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)

July 25, 2006

Hunger Strike Exhibition Blocked

News About Ireland & The Irish

DP 07/25/06 Hunger Strike Exhibiton H-Blocked
EX 07/25/06 Move To Prevent Irish Funding Of Northern Parties Defeated
DJ 07/25/06 Help Track Down 'Potential Murder Gang' - Jim McCauley
EX 07/25/06 Smithwick Tribunal Hearings Delayed Until End Of Year
IT 07/26/06 IRA Bank Money Was For Investment In Bulgaria
IT 07/26/06 Not Guilty Verdict In Third Trial Of Anti-War Activists
UT 07/25/06 Population Drop In North Belfast 'Due To Tensions'
IT 07/26/06 State To Pursue Sellafield Plant Closure
PB 07/25/06 Trad Gets Free Public Reading At Irish Rep July 25
PR 07/25/06 Irish-American Leaders Honored At Wall Street 50 Ceremony
IT 07/26/06 Discovery In Midlands Bog 'Of Staggering Importance'
IT 07/26/06 Record Number Of Tourists Visiting Ireland
IT 07/26/06 Journalist Claims Descent From Jesus


Hunger Strike Exhibiton H-Blocked

A DECISION by Fingal County Council to block an exhibition
of photos highlighting the 1981 hunger strikes has been
described as “shortsighted and undemocratic”. Sinn Fein
councillor Felix Gallagher had intended to help organise
the exhibition at Blanchardstown Library for a weekend this

However, Cllr Gallagher said that council management
blocked the exhibition without any consultation.

The exhibition includes photographs from inside the prison,
original writings by Bobby Sands and other hunger strikers,
as well as radios and cameras smuggled into the prison.

Cllr Gallagher said that he forwarded a request by the H
Block/Armagh 25 Year Commemoration Committee to host the
exhibition in Blanchardstown library.

He said that he checked availability on a number of dates
and was told as far back as April 28 that dates in July
were available.

“I therefore booked the dates only to be told weeks later
that the council would not be hosting the exhibition,” Cllr
Gallagher said.

“I can only conclude that the decision was taken
unilaterally and with no regard for policy.”

However, council policy reserves the right to refuse
material that promotes a particular political party;
promotes a particular religious viewpoint; relates to money
or financial services; or are illegal or offensive to
public taste.

Cllr Gallagher said that the exhibition is not being
organised by any particular political party.

“Indeed the local H Block/Armagh Committee includes
representatives of Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, Labour and Sinn
Féin,” he said.

“The material does not relate to religion, financial
services and is not illegal. Offensive to public taste is
subjective, but this exhibition has been held in libraries
up and down the country from Donegal to Kerry.

“The reality is that the hunger strike was a momentous
period in Irish history and touched the community of Dublin
West. Anthony O Hara, brother of hunger striker Patsy,
stood in this constituency and out-polled, amongst others,
future President Mary Robinson.”

A spokeswoman for Fingal County Council said that the
council has a clear policy in relation to displays and
exhibitions in public libraries.

“According to this policy our libraries reserve the right
to refuse material for exhibitions that promote a
particular political party,” she said.

“This also means of course that without exception, we must
reserve the right to refuse material for exhibition that
promote any particular political viewpoint.

“In fact, several requests to display exhibitions of one
political viewpoint or another have been turned down in the
past for this reason.”

The spokeswoman said that as a local authority, the council
makes the library service available and open to all members
of the community of all ages.

“We therefore have a responsibility to ensure that we take
a neutral stance on all political issues,” she said.

“We must also ensure that all material on display in our
libraries is suitable for viewing by visitors of all ages
and that the material does not cause offence on any grounds
to any of our citizens.

“It is our view that the exhibition put forward by Cllr
Gallagher, while of some historical interest, would also
include content that may be distressing or unsuitable for
viewing for some of our visitors, particularly young
children, and that it is clearly political in nature.

“For this reason we have turned down Cllr Gallagher's
request to put the exhibition on display.”


Move To Prevent Irish Funding Of Northern Parties Defeated

25/07/2006 - 18:47:54

British MPs were debating a Lords change to the Northern
Ireland (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill today which sought
to remove “permissible donor” provisions from the

The move by the peers would prevent political donations
being made to parties in the North from donors in the

The British government was defeated by peers over the issue
but MPs today overturned the Lords’ proposal without a

Northern minister David Hanson told the House: “The
government firmly believes that Northern Ireland parties
and regulated donees should be able to continue to accept
donations from Irish citizens and other Irish bodies who
can currently donate to Irish parties as well as of course
accepting donations from those who can donate from the UK.”

This policy was consistent with the Good Friday Agreement,
he argued, and reflected the British government’s belief
that Irish citizens should be allowed to make these
donations to take account of the Republic’s special role in
relation to the North’s political culture.

Mr Hanson argued that the original provisions were a
significant step forward from the current position where
donations could come from “anyone and anywhere” and there
was no obligation to disclose them.

But the DUP’s Nigel Dodds accused the minister of
attempting to gloss over a measure that was “clearly
discriminatory” against unionist parties.

“How can you stand there and justify a special provision
which allows Irish citizens and Irish organisations to
donate to parties in Northern Ireland when you know full
well that the donations will be completely one-sided and
will have no benefit to unionist parties or the unionist
population whatsoever?” he said.

Mr Hanson retorted that he could not estimate “who or what
or when or where” citizens of the Republic would wish to

But he acknowledged: “I expect that there will be
significant donations to potentially the SDLP, to Sinn Féin
and other parties.”

Alasdair McDonnell (Belfast S), SDLP deputy leader, said
peers' amendments would narrow the list of political
donors, restrict funding and “strangle” parties.

“It is not just parties like the SDLP,” he said. “Unionist
parties do derive a small but nevertheless a significant
amount of money from across the border with the Irish

“A law that outlaws the raising of funds for Northern
Ireland parties on the island of Ireland as a whole is a
bad law, an ineffective law and an unworkable law.

“It runs against the grain of relationships within these
islands between Britain and the Irish Republic that have
improved so much over the last 25 to 30 years.”

Democratic Unionist Sammy Wilson branded it a “self-serving
speech” and said that if the original provisions were
reinstated it would be impossible for Sinn Féin to launder
money from south of the border into their “coffers” in the

Dr McDonnell replied: “Sinn Féin will manage to launder
money whatever we do in this House.

“Indeed, they are aided and abetted by the shenanigans of
the DUP at every turn because the reality is that we have
got to bring back devolution to Northern Ireland and there
is a competition on at the moment between the DUP and Sinn
Féin to see who can be disruptive and who can be the
greatest wreckers.”

In a stinging attack, Democratic Unionist deputy leader
Peter Robinson accused the minister of having a “credulous
gape on his face” during Dr McDonnell's speech.

This indicated he was either “hiding the real intent of his
measure” or was completely out of touch with politics in
the North.

“The reality is that you are doing this for one party. You
are doing it for the Labour Party’s sister party, the
SDLP,” Mr Robinson alleged.

“Sinn Féin don’t need it. Sinn Féin can just use the
Northern Bank proceeds. They can use all of their
gangsterism. They can use all of the other funds that they
raise through illicit means.”

Mr Robinson said the measure was intended to discriminate
against the Unionist in favour of the SDLP.

He added: “Why was there a prohibition placed on parties
elsewhere in the UK? It was because those who are resident
and citizens of countries outside the UK should not be
allowed to influence the politics of the United Kingdom.

“Yet the Government is precisely doing that in the case of
Northern Ireland where it is allowing people of another
jurisdiction to have a direct influence on the politics of
Northern Ireland.”

A vote to reinstate the measure was won by 260 votes to 16,
a government majority of 244.

The Bill later passed through the House of Lords and gained
royal assent.


Help Track Down 'Potential Murder Gang' - Jim McCauley

THE FATHER of Derry assault victim Paul McCauley said last
night that more information is needed to track down what he
called a 'potential murder gang' on the Waterside.

Jim McCauley said the family are maintaining a vigil at
Paul's bedside at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast.
The 29 year-old civil servant remains in a critical
condition and unconscious more than a week after he was
attacked in the garden of a home on Chapel Road in the

Jim said: "The chilling truth is that there's a potential
murder gang on the loose in the Waterside leaving the
community in fear. It's important that anyone with
information comes forward."

Police want to hear from anyone who witnessed the assault
or who may have seen the culprits make their way to or from
the Bann Drive/Irish Street direction in the early hours of
Sunday morning (July 17).

The attack happened at around 3.40am when a group of men
burst into the back garden of the house and viciously
attacked Paul McCauley and two friends sat chatting around
a small fire after a barbecue.

Paul McCauley suffered a fractured jaw and the family have
been told he 'died' twice after the attack and had to be
resuscitated. A second man, who suffers from a disability,
sustained serious injuries including a broken jaw, while
the third escaped with minor injuries.

Anyone with information about the assault - which police
believe was sectarian - is asked to contact Waterside PSNI
Station on 0845 600 8000 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 1111.

25 July 2006


Smithwick Tribunal Hearings Delayed Until End Of Year

25/07/2006 - 08:05:19

The tribunal set up to investigate the killing of two
senior RUC men by the IRA 17 years ago says it will not be
holding any public hearings until the end of the year.

Chief superintendent Harry Breen and superintendent Robert
Buchanan died in an IRA ambush in south Armagh while
returning from a meeting with Dundalk Gardai in March 1989.

The Irish Government has set up the Smithwick Tribunal to
investigate claims that a garda source may have informed
the IRA of the men's movements.

The tribunal was expected to begin public hearings within
weeks of its inaugural sitting last March, however it has
now confirmed that no hearings will take place until the
end of the year.

It says it has received representations on behalf of a
number of people and is still continuing with its inquiry.


IRA Bank Money Was For Investment In Bulgaria

By Conor Lally

The IRA intended to use the proceeds of the £26.5 million
Northern Bank robbery to buy a £15 million apartment block
in Bulgaria and a quarry in the midlands for between €3
million and €4 million, The Irish Times has learned.

It also planned to buy a small bank in Bulgaria so it could
create a reputable money trail there to launder its planned

However, the plans were scuppered when a financial broker
in Cork, who was allegedly laundering some of the money,
was discovered in February 2005 with £2.3 million in his
house believed to be from the robbery.

PSNI chief constable Hugh Orde has said he believes the IRA
carried out the robbery. His views have been echoed by
Minister for Justice Michael McDowell.

The investigation into the Cork laundering operation has
now resulted in the Criminal Assets Bureau becoming
involved in two of its biggest investigations.

One of these involves five key individuals who are believed
to be the main players in a business empire in Leinster
that was to be centrally involved in laundering the
Northern Bank money. These targets, through pubs and
hotels, have also played key roles in the financing of the
IRA's terrorist campaign for almost 20 years.

They raised seed funding through Revenue offences in
Britain in the 1980s which was transferred to Ireland via
the Isle of Man. It was then used by the IRA to buy pubs in
the Republic.

The investigation into these men is described as "massive"
by Garda sources. Gardaí have visited Britain, the Isle of
Man and Bulgaria trawling through financial records in an
effort to piece together the IRA money trail.

One of the five was central to devising the pub investment
and money-laundering scheme for the IRA 15 to 20 years ago
and is believed to have been the organisation "chief
financial strategist". Another has run some of the IRA's
pubs in Dublin. All five have built considerable property-
based personal wealth. It believes that some of these men
were leaving IRA-owned pubs weekly with bags of cash

A second investigation has also begun in recent months
involving an Irish man who was involved in crime in the
Republic in the 1980s. The man, who has links to a number
of figures involved in the horseracing industry, left
Ireland about 15 years ago.

He has since built up a property portfolio worth well in
excess of €100 million in Britain, Spain, Cyprus, the US
and Ireland. The bureau believes he has paid no tax here
for 15 years. Its investigation has taken bureau officers
to the four other jurisdictions where he has bought

The investigation into the Cork operation has resulted in
the reopening of a number of cases conducted by the Garda's
anti-racketeering division in the 1980s and 1990s into the
IRA's pub portfolio.

© The Irish Times


Not Guilty Verdict In Third Trial Of Anti-War Activists


There were jubilant scenes inside and outside a Dublin
courtroom yesterday when five anti-war protesters were
found not guilty of criminally damaging a US navy aircraft
at Shannon airport.

The jury of five men and seven women at Dublin Circuit
Criminal Court took 4½ hours to reach its unanimous
decision on day 12 of the trial, which took place after two
previous trials had collapsed.

Judge Miriam Reynolds discharged the five activists and
left the court but returned when supporters burst into
spontaneous applause.

She said their behaviour was an "understandable release of
emotion" but not acceptable in a courtroom.

The group pleaded not guilty to two counts each of causing
damage without lawful excuse to a naval aircraft, property
of the United States government, and to glass door panels,
property of Aer Rianta at Shannon airport, Co Clare, on
February 3rd, 2003.

The cost of repairs to the aircraft was estimated at over
$2.5 million (€1.99 million).

Juries in two earlier trials were discharged before
evidence had concluded following suggestions from the
defence teams that the presiding judges could have been
perceived to be biased.

The accused at all stages accepted that they had gone into
a Shannon airport hangar with hammers and damaged the

They argued that they had a lawful excuse for doing so as
they honestly believed they were acting to protect lives
and property in Iraq.

The Criminal Damage Act, 1991, amended in 1997, provides a
defence of lawful excuse to the offence if the accused was
acting to defend himself or another or property belonging
to himself or another.

The action taken must be reasonable in the circumstances as
the accused believed those circumstances to be. It is
immaterial whether such a belief is justified so long as it
is honestly held.

It was submitted to the jury that the five accused had a
lawful excuse as they were trying to save life, land and
property in Iraq in the build-up to war.

They said they wanted to protect vulnerable Iraqis who had
already suffered a decade of economic sanctions.

The five are Ciaron O'Reilly (46), an Australian national;
Nuin Dunlop (34), a US citizen; counsellor, Damien Moran
(26); Karen Fallon (35); a Scottish marine biologist, all
of Rialto Cottages, Rialto; and Deirdre Clancy (36), a copy
editor, of Alverno Apartments, Clontarf.

They left the Four Courts to cheering and applause from a
large group of supporters who presented them with bouquets
of flowers.

The development agency Afri, along with other anti-war
groups, commended the jury on its decision to acquit the
defendants, who were described as five Catholic Worker
peace activists known as the Pitstop Ploughshares. One of
those acquitted, Ms Clancy, stated the conscience of the
Irish people had spoken and the Ahern government had no
popular mandate to allow Shannon airport to be used as part
of the "American war machine".

Mr O'Reilly said commentators had declared the war as
illegal, immoral and unwinnable. He said he celebrated with
his "brothers and sisters" who were before the courts for
"non-violent resistance" to the war.

The jury has been told that a lone garda was on duty in the
hangar at 3.45am when five people came running in carrying
hammers and an axe or mattock.

Evidence was given that they were shouting "some words of
God" and went to the front, side and rear of the aircraft,
using the items to hit the plane. They then knelt in a
circle and prayed until gardaí arrived to arrest them.

Copies of the Bible and Koran, rosary and Islamic prayer
beads, candles, flowers, St Bridget's crosses and
photographs of distressed children were among the items
found at the scene in the form of a shrine at the doors to
the hangar.

The first trial collapsed after six days of evidence in
March 2005 when Judge Frank O'Donnell accepted there could
be a perception of bias on his part.

Judge Donagh McDonagh heard the second trial in October
2005 but it again collapsed on its 10th day after the
defence team told the judge that there could again be a
perception of bias.

Defence counsel said they were seeking to confirm whether
or not he had, as a barrister in the mid-1990s, attended a
conference in Texas which involved a photo call with the
then governor Bush.

It was also suggested that Judge McDonagh was invited to
both of Bush's presidential inaugurations and attended the
first in 2000. He replied that the information was "half
right, half wrong" and his social life was not "open to
scrutiny", before he discharged the jury.

That turn of events came after Judge McDonagh had excluded
the defence of lawful excuse following legal argument.

The NGO Peace Alliance and Anti-War Ireland applauded the
jury yesterday.

© The Irish Times


Population Drop In North Belfast 'Due To Tensions'

Community tensions in north and west Belfast may be behind
a large-scale flight from the area, it has been claimed.

By:Press Association

Figures released by the Northern Ireland Statistics and
Research Agency (NISRA) show the population dropping in the
interface-riddled area while regions like Lagan Valley have
seen a substantial increase.

Other factors include the general trend for moving out of
cities as well as redevelopment in the area.

Ardoyne priest Fr Aidan Troy said it may show a desire to
escape conflict.

"I don`t think the violence is deterring people from living
in north Belfast but if they do get the chance to move away
they are taking it," he said.

"It is clear that people will take the opportunity if it is
offered them and I have noticed people from Ardoyne moving
to areas like Glengormley or Crumlin."

He added there was still demand for housing in interface
areas like Alliance Avenue in Ardoyne.

Between June 2004 and June 2005, the population in north
Belfast dropped by 700 people and in west Belfast by 1100.

The largest increase was in the Lagan Valley parliamentary
constituency, which includes Lisburn, at 1500.

Fermanagh and South Tyrone and the Upper Bann also saw
substantial increases.

North Belfast MP Nigel Dodds said his constituency was more
stable now than in the past and added many migrants may be
moving to await new developments on the site of demolished

"Compared to the 1980`s and 1990`s the situation is more
stable now and that`s down to the fact that there`s been
less trouble," he said.

"It takes time for people to move back into areas after
they are redeveloped and I know parts of the Shore Road
have been particularly affected by this.

"I would be confident that things are pretty stable in the
long run."

Other findings in the report include:

:: The number of people living in Northern Ireland is
estimated to have increased by nearly 15,000 people.

:: Population growth from migration at 6700 people is the
highest ever seen.

The number of people living in Northern Ireland is 1.725

The hike was linked in the report to a natural increase of
8000 people through birth and death, as well as people
coming from Great Britain and outside the UK.

A total of 13,600 people are estimated to have come from
outside the UK, with many foreign migrants working in the
service and manufacturing industry.

A NISRA spokesman said: "These figures illustrate the
significant increase in the Northern Ireland population
over the last year.

"In particular, since the enlargement of the European Union
in May 2004 significant migration to Northern Ireland from
Eastern European countries has occurred."

The working age population increased by 1.1% while the
number of pensioners rose by 1.6%. The number of children
declined by 0.6%.

West Belfast had the highest proportion of children and
east Belfast the largest proportion of pensioners.


State To Pursue Sellafield Plant Closure

By Gerry Moriarty, Northern Editor

The Government is to press ahead with its legal attempt to
compel the British government to close down its nuclear
plant in Sellafield, Minister for Foreign Affairs Dermot
Ahern said after the British Irish Intergovernmental
Conference (BIIGC) meeting in Hillsborough Castle

After the BIIGC meeting, Northern Secretary Peter Hain,
flanked by Mr Ahern, repeated to reporters that the British
government had no intention of building nuclear power
plants in the North.

Mr Ahern responded that the Government had already welcomed
that commitment, but "that is good as far as it goes". He
said the British government should close Sellafield and
should also reconsider its plans to create new nuclear
plants in Britain.

"We are the first Irish government ever to take legal
action against Britain in relation to the continuation of
Sellafield, and that will continue."

Mr Ahern added that he and Mr Hain had agreed there must be
increased co-operation in terms of developing renewable
energy options. "I think you will see a lot of work being
done in the coming weeks on that," he said.

Sinn Féin environment spokesman Arthur Morgan TD, said the
Government must be clear in opposing moves to build more
nuclear reactors. "This is no time for a soft approach from
the Irish Government ... Dermot Ahern must take a stand on
behalf of the Irish people and demand that Britain pulls
back from its nuclear agenda and pursues a policy of
renewable energy," he said.

SDLP MP for South Down Eddie McGrady welcomed the
commitments by the British and Irish governments. "But if
the British government are serious about a nuclear-free
Ireland they must announce the rejection of the Sellafield
site as one of the locations for their new-generation
nuclear power stations and pursue with vigour the rundown
and closure of the Sellafield site for good."

© The Irish Times


Trad Gets Free Public Reading At Irish Rep July 25

By Kenneth Jones
25 Jul 2006

The Irish Repertory Theatre's New Works Reading Series,
supporting new plays and emerging playwrights, presents
Trad by Mark Doherty July 25 in Manhattan.

As part of its mission statement, The Irish Repertory
Theatre "encourages the development of new works focusing
on the Irish and Irish American experience, as well as a
range of other cultures."

The free presentation of Trad is 3 PM July 25. To RSVP,
call (212) 727-2737.

Mark Doherty's Trad is "a short but epic voyage" that
"follows the relationship of a one hundred year old
Irishman and his father." The "surreal comedy" looks at the
value of tradition. In Trad, "Doherty bequeaths his voice
to two characters with a heady mixture of irreverence,
bitterness and bewilderment; Da, an ancient widower who has
lived longer than any man should, and his 100-year-old son,
Thomas. Da hates the English and is disappointed in his son
for failing to become a father himself. Thomas, meanwhile,
has news for him; some 70 years ago, during a wordless
encounter with a girl known to him only as 'Mary,' he did
his bit to further the family line, and there's a
possibility of a son of his out there, somewhere…"

Doherty has radio, TV and stage credits as a writer and
actor. He also has a standup comedy background. He won the
2004 BBC Radio Drama Award (Stewart Parker Award) for Trad.

The Irish Rep reading cast includes Reed Birney (Stuff
Happens, Pen, Bug), Jarlath Conroy (Faith Healer, A Man of
No Importance, Pigtown and Fritz Weaver (Trying, Ring Round
the Moon, A Life).

Kara Manning, Irish Rep literary manager, hopes that the
reading series will "give playwrights, both emerging and
more established, the invaluable opportunity to develop
their new work in a supportive, safe environment and will
also introduce some Irish playwrights, especially those who
might not yet have the New York recognition they merit, to
an American audience."

All readings are at 3 PM and are located at The Irish
Repertory Theatre, 132 W. 22nd Street.

For more information visit


Nation's Top Irish-American Business Leaders Honored At Ninth Annual 'Wall Street 50' Awards Ceremony

Senator John McCain (R-AZ) Addresses Honorees and Guests at
Event Co-Hosted by Irish America and Financial Dynamics

NEW YORK, July 25 /PRNewswire/ -- Fifty of the nation's
top Irish-American business leaders were honored last
evening at the prestigious "Wall Street 50" awards, co-
hosted by Irish America magazine and business
communications firm Financial Dynamics. Senator John McCain
was the special guest speaker for the evening and spoke of
his support for the Wall Street business community and
Irish America, while John Duffy, Chairman and CEO, Keefe,
Bruyette & Woods, gave the keynote address and received the
first Hall of Fame Award for his distinguished professional
career and stewardship of the company during and since the
events of September 11, 2001.

Commenting on Irish America's impact on the business
community, Senator John McCain said, "As they do with most
things in life, the Irish in America conduct business on
Wall Street with great passion, energy and innovation. It
is not surprising that Irish Americans have attained the
highest levels of success in the financial world, and in
doing so these men and women have contributed greatly to
the fabric of our country and our economy. I am honored to
have spent time with such talented business leaders and I
look forward to celebrating their future endeavors."

Now in its ninth year, the Wall Street 50 honors Irish
business leaders who are selected for their outstanding
achievements, business success, community accomplishments
and commitment to their Irish heritage. This year's award
recipients were joined by business leaders, family and
honored guests at the event, which was presided over by
CNBC Television anchor Bob O'Brien as master of ceremonies
at the New York Yacht Club in Manhattan.

Patricia Harty, Editor-in-Chief and Co-founder of Irish
America, said, "The history of the Irish in America is one
of triumph over tragedy and nowhere is this more evident
than on Wall Street. As the fifth anniversary of 9/11
approaches, we are mindful of those we lost as we honor the
men and women of our Wall Street 50 who had the strength
and determination to carry on and rebuild."

Irish America Founding Publisher Niall O'Dowd
commented, "The Wall Street 50 is an extraordinary event
which highlights the leading Irish Americans on Wall
Street. In its nine years it has blazed a trail in
identifying those to whom heritage and business success go
hand in hand. This year we are especially delighted that
Senator John McCain joined us at our event. We also welcome
the continued participation of Financial Dynamics as our
co-host of the evening."

Declan Kelly, CEO of Financial Dynamics-US, said, "We
are pleased to join together again with Irish America to
recognize the remarkable achievements of this year's
outstanding business leaders. The prominence of these
individuals is a testament to the profound impact Irish
Americans continue to make in the world of global finance,
and we are proud to honor them."

The Wall Street 50 coincides with the release of the
August/September issue of Irish America magazine, available
now, which features a cover story interview with Senator
McCain, an extensive article about John Duffy, as well as
detailed profiles on each of the honorees. The ongoing
success of the awards is made possible through the support
of Mutual of America, 1-800-Flowers, PR Newswire, The
American Ireland Funds, The Merrion Hotel, Tourism Ireland,
Enterprise Ireland, IDA Ireland, Carter Ledyard & Milburn
LLP and Waterford Crystal who presented specially-selected
commemoration pieces to this year's honorees.

About Irish America Magazine - Irish America is the
leading national glossy publication of Irish interest in
North America. Since its inception in October 1985, Irish
America magazine has become a powerful vehicle for
expression on a range of political, economic, social and
cultural themes that are of paramount importance to the
Irish in the United States. It has helped re-establish the
Irish ethnic identity in the U.S. (40 million according to
the last U.S. census) and highlighted the best political
and business leaders, organizations, artists, writers and
community figures among the Irish in America.

About FD - FD is a leading business communications and
consulting firm with a 20 year history advising global
brands on all facets of their communication strategies. FD
is structured around four key offerings that include
corporate communications, investor relations, public
affairs and business consulting. Co-headquartered in London
and New York, FD provides seamless cross-border service
through a network of offices across Europe, North America,
Asia and the Middle East. The firm is structured around
specialist sector teams operating on an international basis
and is management owned in partnership with private equity
firm Advent International. For more information, visit

SOURCE Financial Dynamics


Discovery In Midlands Bog 'Of Staggering Importance'


The discovery of an ancient manuscript in a bog in the
midlands has been described by the National Museum of
Ireland as of "staggering importance", writes Ruadhán Mac

Fragments of what appear to be an ancient psalter, or Book
of Psalms, were uncovered by a bulldozer in a bog in the
south midlands last Thursday.

It is estimated that it could be between 1,000 and 1,200-
years-old and staff at the museum said yesterday its
discovery was an Irish equivalent to that of the Dead Sea

The director of the National Museum of Ireland, Dr Pat
Wallace, said the find was of "staggering importance" and
that its survival until now was "a miracle".

"In my wildest hopes, I could only have dreamed of a
discovery as fragile and rare as this. It testifies to the
incredible richness of the early Christian civilisation of
this island and to the greatness of ancient Ireland," he

The artefact comprises extensive fragments of what appear
to be an Irish early Christian psalter, written on vellum.
The pages appear to be those of a slim, large format book
with a wraparound vellum or leather cover from which the
book block has slipped.

Specialists do not know how the manuscript ended up in the
bog, but speculated that it may have been lost in transit,
or dumped after a raid.

The farmer on whose land it was found notified museum staff
immediately, and it was brought to the museum's
conservation laboratory at Collins Barracks in Dublin by a
team of specialists on Friday.

According to Raghnall Ó Floinn, head of collections at the
museum, there are about 45 letters per line and a maximum
of 40 lines per page.

While part of Psalm 83 is legible, the extent to which
other psalms or additional texts are preserved will be
determined only by painstaking work by a team of experts.
It is possible that the manuscript will be put on public
display in the museum's early Christian gallery within a
couple of years.

Dr Bernard Meehan, head of manuscripts at Trinity College
Dublin, said the find was "sensational".

"I only heard about this yesterday, and since then I've
been trying to come to terms with it. I cannot think of a
parallel anywhere . . . What we have here is a really
spectacular, completely unexpected find."

Arts Minister John O'Donoghue congratulated the finder and
the museum on a "most fortunate" discovery.

© The Irish Times


Record Number Of Tourists Visiting Ireland

By Alison Healy

The number of people visiting Ireland this year is on
target to be the highest in the history of the State,
according to the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism. John
O'Donoghue yesterday described as "quite unprecedented" the
13 per cent increase in visitor numbers in the first four
months of the year.

"All of the indications from the trade at the present time
is that we will exceed seven million visitors this year,"
the Minister said. "That means that we will have the
highest number of visitors in the country in the history of
the State and I have no doubt but that the revenue figures
will reflect that and that the revenue figures will be the
highest in the history of the State as well."

Mr O'Donoghue was speaking at the launch of this year's
Dublin Horse Show at the RDS. The Fáilte Ireland sponsored
event begins on August 9th and runs for five days.

This year's show, the 133rd, will be the richest to date,
with more than €725,000 in prize money, the Minister said.

More than 1,000 horses and ponies will pass through the
gates of the RDS over the five days. There are several new
features at this year's show, according to Michael Duffy,
RDS chief executive, with classes for four- and five-year-
old horses as well as a number of classes restricted to
Irish-bred horses.

Eight international show jumping teams will battle it out
for the Aga Khan Challenge Trophy, while the Longines Grand
Prix will carry a prize fund of €120,000.

To encourage horse sales during the event, a video
catalogue will be produced featuring samples of young
horses entered in the show. The video will be sent to a
list of prospective buyers.

Members of the public will also be encouraged to show their
judging skills by picking the horses they think will win in
selected classes. The entrants closest to that of the
judges will win €1,000 each day.

Ladies Day will be held on August 10th when the top prize
of €10,000 will be awarded to the best dressed woman. It
will be judged by former Miss World Rosanna Davidson,
tailor Louis Copeland and designer Synan O'Mahony.

For more information see

© The Irish Times


Journalist Claims Descent From Jesus

By Seán O'Driscoll in New York

A former journalist at the Irish News in the US has signed
a seven-figure contract for a book based on her claim that
she is the descendant of Jesus Christ and and Mary

The book, by former editor Kathleen McGowan, is to be
marketed heavily on both sides of the Atlantic following
the success of Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code, a novel that
claims there are living descendants of Christ.

The American journalist worked as a senior editor at the
Irish News and has written extensively on politics and the
arts. She also worked for a while in Ireland.

She is now living in Los Angeles, where she signed a
collective seven-figure deal with Simon & Schuster in the
UK and Touchstone in the US.

The book, The Expected One, is to be released in the US
this week with a print run of 250,000.

It also claims Mary Magdalene was first married to John The
Baptist. However, McGowan has yet to reveal the source of
the claim, saying only that it came from someone who is
"fanatically" devoted to keeping the true story of Mary
Magdalene alive.

McGowan, who is married to Irish-born musician Peter
McGowan, claims in her book that she is a direct descendant
of Mary Magdalene.

She says her lineage can be traced to France where the
descendants of Mary Magdalene are alleged to have been
raised, at least according to widely discredited claims in
The Da Vinci Code.

In her book, McGowan changes her name to Maureen Pascal,
but says in interviews that it is a lightly fictionalised
version of her own story.

The book takes her from France to Jerusalem and she finds
clues in the works of artists as diverse as Botticelli and
Jean Cocteau. McGowan says she spent 20 years researching
the Gospel of Mary Magdalene.

"Mary Magdalene's story is the greatest story never told,"
she said in a statement. "My interest in Mary Magdalene was
sparked by my discovery that part of my family believes it
is related to an ancient French lineage that traces its
roots to her descendants. This link opened doors that have
been closed to other writers and allowed me to do unique
research on four continents."

© The Irish Times

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