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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 07, 2006
Loyalists Launch Murder Campaign
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News About Ireland & The Irish
DI 03/06/06 Loyalists Launch Murder Campaign
DI 03/06/06 Opin: Talking To Loyalists Gives Lie To Excuses
IT 03/07/06 Loyalists Threaten To Target Former Prisoners
SF 03/06/06 Govts & DUP Cannot Divorce Their Actions From Murder Bid
UT 03/06/06 Complaint Over Orangeman's Reference
SF 03/06/06 Ending Sectarianism Requires Political Leadership From All
IT 03/07/06 Trimble Joins Opposition To 'Shadow' Assembly
BB 03/06/06 Orde Seeks Loyalist's Re-Jailing
UT 03/06/06 Unionists Reject Ahern's 1916 Invite
BB 03/06/06 PMs To Finalise NI Political Plan
IT 03/06/06 Phone-Tap Bill Raises Concerns About Rights
IT 03/06/06 McDowell Denies Using Irish To 'Pull A Fast One'
IM 03/06/06 Opin: 40 Yrs & Counting; An Irish American Perspective
DI 03/06/06 MPs Back Song About Racism Against Irish
IT 03/07/06 New National TV Channel To Announce Schedule
IT 03/07/06 Landmark Jesuit Church In Limerick Sold For €4m
DI 03/07/06 Firm Recalls 100,000 Pint Glasses
Loyalists Launch Murder Campaign
Red Hand Defenders say all republican ex-prisoners are
considered ‘targets again’ in call to Daily Ireland
by Ciarán Barnes
Loyalist paramilitaries have launched a fresh murder
campaign against republican ex-prisoners.
A caller to Daily Ireland last night, claiming to represent
the Red Hand Defenders, said that as of midnight last night
all republican ex-prisoners are considered “legitimate
Using a recognised code word, he claimed responsibility for
the attempted murder of a Catholic taxi driver in north
Belfast on Saturday night. The caller claimed the target
was a former IRA prisoner and added that similar attacks
The Red Hand Defenders has been used as a flag of
convenience for a number of loyalist paramilitary
organisations, most notably the Ulster Defence Association.
Using the Red Hand Defenders name, the north Belfast UDA
murdered three young men — Gavin Brett, Danny McColgan and
Gerard Lawlor — in 2001 and 2002.
After a major PSNI operation against the north Belfast UDA
which resulted in 17 arrests last Thursday, Sinn Féin
warned the group was preparing to target nationalists.
Eleven of those arrested are to appear before Belfast
magistrates’ court today charged with helping to set up a
meeting supporting a banned group. Seven are charged with
wearing clothes associated with a paramilitary group.
The cab driver at the centre of Saturday’s murder bid had
been called to pick up four males at the Mater hospital in
north Belfast. He works for a firm in the nationalist New
Lodge area of the city.
As he drove them to the Ligoniel district, one of the men
placed a pistol against the back of his head. The weapon
jammed as he pulled the trigger.
A struggle then broke out and the driver managed to run
from the car. The men then fled from the scene, running off
into the loyalist Ballysillan area.
Sinn Féin councillor Carál Ní Chuilín said loyalist
paramilitaries are actively targeting the nationalist
“After the arrests of a number of leading loyalists in
north Belfast recently it was only a matter of time before
their supporters lashed out at the nationalist community,”
“This taxi driver is lucky to be alive. This was a pre-
planned sectarian murder bid.”
Detectives investigating the murder bid are understood to
be examining CCTV footage taken for the Mater hospital and
from a security camera at the Carlisle Circus roundabout.
The gunman is believed to be approximately 25-years-old,
with short ginger hair. He was wearing a washed-out denim
baseball cap and had a bruised left eye.
Opin: Talking To Loyalists Gives Lie To Excuses
Editor: Colin O’Carroll
As they plan their next outrage in the coming days, the
four members of the Red Hand Defenders who tried to murder
a taxi driver in North Belfast on Saturday night might well
take a bit of time out of their busy terrorist schedule to
sit down next to the UUP and the DUP on one of the many
political and community fora on which mainstream unionist
politicians sit shoulder-to-shoulder with fully active
killers and drug-dealers.
In a coded statement to Daily Ireland yesterday, the Red
Hand Defenders claimed responsibility for the attempted
murder and said that all republican ex-prisoners were
targets. The Red Hand Defenders has historically been a
flag of convenience for all the main loyalist paramilitary
groups, but in this case it is the UDA which is
responsible. It’s incensed that the PSNI had the temerity
to raid a North Belfast bar on Thursday night and arrest 17
people in connection with an alleged UDA show of strength.
As the UUP and the DUP sip tea with the hard men of the UDA
and the UVF on these various bodies they’re not discussing
how the violence might be brought to an end and they’re not
urging them to put away the guns and the drugs.
Instead of turning their backs on the political
representatives of the loyalist paramilitaries, unionist-
controlled councils prefer to make them mayors and
committee chairmen. The largest of the unionist parties,
the DUP, stubbornly refuses to sit down with Sinn Féin on
the basis of its claim that the IRA is still involved in
violence and criminality.
The DUP won’t talk directly to Sinn Féin, but it will talk
directly to the UDA and the UVF, both of which have been
responsible for an appalling catalogue of sectarian and
drug-related atrocities in recent weeks and months. This is
hypocrisy on an ocean-going scale and the shocking part of
it is that unionists are allowed to get away with it.
Their flimsy excuse cuts no ice. They claim that the
difference is that republicans are seeking to get into
government while loyalist paramilitaries have an
insignificant electoral base and no prospects of political
power. They do, however, have a very significant capability
for violence and if unionist politicians are willing to sit
down with them while their murder machine is active, then
is it any wonder that there is such moral ambivalence about
loyalist violence among ordinary Protestant people?
While the DUP and UUP have no problem with such hypocrisy,
the rest of us are left to pay the price in terms of
continued political stagnation and ongoing loyalist
That is something that the Irish and British governments
would do well to consider the next time the DUP refuse to
sit in the same negotiating room as Sinn Féin.
Loyalists Threaten To Target Former Prisoners
Last updated: 06-03-06, 16:00
A loyalist paramilitary group has declared that all
republican former prisoners in Northern Ireland are
"legitimate targets" following a shooting in Belfast at the
A caller claiming to be from the Red Hand Defenders - a
cover name used by several loyalist groups including the
Ulster Defence Association (UDA) - contacted a Belfast
newspaper last night and claimed responsibility for a
murder attempt on a Catholic taxi driver in the north of
The caller claimed in a call to Daily Ireland the man was a
former IRA prisoner and that the RHD now considered all
former republican prisoners to be "legitimate targets".
The taxi driver picked up four men on the Crumlin Road on
Saturday night and drove them to the Ligoniel area.
One of the men then put a handgun to the back of his head.
However, the gun jammed and the men fled down an alley
towards the loyalist Ballysillan area after a struggle with
their intended victim.
Democratic Unionist MP Nigel Dodds appealed for calm.
"Ordinary people have no desire to see their area convulsed
in further attacks or see a descent into more violence," he
Local Sinn Féin councillor Caral Ní Chuilin said the murder
attempt was clearly sectarian. "This taxi driver was going
about his daily business. He was targeted because of where
he worked. The only thing that saved this man's life was
the fact that the gun jammed."
© 2006 ireland.com
Governments And DUP Cannot Divorce Their Actions From
Published: 6 March, 2006
Sinn Féin Assembly member for North Belfast Gerry Kelly
today said that the DUP cannot divorce themselves from the
attempted murder of a Catholic taxi driver in the area over
Mr Kelly said:
"The DUP sit on forums with the UDA the organisation
responsible for this murder bid. Yet they continue to
refuse to engage with Sinn Féin about the business of
putting the political institutions back in place. Their
hypocrisy is breathtaking.
"The two governments have allowed the DUP to create a
"That political vacuum has now been filled by unionist
paramilitary violence. It did not take a great
understanding of our history to predict that this would
happen. A catholic man almost paid with his life on
Saturday night as a result.
"The DUP need to realise that there is a price being paid
for their continuing failure to engage, and the two
governments have to realise that there is a price being
paid for their continuing pandering to the DUP." ENDS
Complaint Over Orangeman's Reference
The Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments is
to receive an official complaint about an Orangeman serving
on Northern Ireland's Parades Commission, it emerged today.
Nationalist SDLP Assembly member Dolores Kelly confirmed
she was lodging a formal complaint about the appointment
last November by Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain of
Don MacKay to the commission which adjudicates on
Last week it was revealed Mr MacKay, who is a Portadown
Orangeman, had named Ms Kelly as a referee on his
application form to the Government without consulting her,
even though they were diametrically opposed on parades
The Upper Bann MLA insisted that even if she had been asked
by Mr MacKay to provide a reference, she would have turned
him down given their different opinions.
She and other nationalists have demanded Mr Mackay`s
Ms Kelly said today: "The code of practice of the Office of
the Commissioner of Public Appointments states that best
practice should be used with regard to references.
"How is it best practice for a man to use me as a referee
without my consent?
"How is it best practice for the Northern Ireland Office
not to check the reference?"
In a letter last week to Ms Kelly, Northern Ireland
Secretary Peter Hain insisted he had appointed the best
person for the job.
However the SDLP, Sinn Fein and the nationalist Garvaghy
Road Residents Coalition have condemned the Orangeman.
The appointments of Mr Mackay, a former Ulster Unionist
councillor who has since joined the DUP, and former
Portadown District Master David Burrows were criticised by
nationalists who voiced fears about the Government`s
handling of the Parades Commission.
Garvaghy Road residents, who have been locked in an eight-
year dispute with Orangemen on the banned Drumcree parade,
are preparing a High Court challenge to the appointment of
those men who are members of the Portadown district.
Ms Kelly said she would also raise with the commission
concerns that NIO officials had said those who appointed Mr
MacKay were impressed that she had appeared to have given
him a reference.
She continued: "I want the commissioner to investigate
these abuses and uncover the truth about what went wrong in
"Mr MacKay should also save himself and the Parades
Commission any further embarrassment by resigning from the
Ending Sectarianism Requires Political Leadership From All
Parties Including The DUP
Published: 6 March, 2006
Sinn Féin Chief Negotiator Martin McGuinness has described
Irish government proposals for an anti-sectarianism pledge
as "a good start". He said "if sectarianism is to be
eradicated we need to see an end not just to blatant
sectarianism on our streets but the implementation of
policies to address deep-rooted sectarianism and
discrimination in employment and job creation, to end
bigotry on some unionist dominated councils, to end to all
sectarian attacks wherever they occur and to completely end
the activities of unionist paramilitaries. The key to all
of this is political leadership."
Mr. McGuinness said: "We need an open and honest debate
about the nature, causes and extent of sectarianism within
"Sectarianism is much more pervasive than the blatant
sectarian scenes witnessed at Holycross primary school, the
abuse of parishioners at Harryville Church and Carnmoney
cemetery and attacks on homes across the Six Counties in
the Fountain and in North Antrim. Deep rooted sectarianism
is evident across society including within government
"In order to end sectarianism there must be:
An end to all sectarian attacks wherever they occur
A collective effort to sort out the annual crisis caused by
a small number of contentious loyal order parades.
An end to DUP efforts to stop the equality agenda at the
heart of the Good Friday Agreement
Unionist politicians on councils like Larne, Lisburn and
Ballymena must end their discriminatory practices and share
Ending discrimination in Government agencies like Invest NI
that refuse to invest equally in border areas and councils
like Newry and Mourne, South Down, West of the Bann, north
and west Belfast must be tackled immediately
Unionist paramilitaries must end their activities
"The key to all of this of course is political leadership
from all parties including the DUP. Republicans have shown
by example the need for engagement across society. The Good
Friday Agreement commits all of us in political leadership
to promote good relations at every level of our work and
this of course places a particular onus on those working at
"Alex Maskey as Mayor of Belfast put outreach to unionism
and anti-sectarianism at the centre of his year in office.
In very practical ways he demonstrated our commitment to
tackling this issue. He took brave and difficult decisions.
He was prepared to take risks and display real leadership
whether it was through his decision to mark the Battle of
the Somme, or talk to loyalist paramilitaries, or organise
a service to commemorate all of the people killed through
"Our Mayors and Chairs across Ireland have continued with
this work. We have also set out our intent to deepen our
engagement with unionism.
"But it is time that the DUP stopped sending mixed signals.
They need to stop their messing about and engage in the
political and peace process."
Commenting on proposals for the return of the Forum for
Peace and Reconciliation as a forum for those bereaved
through conflict Mr. McGuinness said:
"Creating forums whereby all those bereaved as a result of
conflict can have their voices heard is of course to be
welcomed. However it cannot replace the demands for truth
and justice of the Finucane family, those killed in the
Dublin Monaghan bombings or any other family.
"Nor will it provide a substitute for the sort of victim
centred independent truth recovery process which we believe
is vital if we are to learn the lessons of the conflict and
allow those most deeply affected to be able to move forward
with their lives in the years to come." ENDS
Trimble Joins Opposition To 'Shadow' Assembly
Frank Millar, London Editor
Former first minister David Trimble has joined the growing
opposition to British government proposals to restore the
Northern Ireland Assembly with initially limited powers
coupled with an absolute deadline for the restoration of a
On the eve of important talks between British prime
minister Tony Blair and Taoiseach Bertie Ahern in London
tomorrow, Mr Trimble told The Irish Times that Mr Blair
should instead simply set the date for the restoration of
the Assembly with its six-week statutory timetable for
nominating an Executive.
That put Mr Trimble broadly in line with former Northern
Ireland secretary Paul Murphy and SDLP leader and former
deputy first minister Mark Durkan, who have also opposed
recalling the suspended Assembly in any sort of "shadow"
However, Mr Trimble disagreed with Mr Murphy's weekend
suggestion that failure to achieve an Executive after the
six-week period should result in fresh Assembly elections.
The former Ulster Unionist leader believes an Assembly
decision to form an Executive or not is the essential first
step to "clear the decks" and allow London and the
political parties to consider alternative ways forward if
the devolution component of the Belfast Agreement cannot be
Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams also wants Mr Blair to
recall the Assembly and trigger the mechanism for
nominating an Executive, but says the Assembly should be
scrapped if the DUP refuses to share power by "early
Downing Street continues to cite the absence of agreement
among the parties on any alternative, in a defence of Mr
Blair's apparent determination to force a decision on the
Assembly after an interim period, which he hopes will see
the Independent Monitoring Commission satisfy DUP demands
for the complete cessation of all IRA activity.
Irish officials are not prepared to second-guess the
outcome of tomorrow's Downing Street talks, now described
as a "stock-taking" exercise.
© The Irish Times
Orde Seeks Loyalist's Re-Jailing
Northern Ireland's Chief Constable Sir Hugh Orde is seeking
to have prominent loyalist Ihab Shoukri returned to jail.
It is understood papers have been lodged at the High Court
in Belfast in an attempt to have his bail revoked.
It follows his arrest - along with 16 other men - when
police raided a north Belfast bar during an alleged
rehearsal for a paramilitary show of strength.
On Tuesday, a judge will be asked to rule if he breached
terms imposed while awaiting trial for UDA membership.
Mr Shoukri, 31, from Alliance Road in north Belfast, denied
membership of the UFF and UDA at his last court appearance.
Eleven men were remanded in custody in connection with the
police raid on the Alexander Bar in the loyalist Tiger's
Bay area at Belfast Magistrates Court on Monday.
Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/03/06 18:51:44 GMT
© BBC MMVI
Unionists Reject Ahern's 1916 Invite
Unionists have rejected Irish government invites to attend
a planned Easter Rising commemoration along Dublin's
Michael Copeland, Ulster Unionist Party parades spokesman
said that they viewed the Easter Rising as an act of
While welcoming the Irish government`s decision to
commemorate Irish soldiers who fought in the British Army
at the Somme during the First World War, the East Belfast
MLA distanced unionists from any association with the
Mr Copeland said: "The Easter insurgency which took place
during the Great War led to the death of approximately 30
rebels, 200 British servicemen and over 200 innocent Dublin
"It took place at a time when 300,000 Irishmen of all
religions were serving as volunteers in the British army,
50,000 of whom gave their lives.
"It heralded the end of the long and honourable tradition
of constitutional Irish nationalism and brought to the fore
the blood sacrifice ethos of armed republicanism which led
directly to the partition of this island and the Irish
The Irish government confirmed last week that it was
extending official invitations to all members of the
Northern Ireland Assembly as part of its official
commemoration of the 90th anniversary of the Rising.
A commemoration in Dublin for Irish soldiers who died at
the Battle of the Somme is planned for June.
PMs To Finalise NI Political Plan
The British and Irish PMs will finalise a strategy for
restoring the NI institutions when they meet in London
later this week.
NI secretary Peter Hain said they would not be pushed aside
by anything which would get in the way of that process.
He was speaking after the disclosure that talks planned for
Stormont on Wednesday had been postponed.
However, Mr Hain said Political Development Minister David
Hanson would soon be briefing the parties.
He will speak to them on the paper for the preparations for
the restoration of the institutions, said Mr Hain.
'Lack of direction'
Asked about recent loyalist violence, he said the
gangsterism must end but that it was important loyalist
leaders who wanted to move forward were supported.
Mr Hain and Irish Foreign Minister Dermot Ahern will also
attend the meeting on Wednesday.
Some politicians believe the postponement of the talks in
Belfast was a sign of a lack of direction in the political
Mr Hain had highlighted Wednesday as a target date for
potential changes to the rules of any future Stormont
Downing Street said neither a joint British-Irish news
conference nor a definitive policy statement was expected
after this week's prime ministerial talks.
Devolved government at Stormont was suspended in 2002
following allegations of a republican spy ring at the
Northern Ireland Office.
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external
Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/03/06 15:45:25 GMT
© BBC MMVI
Phone-Tap Bill Raises Concerns About Rights
Rights groups are worried about the Bill itself and how it
is being made law, writes Carol Coulter.
When the Minister for Justice stood up in the Seanad to
introduce the second stage of the 2005 Criminal Justice
(Mutual Assistance) Bill, he was giving effect to an EU
convention already six years old. This is the Convention on
Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters, and it covers areas
as varied as accessing bank accounts across the EU,
collecting and transferring evidence, producing prisoners
to give evidence in other EU states, and intercepting
telecommunications across national boundaries.
The 80-page Bill will transpose the convention into Irish
law, and sets out the basis on which a wide range of co-
operation will take place in the investigation and
prosecution of crime.
Meanwhile, other measures dealing with co-operation in the
criminal justice area are coming down the tracks. Two weeks
ago EU justice ministers agreed on a new framework document
on the retention on request of telephone and internet data
for access by the police.
This has yet to be published in the EU's official journal,
and will then have 18 months before it has to be transposed
into Irish law.
Human rights groups have concerns both about the content of
such legislation and the process by which it comes into
The Human Rights Commission, for example, has expressed
concern that these measures are negotiated in Brussels with
no advance input from the commission or from anyone else.
By the time a framework decision is agreed and comes before
the Oireachtas, it is too late to do much more than tinker
The Heads of the Criminal Justice (Mutual Assistance) Bill
were referred to the Human Rights Commission before they
were published, and the commission made a number of
observations, most of which were incorporated into the Bill
These concerns included the need for judicial oversight of
permissions to intercept telecommunications when sought for
the investigation of crime; that all the measures proposed
be subject to the provisions of Article 8 of the European
Convention on Human Rights (on the protection of privacy);
and, in relation to co-operation with the US on crime
detection, that this not be used in relation to crimes for
which the death penalty might apply.
The implications of the framework document on data
retention have yet to be worked out in any detail. These
deal not with the content of communications, which are
covered by the interception provisions of the Criminal
Justice (Mutual Assistance) Bill, but the identity of those
making and receiving them.
They will cover phone calls to and from mobiles and land
lines, and internet and e-mail communications.
Until three years ago telephone companies in Ireland used
to keep records of phone calls for six years, for use for
billing and marketing purposes. These records were made
available to the gardaí on request to assist in crime
For example, in the Michael McKevitt trial, evidence was
given of the location of certain mobile phones and the time
of calls between them. The law now permits these records to
be kept for three years, and requires them to be provided
to the gardaí on request.
Under the proposed EU framework document, such records can
be kept for periods ranging from six months to two years,
depending on national legislation, and made available to
police forces across EU, subject to certain conditions.
However, the Irish government is permitted to keep its
There is no Irish legislation at present premitting the
retention of internet data, though this will have to be
drafted in order to comply with the new Directive.
This will require the retention of log-on and log-off
information and e-mail addresses, but not the content of e-
mails. Asked how the content would be separated from the
addresses, a spokesman for the Department of Justice said
that the technology permitted the "envelope" containing
this information to be separated from the content. "There
will be a need for a discussion with the internet
providers," he said.
He stressed that the protections that already exist under
data protection legislation, the European Convention on
Human Rights and the Irish Constitution would still apply.
© The Irish Times
McDowell Denies Using Irish To 'Pull A Fast One'
By Aoife Carr Last updated: 06-03-06, 14:35
The Minister for Justice has strenously denied he used
Irish to "pull a fast one" when he introduced new phone
tapping legislation before the Seanad last week.
The new legislation will allow police in EU member states
to tap phones and access Internet records and text messages
without seeking the permission of the Government. Mr
McDowell presented the legislation to the Seanad in Irish.
Speaking this afternoon, Mr McDowell criticised an article
in yesterday's Sunday Tribune that alleged he spoke in
Irish to confuse members of the Seanad.
"I do want to decry the disreputable journalism that was
unleashed on me yesterday. The first proposition that was
clearly the import of the article was that I was in some
way trying to pull a fast one by using the Irish language.
That's a complete lie," he said.
"I circulated an exact translation of the speech in English
to all of the members at the same time because I knew that,
like myself, many of the members of the Seanad wouldn't be
in a position to follow proceedings on a technical matter
if they didn't have a translation available to them."
"The way in which the Sunday Tribune dealt with this issue
yesterday is not up to decent standards of journalism.
Especially when they were told by a press man in my office
that the English version was circulated at the same time
and they deliberately chose to exclude that from their
stories . . . so this is a bad one for the media I'm
afraid," he said.
© 2006 ireland.com
40 Years And Counting; An Irish American Perspective
International Rights And Freedoms Opinion/Analysis
Monday March 06, 2006 23:05 by Geri Timmons and John
Keaveny friendsofpeltier at aol dot com
Civil Rights in Ireland and The United States
The 1960s and 70's were a time of great change throughout
the world. Oppressed peoples were no longer content living
as second-rate citizens. They rose up demanding equality in
housing, income, job opportunity and education. These basic
human rights were frequently being denied; met with
violence by those governments that worked to keep the
status quo in place. The events that took place in the
United States and the north of Ireland during these years
were but two examples of the struggle for freedom and self
determination that raged throughout the world and continues
to rage today.
The civil rights movement exploded onto the world's
consciousness in the 1960s fueled by the hurricane winds of
change that the decade brought with it. In the United
States, Martin Luther King Jr. a young pastor from Alabama
was leading the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in
nonviolent protests inspired by the teachings of Mahatma
Gandhi. In the eleven year period between 1957 and 1968,
Dr. King traveled over six million miles and spoke publicly
over twenty five hundred times. Rallies, marches and
protests were organized throughout the south. In many cases
these peaceful protests were met with arrests and extreme
violence. The world watched in horror as police unleashed
dogs on the protesters, fired water cannons and beat the
marchers with batons and billy clubs.
On January 29, 1967, the Northern Ireland Civil Rights
Association was founded based on the ideas and practices
that Martin Luther King had used in the United States. The
NICRA organized protests, marches, acts of civil
disobedience and sit in's based on the same tactics of
nonviolence that the American Civil Rights Movement had
used. This all came to a crashing halt on January 30, 1972,
when British troops open fired on a peaceful march,
protesting the practice of internment, killing 14
civilians. Again, the world watched in horror. This day
became known as Bloody Sunday and was a turning point in
the struggle for freedom in Northern Ireland. The event
effectively ended the use of nonviolent civil disobedience
as a means of protest in the north of Ireland and was the
beginning of the violent era known as "The Troubles;"which
lasted over thirty years.
While the African Americans may have been considered
second-rate citizens, they were by no means the lowest on
the race ladder in the United States. For over two hundred
years, the Government of the United States had practiced,
what by today's definition would be considered "ethnic
cleansing" against the American Indians. By the middle of
the 1900's a people that had once roamed freely throughout
North America, were now limited to reservations. In 1968 a
new generation of American Indian’s reacted to the
inequality and poor living conditions on these
reservations. Many were in prison, others were living in
abject poverty and lacked the basic health care essentials
to maintain a normal life. American Indians at this time
had the highest poverty, unemployment, alcoholism, suicide,
and infant mortality rate than any other race in the United
States of America. The American Indian Movement (AIM) was
born out of this hell of inequality, with a force that
hurled it forwarded, demanding the right to self-
determination and the honoring of all Treaties between the
US government and Indian people. In 1972, the US Bureau of
Indian Affairs Building in Washington D.C. was occupied by
these new young warriors. Their sole demand was for the
United States to honor over 300 treaties that the
Government had signed and then broken with the Indian
Nations. The USA reacted violently, waging a war on the
American Indian Movement.
In August of 1969, the British Government deployed the
British Army into the north of Ireland. At first this was
seen as a blessing by the Nationalist people who felt that
the troops would help to protect them against the violence
of the Loyalist mainly protestant paramilitary
organizations. However this was not to be the case as was
ultimately shown by the events of Bloody Sunday. The
deployment of these troops was the first step in Britain
assuming "direct rule" over the north. The Irish Republican
Army, who had been dormant since the early 1960’s, met this
deployment with tenacity. They now saw a dramatic rise in
their popularity. The day after Bloody Sunday was one of
the biggest recruiting days in the history of this
organization. In 1971, the Government reintroduced the
practice known as “internment” which referred to the arrest
and detention without trial of people suspected of being
members of illegal paramilitary groups. Between 1971 and
1975, a total of 1,981 people were detained; 1,874 were
Nationalist/Catholic and 107 being Loyalist. Internment
gave the IRA another boost in popularity due to the biased
way in which it was used. Interment was almost strictly
used against the Nationalist community and although
violence was done by Loyalist paramilitary groups, the
first arrests of members of these groups did not come until
On Thursday February 12, 1976, a member of the IRA, Frank
Staggs, died as the result of a hunger strike in a prison
in England. His only demand had been to be transferred to a
prison in Northern Ireland. The worst was yet to come.
In America, things were also turning violent on the Indian
Reservations. On Feb.27, 1973, AIM seized control of
Wounded Knee, a small community on the Pine Ridge Indian
Reservation. The occupation was in protest to Dick Wilson's
(tribal chairman of the Oglala Nation) administration.
Wilson and his paid henchmen, the Guardians of the Oglala
Nation (GOONS, a self proclaimed name), wanted to
assimilate the people into the white American world of
capitalism, mean while getting rich themselves by selling
tribal land to the US Government which wanted control over
the uranium deposits and prime cattle raising land on the
reservation, the traditionalist natives were strongly
opposed. Two people were killed during the 71-day
occupation, 12 were wounded, including two marshals, and
approximately 1,200 were arrested. AIM had placed the
issues of Native American rights into the international
spotlight. As tensions escalated, so did the violence. The
situation exploded on June 25, 1975 on the Jumping Bull
farm in Oglala. A shoot out between the FBI and the native
people camping on the property resulted in the death of one
native man and 2 FBI agents. What followed was the largest
manhunt in the history of the United States engaged against
members of AIM. Even though the FBI stated that there were
over 40 natives involved in the shoot out that day, only
Bob Robideau, Dino Butler and Leonard Peltier were held
over for trial after capture. Leonard was labeled public
enemy number one with the FBI agents being ordered to shoot
on sight. He went underground, escaping to Canada and was
eventually apprehended. Meanwhile Dino Butler and Bob
Robideau were arrested at different locations, eventually
stood trial and were found not guilty by reason of self-
defense. Leonard Peltier on his return to the US was tried
and found guilty on two counts of first-degree murder.
Ballistic reports that were withheld from the court later
showed that the bullets that killed the agents could not
have come from his gun. This year marks Peltier’s thirtieth
year of imprisonment.
According to the records, between 1969 and 2001, 3,523
people died as a result of violence in the north of
Ireland; some of whom were soldiers, but the majority of
which were civilians. Most died not because of who they
were but because of what they were: Catholic, Protestant,
Nationalist, Loyalist, and Unionist. Some died because of
an unflinching desire to be recognized for what they were,
soldiers. In 1976 the British Government announced that all
prisoners of "terrorist acts" would no longer be considered
"prisoners of war" but would be regarded as common
criminals. In 1980 the status known as "special category,"
a classification that separated the political prisoners
from the ordinary criminals was done away with completely.
One of the rights that the prisoners had under "special
category" was the right to wear their own clothes, now they
were required to wear prison uniforms. The prisoners
refused and instead wore only blankets; this became known
as the "Blanket Protest." On October 27, 1980 seven
prisoners of "H" Block, Maze Prison went on hunger strike
to demand the right to wear their own clothes and to be
considered prisoners of war. Within a month, twenty-three
Republican prisoners joined the seven that were already on
strike. As the situation deteriorated, the Catholic Primate
of Ireland issued a plea for the hunger strike to stop. The
prisoners stated that the British Government had conceded
to most of the main points that the strikers had demanded
and after 53 days, the hunger strike was called off.
However nothing changed. The demands were never met. On
March 1, 1981 ten prisoners lead by Bobby Sands started a
second hunger strike. The prisoners stated that this hunger
strike was necessary because of "British deceit and broken
promises." The first prisoner to refuse food was Sands who
died on May 5, 1981 after having been elected to the
British Parliament with 30,492 votes. The second hunger
strike lasted until October 3, 1981. The British Government
never conceded one point during the strike and watched
while ten prisoners died. Throughout the strike, even as
their comrades died, the strikers stated that they believed
the British Government would accept their demands because
"they weren't asking for anything unreasonable." On October
6, the Government announced that prisoners would be allowed
to wear their own clothes as long as it was not an IRA
uniform. When asked why they did not concede this point
during the strike and save the lives of the strikers, they
replied "that would be like giving the prison to the
It has been fourty years since the Civil Rights Movement
exploded into our minds and spirits. Forty years since
Martin Luther King Jr. led the American Civil Rights
Movement, demanding equality and an end to segregation. In
those forty years has the African American gained his
freedom, his civil rights? Segregation as law is no longer
but discrimination in housing, income, job opportunities
and education still exist. To this day, they have not found
the Promised Land that Dr. King spoke so eloquently about
in his speeches. Forty years since NICRA was formed and
fourteen innocent people were gunned down for calling for
their rights. The Troubles officially came to an end with
the signing of the Good Friday Agreement in 1998, 3,523
people had died. The IRA went on cease-fire almost ten
years ago and have stayed on cease-fire, last year they
announced that they would disarm and cease to exist as an
Army. Has the Nationalist population in the north of
Ireland found their freedom, their civil rights? Day to day
life is better, but discrimination still exists. The
violence is mostly gone, not completely, but British troops
still police the streets and to this day almost none of the
points agreed upon in the Good Friday Agreement have been
implemented; the north of Ireland remains a part of the
United Kingdom. Forty years since the American Indian
Movement burst onto the American Landscape and nothing has
changed for the American Indians; they still have the
highest poverty, unemployment, alcoholism, suicide, and
infant mortality rate of any other race in the United
States. It has been thirty years since Leonard Peltier went
to jail for a crime he did not commit, he continues to
fight for his freedom. It has been almost SIXTY years,
December 10, 1948, since the United Nations General
Assembly UNANIMOUSLY adopted The Universal Declaration of
Human Rights. This document, among other things, stated
that all people had a right to equality, freedom from
discrimination, from torture and degrading treatment, to
equality before the law, freedom from arbitrary arrest,
right to a fair trail, to be considered innocent until
proven guilty, to adequate living standards, right to
education, right to peaceful assembly and association,
freedom of belief and religion and above all freedom from
state or personal interference in these rights. Both the
United States and the Government of Great Britain signed
this agreement. To this day, sixty years later, we still
wait for them to implement it into practice.
MPs Back Song About Racism Against Irish
by Mick Hall
Two British Labour MPs have tabled a motion in the House of
Commons welcoming an anti-racism initiative coinciding with
this year’s St Patrick day celebrations in Britain.
Hayes and Harlington MP John McDonnell and Islington North
MP Jeremy Corbyn tabled the early day motion last Friday.
The motion supports today’s release of the single
Everybody’s Welcome to the Hooley! by the London-based band
The song has been described as both a celebration of Irish
culture and a warning to Irish people that, having been
subjected to racism themselves, they should be to the fore
in confronting it today.
All profits from sales are being donated to the Love Music
Hate Racism organisation.
The song has been dedicated to the memory of the murdered
black teenagers Stephen Lawrence and Anthony Walker.
The initiative has the backing of the Irish community in
Britain, trade unions, and British bands such as Lethal
Bizzel, Hard Fi, and the Magic Numbers.
The song is released on the newly formed Militant
Entertainment label. It will be played at London’s official
St Patrick’s day festivities at Trafalgar Square, hosted by
London mayor Ken Livingstone.
In welcoming the song’s release, Jeremy Corbyn said: “As an
MP with a large number of Irish constituents, I think it’s
really imaginative that the trade unions have united with
the music industry to raise an anti-racist banner this St
“The ‘No Irish, no blacks, no dogs’ sign was commonplace in
boarding-house windows in London and other cities not much
more than a generation ago.
“This song reminds us that the Irish have been victims of
racism down the years and is a loud rallying cry to the
Irish community to stand alongside those under racist
Leeson O’Keefe, the Neck front man and a former member of
Shane MacGowan and the Popes, said he was delighted with
“We can’t think of the last time the release of a single
made it onto the House of Commons order paper. The pre-
order sales are looking good and the band and the label are
going flat out to get the song into the charts for St
Pat’s,” he said.
New National TV Channel To Announce Schedule
Ireland's new national TV station, Channel 6, will unveil
details of its programming this morning in a campaign to
compete with such youth-orientated rivals as RTÉ 2 and TV3.
The station is backed by the Barry family of Cork, the
Gowan motor group and several venture-capital funds. The
station has no wish to compete with RTÉ 1 and will target
the younger viewers of TV3, Sky One and RTÉ 2. A large
portion of its programming is expected to be repeats,
mainly of British and US shows, including Sex in the City.
The station said yesterday: "The line-up will include an
exciting mix of never-before-seen overseas programming and
home-grown programmes mixed with some well-known, top-rated
It is estimated about a third of the schedule will be home-
produced. The station has concluded deals with several US
production studios and will get access to such shows as
Office USA, My Name
Is Earl, Family Guy and Prison Break.
The station says it will not be airing any current affairs
and only a minimal news service. The station received a
licence last year from the Broadcasting Commission of
It will be available on the basic packages offered by NTL
It is understood the station has raised €14 million from
The launch date of the channel has not been disclosed, but
it should be within weeks.
A major advertising campaign for the station will have a
budget of up to €2 million over the next year.
TV3 yesterday announced a new brand identity for the
station. Working with London-based television design
specialists Turquoise, TV3 said it had come up with
striking new look that plays on the numeral "3" as a visual
© The Irish Times
Landmark Jesuit Church In Limerick Sold For €4m
The sale of a landmark Limerick church for about €4 million
is expected to be confirmed within the next week.
The Jesuit Church of the Sacred Heart, which is one of only
three remaining Jesuit churches in Ireland, has been in
Limerick city since 1868. A decision to close the church
was announced by the order last September, due to a fall in
vocations, dwindling congregations and an abundance of
Catholic churches in the city.
Only five priests remain in the Jesuit community in
Limerick and the average age is 77.
The landmark church and adjoining Jesuits' residence went
on the market with Sherry Fitzgerald O'Malley auctioneers
at the beginning of February.
Auctioneer Des O'Malley confirmed yesterday that one of the
five tenders received by last Friday's deadline "stood out
from the rest" although he would not comment specifically
on the price. However, it's understood the successful
bidder met the asking price of €4 million for both the
19th-century church and the adjoining Jesuits' residence.
Mr O'Malley said he hoped to be able to confirm the
identity of the successful tender next week provided the
offer is accepted by the Jesuit Order.
Fr Dermot Murray at the Sacred Heart Church in Limerick
said yesterday he was not aware that the sale was on the
verge of closing but he hoped there would be further
developments in the next week. He stressed the order would
maintain a presence in Limerick through its role at the
Crescent Comprehensive school and with plans for a new
Locals had campaigned to keep the church open and urged the
Catholic hierarchy to maintain the facade and the interior
of the Classical/Grecian-designed church in its future
usage. Construction of the church, designed by Charles
Geoghegan, began in 1864 and it was finished four years
The church is to close its doors in the summer but the
order stressed yesterday it will maintain its commitment to
Limerick with plans for a new spiritual centre and through
the Crescent Comprehensive where it holds a majority on the
school board. The Crescent school moved from its city
centre location beside the church to a site in Dooradoyle
in 1973. Famous past pupils include actor Richard Harris,
broadcaster Terry Wogan and Progressive Democrats founder
Des O'Malley. The Jesuits' new centre for Spirituality,
Faith and Culture is due to open in Limerick in June
although an exact location has yet to be confirmed.
The Jesuits are this year celebrating the 500th anniversary
of the birth of St Francis Xavier and the 450th anniversary
of the death of founder St Ignatius Loyola.
© The Irish Times
Firm Recalls 100,000 Pint Glasses
BY Eamonn Houston
More than 100,000 pint glasses bearing the brand name of
Ireland’s most famous lager have been recalled after
reports that some of them had “exploded”.
Representatives from Diageo contacted thousands of public
houses across Ireland on Saturday after it emerged that a
huge consignment of newly branded Harp glasses was faulty.
Harp was relaunched last year under the banner “Harp looks
The new glasses have been rolled out by the brewing giant
as part of a major drive to boost flagging sales of the
The campaign focuses on why people “should be proud to
drink Harp”, discarding the more “laddish” approach adopted
in recent Harp advertising.
A spokesperson for Diageo yesterday confirmed the pint
glass recall in a statement issued to Daily Ireland.
“Diageo is in the process of replacing its new-style Harp
pint glasses in all outlets.
“The company-instigated move follows the detection of a
minor manufacturing defect in the glasses which means that
they fail to meet Diageo’s high standards. Diageo has asked
publicans to stop using the glasses until replacement stock
is received,” the spokesperson said.
One publican in the North said he had over 40 cases of the
new glasses, which have to be returned to Diageo.
“We got a phone call on Saturday to say that the glasses
should not be used and taken off the counter if they were
already being used. A workman working in the bar removed
some of the glasses from a dishwasher and one completely
shattered in his hands,” he said.
It is unclear how much the recall will cost Diageo.
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