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March 31, 2006

Garda & RUC Co-Operate on Cover-Up

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News About Ireland & The Irish

DI 03/31/06 Garda/RUC ‘Co-Operation On Cover-Up’
BB 03/31/06 Cash Boost 'Inequality Admission'
BB 03/31/06 Ulster-Scots Launch Schools Site
IC 03/31/06 Tooled To The Teeth
BN 03/31/06 Empey Challenges British Govt On Policing Deal
JN 03/31/06 Immigration Debate Divides Lower Hudson Valley Lawmakers
IC 03/31/06 Words Over SDLP’s Appeal Against Blair ‘Pressure’ On DUP
BT 03/31/06 UVF Extend Talks On Stand-Down
BT 03/31/06 INLA Hands Over Drugs Seized From Cocaine Ring
SI 03/31/06 Revival Of Easter Parade Arouses Irish Passions
BN 03/31/06 Irishman Among 57 Dead In Ferry Disaster
BT 03/31/06 Samuel Beckett: His Life Story


Garda/RUC ‘Co-Operation On Cover-Up’

Relatives of loyalist victim say independent inquiry’s
conclusion adds weight to their belief that a policy of co-
operation existed between forces that Garda chiefs tried to

by Ciarán Barnes

The Taoiseach has come under pressure to reveal whether
gardaí had been ordered not to actively pursue the loyalist
killers of Irish citizens in the 1970s.

Relatives of Séamus Ludlow, who was murdered by loyalists
in 1976, and the families of those killed in the 1974
Dublin and Monaghan bombings have told Daily Ireland that
such a policy existed.

They said yesterday that the findings of the Independent
Commission of Inquiry into Mr Ludlow’s murder had added
weight to their claims.

In its report published on Wednesday, the commission
detailed cases of cross-border co-operation between the
Garda Síochána and the RUC.

Judge Henry Barron, who published a report on the Ludlow
murder last November, was not made aware of these cases.

The commission’s report says that, in February 1973
following a train robbery in Dundalk, three gardaí
interviewed suspects at Springfield Road RUC station in
west Belfast.

In March 1976, two months before the Ludlow killing, Garda
detectives questioned a man believed to have been involved
in a robbery at Belfast’s Musgrave Park Hospital.

The gardaí also let the RUC use facilities in the South to
interview Irish citizens. In 1975, the RUC questioned the
Belfast man Pat Livingstone in Dundalk Garda station about
a killing in the North.

It is clear that, for at least three years prior to Mr
Ludlow’s murder, gardaí had been co-operating regularly
with the RUC.

The family of Mr Ludlow have described as “ridiculous” the
claims that the killers of their relative were not pursued
because gardaí feared that the IRA would attack them for
co-operating with the RUC.

Mr Ludlow’s nephew Jimmy Sharkey said: “The findings of the
commission in relation to co-operation between the Garda
and RUC make a mockery of Judge Barron’s ruling.

“I firmly believe the Irish government had a policy in
place at the time not to pursue loyalists or members of the
British army involved in the murder and attempted murders
of Southerners.

“The Irish government didn’t want to upset the British so
they didn’t go after the men who murdered Séamus.

“But my uncle’s case wasn’t isolated. Why were the
loyalists who blew up Castleblayney, Dundalk, Dublin and
Monaghan not pursued? There are hundreds of grieving
families who deserve answers.” Margaret Urwin — secretary
of the Justice for the Forgotten group, which represents
those bereaved or injured as a result of the 1970s Dublin
and Monaghan bombings — said: “For the Garda to claim they
didn’t co-operate with the RUC in pursuing loyalist killers
because of fear of IRA attacks is nonsense. They were
working hand in glove for years.”

Yesterday a senior Garda officer was appointed to re-
examine the investigation into the Ludlow murder.


Cash Boost 'Inequality Admission'

A £30m cash injection into loyalist areas is a recognition
of inequality in that community, the DUP has said.

An official government announcement on the issue is
expected next week.

Sources have told the BBC that the package of economic
assistance for deprived loyalist areas should be between

Some sources within unionism have expressed disappointment
at the sum, given the recent cuts in areas such as
education in Belfast.

However, other loyalist sources said they saw the
initiative as a challenge and would work with whatever
money was provided for areas such as skills and training,
housing and urban regeneration.

In January this year, NIO Minister David Hanson said the
plan would focus on how government could empower working
class Protestant communities to tackle deprivation.

It was drawn up following concerns that policies were not
making the intended impact in loyalist districts.

DUP assembly member Nelson McCausland said the announcement
was significant as it was recognition of disadvantage in
loyalist areas.

"Republicans and nationalists often attempt to deny that
there is a problem and even some people in the voluntary
sector attempt to deny that there is a problem," he told
BBC News.

"This is a recognition by government that there is a
problem and it is another step along what will have to be a
long road to equality.

"For decades, unionist communities have suffered inequality
and disadvantage... there will have to be institutional and
structural changes."

However, Ulster Unionist leader Sir Reg Empey said he was
not happy with the package.

"I think the minister is trying his best to put a package
together to deal with deprivation in a number of areas -
primarily loyalist areas - but not exclusively," he said.

"But the problem is that this is a cross-government issue.
A couple of days ago, the Belfast Education and Library
Board cut £6.5m out of its budget - a very high percentage
of that cut will apply in loyalist areas.

"Given that educational under-achievement in the worst 15
wards in Northern Ireland - 13 are in loyalist wards - how
can you fix a situation in a loyalist area when one
government department is taking money out while another is
putting it in?"

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/03/31 08:17:10 GMT


Ulster-Scots Launch Schools Site

A new website to help children learn Ulster-Scots is being
launched at Stranmillis College in Belfast.

The interactive programme is aimed at primary school
children and has been co-funded by the Department of
Education and the Ulster-Scots Agency.

The agency's Jim Millar said it was the first step in
introducing an element of the language into primary

"We believe there will be a good take-up from schools that
have an Ulster-Scots ethos," he said.

"We will be monitoring both the interest and feedback from
teachers in order to extend and improve the materials over
the coming years."

The website features specific resources for teachers to
use, while there are interactive games and quizzes for
independent learning.

It also features an Ulster-Scots dictionary where children
can listen to the English and Ulster-Scots versions of
words, while also comparing them with Irish.

Principal Jackie Morrison from Balnamore Primary,
Ballymoney, has already introduced aspects of Ulster-Scots
teaching in her school with approval from parents and

"For many people like me who are Ulster-Scots, this
development will be very welcome as we literally were
forbidden to speak in school like we did at home," she

"For our children to understand that certain words and
phases are part of a language, and indeed, their heritage,
helps them to feel pride while supporting their education
in English."

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/03/31 06:15:31 GMT


Tooled To The Teeth

Concerns over PSNI weaponry arsenal as water cannon
‘showcase’ takes place

Holy Cross Priest Fr Aidan Troy has described the PSNI
water cannon arsenal as “very, very dangerous” ahead of a
“showcase” demonstration today in Antrim.

The high profile PR exercise to display their water cannon
to other police forces in Ireland and Britain was expected
to take place in Steeple barracks.

Those attending, including the Police Ombudsman Nuala
O’Loan and representatives of An Garda Síochána, are to be
given a demonstration of the equipment and how it can be
used in riot situations.

Fr Troy, who last summer was pelted with water when a
powerful water cannon was deployed by the PSNI to quell
riots on the Twelfth in Ardoyne, today questioned the use
of the cannon.

“I would be very, very sceptical of making too much out of
the efficiency and the effectiveness of water cannon
because they really mark a failure of dialogue and good
community relations. And while I recognise that perhaps in
dire situations there may be a need for them I have seen
them used in situations where they really did more harm
than good

“While some security experts might say they are necessary,
having been on the end of a water cannon I can say that
it’s not pleasant and I think it can be very very

It comes during a week that the PSNI also announced that it
was seeking to add yet more weaponry to their already
extensive arsenal, with electric Taser guns the latest
device to be sought by the force. This request has alarmed
human rights groups and nationalist political parties who
have united against the plans.

Clara Reilly from Relatives for Justice, who has led
campaigns against the use of plastic bullets said she
feared that the weapon would turn out to be yet another
lethal option for the PSNI.

“We would have great concerns about them (Tasers) just as
the Children’s Law society and Amnesty International have
had, because of their record of having killed so many
people where they have been used.

“The PSNI should be concentrating on taking more schooling
in human rights and how to respect other people’s human
rights rather than going down this militaristic route.”

North Belfast MLA Gerry Kelly also questioned why the PSNI
needed yet more weapons.

“In March 2003 the Human Rights Commission supported the
findings of research into plastic bullets and alternatives
being proposed, and recommended that the PSNI not be
equipped with any type of electroshock weaponry.

“The reality is that despite calls for plastic bullets to
be banned, thousands of new potentially lethal devices have
been purchased and now they are seeking to obtain these
equally controversial weapons.”

Confirming to the North Belfast News that the Taser weapon
would not be replacing any current weaponry but would be
used as an addition to current equipment, a PSNI
spokeswoman said that the trial of 12 devices was due to
begin soon.

“Taser has been approved by the home office for use by
Police forces in England and Wales. The Chief Constable is
considering its introduction in a pilot capacity to a
limited number of specialist firearms officers to provide
an addition to our range of less lethal options.

“This is in line with Association of Chief Police Officers
(ACPO) policy and Her Majesty’s Inspectorate (HMI)
recommendations. The police service has briefed a number of
statutory agencies as part of a wider consultation exercise
on Taser before the Chief Constable makes a decision on its

“If the Chief Constable goes ahead and makes that decision
there is only going to be 12 Tasers introduced as part of
the pilot,” she said.

Journalist:: Evan Short


Empey Challenges British Govt On Policing Deal

31/03/2006 - 12:10:21

Ulster Unionist leader Reg Empey challenged the British
government today to reveal any secret deal with republicans
on policing.

With his party still to declare if it will take its seats
on the reformed authority that scrutinises the force, he
warned that a full answer to his allegations could be

The new Policing Board will meet for the first time next
week, but the involvement of the UUP’s two representatives,
MLAs Danny Kennedy and Fred Cobain, is not yet guaranteed.

The party was incensed when Northern Secretary Peter Hain
reconstituted the body with political members outnumbered
by independents, claiming it had become an unelected

Empey suspects it may be part of a strategy to smooth Sinn
Féin’s passage onto the 19-member authority once the party
ends its boycott of Northern policing arrangements.

He refused to be drawn on whether his party would quit in
protest, but demanded immediate answers.

“We believe there has been some deal done, probably last
summer and probably involving the government and Sinn
Féin,” he said.

“At this stage we haven’t been advised of that and we want
to know (about it).

“We have had no rational explanation from the secretary of
state why he's changed the goalposts, and done so in a
manner without any consultation with the people who have
been loyal partners in the policing process.

“We find it intolerable and that’s one of the key things we
have to consider.”


Immigration Debate Divides Lower Hudson Valley Lawmakers

The Journal News

Local immigration events

Today: The Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform will host a
town-hall meeting with Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., on his
proposed immigration changes. The event will begin at 5:30
p.m. at St. Barnabas Auditorium, 425 E. 240th St., the
Bronx. Call 718-598-7530.

Wednesday: Sarah Lawrence College's Latino-Latin American
Studies faculty will present an installment of its "Beyond
Borders" series featuring a talk by Ana AvendaNo, director
of the Immigrant Worker Procounsel for the AFL-CIO.
AvendaNo will discuss the congressional immigration debate
at 5:30 p.m. at the Titsworth Lecture Hall in Yonkers. For
directions, visit

April 8: A march for undocumented immigrants is scheduled
at noon, beginning at St. Peter's Episcopal Church, 19
Smith St. at Westchester Avenue in Port Chester. For
information, call 203-324-2133. The demonstration will
promote legislation by Sens. John McCain and Edward Kennedy
and protest the House bill that would make unlawful
presence a felony.

There's talk in Congress of compromising on immigration
reform, but it's still a polarized debate among the local
delegation and the rest of the House and Senate.

"It's going to be very hard to piece together any kind of
bill that I'm going to like," Rep. Eliot Engel, D-Bronx,
said yesterday. "Quite frankly, until you get a Democratic
Congress, I think it's going to be a hard bill to pass."

The Senate this week began considering proposals to offer
legal status to an estimated 12 million undocumented
immigrants, the most controversial aspect of the reform

Most congressional representatives from the Lower Hudson
Valley support some form of legalization. But Rep. Sue
Kelly joins Republicans on the opposite side of the issue,
favoring strict enforcement measures before considering any
legalization or guest worker visas.

Kelly, R-Katonah, voted in favor of a House bill in
December that would make it a felony to be undocumented in
the United States. Currently, unlawful presence is a
violation of civil law.

"Her main concerns are improving border security and
improving stronger enforcement of the laws already on the
books," spokesman Kevin Callahan said.

The House bill favored by Kelly is the same one Democratic
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton derided last week as mean-
spirited, saying it would "literally criminalize the Good
Samaritan and probably even Jesus himself." Engel called it
"a ridiculous bill."

Because it includes penalties for those who assist the
undocumented, and not just immigrants themselves, church
leaders and advocacy groups have spoken out strongly
against the provision. It's been the major motivation for
pro-immigrant marches from Los Angeles to Denver to Port
Chester, where a demonstration is planned for April 8.

A sweeping bill recommended Monday by the Senate Judiciary
Committee, including New York Sen. Charles Schumer, folds
in the liberal legalization proposals introduced last year
by Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Edward Kennedy, D-Mass.

"I've always said I wanted a bill that will secure our
borders, provide a path to earned citizenship and
rationalize the flow of legal immigration," Schumer said.
"This bipartisan bill is a good step in that direction."

McCain is visiting the area today to promote his plan
during a town hall meeting with the Irish Lobby for
Immigration Reform in the Bronx.

Rep. Nita Lowey, D-Harrison, is a supporter of the McCain-
Kennedy bill.

In the Senate, Clinton has stopped short of endorsing that
bill, but she does support its concept of letting the
undocumented earn citizenship.

Some Republicans are backing certain kinds of visas for
undocumented workers, but they are careful to avoid the
kind of giveaway that would be labeled an "amnesty" for
people who skirted immigration laws. One Republican bill
wouldn't let such workers become eligible for citizenship
but rather require them to return home.

Current law places a penalty on anyone who has spent time
unlawfully in the U.S. Such violators, when they return
home, are barred from re-entering the United States for
either three or 10 years, depending on the duration of
their undocumented status.

President Bush on Wednesday said he wants the undocumented
to be eligible for work visas and eventually for
citizenship — but they should not step in line ahead of
those who have been applying to immigrate legally.

Denying citizenship, Engel said, would defeat the purpose
of trying to attract good workers. "In a way it's a cruel
hoax," Engel said. "If you're going to deprive them of that
right, it's almost as bad as what we have now."


War Of Words Over SDLP’s Appeal Against Blair ‘Pressure’ On

A Sinn Féin Assembly member for North Belfast has hit out
at the leader of the SDLP who this week warned British and
Irish governments to stop pressurising the DUP to restore
the Stormont institutions.

Speaking from Westminster where he was carrying out a
series of engagements, Gerry Kelly said it was essential
rather that pressure was kept on the DUP to restore the
local government institutions and he went on to question
the comments of Mark Durkan in which the SDLP leader said
that putting too much pressure on the DUP could suit Ian
Paisley’s party.

“Pro-Agreement opinion across Ireland has for years been
calling on the two governments to end the pandering to the
DUP and put pressure on that party to accept the
democratically expressed wishes of the Irish people and row
in behind the institutions laid out in the Good Friday
Agreement,” said Gerry Kelly.

“It seems unbelievable that when many feel the two
governments may be about to make a significant effort to
see the institutions put back in place and exert the sort
of pressure required on the DUP, and at a time when the DUP
are isolated in their refusal to move forward, that the
SDLP would call on the governments not to follow through
with this course of action. Their latest position flies in
the face of the political realities we currently face and I
would ask Alban Maginness to explain the logic of his
party's position to the people he represents in North
Belfast. Responding to Gerry Kelly’s criticism SDLP MLA
Alban Maginness said that the danger was that parties could
be marginalised.

“It is important in trying to achieve restorations of the
institutions, particularly the Assembly and the Executive
that we try to reach all party agreement. The tired old
formula of marginalising parties has failed in the past and
will fail in the future. Sinn Féin of all parties should be
sensitive to the marginalisation and isolation of political
parties in order to pressurising them into changing
attitudes. That has not worked in the past as well Gerry
Kelly knows and it will not work in the present or in the
future. What we need is a genuine dialogue amongst all the
parties so that we can put all the institutions back into
full working order,” he said.

Journalist:: Evan Short


UVF Extend Talks On Stand-Down

By Brian Rowan
31 March 2006

The paramilitary debate on the future of the Ulster
Volunteer Force is to be taken into Scotland and England in
the next few weeks.

Loyalist leaders are extending their consultation process.
Favoured options are thought be a "rolling stand-down" of
the organisation, sources have indicated.

A final decision on the future of the UVF, and the closely-
linked Red Hand Commando, is not expected for several

That means the UVF will not use this year's 90th
anniversary of the Battle of the Somme to announce the
outcome of its internal debate.

There had been speculation that an announcement would be
linked to the July 1 anniversary.

The original UVF was formed in 1912 and, four years later,
its members fought with the 36th (Ulster) Division at the

Informed sources have dismissed the speculation about an
anniversary announcement. They say that suggestion is

At this stage of the consultation, a date has not been
fixed for any announcement. The talking is continuing
inside the two loyalist organisations.

Key meetings have still to happen - both inside and outside
Northern Ireland.

That talking will take members of the loyalist paramilitary
leaderships into Scotland and England in the near future.

The theme of the debate is "transformation", and after
these latest discussions, "executive" or leadership
decisions will be taken.

Complete disbandment has been ruled out, but there are
suggestions of a "rolling stand-down" - that the UVF and
Red Hand Commando will disappear in some sort of phased

There is nothing to suggest that arms decommissioning is

The debate is entering its most critical phase with the
marching season just around the corner and with a great
deal of uncertainty about the political future here.

The British and Irish governments are expected to reveal
their proposals soon. But recent comments about an "inter-
governmental approach" if an Executive is not restored at
Stormont is causing considerable concern inside the
loyalist paramilitary organisations.

The leader of the PUP, David Ervine, whose party has
political links to the UVF and Red Hand Commando, said
loyalists are clearly concerned about what he called "the
joint-authority Plan B".

"Let's not go there," he said.

In recent days, loyalist concerns on this issue have been
expressed in private contacts on both sides on the border.


INLA Hands Over Drugs Seized From Cocaine Ring

By Brendan McDaid
31 March 2006

The INLA yesterday issued a warning to drug dealers in
Londonderry after claiming to have broken up a cocaine ring
and handing a haul of drugs over to a priest.

Members of the paramilitary organisation dressed in
balaclavas carried out the raids in the Galliagh area of
the city on Wednesday night.

Police have confirmed they are now in possession of the
drugs which they said were passed on to them by a third

In a statement issued through the Irish Republican
Socialist Party, the INLA said: "The Derry Brigade of the
Irish National Liberation Army can confirm that our
volunteers were this week involved in an operation to smash
a North West-based crime gang concerned with the supply and
distribution of Class A drugs.

"During this operation volunteers recovered a substantial
amount of cocaine estimated to be worth thousands of

"These drugs were then handed in to a priest in St Joseph's
parish in Galliagh."

A priest at St Joseph's parochial house said he had no

The INLA spokesman continued with a warning to drug dealers
in Derry to make themselves known.

He said: "The Irish National Liberation Army view the sale
and distribution of these dangerous and highly addictive
drugs with serious concern, and we take this opportunity to
warn all others involved in this trade to come forward and
make themselves available to any member of the Irish
Republican Socialist movement.

"The Irish National Liberation Army will not allow the
working class people of this city to be used as cannon
fodder by these criminals whose only concern is profit by
whatever means available to them."

A Foyle PSNI spokesman said enquiries are continuing.


Revival Of Easter Parade Arouses Irish Passions

By Jodie Ginsberg

DUBLIN (Reuters) - Ireland will mark two anniversaries in
April. The first -- 100 years since the birth of playwright
Samuel Beckett -- has provoked little drama.

The second, although not normally regarded as a significant
year, has nonetheless sparked heated debate in parliament
and a flood of media bickering, and has put the spotlight
on the roots of Irish identity at a time when the country
is undergoing radical change.

Beckett was 10 years old and still living in Dublin when
the Easter Rising -- 90 years ago next month -- shook

The anniversary of the Nobel Prize-winner's birth will be
celebrated with plays, readings and exhibitions throughout

The anniversary of the Easter Rising will see a very
different piece of theatre altogether -- and it is this
that has unearthed such strong emotions.

Last year, Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern announced
that, for the first time in more than three decades,
Ireland would hold a military parade in Dublin to mark the
anniversary of what for many is a key point in Irish
independence from British rule.

The view of retired factory worker Kay O'Connell reflects a
popularly and widely-held view of the event.

"If it wasn't for 1916, we wouldn't be where we are today,"
she told Reuters this week as she walked past Dublin's
General Post Office, headquarters of the rebels during the
short-lived insurrection, on the street that bears her

"People forget their past, forget their did
we get our freedom after 700 years?"

In spite of the reverence accorded to the Rising and its
executed leaders -- cloaked in the romantic glow of
founding fathers -- no parade has been held to mark the
event since the 1970s, when IRA paramilitaries began a
campaign with bombs and bullets to end British rule in
Northern Ireland.


Times have changed, however. Sinn Fein, who had not
participated in the Irish parliament since Ireland was
divided into the independent Republic and the British-ruled
North in 1922, started to take up their seats here more
than 20 years ago and eight years ago signed up to a power
sharing agreement with pro-British parties in Northern

Last year, the IRA -- which used the name Oglaigh na
Eireann in Irish, considering itself to be Ireland's
legitimate army and with Sinn Fein the true heirs of the
1916 Rising -- pledged to lay down its arms for good.

It was against this backdrop that Ahern announced his plans
to hold the parade -- and reclaim the title Oglaigh na
Eireann for the Irish defence forces.

"The Irish people need 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," he said.

Ahern's gesture was not just an attempt to dust down the
image of 1916. Sinn Fein, who have long considered
themselves the only true Irish republicans, has been
growing steadily in popularity.

Reviving the Easter parade gives the government a way of
reasserting its nationalist credentials -- Ahern's Fianna
Fail party was headed by Eamon de Valera, a leader during
the Rising -- and of designating itself the Rising's
natural successor ahead of a general election to be held by


The tug-of-war over "who's got the biggest Tricolour (Irish
flag)" as Labour Party leader Pat Rabitte deemed it also
opened the door to a wider, often vitriolic, debate on
whether a modern, increasingly multicultural Ireland should
be celebrating 1916 at all.

"We still have a few sacred cows hanging about the place
whose right of life needs to be called into question. One
such is the belief that the Easter Rising was a good
thing," columnist Ruth Dudley-Edwards wrote in the Sunday

In 1916, Ireland was -- like much of the world at that time
-- a British colony, although it was accorded self
government in 1912 through a home rule bill. Thousands of
Irishmen joined up to fight for Britain during World War

Against that backdrop, those who reject notion that the
Easter Rising was the foundation of Irish independence as a
myth say the rebels should be seen, not as heroes, but as a
band of unelected thugs who caused more than 400 deaths,
thousands of injuries and ultimately led to civil war.

The government has gone some way towards recognising that
the view painted of an Ireland that owes its contemporary
existence solely to the Easter Rising rebels excludes other
contributions to the formation of modern Ireland.

For years, the thousands of Irishmen who fought on the side
of Britain in World War One were painted out of the
nationalist picture. Although most supported home rule,
they were deemed traitors to the cause of independence that
they could not have known would eventually hold sway.

"We have this kind of romantic idea of 1916," says Billy
Timmins, defence spokesman for opposition party Fine Gael.
"It's not understood by many."

In recognition of the sacrifices made by those whom
historian Nicholas Mansergh described as having "the
melancholy fate of falling on the wrong side of history",
the parade will honour the Easter Rising but also those who
died at the Battle of the Somme in the same year.

"That's a big step forward," says Dudley-Edwards, adding
that she is heartened by recent debate over the Rising and
the contribution made by all sides.

Discussions have already begun about how to celebrate the
more traditional centenary, with many calling for a
commemoration that goes further than simply marking the
Rising and Somme together and moves away from militarism.

"It should be an inclusive commemoration," Timmins said.



Irishman Among 57 Dead In Ferry Disaster

31/03/2006 - 10:36:50

An Irishman has been confirmed as being among the 57 people
who drowned when a cruise ship capsized off the Bahraini
coast last night.

The Irish Department of Foreign Affairs has confirmed the
Irishman's death and is in contact with his family here.
The department does not comment further than that on
individual cases.

An official from the Irish Embassy in Saudi Arabia is on
his way to Bahrain to assist with arrangements in relation
to the deceased Irishman. Ireland does not have a separate
embassy in Bahrain.

Bahrain's Interior Ministry spokesman Colonel Tarik al-
Hassan said 67 people had been rescued and 13 were missing
from the small ship, the Al-Dan.

Al-Hassan said the dead included 17 citizens of India and
13 from Britain. He listed the death toll from other
nations as: Pakistan five, South Africa four, Philippines
three, Singapore two, Germany one and Ireland one.

The 11 remaining dead had not been identified.

“God willing, there will be other survivors,” al-Hassan

It is possible that some people tried to swim ashore as the
Al-Dana capsized less than a mile off the coast, and that
might account for some of the missing, al-Hassan said.

“Search and rescue operations continue, and there is close
co-operation with the American navy there,” al-Hassan said.
One of the survivors is an American.

US Navy helicopters and divers took part in the search
launched by the coastguard last night. Bahrain, a tiny
island nation on the western side of the Persian Gulf, is
the home of the US 5th Fleet.

Al-Hassan said he could not give the reason for the
capsizing. There might be several factors that contributed
to the accident. An investigation was under way, he said.

He said the ship’s captain, a non-Bahraini, had survived
and was being interrogated.

Bahrain television reported the boat’s owners as saying the
ship might have been overloaded.

The press conference in the Bahraini capital of Manama was
the first time the authorities had given the total number
of people on the ship as 137. Previously it was reported
that about 150 people were on board.

The ship overturned while on an evening cruise that was to
last several hours. State TV showed rescue workers walking
on the brown hull of the small ship.

TV images showed rescue workers taking bodies wrapped in
white sheets off a small dinghy. Men carried the bodies
away in blankets or on stretchers, while boats with
flashing lights moved in and out of port.

Scores of officials and relatives waited in the harbour
watching the rescue operation. Some helped the rescue

Television footage also showed survivors, appearing in
shock and their hair still wet, squatting on the floor of a
hospital. Many of them covered themselves with blankets.
One male survivor was shown being treated for head cuts.

Survivors hugged each other. Some had blood streaming down
their faces. Several wept uncontrollably as friends and
relatives tried to calm them.

Some survivors needed assistance as they disembarked from a
rescue boat that brought them to shore.

Prime Minister Sheikh Khalifa Bin Salman Al Khalifa visited
survivors in hospital.

Health Minister Nada Haffadh told Bahrain television that a
total of 24 people had been admitted to hospital.

Al-Katem, the coast guard chief, said there had been a
dinner party on board Al-Dana before it sailed. He said the
first word on the accident came from a survivor who alerted
authorities from his mobile telephone saying the boat
suddenly listed.

Khalil Mirza, a Bahraini, said he made that call.

One of only three Bahrainis invited to the dinner party,
Mirza said the boat listed as it made a left turn soon
after it left the harbour.

“People were scared in the water,” he said. “They were
fighting with each other and screaming.”


Samuel Beckett: His Life Story

The 100th anniversary of the birth of one of Ireland's
greatest writers is being commemorated in a series of
events. Paul Vallely reads between the lines to find the
influences that shaped a genius

31 March 2006

Biographer: You were born, you say, in Cooldrinagh, County
Dublin, on 13 April 1906, Good Friday.

Beckett: Born on an Easter Friday after long labour. First
saw the light and cried at the close of the day when in
darkness Christ at the ninth hour cried and died

Biographer: So how come your birth certificate says 13 May
1906, which was a Sunday?

Beckett: I speak in the present tense. It is the
mythological present. Don't mind it.

1916. The Easter Rebellion raged in Dublin. But Cooldrinagh
was safe enough. Beckett's father took him to a hilltop to
see the far-off fires of revolution burning. Soon after he
was sent away to Portora Royal School, in Enniskillen,
where he became an accomplished cricketer. Later at Trinity
College, Dublin, he read French and Italian, and played for
the first team.

Entry from Wisden Cricketers' Almanack:

Samuel Barclay Beckett. Left-hand opening batsman, and a
useful left-arm medium-pace bowler. Two first-class games
for Dublin University against Northamptonshire in 1925 and
1926, scoring 35 runs in his four innings and conceding 64
runs without taking a wicket.

Spectator: It's the sort of day that makes one glad to be

Beckett: Oh, I don't think I would go quite so far as to
say that.

Sporting prowess did not bring happiness. The young Beckett
was often so depressed that he stayed in bed until mid-
afternoon. A college roommate recalled him returning one
night with an aluminium strip from one of the printing
machines which were the fashionable novelty on railway
platforms in those days. Beckett's said: "Pain pain pain".
He fixed it to the wall of their room.

On graduating, Beckett obtained a two-year exchange post as
a lecturer in Paris at the Ecole Normale Supérieure. He met
James Joyce and wrote a study of Proust which concluded
that habit and routine were the "cancer of time"; on his
return to Trinity he lasted barely four terms before
handing in his notice.

Senior Lecturer: But here you are teaching the cream of
Irish society.

Beckett: The cream of Ireland: rich and thick.

Back in Paris Joyce's eyesight had deteriorated. Beckett
became his amanuensis as Joyce dictated what was to become
Finnegan's Wake. In the middle of one session there was a
knock at the door which Beckett didn't hear.

Joyce: Come in

Beckett writes it down. Later he reads the master's work
back to him.

Joyce: What's that 'Come in'?

Beckett: Yes, you said that

Joyce thinks for a moment and then speaks.

Joyce: Let it stand

Beckett, fascinated, began writing himself. His first poem,
"Whoroscope", won a literary prize.

Old Beckett: A young man with nothing to say and an itch to

His imitation extended beyond the literary. Beckett began
to drink the wine Joyce drank, and hold his cigarette in
the same affected way. He even, with great discomfort, wore
shoes that were too narrow for him in order to ape his
dandy master.

Beckett: There's man all over for you, blaming on his boots
the fault of his feet.

Then Joyce's mad daughter Lucia fell for her father's young
secretary. The young Irishman eventually rejected her
advances, causing a rift with Joyce that lasted for years.
When Beckett died in 1989, he had burnt his letters from
Lucia, at the instigation of Joyce's nephew Stephen, but a
striking snapshot of Lucia as a feral dancer, clad from
head to toe in silvery fish scales, was found among his

Beckett: I am dead and have no feelings that are human.

Lucia plunged into a series of disastrous encounters,
outbursts and breakdowns, which ended in a lobotomy and her
death in an asylum. Beckett's next lover was the mercurial
Peggy Guggenheim, the modern art collector and American
heiress, whose nickname for him was Oblomov, a Russian
literary byword for inertia.

His father's death only made things worse. Bill Beckett had
a heart attack in 1933.

Father: Fight, fight, fight

Son: (silence)

Father: What a morning (he dies)

Beckett travelled to London to begin two years of
psychotherapy. His therapist took him to hear Jung lecture
at the Tavistock about our memories of the womb.

Beckett: I remember feeling trapped, being imprisoned and
unable to escape, of crying to be let out, but no one could
hear, no one was listening.

This married with the conceit which was beginning to form
at the heart of his artistic vision.

Beckett: There is nothing to express, nothing with which to
express, nothing from which to express, no power to
express, no desire to express - together with the
obligation to express.

Then in 1938 Beckett was stabbed in the chest by a Parisian
pimp, improbably named Monsieur Prudent. He nearly died.
Joyce arranged for him to have a private room at the
hospital and the pair resumed their friendship. Later,
Beckett met his assailant and asked him the reason for the

Prudent: Je ne sais pas, Monsieur (I don't know).

It might have been a line from one of Beckett's own
incomprehending protagonists pondering the business of
alienation and the impossibility of genuine communication.

Beckett returned briefly to Ireland in 1937 but after a
falling-out with his manic-depressive mother, he moved
permanently to Paris. War had broken out, but his Irish
citizenship allowed him to stay in German-occupied Paris.
He joined the French Resistance. It suited his literary
minimalism. His main task was to translate details of
German troop movements into English for transmission to

But in 1942 his cell was infiltrated by a German agent.
Most of its members were arrested by the Nazis. Beckett and
his French-born partner, Suzanne Descheveaux-Dumesnil, fled
their apartment just before the Gestapo arrived. They
headed south, to Roussillon in unoccupied Vichy France.
Once Beckett hid in a tree under which enemy soldiers were
gathered. But although he was later awarded the Croix de
Guerre for his work he dismissed it as "boy scout stuff".

It was not the kind of drama to find its way into his plays
or novels. In those he preferred internal conflicts. Later
he said that his most famous work, Waiting for Godot, was
based on conversations between Suzanne and himself in
Roussillon, a bickering couple acting out rituals of
dependency and disconnection.

Estragon: They're not mine.

Vladimir: (stupefied) Not yours!

Estragon: Mine were black. These are brown.

Vladimir: You're sure yours were black?

Estragon: Well, they were a kind of grey.

Vladimir: And these are brown? Show.

Estragon: (picking up a boot) Well, they're a kind of

During the war Joyce died, in exile in Zurich, and the
mantle of Greatest Living Irishman passed to Beckett. But
they were, in some ways, literary opposites.

Beckett: James Joyce was a synthesiser, trying to bring in
as much as he could. I am an analyser, trying to leave out
as much as I can.

That was not all. Beckett had abandoned the language of
Joyce for that of his adopted land. His English was too
poetic and he wanted greater clarity and greater economy.

Beckett: Cut away the excess, to strip away the colour.

It was in French that Beckett then produced his greatest
works: Godot, Endgame and his great trilogy of novels,
Molloy, Malone Dies and The Unnamable. But if they were
written in French he translated them into English in a
voice which was distinctively Irish - plaintive, lonely and
painfully funny. They were produced after a moment of
epiphany. As he watched his mother suffer from Parkinson's
disease, he was struck by a sudden terrifying vision which
he later fictionalised in Krapp's Last Tape.

Beckett: I became aware of my own folly. Only then did I
begin to write the things I feel.

It was Godot which catapulted this arcane writer to
international fame and financial success in 1952. The play,
in which, famously, "nothing happens, twice", had, in the
words of the critic Kenneth Tynan, "no plot, no climax, no
denouement; no beginning, no middle and no end''. Yet
Beckett's mythical universe, populated by lonely creatures
struggling vainly to express the unexpressable - and
desperately continuing with life in the face of apparent
meaninglessness - struck a chord with the age.

Estragon: Why don't we hang ourselves?

Vladimir: With what?

Estragon: You haven't got a bit of rope?

Vladimir: No.

Estragon: Then we can't.

Beckett's work continued to draw on the pain of his
personal experience - the impulses behind Endgame could be
found in the agonising months that Beckett spent at the
bedside of his dying brother, Frank, in 1954 - but his
attempt to speak the unspeakable created something
universal. So much so that in 1969 he was awarded the Nobel

Suzanne: (reads telegram) "Dear Sam and Suzanne. In spite
of everything, they have given you the Nobel Prize. I
advise you to go into hiding."

Beckett: (considers the telegram from his editor but says

Suzanne: This is a catastrophe.

Karl Ragnar Gierow, of the Swedish Academy: Your Majesty,
Your Royal Highnesses, Ladies and Gentlemen. Beckett's
writing houses a love of mankind that grows in
understanding as it plumbs further into the depths of

Beckett says nothing , and flees to Portugal.

The world poured out its congratulations. A Monsieur
Georges Godot (his real name) even wrote from Paris, saying
how sorry he was to have kept Beckett waiting.

Throughout the Seventies and early Eighties,Beckett
continued to write. The works got more distilled, more
intense, more impenetrable, even though he had started to
write in English again. He avoided the public eye,
declining almost all interviews, and even maintaining his
silence when his 80th birthday was celebrated all around
the world. Instead he continued to live on the Rue St
Jacques and meet his friends to drink espresso and smoke
thin cigarettes in the neighbourhood café. He had a country
house outside Paris but once revealed: "I never go

During the last 10 years of his life, the task of writing
became increasingly difficult as, within Beckett's creative
process, the editor gained the upper hand over the writer.
In the end, each word seemed to him "an unnecessary stain
on silence and nothingness".

By the mid-Eighties, his failing health - he suffered from
emphysema - put an end to his words. He spent his last
years in a nursing home, watching rugby, reading his
favourite books, receiving visitors and drinking. Suzanne
died in July 1989. Beckett died on 22 December that same
year and is buried in the Cimetière du Montparnasse in

Beckett: I'm done (pause) I'm done. But it takes such a
long time.

Old Friend: And now that it's nearly over, Sam, can I ask
you, was there much of the journey you found worthwhile?

Beckett: Precious little. (But his eyes sparkle as he

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