News about the Irish & Irish American culture, music, news, sports. This is hosted by the Irish Aires radio show on KPFT-FM 90.1 in Houston, Texas (a Pacifica community radio station)

June 01, 2006

Alliance Refuses To Back UUP Mayor

News About Ireland & The Irish

BB 05/31/06 Alliance Refuse To Back UUP Mayor
GU 05/31/06 Shooting Politics In Stormont
SF 06/01/06 Collusion Summit Needed After UVF Murder Attempt
BN 06/01/06 Orde Facing Questions About Shooting Of Leading Loyalist
BT 06/01/06 Haddock 'Set Up' By His Former UVF Comrades
FN 06/01/06 Fifer Admits UDA Membership
SF 06/01/06 Questions Raised For OO After Scottish UDA Conviction
IP 06/01/06 Memorial Plan For Bombing Victims
IM 06/01/06 Public Meeting On The 1981 Hunger Strikes
NL 06/01/06 I Got Scap, Now I'm After You
LW 05/31/06 Fraud And White Collar Crime: Beyond Borders
UT 05/31/06 New NI Supercouncil Chief Named
SF 05/31/06 DUP Position Exposed By Demand To Free Poyntzpass Killers
IC 05/31/06 Opin: Fr. Des - Unionism’s Twisted Logic
BT 06/01/06 Opin: Loach's Winning Movie Has Many Irish Connections
BB 06/01/06 Blue Flags For Eight NI Beaches
WP 06/01/06 History Has Shown Davitt To Be Far Ahead Of His Time
WP 06/01/06 Bloody Good Farce: The Gory 'Inishmore'


Alliance Refuse To Back UUP Mayor

The Alliance Party is refusing to back the Ulster Unionists
for any top posts on Belfast City Council because of its
links with the Progressive Unionists.

The Alliance holds the balance of power on the council, and
its councillors will support the SDLP's candidate for city
mayor in the election on Thursday.

The UUP have come under pressure over their assembly
arrangement with the PUP, which has links with the UVF.

Naomi Long of the Alliance said all loyalist groups must be
on ceasefire.

"We have made it clear that whilst the UUP maintain their
formal links with the PUP and the UPRG, and whilst the
paramilitary groups to which they are linked are not on
ceasefire and refuse to address decommissioning, Alliance
will not be in a position to support them for any of the
top posts," she said.

"Unlike others, we will not differentiate between loyalist
and republican paramilitarism, but want to see all groups
commit to exclusively democratic and peaceful means and
move towards a peaceful and shared future."

Extra seat

As the assembly reconvened on 15 May, Progressive Unionist
Party leader David Ervine joined the Ulster Unionist

The move would give the UUP an extra ministerial seat at
Sinn Fein's expense if a power-sharing executive is formed.

Sylvia Hermon, the party's only MP, was among those who
have criticised the move.

And the party has come under renewed pressure following
Tuesday's shooting of Mark Haddock, who was named in a
court case as being a leading member of the Ulster
Volunteer Force.

However, party leader Sir Reg Empey said on Wednesday he
was trying to help stop such attacks.

"We have a political arrangement with one MLA and that
does, of course, have negative things with it," he said.

"But there is also a longer-term commitment I have made. I
am prepared to give it a real try."

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/05/31 17:31:52 GMT


Shooting Politics In Stormont

An attempted murder could have disastrous consequences for
the alliance between the Ulster Unionist party and the
Progressive Unionist party, says Henry McDonald

Wednesday May 31, 2006

As the leading north Belfast loyalist paramilitary Mark
Haddock fights for his life in hospital today, Ulster
Unionist (UUP) strategists must fear that their party is on
a political life-support machine and someone soon is going
to pull the plug.

If it transpires that Haddock's former comrades in the
Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) carried out yesterday's
attempted murder on the man labelled a terrorist by MPs on
both sides of the Irish sea, the political fallout for the
UUP will be disastrous.

At present, the UUP is involved in a controversial alliance
with the UVF-linked Progressive Unionist party (PUP) at
Stormont. The arrangement has created an Ulster Unionist
bloc bigger than both Sinn Féin and the moderate SDLP. If a
power-sharing government were restored in Belfast, an
unlikely event, the UUP would have three ministries as
opposed to Sinn Féin having two in a Northern Ireland

The UUP has tried to portray this bloc as a victory for
unionism; that they have robbed their republican opponents
of a ministry and put the overall unionist forces in
Stormont in the majority once more. In reality the move to
absorb the PUP has been a public relations disaster for the

The PUP's David Ervine is the articulate voice of loyalism
in Northern Ireland. An ex-UVF prisoner who gained a degree
while in the Maze prison, Ervine was central to bringing
about the loyalist ceasefires of 1994. He is an able and
affable politician who has admirers across the floor of the
assembly, including his former enemies in Sinn Féin.

However, while Ervine continues to argue for an end to
loyalist violence on the streets, both pro-union terror
groups are engaged in crime and terror on a weekly, and
often daily, basis. Last summer, for instance, the UVF shot
dead four men it alleged were linked to the anti-ceasefire
drug dealing faction known as the Loyalist Volunteer Force
(LVF). The UVF acted as judge, jury and executioner in what
was effectively a war of annihilation against its smaller
rival in greater Belfast.

The problem for Ervine and hence now Sir Reg Empey's UUP is
that, unlike the IRA, there is no centralised controlling
political influence over all the disparate loyalist forces
that were unleashed by the Troubles. Even if, as they have
promised, the UVF leadership winds up the organisation,
there will be individual units of that organisation and the
larger UDA that are always in danger of carrying on
reckless, ruthless and criminal activities, usually aimed
at their own community.

The damage to the UUP though could be even more
incalculable than the PUP. Even before yesterday's shooting
there was grave disquiet inside the UUP about the alliance.
Moreover, the party's only MP in Westminster, Lady Sylvia
Hermon, has publicly expressed her unease about the
arrangement. Sources close to the North Down MP are hinting
that she is even considering becoming an independent if UVF
involvement is proven.

Whoever shot Haddock (whose paramilitary history is steeped
in controversy, particularly allegations that he is a
security force agent), they achieved three things. Firstly,
it has almost immediately taken the public focus off Martin
McGuinness and allegations that the Sinn Féin MP worked for
MI6 - claims made by the British army intelligence
whistleblower Martin Ingram. Secondly, it provides Sinn
Féin with a powerful counter-argument to unionists who
continually insist they can't share power with republicans
while the IRA remains in existence. Why, republicans will
argue with some justification, do unionists have no problem
getting into political arrangements with loyalists linked
to armed and active movements whilst ignoring the mandate
of Sinn Féin?

Finally, the Haddock shooting has the potential to divide
and damage an already weakened and demoralised UUP. The
prospect of Ian Paisley's rival Democratic Unionists
totally eclipsing what was once the largest party in
Northern Ireland looms ever closer.

Henry McDonald is Ireland editor of the Observer and co-
author of UVF.


Taoiseach Must Demand Collusion Summit With Tony Blair
Following Murder Attempt On Senior UVF Special Branch Agent

Published: 1 June, 2006

Sinn Féin Dáil Leader Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD, whose office
was the target of a UVF bomb attack in March 1997, which is
believed to have been the work of Special Branch agent Mark
Haddock among others, today demanded that the Taoiseach
Bertie Ahern call a special summit meeting with Tony Blair
on collusion. Deputy Ó Caolain further demanded that the
Taoiseach ensure that the British Prime Minister commits to
making individuals within his system available to all
investigations of collusion.

Deputy Ó Caoláin said, "It has been widely accepted for
some time that the attempt to bomb the Sinn Féin office in
Monaghan in March 1997 was the work of Mark Haddock and at
least one other paid British Special Branch Agent from the
same Mount Vernon UVF gang. This was last week confirmed
publicly by former RUC CID member Trevor McIlwrath on BBC
television. Mr McIlwrath also confirmed that both the RUC
Special Branch and the CID had advance knowledge of the
plan. It has yet to be established whether or not the
Gardaí were given this information by the RUC.

"Following Tuesday's murder attempt on Mark Haddock and the
long running pattern of Special Branch agents being killed
before the full truth surrounding their activities emerges,
it is crucial that the Irish government now take this issue
seriously and raise with Tony Blair the issue of British
Special Branch agents operating within the 26 counties.

"The attack on the Sinn Féin office in Monaghan is but one
example of what was clearly a murder attempt sanctioned and
directed by elements of the RUC Special Branch. The sort of
wide-ranging investigation required cannot simply be left
to the Police Ombudsman Nuala O'Loan to carry out. Indeed
many of those former members of Special Branch have simply
refused to co-operate with the Ombudsman safe in the
knowledge that she does not at this time have the power to
compel them to do so. Hiding behind the Police Ombudsman
investigation is an abdication by the Department of Justice
of its responsibilities.

"The Irish government needs to grasp this issue. It is my
belief that given the nature of Britain's role in the
murder of citizens in this state and their refusal to co-
operate with the investigations by Justice Henry Barron,
Taoiseach Bertie Ahern needs to demand of Tony Blair that a
special summit meeting on collusion take place. The British
Prime Minister should give commitments to hold to account
those within the British system who controlled and directed
loyalist gangs and to make them available for scrutiny in
order to establish the full extent of their activities
within this state." ENDS


Orde Facing Questions About Shooting Of Leading Loyalist

01/06/2006 - 11:01:22

PSNI chief constable Hugh Orde is expected to face
questions about the attempted murder of leading loyalist
Mark Haddock when he appears before the North's Policing
Board today.

The 37-year-old UVF man is critically ill in hospital after
being shot several times near his home in the Newtownabbey
area of north Belfast on Tuesday evening.

Haddock, who was also a police informer, is believed to
have been targeted by his former associates in the UVF.

Mr Orde is expected to be questioned today on whether he
believes the loyalist paramilitary group was responsible.

If the UVF was being the shooting, it would put serious
pressure on the Ulster Unionist Party to sever its links
with David Ervine, the leader of the Political Unionist
Party, which is the political wing of the loyalist

Mr Ervine joined the UUP's Assembly group last month in a
move designed to ensure a unionist majority on any future
power-sharing Executive.

UVF involvement in Tuesday's attack would also raise
questions about the role of Policing Board chairwoman Dawn
Purvis, who is chair of the PUP.


Haddock 'Set Up' By His Former UVF Comrades

By Jonathan McCambridge
01 June 2006

Leading loyalist Mark Haddock is likely to have been set up
for Tuesday's murder attempt by former UVF allies, it has

A senior detective revealed that Haddock, who is fighting
for his life in hospital, was not wearing body armour when
he was shot six times.

Although paramilitary involvement is a line of inquiry, he
would not name the UVF as the prime suspects.

Haddock (37) is the ex-Special Branch informer at the
middle of a Police Ombudsman investigation into alleged
security force collusion with the UVF in north Belfast's
Mount Vernon estate.

It has now emerged he was ambushed and shot multiple times
as he got out of his car near the Mossley Orange Hall at
3:50pm on Tuesday.

This has increased speculation he had been conned into
meeting former UVF colleagues. One loyalist source said:
"It looks like he came here for a meeting."

It is believed he staggered from the scene of the shooting
near Mossley Mill in the Doagh Road area and made his way
to a neighbour's house.

Detective Inspector Gareth Nicholl said Haddock was
receiving treatment in the intensive care unit at the Royal
Victoria Hospital and police have not yet been able to talk
to him.

He said: "We believe the victim arrived in a black Peugeot
206 car, registration RCZ 1401, and parked on the verge. At
about 3:50pm he was approached standing outside the vehicle
and shot a number of times.

"We appeal to anyone who was in the area between 3 and 4pm
and who saw the Peugeot or who saw an adult in or around
that vehicle to contact us.

"We are also appealing to anyone who saw a silver car in
close proximity or anyone passing by or near the Orange

DI Nicholl refused to speculate on UVF involvement: "We are
keeping an open mind, we are not 100% sure."

He would not comment on why Haddock was in the area or if
he was in breach of bail conditions.

Although the UVF are the main suspects in the assassination
attempt, David Ervine, leader of the PUP and the
organisation's chief political adviser, said he had been
told by authoritative figures no authorisation was given.

He said: "Events will unfold that will make that clear. I
believe it was opportunistic. This man clearly had a
substantial number of enemies."

Haddock was currently on bail on a charge of attempting to
murder doorman Trevor Gowdy at a social club in Monkstown.

The shooting has piled huge political pressure on the
Ulster Unionist Party because it has aligned itself with
the PUP.

Sir Reg Empey commented last night: "We have a political
arrangement with one MLA (Mr Ervine) and that does, of
course, have negative things with it."


Fifer Admits UDA Membership

POLICE found an automatic pistol and live ammunition at the
Levenmouth home of a member of the Ulster Defence
Association, a court heard on Friday.

When questioned about the sinister find and the flags,
balaclavas, boots and other paramilitary paraphernalia
discovered in his flat in Buckhaven, Steven Moffat (45)
tried to deny membership of the banned organisation.

But when detectives drew attention to the UDA tattoo on his
arm he admitted he had been asked to join in a Belfast pub
three years earlier.

At the High Court in Edinburgh, Moffat pleaded guilty to
belonging to a banned organisation within the meaning of
the Terrorism Act 2000.

He also admitted a further breach of the Terrorism Act by
possessing a handgun, ammunition, clothing and other items
giving rise to suspicion that they were for the purpose of
preparing or instigating an act of terrorism.

First offender Moffat also pleaded guilty to two Firearms
Act charges relating to the 9mm Browning pistol and two
magazines of 9mm ammunition found during the search of his
former flat at 15 Erskine Street on February 10.

He faces sentence next month when background reports –
including a risk assessment – have been prepared.

Solicitor advocate Gordon Martin, defending, said jobless
Moffat had family connections in Northern Ireland, had been
a long-standing member of the Orange Order and was
sympathetic to the notion that Northern Ireland should
remain within the UK.

''He appears to have been a frequent visitor to Northern
Ireland to visit family, and met individuals in licensed
premises and became involved in conversations with those

''Perhaps in drink and in bravado he was persuaded to join
that particular organisation.''

Mr Martin said that, once a member, the UDA was not the
kind or organisation one could easily leave.

''He involved himself in something way over his head,'' the
lawyer added.

Advocate depute Adrian Cottam, prosecuting, said police
went to the one-bedroomed flat in Erskine Street, where
Moffat lived alone, on another unconnected matter. They
stumbled upon a toy plastic AK80 rifle but then began to
find material connected with the UDA and immediately
obtained a further search warrant.

During the course of the next two hours they found Loyalist
flags, a copy on an initiation speech, notes relating to
fund-raising, military style pullovers, boots, gloves and
balaclavas with eye slits cut in them.They also found other
replica weapons which could fire blanks.


Mr Cottam said that, in a football boot bag under the
mattress, they found the Browning wrapped in cling film.

Firearms experts said it was in full working order.

Moffat claimed he had been given the bag to keep for
someone else.

Mr Martin said that, although he was aware it was a
firearm, his instructions were: ''Keep this. Don't Look in
it. Don't touch it.''

Moffat had previously been linked to Loyalist fund-raising
events in the area at which witnesses said there were
guests wearing balaclavas and carrying what appeared to be
guns, the court heard.

He claimed he was not a major player in the organisation.

Judge Lord Macphail remanded Moffat in custody pending

31 May 2006


Questions Raised For Orange Order After Scottish Uda Conviction

Published: 1 June, 2006

Sinn Féin Assembly member for Upper Bann John O’Dowd today
said that the Orange Order had serious questions to answer
after the conviction of yet another one of their members
with UDA activity, this time in Scotland. Mr O’Dowd’s
comments come after an East Fife Orangeman Stephen Moffett
was last week convicted in Edinburgh of UDA membership and
other serious offences including the possession of weapons.

Mr O’Dowd said:

“Last week a 45 year old Orangeman from East Fife Stephen
Moffett was convicted in an Edinburgh court of being an
active UDA member and of possessing UDA weaponry. This
individual is the latest in a long line of Orange Order
members who have been convicted of involvement in loyalist
death squads.

“The Orange Order claim to be a religious organisation.
They claim to be committed to peaceful activity, yet time
and again the Orange Order are caught out with individuals
like Moffett in their ranks. We witness the close links
between the Orange Order and loyalist paramilitary gangs
each summer during contentious parades in the north. Last
summer both the UDA and UVF orchestrated serious rioting in
Belfast on the foot of a re-routed Orange march.

“This latest conviction raises very serious questions for
the Orange Order and once again places in the spotlight
their links with violent unionist paramilitaries and
demonstrates clearly to nationalists that the Order is not
the peaceful, cultural, religious organisation that it
claims.” ENDS


Memorial Plan For Bombing Victims

VICTIMS of a Loyalist car-bomb attack are set to be
remembered with a memorial in a small Cavan town.

The two teenagers were killed instantly when a car bomb
exploded in Belturbet 32 years ago.

Geraldine O’Reilly aged 14 and Patrick Stanley aged 16 were
singled out by the Remembrance Commission which is funding
the erection of the memorial with Cavan County Council.

A spokesperson said the death of the two teenagers had
deeply affected their familes.

They said: “As the years have passed there has been no
dilution of the grief they have endured and Christmas and
the New Year are times of sadness for them and a constant
reminder of their loss.

“The memorial will be placed in a central location in the
town so that it will serve as a reminder to the community
and visitors to Belturbet of the two young people who lost
their lives on that awful evening in 1972.”

The new memorial in Belturbet will show the teenagers
sitting back-to-back on a pile of books, with Patrick
holding a football and Geraldine a pair of dancing shoes
marking their passions in life.

It will be designed by the artist Mel French.


Public Meeting On The 1981 Hunger Strikes

Dublin History And Heritage Event Notice Thursday June
01, 2006 00:39 by Dublin Sinn Féin

Liberty Hall, 8PM Sunday 11th June

A Public Meeting on the 1981 Hunger Strikes.


Laurence McKeown, former Hunger Striker
Malachy McCreesh, brother of Hunger Striker Raymond
Seán Crowe TD, Sinn Féin TD
Íte Ní Chionnaith, H-Block campaigner

8PM Sunday 11th June
Liberty Hall, Eden Quay
Admission Free

Information : 01 872 6100
Related Link:


I Got Scap, Now I'm After You

Martin McGuinness has said the allegation that he was a
British spy is nonsense. Political Editor Stephen Dempster
talks to Martin Ingram, the man who said Freddie
Scappaticci was Stakeknife and is now saying that the Sinn
Fein MP and chief negotiator was a double agent

FORMER Army intelligence officer Martin Ingram said last
night: "I'm going after Martin McGuinness and I will get
him, just as I got Freddie Scappaticci."

The man who this week made the startling claim that the
Sinn Fein MP was a British spy reiterated the allegation to
the News Letter, saying he would stick by it and eventually
see it proved true.

"This is a marathon, not a sprint," he said. "I was
discredited and vilified over Scappaticci. It took 18
months from outing him to seeing him flee to Italy. Does
anyone now dispute that he was Stakeknife?

"I have no wish to lie or make things up for the sake of
it. That's not what I am about. I believe Martin McGuinness
to be an agent. He has been a protected species."

Mr McGuinness has described the suggestions that he was
working for MI6 as "a load of hooey", "absolute nonsense"
and "total rubbish".

And he pointed the finger at a DUP/Special Branch agenda to
discredit him and destabilise the peace process and

republicanism – similar to previous scandals that have
arisen at crucial moments in political talks.

Most people cannot believe that a man who has been for 35
years so prominently entrenched in republicanism could
possibly be a British agent.

Some in the media have also dismissed Ingram's allegations
and noted that the

evidence published by the Sunday World was "flimsy".

It amounted to an alleged transcript of a phone
conversation between an MI6 handler and an informer
codenamed J118, who a

Special Branch officer has identified to Ingram as Mr

But given that Ingram has credibility and a strong track
record in the area of outing spies and misdeeds in the
shadowy intelligence world – particularly in the Scapaticci
and Pat Finucane cases – the Sunday World believed in its
source and published.

The News Letter tracked Ingram down and asked him if he
could prove his claim, noting that Martin McGuinness said
he was "one million per cent" sure there was no evidence to
stand it up.

Ingram said: "I would agree with him. I will not be able to
produce a document or a tape that proves he was a British

"I could not do that in relation to Freddie Scappaticci, to
convince everybody of what I was saying. It took time for
it to sink in and be established.

"People should remember that Martin McGuinness has a
history of lying throughout the Troubles and I have a
history of telling the truth."

Speaking of the MI6 transcript and the verification he said
he got from a Special Branch man, Ingram said: "The man is

serving Special Branch officer who's coming to the end of
his time and is frustrated at what's gone on, and I have no
reason whatsoever to doubt him when he says J118 is

"I have had this document for two years. It's not just
happened overnight. Frankly, I wanted more material but
things did not go just as I wanted.

"Am I in any doubt that the document refers to McGuinness?
What is crucial here is what the republican movement
believes. It will know."

It is understood Mr McGuinness met IRA intelligence officer
Bobby Storey and Sinn Fein man Declan Kearny for a
debriefing at Connolly House in Andersonstown on

Monday morning.

Ingram also claims he has been told that republicans are
very suspicious on the issue.

He hinted that more could emerge on Mr McGuinness, and
vowed to deal with a succession of incidents that have
marked the Sinn Fein man's political and paramilitary life.

"I will address these points, given time," said Ingram, who
served as a Force Research Unit (FRU) handler in
Londonderry in the 1980s and knew of Mr McGuinness and his
activities intimately. Let's take Martin McGuinness and
just some of what we know. He lived in Derry from the start
of the Troubles. He was an IRA commander in the city –

"Never interned. Never charged with any terrorist offences
in Northern Ireland.

Never attacked by loyalists. But I have testaments from
loyalists who say they were going to kill him but were
compromised or thwarted by sudden military presence.

"Then there are the supergrasses Raymond Gilmour and Bobby
Quigley, who put 50 people away in Derry and were both
willing and able to testify against McGuinness on his
operational role in Derry and Ireland, and the police were
stopped from charging him with an offence.

"Moving on, the Cook Report in the early 90s made a string
of allegations against McGuinness which led to Operation
Taurus, a police investigation into him.

"The evidence gathered for prosecution was dropped because
it was not in the public interest to prosecute him? What
was the public interest?"

Mr McGuinness is alleged to have played a role in the
murder of IRA informer Frank Hegarty.

He has always denied ordering the killing and Scappaticci
denied carrying it out.

But Ingram had been Hegarty's handler in Londonderry, which
will lead sceptics to suggest that this personal interest
leaves him open to suggestions of a vendetta against Martin

"Look, I'm totally open about that issue. This is a very
serious subject and it took the life of one of my agents,"
he said. "I, of all people, do not treat this stuff

"I am doing this for the truth and for justice. There's no
money involved. I never sought, nor was offered a penny
(for the Sunday World story]. Nor is there a book deal.

"The motivation is the truth of what has happened – though
I did promise Ryan Hegarty (Frank Hegarty's son] that I
would bring Scappaticci and McGuinness to justice for their
roles in his father's murder.

"By that I do not mean kill them. I mean justice. I got
Freddie. He is a man on the run and I am pursuing him
through the courts for perjury. Now I'm going after
McGuinness and I will get him, just as I got Freddie."

01 June 2006


Fraud And White Collar Crime: Beyond Borders

UK businesses face unprecedented risks in the fast-track
extradition arrangements that now exist between the US and
the UK. Alistair Graham and Sona Ganatra report on the
Department of Justice’s pursuit of foreign business

Although many UK companies have been subject to the
requirements imposed by Sarbanes-Oxley and other US
legislation for some time, UK plc is increasingly feeling
the heat as US authorities have aggressively turned their
attention to the UK. In addition, new fast-track
extradition arrangements between the US and the UK mean the
US is now pursuing cases that it would formerly have
decided not to.

The new extradition arrangements in particular have come in
for heavy flak in the UK, with protests being voiced by
business leaders, opposition politicians, human rights
groups and ordinary citizens. A number of high-profile
extradition cases are currently being fought in the courts,
in what is turning into one of the hottest issues for UK
businesses in recent years. Once extradited, UK citizens
face a judicial system where plea bargaining is prevalent,
conviction rates, in some cases, exceed 90%, and sentences
are becoming increasingly severe.

Whatever the individual merits of any case, the fact is
that the US authorities are unlikely to change their
aggressive extraterritorial approach to pursuing alleged
white-collar criminals, and to date, there have been no
signs from the UK Government that it is prepared to revise
the new extradition arrangements with its transatlantic

In short, UK businesses — and the executives that work in
them — face unprecedented risks. These divide into three
broad categories: the increasing willingness of the US to
assume jurisdiction overseas; the diminution of the
protections formerly afforded to UK citizens; and
increasing co-operation between US and UK authorities in
terms of financial regulation.


The US has a broad view of extraterritoriality, claiming
jurisdiction over acts that have not been committed in the
country and for which other countries would make no such
claim. A fax or an e-mail that crosses US borders may be
enough. The US courts are prepared to assert jurisdiction
over an individual who has never carried out any
substantive business in the country, let alone visited it.

Although the burdens placed on UK companies by the
Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) regulations are
now familiar territory, the targeting of alleged cartel
behaviour by the Department of Justice (DoJ) is a new
development. US prosecutors are keen to pursue this agenda
overseas. "We have done a pretty good job of turning up the
heat on foreign nationals," as one anti-trust official at
the DoJ says.

The UK/US extradition regime

The UK’s first extradition treaty with the US was drawn up
in 1794. Today, the extradition regime between the two
countries is governed by the Extradition Act 2003 and the
US/UK 1972 Extradition Treaty. In 2003, a new extradition
treaty was agreed between the UK and the US with the aim of
easing the extradition process for both the US and the UK,
in particular lowering the evidence requirements on both
sides. Although the UK has ratified the 2003 treaty, the US
has not, meaning that it is not in force and that the 1972
treaty remains active. Under the 1972 treaty, the
requesting party must support its extradition request with
evidence that is "sufficient according to the law of the
requested party". In short, a prima facie case in the UK
and probable cause in the US.

However, the 2003 Act designates the US as a state that
does not have to provide any evidence to support an
extradition request, resulting in a severe imbalance in the
arrangements. In short, as was recognised in a High Court
ruling earlier this year, in the first round of a judicial
review application brought by Ian Norris, the recipient of
a precedent-setting extradition request by the DoJ for
alleged price-fixing, "the process which applies on one
side of the Atlantic does not apply on the other".

While requests made by the UK still have to meet the
evidential standard of probable cause, a US prosecutor only
has to provide a hearsay affidavit that simply sets out the
allegations of the suspected crimes. There are no
safeguards regarding the source of information; this is
left to the discretion of the individual prosecutor.
Furthermore, even if the UK citizen is completely innocent
of the alleged offences, there is no opportunity for him to
contest the actual charges in England. Although the 2003
Act does contain certain ‘bars’ to extradition and possible
defences (such as the fact that extradition would be
incompatible with the Human Rights Act 1998) in reality,
contesting an extradition request from the US within this
new framework is challenging and, in order for any of the
defences to be successful, the circumstances of the case
must be extreme.

Although both the 2003 treaty and the 2003 Act were touted
in Parliament as measures to combat international
terrorism, it is clear that the new extradition regime has
been appropriated by the US to pursue alleged white-collar
criminals. Figures are difficult to obtain, but it appears
that about 23 of the extradition requests made by the US
under the new regime relate to white-collar crime — about
50% of the total made.

Of the extradition cases currently being fought in the UK
courts, those of the NatWest Three and Ian Norris are
perhaps the most familiar. Both cases have had certain
elements certified by the High Court as matters of public
importance, which have been recommended to the House of
Lords. The Lords is currently considering whether it will
hear these arguments and is due to reach a decision later
this year.

Of most significance are the arguments raised by Ian
Norris’ judicial review. If the High Court’s recommendation
is observed, the UK’s highest court will decide whether the
continued designation of the US as a country that does not
have to provide prima facie evidence to support extradition
requests is legal. Any ruling in this area would have a
huge impact on UK plc.

Financial regulation

In 2004, the SEC and the UK Financial Services Authority
(FSA) both took enforcement action against Royal Dutch
Shell in connection with the group’s over-statement of its
hydrocarbon reserves. Following a joint investigation in
this case, Shell paid a £17m fine to the FSA and a $120m
(£64m) fine to the SEC.

It is interesting to note that the SEC referred to the
international cooperation in this case as "extraordinary
and [setting] an important precedent for investors that
regulatory efforts to police the financial markets will
transcend national borders". Indeed, the SEC has recently
confirmed that more cross-border enforcement action of this
type should be expected in the near future.

Notably, there has also been collaboration between the UK
and US authorities in the context of credit derivatives
markets and hedge fund regulation and how best to supervise
hedge fund managers regulated by the FSA, who have to
register with the SEC under its new registration

Moreover, in March this year, the SEC and the FSA cemented
their relationship by executing a Memorandum of Under-
standing concerning Consultation, Cooperation and the
Exchange of Information, with the intention of facilitating
the exchange of supervisory information currently collected
by both regulators. This increased collaboration between
the UK and US authorities is likely to affect how the UK
regulator conducts enforcement action in the future. In a
recent speech, the FSA’s director of enforcement was keen
to highlight the regulator’s intention to increase
penalties so that they are no longer regarded as simply
another "cost of doing business", as well as its commitment
to pursuing cases against senior management if appropriate.
Both points echo trends seen in SEC enforcement action in
recent years.

Companies should expect to see increasing scrutiny from the
US authorities. UK businesses should be taking a long hard
look at themselves to ensure they have adequately prepared
for the risk of doing business with the US and the growing
influence and reach of the US authorities in the UK.

Alistair Graham is head of dispute resolution and Sona
Ganatra an associate at White & Case in London. Alistair
Graham is representing Ian Norris.

Author: Alistair Graham and Sona Ganatra
Source: Legal Week
Start Date: 01/06/2006
End Date: 22/06/2006


New NI Supercouncil Chief Named

A former Department of the Environment official has been
tasked with determining the name and shape of the new seven
super councils planned for Northern Ireland.

By:Press Association

Dick Mackenzie, a member of the Parliamentary Boundary
Commission for Northern Ireland, is to receive a £84,150
salary in his new role as Local Government Boundaries

His appointment was confirmed by Northern Ireland Office
Environment Minister David Cairns.

A former deputy secretary at the Department of the
Environment, he was recently an adviser to the Department
of Social Development`s review of the North Belfast
Community Action Group.

He is also a voluntary trustee of the Grand Opera House

Mr Cairns said: "I am delighted to announce the appointment
of Dick Mackenzie.

"Mr Mackenzie has had a distinguished career in public
service and will bring many qualities and skills to the
post of Local Government Boundaries Commissioner."

Government plans to replace Northern Ireland`s 26 councils
with just seven super councils have received less than
enthusiastic reviews from unionists and the nationalist

However Sinn Fein have welcomed them.

Last November Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain
announced plans to slash the number of local councils from
26 to seven by 2009 and the number of councillors from 528
to 350.

Councillors who opt not to stand at the next election will
receive a severance package.

Under the Government`s plan, Belfast council area would
remain intact.

However in the north east of Northern Ireland, Coleraine,
Moyle, Ballymoney, Ballymena and Larne would come together
to form one council.

Carrickfergus, Newtownabbey, Antrim and Lisburn councils
would merge into a croissant-shaped super council in the
east of the country.

North Down, Newtownards, Castlereagh and Down District
Council would also come together to form another super
council in the east.

In the south, Newry and Mourne, Craigavon, Banbridge and
Armagh would be amalgamated.

In the south west, Omagh, Dungannon and South Tyrone,
Fermanagh and Cookstown would come together.

Finally in the north west, Derry City Council would merge
with councils in Limavady, Strabane and Magherafelt.

Councils would also be given increased powers such as
responsibility for local roads, economic development in
their areas, planning and physical regeneration.

There would also be a duty placed on them to develop and
co-ordinate a community planning strategy which would meet
the needs of local communities.

In his new role, Mr Mackenzie will be expected to make
recommendations to the Government about the boundaries and
names of the seven new council areas.

He will also have to determine the number of wards in each
council area which will elect councillors, where they will
be and their names.

After a briefing yesterday of community and residents`
groups in his South Belfast constituency on the effects the
review would have on their work, Sinn Fein Assembly member
Alex Maskey said it was essential the community and
voluntary sector was prepared for the changes in 2009.

"Community Planning, in essence, will be the designing of a
grand plan, a community plan, for the city of Belfast," he

"This will encompass almost everything that you can imagine
from transport to housing, from the environment to
community development.

"One of the real benefits will be that there will be an
onus on statutory bodies and departments to work with the

"This means that departments will be obligated to work with
the council. This is the empowering of local government,
the empowering of the local people elected by the people to
work on their behalf.

"For us, however, this does not go far enough. We believe,
and are continuing to argue for, a statutory duty to be
placed on councils to work with local communities and

"Such a move would put the citizen at the heart of local
government and make sure that `Community Planning` truly
represents the needs of the community".


DUP Position On Violence Exposed By Demand To Free Poyntzpass Killers

Published: 1 June, 2006

Sinn Féin Assembly member for North Antrim Philip McGuigan
has said that the demand by senior DUP official Gary Blair
for the release of the Poyntzpass killers (Irish News
31/05/06) should surprise nobody given his own personal
history, but does expose again the DUPs hypocrisy on the
issue of loyalist violence.

Mr McGuigan said:

"Not for the first time has senior DUP official Gary Blair
demanded the release of those LVF members convicted for the
double murders in Poyntzpass. This position should surprise
nobody given Gary Blair's own personal history.

" In December 1992 Malachy Carey a Sinn Féin election agent
in North Antrim was shot dead by unionist paramilitaries.
One of those convicted in connection with the murder was
Gary Blair. Gary Blair originally served his sentence on
the UVF wings in Long Kesh before leaving them to join up
with the anti-peace process LVF led by Catholic killer
Billy Wright.

" Gary Blair as a qualifying prisoner was released early
under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement in July 2000.
Since then he has returned to live in the Ballymoney area
and he assumed a senior position within the DUP in North
Antrim constituency acting as the local PRO.

"The fact that Gary Blair holds the position he does within
the DUP hierarchy exposes again the hypocrisy which marks
the DUP position on loyalist violence. Over the years the
DUP have been quite comfortable donning red berets in
Ulster Hall or sharing platforms with the LVF in Portadown
while at the same time claiming to be opposed to sectarian
violence and murder." ENDS


Opin: Fr. Des - Unionism’s Twisted Logic

UUP’s invite to terrorist-linked David Ervine is typical of
the party’s insular and distorted vision

The UUP (Ulster Unionist Party) has given a strange
explanation for bringing Mr Ervine into their ranks.

It is saying there is nothing strange or new in this move
because “We the Unionist Party always used groups like the
UVF etc in the past and we're a very respectable party, so
it must have been all right then and if it was all right
then it is all right now. So why is anybody complaining?"

Mr Empey did not put it in those words exactly, but this
seems to have been the meaning. A good, simple explanation
which saves the respectability in the drawing rooms and
boardrooms and farm parlours of people who supported the
party through the years.

Explanation number two was even more interesting. Vanguard.

We all thought Vanguard was a civilian/military group whose
large rallies, uniforms, motorcycle outriders, threatening
speeches etc were designed on the European fascist model to
strike fear into the hearts and minds of opponents of the
London government.

Now it seems we were wrong. According to the UUP, Vanguard
was really an attempt to wean loyalist people away from
armed action and into normal politics. Isn't it a great
thing that we have been told this because we made a
dreadful mistake hearing the echoes of Nuremburg in the
Ormeau Park in those heady days when we were told once
again, “Ulster will fight and Ulster will be right.” So it
was all designed to wean loyalists away from military
action and into normal politics then. Good. Pity Mr Empey
and Mr Craig and all did not tell us at the time.

Look how many hearts would have remained unbroken, how much
money would have been saved as householders could stop
buying locks, bolts, stairway gates, extra waterpails while
they were earmarking the credit union savings for fleeing
to the country instead of holidaying in Spain.

Mr Empey is surely doing us a favour by leading a party
which has become so open and explanatory and peaceful now.

Incidentally, do we recall what happened to Ye Olde UVF?
They were recruited by some of the most respectable
drawing-roomers in the land, armed by some of the richest,
encouraged by some of the most religious and marched up and
down threatening their neighbours who had the nerve to
demand even a limited say in their own affairs.

And then when they had done what was required of them,
intimidated their neighbours and threatened civil war
against their own government, when their services were no
longer required for these purposes, they were shipped off
to France to die in their tens of thousands in a war in
which they were forced to fight side by side with those
whom they had refused to stand beside either in government
or work.

And when the survivors came back home they were left with
only part of Ireland to control, whereas before they had it
all, a handful of medals and their memories, and with
whatever work was left over when important people were

The lesson was, of course, completely lost on our unionist

They came out of the old war clutching their medals,
entered the B Specials, got shifted into the UDR, got
shifted into the RIR (or something), some of them even seem
to have been shifted out to Iraq, or somewhere, to a new
war. And we’re now being told that Vanguard was really
designed to shift them out of militarism into normal
politics. It is a pity in a way that our unionist (and
loyalist?) friends do not take these lessons to heart.

If they were to ask themselves for instanc: “Name the Irish
political parties which want prosperity for all unionists
(and loyalists) rather than just a section of them?", they
could come up with only one answer and it would not be UUP
or DUP or Alliance.

Or if they were asked: “Which political party in Ireland
takes you on, uses you, and discards you when you have gone
by your sell-by date?", they could well answer UUP and DUP
surely. However, we should be thankful for even smallest

After all, it must be good that UUP or any other unionist
party finds it necessary, as they do now, to say it
regretted anything.

Because one of the biggest of our problems has always been
not just that unionist parties did so many bad things, it
was also that they never seemed to know what things were
wrong and what things were right.

They were a bit short on political morality and all that
kind of thing.


Opin: Loach's Winning Movie Has Many Irish Connections

01 June 2006

Ken Loach's new film which, won the 2006 Palme d'Or in
Cannes, is being described as British while simultaneously
being condemned as anti-British.

In fact, as well as the subject material, the IRA's
struggle for independence The Wind That Shakes The Barley
has many Irish connections.

The title comes from a song by Robert Dwyer Joyce. The film
was written by Paul Laverty and produced by Rebecca O'Brien
and was shot mostly in west Cork using local people as
actors and stars Cillian Murphy and Padraic Delaney.

This is not the first time Ken Loach has made a film about
the Irish struggle.

Back in 1990, when 'experts' were still dismissing shoot-
to-kill and collusion by British forces in the north, Loach
directed Hidden Agenda, which won the Special Jury Prize in

This political thriller also used Irish actors and
highlighted the cover-up of British forces' alleged dirty
tricks at a time when it was neither popular nor

It would be a fitting tribute if RTE were to show these two
movies and others by Ken Loach, an Englishman with a great
affinity for Ireland and indeed for anti-imperialist
struggles everywhere.

Dr Sean Marlow Dublin


Blue Flags For Eight NI Beaches

Eight of Northern Ireland's beaches have been awarded a
Blue Flag for 2006.

The Blue Flag is awarded to beaches which pass a strict EU
water quality test. It also rewards safety provisions and
easy access to facilities.

All but one of last year's beaches were given the award,
with Portrush's East Strand being replaced by Ballycastle.

Blue Flag spokesman Ian Cole said Northern Ireland had
"eight stunning stretches of sand" to match those in
Europe, South Africa or the Caribbean.

Mr Cole said the Blue Flag awards were internationally


Benone Strand
Cranfield West
Portstewart Strand
Portrush, West Strand
Portrush, Whiterocks

"The foreign feet visiting our sands know that safety and
cleanliness is guaranteed because they have the award in
their country," he said.

Last month, the Marine Conservation Society recommended
eight Northern Ireland beaches in its Good Beach Guide.

However, it said this figure was low as Northern Ireland's
water treatment infrastructure was in dire need of
investment, despite reduced beach pollution.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/06/01 05:36:46 GMT


Wednesday, May 31, 2006

History Has Shown Davitt To Be Far Ahead Of His Time

The centenary commemorations must be the beginning of a new
era of recognition of the achievements of Michael Davitt,
writes John Cooney.

THE celebration of the death of Michael Davitt a hundred
years ago this week as been overshadowed by the Irish
Government’s Commemoration Parade on Easter Sunday of the
ninetieth anniversary of the 1916 Rising. However, it is
still not too late to hope that Davitt’s legacy for today’s
Ireland will help switch the focus of national debate away
from the remembrance of military violence to the politics
of peace. Davitt, above all, should be remembered as an ex-
Fenian who abandoned armed insurrection for the politics of
peaceful protest.

The story of Michael Davitt has the capacity to exercise a
powerful hold over our imagination a century after his
death for the lessons which he taught about upholding human
freedom, educational advancement, prison reform, the rights
of women, social commitment and political idealism.

A study of Davitt is timely because the values he espoused
are under attack from international terrorism, a monolithic
media culture, disrespect for multi-ethnic diversity and
the growth of arbitrary State powers.

Fate dealt Davitt two severe blows even before he reached
adolescence and intellectual maturity. At the age of four,
he watched helplessly as his parents and his other siblings
were evicted from their thatched cottage at Straide in
County Mayo.

‘I have a distinct remembrance (doubtless strengthened by
the frequent narration of the event by my parents in after
years) of that morning’s scene,” he was to write his
masterpiece, The Fall of Feudalism, published in 1904.

‘The remnant of our household furniture flung about the
road; the roof of the house falling in and the thatch
catching fire; my mother and father looking on with four
young children, the youngest only two months old, adding
their cries to the other pangs which must have agitated
their souls at the sight of their burning homestead’. At
the age of eleven, as a working class refugee in the
village of Haslingden in east Lancashire, seventeen miles
north of Manchester, he lost his right arm in a cotton mill

The combination of these two personal tragedies catapulted
him into the secretive Irish Republican Brotherhood, the
template for the twentieth century Provisional IRA. This
involvement led to his capture, arrest and sentence to
eight years of penal servitude in Dartmoor Prison. He was
only 24 years of age when he was imprisoned as a convicted
Fenian felon for terrorist activities.

Yet, Davitt learned from such adversity while in prison. He
came to the conclusion, as he records in his Leaves from a
Prison Diary, that violence was self-defeating, and that
membership of an underground, armed conspiracy merely
invited the counter-productive attention of State agents
infiltrating the movement and recruiting informers - a
phenomenon recently re-enacted in the brutal fate of double
British and republican agent, Denis Donaldson, in his
spartan Donegal hideaway.

These insights became the bedrock of Davitt’s conviction to
become an apostle of non-violence, though he could use
incendiary language on occasions and further brushes with
the law. Lastingly, however, he emerged as a symbol of
human solidarity. Pertinently, the historian, Carla King,
in her foreword to Davitt’s Collected Writings, 1868-1906,
Edition Synapse, has remarked that ‘during seven years of a
brutal prison regime, Davitt turned, with a greatness of
soul and a power to forgive, reminiscent of Nelson Mandela
a century later from a physical force terrorist to a
constitutional politician’. Davitt inspired Mahatma Gandhi
of India in his campaign against the British Empire.

Davitt became the most internationalminded Irish
nationalist of his generation. He developed a mission to
unite the Irish and British working classes against
landlordism and imperialism.

Indeed, Davitt, the one-armed Irishman who spoke with a
pronounced Lancashire accent, is best remembered in history
books as a leading figure in the nineteenth century Irish
Home Rule movement, and especially for his role as the
revolutionary founder of the Land League that was to make
small farmer proprietorship, in the words of writer Sean O
Faolain, the basic social unit in ‘the dreary Eden’ of
Eamon de Valera’s independent Ireland. It was not for this
that Davitt campaigned.

His advocacy of land nationalisation was rejected as
communistic - and as the later experiment in the Soviet
Union of collectivised farming showed - unrealistic. In his
day, Davitt’s slogan, ‘Land for the People’, helped to
simplify the complex agrarian issue, and accelerated what
he called ‘the fall of feudalism’ in the land of his birth.
Successive Land Acts passed by the House of Commons gave
Irish tenants not just Davitt’s three F’s - fair rent,
fixity of tenure and free sale - but allowed them to
purchase their land on favourable terms from oppressive but
mainly absentee landlords. That class was worn down by
‘Captain Boycott’.

While Parnell was venerated posthumously as a martyr,
Davitt was excoriated as a Judas. Remarkably, by 1916 just
ten years after his death, Davitt had been deliberately
air-brushed out of the script for Irish freedom.
‘Republican’ Ireland declined to acknowledge him as being
among ‘the Greats’. The 1916 leader, P. H. Pearse, did not
assign Davitt a place in the Republican pantheon of
Theobald Wolfe Tone, John Mitchel, Fintan Lalor - and even

Nor, throughout the ‘Long War’ of sectarian violence on to
the current attempts of Taoiseach Bertie Ahern and British
Prime Minister Tony Blair to restore the Good Friday’s
Executive and Assembly, has Davitt’s reputation been

Insufficient attention has been put on Davitt’s role as an
ex-Fenian who took the road of peaceful, democratic
politics by renouncing his Fenian oath and taking a seat in
the House of Commons at Westminster. He totally excluded
violence as a means of advancing Irish unification.

Davitt’s career as a journalist and author after his
departure from Westminster recast him as an anti-
imperialist writer with his book The Boer Fight for
Freedom. His reputation as an international human rights
campaigner and investigative journalist was confirmed in
his follow-up book on Russian racial pogroms against Jews
in Kishniev, Within the Pale - The True Story of Anti-
Semitic Persecutions in Russia.

Over Davitt’s grave in Straide, a Celtic Cross in his
memory bears the words: ‘Blessed is he that hungers and
thirsts after justice, for he shall receive it’. Referring
to the awesome nature of this memorial, the historian M.R.
D. Foot wrote, in 1963, that Davitt had received scant
justice from the British in his lifetime and that even in
Ireland he had become an unperson. Hopefully, that may
about to change on the 160th anniversary of his birth and
the 100th anniversary of his death.


Critic's Notebook

Bloody Good Farce: The Gory 'Inishmore'

By Peter Marks
Washington Post Staff Writer

Wednesday, May 31, 2006; Page C01

NEW YORK -- Dismembered corpses, putrefying cat flesh,
brains splattered on a door frame, and five gallons of
stage blood might sound less like a recipe for yuks than
cries of "Yuck!" But leave it to playwright Martin McDonagh
to have found a way to put these ingredients to work in the
service of screamingly funny farce.

Pain and suffering have long played roles in his comedies.
None of his other plays, however, has exhibited quite the
kind of gory, freewheeling panache of "The Lieutenant of
Inishmore," the latest of them to make it to Broadway.

In Martin McDonagh's Tony-nominated black comedy "The
Lieutenant of Inishmore," Donny (Peter Gerety, left) and
Davey (Domhnall Gleeson) fret over the death of a black cat
beloved by Donny's off-kilter, violent son. (Copyright
Monique Carboni)

Three other McDonagh plays have had Broadway runs,
beginning with "The Beauty Queen of Leenane" in 1998 and
followed by "The Lonesome West" (1999) and "The Pillowman"
(2005). All, including "Inishmore," have gotten Tony
nominations for best play. And though he's thus far failed
to win, McDonagh has been recognized in that category on
more occasions in recent years than any other dramatist.

With the universal acclaim that's been lavished on
"Inishmore's" major rival -- Alan Bennett's "The History
Boys" -- the prognosticators think that McDonagh, born in
London of Irish parents, may be passed over again when the
statuettes are handed out June 11. (The other contenders
are David Lindsay-Abaire's "Rabbit Hole" and Conor
McPherson's "Shining City.") "The History Boys," a richly
textured portrait of an eccentric English schoolteacher and
the lads under his tutelage, deserves the attention. It's a
shame, though, if some of it is at the expense of
McDonagh's hilarious maelstrom, which has to do with dead
cats and IRA-style gunmen run amok in Ireland's own version
of the Wild, Wild West.

At the core of "Inishmore" is an utter contempt for what
might be called the knee-jerk barbarism of Irish terrorism.
As "Inishmore" unfolds, there are times that the events
become so gruesome you can't believe your eyes -- or
McDonagh's nerve. That despicable acts are performed so
well is testament to director Wilson Milam and an ensemble
recruited both from here and Ireland. What they seem to
have in mind is both shock and schlock, and the only
fitting response is full-bore laughter.

In his efforts at creating a kind of comic Grand Guignol,
McDonagh seems to be fixing his disgust on a human capacity
for violence, to shift to the law of the jungle -- and then
to embrace brutality as the norm. (The play is set in 1993,
before any settlement had been hammered out between
Catholics and Protestants.) Some who attend the play
misconstrue it as facile stereotyping of the Irish, but
McDonagh's target should properly be viewed as any
reprisal-obsessed subculture that romanticizes atrocity
perpetrated at any cost. Spin the globe and pick your

The outsize lunacy of "Inishmore" is a function of the
petty origins of what triggers the mayhem. An innocent
misunderstanding is the root of most good farce, and
McDonagh gives this foundation a rancid twist. The play
opens in a shabby cottage in the Aran Islands -- like most
of McDonagh's work, this one is set on the rugged Irish
west coast -- where its equally shabby occupant, Donny
(Peter Gerety), and a younger islander, Davey (Domhnall
Gleeson), are fretting over the passing of Wee Thomas, a
black cat beloved of Donny's son Padraic (David Wilmot).

In the play's harsh, screwball hierarchy, a cat's fate
arouses more sympathy than a man's. Donny and Davey worry
that Padraic will blame them for the cat's death, a very
serious concern because Padraic is a raging psychopath, a
terrorist so rabid that he's broken with a radical IRA
splinter group to form his own one-man splinter group. An
early scene -- not the bloodiest but the scariest -- shows
the deluded Padraic in some sort of decrepit chamber,
torturing a "drug dealer." McDonagh is a master of
commingling the macabre and the satirical, and this episode
illustrates that facility: It turns out that Padraic's
victim is no hard-core threat, just a guy who sells
marijuana to students at a local vocational college.

The plot hinges on the surprises awaiting Donny and Davey,
as well as crazy Padraic, upon Padraic's return. It gives
nothing away to say that Padraic is not the only dangerous
loony loose with a semiautomatic. The fun -- yes, fun --
derives in part from the absurd manner in which the
characters respond to abject peril, the way they can appear
less concerned about preserving their lives than their
right to pontificate or whine. Gleeson, in particular, is a
divine example of one who stubbornly commits acts against
self-interest. He gives us a very funny Davey, a young man
who insists on having his say even when trigger-happy
maniacs point guns at him.

McDonagh is perhaps mocking something in the hardheadedness
of Gaelic resolve. But he also invests the characters with
a nifty fatalism. As assorted homicidal types congregate in
his cottage and the threat of a wholesale massacre
escalates, Donny -- played terrifically by Gerety --
observes: "It's incidents like this does put tourists off

The joy of "Inishmore" is that everyone's "off." Wilmot has
icy derangement down perfectly, and Alison Pill, as Davey's
rifle-toting sister, is even more terrifyingly bonkers:
She's creepily convincing as a girl who thinks that the way
to encourage vegetarianism is to shoot out the eyes of
cows. Oh, and about all that plasma: Milam ladles it
onstage at the Lyceum Theatre with the ghoulish abandon of
one who has never heard of a blood shortage.

The run-up to the Tonys has seen the arrival of other
productions with ties to Irish theater, some, perhaps, a
bit more anemic than "Inishmore." The recently opened
revival of Brian Friel's "Faith Healer" at the Booth
Theatre, for example, comes to Broadway from Dublin, with a
cast that includes Ralph Fiennes and Ian McDiarmid, under
the direction of Jonathan Kent (Cherry Jones was enlisted
for the New York run). But while the performances in
"Inishmore" throb with authenticity, the actors in "Faith
Healer" work a bit too hard to achieve something self-
consciously theatrical, and the production withers. In
Friel's beautifully written 1979 play, a series of
monologues concerning a touring performer, Fiennes's Frank
Hardy, who may or may not have the power to heal, an
audience must hook up to the emotional current that binds
the other storytellers to Frank. Jones's Grace, a woman who
has abandoned a career and privileged life to follow Frank,
is supposed to greet us in the last stages of alcoholic
regret. But Jones seems far too robust in this instance to
convince the audience of Grace's diminished capacity and of
the further sorrows to come.

McDiarmid has much more success with Teddy, the low-rent
impresario who loyally trudges the countryside with Frank
and Grace. Fiennes's too-mannered Frank falls somewhere in
between. He's graceful and well spoken. Yet for all the
time we spend with him, it's a remote performance. We never
really feel that we meet the man behind the chilling myth.

The Lieutenant of Inishmore , by Martin McDonagh. Directed
by Wilson Milam. Set, Scott Pask; costumes, Theresa Squire;
lighting, Michael Chybowski; sound, Obadiah Eaves; music,
Matt McKenzie; fight director, J. David Brimmer. With Jeff
Binder, Andrew Connolly, Dashiell Eaves, Brian d'Arcy
James. About two hours. At the Lyceum Theatre, 149 W. 45th
St., New York.

Faith Healer , by Brian Friel. Directed by Jonathan Kent.
Sets and costumes, Jonathan Fensom; lighting, Mark
Henderson; sound, Christopher Cronin. About 2 hours 45
minutes. Through Aug. 13 at the Booth Theatre, 222 W. 45th
St., New York. For both productions call 212-239-6200 or

To receive this news via email, click HERE.
No Message is necessary.
To Get RSS Feed for Irish Aires News click HERE
(Paste into a News Reader)
To June Index
To Index of Monthly Archives
Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?