buchanan.

However, when the Government delayed publication of their
section of the report Judge Cory personally contacted the
Finucane, Hamill, Nelson and Wright families to tell them
what he had recommended in their particular case.

Members of those families are expected to be present at the

The 5.30pm lecture, in the Larmor Lecture Theatre, in the
New Physics Building at Queen's University is open to the
general public.


'Deep Throat' Blows Lid On LVF Crimelord

Exclusive by Alan Murray
19 February 2006

THE LVF in north Belfast traded drugs and guns with the
INLA, provided intelligence to Special Branch on other
loyalists and pocketed more than £1m for themselves, a
former associate claims.

The loyalist 'deep throat' spent five years as sidekick to
a top north Belfast LVF man who used the terror group to
amass a formidable arsenal and huge wealth.

Our source - who is under a death sentence from the leader
of the now-disbanded LVF in the north of the city - had to
move from his Ballysillan Avenue home after police warned
him his life was in danger.

The man doesn't want his name published or his face shown.

He denies being a member of the LVF, but admits to being a
sympathiser, which was how he came to be trusted by the
paramilitary leader.

The LVF boss - who has a conviction for supplying drugs -
has been driven out of the Ballysillan Avenue area by the
UDA and the UVF

His former associate told us: "For five years, Ballysillan
Avenue was the busiest street in Belfast for drug dealing,
from Friday afternoon to Sunday evening. The man who I
travelled with was making huge money from it.

"Two of his uncles lived in the area and they were getting
a weekly wage for helping out with the drugs supply, but
that has all stopped now. The UDA stopped it and there's no
drug dealing in the street now."

For five years he witnessed deals being done by the
crimelord with the INLA to bring cocaine, cannabis, Ecstasy
and guns into north Belfast.

The former associate said he nearly suffered the same fate
as Denise Larkin (17), who died from a deadly 'snowball'
drugs cocktail in 2004.

He added: "The man who ran this whole drug empire came to
me on the same night Denise Larkin died, put a bag on the
table and said I should try the 'snowball'.

"I asked what was in it, and he said (Colombian drug baron
Pablo) Escobar's cocaine and some other stuff. I told him
to get it out of my house, because I had a kid and another
one on the way.

"The next day, when I learned that Denise had died, he came
to my house and said he was worried because his
fingerprints were on the bag that the drugs were in. He
said the peelers had got it from her bin and he'd be in big

"Nothing ever came of it anyway and the police never
charged him with supplying drugs to Denise."

During his five years with the leading loyalist, the
father-of-two said he witnessed deals going down with the
INLA - although at the time he didn't know the full extent
of the connection with republicans.

"One of the meetings was with 'Dark Cloud' (the Ardoyne
INLA leader), who headbutted Billy Hutchinson at the Holy
Cross dispute. Another was with Kevin McAlorum, who was
shot dead. I went with him one day and we went to the Lower
Hightown Road. He got into McAlorum's car and they had a
discussion - this was about two months before McAlorum was

"He later told me that he had got two bulletproof jackets
for Kevin, because he was in danger. They didn't help him,
as he was shot in the head.

"After that, he asked his other INLA contacts if they knew
where McAlorum's Glock (pistol) was, because he wanted to
get it, but he didn't. I only knew it was McAlorum he was
meeting after they showed his picture in the paper."

But getting guns wasn't a problem for the LVF in north

"This individual got about a dozen guns from the INLA. He
dealt with the INLA to get stolen cigarettes, guns and
drugs all the time. One time, when there was a big police
operation near Broadway in west Belfast and a lorry was
seized with drugs and guns onboard, he was mad. He said
'that's my stuff they've got'.

"During the LVF feud with the UVF he came down to my house
and he said he had a 'job' he wanted me to do - he wanted
me to kill a UVF man in the area.

"He wanted me to whack a UVF man, but I told him killing
loyalists wasn't my cup of tea. We had a big argument
because I said the lad who was shot and blinded on the
Crumlin Road (David Hanley) should never have been touched.
It was a big row."

Now living away from the Ballysillan area, the man said he
remained concerned that the former LVF leader would try to
kill him.

"It's too late to silence me now, because loyalists know it
all and I have told my story, so it's on the record.

"He knows, the whole family knows, what loyalists think of
them - touts and traitors. They were dealing with people
who killed Trevor King and other loyalists and telling the
Special Branch what other loyalists were doing to save
their own necks - nobody trusts them.

"He still walks his dogs as far out as the Seven Mile
Straight, and he once said to me that he knew the hills,
and they were great places to hide things, and nobody would
think anything odd about walking the dog out there.

"He has about 25 to 30 handguns and three AK-47s. He got
about half of them from the INLA and he knows how to use
them, but other loyalists won't let him into areas because
they know what he was up to, and it's him that's in more
danger than me now."


UVF Is To Stand Down At Somme Commemoration

19 February 2006

UVF chiefs are to use this year's emotive 90th anniversary
of the Battle of Somme commemorations in France to announce
it is standing down as a paramilitary group.

Hundreds of members and supporters of the loyalist terror
group are planning to travel to Normandy to take part in
events to mark the anniversary.

Loyalist sources say UVF leaders have chosen July 1 to make
the widely anticipated statement on the group's future
because of the historic significance of the date.

"It's an emotive date in Northern Ireland and that has not
been lost on the UVF leadership," said the source.

"They have also chosen the backdrop of the Somme
commemorations to maximise publicity."

The expected UVF statement will come 40 years after of the
formation of the terror group, which adopted the name of
the original UVF founded by Lord Carson in 1912.

It will also come only a few days after the 40th
anniversary of the brutal sectarian murder of Catholic
barman, Peter Ward, 18, who was shot dead by a UVF gang,
including Gusty Spence, outside the Malvern Arms pub in the
Shankill area on June 26, 1966.

Unionist Prime Minister Terence O'Neill banned the UVF
within days of the killing, describing the group as "this
evil thing in our midst using the sordid techiques of

The UVF leadership is expected to announce:

• Standing down of the majority of UVF units across
Northern Ireland.

• A time-scale for the winding up of the loyalist
paramilitary organisation.

• A commitment to dispose of all UVF arms and explosives.

• The formation of an old comrades association to be known
as the 36th Ulster Division Old Comrades Association.

Sources said several hundred people would be travelling to
the area around Thiepval Wood where soldiers from the 36th
Ulster Division launched their attack on the heavily
fortified German positions on 1st July, 1916, suffering
horrendous casualties.


No Parade Change For Orange Order

19 February 2006

THE Orange Order yesterday decided to maintain its policy
of not recognising the Parades Commission after the issue
was discussed at a meeting of the Grand Lodge in Belfast.

The parades issue was discussed for several hours by
delegates - but no alteration was made to the order's
official policy of not recognising the commission.

Individual Orangemen from Portadown District - including
spokesman David Jones - have met the commission in recent
months in defiance of Grand Master Robert Saulters.

During yesterday's meeting, a proposal to keep lines of
communication with the Government open was debated.

A majority of delegates are understood to have supported
the motion.

But one delegate who attended the meeting said there was
some confusion at the end over whether the motion was
passed or whether a second motion had undermined the

He said: "Ultimately, I suppose, the meeting concluded with
no change to our established policy towards the Parades
Commission and Grand Lodge will not meet the commission.

"There was a bit of confusion at the end of the meeting
after a vote on a motion was followed by another proposal.
But the overall outcome appears to be no change.

"There is a normal quarterly meeting of Grand Lodge next
month and we can return to the matter then if anything
needs clarified," he added.


Bloodbath Fears Over Border Fox

By Ciaran McGuigan, Chief Reporter
19 February 2006

A BITTER grudge against former INLA chief Dessie O'Hare
could spark a bloodbath if the Border Fox is released from

There has been speculation that O'Hare (pictured),
sentenced to 40 years for a string of terror offences, may
soon be considered for release.

And republican sources claim his possible release is
stirring tensions in O'Hare's former south Armagh

Associates of INLA murder victim Patrick Cunningham - a
former pal of O'Hare who was murdered after having a fling
with the wife of another gang member - are said to be out
for revenge.

Cunningham's body was discovered under a cowshed in
Castleblayney, Co Monaghan in December, 1987, more than six
months after he had gone missing following a funeral.

Said one republican source: "There are those around Keady
who have long memories and blame O'Hare for what happened
to Paddy Cunningham. They would be ruthless and may try to
take their revenge if O'Hare returns. And that in turn
could lead to a bloodbath.

"The INLA would almost certainly react if O'Hare was
targeted. We've seen down the years how ruthless the INLA
has been in these situations," said the source.

O'Hare was sentenced to 40 years in 1988 on a string of
charges, including kidnapping and mutilating Dublin dentist
John O'Grady.

He is currently being held in Portlaoise Prison.


SF And The Race To The Bottom

DESPITE her protestations about how horrified she is about
it all, Toireasa Ferret, the Mayor of Kerry, mustn't know

Talk about climbing up the ladder to success.

Like Liz Hurley before her, Toireasa has become an
overnight celebrity by wearing "that dress".

We came close to seeing a crack in the movement when
Toireasa made that appearance on the Late Late Show last

We were all aware of the Colombian connection in Sinn
Fein/IRA, but last Friday week we nearly saw the Brazilian

Or was it the moment when Sinn Fein wentHollywood?

You'd be tempted to try and arrange the words 'sweet',
'fanny' and 'Adams' into some appropriate phrase.

It seemed to mark a new phase in Sinn Fein strategy. When
you're asked awkward questions about the murder of Jerry
McCabe that you're not authorised to answer, distract
everyone by showing them your knickers.

Be transparent without being accountable. It's all part of
the new openness.

Phase out Oglaigh na hEireann and phase in Ogling na

We thought Mary Lou was the new, sexy heir apparent but one
glimpse of thigh from Toireasa and we see everything has

She certainly became an overnight celebrity. When she
turned up at an awards celebrity bash last week, all eyes
were on what she would or wouldn't be wearing.

Everyone seemed to forget her politics, that she was no
pushover when it came to murder and terrorism. Instead of
her line on murder, it was her line in visible panties that
interested the press.

We can only hope that the success of the sex offensive
doesn't give Sinn Fein any ideas.

Will Gerry Adams wear tight cycling shorts the next time he
appears on the Late Late? Will we see Martin McGuinness
sporting lederhosen and a skin-tight, see-through vest on
Questions and Answers?

We know they have balls, we don't really need to see them.
Perhaps we should demand that they decommission their

We can only hope their new manifesto isn't an adult
magazine, with candid pictures of all their, ahem, members.

We can only hope it doesn't catch on with the other
parties, that Pat Rabbitte doesn't become a bunny, that Tom
doesn't get his Kitt off, and that Kenny doesn't show us
his Enda. Really, it would be an appalling vista.

Still, at least we can console ourselves with the fact that
while on the Late Late Show Toireasa didn't make any kind
of a move to the right.


Fraud Squad Probe Into MLA's Expenses

By Ciaran McGuigan, Chief Reporter
19 February 2006

FRAUD Squad officers have been called in to Stormont to
examine a MLA's expenses claims.

Sunday Life understands that the well-known unionist
politician has already been quizzed by police investigating
allegations of expenses fraud.

It is believed that Assembly expenses going back several
years are being investigated.

Northern Ireland's MLAs claim millions of pounds between
them each year in expenses and allowances for the cost of
running offices, travel expenses, child care costs and a
variety other expenses.

According to the latest figures, the bill run up by our 108
Assembly members was more than £6.5m for the financial year

Included in that figure is thousands of pounds claimed by
the politician believed to be at the centre of the police

Sunday Life is aware of the politician's identity, but is
unable to reveal it at this time for legal reasons.

But the individual is believed to have been quizzed by
detectives at the Fraud Squad's Strandtown base in recent

Both police and the Assembly were last night remaining
tight-lipped about the probe.

A spokesman for the Assembly said: "The Assembly does not
make comment on any matter subject to a police

A police spokesman said: "We do not comment on

Details of the probe have emerged after Secretary of State
Peter Hain warned that MLAs' salaries and expenses could be
axed if the current political logjam continued.

"Apart from the democratic imperative to do it, having 108
MLAs drawing salaries and expenses averaging £85,000 a year
while the Assembly to which they were elected stands idle
just does not make sense," said Mr Hain.


Was This Loyalist Murderer In The Police's Pay?

By David McKittrick, Ireland Correspondent
Published: 18 February 2006

It was one of the most disturbing images of the Troubles -
a loyalist killer maniacally laughing at relatives of his
victims in a display of naked, sectarian hatred. Now an
even more disturbing allegation has emerged: that Torrens
Knight, convicted of 12 murders, was a police informer
while a member of a Protestant assassination squad in
Northern Ireland.

He was involved in the machine-gunning of a Catholic bar in
Greysteel, Co Londonderry, in 1993, when eight people died.
He also took part in another attack in which four Catholic
workmen were shot dead.

The idea that such a notorious figure could have been
working for the security forces has deepened the unease
about the role of the Special Branch in the underground
"dirty war". According to unconfirmed reports, Knight was
paid £50,000 a year for passing on information.

The police say they will not comment on any allegations
about who might or might not have been an informer. The
Chief Constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland,
Sir Hugh Orde, has said that regulations concerning
undercover agents have been tightened in recent years.

But a series of unconnected cases have created suspicions
that, during the Troubles, the Special Branch routinely
concealed information from other parts of the police.

Knight, who is now in his thirties, was convicted as one of
the members of the Ulster Defence Association (UDA) who
burst into a Catholic bar on Hallowe'en night in 1993 to
stage an attack in retaliation for an IRA bombing. After
one of the gang shouted "Trick or treat", gunmen raked the
bar, leaving its floor and walls splashed with blood, while
Knight, armed with a shotgun, stood at the door. The eight
people killed included an 81-year-old man while 19 others
were injured.

Knight received eight life sentences for this, together
with four more for the murders of four Catholic workmen
killed seven months earlier in Castlerock, Co Londonderry.
He served seven years in prison before paramilitary
prisoners were granted a general release under the Good
Friday Agreement. Unconfirmed rumours that Knight had been
a police informer had been in the air for some time.
Suspicions have been voiced by John Dallat, a campaigning
politician who is a member of the nationalist Social
Democratic and Labour Party. Mr Dallat, who says he was in
touch with police about Knight before the Greysteel and
Castlerock attacks, claims they might have been prevented
since it was known Knight was an extremist.

This week brought a piece of evidence that is seen as
strengthening the informer theory. In 2000, after his
release from prison, Knight is said to have attracted the
attention of staff at a bank where he was withdrawing large
amounts of money from an account into which £50,000 a year
was being paid. The bank's concern was that Knight was
"laundering" illegal money, but, when police were
contacted, an assurance was given that everything was in
order. The money being paid in was said to be from a
Scottish engineering firm. However, the account was hastily
closed down.

If Knight was an informer, his role clearly did not provide
him with immunity for his killings since he was charged and
jailed for them.

In some cases informers have been allowed to commit various
offences but have been charged when they carry out
"unauthorised" acts such as murders. But the appearance in
this instance is that even his convictions for 12 killings
did not stop the Special Branch paying him large sums of
money after his release.

The further allegation made by Mr Dallat is that a rifle
used in the Greysteel incident was one of two weapons found
by anglers after the Castlerock shootings but before the
Greysteel attack took place.

The weapons were not recovered. Mr Dallat said he had been
telephoned by a member of the security forces who claimed
the guns were moved by a member of the Special Branch who
was protecting Knight.

Mr Dallat has referred the case to the office of the Police
Ombudsman, which is investigating the saga. He said: "I
hope the investigation team are successful in gleaning why
the UDA ran amok for so long before finally being caught."

The Dirty War and informers


Denis Donaldson, a senior Sinn Fein administrator, admitted
recently that he had been a Special Branch informer for up
to 20 years, sending shockwaves through the republican

Freddie Scappaticci, senior IRA "enforcer", was outed as a
security force informer in 2003, though he has not admitted
this. He is said to be living in Italy.


William Stobie, a loyalist charged with the murder of
solicitor Pat Finucane, sensationally revealed in court
that he had been a police informer. He was later shot dead
by his organisation.

Brian Nelson, a senior loyalist intelligence-gatherer, was
unmasked as an Army informer in 1990. He served a prison
sentence and has since died.


DUP: How Devolution Is Possible

By Peter Robinson, DUP deputy leader
19 February 2006

The IMC report provided a devastating portrayal of the 'new
phase' which republicans have entered.

The DUP are determined that political institutions must be
proofed and protected against paramilitarism and free from
contamination by criminality.

It is not the DUP that is the roadblock to political
progress, as republicans claim, but their inability to shut
down their multi-million pound criminal empire.

The Government and the community are being tested by the
republican movement to determine what level of criminality
they will tolerate.

It is already clear that the Government would rush
unionists into accepting Sinn Fein while criminality
continues but, for the DUP, there cannot be an acceptable
level of criminality.

The IMC Report confirms that the conditions needed for
Executive devolution, which would involve Sinn Fein, is out
of the question for the foreseeable future, but Direct Rule
is not in the best interests of the people of Northern

A local Executive may be ruled out for now, but there are
numerous other forms of devolution available which would
allow enhanced local decision-making.

Many of these could commence straight away if Government
ensured an enabling environment. We have indicated to
Government the means by which unionist confidence in the
political process can be restored.

Options for lower-level devolution include a shadow
Assembly or one that is merely consultative or
deliberative. We have also suggested a legislative model
similar to that of the European Union where responsibility
is shared between a Council of Ministers and the
Parliament. This would retain NIO Ministers but afford
increased accountability.

There are other possibilities which would give the Assembly
full powers, not exercised by an executive or cabinet, but
rather by the Assembly as a corporate body.

The SDLP has proposed the appointment of non-elected
"outsiders" as Commissioners to undertake the role of
Ministers. As an alternative, Departmental Permanent
Secretaries could act as officers of the Assembly, who
would be subject to the will of the Assembly in much the
same manner as council officers are responsible to the
district councils.

There is even the potential to introduce progressive
devolution using elements from several different options.
For example, it would be possible to devise a scheme which
commences with a low-range model offering little more than
a deliberative Assembly, and then progressively grafting
onto it other functions and responsibilities as trust
emerges and grows.

The possibilities for restoring devolution are endless.
Obviously we have a view on the optimum arrangement and we
will discuss these during negotiations.

There is a danger that through Government and nationalists
continuing to cling to the demand for an all-inclusive
cross-Party Executive at all costs, that they will take
such a long time for the appropriate conditions to arise,
that the possibility of a return to devolution may be lost

Government must aim for what is achievable in the current

Our phased approach offers a realistic way forward.


Opin: IMC A ‘Disgrace’

THE Independent Monitoring Commission (IMC) is a disgrace.
Set up as a concession to anti-agreement Unionists, the IMC
was ostensibly designed to assess paramilitaries’
activities and recommend sanctions against their political
representatives if violations were found.

Its recent report has given the faulty impression that the
IRA — even after turning in all of its weapons — is some
kind of threat in order to disrupt the peace process.

It wasn’t only Sinn Fein that attacked “the integrity of
the IMC.” General John de Chastelain vehemently rejected
their allegation that the IRA is holding on to weapons. He
heads the International Independent Commission on
Decommissioning, the only body given the authority to deal
with disarmament under the terms of the Good Friday

Senior police officers in the Irish Republic also disagreed
with the IMC, and the North’s Security Minister Shaun
Woodward stated that he had “no reason to believe that the
IRA is involved in any criminality at all.”

The IMC has no credibility. There isn’t a shred of evidence
to support their assessments, save for anonymous briefings
provided by the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI)
and the Special Branch, groups hostile to police reform.

Sinn Fein introduced a bill in the Irish Parliament calling
on the Irish government to repeal the legislation which
brought the IMC into being.

It’s unacceptable that the entire peace process is being
held hostage by members of the IMC, and those in the
British political and military establishment who control

Pat Kempton,
Press Relations Officer
Cleveland Irish Northern Aid
Cleveland, Ohio


Opin: Situation Needs Wisdom Of Solomon

By Mark Devenport
BBC Northern Ireland political editor

At first sight it looks like the judgement of Solomon.

Unionists won't agree to the creation of a new Stormont
executive including republicans, but will participate in an
assembly with more limited powers.

Nationalists reject any phased approach to devolution
demanding the agreement, the whole agreement and nothing
but the agreement.

So why not set up a shadow assembly for a fixed period of

That would give unionists what they want whilst reassuring
nationalists this is only an interim solution.

No wonder government officials are looking at the shadow
assembly as a possible compromise.

The argument in favour is that, instead of throwing insults
at each other in separate talks sessions with British and
Irish ministers, the politicians would at least be back
inside Stormont together, discussing important matters like
the potential model for any future policing and justice

Then, after six or 12 months, even the sceptics might be
getting frustrated with shadowing direct rule ministers
instead of taking decisions themselves.

Perhaps, just perhaps, this frustration would convince them
to take the leap necessary to go into government.

Indeed, the government might remind the parties, Sinn Fein
and the DUP both negotiated the creation of a shadow
assembly in the failed Comprehensive Agreement of December

The shadow period was meant to kick in at the start of 2005
with the restoration of the power-sharing executive at
Easter. If it was good enough then, why not now?

Here's the rub. Both the DUP and Sinn Fein say that times
have changed.

Gerry Adams points out that the Comprehensive Agreement
failed over the DUP's demand for photographic proof of IRA

Therefore, he says, Sinn Fein never agreed to a shadow
assembly. He has told Tony Blair that republicans are not
interested in a two-stage approach.

Martin McGuinness rules out any "halfway houses" which
depend on the DUP fulfilling a promise in six or 12 months

The DUP likes the idea more, but won't give any guarantee
that it will be ready to share power according to any fixed

It reserves the right to judge when, if ever, Sinn Fein has
met its criteria for coalition.

Far from feeling bound by the terms of the Comprehensive
Agreement, Ian Paisley feels that he had a lucky escape.

DUP MPs claim the Northern Bank robbery, blamed by the
police on the IRA, changed their thinking irrevocably.

So what would King Solomon do? Call the Stormont MLAs back
now, as both Sinn Fein and the SDLP demand?

Create a shadow assembly until May 2007 and challenge the
reluctant parties to take their places?

Cut their salaries to see if that changes anything?

With the clock apparently ticking down to his departure,
Tony Blair must be wondering what he can do to shake things
up without destroying the last vestiges of the agreement
which he sees as part of his legacy.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/02/19 12:52:26 GMT


Opin: SF And The Race To The Bottom

DESPITE her protestations about how horrified she is about
it all, Toireasa Ferret, the Mayor of Kerry, mustn't know

Talk about climbing up the ladder to success.

Like Liz Hurley before her, Toireasa has become an
overnight celebrity by wearing "that dress".

We came close to seeing a crack in the movement when
Toireasa made that appearance on the Late Late Show last

We were all aware of the Colombian connection in Sinn
Fein/IRA, but last Friday week we nearly saw the Brazilian

Or was it the moment when Sinn Fein went Hollywood?

You'd be tempted to try and arrange the words 'sweet',
'fanny' and 'Adams' into some appropriate phrase.

It seemed to mark a new phase in Sinn Fein strategy. When
you're asked awkward questions about the murder of Jerry
McCabe that you're not authorised to answer, distract
everyone by showing them your knickers.

Be transparent without being accountable. It's all part of
the new openness.

Phase out Oglaigh na hEireann and phase in Ogling na

We thought Mary Lou was the new, sexy heir apparent but one
glimpse of thigh from Toireasa and we see everything has

She certainly became an overnight celebrity. When she
turned up at an awards celebrity bash last week, all eyes
were on what she would or wouldn't be wearing.

Everyone seemed to forget her politics, that she was no
pushover when it came to murder and terrorism. Instead of
her line on murder, it was her line in visible panties that
interested the press.

We can only hope that the success of the sex offensive
doesn't give Sinn Fein any ideas.

Will Gerry Adams wear tight cycling shorts the next time he
appears on the Late Late? Will we see Martin McGuinness
sporting lederhosen and a skin-tight, see-through vest on
Questions and Answers?

We know they have balls, we don't really need to see them.
Perhaps we should demand that they decommission their

We can only hope their new manifesto isn't an adult
magazine, with candid pictures of all their, ahem, members.

We can only hope it doesn't catch on with the other
parties, that Pat Rabbitte doesn't become a bunny, that Tom
doesn't get his Kitt off, and that Kenny doesn't show us
his Enda. Really, it would be an appalling vista.

Still, at least we can console ourselves with the fact that
while on the Late Late Show Toireasa didn't make any kind
of a move to the right.


Brave Police Reservist Dies From Illness

By Pauline Reynolds
19 February 2006

ONE of the last police officers to have been injured in a
terrorist attack in Northern Ireland has died following an

RUC reservist David Fegan escaped being killed on two
different occasions while serving in Co Down.

And after being caught in a massive bomb blast in 1994, the
Ballynahinch dad-of-three vowed to remain in the force.

But that was to change six years later when he lost a leg
and part of his hand in a no-warning Continuity IRA attack.

He also suffered abdominal injuries and injuries to his
other leg which required intensive surgery.

Despite his horrendous wounds, Mr Fegan managed to stem the
flow of blood by using his own belt as a tourniquet.

Constable Fegan was part of a two-man team returning to
Castlewellan RUC station following a busy shift.

A pipe bomb left in a traffic cone detonated as he opened
the gates to the barracks during the early hours of
November 1.

His colleague escaped serious injury and although suffering
from shock he managed to raise the alarm and administer
first aid to his wounded friend.

At the time, RUC sub-divisional Commander Supt Raymond
McGreevy paid tribute to the victim's bravery.

"It is a testimony to David Fegan that despite horrific
injuries to his legs and his right hand he had the
foresight to remove his own belt to use as a tourniquet as
his colleague was summoning assistance," he said.

Mr McGreevy described Constable Fegan as a "very caring and
loving husband and father".

Mr Fegan died peacefully last Sunday at the Marie Curie
Centre, aged 47. He is survived by his wife Mary and
children Bryan, Barbara and Gillian.

His funeral took place on Wednesday at Ballynahinch
Congregational Church, with burial at the adjoining


Campaigners Occupy Closed Church

Campaigners for the re-opening of a Belfast church have
occupied the listed building to celebrate Mass there on
Sunday morning.

St Joseph's in Sailortown was closed in February 2001 after
the Catholic Church said the congregation was too small to
justify keeping it open.

Campaigners said urgent repairs were needed if the building
was to survive.

Fr John McManus of Down and Connor Diocese said he was
"saddened and disappointed by the irresponsible act".

St Joseph's is a grade B listed building and is under the
protection of the Department of the Environment.

It's deeply regrettable that the initiatives of those who
worked so hard to find a sustainable and suitable future
for the building were lost

Fr John McManus Down and Connor spokesman

Paul McLaughlin of the Save St Joseph's Campaign said the
DoE should enforce the regulations and compel the Catholic
Church to make the necessary repairs.

"But today is also about highlighting the fact that a
complete faith community of 150 people has been neglected
by the Catholic Church for five years," he said.

"We have been forced to do this because no one will speak
to us, so what we are saying is, we are taking back our

Fr McManus said the church was mindful of its
responsibility as a historic building owner. He said the
situation would be kept under review.

"It's deeply regrettable that the initiatives of those who
worked so hard to find a sustainable and suitable future
for the building were lost," he said.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/02/19 11:13:15 GMT


Surefire Film Hit

$12m movie to tell story of IRA sniper and his SAS

By John McGurk
19 February 2006

THE STORY of an eyeball-to-eyeball confrontation between
the SAS and the IRA is set to be transformed into Ulster's
first major action movie.

Belfast-born Brendan Foley is the man behind the planned
psychological warfare thriller Soldiers - earmarked to
start filming in 2007 and then hit cinema screens worldwide
in 2008.

The $$12m movie will focus upon the deadly cat-and-mouse
game between an SAS captain and an IRA sniper in Northern
Ireland during the late 1970s.

Although the film is still in its development stage,
Soldiers' screenwriter and co-producer, Brendan, said that
a "big old chunk of its budget" is already in place, thanks
to UK-based private financiers.

And he revealed that he is hoping for Soldiers to become
the Irish equivalent of the acclaimed Robert De Niro-Al
Pacino cop versus robber movie, Heat.

Brendan said: "The idea is to make the first major action
film to be filmed in Northern Ireland.

"It is about an SAS captain and an IRA sniper who fight a
personal duel. Both of them are trying to understand the
way that they have ended up and find some way of fighting
an honourable war in the midst of the chaos and dishonour
of the troubles," he said.

"Even though it is about a war, we are writing about it, in
a way that shows the complexities and opposing points of
view - rather than just a glorified game of cowboys and

"It will be trying to tell the bigger truth - that there
were people on both sides who were good people - doing bad

Brendan dismissed any suggestion that the story of Soldiers
will focus upon the controversial undercover military
intelligence career of SAS Captain Robert Nairac, murdered
by the IRA in May, 1977.

"There are many examples on both sides of the conflict of
larger-than-life characters like Robert Nairac or Francis
Hughes," he said.

Brendan will be home next month for a planned screening of
his new movie, Johnny Was, in Belfast at the end of March.

Johnny Was, starring Vinnie Jones, Lennox Lewis and
Samantha Mumba, was filmed in Belfast last year.


Romantic Release For Majella

By Eddie McIlwaine
19 February 2006

DANIEL O'Donnell's wife, Majella, is about to release her
own album.

The debut CD of her favourites - like When I Found You,
which she co-wrote with and sang at her wedding to the
balladeer - will be on the Rosette label, for which
O'Donnell also records.

And it will include two duets with Daniel - the old Jim
Reeves classic Have I Told You Lately That I Love You and
All I Want is You, which O'Donnell co-wrote.

"The production could be the happy couple re-affirming
their marriage vows because of the choice of songs by
Majella," said impresario Eamon Leahy, who has been
involved in directing O'Donnell's career from the start.

Majella is putting the finishing touches to the 17 tracks
at a studio in Athlone this weekend with the backing of her
husband's regular band, including steel player Kevin
Sheerin who also produces.

Said Kevin: "Majella has a professional outlook and people
are going to enjoy the finished product."

On the album, too, are standards such as Harper Valley PTA,
Crazy and Please Help Me I'm Falling.

Majella and O'Donnell married three years ago and she
occasionally joins him onstage during his concerts at home
and has also been dueting with him during his visits to

"The album is something I've always wanted to do since I
was a little girl," she said.


Historic Wells Drying Up

By Sunday Life Reporter
19 February 2006

HISTORIC wells where St Patrick is reputed to have bathed
and sang Psalms are under threat, it has been claimed.

Environment officials have been asked to investigate why
the historic Struell Wells, outside Downpatrick, are drying

In the last century, the wells were a popular place of
pilgrimage for people wanting to benefit from their healing
qualities - reputed to date back from the time when
Ireland's patron saint visited.

The historic site is managed by the Environment and
Heritage Service.

But now the former SDLP chairman of Down District Council,
Peter Craig, is asking it to investigate why two of the
three wells no longer contain water.

Mr Craig said: "I am concerned that the place could go to
waste unless the Environment and Heritage Service takes

"For generations, the wells at Struell have held an
attraction for people seeking to benefit from the special
healing qualities of its waters.

"There is a long history of pilgrimage to the wells and
bathing house.

"I am keen to see the site protected and promoted in a
better way."

Some historians believe that Struell is the place named
Slan in Fiacc's Hymn, where St Patrick is described as
bathing and singing Psalms.

The Environment Service said it was aware of the water flow
problems at Struell.

Said a spokesman: "We have remedial measures in place which
will involve the excavation of some of the piping."


The Ginger Man: A Man Amuck

J.P. Donleavy's 'The Ginger Man,' long banned as
blasphemous pornography, is 50 years old, but its antic,
brawling hero is as irresistible as ever

By Joe Keohane February 19, 2006

A LITTLE MORE THAN 50 years ago, in a Dublin known for its
wild young and its fidgety devout, and a Europe still
struggling after years of war, a holy terror by the name of
Sebastian Balfe Dangerfield was inflicted upon the world.
Rich son and busted husband, wife-beater and maudlin
romantic, personal friend to Christ and bitter foe to any
Papist worth his weight in holy pendants-few knew what to
make of him then, even fewer now, but the fact that he's
never left us is a measure of his worth.

Dangerfield is the hero of J.P. Donleavy's ''The Ginger
Man." First published in Paris in 1955, it tells the
raucous story of an Irish-American ex-pat living in
bohemian Dublin after the war. His wife, an upper-class
English woman with whom he's sired a child, has begun to
realize the magnitude of her error. Her husband-27 years
old and capable of great displays of soul and poetical
charm-is flunking law at Trinity. Up to his eyeballs in
debt, dogged by landlords, soaked with drink, cadging off
of friends and strange women, he's as prone to rhapsodize
about the sadness and beauty of Ireland as he is to scatter
the teeth of her more savage inhabitants.

''The Ginger Man," the first and most famous novel by the
fleet-fisted, Bronx-born Donleavy, is a grasping, brawling
testament to what the author once cited as a chief artistic
principle: ''To make your mother and father drop dead with
shame." The book has never been out of print, having sold
an estimated 45 million copies in hundreds of editions.
Especially beloved in Ireland, where it was banned for its
first 20 years, it recently clawed its way into the 99th
spot on the Modern Library's list of the 100 best 20th-
century novels in English. Dorothy Parker called it ''the
picaresque novel to stop them all"; V.S. Naipaul observed
that ''on every page there is that immediacy that all good
writing has."

And indeed, it's an intoxicating read, quintessentially
Irish in its cobbling of joy and sadness, sentimentality
and violence. For more than five decades, young readers
have had whole literary vistas opened by it, among them the
late Hunter S. Thompson, who obsessed over the book as a
struggling young writer in New York. Alive in a way few
books are, its combination of gorgeous writing, brilliant
comedy, pathos, and unrelenting amorality has made it a
cult classic, a rite of passage, practically a literary

Or perhaps a literary anti-religion. Dangerfield, like
Donleavy's other protagonists, battles relentlessly against
a world-to borrow from Orwell-of ''smelly little
orthodoxies which are now contending for our souls."

. . .

Donleavy himself, who recently turned 80, still lives in
Ireland, in a moldering 18th-century mansion previously
owned by Julie Andrews and featured in James Joyce's
''Stephen Hero." He divides his time among writing,
painting, and tending to his cows. A 60-year retrospective
of his oddly charming paintings recently opened in Dublin,
and a long-awaited film adaptation of ''The Ginger Man,"
starring Johnny Depp, is reportedly in the works.

But ''The Ginger Man," and the career it launched, didn't
come easily. Donleavy, who like his protagonist went to
Dublin to flunk law at Trinity under the GI Bill,
unsuccessfully submitted his bawdy manuscript to more than
50 publishers before he took the advice of Brendan Behan,
Ireland's patron saint of gleeful blasphemy, and sent it to
the fabled Olympia Press. Based in Paris and helmed by
publisher Maurice Girodias, Olympia had published Vladimir
Nabokov (''Lolita"), William Burroughs (''Naked Lunch"),
Henry Miller (''Plexus"), Samuel Beckett (the Molloy/Malone
trilogy), Terry Southern (''Candy"), and whole scows of
cheap, pseudonymous pornography.

Girodias accepted the book, seemingly on its literary
merits, then published it as part of the pornographic
Traveler's Companion Series, which included such timeless
classics as ''School for Sin" and ''The Enormous Bed."
Donleavy promptly sued, claiming Girodias had broken their
contract by releasing ''The Ginger Man" as smut. After more
than two decades of bitter legal warfare, Girodias was
ruined, and Donleavy (''a legal wizard," according to
Girodias) was the new owner of Olympia.

Despite Girodias's best efforts, ''The Ginger Man" makes
for bad porn (it's not explicit enough). But what it lacks
in that department, it more than makes up for in others.
Early on it was condemned on grounds of blasphemy,
profanity, and amorality. These days, it's more often
dismissed for its alleged prefeminist viewpoint and its
author's abject disregard for plot and character
development. The former is debatable, the latter isn't.
''The Ginger Man" is indeed a one-note performance. And
that note is high C.

The book's opening scene tells you much of what you need to
know about Dangerfield. Having pawned his electric heater-
possibly the only thing keeping his small family's
dilapidated cold-water cottage inhabitable-he meets up with
his boon companion, the hyper, hapless, sex-starved Kenneth
O'Keefe, and the two complain of the indignities of hunger
and destitution. Dangerfield, looking for a way out of
their predicament, quietly repairs to his bedroom and
begins chopping up a good blue blanket with an axe. ''Watch
me," he tells a mortified O'Keefe. ''See? Put this round
the neck like this, tuck in the ragged edges and presto.
I'm now wearing Trinity's rowing blue. Always best to
provide a flippant subtlety when using class power. Now
we'll see about getting a little credit."

A man of wit, intelligence, and, let's say, adaptive
ethics, Dangerfield craves wealth but is constitutionally
incapable of working for it; he craves peace, but is hard-
wired for bedlam. When neither wealth nor peace come of
their own accounts, he sees a conspiracy with himself as
the victim. He's abused ''by all manner of men," he tells
O'Keefe. ''But there's no bitterness in me. Only love. I
want to show them the way and I expect only taunts and

As the book roars on, it becomes clear to the increasingly
desperate Dangerfield that the world will never warm to his
utopian expectations. Indeed, Dangerfield's suffering
eventually takes on an almost saintly glint. When a
perceived insult leads a drunken Dangerfield to throw a
whiskey bottle at a bartender, escaping the police on a
stolen bicycle-surely one of the great comic sequences in
all of Irish literature-the fugitive, exhausted, holes up
with his girlfriend. ''I want you to tell me how I can get
away from evil in this world," he tells her. ''How to put
down the sinners and raise the doers of good. I've been
through a frightful evening. Indeed my suffering has been
acute and more."

The next morning's paper arrives with a front page story on
his rampage, headlined ''MAN AMUCK IN PUBLIC HOUSE."

''Libel," says Dangerfield.

. . .

If there's a point to all this, for 50 years critics have
had a hard time pinning it down. ''The Ginger Man" isn't a
coming-of-age story; Dangerfield doesn't really change much
or learn anything. It's not an angry-young-man novel
because neither the protagonist nor the novelist seem to
care much about the plight of the working man. It's gut-
funny, but the beauty and dread keep it from being a
straight comic novel. And you can't even say it's a
cautionary tale, because however atrocious his behavior may
be, and whatever the consequences, Dangerfield is still an
incredibly attractive character.

Perhaps, then, the point is simply this: resistance for its
own sake. Resistance as a moral virtue. As Dangerfield says
to O'Keefe: ''Got to fight. Must resist or go down in the

It's an adolescent urge. Society requires conditioning,
compromise, obedience. It's liberating to see Dangerfield
refuse outright. You know it's a losing fight, and you know
you shouldn't be rooting for him, but there you are.

And there he is, 50 years later. He hasn't won, but he
hasn't lost either.

''When I die," Dangerfield muses late in the book, ''I want
to decompose in a barrel of porter and have it served in
all the pubs in Dublin. I wonder would they know it was

Joe Keohane is the editor of Boston's Weekly Dig.


Events Celebrate Irish Culture, Art

Mid-month, an event featuring Irish music and dance will be

Sunday, February 19, 2006

CHICOPEE - Three events sponsored by the Irish Cultural
Center at Elms College are happening in March in
celebration of St. Patrick's Day.

A lecture kicks off the month, with Danny Sheehy of
Ballyferriter, Dingle, County Kerry. He is a writer and has
published several articles and poems. His first book, "Fan
Init (Stay In It)" appeared in 2001; his second, "Allagar
na g Cloch (Stone Chat)," was launched this month in
Ireland. He has won several Oireachtas Awards in oratory
and storytelling. A life-long reader, after the successful
launch of the naomhog and its celebration of music, talks
and step dancing, he started writing in the spring 2001. He
published his first book, "Fan Inti/Hang in There," in
2003, with a reprinting in 2004. His second book, "Allagar
na g Cloch (Stone Chat)," will be launched this month. He
has published articles and poems in Ireland.

Sheehy has opened art exhibitions and launched books and
CDs; his talks are broadcast on radio, as well as being
published. He has taken part in radio and televisions shows
and done research for television.

Sheehy will address the communion breakfast at the Ancient
Order of Hibernians at The Wherehouse? in Holyoke on March
12 at 9 a.m. His topic will be "Brenden the Navigator." He
will join several Irish-speaking groups to converse and
tell stories in his native tongue, and speak at locations
in New York while in the U.S. He is married to Marie Ui
Shithigh, heritage director of Okidhreacht Choraca Dhuibhne
(West Kerry Heritage). Her work involves language and
culture. The couple has three children, Cormac, Roisin and

On March 15 at 7 p.m., the cultural center is sponsoring a
concert for the John J. Fitzgerald Memorial Charitable
Foundation with Bo Fitzgerald and the Yankcelts. The event
will be in Berchmans Hall.

Also on the program is a group called the Hungry Hill
Talent Show Review, a demonstration by Irish dancers, and
the first annual presentation of the "Jack" Fitzgerald
Citizen of the Year Award. Tickets are $10 and may be
obtained by calling (413) 265-2537.

Members of the Yankcelts are Jeff Sullivan, Billy Klock,
Mixie Clarke, Craig Eastman and Guy Devito. The group has
gathered together to celebrate their Irish musical heritage
for several years.

To honor the 30th anniversary of their father, John J.
Fitzgerald, his children established the foundation last
year to promote charitable causes. Fitzgerald was an active
member in Springfield of the Tara Club and of his band,
named the Irish Minstrels. They often played on Station
WACE in Chicopee for the "Irish Melodies" radio program on
Sunday mornings. Fitzgerald loved America, but never forgot
Ireland. As a member and president of the clan na Gael, he
organized dances on Easter Sunday to commemorate the 1916
Easter Uprising in Dublin.

His son, Robert Emmet "Bo" Fitzgerald, is a musician and
singer who carries on his father's legacy by entertaining
locally. He performs at the cultural center, gave a concert
in March 2005, and played for the center's annual brunch in
2004. He performs for the Irish dinner at St. Michael's
Cathedral in Springfield. He and the Yankcelts will have
several concerts in March.

The Ambassador's Award Committee of the St. Patrick's
Parade Committee and the Irish Cultural Center at Elms are
holding a high tea for St. Patrick's Day on March 17 from 3
to 5 p.m. in the rotunda of Berchmans Hall.

Guests include the parade Ambassador Award recipient David
Kelly, a Dublin actor, as well as Sheehy. The event offers
anyone who wishes the opportunity to greet Kelly and Sheehy
on an informal basis.

There will be songs, readings and storytelling.
Entertainment will include songs by Mary Franz, Jim Franz
and Bill Donovan, and stories by Joyce Doyle, as well as
guests of honor Kelly and Sheehy.

Honored will be three middle-school winners of the center's
essay contest: Thomas Campbell and Kristen DeAngelo of Our
Lady of Hope School, Springfield; and Timothy Casey of
Williams Middle School, Longmeadow. They wrote about the
most important contributions of Irish to American culture.

The event is free and open to the public. Donations will be
accepted. Berchmans Hall is handicapped-accessible. For
more information on any of the programs, call the Irish
Cultural Center at Elms College, (413) 265-2537 or e-mail Check out other activities at

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