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July 10, 2006

Senate Sets Date for Extradition Treaty Hearing

News About Ireland & The Irish

MS 07/10/06
Senate's Date For Extradition Treaty Hearing Cheers UK
II 07/11/06 Minister Asks US To Honour Extradition Treaty
EX 07/10/06 Outrage At £3m Funding For Removing Murals
CP 07/10/06 Blog: La Migra
BB 07/10/06 Bid To Keep NI Selection Defeated
NH 07/10/06 Opin: IAUC Denounces Hain
II 07/10/06 Where The Wind Really Shakes The Barley
IN 07/10/06 Bothy Band Musician Dies At 54


Senate's Date For Extradition Treaty Hearing Cheers UK

Financial Times

Britain's attempts to push Congress to ratify a high-
profile extradition treaty agreed in 2003 by London and
Washington secured an early success yesterday when a key
Senate committee announced plans to hold a hearing on
ratification next week.

The Senate foreign relations committee said it would hold
the hearing on July 19. The decision was made as
Conservative and Liberal Democrat peers in the House of
Lords in London attempt to punish Washington – and
embarrass the government of Tony Blair, the prime minister
– for the delay by legislating dramatic changes to US-UK
extradition arrangements.


Minister Asks US To Honour Extradition Treaty

By Andy McSmith
Published: 11 July 2006

US senators will hear a personal plea from a Home Office
minister this week to save the British Government from
further humiliation by dropping their opposition to a US-UK
extradition treaty.

Baroness Scotland of Asthal will fly to Washington on
Thursday - the same day that the three British bankers are
due to board a plane in the custody of US marshals to face
trial on fraud charges under a treaty that the US Senate is
refusing to ratify.

David Bermingham, Gary Mulgrew and Giles Darby, former
executives of NatWest, have been accused in the US of
defrauding the bank of £4m by advising it to sell part of
Enron for less than its real value. The three men left
NatWest, bought the Enron business, and sold it on, for a
profit of £1.4m each. The trio have denied any criminal
activity and have insisted that if there is a case against
them, it should be tried in a British court, but their
appeal was rejected in the High Court.

The case of the NatWest Three has caused an outcry in the
UK, because it is seen as another example of Tony Blair
giving in to US pressure and getting nothing in return. The
Home Secretary, John Reid, has told Lady Scotland to plead
with the Senators to drop their opposition .

A Downing Street spokesman said "discussions" were under
way to try to ensure that the three men would be treated in
the same way as US citizens when they make an application.
They want to be allowed to return to Britain to prepare
their defence, but there are fears that the court could
treat them as foreign fugitives and jail them unless they
can raise a $1m bond.

The extradition, without evidence being produced in any
British court, was made possible by a treaty signed between
the US and the UK in March 2003, the same month that Tony
Blair joined George Bush in the war against Iraq. In
December 2003, Lady Scotland assured a Lords committee: "We
anticipate that the treaty will be put before the Senate
early in the new year and approved shortly thereafter."

The Government's embarrassment could be increased today if
the House of Lords votes for a Liberal Democrat amendment
that would go back to the pre-2003 arrangement, compelling
the US to produce evidence before British citizens can be

"The Government ...should never have agreed to abolish the
need for evidence to be produced when the American
government seeks extradition, while still leaving it
necessary for evidence to be produced when extraditing the
other way," the Liberal Democrat shadow Lord Chancellor,
Lord Goodhart, said.


Outrage At £3m Funding For Removing Murals

10/07/2006 - 16:31:16

The British government was condemned today after announcing
it was providing more than £3m (€4.3m) to have paramilitary
murals in Northern Ireland painted over.

The SDLP said it beggared belief that tax-payers’ money was
being used to pay people to remove something which was
illegal and should not be there in the first place.

People should be told to take them down, not paid to, said
SDLP Assembly member Alban Maginness.

The British government called the mural removal Re-Imaging
and said it was part of a £33m (€47.7m) programme to
regenerate disadvantaged loyalist areas which was announced
in April.

The bulk of the money for Re-Imaging comes from the £33m,
but the British government said it was not simply aimed at
loyalist areas.

Culture Minister Maria Eagle said: “The purpose of the Re-
Imaging Communities Programme will be to encourage local
people and their communities in finding ways of replacing
divisive murals and emblems with more positive imagery.”

She added: “New murals and public art will transform parks,
housing estates and built-up areas across Northern Ireland,
celebrating the aspirations of the whole community and
helping people feel part of their own local community.”

Grants of up to £5,000 (€7,222) for small projects and
£50,000 (€72,200) for the largest schemes will be

In East Belfast two loyalist paramilitary murals have
recently been replaced, one by a portrait of local soccer
legend George Best and the other by one of Catholic war
hero and VC winner James McGuinness.

No taxpayers’ money was provided for them, but they were
being held up by ministers as an example of what could be

The minister said: “Investment in the arts makes a very
positive impact on building bridges across the community

“Government is creating the right conditions to make this
happen through schemes like the one we are launching

But Mr Maginness was furious, saying the murals were
designed to intimidate and mark out territory and were

“That is why today’s announcement beggars belief. People
shouldn’t have to be paid to take down paramilitary murals.
They should be told to do it,” he said.

The North Belfast MLA said that at a time when special
education and health budgets were being slashed, it was
impossible to justify the allocation of the funds.

“Many people will fear that this is nothing more than a
polite form of extortion.

“The people causing the problem will now be paid to stop
causing it.”

Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brun was equally critical and saw
the money as being directed at loyalist areas.

She said the party was not opposed to sustainable
development and funding for unionist areas.

But she said: “This is the latest in a long line of crude
attempts by the British government to portray unionist
areas as somehow more disadvantaged than nationalist ones.

“There is disadvantage in both unionist and nationalist
working class areas.”


Blog: La Migra

Monday, July 10th, 2006 at 9:44 am
posted by Brian Hickey

Last week, City Paper editorial intern Alexandra O'Neill,
along with fellow intern Anna Phillips, headed over to the
National Constitution Center to check out a U.S. Senate
field hearing on immigration reform, and the protests
outside. Here's their report.

Matching T-shirts. American Flags. And a message.

The group of 40 wore white shirts with the phrase “Legalize
the Irish” emblazoned on the front. Some were even toting
flags as they entered the packed auditorium in the National
Constitution Center at Independence Mall last Wednesday.

The Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform was here to support
the Senate’s immigration bill. And for group members like
Sibohan—an undocumented immigrant—the bill might provide
the ticket to citizenship they’ve been waiting for.

Born in Ireland, Sibohan said she is one of the 60,000
Irish immigrants in the U.S. living here illegally.

“As of now, there is no legal process by which an Irish
person can immigrate [to the U.S.],” she said, adding that
of the one million Irish applicants, only 2,000 are
accepted into the country. “If there was a legal process,
we’d be more than willing to use it.”

U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter agrees.

And so it seemed appropriate that Philadelphia — the
birthplace of U.S. democracy provided the backdrop for the
first Senate Judiciary Committee field hearing on
immigration reform.

Senators Specter and Ted Kennedy, a Democratic Party
powerhouse from Massachusetts, mediated the bipartisan
event, which included testimony from New York City Mayor
Mike Bloomberg and Philly Police Commissioner Sylvester

“Tragedies can occur when people put nationalism and
ethnicity before humanity,” said Johnson.

Bloomberg — who was uncharacteristically outspoken — said
he strongly supported the Senate bill, calling those who
thought a wall would stop illegal immigration “naïve” and
the plan “duplicitous.”

“You might as well sit on the beach and tell the tide not
to come in,” he said. But Hazelton Mayor Lou Barletta was
unsympathetic to illegal immigrants living in his city. He
said he intends to make English the “official language of
business” and punish landlords who rent property to
undocumented immigrants in his jurisdiction. He also
shamelessly blamed rising crime rates— from murder to
graffiti — on undocumented immigrants.“We are buckling
under the strain of immigration,” he said. “We are Small
Town, USA.”

The hearing provided a forum to draw attention to the
Senate bill, which is spearheaded by Specter and Kennedy,
among others. It was held largely in response to the House
taking its version of the bill on the road.“If we were at a
conference table in Washington, I would’ve preferred that,”
Specter said during a pre-hearing press conference. But
“the Senate was not going to sit idly by and be a potted

The difference between the two bills, said Specter, is that
the Senate bill emphasizes the need for comprehensive
reform and the House bill is concerned only with border

There are currently 12 million undocumented immigrants
living in the U.S.


Bid To Keep NI Selection Defeated

A move in the House of Lords to retain academic selection
in Northern Ireland has been defeated.

Conservative and Ulster Unionist peers hoped to delay
approval of the Education (NI) Order 2006.

They tabled an amendment delaying the legislation until the
people of Northern Ireland had "the opportunity to approve
the proposals".

This was rejected by 172 votes to 97, a government majority
of 75, with Labour and Liberal Democrat peers opposing it.

Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain's one concession - to
give the Northern Ireland Assembly a veto on the changes if
devolution is fully restored by 24 November - was dismissed
as "blackmail" by Conservative Northern Ireland spokesman
Lord Glentoran.

He accused ministers of using the issue to force Ulster
Unionists and Democratic Unionists to share power with Sinn
Fein ministers.

Ulster Unionist peer Lord Rogan, contrasted the Order with
the system of local parental ballots on the future of
grammar schools in England and urged the House to decline
to approve the Order.

It should, he said, be delayed "until the people of
Northern Ireland have been given the opportunity to approve
the proposals contained therein in a manner analogous to
the procedures followed in regard to similar proposed
changes in England".

'Not grammar abolition'

Lord Rooker, for the government, insisted that the proposed
changes to admissions arrangements would not mean the
abolition of grammar schools.

"I have not come to the House tonight to move the abolition
of grammar schools," he said.

After the vote Mr Hain said he was delighted that the Lords
had confirmed the Order.

"This is very good news for every child in Northern Ireland
- and if people disagree with this, they have the remedy in
their own hands, by restoring devolved government to
Northern Ireland by 24 November," he said.

The Order was approved by a Commons standing committee last
month, by 15 votes to eight.

The government has consistently said it wants to get rid of
academic selection.

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

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

Last December, the then education minister Angela Smith
said that by 2009, schools could take pupils based on a
flexible "menu of criteria".

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/07/10 21:15:22 GMT


Opin: IAUC Denounces Hain

(Newton Emerson, Irish News)

The Washington-based Irish American Unity Conference has
denounced Peter Hain as "a team player for the DUP". Last
year the group's national president, Andrew Somers,
dismissed the murder of Robert McCartney as "a British
smokescreen". So who does that make him a team player for?

July 9, 2006

This is portion of an article that appeared first in the
July 8, 2006 edition of the Irish News.


Legacy of the Black and Tans: Ballyvourney...
Where The Wind Really Shakes The Barley

In the small towns of west Cork, the setting for Ken
Loach's award-winning film, the evidence of British
oppression and republican resistance is still everywhere

By Kim Sengupta
Published: 11 July 2006

A soft rain is falling on a fading grey plaque in the
centre of Ballyvourney, water trickling over its letters
and dripping into the gutter below. But through the mist
its words read clearly, a stark reminder that this little
town has a history it finds hard to forget.

"In memory of the civilians murdered by British forces," it
says, with a quiet simplicity. There is no need for fine
words; the past here is as powerful now as it ever was

Standing beside the memorial in the Cork Gaeltacht where
the Irish language still survives in many households, a
local teacher slowly shakes his head. "Such a waste of
lives. Everyone knows the stories of these men, but it is
not something one likes to talk about. They are just sad
memories of a terrible, terrible time."

Reciting a litany of names "Miceal O'Loingrig, Seamus
O'Liacain, Sean O'Ceilleacain", Padraig O'Suilleabhain
remembers the victims of a dirty war and a long-forgotten
conflict, when in popular memory an army of farmhands and
idealists gave the run to the might of the British Army.

The plaque is one just one of many along the roads of west
Cork. The tourist guide books highlight the rolling hills
and deep lush valleys edging down to a wild coastline
warmed by the Gulf stream. What the guide books do not do,
however, is mention the commemoration of the violence from
a recent past. Along with the plaques there are charred,
blackened ruins of burned and shattered buildings, kept as
reminders of a time of anger and grief that is rarely
spoken of with outsiders.

Cork was the most militant centre of Irish nationalist
resistance to British rule in the 1920s, the setting of a
brutal war of independence and the subsequent civil war
which pitted brother against brother. In Beal na Blath (the
Mouth of the Flowers) Michael Collins, a son of Cork and
national hero, was assassinated by his former comrades for
his "treachery" in his signing the peace treaty with Lloyd
George's government.

The murders, tortures and burnings of the colonial
conflict, the hated Black and Tans and the bitter
internecine strife are, for many, still too raw even after
all these years. But hidden memories have been stirred by
Ken Loach's film The Wind That Shakes the Barley, the
winner of Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival this year.

Loach's film was shot in west Cork, in and around the
villages of Ballyvourney and Coolea where The Top of the
Coom, "the highest pub in Ireland", was a well-known
vantage point changing hands between the opposing sides.
Frayed sepia photographs of IRA flying columns still line
the walls of the snug bar along with new pictures of the
film being made. Sitting with glasses of Guinness at the
Mills Inn, in Ballyvourney, Fiontan O'Meaghair and Padraig
O'Suilleabhain, teachers, reflected on the film and the
events it portrayed.

Mr O'Meaghair, whose eight-year-old son, Diarmuid, was
picked for a part in the film, said: "I honestly don't
think an Irishman could have made this film. It took an
Englishman to do it ... The civil war is something people
don't really want to talk about. In fact a lot of it is not
really taught in the history curriculum at schools.

"The war against the British also led to some very painful
experiences, some terrible things were done at the time."

Walking down to the memorial to the three men, Mr
O'Suilleabhain continued: "Seamus O'Liacain was killed in a
Black and Tan raid. He was mistaken for an IRA man with a
similar name. An officer took him out of his home and shot
him dead.

"Miceal O'Loingsig had come out of his home with his
daughter and he was standing over there, on that corner,
when he was shot and killed for no apparent reason. Sean
O'Ceilleacain was killed on a day when there was a raid by
thousands of troops in this town."

The main characters in The Wind That Shakes the Barley are
Damian and Teddy, brothers who join the independence
struggle and then take opposing sides in the civil war,
with fatal consequences. Mr O'Suilleabhain's father,
Michael, and uncle Eamonn fought against the British. There
was, however, no family split, both the men siding with the
republicans against the Irish Free State. Michael, having
survived the war against the British, was shot in the mouth
during a firefight with Free State troops during the civil
war at the age of 20. At one stage a grave was dug for him,
but he confounded his doctors by recovering. He later
married his nurse.

In one of the most harrowing scenes in the film, Teddy has
his fingernails pulled out by Black and Tan interrogators
in jail. "That is what happened to my uncle Eamonn," said
Mr O'Suilleabhain. "But in his case they did this at his
home, in front of his crying mother, Minnie. She never
really recovered from what she saw." Eamonn Mac Suibhine
was subsequently imprisoned in Northern Ireland. He
contracted TB in jail and went to Australia after being
freed in an attempt to recover. The recovery never came and
he came home to die in Cork. He was 29.

Loach's film has excited strong sentiments in Britain.
Right-wing critics, most of whom have not seen the film,
have described it as, variously, "poisonously anti-
British", " legitimising the actions of gangsters",
"repulsive" and "a hard-line Marxist distortion of
history". Sinn Fein has been accused of cashing in on the
film by producing and selling T-shirts saying The Wind that
Shakes the Barley. The party insisted that the title was a
line from an old song which no one could exclusive right

Loach, 70, insists the film does not romanticise the IRA
and points out that the brutality of the British forces,
especially the Black and Tans and the Auxilliaries, former
soldiers hired to fight the insurgency, is a matter of
historic record: 1920, when the Black and Tans came to
Ireland, has become known as "the year of terror". The
troops made the castle at Macroom, a small town on the edge
of farmland to the west of Cork City, their headquarters.
It became a target for the IRA and was attacked a number of
times before being burned down by republican forces during
the civil war led by Erskine Childers, the author and IRA

Today just a few blackened walls and an arched gateway
remain of the 13th century castle, which was once owned by
the family of William Penn, the founder of Pennsylvania.

Bridget Orla Ryan, 47, who used to live in Macroom, said:
"What happened left a lot of very, very bitter memories.
There were dreadful stories of what the Black and Tans did.
We grew up with these tales ... Almost every family
suffered, my grandfather and my uncle were both
imprisoned." The places which now feature so prominently on
the tourist trail were scenes of deaths and retribution
during the wars.

Thomas MacCurtain, the Mayor of Cork City, was killed by
the Black and Tans who also burned down much of the city
centre. Kinsale, now a highly fashionable sailing centre,
had its chief landmark, Charles Fort, destroyed in 1921.
The winding country road to Ballymaloe, an internationally
famous cookery school and one of Ireland's most famous
country houses, was the setting of bloody ambushes of
British forces by IRA flying columns. Yet, at the height of
the fighting in Cork there were 8,800 British troops
augmented by 1,150 Black and Tans and 540 Auxiliaries,
while the IRA strength never much exceeded 350.

Some of the British officers there were to achieve fame and
notoriety in their future military careers. Major Bernard
Montgomery, later Field Marshal Lord Montgomery of Alamein,
wrote of his experience: "My whole attention was given to
defeating the rebels. It never bothered me a bit how many
houses were burnt."

The IRA commander Tom Barry wrote: "British terror was met
by not less effective IRA counter terror. We were now hard,
cold and ruthless as our enemy has been since hostilities

Loach has said that The Wind That Shakes the Barley has an
analogy with another "imperialist war", the invasion of
Iraq. There are, in fact, certain historical links between
the two conflicts. Some members of the Black and Tans and
Auxilliaries, former British soldiers sent to carry out
counter-insurgency operations in Ireland, had taken part
not just in the Great War but the Mesopotomia campaign.

But does the experience of foreign occupation give the
Irish any special empathy with other people who were
oppressed? "Yes it does, it is what has shaped us," said
Donal O'Suilleabhain, Padraig's brother. "I went to the
Iraq war marches in London and I was proud to see banners
in Gaelic there. This is not an anti-British thing. It was
the politicians, the ones who wanted to cling on to an
empire and sent other peoples sons to their deaths, who are
to blame."


Bothy Band Musician Dies At 54

By Claire Simpson

One of Ireland’s leading folk musicians died suddenly
yesterday aged 54. Micheal O Domhnaill, a former guitarist
with traditional group, the Bothy Band, died at his home in

Mr O Domhnaill was regarded as one of the most influential
traditional musicians of his generation.

He made his first album as part of the group Skara Brae
with his sisters Maighread and Triona and Daithi Sproule.

He then joined Monroe and released the Celtic Folkweave
album in 1974.

As a member of the Bothy Band he released four acclaimed
albums in the mid-1970s including Out of the Wind, Into the

The Bothy Band also launched the careers of many Irish
musicians including Donal Lunny, who later joined
influential folk group Planxty, and uillean piper Paddy

When the Bothy Band disbanded in 1979, Mr O Domhnaill moved
to the US and formed a duo with fiddler Kevin Burke.

He also played with Irish/Scots band Relativity in the

But one of his most successful musicial relationships came
when he founded jazz/traditional fusion group Nightnoise
with his sister Triona, American violinist Billy Oskay and
flautist Brian Dunning.

They released seven albums in the 1980s and 1990s including
At the End of the Evening and A Different Shore. He
returned to Ireland in the 1990s and recorded the album
Athcuairt/Reprise with fiddler Paddy Glackin.

Songwriter Tommy Sands said he would be sadly missed.

“I knew Micheal well. He was a very quiet, gentle sort of
person,” he said.

“He was from that great Donegal tradition. His family were
all great traditional musicians – his sisters were sean nos

Mr Sands said Mr O Domhnaill was instrumental in bringing
Irish music to a world audience.

“He was very much part of a whole evolution between the
traditional songs which were sung by a fireside and brought
them to a wider audience,” he said.

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