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April 17, 2006

Adams: Unionist Getting Ready for Divorce

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News About Ireland & The Irish

IN 04/17/06 Unionists Getting Ready For ‘Divorce’ Says Adams
RT 04/17/06 Parade In North Passes Off Without Incident
NH 04/17/06 Charges Against Loyalists Dropped Due To Police 'Blunder'
IN 04/17/06 Stolen Car’s Driver ‘Unarmed’ When Shot Dead By Police
BB 04/17/06 Probe Into Checkpoint Shooting
BT 04/17/06 Police Shooting: How Could It Happen?
OC 04/17/06 AOH Marked The 1916 Easter Rebellion
NY 04/17/06 Irish Revive Rites For Easter Revolt & Debate Its Merits
BT 04/17/06 Opin: Embracing Ireland's Past With Dignity
IN 04/17/06 Opin Reconciliation Attempts Span The World
IN 04/17/06 Opin: Useless Shadow Boxing Years Are Now Behind Us
IN 04/17/06 Opin: Puppetry Nor Plan B Can Bring Us Fairytale Ending
IN 04/17/06 Opin: ‘It’s Time To Break Down The Monoliths’
IN 04/17/06 Opin: Dirty Dealing Encourages False Line Of Thinking
IN 04/17/06 Opin: Illegals Issue Is About As Emotive As It Gets
IN 04/17/06 Opin: Rising Played Pivotal Part In Irish History
IN 04/17/06 Enigmatic Leader With A Tarnished Reputation
IN 04/17/06 Legacy Of Irish Political Giant
IN 04/17/06 To Dubliners Dying In France Was A Brutal Betrayal
IN 04/17/06 Independence Struggle: The Northern Connection


Unionists Getting Ready For ‘Divorce’ Says Adams

By William Graham Political Correspondent

Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams has claimed that a
surprising number of unionists now believe a united Ireland
is inevitable and only a matter of time.

He said that “this generation can live in a united Ireland
and Sinn Fein is wedded to democratic and peaceful means.”

Mr Adams said Sinn Fein wanted to see a republic that
encompasses the entire island and is rights-based “but the
unionists have to be comfortable in it”.

“This is the challenge,” Mr Adams said, “for republicans
and nationalists.”

And Mr Adams said they had to engage with all dimensions of

For example, he said it was clear the business community
see Ireland as a single economic unit.

Mr Adams was speaking at a press conference to relaunch a
Sinn Fein discussion document which calls on the Irish
government to publish a Green Paper and to begin the
practical planning for Irish unity .

He was asked if Irish unity was any nearer now or was
Northern Ireland in fact more like a British-administered

Mr Adams replied: “Well it is obviously part of the British
state and that remains.

“But it is not as British as Finchley. There is an odd
relationship now, constitutionally. It reminds me in many
ways of a couple who decide to divorce but decide to wait
until the children grow up.

“The British government have legislated for that type of

“You also have to factor in the resurgence, renewal and
strength of Irish republicanism right across the island,
obviously within Sinn Fein but not solely within SF.”

Mr Adams said the two big challenges remain ... persuading
the unionists of the merits “of our vision” and persuading
the British government “to do the right thing.”

“We need to repeat and remind ourselves that the national
colours, the Irish national colours, are green, white and
orange. The white signifying peace and harmony and equality
between the orange and the green.”

As to whether Sinn Fein would end up in government in the
Republic, Mr Adams said: “The position on that is that we
first of all have to get a mandate and if we get an agreed
programme of government which would include a strategy for
a united Ireland as well as radical measures to
redistribute the wealth of the Celtic tiger – then we would
go into government.

“It seems unlikely to me that the more conservative parties
would be prepared to sign up for the type of redistribution
of wealth that is required.”

Also, Mr Adams was asked if he thought the continuing
newspaper speculation particularly at the weekend about who
killed Denis Donaldson would in fact damage the political
process this year.

Mr Adams said: “No, I don’t think so. I don’t read papers
on a Sunday.”


Parade In North Passes Off Without Incident

17 April 2006 10:43

A controversial loyalist parade in Belfast has passed off
without incident.

The march, involving one band and members of the Apprentice
Boys of Derry took place near the republican Ardoyne area,
the scene of serious rioting on the 12th of July last year.

This morning a group of protesters held a banner as the
parade passed by. There were no incidents and the
protesters dispersed after the parade had passed.

The Easter Monday marches mark the official start of this
year's loyalist marching season.

Roger Poole, head of the North's Parades Commission,
observed the march and said afterwards that the marchers
and protesters had behaved in a dignified manner.


Riot Charges Against Loyalists Dropped Due To Police 'Blunder'

(Barry McCaffrey, Irish News)

A "bureaucratic blunder" has led to loyalists accused of
involvement in some of the worst rioting of recent years
escaping prosecution, The Irish News has learned.

The cases relate to disturbances surrounding a
controversial Orange Order parade along the Whiterock Road
in west Belfast last September.

The PSNI last night (Friday) confirmed that 13 files
connected to the rioting, sent to the Public Prosecution
Service (PPS), had been withdrawn.

The prosecutions were dropped because of a failure to
obtain an extension to allow police more time to bring
people before the courts.

The disturbances were some of the worst witnessed in
Belfast in many years, with policing alone costing £3
million in addition to millions of pounds of damage caused
to properties across the city.

However, the exact number of loyalists who have escaped
prosecution is unclear.

A PSNI spokeswoman was unable to confirm how many people
were involved in the 13 cases.

A source close to the West Belfast District Policing
Partnership Board claimed the files related to around 200
people but this figure was rejected by the PSNI.

The PPS is understood to have accepted responsibility for
the 13 cases but voiced concern that the PSNI had only
submitted files seven days before the six-month timeframe

The mix-up is understood to have led to the introduction of
new guidelines which mean the PSNI has to submit
prosecution files to the PPS 20 days in advance of any
requirement for a court extension.

This is the second time charges against Whiterock Orangemen
have been dropped due to a bureaucratic bungle.

In October 2003, charges were recommended against a senior
west Belfast Orangeman after paramilitary flags were
carried during the parade.

However, that case collapsed after it emerged the PSNI had
not obtained an extension to bring the individual before
the court.

The news comes just days after 23 nationalists appeared in
court charged with rioting in Ardoyne in north Belfast last
July 12.

Sinn Féin assembly member Gerry Kelly said nationalists
would view the failure to prosecute with scepticism.

"They will contrast it with the number of nationalists
appearing in court in connection with what happened in
Ardoyne last July," he said.

"This is the second time that loyalists involved in the
Whiterock parade have escaped prosecution.

"There appears to be one law for nationalists and another
for loyalists."

SDLP assembly member Alban Maginness also expressed concern
over the failed cases.

"There appears to have been a serious bureaucratic blunder
on behalf of the PPS and the PSNI," he said.

"It may well be that the PPS was faced with an impossible
timescale to try and operate in.

"The reality is that people strongly suspected of
involvement in serious offences have escaped justice."

April 17, 2006


Stolen Car’s Driver ‘Unarmed’ When Shot Dead By Police

By Sharon O’Neill Chief Reporter

A MAN shot dead in a stolen car by police is believed to
have been unarmed at the time.

The driver, understood to be from the Shankill area of west
Belfast, was killed at a vehicle checkpoint on Church
Street in Ballynahinch, Co Down, at around 11.30am
yesterday. He was shot twice.

The man was driving a silver BMW which had been stolen
hours earlier.

Hundreds of people attending Easter services nearby were
oblivious to the events that unfolded outside the pol-ice

Police refused to disclose the exact circumstances of the
shooting or what prompt-ed them to open fire.

Detectives were last night still questioning three men and
two women who were also travelling in the car.

There is no suggestion of any paramilitary link.

As is protocol, the police ombudsman has begun an in-quiry
and investigators spent the rest of the day at the scene.

A major focus of the investigation will be to determine
whether the shooting was proportionate to any threat.

The Irish News understands that the checkpoint was set up
after police received a tip-off that the car, registration
GEZ 7393, was in the town.

These issues are not known:

:: whether police shouted a warning before opening fire

:: the exact position of the car at the time

:: whether the car posed an immediate threat.

Sources in the area last night said it was understood that
the man was unarmed.

The ombudsman’s office would not comment beyond an appeal
for information.

Canon Gerry McCrory, who had been celebrating Mass in
nearby St Patrick’s Church, administered the Last Rites.

“I was told there was an ac-cident. After attending the
person involved in the incident, I was then told it was a
shooting,” he said.

“I immediately thought of the bad news a family was going
to receive, especially at Easter time.

“There was blood all around him – medical assistance was
continuing to be given at that stage.

“It was a devastating sight. It became apparent that he was

It is not the first time the PSNI has killed a person at a
vehicle checkpoint.

Neil McConville (21), from Bleary, Co Armagh, died in
hospital after officers shot him when his car allegedly
crashed through a checkpoint near Lisburn, Co Ant-rim, in
April 2003.

SDLP Policing Board member Alex Attwood said the latest
shooting and another in which police fired shots at a
fleeing vehicle in west Belfast two weeks ago raised
“serious issues” about PSNI policy.

“The use of lethal fire in the circumstances of this case
is highly questionable and on the facts known at present it
is very hard to determine what level of threat existed
against the police and other people who it is reported were
at the scene,” he said.

“This requires the police to say up front what has happened
[and] for any officer on the ground or at command level to
be suspended where appropriate.

“This is an enormous trag-edy for the family and it re-
quires an enormous response from the policing institutions.

“Any wrongdoing must be prosecuted and any other failure
must be faced up to and corrected.”

DUP assembly member Jim Wells said: “It is a shock.

“It is the first time something like this has happened in

“I’m sure the police would not have opened fire unless they
had cause to do so.”


Probe Into Checkpoint Shooting

The Police Ombudsman's office has begun an investigation
after a man was shot dead at a checkpoint in County Down.

Three men and two women arrested at the scene of the
shooting in Church Street, Ballynahinch, at 1130 BST on
Sunday, have been released on police bail.

Initial inquiries suggest that the police understood a
suspected stolen car was heading towards the town.

A checkpoint was set up and shots were fired at a silver
BMW car. One man, believed to have been the driver, died.

He was given the last rites by a priest who attended the

It is understood that the five people who were arrested and
later released were in the car.

The car is understood to have travelled from Ballykinlar,
about 12 miles away on the County Down coast, and may have
been heading for Belfast.

A team of 15 investigators from the Police Ombudsman's
office visited the scene on Sunday.

SDLP MP Eddie McGrady has called for an inquiry into the
police use of guns.

"This is the second such incident in a relatively short
period in which firearms were used in a car pursuit," Mr
McGrady said.

"Obviously, a full inquiry is required immediately, and the
officers involved should be relieved of their duties,
pending clarification of the incident and the code of
conduct pertaining to use of lethal weapons."

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/04/17 09:52:41 GMT


Police Shooting: How Could It Happen?

By Deborah McAleese
17 April 2006

A series of questions was being posed to police chiefs
today over the shooting of a suspected car thief in broad
daylight on a busy road in Co Down.

Investigators from the Police Ombudsman's office were
revisiting the scene today and making door-to- door
inquiries in a bid to try and establish the circumstances
surrounding yesterday's shooting.

A quiet Sunday turned to horror for worshippers and
holidaymakers in Ballynahinch when the man was shot dead
just yards from a police station and a church where Mass
was being celebrated.

He was driving an allegedly stolen silver BMW car with five
passengers on board. The passengers - three males and two
females - were arrested yesterday but police confirmed
today that they have since been released on bail.

It is believed the car was being followed by officers and
as it approached a police checkpoint in the town at about
11.30am, police are believed to have fired several shots
through the driver's side window.

The man was then taken from the car and medics and a priest
were called to the scene, where he was pronounced dead.

The man was not believed to have been armed.

A number of issues which were being raised today include:

:: was the suspect armed?

:: was the car driven at police?

:: did officers feel their lives were in danger?

:: did police shout a warning to the driver?

:: has the officer who fired the shots been suspended?

:: was the car being followed by police?

Concern was also being raised over the PSNI's policy on the
use of lethal force.

The MP for the area, the SDLP's Eddie McGrady, said: "One
would have to examine the rationale behind such use of
potentially lethal force and the policy surrounding it.

"Obviously a full inquiry is required immediately and the
officers involved should be relieved of their duties
pending clarification of the incident and the code of
conduct pertaining to the use of lethal weapons."

Parish priest, Canon Gerry McRory, last night told how he
prayed over the dying man.

"I knew he was going to die when I saw him. My immediate
thoughts were for this young man's family. It's a very sad
situation," he said.

The Police Ombudsman's senior director of investigations,
Justin Felice, said his investigators would examine all the
circumstances leading up to this incident.

He said: "I would like to make a witness appeal for anybody
who may have seen this incident to contact the Police
Ombudsman's office."

The main Belfast to Newcastle road remained sealed off
throughout most of yesterday and the man's body lay covered
by a white sheet for several hours.

There was serious traffic disruption as hundreds of
holidaymakers attempted to make their way through the town
towards the seaside resort of Newcastle.

Several motorists caught up in the traffic chaos got out of
their cars and joined crowds of church-goers who had
gathered at the scene.

One woman said there was chaos when people realised
somebody had been shot.


Monday, April 17, 2006

AOH: Irish-American Catholic Fraternal Organization Marked The 1916 Easter Rebellion

The Ancient Order of Hibernians is an Irish-American
Catholic fraternal organization founded in 1836 in New
York. The order traces its roots to an organization that
has existed in Ireland for more than 300 years.

In the early 1600s, group members protected priests in
Ireland after the reign of England's King Henry VIII. In
the 1830s and '40s, the group watched over the clergy and
church and assisted the large number of Irish immigrants
fleeing the famine.

Now, the order helps newly arrived Irish socially and
politically. Members promote Irish art, dance, music and

Source: Ancient Order of Hibernians in America Web site,


April 17, 2006

Irish Revive Rites For Easter Revolt, And Debate Its Merits

By Brian Lavery

For the Irish, this Easter was a time for renewing old
habits, and reopening old wounds.

On Sunday, Ireland's armed forces marched through Dublin,
the capital, for the first time in 35 years, reviving the
traditional commemoration of a failed rebellion against
British rule in 1916, which helped set the stage for Irish
independence. The commemoration was halted in the 1970's,
when the Irish Republican Army claimed kinship to the 1916

On Sunday, about 120,000 spectators, including Prime
Minister Bertie Ahern and President Mary McAleese, watched
2,500 soldiers and army veterans parade up Dublin's main
boulevard, O'Connell Street, where the bulk of the fighting
took place. They listened as an army officer read an
independence declaration, just as the rebel leader, Padraig
Pearse, did to a bemused crowd 90 years ago.

To demonstrate the current amicable relationship between
the countries, the British ambassador, Stewart Eldon,
attended, with the leaders of Ireland's six main political

While similar military processions are common elsewhere in
Europe, the restoration of the Dublin parade became a
lightning rod in recent months for an acerbic national
debate over that legendary insurrection, known as the
Easter Rising.

Since Mr. Ahern announced plans for the ceremonies last
year, Ireland's talk shows, opinion pages and political
meetings have been dominated by angry arguments about
whether the 1916 rebels were heroic patriots or ideological
bullies with guns, and whether a national display of armed
might was an appropriate way to remember the event.

"We should honor the achievement of all those who took
part" in the struggle for independence, Mr. Ahern said
Sunday, after laying a wreath in the jailyard where British
firing squads had executed the leaders of the rebellion.
"Independent Ireland is now in full stride and beginning to
fulfill the hopes and expectations that all the patriots of
the past knew we possessed."

In a speech last week, he put it more bluntly. "We are
citizens, not subjects," he said, as if to remind listeners
that their ancestors had won freedom from a British

Folk memory points to the Rising as the peak of a glorious
struggle for freedom. William Butler Yeats immortalized it
in verse, writing after the violence that "All changed,
changed utterly:/A terrible beauty is born."

At the time, though, the week of fighting between the
relatively disorganized rebels and British forces turned
much of central Dublin into smoldering ruins, and it was a
surprise to the city's bewildered residents. Dubliners
looted downtown stores and later jeered the captured
prisoners, pelting them with rotten vegetables.

Heroic or foolish, the rebellion laid the groundwork for
the unfolding of events in Ireland during the 20th century.
It occurred at the height of World War I, which claimed the
lives of nearly 50,000 Irish soldiers serving in the
British Army. Three Irish political parties trace their
origins to that week of violence, which killed 450 people —
more than half of them civilians — and, according to some
historians, signaled the final chapter of the British

The sectarian violence that flared in Northern Ireland in
the 1970's, and the I.R.A. contentions that its guerrilla
war was in accordance with the ideals of 1916, had halted
the military display in Dublin.

While that is less of an issue these days, critics say that
the parade dangerously glorifies the use of military force
for political ends. They also see it as an effort by Mr.
Ahern to appeal to the people as a nationalist, because his
party is losing voters to Sinn Fein, the I.R.A.'s political

Defense Minister Willie O'Dea said that Northern Ireland's
sectarian conflict was essentially over and that the parade
represented "the end of the Troubles." Ms. McAleese, who
has mostly ceremonial duties, said the 1916 proclamation
expressed modern ideals like women's rights and universal

For that reason the parade, a common childhood memory for
many people who grew up in Dublin, was greeted with
nostalgia by enthusiastic crowds lining the short route
through the city.

The Irish are now generally proud of their armed forces,
which principally engage in peacekeeping missions for the
United Nations. A soldier riding in an armored vehicle on
Sunday carried a traditional Irish road sign, but with its
arrows naming destinations where the army had served, like
Liberia, Afghanistan and Kosovo.

Unlike many European countries during the last century, in
which national armies often challenged stable democracy,
Ireland never experienced the threat of a military coup,
said Dermot Keogh, a historian at University College Cork.

"We're a nation that came out of a revolutionary tradition,
but we didn't develop a military tradition," he said.

"Sunday is not exclusively about 1916," said Mr. Keogh, a
Dublin native. "The Irish Army is an institution of which
Irish people are inordinately proud."


Opin: Embracing Ireland's Past With Dignity

17 April 2006

As was demonstrated in Dublin yesterday, the 90th
anniversary of the Easter Rising is an occasion both for
reflection and for re-dedication to a peaceful future. The
dignified parade, with its minute's silence for all the
victims, showed that such ceremonies need not be
triumphalist or divisive.

For the first time in almost 40 years, the Irish Government
has taken a lead role in the commemorations, something that
lent a new air of respectability to the event. The presence
of the British ambassador was a reminder of the improved
relations between Britain and Ireland.

As Bertie Ahern said, the Irish Government wants to mark
the past while sending out an "inclusive message" that it
aims to work on Ireland's shared history and shared future.
This point will be underlined in July, when the 90th
anniversary of the Somme will recall the impressive unity
of purpose displayed by Ulster and Irish divisions.

The Rising and the Somme proved to be seminal events in
Irish history, and both still cast their shadow over modern
society. Some people even date the start of the troubles
from the 50th anniversary of the Rising, and the impact it
had on community relations in Northern Ireland.

To this day, the principal political parties in the
Republic vie with each other to proclaim themselves as the
rightful inheritors of 1916. The power struggle persists,
and many of the politicians on parade this weekend will
have more than one eye fixed on next year's Irish General

As with all events in history, it is difficult today to
separate fact from fiction when it comes to the Rising.
What can be said, though, is that this was a rebellion
which only secured any measure of popular support once the
British authorities over-reacted and executed the ring-

Connolly and Pearse could not claim to have a mandate to
resort to violence and their actions may indeed have set
back the cause of Irish unity. The debate continues as to
what might have been secured by nationalist politicians in
the course of peaceful negotiation following World War One.

Unfortunately, the Republic in its formative years failed
to live up to the pluralist principles espoused in the 1916
Proclamation. The pledge of religious and civil liberty
failed to prevent the Protestant population being reduced
to a tiny minority.

Regrettably, the newly independent Republic turned inward
and a more mature relationship with the UK only developed
in recent years, under the auspices of the European Union.
Ireland is fully entitled to commemorate its history, but
like every other nation, it must learn from the past. The
future lies in consensus, not conflict, and most certainly
not in the pointless shedding of any more blood.


Opin Reconciliation Attempts Span The World

The Monday Column
By Roy Garland

Beyond the political machinations, military parade and
celebrations, an attempt is being made to heal memories by
honouring ALL who suffered, including those in British
uniform, in Dublin 1916.

On the other side of the world, people, mainly of Anglo-
Celtic descent, also prepare services of remembrance for
members of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps
(Anzac) who perished in a futile eight-month campaign
beginning at Gallipoli on April 25 1915 – Anzac Day.

There is an Ulster/Irish connection. David John Garland,
son of Monaghan-born James Garland, emigrated from Dublin
to Toowoomba near Brisbane, Australia in 1886 and came
under the influence of Canon Thomas Jones of St James’
Church of England. Although from a staunchly Orange family,
David Garland embraced the Anglo-Catholicism of his mentor
while, perhaps paradoxically, remaining an Empire Patriot.
For him the British Empire advanced Christian civilisation
and was a means of spreading a gospel of liberation to the
ends of the earth. He also admired and advocated
Gladstone’s view that power brought responsibility for the

Garland also evinced great concern for the young soldiers
who effectively offered their lives in defence of freedom.
Indeed, as a young priest he became a chaplain during the
Boer War.

For him the ‘nation’ was a community under agreed
principles and should be united under God.

During the 1914-18 war he came to see ‘Prussianism’ –
ruthless military expansion – as an evil to be stopped in
the name of Christian civilisation. Those who gave their
lives in this cause were, he believed, uniting themselves
with Christ’s sacrifice.

Garland again volunteered as chaplain in Egypt and
Palestine in 1917 and on his return in 1919 dedicated
himself to remembrance of the fallen (Anzac Day) and the
welfare of veterans.

On Anzac Day 1924, during a special memorial service, he
quoted John’s Gospel, “greater love has no man than this
that a man lay down his life for his friends” – words used
more recently of Bobby Sands.

There may be some commonality between Canon Garland’s
theology and that of 1916.

The latter was also sacrificial and brought death and
injury alike to insurrectionists, innocent bystanders,
policemen and soldiers while cementing divisions.

While reintroducing military parades in Dublin, the
Taoiseach says he wants to make the event inclusive, a
motive with which Dubliner Canon Garland would have
sympathised. As the virtual architect of Australia’s Anzac
Day, Garland wished to commemorate the sacrifice of the
fallen, comfort the bereaved, and call the nation to
repentance for war.

In the Middle East, Garland advanced relations with the
Greek Orthodox Church and engaged in welfare work among
Greek Christians. In 1920 the Patriarch of Jerusalem
awarded him the Gold Cross of the Order of the Holy
Sepulchre. In the Church he served so ardently, he was
never promoted beyond Canon yet on his death in 1939, the
Archbishop of Brisbane described him as a fighter who
invested heart and soul in championing great causes.

During his long ministry, Garland worked for mutual
understanding and reconciliation among Christians. And at
next week’s Anzac Day for the first time, members of the
Australian Turkish community are invited to participate as
a sign of reconciliation with former enemies.

This humanitarian gesture by the Returned Servicemen’s
League is consistent with Garland’s position that nations
should live together in peace and harmony.

From the vantage point of Australia and New Zealand or even
the Channel Islands, British civilisation can be respected
as a power for good in the world, and yet for many Irish
the British remain villains.

The first casualty of war is truth and the truth is that
humanity is plagued by ambivalence on violence. Yet truth
and justice seldom lie entirely and securely on one side.
The death of Jesus, an innocent man, exposes the nature of
much of our justice. A victim was required and found in

His death brought Romans and Jews together while his own
followers forsook him during his dying moments.

If our humanity or faith is to be restored we must come to
terms with our victims and, in doing so, we may yet find
liberation from the grip of a violent past this Easter.


Opin: Useless Shadow Boxing Years Are Now Behind Us

By James Kelly

It’s all over bar the weeping and wailing on D-day November

The two prime ministers, Tony Blair and Bertie Ahern,
arrived on a wet and windy day in Armagh to tell our
embattled political no-men that the three-and-half years
wasted in useless shadow boxing has come to an end and
unless devolution at Stormont is restored they are sacked.
Starting on May 15 the almost forgotten Stormont assembly
members are given six weeks to face up to their
responsibilities in government with a break for the
cultural shenanigans dubbed the “marching season”,
hopefully low-key this time. Then a further six to eight
weeks to form an executive and finally bring down the
curtain on direct rule.

If the 80-year-old chief stumbling block, Dr No – alias Ian
Paisley – is still stuck up the creek

Mr Blair says Plan B must be set up by the two governments
to fill the vacuum.

Does the choice of the historic setting of the ancient
capital of Armagh and the premier’s

morning visit to Navan Fort, chief residence of the kings
of Ulster for 600 years and the legendary Red Branch
knights ring a bell about the likely site of an interim
north-south joint authority?

But this talk of an ultimatum may in the long run not be
necessary. Political commentators searching around for some
scrap of hope say they are intrigued by Martin McGuinness’s
cryptic remark this week that something might turn up
before the November deadline. Then there was the equally
cryptic contribution of DUP boss, Mr Paisley. After
dismissing government threats and deadlines and repeating
his well-worn warnings about the statements of the IRA he
told an interviewer that there was always the possibility
of a ‘miracle’!

Coming from an admirer of the Apostle Paul, who
miraculously turned turtle on the road to Damascus, and Mr
Paisley’s well-publicised 80th birthday where he disported
at home with his grandchildren and wife Eileen as a
humorous family man, we wondered about this throw-away
remark. Then there was the reiterated hint that his adored
wife and help mate is soon to be ennobled as a baroness in
the House of Lords. Is that odd deal first forecasted by
the BBC months ago back and ready for appropriate timing?
We must wait and see.

Meantime watch Dr No’s lips.

Someone should warn our friends in the United States to
closely watch the lips of Mr Paisley’s second in command
Peter Robinson. They must be puzzled to learn from him, in
speeches to American audiences, the claim that he is a
committed ‘devolutionist’.

Needless to say he is singing dumb there on his claim to
DUP followers here that the Good Friday Agreement is a dead

The brutal murder of the pathetic self-confessed spy Denis
Donaldson in a lonely and miserable Co Donegal cottage was
grist to the mill of the despicable theorists who
immediately followed Mr Paisley’s off-the-cuff remark that
it “cast a dark shadow” over the latest attempts to move
the political process forward.

Fortunately both the London and Dublin prime ministers have
refused to be deflected from the new efforts to end the
stupid political log-jam which has closed down the north’s
assembly and executive for more than three years.

There is still much that remains to be disclosed about this
and the other British spy ‘Stakeknife’ – now said to be in
hiding in his native southern Italy.

Some papers insist on labelling Mr Donaldson as a double
agent, in other words working secretly for both sides. Did
he think he would be immune like the extraordinary British
Soviet agent Sir Anthony Blunt, who was unmasked as
protector of the other top British Soviet agents, Philby,
Burgess and McClean?

Amazingly he was cleared by MI5 and before his death in
1983 was appointed as adviser of the Queen’s pictures and

It seems in the murky world of the MI5 weird things can

Unless the Co Donegal gardai can come up with something
quickly this is a 'whodunnit’ that will go on and on.


Opin: Puppetry Nor Plan B Can Bring Us Fairytale Ending

By Tom Kelly

Hans Christian Andersen’s tale about the emperor’s new
clothes is essentially a story about vanity. Not one but
two emperors came to Armagh appealing not just to their
vanities but the vanities of those who would be emperors of
the north.

It was hailed as the last roll of the dice; the last chance
saloon or the OK Corral for unionists or nationalists to
share power. The governments said the clock was ticking on
devolution and that it was time for the protagonists to
make their minds up or they would be made up for them.

The very explicit threat was there for all to see – get
your act together or there will be a ‘step change’ in
advancing north-south cooperation. The target for the
message was very clearly the DUP.

The government opted for the stick rather than the carrot
approach but there are challenges within what the
governments say for Sinn Fein and the SDLP. Neither party
can afford to be duped into the British-inspired puppetry
that would arise from a powerless assembly allowed to
discuss the great issues of the day while waiting for the
creation of a fully inclusive executive. There are those
within both parties who would be tempted to get into the
Stormont bed at any costs but gaining a reputation for
being ‘easy’ is hardly a virtue to be rated in politics or

The two governments have made it clear that they are
already working on ‘detailed British-Irish partnership
arrangements that will be necessary to ensure that the Good
Friday Agreement, which is the “indispensable framework for
relations on and between these islands”.

This is music to the ears of any nationalist and the stuff
of nightmares for most unionists.

For most nationalists who believe that partition was
Ireland’s biggest tragedy then anything which approximates
to a partial restoration of Irish sovereignty – even in the
form of joint stewardship-partnership or authority with the
British – is to be welcomed.

It will be interesting to watch the Sinn Fein response to
see if backsides warmed by the leather of ministerial cars
have induced a degree of comfort with the concept of a
partitioned parliament?

For others within the republican family, in this the 25th
anniversary year of the Hunger Strikes and the 90th
commemoration of the Easter Rising, the sacrifice paid by
their loved ones may seem a costly price for a very limited

The SDLP also has a choice to make.

They say north-south makes sense so they too should make it
clear that the governments have a responsibility to move on
even if some northern parties will not.

As devolutionists their position is clearer than Sinn
Fein’s but they need to let unionists know that if there is
not going to be the full implementation of the Good Friday
Agreement and the formation of a fully inclusive executive
then they too will back joint British-Irish stewardship.

While local politicians making local decisions is a
preferable form of government to direct rule it cannot for
any hue of nationalist become an end in itself.

Of course the real power behind the partnership punch comes
with the resolve of either of the two governments to
actually move to joint stewardship, if there is no
progress. So far that resolve is untested.

As for the octogenarian DUP ayatollah, he dared the
governments to do their worst. Not for the first time did
he state that neither he nor Ulster was for sale to Dublin.

Basking in the glow from the candles on his 80th birthday
cake he does not believe the government threats about
increased north-south cooperation and he was determined not
be coerced into any government-led timetable for tea and
crumpets with Sinn Fein.

In his advanced years and notwithstanding his protestations
to the contrary, the destiny of Northern Ireland does not
lie in his hands.

Despite the electoral strength of the DUP, if Dr Paisley
fails to grasp the opportunity his mandate gives him to
close a deal for unionism sooner rather than later, he may
find the timetable being set by a higher authority than the
two governments.

The roaring reverend is proud of his uncompromising stance
and you don’t have to be a unionist to admire his energy or
consistency but the vanity of leadership can be as
threadbare as the invisible suit worn by the emperor in the

But who is going to say so?


Opin: ‘It’s Time To Break Down The Monoliths’

The Monday Column
By Roy Garland

“That the sons and daughters of the Planter and the Gael
have found a way to share the land of their birth and live
together in peace.” Peter Robinson’s words, spoken in New
York last week, reflect his aspirations. He acknowledges
significant progress in the peace process and insists that
Ian Paisley might yet work with Sinn Fein and that in 2004
“a deal was potentially only days away”.

Having “come so close” the DUP were expected to move “over
the line” but Robert McCartney’s murder and the £26.5
million bank heist put paid to IRA credibility. This also
damaged the “fond but fragile hope” that crime and violence
was behind us, although Robinson admits “appreciable
progress” has taken place. “Completion and permanence” is
now crucial and the “precious principles” of democracy and
the rule of law “must prevail”. Although it is hard to
forget Clontibret or that the DUP leadership’s role
sometimes reflected less than wholeheartedly commitment to
law and order or indeed that Unionism was born in defiance
of legitimate authority, robbing banks and murder must now
end and the final transition to a normal society must be
completed. Robinson is “a committed devolutionist” who
wants local politicians making decisions for their people
“as soon as possible”. His desire for devolution must not
be confused with majority rule because the DUP now accepts
that “support of both unionists and nationalists” is
essential. Only the “nature of these arrangements” and the
basis of participation remain outstanding matters. He
believes terrorists could never be “weaned off terrorism”
and insists on “zero tolerance” and a demonstrable
commitment to peaceful means alone. Yet although the
November deadline could be too soon, Peter acknowledges
Sinn Fein’s capacity to increase the pace.

Even if Denis Donaldson was murdered by the IRA this “need
not impact on the setting up of an assembly” though it
would damage prospects for an executive.

If the “transitional assembly” was up and running, Robinson
believes this would provide space for Sinn Fein to end
paramilitarism and criminality and allow “trust and
confidence” to grow. But some of us have long promoted
space for dialogue in the teeth of opposition from the DUP
who often sat on side lines criticising while others bore
the brunt of their catcalls for meeting “the enemy”. Some
of us even helped prepare the ground by arguing with Sinn
Fein leaders that Ian Paisley was up for a deal as Robinson
now admits he was.

Peter hopes for “a better and brighter day” when “the
eternal values of liberty and democracy have prevailed”.
His speech is positive and hopeful and most people will
welcome his clear statements. However there are
contradictions and misperceptions including that, in
Robinson’s words, it is not possible for paramilitaries to
be “weaned off terrorism”. This conflicts with his
willingness to create yet another space for Sinn Fein to
end paramilitarism and criminality. The UUP helped foster
circumstances in which republicans could change. In
contrast, recalcitrant unionism was in danger of locking us
into further generations of conflict making Northern
Ireland increasingly ungovernable. But Peter Robinson is
now more restrained in his opportunistic digs at the UUP.
Many have also noticed the changing language of Ian Paisley
and hope that hypocritical calls for sackcloth and ashes
are now a thing of the past. As for Robinson’s words about
peace between “the Planter and the Gael”, this will surely
be welcomed by all. The terms are shorthand for “two
communities” and, as with all shorthand, they are
inadequate and obscure complexity. For example, many are
neither Planter nor Gael nor Ulster Scots although they may
have elements of all three. It is time to break down
monoliths throughout this island and to welcome and
acknowledge diversity as something in which we can take
pride. The copper-fastening of the November deadline
focuses minds and may enable the DUP and Sinn Fein to take
courage and face final realities.

Just as the DUP once before entered a power sharing
arrange-ment to protect the interests of their people, they
can again share power for the same reason.

This is providing republicans fulfil our hopes and draw a
final line over their past to enable us all to move on to
better things.


Opin: Dirty Dealing Encourages False Line Of Thinking

The Wednesday Column
By Brian Feeney

We know that British security services and armed forces
conspired with loyalist terrorists to kill republicans,
members of Sinn Fein and the IRA; that they allowed, even
encouraged, loyalists to kill relatives of republicans and
solicitors who acted for republicans; that they allowed
loyalists to kill innocent people to protect the identities
of agents. We know they allowed agents in their pay to be
killed by other agents in their pay.

We know all this because Lord Stevens told us so in general
terms when a minuscule fraction of his last report was
released on April 16 2003.

We know that none of the people who sanctioned all that
killing will ever be brought to justice.

Most who were absent from the Mull of Kintyre Chinook
helicopter crash have either been promoted or retired.

The Conservative politicians who authorised the dirty war
are dead or gone to the House of Lords, where they will be
joined by the best the DUP could offer as candidates for
that House.

We know all this but we don’t know the half of it. To be
more accurate, we don’t know 99 per cent of it since
Stevens was allowed to release only one per cent of his
3,000-page report.

We also know that there are what have come to be known as
‘securocrats’, people in the British administration who
never agreed with the peace process, who worked in the
1990s to frustrate it and then continued to try to stymie
the political process which brought Sinn Fein centre-stage
in politics.

Some of them are still in senior positions. You can see
from the briefings given to certain newspapers and
journalists that there remains strong opposition in some
circles to the developments of the last decade or so.

All this dirty dealing encourages a false line of thinking
which blames the British security services for every
sensational event that affects politics here – the
Castlereagh burglary, Stormontgate, the killing of Denis

It’s fertile ground for conspiracy theorists. The
furtiveness of the British state means no-one can prove MI5
or the SAS or FRU (renamed the Joint Services Group) isn’t
the culprit, no matter how bizarre the claim.

And bizarre these claims are. Let’s take the suggestion
that British security services were involved in the murder
of Donaldson.

Of course they have the expertise, manpower and equipment.
However, we are being asked to believe that 48 hours before
the British prime minister was due to issue a joint
statement with the taoiseach, elements in his own security
services decided to embarrass him by killing a man in
another jurisdiction, a killing which could have derailed
the policy initiative the prime minister had been working
on for months. As Tony Blair would say, “Really?”

There is a crucial difference between the nefarious
activities of the British security services and RUC before
1997 and now.

It’s this. During the whole disastrous period of
Conservative governments from 1979-97, British policy was
exclusively directed at defeating the IRA and producing a
victory for the state’s security policy. Even the 1985
Anglo-Irish Agreement was signed by Thatcher because it
promised closer security cooperation with the Republic.

Since Labour came to power, led by one of the most ruthless
and powerful prime ministers in British history, wielding
gigantic parliamentary majorities, policy has been directed
at producing a political resolution of the problem here.

Conspiracy theorists ask us to believe that this most
powerful prime minister would permit a group of his
government employees opposed to his policies to commit
crimes against the state and in another state for the
express purpose of wrecking his policy.

Unfortunately for that argument, this is a prime minister
who has exercised more control over Britain’s security and
intelligence services than anyone in living memory.

Is he not accused of doctoring intelligence material to
suit his own policy on Iraq? Is he not accused of
appointing his own candidate to head MI6?

Yet the conspiracy theorists would have us believe that
where Ireland is concerned, Blair allows some class of
free-booters to try to destroy his goal of settling the
Irish question, perhaps the only potential success left to
his premiership.



Opin: Illegals Issue Is About As Emotive As It Gets

By Ray O'Hanlon Letter from America

Yeats could have penned the script.

The two ends of the argument began tugging at the
compromise that had taken form in the middle. The pressure
became too great, the centre could not hold and a terrible
impasse was born.

Such was the outcome in the great immigration reform debate
on Capitol Hill by the end of last week.

What had seemed like a workable compromise had emerged
following tortuous argument. But it was only to survive a
few hours.

For millions of undocumented immigrants, tens of thousands
of Irish among them, the promised land seemed to be within
reach – only to be snatched away.

For some, it might have been a final straw.

But, tantalisingly, even that straw survives. Congress is
in recess for the Easter break and will return to
Washington the week after next.

Those who want to see comprehensive immigration reform
succeed are pledging to keep the issue alive and on the
legislative front burner.

Trouble is, the burner is becoming hotter by the minute as
other business, and a looming mid-term congressional
election in November, takes ever firmer hold of the
political agenda and on the mindset of politicians who must
face the voters.

And yet, history indicates that even from the ashes of a
legislative burn-out, Congress can pull something out.

This was certainly the case 20 years ago when the US was
wrestling with an immigration crisis very similar to
today’s, though one not quite of the scale of 2006.

Have a gander at this!

“While most of the illegal aliens come from Mexico and
other Latin American countries, there are illegal aliens
from scores of nations. The number of illegal aliens from
Ireland is unknown.

“There is no reliable figure but some political observers
say the number is about 40,000.”

This could have been written this week, right down to the
estimated number of undocumented Irish – 40,000 being the
tally aired by the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform
(ILIR) which has been battling for an Irish share in
whatever emerges from Congress.

The paragraph was, however, written in 1986. It was carried
in a report on the front page of the Irish Echo. It formed
part of a story on efforts in Congress to pass an
immigration reform bill that year.

The headline atop the report was not promising:
“Immigration bill dead”.

One congressional supporter of the bill blamed this failure
on fruit and vegetable growers who pressured House of
Representatives members to kill the measure, on the grounds
that they presumably preferred their labour to be cheap,
undocumented and benefit-free.

Two weeks later, the front-page headline had, magically,
done an about turn: “Immigration bill passed,” it roared.

The reasons offered for the 1986 Immigration and Reform and
Control Act rising, Lazarus-like, from a legislative grave
were both simple and complex.

And if reform rises again this year from what looks like a
deep hole, if not precisely a grave, some of them will
carry echoes of ’86.

What formed the central part of the compromise last week
was an idea presented by two Republican senators, Chuck
Hagel from Nebraska and Mel Martinez from Florida. It had
the whiff of Solomon about it as it drew an arbitrary line
splitting the undocumented into those who have been in the
US longer than five years and those who have been in the
country less than that time.

This so-called ‘roots’ option would have offered a path to
most of the undocumented Irish and, though not perfect in
ILIR’s eyes, would have been a good deal better than
nothing. At least for the time being.

The roots option could again crop up when the Senate
resumes. But even should the Senate eventually work out a
deal it would then have to be reconciled with the already-
approved House of Representatives immigration bill, a
measure that is law, order and national security and little

After that, any compromise would head for the desk of
President Bush, whose bottom-line view on immigration is
still a little fuzzy – this because he hasn’t quite made
clear how far down the road he might go with ‘earned
legalisation’, the McCain/Kennedy formula that is causing
such angst to congressional opponents of reform.

Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands are marching on the
streets of US cities urging reform; millions of lives have
been put on hold.

It won’t be the most relaxing of breaks for those
legislators pulling at each end of an issue that is about
as emotive as they come.


Opin: Rising Played Pivotal Part In Irish History

The Thursday Column
By Jim Gibney

Ninety years ago the British Empire held sway over a
considerable part of the globe.

Shortly before 1pm on Easter Monday 1916, outside Dublin’s
GPO, that empire started

to crumble.

It did so in the face of a democratic Proclamation, backed
by a small armed force of men and women.

It would take another 50 years before most of Britain’s
colonies secured their independence.

The first step towards that freedom was taken by Patrick
Pearse when he stepped from the GPO onto Dublin’s O’Connell
Street and declared an Irish Republic.

His and the actions of those who followed him were
inspirational here and abroad.

The rising was a daring enterprise. As a military venture
unlikely to succeed, as a political gesture for a nation in
waiting, it was unsurpassed.

Those who led the rising and signed the Proclamation were
teachers, poets, trade unionists, dramatists, writers and

They were nationalists, republicans, socialists, feminists
and Gaelic speakers, united with a common purpose – Irish

Patrick Pearse and James Connolly led the rising. They were
two of the foremost thinkers and writers of their day;
intellectuals and activists they knew well the power of the
written word.

They were publicists and propagandists; produced their own
newspapers, Pearse, An Claidheamh Soluis, to promote the
Irish language and Connolly, The Worker’s Republic, to
promote workers’ rights and socialism.

At a time when the people of Ireland were encouraged to
fight an imperialist war the rising offered an alternative
– a national democratic revolution.

A revolution which served the interests of the powerless,
the marginalised – the majority of the Irish people.

The rising was anchored in the Irish people’s historical
claim to nationhood. It provided certainty of political
thought and direction.

Its architects were on the side of progressive forces
across Europe who were challenging imperialism and
capitalism and its class-ridden society. On the side of
organisations in embryonic form like the trades unions,
labour parties and women’s groups.

The bulk of those who fought in the rising came from the
poorest classes. They had much to gain from a successful

There was another Ireland which existed alongside the
future Republic declared in the 1916 Proclamation.

It was the Ireland run by a British administration. They
recruited tens of thousands of young Irish men to fight in
the First World War. Many thousands of them died in the
belief they were helping to free small nations like
Ireland. Others from Ireland died loyally serving an
English king.

The British army ruthlessly suppressed the rising. Much of
Dublin’s city centre was destroyed.

The insurgents valiantly fought. They held out for six

Initially public opinion was divided over supporting the
rebels but quickly turned and rallied behind them when the
British army began executing the 1916 leaders.

The rising was a pivotal point in 20th century Ireland. It
shaped and continues to shape Irish politics.

Pearse and Connolly spent many years in the cultural and
socialist movements of their time.

The Proclamation, the rising’s manifesto, reflected their
seasoned political beliefs.

Therein you will find the republican vision for an
independent Ireland.

The Proclamation declared the ownership of Ireland for its
people; it guaranteed women and men voting rights,
religious and civil liberty, equal rights and opportunities
to all. It pledged to cherish the children of the nation

The execution of the leaders of the rising robbed the
independence movement of key radical thinkers; visionaries
with high ideals.

Immediately after the rising a tidal wave of support for
independence took all before it except for unionists.

The war of independence followed.

The national movement so carefully built fractured in the
face of the Treaty and the disastrous civil war.

When it was over the Republic lay in the ruins of a
partitioned Ireland.

The best of a generation were dead.

Their dreams of freedom buried with them, so hoped the new
class which emerged to run a partitioned Ireland.

But the spirit of the rising echoed beyond its time. Others
rallied, to this day, to fulfil the aspirations of the men
and women of Easter week who will be honoured all over
Ireland this weekend.

That is the enduring nature of the 1916 rising.


Enigmatic Leader With A Tarnished Reputation

By Valerie Robinson Southern Correspondent

Padraig Pearse’s gift with words earned him early
prominence among nationalists and republicans – but his
legacy has been tarnished by the current dissection of his
life and personality.

Pat Cooke, curator of the Padraig Pearse Museum in Dublin,
said the man was a “very complicated character”, seen by
many as being “dark and deep” because so little remains
known about the Pearse the person.

“Padraig Pearse is probably one of the most challenging
characters in1916. To understand him properly you would
have to know all about his life and have read all of his
work,” Mr Cooke said.

Historian Joe Lee has described Pearse as the most complex
character in modern Irish history.

The poet and scholar was born in Dublin to a Catholic
convert father and an Irish-speaking mother. From an early
age Pearse showed an interest in the Irish language,
joining the Gaelic League in his teens and becoming editor
of its newspaper.

The Dubliner was a prolific writer of poems, essays and
stories in both Irish and English. He also penned political
pamphlets in the months prior to the rising.

His heroes included Tone and Emmet, drawing him to
nationalist politics, while his love of Irish led him to
establish the bilingual school, St

Enda’s School in Ranelagh, south Dublin, in 1908.

In 1913 Pearse attended the inaugural meeting of the Irish
Volunteers, going on to become a member of the Irish
Republican Brotherhood (IRB), serving on its supreme
council, and military committee.

In his 1915 graveside oration at the funeral of the Fenian
Jeremiah O’Donovan Rossa, Pearse famously said that: “Life
springs from death; and from the graves of patriot men and
women spring living nations.”

Acting as spokesman for the planned 1916 Easter Rising,
Pearse sent out the signal across Ireland for a general
Uprising but confusion was created when Eoin MacNeill
Countermanded the order.

Pearse was chosen as president of the Irish Republic and as
such proclaimed a Republic from the steps of the GPO when
hostilities erupted on Easter Monday.

After several days under a barrage of fire from British
forces the rebel leaders surrendered unconditionally on
April 29, with Pearse being among the first to be executed.
He was 36.

In the year following the rising, Pearse was a hero to many
nationalists but his reputation suffered at the hands of
revisionists after the outbreak of the Northern Ireland

Conor Cruise O’Brien was particularly critical, portraying
Pearse as a misguided idealist, who had seen the Rising as
a “Passion Play with real blood”.

Pearse’s air of mystery has led to much speculation,
including the suggestion that he was a homosexual, while
there have also been claims that he may have had
paedophilic tendencies – based on one of his poems in which
he writes that “the kiss of a boy is as sweet as honey”.

His former school is now the Pearse Museum while people
with a professional and amateur interest in Irish history
remain keen collectors of his letters and and other

:: Pat Cooke will give a lecture entitled ‘Padraig Pearse:
The Victorian Gael’ at Donegal County Museum on April 18
and the Tower Museum in Derry on April 19.


Legacy Of Irish Political Giant

By Valerie Robinson Southern Correspondent

Eamon de Valera is a historical figure who continues to
excite both great admiration and scorn from the Irish

Born in New York in 1882, de Valera always insisted that
his Irish mother and Spanish-Cuban father were married in
the city. However, searches by historians have failed to
unearth any record of the marriage or of his father Juan
Vivion de Valera.

He came to Ireland at the age of two and was reared by
relatives in Limerick before winning a scholarship to
Blackrock College in Dublin.

Thoughout his life, de Valera was deeply religious and is
understood to have contemplated entering the priesthood.

In 1908, de Valera joined the Gaelic League, where he met
future wife Sinead Flanagan. It was through his involvement
with the Irish language that he became involved in
revolutionary nationalism, joining the Irish Volunteers in
1913 and later the IRB.

During the Easter Rising, de Valera occupied Boland’s
Mills, on Grand Canal Street, escaping execution when his
sentence was commuted to penal servitude for life. His US
citizenship is thought to have been one of the factors that
saved his life.

While winning praise from his supporters, de Valera’s
critics claimed he suffered a nervous breakdown during the

Freed from prison in 1917, he was elected member of the
British House of Commons for East Clare as well as
president of Sinn Fein in 1918. The party won 73 out of 104
Irish seats because of public feeling about the execution
of the rising leaders.

A month after the establishment of Dail Eireann in 1919 de
Valera escaped from Lincoln Gaol, replacing Cathal Brugha
as the parliament’s president.

His efforts to win US support for an Irish republic
received a mixed reaction, with de Valera securing a loan
but failing to get official recognition. It is around this
time that de Valera’s relationship with Michael Collins is
believed to have soured as the Corkman’s popularity

He refused to participate in peace negotiations with
Britain during the War of Independence, appointing Collins
as one of his plenipotentiaries, but later refused to
accept the Ango-Irish Agreement.

During speeches in Co Tipperary in March 1922 de Valera
warned that if the treaty was accepted it might become
necessary to “wade through Irish blood” to achieve the
island’s freedom.

The Civil War marked one of the darkest periods in Irish
history but de Valera is not believed to have engaged in
military activities, leaving the control of the IRA to Liam
Lynch. He backed the 1923 ceasefire and was interned for a

In March 1926 de Valera formed Fianna Fail, which quickly
became the dominant party in the Republic. His Catholicism
was always a dominant factor, leading him to support a
local authority that sacked a Protestant librarian because
of his religion in 1931.

A year later he was appointed president of the Executive
Council after his party won 72 votes in the general
election. He sparked tensions with Britain by abolishing
the oath of allegiance and withholding land annuities –
leading to an economic war. He secured a majority in the
Dail in the 1933 election, with FF going on to win four
more elections.

While in government, de Valera replaced the Free State
constituion with Bunreacht na hEireann, recognising the
position of Catholicism in the state and making Irish the
official language.

From 1948, Fianna Fail was out of government for nine
years. De Valera handed over the party’s leadership to Sean
Lemass in 1959, becoming president that year and serving at
Aras an Uachtarain until 1973, when he was 91. He died in


To Dubliners Dying In France Rebellion Was A Brutal Betrayal

By Tom Burke

On April 27 1916, three days after Padraig Pearse stepped
onto the portico of the GPO in Dublin to proclaim the new
Irish Republic, 2,128 men of the 16th (Irish) Division
suffered horrifically from a German gas attack launched
over the Irish lines near the village of Hulluch.

The killing field at Hulluch is about twice the size of the
playing pitch in Croke Park and it lies about four
kilometres north of the French coal-mining city of Lens.

As the rebellion roared in Dublin, more than 540 men of the
Irish Division were killed instantly from the effects of
the gas; the remainder would suffer chronic lung and
breathing conditions for the rest of their lives.

The timing of this gas attack by Bavarian troops was, in an
Irish context, very poignant indeed.

News of the Easter Rebellion in Dublin reached the Irish
troops along the Western Front with disappointment. Many of
the troops were very bitter about what happened.

Some, like the poet Francis Ledwidge who served with the
Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, had a certain amount of
sympathy with the rebels.

Sergeant Edward Heapey of the 8th Dublins had come safely
through the attack at Hulluch.

He was one of the many who wrote home on the issue of Sinn
Fein and the effect the rebellion had on the men’s morale
and sense of betrayal.

“I wish I had my way with the Sinn Feiners. I would put
every one of them out here and make them do some real good
fighting and make them realise what war is like.”

Many of the Dublin Fusiliers were worried about the safety
of their families at home.

Writing to a young Dublin woman who organised comfort
parcels for the Irish troops in France, Private Joseph
Clarke stated: “I was sorry to hear of the of the rebel
rising in Ireland but I hope by the time this letter
reaches you the condition will have changed and things
normal again.

“There is no-one more sorry to hear of the rising than the
Irish troops out here – it worries them more than I can

“Their whole cry is, if they could only get among them for
a few days, the country would not be annoyed with them any

“Some of the men in this Battalion are very uneasy about
the safety of their people and one or two poor fellows have
lost relatives in this scandalous affair.

“We just have had some men returned off leave and they tell
us that Dublin is in ruins... We of the 2nd Battalion, the
Dublins, would ask for nothing better than the rebels
should be sent out here and have an encounter with some of
their ‘so-called allies’, the Germans.

“I do not think anything they have done will cause any
anxiety to England or her noble cause. We will win just the

“These men are pro-German pure and simple and no Irishmen
will be sorry when they get justice meted out to them,
which, in my opinion, should be death by being shot.”

John Redmond pronounced the rising a “German invasion of
Ireland; as brutal, as selfish, as cynical as Germany’s
invasion of Belgium”.

Redmond contrasted the “treason” in Dublin with the
fortitude and loyalty of the Irish troops of the 16th
(Irish) Division in France.

“Is it not an additional horror that on the very day when
we hear that the men of the Dublin Fusiliers have been
killed by Irishmen on the streets of Dublin we receive the
news of how the men of the 16th Division – our own Irish
Brigade, and of the same Dublin Fusiliers – had dashed
forward and by their unconquerable bravery retaken the
trenches that the Germans had won at Hulluch?

“Was there ever such a picture of a tragedy which a small
section of Irish faction had so often inflicted on the
fairest hopes and the bravest deeds of Ireland?”

German newspapers were aware of the Dublin rebellion and
this news travelled to the German lines at the front.

One read “Irishmen! Heavy uproar in Ireland. English guns
are firing on your wives and children” (May 1 1916).

The 9th Munsters hung an effigy of Casement in no-man’s
land just to annoy the Germans.

The Easter Rising in Dublin occurred roughly one year after
the Gallipoli landings and the gas attack at St Julien.

The people who lived in Dublin had not yet recovered from
the terrible loss of loved ones resulting from those

News about this latest loss of Irish life at Hulluch had
made its way back to Dublin not long after the rising.

It is a known fact that initially the rebellion and,
indeed, the rebels, were unpopular among the people of
inner-city Dublin, from where many of the Dublin Fusiliers

One must wonder if the words Hulluch or St Julien had
anything to do with that feeling of anger shown to the

The Dublin Fusiliers, along with several other Irish
regiments of the British army, were involved in the early
stages of putting down the rebellion.

The 10th Dublins fought at the Mendicity Institute along
Usher’s Quay and the 4th Dublins fought the rebels along
the railway line from the Broadstone railway station up to
the Cabra Bridge.

Eleven members of the regiment were killed or died of
wounds as a consequence of the rebellion, one of whom was
Lieut Gerald Aloysius Neilan, 10th Royal Dublin Fusiliers,
from Mount Harold Terrace, Dublin. He was killed by a
sniper on Usher’s Island on Easter Monday.

His brother took part in the rising with the Volunteers and
was deported to Knutsford Detention Barracks.

In early November 1917 every Irish Regiment, including the
Dublin Fusiliers, was moved from Ireland to either England
or Scotland, to be replaced mainly by English regiments.

The British military command in Dublin was worried about
guns going over the barrack walls.

In 1996 members of a Dublin Corporation house maintenance
team were clearing out a derelict house in Blackrock, Co

Among the rubbish they found in the attic was a British
army death certificate and a press cutting regarding a Pte
Joseph Pender, regimental number 8477 of the 9th Battalion
Royal Dublin Fusiliers.

The date on the death cert was April 27 1916, the date of
the gas attack at Hulluch.

Joseph was 17 when he died. So too was Pte Paddy Byrne from
19 Summerhill in Dublin, who died alongside him.

Running through the battlefield, facing Hulluch, stands the
magnificent Loos Memorial. All the men listed on the
memorial have one thing in common: their bodies were never

Among those names are Joseph Pender and Paddy Byrne, two
young Irishmen who died in Easter week 1916.

As the military parade passed the GPO in Dublin, did anyone
spare a thought for these two young lads?

They were Irish soldiers too.


Independence Struggle: The Northern Connection

By Staff Reporter

Sean MacDiarmada

Sean MacDiarmada was born in Co Leitrim in 1884.

At age 15 he ran away to Glasgow but arrived in Belfast in

He lived in Butler Street in Ardoyne and worked as a tram
conductor and later a barman in Donegall Street.

In Belfast he joined the Ancient Order of Hibernians and
the Gaelic League. In the Gaelic League he met Belfast
republicans Denis McCullough, Sean MacGarry and Bulmer
Hobson. He was sworn into the IRB in the city in 1906 and
worked as an organiser.

Later that year he was a Belfast delegate to the Sinn Fein
ard fheis.

In 1908 he was transferred to Dublin to work alongside
Dungannon man Tom Clarke.

In 1912 he became seriously ill with polio. He recovered
but had to use a stick to walk. During Easter week he
entered the GPO on a walking stick.

It was MacDiarmada who read Pearse’s letter of surrender to
the remaining republicans inside the GPO.

As a signatory of the Proclamation, acDiarmada was
sentenced to death and shot by firing squad on May 12.

Charles Monaghan

Belfast man Charles Monaghan was one of the first
republicans to be killed during the Easter Rising.

He was from Kilmood Street in the Short Strand area of east
Belfast and was educated at the Christian Brothers at
Oxford Street, Belfast.

At the age of 20 he emigrated to America but later returned
to Dublin and became involved in the Gaelic League and GAA.

With a knowledge of radio operating, he was part of a group
given the task of seizing a wireless station on the Kerry
coast in connection with Roger Casement’s landing of 2,000
rifles on board the Aud for use during Easter week.

On Good Friday night Monaghan, and two others were in a car
which toppled over a cliff and sank in the River Laune. His
body was found six months later.

A mural in his memory is to be unveiled in his native Short
Strand later this year.

A special commemoration for Charles Monaghan will take
place in the Short Strand on Sunday April 23.

Tom Clarke

Born in England in 1857 Tom Clarke was the oldest leader
executed during the rising.

At age 10 Clarke’s family had returned to Ireland and
settled in Dungannon, where his mother had relatives.

In 1872 Clarke fled to America after a gun attack on RIC
men in the town.

Despite the enforced emigration Clarke, always regarded
Dungannon as his home.

In 1883 he was jailed for 15 years in Britain after a
failed plot to blow up London Bridge.

On his release Clarke married and returned to America where
he linked up with Tyrone republicans Joe McGarrity and Pat

In 1907 Clarke returned to Dublin and worked as a
tobacconist but kept contact with Belfast republicans Sean
MacDiaramada and Bulmer Hobson.

Regarded as the architect of the Easter Rising, Clarke was
the first to sign the Proclomation.

He was executed on May 3.

Nora Connolly O’Brien

One of the main contacts between the leaders of the Easter
Rising and republicans in the north was Nora Connolly

James Connolly brought his family to live at Glenalina
Terrace in west Belfast in 1910. Although just 17 years of
age and working in a local mill, Nora Connolly was already
politically active.

She was a member of the Gaelic League and Cumann na mBan
and helped to found the Young Republican Party in Belfast.

In early 1916 she was actively involved in preparations for
the Easter Rising. Her father sent her around the north to
inform IRA leaders about the rising.

Although ordered not to fight, Connolly and the Belfast
Cumann na mBan headed for Dublin. They were the only
organised group from Ulster to take part in the rising.

However, Nora Connolly was forced to walk from Dundalk to
Dublin, only arriving when the rebellion was near defeat.

Her father was executed on May 9. She spent the rest of her
life as a committed republican and was jailed in Kilmainham
and Portlaoise during the civil war.

Aged 88 she campaigned against the H-blocks before her
death in 1981.

Winifred Carney

Winifred Carney was born in 1877 in Fusher’s Hill, Bangor,
Co Down.

From 1910 she worked as James Connolly’s secretary in
Belfast and later in Dublin.

During Easter week she was the only woman to take part in
the initial occupation of the GPO – she is said to have
arrived armed with a Webley revolver and typewriter.

She was well-known not only for her loyalty to Connolly but
also as a crack shot.

Although under heavy fire, Carney refused to leave
Connolly’s side when he was wounded, instead transmitting
his orders to volunteers.

After the surrender she was imprisoned and released at
Christmas 1916.

In the general election of 1918 she stood as a Sinn Fein
candidate in the Victoria Ward in east Belfast but was not
elected. Afterwards she met Shankill Road man George
McBride who had fought with the UVF at the Somme.

They were both socialists and married in 1928. Carney died
in 1943. Her unmarked grave in Milltown Cemetery was
rediscovered in 1988.

Mabel McConnell

Mabel McConnell was born into a well-to-do unionist family
near Crumlin, Co Antrim.

The family were directors of Dunville Distilleries in

She joined the Irish Language Society at Queen’s University
Belfast in 1904 and openly expressed nationalist views.

After Queen’s she moved to London where she worked as a
secretary for George Bernard Shaw.

In London she joined the Gaelic League where she met her
future husband, Desmond FitzGerald.

Her family were outraged and called her back to Belfast.
However, the couple eloped, returning to London.

In 1913 they both joined the Irish Volunteers.

Later that year Desmond used a visit to his relations in
Belfast to attend a meeting organised by James Connolly.

He was invited to the Connolly home in west Belfast.

During the same visit he met Roger Casement.

In Easter 1916 Mabel and Desmond joined the rebellion
inside the GPO. After four days Pearse ordered her to
return home to look after her two young children. Before
leaving he gave her a Tricolour and asked her to hoist it
from Dublin Castle, which he mistakenly believed had been
taken. Desmond FitzGerald was jailed and released with De
Valera in mid-1917.

Mabel and Desmond FitzGerald disagreed vehemently over the
Treaty, to such an extent that the husband could not tell
his wife about negotiations.

Their son Garret went on to become taoiseach in 1981.

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Does anyone have a photo or picture of Charles Monaghan? You can email me on THANKS!

I could not find one either.

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