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March 05, 2006

Crucial Talks On North Postponed

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News About Ireland & The Irish

BN 03/05/06 Crucial Talks On North Postponed
IT 03/06/06 Council Votes Not To Display 1916 Document
IT 03/06/06 UUP May Attend Somme Ceremony
FF 03/05/06 Opin: Burnishing Myths Irsh Ntnlsm:Can WeNot Handle Truth?
IT 03/06/06 Kerry Says Nuclear Fuel Bank Crucial
IT 03/06/06 Dublin Honours Geldof And Delany
IT 03/06/06 Couple Who Rang Bell For 30 Years Get Papal Award
RT 03/06/06 Rescue Team Locate Croagh Patrick Climber
BN 03/06/06 Oscar Winner McDonagh Acknowledges Irish Roots


Crucial Talks On North Postponed

05/03/2006 - 20:44:10

The British government has postponed talks that were to
have taken place between Irish and British ministers and
the north’s political parties from this week.

They were to have met at Stormont on Wednesday – the date
set some weeks ago by Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain
as a deadline for a first stage agreement on possible rule
changes for a future Assembly.

The talks are off because Bertie Ahern and Tony Blair are
meeting in London on Wednesday and Peter Hain and Foreign
Affairs Minister Dermot Ahern are expected to be attending.

In Belfast, there was a suspicion calling off the talks had
more to do with a lack of progress than anything else. Last
month Mr Blair pulled out of an expected visit to Belfast
to meet he parties – again because there was little or no
sign of a breakthrough in the political impasse.

Ulster Unionist Party leader Reg Empey said he was not
surprised the Belfast talks had been cancelled.

“It was no surprise to learn that the first deadline of the
present talks will come and go on Wednesday without it
being a deadline at all,” said Mr Empey. “Wednesday’s
meetings between the parties, Peter Hain and Dermot Ahern
are to be cancelled. While an embarrassment for the
government it was better to call ’time out’ on what was
becoming a process that did not have the support of most of
the parties.”

His party had warned the British government not to start
its search for a new breakthrough from the 2004 deal with
Sinn Féin and the Democratic Unionists which had failed and
from which Sinn Féin was “rowing away from as fast as

A more strategic approach was needed, he said, expressing
the hope that the Ahern-Blair meeting would provide it.

A Downing Street spokesman said the north’s parties would
not be invited to take part in the Wednesday meeting and
there was little likelihood of either a joint British-Irish
news conference or statement afterwards.


Council Votes Not To Display 1916 Document

Fiona Gartland

Councillors in Dún Laoghaire- Rathdown, South Dublin, have
been criticised for voting not to display a copy of the
1916 proclamation in their council chamber. The council is
one of the few around the country that does not display the

At a meeting of Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council,
seven Fianna Fáil councillors tabled a motion to have a
copy of the 1916 proclamation "permanently and prominently
displayed" in the chambers, along with the national flag.

A heated half-hour debate followed, with Fine Gael and
Labour councillors putting forward various amendments to
the motion, including one suggesting the document would be
better displayed in the assembly hall and in Irish and
another suggesting that a letter be sent to the Minister
for Education, Mary Hanafin, calling on her to ask schools
to display the proclamation.

The Green Party suggested the EU flag should also be
included in the chamber.

When put to the vote, the motion was rejected by nine to
eight, with Fianna Fáil, the PD councillor and the Greens
supporting it and Fine Gael and Labour rejecting it. Eleven
councillors were not present for the vote.

Councillor Cormac Devlin (FF) said they had not anticipated
a lengthy debate.

"We didn't expect it to be controversial," he said.

However, Labour councillor Denis O'Callaghan accused Fianna
Fáil of opportunism.

"This is part of a Fianna Fáil attempt to take ownership of
1916, a race with Sinn Féin to see who can claim it," he

Councillor John Bailey (FG) said he voted against
displaying the proclamation because it was too serious an
issue to debate when so many of the council's members were

© The Irish Times


UUP May Attend Somme Ceremony

Mark Hennessy, Political Correspondent

The Ulster Unionist Party may opt to accept invitations to
attend the Government's commemoration in July to mark the
90th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme.

However, UUP Stormont Assembly members are "unlikely" to
accept invitations to attend the commemoration to mark the
anniversary of the Easter Rising.

The issue is likely to be discussed today by the UUP
Assembly group during their usual weekly meeting in
Stormont, a party spokesman told The Irish Times last

Speaking yesterday, Taoiseach Bertie Ahern said the
invitations to both events would be issued in a spirit of
friendship and he hoped that they would be recognised for
the mutual respect with which they were extended.

The main commemoration of the 1916 Rising will be on Easter
Sunday, April 16th, with a ceremony at the GPO on O'Connell
Street, followed by a military parade to reflect the
Defence Forces' role, particularly in UN peacekeeping

The main commemoration of the Battle of the Somme, during
which thousands of Protestant and Catholic Irish were
killed, will be held during the first weekend in July, with
a ceremony at the Islandbridge War Memorial. Details will
be announced later.

Meanwhile, Sinn Féin mayor of Kerry Toiréasa Ferris
condemned the rioters who attacked gardaí during last
Saturday week's parade by Families Acting for Innocent
Relatives (FAIR).

Speaking on TV3's The Political Party, Ms Ferris, daughter
of Sinn Féin Kerry North TD Martin Ferris said: "I was very
disappointed with it [the Dublin riots], I was actually a
little bit disgusted. I thought it was an opportunity to
show that the Irish people are willing to embrace unionism
. . ."

Asked if she would condemn the rioters, she said: "Yeah, I
would. I would be very harsh in my criticism of it. It was

Questioned about her willingness to condemn the rioters,
but not the killers of Det Garda Jerry McCabe, she replied:
"Well, I have a difficulty using the word condemn with any
IRA action over the last 30 years and I think I've
explained my position on that, my party has explained their
position on that."

© The Irish Times


Opin: Burnishing The Myths Of Irish Nationalism: Can We Not
Handle The Truth?

By Michael Hennigan

Mar 5, 2006, 15:24

To paraphrase the nineteenth century British Prime Minister
Benjamin Disraeli, every country is an organised hypocrisy.
Myths are created that often become unquestioned taboos and
inconvenient history is put in the recycle bin.

Last year Irish Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Bertie Ahern
announced that a military parade would be held in Dublin to
commemorate the 90th anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising
in Dublin against British rule in Ireland. Ahern said that
the Irish Government wished "to reclaim the spirit of 1916
from the extremists because they had denigrated the
sacrifices of Ireland's greatest generation and had abused
and debased the title of republicanism".

Military parades conjure up images of the zombies ruling
the defunct Soviet Union, standing on top of the Lenin
Mausoleum, memorably exemplified by President Konstantin
Chernenko, one of two stop-gap leaders between Brezhnev and
Gorbachev, who saluted a passing group of goose-stepping
soldiers and then suddenly dropped his hand from his wax-
work face. Ahern's decision to revert to an anachronistic
military parade in Dublin on Easter Sunday in April, was
designed to trump Sinn Féin (from the Irish language word
'ourselves' - the name has been taken from the movement
that was established in 1906 by Arthur Griffith, a founder
of the Irish State), the political unit of the Irish
Republican Army (IRA), which claims to be the legitimate
representative of historic violent Irish nationalism.
Ahern's political party Fianna Fáil fears loosing political
support to Sinn Féin, following the decision of the IRA to
cease terrorist activities in Northern Ireland and focus on
political activities in both parts of the island.

In January, Ahern approved a speech to be delivered by the
Irish President Mary McAleese in which she linked the
legitimacy of the Irish State and the freedoms, tolerance
and values of today with the Easter Rising, ignoring both
the parliamentary tradition that dated back to the election
of the nineteenth century Irish leader Daniel O'Connell in
1828 and decades of self-rule when governance was not far
removed from a theocracy with a supreme leader in the form
of the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Dublin.

In the speech at University College Cork on January 27,
2006, McAleese said that the kind of Ireland the heroes of
the Rising aspired to was based on an inclusivity that,
famously, would "cherish all the children of the nation
equally – oblivious of the differences which have divided a
minority from the majority in the past". That culture of
inclusion is manifestly a strong contemporary impulse
working its way today through relationships with the North,
with unionists, with the newcomers to our shores, with our
marginalized, and with our own increasing diversity.

I have a strong impression that to its enemies, both in
Ireland and abroad, Irish nationalism looked like a version
of the imperialism it opposed, a sort of "imperialism lite"
through which Ireland would attempt to be what the Great
European powers were – the domination of one cultural and
ethnic tradition over others. It is easy to see how they
might have fallen into that mistaken view, but mistaken
they were. Irish nationalism, from the start, was a
multilateral enterprise, attempting to escape the dominance
of a single class and, in our case a largely foreign class,
into a wider world. Those who think of Irish nationalists
as narrow, miss, for example, the membership many of them
had of a universal church which brought them into contact
with a vastly wider segment of the world than that open to
even the most travelled imperial English gentleman. Many of
the leaders had experience of the Americas, and in
particular of North America with its vibrant attachment to
liberty and democracy. Others of them were active
participants in the international working class movements
of their day. Whatever you might think of those
involvements, they were universalist and global rather than
constricted and blinkered.

In the hearts of those who took part in the Rising, in what
was then an undivided Ireland, was an unshakeable belief
that whatever our personal political or religious
perspectives, there was huge potential for an Ireland in
which loyalist, republican, unionist, nationalist,
catholic, protestant, atheist, agnostic pulled together to
build a shared future, owned by one and all. That's a
longer-term to conjure with but, for now, reflecting back
on the sacrifices of the heroes of 1916 and the gallingly
unjust world that was their context, I look at my own
context and its threads of connection to theirs. I am
humbled, excited and grateful to live in one of the world's
most respected, admired and successful democracies, a
country with an identifiably distinctive voice in Europe
and in the world, an Irish republic, a sovereign
independent state to use the words of the Proclamation.

President McAleese said we should ponder how "today's
freedoms, values, ambitions and success rest on that
perilous and militarily doomed undertaking of nine decades
ago and on the words of that Proclamation".

For a country that found itself in a Civil War that created
a deep schism in Irish society for two generations, just
six years after the Easter Rising, the speech was
breathtaking in its disingenuousness and selectivity.

The British Government had suspended the third Home Rule
Bill in 1914, with a promise of an Amending Bill, to meet
some demands of the Ulster Unionists, who wished to remain
in the United Kingdom. However, the execution of the
leaders of the Rising and a plan to introduce military
conscription in Ireland, boosted support for the
nationalist Sinn Féin party. In July 1916, the 10,000-
strong 36th Ulster Division took part in a major offensive
known as the Battle of the Somme in France. The offensive
was a military disaster and there were 5,000 casualties
among the 36th Ulster division alone. The sacrifice
supported the British reluctance to force Ulster
Protestants to accept a Home Rule government that would be
dominated by Irish Catholics.

In the British General Election in December 1918, Sinn Féin
won 47% of the Irish vote. It won 73 seats out of 105, an
overwhelming mandate on the basis of the British first-
past-the post voting system. Sinn Féin won 25 seats without
a contest. The Irish Unionist Party won 26 seats, mostly in
the Northeast of the island. The Nationalist Home Rule
party was almost wiped out and won just 6 seats.


Sinn Fein 476087 46.9%
Unionists 257314 25.3%
Nationalists - Home Rule Party 220837 21.7%
"Labour Unionists" 30304 3.0%
Labour 12164 1.2%
Ind Un 9531 0.9%
Ind Nats 8183 0.8%
Ind Lab 659 0.1%
Ind 436 0.0%

In 1919, Sinn Féin established its own parliament, Dáil
Éireann, in Dublin and a guerrilla campaign began against
the British administration. In 1920, the British Government
of Ireland Act provided for the partition of Ireland with
parliaments in both Dublin and Belfast. In December 1921,
representatives of the Irish Nationalist Government
comprising Sinn Féin signed a Treaty with the British
Government that gave dominion status for 26 of the 32 Irish
counties, with complete independence in domestic affairs
and financial matters. The Irish delegates accepted under
duress an obligatory oath of allegiance and a promise of a
boundary commission that might or might not propose to
reduce the size of Northern Ireland, in consideration of
the demographic, religious and cultural conditions in two
counties, Tyrone and Fermanagh.

The total numbers killed in the guerrilla war between
Nationalist and Crown Forces of 1919-21 came to over 1,400.
Of these, 363 were Police personnel, 261 were from the
regular British Army, 550 IRA volunteers were killed
(including 14 official executions) and about 200 civilians
(Hopkinson, Irish War of Independence p 201-202).

Civil War

The President of Sinn Féin, Eamon de Valera decided not to
participate in the London talks on a Treaty with the
British and had persuaded a reluctant Michael Collins, a
charismatic leader of the guerrilla war against the
British, to join the delegation.

Michael Collins 1890-1922

Michael Collins was aware of the IRA's limitations, whose
campaign had been mainly limited to Dublin and the southern
province of Munster. As Chief-of-Staff General Richard
Mulcahy said in Dáil Éireann, that far from being able to
drive the British from Ireland, by the end of the war the
IRA was incapable of driving the British out of a, "fairly
good-sized police barracks."

In West Cork, where a former British Army member Tom Barry,
led the guerrilla campaign, encounters with British forces
at places such as Kilmichael where eighteen British were
killed and other ambushes, such as at Crossbarry near the
town of Bandon, were mythologized through song a story as
great military victories against the occupying power.

Collins saw the Treaty as providing a stepping stone to
greater freedom but De Valera opposed it because of the
oath to the Crown and in a debate in Dáil Éireann Liam
Mellows declared: "The delegates...had no power to sign
away the rights of Ireland and the Irish Republic." The
Treaty was ratified by a margin of only seven votes, on
January 7, 1922.

In March 1922, IRA leader Rory O'Connor when asked if there
was to be a military dictatorship, replied, "you can take
it that way if you like", further saying, "There were many
times when revolution was justified and the Army had to
overthrow the Government...."

A Civil War between supporters of the 'Constitutional
Tradition', which sought to use peaceful political means,
and the 'Physical Force Tradition' which sought to win
freedom through military action, broke out in mid-1922
following the endorsement of the Treaty in a General
Election in the 26 counties of Ireland that became known as
the Irish Free State.

Some IRA members may well have revolted against compromise
even if De Valera had supported the Treaty but his
opposition makes him directly responsible for thousands of
Irish deaths.

Last photo of Michael Collins, taken outside Lee's Hotel in
Bandon, West Cork on 22 August 1922. He and his colleague
General Dalton are in the back of the touring car. Collins
is on the left.. Collins was killed in an IRA ambush, seven
miles north of Bandon.

The Emergence of Two Sectarian States

A significant minority of the Irish population naïvely
believed that Britain could be forced to surrender the
whole island and if the majority Unionist population in
Northeast Ulster could not live in an Irish Republic, they
could move to what they themselves termed "the mainland."

The delusion that the likes of Winston Churchill who even
after the huge sacrifice and cost of the Second World War,
was not prepared for Indian independence, would have
hoisted the white flag while maintaining trade links with
Ireland to avoid another famine and would have totally
abandoned the Unionist population, is part of a myth that
is still supported today.

The pro-Treaty National Army suffered 800 fatalities and an
estimated 4000 people were killed in total in the Civil War
- greater than in the Easter Rising and the 1919-21 war
against the British, combined. Both sides committed brutal
acts and leaders such as Michael Collins were killed. The
anti-Treaty forces suspended action in 1923 and the new
Irish State then had to begin the recovery from economic

As the Southern Irish fought amongst themselves, the
Unionists consolidated their position in the Six Counties
of Northern Ireland, which were not varied by the Boundary
Commission that was agreed in the Treaty negotiations.

The founders of the new Irish State did make efforts to
embrace citizens of the Protestant tradition and the poet
William Butler Yeats became a Senator in the Upper House.
The Irish brand of republicans, viewing every compromise
through a prism of hatred, derided them as West Britons for
accommodating the perceived enemy.

When De Valera's party Fianna Fáil won power in the midst
of the Great Depression in 1932, he set about copper
fastening a sectarian state by replacing the Free State
Constitution with one that recognised the special position
of the Catholic Church, prohibited divorce and claimed
jurisdiction over the whole island. De Valera's spiritual
adviser was the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Dublin Charles
McQuaid, who wielded immense power with control of the
educational system, complete with reformatories and
industrial schools where thousands of children were
incarcerated. So-called artificial contraception was banned
and an unmarried mother rearing her own child was a taboo
in society.

Meanwhile, as late as the 1950's, almost 20% of the
population emigrated to England and the US.

In Northern Ireland, the Ulster Unionist Party established
what one Prime Minister termed a "Protestant parliament for
a Protestant people," with a system of governance where
Catholics were distrusted and the subject of officially
sanctioned discrimination.

There were no formal relations between the two governments
on the island and the Irish Government had limited
influence on the British Government given De Valera's
perceived hostility.

It was not until 1965 that there was a formal meeting
between the Prime Ministers of the two governments on the

Connecting the dots

In the American Declaration of Independence of 1776, Thomas
Jefferson wrote: "We hold these Truths to be self-evident,
that all men are created equal.... It took until 1863, for
it to become self-evident officially that African-Americans
were also endowed with "certain unalienable Rights" and
much longer for it to be recognised across the great

In 1863, Irish workers in New York opposed the Emancipation
Proclamation and in the riots against the Union Army draft,
attacked African-American orphanages and African-Americans
on the streets unlucky to get caught up in the civil

There is often a wide gulf between words and deeds.

We have been good at victimhood and if Patrick Pearse, the
leader of the Easter Rising had lived through the early
1920's upheaval, maybe his words in the Proclamation of
being oblivious of the differences, which have divided a
minority from the majority in the past, would have had a
practical import. However, the reality was very different
to President McAleese's sanitised version of Irish history.

Theobald Wolfe Tone (1763-1798), a Protestant lawyer from
Dublin and others had founded the Society of United
Irishmen in 1791. Originally a reform organisation, the
Society sought an alliance of the Protestant upper class
and the Catholic peasantry. He fought for a free Ireland
where members of all classes and religions could live
together in harmony.

Given that the campaign of the IRA in the Civil War, was
oblivious of the existence of the Protestant population in
the North while killing Protestants in the South and the
modern IRA has polarised the two communities in Northern
Ireland, through its violent campaign since 1969, it's
ironic that Wolfe Tone is viewed by republicans as their

Each year, De Valera's Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin the
political unit of the modern IRA, separately commemorate
Wolfe Tone, at his grave, in Bodenstown, County Kildare,
west of Dublin.

Following the success of extremist Irish republicans in
preventing a planned march in Dublin on Saturday, February
25th by Northern Irish Protestants, to highlight the
violence that had been inflicted on their community by the
IRA, Irish Times columnist Fintan O'Toole wrote:

In June 1934, two lorry-loads of political activists,
composed, as the Irish Independent put it, "largely of
Protestants and Presbyterians drawn in the main from the .
. . Orange districts of Belfast", made their way from
Belfast to Bodenstown.

Radicalised by the strikes and social unrest of the
Depression years, they had come to accept the challenge
laid down by left-wing republicans: to transcend sectarian
divisions and make common cause among the workers.

They carried banners proclaiming: "Wolfe Tone Commemoration
1934, Shankill Road Belfast Branch. Break The Connection
With Capitalism."

Though the delegation was hardly representative of working-
class Protestants in general, its very existence was
remarkable. It seemed to suggest, however tentatively,
that, in the words of the republican congress,
"sectarianism burns out quickly where there is team work in
common struggle".

What happened, of course, is that the Shankill Road workers
were attacked at Bodenstown by the IRA, probably under the
instructions of its then leader, Seán MacBride. Its members
were kicked and punched as they tried to make their way
towards Tone's grave, and the IRA heavies tried to seize
their banners. The attack was motivated in part by a hatred
of communism, but in part too by raw sectarianism.

At the moment when its official ideology - Catholics and
Protestants making common cause - began to take on a tiny
semblance of reality, so-called republicanism reverted to
the basic instincts that lie behind its rhetoric.

While Orange bigotry has been open and obvious, the
sectarian and ethnic hatred that lies behind much militant
Irish nationalism almost never speaks its name. It takes
the unbearable sight of Protestants walking the holy ground
of republicanism - Bodenstown, the GPO - to unleash its
feral tribalism.

In his trial for treason in 1798, Wolfe Tone addressed the
court but was cut off before delivering the following

"I have laboured to create a people in Ireland by raising
three millions of my countrymen to the rank of citizens. I
have laboured to abolish the infernal spirit of religious
persecution, by uniting the Catholics and Dissenters. To
the former I owe more than ever can be repaid. The services
I was so fortunate as to render them they rewarded
munificently; but they did more: when the public cry was
raised against me—when the friends of my youth swarmed off
and left me alone—the Catholics did not desert me; they had
the virtue even to sacrifice their own interests to a rigid
principle of honour; they refused, though strongly urged,
to disgrace a man who, whatever his conduct towards the
government might have been, had faithfully and
conscientiously discharged his duty towards them; and in so
doing, though it was in my own case, I will say they showed
an instance of public, virtue of which I know not whether
there exists another example."

So much more could have been done through the decades since
the Easter Rising in uniting the Catholics and Dissenters
and President McAleese's airbrushing of history while
burnishing the myths of Irish nationalism, ranks with De
Valera's fraudulent vision of Ireland in the 1930's of
comely maidens dancing on village greens.

Can we still not handle the truth in 2006?

The Irish General Election 1918
© Copyright 2005 by


Kerry Says Nuclear Fuel Bank Crucial

George Jackson

Former US presidential candidate Senator John Kerry last
night called on the world's nuclear powers to establish an
internationally controlled bank of nuclear fuel in an
attempt to prevent countries such as Iran from developing
their own nuclear weapons capability.

Speaking on the theme Security ithe 21st Century at the
Magee Campus of the University of Ulster in Derry, Mr Kerry
also said that attempts to democratise Muslim countries
should not be seen as a crusade, otherwise those attempts
would fail.

The Democratic senator, who was defeated by George W Bush
in the 2004 presidential campaign, said he believed the
"war on terror" was fundamentally a war within Islam for
the heart and soul of Islam, adding that no centre of moral
authority had emerged to stop those who would murder in the
name of Islam.

"Ultimately this is a struggle for the transformation of
the greater Middle East into a region that is no longer
isolated from the global economy, no longer dependent on
despotism for stability, no longer fearful of freedom and
no longer content to feed restive and rising populations of
unemployed young people a diet of illusions, excuses and
dead end government jobs.

"So we have a huge stake in finding partners in the Arab
world who are willing not only to lead the transformation
of the Middle East, but to re-establish the broad and
unchallenged moral authority needed to isolate and defeat
terrorists," he said.

"All of the allies, from Europe to the Americas to Asia,
must work harder to strengthen our commitment and enhance
our efforts to integrate the Middle East into the global
economy. This is the only way to stop economic regression,
spur investment beyond the oil industry and spark trade,
investment and growth in the region. It's the only way to
turn young minds and energy away from terror."

Mr Kerry said the US and its allies had to spread the
"democratic message" throughout the Arab world in an open,
patient and determined way.

"Above all, we must remember democratisation is not a
crusade. If it is seen as the result of an army marching
through Muslim lands, it will fail."

© The Irish Times


Dublin Honours Geldof And Delany

Róisín Ingle

Bob Geldof is a man who knows a thing or two about
organising events. Standing on a sodden stage outside the
Mansion House in Dublin yesterday, he revealed that he had
tried and failed to give Dublin City Council a few tips on
this score.

"I told them don't do it in March in the late Sunday
afternoon, for Christ's sake," he said, as the rain fell on
the hundreds gathered in the capital to see the Freedom of
the City conferred on humanitarian hero Geldof and Olympic
gold medal-winner Ronnie Delany.

Dublin's Lord Mayor Catherine Byrne said both men had left
their mark on the world - but still the man behind Live Aid
insisted it was "daunting" sharing a stage with Olympian

He told a story about how he was always missing the 7a bus
as a teenager growing up in Dublin. "It would go zipping
past me and I'd dash after it and the conductor would lean
out and say 'Ronnie f**kin' Delany, wha?' How do you share
a stage with somebody who has become an expression?"
wondered the 53-year-old.

Both wearing spotty ties, the free men cut impressive
figures as they took possession of Waterford Crystal globes
and scrolls proffering the right, amongst others, to graze
their sheep in St Stephen's Green. One a tall, former
athlete looking the picture of health in his seventh
decade, the other a pinstripe-wearing business man and
anti-poverty campaigner with that trademark crop of
dishevelled grey hair.

Delany, watched by his wife, children and grandchildren,
declared himself "deeply honoured" and reminisced about how
his win 50 years ago in the 1,500m in Melbourne caught the
imagination of a nation.

Sitting among the guests were Geldof's father, Bob snr
(96), his partner Jeanne Marine and his stylish daughters
Peaches (17), Pixie (15) and Tiger Lily (9). "We are proud
kids, it's very cool," said columnist and TV presenter
Peaches, revealing the best thing about the trip to Dublin
was staying in "an amazing hotel and eating chips all day".

Despite speculation, Geldof's speech was admirably
restrained, with a statement that the Ireland of the 1970s
had been transformed from a "brown and pinched little
parochial town" the closest he came to a rant.

Bob Geldof: voice for hungry

Bob Geldof was born in Dún Laoghaire in 1951. He attended
Blackrock College and became lead singer of The Boomtown
Rats in 1975. The band had its first number one in 1978
with Rat Trap and gained international attention with I
Don't Like Mondays in 1979.

His first major involvement with charity came in 1984 when
a BBC news report on the famine in Ethiopia inspired him to
write Do They Know It's Christmas? Geldof put together a
group made up of leading Irish and British pop and rock
musicians called Band Aid to perform the song and the
single was released for Christmas. It raised millions.

In 1985 he organised the Live Aid charity concert, which
raised money around the world for Ethiopia.

Another international concert, Live 8, was organised last
year by Geldof with U2's Bono, to put pressure on leading
governments to abolish Third World debt as part of the Make
Poverty History campaign.

Ronnie Delany: running man

Ronnie Delany was born in Arklow, Co Wicklow, in 1935 and
later moved to Sandymount in Dublin with his family. He
graduated from Villanova University in Pennsylvania with a
degree in economics.

In 1956, he became only the seventh man in history to run a
mile in under four minutes and won a place on Ireland's
team for the Melbourne Olympics. After qualifying
comfortably in his 1,500m semi-final, he ran a tactically
brilliant race in the final and set a new Olympic record by
running the distance in 3 minutes 41.2 seconds. He covered
the last 300m in 38.8 seconds and won the gold medal by
almost four metres.

He was also the first Irishman to win a medal in the 1,500m
in the European championships, in Stockholm in 1958. He
retired from athletics in 1962. He was chairman of the
National Irish Sports Council from 1978 to 1990. He is
president of the Irish Olympians Association.

© The Irish Times


Couple Who Rang Bell For 30 Years Get Papal Award


A married couple who rang the bell in their local church
twice a day, seven days a week, for 30 years have been
honoured with a prestigious papal award in recognition of
their devotion to the parish.

Paddy and Maura Murray, sacristans at the Church of the
Immaculate Conception, Enniskeane, west Cork, have been
presented with Bene Merenti medals for their service over
three decades.

The couple, who have two grown-up sons, stopped ringing the
bell two weeks ago after an automated system was installed.
However, they still carry out a number of duties, including
opening the church at 8.30am daily, looking after church
supplies and locking up again in the evenings.

Maura Murray, who is in her seventies, said yesterday that
she was thrilled to receive the papal honour. "I never
dreamt that something like this could happen. It is a big
honour," she said.

The Murrays were recommended for the Bene Merenti medal by
the parish priest of Enniskeane, Father Michael Nolan. The
Bene Merenti medal is a papal decoration conferred on lay
and religious people who have rendered distinguished
service to the church.

The medal was instituted by Pope Gregory XVI and is
frequently given to a person after long years of service.

© The Irish Times


Rescue Team Locate Croagh Patrick Climber

05 March 2006 23:06

A climber who was injured in a fall on Croagh Patrick in Co
Mayo this afternoon, was located tonight by members of the
Mayo mountain rescue team.

He and a companion were about two-thirds of the way up the
2,500ft mountain, when he was involved in a fall.

Twenty rescuers have been involved in an operation to bring
him down the mountain.

The Shannon-based coastguard helicopter also provided back-

The man, who is in his 30s, is from the Galway area. He
sustained a leg injury.


Oscar Winner McDonagh Acknowledges Irish Roots

06/03/2006 - 02:47:35

Martin McDonagh thanked his Irish parents when collecting
his Oscar for best live action short today.

The film Six Shooter, which he directed and wrote, starred
Irishman Brendan Gleeson.

He used to spend his summers in Ireland, dividing his time
between Easkey in Co. Sligo where his mother originates
from and Connemara, Co. Galway, the home of his father.

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