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March 05, 2006

Paul Murphy Calls For Assembly Return

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BB 03/05/06 Murphy Calls For Assembly Return
RT 03/05/06 Durkan Suggests Forum As March Alternative
IN 03/05/06 Assault On Show Of Strength To Arrest Shoukri & Leaders
IN 03/05/06 Operation Shrouded In Mystery
BB 03/05/06 11 Men On Loyalist Terror Charges
IN 03/05/06 Community Unites To End Intimidation And Violence
BB 03/05/06 Gun Is Held To Taxi Driver's Head
WP 03/05/06 ILIR: Irish Immigration Slips Into Reverse
BN 03/05/06 Bush’s Shannon Stopover Picketed By Anti-War Group
BN 03/05/06 FAIR Deny Dropping Plans For Another Dublin March
IT 03/05/06 Anatomy Of A Very Irish Riot
SL 03/05/06 Omagh Informer Removed From Witness Protection
IN 03/05/06 Bomb Victims Told: Stand Apart From Republicans
BN 03/05/06 Labour Raises Questions Over Mcdowell's Irish Speech
DJ 03/03/06 FBI Agent Told Handlers Of Derry Or Omagh 'Strike'
DI 03/05/06 Cross-Border Top 50
DU 03/04/06 DUP Calls On Republicans To Abandon Rejectionist Politics
DU 03/04/06 ‘DUP Will Not Bow To Devolution Deadline’ - Wilson
SL 03/05/06 Playing A Dangerous Game At The Maze
SL 03/05/06 Facing The Truth: The Truth Hurts
SL 03/05/06 Facing The Truth: IRA Man Says No
SL 03/05/06 Opin: Facing The Truth: A Journey To Find The Truth
SL 03/05/06 Opin: Facing The Truth - History Isn't All Black And White
BB 03/05/06 Opin: Talks And Public Apathy Gather Pace
WK 03/05/06 Opin: Rebellion In Dublin
IN 03/05/06 Opin: End In Sight For Paramilitarism?
IN 03/05/06 Opin: Paisley Ducks Out Of Sight As Snowballs Fly
GU 03/05/06 John Duddy: An Irishman In New York
BN 03/05/06 Freedom Of Dublin For Bob And Ronnie
LJ 03/05/06 Review: Ivers: Irish Jigs Inspire Audience To Dance
HC 03/05/06 Dropkick Murphies: Loud And Proud, With Bagpipes
IT 03/05/06 Inventor Bids To Tap Into Ireland's Wave Power
SL 03/05/06 Country & Western: Van Gives A 'Devil' Of A Show
TO 03/05/06 Black 47 Rocks And Rants
EX 03/05/06 Big Chill Strikes Brrr, Co Offaly
IN 03/05/06 Waiting For Beckett Bidding


Murphy Calls For Assembly Return

The devolved assembly at Stormont should be restored if
current political negotiations fail, former Northern
Ireland Secretary Paul Murphy has said.

He told the BBC's Politics Show it would force the parties
to either form a government or to face a fresh poll.

"My own view is if they can't sort (the assembly) through
negotiations, they restore it, as the act of parliament and
the Good Friday Agreement said.

"They have six weeks to sort it out and if they don't,
you'd have an election."

Mr Murphy added: "Obviously that's not the best way to sort
it out - the best way is to try and restore in the
knowledge that it's going to work."

Tony Blair and Bertie Ahern are set to meet in Downing
Street next Wednesday to review progress in their efforts
to restore devolution.

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

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/03/05 12:59:10 GMT


Durkan Suggests Forum As March Alternative

05 March 2006 13:03

The leader of the SDLP has said there is a danger of
Dublin's O'Connell Street becoming a theme park for people
marching about every single grievance and every single

Mark Durkan says it is clear the Republic is looking for a
way to disown what he calls the appalling violence in
Dublin last weekend.

But he believes there is more mature way for the Republic
to show sensitivity to victims in Northern Ireland.

Mr Durkan has briefed the Taoiseach and the Minister for
Foreign Affairs and has also contacted Fine Gael and Labour
about his proposals.

His proposal is to recall the Forum for Peace and
Reconciliation, a body that met in the 1990s, and use it to
address issues of grievance and reconciliation.

He said it could allow victims of all classes to tell their
story and express their needs.

He suggests it could also allow discussion and long-term
planning on sensitive issues like the centenary of the 1916
Rising and the Battle of the Somme.


Assault On ‘Show Of Strength’ To Arrest Ihab Shoukri And

By Barry McCaffrey

A PSNI raid on a UDA ‘show of strength’ was part of an
undercover police operation targeted at senior loyalist
Ihab Shoukri, security sources last night claimed.

Scores of heavily armed police officers wearing gas masks
forcibly removed the main doors of the Alexandra Bar on
Belfast’s York Road minutes after Shoukri had arrived on
Thursday night.

Security sources last night claimed that Shoukri had been
under 24-hour surveillance for more than a week before the
decision was taken to arrest him on Thursday night.

Police are understood to have been acting on a tip-off that
the UDA were planning a ‘show of strength’ during a
function to be attended by 300 loyalists last night.

More than two dozen officers, believed to be from a
specialist Tactical Support Group (TSG) unit, pulled up
outside the bar in two unmarked vans minutes after Shoukri
had entered the premises shortly before 7.30pm.

Eyewitnesses report that two policemen stood on the road
outside the bar and used shotguns to fire 64 CS Gas canisters through
the windows of the upstairs room of the bar, where the UDA were carrying
out a ‘full dress rehearsal’.

Unconfirmed reports suggest police used explosive charges
to blow a reinforced door off the front of the bar.

Once inside the premises officers wearing gas masks and
carrying Heckler and Koch rifles held patrons in the
downstairs public bar.

Armed officers then arrested the 17 loyalists as they
emerged from the upstairs room.

Police yesterday refused to state if any firearms were
recovered at the scene.

The 17 suspects were all taken to Antrim police station
where they were examined by a doctor for the inhalation of

It is understood that a number of those arrested had still
not been questioned yesterday afternoon because of the
large number of suspects detained.

However, security sources last night confirmed that the
entire north Belfast UDA leadership had been caught at the
‘show of strength’.

Ihab Shoukri, who is on bail awaiting trial for UDA

It is understood police had been working on intelligence
that the raid would find Ihab Shoukri and other loyalists in possession
of weapons.

Another of those arrested is Alan McClean who was last year
charged with the attempted abduction of a north Belfast
bank manager.

Also arrested was Gary ‘Jock’ MacKenzie, who is understood
to be on bail awaiting trial for organising rioting.

In October 2002 MacKenzie was charged with the attempted
murder of eight policemen after a gun attack on the
Westland Road in north Belfast.

Detective Superintendent Roy McComb confirmed that police
had received intelligence that the UDA had been preparing a
‘show of strength’.

“Police information indicated also that on Thursday evening
there was to be a full dress rehearsal on the same premises
and conducted by the same individuals,” Mr McComb said.

“That there would be the presence of firearms, presence of
masked men and that there would be a dress rehearsal, as
would take place on Friday night.”

Mr McComb insisted that police had acted to protect human

He said those arrested were being questioned about
possession of materials likely to be useful to terrorist and membership
of the UFF.

Police were preparing for a potential UDA backlash last
night following the arrest of senior loyalists.

A bin lorry was hijacked and set on fire on the York Road
shortly after 10am yesterday morning while there was an
unsuccessful attempt to hijack a taxi on Duncairn Gardens

It is understood extra police had already been drafted into
the area ahead of Thursday night’s arrests with police
water cannons being put on standby.

Questioned why the PSNI had chosen to take action against
this show of strength, while others had been allowed to go
ahead, Mr McComb said: “On the basis of information that
the police service gains we acted in good faith to take out
of circulation people who are involved in criminal

“The police service have previously taken action against
illegal displays of firearms and I can say without fear or
favour, where that information is available and we have
that opportunity we will take robust action.

“We are here to protect the community and with the
community support we will ensure that no
such displays will take place in the future.”

Meanwhile the Republic’s foreign affairs minister Dermot
Ahern last night defended President Mary McAleese and her
husband Martin’s association with the UDA.

President McAleese and her husband are well known for their
efforts to encourage an end to UDA criminality.

However, DUP assembly member Ian Paisley jnr called on the
McAleeses to end their association with senior UDA leaders.

“Maybe Mary McAleese should be in the dock today,” he said.

“She is not a stupid woman, just as I am not a Nazi.

“She has chosen to associate with people whose backgrounds
can only be described as extremely dubious.”

However, Mr Ahern defended the Irish president’s contacts
with loyalist paramilitaries.

“The president and her husband Martin have been, in my
view, absolutely excellent in reaching out a hand to a
tradition that perhaps they and a lot of people in the
Republic of Ireland would not have had any connection
with,” he said.

“I think it is fair to say that [in] any contact I have had
with people from the loyalist tradition they have had
nothing but good words to say about Martin McAleese
privately and the way in which he goes about his business
and also the president.

“I would encourage people to continue dialogue at whatever

UPRG spokesman Sammy Duddy claimed that the police
operation had been heavy handed and that the loyalists had
been meeting to arrange a fundraiser for loyalist

“They were there to arrange a latino night to raise funds
for loyalist prisoners,” he said.

“The police totally overreacted.

“We are appealing for people to remain calm and not to

“We do not want destruction or violence in our areas or any
other community.”


Operation Shrouded In Mystery

By Barry McCaffrey

MYSTERY last night surrounded a police operation to arrest
senior UDA men taking part in a paramilitary ‘show of
strength’ in north Belfast.

Dozens of police officers stormed the Alexandra Bar in
north Belfast on Thursday night just as UDA men in
paramilitary uniforms appeared on stage.

While the PSNI defended the action, informed security
sources speculated that the raid may be part of a wider
operation against the UDA in north Belfast.

In recent years police have been criticised by nationalists
for failing to take action against loyalist paramilitary
‘shows of strength’.

In 1997 police failed to act after a group of masked UDA
men were allowed to march at the head of a loyalist parade
to Belfast City Hall.

In August 2000 police did obstruct masked UDA gunmen, led
By Johnny Adair, during a publicity stunt at Boundary Way in
the lower Shankill. However, no arrests were made.

Days later Adair and gunmen from Shankill ‘C’ Company were
able to fire volleys of shots from a stage
in the lower Shankill without police action.

Then Belfast deputy lord Frank McCoubrey was present on
stage during the ‘show of strength’.

Former UPRG spokesman Denis Cunningham received a two and a
half year jail term in May last year after he pleaded
guilty to taking part in a UDA press conference in January

HIs identity was uncovered after he put his reading glasses
on over his balaclava and allowed media cameramen to record
his voice as he read out a UDA statement.

Former RUC detective Johnston Brown claims his officers had
intelligence that armed UVF men were preparing a ‘show of
strength’ on the Mount Vernon estate in December 2000.

However, he claimed that his officers were blocked from making arrests
by Special Branch officers.

Police were criticised last year for failing to take action
after armed UVF men appeared at a July 12 bonfire,
sponsored by Belfast City Council, at Pitt Park in east

No action was taken against armed UDA men who appeared at a
similar event on the Ballysillan estate in north Belfast on
the same night.

In September there was serious rioting in the Woodvale area
of north Belfast after police carried out searches
following a UVF ‘show of strength’.


11 Men On Loyalist Terror Charges

Eleven men are expected in court charged in connection with
a police raid at a bar in the Tiger's Bay area of north
Belfast last Thursday.

The men are charged with helping to set up a meeting
supporting a banned group. Seven are charged with wearing
clothes associated with a terrorist group.

It is understood the illegal groups are the loyalist Ulster
Defence Association and the Ulster Freedom Fighters.

The 11 men are due to appear at Belfast Magistrates Court
on Monday.

The charges relate to a police search at the Alexandra Bar
on Thursday evening.

Six other men and a woman who were also being questioned
have been released, pending reports to the Public
Prosecution Service.

The UFF is part of the Ulster Defence Association, set up
as its "military wing" before the UDA was proscribed.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/03/05 09:32:04 GMT


Community Unites To End Intimidation And Violence

By Staff Reporter

Hundreds of people came together in a west Belfast housing
estate last night to “reclaim” the streets following weeks
of attacks and intimidation in the area.

The open air meeting in Ballymurphy came after street
meetings were held on Wednesday.

The area has been the setting of a series of attacks on
homes following the murder of Gerard Devlin last month.

Mr Devlin was stabbed to death in an attack in Whitecliff
Parade on February 3 as he arrived at his partner’s home to
collect his children for the weekend.

The killing is understood to have been linked to a row
between Mr Devlin and the Notarantonio family.

Four men have been charged with murder and affray. There
have been a number of attacks on houses and cars in the
area following the killing.

The Upper Springfield Federation of Residents Associations
last night organised a public meeting near Whitecliff
Parade to call for the community to unite and move forward.

Some of those gathered carried banners with messages such
as “Make our streets safe”, “Ballymurphy belongs to the
community not the criminals” and “Enough is enough, no more

Marie Cush, Sinn Fein councillor, said the meeting was an
opportunity for people “to say enough is enough”.

“They’re not prepared to take it any more,” she said.

“Children have a right to play in the street without
witnessing murder. People are here tonight to reclaim this

Bernadette O'Rawe, an aunt of Mr Devlin, also spoke at the
event. Kevin Delaney, a young resident of Ballymurphy,
spoke about the effect the last weeks of violence and
attacks had had on young people in the area.

“Anti-social behaviour has no part to play in this
community,” he said.

“We should all leave here tonight determined to move


Gun Is Held To Taxi Driver's Head

A taxi driver has been threatened at gunpoint in north

It is believed the weapon jammed when one of four men who
were passengers in the taxi placed a gun to the back of the
driver's head.

He had picked them up a short time earlier, at about 2230
GMT on Saturday, in the Beldoc area of the Crumlin Road and
had driven them to Ligoniel.

A struggle then broke out and the driver managed to run
from the car. The men then fled from the scene.

It is thought they ran down an alleyway at the side of the
nearby McKenna's pub.

Police have appealed for anyone with information concerning
the incident to contact them.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/03/05 10:26:58 GMT

During a struggle the driver managed to get out and run off
and the men fled down an alley beside McKenna’s Bar.

Sinn Féin accused loyalists of a sectarian murder attempt
which only failed when the gun jammed.

North Belfast Councillor Ni Chuilin said: “These men went
with the intention of killing someone. There is clearly a
sectarian motivation in this attempted murder. This is a
very serious development.”

Mr Chuilin added: “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.”


Irish Immigration Slips Into Reverse

By The Washington Post

NEW YORK—By now the shipping container carrying Jonathan
Langan’s material life in the United States has arrived in
Ireland. The plush green furniture, his American flag and
the construction tools of his trade are all gone from his
Queens apartment.

Langan, a lanky, red-haired Irishman, was bidding a final
farewell to his adopted country. He didn’t leave for want
of work—his fledgling construction company was booming.
Success was his problem. The more prosperous his company
became, the more Langan feared he would get snared by
immigration agents.

“You don’t want to give off red flags because you’re not
supposed to be working,” said Langan, 24, who lived
illegally in the United States for three years. “It’s too
dangerous, what happens if you get caught.”

The green is draining out of the Irish immigration boom
that revitalized neighborhoods across New York over the
past two decades. Fear of getting caught in a post-Sept. 11
net coupled with the booming economy in Ireland is drawing
thousands of Irish back to the Emerald Isle. Numbers vary
on how many have left: The Irish government estimates
14,000 Irish returned from the United States since 2001,
with more than half of them coming from New York. The
Census Bureau reported that between 2000 and 2004, the
Irish population throughout the United States shrank by
28,500 people, to 128,000.

The Padded Wagon, a popular moving company among the Irish,
shipped 30 containers to Ireland in the past three months,
each containing the possessions of an Irish family. The
Irish games—Gaelic football and hurling—have suffered
losses. More than 200 players returned to Ireland in the
past year, said Seamus Dooley, president of the Gaelic
Athletic Association, which has its games at Gaelic Park in
the Bronx.

Last month, the Irish minister for social affairs visited
New York, to unveil “Returning to Ireland,” a guide for
Irish preparing for a permanent return.

“A travel agent was saying they had sold 1,700 one-way
tickets to Ireland,” said Geraldine McNabb, an Irish-born
naturalized citizen, while she sipped a cranberry cocktail
at a pub. “They’re not coming back.”

Although few experience immigration raids in their homes
and job sites, post-Sept. 11 security procedures have
disrupted life for the city’s undocumented Irish, who
number about 20,000, according to estimates by Irish
officials and activists. In 2005 just 43 Irish nationals
were deported from the United States, none from the New
York area, according to U.S. immigration officials.

But federal and state policy changes, the fingerprinting of
foreign nationals at airports and a crackdown on driver’s
licenses have made it much more difficult to hop a plane to
visit relatives or drive a car. Tighter scrutiny of banking
transactions to prevent the financing of terrorism has
scared off families and made starting a business far more

“What’s more alarming to me is people who’ve been here for
years and years are packing up. Families are moving,” said
Nollaig Cleary, president of the women’s division of the
New York Gaelic Athletic Association. “You’ve had the
community people who set up business and their families,
they’re going.”

Brenda Flannagan, 31, immigrated illegally to the United
States in her twenties. Now she has a husband and a baby. A
trip back to Ireland to visit her parents could leave her
open to discovery by immigration officials—so she is going
home for good.

“You can’t drive. It will get more difficult,” said
Flannagan, who expects to leave in the fall. “Things like
play dates and after-school activities.”

Irish immigrants poured in by the hundreds of thousands in
the 19th century and again in the early 20th century. A
third wave came in the 1980s when the Irish economy tanked,
and it rejuvenated Irish culture in New York.

“You have a great Irish neighborhood beginning to crumble,”
said Niall O’Dowd, publisher of the Irish Voice and
chairman of the newly formed Irish Lobby for Immigration
Reform. “Unfortunately Americans are mixing up terrorism
and immigration.”

O’Dowd and other activists are lobbying for an immigration
reform that includes a path to citizenship.

The Irish government contributed 30,000 euros, ($40,000 at
today’s rate) to the effort. Tim O’Connor, Ireland’s consul
general in New York, stresses that the United States played
a vital role in helping to stimulate Ireland’s economic
boom with investments.

“It’s in the interest of both countries that we have people
who have the ability to go back and forth between both
countries,” said O’Connor, noting that 15 percent of new
businesses in Ireland were built by returning Irish.

Flannagan held her baby girl, a U.S. citizen and last link
to the United States. “Maybe she can sponsor us when she’s
21,” she said. Then, she added, “I think the notion of
coming back, by then, will be gone.”


Bush’s Shannon Stopover Picketed By Anti-War Group

05/03/2006 - 10:36:18

A small group of anti-war activists held a protest vigil
when President George W Bush’s plane refuelled at Shannon
airport early today.

Airforce One, touched down at Shannon Airport just before
2.45am while bringing Mr Bush home to Washington from his
state visit to Pakistan and India.

Nobody disembarked from the plane during its hour long
stop-over, according to airport authorities.

A security operation involving several hundred gardaí and
soldiers was maintained before and during the stopover.

A small group of anti-war campaigners protested at the
airport, spokesperson Ed Horgan claimed that such visits
put Ireland at risk of a possible terror attack.

"I think if the United States military continue to be
allowed use Shannon airport there is a very strong danger
Ireland will be attacked, but the attack would be on
Dublin, not on Shannon," he said.


FAIR Deny Dropping Plans For Another Dublin March

05/03/2006 - 12:06:38

Loyalist victim's group FAIR has denied claims that it has
abandoned plans to re-stage its parade through Dublin city

The first march was called-off, after it and gardaí were
attacked by hundreds of rioters.

FAIR spokesman Willie Frazer has said his group would like
to march again, but only if the Gardaí could guarantee that
there will be no repeat of last week's trouble.


Anatomy Of A Very Irish Riot

Clashes with gardai on O'Connell Street last Saturday
afternoon, as a demonstration against the Families Acting
for Innocent Relatives Parade descended swiftly into

Who were the instigators of last weekend's riots in Dublin
- republican activists, so-called 'skangers', or football
hooligans, asks Paul Cullen

It was a very Irish riot. No one killed, thankfully. No one
seriously injured. Shoppers ambling peacefully down Grafton
Street while a mob rampages up Nassau Street. Missiles
thoughtfully left out for the rioters on a building site on
O'Connell Street. More cleaning staff to sweep up after the
trouble than riot police to prevent it happening.

The Garda's only helicopter developing a technical fault
just when it was needed.

A week on, our anger exhausted on diatribes against
scumbags and skangers, what have we learned? Why did the
riot happen and who was involved? The television footage
and still photographs may have struck us all with awe, but
how bad in reality were the disturbances?

The raw figures tell a more modest story than that
recounted on airwaves throughout the week. There were 42
arrests. Some 14 people were injured. Two petrol bombs were
thrown and four cars, two mopeds and two bicycles were
burned, according to the Garda Commissioner's briefing
released during the week. Twelve sets of shop windows were
smashed and two wheelie bins were emptied.

Hardly Beirut in the bad times, then. Not even Belfast,
where petrol bombs come by the crate when trouble is
brewing, or the suburbs of Paris. And hardly unique either
- last Saturday alone, the international media reported
street disturbances in Portadown, the Basque Country,
Uganda, Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, the Philippines, Iran and
South Korea. In Nigeria, rioting over the previous week had
left 157 people dead.

Granted, most of these countries are not the normal
yardsticks we use for comparisons. Yet, even at home, we
seem to have a short memory when it comes to such

Last year, more than 700 people were arrested on public
order offences on St Patrick's Day. The national holiday
has seen repeated flare-ups of street violence over the
years, many of them drink-related, including a mini-riot
some years back. Just two years ago, there was major
rioting in Finglas over a number of nights around
Hallowe'en after gardaí blocked off one of the access roads
to a traveller encampment.

The H-Block riots of 1981 stand out in many people's minds,
but what they forget is that these were not confined to the
main protest outside the British embassy. Throughout the
city, mini-riots broke out as opportunistic elements took
advantage of the lack of Garda presence there. .

Dublin has a long history of social disorder, according to
Tommy Graham, editor of History Ireland. "Throughout the
18th century, for example, there were repeated outbreaks of
violence, much of it sectarian, involving gangs of youths
and students from Trinity."

A week on from the most recent riots, we're still looking
for answers. How come Dublin's main thoroughfare was taken
over by rioters for more than three hours? Who was
involved? What was it all about? Much of the post-riot
analysis this week has sought, understandably enough, to
find a culprit. Looking for a single cause, however, or
even a single group to blame may be mistaken.

At first, the spotlight fell on republicans, both
mainstream and dissident. The national question remains the
greatest potential touchstone for violence in our society
and once again it was the catalyst for trouble last

In the end, just 350 supporters of Families Acting for
Innocent Relatives (Fair) assembled in Parnell Square
shortly after noon, but some republican sympathisers had
come prepared to create trouble whatever the numbers.

However, the evidence suggests that organised republican
groups had limited involvement in what unfolded and even
less influence. Sinn Féin told its members to stay away and
threatened them with sanctions if they didn't. Informed
observers say this edict was followed and few republicans
travelled down from the North.

The 32-County Sovereignty Movement called off its planned
protest, and while Republican Sinn Féin did organise a
counter-demonstration, its numbers were small. Gardaí say
50 RSF members gathered at Parnell Square, near the Fair
march, and 16 of these went off to Talbot Street for a
wreath-laying ceremony at the memorial to the victims of
the Dublin/Monaghan bombings.

SINCE THE 2003 May Day riots, gardaí have kept close watch
on anarchist groups in the capital. Yet there was no
evidence here either that protests were planned. Left-wing
and republican groups generally saw the Fair march as a
provocation they would be foolish to respond to.

But, as one contributor to the website has
suggested this week in a lengthy analysis, "Our mistake was
to assume that political protests need to be organised by
somebody. In general this is true and I don't know of any
other event that has taken place in Dublin in the last 20
years which happened without being organised or planned by
some organisation or other. The riots of central Dublin
were an exception to this rule; no organisation planned
them and almost nobody saw them coming."

Least of all the gardaí. Suddenly, the small knot of RSF
protesters were joined by 300-400 youths who poured out of
local public houses. These, along with opportunistic types
who joined in later, were the key element responsible for
turning a few scuffles into a fully fledged riot.

Ironically, it didn't help that most of the RSF group then
left the scene, leaving the protest leaderless.

"It seems RSF couldn't control the crowd, then went off
leaving behind a disparate group of youngsters," says
Dominic Bryan, directors of Queen's University's Institute
of Irish Studies, which has studied riots in Northern
Ireland and sent monitors to observe Saturday's protest.

"There was no control mechanism when the violence started.
It wasn't just the police who were badly organised, the
march organisers were too."

Clearly, there was some advance planning. Chain text
messages had been sent out to rally a crowd with the
promise of trouble. The mob fired golf balls and billiard
balls at the gardaí and two petrol bombs had been prepared.
Whoever put a brick through the windows of the Progressive
Democrats' office had to have known where to find it.

However, most of the missiles thrown as the trouble
developed came from the stacks of building materials
conveniently stored on the street for the renovation of
Upper O'Connell Street.

"It's very difficult to control a riot," says Bryan.
"Crowds are diverse things; once a flashpoint happens, as
it did last week, different interests get involved."

VIRTUALLY ALL THE rioters were young males, many sporting
the uniform of tracksuit or hoodie. Football colours,
principally those of Celtic, were prominent, leading many
observers to tie the rioting into the phenomenon of
football hooliganism generally.

Others, including's contributor, ascribed the
violence to an expression of self-destructive rage by the
young urban poor: "The people who took part in the rioting
were largely drawn from the urban poor, mostly
disenfranchised young men from impoverished estates around
Dublin, people who normally have no political voice
whatsoever, people who rarely vote, who are disorganised,
who live in communities that have been ravaged by poverty
and drug and alcohol abuse, people who many of those who
live lives of privilege and relative comfort write off as
'scumbags' or who Marxists describe as 'lumpen'." Because
these people had nothing to lose, according to this view,
they reacted in an entirely different, less rational and
more violent way from the usual political protester.

Now this might seem to confer a cloak of justification on
mere thuggery, but it does help to explain what happened.
Rioting can be empowering for young males with not much
else going on in their lives. In Belfast, for example,
Bryan has studied the phenomenon of "riot as play",
involving young people who throw missiles at the police
largely for entertainment.

Whether the rioters have been left behind by the Celtic
Tiger or havechosen to be left behind is an argument for
another day. There were plenty of picture phones and
expensive clothing on show on Saturday to give the lie to
claims that the rioters were poverty-stricken. The
addresses of those charged, too, revealed a spread of
backgrounds that resists simple categorisation.

What is evident is the alienation of a specific sector of
youth from the rest of society. Lack of education, drugs,
male violence, the growth of gangs, a lack of role models
and the influence of television may all be factors but one
thing is clear - calling people skangers won't make them go

© The Irish Times


Omagh Informer Removed From Witness Protection

Alan Murray
05 March 2006

A Dublin car-thief, who allegedly warned gardai that the
Real IRA was planning a 'spectacular' just days before the
Omagh bombing, has been removed from a witness protection

Paddy Dixon, who fled to England after his role as a Garda
informer was exposed four years ago, is understood to have
lost the protection he was given by his former handlers.

The revelation has prompted fears among Omagh victims'
relatives that Dixon's life could be in danger from
dissident republicans.

Suspended Garda detective sergeant John White - Dixon's
handler - has said that Dixon told him that the Real IRA
asked him to steal a Vauxhall car for use in a bombing in
Northern Ireland in August 1998, but then told him not to
bother because one had been obtained.

White has claimed that he processed the information through
the Garda intelligence system just days before the attack,
but no alert was passed to the RUC, because his bosses
feared they would blow Dixon's cover.

Relatives of the 29 people murdered in Omagh were told 10
days ago that the warning was passed onto the Garda but -
incredibly - not to the RUC.

Michael Gallagher, whose son Aidan was murdered in the
explosion, said he was concerned that Dixon was now at
greater risk from attack by the Real IRA and could be
silenced, so he can never make a full statement about his
knowledge of the attack.

Said Mr Gallagher: "We understand that Paddy Dixon has been
removed from the Garda witness protection programme and may
have returned to Ireland to live.

"Obviously, we are anxious that what he knows of the Real
IRA's plan for the bombing is documented to the police and
to our own lawyers as soon as possible.

"We are now very concerned about Dixon's safety. We don't
want to read in the papers that he has been found in a
ditch at the side of a road in the Republic with a bullet
in his head."

Tewkesbury MP Laurence Robertson, who has taken a
particular interest in the Omagh case, said: "I have been
told by reliable sources in Dublin that Paddy Dixon is no
longer protected under this scheme and that concerns me.

"I am also alarmed at the nature of the information given
to the Omagh relatives about MI5's knowledge of the Real
IRA's intentions prior to the attack.

"We need to know why MI5 informed the Garda of a potential
attack within the United Kingdom, but did not tell the


Bomb Victims Told: Stand Apart From Republicans

By Bimpe Fatogun

AN ORGANISER of a rally in Dublin which sparked republican
rioting last weekend has urged victims of the Dublin and
Monaghan bombings to distance themselves from the
republican cause.

Willie Frazer made the comments yesterday as those taking
part in the rally revealed that they hoped to return to
Dublin at the earliest opportunity. One option under
consideration is a march to coincide with the Queen’s visit
to the Republic.

Mr Frazer warned relatives of those killed in the 1974
bombings that they risked being used by people like those
who took part in last Saturday’s riots if they were not

The rally stopped at the site of the bombings to lay
wreaths on their way to Dublin.

Republican protesters prevented the rally from passing
through the city centre.

There was serious rioting on O’Connell Street during which
gardai were attacked with petrol bombs, snooker balls and
other missiles.

Organisers have asked for assurances from the Republic’s
government that there would not be a repeat of the violence
for any return visit.

“We would like to go back as soon as possible but there is
a lot of questions that are going to have to be answered by
members of the Dail and the gardai,” Mr Frazer said.

“We want reassurances from them. We don’t want to have
people batoned off the streets of Dublin so we can parade
down through Dublin.”

He called on people in the Republic to ‘face down’

“The sectarianism and the bitterness that is there is going
to have to be dealt with and it is down to the people of
southern Ireland and the people in Dublin,” he said.

“If they are going to support the republican movement they
are sending a quite clear message out to people like
ourselves – ‘we support the people who were out on
the streets of Dublin last Saturday’.

Mr Frazer said the pro-testers had tried to commit “mass
murder” in a highly organised attack on the rally and the
marchers journey back from Dublin.

Meanwhile, another organiser, William Wilkinson, said they
would be pressing for a comprehensive inquiry into the events and that a
report had been compiled with the help of international ob-servers
present during the day.

“For any of you who are aware of similar events
historically in Northern Ireland when civil rights marches
were attacked the government of the day then had the
Cameron inquiry,” he said.

“We feel that is the most constructive step that the Irish
government could take.

“It could address on-the-ground, practical issues on the
day of why this trouble was allowed to roll on.

“The republican movement should identify and discipline
those individuals in Sinn Fein/IRA who were involved in the


Labour Raises Questions Over Mcdowell's Irish Speech

13:40 Sunday March 5th 2006

The Labour Party has raised questions as to why the
Minister for Justice, Michael McDowell, made a speech on a
controversial new law in Irish.

Minister McDowell outlined plans to allow other European
countries to intercept Irish telephone conversations, text
messages and emails without requiring the permission of
authorities in Ireland in the Irish language.

The Labour Party has said it has serious reservations about
aspects of the legislation, and the party's Justice
Spokesperson said he does not understand why the speech was
not made in English.

He acknowledged that the legislation has certain benefits,
but also said that there were pitfalls to be looked at.



FBI Agent Told Handlers Of Derry Or Omagh 'Strike'

Friday 3rd March 2006

IT'S EMERGED that an FBI agent who infiltrated the Real IRA
tipped off his handlers that paramilitaries based in Co.
Donegal were planning a strike in either Derry or Omagh in
the weeks leading up to the August 1998 bomb outrage in the
Co. Tyrone town.

The revelation comes amid claims that British intelligence
agency, MI5, did not deprive police of any anti-terrorism
intelligence during their investigation into the Omagh bomb

However, Northern Ireland's police chief, Sir Hugh Orde, is
still resisting pressure to confirm if the agency held back
information months before the Real IRA massacred 29 people.

His public refusal could heighten uncertainty over whether
the August 1998 outrage could have been prevented, a
Northern Ireland Policing Board representative claimed.

The SDLP's Alex Attwood said: "The failure to answer that
question will not reassure people.

"The truth of the matter is there may have been
intelligence prior to the murders that wasn't shared.

We will never know if that might or might not have avoided
that awful tragedy."

The allegations that MI5 failed to inform RUC Special
Branch of the threat emerged during an investigation into
an FBI agent who infiltrated the Real IRA.

Based on a tip off from American trucking company boss,
David Rupert, who was working undercover within the
dissident paramilitary grouping, three suspected
paramilitaries were arrested by police in the Irish
Republic in April 1998, but released without charge.

Rupert had warned that paramilitaries based in County
Donegal were planning a strike on either Omagh or Derry,
but most likely Omagh, security sources had disclosed. At
the time police in Northern Ireland were aware that a
planned paramilitary organisation had been disrupted due to
the MI5s tip off, it has been claimed.

But sources said no trace could be found on their records
of any intelligence from the security services that Omagh
or Derry had been targeted.

Police only became aware after detectives involved in the
Omagh bomb inquiry spoke to Rupert and studied e-mail the
agent had exchanged with his handlers in the FBI and MI5.

He had been the central witness in the successful
conviction of the Real IRA mastermind, Michael McKevitt,
who was jailed for 20 years in 2003 for directing

As the allegations ignited fresh controversy over Omagh,
Mr. Orde faced questioning on the case at a meeting of the
Northern Ireland Policing Board in North Belfast this week.

Challenged by Mr. Attwood to confirm whether MI5
information was passed to police before the bombing, the
chief constable insisted he would not stand over the
accuracy of some news reports of the allegations.

But he said: "It's the view of the Senior Investigating
Officer (Superintendent Norman Baxter) who I spoke to only
two hours ago that the security services did not withhold
intelligence that was relevant or would have progressed the
Omagh inquiry."

Sir Hugh also stressed that the dissident republican
suspects investigated in April 1998 were from a different
cell than those involved in the Omagh bomb plot.

"There's no evidence to link these two units, he said.

He also confirmed that senior officers had met with the
Omagh bomb victims' families last week to brief them on the
state of the inquiry.

A press report of that meeting drew a "starker conclusion"
than what was actually discussed, Sir Hugh said.

One man has been accused of murdering 29 people in the
Omagh atrocity. South Armagh electrician Sean Hoey, 36,
denies any involvement in the attack.

Emphasising the levels of co-operation between his force
and the Garda in the Irish Republic, the chief constable
added that he was not prepared to go any further in public
on the issue.

"I will do anything that denies the families their right to
a proper prosecution or those accused the right to a fair

Mr. Attwood insisted what Sir Hugh had said that Sir Hugh
had not answered the question put to him. "The chief
constable did say that MI5 did share everything in respect
of the murder inquiry, but the point of the question was
their intelligence prior to the murders," he said.


Cross-Border Top 50

Ciaran O’Neill

More than 50 individuals and organisations working on a
cross-border basis were honoured at a special event

The Cross-Border Top 50 was organised by Daily Ireland to
celebrate the efforts of those involved in creating and
promoting cross-border links.

The event took place on the same day that details were
unveiled of a new cross-border initiative which aims to
develop community enterprise projects.

The International Fund for Ireland (IFI) has approved
financial assistance of up to €200,000 (£137,000) to the
Community Enterprise Networking Support Programme, which is
being jointly funded by Údaras na Gaeltachta.

The Cross-Border Top 50 event, which took place yesterday
at the Slieve Russell Hotel in Cavan, was sponsored by the
Special European Union Programmes Body and Bank of Ireland.

Six Special Achievement Awards were presented to
organsations during the event.

The recipients included: Bunscoil an Iúir in Newry, an
Irish-medium school with pupils from both sides of the
border; Digital Media Works, based in Derry and
Letterkenny, which provides an entrepreneurial and training
scheme for digital games; the Riverbrooke reconciliation
project involving people from Riverstown in Co Sligo and
Brookeborough in Co Fermanagh. The other award winners
were; the Ballymacarret Arts and Cultural Society; Atlantic
Drift, which operates a ferry service from Greencastle in
Co Donegal to Limavady in Co Derry; and Avril Crawford of
the Arts and Disability Forum, who provides support for 150
disabled artists throughout Ireland.

Among the guests at yesterday’s event were Minister of
State Brendan Smith, Sir George Quigley of Bombardier, Sean
Quinn of the Quinn Group, and politicians Marian Harkin,
Bairbre de Brún, Seymour Crawford and Tommy Gallagher.

Ms de Brún paid tribute to all the organisations honoured.

“Cross-border work is about finding local solutions to
local problems and ensuring that the border disrupts
networks and relationships to the least degree possible,”
she said.


Robinson Calls On Republicans To Abandon Rejectionist

Speaking today DUP Deputy Leader Peter Robinson MP, MLA has
called on Republicans to abandon their narrow agenda of
rejectionist politics and look to a future that is free
from terror and criminality.

“Republicans have become entirely focused on rejectionist
politics. Over the last number of months their focus has
been to attempt to frustrate any moves towards the
establishment of the Assembly. This, combined with the
ongoing criminal activity of the IRA has created the major
stumbling block on the road to the return of devolution.
Time and again Mr Adams and his colleagues have accused
Unionists of failing to face reality yet it is he and Sinn
Fein who have failed to deal with the criminality of the
Republican movement. The IRA remains in existence,
criminality continues and as the IMC report indicated they
remain active and continue to function.

The way forward is to embrace a form of non-executive
devolution until the roadblocks to executive devolution
have been cleared. Sinn Fein has no choice but to accept
that the DUP will not be bullied into an Executive, nor
will there be any level of criminality acceptable to us.
The DUP have provided the Prime Minister and the Secretary
of State with options for devolution which are capable of
providing good government by taking account of prevailing
circumstances. Why should democrats mark time waiting on
those still wedded to crime?

Nationalists and Republicans must realise that the
destination of executive devolution is a journey which
cannot, in the circumstances which prevail, be made in one
move. Sooner or later it will dawn on politicians that it
is better to reach for the attainable of a meaningful role
for the Assembly than demanding the restoration of an
Executive which would be tainted by criminality.

The challenge is for Gerry Adams to deliver a complete and
total end to illegal activity and to move forward depending
only on exclusively peaceful and democratic means.”


‘DUP Will Not Bow To Devolution Deadline’ - Wilson

DUP East Antrim MP Sammy Wilson has assured party
supporters in Ballynahinch that the DUP will not be forced
into executive devolution by Government demands to impose a
deadline. Speaking at the Ballynahinch DUP Branch annual
meeting on Thursday night, Mr Wilson said,

“We are a united party with a united position. We are not
going to accept any deadline that allows Republicans to
continue their criminality and then force the pressure back
onto us when that deadline comes.

It is not a question of time, it is a question of

Mr Wilson stressed the DUP was not going to fall into the
same trap the UUP had by folding to concession after
concession with nothing achieved in return. He said,

“Although we still see the residue of previous concessions
that were agreed, we have stopped the onward march of new
concessions. Republicans are now squirming over On The
Runs, the revelation of spy rings and their discomfort over
policy issues.

There is a greater awareness of the Unionist agenda, while
Republicanism is in greater disarray than it has ever been.
We are starting to see their agenda beginning to unravel.

We will continue to follow the agenda laid down in our
policy proposals. There will be no executive formed in the
foreseeable future. The Government must build equality and
fairness in the wider unionist community. We need a decent
package for RIR soldiers, we need a significant investment
of money to uplift deprived Unionist areas to redress the
balance of the millions that have been spent on Republican
areas, and we need safeguards put in place so that the
Martin McGuinness’s of this world can’t treat the
departments they are in as their own.

The end product is to get a deal that we are happy with and
we can run with, and it has got to be a product worth
having. We will not make the same mistake as David Trimble.
He got a bad deal, sold it as a good deal and it all fell
apart. That’s where the shame is.”


Playing A Dangerous Game At The Maze

Jim Gracey
05 March 2006

When you encourage people to engage in public protest -
however well-intentioned or thought out - there is always
an element of risk.

All it takes is a single spark to ignite a conflagration.

So sighs of relief all round and doubly well done to the
Amalgamation of Northern Ireland Supporters Clubs for the
way their anti-Maze stadium protest passed off simply and
effectively at Windsor on Wednesday.

They promised it would be dignified, controlled and non-
confrontational with regard to pro-Maze supporters and were
as good as their words.

"We took the view that organised and controlled protest was
preferrable to loose cannons going off," explained
Amalgamation press officer Gary McAllister.

So sincere and civilised it was that another of the chief
organisers rang me after the game to ask how I thought it

Now this is a guy I've argued with incessantly on supporter
internet websites and when we've met in bars over our
respective 'for and agin' the Maze stances - but never with
any malice because that is how it should be in a tight-knit
football family such as ours.

More so because I happen to empathise with much of what he
and his Amalgamation say about the Maze.

It's in the wrong place, it's too big and football is not
the primary interest.

Where we part company is on the vexed question of viable

The Maze is on the drawing board as a never to be repeated
£85million freebie for the cash-strapped IFA.

The 'no' camp can tell us what they don't want and even
that is fragmented between not wanting to leave Belfast and
not wanting to leave Windsor. But not where we can
realistically expect to go, given the parlous state of
football's finances.

On the question of location, I'll go to watch my country
wherever they play, and if that has to be the Maze because
the IFA cannot afford to build their own Belfast stadium,
so be it.

With regard to size, I do have concerns about 42,000 and
how the model for reduction to 28,000, supposedly without
loss of atmosphere, will work. But it does sound odd to
hear fans, usually proud of their numbers, now arguing we
don't have that big a support, really.

The answer is to build on the popularity that saw ticket
queues for a friendly against Estonia and a waiting list
for European Championship block bookings.

And yes, it is true football is the poor relation of the
Maze project. Thanks to those who ran the game into the
ground here down the years, we are in nowhere near the same
position of strength to dictate as our more robust rugby
and gaelic games cousins.

Belfast City Council's late intervention I cannot take
seriously. Like the John Lewis store and now the prospect
of an Olympic pool that Bangor has been working on for
years, the City Fathers only decided they wanted the
stadium when they saw someone else was getting it.

Where was their vision or proposals when the stadium was
first mooted five years ago?

So in the absence of a magic wand to provide football with
a purpose-built Belfast stadium, under the same terms as
the Maze (ie for free to the IFA), I'm afraid its the old
clink and all its baggage.

Ah yes... the little H that appears in a far flung corner
of the site blueprint is not a helipad.

Where the 'no' camp has scored significantly, maybe more
then they know, is in touching a chord with ordinary,
decent supporters happy enough to go to a Maze stadium but
not one housing a supposed 'H Block Memorial'.

So concerned is IFA President Jim Boyce at the feedback
from that group of people on the issue that he plans to
tackle Government mandarins reponsible for winning, not
just sporting, but public support for the Maze project.

The feeling is that not enough is being done to counteract
the portrayal of a proposed international Conflict
Transformation Centre, not even within sight of the
stadium, as a 'Monument to Murderers'.

The idea, bought into by both Loyalist and Republican
former combatants, is that groups from strife-torn
societies around the world can come here to study the roots
and lessons of our own conflict.

Loyalists have even chosen the old jail compound they want
preserved as a reminder of their role in it all - 18.

But it could be the hardest circle of all to square in the
search for future sporting reconciliation and prosperity.

Entrenched opinion in this country will always believe what
it wants to believe.

It would indeed be arguing on moral quicksand to attempt
the reassurance: 'It's OK, folks. It's a monument to our
murderers as well.'

Like football, politics is a game of opinions, only a much
more dangerous and volatile one.

The anti-Maze fans scored a moral victory for their cause
on Wednesday night and they won't go away, so to speak.

It showed the battle for undecided hearts and minds on the
Maze still has a way to go.

But wouldn't it be ironic - and a lifetime opportunity lost
in my view - if a sporting dream meant to bring us together
was to founder not on valid arguments over size, location
and whether football can afford it, but on age-old tribal
fears and prejudices.

No harm. Speaking as someone who came through the worst of
what the Maze stood for, not entirely unscarred, it's time
to move on.


Facing The Truth: The Truth Hurts

Lynda Gilby
05 March 2006

FACING THE TRUTH - Tonight, BBC2, 9pm and tomorrow 8pm
(programme one was screened yesterday on BBC2 at 7.50pm)

You will have heard by now that Archbishop Desmond Tutu
flew into Northern Ireland recently to facilitate the very
first confrontations between victims and perpetrators of
violence in the Northern Ireland conflict.

And these three extraordinary, ground-breaking programmes
have the impact of a pile-driver.

FACING THE TRUTH is not easy to watch. Raw emotion and
grief flood the screen at times, as people who lost loved
ones to terrorism, frequently more than 30 years ago, face
the killer across a table. If you saw the first programme,
last night, you will have been riveted by the encounter
between Mary McLarnon and Clifford Burrage.

Mary's brother was shot dead by Clifford Burrage who was,
at the time, a British soldier.

Mary's overwhelm- ing concern was to clear her brother's
name. After the killing, he had been labelled as an IRA
organiser, something denied by both the IRA and Sinn Fein.

Clifford was still haunted by the killing and, by going
over the incident in minute detail was able to give Mary
the vindication she sought by conceding that his bullet may
well have been deflected by shooting at an angle through
glass and killing the person next to the one he was aiming

Unless you watch these programmes it is impossible to
convey the stark reality of the encounters that take place.

Archbishop Tutu and his team of facilitators create the
most extraordinary ethos of a safe place, where deep
feelings can be ventilated and the truth obtained.

This is no panacea. It is not a cosy cure-all.

Some of the para- military killers are unrepentant and trot
out the party line, but even when they do not seek the
forgiveness of those they have injured, the camera is
merciless and the constant close ups reveal that they are
far from unaffected by having no hiding place.

So, are we left in favour of a truth and reconciliation
being instituted in Northern Ireland? I would say most
definitely, but only if the facilitators are complete
outsiders and of the calibre of Tutu and his team.


Facing The Truth: IRA Man Says No

Stephen Breen
05 March 2006

A convicted IRA killer was last night slammed for pulling
out of a meeting with the son of his victim.

Gunman Kevin Deehan withdrew from the BBC's controversial
Facing The Truth series at the 11th hour. He had been due
to meet John Wray, son of RUC Reservist David Wray (50),
who was murdered in Londonderry in May 1979.

The father-of-two was shot in the back as he walked to
Claremont Presbyterian Church with John and daughter Lucy.

Deehan and three others were convicted of the brutal
slaying. At the time the trial judge described them as

It took John Wray many sleepless nights before agreeing to
meet Deehan, after being approached by the BBC.

But only a few days before the meeting Deehan pulled out of
the programme. A BBC source told Sunday Life that Deehan
changed his mind because he didn't want to face the pain
he'd caused as an IRA gunman.

The programme - chaired by Nobel Peace Prize winner
Archbishop Desmond Tutu - focuses on face-to-face
encounters between victims' relatives and those responsible
for their deaths.

Notorious murderer Michael Stone is among those who will
appear, shown meeting the wife of victim Dermot Hackett.

Mr Wray told Sunday Life he regrets not being given the
chance to ask Deehan why his father was murdered.

He said: "Like Mrs Hackett, I too was given the opportunity
to take part in the making of this programme, and, after a
lot of soul-searching, I agreed to take part and confront
Kevin Deehan - one of the four convicted murderers of my

"But after agreeing to take part in the programme with
Archbishop Tutu and myself, Deehan pulled out. He hid
behind the feeble excuse that he hadn't told a relative
that, as well as being a loving father, he was also a
ruthless and cold-blooded murderer."

He added: "Deehan denied my father his life, removed him
from his wife and children and denied his grandchildren the
opportunity to know him as the loving and generous man he

"We, as victims, are always left behind to suffer on with
the pain and tragedy the brutal murder of a loved-one

"Without answers to our questions and an indication of
remorse from people like Kevin Deehan and Michael Stone,
we, as victims, can never come to terms with the murder of
our loved-ones."

Other terrorists and members of the security forces who
killed during the Troubles will also feature on the


Opin: Facing The Truth: A Journey To Find The Truth

05 March 2006

Every now and again a television series is produced
relating to the history of the Troubles in Northern Ireland
which evokes passionate - and often contrasting - personal
feelings about its content.

The BBC's Facing the Truth programmes, involving direct
contact between killers and relatives of their victims,
falls into such a category and the jury is still out on its
contribution to the whole process of cross-community

The title of the series itself creates an issue, for the
question of "truth" in Northern Ireland is often in

Sometimes one person's version of events bears no
resemblance to another individual's view and the central
message tends to get lost in the interpretations.

Bringing someone like Milltown murderer Michael Stone into
direct contact with relatives of a man he killed in cold
blood is, by definition, high risk television.

And the people most qualified to make judgments on its
effectiveness and whether it is a positive or negative
experience are the relatives themselves.

Sunday Life columnist, Alan McBride, who has direct
experience of the issues involved, gives his own personal
view of the series on page 19 today.

Alan is doubtful about the merits of isolating these
matters rather than treating them as an integral part of a
wider truth and reconciliation debate.

And, while respecting the tremendous work of Archbishop
Desmond Tutu in South Africa, he also questions the wisdom
of his involvement in the programmes.

Others will, of course, take a different view and that is
normal in a society where freedom of speech is a
cornerstone of democracy.

Whatever one's view, we owe it to the next generation to
move on from the pain and grievous hurt inflicted in the

Just how people make that journey is deeply personal and
will not be shaped by television.


Opin: Facing The Truth - History Isn't All Black And White

Alan McBride
05 March 2006

I would like to comment on two events last week: one which
was all over last Sunday's Northern Ireland papers; the
other which is likely to feature in the local Press in the
coming days.

I refer, first of all, to the shameful scenes in Dublin
that followed the aborted Love Ulster rally; secondly, the
screening of the controversial BBC programme, Facing the
Truth, bringing victims of the Troubles together with those
who killed their loved-ones.

I would like to deal with the second event first and begin
by admitting to breaking a cardinal rule - that being never
to pass judgment on something in the media of which I have
not seen or read.

Last night's Facing the Truth programme went out too late
for me to have included my reflections in this week's
column; however I do admit to having been one of those who
has expressed concerns about it in the first place.

For those of you who have not yet tuned in, the series of
programmes will deal with issues of truth surrounding
certain murders that took place during the Troubles.
Victims and perpetrators will engage in dialogue with the
help of Archbishop Desmond Tutu in a process that people
will assume is similar to the South African Truth and
Reconciliation Commission.

But, in South Africa, the media coverage played only a part
in the whole debate - it was not stand-alone, nor was it
about sensationalism or television ratings.

Conflict situations always attract media attention and the
case in Northern Ireland has been no different.

Indeed, TV programmes like Spotlight and Insight would
probably have ceased broadcasting if it were not for the
violence that existed here since the late 1960s.

I, for one, regularly tune in, fascinated by the
journalistic investigations into our Troubles - insights
into the murky world of paramilitary activity or
revelations about how the Government and its agents at
Special Branch handled certain situations make for gripping

These television programmes undoubtedly make 'good' TV -
that is, if you measure good tele in terms of viewing

But, how do you really assess their impact on attitudes and
on the behaviour of people growing up and living in this
divided society?

This question is especially relevant in relation to Facing
the Truth.

I know watching may well have personal resonances for me -
you are never sure when something may spark a memory. But
that is true for many people who lived through the
Troubles, not just those who were directly affected by the
violence or who have agreed to appear on the programme.

I have a friend who still finds shopping in town on
Saturdays a tense experience when the streets are full of
parked cars, remembering what that would have meant in the

How much more resonant with us will these personal stories
be - both victim and perpetrator - as they relate their

I am glad to hear that Helplines are to be advertised at
the end of the programme, but, even so, I know from my work
at the WAVE Trauma Centre that it often takes people time
to ask for the help they need. We are slow to recognise our
own trauma in this country, where normality was abnormal
for so many years.

What a shame the BBC haven't thought past the viewing
figures and built this programme into part of the wider
process here. The BBC is flagging up this series on a truth
and reconciliation ticket; however, I also have deep
concerns about the encounters facilitated by Archbishop
Tutu being billed as reconciliation or peace-building.

Desmond Tutu is a man who deserves much respect for the
work that he was heavily involved in during the South
African transition from conflict, but this is not South
Africa and, in my opinion, Tutu was ill-advised to get
involved with this controversial initiative.

That is not to say that I am against the principle of a
truth recovery process for Northern Ireland per se, but
that this is too soon, not well enough thought through and
too much 'in-your-face'.

Taking on board last week's riots that accompanied the
attempt by the Love Ulster campaign to walk in the streets
of Dublin, we saw just how much work is needed in this
society with regard to reconciliation and peace-building.

The message of those who went to Dublin was that they
wanted to be listened to and heard. I think it unfortunate
that they dressed this up with bands and marching and, in
the process, may have lost a sympathetic audience, but I am
pleased that they saw the need to share their stories of
loss and hurt with the citizens of Dublin.

Many in the Republic said before the march that they
recognised the right of the marchers to visit and parade in
the streets and to bring their message - even republicans
acknowledged this to be the case, pointing out that this
was what the word 'republic' truly means.

The fact that one of the 'issues' for those against the
parade was that it was to pass the GPO - with the tricolour
flying from its mast - shows how our pasts will continue to

The events of 1916 must be nothing more than a memory to
all but a few people now. How disturbing then - especially
to me as a youth worker - to see how many of the rioters
were too young to remember the events of the Troubles.

A lesson to us all that we need to educate the younger
generation in all the stories of our past, so that they can
learn the full picture, rather than just the limited
versions and myths from one side - whichever side that may

Whatever process we identify for dealing with our contested
past, it needs to be inclusive.

We need to listen to the 'other' and we need to face our
history in order to build a future that does not repeat the

My hope is that, in spite of my concerns about their
content and message, in the debate that follows these
television programmes we can get closer to - and not
further from - finding the way to do this in this society
where the abnormal was normal.


Opin: Talks And Public Apathy Gather Pace

By Mark Devenport
BBC Northern Ireland political editor

Tony Blair and Bertie Ahern meet in Downing Street next
Wednesday to review progress in their efforts to restore

Perhaps they should review the video of last Thursday's
talks at Stormont chaired by the political development
minister, David Hanson.

Talks teams emerged into the Stormont Great Hall to impart
their message to a waiting press pack which consisted of me
and one colleague.

More than one politician expressed the view that they
didn't know what the talks were meant to be about.

Ostensibly, Mr Hansen is trying to reach agreement on
possible changes to the architecture of the Stormont

This is a bit like adjusting the spark plugs on a car that
doesn't have any wheels.

Even if a deal is done on the accountability of ministers,
what does it matter if there isn't any prospect of such
ministers ever regaining office?

Everyone knows that the only aspect of the 2004
Comprehensive Agreement which will make any difference in
the short term will be if the government takes the power
referred to in the 2004 deal to set up a shadow assembly.

Whether anyone outside the dwindling press pack and the
politicians themselves cares about the quest to restore
Stormont is a moot point

Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams told both prime ministers this
week that republicans want nothing to do with such a
transitional arrangement. But if a shadow assembly does not
feature in the blueprint which the governments are working
on, it's hard to think what does.

The key question appears to be whether nationalists would
boycott a shadow assembly.

Pressed on this point, Sinn Fein's Chief Negotiator Martin
McGuinness told me he wouldn't pre-empt his party's tactics
but if the government was to push ahead with the idea on a
take it or leave it basis, that would be a very grave

To placate nationalists, the governments would have to put
a time limit on any shadow period, with a strict deadline
for moving towards a power-sharing executive.

Ian Paisley says he won't tolerate being put into "some
form of straightjacket".

Whether anyone outside the dwindling press pack and the
politicians themselves cares about the quest to restore
Stormont is a moot point.

Gerry Adams met business leaders at Stormont this week to
discuss the cost of direct rule.


But a recent newsletter from the Bank of Ireland argued
that there is "precious little evidence to suggest that the
form of governance makes an iota of difference to the
growth performance of the economy".

The bank says: "It is interesting to observe the vociferous
political lobby for an early return (of Stormont).

"In business circles generally, it is difficult to detect
the same clamour, a view borne out of the 1998-2002
experience of devolution marked by decision shyness and
relatively little achievement on economic policy."

That scepticism is almost certainly not confined to the
business community.

However, with Tony Blair still keen to tie up the loose
ends in Northern Ireland before he departs Downing Street,
the governments continue to search for an elusive

One sign of growing haste is that such a patient character
as the former Secretary of State Paul Murphy has now told
the BBC's Politics Show that the government should call the
Assembly back and give it six weeks to form a government.

That's the option favoured by nationalists but one which Mr
Murphy's successor Peter Hain has specifically ruled out.

Will the governments have the guts to throw down the
gauntlet to the parties with a shadow assembly or some
other option which might break the deadlock?

Or are we doomed to more obscure talks at Stormont, playing
out against a backdrop of public indifference?

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

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/03/05 10:34:29 GMT


Opin: Rebellion In Dublin

Youth attack pro-British parade and corporate symbols

By Ed Childs
Bryan G. Pfeifer
Published Mar 5, 2006 9:01 AM

When reactionary “Orange” Protestant organizations
attempted to march on Feb. 25 in Dublin, Ireland, a mostly
ontaneous rebellion decisively shut down the parade.

The label “Orange” refers to the victory in 1690 of
Protestant King William of Orange over Catholic King James
II, which intensified British colonial rule over Ireland.
Today, the Unionist movement in Northern Ireland and its
extreme faction of Loyalists remain loyal to the British
crown and favor continued union with Britain. These
Loyalists receive backing from Britain, which still
occupies six counties in the North of Ireland.

Each year on July 12 these Klan-like organ izations
celebrate William of Orange’s victory by laying siege to
nationalist, primarily Catholic, communities, parading
through their towns. The Loyal ists count on support from
Britain, especially when they meet resistance from
Republican forces, who are trying to liberate Ireland from
imperialist occupation and unite their country in one Irish

This year, Unionist organizers named their divisive parade
in Dublin “Love Ulster,” their name for the six northern
counties that are not part of the Irish Republic.

On Feb. 25, Orange parade participants, mostly from the
north, lined up for the event. The march was organized by
various groups, including Families Acting for Innocent
Relatives (Fair) and Unionists from the Dublin City
Council. Their intent was to march down O’Connell Street
past the General Post Office—a revered site of the 1916
Easter Rising for Ireland’s freedom.

This April is the 90th anniversary of that uprising, led by
James Connolly. It is also the 25th anniversary of the
deaths of 10 hunger strikers in 1981. Led by Bobby Sands,
these Irish Republican Army members behind bars had fasted
to the death to demand recognition of their status as
political prisoners.

As the Unionists attempted to march, they were confronted
initially by a youthful group of several hundred, according
to press accounts. The reactionaries turned back after
being pelted with bricks, home-made petrol projectiles and
rocks, which also hit several Irish police, or gardai, who
were present.

As the gardai moved in to suppress the resistance, the
counter-demonstration grew to over 1,000. During pitched
battles that lasted more than three hours in Dublin Center
and on nearby city streets, some of the protesters smashed
windows of stores seen as most representative of capitalism
and imperialism, such as McDonalds.

Eventually the Irish police placed the “Orangies” on buses
and sent them packing. The Loyalists have vowed to return
soon, possibly within the next month, reports the Feb. 27
edition of the Belfast Telegraph.

At least 42 resisters were arrested. Irish police and state
officials say they will be arresting more after viewing
video surveillance tapes. Unionists on the Dublin City
Council, Justice Minister Michael Mc Dowell, who called the
rebellion “orchestrated political terror,” and Taoiseach
(Prime Minister) Bertie Ahern also vowed to hold a “riot

The British government as well as Ahern and other Irish
officials accuse Sinn Fein—the political wing of the Irish
Republican Army (IRA)—and other Repub lican organizations,
such as Republican Sinn Fein and the Irish Republican
Social ist Party—of allegedly “instigating” the rebellion.

But Indymedia Ireland reports that the Feb. 25 actions were
“an expression of the anger of the most marginalized sector
of Dublin’s urban poor.”

Many of the youth chanted nationalist slogans, according to
news accounts, and one group held up a banner, “Remember
Bloody Sunday.” Indymedia reports that those watching the
rebellion mostly sympathized with the counter-
demonstrators. ( )

U.S. moving in concert with Britain?

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams had urged his party members
not to confront the Loyalists’ march and, according to the
Belfast Telegraph, condemned the resistance to it.

It is possible that Sinn Fein believes the U.S. and Britain
were using the Loyalist march as a provocation to create
sharper sectarianism between Catholic and Pro testant
workers and to split the party into factions, or alienate
it from the Irish masses on the island and in the diaspora,
specifically in the U.S.

It could also be that Adams is trying to keep Sinn Fein
from becoming isolated at a time when the party remains in
negotiation with the British government regarding policing
reform in Northern Ireland. Legislation is currently being
debated which would devolve policing and justice to elected
officials in the north of Ireland, which Sinn Fein has been
lobbying for.

A Feb. 25 Irish Northern Aid bulletin says that “The U.S.
Special Envoy, Ambassador Mitchell Reiss, has barred Gerry
Adams once again from attending a fund-raising event unless
the party endorses the PSNI [Police Service of Northern
Ireland]. This time it is a Friends of Sinn Fein breakfast
at the Hilton Hotel in Washington, D.C., on the morning of
March 16.” This is the second time in recent months that
Adams has been denied a U.S. visa.

“The IRA moves over the past months in standing down as a
military force and totally decommissioning its arms seem to
have stimulated the U.S. administration to punish Sinn
Fein. The IMC [Independent Monitoring Commission], which is
neither independent nor monitors anything—it is told what
to report by the PSNI—just happens to be visiting the
U.S.,” continued the bulletin of the U.S.-based solidarity

Meanwhile, the Democratic Unionist Party, led by ultra-
rightist Ian Paisley, is opening a U.S. office with the
full support of Washington. Is this another U.S. move in
concert with the British to sabotage the Good Friday
Accords that Sinn Fein and the Irish Republican Army have
adhered to in good faith?

U.S. controls Ireland, too

Colonialism and partition have kept many in the 26 counties
of the Irish Republic mired in poverty. Of the 3.4 million
people living there, over 55 percent earn below the poverty
level or live in a household headed by someone unemployed.
When Northern Ireland is added in, a total of 5 million
people live in Ireland’s 32 counties.

Although Britain is the most well-known colonial subjugator
of Ireland—controlling the economy and political structure,
as well as sending troops and other repressive forces for
over 800 years—the U.S. today, and for some time, has
controlled Ireland as well.

Most recently British Prime Minister Tony Blair, a junior
partner in the U.S.-led colonial war in Iraq, has used this
relationship to pressure Ireland. This geographical area is
a strategic military location, vital to controlling the sea
routes in the North Atlantic and access to Europe and the
Mediterranean. Former U.S. Gen. Alex ander Haig often
reminded U.S. imperialists of this, pointing out that if
Ireland were independent it “could become the Cuba of

In the current Iraq War, U.S. military vessels have docked
at Ireland’s ports. Shannon Airport is being used by the
U.S. and Britain as a staging point in the occupation of
Iraq and a conduit for the transfer of CIA prisoners
undergoing “extraordinary rendition.” All this is a clear
violation of Ireland’s neutrality stance.

Thousands of Irish people have campaigned and protested
against U.S. war and repression.

Finally, U.S. transnational corporations are the largest
investors in Ireland and take in the most profits.

But recently many high-tech corporations have begun laying
off Irish workers en masse and even moving elsewhere in
search of higher rates of profit. As the “Celtic Tiger,”
specifically in Dublin, has begun to stagnate economically,
social conditions have continued to deteriorate. The
runaway corporations leave in their wake abandoned
buildings, lost tax revenue and psychological scars.

At the same time, as the youth rebellion demonstrated,
consciousness of the role of capitalism is rising.

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Opin: End In Sight For Paramilitarism?


Perhaps the most surprising aspect of Thursday night’s
police operation against north Belfast loyalists is that it
happened at all.

In what was clearly a well-planned raid, officers arrested
17 men – some of them reportedly dressed in combat uniforms
– after firing CS gas canisters into the Alexandra Bar on
the edge of Tiger’s Bay.

Police said they were acting on information that a
rehearsal for a so-called show of strength by the UFF was
taking place.

Those detained are being questioned about membership of a
banned organis-ation and having items of use to terrorism.

So far the police have not disclosed if weapons were found
at the bar.

Nevertheless if the PSNI believed that illegal activity was
taking place then it had a responsibility to act.

Hopefully Thursday’s operation is a signal that the police
are moving decisively against loyalist paramilitaries.

For too long there has been a marked reluctance to act even
when shows of strength have taken place in full view of the

Of course there are times when it is prudent to hold back
rather than wade into a situation.

However, the authority of the forces of law and order is
undoubtedly undermined when blatant displays of criminality
are not addressed.

Police came in for severe criticism in July last year after dozens of
UDA and UVF men flooded into the loyalist Garnerville estate,
effectively placing it under paramilitary control.

The PSNI was clearly damaged by its handling of that
display of paramilitary muscle.

In addition there has been widespread concern at the
British government’s failure to send out an unequivocal
message to loyalists who continue to kill and disquiet over
the sight of leading figures walking free from court on

Among those arrested in the Alexandra Bar was Ihab Shoukri,
who is on bail awaiting trial for UDA membership.

Other leading loyalists bailed despite facing serious
charges were also arrested in the police raid.

Questions must be asked about a legal system which allows
known paramilitaries who have been charged with grave
offences the freedom to swan around their strongholds.

These paramilitaries have been laughing up their sleeves at
the police and the courts and it is not difficult to see

Hopefully, those found to be in breach of their bail
conditions will be swiftly returned to custody.

For some time we have been told that the UDA is considering
its future direction and, indeed, recently met President
Mary McAleese’s husband in Belfast.

It is too soon to say if the PSNI decision to move against
the north Belfast UDA will help or hinder those

However, the time is long overdue for all paramilitary
groups to cease their illegal activities.


Opin: Paisley Ducks Out Of Sight As Snowballs Fly

By James KELLY

Back to the snowy wastes of ‘Norn Iron’ where nothing ever
goes right came Secretary of State Peter Hain after
hobnobbin’ with the Queen on a visit to his other domain,
the Welsh Assembly.

It must be a doleful journey from a successful story of
devolution in full working order to the palace of confusion
at Stormont.

Paisley was not in sight to throw a few snowballs, having
sold a pup to Number 10 which brought Gerry Adams and
company post-haste to Downing Street to protest about the
latest talks nonsense.

It’s to be presented as the way forward, namely a ‘shadow’
assembly where the ghost assembly members will suddenly
appear to walk and talk about our increasing financial
worries and then go home leaving it to Hain and his Labour
ministers to do the job of the absent power-sharing

Is this the deal whispered in their ear by Dr No? Power
without responsibility; to hell with Home Rule and let
Westminster make us pay our way until the pips squeak?

This is the antediluvian bigot’s way as the deluded old
gulderer sees it? No burden too great; pay through the nose
for rates, water, light and heat anything
to keep the Micks out of government and dismantling the

Have you noticed that the DUP boss has gone to ground or
gone into hiding, indicating maybe that something is on the
wind to be revealed later as the latest dirty deal on the
way backward to the ‘good-old-bad-days’, when the Fenians
in Derry and Alabama-on-the-Lagan knew their place at the
end of the queue.

Only one of the Paisleyite DUP, Jeffrey Donaldson MP, their
late recruit from the wreckage of Trimble’s Unionists,
entered the publicity spotlight down in Dublin with the
oddly named ‘Love Ulster’ contingent, fated to foment a
riot in cosmopolitan O’Connell Street. The inquest into
that set-back to the peace process is still going on.
Dublin’s city manager John Fitzgerald, said the mayhem had
been a defining wake-up call for the city.

Every other city had a set of rules for marches but not
Dublin. He said Dublin had tried to introduce tighter rules
in the past but they were scrapped because of opposition
from civil rights groups.

All that is to be changed with new controls.

According to Dublin press reports top gardai spent five
weeks planning the march with the organisers.

When the Love Ulster organiser Willie Frazer announced
their plan to march down O’Connell Street, past the GPO and
on to Leinster House he must have been very persuasive and
the gardai remarkably naive. The fact that the innocent
relatives of the victims were to be accompanied by Orange
bands and a big lambeg drum as they carried union flags
sounded to us hardened northerners, inured to 50 years of
such provocative behaviour, like loyalist fantasia. Was the
boul Willie trying to succeed where his Orange peers failed
at Drumcree, the Ormeau Road and Springfield, bombing and
shooting at police and British army?

If this proposition had been put forward to the Northern
Parades Commission it is pretty certain that Mr Frazer and
company would have been told to get lost.

There is every sympathy with the poor unfortunate victims
of the murderous 30 years conflict on both sides but it
should be the duty of the two governments to act generously
to all the relatives and not leave it to Mr Frazer, or any
of the politicians involved, to use their suffering as a
cloak for party political propaganda.

Fortunately, none of the 450 relatives cooped up in Parnell
Square away from the scene of the riot sustained any
injuries. There were supposed to be 1,000 present but the
rest wisely stayed away from what must have seemed to any
sensible person as a piece of gratuitous coat trailing. In
the end it was the gardai rank and file who got it in the
neck from the rioters whey they tried to stop an alleged
counter demonstration.

The top gardai apparently did not take into account the
fact a ready pile of ammunition from bin loads of concrete
bricks, to iron bars and railings. Who were the rioters?

The Dublin press ransacked the dictionary to describe the
thugs and republican dissident dinosaurs, neanderthals,
drunken hoodlums and looters.

It is a sad fact of modern life that every big city now has
this minority of morons, some drunks, some drugged or just with a grudge

They shocked Paris recently by an upsurge of violence.
Continental cities respond with water cannon but police in
Britain and Ireland seem strangely reluctant to douse
rioters with water.

Surely more humane that batoning?


John Duddy: An Irishman In New York

After making the trip from County Derry to America in
search of fame and fortune, unbeaten middleweight John
Duddy - nephew of a Bloody Sunday shooting victim of the
same name - fights for his first title the day before St
Patrick's Day. It's an obscure crown, but it's unlikely to
be his last

Thomas Hauser
Sunday March 5, 2006
The Observer

In the 1930s and 40s, boxing truly mattered in New York.
The city was home to 22 fight clubs, each one with its own
ethnic character. The clubs are long gone now, but a
throwback fighter named John Duddy is stirring Irish pride
and passions in the Big Apple.

It is common for a small-town fighter to gain a fervent
local following in America. But Duddy, an unbeaten 26-year-
old middleweight from County Derry, is doing it in one of
the largest cities in the world. Last June, he fought
Patrick Thompson in the main arena at Madison Square Garden
on the eve of the Puerto Rican Day Parade on a fight card
that featured a championship bout between Puerto Rican hero
Miguel Cotto and Mohammed Abdullaev.

'I've got a lot of Irish fans here,' Duddy said at the
final pre-fight press conference. 'I hope, when the night
is over, I'll have a lot of Puerto Rican fans on my side.'
At night's end, fans were singing the praises of "Juan

In November, Duddy was responsible for the first sell-out
for boxing at the 1,700-seat Hammerstein Ballroom in
Manhattan. His record is 15 wins and no losses with 13
knockouts. And the excitement is about to build
exponentially higher. On 16 March, the night before St
Patrick's Day, Duddy faces off against Shelby Pudwell (21
wins, two defeats) in the main event at The Theatre, a
5,000-seat arena within Madison Square Garden. Another
sell-out is expected. Their fight is for the obscure World
Boxing Council Continental Americas title. But if Duddy
stays on course, more credible belts will follow.

Meanwhile, his ring exploits are being followed with
increasing interest in Ireland; he has become a staple in
the Irish-American press; and posters for his fights are
appearing on the walls of New York City pubs. There is no
fancy nickname, just the billing 'Ireland's John Duddy'.

Duddy is likeable, gracious and charming. He has a thick
Irish brogue, matinee-idol good looks and a sense of
humour. 'My trainer, Harry Keitt, has some different
training methods,' he noted recently. 'One of the things we
do is hit a lorry tyre with a sledgehammer for 20 minutes
at the end of each training session. Boxers like Jack
Dempsey and Muhammad Ali used to chop wood in their
training camps. But if you start cutting down trees in New
York City, they're going to put you in jail.'

Duddy is also linked to a seminal moment in Irish history.
On Bloody Sunday, 30 January 1972, 14 unarmed demonstrators
were shot dead by British soldiers during a civil-rights
march in Northern Ireland. The march had been organised by
Derry MP Ivan Cooper to protest against a policy of
internment without trial that the British government had
introduced the previous summer. One of the dead was 17-
year-old John Francis Duddy.

'He was my uncle,' the fighter says. 'That's my history,
and there's nothing I can do about it. His name was John
Francis Duddy, and my name is John Francis Duddy. He was a
fighter and I'm a fighter, but I didn't become a fighter
because he was a fighter.

'My father never talked at length about my uncle when I was
growing up. It wasn't a political home. We were taught to
treat people with respect regardless of race, creed, or
colour. My uncle's death was a tragedy, but it happened
years before I was born.'

Then, in response to a question, Duddy adds: 'My roots run
deep. I feel at home in America, but I'm a guest here. My
home will always be in Ireland. I'm not Irish-American. I'm
an Irishman who's living now in New York.'

Boxing has a great tradition of Irish-American fighters.
John L Sullivan, Jack Dempsey, Mickey Walker, Terry
McGovern, Tommy Loughran, Jimmy McLarnin and Billy Conn
come mind. But in recent years, world-class Irish-born
fighters have been few and far between.

Duddy's interest in boxing began with his father, a club
fighter in the early 1980s. 'He took me to the gym,' Duddy
recalls. 'I started training for the fun of it when I was
five and had my first fight at seven. My father allowed me
to do it, but he also encouraged me to play other sports
and do other things. He always made it clear that I could
stop if I wanted to.'

Duddy fought in 130 amateur bouts, winning 100. He had some
success in international competition, but eventually
suffered from burnout, a common affliction among fighters
who start young. Then he met Eddie McLoughlin, an Irishman
living in New York, who is in the construction business. 'I
was friendly with John's trainer,' McLoughlin explains. 'He
told me he had a kid and might be interested in moving him
to America in the future. Then, maybe a year later, he
called and said, "The kid needs to get out of here. He's at
a state where you mention boxing and he just cringes his
teeth." So I said, "Send him here, and we'll see if he
likes it".'

Duddy went to America in March 2003. 'That was my dream,'
he says. 'I'd been to America a few times as an amateur and
knew this was the place to be.' Soon, he was training at
the legendary Gleason's Gym. 'People were sceptical at
first,' Duddy recalls, 'but I liked the fact you had to
earn their respect. When I came in to train on St Paddy's
Day [in 2003], somebody said, "You should be in a pub
somewhere. You must be serious." Now everyone understands
that I'm in America for one thing and that's to box.'

Outside the ring, Duddy projects the aura of a boy enjoying
a marvellous adventure. But some hard realities underlie
his trade. On the day of a fight, he is focused and
intense. 'I'm quiet,' he says. 'I'm concentrating on the
fight. My message to the world is "Leave me alone".' In the
dressing room before a fight, except for the mandatory
taping of his hands and other necessities of boxing, even
Keitt and McLoughlin keep their distance.

'By the time the pads come out in the dressing room,' Duddy
explains, 'I'm thinking, "Let's hurry up and get this fight
on". I like going out early and letting my opponent know
what he's in for and finding out if he can take the
punishment or not. I never plan to knock anybody out in the
first round. I just try to put it on him as soon as
possible. If the fellow can take it, he can. And if he
can't, he gets knocked out.'

Duddy knows there can only be one winner in a fight. On the
same night he sold out the Hammerstein Ballroom, a
promising New York fighter named Jaidon Codrington fought
in Oklahoma and was carried from the ring on a stretcher
after 18 seconds of combat.

'You never want something like that to happen to you,'
Duddy says. 'I tell myself, if I prepare 100 per cent
physically and mentally, the chances of it happening are
low. But yes; it could happen. And if it does, I'll just
have to say, "Well, it happened". If I was thinking about
getting hurt, I wouldn't be a boxer.'

Duddy's 15 opponents have had a composite record of 122
wins against 46 losses and three draws before stepping into
the ring with him. That shows he is willing to go in tough.
He is a hard worker, in and out of the gym, with power in
both hands. Bryon Mackie, who Duddy knocked out in four
rounds at the Hammerstein Ballroom, said: 'I've fought ex-
champions and didn't get roughed up the way he roughed me

But Duddy has yet to correct several significant flaws. He
stands upright and is disinclined to bend at the knees,
which leaves him susceptible to left hooks. He doesn't move
his head enough, which enables opponents to land lead right
hands when they get off first. And his free-swinging style
leaves him open to counterpunches.

Thus, trainer Keitt says, 'Fifteen-and-oh means nothing.
When the bell rings for round one, what happened before is

And Duddy acknowledges: 'I've never had a run like I've had
the last few years when everything has gone right for me. I
didn't expect things to catch on as fast as they have, and
I enjoy the attention. But it doesn't matter what people
say about you if you don't put the performance in when it
counts. So I'm trying to get as far away as possible from
the distractions. I don't want to lose sight of my goals.

'Last year was a fantastic year for me. It's good whenever
you win all your fights. So this year I'd like to win all
my fights again; and next year, too. But boxing is a very
unforgiving sport. One day you're on top and the next day,
if you start losing, you're on the bottom and forgotten.
Boxing isn't rocket science, but there's a lot to learn.
Fighters like Jermain Taylor and Bernard Hopkins are a long
way from where I'm at now. So I'm not looking too far
ahead. I'm just doing the best I can, taking things one day
at a time and one fight at a time.'


Freedom Of Dublin For Bob And Ronnie

05/03/2006 - 10:45:08

Bob Geldof will be awarded the Freedom of Dublin today.

The outspoken musician has been selected to receive the
honour for his work in helping alleviate debt and famine in
the developing world.

Former Olympic gold medallist Ronnie Delaney will also
receive the honour, 50 years after his victory in the 1500
metres at the Melbourne Olympics.

The award is the highest the city can bestow. Past
recipients include U2, Nelson Mandela, Mother Teresa, John
F. Kennedy and Bill Clinton.


Review: Ivers: Irish Jigs Inspire Audience To Dance

By Sarah Young - Special to the Journal-World
Sunday, March 5, 2006

Those at the Lied Center on Friday night were treated to a
little bit of Irish dancing, some bluesy guitar, a touch of
flamenco and some smokin’ fiddlin’ by Eileen Ivers and
Immigrant Soul.

The Bronx-born daughter of Irish immigrants, Ivers comes to
her love of traditional Irish music naturally. But her
inspiration comes from Ireland by way of American blues,
bluegrass and rock ’n’ roll. Ivers is a nine-time all-
Ireland fiddle champion and, as the program notes attest,
she “will change the way you think about the violin.”

Opening with a set called “Flowing Tide,” Ivers introduced
some of her signature style — the casual traditional sounds
of an Irish tune morphing into a foot-stomping dance
number. Her particular musical interests are rhythmic and
stylistic parallels among musical traditions, and the next
sets reflected some of that blend. “Afro-Jig” revealed that
the rhythms of traditional African music are highly
compatible with a Celtic sound. Then a haunting Danish
tune, “The Time is Approaching,” segued to Breton and Irish

Ivers’ sound also depends heavily upon the multitalented
performers who surround her on stage: Gregory Jones on
bass; James Riley on guitar; Isaac Alderson on uilleann
pipes, whistles and flute; and Ivers’ cousin, Tommy
McDonnell, on percussion. They were joined on some numbers
by talented dancers from Christine O’Riada’s Academy of
Irish Dance in Kansas City.

A former member of The Original Blues Brothers Band,
McDonnell is the vocalist for the group, and his onstage
enthusiasm was infectious as he led the audience in sing-
along accompaniments to some soulful ballads.

A hauntingly beautiful number in the program’s first half
was “By-Gone Days,” inspired by Ivers’ Irish-American
upbringing and in memory of her parents’ struggles. Here
she abandoned her electric violin for the acoustic one, and
featured Alderson’s skilled playing on the strange and
difficult uilleann pipes.

The final set of the first half cemented what makes Ivers’
sound so unique and her style so contemporary. In “Gravel
Walk,” a faintly Irish-sounding tune is transformed by way
of New York City. As Ivers set her electric blue violin to
wailing like a steel guitar, this Irish rock number had the
audience on its feet.

Traditional Irish music is so often about the immigrant
experience that the main set of the second half featured
Ivers’ take on that tradition with some laments and reels
that ended with rousing west Ireland polkas. But the number
that had people literally dancing in the aisles was “Whisky
and Sangria,” an Irish jig inspired by flamenco in which
Riley got to strut his stuff on the guitar. The concert
ended with a rousing blues version of “Will the Circle Be
Unbroken” with McDonnell as vocalist in the best Blues
Brothers tradition.

It was inspirational to watch these musicians spend two
hours onstage in such joyous performance that the audience
loved them. Ivers is as gracious as she is talented, a true
performer whose mission is to bring the joy of music to


Loud And Proud, With Bagpipes

Fusing Irish music and punk rock, Dropkick Murphys stumble
upon a sonic pot of gold

For The Chronicle


• Who: The Dropkick Murphys and the Tossers
• When: 8 p.m. Thursday
• Where: at Warehouse Live, 813 St. Emanuel.
• Admission: Tickets are $19.50, call 713-629-3700 or visit .

The latest Dropkick Murphys album, The Warrior's Code,
opens with bagpipes blowing a melancholy melody, the sound
you often hear in a cemetery whenever an Irish cop is laid
to rest. After 20 seconds of that, however, a punk band
barges into the track with galloping drums, staccato bass
notes and an onslaught of guitars. But the bagpipes aren't
chased away; they join right in with the faster, fiercer

The song is Your Spirit's Alive, and if you listen to the
lyrics, you understand why the tune opened with funereal
pipes. "Farewell, my brother," Al Barr sings over the
raucous beat, "you're off to the big rink in the sky." The
song was inspired by a funeral where the DKMs played for
Greg "Chickenman" Riley, a longtime friend and fellow
hockey fanatic who died in a motorcycle accident. The
chorus, "And through it all, your spirit's alive," has the
bouncy, sing-along quality that would make it perfect for
an old-fashioned Irish wake if it were played at one-third
the speed. Or it could have been an old Clash track if not
for the bagpipes.

That's the secret of the Dropkick Murphys, who perform at
the Warehouse Live on Thursday. They have recognized and
exploited the overlooked overlap between Irish drinking
songs and punk rock. The Boston septet has been around
since 1996, but The Warrior's Code is their best album by
far, because the catchy melodies and punchy beats are more
tightly woven than ever, and the themes of death and war
raise the stakes.

"Greg was my best friend," says Ken Casey, the band's co-
founder, bassist and producer. "We played in the same
hockey league and had season tickets to the Boston Bruins
together. He worked for the telephone company, and when he
was recuperating from a bad fall, he came out on tour with
us and became like an eighth member of the band. If you
became too whiny, he'd put you in your place in a minute;
he always made you see how fortunate you are.

"We played at his funeral, because we knew it was something
he would have wanted. Did his older relatives like our
music? Probably not, but they understood, and the music
actually made everyone feel better."

CASEY and his bandmates didn't set out to write Irish wake
songs; they just wanted to be a punk band playing the all-
ages clubs around the Boston area. For months, they'd just
count off, "One, two, three, four," and play their favorite
tunes. But when they wrote their first song, Barroom Hero,
they were surprised to hear how much the vocal melody
sounded like the old Irish songs their parents were always
singing. They thought they had rejected all that.

"It dawned on us that Irish music was a bigger influence on
all of us than we'd realized," Casey admits. "Growing up in
Boston, every time you went to a wedding or a wake or your
grandparents' house, you heard that music. I went through a
phase of hating it just because it's what my (folks)
listened to.

"But as I got older, I came around; I began to notice that
people were enjoying themselves listening to that music.
... And when we heard the Irish music with the punk rock,
we found they went together hand in hand. Punk is a kind of
sing-along music with a rousing energy. And Irish music is
the same thing."

The Dropkick Murphys weren't the first musicians to attempt
this fusion, but they brought something new to the
combination. Their best-known predecessors were the Pogues,
the London band that performed old Irish folk songs and new
Irish-folk originals with a raw, raucous delivery. They
were essentially a string band that incorporated punk
elements, while the DKMs were a punk band that borrowed
folk elements. The Pogues' lead singer Shane MacGowan would
later make a guest appearance on the DKMs' 2000 album, Sing
Loud, Sing Proud, but the Boston band was always louder and
rougher than their London colleagues.

"It's a fine line you have to walk when you're combining
musics," Casey points out. "The Mighty Mighty Bosstones are
a perfect example of how to adapt roots; they bastardized
ska the way we bastardized Irish music. They upset a lot of
ska purists the same way we upset a lot of Irish purists
and we both upset a lot of punk purists."

BOSTON'S Mighty Mighty Bosstones gave the DKMs their big
break by taking the younger band along as the opening act
of a 1997 tour. That helped the Dropkick Murphys develop
enough of a following that they could expand their lineup
to include the bagpipes and mandolin they were featuring on
their studio recordings. This year, the DKMs are extending
a similar helping hand to the Tossers, the Chicago septet
whose latest album is The Valley of the Shadow of Death.
With a lineup of guitar, bass, drums, fiddle, mandolin, tin
whistle and banjo, the Tossers are more acoustic and folk-
rooted than their Boston benefactors.

"I like a few of the bands that are combining Irish music
and punk — the Tossers, the Neck from London and Fogging
Molly from L.A. — but there are a lot of crappy bands out
there, too. You can't just take an electric guitar and a
mandolin and be good; there's more to it than that."

Like their heroes, Stiff Little Fingers and the Clash, the
DKMs have always included political songs among their
drinking songs and girl songs. Their working-class numbers
attracted the attention of Nora Guthrie, the mother of a
diehard DKMs fan and the daughter of Woody Guthrie.

As she had with Billy Bragg and Wilco, Nora invited the
DKMs to look through Woody's unrecorded song lyrics and
pick out a few to set to music. After donning white gloves
at the Woody Guthrie Archives in New York, Casey leafed
through the 60-year-old manuscripts in Woody's own
handwriting. He picked out Gonna Be a Blackout Tonight,
which became the title track of the 2003 DKMs album,
Blackout, and I'm Shipping Up to Boston, which is included
on The Warrior's Code.

"The minute I read Gonna Be a Blackout Tonight," Casey
recalls, "I knew it would be perfect for some music we'd
already written. That was a pretty heavy song, about the
air raids in London and how, if you don't shut your lights
off, you might be responsible for a lot of people dying.
I'm Shipping Up to Boston, is at the opposite end of the
spectrum; it's a very silly song about a guy with a wooden
leg who lost it when he got drunk in Boston.

"It showed the broad spectrum of Woody's songwriting. ...
To me, when a band is too political, they seem too serious
and lose me as a listener, just as they do if they're too
silly or too cynical. ... We want our records to reflect
our lives, sometimes sad, sometimes happy, sometimes silly,
sometimes tragic."

The tragic reappears near the end of the new record. The
band had already written a song called Last Letter Home,
based on letters from U.S. soldiers in Iraq, when they
received an invitation to play at another funeral. This was
for someone they didn't know, a Sgt. Andrew Farrar. The
dead sergeant's brother shared a letter from Farrar to his
mother, a note that said if anything should happen to him
in Iraq, he'd like the Dropkick Murphys to play Fields of
Athenry at his funeral. So they did. And they rewrote Last
Letter Home to quote from the soldier's final epistle: "I'm
gonna be home soon; it's time to watch the children grow
up. I wanna be more than a voice on the phone."

"I hope to God our next record doesn't have so many songs
about death," Casey says. "It's a strong emotion, and if
you're going through that phase when you're writing, the
songs can have an added passion to them. But, hopefully,
I'll find my enthusiasm somewhere else next time."


Inventor Bids To Tap Into Ireland's Wave Power

Last updated: 05-03-06, 13:37

Harnessing the waves off Ireland's west coast could produce
enough green electricity to power thousands of homes, it
was claimed today.

A Swedish inventor aims to prototype the first underwater
turbine to tap into the potential of the ocean currents
crashing onto the western seaboard.

Marine researcher, Prof Ulf Erlingsson, is seeking backers
for his design which could supply unlimited electricity to
the national grid.

He said: "Ireland's west coast has probably the best wave
potential in the world because only a narrow continental
strip separates it from the deep waters of the north
Atlantic ocean.

"The energy produced will be constant, clean, sustainable
and environmental friendly to marine life, shipping,
harbours and beaches."

Already known for their surfing potential, the south and
west coasts have the best wave power levels in Europe,
according to the European Wave Energy Atlas. Levels
regularly measure up to 75kW per metre.

Prof Erlingsson said he hopes to carry out field trials off
the west coast for his energy converter, which will be
mounted on the sea bed.

Green Party energy spokesman Eamonn Ryan said the
Government must prioritise renewable energy sources like
waves to replace the over-dependence on fossil fuels.

"This has to be the way forward. We need to tap into every
renewable source of energy we can. Waves are probably the
best potential we have but they remain unharnessed.."

Research on wave energy in Ireland is being already carried
out by the Marine Institute, University College Cork and
the University of Limerick.

The Marine Institute is currently developing a number of
wave energy projects and expects to launch a turbine
prototype off the Connemara coast this summer.

Spokesman Dr John Joyce added: "We have a monitoring buoy
on-site at the moment to gauge wave currents before we

© 2006


Country & Western: Van Gives A 'Devil' Of A Show

Ralph McLean
05 March 2006

I bet Van Morrison has a great record collection.

It would certainly explain the incredible musical journey
he's taken in the last five decades. From the hot and heavy
blues that he soaked up as an impressionable young musician
in east Belfast, to the tasteful excursions into jazz, soul
and skiffle that he's undertaken in recent times, it's
clear that here is a man who loves music in all its weird
and wonderful forms.

Maybe I'm getting carried away here but I like to think of
Van sifting through dusty racks of beautifully preserved
vintage vinyl in the darkest depths of Morrison Manor just
looking for a long-forgotten record to breath new life

Whether that's the case or not, he certainly knows a good
tune when he hears it. Go to a Van Morrison concert these
days and you're just as likely to hear a Big Bill Broonzy
blues number or a Bobby Bland soul serenade as you are the
classic hits of the man himself.

In the past, this deep well of love and affection for all
types of music has served Van well, but only occasionally
has it seen him venture into the world of country. The
influence of country and western music has certainly come
shining through on some of his most successful mainstream
albums and, just a few years back, he recorded an excellent
duets album with Jerry Lee Lewis' sister Linda Gail, but in
the main he has veered away from full-on country sounds.

Until now that is. Pay The Devil, his latest album, is as
country as they come, and all the better for it if you ask
me. Over 15 heartfelt tracks Van tears into some of the
greatest country songs ever written like a man possessed.
Vintage hillbilly hollers like Hank Williams' timeless
You're Cheatin Heart sit side-by-side with original numbers
like Playhouse and the title track itself.

Throughout Van's voice coasts over the simple arrangements
with the kind of easy style that only comes from a lifetime
on the road and while the line up of traditional country
fare on offer may not be everybody's mug of moonshine,
there's no doubt the man himself is clearly loving every
single minute of it. For my money it's one of the best
albums he's released in years.

If you were lucky enough to have caught Van live on his
recent Waterfront Hall dates, when he played tracks from
the album, you won't want to miss this week's McLean's
Country on BBC Radio Ulster. In the first hour I'll be
presenting a special In Concert recording from those recent
Belfast gigs, followed by a full hour dedicated to the
country roots of Van's music with tracks from his entire
career, together with songs from some of his key musical
influences as well.

For music fans everywhere it should be quite a night.

Pay The Devil is released on Polydor Records on March 6.

? Ralph presents the award winning Country every Saturday
night on BBC Radio Ulster between 8 and 10pm. Find out more
and listen again at or



Black 47 Rocks And Rants

By: Scott Tady
Times Entertainment Writer


Event: Black 47 concert.
Time: 7 p.m. March Thursday.
Place: Club Cafe, South 12th Street, Pittsburgh.
Tickets: $20 in advance; $22 at the door.

PITTSBURGH - Larry Kirwan doesn't mind the green plastic
hats, the tacky "Kiss Me, I'm Irish" pins or the mugs of
green beer poured for St. Patrick's Day.

But he hopes people also appreciate the holiday's deeper
social meaning.

"There's a certain part of St. Patrick's Day in the Irish-
American psyche that says 'We made it,'" said Kirwan,
frontman for New York-based Irish rockers Black 47.

"We arrived disheveled with no money in our pockets, and
were treated like slaves all over the eastern United
States, but we persevered and put our children through
school and they became professionals and now we're an
intrinsic part of American life. We arrived and survived,"
Kirwan said, "and St. Patrick's Day is a celebration of

Pittsburghers can start celebrating Thursday, when Black 47
plays Club Cafe on the city's South Side.

The locally legendary house band at Connolly's pub in
midtown Manhattan, Black 47 will treat Pittsburgh fans to
cuts from "Bittersweet Sixteen," a retrospective of the
group's 16-year career.

Due out March 21, the CD's centerpiece is a Vietnam/Iraq
war trilogy, "My Love is in New York"/"Downtown Baghdad
Blues"/"Southside Chicago Waltz," inspired by e-mails
Kirwan receives from U.S. soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"Our job as a band is to take what those soldiers are
saying and put it into a song that people will want to
listen to," said Kirwan, a staunch opponent of the Iraq
war. "There were a lot of soldiers, from the New York tri-
state area especially, who joined the military after 9/11
because of their patriotism, but then they got over there
and found out they're being badly used.

"They're still patriotic, but the situation is not how we
see it, because there's so much spin going on in the media
and how governments use the media," Kirwan, a native of
Ireland, said.

Kirwan's left-leaning views prompted him to cover Stephen
Still's Vietnam-era protest song "For What It's Worth."

Initially, Kirwan was commissioned to record that song for
a movie.

"I can't remember which movie it was," Kirwan said

Even though the movie deal fell through, the song resonated
so strongly he had to include it on the new disc.

"Music Deals That Fall Through" could be a sizable chapter
in the advice book that Kirwan, a published author, has
considered writing.

He would be tempted to call the book "So, You Want to Be a
Rock and Roll Star," and would urge up-and-coming bands to
retain rights to the master copies of their songs. Black 47
didn't do that, and now the group's 1994 and 1996 CDs no
longer are available in stores, and major labels EMI and
Mercury Records aren't re-releasing those discs.

"When I've tried calling them, I couldn't even get anyone
on the phone. They're like, 'Black 47 ... is that some rap
group?'" Kirwan said.

"That's the way it is with record companies, they don't
care if you sell 5,000, 10,000, 20,000 CDs a year," Kirwan
said. "That's nothing to them, they want the big money."

So whenever Kirwan needs a copy of the band's major label
discs, "I'm out there bidding for them on e-Bay like
everybody else."

At 10 p.m. Saturdays, Kirwan hosts a Celtic radio show on
Sirius Satellite Radio.

"I take a very broad approach," he said, discussing his
playlist, which ranges from 1960s Fairport Convention songs
to current Irish-themed punk bands Flogging Molly and
Dropkick Murphys.

He occasionally will take requests to play Black 47's 1992
alternative-rock hit "Funky Ceili," which appears in its
original form on the new disc.

"Funky Ceili" amusingly tells the tale of an Irishman who
gets his girl pregnant and ducks his responsibility by
moving to New York with the far-flung hopes of becoming an
MTV star.

Produced by Rick Ocasek of the Cars, "Funky Ceili" remains
a misunderstood song, said Kirwan, who intended the lyrics
as a cautionary tale to the lads "that if you're going to
have sex, be careful.

"I wrote it in a lighthearted manner so the point would
come across better," he said, but instead of heeding the
message, fans rejoice in the lead character's rakish ways.

Rest assured, Black 47 will play "Funky Ceili" at its Club
Cafe gig.

"If we don't play that song, people riot," Kirwan said. "So
we usually do it at the end of our set when people are
loose and we're loose.

"I never get tired of doing it, which you'd think I would,
but there's just something about the sheer joy it brings to

Scott Tady can be reached online at

©Beaver County Times Allegheny Times 2006


Big Chill Strikes Brrr, Co Offaly

By Paul Kelly

IRELAND is shivering in the coldest temperatures for a

Temperatures last night were forecast to plummet to minus
6ºC with the wind chill making it feel much colder.

The night before saw the mercury drop to minus 7.8ºC in
Birr, Co Offaly, the coldest air temperature since
Christmas 1995.

Ground temperatures fell as low as minus 16ºC in parts of
the country but yesterday recovered to reach 15ºC in the

Met Éireann forecaster Joanna Donnelly said the cause of
the freezing weather was wind from the North Pole.

She said: “Cold air is coming from the polar regions and it
is coming down across the whole country. The lowest we
recorded was minus 7.8ºC at Birr but cold weather was
spread across the country.”

Met Éireann predicts the cold snap will last until Tuesday,
when the country will be enjoying warmer temperatures -
accompanied by rain.

Ireland has been waking up to severe hoarfrost, with
treacherous conditions reported on untreated roads.

Snow has blanketed the north and north-west, causing
further problems for motorists.

Ms Donnelly said yesterday: “There will be a slight wind,
so if you are walking in it, then it will feel a lot
colder. But the wind will stop significant frosts from

“It will be milder in coastal areas but it will still be
cold there too.”

Met Éireann predicted that much of the country will enjoy a
bright, sunny day today but scattered hail and snow showers
would still affect northern parts of Ulster and Connacht.

Temperatures will reach plus 3ºC to plus 6ºC in a cold
north-westerly breeze.


Waiting For Beckett Bidding

By Staff Reporter

A portrait of Irish Nobel Prize winner Samuel Beckett is
expected to fetch up to E120,000 (£82,300) when it goes
under the hammer at Christie’s in May.

The piece of art, by the Republic’s most famous living
artist Louis le Brocquy, will be among the items featured
in the London auction house’s 10th Anniversary Sale of
Irish Art.

The portrait of Beckett, on sale in the centenary year of
the famous playwright’s birth, represents the cultural
friendship of two of the greatest creative minds of 20th
century Ireland.

Born in Dublin in 1906, Beckett was educated at Trinity
College, Dublin before moving to Paris, where he lived
until his death in 1989.

Regarded as one of the greatest prose writers of the 20th
century for his works both as a novelist and as a
playwright, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature
in 1969, the third Dubliner to receive the accolade.

le Brocquy, born in Dublin in 1916, first met Beckett in
France during the mid 1960s and, as an admirer of his work,
sketched a small number of studies inspired by the meeting.

By the mid 1970s they became good friends and le Brocquy
revisited the subject and painted the now-celebrated series
of the playwright.

The piece forms part of le Brocquy’s Head series, paintings
inspired by the Celtic concept of the human head and a
preoccupation to capture the interior being that lies
beyond our external appearance.

Other notable Irish figures featured in the series include
WB Yeats, James Joyce, Seamus Heaney and, most recently,

le Brocquy, who lives and works in Dublin, is one of the
greatest Irish artists of the 20th century with his work
can be found in many of the world’s leading institutions.

A water-colour study from the same collection will also be
sold at the auction, along with a strong selection of works
from the 18th to 20th centuries, including The Honeymoon by
Sir John Lavery RA, which carries an estimate of up to E1.2
million (£800,000).

Paintings by Gerard Dillon, Paul Henry, Sir William Orpen
and Jack Butler Yeats will also be on offer at Christie’s,
on King Street, London, on May 12.

Highlights of the Irish sale will be on public view at The
Merrion Hotel, Dublin on April 20 and 21.

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