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April 26, 2006

IRA Committed To Peaceful Path

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News About Ireland & The Irish

BB 04/26/06 IRA 'Committed To Peaceful Path'
BN 04/26/06 Loyalists 'Still Bound To Violence And Crime'
SF 04/25/06 IMC Report: A Mixture Of Special Branch Gossip & Innuendo
SF 04/26/06 Questions Re: Ex-RUC Man In Donaldson Case Not Answered
DJ 04/25/06 Relatives Frustrated: No Date For BS report Publication
UT 04/26/06 Separate Police & Justice Minister Could Benefit NIreland
BB 04/26/06 Rival Flags Issue Returns To Town
TN 04/26/06 IRA’s Most Wanted Flees Tenerife
BB 04/25/06 Couple Jailed For Raping Sisters
NH 04/20/06 'Sustained Missile Attacks' At Peace Line
PJ 04/20/06 House Members Push For Immigrants' Rights
BT 04/20/06 Opin: Summary Of IRA Unlikely To Convince DUP
IT 04/26/06 Opin: Growing Harmony
IT 04/26/06 Opin: Nuclear Energy 'The Safest Of All'
IT 04/26/06 Irish Charity To Mark 20th Chernobyl Anniversary
BB 04/25/06 Job Losses In Prudential Revamp
IT 04/26/06 Irish Designs On New World Order
IT 04/26/06 Are We There Yet? Repeat Ad Nauseum
IM 04/26/06 25 Years On: New York Remembers The Hunger-Strikers
PR 04/26/06 Mickey Slabdabber Brings Alive Fun & Pain Of Being Irish
TP 04/26/06 At 74, Senator Edward Kennedy Still Roars
MN 04/26/06 Taxi Driver Offers Political Tours Of Belfast

(Poster’s note: Complete IMC report at:

Opin: It is encouraging to see that SF & the DUP are
sharing more of the same opinions. When previous IMC reports
condemned the IRA, the DUP praised the commission and
concurred with their opinion. Now, after the IMC has
praised the IRA, the DUP has changed its minds and
now agrees with SF’s long held stance that the IMC is only
meaningless government spin. Jay)


IRA 'Committed To Peaceful Path'

The IRA leadership is committed to "following a political
and peaceful path", according to the body set up to monitor
paramilitary activity.

The Independent Monitoring Commission found the IRA had
reduced its criminal activity and intelligence gathering.

However, it said that some senior members were still
involved in crime.

It claimed not all of the IRA's weapons were decommissioned
but said that this was done by local IRA "units" in
defiance of the leadership.

In February, the commission said it had received reports
that the IRA had not handed over all of its weapons when it
decommissioned its arms in September 2005.

On Wednesday, it also warned that republican dissidents and
loyalist paramilitaries were continuing to recruit and
attempting to acquire weapons, and remain a threat.

The report added that the IRA leadership was "working to
bring the whole organisation fully along with it and has
expended considerable effort to refocus the movement in
support of its objective.

"In the last three months this process has involved the
further dismantling of PIRA as a military structure," it

It said further: "We have had no indications in the last
three months of training, engineering activity, recent
recruitment or targeting for the purposes of attack.

"There has now been a substantial erosion in the PIRA's
capacity to return to a military campaign without a
significant period of build-up, which in any event we do
not believe they have any intentions of doing."

Ulster Unionist leader Sir Reg Emey said the report
"continues to represent progress".

"However, the dog that didn't bark is the IRA authorised
Northern Bank robbery and the failure of republicans to
return the money. The UUP calls for an immediate return of
these funds."

Alliance leader David Ford welcomed the report and said it
showed progress is being made to end violence and
criminality by mainstream republicans.

"We welcome the reduction in criminality. We also welcome
the positive effects that the IMC is having on the process
to restore local democracy," he said.

'Government spin'

Irish Justice Minister Michael McDowell said the report was
"both welcome and timely given the efforts being made to
restore devolved government in the province".

He said: "The developments outlined in the report help to
create the proper environment in which the political
parties can come together on 15 May next and begin the
process of self-government."

Earlier, Nigel Dodds of the DUP, accused the government of
attempting to play up the report's conclusions.

"Let the people judge the facts on the ground as they know
them and let's have less of this selective briefing and
spinning and hyping by government which nobody believes
anyway," he said.

The Independent Monitoring Commission was set up by the
British and Irish governments in January 2004.

It also monitors the "normalisation" of security measures
in Northern Ireland.

Its four commissioners come from Northern Ireland, the
Republic of Ireland, Britain and the US.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/04/26 09:55:50 GMT

Senior IRA men are lining their own pockets with the
proceeds of crime but there is no evidence that the
organisation’s leadership has sanctioned violent activity,
a major new report claimed today.

The report added that the IRA leadership was “working to
bring the whole organisation fully along with it and has
expended considerable effort to refocus the movement in
support of its objective.

“In the last three months this process has involved the
further dismantling of PIRA as a military structure.”

There had been no paramilitary shootings or attacks
attributable to the Provisional IRA in the three months
from December to February, said the IMC.

But it said they nevertheless had information on instances
of PIRA members being involved in assaults and other
violence, largely arising from personal or local disputes.

It stressed: “There is nothing to suggest that these
individuals were involved in these actions either at the
behest of the organisation or in their capacity as members
of it.”

It said further: “We have had no indications in the last
three months of training, engineering activity, recent
recruitment or targeting for the purposes of attack.

“There has now been a substantial erosion in the PIRA’s
capacity to return to a military campaign without a
significant period of build-up, which in any event we do
not believe they have any intentions of doing.”

The report noted that the murder in Co Donegal earlier this
month of Denis Donaldson, the self-confessed British agent
unmasked at the heart of the republican movement, took
place after the period covered by the report.

They said they were not in a position to attribute
responsibility and would continue to monitor the situation
and report later.

The IMC said it had found signs the PIRA continued to seek
to stop criminal activity by its members and to prevent
them from engaging in it. It believed some senior members
were playing a key role in this.

The Commission said it believed volunteers who had
previously engaged in illegal fundraising had been told to
refrain from doing so.

The report continued: “That said, there are indications
that some members, including some senior ones, (as distinct
from the organisation itself) are still involved in crime,
including offences such as fuel laundering, money
laundering, extortion, tax evasion and smuggling.

“Some of these activities are deeply embedded in the
culture of a number of communities, not least in the border
areas, and increased proportions of the proceeds may now be
going to individuals rather than the organisation.”

But the report added: “We have no reason to amend our
earlier view that money is a strategic asset and that the
organisation will look to the long-term exploitation of
discreetly-laundered assets which were previously gained

On the intelligence front, the report said that while the
IRA had access to people in public and private
organisations who could provide them with sensitive
information on individuals which might be of use to them,
“we have no indication that people are currently being
tasked to supply such information”.

While the Provisional IRA continued to receive information
from members and sympathisers, the IMC said it did not know
of information being proactively sought.

Referring to reports of the retention of some weapons when
decommissioning took place, the report said the IRA
leadership had claimed only to have decommissioned all the
arms “under its control”.

The commission’s present assessment was that such arms that
had been reported to them as being retained would have been
withheld under local control despite the instructions of
the leadership.

And it said the unsurrendered material was “not significant
in comparison to what was decommissioned”.

Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain welcomed the report
as positive and providing further evidence of the direction
that PIRA and its leadership was taking.

He said: “The (British) government believes that it should
make a helpful contribution to the rebuilding of trust and
confidence in Northern Ireland which is necessary for a
return to full devolution.”

The Government said the report had been presented to
Taoiseach Bertie Ahern last week and he had discussed it
with his ministers at yesterday’s Cabinet meeting.

A Government spokesman said: “It is a positive report for
the peace process and an encouraging boost.

“The Irish Government believes it will add to the current
constructive climate.”


Loyalists 'Still Bound To Violence And Crime'

26/04/2006 - 10:34:08

The loyalist Ulster Defence Association’s involvement in
criminality remains endemic, the Independent Monitoring
Commission said today.

In its latest report on paramilitary groups, it said there
had been little change in the past three months, with the
organisation involved in shooting and assaults.

The IMC believed UDA members were responsible for the
murder of a man in Co Antrim in February.

Thomas Hollran, 49, died in hospital days after being found
lying an an alley in Carrickfergus, suffering from serious

It is believed he had been ordered to leave the town after
a dispute with UDA members last year and was targeted when
he took the train back on a Saturday night to visit a

The IMC said it had no information that the leadership of
the UDA sanctioned the death.

Nevertheless, the IMC painted a picture of an organisation
mired in violence.

“The UDA continues to act violently, undertaking both
shootings and assaults. The organisation aspires to arm and
equip itself.

“The UDA’s heavy involvement in crime, including drug
dealing and blackmail, continues and in some parts of the
organisation criminality can be described as endemic,” said
the report.

Despite the assessment, the IMC said it had found some
positive signs and they continued to believe there were
some people within the organisation who understood the
futility as well as the unacceptability of continued
criminality and the harm it inflicted on local communities.

It said it believed there were leading elements in the
organisation who were continuing efforts to reduce
criminality but efforts met with “a mixed success“.

The report added: “There are some tensions at the senior
levels and the clear lead to stop targeting nationalists
and ethnic minorities has not yet emerged.”

The assessment on the Ulster Volunteer Force was little

There had been a reduction of activity since the end of its
feud with the rival Loyalist Volunteer Force but it was
still operational.

It was responsible for a range of criminal activities,
including violence, and continued to display behaviour
“indicating that it intends to remain in paramilitary

The UVF “undertook both shootings and assaults over the
recent period. It continues to recruit new members
throughout Northern Ireland“.

Weapons, explosives and other paramilitary equipment seized
in Belfast in February belonged to the UVF, the IMC

It added: “Crime is prevalent throughout the organisation.”

There had been some effort by elements of the UVF
leadership to tackle criminality, said the report, and as
with the UDA there were certain people who wanted to move
away from criminality.

So far, though, there had not been a significant impact on
the organisation as a whole. “We do not therefore change
our overall assessment that the organisation is active,
violent and ruthless.”

The recent statement from a spokesman that it did not
intend to do more to improve the situation before November
24 – the deadline date for the establishment of a power-
sharing executive at Stormont – was “not encouraging“.

On the dissident republican side, the Continuity IRA (CIRA)
had been active during the three months covered by the
report – on two occasions viable bombs were planted near
police stations.

It was believed to be responsible for a device placed near
the Belfast offices of the Probation Board in January and
an unsuccessful device directed at the railway in Lurgan,
Co Armagh, the same month.

The CIRA wished to remain an active paramilitary
organisation, said the IMC. It “remains committed to
terrorism“, and had been the most active of dissident

Over the period under examination, it “continued efforts to
recruit and train members; it monitored possibilities for
attacks; and it aspired to further arm and equip itself“.

The Irish National Liberation Army remained much as it had
in the previous report – continuing a low but potentially
serious level of activity and remaining involved in
organised crime, including drugs and smuggling.

It aspired to do more and continued efforts to recruit and
to exert control over communities.

It was believed to have been behind a major robbery from
the Ulster Bank in Belfast in February, and robberies in
Strabane and Sion Mills the month before.


IMC Report Will Be Usual Mixture Of Special Branch Gossip And Innuendo

Published: 25 April, 2006

Speaking today in advance of the publication of the latest
effort from the IMC, Sinn Féin Vice President Pat Doherty
MP said that the grouping was little more than a securocrat
device and has no place in the political process.

Mr Doherty said:

"No doubt the latest effort due from the IMC tomorrow will
be the usual mix of MI5 and Special Branch gossip and
innuendo. The IMC have yet to back any of their allegations
up with hard evidence. I expect the same to be the case
tomorrow when their 10th report is published.

"The IMC is neither independent nor impartial. Sinn Féin
are continuing to challenge the legitimacy of this grouping
in the courts and we will continue to challenge the right
of an unelected group of spooks, spies and failed
politicians to exert such influence over the political
process and the democratically expressed wishes of the

"Sinn Féin will continue to defend the Good Friday
Agreement and the wider process from elements within the
British system who have always been hostile to the
involvement of republicans and who have found the IMC to be
a useful device in advancing their agenda."ENDS


Questions Over Role Of Ex-RUC Man In Donaldson Case Yet To Be Answered

Published: 26 April, 2006

Sinn Féin Assembly member for North Belfast Gerry Kelly
today said that the PSNI Special Branch have failed to
answer the questions being widely posed about the
involvement of a former RUC , Colin Breen, in the Sunday
World exposure of Denis Donaldson's home in Donegal.

Mr Kelly said:

"A recent article in the Sunday Business Post newspaper
revealed that the man who led the Sunday World to Denis
Donaldson's home in Donegal and who secretly filmed him
there was a former RUC member called Colin Breen. Shortly
after the Sunday World exposure, Denis Donaldson was

"In a BBC programme last night the involvement of the
former RUC man in the exposure was again confirmed.

"Given the role played by Special Branch in Denis
Donaldson's life over the course of many years the
revelation of the involvement of Colin Breen in this story
is extremely sinister. It is clear that the PSNI Special
Branch now have very serious questions to answer about
their role in publicising Denis Donaldson's whereabouts."


Relatives 'Frustrated' As: No Date Yet For 'Sunday'report Publication

The Bloody Sunday Inquiry insists it "isn't possible' to
give a firm date for the publication of Lord Saville's
eagerly-awaited report into the Bogside massacre.

Reports that the long-awaited findings could be delayed
until the end of the year have been described as "very,
very frustrating" by a sister of one of the Bloody Sunday

Kay Duddy, whose brother Jackie was among those gunned
down, says rumours of further delays have left relatives
feeling "very uncertain".

Last night, a spokesperson for the Inquiry would only say
that the report is "currently in preparation".

She added: "It has been necessary for the Tribunal to look
at a very large quantity of material so that it is not
possible, at this stage, to give any firm estimate of when
the report is likely to be finished."

Kay Duddy acknowledged that the relatives "haven't been
told anything officially, but we have heard that it could
be the end of the year before we hear anything, or maybe
even the beginning of next year."

She added: "The problem is that nobody is telling us
anything, that's the most frustrating part of it all. As
far as I know they haven't been in touch with our legal
teams at all.

"If they would even let us know, one way or the other, it
would be half the battle," she said.

The Saville Inquiry spanned eight years in total,
completing its proceedings over 18 months ago.

More than 900 eyewitnesses gave evidence to the probe and,
initially, it had been suggested the report would be
published last summer.

Ms. Duddy added: "Whatever length of time it takes - so be
it - they're taking their time and doing it right. But it's
the uncertainty of it all that's worst.

"Obviously, it means they're doing a thorough job - but if
we even had an idea of when to expect it, we'd be able to
prepare ourselves for this report."

She also believes that delays in the publication of the
final report could upset more than just the families: "It's
terrible for all those people who went through the trauma
of giving evidence at the Inquiry. It's important to all of
them, and all the people who stop you in the street to ask
if there's any word yet."

Families first

Ms. Duddy also reiterated the call that it is "vitally
important" the report is released to the families first.

"One thing we are very concerned about is that this isn't
leaked to anyone before the families see it. This is
vitally important to us."

25 April 2006


Separate Police And Justice Minister 'Could Benefit Northern Ireland'

The possibility of having two ministers separately
responsible for justice and policing when the powers are
eventually devolved to Northern Ireland has been
highlighted by the Committee on the Administration of
Justice (CAJ).

By:Press Association

The CAJ said in a report that the option of two ministers
would potentially offer greater security against charges of
ministerial partisanship since the departments could be
headed by members of different political traditions.

They could be "expected to act as a safeguard upon each
other," said the CAJ.

But the organisation cautioned that the two minister model
risked being, or appearing, less efficient than a single

"If pursued, the emphasis would need to be on mechanisms
aimed at ensuring co-ordination and collaboration across
the criminal justice agencies."

On the other hand a single minister may meet concerns about
efficiency, said the CAJ, but may pose concerns around
credibility and legitimacy in a politically polarised
society such as Northern Ireland.

The CAJ, in a report on the international lessons to be
learnt on the devolution of responsibility, advised the
Government that the process must be open and transparent to
secure widespread public confidence.

It urged that even the discussion about the appropriate
devolution model to adopt should itself be an open and
transparent debate.

Selecting the right model should not be, or be seen to be,
"held behind closed doors and the subject of horse trading
between different political parties, said the CAJ in a

The organisation said the decisions taken were a matter of
public interest, rather than just party political interest.

It added: "It is particularly problematic that many changes
recommended in the Criminal Justice Review are being
treated - unjustifiably in our view - as contingent on

"Further foot-dragging of this kind can only fuel
speculation that some of the review recommendations are
being held back so as to be treated as `bargaining chips`
in the eventual political negotiations around devolution."

The CAJ recommended that criminal justice only be devolved
once there was a clear delineation of the exact powers that
were to be devolved and those that were to remain in the
hands of ministers in London.

It was particularly important that there was clarity in the
area of emergency powers and national security, it said.

It added that it was "extremely worrying" the Northern
Ireland Office had not complied with requests from CAJ and
others to provide a factual list of the various powers, who
held them currently, and which might be devolved in the

"It is CAJ`s view that ambiguity surrounding the nature and
extent of authority and powers being transferred from
Westminster to Northern Ireland would be very destabilising
for the peace process and could seriously undermine the
efficiency and legitimacy of the eventual arrangements,"
said the body.

Decisions currently underway, it said, regarding the
transfer of key intelligence functions from the Police
Service to MI5, would determine to a great extent the
nature of criminal justice and policing powers to be
devolved, it said.

In the past, problems of communication between internal
branches of either the RUC or PSNI had led to grave errors,
it said, citing the Omagh bomb investigation.

It said: "The transfer of some of these functions to an
agency outside of the PSNI makes the likelihood of such
errors more, not less, likely in future."

The CAJ added that very importantly, it removed some key
functions - ones which traditionally lent themselves most
easily to abuses of human rights - from effective local

"A devolution of powers that is seen by people in Northern
Ireland to be devolution in name only will only be counter-
productive," it warned.


Rival Flags Issue Returns To Town

An initiative to boost community relations in Ballymena by
removing rival flags appears to be foundering.

A loyalist mural was removed outside Harryville church as
part of the deal, but loyalist flags went up in the town
centre on Monday night.

William Cameron of the loyalist Ulster Political Research
Group said republican flags had not come down.

Republican spokesman Paddy Murray said flags erected after
Apprentice Boys' flags went up were being removed.

"We are sincere and genuine about removing flags," he said.

He said that if people were "serious" all the flags should
be removed from lampposts, not just on main thoroughfares
but also in estates.

Mr Cameron said that republicans only started to remove
their flags when loyalists started to erect more.

"It's a matter of principle," he said, adding that if
republicans kept their end of the agreement the loyalist
flags would be removed.

"When they have removed what they said they would in the
agreement then loyalists will do the same," he added.

A UDA mural near the Church of Our Lady at Harryville in
Ballymena was taken down after cross-community talks.

It was replaced by an Ulster Scots mural featuring symbols
such as a shamrock and Red Hand of Ulster.

Irish tricolours were also removed from the north end of
Ballymena in a deal brokered by Harryville Ulster Scots

Youth workers also painted out red, white and blue paint
from railings around Harryville church.

The church was the scene of loyalist protests and sporadic
trouble over the past few years.

Loyalist protesters mounted a weekly picket outside the
church during Saturday evening Mass between September 1996
and May 1998.

The protests were called off shortly after the Good Friday
Agreement received 71% support in a referendum.

The picket was mounted because of loyalist anger over
nationalist objections to a march by the Protestant Orange
Order through nearby Dunloy.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/04/25 11:56:46 GMT


IRA’s Most Wanted Flees Tenerife

Just days after the murder in Ireland of British spy Denis
Donaldson, news broke about another man regarded as a
traitor to the Sinn Fein cause – apparently lying low here
in Tenerife where he was spotted dining out with his wife
in a well-known Playa de las Américas hotspot, Lineker’s

Former British spy Freddie “Stakeknife” Scappaticci made a
hurried exit when he realised he had been spotted by some
eagle-eyed Belfast holidaymakers. It is reported that he
was renting a villa in south Tenerife.

Last year he was also seen in another part of the
archipelago, in a hotel in Gran Canaria.

In his day “Scap” was linked to as many as forty killings
during the Troubles, prompting claims that the British Army
was turning a blind eye to murders.

He is now at the top of the IRA’s most-wanted list. The
former deputy head of that organisation’s internal security
unit (known as the Nutting Squad), Scap secretly passed on
information to an Army intelligence unit for over two


Couple Jailed For Raping Sisters

A former paramilitary prisoner (loyalist) has been jailed
for 12 years at Belfast Crown Court for raping and sexually
molesting his girlfriend's two teenage sisters.

His partner, 27, who procured the girls for her 30-year-old
boyfriend, was sentenced to three years in prison.

The pair cannot be named to protect the identity of the
girls who were 13 and 15-years-old when the abuse took

The court was told the man was out of prison on licence
when the offences were committed in 2001 and 2004.

He has previous convictions for attempted murder,
membership of a proscribed organisation, burglary and
possession of drugs.


During his sentencing remarks, Mr Justice Weir told the
woman that he believed that but for the man's "malign
influence" on her, she would not have been involved in what
he described as a "litany of depravity".

The judge also revealed that the man continued to deny any
wrongdoing, showed no motivation to change and therefore
would not be offered any sentence reduction for a term of

However, he added that the woman had shown "a want to
change" and offered her an 18-month probationary term
during which she would attend one-to-one counselling

Before the couple were led away to start their sentences
the judge said it was "a matter of regret" that the man's
identity could not be made public.

At the conclusion of their trial last February, the former
loyalist paramilitary was convicted of two counts of raping
each sister, three of indecent assault and one of gross

His girlfriend was convicted of procuring her sisters for
him to have sex with and one of inciting an act of gross
indecency, but on the first day of the trial she admitted
two charges of indecent assault and a further charge of
committing an act of gross indecency with a teenage sister.

The pair have also been ordered to sign the sex offenders'

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/04/25 14:54:14 GMT


'Sustained Missile Attacks' At Peace Line

(Bimpe Fatogun, Irish News)

One of Belfast's most notorious interfaces has been the
scene of sustained missile throwing since December,
according to residents on both sides.

Snooker balls, marbles, rocks and other missiles have been
displayed by people living along the Clandeboye/Cluan Place
peace line in east Belfast. A peace wall separates
residents of the nationalist Short Strand and loyalist
Albertbridge Road.

However, there have been periodic attacks over the top of
the barrier since a particularly bitter outbreak of
violence in 2001.

Margaret McDowell, whose house at Clandeboye Drive backs on
to the peace wall, said she has been unable to sleep since
the upsurge in attacks.

"It's been gearing up since the weekend but we've been bad
since December," she said.

"We usually get trouble in the summer or when there is an
Orange march planned but we haven't had any peace in

She said that snooker balls with messages insulting
loyalists had been thrown over "because they want us to
throw them back so they can say we started it".

However, Ulster Unionist assembly member Michael Copeland
said Cluan Place residents had not been throwing missiles
but instead had themselves been the victims of vicious

"Cluan Place is so small," he said.

"It is only one street with 23 houses and 11 children in
those houses. If a snooker ball hit a child it would kill

"This has been going on for some time and needs to stop
before someone is seriously injured."

April 26, 2006

This article appeared first in the April 20, 2006 edition
of the Irish News.


House Members Push For Immigrants' Rights

The members of Congress were at Brown University last night
as part of the school's commemoration of Latino History

01:00 AM EDT on Tuesday, April 25, 2006
Journal Staff Writer

PROVIDENCE -- Four Hispanic members of the U.S. House
joined Rhode Island Representatives Patrick Kennedy and
James Langevin at a Brown University forum in calling for
legislation to allow immigrants in the United States
illegally to earn an avenue to legal residence.

The four members of Congress -- Democrats Raul Grijalva of
Arizona, Grace Napolitano and Loretta Sanchez, both of
California, and Republican Ileana Ross-Lehtinen, of Florida
-- all denounced what they called the "punitive" approach
on immigration taken by House Republicans and said they
hoped that a compromise measure sponsored by Senators John
McCain, R-Arizona, and Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., would
become law.

"In the Senate, there was some lucid thinking," said
Napolitano. "You need to realize you have every kind of
immigrant from all over the world in America, especially
those who look like us, brown."

Most Hispanic immigrants work hard, pay their bills, stay
out of trouble and support their families, the Hispanic
House members said, and want what other generations of
immigrants have achieved -- good jobs, stable families,
economic, religious and political opportunity.

The recent marches in favor of immigrants rights that
occurred across the nation in the past few weeks have been
beneficial, said Grijalva. "All we've been hearing is Lou
Dobbs ranting on TV and Bill O'Reilly ranting on TV and the
radio talk shows saying, 'Build a wall, deport them all,
take them out of school.' "

"I feel the marches were good and productive and came at a
necessary time," said Grijalva.

The members of Congress came to Brown as part of the
university's commemoration of Latino History Month.
Langevin introduced the panel, which was moderated by Prof.
Tony Affigne of Providence College, a 1976 Brown graduate
who said he was one of the few Hispanic students on the
campus at that time.

Under the McCain-Kennedy measure, immigrants in the United
States illegally would be allowed to apply for legal
residence after undergoing criminal background checks,
paying back taxes, and learning English.

Patrick Kennedy is the son of Sen. Edward Kennedy and a
scion of one of the nation's best known Irish-American
families. Kennedy said some of the opposition to any
amnesty program for Hispanic immigrants is "about

No one seems to get all that upset, Kennedy noted, when
Irish students overstay summer work permits and remain in
the country illegally. "There are a lot of Sullivans, and
O'Neills, and Kennedys . . . who overstay their visas."

But Americans do not get so uptight about Irish or Italian
immigrants, said Kennedy, whose great-grandfather, John F.
"Honey" Fitzgerald, was Boston's first immigrant mayor.

Kennedy scored President Bush's administration and House
Republicans for backing guest-worker programs aimed at
keeping wages down for American workers. "They like the
wages lower than they would otherwise be," said Kennedy.
"Every American wants those jobs, if they pay enough."

Representative Sanchez said Kennedy was correct only to a
certain degree. She said it is true that some American
citizens shun jobs immigrants will take solely because of
low pay.

But other jobs have such low status or are so difficult
that only immigrants seem to want them. For example,
Sanchez said, in her California district, there are decent-
paying jobs at nursing homes taking care of Alzeheimer's
patients that only newly arrived immigrants from Vietnam
and Mexico seem interested in.

Sanchez said she hears constituents say, "The Mexicans
should go home so my kid can get a job."

When she mentions that there are plentiful jobs taking care
of nursing home patients at $9.40 per hour, these same
people say, "Well, you don't really expect my kid to be
wiping old people's butts." / (401) 277-7321


Opin: Summary Of IRA Unlikely To Convince DUP

By Chris Thornton
26 April 2006

So here it is. After three years of poking their noses
around the undergrowth of paramilitary activity, the
Independent Monitoring Commission has found a lot of good
to say about the IRA.

"Overall ? our assessment is positive," the report says. No
recruitment, no bomb-making, no shootings, no beatings, no
criminality at the top, and no intelligence-gathering that
can't be explained.

The Army council's parents must be proud.

Unfortunately for the British and Irish governments, the
IMC's glowing report may prove to be the least
consequential of the three it will issue this year dealing
with paramilitary activity.

That determination will be down to timing: while this
report probably guarantees that the Assembly will return in
a civil atmosphere on May 15, it is unlikely to convince
the DUP that their interests are best served by reaching an
accommodation with Sinn Fein before the summer.

Because the governments are already allowing for extra time
- another 12-week session of the Assembly beginning in
September - it is almost certain that the parties'
wrangling will expand to fill that time; therefore, the
IMC's October report, falling in the midst of that, is
likely to be more influential.

And there are two additional reasons why the timing is just
not quite right: the IMC acknowledges in today's report
that they are unable to deliver judgments on two recent,
significant events: the murder of Denis Donaldson and a
vodka robbery in the Republic, reportedly carried out by
members of the IRA.

Those absences - brought about because they came after the
reporting period for today's document - will be probably
enough to ensure that the DUP withhold their verdict on

What may be most interesting about this report is how much
credit it receives from unionists.

The IMC's last paramilitary report, published on February
1, surprised many by not being the glowing assessment that
the governments' wanted - it noted that the IRA was still
engaged in intelligence gathering and questioned whether
all its units had given up their guns.

London and Dublin's plans for progress by the beginning of
March subsequently fell by the wayside.

That demonstration of independence may have enhanced the
IMC's credibility with unionists.

If so, they may be more likely to accept today's report at
face value.

But even if that is the case, it won't be conclusive.

For now though, the DUP still has some room to hold on to
their doubts about the IRA.

As it stands now, it looks as if October's IMC report may
make very interesting reading, indeed.


Opin: Growing Harmony


"We want to have a co-operative and harmonious interaction
with our southern neighbours and we want to develop better
relationships North/South and east/west." This was straight
talking from the Democratic Unionist Party's Peter Robinson
in Killarney on Monday - and all the more welcome for that.

He was the first unionist to attend and address a meeting
of the British-Irish Inter-Parliamentary Body. Together
with today's visit to Dublin by the Duke of Edinburgh it
indicates that these relationships are indeed changing for
the better at official level.

Mr Robinson made it clear that "none of the arrangements or
structures to facilitate these ideals can be imposed or
forced upon us". Along with his statement that "we want to
co-exist in Northern Ireland with those who share our
homeland", his speech was a significant contribution to
developing better North/South relations. It comes as the
DUP and Sinn Féin, the largest parties in the Northern
Assembly, prepare to participate in its reconvened
sessions. According to increasingly blunt warnings by the
Irish and British governments they must decide whether to
re-establish the power-sharing Executive by November 24th
or face indefinite suspension.

On the evidence of this speech the DUP - or at least that
element of it represented by Mr Robinson - is approaching
the task with good will and in a way which deserves serious
reciprocity. The impression is bolstered by the party's
demand that corporation tax in Northern Ireland be reduced
to 12.5 per cent, in line with the Republic's, to enable
its economy revive on a fair, competitive basis, with less
reliance on subsidy from the British exchequer. There is a
growing understanding that a durable political settlement
can enable both parts of Ireland to benefit from economic
co-operation. Yesterday's announcement that a group of
Northern businessmen is to establish a £150 million all-
Ireland renewable energy investment fund bears out the

The Belfast Agreement's political architecture gives
east/west relations potentially as much prominence as
North/South ones. So far this has operated most obviously
at the highest inter-governmental levels. But the bedding
down of devolution within the UK has deepened other
political relationships, giving the inter-parliamentary
body more scope. The growing normalisation of British-Irish
relations can be seen in many different spheres of everyday
life - in travel, retail, sport and popular culture. Prince
Philip's visit to Dublin today reminds us that a political
settlement will be choreographed symbolically. Can Queen
Elizabeth be far behind?

© The Irish Times


Opin: Nuclear Energy 'The Safest Of All'


It is time for Ireland to get real about the looming global
energy crisis - that means building not just one but a
cluster of nuclear power plants, argues Dr Edward Walsh

"Opposition to nuclear energy is based on irrational fear
fed by Hollywood-style fiction, the Green lobbies and the
media. These fears are unjustified, and nuclear energy from
its start in 1952 has proved to be the safest of all energy

"We must stop fretting over the minute statistical risks of
cancer from chemicals or radiation. Nearly one-third of us
will die of cancer anyway, mainly because we breathe air
laden with that all pervasive carcinogen, oxygen...

"By all means, let us use the small input from renewables
sensibly, but only one immediately available source does
not cause global warming and that is nuclear energy."

These statements are made by James Lovelock, Britain's
premier environmental scientist and a founder of
Greenpeace. It is echoed by Sir David King, chief
scientific adviser to the UK government and supported by a
range of professional and scientific bodies of high
standing that have studied the facts.

An unlikely alliance has emerged between the nuclear
industry and many environmentalists. Finland has now a new
nuclear reactor under construction. The decision was driven
primarily by environmental considerations and the facts.

These facts are quite unambiguous. Nuclear reactors do not
emit carbon gases and so do not contribute to global
warming. Compared to other means of energy production
nuclear power is safe. Death statistics reveal that energy
production by hydroelectric and coal are the most
dangerous, gas is safer, but nuclear is the safest of all.

Coal is one of the most lethal energy sources. Apart from
its impact on global warming, large numbers of people die
mining coal or subsequently from black lung disease. Last
year some 6,000 died mining coal in China: five for each
million tons of coal extracted.

While we should have little worry about the stability of
Irish dams, the records show that hydroelectric is the most
dangerous form of electrical generation. Some 200 major
hydroelectric dams have failed, killing 8,000 people. But
few recall these: the 1959 French Malpasset dam accident
killed 421. In the Italian Vaiont dam accident of 1963, 30
million cubic metres of water swept down the Alpine valley.
The villages of Longarone, Pirago, Villanova and Rivalta
were wiped out, killing 2,600. Two thousand died when the
Indian Machhu dam failed in 1979. The litany of forgotten
hydroelectric accidents goes on.

Yet few will be unaware of the world's two major nuclear
accidents: Three Mile Island and Chernobyl. Neither was
caused by a nuclear explosion. In both cases the problem
was caused by rupture of the nuclear reactor containment
vessel as a result of steam pressure.

No death nor injury occurred during the Three Mile Island
accident. The one at Chernobyl was a radically different

The reactor design was gravely defective and the Soviets
ignored public safety by omitting the enclosures provided
in all western reactors to prevent radiation leaking into
the atmosphere.

Typically a western reactor is sealed in a 4- to 8-inch-
thick high-tensile steel pressure vessel. About this is an
additional 4ft-thick leaded-concrete enclosure. These,
together with the radioactive coolant systems, are then
enclosed in a further 1- to 2in-thick steel containment
vessel, which in turn is enclosed in a 3ft-thick shield

The Chernobyl reactor lacked these vital layers of
containment structures. As a result, when steam pressure
caused the reactor vessel to rupture, the radioactive
material that rushed outwards escaped immediately into the
atmosphere. The graphite moderator went on fire, burned for
nine days and the radioactive smoke particles were carried
by the wind over large areas of the Soviet Union and
Europe. The area within 30km of the reactor was seriously
contaminated. If Chernobyl were enclosed in the same way as
Three Mile Island, this would not have happened.

Hundreds of thousands of people were evacuated and their
lives were drastically disrupted. While the large majority
of those evacuated received only minor radiation doses -
less than that of a chest x-ray - this was not made know to
them for two years.

The foreboding that arose from wild media reports of 10,000
to as many as 100,000 deaths, combined with a lack of
information about individual health prospects, inflicted
serious psychological scars. This sense of doom and
uncertainty was finally brought to a conclusion only
recently when the World Health Organisation, together with
seven other United Nations agencies and some 100 leading
scientists, established the facts related to the Chernobyl

The UN report was published last year. While it shows that
the accident was a human tragedy and has caused major
disruption to the normal life of the region, it also made
it clear that the effects on health and environment were
significantly less severe than initially predicted.

Contrary to reports of thousands of deaths, the report
established that a total of 56 people died from the results
of nuclear radiation since the accident in 1986. Some 47 of
these were emergency workers who fought the fire at the
plant during the first day when radiation levels were at a
peak. Most of their deaths took place within the following
four months. Some 4,000 subsequently developed thyroid
cancer; but the survival rate was over 99 per cent and only
nine of these have died as a result of radiation.

The report, despite previous forecasts, found that there
was no observed rise in the incidence of cancer amongst the
general population, nor was there evidence of decrease in
fertility or increase in birth defects due to radiation.

If the Chernobyl incident never occurred, some 100,000
people in the area studied could be expected to die of
cancer in the normal course of events. The UN team estimate
that it is possible some 4 per cent of these deaths could
eventually be attributed to the Chernobyl accident.

Ireland's attitude towards nuclear energy fluctuates over
the years and is much influenced by international events.

In 1968 the ESB announced plans for a 650 megawatt nuclear
plant at Carnsore Point, lodged a planning application for
four nuclear reactors with Wexford County Council in 1974
and contracted with Urenco for the supply of enriched

Following the oil shock of 1973 the government's commitment
to nuclear energy strengthened and energy minister Des
O'Malley made it clear at the 1978 Fianna Fáil ardfheis
that the "Flat Earth Society" was not going to determine
Ireland's future energy policy.

However, the Three Mile Island accident and the Kinsale gas
find, combined with Des O'Malley's expulsion from the
party, did: plans for building a nuclear power station were

Others moved ahead with their plans: today there are a
total of 439 nuclear reactors in operation in 31 countries.
The French nuclear programme has been the most successful.
Seventy-seven per cent of France's electricity is generated
by its 58 nuclear reactors. As oil prices rise, France's
energy costs remain stable, providing the country with an
important competitive advantage.

Despite the findings of both an OECD investigation and an
Irish Government taskforce, showing that there are not
major public health risks associated with nuclear
activities in Cumbria, Sellafield remains a contentious
issue between Dublin and London.

As a result of inflamed public concern and the resultant
sticky political situation, it is now difficult for Irish
policymakers to address the twin challenges of escalating
oil prices and global warming as other countries are doing.
But an important start has been made; a recent report of
Forfás says that "although not economically feasible in the
short to medium term... Ireland should consider the
possibility of developing nuclear energy as a more long-
term solution".

In the short term, Ireland must reduce its dependence on
imported oil and gas and diversify. Bringing ashore the gas
found off the Mayo coast is an immediate priority. While
wind energy is not competitive without subsidy, it is wise
to encourage investment in renewable energy sources-
Sustainable Energy Ireland has recently announced helpful

Because of our isolated location, Ireland has weak
electrical interconnection to the European grid. As a
result, our system can only cope with a modest proportion
of unreliable energy sources such as wind.

The planned 500-megawatt electrical interconnector across
the Irish Sea to the UK grid is an important initiative and
offers the possibility of increasing wind capacity. When
the wind is not blowing Ireland's energy shortfall can be
made up by energy imported from the UK through an
interconnector. The fact that some of it may be generated
by the two new reactors proposed for Sellafield provides
some balance to the proposition.

In time spiralling oil costs and loss of competitiveness,
combined with global-warming concerns, will see a change in
Irish attitudes. Then, as the population and the media
become more aware of the facts, Ireland is more likely to
follow Finland's lead and build its first cluster of
nuclear power plants.

• Dr Edward Walsh is the founding president of the
University of Limerick. In the 1960s he directed an energy
research laboratory in the US and served as an associate of
the US Atomic Energy Commission Laboratory at Ames, Iowa

© The Irish Times


Irish Charity To Mark 20th Chernobyl Anniversary

The Chernobyl Children's Project (CCP) will today lead
several nationwide events to mark the 20th anniversary of
the Ukraine nuclear disaster.

As people gather around the world to mark the 1986 tragedy,
CCP founder Adi Roche will pay a courtesy visit to
President Mary McAleese at Aras an Uachtarain.

Ms Roche will present the president with a copy of her new
book, Chernobyl Heart - 20 Years On, which includes an
introduction written by Mrs McAleese.

Ms Roche will later attend a remembrance ceremony in St
Patrick's Park with the Lord Mayor of Dublin, Cllr
Catherine Byrne, and dignitaries.

A pipe band and choir will perform as Cllr Byrne unveils
the Peace Garden Stone.

Cork City will host an ecumenical service and white doves
will be released on the streets.

A tree-planting ceremony will be held in Cahir, Co
Tipperary, where local school pupils will also read poems.

Children in Kinnegad will hold a candle-lit ceremony after
dark at the local Thomastown Harbour.

© The Irish Times/


Job Losses In Prudential Revamp

Five hundred jobs are to be lost at the Prudential
Insurance company's Belfast office.

The firm is also closing offices in Bristol and London as
part of what the company said was a £40m cost-saving

The company is transferring its operations to three centres
in Stirling, Derby and Mumbai in India.

A spokesman for Prudential said the Belfast office would
not close until the end of next year.

The trade union, Amicus, pledged to fight the move, raising
the threat of strikes to protect the UK workers' jobs.

The firm said the relocation programme would take two years
to complete, and there would be no compulsory redundancies
before the end of 2006.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/04/26 09:14:08 GMT


Irish Designs On New World Order


A US sociologist sees the potential for a rapidly changing
Ireland to be the template for a rapidly changing world,
writes Kate Holmquist

Take a typical Irish entrepreneur: he spent his Easter
holiday catching up with childhood friends and family in Co
Clare in his grandfather's "local", where remarkably little
has changed in 50 years, even though his pint was served by
a Czech and the nearby hotels where the tourists stay are
staffed by eastern Europeans. Today he's off to China to
network with business contacts there, while keeping in
touch via e-mail with business partners in the US and

His laptop is his "office", although he has a Dublin base
where paperwork is done. He'll be back for meetings in
Dublin next week, before heading for Bulgaria, where he's
part of a property investment consortium.

Let's call him Conor. He, his wife and teenage children
live in Dublin because the schools are good and his wife
wants to be near her mother, although his wife does much of
her shopping in New York and goes for "girls' weekends"
with her sisters in Paris and other European cities.

The family are all looking forward to some uninterrupted
family time this summer at their holiday home in Spain,
while their Filipina housekeeper goes home to visit her
children. In Spain, Conor will play golf with the usual
crowd who are all Irish-born, but who he only ever sees in
Spain. The golf club feels like a little piece of Ireland,

In his heart, Conor is Irish, which for him is a state of
mind as much as it is a place on the map. On his travels,
he meets people who feel "Irish" too, even though some of
them have never been to the island of Ireland. For them,
Ireland is Guinness, Riverdance, literature and the stories
their Irish great-grandparents told them long ago. Ireland
is also represented by people like Conor, international
entrepreneurs and ambassadors who seem to be at ease
anywhere in the world, without losing their core identity.

Sociologist Saskia Sassen calls lifestyles like Conor's
"multiplex", or multi-layered. His way of living - which
many of us share to some degree, if not the same extreme -
puts "multi-tasking" in the shade. Conor lives on several
levels and in several places at one time. The boundaries of
any particular "nation-state" - with its laws and
regulations - are matters for his lawyers and accountants
to sort out. Conor conducts most of his business in
cyberspace, making his Irishness more a matter of personal
loyalty than geographic location.

The incredible pace at which the Irish have attuned
themselves to this new way of being puts this tiny country
at the vanguard of the third major transition in human
history, Sassen believes. The first occurred in medieval
times, when people were bound to feudal rulers. The second
was the emergence of the nation-state and the third - now
under way - is the creation of a new world order where
nation-states will gradually dissolve to make way for
global allegiances that exist on a level beyond physical

She argues that this State has been in the forefront of
this change in two ways: by embracing membership of the EU
and, in the late 1980s and 1990s, by encouraging US
companies to set up here, bringing with them digital
networks that have connected the State to the globe. The
UK, by contrast, has continued to cling to its old view of
"empire" while the US has become increasingly isolated and
its people narrow in their thinking. Yet the State has
managed to maintain good relationships with both the US and
the UK, a further sign of our flexibility.

"The Irish State has set an example of very advanced,
sophisticated thinking. It has engineered a very focused
economic plan with a clear shape. Ireland is an
emblemmatic, natural experiment that allows me and others
to do the research that will help show us what the future
will look like for all of us," she says.

Our children are completely attuned to this new way of
living, using texts and websites such as Bebo to
communicate with each other in preparation for the day when
they too will be cyber-nomads with careers that take them
all over the world, while more traditional jobs that do not
require high degrees of education and travel are
increasingly taken up by immigrants.

Our children will come and go, choosing - as many people do
now - to live here during periods of their lives, but not
for their lifetimes. We will no longer regard ourselves as
"citizens" of "nations", but as members of a new order that
we will have to consciously create.

The fact that the Irish, in a mere 15 years, have embraced
this new way of life without social upheaval is a
remarkable example of the flexibility of the human mind in
general, and perhaps the Irish mind in particular, Sassen

The current wave of immigration into the State is just a
symptom of the blurring of the old view of nationhood.
Sasken calls this "denationalisation", and she thinks that
our own painful past of emigration prepared us for it in
ways we were unaware of at the time, by creating networks
of people linked to the State.

In leaving the geographic island of Ireland behind, the
Irish brought Ireland with them in the form of music,
story-telling, theatre and literature. The result is that
the emotional and artistic sensibility that is "Ireland" is
familiar and appealing to hundreds of millions of people
around the world - as the success of Riverdance has shown.

Thousands of "Irish" websites and chatrooms enable people
to be "in Ireland" even though they may have never set foot
here, or only visit occasionally.

Sassen's worldview is so drastically different that it's
almost too big to comprehend. Yet the Irish are better-
placed to cope than most because we already have a cultural
identity that goes beyond physical geography. For many
people who are not Irish citizens, "Ireland" is a much-
loved place in the emotional geography of the mind.
Following Sassen's argument, we may have to redefine what
belonging to Ireland means as Ireland becomes a cyber-
emotional "space", rather than a physical place.

To sum it up simply, territory will no longer be
geographic, authority will no longer come from individual
nation-states and rights will have to be defined and
protected through new kinds of legal instruments that we
have yet to invent.

"Ireland has a very complex identity that is flexible and
can absorb differences. Look at the ease with which Irish
society has switched from poverty to wealth," says Sassen.
"The challenge now is for Ireland to move on from its
dramatic image of the oppressed - characterised by poverty,
courage and valour - and make the transition to wealth,
while keeping the solid groundwork of identity that it has.
There is a possibility for Ireland's transition to be so
well-managed that it will show the rest of the world the
way to do it. It's time for this State to wrap its brain
around the idea of providing infrastructure, rather than
telling us how we can treat each other nicely, which is not
enough." And she's optimistic that the State will succeed
in this, considering how much we've wrapped our brains
around already.

• Saskia Sassen will speak at Dublin City University, Q122
Business School, tomorrow, at 4.30pm. Later, at 7.30pm, she
will address a UCD conference on migrant workers' rights in
Room G32, Earlsfort Terrace. Admission free to both events

© The Irish Times


Are We There Yet? Repeat Ad Nauseum


It's A Dad's Life/Adam Brophy:

When I was a kid, our holidays down the country alternated
between visiting grandparents in Co Galway and Co Mayo.
These journeys took on average four or five hours
respectively, sometimes a little longer if we stopped to
sample the culinary delights of Harry's in Kinnegad or The
Prince of Wales in Athlone.

Those hours were the longest of my ruddy-cheeked life,
crammed in the back of the Mirafiori, squabbling with the
sisters over who got red in the "count the cars" game, and
praying my bladder would stay the course.

My Dad had told me to go before getting in the car, but I
had ignored him. I always regretted it.

On the Easter weekend I gathered up my own troops and we
took off to west Cork. We left at around two on Thursday
afternoon, arriving at our destination shortly after 10pm.
Eight hours in the saddle with a pair of young kids in tow.
We had a couple of mishaps along the way; toilet breaks so
the elder child could marvel in her best Malory Towers
accent at the filth of public conveniences and a quick bout
of projectile vomiting aimed directly at the back of my
head (the younger showing remarkable accuracy and
malevolence), but nothing that would have kept us off the
road for more than 60 minutes. That left seven hours to
cover around 200 miles: a remarkable testament to Ireland's
roads and traffic situation.

An hour after we had left home we were sitting on the North
Circular Road staring blankly at the lights in Phibsboro
and I was thinking I could probably still hit my house with
a good spit. Fortunately, I was occupied with chewing
through the steering wheel but the kids were showing the

The first "when are we gonna be in Cork?" had been chirped
as we backed out of the driveway, to be replaced with "is
this Cork?" as we snailed past Mountjoy.

Eventually we hit walking pace, then a canter. We made
Newbridge at 4.30pm and took a break, the poor nippers
presuming we had arrived. At this stage, visualising
wailing and gnashing of teeth all the way down the N7, I
feared the children would exercise their natural instinct
to rail at captivity. Missus was playing a stormer, pulling
out all the stops, infusing solids and liquids with
regularity and fulfilling the role of chief entertainment
officer with some panache. But I didn't think she could
hold on. I was sure we were doomed.

Then a strange thing happened. Somewhere on the Munster
border the elder got a burst of creativity and kept
everyone entertained with a stream of stories, rhymes,
jokes and songs. Missus and I were exchanging glances,
wondering what was going on and how long it could last.
Suddenly, younger was joining in and we had a pre-verbal
Morecambe and Wise situation in the back seat, the two of
them cracking each other up. The younger can't even talk
yet, but she wasn't letting that minor handicap stop her.
You could have handed her a mike and called her Jerry
Seinfeld, she thought she was so hilarious.

Eventually they wisecracked each other out and nodded off.
The tension had eased and we prayed they would kip all the
way. Which they did, before waking on arrival and expecting
to be entertained into the night because apparently
"there's no bedtime on holiday".

It struck me while we were away: do short breaks have the
same restorative powers on kids as on adults? I say this
because elder got quite philosophical at one point. I know
all four-year-olds ask a phenomenal amount of questions and
some shake you to the core (past highlights include "why do
we have blood?" and "what's under the footpath?") but this
one seemed to have a depth to it, perhaps brought on by

She had insisted on my bringing her to the loo and, while
sitting there, face scrunched in concentration, she asked
"Daddy, when you're in heaven, do you have to go to the

That's something I've often wondered myself.

© The Irish Times


25 Years On: New York Remembers The Hunger-Strikers

International History And Heritage Event Notice
Tuesday April 25, 2006 20:46 by NIFC - National irish
Freedom Committee nifcmem at optonline dot net

25th ANNIVERSARY of 1981 Hunger Strike Mass & Commemoration

Saturday, 29th APRIL 2006
Kelly Ryan's Restaurant
5790 Mosholu Ave, W. Bronx, NY 10471

MASS @ 3:30pm
Celebrants: Msgr.s Kevin Flanagan & Patrick Moloney

Guest Speakers: Patricia Campbell, from Tyrone
writer for FOURTHWRITE magazine
( )

Martin Galvin, from New York
Hon. Mario Biaggi, New York
and others

Music by: Kieran Murphy & Ben Wise, Alan Gogarty, Conall

Republican memorabilia from Long Kesh; pow letters, crafts,
photos, etc...Raffle, Republican merchandise, tea, coffee,

Tix: $20=Adults $10=Students w/ID
contact: 718-601-1550 or
Related Link:


"Mickey Slabdabber" Brings Alive The Fun And Pain Of Being Irish

A new Irish-themed book that's well worth a look. "Mickey
Slabdabber" has some important things to say about Irish
social and political history, besides being a lively and
vivid personal memoir. In particular, the ending really
haunted me. It shows that Irish history is still an open
wound for many people and their families, and not just
"unimportant stuff from the past". Entertaining and

Sydney,Australia (PRWEB) April 26,2006 -- This year is of
added significance to Irish-descended folk around the
world, wherever they may live. The United States and Canada
play host to the largest number, but the adopted home of
the author of this book, far-off Australia, is also the
home of millions proudly claiming Irish ancestors.

For all of these Gaels, in 2006 the usual cheerful bonhomie
and exuberant celebration of St Patrick's Day has been
followed by solemn reflection on the 90th anniversary of
the Dublin Easter Uprising of 1916. The tragic events of
that time bring to mind the terrible price Ireland had to
pay to gain its freedom after centuries of oppression.

Even today there remain painful divisions both between and
within the North and the South of the fabled "emerald
isle", and they scar many an individual psyche. So it's
fitting that a book recently released should reflect both
the sad and joyful aspects of what it means to be Irish.

"Mickey Slabdabber, a Limerick Odyssey" has been described
by the "Limerick Leader" newspaper as "an odyssey of fun".
Yet the Rev. Dr Stuart Barton Babbage (the ninety-years
young author of " Memoirs of a Loose Canon") describes it
as "heart wrenching" as well as heart warming, and
"compulsive reading".

Simply put, the book is the true story of a young boy
growing from birth towards manhood in Limerick between 1935
and 1953, with a fair amount of later observation thrown
in. This of course brings to mind Frank McCourt and
Angela's Ashes. Indeed the two books share a deal of common
ground, and even the same real-life characters on a few

For McCourt fans it may also be intriguing to note that the
Mickey Slabdabber author, Michael Quinlan, even briefly
swapped talk of Limerick with Frank McCourt when the latter
was on a book tour in Sydney in May 2000. But their
perspectives are by no means identical. Though he praises
Angela's Ashes as "a broth of a book" Mr Quinlan also says
diplomatically "I felt there was a good word to be put in,
that I felt a little lacking in Frank's work".

There are in fact both similarities in subject matter in
this autobiography and some striking differences. For
instance young Michael Quinlan's father, a man carrying a
terrible secret, was also an alcoholic like McCourt senior.
Unlike the latter though, he was no ne'er-do-well but held
down a skilled tradesman's job until his death. The mothers
are very different, this one being not only more
resourceful in the face of poverty but also mentally strong
and insightful. Their elder son's development however was
afflicted both by a crippling stammer and puzzling external

The latter derived from the family's wholehearted
involvement in the Irish independence struggle, and a later
split between diehard IRA supporters and followers of
Michael Collins. It's impossible to read a line like "I
hardly dared whisper it - De Valera, Mama? What had he to
do with this?" without feeling close to the raw currents of
Irish history.

While McCourt has been accused of trivialising Irish
politics, here no such accusation could be made. For the
unseen hand of the IRA distorts young Michael's childhood
and leads to the final dramatic plea for information and
reconciliation that closes the book.

"Mickey Slabdabber" is by no means just a serious or
political book though. There is also art & enchantment,
music, theatre & a good deal of humour - not to forget the
odd "bubble of glee"- in this true story of a Vizes Field
lane boy who wants to be a painter. And for lovers of the
offbeat there are even three sets of hilarious vampire
misapprehensions. The last is not so surprising on
reflection - after all Dracula author Bram Stoker himself
was Irish.

The author of "Mickey Slabdabber", Michael Quinlan,
migrated to Australia in 1962. He is now a seventy-year old
man who paints and writes in the Inner West of Sydney. His
paintings include a series of oils of the Limerick of his

"Mickey Slabdabber, a Limerick Odyssey" by Michael Quinlan.
(Lulu Press. ISBN: 1411668871).
Availability: Available now from and other
online bookstores, or may be ordered atlocal bookstores.
Also available as either a print- on- demand (POD)
paperback or an inexpensive e-book from
(Lulu is now the world's fastest-growing provider of print-
on-demand books)

Contact information: email Mr Quinlan's agent, Bruce
Or write to PO Box 1086, Strawberry Hills NSW 2012
Photo of Michael Quinlan & book cover image available on


At 74, Senator Edward Kennedy Still Roars

(Reuters/by Thomas Ferraro)

AT 74, Edward Kennedy still roars as one of America’s
leading liberal voices, longest serving US senators and
most polarising political figures.

While most people his age are retired, Kennedy shrugs off
an achy back and heads toward anticipated re-election in
November to an eighth six-year term.

“There’s a lot to do,” he said in a recent interview when
asked to explain what even critics describe as his
seemingly tireless efforts on behalf of the downtrodden.

“I think most of all it’s the injustice that I continue to
see and the opportunity to have some impact on it,” the
white-haired Massachusetts Democrat said.

Kennedy is now helping lead a drive to revamp US
immigration laws while he keeps speaking out on such
trademark issues as civil rights, education and health

Time magazine recently named Kennedy as one of “America’s
10 best senators,” calling him “the dealmaker.” The
recognition comes nearly 37 years after the Chappaquiddick
scandal that tarnished his reputation and prospects of
becoming president.

At rallies, congressional hearings and in the Senate,
Kennedy orates with a booming voice. Sometimes it has the
cadence of a drum roll, other times the fury of fireworks.

In his office this day, he talks softly and slowly.

“The defining aspect of our country is opportunity – the
hope that you can do better, that your children can do
better,” Kennedy said. “But you need an even playing

“To do that, you can’t be sick and be in school. You’ve got
to have health care. You’ve got to have an economy working
to give people a chance to get ahead. It is not guaranteed.
But you have to have an opportunity.” “Our country is big
enough and strong enough and wealthy enough to give that
kind of opportunity to everybody. That’s what I work on
every day,” he said.

Kennedy came to the Senate in November 1962 to fill a seat
earlier held by his older brother, then President John

Initially seen as a lightweight, the younger Kennedy became
a Senate workhorse.

He showed he could be a partisan Democrat. He has been a
leading critic of Republican President George W Bush,
particularly on his Iraq war, tax cuts for the rich and
conservative nominees to the US Supreme Court who he fears
will push the high court to the right.

But he also showed he could find common ground with

Over the years, Kennedy has helped enact legislation to
protect civil rights, expand health care, upgrade schools,
increase student aid and crack down on discrimination.

Along the way, Kennedy also became a favourite target of
conservatives, who can raise campaign money by just
mentioning his name which has long been synonymous with
such hot-button liberal causes as abortion rights and gay

“He can be a lightning rod for my side,” said Senator John
Cornyn, a Texas Republican who has crossed swords with

Yet Cornyn speaks of Kennedy with admiration.

“He comes to play every day. He’s always prepared and has
the energy and courage of conviction to keep fighting the
fight,” Cornyn said.

“You don’t see a lot of senators do that – at least not at
the level Kennedy does, day in and day out,” said Cornyn, a
first-term senator. “I’d like to earn that reputation.”

Cornyn and Kennedy are now locked in a battle over
immigration that has divided the Republican-led Congress.

Cornyn favours tough border control while Kennedy backs an
approach that would mix stricter security with what critics
denounce as amnesty.

It would give most of the estimated 11.5 million to 12
million illegal immigrants in the country a chance for
citizenship – provided they pay back taxes, work and clear
such hurdles as showing a knowledge of English.

“Are you with us?” Kennedy roared at an April 10 rally in
Washington that drew tens of thousands of immigrants and
their supporters.

“Yes,” the crowd replied.

“I’m for you and you and you and you,” he shouted.

“Kennedy, Kennedy, Kennedy,” they cried.

In an interview that day, Kennedy likened demonstrations by
immigrants to the civil rights movement by black Americans
four decades ago. He also talked about a letter he received
when he was just 8 years old from his father Joseph
Kennedy, then US ambassador to England during World War

“‘I hope you will dedicate your life to trying to solve
problems and relieve misery,’” Kennedy quoted his father as
urging him.

“It’s always echoed in my mind,” Kennedy said.

Kennedy often invokes the memory of two of his older
brothers – John, slain while president in 1963, and Robert,
assassinated while running for president in 1968.

“I think about my brothers every day,” Kennedy said.

“They set high standards. Sometimes you measure up,
sometimes you don’t.”

Kennedy was dogged by personal problems early in life, most
notably a 1969 accident in Chappaquiddick, Massachusetts,
that took the life of a young woman who drowned when his
car plunged off a bridge after a night of partying.

Asked if he was haunted by past missteps that may have cost
him the White House, Kennedy replied: “I’ve said that I’ve
made mistakes and taken responsibility for those mistakes.

“I have tried to learn from my mistakes and sought to be
better in the course of my life – better husband, better
brother, better father, better grandfather, better

Kennedy will go down as in history as one of the most
influential senators as well as one of the longest-serving.
Only West Virginia’s Robert Byrd and the late Strom
Thurmond of South Carolina served longer, more than 47

Now in his 43rd year, Kennedy does not say how long he will
stay. With a laugh, he said, “I get asked that a lot by my
nieces and nephews. I tell them, ‘I’m going to stay until I
get the hang of it’.”

Kennedy recently wrote his sixth book, America Back On
Track. In it, he writes that the nation is at a crossroads
and offers proposals to bring it together and move it

On immigration, this Irish-American writes: “In the march
of progress, immigrants deserve our commitment as well. In
my family, we were vividly aware of the immigrant stories
of our great-grandparents. All found the American dream,
and I have been one of its fortunate beneficiaries.”


Belfast Taxi Driver Ken Harper Offers Political And
Historical Tours Of The Northern Ireland Capital.

Ken Harper is Belfast’s slowest-moving ambassador.

Most days the taxi driver, a native of the Northern Ireland
capital, can be seen chugging around the city in his old
red cab explaining its tumultuous history to tourists.

Locals buzz past him and quickly realize the reason for his
vehicle’s glacial pace when they see camera-clad tourists

He’s the smiling face who for many introduces a new,
peaceful side to the city best known for its “Troubles,”
the local term used to refer to the period from the early
1970s to the early 1990s when sectarian violence drowned
Belfast in a series of horrific terrorist attacks.

Chris Atchison/Metro Toronto

The east Belfast dock where the ill-fated cruise liner
Titanic was fitted-out prior to her maiden voyage.

“For 25 years Belfast was the main target so it wasn’t a
very nice place to live,” Harper laments of the Protestant-
Catholic conflict.

In 1994, he and many of his cabbie colleagues began
offering personalized taxi tours of the city as terrorist
activity eased and the floodgates of tourism slowly opened
to an ever-increasing trickle of visitors from around the

As we make our way around the city centre Harper points out
the hot, new-old streets around Donegall Square and Queen’s
University that keep young urbanites in town after dark for
shopping and socializing over cocktails.

During the Troubles the centre of town was closed at night
to prevent violence.

Harper offers more information about the city as we lumber
towards the east-end docklands which are experiencing a
major rejuvenation. Millions of pounds are being pumped
into the once-derelict area that was home to the ill-fated
cruise liner Titanic during its construction.

“We only designed and built the Titanic, it was an English
captain that ran it into an iceberg,” he points out with a
wide grin.

If all goes according to plan, the next decade could see
the east side of the city develop into a spectacular
drawing card for increased tourism, just as the past decade
has seen a renaissance for the city centre.

But it’s the neighbourhoods where Catholics and Protestants
once fought pitched street battles and detonated bombs in
each other’s dwellings that most visitors want to see,
Harper says.

We make our way to west Belfast’s largely Protestant
Shankill Road area where wall murals commemorate the lives
of Ulster Freedom Fighters who died in what some locals
would refer to as a war against Catholic domination.

Cross the Peace Line — a huge wall dividing the communities
— into the Clonard and Falls Road area and the murals of
Republican notables such as Bobby Sands tell the same
stories, only devoted to the memory of Catholics who died
in the conflict. Tourists now flock to the area and can be
seen snapping shots of the ominous wall paintings — a new
chapter for tired neighbourhoods.

The tour, at about $16.50, ends in front of the Crown
Liquor Saloon, one of the city’s oldest pubs. Before we
pull to the curb Harper advises me to read a number of
books on the city’s history because as he says, “Everyone
tells a different story.”

The back of the red cab then fades into the distance along
Great Victoria Street, only this time a little faster: more
tourists await.


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