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July 27, 2006

Hain Seeks Irish American Support

News About Ireland & The Irish

IA 07/27/06 Hain Seeks Irish American Support
IA 07/27/06 ILIR Road Trip Goes To Texas
IA 07/27/06 Snakes Alive In Dublin
DI 07/27/06 Freedom Of Dublin For Shannon Five
DI 07/27/06 Summer School To Celebrate Yeats’ Life And Work
DI 07/27/06 NY Mayor Visits To Unveil US Civil War Hero’s Memorial


Hain Seeks Irish American Support

By Sean O’Driscoll

NORTHERN Ireland Secretary of State Peter Hain is to tell
Irish groups in Boston and New York this week that he is
giving an “absolutely last chance” for a Northern Ireland
government to restart.

He also said that the proposed U.S.-U.K. extradition treaty
was not relevant to the Northern Ireland question, a
response to some Irish American groups who claimed that the
treaty could lead to the extradition of U.S.-based Irish

In a tough message delivered to the Irish Voice during a
phone interview on Tuesday, Hain said that he will cut off
all salaries and expenses to members of the suspended
Northern Ireland Assembly unless they get back to work by
November 24.

The Stormont parliament and government is locked in bitter
disputes between its two largest parties, the Democratic
Unionist Party and Sinn Fein.

Hain said that he was tired of four years of political
inertia and would set up a more permanent direct rule from

“This really is the last chance saloon for Northern Ireland
politicians. Either they live up to their mandates and do
their jobs or I’ll do it my way in cooperation with the
Irish government,” he said.

Hain said that he would be asking Irish Americans in Boston
and New York to help him deliver a tough message.

“In New York and Boston I’m going to be saying that the
deadline is real, that the shop will shut up after November
24. If Northern Ireland politicians don’t do the deal,
there’s no point coming back to me on November 25 because
we’re going to be getting on with direct rule and
cooperating with the south in a whole new agenda,” he said.

Hain will meet in New York with National Committee on
American Foreign Policy chief Bill Flynn and others before
going on to his first ever visit to Boston.

There he will meet with the leader of the Irish American
Partnership, Joseph O’Leary, as well as lobbyist and former
lieutenant Tom O’Neill III, a son of former House Speaker
Tip O’Neill.

Hain warned that there was “absolutely no excuse” for
Unionists not to go into government with Sinn Fein.

“What Unionism has to decide is whether it’s in favor of
devolution or it’s not. If it’s in favor then it needs to
restore (government).

“There is absolutely no reason, no excuse not to get back
into government, given what Sinn Fein and the IRA have
delivered over the last year.”

Hain said that the British government was not planning to
extradite any Irish Republicans from the U.S. and that the
new extradition treaty being debated in Congress was simply
not relevant.

“All we’re looking for is reciprocity in the extradition
proceedings,” he said.

He said the economic cost of division in Northern Ireland
was immense and an economy which sustained those
differences would not be sustainable in the long term.

“The costs of division in Northern Ireland are staggering
in almost every sector. In education, for example, there
are now 50,000 empty school places in Northern Ireland
(rising to 80,000 by 2015) -– out of a school population of

He said this was a “monumental waste of resources” —
teachers in the wrong places, empty class rooms, scores of
small schools which are not viable.

“Two segregated primary schools in a village and doomed to
closure where a merger might be viable and produce higher
standards where separately they cannot,” he warned.


ILIR Road Trip Goes To Texas

By Georgina Brennan

THE latest list of House hearings will send groups of Irish
Lobby for Immigration Reform (ILIR) volunteers to Texas,
Arizona, Washington State and upstate New York.

A small group of volunteers who traveled to the nation’s
capital last week for a House hearing on a fence at the
Mexican border witnessed Wisconsin Congressman James
Sensenbrenner turn and walk in the opposite direction once
he saw the Legalize the Irish t-shirts. But the volunteers
were warmly welcomed by Michigan Congressman Dale Kildee,
whose grandfather emigrated from Ireland.

“It’s great to see you guys again,” he told the smiling
volunteers. “I really agree with what you guys are trying
to do, keep up the good work.”

The 10 volunteers who had traveled early in the morning to
attend a House Homeland Security hearing examining border
barriers as a way to stem illegal immigration were first in
the line to enter the cramped hearing room.

Taking their seats beside a Border Patrol officer, the
volunteers, some of whom were undocumented, were not

“It is important that we show up at these hearings,” said
Samantha, who took notes for the ILIR weekly meeting back
in the Bronx.

Lawmakers listened to long testimony about whether to build
a longer fence along hundreds of miles on the nation’s
southern border and if a fence would stop illegal

Already layered fencing stands on about 75 miles of the
2,000-mile U.S.-Mexico border. “What America needs is boots
on the ground. There are, in my opinion, no one-size-fits-
all solutions for border security,” said Texas Congressman
Silvestre Reyes.

“I think building a large fence wastes money. I think it’s
not a good investment of taxpayer dollars. What border
residents want and what Americans want when it comes to
border security and immigration reform is action.”

The ILIR volunteers will next hear testimony over two days
in Washington on immigration reform on Wednesday and
Thursday of this week.

Next week, the volunteers will travel to Plano, Texas
Detroit, San Diego, Las Cruces, New Mexico, Yuma, Arizona
and Phoenix.

A hearing is scheduled for upstate New York on August 25
and there are several other hearings around the country.

Anyone wishing to attend a hearting is asked to contact
ILIR at 718-578-7530 or log onto
for more information.


Snakes Alive In Dublin

By Paddy Clancy

MORE than 1,500 years after St. Patrick banished snakes
from Ireland they have slithered back in to the country –
and animal welfare workers are pleading for homes for them.

The Dublin Society for the Prevention of Cruelty (DSPCA) to
Animals says there is an upsurge in the number of stray
reptiles turning up where they are not wanted.

Like in the Dublin suburb of Tallaght – where one woman
opened her kitchen cupboard and found a six foot long bull
snake curled up and glaring malevolently at her.

DSPCA education officer Orla Aungier said, “Not
surprisingly, she quickly closed her kitchen door and
called us for help.”

Although she didn’t know it at the time, the woman reacted
in the best possible way to avoid attack.

“Although not poisonous, the bull snake is aggressive and
has an incredibly loud hiss. It can also bite,” Aungier

“Anybody who finds a snake should not disturb it because,
if startled, they escape and become hard to find.”

She suggested that, if possible, a basin should be put over
the reptile and weighted down to prevent escape. Otherwise,
if the snake is in a room the door should be shut.

It wasn’t established precisely where the bull snake came
from or how it slithered its way into the Tallaght kitchen.
But experts say the recent extremely warm weather has
contributed to a rise in the number of snakes escaping from
their owners and wandering into other people’s homes and

Despite the claim that Ireland is snake-free thanks to St.
Patrick, there are in fact hundreds of them retained as
pets. They are imported, from the U.S., and sold through
pet shops for between $100 and $380.

They are non-poisonous species – mainly bull, rat, corn,
garter and grass snakes.

In recent weeks the DSPCA rescued 10 in the Dublin area,
varying in size from five inches to 6.6 feet.

The society appealed for new homes for them. Aungier said,
“Owners are often afraid to tell their neighbors they have
lost their snakes and so they are often not claimed.”


Freedom Of Dublin For Shannon Five

City councillor to recommend Clontarf woman Deirdre Clancy
and her fellow Shannon airport anti-war activists receive
the Freedom of City

By David Lynch

A bid was launched last night to honour the Shannon Five
anti-war campaigners with the freedom of Dublin city.

Sinn Féin councillor Killian Forde said he would be
recommending the honour to Dublin mayor Vincent Jackson.

The 36-year-old Clontarf native Deirdre Clancy and her four
fellow campaigners were acquitted in Dublin Central
Criminal Court this week of charges of causing criminal
damage to a US navy warplane at Shannon airport in 2003.

Mr Forde said the freedom of Dublin would be a fitting
tribute to the campaigners.

“This government has consistently and deliberately ignored
the will of the Irish people.

“They ignored the hundreds of thousands who marched against
the war in 2003.

“They ignored countless calls for the end of logistical
support to the US military at Shannon.

“They ignored evidence of supporting rendition flights from
the Council of Europe and they have ignored demands for
inspections of flights to check cargos,” said Mr Forde.

One of the Shannon Five said that peaceful direct action
should be used to stop the US military using Irish

At a press conference in Dublin yesterday, 46-year-old
Ciaron O’Reilly said he would be talking to student, civil
and other groups about the possibilities of such a

Deirdre Clancy, 34-year-old Nuin Dunlop, 35-year-old Karen
Fallon and 26-year-old Damien Moran also addressed the
press conference.

Mr Moran was studying to be a priest when the incident
happened in 2003.

He said: “Now it’s time for all the political parties who
came out against the use of Shannon to make their position

“That is the Greens, Labour, Sinn Féin, Fine Gael and the

“I would like them all to make a pre-election promise: ‘If
you vote for us, the US military will not be allowed to use

All five said they felt they had been correct to take their
action in 2003. They had been accused of causing around €10
million (£7 million) worth of damage to the plane on
February 3, 2003.

The accused accepted they had gone into a Shannon airport
hangar with hammers and damaged the aircraft.

They said they had a “lawful excuse” because they had been
acting to protect lives and property in Iraq. On Tuesday, a
Dublin jury unanimously found them not guilty.

Ms Fallon warned that the decision did not give the right
to anyone to take similar action in Shannon.

“Just because of this decision, it does not mean you can
just go throw a brick through a window in Shannon,” she

Mr O’Reilly said the use of Shannon was making Ireland a
potential terrorist target.

“The people of New York, London and Madrid have reaped the
whirlwind because their countries supported this war,” he

“Our actions were partly about preventing the people of
Ireland having to reap such a whirlwind.”

Mr O’Reilly said those who had died fighting for Irish
independence would be “turning in their graves” at
Ireland’s “colonial” relationship with the United States.


Summer School To Celebrate Yeats’ Life And Work

Two weeks of poetry recitals, great music and tours of

By Mick Hall

Preparations are under way to stage the 47th Yeats
International Summer School in Sligo town which will be
launched this Sunday.

The two-week annual event will take place between July 29
and August 11 and will feature poetry recitals, music
performances and guided tours of the Sligo countryside that
inspired WB Yeats’ writing.

Registration will take place at the Yeats Memorial Building
at Hyde Bridge in Sligo town throughout Saturday. This
year’s school includes tutorials by university teachers
from Ireland, Britain, Japan, Singapore and Canada.

The school will be opened on Sunday at the Hawk’s Well
Theatre by Professor James Fenton, a former professor of
poetry at Oxford University and respected, published poet
and essayist. The school will offer two lectures each
morning and a seminar each afternoon. In all, a student may
obtain up to 40 ‘contact hours’ with eminent scholars and
teachers of Yeats’ work and modern literature. In addition,
scholars may enroll in poetry and drama workshops.

Various musical and dramatic performances will be put on as
entertainment for students and for the general public.

Yeats Society member Stella Mews said the summer school
reflected the Irish poet’s love of Sligo, which she said
had inspired his writings.

“Yeats was born in Dublin, not Sligo, but through his
mother Susan, he absorbed her consuming passion for her
native county,” she said. “Long periods of his childhood
were spent there and the young Yeats looked, listened and
absorbed through his senses the beauty, the magic and the
myths of Sligo.

“Places like Drumcliff, Inisfree Island, Benbulben,
Knocknarea, Glencar, Rosses Point, Cummeen and many other
places in this county he named in his works. Whatever he
wrote, as with his brother Jack in his paintings, had
something of Sligo in it.”

Mrs Mews said the continuing success of the summer school
was based on the fact that its original format had not
significantly changed since being established in 1959.

“When Professor Tom Henn of St Catherine’s College,
Cambridge was approached in 1959 by members of the newly
formed Yeats Society and asked his opinion on how best to
honour the poet, his reply was: “Hold a summer school.”

“He was very specific about the kind of school he
envisaged. He saw it as a two-week mini-university with
lectures and seminars of the highest academic standards.

“He was adamant that it should not be affiliated to any
recognised university that it should create its own
universality with Yeats’s works at its core but also
extending to related topics of Anglo-Irish literature, past
and present, Celtic mythology, Japanese drama and other
topics relevant to the core theme.

“After 47 years, the Yeats Summer School ethos has remained
the same,” Mrs Mews said.

Others taking part in the summer school lectures include
Donegal writer Moya Cannon, James Fenton and Belfast poet
Michael Longley.

Seminars will also take place from 4pm to 6pm, where
discussions and debate have been known to extend into the
early hours of the following day.

Mrs Mews said people of all ages and backgrounds from all
over the world would be making their way to Sligo for the
events this weekend.

“All ages are represented – young Oxford undergraduates,
retired American attorneys, serious doctoral students,
policemen, teachers, housewives and many poets. They
usually all have one thing in common – a desire to see the
countryside that inspired Yeats and to learn more about the
poet and his family in the place that inspired him and the
place where he very definitely chose as his final resting
place,” she added.


NY Mayor Visits To Unveil US Civil War Hero’s Memorial

By Mick Hall

New York mayor Michael Bloomberg will visit Ballymote, Co
Sligo tomorrow to unveil a new memorial to a major Irish
figure in America’s civil war.

The monument will be unveiled at Ballymote’s town park at
2pm. It will commemorate Brigadier General Michael
Corcoran, who was attached to the Fighting Irish 69th
Regiment of the United States army during the period. Born
in September 1827 in Carrowkeel, Ballymote, Corcoran was
also involved in establishing the Fenian Brotherhood, a
group of military figures who aimed to use their experience
and American connections within the Irish diaspora to fight
for Irish independence.

It is understood Mr Bloomberg’s visit will be brief. He
will fly into Ireland tomorrow morning and leave in the
evening. There was local speculation earlier in the week
that the visit would prompt demonstrations by peace
activists in response to US support for the continuing
Israeli bombardment of the Lebanon.

However, there were no signs yesterday that protests had
been organised.

The monument in Ballymote’s town park contains steel taken
from site of the 9/11 attacks in New York. Local Fine Gael
TD John Perry, who has spearheaded the campaign for the
memorial, said it would “further symbolise the links
between Ireland and New York”.

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