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April 13, 2006

Judge Decries Laws In McAllister's Asylum Case

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News About Ireland & The Irish

TL 04/13/06 Judge Decries Immigration Laws In Irishman's Asylum Case
BB 04/13/06 IRA Slams 'Ex-Republican Crooks'
RT 04/13/06 UVF 'Undecided' Over Campaign End
SF 04/13/06 Concern At Possible UVF Threat
BB 04/13/06 Riot Murder Bid Case 'Paper Thin'
IT 04/14/06 Inquiry Into RUC Informer's Murder Links
PW 04/14/06 Today We March, Tomorrow We Vote - Immigrants
WP 04/14/06 Court: Couple Can't Sue Northrop Grumman
BB 04/12/06 Bank Raid Files 'Not Handed Over'
BB 04/13/06 Dissidents Link To City Van Bomb
BB 04/13/06 Berry Plans 'Full Assembly Role'
DN 04/13/06 American Dream Unites Marchers
DN 04/12/06 A Good Family's Terrible Heartbreak
BB 04/12/06 Irish National Anthem Draft Sold
IT 04/14/06 Natl Library Acquires Collection Of Tom Clarke Documents
IT 04/14/06 British Ambassador To Attend 1916 Parade
SF 04/13/06 SF Tables Dáil Motion To Prevent Sell-Off Of Documents
SF 04/13/06 Council Endorses SF Motion To Commemorate Easter Rising
SF 04/12/06 PDF Of Dublin News Special Edition
SF 04/13/06 Connacht Easter Commemorations
TE 04/14/06 Opin: The Bloody Legacy Of Easter 1916
EC 04/12/06 Opin: Still Troubled
OP 04/12/06 Opin: 40 years and Counting; An Irish American Perspective
NY 04/13/06 Prof Honors Easter Rebellion
SF 04/12/06 Gerry Adams Pays Tribute To Siobhan O'Hanlon
BB 04/13/06 Ryanair Aircraft Bomb Scare Was A 'Hoax'
BN 04/13/06 Greens Reject Call For Ireland To Consider Nuclear Power
BN 04/13/06 Salute To Beckett On 100th Anniversary Of Writer's Birth
BN 04/13/06 Emigrants' Newspaper To Publish 1,000th Edition
HC 04/13/06 Inflation In Ireland Rises To 3-Year High
PL 04/13/06 Catherine O’Connell On Mend After 5th Surgery
UT 04/13/06 Irish Movie At New York Festival
IT 04/14/06 Warning On Economy Overheating As Prices Rise Sharply


Judge Decries Rigid Immigration Laws In Irishman's Asylum Case

Maryclaire Dale
Associated Press
Posted on Thu, Apr. 13, 2006

PHILADELPHIA - A federal appeals court judge sharply
criticized U.S. immigration laws, writing in a court
opinion that rules designed to combat terrorism instead
force the "knee-jerk" removal of "decent men and women."

Judge Maryanne Trump Barry complained that judges have no
discretion in applying harsh and complex laws and asked the
attorney general to intervene in the case of a man from
Northern Ireland denied asylum this week by the 3rd U.S.
Circuit Court of Appeals.

"I refuse to believe that 'Give me your tired, your poor,
your huddled masses yearning to breathe free...' is now an
empty entreaty. But if it is, shame on us," Barry wrote in
a concurring opinion.

The case involved Malachy McAllister, a former member of
the paramilitary Irish National Liberation Army convicted
in the 1981 wounding of a British policeman.

McAllister served three years in a Northern Irish prison
for his role as the lookout. In 1988, British loyalists
stuck assault rifles through the windows of his Belfast
home and fired 26 rounds when only McAllister's mother-in-
law and young children were there.

McAllister and his family came to the U.S. through Canada
on a tourist visa in 1996 and have spent more than a decade
living quietly in a northern New Jersey suburb, where he
works as a stone mason.

After McAllister applied for asylum, the Bureau of
Immigration Affairs ordered him deported on the grounds of
prior "terrorist activity." McAllister's lawyers appealed,
arguing that the definition of such activity was
unconstitutionally broad and vague.

The 3rd Circuit panel disagreed.
"The definition includes a great deal of conduct, but all
of this conduct could reasonably constitute terroristic
activities," Judge Jane R. Roth wrote.

Barry agreed with the conclusion, but suggested judges
should be given more discretion.

"We cannot be the country we should be if, because of the
tragic events of Sept. 11, we knee-jerk remove decent men
and women merely because they may have erred at one point
in their lives," wrote Barry, who said McAllister's actions
came as part of a struggle to end more than 800 years of
British rule. "We should look a little closer; we should
care a little more."

McAllister's supporters doubt an appeal to the Supreme
Court would succeed, and are instead seeking relief through
Congressional and Bush administration channels.

U.S. Rep. Steve Rothman, D.-N.J., who is pushing a bill to
let the family stay, has secured a pledge from the
Department of Homeland Security not to detain McAllister
for at least the next several weeks to give Congress time
to act, an aide said Thursday.

"I don't think we're going to have any opposition in
Congress," said Bob Decheine, Rothman's chief of staff.

Meanwhile, they have asked Homeland Security Secretary
Michael Chertoff, who once served on the 3rd Circuit, to
step in. By law, the department cannot comment on whether
people are seeking asylum, a spokeswoman said.

McAllister's lawyer, Eamonn Dornan, said judges should have
the leeway to distinguish between his client's case and
that of someone from a country at odds with the United

"He is no threat to the safety and security of the United
States. No Irish man ever has been," Dornan said.

Two of McAllister's children were also ordered deported on
grounds their appeal was filed two weeks too late.

An immigration judge had at one point granted them and
their mother asylum, but the children's application - which
was attached to their mother's - was rendered moot when she
died suddenly of cancer in May 2004.

Those children, Nicola, 19, and Sean, 18, are now college

Malachy McAllister believes the family could face
persecution if they return to Northern Ireland.

"We could be sent back to a country that we were lucky to
escape from with our lives," McAllister, who lives in
Wallington, N.J., told The Associated Press earlier this
year. "It plays on my mind every second of the day."

Roth, in her opinion, points to a State Department report
that finds that former members of the Irish Republican Army
have been able to live freely and hold office in Great

© 2006 AP Wire and wire service sources. All Rights


IRA Slams 'Ex-Republican Crooks'

The Irish Republican Army has denounced former members who
have "embraced criminal activity" and apologised for
killing a man in a 1974 bomb attack.

In the paramilitary group's traditional Easter statement it
said it had "no responsibility for the tiny number of
former republicans" involved in crime.

It said those engaged in crime were doing so "for self

In a separate statement the IRA said it killed Catholic man
Eugene McQuaid in an attack meant for British soldiers.

Mr McQuaid, 35, a Catholic, died in an explosion near
Killeen in County Armagh on 5 October.

The IRA apologised to his family and said an "internal
investigation" concluded Mr McQuaid was killed when an IRA
roadside bomb "detonated prematurely" as he passed it on
his motorcycle.

"Eugene McQuaid was not a member of the IRA. He was not
involved in the IRA operation," the IRA said.

The statement was welcomed by Mr McQuaid's son-in-law
Ciaran Tumilty who said the family had wanted to dispel any
suggestion he had any paramilitary connections.

"Those making the false allegations against Eugene never
had any evidence to support their claims because none
existed," he said.

"He was never a member of a paramilitary organisation. He
was a good family man."

'Current phase'

In the Easter statement the IRA said it repudiated
"criminal activity" and "denounce those involved."

It also called on the British and Irish governments to push
on with implementing the 1998 Good Friday Agreement.

The statement said there was frustration among republican
circles, but that the deal made it "possible to achieve the
republican goal of a united Ireland through the alternative
route of purely peaceful and democratic means".

"The Irish government in particular has a duty to see
beyond the current phase of the process," it said.

"Its responsibility is to promote an end to partition and
to create the conditions for the unity and independence of

The theft of more than £26m from the Northern Bank
headquarters in Belfast in December 2004 was blamed on the

The organisation has been linked to bank robbery,
protection rackets and dealing in smuggled cigarettes and
alcohol as means of raising cash.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/04/13 16:47:15 GMT


UVF 'Undecided' Over Campaign End

13 April 2006 14:21

One of the main loyalist paramilitary organisations, the
Ulster Volunteer Force, has indicated it will not
definitively decide on ending its campaign before political
talks conclude at Stormont on 24 November.

In an interview with this afternoon's Belfast Telegraph
newspaper, the UVF leadership expressed concerned about the
Plan B options being discussed by the two governments if
attempts to revive the Assembly fail.

In an interview, a UVF spokesman indicated the UVF was in
favour of what he called an 'internal settlement'.

Asked about the IRA, the spokesman acknowledged that
significant changes had taken place but said that politics
could be war by another means.

Pressed about atrocities such as the Dublin and Monaghan
bombings, the UVF says in 1994 the organisation had
expressed abject and true remorse for such incidents.

The interview was conducted by Brian Rowan, a well-known
Northern journalist who specialises in security affairs.


Concern At Possible UVF Threat

Published: 13 April, 2006

Sinn Féin Newry Armagh MP Conor Murphy has said that media
reports that the UVF leadership is delaying the decision on
its future until after November 24th carries with it an
implied threat of violence.

Mr Murphy said:

"The northern statelet was founded through loyalist
paramilitary violence and the threat of violence.

"On countless occasions since loyalist paramilitaries have
worked hand in glove with unionism to deny the rights of
nationalists and republicans and to undermine political

"Media reports that the UVF leadership is delaying the
decision on its future until after November 24th carries
with it an implied threat of violence.

"Given the opportunities for progress now, both governments
and all political parties reject such threats and also that
both governments live up to their commitments in terms of
moving on after November 24th if the DUP refuse to rise to
the challenge of forming an Executive." ENDS


Riot Murder Bid Case 'Paper Thin'

The case against man accused of shooting at police and Army
personnel during rioting last summer is "paper thin", a
bail hearing has been told.

John Main, 37, of Highfield Drive, denies attempted murder,
riotous assembly and possession of a firearm.

The charges followed serious rioting in Belfast last
September after the annual Whiterock Orange Order parade.
Defence told the High Court the case against Mr Main, who
was freed on bail, was a "clothing recognition case".

Pointing out the father-of-four had been in custody for
almost seven months the lawyer said the defence were
"deeply concerned" about the delay in bringing the case to

He said Mr Main accepted he was "100 metres from the scene
of the riot" and wearing clothing "similar" to that of a
gunman who fired shots from a pistol at police lines.

Mr Justice Coghlin criticised the delay in bringing about
the prosecution case and in light of the fact Mr Main has
spent seven months in custody, bail was granted.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/04/13 15:18:22 GMT


Inquiry Into RUC Informer's Murder Links

Last updated: 14-04-06, 00:43

Northern Ireland Police Ombudsman Nuala O'Loan is about to
complete a report into allegations that a former north
Belfast UVF commander was involved in more than a dozen
murders while he acted as an informer for the RUC Special

Former senior RUC officer Johnston Brown has claimed to
this newspaper that elements within RUC Special Branch
protected this UVF figure to ensure he was not exposed as
an informant, despite the fact that they knew he was
associated with several killings of Protestants and

It is perverse what happened, and goes against everything a
police officer is sworn to do," Mr Brown said yesterday.

The Irish Times has also obtained a confidential report
compiled by the respected London-based human rights group
British Irish Rights Watch (BIRW) which lists nine of the
people whom the UVF man is alleged to have murdered either
through direct involvement or indirectly by ordering or
being linked to these killings.

Raymond McCord, whose son Raymond jnr was allegedly
murdered on the orders of this UVF figure in 1997, has also
told The Irish Times that security and loyalist
paramilitary sources have corroborated to him the claims
made by Mr Brown, who as a Criminal Investigation
Department (CID) officer was responsible for putting UDA
leader Johnny Adair in prison for directing terrorism.

Mr McCord snr raised his concerns about the investigation
into his son's death when he met Taoiseach Bertie Ahern in
Dublin recently.

Sources say the Ombudsman's report, which will be completed
in the summer, will be more controversial and far-reaching
than her report into how the RUC handled the inquiry into
the Real IRA bombing of Omagh. That exposed huge failings
in the RUC inquiry and had major security and political

© 2006


‘Today We March, Tomorrow We Vote’ 2 Million Immigrants &

Supporters Stand Up For Equality & Justice

Author: Dan Margolis
People's Weekly World Newspaper, 04/13/06 15:00

NEW YORK — In the city that is home to the Statue of
Liberty and Ellis Island, 125,000 people, native- and
foreign-born alike, turned out April 10 for a historic
National Day of Action for Immigrant Justice. It was the
city’s largest demonstration so far for immigrant rights.

The day of action mobilized some 2 million people in big
and small cities and towns nationwide. (See page 4 and for more coverage.) Huge numbers and a festive,
family-friendly, working-class spirit have been the
hallmarks of this new civil rights movement.

New York’s massive show of unity saw labor, religious,
ethnic, community, civil rights and peace organizations
joining immigrant workers in a strikingly multiracial and
multi-ethnic outpouring. The immigrant rights struggle has
sometimes been portrayed as solely a Latino or Mexican
issue. But at the New York rally, Catholic, Protestant,
Jewish and Muslim clergy, city and state officials,
Democratic Reps. Jose Serrano, who is Puerto Rican, and
Charles Rangel, an African American, Sens. Hillary Clinton
and Charles Schumer, and a wide array of grassroots
representatives declared that immigrant rights are
important to all American people.

Broadway was a sea of color as marchers carried thousands
of American flags interspersed with flags of the native
lands of the city’s immigrant population — all continents
and, it seemed, nearly all countries were represented, from
as far away as Senegal, Yugoslavia, Colombia, Ireland and
even Australia.

“Yes, I carry two flags today,” Juanita, an undocumented
maid who works in Manhattan, told the World, referring to
the Honduran and U.S. banners she held. The Honduras flag
“means my family, and hometown. The American flag
represents me now,” she said. “I’m proud. I’m proud of
where I come from but also where I am now, too.”

Solidarity across immigrant communities was evident. “The
Irish are with you 100 percent!” said Brian McKenna of the
Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform. “We’re going to get
legalized. Stand together, no matter if you’re Black, brown
or white. We are one — Sí se puede!”

“Sí se puede!” echoed a representative of the Chinese
Consolidated Benevolent Association. He compared the plight
of immigrants today to what happened a century ago when the
1882 Chinese Exclusion Act caused “thousands of families to
be broken up.”

The April 10 actions re-energized the immigrant rights
movement after a Senate “compromise” fell apart last week.

The message to President Bush and Congress from the
nationwide actions was, “We are not criminals.” Immigration
legislation cannot criminalize the undocumented, the
marchers declared, and must include a path to legalization
and citizenship for the 12 million people who work hard yet
are forced to live in the shadows. Legislation must provide
for united families and civil and workplace rights,
speakers emphasized.

AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Linda Chavez-Thompson told
the New York rally, “You deserve the chance to move out of
the shadows — hold your head high and set out on a clear
path that will take you to permanent residency in this
country. You deserve a safe workplace, a fair wage with
benefits, fair treatment, respect and dignity.”

Public opinion backs the demand for a path to citizenship.

In a new Washington Post-ABC News poll 63 percent favored
letting immigrants who have lived in the country a certain
number of years apply for legal status and eventually
become citizens. Only one in five embraced the
criminalization measures in House bill HR 4437. And 61
percent disapprove of President Bush’s handling of
immigration reform.

Unity was a key message. “They try to divide us,” Sarah
Jones, actress/writer of Broadway’s “Bridge & Tunnel,” told
the crowd. “We should not fight each other for crumbs,
while they feast on our labor and steal from all of us. As
a Black woman, I stand with all of you!”

Labor unions played a major part in the rally. Orlando
Lara, on strike for five months with GSOC/UAW Local 2110,
which represents graduate student workers at New York
University, said the administration there had
unsuccessfully tried to weaken the strike by threatening
foreign workers with deportation. “Today,” Lara said, “GSOC
stands in solidarity with all workers and students without

“We are all immigrants,” said United Federation of Teachers
President Randi Weingarten. “We cannot turn our backs on
our country and our people. We need to roll back the House
of Representatives.” She added that teachers do not want to
be “snitches” or spy on their students, as HR 4437 calls

Roger Toussaint, head of Transport Workers Union Local 100,
did not speak as scheduled, because he was in court, where
he was sentenced to 10 days in jail for leading a pre-
Christmas transit strike. When rally emcee Hector Figueroa
of SEIU Local 32BJ hailed Toussaint, originally from
Trinidad, as an immigrant worker the crowd erupted with a
stormy solidarity ovation.

“This is a rally for human rights, for the soul of our
country,” N.Y. Civil Liberties Union head Donna Lieberman
told the World. The notion of immigrants “stealing”
American jobs is wrong, she said. “They’re a critical part
of our economy and a critical part of our society.”


Court: Couple Can't Sue Northrop Grumman

By Larry Neumeister
The Associated Press
Tuesday, April 11, 2006; 10:50 AM

NEW YORK -- An Irish couple who were detained after their
U.S. employer accused them of being threats to national
security will not be allowed to sue a work training program
that reported them to federal investigators, an appeals
court ruled.

James Murray and Ruth Gould were working at a Las Vegas
hang-gliding school in 2002 when they complained to their
program administrator, Northrop Grumman Information
Technology Inc., that their employer had not paid them and
had demanded they clean his home.

The hang-gliding school owner later called Northrop Grumman
and said the couple had never worked for him and that
Murray was getting a pilot's license so he could open a
business in Yemen, the appeals court said. The owner also
claimed the two opposed U.S. policy and believed terrorism
would worsen as long as the U.S. supported Israel.

Northrop Grumman notified the State Department and U.S.
immigration authorities, and the government took the couple
into custody and began deportation proceedings.

Murray and Gould, both from Belfast, Northern Ireland, had
been participating in the Irish Peace Process Cultural and
Training Program, established by Congress in 1998 to train
disadvantaged Irish youths.

In their lawsuit, they said they suffered psychological
injuries from Northrop Grumman's negligence in failing to
check the accuracy of the claims against them.

Their lawyer, Eamonn Dornan, said he was "very
disappointed" with the ruling Monday by the 2nd U.S.
Circuit Court of Appeals.

Dornan said the couple were held in custody for a week but
had since been permitted to remain in the U.S., at least
temporarily, as witnesses in an unrelated assault case
against the man who made the terrorism claims against them.

A lawyer for Northrop Grumman Information Technology, based
in McLean, Va., did not immediately return a telephone
message seeking comment.


Bank Raid Files 'Not Handed Over'

Some files relating to the £26.5m Northern Bank raid have
still not been handed over to the Public Prosecution
Service, a court has been told.

Police tapes and transcripts still have not been received
by the defence, Belfast Magistrate's Court heard.

The information emerged during an appearance by bank
official Chris Ward who is charged with the robbery.

The disclosures came during a brief hearing when three men
appeared in connection with December 2004's raid.

Appearing with Mr Ward, 24, from Colinmill in Poleglass,
were Dominic McEvoy, 22, a builder from Mulandra Park in
Kilcoo, County Down, and Martin McAliskey, 39, a self-
employed salesman from Ballybeg Road in Coalisland, County

Mr Ward and Mr McEvoy are both charged with armed robbery.
Mr McEvoy is also accused of falsely imprisoning a bank
official and his wife at their home in Loughinisland in
County Down.

Mr McAliskey is charged with buying and selling the van
police believe was used in the robbery. All three deny the

During Wednesday's hearing, the Public Prosecution Service
said it still had not received a full file relating to the
case and the court also heard from Mr Ward's defence
solicitor, who said he was still awaiting police tapes and

The men remain on bail and are due to appear in court again
on 7 June.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/04/12 13:22:54 GMT


Dissidents Link To City Van Bomb

Police suspect dissident republicans were behind an
attempted bomb attack on a PSNI station in Londonderry.

The blast incendiary device was placed in a van which was
hijacked by three armed men at Altcar Park, Galliagh after
midnight on Thursday.

They told the driver to take it to Strand Road police
station. He abandoned it at Northland Road.

Nine homes were evacuated during the subsequent alert. The
army made the device safe on Thursday morning.

PSNI Chief Inspector Ken Finney said those behind the
attack showed "remarkable contempt" for the people of this

He said that had the device exploded, it would have caused
untold damage and could easily have lead to loss of life.

The chief inspector said the timer had reached the point of
detonation but the device failed to explode.

The driver had a lucky escape, he said.

The blame for any inconvenience to local people rested
firmly with those who planned and carried out the attack,
Mr Finney added.

The SDLP's Pat Ramsey condemned the attack and said it was
a worrying attempt to hamper political progress.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/04/13 10:17:55 GMT


Berry Plans 'Full Assembly Role'

Former DUP member Paul Berry has said he intends to play a
full part in the assembly when it is recalled in May.

Mr Berry, now an independent member for Newry and Armagh,
resigned from the DUP following a court case.

He fell out with his party over allegations in a Sunday
newspaper about an encounter with a masseur in a Belfast
hotel last year.

Mr Berry said he wanted to move on and represent his
constituents and called for unionist unity.

He said he would take part in committees if they exist in
the new assembly.

However, he would not commit himself to voting
automatically with his former colleagues.

"Any decision that I make will be a decision based on what
I feel is best for the unionist community," Mr Berry said.

"Therefore, people may think because I was DUP that that's
the way I intend to vote.

"That's not the case. I'll still be keeping an open mind
because I'm now an independent unionist."

He said the need for unionist unity was great because of
the possibility of greater cooperation between London and
Dublin if the assembly closes.

Mr Berry has denied any wrongdoing on his part in relation
to the story in the Sunday newspaper and said that the
matter remains in the hands of his solicitors.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/04/13 12:07:58 GMT


American Dream Unites Marchers

"We are people too," read a sign a very young Latino mother
carried at Monday's protest in lower Manhattan for fair
immigration laws.

It was a poignant affirmation of her humanity at a time
when shamefully, so many people seem intent in taking it
from her and even from the baby she was pushing in a

The day was beautiful, and the protesters, young and old,
women and men - many holding the hands of their children -
kept coming.

There were Latinos and Africans, Asians and a group of
young, tall Irish men wearing T-shirts with green letters
that read, the Web site of the very
active Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform.

"Son of illegals with voting power," read the white T-shirt
of a man in his 30s who enthusiastically joined in chanting

"Sí se puede (It can happen)," a mantra of hope the crowd
fervently repeated over and over. "Thank you mom and dad,"
the young man's shirt said on the back.

The story of the undocumented immigrants' fears,
humiliations, hopes - and their emerging political power -
was eloquently told in the variety of messages emblazoned
on the signs, T-shirts and placards the marchers exhibited.

It was also told in the slogans they chanted and the
comments they made.

Some of the signs told a generous tale of solidarity with
the thousands of hardworking, law-abiding undocumented
immigrant families gathered outside of City Hall from their
American co-workers, neighbors and friends.

"I'm Jewish, I'm Gringa and I demand justice for all my
brothers and sisters," proudly proclaimed the bilingual
sign - in English and Spanish - carried by Elizabeth Segal,
an editor from Tarrytown.

American flags floated side by side with the flags of a
dozen other countries that immigrants waved in a colorful
display of pride in their culture and heritage - and in the
culture and traditions of their new country.

"We are all Americans," another sign declared. And looking
at the endless variety of ethnicities gathered in front of
City Hall, you could not help but reflect on how strong and
vibrant multiculturalism has made U.S. society.

The Rev. John Grange, pastor of St. Jerome Church in the
Bronx for 25 years, has seen an influx of devoted Latino
immigrants, especially Mexicans, transform and revitalize
his parish. Grange was at the protest with two Mexican
brothers - Ray, 11, and Gerardo Hernán-dez, 8 - and "about
100 more people."

"We want papers," said little Gerardo, looking up with big
brown eyes, while a short Ecuadoran woman, a bandana in the
colors of her country tied around her head, walked around
doing brisk business selling U.S. flags and those of half a
dozen other countries.

Looking around, the words that Paul O'Neill, a Boston
executive visiting New York, told us on April 1 during the
previous protest came to mind.

"I would like to know where are the three-piece suits," he
said watching marchers get on the Brooklyn Bridge. "They
[the business people] should be here, marching in the
front, supporting the immigrants. After all, they are the
ones who benefit the most from their hard work."
But it was an Asian couple who, by the message on their
sign, really made clear how well so many immigrants have
understood - and have integrated into - their new society.
In bold letters, it declared: "Today we march; tomorrow we

Originally published on April 13, 2006


A Good Family's Terrible Heartbreak

Maggie Dixon

This one is for my friends Jim and Margie Dixon out of
Throgs Neck in the Bronx, who in a single season have
fallen from the heights of glory to the abyss of human

Last month, Jim and Margie watched two of their terrific
kids, a son named Jamie and a daughter named Maggie, lead
teams into the NCAA tournament, the first time in history a
brother and sister ever did that.


A week ago, Jamie signed a million-dollar deal with the
University of Pittsburgh. Maggie would be back next season
with Army, looking to top the remarkable accomplishments of
last season. On top of that, Jim and Margie have a daughter
Julie, a successful lawyer in Los Angeles.

Parents don't get much prouder than that.

But then Thursday, after the final champagne (actually it
was probably more like Coors) bubble popped in the Dixon
home in North Hollywood, Calif., they learned the monstrous
news that Maggie, 28, coach of the Army women's basketball
team, with no history of heart problems, had died of

There is no rule in the book for this kind of insidious
personal foul.

The single consoling thought I had after hearing the news
was that Maggie Dixon had been raised by two of the best
people you'd ever meet. She had champions for parents,
truly good and decent and selfless people whose 41-year
marriage was forged in the Irish working-class streets of

"The Neck" and survived four decades in North Hollywood,
where they raised their three kids in a modest home with a
basketball hoop in the yard that became the brass ring of
life for two of them.

Even with all the fake distractions of Hollywood around
them, Margie working for Warner Bros. and Jim acting and
writing for the movies, nothing was ever more important to
these two Bronx kids than their family. Their children
always came first. And so Maggie Dixon's short, sweet and
amazingly successful 28 years were probably jam-packed with
more life, love and laughter than a full roster of other
young women her age.

Everything else was gonna be gravy.
But goddamnit it all to hell, this kid was only getting
started in what would have been an amazing life and career.

I first met the Dixons in 1978, when I left Brooklyn to
write a column for the Los Angeles Herald Examiner. My
friend Tom Clancy, of the storied Clancy Brothers singing
group, was working in L.A. as an actor. He invited me to a
barbecue at his house, where he introduced me to a fellow
actor named Jim Dixon and his wife, Margie, and their
daughter Julie, son Jamie and an infant named Maggie. My
wife at the time was pregnant with my first daughter.

Jim Dixon was also a screenwriter. I was working on my
first book. But what we had most in common in that la-la
land of make-believe was a die-hard love for New York. We
hit it off from beer No. 1 and laughed the rest of the
night away, and we kept laughing for the next 18 months I
lived out there.

Dixon and I would often go barhopping. He invited me to
parties in his home, where I met his other pals like Larry
Cohen, the noted filmmaker, and novelist David Westheimer,
who wrote "Von Ryan's Express," and established actors like
Iggy Wolfington and an hilarious businessman pal named Paul
Lichtman. Dixon was a quick cure for my Brooklyn

After I returned East, we stayed in touch sporadically over
the years. But two weeks ago when I called Dixon to
congratulate him on the success of his kids, it was as if
we'd spoken every day for years. We started with some chop-
busting, cheap laughs, reminiscing about old ridiculous
nights out on the tiles. I said a quick hello to Margie,
then she got a beep from her son Jamie, and Margie made me
promise to stay in touch and said she had to go. Like I
said, their kids always came first.

Yesterday, I spoke again with Jim Dixon. He started off the
conversation with a brave attempt at laughter. Then he
said, "Oh, man, I wish you could have known Maggie. She
loved to shoot the hoops. She loved the Irish music, too,
ya know. Loved the Clancy Brothers, who she called the
Clancy Boys. Man, she loved to laugh. She really loved
life, ya know, she had plans ... ."

His laughter collapsed into soft sobs, the first ones I've
ever heard from my friend Jim Dixon, as he told me that
there would be a funeral in Los Angeles on Friday. "Then
they're gonna bury Maggie in West Point," he said. "I wish
you could have known her ..."

Just by knowing Jim and Margie Dixon, out of Throgs Neck, I
think I probably did.


Irish National Anthem Draft Sold

The original first draft of the Irish national anthem has
been sold for 760,000 euro.

The document was sold at an auction of artefacts
commemorating the 1916 Easter Rising in Dublin.

Bidding for the draft, penned by Peader Kearney in 1907,
began at 500,000 euro and was eventually sold to an
anonymous bidder.

The auctioneers are unable to disclose the identity of the
buyer but they believe it will stay in the country.

During the auction, the largest ever sale of Irish
historical and political artefacts, more than 450 lots
fetched a total of 2.8million euro.

A 1916 Proclamation of the Irish Republic, one of about 20
original versions still in existence, was sold for 200,000

Michael Collins's original signed Sinn Fein Membership card
was sold for 60,000 euro.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/04/12 21:54:44 GMT


National Library Acquires Collection Of Tom Clarke Documents

Ruadhán Mac Cormaic

Some 400 items from the personal archive of Tom Clarke, the
first signatory of the 1916 Proclamation, were acquired by
the National Library at this week's auction of material
linked to Irish independence.

The collection, for which the library paid €200,000,
includes some 300 letters between Clarke, one of the first
leaders to be executed after the Rising, and his wife, as
well as letters he wrote while imprisoned for Fenian

"When catalogued, it will be an invaluable source for
scholars, researchers and others interested in Irish social
and political history in the early years of the 20th
century in particular," said library director Aongus Ó
hAonghusa. "We're very happy. We got virtually everything
we were looking for."

Other items acquired by the library include material
concerning Clarke's residency in New York and involvement
in Irish-American politics. There is also a collection of
material relating to Clarke's father, James Clarke, a
sergeant in the British army, a cache of documents relating
to the organisation of O'Donovan Rossa's funeral in 1915.

There are accounts in Clarke's handwriting of payments for
arms purchased in 1914 and an illuminated address to
Clarke, with a list of subscribers including the Fenian
leader James Stephens and Maud Gonne.

One item of particular interest in the collection is a
letter from the Irish-American leader, John Devoy, to
Clarke's widow, Kathleen, in 1921, claiming that Éamon de
Valera "is not a sincere republican and wants to keep
Ireland in the British empire". Devoy, who quarrelled
during de Valera's US mission, added that he was "really a
half-breed Jew and his mother was a 'Palatine', that is of
German descent".

A Tricolour believed to have flown above the GPO during the
1916 Rising was sold yesterday for €600,000.

The linen flag, initially offered for sale on Wednesday at
the James Adam and Mealy auction, was withdrawn at
€560,000. But an anonymous bidder, believed to be Irish,
contacted the auctioneers and offered €600,000.

The auction realised €3.4 million.

© The Irish Times


British Ambassador To Attend 1916 Parade

Paul Cullen in Sheffield

The British ambassador to Ireland will be attending the
1916 ceremonies in Dublin, it was confirmed here.

Speaking to reporters during a visit to emigrant projects
in northern England, President Mary McAleese said
Ambassador Stewart Eldon would be attending the ceremonies.

Mr Eldon's decision to attend epitomised the new attitude
to the anniversary, she said. "His attendance says it all."
Irish people recognised the debt they owed to the 1916
leaders in achieving independence.

She said the Government's celebration of the 90th
anniversary of the Easter Rising on Sunday will be an
occasion of civic pride for Irish people.

The President rejected claims that the occasion could be
hijacked by republicans, and said there was no reason to
believe it would be used as a cause for triumphalism.

Irish people recognised the debt they owed to the 1916
leaders. "I haven't the slightest doubt that Sunday will be
a day of proud commemoration and I have every expectation
that it will be very well attended." Every country had its
heroes and its villains, she said, and while some people's
heroes were others' villains, the reverse was also true.

"We rightly look back on our past with pride at the men and
women who lived in very different times from ours, and who
made sacrifices of their lives so that we would enjoy these
good times." This view was held by the vast majority of
Irish people and would be celebrated on Easter Sunday in an
"understated but very real" way.

The President compared the contemporary consideration of
the 1916 leaders to that of the thousands of Irish soldiers
who fought in the British army during the first World War.

The lives of those soldiers had been deliberately
forgotten, but people had since learned to take their
memories "out of the shoe box" and to take pride in what
they had given.

"Whatever our background or our take on history, religion
or politics, we take pride in what they gave. They did what
they did in the belief that they were helping a new
generation to grow up in freedom and without fear. That is
true of those who died [ in Dublin] in 1916, and it's true
of those who died on the Somme."
The President's remarks were her first since January, when
she sparked a major debate on the issue with a speech that
hailed the 1916 leaders as "idealistic and heroic founding
fathers and mothers" of the State, and which blamed British
imperialism for its "narrowing effect" on this country.

Mrs McAleese yesterday visited a number of support centres
for Irish emigrants in northern England, including a newly-
opened Irish centre in Sheffield and a sheltered housing
scheme for older emigrants in Leeds.

Government support for emigrants has jumped from €4 million
in 2004 to €12 million this year, and 85 per cent of this
is spent in Britain.

She described as "heartbreaking" the figures which show
that the Irish community in Britain has the poorest health
and some of the worst unemployment of any ethnic group.

Many people had left Ireland decades ago in the most
appalling circumstances of abject poverty, and some who had
fallen on hard times now formed part of "a trapped

However, Ireland had shown it hadn't forgotten those people
by increasing support in the form of grants and improved
pension entitlements, she said.

© The Irish Times


SF To Table Emergency Dáil Motion To Prevent Future Sell-
Off Of Irreplaceable Historical Documents

Published: 13 April, 2006

Sinn Féin MEP for Dublin Mary Lou McDonald speaking prior
to the launch of Dublin Sinn Féin's programme of events to
commemorate the 90th anniversary of the 1916 Rising said
the party would be putting forward a Dáil motion demanding
legislation to prevent the sale or export of important
historical documents. Ms McDonald was accompanied by Sean
Crowe TD and a number of Sinn Féin Councillors.

Ms. McDonald and Deputy Crowe will be available to speak to
the media at 12.30pmtoday (Thursday 13th) at the GPO on
O'Connell Street.

Ms. McDonald said:

"Many people were very angry to see irreplaceable
historical documents sold off to the highest bidder in an
auction hall in Dublin city centre yesterday. Such
documents are vital to future generations and should be
kept in the ownership of the people.

"Under current legislation the Government is able to
compulsory purchase items such as the Ardagh Chalice, Tara
brooch and paintings of national importance. The owners of
these items are compensated by the state. However there is
no legislation for the government to do this with written
documents or archives.

"Sinn Féin TDs intend to table an emergency motion when the
Dáil returns from the Easter recess to demand legislation
to prevent the sale or export of such irreplaceable and
significant documents or artefacts."

Deputy Crowe said:

"The weekend I am calling on people to take to the streets
of our capital city to mark the 90th anniversary of the
1916 Easter Rising. Sinn Féin will hold commemorations
across the city throughout the Easter weekend with our main
commemoration in the City Centre on Saturday 15th at
1.30pm. In the coming days Dublin Sinn Féin will be
distributing 140,000 copies of a special edition of Dublin
News to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the Easter
Rising to homes right across the city and county.

"It is very welcome that this weekend the Irish Government
has also decided to mark the anniversary of the Easter
Rising. I hope that they will do much more. The best way to
celebrate the spirit of Easter 1916 is for all of those who
are committed to Irish reunification to work together to
make this goal a reality."

Friday, 14th April
Dublin(Arbour Hill)
Assemble at 2.30pmSpeaker Sean Crowe TD
Saturday 15th
Dublin City
Assemble at 1.30pm Speaker Gerry Adams MP
Assemble at 11am Speaker Mary Lou McDonald MEP
Assemble 12 noon Speaker Cllr Críona Ní Dhalaigh
Sunday 16th
Glasnevin Cemetery Wreath laying ceremony
Assemble at 11.00am at the gates of Glasnevin Cemetery.
Annual Eamonn Ceantt Crumlin Republican Easter
Assemble at 3.00pm at Errigal Field (back of Childrens
Hospital) and march to Eamonn Ceannt Park.
State Commemoration in Dublin City- Pat Doherty MP, Bairbre
de Brún MEP, Arthur Morgan TD, Sean Crowe TD and Michelle
Gildernew MP
Assemble 3pm. Speaker Councillor Dessie Ellis
Monday 17th
Dún Laoghaire Assemble Kill O' the Grange 2.30pm Speaker
Pat Doherty MP
Assemble at 3.00pm at the East Pier Speaker Councillor
Larry O'Toole


Limavady Borough Council Endorses Sinn Féin Motion To
Commemorate Easter Rising

Published: 13 April, 2006

Sinn Féin MLA for East Derry Francie Brolly has today
welcomed the decision by Limavady Borough Council to
officially endorse a series of events to commemorate the
Easter Rising of 1916. Mr Brolly said he hoped the decision
'would enable other councils to endorse similar motions to
honour the sacrifice of the men and women of 1916.'
The Council took the decision after it adopted the Sinn
Féin motion at the Monthly meeting on 28th March.

Speaking today Francie Brolly said:

"The decision by Limavady Borough Council to formally
endorse a series of events commemorating the Easter Rising
of 1916 is very welcome indeed. The ideals of Easter week
1916 should threaten no-one. Indeed the proclamation is
regarded as one of the most progressive and forward
thinking texts of its time and in the years since,
espousing the ideals of freedom, justice and equality.

"I commend the council for taking this decision and I hope
that it would prove the catalyst to enable other councils
to endorse similar motions in honour of the sacrifice of
the men and women of 1916.

"As a result of the Sinn Féin motion, the Council has
agreed to place a framed copy of the 1916 Proclamation and
a bowl of Easter Lilies on display in the Council foyer
from 17th April - 28th April, a civic reception to
commemorate the Rising on the 21st April and official
participation in the Easter commemoration.

"In addition, all council facilities are to be open free of
charge to children under the age of 16 on Monday 24th
April, as a symbolic recognition of the sentiments of
theProclamation of 1916 which called for all of the
children of the nation to be cherished equally. It is these
ideals which Sinn Féin is aboutpromoting wherever possible.

"I would hope that this years events are a success and that
it can be established as an annual event with full council
backing." ENDS


PDF Of Dublin News Special Edition

Download PDF

Published: 12 April, 2006

Dublin Sinn Féin have produced a special edition of Dublin
News for the 90th anniversary of the Easter Rising. The
party is delivering 140,000 copies to homes across the


Connacht Easter Commemorations

Published: 13 April, 2006

Maigh Eo
April 16 Sunday after 10am Mass

Keel, Aicill
Speaker: Caitríona Ruane
April 16 Sunday, 12pm
Kilkelly, (East Maigh Eo)

Wreathlaying ceremony
April 16 Sunday, 2:30 Welcome Inn (March to 1798 monument)
Castlebar/Caisleán an Bharraigh

Speaker: Caitríona Ruane
Co. na Gaillimhe
April 15 Saturday, 5pm

Óran Mór Commemoration
East Galway Commemoration
April 16 Sunday, St. Michael's Sq., 12:30 (March to Creagh

Béal Átha na Slua/Ballinasloe
Speaker: Vincent Wood
Gailimh / Galway City Commemoration
April 16 Sunday, 3pm. Liam Mellows statue, Eyre Square

Speaker: Micheál Mac Donnacha
Ros Muc Comóradh
Dé Luain, 12 i.n.

Micheál Mac Donnacha
Teach an Phiarsaigh
April 17 Monday, 2pm

An Clochán (followed by Renville, Tullycross) Wreathlaying
Speaker: Micheál Mac Donnacha
Liatroim Commemoration
April 16 Sunday, 3pm

Speaker: Martin Kenny
Sligeach Comóradh
April 16 Sunday 3pm
Sligeach (City Hall)

Speaker: Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD
April 16 Sunday, 12pm

Ballisodare (Grave of Vol. Savage) Wreathlaying
April 17 Monday 1pm
Riverstown (The Bridge, Rush) Unveiling of Monument in
memory of Vol. Kevin Coen

Speaker: Cllr. Martin Baker
Ros Comáin Commemoration
April 16 Sunday, 12pm
Cloontuscert Cenetry, Ballyleague (Grave of Vol. John
Speaker: Cllr. Martin Kenny


By WF Deedes
(Filed: 14/04/2006)

Opin: The Bloody Legacy Of Easter 1916

A young child at the time, I remember nothing of the Dublin
uprising in that bloody Easter weekend just 90 years ago,
which inspired the poet Yeats's line "A terrible beauty is
born" and provoked consequences that have haunted us ever
since. But because my mother came from a Protestant family
in Dublin, I became familiar with the topic as the years
went by.

It was a fierce stab in the back, that Dublin uprising,
born not of beauty, but of a mood deep in the heart of
Irish republicanism that has never quite gone away.

The war was pressing hard on the Allies. The British had
just surrendered to the Turks at Kut. The Germans were
assaulting Verdun. Conscription loomed. Jutland lay just
ahead. It's important to add a tribute to the thousands of
Irishmen who individually served with us in both world

Because I was closely involved with Ulster in the past
century, and have a fair idea of what he has been up
against, I accord Tony Blair higher marks for what he has
done there than do most Conservatives.

Oh sure, he's traded with some villains, "betrayed" the
Unionist cause and so on, but he has staunched the blood
that flowed from both sides. He has quietened the guns,
perhaps even taken them out of the reckoning.

What lingers on, one reflects sadly as the Church's most
solemn weekend comes round again, is the bitter hatred that
this long drawn-out wrangle over Home Rule has visited on
the Irish people. We caught a glimpse of it last week, in
the killing and mutilation of Denis Donaldson.

As the old gunmen of the IRA in Northern Ireland know well
enough, cruelty begets fear, and fear begets power. It is
hard to see how a country in which some men still find
vengeance an essential occupation can long remain at peace
with itself.

What a legacy that Easter uprising bequeathed to its
children on April 24, 1916.


Opin: Still Troubled

From The Economist print edition

Northern Ireland staggers toward normality


THE “peace wall” that separates the Catholic residents of
Madrid Street from their Protestant neighbours is more than
20 feet high. That is not quite high enough, which is why
houses close to the wall are fitted with bullet-proof glass
and roof tiles thick enough to withstand the blast from a
small bomb. In the middle of the road is a gate, which is
often closed these days. On the gate is an injunction:
“Love thy neighbour”.

Belfast was not a walled city when it was settled by
English and Scottish Protestants in the 17th century. It is
now, although the barriers do not separate the town from
the countryside in the normal fashion; rather, they divide
neighbours. Eight years ago, when the Good Friday Agreement
brought devolved government to Northern Ireland, north
Belfast had 12 peace walls. It now has 15, and some of the
walls are longer and higher than before. They are broadly
popular with local people, who respond with puzzlement to
questions about when the barriers are likely to come down.

Less evident to outsiders, but just as obvious to those who
live there, are the invisible walls that run down the
middle of some streets in Belfast, including the
ironically-named Alliance Avenue. These barriers are
reinforced by habit—the same route home from the bus stop,
pausing at the same shops each time—and by memories of
attacks. Were a Catholic or a Protestant to stray into the
other's territory, he would be less likely to meet with
violence than 10 or 20 years ago, says Rab McCallum, a
republican ex-prisoner who is now a community worker.

Provided, of course, that the wanderer did not do something
provocative. Like what? Like wearing a Celtic shirt in a
Protestant neighbourhood, Mr McCallum suggests.

The war is over in Northern Ireland, but normality is
proving elusive. Part of the problem is that the province
has never been normal. In the 19th century it saw some of
the worst communal rioting of any city in the country. From
the 1920s to the early 1970s, it was run by the Protestant
majority, who resorted to ever more elaborate means of
holding on to power as their numerical advantage waned:
Londonderry, for example, was heroically gerrymandered.

There followed a civil-rights movement that gradually gave
way to a terrorist campaign, and a virtual civil war in
which some 3,500 people died. Things are better these days,
but only in comparison with Northern Ireland's peculiar
past. Sir Hugh Orde, the head of the police force, boasts
that officers in South Armagh, a mostly Catholic area, now
occasionally drive cars rather than armoured jeeps.

Politics is especially dysfunctional, and reveals the same
mistrust on the other side. Unionists (who believe Northern
Ireland ought to stay part of the United Kingdom, and are
mostly Protestant) gave most of their votes to the
mainstream Ulster Unionist Party in 1998, when the first
elections to the Northern Ireland Assembly were held.

Nationalists (who are mostly Catholic, and believe, more or
less fervently, in a united Ireland) preferred to support
the moderate Social Democratic and Labour Party.

In the past few years, though, both parties have lost votes
to extremists. In last year's general election, they were
humbled by the Democratic Unionist Party, which opposed the
Good Friday Agreement, and by Sinn Fein, the political wing
of the IRA. The result is gridlock. The Northern Ireland
Assembly has been suspended since 2002, when allegations of
spying by Sinn Fein brought it down. The fact that it is
still closed is often blamed on events such as last week's
killing, probably by militant republican nationalists, of
Denis Donaldson, an IRA man turned British informer. But
voting habits suggest that ordinary people do not want
dialogue with the other side.

To many people, this is less striking than the social
transformation of Northern Ireland. For members of the
rapidly-growing Catholic middle class, in particular, life
has never been better. Their success is evident in the
universities, where Catholic students now outnumber
Protestants four to three. It is clear from the broadly
shrinking employment gap between the two communities (see
chart). It can even be read on the city's doors. “Twenty
years ago, solicitors in Belfast had names like William,
Bruce and Trevor,” says one Catholic businessman, citing
some typically Protestant names. “They are still there, but
now they have been joined by Seamus, Malachy and Deirdre.”
As Catholics have become more upwardly-mobile, they have
spilled over into middle-class Protestant neighbourhoods.

Some muttering ensued, but, in general, the new arrivals
are tolerated. (Northern Irish people are expert at
concealing their prejudices; as one saying goes, “whatever
you say, say nothing.”) Middle-class Protestants have even
begun to marry Catholics—at present, just one in ten
marriages is “mixed”, but the proportion is higher in the
tidy streets off Malone Road, in south Belfast. The city's
growing number of black and Asian immigrants settle nearby,
if they can afford to.

Catholics have been helped into the middle class by the
state. Fully 30% of workers in Northern Ireland are
employed in the public sector, compared with 24% in
Scotland and 20% in England. Civil service jobs are
lucrative because they are subject to the same pay scales
as in England, where the cost of living is much higher. And
hiring policies are equal to a fault.

The swelling of the state was, at least implicitly,
designed to salve sectarian wounds: create a middle class,
ran the thinking, and a middle ground will emerge. The
trouble is that many middle-class folk, both Protestant and
Catholic, have given up on politics. In the 2005 British
general election, turnout in mixed, comfortable South
Belfast was below average. “Much of the middle ground that
does exist consists of people who have switched off,” says
Pete Shirlow, a University of Ulster sociologist.

Such nonchalance might be welcome in the Protestant and
Catholic ghettos of east and west Belfast, and in the
“interface” areas in the northern part of the city.

Opinions there are much hotter. In the loyalist (ie,
militant unionist) Shankill, the extent of hatred for
Catholics shocks even Tom Roberts, a former member of the
paramilitary Ulster Volunteer Force. Resentment has
increased, he says, since the signing of the Good Friday
Agreement, which is seen to have benefited republicans—
particularly violent republicans—at the expense of

Out of the mouths of babes

Lady (May) Blood, who works with children in north Belfast,
says that sectarian sentiments are voiced at an ever-
younger age. One reason, she suggests, has to do with the
ending of the Troubles. For all its terrible effects, that
was at least a proxy battle—“a war going on, often
somewhere else, in their names”. Now the war is over, but
the resentments and the memories of murdered kin remain,
without the armed bands to act on their behalf. In a 2004
survey, fully a quarter of people asked said that a close
relative had died in the Troubles. In working-class areas,
that proportion is probably much higher.

The result is mutual mistrust and a crude enthusiasm for
fighting, which is often blamed on paramilitaries but in
fact needs little encouragement from them. Sir Hugh Orde,
the police chief, says that the paramilitaries are much
less troublesome than they were. But there is still plenty
of “disorganised crime” and violence, which is hard to
predict, hence dangerous.

Another, more obvious reason for mistrust is that poor
Protestants and Catholics are less likely to live next door
to one another. Geographers who study segregation in
Northern Ireland say that the pattern during the past
century has been one of speedy separation during periods of
sectarian violence (the 1920s, 1930s and 1970s-1980s),
followed by much more gradual integration during peaceful
eras that never reaches the degree of mixing that existed
before the violence.

The trend is thus a ratchet. The last census, in 2001,
revealed that Belfast was marginally less segregated than
in 1991, but still much more segregated than it had been in
1971, shortly after the Troubles began. It is also more
divided by religion than any English city is divided by
race (see map). Ardoyne is 1% Protestant; Shankill is 3%
Catholic. Blurring the boundaries will be hard, if not
impossible. An eye-opening 2004 survey of 16-year-olds
throughout Northern Ireland found that 52% of Catholics and
just 47% of Protestants would prefer to live in an area of
mixed religions. They were less keen on mixing than their
elders, and Catholics were less keen even than their
predecessors the year before.

Attitudes are hardest in loyalist areas. Prospects there
are grim: of the 15 electoral wards in Northern Ireland
with the worst educational attainment, 13 are mostly
Protestant. And working-class loyalists feel less kinship
with their social betters than do poor Catholics, in part
because the Catholic middle class emerged only recently.

That feeling is mutual: one Londonderry Protestant
businessman says he feels more kinship with his Catholic
neighbours than with many of his co-religionists. The
widening social and cultural gulf between the hotheads and
those who might act as a moderating force can be seen in
two Protestant institutions.

The first of these is the church. Northern Ireland is still
by far the most religiously observant part of Britain, but
churchgoing is nonetheless in decline. Fewer than four in
ten Protestants claim to attend church at least once a
week, compared with six out of ten Catholics. Perhaps more
importantly, the three largest Protestant churches—the
Anglican Church of Ireland, the Methodists and the
Presbyterians—have gradually lost members to smaller,
mostly evangelical churches.

Unity, which Protestants never find easy to achieve, is
thus becoming still more elusive. David Porter, an
evangelical who runs the Centre for Contemporary
Christianity, in Belfast, says he is sometimes approached
by liberal Protestants who want to open a dialogue with a
Catholic congregation. He says they would do more to
alleviate tensions by talking to their co-religionists in a
working-class loyalist area.

The other decaying Protestant institution is the Orange
Order. This is associated, in the minds of most Britons,
with riots that break out in July, when Orangemen
celebrating the military triumph of the Protestant King
William III try to march through Catholic neighbourhoods
and are blocked when they do so. That is unfair. The Orange
Order is certainly hardline when it comes to constitutional
matters. Yet, for much of the 20th century, it tried to
restrain violent impulses among loyalists, together with
their other sins (Orangeism was, and is, linked to the
temperance movement). In many rural areas, Orange marches
are respectable affairs. But the order's complexion is
changing in the cities, largely as the result of

Between 1964 and 2004, Orange membership in Belfast fell
from about 14,000 to fewer than 4,000. In Londonderry, it
went from more than 2,000 to barely 800. To stay alive, the
order has become less picky. Brian Kennaway, a former
member of the Grand Lodge, says that middle-class members
have been replaced by young hotheads, paramilitary men and
martial-music outfits known as “kick the pope” bands. Last
September, orange sashes were spotted at riots where guns
were fired. Some think this summer's marching season will
be particularly violent.

He who shouts loudest

To anybody who has seen the vast slums of south London, let
alone the “projects” of the South Bronx, the housing
estates of north Belfast seem astonishingly decent. The
Shankill neighbourhood, which produced the Shankill
Butchers, perhaps the worst of a dismal bunch of sectarian
murder squads, has green spaces and generously-proportioned
housing. That is, in itself, a clue to how much money has
been poured into the province. It is also a reflection of
the harsh political calculation that operates in Northern

The Troubles were expensive to police; at their height, one
in ten Protestants who had a job worked for the security
services. Peace is less costly, but it is still not cheap.

Public expenditure per head in Northern Ireland is 30%
higher than the national average. Since the guns fell
silent, Northern Ireland has also been lavishly supported
by the European Union (which has spent €1.2 billion—$1.5
billion—so far) and by the American-backed International
Fund for Northern Ireland.

Not all of this money has been spent wisely, and some has
found its way into paramilitary hands. Community work,
elsewhere the preserve of hand-wringing liberals, is in
Northern Ireland often dominated by hard men. That is
notoriously true of restorative-justice programmes, which
have supplemented (and, in some cases, virtually replaced)
the mainstream criminal-justice system in many poor areas.

Mr McCallum, the former prisoner, says this is not
surprising. Law and order was for so long the preserve of
the IRA, which administered beatings and blew off kneecaps,
that ordinary people regard it as none of their business.

The fact that current and former paramilitary men are now
engaged in good works is good, but it is not an unqualified
good. It means that they are less likely to seek regular
jobs (though some say no employer would look at them) and,
more seriously, it gives them a vested interest in
abnormality. If the walls tumbled, and the hatred
dissipated, what would they do?
Others have learned to turn trouble to their advantage,
too. The annual negotiations over Orange marching routes
have become auctions in which both sides claim that greater
disorder will ensue if their demands are not met.

Nationalists suspect that loyalists have become adept at
using violence to defend what few advantages they have, and
in one sense they are right. Catholic housing estates in
north Belfast are more crowded than the gradually
depopulating Protestant ones, with less green space and
houses abutting the peace walls. Yet the walls cannot be
moved to reflect demographic changes; that would be

Northern Ireland has been so peculiar for so long that
normality would come as a shock. Its inhabitants' way of
life has been shaped by centuries of sectarian violence,
their identities by the struggle to survive it.

During the past 15 years, though, those who live near the
border with the Republic of Ireland have become
increasingly aware of the advantages of peace and proper
government. Once the island Cinderella, Ireland is now the
third-richest country in Europe. In Londonderry, it is
said, you used to be able to spot cars from the south
without looking at their number plates, they were so
decrepit. Now the cars coming over the border are BMWs.


April 12, 2006

Opin: 40 years and Counting; An Irish American Perspective

Civil Rights in Ireland and The United States

by by Geri Timmons and John Keaveny

The 1960s and 70's were a time of great change throughout
the world. Oppressed peoples were no longer content living
as second-rate citizens. They rose up demanding equality in
housing, income, job opportunity and education. These basic
human rights were frequently being denied; met with
violence by those governments that worked to keep the
status quo in place. The events that took place in the
United States and the north of Ireland during these years
were but two examples of the struggle for freedom and self
determination that raged throughout the world and continues
to rage today.

The civil rights movement exploded onto the world's
consciousness in the 1960s fueled by the hurricane winds of
change that the decade brought with it. In the United
States, Martin Luther King Jr. a young pastor from Alabama
was leading the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in
nonviolent protests inspired by the teachings of Mahatma
Gandhi. In the eleven year period between 1957 and 1968,
Dr. King traveled over six million miles and spoke publicly
over twenty five hundred times. Rallies, marches and
protests were organized throughout the south. In many cases
these peaceful protests were met with arrests and extreme
violence. The world watched in horror as police unleashed
dogs on the protesters, fired water cannons and beat the
marchers with batons and billy clubs.

On January 29, 1967, the Northern Ireland Civil Rights
Association was founded based on the ideas and practices
that Martin Luther King had used in the United States. The
NICRA organized protests, marches, acts of civil
disobedience and sit in's based on the same tactics of
nonviolence that the American Civil Rights Movement had
used. This all came to a crashing halt on January 30, 1972,
when British troops open fired on a peaceful march,
protesting the practice of internment, killing 14
civilians. Again, the world watched in horror. This day
became known as Bloody Sunday and was a turning point in
the struggle for freedom in Northern Ireland. The event
effectively ended the use of nonviolent civil disobedience
as a means of protest in the north of Ireland and was the
beginning of the violent era known as "The Troubles;"which
lasted over thirty years.

While the African Americans may have been considered
second-rate citizens, they were by no means the lowest on
the race ladder in the United States. For over two hundred
years, the Government of the United States had practiced,
what by today's definition would be considered "ethnic
cleansing" against the American Indians. By the middle of
the 1900's a people that had once roamed freely throughout
North America, were now limited to reservations. In 1968 a
new generation of American Indian’s reacted to the
inequality and poor living conditions on these
reservations. Many were in prison, others were living in
abject poverty and lacked the basic health care essentials
to maintain a normal life. American Indians at this time
had the highest poverty, unemployment, alcoholism, suicide,
and infant mortality rate than any other race in the United
States of America. The American Indian Movement (AIM) was
born out of this hell of inequality, with a force that
hurled it forwarded, demanding the right to self-
determination and the honoring of all Treaties between the
US government and Indian people. In 1972, the US Bureau of
Indian Affairs Building in Washington D.C. was occupied by
these new young warriors. Their sole demand was for the
United States to honor over 300 treaties that the
Government had signed and then broken with the Indian
Nations. The USA reacted violently, waging a war on the
American Indian Movement.

In August of 1969, the British Government deployed the
British Army into the north of Ireland. At first this was
seen as a blessing by the Nationalist people who felt that
the troops would help to protect them against the violence
of the Loyalist mainly protestant paramilitary
organizations. However this was not to be the case as was
ultimately shown by the events of Bloody Sunday. The
deployment of these troops was the first step in Britain
assuming "direct rule" over the north. The Irish Republican
Army, who had been dormant since the early 1960’s, met this
deployment with tenacity. They now saw a dramatic rise in
their popularity. The day after Bloody Sunday was one of
the biggest recruiting days in the history of this
organization. In 1971, the Government reintroduced the
practice known as “internment” which referred to the arrest
and detention without trial of people suspected of being
members of illegal paramilitary groups. Between 1971 and
1975, a total of 1,981 people were detained; 1,874 were
Nationalist/Catholic and 107 being Loyalist. Internment
gave the IRA another boost in popularity due to the biased
way in which it was used. Interment was almost strictly
used against the Nationalist community and although
violence was done by Loyalist paramilitary groups, the
first arrests of members of these groups did not come until

On Thursday February 12, 1976, a member of the IRA, Frank
Staggs, died as the result of a hunger strike in a prison
in England. His only demand had been to be transferred to a
prison in Northern Ireland. The worst was yet to come.

In America, things were also turning violent on the Indian
Reservations. On Feb.27, 1973, AIM seized control of
Wounded Knee, a small community on the Pine Ridge Indian
Reservation. The occupation was in protest to Dick Wilson's
(tribal chairman of the Oglala Nation) administration.

Wilson and his paid henchmen, the Guardians of the Oglala
Nation (GOONS, a self proclaimed name), wanted to
assimilate the people into the white American world of
capitalism, mean while getting rich themselves by selling
tribal land to the US Government which wanted control over
the uranium deposits and prime cattle raising land on the
reservation, the traditionalist natives were strongly
opposed. Two people were killed during the 71-day
occupation, 12 were wounded, including two marshals, and
approximately 1,200 were arrested. AIM had placed the
issues of Native American rights into the international
spotlight. As tensions escalated, so did the violence. The
situation exploded on June 25, 1975 on the Jumping Bull
farm in Oglala. A shoot out between the FBI and the native
people camping on the property resulted in the death of one
native man and 2 FBI agents. What followed was the largest
manhunt in the history of the United States engaged against
members of AIM. Even though the FBI stated that there were
over 40 natives involved in the shoot out that day, only
Bob Robideau, Dino Butler and Leonard Peltier were held
over for trial after capture. Leonard was labeled public
enemy number one with the FBI agents being ordered to shoot
on sight. He went underground, escaping to Canada and was
eventually apprehended. Meanwhile Dino Butler and Bob
Robideau were arrested at different locations, eventually
stood trial and were found not guilty by reason of self-
defense. Leonard Peltier on his return to the US was tried
and found guilty on two counts of first-degree murder.

Ballistic reports that were withheld from the court later
showed that the bullets that killed the agents could not
have come from his gun. This year marks Peltier’s thirtieth
year of imprisonment.

According to the records, between 1969 and 2001, 3,523
people died as a result of violence in the north of
Ireland; some of whom were soldiers, but the majority of
which were civilians. Most died not because of who they
were but because of what they were: Catholic, Protestant,
Nationalist, Loyalist, and Unionist. Some died because of
an unflinching desire to be recognized for what they were,
soldiers. In 1976 the British Government announced that all
prisoners of "terrorist acts" would no longer be considered
"prisoners of war" but would be regarded as common
criminals. In 1980 the status known as "special category,"
a classification that separated the political prisoners
from the ordinary criminals was done away with completely.

One of the rights that the prisoners had under "special
category" was the right to wear their own clothes, now they
were required to wear prison uniforms. The prisoners
refused and instead wore only blankets; this became known
as the "Blanket Protest." On October 27, 1980 seven
prisoners of "H" Block, Maze Prison went on hunger strike
to demand the right to wear their own clothes and to be
considered prisoners of war. Within a month, twenty-three
Republican prisoners joined the seven that were already on
strike. As the situation deteriorated, the Catholic Primate
of Ireland issued a plea for the hunger strike to stop. The
prisoners stated that the British Government had conceded
to most of the main points that the strikers had demanded
and after 53 days, the hunger strike was called off.

However nothing changed. The demands were never met. On
March 1, 1981 ten prisoners lead by Bobby Sands started a
second hunger strike. The prisoners stated that this hunger
strike was necessary because of "British deceit and broken
promises." The first prisoner to refuse food was Sands who
died on May 5, 1981 after having been elected to the
British Parliament with 30,492 votes. The second hunger
strike lasted until October 3, 1981. The British Government
never conceded one point during the strike and watched
while ten prisoners died. Throughout the strike, even as
their comrades died, the strikers stated that they believed
the British Government would accept their demands because
"they weren't asking for anything unreasonable." On October
6, the Government announced that prisoners would be allowed
to wear their own clothes as long as it was not an IRA
uniform. When asked why they did not concede this point
during the strike and save the lives of the strikers, they
replied "that would be like giving the prison to the

It has been fourty years since the Civil Rights Movement
exploded into our minds and spirits. Forty years since
Martin Luther King Jr. led the American Civil Rights
Movement, demanding equality and an end to segregation. In
those forty years has the African American gained his
freedom, his civil rights? Segregation as law is no longer
but discrimination in housing, income, job opportunities
and education still exist. To this day, they have not found
the Promised Land that Dr. King spoke so eloquently about
in his speeches. Forty years since NICRA was formed and
fourteen innocent people were gunned down for calling for
their rights. The Troubles officially came to an end with
the signing of the Good Friday Agreement in 1998, 3,523
people had died. The IRA went on cease-fire almost ten
years ago and have stayed on cease-fire, last year they
announced that they would disarm and cease to exist as an
Army. Has the Nationalist population in the north of
Ireland found their freedom, their civil rights? Day to day
life is better, but discrimination still exists. The
violence is mostly gone, not completely, but British troops
still police the streets and to this day almost none of the
points agreed upon in the Good Friday Agreement have been
implemented; the north of Ireland remains a part of the
United Kingdom. Forty years since the American Indian
Movement burst onto the American Landscape and nothing has
changed for the American Indians; they still have the
highest poverty, unemployment, alcoholism, suicide, and
infant mortality rate of any other race in the United
States. It has been thirty years since Leonard Peltier went
to jail for a crime he did not commit, he continues to
fight for his freedom. It has been almost SIXTY years,
December 10, 1948, since the United Nations General
Assembly UNANIMOUSLY adopted The Universal Declaration of
Human Rights. This document, among other things, stated
that all people had a right to equality, freedom from
discrimination, from torture and degrading treatment, to
equality before the law, freedom from arbitrary arrest,
right to a fair trail, to be considered innocent until
proven guilty, to adequate living standards, right to
education, right to peaceful assembly and association,
freedom of belief and religion and above all freedom from
state or personal interference in these rights. Both the
United States and the Government of Great Britain signed
this agreement. To this day, sixty years later, we still
wait for them to implement it into practice.


Prof Honors Easter Rebellion

By Vidya Singh
Staff Writer
April 13, 2006

The spirit of Ireland’s 1916 Easter Rebellion lives on as a
watershed moment in Irish history and identity, Professor
Joe Lee said of NYU’s Glucksman Ireland House as he
commemorated the 90th anniversary of the event last night
at Hemmerdinger Hall.

At the Rebellion, 1,250 Irish made a desperate attempt to
shake British colonialism and foster an independent future
for the country although they were grossly outnumbered by
British forces. Though stifled by about 16,000 British
troops, the Easter Week Rebellion was a milestone in
forging an Irish identity, Lee said.

“Many people viewed the rebellion as a socialist rising,
but this was not what was happening on the ground,” he

Co-author of the recently released “Making the Irish
American” with Marion Casey, Lee said the rebellion’s
architects meticulously planned the event and faced
innumerable difficulties along the way. Though the rising
was crushed, only 64 Irish rebels and 220 Irish civilians
died, a small number in comparison to the deaths of 140
British soldiers, he said.

“The point of the rising was not simply to get rid of the
British, but to struggle for a common Irish identity,” he

Lee also pointed out that creating a common identity was
the main accomplishment of the rebels’ sacrifices.

“They were going out to die on Easter Monday,” he said.

“The invincible spirit of Ireland is due to the invincible
spirit of the men of 1916.”
Lee said many of the architects of the rebellion had
focused on an ideal future of Ireland, and they may not
have spent enough time concentrating on the rebellion’s
end. However, the strong personalities of the architects
were not part of the reason for the rebellion’s failure
because failure was inevitable, he said.

“The mindset of the rebellion was due to the hopelessness
of the situation,” Lee said. “No matter how many men were
in the rebellion, every Irish rising was bound to be a
blood sacrifice if the British decided to punch its full
Citing Walt Whitman, Lee said Ireland was a queen that had
been crushed by British imperials, a rule that lasted from
the early 16th century to 1920.

“Easter is related to the rebellion in this way,” Lee said.

“We were beaten down, but we will enjoy the resurrection.”
Lee said some rebels were freedom fighters and ideologues,
while others were intrigued by the “heroism of Ireland’s
Gaelic past to bind up the wounds of British conquest and
to create the ideal Irish future [they] hoped for.”
“There was no blueprint for the future of Ireland, but
there was an emphatic direction,” he said.

For this, the Easter holiday in Ireland is forever linked
with the Easter Rising that occurred 90 years before.

“They were not dying for something that bears no relation
to the future,” Lee said. “The rebellion was the last
resort to impress on the British the importance of the
Irish people. It was shown that spirit would win against
force in the end.”
Lee said each Easter Sunday is a time to remember the
spirit of a brave people.

“This week, 90 years ago, the architects were deep in
planning the final moves of the rebellion,” Lee said. “This
was the central event in the emergence of the Irish nation,
and I am delighted to be speaking on the event of the
Easter rising,” he said.

CAS junior Jennifer Messina, who is of Irish descent, said
it is important to talk about Irish history, especially in
the context of the individualistic Irish heritage.

“Easter is not only about Christianity, but also about
commemorating the unique characteristics of Irish heritage
that were for so long oppressed by the British,” Messina
said. “Whatever chance they get to celebrate themselves,
they should do so.”
Andrea Strane, a CAS senior, also sees the importance of
remembering Irish history.

“I think it’s a great idea to commemorate events in Irish
history,” she said. “So many Americans are of Irish descent
yet they don’t know much about the culture.”


Gerry Adams Pays Tribute To Siobhan O'Hanlon

Published: 12 April, 2006

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams MP has expressed his
deepest condolences to the family of Siobhan O'Hanlon who
died during the night after a long battle against cancer.

Mr. Adams said:
"Siobhan was a kind and gentle woman who cared deeply about
her family and friends. She was also a committed republican
activist. Her stamina, forthrightness and determination in
pursuing issues is legendary. Siobhan never allowed her
illness, which she battled with a determination which
amazed and impressed all who knew her, to distract her from
her work. She continued that work right up until very

"Siobhan was a close friend and an invaluable comrade. I
have known her for many years. For the last 15 years she
was the lynchpin around which my office functioned. For
much of that time she was also the point of contact between
us and the British and Irish governments. She also headed
up Sinn Fein's South African desk.

"Siobhan was also an integral part of the renewal of Sinn
Féin in Belfast, particularly in the west of the City. She
also played a key role in successive and successful
election campaigns in the north of the City.

"Féile an Phobail is the largest community festival on
these islands and its success was in no small part down to
the central part she played in helping to organise and plan
its programme of work. Without her input Féile could not
have reached its potential.

"Siobhan organised and participated in meetings with the
governments and played a key role in the Sinn Féin
negotiations committee during our first public meetings
with the British. She was a member of the first Sinn Féin
delegation to meet the British Prime Minister in Downing
Street in December 1997.

"As well as that she assisted numerous local people who
sought our help.

"Easter is a poignant time for republicans. This Easter
will be more so for all of us who knew, loved and respected
Siobhan. I want to extend the sympathy of Irish republicans
everywhere to Pat and Cormac, to Siobhan's mother Tess, and
the O'Hanlon and Sheehan families.

"Go ndeanfaidh Dia trocaire ar a anam." ENDS


Ryanair Aircraft Bomb Scare Was A 'Hoax'

Police have confirmed there were no explosive devices on a
plane which was diverted to Prestwick Airport.

In a note passed to the cabin crew inside a magazine it had
been claimed there was a bomb on board.

The Ryanair plane was en route from Beauvais Airport near
Paris to Dublin with 167 passengers on board.

Several incoming flights were diverted to other airports
during the incident but the terminal stayed open and other
passengers checked in as normal.

After a nine-and-a-half hour delay the Boeing 737 finally
touched down in Dublin at 2330 BST.

Passengers questioned
Earlier the flight was accompanied to Prestwick by three
RAF Tornado fighters, landing at 1420 BST.

The passengers were taken to the terminal building for
questioning, while a bomb disposal team and sniffer dogs
searched the plane.

Strathclyde Police later confirmed nothing was found and no
arrests were made.

By early evening flights in and out of the airport had

A Prestwick Airport spokesman said the flight had been
diverted "as a precautionary measure".

Passengers on the flight spoke of their confusion
surrounding the incident.

One told BBC Scotland that the flight captain announced the
unscheduled landing.

He said: "We got an announcement saying that due to
operational reasons we were diverting to Prestwick.

"You start thinking - is the undercarriage going to go
down, or is it running low on fuel, what's going on here.

"He wasn't saying any more, then I looked out the window
and saw a fighter plane alongside us."
'Disgraceful' incident
About 70 schoolgirls from St Leo's College in Carlow were
among the travellers and there were tears at the airport as
they embraced their parents.

Most passengers said they were well-treated but Charlie
Fitzgerald, from Belfast, accused authorities in Scotland
of violating civil rights and using the ordeal as a
security exercise.

He said travellers were "left like lambs to the slaughter"
as the aircraft was searched.

"We were left on the plane for two to three hours," he
said. "The pilot told us there was a bomb scare and he told
us he thought it was a joke.

"A couple of fighter jets came alongside us. The crew were
superb, and people weren't panicking," he said.

"The pilot appealed and appealed to get us off the plane.

He said if a real bomb had been on board they would have
been blown up to high heaven."
He added: "The whole thing was absolutely disgraceful. We
had our pictures taken without permission, and statements
were taken by police, who had no choice."
A spokesman for Ryanair apologised "sincerely" for any
inconvenience caused to passengers on board the aircraft.

but added passenger and aircraft safety was the priority.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/04/13 03:31:37 GMT


Greens Reject Call For Ireland To Consider Nuclear Power

13/04/2006 - 13:17:36

The Green Party has rejected suggestions that Ireland
should consider nuclear power to meet its future energy

The suggestion was recently put forward by Forfás, the
State's national advisory board for science, technology and

Forfás says nuclear energy should be considered in the long
term as Ireland is currently too dependent on oil.

However, the Greens said today that viable alternatives
that would not damage the environment are available.

The party says efforts to reduce Ireland's oil dependence
should be focused on areas like wind and wave power rather
than the expensive and unsuitable nuclear option.


Salute To Beckett On 100th Anniversary Of Writer's Birth

13/04/2006 - 07:37:58

Cities around the world will today host events to
commemorate the 100th anniversary of Samuel Beckett’s

Beckett, who wrote most of his major work in French, was
born in Foxrock, Co Dublin on April 13, 1906.

Dublin will today join London, Paris, New York and Tokyo in
organising centenary celebrations to honour the eccentric

A host of top actors including Charles Dance, Michael
Gambon, John Kavanagh, David Kelly and Penelope Wilton will
read extracts from Beckett’s work at the Gate Theatre.

The theatre holds exclusive performance rights for the
writer’s plays in Ireland and Britain.

Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council, the municipal area
where Beckett was born, will today host the Beckett Country
Exhibition organised by scholar Eoin O’Brien.

Caroline Murphy, a niece of Beckett, will also launch the
Beckett Centenary Travel Bursary for an artist to travel
from this part of the country to Paris in search of
artistic inspiration.

Fans of Beckett in Paris will today make the annual
pilgrimage to his grave in Montparnasse Cemetery to lay
fresh flowers.

Beckett moved to Paris in the late 1930s where his most
famous work, Waiting for Godot, was first performed in
January 1953.

He received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1969.

Previous commemorations of Beckett were held in Dublin in
1981 and 1986 for his 75th and 80th birthdays.

North Tipperary Government TD and former teacher Maire
Hoctor yesterday criticised RTE for screening Beckett’s
plays when most people were likely to be in bed.

“Surely his artistic output, celebrated the world over,
deserves more sensible scheduling than after midnight,” she


Emigrants' Newspaper To Publish 1,000th Edition

13/04/2006 - 18:35:58

The Irish Emigrant newspaper will publish its 1,000th
edition for the Irish diaspora this weekend, it emerged

The weekly publication, which was begun by an ex-Digital
employee in Galway in 1987, is now the world’s longest-
running online newspaper.

It began with 15 readers but now has 20,000 subscribers in
more than 160 countries.

It also has more than 60,000 subscriptions to its
Professional Ireland, Sports Ireland, Arts Ireland, and
Bookview Ireland newsletters and recently introduced a
weekly podcast.

Managing director Liam Ferrie said: “We are delighted that,
despite the arrival of all the national and provincial
newspapers on the web, our efforts are still in demand.


Inflation In Ireland Rises To 3-Year High

© 2006 The Associated Press

DUBLIN, Ireland — Inflation in Ireland rose last month to a
three-year high of 3.5 percent because of surging housing
and energy costs, the government's Central Statistics
Office reported Thursday.

Inflation rose from February's 3.3 percent figure due to
rising property, utilities and vehicle fuel costs in this
rapidly growing economy. Housing and energy costs rose by
12.4 percent annually, transportation costs by 5.4 percent,
health care by 4.7 percent and education by 4.6 percent.

The fourth consecutive monthly rise surprised many
economists. Opposition leaders accused the government of
Prime Minister Bertie Ahern of fueling inflation by hiking
prices for some state-run services up to six times the rate
of inflation.

"Ireland is already the most expensive country in Europe
and prices are still rising far more quickly than other
European countries," said Richard Bruton, finance spokesman
for the main Fine Gael opposition party. He said the latest
inflation figures "will cause further damage to Ireland's
already precarious competitiveness, which has been steadily
eroded in recent years."
The last time Ireland's inflation rate reached 3.5 percent
was in June 2003. The average inflation rate for the 12-
nation European Union bloc that uses the euro currency,
including Ireland, currently stands at 2.2 percent.

Although property prices are not directly included in
Ireland's inflation calculations, it does include mortgage
interest repayments and rent rates.


Catherine O’Connell On Mend After 5th Surgery

By Irv Leavitt

Popular Irish balladeer Catherine O'Connell of Winnetka was
reported to be doing well after surgery March 28, after
suffering a setback in her recovery from a Feb. 10 Wilmette

The singer's fifth surgical procedure fused some of the
vertebrae in her neck after an X-ray disclosed March 24
that ligaments in her neck had weakened, O'Connell's friend
James Corboy said.

He said surgeon Jeffrey Karasick predicted she would enjoy
nearly full mobility some time after the procedure.

"She just emerged after seven hours of surgery, and
everything went as planned," Corboy said from Evanston's
St. Francis Hospital March 28. "Our only plan is for her to
stay absolutely quiet. She's not booked anywhere, and
there's no pressure to sing, unless she really wants to."
O'Connell had made a triumphant return to the stage at
Chicago's Orchestra Hall St. Patrick's Day, and was
scheduled to sing March 26 at Chicago's Irish American
Heritage Center.

But local singer Jamie O'Reilly had to take her place, as
her head was immobilized in a 12-pound "halo" brace as she
awaited the procedure.

O'Connell's right arm was badly injured and she broke
several bones in the Lake Avenue accident. A dump truck
struck her vehicle from behind, pushing into a van. That
impact flipped it over.


Irish Movie At New York Festival

An Armagh-born movie director's first feature film is to be
screened later this month at a prestigious New York film

By:Press Association

Brian Kirk`s `Middletown` has been selected to screen in
the Discovery section on April 28 at the Manhattan based
Tribeca Film Festival which was established by Robert de

The movie, which stars Matthew Macfadyen from the BBC
series `Spooks,` Gerard McSorley of `Omagh` fame and Eva
Birthistle who earned rave reviews for her performance in
Ken Loach`s `Ae Fond Kiss` was shot on both sides of the
border late last year.

Among the locations were Glaslough, Co Monaghan and the
Ulster Folk and Transport Museum in Cultra, Co Down.

Based on a script by Armagh playwright Darragh Carville,
Matthew Macfadyen plays a religious minister, the Reverend
Gabriel Clarke who becomes locked in a battle of wills with
his brother when he returns to his home town.

Daniel Mays who was in the cast of Mike Leigh`s award
winning back-street abortion drama, `Vera Drake` plays the
Reverend`s overzealous brother.

`Middletown`, which was produced by Belfast-based company
Green Park Films, was made on a budget of £2 million.

It was co-financed by the Irish Film Board and the Northern
Ireland Film and Television Commission and is expected to
get a cinema release on this side of the Atlantic in the

Brian Kirk is an accomplished director of short films,
commercials and television dramas.

The London-based 38-year-old`s credits include the BBC`s
series `Murphy`s Law` starring James Nesbitt, West Belfast
writer Pearse Elliott`s TV series `Pulling Moves` and short
films including the Ronan Bennett-scripted `Do Armed
Robbers Have Love Affairs?`
He has also recently teamed up with American filmmaker Nick
Gomez for the US gangster series `Brotherhood` which is
being billed as an Irish-American `Sopranos`.

Set in Providence, New Jersey, `Brotherhood` tells the
story of an Irish-American mobster played by Liverpool-born
actor Jason Isaacs and his politician brother, Jason

Veteran Irish actress Fionnula Flanagan plays the matriarch
of the Caffee family in the series being made for the
American Showtime network.


Warning On Economy Overheating As Prices Rise Sharply


Consumer prices are rising sharply across the Republic amid
warnings from a European Central Bank (ECB) board member
that the economy risks overheating. Una McCaffrey and Marc
Coleman report.

Inflation figures released by the Central Statistics Office
yesterday show that prices are now growing at the fastest
rate recorded in almost three years.

For March alone, monthly inflation came in at 0.4 per cent,
with prices 3.5 per cent higher at the end of the month
than they were a year earlier. This means annual inflation
has climbed in each of the past three months, with some
economists now expecting it to touch 4.5 per cent by the
end of the year.

The inflation trend comes at a time of wider concern about
the economy, with ECB chief economist Otmar Issing telling
The Irish Times this week that he is worried about the rate
of growth in mortgages in "well known" countries. Mr Issing
specifically warned that the Irish economy was at risk of

"We have referred to the fact that we see the risk of
overheating in some markets and probably now in general in
the euro area as a whole. But this development is very
expressed in a few euro area countries which are well
known," he said.

The ECB is concerned by statistics showing that growth in
mortgage loans in the euro area accelerated to 11.8 per
cent in February. The equivalent figure for the Republic is
30 per cent, according to Central Bank statistics for that
month. Mr Issing added that policy vigilance was necessary,
regardless of the Republic's good economic performance in
the past.

"So far, it is an example for good performance . . . At the
same time there is always a risk that over time you become
complacent. There is a risk of overheating. This is the
other side, but I am confident that the Irish will be able
to master the problem. But one must never be complacent."
Mr Issing's comments echo concerns raised this week by the
Central Bank, which warned that a high dependence on the
property sector posed a significant risk to the economy.

The bank described a jump to 11 per cent in house price
inflation as a "worrying development" that left open the
risk of a correction. Current rates of housing construction
are also too high, according to the bank.

A breakdown of the March inflation numbers shows that the
annual jump was due in part to higher food prices and more
expensive restaurants and hotels. Increased health
insurance costs and higher local authority rents were also

Mr Issing refused to give any hint on the timing of the
next interest rate movement but he warned against
presumptions that there was a maximum ceiling above which
interest rates would not go.

Opposition parties and business groups expressed some
disquiet over the March inflation numbers, with most
calling on the Government to do more to ensure that short-
term price pressures do not become embedded in the economy.

Ibec called on the social partners to avoid being "blown
off course" in partnership talks by short-term upward
inflationary influences.

Fine Gael finance spokesman Richard Bruton said Government-
controlled sectors still make an "enormous" contribution to
inflation. Kathleen Lynch, the Labour spokeswoman on
consumer affairs, also castigated the Government for
failing to address the "underlying factors" leading to

© The Irish Times

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