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April 16, 2006

PSNI Vows To Halt Riots at Parade Flashpoint

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News About Ireland & The Irish

SL 04/16/06 Cops Vow To Halt Riots At Flashpoint Parades
SL 04/16/06 O'Loan May Force Bbc To Hand Over Tape
SL 04/16/06 Confusion Reigns Over UDA's Intentions Following Summit
SL 04/16/06 UVF Gang Force Prison Warder's Widow Out Of Her Home
SL 04/16/06 Cops Took Gun From Donaldson In 2002
IT 04/17/06 Primate Stresses Hopeful Changes In North
IT 04/17/06 Rising Parade Attracts 100,000 & Wins Political Approval
IT 04/17/06 Surviving Son Of Executed Leader Praises 'Unselfish Act'
IT 04/17/06 Ill-Fated 1916 Arms Ship Recalled
IT 04/17/06 Campaign Groups Organise Counter Demonstrations
IT 04/17/06 Easter Commemorations: Round-Up
IT 04/17/06 Complaints Fail To Dampen Enthusiasm Of Spectators
IT 04/17/06 Relatives Share Memories Of Easter Rising
IM 04/16/06 Shocking Prisoner Neglect
SL 04/16/06 Facelift For Drumcree Mural
TH 04/16/06 Opin: Celebrating Past Is 1st Step To Peaceful Future
SL 04/16/06 Opin: Re-Double Our Resolve To Win Peace
IT 04/17/06 Opin: Michael Davitt
IT 04/17/06 Opin: Seeing 1916 In A New Light
IT 04/17/06 Opin: Facing A Quiet Papacy Under Pope Benedict
IT 04/17/06 Bishop Comiskey To Give Eulogy At Kavanagh Funeral


Cops Vow To Halt Riots At Flashpoint Parades

Stephen Breen
16 April 2006

POLICE last night vowed to prevent trouble from erupting at
two contentious Apprentice Boys' parades in Belfast

Police will mount a large security operation at the Ardoyne
shops in north Belfast and along the lower Newtownards
Road, close to the Short Strand, in east Belfast.

The parade in the north of the city has been prevented from
returning through the area, but has been permitted to
return pass the Short Strand.

And Sunday Life can reveal that secret talks have been
taking place between loyalist and republican community
workers in a bid to defuse tension in the area.

Talks are also understood to have taken place between
senior Sinn Fein and PUP representatives.

Leading north Belfast republican Martin Meehan confirmed
nationalist residents will be staging a peaceful protest
tomorrow morning.

But the veteran Sinn Fein man does not believe that there
will be any trouble during the parade.

Said Mr Meehan: "The people of Ardoyne are obviously
opposed to triumphalist parades but we don't expect there
to be any trouble.

Apprentice Boys spokesman Tommy Cheevers also appealed for
calm on the day.

"We also know that there is very little chance of tolerance
from republicans, or of any sense of fair play by the
Parades Commission."

It is not clear if nationalists will stage a demonstration
in the east of the city.

There was no trouble in the two flashpoint areas last year.

A police spokesman said: "There will be proper security
arrangements in place.

"We are hoping that marchers and protestors will remain
within in the law."


O'Loan May Force Bbc To Hand Over Tape

Alan Murray
16 April 2006

THE Police Ombudsman is considering legal action against
the BBC to obtain a videotaped interview with a former RUC
detective who may have crucial information about police
spies in the UVF.

The BBC has already refused a request from Raymond McCord
snr to view the tape. His son, also Raymond, was murdered
by the terrorists in 1997.

It's understood a similar request by Nuala O'Loan met with
the same response.

The interview - with ex-detective Trevor McIlwrath - was
taped several months ago.

It is believed to contain allegations about the activities
of police informers inside the north Belfast UVF -
including their involvement in killings.

Mr McCord has made a statement to the Ombudsman saying he
believes the tape could assist the probe into allegations
that RUC agents inside the UVF engaged in murder.

He told Sunday Life: "I have asked the BBC to allow me to
see this tape, but they refused.

"Any material that helps the Ombudsman's investigators to
piece together the activities of police agents within the
UVF in north Belfast should be given to her office.

"I believe the BBC has a duty to assist the Ombudsman in
conducting what is a very serious investigation."

The Public Prosecution Service is yet to rule on whether
former Special Branch agent-handlers should face charges in
relation to the activities of spies inside the UVF.

Mrs O'Loan is expected to wait until the PPS reaches its
decision before publishing her long-awaited report.

However, her lawyers are considering whether to launch a
court action to force the BBC to hand over the tape.

One Belfast lawyer said: "If the tape contains material
which relates to her investigation, she may be well within
her rights to obtain it to view its contents and take any
action which might be warranted arising from it.

"If she didn't view the tape, it could be argued that her
investigation did not examine all the available evidence."

A spokesman for the Ombudsman said: "The McCord inquiry is
ongoing and we are continuing to pursue a number of lines
of inquiry. It's unlikely the inquiry will be completed
before end of the month."

No one from the BBC was available for comment.


Confusion Reigns Over UDA's Intentions Following Summit

Stephen Breen
16 April 2006

THE UDA leadership in north Belfast has told its members it
is giving up extortion, drug dealing and criminality.

Sunday Life understands the claim was made by a veteran UDA
prisoner at a secret meeting - attended by 200 members of
the terrorist group - in the area last Thursday.

But many of the organisation's members believe the
statement was only made to prevent the UDA's ruling 'inner
council' from ousting the north Belfast leadership, which
includes Ihab Shoukri and Alan McClean.

The crunch summit was held after we revealed last week how
death threats were issued to three senior loyalists after
they had accused the local leadership of drug-dealing and

The threats were issued to veteran Sammy Duddy, UPRG
spokesman John Bunting and another loyalist.

Ihab Shoukri is believed to have spoken at the meeting,
where he defended the gambling habits of his brother,

A leading UDA figure from the Ballysillan area is also
believed to have told the meeting that north Belfast
remains "a strong unit" and will resist any attempt to
topple its leaders.

More meetings are expected to be held over the coming weeks
to discuss the future of the UDA in the north of the city.

We spoke to a number of UDA members who attended the
meeting, which they described as tense.

Said one senior source: "The meeting was called on Thursday
and a well-respected UDA man told the crowd north Belfast
was giving up criminality.

"Ihab (Shoukri) also spoke up and said it was nobody's
business what sort of money Andre was spending at the
bookies, because it was 'his own money'.

"The members were told the UDA in north Belfast can sustain
itself and is capable of dealing with anyone who takes
action against it.

"But there were many members who didn't speak out because
if they do, they are worried they will receive threats in
the same way Sammy Duddy did.

"Many members also believe the statement is a smokescreen,
and they will be back to the drugs and the criminality once
the heat around the Shoukris dies down."

No one from the UPRG was available to comment on last
week's meeting.


UVF Gang Force Prison Warder's Widow Out Of Her Home

Alan Murray
16 April 2006

THE widow of a prison officer has been driven from her east
Belfast home by a drug-fuelled UVF unit.

The heartbroken widow was forced to abandon her home of 37
years in the Ballybeen estate in Dundonald after being
threatened by a baseball bat-wielding thug.

When police responded to a 999 call, their vehicles were

A prison officer who helped the woman to move her
belongings said he was "sickened" by the attack.

He said: "Here's a widow who has spent 37 years living in
Ballybeen, who scattered her husband's ashes in the back
garden, but who is now homeless and heartbroken.

"The thugs who did this call themselves loyalists, but
they're just gangsters," he said.

Police confirmed yesterday that officers attended an
incident in which a man armed with a baseball bat tried to
batter his way into a woman's home.

A police vehicle was damaged and a woman officer injured.

Two days later, when two families were escorted to their
homes to collect property, more stones were thrown.

Said one senior loyalist: "David Ervine has done great work
in the Newtownards Road area and in other parts of east
Belfast, but this crew in Ballybeen is just the pits.

"The UVF said it was ridding the Knocknagoney and
Tullycarnet areas of LVF drug-dealers, but around here
there are all-night parties and people are being threatened
on a daily basis by the UVF men who control the area."


Cops Took Gun From Donaldson In 2002

Alan Murray
16 April 2006

THE PSNI has now confirmed that it took a legally-held
firearm off murdered Sinn Fein official Denis Donaldson in

The gun was taken from the MI5 agent's home after sensitive
security documents were uncovered at the house in west

Donaldson is believed to have been among the 200 plus
members of Sinn Fein and the IRA, including many convicted
terrorists, who were granted firearms certificates after
the Good Friday Agreement was signed in 1998 in a 'side
deal' negotiated with the British Government.

Donaldson, who was murdered in Donegal two weeks ago, had a
terrorist conviction for his involvement in an IRA attack
in 1971.

That conviction would normally debar someone from obtaining
a certificate to keep a weapon.

But Sunday Life has learned that the gun that could have
saved his life in the attack at his hideaway in Glenties,
Donegal had been taken from him over three years ago.

Unconfirmed reports suggest that Donaldson had held a
Beretta pistol and possibly a shotgun for hunting purposes
at his Aitnamona Crescent home when it was raided in
October 2002, in an operation to recover sensitive
government documents stolen from Stormont.

Transcripts of conversations between Tony Blair and George
Bush and personal details of at least one Army officer's
car were recovered.

Last month in a statement the police said that no firearm
was recovered during the planned search of Donaldson's

But when Sunday Life pressed about whether Donaldson had
been allowed to possess a legally held firearm and what had
happened to it, the PSNI issued another brief statement
last week saying a gun had been taken into custody sometime
after the search of his west Belfast home.

"A weapon lawfully held at an address at Aitnamona Crescent
in Belfast was taken into police possession. It is not
outstanding. It was one weapon and it was lawfully held,"
the statement read.


Primate Stresses Hopeful Changes In North

By Patsy McGarry, Religious Affairs Correspondent

The political situation in Northern Ireland is changing in
ways that would have been "unimaginable a few years ago",
the Church of Ireland primate, Archbishop Robin Eames, has

In his Easter sermon at St Patrick's Cathedral in Armagh
yesterday, he said that "despite all the difficulties and
setbacks, things are changing in Northern Ireland. There is
hope as we see what was unimaginable even a few years ago
becoming a reality".

He continued: "True reconciliation cannot be enforced.
Forgiveness is part of reconciliation. Forgiveness demands
much - in fact too much for some. But understanding
encompasses both hope and openness to each other. In that
process we, as a community, can and must move on."

In Dublin, Archbishop John Neill said that a "relegation of
faith to a very private realm" had allowed the 1916
commemoration to take place on Easter Sunday.

Preaching in Christ Church Cathedral yesterday, he said:
"Easter means little for many in a secular society such as
we have in most of Europe today, including in Ireland. The
fact that a major national commemoration was arranged on
Easter Sunday morning in our capital city simply reflects
our changing society.

"In a secular society such as we have, there may be little
antagonism towards Christian faith. It is more a matter of
either indifference, or the relegation of faith to a very
private realm, with the underlying assumption that it has
very little to do with the real world." He emphasised,
however, that the affirmation that Christ is raised was not
something private that could be shut away in a corner for
people who like "that sort of thing", he said.

"We succumb to the secular indifference of the modern world
if we limit Easter to an area of personal faith alone," he

Catholic Archbishop of Dublin Dr Diarmuid Martin addressed
the same theme in his Easter homily at the Pro-Cathedral.
He said secularist thought would like to see religion
reduced to the private sphere.

"Religion, it is said, is a private matter and should have
minimal influence in the public domain. But secularist
thought can go further and can even influence the cultural
climate and even believers themselves. Secularist thought
can begin to drive a wedge between God and his creation.

"From saying that religion is a purely private matter, it
is easy to go on and to affirm that God has no real
relationship with the world, that the world is not in fact
permeated with divine thought. In such a situation faith
becomes not just a matter for the private individual, but
just a thought of the private individual, totally divorced
from reality," he said.

Believers had the right and duty "to be present in the
societies of which they are part, bringing the liberating
message of a 'God who is love' and who challenges all to
make love the fundamental principle which should guide
relationships between people," he said.

In his homily at St Patrick's Cathedral in Trim yesterday,
the Bishop of Meath, the Most Rev Richard Clarke, said that
"the risen Christ - in an Ireland where racial difference
is taken to mean inferiority, where vicious violence is the
instant response to insult (great or small), where material
voracity is the only game in town, and where celebrity
status is based on the infantilised willingness to invite
the entire world into what should be one's private life -
is not the winsome if ineffectual 'survivor' in the over-
familiar plot of a first- century soap opera.

"He is the definitive cipher for our coming to grips with
all that we are, all that we might become, and everything
that we could make of the world in which we live," Bishop
Clarke said.

© The Irish Times


Easter Rising Parade Attracts 100,000 And Wins Political Approval

The 90th anniversary Easter Rising military parade through
Dublin, which attracted over 100,000 spectators, has been
hailed as a success by political leaders, writes Stephen
Collins, Political Correspondent

The march was described by the Minister for Justice,
Michael McDowell, as "a spectacular success", while the
Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs, Éamon
Ó Cuív, said it was "a great day for which the public came
out in huge numbers."

Some 2,500 members of the Defence Forces, and veterans of
peacekeeping missions, marched through Dublin. Gardaí put
the crowd that watched them at 100,000, while the Minister
for Defence, Willie O'Dea, said some 120,000 spectators
lined the route.

The Taoiseach started the day of commemoration at a wreath-
laying ceremony in the stone-breakers' yard in Kilmainham
Gaol where some of the Rising's leaders were executed. He
said the 90th anniversary commemorations were "about
discharging one generation's debt of honour to another".

The Fine Gael leader, Enda Kenny, said the parade "was a
great showcase for the Irish Army, for the services at home
and abroad, and great to see them all". He said it could be
considered a long dress rehearsal for centenary
commemorations in 2016.

Also referring to the centenary commemorations, the
Taoiseach later told RTÉ: "I have no difficulty with how it
should evolve. I think there have been some good
suggestions that perhaps it should turn into a
commemoration of what would then be 100 years since the
foundation of the State."

Labour leader Pat Rabbitte agreed that the parade "was
well-organised and provided an opportunity for the defence
forces to put their capabilities on display". Green Party
leader Trevor Sargent said the parade was a symbol of a
modern Ireland.

Mr McDowell said the "open, inclusive" debate that had
taken place recently had brought a new generation of young
people into contact with 1916. While there would be
discussions on when to hold the next commemoration,
"today's events will encourage the Irish State to be
confident about celebrating 1916", he said.

The leaders of all the political parties in the Republic,
with the exception of Sinn Féin, joined the President and
the Taoiseach on the reviewing stand outside the GPO in
O'Connell Street. A range of other politicians and
dignitaries, including the British ambassador, Stewart
Eldon, and the SDLP leader, Mark Durkan, also attended.

However, Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams stayed away, as did
the party leader in the Dáil, Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin. Sinn
Féin was represented by its Louth TD, Arthur Morgan.

The ceremonies at the GPO got under way when at noon the
Tricolour was lowered to half mast to the accompaniment of
a piper's lament. Capt Tom Ryan, of the sixth Infantry
Battalion, read the Proclamation. President McAleese then
laid a wreath on behalf of the Irish people and there was a
minute's silence for all of those killed during Easter week

The parade began in Dame Street and was joined by Army
bands when it reached O'Connell Street. Army and Navy
personnel paraded with their latest equipment and vehicles
while Air Corps and Garda air support units flew overhead.
The Army equitation school, Defence Forces medical corps,
An Garda Síochána, UN veterans and ex-servicemen and ex-
servicewomen also marched. Mr O'Dea said he saluted "an
outstanding military display... A display that I am sure
has made the people of this country immensely proud."

The parade was also warmly received by descendants of those
who fought in the Rising. Fr Joe Mallin, son of Comdt
Michael Mallin, who was executed for his role in the
Rising, said it was clear a lot of preparatory work had
gone into the ceremony. Brothers Austin and Rossa Ó Briain,
grandsons of Cathal Brugha, said they were "very proud" of
how the anniversary had been marked.

© The Irish Times


Surviving Son Of Executed Leader Praises 'Unselfish Act'

By Paul Cullen

Relatives: Several hundred descendants of those who
participated in the 1916 Rising attended yesterday's

They included Fr Joe Mallin, the only surviving child of
any of the executed leaders, as well as many later-
generation relatives, including Government Ministers
Michael McDowell, Éamon Ó Cuív and Síle de Valera, and
former taoisigh Garret FitzGerald and Liam Cosgrave.

All of those who spoke to The Irish Times at a reception in
Dublin's Gresham Hotel after the event were positive about
the way the 90th anniversary of the Rising had been marked.
There was little support, however, for an annual
commemoration, with most people saying the next big event
should be held in 2016.

Fr Mallin, son of Comdt Michael Mallin, who was executed
for his role in the Rising, said it was clear a lot of
preparatory work had gone into the ceremony.

At 92, Fr Mallin travelled specially from Hong Kong to
attend the ceremony.

He was two when his father was executed in Kilmainham Gaol
on May 8th, 1916.

"1916 was an unselfish act that gave us our freedom, but
not just for ourselves. If we keep it for ourselves, then
we are being selfish."

For that reason, it was good to see the overseas work of
the Army being highlighted, said Fr Mallin, a Jesuit, who
earlier visited Kilmainham Gaol.

Brothers Austin and Rossa Ó Briain, grandsons of Cathal
Brugha, said they were "very proud" of the way the
anniversary had been marked.

While both men attend the annual anniversary Mass in Arbour
Hill, they didn't think there was a need for a large-scale
commemoration every year.

For Paddy Cummins, yesterday's events were reminiscent of
John F Kennedy's visit in 1963. "People need their hearts
lifted, and it happened again today, just as it did when
JFK came to Ireland."

Mr Cummins's wife's relatives fought in the War of
Independence, while his own father was a member of the
Dublin Fusiliers, who helped to put down the Rising. He was
a Fianna Fáil TD in the 1950s.

"I just thank God I was alive to see what happened today.
It was a tremendous effort that highlighted the good job
the Army does, and there was lovely weather too."

Having attended the 1916 commemoration yesterday, Mr
Cummins plans to travel to the Somme in September to
participate in ceremonies devoted to Tom Kettle, the Irish
poet who died fighting for the British army.

Bridget Ashe, from Straffan, said the event was very
dignified and she loved "every minute of it". Her husband's
uncle, Thomas Ashe, fought in 1916 and died a year later on
hunger strike.

Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs Eamon Ó
Cuív described the event as "a great day" for which the
public had come out in huge numbers.

Mr Ó Cuív, grandson of Éamon de Valera, said the parade
highlighted the wider role of the Defence Forces at home
and abroad. As well as defending the national territory,
they were involved in activities such as bomb disposal,
diving and rescue services and the interception of drugs
smuggling, while internationally they had a leading role in
peacekeeping. Mr Ó Cuív described 1916 as "the seminal
moment" when the creation of a Republic became a realistic
possibility. Before then, limited Home Rule was as far as
people could dream.

© The Irish Times


Ill-Fated 1916 Arms Ship Recalled

By Olivia Kelleher

Members of a Cork diving club yesterday placed a
commemorative plaque at the site of a scuttled steamer that
attempted to smuggle guns from Germany for the 1916 Rising.
The Aud was captured and its arms cargo scuttled, while
Roger Casement, who followed by submarine, was arrested
when he landed in Co Kerry.

The Aud set sail from the Baltic port of Lubeck on April
9th, 1916, under the command of Karl Spindler and his crew
of 22 men, all of whom were volunteers.

Laden with an estimated 20,000 rifles, a large supply of
ammunition, some machine guns and explosives, it evaded
British patrols, survived storms and arrived in Tralee Bay
on April 20th, 1916.

The arms ship was trapped by a blockade and escorted
towards Cork by the HMS Bluebell. At the approach to Cork
Harbour, Capt Spindler scuttled the Aud using pre-set
charges of explosive. He and his crew were arrested in a
lifeboat and became prisoners of war.

Members of the Sovereign Club dived 35 metres to the sea-
bed off Cork Harbour yesterday to place a plaque in the
area where the Aud sank.

Spokesman for the club Philip Johnston described Spindler
as one of the forgotten heroes of the Easter Rising. "I
felt he made a good effort and I thought it would be nice
to remember him."

The plaque placed at the site yesterday is inscribed in
Irish, German, and English and dedicated to "Roger
Casement, Captain Karl Spindler and the crew of the Aud."

All that remains of the steamer is the bow. During the
second World War, the British navy depth charged the wreck
in the belief that it might be a German submarine waiting
to pounce in a vital shipping lane.

Ironically, Casement returned to Ireland to try to stop the
Rising as he considered German help inadequate.

© The Irish Times


Campaign Groups Organise Counter Demonstrations

By Fiona Gartland

Parade protest: A small protest group calling itself "The
Unmanageables" and dressed as women from the 1916 Rising
held a demonstration on O'Connell Bridge during yesterday's

Handing out copies of the Proclamation, they said their
main aim was to assert Ireland's "right to national freedom
and sovereignty", as declared by the leaders of the first

The group also handed out badges with black shamrocks to
symbolise mourning for those who died "as a result of Irish
collaboration in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars".

Glenda Cimino, dressed as republican trade unionist Helena
Maloney, said the group was linking the Proclamation to
current social issues and highlighting areas where work
needed to be done. She said they opposed US military planes
landing in Shannon, and the road being built "through Tara"
and wanted to highlight the role of women as a peaceful

An alternative parade, to be held at noon today outside the
GPO, has been organised by Afri, an Irish group that
promotes human rights, peace and justice.

Focusing on the condition of the health service, the event
will feature a patient on a hospital trolley being pushed
past the GPO. Well-known faces who are expected to take
part include playwright Donal O'Kelly, actress Sorcha Fox
and poet Theo Dorgan. Protest co-ordinator Joe Murray said
the small group would be in stark contrast to yesterday's
display of military strength.

"In a time of a booming economy, we have a dying health
system where people are forced to endure appalling
conditions. Are guns and tanks more important than hospital
beds and school desks?" he asked.

© The Irish Times


Easter Commemorations: Round-Up


Belfast: The Sinn Féin president has again pressed the two
governments to "stand by the Good Friday agreement" and
called for "a meaningful, working partnership between
nationalists and republicans, unionists and loyalists",
writes Dan Keenan.

Speaking at the republican plot at Milltown cemetery in
west Belfast, Gerry Adams referred to the convening of the
Assembly at Stormont next month.

He confirmed Sinn Féin members would be there, but for only
one purpose.

"We will be there for one reason and one reason only," he
said. "The election of a government in line with the Good
Friday agreement." Addressing the Taoiseach and British
prime minister, he added: "This also has to be the focus of
the Irish and British governments."

"The two governments are now faced with a stark choice. Are
they going to stand by the Good Friday agreement or are
they going to continue to pander to rejectionist unionism?"
The answer to that question will become clear in the time
ahead, he said.

DUP leader Ian Paisley has a decision to make, Mr Adams

"He has failed in his campaign to smash Sinn Féin. He has
failed in his bid to see unionist majority rule returned.
The only way Ian Paisley will exercise political power is
in an executive with Sinn Féin. I do not say that to be
triumphalist in any way. I say that because that is the
reality which faces him today."

If an executive at Stormont is not agreed, Mr Adams
continued: "Then the two governments must deliver on their
commitment to jointly implement all other elements of the
Good Friday agreement and increase substantially all-
Ireland harmonisation and management."

SDLP leader Mark Durkan and deputy leader Alasdair
McDonnell were joined by senior party colleagues at the
official commemoration in Dublin.

Assembly members Tommy Gallagher, Seán Farren, John Dallat,
Alex Attwood, Dominic Bradley, Patsy McGlone and Dolores
Kelly also attended.

Speaking ahead of the commemoration the SDLP's senior
negotiator Seán Farren said: "While leaders like Connolly
and Pearse have inspired several generations with their
vision of an inclusive, united Ireland, it was not until
the Good Friday agreement that the whole of Ireland voted
overwhelmingly for an agreed and inclusive way forward."

He added: "The agreement enshrines the primacy of
democratic, peaceful dialogue. The role for all political
representatives as we remember the 90th anniversary of the
Easter Rising must now be to maximise reconciliation
between all the people of Ireland."


The aspirations of the 1916 Proclamation have yet to be
fully realised as successive Irish governments have ignored
the legacy of 1916, Sinn Féin's Martin McGuinness said
yesterday at an event in Cork city to commemorate the
Rising, writes Olivia Kelleher. Delivering the oration at
the republican plot at St Finbarr's cemetery in Wilton, Mr
McGuinness said he was incensed by political parties who
have moved to align themselves with the men of 1916 in a
bid to win votes in the forthcoming election.

"It is only now that all of the establishment parties who
have participated in government in this state are
attempting to rebrand themselves as republicans and the
inheritors of the legacy of 1916. It is wonderful the
effect that the prospect of losing Dáil seats can have on
election-year republicans."

Earlier the crowd marched from the National Monument at
Grand Parade in Cork city. Easter Rising commemoration
ceremonies were also held in Clonakilty, Youghal, Bandon
and Bantry.


Kilkenny held one of the first of the country's weekend
commemoration ceremonies on Saturday morning when Mayor
Marie Fitzpatrick led what she described as a "dignified
and respectful" event, writes Michael Parsons.

Robed members of the borough council, local Oireachtas
members, county councillors and veterans from the
Organisation of National Ex-Service Men and Women attended.
A military honour party was provided by soldiers from the
3rd Infantry Battalion led by Lieut Brian Connolly.

The Proclamation was read in English and Irish and the
Milan-based Kilkenny opera singer Paddy Rafter sang the
national anthem accompanied on violin by his 14-year-old
son Patrick.

Sinn Féin held a separate ceremony later on Saturday in the
village of Mooncoin in the south of the county.


Irish people should remember the "spirit of 1916" by
opposing the use of Shannon airport in the war against
Iraq, the brother of a Guantanamo Bay internee said during
Easter Rising commemorations in Galway, writes Lorna

Abubaker Deghayes - a British healthcare worker and brother
of Libyan lawyer Omar Deghayes, detained in Guantanamo Bay
for four years - said the best way to mark 1916 was to
"help other oppressed peoples".

Some 100 Fianna Fáil party members marched around Eyre
Square, led by two pipers, to the Liam Mellows statue,
where a wreath was laid shortly before 1pm. Minister of
State for Justice Frank Fahey recalled the role played by
Mellows in 1916. The "Galway of today" owed much to "the
courage and tenacity of the men of 1916", Mr Fahey said,
and the 1916 proclamation was then read by Connacht-Ulster
MEP Seán Ó Neachtáin.

Earlier some 70 supporters of Republican Sinn Féin laid a
wreath under the Mellows statue as part of a series of
events hosted by the party throughout Galway city and

© The Irish Times


Organisational Complaints Fail To Dampen Enthusiasm Of Spectators

By Paul Cullen and Fiona Gartland

Public reaction: The Easter Sunday ceremony and parade drew
an enthusiastic response from those who attended yesterday,
although there was criticism of some organisational

Restricted views, bad sound and heavy littering were just
some of the complaints aired to The Irish Times after
yesterday's events, but most people said they enjoyed the
event nonetheless.

"A bit slow to start, but excellent once it got under way"
was the verdict of Sheila McGlynn from Dublin. However, the
building works on O'Connell Street were a disgrace, she
said, while the sealing of rubbish bins for security
reasons created piles of litter.

"It was a great day, one that we've been waiting for years
to see," said Anne Sawey, who travelled from Newcastle, Co
Down, for the event. However, she said she didn't see all
that much of the parade because of the security barriers
erected along O'Connell Street. "I understand the need for
them but it's a pity the ordinary Joe Soap wasn't catered

While there was at least one large video screen, it wasn't
visible from Ms Sawey's viewpoint. "You'd think in this day
and age they'd have a few large screens along the route."
She particularly liked the fly-past, commenting: "At least
I could see that".

Steve Adams, from Hampshire, who was on a weekend break in
Dublin, pronounced the parade "superb" and also said he
liked the fly-past the most. The three Redmond sisters from
Dublin also praised the parade.

"Why shouldn't we celebrate our Army, when every other
country does?" one of them said. "Mind you, I didn't
realise we had so many soldiers. You'd wonder is there
anyone minding the country."

Caroline Pearson, from Connecticut, thought the parade was
a great tribute to the Irish and was impressed by the
aerial display.

"We read about the riots and I was a little concerned about
coming but when I saw all the checkpoints I felt better,"
she said.

Georgina Clarke, from Cabra, at the parade with her
grandchildren, said she enjoyed it but was sorry that the
hoardings on O'Connell Street spoiled the view. "It was a
fabulous display, they used to have this every Easter, it
was very good."

Tommy Ó Céileacháin, from Kinsealy, came to see the parade
with his family. "It was very good, but I was disappointed
that there were no Easter lily pins for sale."

Greystones resident Harry Acheson enjoyed the parade and
was pleased to see "how taxpayers' money is being spent".
His son Gary, home from San Francisco, said that the event
had proved it was possible to have a peaceful day on
O'Connell Street.

© The Irish Times


Relatives Share Memories Of Easter Rising

Relatives of those who fought and died in the Rising, the
War of Independence and the Civil War, today shared stories
of the bloody sacrifice in the years after 1916.

In the Gresham Hotel on O'Connell Street, grandchildren,
many of them elderly, shared stories of the Easter Rising
and spoke of their honour at witnessing the state tribute.

Pat Cummins, the nephew of a War of Independence soldier,
said he was delighted to live to see the military parade
resurrected. The 85-year-old former Dublin Fianna Fail TD
added: "Thank God I am alive to see today. It was a lovely

"It gives everybody an opportunity to appreciate the
wonderful role that the Defence Forces carry out to
preserve peace at home and abroad."

Others noted the pride and enthusiasm among the ordinary
people on the streets.

Muriel McAuley, from Limerick, a granddaughter of Tomas
McDonagh, spoke of her pride that their memory was publicly

"It went very well, we are very proud and pleased to see it
acknowledged," she said.

"It was stunning to see the memory of the Easter Rising.
Along the route you could hear the enthusiasm ... people
are becoming proud and not ashamed to be proud, that makes
us proud."

The 66-year-old, who revealed Padraig Pearse was her
mother's godfather, added: "It is nice for people not to be
afraid to be patriotic because there are so many people
afraid to be proud of the nation as a result of the

The relatives also attended a dinner at Dublin Castle along
with dignitaries and politicians to round off the day's

Robert Norton, whose grand uncle Peter Wilson was shot dead
by a British sniper as he surrendered, recalled the parade
of 1966 which he marched in. "I was very impressed and I
remember the Easter parade of 1966, I marched in it

Mr Wilson, who died aged 47, fought under 19-year-old
commander Sean Heuston with about 20 others at the
Mendicity Institution on the River Liffey.

Though they originally only intended to hold the building
for several hours they kept British forces at bay for two

Heuston was executed by firing squad in Kilmainham Gaol.


© The Irish Times/


Shocking Prisoner Neglect

By Repost Sunday, Apr. 16, 2006 At 8:13 AM

Irish prisioner Aiden Hulme has been subject to shocking
medical neglect since his inprisonment in England and will
loose his leg if immidiate action is not taken.

aidenhulme.jpg, image/jpeg, 78x120

Sign the online petition:

Irish prisoner suffering extreme medical neglect in English

For immediate release

Issued by the New Republican Forum, March 31st 2006

An Irish prisoner serving a 22-year sentence in HM Belmarsh
Prison in England may have to undergo an operation to
remove his leg as a result of extreme medical neglect.

27-year-old Aiden Hulme was imprisoned for alleged
involvement in the 2000/2001 ‘Real’ IRA bombing campaign in
London. Prior to his arrest and imprisonment Aiden was
involved in a serious motorcycle accident that left him
with a severely injured leg. In the immediate aftermath of
the accident he was receiving medical treatment at the
Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast and his condition was
improving at the time of his detention. However, subsequent
to his arrest and imprisonment in Britain’s notorious
Belmarsh Special Secure Unit [SSU], Aiden’s medical
condition began to deteriorate at an alarming rate.

In response to intense political pressure the Belmarsh
authorities reluctantly acquired the services of a medical
specialist and doctor to examine Aiden’s injured leg. After
a brief examination the Belmarsh-appointed specialist
informed him that the injured leg should be amputated.
Aiden’s family and friends, disturbed by and suspicious of
this opinion, immediately sought a second opinion.

After intensive and prolonged political lobbying by the
Irish Political Status Committee and other human rights
groups an independent specialist was permitted access to
Belmarsh SSU to examine Aiden. After the examination the
independent specialist deemed the limb “saveable” –
contrary to the opinion of the prison-appointed specialist.
However, the independent specialist insisted it was
essential that Aiden receive appropriate medical treatment
without further delay, warning he “feared the worst” if
adequate treatment was not forthcoming. Aiden underwent
surgery, but due to continuing medical neglect he is now
once again facing amputation.

Not only is Aiden still being denied proper treatment but
astonishingly, the Full Sutton prison authorities have
decided to gradually withdraw his pain-killing medication.
No alternative medication has been offered on the grounds
that the pain in his leg is “purely psychological”. The
painkilling medication Aiden is receiving has also been
called into question. He has been suffering from bouts of
short-term memory loss which he believes are triggered by
its use.

Michael Holden of the Irish Political Status Committee who
is at the forefront in highlighting Aiden’s plight informs
us that Aiden, along with all other republican prisoners in
Full Sutton, are currently being confined to their cells 23
hours a day. He says: “this is probably because we have
been drawing attention to Aiden’s and the rest of the lads’
plight recently, and also due to the fact that Aiden’s
legal team is taking the Home Office to court over the
coming weeks due to the medical neglect Aiden has suffered”

SDLP leader Mark Durkan has contacted the British Home
Office and the Department of Justice requesting that
Aiden’s repatriation application be processed without

Sinn Féin General Secretary Mitchel McLaughlin has also
called on the Irish Government to intervene immediately. He
said: “Aiden Hulme’s application for repatriation to an
Irish prison has been with Michael McDowell in the Irish
Department of Justice since last September (2005). I call
on Mr McDowell to process this application immediately so
that Aiden Hulme can come back where he will be close to
his family and receive the much needed medical attention
that he is entitled to.”

Aiden’s legal team has initiated proceedings against HMP
Full Sutton on account of the treatment meted out to him.

Various other political and humantarian groups have spoken
out about this case and an online petition has been lauched

For information visit or

Phone: 0851048298

Write to:
The New Republican Forum,
PO Box 10,
Dundalk Sorting Office,
Co Louth,


Facelift For Drumcree Mural

Chris Anderson
16 April 2006

A mural commemorating the Orange Order's Drumcree protest
is to be given a major facelift in the run-up to the
marching season.

Republicans have daubed the letters 'PIRA' across part of
the Portadown painting, which looks out onto the route
Orangemen follow on their parade to the church.

The weather has taken its toll on the Dungannon Road mural
which was a common sight on TV screens around the world at
the height of the Orange Orders' Drumcree protest a few
years ago.

And there were rumours that it would be removed by
loyalists as part of a clean-up of murals in the area.

Images of sporting heroes have replaced paramilitary scenes
on gable walls in the area in recent weeks.

However, loyalist sources in Portadown said the Drumcree
mural, along with one of murdered LVF leader, Billy Wright
at nearby Union Street would be retained.

"There was never a question of the Drumcree mural being
removed," one source said.

"The Drumcree parade protest is part and parcel of
Portadown's recent cultural history.

"It is a world-wide image. The new mural will let the wider
community know the people of Portadown haven't given up on
the Drumcree parade even if the local Orangemen have,"
claimed the loyalist source.


Opin: Celebrating Ireland’s Past Is First Step To Peaceful Future

Ruth Wishart April 17 2006

Well, it didn't rain on Bertie's parade. The crowds came
out with a watery sun as some 2500 troops assembled and
marched through central Dublin. Captain Tom Ryan, an
officer with suitably cinematic features, read the stirring
declaration which had urged Ireland's children to rally to
her flag that Easter Sunday in 1916. Modern "inclusive"
refinements included a senior British Army officer taking
the salute from the VIP dais and a woman hauling the
tricolour to half mast. There were no subsequent reports of
bodies birling in republican graves.

For some, it was all a welcome return to celebrating the
roots of Irish independence, an Eastertide ritual dislodged
by the troubles in the north and reinstated after a gap of
almost 40 years. For others, it was an unnecessary reminder
of old British and Irish hostilities at a juncture where
the future of Stormont remains uncertain and unresolved
despite the IRA's declared disbandment and disarmament.

For the sternest critics from Protestant Ulster it was no
more than an exercise in republican triumphalism. For the
more cynically inclined, yesterday's parade commemorating
the uprising of Irish rebels against the British government
and existing constitution was, as Dublin history lecturer
Diarmid Ferriter argued, "a scramble for the bones of the
patriot dead".

His was not the only voice which suggested that the 21-gun
salute also served as the opening shots in the campaign for
next year's elections in the Republic, elections in which
Sinn Fein is expected to build on its previous success in
the south. On this version of yesterday's events, the
genesis of reviving the remembrance ceremony was not so
much a noble desire to honour Ireland's founding fathers
and mothers but more a pressing need to remind electors
that it was the parties in the south – Bertie Ahern's
Fianna Fail in particular – that were their natural heirs,
not the carpetbaggers from the north.

And it was the Irish army of the south, and not the
northern IRA of the last quarter of the twentieth century,
that had legitimate claim to the mantle of Padraig Pearce
and his rebels, and who were entitled to play the patriot
game. Undeterred, Sinn Fein, as it has continuously done,
ran smaller ceremonies at some 60 other locations.

Anyone living on this side of the Irish sea enters Irish
political debates with extreme caution, but it seems to me
it's possible simultaneously to believe that yesterday's
events fulfilled a genuine and heartfelt desire to honour a
seminal moment in Irish history, but were also part of a
calculated strategy by politicians in the Republic to
discourage supporters from defecting to Gerry Adams's
troops. After all, 1916 itself was not a politically cut-
and-dried event.

Some of the people originally most hostile to the rebels
were Irish families whose sons were fighting and dying
under British command in the bloody encounters of the First
World War, not least when they found arms for the rebels'
struggle had been sought from Germany.

It's now at least partially accepted wisdom that what most
effectively turned public opinion around was not a sudden
surge of mass patriotic fervour, but rather the British
army creating martyrs by shooting the 1916 leaders and
interning some 2000 suspected supporters.

Yet even that political miscalculation has to be viewed in
the context of a time when the same generals had hundreds
of their own mainland soldiers killed for perceived
offences of cowardice or failure to obey orders in the
fevered atmosphere of the Great War. Many will argue that
nine decades after these events it must surely be possible
to view them with a degree of dispassionate observance and
celebrate the ultimate result of a confident republic, long
since comfortable in its own skin and sufficiently relaxed
about partition to talk about a united Ireland being
delivered, if at all, only through the ballot box and the
consent of a democratic majority.

That's an easier argument to make in a Dublin hostelry than
one in Belfast, also an ostensibly modern city with
cosmopolitan aspirations, where, nevertheless, the gable-
end artists still find themselves preoccupied not with 90-
year-old struggles but those from 316 years ago.

Folk memories can be reinforcing and they can be corrosive;
much depends on whether you choose to build on history or
wallow in it and yesterday's perceived injustices. In that
regard, the speech Bertie Ahern made when he opened a new
exhibition devoted to the uprising the other day is quite
instructive. In it, he tried to portray 1916 as no more
than the first of four building blocks of modern Eire. The
1937 constitution was the second, he suggested, the treaty
of Rome in 1972 and Ireland's subsequent embracing of
European membership was the third, and the fourth
cornerstone, the Good Friday Agreement forged with the UK
government in 1998.

That view of national history as a continuum in which
inward confidence breeds outward growth and engagement, is
far from the shrill recollection of bloodied heroes cut
down for the cause that some people feared yesterday might
have become.

In fact, it was a rather dignified, low-key affair, though
doubtless the city that rarely sleeps would have segued
seamlessly into party mode later that same day. Just
perhaps, by the time of the centenary event, there will be
no more eyebrows raised about Irish recognition of its
nation's birth pangs, than there are about the Americans'
wall-to-wall, coast-to-coast July 4 celebrations of kicking
out the Brits in 1776.

Then again, history can be marshy ground wherever you tread

In Scotland, there are already plans being formulated to
mark the 300th anniversary of the union between the
Scottish and English parliaments next year. You don't have
to be much of a psephologist to detect that notions of
commemorating this date will be more warmly welcomed in
some quarters than others.

One clan will promote the marriage as the historical path
to worldwide trade and prosperity, and doubtless throw in
the Enlightenment at no extra charge. One will talk of the
parcel of rogues who sold a birthright, dismantled an
ancient nation and provided the conditions for an oil grab
250 years down the line.

There will be a fresh outbreak of flag wars with sales of
Saltire underwear pitched against the union variety. It may
not end in tears but, personally, I've pencilled in a city
break in douce Dublin.

Muriel Spark


Opin: Re-Double Our Resolve To Win Peace

Alan McBride
16 April 2006

IT is now eight years since the signing of the Good Friday
Agreement - EIGHT YEARS!

Back then, it seemed to be about whether moderate unionism
and moderate nationalism could reach an accommodation with
themselves and with republicans.

It was a tall enough order, even with the infinitely
patient and diplomatic George Mitchell alongside to hold
the hands of David Trimble and John Hume (a task in which
Bono deputised - literally - on one memorable occasion at
the Waterfront Hall).

But when the Agreement didn't deliver on time and as
anticipated, there were many who retreated to the trenches
and cast their votes for parties that told them what they
wanted to hear.

So now our political representation is more polarised, and
to be granted permission to govern ourselves, we're
dependent on the DUP being prepared to snuggle up with the
Shinners (I acknowledge that it may be an abuse of Irish
pronunciation to put a 'h' in Shinners, but we could hardly
expect the DUP to snuggle up with the Sinners).

So, will the Big Man continue to chant faint hymns to the
cold fruitless moon 'til he leaves us for a better place?
Or will he finally lose his political virginity and taste
shared power at the age of 80? (By the way folks, that was
Alan McBride quoting from Shakespeare in the middle of that
last sentence, but you didn't need that pointed out, I'm
sure). Only time will tell - I make it 222 days and

In the interim, and there are so many interims on our road
to peace, we have another opportunity to reflect on the
good and the bad that we have seen along the way.

In terms of things getting better, there have been only 75
deaths due to the conflict so far this decade - 75 too
many, of course, but encouraging compared to 554, 891 and
2,177 in each of the previous three decades.

They say that there are lies, damned lies and statistics.
Well, those figures are none of them - these are people,
these are empty spaces where loved-ones once stood, and the
dramatic reduction is a fact that even the most ardent
critic of the process cannot deny.

On the downside, Northern Ireland continues to be a scandal
in the eyes of the outside world - saturated in religion,
but renowned as the place where Christians are killing one

At Christmas I wrote that my understanding of the message
of the season was that it was a celebration of
unconditional giving. Well, if I've got any kind of handle
on Easter, it includes an understanding that in spite of
our innate tendency to destroy one another, our planet and
ourselves, there is hope of reconciliation between man and
God, which can be borne witness to by a reconciliation of
humankind, so that there are no longer distinctions of race
or class or gender.

So what have we done? The church over the centuries has
created a whole new type of division for us, and here in
Northern Ireland we've refined it to the point where it's
not just something worth dying for - we'll kill for it,

People say that the conflict here is not about religion -
but it's certainly a factor. And, in light of the message
of Easter, that is perverse in the extreme.

The Christian belief, as I understand it, is that we were
bought peace through the Passion of Christ on Good Friday -
and politically we thought it had come on the same day
1,965 years later.

We should re-double our resolve to support those who
endeavour to make our hopes a reality.

I would like to wish everyone peace beyond their
understanding this Easter - whichever Easter Rising you are


Opin: Michael Davitt


President McAleese did a good's day's work on Thursday last
when she visited the town of Haslingden near Manchester,
where Michael Davitt spent 20 years of his life after his
family emigrated there from Mayo in 1851. This year is the
160th anniversary of Davitt's birth in 1846 and the
centenary of his death in 1906. Over his 60 year life he
was successively a Fenian, founder of the Land League,
prime creator with Parnell of the New Departure in 1879-81
which brought together advanced nationalists, the land
agitation and parliamentary struggle and in his later life
a tireless parliamentary reformer, labour activist,
internationalist, journalist and historian.

Davitt was well described by his biographer, the late Prof.
T.W. Moody, in the following terms: "He shed no man's
blood. He was the best loved and most trusted of all the
national chiefs of his day. His work for British and Irish
Labour has never been recognised. All men, especially
Irishmen, have reason to honour his memory." Davitt's role
was obscured in independent Ireland by his untimely death,
his opposition to political violence, his break with the
IRB in the early 1880s and with Parnell in 1890-1 and the
lingering suspicion of his radicalism among conservative
secular and clerical leaders.

He is just as well worth commemorating this year as the
leaders of the 1916 Rising. President McAleese vividly
recalled the hardship endured by the Davitt family when
they arrived in Haslingden after being evicted from their
tenant farm. This plebeian background coloured his whole
life and attitudes, from the time he lost his arm in a
cotton mill at the age of 11, through his enthusiastic
self-education in his teenage years, his involvement in the
Fenian movement during the 1860s, his imprisonment on arms
charges in the 1870s, to his remarkable involvement in the
Land League agitation from 1879. The techniques of social
struggle he helped invent then - rent strikes, passive
resistance, the "boycott" of landlords and their agents,
social ostracism - became part of the repertoire of social
change throughout the world over the next century,
influencing Gandhi and many others.

Davitt wanted to see the famous Land League slogan - "The
land of Ireland for the people of Ireland" - expressed
through land nationalisation, not peasant proprietorship.
That was not to be, as he soon realised. His very success
guaranteed that the subsequent national revolutionary
movement initiated in 1916 took place within a framework of
social conservatism laid down by the land revolution of the
previous generation. This historical irony should not
obscure Davitt's enduring appeal as a towering figure in
the Irish people's search for freedom.

© The Irish Times


Opin: Seeing 1916 In A New Light

John Waters

The last time I related this story, Ireland was a different
country. It relates to 1916, to 1994 and, perhaps more
importantly, to 2016 and to how we might mark the 1916
centenary in 10 years time.

Back in 1994, before the ceasefires, the Famine
commemorations and the Celtic Tiger, during the rehearsals
for my first play, Long Black Coat, we encountered a
dilemma. The play was set vaguely in the future - sometime
around 2020, though exactitude was not crucial. The problem
had to do with costumes. How could we convey a coherent
concept of moderately futuristic fashion without making too
much of it?

I thought it would be fun to dress one of the characters,
Jody, a man born around the mid-90s, in a white T-shirt
bearing the iconic profile of Pádraig Pearse and the legend
"1916-2016". The idea was to suggest a sea change in public
thought between 1994 and the time of the play, insinuating
that the centenary of 2016 had passed uncontroversially,
accepted by the young for no more and no less than what it
was. By communicating a sense that the memory of 1916 might
have been neutralised, normalised, I also hoped to deliver
a gentle, ironic poke to the mindset of Ireland 1994.

It wasn't supposed to be part of the play: Jody would just
wear the T-shirt and no one would make any reference to it.
But the meanings of the time won hands down. The audience
became determined to discover the allegorical dimensions to
which they imagined the T-shirt must relate. The critics,
with their unerring eye for superficialities, drew all
sorts of conclusions. The shirt became such a distraction
that we dropped it after a couple of performances.
Strangely, a dozen years later, the idea behind it seems
about to be rehabilitated.

In the past week or so, it has become clearer that we may
be awakening from the sleep of unreason that rendered us
unconscious for a generation.

There were, of course, some good and understandable reasons
why 1916 became discredited. Its appropriation and
dishonouring by the Provisional IRA made it difficult to
defend. But the necessary task of repudiation was taken too
far when revisionists sought to convince us that the dream
of 1916 was narrow-minded, insular, even racist - precisely
the opposite of its true essence.

A core tenet of the ideology of modernity is that progress
is always linear: every day in every way, things are
getting better and better. In the last three decades of the
20th century, there was loose in this society a deeply
damaging idea: that the past was backward and the present
self-evidently enlightened. We had moved from darkness to
light and must guard ourselves against slipping back.

But now we have a sense of a different chronology, not
darkness followed by light, but light followed by darkness
followed by the glimmer of a new dawn. In observing the
other day that we owe the freedoms and prosperity of the
present to the sacrifices of the 1916 patriots, President
McAleese did not quite succeed in articulating what she
must surely have been trying to say. She might have gone on
to say that the emerging Ireland, with its multiplicity of
people, faiths, colours and cultures, is a precise
flowering of the promises of the Proclamation. For what we
see with increasing clarity is that Easter 1916, so long
diminished and condemned as reactionary and
counterproductive, sowed the imaginative seeds of the
multicultural society on the cusp of which we now stand. It
is clear from what the 1916 leaders wrote and said that
they hoped their gesture would mark the beginnings of a
pluralist Ireland. For Pearse and the others, Irish
nationhood excluded no one who wished to bear allegiance to
the Irish nation, although this did not mean that Ireland
was simply the postmodern sum of the influences thrown
together on the island.

Throughout his writings, Pearse acknowledged the
contradictory nature of nationhood: on the one hand it
requires to be rooted in something pre-existing; on the
other, it depends for its life and health on interaction
and cross-fertilisation.

He quoted with approval Thomas Davis: "He who fancies some
intrinsic objection to our nationality to lie in the co-
existence of two languages, three or four great sects, and
a dozen different races in Ireland, will learn that in
Hungary, Switzerland, Belgium and America, different
languages, creeds and races flourish kindly side by side."

For a generation it has been impossible to defend Pearse or
draw attention to what he actually wrote and said. But a
change is on the way and now we begin to see precisely who
the reactionaries were.

Looking back in the clearing light of 2006, we observe a
direct line from the Proclamation to the present, with
those years of peevish self-hatred emerging as the true
aberration. We embark upon the short 10-year journey to the
centenary of our liberation with a new curiosity and a new

© The Irish Times


Opin: Facing A Quiet Papacy Under Pope Benedict


Rite and Reason: Pope Benedict will be Supreme Pontiff a
year on Wednesday. Patsy McGarry looks back on what has
happened since.

It was with deepest trepidation then that many witnessed
the speedy election of Benedict last year. He arrived
trailing diktats, after 24 years as prefect of the
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

In St Peter's Square, within seconds of his being presented
to the crowd as Pope, two text messages from Ireland
registered on my mobile. One read simply "Holy Jesus!" The
other, more graphically, "the church is finished", though a
different f-word was used. All around, jubilant seminarians
were going crazy while some older Catholics stood stunned,
illustrating a church divided.

And if ever a single figure could be said to bear
responsibility for that division there he was - waving to
the crowds from the balcony of St Peter's Basilica. Since
then many called on the great virtue hope to sustain them
through scepticism when they heard senior church figures
say: "He is not like that at all. In private he is a
humble, courteous man. A shy, gentle scholar."

Those senior figures might well ask, one year on, "what say
ye now of Benedict?" Well, clearly they are right about his
demeanour. He is a reserved man, uneasy with adulation
while yet warming to the crowds. To date it is this style
which has marked out his papacy by contrast with his more
gregarious predecessor.

Substantially though, nothing has changed. He has remained,
as expected, consistent. So there will be no change in
mandatory clerical celibacy - as he reiterated at the Synod
of Bishops in Rome last October. There has been no
discussion on women priests. There is no tolerance of
"dissident" theologians, though a welcome development took
place last September when Benedict met his old adversary
Hans Küng for four hours.

On ecumenism, Benedict told a gathering of Christian
leaders at World Youth Day celebrations last August that
Christian "unity subsists, we are convinced, in the
Catholic Church, without the possibility of ever being
lost". Hardly encouraging. He began that meeting with a
greeting to "the representatives of the other churches and
ecclesial communities". The "other churches" were the
Orthodox. The "ecclesial communities" were the Protestants

This was in line with his "not proper churches" description
of all Reformed Churches in his Dominus Iesus (2000)
document. The description deeply offends Protestants, whose
"ecclesial communities" Pope Paul VI described as "sister

Benedict was consistent too last November when he published
an instruction banning homosexuals from becoming priests,
while seminarians with temporary homosexual tendencies must
be free of those for three years before ordination.

In 1986 he described homosexuality as "objectively
disordered" and said the orientation tended towards the
"intrinsically evil". Undoubtedly it was such views that
prompted his intervention in the recent Italian general
election campaign to condemn same-sex marriage.

Of course there was his first encyclical Deus Caritas Est,
published in December, with its unexpectedly discursive
style and candid insights into (hetero)sexuality in
specific ("man") gender language. Its exploration of eros
and agape was refreshing, as was his addressing of
Nietzsche's assertion that Christianity had poisoned eros.
"Christianity of the past is often criticised as having
been opposed to the body; and it is quite true that
tendencies of this sort have always existed," he wrote.

It is ironic that the first philosopher Benedict quotes is
Nietzsche, the man who coined the "God is dead" phrase in
1882. One can imagine him metaphorically spinning in his
grave at being referred to at all in a papal encyclical.

Benedict described the first part of the encyclical, which
it is believed he himself wrote, as "more speculative". Of
significance too were his comments in it on the role of the
pastor. He quotes Pope Gregory the Great who "tells us that
the good pastor must be rooted in contemplation", and
Benedict is contemplative by nature.

It now looks likely that his will be a quiet papacy, for
which mercy let us be grateful (discreetly). He has, it
seems, said all he has to say on issues of doctrine and now
seems more interested in structure/reorganising the Curia,
which is under way.

Patsy McGarry is Religious Affairs Correspondent at The
Irish Times.

© The Irish Times


Bishop Comiskey To Give Eulogy At Kavanagh Funeral

By Patsy McGarry,Religious Affairs Correspondent


Bishop Brendan Comiskey will deliver the eulogy today at
the funeral of Dr Peter Kavanagh, brother of poet Patrick
Kavanagh, at Inniskeen Co Monaghan. Mr Kavanagh died in New
York on January 27th last.

Dr Comiskey, former bishop of Ferns, is from Co Monaghan
and has been a friend of the Kavanagh family for some time.
He has frequently quoted Patrick Kavanagh's poetry in
sermons and commentaries.

Dr Kavanagh was a writer, academic and lifelong champion of
his brother's work. Describing himself as the "sacred
keeper of his brother's sacred conscience", he provided
support for Patrick to get his literary career off the
ground and wrote two biographies about him "as a partisan,
as his alter ego, almost as his evangelist". He also became
involved in a lengthy legal wrangle over the copyright to
Patrick's work.

Later, he took exception to the burial of his brother's
widow, Katherine, in her husband's grave.

The brothers lived together in Dublin during the early
1940s before Peter, who held a Ph.D from Trinity College,
left for the US in 1946 to take up the position as
professor of poetry at Loyola University in Chicago. After
Patrick's death in 1967 he gave up teaching to publish a
series of books on his brother's life.

His cremated remains, placed in a coffin, will be taken
from the family home at Mucker, near Inniskeen, at 1.30pm,
arriving at Mary, Mother of Mercy Church, Inishkeen, at
2pm. Chief mourners will be Dr Kavanagh's widow, Ann
Keeley, and their daughters, Keelin and Caomh.

© The Irish Times

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