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)

August 20, 2006

Adams To Visit Israel & Palestinian Authority

News About Ireland & The Irish

IT 08/20/06 Sinn Fein Leader To Visit Israel & Palestinian Authority
SL 08/20/06 McCord Story May Hit Big Screen
SL 08/20/06 Attwood's Plastic Bullet Fury
BB 08/20/06 Arsonists Target Couple And Baby
SM 08/20/06 Neil Lennon On The LVF Death Threats
SL 08/20/06 The Listening Game
SL 08/20/06 Opin: We Need Political Control Over Our Own Destiny
PL 08/20/06 Opin: 'The Troubles' Face A Deadline
SL 08/20/06 Dana On Song For Comeback
SL 08/20/06 New Start For Magennis's
JS 08/20/06 Celtic Culture: Scots, Irish & Welsh Thrive In Jackson


Sinn Fein Leader To Visit Israel & Palestinian Authority

Gerry Adams, leader of Sinn Fein, the political arm of the
Irish Republican Army will visit Israel and the Palestinian
Authority for the first time next month.

Adams is interested in meeting with President Abu Mazen and
Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniya. Adams also wants to
meet officials in Israel, but that will probably not happen
because of the official boycott policy of not meeting with
anyone who meets with the Hamas government.

Adams is a well known international figure who tours many
conflict areas around the world in an attempt to export his
model of conflict resolution as it happened in Northern
Ireland. Adams has never visited Israel and has never been
in any contact with Israeli officials. Israel has always
been suspicious as to the IRA and was weary of its
connections with Palestinian terror groups and the
Hizballah. For many years it was publicized that
Palestinian and Lebanese terror elements jointly trained
with the IRA. During the second Intifada, it was also
claimed that Irish weapons experts advised Palestinians on
the fighting against Israel.


McCord Story May Hit Big Screen

By Stephen Breen
20 August 2006

The crusading father of a loyalist murder victim has been
offered the chance to tell his story - on the big screen.

Sunday Life can reveal Raymond McCord - whose son Raymond
Jnr was battered to death by UVF informers - has been
approached by a local film company.

Mr McCord confirmed he has met with a film boss to discuss
a production on his eight-year campaign for justice.

The campaigning dad, who has also been offered a book deal,
will not make any decisions on the projects until after the
publication of Police Ombudsman Nuala O'Loan's report into
his son's brutal murder.

Said Mr McCord: "I have already spoken to an individual
about a film deal, but I have to keep the contents of the
discussion private at the minute.

"This person was extremely interested in the fight for
justice for young Raymond and we will just have to wait and
see what happens.

"I have also been approached about a book for a well-known
publishing firm, but I haven't signed anything yet. My
focus at the minute is the publication of Mrs O'Loan's
report, but once this has been released in the public
domain I can think about these two projects.

"I am looking forward to the publication of the report
because I have no doubt it will vindicate what I have been
saying all these years."

And Mr McCord hit out at rumours he would be "cashing in"
on his son's murder by signing a film and book deal.

He added: "Some people seem to think that every time I
appear in the paper I am getting money for it.

"These projects are not about money - they are about
letting people know about the government's control of a
terrorist organisation throughout the Troubles."


Attwood's Plastic Bullet Fury

By Alan Murray
20 August 2006

The PSNI is keeping a constant stock of 15,000 plastic
bullets - even though only 538 have been fired since 2001.

The revelation has led to SDLP Policing Board member Alex
Attwood, who is opposed to the firing of any plastic baton
rounds, calling on the Chief Constable Sir Hugh Orde to
justify why the force needs such a huge supply.

Sunday Life can reveal the PSNI has a stock of 15,000
plastic baton rounds and at least 1,200 of the smoke
grenades used in the raid on the Alexandra Bar in north
Belfast in March.

The figures were released by the force following requests
made by Sunday Life using the Freedom of Information Act.

But the police refused to reveal how much the smoke
grenades cost or even the terminology used to refer to them
in operational circumstances.

Mr Attwood said last night that he was concerned that the
PSNI was retaining such a large volume of plastic bullet

He said: "We have made our position clear on the AEP
(plastic bullet) issue.

"We don't think that the PSNI should be firing any plastic
baton rounds at all.

"I understand that it is a requirement that those who use
the baton gun have to be trained in its use and therefore
AEPs are used for that purpose in the current
circumstances, but I can't understand why the PSNI needs to
retain a stock of 15,000 at any one time."


Arsonists Target Couple And Baby

A fire at the home of a couple and their six-month-old baby
in north Belfast was started deliberately, police have

The family were sleeping upstairs when the arsonists struck
and were alerted by neighbours.

The house in Old Throne Park in the Whitewell area was
badly damaged.

Firefighters said the flames were 20ft high when they
arrived. Station Commander Mark Beresford said the people
were very fortunate to escape.

"I think they were alerted fairly early on. One of the
neighbours knocked the door and at the same time, the
windows started to smash so the woman and the child were
able to get out fairly quickly," he said.

"They were fairly lucky, if it had of been much longer this
could have been a tragedy."

The fire had spread from a fence to an oil tank and a shed.

Sinn Fein councillor Tierna Cunningham said the family's
lives had been put at risk.

"They are a young couple with a young baby, trying to make
a start in life, and this type of thing, in this day and
age, is not on," she said.

"The grass is completely covered with oil, the windows are
burned out and the house is completely black at the back."

The couple and their baby have gone to stay with relatives.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/08/20 08:53:42 GMT


Neil Lennon On The LVF Death Threats

How do you explain to a 10-year-old girl that her daddy's
Life was under threat because he played for a certain team?

Celtic captain Neil Lennon made headlines around the world when a
caller to the BBC claiming to represent LVF terrorists said
he would die if he took the field to captain Northern
Ireland. Lennon's offence? He happened to be a Roman
Catholic who played for Celtic. Today, in a revealing
extract from his biography Man and Bhoy, 35-yearold Lennon
reveals the truth behind the death threats - and the girl
he put before football glory.

THE telephone call which changed my life was not even made
to me. It was late in the afternoon of August 21, 2002,
when "he" called the BBC's office at Ormeau Avenue in

He didn't give his name - they never do - but left enough

His message was brief, to the point and went something
like: "This is the LVF. If Neil Lennon takes the field
tonight, he will get seriously hurt."

LVF stands for Loyalist Volunteer Force, one of the more
extreme terrorist groups in Northern Ireland at that time.
They battled in their own way for what they perceived to be
the Protestant and Unionist cause.

I, on the other hand, was a Roman Catholic from Lurgan in
County Armagh and, to them, I was guilty of a terrible
crime - I played for Glasgow Celtic, the club which,
despite being non-sectarian since its foundation, is seen
as a totem of Irish Catholic nationalism.

It didn't matter that I had lived away from Northern
Ireland for 14 years.

He didn't know that my family was not associated with
political or sectarian groups. My three sisters and I had
been brought up with 'the troubles' all around but hadn't
lost a relative.

It only mattered to the caller that, for the first time, a
Roman Catholic who also played for Celtic would captain
Northern Ireland in Belfast that night.

It was a friendly match against Cyprus to prepare both
sides for the forthcoming qualifying matches for the
European Championships.

There was nothing remotely friendly in what the caller

The seeds of what happened that night in Belfast were laid
on the evening of 28 February 2001, with an event that made
headlines in newspapers in Britain, Ireland and further a

That was the first time I played for Northern Ireland after
joining Celtic in a friendly against Norway at Windsor

Geography is vitally important in my country, so you should
know that the crumbling old stadium is in the heart of East
Belfast and is home to Linfield FC, a club traditionally
supported by Protestants and Unionists.

The events of that night didn't come as a complete surprise
to me. When I had signed for Celtic a few months earlier, I
had known it was highly probable that, when I turned out
for Northern Ireland, I would get some stick.

It had happened in the past to Celtic players capped by
Northern Ireland, such as Anton Roganand Allan McKnight.

A few days before the game, my mother and father at home in
Lurgan were appalled to learn from journalists that the
words 'Neil Lennon RIP' had been scrawled on a wall in the
town of Lisburn. Someone was saying that I was going to be
a dead man.

It was a terrible shock to my family, who are quiet-living
and fundamentally decent Christian people. My father,
Gerry, had not been well and suffered a heart attack in
August 2001.

He, my mother Ursula and the rest of my family were deeply
upset by what some moron thought was a sick joke - or maybe
the guy meant it as a warning of worse to come.

And much worse did come my way as I joined my colleagues of
different religions and none at all to play for my country
against Norway.

From the moment I went on to that pitch to play in the
green and white colours of Northern Ireland, I was the
target of an unremitting chorus of boos, jeers, catcalls
and insults. In a half-empty stadium, the noise seemed to
amplify and at times it seemed as though it was the only
sound to be heard.

Nothing prepared me for the extent of the hatred I faced.

Now I have been booed and jeered many times - just about
every time I play for Celtic away from home in Scotland.

I had heard anti-Catholic songs being sung at Windsor Park
internationals before but, like most Catholic players,
played on and ignored them. But this was something else

It was premeditated by part of a hard core of the support
which could not stomach seeing a Catholic Celtic player
turning out for "their" country.

Also, I had played 35 times for my country before that
night and had a good relationship with most fans, who knew
I gave my all for Northern Ireland.

So what had happened to make things so different? Answer: I
now played for Celtic.

I discussed quitting the national team with my manager
Martin O'Neill. He had been the first Catholic to captain
Northern Ireland and had been proud to play for and lead
his national side.

I told Martin I wasn't sure I should go back and play for
Northern Ireland, and certainly not at Windsor Park.

He had been as shocked as anyone and could see I was still
upset but his advice was that I should give it another go
because I might regret it in the long term.

I spoke to friends and, most importantly, to my family and,
with their backing, I decided that I would carry on
playing. So when Sammy McIlroy named me as captain, I was
honoured and my family were also proud and delighted for

It was now more than four years on from the Good Friday
Agreement and I thought there was genuine goodwill on all
sides. But one man in a phone box many miles away thought

We were having our pre-match meal when two officers from
the newly named Police Service of Northern Ireland arrived.

As soon as I heard there had been a phone call, I knew what
it was and my heart sank into my boots.

I knew I was 'fair game' for any madman wanting to make a
point and I had anticipated someone trying to get publicity
for their 'cause' after it was announced that I would
captain the side.

But I had not thought it would go as far as someone
threatening my life.

The two police officers said that there had been a
telephone call to the BBC's offices in Belfast by someone
who claimed to represent the LVF.

The threat was that I would get hurt if I played that
night. Without it being needed to be said, we all knew that
in all probability "hurt" meant getting shot.

I asked the officers how genuine the threat was and they
said that nine out of ten of these calls were hoaxes.

They were firm, however, in saying they could not tell me
what to do. That decision would have to be mine and they
would react accordingly.

I presumed that meant armed police escorts to and from the
game and so on but my first thought was... how would anyone
be able to stop someone getting to me in the many public
areas I would enter, not least the Windsor Park pitch?

The percentage bet was that the whole thing was a hoax and
I was safe. But a whirlwind of thoughts started coursing
through my mind, the majority of which centred on my family
and their safety.

And finally it came down to this - how much of a bet do you
take with your life?

I used my mobile phone to call Celtic's security adviser in
Scotland and he was adamant that I should get back to
Glasgow as soon as possible.

I then called my parents. My father said that of course I
could not play and he would come and get me. Minutes later,
I was in his car and on my way home to Lurgan.

Wehad a police escort at first but then friends met us and
we travelled in convoy for the rest of the journey.

I have not been back to Windsor Park since... and dad still
has his unused complimentary tickets for the match in which
I didn't captain Northern Ireland.

It was agreed that the Irish FA would put out my press
statement and that there would be a cover story that I was
already on the way back to Glasgow.

In reality, there was no way to catch a plane home at that
time and I would have to spend a night in Lurgan. In the
car, my father and I talked things over.

He was angry, of course but, funnily enough, I was a bit
more philosophical.

For better or worse, I had become a controversial figure, a
symbol for one side, the epitome of what was wanted in a
Celtic man, dedicated to the club he loved, whereas for the
other side, I was something to despise.

I could see the two sides would never meet and that there
would always be extremists who could not tolerate my
presence in a Northern Ireland jersey.

My main thoughts were for my family. It was hard enough for
them when I joined Celtic and the graffiti before the
Norway game had been an awful experience for them.

And I had my daughter to think of. We had managed to shield
Alisha - at home in England and just 10 years old - from
the dreadful facts of her father's life in a divided city
and country.

How could I explain to her that her daddy's life was under
threat because he played football for a certain team?

It was then that I decided I would not play for Northern
Ireland again. Frankly, given my thoughts for my family,
the decision was pretty easy.

Next day, I gave an interview to Ulster Television then
headed for Scotland. It was a relief to get back to Glasgow
and the catcalls I get there on a daily basis.

Celtic's security team put me up in a hotel because they
feared that I would get no peace at home. I sat there alone
in that hotel room making calls to my family and watching

I was utterly amazed when the news programmes were
dominated by what had happened to me.

It was almost as if I was watching a different person - who
was this Neil Lennon they kept referring to along with the
words "death threats"? How could a mere footballer gain
such attention?

But of course, it wasn't my footballing prowess that was
the issue.

As I lay contemplating my future, I thought of quitting the
game altogether.

Onlymy desire to succeed at Celtic kept me from walking

Even so, I had lost something very special. No one except
another footballer can really know about the long hard
hours of work that go into reaching the top level that is
international football.

Here was I with the pinnacle of my career snatched away
from me by a man with a telephone.

I received messages of support from across the world, some
of it from most surprising places.

There was a letter from Unionist politician David Irvine
expressing his abhorrence of what had happened and Unionist
party leader David Trimble stated his concerns.

John McMillan, chairman of the Rangers Supporters
Association, told the press that what had happened was
"absolutely disgusting".

He added: 'These are not football fans. I don't care who is
involved or which side the threats come from, it is
terrible for any person to be treated in that way.

"It's hard to imagine what it must be like when you're not
in Neil Lennon's position but I would probably feel the
same way as he does. I would hope for his own sake that he
does continue in international football but I can
understand you have to think about your own safety and that
of your family.'

Thanks for that, John - I believe that to be an eloquent
expression of the feelings of most ordinary decent fans,
whatever their club.

Around the world, it seemed every major newspaper and
broadcaster carried the story - it even made headlines in
the USA where soccer is rarely regarded as newsworthy.

For a short period I was one of the most famous players on
the planet, though not for a reason I would ever have

Neil Lennon: Man and Bhoy will be published by HarperSport
on September 4, priced £17.99. To order at the special
price of £15.99, postage and packing free, call 08707871724
quoting reference 849D.


The Listening Game

Chief Constable Sir Hugh Orde says phone-tap and intercept
evidence should be used in terror trials. Leading security
writer BRIAN ROWAN says the spooks are "always listening to
the enemy" but questions whether they will want their own
secrets exposed in court

20 August 2006

In the foyer of the BBC building in Belfast I walked away
from the conversation.

The senior police officer was letting me know what he knew.
He was playing games with me.

It was June 1996 - four months after the collapse of the
IRA ceasefire in the London Docklands bomb.

There was now speculation about another ceasefire, and
there had been an IRA briefing.

In a café in west Belfast I had met the IRA's P O'Neill of
that period. I had taken a note and reported its content
across the BBC's various news outlets.

The briefing had ruled out decommissioning ahead of a final
settlement, and the prospects for a new ceasefire were
described as "remote in the extreme".

That briefing was on Wednesday June 5, 1996, and within a
couple of days the senior police officer was letting me
know that he knew who I had spoken to.

As I walked away, he used the man's initials.

He knew exactly who I had met, and therefore knew the
identity of the IRA's P O'Neill.

I later discovered that this information had been gleaned
from a phone conversation between republicans.

Listening in, hearing the enemy speak, has long been a tool
of the intelligence war.

Now, Chief Constable Sir Hugh Orde has suggested that
phone-tap and intercept evidence in the prosecution of
international terror suspects would be acceptable in some

He was talking of it being introduced in exceptional
circumstances, with many safeguards and only as a last

Bugging and surveillance and phone taps and intercepts are
the pencils that colour in the intelligence picture - not
just here but in many conflict areas.

It is the methodology of secret wars - stuff that Special
Branch and the security services do not want exposed in

This is why the "Stormontgate" case collapsed. Look what
had to be protected - the business of Operation Torsion.

It had nothing to do with Denis Donaldson, other than a bag
of documents being left at his home.

There was another informer - a covert human intelligence
source. It was his information that exposed the whole
Stormontgate affair.

And then there was a bugging and surveillance and listening

The home of a sportsman was being watched. The stolen
documents where there before being moved to Donaldson's

Operation Torsion told the Special Branch and MI5
everything they needed to know, but how much of it came out
in court?

The answer is none of it. The case collapsed.

Protecting methodology, protecting informers, was clearly
the priority over everything else.

In September 2002, I was warned from inside the police that
I should be careful on my phones. It was after the
Castlereagh break-in and I had run a number of reports
getting inside the investigation.

I don't think my phones were listened to.

I was told that permission was refused, as it had some
years previously been refused in the case of another

But in our secret war, the spooks and the Branch will
always listen in. This is their trade.

They have been listening for a long time, and they are
listening still.

But little of what they hear will find its way to court.

To put it there would be to spill their secrets.


Opin: We Need Political Control Over Our Own Destiny

By Seamus McAleavey
20 August 2006

Most voluntary and community organisations are in favour of
devolution in Northern Ireland.

The Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action is in
favour of devolution in Northern Ireland. I am too.

How we are currently governed is not really sustainable in
the long term.

In a democracy, there has to be a direct link between the
people and those who make the decisions that affect their
lives most – their government.

We can neither elect nor reject the current government.

I think the current Labour government has done a lot for
Northern Ireland.

That leads some people to say "better the set up we have
rather than risk change on a shaky devolved administration
that will never work". As it stands, most people here will
be shocked if there is political agreement on devolution by
November 24, two thousand and some time. The gulf between
the parties looks to be too great.

But Northern Ireland really needs devolution.

Without local ministers making decisions and having to be
responsible to their electorate we have a problem.

We have drifted along for the last 10 years with no-one
championing or driving change.

The economy of Northern Ireland is dependent on a massive
£5.5bn top-up - we spend almost twice as much as we raise
in taxes here.

The UK Government plans to squeeze that soon, as public
expenditure in general will be trimmed back. The new
reality is much higher domestic rates, water charges and, I
am sure, more charges to come.

There is no hiding the fact that there are very harsh
political, social and economic realities facing us all, but
we need to get political control over our own destiny and
take responsibility for our own future. The economy needs a
serious readjustment if it is to be productive and
sustainable in the long term.

If public expenditure is squeezed, as it will be next year,
that squeeze will hit Northern Ireland hardest and we will
lose a lot of jobs.

Northern Ireland needs to attract new, high-value-added
jobs in the private sector. Those jobs are not easy to
attract, but our neighbours in the Republic of Ireland have
done it.

It seems to me that the failure to put in place a devolved
government in Northern Ireland, when the world thinks that
that is what we are trying to do, has a negative impact on
foreign direct investment.

For more than 10 years we have had a political process that
has moved slowly, faltered and has been in recession most
of the time.

The outside world, including those in charge of major
investment decisions, only see a big political canvas and a
settled political environment is critical when there are so
many other attractive locations around the world without
political problems in which to invest.

A confident devolved administration that investors judge
stable over time is a prerequisite to creating a prosperous

We need a successful economy because Northern Ireland faces
real social problems that we need to tackle - we know this
only too well because our member groups are dealing with
them every day.

Almost a quarter of the population has no qualifications
and the same proportion can barely read and write. Half a
million people are living in poor households and almost
150,000 of those are children.

Under devolution, these people are the constituents of the
Ministers and Assembly Members taking decisions. We believe
that makes a difference.

If we regain devolution, get a Northern Ireland Executive
and working Assembly it means that policy will be developed
and can be influenced locally.

Last time, voluntary and community groups saw the benefit
of engaging ministers and the committee system added an
extra positive dimension.

It was close and accessible, understood local nuances and
could keep ministers on their toes. If local ministers get
it wrong there is no hiding place; they cannot escape or
detach themselves by going home to a constituency across
the water that is none the wiser to the fall out of their

This looks like the last chance for Northern Ireland. I
hope our political parties can reach an agreement on
devolution that will last, but I think we are all tired
waiting - or bored waiting.

• The Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action (NICVA)
is the representative body for voluntary and community
organisations in Northern Ireland with a wide and varied
membership that extends to over 1,000 organisations.

Voluntary and community organisations in Northern Ireland
employ around 30,000 people and the sector accounts for
about 4.5pc of GDP.


Opin: 'The Troubles' Face A Deadline

By Brad Bumsted
State Capitol Reporter
Sunday, August 20, 2006
Belfast, Northern Ireland

On walls and fences across the city, crude graffiti and
elaborate murals glorify paramilitary groups on both sides
of the conflict known as "The Troubles."

The Irish Republican Army claims to have disarmed last
year. But Unionists claim that the IRA, or factions of it -
- or dissidents -- still are armed and that they control
certain criminal activity.

Loyalist paramilitary groups clearly are still active.
Recent reports in local newspapers here allege that
violence continues on both sides. The loyalist groups, in
some cases, are warring against their own.

It is still a community where Orange and Green
neighborhoods often are divided by high fencing.
Protestants still celebrate William of Orange's 1690
victory in the Battle of the Boyne.

Still, it's relatively calm here if one examines current
events in the historical context of the past three decades.
The paramilitary groups operate behind the scenes but the
British Army is gone.

"Fifteen years ago things were not as peaceful as they are
now," said Jim Lamb of the Ireland Institute of Pittsburgh.

One can walk freely as a tourist, generally without fear of
violence, even in contentious areas. That was my recent
experience in North Belfast.

"The days of large numbers of people out on the street with
uniforms and guns is gone," said Nelson McCausland, a
member of the Northern Ireland Assembly.

A large share of the conflict now is political; it will
come to a head within three months. By Nov. 24 the Northern
Ireland Assembly must devise a power-sharing agreement.

To get an idea how sensitive it is when asking about
"Northern Ireland," I quickly was corrected by a
Nationalist. To him, this is the "north of Ireland." To
many, this is not merely a subtle point.

In Northern Ireland, Protestants outnumber Catholics by a
slim margin. It is part of the United Kingdom, not the
Irish Republic, which is predominately Catholic. Northern
Ireland was created in 1920 by the British government when
it granted home rule to the rest of Ireland. Unionists in
the north had wanted no part of home rule.

"The ensuing decades saw systematic social discrimination
against the Catholic and nationalist minorities," according
to an article last month on the BBC News Web page.

My impressions from a recent five-day stay in Belfast:

Unionists, largely Protestant and British loyalists, feel
they are being squeezed. There is a sense of being
abandoned by the British government. Above all, they want
to remain part of the U.K.

Nationalists, mostly Catholic, favor one Ireland and an end
to British rule on the island. Therefore any prospective
power-sharing agreement between Unionists and Sinn Fein,
the political party advocating an end to British control,
seems almost an oxymoron.

To the south, in the Irish Republic, the economy is
booming. They call it the Celtic tiger. There's a sense in
Northern Ireland that folks in the republic couldn't care
less what happens to them.

In some quarters in Belfast, there's resentment about the
Nov. 24 deadline. Many think it's a deadline that will come
and pass without resolution of the power-sharing issue. The
foundation for governance comes from the 1998 Good Friday

The Nationalists seem to hold a huge PR advantage. They say
the IRA no longer is armed. They are saying they want to
extend a hand to Northern Ireland, even though the endgame
is a contradiction for the Unionists.

"There is no indication of the IRA having a desire to go
back to paramilitary violence," said McCausland, a member
of the Democratic Unionist Party.

As for the looming deadline, McCausland says he has doubts
"this is all going to fall into place by (Nov. 24)."

The 9/11 terrorist attack in the United States in 2001 was
the death knell for terrorism in Northern Ireland, says
another member of the Northern Ireland Assembly, Fred

Cobain, a member of the Ulster Unionist Party, said
Americans of Irish descent who had been bankrolling
terrorism in Ireland -- after 9/11 -- could no longer
justify doing so.

Today, "there's a lot of gamesmanship going on among the
parties," says Pittsburgh's Lamb.

Here's the dilemma facing Unionists with the Nov. 24

"If you jump, you are into bed with Sinn Fein. If you don't
jump, you are into double authority with Dublin and
London," said the Rev. Norman Hamilton, a Presbyterian
minister and community leader who opened his home for my
recent visit to Belfast. I had met the minister two years
before when he had visited the U.S.

"I share the view of most politicians," Hamilton said,
"that (Nov. 24) isn't the day everything will be fixed.

"We are groping our way forward to a more normalized
society and normalized politics," said Hamilton, pastor at
the Ballysillan Presbyterian Church. After "30 years of
community violence and political instability, the
rebuilding of the relations needed is a long-term project."

He expects Northern Ireland, in the long run, to remain
part of the U.K. Hamilton, at least for a while, sees a
political landscape of "trench warfare rather than
consensual good government."

Put another way, Lamb, whose institute is apolitical and
has been accused by both sides of favoring one over the
other, agrees there won't be full implementation of an
agreement. He predicts we might see "some type of an
agreement toward an agreement."

"They are still trying to develop goodwill among the
parties," said Lamb. "It's going to take a bit of time in
talking and negotiating."

Brad Bumsted can be reached at or
(717) 787-1405.


Dana On Song For Comeback

By Eddie McIlwaine
20 August 2006

Dana - the star who swapped Eurovision for European
politics - is set to go from MEP to CD again.

The singer (right), who won the international song contest
with All Kinds of Everything in 1970, is contemplating a
comeback that has nothing to do with the hustings.

Dana, who celebrates her 54th birthday this month, has been
back in the recording studio and is seriously tempted to
release her first commercial album in 15 years.

She could be back in Belfast at the gala reopening of the
Grand Opera House in October.

Dana ? Rosemary Brown to her family and friends ? is
holidaying in America with husband Damien Scallon, but her
musician brother Gerry said last night: "Politics is a
thing of the past nowadays - although my sister still holds
strong views on family matters - and she is interested in
reviving her singing career.

"People are always asking her to sing again, you see, so
this time she is listening. Daniel O'Donnell filled the gap
Dana left vacant, but there is definitely room for both of

"Obviously, she will never go on those hectic tours of her
younger days again, but I've heard the rushes of the tracks
she laid down in the Outback Studio at Newry and she is
sounding good in songs like The Leaving of Liverpool,
Raglan Road and A Thing Called Love."

Added Gerry: "My sis has got politics out of her system and
wants to sing again if her public still want her ? and the
signs are that they do."


New Start For Magennis's

By Stephen Breen
20 August 2006

The Belfast bar linked to the murder of 'gentle giant'
Robert McCartney is aiming to make a fresh start tomorrow.

Magennis's Bar - which was at the centre of worldwide media
attention following the dad-of-two's brutal murder in
January 2005 - is under new ownership and has undergone a

Work has been ongoing at the bar over the last month, with
decorators last night putting the finishing touches to the

The shutters came down on the pub just over a year ago when
Belfast businessman Martin O'Neill put the bar on the

It is understood Magennis's new owner is a west Belfast
businessman, who is believed to have purchased the pub at
well below the £1.1m asking price.

The pub had its application for an entertainment's licence
heard by Belfast City Council earlier this year, with no
objections being made by police to the request.

Magennis's had been losing cash - and customers - since Mr
McCartney was slain.

Before the killing, the pub was popular with local office
workers and solicitors from the nearby law courts.

The murder victim's sister, Paula, told Sunday Life the
Belfast bar will always be a "reminder" to her family of
her brother's killing.

Said Paula: "I don't think a revamp at Magennis's washes
away the blood of my brother. The events which led to
Robert's murder started in this bar.

"Our family will never be able to have a drink in that

But a source at the bar hopes it can attract new customers.

Said the source: "People should realise that Robert was
murdered outside the bar, and locals just want Magennis's
to get back to the way it was.

"The closure of Magennis's meant there were no more public
houses in the Markets area and for an area this size, there
should be more public houses.

"The new bar should be given a chance, because it was one
of the most popular bars in the city-centre before it was
associated with such a terrible crime."


Celebrating Celtic Culture: Scots, Irish And Welsh Thrive In Jackson

By Gwenda Anthony

Gary Wood has been on a mission to celebrate Celtic
heritage in Jackson and West Tennessee.

He and his wife, Linda, are owners of The Celtic Moor, a
business off North Highland Avenue next door to Dumplin's

Earlier this year, Wood, who claims Scottish ancestry on
his paternal grandmother's side, introduced National Tartan
Day at City Hall. It was announced with a proclamation
signed by both Jackson Mayor Charles Farmer and Madison
County Mayor Jerry Gist.

The April 6 event marked the anniversary of the signing in
1320 of the Declaration of Abroath - The Declaration of
Independence for the Scottish people.

The event drew nearly two dozen people, but the small
number wasn't discouraging to Wood, who looked at it this
way: "You have to begin somewhere."

Lisa Melendez would agree. Dressed in her family tartan of
the Robertson clan, she attended the reception at Wood's
store following the downtown ceremony.

"I guess you wonder how Melendez figures into my Scottish
heritage," she said with a laugh in her Gaelic accent.
"There's a simple explanation. I married a Navy man from
Puerto Rico."

Celtic is a term embracing a number of cultures, from
Scots, Irish and Welsh to Gaels and Bretons, according to
The New American Webster Dictionary.

Though there are no exact figures on the makeup of
Jackson's population that is Scottish-American or Irish-
American, the Melendez family is one of several living in
the Jackson area.

Jack Wood, Tennessee Room librarian at Jackson-Madison
County Library, said the Scots-Irish "is fluent throughout
Tennessee" and suggested studying a book, "The Scots-Irish
in the Hills of Tennessee," by Billy Kennedy that looks at
some of their traditions.

"The Presbyterian Church is heavily associated with
Scottish history," Wood said.

The people migrated in several movements from Ulster,
Northern Ireland, said Wood, whose surname would hint at
those roots.

But he chuckled that he could only safely say that "I'm
Hungarian on my mom's side" and that his father's side is a
mix of British backgrounds.

Lisa Melendez hails from Glasgow, Scotland, and married her
husband, Angel, whom she met while he was in the U.S. Navy
on assignment in her home country.

"Right before I left the service, I worked with the Royal
Navy as a management analyst and consultant," he said on a
recent Saturday afternoon in the living room of their
Darlington Cove home in North Jackson.

The Target manager and his family are recent transplants to
the city, moving last September from Cordova.

"We have lived all over," said his wife, christened
Elizabeth but who answers to Lisa, her husband's nickname
for her.

They have been generally quite pleased with Jackson, they

Though they've been accustomed to living in bigger places -
they ended up in Cordova by way of Virginia Beach, Va.,
where their eldest, 21-year-old Kyle, remains in college -
the Melendezes like how welcoming and accepting their
Jackson neighbors are.

"The people are very warm and open, and the kids are very
happy here. That is what's important," Angel said of
Kristina, 17, and 13-year-old Colin.

A desire for "more things for young people to do"
notwithstanding, the siblings keep their mother pretty
busy. So much so, Lisa grinned, "that I'm happy school has

But rest for the stay-at-home mom is fleeting.

She volunteers at school, would like to find other families
who share her culture, plus she is looking at joining the
Jackson Symphony League.

On Saturday mornings, she can be found at The Celtic Moor
where Colin is taking a bagpipes class. He is also playing
football for Rose Hill Middle, a magnet school.

"I'm going out for quarterback and defensive tackle," said
Colin, who is gearing up for his school's football jamboree
on Thursday.

Kristina, a Scottish Highland dancer since she was 4 years
old, is doing her own driving this year, and in a red
convertible Beetle, no less.

The Trinity Christian Academy senior counts in her
repertoire a dance performance before Prince Charles at
Royal Albert Hall in London.

Her older brother plays pipes and drums to whom Colin, also
a Scottish Highland dancer at one time, may look for help.

This year, the family is looking forward to celebrating
Hogmany in their new home.

The New Year's Eve custom Lisa remembers from her youth
called for steak and kidney pie ("it's actually very good,"
she said); a Scottish trifle, which is a Scottish
shortbread with butter; and her father's black currant wine
and ginger wine.

Scottish music would be played, and when the church bells
rang at midnight, they would toast the new year and eat.

"It was very lucky for someone to come to your door with a
lump of coal and a bottle of Scotch whisky. And if that
someone was tall, dark and handsome, it was especially
lucky," Lisa said with a wide smile.

After the feast, the family would do first footing, or
visiting other households.

"You never went without anything in your hand as a gift. It
was bad luck not to have something.

"The Scottish are quite superstitious," the mother grinned.

"I am proud of my heritage, and I want to instill that
pride in my children," said Lisa, adding that her 80-year-
old parents back home in Glasgow joked that she should
write a book.

Then laughing, she coined a new phrase blending her
husband's heritage.

"I guess you could say our children are 'ScottoRican.'"

Visit and share your thoughts.
- Gwenda Anthony, 425-9631
Originally published August 20, 2006

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