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March 13, 2006

UVF Suspect Hit List Destroyed by Police

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News About Ireland & The Irish

BT 03/13/06 UVF Suspect Hit List Destroyed By Police
IN 03/13/06 UVF Says Feud Killings Were Not Sanctioned
IN 03/13/06 DUP Tries To Block Visit By President McAleese
BB 03/13/06 UUP Talks Over New Policing Board
IT 03/13/06 Taoiseach Leaves For St Patrick's In US
BB 03/13/06 Lawyer Fury At Loyalist Reporting
II 03/13/06 Flynn Accuses McDowell Of Campaign To Criminalise Him
NP 03/13/06 The Irish Lobby For Immigration Reform
GU 03/13/06 Ex-IRA Man To Post Muslim Cartoon On Net
IM 03/13/06 National 1916 Commemoration Committee Statement
IN 03/13/06 Opin: Irish Identity Not Always As It Is Presented
IN 03/13/06 Opin: Truth Of Troubles Is As Elusive As Rainbow’s End
II 03/13/06 Opin: St Patrick - Unbeatable Brand Representing Pride
EX 03/13/06 Opin: Here’s Why We Reject The Myth Of 1916
BN 03/13/06 Fewer Tourists Visiting The Countryside
BH 03/13/06 Book: Playing A Deadly Game- Gun-Running For The IRA
PI 03/13/06 Pogues Please Crowd In A.C.
SA 03/13/06 Irish Get In Festive Spirits In San Antonio
BB 03/13/06 Stranded Dolphins Rebeach And Die


UVF Suspect Hit List Destroyed By Police

By Chris Thornton
13 March 2006

An electoral register found in the home of a UVF murder
suspect with bullet shapes drawn beside some names was
later destroyed by police, it emerged today.

The apparent hit list was discovered six years ago during
searches associated with the hunt for the killers of
Portadown teenagers Andrew Robb and David McIlwaine.

The document was found in the home of a UVF suspect shortly
after the two teenagers were found with their throats cut
beside a rural road near Tandragee in February 2000. The
suspect's girlfriend told police that the list came from
the home of a local UVF leader, but no one was charged in
connection with the document.

It was later destroyed by police. The PSNI was asked
yesterday if the destruction was routine procedure or if it
contravened any rules about the handling of evidence, but a
spokeswoman said police could not comment because an
investigation by the Police Ombudsman is still under way.

The destruction of the partial electoral register is the
latest in a series of incidents that have posed questions
about the official handling of the case. They include:

The recent discovery of DNA and other forensic evidence
that had not been acted upon for six years;

the revelation that a police officer phoned a UVF leader -
the same one alleged to have supplied the list - on the
morning the bodies were discovered; and

the failure to hold an inquest into the apparent suicide of
one of the chief suspects who had been under the protection
of the same UVF commander.

A Police Ombudsman inquiry into the case had been ready to
conclude that police conducted a thorough and professional
investigation of the murders, but David McIlwaine's father
Paul recently asked the Ombudsman to revisit the case
because of the revelations about DNA evidence.

He was told about the list's destruction recently by PSNI
detectives who have made a number of breakthroughs in the
case over the past year. He says he believes the names
marked with bullet shapes were Catholics living in the
Tandragee area and did not directly relate to the double
murder, but it is not clear if any warnings were issued
after its discovery

"I'm pleased with the progress that's been made recently,
but I still want to known why something of a crucial nature
wasn't acted upon," he said.

The PSNI spokeswoman said: "As the initial investigation
into this case is currently under investigation by the
office of the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland, it
would be inappropriate for PSNI to comment further at this

"Two people have been arrested and charged in connection
with the murders of Andrew Robb and David McIlwaine in
February 2000. They are due to appear in court in due

On Friday, the UVF called on witnesses to co-operate with
police saying the murders were not sanctioned by the UVF


UVF Says Feud Killings Were Not Sanctioned

By Maeve Connolly

THE father of a teenager murdered by the UVF has welcomed a
statement from the loyalist paramilitary group claiming it
had not sanctioned the killing.

The bodies of David McIlwaine (19) and Andrew Robb (20)
were found on a road outside Tandragee, Co Armagh, on
February 19 2000.

They had been beaten and stabbed during a feud between the
UVF and LVF in the Portadown area.

The UVF has been blamed for the deaths but in a statement
given to the McIlwaine family at the weekend the
paramilitary group’s Mid Ulster ‘Battalion’ said: “We state
categorically that the killing of these two boys was not
sanctioned by the UVF.”

Last night David Mc-Ilwaine’s father, Paul, said the family
had always believed those responsible were UVF men acting

“We are glad they have made the statement. We never
believed that the UVF sanctioned the killing,” he said.

“We do believe that a number of their men were involved and
we always believed that one of them gave the order and was
possibly there and that he is being protected.”

Mr McIlwaine said although the UVF had waited six years to
comment on the double killing it was still an important
step towards finding the truth.

Earlier this month the family said a senior police officer
had told them that DNA evidence linking an individual to
the murders had been recovered by the original murder
investigation team.

Mr McIlwaine said this forensic evidence could have led to
prosecutions and accused the police of withholding evidence
to protect an informant.

The family have made known their dissatisfaction with the
original police inquiry and although it has been
investigated by the Police Ombudsman, the McIlwaine family
wants Nuala O’Loan to look at it again following the DNA

Last night Sinn Fein North Belfast assembly member Gerry
Kelly said the families had been told that evidence had
been destroyed and that an agent was being protected.

He said the party had contacted both the British and Irish

The weekend communication from the UVF states that the
organisation had “refrained from making any statement in
the hope that the perpetrators would be brought to

It urged anyone with information to contact police.

Mr McIlwaine described the appeal as important and said he
hoped that it would encourage witnesses to come forward.

However, Andrew Robb’s mother said the statement was “a
load of rubbish”.

She said former UVF members had told her that the murders
had been sanctioned “in Armagh and not from Belfast”.

“The police told me it was the UVF who murdered Andrew and
David and that it was sanctioned by a prominent UVF man
from the Tandragee area,” she said.


DUP Tries To Block Visit By President McAleese

By Maeve Connolly

THE DUP in Ballymena is to raise a motion at council
opposing a proposed visit by President Mary McAleese to a
school in the Co Antrim town.

The president is due to speak to students at Ballymena
Academy later this month but the DUP wants her to cancel
the visit.

Last night DUP councillor Robin Stirling said he intended
raising the matter at a council meeting tonight and did not
rule out the possibility of a protest if the visit went

“I am opposed to it on the grounds that her statement
compared my people to Nazis and her general background,” he

Mrs McAleese sparked controversy in February 2005 when she
claimed Northern Ireland children were taught to hate
Catholics in the same way Nazis despised Jews. She made the
comments before attending ceremonies marking the 60th
anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz and later

Last night SDLP councillor Declan O’Loan said it would be
“an honour” for Ballymena for Mrs McAleese to visit the

“It’s important that the visit should take place in a
dignified and welcome atmosphere and I hope everyone would
play their part in ensuring that this is the atmosphere in
which the visit does take place,” he said.

Sinn Fein’s Monica Digney urged the DUP to show civic

“The DUP are wrong when they say that the unionist
community in Ballymena do not want Mary McAleese to visit
the town. Some unionists that I have been speaking to have
clearly welcomed the development as do I,” the councillor

Mrs McAleese had been involved “in much bridge-building and
cross-community work,” she said, and DUP opposition “will
only reinforce people’s view of Ballymena as being backward
and narrow-minded”.


UUP Talks Over New Policing Board

The Ulster Unionist Party has said it will hold internal
discussions on whether or not it will take places on a new
19-member Policing Board.

The government has said independent members will outnumber
politicians when the board convenes in April.

UUP leader Sir Reg Empey warned that his party would
boycott the body if it becomes "an unelected quango".

The DUP will have four members on the new body, while the
UUP and the SDLP have both been given two places.

Former SDLP board member Joe Byrne has been given a place
as an independent, while former board chairman Sir Desmond
Rea remains on the new body.

The board will also include Dawn Purvis, who is chairman of
the Progressive Unionists - the party with links to the
illegal Ulster Volunteer Force.

'Efficient and responsive'

Secretary of State Peter Hain said the Policing Board "has
been one of the success stories of the Agreement".

"By holding the chief constable and police service to
account, it has played a crucial role ensuring that the
PSNI is effective, efficient and responsive to the needs of
the community."

He added: "This newly reconstituted board will undoubtedly
build on the good work of its predecessor."

The board's political membership will be Ian Paisley Jnr
(DUP); William Hay (DUP); Arlene Foster (DUP); Peter Weir
(DUP); Fred Cobain (UUP); Danny Kennedy (UUP); Alex Attwood
(SDLP) and Dolores Kelly (SDLP).

The independent members are Sir Desmond Rea, Joe Byrne,
Barry Gilligan, Pauline McCabe, Rosaleen Moore, Suneil
Sharma, Dawn Purvis, Brian Rea, Trevor Ringland, Brendan
Duddy, and Deirdre MacBride.

Sinn Fein did not make nominations for its two allocated

The party has resisted giving the PSNI, the Policing Board
and other institutions its support, insisting more
legislation is needed before it can sign up.

The party said it needed to see more power transferred to
local politicians before it would consider nominating

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/03/13 12:26:34 GMT


Taoiseach Leaves For St Patrick's In US

The Taoiseach leaves Ireland today for the US for the
annual St Patrick's Day visit.

Mr Ahern will meet President Bush later in the week after a
number of engagements in Washington and San José,

Mr Ahern will travel first to San José where he will
participate in celebrations to mark the 20th anniversary of
the city's twinning with Dublin during his term as lord
mayor of the Irish capital.

He will also have a number of meetings with business people
in Silicon Valley, including the chief executive of Hewlett
Packard at the company headquarters in Palo Alto.

The Taoiseach will travel from San José to Washington DC,
where he will participate in the traditional presentation
of a bowl of shamrock to President Bush on St Patrick's

The Taoiseach and President Bush will meet in the Oval
Office for discussions on Northern Ireland, immigration
reform and a range of current international issues.

Mr Ahern will attend a series of key meetings on Capitol
Hill, and together with President Bush will attend the
Speaker's Lunch on March 16th.

He will also meet the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform,
and brief members of the Ireland-US Economic Advisory Board
on the situation in Northern Ireland, and on the Irish

© The Irish Times/


Lawyer Fury At Loyalist Reporting

A lawyer for senior north Belfast loyalist Ihab Shoukri has
said he is considering reporting coverage of his client to
the attorney general.

Mr Shoukri, 32, from Alliance Road, was remanded on
continuing bail charged with membership of the UDA/UFF.

His barrister claimed there had been adverse publicity
about Mr Shoukri over the weekend in a number of papers.

He told Belfast Crown Court it amounted to "outrageous
contempt of court", and breached his right to a fair trial.

Arthur Harvey QC said that if the police had contributed to
these articles, it "simply beggars belief".

He said that he would study the law to see if there should
be an application to report the chief constable, senior
police officers and the unnamed editor of a Sunday
newspaper to the attorney general.

A date of 29 March was set to hear legal arguments about Mr
Shoukri's trial.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/03/13 11:35:30 GMT


Flynn Accuses McDowell Of Campaign To Criminalise Him

Phil Flynn, former Government 'fixer' has lanched an
astonishing attach on Michael McDowell

Brian Dowling
Political Correspondent

EMBATTLED Justice Minister Michael McDowell was accused
last night of running a campaign to "criminalise" Phil

The latest development comes as the minister faces growing
political pressure over the levels of gun-related violence
and crime on the streets.

Mr Flynn, a one-time Government "fixer" with ready access
to the corridors of power, launched an astonishing attack
on the minister after one of Mr McDowell's worst weeks in

The minister was widely criticised following the callous
slaying of Donna Cleary and more shootings have followed,
including two more men wounded in Cabra at the weekend.

Yesterday, Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny said Mr McDowell was
"a spectacular failure" as Justice Minister. He warned that
if he continued in office until this time next year he will
have presided over 500,000 headline crimes.

In the first interview since his office and home were
raided last year as part of an investigation into IRA money
laundering, Mr Flynn claimed he was targeted by Mr McDowell
who set out to criminalise him.

Mr Flynn said he "unashamedly" blamed the minister and
others acting for him of briefing the media with false
stories about him.

Singled out

The former trade union leader said he was singled out
because he was a republican even though he has not been a
member of Sinn Fein since the 1980s.

He claimed stories were put out that Thomas "Slab" Murphy -
the former chief of staff of the IRA - had visited his home
and this was totally untrue.

Last night, the minister declined to be drawn into the
latest controversy surrounding him. A spokeswoman said that
certain matters relating to Mr Flynn were still the subject
of investigations and it would be inappropriate for the
minister to make any comment at this stage.

But speaking on TV3's 'The Political Party', Mr Flynn said
he had not been convicted of anything and he confidently
predicted he would not be convicted of any crimes.

Asked if he was accusing Mr McDowell of conducting a
campaign against him, he replied: "I am, yes, unashamedly.
I'm saying his people, and himself, have briefed
journalists. That, for example, Slab Murphy was a regular
visitor to my home, that senior IRA people were regular
visitors to my home. That's not true."

He did confirm that another republican, Brian Keenan, also
reputed to be a senior IRA leader, did visit his home while
in Dublin for cancer treatment and that he helped with his
hospital bills.


Stating that he still did work for the State, and expected
this would continue, Mr Flynn said he initially felt the
target of the stories was Taoiseach Bertie Ahern because
the two of them had been closely involved in different

But he now believed the real target was the Sinn Fein
leader, Gerry Adams.

"The real target, I'm convinced, was Gerry Adams. The
strategy is - criminalise me, connect me with Gerry Adams,"
he added.

He defended his involvement with the Cork-based company,
Chesterton Finance, which was at the centre of raids linked
to IRA money-laundering and insisted it was "clean".

Mr Flynn said that Ted Cunningham of Chesterton Finance had
given him a credible explanation for how €2.3m was found in
a wheelie bin outside his house during the Garda raids last


The Irish Lobby For Immigration Reform

The Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform has been set up to
lobby the US government on behalf of the estimated 40,000
undocumented Irish in the US.

The US government is expected to enact new immigration
legislation in 2006. It is vital that the Irish make their
voices heard in any debate over the new laws

Under current immigration law, it is almost impossible for
an Irish person to legally immigrate to the US. Recent
proposals would criminalise the undocumented Irish already
here. This would effectively end Irish immigration to the
US. It would sever the centuries-old link between the
countries and destroy our shared heritage.

Where would America be without the Irish? Where would
Ireland be without America? These questions have to be
factored into any debate about immigration. The Irish
contribution, both culturally and economically, to the US
has been enormous. America’s friendship has been a source
of strength for Ireland from the 1800s to today.

We recognize the need for tighter security in this post
9/11 world but we also believe that we have to help the
40,000 Irish toiling in the shadows as construction
workers, nannies and waitresses. Their presence is not a
threat to the United States. The undocumented Irish just
want to have the same chance offered to the Irish
throughout the years.

Thus, the Irish Government has backed a bill introduced by
Senators John McCain and Edward Kennedy which would address
all these issues.

This is what The New York Times had to say about the bill:

“The best hope so far comes from the Senate, where
thoughtful members are looking at variations on Mr. Bush’s
comprehensive immigration reform. And the best of those so
far is a bipartisan package from Senators John McCain and
Edward Kennedy that promises security at the borders and a
guest worker program that gives the worker some hope of
eventual citizenship.”

This website aims to help achieve ILIR’s goal of legalising
the status of the undocumented Irish. Over the coming
weeks, we will provide tools and information to help you
organize and lobby.

President Grant Lally
Chairman Niall O'Dowd
Executive Director Kelly Fincham


Ex-IRA Man To Post Muslim Cartoon On Net

Henry McDonald, Ireland editor
Sunday March 12, 2006
The Observer

A former IRA prisoner plans to reopen the worldwide debate
over cartoons depicting Muhammad by posting the
controversial pictures on a website at around 10pm tonight.

The Blanket will be the first media outlet in the British
Isles to reproduce the cartoons since their publication
provoked violent disturbances, boycotts and death threats.
Last night British Muslims warned the website's editors
that they were 'fanning the flames of anger'. With 22
million hits since it was founded five years ago, The
Blanket is read around the world. Usually it posts debates
about the future of Irish Republicanism, and many of its
writers are highly critical of the Sinn Fein leadership.
However, The Blanket's co-founder and former H-Block
prisoner Anthony McIntyre said the site had decided to
publish one cartoon of Muhammad per week for the next three
months 'in protest against totalitarianism'.

McIntyre said: 'The spur for us was a manifesto against
totalitarianism that writers such as Salman Rushdie signed
up to in response to the violent reaction over the
cartoons. We wanted to show solidarity with those writers
who were prepared to stick their necks out in defence of
free speech. We chose 12 weeks for each and every one of
the writers who signed the anti-totalitarian declaration.
'We also decided to publish because the liberal media in
Britain and Ireland are guilty of total cowardice. None of
them let the public see these images and make up their own
minds about the debate. They [the mainstream media] buckled
under fear and threats.' There were, however, other reasons
motivating McIntyre and his partner Carrier Twomey.

'The Irish President told a sexually segregated audience in
Saudi Arabia last month that the people of Ireland deplored
the publication of the cartoons,' McIntyre said. 'Who did
she think she was speaking for? I live in the north of
Ireland and I don't have the right to vote for her. And
even if I did she doesn't represent my views on the issue.'
Twomey and McIntyre, who have two young children and live
in the republican Upper Springfield area of Belfast, said
they were aware that publishing might put them at risk from
fundamentalists. But they insist they have been under
threat before, most notably from McIntyre's former comrades
in the IRA. Their home has been picketed by IRA supporters
for speaking out against Gerry Adams and the Sinn Fein
leadership in the past. A spokesman for the Muslim
Association of Britain accused The Blanket of trying to
stir up fresh anger in the Islamic community.

Harris Bohkari, the MAB spokesman said: 'All credit has to
go to the British papers and broadcasters who took the
sensible decision not to publish that material. So you have
to question the motivation of these people in doing this
now. Their timing is curious because the story has moved
on. It seems clear that they are just stirring things up
for the sake of it. Doing this will simply rekindle all the
understandable anger in the Muslim community.'

Several fringe media organisations in Britain have
considered printing the cartoons as part of opening the
debate about free speech and fundamentalist beliefs. The
London-based magazine The Liberal intended to publish the
images in its 14 February edition. However, it said it
received information on 8 February from senior officers at
Scotland Yard who warned that police could not guarantee
protection for staff.


Sunday April 16 2006: Reclaim 1916
National Rights And Freedoms Event Notice
Sunday March 12, 2006 21:33
by Barry

National 1916 Commemoration Committee Statement

Heres one opportuntiy for people to reclaim 1916 from Ahern
and co this year .

"National 1916 Commemoration Committee.

Easter Parade 2006. Easter Sunday April 16th.

Assemble at Garden of Remembrance 2.30pm, parade commences

Prominent speakers from the 32 County Sovereignty Movement
and IRPWA.

The National 1916 Commemoration Committee urge ALL
Republicans to attend our parade in Dublin on Easter
Sunday. Republicans, of whatever persuasion, should stand
shoulder to shoulder this Easter and not allow the day to
be hijacked by Free State revisionists and opportunists.
The mantle of Republicanism belongs to those who remain
true to the vision of the men and women of 1916 and not to
those who have usurped the Republic and our national
sovereignty. At a time when the Free State is actively
conspiring with the British to maintain partition it is
incumbent on all Republicans to expose the hypocrisy of a
Free State march to commemorate those who died to establish
and defend the Republic.

This Easter Sunday is an opportunity to reclaim the legacy
of 1916 from those who would seek to deliberately
misrepresent the Republican position. Unite and join us in
remembering our fallen and what they fell for as we have
done every year and not just when political expediency
requires it."

One things for sure it would annoy hell out of them . Its
your sovereignty thats being argued for , might be an idea
to start demanding it . And Easters the best time to start

Independent Media Centre Ireland

Indymedia is a collective of independent media
organizations and hundreds of journalists offering
grassroots, non-corporate coverage. Indymedia is a
democratic media outlet for the creation of radical,
accurate, and passionate tellings of truth.


Opin: Irish Identity Not Always As It Is Presented

The Monday Column
By Roy Garland

St Patrick’s week is perhaps an appropriate time to reflect
on what it means to be Irish. But first we must admit we
are all mongrels. There are no aborigines but only
descendants of invaders and settlers. Identifying as Irish
is therefore primarily a matter of living on the island.
But this constitutes a problem for those unionists who
reject Irish identity. Their problem is not entirely of
their own making. Many are alienated by mythological
Irishness as reflected in the Preamble to Bunreacht na
hEireann (Irish Constitution), which implicitly excludes
many from being Irish.

“We, the people of Eire, humbly acknowledging all our
obligations to our Divine Lord, Jesus Christ, Who sustained
our fathers through centuries of trial, gratefully
remembering their heroic and unremitting struggle to regain
the rightful independence of our Nation,” it reads.

Thirty-five years ago an alternative modern and inclusive
version was suggested by – among others – Sean McBride but
the old form was stubbornly retained despite excluding
everyone whose family did not engage in the supposed
unremitting struggle. Non-Christians were incidentally
excluded by theological language and the assumptions that
Irish people fought for independence actually excluded more
Catholic than Protestant families. As a result many have
rejected the Ireland that spurned them and have thrown out
the Irish baby with the Gaelic bath water. Others are
apathetic, fearful or in denial while a few became more
Gaelic than the ‘Irish’.

On St Patrick’s Day, Canadian genealogist Keith Betit
encounters, “a myriad of people wearing green, posting
pictures of leprechauns and shamrocks, drinking green beer,
and the like”. Even if people get past “the green beer and
corned beef and cabbage”, they retain stereotypical notions
of Irishness. Some nationalists want similar shenanigans on
St Patrick’s Day here in Belfast but stage Irishness
obscures the reality that to be Irish means to live in or
hail from this island. It does not necessarily signify
Gaelic mysticism, Catholic belief, republican ideology or
even identity with the 26-county state. The island was
never exclusively Gaelic or Catholic and ancient Irish
chieftains and high kings suggest republicanism was only
introduced by Cromwell in the 17th century.

During Irish festivals in the New World many people tell
Betit: “My ancestors were from Ireland” but add in hushed
tones: “but they were Protestant”. It is assumed that to be
Irish means being Catholic, anti-British and supportive of
Irish unity and independence. Yet most Irish Americans are
Protestant and many Catholics are not anti-British. Betit
also discovered that the first recorded Saint Patrick’s Day
parade was organised by Irish Protestant British soldiers
in colonial New York. As a genealogist he flew the Union
Flag alongside the Tricolour at his genealogical stall – it
was after all, under the Union that Irish ancestors lived
throughout 1801-1921. Yet this action brought “disturbing
protests” and forced the removal of the Union Flag
suggesting that an exclusive sense of Irish identity

JC Beckett said of the Anglo-Irish of English extraction
that they, “never doubted that they were Irishmen, without
qualification”. But the 26-county-state then made a virtue
out of exclusion. Unity was demanded but an incongruous
chasm was fostered through enhanced cultural distinctions.
Beckett hits the nail on the head when he said: “to demand
territorial unity while emphasising cultural division was
an irresponsibly dangerous policy”. This history of
exclusion encouraged division and almost destroyed true
republicanism while besmirching the Irish tricolour. It
suggests that “all the children of the nation” are not
equal. The fruit of the failure – the greening of the whole
island – undermined Wolfe Tone’s project of uniting
Catholic, Protestant and Dissenter.

But today the island is becoming more open, pluralist and
inclusive on a daily basis. Old shibboleths wither away and
the essential commonality between the parts of these
islands re-asserts itself. In this context a more inclusive
Irish-Britishness and Scotch-Irishness is in line with St
Patrick’s legacy – as our best known British/Irish Saint.
Despite all that has happened, our complex story is
becoming better understood, better appreciated and more
accepted every day that passes. If we take away sectarian
animosities and divisions we are left with a common
heritage and a diversity that may yet become the dynamism
that drives us on to better things.



Opin: Truth Of Troubles Is As Elusive As Rainbow’s End

By Tom Kelly

Over the past week we have been bombarded with a series of
stories about perpetrators of violence and their victims
meeting. Some appeared to find the meetings useful; others
found them a waste of time; most of those watching found
them distressing. Some wanted justice, some wanted the
truth while others simply wanted to move on. The
paramilitary perpetrators, either loyalist or republican,
were remarkably confident and unapologetic when confronting
their victims. Perhaps that is a by-product of having
murdered someone who you

dehumanise by not recognising them as people with families
or that they are some mother’s son. There is no common
starting point for defining victimhood and so-called
combatants very clearly want to rewrite the history may
find that the facts may be somewhat more difficult to

When David McKittrick, Seamus Kelters, Brian Feeney and
Chris Thornton complied the book Lost Lives, I believe they
did a great service by compiling an encyclopedia of death
that has much relevance for life. They personalised the
statistics and since its publication I have often felt
every child at school in Ireland, north and south, should
be given a free copy.

Those who were perpetrators from any hue should take a good
hard look at the stories and the facts in that book. They
give a total of 3,636 dead from 1966 to 1999. Republicans
were responsible for 2,139 of those deaths. That is a
staggering 58.8 per cent of all deaths. No amount of spin
can wash away those statistics, particularly when the
largest single group of deaths were civilian. Loyalists
have been responsible for nearly 30 per cent of all deaths
but the lower figures are hardly excusable when one
considers the savagery and indiscriminate nature of
murderous loyalist death squads that practically made every
Catholic in the north a legitimate target. The security
forces were responsible for the deaths of a further 367
people, roughly 10 per cent of all deaths over the same
period but 187 of those were civilians. When one thinks of
the Met killing of Mr Menedez and the public outcry in
London, these Northern Ireland figures are shameful.

In terms of losses, the biggest losers throughout the
Troubles were always civilians. That is the people like you
and me who go about their daily lives, trying to earn a
shilling, rear a family, hoping to live long and die
peacefully in bed.

To off-set those figures, some in the Republican movement
have tried to mask the scale and pure awfulness of their
own acts of atrocity with the issue of collusion and in
particular the collusion between the security forces and
loyalist paramilitaries. No right-thinking individual needs
to be convinced that such collusion existed or should even
doubt it or attempt to excuse it. However, as the entrails
of the dirty war unfold it is equally clear that there was
senior infiltration of the provisionals, which resulted in
many people within the police, UDR, IRA and civilians going
to their deaths unnecessarily in order to protect the high
levels of collusion that occurred and the individuals who
engaged in it. The linen from the past thirty years is
never going to wash clean.

The protagonists of our mini-war were always a minority of
combatants, both paramilitary and state sponsored, who held
everyone to ransom. It is good that some saw the futility
of violence and moved on. Age has obviously something to do
with it. It can’t help rheumatism to be over 50 and to be
stuck in a ditch on a cold, damp winter night nor to be
immune to the flashbacks of the youthful faces of former
fallen comrades when looking at the grandchildren. While
protagonists may not wish to regret their past actions,
they should not expect the rest of society to listen to
them justifying it. The victims on either side of the
Troubles have difficulty moving on when they perceive not
just a hierarchy of victims but a hierarchy of
perpetrators. Some perpetrators are to be feted with the
trappings of public office, while others are to be outed as
scapegoats for a corrupted political process and a dirty

If we are to draw a line under the past then everyone must
let go. That is not going to be easy for the families of
some victims as they justifiably have a right to the truth.
However, that type of transparency is never going to happen
in the north and the truth will remain as elusive as the
end of a rainbow.


St Patrick - An Unbeatable Brand Representing Our National

In the 1920s, soon after the foundation of the Irish State,
some thought was given to altering the figure atop
'Nelson's Pillar' - that fine column which then dominated
Dublin's O'Connell Street.

The plan was to remove Admiral Nelson - something of a
British Imperialist - and place a more significant Irish
figure on the plinth.

Unfortunately, in the raw climate after the Civil War, no
single candidate could be agreed upon, though Patrick
Pearse, Robert Emmet, Michael Collins, Our Lady of Lourdes
- and St Patrick - were all considered.

So nothing was done. Which was a pity, since it gave the
IRA an excuse to blow up the Pillar in 1966, with Lord
Nelson still in residence.

And Patrick would have been an excellent and inclusive
character to preside over Ireland's best-known boulevard.

Patrick is not, and never was, exclusively a 'Roman
Catholic' saint, as some other popular saints patently are
- St Therese of Lisieux, for example, or St Bernadette of

Indeed, Patrick has always been acknowledged and embraced
by every hue of Irish Christian.

One of the fine Church of Ireland cathedrals in Dublin is,
significantly, called St Patrick's, and the Irish
Protestant tradition has always honoured Patrick in its

The shamrock is not in essence a 'nationalist' symbol.

It is a religious emblem based on nature, which was very
much the flavour of Patrick's evangelising mission to

Patrick shrewdly grasped the most basic fact about the
Irish Celts as soon as he stepped onto Irish territory, at
the age of 16, in about the year 401. These were a people
steeped in the cult of nature, and their stories involved
trees, birds, animals, and the natural elements. Thus he
used the shamrock, not just because it symbolised the
Trinity: but because it echoed the nature worship which was
the indigenous Celtic pagan cult.

Indeed, Patrick is such an inclusive saint he could also be
said to be a saint for pagans, since the pantheistic
chieftains accepted him congenially. He evangelised Ireland
without spilling a single drop of blood - a unique

It's true that St Patrick's Day, like the shamrock itself,
has been through many metamorphoses over the centuries.

The occasion has been used both politically and as a
sectarian symbol: especially in America, Paddy's Day bands
have marched down Fifth Avenue whose appeal were far from
being 'inclusive'.

Patrick's Day parades have sometimes involved controversy.
There was a quarrel about whether it was acceptable to
include Gay Pride floats. In New York this year, there is a
conflict looming over the abortion issue, with
'reproductive rights' campaigners claiming a right to be
part of the parade.

In general, I believe, the St Patrick's Day parades should
not be campaigning or controversial: contentious issues are
for other occasions.

Patrick's Day is a carnival celebrating a tradition, a
land, and a history, and should provide a merry day out for
all the family - not arouse adversarial feelings in
political, or social, debate.

And yet, what is remarkable is that the Feast of St Patrick
generally transcends and survives all efforts to make it
political, sectarian or contentious.

In Ireland in recent years, the festivities of Patrick's
Day have assumed an increasingly cosmopolitan ambience, and
there have been some grumbles to the effect that there
should be fewer Chinese dragons, and a bit more of the
wearin'o' the green.

Yet the cosmopolitanism itself is part of the spirit of St
Patrick, which is essentially all-embracing and inclusive.

Just as Patrick himself got along serenely with the non-
Christian chieftains, so St Pat's day can accommodate the
Chinese dragons, at least in proportion.

The cosmopolitanism of St Patrick will be used to good
effect in Belfast this Friday, which marks St Patrick with
a multi-culti parade which embraces not only the Indian and
Chinese communities in the North - but the Ulster-Scots
tradition as well.

Indeed, Ulster Protestants are quite consciously reclaiming
St Pat, much enthused by an Orange Order publication called
'A Protestant View of Patrick'.

St Patrick's Centre in Downpatrick - by tradition, his
burial ground - interprets Patrick in a way that is
acceptable to all sides of the community.

That's the genius of St Pat: he really is an all-embracing
figure. His closeness to nature even makes him a saint for
modern environmentalists.

When St Patrick's Day dawns, church bells toll in over 800
locations all over the world, from Shanghai to Buenos
Aires: and from Cork to Belfast.

You don't have to be a deeply religious person to recognise
that an iconic character whose story echoes down the
centuries, and inspires both patriotic loyalty and
cosmospolitan celebration, is an enduring public asset, and
an unbeatable national brand.



Opin: Here’s Why We Reject The Myth Of 1916

PÁDRAIG Ó CUANACHÁIN’s letter (Irish Examiner, March 10)
seeks clarification from Reform on some of the points he

Reform’s position on 1916 is quite clear. It was the bloody
work of a minority within a minority which considered the
Irish people were degenerate (see the essay of Francis Shaw
SJ in Studies, Summer 1972).

1,351 people were killed or severely wounded; a civil war
ensued in which some 5,800 died; partition was
copperfastened; a theocracy emerged masquerading as a
democracy; grinding poverty resulted when hundreds of
thousands emigrated to the enemy country, mostly badly-
educated; Protestants left or learnt to shut up.

The whole lineage of our political provenance goes right
back to 1916 which is why none of our politicians, with the
noble exception of John Bruton, will castigate 1916, nor
speak out against anglophobia and the knee-jerk reaction
towards unionists. Note the Orange Order was not welcomed
to last year’s St Patrick’s Festival in Cork.

We do not live in a true republic. And we would have got
independence eventually without a bullet being fired. There
is nothing to celebrate about 1916.

Robin Bury
The Reform Movement
Co Dublin


Fewer Tourists Visiting The Countryside

13/03/2006 - 08:02:11

A Government report on tourism has found that the number of
visitors to rural areas is dwindling.

The Tourism Policy Review Group said tourism provided
150,000 jobs and generated €5.3bn to the economy in 2005.

The sector was hampered by several factors including high
prices, congestion at Dublin Airport and the fall in the
number of tourists visiting rural areas.

Tourism Minister John O’Donghue said: “The importance of
tourism to the Irish economy cannot be understated.

“The overall growth target in visitor numbers for 2006 is
5%, which would see Ireland attracting over seven million
visitors for the first time. We cannot afford to be
complacent about our tourism revenue, however, with
competition from ever-increasing new tourism destinations.

“The falling numbers of visitors to rural areas is also a
worrying trend that needs to be tackled. The work of the
Implementation Group has proved invaluable in highlighting
both the advances and barriers to achieving Ireland’s full
tourism potential.”

The Group was appointed by Mr O’Donoghue in January 2004 to
implement the New Horizons for Irish Tourism: An Agenda for
Action study published in September 2003.

The strategy aims to achieve €6bn in foreign revenue and 10
million annual visitors by 2012, as part of 70 key

The Group’s chairman, John Travers, said he was satisfied
with the progress made in implementing the strategy.

Mr Travers praised better air access from the UK, Europe
and the US and moves to build a National Conference Centre.

He said Budget 2006 provided investment opportunities for
regional airports and funding was committed to the Abbey
Theatre, the National Concert Hall, the Gaiety Theatre, the
Wexford Theatre Royal and the Lansdowne Road stadium.

The Report also pointed to a number of key barriers to
tourism development:

:: The loss of competitiveness by the tourism sector in
recent years;
:: The closure of traditional long-term public access to
areas of the countryside;
:: The fall in visitors to rural areas;
:: The less than satisfactory experiences of visitors at
Dublin Airport;
:: The disadvantage in attracting conference business
because of the differences in the Irish VAT regime compared
to that of other EU countries.


Playing A Deadly Game: Gun-Running For The IRA

By Patrick Nee/ Book Excerpt
Monday, March 13, 2006 - Updated: 06:14 AM EST

Editor’s note:In yesterday’s installment from Patrick Nee’s
profane, often brutal memoir, “A Criminal & An Irishman:
The Inside Story of the Boston Mob-IRA Connection”
(Steerforth Press, $24.95), Nee disclosed how he came to be
the only mobster in town who went into business with James
J. “Whitey” Bulger after Whitey tried to kill him - twice.
That was during the Irish gang war in South Boston.

Nee’s Mullens gang and Whitey’s Killeens crew called a
truce in 1972. And over the next 15 years, Bulger and his
partner in crime Steve Flemmi consolidated their power.
Nee, by his own account, maintained an uneasy alliance with
Bulger while pursuing his personal cause - raising (stolen)
money and smuggling weapons for the Irish Republican Army.

In today’s final installment, Nee reveals that contrary to
popular legend, Whitey was dead set against helping the
IRA. Nee defied him anyway. Today’s installment begins in
1984, in the months leading up to Nee’s boldest plan to
date - packing a Gloucester trawler, The Valhalla, with
$1.2 million of weapons and sending it to the IRA.

“A Criminal & an Irishman” hits bookstores tomorrow.

Whitey started to become paranoid...

He asked me to shut down all operations for the IRA.

He didn’t like me spending so much of my time in
Charlestown with guys sympathetic to the Irish struggle. I
think Whitey feared that I might develop new - read that as
dangerous - alliances. Dangerous to Whitey, that is. Whitey
never hung much in Charlestown - he found my Charlestown
connections too wild, too unpredictable.

I think he sensed that the Townies didn’t like him, and he
was right. You have to give it to Whitey, he has good
instincts. That’s why he’s still on the run.

(Whitey later followed Nee to Hyannis, where Nee was
meeting up with his Charlestown pals. When one of the
Townie mobsters spotted Bulger in his car, he invited him
to join the rest of them inside. Whitey did, but after an
awkward hour or two, he left.)

Later that night Billy (a Townie gangster) questioned me
about why (Whitey) would drive all the way down to the Cape
just to sit in the driveway. Of course, just as he’d
concealed his homosexuality, he was a master at hiding the
truth. No one back then had any inclination that Whitey was
the number-one informant for the FBI in New England. That
was simply inconceivable.

At that point no one knew about the FBI’s Top Echelon
Informant Program, in which the FBI targeted as informants
not the usual low-life drug dealers or mid-level hit men,
but guys at the very top of the criminal ladder.

The Charlestown guys got all revved up when I told them
Whitey wanted me to stop helping the IRA. These guys had a
mischievous side that told them “If Whitey don’t want it
done, let’s do it!” Also, the Townie guys had parents off
the boat from Ireland, so it excited them to help the IRA.
. . .

When I think back on it now, that trip to Hyannis is when
the Valhalla plan got started. For the rest of the evening
and well into the next morning we did nothing but
brainstorm ways to bring guns to the IRA. Roughly two years
from that night, two guys sitting in that room, Jimmy Flynn
and Baby Hughie, would cross the Atlantic Ocean as crewmen
on the Valhalla. And with them was one of the largest
shipments of arms ever smuggled for the IRA.

(Two years later, in 1984, Irish authorities seized the
weapons from The Valhalla before they found their way to
the IRA. Back in the States, one of the Valhalla smugglers,
John McIntyre, the ship’s mechanic, spilled the beans about
the entire plot to the feds. But Whitey and Flemmi got wind
of it. They asked Nee to bring McIntyre to Nee’s brother’s
house in South Boston.)

Whitey, Stevie Flemmi, and Kevin Weeks were sitting in my
brother’s living room when McIntyre and I came through the
front door. Whitey was wearing a tight black sweatshirt and
a solid black baseball cap; he asked to speak to John alone
in the kitchen. The living room got brighter when the
kitchen light snapped on. But even at that moment I had no
indication that something was deadly wrong.

Now, I fully understand that there are several other
versions of what happened to John McIntyre. But this is how
I remember it.

I had some business at the club and told them I’d be back.
I returned to my brother’s house an hour later. Nobody was
in the living room or the kitchen. Whitey and Stevie called
out to me from the cellar. When I reached the bottom step,
I saw John McIntyre was face up on the dirt floor. His
dungaree jacket was stained with blood and a rope was
wrapped firmly around his neck. The chair he’d been sitting
in was upright. I glanced over at Kevin - he appeared
worried. There was a bullet wound in McIntyre’s forehead
but no great volume of blood on the floor.

Something had gone terribly wrong in that basement. John
McIntyre had been tortured. He appeared to have been shot
after he died. Most likely Whitey held the rope at one end
while Stevie held the other. The sick bastards must have
asked him questions while they yanked on the rope to cut
off air at his windpipe. Stevie had a pair of pliers and
was on his knees pulling out McIntyre’s teeth; you could
hear the teeth separating from the jawbone. Stevie’s eyes
held a glint of pleasure. He put each tooth in a small
canvas bag, smashed the bag with a hammer, and then
scattered the white powder around the floor. McIntyre’s
mouth wasn’t filled with blood. The dead don’t bleed like
the living.

Whitey asked me to dig a five-foot hole to bury John right
there in the cellar. He had to go upstairs and lie down; I
figure that the release of sexual excitement from killing
had exhausted him. . . .Whitey had had an orgasm while
watching this young kid die.

I couldn’t believe these guys had just killed this kid in
my brother’s house. I was enraged! They had killed John
McIntyre, and they had done it in my brother’s house!

But what do you do when you’re in the room with two
psychopaths who have just strangled a kid with a rope, shot
him in the head, and pulled his teeth out with a set of
pliers? Nobody with a fondness for living is going to say,
“Hey, what the (expletive) did you guys do?” The most
important thing for me to do at that moment was to contain
my anger. I felt uneasy. I had no gun on me. What would it
take for Whitey and Stevie to notice that I was not
completely onboard? Not much, for these two paranoid
psychos. So I had to do some disguising. I put on an
attitude of “Hey, this is no big deal.” Anything less would
have been grounds for putting me in the hole next to
McIntyre. Yes, it was that easy for guys like them.

I knew we were screwed now; the grand jury investigation
had customs agents looking for McIntyre all over Boston.

(Nee eventually pleaded guilty to smuggling weapons and
served five years in a federal prison. Today he’s a day
laborer in Boston.)

Excerpted from the upcoming book, “A Criminal & An
Irishman: The Inside Story of the Boston Mob-IRA
Connection,” by Patrick Nee, Richard Farrell and Michael

Copyright 2006 by Patrick Nee, Richard Farrell, Michael
Blythe and Thomas Lyons.


Pogues Please Crowd In A.C.

By Dan DeLuca
Inquirer Music Critic

Considering Shane MacGowan's hard-earned reputation as a
two-fisted falling-down drunk of epic proportions, you'd
think that the leader of the Pogues (and sometimes, the
Popes) would have a long track record of disappointing his
faithful fans with hopelessly inebriated performances.

But it isn't so. Sure, the bleary-eyed sentimentalist has
been known to show up late, or not at all. When he steps up
to sing his tales of hopeless romance and broken dreams,
though, he snaps to with the discipline of a Catholic
schoolboy reciting the catechism before a fearsome priest,
never forgetting a word.

So it was at the Event Center at the Borgata Hotel Casino &
Spa in Atlantic City on Saturday, where MacGowan and the
Pogues played a sold-out date before a rabidly enthusiastic
audience on their first American tour together in 15 years.

Among the Irish rockers that invade these shores every St.
Patrick's season (such as the Saw Doctors, the amiable
Springsteen-ophile blokes who opened the show), the Pogues
stand apart on two fronts.

First, there's the way the London-based, seven-piece band
employs its traditional Irish instruments, such as Spider
Stacy's tin whistle or Terry Woods' cittern, with fierce
punk rock energy. Second, there's MacGowan, a first-class
yarn spinner of the Irish (and Irish-American) experience
with a touch of the poet, and a once-great singer with a
battle-scarred voice, who can still put a lyric across with
dramatic emphasis.

Entering after guitarist Philip Chevron's casino showroom
in-joke reference to Sinatra at the Sands - "How did all
these people get in Shane's room?" - the 48-year-old
MacGowan was more than a wee bit wobbly at first, gripping
the mike stand for balance with his right hand while he
chain-smoked with his left.

But though he left the stage every third song or so, and
his slurred song introductions made Bob Dylan seem like the
Great Enunciator, MacGowan gathered strength as the night
wore on. (And he didn't pick up the bottle of wine he
brought on stage until the final encore of "Fiesta," when
he guzzled from it, then successfully balanced it on his

The show came to a head with the breakneck "Sally
Maclennane" and a touchingly tender "A Rainy Night in
Soho." The band's crowd-pleasing Christmas song,
"Fairtytale in New York," appeared as an encore, with
vocalist Ella Finer ably standing in for the late Kirsty
MacColl, and trying to avoid getting her toes stepped on as
MacGowan took her for a turn around the stage as fake snow
fell from the rafters.

Contact music critic Dan DeLuca at 215-854-5628 or

© 2006 Philadelphia Inquirer and wire service sources. All
Rights Reserved.


Irish Get In Festive Spirits In San Antonio

Web Posted: 03/13/2006 12:00 AM CST
Sheila Hotchkin
Express-News Staff Writer

The music that had people tapping their toes at San Antonio
College's student center Sunday used many of the same
instruments as in mariachi or conjunto but produced a
completely different sound.

Instead of tacos or fajitas, people sampled Reuben
sandwiches, soda bread and whiskey cake. A banner wished
guests not "bienvenidos " but "céad mile fáilte."

The Gaelic greeting translates to "one hundred thousand

It's the time of year when Irish Americans make their
presence known, whether in cities closely associated with
them such as Boston, New York and Chicago or in places
where other traditions predominate — such as San Antonio.

Here, the celebration began late last month with the Harp &
Shamrock Society of Texas' awards ceremony. It continued
this month with the 26th annual Shamrock Scramble golf
tournament and, on Sunday, the Irish Cultural Society's
Irish Heritage Day at SAC.

St. Patrick's Day this Friday and the week that follows
will bring more Irish festivities to San Antonio: parades,
a festival, a special Mass and a dance.

The Irish were among the first settlers in Spanish-ruled
Texas, according to the Handbook of Texas Online. Eleven
Irishmen died at the Battle of the Alamo.

Today, more than a half-million Texans identify themselves
as Irish, according to the Institute of Texan Cultures.

"The Irish are everywhere," said Maura Barry Ciarrocchi, a
member of the local Irish Cultural Society, who grew up in
Dublin and arrived in Texas the day President Kennedy was
shot. She said many people, "if they looked at their
genealogy, would be surprised to find that there's Irish

At a table for the Harp & Shamrock Society, two women
listed Hispanic surnames with ties to Ireland. For example,
"Maldonado," they said, is associated with an equally
common Irish surname: "McDonald."

"All you have to do is go down the phone book and look at
the names," said Mae Kelly, past president of the Harp &
Shamrock Society. "There are more Irish than you think."

Whether someone was Irish or simply an aficionado of Irish
culture, the Heritage Day celebration had much to offer.

Along with the Harp & Shamrock and Irish Cultural
societies, members of the Ancient Order of Hibernians
publicized their efforts. At other tables, vendors sold
Celtic crosses, Belleek porcelain and Irish jewelry. A man
provided information on traveling to Ireland.

In the next room, an Irish céilí — a festive gathering with
music and dance — was in full swing.


Stranded Dolphins Rebeach And Die

Two dolphins rescued after beaching on the County Down
coast have died, the Department of the Environment has

The dolphins were found close to the shore in Killowen on
Carlingford Lough on Friday and volunteers managed to get
the animals back into deep water.

But, one rebeached at Killowen on Saturday and the other
was found dead on the Omeath side of the lough.

The bodies have been taken away by the Environment and
Heritage Service of the DoE for a post mortem examination.

They were striped dolphins, an open sea species, which the
EHS said was unusual in inland waters.

Staff from the Exploris Aquarium at Portaferry and the
Environment and Heritage Service had helped rescue the
animals on Friday.

Speaking then, Leslie Turner of Exploris said they were
having problems getting the dolphins to swim back out to

"They seem to want to beach themselves again for some
reason, whether they are disorientated or sick," he said.

The animals had been spotted near the shore on Friday
afternoon by a local man.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/03/13 11:56:21 GMT

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