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May 11, 2006

Grief & Fear: Ballymena Isn't Safe For Catholics

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News About Ireland & The Irish

DI 05/10/06 Grief & Fear: Ballymena Isn’t Safe For Catholics
DI 05/10/06 Loyalists Target Young
BN 05/10/06 McGuinness Makes Anti-Sectarianism Plea
BB 05/10/06 Vigil Held For Murdered Schoolboy
BB 05/10/06 Teens Charged With Murdering Boy
BN 05/10/06 Loyalists Pledge To Continue Anti-Sectarian Drive
IT 05/11/06 Man In Belfast Court After Machine-Gun Seized
BN 05/10/06 Hain: SF Face No Extra Hurdles On Policing
IT 05/11/06 Paisley Nomination By Adams Labelled 'Gimmick' By DUP
SF 05/11/06 Francie Molloy Put Forward For Deputy Speaker
BT 05/10/06 O'Loan Gets Legal Threat
IP 05/10/06 Monastery Flats To House Homeless
BB 05/10/06 Opponents Of 11-Plus Take Stand
BN 05/11/06 Omagh Victims Meet US Consul In Website Battle
IN 05/10/06 Shoukri Pockets £17k From Peace Fund
DI 05/10/06 Nationalist Fury At Land Grant For UDR Memorial
IT 05/11/06 Opin: Policing Is Capable Of Being Resolved - Adams
DI 05/10/06 Opin: Morrison - Out Of The H-Blocks Came Determination
BL 05/10/06 Opin: And Now They Come For The Irish!!!!!!
IN 05/10/06 Opin: Tragic Period Clouded By ‘Set Of Proposals’
AP 05/10/06 AOH: Celebrate Fictional Life With Irish Wake
PL 05/10/06 Irish Prof Brings 'Gaelige' To Mon Valley Hibernians
JW 05/10/06 90 Years Later, Life Of One Irish Jew


Grief & Fear: Ballymena Isn’t Safe For Catholics

As the McIlveen family prepare for their murdered son
Michael’s funeral, friends say Ballymena isn’t safe for

by Eamonn Houston

Protestant and Catholic school children in Ballymena have
taken sectarianism into the arena of the internet, it
emerged yesterday.

Popular youth website, which offers teenagers of
school age the opportunity to meet each other on the
Internet, was littered with emotional and sectarian
messages directed at two Protestant youths accused of
involvement in the murder of Michael McIlveen.

The PSNI confirmed last night that detectives are closely
monitoring the website’s content.

The site unmasked a cauldron of hate and sectarianism among
youth on both sides of the sectarian divide in the County
Antrim town.

North Antrim SDLP MLA, Sean Farren said that the “poison”
of sectarianism had infected the youth of Ballymena and
blamed a lack of leadership in the town.

“The sad thing is that young people on both sides are
expressing sectarian views over the internet.

“This really exposes the extent of the problem and how deep
seated it is,” Mr Farren told Daily Ireland.

“It also highlights how urgent the need is for leaders to
exercise responsibility and draw the poison of sectarianism
out of young people who absorb what they hear from their
civic leadership.

“It is not surprising that young people are reflecting the
attitude of their leadership. This is a bad reflection on
our society.”

The web pages on were littered with highly charged
messages and threats.

News of the website’s content has alarmed public
representatives. is an international site that links schools world-

Billy Leonard, Sinn Féin councillor on nearby Coleraine
Borough Council said that the existence of the chat-rooms
would further inflame an already volatile situation.

“This is a worrying development,” he said, “these are deep
rooted sectarian tensions and it is incumbent on civic
leaders to lead and cut across the cul-de-sac arguments and
speak clearly against sectarianism on all levels.”

The leaders of three Protestant marching organisations in
the North issued an appeal for calm in the wake of the
murder of Michael McIlveen, and condemned the killing.

Orange Order Grand Master Robert Saulters, the Grand Master
of the Independent Loyal Orange Institution George Dawson
and the Sovereign Grand Master of the Royal Black
Institution William Logan also appealed to members of their
community with information about the attack to help with
the PSNI investigation.


Loyalists Target Young

Three other young Catholic males have been murdered by
hate-filled gangs in past four years

by Anthony Neeson

The murder of 15-year-old Ballymena student Michael
McIlveen is the most recent in the list of young Catholics
who have been beaten or stabbed to death by loyalist gangs
in the past four years.

Three other Catholics have been murdered by loyalists in
the past four years in similar circumstances to the
Ballymena teenager, not including the disappearance of
County Down woman Lisa Dorrian, where the PSNI are treating
the case as a murder inquiry.

Her body has still not been found.

Thomas Devlin was stabbed to death last summer on the
Somerton Road in North Belfast as he returned home with
friends after visiting a local shop.

Raymond McCord, the father of murder victim Raymond McCord
Jr – who was murdered in November 1997 by the UVF – has
accused the UVF of protecting the 15-year-old schoolboy’s

In a killing that was all too similar to that of Michael
McIlveen, three masked loyalists chased and beat 21-year-
old Lisburn Catholic James McMahon with baseball bats in
the town’s centre, causing serious head injuries.

He died in hospital the next day.

The mother of the eldest of five children later gave her
permission for her son’s organs to be donated.

At the time local priest Fr Seán Rogan said: “What a
contrast, that this woman’s interest in giving life be so
starkly opposite to the actions of those masked individuals
who were deailing in death.

“We salute for your bravery, for your thoughtfulness, for
your generosity. You are an example to us all.”

A year previously in the County Derry town of Portrush, 20-
year-old Catholic Christopher Whitson was set upon by a
loyalist gang and died in hospital following a sectarian
attack on August 4, 2002 outside Kelly’s nightclub in the

He had been celebrating his brother’s birthday when the
attack began after Mr Whitson was identified as a Catholic.


McGuinness Makes Anti-Sectarianism Plea

10/05/2006 - 19:00:08

Civic leaders in a town in the North were tonight urged to
come together and make a stand against sectarianism in the
wake of the murder of a 14-year-old Catholic schoolboy.

The call was issued by Sinn Féin chief negotiator, Martin
McGuinness, after he met the family of Michael McIlveen who
died on Monday from wounds sustained in a horrific beating
in Ballymena, County Antrim at the weekend.

Mr McGuinness, who earlier today was confirmed as Sinn
Féin’s candidate to become the next Deputy First Minister
in the new Northern Ireland Assembly, described the killing
as needless and unjustifiable.

The Mid-Ulster MP said: “We are over 10 years into a peace

“Sectarian hatred in our society must be tackled and dealt

“Ballymena has obviously been in the headlines in recent
years as Catholic churches, homes and businesses have seen
regular attacks.

“The murder of young Michael McIlveen has brought matters
to a head.

“No longer can civic leaders in Ballymena turn a blind eye.
No more can civic society in the town ignore this problem.

“I am calling publicly today for all civic, community and
political leaders in Ballymena to come together and
organise a mobilisation against sectarianism in our society
in memory of Michael to ensure that this needless and
unjustifiable sectarian killing is the last.

“Sinn Féin will stand side by side with any unionist
politician in challenging sectarianism within this

Mr McGuiness issued his call as police claimed up to 30
people could help identify Michael’s killers if they came
forward with information

Detectives said they believed the victim and his two
friends were chased from the car park at the IMC Cinema on
the Larne Road to the spot where the teenager was battered.

“It is believed that there were up to 30 people in the IMC
car-park between 11.30pm Saturday and 1.00am and police
need these people to come forward as they may have vital
information,” the spokesman said.

“They should contact the murder incident room as a matter
of urgency on 02825 667 280,” he said.


Vigil Held For Murdered Schoolboy

Family and friends of a Ballymena schoolboy beaten to death
in a sectarian attack at the weekend have held a vigil
outside his family home.

Michael McIlveen, 15, a Catholic, died on Monday after a
gang attacked him in the town on Sunday. Police have
appealed for information.

Flowers were laid and candles were lit while music played
at the front of his home in the Dunvale area.

The murder has been widely condemned by groups across the
political spectrum.

The teenager was attacked after buying a pizza in the early
hours of Sunday.

Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness said he had visited the
McIlveen family to express the party's sympathy.

Afterwards, Mr McGuinness called on civic, community and
political leaders in Ballymena to come together to work
against sectarianism in memory of the schoolboy.

The Protestant Loyal Orders described the killing as
"reprehensible and wicked".

The leaders of the Orange Order, Independent Orange Order
and Royal Black Institution said no claim to political
loyalty or religious affiliation could justify such a
"cowardly" murder.

Drew Nelson of the Orange Order said the way forward was
for the two communities to "share this small province we
live in, be tolerant of each other's culture and heritage
and their traditions and to get along together".

"Incidents like this just set community relations back for
years," he told the BBC's Good Morning Ulster programme.

Police believe Michael and two friends were chased from the
car park at the IMC Cinema on the Larne Road, past St
Patrick's army barracks, to the rear of Granville Drive
where he was attacked.

Up to 30 people who were in the car park between 2330 BST
on Saturday and 0100 BST on Sunday are asked to contact
police on 028 25667280.

On Tuesday, Michael's mother paid tribute to her son as
"popular" with Catholic and Protestant friends.

Michael was a pupil at St Patrick's College in Ballymena
which held a special assembly on Tuesday morning.

Young people have been holding vigils in the teenager's
memory and flowers have been laid at the spot where he was

On Tuesday, police were granted a further 48 hours to
question four people - three men and a juvenile - in
connection with the death.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/05/10 21:08:22 GMT


Teens Charged With Murdering Boy

Five teenagers including a 15-year-old juvenile have been
charged with the murder of a Ballymena schoolboy at the

They are expected to appear at the town's magistrates court
on Thursday, a police spokesman said.

Two other juveniles were arrested on Wednesday evening and
are being questioned by police.

Michael McIlveen, 15, died on Monday after a gang attacked
him in the town in the early hours of Sunday.

Family and friends held a vigil outside his home on
Wednesday evening.

Flowers were laid and candles were lit while music played
at the front of his home in the Dunvale area.

The teenager was attacked after buying a pizza in the early
hours of Sunday.

Michael was a pupil at St Patrick's College in Ballymena
which held a special assembly on Tuesday morning.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/05/10 22:00:48 GMT


Loyalists Pledge To Continue Anti-Sectarian Drive

10/05/2006 - 14:15:40

Loyalists in the North pledged today to continue an anti-
sectarian drive in the town where a Catholic schoolboy was
beaten to death.

But the Ulster Political Research Group admitted the
killing of Michael McIlveen, 15, could damage cross-
community initiatives in Ballymena, Co Antrim.

Darran Smyth, a spokesman for the body which advises the
UDA, said: “The UPRG in Ballymena want to condemn this

“We know there’s a possibility that through the tragic
death of this young lad we will see a setback in the
community work going on here.

“But we want to assure people we will continue to endeavour
to do everything in our power to combat sectarianism and
bring an end to it within the Borough of Ballymena.”

Michael was battered with a baseball bat after being chased
and cornered by a gang in the town early on Sunday. He died
in hospital a day later.

Police were today continuing to question five suspects –
four men and a juvenile – about the sectarian murder which
has numbed Ballymena.

Efforts to bridge the festering divisions between rival
Protestant and Catholic factions in the town had included
loyalists taking down flags and murals around the once-
besieged Harryville Chapel.

But the threat of revenge and further violence has weighed
heavy since the St Patrick’s High School pupil’s horrific

Mr Smyth, who was involved in the mediation attempts,
added: “We realise tensions are going to be high.

“People probably won’t be as forthcoming as they were.

“But we will be striving to do everything in our power to
ensure tragic circumstances such as this never happens


Man In Belfast Court After Machine-Gun Seized

A man was appearing before magistrates in Belfast today
following the seizure of an Uzi sub-machine gun in the

He has been charged with possession of a firearm and
ammunition with intent to endanger life.

The weapon was seized yesterday when a taxi was stopped
after a tip-off from a member of the public about the
vehicle's passenger after it left a city centre bar, police

The taxi was stopped in the Newtownards Road area of east
Belfast and the Uzi was recovered.

The man charged is believed to have been arrested at the
scene. A quantity of ammunition was later discovered during
a follow-up search at an address in the loyalist
Tullycarnet area of east Belfast.

© The Irish Times/


Hain: SF Face No Extra Hurdles On Policing

10/05/2006 - 19:15:51

Sinn Féin will not be forced to publicly back policing in
the North as a condition of being allowed to join a
restored devolved administration, Peter Hain insisted

The British Secretary of State said it would be “absolutely
essential” for parties in any new power-sharing executive
to respect the rule of law.

But no extra hurdles would be placed in the path towards
reviving the peace process, he told MPs.

Mr Hain – giving evidence to the Northern Ireland select
committee – also said he had no plans to revive moves to
allow “on the run” terrorists to escape a jail sentence.

And he blamed “spin fromsome elements in Dublin” for a
misinterpretation of plans for a “joint stewardship” if
agreement cannot be reached between the North’s parties.

Mr Hain, who told the committee he was optimistic that
agreement could be reached on restoring the devolved
institutions by November’s final deadline, was repeatedly
pressed on policing.

“If we are to have devolved government, working with real
credibility and real effectiveness, then clearly signing up
to the rule of law and supporting the police is an absolute

“But I do not want any late preconditions suddenly
assembled so that they effectively become possible hurdles
to the restoration of the institutions,” he told Democratic
Unionist Sammy Wilson.

“Everybody knows what needs to be done. But I don’t want to
make this a precondition and it won’t be made a
precondition for the restoration of the institutions.

“But there’s no question that it is unsustainable in the
medium term, let alone the long term, for parties to seek
to have ministers in the executive when they are not co-
operatin with the police,” he added.

“We need to move these things forward in sequence and in

Mr Wilson accused him of prevaricating and suggested there
would be no incentive for Sinn Féin to change its stance.

“I am not equivocating at all: I think there will be
rightly increased pressure on Sinn Féin to deliver their
end of the terms and commitments,” he insisted.

“That is to say that once the Bill received Royal Assent
there is no good reason for them not to move on policing
and I think they will.”

Mr Hain said he was “optimistic” about the chances of
restoring the executive by November.

And he told the MPs the November deadline was not flexible:
“If people expect us to blink first, I’m afraid they will
be disappointed.”

Controversial legislation which would have allowed “on the
run” terrorists to escape a jail sentence was dropped by
the government in January.

Sinn Féin’s decision to oppose the Bill because it also
applied to members of the security forces was blamed for
the decision.

Asked today if he wanted to bring back the proposals in the
future, Mr Hain said: “I’ve got no plans to do that.”

The inclusion of the phrase “joint stewardship” in last
month’s declaration by the London and Dublin governments
has caused some disquiet.

But Mr Hain said its meaning had been exaggerated.

“I think there was some unhelpful spin from some elements
in Dublin,” he told the MPs.

“It was a very carefully-chosen phrase; it did not imply
joint authority or joint government.”

Mr Hain also faced questions over why he was set to press
ahead with major policies such as introducing water
charging if he was confident devolution would be restored.

He said that, without swift action, the North would face a
“huge funding gap” but pointed out that if a political deal
was struck before the summer, the Assembly would be able to
deal with it.

And, even if there was no progress until November, it would
still face a “mountain of work”.


Paisley Nomination By Adams Labelled 'Gimmick' By DUP

Gerry Moriarty, Northern Editor

Gerry Adams plans to nominate Ian Paisley as First Minister
of Northern Ireland in the Assembly on Tuesday week. He
will also nominate Sinn Féin's chief negotiator Martin
McGuinness as Deputy First Minister.

The DUP characterised this nomination as a "gimmick" and Dr
Paisley yesterday predicted the proposal would be ruled out
of order by Assembly speaker Eileen Bell.

An Assembly spokesman, however, said that under standing
orders Mr Adams is entitled to nominate Dr Paisley.

It would then be for the Assembly speaker Eileen Bell to
invite Dr Paisley to accept or reject the nomination.

Dr Paisley made clear yesterday that he "certainly will not
be accepting anything from Gerry Adams". He said Mr Adams
should be "realistic" and realise that until republicans
had fully eschewed violence and criminality there would be
no government with Sinn Féin.

"Until he meets the requirements I am required to meet to
be in government, until that is settled there will be no
First Minister and no second Minister," added Dr Paisley.

While the notion of Mr Adams nominating Dr Paisley to head
a Northern Executive at Stormont ostensibly is remarkable,
it will be a largely academic exercise because there is no
chance of a deal until November 24th at the earliest - the
deadline for the full return of devolution set by the
British and Irish governments.

Meanwhile, Taoiseach Bertie Ahern and British prime
minister Tony Blair are expected to discuss the return of
the Assembly when they meet on the margins of the EU summit
in Vienna today.

The Assembly resumes at Stormont after a 3½ year absence on
Monday when MLAs will register as unionist, nationalist or
"other". On Tuesday business leaders are due to address
Assembly members on how devolution is good for the Northern

On Monday week the members are due to engage in the doomed
enterprise of electing a Northern Executive. It is then
that Mr Adams is expected to nominate Dr Paisley and Mr

He said that if that was unsuccessful, Sinn Féin would
again try to elect an Executive before the Assembly breaks
for the summer towards the end of June.

Mr Adams implicitly acknowledged the reality of Dr Paisley
scorning his nomination. "Do I believe Ian Paisley will be
First Minister? I don't know. I don't even know if he
knows. But I'm sure he will be conscious of the irony
involved in Sinn Féin preparing to go to Stormont to have
him elected as First Minister."

Mr Adams said that in the weeks ahead Sinn Féin would only
enter the Assembly to deal with issues pertaining to the
election of an Executive.

It would refuse to debate issues in the chamber such as
education, water charges, health and rates increases
because the Assembly in such circumstances would "be
nothing more than a talking shop".

Issue of policing is capable of being resolved, says Adams:
page 16

© The Irish Times


Francie Molloy Put Forward For Deputy Speaker

Published: 11 May, 2006

Sinn Féin Assembly member for Mid Ulster Francie Molloy has
been put forward as one of the Deputy Speakers in the
Assembly. This is the first time a Sinn Féin member has
held this position and is a reflection on the increased
political strength of the party over recent elections.

Commenting today after his appointment Mr Molloy said:

"Obviously I welcome the fact that Sinn Féin have taken
this position. However what is much more important is
moving swiftly to the position where the Assembly can meet
along with the Executive and All-Ireland Ministerial
Council as the fully functioning power sharing institutions
demanded by the Good Friday Agreement. What Peter Hain is
proposing on Monday falls short of that.

"I will not be taking part or chairing debates on issues
over which the Assembly has no power. I am not interested
in a talking shop. I will play a full role in trying to get
an Executive elected and through that allowing the Assembly
to begin to do its job.

"Given the historic initiatives taken by republicans over
recent times I believe that a real opportunity to make
progress does now exist. We have an opportunity to send
British Ministers home and for local politicians, who know
the issues, to take responsibility for deciding the future
direction of Health and Education, the Environment,
Policing and Justice and much more.

"But big decisions lie ahead for Ian Paisley and his party.
Are they up for sharing power on the basis of equality and
respect or are they going to continue running away from the
difficult but challenging business of decision making."


O'Loan Gets Legal Threat

Retired senior policeman claims his rights breached

By David Gordon
10 May 2006

Retired senior policeman claims his rights breached

POLICE Ombudsman Nuala O'Loan has been threatened with
legal action after criticising a high-profile investigation
by a senior RUC detective.

Ex-Chief Superintendent Eric Anderson, now retired, was in
overall charge of the inquiry into the death of teenager
Alice McLoughlin in Portadown in 1991.

Sixteen-year-old Alice sustained a fatal wound from the gun
of an off-duty policeman.

In a report published yesterday, Mrs O'Loan cleared the
officer of any involvement in her death.

But she criticised the investigation headed by Mr Anderson,
arguing that a more thorough forensic inquiry could have
addressed many of the concerns of Alice's family.

Her report did not name Mr Anderson, referring to him only
as the senior investigating officer. It also stated that he
had refused to co-operate with her office's review of the

His lawyer, Lisburn solicitor Jim McFarland, has alleged
that his human rights have been breached.

He told the Belfast Telegraph that he is recommending legal
action by Mr Anderson.

"It is a clear and unequivocal breach of a person's human
rights to publicly criticise him without giving him a
chance to defend himself," he said.

The solicitor denied that his client had refused to co-
operate with the Ombudsman. He said his co-operation had to
be limited for health reasons.

The lawyer also defended the forensic investigation into
Alice's death, saying it had exceeded anything carried out
in Northern Ireland before, and had involved bringing over
a forensics expert from Great Britain.

In her report, Mrs O'Loan stated: "The Police Ombudsman is
of the view that it would be both morally and ethically
desirable for retired police officers to assist
investigation into cases of which they have knowledge,
particularly where the family of someone whose death is
being investigated need as much information as possible to
facilitate some form of closure on such tragic incidents."

A change in the law would be needed to give the Ombudsman
the power to compel retired officers to co-operate. Mrs
O'Loan intends to raise this issue in a five-year review of
the legislation governing her office.


Monastery Flats To House Homeless

A HISTORIC Belfast monastery that has been a haven of peace
amid years of sectarian conflict is to be transformed into
apartments for the homeless.

The 125-year-old Holy Cross Monastery in North Belfast will
be re-developed to address the shortage of housing within
the Catholic Ardoyne area.

Situated between the nationalist Ardoyne and Loyalist
Shankill regions, Holy Cross Monastery has been at the
centre of some serious and much-publicised disturbances.

In 1969 the monastery hall housed people burned out of
their homes during some of the area’s worst conflicts.
During the Troubles 24 Passionist priests lived there but
today it houses just four.

Holy Cross Rector Fr. Aidan Troy said that the Passionists
remained committed to the area.

He said: “We felt that such a big building could be put to
better use. With the serious problem of homelessness in
north Belfast we thought it would be better if the
monastery could be developed to give a new home for

The monastery will be transformed into 13 apartments,
although the face of the listed building will be preserved
and a separate house built for the remaining priests within
the grounds.

Fr Troy said the money from the sale of the building would
also be used to set up a community centre.

He said: “We see this social project as breathing new life
into the monastery. Hopefully the legacy of Holy Cross will
live on for another 100 years and beyond.”


Opponents Of 11-Plus Take Stand

Politicians, teachers and community workers who support the
abolition of the 11-plus are to meet at Stormont.

Organisers said the meeting on Thursday would "show
solidarity" with government plans to drop the examination.

Speakers will include members of the Alliance Party, SDLP
and Sinn Fein, teacher associations and the voluntary and
community sector.

They will be asked to pledge support for a system which
permits all children "to reach their full potential".

'Different view'

The Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action (NICVA)
said many politicians, teachers and leaders of civil
society "support the ending of unfair and irrational
selection of children at the age of 11".

Spokesman Paul McGill said: "The powerful grammar school
lobby has been active on the issue but many other groups
and individuals take a different view."

The last 11-plus transfer test is scheduled to be held in

In January 2004, the then education minister Jane Kennedy
announced that the government was abolishing academic
selection in Northern Ireland.

The first move to remove the system was made by assembly
education minister Martin McGuinness hours before he left
office in October 2002.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/05/10 21:19:20 GMT


Omagh Victims Meet US Consul In Website Battle

11/05/2006 - 07:51:03

Omagh bomb victims will today urge the US government to
help them shut down a website linked to the terror group
behind the atrocity.

Relatives of some of those murdered in the Real IRA
massacre are meeting the US Consul General in Belfast, Dean

Michael Gallagher, whose son Aiden was among 29 people
killed in the no-warning strike on Omagh, said the focus
would be on winning Washington’s backing for a move against
a site promoting the 32 County Sovereignty Movement.

“The service provider is based in Toronto (Canada), but
they have sister companies in the US,” Mr Gallagher said.

“When they put something up on the internet they are
broadcasting it into the US.

“We are asking the US government to talk to their Canadian
cousins and say this website is contrary to the current
climate of putting pressure on terrorists and terrorist

Mr Gallagher was in Toronto earlier this year as part of
his campaign.

He told them how the 32 County Sovereignty Movement was the
Real IRA’s political wing.

The Omagh families will also use the meeting at Mr
Pittman’s offices to express their thanks for the US
administration’s support for their £14m (€20.4m) civil
action against five men they suspect of plotting the August
1998 bombing.

The landmark case at the Northern Ireland High Court will
not be heard, however, until after the trial of South
Armagh electrician Sean Hoey, the man accused of the Omagh

Mr Gallagher added: “We also want to thank them because it
was an American FBI agent, David Rupert, who infiltrated
the Real IRA and was a key aspect in getting Michael
McKevitt, its leader, convicted.”


Shoukri Pockets £17k From Peace Fund

By Barry McCaffrey

NEARLY £20,000 of peace funding provided through Martin
McAleese was extort-ed by UDA leader Andre Shoukri to feed
a chronic gambling habit and enjoy a holiday to Tunisia, it
was revealed last night.

President Mary McAleese’s husband Martin visited north
Belfast in June 2004 and agreed to ask southern business
contacts to provide money for a ‘community house’ on the
Westland estate.

The funding was part of a package which Mr McAleese and
Irish business leaders provided to help working-class
Protestant communities across the north.

Within days £20,000 was lodged in an account at the First
Trust Bank on the Antrim Road in north Belfast in the name
of the Westland Action on Youth Sports and Culture (WAYSC).

However, shortly afterwards Shoukri demanded £10,000 from
WAYSC trustees.

Weeks later the 28-year-old de-manded another £7,000 to pay
for a five-star holiday to Tunisia for his family and the
family of north Belfast loyalist Alan McClean.

The WAYSC trustees cut their ties with Mr McAleese shortly
afterwards, fearing that Shoukri would siphon off more

The news that money provided by Mr McAleese’s business
contacts was pocketed by Shoukri is understood to be part
of a dossier of evidence provided to a UDA ‘inquiry’
earlier this week.

The paramilitary group’s leadership is investigating the
activities of Andre Shoukri, pictured, his brother Ihab and
their supporters over the last three years.

The inquiry was held in south and north Belfast earlier
this week.

Earlier this year The Irish News revealed how Shoukri had
gambled away more than £860,000 over two years.

That figure was later confirmed by the Public Prosecution
Service when Shoukri appeared in court on charges of
extortion, blackmail and money laundering.

It is understood other evidence provided to the UDA
included claims that Shoukri siphoned off £20,000 in EU
peace funding from a loyalist prisoners’ office.

Shoukri is also alleged to have coerced UPRG spokesman
Eddie McClean to take out a loan to

buy a green BMW in April 2004.

McClean, who died of a suspected brain haemorrhage in April
2005, had no valid driving licence and could not drive.

Shoukri was regularly seen driving the car around north and
west Belfast.

It is further alleged that Shoukri was given £2,000 by the
UDA’s ‘inner council’ to pass on to McClean’s widow but it
is understood she only received £1,000.

EU funding for the prisoners’ centre was frozen in August
2004 after financial irregularities were discovered.

An Aras An Uachtarain spokeswoman said it would be
inappropriate to comment on the claims.


Nationalist Fury At Land Grant For UDR Memorial

by Ciarán Barnes

A row has broken out on a Co Antrim council after it agreed
to provide land for an Ulster Defence Regiment memorial.

Unionists on Lisburn City Council have pushed through a
proposal that will see the council hand over property in
the city centre’s main square for two UDR statues.

Nationalists are furious at the move, which came less than
two weeks after the emergence of documents revealing the
extent of UDR collusion with loyalist paramilitaries during
the 1970s, including providing them with the bulk of their
murder weapons.

Lisburn Sinn Féin councillor Paul Butler described the
council’s involvement in the UDR memorial project as
“highly insensitive”.

He said: “Catholics will see this as reward for a regiment
that was up to its neck in sectarian killings.

“Unionists tell us that Lisburn is a city for everyone but
many nationalists will see this as more proof that Lisburn
is only a city for one section of the community.

“This monument will stand as an indictment of the sectarian
and exclusively unionist agenda which has been pursued by
this council virtually since its inception.”

The UDR, a predecessor of the Royal Irish Regiment, had its
old headquarters in Lisburn. The council awarded the
regiment the freedom of Lisburn in 1990.

An equality impact study conducted by the council into the
city centre’s suitability for the UDR memorial found no

Democratic Unionist Party councillor Andrew Ewing said the
UDR memorial plans would win the support of all communities
in Lisburn.

“The UDR protected both communities. Establishing a
permanent memorial in the centre of Lisburn would be a
fitting tribute to the brave men and women, both Catholic
and Protestant, who served in the regiment,” he said.


Opin: Issue Of Policing Is Capable Of Being Resolved, Says Adams


In the second of a series of interviews with key figures in
the peace process, ahead of Monday's planned return of the
Northern Ireland Assembly, Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams
talks to Frank Millar, London Editor.

Despite deep misgivings about the strategy adopted by the
Irish and British governments, Sinn Féin will be at what
Gerry Adams calls "the [ Peter] Hain Assembly" when it
convenes at Stormont next week.

Months of negotiations lie ahead, and we know what
republicans hope to see at the end of the process. But
before the hard bargaining gets under way, I put it to the
Sinn Féin president that his party's influence is in fact
diminishing, and that he may have to settle for
considerably less than he achieved in the Belfast Agreement
back in 1998.

Mr Adams acknowledges "that would certainly be a concern"
if it proved the case. "Our objective is straightforward.
We will make a serious effort to create the conditions
where the DUP become part of the powersharing arrangement
in the terms of the Good Friday agreement.

"There aren't any other acceptable terms . . . We go in
with a good will and will make a big effort, and I've
actually been telling republicans we should suspend our
scepticism about the DUP.

"In terms of the process, this is probably the last effort
there's going to be in the lifetime of Ian Paisley to get
this straightened out, and the Paisley deal is the best
deal. So let's see if we can get that."

Yet there are reasons for thinking Mr Adams might be
disappointed. Sinn Féin has lost in David Trimble a willing
unionist partner; doesn't it now face in Dr Paisley a
leader mandated to reverse what unionists regard as a
process of concession-making to Sinn Féin?

"Let's see. I don't underestimate the difficulties for
unionism, nor the fact that the DUP had its position on
these matters. But the DUP are now the leaders of unionism
and they now have a responsibility to figure out the best
way forward.

"Of course the DUP will try to figure out a way forward
which is best for unionism.

" But there will be no return to majority rule. There can
be no situation where the inequalities which were inherent
within the six-county state can be accepted.

"There is a whole raft of measures in terms of the Good
Friday agreement which have to be delivered on, and the DUP
has a veto only over one, and that is whether they will
participate in the powersharing arrangements or not.

"I would like to see them participating. But if the DUP
decides it's not going to be part of this, that's its
decision. Sinn Féin will continue to do what we are doing
in terms of trying to proceed with reform and modernising .
. ."

As, I observe, they've been forced to do for a long time
now, given the suspension of the institutions for longer
than they ever operated. Indeed, isn't this the point? Sinn
Féin is now dealing with a DUP which is confident, not
least because they believe the republican movement has lost
the leverage that came from the IRA campaign. Like the
British state, the DUP also calculates that the IRA can't
now go back to "the war" and thus that Sinn Féin's
influence is diminished the longer peace takes root?

Mr Adams doesn't flinch, recounting the familiar charges
about the UDR, security force collusion in sectarian
killings, and what he sees as a state of denial within the
unionist leadership "for the situation which developed into
conflict", before issuing his challenge: "We should be
pleased that the war's over. If we're thoughtful about
this, and I think there are people in the DUP who are
thoughtful about this, the last 30 years wasn't good for
anyone, particularly in terms of those who were bereaved or
who have injured family members. But without the last 30
years, had unionism been allowed to continue, the situation
would just be desperate."

Even the unionists he appeals to will hear in this a
defence of the IRA's work over those years? Mr Adams says
"they shouldn't be surprised at that" while insisting:
"Let's not go into refighting the war."

Except that unionists still see him as the enemy. They
distrust where he's coming from and where he wants to take

Their constitutional purpose is inimical to his. They will
naturally seek the best terms. And again, they're more
confident now - courtesy of the end of the war and,
incidentally, assurances from Peter Hain and Dermot Ahern
that the alternative to powersharing will not be joint
London-Dublin authority.

With the territorial claim in Articles 2 and 3 of the Irish
Constitution gone, and the principle of consent
established, unionists might think relatively benign Direct
Rule plus a bit of North/South co-operation is something
they can live with? They've nothing to fear have they? "And
Sinn Féin continues to grow across the island," comes the

"Sinn Féin's going to continue to be an influence which
will radicalise and popularise these broad republican
concepts. Now, we can sort of divide across the island -
orange in this little northeast corner, and the rest of the
island becoming increasingly green - or we can try to find
accommodations and I think the Good Friday agreement is a
good accommodation."

In terms of helping the DUP to an accommodation, does he
accept the Belfast Agreement's assertion of Britain's
sovereignty in Northern Ireland, subject only to the
principle of consent?

"I would put it in slightly different terms. I accepted the
Good Friday agreement, I was part of the group that
negotiated it.

"We're for the agreement. If the agreement doesn't work,
all the elements in it are still necessary to bring about
the type of rights-based society which is required.

"One of the significant dimensions of the agreement which
is very clear is that the British government has said that
it will only stay there for as long as the majority of
people want . . . like a couple deciding they will get
divorced, but will wait until the children are grown up.

"It isn't as British as Finchley. It isn't the absolute
commitment to the Union. It isn't the same arrangement as
there is for England, Scotland and Wales.

"Does it go as far as republicans would want it to go? No,
but it is still a sizeable movement forward. And, you see,
we have to stop shaping ourselves in the shadow of

But doesn't that expression speak of Mr Adams's profound
and continuing failure to understand the nature of
unionism? Unionists don't see themselves living "in the
shadow of Britain" but rather in the country, and under the
government, of their choice?

But no: "Unionism is much more paranoid about the Brits
than I would ever be, feels much more insecure about the
Brits than I would ever be."

Unionism, he says, can decide to maintain a "not an inch"
approach, look after what are seen as unionist concerns
"and continue with this living in the shadow of Britain" or
"be genuinely confident and try to work out an

Supposing Dr Paisley was confident enough to contemplate an
accommodation, isn't it certain he would require Sinn
Féin's upfront endorsement of the Police Service of
Northern Ireland?

Mr Adams maintains his traditional line, asserting that
Sinn Féin will resolve its attitude to the PSNI "when the
British government completes the commitments they have
made" on the issue. But will that be good enough this time?

President George Bush's envoy Mitchell Reiss says it is a
requirement of any party seeking to enter government that
they support the police? Mr Adams advises: "Do not heed
what Mitchell Reiss has said. Mitchell Reiss will not be
sorting these matters out."

DUP chief whip Nigel Dodds also says endorsement of the
PSNI is "a prerequisite" for any party sitting in
government anywhere in the UK? "Well, let's talk about
these issues," he offers.

But Dr Paisley almost certainly won't see much to talk
about. Does Mr Adams really think the DUP leader will sit
in government with Martin McGuinness, a Sinn Féin Deputy
First Minister who doesn't support the police?

He insists to the contrary "the big issue is whether Ian
Paisley will go into a powersharing government". But say he
is prepared to do so, and policing emerges as the DUP's
bottom line?

"Well, the issue of policing has to be resolved anyway."
Yes, and I might have been told that in any one of a number
of interviews since the Belfast Agreement.

This debate has been going on for years. Can it be resolved
at least in principle by November?

Like any politician Mr Adams can "talk the talk". However,
while the DUP may remain sceptical, longer term students of
the republican "process" will almost certainly find his
answer instructive.

"Policing may be a necessary element in the resolution of
the outstanding matters to do with the Assembly. But
policing needs to be dealt with anyway, if there was no
Assembly. If there was none of this issue you have
articulated bearing down upon the process, policing still
needs to be resolved."

So will Sinn Féin step up to the plate? "There is no issue
that is not capable of being resolved, including the issue
of policing, that's the best answer I can give you. If the
DUP cast about for reasons why they will not be involved in
powersharing, that's their choice. But I think we have
clearly said the policing issue needs to be resolved.

"Given the British government propositions to resolve it -
and they've agreed to proceed on those - that will then
bring the onus back on Sinn Féin, so that's going to happen
anyway in my view."

Tomorrow: Frank Millar talks to Peter Hain, Secretary of
State for Northern Ireland

© The Irish Times


Opin: Morrison - Out Of The H-Blocks Came Determination

Danny Morrison

A few years ago the photographer Donovan Wylie published a
book, The Maze, which contained page after page of
depressing photographs of little variety and some
explanatory text.

‘Inertias’ are 15-foot wide voids, containing movement
sensors, running immediately parallel between the inside
wall and inner fence of the H-Blocks. He published 26 of
those. ‘Steriles’ are also prohibited areas running
parallel to the perimeter walls but on the other side of
the inner fence. They can also exist at different places
within the prison. He gives us six tedious examples of
these and eight examples of inner roads.

He also photographed H-5, 24 virtually identical cells in
its B-Wing and the wings’ exercise yards.

All of the photography was carried out between 2002 and
2003, long after the release of the prisoners – so the jail
is empty of human life, though nature is bubbling through
and has begun its work in undermining the tarmac and
concrete, and vines and ivy are slowly enveloping the

Wylie also publishes a photograph of a cell in the prison

The prison hospital.

It is bare, spotless and bright. Since then, it and the
other cells in the hospital have become discoloured and the
paint is being shed in flakes or as powder.

Last Friday, May 5, a group, including former prisoners and
activists, marked the 25th anniversary of Bobby Sands’
death by visiting the prison hospital. We had planned a
quiet and private event but mid-week the press heard about
it through the Office of the First and Deputy First
Minister (OFM/DFM). So, at the entrance to the prison,
before and after the visit, there were responses to
questions from journalists about the impact and legacy of
the hunger strike. These, in turn, became the pretext for
yet another unionist attack on the memory of the hunger

Bobby Sands’ courage and sacrifice have been commemorated
by republicans across Ireland. The occasion of his death
was marked by television and radio documentaries and
features in the media. Stalking Bobby Sands and the memory
of the ten hunger strikers, no matter where you looked, was
a diminutive, self-important character.

Richard O’Rawe was everywhere, cheered on by the very
people who attempted to criminalise the republican
struggle. His book should have been called, On Another
Man’s Hunger Strike for he has diminished his own sacrifice
as a blanket man. The fool.

IN Bobby Sands’ cell and in those of the other nine hunger
strikers we held a minute’s silence. A few words were
spoken – in Irish and English – but the solemnity, the
sadness, said all there was to say. An extract from the
last day of Bobby’s hunger strike diary was read and some
stanzas from The Torture Mill – H-Block, including:

They lounge in might and glory bright
This empire once so grand.
With bloody fleets and dirty feats,
They built it without span.
But tank or gun they have not one
To break a blanket man.

The door at the bottom of the hospital wing, which gives
onto an exercise yard, was open. We went out into it. The
sky was blue but the compound was grey and grim, with a
horizon of barbed wire fencing broken only by a deserted
look-out post.

In 1981 the hunger strikers were moved off the wings around
the 21-day mark and transferred here to the hospital where
they waited for a settlement or death. At this stage they
were still mobile and were allowed an hour’s exercise a
day. They shuffled round this enclosed space in dressing
gown, pyjamas and slippers. Laurence McKeown recalls there
being some plastic chairs in the yard that summer. He
brought out a pillow – his hips had shrunk and it was
painful to sit on a hard surface – but the prison warders
wouldn’t allow him to use the pillow and an argument broke

I remember being in jail in my late teens as an internee
and how much we complained. There were, of course,
legitimate causes for complaint: the failure of warders to
respond to the emergency bell when someone fell seriously
ill; the regular army searches, etc. Generally, internees
felt so sorry for themselves that I am embarrassed thinking
about the trifles we moaned about.

Internees and convicted political prisoners with status
also had family worries and concerns, but the TV, the
radio, a good book, a game of football, could act as a
distraction. None of these were available to the blanket
men. You couldn’t compare our prison world with their
worries, concerns and fears, always waiting on the cell
door opening and never knowing what size of screws were
there to assault them. Contact with their family was down
to one half hour a month.

Their morale went up and down. The numbers on protest also
varied – as some became physically and psychologically
exhausted, or because of family pressures and punitive loss
of remission they left the protest.

Nevertheless, the protest never faltered and continued
uninterrupted from September 1976 until 1981 when the
prisoners were given their own clothes. From a position of
unity and strength they then established a full return to
political status.

The story of the protest in Armagh and the H-Blocks is
incredible: it is epic. The suffering and endurance of the
prisoners can never be taken away from them or their

Against the background of the commemorations, unionist
politicians have renewed their criticism of plans to
preserve the prison hospital and a H-Block as part of an
International Centre for Conflict Transformation. Unionists
are still involved in the old war of trying to criminalise
the prisoners, a war that is over and which the authorities
lost. They lost it as a result of the recognition which the
political prisoners achieved, particularly by being
elected. They lost it with the early release of the
political prisoners under the terms of the Belfast
Agreement. They lost it with every peace move the
republican movement has made.

As far as many unionists are concerned the North was ‘a
great wee place’ before 1969; there was no discrimination
under Stormont; the RUC never murdered anyone; there was no
torture in Castlereagh; loyalist paramilitaries only
responded to the IRA and prisoners were never beaten. Those
who deceive themselves the most are the DUP. They have
imprisoned themselves in a maze, as grey and drab as
Wylie’s pictures of the H-Blocks. Yes, definitions of
Inertia and Sterile.

Unionist politicians, as well as being representatives, are
meant also to be leaders. They can choose to merely
represent prejudice and, by amplifying prejudices,
reinforce them. However, showing leadership means grasping
other concepts, viewing situations from other perspectives,
allowing for other possibilities. Stating the truth can
liberate another truth, and in that way liberate us all.

The hunger strike changed the nationalist community
forever. It emboldened it, increased its self-confidence
and determination.

For that we have to thank Bobby Sands MP, Francis Hughes,
Raymond McCreesh, Patsy O’Hara, Joe McDonnell, Martin
Hurson, Kevin Lynch, Kieran Doherty TD, Thomas McElwee and
Micky Devine.


Opin: And Now They Come For The Irish!!!!!!

May 9, 2006 -- First they came for the Muslims and the
Arabs . . . then they came for the illegal Latinos . . .
and then they came for the Irish. Yes, the Department of
Homeland Security under Obergruppenfuhrer/chief Kapo
Michael Chertoff has decided to sic his Immigration and
Customs Enforcement agents after illegal Irish bartenders
and waitresses who mostly work in New York City Irish pubs
and who have overstayed their visas. Also being rounded up
in the DHS sting are U.S. citizens of Irish descent who
have facilitated the entry of the Irish workers from Canada
through such entry points as Buffalo and Rochester. Since
he became Homeland Security Czar, Chertoff has menaced
Arabs and Muslims, Latin Americans, African-American
survivors of hurricane Katrina on the Gulf Coast, and now
Irish pub workers. Chertoff's actions against Irish
bartenders and pub keepers has increased anti-American
feelings in Ireland and among New York's large and
influential Irish-American community.

"Kapo Chertoff's" new enemies: Irish bartenders in New York
City. Chertoff is out to catch Osama McLaden.

One group Chertoff will definitely not touch is the non-
documented organized crime syndicates from Russia, Ukraine,
and Israel, some with provable financial links to "Al
Qaeda," which operate mainly out of Brighton Beach in New
York, Miami, and the greater Los Angeles area. Chertoff's
financial and religious ties to these groups may explain
his reticence in seeking their deportation.


Opin: Tragic Period Clouded By ‘Set Of Proposals’

The Thursday Column
By Jim Gibney

The protest for political status in Armagh Women’s prison
and the H-Blocks of Long Kesh lasted for five years between
September 1976 and October 1981.

At no time before the first hunger strike in October 1980
did the British government try to end the protest by any
means other than brutalising and degrading the prisoners.

The first hunger strike involved seven men in the H-Blocks
and three women in Armagh jail.

It lasted 53 days.

The British deliberately waited until Sean McKenna had
hours to live before sending a document to the hunger
strikers outlining a changed prison regime if they ended
the strike.

Hours before the document arrived the strike was ended
rather than let Sean McKenna die.

The document could have been the basis on which the prison
protests ended.

However the document was an offer from the British to the
prisoners not an agreement. There is a huge difference.

The first hunger strike ended on December 18 1980. The
second hunger strike started 72 days later on March 1 1981.

The British government could easily have prevented the
second hunger strike by implementing the prison regime
detailed in their December 18 document.

They refused to do so.

Bobby Sand’s 25th anniversary occurred last Friday May 5.
He died after 66 days on hunger strike. At no stage during
those 66 days did the British government offer an agreement
to end the hunger strike.

Francis Hughes died on May 12, seven days later. The
British did not offer an agreement before he died.

Raymond McCreesh and Patsy O’Hara died on May 21, nine days
later. The British did not offer an agreement before they

Joe McDonnell died on July 8, 47 days later. The British
did not offer an agreement before he died.

Martin Hurson died on July 13, five days later. The British
did not offer an agreement before he died.

Kevin Lynch died on August 1, 18 days later. The British
did not offer an agreement before he died.

Kieran Doherty died on August 2, 24 hours later. The
British did not offer an agreement before he died.

Thomas McElwee died on August 8, six days later. The
British did not offer an agreement before he died.

Mickey Devine died on August 20, 12 days later. The British
did not offer an agreement before he died.

Five years of protest; 270 days of hunger strikes, 10 men
dead. The prisoners ended the hunger strike without the
offer of an agreement.

Within days they had their own clothes and within a year
political status.

They paid an awful price.

These are the unassailable and incontrovertible facts from
that heroic and tragic period.

Judge these facts against the claim by Richard O’Rawe in
his book Blanketmen that three days before Joe McDonnell
died he and Bik McFarlane, the O/C of the prisoners,
discussed out their cell windows a ‘set of proposals’ from
the British acceptable to them but rejected by the
republican leadership outside the jail.

Bik said there was no conversation with O’Rawe out the

Two cells separated Bik and O’Rawe. Bik’s cellmate and
O’Rawe’s cellmate did not hear such a vital exchange.

There were 46 men in the wing. None of them heard the
alleged conversation and they would have.

O’Rawe as PRO wrote regularly to the leadership outside. He
never wrote to them about the rejected ‘set of proposals’.

On his release he worked for a year in Sinn Fein’s press
office with Danny Morrison.

He never mentioned the rejected ‘set of proposals’ to him.

For 24 years he was regularly in the company of ex-
prisoners. He never mentioned the rejected ‘set of
proposals’ to anyone.

O’Rawe’s ‘set of proposals’ are first mentioned
‘exclusively’ by him in the Sunday Times of all papers.

Before the extract from his book appeared he did not have
the decency to warn the relatives of the dead hunger
strikers who are deeply hurt by his bogus claims.

On the eve of Joe McDonnell’s death the Irish Commission
for Justice and Peace six times asked the Northern Ireland
Office to put to the hunger strikers what the NIO was
claiming to be offering. Six times it refused. Joe
McDonnell died and the ICJP left in disgust.

Had the British offered an ‘agreement’ they would have told
the world about it at the time and used it against Sinn
Fein and the IRA since.

O’Rawe stands alone on this, awkwardly close to those who
stood with Thatcher 25 years ago this year.


Order Of Hibernians

AOH: Celebrate Fictional Life With Irish Wake

Posted by the Asbury Park Press on 05/11/06

BELMAR: The New Jersey State Board of the Ancient Order of
Hibernians will celebrate the fictional life of Tim
Finnegan with a traditional Irish Wake.

The wake, a celebration of the human experience, will be
held at the Connolly Station bar and restaurant at 711 Main
St. between 2 and 6 p.m. Saturday. The funeral procession
will include a surprise guest in the coffin.

A $20 fee includes a full dinner buffet and entertainment.
For more information visit or call
Bill Young at (732) 280-0221.

Erik Larsen


Irish Prof Brings 'Gaelige' To Mon Valley Hibernians

By Emma Jene Lelik
For The Valley Independent
Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Prior to last Wednesday evening, my knowledge of the Irish
(Gaelige) language consisted of "Erin go bragh" (Ireland
forever) and "praities," which I assumed meant potatoes. I
figured that out because one of my favorite Irish ballads,
"Galway Bay," speaks of the "women in the uplands digging
praities, speak a language that the stranger does not

The last part of that sentence is so true as even the
faithful members of the Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians
were awed by the presentation of Marie Tierney-Young.

A native of Dublin, Ireland, the speaker teaches the Irish
language at the University of Pittsburgh.

Tierney-Young had been an elementary teacher in Ireland
before coming to the United States.

She instructed LAOH members in a number of basic
conversation words, helpfully providing phonetics of the

"The verb goes before the subject always in Irish," she
said, "and the noun comes before the adjective."

Not to worry that the Irish ladies in Charleroi didn't pass
her test with flying colors: "English is the first language
in the home in Ireland," she said.

She explained the three dialects spoken in Ireland. They
are divided by northern, western and southern regions.

"I found there is a great love of Irish in Pittsburgh,"
Tierney-Young said.

"The St. Patrick's Day celebrations are bigger in
Pittsburgh than they are in Ireland."

She displayed a number of popular American children's books
that have been translated into Irish.

Tierney-Young was married just two weeks ago "in an Irish
wedding in Pittsburgh."

Her husband was born in Northern Ireland and, yes, the two
of them do speak different dialects.

Her family came from Ireland for the wedding.

"Can you believe they came 3000 miles to see Daniel
O'Donnell (of Donegal, Ireland) in Nashville?" she quipped.
She explained the trip to Tennessee is one of their last
stops before returning to the Emerald Isle.

Speaking of her wedding, Tierney-Young described some of
the Irish traditions that took place. Her grandmother did
not make the trip.

"But my Granny, before the wedding, put a statue of the
Child of Prague out under a tree," she said. "That is
supposed to ensure that it won't rain. Well, it rained
here, but maybe not in Dublin!"

The Rev. Bernard Costello, parochial vicar at Mary, Mother
of the Church in Charleroi and chaplain of the LAOH,
welcomed the group, as did President Dorothy Weldon.

Father Buzz, as he is popularly known, is leading a 12-day
Emerald Isle Pilgrimage August 16-27. Passengers will fly
directly from Pittsburgh to Dublin.

"Dee ah gwitch" (God be with you,) Father Buzz and


Around The Jewish World

90 Years Later, Life Of One Irish Jew

Symbolic Of Today’s Ethnic Changes

By Jon Ihle
May 10, 2006

DUBLIN, May 10 (JTA) — At a time when Ireland is trying to
fashion a national history that accommodates its
contemporary demographic changes, the story of Abraham
Weeks, a Jew killed in the country’s seminal 1916 Easter
Rising, could prove emblematic.

When the Easter Rising began in Dublin in April 1916, the
city’s small but burgeoning Jewish community was busy
marking the foundation of a new, unified synagogue at the
edge of “Little Jerusalem,” a tightly packed enclave of
red-brick artisan’s dwellings.

Less than two miles away, hundreds of rebels from Irish
nationalist militias assembled at key points around the
capital, facing off against the British garrison in an
attempt to loosen the crown’s grip on the country.

The hundreds of Jews congregating at the site of the
Greenville Hall synagogue might have been a world away from
the storm gathering that day. As Ireland was taking one of
its last steps in a long, bloody march toward independence
from Britain, Irish Jews were shedding the shtetl mentality
that had kept them worshipping in a dozen different tiny
shuls divided by profession, class and hometown, coming
together to build a prominent building that affirmed their

For Weeks, however, the forces of Jewish integration and
Irish self-determination intersected. In the record of the
hundreds who died in the Easter Rising, Weeks stood out
enough to warrant an extended citation in a “Roll of
Honour” published in 1924 by the Irish Worker newspaper, a
prominent organ of the socialist trade union movement: “A.
Weeks, a Jewish comrade who joined on Easter Monday and
died in action.”

Much can be deduced about Weeks from that small notice. For
one, his inclusion in the “Roll of Honour” shows that he
belonged to the Irish Citizen Army, the socialist militia
founded after the 1913 Dublin lockout by the famous union
organizer James Larkin, also the newspaper’s editor, as a
force to protect strikers from attack.

After Larkin moved to the United States in 1914, the
militia adopted a more nationalistic stance under the
leadership of James Connolly, a founder of the Wobblies in
the United States and one of the architects of the Easter

As a union man, Weeks almost certainly would have been
among the craftsmen who had assembled to lay the
synagogue’s foundation stone as the fighting started, which
could explain why he reported to the battle on Monday, a
day after his Christian comrades.

On Monday, the main 200-member detachment of the Irish
Citizen Army marched from Liberty Hall, the spiritual home
of the country’s labor movement, to join the main force at
the post office. Liberty Hall and the post office were in
the thick of the fighting, located near the River Liffey,
from which British gunships shelled Irish positions later
that week.

But arriving a day late and from the direction of
Greenville Hall on the other side of the river, Weeks
probably joined the smaller group of fighters who held
positions on the south side in St. Stephen’s Green, one of
the city’s elegant Georgian squares not far from the Jewish

That unit was quickly outmaneuvered by British troops, who
occupied the roof of a hotel on the square and fired down
on the exposed Irish. Cut off from their comrades on the
north side by a group of loyalist students, the militiamen
in St. Stephen’s Green were forced to withdraw to the
nearby College of Surgeons, where they surrendered along
with the rest of the rebels at the end of the week.

Weeks’ participation and death in the Easter Rising are
exceptional in light of the dominant narrative of the event
as a collective act of Christian martyrdom. Whether the
rebel leaders chose to rise up on Easter because of this
powerful association or whether the date just turned out to
be a coincidence of myth and history, the story of the
Rising has come to be dominated by the theme of Christian
blood sacrifice.

Padraig Pearse, poet of the insurrection, famously
conceived of the battle as a redemption in blood of
centuries of colonial dishonor. A Jewish volunteer among
the Christians certainly complicates such an understanding
of Irish nationalism — and, indeed, helps reanimate the
spirit in which the Rising began.

Last month, for the 90th anniversary of the Easter Rising,
the Irish government tried to take back some of the
rebellion’s original meaning from its interpreters. To that
end, the first military parade since 1966 was held on the
streets of Dublin, and a public reaffirmation of the 1916
Proclamation, first read from the steps of the post office
in 1916 by Pearse himself, sounded surprisingly prescient
for a newly multicultural Ireland:

“The republic guarantees religious and civil liberty, equal
rights and equal opportunities to all its citizens, and
declares its resolve to pursue the happiness and prosperity
of the whole nation and all of its parts, cherishing all of
the children of the nation equally and oblivious of the
differences carefully fostered by an alien government,
which have divided a minority from the majority in the

It’s easy to see how a Jewish socialist in 1916 could see
his future in such an Ireland, even if today it can be
difficult to cut through Ireland’s Catholic nationalist
folklore to see the country that could have been.

As it happened, Weeks’ participation in the Easter Rising
prefigured Jewish backing for the War of Independence in
1920, when the dreamers of Zionism and Irish autonomy stood
together in mutual support.

The resulting high esteem for Jews in Ireland helped cement
the status of the small community in a country that, over
the years, would elect three Jewish lord mayors — one in
Cork and two in Dublin — and several Jewish parliamentary

As immigrants and natives seek a path to integration in
Ireland today, the contribution of a single Jew along the
road to nationhood could help show the way forward.

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