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March 16, 2006

Kennedy: Let Adams Raise Funds

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News About Ireland & The Irish

ML 03/16/06 Kennedy: Let President Of Sinn Fein Raise Funds
DI 03/16/06 Assembly Without SF Is Not An Option, Hain Tells Paisley
DI 03/16/06 Irish-American Politicans Against MI5 Intelligence Plan
BT 03/16/06 Hain Stands By MI5 Role In Ulster
BB 03/16/06 SDLP Dismiss Adams 'Bias' Claim
DI 03/16/06 Equality Body Is Failing To Act – SF
DI 03/16/06 Cullen Hits Out At Garda Killers
BN 03/16/06 Robert Mccartney's Mother Hopes To Prick Consciences
DI 03/16/06 Opin: There’s A Precedent To Pay Off The Smugglers
BT 03/16/06 Opin: A Proud National Symbol Or A Third World Weed?
ML 03/16/06 Holyoke's Parade Weekend Rich With Events
DI 03/16/06 Paddy’s Day On Two Isles


Kennedy: Let President Of Sinn Fein Raise Funds

Thursday, March 16, 2006

WASHINGTON - U.S. Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., said Gerry Adams, the
president of Sinn Fein, the largest nationalist party in Northern Ireland,
should be allowed to raise money for his party while he is in America.

The State Department has given Adams a visa but is restricted from raising money
for his political party. Kennedy said he should have been given a full visa that
would allow fund-raising.

Adams is marching Sunday in the St. Patrick's Parade in Holyoke, Mass.

Kennedy expressed that view during a press conference in his Senate office with
the sister, mother and aunt of Robert McCartney, a Catholic father of two young
children who was killed in a Belfast bar in January 2005 by men with connections
to the outlawed Irish Republican Army. The killing was not sanctioned by the
paramilitary organization that surrendered its guns in July and disbanded in
October. Except for one brief break, the IRA held its cease fire it imposed in
September 1995.

The murder, which remains unsolved with no indictments, caused an urgency in
Northern Ireland and across the Atlantic for the IRA to surrender its arsenal of
weapons. The paramilitary army decommissioned its weapons, a process which was
confirmed by a Canadian general who serves an independent and goodwill broker to
the 1998 Good Friday Peace Agreement. The agreement was approved by voters in
Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic.

The outrage from both sides of the Atlantic about the forklift operator's murder
led to the White House decision to not invite any members of political parties
in Northern Ireland to its shamrock presentation last year. They were also
excluded from the annual St. Patrick's Day luncheon given by the speaker of the

Kennedy refused to meet with Adams last year.

All Northern Ireland political parties have been invited to the White House
ceremony and Capitol luncheon this year. Kennedy will meet with Adams today in
his office.

"We have seen decommissioning take place last summer," Kennedy said, adding that
"I look forward to seeing him."


Assembly Without SF Is Not An Option, Hain Tells Paisley

Governments will take control if Northern parties fail to act, British source

by Jarlath Kearney

Secretary of state Peter Hain has given a strong indication that the Democratic
Unionist Party will not be allowed to veto political progress indefinitely.

Mr Hain was speaking at Westminster when he pointedly told DUP leader Ian
Paisley to enter direct talks with Sinn Féin.

A senior British government source told Daily Ireland yesterday that, if
political parties failed to achieve progress in the near future, the “ball will
be in the two governments’ court”.

Asked if both governments were now considering joint management of the Good
Friday Agreement, the British source said: “Our destination is obviously the
full workings of the agreement.

“The clock is ticking. All the parties are reaching a point where hard choices
will have to be made. The governments are still working on plan A, which means
parties reaching some agreement. What the governments would like to see is
parties coalescing.”

However, the British source said there would be “consequences” if political
parties did not make progress “sooner rather than later”.

Earlier yesterday, Ian Paisley said he would not share power with Sinn Féin. He
called for republicans to be excluded from a power-sharing executive.

“The secretary of state must face up to the fact that there is one party – Sinn
Féin/IRA – that will not agree to the so-called basis of the agreement that we
all should be democrats.

“Mr Hain and the government must be prepared to say there is only one way into
the government of Northern Ireland and that way is for everyone to commit to
exclusively peaceful and democratic means. Sinn Féin/IRA have clearly not made
that commitment and, therefore, they must be excluded, with democrats allowed to
make progress.

“The time has come when the secretary of state has to make the decision whether
he is going to say to those that agree with terrorism that they cannot be in our
government,” Mr Paisley said.

Responding to Mr Paisley’s hard line, Peter Hain refused to exclude Sinn Féin.

“If you are asking me to bar a very important part of the Northern Ireland
political constituency from representation in the assembly or a power-sharing
government, then I can’t agree with you on that. Your party needs to talk to the
other parties, and I would say at some point, sooner or later, your party needs
to talk to Sinn Féin since they are the second largest party in Northern
Ireland,” Mr Hain told the DUP leader.

Sinn Féin vice-president Pat Doherty described Mr Hain’s approach as “common

“The politics of exclusion are the politics of failure, and this is the message
which we have been pressing home for well over ten years,” Mr Doherty said.

“Those of us who wish to see progress made in the coming weeks can only hope
that today’s intervention by Peter Hain is the start of the two governments
ending the pandering to the DUP and getting back onto the agenda of the Good
Friday Agreement. It has long passed the time when Ian Paisley should have been
debunked of the notion that there was any possibility of political progress
which did not involve Sinn Féin.

“Any notion which the DUP may harbour of pressing ahead towards some sort of
majority unionist rule is a fantasy and simply will not happen.”

The West Tyrone MP said Mr Hain’s remarks must “now be backed up with decisive
action from the two governments through injecting momentum into the process and
setting a speedy time- frame for the lifting of suspension and the restoration
of the political institutions”.


Irish-American Politicans Against MI5 Intelligence Plan


Irish-American politicians are alarmed about MI5 assuming the lead role in
intelligence gathering in the North next year, it was claimed last night.

After meeting members of the Friends of Ireland lobby group in the United States
Congress, SDLP leader Mark Durkan said he was impressed by their grasp of the

“At our meeting, we were struck by how well-informed and concerned leading
Irish-American Congressmen were about Tony Blair’s plans to give the faceless
men of MI5 an enlarged role in the North,” the Foyle MP said in Washington DC.

“They saw clearly through the spin being peddled by Peter Hain that this was
compatible with Patten.

“They realise, in fact, that it was turning Patten [the report on policing
reform in the North] on its head and they committed to raise their concerns with
the British government.

“Patten put in place a Police Ombudsman and the Policing Board to keep a close
and watchful eye on the police.

“Handing intelligence-gathering over to MI5 takes this vital work beyond their

“It means creating a force outside the police force of faceless men who cannot
be held to real account,” said Mr Durkan.

The SDLP and Sinn Féin have been highly critical of plans to let MI5 take the
lead role in the running of agents and informers in the North.

Mr Durkan has argued that this would water-down policing reforms because the
intelligence agency, unlike the PSNI, is not accountable to the North’s Policing
Board or the Police Ombudsman.

The proposal is contained in a North of Ireland omnibus bill now winding its way
through the House of Commons.

The bill also promises to transfer policing and justice powers from Westminster
to a future administration at Stormont.

Mr Durkan said: “Irish-American Congressmen saw that this would be bad for law
enforcement and bad for public confidence and gave strong backing to our
campaign to have this retrograde ruse stopped.”

Among the Congressmen that Mr Durkan met were New York Republican representative
Peter King, Massachussetts Democrat representative Richie Neal and California
Republican representative Elton Gallegly.


Hain Stands By MI5 Role In Ulster

By Chris Thornton
15 March 2006

Uninterrupted plans to give MI5 a greater role in Northern Ireland are
"preposterous" in the wake of revelations about the agency's failure to pass an
Omagh bomb warning, the SDLP said today.

Assembly member Alex Attwood attacked Secretary of State Peter Hain's statement
in the House of Commons on Monday in which he said fears about MI5 taking the
lead role in intelligence gathering are "without foundation".

Mr Hain argued that the switch to MI5 is necessary because the Government in
London must keep responsibility for national security if justice powers are
handed to a Stormont Executive.

But the SDLP argues that the PSNI Chief Constable can continue to report
directly to a Cabinet Minister about such matters.

The party argues that the mix between terrorism and organised crime in Northern
Ireland means that police should keep the lead role in intelligence matters.

Mr Attwood said the revelation that MI5 did not share intelligence before the
Omagh bomb "confirms people's worst fears - MI5 will hoard intelligence to
themselves and fail to share information with the PSNI."

He said he believes police officers share his concerns following the Omagh
revelation. It emerged last month that an agent had told MI5 that dissidents
were targeting Omagh four months before the bomb that killed 29, but the warning
was not passed on to the RUC.


SDLP Dismiss Adams 'Bias' Claim

Sinn Fein claims that the US government has become biased in its handling of the
peace process have been rejected by SDLP leader Mark Durkan.

Speaking in Washington, Mr Durkan said Sinn Fein's Gerry Adams was wrong to
criticise the Bush administration.

He said the US had been critical of unionist politicians for their stance on the
violence that erupted last year over the Whiterock parade

Mr Adams' comments have taken some US politicians by surprise.

Speaking in New York before travelling to Washington for Saint Patrick's Day
this Friday, Mr Adams said he was bewildered and surprised that the US
government would not allow Sinn Fein to fundraise when the IRA had put all of
its weapons beyond use.


However, his accusation that the US government and its special envoy Mitchell
Reiss had been partisan was dismissed by Mr Durkan.

"I don't see how the US government has been partisan in recent months," he said.

"I think Mitchell Reiss has done a good job in calling things straight on the
need for a lawful society."

"Let's remember Mitchell Reiss called the UUP and DUP leadership short over the
Whiterock parade.

"He criticised them for a failure in leadership in terms of their attitude to
try and justify and excuse that violence and blame and attack the police, that's
because he was trying to hold the line for a lawful society."

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/03/16 07:46:33 GMT


Equality Body Is Failing To Act – SF

by Ciarán Barnes

A Sinn Féin delegation is to meet with the Equality Commission after it emerged
the body has not carried out a single investigation into claims of
discrimination on district councils.

Since it was set up in 1998, the commission has been asked on numerous occasions
by both Sinn Féin and the SDLP to investigate policies adopted by unionist-
dominated councils in Ballymena, Castlereagh and Lisburn.

However, it emerged yesterday that equality chiefs have yet to initiate a single
probe into claims of discrimination on these councils.

Lisburn Sinn Féin councillor Paul Butler, who is to meet with commission bosses
today, accused them of “paying lip-service” to his party’s concerns.

In the last year alone, Sinn Féin has asked the Equality Commission to carry out
five separate investigations into Lisburn city council.

He said: “We want to know why the commission has not used its powers under
equality legislation to investigate these councils.

“Catholics living in areas where there has been a clear bias shown against them
will be shocked by this news.

“The commission has an obligation to investigate fully cases of discrimination
when they arise, instead of merely paying lip-service to them.”

A spokesman for the Equality Commission explained it has a range of
responsibilities and powers under anti-discrimination and equality legislation.

He said: “The commission will continue to fulfil these responsibilities, and use
these powers, in the manner we consider, as an independent public body, to be
most effective in promoting equality and combating discrimination in all
sectors, including district councils.”


Cullen Hits Out At Garda Killers


The killers of Jerry McCabe deserve no support, admiration, sympathy or
compassion, the Irish transport minister said yesterday.

Martin Cullen told the Detective Garda Jerry McCabe Fellowship Breakfast in New
York that the victim’s murder was still a highly charged and sensitive issue in

“The brutal killing of Detective Garda McCabe and the wounding of his colleague
Garda Ben O’Sullivan in Adare in June 1996 were cold-blooded, callous and
merciless acts,” said Mr Cullen.

“They were not the actions of true republicans — rather, examples of all that is
the lowest and most cowardly in Irish society.”

Representing the government at the event in John Jay College of Criminal
Justice, Mr Cullen described the function as “a fitting tribute’ to the late

“Nearly ten years on, the killing is still a highly charged and sensitive issue
in Ireland. The government has always held the view that these prisoners are not
qualifying prisoners in the context of the prisoner release scheme as part of
the Good Friday Agreement. The government remains committed to the full
implementation of the Good Friday Agreement and the restoration of the devolved
political institutions as the best way of ensuring a peaceful and lasting
settlement to the Troubles.”


Robert Mccartney's Mother Hopes To Prick Consciences

16/03/2006 - 08:02:10

The mother of murdered Belfast father of two, Robert McCartney today hoped more
pressure from senior US politicians would force republicans to help convict her
son’s killers.

After a meeting with veteran Democrat Senator Edward Kennedy in Washington,
Kathleen McCartney paid tribute to his support.

She said: “He was very supportive and he is genuine about this.

“He would like to see something done to catch Robert’s murderers.

“He said he would see what he could do and put it to (Sinn Féin leader) Gerry
Adams when he meets him.”

Robert McCartney was stabbed outside a Belfast city centre bar in January last
year in a murder which shocked nationalists on both sides of the Atlantic.

Republicans were accused by Robert’s sisters and partner, Bridgen Hagans, of not
doing enough to help bring his killers to justice because they were members of
the IRA.

Following a high profile campaign the Provisionals expelled three members and in
a statement confirmed that it had offered to shot those responsible, but that
was turned down.

Following further pressure Sinn Féin suspended 12 party members after it emerged
they were in the bar, and it urged all witnesses to tell the authorities what
they saw.

However, with Sinn Féin refusing to recognise the Police Service of Northern
Ireland, the flow of information has been slow.

Rather than go directly to the PSNI, witnesses following Sinn Féin’s advice have
been encouraged to make statements to a third party, either Northern Ireland
Police Ombudsman Nuala O’Loan, or their solicitor.

The McCartney family has said that is not good enough,

The campaign to catch and convict Robert McCartney’s killers has also taken its
toll on the family, with them having to leave their homes in the republican
Short Strand area of East Belfast following threats.

Jeff Commander, a friend of the family, was also allegedly assaulted by
supporters of those who the family claim were involved in the killing and
subsequent clean-up of the murder scene.

Senator Kennedy was due to meet Gerry Adams ahead of St Patrick’s Day
celebrations in the White House.

The Massachusetts’ Senator said after his meeting with the McCartneys that the
murder was a defining issue and he paid tribute to them for persevering with
their campaign despite intimidation and harassment.

Kathleen McCartney told BBC Radio Ulster that she had decided to go to
Washington in the hope that it would prick the conscience of the mothers of
those involved in her son’s murder.


Opin: There’s A Precedent To Pay Off The Smugglers

Jude Collins

Big money sloshing around this last week, some of it going to people (the RIR)
and some of it being taken from people (Tom Murphy).

There are those who think giving to the RIR and taking from Mr Murphy were both
good moves, others who believe both actions were reprehensible. Who’s right ?

Let’s start with the RIR.

The DUP led a campaign that swore the RIR would not, would not, would not be
moved; but as with a number of other DUP campaigns, it puffed and guldered and
got nowhere. Seeing Paisley in danger of a serious loss of face (no, don’t
laugh), the British government pushed some £250 million in the direction of the
RIR retirees and allowed the DUP to talk as though they personally had produced
this going-away present.

Mr Paisley and friends rammed home the point to any microphone available,
insisting that the nation owed the brave RIR men every penny and more for their
wonderful contribution to law and order down the years.

It’s always nice to see people who are confronted with the dole queue getting a
financial cushion, but I if I’d been one of the 76 people who lost their jobs at
the West Belfast-based company Trivirix last week, or one of the 30 people at
Tyco Healthcare in Ballymoney who are facing redundancy this morning, I might be
asking myself: How come they got all that and I got nothing?

But you can’t let subjective judgements from people who’ve lost their jobs
decide if the RIR money was wisely spent.

You have to stand back and be dispassionate.

OK . Since the RIR got the big money and ordinary punters don’t get such a
massive pay-off, it must have something to do with the quality of the job the
RIR did. Their contribution to society must have been superior to that of
ordinary workers. So was it?

Well, I’ve no research to back this up, but I’d guess that, over the years,
nearly half the population here felt something between uneasiness and terror
when they saw a close encounter with the RIR/UDR coming up.

You may say so many people shouldn’t have felt that way, but the fact is they

So even if the RIR had been as inoffensive as a Ballymena lamb throughout the
Troubles, they’d still have failed spectacularly in one central function of any
militia : to win the trust of the people in whose name they keep law and order.

Of course it goes beyond this.

The RIR and its predecessors, were guilty of involvement in a range of crimes
that helped ignite and keep burning the flames of violence over the past 30

For those unionist politicians who think otherwise, here’s a little challenge:
produce one nationalist public representative who declares the RIR/UDR/B
Specials did a good job, and I’ll donate £50 to Ian Paisley’s fund for the
conversion of errant Roman Catholic priests to Free Presbyterianism.

What about Tom Murphy?

One thing is certain after the last week’s media coverage of the raid on his
farm, should legal proceedings ever be instituted against him, it will be
impossible for Mr Murphy to get anything remotely like a fair trial.

Yet the antagonism against Mr Murphy, as often happens in these cases, is
confused and confusing.

On the one hand we’re told repeatedly that he was the chief of staff of the IRA.
So perhaps that explains the vitriol and hatred directed against him: he was
(allegedly) responsible for violent and maybe lethal actions against members of
the RUC, the RIR/UDR and the British army.

But hold on a minute. A week or so ago we saw a range of self-confessed killers
parade across our screens and be commended by Bishop Desmond Tutu for their
courage and honesty.

If the allegations against Mr Murphy are true and if he was involved with the
IRA, it would make no sense to verbally assault him while accepting and even
embracing others who had been engaged in similar violence.

Besides, unlike the organisation to which such as Michael Stone belonged, the
IRA campaign and the IRA itself are fast receding into history.

No, the public out-cry against Mr Murphy is not because of his alleged IRA
background but because it is claimed he is…a smuggler.

Excuse me. My cat, confronted with public attitudes in this twisted corner of
the island, has just collapsed in a laughing fit. Give me a moment to put him
outside until he comes round. Because if Mr Murphy’s smuggling is a crime, my
Auntie Peg was a criminal. For more than ten years through the 1940s and into
the 1950s she never crossed the border without something illegal nestling in her
knickers – jam, sugar, butter. If petrol had been cheaper in the north I’m sure
she’d have found a way to carry that too.

Did we think of Auntie Peg as a criminal? Or ourselves, when we assisted her, as
accomplices in crime? For God’s sake. The way she looked at it, we looked at it,
everyone I know looked at it was, we didn’t invent the border, but since it was
there, we were going to squeeze as much good out of it as we could.

Generations of nationalists and I suspect the odd unionist have lived with and
acted on that belief.

So if Mr Murphy is a smuggler - and I have no reliable way of knowing if he is
or not, certainly not from the unsubstantiated shrieks that pass for press
coverage – if he is a smuggler, then he differs from my Auntie Peg and the rest
of us only in scale.

Would I be wracked with guilt if I discovered I’d bought cheap petrol which came
to me via Mr Murphy or someone like him? Hah. If I still smoked, would I refuse
to buy smuggled cigarettes with Mr Murphy’s thumb prints? Hah again. If Mr
Murphy has made a tenth of the money the press claim he has through smuggling,
then I’d suggest instead of being vilified, he be employed by the CBI and Invest
Northern Ireland to teach entrepreneurial skills and venture daring to the sad
excuses for business thinkers who have for the past decade and more kept this
sad corner on an economic life-support system maintained by the British

Alternatively, if those who yell their rage against Mr Murphy’s alleged
smuggling empire were serious about wanting to end that empire, they know how it
could be done overnight: charge the same price for products on both sides of the
border. It’s a no-brainer, lads. Or if that’s too hard, give the smugglers £250
million to go away and stop annoying law-abiding people. There’s a precedent for

Happy Paddy’s Day.


Opin: A Proud National Symbol Or A Third World Weed?

By Eamon McCann
16 March 2006

Could a person whose life has been shortened by shamrocks be said to have died
for Ireland?

The question arises from news reports that most of the green shamrocks (black
shamrocks are different) on sale locally have been grown not in Ireland but in
Third World countries, where labourers are paid in buttons to work unfeasibly
long hours, thus drastically lowering life expectancy.

As well, the clumps of patriotic foliage are doubtless drenched in all manner of
insecticides and preservatives to ensure that they retain their colour and
conformation during transportation, warehousing etc. This cannot but be
additionally damaging to health.

Shouldn't the names of those who perish in order that normally sane people can
scamper like leprechauns through the public streets with a display of the
national frondescence affixed to their clothing be recorded in a roll of honour?

I hope the reason this doesn't happen isn't only that those concerned aren't
Irish. Isn't everybody Irish on St. Patrick's Day?

The fitful truth of this came home to me in jail in New York one St. Patrick's
Day when a black transvestite with crimson hair and a camp Eddie Murphy accent
was assumed into Irishness before our very eyes. Happened like this.

A couple of us had been arrested sitting in the middle of the road in Fifth
Avenue in front of St. Patrick's Cathedral just as the parade hove into view
(explain why some other time), then thrown into an appropriately-named Paddy
Wagon, beaten up along the way and deposited for the night in, I think, the
Metropolitan Detention Centre.

I'd been hoping for Sing-Sing. The two cops who accompanied us in the van
explained, decently enough, that they were beating us up on account of they'd
waited for years to be assigned to the steps of St. Patrick's on March 17 and
we'd gone and ruined their whole day.

In court next morning, the judge established that we were Irish and our offence
connected to a St. Patrick's Day protest and ordered our instant release. Next
case was the black transvestite with the crimson hair.

Turned out later he was charged with pick-pocketing the Fifth Avenue rubber-
neckers. "You are not part of the St. Patrick's Day protest?" queried the judge.

"Oh yes, I surely am," flounced our new friend. Yes indeed, we assertively
confirmed, he's with us. And that was that. With one bound, Jacques (his name,
honest) was free.

So this business of everybody being Irish on St. Patrick's Day has its uses.

Anyway. I find the fact that most shamrock comes from abroad deeply saddening.
Right up until I was almost out of short trousers, I believed that shamrocks
couldn't grow anywhere but Ireland. My uncle Tommy, a noted sceptic, was able to
explain this in scientific terms. To do with the chemical composition of soil
and so forth.

But the main reason we believed it was we had Bing Crosby's word for it, in that
song about the little bit of heaven which fell out the sky one day and landed in
the ocean in a spot so far away..."And they sprinkled it with stardust just to
make the shamrocks grow, It's the only place you'll find them no matter where
you go..."

Lies, it seems.

In those days, people wore a sprig of shamrock. Sixpence a sprig from Joe
Canning's shop at the bottom of William Street and your mother pinned it
ceremonially to your lapel before you headed off, reminding you the meantime
that if you went out in your bare head you'd get your shade wrecked.

Sprig? Nowadays, as I've observed, there's fellows swanking into the city centre
with an array of vegetation on their breasts such as would provide a viable
habitat for a medium-sized species of marsupial.

I'll stop in a minute. No need to give offence. Which is very easily done in the
matter of the shamrock. Hawks has just called to say that the black shamrock on
the battle of Bogside mural on Lecky Road has disappeared again.

It's been removed and replaced and removed again three times since Monday. And
this is only yesterday, if you see what I mean.

Apparently, muralists are moralists about the national symbol. Some reckon it's
an insult to attach a black shamrock to the representation of a rioter -
although whether it's the shamrock or the rioter being shamefully insulted isn't

Ah yes, the black shamrock.

The point of the black shamrock is to commemorate all who have died in the Iraq
War as a result of Irish collaboration, through the provision of the Shannon
stop-over, the use of air space for "rendering" kidnap victims, involvement in
the arms trade North and South, and, more generally, through political silence
about the illegal occupation.

It will be recalled that, as the final lies were being finessed which led to war
being launched on March 18, 2003, US political and military chiefs availed of
the Patrick's Day party in the White House for divertissement and rest.

Secretary of State Colin Powell broke off conversation with a prominent Northern
leader and briefly left the room to tie down some detail or other. Checking
there'd been enough phosphorous packed to burn the flesh off a salutary quota of
Fallujans, perhaps.

Wearing a black shamrock tomorrow will enable opponents of the war to celebrate
in good conscience.


Holyoke's Parade Weekend Rich With Events

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Holyoke will pay tribute to Ireland's patron saint for the 55th time on Sunday
when the annual parade begins from the Kmart parking lot on Northampton Street
at 11:30 a.m.

It is anticipated that the usual many thousands will line the parade route to
watch the over 50 floats and over 40 marching bands, dignitaries, politicians,
colleens and units representing several Western Massachusetts communities.

The parade will be led this year by Grand Marshal Frederick L. Sullivan, who is
a lawyer, and parade president David "D.J." O'Connor.

This year's John F. Kennedy National Award winner, former Homeland Security
chief Thomas J. Ridge, will be in Holyoke Saturday to receive the award but
because of business commitments, will not be marching on Sunday.

The 2006 Irish Ambassador Award winner David Kelley, an Irish actor, will be

Gerry Adams, head of Sinn Fein, the political arm of the Irish Republican Army,
will be marching as a guest of U.S. Rep. Richard E. Neal, D-Springfield.

Other award winners include: Rohan Award, Richard Dupuis; O'Connell Award, Roger
Reidy; Gallivan Award, Peter Stewart, and Citizenship Award, Holyoke Medical
Center president Hank J. Porten.

Grand Colleen Katy Brunelle and her court will grace the Grand Colleen float
this year. Other sections of the parade, representing Chicopee, South Hadley,
Northampton, Springfield, Westfield, Agawam, West Springfield and others will
feature colleens, high school bands and local organizations.

The many bands will include high school, college and other groups and will
feature several Mummers Units.

The Melha Shrine contingent, with their many clowns, bands and cars and
motorcycles, will bring up the rear of the parade as has become tradition.

The annual Bishop's Mass, presided over by Bishop Timothy A. McDonnell, will be
held Saturday at 5:30 p.m. at St. Jerome's Church in Holyoke. That event will be
followed by the annual Bishop's Dinner at the Log Cabin Banquet and Meeting

Also on Saturday, at 4:30 p.m. a wreath will be placed at the John F. Kennedy
Monument at Suffolk and Appleton streets.

Holyoke, state and other local police will be manning key areas along the parade


Paddy’s Day On Two Isles

Belfast celebration ‘open to all’

by áine McEntee & Paul Ainsworth

Belfast’s St Patrick’s Day Carnival Committee yesterday called on everyone to
take part in this year’s council-run March 17 festivities and make it the best
event yet.

Steven Corr, a spokesman for the carnival committee, said he was keen to
encourage all sections of the community to take part in the events organised for
this Friday.

“We would ask that people are mindful of the fact that this is an event open to
all sections of our community and that everybody should be given the opportunity
to enjoy the event in the family-orientated atmosphere that this committee has
always strived to create.

“It is a day for everyone, and we look forward to the day when all major events
in our city are organised in an inclusive manner,” he said.

Ireland will not be the only “Emerald Isle” celebrating St Patrick’s Day

The Caribbean island of Montserrat will indulge in a week-long festival.

The sun-drenched, volcano-hit island is the only country apart from Ireland to
have a national holiday on March 17.

Montserrat is a British Overseas Territory. The national flag features the
figure of Erin with her harp, alongside the Union Jack.

The island was first settled by Europeans in 1642. A significant number were
Irish Catholics who had previously been prisoners forced to work on neighbouring
British colonies.

Oliver Cromwell also sent some political prisoners from his siege of Drogheda in
1649 over to the colony, increasing the Irish population even further. By 1678,
more than half the recorded population were Irish.

On St Patrick’s Day in 1768, the slaves on Montserrat staged an ultimately
unsuccessful uprising against their Irish masters. This has added a uniquely
African feel to the saint’s day in the years since slavery.

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