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August 24, 2006

SF Accuses DUP of Hypocrisy

News About Ireland & The Irish

EE 08/24/06
SF Accuses DUP Of Hypocrisy
SF 08/24/06 DUP Need To Start Delivering On Unionist Paramilitaries
CB 08/25/06 UVF Death Threats
IA 08/24/06 ILIR Gears Up For Fall Fight
IT 08/25/06 Policy Issues To Determine SF Stance On Coalition
UT 08/24/06 DUP Demand Republicans 'Return' Bank Cash
IT 08/25/06 Tensions Rise As Two Men Die In Mountjoy Prison
IT 08/25/06 McDowell Accused Of Fascist Attitude To Jail Reform
IT 08/25/06 Prison Changes Dealt With - Minister
PR 08/24/06 Extradition Controversy Resurfaces
GU 08/24/06 Film: Caught In The Crossfire
BB 08/24/06 Keane's Massive Challenge
BB 08/24/06 Island 'Where Man First Set Foot'
IT 08/25/06 RTÉ Radio Still Losing Listeners To Independents
IT 08/25/06 Ideas Sought For NI Conflict Museum


SF Accuses DUP Of Hypocrisy

24/08/2006 - 12:07:07 PM

Sinn Fein has accused the DUP of gross hypocrisy over its
refusal to share power with republicans because of alleged
ongoing IRA activity.

The republican party has made a series of accusations, some
of which cannot be reported for legal reasons, citing DUP
links with the LVF, the UVF and the UDA.

They include an admission yesterday by PUP leader David
Irvine that at least two current DUP councillors are former
members of the UVF.

Sinn Fein has also pointed out that DUP members sit on the
North and West Belfast Parades Forum alongside well-known
members of the UDA and UVF.

The DUP is still refusing to share power with Sinn Fein due
to what it claims is ongoing IRA criminality, despite
independent assessments that the IRA is honouring its
commitment to end all activity.

Sinn Fein is accusing the unionist party of gross hypocrisy
on the issue, saying it has not used its influence to bring
about and end to loyalist criminality and paramilitarism,
as required under the Good Friday Agreement.


DUP Need To Start Delivering On Unionist Paramilitaries

Published: 24 August, 2006

Sinn Féin Assembly Group Leader John O'Dowd today said that
it was time for the DUP to start delivering on an end to
unionist paramilitarity control and criminality in loyalist

Mr O'Dowd said:

"Last week on the Preparation for Government Committee the
DUP agreed a motion demanding the end to paramilitary
campaigns. The Good Friday Agreement requires that all of
the parties use their influence to see an end to armed
activity. Sinn Féin has lived up to this requiremnt in

"However since 1998, the efforts of the unionist parties to
bring an end to the sectarian and criminal campaigns of
unionist paramilitaries leave much to be desired. The DUP
in particular have an undoubted influence over unionist
paramilitaries given their close association with them over
many decades. Only yesterday it was confirmed that former
senior DUP figure George Seawright - a close colleague of
Ian Paisley, Nigel Dodds and Sammy Wilson - was also a
member of the UVF. Indeed Ian Paisley was a pall bearer at
his funeral. In addition to this:

* The DUP sat on the North and West parades forum with the

* Senior DUP MPs have lent their support to the 'Love
Ulster' campaign which the UDA were involved in publicly

* In the 1970s Ian Paisley formed the Third Force

* In the 1980s the DUP formed Ulster Resistance which went
on to import tonnes of weapons from South Africa to kill

* In the late 1990s Willie McCrea shared a platform with
LVF leader and sectarian assassin Billy Wright

The man convicted of killing Sinn Féin member Malachy
Carey, released from prison under the Good Friday
Agreement, currently holds a senior position within the DUP
organisation in North Antrim

* David Ervine has publicly stated that at least two former
UVF members are currently DUP elected representatives

"Nationalists and republicans are sick of DUP politicians
and Ian Paisley in particular lecturing our community on
commitment to democratic activity given the reality of
their own history. It is time that Ian Paisley and the DUP
started to deliver on an end to unionist paramilitarism."



UVF Death Threats

Published on 25/08/2006

Security is being intensified at the home of a loyalist
paramilitary murder victim's father after he received two
new death threats inside 24 hours.

Police gave Raymond McCord the most specific warnings yet
of an alleged imminent attack by a notorious Ulster
Volunteer Force unit.

The terrorists have targeted him because of his involvement
with Police Ombudsman Nuala O'Loan's major investigation
into the killing of his son Raymond Jr.

Her inquiry, centred around claims that a Special Branch
informer who ordered the former RAF man's murder in 1997
was shielded from prosecution, is believed to have
uncovered damning evidence.

With the Ombudsman's report due to be published next month,
police went to Mr McCord's home in Belfast on Wednesday and
again today.

Both times they alerted him to threats from the UVF's Mount
Vernon gang in the north of the city who beat his son to
death and dumped his body in a quarry.

One warning said: "Raymond McCord is going to be silenced.

"He's going to be shot or attacked within the next couple
of days. This relates to the Ombudsman's report and the
damage he has done."

Mr McCord, who has defied previous threats during his nine
year justice campaign, insisted he would not be silenced.

"I'm concerned but not frightened," he said.

"The UVF leader in Mount Vernon hasn't the guts to come
after me himself."

Mr McCord also said the first threat came an hour after he
drove past a carload of the UVF men he believes are intent
on killing him.

His home has already been fitted with thousands of pounds'
worth of security after he was put on a key person's
protection scheme.

Bullet-proof windows, reinforced doors and alarm systems
have all been installed.

But the latest danger is expected to see those arrangements
further strengthened.

"The Northern Ireland Office is reviewing the security
measures at my house because of this," Mr McCord confirmed.

"But I'm not frightened of these men, particularly their

Both the police and NIO refused to comment on an
individual's security.

Sara Moore


ILIR Gears Up For Fall Fight

By Georgina Brennan

CONGRESS might be on summer recess, but the Irish Lobby For
Immigration Reform (ILIR) is still toiling away.

With no let up, the grassroots movement is holding a series
of meetings to attract new volunteers and has launched a
drive to attend every House congressional hearing and every
Irish festival no matter where they may be.

“It’s great to see people coming out to attend meetings and
going to the festivals. We have to do our best. We cannot
stop the work now,” said Queens organizer Steve McSweeney,
who holds an ILIR meeting every Monday night in Saints and
Sinners in Woodside at 7 p.m.

McSweeney, a roofer from Kerry, said even though things
were quiet in Washington, they were not quiet in the Irish
neighborhoods across America.

Every Wednesday night at 8 p.m., Woodlawn, Yonkers,
Connecticut and Rockland county residents pile into the
downstairs meeting hall of the Heritage bar on McLean
Avenue to discuss the state of the fight for immigration
reform. The numbers attending the meetings have been

“It is fantastic to see the efforts these people are
putting in,” said ILIR Executive Director Kelly Fincham.
Last week, over 20 people turned up in the Bronx to discuss
tactics for the coming week.

A fundraiser is being organized for Friday, September 22 in
Rory Dolan’s with popular comedian Des Bishop. The
fundraiser is being hosted jointly by the ILIR and the
Aisling Irish Immigration Center.

On Saturday, September 23, the Breffni bar in Queens will
feature funnyman Bishop, who has captivated Ireland with
his Irish American wit.

Part of the Bronx ILIR committee has been working hard at
producing a souvenir ILIR journal which is being launched
by Ireland’s Consul General Tim O’Connor on September 6.
The journal details the history of the organization that
brought the Irish to the forefront on immigration reform.

With photographs and profiles as well as messages from
supporters, the journal promises to be a tribute to all the
volunteers of ILIR.

Meanwhile, volunteer Tom Woodlock is organizing a dinner
dance to coincide with the November elections to raise the
issue of immigration reform in spectacular fashion. The
Queens committee is looking into the possibility of having
balloons and matches printed with the Legalize the Irish
message for the event. Since lawmakers will be invited to
the event, it will prove an effective tool in the fight for
green cards.

Not content with all of that, ILIR is sponsoring a bus to
go to Washington, D.C. at 10 a.m. on Sept-ember 7 to take
part in a cross-cultural rally to urge lawmakers to go back
to discussing immigration reform instead of walking the
campaign trail.

Another town hall meeting is scheduled on Sunday, September
17 in the Gaelic American Club in Fairfield, Connecticut at
4 p.m.

“We need to keep up the momentum that we had for the last
few months and work together and finish the job and
legalize the Irish. No more missed funerals, wedding or
family occasions,” wrote ILIR volunteer Mary in the Irish
Voices blog on the website.

But through all of this, the ILIR has been tirelessly
attending hearings around the country. In Houston last
week, ILIR volunteers Jay Dooling and Ann Daly lobbied
Representative Sheila Jackson Lee before the hearing and
reminded her that Irish people were part of the immigrant

“When Representative Jackson Lee began her opening remarks,
she explained that immigration was a wide-ranging issue and
said she was recently reminded of the 50,000 undocumented
Irish workers in the U.S. today. She later listed Ireland
as one of those countries that would be affected by
whatever law is passed,” reported Dooling.

More hearings are scheduled for New Hampshire and Glens
Falls in upstate New York. A contingent from Boston ILIR is
going to the Concord, New Hampshire hearing on August 24,
but volunteers are still needed to go to Glens Falls.

Such is the dedication of the volunteers that they are
attending every Irish festival this summer. On August 19, a
contingent from the Queens ILIR will don the t-shirts for
the Hunter Mountain Festival, and more volunteers will go
to Newport, Rhode Island for the festivities over Labor Day

The Catskills Irish festival will host more volunteers as
well as the Irish band Some Nerve, who have been a part of
the ILIR since its foundation. They will play their last
public gig in the U.S.

Once summer is over, ILIR will put increased pressure on
Congress to bring a bill back to the table for discussion.
So far, the Senate bill which provides legalization
provisions has been in the background as the summer
hearings were conducted.

ILIR is already having several meetings with key lawmakers
and the Irish government to bring the issue back where it
belongs at the forefront of Washington politics.


Policy Issues To Determine SF Stance On Coalition

Deaglán de Bréadún

Policy issues and not the prospect of office would
determine Sinn Féin's attitude to coalition government, a
senior party representative claimed in Dublin yesterday.

"For us, the priority during and after the election will be
to set out Sinn Féin policy, to gain a mandate for that and
then to see that those policies are implemented," Sinn Féin
MEP for Dublin Mary Lou McDonald told The Irish Times.

She predicted that the party would be in a Dublin-based
government at some future stage.

Asked specifically about the aftermath of the next election
she said she did not know because "we don't know how the
numbers are going to shake down".

But, she added, whichever election it's after, or whatever
point it is that Sinn Féin is looking to go into
government, the party membership will take the decision and
more importantly, Sinn Féin would only be signing up to a
governmental arrangement where there was a programme for
government that actually "delivered on our political

After the last election, Sinn Féin voted against the
nomination of Bertie Ahern as Taoiseach. Regardless of
whether it is in a position to go into government, the
party will be asked to vote on the position of Taoiseach if
it has representatives in the next Dáil. Ms McDonald said
the ardchomhairle or executive council would make a
decision on that, "as and when it arises".

Alternative political ap- proaches to the European Union
will be the subject of a one-day conference in Dublin on
September 9th, hosted by Sinn Féin and its partners in the
European Parliament's United Left/Nordic Green Left group.
In addition to SF speakers, participants will include
Labour MEP for Dublin Proinsias De Rossa,director of the
European Commission Representation in Ireland Martin
Territt, Phillip O'Connor of the European Anti Poverty
Network and trade union officials.

© The Irish Times


DUP Demand Republicans 'Return' Bank Cash

Republicans must hand back £26.5 million stolen in a
Belfast bank heist almost two years ago and turn in those
responsible, a senior Democratic Unionist has said.

By:Press Association

After a meeting of the Stormont Preparation for Government
committee, North Antrim Assembly member Ian Paisley Jnr
said he suspected Sinn Fein and the Provisional IRA wanted
to keep their criminal empire and paramilitary structures
intact while participating in politics.

The DUP Policing Board member said: "If republicans are
serious about the standing down of paramilitaries, then
unionists will measure the sincerity of their words by

"The best measurement of those words will be the ending of
a massive criminal empire, the ending of serious and
organised crime, the ending of intimidation and the removal
of fear from the community, support for the police and the
handing over of criminals from their community.

"One of the most significant indicators of Sinn Fein/IRA`s
decision to stand down all paramilitary and criminal
activity will be the handing back of the stolen £26 million
from the Northern Bank robbery and the handing over of the
culprits who organised and participated in the crime."

Mr Paisley`s statement followed last Friday`s more upbeat
comments from the DUP when all parties on the Stormont
committee, including Sinn Fein, backed the standing down of
paramilitary groups.

The DUP said then the vote could mark the start of progress
if it was taken forward and delivered upon in a practical
way by the Provisional IRA and other paramilitaries.

However, it stressed unionists needed action, not words.

Mr Paisley expanded on the statement today, saying if the
IRA were to do all he suggested, then it could transform
the political situation.

However, he added: "I don`t believe Sinn Fein is up to the

"I believe they want to have their crime, paramilitarism
and politics. But they must by now realise that the DUP
will make them choose and they will never be in government
so as long as they choose crime and paramilitarism over

Earlier, Sinn Fein Assembly member John O`Dowd called on
the DUP to face up to its own obligation to end loyalist
paramilitary activity.

The Upper Bann MLA said: "Last week on the Preparation for
Government Committee, the DUP agreed a motion demanding the
end to paramilitary campaigns.

"The Good Friday Agreement requires that all of the parties
use their influence to see an end to armed activity. Sinn
Fein has lived up to this requirement in full."

Mr O`Dowd said nationalists and republicans were sick of
DUP politicians, and Ian Paisley in particular, lecturing
their community on commitment to democratic activity.

"It is time that Ian Paisley and the DUP started to deliver
on an end to unionist paramilitarism," he retorted.


Tensions Rise As Two Men Die In Mountjoy Prison

Conor Lally, Chris Dooley and Alison Healy

The deaths of two prisoners in a 12-hour period in Mountjoy
Prison yesterday have further exacerbated tensions in the
State's largest jail. One man hanged himself and another
died from an overdose.

Prison officers in riot gear were on standby at Mountjoy
late last night, in case of any unrest following the deaths
and a number of gang-related clashes in the jail in recent

The latest deaths follow the murder at the jail three weeks
ago of 21-year-old Gary Douch, from Darndale, Dublin. He
was beaten to death in a holding cell by a 23-year-old
inmate with a history of psychiatric illness.

In the first of yesterday's fatalities, Michael Rogers
(39), South Circular Road, Dublin, was found hanging in a
protection cell on the C2 wing just after 3am. He had been
involved in a fight at the jail on Wednesday with a number
of men, one of whom is serving life for murder.

Rogers had asked to be placed in a protection cell for his
own safety. He was nearing the end of an 18-month sentence
for burglary-related offences.

Medical officers tried to revive him at the prison. He was
then rushed to the Mater hospital where he was pronounced
dead at 4am yesterday.

In the second fatal incident, John Wallis (21), from
Wexford town fell ill in his cell in the basement area at
lunchtime yesterday. It appeared he was under the influence
of illicit drugs and efforts were made to revive him. He
was taken to the Mater hospital where he was pronounced
dead at 4.15pm.

Wallis was serving a nine-month sentence for a series of
motoring offences. He was a "trustee prisoner" - meaning he
was deemed a low-security risk and enjoyed special
privileges such as reduced lock-up time.

His cell mate, believed by staff to have taken the same
drugs, was taken to the Mater as a precaution yesterday.

Prison officer reinforcements were drafted into Mountjoy
yesterday from Wheatfield and Cloverhill prisons in Dublin.
Sources said many of the officers were told to wear
breathing apparatus, and fire hoses were at the ready in
case some inmates tried to set fire to the jail.

The officers were placed on riot standby after a 22-year-
old Dublin drug dealer was transferred to the medical unit
when he and his associates clashed with another faction.

The dealer's supporters started a petition to have him
transferred back to the main jail. However, a leading
member of one of Limerick's feuding gangs warned he would
kill anybody who signed the petition.

Informed sources said senior management decided to request
the reinforcements to be able to deal with any fallout from
this dispute and also because of the general increase of
tension within the prison.

Continuing overcrowding in Mountjoy Prison was highlighted
again in the annual report, published yesterday, of the
inspector of prisons, Mr Justice Dermot Kinlen. The report
also heavily criticised Minister for Justice Michael
McDowell and his department, accusing them of a
"frightening and fascist" attitude to prison reform.

In particular, the report cites the Government's failure to
deliver on a promise to establish the prisons inspectorate
as an independent, statutory body. "I have asked in all my
three annual reports that the Government do as it promised.
Now it emerges that the Minister has 'other priorities'.
This is outrageous and practically unbelievable."

The report also claims that rehabilitation of prisoners is
low on the current list of priorities. "The whole system
needs a radical, visionary, fundamental change which should
be power-driven from the top."

Mr Justice Kinlen repeats a call he made in his 2005 annual
report for the immediate closure of St Patrick's
Institution, which he describes as a "finishing school for
bullying and developing criminal skills".

© The Irish Times


McDowell Accused Of Fascist Attitude To Jail Reform

Chris Dooley

Minister for Justice Michael McDowell and his department
have been sharply criticised by the inspector of prisons
for failing to introduce a range of penal system reforms.

In his fourth annual report Mr Justice Dermot Kinlen
accuses the Minister and his officials of having an
attitude towards reform that is "frightening and fascist".
His strongest criticism is of the fact that statutory
provision has not been made for an independent prisons
inspector, in spite of promises by the Government that this
would be done.

"Now it emerges that the Minister has 'other priorities'.
This is outrageous and practically unbelievable," he

The report, which covers the 12 months up to April 2006,
was published yesterday by the Department of Justice,
Equality and Law Reform, on its website.

The annual reports of prison visiting committees, details
of which had already been made public, were also formally

In his report, Mr Justice Kinlen says Mr McDowell had "the
gall" to write to him last April saying it was part of his
legislative plans to make the inspectorate statutory but
without giving a date, but it is "quite clear", he claims,
that the Minister and the Government had no intention of
establishing a statutory inspectorate.

"If public opinion forced them to do so, they would do
their best to ensure that the inspector does not have the
powers to fulfil the requirements of his office."

The report states that Northern Ireland has both an
ombudsman for prisoners and an independent inspectorate,
whereas the Republic has neither. As a result, the
Government may be in breach of the Belfast Agreement.

"Why are things so good in Northern Ireland and why is
everything so retrograde in the Republic?" the report asks.

"Surely, the Belfast Agreement should be honoured by the
Irish Government. It is with great sadness I am writing
this report. I think it is fair to ask, what are the
Minister and his department hiding? Of what are they

Elsewhere in his report Mr Justice Kinlen says he knows Mr
McDowell well and he is "a hyperactive Minister", but he is
concerned that the Minister has been "subsumed into the
traditional mindset of his predecessors and his department.
It is 'us' against 'them'. 'Transparency' and
'accountability' are dirty words."

The former High Court judge also repeats the call in his
2005 annual report for the immediate closure of St
Patrick's Institution, which he describes as a "finishing
school for bullying and developing criminal skills".

Mr McDowell's reaction a year ago was that everything was
being transferred to the proposed new prison at Thornton
Hall, in north Dublin. This, says Mr Justice Kinlen, "is
the new panacea".

The report also severely criticises conditions at
Cloverhill Prison in Dublin, where people are held on
remand. Classrooms have been taken over by the prison
transport corps, in an arrangement which Mr Justice Kinlen
describes as "deplorable".

Continuing overcrowding of Mountjoy Prison in Dublin is
also highlighted. Among the 15 recommendations are that an
independent prisons inspectorate be established on a
statutory basis.

The Probation and Welfare Service should also be set up as
an independent agency, the report says, while the
Department of Health and Children should take
responsibility for prisoners with psychiatric illnesses.

It also recommends that an adequate number of psychologists
be appointed immediately to all prisons and that drama and
music should be encouraged in all places of detention.

Inspector of Prisons report: what Dermot Kinlen said

The approach of Minister for Justice Michael McDowell and
his officials to prison reform:

"The present attitude is frightening and fascist."

Mr McDowell:

"The present ever active and performing Minister has
certainly produced a large quantity of legislation and is
threatening more."

St Patrick's Institution, Dublin:

"No wonder the 'Dubs' and 'Culchies' attack each other,
there is not much else to do in this home of boredom."

Drug use in prisons:

"Unfortunately, it would appear that some prison officers
have themselves been used as conduits" Cloverhill Prison:

"The present situation is deplorable."

The prison system: "Prisons on the whole do not work.
Longer sentences without any rehabilitation do nothing on
the whole to reduce recidivism."

Detaining deportees in prisons:

"They have not been sentenced, they do not deserve to be
criminalised, as all they wanted to do was share the 'Irish
dream'. Is this a crime?"


"I have been delighted with most of the media coverage of
my reports, which I have written in what I hope is a
readable form and not a Civil Service style which is
frequently a turn-off."

© The Irish Times


Prison Changes Dealt With - Minister

Ali Bracken

Minster for Justice Michael McDowell has said that many of
the criticisms levelled at the prison service in reports
published yesterday have already been dealt with.

"The Minister has forwarded the reports to the Irish Prison
Service who will give careful consideration to the issues
raised," a spokesman for Mr McDowell said yesterday. "The
Minister values the work of the inspector of prisons and
the visiting committees and the reports that they have

The director general of the Irish Prison Service, Brian
Purcell, said the reports spanned "a period of profound
change in the prison service". In 2003, there was an
"unacceptable level of overtime working in the prison
service" which in turn led to massive cutbacks in 2004 and

"As a result," Mr Purcell added, "during the period covered
by the reports, the major cuts in overtime expenditure,
coupled with the attendance arrangements that were in place
did lead to cuts, for necessary operational reasons, in
services to prisoners."

New working arrangements accepted by the Prison Officers
Association this month "will not only restore but actually
enhance prisoner regimes in the years ahead, particularly
in terms of improving access to services, the availability
of better facilities and making more productive use of out-
of-cell time for prisoners," he continued.

Mr Purcell said that much progress has been made in the
last 12 months in improving educational and workshop
facilities for prisoners.

These included the refurbishment of workshops at St
Patrick's Institution for young offenders in Dublin and the
refurbishment of Cloverhill Prison's education centre in

© The Irish Times


Extradition Controversy Resurfaces

Listen to this story

A British businessman indicted for fraud in the US could be
brought here in chains even though he's offered to travel
voluntarily to face the charges, reigniting the controversy
in Britain about the extradition treaty with America.
Stephen Beard reports.


LISA NAPOLI: A British businessman indicted for fraud in
the United States could be brought here in chains. That
despite the fact that he's offered to travel voluntarily to
face the charges in the US. The case has reignited the
controversy in Britain about an extradition treaty between
the UK and America, as Stephen Beard reports.


STEPHEN BEARD: The businessman is a former director of the
San Diego-based software company Peregrine Systems. His
name, rather unfortunate in the circumstances, is Jeremy

He's been charged along with former American colleagues of
defrauding shareholders. At the request of the US
authorities his passport has been confiscated and he's been
told to await formal extradition.

Damien Reece of Britain's' Daily Telegraph says the US
seems intent on publicly humiliating him.

DMAIAN REECE: He's willing to travel to the US voluntarily.
There's no need for chains. There's no need for leg irons.
But unfortunately in this case, he is going to have to go
through the whole extradition process.

Reece is campaigning against the US/UK extradition treaty
which, he says, gives the US disproportionate power to
secure the extradition of British citizens.

In London, this is Stephen Beard for Marketplace.


Film: Caught In The Crossfire

Northern Ireland is a small region but its problems have
touched the world. Malachi O'Doherty hears how the IRA men
and the loyalists rate the films they have inspired

Friday August 25, 2006
The Guardian

"Even the prods thought Odd Man Out was a good film," says
David Ervine, now the leader of the Progressive Unionist
party in Northern Ireland, but who was imprisoned in 1974
after being arrested driving a car bomb for the Ulster
Volunteer Force.

Carol Reed's 1947 film, which stars James Mason as a
wounded IRA man on the run through Belfast, is one of the
greatest movies made about Northern Ireland, a film genre
that owes itself to an anomaly: that Northern Ireland's
story is not its own.

Northern Ireland is a small region with a population of 1.5
million, which has generated global interest because of the
Troubles. But no film about the IRA can make a profit on
ticket sales in Ireland alone. In theory, a producer could
do very nicely with a film set in Belfast even if no one in
Northern Ireland wanted to see it. That reduces the need
for accuracy in the films that do get made. Most of the
audience isn't going to quibble about detail. Directors
then usually go in one of two ways. They either present the
IRA in the romanticised way it is viewed - however naively
- by a large, distant audience, such as Irish America or
the European left. Or they can use the IRA simply as a
backdrop to a great morality drama in which the issue is
more compelling than the detail.

But detail can make a crucial difference, even in a
morality film. Some Mother's Son, made in 1996, starred
Helen Mirren as a mother whose son goes on hunger strike,
pulling her into an uncomfortable association with other
families of IRA members. It actually touched on an
interpretation of the hunger strike campaign that has been
controversially restated only recently: the suggestion that
the Republican leadership sought to prolong the strike
because funerals were reaping more political gains than a
resolution would have done.

That case was made last year by former IRA prison protester
Richard O'Rawe in a memoir, Blanketmen. O'Rawe has been
vilified by former comrades for claiming the prisoners on
hunger strike had been ready to accept a deal after four
men had died, but the IRA leadership outside the prison had
overruled them. What did O'Rawe make of Some Mother's Son?
"It was by and large well recreated."

There is a scene in which the young prisoner, kissing his
mother, uses his tongue to shove a "comm", a message to be
smuggled outside, into her mouth. This is the final
indignity for the mother, being French-kissed by her son
for the cause. "That would have been a fairly regular
thing," says O'Rawe. "I remember doing that with a woman in
her 60s. The important thing was getting the comm out. I'd
say she didn't mind though."

Anthony McIntyre, like O'Rawe, was a close friend of Bobby
Sands. He recalls the scene in Some Mother's Son in which
Sands, to lift the spirits of the men, shouts out orders to
them to do press ups.

"I'd say the men would have been thinking 'Right, Bobby'
and would have pretended they were doing the press ups to
humour him. And Bobby would have known that. But the film
was good on the dirty double-dealing of the Brits."

When details are wrong, though, they stick out. In Neil
Jordan's The Crying Game, Stephen Rea at one point says:
"Have you ever tried picking up your teeth with broken
fingers?" Unrealistic, says O'Rawe. "No Belfast man would
come out with a line like that without having to spend the
whole night thinking it up." That's not all. "That
kneecapping scene from In the Name of the Father? Rubbish!"

McIntyre doubts it is possible for any director or actor to
recreate the IRA as it actually was, though Brad Pitt
visited him for guidance on how to play his role in The
Devil's Own, with his voice coach, Brendan Gunn.
Nevertheless, the film-makers had their own idea of what
Pitt's character should be - a devout Catholic prone to
saying such things as: "Poor Annie, killed by a plastic
bullet, may God have mercy on her soul." Which is the sort
of thing an IRA man's grandmother might have said.

The Devil's Own is the Hollywood counterbalance to films
such as Ken Loach's Hidden Agenda and The Wind That Shakes
the Barley. While they take a sympathetic view of the
republican movement from the perspective of the European
left, The Devil's Own was aimed squarely at the romantics
in the Irish-American audience. And because its audience
was so distant from the reality of Northern Ireland, the
film was able to depict the IRA as almost a military match
for the British army, which was never even a remote

Even if McIntryre believes the IRA is unfilmable, he has a
favourite IRA movie: Shake Hands With the Devil, starring
James Cagney and made in 1959. "It was a big event when we
were kids and we were all waiting for it to come on TV, and
there was a rumour that it would be banned. I was furious
at the end because Cagney got shot by the guy who wanted to
accept the truce."

The other anomaly of Northern Ireland cinema is that it
usually tells stories in which the characters are
Republican or British. If directors have been attracted to
the IRA for stories, few have even noticed that they were
opposed by loyalist paramilitary armies, recruited in
Protestant communities.

The one film about loyalists that David Ervine praises is
one made for television (which is better at capturing
nuance because it has to convince the local viewers). As
the Beast Sleeps, written by Gary Mitchell, captured a
moment, Ervine says, "but I'm not sure anyone has tried to
get a broad understanding of loyalism".

He claims that loyalist history has the makings of a heroic
story. "It is the history of an explosion of violence, a
society that wasn't being protected, and people saying to
hell with that. People were inspired to become involved
because they didn't know what else to do."

Another former loyalist, Davy Adams, who was an officer in
the Ulster Defence Association, says he has no interest in
these Troubles films, not because they usually glorify the
IRA but because he simply doesn't want to rake over the
past. "But I liked the Boxer," he says. Perhaps the appeal
of The Boxer (1997) lies in its depicting a story similar
to his own, a former paramilitary trying to break his ties
with the past but under pressure from those around him.
When Adams broke from the UDA his home was attacked.

A story has to resonate with experience to appear true, and
many of the films about the IRA do not resonate in that way
with men who were in the IRA. The best speak to the
experience of all of us and could as well have been made
against another backdrop. The worst resonate only with the
romantic nostalgia of ill informed Irish-American

But even when a film has people from both sides of the
community applauding, there'll be something to find fault
with. Odd Man Out was a good film, a Presbyterian minister
from Derry tells me, "but the accents were dreadful. Cyril
Cusack was the only one to make an effort to get the
northern accent right."

· Odd Man Out is at the National Film Theatre, London,
September 1-7

Some Mother's Son

Details: 1996, USA/Ireland, Drama, 111 mins, Dir: Terry

With: Aidan Gillen, Ciaran Hinds, Fionnula Flanagan, Helen
Mirren, Tim Woodward, Tom Hollander

Summary: The 1981 Republican Hunger Strike, in which 10
prisoners starved themselves to death, is the backdrop for
a film which focuses on the people rather than the politics
of the stand-off.

The Crying Game

Details: 1992, UK, Drama/Thriller, cert 18, 112 mins, Dir:
Neil Jordan

With: Forest Whitaker, Jaye Davidson, Miranda Richardson,
Stephen Rea, Tony Slattery

Summary: Stephen Rea stars as an IRA volunteer who helps
capture a British soldier (Forest Whitaker) only to
befriend him and fall in love with his lover, (Jaye
Davidson). Full of plot twists the film explores questions
of loyalty, violence and sexual desire.

In the Name of the Father

Details: 1993, UK/Ireland/Rest of the world, Drama, cert
15, 133 mins, Dir: Jim Sheridan

With: Daniel Day Lewis, Daniel Day-Lewis, Emma Thompson,
Pete Postlethwaite

Summary: Vital, unflinching account of the wrongful
conviction of the 'Guildford Four' for the IRA pub bombings
of October 1974

The Devil's Own

Details: 1997, USA, Drama, cert 15, 111 mins, Dir: Alan J.

With: Brad Pitt, Harrison Ford, Margaret Colin, Ruben
Blades, Treat Williams

Summary: Brad Pitt plays young IRA terrorist who goes to
New York to broker an arms deal. He stays with highly moral
Irish cop, Harrison Ford, who has no idea who Pitt is.

The Wind that Shakes the Barley

Details: 2006, UK/Rest of the world, Drama/Period, cert 15,
127 mins, Dir: Ken Loach

With: Cillian Murphy, Liam Cunningham, Orla Fitzgerald,
Padraic Delaney, William Ruane

Summary: Two brothers, who fought side by side in the Irish
war of independence, find themselves opposed during the
subsequent civil war.

The Boxer

Details: 1997, UK/Ireland, Drama, cert 15, 114 mins, Dir:
Jim Sheridan

With: Brian Cox, Daniel Day-Lewis, Emily Watson, Ken Stott

Summary: A Belfast boxer emerges from 14 years in prison
with a dream of bringing the Protestant and Catholic
communities together through a non-sectarian boxing club.


Keane's Massive Challenge

By Phil McNulty
Chief football writer

Roy Keane is poised to take the massive step that has
proved too much for so many great players before him - the
move from the pitch to the dug-out.

The most committed winner in Premiership history is on the
brink of being appointed boss at Sunderland, a Championship
team and a club that has forgotten how to win.

Chairman, and current manager, Niall Quinn reacted to the
Carling Cup defeat at Bury by announcing he was close to
appointing "a world-class manager" - and it appears that
man is actually someone who has never managed at any level.

Throw in Keane's confrontational and combustible
personality, and you have a strategy from Quinn and his
former Republic of Ireland team-mate that is high-risk in
the extreme.

Just take his departure from the World Cup in 2002 after an
infamous ruck with Mick McCarthy.

He may have to bite his tongue and count to 10 now he is a
manager. He will have to demonstrate sympathy and

Can he achieve it? Will he be able to oversee a group of
players who cannot dream of having a talent and drive to
match his?

Keane is hardly renowned for his patience with under-
achievers, and he will find plenty of them waiting to greet
him if he finally settles behind a desk at the Stadium of

And a career liberally sprinkled with honours is no
guarantee of managerial success. Keane's attempt to make
the transition will be intriguing - and potentially
hazardous in a lower division environment that is alien to
everything he has experienced in his previous life at
Manchester United and Celtic.

This is the downside and will not figure in the
considerations of Sunderland chief Quinn and a hugely loyal
fan base that have gone from craving success to craving for
a single win.

Quinn appears to have pulled off a massive coup, and make
no mistake Keane has had the best managerial education
available under his mentor Sir Alex Ferguson.

He has long been regarded as the on-field embodiment of the
fire, desire, and will-to-win of his brilliantly successful
and single-minded manager at Old Trafford. His master's
voice on the field.

If he can inject a fraction of that into Sunderland, he
will prove an inspired appointment, but expect a rocky

His former Republic of Ireland boss Brian Kerr has no

He told BBC Sport in 2006: "I could certainly see him as a
coach and as a manager - he is very intense about the game
and thinks a lot about it.

"He loves the competitive nature of the game and he likes
the idea of winning matches.

"He understands the key to winning matches is in the
preparation. He has talked about how important it is in the
way you prepare for games - that gives him a great start.

"To be a manager you have to give time, energy and
dedication to the job. He has the strength of personality,
communication and intelligence to go into it if he wants to
do it."

Keane will have no trouble keeping his distance and
establishing respect from Sunderland's players. He was not
even regarded as close to many of his team-mates at
Manchester United.

He once famously said: "I'm not at Manchester United to be
liked" - just as well given his capacity to deliver the
harshest of messages to colleagues he felt dropped below
the standards he did not simply expect, but demand.

Keane will have to quickly learn that all players are not
as outstanding or as driven as himself, especially those
who have struggled so desperately for the last 12 months.

Even so, expect fireworks and quickly.

If anyone has been enjoying an easy life at Sunderland, the
party is over. If anyone wants a quiet life, they are in
the wrong place.

But, more importantly, if Sunderland's fans were looking
for a saviour they may just have found one.

Quinn suggested he would appoint a manager who would prove
his new Sunderland regime meant business.

Keane is certainly that man - but the outcome of this bold
appointment is no foregone conclusion.

If he can light a spark under a huge club, he will achieve
legendary status. If the job does not match Keane's
expectations, or if he sees something that does not meet
his standards, will the toys fly out of the pram?

This is why the predicted appointment of the hugely-
respected and shrewd Brian Kidd as his right-hand man will
be a wise move.

One thing is for sure, once Keane walks into the Stadium of
Light, life will never be the same again for Sunderland.

Story from BBC SPORT:
Published: 2006/08/23 22:49:15 GMT


Island 'Where Man First Set Foot'

A tiny island off Donegal with a chequered history is set
to enjoy a new lease of life.

According to local mythology, Inis Saimer off the coast of
Ballyshannon was the first place in Ireland where man set

Now, the island, which is not much longer than its single
house, is to be rented out.

Present owner Brendan Connolly says the only criteria for
anyone renting the house and island "is ownership of a
boat, although the journey from Ballyshannon only takes a
minute and a half".

The house, which dates from the mid-1800s, was built by the
old Erne Fishery Company to take advantage of the rich
salmon and eel fishing.

Speaking on BBC's Good Morning Ulster, Mr Connolly said he
bought the island because it was a "once in a lifetime
chance to acquire a unique and very private spot".

"The myth is that man first put foot in Ireland on Saimer
Island and that was a group from Greece led by Parphelon,"
he said.

The story goes that Parphelon, a chieftain from Scythia
near Macedonia in northern Greece, inadvertently gave the
island its name.

The chieftain believed his wife was paying too much
attention to another man who was one of his followers.

In an act of jealousy, he killed his wife's dog, Saimer.

The dog was buried on the island, giving it its name.

Another version says the name is derived from the Irish
word for island, Inis, and the ancient name for the nearby
River Erne, Saimer, meaning the river which flows east.

Inis Saimer was also used in historical times as a dwelling
place for Irish chieftains and Cistercian monks.

Through the ages, the island was occasionally used as a
hiding place and was regarded as a natural crannog, a
dwelling erected in the midst of water for security

Safe haven

Even at low tide it remains surrounded by water and was
regarded as a safe haven.

Brendan Connolly bought the island in 1998 and after
renovating the house, added a floating jetty "for easy

"The boat and the jetty rise up and down with the tide and
you can walk onto the island via the gangway, so you don't
have to slip and slide over rocks covered in seaweed," he

Mr Connolly, an author based in County Meath, lived in the
house while he was renovating it because "I love the
Ballyshannon area".

He says he mainly uses the three-bedroom house as a holiday

He has previously leased the house on short-term contract
and would now like to rent it out for a year at 800 euro a

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/08/24 12:18:33 GMT


RTÉ Radio Shows Still Losing Listeners To Independents, Latest Figures Show

Alison Healy

RTÉ Radio is continuing to lose listeners to the
independent sector, according to the latest figures from
the JNLR/TNS mrbi survey.

While RTÉ still produced the 10 most listened to radio
shows in the State between July 2005 and June 2006, just
two of these shows showed an increase in listenership. In
contrast, Today FM showed increases in all its flagship

Marian Finucane's Saturday programme gained the greatest
increase. She had 272,000 listeners in the year to June
2006. This was an increase of 12,000 listeners on the
previous survey period of April 2005 to March 2006.

However, this may not be strictly comparing like with like
as Ms Finucane started her weekend show last September,
during the survey period.

2FM presenter Will Leahy was the only other RTÉ personality
in the top 10 list to show an increase in listenership. He
gained 1,000 more listeners for his Saturday show,
retaining the final placing in the top 10 list.

After a slide in the previous survey, Gerry Ryan's
listenership remained stable this time at 320,000, making
him the fourth most listened to presenter.

Morning Ireland is still the most listened to show with an
audience of 459,000, but the morning news programme lost
4,000 listeners in the year to June 2006.

Ryan Tubridy, in second place, lost 5,000 listeners over
that period, while Joe Duffy's Liveline programme lost
2,000 listeners.

Seán O'Rourke's News At One retained its fifth place
position but also lost 2,000 listeners.

In sixth place, Pat Kenny suffered one of the greatest
losses of listeners, with 10,000 fewer listeners tuning
into the weekday current affairs show.

Derek Mooney also lost 10,000 listeners but he had the
biggest percentage drop, at 3.7 per cent. He fell from
seventh to ninth place with his Saturday morning wildlife

Playback, the radio review show, lost 5,000 listeners.

Adrian Moynes, managing director of RTÉ Radio, said the
figures showed RTÉ was still the market leader. "In the
season just ended RTÉ Radio put the emphasis on building
weekend audience," Mr Moynes said.

"The latest JNLR figures show that this move has brought
great results. We've recognised the challenge of weekday
listening trends and, in line with that, new schedule
changes are coming into effect shortly across all RTÉ Radio

The big winner at Today FM was Ray D'Arcy who gained 10,000
listeners for his morning show. With 235,000 listeners, he
is just 7,000 listeners behind the 10 most listened to
radio shows.

Today FM chief executive Willie O'Reilly said every show in
the station's schedule had gained listeners. Ian Dempsey
gained 8,000 listeners to give him 224,000, while Matt
Cooper's drive-time programme gained 6,000 more listeners,
giving him 180,000 listeners.

He said the independent station had "bucked the national
trend, gaining an extra 20,000 listeners against a backdrop
of significant losses for Radio One and 2FM and retaining
its 15 per cent listened yesterday figure".

Independent radio stations, including Today FM, now have a
combined daily listenership market share of 68.4 per cent,
according to the Independent Broadcasters of Ireland (IBI)
group. IBI chairman David Tighe said the figures were "a
really positive indicator" for the independent sector.

There was good news too for Newstalk's George Hook who
gained 1,000 more listeners compared with the April 2005-
March 2006 period, but departed breakfast presenter Eamon
Dunphy lost 1,000 listeners after making strong gains in
the previous survey. The Dublin station will begin a
national service in October.

The survey found that 85 per cent of the adult population
had "listened yesterday" to some radio station. Some 58 per
cent listened to a local station, while 24 per cent
listened to RTÉ Radio One. 2FM achieved a reach of 19 per
cent, while Lyric FM retained its 3 per cent share.

Highland Radio in Donegal was still the most popular local
station, commanding a 65.1 per cent market share. It was
followed by Mid-West Radio, with a 57 per cent share.

In Dublin, FM 104, 98FM and Spin 103.8 all increased their
weekday listenership, while Q102 fell by 1 per cent.

© The Irish Times


Ideas Sought For NI Conflict Museum

Olivia Kelly

Plans for a "living" museum of the conflict in Northern
Ireland were put forward at a public workshop at the Irish
Film Institute in Dublin yesterday.

Healing Through Remembering (HTR), a Northern Ireland
cross-community organisation, is seeking ideas on how to
develop the museum as a memorial to all those affected by
the conflict.

Members of the public yesterday brought drawings and
photographs, and made written and oral submissions on their
vision of what the museum should be.

Suggestions included a mobile museum in a tent which would
travel around the country in spring and summer; a garden
memorial with an emphasis on bridges and pathways; and a
conventional museum with travelling exhibitions. An
internet element was also proposed.

Project chairman Alan McBride said the museum would be a
way of keeping memories alive and ensuring lessons are
learned for the future. "This educational element helps
future generations to understand the conflict as they
remember those killed, injured and bereaved."

HTR was launched in 2001 to look at ways of dealing with
the past in relation to the 30-year conflict around
Northern Ireland.

Similar workshops to that in Dublin have already been held
in Dundalk, Armagh, Enniskillen and London. Another two
will be held on September 7th in the Waterfront Hall in
Belfast and on September 16th at The Junction in Derry.

The closing date for submissions is September 30th. These
can be written or take the form of a photograph, drawing,
sketch or painting.

Photographs of models are welcome, and multimedia
submissions such as DVDs or CD-roms may also be submitted.

© The Irish Times

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