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February 21, 2006

White House May Receive SF On St Patrick's Day

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News About Ireland & The Irish

TO 02/21/06 White House May Receive SF On St Patrick's Day
IT 02/21/06 FG To Seek Dail Support For Finucane Inquiry
DI 02/21/06 College To Remember Hunger Strike
IT 02/22/06 Oireachtas Lobby For Undocumented Irish
BB 02/21/06 Adams Accuses Governments Of Lies
DI 02/21/06 Adams Livid After SF Exclusion From Talks
IT 02/22/06 Man Acquitted Of Loyalist Car Bomb Plot In UK
TO 12/21/06 Loyalist Murderer Named As Police Informer
IT 02/22/06 Most Catholics Happy With PSNI, Survey Shows
SF 02/21/06 SF Presents Evid Re: Extraord Rendition Flights
SF 02/21/06 PSNI Pymnts To Killers Under SDLP Noses
IT 02/22/06 Ahern’s Sober Vw Of 20-Yr-Old Drinks Interview
DI 02/21/06 Opin: Too Late For Doc To Change Tack Now
IT 02/22/06 Opin: Manufacturing At Crisis Point
IT 02/22/06 Opin: Soothing Republican Tensions
RT 02/21/06 Irish Wage Rates Falling: ATGWU Report
IT 02/22/06 Tourism Plan To Split IRL Into Super Regions
TC 02/21/06 Dubliners To Get More Say In Diocesan Affairs
RT 02/21/06 350 Jobs To Be Lost As Meath Factory Closes
MC 02/21/06 NEC Closure Bombshell
IT 02/22/06 Govt Urged To Act As NEC Closes Meath Plant
IM 02/22/06 War Of Indep Debate On Sect Descends On Offaly
MN 02/21/06 Forgotten Mayo Hunger Striker:Heart Of Matter
IT 02/22/06 Irish Trnsltns Gather Dust After Costing €30,000


White House May Receive Sinn Fein On St Patrick's Day

From Tom Baldwin in Washington

THE White House is ready to put Sinn Fein leaders back on
its St Patrick’s Day party list next month.

But the US Administration is adamant that Gerry Adams and
Martin McGuinness will not be granted a personal meeting
with President Bush, nor allowed to use the trip for fund-

The Times has learnt that Mitchell Reiss, the President’s
special envoy to Northern Ireland, is reluctantly
recommending that Sinn Fein be invited to the annual
Shamrock ceremony at the White House on March 17.

Last year, amid bitter controversy over the IRA’s role in
the £27.5 million Northern Bank robbery and continued
paramilitary violence, Mr Bush snubbed Mr Adams and Mr
McGuinness. Instead, he met the relatives of Robert
McCartney, who was murdered by alleged members of the IRA
after a pub brawl in Belfast.

Relations have since improved slightly following the IRA’s
declaration that it had abandoned its armed struggle. There
has also been concerted lobbying from Republican
congressmen, with large numbers of Irish-American voters,
for the ban to be lifted ahead of November’s mid-term

But Mr Bush remains deeply suspicious of Sinn Fein leaders,
who he compared last year with Yassir Arafat, the late
Palestinian leader. Nor does he want to be seen consorting
with anyone associated with terrorism.

The State Department yesterday insisted that no final
decision about the St Patrick’s Day invitation list had
been taken. But other sources said that Sinn Fein and other
Northern Ireland parties will be asked to the White House.

Mr Reiss and the National Security Council are also
determined to stop Mr Adams using his US visit for

British officials are delighted by the robust White House
stance towards Sinn Fein.

Mr Reiss has recently had stern words for Sinn Fein over
its continued refusal to accept new Northern Ireland
policing structures. He said: “Sinn Fein is the only
political party in Europe that does not support policing.
By denying republicans and nationalists proper policing and
justice, Sinn Fein has condemned them to a ghettoised

“The Sinn Fein leadership admit that they go to the police
if they have car accidents. So now we know: they put their
no claims bonuses ahead of a child’s right to justice and
protection. So much for their Ireland of equals.”

Mr Reiss also met the Rafferty family who were in
Washington this month to draw attention to the murder of
their father, Joseph, by alleged members of the IRA in a
similar episode to Mr McCartney.

The US pressure group Friends of Sinn Fein had hoped that
Mr Adams would be the star attraction at a dinner with some
of the businesses, trade unions and individuals who donate
around $1 million a year to the cause.

Although American donations to Sinn Fein have diminished
over the years, they still account for most of Sinn Fein’s
legitimate income. Unlike other British parties, those from
Northern Ireland are allowed to raise money outside the EU
and do not have to register donors’ names.

The Northern Ireland Office recently announced plans to
phase out this exemption by 2010. From October 2007 the
parties will also have to tell the Electoral Commission who
has given them more than £5,000.

Mr Adams was reported in November as describing the ban on
his fundraising as “absurd” and “amateurish”.

But Sinn Fein is said to be concerned that if Mr Adams or
Mr McGuinness breach the terms of their visas, it would
create a precedent that could halt the frequent trips that
they have made to the US over the past ten years.


:: Since the 1990s, Irish Governments have presented the US
President with a bowl of shamrock in an annual St Patrick’s
Day ceremony

:: Representatives from all Ireland’s political parties
usually attend

:: In 2001 President Bush angered Roman Catholics by inviting
the Rev Ian Paisley

:: In 2000 Seamus Heaney read his poetry. President Clinton, a
fan, was seen mouthing along to the words

:: In 1995 President Clinton was criticised when he invited
Gerry Adams to visit the celebrations for the first time


FG To Seek Dail Support For Finucane Inquiry

Last updated: 21-02-06, 21:06

Fine Gael is to seek all-party Dail support for a full
public inquiry into the murder of Belfast solicitor Pat

The party's front bench tonight agreed on the wording of a
Private Members' Motion on the issue and it will be debated
in coming weeks.

Loyalist paramilitaries shot Mr Finucane 14 times in his
home as he sat eating a Sunday meal with his family in

Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny recently suggested the idea of
the Dail motion to Mr Finucane's widow, Geraldine, who was
wounded in the attack.

"Last week, I raised the matter directly with the Taoiseach
who indicated that he was in favour of such an initiative,"
Mr Kenny said. "The motion is designed to send a strong
message from the Dail to support the establishment of a
full public inquiry in line with the recommendations of
Judge Peter Cory who has rejected as inadequate the limited
form of inquiry proposed by the British Government."

The proposal will be circulated to other party leaders in
the Dail.

Mr Finucane's son, Michael appeared before the Oireachtas
Sub-Committee on Human Rights in Leinster House earlier
this month.

The family has met all political party leaders north and
south in recent weeks, including DUP leader Rev Ian

The Fine Gael motion commends the Finucane family for its
campaign seeking truth and justice. It also deplores the
British government's failure to honour its commitment to
implement Judge Cory's recommendations.

Finally, it calls for the immediate establishment of a full
public inquiry into the murder of Mr Finucane along the
lines recommended by Judge Cory.

© 2006


College To Remember Hunger Strike

By Connla Young

Events surrounding the 1981 hunger strike are set to be
recalled at one of America’s leading colleges.

The New College of California is the only west coast
college to offer a comprehensive Irish studies programme.

Established in 1971 by Irish-American Jesuit priest Jack
O’Leary, the university has gone on to establish a solid
reputation for promoting Irish affairs.

This year, as part of the San Francisco-based college’s
annual Crossroads programme, the 1981 hunger strike will be
remembered in word and music during a series of events
leading up to St Patrick’s Day.

The college currently boasts several staff with a strong
Irish heritage as well as Belfast ex-pat Bobby Lavery.

College president Martin J Hamilton outlined the importance
of the college to those with an interest in Irish affairs
on the west coast.

“New College boasts the only Irish Studies programme in the
western half of the United States.

“The programme offers both undergraduate and graduate
degrees that include a panoply of courses in Irish
language, ancient and modern Irish history, as well as
literature of the Irish diaspora that occurred after the
great potato famine that drove so many from their homes in
Ireland to far-flung countries.

“Irish-American literature and the world of Irish
immigrants who helped to shape the consciousness and
physically build the emerging United States is also a
feature of the program.

“Irish Studies at New College emphasises travel between San
Francisco and Ireland, so students might experience at
first hand what is taking place.”


Oireachtas Lobby For Undocumented Irish

By John Downes

Members of the Oireachtas Committee on Foreign Affairs
are to pay a second visit to the US in the coming weeks to
lobby legislators on behalf of an estimated 50,000
undocumented Irish people working in the country.

The visit will most likely be timed to take place in
advance of an expected US senate vote on immigration
reform. The committee paid a similar visit to the US last

Many undocumented Irish people are living and working in
the US in fear. They have "no safety net", the committee
heard yesterday.

Sheila Gleeson, executive director of the US-based
Coalition of Irish Immigration Centres, said there were
some 50,000 undocumented Irish in the US.

Calling for the committee to support comprehensive reform
of the immigration process in the US, she noted the
emergence of an "anti-immigrant consensus" in the US media.

Ms Gleeson said she knew of one young Irishwoman in the
Boston area being "stalked" for some six months, but who
was afraid to report it to police. In another case, a young
west of Ireland man, injured in a fall from a roof, faced
questions about his legal status from the police officer
who responded to his emergency call.

© The Irish Times


Adams Accuses Governments Of Lies

Sinn Fein has accused the governments of lying about
attempts to set up talks on Monday so that the DUP would
not have to sit with the republican party.

Party leader Gerry Adams rejected government claims that
they were trying to set up "parallel" rather than "separate
talks" at Stormont.

It is understood the plan was to have the DUP, SDLP, UUP
and Alliance at one session of talks, without Sinn Fein.

In a second round, SF would replace the DUP who refuse to
sit with republicans.

However, the talks collapsed in acrimony.

Speaking afterwards, Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain
said: "Nobody would have been excluded, there were parallel
meetings, consecutively, on the same issues with all the

The governments cannot moan about the parties when they
get involved in such a naïve manoeuvre

Gerry Adams

But at a news conference on Tuesday, Mr Adams accused the
British and Irish governments of "telling lies" and of
being unwilling to set in place a time frame by which
business must be done.

"They are shadow boxing, they are marking time and they
can't moan about the parties here," he said.

"We are all open to justifiable criticism but the
governments cannot moan about the parties when they get
involved in such a naive manoeuvre."

Mr Hain has set a deadline of 8 March for the parties to
agree amendments to new legislation on the assembly and
other issues.

He said he was aiming for progress in the spring to see the
assembly reopen.

It means that the parties have less than a month to agree
changes to new legislation on the assembly and other

The British and Irish governments are stepping up pressure
on the parties to compromise and restore the assembly,
which was suspended in October 2003 following allegations
of a republican spy ring at the Northern Ireland Office.

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

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/02/21 15:42:27 GMT


Adams Livid After Sinn Féin Exclusion From Talks

By Jarlath Kearney

Sinn Féin’s leadership was last night engaged in angry
exchanges with both governments after an attempt to exclude
the party from round-table discussions.

While Gerry Adams complained to the Taoiseach and Martin
McGuinness objected to Downing Street, a senior Sinn Féin
source described yesterday as “a bad day for the peace

Republicans were livid after British and Irish negotiators
jointly proposed a meeting – scheduled to occur last night
– which would have included every party except Sinn Féin.

Sinn Féin attacked the SDLP for agreeing to the proposal.

Speaking to the BBC, direct-rule secretary of state Peter
Hain confirmed that the proposal had been devised by both

Gerry Adams is understood to have ‘bluntly and
forthrightly’ rejected the suggestion, which came after the
Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) agreed to engage in round-
table discussions as long as Sinn Féin was excluded.

Despite the SDLP agreeing to the proposal, both Sinn Féín
and the Ulster Unionist Party rejected it.

A senior Sinn Féin source told Daily Ireland last night
that the proposal by both governments was “a highly
retrograde step”.

“Both governments were involved in constructing a process
or procedure to exclude Sinn Féin and this privately
confirms our public position that the governments have been
pandering to the DUP,” the Sinn Féin source said.

“We told them that it was totally unacceptable and entirely

“All the DUP gave the process today was more insults
against the Irish president Mary McAleese.

“For the governments to expect that Sinn Féin would collude
in our own exclusion was mad stuff – the height of

“As for the SDLP and their whingeing about being excluded
from the process, that party’s decision to support Sinn
Féin’s exclusion is revealing. This proposal by the
governments contained all of the worst elements of John
Major’s Tory government, since it effectively set aside the
inclusivity at the heart of the Good Friday Agreement,” the
senior Sinn Féin source said.

Speaking on the BBC, secretary of state Peter Hain
described himself as “pretty relaxed and quite encouraged
by the way the day went”.

“There is a bit of turbulence around today. That’s no bad
thing because people have to realise we’re for real,” he

“Both the UUP and Gerry Adams of Sinn Féin said they didn’t
want that format. Remember that Reg Empey had said hours
earlier that he would not attend these talks nor would his
Ulster Unionist colleagues, so it’s not just a question of
Sinn Féin.”

Mr Hain said that Sinn Féin’s opposition to the proposal
was “made very forcibly by Gerry Adams at the meeting we
had, which lasted quite a short time”.

An SDLP spokesman denied that his party agreed with the
governments that Sinn Féin should not take part.

“The only people who have agreed exclusion are Sinn Féin.
They did so in the [December 2004] comprehensive agreement
that they negotiated with the DUP,” he said.

“It would have removed the SDLP from government simply for
expressing democratic difference and stating our opposition
to any undermining of the Good Friday Agreement.

“Surely the real question for Sinn Féin to answer is
whether they stand by the inclusive Good Friday Agreement
mandated by the people of Ireland or the exclusive
comprehensive agreement negotiated with the DUP behind the
people of Ireland’s backs.

“That would be more helpful rather than indulging in yet
more pointless mischief making.”

Nigel Dodds, the Democratic Unionist Party’s Belfast North
MP, yesterday launched a scathing attack on President Mary
McAleese. He claimed she would have “a lot of work to do”
to gain unionist confidence.

Party leader Ian Paisley accused Mrs McAleese of having a
“deep hatred” of the North.

The party yesterday refused to engage in meetings about the
assembly structures in the North with Irish foreign
minister Dermot Ahern.


Man Acquitted Of Loyalist Car Bomb Plot In UK

Last updated: 21-02-06, 15:40

A man (37) has been acquitted in a court in Leeds of
conspiring to cause an explosion under the car of a man
with links to loyalist terrorists.

William Shaw denied conspiring with Stanley Curry and
others to cause an explosion likely to endanger life or
cause serious injury in Bolton on or before December 17th,
2003, Leeds Crown Court heard.

Train driver Curry (48), of Yardley, Birmingham, who has
strong ties to loyalist groups in Northern Ireland, was
jailed for 20 years in June last year for planting a bomb
under the car of a close friend of Johnny Adair as part of
a terrorist feud.

Following a five-week trial, which was held in camera in
Leeds, a jury found Mr Shaw not guilty yesterday, but the
case can only be reported today for legal reasons.

The court heard that on February 1st, 2003, two senior
members of the South East Antrim UDA - John Gregg and
Robert Carson - were shot and killed in a taxi in Belfast.
The murders arose out of a public feud between the UDA and
Adair's C Company, whose members were believed to have been
behind the attack.

Three days later, some members of C Company, including John
"Fat Jackie" Thompson, and their families left Northern
Ireland for England, and Mr Thompson, a close associate of
Adair's, settled in Bolton.

An under-car booby trap device was placed under the
driver's seat of Mr Thompson's red Ford Escort in December
2003, and it was activated by a mercury tilt switch in the

The bomb detonated as Mr Thompson drove the car over a
speed bump on Windsor Grove in Bolton on December 17th, and
a small explosion damaged the car. Mr Thompson was

The court heard the detonators failed to set off the main
explosive charge and a DNA profile matching that of Mr Shaw
was found on one of the cable ties holding the bomb

© 2006


Loyalist Double Murderer Named As Police Informer

By David Sharrock, Ireland Correspondent

A LOYALIST responsible for one of Northern Ireland’s most
notorious sectarian murders was a police agent working for
Special Branch, it was claimed yesterday.

John White, who served two life sentences for the murders
in 1973 of Paddy Wilson, a Catholic politician, and his
Protestant girlfriend Irene Andrews, became a police
informer upon his release in prison in 1991, according to
the Belfast Telegraph. The allegation follows a deluge of
prominent names from within the republican and loyalist
paramilitary camps after the outing as a British agent of
Denis Donaldson, a confidant of Gerry Adams, the Sinn Fein

Paranoia is rampant in republican circles over the informer
allegations, and police have visited a number of senior
figures to warn them that their lives may be in danger.

White, who fled Northern Ireland in February 2003 at the
height of a feud within the Ulster Defence Association, was
a key figure in the Combined Loyalist Military Command when
it announced a ceasefire in October 1994. He also pressed
the Ulster Freedom Fighters, the UDA’s military wing, to
decommission weapons to pressurise the Provisional IRA to
follow suit.

White was the right-hand man to Johnny Adair, the “C
Company” commander on the Shankill Road who also fled after
the murder of a rival loyalist chief.

White came to prominence in the early 1990s as a prisoners’
spokesman for the Ulster Democratic Party, the UDA’s
political mouthpiece. He was first contact point for most
journalists seeking a comment or interview with Adair.

His wealth attracted much attention. He owned a big house
in Co Antrim where his hobbies included keeping Vietnamese
pot-bellied pigs. White attributed his good fortune to
having sold hand-embroidered handkerchiefs from inside
prison and having invested the profits on the stock

He was often accused of being a drug dealer. He once even
admitted that he saw no contradiction in being a drug
dealer and a British patriot. The Belfast Telegraph said
that White’s details as an informer were among files stolen
by the Provisional IRA from a police station in East
Belfast on St Patrick’s Day in 2002.

White’s credentials during the 1990s meant that he sat in
on meetings of the UDA’s six-man leadership. Other
loyalists have blamed him for the collapse of the umbrella
organisation that achieved the 1994 ceasefire.

He admitted that his role in the murders of Paddy Wilson
and Irene Andrews was “barbaric”. Mr Wilson was stabbed 30
times and had his throat slit, and Ms Andrews had her
breasts cut off.


Most Catholics Happy With PSNI, Survey Shows

Last updated: 21-02-06, 18:32

Over four out of every five Catholics in Northern Ireland
are satisfied with the service they have received from the
PSNI, it was revealed today.

The approval rating among Protestants was 82 per cent and
83 per cent among Catholics.

More than three quarters (77 per cent) said they were
satisfied with the actions taken by police and 84 per cent
of respondents were satisfied with the time it took for the
police to arrive.

More than 11,100 questionnaires were posted to a random
sample of victims and people who had dealings with the PSNI
during 2004/05. A total of 2,972 questionnaires were
returned to the Northern Ireland Policing Board.

The SDLP claimed the first police quality of service survey
was an endorsement of policing reforms. West Belfast MLA
Alex Attwood described the findings as "strong and

© 2006


Sinn Féin TD To Present 'Book Of Evidence' To Gardaí In
Relation To 'Extraordinary Rendition' Flights

Published: 21 February, 2006

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Justice, Equality and Human
Rights, Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD, will tomorrow present the
Gardaí, at their Harcourt Street headquarters, with a 'Book
of Evidence' and will call for action to prevent any
further abuses of Irish and international law in relation
to the practice of "extraordinary rendition" currently
being used by the US in its so-called 'war on terror'.
Deputy Ó Snodaigh will present the book to Gardaí at 1pm
tomorrow afternoon and will be available to talk to the
media outside the main entrance to the headquarters.

Speaking in advance Deputy Ó Snodaigh said, "The practice
of 'extraordinary rendition' violates a range of
fundamental human rights. The practice also violates the
Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners
approved by the UN Economic and Social Council in 1957, in
addition to the Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement
Officials and the Body of Principles for the Protection of
All Persons under any form of Detention or Imprisonment
adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1979 and 1988

"Given the governments insistence on further evidence
before they will act to uphold human rights, it is
imperative that the Garda Síochána search all planes
landing at Shannon or elsewhere in Ireland that are related
to the US-led so-called war on terror. For this reason I am
bringing my reasonable grounds of concern to Garda
headquarters at Harcourt Street tomorrow and I will be
asking the Gardaí to do their job and investigate the
evidence." ENDS


PSNI Payments To Catholic Killers Happening Under SDLP
Noses On Policing Board

Published: 21 February, 2006

Sinn Féin Assembly member Alex Maskey today said that the
rewarding of Catholic killers like Torrens Knight and John
White by the PSNI has been happening under the noses of the
SDLP on the Policing Board.

Mr Maskey said:

"The exposure today of prominent loyalist drug dealer and
Catholic killer John White as a paid PSNI agent follows on
from a similar revelation around Torrens Knight the man
responsible for the mass sectarian killings at Greysteel
and Castlerock.

"Nationalists and republicans throughout Ireland are
rightly outraged that the PSNI have been filling the
pockets of such notorious Catholic killers. Members of the
SDLP have publicly claimed outrage yet these payments have
been taking place by the PSNI under the noses of the SDLP
on the Policing Board.

"But we should not be surprised at this. The SDLP told
everyone that they were going onto the Board to ensure
democratic accountability even when the power to achieve
this wasn‚t there. They told us that they were going onto
the Board to end the use of Plastic Bullets, yet ended up
purchasing an even more lethal device.

"Now they have presided over a system which has been paying
thousands of pounds to those responsible for masterminding
and carrying out sectarian massacres against the
nationalist and republican community. These most recent
exposures show once again how hollow SDLP protestations to
be holding this force to account actually are." ENDS


Ahern takes sober view of 20-year-old 'drinks' interview

By Liam Reid, Political Reporter

Taoiseach Bertie Ahern has said he has never condoned or
encouraged drink-driving, after it emerged that he once
said in an interview that he would be able to have "a fair
few pints" and still be able to drive.

In an interview with Hot Press magazine in June 1986, Mr
Ahern, then an opposition TD, was asked how many pints he
believed he could drink and still be able to drive. "I
could certainly drink a fair few pints of Bass and be
capable of driving," he told the interviewer. "Whether I'd
pass the breathalyser or not is another thing, it would be
very hard to get me drunk on it."

Yesterday a spokeswoman for Mr Ahern said he had
"consistently stated that driving under the influence is
not acceptable and should not be tolerated".

"Thankfully attitudes in relation to drink-driving has
become more well informed and responsible in the last 20
years. This is to be welcomed and encouraged. The Taoiseach
has never and would never condone or encourage drink-
driving in any circumstances."

In the 1986 interview Mr Ahern also said he was more
worried about being stopped and checked for drink-driving
if he had recently been critical of gardaí.

"For a week after, you're kind of careful how many pints or
glasses you drink. It crosses your mind, yeah. Because when
you get very senior guards appearing on your doorstep it's
really intimidating, knowing they have come back to me
several times."

At the time Mr Ahern had been supporting local groups
relating to issues surrounding policing and drug use. The
clarification came as a group of TDs and Senators said that
enforcement on speeding and drink-driving needed to be
improved greatly in the State if the high rate of road
deaths was to be tackled.

The group, including Fianna Fáil TD and chairman of the
Oireachtas Committee John Ellis, had been on a nine-day
trip to Australia to visit states, including Victoria,
which have the lowest levels of road deaths.

Mr Ellis said the key lesson was that enforcement of drink-
driving and speeding legislation had to be continuous and
effective. Every driver is likely to be subject to a random
breath test at least once a year in the state of Victoria.
He said experience also indicated that fixed-point speeding
cameras were not effective and that other systems such as
checking speeds over a longer distance were more effective.

Fine Gael transport spokeswoman Olivia Mitchell, who was
also on the trip, said Irish authorities had to implement
the current measures, such as random breath tests and
increased speed checks.

She said authorities should also be looking for the "next
silver bullet" to establish other measures that might
reduce deaths.

© The Irish Times


Opin: Too Late For Doc To Change Tack Now


Gerry Adams called at the weekend for greater efforts to be
made to reach out to unionism. However, even he can’t have
expected the British to take his advice to heart so

But that’s exactly what they did yesterday when the talks
to revive the becalmed peace process were to go ahead with
Sinn Féin outside the room. True, Sinn Féin was to have
been welcomed in later once the DUP had made off to conduct
urgent business – such, no doubt, as sitting down with
loyalist paramilitary representatives on councils and
parade forums.

That’s certainly one way of reaching out to unionism but
may not have been what Gerry Adams, who dismissed the
exclusion move as “pandering to the DUP”, had in mind.

Arriving at the talks yesterday, SDLP leader Mark Durkan
re-iterated that the bottom line was the Good Friday
Agreement – a declaration which gives the anti-Agreement
DUP, and governments which would mollycoddle them, little
room for manoeuvre.

The DUP will take a mile for every inch the British give
them. However, when presented with the facts of life – as
happens on councils where they work day and daily with Sinn
Féin – they will get on with it. They should be told the
talks will be held with everyone who wishes to be at the
table at the table. If they wish to retire to the kitchen
that’s their prerogative but they can’t be allowed to have
their “upstairs downstairs” bias underwritten by the

As the British roll over for the DUP, that party has been
responding the way pampered brats do – by throwing a fit of
pique over the President’s visit to north Belfast.
Apparently, the DUP want the President to be treated on a
par with the Economy Minister of Burkina Faso when she
visits her home town. Not surprisingly the Taoiseach
branded the DUP comments “unhelpful and unwarranted”.

Until the British get serious, there seems little chance of
the DUP accepting that time has been called on their
sectarian statelet.

After all, this is a party which holds opinions which would
be regarded as outrageous even by the Rev Sun Myung Moon’s
moonies. And it’s not as if the Rev Ian is keeping his
bizarre beliefs to himself. In a recent interview in the
Chicago Tribune, he “revealed” that “evil and satanic
powers have taken over the leaders of this country”. The
Pope, of course, remains “the Antichrist” according to this
man of the cloth who once declared he “would rather be
British than fair”.

Anyone who thinks this old doffer – who believes the world
was created 6,000 years ago – is going to accept the
principles of 19th century democracy, never mind enter the
21st century will be sorely disappointed. When the world
was marching for civil rights, Paisley was marching to deny
one-man-one-vote. He was always against democracy. Why
change now?


Opin: Manufacturing At Crisis Point

NEC closure reflects harsh realities of global
marketplace, writes Arthur Beesley, Senior Business

Last Friday the directors of a Japanese firm called NEC
Electronics gathered in Tokyo to discuss a mounting
financial crisis in the company. Few of the 350 people who
work for NEC's Irish unit in Ballivor, Co Meath, would have
known about this meeting, but the decisions taken by the
directors will disrupt their lives hugely. Each of the
staff will lose their job when NEC shuts the microchip
plant in September.

The development came as an unwelcome surprise to workers
coming off the night shift early yesterday and who were
called to an emergency meeting in the afternoon. The
expectation of bad news intensified when NEC phoned staff
not on duty and told them to come in for the meeting.

Managing director Kenji Yamashiro told workers that
production will move to Singapore, Malaysia and China
because operating costs in Ireland were too high. He said
the decision had nothing to do with the quality of work
carried out at the plant and went on to say NEC
Semiconductor Ireland was "very proud" of its legacy. Such
pride will be of little comfort to staff, who must now
embark on a search for alternative work.

Long before the boom began, NEC was among the first
international high-tech companies to establish a base in
Ireland. Regarded for years as one of the IDA's shining
stars, its directors decided last week that NEC should go
the way of others who say that doing business in Ireland is
too expensive. "The consolidation of production from
Ballivor into other international plants, which have lower
operating costs, will allow NEC Electronics to reduce its
global manufacturing costs while maintaining global
capacity competiveness," the company said.

NEC is forecasting a net loss of 20 billion yen (€141.26
million) in the current financial year. Some 70 per cent of
the Irish production will go to Singapore, where costs are
half the Irish rate. Costs are even lower in Malaysia and
China. In that context, it matters not a whit that the
Irish unit is profitable, with net profits of €4.61 million
in the year to last March.

If the movement of production to low-cost economies is part
of the logic of international capitalism, the directors of
NEC Electronics cannot blame conditions in Ireland for the
company's poor performance. In less than 20 years, it has
fallen from its perch as the world's biggest maker of
computer chips in 1988 to 10th largest today. Ballivor is
not to blame for that.

Still, NEC's departure is in line with the relentless
demise of Irish manufacturing generally, whose slow death
comes as traditional industries put thousands of their
staff out of work in the drive to cut costs. As if on cue,
the NEC closure came only five days after Fruit of the Loom
said its T-shirt factory in Buncrana, Co Donegal, will
finally shut next May. After years of cutbacks, less than
200 people are currently employed at a plant that once had
3,000 staff.

In addition, not a week has passed since Magee of Donegal
said it was moving production of its suits out of Ireland.
After years of losses and job cuts, Magee said only last
October that it was projecting a return of profits for
2005. Neither that nor the undoubtedly high quality of
Magee's manufacturing operation was enough to save 60 jobs.

At the same time as the Donegal closures came into the
frame, Korean firm Saehan Media said it was closing a
videotape and cassette factory in Hazelwood, Co Sligo. This
will leave 91 people looking for new jobs at the same time
as 57 former staff at Platter Foods in Sligo seek
alternative work.

"The number of manufacturing jobs in our economy is going
to continue to shrink," says Austin Hughes, chief economist
at IIB Bank. "It reflects two distinct facts. The number of
manufacturing jobs worldwide is also shrinking and in that
smaller pool, countries with lower costs are probably
seeing a smaller rate of job loss."

This phenomenon is all the worse in a region such as the
northwest, which does not have the ease of access to
European markets that helps to attract high-tech industry
to Cork and Dublin.

Through social partnership, the Government also has a
leading role in the determination of the wage rates that
feed into the rising cost of doing business. Workers cannot
be blamed, however, for seeking a wage that will enable
them to buy a house in a time of rising prices. Other
business costs have risen too, among them energy, local
authority rates and insurance.

IDA Ireland had a bumper year in 2005, capped in January by
an €820 million project in Co Cork by biopharmaceutical
giant Amgen and other projects. If the Irish economy is
still proving to be remarkably adept at job creation in
highly specialised areas, the NEC closure proves that even
the brightest stars sometimes fade. For the community in
Ballivor, the news yesterday was only the start of the

© The Irish Times


Opin: Soothing Republican Tensions

Gerry Adams offered an unintended explanation for the
refusal of unionists to engage in powersharing in Northern
Ireland with Sinn Féin right now. This was in the course of
his televised presidential address to the Sinn Féin
Ardfheis on Saturday afternoon. And there was an aspect to
that address that gave a disconcerting insight into
tensions in the republican movement, writes Vincent Browne

The speech was aimed not at the wider national audience,
whatever that was at 5pm on a Saturday. It was directed at
an internal republican audience, which seems bizarre. So
much of the speech was a reassurance to the republican
heartland that he at least was keeping the republican
faith. There was the invocation of the 1981 hunger
strikers, the commemoration of 1916, references to the
"courage" of the IRA and praise for the IRA "cessation" now
over 10 years ago. Yes, this is the 25th anniversary of the
hunger strike and the 90th anniversary of the Rising, but
to have devoted so much of the speech to these
anniversaries seemed bizarre, unless this was intended as

A few passing references would have sufficed, surely, if
the speech was directed at a broader audience? That he went
on so long with preoccupations that are largely exclusive
to republicans suggests he was soothing tensions within the
movement, and had to forfeit an appeal to a wider audience
to calm internal apprehensions.

It has been obvious there have been such internal tensions
for well over a year. The Northern Bank robbery was almost
certainly conducted without the prior knowledge of Gerry
Adams and Martin McGuinness and, incidentally, the Irish
Government knows this but has not acknowledged it. In the
early months of 2005, there were signs that Gerry Adams had
lost control of the movement. He regained it in April when
he made his speech asking the IRA to stand down. The
response took far longer than he or Martin McGuinness
anticipated, which suggests some internal opposition. And
the form of the "standing down" seems not to have been
exactly along the lines favoured by Adams. But he won that

It seems there remain tensions within the organisation
which Adams used his ardfheis speech to address. And
precisely because he is fixated with internal issues - or
at least seems so - he is unable to address the issues in
the minds of those with whom he seeks to go into
government. Indeed worse than that: his language and his
focus are almost calculated to infuriate his would-be

He recalled 1981, mentioned that in that year Nelson
Mandela was on Robben Island and Gen Pinochet was in power
in Chile. "But for many Irish people, that period brings
back immediate memories of those long eight months in 1981
when Bobby Sands, Francie Hughes, Patsy O'Hara, Raymond
McCreesh, Joe McDonnell, Martin Hurson, Kevin Lynch, Kieran
Doherty, Tom McElwee and Michael Devine, all died on hunger

For genuine personal reasons, as well as politics, it is
understandable Gerry Adams had to recall the hunger
strikers. But for many Irish people 1981 will be remembered
for other reasons as well. A total of 117 died in the
conflict that year and republicans murdered 64 of them,
including: Norman Stronge, a retired unionist MP, along
with his son, James Stronge (48), killed "as symbols of
hated unionism" by the IRA; five British soldiers murdered
at Camlough on May 19th, right in the middle of the hunger
striker deaths - they (John King, Paul Bulman, Andrew
Gavin, Michael Bagslaw and Grenville Winstone) are never
remembered; several off-duty UDR and RUC members, many of
them murdered in appalling circumstances; and the Rev
Robert Bradford, a Westminster MP murdered on November
14th, 1981.

So in that same year of the hunger-striker deaths, the IRA
murdered two representatives of the community with whom
they now want to share power. And they wonder why the
current representatives of that community are reluctant to
do so, when they do not and have never uttered regret or an
apology for those deaths.

The unionist community deeply distrusts Sinn Féin and with
understandable reason: Sinn Féin, they believe
(reasonably), was the instrument of a war of terror and
murder inflicted against their community for a quarter of a
century. Of course, other factors play a part in current
unionist obduracy. But unionist distrust is deepened all
the more by the likes of Gerry Adams celebrating the memory
of the foot-soldiers of that war of murder and terror and
the ideological inspiration for that war (the 1916 Rising),
while uttering not a word of compassion, regret or sympathy
for the terrible hurt inflicted on the unionist community.

Gerry Adams may have to use rhetoric now that soothes
republican anxieties and in the long term maybe he is right
to do that. But for him to be surprised that unionist
obduracy is hardened as a consequence is a measure of the
incomprehension there is on both sides of the sensitivities
of the other.

© The Irish Times


Irish Wage Rates Falling: ATGWU Report

21 February 2006 14:35

A new report by the Amalgamated Transport and General
Workers' Union claims Irish wage rates are falling behind
the EU average in many sectors.

The ATGWU says its study contradicts claims by employers'
groups that high wage costs are a threat to Ireland's

The study uses data from State agencies, the EU Commission
and private surveys and claims that Irish wages in the
private sector are low by European standards.

The union's Regional Secretary, Mick O'Reilly, said while
Ireland's economy might have problems, these were not due
to labour costs.

He said commentary by employers' groups that wages are too
high were usually based on misrepresentations and the
selective use of statistics.

The report rejects claims that Irish wage levels are the
fourth highest in the EU, and says industrial wages are
running 10% behind the EU average.

It also claims Irish workers get less holidays and work
longer hours and that nearly 20% of workers are in the low
paid category.

The union says the findings of the report support demands
for an ability to pay clause in a new national pay deal.
The ATGWU and private sector unions are pushing for
additional bargaining mechanisms for workers in profitable


Tourism Plan To Split Ireland Into 'Super Regions'

Last updated: 21-02-06, 14:34

A plan to market Ireland as three "super regions" was
announced today in a bid to increase tourists numbers.

Minister for Arts, Culture and Tourism John O'Donoghue said
an additional €3 million would be spent on the initiative.

Last year saw the largest number of visitors ever travel to
Ireland — with 6.7 million choosing to visit the Republic.

"However, not all regions and not all sectors benefited
equally," Mr O'Donoghue said. "There was a very good
increase in tourists in larger urban centres, for example,
such as Dublin, which was up by over 11 per cent. But some
of the regions stayed stagnant or had no specific

The "super regions" will include Ireland South, covering
Cork, Kerry and the south-east; Ireland West, comprising
Shannon Development, the West and the Northwest and Ireland
East, covering Midlands East, Dublin, Cavan and Monaghan.

"I think the problem is this we have reached the stage
where there is a sea-change in tourism, we have more
visitors than ever before. We have what I would describe as
a cash-rich and time-poor customer, we have got to tailor
our product accordingly," he said.

Mr O'Donoghue said each of the regions would be allocated a
million euro to spend on overseas promotion.

"In those circumstances what we are trying to do is spread
the benefits of tourism across the regions, and in that
context we have now decided we will market three regions in
the country — Ireland South, Ireland East and Ireland
West," he said.

"The objective of the exercise is to pool resources amongst
a number of regional tourism authorities, so we will be in
a position to market these areas as entities in

Mr O'Donoghue said an innovation fund to build up products
and a local area development fund to promote tourism would
also be established. Several €1 million grants will also be
available for local area marketing projects.


© 2006


Dubliners To Get More Say In Diocesan Affairs

Posted on February 21, 2006 Email To Friend Print

Following the 20th annual Pobal Conference in Milltown,
Irish Laity seems set to become more involved the decision
making process in the Archdiocese of Dublin. Plans put
forward at the conference by Archbishop Diarmuid Martin
have mooted the possibility of establishing a Dublin
Diocesan Pastoral Council, similar to the Annual General
Assembly of the Presbyterian Church, to give Dubliners a
real say in the pastoral planning and ministry of the
Archdiocese. “These are not just cosmetic changes,” he
said. “Lay people are prepared to assume real ownership of
their Church community even in such a difficult matter.'
One eminent Catholic scholar, speaking at the conference,
suggested that the planned Pastoral Council is the latest
evidence of an ongoing process of “ Presbyterianisation” in
the Catholic Church. “We live in a different world from the
1960's the decade when the second Vatican Council defined
the Church not just as a clerical Hierarchy but as the
People of God,” said Head of Scripture at the Milltown
Institute, Fr Kieran O'Mahony.


350 Jobs To Be Lost As Meath Factory Closes

21 February 2006 22:48

NEC Semiconductors in Ballivor, Co Meath, is to close with
the loss of 350 jobs.

The company made the announcement this evening and is
blaming high operating costs for the closure.

The company employed 300 full time and around 50 part time
staff. The jobs will be transferred to Singapore, Beijing
and Malaysia.

NEC Semiconductors has been based in the small south Meath
village for around 30 years and makes semiconductors for
use in the automotive industry in Europe.

It said the cost cutting measures were inevitable as part
of a global restructuring.

As they left the factory this evening, workers expressed
their shock and dismay at the news.


NEC Closure Bombshell

:: South Meath reels from loss of 350 jobs to Far East
:: Minister’s bid to get closure reversed fails
:: Political leaders, staff stunned by announcement

Joan Duignan

HIGH operating costs in Ireland have been blamed by the
managing director of NEC Ballivor for the shock decision of
its Japanese parent firm to close the firm at the end of
September with the loss of 300 full-time and 50 part-time

The news of the closure, scheduled for next September,
after 30 years in the south Meath town, was described by
the Minister for Communications, the Marine and Natural
Resources, Noel Dempsey, as “devastating”. The news has
come as a profound shock to the trade union and political
sectors in the county.

The Japanese parent company, NEC Electronics Corporation,
decided on closure as forecasts showed group operating
losses for the fiscal year ending 31st March 2006.

The Ballivor closure is one of a range of cost-cutting
measures the firm is taking. Moving to other international
plants with lower operating costs would allow the firm to
cut global manufacturing costs and maintain capacity and
competitiveness, it said in a statement.

Malaysia is believed to be the main location referred to,
as well as Singapore and China.

Mr Dempsey met NEC Ballivor managing director, Mr Kenji
Yamashiro and the executive vice-president of NEC
Electronics in Japan, Mr Hideto Goto, on Monday night when
a bid to get the closure decision reversed was made.

The contribution of the Japanese semiconductor giant to the
local economy in its 30 years in Ballivor is believed to
have been some E600 million.

Fine Gael’s Meath West TD, Damien English was “stunned” by
the closure news and warned that the “county is turning
into a commuter wasteland because of years of government

Deputy English called for specific tax incentives to be
provided in Meath to attract new business and support small
companies and for third-level courses in Meath to build on
the skills base.

Meath SIPTU branch organiser, Mr John Regan, said the news
of the closure which had so deeply shocked workers, proved
the need for new initiatives on the part of Government when
industries were under threat. Mr Regan added: “We cannot
compete in the ‘race to the bottom’ when it comes to pay
and conditions of employment.”

The company has initiated discussions with employee
representatives and state agencies on compensation packages
and professional out-placement support services, to try to
minimise the impact on workers, families, the local
community and economy.

Mr Yamashiro expressed pride in the qualify of the work and
the “legacy of NEC Semiconductors Ireland”.

NEC Semiconductors Ireland provides semiconductor products
and services to the electronics and automotive industries.
About 70 per cent of its integrated circuits are used by
the automotive sector in engine management, dashboard
controls, ABS brakes and intelligent airbag controls.

The plant was one of the first companies backed by IDA
Ireland to come to Ireland. It will remain opera

tional through September 2006 to fulfil existing production

South Meath county councillor William Carey (FG), Enfield,
called for a three-part strategy to replace the Ballivor
jobs including a task force for the south Meath area
specifically. The 350 jobs must be replaced in south Meath
rather than elsewhere in Meath, he said.

Meath West Sinn Fein general election candidate and county
councillor, Joe Reilly, said it had always been said that
Meath had two major firms, Tara Mines in Navan and NEC
Ballivor. Now, however, south Meath had no major industry.

Colr. Reilly added: “I am calling on the factory owner,
NEC, to provide the factory to the IDA at a reasonable
cost, so that we can attract new industry to the area.”

Colr Carey said the IDA and Meath County Council should
engage with the NEC management on handing over the
building, rather than selling it on the open market. He
said the Meath Investment Showcase in Custom House Quay,
Dublin, on 8th March next should have the Ballivor building
available as “a working factory” for investors.


Government Urged To Act As NEC Closes Meath Plant

The Government was urged yesterday to do more to address
the drift in manufacturing jobs to lower-cost economies,
after the unexpected decision of Japanese electronics giant
NEC to close its plant in Co Meath, writes Chris Dooley,
Industry and Employment Correspondent

The 350 workers at the company's semiconductors factory in
Ballivor, which has been in production for 30 years, were
taken aback yesterday to learn it is to close in September.
They had been given no indication that the plant was in

Their shock was shared by Ministers, including local TD
Noel Dempsey, who admitted he "couldn't believe it" when he
received a call to tell him of the decision on Monday

He said that ironically there had "always been rumours
about NEC" in the past, but these had ceased in recent
times because the plant was perceived to be doing well.

There was a funereal atmosphere as Mr Dempsey and other
local politicians gathered outside the factory yesterday
afternoon to await confirmation that Meath's second biggest
employer - after Tara Mines - was closing down.

Inside the factory, workers were receiving the bad news
from management. The parent company, NEC Electronics, was
forecasting group losses for the fiscal year ending March
31st, and had been stepping up cost-cutting measures.

The decision to close NEC Semiconductors Ireland was one of
those measures, they were told. The work currently done at
the plant, which includes the manufacture of semiconductors
for the automotive industry, would in future be carried out
by workers in Singapore, Malaysia and China.

Company secretary Joe Carroll later told journalists that
the move would enable the company to reduce its labour
costs for general operatives by 75 per cent. There was
simply no way the Irish plant could compete, he said.

Siptu Meath branch organiser John Regan said urgent
Government measures were needed to halt the decline in
manufacturing jobs. "Some new initiative needs to come from
the Department of Enterprise. There needs to be more
talking to and monitoring of employers to see what supports
might be needed to ensure we retain quality jobs."

Mr Dempsey, however, said he understood IDA Ireland had
been aware of the difficulties at the Ballivor plant and
had been trying to stave off closure. But he said it was
difficult to compete with economies where labour costs were
a fraction of those in Ireland.

Minister for Enterprise Micheál Martin said he was deeply
disappointed at the decision to close the plant. He had
arranged for Fás to conduct an immediate assessment of the
skills of the workforce to arrange "whatever retraining may
be necessary to help those involved find alternative

An emergency meeting of Meath County Council to discuss the
planned closure was held last night.

A company spokesman confirmed that the plant had made a
profit of €4 million for each of the last two years. But he
said it had accumulated losses of €21 million.

© The Irish Times


War Of Independence Debate On Sectarianism Descends On
Unassuming Offaly

national history and heritage opinion/analysis
Tuesday February 21, 2006 14:35 by Pat Muldowney

Bad Irish Protestants and good British ones - Eoghan Harris
condemns southern Protestants on behalf of the Reform Group

A story in four parts

An account of apparently sectarian murders by the IRA in
Co. Offaly in 1921 was publicised by Eoghan Harris in the
Sunday Independent in October 2005. The allegation of the
sectarian murder of the apparently unassuming Protestant
Pearson family of Coolacrease was made by William Stanley
of Carlow in his "I met Murder on the Way - The Story of
the Pearsons of Coolacrease" (2005). This account of events
that took place during the Irish War of Independence was
then promoted by Eoghan Harris and by the Sunday

In the course of his analysis Eoghan Harris criticised
Protestants in the South for not supporting his analysis
and that of the Reform Group: "a group which wants to dig
up the buried British and Protestant parts of Irish
identity", according to Harris.

This article gives readers the other side of the story, the
side ignored by Harris and the Reform Group, and by the
Sunday Independent.

Coolacrease House

Part 1 "Invincible Innocence"

Eoghan Harris wrote in the Sunday Independent on October
9th 2005, under the heading, "This tree has rotten roots
and bitter fruit".

He said that "The story Alan Stanley tells ... touches a
raw nerve in the Irish Republic. .... He tells how in June
1921, shortly before the Truce, an IRA gang descended on a
defenceless Protestant farm family, the Pearsons of
Coolacrease, Co Offaly, and carried out an appalling

Alan's account asks awkward questions, not just of Roman
Catholic nationalists, but of those who call themselves
Protestant republicans. But first let me say why the story
affected me so deeply at a personal level. The Pearsons of
Coolacrease belonged to a small Protestant sect called the
Cooneyites, whom Alan Stanley aptly compares to the Amish
of Pennsylvania."

Harris then relates a personal encounter with a "Cooneyite"
family in Cork in the 1950s and concluded, "I have never
forgotten their aura of invincible innocence".

Harris continued, "It was the start of my life-long respect
for low-church Protestants. Tildy Pearson would have looked
like the girl with the gloves whom I saw in my father's
store so many years ago, and who thanked me with a
sweetness which still breathes its benediction after almost
50 years.

To attack a family like that calls to high heaven for
atonement. Alan Stanley's book helps make historical
amends, not only to the Pearsons, but to the 50,000
Protestants who were bullied, frightened and burned out of
their modest farms, both before and after the Truce, and
whose story has been suppressed by nationalists."

"Cowardly desires" of "Dublin Protestants"

Harris claimed, "Most Dublin Protestants don't know
anything about the atrocities against their rural co-
religionists in places like Cork, Carlow and Longford. And
most don't want these tragedies dragged up because it is
socially inconvenient. But their cowardly desires do not
close the case. .....

The Pearsons suffered in silence. So did thousands of
Protestants in modest circumstances. And I have a hunch
that the persistent self-suppression of this dark history
and the policy of keeping the head down must have done some
damage to the Southern Protestant psyche."

Martin Mansergh - "posh southern Protestant"

Harris then goes on to criticise Senator Martin Mansergh as
a "posh southern Protestant" who "provides a rotten role
model for any young Protestant Irishman", principally
because, like many southern Protestants, he does not agree
with Eoghan Harris's view on these matters. Senator
Mansergh is an advisor to The Taoiseach on Northern

Harris declared, "from my Roman Catholic nationalist
background" that he would like to "put the matter simply.
The Pearson family did not deserve what was done to them,
and neither did the 50,000 artisans and farmers who were
driven out of their homes and across the world. Facing our
tribal past helps us understand the fears of Northern
Protestants - and is good for our souls. That is why I
reject the right of posh Protestants to plant some green
plastic Tree of Liberty with Gerry Adams."

Reform Group and Orange Order

While not referring to the events in Offaly in the October
16th edition of the Sunday Independent, Harris did return
to the theme of condemnation of those who do not agree with
him that Protestants in the South suffered the type of
discrimination endured by Roman Catholics in Northern
Ireland. In fact, "the main purveyors" of the contrary view
are "southern Protestant spokespersons", he asserted.

Eoghan Harris returned to the fray in the Sunday
Independent of October 23rd with a highly personalised
attack on someone he sees as a "southern Protestant
spokesperson", Martin Mansergh.

"Dr Martin Mansergh .... has a posh accent. I could almost
hear his dulcet tones in his Irish Times column last week.
He commented "Southern Protestants like American loyalists
in the early 1788s, and European settlers in colonial
Africa in the 1950s and 1960s lost out, and there are many
sad and some tragic stories.""

Harris again mentioned "the atrocity against the Pearsons
of Coolacrease" and said that he resented "Mansergh's
alleged reference to people like me who are members of
Reform, a group which wants to dig up the buried British
and Protestant parts of Irish identity."

The Reform group was set up by members of the Dublin and
Wicklow lodges of the Orange Order. They do indeed attempt
to conjoin the terms Protestant and British in Ireland in
perpetuity, though today without the overt association with
the highly contentious Orange Order that marches
incessantly each year in Northern Ireland on behalf of an
assertion that Protestantism and Britishness are one and
the same thing.

Harris asserted: "I reject the slur that I poke around in
the past in order to make a Unionist case. Not true. I do
so in order to make a moral case. I want to show that
neither the Irish Republic nor Northern Ireland has clean
historical hands in the matter of dealing with their

I also reject Dr Mansergh's use of the term "outsiders" in
a context that seems to reject the right of people who are
not members of the Church of Ireland to comment on the
treatment of southern protestants. As a cradle Roman
Catholic I consider that a trifle tribal. After all, I
could consider him an outsider too.

As the scion of an Anglo-Irish family, Dr Mansergh was
educated in a British public school, speaks with a posh
English accent, and has the air of an English gentleman -
all of which were big attractions for Charles Haughey. But
I would no more call Dr Mansergh an " outsider" than I
would call Dean Swift."

Those who allegedly suffered discrimination actively
conspire to keep silent about it. How very strange. And how
it is that, in the absence of a body of assertive
Protestants, it becomes the task of a "cradle Roman
Catholic" to set the record straight for posterity.

Part 2 Alternative account with no axe to grind

Detailed local history refutes sectarianism accusation

We now turn to an alternative version of the events on
which Eoghan Harris based his vitriol.

A six-sentence letter from a Patrick Heaney, Cadamstown,
Birr, Co Offaly, appeared on October 16th in the Sunday
Independent, between Eoghan Harris's October 9th and 23rd
pieces on the subject:

"Sir - I would like to remind Eoghan Harris that there are
two sides to every story. I interviewed men and women who
were involved during that period of our history.

These findings I have documented in my book At the Foot of
Slieve Bloom, which was published in December 2000.

There were six Protestant families living in the Cadamstown
area during that period. They were never molested or harmed
in any way. Let our readers judge for themselves."

Patrick Heaney's account was published within an
unassuming, though well presented, volume of local history.
It had no apparent axe to grind.

It is a history of the area around Cadamstown in Co.
Offaly, which is close to the county boundary with Laois,
about halfway between Birr and Tullamore, the two principal
towns of Offaly. The Slieve Bloom Mountains straddle the
boundary between counties Laois and Offaly. In a small
farming area, the Pearsons were big farmers, on about 300
acres. There were three sons and several daughters.
Previously resident near the Laois-Kilkenny county
boundary, they arrived in Coolacrease in the Cadamstown
area shortly before 1900 and, prior to the War of
Independence, were well liked there.

In addition to Heaney's original account there is the newly
released Bureau of Military History official report by
Michael Cordial, second-in-command of the IRA Offaly
Brigade. This report also describes the execution of two of
the Pearson brothers and the killing of two R.I.C.
policemen in the nearby village of Kinnitty.

Heaney's book includes a history of the local IRA unit, and
its pivotal position between Munster, Galway and the
Midlands during the War of Independence. Having researched
the subject over thirty years, and having interviewed all
the surviving participants and others with first-hand
knowledge, including the O.C. of the Offaly Brigade of the
IRA, Heaney gives a detailed account of the circumstances
which led to the killing of the two elder Pearson brothers
of Coolacrease.

It is worth quoting at length, since it is an account that
has hitherto been ignored.

Heaney's Account

[START Patrick Heaney's account]

Arms were always a problem for the men of the [IRA] company
[in Cadamstown, Co. Offaly] so they devised a plan to get
some. On a particular day three local volunteers approached
Pearsons' house at Coolacrease. They were armed, and when
admitted they requested that any guns which were in the
house should be handed over. This the Pearsons refused to
do. Placing one volunteer on guard, the remaining two
searched the house and found two guns which they took away
with them. Captain Drought received similar treatment, as
did Biddulphs. Two or three guns were found on their
premises. After four days Mr. Biddulph requested that one
of the guns be returned as it belonged to his son who was
killed in the 1914-18 war. Two men from the Cadamstown
company returned the gun to the Biddulph home and they were
very grateful.

The mountain area above Cadamstown village provided safety
for the men of the company. There were many safe houses in
this district: Horans of the Deerpark, Dillons of Seskin,
Ryans of Seskin, Nolans of Deerpark, Dalys of Glenletter,
and Heaneys of Glenletter. Local men had to leave their
homes and many men on the run found safety with these kind
people. Many men from Cloghan found refuge in the mountain
area; for instance, the Geraghtys, the Brogans and the
McIntyres. There was a major breakout of prisoners in the
camp at the Curragh of Kildare early in 1920. Ten of the
escaped prisoners were guided to the safety of the Slieve
Bloom Mountains, when they were brought to Dillons of
Seskin on a night in May by a volunteer from the Clonaslee
Company. There they were fed, and after a good night's
sleep and a rest, the following day they made preparations
to continue their journey in the direction of Tipperary.
They hailed from different counties in Munster, and one
particular man came from an island off the Kerry coast.
They were guarded during their stay at Dillons by the local
company. They left Dillons on the summer's night and were
guided across the mountain by my mother and her brother,
Pat Dillon. They arrived at Maloneys of Ballybritt near
Roscrea the following morning. A volunteer from Cashel was
awaiting their arrival, and after a brief rest at Maloneys
they continued on their way to the safety of the Tipperary

Pearsons: "Loyalist headquarters"

Cadamstown was the only place in Offaly that was declared a
no go area, and a curfew was also imposed. The local
company knew that there were Dublin Castle agents in the
area so they had to be very careful. They kept a watchful
eye on the Pearsons of Coolacrease for they knew that this
was the local loyalist headquarters. The British military
were seen coming and going from this residence at all hours
of the night.

There was a mass path leading from the Deerpark in the
direction of the village of Cadamstown which crossed
through Pearsons' land and which had been used for hundreds
of years by the people from the mountain area. On a
particular Sunday morning as the people came to mass they
found to their dismay that the mass path was blocked by a
giant beech tree which had been felled across the path.
There were about twenty people coming to mass that Sunday
morning and they immediately returned to their homes, and
to those of their neighbours, for saws and axes. In a short
time they had the path cleared, but as they were about to
continue on their way to mass, they were confronted by
three of the Pearsons, the father and two sons, and each of
them claimed they were trespassing. The people refused to
go, and threats and words of abuse were exchanged as the
people continued on their way to mass. After mass, as the
people returned home, they found the mass path again
blocked by timber and other materials, so they again
cleared the way. This agitation continued for some time.

Under Fire

It was shortly after this incident that the local company
received word to block the roads on the Coolacrease side of
Cadamstown, as there was to be an ambush near Birr. The
local company mobilised and marched to Coolacrease, where
they selected a large beech tree which was to be used to
block the roadway. Mick Heaney was appointed to stand guard
on the road. He was armed, as was Tom Donnelly. The other
volunteers taking part in the operation were Jim Delahunty,
John Joe Horan, Tom Horan, Joe Carroll, Joe Manifold and
Jim English. The tree was almost sawn through when
footsteps were heard approaching from the direction of
Pearsons' house. Mick Heaney, who was on guard, ordered
"Halt, who goes there?" but the footsteps came nearer. The
order to halt was repeated, without reply.

Suddenly the volunteers found themselves under fire. Mick
Heaney returned fire and he immediately fell under a hail
of bullets. Tom Donnelly was the only other man to be
armed, and he ran to the rescue of the fallen man, firing
as he went. Heaney was mortally wounded but he still kept
going. Donnelly caught Mick Heaney in his arms and returned
back to the roadway, still firing his revolver. He had the
satisfaction of hearing one of the attackers groan and fall
to the ground. Then the firing ceased. The volunteers came
together again and brought the two wounded men in a pony
and trap to Dr Brown in Kilcormac, from where they were
transferred to a secret ward in Tullamore Hospital. It was
discovered afterwards that British army officers were with
the Pearsons on the particular night. One of these officers
subsequently lived under an assumed name in a neighbouring

This incident was brought to the notice of the Offaly
Brigade headquarters who kept a watchful eye on the
movements of the Pearsons. A raid on the mails coming from
Dublin disclosed that there was contact between Dublin
Castle [British HQ in Ireland] and the Pearsons of
Coolacrease, and that information regarding IRA members in
Cadamstown and the naming of safe houses in the Cadamstown
area had been sent to Dublin. For the shooting of Mick
Heaney and the sending of information to Dublin Castle,
Offaly Brigade headquarters ordered the execution of the
Pearsons. This was carried out on 10th June 1921.

Execution of the Pearsons

The flying column arrived in Cadamstown that June morning.
The Pearson brothers were making hay in a field adjacent to
their home. When the column arrived at the field, a man who
was recognised as a British army officer was seen running
away. The column followed him and fired on him several
times, but he escaped and headed in the direction of
Mountbolus where he was captured. He was held by the
Mountbolus company for one night and was released the
following morning when he made his way to the barracks in
Tullamore and later went to the north of Ireland. The
flying column escorted the Pearsons to their home where the
sentence was read out to them. They made no comment, nor
did they protest in any way. They faced the firing squad
bravely. The house and its contents were then burned down.
The remaining members of the family left the locality and
settled in Australia. A sister of Dick and Abe Pearson
returned recently to Cadamstown to see what remained of the
old homestead.

Jim Tormey's flying column was based in County Westmeath.
The column consisted of thirty men and they took part in
many ambushes throughout Westmeath and County Longford.
British troops poured into that area to curb Tormey's
Column. The column was hard pressed so they retired to the
safety of the Slieve Bloom Mountains. As the song says,
"And to the Slieve Bloom Muntains came Jim Tormey's Flying
Column". The Cadamstown Company had the honour of guarding
Tormey's Flying Column for three weeks as they rested in
the mountain. The flying column then returned to Westmeath
where they engaged British troops at the famous ambush at
Park outside Athlone. This proved fatal for the column as
they lost their great leader, Jim Tormey. He was killed as
he led his men into action on that day. There is a cross
erected to his memory at the spot where he was killed.

Shortly after the shooting of the Pearsons British troops
took over the Cadamstown area and arrested eight members of
the local Company.

[END Patrick Heaney's account]

Part 3 Laois Offaly - King's and Queen's Counties

The historical context

The social stratum to which the Pearsons belonged came into
existence in Ireland through the violent conquest,
expropriation, ethnic cleansing and colonising activities
of the English state. Offaly and Laois were the scene of
the first ever colony of what became known as the British
Empire, when the native O'Connors, O'Moores, O'Dempseys,
O'Dunnes and others were killed or driven out by the army
of Queen Mary in 1556, and the area planted with English
settlers. Queen Mary ("Bloody Mary") was herself a
Catholic, as was her husband Philip of Spain. Queen's
County (Laois) and King's County (Offaly), along with the
towns of Maryborough (now Portlaoise) and Philipstown (now
Daingean), were named after them.

The modern English state was fashioned by Henry VIII and
Elizabeth I. Mary and Elizabeth were the daughters of,
respectively, Henry's Catholic wife Catherine of Aragon and
his Protestant wife Anne Boleyn. From the 12th to the 16th
centuries English conquests of the savage Irish enemy,
though sponsored by the English state, were often of a
freelance character. It is true that Henry II and his son
John (later King John) each led armies into Ireland in the
12th century. But in theory, as agents of the Pope who was
in some sense of international law the overlord of Ireland,
they came to protect the native Irish against freebooters
from England. In reality their objective was the opposite
of protection. Think Iraq.

Two centuries later Richard II invaded Ireland on two
separate occasions, and was defeated twice. (By Art
McMurrough, as it happens, descendant of the infamous
Dermot McMurrough. Art is buried beside the 1798 leader
Thomas Cloney in the monastic complex of St. Molins in Co.
Carlow, along with a number of those who died in the 1798
Rising.) Thus, although the Irish did not seek to establish
a state of their own at that time, the English colony was
confined to a foothold around Dublin. The other Norman
settlements eventually assimilated with the natives.

Settler and-native - Pearsons and non-persons

So Mary and Philip launched their strike into Laois-Offaly,
beginning both the English world-conquest and the long
sequence of what is known as Irish terrorism - Raparees,
Tories, Whiteboys, Ribbonmen, Fenians, IRA.

The Pearsons were not descended from these original
colonists. The settlers were often transient, moving on to
new continents where the natives were more easily
exterminated, being unaccustomed to firearms and lacking
the skills of literacy which, having been lost in Europe
following the collapse of the Roman Empire, had been
preserved in Ireland, despite the best efforts of various
English overlords to eliminate them.

The Pearsons were originally settled in the North Kilkenny
area during the Cromwellian Plantation, a hundred years
after the Plantation of Mary and Philip. The traditional
Gaelic leaders, the MacGillaPatricks, had held onto their
predominant position in Ossory, or Kilkenny, throughout the
previous four centuries. In the initial 12th century Norman
invasion, the MacGillaPatricks, and their allies both
native (O'Brennans, O'Donaghues, O'Carrolls etc.) and
Danish (with names like MacTorkil (McCorkill), McKittrick
or Mac Sitric, McAuliffe or Mac Olaf, etc.) fought the
Anglo-Normans and their Irish ally Dermot McMurrough. The
Norman baron, Maurice de Prendergast, was captured by the
MacGillaPatricks and became their ally. With Latin as their
common language they bottled up the invasion forces in the
Wexford area. When Henry II arrived in Waterford with a
massive army, some accounts say that de Prendergast
persuaded the McGillaPatricks not to make war on Henry, and
arranged a diplomatic agreement under which Norman
settlement and town-building were permitted in Ossory under
Gaelic overlordship.

The hundred-year Norman grab for Gaelic lands, rivers and
monasteries, and for Danish towns, cities and trade, did
not wreak as much destruction in Ossory as it wrought
elsewhere. It was as if the Pilgrim Fathers had negotiated
a peaceful and mutually beneficial trade-off with
Ohquamehud, Chief of the Sachem Indians, instead of
exterminating them all. But Cromwells's defeat of the
Confederation of Kilkenny saw the destruction of the Gaelic
MacGillaPatricks and Brennans etc. along with the Anglo-
Norman Rothes (Bishop David Rothe helped to finance the
Four Masters in compiling their comprehensive History of
Ireland just as the final destruction of native
civilisation was looming), the Graces (descended from
Raymond le Gros), the Cantwells and all the rest. Thus
ending a couple of thousand years of native society and
inaugurating the hegemony of the colonial society of
Berkeley (born in Kilkenny), Swift (like Berkeley, educated
in Kilkenny) - and the Pearsons.

Disharmony and failed colonisation

The violent British conquest and colonisation of Ireland
were never legitimised by the establishment of good
government and harmonious relations with the native
population, which now included the descendants of the
Anglo-Normans, and which remained relatively numerous
despite several attempts to kill them off or drive them out
to make way for colonial settlement and money-making. The
British colony in Ireland, though supremely powerful,
failed to use its overwhelming power for the benefit of
society as a whole, and it did not flourish in the longer
run. For the most part it persisted only as a declining
alien, colonial presence.

Under the ferocious colonial regime, the native Irish
capacity for political and military leadership had for many
centuries found expression in continental Europe, Latin
America, the West Indian slave islands, and even Russia.
The society of Berkeley and Swift envisaged a future for
the aboriginal population as illiterate beasts of burden,
if not destruction. So Hitler was not the originator of
such policies. Inexplicably the Irish managed to evade
their destiny, perhaps with the aid of their music and

When, after several centuries of untramelled power, the
colony had passed its hey-day and was showing clear signs
of being trapped in a historical cul-de-sac, significant
numbers of Protestant individuals, both northern and
southern, contributed leadership to the independence

Re-emergence of the natives

After a couple of centuries, the natives were recovered
sufficiently to seek separation from Britain. This was
undoubtedly problematic for the colonial remnants. Having
pitted themselves against the natives in the final,
debilitating struggles - religious, social, political and
economic - of the 19th century, the British settlers in the
South of Ireland were largely reconciled to the historic
Home Rule settlement of Irish self-government within the
British Empire. So when Ulster Unionism raised the flag of
armed revolt against this settlement, and when the British
government reneged on Home Rule after exacting a heavy
blood-price for it in the Great War, many southern
Protestants were disappointed at the loss of the historic
opportunity of an achievable settlement which would have
been congenial to them, and they felt betrayed by their own

Britain went to war against the Irish government
established by the 1918 elections, and the Irish democracy
was defended by its volunteer armed forces, who, for
historical reasons were committed to an ideology which
sought to transcend the distinction between settler and
native within a common national sentiment. So the wholesale
slaughter and expulsion, which befell British loyalists a
century and a half earlier in the American colony, were not
on the agenda in Ireland.

In addition, the Irish Republican side was well represented
by individual Protestants in prominent positions, as
detailed by historian Brian Murphy recently in his account
of the non-sectarian trajectory of Republican policy and
practice during the War of Independence.

Thus, by 1919-21, for whatever reason, the attitude of the
Protestant British community in the south was very
different from its conduct a century earlier in 1798, and
they mostly kept out of the conflict. Except for a small
number of cases such as the Pearsons.

Part 4 Paramilitary Loyalism in the South

Sectarianism within the Irish revolution

After the IRA had set it on fire the Pearsons' house
exploded. It is likely that munitions were stored there,
indicating that the Pearsons may have been loyalist
paramilitaries as well as spies. If so, they were not
entirely alone. The Cork historian Meda Ryan has written
about the organisation of loyalism along sectarian lines in
parts of west Cork in the area surrounding Bandon. More
information on this phenomenon in Cork City and the
surrounding county will be published during the course of

The Pearson controversy has a curious echo of the dispute
around the way the IRA dealt with paramilitary loyalists in
Cork at that time. In particular the unauthorised shooting
of loyalist spies and informers after the Truce in April
1922 forms part of a heated debate between Canadian
historian Peter Hart and Irish historians Meda Ryan, Brian
Murphy and Manus O'Riordan. Hart denied southern Protestant
participation in sectarian paramilitary activity and
asserted instead that the execution of such people was an
example of republican sectarianism. Hart's contentious
conclusions on the Dunmanway shootings and his attack on
IRA leader Tom Barry have been debated in History Ireland
(April-May to October-November 2005) and on
Serious questions have been asked about the manner in which
Hart suppressed inconvenient evidence in his possession and
claimed to have interviewed IRA veterans anonymously, when
records indicated that they were in their graves.

William Stanley, 'Jimmy Bradley' and Alan Stanley

Eoghan Harris who, alongside Kevin Myers, had previously
championed Hart's work, bases his account of the Offaly
events on "I Met Murder On The Way", by Alan Stanley of

In a curious twist, it was reported in the Carlow
Nationalist (March 23rd 2005) that Alan Stanley is the son
of William Stanley. William Stanley was the British Forces
officer who ran away as the Pearson brothers were being
arrested by the IRA, prior to their execution. William
Stanley was subsequently captured, though later released,
by the IRA. William Stanley reportedly returned to live in
Carlow under the assumed name of 'Jimmy Bradley'. These
issues are not acknowledged in Alan Stanley's book, and
await clarification.

After the executions, the Pearsons' farm was occupied by
British Forces until the Pearsons returned about a month
later. Theft or looting that reportedly occurred should
therefore be put down to British Forces in place - a not
uncommon occurrence. Before they finally left the area in
1924, the Pearsons sold their property to the Land

The dozen or so other local Protestant families in the
surrounding area were left undisturbed in the War of
Independence, but they were disturbed by Alan Stanley's

End of Empire?

The British Empire began with the 1556 conquest and
colonising of Laois-Offaly. At the height of its power the
Empire, and the system of colonial privilege on which it
was based, began to unravel in the Irish War of
Independence. Curiously, the first military action of that
war took place in Laois-Offaly with the cutting of the
Cork-Dublin railway line near Abbeyleix at the start of the
1916 Rising. Four centuries after it began, British Prime
Minister Harold Macmillan signalled the end of the British
Empire, in his 1960 "Wind of Change" speech to the South
African Parliament. "Whether we like it or not," he said,
"this growth of national consciousness is a political

In the Sunday Independent Eoghan Harris played both an
Orange Protestant card and a Green Catholic Card in an
effort to explain away this historical context, in dealing
with one of the last acts of the War of Independence. In so
doing he sought to arouse sectarian feeling where there is
little if any. It was the Republican side that overtly
rejected an association of religion and nationality. The
empirical evidence thus far uncovered supports this
contention. In their courageous determination to keep
politics separate from religion, and to sweep away
centuries-old divisions, Republicans of the Protestant
faith broke with the historical identification of their
community, while Catholic Republicans defied the ultimate
sanction of excommunication from their church. But in
playing with sectarian fire, Eoghan Harris risks undoing 80
intervening years that have tended towards harmony and

Luckily we have the meticulous research of local historians
like Patrick Heaney to illuminate the subject with the
healing light of fact and reason.


At the Foot of Slieve Bloom by Patrick Heaney is available
from The Offaly Historical and Archaeological Society, Bury
Quay, Tullamore, Co. Offaly,

Pat Muldowney has also written a series of articles on
these issues in Church and State magazine in a debate which
the Reform Group sought and initiated but from which it
speedily ran away. See

Related Link:


Heart Of The Matter

One of Mayo’s forgotten hunger strikers is to be honoured
on Sunday in a ceremony removed from party politics

Stephen O’Grady

IN 1992 the National Graves Association took the decision
to form a private limited company, registered worldwide, in
an attempt to prevent its name being used as ‘a flag of
convenience’ by any political group.

It is fitting therefore that next Sunday’s graveside
commemoration of the first Mayo man to die on hunger strike
should fall under the auspices of this association, which
came into being in the wake of the Fenian Rising of 1867.

Even during that period the number one governing rule of
its Memorial Committee was that the association would
‘observe a strictly neutral attitude with regard to present
day party differences’.

Today, as Fianna Fáil wrestle for the high moral ground in
their revitalised endeavours to ‘reclaim’ republicanism,
the National Graves Association provides a source of
apolitical solace for those seeking to revisit and pay due
respects to Republicanism’s heartfelt heritage. And so it
will be at Claggan Cemetery, overlooking Clew Bay, this
Sunday when Jack McNeela, who died at Arbour Hill Prison in
April 1940, is commemorated for the first time in more than
half a century.

It was on June 1, 1952 that 5,000 people swarmed into
Ballycroy in north Mayo, when an eleven-foot high monument
to a Mayo martyr was unveiled at the nearby cemetery.
Designed by Peppard of Dublin, and fabricated by
Ballyhaunis sculptors, Gilmore, the limestone memorial
stone features an inscription, entirely in Gaelic, of Jack
McNeela’s name and an account of his death.

“Those that knew him say it symbolises the man: massive and
simple,” one observer recalled poignantly in a letter
written in the close aftermath of the 1952 commemoration.

Jack McNeela had been operating a radio transmitter at
Rathgar in Dublin, and was heavily involved in the
publication of War News, a newspaper produced out of
Ballsbridge, when he was picked up by the Special Branch of
the Garda Síochána. His arrest was part of a Government
clampdown on continued IRA activity, which was signalled in
the main by the decision of DeValera to PJ Ruttledge from
Ballina with Gerry Boland at the Department of Justice in

By the Spring of 1940, Jack McNeela approached an agonising
death, after 55 days on a hunger strike commenced in
pursuit of political status.

“Jack, Jack, I’m dying,” a fading voice beckoned to him one
night in mid-April, and despite 12 broken ribs and a broken
jaw, Jack McNeela crawled to the bedside of fellow hunger
striker, Tony Darcy, to ease Darcy’s own passing. Two
nights later McNeela died, aged only 25 years.

The tale of Jack McNeela has since been lost somewhat to a
forgotten decade, but attitudes towards commemoration are
in transition.

Mayo County Council is set to commemorate the 25th
anniversary of the H-Block hunger strikes, it emerged last
week. The names of the county’s other hunger strike
victims, Michael Gaughan and Frank Stagg, have been in the
news during the past few weeks. It seems the climate is
ripe to revisit the case of Jack McNeela.

The author of the aforementioned letter recalled attempts
by the authorities to prevent the unveiling of the McNeela
monument in 1952, which was also marked with a three-shot
volley at the graveside. “They put out the rumour that we
were communist but that fizzled out as the people knew us
too well. Then they said there was going to be serious
trouble. The guards were going to stop the firing party and
arms would be used, people would be hurt. All this to
frighten the people away, and thereby keep hidden the fact
that Jack McNeela died under DeValera.

“All the politicians took a back seat that day. We had no
time for them. They just fell in with the general public.”

And so it will be come Sunday afternoon next when Mayo
republicans who assemble at Ballycroy Post Office at 1pm,
ahead of the commemoration. First, on Saturday afternoon,
at 2pm, the National Graves Association will host a special
ceremony at the Republican plot at Leigue Cemetery,
Ballina, to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the death
of Frank Stagg, and also to mark the addition of the name
of Jack McNeela to the roll of honour there.

The strict neutral stance of the National Graves
Association will be maintained resolutely at Claggan
Cemetery on Sunday, its rules decreeing that ‘no speech
shall be made at any meeting introducing differences among
nationalists’, and that ‘graves of deceased patriots should
be cared for’.

Its stated objectives are to restore, where necessary, and
maintain fittingly the graves and memorials of our patriot
dead of every generation; to commemorate those who died in
the cause of Irish Freedom; to compile a record of such
graves and memorials.

And so Jack McNeela’s name will join that compilation of
memorials to the Fenian Maid of Erin, the Stowell brothers,
the Amnesty Nolan, the Tallaght Martyrs et al.

And politics will look on.


Irish Translations Gather Dust After Costing Council

By Gordon Deegan

Clare County Council has spent €30,250 on translating
three statutory development plans into Irish - and has not
sold a single copy, writes Gordon Deegan

The council is the latest public body to have spent
significant sums of money on translating documents into
Irish as required under the Official Languages Act.

County council director for planning Bernadette Kinsella
confirmed yesterday that, in compliance with the Official
Languages Act, the council had spent the money on the
translation of three development plans: the Clare County
Development Plan 2005, the North Clare Local Area Plan 2005
and the East Clare Local Area Plan 2005.

The plans each cost members of the public €50 to buy, and
Ms Kinsella said: "Five copies of each of these plans were
printed in Irish. To date, no copy has been sold to the
general public in Irish.

"Approximately 200 copies of the English versions have been
purchased. The cost of meeting its requirements under the
Official Languages Act has to be met from the annual
revenue budget of the council."

The Act requires that major policy documents of Government
departments, State bodies and organisations, including
annual reports, have to be translated into Irish. It has
already seen the Irish Courts Service spend €12,000 on
translating its 2004 annual report, although it has yet to
be asked for an Irish copy of the document.

Monaghan County Council also set aside €10,000 last year to
translate documents, including its arts plan.

Upwards of 22 bodies have already been required to produce
detailed schemes outlining what services they are providing
and plan to provide in Irish. It is envisaged that all 600
public bodies will eventually be required to produce the

The expenditure was yesterday described as "a wanton waste
of taxpayers' money" by Green Party councillor Brian
Meaney. "Money could be spent on Irish in a much more
positive and proactive way," he said.

However, Clare Fianna Fáil councillor and Irish language
enthusiast Tom Prendeville said it was "right and proper"
that the council translate the documents into Irish.

© The Irish Times

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