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July 30, 2006

Two Held In Connection With Death

News About Ireland & The Irish

BN 07/30/06 Two Held In Connection With Nightclubber's Death
SF 07/30/06 Martin McGuinness Addresses Kevin Lynch Commemoration
IT 07/31/06 Opin: Fianna Fáil In Pre-Election Mode
RE 07/30/06 Irish Bog Bodies Help Unlock Secrets Of Iron Age
IT 07/31/06 Threat To B&Bs As Owners Near Retirement
IT 07/31/06 President Helps In Rescue Of Injured Jet-Skier On Shannon
IT 07/31/06 Cabinet Meets At Avondale
IT 07/31/06 Barefoot: Following In St Patrick's Footsteps


Two Held In Connection With Nightclubber's Death

31/07/2006 - 01:17:25

PSNI murder squad detectives are now questioning two men in
connection with a mob beating that led to a hit and run
killing in the North.

The victim, a Scotsman in his 30s, died after being struck
by a car near Tobermore, Co Derry.

He had just been attacked outside a nightclub, and police
believe the thugs involved shoved him in front of the
oncoming vehicle on purpose.

It is believed the driver stopped after the collision early
on Saturday morning, but took off again when they saw the
size of the crowd.

The row flared outside Tobermore Football Club, where a
disco had been organised following an earlier Orange Order
march two miles away in Maghera.

The murder victim, who was visiting friends and relatives
in the North, may have attended the parade.

As police confirmed they had launched a murder probe, one
man was arrested. A second suspect was held later.

Officers also carried out earlier searches at a number of
houses in the King William III estate in Maghera. These are
believed to be connected to the investigation.

The driver was also urged to come forward in a bid to
identify the killers.

Police said a red car with a passenger on board may have
been involved.

A spokesman said: “Police urgently need to speak to the
driver of the vehicle which struck the man as he or she may
hold important witness information about the assault.”

Detectives do not suspect any sectarian motive for the

Sinn Féin's Martin McGuinness was appalled by the killing.

“This is an horrific death,” he said. “It appears that this
man was very badly beaten and sustained serious injures
before being deliberately left on the road and hit by a

“No matter who this man is he was someone’s son, brother or
father and his family will be mourning his loss.

“I am also sure that the motorist is traumatised by this.”


Martin McGuinness Addresses Kevin Lynch Commemoration

Published: 30 July, 2006

Sinn Fein MP for Mid-Ulster Martin McGuinness this
afternoon addressed the annual Kevin Lynch commemoration in
Dungiven. This year the commemoration was part of a weekend
of events to mark the 25th Anniversary of the death on
Hunger Strike of Kevin and his nine comrades.

On Tuesday and Wednesday of this week further events will
be held to mark the anniversaries of Kevin Lynch and Kieran

In the course of his address Mr McGuinness spoke of the
inspiration which this generation of republicans has been
given by the events of 1981 in Long Kesh and Armagh and of
the obstacles which remain on our path towards Irish Unity
and Independence.

Mr McGuinness aid:

"The prison struggle of the late 1970s and early 1980s were
without any doubt a key moment in the Irish struggle for
freedom and justice. And within that period the Hunger
Strike of 1981 is of course the defining moment.

"The Hunger Strikers elevated the struggle for Irish
freedom onto a level which even the British government of
the time with all of its embassies and contacts across the
globe could not compete with or contain. Thatcher truly
believed that the republican struggle could be defeated
within the H-Blocks and Armagh. But ultimately she went the
way of all of her predecessors into a pretty inglorious
retirement while the struggle for Irish Unity and
Independence gathers pace and momentum with each day that

"There are more republicans on this island today than there
were in 1981. There is more support for our cause across
the world now than in 1981. Both of these realities are
direct results of what happened in Long Kesh between March
and October of that year. Make no mistake about that.

"When the prisoners defeated Thatcher and her policies on
the battleground that she chose a massive responsibility to
drive forward the republican project passed to those of us
on the outside. It was the men in Long Kesh and the women
in Armagh who repopularised our struggle. In the midst of
the anger and the sorrow of 1981 many people missed that
fact. It was our task to harness that support and turn it
into real political strength and leverage.

"The only monument worthy of the ten men who died and the
100s of others who endured the most savage and brutal of
prison regimes in the years after March 1976 is to build
the sort of free, just and independent country which will
ensure that the injustices and inequalities of the past are
banished into our history books forever. That is what our
work is all about. The process of change as Thatcher found
out to her cost in 1981 cannot be stopped by force of arms
or by repressive and brutal laws. Neither can it be stopped
by the opponents of change both inside and outside the
system digging in now.

"Republicans know only one way and that is forward. We are
not prepared to be diverted from the task at hand as we
seek to advance our struggle in the face of many obstacles.
But the lesson of 1981 is clear, no obstacle placed in the
way of a well organised, disciplined and committed group of
republicans is an obstacle that cannot be overcome.

"We in this leadership are about overcoming obstacles,
overcoming obstacles on the path towards our objectives of
a free, united, just and democratic country."ENDS


Opin: Fianna Fáil In Pre-Election Mode


The Fianna Fáil ministers gathering for today's Cabinet
meeting in Avondale will be looking forward to their summer
break with a mixture of relief and nervousness. With less
than a year to go to the general election, the party is not
in the position vis-à-vis the electorate that it thought it
would occupy. Recent opinion polls, suggesting that the
party could lose anywhere between 10 and 20 seats, have
shocked Fianna Fáil TDs and given rise to much soul-
searching on possible solutions to improve the situation.

One such solution, in the judgment of the Taoiseach, is the
return of Niall Blaney TD to the party and the absorption
of his political organisation - in spite of local
opposition. This move reflects the Taoiseach's single-
minded approach to the election. The exercise in Donegal
North- East was designed to limit Sinn Féin's growth and
heal 35-year-old wounds. This detailed approach to
constituency engineering is reflected elsewhere.

Faced with an 11 percentage point drop in support since the
last general election, many Fianna Fáil TDs, with some
justification, are fearful of losing their seats. Internal
strategy committees are devising a fight-back campaign for
the autumn. Ministers are preparing positive developments
within their departments. It may not be enough to save
them. Just as the electorate waited in the long grass for
the Labour Party in 1997, it may now be Fianna Fáil's turn.
In fact, the Government's popularity has never really
recovered from broken promises and the post-election
collapse of 2002.

Still, there is a long way to go and Fianna Fáil is a
hugely resilient political machine. The economy is doing
well. Unemployment is low and people have more money than
ever before. Party strategists argue that if they keep
their nerve and concentrate on the positives, they can
still end up in government with the support of the
Progressive Democrats and Independent TDs. This is not
enough though to calm the fears of vulnerable backbenchers.
In addition, the preliminary census figures caused a stir.
Years of careful planning and balanced candidate selection
would be put at risk if boundaries had to be changed. The
Attorney General, Rory Brady, will report to Cabinet on the
matter in September, but nobody is expecting a major
revision of constituencies.

The Taoiseach has spoken against a pre-election spending
spree. But such restraint is unlikely to recommend itself
to ministers or to worried backbenchers. Also, commitments
made in the areas of health, education, policing and social
partnership already guarantee a sizeable increase in public
spending. Rising interest rates and energy prices may
generate negative vibrations in advance of party
ardfheiseanna planned for November and March. In spite of
that, Fianna Fáil strategists are determined to place the
economy at centre stage and to contrast their successful
stewardship with the untried and untested alternative
offered by Fine Gael and the Labour Party. It will make for
a fascinating tactical battle.

© The Irish Times


Irish Bog Bodies Help Unlock Secrets Of Iron Age

Sun Jul 30, 2006 9:05 PM ET
By Kevin Smith

DUBLIN (Reuters) - Life in the Iron Age may have been
nasty, brutish and short but people still found time to
style their hair and polish their fingernails -- and that
was just the men.

These are the findings of scientists who have been
examining the latest preserved prehistoric bodies to emerge
from Ireland's peat bogs -- the first to be found in Europe
for 20 years.

One of the bodies, churned up by a peat-cutting machine at
Clonycavan near Dublin in 2003, had raised Mohawk-style
hair, held in place with gel imported from abroad.

The other, unearthed three months later and 40 km (25
miles) away in Oldcroghan by workmen digging a ditch, had
perfectly manicured fingernails.

"I think the message I'm getting is that although they were
living in a different time, a different culture, eating
different things, living in a different way, people are
people -- they're the same in their thinking," said Rolly
Read, head of conservation at the National Museum of
Ireland in Dublin.

Read is one of a team of experts from Britain and Ireland
who carried out an 18-month examination of the 2,300-year-
old corpses and whose findings form the basis of "Kingship
& Sacrifice", a major new exhibition at the museum.


While the last two centuries have seen hundreds of bog
bodies recovered from northern Europe's wetlands -- where
they were preserved by the unique chemical composition of
the peat -- many were not examined in detail because
techniques to further preserve them had not been perfected.

Read said the latest finds had yielded precious insights
into Iron Age life.

For example, the hair product used by Clonycavan Man was a
gel made of plant oil and pine resin imported from
southwestern France or Spain, showing trade between Ireland
and southern Europe was taking place almost two-and-a-half
millennia ago.

"We've been able to apply techniques that weren't available
back in 1984 so it's a chance to actually look at aspects
of Iron Age people that haven't been explored before," Read

Archaeologists have always puzzled over why the bodies
ended up in peat bogs and why so many of them show signs of
violent death, with much debate about whether they were
executed for crimes or ritually slain as human sacrifices.

Both Clonycavan Man and Oldcroghan Man -- who were in their
20s when they died -- met grisly ends, the latter in
particular bearing the scars of horrific torture, including
having his nipples cut almost through.

Like several other bog bodies, Oldcroghan Man had been
beheaded. Other examples, such as Denmark's famous Tollund
Man, discovered in 1950, still had the rope used to
strangle them around their necks.

Manicured fingernails and evidence of good diet -- not to
mention Clonycavan Man's taste for imported cosmetics --
seem to indicate that many of those who ended up in the
bogs were from the upper classes.


Eamonn Kelly, keeper of Irish antiquities at the National
Museum of Ireland, has developed a new theory about the
bodies based on his discovery that nearly all of the Irish
examples were placed in the borders immediately surrounding
royal land or on tribal boundaries.

"These people may have been hostages or deposed kings or
candidates for kingship who have been sacrificed to ensure
a successful reign for a new king and this was done as part
of a kingship ritual and as a fertility offering to the
gods," he told Reuters.

"The king was held personally responsible for the success
of the crops and so on -- if he couldn't guarantee the
fertility of the land he risked being deposed," he added.

Another theory, prompted by the writings of Roman historian
Tacitus from around the same era, is that the perpetrators
of "shameful crimes" were put into the bog in order to trap
their souls in a watery limbo where the body did not rot.

The Kingship & Sacrifice exhibition includes Iron Age
artifacts such as weapons, feasting utensils, boundary
markings and kingly regalia -- all of which are often tied
in with bog burials in a number of locations, according to

The two most recent bodies -- tanned to a mahogany sheen by
acids in the bog water -- have now been freeze-dried for
long term preservation and have found their final resting
place under glass in Ireland's national museum.


Threat To B&Bs As Owners Near Retirement

Martin Wall

The traditional Irish Bed & Breakfast sector is under
threat, with around 60 per cent of operators forecasting
that their businesses will close when they retire due to
lack of interest among family members in taking over, a new
survey has indicated.

Alan Hill, chief executive of the Town and Country Homes
Association, the largest representative body for B&Bs, said
yesterday the unwillingness of the next generation to take
over businesses from their parents was the biggest
challenge facing the sustainability of the sector. The
average age of B&B operators in the association is almost

Mr Hill said the next National Development Plan must
feature a comprehensive strategy for product development,
training and marketing to help make the sector more

He was speaking in advance of a new survey of B&B
operators, to be launched today by Minister for Community,
Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs Éamon Ó Cuív, which will reveal
that most businesses in the sector are profitable. Based on
2005 figures, about half of Irish B&Bs had a turnover of
between €5,000 and €15,000. In 2005 the average B&B
generated profits of around 10 per cent of turnover.

Mr Hill said the survey, of 175 B&B operators, indicated
that international tour operators considered standards in
B&Bs as well as the manner of the proprietor - the
traditional Irish welcome - to be more important features
than price in inhibiting growth in the sector.

The survey found that 84 per cent of operators were
confident for the future of the sector.

The B&B sector has come under pressure in recent times from
budget hotels and a trend among visitors towards shorter
city breaks.

The survey found that despite these difficulties, more than
90 per cent of B&B operators surveyed reported that their
businesses were profitable. Around 75 per cent believed
they would perform as well or better in 2006 than last

Mr Hill said the survey showed there was huge resilience
and optimism across the sector, and a strong appetite for
change and improvement.

One message arising from the survey was that the B&B was at
the heart of the Irish tourism industry, he said, and that
the sector represented a vibrant business proposition that
made a real economic contribution to communities throughout
the country, he said.

One of the central planks of a strategy drawn up by the
Town and Country Homes Association for the sector was the
development of "themed" B&Bs.

This would involve developing B&B packages which, in
addition to accommodation, would include activities such as
golfing, walking or angling.

The association said in a statement that fewer than one in
10 businesses currently provided packages or other
activities outside of accommodation.

"International demand is significant, with 85 per cent of
tour operators surveyed indicating that the provision of
activities like walking, golf, fishing or equestrian
holidays through B&Bs would be an attractive proposition,"
it said.

"In response, more than 40 per cent of businesses said that
they would be interested in devoting time and resources to
developing these initiatives which would represent a
considerable enhancement of the quality of the offering."

The association's chairwoman, Carol O'Gorman, said that
innovation and investment would be the keys to securing the
future of the businesses, but that investment need not be

© The Irish Times


President Helps In Rescue Of Injured Jet-Skier On Shannon

Paddy Clancy and Ali Bracken

President Mary McAleese was yesterday at the centre of a
river rescue while boating on the River Shannon near her Co
Roscommon holiday home.

Mrs McAleese and her husband Martin were sailing on their
boat between Leitrim village and Hartley Bridge when they
happened upon an accident in which a jet-skier was in
collision with a speedboat.

A security officer with the President - a member of the
Garda water unit who was following her boat - helped to get
the injured jet-skier, a man believed to be aged about 30,
to shore at Carrick-on-Shannon marina. A spokeswoman for
the President said that without the first-aid assistance of
the Garda unit, the man's condition could have been far
more serious.

While the first-aid was being carried out, a woman on the
speedboat dialled the emergency services and alerted the
Coastguard Service at Malin Head. An air-sea rescue
helicopter was dispatched from Strandhill airport, Co

The jet-skier, who had back and pelvis injuries, was flown
to Sligo General Hospital. A hospital spokeswoman said the
man was not in a critical condition but that injuries he
sustained to his back were of concern.

President McAleese made her official car and driver
available to take the injured man's wife to the hospital.
"The President was very concerned to offer whatever
assistance she could. She followed the injured man, who was
dispatched in the speedboat to Carrick-on-Shannon, in her
own boat to offer further assistance," said the

The injured man is believed to have been a weekend visitor
who was staying at a holiday apartment in the area.

Mrs McAleese and her husband were on their way back to
their country home in Roscommon after a trip up the river
to Carrick-on-Shannon when they happened on the accident
scene at 1.30pm.

They arrived in the area on Saturday after a week brushing
up their knowledge of Irish at the Oideas Gael centre in
Glencolmcille, Co Donegal.

© The Irish Times


Cabinet Meets At Avondale

Mark Hennessy, Political Correspondent

The Cabinet will hold its last meeting before the summer
break today in Avondale, Co Wicklow, the home of the former
leader of the Irish Parliamentary Party, Charles Stewart

The meeting comes after the latest Sunday Business Post/Red
C monthly opinion poll showed support for Fianna Fáil up by
1 per cent, with Progressive Democrat support down to just
2 per cent, according to the poll.

However, Minister for Defence Willie O'Dea downplayed the
significance of the poll. "The situation doesn't seem to
have changed appreciably since a month ago. The combined
Government parties are at the same level we were a month
ago. The combined Opposition, even if you throw in the
Greens, have gone up 1 per cent. That doesn't signify any
movement," he said.

The decision to hold Cabinet meetings outside Dublin is now
a tradition. "It is particularly appropriate in the year
when Wicklow is holding its 400th anniversary
celebrations," said a spokeswoman.

However, today's meeting is described as largely routine.

Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, Tánaiste Mary Harney and the
Minister for the Environment, Dick Roche, will be briefed
later by those organising the anniversary celebrations.

Mr O'Dea rejected a Sunday Independent report that the
Taoiseach had decided to buy out the M50 toll bridge, owned
by National Toll Roads, which produces the longest traffic
jam in the State on a daily basis.

"The Government is not going to buy the election," he said.
"The electorate has got too sophisticated to be bought with
their own money any more. The Government has been managing
the economy quite prudently. We will continue to do that."

Fine Gael TD Olivia Mitchell said that the report, if
confirmed, was welcome. "However, a sceptical public will
wonder why they have had to endure 10 years of ever-
increasing misery and why this buy-out could not have been
done before now, despite the almost daily calls to do so,"
Ms Mitchell said.

"With today's poll results showing an increasing trend of
disillusionment by the public with Fianna Fáil and the PDs,
it is no surprise that the Government intends to try and
pull many rabbits out of the hat before the next general

She added: "Frustrated motorists will be further incensed
by the Government's inexplicable decision to do a further
deal with National Toll Roads . . . to build a second
bridge, as inevitably this will dramatically increase the
cost of buying back the bridge and its projected income
over the next 14 years."

© The Irish Times


Barefoot On Jagged Rocks: Following In St Patrick's Footsteps

Ruadhán Mac Cormaic

"Is this the first time you've climbed?" asks the man with
the clipboard, appending a yellow sticker to the
archbishop's raincoat.

It is. Now it's just after 7am and Archbishop Seán Brady,
the first of St Patrick's successors to join the pilgrims
on the Reek, we're told, looks north. The summit is far off
and veiled by a light mist and a threatening sky.

"It would be untrue to say I'm a big walker," he says. "I'm
a little apprehensive, but we'll see how it goes."

Early it may be but already up to 1,000 people have made
the climb this morning. One of them is 20-something Stephen
McGuinness, who left home in Co Roscommon at 2.30am for
this, his second time at Croagh Patrick, and his first

"And as you can see, my feet are cut to bits," he says,
nodding downward to the black-and-red stumps where his feet
used to be. "But sure I'll rest up when I get home."

Where the incline first reveals itself, a group of women
have assembled to collect funds for an MRI scanner for
Mayo. "Alright for water, lads? You've Lucozade? Sound."

They move soundlessly most of the time, with only the
rhythmic crunch of boots on the surface and the thwacks of
the light rain on plastic vying with the sound of the wind.
By now a constant line of climbers can be traced along the
hills, a caterpillar formation of three-legged pilgrims -
the traditional two plus the ubiquitous hazel stick selling
for €3 in the car park below - winding its way through the
rain. All along the way, those coming down can't help but
smirk at the lungless masses still making their way up the

Achievement is subjective among us, one's own sense of
hardiness ever vulnerable to the overtaking manoeuvres of
the barefooted we encounter. One man, barefoot and T-
shirted, approaches us at speed, gliding over the jagged
rocks with - yes - a boy on crutches fast on his darkened

Ah, these stalwarts. You can only admire them. Unless, of
course, you're a man, when you can only do your best to
outpace them. And all the while modestly exhibiting your
instinctive familiarity with the ways of a mountain you
might, strictly speaking, never have set foot on.

Whatever about the climb, the descent on the mountain's
loose rocks looks all the more difficult. Though there is
always an easier route: by stretcher. "We've just been
radioed about a woman with a locked knee," says a man from
Mayo Mountain Rescue. Already this morning, they reunited a
child with his anxious mother and arranged for a man with
chest pains to be air-lifted to safety.

The 67-year-old Archbishop Brady, meanwhile, is giving a
fair imitation of his younger footballing self. Just over
two hours since he left the car park, and after the steep,
almost comically difficult final stretch, St Patrick's
oratory on the summit reveals itself.

"St Patrick, he spent 40 days and 40 nights up here," says
one woman as she surveys her Spartan surrounds. "There's
not much of a set-up, is there?" Not much by way of
facilities, no, but for anyone from Dublin, there's the odd
assuring reminder of home: a cup of tea and a Twix is yours
for €6.

On a small hill, a German film crew has trained its lens on
the long line of penitents stretching from the oratory,
where between 20 and 30 priests are on duty to hear what
looks like a year's worth of Confession.

Heiko and his colleague are rapt. "What I like most, and
you should write this very much, is the friendly people
here. They laugh, they wave, everybody helps each other;
it's great."

At the summit, the Archbishop of Tuam, Dr Michael Neary,
devotes his homily to Ireland's immigrants, fitting on a
day when the pilgrims traced the footsteps of one of our
original - albeit by now reasonably assimilated - blow-ins.

© The Irish Times

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