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May 15, 2006

NI Politicians Return To Stormont

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News about Ireland and the Irish

BB 05/15/06
NI Politicians Return To Stormont
BT 05/15/06 Assembly Meets But Outlook Is Unsettled
IT 05/16/06 Ulster Is Saying Grow Up Or Get Off The Stage
HS 05/15/06 Can 'Dr. No' Squeeze Out A 'Yes'?
BN 05/15/06 Paisley Ultimatum As Assembly Meets
SF 05/15/06 De Brún Tells EU That SF Won't Accept Watered Down Assembly
IN 05/15/06 Collusion - Frmr Poltcn Talks About Life In UDA, UDR & RUC
BB 05/15/06 Crowd In Tribute To Murdered Boy
BB 05/15/06 'Tension High' After Boy's Murder
IN 05/15/06 Father Blames UDA For Beating
BB 05/15/06 SDLP Angry At Hain Over Parades
BB 05/15/06 Row As Ervine Joins UUP Grouping
SF 05/15/06 SF Welcomes That British Troops Have Vacated Mountain Post
SF 05/15/06 Sellafield - Still A Danger
IT 05/16/06 Suspected 'Real IRA'' Man Arrested In Spain
UT 05/15/06 Ahern Hopeful On US Immigration Reform
IN 05/15/06 Opin: SDLP Seems Too Eager For Government Scraps
CF 05/15/06 Opin: Theatre Of Hope
IM 05/15/06 Opin: Connolly Column 70th Anniversary
HC 05/15/06 Delta Adds 2 Trans-Atlantic Routes
BT 05/15/06 A Visit To Ireland's Ashford Castle
IT 05/16/06 Joyce Collection Among The Most Personal Yet Found


NI Politicians Return To Stormont

Northern Ireland's politicians have taken their seats in the
Stormont assembly for the first time since October 2002.

There is no immediate prospect of a power-sharing executive being

However, the government hopes recalling the politicians will help
to pave the way towards a deal in the autumn, by its deadline of
24 November.

The 108 assembly members observed a minute's silence for
Ballymena teenager Michael McIlveen who was murdered.

Earlier, Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain said November's
deadline was "for real". "We won't blink first," he said.

"If the other parties try and require us to blink first, they'll
find themselves out of a job, without any pay, having to shut
down their offices and going nowhere."

Devolved government was suspended over allegations of a
republican spy ring. The court case that followed collapsed.


Assembly recalled: politicians given six weeks to form executive

If this fails, further 12 weeks after summer recess to form

If this is not achieved by 24 November deadline, assembly
members' salaries and allowances stopped

Governments would then work on partnership arrangements to
implement the Good Friday Agreement

On Monday, Eileen Bell of the cross-community Alliance Party took
the speaker's chair.

She read out a letter from Mr Hain telling the politicians that
the government wants them to get back to work.

The assembly members were invited to sign the register, in
alphabetical order of their parties, designating themselves as
unionist, nationalist or other.

Then the assembly adjourned, with many of the politicians heading
off to a garden party at Mr Hain's Hillsborough Castle residence.

On Tuesday, the assembly meets again and is to debate the
Northern Ireland economy.

Before the session was adjourned, DUP deputy leader Peter
Robinson asked for clarification on the position of Progressive
Unionist leader David Ervine, who has joined the Ulster Unionist
Party Assembly Group.

The speaker said she would have to take counsel on the issue and
rule on it on Tuesday.

Speaking before entering the assembly, Sinn Fein President Gerry
Adams said the question about moving forward was "a question for
the DUP".

"Our focus will be about getting the executive formed as quickly
as possible," he said.

"It's about making the Good Friday Agreement work and that's
about making both governments very, very firmly on course."

DUP leader Ian Paisley said it was not impossible for his party
to work with Sinn Fein, but that republicans would have to "obey
the rules".

"All of us have to bow to the rules, but they haven't," he said.

"They have still kept some of their guns, that is quite evident.
They have not only done that, they are still engaged in crime."

SDLP leader Mark Durkan said his party was determined to see the
full restoration of the assembly.

The Foyle MP said: "The assembly we meet in this morning is not
even a shadow of its former self."

Sir Reg Empey, leader of Ulster Unionists, said his party's
demand for a restoration of a devolution committee would prevent
political drift.

"The people out there want solutions, they want some hope - they
want to know the issues of primary concern to them are being
addressed," he said.

George Mitchell, the former US senator who chaired the peace
talks which led to the Good Friday Agreement, said he was
confident a deal would be reached.

Business rules

Direct rule from London was restored in October 2002 and has been
in place since.

Under the temporary rules, policy matters such as the economy can
be debated, but laws cannot be made.

Unionists are in favour of discussing such issues, but Sinn Fein
believes this would be pointless.

The nationalist SDLP will take part in such debates on a trial
basis, to test whether the government will treat the assembly's
votes seriously.

The vote on forming a power-sharing government will not take
place until next week.

No-one expects that vote to go through, but under the new
temporary rules of this assembly, it will still be possible for
the politicians to debate other matters.

Many of the details of what this assembly might do remain
unclear. However, the government insists that the 24 November
deadline for a deal remains set in stone.

The last assembly poll was held on 26 November 2003, but Monday
marks the first time the 108 members elected then will take their

In that election, the DUP and Sinn Fein emerged as the largest
parties within unionism and nationalism.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/05/15 11:02:21 GMT


Assembly Meets But Outlook Is Unsettled

By Noel McAdam
15 May 2006

The Governments' firm devolution deadline of November 24 was
under further pressure today as the new Assembly met for the
first time.

DUP deputy leader Peter Robinson confirmed his party's promised
consultation with the wider unionist community will only begin in
October or November - just weeks before the deadline.

And Sinn Fein cast doubt on whether it is likely by then to hold
the special ard fheis it is committed to over deciding to sign up
to policing arrangements.

Secretary of State Peter Hain insisted, however, he had no doubt
all the parties realised the Government was "for real" about the

"If they don't want to do their jobs, that is their choice," he

Mr Robinson came in for criticism from Ulster Unionist leader Sir
Reg Empey after suggesting the Independent Monitoring
Commission's autumn report could trigger his party's

"Peter Robinson has a brass neck given that his party, in the
past, castigated the UUP for negotiating the introduction of the
IMC in 2003 which the DUP described at that time as a 'toothless
tiger'," he said.

"Mr Robinson has simply confirmed that the DUP are using the IMC
and the 'consultation' as a cover for power sharing with Sinn

Mr Robinson, meanwhile, poured scorn on the UU claim they have
proposed a special Assembly committee to work on the return of

The East Belfast MP said the idea had come from Secretary of
State Peter Hain.

As Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams met Toaiseach Bertie Ahern
ahead of today's gathering, the policing issue also returned with
DUP leader Ian Paisley insisting there could be no progress until
Sinn Fein backed the PSNI.

Sinn Fein MP Michelle Gildernew, however, said Special Branch is
still running low-level informers and there remained a clear
"political policing" agenda which would have to be resolved.

At the moment, she told the BBC Politics Show, there was no
approval on the ground for Sinn Fein joining the Policing Board.


Ulster Is Saying Grow Up Or Get Off The Stage

Kathy Sheridan in Stormont

A dreary, wet Monday in Northern Ireland and on the steps of
Stormont castle, hundreds of Unison NI union members have
gathered to tell their elected Assembly to get real. "Do your
duty, form a Government - the people can't wait," say the

It's three-and-a-half years since the legislative Assembly last
met, never mind did any legislating. For most of that time,
they've been on full pay and privileges. In the shadow of Lord
Carson's monument - erected by the grateful "Loyalists of
Ulster", depicting the long dead leader mid-rant - Ulster is
saying grow up or get off the stage.

This morning, the squabbling children haven't even made it
through the front door and Bob McCartney (sole member of the UK
Unionist Party) has made it known that he objects to the seating
arrangements. A deputy speaker from the DUP refuses to be
interviewed inside the BBC radio van with his Sinn Féin
counterpart, opting to stand in the rain instead. Inside the
chamber, the ex-DUP member, Paul Berry, sits in isolation at the
back, not for fomenting hatred, but for having allegations about
his private life aired in a Sunday tabloid.

Meanwhile, word is out that David Ervine (sole member of the PUP,
the party closely linked with the UVF), is joining the UUP group
for numerical purposes which might deprive Sinn Féin of a
ministry. The DUP is said to be raging.

The UUP insists that it's not about keeping Sinn Féin out of
government, "it's about getting the balance right".

Nothing actually happens, of course. The most exciting slip comes
from the speaker, Eileen Bell, who turns the word "secretary"
into "sectarian" and raises a few sheepish grins.

Prayers aren't specified on the order paper so they settle for a
minute's "reflection" on the tragic death of 15-year-old Michael
McIlveen. The DUP's Jim Shannon does his reflection, hand on
heart, for good measure. Then the teams sign up. The DUP promptly
rises to object to them being allowed to register as groups
rather than parties, and Ms Bell agrees to get legal counsel and
come back tomorrow. Then they all adjourn to the great hall to
rehash the old script for the media. On the radio, listeners are
complaining about the "most expensive pantomime in the world".
The most positive comment is that "at least all 108 of them
turned up".

A few hours later, in classic Northern Ireland fashion, several
of the same players - two Paisleys, Jeffrey Donaldson, David
Trimble and Mark Durkan among them - turn up at the sodden royal
garden party at Hillsborough Castle, hosted by Charles and
Camilla, with the slick theme, "The Health Sector including the
Complementary Health Sector". Around 2,500 guests turn up, half
of them (the female half, sadly) dressed in clothes that would
have them certified as deranged in any objective judgment. One
vision in green had travelled to Paris to buy the outfit.

Summoned to appear 90 minutes before the royal arrival, they
crushed into a glass-fronted marquee, gazing out like sad,
bewildered refugees from a smartish retirement home, their only
comfort the tea, the "little orange buns" as one guest described
them, and sandwiches. Ushered out to the lashing rain for the
imminent meet and greet, their overwhelmingly pink, floaty
dresses hung sodden over goose-pimpled skin while open, high-
heeled sandals threatened to sink bore-holes in the quagmire. The
bands and the children's choir played an array of old favourites,
some with a distinctly southern flavour such as Molly Malone and
Galway Bay, as hair styled expensively to within an inch of its
life threatened to frizz and summer linens crumpled disastrously.

But they bravely smiled for the royal pair - Camilla in sensible
navy, wedge-style shoes and armed with a transparent umbrella,
asking couples how they met, agonising about the possibly tragic
fate of the little pine tree, newly planted by Charles, and
whether guests had been "waiting long in the rain".

© The Irish Times


Can 'Dr. No' Squeeze Out A 'Yes'?

Reuters File Photo

Ian Paisley insists, 'The IRA has held onto their guns. They've
held onto their crime. They've held onto their blood money.'

The firebrand Protestant preacher who once called Pope John Paul
the 'anti-Christ' holds the key to kick-starting the Northern
Ireland peace process again

By Mary Jordan
The Washington Post
Ballymena, Northern Ireland (May 15, 2006)

David Graham, 31, a sharply dressed sales representative, wasn't
born when Ian Paisley won his first election in Northern Ireland
in 1970, yet he strongly backs the 80-year-old Protestant
preacher because "he upholds our side of things."

That simple sentiment is why for 40 years, Paisley's thundering
voice has dominated the political scene in this polarized British

From the pulpit of his Presbyterian Church and here on the tidy
streets of his hometown, Paisley has breathed fiery outrage into
speeches that often seemed to consist of two words: "no" and

Now, all eyes are on Paisley as Northern Ireland tries to re-
establish an elected local assembly in which Catholics and
Protestants would sit in the same chamber and share decision-
making power over issues from schools to potholes. Restarting the
assembly, known as Stormont, is critical to cementing an end to
the sectarian violence that has cost 3,500 lives in the past 36

Paisley, who once called Pope John Paul II the "anti-Christ," has
vowed to "never, never, never" sit down with Roman Catholic
political leaders whom he considers "terrorists."

So now, the question, from Catholics as well as his Protestant
supporters, is: Can Ian Paisley say yes?

"He's got to agree because there's no other way forward," said
Bill Balmer, 62, a management consultant in Ballymena.

It's an overwhelmingly Protestant town of roughly 30,000
northwest of Belfast. Like Graham and many other Paisley
supporters here, Balmer said it was time for self-rule.

In an interview in London in the halls of Westminster, where he
represents Ballymena and North Antrim in the House of Commons,
Paisley said his comments in the past should not be construed to
mean he could never participate in the legislature with Sinn
Fein, the political affiliate of the Irish Republican Army, the
outlawed Catholic militia.

"It's a conditional 'never,"' he said, laughing when asked about
his reputation for stubbornness and his nickname, Dr. No.

"I am not saying I will never sit in Stormont with the IRA," he

"I am saying I will not sit in Stormont until the IRA gives up
its weapons. It's a conditional 'no,' not a 'No, I'll never do

British Prime Minister Tony Blair and his counterpart in the
Republic of Ireland, Bertie Ahern, have expressed optimism over
the IRA's historic announcement last July that it had given up
its guns and the leaders have called for the Stormont assembly to
reconvene today.

The assembly is a cornerstone of the 1998 Good Friday agreement,
which mapped out a route to peace in the province of 1.7 million

But it has been suspended since 2002, when trust between
Protestants and Catholics broke down completely after an IRA spy
ring was uncovered in the assembly.

Since then, the British government has paid more than $160
million to maintain the mothballed legislature, including
salaries for the 108 members.

That funding is to end Nov. 24 if this last ditch effort to get
the two sides governing together fails.

As leader of the largest party, Paisley is slated to be elected
as the head of the assembly, with Gerry Adams, the Sinn Fein
leader who Paisley has often called a "terrorist," likely to be
elected to the No. 2 post. Adams has said he is ready to share
power and is waiting to see if Paisley is "prepared to join the
rest of us."

"I hope that he will ultimately agree to work out a way to
participate in government," former U.S. Senator George Mitchell
said of Paisley. Mitchell mediated the negotiations that led to
the Good Friday agreement. "If you don't go back to power-
sharing, it increases the chance of going back to the way it was
20 years ago."

In the interview, Paisley was generally soft-spoken and cheerful,
more mellow than his public persona. He laughed about being paged
in an airport a few months ago to take a phone call from
President George W. Bush and he chuckled about rumours that Queen
Elizabeth does a wicked impersonation of his distinctive Northern
Irish accent.

He said that when he looked back on his long public life, he had
no regrets. He disagrees with critics who say he polarized
Northern Ireland, marginalized moderate Protestant leaders,
fuelled bigotry and incited violence. He also served up his
characteristic vitriol for Sinn Fein and the IRA.

"The IRA has held onto their guns. They've held onto their crime.
They've held onto their blood money," he said, wearing a Jesus is
Lord lapel pin on his dark blue suit.

"Until they make the move, there will be no move made by the

"Are we going to tolerate terrorists in the future government of
Northern Ireland? My position is absolutely crystal clear: We
have said no."

Despite consistently positive assessments of the IRA's
disarmament by independent monitors, Paisley insisted the IRA had
made only a, "partial withdrawal from criminal acts." The latest
report, issued last week, said the IRA leadership was committed
to "following a political and peaceful path" and was not
sanctioning criminal activities.

It added, however, that the group faced a "challenging task in
ensuring full compliance by all its members." It also warned that
paramilitary groups on both sides were continuing to recruit
members and trying to acquire weapons.

Paisley said the IRA's progress toward disarmament came as a
result of pressure from him and other Protestants.

"If we break now, if we say, 'All right, we will sit down with
you now,' then the cause is lost," he said.

In the interview in London, Paisley said he had made mistakes but
didn't regret his famous "anti-Christ" comment. He insisted he
was not anti-Catholic but opposed to "the Catholic Church's

He said he spoke for working-class people who counted on him to
do what he promised. People didn't need a "dictionary to
understand" his words, he said, because he gave it to them "plain
and straight."

Asked if that was because his career had been built on using
simple, negative phrases, he responded: "Our Lord said 'no.' He
said no to evil. You can't condemn a man because he says no to

"We have said no and we have no apologies. We have also said yes
to very many things."


Paisley Ultimatum As Assembly Meets

15/05/2006 - 18:18:34

The Rev Ian Paisley tonight warned Sinn Féin and British Prime
Minister Tony Blair there would be no cabinet seat for
republicans in a future power sharing government of Northern
Ireland unless the IRA had gone out of business.

After the new Northern Ireland Assembly met for the first time
since devolution was suspended three and a half years ago, the
North Antrim MP said: “If I could get the last drop of blood from
the republican stone, then I would do it.

“Let me tell you that without apology when I think of the people
that they have murdered, the awful crimes they have committed.

“The last time I talked to the Prime Minister he said that I am
the best Blairite in this House.

“You made a promise to me on the record that there must be a
complete doing away with terrorism, with criminal activities and
there must be absolute support for the police.

“Let them fulfil it. They haven’t done it.”

Mr Paisley’s ultimatum came after Assembly members were told in a
letter read out by the new Speaker Eileen Bell from the Northern
Ireland Secretary Peter Hain that they had an opportunity to give
politics in the North a new beginning.

While acknowledging that there would be obstacles between now and
November 24, the deadline Mr Blair and Taoiseach Bertie Ahern
have set for the establishment of an executive, Mr Hain said
politicians had to focus on what united them.

“Now is the time for Northern Ireland politicians to shoulder the
responsibility for their people’s future as they have been
elected to do so,” he said.

“It is time to open the chapter of stability, opportunity and
restore devolution in Northern Ireland.”


Bairbre De Brún Addresses EU Parliament And Tells Them Sinn Féin
Won't Accept Watered Down Assembly

Published: 15 May, 2006

Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún will this evening address the
European Parliament and tell them that Sinn Féin will not accept
anything less than the full restoration of the Assembly and

In a speech to assembled MEPs Ms de Brún will also say that
"Republicans have demonstrated time and again our desire to make
the peace process work".

Speaking from Strasbourg Ms de Brún said:

"Sinn Féin has returned to today‚s assembly because we want to
see freedom, justice and equality. However the DUP want the
Assembly to stay away from the formation of the power sharing
Executive. They want a shadow forum, including shadow committees.
Sinn Féin will not permit this.

"The next few weeks remain crucial. One thing is clear; Sinn Féin
will not shirk our responsibilities. We have always stepped up to
the challenge. It is time others did so also. ENDS

Full Text of Speech:

I want to take this opportunity to inform my fellow MEPs that a
version of the envisaged Assembly has reconvened today.

Colleagues may be aware that the Assembly, and its power-sharing
executive, has been suspended by the British government since
2002. Sinn Féin is committed to creating the conditions where
local ministers make local decisions. At present, British
Ministers make all policy decisions yet they are not accountable
to voters there.

The conditions created by last year‚s decision by the Irish
Republican Army to deal definitively with their weapons have
transformed the political landscape in Ireland. It is time for
Ian Paisley‚s DUP party to make a clear commitment that they are
prepared to move forward with the rest of us, on the basis of
equality, to restore the Assembly and the power-sharing

The recent sectarian killing of catholic teenager Michael
McIlveen shows that much change is still needed in our society.
Continued assistance and support at European level is essential.

Tá sé léirithe ag Poblachtánaigh arís is arís eile go dteastaíonn
uainn go rachaidh próiseas na síochána chun cinn.

Tá Sinn Féin tagtha chuig Tionól an lae inniu óir teastaíonn
uainn an t-saoirse, an ceartas agus an cothromas a fheiceáil.
Teastaíonn ón DUP, áfach, nach mbeidh plé ar bith ag an Tionól le
Feidhmeannas Cumhacht-Roinnte a chur ar bun. Teastaíonn Scáth-
Fheidhmeannas uathu, agus scáth-choistí chomh maith. Ní cheadóidh
Sinn Féin é sin.

Beidh tábhacht mhór sna seachtainí atá romhain. Tá rud amháin
soiléir agus is é sin nach seachnóidh Sinn Féin na dualgais atá
orainn. Níor chúlaigh muid ariamh ón dúshlán. Ta sé in am do
dhaoine eile an rud céanna a dhéanamh.

Republicans have demonstrated time and again our desire to make
the peace process work.

Sinn Féin has returned to today‚s assembly because we want to see
freedom, justice and equality. However the DUP want the Assembly
to stay away from the formation of the power sharing Executive.
They want a shadow forum, including shadow committees. Sinn Fein
will not permit this.

The next few weeks remain crucial. One thing is clear; Sinn Féin
will not shirk our responsibilities. We have always stepped up to
the challenge. It is time others did so also.


Collusion - Former Politician Talks About His Life In The UDA,
The UDR And The RUC

By Steven McCaffery

A FORMER unionist councillor has revealed that while he was
serving as a lance corporal in the Ulster Defence Regiment, he
was also a commander in the paramilitary UDA.

In a frank interview in today’s Irish News he confirms that the
British army was aware of his links to the loyalist group and
tells how he was a UDA commander and a UDR soldier, before later
joining the ranks of the RUC.

He was identified in a secret military intelligence report
detailing security force collusion with loyalists, which accuses
him of providing the UDA with ammunition and weapons.

Clifford Davison, left Northern Ireland more than 20 years ago
and is a successful and respected businessman but he has opted to
speak out to deny the allegations of “illegal arms dealings” and
to stress that the UDA was a legal organisation at that time.

The 1973 military intelligence document, entitled ‘Subversion in
the UDR’, estimated that five

to 15 per cent of UDR soldiers were linked to loyalists and said
the regiment was the ‘best single source’ of weapons for loyalist

In a series of special reports The Irish News published the
document, together with files showing how this information – and
concerns over elements of the police – was passed to Margaret

For legal reasons an element of the ‘subversion’ document could
not be reported at the time.

It discussed how UDR commanders briefed on the loyalist
connections of some soldiers refus-ed to act, offering the
example of one UDR member, regarded by his superior as a ‘model

The document recorded how the soldier was also:

• deputy chairman of a district council

• ‘OC’ of Ballymena UDA

• had passed ammunition to the UDA

• and was suspected of selling guns to the UDA.

While the individual was not named, The Irish News has
established that Clifford Davison is the soldier referred to in
the military intelligence file.

In an exclusive interview he flatly denies the allegations of
providing guns and ammunition to loyalists but confirms he was
deputy mayor of Ballymena and a UDR lance corporal in the 1970s,
while also acting as ‘officer commanding’ of the Ballymena UDA.

Mr Davison says his UDR commanders were aware of his loyalist
links but that having served a year in the regiment he was
suddenly asked to leave.

He says he was never given an explanation but now believes his
superiors may have acted after he was identified in the
‘subversion’ document.

Significantly, he says that he was never questioned on the
allegation that he sold guns to loyalists and he reveals how
within months of his UDR dismissal he joined the RUC, serving as
a reserve constable for five years.

The UDA was a legal organisation at the time but was feared by
Catholics and was responsible for paramilitary violence including

Mr Davison insists he was involved in no illegal activity
whatsoever and attributes his membership of the UDA to the
political turmoil of the period.

He details his years of public service and his charitable

While insisting he is guilty of no crime, he addresses
nationalist concerns that at the height of the Troubles, men with
loyalist links were able to secure a role in the security forces.


Crowd In Tribute To Murdered Boy

Hundreds of people have gathered in Ballymena, County Antrim, for
the return of murdered schoolboy Michael McIlveen's body to his

Family members and friends carried the white coffin into the
house in the Dunvale estate.

It is understood Michael's funeral will be held on Wednesday.

Earlier on Monday, two teenagers appeared at Coleraine
Magistrates Court in connection with the 15-year-old's murder in
the town last Sunday.

A 15-year-old youth was charged with his murder, while a 16-year-
old youth was charged with causing affray.

Both of the boys, who cannot be named for legal reasons, were
remanded in custody.


The court was told that the families of both of the boys have
been threatened.

A detective opposing bail for the two accused said that tensions
were high in Ballymena with fears of reprisals.

The detective told the court on Monday that when charged, the
boys had replied "no" or "not guilty".

The youths, who cannot be named for legal reasons, spoke only to
confirm their identities.

Magistrate Richard Rolston said tensions were clearly so high in
the town that bail would not be granted.

The two youths are due to appear by video link with five other
co-accused at Ballymena Magistrates Court on 8 June.

The police said a number of witnesses have still to come forward.

Five other teenagers are already in custody charged with the
murder of the 15-year-old St Patrick's College pupil in Ballymena
on 7 May.

The teenager died last Monday, the day after he was attacked by a
gang at Garfield Place, Ballymena.

A book of condolence for the McIlveen family has been opened by
Ballymena Council.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/05/15 19:25:30 GMT


'Tension High' After Boy's Murder

The families of two boys charged in connection with the murder of
schoolboy Michael McIlveen have been threatened, a court in
County Londonderry was told.

A detective told Coleraine Magistrates Court that tensions were
high in Ballymena with fears of reprisals.

He was opposing bail for a 15-year-old boy charged with the
Ballymena boy's murder last Sunday and a 16-year-old youth
charged with causing affray.

Both accused were remanded in custody on Monday.

Five teenagers are already in custody charged with the murder of
the 15-year-old St Patrick's College pupil in Ballymena last

The teenager died last Monday, a day after being attacked by a
gang at Garfield Place, Ballymena.

A detective told the court on Monday that when charged, the boys
had replied "no" or "not guilty".

The youths, who cannot be named for legal reasons, spoke only to
confirm their identities.

The detective said the families of both the accused had already
been threatened.


He added that tensions were very high in the town, and that
police intelligence indicated fears of street disorder and
possible republican reprisals.

It would be almost impossible to guarantee their safety if they
were released from custody, he said.

Magistrate Richard Rolston said tensions were clearly so high in
the town that bail would not be granted.

The two youths are due to appear by video link with five other
co-accused at Ballymena Magistrates Court on 8 June.

The police said a number of witnesses have still to come forward.

A book of condolence for the McIlveen family has been opened by
Ballymena Council.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/05/15 12:45:57 GMT

Murdered Catholic schoolboy Michael McIlveen’s body was released
today in preparation for his funeral.

As another 15-year-old appeared in court accused of the sectarian
killing that has horrified Northern Ireland, the Coroner’s Office
completed its post mortem examinations.

Michael’s funeral is now expected to bring his hometown of
Ballymena, Co Antrim, to a standstill later this week.


Father Blames UDA For Beating

By Staff Reporter

A NORTH Belfast man has spoken out after his Catholic teenage son
was beaten in an alleged UDA attack in Lisburn yesterday.

Two men armed with a baseball bat and claw hammer burst into the
18-year-old’s home at Hertford Crescent at 3.30pm, beating him on
the back, body, arms and legs.

He needed hospital treatment but was discharged last night.

Claiming that those responsible had left his son with a broken
arm and broken leg the victim’s father condemned them, claiming
they were from the UDA.

He said not enough was done to curtail so-called punishment

“I am just really angry at the moment. Is there any such thing as
peace here? The people haven’t got peace. The paramilitaries are
beating people. I am talking about both sides,” he said.

“It is just out of hand. The paramilitaries still run the place.
Nobody is prepared to stand up to it at all.”

Police could not say if they believed paramilitaries were
involved in the attack and said the invesigation was in its early

They appealed for information.

The men, both thought to be in their early 20s, drove off towards
Moira in an old-style red Rover 2000 series.

One was 6ft tall, slim and wore dark clothing. The second was
shorter at around 5ft 6ins tall and wore a grey/blue coloured
zip-up jacket and a woollen hat.


SDLP Angry At Hain Over Parades

NI Secretary Peter Hain has been accused of making "disgraceful
comments" about SDLP complaints over appointments to the Parades

It comes after a Methodist minister revealed he did not give
permission for Orangeman David Burrows to use his name as a
referee for a post on the body.

There was no comment on Monday from Mr Burrows or the Commission.

Mr Hain said the SDLP and others should "stop jockeying for
position" over the appointments and see the "big picture".

The SDLP's Alex Attwood said Mr Hain had got the issue "badly,
badly wrong".

"This is disgraceful in its content and disturbing in its
attitude," he said.

The Burrows case is a virtual re-run of controversy surrounding
another Orangeman and Commission member, Don MacKay.

Mr McKay put down SDLP assembly member Dolores Kelly as a referee
without her permission.

Methodist minister Jim Rea has confirmed that he provided a
reference for one Portadown Orangeman in an application to the

However, he said that he would have refused to allow his name to
be used in a similar application by another.

Both appointments - made by Mr Hain - has been challenged through
the courts.

The hearing ended on Monday, with the judgement reserved until a
later date.

The Protestant marching season is one of the fixed elements of
Northern Ireland life, and in recent years some parades have led
to disputes and street violence.

The government-appointed Parades Commission was set up in 1997 to
make decisions on whether controversial parades should be

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/05/15 13:01:11 GMT


Row As Ervine Joins UUP Grouping

A row has broken out over PUP leader David Ervine joining the
Ulster Unionist assembly grouping.

Ulster Unionist leader Sir Reg Empey said the move would cost
Sinn Fein a ministerial seat.

"A unionist executive would reflect a unionist majority," he
said. Assembly speaker Eileen Bell will rule on the move on

DUP leader Ian Paisley said by linking with the PUP the UUP were
"allying" themselves with terrorism.

The party's deputy leader Peter Robinson said the Ulster
Volunteer Force - with which the PUP has links - was active in
criminal and paramilitary areas, according to the latest report
by the Independent Monitoring Commission.

"That is a very clear issue," he said.

"One that we see not as a pragmatic matter but as a matter of

Mr Robinson queried the move in the assembly chamber when it met
on Monday.

Ms Bell said she would take counsel before ruling on it.

Speaking outside the chamber Mr Paisley said that his party would
"have nothing to do with terrorism".

'Shrewd move'

"If people want to be allied with any form of terrorism whether
it be Protestant or Roman Catholic or something else they have no
right in the government here," he said.

Mr Ervine said that a stronger unionist presence on any executive
that was formed would bolster confidence in his community.

"I think I'm doing a very logical, shrewd political move," he

"One that perhaps people should have thought of long ago, that if
you move across to bolster your own community - unionism - that
our community will then have greater confidence in moving on to
what is the next phase of the peace process."

The UUP said the move would pass a third Sinn Fein executive
place to them and see a unionist majority for the first time on
the executive.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/05/15 12:10:16 GMT


Sinn Féin MLA Welcomes Revelation That All British Troops Have
Vacated S. Armagh Mountain Post

Published: 15 May, 2006

Sinn Féin MLA for Newry and Armagh and the party's spokesperson
on Demilitarisation Davy Hyland has today welcomed the news that
the British Army has vacated a major military installation in
South Armagh.

Mr Hyland said that the British Army withdrawal from the Faughil
Mountain near Jonesboro would be "wholeheartedly welcomed by the
local community".

Speaking today Mr Hyland said:

"It is my understanding that the British Army has finally left
the Faughil Mountain near Jonesboro, South Armagh. All British
troops stationed on the mountain left as of Friday last (12th

"I welcome this withdrawal from the South Armagh area. This base
was a major military installation and overlooked most of South
Armagh and North Louth and was a constant intrusion into the
everyday lives of local people. No doubt the local community will
also wholeheartedly welcome this news.

"My hope is that this latest withdrawal will provide the catalyst
for the full and immediate removal of British troops and their
weapons of war from South Armagh and indeed across the six
counties." ENDS


Sellafield - Still A Danger - Sinn Féin To Hold Conference To
Promote Closure Of Sellafield

Published: 15 May, 2006

The Sinn Féin European department will hold a half day conference
entitled “Sellafield – Still a Danger” on Saturday 20th May ’06
in the Fairways Hotel, Dublin Road, Dundalk from 10am to 1.30pm.

Among the speakers who will be taking part in the conference are
Mr Lennart Varmby, Board Member Swedish Energy Agency, Cllr
George Regan, Scottish Vice-chair Nuclear Free Local Authorities,
member of Dundee City Council (Scottish Labour) and Ms Rea
Street, Vice Chairperson, CND Britain.

Bairbre De Brún, MEP will chair the session “Why Sellafield Must
Close” and Arthur Morgan TD will chair the session “How to
organise for the closure of Sellafied”.

Other speakers will include Caitriona Ruane MLA for South Down
and Louth County Councillor Tomás Sharkey.

Speaking today Sinn Féin Environment spokesperson Deputy Morgan
said, “This conference is open to everyone concerned about the
continued threat from the Sellafield plant in Cumbria, the most
discredited nuclear facility in Western Europe.

“The people of County Louth and indeed the whole island have
always had serious health concerns around Sellafield. We want a
complete closure of the Plant, on a phased basis. We want a
proper clean-up operation and we want more openness and no more
cover-ups from the British Government on this issue.

“The threat of a new wave of nuclear power plants across Britain
is also of grave concern. On a recent visit to Brussells it was
evident to me that there is a very large pro-nuclear lobby at
work promoting nuclear energy. Nuclear power can never be a
viable option. The devastation caused twenty years ago at
Chernobyl and the after-effects, which will be felt for many more
generations should be enough to make us stop in our tracks and
think again.

Concluding Deputy Morgan said, “I am looking forward to the
contributions from the various speakers and I invite anyone
interested in hearing what they have to say and who would like to
make their own contribution to please come along.” ENDS


Suspected 'Real IRA'' Man Arrested In Spain

Spanish police have arrested a suspected "Real IRA" leader in the
the south-eastern city of Alicante.

Sean O'Feach was part of a group that was broken up by police on
May 7th in the southern city of Malaga for allegedly attempting
to smuggle 500,000 packets of cigarettes to Britain.

Two people - Thomas Philip Cawley and Aaron William Jordan - were
detained in that operation.

O'Feach is described as the leader of a group that is part of the
"Real IRA". He is suspected of being involved in tobacco
smuggling to finance activities for the armed group, Spain's
interior ministry said.

Authorities said on May 7th they had conducted a two-year
investigation before arresting Mr Cawley, of Dublin, and Mr
Jordan, of Lisburn.

During the investigation, police determined that a group
originally from Northern Ireland had moved to Spain's south coast
and were suspected of "collaborating directly" with armed groups
linked to the "Real IRA".

© The Irish Times/


Ahern Hopeful On US Immigration Reform

Irish Foreign Affairs Minister Dermot Ahern says he is hopeful
that the US government will pass new proposals on immigration

The US Senate is to begin debating the proposals later today,
with American President George Bush due to make a speech on the

Representatives from the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform met
with Minister Dermot Ahern this afternoon.

Spokesperson Grant Lally is confident that the Irish government
is doing all it can to push for the legalisation of up to 50,000
undocumented Irish in the States.


Opin: SDLP Seems Too Eager For Government Scraps

By Tom Kelly

Today is the sham of all shams. Let’s be clear the assembly is
not being restored and it is misleading for any media or
political commentator to portray the assembly as being back in
business. Under the Good Friday Agreement there is no assembly if
there is no executive and the business of assembly is to elect an
executive. Outside of that, there is no functioning role for an
assembly until it has an executive.

It’s not often I agree with Gerry Adams but his interpretation of
what business should be conducted during this recall of elected
members is 110 per cent correct.

He says that Sinn Fein will not be duped into a talking shop that
could leave the public and members of the business community with
the false understanding that local politicians have the authority
or the responsibility for the governance of Northern Ireland.
However, while new deputy speaker Francie Molloy agrees he won’t
being chairing any orchestrated charades masquerading as serious
debate, more Stormont-loving assembly members such as Mitchel
McLaughlin seem to prefer an a la carte participation in the

In a political process so often bereft of transparency and
accountability, it is time all parties realise the public has had
enough of political window-dressing.

The agenda is clear it is a power-sharing,

all-inclusive executive or it is increased joint stewardship by
the British and Irish governments of the north.

How much clearer can it be?

SDLP veteran Eddie Mc Grady, with his obvious inclination for the
former option, wisely enunciated such a position a few weeks ago
but less politically aware colleagues seemed somewhat more
anxious to take whatever crumbs fall from the table of the
British government without realising that they are allowing Sinn
Fein an outflank position. Mark Durkan has shown remarkable sure
footedness in his choice of recent battles but an overly
enthusiastic participation in an NIO charade could undermine his

He recognises this is not the assembly as envisaged under the
Good Friday Agreement. The SDLP has learned through harsh
consequences that the NIO, the British and indeed Irish
governments have no loyalty to the loyal.

A ‘business committee’ outside of a functioning executive, which
has its agenda set, guests invited and venue decided by the
secretary of state is a feudal if not imperial form of

The unionists by and large are happy with a six-month
consultative format and are content with the intervening time
being filled in by meeting dignitaries, lobbyists and other
special interest groups.

The Royal Society for Protection for Sea Mammals and
International Committee for the Commemoration of Crimean War are
probably being scheduled by the NIO officials for early October.

Of course, this charade will not save them from the ire of
constituents who will soon see through the grubby net curtains
which veil the uselessness of this talking shop.

In Hain’s reproduction of Much Ado-About Nothing, can our
assembly members change the maestros’ script with regard to
direct or indirect water charges or increased rates? Not if the
digging up of our streets is a signal of an imminent policy U-
turn or if the DoE surveyors out monitoring house prices have
anything to do with it.

Like all good theatre we are expected to suspend reality for the
duration of the performance.

They won’t say it but the British government is conceding to a
decontamination period of at least six months to house train Sinn
Fein to DUP standards.

The irony is that Sinn Fein seems to have agreed to such a
concession at Leeds Castle last year. With IRA decommissioning
out of the way and a serious attempt to clamp down on the
privatisation policies of business-minded Provisionals, many
grassroots members are understandably very uneasy about being
seen to eat Paisley-baked humble pie.

Of course, in an ideal world the NIO would clone the Alliance
Party or recreate the Women’s Coalition.

With the latter as dead as the Monty Python parrot, the NIO had
to settle for ‘Stepford’ or Stormont grand dame, Eileen Bell as
speaker. With cheese and pickle canapes in the Speaker’s Office,
no wonder David Ervine opted to join the more upwardly mobile

On the bright side; everyone will be in the same building at the
same time.

They have even agreed an imaginative seating plan involving the
DUP and Sinn Fein swapping seats with the SDLP and UUP. It’s very
exciting; just like watching an episode of Lost.


Opin: Theatre Of Hope

Mick Fealty
May 15, 2006 04:40 PM

The thing that struck me about this morning's piece of light
theatre in the Stormont rain was the sheer politeness of it.
There was no heckling from the floor or from the public gallery;
in the background you could just hear some of the less-focused
members discussing their holiday plans.

The single most impressive and dignified aspect was a one-minute
silence for Michael McIlveen, a young Catholic man killed last
week in Ballymena in a violent sectarian attack. Indeed, the
DUP's wholehearted backing was warmly remarked upon by Sinn Fein

The only trouble at mill was for the UUP: if supporters thought
its troubles were over when they dropped David Trimble last year,
they just got worse with this morning's last-minute naming of
David Ervine - leader of the PUP, associated with a paramilitary
group, that has publicly stated it will not decommission - as
part of its "party group".

Ostensibly, the reasoning behind Ervine's co-option is to boost
the UUP numbers in the assembly so it can keep its quota of three
ministers in any resurrected executive. The membership of this
power-sharing "cabinet" is decided by the mathematically complex
d'Hondt mechanism, said by one wit this morning to be understood
by only about three people in Northern Ireland.

Party insiders claim the party was compelled by the assembly
house rules to name him now, at the beginning of the assembly
(when there is little prospect of an executive any time soon).
And yet as Tommie Gorman pointed out this morning on RTE,
flagging it up automatically so early takes away any element of
surprise and allows opponents time to deal with it strategically.

More seriously, it leaves the party vulnerable to the often
arbitrary actions of the PUP's paramilitary wing, the UVF. Ian
Paisley noted the apparent abandonmentof a consistent pan-
unionist line: that without decommissioning, no parliamentarians
associated with a paramilitary grouping should take executive
power in Northern Ireland.

Gerry Adams was not slow to pick up on the implications when he
argued that everyone at Stormont had to do whatever they could to
prevent further violence, suggesting that all of those at
Stormont should do everything they could to ensure they were not
responsible for any hurt to "another mother's son".

The UUP could once count on the Protestant middle class to turn
out and vote. This move could do more to alienate that core vote
than anything done by the much criticised Trimble. Both Paisley's
DUP and the middle-of-the-road "peace party", the Alliance, smell
blood. The latter's East Belfast member, Naomi Long, this
afternoon said:

It is one thing to urge paramilitaries to move on from the past;
it is quite another to merge with them when they show no
intention of doing so even in the present. People will see
through this appalling hypocrisy. Our task is to stand up for the
rule of law and the legitimate enforcers of law and order and to
secure stable democracy for Northern Ireland, not place
representatives of active paramilitaries at the heart of our

And yet the long-running game of political chicken seems to be
grinding slowly to an end. Peter Hain has named November 25 as
the deadline for a new deal between the main players. But as
secretary of state, he has unprecedented powers to decide on the
nature of that deadline and how it will be managed. Few expect a
deal that will let everyone resume their executive jobs by then.
And an agreement in principle is probably the most wildly
optimistic prospect.

But no one was talking it down. On the face of it, all players
want this attempt to succeed. The IRA has all but left the stage,
and there are very few anti-agreement unionists outside this
particular loop.

Indeed, the significant players in this, Gerry Adams and Ian
Paisley, sounded like the principal actors performing their parts
in the same play. Hard negotiation, piece by piece, is the game
both favour. Significantly, perhaps, no one is talking about
nuclear buttons.


Opin: Connolly Column 70th Anniversary

National History And Heritage Opinion/Analysis Monday May
15, 2006 16:42 by Scot MacCreamhain

Short commemorative article on the Irishmen of the International

Connolly Column 70th Anniversary

By Scot MacCreamhain

Viva La Quince Brigada
(Christy Moore)

Ten years before I saw the light of morning
A comradeship of heroes was laid.
From every corner of the world came sailing
The Fifteenth International Brigade.

They came to stand beside the Spanish people.
To try and stem the rising Fascist tide
Franco's allies were the powerful and wealthy,
Frank Ryan's men came from the other side.

Even the olives were bleeding
As the battle for Madrid it thundered on.
Truth and love against the force of evil,
Brotherhood against the Fascist clan.

Viva La Quince Brigada!
"No Pasaran" the pledge that made them fight.
"Adelante" was the cry around the hillside.
Let us all remember them tonight.

Bob Hilliard was a Church of Ireland pastor;
From Killarney across the Pyrenees he came.
From Derry came a brave young Christian Brother.
Side by side they fought and died in Spain.

Tommy Woods, aged seventeen, died in Cordoba.
With Na Fianna he learned to hold his gun.
From Dublin to the Villa Del Rio
Where he fought and died beneath the Spanish sun.

Many Irishmen heard the call of Franco.
Joined Hitler and Mussolini too.
Propaganda from the pulpit and newspapers
Helped O'Duffy to enlist his crew.

The word came from Maynooth: 'Support the Nazis.'
The men of cloth failed yet again
When the bishops blessed the blueshirts down in Galway
As they sailed beneath the swastika to Spain.

This song is a tribute to Frank Ryan.
Kit Conway and Dinny Coady too.
Peter Daly, Charlie Regan and Hugh Bonar.
Though many died I can but name a few.

Danny Doyle, Blaser-Brown and Charlie Donnelly.
Liam Tumilson and Jim Straney from Short Strand.
Jack Nalty, Tommy Patton and Frank Conroy,
Jim Foley, Tony Fox and dick O'Neill.

July 18th 2006 marks the 70th anniversary of the Fascist uprising
against the democratically-elected Spanish government. The
Fascists had military support from Germany and Italy whilst the
Spanish Republic relied on the Soviet Union and Mexico for arms
and advisers. Most other Western governments refused to get
involved and signed a non-intervention pact.

Many on the left felt that these were the opening shots of a
second world war against Hitler, Mussolini and Spain’s rebel
General, Franco. Idealistic young men and women from all over the
world volunteered to come to the aid of the Spanish Republic in
the face of indifference and hostility of their own governments.
From Germany came the Thaelmann battalion, from Italy the
Garabaldis, from Canada the Mackenzie-Papineaus, from the USA,
the Abraham Lincoln battalion, from Scotland, Wales and England,
the British Battalion, and from Ireland the Connolly column. All
Anglophone fighters were organized under the XVth International
Brigade. In total the International Brigades totalled 45,000 men
and played a major role in fighting the fascist forces.

In Ireland, support for the beleaguered Republic was organized by
Frank Ryan, a Republican Socialist, veteran of the Limerick IRA
flying columns, Gaelic scholar and former editor of An Phoblacht.
Ryan was driven by an intense dislike of Eoin O’Duffy, former
Garda Commissioner, Blueshirts’ leader and first Fine Gael
president, who had already with the support of Cardinal McRory,
The Independent newspaper and capitalist W.L Murphy, organized an
Irish Brigade to help Franco’s side in the war.

O’Duffy had promised 5000 men to Franco and at their peak in 1934
the Blueshirt movement had 50,000 members. This movement had come
out of the Treatyite Army Comrades Association which represented
the large farm owners and capitalists but also the rural poor who
lived under an almost feudal relationship with the church. In the
end though O’Duffy only managed to dupe 670 men, mostly rural-
based from Cork and Kerry to follow his crusade to Spain
believing that the catholic religion was under attack. In some
areas of Catalonia churches had been burned and some atrocities
carried out but were highly exaggerated by the church hierarchy:

“Spain has always been a catholic country like Ireland. We are
for religion and we don’t want the Reds to conquer Spain.” said

In many cases churches were used as storage dumps for fascist
arms, personally witnessed by Frank Ryan and there were reports
of individual fascist priests firing on civilians from church
towers, again bullet holes on houses opposite churches provided
the evidence. What O’Duffy failed to tell his men was that Franco
was actually using Moorish Muslim troops in his front line from
colonized Morocco and were themselves persecuting the catholic
Basques who had gained autonomy under the leftist government.

On the 18th December 1936 480 men sailed on the SS Urundi from
Galway flying the German Swastika to form the Irish Brigade of
the XVth Bandera el Tercio, an elite battalion based on O’Duffy’s
claims that the men were there to die as Christian martyrs. As
the battle for Jarama was in full swing the Irish Brigade arrived
late in the proceedings and were caught up in a friendly fire
incident and withdrew without orders. All in all they lost 6 men
and were involved again only briefly. In fact their drunken
behaviour at camp and poor performance on the battlefield (mainly
down to bad leadership) led to the Irish Brigade being sent home
in disgrace. A split also had the effect of denying them any
sizeable parade on their return to Dublin.

In stark contrast the Irish section of the International
Brigades, 200 strong, were drawn from some of the poorest urban
sections of Irish society (66% from Dublin and Belfast), mainly
communists and IRA men from the Republican Congress who had a
visceral hatred of O’Duffy and the bosses. Some of these men saw
the chance to fight in Spain has a way of avenging the result of
the Civil War and many blamed O’Duffy for the Ballyseedy atrocity
in particular.

Ryan is quoted at the quayside on leaving for Spain:

“The Republican contingent, besides being a very efficient
fighting force – every member of it having been in action – is
also a demonstration of the sympathy of revolutionary Ireland
with the Spanish people in their fight against International
Fascism. It is also a reply to the intervention of Irish Fascism
in the war against the Spanish Republic, which, if unchallenged
would remain a disgrace on our people. We want to show that there
is a close bond between the democracies of Ireland and Spain. Our
fight is the fight of the Spanish people, as it is of all people
who are victims of tyranny”

Desmond Ryan (no relation) made this appeal:

“Why do you fight by the side of the upholders of a land system
as crushing and as terrible as that which your own grandfathers
fought against in the days of the Land League. The answer is
easy; cynical politicians and thoughtless bigots have misled

Bob Doyle said:

“O’Duffy and his Blueshirts intended following in the footsteps
of the Nazis...I thought there was a danger Ireland would go
Fascist and that was one of the motivating factors in making up
my mind to go. I didn’t know much about Spain, but my thoughts on
the way to Spain were that every bullet I fired would be a bullet
against the Dublin landlords and capitalists”

Tommy Patton said:

“the bullet that will get me won’t get a Spanish worker”

Two volunteers whose enthusiasm was not wanting and whose
republican credentials were well-known to Ryan, presented
themselves for enlistment but Ryan curtly dismissed them; Brendan
Behan and Cathal Goulding were barely 14 years old!

The Irish and British battalion was organized with military
efficiency by the Comintern and volunteers were vetted by the CPI
and the CPGB in London before traveling onwards through France to
the I.Bers base at Albacete. Volunteers were asked to travel in
discrete (and discreet!) groups and only to speak when spoken to
by members of bourgeois authority. The party travelling with
Frank Ryan disdained to behave in such an anti-social manner and
on one channel crossing around forty men occupied the bar giving
out a stirring repertoire of rebel songs and impressing on their
fellow passengers their strong distaste for fascism and Franco.

The first party of Irishmen to arrive was soon pressed into
action after only a couple of days training at Lopera on the
Cordoba front at Christmas 1936. Kit Conway was in charge of this
company. 8 Irishmen were killed including Tommy Woods aged 17.

Meanwhile more Irish began to arrive at camp and found they were
to be part of the British Battalion and not a separate Irish
section. Frank Ryan explained that the English working class were
their allies against fascism and they should work together.
However tensions rose when it was discovered one of the British
Officers, a Captain Nathan, had been part of a Dublin Castle
murder gang responsible for the deaths in Limerick of the mayor
and ex-mayor. A meeting was called and a majority of the Irish
present decided they wanted to move to the Lincoln battalion.

As more Irish arrived the IB leadership refused to allow any more
to move to the Lincolns and that they must serve with the British
which most agreed to do remembering their enemy was imperialism
and fascism. Nathan was demoted and moved from the area.

In February 1937 Franco was making a major push to encircle
Madrid and the apex of the battle to stop him was the Jarama
valley. The fighting done by the International Brigades here is
the stuff of legend and rightly so. On the 12th February Kit
Conway led troops across olive fields straight into fascist fire
capturing enemy positions and halting the advance, Conway himself
being fatally wounded. Franco’s troops, veterans of the Moroccon
war, had never been stopped so effectively in open countryside.
Ryan called out with a loudhailer in case the Irish fascists were
in the enemy trenches:

“Irishmen go home! Your fathers would turn in their graves if
they knew that you’d come to fight for imperialism. This is the
real Republican army, the real, real men of Ireland.”

On the 13th some defensive positions were lost after a British
commander withdrew without orders and the defensive line fell
back slightly however on the 14th when all seemed lost the men
were ready to be routed in the face of overwhelming numbers
including tanks, the fascists failed to pursue them possibly
tiring themselves. Frank Ryan and Scots-Irishman Jock Cunningham
turned around the bedraggled remains of the batallion singing the
Internationale and led 140 men back towards the enemy. The
fascists erroneously believed fresh units had arrived and fled.
The machine gun positions were re-captured Ryan was wounded in
the arm and went back to Ireland for a period of recuperation.
Nearby on the battlefield the 40 Irish with the Lincolns attacked
Pingarron Hill and lost over 100 men including the UCD scholar
and poet Charlie Donnelly who coined the phrase “even the olives
were bleeding”. The battle was over and Franco’s army looked to
other fronts to win the war.

Jarama was the Connolly Column’s finest hour but they went on to
fight at Brunete, Guadalajara, Belchite and finally at Gandesa
where in March 1938 Frank Ryan and hundreds more were surrounded
and captured by Italian Black Arrows. Most were eventually
released but Ryan was passed over to German intelligence, the
Abwehr and spent the rest of his days in Berlin, finally dying in
Dresden in 1944.

The International Brigades were wound down in November 1938 with
a parade in Barcelona just months before Franco came into control
of the entire country and a long dark period of repression would

However Dolores Ibárruri, La Pasionaria, gave the farewell
address at the parade which finished with these words: “We shall
not forget you; and, when the olive tree of peace is in flower,
entwined with the victory laurels of the Republic of Spain ---
return! Return to our side for here you will find a homeland ---
those who have no country or friends, who must live deprived of
friendship --- all, all will have the affection and gratitude of
the Spanish people who today and tomorrow will shout with
enthusiasm --- Long live the heroes of the International


In Red and Green: The Lives of Frank Ryan – Adrian Hoar
The Irish and the Spanish Civil War – Robert Stradling
The Spanish Civil War – Hugh Thomas
The Connolly Column – Michael O’Riordan

Further Reading:


Delta Adds 2 Trans-Atlantic Routes

© 2006 The Associated Press

NEW YORK — Delta Air Lines Inc. said Monday it is adding two more
trans-Atlantic routes from John F. Kennedy International Airport
to Manchester, England, and Dublin/Shannon, Ireland, effective

The flight from New York to Manchester, England, will take off at
7:40 p.m. The flight for Dublin/Shannon, Ireland, will take off
at 8:30 p.m., Delta said in a release.

Delta, which is reorganizing under Chapter 11 bankruptcy
protection, recently started offering non-stop service from New
York to Budapest, Hungary, and will offer service between New
York and Kiev, Ukraine, on June 1.


A Visit To Ireland's Ashford Castle

John Ford's film 'The Quiet Man' paints an idealised picture of
Ireland. All red-haired colleens and jaunting cars. Yet at
Ashford Castle, near where the film was shot, you can glimpse
this other world, says Sir Christopher Frayling

By Sir Christopher Frayling
15 May 2006

At the beginning of John Ford's classic film The Quiet Man, the
American Sean Thornton (John Wayne) steps on to the platform of
Casteltown railway station and asks the assembled locals: "Could
you tell me the way to Innisfree?" It soon becomes clear to him
that the village of Innisfree is not to be found on any road map
of the West of Ireland. The village belongs more to the poem
about a lake isle by W B Yeats as filtered through the lyrical
imagination of director John Ford: impossibly green, always
sunny, a never-never land of jaunting cars, thatched cottages and
red-haired colleens, which has very little contact with the
modern world. It is in a time warp.

The Quiet Man could be taking place any time between the 1920s
and the early 1950s when it was filmed. The original story on
which the film was based, first published in 1933, was set during
the Civil War that followed partition. In her autobiography 'Tis
Herself, Maureen O'Hara - the other big star of the film -
recalls "removing the politics from the story and focusing it on
romance and comedy".

Although the village of Innisfree is not on any map, its image
has dominated perceptions of the west of Ireland and its people -
especially among Irish-Americans - ever since The Quiet Man was
first released in summer 1952. At the National Museum of Country
Life, near Castlebar, Co Mayo, which opened to the public a few
years ago, visitors enter the various exhibitions about the hard
grind of Irish rural existence from the mid-19th to the mid-20th
centuries through an entrance gallery entitled "Romanticism and
Reality". To get to the museum proper, you have to walk under a
poster for The Quiet Man and a brightly coloured John Hinde
postcard dating from 1960s - of a whitewashed cottage against a
Mediterranean sky, with a mother greeting her two children who
have arrived with donkeys and creels. "Well into the 20th
century," says the caption, "postcards and posters have promoted
an idealised image of peaceful and pleasant rural life".

The transition from fantasy to history is a clever idea, one
which is also at the heart of Marie Jones's triumphantly
successful play Stones in His Pockets - a two-man show about the
making of a Hollywood epic called Quiet Valley at a small village
in today's Co Kerry. One of the characters is "the last surviving
extra from The Quiet Man", who entertains the film crew with
stories about how John Wayne once called him by his first name
half a century ago. The real-life tragedy of a local lad who
takes the myth too seriously for his own good is not allowed to
intrude for a moment on the hectic shooting schedule.

Quiet Valley seems like a belated sequel to The Quiet Man.
Between the two came the film ET in which the alien famously
decided to phone home; what gave him the idea was a celebrated
scene from John Ford's film which happens to be showing on
television - the scene where Sean Thornton returns to his wee
humble ancestral cottage in the Galway countryside called White

Ford had originally intended to shoot the film in "the ancestral
stamping ground of my people" around Spiddal in Connemara. But he
eventually opted for the village of Cong in Co Mayo and the
estate of nearby Ashford Castle on the north shore of Lough
Corrib, which was the former home of brewer Sir Benjamin Lee
Guinness but which, since 1939, had become a luxury hotel. When
they arrived in June 1951, the Hollywood film crew brought to the
neighbourhood - for the first time - electricity and a telephone
service. Cong became the village of Innisfree, the Church of
Ireland building on the Ashford Estate became its Catholic church
- causing some comment at the time - and various old farm
buildings and views near the castle became the picturesque
Technicolor settings for the American boxer's return home and
attempts to rebuild his life.

When first he saw the rushes, producer Herbert Yates asked: "Why
do they always look so green?" Here was living proof that green
grow the rushes-oh. It was a good question. While making the
film, John Ford liked to bark his orders in Gaelic - a language
which, again according to Maureen O'Hara's autobiography, he
could not really speak - to extras who came from Cong and
surrounding villages. The veteran Irish actors in the cast
consoled themselves with the thought that they were really making
a Western set in Ireland rather than a film that had much to do
with the real place.

The Quiet Man opens on a shot of Ashford Castle, with Lough
Corrib in the foreground. This was where Ford and his cronies
stayed during the shoot. Arriving there today for a short visit
is in some ways like stepping into the world that John Ford was
striving to create, only this time round with five-star
hospitality and elegance. The first thing I noticed, on the golf
course in front of the hotel, was the sainted turf where John
Wayne catches sight of Maureen O'Hara (as Mary Kate), while she
herds the sheep. "Hey ... is that real?" he says in the film.
"She couldn't be." Wayne stands under a massive beech tree, and
lights a match on the sole of his shoe as he witnesses this
apparition. It remains, as critic Philip French has said, one of
the most poetic moments in the history of film.

The location was in 1951 in the deer park of Ashford; today, it
is on the third fairway. Ducking golf balls one sunny morning, I
recognised the spot at once. John Ford never liked to stray far
from the nearest boozer - even when he was filming in Monument
Valley on the Arizona-Utah border - and Ashford Castle itself is
just over the next green.

The castle site goes back nearly 800 years, and its complex of
buildings is now like a potted history of luxury architecture:
part 18th-century French chateau, part- Scots baronial, part-
Irish fortified country house with terraced gardens and follies
and fountains constructed in Victorian times. Inside, the drawing
room - where traditional afternoon tea with delicious cakes is
served - overlooks the gardens and the green-tufted islands of
Lough Corrib beyond. There's a lot of oak panelling, large wood-
carved fireplaces and dressers, family crests and patterned
carpets - Victorian Gothic, only with the light touch of the Arts
and Crafts movement. Our palatial bedroom had a four-poster bed
and heavy damask drapes plus a vast bathroom with brass fittings.
Breakfast there - porridge with cream and soft brown sugar - was
seriously good.

There are 82 bedrooms, including six suites, and - I was told -
when Ronald Reagan came to stay in 1984 every single one of them
was taken by fellow heads of state, advisers and bodyguards. That
was in addition to the security people who put down netting over
large swathes of the Lough to put off undesirable frogmen from
the evil empire. Ashford Castle has for many years acted as a
magnet for senior politicians and film stars. In fact, there's a
whole room in the Castle devoted to photographs of them - from
Princess Grace and Gene Autry to Sharon Stone, Russell Crowe and
Pierce Brosnan, whose wedding and reception took place in the
hotel. One such celebrity, who visited in 1905 - when Sir
Benjamin Lee Guinness was still in charge - was the Prince of
Wales, later King George V, in search of some top-notch shooting
and fishing. He expected to be there for two days, but stayed a
month. As a result the main dining room - nouvelle cuisine
irlandaise - is still called the George V room, with the king's
face on the menus, and the cocktail lounge, specially built for
HRH's visit, is called the Prince of Wales Room. We chose instead
the Connaught Room - just seven tables, an original part of the
18th-century chateau - in my case for chargrilled scallops,
fillet of beef smoked over turf and an excellent Chateauneuf du
Pape (from a list of 324 wines). The helpful wine waiter also
knew a lot about the finer points of dry-stone walling, which was

Meanwhile, downstairs in the Dungeon Bar, there was a lively
singalong - Irish ballads, rebel anthems, songsheet provided -
with resident harpist, pianist and singers. Midway through "The
Fields of Athenry" an elderly man from Scottsdale, Arizona, who
had taken one Guinness too many and who, as they say around these
parts, had a great welcome for himself, asked me, at the top of
his voice, "Why the hell do you Brits come over here - they don't
like you do they?" At which point a musician on the stage
reminded him of the house rule "a bit of hush for the singer and
one singer one song please". Actually, his question was way off
the mark. The atmosphere of the hotel is very friendly and
attentive - aiming to be more like home on a vast scale than a
hotel - and during dinner, a cook who resembled Mrs Cadogan in
The Irish RM walked around all the tables asking how things were

But the man from Scottsdale was in one way right to be confused.
I mean, British royalty upstairs, rebel songs down in the
dungeon? And, all around, memories of The Quiet Man and the image
of the West. You can even enjoy an excursion in the original
horse-drawn jaunting car and trap used by Wayne and O'Hara in the
grounds of Ashford Castle in summer 1951. As the high-volume
American observed to me, during a lull in the singalong, "That
movie is up there on St Paddy's Day with It's a Wonderful Life at
Christmas and Yankee Doodle Dandy on the fourth of July." In
other words, it's become more than a movie: it's become a ritual.

Without wishing to lower the tone, I let him know that in Britain
The Quiet Man had been associated with an ex-leader of the Tory
party who didn't say very much. We shook hands on the thought
that for a long time people have visited the West of Ireland to
get away from both the North and the South. Brits have been doing
that at least since the days of the Celtic Twilight. There were
many, many reasons for the Brits to "come over here". And Ashford
Castle was definitely one of them.

To clear one's head the following morning, the vast grounds of
Ashford Castle offer a very impressive range of activities:
golfing, horseriding, tennis, fishing, scenic walks through
different styles of garden, a cruise round Corrib - one of the
largest lakes in Ireland - on one of the launches from the QE2
and even Ireland's first school of falconry. I was taught how to
handle and fly a Harris hawk called Burren - in the terraced
garden and wood of the castle - and the sense of achievement when
the bird returned from the faraway trees to my gloved hand and a
piece of chicken was one I'll remember for a very long time.

Or, for confirmed Quiet Maniacs, one can always drive to the
other locations using Ashford as a base: the railway station at
Ballyglunin (unchanged since 1951); the stone bridge over which
John Wayne passes, in his jaunting car - a couple of hundred
yards off the Galway-Clifden road; the strand at Lettergesh in
northern Connemara where the horse race was filmed (when the tide
was out, as I discovered). Or a walk into Cong and a visit to the
Pat Cohan Bar (which was a corner grocery store until the sign
was put up for the film).

On the way, there are the 12th-century ruins of Cong Abbey and
the delightful fishing house where medieval monks used to catch
their supper. Or, after a visit to the hotel's upmarket boutique
at the top of the grand staircase, a shopping expedition to
O'Maille's, next to the King's Head on Galway High Street where
most of the traditional-style costumes for The Quiet Man were
made - and where the fashion for Donegal tweeds and Aran sweaters
was originally created: if you've always craved a thorn-proof
tweed suit, this is the shop for you. There's a large photo on
the wall of Wayne and Ford proudly wearing two choice examples.

But as John Wayne discovered, you'll search in vain for a village
called Innisfree. The west of Ireland in The Quiet Man was a
place of the imagination rather than of grid references. A visit
to Ashford Castle provides a very stylish and luxurious glimpse
into that other world, and much else besides, for a day or two. A
piece of magic. As John Ford once had one of his characters say -
and the old rogue should know - "print the legend".

Ashford Castle (00 353 94 954 6003; offers double
rooms from €417 (£286) per night, based on two sharing. Ryanair
(0871 246 0000; offers return flights to Knock from
£55. A week's car hire through Argus Car hire (00 353 1 490 6173; costs from £87.

My best view

Persuade a boatman from Rossaveal in Connemara to take you to the
Atlantic side of the Aran Islands - rather than the usual Galway
side. Then, braving treacherous sounds, take a close look from
the sea at big waves crashing against the almost unbroken cliff-
face of the three islands. And marvel at the dramatically sited
Iron-Age forts, and the webbing of dry-stone walls that still
separate small-holdings, where most of the soil has had to come
from somewhere else. The experience really blows your heart wide

My favourite restaurant

Moran's Oyster Cottage (00 353 91 796113; morans, overlooking the weir of Kilcolgan River in Co
Galway, used to be a cramped front-room bar where porter was
dispersed from a ceramic jug. It is now a small seafood
restaurant, still located within a vernacular Galway cottage and
still owned by the same family. There is nothing in the world
like sitting outside (rain permitting), watching the sun set over
the river and bay beyond with half a dozen oysters and a pint of


Joyce Collection Among The Most Personal Yet Found

Terence Killeen

A strikingly personal collection of documents by and relating to
James Joyce has recently been donated to the James Joyce
Foundation in Zurich.

The documents have been given by Hans E Jahnke, the stepson of
Joyce's son, Giorgio. Dr Jahnke inherited them from his late
mother Asta, who was Giorgio's second wife and consequently his

The documents, which were held in a battered trunk, were handed
over at a ceremony in Zurich by Dr Jahnke in the presence of the
Irish Ambassador to Switzerland, Joe Lynch, and a number of other

These documents are unusual in that they are more personal than
any of the Joyce material that has turned up recently. They
include 50 letters by Joyce (37 of them to Giorgio) and 34
postcards (23 to Giorgio).

Some of the letters are addressed to both Giorgio and his first
wife, Helen Fleischmann, and some to Helen alone. These letters
will help to flesh out the activities and relationships of Joyce
during the 1920s and 1930s and are an important addition to
Joyce's biography. They are likely to be more personal than
Joyce's letters to Paul Leon released by the National Library in
1992, which were mainly about business matters.

There are also a large number of letters to James, Nora and
Giorgio Joyce, including 113 from his publisher Sylvia Beach.
Among these is an important letter in which she announces that
she will publish Ulysses.

This collection will also be of interest to Samuel Beckett
scholars since it includes a letter and a postcard to Joyce from
Beckett (instances of their correspondence are very rare).

There are also five letters to Nora or Giorgio from Beckett
written after Joyce's death.

The collection includes a touching letter to Nora from Stanislaus
Joyce, James's brother, telling of his feelings just after his
brother's death. There are also some legal and medical documents,
among them items concerning the condition of Giorgio's sister,

Most of the manuscript material relates to Finnegans Wake and,
unusually, Joyce's poetry. The most important Finnegans Wake item
appears to be what the foundation describes as "21 sheets of
Finnegans Wake Notebook material" for Part II, Chapter 3 of the

The Zurich James Joyce Foundation, under director Fritz Senn, was
already a considerable presence in the Joyce world. This bequest
stipulates that the papers must be available to researchers,
enhancing the foundation's status as a major centre of Joyce

© The Irish Times

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