News about the Irish & Irish American culture, music, news, sports. This is hosted by the Irish Aires radio show on KPFT-FM 90.1 in Houston, Texas (a Pacifica community radio station)

March 22, 2006

Finucane Family Urges Judges To Shun Murder Inquiry

To Index of Monthly Archives
To March Index
To Get RSS Feed for Irish Aires News click HERE
(Paste into a News Reader)
To receive this news via email, click
No Message is necessary.

News About Ireland & The Irish

BN 03/22/06
Finucane Family Urges Judges To Shun Murder Inquiry
IE 03/22/06 Echo Focus: Splitsville?
IT 03/23/06 Ahern And Blair To Finalise Plan For Assembly Recall
IT 03/23/06 Ireland Could Join Battlegroups Next Year - O'Dea
BB 03/22/06 Order And SDLP To Discuss Parades
SF 03/22/06 Political Unionism In Denial Over Role In Conflict
BB 03/22/06 Fr Alex Reid Involved In ETA Peace Move
BN 03/22/06 Adams Urges Spainish Govt To Embrace Eta Ceasefire
BN 03/22/06 Govt Hails Eta Ceasefire
BN 03/22/06 Judge Gives Two Men Six Years For Possessing Pipe Bomb
IE 03/22/06 Specter Buys Time, Keeping Hope Alive
BC 03/22/06 Hunger Strike For Human Dignity: But Does San Fran Care?
IT 03/23/06 Taoiseach Backs Call For UVF Murder Inquiry
IT 03/23/06 Abolition Of Housing Executive Opposed
PP 03/22/06 Opin: The U.S. Must Resume Its Role In Northern Ireland
WW 03/22/06 Opin: Belfast’s Bloody Violent Troubles Have Come To End
BN 03/22/06 Call For Quick Resolution On Future Of Aer Lingus
SC 03/22/06 Book Launch: British Propaganda In Ireland 1920
IE 03/22/06 Irish Aid For Katrina Paid Out
PJ 03/22/06 The King Speaks Again, 118 Years On
GG 03/22/06 Gaelic Storm To Perform At Newman Fund-Raiser
OS 03/22/06 'Heroic' Tenor Delivers Intimate Performance
IT 03/23/06 Pegeen Mike Evokes A Blush In Beijing


Finucane Family Urges Judges To Shun Murder Inquiry

22/03/2006 - 17:52:11

The family of Patrick Finucane made a fresh appeal today to
judges around the world not to sit on the public inquiry
into the murder of the Belfast solicitor.

The plea came after Taoiseach Bertie Ahern told the Irish
Parliament that the British government had begun the search
for a judge to chair an inquiry into the murder 17 years

The Finucane family campaigned long and hard for a public
inquiry into the murder by loyalist paramilitaries and
allegations of security force collusion in it.

But they are opposed to the British government's decision
to hold the inquiry under the controversial Inquiries Act
which gives ministers the right to suppress full
publication of the final report.

The Dáil recently united to voice its opposition to the
form the British government has chosen for the inquiry and
joined the Finucanes in urging the judiciary to have
nothing to do with it.

Mr Ahern told the Dáil last night he understood from
international connections the British government was having
``great difficulty'' finding a judge prepared to chair the

Mr Finucane's son Michael, himself a lawyer, urged judges
to stand firm. ``We have already asked them not to sit on
the inquiry and I ask them again.''


Echo Focus: Splitsville?

Friends divide as two statements issued

By Ray O'Hanlon

The Friends of Ireland in Congress have separated. And
questions are being asked in Irish America this week as to
whether the rift will turn into a fully-fledged divorce.

The normally unified group, comprised of both members of
the Senate and House of Representatives, caused a St.
Patrick's Day stir by releasing separate statements on the
Northern Ireland peace process.

And while much in each statement was written along similar
lines -- both, for example, hammered away at Ian Paisley's
Democratic Unionist Party -- the two statements veered
apart over the thorny matter of Sinn Féin and policing, and
the Robert McCartney murder investigation.

Each statement even offered a different figure for the size
of the nation's Irish American population

One Friends statement was signed and released by the
group's chairman, GOP representative Jim Walsh.

The other was released from the office of Sen. Edward
Kennedy. It described itself as the "Friends of Ireland
Statement" and as being the work of the "Friends of Ireland
Executive Committee."

The Walsh statement described itself as the "Statement of
the Friends of Ireland."

Additionally, in its email version, "of the House of
Representatives" was tagged on to that title.

The existence of two statements is not unusual. That they
were separately released is, however, a clear indication of
erosion in Capitol Hill's rough consensus on Northern
Ireland, a phenomenon that has been generally evident since
the 1998 Good Friday agreement.

The rule of thumb over the years, according to one long
time observer, was for the Friends chairman in the House to
craft a statement and for Sen. Kennedy to put together a
Senate version.

The two were then blended into one with Kennedy generally
allowed the last word.

Not so this year.

While much in the two versions signaled broad agreement --
to the point that "rift" might be a better explanation of
events than "split" -- the Kennedy version held Sinn Féin's
feet to the fire over policing while also highlighting the
McCartney case.

The House/Walsh version gave both these a pass.

Walsh, a Republican legislator from upstate New York, has
lately been critical of the Bush administration's denial of
fundraising rights for Adams when he visits the U.S. -- a
policy rooted in the refusal of Sinn Féin to take part in
North policing as it is currently constituted.

The Walsh statement, which was supported by House Speaker
Dennis Hastert began by stating that on St. Patrick's Day
the Friends of Ireland of the United States Congress joined
over 35 million Irish Americans in honoring the deep
history between America and the island of Ireland.

The Kennedy version opened up with the Friends of Ireland
in Congress joining 38 million Irish Americans in
celebrating the unique ties between America and the island
of Ireland.

Conflicting numbers for Irish Americans apart, the
political rift places Democrats and Republicans together in
both camps and, at the same time, members of both parties
facing off across the divide.

Kennedy's statement was not just cosigned at the top by
fellow Democrats Chris Dodd and Nancy Pelosi, the
Democratic leader in the House, but also by Susan Collins,
a senator from Maine who, like Walsh, is a Republican.

Walsh's statement, in turn, has drawn support from
Democrats and Republicans.

One well placed Washington source said that while
differences of emphasis between Friends of Ireland members
in the House and Senate was nothing new, this time around
the rift might be wide enough to result in separate Senate
and House statements becoming the norm on St. Patrick's Day
in the years ahead.

Such a scenario, of course, does not take into account the
possibilities of additional divided opinion on Northern
Ireland within both institutions.

A tale of two statements

Friends of Ireland Statement

The Friends of Ireland in Congress join 38 million Irish
Americans in celebrating the unique ties between America
and the island of Ireland. We welcome the Taoiseach, Bertie
Ahern, to the United States, and we send our warmest
greetings to all the people of Ireland and Northern

Irish Americans care deeply about Northern Ireland, and we
commend President Bush for his effort to keep the U.S.
government involved in the pursuit of peace.

In 1998, the parties to the Good Friday Agreement committed
to "partnership, equality and mutual respect as the basis"
for moving forward. We continue to believe that the Good
Friday Agreement, with its guarantees of inclusion, is
essential to the viability and advancement of the
democratic and peace process in Northern Ireland.

A political system based on inclusive power-sharing
requires trust and confidence. The parties to the Good
Friday Agreement also affirmed their "total and absolute
commitment to exclusively democratic and peaceful means..."

All Americans who care deeply about peace and an end to the
violence in Northern Ireland welcomed the long-awaited
action of decommissioning by the Irish Republican Army last
September as an essential step to achieve mutual trust and
confidence. This historic step toward peace should have
been embraced by all in the Unionist community and become a
new dawn for the peace process, so that the all-important
restoration of the institutions of the Good Friday
Agreement can take place as soon as possible

We welcome the February 1 finding of the Independent
Monitoring Commission (IMC) that the IRA has "taken the
strategic decision to eschew terrorism and pursue a
political path."

We regret that the Democratic Unionist Party has refused to
state that it is willing to share power with all parties,
including Sinn Fein, and has continued to reject the Good
Friday Agreement.

It is essential that the DUP unequivocally agree to share
power with all parties, and commit itself to working within
all the institutions established by the Agreement.

Sinn Fein must also continue to build on the significant
progress that has been made Progress on policing is
essential in order to ensure peace and stability in
Northern Ireland. A decision by Sinn Fein to support and
join the new policing structures would be a very important
step forward.

We regret that loyalist paramilitary violence remains high,
and that, in the words of the IMC, Loyalist groups, which
are responsible for a wide range of crime, "have not made
the strategic choice that the Provisional IRA has made. "
Loyalist paramilitaries must decommission all their

All paramilitaries must end criminality and intimidation. .

Justice must also be done in the case of Robert McCartney.

We commend the Irish and British Governments for their
ongoing efforts to work with the political leaders in
Northern Ireland to restore the trust and confidence that
are essential to advance the peace.

We urge the British Government to stand firm for the rule
of law and promote confidence in its application by -

holding proper public inquiries in all cases recommended by
Judge Cory - including into the murder of Pat Finucane;
recognizing the success of the work of previous Parades
Commissions and continuing with it; continuing the process
of demilitarization and advancing a human rights and
equality agenda.

On this St. Patrick's Day, we look forward to the day soon
when the Good Friday Agreement will be finally and fully
implemented, and stable democratic institutions and lasting
peace, and justice will be achieved in Northern Ireland.


Nancy Pelosi

Edward M. Kennedy Christopher J. Dodd Susan M. Collins

Statement by the Friends of Ireland

On this St. Patrick's Day, the Friends of Ireland of the
United States Congress joins over 35 million Irish
Americans in honoring the deep history between America and
the island of Ireland.

We welcome the Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, and all political
leaders from Ireland and Northern Ireland that have come to
celebrate this St. Patrick's Day with us. We also recognize
Dr. Mitchell Reiss, U.S. Special Envoy to Northern Ireland,
for his steadfast commitment to the implementation of the
Good Friday Agreement.

We praise both the Irish and British Governments for their
ongoing efforts to work with the political leaders in
Northern Ireland to restore the trust that is essential to
the advancement of peace in the region.

We formally commend Sinn Féin for its leadership in the
historic decommissioning of weaponry by the Irish
Republican Army in September 2005. We recognize and express
our gratitude to General deChastelain and the Independent
International Commission on Decommissioning for their
steadfast pursuit of this goal. Their certification that
the decommissioning was complete and final was a critical
step in the Peace Process.

We must be resolute in our implementation of the Good
Friday Agreement. We encourage all the parties involved to
continue to take all the necessary steps for peace.
However, we regret that the Democratic Unionist Party has
continued to reject the Good Friday Agreement and has
refused to demonstrate its willingness to share power with
all parties, including Sinn Fein. The stated goal of all
political parties in Northern Ireland is a power sharing
agreement that assures a fully devolved government
consisting of an executive and a legislative branch.

We urge loyalist paramilitaries to stand down and to
decommission all their weapons. This would further create a
sense of progress in the Peace Process. We continue to
strongly urge all political parties to participate in the
Policing Commission and also encourage their constituencies
to work with and place faith in the Policing Service of
Northern Ireland.

We also urge the British Government to stand firm on the
rule of law and to promote public confidence by holding
public inquiries in all cases recommended by Judge Cory.
Additionally, we recognize the success of past Parades
Commissions and urge all groups to work within the
guidelines established by the Commission.

Lastly, we recognize the continued process of
demilitarization in Northern Ireland and encourage the
business and political leadership of Northern Ireland to
move quickly toward developing a new economy that is not
based solely on government funding.

We admire the progress that has been made thus far and
recognize the efforts of all parties and all traditions
involved. We praise President Bush and former President
Clinton for remaining invested in the reconciliation
process on the island of Ireland.

Today we gather alongside our fellow Irish Americans to
share the blessings of cooperation and good will between
our two peoples. Happy St. Patrick's Day.

(Statement from the office of Rep. Joseph Walsh)

This story appeared in the issue of March 22 - 28, 2006


Ahern And Blair To Finalise Plan For Assembly Recall

Dan Keenan and Mark Brennock

Taoiseach Bertie Ahern and prime minister Tony Blair meet
at the Brussels summit tomorrow to finalise a new plan to
have the full Northern Assembly meet for a set period,
after which it would be required to agree on a power-
sharing executive.

The Taoiseach indicated yesterday that he wanted this time-
limited Assembly to be "fully operational", rather than
being set up in a "shadow" form as has been proposed by the

The new arrangement would be designed to press the DUP and
Sinn Féin into agreeing a mechanism for power-sharing as
quickly as possible.

According to Downing Street, talks about recalling the
Assembly for a set period will take "centre stage" when Mr
Blair and Mr Ahern meet in Brussels. If the Brussels
discussions are successful, it is anticipated the two
leaders will travel to Northern Ireland, possibly on April
6th, to outline plans to end suspension of the Assembly.

Sources in Dublin, London and Belfast yesterday stressed
the fluid nature of preparations for any announcement. The
governments are striving to devise a mechanism that would
reconcile the DUP demand to create a working Assembly
before full restoration of the executive - with a Sinn Féin
insistence that any development be compliant with the
Belfast Agreement.

The two governments could also make clear what will happen
in the event of no agreement on power- sharing between Sinn
Féin and the DUP after the six-week period stipulated under
the d'Hondt mechanism.

Sinn Féin warned again yesterday that any plan hatched by
the two governments would have to be compliant with the
Belfast Agreement.

It is understood London is prepared to use "all the time
available" between now and any visit by Mr Blair to
Northern Ireland to finalise the proposals. Discussions
were expected "to go right up to the wire".

Under the Belfast Agreement, the Assembly can meet for six
weeks before the d'Hondt mechanism to elect an executive is
required to produce a resolution. The two governments
appear to be seeking some device to prolong the period for
success beyond this, but it is not clear how they intend to
do this.

Mr Ahern told the Dáil yesterday: "A fixed period must be
set, as there would be no point in trying to set up an
ineffective shadow executive that would just go on and on.
Agreement to do so would not be reached and neither the
British nor the Irish governments wish to do it."

Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams warned the governments to
stand by the Belfast Agreement. "I'm not impressed by what
has been said [ by the Taoiseach]. We want to see
delivery," Mr Adams said.

© The Irish Times


Ireland Could Join Battlegroups Next Year - O'Dea

Irish troops could be taking part in EU battlegroups by the
end of next year, Minister for Defence Willie O'Dea
confirmed tonight.

Mr O'Dea told the Oireachtas European Affairs Committee
that he expects the Dáil to approve legislation on the
issue before the summer recess.

Amendments to the 1960 Defence Act will allow the Defence
Forces to participate in rapidly-deployed multinational
battlegroups to support international peace and security

All operations must receive the 'triple-lock' approval of
the Government and the Dáil as well as the UN Security

"If the legislation is in place by the summer recess, some
time during the latter part of next year, we will be in a
position to participate," Mr O'Dea told the all-party

The legislation changes will also allow the Government to
send troops on humanitarian missions to natural disasters
like the tsunami in Asia or the earthquake in Pakistan.

Soldiers can currently only be deployed to such regions
only as volunteers with aid agencies.

Irish troops may need additional training and equipment
before they are deployed in the overseas missions, the
minister said.

He told the committee he believed that 'battlegroup' was an
unfortunate phrase. "It has connotations that some would
exploit to arouse baseless fears," he explained.

But Government TD Barry Andrews disagreed: "I'm tired of
euphemisms. I'm tired of people watering down phrases to
try to placate others."

© The Irish Times/


Order And SDLP To Discuss Parades

The Orange Order is to meet the nationalist SDLP for the
first time to discuss its attitude to issues related to the
loyalist marching season.

The Order has written to the SDLP seeking a meeting and a
party spokeswoman said the party was "happy to meet the
marching orders".

The spokeswoman said the SDLP's position was "very clear on

"We believe there needs to be face to face dialogue at a
local level without preconditions," she said.

"We also believe that everybody needs to work
constructively with the Parades Commission."

The Orange Order is also seeking a meeting with NI
Secretary Peter Hain to demand fresh legislation on
parades. In addition it has written to the Alliance party
seeking discussions.

BBC Northern Ireland political editor Mark Devenport said
the Order has consulted in recent times with the Protestant
churches and both main unionist parties about the way

"However, senior Orange sources are still ruling out
dialogue with both the Parades Commission and Sinn Fein,"
he said.

"The Order is hoping that this year's Twelfth will be
viewed more as a community festival than a demonstration.

"The Order is in contact with the Northern Ireland Events
Company about government funding for a number of re-
enactments and other activities which it intends will
coincide with the Twelfth parades."

Northern Ireland's marching season is one of the fixed
elements of Northern Ireland life, and in recent years it
has become one of the most disputed.

Members of "loyal orders" - of which the Orange Order is
the largest - parade in ceremonial garb.

In places where the Order tries to march through Catholic
areas, residents see the parades as intimidatory and
designed to raise tensions.

The Parades Commission is an independent, quasi-judicial
body set up in 1997 to rule on parades.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/03/22 16:10:46 GMT


Political Unionism In Denial Over Role In Conflict

Published: 22 March, 2006

Commenting on the hysterical unionist reaction to Tony
Blair's overnight comments branding those responsible for
the sectarian murder of catholic as bigots, Sinn Féin
Assembly member for North Antrim Philip McGuigan said that
political unionism was still in denial about its role in
the conflict.

Mr McGuigan said:

"Political unionism governed the six counties for 50 years
through a mixture of gerrymandering, sectarian terror and
discrimination. Political unionism provided the rhetoric
behind which the unionist murder gangs hid to wage their
sectarian murder campaign against Catholics.

"Yet despite this reality political unionism is still in
denial about their role in the conflict here. Given the
fact that loyalist murder gangs killed over 1000 people
during a campaign motivated by sectarianism and anti-
Catholic hatred it is hardly surprising that those involved
have been described as bigoted.

"Instead of continually lashing out at the messenger
political unionism should use opportunities like this to
reflect upon their past in order to move forward on the
basis of equality and respect with the rest of us." ENDS


Fr Alex Reid Involved In ETA Peace Move

Belfast priest Fr Alex Reid was involved in getting Basque
separatist group Eta to call a permanent ceasefire, it has
been confirmed.

The group will begin the ceasefire on Friday "to start a
new democratic process in the Basque country".

Fr Reid, who was a witness to IRA decommissioning in
Northern Ireland, said they were influenced by the peace
process in the province.

He said they had taken "courage and inspiration" from the
NI peace process.

"They would say to me here 'we had no hope'," he said.

"The people were in a hole, were in despair, and they would
look to Ireland and they see what Ireland was able to do
and that lifts them and kind of tells them that 'if they
can do it, because their conflict is very old and very
difficult, we can do it'."

Eta is blamed for killing more than 800 people in its four-
decade fight for independence for the Basque region of
northern Spain and south-west France.

Spanish PM Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero said the government
was cautious but hopeful about the announcement.

Eta, which is classed as a terrorist group by the US and
the European Union, declared an indefinite ceasefire in
1998 but peace talks broke down and the bombing campaign
resumed a year later.

The group has never previously called a permanent stop to
the violence.

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams said his party had been in
contact with Basque political parties and that the
opportunity should be grasped.

"There is a particular onus and responsibility on the
Spanish government to respond positively and creatively,"
he said.

"The Spanish government should immediately intervene to
stop the political trials against Batasuna leaders."

Fr Reid outlined what sort of concessions Eta and its
political wing Batasuna may have received from the Spanish
government in return for ending the armed campaign.

"One of them would be how you are going to arrange with the
prisoners," he said.

"There's the legalisation of Batasuna - there must be some
arrangement about that.

"They would have to do directly with Eta, and mostly with
their prisoners.

"Obviously that has been worked out, I can't see them
stopping unless there is a satisfactory solution."

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/03/22 20:42:17 GMT


Adams Urges Spainish Govt To Embrace Eta Ceasefire

22/03/2006 - 14:17:26

The Spanish Government was urged by Gerry Adams today to
respond creatively and positively to Basque separatist
group Eta’s ceasefire declaration.

The Sinn Fein president, whose party has been involved in
efforts to promote a peace process between the Spanish and
the Basques, claimed the ceasefire provided both sides with
an historic opportunity to resolve their differences.

“Eta’s announcement provides all sides to the conflict with
an opportunity of historic proportions,” the West Belfast
MP said.

“Today’s announcement gives a considerable boost to the
development of a conflict resolution process.

“It is incumbent on all sides to the conflict to grasp this
opportunity, and to do everything in their power to make
political progress a reality.”

Eta has been fighting for almost four decades for
independence for the Basque region of northern Spain and
south-west France.

The group has been accused of killing more than 800 people
including Spanish police, judges and politicians.

However in a statement released to Basque media, the group
announced a ceasefire would begin this Friday.

The statement said Eta wanted to start a new democratic
process in the Basque country.

“At the end of this process, Basque citizens will be able
to have a voice and the power to decide their future,” the
organisation said.

“An end to the conflict is possible today and now. This is
the hope and desire of Eta.”

Mr Adams today said Sinn Féin believed an inclusive process
of dialogue in which the Spanish and the Basques were
treated equally would be the key to political progress.

“All possibilities must be on the agenda for discussion,”
he said.

“There is a particular onus and responsibility on the
Spanish Government to respond positively and creatively.

“The Spanish Government should immediately intervene to
stop the political trials against Batasuna leaders,
including Arnaldo Otegi.”

The Sinn Féin president said his party had been engaged in
talks with all of the Basque political parties including
(Eta’s political wing) Batasuna.

He confirmed: “I have also written to the Spanish Prime
Minister Jose Luis Zapatero.

“Sinn Féin’s objective has been to promote conflict
resolution and to assist in whatever way we can the
development of a peace process. I welcome today’s news from
the Basque Country.”

Commentators said the long, close relationship between Eta
activists and IRA members had proved influential in Eta's
decision. The IRA last year renounced violence for
political purposes and handed over its weapons stockpiles
to disarmament officials.


Govt Hails Eta Ceasefire

22/03/2006 - 14:43:04

The Government today welcomed the permanent ceasefire
announced by Basque separatist group Eta.

The group has claimed responsibility for more than 800
deaths since the late 1960s in a campaign for an
independent homeland in northern Spain and south west

Foreign Affairs Minister Dermot Ahern, who has regularly
raised the issue of Eta violence with the Spanish
government at European Union level, said the ceasefire was
very good news.

He said today: “While we have yet to study objective
information, any decision to permanently abandon violence
and pursue an exclusively democratic path is very much to
be welcomed.

“Anybody in Ireland who visits Spain or has friends there
will be delighted when the ceasefire is confirmed.”

It is understood that the successful peace process in
Northern Ireland has strongly influenced negotiations
between Eta and Spanish authorities.

“There was a lot of public pressure on Eta since the IRA
ended its armed campaign and decommissioned its weapons
last year,” one Foreign Affairs Department official said.

In a statement sent to TV stations and newspapers, Eta said
it “has decided to declare a permanent ceasefire” from

“The aim (of the ceasefire) is to promote a democratic
process in the Basque country and to build a new framework
in which our rights as a people will be recognised.

“Eta also calls on the Spanish and French authorities to
respond positively to this new situation, leaving their
repressive ways behind,” the statement continued.


Judge Gives Two Men Six Years For Possessing Pipe Bomb

22/03/2006 - 14:57:30

Two Dublin men who admitted having a pipe bomb on the
city's northside were sentenced to six years imprisonment,
with the final three years suspended, by the Special
Criminal Court in Dublin today.

Christopher Mc Carthy (aged 29) of the The Vale, Woodfarm
Acres, Palmerstown and Daniel McFaul (aged 22), of
Croftwood Crescent, Ballyfermot had pleaded guilty last
year to the unlawful possession of an improvised explosive
device containing nitro cellulose and a timing power unit
at Belcamp Crescent, Dublin on January 20, 2005.

Detective Superintendent Diarmuid O' Sullivan of the
Special Detective Unit told the court that gardaí mounted a
surveillance operation after receiving confidential
information that the Continuity IRA intended to carry out
an operation at Belcamp Crescent on the night in question.

He said that McCarthy was the driver of a motorbike which
arrived at Belcamp Crescent in Darndale in the early hours
of January 20 last year.

The passenger, McFaul, got off the bike and headed towards
Belcamp Crescent but later got back on the motorbike.

A short time later the same bike returned and McFaul was
seen getting off the bike again and walking across a green
area towards a van parked in the driveway of a house.

Gardaí observed him removing what appeared to be a lunch
box from a satchel and putting it under the van.

Both men tried to escape when they realised gardai were
present but were arrested.

The Army EOD team carried out two controlled explosions on
the suspicious device under the van and people were
evacuated from their homes.

The components of the device were recovered including a
Tupperware box, a 9-volt battery and a pipe bomb with
electrical wires protruding from it. It was forensically
examined and found to contain nitro cellulose.

Sentencing the men, Mr Justice Paul Butler, presiding, said
that the court regarded it as a very serious offence and
that a "live device" capable of causing serious harm was

The judge said, however, that the court regarded with
"great significance" undertakings given under oath by both
men that they would not engage in unlawful activity or
illegal organisations and in the circumstances would
suspend the final three years of the six years sentence
imposed on each man.


Specter Buys Time, Keeping Hope Alive

By Ray O'Hanlon

Hopes for a comprehensive immigration reform bill that will
provide relief to thousands of undocumented Irish remained
alive this week after the Senate Judiciary Committee
sought, and secured, more time to consider proposals in
advance of an expected March 27 Senate vote.

And during his St. Patrick's Day visit to Washington,
Taoiseach Bertie Ahern stated that his government would
seek no special immigration deal for the Irish but would
stake all its hopes in the kind of reform contained in the
McCain/Kennedy Senate bill.

That proposal, which some observers had given little chance
of surviving the Judicary panel's scrutiny, was effectively
embraced at the 11th hour by its chairman, Senator Arlen

Specter, a Pennsylvania Republican who had crafted a reform
bill of his own, signaled support for the bipartisan
McCain/Kennedy proposal to provide a means of so-called
"earned legalization" to undocumented and illegal
immigrants who could meet certain, specific, criteria.

Specter's support is contingent on the clearing up of the
current backlog that is delaying the processing of
applications by an estimated three million people in line
for a green card.

The current number of illegal and undocumented living
within U.S. borders is far larger and generally listed in
press reports as being 11 million.

The number of undocumented Irish is about 40,000 according
to the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform.

"The Irish are just a small part of a very large problem at
the end of the day," Ahern said after meeting in Washington
with Senator John McCain.

In his meeting with President Bush at the White House,
Ahern urged the president to find a means for the
undocumented Irish to secure legal lives in the U.S.

"On this St. Patrick's Day, mindful of the resonance that
this great issue commands for Ireland and its people, I
would like to express the hope that a path may be found to
enable current Irish immigrants to legalize their status in
the U.S. on a permanent basis. I hope they can realize
their dream of stable and secure lives for themselves and
their families in this great country," Ahern said.

Against the backdrop of the Judiciary Committee's apparent
blending of the main bills on its desk - McCain/Kennedy,
Specter and the Cornyn/Kyl proposal - the waters were
further muddied by a bill presented to the Senate by Bill
Frist, the majority leader.

The Frist bill largely reflects the House of
Representatives-approved Sensenbrenner/King bill, a measure
that deals exclusively with border security and control and
does not include a path to earned legalization.

The Senate is in its "St. Patrick's Recess" this week and
is due to return on Monday, March 27 for two weeks of
deliberations before it goes into its scheduled spring

One source said this week that in advance of an expected
immigration vote that day, Judiciary Committee staffers
were working to eliminate some "language difficulties" in
the committee's now anticipated compromise proposal.

When the Senate convenes Monday, Frist's bill will be
assigned priority given the seniority of its author.

Observers are hopeful that an agreed Judiciary bill, with
McCain/Kennedy's earned legalization provision on board,
can then be attached in its entirety as an amendment to the
Frist bill or, alternatively, the critical earned
legalization provision would be attached along with other
portions of the Judiciary proposal.

Reform backers would then hope for a House/Senate
reconciliation of each chamber's respective bill - again
with earned legalization on board - before the Senate
adjourns for Easter.

Meanwhile, ILIR has announced that Sen. McCain will appear
at a town hall meeeting it is planning for Yonkers on March

McCain will speak at a venue yet to be announced, ILIR said
in a statement.

"This is exciting news," said ILIR executive director Kelly

"The fact that he is coming to such an Irish neighborhood
is an indication of how seriously he takes this issue. We
are delighted to host him."

This story appeared in the issue of March 22 - 28, 2006


Hunger Strike For Immigrant Human Dignity: But Do San
Franciscans Care?

by Bobbi Lopez‚ Mar. 22‚ 2006

“We know that there are people who are undocumented. And
what are they doing? They are picking our fruits when it is
cold. They care for our children. They clean our offices at
night. They use the sweat of their labor for this country.”
-Dolores Huerta at yesterday’s kickoff for the week of

Midday yesterday, over a hundred and fifty immigrant rights
activists, families, workers, teachers, students and others
convened at the steps of the Federal Building. They came to
protest sweeping immigration proposals that would have dire
consequences for immigrants in the U.S. Over fifty
activists plan to camp in front of the building and hold a
hunger strike for a week despite being denied permits by
the City of San Francisco There are similar protests and
strikes across the country, including 100,000 marchers who
took to the streets of Chicago last week.

H.R. 4437, introduced by Rep. James Sensenbrenner [R-WI],
seems so absurd that it could be fiction. However the bill
has already passed the House of Representatives, currently
being reviewed in the Senate, and President Bush has
clearly stated his intent to enact a version of this into
law. The bill calls for the criminalization of all
undocumented persons in the U.S., making “unlawful
presence” an aggravated felony. It would also instruct law
enforcement to seek out undocumented immigrants and cities,
such as San Francisco, that have sanctuary laws, could face
the lose of federal funding. The implication for schools,
churches, and nonprofit organizations are also sweeping.
Anyone assisting an immigrant, for example proving domestic
violence advice to a mother or a priest consoling an
individual, would be a felon and could have a five year
prison sentence. Other provisions include the creation of a
border fence, the elimination of the diversity visa lottery
system, indefinite detention of some immigrants and
expedite removal of others including those seeking asylum,
and huge fines for businesses employing undocumented

Despite the harsh reality of the legislation, the mode of
the protesters was positive as many chanted “el pueblo
unido hamas sera vencido.” or “the community united will
never be divided.” Hong-An Tran, a policy analyst from
SIREN, spoke of the sense of “unity” among the differing
immigrant communities against “mean-spirited legislation”
and that it was time for “fair, just, and humane” action.
Dolores Huerta, icon and hero of the farmer worker
struggles stated that every twenty years, in the 60s and
80s, there had been progressive immigration reform and it
was time “for a new legalization program.” Others echoed
her sentiments and many spoke of their experiences as
immigrants or in helping immigrants. Kyung Jin Lee of the
Korean Community Center of the East Bay stated: “It breaks
my heart to tell a 70 year old woman that she could not
legalize her status because the time had passed when her
husband died or to explain to a father of two that he could
not even drive to work.”

The real question is will San Francisco care? 36.8% of San
Franciscans, according to U.S. Census data, are foreign
born. San Francisco was also home to the antiwar movement,
gay rights movement, and definitely a key place in the
civil rights movement. Though there was a large turnout
from the ethnic press, the mainstream English-speaking
press was not in sight and the city denied a permit to the
strikers to even hold camp. These are crucial and trying
times for millions of immigrants who already live in fear
and terror. Where will San Francisco stand if we are faced
with federal funding lose and the mass deportation of
segments of our population? Will we stand idly by or will
we march 1000,00 strong like a Chicago?

As fifty individuals brave the cold and rain in front of
the Federal building on a hunger strike, we should take
time to reflect on their actions. Activist Cesar Cruz
stated, “We shouldn’t have to fast and it is a privilege
not to be able to eat when our people are dying every
single day from starvation in the Arizona deserts.” Hunger
strikes throughout history, whether with Gandhi, or Irish
political prisoners, have served as a way to draw attention
to the inhumanity of laws. Fasting itself is also a common
practice in Judaism , Islam, and in Christianity as lent is
an extension of this tradition. As a Jew, I fast to be
humble before G-d and to reflect on my own humanity and my
own immigration experience. Speaking to a Muslim friend,
Khadija, she fasts during Ramadan to reflect on the meaning
of community and to “feel what over people feel.” It is
fitting that this year, Cardinal Roger Mahony of the Roman
Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles, also asked his
congregation to pray for humane immigration reform this
lent. These are hard times indeed, and it is time for all
of us to reflect in our own ways. If you haven’t yet,
please stop by the federal building to show your support
for the hunger strike. For more information, please go to
the Bay Area Immigrant Rights Coalition website at for more information on the
week of action.


Taoiseach Backs Call For UVF Murder Inquiry

Mark Brennock, Chief Political Correspondent

Taoiseach Bertie Ahern has pledged to seek a full
investigation into the 1997 murder of a young Belfast man,
Raymond McCord jnr, by the UVF and will raise the issue
with Northern Secretary Peter Hain.

After an hour-long meeting with the victim's father Raymond
McCord snr at Government Buildings yesterday, a spokeswoman
for the Taoiseach said Mr Ahern was particularly concerned
about the possible use of informers in the murder.

The McCord family believes security forces covered up the
1997 murder of the 22-year-old. Mr McCord snr said he was
impressed by the Taoiseach's knowledge of the case and the
strength of his support for an inquiry.

"Mr Ahern has given me his assurances that he will do
everything he can to help us get justice for young Raymond
and I believe the man," he said.

"I would like the Irish Government to go all the way like
they did for the Finucane family in terms of an independent
public inquiry."

He said the Taoiseach had told him that he would raise the
issue with Mr Blair on the fringes of the European Council
meeting in Brussels on Friday.

Mr Ahern's spokeswoman said the report on the case by the
Police Ombudsman, due later this year, would be very

Mr McCord claims Special Branch police officers colluded
with, and later covered up for loyalists who beat his son
to death and later dumped his body in a north Belfast
quarry. He believes that a UVF member involved in the
murder has been protected because he was a Special Branch
police agent.

"The police knew what the UVF had been doing for years. All
these murders could have been stopped but the security
forces allowed them to go ahead," he said.

"Police officers who handled these people told me in recent
weeks that if they had been allowed to take action in March
1997, my son would still be alive and many other Protestant
victims too.

"They went to their bosses and they were told to go away,
that there was a bigger picture. What could be a bigger
picture than saving the life of a 22-year-old boy?"

Mr McCord has also met Labour leader Pat Rabbitte and other
political party leaders. However, he accused Democratic
Unionist Party leader the Rev Ian Paisley of ignoring
loyalist violence.

"Ian Paisley has turned a blind eye to UVF violence and UVF
murders of Protestants," he said.

He told reporters he had requested a meeting with Dr
Paisley several weeks ago but he never replied.

© The Irish Times


Abolition Of Housing Executive Opposed

Gerry Moriarty

Sinn Féin, SDLP and Ulster Unionist politicians have
expressed concern about plans by Northern Secretary Peter
Hain to abolish the Housing Executive, in his continuing
overhaul of public administration.

On Tuesday, in what amounts to a virtual assault on
Northern Ireland's quango system of public administration,
Mr Hain said he would cut the number of such agencies by
more than a half from 154 to 75 in three years' time.

This is a further stage in his Review of Public
Administration unveiled in November, under which the number
of councils is to be reduced from 26 to seven "super"
councils by 2009, and education and health are to be
administered by a single authority each instead of five and
four agencies respectively.

There was a mixed political reception to his overall plan
but the proposal that generated most controversy was his
wish to abolish the Housing Executive by 2011, and to
transfer its housing allocation powers back into the hands
of local councillors.

While Mr Hain gave assurances that he would not consider
axing the executive until the seven councils were "bedded
in", his plan caused considerable political alarm.

Unionist local government discrimination in the allocation
of houses was one of the key issues which sparked the civil
rights movement of the 1960s.

Former SDLP politician Austin Currie and members of the
Gildernew family - related to Fermanagh-South Tyrone Sinn
Féin MP Michelle Gildernew - highlighted this issue when
they squatted in a house in Caledon, Co Tyrone, allocated
to a single Protestant woman while Catholic families were
denied the house.

This led to the formation of the Housing Executive in 1970
which took over responsibility for impartial allocation.

Sinn Féin spokesman on public administration Alex Maskey
said he supported the quango "cull" but councils must not
be given the power to allocate housing.

"While there is strong argument for councils to have a
greater role in housing it will be a long time before
nationalists will trust unionists with powers of housing
provision or allocation."

SDLP councillor Éamonn O'Neill said: "Those who remember
the origins of 30 years of conflict will know that housing
was one of the most contentious issues and causes of the

"To now strip the organisations of several of their major
functions and powers is nothing short of vandalism."

In relation to his general blueprint, Mr Hain said he had
reconsidered his decision to allow a maximum of 50
councillors to each council and had decided to increase
this to 60 members.

More than 100,000 people work in the North's public sector.
This restructuring is estimated to save £200 million.

© The Irish Times


Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,

Opin: The U.S. Must Resume Its Role In Northern Ireland

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

With uncritical, celebratory St. Patrick's Day out of the
way, it is useful to look at the current state of play in
Irish, British and, potentially, U.S. efforts to put a
unified government back on the rails in Northern Ireland.

A visit to Pittsburgh last week by Patricia Lewsley,
chairperson of the Social Democratic Labor Party, provided
an opportunity to learn about the situation in the troubled
area from a participant in the political process, and, in
particular, to examine the U.S. role _ or non-role _ in
helping to move talks along.

Northern Ireland's National Assembly collapsed in 2002 and
hasn't met since. Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern and
British Prime Minister Tony Blair put pressure on the
Northern Ireland political parties to resume talks to
restore the National Assembly. Those discussions were set
to begin March 8, with hopes of reaching agreement by Good
Friday, April 14. The goal was to complete a new accord to
parallel the 1998 Good Friday agreement, which had been
brokered very actively by President Bill Clinton's special
envoy, former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell, and
by Clinton himself.

It didn't happen. The scheduled March 8 talks were scuttled
by the Northern Ireland parties three days prior. The
current special envoy for Northern Ireland, Mitchell B.
Reiss (a former mid-level State Department official,
Republican politician and academic appointed by President
Bush), played no effective role in trying to save the
talks. Reiss has also apparently lost the confidence of one
of the key players, Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams.

Asked what the United States should be doing to keep the
heat on the parties to reach agreement, Lewsley said that
Washington should be putting pressure on the British and
Irish governments to push the Northern Ireland parties to
resume talks. Danger lies directly ahead in the form of the
so-called "marching season," which starts next month, when
extremists in Northern Ireland on both the Protestant and
Catholic sides seek to provoke the other by marching
through the other's neighborhoods with bands playing and
colors flying.

Northern Ireland is a dispute in which the United States
actually has political influence on the parties involved,
without invasions or other unseemly intervention. Many of
its leaders, with the exception of Protestant Democratic
Unionist Party leader Ian Paisley, were in Washington last
week for St. Patrick's Day.

Lewsley and other Northern Ireland leaders seem to believe
that agreement on a restoration of the assembly is
attainable. A presidential push on the order of that
exerted by Clinton might achieve just that. First step,
real involvement by Bush; first intermediate step, replace
the unremarkable Reiss by a more forceful special envoy
with a bigger name. How about Clinton or former President
and First Father George H.W. Bush, or both, with a target
date for success, one already iterated by Prime Minister
Ahern, being the end of this year?

A large number of Americans claim Irish ancestry. Peace and
progress in Northern Ireland is an issue that many
Americans really care about.

(Distributed by Scripps Howard News Service, )


Opin: Belfast Ireland’s Bloody Violent Troubles Of The Past
Have Come To An End

3/22/2006 5:54:58 PM

Growing up in Belfast in the 70s and 80s was an adventure
of a kind experienced nowhere else in the first world.

The weekend activities for youths in those days were very
different to that of today. Instead of thinking about going
out to socialise or play games the majority of local youths
would go out to riot; with either people from the other
side of the political of the other side, or with the
British soldiers and/or RUC (royal Ulster constabulary).

During the 1970s and 80s Belfast was like a war-zone, and
Belfast’s troubled history has seen many tragedies and
atrocities. These atrocities are illustrated in the many
murals dotted all over Belfast, painted on the sides of

These massive paintings are today a major Belfast
attraction for tourists. In the past, however, they were a
way for the residents of Belfast’s troubled areas to get
their points across, or make a plea or demand that the rest
of world could see through the power of the media. Now
these paintings have been brought to the internet.

A new site ( ) has uploaded
photos of these paintings for us all to see.

You can see murals from both sides of the political divide.
Some of the murals are commemorations of something that has
happened in the past, or a memorial of people that have
been killed.

There are 4 main sections of murals on the sites: murals
from 4 of the hardest hit areas of Belfast - 3 nationalist
areas: The Falls Road ( ) - the Republican
backbone of west Belfast; Ballymurphy/Whiterock
west Belfast’s Republican heart; and Ardoyne
( )
- the Republican stronghold of north Belfast, and 1
unionist area: The Shankill ( ) - the loyalist
stronghold in west Belfast.

The main page of the Belfast murals section of this site
( ) also
show pictures of the famous Belfast peace wall. This wall
is over 20 feet high, and stretches for miles, separating
unionists and nationalists in west Belfast.

If you’re interested in Irish history or the troubles of
the north of Ireland then these pictures are a must see.

But now that the violence has officially ended the only
problems on the streets of Belfast are those of the normal
crimes that normal cities in the developed world have been
able to deal with over the years. Now that peace has hit
one part of the troubled world, how long will it be before
peace grips the world - we can only cross our fingers and

Related Links

Belfast murals

The Falls road

Gransha Taxis

Contact Information:

Michael hanna gransha


Call For Quick Resolution On Future Of Aer Lingus

22/03/2006 - 18:40:51

Holding ongoing discussions over the proposed privatisation
of Aer Lingus is giving the Government the perfect excuse
to delay making a decision it was claimed tonight.

Opposition politicians agreed a conclusion is needed
quickly for the sake of the airline, its staff, consumers
and the economy.

Olivia Mitchell FG told the Joint Oireachtas committee on
transport Aer Lingus management deserved clarity so they
could consider their next step.

She said: “My worry and concern now is protracted hearings
will give the Government the excuse to procrastinate

The committee agreed a motion to examine and discuss with
interested parties the future of the airline.

Submissions have to be made to the committee with Aer
Lingus Siptu Impact presenting their concerns on April 6.

Roisin Shortall who proposed the motion, attacked fellow
committee members and chairman John Ellis for holding
discussions on the issue in private for 30 minutes before
allowing members of the public, including union officials
into the hearing. “This item was listed as a public item
and a public agenda” she said.

“I think it was totally wrong for us to have our discussion
in private.”

The Labour TD continued: “Aer Lingus is a very successful
and profitable company owned by all of us as taxpayers.

“Alarm bells should start ringing when we think what we
were told about the privatisation of Eircom. It turned out
to be an absolute disaster.”

Serious concerns were also raised over open skies and the
airline loss of Heathrow Airport.

The committee agreed to write to the Attorney General and
the independent legal advice over the possibility of large
American airlines buying up the slots for huge amounts.

Today’s move was welcomed by Siptu whose members had
previously voted to ballot over the privatisation plan.

Michael Halpenny, national industrial secretary said: “We
welcome the decision by the committee which will provide an
opportunity for a badly needed open discussion on the
implications for the economy, the travelling public and the
company’s employees of the proposed sale of a majority
shareholding in the national airline.”


Book Launch: British Propaganda In Ireland 1920

Thursday, 23 March 2006, 10:56 am
Press Release:

Propaganda in 1920 in Ireland - Bloody Sunday & Kilmichael
- the origins of 'fake news'

How the 'official' version found its way into the media and
into the history books

“The Origins And Organisation Of British Propaganda In
Ireland In 1920” ,

by Brian P Murphy. Foreword by David Miller.
Published by the Aubane Historical Society and Spinwatch
( )

Launch chaired by Danny Morrison
Book available online – CLICK HERE

(Extra meeting with David Miller on Propaganda & Spin Today
on Saturday 11am Teachers' Club Parnell Sq Dublin 1)

Murphy's research has been praised widely, and this is
reflected in comments on the back cover of the book from
Edward S Herman, Mark Curtis, Meda Ryan, Ruan O'Donnell,
John Borgonovo and Farrel Corcoran.

In the 100-page book (part of a larger projected study)
packed with detail, Murphy contrasts the widely differing
Irish and British approach to information provision. He
also outlines the extent to which modern historiography is
still affected and distorted by the 'spin' disseminated by
Basil Clarke, Charles Foulkes, Hugh Pollard, Major John
Street and their colleagues operating from within Dublin
Castle. In particular, Murphy mentions the work of Roy
Foster and of Peter Hart as being distorted by over
reliance on apparently factual information that was in fact
designed to mislead. The work of Peter Hart came in for
sharp criticism in the pages of History Ireland last year
and within the pages of the Indymedia web site. [1]


That misinformation should have a 'shelf life' long after
its original political and military purpose had passed
indicates why historians should be ever skeptical of
apparently pristine and original source material. It also
indicates that readers should be ever vigilant and not take
historical research itself at face value. Finally, this
work will reinforce the need for journalists to be wary of
the information machine that governments have at their
disposal, used to define and to distort information in the
interests of the status quo.

In his extensive foreword, David Miller, Professor of
Sociology at Strathclyde University and author of 'Tell me
Lies: Propaganda & Media Distortion in the Attack on Iraq',
outlines the links between what happened in Ireland in 1920
and events in Britain and elsewhere later in the Century.
He indicates how Clarke and Admiral Reggie "Blinker" Hall,
who was centrally involved in blackening the name of Roger
Casement when Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and others were
seeking clemency, were involved in subversion of left wing
and industrial politics in Britain after World War One.

The following excerpt from the extensive foreword by Miller
indicates how Murphy's research resonates with an
examination of the development and organisation of British
imperialist propaganda during the 20th Century and up to
the present day.


"Contaminating The Historical Record

The use of some of these propaganda documents as genuine
historical sources by pro-British historians, as exposed by
Murphy, is a testament to the power of propaganda as well
as of the extent to which official historians are capable
of fabricating history in the interests of great power.

"Unfortunately for those historians who have made their
living trotting out history which allows the powerful of
today to rest easy, Murphy's research exposes to the light
the dubious empirical basis of some of their work. Murphy
is one actor in the vigorous historical debate on the
Rising and the War of Independence. The "revisionist"
school has tried to bury the achievement of the struggle
for Irish independence. Ireland was the first British
colony to throw off the shackles of British rule. It was
the culmination of a long struggle carried out in the last
instance by an armed revolution after the British state had
emphatically rejected the overwhelming majority for
independence at the 1918 election. The revisionists instead
want contemporary elites in Ireland, Britain and elsewhere
to be allowed to paint the Irish revolution as a dirty
sectarian affair springing out of the special ethnic
hatreds so well incubated by the Catholic Irish. [2] Murphy
undermines this lie by showing the process by which these
historical account emerged in the propaganda dens of some
of the most vicious British imperialists and racists.

"Murphy quotes one of the more restrained propagandists,
Major John Street, who had conducted propaganda in the
1914-18 war as saying "the IRA rank and file" were "poor
dupes of the designing criminals who pose as their
officers". His views are positively civilised besides those
of his colleague Hugh Pollard, who hated the Irish with a
passion. "The Irish problem is a problem of the Irish race,
and it is rooted in the racial characteristics of the
people themselves" wrote Pollard in 1922. The Irish he
thought were "racially disposed to crime", have "two
psychical and fundamental abnormalities... moral
insensibility and want of foresight" which "are the basic
characteristic of criminal psychology". Furthermore, noted
Street, warming to his theme "the Irish demand for an
independent Irish Republic is... a purely hysterical

"Pollard, Street and Clarke also worked closely with the
head of Special Branch in London, Basil Thomson. Through
him they were connected to the key imperialist lobby
networks in London. These individuals were not abashed
about their politics, describing their network as the
"diehards" and the "London Imperialists". Central to it and
very close to Thomson was Admiral Reggie "Blinker" Hall,
who was the director of Naval Intelligence in the 1914-18
war. Together with Thomson, Hall interrogated Roger
Casement in 1916 and personally leaked his "black diaries"
to the press in order to ensure that Casement would not be
reprieved as a result of the campaign being run by Arthur
Conan Doyle. According to historians of the period, Hall's
victory in ensuring Casement was hanged, "was all very
gratifying; an object lesson in secret service power which
Hall... was never to forget". [3]

"The Rise Of Public Relations

This was the milieu which produced the public relations
industry in Britain. Its lineage can be traced right
through to the rise of Thatcher in the 1970s. Clarke left
government service in the early 1920s and set up one of the
first PR agencies: Editorial Services. By the end of the
1920s this was a significant operation with 60 staff.
During this period (1929-31) Clarke worked as an early PR
man for the Conservative Party. [4]

"A year before Clarke was posted to Ireland, Hall, by then
a newly elected MP, convened the meeting which led to the
creation of National Propaganda: the first business-wide
propaganda group in Britain in 1919. It engaged in very
similar techniques to the British propaganda operation in
Ireland. Amongst the tactics were the hiring of former
"black and tans" from the Irish conflict to conduct what
they called a "crusade for capitalism". This involved
propaganda, intrigue, subversion and violence, taking the
fight to the factory gates all over the UK from 1920 right
through to the 1950s and 60s. Today National Propaganda is
better known by the name it adopted in 1924, the Economic
League, as an organisation which blacklisted workers for
its big business clients. For at least half of its history
until its dissolution in the 1990s, the Economic League'
primary role was propaganda. [5]

"Colonel Hugh Pollard, as he became, turned up again in
"diehard" circles in 1936 when he flew from Croydon airport
on a Dragon Rapide light aircraft to the Canary Islands.
They brought General Francisco Franco back to Spain to
launch his murderous coup against democratic Spain.
Accompanying him was one of the leading lobbyists, and an
early Conservative party spin doctor, of the post-1945
period, Toby O'Brien. [6]

"In other words the link between what happened in Ireland
in 1920 and in Britain afterwards is real and direct,
featuring the same people, linked over the generations by a
shared hostility to democratic politics. Linked also to the
rise of the spin industry which is now an attendant feature
of every political controversy and which uses and develops
techniques intended to ensure that democratic politics
cannot function effectively to implement the will of the
people. This is a long and involved story, but the work of
Brian Murphy has a lot to teach us about its origins."

[END foreword excerpt]


David Miller's research indicates how propaganda was part
and parcel of the preparation of the public mind for war in
Iraq. Recently he wrote on the development of a "fake news"
operation by the British government, that permits of "some
critiscism" of the US, so as to add verisimilitude to the
enterprise - this is straight out of the propaganda manual
of Basil Clarke and his colleagues. [7]

Miller adds the international dimension that links
Ireland's War of Independence with contemporary events in
both Ireland and in the wider world. Brian Murphy's
research widens our understanding of historical events such
as the 1916 Rising and the War of Independence. It will
place these events in the international context of the
fight for democracy and the end to colonial rule.

The narrowly introspective and conservative parameters of
revisionist historiography will continue to be found
wanting in this exercise.

MILLER & MURPHY SPEAK Both Brian Murphy and David Miller
will speak at the launch, which will be chaired by
newspaper columnist, author and playwright, Danny Morrison,
formerly Sinn Fein Director of Publicity.

Signed copies of the book will be available at the launch.

This is sure to be a very interesting discussion about a
very important piece of research - all those interested in
the relationship of the past to the present should be
there. All are welcome.


[1] See History Ireland 2005 Vol 13, Nos 2 to 5
( ).

[2] For a discussion of the inability of mainstream
academia to take on empirically based independent line on
Northern Ireland see D. Miller (1998) 'Colonialism and
academic interpretations of Northern Ireland' in Miller, D.
(ed.) Rethinking Northern Ireland, London: Longman. For a
discussion of revisionism more generally see Ciaran Brady
(Ed.) Interpreting Irish History: The Debate on Historical
Revisionism, 1938-94, Dublin: Irish Academic Press, 1994.
(Contains "The Canon of Irish Cultural History: Some
Questions Concerning Roy Foster's 'Modern Ireland'" by
Brian P. Murphy).

[3] Bernard Porter, Plots and Paranoia: A history of
political espionage in Britain, 1790-1988, p141

[4] Alan Clarke 'The life and times of Sir Basil Clarke, PR
Pioneer', Public Relations, 1969 Vol. 22(2) p. 9-13.

[5] The best existing account is Mike Hughes Spies at Work,
1 in 12 publications, 1994.

[6] Graham Turner and John Pearson, The Persuasion
Industry, London: Eyre and Spottiswoode, 1966 p. 177.

[7] See The Guardian, Wednesday February 15, 2006
(,,1709959,00.html ).



Irish Aid For Katrina Paid Out

By Ray O'Hanlon

Irish financial aid for the stricken New Orleans and Gulf
coast region has been paid out.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the Irish government
pledged a million euro in assistance on top of additional
aid in the form of tents, beds and blankets.

The money offer was taken up with the bulk of it, €700,000,
now having gone to the American Red Cross.

The balance of the aid is in the hands of the Irish
Consulate in Chicago for use in the New Orleans area.

A diplomatic spokesman said that the money would be spent
on helping rebuild the likes of schools, churches and
hospitals once specific projects were identified.

The Irish government was working alongside the Ancient
Order of Hibernians in this regard, the spokesman said.

He also acknowledged Irish government awareness of
congressional criticism of how the American Red Cross is
currently being run.

In a recent report headed "Black eye for the Red Cross,"
USA TODAY pointed to internal battles within the relief
organization that were hampering its effectiveness.

"The Red Cross says it is working to improve governance and
its delivery of service," the paper stated.

"Still, with more stable management and without the
internal battles, it would likely be able to do far more."

Meanwhile, a benefit to help rebuild Our Lady of the Gulf
parish in Bay St. Louis, Miss. is being organized for next
month in Connecticut.

The parish, where Fr. Michael Tracey from Mayo serves as
pastor, suffered extensive damage from Katrina and
rebuilding is still in progress.

The fundraiser, at the Irish American Community Center in
East Haven, features Dermot Hegarty and is on April 7.
Details from Pat Hosey (203) 248-1538, Theresa Hinckley
(203) 248-9097 or Charles O'Hagan (203) 389-4298.

This story appeared in the issue of March 22 - 28, 2006


The King Speaks Again, 118 Years On

By Edward Achorn
The Providence Journal

In 1888, "No Irish Need Apply" signs adorned businesses in
Boston. Political cartoons depicted Irish immigrants as
simian-faced drunkards, and portrayed their allegiance to
the Roman Catholic Church as a threat to America's ethos of
individualism and freedom.

But one celebrity was breaking through the prejudice. The
most popular man in the Hub that year, even to many Boston
Brahmins, was surely a graceful and quick-witted Irish-
American with a pronounced brogue.

His name was Michael Joseph Kelly _ "King" Kelly, for his
royal status in his profession _ and he was catcher and
outfielder for the National League's Boston Beaneaters
(later Braves).

Kelly, elected to the Hall of Fame long after his death,
was a baseball genius.

When catching, he dropped his heavy mask in the base path
to trip up runners trying to score. At other times, he
deliberately threw the ball "wildly" over first base _
right into the waiting right-fielder's hands, who easily
cut down the runner trying to take second.

In the rowdy, cutthroat world of early major-league ball,
Kelly was notorious for cheating outrageously. With only
one umpire to follow everything on the field (stingy owners
refused to hire more), Kelly made an art of skipping third
base on his way home from second. Fans howled and hooted at
him as he crossed the plate _ but, all the same, they
enjoyed watching a man who had the imagination and guts to
flout authority so flagrantly.

He was also known as "The $10,000 Beauty," for the
unprecedented amount that the Beaneaters paid to buy his
contract from the Chicago White Stockings (later Cubs).
Boston paid the King $5,000 for the '87 season _ big money
at a time when laborers slaved six days a week, 12 hours a
day, for $500 a year. Before the decade was out, he was
celebrated in a wildly popular song, "Slide, Kelly, Slide!"

Kelly was so big that, in 1888, he wrote baseball's first
autobiography: "Play Ball: Stories of the Diamond Field."
The slim volume, which cost a quarter, sold like hotcakes,
and earned him $1,500 in royalties by July.

Now, after an interval of 118 years, the book is back in
print (for $27, rather than 25 cents), the latest volume in
the invaluable McFarland Historical Baseball Library

Some scholars contend that a ghostwriter must have penned
"Play Ball." But I'd argue that Kelly really had a hand in
it, because it is flimsy, episodic and imbued with the
warmth of his personality. "He simply has a series of
stories to relate, and he tells them in his own way. What
could be better," writes the anonymous author of the 1888
preface. What indeed?

Kelly tells us of his starry-eyed worship, as a boy, of
Civil War generals George McClellan and Judson Kilpatrick.
We read of his desire to be an actor, until his boyhood pal
_ and, later, fellow major-league star Jim McCormick _
nearly killed himself in his basement theater by re-
enacting a hanging in front of 50 neighborhood boys. We
read of his Irish-immigrant parents' deaths, and his going
to work at a Paterson, N.J., mill, hauling baskets of coal,
and as a railroad paperboy taking the 4 a.m. train to New

And, of course, he tells us of his burning desire for fame
as a ballplayer. He started with a club of boys so poor
they had only one cap between them. Kelly insisted on
wearing it, threatening to quit unless they handed it over.
"The day I wore it was one of the happiest of my life. I
felt that I was a 'bigger man than old Grant (then the
president),' and strutted around the ball field like a

He writes of stealing the 1882 pennant from the Providence
Grays by smashing into shortstop George Wright to break up
a crucial play. Later, he explained to the Grays' enraged
manager, George's usually mild-mannered brother Harry:

"(S)elf-preservation is the law of nature. When I saw
George raise his arm, I knew that if something didn't
occur, we would be defeated."

For all his aggressiveness, Kelly was a big-hearted and
sentimental man. He spent money like water, squandering
much of it on clothes and drink _ and giving the rest to
friends in need, or charities that sought his help. He
married an Irish girl who, by all accounts, was a stunner.
Like Kelly, she enjoyed a good time.

Kelly loved to see young fans at the ballpark, and
dedicated his book to them.

"Boys, just one more word," he wrote. "If you want to be
successful in life, remember this: Never do anything that
you wouldn't have your mother know."

The King clearly did not take his own advice. Like many
players of his day, he ruined his health and hastened the
end of his career with hard drinking, and late nights in
saloons and dance halls. By 36, he was dead, of pneumonia.

McFarland has served baseball fans everywhere by bringing
Kelly's voice back to life. Two new McFarland biographies
should also be of great interest to baseball-history buffs:
"Cap Anson: The Grand Old Man of Baseball," by David L.
Fleitz, and "Orator O'Rourke: The Life of a Baseball
Radical," by Mike Roer. The books are not beautifully
written, but they are prodigiously researched, and help us
understand how the game of baseball both shaped and
embodied American culture in what Mark Twain called the
"raging, tearing, booming" 19th century.

(Edward Achorn is The Providence Journal's deputy
editorial-pages editor. His e-mail address is

(Distributed by Scripps Howard News Service, )


Gaelic Storm to perform at Newman fund-raiser

CLEAR LAKE — Watch the forecast because a “Gaelic Storm” is
blowing into North Iowa on Friday, April 21.

Gaelic Storm makes its third visit to North Iowa in support
of the Newman Childcare & Preschool campaign and fund-
raiser, “Building Community…Where Beginnings Never End.”

The band will perform Friday, April 21, at the Surf
Ballroom. Doors open at 7 p.m.

All proceeds go to the building project to relocate the
child care to the Newman Campus in Mason City.

Tickets are on sale now at $25 in advance, $30 at the door.
Tickets are available at Newman Schools, (641) 423-6939; or
pick up tickets at Newman High School or Childcare
buildings, First Citizen’s National Bank, Hy Vee East or
West, Moorman Clothiers, or by visiting

In 1997, Gaelic Storm was catapulted out of its formative
pub haunts by an appearance in the blockbuster film
Titanic. Cast as the “party band” in the steerage scene,
they landed the part while still drinking pints and playing
weekly at O’Brien’s, a pub in their adopted hometown of
Santa Monica, Calif.

After the film’s release, the band was met by huge crowds
on its first tour. However, band members still pride
themselves on remaining as accessible as ever and sharing
“a pint” with fans whenever possible.

Gaelic Storm released its first live concert DVD “Live In
Chicago” on Jan. 24, 2006. Taped on Sept. 14, 2005, before
a packed audience of raving fans at the House of Blues in
Chicago, the two-hour video captures the band’s trademark
energetic performance and enthusiastic audience

The DVD includes three new songs and 15 fan favorites from
their previous five chart-topping releases. It also
features artist biographies, short interviews with the band
and guest appearances by members of the world champion
Trinity Irish Dance group.

“I have produced many concerts, but none as overwhelmingly
entertaining as this one,” said Lee Kasper, NuTech Digital
CEO, who produced the DVD. “There was an amazing exchange
of energy between the band and the crowd. The energy from
Gaelic Storm stimulated the fans into a frenzy, which
fueled the band in turn.”

Gaelic Storm released its fifth album “How Are We Getting
Home?” in August 2004 on Lost Again Records/MRI/Ryko, which
debuted at number three on the Billboard World Music
Charts and number 10 on the Billboard Heatseekers Chart.

Containing 15 new tracks, the album includes songs co-
writen with multiple Grammy-winning songwriters and
showcases some of the strongest material the band has
released to date.

Recorded with producer Mark Miller at legendary Jack’s
Tracks studio in Nashville, “How Are We Getting Home?” also
features an appearance by folk-songstress Nanci Griffith.

Touring aggressively and showcasing their unique high
energy Celtic music, playing more than 125 dates a year,
Gaelic Storm routinely breaks attendance and merchandise
sales records, pushing their popularity beyond the World
Music genre and into mainstream music.

They continue to headline some of the largest Celtic and
Folk festivals in the world including Festival
Interceltique in Lorient, Brittany, the Pittsburgh Irish
Festival, Dublin Irish Festival and Celtic Fest Chicago.


'Heroic' Tenor Delivers Intimate Performance

Jean Patteson Sentinel Staff Writer
Posted March 22, 2006

It was a scene reminiscent of James Joyce's The Dubliners:
A well-heeled group assembled in a gracious living room, a
lady of letters reading poetry, followed by an Irish tenor
(well, half-Irish) posed next to a piano crooning "Too-ra-

But rather than Dubliners, these were Central Floridians,
patrons of the Orlando Opera, gathered at the Winter Park
home of Mitchell and Swantje Levin for a St. Patrick's Day

Following cocktails on the terrace overlooking Lake
Maitland, dinner is served: corned beef and cabbage,
naturally, with salmon, roast veggies and soda bread. Then
the hosts and their 60 guests carry their chairs into the
living room for the recital.

First up is MaureenBridget Gonzalez. "Probably the only
Gaelic-speaking Gonzalez in Central Florida," quips the
Dublin-born woman. Her brogue thickens as she reads a half-
dozen Irish poems, including a couple by Patrick Pearse,
hero of the doomed Easter Revolution of 1916.

Dressed in a simple sheath dress and elegant evening
sandals -- green, of course -- she introduces Pearse's "The

"This was Rose Kennedy's favorite poem," she says. "She
kept it in a silver frame on her piano."

It is obvious, as soon as Gonzalez begins reading, why the
mother of Jack and Bobby Kennedy would be drawn to the

I do not grudge them: Lord, I do not grudge
My two strong sons that I have seen go out
To break their strength and die .....

Gonzales then lightens the mood with a couple of love
poems, setting the stage for the evening's highlight, a
selection of Irish ballads sung by American tenor Gary
Lakes. Winner of three Grammy Awards, Lakes is a giant of a
man -- with a voice to match.

He is a heldentenor, Lakes explains later. His
exceptionally robust voice is ideally suited to heroic
roles, as in Wagnerian operas.

Remarkably, he is able to scale back his power to perform
at intimate recitals -- a rare talent in a heldentenor.

"I learned through listening to [Irish tenor] John
McCormack" says Lakes, son of an Irish father and Cherokee
Indian mother.

"I love the Irish ballads," he adds. "They're so

With a nod to piano accompanist Kathy Olsen, he launches
into "When Irish Eyes are Smiling," inviting his audience
to join in the chorus. They do so with gusto.

"The Rose of Tralee" and other favorites follow. His encore
is "Danny Boy."

The soaring melancholy of his voice brings tears to the eye
-- and the audience to its feet.

Jean Patteson can be reached at or 407-420-5158.


Pegeen Mike Evokes A Blush In Beijing

Clifford Coonan in Beijing

Two Chinese policemen are due to attend tonight's
performance of The Playboy of the Western World in Beijing
after a complaint about the short mini-skirt worn by one of
the actors.

A woman complained about glimpses of knickers and cleavage
after seeing the play which is running at the Beijing
Oriental Theatre. Wang Zhaohui, one of the show's
producers, said the arts and culture bureau had approved
the Chinese version of the play.

"But a young woman came up to me and complained about the
shortness of Sha Sha's skirt and said you can see too much
of her body - cleavage and a bit of underwear. I think she
complained to the authorities. The theatre says there will
be two policemen in the audience so we might make her skirt
a bit longer."

The play, produced by Ireland's Pan Pan theatre group,
uproots the action from Synge's rural west of Ireland early
in the last century and relocates Pegeen, Christy Mahon and
the others to a hairdressers in the Beijing suburbs in the
present day. Instead of shawls, there are boob-tubes.

The scene which has given rise to complaint comes when Chen
Junnian as Christy Mahon is forced into disguise in a
blonde wig and mini-skirt by the hairdressers.

Sha Sha, who plays the Sarah Tansey figure, has to
energetically manoeuvre the tight skirt over Christy's
thighs and in the process exposes a certain amount of
cleavage and possibly the merest hint of knicker.

China remains a deeply conservative society and immodest
displays are still frowned upon.

However, the reaction to the play has been extremely
positive. It is due to run until Saturday.

© The Irish Times

To receive this news via email, click
No Message is necessary.
To Get RSS Feed for Irish Aires News click
(Paste into a News Reader)
To March Index
To Index of Monthly Archives
Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?