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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 14, 2006
Gerry Adams Shot in Street Attack - 03/14/84
Gerry Adams was shot in the neck, shoulder and arm
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News About Ireland & The Irish
BB 03/14/06 Adams Shot In Street Attack – 03/14/84
DI 03/14/06 Memorial For Rosemary Seven Years After Her Murder
BT 03/14/06 Sinn Fein Takes Double Murder To Ombudsman
DI 03/14/06 Restorative Justice Boost
BT 03/14/06 Durkan In Come Clean Call On MI5
BB 03/14/06 NI Needs 'New Terror' Protection
SF 03/14/06 Governments Pandering To DUP - A Failed Approach
BT 03/14/06 Paisley Attacks Power-Sharing Plans
BT 03/14/06 Extend Knife Amnesty To Ulster? DUP
SF 03/14/06 Ó Snodaigh Calls For Withdraw McDowell's Surveillance Bill
DI 03/14/06 SF Joins Critic For St Pat’s Night Out
BT 03/14/06 Death Threats To Girl (10) As Feud Spirals
NL 03/14/06 Fury At Easter Rising Invite
DJ 03/14/06 Fullerton Campaign Will Continue To Downing Street
DI 03/14/06 Opin: Ireland’s Disgraceful Record On Immigration
DI 03/14/06 Opin: Getting To The Truth Through Talking
BN 03/14/06 US University To Create 50 Research Jobs In Athlone
SH 03/14/06 The Lore Of The Irish
RT 03/14/06 25 Fun Facts Of Irish History
RT 03/14/06 Screening Of Irish Destiny At NCH
DJ 03/14/06 Bobby Sands Biography To Be Launched In Derry
(see video: http://news.bbc.co.uk/media/video/otdvideo/84/03/14/nb/2201_14-03-84_4x3_nb.ram )
March 14, 1984: Sinn Fein Leader Shot In Street Attack
Gunmen have shot and wounded the Sinn Fein president, Gerry
Adams, in an attack in central Belfast.
He was hit in the neck, shoulder and arm as several gunmen
riddled his car with about 20 bullets.
Three people travelling with Mr Adams were also wounded in
the shooting, which took place in front of terrified
None was seriously hurt and a fourth man escaped injury.
After the shooting, under-cover plain clothes police
officers seized three suspects.
Mr Adams, 35, was on a lunch break during a trial in which
he is facing obstruction charges.
He was taken to Belfast hospital and had surgery to remove
three bullets. He is said to be in a stable condition.
The outlawed Loyalist group, the Ulster Freedom Fighters,
has admitted carrying out the attack.
In a statement issued hours after the shooting, the UFF
claimed Mr Adams was "responsible for the continuing murder
campaign being waged against Ulster protestants and is
therefore regarded as a legitimate target of war".
A Sinn Fein spokesman confirmed the three other people hurt
were also members of its organisation. They were among Mr
Adam's co-defendants in the dock.
The charges stem from an incident during the run-up to last
June's general election, when the men were accused of
trying to stop police from tearing down an Irish tricolour
Six weeks ago, Mr Adams said he believed he had a 90%
chance of being assassinated.
Gerry Adams became MP for Belfast West and was elected Sinn
Fein president in 1983, making him a pivotal figure in the
From his hospital bed, Gerry Adams, accused the British
army of having prior knowledge of the attack and allowing
it to go ahead.
Mr Adams left hospital five days after the attack, but
reportedly still suffers pain from the injuries.
He has denied ever being a member of the IRA.
Two Loyalist gunmen, John Gregg, 27, and Gerard Welsh, 34,
were jailed for 18 years in March 1985 for the attempted
murder of Mr Adams. A third man, getaway driver Colin Gray,
28, was sentenced to 12 years.
Memorial For Rosemary Seven Years After Her Murder
by Jarlath Kearney
A memorial ceremony marking the seventh anniversary of the
murder of Lurgan solicitor Rosemary Nelson will take place
in Belfast tomorrow.
Mrs Nelson (40) was a prominent defence lawyer and mother
of three children.
She was fatally wounded by a loyalist under-car booby trap
bomb on March 15, 1999. The bomb exploded under Mrs
Nelson’s car moments after she drove away from her family
Mrs Nelson was repeatedly threatened with death by members
of the RUC, the UDR/RIR and British army.
Consistent efforts by human rights groups and international
agencies to secure protection for Mrs Nelson were rejected
by the British government.
A member of the RIR was among the key suspects in the
Canadian judge Peter Cory conducted an independent review
of the case at the request of the British and Irish
Judge Cory concluded that prima facie evidence existed of
collusion in the murder.
He recommended that a public, independent inquiry should be
established. It is not expected that the British
government’s inquiry into Mrs Nelson’s murder will commence
Fellow solicitor Padraigin Drinan, who was a friend of
Rosemary Nelson, appealed for anyone who knew her to attend
“The theme of the memorial is about fighting facism and, in
that framework, remembering the work of Rosemary,” Ms
“Some of Rosemary’s friends are coming together to discuss
her life and what she might have been involved in now.
“But we are also interested in talking about issues such as
Palestine and recalling the Spanish civil war in word and
in song,” Ms Drinan said.
Tomorrow’s memorial takes place at Conway Mill, at 1pm.
Sinn Fein Takes Double Murder To Ombudsman
By Chris Thornton
14 March 2006
Sinn Fein says it will raise police handling of the murders
of Portadown teenagers Andrew Robb and David McIlwaine in a
meeting with Police Ombudsman Nuala O'Loan next week.
Assembly member Gerry Kelly said the families of the
murdered youths "deserve to know the truth" after a series
of revelations about the six-year-old investigation.
Yesterday it emerged that police destroyed an apparent UVF
hit list that was found during searches after the February
And last month the families learned that detectives have
found a DNA-link between a suspect and the murdered
teenagers - six years after the evidence was collected.
Mr Kelly said there is "growing evidence" that an informer
was involved in the attacks.
"At the families' request the Police Ombudsman has
conducted an investigation into the events surrounding the
murders and it is our information that that investigation
is close to being made public," he said.
He said there were "very serious matters" concerning the
case which will not simply go away.
"The family are now demanding a fully independent inquiry
into the circumstances which led to the murders and the
conduct of senior PSNI figures in the aftermath," Mr Kelly
"We have already raised this case with both Governments in
the coming period and it will form part of discussions I
have scheduled with the Police Ombudsman next week."
On Friday the UVF issued a statement calling on witnesses
to help police catch the killers.
The paramilitary group said it had not sanctioned the
killing and said its members were "appalled" by the
brutality of the attacks.
Restorative Justice Boost
New Policing Board member reveals he has used the services
of Community Restorative Justice at least 150 times in the
last four years - “I have been a supporter of restorative
justice from it started, from the sheer experience of
having a family and children and a substantial number of
grandchildren. The policing service in many ways cannot be
equipped to deal with many aspects of community problems,
whether that be in New York or Paris or Derry.” — Brendan
by Jarlath Kearney
A new member of the North’s Policing Board yesterday
revealed that he had used the services of Community
Restorative Justice at least 150 times in the last four
Derry businessman Brendan Duddy, who owns several
nightclubs and bars in the city, gave his full backing to
Community Restorative Justice during an interview with
His comments coincided with a top-level meeting in Belfast
last night between representatives of Community Restorative
Justice and the SDLP.
Mr Duddy was yesterday nominated for appointment to the
Policing Board, which will be reconstituted in April.
At the height of the conflict, Mr Duddy acted as a link in
secret talks between the republican leadership and the
British government, alongside outgoing Policing Board vice-
chairman Denis Bradley.
The Northern Ireland Office is currently completing a
consultation on the statutory funding of restorative
justice schemes across the North.
Various restorative justice programmes are in operation but
Community Restorative Justice is the main scheme in
The SDLP has launched scathing and sustained attacks on the
organisation because it does not embrace the PSNI.
A recent SDLP document about Community Restorative Justice
sparked controversy because it described some members as
having “IRA criminal records”.
The republican ex-prisoners’ network Coiste na nIarchimí
criticised the “criminal” remark, which was made on the eve
of the 25th anniversary of the start of the 1981 hunger
Mr Duddy yesterday told Daily Ireland that critics of
Community Restorative Justice “just do not have the
experience” of how the project worked.
“I have been a supporter of restorative justice from it
started, from the sheer experience of having a family and
children and a substantial number of grandchildren,” he
“The policing service in many ways cannot be equipped to
deal with many aspects of community problems, whether that
be in New York or Paris or Derry.
“Restorative justice has not [been] and is not a political
situation in terms of the work they do. I have used
restorative justice in excess of 150 times in the last four
years. As a result of that, you get to know what is more
appropriately handled by the Police Service of Northern
Ireland or by Community Restorative Justice, and it appears
to me that people who are extremely critical of restorative
justice do not have that experience.”
Mr Duddy described restorative justice as “a very complex
issue”. He said he could understand “how very genuine
nationalists have fears and difficulties, thinking that
restorative justice is simply another arm of the republican
movement or, more bluntly, the IRA”.
“What is needed is an education process — that people have
to experience for themselves that is not the case,” he
Mr Duddy insisted that the organisation had “never ever
even come close to crossing that line”, even though some
Community Restorative Justice members had served jail terms
during the conflict.
He said that people who criticise CRJ have “an obligation”
to experience for themselves the work of the organisation.
“I work with both the PSNI and CRJ all the time, and I have
never ever been asked by restorative justice people in
Derry not to do that. It’s never even been hinted.
“In a modern complex world, we need someone in between the
communities to say: ‘Look here, your son’s out of line. Are
you prepared to try and sort this out?’ That’s the role of
“It’s not about dealing with the sexual abuse of children
or domestic violence or people joyriding without tax or
“I am a nationalist. I’m a pacifist. I’m a totally commited
supporter of the peace process. I’m delighted that the war
is over and has been recognised as such.
“With that background, I will certainly be speaking, as I
believe, the truth in terms of my dealings and experience
with restorative justice.
“I am saying quite clearly that it has been my absolute
experience that CRJ has an important role to play,” he
Durkan In Come Clean Call On MI5
Ministers evading answers say SDLP
By Chris Thornton
14 March 2006
SDLP leader Mark Durkan has accused the Government of
evading answers about MI5 as his party continues to raise
concerns about the secret agency's role in Northern
Mr Durkan said people cannot have confidence in plans to
have the agency take over intelligence gathering because
"when it comes to MI5 you don't get answers".
He spoke out as the Government began laying the groundwork
for transferring policing powers to Northern Ireland while
making MI5 the lead intelligence agency over the PSNI. The
move would put sensitive intelligence beyond the reach of
any local ministers.
The SDLP's battle against the change has stepped up since
it was revealed that in April 1998 an agent warned MI5 that
Omagh could be bombed by dissident republicans, but that
warning was not passed on to the RUC at any time before the
blast in the town that killed 29 people and unborn twins.
Recently another former agent, known as Kevin Fulton,
claimed MI5 sent him to New York to buy infrared triggers
for IRA bombs in order to enhance his credibility inside
Mr Durkan recently tabled a series of Parliamentary
questions about MI5 to Home Secretary Charles Clarke,
including questions about the religious profile of MI5
staff in Northern Ireland and whether former RUC members
are employed by the agency.
Mr Clarke has given a limited response, noting that "it has
been the policy of successive Governments not to comment on
the details of intelligence and security agency staffing
He said MI5 is "accredited to the Investors in People
standard" and said the selection and promotion of staff
"are free of prejudice or bias, irrespective of gender,
age, race, marital status, ethnic origin, working pattern,
sexual orientation, disability or religion".
Mr Durkan said: "The scale of evasion is what's most
obvious about these answers.
"This proves my point we cannot have confidence in what we
"What that proves is when it comes to MI5 you don't get
answers, not even at Parliamentary level.
"The Police Service are subject to accountability, to
independent complaints mechanisms and public oversight.
"None of this applies to MI5. Events in Northern Ireland
show that MI5 acts as a law unto itself and will act in
defiance of and contempt of lawful interests and
NI Needs 'New Terror' Protection
NI Secretary Peter Hain has said anti-terror intelligence
gathering in Northern Ireland must be brought in line with
the rest of the UK.
Mr Hain told MPs the province needed protection from
"modern terrorism" and MI5 was best placed to carry it out.
The measure is included in the Miscellaneous Provisions
Bill, which paves the way for policing and justice to be
devolved to the assembly.
It received an unopposed second reading in the House of
Commons on Monday.
Mr Hain said the international nature of terrorism meant
the security services (MI5) should now take primacy over
the police force.
"Modern terrorism is an international phenomenon which
Northern Ireland needs to be protected from," he told MPs.
The police would retain control over "operational" matters,
but he added "we cannot address national security on a
The change reflected the increasing "normalisation of life,
security and politics" in Northern Ireland.
During the debate, some MPs said the security services were
already "over-stretched" and adding Northern Ireland to
their remit would only make things worse.
But Mr Hain said the question of resources was different to
ensuring a consensus existed on the principle of the
change, which he believed existed.
Mr Hain said 2006 was a "crucial year" for Northern Ireland
and the legislation is "preparing Northern Ireland for the
many varied challenges that lie ahead".
"There should be no legislative obstacle in the way of
devolution," he said.
The wide-ranging bill also covers electoral and energy
Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/03/14 07:42:12 GMT
© BBC MMVI
Governments Pandering To DUP - A Failed Approach
Published: 14 March, 2006
Sinn Féin MP for Newry & Armagh Conor Murphy today began a
two day trip to London where he will amongst other
engagements brief a cross party group of MPs on efforts to
see political progress secured in the coming period.
Speaking as he left Belfast Mr Murphy said:
“Undoubtedly significant progress can be made in the coming
period towards seeing the political institutions restored
and the other outstanding matters resolved. It is my firm
belief that this is what the vast majority of people across
Ireland wish to see happen. However the process will remain
stalled if the two governments continue with their current
approach of pandering to the DUP and their rejectionist
“It has long since past the time for the two governments to
stand by the Good Friday Agreement instead of following
what has proven to be a pointless exercise in attempting to
encourage the DUP to end their sectarian approach and share
power with nationalists and republicans on the basis of
equality and mutual respect.” ENDS
Editors Note: In addition to briefing MPs Mr Murphy will
this afternoon take part in a debate organised by the
London School of Economics along with the British
Conservative spokesperson on the six counties David
Paisley Attacks Power-Sharing Plans
By Brian Walker
14 March 2006
Ian Paisley has made his strongest attack yet on the idea
of sharing power with Sinn Fein.
Addressing MPs in a debate on the Bill to give a new
Assembly extra powers, he said: "The Bill looks into the
distant future, and has nothing to do with today or next
week or Christmas. It's in the distant future.
"Does anyone believe Sinn Fein are going to give up their
violence and their terrorism?"
In stark contrast, Peter Hain had opened by telling the
House he was setting aside two full days for debate later,
to move necessary amendments for setting a new Assembly up
if all the parties agreed.
But apparently slamming the door on the Government's hopes
of restoring the Assembly by the autumn, the DUP leader
added: "We are called here to waste our time and arguing
about points that aren't going to be dealt with. The SDLP
can enjoy the 17th of March and even drink green beer,
because it's not going to come about."
The Secretary of State was also attacked on the Bill's
details. Giving MI5 the lead role in national security in
the province was "like making Herod the Children's
Commissioner," said SDLP leader Mark Durkan.
Nearly echoing Mr Paisley, the SDLP's veteran Eddie McGrady
said even the NIO recognised that filling Sinn Fein places
on the new Policing Board with independents meant that Sinn
Fein joining the board "was in the distant future, if
Extend Knife Amnesty To Ulster? DUP
By Andrea Clements
14 March 2006
The Northern Ireland Office has been urged to speed up its
work on a programme to tackle Ulster's growing knife
Statistics show that around 1,000 crimes involving knives
are carried out here each year, resulting in nine to 10
North Belfast DUP MP Nigel Dodds has called for a five-week
knife amnesty running across the rest of the UK later this
year to be extended to Northern Ireland in a bid to cut
The scheme will run from May 24 to June 30 in England,
Wales and Scotland and will allow members of the public to
get rid of bladed instruments without fear of prosecution.
The NIO has been in discussions with the PSNI and other
groups to devise a programme to tackle knife crime and has
written to local councils seeking support but has not
introduced any new laws.
Mr Dodds said: "It would make common sense for the NIO to
announce an amnesty to run in Northern Ireland during the
"It makes no sense at all for there to be continuing delays
in this matter."
Demands for tougher action have intensified since the
murder of north Belfast schoolboy Thomas Devlin last
The 15-year-old was stabbed to death as he walked home from
buying sweets last August.
And father-of-six Gerard Devlin was murdered in a knife
attack in Ballymurphy, west Belfast last month.
Mr Dodds added: "Of course we have to recognise that knives
are part of everyday society and are obviously freely
available in domestic situations.
"But there must be a case for looking at the sale of lethal
knives which are clearly designed to be carried about for
"These sorts of knives should be banned outright whether
someone is over or under 18."
An NIO spokesman said the office was currently in
discussions with the PSNI, in partnership with others, to
devise "a comprehensive programme to tackle the knife
culture in Northern Ireland".
"It's hoped an announcement can be made as soon as
practicable. The Minister has written to all councils to
enlist their support and we await their responses," he
Ó Snodaigh Calls On Taoiseach To Withdraw McDowell's
Published: 14 March, 2006
Sinn Féin Human Rights spokesperson Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD
has called on An Taoiseach Bertie Ahern to withdraw the
Criminal Justice (Mutual Assistance) Bill 2005, which is
currently before the Seanad. Speaking today Deputy Ó
Snodaigh said the Bill will increase the prevalence of
email and phone tapping in this state and that, "we could
end up in the nightmare situation where Michael McDowell
has, at his disposal, an unimaginable amount of information
on private citizens that he would undoubtedly exploit."
He said, "A year ago Justice Minister Michael McDowell
pushed an amendment introducing mandatory three-year data
retention into the Criminal Justice (Terrorist Offences)
Act. In light of the prior guarantees that any legislation
around data retention would be in a separate Bill preceded
by a focused Oireachtas debate, this was an unexpected move
in the final hours before the Act was passed and when very
few were in the Dáil chamber to debate the proposal. This
shows premeditation on the part of the Minister who is
eager to develop, even by stealth, a bank of information on
citizens which is then at his disposal.
"The Criminal Justice (Mutual Assistance) Bill will
increase the prevalence of email and phone tapping in this
state thereby adding to the already vast bank of
information on private individuals and citizens that is
available to so-called intelligence services and
governments. In the absence of safeguards, this will create
further opportunities for McDowell to subvert the judicial
process, trample the fundamental rights of citizens and
engage in political policing to serve his own narrow agenda
and self-interest. The Minister's actions in relation to
Frank Connolly and the Centre for Public Inquiry and the
comments by Phil Flynn over the weekend clearly demonstrate
the serious threat McDowell poses to the democratic fabric
of our society. I am calling on the Taoiseach to withdraw
this Bill and defend the people of this state and their
fundamental rights from the attacks of the Sinister
"If this Bill is passed we could end up in the nightmare
situation where Michael McDowell has, at his disposal, an
unimaginable amount of information on private citizens that
he would undoubtedly exploit." ENDS
SF Joins Critic For St Pat’s Night Out
Irish Justice Minister Michael McDowell enjoyed a dinner
with Sinn Féin’s Martin McGuinness during a weekend trip to
The two men travelled to the city to take part in the
city’s St Patrick’s day celebrations.
On Saturday, they were both guests of London Mayor Ken
Livingstone at a dinner at the Marriott Hotel at Grosvenor
It is understood that Mr McDowell, a staunch critic of Sinn
Féin, sat on one side of Mr Livingstone at the top table,
while Mr McGuinness sat on the other side. It is not known
if the Mr McDowell and Mr McGuinness spoke to each other
during the dinner.
Among others who sat at the top table during the event were
Irish football legends Pat Jennings and Chris Hughton.
Death Threats To Girl (10) As Feud Spirals
By Lisa Smyth
14 March 2006
A 10-year-old girl has been threatened and told her two
teenage brothers will be shot as a violent west Belfast
feud spirals out of control.
The death threats were issued to Laura Reynolds as she
walked down the street - the day after her brother's
friend, 17-year-old Wayne McComb, was shot in the leg after
a failed attempt to bundle him into a car as he walked to
Wayne McComb and Thomas and Jim Reynolds are friends of
murdered Gerard Devlin's son.
A petrified Laura Reynolds has now moved out of her family
home and has not been at school since the chilling incident
as her mother, Margaret, believes all friends of the Devlin
family could be killed as the bloody feud escalates.
"It's completely out of control," said the mother-of-three.
"Everyone who runs about with Gerard's kids are targets and
it isn't going to stop until a child is killed.
"Look what happened to Wayne. He was just lucky he managed
to slip away otherwise he would be dead and I don't want
that happening to my kids."
Both her sons have also been followed as they walked along
Thomas (17) had to hide down an alleyway after he saw a car
turn in the road and drive towards him at the weekend and
only hours after Wayne McComb was shot.
Jim Reynolds (16) was also chased down the street. He
explained: "I was going to a mate's and a car pulled up
beside me and I was told that I'm going to be the next one
to get whacked. There's a bounty on our heads."
Meanwhile, Wayne McComb has told how he fled hospital as he
is terrified he would be murdered if he did not return to
his west Belfast home.
"I just wanted to come home to my mummy and daddy where I
feel a bit safer," he said.
"I was scared they would come and get me while I was
sleeping in hospital. I thought I was going to die when
they tried to drag me into their car."
Two days after the teenager underwent surgery to remove a
bullet from behind his left kneecap he left hospital.
He is now recuperating at the family's Glenalina Park home
while his father, Jim, lives in a ground floor room in an
effort to protect his children from further attacks.
The shooting was the latest in a series of violent attacks
on the McComb family since Gerard Devlin was murdered in
February, and the family believe they have become caught up
in the violent feud because of their friendship with the
dead man's family.
Following the murder, Wayne and his father were attacked
outside their Ballymurphy home by a gang wielding hammers
and iron bars.
And in a chilling development, Wayne's older brother Ned
was then warned by police about an ongoing threat to his
The McComb family has already been touched by tragedy - 15-
year-old Debbie McComb was killed by joyriders in 2002 and
her brother Michael (18), committed suicide two years
Mr McComb said: "I'm just wrecked by this. We had no idea
what was going to happen to Debbie or Michael but to know
that people are trying to kill Wayne is terrible.
"I don't care what they do to me, my life is as good as
over, but I want them to stop threatening my kids. It has
Fury At Easter Rising Invite
By Stephen Dempster Political Editor
Tuesday 14th March 2006
THE British Government has sparked outrage by deciding to
send a representative to the Easter Rising celebrations in
British Ambassador to Ireland Stewart Eldon will attend
events marking the 1916 anti-British uprising, it was
confirmed last night.
Ulster Unionist peer Lord Kilclooney, who was told of the
plan in a written answer to a question he tabled in the
House of Lords, said he was "amazed". "Our ambassador is to
join with Gerry Adams and Bertie Ahern in marking the
rebellion against British rule in Ireland," he said.
DUP MP Jeffrey Donaldson called the The ambassador will be
celebrating the murder of British police officers and
soldiers in an act of terrorism directed at the British
State, he said.
UUP MLA Danny Kennedy said: "It's totally disgraceful."
Lord Kilclooney asked "how Her Majesty's Government will be
represented at the 90th anniversary celebrations in Dublin
of the Easter Rising of 1916 against United Kingdom Rule?"
On behalf of the Government, Lord Triesman of Tottenham
responded: "The Irish government plans to invite
representatives of the Diplomatic Corps in Dublin to attend
the events to mark the 90th anniversary of the Easter
Rising. Our ambassador to Ireland therefore plans to
The Irish republican rebellion of Easter Monday 1916 took
place as Britain fought World War One with Germany.
Around 450 people - 250 civilians - died that week.
The uprising was suppressed and its leaders executed but it
was a significant stepping-stone in the eventual creation
of the Irish Republic.
Irish president Mary McAleese courted controversy in the
South recently by making an impassioned speech about the
"It's bizarre that the British Ambassador should be invited
to these celebrations in the first place," said Mr
"After all, this is about celebrating the deaths of British
soldiers, British policemen in the old Royal Irish
Constabulary and innocent civilians. "The Easter Rising was
an act of terrorism directed against the British State and
that a representative of that state should in anyway be
involved in an event glorifying such actions is most
Mr Kennedy said: "It's quite astonishing that the
Government would be even prepared to acknowledge the
events, let alone participate.
"I think most people will be astonished. Bizarre is the
only word for it."
Earlier this month, Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern
issued an invite to unionists to attend the Easter Rising
celebrations - in conjunction with a Battle of the Somme
commemoration - but acknowledged that his offer would be
He explained he had made the invitation in a spirit of
friendliness and hoped it would be seen in this way.
Fullerton Campaign Will Continue To Downing Street -
By Ian Cullen
Tuesday 14th March 2006
THE EDDIE Fullerton Justice Campaign will continue right to
the heart of the British and Irish Governments - this was
the message from the graveside of the murdered councillor's
Many hundreds of people attended the funeral of 44 year-old
Albert Fullerton at Cockhill on Saturday, after his death
following a tragic road accident last week.
In an oration at the graveside of his "friend and comrade",
Buncrana's Mayor Padraig MacLochlainn pledged that the
years of hard work of the " inspirational campaigner for
truth and justice" would not have been in vein.
He said that Mr. Fullerton would never have let the voice
of his father be silenced after the Sinn Fein councillor's
murder by a loyalist hit squad in May 1991.
"Today I tell you the voice of Eddie Fullerton and his
beloved son Albert has never been louder," said Colr.
"If there are those who believe that with the passing of
Albert comes the passing of truth and justice for his
family and the community that loved him and his father then
they are sadly mistaken.
"I want to send a clear message from this graveside today
that the Eddie Fullerton justice campaign will continue
until all those responsible including right up to the doors
of 10 Downing Street take responsibility for the murder."
Mr. MacLochlainn said Mr. Fullerton knew from day one when
his father was murdered that "those who did the dirty work
did not act alone".
He knew that the amount of "detailed intelligence" used in
the hit posed very serious questions.
"In the absence of an adequate Gardai investigation, Albert
took on the role of investigator. He spoke to dozens of
witnesses and potential witnesses over the years trying to
piece together the jigsaw. Key witnesses emerged because of
their admiration for Albert's integrity and decency.
Today we know that at least three of the Gardai directly
involved in his fathers murder investigation stand
condemned by the Morris Tribunal.
"We also know that the British State in the guise of
British Military Intelligence planned and co-ordinated the
murder of a democratically elected representative in
another legal jurisdiction. We also know the only way the
British State and their proxies could silence Eddie
Fullerton was to murder him," he said.
Colr. MacLochlainn added: "Let Albert Fullerton's life be
Mr. Fullerton's sister, Amanda told mourners during the
funeral service in the adjoining St. Mary's Church that
"Albert wore many hats, namely as a devoted partner,
father, son, brother, uncle, cousin and friend to many."
"We all looked up to him after Dad's death. We knew he was
carrying a heavy burden, constantly being vigilant
regarding the campaign.
"Then he was a spokesperson for the EFJC, but much more
than that, he was sleeping, living, eating and breathing
getting to the bottom of what really happened, usually
while massive obstacles were being thrown in his way.
"He was a very strong, focussed and utterly determined
person who managed to engage with people at any level, he
just told it as it was."
She added that her brother was "very disillusioned with
Michael McDowell for our obstructing our quest for the
truth and Bertie Ahern and other influential political
figures for their apathy regarding our campaign".
Opin: Ireland’s Disgraceful Record On Immigration
When the Taoiseach Bertie Ahern goes to Washington this
week he will meet George W Bush and raise, on behalf of the
Irish people, important issues of human rights. No don’t
get excited, he won’t be raising the issue of US aircraft
using Shannon Airport for the illegal transportation of
secretly detained prisoners to unknown prison destinations
where their rights are denied and fate unknown. It seems
that our naive and spineless government, Bertie Ahern
included, continue to accept US diplomatic assurances that
Shannon is not being used as a stopover for this purpose,
despite all the claims and evidence to the contrary. It
would appear that our representatives on the international
stage would prefer to keep George Bush and his co-
conspirators happy by not asking embarrassing questions on
Although the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dermot Ahern
recently called for the closure of the Guantánamo Bay
detention centre, we don’t know how much this will feature,
if at all, in discussions with Bush. However, the fact that
the EU is so concerned about the issue may force Mr Ahern
to ‘meekly’ mention the plight of these unfortunate people,
whose rights have been so blatantly trampled on for years
now. Charged with nothing, found guilty of nothing, but
incarcerated in illegal isolated internment camps without
rights and no access to proper legal representation they
are relying on the civilised world to speak out. God help
While Mr Ahern and President Bush might possibly discuss –
with Bush doing all the talking and Ahern nodding his head
like an obedient puppy – international peacekeeping, Iraq
and the so called ‘war on terror’, Bertie’s focus will be
on a much safer rights issue and one closer to home or
should I say to his potential voters. After all there are
not too many votes to be had sticking your neck out for a
mismatch of foreign Muslims.
The big issue this year for the government and Irish
representatives will be the estimated 50,000 illegal Irish
immigrants in the US and upcoming plans, mainly motivated
by post-9/11 security concerns, to clamp down on all
These people are now finding it almost impossible to get
even basic things like a driving licences or a bank account
without having their illegal status uncovered. The risk of
deportation is so high that travelling out of the country
and returning is now impossible for illegals. Our
politicians have justifiably been vocal about the
unfairness of this situation, where people who had
initially hoped to live and raise their families in the US
are being forced to leave because of tight immigrant laws.
Government sources say they are not worried about the
precise workings of whatever new system emerges, so long as
it allows the Irish in America to relax and attempt to
build their lives there. Their position seems to concur
with the aims of the campaign by the Irish Lobby for
Immigration Reform to get the status of these people sorted
out so they can stop living in the shadows, have some kind
of normality restored and to get on with their lives in
While the efforts being made by our political
representatives and government officials on behalf of
illegal Irish immigrants is the US are all very noble it is
nevertheless extremely hypocritical. Cast your mind back to
June 2004, when Irish voters under pressure from the same
government voted in the citizenship referendum to end the
automatic right of Irish citizenship to all children born
This constitutional change pushed through by the government
did away with Irish citizenship laws that had existed since
1921, and were the traditional, common law means of
acquiring citizenship. Ironically it was a citizenship law
that we shared with the United States and which still
applies there with children born to Irish illegals
automatically getting US citizenship.
Indeed, Ireland had exactly the same basis for citizenship
as over 40 other common law countries in the world
including Canada, New Zealand, India, most of Latin America
and the Caribbean.
The citizenship referendum not only ended this automatic
right to Irish citizenship, but also caused widespread fear
and uncertainty among asylum-seekers and in many cases,
replacing the fear of persecution that drove them here in
the first place. As pointed out at the time by the former
archbishop of Dublin, Dr Walton Empey, the referendum
itself encouraged those with racist tendencies. He said:
“The fact that the only strangers now welcome here were
‘tourists with lots of money" was a “dreadful comment" on
"the land of the Celtic Tiger and a hundred thousand
The reason people are coming to Ireland follows the same
pattern as our own emigrants. Our Celtic tiger economy and
job rich environment is attracting immigrants. Our own
history shows how people in poor economic circumstances
emigrate, whether they wish to or not, to other countries
for work a better life for themselves, their children and
to send money back to those at home.
Ireland has never been the soft touch people have been led
to believe. If you come from outside the EU, you need a
work visa or work permit to come here to work. Both are
hard to get with the latter wide open to exploitation, as
recent events have demonstrated.
If you come into Ireland as an asylum seeker you are
automatically denied the right to work regardless of how
well qualified you are or how much work is available.
Instead you are forced to live on inadequate state
provisions with little or no freedom.
Since the increase of immigration into Ireland in recent
years the reaction of the government has been to try every
means possible to prevent people coming here and to get rid
of those who are here illegally as quickly and callously as
possible, rather than to examine why they are coming in the
A typical example of this would be the 1999 Immigration
Bill which had very little to do with immigration itself,
focusing instead on deportation orders, exclusion orders,
the removal of non-nationals and the imposition of various
The same applies to the 2003 Illegal Immigration
(Trafficking) Act covering people-trafficking.
One would have expected such legislation to address the
real issue of why people put their lives and in many cases
those of their children at risk by using ruthless criminal
gangs at huge financial cost to get out of their own
country. Instead the act introduces even more measures on
the arrest, detention and deportation of failed asylum-
seekers. Little or no attention is given to addressing the
Ireland is now a wealthy country. We should welcome those
coming from less fortunate nations.
Like the illegal Irish in the US we should respect their
human rights and allow them to fulfil their hopes and
dreams and provide a better future for their children.
If our government’s wish is to allow the Irish immigrants
in America to relax and attempt to build their lives there
then surely it must wish the same for all immigrants.
Opin: Getting To The Truth Through Talking
Conflict-transformation expert Dr Brandon Hamber asks what
messages programmes like Facing the Truth convey and what
else might need to be done to deal with the past
by Dr Brandon Hamber
The recent BBC series Facing the Truth, which brought
victims of political violence face to face with
perpetrators, has got people talking.
The dialogues, facilitated by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, are
a stark reminder of the suffering caused by the conflict in
and about Northern Ireland.
It is sobering to think that the cases featured are a
fragment of the thousands of stories that need to be told.
The programmes were a bold move and may have helped
individual victims. They provide some hope for the future,
along with the work of organisations that have fostered
similar dialogues over the years, albeit behind closed
doors. But we also have to ask what other messages such
programmes convey and what else might need to be done to
reckon with the past.
Although the programmes are not a truth commission but a
dialogue, the central idea leans heavily on the South
African experience. It draws on the idea of publicly airing
grievances as a way of addressing the past, as championed
by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
There are profound differences, however. The South African
commission’s primary focus was on outlining the causes,
nature and extent of the conflict through victim and
perpetrator testimony. This testimony took place in
separate victim and amnesty or perpetrator hearings.
Although most amnesty hearings took place publicly, only
approximately 2,000 of the 21,000 victims who gave
statements to the commission gave testimony in public.
When perpetrators applied for amnesty in exchange for
speaking the truth, victims or their lawyers could question
perpetrators as to the veracity of their statements but
this was not billed as a meeting or as necessarily
reconciliatory. The South African commission was not
primarily about victims meeting perpetrators and nowhere in
its legal mandate does it say it was.
The BBC programmes, presented by veteran Irish reporter
Fergal Keane, have now created this myth. Victim-offender
meetings did happen on occasion as a result but largely
outside the remit of the commission. In addition, such
meetings and the commission itself were part of a more
extensive political process. This leaves one wondering: Is
Northern Ireland trying to walk before it can crawl or are
high-profile encounters needed to move the process forward?
Given the stalled peace process, the programmes might get
people to re-engage with resolving the conflict. The
courage shown by participants can demonstrate what is
possible despite the dense fog of political dilly-dallying.
However, focusing on the victims can also inadvertently
suggest that it is the responsibility of victims, rather
than wider society, to reconcile as the first step to
change, thus burdening victims with another liability. Some
victims could feel pressured to forgive, or perpetrators
compelled into expressing remorse they don’t really feel,
especially on television.
The programmes’ focus is the stories of those directly
affected by or acting in the conflict. There is no context
provided or debate about the causes. There was no
questioning of the statements given by offenders, thus
allowing them to define the truth. Truth commissions
traditionally question and try to reach forensic truth.
Emotive television of this type also invariably draws one
to the plight of the victims. This is important but
conflict resolution is not only about sympathising with
victims, important as that is. It demands that everyone
across society recognises their own capacity for wrongdoing
at the same time. In the project Healing Through
Remembering, a five-year-old initiative that brings
together over 80 people from different political
perspectives each month to wrestle with questions about the
past, the issue of considering one’s own role in the past
is discussed under the rubric of “reflection”. Reflecting
on the past, not merely remembering it, necessitates that
we consider not only victims’ suffering but also how we all
supported or fuelled the conflict through direct action,
our attitudes or our failure to act.
Resolving conflict requires reflection and public debate on
levels of complicity and guilt, not only recognition of the
hurt caused or confessions from direct actors. This process
should be supported by public acknowledgment of hurts
inflicted. This leaves no one untouched, and all
institutions need to examine their role in the past — among
others, paramilitaries, the governments, churches, the
judiciary, political parties, the education system and the
The view of Healing Through Remembering is that there are
no quick fixes and no one is neutral in protracted
political conflict. A range of interrelated options for
dealing with the past are required, such as a living
memorial museum, a day of reflection, a network of
commemoration projects, and collective storytelling. For
truth recovery, an informed debate is necessary, evidenced
by the misperceptions created by the recent programmes. To
this end, Healing Through Remembering will shortly be
launching five detailed options for truth recovery for
There is no doubt that the BBC programmes have stimulated
debate on dealing with the past. Questions, however, remain
as to whether the focus on victims and offenders, as in the
first major media intervention on this issue, has not
confounded the reconciliation discussion. It certainly has
confused many as to what really happened in South Africa. A
more complicated, nuanced and reflexive debate about the
past is needed, with a healthy and functional political
context and, of course, the media have a role in this. But
in the long run, this will demand something more subtle
than eerie music and darkly lit forums where victims and
perpetrators meet in the glare of the camera, no matter how
moving or personally transformative such meetings might be.
Dr Brandon Hamber is a conflict-transformation expert from
South Africa living in Belfast and a consultant to the
cross-community project Healing Through Remembering. His
views do not necessarily reflect those of all the members
of the project. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org . Visit the
http://www.brandonhamber.com/ for more information
US University To Create 50 Research Jobs In Athlone
14/03/2006 - 12:02:40
The research arm of a leading US university has announced
plans to create 50 new jobs in Athlone over the coming five
Georgia Tech Research Institute is planning to invest €20m
in a new research facility in the Co Westmeath town.
GTRI is attached to the Georgia Institute of Technology in
Atlanta, one of the oldest and most respected polytechnic
universities in the United States.
The Lore Of The Irish
For some kids, scary folk tales are just a part of their
By EMILIE LE BEAUCHICAGO TRIBUNE
Think of St. Patrick's Day and you probably picture green
paper shamrocks, big parades and a delicious corned beef
But for some kids, celebrating Irish heritage also means
exploring Irish folklore. These traditional stories are
packed with scary stuff, such as deformed ghosts, evil
fairies and wicked trolls.
Brendan R., 11, of Chicago usually hears these types of
stories when he attends Irish language and culture classes
at the Irish-American Heritage Center in Chicago. They "are
myths that some people believe," he says. "They usually
involve things like leprechauns, banshees."
There is good reason why Irish folklore is heavy into ghost
stories, says Eamonn O Ciardha, a professor of Irish
studies at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind.
Some rural Irish areas didn't receive electricity until the
1930s. "People saw things in dusk when it was really (just
the darkness)," O Ciardha says.
A cry of a banshee - a female ghost who wails to warn of a
pending death - could really have been another animal. "If
you've ever heard a fox crying in the night, it sounds like
a child or a woman," he says.
Telling ghost stories was a pastime in the area of
northwest Ireland where O Ciardha grew up. "People would
come around, play cards and tell stories, mainly ghost
stories," he says. "It was a form of one-upmanship. People
jousted with each other to tell the most outrageous
Those old tales have been passed on to some American kids,
such as Siobhan F., 10, of Justice, Ill. Her dad is from
Ireland and she has visited the country several times.
Siobhan's favorite Irish story is "Billy Beg and the Bull,"
a sort of Cinderella story involving a wicked stepmother,
dragons and man-eating giants. These tales "are pretty
scary," she says. "People in a lot of the stories are told
that if they don't do a certain thing, they'll get killed."
Irish folk stories don't always have a happy ending either,
but that's part of the fun, says Sinead H., 10, of Skokie,
Ill. "That's perfectly fine. Irish stories are just
different," she says.
The banshee tales are the most frightening to Sinead. "The
stories say if you don't believe in banshees, then they
will come after you to make you believe," she says.
Banshees warn of death but folklore says a Dullahan kills.
This headless man is said to ride a headless horse after
nightfall. Whenever he stops riding, someone dies. Only a
piece of gold can fend off the Dullahan.
The Dullahan may recoil from gold, but leprechauns hoard
it. In Irish folklore, leprechauns are moody, miniature men
who resemble trolls and can cause trouble.
And there will be trouble if a Taise appears. That is an
apparition of a living person. Folklore says a person who
sees the image will have an accident. Even creepier is
seeing an apparition of yourself - that means death is
Ghosts, banshees and leprechauns - oh, my!
Wailing ghosts, naughty goblins - Irish tales sure can make
St. Patrick's Day feel like Halloween. Want more? These
books take readers into a world of fantastical folklore.
"Tales from Old Ireland" by Malachy Doyle (Barefoot Books,
$19.99): This collection of stories includes the creepy
bewitched Children of Lir.
"Faeries: A Guide to the World of Elves, Pixies, Goblins,
and Other Magic Spirits" by Francis Melville (Barrons
Educational Series, $16.95): This book has descriptions of
more than 50 fairies, from Jack Frost to leprechauns.
"Leprechaun Gold" by Teresa Bateman (Holiday House, $6.95):
In this story, sweetheart Donald O'Dell rescues a drowning
leprechaun. The leprechaun wants to pay him in gold but
Donald refuses. Leprechauns don't take no for an answer.
"Great Encyclopedia of Faeries" by Pierre DuBois (Simon &
Schuster, $26): Learn the daily details of fairy people
from all over the world.
"The Leprechaun's Gold" by Pamela Duncan Edwards (Harper
Trophy, $15.99): In this story, an Irish musician tries to
ruin his friend's chances of winning a harp contest.
Everything changes when a magical leprechaun comes into
Eamonn O Ciardha, professor of Irish studies at the
University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind.
Frightening fables from afar
Ireland isn't the only country with some seriously scary
stories. Here are a few other freaky fables from far away:
Mexico: The legend of La Llorona dates back to the 15th
century. There are many versions of the story, but all have
a similarly haunting theme: Children playing near the river
where the woman died can hear her cries. Some kids even
disappear mysteriously, legend has it.
Philippines: Cut down the tree where an Engkanto lives and
you've got problems: On the outside, the Engkanto's home
looks like a plain tree, but inside, it's a palace. These
tall, fair-skinned immortals will seek revenge by cursing
the home wrecker with a disease such as a bloated stomach
or scorching fever.
Russia: Baba Yaga is a cannibalistic witch with iron teeth
and a bad attitude. When Baba Yaga appears with her posse
of creepy horsemen, a wild wind blows and spirits shriek.
Beside her people-eating tendency, Baba Yaga isn't all bad.
She never messes with humans with kind hearts.
Emilie Le Beau, Chicago Tribune
25 Fun Facts Of Irish History
By virtue of the very limited power vested in me, I declare
this to be Irish Column Week.
On Thursday, we will have sketches of three fascinating
Irishmen. On Friday, we'll do the customary world's worst
Today's offering: 25 facts you may or may not know about
1. The first St. Patrick's Day parade was in New York City
on March 17, 1762.
2. If you are from Boston, the first St. Patrick's Day
parade was in that city in 1737. So the Bostonians claim.
3. The first St. Patrick's Day parade in Dublin, Ireland?
It was not until 1930.
4. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, was born in
5. Shades of the Queen Mary deal: Arthur Guiness opened his
Dublin brewery in 1757 with a 9,000-year lease.
6. According to Irish tradition, fairies are fallen angels.
7. Cohan's, the Irish pub depicted in "The Quiet Man," was
a grocery store immediately before the filming. And a
grocery store immediately after it.
8. Until the 1970s, pubs in Ireland were closed on St.
9. "St. Patrick" was the password used by George
Washington's troops in Boston on March 17, 1776.
10. First member of Columbus' crew to set foot on North
America is believed to have been Patrick Maguire, formerly
of County Galway.
11. In 1856, Chicago printer William Rand took on an Irish
immigrant partner, Andrew McNally. You know the rest.
12. The Irish (Gaelic) alphabet used only 18 letters.
13. After Ireland's Easter Rebellion of 1916, future prime
minister Eamon de Valera was among those arrested. En route
to prison, he threw away his pipe, saying, "I will not let
them deprive me of this pleasure in jail." He never smoked
14. The world's tallest dog breed is the Irish wolfhound.
Full-grown, it can stand and look down into a kitchen sink.
15. Bram Stoker, who gave the world "Dracula," was Irish.
16. The rosary, used by Catholics at prayer, is believed to
have originated in Irish monasteries around A.D. 800.
17. Snakes, which St. Patrick is supposed to have driven
into the sea, have never been native to Ireland.
18. Twelve of the men who died defending the Alamo were of
19. Big Bertha, a cow in County Kerry, died in 1993. Said
to have been the world's longest living cow at 48, she
produced 39 calves, also a world record.
20. To make him think about the destiny of his soul, it was
once a practice to place a coffin in the cell of an
Irishman condemned to be hanged the next day. On his last
night, he was also allowed visitors. It is said they often
used the coffin as a card table.
21. After the famine, people continued to leave Ireland for
the next 40 years.
22. The tradition of wearing green on St. Patrick's Day is
said to have been started by schoolchildren.
23. A leprechaun carries two coins. A silver coin is
replaced by magic each time he spends it. A gold coin is
for bribing his way out of difficult situations.
24. Nine signers of the Declaration of Independence were of
25. Irish proverb: "Everyone is wise until he speaks."
Note: Let me say it again: I am not involved in any secret
effort to elect Justin Rudd, who dropped out of the 3rd
District council race, but is still on the ballot.
Screening Of Irish Destiny At NCH
The RTÉ Concert Orchestra will perform at a gala screening
of 1926 film 'Irish Destiny' in the National Concert Hall,
Dublin on Thursday, 16 March.
'Irish Destiny' is one of Ireland's greatest and most
historically significant silent films.
Produced to mark the tenth anniversary of the Easter
Rising, it is a love story pitted against the backdrop of
the Irish War of Independence.
It also features actual newsreel footage of the Black and
Tans, the burning of Cork and the burning of Dublin's
Believed lost for decades, 'Irish Destiny' was rediscovered
in the early 1990s.
It has since been restored to its original glory and is
about to be released on DVD by the Irish Film Institute.
The RTÉ Concert Orchestra, under conductor Proinnsías Ó
Duinn, will accompany the screening with a powerful new
score specially commissioned from renowned Irish composer
Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin.
More information is available on the National Concert Hall
website at: http://www.nch.ie/
RTÉ is not responsible for the content of external
Bobby Sands Biography To Be Launched In Derry
Tuesday 14th March 2006
THE AUTHOR of a new biography on Bobby Sands will be in
Derry today for the official launch of the book.
Denis O'Hearn's biography of the hunger striker, "Nothing
But an Unfinished Song," has just been released and has
already attracted critical acclaim. The book deals with
Sands' early life, his involvement in the IRA and
subsequent imprisonment and participation in the prison
protests, culminating in his death on 5th May 1981 after 66
days on hunger strike.
Speaking to the 'Journal' ahead of the Derry launch of the
book in the Tower Hotel tonight, Mr. O'Hearn, who is a
professor of sociology at Queens University, Belfast, said
that he had been working on the book for almost six years.
"Most people are aware of Bobby Sands the hunger striker
but not much is known about him as a person and a leader.
That was why I wrote this book. We have all seen the grainy
pictures of Bobby Sands and the images of him on murals but
few people know who he was beyond what he did. I thought it
was important that people know more about what kind of a
man he was and how he found this amazing inner strength to
do what he did," he said.
Mr.O'Hearn admits that he did not know much about Bobby
Sands before he began the project. "I did not know more
than anyone else before I started writing this book.
Obviously I was aware of Bobby Sands but I learned an awful
lot about Bobby as a leader, not just a hunger striker. He
had a tremendous ability to reinvent himself." He spent
most of his adult life in prison and he used his time for
personal development. He learned Irish and taught himself
to play the guitar and, most importantly, he became
politically sophisticated. He was political before he went
onto jail but he sophisticated his politics in prison.
"When I was doing my research for this book I heard a story
about Bobby in the HBlocks. Apparently he was in his cell
with Tony O'Hara and Tony was lying sleeping and Bobby
asked him why he spent so much of his time sleeping and
said he was wasting his opportunities. That sums him up
well," he said.
Before writing the book, Mr. O'Hearn interviewed many
republicans who were imprisoned with Bobby Sands and has
said that their assistance was "invaluable." "I would not
have been able to write this book without the help of men
like Bic McFarland and Seanna Walsh. They opened a lot of
doors for me. No former prisoners refused to help me, even
ones that I doorstepped. It has taken me almost six years
to write this book and it was a very in depth process." he
Mr. O'Hearn also said that the book was intended for
activists all over the world. "I have been getting some
very good feedback since the book was released in the
United States. I think that the memory of Bobby Sands has
faded outside of the Irish in America. I wrote this book
for activists all over the world but hopefully it will
reawaken interest in Bobby Sands in America," he said.
"Nothing But an Unfinished Song" will be launched in the
Tower Hotel tonight at 7.30pm.
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