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 10, 2006

Plot To Blow Up 6 US Bound Flights From UK Foiled

News About Ireland & The Irish

BT 08/10/06 'Plot To Blow Up Planes' Foiled
IO 08/10/06 Flights From Ireland To UK Cancelled
UT 08/10/06 Third Detective Held In Probe
IN 08/10/06 DC INA To Hold Second 25th Anniversary Hunger Strike Vigil
IC 08/10/06 West Prepares For Memorial Rally
SF 08/10/06 Adams Appeals For Information On Charlie Armstrong
IN 08/10/06 Bobby Sands Comment ‘Insulting’
IN 08/10/06 Mother Lives In Fear After Death Threat
BT 08/10/06 Nine Anti-War Activists Held After Arms Firm Raid
GU 08/10/06 Police Stop IRA Dissidents From Marching
BT 08/10/06 Opin: Time To Stamp Out Diehard Dissidents
IN 08/10/06 Opin: Firebombers Offer Nothing
PG 08/10/06 Ireland Contest Winners To Create Podcasts
SN 08/10/06 AOH Division 51 – Fishtown, PA
JN 08/10/06 Malachy McCourt Brings Wit To Campaign
TO 08/10/06 The Black Velvet Band
IO 08/10/06 Packed Programme For Puck Fair


'Plot To Blow Up Planes' Foiled

Flights to and from Northern Ireland delayed

By Gary Fennelly

10 August 2006 Updates
:: Six planes involved
:: 21 people in custody
:: UK threat level critical
:: No hand luggage allowed on to planes
:: All UK airports, hundreds of flights affected

An alleged terror plot foiled by authorities in London was
designed to "bring down aircraft mid-flight, causing a
considerable loss of life," Home Secretary John Reid said

Police say terrorists planned to blow up as many as 20
planes in UK and US airspace.

Up to 20 people, thought to be young British Muslims, have
been arrested. The arrests followed a 'pre-planned
intelligence led operation' by the Met's anti-terrorist

The Home Office's level of security has been raised from
severe to critical. Home Secretary, John Reid, said:

"Overnight the police, with the full knowledge of
Ministers, have carried out a major counter-terrorism
operation to disrupt what we believe to be a major threat
to the UK and international partners.

"The police, acting with the Security Service MI5, are
investigating an alleged plot to bring down a number of
aircraft through mid-flight explosions, causing a
considerable loss of life.

"The police believe the alleged plot was a very significant
one indeed. At 2am this morning the Joint Terrorism
Analysis Centre raised the UK threat state to its highest
level – "Critical".

"This is now being publicly announced, as I promised to
Parliament last month. This is a precautionary measure. We
are doing everything possible to disrupt any further
terrorist activity.

"This will mean major disruption at all UK airports from
today. But as far as is possible we want people to go about
their business as normal. The police will provide an update
on the operation later this morning and Ministers will keep
the public regularly informed."


Northern Ireland airports

:: Flights at George Best City Airport delayed
:: Belfast International Aiport: check-in at least 2 hours
before departure
:: City of Derry: check-ins will close one hour before

Hand Luggage ban

The Department of Transport has introduced strict new
regulations for air passengers in the wake of this
morning’s security alert.

With immediate effect, all cabin baggage must be processed
as hold baggage and carried in the hold of the aircraft.
According to the Department of Transport, passengers will
be limited to a handful of items aboard the aircraft.

There are no changes to current hold-baggage security

A spokesperson for the department said: “Regrettably,
significant delays at airports are inevitable. Passengers
are being asked to allow themselves plenty of extra time.”

“These additional security measures will make travel more
difficult for passengers, particularly at such a busy time
of the year. But they are necessary and will continue to
keep flights from UK airports properly secure.

"We hope that these measures, which are being kept under
review by the Government, will need to be in place for a
limited period only.

“In light of the threat to aviation and the need to respond
to it, we are asking the travelling public to be patient
and understanding and to cooperate fully with airport
security staff and the police.

" If passengers have any questions on their travel
arrangements or security in place at airports they should
contact their airline or carrier.”

Full travel advice from the Transport Department

Following this morning's police action, security at all UK
airports has been increased and additional security
measures have been put in place for all flights.

With immediate effect, the following arrangements apply to
all passengers starting their journey at a UK airport and
to those transferring between flights at a UK airport.

All cabin baggage must be processed as hold baggage and
carried in the hold of passenger aircraft departing UK

Passengers may take through the airport security search
point, in a single (ideally transparent) plastic carrier
bag, only the following items. Nothing may be carried in

:: Pocket-size wallets and pocket-size purses plus contents
(for example money, credit cards, identity cards etc (not

:: Travel documents essential for the journey (for example
passports and travel tickets)

:: Prescription medicines and medical items sufficient and
essential for the flight (eg, diabetic kit), except in
liquid form unless verified as authentic

:: Spectacles and sunglasses, without cases

:: Contact lens holders, without bottles of solution

:: For those travelling with an infant: baby food, milk
(the contents of each bottle must be tasted by the
accompanying passenger) and sanitary items sufficient and
essential for the flight (nappies, wipes, creams and nappy
disposal bags)

:: Female sanitary items sufficient and essential for the
flight, if unboxed (eg tampons, pads, towels and wipes)

:: Tissues (unboxed) and/or handkerchiefs

:: Keys (but no electrical key fobs). All passengers must
be hand searched, and their footwear and all the items they
are carrying must be X-ray screened

:: Pushchairs and walking aids must be X-ray screened, and
only airport-provided wheelchairs may pass through the
screening point

:: In addition to the above, all passengers boarding
flights to the USA and all the items they are carrying,
including those acquired after the central screening point,
must be subjected to secondary search at the boarding gate.

:: Any liquids discovered must be removed from the

There are no changes to current hold baggage security

Regrettably, significant delays at airports are inevitable.
Passengers are being asked to allow themselves plenty of
extra time and to ensure that other than the few permitted
items listed above, all their belongings are placed in
their hold baggage and checked in.

These additional security measures will make travel more
difficult for passengers, particularly at such a busy time
of the year. But they are necessary and will continue to
keep flights from UK airports properly secure.

We hope that these measures, which are being kept under
review by the government, will need to be in place for a
limited period only.

In light of the threat to aviation and the need to respond
to it, we are asking the travelling public to be patient
and understanding and to cooperate fully with airport
security staff and the police.

If passengers have any questions on their travel
arrangements or security in place at airports they should
contact their airline or carrier.


Flights From Ireland To UK Cancelled

10/08/2006 - 08:56:39

Around 20 flights out of Ireland to the United Kingdom were
cancelled today after security forces there foiled a major
terrorist plot to blow-up aircraft bound for the US.

Aer Lingus confirmed 10 flights had been cancelled so far,
while it is believed more than a dozen Ryanair flights have
been delayed or cancelled.

The worst affected were services from Dublin to the three
main London airports, Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted.

Dermot Mannion, Aer Lingus chief executive, said non-
essential air travel should be cancelled.

“What we are saying to passengers at the moment that the
sensible option really is that unless travel to any point
in the UK is essential today it's perhaps better to stay at
home,” he told RTÉ Radio.

Updates will be posted on the airline’s website,, throughout the day.

A Dublin Airport Authority spokeswoman urged passengers to
contact airlines before leaving for the airport.

“Flight delays are expected as a result of the security
situation at London Heathrow and into all UK airports,” she

“We would ask passengers to contact individual airlines
regarding their specific flights before departing for the

In a message on its website Ryanair warned passengers
delays and disruptions would occur and recommended all
passengers allow extra time to get to the airport and clear

Travellers are only being allowed to take a limited number
of items on board by hand, in a single, ideally
transparent, plastic carrier bag and nothing may be carried
in pockets.

No electrical or battery-powered items including laptops,
mobile phones, iPods and remote controls may be carried in
the cabin and they must be checked in as hold baggage.

British Airways said any of its passengers who failed to
comply with the restrictions on luggage and other items
would not be allowed on its planes.

A spokesman said: “Customers are advised to check in as
normal but to expect delays at all UK airports.”


Third Detective Held In Probe

A third former detective is being questioned in a major
probe into suspected police collusion with loyalist
paramilitary killers in Northern Ireland.

By:Press Association

Johnston "Jonty" Brown was arrested by Police Ombudsman
Nuala O`Loan`s investigators at Belfast International
Airport after returning from a holiday abroad.

Brown was detained in connection with an alleged attempt to
pervert the course of justice and misconduct in public

The retired sergeant had previously been interviewed
voluntarily by Mrs O`Loan`s team since he left the force in
2001 and began revealing highly embarrassing and damaging
details of police Special Branch work with paramilitary

Mr Brown was heavily involved in the police undercover
operation which led to the 1994 arrest and conviction of
feared loyalist commander Johnny "Mad Dog" Adair.

His arrest was the third yesterday by staff from the
Ombudsman`s office examining the RUC`s handling of a probe
into the death of former RAF man Raymond McCord Jr, who was
beaten by the Ulster Volunteer Force.

Their inquiry has now widened to include the 1993 shotgun
murder of a woman taxi driver in north Belfast.

The first two ex-CID men detained, Chief Superintendent Tom
Meek and Constable Trevor McIlrath were later released
without charge.

Before Mr Brown returned to Northern Ireland, his home in
Ballymena, Co Antrim, was searched. Computer equipment and
other items were taken away.

The investigation into the murder of Mr McCord, 22, whose
body was dumped in a quarry just outside Belfast in 1997,
is the biggest ever undertaken by Mrs O`Loan and her team.

They have already prepared a damning report which is
expected to include devastating claims that loyalist
paramilitaries working as police informers at that time
were involved in a series of killings, but were never

A file on the alleged scandal has been submitted to the
Public Prosecution Service and the report is expected to be
published next month.

But Mrs O`Loan`s Senior Director of Investigations, Justin
Felice, confirmed the complexities of the inquiry had led
them to examine the Sharon McKenna murder investigation.

Ms McKenna, a 27-year-old Catholic cab driver, was killed
by two UVF men who opened fire with a 12-bore shotgun as
she cooked dinner for an elderly friend at his north
Belfast home in January 1993.


DC INA To Hold Second 25th Anniversary Hunger Strike Vigil

The DC chapter of Irish Northern Aid will hold a memorial
vigil in front of the British Embassy in Washington, DC on
August 11, 2006, from 4:00 PM to 8:00 PM, in honor of the
sacrifice and legacy of the 1981 hunger strikers.

A previous memorial vigil was conducted by DC INA in May in
conjunction with the 25th anniversary of the death of Bobby

Attendees are asked to remember that this is a vigil, and
that only tasteful signs honoring the sacrifice of the
hunger strikers will be permitted. At sundown, candles will
be lit to honor the lives of the ten men who died on the
1981 hunger strike, and to celebrate their lasting legacy.

Media Contact, and for more information - Brooke Murphy:

Please note: Those who wish to participate in the vigil are
asked to bring their own candles (e.g., 12" taper candles),
and paper cups, or other appropriate method of holding


West Prepares For Memorial Rally

Ex-republican prisoners among those who gathered for the
launch of a new mural designed to commemorate the hunger
strikes ahead of Casement rally

By Damian McCarney

A new mural was launched this week in advance of the
national hunger strike march and rally at Casement Park.

Ex-republican prisoners were among the crowd present at the
Lower Falls renowned international wall to view the mural,
which depicts a prisoner on blanket protest with Long
Kesh’s notorious H-blocks in the background.

The mural was officially launched on Tuesday, by Jennifer
McCann of the National 1980/1981 Hunger Strike Committee,
who was imprisoned in Armagh women’s prison at the time of
the 1981 hunger strikes.

The Twinbrook woman said: “It is fitting that this mural
has been painted at the international wall as news of the
hunger strikes went around the world in 1981 and served to
internationalise our struggle. The names of hunger strikers
became known in many places throughout the world, for
instance a street in Iran has been named after Bobby Sands.

“It is important that we pay tribute to the families who
lost relatives during the hunger strikes.”

Organisers of Sunday’s event expect up to 35,000 people to
amass in West Belfast for the event, which will be the
focal point of the 25th anniversary commemorative events.

Tuesday also marked the 25th anniversary of the death of
Bellaghy hunger striker Tom McElwee. Rosa McLaughlin,
chairperson of West Belfast Sinn Féin, urged people to come
to support the rally to remember Tom and his comrades.

“Much preparation has taken place to organise this very
significant event. West Belfast republicans have been
working tirelessly to ensure that this event is a fitting
tribute to the families of those who died on hunger strike
25 years ago.

“Thirty thousand personal invitations from Brendan
McFarlane, former officer commanding during the hunger
strike in Long Kesh, have gone to all homes in West
Belfast, the communities from which three of the hunger
strikers came.”

In addition to street theatre and floats, former blanketmen
dressed in blankets, along with former POWs, will
participate in Sunday’s march. The rally will be held in
Casement Park where music will be provided by Frances Black
and Francie Brolly, and Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams
will be the guest speaker.

The rally meeting points are: North Belfast: Ardoyne Shops
at 11am; New Lodge Road and Lepper Street Junction at

West Belfast: Gardenmore Road Monument at 1pm; Lenadoon
Shops at 1.30pm; Busy Bee (Iceland) at 2pm; Trinity Lodge
at 12.30pm; Top of Whiterock at 1pm; Dunville Park at 1pm.

South & East Belfast: Cromac Street at noon; Mountpottinger
Road at 11.45am.

Journalist:: Damien McCarney


Adams Appeals For Information On Charlie Armstrong

Published: 10 August, 2006

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams recently met the family of
Charlie Armstrong who disappeared from his home in
Crossmaglen 25 years ago this month.

Mr. Adams said:

"I welcome the recent decision by the Irish and British
governments to implement the report of the forensic expert
into the recovery of remains. Sinn Féin has been in
constant discussion with the Irish government on this

"There is only a relatively short period of time left in
which the weather will permit detailed searches to take
place. Mindful of the need not to unduly raise expectations
among the families the Irish government should move
speedily to ensure that where practical digs take place.

"Sinn Féin continues to work to secure the return of the
remains of those who were killed and secretly buried by the
IRA in the 1970s.

"We are also working on the cases of Charlie Armstrong and
Gerard Evans. The IRA has denied playing any part in their
disappearance. It is widely believed that both men are

"I have previously appealed for anyone with information
relating to these two men to come forward, either to me
directly, or to the family or to anyone else who they have
confidence in.

"August 16th is the 25th anniversary of Charlie Armstrong's
disappearance. It has been a long, difficult and emotional
time for his family.

"Their sole interest is in securing the return of Mr.
Armstrong's remains. Mrs. Armstrong wants to give her
husband a proper funeral and she and her family have an
absolute right to do this.

"I therefore want to appeal again to anyone who might have
the slightest bit of information which might help locate
the remains of either Charlie Armstrong or Gerard Evans to
come forward.

"They can do so in complete confidence to me, or to the
family. If they wish to speak to someone else that too is
fine. What is important is that anyone with information now
makes that information available." ENDS


Bobby Sands Comment ‘Insulting’

By Claire O’Boyle

REPUBLICANS have hit out after a comment about hunger
striker Bobby Sands on a Big Brother show.

Russell Brand, who presents Channel 4 programme Big
Brother’s Big Mouth, made the remark while interviewing ex-
housemate Sam.

He asked him what he would do if he was voted back into the
Big Brother house, and Sam said: “Probably kick up some

Brand replied: “Kick up some actual human s*** – it will be
a Bobby Sands-style protest going down in the house.”

Bronagh O’Neill from Feile FM radio station of west
Belfast’s Feile an Phobail, said many listeners had been
offended by the remarks.

“The phone lines were jammed. Lots of people were really
offended and were lining up to complain,” she said.

Former IRA prisoner Danny Morrison, secretary of the Bobby
Sands Trust, said Brand’s comments were “insulting” to
those who had died on hunger strike and their families.

“This frivolous comment is typical of the ignorance and
insensitivity of Russell Brand,” he said.

“What he said was insulting to the memory of Bobby Sands
and his comrades

who were forced to live in these conditions by the British

Claudia Christie from Channel 4 said Brand’s comment was
made “purely off the cuff”

“He did not intend to cause offence to anyone. But that is
just Russell’s style,” she said.

“Big Brother’s Big Mouth is a live, unscripted debate show
and Russell reacts on the spot to comments from viewers and
housemates. On this occasion he took Sam’s words literally
and made a historic reference.

“It was not the show’s intention to cause offence.”


Mother Lives In Fear After Death Threat

By Marie Louise McCrory

A young Catholic mother has spoken of her fear after
finding a death threat written on the back door of her Co
Armagh home, just weeks after she was assaulted by

The woman, who did not want to be identified, told last
month of how loyalists attempted to slit her throat with a
knife in a sectarian attack at her home in the Greenfields
estate in Armagh city.

The mother-of-two suffered cuts to her face, neck and arms
as she fought off the man who attacked her in the back
garden while her two sons, aged four and eight-months, were

The attack came after a group of loyalist teenagers shouted
at her that they would “slit your throat while you’re

The 22-year-old said she believed she had been attacked
because she is a Catholic and from Dublin.

She last night said she felt terrified after finding a
death threat written on her house’s back door on Friday

“It said: ‘You’re dead, Fenian. Bang bang, you’re dead’,”
she said.

“It was written on the back door in permanent marker.

“I had to read it a couple of times before it eventually
sunk in. I was going to go upstairs and pack my bags. I
rang my partner and he said to ring the police.”

The young mother said she was now living in fear.

A police spokeswoman said “investigations are ongoing”.


Nine Held After Arms Firm Raid

By Brendan McDaid
10 August 2006

Nine anti-war activists who stormed and occupied American
arms manufacturer Raytheon's Londonderry base were last
night in police custody.

The nine men, including local author, journalist and
Belfast Telegraph columnist Eamonn McCann, were forcibly
removed after a team of negotiators flown in from Belfast
failed to convince them to surrender.

The men said they were reacting to widespread anger at the
US company's presence in Derry and the deaths of innocent
civilians in Lebanon and Gaza at the hands of Israeli
forces. They insisted they would stay until Raytheon said
they would close the Derry operation.

Two other men taking part in a solidarity protest at the
entrance to the Ulster Science and Technology Park, where
Raytheon is based, were also taken away by police, but were
later released.

The company's computer systems were destroyed after
equipment was disconnected and hurled from windows during
the eight-hour siege.

Upwards of 100 police officers were drafted in throughout
the stand-off as both entrances to the Park were cordoned

Speaking from the back of a police Land Rover at Strand
Road RUC barracks after being arrested, a handcuffed Eamonn
McCann told the Telegraph: "They came in in riot gear and
surrounded us in the room. We were playing cards at the

"We were arrested for burglary and criminal damage."

Raytheon refused to comment on the company's future in
Derry, but a spokesman said a statement was being prepared.


Police Stop IRA Dissidents From Marching

Thursday August 10, 2006 5:01 AM
By Shawn Pogatchnik
Associated Press Writer

BELFAST, Northern Ireland (AP) - Riot police blocked
supporters of Irish Republican Army dissidents Wednesday
from parading in a hard-line Protestant town, as IRA
dissidents were accused of destroying three shops with

More than 100 police in flame-retardant suits and helmets
blocked the parade from leaving a hard-line Catholic
enclave of Ballymena, an overwhelmingly Protestant town
where a 15-year-old Catholic boy was beaten to death in a
mob attack in May, Northern Ireland's most recent sectarian

Both Protestants and moderate Catholics had criticized the
dissident parade as deliberately provocative and agreed
with British authorities that it should be prevented from
leaving a Catholic housing estate.

Last year, the same parade ended in stone-throwing
confrontations with police and a rival Protestant mob. But
on Wednesday night, the heavy police presence - backed by
two massive mobile water cannons - ensured that the
marchers retreated from police lines without confrontation.

But IRA dissidents opposed to the IRA's 1997 cease-fire
apparently struck elsewhere. Fires razed three shops
overnight in the predominantly Catholic border town of

No group claimed responsibility, but firefighters and
police said the fires appeared to have been ignited by
cassette-sized firebombs that had been placed in racks of
flammable goods in three shops selling sports equipment,
furniture and carpets, respectively. Such firebombs were
designed by IRA engineers in the 1980s to detonate by timer
at nighttime, wrecking the business without causing
injuries to shoppers or staff.

The last wave of firebombings blamed on IRA dissidents
happened in the run-up to Christmas 2004. Wednesday's
attacks coincided with the 35th anniversary of Britain's
decision to impose internment without trial of IRA
suspects, a threshold event that backfired and fueled
support for the IRA.

The Ballymena march was also supposed to be commemorating
internment, a policy that Britain abandoned in 1976 in
favor of bringing IRA suspects to court to face specific
criminal charges.

The Catholic demonstrators, who included supporters of two
splinter groups called the Real IRA and the Irish National
Liberation Army, said they were determined to win the same,
wide-ranging right to march as Protestants, who stage more
than 3,000 parades from April to August - a tradition many
Catholics resent as designed to intimidate them.

So far this year, Northern Ireland's so-called ``marching
season'' has been the most peaceful in Northern Ireland
since 1969, when the modern conflict was ignited amid
widespread rioting over one such Protestant march. The
biggest Protestant parades on July 12 passed without
problems and with no British troops on the streets for the
first time since 1969.

Ballymena, which has a mostly Catholic north and mostly
Protestant south, is already riven with sectarian tensions
over the May murder of Michael McIlveen. The 15-year-old
Catholic was pursued by Protestant youths from the town's
main cinema, cornered and fatally beaten with baseball


Opin: Time To Stamp Out Diehard Dissidents

10 August 2006

Just when Newry was beginning to capitalise on its unique
trading position, close to the Celtic tiger economy,
republican dissidents have dealt it a severe blow. The
stores and shops destroyed in a co-ordinated firebomb
attack can be rebuilt, but damage has been done to the
peaceful image of the border city and Northern Ireland as a

There is speculation that the bombers were attempting to
commemorate the 35th anniversary of internment, when the
unionist government at Stormont finally persuaded the Tory
government to permit imprisonment without trial of 350
republican suspects. It was an instant failure, abandoned
in 1975, and has no relevance in a Northern Ireland which
has been transformed in recent years.

The vast majority of people simply want to get on with
their lives, benefiting from closer north-south ties in
towns and cities like Newry, but the arson attack is
evidence of diehard republicanism. While Sinn Fein is
contending for seats in government, north and south, old-
style republicans can only offer a throw-back to the bad
old days, burning and bombing instead of participating in
the process of change.

There is no obvious point in republicans creating
unemployment by shutting down multi-national stores used by
shoppers from both sides of the border, so what is the
message they are trying to convey? Perhaps they want to
show their destructive capacity, against any acceptance of
the constitutional status quo, reminding Sinn Fein of the
danger of compromising republican principles in the
political negotiations to come.

The advocates of a physical force solution haven't gone
away, neither here nor in Lebanon or Israel. There may
always be a hard core, but their influence can be minimised
by enhanced intelligence co-operation, north and south of
the border, and a new resolve by the political parties to
settle their differences by the devolution deadline of
November 24.

It is an old saying, but true, that whenever there is a
political vacuum - and Northern Ireland has arguably had
one for at least four years - it will eventually be filled
by men of violence. The politicians will soon return to the
negotiating table, to see if unionist and republican ideals
can be reconciled, in a devolved government. If they fail
again, the hardline elements on both sides will have won.

Meanwhile, everyone of goodwill has a commonsense duty to
help the police to find the arsonists who caused millions
of pounds worth of damage to buildings, stock, jobs and
hope. The best way that they and their negative,
destructive mentality can be defeated is by those who want
progress deciding to work together, for the common good.


Opin: Firebombers Offer Nothing

By Newton Emerson

Yesterday was the 35th anniversary of the introduction of
internment without trial in Northern Ireland, which
represented an injustice of massive proportions.

It appears that a small group of individuals attempted to
mark this anniversary by inflicting a different but equally
unacceptable form of injustice on our society.

In the centre of Newry, Co Down, four firebombs exploded in
business premises in the early hours of the morning.

Two stores were completely gutted, with two others left
seriously damaged.

Other outlets were only saved through a major operation
involving up to 125 firefighters.

Dozens of homes had to be evacuated, causing massive
disruption, and the final bill is likely to run into
millions of pounds.

The number of jobs which will be lost as a result, both
directly and indirectly, could be more than 100 and a
severe blow has been inflicted on the entire city.

Newry was one of the areas that was badly hit by internment
with a range of people losing their liberty for months or
even years.

They and their families suffered greatly, although they
were never accused of any offence and had no opportunity to
clear their name.

The entire Newry area was marginalised by the authorities
down through the decades, with excessive security measures
and an almost total lack of investment.

Paramilitary violence also had a devastating impact, with
many lives lost and the economy devastated.

Eventually, through a huge effort on a range of fronts,
Newry dramatically reinvented itself.

Political stability returned to the city while business and
other initiatives helped to transform its image into a
modern and expanding regional centre.

Unemployment faded away, confidence was restored and an
increasingly bright future began to reveal itself.

Now Newry has suddenly found itself in the headlines for
all the wrong reasons, surrounded by images of destruction.

There seems to be no doubt that dissident republicans were
responsible for planting the incendiary devices and they
will be widely regarded across Newry in precisely the same
light as those who ordered the launch of internment back in

Those who bombed Newry are the enemies of all the people of
the city and have nothing to offer other than misery.

They must be brought to justice before they cause further
catastrophes or even deaths in the area.

Newry, for its part, can be expected rebuild its commercial
heart and bounce back stronger than ever.

Its people deserve peace and prosperity and they will not
be denied by a handful of fanatics.


Ireland Contest Winners To Create Podcasts

Wednesday, August 09, 2006
The Associated Press

NEW YORK -- Want to win a free trip to Ireland this fall?

Tourism Ireland is looking to send three Americans on a
weeklong trip, but winners will have to work while they're
there -- creating podcasts to tell other Americans about
their travels.

No podcasting experience is necessary, but you must apply
by Aug. 31.

Each winner gets to bring a guest.

The prize includes round-trip airfare, accommodations,
ground transportation, an MP3 player and other logistical
support in Ireland.

The podcasts -- which are audio files that you can download
from the Web -- will be available for downloading from
Tourism Ireland's Web site.

Throughout their trips, contest winners will have the
opportunity to record their impressions, conversations with
people they meet along the way, the sounds that may
surround them, or anything else they would like to include.
Tourism Ireland will help the winners convert their
recordings into final podcast versions.

To enter the contest, fill out the entry form on Tourism
Ireland's Web site,, briefly
describing why you'd like to visit Ireland and what would
make you a good podcaster. The completed entry form should
be submitted electronically no later than 7 p.m. Aug. 31.


AOH Division 51 – Fishtown, PA

Category: Community
Last Update: 2006/8/9 15:14

The Ancient Order of Hibernians is a Catholic, Irish
American Fraternal Organization founded in New York City
May 4th, 1836. The Order can trace its roots back to a
parent organization, of the same name, which has existed in
Ireland for over 300 years. However, while the
organizations share a common thread, the North American
A.O.H. is a separate and much larger organization.

The Order evolved from a need in the early sixteen hundreds
to protect the lives of priests who risked immediate death
to keep the Catholic Faith alive in occupied Ireland after
the reign of England's King Henry VIII. When England
Implemented its dreaded Penal Laws in Ireland, various
secret social societies were formed across the country.
These groups worked to aid and comfort the people by
whatever means available. Similarly, the Ancient Order of
Hibernians in America was founded May 4th, 1836 at New
York’s St. James Church, to protect the clergy, and Church
property from the "Know Nothings" and their followers. At
the same time the vast influx of Irish Immigrants fleeing
famine issues in Ireland in the late 1840's, prompted a
growth of various social societies in the U.S.A. - the
largest of which was, and continues to be, the Ancient
Order of Hibernians.

Active across the United States, The Order seeks to aid the
newly arrived Irish, both socially, politically. The many
Divisions and club facilities located throughout the U.S.
traditionally have been among the first to welcome new
Irish Americans. Here, the Irish culture -- art, dance,
music, and sports are fostered and preserved. The newcomers
can meet some of "their own" and are introduced to the
social atmosphere of the Irish-American community. The AOH
has been at the political forefront for issues concerning
the Irish, such as; Immigration Reform; Economic Incentives
both here and in Ireland; the Human Rights issues addressed
in the MacBride Legislation; Right-To-Life; and a peaceful
and just solution to the issues that divide Ireland.

The Order has also provided a continuing bridge with
Ireland for those Irish-Americans who are generations
removed from their country of origin. Many A.O.H. Divisions
bring children from the North of Ireland under Project
Children or other programs. The Order sponsors many
programs associated with promoting our Irish Heritage, such
as, one year overseas study scholarships at Irish
Universities and the Irish Way Program. Irish Studies
programs at American universities and scholarship at
universities, like Notre Dame, are also sponsored by the

You may further seek admittance to the FINEST Irish
Catholic Organization in the World, all we would ask is for
you to live our motto of: "Friendship, Unity, and Christian


Malachy McCourt Brings Wit To Campaign

The Journal News
(Original publication: August 10, 2006)

Malachy McCourt was this close to getting run in by a cop.
McCourt tells the story with irrepressible glee and faux
outrage — the signature style of a larger-than-life Irish-
American, the display of which should come as no surprise
if you know McCourt at all.

The cop didn't know McCourt. Young guy, this cop. Must have
been from Jersey or Suozzi Land, aka Long Island.

It happened this way, your honor. You see, McCourt was
recently standing outside the Lyceum Theatre in Midtown
Manhattan, peacefully gathering signatures for his petition
to run on the Green Party line for governor. The theater's
management didn't appreciate his presence, saying he was
obstructing business.

They dispatched the off-duty cop to shoo him away.

McCourt, 74, stood his ground. After all, this is a free
country. And much work was to be done.

Fifteen thousand signatures are needed to get on the state
ballot. It's a tedious job, especially in the thick heat of
summer. McCourt figures it takes about two minutes per

"Most people are pretty nice," he says. "Others were
saying, 'It's too hot! I'm sick! I'm going to a funeral!
I'm dead! I don't vote!' You get all these wonderful New
York responses and which I don't take personally at all."

Mostly, people love talking to him. But they don't talk
about the issues. Instead, they'd much rather talk to him
about his pursuits as an actor, writer, raconteur, and his
colorful past lives as a bartender and WMCA radio host.
They invariably ask him about his brother, Frank, the
author of "Angela's Ashes."

McCourt is patient and charmingly funny with his admirers.
He says things like, "Thank you very much, and I'm sorry
you agree with me!" Turning up the Irish brogue a couple of
notches, he'll quote rascals like "Honest John" Kelly, a
Tammany Hall boss from yesteryear: "Honest John said, 'Show
me an honest politician, and I'll show you a man who when
he gets bought, stays bought!' "

That line pretty much sums up his appraisal of politicians
in general, not to mention his putative opponents, Democrat
Eliot Spitzer and Republican John Faso. These guys are
"purchased," McCourt bellows. They collect college degrees
and have never held real jobs.

"I know what it's like to work," he says, adding proudly,
"I've flunked every course I've taken, except English."

Wages and prices are things he knows. McCourt can tell you
the price of a quart of milk. It was $1.79 when I talked to

McCourt has a campaign theme song, "Wild Mountain Thyme."
If you ask, he'll sing it for you while sober. Speaking of
which, he's been stone sober for 21 years and has never
voted for a Republican.

He believes in universal health care, endorses same-sex
marriage, free public college education and pulling the
troops out of Iraq. In short, his positions are those of a
typical third-party candidate who can stick to his
convictions while knowing he hasn't a snowball's chance of

McCourt makes no bones about it. He recalls William F.
Buckley, who once ran for New York City mayor and was
similarly resigned to the outcome. Asked what he'd do if he
somehow won, Buckley replied: "Demand a recount."

"Well, that's what I'm going to do," McCourt says. "I'd be
so astonished that I wouldn't be able to get out of my
chair for a week. I'd say, 'What do I do now?' "

Despite the impossibly long odds, McCourt can count his
campaign a success if he attracts at least 50,000 votes in
the general election. Achieving that would mean the Green
Party won't have to go through the exercise of gathering
petition signatures to get on the ballot for the next
gubernatorial contest in 2010. The last Green Party
candidate to reach the 50,000-vote plateau was another New
York character, the late "Grandpa Al" Lewis of "The
Munsters" fame.

Anyway, back to the encounter with the cop. He told McCourt
he had to move. McCourt tartly suggested instead that they
move the theater.

The cop said he would call the precinct and have McCourt

"And I said, 'Well, go ahead and do that — you see —
because we have a point of law here.' We weren't
obstructing. We weren't being disorderly. We were merely
approaching people, saying, 'Would you sign this bit of
paper?' "

Things went back and forth. The way McCourt tells it, the
cop finally threw his hands up and said, "That's it. I'm
going to have to take you in. I'm going to call my
superior. You will be be taken to the station in handcuffs
and you will be booked and you will have to go to court and

McCourt again replied, "Go ahead, proceed."

The candidate was more than willing to be taken into
custody because he knew something the young officer didn't
know. The cop's supervisor was Sgt. Conor McCourt, who also
happens to be McCourt's son.

"The officer, you see, made no connection between me and
the name of my son," McCourt recalls with laughter. He
thought of continuing with the joke "but it was too bloody
hot," so he fessed up to the cop.

"Oh, Christ!" the cop said. "He's my boss."

McCourt's little bit of street theater ended
anticlimactically, without an arrest.

But the curtain is not about to fall on this one-of-a-kind
performance artist, who is far from taking his final bow.


The Black Velvet Band

Thursday, August 10, 2006

The Burlington Recreation Department will present The Black
Velvet Band in concert on Tuesday, August 15 at 7 p.m. on
the Town Common.

The Black Velvet Band is a five-piece dance and show
band that has performed throughout New England for over 19
years. The group is well known at Hibernian and Irish
American clubs all over New England, Knights of Columbus
functions, V.F.W., and anywhere social organizations want
ethnic Irish music included in the program. The Black
Velvet Band is featured yearly at the summer concert series
in the Towns of Milton, North Reading, Wayland and
Hopkinton, plus the annual Irish Festivals of Billerica,
South Easton and Lynn.

The band features Joyce McCartney and Tim Quinn as lead
vocalists, supported by Bart Lee, Paul MacDonald and Tom
Hedrick. The result is a smooth blend that ranges from
traditional ballads to contemporary vocals. They play a
full course of Irish music, which includes a blend of
Country & Western, sing-a-longs, and 50's, 60's, and 70's

Rain date is Wednesday, August 16, 7 p.m.

This concert is being sponsored by the Burlington


Packed Programme For Puck Fair

10/08/2006 - 06:52:16

One of Ireland’s oldest and most unusual fairs gets under
way in Co Kerry today.

The annual Puck Fair is expected to attract more than
100,000 people for a marathon three days of celebrations,
music, drinking and dancing.

Theories abound on how and exactly when the festival began
but every year on August 10, 11 and 12 the small town of
Killorglin is thronged with locals and visitors for a
packed programme of events.

In keeping with the tradition, a group from the town will
be sent into the mountains to catch a wild goat, to be
brought back and crowned King Puck by a local youth, and
the fair will begin.

The town’s bars, open until 3am, will compete for the
Cúchulainn statuette in the Guinness Music Trail over the

Tomorrow, the cattle fair gets under way, as provided for
“under a natural pre-ordained act under charter”, according
to the organisers.

The fair has been traced back to the 1600s but some people
say it pre-dates this to pagan times.

One of the most popular theories is that the fair is held
to celebrate the actions of a 17th-century wild goat who
alerted the town to the advancing armies of English
dictator Oliver Cromwell.

Another is that it stems from the pagan Celtic festival of
Lughnasa, when feasting and sacrifices marked the start of
the harvest season, and that the goat is a pagan fertility

To Subscribe to Irish Aires News List, click HERE.
To Unsub from Irish Aires News List, click Here
No Message is necessary.

Or get full news from Irish Aires Yahoo Group, Click here

To Get RSS Feed for Irish Aires News click HERE
(Paste into a News Reader)

To August Index
To Index of Monthly Archives
Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?