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March 15, 2006

Bush Hampering Peace Process

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BN 03/15/06 Bush 'Hampering NI Peace Process'
DI 03/15/06 Peace Process ‘Drift Danger’
IN 03/15/06 US President To Tell Parties: Get On With Peace Process
SF 03/15/06 DC Events An Opportunity For SDLP To Return To GFA Fold
BN 03/15/06 Taoiseach Heads To Washington
SF 03/15/06 Irish Join Battle Over Illegal Immigration
WT 03/15/06 Moves To Ease Plight Of Illegal Irish Immigrants In US
WP 03/15/06 Ring Makes An Appeal For Irish Emigrants In US
BN 03/15/06 Two Held In Schoolboy Murder Probe
SF 03/15/06 Use Of Shannon By US Military A Shameful Travesty
BT 03/15/06 Feud Row Widow In Sickbed Request To Adams
IN 03/15/06 DUP Backs Down Over Mcaleese Visit To North
BT 03/15/06 Alarming Increase In 'Suicidal' Ulster Kids
IN 03/15/06 Churches Focus On Hate Crimes
BT 03/15/06 DUP Weighs Up Possible Talks With UDA Chiefs
BT 03/15/06 Opin: UDA: Still United ... In Crime
IN 03/15/06 Opin: All Change In World Of All-Ireland Politics
IN 03/15/06 Opin: White House Is Colder Mansion For Sinn Fein
NH 03/15/06 Opin: On Streets Nobody Cares About Bringing Back Stormont
ML 03/15/06 St. Patrick's Parade Route Lined In Politics
BN 03/15/06 Toddler Killed In Accident At School In Co Clare
RT 03/15/06 eBay To Employ 300 More Staff In Dublin
IN 03/15/06 Kilkeel To Get 200 New Jobs
TN 03/15/06 First Irish Left Their Mark On Nashville
TJ 03/15/06 Irish Eyes Aren't Smiling At Some T-Shirt 'Humor'
IN 03/15/06 First Chief Of British Forces In North Dies
IN 03/15/06 Falls Leisure Centre Manager Dies
IN 03/15/06 Festivities Toned Down Due To Republican Riots
TS 03/15/06 “Trooper Thorn” To Quit Ring, Leave Country. (Satire)
GN 03/15/06 The Story Behind Famed Irish Drinks
BB 03/15/06 Keane May Retire At End Of Season

(Poster’s Note: In my opinion, any influence the DUP has
with the UDA (which is probably substantial) should be used
to stop their violent campaigns.

I just don’t understand why Paisley can meet with ADMITTED
terrorists in an attempt to limit their lawlessness, while
he can’t meet with properly elected representatives of
nationalists (who he ALLEGES are terrorists, but cannot
prove) in order to maintain the absence of violence by
republicans. Jay)


Bush 'Hampering NI Peace Process'

15/03/2006 - 07:02:13

Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams has said that the Bush
administration is hampering the Northern Ireland peace
process by restricting his party’s ability to raise funds
in the US even after the IRA agreed to scrap its weapons.

Adams has been invited to the White House on Friday, a
warmer reception than he got last year for St. Patrick’s
Day, when the Bush administration refused to meet with him
or any of the Northern Ireland party leaders in addition to
cutting off Sinn Féin’s fundraising privileges in the US.

That was intended principally to isolate the IRA-linked
Sinn Féin, which relies much more heavily than other
Northern Ireland parties on support from Irish-American

The US moves followed a 2005 verdict by an international
fact-finding panel that blamed the IRA for killing a
Catholic civilian in January 2005 and robbing a Belfast
bank of £26.5m a month earlier.

Yesterday, Adams criticised the Bush administration for
maintaining the sanctions.

“Not only does this go against the principles of equality
and inclusion that are at the heart of the peace process,
it is being used by those opposed to the Good Friday
Agreement” of 1998, a bid to end Northern Ireland’s
decades-long civil strife.

The key aim of Northern Ireland’s peace accord, a joint
Catholic-Protestant administration, has remained in
political limbo since 2002, when the previous coalition
collapsed over an IRA spying scandal. Leaders of the major
Protestant party, the Democratic Unionists, say they will
not share power with Sinn Féin until the IRA disbands.

“It’s quite remarkable, I don’t understand why this
restriction is being put on me. I’ve been invaluable to the
White House, and I don’t understand why I can’t walk around
the corner and go into a restaurant,” Adams said at a press
conference, referring to a fundraising event planned in
Washington tomorrow.

“I’m surprised and bewildered as to the rationale and the
purpose” of the fundraising ban, Adams told The Associated

“The issue is that the administration has chosen to treat
Sinn Féin differently than it treats the other parties, and
the peace process is based upon equality, and based upon
inclusivity,” Adams said.

“And I find it quite remarkable, given the huge advances
that have been made by Irish Republicans in Ireland last
year and the IRA putting its weapons beyond use,” Adams

“Many people, Irish Americans and friends of Sinn Féin, are
angry,” Adams said of the continued ban, but added that he
would shake President Bush’s hand if he encountered him at
Friday’s White House event at which other Northern Ireland
leaders will also be present

As the political focus shifted to the annual St Patrick's
week celebrations in Washington - where all the main
parties apart from the DUP are present - Mr Adams insisted:
"I get the sense that there is a shared frustration in
Ireland and the United States that the process is being
allowed to dangerously drift," he said.

"At a time when leadership and certainty is required the
(British and Irish) governments have failed to act

And he said he would be urging Irish-Americans to "redouble
their efforts" to put pressure on the Governments to
maximise the potential of the current opportunity for

Speaking at St John's University in New York, he said: “We
need to see progress before the summer and well in advance
of the marching season. That means the British Government
lifting the suspension of the political institutions and
both governments making it clear to the DUP that the Good
Friday Agreement is the only show in town.

"The two governments need to set out a timetable for the
restoration of the political institutions and delivery on
policing, justice, equality and human rights."

At a press conference before the St John’s forum, Adams
stressed that numerous opportunities to advance peace were
missed by political leaders on both sides of the fence.

"Ireland is partitioned, and the northern part of the
island is under British jurisdiction, and that's wrong," he

"The vast majority of people in Ireland want to be united.
It's our right as a people to choose our own destiny.

"There is a need to get the British government, in
particular, to renovate the assembly, which is part of the
'Good Friday' agreement, and which has never met since the
elections two years ago," Adams added, referring to the
1998 agreement between the British and Irish governments
that established the Northern Ireland legislative assembly.

Mr. Adams said that convening the Assembly was the most
important next step in the peace process. "The British
government are still preventing the Assembly from
functioning. ... Before early summer, they have to permit
the Assembly to come together. They have to allow the
politicians to do our job of engaging them, developing
them, representing our electorate."

Asked whether Sinn Fein would continue the economic
policies of the present Irish administration were it
elected the majority party in a unified Ireland, Mr. Adams
said, "Because we're a party that's believed in equality,
we would have a particular view that you judge the wealth
of a nation not by how rich it is, but by how that wealth
is used for all of the citizens. We would argue very, very
strongly for equality in education and housing and health."

"Very clearly a lot of the political tension is that the
main party fears the goals of Sinn Fein and has put that
concern above other more important concerns," he added in
response to a question from The New York Sun.

"Irish Americans are the most advanced section of our
international community," Mr. Adams said. "It's a matter of
common sense trying to get Irish America to use its
influence in the White House."

Mr. Adams added that President Clinton had been a "pivotal"
figure in the peace process, but said he was "baffled" by
President Bush's recent perceived lack of support for the
Northern Irish republican cause.

The 'Celtic Tiger' has totally removed any nonsense that a
reunited Ireland would be an impoverished nation," he said.
"It's not feasible to cut off a piece of that and expect it
to be economically viable," he added.

Mr. Adams is also scheduled to visit Boston, Toronto, and
other cities during his annual St. Patrick's Day trip to
North America

A leading Irish-American congressman said yesterday that
the Bush administration does not intend to lift the
fundraising ban.

Rep. James Walsh, chair of the Friends of Ireland
congressional group, said: "It's true, though there hasn't
been an official statement yet. What they decided to do was
invite Adams to the White House, but they're not lifting
the fundraising ban.

Walsh, a New York Republican, strongly criticised the
decision, saying it effectively punishes Sinn Féin for the
IRA's pledge last year to decommission its weapons,
announced by Adams and Martin McGuinness, a veteran IRA
commander and chief negotiator for Sinn Féin.

"What is absolutely bizarre about the decision is that
Adams and McGuinness have delivered. They got a complete
cessation, a complete decommissioning. The IRA stood down.
To punish them for it makes no sense at all," Walsh said in


Outlawed Protestant paramilitary groups, chiefly the Ulster
Defence Association and Ulster Volunteer Force, less well-
armed than the IRA but involved in much more violence, have
said they will not disarm.

While Sinn Féin and its supporters were frustrated about
the fundraising ban politically, they said the financial
effects were minimal, if not inspiring, to donors to the

“Interestingly enough, I was denied a visa to attend a
fundraiser in November and I didn’t come to the US and I
think we raised 500,000,” Adams explained. “So I think my
absence was a financial boost for our efforts.”

“At the end of the day it doesn’t restrict how much money
we make,” said Larry Downes, president of the Friends of
Sinn Féin.


Peace Process ‘Drift Danger’

Adams criticises governments’ ‘failure to act decisively’

By Jarlath Kearney

The British and Irish governments are letting the peace
process “dangerously drift”, Sinn Féin president Gerry
Adams said last night in New York.

Mr Adams said frustration was growing across Ireland and
the United States at the failure of the British and Irish
governments to act decisively.

The Belfast West MP criticised the US government for
adopting a “partisan” approach by placing visa restrictions
on his presence at fundraising events for Sinn Féin.

Mr Adams was speaking ahead of a keynote address at St
John’s University in New York.

He said that, seven months after the IRA had “removed
itself from the stage”, supporters of the peace process
must ensure that “the opportunity which has been created is
not thrown away”.

“The focus of those who want to see the full implementation
of the Good Friday Agreement has to be on the next steps in
the peace process and what needs to be done to break the
impasse,” Mr Adams said.

“Sinn Féin believes that the approach of the two
governments, in pandering to the intransigence of the DUP,
is contributing to this impasse.”

Mr Adams said he was “increasingly concerned” by the
approach of Taoiseach Bertie Ahern and British prime
minister Tony Blair.

The Sinn Féin leader also criticised the “partisan
behaviour of the American administration”.

“I get the sense that there is a shared frustration in
Ireland and the US that the process is being allowed to
dangerously drift. At a time when leadership and certainty
is required, the two governments have failed to act
decisively,” Mr Adams said.

“The attitude of the Irish government within the process
has been disappointing. Its stance in the recent Stormont
talks in which it supported the DUP proposal to exclude
Sinn Féin, its breach of commitments on Northern
representation [in the Dáil], and its preoccupation with
next year’s general election and the growth of Sinn Féin
have all had a negative impact on the process. It needs to
see beyond narrow party political concerns.”

Mr Adams insisted that progress was required before the

“It is my firm belief that we can make progress. Sinn Féin
has put forward proposals for breaking the log jam in the
process in the short-term, and we are seeking US support
for them. We need to see progress before the summer and
well in advance of the marching season.

“That means the British government lifting the suspension
of the political institutions and both governments making
it clear to the DUP that the Good Friday Agreement is the
only show in town.

“The two governments need to set out a timetable for the
restoration of the political institutions and delivery on
policing, justice, equality and human rights.

“There is an opportunity to end the impasse in the
political and peace process but it means the governments
taking decisive action in the coming weeks,” Mr Adams said.

Irish-American leaders have rolled in behind Mr Adams’
criticisms of the Bush administration.

Irish Northern Aid chairman Paul Doris said the visa
restrictions on Mr Adams sent out “entirely the wrong
message to… those who support democracy in Ireland”.

Mr Doris added: “Whoever made this decision has no concept
of what is happening in Ireland and the tremendous work
that Gerry Adams has done in driving the peace process

“Adams is allowed to fundraise in every country in the
world, including Britain, and this decision makes no sense


US President To Tell Parties: Get On With Peace Process

By William Graham

Ahead of Friday’s visit by Irish politicians to the White
House for St Patrick’s Day, US special envoy Mitchell Reiss
tells Political Correspondent William Graham in an
exclusive interview that it’s time to complete the
unfinished business of the peace process

President George W Bush will tell Northern Ireland
political parties on St Patrick’s Day that there is
unfinished business in the Irish peace process and “to get
on with it”, US special envoy to Ireland Ambassador
Mitchell Reiss said.

In the course of an exclusive interview with The Irish News
Mr Reiss indicated:

n that he was encouraged by the Independent Monitoring
Commission’s assessment that the IRA has taken a strategic
decision away from violence

n that people are working hard behind the scenes to try and
wean loyalist paramilitaries away from violence and there
are encouraging signs

n that he hopes Sinn Fein will sign up to policing and en-
courage their constituents to cooperate with police and
join the PSNI.

Asked for his assessment of the current position, he said:
“I think things right now seem to be temporarily at an im-
passe. But we have seen this before; the process does not
always move forward in a linear fashion. Sometimes it is a
little faster, sometimes it is a little slower.

“Right now I think we are all trying to explore ways in
which we can move forward.”

Asked if he had ideas on how to move the process forward,
Mr Reiss replied: “Well I do have some ideas but I prefer
to keep them to myself for the time being until after I
have had a chance to talk to my counterparts from Dublin
and London this week, and also the leaders from Northern
Ireland that will be meeting in Washington.”

Mr Reiss was asked whether Americans were now turned off or
bored with the Northern Ireland peace process, with issues
which were supposed to have been dealt with at the time of
the Good Friday Agreement.

“I don’t think it is a turn-off,” the ambassador said.

“Many Americans believe that Northern Ireland is a success
story and in many ways it is. Things have moved on
significantly since 1998 – almost always for the better –
in Northern Ireland.

“But I also think that people who follow things closely
realise there is still a bit of unfinished business there
and that we will only realise the full promise of the Good
Friday Agreement when you have locally restored
institutions run by locally accountable people.

“That is the goal. So, we are not quite there yet.”

The two issues of policing and devolution, Mr Reiss said,
were certainly at the top of the list.

“There are a range of other issues but I think policing is
clearly important. And then restoring the assembly, getting
it up and running again,” he said.

“Those [issues] are related.

“There are a host of other issues that different parties
want to promote. These are two of the biggest ones.”

On policing, he said: “Everybody has a right to decent
policing and people should not have to live in ghettos; not
in Northern Ireland, not in the 21st century.

“So, if people are critical of certain aspects of policing
then we need to debate those and talk about those and
hopefully change those if they need changing.

“But there has been tremendous progress made in this area
and it is the foundation of any decent society.”

Did Mr Reiss think Sinn Fein would come on board with
regard to policing?

“I certainly hope so. And again they do have some concerns
that I am mindful about and one of my responsibilities is
to listen carefully and see if I can do anything to satisfy
those concerns, to make it easier for them to endorse
policing and to recommend that their constituents co-
operate with the police and join the PSNI,” he said.

“I will be continuing to have those conversations with Sinn
Fein officials this week in Washington.”

Mr Reiss declined to be drawn into commenting on the make-
up of the new Policing Board announced this week by
Secretary of State Peter Hain.

He said, however, that he would be meeting the present
board within the next few days for discussions and wanted
to hear from them about any “implications”.

Asked what the essential message from President Bush this
St Patrick’s Day about Northern Ireland completing the long
journey to peace would be, the ambassador said: “First and
foremost this [St Patrick’s Day] is really a day to
celebrate the remarkable ties that bind the United States
and Ireland and the personal friendship between the
president and the taoi-seach, the vibrant economic ties
between our two countries now and the role that Ireland
plays on the world stage.

“We should recognise that because this is the central theme
of every St Patrick’s Day.”

Mr Reiss added: “In addition to that, we do want to
emphasise that there is unfinished business. We want the
political parties to get on with it and the president will
reinforce that message and his determination to do
everything the United States can do to help the British and
Irish governments and the parties to achieve that.”

On the subject of paramilitaries, Mr Reiss was asked about
the current status of the IRA and if he believed that
organisation had now taken a totally political path.

“I was encouraged by the latest IMC report which makes the
point that the IRA, in their assessment, has taken a
strategic decision away from violence. I find that very

“I will be talking to members of the IMC and of course
people from Northern Ireland, who really are the best
judge, in this coming week and get a little more
clarification on this,” he said.

It was put to Mr Reiss that loyalist paramilitaries were
still in business. Did he be-lieve they could be brought
along the ‘peace road’?

“I think a lot of people are working very hard, very
quietly, to do this, in engaging with them to try and wean
them away from violence, to try and get them to stop their
criminal activities,” he said.

“‘I think there are some encouraging signs. We clearly have
a way to go but this is an absolutely essential part of
completing the journey.”

Asked if he was convinced that the conflict in Northern
Ireland was over or if he thought unpredictable events – or
apathy – could drag the situation backwards, he re-plied:
“There is certainly not any apathy or lack of determination
from Washington and I don’t detect any from Ireland or
London either.

“In fact quite the opposite as the prime ministers have
been on the record about wanting to make a big push this

“I do think it is useful for pe-ople to disaggregate the
peace from the process, even if we are temporarily at a
standstill in the political process.

“The peace has gone quite well. People are getting on with
their jobs, the economy is doing very well, downtown
Belfast the skyline is being transformed, integrated
education is going forward and there is more support for
the police service than there has ever been across all the

“So, again it is easy to become obsessed with the Byzantine
detail of the political negotiations and lose track of the
larger picture here – which is that things are trending in
the right direction in Northern Ireland.”


Washington Events Provide Opportunity For SDLP To Return To
Good Friday Agreement Fold

Published: 15 March, 2006

Sinn Féin MP for Newry and Armagh Conor Murphy today said
that the St. Patrick's Day events in the US provided an
opportunity for the SDLP leader Mark Durkan to remove once
and for all the ridiculous proposal to allow the British
government to appoint commissioners to run the ten local

Speaking from London where he is briefing MPs Mr Murphy

"Despite recent moves by the SDLP to follow the lead set by
Sinn Féin and demand that the two governments move to lift
suspension and restore the political institutions, they
have yet to remove from the table the ridiculous proposal
for British appointed commissioners running the local
departments, and they have yet to distance themselves from
the remarks of Dominc Bradley, when he indicated that the
party was actively seeking alternatives to the Good Friday
Agreement institutions.

"The proposal for commissioners when first made was seized
upon by the opponents of change and has since appeared in
DUP policy papers aimed at hollowing out the power sharing
core of the Good Friday Agreement. This weekends events in
Washington present an opportunity for the SDLP leader Mark
Durkan to make it clear that his party has returned to the
Good Friday Agreement fold and that this proposal has been
binned once and for all.

"We do not need proposals for alternative institutions as
proposed by Dominic Bradley. We do not need British
appointed commissioners to do the bidding of Whitehall.
What we need is the two governments ending their pandering
to the DUP and moving forward on the terms laid out in the
Agreement." ENDS


Taoiseach Heads To Washington

15/03/2006 - 08:15:42

The Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, is due to travel to Washington
DC today as part of his traditional St Patrick's Day trip
to the United States.

Mr Ahern has spent the last two days in San Jose,
California, where he has attended a series of engagements
and meetings with local businessmen.

This evening, he is due to meet New York-based lobbyists
seeking green cards for tens of thousands of illegal Irish
immigrants in the US before holding talks on the matter
with Senator Ted Kennedy tomorrow.

Mr Kennedy has put forward legislation that could see these
immigrants have their status regularised within six years.

Mr Ahern is also due to present the traditional bowl of
shamrock to George W Bush at the White House on Friday
before holding talks with the US President on a range of
Irish issues, particularly the peace process.



Irish Join Battle Over Illegal Immigration

St. Patrick's Day vehicle for activists seeking reform

- Tyche Hendricks, Chronicle Staff Writer
Wednesday, March 15, 2006

The Irish are standing up to be counted among the nation's
illegal immigrants, hoping their civic appeal at St.
Patrick's Day will soften the debate over immigration

At St. Patrick's Day parades in San Francisco and Chicago
last weekend, activists with the Irish Lobby for
Immigration Reform wore white-and-green T-shirts saying
"Legalize The Irish" and passed out fliers urging people to
call their elected representatives in support of allowing
undocumented workers to earn legal status as guest workers.
Similar activism is expected at parades in other cities in
coming days.

Adding heft to the immigrants' message, Irish Prime
Minister Bertie Ahern, who visited San Jose on Tuesday,
plans to push President Bush for legal status for illegal
Irish immigrants when he visits the White House on Friday,
St. Patrick's Day.

Although most of this country's 11 million to 12 million
illegal immigrants are from Mexico and Central America,
about 50,000 Irish people are among 3 million illegal
immigrants from countries outside Latin America. Other
countries contributing significantly to illegal immigration
are Russia, Poland, Canada, Haiti, Korea, India, China and
the Philippines.

"We've had some very surprised reactions when they hear it
is an issue for the Irish," said Celine Kennelly, executive
director for the Irish Immigration Pastoral Center in San
Francisco, an advice and referral service sponsored by the
Irish Catholic Conference of Bishops.

"They are in as dire straits as any other ethnic group,"
said Kennelly, who estimates there are 3,000 to 4,000 Irish
illegal immigrants in San Francisco, most working in
construction, in restaurants or as nannies and caretakers
for the elderly. "They cannot get driver's licenses, it's
harder to open bank accounts, they cannot travel home and
return again. ... The relationship between Ireland and
America is so long and fantastic, but it's in danger now."

More than 250,000 Irish immigrants reside in the United
States, according to the census, and most of them are here
legally. But in recent decades, most arrivals from Ireland
have overstayed their visas and become illegal immigrants,
said Kennelly, because the government is issuing fewer work
visas. A 1991 program offered legal permanent residence to
about 16,000 undocumented Irish, but there has been no
legalization plan since then.

Kennelly helped organize a town hall meeting in San
Francisco this month that drew 1,000 Irish immigrants ready
to campaign on the issue. And she was among 2,000 Irish
people who rallied in Washington last week for guest-worker
legislation sponsored by Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and
Edward Kennedy, D-Mass.

In Chicago on Friday, hundreds of Irish residents joined an
unprecedented 100,000-strong rally opposing a bill that
passed the House last year and another proposed that's
scheduled to come to the Senate Judiciary Committee on
Thursday that would make it a felony to be an illegal
immigrant or to aid one.

"Most people thought it was just a Mexican thing, but it's
not. It's Irish, Polish, Korean, Chinese," said Billy
Lawless, the owner of two Chicago pubs who led a contingent
called Celts for Immigration Reform. "If they want to
deport the whole group, who's going to work in our
kitchens? Who's going to work in our construction

Lawless compared the anti-immigrant sentiment he has
encountered from groups like the Minutemen to the cold
reception Irish immigrants received when they fled the
potato famine in their homeland in the 19th century.

Illegal Irish immigrants, like those from other parts of
Europe and Asia, generally enter the United States on a
legitimate work, school or tourist visa and stay after it

In the Bay Area, immigrant advocates plan a hunger strike
and candlelight vigil all next week at the San Francisco
Federal Building in a push for immigration reform.
Organizer Sheila Chung said she expects participation from
Irish immigrants, as well as Latino, Filipino, Chinese,
Caribbean, Arab and others.

Irish participation -- motivated in part by Catholic
archbishops -- can help advance the immigration-reform
movement, said East Bay immigration lawyer Sarnata
Reynolds, who is Irish by birth.

"They're a community that isn't viewed as 'bad.' People
don't assume they might be undocumented," she said. "The
Irish lobby has been very well organized for years, and
they have a tradition of rallying around issues of social

©2006 San Francisco Chronicle


Wilkinson Backs Moves To Ease Plight Of Illegal Irish
Immigrants In US

Waterford Fianna Fáil TD Ollie Wilkinson has backed
legislative moves to ease the plight of illegal Irish
immigrants in the US in the run-up to St Patrick’s Day.

Deputy Wilkinson said illegal Irish people should be
allowed to freely move within the US and back and forward
to Ireland in an effort to set them upon the path towards
full citizenship.

‘Some 25,000 illegal Irish immigrants risk being thrown out
of the US. Many undocumented workers have been living there
for decades after they were forced to leave Ireland in the
days before our economic prosperity.

‘More of them cannot come home for special family occasions
such as weddings and funerals. I know of several families
in Waterford whose relatives are essentially trapped in the
US because they cannot return there is they leave,’ said
Deputy Wilkinson.

He said US officials can deport Irish immigrants who do not
have documentation. The McCain-Kennedy Bill, which is
currently going through the US Congress, would give them a
two-year period of grace which could be extended to four
years and six years.

‘During that time, Irish immigrants would be allowed to
freely move within the US and back and forward to Ireland.
After six years, they could apply for full residency. I
believe the Bill is our best hope of easing the plight of
illegal Irish immigrants in the US,’ said Deputy Wilkinson.

He said the Irish Government is investing heavily in US
agencies both in Britain and in the US to help improve the
lives of Irish emigrants.

‘The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dermot Ahern TD, will
raise the Irish immigrants issue with the US President,
George W Bush, during the St Patrick’s Day celebrations
this year. It is vital that we stand full-square behind
efforts to support our own people living in the US. They
must remain at the centre of our foreign policy,’ said
Deputy Wilkinson.


Ring Makes An Appeal For Irish Emigrants In US

MAYO Deputy Michael Ring has called on the Taoiseach and
Government Ministers to meet with members of the ILIR
(Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform) group during their
forthcoming visit to America. The Irish Lobby for
Immigration Reform was set up to lobby the US government on
behalf of the estimated 40,000 undocumented Irish in the

“I raised this issue in the D·il again this week, asking
the Taoiseach and the Minister for Foreign Affairs Dermot
Ahern to meet our Irish citizens in America and to lobby
hard while in America on behalf of the thousands of Irish
people living undocumented in the USA.”

A rally was organised on the 8th March by the ILIR in
Washington. It was the largest Irish Demonstration ever in
the US Capital as more than 2,400 undocumented Irish
immigrants and their supporters rallied in support of an
immigration reform Bill that would allow them to remain in
the US legally.

Senators John McCain and Hilary Clinton made an appearance
at the rally.

“If Senators Ted Kennedy, John McCain and Hillary Clinton
can meet with the undocumented Irish people in America ti
would be very sad if the Irish Taoiseach and the Irish
Minister for Foreign Affairs would not meet their own
people in America.”

Minister Ahern confirmed that “The programme for the St.
Patrick’s Day period in Washington for the Taoiseach and
myself is now being finalised. We both would hope to meet
the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform, which is actively
representing the interests of the undocumented, during our

Deputy Ring said that the the Irish contribution, both
culturally and economically, to the US has been enormous
and that he urged the Taoiseach and Minister Dermot Ahern
to convey to President Bush and his Administration, and to
key players in Congress, the Government’s strong support
for measures to address the position of our undocumented.


Two Held In Schoolboy Murder Probe

15/03/2006 - 11:15:21

A man and woman were today being questioned about the
murder of a Northern Ireland schoolboy.

The pair, both aged 22, were detained by detectives in
Belfast hunting the killers of Thomas Devlin.

Thomas, 15, was knifed to death in the north of the city
after going out to buy sweets with friends last August.

He was stabbed five times in the back during the attack as
he walked home along the Somerton Road.

At the time police said a sectarian motive was one of
several being considered.

Although several people have been questioned about the
Belfast Royal Academy student’s murder, no-one has been

Detectives have said the prime suspects in the inquiry were
two young men seen with a black and white dog.

As the probe continued, a Police Service of Northern
Ireland spokeswoman confirmed: “A 22-year-old man and a 22-
year-old woman were arrested in Belfast this morning in
connection with the investigation into the murder of Thomas


Ongoing Use Of Shannon Airport By US Military A Shameful
Travesty - Ó Snodaigh

Published: 15 March, 2006

Sinn Féin spokesperson on International Affairs, Aengus Ó
Snodaigh TD is today joining a number of members of the
Houses of the Oireachtas in a protest in Shannon Airport.
The group of Oireachtas members are part of a wider group
of anti-war activists who are protesting at the continued
use of Shannon Airport by the US military on their way to
participate in conflicts in the Middle East. Deputy Ó
Snodaigh described the permission granted to the US by the
Irish Government as an "ongoing and shameful travesty"
which he said, "directly contravened any pretence of
neutrality that this state thinks it has".

Speaking as he flew to Shannon from Dublin Deputy Ó
Snodaigh said, "I was part of a protest at this Airport
over a year ago. Since then we have seen from official
figures that the number of US military personnel using this
facility increase at a staggering rate. And while that
figure is on the increase so too does the carnage in Iraq
seem to grow on an almost daily basis. Eighty-five people,
mostly civilians were killed in Iraq yesterday. This is the
reality of the US led occupation of Iraq -- civilians have
been paying with their lives in the tens of thousands since
the war began. The Government of the state cannot wash its
hands of responsibility for this unjustified and completely
unnecessary slaughter. Blood money is not an excuse --
there are no excuses for this ongoing and shameful
travesty. The stance of our Government ministers, from
Defence to Justice and across the board is one that I am
certain is directly at odds with the views of the majority
of people on this island. It is certainly in direct
contravention of any pretence of neutrality that this state
thinks it has.

"The US led war on Iraq is a war that was based on
grotesque lies. Unfortunately they are similar lies that
are now being promulgated about Iraq's neighbour Iran.
Anti-war activists around the world foretold that this is
what would happen.

"But this protest we are engaged in today is not only about
the use of Shannon Airport to ferry thousands of US troops
to conflict in the Middle East, it is also about the
failure of the Irish government to properly address and
investigate the serious allegations that the airport is
being used by the CIA to facilitate its practice of
kidnapping people from around the world and transporting
them illegally for detention and torture. This practice
known as "extraordinary rendition" is a clear violation of
basic human rights. For the Irish Government to willingly
turn a blind eye or bury its head in the sand is the same
as being an active participant in the process. To have any
credibility in relation to respect for international law
and human rights the Irish government must immediately
suspend any further use of Irish Airports and airspace by
the US military and intelligence agencies." ENDS


Feud Row Widow In Sickbed Request To Adams

By Ashleigh Wallace
15 March 2006

West Belfast pensioner Edith Notorantonio - whose family is
in the midst of a bitter feud in Ballymurphy - has
requested an urgent meeting with Gerry Adams from her
hospital bed.

The 77-year-old grandmother was rushed to hospital during
the early hours of yesterday morning.

Her daughters Noreen and Charlotte believe the stress of
recent events in Ballymurphy are to blame for their
mother's poor health.

In October 1987, Edith's husband, Francisco, was shot dead
by loyalists as he slept in his bed. Speculation remains
that the murder was set up by the state to protect Freddie
Scappaticci, who was last year unmasked as an IRA informer.

Noreen said: "My mother's house was petrol bombed in
February and since then she has been living from house to
house with relatives. She's traumatised by what is

"She lived in that house for 53 years and now she's in
hospital with a chest infection and low oxygen in her

Charlotte added: "What she wants and what she is asking for
from her hospital bed is a meeting with Gerry Adams. If he
can raise Raymond McCourt's case of alleged state collusion
in America, which is more than he did for my father, he can
come and visit my mum."

Mr Adams, who is the MP for west Belfast, is currently in
America. When asked if Mr Adams would meet Mrs Notorantonio
upon his return, a spokesman for Sinn Fein said: "Sinn Fein
have met with the Notorantonio family before.

"If they want to meet Gerry Adams, they should put in a
request to his office and I presume it will not be a
problem as they are [his] constituents."

Trouble flared in Ballymurphy last month when local man and
father of six Gerard Devlin was knifed to death in the

Members of the Notorantonio family remain in police custody
charged with the murder.


DUP Backs Down Over Mcaleese Visit To North

By Maeve Connolly

THE DUP has distanced itself from calls for President Mary
McAleese to cancel a visit to a Ballymena school later this
month and the party has said it does not wish to interfere
with Ballymena Academy’s autonomy as a voluntary grammar
school, with the town’s DUP mayor stating: “We have stepped
back from all-out confrontation.”

Mayor Tommy Nicholls said his party wanted to “register our
unhappiness” that Mrs McAleese had not followed protocol
for a visiting head of state.

“My office had not had any communication from her office or
indeed Ballymena Academy nor did the lord lieutenant in Co
Antrim who is the Queen’s representative,” he said.

“That would be the normal way to do it. This is part of the
UK and if she comes as president it looks to me as if she
thinks she is president of all Ireland which she is not.”

The mayor said the DUP would “have been more responsive” if
the president’s office had made contact.

A spokeswoman at the president’s office said last night
that on every visit to the north the NIO was contacted and
protocol and security arrangements were then made.

The president is greeted by one of the north’s lord
lieutenants on her first engagement during her visit, she

Mrs McAleese has been invited to address the economics and
politics society at the school and the visit was initially
strongly opposed by the DUP with Ballymena councillor Robin
Stirling refusing to rule out a protest on the day.

He read a statement from the party at a council meeting on
Monday night although the mayor yesterday moved to distance
the council from the situation.

“I don’t want any protests,” he said. “While it was
discussed at council with one member of the DUP reading a
statement it wasn’t what we normally do, that we make it
into a motion, because we didn’t feel we wanted the council
to be involved.

“Of course it is for a school and for any organisation to
invite who it wants and we have made that clear.”

Mr Nicholls said Mrs McAleese should have waited “until her
offensive comment about Protestants in Northern Ireland was
less fresh” before visiting.

Mrs McAleese made the contentious remark 13 months ago.


Alarming Increase In 'Suicidal' Ulster Kids

By Kathryn Torney
15 March 2006

More Ulster kids are conveying suicidal thoughts when they
make calls to Childline.

And Paddy Shannon, director of the charity in Ulster, says
it is vital more work is done to reduce the number of young
people taking their own lives.

He was speaking after the charity revealed an alarming 14%
rise in calls from suicidal children across the UK to its
free 24-hour helpline.

ChildLine - which is now part of the NSPCC - is calling on
the Government to undertake an in-depth study of young
suicides and suicide attempts, including talking to
children who have attempted suicide, to help ensure that
children on the verge of suicide get prompt access to help.

In addition, ChildLine believes that every school should
have a teacher responsible for safeguarding and promoting
the welfare of pupils and ensuring their mental health and
well-being needs are met.

The charity said this must be backed up by provision of on-
site counselling services and other support structures,
including schemes that enable children to learn to help and
support each other.

Mr Shannon said: "Suicide is a tragedy and more much more
work is needed to reduce the number of children who choose
to take their own lives."

Calls to ChildLine show that abuse, rows, bullying and
stress are just some of the things that can cause suicidal

Any child or young person who is feeling suicidal can call
ChildLine free on 0800 1111.


Churches Focus On Hate Crimes

By William Scholes Religious Affairs Correspondent

Days after a Catholic church in east Belfast was desecrated
and daubed with racist graffiti, parishioners will tonight
meet other congregations to consider a response to hate

St Colmcille’s, on the Upper Newtownards Road in the Bally-
hackamore area, was attacked twice last week.

Fr Paddy Delargy said the sectarian and racist attacks had
disrupted a parish mission.

The parish has a lively ministry among immigrants,
including South African, Filipino, Asian and eastern
European families.

“Foreign nationals are vital to our congregation and
community,” Fr Delargy said last Friday, after the last

St Colmcille’s is a member of the Belmont Council of
Churches which includes several Protest-ant congregations
in east Belfast.

Members of the other congregations in the council attended
Mass at St Colmcille’s on Sunday to show solidarity.

As part of a Lenten course called ‘A Time to Love, A Time
to Hate’ the council is holding meetings considering how to
respond to hate crime.

The second meeting in the series takes place at 8pm today
at St Columba’s Church of Ireland on Kings Road.


DUP Weighs Up Possible Talks With UDA Chiefs

By Noel McAdam
15 March 2006

DUP officers are to meet in the next week to decide on
moving closer towards potential talks with loyalist
paramilitary groups, it has been revealed.

The officers' board will debate the issue following a
meeting between party deputy leader Peter Robinson and
North Belfast MP Nigel Dodds with Loyalist Commission
member the Rev Mervyn Gibson last week.

Party officers sanctioned the meeting with Mr Gibson, who
chairs the commission. It is an umbrella group which
includes loyalist paramilitaries, clergy and community

East Belfast MP Mr Robinson described the talks as "useful"
but said he would first be reporting back to party

A spokesman said officers were due to meet in the next week
or so and there was no need to refer the issue to the
party's executive.

Mr Robinson said his party wanted to encourage those within
loyalist paramilitary groups who want to move away from
criminality and violence.

He told the BBC's Inside Politics show there was a "fair
idea" of how some further progress could be made - but what
form any contact will take would be a decision for

Mr Robinson also accepted talks with the UDA would bring
the party under criticism for refusing to hold direct talks
with Sinn Fein.

"There would be those who would say that and that's why the
party officers will consider all elements of the issue
before they take a decision," he said.

"Possibilities might be plentiful."


Opin: UDA: Still United ... In Crime

By Lindy McDowell
15 March 2006

The UDA - None Shall Separate Us. They're having a laugh,
aren't they? The UDA motto - it's a rough translation from
the Latin, Quis Separabit - was appended this week to the
organisation's latest statement (yawn) about how it was
about to, any day now, refrain from violence and

None Shall Separate Us?

This from an organisation that's had more separations than
Sienna Millar and Jude Law. That's had more splits than a
Kraft Cheese String.

Who Shall Separate Them? What about Johnny Adair? Jim Gray?
And now, according to "sources" within the UDA itself, the
Shoukri circus in North Belfast, which has been flouting
guidelines from touchy-huggy Command Central?

The point of the release of this week's statement of the
usual, hackneyed, old drivel, was that the UDA could "state
categorically" (do they ever state anything any other way?)
that the Red Hand Defenders do not exist.

Presumably this is meant to come as some sort of comfort to
the Catholic taxi driver who had a gun put to his head last
week. Fortunately the gun jammed. The attack was later
claimed by the RHD - a cover name that's been used in the
past by the UDA.

But not anymore, according to the statement. With total
absence of irony, the UDA asserts that, "individuals using
this cover name are criminals who are motivated by self-

Criminals motivated by self-gain, eh? Hardly an alien
concept one would have thought, within UDA ranks. Where
none shall separate them from the crime empire.

While the UDA has been flaunting its motto of late, oddly
enough another paramilitary slogan seems to have been

Whatever happened to tiocfaidh ar la? Once the republican
line about "our day will come" was hammered home at every
opportunity. You hardly ever hear it any more.

But maybe this is it. Maybe republicanism's day HAS come.
Maybe this is what all those people were murdered for -
Northern Ireland still intact, but the republican movement
coining it from criminality, fags and dodgy diesel.

The paramilitary motto on all sides? It's about making
money out of misery.

When it comes to feathering their own nests, they're all
"criminals who are motivated by self-gain."

None shall separate them.


Opin: All Change In World Of All-Ireland Politics

The Wednesday Column
By Brian Feeney

People say nothing ever changes here, but they’re wrong.
Movement is so slow, glacial even, that usually people
don’t notice. Take the events, or lack of them, of the past
three weeks.

What events, you might ask?

Didn’t Bertie Ahern and Tony Blair promise great things and
didn’t their beautifully maintained local representative
set March 8 as another deadline? And what happened?
Nothing. No proposals, no big speech from Blair, no joint
press conference at Downing Street. The fact that nothing
happened is the whole point. It was one-nil for Sinn Fein
and the SDLP. They managed to get the Irish government to
pull the plug on the stupid unworkable plans the NIO had
persuaded the British government to adopt.

Now there’s change for you. Twenty years ago unionists were
going nuts about the Anglo-Irish Agreement. They were
refusing to speak to British ministers. Peter Robinson led
an incursion of thugs across the border, was captured,
convicted and fined 15,000 punts. Unionists resigned their
seats at Westminster, fought by-elections and lost a seat
to Seamus Mallon. Meanwhile, Irish civil servants were,
this time 20 years ago, getting their knees under their
desks at Maryfield as the DUP and UUP, with the help of
their friends in the UDA and UVF, organised mass protests.
March 6 1986 was designated a ‘day of action’. It turned
out to be a complete failure.

Now do you spot the change? A fortnight ago the Irish
government told the British their plans for a shadow
assembly were outside the terms of the Good Friday
Agreement, were totally opposed by nationalists here and
would not work. In other words, the Irish government,
acting on behalf of SF and the SDLP, vetoed proposals for
the internal administration of the north’s affairs and no-
one, certainly no unionist, said ‘Boo’. They didn’t even
notice, so completely normal has it become for the Irish
government to be intimately involved in the north’s
internal affairs. Yet 20 years ago the reaction would have
been mayhem.

Another change over the years of cooperation between
Britain and the Republic has been the development of close
relations between officials. Twenty years ago a few locally
recruited officials resigned or were transferred because
they wouldn’t work the Anglo-Irish Agreement. Civil
servants at the NIO used to meet to plan what not to tell
Irish civil servants at Maryfield. Now, a generation later,
if the two governments agree on anything, it is that they
will not permit anything or anyone in the north to divide
them. They even managed to stick together publicly while
John Bruton and John Major were doing their best to wreck
the IRA ceasefire in 1995.

There’s another remarkable change which has occurred
recently, again with hardly anyone noticing. Unionists now
increasingly see the Irish government as their best defence
against Sinn Fein. Bertie Ahern has successfully convinced
unionists that the Republic does not want to invade and
annex the north. Michael McDowell regularly supplies the
DUP with ammunition against Sinn Fein. Who would have
thought a few years ago that DUP politicians would be
quoting an Irish minister of justice with approval?

While the British government tries to coerce the DUP into
sharing power with SF the DUP quote speeches by Irish
ministers, including the taoiseach, to the effect that they
would not have SF in a coalition government in 2007 because
of continuing association with robberies and racketeering.
As a result, the Paisleyites see no problem in routinely
trooping to the capital to discuss north-south matters with
the government, something unthinkable even three years ago.
All of which is very worrying because you’ll notice another
change. Gone are the days of what unionists called the
‘pan-nationalist front’. Gone are the days when an Irish
government automatically supported the views of the party
in the north which the majority of nationalists voted for.
Now, with the Irish government in open competition for
votes in its own backyard with the party the majority of
northern nationalists support, it’s no longer always in the
Irish government’s interest to give unquestioning support
to SF’s northern position. Preferable to play off SF, SDLP
and the DUP. Welcome to all-Ireland politics.


Opin: White House Is Colder Mansion For Sinn Fein

By Ray O'Hanlon Letter from America

A couple of days after his somewhat truncated visit to
Washington, Gerry Adams will step out as a guest of honour
in the St Patrick’s Day parade in Holyoke, Massachusetts.

St Patrick’s Day is no longer a literal term. It is a
season, with parades in American towns and cities that
stretches pretty well through the entire month of March.

Holyoke is one of the bigger ones, though the town itself
is not especially large.

It is a few miles up the road from the much larger city of
Springfield, political home base to Congressman Richard
‘Richie’ Neal.

Mr Neal is a co-chair of the congressional Ad Hoc Committee
for Irish Affairs and a staunch defender of fundraising
rights for Adams and his party colleagues.

Mr Neal was in the front line of the campaign to persuade
Bill Clinton to grant Mr Adams an initial US visa, a
successful effort that secured landing rights in early 1994
for the then ex-MP from west Belfast.

Springfield is the third largest city in Massachusetts. It
is where basketball was born in 1891 and is today home to
that sport’s hall of fame.

It has also been a centre for gun manufacturing since the
19th century, gave its name to a series of famous US army
rifles and is where the Smith and Wesson company came into

Holyoke is a little more than 10 miles north of
Springfield, just across the multiple lanes of the
Massachusetts Turnpike.

But each has shared similarly hard economic times in recent

Both are in close proximity to the tourist havens of the
nearby Berkshire Mountains. But they are old industry hubs,
not trendy, new economy destinations.

Some of the problems both Springfield and Holyoke face
would be familiar to Adams, again the MP for West Belfast.

In a story published last weekend, The New York Times
reported that Springfield seemed down in the dumps, “the
victim of a decimated industrial base, middle-class flight
and seemingly intractable poverty, all greatly aggravated
by years of government mismanagement and corruption that
have left it at risk of bankruptcy.”

A quarter of the city’s 152,000 residents now lived in
poverty, the report stated.

With the main drag in such a mess, Holyoke, not
surprisingly, is feeling the pinch too. But it has the big
Irish parade, which is a good thing, most years anyway.

Back in 2003, things did get a little out of hand when four
spectators were wounded after a handgun was fired when two
rival local gangs clashed at the event.

The gangs were a reminder that even the most Irish of towns
don’t stay that way for ever.

The gangs were Hispanic. One was La Familia, the other went
by the name of the Latin Kings.

But for all its economic and social woes, Adams will find
Holyoke a welcoming place.

It will be colder in meteorological terms by far than
Washington where, just 11 years ago, he was the sensation
of the day when he first turned up for St Patrick’s Day
celebrations in the American capital.

Adams, the less grey 1995 version, was given equal footing
– but effectively had star billing – with all other guests
at the White House reception that year hosted by Bill and
Hillary Clinton.

He will be back in the White House on Friday. But it is a
colder mansion than it was in 1995 for visiting Irish

And he will be there in the aftermath of a fundraising
breakfast that wasn’t.

The refusal by the Bush administration to allow Mr Adams to
fundraise at the nearby Hilton Hotel will not stop the

But it has left a sour taste in the mouth of Sinn Fein

“It is especially regretful that President Bush has made
such a decision in light of the significant contributions
that have been made to the Irish peace process during the
past nine months due to courageous efforts of Mr Adams,”
Larry Downes, president of the fundraising group Friends of
Sinn Fein, said in a statement.

Up in Springfield and Holyoke, solid Democratic country,
mention of President Bush is not likely to draw too many
cheers these hard times. But the man who took the Smith and
Wesson out of Irish politics and jumped through many a hoop
to do it, can expect a few aimed his way.

Massachusetts in mid-March might be a cold place.

But it knows how to throw out the welcome mat for someone
who has suffered an even colder Washington shoulder.


Opin: On The Streets, Nobody Cares About Bringing Back

(by Suzanne Breen, Sunday Tribune)

Up to 1,000 people packed into Belfast's Europa hotel last
week for a Cheltenham festival preview night. If there was
a preview night for the return of Stormont, the organisers
would be lucky to get 100 – and they'd probably be bussed
in by Sinn Féin.

It's not PC to say so but most Northerners, nationalist and
unionist, couldn't care less about restoring devolution.
Wednesday's talks with the political parties were
cancelled, yet another deadline failed, and a blueprint on
the way forward is to be prepared by London and Dublin. So
what? Belfast doesn't care.

We constantly hear democracy is being denied to Northern
Ireland which longs for its politicians to get their act
together and re-establish Stormont. It's a tiresome mantra,
and it's untrue.

Whenever Radio Ulster's current affairs' programme,
Talkback, mentions the negotiations, the lines are jammed
with callers saying the whole Stormont set-up is a waste of
money, and it's time the Brits pulled the plug.

The two governments will publish their proposals before the
summer. Only politicians and journalists will be

Bertie and Blair are keen for a deal. It would boost Fianna
Fail's election prospects, and Blair is likely to hand over
to Gordon Brown next year. Exiting the stage against a
backdrop of lasting peace in Belfast, if not in Baghdad,
would be perfect.

Privately, both governments admit they haven't a clue how
to pull it off. There was a huge miscalculation when the
DUP triumphed in last year's Westminster elections. It was
presumed the party's head would be turned by power.

But the DUP, unlike the Ulster Unionists, isn't a party to
be seduced by access to Prime Ministers and Presidents. The
Rev Ian Paisley is a 21st century rarity – a politician
above temptation. Conviction is all. Even the best and
brightest of Blair's backroom boys didn't stand a chance.

The DUP remains adamant there must be a shadow assembly,
with a lengthy confidence-building period, before Sinn Féin
enters government.

It saw David Trimble jump, time and time again, only to be
undermined by some IRA illegal act. It will make that leap
but not before several positive IMC reports. "The DUP isn't
frightened of change but it's frightened of being complicit
in change," claims one nationalist talks' insider.

Sinn Féin and the SDLP reject the stepping-stone approach,
forseeing years of DUP foot-dragging. They want an
Executive now. Mark Durkan's hardline position has
surprised many unionists.

Nobody doubts the SDLP's desire to see devolution restored.
But is Sinn Féin just going through the motions? Continuing
direct rule means it talks directly to the British
government and needn't go downmarket dealing with unionist
'neanderthals'. A settlement would curtail those high-
profile Downing Street trips.

But that theory isn't completely convincing. The Shinners'
over-riding aim is political power down South. They know
that seeing their ministers run the North would work
wonders across the Border, steadying the nerves of
potential middle-class voters concerned about Sinn Féin's
fitness for government.

In the North, the only argument for Stormont that strikes a
chord in republican areas is that if unionists are opposed
to devolution, it must be a good thing.

And nationalists justifiably point out that while IRA
activity still dominates the political agenda, the UDA's
attempted murder of a taxi-driver last weekend passed
almost unnoticed.

But while republican grassroots will take to the streets to
stop Orange parades or commemorate the hunger-strikers,
marching to 'Bring Back Stormont' doesn't inspire.

Three years of devolution made little substantial
difference to everyday life in the Bogside or Ballymurphy.
There wasn't a noticeable improvement or deterioration in
hospitals, schools or wages.

The absence of a groundswell of opinion demanding a deal
makes the two governments' attempts to secure one harder.
London's strategy is to offer sweeteners.

The DUP has just secured a £250 million redundancy package
for the Royal Irish Regiment. A multi-million package for
deprived Protestant areas is on the way.

The disastrous on-the-run legislation, and proposals to
fund controversial Community Restorative Justice (CRJ)
schemes in nationalist areas were to be Sinn Féin's
sweeteners. "The British should stop indulging spoilt
children and send in Supernanny to sort everything out,"
says one exasperated SDLP insider.

But the mood on the streets is indifferent. Interest in
restoring devolution is a minority sport. Most of us are
concentrating on more important matters: is Moscow Flyer
too old to win a third Champion Chase this week at
Prestbury Park?

March 15, 2006


St. Patrick's Parade Route Lined In Politics

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Planning for the Holyoke St. Patrick's Parade is a labor of

Love of the parade. Love of Holyoke. Love of the Irish.

And, of course, a love of politics.

Everyone who comes to see the floats and balloons, the
green and the colleens, the dancers and drummers, baton
twirlers and trumpeters, is ordained Irish on this day. But
rarely do they get a view of the parade's politics, which
courses through the patriarchal hierarchy of the Holyoke
St. Patrick's Parade Committee like the River Liffey flows
through Dublin.

Until this year.

First it was the news that Gerry Adams, the political
leader and an ex-commander of the now-disbanded and always-
outlawed Irish Republican Army, is marching in the parade
on Sunday at the invitation of U.S. Rep. Richard E. Neal,
D-Springfield, a parade sponsor.

Then it was the news that President Bush's former Homeland
Security director, Tom Ridge, the John F. Kennedy Award
recipient and former Pennsylvania governor, won't be
marching. Holyoke attorney Peter Brady recently revealed
that tidbit in an "OMG" fashion (gasp, hand to mouth, Oh My
God), during a recent meeting of the parade committee,
while offering assurances that, having just become aware of
the snafu, the committee would try to untangle Ridge's
apparent scheduling conflict.

Enter Murphy's Law No. 3. "Anything that can go wrong will
go wrong."

At this same meeting at The Wherehouse? Brady did not share
with fellow parade committee members that he and parade
President David J. "D.J." O'Connor knew from the get-go
that Ridge had said he couldn't march on Sunday.

But he might be forgiven the faux pas, since he also was
busy dealing with an irate parade committee member who
wanted to withhold his financial support for the parade
because Adams, who was characterized as a terrorist, was

And, according to parade members, Brady had just learned
that his committee's JFK selection was pro-choice, a
definite no-no in the past.

This was also news to O'Connor. When he was informed a
couple of days before the monthly parade meeting that Ridge
was pro-choice, O'Connor replied, "Yes, pro-life." No, he
was told, pro-choice, or in favor of abortion rights.

How could that be, O'Connor wondered - Ridge is a good
Catholic and great family man. He referred further
questions to Brady, who, according to another parade
committee member, looked like he wanted to tear out his
hair when he heard about Ridge's abortion views.

O'Connor was audibly frustrated by this latest
complication. From the moment he took over as president,
he's had a stream of phone calls, e-mails, meetings about
the concerns and complaints.

He just loves the parade and Holyoke. He wants his grade-
school children to love this tradition celebrating Irish
identity in a community that is increasingly becoming more
Puerto Rican. By the way, if anybody in Holyoke wants to
open up the colleen contest to Puerto Rican girls and young
women between the ages of 17 and 21 (Hispanics make up
about 60 percent of the city's demographic for that age),
they are welcome to pay $50 to become a parade committee
member and submit a bylaw change.

Hey, Chicopee's parade committee did that, and, look, they
had 50 young ladies enter the contest this year.

Springfield requires a drop of Irish blood. Springfield had
six contestants.

The Most. Rev. Timothy McDonnell, bishop of the Roman
Catholic Diocese of Springfield, wasn't consulted about
Ridge, says Mark Dupont, spokesman for the bishop. As a
result of the controversy, the bishop declined to
personally hand Ridge the award, ending a tradition in

Other would-be honorees have been rejected in the past.
They include openly gay entertainer Rosie O'Donnell.

A few years back, former Springfield Bishop Thomas Dupre
rejected the committee's choice of U.S. Sen. John F. Kerry
because of his votes in favor of abortion rights. Dupre
would later resign and become the first bishop indicted in
the U.S. on sex molestation charges.

O'Connor suggested that the real reason Dupre rejected
Kerry was the revelation that Kerry, despite his surname
and the fact he was raised Catholic, was actually of
Austrian-Czech Jewish heritage.

It is said that before coming to America, Kerry's paternal
grandfather dropped a pencil on a map and it landed on the
southwest corner of Ireland, on County Kerry. With that
name, Kerry's family grew up in this immigrant nation
Catholic and, it seemed, Irish.

Most of Holyoke's Irish trace their roots to County Kerry,
which bears the brunt of a lot of jokes back in the Old
Sod, like Chicopee does here.

It is where the founders of the St. Patrick's Parade
Committee called home. The fellows from Rosary Parish in
the Flats, Sacred Heart in Churchill and St. Jerome's in
Ward 4 were bound together in the late Francis "Red"
Walsh's dream of a parade to celebrate their Irish

Walsh, a fiery redhead from Churchill who never forgot a
face or a name, bartended at the Brian Boru Club, named for
the first king to unite the island of Ireland.

Like Walsh, Adams was a bartender in Belfast. To him, the
age-old conflict is also about Irish identity. His presence
in the parade, although controversial for some, will unite
the old country with the new.

On Sunday, Holyoke's people - Irish Americans along with
Puerto Ricans, French Canadians, blacks and Poles - will
stand in the cold to watch the parade pass by, again
uniting the old with the new to celebrate a city and a
tradition they all have come to love.

Jo-Ann Moriarty is a staff writer for The Republican who
covers Washington, D.C. If you have questions related to
the Western Massachusetts congressional delegation or
issues being addressed by the U.S. House and Senate, please
send them to , attention: A View from
the Hill; be sure to include your name and a daytime
telephone number.

©2006 The Republican

© 2006 All Rights Reserved.


Toddler Killed In Accident At School In Co Clare

15/03/2006 - 07:41:16

A post mortem is due to be carried out today on the body of
a four-year-old boy who died in a tragic accident at a
school in Co Clare yesterday evening.

The boy, who was a junior infants' pupil at Feakle National
School, somehow got locked in the building yesterday

He then appears to have attempted to climb out a toilet
window, but his anorak got snagged on a hook, leaving him
dangling by the neck.

The toddler is believed to have been discovered by other
pupils, including his seven-year-old brother.

Some adults who were nearby at the time released the
youngster and carried out CPR, but he was pronounced dead
after being taken to hospital in Ennis by ambulance.


eBay To Employ 300 More Staff In Dublin

15 March 2006 10:21

The internet company eBay, which has its international
headquarters in Dublin, is to increase its workforce in
Ireland by more than one third.

The company, which established in Ireland in 2003, says it
is to employ a further 300 people in an expansion of its
operations here.

Hiring at eBay will begin immediately with positions being
offered to graduates and non-graduates with foreign
languages. There will be jobs in customer support and
financial processing as well as in finance, compliance and
senior management.

The company is promising generous salaries and stock
options. Many of the new employees will work at a new
building eBay has just leased in Blanchardstown, west

When the company opened its international headquarters in
Blanchardstown, it was a major win for the IDA in its
efforts to bring household name web companies to the

The following year, eBay's European Customer Support Centre
was opened bringing employment at eBay and its secure
internet payments affiliate, Paypal, to more than 900.

Unusually in the multinational sector, today's jobs
announcement is not being grant supported by the IDA. The
announcement comes a day after Wyeth Medica said it was
letting 250 of its staff go in Co Kildare.

The online auction site, eBay, is one of the best known
brands on the internet with more than 180 million users and
almost 80 million items to bid on at any one time.

124 new jobs for Limerick

124 jobs are to be created at the Vistakon plant at the
National Technology Park in Limerick.

Vistakon, which manufactures disposable contact lenses,
employs 500 in Limerick and is part of the giant Johnson
and Johnson Group.

It employs 2,000 people at seven plants in Dublin, Cork,
Cashel and Limerick.

The new jobs at the Limerick plant come as a result of a
€100 million investment in next generation products in the
disposable soft lenses market.

The jobs are aimed at the high quality research and
development area.


Kilkeel To Get 200 New Jobs

By John Manley

Up to 200 new jobs are to be created in

Co Down with a major expansion by a US-owned aircraft seat

Kilkeel-based B/E Aerospace is doubling its manufacturing
capacity with a British government-backed investment. The
company employs 400 people.

South Down MP Eddie McGrady said the investment was a
“total endorsement” of the Kilkeel workforce.

“This is a major employment boost for an area which has
suffered badly as a result of the decline in the fishing
industry,” he said.

Last November the company won an £80 million contract with
British Airways.


First Irish Left Their Mark On Nashville

Nashville's largest Irish congregation once worshipped at
St. Joseph's Catholic Church, seen here in 1945 shortly
before it was razed
=AR&maxw=220). Of the first 480 deaths in the parish, 212
were born in Ireland and 83 more were described as being of
Irish descent. The church closed in 1943 after losing
popularity as members relocated farther west.

Published: Wednesday, 03/15/06

My mother was born in Nashville in 1922 and moved to
Baltimore in the 1940s. ...

My family is really interested in locating information
about our Irish ancestors who emigrated and settled in
Nashville in the 1850-1860s time frame. What is available?
— Mary Pat Smith, Alexandria, Va.

Being Irish in Nashville was hardly a pleasant thing in
earlier times.

Consider a dirt-poor minority group with few prospects
beyond manual labor at bargain wages. Consider living in
packed conditions in a dangerous downtown slum known as
"the Jungle," near the spot where a new symphony hall is
rising today.

Mix in lack of education, an overabundance of young men
forced to seek a new life far away from struggling families
— and facing an atmosphere of religious intolerance against

Those were our earliest Irish, but Nashville was able to
grow from the brawn of these immigrant pioneers. The first
of them, arriving by 1820, helped build the city's first
bridge across the Cumberland River.

Later Irish arrivals built railroads and toiled on the
riverside unloading freight from boats. Their community
grew, moved westward and gradually prospered. By later
years of the century, they marked St. Patrick's Day with an
elaborate parade starting at the courthouse square. From
their ranks came police leaders, state legislators — even a
few political radicals.

The Fenian movement of the later 19th century aimed to
overthrow British colonialism in Ireland, an earlier
version of the Irish Republican Army. Nashville had its own
Fenian Brotherhood rallying here in 1866 under leadership
of John O'Neill, who went on to national prominence.

Strangely, another of its unlikely leaders was wealthy
Belle Meade Plantation figure and Confederate Civil War
hero Gen. William Hicks Jackson, appointed a Fenian
brigadier general.

A Tennessee Historical Quarterly article by DeeGee Lester
outlines how the group aided in a national plot that led to
an actual attack in 1866 on British-governed Canada. After
a fleeting capture of a bit of "Canadian soil," the Fenians
were forced into retreat after a reported 10 deaths on each

The wounded movement was living on in Nashville in 1870,
when a published trade guide listed 220 members holding
regular meetings at "Fenian Hall" on what is now Fourth

Less dramatic but more important to the city was the Irish
muscle. Names of masons and carpenters such as George
McMullin, Phillip Rooney and Patrick Kinney show up in
March 1821 pay lists making $1.25 to $2 a day toiling on
that first bridge.

On the site of the present Victory Memorial Bridge from the
courthouse across to Main Street, it opened in 1823 as a
cast-iron structure covered with wood sheathing painted
white. Window openings provided light but also allowed one
flock of sheep headed to Goodlettsville to plunge into the
river when its lead became spooked by the height and took a

At 75 feet above the low-water mark, the bridge's own doom
came when newer steamboats couldn't pass under it in higher
water conditions. It was demolished in 1851 and later

Nashville's "Little Ireland" was described by historian Don
Doyle as growing from the "green," or Catholic Irish, who
were the largest immigrant contingent here by the mid-
1800s. Some were forced out of Ireland by starvation after
that country's 1845 potato famine.

Here they were "doing the work that required strong backs
and little skill — peasant life in Ireland had prepared
them for little more," Doyle wrote. Other construction crew
tasks — often paying $1 per 10-hour day — included building
the city's early streets and sewers and erecting buildings.

Their tenements near the river wharf south of Broadway
"competed with grog shops, tippling houses and cheap
brothels in a notorious district known simply as 'the
Jungle,' " Doyle wrote.

Hard work in many cases brought modest prosperity. By 1880,
Nashville's population was one-eighth Irish born or their
offspring. Railroad work took on a new importance, and the
Irish moved closer to the railroad gulch as they took up
such jobs.

The city's first Catholic church, little Holy Rosary on the
"Cedar Knob" that is now Capitol Hill, helped serve the
religious needs of those first bridge workers in 1820.

By the latter part of that century, the impressive 1886 St.
Joseph's Church had arisen at 12th Avenue North and
Charlotte Avenue to serve Irish railroad workers. Another
Irish neighborhood grew where the 1890 St. Patrick's Church
still stands on Second Avenue South.

St. Joseph's fell victim to yet more western movement as
residential housing — for Irish and others — gradually
spread from the downtown area. It was closed in 1943 and
demolished in 1945 after the site was sold to Nashville
Electric Service for its service center.

As for the Catholic Church itself, the second and third of
Nashville's bishops were Irish born. James Whelan, serving
1859-1863, was a native of Kilkenny, and Patrick A. Feehan,
who served 1865-1880, was from County Tipperary. •

Published: Wednesday, 03/15/06
Write to: Learn Nashville, 1100 Broadway, Nashville, Tenn.
37203. E-mail: Fax: 615-259-8093.


Irish Eyes Aren't Smiling At Some T-Shirt 'Humor'

By Robert Marchant
The Journal News
(Original Publication: March 15, 2006)

CORTLANDT — St. Patrick's Day will be marked Friday with
Irish food, music, cultural celebrations and, in a number
of cases, buckets of green beer and T-shirts in really bad

Some Irish-Americans in the Lower Hudson Valley could do
without the T-shirts depicting drunken leprechauns or the
prowess of the "Irish Beer Drinking Team."

"Why should my heritage be trashed?" asks John Lick, a
bagpiper with the Emerald Society and a police officer from
Ossining. "It's such a double standard."

Bob Kelly, a retired Westchester County police officer from
Cortlandt, was shopping at the Wal-Mart in his hometown
with his grandson this week when a row of T-shirts caught
his eye, connecting the Irish with drinking and rowdiness.

"They associate St. Patrick's Day, which is a day for the
patron saint of Ireland, with a drunken, brawling day,"
said Kelly, who works in the funeral home business and
serves in the color guard of the Westchester County chapter
of the Emerald Society. "I'm not a prude, but it was
something that was really starting to annoy me."

Some Irish-American civic leaders are pushing merchants to
stop selling the merchandise.

George Leahy, president of the Rockland County chapter of
the Ancient Order of Hibernians, said greeting cards, T-
shirts and parade paraphernalia too often depict the Irish
in an offensive manner, and members of his organization
were trying to limit their sale.

A few years ago, for example, Leahy said Hibernians were
successful in getting a Pearl River retail store to remove
demeaning cards from its racks.

"I have no problem going up to a store manager and asking
them to remove those things. It's offensive," Leahy said
yesterday. "It is a shame, even in 2006, that we have to
make sure stores are not stereotyping the Irish."

Leahy said it was important for people and businesses to
understand the significance of St. Patrick's Day to the
Irish and Irish-Americans.

"It's a cultural day. It's a religious day," Leahy said.
"It's not a day to debase the Irish."

How ethnic stereotypes play out in the larger culture has
often proved a divisive issue, as seen in recent criticism
by Italian-American civic leaders over popular dramas
involving the Mafia, or the move to ban American Indian
mascots for sports teams. Not everyone agrees what
constitutes defamation, and the debate over what is or
isn't a slur is often a contentious one

And not all sons of Eire find the T-shirt humor offensive.

Silly, but nothing to take offense over, says Kevin
Stewart, a proud Irish-American. Noting that the Irish have
always had a taste for humor, exaggeration and self-
mockery, Stewart said the T-shirts were part of that

"I think it's harmless fun," said Stewart, co-owner of a
New Rochelle tavern. "The actual meaning of St. Patrick's
Day was lost a long time ago. The Irish heritage — and the
Irish heritage in my family — is to go out and have a good

Representatives from Wal-Mart's corporate offices did not
have an immediate comment yesterday.


First Chief Of British Forces In North Dies

By Marie Louise McCrory

A former commander of land forces of the British army in
Northern Ireland has died. General Anthony Farrar-Hockley,
who was once the target of an IRA bomb, died on Saturday,
aged 81.

The British army general was 46 when he became the first
Commander of Land Forces in Northern Ireland in August
1970. He held the post until 1971.

On taking up the role, he announced the army faced “a long
haul ahead and [is] nearer to the threshold of a harder

This was said to be the first army admission of the
possibility of a prolonged IRA campaign of terror.

During this time he became a target for the IRA and in
August 1990 a bomb was attached to a garden hose reel at
his home in Moulsford, Oxfordshire.

The plan was foiled when Mr Farrar-Hockley’s chauffeur
spotted the device.

Due to the hose pipe ban, the bomb failed to explode when
the reel was picked up by his five-year-old grandson

In April 1983, he was quoted in the Irish Times as having
said: “The Malaysian terrorists were pretty good but the
most efficient terrorists I have ever fought were the
Israelis – the Irgun and the Stern Gang ... by God they
were good, really good. Compared to them the IRA are rank
amateurs... they remain just a bunch of murderous thugs

The British general was also outspoken on other Northern
Ireland-related issues during his career.

In January 1998 he said he saw no need to apologise for the
killing of 14 people in Derry on Bloody Sunday.

In 1999, he said the release of new forensic evidence for
the pending Bloody Sunday Inquiry was part of a conspiracy
to portray the soldiers involved as murderers.

He told the BBC: “It is all part of a long-running public
relations exercise to work public opinion up in favour of
saying that the soldiers were all murderers and nothing was
done wrong by the people on the other side.

“It is piece-meal evidence and should await full
examination in relation to all the other evidence.

“I am sure the army and Ministry of Defence will not
attempt to fudge any evidence and will not attempt to hold
anything back.”

He was born in Coventry, the son of a journalist, and ran
away from school and joined the Gloucester Regiment at 15 –
only to be found out and discharged. He rejoined in 1941.

General Farrar-Hockley turned to writing books and working
as a defence consultant after retiring from the army in


Falls Leisure Centre Manager Dies

By Marie Louise McCrory West Belfast Correspondent

The manager of the Falls Leisure Centre in west Belfast has
died suddenly.

Pat Rice, pictured, died following a heart attack on Sunday
and will be buried tomorrow which would have been his 50th

The father-of-five, from north Belfast, was manager of
Falls Leisure Centre when it reopened after major
refurbishment last March.

He was also the chairman of Eire Og GAC in Belfast and was
well known in GAA circles in the city.

Mr Rice had worked for Belfast City Council for 28 years in
a variety of roles.

He started his career

with the council as a full-time attendant at Beechmount
Leisure Centre in 1977 and went on to become a full-time
coach at a number of centres.

During his career he held positions at Maysfield Leis-ure
Centre, Shaftesbury Re-creation Centre and Whiterock
Leisure Centre.

He was also leisure manager of Andersonstown and Beechmount

The head of the council’s community and recreation
department, Phillip Lucas, last night said Mr Rice “was
very highly respected by everyone who worked with him”.

“Pat was the driving force in the opening of Falls Leisure
Centre,” he said.

“He was regularly to be seen clambering across the site as
the centre was being built – making sure that things were
done right and saying so when they weren’t.

“Falls is a marvellous centre – a testament to his effort
and dedication. Pat’s team in Falls gave him great support.
They are devastated.

“It is a tragedy that his life was cut so short, robbed of
the chance to reach his full potential. We will all miss
him greatly.”

Requiem Mass for Mr Rice will be celebrated at Our Lady of
Perpetual Succour church at Deanby Gardens at 11am tomorrow
with burial at Carnmoney Cemetery.


Festivities Toned Down Due To Republican Riots

By Catherine Morrison

SAINT Patrick’s Day revellers in Dublin will be banned from
much of the city’s most famous street, weeks after it was
the scene of fierce rioting by republicans.

Gardai have warned members of the public that stretches of
O’Connell Street will be closed off on Friday during the
parade due to road works.

It follows trouble last year which saw more than 400
arrests made in the Dublin region – a massive increase on
the previous year.

This year, people will not

be allowed to watch the famous parade from much of
O’Connell Street in the pedestrianised middle strip from
the Spire to the Royal Dublin Hotel and from Flanagan’s
restaurant to Cathal Brugha Street on the Upper East side.

Pedestrian access to the thoroughfare will be strictly
controlled and gardai will

be on hand to enforce the restrictions.

Major traffic disruption is also expected, with dozens of
road closures from the early morning on. Anyone planning to
travel to the city is advised to check with gardai before
they make their journey.

Members of the public attending the All-Ireland Club Finals
at Croke Park are being asked to access the stadium via the
North Circular Road.

Despite the disturbances, a spokesman for the gardai said
there would be the same number of officers policing the
streets as last year.

Meanwhile, a special rail service is being laid on this
year for people planning to celebrate St Patrick’s Day in

One of Translink’s new C3K trains will leave Belfast
Central at 8.30am and will pick up passengers at Lisburn,
Lurgan, Portadown and Newry before arriving at Dublin
Connolly Station at 10.34am.

For more information on the St Patrick’s Festival in Dublin
and special arrangements to facilitate it, click on


“Trooper Thorn” To Quit Ring, Leave Country. (Satire)

Written by Bernie F. Carlin

Prizefighter Sean Thornton seeks to return to his Irish

Prizefighter Sean “Trooper Thorn” Thornton announced his
decision to give up boxing and leave the country today. The
Pittsburgh area boxer announced his intentions shortly
after a bout with fighter Tony Gardello, who was killed in
a freak accident during the match.

“Tony Gardello was a good egg,” Thornton said, “Nice little
wife and a home, a couple of kids.” Although the death was
ruled an accident, something not uncommon in the dangerous
sport of boxing, Thornton firmly maintained that he was to
blame for Gardello’s death. “I didn’t go in there to outbox
him. I went there to beat his brains out, to drive him into
the canvas, to murder him. That’s what I did”.

Thornton, who is by nature a rather quiet man, noted that
the incident has left him with a great distaste for
fighting, particularly fighting for money. Thornton made it
clear that he hopes never to have to fight for money again.

Although many of his fans and friends were unsurprised at
Thornton’s decision to quit the ring, his announcement that
he would be leaving the country was completely unexpected.

Thornton, it must be noted, was not born in the United
States. He was born in the Irish town of Inisfree, in a
cottage called White O’ Mornin’. He spent the first few
years of his childhood there before the family left for

He intends to return to Inisfree, and to repurchase White
O’ Mornin’, if possible. “Ever since I was a kid livin’ in
a shack near the slag heaps, my mother has told me about
Inisfree, and White O’ Mornin’. Inisfree has become another
word for heaven to me”.

Thornton speculated that he had been away so long his old
neighbors might not recognize him. “I’ll bet even Michaleen
Oge Flynn, ‘Young Small Michael Flynn’, who used to wipe my
runny nose when I was a kid, won’t recognize me”.

Thornton has a fairly clear idea of what he wants to do
with the rest of his life, and what he expects to find in
Ireland. He said that he would like to settle down and get
married, maybe to a hot-tempered redhead. “Preferably one
without a rich, overbearing bully of a brother,” Thornton
said, “but I’ll take what I can get”.

Thornton was somewhat concerned that rich, protestant
widows or their scheming, selfish, overbearing neighbors
might obstruct his attempts to repurchase his mother’s
cottage, but he plans to take plenty of money and a
positive attitude with him.

Thornton says he can almost hear “The Galway Piper” and
“The Kerry Dance” being played in the background. “My
imagination’s getting the better of me,” he joked.

Thornton’s decision has purportedly been influenced by the
urgings of his friend John Ford, also known as Sean
Aloysius O'Fearna.

Although Thornton is highly optimistic about the future,
some have criticized his naïveté. “He’s going to see the
whole country through green-tinted spectacles” said one
Irish-American commentator. “He probably expects to find
comical, drunken matchmakers, elegant protestant widows
with wealth and long pedigrees, priests who love fishing
and fights, large, overbearing squires with land and bad
tempers, gossipy, nosey townspeople, and fiercely
independent redheads who cling to old traditions such as
dowries. He probably is even imagining accordion players
who sing songs like “Wild Colonial Boy” in the pubs! The
simple truth,” the commentator continued, “is that he
probably won’t find any of that. Ireland won’t be like he
expects, and his friends should be getting him ready for a
rude awakening”.

Thornton admitted that Ireland may not be quite what he
expects, but insisted that compared to Pittsburgh, with its
“Steel, and pig-iron furnaces so hot a man forgets his fear
of hell”, Ireland will be like heaven.

Admitting that he will probably misunderstand much of
Ireland, Thornton pointed out that the people of Inisfree
will probably misunderstand him. “Heck,” he said, “I’ll bet
some of them even think Pittsburgh is in Massachusetts!” He
even suggested that they may not know what a sleeping bag
is. “I’ll bet that little item will be starting
conversations in the Gaelic”.

Thornton hopes that nobody in Inisfree will have heard of
his career as a fighter. "Oh, I may make subtle allusions
to it from time to time," Thornton said, "but hopefully
nobody will figure it out. I suppose it would be alright if
a protestant vicar did, since his congregation would be so
small in predominately Roman Catholic Inisfree that he
wouldn't have anyone to tell".

Thornton will arrive by train at Castletown and ask
directions to Inisfree from there. It is not yet known when
he will depart for Ireland.

The story as represented above is written as a satire or
parody. It is fictitious.


The Story Behind Famed Irish Drinks

By Linda Fradkin
Published March 15, 2006

Rarely does the name of a neighborhood bar provide a clue
about the character of the food, beverages or folks you’ll
encounter inside.

In contrast, the watering hole christened with the label of
“pub” or “Irish bar” is an immediate giveaway to the
setting you’ll come upon once you walk inside.

“I’d say you know right away you’re going to feel at home,”
acknowledged Patrick Finnerty, who worked at his family’s
Finnerty Pub in Ireland and who is now general manager of
the Molly’s pubs in Kemah, Clear Lake and League City.
(Molly’s pubs have been in the Houston area for 20 years.
Locals are familiar with Molly’s on Postoffice Street in
Galveston, managed by Jeff O’Malley).

“There’s a feeling that you go to a pub to meet friends,
that you could go back there forever and always feel part
of the group,” Finnerty explained.

Of course, it’s not merely a matter of camaraderie;
customers are lured in by the liquid inventory as well.

Guinness Stout is the beverage that first comes to mind
when you go up to the bar to place your order. Kevin
Brauch, the Thirsty Traveler from the Food Network and
author of “Thirsty Traveler — Road Recipes,” applies the
nicknames Black Gold and Irish Nectar to the historically
noteworthy ale.

Studying up on the history of the beverage, you discover
the ultimate irony: This famed Irish brew was not actually
conceived in London, not Dublin.

The story goes that in the midst of mixing up a batch of a
basic ale, an English brewer — by accident — burnt the
ingredients. So he went ahead, proceeding through the
remaining steps in the recipe.

The syrupy, somewhat bitter final product the brewer ended
up with disenchanted some of the loyal fans of the original
recipe. Still, the drink received a positive response from
ship porters who were given a load of the liquor to haul to
the London docks.

As a matter of fact, they were so enthusiastic about the
formulation, the drink became known as “porter.” Arthur
Guinness, one of these original consumers, was so
enthralled that he took the drink back to Dublin, where it
became known as “stout.”

Eventually, it became the most in-demand drink in the

Don’t know how much is truth and how much is blarney, but
there’s also an attention-grabbing tale that’s said to
explain the conception of another one of the country’s
favorites: Irish coffee.

Lucas Everidge presents one version of the story in his
article, “Spirited Irish Drinks,” posted on .

He credits Joe Sheridan, chef at Foynes Airbase in Limerick
in 1937, as the sympathetic soul who came up with the
warming refreshment that would provide a welcoming haven
for weary travelers on a Flying Boat Plane returning to the

They had been in the air, on the way from Limerick to
Newfoundland, when a storm forced them back after five
intimidating hours. The beverage he offered them was
composed of rich coffee splashed with Irish whiskey and
topped with freshly whipped cream.

It proved to have a revivifying effect, and one of the
travelers, international travel writer Stanton Delapane,
was so impressed that he shared the formula with Jack
Koepler, bartender at the Buena Vista Hotel in San

The first attempts at recreating the American rendition
didn’t work, forcing the California drink mixer to fly all
the way to Limerick just to figure out how to keep the
cream afloat atop the hot coffee.

The solution to the melting problem is revealed at .

Pour the whipped cream, slightly aerated, over the back of
a spoon so that it floats. Don’t stir the beverage after
adding the cream. That way, you enjoy the true flavor,
obtained by drinking the hot coffee and Irish whiskey
through the cream.

Another renowned liquor used in many Irish drinks, Bailey’s
Irish Cream, doesn’t possess the same kind of charming,
serendipitous history as the other liquid refreshers.

According to Alicia Clegg, author of “The Myth of
Authenticity,” the world’s top-selling liqueur brand was
created in 1974 when a multinational company based in
London decided to launch a brand that would appeal to
younger consumers, particularly women.

The entrepreneurs chose a packaging design and name that
had Irish associations even though the formulation
possessed no direct link to Ireland.

But not to worry. When you pick up your glass and make an
Irish toast this St. Patrick’s Day, you can be assured that
indeed the liqueur hails from the country of origin boasted
on the label. After all, the farms that supply the milk can
claim an Irish birth-right.


Irish coffee

12 ounces Irish whiskey 6 tablespoons of sugar 8 cups (64
ounces) hot black coffee Sweetened whipped cream

Stir 1 jigger (1 1/2 ounces) whiskey with 1 to 2 teaspoons
sugar in each of eight tall coffee cups or heat-resistant
stemmed glasses.

Pour in hot coffee to 1/2-inch from the top. Top with cream
and serve immediately.


Sweetened whipped cream

1 cup heavy whipping cream 2 tablespoons sugar 1/2 teaspoon
pure vanilla extract

Beat cream in large bowl with an electric mixer at medium
speed until it becomes frothy. Add sugar and vanilla and
continue beating until cream holds soft peaks. Do not
overbeat. Refrigerate whipped cream, covered with plastic
wrap, for no more than one hour, if not using immediately.

Makes 2 cups.

— Recipe courtesy of “Celebrate” by Shelia Lukins


Green apple martini

1 shot and about 1 tablespoon Smirnoff Apple Vodka Splash
of Apple Pucker Schnapps Splash of Sprite 1 Maraschino

Mix. Pour into martini glass. Add cherry. Serve.


Irish car bomb

1/2 pint Guinness 1/2 small shot glass of Jamison’s Irish
Whiskey 1/2 small shot glass Bailey’s Irish Cream

Gently pour whiskey and Irish Cream into the Guinness

—Recipes courtesy of Molly’s Pub


Keane May Retire At End Of Season

Celtic midfielder Roy Keane may consider hanging up his
boots at the end of the current campaign.

The 34-year-old ex-Manchester United star is contracted to
stay at Parkhead for another season but a long-standing hip
problem may lead to a rethink.

He said: "When I signed for Celtic I did say it would be
best to maybe look at things in the summer.

"They were keen for me to sign for the extra year, which I
did. I will see how my hip is bearing up in the summer."

Keane completed a switch from Old Trafford to Celtic by
signing an 18-month deal in December 2005.

He added: "I am due to go back to the hip specialist in the

"It is important to be fair to myself and the club if it is
affecting me.

"I will weigh it up then but there are no guarantees about
next season, I have to say."

Since having the surgery in 2002 I have regarded every
season as a bonus but I have got to look at the long-term
side of it and see what is best for me and my family

Roy Keane

The former Republic of Ireland captain had a hip operation
in September 2002 following concerns about whether the
injury would cut short his career.

He also revealed in February 2003 that he may require a hip
replacement once his playing days were over.

"Since having the surgery in 2002 I have regarded every
season as a bonus but I have got to look at the long-term
side of it and see what is best for me and my family,"
stated Keane.

"Over the last few months I have always put football first
but, come the summer, I need to look at what is best for my

Keane, who played for the Red Devils for 12-and-a-half
years, is set to have a Manchester United testimonial
against Celtic later this year, with 9 May a possible date
for the match.

Story from BBC SPORT:
Published: 2006/03/15 07:04:55 GMT

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