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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 14, 2006
Family Targeted in Sectarian Petrol Attack
Hunger Striker Rally at Casement Park
News About Ireland & The Irish
BB 08/14/06 Family Targeted In ‘Sectarian’ Petrol Attack
BT 08/14/06 Rail Link Re-Opens As Newry Suffers
IC 08/14/06 20,000 Attend Hunger Strike Rally At Casement Park
IT 08/14/06 Adams Tells Rally To Be Proud Of Hunger Strikers
BB 08/14/06 DUP: Stadium Rally 'Politicised Sport'
BT 08/14/06 Hunger Strike Memorial Row Gets Heated
DH 08/14/06 N. Ireland Marks Terror Blast
BB 08/14/06 Police Murder Probe 'Inadequate'
BT 08/14/06 Band Moves To Quell Concerns Over Parade
IT 08/14/06 Rossport Protesters End Walk In Dublin
BM 08/14/06 Community Law Centres 'Needed To Aid Vulnerable People'
BT 08/14/06 Schools Become Integrated In A Bid To Avoid Being Closed
IC 08/14/06 Opin: Accepting Evidence From Paid Informants Very Serious
BT 08/14/06 Equality Body Lauds The BBC's Diversity
LW 08/14/06 Siblings Keep Culture Alive At Family's Irish Dance Studio
RH 08/13/06 First Fridays Features Irish Musician O’Flaherty
Family Targeted In ‘Sectarian’ Petrol Attack
A family of three in Ballymena has escaped injury after
being targeted in a petrol bomb attack in the early hours
The living room of the house in Ballyloughlan Park was
extensively damaged by fire in the attack.
The rest of the house was smoke-damaged. The three
occupants suffered shock.
Ballymena SDLP councillor Declan O'Loan said he believed
the attack was sectarian.
Detectives said the front window of the home was broken
before the fire was started.
Councillor O'Loan said the family was shocked and
distressed but also conscious that a "very serious incident
could have been much worse".
"When this type of petrol bomb incident happens and windows
are broken and petrol bombs thrown, loss of life can easily
happen and has happened before," he said.
"They are very conscious that they are very fortunate and
they were aware of the incident immediately and were able
to get the Fire Brigade out and get themselves out into
Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/08/13 10:16:11 GMT
© BBC MMVI
Rail Link Re-Opens As Newry Suffers
By Jonathan McCambridge
14 August 2006
The cross-border railway service reopened today following a
weekend of disruption and misery for commuters after police
discovered a crude bomb which exploded on the line at
After the devastation caused as a result of a series of
firebomb attacks in retail premises on Wednesday, further
suffering has been heaped on the city.
A PSNI spokeswoman confirmed that two devices, which had
both already exploded causing minor damage, were recovered
on Wednesday and yesterday during police searches.
One device was in a laneway near the railway at the Newry
bypass and the other was under the railway tracks.
During the course of the extended operation yesterday, a
number of youths - some as young as 10 and 12 years old -
threw missiles at the police and up to 30 petrol bombs. One
youth was arrested and was being interviewed by the police.
The spokeswoman said that the opinion of the police was
that the device was intended to cause injury to the
A PSNI spokeswoman said the route reopened this morning
after police had walked the line. The city's bypass road,
which had also been closed, has also reopened.
The alerts are believed to be the work of the Real IRA -
the organisation which bombed Omagh eight years ago.
Yesterday, as hundreds gathered to commemorate those
murdered and maimed in Omagh, security alerts forced the
closure of the main road and rail links between Northern
Ireland the Republic.
The main Newry to Dublin road between the Fiveways
roundabout and the Forthill Road roundabout was sealed off
for most of the day following a bomb warning.
The Real IRA has claimed responsibility for the fire-
bombing of a number of British-owned stores throughout
Newry last week, including TK Maxx, JJB Sports and MFI.
The attacks, which caused extensive damage, prompted fears
of job losses for local people who are employed in the
Reacting to the latest security alerts, SDLP MLA Dominic
Bradley said those responsible for the disruption were only
targeting normal people trying to go about their daily
"The Dublin-Belfast rail link was targeted often in the
past by the Provisional movement but survived all attempts
to bring about its closure - they did not succeed, " he
"The people of Newry and Mourne are sending a clear message
to those who would seek once again to foist violence upon
them and that message is the same as it was in the past -
get off our backs and desist from your violent activities."
20,000 Attend Hunger Strike Rally At Casement Park
By Joe Nawaz
Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams called for republicans to
have the confidence to take political power in his key-note
speech at the rally for the 25th anniversary of the hunger
strikes in Casement Park yesterday.
The event, which went ahead in spite of the controversial
decision by the GAA to ban the use of the Casement Park
venue, saw over 20,000 people turn up to honour the 12 men
who died on hunger strike in the seventies and eighties.
Speaking to the crowd, Mr Adams paid tribute to the
sacrifices made by hunger strikers and their families and
described them as enduring role models for modern
In an impassioned speech touching on many subjects, the
West Belfast MP also made special mention to the IRA,
praising them for “bringing peace and justice to our
“The hunger strikers are role models.
“The big lessons are there for all of us and are obvious -
that these ordinary people could do extraordinary things.
“These people went onto a political offensive in a battle
for hearts and minds, sowing the seeds of where we are
“When we went to meet Tony Blair and his cabinet at Downing
Street, I remember thinking that our side of the table was
“There was Bobby (Sands), Mairead (Farrell) and many many
others, keeping us right, helping to steer us in the
correct way,” revealed Mr Adams.
“The IRA, the wind that shook the barley, deserve our
“Not just dead comrades or their families but the IRA
today, sitting near you, proud to bring peace and justice
to our society.”
Mr Adams also called for those present to “think big” in
the drive for a United Ireland.
“We need to now think big. To keep doing as we’ve always
done is to sell ourselves too short.
“We, my friends are on the way to freedom. To freedom in
our lifetimes,” he vowed.
“What we need now is strategy, leadership and confidence to
take political power from those with no right and give it
to those with a mandate.
“This is not just about changing flags either.
“This is about creating a new inclusive republic, avowedly
anti-sectarian and one where it is strategically correct to
work and deal with unionists.”
Mr Adams ended with a tribute to all male and female
republican prisoners who he said had sacrificed so much and
made a final call for republicans to make good on the
legacy of the hunger strikers.
“Our vision isn’t just a dream either. Dream first, then
make it happen.
“That is exactly what the hunger strikers did when they
took on the most reactionary government in Western Europe
of its time.
“They beat Thatcher and her cronies.
“We don’t need to do what they did, but we need to be like
them – generous, brave, magnanimous. We need to be
confident in our position. That’s how we’re going to build
our struggle for a national republic.”
Journalist:: Joe Nawaz
Adams Tells Rally To Be Proud Of Hunger Strikers
Margaret Canning in Casement Park, Belfast
Republicans need to shun sectarianism and reach out to the
unionist population, Gerry Adams said in Belfast yesterday.
Speaking at a rally in the GAA's Casement Park in Belfast
to mark the 25th anniversary of the 1981 hunger strikes,
the president of Sinn Féin told a crowd of 20,000 people to
be proud of the hunger strikers.
He said the 10 men who died in the H-Blocks of the Maze
Prison in 1981, and two men who died on earlier hunger
strikes in the 1970s, were role models, "ordinary people
who did such extraordinary things".
He also urged republicans to be confident in facing the
future. "We need to have united leadership, we need to
continue to be strategic, we need the confidence to take
political power. We are transferring from power of those
who have no right to rule over us to ruling ourselves.
"The challenge facing us is to be avowedly unsectarian and
to face up to the challenge of making peace with the
unionist section and that means we should not be afraid of
making strategic compromises."
The rally was opened by MEP Mary Lou McDonald and Toireasa
Ferris, a Kerry county councillor and daughter of Martin
Ferris TD. Frances Black also sang.
Family members and friends of the hunger strikers read
profiles of each of the 12 men. The daughter of Joe
McDonnell, who died on July 8th, 1981, after 61 days
without food, told the crowd that the family's life had
been "constantly disrupted" by her father's IRA activities.
"When he was sent to Long Kesh [ Maze Prison], he had
refused family visits as it meant wearing prison uniform,
but he kept in touch with my mother through 'comms' [
Former republican prisoners and their families taking part
in a parade to Casement Park had donned thick brown
blankets in memory of the men and women who wore blankets
in protest at not being allowed to wear their own clothes.
Eibhlin Glenholmes of the Sinn Féin ardchomhairle denied
the rally was political. "It's very obvious this crowd
outnumbers any political party gathering," she said.
The GAA's central council had said that for the Antrim
county board to allow the rally to take place would be at
odds with GAA policy.
The families of the hunger strikers declined to be
interviewed and said the controversy over the use of the
ground should not divert attention from the anniversary.
At the end of Mr Adams's speech, Mary Lou McDonald thanked
the Antrim county board of the GAA for allowing the sports
ground to be used. The rally closed with Sinn Féin
councillor Francie Brolly singing The H Block Song.
Democratic Unionist MP Gregory Campbell criticised the use
of Casement Park.
"I think . . . some people have tried to turn from this
perception that the GAA is the IRA at play, but things like
this will reinforce that perception," he said.
© The Irish Times
DUP: Stadium Rally 'Politicised Sport'
Republicans tried to "politicise" sport by holding a hunger
strike 25th anniversary commemoration at a GAA stadium, the
DUP has said.
Hundreds of republican supporters and former prisoners
gathered at a rally in Casement Park in Belfast on Sunday.
The GAA's Central Council in Dublin had said the rally
would break its rules about staging political events.
However, it is understood the GAA's Antrim County Board,
which looks after Casement Park, raised no objections.
DUP assembly member Diane Dodds said the hunger strikers
"were guilty of some of the vilest crimes against innocent
people in this province".
"One can just imagine the outcry if a unionist party were
to stage a rally celebrating the activities of a terrorist
loyalist organisation," she said.
Editorials in both the unionist News Letter and nationalist
Irish News condemned the location of the rally at Casement
The Irish News said "while the opposition to the rally at
central council level needs to be highlighted", there
"could be little doubt" the GAA was left "in an uneviable
"In future, Casement Park must be kept exclusively for
sporting purposes," the paper said.
The News Letter said it was a "most blatant abuse of an
arena that has, we are told, specific uses for sporting
"Questions must be answered by the GAA authorities about
what the precise raison d'etre of the organisation is," the
Thousands of people lined the streets of west Belfast for a
parade ahead of the rally, commemorating the deaths of 10
IRA and INLA inmates in the 1981 protest over political
status at the Maze prison in County Antrim.
Gerry Adams told the rally that Sinn Fein supporters needed
to take courage from the actions of the hunger strikers.
"We need, and this is essential, confidence in ourselves
and in our position," he said.
"The hunger strikers knew exactly what they were doing, why
they were doing it, and the effect that actions would have.
"We also, friends, know exactly what we are doing, why we
are doing it and the effect our actions will have and that
is how are we are going to continue to build this
Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/08/14 09:58:45 GMT
© BBC MMVI
Hunger Strike Memorial Row Gets Heated
By Deborah McAleese
14 August 2006
A political row was brewing today after a Sinn Fein council
chairman attended the unveiling of an unauthorised
republican Hunger Strike monument in a Co Down housing
The DUP has demanded an apology from Down Council chairman
Willie Clarke for attending the "official" unveiling of the
10-foot-high memorial - in the shape of a letter H to
symbolise the H-Block at the Maze prison where 10 hunger
strikers died - claiming he has insulted the unionist
The Housing Executive is in consultation with community
representatives at the Model Farm estate after the memorial
was erected without permission.
"This is an illegal monument because no planning permission
has been granted for it, and by attending a ceremony to
unveil it Councillor Clarke has stuck two fingers up at the
unionist community," said DUP councillor William Walker.
"When Councillor Clarke took up his position as council
chairman he said he would be holding out the hand of
friendship to the unionist community. I think he should
apologise to the unionist community," he added.
Mr Clarke, also an Assembly member, is the first republican
to be appointed chairman of Down Council.
"Ever since I took up my post, I have endeavoured to be as
fair as possible to all sides of the community. I was at
the unveiling ceremony of the monument in my capacity as
MLA," said Mr Clarke.
"Despite my best efforts, councillor Walker has always made
it publicly clear that I am not welcome in unionist areas.
I would be very happy to meet with him if he thinks I could
be doing more for the unionist community in my capacity as
chairman. I still remain committed to representing all
sides of the community."
One local resident said: "There is a lot of opposition to
the monument, but people do not have the nerve to speak out
against it. We were trying to clean up this estate, but
this monument lowers the tone ... some of the main people
behind it aren't even from this estate. Why didn't they put
it up in their own area?"
N. Ireland Marks Terror Blast
Posted Monday, August 14, 2006
OMAGH, Northern Ireland — Survivors of the 1998 car bombing
of Omagh, the deadliest terror strike in the history of
Northern Ireland, laid floral wreaths and observed a
minute’s silence Sunday at the spot where 29 people were
slain by Irish Republican Army dissidents.
Each year since the 500-pound bomb tore through a crowd of
shoppers, workers and tourists — mostly women and children
— relatives of the dead have gathered at a memorial garden
in this religiously mixed, largely middle-class town of
Nobody has been convicted of the crime, although the
accused bomb maker, 33-year-old Sean Hoey, has been in jail
awaiting trial for more than a year.
Relatives of the dead, who are also pursuing a civil
lawsuit against five senior IRA dissidents, have expressed
doubt that justice will ever be done.
Taking part in Sunday’s ceremony were Protestant ministers
and a Catholic priest, as well as representatives of both
the British and Irish governments.
The Real IRA, a dissident group opposed to the IRA cease-
fire of 1997 and Northern Ireland’s Good Friday peace
accord of 1998, claimed responsibility for bombing Omagh.
The death toll was particularly high because police,
responding to vague telephoned warnings, unwittingly
evacuated workers and residents toward the bomb, which
detonated in the middle of a crowd.
The toll eclipsed a 1974 IRA bombing of two pubs in
Birmingham, England, which claimed 21 lives.
Police Murder Probe 'Inadequate'
A proper investigation into the IRA's killing of Jean
McConville was not carried out for more than 20 years, the
NI police ombudsman has said.
Nuala O'Loan said there had been intelligence that she was
still alive some time after being abducted from her home in
Her inquiry found there was no formal police record of her
disappearance, nor of attempts at the time to find her.
Mrs O'Loan upheld a complaint brought by two of Mrs
The investigation of her murder will now form part of the
work of the PSNI Historical Enquiry Team.
Mrs McConville, who was a widow, was killed after she went
to the aid of a fatally wounded British soldier outside her
home in west Belfast's Divis flats.
The IRA insists the mother-of-10 was a British army
informer, although a police ombudsman inquiry earlier this
year found no evidence of this.
Mrs McConville's remains were finally found at Shelling
Hill beach in County Louth in the Irish Republic in August
Mrs O'Loan said: "By 16 January (1973) a spokesman was
being quoted as saying the matter was being investigated
but we have found no evidence of this.
"There is no crime file about any investigation of the
abduction in 1972.
"Even if we look at the intelligence the police received
which suggested that Mrs McConville was alive and had
either left of her own will or was being held by the
Provisionals in Dundalk, we found no evidence that either
of these issues were looked at.
"An Garda Siochana (Irish police) have said they are not
aware of an investigation by them into Mrs McConville's
death prior to the discovery of her body."
Mrs McConville's son Michael said he felt vindicated by the
"They didn't do enough work on the case in the first place,
I think it was a big let down for the McConville family,"
"If police had reacted more quickly, my mother might have
still been alive today. I think that to start an
investigation 20 years later is a bit late."
Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/08/14 06:42:54 GMT
© BBC MMVI
Band Moves To Quell Concerns Over Parade
By Lisa Smyth
14 August 2006
The band at the centre of a bitter row over a contentious
loyalist parade has moved to quell concerns about the
Ballymaconnelly Sons of Conquerors has defended the
organisation's right to host a parade, including almost
1,300 loyalists and 40 bands, through Rasharkin on Friday
Rasharkin Residents' Association expressed fears
nationalist residents in the village will be subjected to
sectarian abuse after the Parades Commission failed to
place any of the restrictions requested by the group.
Rejecting claims of poor behaviour on the part of loyalist
participants during last year's event, a spokesman for the
flute band said: "Our parade is invite only; thus, only
bands who have been invited will be able to parade.
"We have always tried to encourage respect, understanding
and trust among all sections of the community."
The spokesman explained the band has worked to try and
address genuinely-held, relevant concerns of all members of
the Rasharkin community - which it said had been
incorrectly labelled 95% nationalist by Sinn Fein
councillor Daithi McKay.
Measures implemented to ensure the parade passes peacefully
include the prohibition of alcohol and the reduction of the
number of bands from 46 to 40.
Rossport Protesters End Walk In Dublin
Opponents of the Corrib gas project completed their 300-
kilometre "long walk" from Rossport, Co Mayo, to Dublin on
Saturday and were welcomed at their journey's end by Lord
Mayor of Dublin Vincent Jackson.
The group left Rossport last month to highlight issues
relating to the €900 million Corrib gas project. They were
joined at stages by some of the five men jailed last year
over their opposition to the Corrib onshore pipeline and
were accompanied throughout by the Shell to Sea campaign
Mr Jackson met the group at Kilmainham Jail in a "personal
capacity". Nine men and women walked the entire distance,
while hundreds more joined in at different points to show
support, according to organisers.
Describing their journey as "epic", Mr Jackson said he
supported their cause because "guarantees on safety have
still not been met . . . Sometimes might isn't always
A group of about 200 people gathered to greet the group
from Rossport. The trek took 12 days and group leader John
Monaghan said they had received "phenomenal support" from
people they met along the way. "In Roscommon, we were
called into a house for tea and biscuits and other people
offered to put us up for the night," he said.
Mr Monaghan added that the Shell to Sea campaign was
determined to continue. "We're refusing to accept an
onshore gas refinery. The project needs to be reconfigured.
They have changed nothing, so our stance has to be the
After meeting Mr Jackson at Kilmainham, the group continued
on to the GPO on O'Connell Street, where Micheál Ó Seighín,
one of the five men imprisoned for 94 days last year for
their opposition to the pipeline, gave a brief oration in
Irish and English. "Justice will be ours for we will
overcome. The people have spoken and risen," he said. "We
are the people. We reclaim our country."
Mr Monaghan said that taking part in the walk had been a
"privilege and a pleasure". They had walked 215 miles
"every one was worth every step". The group travelled from
the Erris peninsula through Mayo, Roscommon, Longford,
Westmeath and Kildare before reaching Dublin. Inspiration
for the walk had come from various sources, including
Mahatma Gandhi and the eviction of the Davitt family in
Straide, Co Mayo, in the 1850s.
Shell E&P Ireland hopes to resume work at the Bellanaboy
gas terminal next month before reaching any agreement on a
modified route for the controversial pipeline. The Shell to
Sea campaign intends to maintain its pickets at the
© The Irish Times
Community Law Centres 'Needed To Aid Vulnerable People'
14/08/2006 - 11:05:58
Policymakers should pay tribute to the memory of Michael
Davitt by ensuring vulnerable people in society have access
to legal advice, it was urged today.
At the annual Parnell Summer School, whose theme is the
centenary of Davitt’s death, Green Party leader Trevor
Sargent called for the establishment of a network of
Community Law Centres to ensure access to legal advice.
“Like in Michael Davitt’s time, many people still
experience unaffordability of housing and there is still a
protected class of developers and speculators. In the year
of the centenary of Davitt’s passing, policy makers should
pay tribute to his memory by ensuring that housing is made
affordable and that the vulnerable have access to the legal
system,” said Mr Sargent during his address to the six-day
summer school in Parnell’s ancestral home, Avondale House,
The party leader said Davitt’s legacy, as father of the
Land League, surfaced in the idea of ensuring vulnerable
people are protected by giving them access to a service
which would give them legal redress.
“The Legal Aid Board provides a valuable service but is
restricted to dealing with family law cases. Ironically,
FLAC – the Free Legal Advice Centre – has no centres as
such for people to visit and is hosted by arrangement with
CICs, or Citizens’ Information Centres, where its role is
to only advise but not take a case,” the TD said.
“What the individual seeking help from me would really need
is a community law centre, which would have a public
Mr Sargent also called for the implementation of the
recommendations of the 1973 Kenny Report on the Price of
Building Land in order to ensure housing is made more
“The main difference between Davitt’s time and today is the
consequences of being unable to pay for your home. Today,
there is no constabulary with bayonets and swords and the
people are not generally barefoot. However, I have no doubt
that in many households, payments are falling behind,” he
Mr Sargent urged the Government to implement the Kenny
Report which recommended a windfall tax on development act.
Speakers at the event on the theme ’Forgotten Hero: Michael
Davitt and Irish Democracy’ include Labour leader Pat
Rabbitte, Fine Gael’s Olwyn Enright, Minister of State
Conor Lenihan and Aengus O Snodaigh of Sinn Féin.
Davitt’s grandson, Vincentian priest Fr Tom Davitt will
also deliver a personal tribute to the Land League founder,
entitled ’Getting to Know Grandad.’
Other speakers at the event in coming days include IFA
leader Padraig Walshe, Mountjoy Prison governor John
Lonergan and Dr Colm O Cuanachain of Amnesty International.
There will also be academic representatives from Boston
College, Galway/Mayo Institute of Technology and Oxford
More Schools Become Integrated In A Bid To Avoid Being Closed
By Kathryn Torney
14 August 2006
The integrated education movement has defended moves by
some Northern Irish schools to become integrated to avoid
closure because of falling pupil numbers.
Existing schools which transform to integrated status are
required to have a minimum of 10% of their incoming
enrolment taken from the minority community in the area.
The Department of Education expects this figure to increase
and schools must achieve an overall balance of 70/30 within
a period of 10 years.
There are currently around 60 integrated schools in
Northern Ireland of which 20 have transformed. None have
been in the Catholic maintained sector.
Michael Wardlow, chief executive officer at the Northern
Ireland Council for Integrated Education, said not all
transformations have come about because of fear of falling
"Some schools have no doubt seen the process as simply
formalising what they always have done.
"This situation reflects the reality of the variety of
reasons behind the decision to transform."
He added that the problem of surplus school places in
Northern Ireland would not have reached its current level
if the department had taken the lead in developing a small
school or sustainable schools policy and if the boards and
Council for Catholic Maintained Schools had taken the
necessary strategic decisions.
Professor Tony Gallagher, of Queen's University in Belfast
co-authored a report on transformation published in 2003.
He said: "The evidence we examined a couple of years ago
suggested that schools which had gone through a process of
transformation had done so on the basis for a commitment to
"I have no data on the number of schools which propose
transformation, but I assume approval would not be provided
if the school is not seen to be viable or where there is no
evidence that the school could attract pupils from both
main traditions in order to become genuinely integrated.
"In other words, the evidence available to me suggests that
... the transformation option is not being abused."
Opin: Accepting Evidence From Paid Informants Very Serious
The full address of Father Raymond Murray at the press
conference to overturn the conviction of Michael McKevitt
“Consequences of accepting evidence from paid informants is
"This pamphlet by Marcella Sands entitled The Framing of
Michael McKevitt is disturbing. For me it is a strong
argument for the legal innocence of Michael McKevitt on the
charge of directing the activities of an illegal
organisation and membership of the same organisation,
namely the Real IRA.
Its portrayal of the injustice of his trial in a special
court is a familiar one to me. I co-authored similar cases
and situations in pamphlets like Corruption of Law in 1974
(a memorandum to the Gardiner Committee on the working of
emergency legislation in Northern Ireland), The Birmingham
Framework published in 1977, one year after the trial and
condemnation of six innocent men and British Justice is
Flawed written in 1988, in which Father Faul and I examined
the ways in which people suspected of political influence
are treated in England and the lack of safeguards that
existed and one could say still exists there.
Of course, this very same unjust treatment of political
suspects and lack of safeguards is what is argued by
Marcella Sands in the case of Michael McKevitt. One calls
to mind also the IRSP pamphlet Framed through the Special
Court: The ‘Great Train Robbery’ Trial. Has the Irish state
not learned a lesson to be scrupulous in protecting its
institutions of justice?
The first question: Were those who belonged to the 32
County Sovereignty Movement entitled to voice their
political views on a sovereign 32 county Irish state?
Bernadette Sands-McKevitt was a founder member. Did that
mean she was linked to the Real IRA, a link forged by media
speculation and encouraged by state political view? She
disagreed with the Good Friday Agreement. Was she entitled
to have such an opinion in a free democratic state? Media
wise and in state commentary, Michael McKevitt’s name was
linked with the Real IRA and then automatically, in
speculation, of participation in the Omagh bombing. Neither
Michael nor Bernadette McKevitt have been questioned or
arrested by the police for the Omagh bombing.
Will the media redress its culpability in naming Michael
McKevitt as a perpetrator of the Omagh bombing? This
shocking atrocity is surrounded by unanswered questions
regarding the foreknowledge of the bombing on the part of
MI5 and the Special Branch of the then RUC. Why does the
secretary of state Peter Hain, who I am sure has access to
all the papers of the state, not help to reveal the truth
of the whole Omagh tragedy by giving independent legal
people access to all the documentary resources?
The policy “public interest and national security”,
proclaimed by the British Attorney General Sir Patrick
Mayhew, in 1988, in preventing the prosecution of some RUC
officers in respect of ‘Shoot to Kill’ cases in County
Armagh, is reflected again and again in a cover-up to
protect RUC members, MI5 and their informants. There is a
state determination not to reveal the details of RUC and
MI5 informants who were mixed up in deadly crime.
Has a philosophy of “public interest and national security”
spilled into the Irish Republic in a policy of taking short
cuts to suppress subversion and political crime? Has this
affected the Garda Síochána?
The activity of the Garda Emergency Response Unit as
depicted in this pamphlet is shocking.
It amounts to harassment and persecution of the McKevitt
family, parents and children, and visitors to their house.
Why was this tolerated by the Garda authority in a region
which still reverberates from Garda neglect in the
investigation of the murder of Séamus Ludlow on 1 May 1976?
This is damaging to society.
Can action still not be taken against Gardaí who were
involved in the severe harassment of the McKevitts, which
in itself cast suspicion on them?
Were their official complaints just ignored and what does
that say about people’s protection?
Who were the Gardaí responsible for the release to the
media of Michael McKevitt’s photograph, taken while he was
in custody and why have they not been investigated for
endangering his life?
Central to this pamphlet is the story of the use of the
highly paid informant David Rupert by the FBI, MI5 and
Gardaí and the acceptance of his evidence by the courts,
evidence that was often contradictory.
The fundamental purpose of law is to protect the right to
life and the liberty of the citizen from the arbitrary
tyrant or despot – only secondarily does it protect the
citizen from the lawbreakers among themselves.
This supergrass double-agent system is a perversion of
justice and destructive law precisely because it removes
the final and most important shield of protection from
Evidence of paid and schooled informants resembles the
basis for internment where persons were put into jail on
the suspicion, prejudice or dislike of anonymous state
agents. In this supergrass system a person can be jailed
for a long period on the uncorroborated evidence of a
person of dubious character.
Judges are gravely at fault in accepting supergrass
The recruitment of supergrasses makes their subsequent
evidence unreliable, their character being smeared with
money rewards and promises of more money.
The social and political consequences of accepting the
evidence of long term paid informants like David Rupert are
very serious and long lasting.
Confidence in the domestic courts is lost and now the
McKevitt case must seek justice in the European Commission
and court at Strasbourg.
A false illusion is created in this case that indirectly
justice is being done for the victims of the Omagh atrocity
and their families.
False. This is a short-term gain and a long-term loss.
To read this pamphlet leaves one with a serious question.
Is the administration of law in Michael McKevitt’s case,
based on a paid informant’s evidence, impartial?
Marcella Sands also argues strongly that MI5, FBI and
special police investigators have been selective in the
production of documentary evidence.
Another serious question – is this administration of law
impartial that is backed by the selected information of
secret societies like MI5, FBI and special investigators
who work in a murky world?
The answer is no. In Michael McKevitt’s case the law is
crawling in humble submission before the will of state and
the media to condemn.
Alas for the rights of man, for justice, for fair play."
Equality Body Lauds The BBC's Diversity
By Claire Regan
14 August 2006
The Equality Commission was last night told to look to the
example of the BBC after the broadcasting giant was
congratulated for the "fair and representative" religious
and gender make-up of its staff in Northern Ireland.
Castlereagh Borough councillor Charlie Tosh, who criticised
the commission's under representation of men and Protestant
employees earlier this week, said the BBC was a fine
example of how equality can be achieved.
According to statistics released to Mr Tosh under the
Freedom of Information Act this week, there were 716 people
employed by the BBC by the end of March this year.
Of that group of employees:
- 49.2% were Protestant;
- 39.5% were Catholic;
- 11.3% did not determine religion.
- 44.4% were women;
- and 55.6% were men.
The BBC also provided details of further 55 people who work
on a freelance basis.
Of these employees:
- 40% were Protestant;
- 23.6% were Catholic;
- and 36.4% were classified as non-determined.
Mr Tosh blasted the Equality Commission, whose job it is to
promote religious and gender equality in all workforces
across Northern Ireland, earlier this week after it emerged
that it employs a significantly higher number of Catholics
"These figures for the BBC are much closer to the religious
and gender make-up of society and I would like to
congratulate them on that," he said.
"The Equality Commission would do well to have a look at
these figures and see that it is possible to have a fair
and representative workforce.
"The BBC have set a good example for the Equality
Commission to follow - unfortunately it should be the other
In response, the commission highlighted that it "publishes
and makes freely available every year a monitoring report
on the religious composition of all public and private
"The commission takes extremely seriously the importance of
having a workforce which reflects the community which it
serves. Since its establishment, it has been openly
committed to this objective and has an affirmative action
plan in place to address issues of imbalance.
"This includes a programme of outreach activities which
openly demonstrate our continuing commitment to encouraging
job applications from Protestants and from men.
"The commission is reviewing the range of initiatives it
has in place to improve the representation of Protestants
and men within its staff. We will continue to work to
reduce all imbalances, as we encourage employers throughout
Northern Ireland to do," a statement said.
Siblings Keep Culture Alive At Family's Irish Dance Studio
By Alex P. Kellogg
Special to the State Journal
On Monday and Tuesday evenings, in a makeshift Taylor dance
studio with the word "Irish" written in green shamrocks on
its windows, a class of enthusiastic dancers kick and tap
feverishly on a worn-down floor.
All the while, a no-nonsense dance instructor pushes them
through a seemingly grueling traditional Irish dance
practice. By the end of the 90-minute class, every student
is soaked in sweat.
Sound like fun? According to the students of the family-run
Heinzman School of Irish Dance, which teaches out of the
Taylor studio, it's a blast.
"I like being challenged," said student Mika Reardon, 18,
of Grosse Pointe after the class last month. "I like it
because you have to rise to the challenge."
All in the family
The Tuesday class in Taylor, made up of 12 to 15 girls and
women, is taught by John Heinzman of Livonia.
"He takes it seriously, but he doesn't get all on your
case," said Reardon, who has been taking individual and
group lessons at the school for five years.
Heinzman and his sister, Liz Heinzman, own the Livonia-
based school, which has 11 sites in Michigan, including one
in Lansing. Their mother, Kitty Heinzman, is an Irish
immigrant who also lives in Livonia and teaches at the
school. She encouraged the pair to study Irish dance and
perfect their craft.
August is a busy month at the school. About 100 of nearly
350 students will compete in Windsor on Saturday in the
Rose City Feis, an Irish dance competition. Feis -
pronounced "fesh" - is Irish for festival but also
describes Irish dance competitions. The next day, the
school is hosting the Great Lakes Feis in Lansing, which
draws more than a thousand students from the U.S. and
Canada. Both events are open to the public.
The Heinzmans opened the school in 1994 with a handful of
students, but saw a boom in enrollment when Irish dancing
became hugely popular in the mid-1990s thanks to the
success of "Riverdance." The traditional Irish dance group
still tours internationally to sold-out crowds and has
produced numerous spin-offs.
Keeping culture alive
Due to the cultural revival that "Riverdance" brought
about, John Heinzman said, he and his sister went from
having dozens of students to hundreds in less than a year.
It allowed the Heinzmans to quit their day jobs and devote
all their time to ensuring that the school continued to
grow and improve.
"They're starting to produce a lot of champions, and of
course it takes a while to develop the kids to do that,"
said Brian Bonner, a retired engineer and accordion player
who performs at competitions with Heinzman students and
other local dance groups.
Many students connect with their Irish roots not only
through dance but also by attending Irish Catholic churches
or going to social events at the Gaelic League and Irish-
American Club in Detroit.
"We try to do our bit to keep the culture alive," Liz
Heinzman said. "Otherwise, it will die."
Contact Alex P. Kellogg of the Detroit Free Press at (248)
351-3693 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
First Fridays Features Irish Musician O’Flaherty
LEWISBURG — First Fridays After Five will a Celtic flavor to this week
as live outdoor music will be provided by Irish musician Patrick
O’Flaherty at the corner of Washington and Jefferson streets.
O’Flaherty is a native of the Connemara Gaeltecht region in Ireland. He
will be performing traditional Irish music, playing the mandolin, button
accordion and banjo. He sings in both Gaelic and English and has
released more than 20 albums.
Washington Street Gallery will host an opening reception for San
Francisco artist Christa Assad. Assad’s pieces are wheel-thrown simple
forms, which are cut and re-assembled. Assad is internationally known
for her work.
Max Hayslette, a native of Greenbrier County, returns to Cooper Gallery
for an exhibit of new landscape paintings. Hayslette will also be
available during a reception Friday night. Music will be provided by
Gary and Deena Williams.
Serenity Now Outfitters will present the musical stylings of Corey
McQuade, a local musician and Greenbrier County native.
First Fridays After Five features over 30 shops, galleries and
restaurants in downtown Lewisburg that are open until 9 p.m. All
participating shops and restaurants are within walking distance of each
For more information contact Aaron or Monica Maxwell at 645-4333.
— Christian Giggenbach
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