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News about the Irish & Irish American culture, music, news, sports. This is hosted by the Irish Aires radio show on KPFT-FM 90.1 in Houston, Texas (a Pacifica community radio station)
April 21, 2006
Man From Loyalist Area Arrested After Uzi Seized
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News About Ireland & The Irish
BN 04/21/06 Man From Loyalist Area Arrested After Uzi Seized
BB 04/21/06 Easter Lily Ban Faces Challenge
BN 04/21/06 Priest At Heart Of Peace Process Honoured
IN 04/21/06 Youth (17) Bailed After ‘Sectarian Incident’
BT 04/21/06 Ex-Convicts May Be Ulster's Justice Minister
BT 04/21/06 Berry Loss May Mean Fewer DUP Ministers
BM 04/21/06 Police Investigate Threats To SF Cllr. Digney
BB 04/21/06 Apr 21, 1994: 'Guildford Four' Man Cleared Of IRA Murder
BB 04/21/06 Bank Raid Police Carry Out Search
BT 04/21/06 More Petrol Bombs In Second Night Of Trouble In Lurgan
IN 04/21/06 Adams Calls For Return Of Stolen Equipment
BB 04/21/06 Bomb Suspects In Legal Challenge
IN 04/21/06 Likely Role Of Ex-Special Branch In Bomb Find
IN 04/21/06 MI5’s Expanded Role Is Dangerous: SDLP
BN 04/21/06 North 'Will Remain Nuclear-Free'
BB 04/21/06 Council Knocks Back Nuclear Plan
IN 04/21/06 Opin: Shootings ‘Cult Of Silence’ Must End
IN 04/21/06 Opin: Big Decisions Ahead For Unionists And Loyalists
IN 04/21/06 Opin: Plan B Is Looking More Like A Final Settlement
RD 04/21/06 Opin: For God And Ulster?
BT 04/21/06 Opin: The Order I Hold Dear
BN 04/21/06 ‘No Evidence Poor Were Left Behind By Celtic Tiger’
GA 04/21/06 Greens Are Ready While Other Parties Are In Disarray
BT 04/21/06 Paisley In '80 Not Out' Tribute To Queen
IT 04/20/06 Irish Civil War Epic Nominated For Palme d'Or
BN 04/20/06 Young Hurler Fighting For Life After On-Pitch Accident
BT 04/21/06 Film-Makers Flock To Ulster
BT 04/21/06 Second World War Secret Is Exposed
UN 04/21/06 County Louth And The 1916 Rebellion
LN 04/21/06 Rising Remembered In Laois
BT 04/21/06 The Chilling Story Of The Black And Tans
Man From Loyalist Area Arrested After Uzi Seized
20/04/2006 - 20:36:11
An Uzi sub-machine gun was seized in Belfast when police
stopped a taxi after a tip-off, it was revealed tonight.
The weapon was discovered after police received a report
from a member of the public about the vehicle’s passenger
who had left a city centre bar at about 11.30pm yesterday.
A short time later the taxi was stopped by police in the
Newtownards Road area of east Belfast and the Uzi was
recovered, said a Police Service spokeswoman.
One man was arrested and remains in custody.
During a follow up search at an address in the loyalist
Tullycarnet area of east Belfast a quantity of ammunition
HE is expected to appear in court in Belfast charged with
possession of a firearm and ammunition.
Easter Lily Ban Faces Challenge
A prison rule banning inmates from wearing Easter lilies is
being challenged in court.
The High Court in Belfast has granted leave for a judicial
review of the ban.
The judge also ordered the governor of Maghaberry prison to
suspend a punishment given to a prisoner for wearing a lily
on Easter Sunday.
Terrence McCafferty, who is serving a 12-year sentence for
a bombing, had been sentenced to three days in a punishment
It is expected that the rest of the case will be heard next
Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/04/20 17:14:00 GMT
© BBC MMVI
Priest At Heart Of Peace Process Honoured
21/04/2006 - 07:02:02
A Belfast-based priest who witnessed the IRA
decommissioning will be presented with the Tipperary Person
of the Year Award today.
Fr Alec Reid will be presented with a unique bronze
sculpture by Tipperary-born artist Jarlath Daly showing
ascending doves to mark the award in a reception at
Dublin’s Red Cow Hotel.
Fr Reid had been at the heart of talks during the IRA’s
ceasefire that led to the Good Friday Agreement.
Conor Lenihan, the Minister of State at the Foreign Affairs
Department, will read the citation for Fr Reid as the
presentation is made.
The former SDLP leader, John Hume, who worked with Fr Reid
in securing the 1993 Downing Street Declaration and the
Good Friday Agreement, will be present, as will a senior
representative of Sinn Féin.
The Hall of Fame Award is also due to be given out to
Seamus O’Riain, a former president of the GAA.
Mr O’Riain will be presented with a unique bronze sculpture
by Mr Daly depicting hurling and football over a contour
map of Tipperary.
Youth (17) Bailed After ‘Sectarian Incident’
By Staff Reporter
A 17-year-old has been charged following a “serious
sectarian” incident in a Ballymena shopping centre.
The youth, who cannot be named because of his age, is
charged with disorderly behaviour and assaulting the 16-
year-old brother of a stab victim at the Tower Centre on
A police officer told Ballymena Magistrates Court yesterday
the 17-year-old was taken into custody in relation to
headbutting the 16-year-old and that police were carrying
out further enquiries into the stabbing.
The officer said there was a fight in the shopping centre
on Saturday around 3pm involving up to 20 youths.
He said it was alleged to have started around 10 minutes
earlier when a 16-year-old was headbutted and he phoned his
older brothers who went to “have a word” with the alleged
The officer said a verbal confrontation erupted into a
fight before the man was stabbed.
The officer said that last weekend gangs of youths from
both sections of the community “had been roaming around”
and the Tower Centre incident was an escalation of
He said the affiliation of the group the accused was with
was loyalist while the injured party was a nationalist
youth and would be identified as such.
The officer said: “Police are led to believe there was a
disturbance on the Friday night at Cameron’s car park where
a number of nationalist youths were arrested as a result of
a loyalist being headbutted.
“As a result, loyalist youths were out looking for
retaliation on Saturday.”
Defence solicitor David McIlrath asked if it was correct
that the accused had cooperated fully during interview.
The officer said CCTV would indicate a group of up to 20
were involved in the incident and that the accused had
given names of “defence witnesses”.
The officer agreed with Mr McIlrath that the accused should
receive bail with conditions and that he should not
associate with others in groups of more than three people.
Magistrate Austin Kennedy released the 17-year-old on his
own bail of £500 with a similar surety and ordered a 8pm-
7am curfew and no contact with the injured party.
He was banned from entering Ballymena town centre and
associating with more than three people at any time outside
The case was adjourned.
Ex-Convicts May Be Ulster's Justice Minister
By Brian Walker
21 April 2006
The Commons has turned down a unionist bid to bar Sinn
Fein's Gerry Kelly or any other convicted person from
holding the posts of justice and policing ministers or
their deputies in a power sharing Executive.
An amendment by the Ulster Unionist Lady Sylvia Hermon,
which was defeated by a Government majority, would also
have required whoever won election to the posts to support
Mr Kelly spent 19 years in prison as a member of the IRA
team responsible for the first London bombs in 1972 and for
shooting a prison warder during an escape from the Maze in
Ministers have yet to begin talks with the parties on how
the justice and policing ministerial roles might be shared
between them in the event of their being able to form an
Transferring the powers to the Assembly is likely to be a
major bone of contention over the next six months. The DUP
are refusing any suggestion of an early timetable for
taking over the powers, as it would mean sharing them with
Sinn Fein, on the other hand, has demanded their share of
police and justice powers as a condition of giving support
to the PSNI.
Rejecting the amendment, the junior minister David Hanson
said he favoured the Assembly adopting the Westminster rule
of barring office to a convicted person for one year after
the completion of the sentence.
Referring to Sinn Fein, he added: "Ultimately those
individuals, however much we may dislike the views that
they bring forward, have had crosses put by their names on
ballot papers by individuals in their communities."
A majority of MPs also defeated another united unionist
cause, the overthrow of the system of 50:50 police
recruitment. In a heated argument over statistics between
the DUP and the SDLP, the DUP's Gregory Campbell claimed
there were "thousands" of Protestants who had been denied
the opportunity of serving in the PSNI because of their
Mark Durkan disagreed, claiming there were only 541
candidates who failed because of the 50:50 policy out of
3,879 candidates who were not recruited. Recruits were
turned away mainly because of the large number of
applicants, he said. By 2010, the proportion of Catholics
in the PSNI would be 30%, still less than the Catholic
share of the population.
Next Wednesday and Thursday the emergency Bill to recall
the Assembly will be begin its fast track through both
Houses of Parliament.
Berry Loss May Mean Fewer DUP Ministers
By Chris Thornton
21 April 2006
Paul Berry's resignation from the DUP may have taken on
greater significance after the Government delayed the date
of the next Assembly election.
His absence from the party would take away its chance of
outright domination of the Executive and an automatic
unionist majority for another year.
The Assembly election was due to take place in May 2007,
but Secretary of State Peter Hain now wants it to happen a
year later - provided the DUP and Sinn Fein agree to form
an Executive before this year's November 24 deadline.
Mr Hain wants to give the 12-person Executive a chance to
bed down before the parties have to return to the campaign
But that would also mean the DUP spending an extra year in
the Executive on equal footing with Sinn Fein - with four
ministers each - thanks to the Berry resignation.
Mr Berry, an MLA for Newry and Armagh, resigned from the
DUP after a dispute over disciplinary proceedings against
him. The party had suspended him after the Sunday World
reported that he had an encounter with a male masseur in a
Mr Berry ended up resigning from the DUP in February, when
he called off legal action against the party.
His resignation reduced the DUP's Assembly strength to 32
seats, costing them a potential ministerial post and
handing it to Sinn Fein.
The party still qualifies for the First Minister's post,
but if the d'Hondt formula is run to hand out Executive
posts, they would get three more posts. Sinn Fein would
also qualify for three, with the UUP and SDLP getting two
each - leaving six unionist ministers and six nationalist
ministers in the Executive.
A single Assembly seat makes the difference. If Mr Berry
returned to the DUP or another Ulster Unionist defected,
they would hold five Executive posts and there would be a
total of seven unionist ministers.
But a DUP source said number-crunching will "not be a
serious consideration" when it comes to making the decision
on entering government with Sinn Fein.
"Any decision that we take will be based on what we have
mandated ourselves and will engage fairly widely with the
unionist community, as we have done in the past," he said.
The Assembly will be allowed to sit for up to two years
from next month without an election, if the parties can
agree to form an Executive.
The move is made in the emergency Bill published yesterday
to recall the Assembly on May 15 and set a timetable up to
November 24 for forming a power sharing government.
Existing law requires a fresh election by May next year.
But the Secretary of State Peter Hain has now decided to
prolong the life of the Assembly elected in 2003 for an
extra year, if it manages to elect a power-sharing
Ministers believe that "if we got success by November it
would be crazy to plunge the parties into a fresh election
The new Bill also abolishes the power of the Secretary of
State to suspend the Assembly again, if it gets up and
running over the six month period.
Police Investigate Threats To Cllr. Digney
SINN Fein Councillor Monica Digney has slammed her Unionist
counterparts for 'standing by' while she was threatened by
a member of the public on the floor of the Ballymena
Council chamber last Monday night.
Ballymena Council carried out an internal investigation
into Cllr. Digney's allegations, and have now passed the
matter onto the police.
The Republican representative said she was both 'disturbed
and frightened' by the incident. She said: "No-one should
be threatened because of either their political opinion or
"This was a frightening and disturbing incident. It is
totally unacceptable that any elected representative should
be threatened anywhere, let alone on the floor of the
"What was more concerning was that a number of my council
colleagues sat by and did nothing. I am also very concerned
that my assailant was able to freely enter the council
building and the council chamber without being challenged.
Cllr. Digney continued by adding that the alleged inaction
of the unionist councillors was further proof of their
mistreatment of nationalists and Republicans:
"Unionists on Ballymena Council through their behaviour
continue to send out a message that republicans and
nationalists should not be treated equally and with dignity
"It is no co-incidence that on councils where unionists
refuse to accept power sharing and equality are found in
areas where loyalist violence continues to be directed at
nationalists and republicans."
Ballymena Borough Council released a short statement last
week, confirming that the matter was now in the hands of
the police, and pointing out that all committee and Council
meetings are open to he public.
"An investigation has taken place into an incident
involving a member of the public and Councillors prior to a
meeting of Development and Leisure Committee on Monday 10th
April 2006 in the Council Offices on Galgorm Road in
"The facts collected in the investigation have been passed
to the PSNI, Ballymena for their further investigation.
"All Council and Committee Meetings of Ballymena Borough
Council are open to the public and press", the statement
20 April 2006
Apr 21, 1994: 'Guildford Four' Man Cleared Of IRA Murder
One of the Guildford Four, Paul Hill, has won his appeal
against a conviction for an IRA murder in Northern Ireland.
The Appeal Court in Belfast ruled his conviction for the
1974 murder of former soldier Brian Shaw was unsafe.
Mr Hill confessed to the murder of Mr Shaw to detectives
from the Royal Ulster Constabulary while being held at
Guildford police station over two pub bombings in which 21
But the three appeal court judges ruled his confession was
They said it may have been induced by a Surrey police
officer pointing a gun at him.
But they also indicated they believed many of Mr Hill's
allegations of ill-treatment were untrue.
We have to live with this decision, but we do not have to
agree with it
Maureen Hall, widow of murdered man
Five years ago the behaviour of Surrey police officers also
led to Paul Hill and three others being cleared of the
Guildford and Woolwich pub bombings.
The quashing of the conviction for Brian Shaw's murder
means Mr Hill may now receive up to half a million pounds
in compensation for the years he spent in jail.
Among those in court with Mr Hill were his wife Courtney,
daughter of the late Robert Kennedy and his mother-in-law,
"I've been in limbo for a long time. I didn't wait for 17
years to be told I was innocent of this, I always knew I
was innocent of this," Mr Hill told reporters after the
Events in Guildford police station had led to a "travesty
of justice" for both Mr Shaw and the bombing victims and
those wrongfully imprisoned, Mr Hill added.
Brian Shaw's widow, Maureen Hall, who was also in court
said her family was disappointed by the verdict.
She said: "We have to live with this decision, but we do
not have to agree with it. Brian Shaw was the real innocent
victim in this case.''
In July 1994 a report into the case of the Guildford Four
by former judge Sir John May said the miscarriage of
justice was due to "individual failings" and not weaknesses
in the system.
In July 2000 UK Prime Minister Tony Blair became the first
senior politician to apologise to the Guildford Four.
In a letter, sent to Paul Hill's wife, Mr Blair said:
"There were miscarriages of justice in your husband's case,
and the cases of those convicted with him. I am very sorry
indeed that this should have happened."
The case of the Guildford Four was one of several high-
profile cases of miscarriage of justice in the late 1980s
and early 1990s.
On 9 February 2005 Prime Minister Tony Blair issued a
public apology to the Guildford Four and the Maguire Seven
for the miscarriages of justice they had suffered.
He said: "I am very sorry that they were subject to such an
ordeal and such an injustice.
"They deserve to be completely and publicly exonerated."
Bank Raid Police Carry Out Search
Police investigating the Northern Bank robbery have carried
out a search in the Ballynahinch area.
The PSNI said no arrests were made in connection with the
search on Thursday.
It is understood it was carried out as a result of a
forensic examination of an evidential sample taken during
The £26.5m robbery at the Northern Bank headquarters in
Belfast city centre in December 2004 was one of the biggest
in the history of the UK.
Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/04/20 16:32:46 GMT
© BBC MMVI
More Petrol Bombs In Second Night Of Trouble In Lurgan
By Debra Douglas
21 April 2006
Police came under attack from petrol bombers in Lurgan last
night as tensions erupted following the discovery of a bomb
factory in the area.
Blockades were erected in the Antrim Road area of the town
and at the railway line.
When police attempted to remove them, they came under
attack from a crowd who had gathered in the area.
A police spokeswoman said a number of petrol bombs were
thrown but added there were no reports of any injuries.
She said police withdrew from the area and were continuing
to liaise with local representatives in an attempt to
resolve the situation.
Earlier yesterday, a van was hijacked, placed on the
railway line and set alight by masked men.
A PSNI spokesman said the incident was connected to the
The railway line between Lisburn and Portadown was closed
as a result and a bus substitution service was put in
Last night was the second night of trouble in the town.
On Wednesday night, crowds of youths bombarded police,
throwing petrol bombs, bottles, stones and paint bombs at
Train services were halted and the breaker's yard where the
explosives were found was set on fire.
Adams Calls For Return Of Stolen Equipment
By Catherine Morrison
The Ambulance Service has made an urgent appeal for the
return of a defibrillator machine stolen from an ambulance
during an emergency call out in west Belfast.
The life-saving equipment was taken from the ambulance
while its crew were inside a New Barnsley house tending to
a patient in the early hours of Monday.
The defibrillator, valued at around £8,000, is of little
use to anyone outside the ambulance or hospital services
but could prove fatal if used in the wrong hands.
“The defibrillator is an essential piece of life saving
emergency equipment,” a spokesman for the ambulance service
“But in the hands of those who have not been trained in its
use could prove to be very dangerous. It is of little use
to anyone other than ambulance personnel,” he said.
“If any members of the public find the defibrillator, that
may have been dumped, we would ask them to contact the
Northern Ireland Ambulance Service on 028 9040 0999 with
the relevant details.”
Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams, who is MP
for the area, called for the return of the machine.
Bomb Suspects In Legal Challenge
Three men held over a bomb find in Lurgan have won the
first stage of a legal case to guarantee conversations with
their solicitors will be private.
If the men are successful police must agree not to monitor
the meetings. The three men are being held at Antrim police
They were arrested along with one other man after the
police seized 250 pounds of explosives in the town on
The High Court ruled that a senior judge will review the
The hearing has been adjourned until Monday, when a date
will be fixed for the case.
However, on Thursday evening, Mr Justice Gillen and Mr
Justice Weir refused a request by the men's barrister to
suspend police interviews with them until after the review
A previous court challenge to get the police to give
assurances that the meetings would not be monitored had
The four men, who aged 22, 26, 36, and 46, are being held
under the Terrorism Act.
Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/04/20 19:58:20 GMT
© BBC MMVI
Likely Role Of Ex-Special Branch In Bomb Find
By Sharon O’Neill
THE thwarting of a dissident republican bomb plot in Co
Armagh highlighted the “importance of having good
intelligence,” the body which represents rank and file
police officers said.
Special Branch – now known as C3, which is attached to the
PSNI’s Crime Operations branch – is highly likely to have
been involved in the massive security operation in Lurgan
Components for a 250lb car bomb – linked to the Continuity
IRA – were recovered and four people, including a prominent
businessman from the area, were arrested.
Over the years Special Branch has been embroiled in
Famously dubbed ‘a force-within-a force’ officers have been
accused of colluding in murder and failing to pass on vital
intelligence to their CID colleagues.
The 1999 Patten police reforms recommended that Special
Branch be fully merged with CID.
The Crime Operations department, under which C3 now
operates, was also set up as part of the Patten changes.
When stepping down as vice-chairman of the Policing Board,
Denis Bradley reaffirmed his belief that the force-within-
a-force image had now been dismantled.
However, the the past activities of Special Branch continue
to come under scrutiny.
A number of recent cases has also kept it in the spotlight,
including the roles of agent, former Sinn Fein official
Denis Donaldson, who was shot dead earlier this month, and
alleged informer, suspected IRA murder victim Gareth
O’Connor, whose body was pulled from a Co Down canal in
June last year.
However, the Police Federation, which represents rank and
file officers, said Wednesday’s seizure showed the
importance of the role of the PSNI’s intelligence unit.
A spokesman said: “It illustrated the importance of having
good intelligence capabilities if these attacks are to be
thwarted. It [hte bomb] underlines the fact there remains a
threat to people.”
MI5’s Expanded Role Is Dangerous: SDLP
By William Graham
SDLP leader Mark Durkan has claimed the expansion of MI5’s
role will diminish those of the PSNI and Police Ombudsman
MI5’s expanded role in Northern Ireland is “a dangerous
move” which will diminish the roles of the police service,
the Police Ombudsman and Policing Board, the SDLP has
SDLP leader Mark Durkan, speaking during the committee
stage of the Miscellaneous Provisions Bill at Westmi-
nster, said that ‘the securocrats’ are relocating.
Mr Durkan said intelligence gathering structures inside the
PSNI were being replaced.
“By expanding the role of MI5, which will go beyond the
reach of the minister for justice, the Police Ombudsman,
the Policing Board or any of us... unless the government
rethinks its dangerous plans in this area.”
Mr Durkan pointed to the example of Omagh and the
confirmation last month that MI5 did not pass on a warning
they received about the bomb which killed 29 people,
including a woman pregnant with twins.
“In fact they only bothered to pass the warning about this
bomb to the PSNI Omagh investigation this year. Seven years
after the bombing,” he said “Will the head of M15 even meet
with the Omagh families to discuss their concerns? No. She
“So much for accountability. So much for sharing of
intelligence. So much for the protection of the public
against terrorism,” Mr Durkan said.
North 'Will Remain Nuclear-Free'
20/04/2006 - 18:30:56
Northern Secretary Peter Hain tonight ruled out the
prospect of a nuclear power station being built in the
As Derry councillors listened to a proposal from
businessman Robert Andrews to build a plant in the city,
the British government moved to destroy any notion that the
North would lose its status as a nuclear-free region.
A government spokesman said: “The Secretary of State has
already made it clear that nuclear power is not going to
happen in Northern Ireland.
“It would be ultimately his decision, even though we have
no expectation that Derry Council would want to go down
this route in this case.”
Mr Andrews is proposing a plant that could generate about
2,000 megawatt hours.
To generate the same amount of power using wind, he
claimed, there would need to be 300,000 wind farms
The businessman claimed the construction of a nuclear power
plant in Derry would meet the North’s energy needs and
provide 500 stable jobs.
He told BBC Radio Ulster: “I believe from a technical point
of view that it is safe, it is efficient, it is very
“For example, if a nuclear power station were in Derry, it
would produce 500 permanent jobs.
"Nuclear power stations last 60 years, so that’s 500 jobs
for 60 years.”
The plan was rejected by SDLP members on Derry City Council
and by the Green Party in the North.
SDLP councillor Helen Quigley said: “Any moves to assess or
propose possible nuclear sites in Northern Ireland would be
unacceptable to the Irish people, who have for years
supported the campaign for the closure of the Sellafield
Green Party activist Peter Doran also claimed the siting of
a nuclear plant in Derry would place people living in the
city at greater risk from an international terrorist
The British government’s statement will be welcomed by a
group of councils on both sides of the border, which
expressed concerns yesterday about proposals to build a new
generation of power stations in England, Scotland and
The All-Ireland Nuclear Free Local Authorities Forum urged
Prime Minister Tony Blair to bin the proposal and also
sought a guarantee that no nuclear plant would be built in
SDLP Assembly member Margaret Ritchie, who is a member of
the All-Ireland Nuclear Free Local Authorities Forum,
welcomed the British government’s statement.
The South Down MLA said: “I strongly welcome the Secretary
of State’s categoric reassurance that a nuclear plant will
never be built in Northern Ireland.
“We have already seen the mistakes and errors that have
been made at Sellafield and would not want to see those
repeated on this side of the Irish Sea.
“The forum wants to see an end to the reprocessing of
nuclear waste at Sellafield and the transportation of waste
in the Irish Sea. We would like to see the full
decommissioning of buildings at Sellafield, and we are
firmly against plans for a new generation of power stations
“We would urge Mr Hain to impress on his cabinet colleagues
the need to ensure there are no new nuclear power stations
built in England, Scotland and Wales. We would like him to
impress on them to pursue renewable energy sources instead,
like he is doing in Northern Ireland.”
Peter Doran, of the Green Party in the North, welcomed the
statement. He said: “We recognise Peter Hain has shown a
personal and deep commitment to renewable energy, an agenda
he shares with the Green Party.
“We are happy he is the gatekeeper in Northern Ireland at a
time when mavericks in Derry are advocating nuclear power.”
Council Knocks Back Nuclear Plan
All four parties on Derry City Council have rejected a
proposal by a local businessman to consider building a
nuclear power plant in Londonderry.
Robert Andrews made a presentation to the council on
Thursday claiming a nuclear plant would boost the economy.
Mr Andrews said he wanted a plant that would generate 2,000
megawatt hours at the old power station in Coolkeeragh.
SDLP councillor Thomas Conway said Ireland should be
looking towards other forms of energy generation.
"We have a population of several million people - we should
be able to be energy sufficient through environmentally
sensitive projects like wind, the growing of bio-fuel, wave
and solar energy," he said.
"We should be putting all our efforts into that rather than
looking at schemes which are going to potentially cause
huge, huge difficulties for our society."
Mr Andrews said that the plant would provide 500 jobs for
However, Sinn Fein councillor Kevin Campbell said there
were "better ways" to create new jobs.
"Building a motorway from Derry to Belfast, a railway line
straight through from the north to the south, you could
create jobs that way," he said.
"These are dirty jobs, in reality you could be putting
people's lives at risk.
"For the value of 500 jobs there could be thousands of jobs
created in Altnagelvin hospital treating people."
Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/04/21 06:59:29 GMT
© BBC MMVI
Opin: Malachy McAllister: Excuses For A Terrorist
April 19, 2006 -- Looks like Donald Trump isn't the only
one in his family with an uncontrollable gift for gab.
His sister, Marion Trump Barry, a judge on the 3rd U.S.
Circuit Court of Appeals, abused her position this week by
delivering a gratuitous attack on U.S. immigration law -
not to mention what amounted to an apologia for terrorism.
Barry's lecture came even as she joined with two other
judges in upholding the Board of Immigration Appeals'
rejection of a request for political asylum by Malachy
McAllister, a twice-convicted IRA terrorist now living in
Indeed, Barry admitted that she'd bent over backward trying
to find a way to rule in McAllister's behalf - but
regretfully concluded that she had to follow the law. She
also called on Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to
intervene and allow McAllister and his family to stay.
Barry's beef is that, in her view, immigration law's
definition of terrorism is overbroad: Indeed, she
complained, "We cannot be the country we should be if,
because of the tragic events of 9/11, we knee-jerk remove
decent men and women merely because they may have erred at
one point in their lives."
What exactly was McAllister's "error"?
* As a member of the hard-left Irish National Liberation
Army (INLA) in the early 1980s, he served as an armed
lookout during the murder of a Royal Ulster Constabulary
Officer. (The INLA has been linked to illegal narcotics
trafficking in Northern Ireland, and has been active as
recently as 2004.)
* Later, McAllister joined a conspiracy to shoot and kill
another RUC officer.
He was convicted of "unlawful and malicious wounding with
intent to do grievous bodily harm," and "conspiring to
murder" and sentenced to seven years in prison. So much for
an innocent youthful "error."
After his release from prison, McAllister and his family
fled to Canada - which quite rightly rejected their claims
for political asylum. That brought them to this country,
which began deportation proceedings against them in 1999 -
two years before 9/11.
Yet, incredibly, Barry all but excused McAllister's
terrorist activities by suggesting a political
justification for them.
The courts, she complained, "are prohibited from
considering . . . the circumstances surrounding the
commission of those acts 25 years ago invoked now to give
him relief - the 800 years of history that led Malachy to
fight with his people to remove British rule, and the
persecution inflicted by that rule on Northern Ireland."
"Shame on us," she added.
If the cases of a Hamas or al Qaeda member reached Judge
Barry, would she bemoan the fact that she isn't allowed to
consider those groups' political claims and grievances as
"circumstances surrounding the commission" of their acts?
The two other judges on the panel had no problem
interpreting the law, saying that its definition of
terrorism is "neither vague or overbroad." McAllister's
conduct, they ruled, "could reasonably constitute
Too bad Judge Barry felt the need to temper her ruling -
and attack America's unwillingness to harbor a convicted
terrorist, to boot.
As it is, though, McAllister may yet get to stay: New
Jersey members of Congress are pushing a bill that would
let the McAllisters remain here and - sad to say - the
Homeland Security Department has promised not to move
against them until Congress acts.
If, in fact, this terrorist gets safe haven here, even
though the law clearly says otherwise, then yes - shame on
Cop Killing Ok w/ PBA
April 21, 2006 -- Kudos to The Post for its editorial
"Excuses for a Terrorist" (April 19). The piece about
former terrorist Malachy McAllister is right on the money.
This man was convicted of assisting in the shooting of a
police officer and attempting to shoot another. True, he
did not pull the trigger, but so what?
Do we want potential cop killers in this country, legally
or otherwise? We have enough home-grown potential cop
killers without allowing foreign ones to stay.
This man is so bad that even liberal Canada denied him
Opin: Shootings ‘Cult Of Silence’ Must End
The Wednesday Column
By Brian Feeney
Until Easter Sunday Neil McConville was the only person the
PSNI had shot dead. He was killed near Upper Ballinderry,
Co Antrim on April 29 2003. A team from the PSNI’s
Headquarters Mobile Support Unit had rammed the car he was
driving, then shot him and his passenger, who survived.
That incident was the first fatal shooting by police in the
north since the RUC shot Pearse Jordan three times in the
back on the Falls Road in November 1992 as he ran off after
police had rammed a stolen car he was driving. There were
no legal consequences for the police.
You can say therefore that it’s quite unusual for police in
the north to kill anyone. In fact, out of 3,697 killed as a
result of the Troubles police killed 50, or 1.4 per cent.
It’s true of course that those 50 don’t include the number
of people killed as a result of police conspiring with
loyalist terrorists to murder republicans, nationalists or
others they considered undesirables, a total which will not
be made public in the lifetime of anyone around today.
Even so, let’s concentrate on killings by police on duty.
They’re always controversial because the police’s first
duty is to protect life and limb. Secondly they’re
controversial because the police’s first instinct is to
behave like a secretive cult after a fatal shooting. That
doesn’t apply just to the north. Look at the shooting of
Jean-Charles de Menezes in London last August and the
tangle of mendacious statements the Metropolitan Police fed
to the media in the immediate aftermath.
Have matters improved here since the shooting of Pearse
Jordan 14 years ago? Has the new civilianised PSNI made any
Has the Police Ombudsman? Has a new chief constable
unsullied with the taint of the RUC brought a new openness?
Has the Policing Board brought a new accountability to
First, the PSNI is not civilianised. They are the only
fully armed police service in these islands.
Unlike in the Republic or Britain all officers here are
firearms officers. One certain consequence follows from
When police carry guns they are likely to use them.
Luckily, fatal shootings have been tiny in number but only
because of luck.
Far too often the PSNI have opened fire on thieves in cars
trying to evade checkpoints and they have always got away
with it by saying the driver drove at the police in such as
manner as to endanger their lives. What do gardai or
British police do when car thieves swerve at them, an event
which happens on a daily basis?
What difference has the Ombudsman made?
None, it would seem. Police remain as likely to fire at
drivers as they ever were. Neil McConville was shot dead
three years ago next week. Still no Ombudsman’s report.
We know from leaks it will be bad for the PSNI, that police
destroyed evidence and senior officers’ actions will be
called into question. So what? If any prosecutions are
recommended the disgracefully slow prosecution service here
will dawdle for years.
On past experience it will be 2009 before there’s a result
from the Ombudsman’s office about the shooting in
Ballynahinch on Sunday. Not good enough. Justice delayed is
What about the role of the Policing Board and the new chief
constable? After Sunday’s shooting a member of the Policing
Board was reported in this newspaper actually saying it
“raised serious questions about PSNI policy”. Like, he’s
not supposed to know PSNI policy or be responsible for it?
What’s really disappointing is the silence from the chief
constable. A man has been shot dead by one of his officers
in questionable circumstances.
Here was a great opportunity to show there’s been a sea
change in policing here.
A chance to make a statement showing the PSNI is part of
society and not a separate cult – to say police concerned
have been suspended from duty pending the outcome of an
investigation. Instead, silence.
At least in the case of de Menezes the Metropolitan Police
issued a statement of regret at the loss of life. That
would have been decent in the case of Ballynahinch.
The public is entitled to that.
Opin: Big Decisions Ahead For Unionists And Loyalists
The Thursday Column
By Jim Gibney
There are a number of big and important decisions facing
the peace process over the next six months. The people who
have to make those decisions are primarily unionists.
Last year the IRA leadership took two of the most important
decisions remaining to be made by republicans.
They formally ended their armed campaign on July 28 and in
September they put the remainder of their arms beyond use.
By doing so they gave the flagging peace process an
injection of hope.
Those decisions by the IRA also opened up the political
landscape for initiatives from the British and Irish
The most important decision for unionists is being faced by
the DUP and Ian Paisley snr.
Will he give his party the green light to join an
administration which includes Sinn Fein, not only in
government but sharing with them the posts of first and
deputy first minister on an equal basis?
He has until November 24 to make up his mind.
It is difficult to say whether he has the capacity to take
such a decision. Should he choose to share political power
with nationalists and republicans the peace process will
receive a much needed boost of confidence from unionists.
There is another equally important decision, or series of
decisions, to be made by another sector of unionists –
Will the UVF and the UDA recommit themselves to the peace
After 10 years and more of ‘on again, off again’ UVF and
UDA ceasefires the answer to this question is almost as
inscrutable as trying to fathom Ian Paisley’s mind.
However, there are signs from the UVF indicating some fresh
thinking taking place with elements of that organisation.
Media speculation over the last number of months has
suggested the UVF leadership are involved in an internal
debate to decide their future.
In a rare interview with UTV and The Belfast Telegraph
recently, a spokesman for the UVF told journalist Brian
Rowan that such a debate was under way.
Understandably the general media focused on comments from
the interview which implied a threat of violence from the
UVF if the British and Irish governments adopted a joint
authority approach to the north. But there was more to the
interview than the threat.
The spokesperson claimed the internal talks were aimed at
putting the UVF into a peace mode.
He also said the UVF were not opposed to Plan A which
involves an executive with the DUP, Sinn Fein, SDLP and
It also involves the setting up of an all-Ireland
ministerial council and an east-west structure.
The UVF spokesman’s comments about Plan A have been
We have been here before.
The remarks are unlikely to get a fair wind from the DUP
who in the past have used loyalists for their own ends,
especially at times of uncertainty like now.
Nor will the DUP welcome the admission in the UVF interview
that they have been talking to all shades of unionists –
including the DUP – for 40 years.
So much for the DUP’s ‘principled’ stand of not talking to
Of course developments inside the UVF are only half the
story of loyalism.
The other half is the UDA.
Although it is much more difficult to assess what is going
on inside the UDA they appear to be trying to find their
way back to the peace process.
In order to do so the leadership of that organisation has
the immediate difficulty of dealing with the threat posed
by the north Belfast UDA led by the Shoukri brothers.
The Shoukris are the latest in a long line of notorious UDA
figures – Adair, White, Gray – to challenge the leadership.
The test set for this leadership is to neutralise the
Shoukris quickly and peacefully. If they succeed they will
face an even greater threat, the UDA gangsters running the
drug and extortion rackets. Perhaps the most pertinent
challenge of all for loyalists will come from the PSNI
Special Branch. Will they allow the UVF and the UDA to
develop politically and independently, beyond the control
and influence they have over them through their agents?
That will require permanent peace to take root amongst the
Opin: Plan B Is Looking More Like A Final Settlement
By Newton Emerson
Plan B will not come into effect overnight – and certainly
not on the night of November 24, when yet another Tony
Blair deadline will slip into the future like a
particularly well-greased time machine.
But as the final failure of Stormont becomes gradually
undeniable, the shape of the new arrangements should emerge
from the fog. Northern Ireland will split into seven super-
councils under the joint management of London and Dublin,
with key public services centralised for safekeeping by a
reduced number of NIO departments.
The question we need to ask ourselves about this prospect
is – how bad can it get? Unionists fear a territorial
break-up via southern interference from above and Sinn Fein
manipulation from below.
Nationalists fear a sectarian stalemate of trapped
minorities under majority rule.
The definition of ‘bad’ both sides share for this scenario
boils down to destabilisation. States rarely change, let
alone fragment, without social and economic dislocation.
Is this as inevitable under Plan B as many now suggest?
It is difficult to see how. Northern Ireland is socially
and economically dislocated already. Even assuming bad
faith by both main parties they have little scope under
Plan B to make things worse – and much about the
likely new arrangements can only make things better.
Joint management will blunt the edge of unionist and
republican rhetoric alike. Slimmed-down departments
answerable to London and Dublin should be robustly immune
from tribal agendas.
That just leaves the super-councils – and what can they
actually do to bring Northern Ireland to its knees?
Our new super-councillors will still have less power than
their counterparts in England and the Republic where local
government is a complete non-issue for most of the
population. Sinn Fein has promised to pursue its all-
Ireland agenda through the new councils by establishing
But really, so what? Practical cooperation across frontiers
is normalisation, not destabilisation – and nowhere else in
the world has it had the slightest effect on either
perceptions of nationality or the integrity of nation
It is simply not in the gift of local councillors to
dismember the United Kingdom – especially if they have
thrown their guns down the well in exchange for the parish
The one issue which could cause territorial fragmentation
is policing, which is why Sinn Fein has tried to exploit it
at ‘community’ level.
But this ploy is as doomed as the assembly. Many people in
Northern Ireland, unionist and nationalist alike, want a
better police force than the PSNI – but it turns out that
almost nobody wants their neighbourhood policed by
There is no possibility whatsoever of extending such
arrangements across the border, either formally or
Both Sinn Fein and the DUP can still be relied on to pursue
all other local issues on a highly sectarian basis.
However, the review of public administration proposes
cross-community scrutiny committees to rein this tendency
in – and every further mechanism one party proposes to
curtail the other will have the effect of curtailing them
both. In the longer term, the worst thing that can happen
to our political culture is that it will remain the same.
Every other change can only be an improvement. If increased
council powers focus attention on real issues then there
might be a return to the tradition of independent
candidates that was widespread across Northern Ireland
before the outbreak of the Troubles. If tribal posturing
becomes truly alarming there could also be an upswing in
tactical voting. Contrary to wishful thinking there is
little history of this in Northern Ireland – but when it
has occurred it has always benefited moderates over
extremists. In the current councils both Sinn Fein and the
DUP conspire to facilitate each other’s partisan
However, public awareness of this cynicism can only grow
when councils are the only show in town. So the question
remains – what damage can Plan B actually do? The outcome
will be more like cantonisation than Balkanisation – an
unhappy Switzerland rather than a looming Yugoslavia. Not
one of the huge new council districts is so overwhelmingly
one-sided that it can ignore its minority.
Neither of the two main parties can have everything their
Isn’t this less destabilising than any Stormont arrangement
Sinn Fein and the DUP might cobble together?
Isn’t it less destabilising than the border polls scheduled
every seven years under the agreement?
The more you look at it the more Plan B looks like a
Isn’t that what we thought we were voting for all along?
Opin: For God And Ulster?
Dr Crawford Gribben
Two weeks in Northern Ireland can break your heart. It’s
not the unthinking celebration of the 1916 Easter Rising,
whose ninetieth anniversary was commemorated last weekend.
It’s not the landscape, containing some of the most
beautiful scenery in Europe. It’s not the blue sky or the
green sea, or the ready banter on the busy streets. It’s
not the widespread influence of gospel ministry, or even
the comparisons that must be drawn between the evangelical
churches of today and those caught up in revival almost 150
years ago. Instead, it’s the latent assumption among many
people on both sides of the border and the sectarian
divide, that Protestantism and Unionist politics must go
This assumption has been given its classic expression in
the motto ”For God and Ulster”. The motto means many things
to many people. In fact, a recent book contained dozens of
contributions from a range of church leaders illustrating
exactly that fact. But gable-end murals in towns and
villages repeat the theme that the gospel will stand or
fall with the link with Britain.
This assumption does not serve the best interests of either
of the parties it claims to represent. Unionism -the
political philosophy that argues for the continuation of
the link between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK-
is entering a period of profound crisis. With the British
and Irish governments setting a deadline for the resumption
of the power-sharing assembly in Stormont, the Unionist
population has to come to terms with the fact that the
party they overwhelmingly elected into power -Ian Paisley’s
DUP- may well be guided by the voices of political
pragmatists to enter government with Sinn Fein, the
political front of the IRA.
Many Unionist voters are realising that their political
strategists are driving rapidly up a dead-end street. The
case for the Union must be made more cogently, and more
urgently, than ever before. As the population statistics of
Northern Ireland no longer reflect a Unionist majority, so
Unionist leaders must make the case for the Union to a
population broader than the conservative Protestants whose
votes they have traditionally taken for granted. Unionism
must become bigger than Protestantism.
Simultaneously, Protestantism must become bigger than
Unionism. If it is to be taken seriously on either side of
the border, Biblical evangelicalism must step back from the
popular culture of Ulster Protestantism to adopt a
prophetic voice as to its strengths and weaknesses. Ulster
evangelicals must be reminded of the reality of their
heavenly citizenship, of their spiritual weaponry, and of
the transience of all earthly kingdoms. Too often, the
religious nationalism of Ulster protestants slips into
something closely akin to the deification of the state that
lay at the heart of the emperor worship that plagued the
earliest churches. The gospel does not depend for its
success on the continuation of any political agenda.
Protestantism must become bigger than Unionism.
Of course, the motto ”For God and Ulster” has always
simplified a more complex series of relationships between
Unionism and the Gospel. But if either Unionism or
evangelical witness are to advance, the link that many have
drawn between them must be systematically re-thought.
The author is lecturer in Renaissance literature at the
University of Manchester, United Kingdom.
© Reformatorisch Dagblad
Opin: The Order I Hold Dear
Chris Thornton talks to Brian Kennaway, author of the
controversial new book on the Orange Order
21 April 2006
How things change. In 1996, Brian Kennaway was asked if he
would consider standing for election as the Grand Master of
the Orange Order. He declined, and a decade later instead
of leading the Order, the Crumlin Presbyterian minister
finds himself standing as its leading internal critic.
Next week sees the publication of The Orange Order: A
Tradition Betrayed, Rev Kennaway's thoroughly detailed
critique of his brethren's role in and response to the
turmoil and uncertainty of the parades' dispute. Beginning
with extracts published exclusively in the Belfast
Telegraph, he gives an insider's view of the Order's
struggle with shifting social and political sands in
Northern Ireland, and its leadership's often ham-fisted
responses. It concentrates on the Order's recent history,
analysing the whirlwind around Drumcree and finishing -
devastatingly - with a critique of the Order's behaviour
over last September's Whiterock parade and riots.
This is not new ground for Kennaway. As convenor of the
Orange Order's Education Committee from 1992 until 2000 - a
period encompassing the most serious Drumcree years - he
was outspoken in his views about where the Order needed to
change. Former Assistant Grand Master William Porter,
another minister, says in the book's introduction that
under Kennaway "we had at least one committee which was
trying to relate the Order to the real world".
Now detached from the upper echelons of the Order, Kennaway
finds himself in a classic reformer's position: spoken of
disparagingly by many members who take his criticisms as
tantamount to disloyalty, and embraced by others who share
the desire for change. Newly-elevated Lord David Trimble,
who is due to officially launch the book next, describes
Kennaway's criticisms as a chance "to bring the Institution
back to its roots and core principles."
That, says Kennaway, is his goal. "If you love someone and
you see them abusing themselves and endangering their
existence, if you really love that person you'll do
everything in your power to save them," he says. "And
therefore, in that sense, this is an attempt to get the
Institution to save itself.
"The other answer is that ordinary rank and file Orangemen
have been totally and blissfully unaware of the duplicity
of the leadership over the years, the total lack of courage
of leadership. They will not make decisions and stick by
"The Biblical text that comes to mind is that of James
chapter 4, verse 17: `He that knoweth to do good and doeth
it not, to him it is sin.' In other words, it's wrong for
people who know what they ought to do and simply don't do
"This to me has been revealed in a multitude of ways - and
I record that throughout the book - when the leadership at
various levels know what they ought to do but haven't got
the courage to do it. I think the ordinary rank and file
Orangemen need to know what's gone wrong with our
Duplicity in the leadership? "When they tell people the
policy of the Grand Lodge is not to talk to the Parades
Commission," he cites as an example. "'We don't recognise
them, they're an unelected quango', yet at various levels
throughout the Order they are making contact with the
Parades Commission, including the leadership."
Any conversation about the Orange Order leads to parades.
Not just because this is the most public face of the Order,
but mainly because Drumcree and other infamous routes have
such a severe impact on wider society. Rev Kennaway
believes the "confrontational nature" of the parades
dispute has heightened the Order's problems.
"It's been the reason I think why a lot of people have left
the Order, because it's become very confrontational,
especially in Belfast. And it's been the reason why a lot
of folks haven't joined," he says.
The Orange leadership argues that the parades dispute is
not of their making. "I agree entirely," he says. "The
confrontation over parades is not of their making, but is
of their resolution.
"They have not looked at the big picture and they've been
shortsighted and tried to, as it were, save areas rather
than look at the bigger picture. I mean the phrase that's
often used is 'keeping the road open' by having a parade in
it. That's shortsighted in my view.
"The resolution is in the hands of local people who want to
build up local relationships. But it's largely because of
the kind of ghetto-isation in Belfast where people live in
"Before residents' groups existed, people ought to have had
dialogue. It's what I've said before in other situations,
if the Orange is, as it says it is, a Christian
organisation then they cannot refuse to talk to anyone made
in God's image."
But many in the Order - probably most of the leadership -
believe that calls for a dialogue are part of a wider
republican conspiracy against the Institution. "That may
very well be," says Kennaway, "but that's no excuse for not
trying to resolve the issue."
He does not believe that the Order's problems lie solely in
its clashes with nationalism. He also explores the
relationship with loyalist paramilitaries - both the
Order's frequent failure to publicly disassociate itself
from its members convicted of loyalist activity and the
alignment or acquiescence to loyalist groups at flashpoint
"That's important. That's not been addressed," he says. "I
think it's a central issue.
"There's no official link. There's no official connection,
but as (former UDA leader Sammy) Duddy has said, 'they come
to us and say can you help us get up the Springfield Road
or down the Newtownards Road'.
"Now, quite honestly it's only in recent years I realised
this was going on. It's done so surreptitiously I did not
realise it until relatively recently. I didn't know that
the parades were escorted around by paramilitaries in
"I mean, I was quite horrified to discover that. Therefore,
when you put yourself in the position of the
Catholic/nationalist residents who live in those areas or
the fringes, you can understand why they object. They're
going to object all the more.
"So it's self-defeating. Because their real objection, I
suppose, is not that Orangemen are walking quietly past
their areas or through their areas - and they have maybe
not quite articulated it clearly - but their real objection
is that they see these parades being escorted by bands that
have association with paramilitary groups and by the well-
known local leaders of those paramilitary groups. So I can
understand that that is actually making a bad situation
He takes a similar position on the question of internal
discipline. Frequently the Order has said that members
convicted of crime will be dealt with by the institution,
but the evidence of that is scarce.
"Discipline is not dealt with internally. It's talked about
but it's not dealt with. That's the problem," says
"If any organisation refuses to take the difficult decision
and deal with their own recalcitrant and law-breaking
group, it leaves them in the position where they have no
moral authority to give leadership in a community.
"When I joined the Orange Order, if a member of the Orange
Order in the 1960s got into some legal difficulty, the very
first they would do is resign rather than bring the Orange
Order into disrepute. Now it seems as if a criminal charge
is like a badge of honour. That's the huge difference that
there's been in 42 years."
Again, the Orange leadership explains that structure of the
institution works against the swift application of
discipline - that local lodges are ultimately responsible
for the members and the central organisation cannot dictate
"If it is a decentralised power, then how come the central
power instructs people to have nothing to do with the
Parades Commission?" Rev Kennaway asks. "That's the
contradiction of it.
"It's decentralised when it wants to be. This is the
confusion of it all. People haven't the freedom to give
leadership. They're constantly looking over their
shoulders. That in some ways restricts leadership."
Is there a structural problem with the Order? "It's a human
problem on the part of leadership," he says. "I think they
don't recognise that they are called to make difficult
decisions at times, and to articulate the reasons for
making those decisions to the grassroots or the rank and
"But see, the rank and file membership are by and large
quiet people. It's the vocal - more right-wing if you like
- group within the membership who dictate things."
Despite the wealth of criticism, Kennaway does not align
himself with those opposed to the Order, defending it from
the charge that is by nature a malign, sectarian force. He
recently opposed the Republic's Tanaiste, Mary Harney,
after her attack on the Order.
"I pointed out that the language of the (membership)
qualification is no more sectarian, no less than the
language used by all the churches - Presbyterian Church,
Church of Ireland, Roman Catholic Church. So in that sense
it's no more, no less sectarian than the churches.
"I think that's the position of the Order generally. Okay,
the language is antiquated. I think in today's society
because the only acceptable intolerance is the intolerance
of intolerance, they ought to change their language. But
they seem unwilling or unable to do that."
Kennaway never set out to be a critic. "It's been painful
to write. I've lived through much of that stuff and
struggled through it internally," he says.
He harks back longingly to the Order he joined in 1964 at
the age of 20, and the book is described as being written
more in sorrow than anger. "I joined for the simple reason
I believed in the values of Orangeism, the core values," he
"I believed it has a contribution to make to society. I
didn't join for any political motivation, because I've
never really been a member of any political party. I saw
the Protestant Reformed Faith as deriving its historical
context from the Glorious Revolution of William, in whose
memory Orangemen meet.
"I have not changed my beliefs in those things one iota. I
still hold dear to those core values which the Institution
today says that she still embraces and stands for.
"When I joined the Orange Order, we met in Clifton Street
Orange Hall, which was then an absolute hub of activity
every night of the week. Now it's like a ghost town. When
you went to your lodge there was a warmth of fellowship.
There was a bonding. Therefore the Order provided to me and
others with a male-bonding fraternity.
"Now things have changed dramatically. Orangeism has been
devastated numerically in Belfast. Halls are struggling to
keep open. There is now a kind of bitterness that did not
prevail in the early years when I was involved. Others have
said the Order needs to cut a niche for itself in society.
It can do that. It can go forward by going back. If it goes
back to its own core values, if it abandons what is
perceived to be the anti-Catholic rhetoric and the 16th-
17th century language, I think it has a place in today's
society. The Orange Order to save itself has to get back to
its own core values: tolerance, citizenship, religious
piety, brotherhood, fraternity."
‘No Evidence Poor Were Left Behind By Celtic Tiger’
21/04/2006 - 12:13:57
The Economic and Social Research Institute has said there
is no evidence to support claims that the less well-off
were left behind during the Celtic Tiger years.
In a report published today, the think tank said one third
of the population was ranked as economically vulnerable in
However, by 2001, this figure had fallen to one ninth of
The ESRI also said that, while the risk of income poverty
had increased for this group, levels of deprivation and
economic strain had declined substantially.
Overall it said it could find very little evidence to
support claims of increasing disparities between the
economically vulnerable and the rest of the population.
Authors Christopher T. Whelan, Brian Nolan and Bertrand
Maitre said there had in fact been "a sharp decline in
They added: "The degree of differentiation between the
vulnerable and non-vulnerable classes in relation to both
economic exclusion and social exclusion…remained relatively
"The dramatic reductions in levels of vulnerability across
the socio-economic spectrum demonstrate that the fruits of
the economic boom have been distributed relatively widely."
The authors add however that Ireland still has some
catching up to do with our counterparts in the rest of
"Ireland is characterised by levels of socioeconomic
inequality that place it at the more unequal end of the
European spectrum," the report says.
Greens Are Ready While Other Parties Are In Disarray
By Kernan Andrews
Peanuts creator Charles M Schulz once joked: "My life has
no purpose, no direction, no aim, no meaning, and yet I'm
happy. I can't figure it out. What am I doing right?" It is
a sentiment the political parties in Galway West would love
Ireland is little more than a year away from the next
General Election but the parties in Galway West are in
disarray. Unlike preparations for the 2002 elections, which
were relatively efficient, the situation in the run up to
2007 is messy.
Fianna Fáil's selection convention in January imploded.
Party HQ refused to reconvene it and selected Minister for
Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs Éamon Ó Cuív and the
Minister for Equality Affairs Frank Fahey itself. The third
candidate is due to be selected by interviews to be held
this weekend. However they have had to be postponed and
will not be held until next month.
Fine Gael's Galway West selection convention is being
postponed while senior figures in the party try to persuade
the Mayor of Galway, Cllr Brian Walsh, to stand. It is
understood the party sees Cllr Walsh as a strong candidate
with great potential and considers the current TD Padraic
McCormack as being weak and low profile.
Last weekend the party's director of elections, Frank
Flannery, and general secretary met Cllr Walsh in order to
get him to stand. Although Cllr Walsh has gone on record to
say he will not be standing in 2007, as long as FG HQ sees
any possibly of him changing his mind the convention will
not be held. Others are getting impatient, however, and
Cllr Fidelma Healy Eames has declared she wants to stand
and has called for the convention to be held.
Labour is the last party you would expect to be in a spot
of bother, but the unthinkable has happened. After a long
delay and much speculation about his intentions, Dep
Michael D Higgins finally declared he would stand again. No
sooner had he done so, than a row developed. Cllr Catherine
Connolly said Labour must run a second candidate and it
should be a woman. She then went on to declare that if this
was not allowed, she would run as an Independent. There
have been no developments on this, but political pundits
are watching to see if Cllr Connolly will carry out her
The PDs are not so much in disarray as incognito. No date
has been set for its selection convention and the party
does not seem to be in a hurry to hold it. While Dep Noel
Grealish will be standing again, speculation concentrates
on how many running mates he will have and who they will
be. Current favourites for the position are Cllr Donal
Lyons and Cllr Thomas Welby.
Sinn Féin ran two candidates in 2002 but in December 2005
Cllr Danny Callanan said he will not be standing as the
party's candidate in the 2007 election. This came as a
surprise as Cllr Callanan would be the natural choice for
Sinn Féin in Galway West considering he is the party's city
councillor, hard working, and well respected across the
political divide. As yet, no other names have come forward
and time is moving on.
In complete contrast to all the others, however, The Green
Party is organised and ready. Cllr Niall Ó Brolcháin is the
party's candidate and he has a high profile throughout the
city, is well thought of across party lines and in 2007
just might be the mayor of the city. He also polled well in
2002 for a first timer from a small party. Perhaps it's no
wonder some in Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael are tipping him as
the dark horse who could upset the odds in 2007.
As for the rest of the parties, they will just have to take
comfort from the words of the great poet TS Eliot as they
try to get their act together: "Success...is what we can
make of the mess we have made of things."
Paisley In '80 Not Out' Tribute To Queen
By Brian Walker
20 April 2006
The Rev Ian Paisley has paid the distinctive tribute of a
fellow 80-year-old to the Queen, ahead of her birthday
In tributes from party leaders in the Commons, the DUP
leader said that the whole of life was about growing old.
"The elderly like myself are growing very old, but I hope I
have a young soul. One of our greatest blessings is our
beloved Queen who is so youthful in her soul. What a
privilege it is to have such a monarch. She has
demonstrated that growing old is not a condemnation but a
Quoting the poet Browning, Mr Paisley added: "Grow old
along with me, the best is yet to come... I would like to
salute the Queen with a glorious declaration: '80 not
Commons tributes were led by the Prime Minister who praised
the Queen's "unfailing devotion to the duties of state, the
nation and the Commonwealth".
Conservative leader David Cameron said the Queen was "a
rock of stability, calm and good sense in a period of
Irish Civil War Epic Nominated For Palme d'Or
Last updated: 20-04-06, 14:32
Ken Loach's civil war epic The Wind That Shakes the Barley
has been nominated for the prestigious Palme d'Or award at
this year's Cannes Film Festival.
The film, starring Cillian Murphy and Liam Cunningham, has
been selected for competition at the French festival in
It will battle with Spanish director Pedro Almodovar's
Volver and Sofia Coppola's Marie-Antoinette for the
festival's most prestigious award, which was won last year
by Belgian drama, L'Enfant.
US director Richard Linklater is in contention for his film
adaptation of non-fiction book Fast Food Nation, while Il
Caimano (The Caiman), a satirical portrait of Italian prime
minister Silvio Berlusconi from director Nanni Moretti is
also included in the short list.
Tom Hanks, Bruce Willis, Hugh Jackman and Kirsten Dunst are
among the stars expected at this year's event, which opens
on May 17th with a gala screening of The Da Vinci Code, the
film version of the controversial Dan Brown bestseller.
The Wind That Shakes the Barley begins in 1919 and tells
the story of two brothers who fought together during the
Irish war of Independence, before finding themselves on
opposing sides as civil war ensued.
The film was shot on location in Cork and Kerry over seven
The Wind That Shakes the Barley is an Irish-UK-Italian-
German-Spanish co-production that was produced with a
budget of approximately €6.5 million and had an Irish
investment of almost €4 million.
It was produced with financing from the Irish Film Board,
the UK Film Council and TV3, among others.
Young Hurler Fighting For Life After On-Pitch Accident
21/04/2006 - 07:31:26
An 18-year-old man is reportedly fighting for his life
after he was hit with a hurley during a GAA match in Co
Dublin earlier this week.
Reports this morning said the teenager was playing in goal
for the O'Dwyer's club in Balbriggan at the time of the
accident on Wednesday.
He was reportedly wearing a helmet, but had taken it off
and replaced it with a peaked cap to keep the sun out of
This morning's reports said he was now fighting for his
life in the intensive care unit of Beaumont Hospital.
Film-Makers Flock To Ulster
Movie world's new mecca
By Maureen Coleman
21 April 2006
Northern Ireland is fast becoming a mecca for movie makers
with more films being shot here than ever before.
Hollywood legends including Richard Attenborough, Shirley
MacLaine and Donald Sutherland are currently on film sets
in the province, while members of leading American acting
dynasties are also here shooting movies.
At present, three major movies are being filmed in Northern
Ireland, Closing The Ring, Puffball and Shrooms, while a
number of projects are in the pipeline, including the first
ever bi-lingual movie to be filmed in Irish and English,
In addition, the recently completed movie Middletown, shot
in Co Armagh, is set for its world premiere at the Tribeca
Film Festival in New York, next Friday.
And filming is currently under way on Northern Ireland's
first ever children's television series, Bel's Boys.
Chief executive of the Northern Ireland Film and Television
Commission Richard Williams, which is funding the projects,
said: "The presence of a film crew often brings a sense of
excitement but you have to remember that with it comes
economic benefit for the province - in terms of utilising
local cast and crews and facilities.
"And of course, when the film is released, it helps build
positive exposure for Northern Ireland to a much wider
audience," said Mr Williams.
One of the biggest ever movies being shot in Belfast at the
moment is Closing The Ring.
Directed by Oscar-winner Richard Attenborough, it is an
epic love story which spans two continents and half a
century and stars Shirley MacLaine, Pete Postlethwaite,
Mischa Barton, Brenda Fricker and Christopher Plummer.
In the supernatural thriller Puffball, shot in Armagh, two
legends of the screen are reunited with Nicolas Roeg
directing his Don't Look Now star Donald Sutherland.
The movie also stars Samantha Morton and Miranda
Second World War Secret Is Exposed
The shelters that killed hundreds
By Linda McKee
21 April 2006
The untold story of how Belfast's citizens were killed by
their own air raid shelters has come to light, 65 years
after the city was blitzed by the Germans.
A Co Down man has described how those responsible for
building air raid shelters across the city cut corners,
costing the lives of the people who took refuge in the
Roy Anderson said he learned the true story from his father
Robert, a sanitary inspector whose warnings went unheeded
and who took the tragic tale to his grave.
In the run-up to the air raid, the Government set aside
money for the defence of the city but by April 15, 1941,
only 200 shelters had been constructed in Belfast, he said.
But unknown to the people relying on them for safety, many
of the shelters had their cavity walls filled with rubble
instead of concrete, a valuable commodity in war-time.
"My father was a sanitary inspector in the City Hall and
had to have a knowledge of building and water systems. He
saw them being built," he said.
"He reported it several times. He made a damned nuisance of
himself but nobody paid any attention."
During the April 15 raid, four or five shelters collapsed,
killing the people inside. Mr Anderson said it was put out
that these shelters had been hit directly by bombs - but it
"Those shelters collapsed because of bombs landing close
by," he said.
When the bombs exploded, they created a massive wave of air
that shook the already-weak walls, followed by an implosion
that finished the job of collapsing them, he said.
"The walls quite literally were shattered and the concrete
slabs fell on the poor people inside," he said.
"The authorities immediately cleared away the rubble and
cleared away the evidence."
Shelters collapsed at Twaddell Avenue, Short Street, and
Templemore. Mr Anderson said that the day after the first
Belfast Blitz, no-one at work would speak to his father.
"They knew that what he had prophesied had happened," he
"My father took that thing to his grave. He told everyone
who would listen never to go into an air raid shelter,"
"The day after VE Day, my father took a sledge hammer and
knocked a hole in an air raid shelter and showed the people
on Avonbeg Street the rubble."
No inquest was ever held and his father's efforts to prompt
an investigation were always blocked, he said.
"It was manslaughter of the innocent," he said.
"A thousand people died as a result of the air raid and
almost a quarter died in air raid shelters - the very
buildings that were built to protect them."
County Louth And The 1916 Rebellion
The Sinn Fein Easter Parade makes it way through Market
Square on Easter Sunday
Since 1892 North Louth nationalists had been divided
between supporters of Parnell and later John Redmond on one
side, and supporters of Tim Healy on the other. In the
general election of 1892, Tim Healy was returned as MP for
north Louth. In 1900 Healy was expelled from the Irish
Supporters of Healy and Redmond built up support
organisations that enhanced the divisions. The Ancient
Order of Hibernians which supported Redmond and the Knights
of Hibernia (John Boyle O’Reilly) which supported Healy
were established in Dundalk in 1907.
Arthur Griffith founded the Sinn Féin movement in Dublin in
1905. A branch of Sinn Féin was established in Dundalk in
1907, under the chairmanship of Paddy Hughes, a rates
collector for Dundalk Urban District Council. Hughes, in
the words of one contemporary, was: ‘looked upon as the
leader in Dundalk in everything that tended towards the
complete independence of this country from outside
influence’. Hughes was a man of extraordinary energy, and
single-minded in his pursuit of the cause of complete
separation from Britain. Sinn Féin and separatism in County
Louth remained however a marginal political organisation.
The Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) was founded in January
1913 to oppose by force of arms, if necessary, the
introduction of Home Rule in Ireland. In response to the
UVF, the Irish National Volunteers (INV) was founded in
Dublin on November 25th, 1913 to defend Home Rule.
An enrolment meeting of the Irish Volunteers was held at
the Athletic Grounds in Dundalk on Sunday, February 22nd,
1914. The local leadership of the Irish National Volunteers
was drawn from a mixture of political or cultural groups
with nationalist leanings. Amongst them were Matthew
Comerford town clerk and chairman of the AOH who also
chaired the enrolment meeting and Paddy Hughes, the
chairman of Sinn Féin; It is reported that, ‘several
hundred men’ were enrolled.
On the night of April 24th, 1914 the UVF caused a sensation
by landing large quantities of arms in Larne, Bangor and
Donaghadee. The inactivity of the police and army in
opposing the importation of arms added to the consternation
felt by nationalists. The Volunteers next formed branches
in Ardee on April 29th, 1914 and in Drogheda on May 8th. In
the following month branches sprang up all over the county
until in total some 28 branches were established in Louth.
The R.I.C reported that between June and September 1914,
the County Louth membership increased from 1,898 to 4,869.
Although large in number, the Irish National Volunteers in
County Louth lacked equipment, arms (the Volunteers had
approximately 196 rifles of various patterns), military
training and officers with any military experience.
By early August 1914 war clouds were gathering over Europe.
Redmond’s immediate reaction to the imminent threat of war
was to pledge on August 3rd 1914 the services of the Irish
National Volunteers for the defence of Ireland, and urged
the British government to concentrate her army on attacking
John Redmond made a speech at Woodenbridge on September
20th, 1914 in which he encouraged the Irish National
Volunteers to go to the firing line wherever it extended.
This speech has traditionally been flagged as the event
that provided the impetus for the national split in the
Irish National Volunteers. The speech had little affect on
the Louth Volunteers. In Dundalk, Paddy Hughes and about
thirty others had already departed over public
demonstrations of support for the war.
At the time of the Easter Rising in April 1916 the total
strength of the Irish Volunteers in Louth was approximately
200. The growth in North Louth must be credited to the
energetic leadership of Paddy Hughes, who took great care
in selecting recruits.
Seamus MacGuill recorded that ‘The recruiting for this
corps was very careful and very tedious. As an example I
personally accompanied Paddy Hughes walking a distance of
approximately six miles to interview two young men who he
heard were of the right calibre.’
In 1916 Paddy Hughes was briefed by the Military Council of
the Irish Volunteers of their intention to hold a rising.
Hughes recognised that he lacked the military expertise
necessary to lead men in conflict, and at his request,
Volunteer headquarters appointed a Limerick man, Donal
O’Hannigan, as second-in-command in County Louth, to
provide that expertise.
On Easter Sunday, the Irish Volunteers in Dundalk mobilised
for rebellion. At the outbreak of hostilities, O’Hannigan
was to assume control of the Louth, Meath, South Down, and
South Armagh area. He was to muster his forces (on paper
amounting to 1,357 men) at the Hill of Tara in Co. Meath on
Easter Sunday at 7 p.m., then move towards Dublin to meet
up with the Dublin County Volunteers at Blanchardstown, as
part of an encircling ring around the city. Their
objectives as specified by Patrick Pearse to O’Hannigan,
(a) to prevent an attack on the city from the rear,
(b) to prevent reinforcements reaching the city,
(c) to maintain a supply of food for the Volunteers and
people in the city and in the case of an evacuation of the
city being forced, to hold a line open to the west.
Pearse was insistent that O’Hannigan had to raise the
standard at Tara no earlier than 7 p.m. on Sunday night.
The Dundalk contingent had to march the fifty or so miles
to Tara, and as a consequence of the early start on Sunday
morning, the orders from Eoin MacNeill, cancelling all
manoeuvres on Easter Sunday did not reach them before they
Sean McEntee had remained in Dundalk with a number of men
with instructions to seize seventy rifles held by the
National Volunteers. When he received a copy of MacNeill’s
countermanding order he went off in pursuit of O’Hannigan.
Shortly before three o’clock in the afternoon, on the road
between Ardee and Slane he caught up with the Dundalk
Volunteers. O’Hannigan decided to carry out his original
instructions, but sought to get confirmation of the
On Sunday night, Sean McEntee was dispatched to contact
James Connolly in Dublin, while the Volunteers spent a
miserable night in the open, wet and thoroughly dispirited.
At 3 a.m. with a violent rainstorm raging and their
position untenable, the Volunteers began to retrace their
steps towards Dundalk, dispersing as they went along.
By Monday afternoon the Dundalk Volunteers numbered around
thirty and were between Castlebellingham and Dundalk when
McEntee caught up with them to confirm that the Rising had
broken out at noon in Dublin. O’Hannigan halted his men,
and made prisoners of some RIC men who had been following
them at a distance since Sunday morning. They then
commandeered a number of vehicles and returned to
Castlebellingham, where they provisioned themselves and
decided to proceed directly to West Dublin.
When the Volunteers moved out of Castlebellingham, Sean
McEntee ordered that the prisoners should be covered from
the last vehicle. One volunteer thought that he saw an army
officer make a move to draw a weapon and called on him to
stop. When the officer failed to do so, the volunteer fired
his rifle, and to his surprise saw both the officer and a
policeman standing behind collapse. The policeman in
question, Constable McGee who was twenty-three years of age
and from Co. Donegal died shortly afterwards.
The Louth Volunteers became separated on the road due to an
accident in dense fog. Finally on Monday night about twenty
Louth Volunteers under O’Hannigan and Hughes eventually
took up positions in Tyrellstown House, on the Navan Road
about ten miles from Dublin. O’Hannigan’s group remained at
Tyrellstown House until Monday May 1st, three days after
the surrender in Dublin. As their position was hopeless,
they cleaned and dumped their arms, and then dispersed.
While O’Hannigan escaped to the west, and Paddy Hughes and
nine others remained in hiding until Wednesday May 3rd,
reluctant to believe that the rebellion was over, at which
stage they dispersed.
Ten men from the Grangebellew Volunteers detached
themselves from the main body of Volunteers on the return
journey from Slane on Easter Monday morning and were
instructed to remain under arms. They occupied Barmeath
Tower near Clogherhead to await further orders, but were
forgotten in the confusion that arose in Castlebellingham
on Easter Monday evening.
It was only on Tuesday that they learned about the Dundalk
contingent again heading for Dublin. They remained in
occupation of Barmeath Tower until Sunday April 30th,
isolated and unsure what to do. When they heard of the
surrender in Dublin they evacuated the tower and dumped
arms. They spent another day and night hiding in sheds or
in the fields until Wednesday May 3rd when they dispersed
to their own homes, where they were all arrested.
The news of the Rising caused a sensation in the county. On
May 4th, a round up of any suspected participants in the
rising took place, with about seventy being arrested around
the county. Any vestige of sympathy for the rebels quickly
disappeared when news was circulated of the killing of
Constable McGee in Castlebellingham who was very popular in
The rising was condemned in the local press, by the local
churches, and by the local politicians. The hostile
reaction must be placed in the context of the terrible
losses being suffered in the war in Europe. By the end of
May 1916 over 300 Louthmen had been killed, probably over
1,000 wounded, many of them maimed for life. During Easter
Week 1916, 25 Louthmen were killed in the war, 15 of them
coincidentally fighting in the Royal Dublin Fusiliers under
the command of local man Edward Bellingham of
As the news of the rebellion spread, families in Louth
would have been receiving dreaded telegrams from the War
office. The rising must have seemed like a bitter blow
indeed to those men and their families who had after all,
followed the encouragement of their own politicians, and
religious leaders to fight for Ireland’s cause of Home Rule
in the war.
There is no doubt that the executions shocked public
opinion and by July 1916 the R.I.C in Louth commented that
‘a certain number of nationalists feel more sympathy with
the Sinn Féin section than they did previous to the
outbreak’, and that Sinn Féin was only being contained by
the continuance of martial law. In mid 1916 the first of
the prisoners were released without it must be said too
much notice being taken. One prisoner, released in December
1916, reported on an air of inactivity and that no notice
whatsoever had been taken of the returning prisoners.
The volunteers were re-organised, it took however until
April 1917 for them to muster enough men to form three
Volunteer companies in Dundalk. Divisions between
nationalist faded again briefly in April 1918 during the
anti-conscription campaign, but unfortunately they re-
emerged during the elections of December 1918 when the
nationalist vote was again split between what was
essentially still the same division of a Redmondite and a
Healyite candidate operating under the flag of Sinn Fein.
Sinn Fein won the seat, but by the narrowest of margins of
255 votes out of 30,000 cast. That was enough however, and
laid the basis for the democratic support for the
separatist movement over the next number of years in county
Thursday, April 20, 2006
Rising Remembered In Laois
By: Joe Barrett
REPUBLICAN Volunteers in Laois are reputed to have carried
out the first military actions of the 1916 Easter Rising.
On April 23 1916, (Easter Sunday), the day before the
historic day of insurrection, volunteers made their way to
Clonad and dismantled sections of the railway line.
Their actions ensured British reinforcements could not get
to Dublin by rail where the focus of the resistance was
Around the same time volunteers in the county made life
uncomfortable for the occupying forces as they carried out
raids on various RIC barracks scattered around the county.
The 90th anniversary of the Easter Rising and those who
lost their lives in the struggle for self-determination
were honoured at celebrations last Sunday and Monday in
Portlaoise, Portarlington and Barrowhouse.
Provisional Sinn Féin and Republican Sinn Féin were the
only two political parties to commemorate the historic
event in the county.
On Sunday afternoon up to 150 people converged on the
Republican monument in SS Peter and Paul’s Cemetery in
Giving the main oration was Sinn Féin Cllr Brian Stanley.
He said he was honoured to be addressing such a large crowd
on the 90th anniversary of the 1916 Rising and on the 25th
anniversary of the 1981 hunger strikes.
He said both events were, “momentous events in 20th century
Irish history and major turning points for republicanism.”
“Today we remember the volunteers of Easter week and the
volunteers who died on the 1981 hunger strike with pride as
we have always done. Unlike the Johnny come lately
republicans of the pale green variety, we don’t need the
agenda setters of Dublin 4 to tell us when it’s ok to
commemorate 1916 or 1981,” said Cllr Stanley.
“The republican credentials of a so-called republican party
must be questioned when that party enacted laws to
extradite Irish freedom fighters to Britain, when they
collaborated for 25 years with Britain’s war effort and
when they censored the news so as to cover up the reality
of Britain’s dirty war in Ireland,” he added.
The Irish proclamation was read by Alan Hand. Mary White
read a Bobby Sands’ poem and a wreath was laid by Kieran
Dooley. Piper Jimmy Fennelly lamented those remembered on
the day. Republican Sinn Féin members gathered at the 1798
monument in Portarlington Town Square on Easter Monday and
laid a wreath to republicans who had died for their
There was also a wreath laying ceremony by Republican Sinn
Féin at Barrowhouse cemetery in memory of James Connor and
John Lacey who were both killed in an ambush in 1921.
To mark the holy day of Easter St Joseph’s Accordion Band
led a small parade through the centre of Portlaoise on
Easter Sunday morning to mass. Those involved in the parade
were members from the Portlaoise Boy Scouts and Girl
On Good Friday a large crowd turned out in Oakvale Wood to
take part in the Stations of the Cross led by Fr Seán
Ireland's War Of Independence: The Chilling Story Of The
Black And Tans
Ben & Jerry's decision to give their latest flavour of ice-
cream the same name as Churchill's notorious army has
provoked howls of protest. David McKittrick describes the
force's reign of terror against Irish nationalists
21 April 2006
To practically the whole world it may seem like a harmless,
cheerfully cutesie name for a new American ice-cream
flavour, just adopted by the popular manufacturer Ben &
But some Irish-Americans have given the "Black and Tan"
flavour a reception that is cold to the point of frigidity,
complaining of its associations with one of the most
notorious forces ever seen in Ireland.
The Vermont-based company, unaware of origins of the name,
based the new flavour on a drink that uses stout. The ice-
cream launched in the US this month but it is now debatable
whether Ireland will get a taste.
It is difficult to know whether the arrival of Black and
Tan flavour ice-cream could cause controversy and outcry in
Ireland, but it would certainly generate a great deal of
conversation and debate.
Although the Black and Tans force was deployed for only a
couple of years, from 1920 to 1922, nationalist Ireland
still associates it with murder, brutality, massacre and
indiscipline in the years leading to southern Ireland's
In this instance, its reputation is not based on any
republican propaganda and exaggeration, since there is no
dispute that "the Tans" killed and destroyed on a large
scale. Nor did they make any secret of their ferocious
reprisals. When a Tan was killed in Cork, they burnt down
more than 300 buildings in the city centre and afterwards
proudly pinned pieces of burnt cork to their caps.
A British Labour Party commission reported that it felt
feelings of shame at witnessing the "insolent swagger" of
the Tans, whom they described as "rough, brutal, abusive
and distinctly the worse for liquor".
Another observer reported: "They had neither religion nor
morals, they used foul language, they had the old soldier's
talent for dodging and scrounging, called the Irish
'natives', associated with low company, stole from each
other, sneered at the customs of the country and drank to
The Catholic cardinal of the day called them "a horde of
savages, some of them simply brigands, burglars and
thieves". Similar denunciations came from within the armed
forces, their commander, General Frank Crozier resigned in
1921 because they had been "used to murder, rob, loot, and
burn up the innocent because they could not catch the few
guilty on the run".
None of this, clearly, conveys anything of the light-
hearted images of fun and enjoyment which ice-cream
manufacturers would wish to convey to their customers.
The Black and Tans were created after the First World War
by Winston Churchill and other ministers who were faced
with a increasing tide of violence from the IRA, which had
launched a campaign to drive Britain out of Ireland.
This is known as the War of Independence, though
republicans took to calling it the "Tan War". With the IRA
inflicting heavy casualties on the Royal Irish
Constabulary, killing more than 50 of its officers, London
created new forces to cope with republican insurrection.
They were part of a hurriedly constructed counter-
insurgency apparatus which included the existing police
force, the regular army, secret service detachments and two
completely new forces, the Auxiliaries and the Black and
In the years that followed, all these groups were deployed
against republican rebels, but the particularly violent
behaviour of the Tans, together with their striking
nickname, has meant that the blame for most of the
misbehaviour has stuck to them.
The nickname arose entirely accidentally, and is usually
traced back to a well-known pack of Limerick foxhounds
which had that title. As members of the new force poured
into Ireland there were not enough uniforms to go round, so
they were originally dressed in a motley mixture of army
khaki and police tunics.
Irish women, it is said, jeered at them as Black and Tans.
Their irregular ensembles served to emphasise that,
although they were technically part of the Irish police,
they disregarded all normal policing procedures, and
committed almost casual murders. Most of them were Great
War veterans who answered an advertising campaign in
Britain for men willing to face "a rough and dangerous
task". With unemployment high, there were many ready to
join for pay of 10 shillings a day plus board and lodging.
Pay for a British Army private soldier was little more than
a shilling a day.
The recruits, many hardened by trench warfare, were given
only a few months' training before being despatched to
Ireland, supposedly to act as policemen but in fact to
provide military steel. In Ireland, they faced a very
different type of war. The IRA waged guerrilla warfare,
with hit-and-run tactics, attacks on isolated police
barracks and deadly ambushes in territory which was
unfamiliar to the Tans. All the security forces found this
an extremely frustrating type of conflict but the Tans in
particular quickly abandoned the normal rules and conduct
They were in any case explicitly instructed to step outside
the law, one police divisional commander instructing his
men in a speech: "If a police barracks is burnt then the
best house in the locality is to be commandeered, the
occupants thrown into the gutter. Let them die there; the
more the merrier."
He instructed them to shout "Hands up" at civilians, and to
shoot anyone who did not immediately obey. He added:
"Innocent persons may be shot, but that cannot be helped,
and you are bound to get the right parties some time. The
more you shoot, the better I will like you, and I assure
you no policeman will get into trouble for shooting any
The old-style policemen did not care for the Tans, one
saying years later: "The Black and Tans were all English
and Scotch people; very rough, effing and blinding and
boozing and all." A British Army officer complained to a
general: "We are importing crowds of undisciplined men who
are just terrorising the country."
Not all of the almost 10,000 Tans scattered around Ireland
were guilty of atrocities; some were actually liked. But
many felt free, as individuals or as units, to go far
beyond the substantial degree of licence they had been
Tans were reportedly among those who took part in "Bloody
Sunday", an incident which followed the assassinations of a
large number of suspected members of the British secret
service in Dublin. Hours after these killings, security
forces opened fire at a Gaelic football match in the city,
causing 12 deaths and wounding scores.
In other cases, homes and businesses, particularly
creameries, were burnt by the Tans. In the town of
Balbriggan near Dublin, the IRA killing of a police officer
led to severe reprisals: two republican suspects were shot
dead, and 19 houses and various buildings were torched.
There were hundreds of reports of misbehaviour on a smaller
scale. The late Lord Longford wrote of Tans torturing
captured republicans, "cutting out the tongue of one, the
nose of another, the heart of another and battering in the
skull of a fourth".
The government at first turned a blind eye to such
incidents. Field Marshal Sir Henry Wilson described a
conversation with Churchill: "I warned him again that those
Black and Tans who are committing very indiscriminate
reprisals will play the devil in Ireland, but he won't
listen or agree."
The security forces, the Field Marshal said, "marked down
certain Sinn Feiners as in their opinion actual murderers
or instigators and then coolly went and shot them without
question or trial. Winston saw very little harm in this but
it horrifies me".
Pressure on the government to end the activities mounted
steadily, the Archbishop of Canterbury warning Lloyd
George: "You do not cast out Beelzebub by Beelzebub."
Churchill's wife Clementine joined in the chorus of
protest, asking him to end the reprisals and adding: "It
always makes me unhappy and disappointed when I see you
inclined to take for granted the rough, iron-fisted
'Hunnish' way will prevail."
Later, Churchill openly acknowledged the excesses of the
Black and Tans, admitting in the House of Commons: "It was
quite impossible to prevent the police and military making
reprisals on their own account."
Ministers pondered on whether they should officially
endorse reprisals, and persisted in believing that the
oppressive tactics of the Tans and other forces were on the
point of delivering victory. Lloyd George famously boasted
that he "had murder by the throat".
But on top of everything, the harsh methods of the Tans did
not even work, and certainly did not defeat the IRA.
Professor Roy Foster wrote of the Tans: "They behaved more
like independent mercenaries; their brutal regime followed
the IRA's policy of killing policemen, and was taken by
many to vindicate it."
The historian, Peter Hart, agreed. "It was astoundingly
counter-productive. The militarised police formed their own
death squads and regularly engaged in reprisals against
civilians. IRA violence only increased."
Despite the battering which all this inflicted on the image
of Britain at home and abroad, the continuing IRA campaign
eventually led Lloyd George to seek talks with the
republicans, which led to British withdrawal.
In a little-known historical footnote, some of the Black
and Tans were transferred to Palestine where, under much
stricter discipline, their performance was judged a
But in Ireland older folk still relate with a shiver what
the Tans did in their little village or town, the name and
reputation of the force continuing to resound throughout
The name of the Black and Tans thus lives on to the present
day, and can still be heard from the lips of republican
orators driving home their ancient messages of British
iniquity and Irish victimhood.
The phrase can in other words still generate much heat, so
much heat, perhaps, that an ice-cream company may think
twice about associating its cool product with a topic that
can still raise the temperature in Ireland.
Come Out Ye Black and Tans
I was born on a Dublin street where the Royal drums do beat
And the loving English feet they tramped all over us,
And each and every night when me father'd come home tight
He'd invite the neighbors outside with this chorus:
Oh, come out you Black and Tans,
Come out and fight me like a man
Show your wife how you won medals down in Flanders
Tell them how the IRA
Made you run like hell away,
From the green and lovely lanes in Killashandra.
Come let me hear you tell
How you slammed the great Pernell,
When you fought them well and truly persecuted,
Where are the smears and jeers
That you bravely let us hear
When our heroes of '16 were executed.
Come tell us how you slew
Those brave Arabs two by two
Like the Zulus, they had spears and bows and arrows,
How you bravely slew each one
With your 16-pounder gun
And you frightened them poor natives to their marrow.
The day is coming fast
And the time is here at last,
When each yeoman will be cast aside before us,
And if there be a need
Sure my kids will sing, "Godspeed!"
With a verse or two of Steven Beehan's chorus.
Come Out Ye Black and Tans. By Dominic Behan (1929-89)
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