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April 01, 2006

Majority Want A Nation Once Again

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News About Ireland & The Irish

SB 04/02/06 Majority Want A Nation Once Again
SB 04/02/06 1916 Stories That Remain Hidden
ND 04/02/06 What Would Peter King Do?
BT 04/02/06 Fresh Garda Probe Into Ludlow Murder Slammed
GU 04/02/06 Omagh Dad Backs Real IRA Demands
ST 04/02/06 DUP Shuns No 10 For America
ST 04/02/06 Irish Should Also Remember British Dead, Says MP
II 04/02/06 Exposed: SF's Secret Plan To Stir Up Unrest
II 04/02/06 Opin: We Scoff At SF's Sinister Ambitions At Our Peril
BT 04/02/06 Opin: This Life: On The Road To Healing
II 04/02/06 Opin: My Granny Was One Of Our Great Green Harpies
SB 04/02/06 Opin: Hot Money Is Beginning To Melt Iceland’s Economy
ST 04/02/06 Wife Of Childers 'Was A British Spy'
SB 04/02/06 Hughes & Hughes Owner Ready For Borders Invasion
BB 04/01/06 Hundreds Say Farewell To Author
WP 04/01/06 Celebrated Irish Novelist John McGahern, 71
BT 04/01/06 Tom Tracy: Peace Be With You


Majority Want A Nation Once Again

02 April 2006 By Pat Leahy

The great majority of Irish people are nationalists to a
greater or lesser degree, favouring a united Ireland in
either the short or long-term, according to the results of
the latest Sunday Business Post/Red C opinion poll.

However, most of these do not believe that achieving a
united Ireland is as important as other tasks facing the

Almost 80 per cent of Irish people would like to see a
united Ireland. Almost a quarter of voters - 22 per cent -
believe that ‘‘delivering a united Ireland should be the
government’s first priority’’.

More than half of voters, 55 per cent, say they would like
to see a united Ireland, but ‘‘other things should have

Ten per cent of voters say no efforts should be made to
bring about a united Ireland, whereas 13 per cent say they
have no interest one way or the other.

The survey, carried out among more than 1,000 voters
between March 20-22 in conjunction with the tracking poll
of political support, shows that these proportions are
broadly reflected in attitudes among Irish people to the
1916 Rising, the 90th anniversary of which will be
commemorated shortly.

Four out of five voters say the Rising was a ‘‘positive
event in Irish history’’; 71 per cent believe Ireland
‘‘owes a debt to the leaders of the 1916 Rising’’, although
just half of voters believe that the government’s plans for
a military parade are appropriate. One fifth of voters say
they ‘‘couldn’t care less’’ about the Rising.

Taken together, the figures show a large reservoir of
nationalist feeling among the great mass of the Irish
people, although it is striking that by far the largest
group (55 per cent),while in favour of a united Ireland,
believes the government should have other priorities.

However, the group that believes that a united Ireland
should be the government’s first priority is also
relatively large, at 22 per cent.

Clearly, this encompasses much more than just Sinn Fein
supporters, who make up about 10 per cent of the

Attitudes towards a united Ireland are remarkably
consistent across the various age brackets, and show that
younger people tend to be at least as ‘green’ as their

For example, 22 per cent of those aged 18-34 believe that
delivering a united Ireland should be the government’s
first priority - exactly the same proportion as in the
general population.

For those aged over 65, the proportion is only slightly
higher, at 26 per cent.

Of those in the largest group (55 per cent) who say they
would like to see a united Ireland but ‘‘other things
should have priority’’, the proportions are again broadly
similar across all age groups.

The proportions are also largely consistent across all
social groups, with some slight variation among the wealthy
ABC1 section of the population and farmers, who are
slightly (but only slightly) less ‘green’ than the
population at large.

Geographically, attitudes to a united Ireland are also
broadly consistent, with one exception.

Fewer people in Dublin believe a united Ireland should be
the government’s first priority - 15 per cent against
almost a quarter in the rest of the country.

Consequently, more people in Dublin - 61 per cent - do want
to see a united Ireland but not as the government’s first
priority, as opposed to the rest of the country where the
proportions in this bracket are smaller.

Overall, the figures show the enduring strength of the
Irish people’s attachment to the ideal of Irish unity -
even if most of them are in no hurry to achieve it in

The great mass of people are in the ‘soft green’ middle
ground, with those who are either not interested or
actively hostile to the idea in almost exactly the same
proportion as those who are committed to the idea as the
national priority.


1916 Stories That Remain Hidden

02 April 2006 By Eunan O’Halpin

Today’s Sunday Business Post opinion poll indicates that a
large majority (80 per cent) of respondents agree that the
Easter Rising was a ‘‘positive event in recent Irish
history’’, a noteworthy and legitimate act of national self
determination. It also shows that 71 per cent agreed that
Ireland ‘‘owes a debt to the leaders’’ of the rebellion.
Yet only 50 per cent of respondents thought that it was
appropriate to ‘‘celebrate the 1916 Rising with a military
parade’’, and 32 per cent definitely disagreed.

Eight years after the Good Friday agreement, a year after
IRA decommissioning, the Irish public remains equivocal
about any reminders of the role of physical force in the
establishment of Irish independence.

In recent years, state commemoration of historical events
in Ireland has often attracted criticism, or ridicule, or
sometimes both. Officially-supported commemorative
activities marking the bicentenary of 1798 inspired
torrents of condemnation from critics.

They argued that these activities glossed over sectarian
elements of the rebellion, and generally represented a
deplorable dumbing down of historical complexities. The
150th anniversary of the Famine brought some clumsy
official gestures, and the vastly expensive famine ship,
the Jeanie Johnstone, became a farcically mismanaged essay
in historical reconstruction.

There was intense press criticism in 2001, particularly in
The Irish Times, of the state funeral and reinterment of
the ten men executed in Mountjoy jail during the War of

I helped to carry the coffin of my mother’s uncle, Kevin
Barry, and I was more impressed by the dignified public
response to the occasion than by the shrieks of outrage
from D’Olier Street.

A disjuncture between public commentators, and the public
who attend and thereby participate in commemorative events,
will probably again be apparent at Easter, when the state
will organise ceremonies to mark the ninetieth anniversary
of the 1916 Rising.

No doubt the former will thunder against the
remilitarisation of commemoration - it is reported that
about 2,500 members of the Defence Forces will be involved
- and the necessarily one-sided nature of the occasion
(although it is hard to see what consolation unionism could
draw from the proceedings).

The government will make conscious efforts to acknowledge
the fate of all who died in the Rising, on either side or
on none, as well as of the very much larger number of
Irishmen who served and died in British colours on the
battlefield or at sea. The critics will not be satisfied,
but the public will probably not mind. Who is right?

This is not the first occasion in recent years when
national commemorations have proved problematic.

In the spring of 1994 I attended a commemorative function
to mark the 75th anniversary of the first meeting of Dail
Eireann in the Mansion House. Why, I asked an official, had
the event not been organised for 21 January 1994, the
actual anniversary date? Apparently, no one had realised
this in time.

Instead the state hosted a reception in late April, the
centrepiece of which was a brief and historically
inaccurate video documentary, and speeches by the Taoiseach
and other dignitaries in descending order of importance.
Albert Reynolds was listened to in respectful silence, but
as the speeches went on the volume of chatter rose as
people turned their attention away from reflections on
history and towards the more immediate issue of getting
more drink - no expense had been spared, and spirits were
available as well as beer and wine. Everyone also received
a little commemorative badge to bring away.

The 75th anniversary of the establishment of the Irish Free
State was commemorated in similarly amiable style with a
reception in Dublin Castle, the leaders of the smaller
parties baying plaintively into the microphone as the herd
strayed away towards the refreshments, and everyone got a
set of stamps from An Post on the way out.

These fairly low-key commemorations escaped the wrath of
commentators, perhaps because they were held behind closed
doors. This in turn meant that they had virtually no public
impact. The forthcoming official commemorations of 1916
around Ireland will, however, be very public events.

Whether one believes that the Rising was an entirely
legitimate act of self-determination, or an anti-democratic
and unrepresentative coup, or a mixture of the justifiable
and the unjustifiable, aspects of it remain morally

The first person killed during the rebellion was a police
constable standing alone and unarmed at the gates of Dublin
Castle, shot without compunction by a member of the Irish
Citizen Army when he could easily have been captured or
brushed aside. This brutal and unnecessary act was scarcely
consonant with the aspirations of the 1916 proclamation, in
which the signatories ‘‘pray that no one who serves that
cause will dishonour it by cowardice, inhumanity or

More civilians than rebels or Crown forces died during the
fighting in Dublin, and the decision to centre the
rebellion in a densely populated area of the city indicates
at best a reckless disregard for the safety of the ordinary
Irish men and women in whose name the Rising was launched.

A few civilians were killed deliberately in cold blood,
most notoriously the pacifist Owen Sheehy Skeffington, shot
by a firing squad in Portobello Barracks on the orders of a
fellow Irishman, the deranged Captain Bowen Colthurst.

Others were shot in their dwellings by soldiers during
confused fighting in North King Street. Most, however, died
incidentally in cross fire or as a result of bombardment.

How are these people to be commemorated?

There is one straightforward and inexpensive measure that
the government could take which would cause no controversy
and which would greatly increase our understanding of the
events of 1916 and the following years.

For decades the most reliable and detailed sources on the
Irish revolution were British official records, including
police and military documents as well as cabinet documents
and the papers of key political figures. I and many others
have used these extensively for research purposes, and they
remain enormously valuable.

The problem is that such sources of necessity tend to
present the British perspective on unfolding events and
politics. In the last three years, however, research on the
Irish revolution has been transformed by the release of
more than 1,700 ‘‘witness statements’’ collected by the
government’s Bureau of Military History in the 1940s and
1950s from participants in the events that led to Irish

These were released on the initiative of the Taoiseach
after years of bureaucratic bumble.

They contain the detailed recollections of men and women
caught up in the independence struggle, and often
constitute the only record of what individuals did, felt
and thought. Some are self-justifying, some are formulaic,
but many are highly informative and deeply personal.

The value of this recently-released material can be seen in
the extensive use made of it in such excellent new work as
Charles Townshend’s Easter 1916: the Irish rebellion and
John Borganovo’s edition of Florence and Josephine
O’Donoghue’s War of Independence.

Yet the state still keeps secret two other equally
invaluable sets of records.

These are the military service pensions files, and the
1916-1923 medals files, of the Department of Defence, which
remain sealed, almost a hundred years after the events for
which they hold vital evidence, largely through
administrative inertia.

Does anyone in government know or care about them?

By way of illustration, the military service pension file
of my grandfather James Moloney contains a wealth of detail
on his service from 1919 to 1923, including the IRA units
in which he served and as a member of the anti-treaty IRA
leader Liam Lynch’s staff, which neither family memory nor
other documents can provide.

There are no good reasons for continuing to withhold such
invaluable historical material, only lame excuses and the
Department of Defence’s unwillingness to provide the
necessary staff for the Military Archives.

It is ironic that an Irish government which in 2000
publicly beseeched Tony Blair to open all the British
records on Roger Casement, executed for treason in 1916,
remains content to sit on many thousands of Irish files
which would deepen our understanding of the nature and
complexity of the Irish revolution and cast fresh light on
the men and women involved in the independence struggle.

What better moment to change such an indefensible policy
than Easter 2006?

Eunan O’Halpin is Bank of Ireland Professor of Contemporary
Irish History at Trinity College Dublin.


What Would King Do?

By Glenn Thrush
Newsday Washington Bureau
April 2, 2006

Fifty years ago, 11-year-old Peter King sat in a classroom
at St. Teresa's Grammar School in Woodside watching a
little girl, who was deeply depressed about the death of a
close relative, struggle with a mountainous multiplication
table on the blackboard.

"I realized she had made some kind of mistake," says the
House Homeland Security chairman, speaking from behind his
gleaming oak desk on Capitol Hill last week. "I saw the nun
standing behind her grab her by the hair and smash her face
into the blackboard. Her nose was bleeding and the nun
started talking about the family's tragedy, belittling her,
telling the kid, 'Is that the best you can do? Is that the
best you can do?'"

King, who co-sponsored the hard-edged border protection
bill that passed the House in December, uses such stories
to express his long-simmering anger at the church -- and to
explain why he's so disgusted with Catholic clerics who
have condemned his immigration plan as inhumane.

A 'silent majority' no more

The Seaford Republican raised eyebrows last week by calling
the nation's Catholic establishment "liars" and
"hypocrites," urging it to stop playing politics and "spend
more time protecting little boys from pedophile priests."

Being in open conflict with his own church doesn't seem to
faze King, who thinks discontent over priest sex scandals
and political meddling just might resonate with his
constituents, who are, for the most part, white ethnic
Catholics like himself.

King, 62, said his comments were spur of the moment, but
added: "I consider myself a blue-collar Catholic, and we're
kind of a silent majority. It's quite possible this could
end up helping me politically. Maybe it shows that God's on
my side."

Without targeting King directly, Catholic leaders and pro-
immigrant groups have attacked his proposals, which include
a plan to build border fences and other enforcement
measures that don't include a system to legalize
undocumented workers.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has been
particularly critical of a provision in his bill making it
a felony for undocumented workers to remain in the United
States and another clause that might make it a crime for
church workers to assist or encourage illegal aliens.

"Denying aid to a fellow human being violates a law with a
higher authority than Congress -- the law of God," Los
Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahony wrote last month in The New
York Times. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton said "Jesus
himself" might be arrested under King's legislation.

King's "pedophile" comment drew an indirect slap from
Bishop William Murphy of the Diocese of Rockville Centre,
who decried "public officials respond to legitimate
criticism by casting unworthy and demeaning remarks."

An ally betrayed?

The congressman, an observant Catholic who opposes abortion
and attends Sunday Mass, is infuriated by such statements.
He says his opponents know he's promised to omit the felony
provision when the House bill is reconciled with a Senate
version and will also rewrite the bill to better protect
Good Samaritans.

"Pete doesn't mean the church any harm, but he's definitely
fed up with them getting on their high horse and distorting
his positions," said former city firefighters union chief
Jimmy Boyle, who attended St. Teresa's with King and city
Police Commissioner Ray Kelly. "Peter gets very sensitive
about this stuff because he feels the church should be more
understanding of him, given his opposition to abortion and
his support of basic Catholic tenets."

Still, King is hardly an apostate. He attended Catholic
schools for 19 years. Before his 1992 election to Congress,
he was the best-known U.S. ally of the Catholic-dominated
Irish Republican Army.

He also enjoyed a close relationship with the late John
Cardinal O'Connor, who supported King's appointment as
grand marshal of the city's 1985 St. Patrick's Day Parade,
although protesters boycotted the parade because of King's
ties to the IRA.

And despite his anger at Catholic leaders who attack his
immigration bill, King doesn't mind every church foray into
politics. He supports the right of priests to deny
communion to elected officials favoring abortion rights.

Personal slap in the face

But he's had his share of dust-ups with church leaders.
He's long faulted the hierarchy for failing to stop sexual
abuse. In 2004, King dismissed the Vatican's criticism of
abuses at Abu Ghraib prison, saying they were "nothing
compared to what nuns and priests did to Catholic kids for

King says the "hundreds" of violent incidents he witnessed
as a student are never far from his mind when discussing
the church, even when he's talking about the seemingly
disconnected topic of immigration reform.

There was the incident when King, then 12, said he watched
a nun slam a yardstick across the face of a friend because
the boy had a speech impediment that reduced most of his
sentences to what King calls "baby talk." A few years
later, King himself was slapped in the face by a nun for
what he says was no apparent reason as he walked the
hallway of St. Paschal High School in St. Albans.

He connects those bitter school experiences with the
condemnation of his immigration stance, saying they are
part of a continuum of church "arrogance ... an overbearing
and oppressive sense that everything they do is right."

But not everyone buys that argument. Joseph Mercurio, a
Manhattan-based political consultant who attended Catholic
schools himself, says King is deflecting criticism for
adopting a position that goes against the church's
commitment to social justice.

"Just because some nuns beat up some kids in the 1950s and
priests committed sexual abuse, we are supposed to ignore
the church's policy positions on immigration?" asks
Mercurio, who works for both Democrats and Republicans.

Former Sen. Alfonse D'Amato, a longtime ally of King,
thinks his battle with the church is strictly personal.
"He's a very unusual politician," D'Amato said. "He does
and says things out of motivations that have nothing to do
with politics."

Copyright 2006 Newsday Inc.


Fresh Garda Probe Into Ludlow Murder Slammed

Move 'stalling exercise to avoid public inquiry'

By Michael McHugh
01 April 2006

The decision to reopen Garda files into the Troubles murder
of Seamus Ludlow is a "stalling exercise" to delay a public
inquiry, relatives of the victim said last night.

Jimmy Sharkey, a nephew of the Co Louth loyalist murder
victim, has downplayed the chances of securing convictions
after police chiefs announced a fresh investigation on

The move follows recommendations made in a report by the
Irish Parliament's Justice Committee, which was highly
critical of the way police handled the original probe.

Elected representatives found the family was treated in an
"unsatisfactory manner" by police and forensic material
collected at the scene had been lost.

Mr Ludlow was shot dead in May 1976 near his Dundalk home,
allegedly by north Down loyalists who were interviewed by
the PSNI but never faced questioning by gardai.

Mr Sharkey said: "This is a stalling exercise and I would
say that they have not got a chance of securing

"In 1998, when the suspects were arrested by the RUC,
senior detectives told me that there was little chance of
prosecutions unless new evidence came to the fore.

"I believe that this will just hold up things and we won't
be able to have a public inquiry for a number of years."

This week's sub-committee report to the Justice Department,
ordered after an earlier probe by retired Supreme Court
Justice Henry Barron, recommended a Commission of Inquiry
be set up to look at issues including collusion between
loyalists and the Northern Ireland authorities, as well as
the police investigation.

Family members reacted with anger to the development and
continue to campaign for a full public inquiry.

In inviting Garda detectives to re-examine the case, the
committee report stated: "The sub-committee notes that
developments in statutory mutual assistance have occurred
with significant legislative changes.

"It is also noted that there are now formal structures in
place to ensure the speedy and secure communication of
sensitive intelligence and that dedicated liaison officers
have been appointed between An Garda Siochana and the PSNI.

"It should be possible for the Garda to receive assistance
from the PSNI."

A Garda spokesman declined to comment. The senior officer
appointed to head the review will look at investigation
files and work closely with the PSNI.

Calls have come for a team like the PSNI's Historic
Enquiries Team to be set up in the Republic to probe
Troubles murders.


Omagh Dad Backs Real IRA Demands

Henry McDonald, Ireland editor
Sunday April 2, 2006

The father of one of the Omagh bomb victims last night
backed demands that Real IRA terrorists be repatriated from
English jails to prisons in Ireland.

Despite losing his son James in the 1998 Real IRA atrocity,
Victor Barker this weekend called on the British government
to transfer republican inmates from England to jails in
either the Republic or Northern Ireland.

He described the relations and loved ones of Real IRA
prisoners in England as 'innocent parties' who are punished
by having to travel long distances for visits.

Barker made his call after supporters of the Real IRA
staged a rally at Free Derry Corner yesterday afternoon
demanding that several dissident republicans, including
brothers Aiden and Robert Hulme, be transferred to jails
near their families in Ireland. The Hulmes were convicted
of a bomb attack on Ealing Broadway in London in 2001.

In response to the campaign by the Real IRA's political
allies, the 32 County Sovereignty Movement, Barker said the
British government was in danger of falling into a
republican trap.

'I fully agree that under no circumstances should prisoners
be denied their human rights - they should be incarcerated
for their crimes as near as possible to their families,
provided that they serve their sentences in a properly
supervised environment.

'It is quite wrong that their families - who are innocent
parties here - should have to travel huge distances to see
their loved ones. If we treat others in an inhumane way, we
give way to the terrorists and become more like them,' he

Barker warned the British government that it is in danger
of being manipulated via the prisoner-transfer issue. He
said the same mistakes were being replicated by western
nations in the global 'war against terror'.

Victor Barker's son James along with 28 other people and
two unborn twins were killed in the bomb blast in the
centre of Omagh eight years ago.

Barker is part of a group of Omagh relatives currently
suing alleged Real IRA leaders through the civil courts in
Northern Ireland.

Although the terror organisation quickly called a ceasefire
following the Omagh massacre, the Real IRA later re-grouped
and launched a fresh offensive against commercial and high-
profile targets in London, including the BBC headquarters
at White City, and Birmingham five years ago.

Its support organisation - the 32 County Sovereignty
Committee - actively promotes the continuation of 'armed
struggle' through its website.

Several individuals who lost loved ones in the Omagh
bombing recently reported the site to police forces in
Britain and Ireland. One regular contributor to the site
even called for Michael Gallagher, a spokesman for the
Omagh bomb victims, to be shot. However both New Scotland
Yard and the Strathclyde Police refused to conduct any
inquiries into the website.

The Real IRA was founded in late 1997 following a split
inside the Provisional IRA. Leading dissidents, including
its now jailed founder Michael McKevitt, set up the Real
IRA in opposition to the peace strategy pursued by Martin
McGuinness and Gerry Adams.

Guardian Unlimited © Guardian Newspapers Limited 2006


The Sunday Times April 02, 2006

DUP Shuns No 10 For America

FIVE of the DUP’s nine MPs, and its press officer, will be
in America on Thursday when Tony Blair and Bertie Ahern
unveil their “final” proposals to revive the Stormont
assembly, writes Liam Clarke.

The delegation will be led by deputy leader Peter Robinson,
and will include Jeffrey Donaldson and Gregory Campbell, as
well as chief press officer Timothy Johnston.

The absence of more than half the MPs from the largest
party in the province underlines both the low expectations
of the event and the fact that Ian Paisley’s party is
broadly satisfied with what will be proposed.

The government plans include reconvening the assembly for
six weeks in May, then suspending it for the summer and
reconvening in the autumn, perhaps after a series of all-
party talks. The cut-off date for forming an executive does
not come until November 24.

By then, the International Monitoring Commission will have
issued two further reports on the IRA, one in April and one
in October. If the IMC does not give the IRA a clean bill
of health on criminality as well as violence, the DUP will
be under little pressure to move the assembly from shadow
mode into full power-sharing.

This is as long a delay as the party could have asked for,
and it may be able to use the time to secure changes in the
architecture of the Good Friday agreement and the power-
sharing executive.

The American trip is designed to present the DUP at its
most pragmatic, to convince the US administration and
Irish-American opinion that the party will do a deal if the
conditions are right. Hardliners such as Paisley, his son
Ian Jr, Nigel Dodds and William McCrea are noticeably
absent from the delegation.

The delegation is scheduled to meet 30 senators and
congressmen, including Hillary Clinton and Ted Kennedy, as
well as State Department and White House officials and the
editorial boards of a number of newspapers.


Irish Should Also Remember British Dead, Says MP

Liam Clarke

BRITISH soldiers killed in the Easter Rising should be
included in Ireland’s 90th anniversary commemorations,
according to a Conservative party MP.

Patrick Mercer, the Tories’ frontbench spokesman on
homeland security, is encouraging relatives of the 134
British soldiers killed in the rising to travel to Dublin
to visit their graves and to see sites linked to the
rising. He says such trips would be similar to those made
by American veterans to Vietnam.

Mercer is a former commanding officer of the Worcestershire
and Sherwood Foresters Regiment, which suffered most
casualties in the rising. The regiment also supplied the
firing squads that executed Padraig Pearse, James Connolly
and other insurgent leaders afterwards.

The MP pointed this out to authorities at Kilmainham
prison, when he visited Dublin in 1999, and the fact is now
included in the narrative there.

Last Friday, Mercer tabled an early-day motion in the House
of Commons welcoming the attendance of Stewart Eldon, the
British ambassador to Ireland, at the official 1916
commemoration in Dublin. The motion praises the move as a
sign of reconciliation, but also calls for British graves
to be honoured.

During Easter week the revolutionary forces, made up of the
Irish Volunteers and Irish Citizen Army, suffered 64
fatalities compared to 134 from the crown forces, 35 of
them from Irish regiments. Civilians suffered the highest
casualties of all, with at least 220 killed and more than
600 wounded. About 17 police officers also died, some
during an ambush in Ashbourne, Co Meath.

The current plans are for a minute’s silence for all who
died in Easter week, with no specific mention of British
casualties. Relatives of the 1916 leaders and volunteers
who were killed in action will be asked to join dignitaries
on a reviewing stand in O’Connell Street for a military
parade on Easter Sunday. Later there will be a wreath-
laying ceremony at Kilmainham.

The Irish government also plans to hold a commemoration in
July of Irish men who died in British regiments at the
Battle of the Somme. The ceremony, at Islandbridge War
memorial, is seen as a way of balancing the huge event
marking the 90th anniversary of the rising.

Mercer wants wreathes to be laid in Grangegorman military
cemetery, where a number of the British casualties are
buried. “The ceremony should not neglect the graves of the
soldiers, policemen and crown servants who died in April
and May 1916. If there is no official gesture, then the
British ambassador should himself visit some of these
graves,” the MP said.

“I would like the opportunity to take some of my
constituents, who are descended from the men of the
Sherwood Foresters, and to sound the Last Post and pay our
respects at Grangegorman, where a number are buried. The
Vietnamese welcome American veterans and their families
back to the scenes of past battles from a much more recent
war, so what is the problem?”

On April 29, Mercer is organising a ceremony in Balderton
cemetery in his own constituency of Newark at the graves of
three Sherwood Foresters who were killed by Irish

They and regimental comrades had been destined for the
battlefields of France, but were diverted to Ireland.

Mercer said: “Whatever your feelings about the events of
1916, if we are reconciling Britain and Ireland then we
have got to recognise the dead from all sides,” the MP

“In the same way that the Irish government is going to be
celebrating the anniversary of the Somme, and bearing in
mind the casualties from both southern and northern Ireland
divisions, we should also be remembering the crown forces
who died in Ireland itself.”


Exposed: SF's Secret Plan To Stir Up Unrest

Jim Cusack

THE Sunday Independent today exposes Sinn Fein's secret
plan to sweep to power within 10 years - and implement a
range of Marxist republican policies.

Its intention is revealed in a confidential document
discussed by the Sinn Fein hierarchy just five weeks ago.

The document underlines Sinn Fein's hope to create a "mass
party" to "mobilise even greater numbers of Irish people
around our vision".

The strategy is based on what it calls "alterative
community-based structures".

The Sinn Fein policy paper makes it clear that it intends
to stir up unrest with agitation and street politics to
achieve its aims.

"Radicalised and mobilised communities are the seed bed
from which the new republic will be built," it says.

And the Party leadership intends to use the 90th
anniversary of the Easter Rising this year as a means to
recruit new members.

The Rising commemorations and the 25th anniversary of the
IRA's hunger strikes are described in the documents as
"fortuitous" events.

The party's mainly Northern-based leadership outlined its
plans to an inner coterie at a meeting in south Co Derry at
the end of February, and it stressed that, in the North
this year, its main strategic move would be a campaign
against the PSNI, on the grounds that it is regarded by the
Provisional movement as a "political police force".

Throughout the meeting, in the village of Gulladuff,
speakers refer to the audience as "comrades" and the
Provisional IRA as "the Army" and "the Oglaigh".

This exposes, again, Sinn Fein's refusal to accept the
constitutional position of Oglaigh na hEireann, the formal,
statutory title of the Defence Forces.

In language straight out of Soviet Russia, the backroom
strategists outlined how the "national struggle" (also
referred to as the "all-Ireland project") would be achieved
in a "10-year trajectory".

This involves a "hearts and minds" campaign, beginning with
this year's anniversaries, involving the recruitment and

indoctrination of young people into Sinn Fein. In this
regard, it refers to the need for "political education

What is called a "counter strategy" against the party's
opponents is also planned, as well as the infiltration of
"outside bodies" and the creation of a "network of

Republican sources have told the Sunday Independent that
the "outside bodies" should be taken as a reference to the
infiltration, by secret Sinn Fein supporters, of key
positions in trade unions, media, education, community,
arts and language and even Government.

Until now, Sinn Fein's strategy could only be guessed at.
However, the internal document, meant for circulation among
key leadership members, reveals how heavily internal Sinn
Fein strategy is controlled by a secret group of IRA
members, who subscribe totally to Marxist politics and

Most of these figures are IRA members who became deeply
influenced by Marxist writings while serving sentences in
the Maze prison, and who have spent the last decade, since
being released from prison, touring Ireland, recruiting and
indoctrinating young members, many of them from third level
education institutions.

In the Gulladuff document, heavy emphasis is placed on
recruitment as a "key" element of the party's plans for
"overall struggle".

The recruitment process is outlined as targeting people
from "our existing support base; people who share our
politics but might not previously has seen themselves as
'republicans'; to make the party representative of all
sections of the community (women, ethnic minorities); to
strengthen our skills base; to regenerate the party
(attract more young members)."

The conference heard that Gerry Adams had hoped to launch
its 10-year mass mobilisation last year, to coincide with
IRA decommissioning, and the IRA's statement that it had
"ceased all activities", described in the document as "the
Army's initiatives" - but this had been postponed because
of the fall-out from the murder of Robert McCartney by IRA
and Sinn Fein members in Belfast, and the Northern Bank

The plan is to relaunch the campaign this year, using the
Rising and hunger strike anniversaries as a spring board.

The document outlines the plans, stating: "There will be no
clap of revolutionary thunder or singular key moment or
event to herald independence and the republic. Mass
participation in republican politics will drive a process
for change, which hollows partition and creates alternative
community power structures.

"In practical terms, this means we become systematic in our
approach to recruitment to Sinn Fein. We need to bring to
life the concept of a mass party which serves to mobilise
even greater number of Irish people around our vision."


Opin: We Scoff At SF's Sinister Ambitions At Our Peril

IN HIS relatively brief address, Declan Kearney refers to
"struggle" on 10 occasions and to "comrades" on three.

Kearney is chairman of Sinn Fein in Northern Ireland -
Cuige na Se Chondae, as they call it. At its recent annual
general meeting, Kearney sprinkled his speech with talk of
"strategy and counter strategy", "black political and
psychological operations" and the like.

But it is not the jaded, bedsit language which is
surprising. Indeed, that is to be expected of Marxist
republicans. Nor is it his mention of sinister-sounding
"political education programmes".

It is not even his frequent references to "the Army", or
"the Oglaigh" - meaning the Provisional IRA - which shock.
That, too, is to be expected of, well, murderous thugs and
their apologists.

No, the real jolt is contained late in his speech, where
old language and new ideas meet, exposing, in the
convergence of the two, Sinn Fein's ambition, still
underestimated by the political establishment here.

Fianna Fail refers to itself as a "national movement",
which in many ways it is. For years now, it has been
resting on its laurels - notwithstanding two good general
elections - as Finance Minister Brian Cowen recently
reported to the party, when he highlighted falling and
ageing membership.

Sinn Fein has no such problems in terms of its increasing
and youthful membership. But what about this from Kearney?:
"We need to bring to life the concept of a mass party which
serves as a vehicle to mobilise even greater numbers of
Irish people around our vision."

As Kearney's rhetoric shows, Sinn Fein is not a party, like
Labour, for example, seemingly content enough with its lot,
give or take, as the smaller of coalition partners.

Sinn Fein's plan over the next 10 years is to achieve
government here and in the North, and in the next 20 to
evolve into the biggest political party on the island.

Here is how it intends to do it: "Liberation movements such
as ours can never stand still. We must constantly seek and
take the initiative. Risk-taking and strategic initiatives
are integral to our forward momentum. They are essential to
strengthening our position and building popular support.
Increasing popular support for independence, and in turn,
our ultimate aim, is intrinsic to building overall
political strength.

"Whether the coming negotiations succeed or fail, and
whether the institutions are restored or not in 2006, we
must be about the business of growing support for
republican politics and providing progressive political
leadership at community level.

"Radicalised and mobilised communities are the seed bed
from which the new republic will be built. There will be no
clap of revolutionary thunder or singular key moment or
event to herald independence and the republic. Mass
participation in republican politics will drive the process
for change, which hollows partition, and creates
alternative community-based power structures. In practical
terms, this means we become systematic in our approach to
recruitment to Sinn Fein."

Later in the day, Peter Quinn dealt with the recruitment
process. According to Quinn, Sinn Fein will recruit not
only from its existing support base, but also those who
share Sinn Fein's politics but might not previously have
seen themselves as 'republicans'. Also, women, people from
ethnic communities, young people, people in areas where
there is no Sinn Fein organisation and people with skills
needed by Sinn Fein, those with voluntary and community
sector experience, publicity, IT, etc.

The way to go about this, he says, is to show political
sympathy, motivation to activism, application, interview
and, eventually, integration into the party.

Sinn Fein's ultimate political ambition is today exposed.
Within a generation, even sooner, it intends to run this
country, North and South, and eventually as one.

The body politic here, meanwhile, continues to sleepwalk
while the apologists for gangsters and murderers, criminals
and thugs seizes power from underits nose.

Jody Corcoran


Opin: This Life: On The Road To Healing

By Alf McCreary
01 April 2006

President Mary McAleese made history this week when she
visited St Anne's Cathedral in Belfast. The cathedral has
acted as host in the past to the Queen and to other members
of the royal family, and most recently to the Dalai Lama -
though his presence there was not without controversy
within the Church of Ireland.

However, Tuesday evening's visit by President McAleese was
the first to Belfast Cathedral by a serving Irish head of
state and, as such, it was symbolic. As the retiring deputy
chairman of the Policing Board, Denis Bradley, has rightly
noted, symbolism is deeply ingrained in the Northern
Ireland psyche.

Sadly, however, his reasonable suggestion that a
nationalist should be the next chairman of the Policing
Board was outrageously attacked by the politically
opportunistic Ian Paisley Jnr. Paisley wrongly claimed that
it was a ploy to undermine the current chairman Sir Desmond
Rea. Cheap political cracks like this do not help anyone.

In Northern Ireland what people do, as well as what they
say, is important. Consequently, every action of the first
Ulsterwoman to be President of Ireland is as carefully
scrutinised on this side of the border, if not more so,
than in the Republic. Though Mary McAleese lacks the regal
style of her predecessor Mary Robinson, she has been a
formidable President.

I knew her well enough at Queen's University when she was
one of my several simultaneous bosses and, behind the
charm, she is a steely and skilled political operator.

It was President McAleese who attended a Communion Service
in a Dublin Protestant Cathedral and raised the ire of
Roman Catholic traditionalists like Cardinal Desmond
Connell. People should also remember that her invitation to
visit St Anne's Cathedral came from Dean Houston McKelvey
when he preached at a Remembrance Day Service at St
Patrick's Cathedral in Dublin two years ago which was
attended by the President.

Her acceptance of that invitation, and her visit to St
Anne's this week will be seen by many Protestants as the
symbolism of an Irish President reaching out to all the
people - and, even if her personal politics are clearly
green, that is no doubt a requirement for the job. However
there will be many other Protestants who will not forget
her 'Nazi' gaffe about loyalists during a Holocaust
remembrance ceremony in Poland, and there are those who
will not allow her to forget it, no matter how many times
she apologises. The same can be said of Fr Alex Reid, the
Clonard priest whose sterling work in helping to bring
armed Republicanism along the road to politics was
overshadowed by his unfortunate outburst when he accused
unionists of acting like the Nazis in their treatment of
the Catholic minority.

This was a clumsy and wild statement and, even though the
hapless Fr Reid apologised almost immediately, the damage
was done. People in a divided society have long memories,
and forgiveness does not come easily. Last week there
seemed to be an attempt to rehabilitate Fr Reid's image
when someone described him as the 'Ghandi' of the Basque
peace process, and certainly he seems to have worked
ceaselessly behind the scenes to help bring about the
ceasefire announced by the ETA terrorists.

He and the former Methodist President, the Reverend Harold
Good, deserved their peace award from the Spanish
authorities for their work last autumn in overseeing the
IRA decommissioning. However, Rev Good knows how to handle
the media, whereas Fr Reid does not. This latter point was
made to me last week by a senior Spanish journalist working
from London on the ETA story.

We all make mistakes and both Fr Reid and President
McAleese have apologised in public. Some Protestants will
never be satisfied, but there is a lingering worry among
many others that slips of the tongue by President McAleese,
Fr Reid and recently Prime Minister Tony Blair have
revealed an almost subconscious tendency at times to blame
only one community for the mayhem in the North.

There is still much work to be done by the peacemakers, and
it is time to move on from past wounds, and all insults
imagined and real. The Dean of Belfast's invitation to
President McAleese to visit St Anne's Cathedral, and her
acceptance of it, is part of a healing process in all of
Ireland between Catholics and Dissenters, and by
implication between unionists and nationalists. That will
help to lead to a better future for us all.

Brave new world?

Lord Carey, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, was
critical of Charles Haughey and his Fianna Fail colleagues,
during an important Ulster Museum/Northern Bank lecture
this week on Islam and the West.

He declared his amazement that the former Irish Finance
minister and the then Government had not expressed publicly
their awareness of Saddam Hussein's "outrageous human
right's record", following a visit by Haughey to Iraq in

Lord Carey was equally scathing about the Western allies
who poured arms and supplies into Iraq in the 1970s and
1980s while turning a blind eye to Saddam's atrocities.
This indeed was a victory of commercial greed over

However, one of the major insights from Lord Carey's
lecture was his assertion that there are now more Anglican
worshippers in Nigeria than in the UK, USA, Canada,
Australia and New Zealand put together. The Christian map
of the world is changing beyond recognition.

Right words

I am indebted to my wife, who was looking up the Oxford
Dictionary of Quotations on another topic when she came
across the correct version of this comment from G K
Chesterton which is so often misquoted by speakers and
writers: "The Christian ideal has not been tried and found
wanting. It has been found difficult and left untried."


Opin: My Granny Was One Of Our Great Green Harpies

Sunday April 2nd 2006

WHEN Myles Dungan asked me if I had a candidate for his
Speaking Ill of the Dead conference, I immediately blurted
out: "Countess Markievicz".

Why did I have it in for her particularly, I wondered
afterwards. Sure, she was a bad bit of work, but were there
not more obviously ghastly dead people in Irish history?
Sean MacBride (whom David Norris chose), for instance? Or
his teeth-clenchingly annoying mother, Maud Gonne? If I was
sticking to women, was Maire MacSwiney not criminally
insane? And if it was 20th-Century green harpies I was
thinking about, was not my dreadful granny worse than any
of them?

Well, the punters would hardly have flocked to hear me
denounce the unknown Bridget McInerney - aka Bridget Dudley
Edwards - so I stuck to Markievicz, but I feel it only
right to acknowledge that Grandmother Edwards has a strong
claim to have been the foulest among the foul harridans of
fanatical republicanism. Yet I remember her with gratitude,
for she made me precociously politically conscious and
sceptical about violent nationalism.

I don't know which mischievous parent taught me when a
toddler to lisp "Up Dev" when Grandmother hove in view, for
this was calculated to make her erupt. De Valera, I soon
learned, was a traitor: he had failed to fight the despised
Treaty to the death, he had entered the illegitimate Dail
of the illegitimate Free State and he had hanged,
imprisoned and interned men whose only crime was to fight -
or "pight", as Grandmother's slight speech defect rendered
it - for Irish freedom.

She never forgave Dev: in her 80s she would still write
Sinn Fein across her ballot paper. Nor, until her deathbed,
did she forgive the Roman Catholic church for its failure
to back revolution. Then - after almost 40 years of
boycotting the church - she agreed to have the last rites
on condition they were administered by a Capuchin from the
friary that had provided confessors for those executed in

I was fascinated by the huge picture above Grandmother's
mantelpiece of a scene in the GPO in Easter Week that
included Patrick Pearse striking a heroic pose and James
Connolly barking orders from his stretcher.

The droopily-moustached Tom Clarke was of great interest
too, for periodically Grandmother would have an audience
with republican royalty in the shape of Kathleen Clarke.

"I have come from tea with Mrs Tom Clarke," she would
announce portentously, before favouring us with the usual
report about their anti-Dev hatefest or Mrs Clarke's fury
that the Pearses thought they owned 1916. (Kathleen Clarke
understandably never forgave Pearse, a mere blow-in, for
having beaten Clarke - the Rising's main begetter - to the
title of President of the Provisional Republic.)

It would be many years before I was ready to question the
morality of the 1916 Rising, but I was only about seven
when I tackled the matter of the photograph of Hitler that
faced Grandmother's bed. "What about the Jews,
Grandmother?" I asked. "British propaganda," she barked.
This was the early Fifties.

I later learned that Mussolini had been Hitler's
predecessor in Grandmother's affections and that she was
eclectic enough to adore Stalin as well. A classic fascist,
Grandmother loved strong, ruthless leaders whatever their
ideology, which no doubt is why she made her gentle,
rational husband's life hell. It didn't help him either
than he was English, and therefore to blame for all
Ireland's wrongs.

Like Markievicz, Grandmother had engaged first in active
politics as a suffragette, but then had been seduced by the
excitement of revolutionary nationalism. She was a member
of Cumann na mBan and - to the distress of my pacifist
grandfather - had hidden guns for the Volunteers. She did
not herself pight for Irish freedom, but I don't know if
that was cowardice or because she was an alcoholic. Even
the bould Markievicz would have thought twice about going
into battle alongside a drunken Bridget Dudley Edwards.

Still, Grandmother was prepared to make sacrifices for
Ireland. She had my father and his brother join
Markievicz's Fianna - where they were taught to drill and
train and told they should kill and die for Ireland - and
in 1922, at the outbreak of the Civil War, when they were
respectively 13 and 11, she told them to join up. My
father, who thought his mother both unpleasant and mad,
refused. Uncle Ralph cheerfully set off to battle and was
downcast at being sent home by the recruiting officer.

I owe Grandmother a great deal. Not only did she arouse my
curiosity about violent republicanism, but she helped me to
understand fundamentalism: these days she would be rooting
for the Continuity IRA. Hate-filled, blood-thirsty, bigoted
and intransigent, Grandmother represented everything that
was and is worst in militant republicanism. She richly
deserves to be spoken ill of.

Ruth Dudley Edwards's critically-acclaimed 'Patrick Pearse:
The Triumph of Failure' has just been reissued by the Irish
Academic Press

Ruth Dudley Edwards
© Irish Independent


Opin: Hot Money Is Beginning To Melt Iceland’s Hardy

02 April 2006 By David McWilliams

Unlike today, when Dublin gets more than four million
visitors per year, in the dark days of the early 1990s
regular tourists here were few and far between. However
there was one bunch who came loyally - almost very weekend.
They came to shop because - weird as it may sound now –
Dublin was far cheaper than their home town.

They also came to drink because, again, Ireland was a much
cheaper place to socialise. They were recognisable by their
accents and their friendliness. They were from Iceland, and
in pre-boom Ireland, people from Reykjavik were frequent
visitors to Grafton Street and its nearby pubs. Some time
in the mid 1990s, as Ireland became increasingly expensive,
they stopped coming.

This week, Iceland is in crisis. It is on the brink of a
currency collapse, money is flowing out, its banks are
finding it difficult to keep credit lines open, and an
Asian-style crisis appears imminent. But what happened? How
could a country full of hardy people known for prudence
find itself in such a mess?

The answer is: debt. In recent years, Icelanders started
borrowing in huge amounts to finance massive acquisitions
abroad. Personal debt rose tenfold and total debt as a
percentage of income rose rapidly to 86 per cent.

For a few years, things were moving along nicely. The stock
and housing markets roared ahead. As long as global
interest rates remained low, Iceland could borrow
significant amounts and spend at will. The central bank of
Iceland kept interest rates above 6 per cent and this was
deemed sufficiently attractive for yield-hungry investors
to keep their money in Reykjavik.

However, the sting in the tail is that all this ‘hot’ money
can leave as quickly as it arrives and sometimes, the
trigger for a change in investor sentiment appears very
remote indeed. As we saw in Dubai a few weeks ago, an
increase in Japanese interest rates has had a detrimental
impact on the Gulf state’s stock market, without anything
untoward happening in Iceland itself. So when the Bank of
Japan indicated that it would increase rates, investors
sold their positions in Iceland. But why? Is there any
remote connection between Tokyo and Reykjavik?

No, there is not, but investors borrowed in low-yield yen
to put on deposit in high-yield Icelandic krona. As long as
Japanese interest rates remain low, this made sense and the
Icelandic system got an injection of liquidity. When
Japanese rates began to nudge upward, the investors
cancelled the bet and took their money out of Iceland with
the effect of causing a liquidity crunch. In responses to
this liquidity crunch, the Icelandic central bank this
week, pushed rates up to 10 per cent which simply scares
investors and means that more and more money leaves. So we
get a self-reinforcing negative monetary cycle, only months
after a self-reinforcing positive cycle.

Iceland is experiencing the tail end of a classic textbook
boom/bust credit cycle.

This cycle is best summed up in Charles Kindleberger’s
seminal work Manias, Booms and Panics, which was first
published in 1947 but is still invaluable reading for
anyone interested in credit booms and assets cycles.
Kindleberger - a renowned economist - studied many booms in
prices from tulips to stocks and houses, and he maintained
that all credit cycles follow seven similar stages.

The first stage is the looser credit stage.

All booms start by a change in the credit regime which
allows interest rates to fall and liquidity conditions to
ease. In Iceland, this happened with the lifting of
exchange controls in the late 1990s. This meant that anyone
who liked could invest in Iceland and Icelanders could
invest anywhere themselves. This allowed investors to take
advantage of Iceland’s stable relatively higher interest
rates, which gave the Icelanders money to play with. The
stage was set for Kindleberger’s cycle.

Stage two – euphoria - happens shortly afterwards, when
asset prices begin to rise and all the boats start to lift
on the tide. In Iceland’s case, this was mainly evidenced
in the Reykjavik housing market.

Everyone becomes delirious, with easy money being made, and
suburban Donald Trumps strutting their stuff.

The third stage is the gearing stage.

This is where the banks begin to get in on the act and
offer equity release facilities to anyone with a piece of
property. We have also seen this in Ireland. Recently, my
father – a pensioner -was solicited by one of the largest
banks in the country challenging him to ‘liberate’ equity.
The man is 75, in no need of the cash and with no visible
or prospective means of paying the money back. Yet the bank
feels it prudent that he leverage himself up. The gearing
stage leads to an avalanche of credit dumping down on the
economy and it, in turn, causes values to rocket up

The fourth stage is the mania stage, where the euphoria
gives way to a type of messianic behaviour where people
begin to queue overnight for apartments and all pay homage
to the might of the property ‘‘god’’.

The fifth stage is the bubble stage, where the pseudo-
psychology of the euphoria and mania stages is fuelled by
the liquidity of the gearing stage. Prices rise to
ridiculous levels and investors start to buy trophy assets
rather than sound investments.

At the top end of the market, the big beasts of the market
outbid each other publicly for assets they would not have
touched at that price only a few months previously. At the
lower end of the market, the bubble stage sees investors
buying at yields that just about cover the cost of

The sixth stage is the distress stage, where income from
the asset - whether it is rental yield or dividend yields -
begins to soften. Savvy investors start to get out in the
distress phase. They see little underpinning the market
and, as a result, take profits. Initially there are
sufficient buyers to take up the slack, but in time,
sentiment begins to turn and the overhang of supply on the
market makes it impossible for yields to rise.

Kindleberger’s seventh and final stage is when everyone
realises that there is no value in the asset. This is what
happened in Iceland last week. The rating agencies have
downgraded Icelandic debts, money is flowing out and
interest rates are rising in response. The currency is
falling in tandem with the panic, and share prices across
the board are falling.

Iceland, unlike Ireland, is not a member of the eurozone
and therefore, its excesses cannot be fudged in the way
ours can. Luckily, we do not have to endure the sudden
stop/go characteristics of a country with its own currency
and exchange rate. In many ways, this protects us, but in
others, it desensitises us from the excesses of our own
boom. Where do you think we are in Kindleberger’s seven
stages? For those of you who are worried and believe that
we may be close to the top, maybe selling here today and
buying in bargain basement Iceland in the months ahead is
the winning strategy.

As Nathan Rothschild famously claimed: ‘‘The time to buy is
when everyone else is selling, and vice versa.”


The Sunday Times April 02, 2006

Wife Of Childers 'Was A British Spy'

John Burns

THE American wife of Erskine Childers is likely to have
spied on Sinn Fein for the British government, according to
a book to be published this week.

Michael Foy, a historian, says he has discovered papers
suggesting British intelligence had a spy “at the very top
of Sinn Fein” during the war of independence. During 1920
and 1921 its agent reported regularly on Eamon De Valera,
Michael Collins and Arthur Griffith.

The spy, who was privy to sensitive information, was not
identified in the papers, but Foy believes it is Molly
Childers, whose son was president in the 1970s.

He bases the controversial claim in part on an analysis of
the agent’s reports, which included American-sounding turns
of phrase.

“That Molly Childers had the qualities to carry off such a
dangerous role is not in doubt,” Foy writes in Michael
Collins’s Intelligence War. “Throughout her life this
remarkable woman displayed intelligence, courage,
decisiveness and single-minded determination.”

The spy knew the terrible gamble she was taking. “I am
risking my sanguinary neck every day, and all day,” she
complained to her spymaster. “I wouldn’t get 10 minutes’
grace if they had the slightest suspicion.” Several British
spies were executed by Collins’s men during the Anglo-Irish

The spy was close to a Sinn Fein leader she called Bob. Foy
says this was either Erskine Childers himself, whose first
name was Robert, or Robert Barton, a family friend.

Other clues are that she accumulated intelligence at
informal gatherings where Sinn Fein leaders spoke
unguardedly, while she had also participated in the British
war effort between 1914 and 1918 and had fond memories of

“Only one prominent female Sinn Feiner fitted this
profile,” says Foy, “and that was Erskine Childers’s wife,

The daughter of a Boston doctor, Molly Osgood met Childers
when his British army unit toured America. She had been
crippled in a childhood skating accident and remained
disabled throughout her life. They settled in London, and
Childers was converted to the cause of Irish Home Rule.

Molly’s father had given her a 49ft ketch, the Asgard,
which the couple used in 1914 to land arms at Howth for the
Irish Volunteers. Childers served in the Royal Navy during
the war, but in 1918 became a Sinn Fein politician. Foy
says that Molly, who was awarded a CBE in recognition of
her wartime work, was “distressed” by her husband’s
decision to move to Ireland, and his Sinn Fein role put
“considerable strain on their marriage”.

She agreed to move to Ireland with him in 1919, but Foy
speculates that prior to that she volunteered “for British

The agent tells her handler that she took on the spying job
“not for cash but to feel that I was really doing something
to help”, adding: “I fell very strongly on this subject and
I must let off steam or ‘bust’.”

Molly Childers certainly had access to senior Sinn Fein
politicians, who regularly visited their home on Bushy Park
Road in Terenure.

“As the hostess she provided hospitality and attentiveness
while Sinn Fein leaders relaxed, socialised, gossiped and
spoke more candidly than perhaps was wise,” said Foy.

While it is known from other sources that the British had
high-level Irish spies at that time, other historians are
likely to be sceptical that such an iconic figure was a
British agent. “I would be willing to be convinced based on
the evidence,” said Peter Hart, author of a recent
biography of Collins. “There are two sides to it. She is
often taken to be one of Childers’s great influences in
being a staunch republican, which is blamed on her American

“But it sounds like Michael Foy has new information and has
made an interesting find. If true, it was very well

Another piece of Foy’s evidence is that Sir Hamar
Greenwood, a British official who knew the identity of the
spy, sent a copy of one of her reports to Lloyd George’s
mistress, Frances Stevenson. Hinting that this was an Irish
Mata Hari, he said the information was coming “straight
from the cow”.

Childers took De Valera’s side in the civil war, but was
captured by pro-Treaty forces at Glenalough House before he
could use the small pistol Collins once gave him for
personal protection. Sentenced to death for treason, he was

Molly lived until 1964, and in 1973 their son Erskine
Hamilton was elected president. He died in office a year


Hughes & Hughes Owner Ready For Borders Invasion

02 April 2006 By Simon Carswell

Derek Hughes, owner of the Hughes & Hughes book chain, has
said he is not concerned by the arrival of Borders, the US
book retailer, in the Irish market and that his firm will
continue its expansion.

Hughes & Hughes will open a 12,000 square foot store in Dun
Laoghaire, south Dublin, next month, bringing the number of
stores in the Irish-owned chain to 16.

The company has six outlets at Dublin Airport and will open
a 4,000 square foot store at the airport in May. It will be
the largest specialist book store at any European airport.

The company is also opening two stores at the new terminal
in Cork Airport.

Borders announced last week that it was opening a 20,000
square foot two-storey shop in Blanchardstown, west Dublin,
in the autumn. The company is due to open a total of ten
new stores on the island of Ireland, it was reported last

‘‘Borders have been looking at the Irish market for the
last three years,” said Hughes. ’‘We knew the deals in
Blanchardstown and Dundrum had been completed. They are a
very serious competitor, but they do not have a proven
business model that will work in the British and Irish

Hughes referred to the performance of Borders’ British
operations. According to recent accounts, Borders (UK) made
an operating profit of stg£4.6 million (€6.6 million) in
the year to January 25, 2004, but had retained losses of
stg£7.8 million at the end of that year.

‘‘We have our own development plan,” said Hughes. ’‘We will
continue to pursue it and compete locally where we need to.
We believe that this is a growing market.”

Hughes said that, when the retail space devoted to music
CDs and DVDs was stripped out of a typical Borders’ store,
its Irish outlets had about 12,000 square feet of book
retail space, which was the same size as Hughes & Hughes’
new store in Dun Laoghaire.

‘‘Their business model is for three stores in Ireland and,
with the type of market density that they require, three to
four stores in Ireland would be just about the maximum

Hughes said the entry of Borders would lead to direct
competition with Eason, which has outlets in Blanchardstown
and Dundrum, rather than with Hughes & Hughes.

‘‘Borders are a category killer,” said Hughes. ’‘They’re
like gorillas in the jungle – they rip up a lot of trees to
feed. Because of their size, they focus on and dominate
certain key categories. We are specialist booksellers.”

Hughes & Hughes made a pre-tax profit of €910,000 last
year, as turnover rose by more than 20 per cent to €24.5
million. The company had a net worth of more than €1.4
million at the end of February 2005.

It plans to increase annual sales to almost €60 million
within four years.

Borders has more than 475 stores and 600 Waldenbooks shops
in the US, and 50 outlets outside America. It employs
34,000 people worldwide and recorded revenues of $3.9
billion in 2004.


Hundreds Say Farewell To Author

Hundreds of people have attended the funeral of Irish
author John McGahern who died suddenly on Thursday.

Many literary figures, including Nobel Laureate Seamus
Heaney, were among the mourners at St Patrick's Church in
Aughawillan, County Leitrim.

At the 71-year-old's own request, the funeral was a simple
one with no music and no orations.

His cousin Father Liam Kelly paid tribute to a "great
writer and a good man". He was buried beside his mother.

Father Kelly said that McGahern had lived with the reality
of death since he was a child.

He told mourners that the writer had loved life and had not
feared death.

McGahern first came to prominence in 1965 with his second
novel, The Dark, which was banned in the Irish Republic.

Repressed life

After the publication of the book, he was sacked from his
job as a teacher. Last year, he published Memoir, an
account of his youth in County Leitrim.

His much celebrated work included the Booker-shortlisted
Amongst Women, one of his six novels which focused on often
repressed life in rural Ireland.

McGahern's other works include That They May Face the
Rising Sun, The Barracks and The Leavetaking, as well as a
number of short story collections.

He lived with his second wife, Madeline Green, in County
Leitrim for the past three decades.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/04/01 15:24:57 GMT


Celebrated Irish Novelist John McGahern, 71

By Matt Schudel
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, April 1, 2006; B06

John McGahern, whose evocative novels and short stories
about the bleak life of the Irish countryside made him one
of Ireland's most respected writers, died March 30 of
cancer at a Dublin hospital. He was 71.

His work was once banned in his homeland, but in later
years, he became a revered figure for his unsentimental and
subtly written tales of a rural Ireland coming to grips
with centuries of tradition and the strictures of the
Catholic Church.

Mr. McGahern (pronounced ma-GAH-ern) wrote six novels, four
collections of short stories and a memoir that was
published in the United States less than two months ago.
His writing is prized as much for its prose as for its
plots and is often compared to that of 19th-century masters
Anton Chekhov and Thomas Hardy. He was widely seen as the
literary heir of Ireland's foremost novelist, James Joyce.

"At his best," British writer Jonathan Raban wrote,
"McGahern writes so beautifully that he leaves one in no
doubt of his equality with Joyce: The similarities between
the two writers spring from a sense of tradition which is
thoroughly and profoundly shared."

Mr. McGahern spent the final 33 years of his life on a farm
in County Leitrim, the region in northwestern Ireland where
he grew up. He worked slowly, taking as long as 12 years
between books, and drew on his memories and his close
observation of the Irish landscape.

His 1990 novel "Amongst Women" was considered his
masterpiece and was a finalist for the Booker Prize. It
depicted the life of an aging Irish revolutionary and his
tyrannical control over his family. Only when Mr.
McGahern's memoir, "All Will Be Well," came out did it
become clear how much the novel owed to McGahern's early

"The whole artistic process is the recovery of a lost
world," Mr. McGahern said in 2003. "I would never have
written if I didn't need to write. It's something that
obsesses you, that won't go away until you write it down."

Reference sources disagree on the place of Mr. McGahern's
birth on Nov. 12, 1934: It was either Dublin, County
Roscommon or County Leitrim. The eldest of seven children,
he was close to his mother, who had been a schoolteacher
and was the first person from her village to attend
college. His father, a veteran of the Irish Republican Army
in the 1920s, was a hot-tempered police officer who was
away for months at a time.

When Mr. McGahern was 9, his mother died of breast cancer -
- a loss that haunted him the rest of his life. The
children then lived with their father at a police barracks.

Mr. McGahern endured frequent beatings from his father, but
he was a good student at a top Catholic secondary school
and struck up a friendship with Protestant neighbors, who
allowed him to use their well-stocked library. He attended
a teachers college and graduated in 1957 from University
College Dublin. He took a teaching job but was determined
to be a writer.

When Mr. McGahern's first novel, "The Barracks," was
published in 1963, novelist Anthony Burgess said no other
writer "caught so well the peculiar hopelessness of
contemporary Ireland."

His second book, however, a portrait of adolescence called
"The Dark" (1965), was declared obscene by the Irish
Censorship Board for its depiction of masturbation and the
suggestion of a sexual advance by a priest toward a boy.

Besides having his book banned, Mr. McGahern was fired from
his teaching job. He abandoned the Catholic Church and left
Ireland to spend several footloose years in London, Paris,
Finland and the United States.

He and his first wife, Finnish theater director Anikki
Laaki, were divorced in 1970. In 1973, he returned to
Ireland to live on a farm with his second wife, Madeline
Green, an American photographer. She survives him, along
with four sisters.

From 1970 to 1985, Mr. McGahern published two novels and
three collections of short stories. In 1990 came "Amongst
Women," which Mr. McGahern trimmed from 1,200 pages to 184.
For that novel and other works, he was often praised as one
of the finest prose stylists in English.

"I think that nearly all good writing is suggestion, and
all bad writing is statement," he said last year.
"Statement kills off the reader's imagination. With
suggestion, the reader takes up from where the writer
leaves off."

Mr. McGahern composed his final book, the memoir evoking
the spirit of his long-dead mother, after receiving his own
cancer diagnosis.

"Heaven was in the sky," he wrote in the book. "My mother
spoke to me of heaven as concretely and with as much love
as she named the wild flowers. Above us the sun of heaven
shone. Beyond the sun was the gate of heaven."

© 2006 The Washington Post Company


Tom Tracy: Peace Be With You

The description 'larger-than-life' could have been coined
for Tom Tracy, the American multi-millionaire who became
involved in a wide range of peace building projects in
Northern Ireland. Tracy, who has died at his home in Los
Angeles after a long illness, will be remembered fondly by
many here for his legendary generosity, as Chris Ryder

01 April 2006

Tom Tracy was the embodiment of the American dream. The
grandson of Irish emigrants, he built up a multi-
millionaire business and a lavish lifestyle to match. His
hospitality was the stuff of legends. Vintage wines, aged
whiskies and exotic liqueurs were showered on his guests.
They dined on the freshest, seasonal delicacies: oysters,
lobster, caviar, wild salmon.He also enjoyed a bit of
mischief. Some years ago he brought a Pope John Paul look-
a-like on one of his frequent visits to Ireland and
revelled with glee at the sight of his many unionist
friends shaking hands with the 'Pope'.

But he was also a man of exceptional generosity and he
shared his wealth on an equally sumptuous scale with a
range of deserving causes and individuals in both the US
and Ireland.

One night, after donating £25,000 to the Newry Gateway
Club, which looks after handicapped people, he hosted a
dinner at a local golf club. At the end of the evening the
staff were astounded to learn that he had added a tip of
half the total bill for them to share.

In fact, the beneficiaries of his largesse are almost
beyond tally. Over the years of conflict in Northern
Ireland he supported a wide range of peace-building and
community regeneration initiatives and was a frequent
visitor to the projects he supported, cajoling and
encouraging the participants towards cross-community
reconciliation and tolerance in his own larger-than-life

"How will I know him?" asked one project manager when
advised that Tracy would be coming. "Oh, you'll know him
all right," replied Tracy's pointman, all too familiar with
Tracy's quick-fire flamboyance.

Thomas J Tracy was a third generation Irish-American on
both his father and mother's sides. Born in Detroit,
Michigan in 1938, he graduated from Portsmouth Abbey
School, Rhode Island and Regis University Denver in 1961
with a degree in economics before serving his country in
the Wyoming and Michigan Air National Guard.

After a term with the Marketing and Sales departments at
the Ford Motor Company he joined the family owned business,
Tracy Industries Inc, ultimately rising to the position of
president and CEO.

During that time he made a significant contribution to
developing the multi-million dollar business into one of
the leading Ford remanufacturing and authorised distributor
dealerships in the United States. The company currently
employs several hundred people in branches across the
country, from Montana to Michigan and Arizona to Utah.

Tracy was highly respected in his business life and served
both as President of the Production Remanufacturers'
Association, winning that organisation's highest honour for
his outstanding contribution to the industry, and President
and Chief Executive Officer of Genuine Parts Distribution.

Tom Tracy was also a lifelong member of the Republican
Party and served it with both generous contributions and
active membership including several years on the Orange
County Republican Party Finance Committee.

However, Tracy most cherished his Irish roots in counties
Carlow and Mayo, and sought to use his affluence and
influence to help 'the old country'. His attitude to
Ireland was encapsulated in the words he had inscribed on a
commemorative gift to the Taoiseach - 'From those who left
to those who stayed'.

But Tracy's love for Ireland went well beyond
sentimentality and fine words and he gave both his time and
money in outstanding quantity to at least 25 Irish-related
organisations in support of a vast raft of causes,
campaigns and studies throughout the island. Among the
beneficiaries were Co-Operation Ireland, the Irish American
Cultural Institute, the Northern Ireland Development Board
and the Northern Ireland Partnership. He also served as a
Member of the Board of Directors for the American Ireland
Fund and received their Distinguished Leadership Award in
1996 for being 'An American of Irish heritage whose
accomplishments exemplify the spirit of Irish immigrants,
who contributed so vitally to the development of the United
States as a great nation'.

Although his pedigree was that of a 'green' Irish-American
Catholic, Tracy demonstrated a remarkable understanding of
the merits of both the nationalist and unionist cases which
was reflected in his support for projects and charities on
both sides of the political and sectarian divide.

He was also outstandingly well-informed about events from
the comprehensive network of contacts he developed through
not only his financial generosity but often lavish

Nothing pleased him more than to bring a series of
adversaries face to face, often for the first time, around
a table where he would seek to show them that their
differences were far exceeded by their common humanity.

Tracy's philanthropy was recognised by University College
Cork in 1999 when he was awarded an honorary doctorate for
his selfless personal dedication and philanthropic
generosity in supporting Ireland and its heritage, as well
as for his continued championship of studies in conflict

His generosity could also be personal and impulsive. Once,
in Portadown, he saw a young girl, her face disfigured by a
port wine stain. He halted his car and insisted upon the
youngster taking him to her home. There he consulted her
parents and soon afterwards arranged for flights to the US
where he paid for the blemish which was removed in what was
then ground-breaking surgery.

Having been educated by two renowned religious orders - the
Benedictines and the Jesuits - Tracy developed and
maintained a deep Catholic faith.

He was thus a strong supporter and generous contributor to
many religious causes and donated his business acumen to
the Church, serving on several key committees in the
Diocese of Orange County. California, where he lived, and
acting as a financial advisor to a number of religious

His deep involvement in the Catholic Church was reflected
in his elevation as a Knight of the Equestrian Order of the
Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem.

Tracy was a larger-than-life character, loud and American,
of course, but with a special twinkle and a wry smile. His
great relaxation was shooting and fishing in Ireland and
Scotland. Paraphrasing Abraham Lincoln, a friend said that
Tom Tracy was a man who could walk with kings but never
lost the common touch.

He is survived by his wife, Ermajean, their son and four

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