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August 19, 2006

SF: Fr McManus' Visit Not Part of Policy Shift

News About Ireland & The Irish

IN 08/19/06
Fr McManus’ Visit Not Part Of Policy Shift: SF
BT 08/19/06 Omagh Relative's Shock After Crime Is 'Cleared'
BD 08/19/06 Dispatches From The Edge: Deadly Tales We Tell Ourselves
IN 08/19/06 Opin: Fr Mcmanus Visit Positive
IN 08/19/06 Opin: Unionists Beating Wrong
BT 08/19/06 MRSA And Bedbugs Are Found In Hospital
IN 08/19/06 Hotel Closes After Bug Scare
IW 08/19/06 Remembering The Past
IN 08/19/06 Gallagher Museum May Close


Fr McManus’ Visit Not Part Of Policy Shift: SF

By Sharon O’Neill Chief Reporter

SINN FEIN last night dismissed suggestions that the visit
of an American priest to the PSNI’s training college was
part of a wider move on policing.

Fr Sean McManus – an outspoken critic of the police – met
recruits and Deputy Chief Constable Paul Leighton at the
Garnerville complex in east Belfast on Thursday.

The cleric is president of the Irish National Caucus, an
Irish American pressure group based in Washington.

Reports have described the visit as significant given that
policing will be pivotal in any deal to restore the power-
sharing institutions.

So far Sinn Fein have refused to endorse the new
arrangements, arguing they fall short of Lord Chris
Patten’s police reforms and lack any great accountability.

Fr McManus has criticised the ambassador Mitchell Reiss, US
Special Envoy to Northern Ireland, accusing him of not
being more critical and cautious in his support for the

In the past the caucus has said the PSNI did not represent
a new beginning to policing.

Unionists have questioned the timing of Fr McManus’s visit,
which comes amid ongoing efforts to strike a devolution
deal before the November deadline.

Fr McManus could not be contacted for comment.

DUP assembly member Nelson McCausland said: “Sean McManus
has had plenty to say about police in the past and given
his visit to Garnerville, it would be the appropriate time
for him to condemn the republican campaign of murder
directed against police officers over 30 years.

“It is difficult to know what his motive was but it is
unusual that afterwards he said nothing.

“Because of his close association with republicans it is
probably not unconnected to the way Sinn Fein is trying to
position itself on that issue.”

However, Sinn Fein strongly rejected this.

“Sinn Fein’s position on policing is well known and is
endorsed by the vast majority of nationalists in the
north,” spokesman said.

“Sean McManus is not a member of Sinn Fein and his visit to
Garnerville has nothing to do with Sinn Fein or our


Omagh Relative's Shock After Crime Is 'Cleared'

By Jonathan McCambridge, Crime correspondent
19 August 2006

Relatives of Omagh bomb victims last night reacted with
fury after the Belfast Telegraph revealed that 550 crimes
committed during the 1998 atrocity are now considered

Campaigners have said that the pursuit of justice seems to
have been sacrificed in favour of "good book-keeping" after
more than 550 Omagh crimes were recorded by PSNI
statisticians as cleared, despite nobody ever being

Michael Gallagher, whose son Aiden was among 29 people,
including a woman pregnant with twins, killed in the no-
warning strike on the Tyrone town, also told this newspaper
he thinks the Real IRA is preparing a new terror campaign.

He accused the Governments of failing to deal with the
dissident republican terror group after the massacre.

Yesterday the Belfast Telegraph told how Home Office crime
counting rules mean 562 Omagh crimes - 29 murders and 533
wounding offences - are counted as cleared by police.

The 29 murders have been cleared by the charging of Sean
Hoey, who is awaiting trial.

The wounding offences were considered cleared after the
Public Prosecution Service received a file from the PSNI
and directed no prosecution.

Mr Gallagher said he was "lost for words" that the Omagh
crimes were considered cleared.

"Omagh was a horrific crime. You cannot wipe out the loss
of 31 lives, hundreds of people who were injured, some who
lost limbs and the mental trauma, by saying that it has
been cleared.

"This is not about justice it is about good book-keeping by
the police. I think it sends out totally the wrong message
that Omagh is all over and that a lot of people have got
away with this crime.

"I am lost for words that Omagh is being used to tidy up
the book-keeping by police.

"By saying the crimes are cleared it suggests that police
have done their job when nobody has ever been brought to
justice and nobody may ever be brought to justice."

Mr Gallagher added: "This development will be extremely
upsetting to the people who are associated with the Omagh
bomb because, clearance or no clearance, there has been no
justice for them. By clearing all of the murder offences
because one man has been charged sends out totally the
wrong message. There was a conspiracy of people behind

Mr Gallagher also warned that the recent upsurge of Real
IRA activity - which has included firebomb attacks in Newry
and an attempted bombing at the home of UUP peer Lord
Ballyedmond - could signal a new campaign of terror by the

He said: "Both governments had the opportunity to deal with
the Real IRA in 1998 when the whole community was behind
them and they passed it up in favour of trying to talk to

"I feel sorry for the people whose lives have been effected
by the Real IRA in recent weeks but I think this shows
there has been no rethink of tactics by the Real IRA. It is
only a matter of time before they once again become
proficient in making car bombs.

"What happened at the home of Lord Ballyedmond showed they
already have all the components to make substantial bombs.
I anticipate that they will continue on this path."


Dispatches From The Edge: The Deadly Tales We Tell Ourselves

By Conn Hallinan

History is the story we tell ourselves in the present about
the past, but how we punctuate the story, where we put the
periods, the commas and the ellipses, depends not on
everything that happened, but on who is telling the story,
where we stand in the narrative, and what outcome we want.

Tel Aviv. An Israeli patrol was ambushed July 12 by
Hezbollah terrorists near the Lebanese border. Three
solders were killed and two others kidnapped. Israel
launched a counterattack in an effort to retrieve them.
This is the story Israel and the United States tell about
the incident that touched off the Lebanon war. But
Hezbollah also has a story, though the punctuation is

Beirut. Resistance fighters captured two members of the
Israeli Defense Force July 12 in order to exchange them for
three Hezbollah soldiers Israel has held since 2000. The
operation was also part of efforts to expel Israel from the
Lebanese territory of Shebaa Farm.

There is a counter for both of these stories: Hezbollah’s
rockets threaten Israeli sovereignty; rockets were fired
only after Israel bombed and shelled Lebanon. Hezbollah is
ignoring United Nations Resolution 1559 to disarm. Israel
has ignored at least five UN resolutions to withdraw from
the West Bank and the Golan Heights. What about the
Holocaust? What about the Crusades? Yahweh gave us this
ground; Allah gave us this land.

People punctuate stories so as to establish causality and
to assure themselves that they stand with the angels. But
such stories can kill, because when they reinforce
narratives of victimization, they may perpetuate endless
cycles of righteousness and revenge.

Is humanity then locked into a world of subjective point
and counterpoint? Doomed, like Sisyphus, to neverending
efforts? By no means, but when it comes to solutions, it
may be necessary to edit our stories even if they are true.

There is at least one historical example that suggests
there is a way to short-circuit the narrative loop.

For just under 837 years, the English and the Irish have
warred against one another. Terrible things have been done
in those long centuries and the Irish have endless stories
about them. They know when it began: On Aug. 23, 1170,
Richard de Clare, Earl of Pembroke waded ashore with 200
Norman knights and 1,000 of men-at-arms near Waterford on
Ireland’s southeast coast.

Thus began the longest war in European history. For more
than 40 generations the Irish seethed at the occupation,
rising up time and again to fling themselves in bloody rage
at armies they could not hope to defeat.

The Irish call it “the long sorrow,” and they can recite it
with the precision of a rosary.

The stories, poems and songs that the Irish wrote about
these events taught each generation about courage and
resistance, but also about hatred, tribalism, and a certain
kind of suicidal madness the poet William Butler Yeats
called “an excess of love.”

What are the stories Hezbollah will tell about Bint Jbail,
which the most powerful army in the Middle East never fully
secured? Like the English did to Dublin in 1916, the
Israelis flattened the place with artillery and bombs, but
that will not extinguish the narrative that Hezbollah held
out against the mighty Golani Brigade.

What are the stories the Israelis will tell about life in
the shelters and the scores of dead and wounded civilians?
Will they conjure up the spirit of Masada? Will they tell
themselves that once again tiny Israel is beset by enemies
on all sides?

Both of these narratives will end up with a lot of people
dead and homeless, econ-omies derailed, infrastructures
shattered, while pumping up a tribalism that says, “We are
special, we are better, we are owed this, and the wrongs we
do to others are canceled out by the wrongs others have
done to us.”

History does not mark all roads, and all analogies are
fraught with danger. Like the Oracle of Delphi, it many
times predicts what we want it to predict. But the recent
history of Ireland is worth some study.

Starting in 1992, the principal antagonists in Northern
Ireland began to talk with one another, in large part
because majorities in both communities were fed up with the
sectarian violence. It was not easy, but the talks led to
the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, which has kept the peace
for the most part between warring Catholics and
Protestants. It was a process the United States helped
along, unlike the role the United States is playing in the
current Middle East crisis. To reach an agreement, the
parties had to get past a series of myths.

The first myth is that force will get people to do what you
want them to do. It never did, it never will. If Qassams
and Katyuschas have not caused the Israelis to throw in the
towel, why would Israel think that bombs and artillery
would force Hezbollah or Hamas to give up? To suggest that
Arabs will react any differently to violence than the Jews
or the Irish is simply racist.

The second myth is that that you can design someone else’s
country. You cannot tell the Lebanese what their internal
politics should be, nor the Palestinians that they can have
a nation but only if it is riddled with Jewish settlements
and surrounded by a wall. Such a Palestinian state is not a
country but an open-air prison, much like Gaza is today.

All the settlements will have to go, the borders returned
to the 1967 Green Line, and Jerusalem will have to be
shared. The occupation is illegal, immoral, and clearly not
in Israel’s interest, despite being of its making. No one
listened to David Ben-Gurion when he urged Israel to
withdraw from the lands conquered in 1967.

In return, the Palestinians will have to abandon the right
of return and accept a deal that compensates them for the
lands they lost in 1948. Regardless of the injustice behind
the original expulsions, asking Israel to unilaterally
dismantle itself is a non-starter. Israel is a country, if
for no other reason than the Holocaust made it so.

But Israel cannot continue to hide behind the argument that
it won’t negotiate with “terrorists.” If England could talk
to Sinn Fein and the Irish Republican Army, Israel can to
talk to Hezbollah and Hamas. Israel recently held a two-day
seminar on the 60th anniversary of the bombing of the King
David Hotel by the Jewish resistance. The blast killed 92
people. One person’s terrorist is another person’s freedom

There are those in the Middle East who will resist such a
settlement, just as there are hardliners in the Catholic
and Protestant communities in Northern Ireland who reject
the Good Friday Agreement. But in Northern Ireland those
forces have been increasingly marginalized, and for all its
fragility, the pact is generally holding.

The world does not need more tribal allegiances and stories
that tell us it is all right to blow up pizza parlors in
Israel or flatten towns in Southern Lebanon. It needs
solutions anchored in the real world, and a moral order
that says there is no difference between a dead Jewish
child and a dead Arab child. The living weep for them
equally and no pain is greater or less because of the
weight of history.


Opin: Fr McManus Visit Positive

By Patrick Murphy

ONE OF the outstanding issues to be resolved before we can
have a full implementation of the Good Friday Agreement is
full backing of the police by the main political parties.

Sinn Fein still refuses to nominate to the Policing Board
and occasionally continues to mount protests at the meetings
of district policing partnerships.

While Fr Sean McManus is not a member of Sinn Fein, the US-
based Catholic priest has been a stern critic of the RUC in
the past and has lobbied against that organisation over the

Fr McManus visited the PSNI training establishment at
Garnerville earlier this week.

His visit will not change the way the police are viewed by
Sinn Fein. It will not mean an automatic open-arms accept-
ance of the service in nationalist areas. But surely it is
a small step to be welcomed.

This visit will not make Fr McManus an expert on the now
not so new policing arrangements.

And since touring Garnerville and meeting serving officers
Fr McManus has not made any public statements on his views.

So there is no way of knowing whether he supports, opposes
or is indifferent to the efforts to provide a policing

But the fact that Fr McManus has taken the time to see for
himself the facilities where future officers are being
trained must be viewed as a positive step.

Hopefully other figures with links to that part of the
nationalist community who still have misgivings about
policing arrangements will follow suit.

While policing is still very much a political football, the
issue affects every single one of us on a day-to-day basis.

Whether or not there is a political agreement the criminals
continue to burgle, rob, assault and even kill.

We need a police force which receives the widest possible
support so that it can provide the best possible service to
the whole community.

It is unfortunate therefore that the Democratic Unionist
Party should choose therefore to issue a statement calling
on Fr McManus to condemn the murders of policemen.

All murders are to be condemned, including those of

But surely the DUP should be wel-coming any nationalist
move which might help resolve this matter rather than
issuing what will be interpreted by many as negative
statements to positive moves.


Opin: Unionists Beating Wrong

By Patrick Murphy

Is the GAA a political organisation? The question arises
from the on going row over Sinn Fein’s use of Casement Park
for a rally commemorating the hunger strikers.

Attitudes in the row are predictable. Unionists suggest
that the GAA is the sporting equivalent of republicanism.
Nationalists blame republicans for embarrassing the GAA.
Sinn Fein says it was not a political rally (which aligns
the party firmly with the prison authorities, who said the
hunger strikers were not political prisoners).

Running through the row, however, is a

sub-plot on the nature of the GAA: is it political? In the
words of its official guide, yes: ‘Since she has no control
over all the national territory, Ireland’s claim to
nationhood is impaired.’ The guide also refers to athletic
fitness creating a national-minded manhood (tough luck for
female footballers), a people’s preference for native ways
as opposed to imported ones and it invents the concept of
an Irish race.

By anyone’s standards that is political language and, by
modern standards, it is about as politically incorrect as
you could hope for. It even out-manoeuvres the Irish
constitution in its definition of all things Irish.

The language stems from the GAA’s origins. It was founded
in 1884 as the athletic arm of a national revival movement,
which included Conradh na Gaeilge in language and the Land
League in rural society. All three had political

Those who condemn the mixing of sport and politics fail to
appreciate both Irish history and contemporary world
affairs. British rule in 19th century Ireland had a strong
element of cultural and economic suppression. Cultural
preservation and promotion was inherently political in that
it inevitably opposed British rule.

The promotion of Irish culture through sport could not have
been non-political. Thus the GAA owes its political origins
as much to British repression as it does to Irish

On the world stage sport is also used to advocate political
beliefs. In 1980 the US boycotted the Olympics because
Russia had not been expelled from the games for invading
Afghanistan. The US has now invaded Afghanistan but it does
not consider withdrawing from international sport.

The GAA’s conflict with British rule inevitably continued
post-partition. Until the 1970s GAA grounds were among the
few places in the north to fly the national flag and have
the national anthem played. The GAA could not help but be
political within a discriminatory state.

But in their rush to condemn, unionists ignore the fact
that GAA politics have significantly changed in recent
years. The organisation has performed political
somersaults, most of which are in stark defiance of its

British military personnel can join the GAA: square that
with resistance to imported culture. The PSNI has a Gaelic
football team: so much for the national territory.

In supporting the idea of a national stadium for Northern
Ireland, the GAA’s Ulster Council argued that it would help
develop a new political atmosphere here. It was an overtly
political stance, which suggested that Northern Ireland was
a nation: so what happened to the claim to nationhood?

The decision to open Croke Park to other sports was also
presented in political terms: it would enhance political
relations across the island. Again this was in contrast to
the language of its own guide. Thus as a political
organisation the GAA has retained the rhetoric of the 19th
Century, while practising the pragmatism of the 21st

It is a political organisation but its politics have
changed. It closely followed Sinn Fein into accepting the
legitimacy of the Northern Ireland state and it beat them
by a short head into supporting the PSNI.

As an integral part of the wider political establishment in
both Irish states, it is now steering nationalism away from
old-style politics and towards the political apathy which
top-class sport generates throughout the world.

The British and Irish governments have no quarrel with the
GAA. They recognise that it carries immense political
influence and since that influence is in line with the
policies of both governments, the GAA is now part of the
political establishment, north and south.

Unionists are beating the wrong drum on this one. They are
right in comparing the GAA with Sinn Fein but they do it
for the wrong reason. They suggest that both are subversive
when, in reality, both are living in daily denial of their
original aims.

Unionist criticism of the GAA is unfair. Opinion based on
preconceived ideas is prejudice. Adherence to that opinion
in defiance of the facts sounds like bigotry.


MRSA And Bedbugs Are Found In Hospital

By Nigel Gould
18 August 2006

An Ulster hospital is tackling an outbreak of MRSA - and an
infestation of bedbugs.

Doctors and nurses had to be moved from the Enniskillen-
based Erne Hospital's residential block because of the

The Trust said there was no risk to any patients or
visitors to the hospital.

Meanwhile, 11 patients in an elderly ward are believed to
have contracted feared superbug, MRSA.

In a statement, Dr Richard Smithson, consultant in
communicable disease control, said: "MRSA control is a
challenge for all hospitals across NI and has become an
increasing problem in the community.

"Overall the Erne Hospital has no greater a problem with
this bug than any other hospital in Northern Ireland.

"Fortunately none of the patients found to be carriers of
this bug has indicated any infection or has become unwell
as a result of it.

"The MRSA problem in general has arisen chiefly because of
the overuse of antibiotics.

"With regard to the bedbugs in the residential block, the
expert opinion is that it is no indication of housekeeping
standards or lack of cleanliness.

"Bedbugs are transported into environments. Once introduced
into environments specialist measures are required to
eradicate them.

"It is not a matter of cleaning the area."

Last month, the Belfast Telegraph revealed that MRSA-
related deaths in Northern Ireland had quadrupled in just
four years.

Figures show the antibiotic-resistant superbug played a
part in the deaths of 69 people throughout the province
during 2005. That compares to just 17 in 2001.

Overall between 2001 and 2005 there were no fewer than 186
MRSA-connected deaths.

Places of death include hospitals, nursing homes or the
patient's residence.

In each case, MRSA was mentioned on the patient's death
certificate - although it is not clear whether the bug was
the primary cause of death or where the infection was
initially picked up.

Bedbugs are small nocturnal insects of the family Cimicidae
that feed on the blood of humans and other warm-blooded

They live in bedclothes, mattresses, bedsprings and frames,
soft furnishing, cracks and crevices and under wallpaper.

Females lay between 200-500 eggs in batches of 10-50, on
rough surfaces such as wood or paper.

Eggs are white, sticky and about 1/3 inch long. They are
laid in cracks or crevices, never on people.

A bedbug's entire life cycle can take between five weeks to
four months, depending upon the temperature and
availability of food.

Meanwhile, this time last year the Belfast Telegraph
revealed that doctors were forced out of their flat inside
the complex of Craigavon Hospital - by an army of ants.


Hotel Closes After Bug Scare

By David Wilson

A LUXURY Co Donegal hotel has been forced to close its spa
pool after the potentially lethal legionella bug was found
in the water.

The pool at the Carlton Redcastle Hotel in Inishowen was
closed last Friday after investigations into two cases of
Legionnaires disease were reported in Derry during July.

It is understood the Western health board and its Health
Service Executive counterparts in Donegal traced the source
of the disease in one of the cases to the hotel. Samples
taken from the pool on July 28 showed high concentrations
of the legionella bug.

Managing Director of the Carlton Group Michael Carling said
the group had been shocked to hear of the pool’s infection.

“It is a brand new facility operating to the very highest
standards. When the environmental health officer advised us
we had high levels we immediately went to closure,” he

He said the chlorine treatment for the bug had since been
applied and that the hotel group had been working closely
with the environmental department and independent
specialist Dr Bill Thompson.

Mr Carling said he was confident the bug had been
eradicated but would “await the all clear for the relevant


Remembering The Past

by Jo Kerrigan

An extract from January/February 2005

High above the city of Cork in the old-world leafy suburb
of Sunday’s Well (named for an ancient healing spring),
stands an enormous H-shaped stone building. Dwarfing in
size and extent all around, its high walls and massive
archway entrance give a clue to its original identity. This
is the old Cork City Gaol, which last held prisoners in
1923 but which today has a new existence, one surely never
envisaged by its original planners. The great doors, once
double-locked, now stand invitingly open. Where warders
strode with clinking keys, visitors wander freely; and
where pleading faces once peered from barred windows, happy
children’s faces now peep out, fascinated by their bird’s-
eye view of the city below.

It was 1810 when the fathers of the prospering city of Cork
decided that a new facility was required to replace the
centuries-old Bridewell. An area on the hillside above was
chosen. The architect was Sir Thomas Deane. In 1824 the
first prisoners were taken to the new gaol, considered a
model of its kind in three kingdoms. Many had been detained
for petty crime. Even to snatch a loaf could mean several
months of imprisonment.

Mary-Ann Twohig was barely sixteen years old and pregnant
when she stole a cap which she hoped to sell to get money
for food. In prison she gave birth to a baby son and was
humanely released early from her sentence because of ill
health. Mary Sullivan was given the harsh sentence of seven
years for stealing scraps of calico.

Transportation was the early favoured solution for most
offenders and as Cork was the main sailing port for convict
ships, literally thousands of prisoners from all over
Ireland were channelled down here to the City Gaol before
being sent away from their homeland for ever. Down County
Museum, for example, has records of its detainees sent
south to Cork for transportation. This is what makes the
Heritage Centre such a magnet for family historians from
Australia, America – indeed, all over the world. According
to Elizabeth Kearns, administrator of the Gaol “They do
their research and discover that their ancestors were
transported – often for the slightest of offences – back in
the 1820s, 30s or 40s. If they have enough information,
they can come here and see the actual cell where they were
held before sailing. It can be a very moving experience:
they can touch the very same walls that their great, great,
great grandfathers may have touched. It isn’t often you
find a heritage centre where you can do that.”

One such visitor was Tony Griffiths, an Australian who
actually found inscriptions on a cell wall by his
ancestors, Michael Griffin and Ellen Healy. Accused of
stealing furniture from their employer, they were sent to
Australia in 1828. Although they were separated, they
managed to keep in touch, and on release settled down in
their new country and prospered. For Tony Griffiths, it was
an eerie but fulfilling experience. Now the Society of
Australian Genealogists visits The Cork City Gaol every
couple of years with a number of descendants of former

Amazingly, over forty thousand were transported through the
port of Cork by the 1830s alone. Crowded into huge rough
wagons known as tumbrils, they were taken down to
Queenstown, now Cobh, to be herded on to the convict ships.

In the 1870s, it was decided that henceforth male prisoners
would be detained in the County Gaol and only females would
be held at Sunday’s Well. Times were becoming more relaxed
then, as there are records of women prisoners being allowed
out for walks under the supervision of their wardresses. In
the 1920s, when the turbulent days of the War of
Independence and the Civil War came however, life became
harsher again, with many Republicans finding themselves
forcibly detained within the gaol’s walls. Among these was
the famed writer Frank O’Connor whose book Guests of the
Nation recalls those heady days. Perhaps one of the most
illustrious, however, was Countess Constance Markievicz who
was imprisoned here in 1919. She had previously been
condemned to death for her part in the 1916 Rising but was
reprieved; undaunted, she stood for election to the British
Parliament whilst in Holloway Prison in London in 1918.

This elegant and determined lady was born Constance Gore-
Booth of Lissadell, Co. Sligo, daughter of a prom-inent
Anglo-Irish family, and later married a Polish nobleman and
artist Casimir Markievicz. The authorities were, to put it
mildly, very worried indeed about this high profile
prisoner; so much so that they actually released or
transferred all other inmates while she was being admitted.
Elizabeth Kearns recounts with delight the very elderly
local lady who came in when the Gaol re-opened, to tell
them that she remembered seeing Countess Markievicz being
brought in.

Following the end of the Civil War, the old Cork City Gaol
finally closed its doors and became derelict. Yet it still
had a part to play in the new age: in 1927, Radio Éireann,
the Irish national radio broadcaster, took over the top
floor of the Governor’s house, its lofty location making it
ideal as a broadcasting station. Programmes continued to go
out from the Cork station until the 1950s when a more
modern studio was built in the heart of the city below.
Slowly the once majestic building crumbled into disrepair,
forgotten and overgrown. In the late 1980s, however, a Cork
business couple, Diarmuid and Mary Kenneally, saw through
the dereliction and embarked on a courageous project – to
bring the old City Gaol back to life as a Heritage Centre
which would tell not only its own story but also that of
the city it served.

During Cork’s year as European Capital of Culture,
Elizabeth Kearns and her team are expecting a great many
visitors to this centre where living history is evident as
soon as you step through that imposing entrance archway.
Everywhere you see these lifelike figures – a taunting
warder, a kind and worried doctor hurrying to the cell of a
sick inmate, little Mary-Ann Twohig nursing her newborn
babe. In the cells occupied by Fenian or Republican
prisoners, you can see the actual inscriptions scraped
painstakingly on the walls during long hours of
confinement. Perhaps the most moving part of the experience
is the audio-visual presentation at the end of the tour.
Here prisoners already familiar from your journey through
the gaol, are questioned and defend themselves.

Jo Kerrigan is a freelance writer and researcher with
specialist interests in local natural and theatrical
history. She lives in Macroom, Co. Cork.

Convent Avenue, Sunday’s Well, Cork City, Ireland
Tel: +353 (0) 214305022
Fax: +353 (0) 21 430 7230
Opening Hours
Open seven days throughout the year:
March – October 9.30am – 6.00pm
November – February 10.00am – 5.00pm
(Last admission one hour before closing)


Gallagher Museum May Close

By David Wilson

A UNIQUE collection of Rory Gallagher memorabilia could be
lost because the building is due to be sold.

The Rory Gallagher museum opened last year, to coincide
with the 10th anniversary of the musician’s death, in a
building close to the Donegal childhood home of the man
widely regarded as one of the world’s greatest ever

Funded entirely by the Bally-shannon based Rory Gallagher
Festival Committee, the exhibition includes a number of
rare items donated by the Gallagher family, including
guitars, audio and video recordings, ticket stubs, posters
and concert programmes.

But now the landlords, the Ballyshannon Credit Union, have
announced their intention to auction off the building.

Chairman of the Rory Gallagher Festival Committee Barry
O’Neil said losing the museum, which has been forced to
close temporarily in recent weeks because of funding
problems, would be a “big blow” for Gallagher fans and the

“We have put so much into this project. It has been a real
community effort. It was so hard to get the museum up and
running and we have struggled with finances and funding,”
Mr O’Neil said.

“Now we are at a point where we need all the help we can

Mr O’Neil said the committee understood the landlord’s
right to sell the property and said ideally the festival
committee could be among potential bidders.

“The fact is that it is a small building and the connection
to Rory in Ballyshannon is so strong that we would like to
get in a position where we can bid to buy it,” he said.

He said Gallagher’s legacy could be felt throughout the
Donegal town.

“Opposite the museum is Gallagher place, where a monument
to Rory has been erected,” he said.

“Every year the town is buzzing during the international
festival. The museum has been very popular with visitors
from across the world despite the fact we have little money
for PR.”

Mr O’Neil said since fears concerning the future of the
museum were first raised many people had offered support.

“The National Heritage Centre have been in contact and are
to visit us next week to offer advice. Rory’s brother Donal
has also been in touch. We do not want to lose the museum,”
he said.

He said that a group of trustees could be formed to bid for
ownership of the house.

A spokesman for the Ballyshannon Credit Union said the
house is not up for sale at present but will be sold at
auction in the future.

Gallagher is renowned as one of the world’s greatest ever
guitarists through his virtuoso performances as a solo
artist and along with sixties group Taste.

Synonymous with the Fender Stratocaster guitar,
Ballyshannon born Gallagher sold millions of albums
throughout his career.

In 1972 he was voted Melody Maker’s Top Musician of the
Year, dethroning Eric Clapton

U2’s The Edge, Jonny Marr of the Smiths, Slash of Guns and
Roses fame and Queen’s Brian May have all cited Gallagher
as a major inspiration in their musical development.

Rory Gallagher died in London on June 14 1995 following
complications arising from a liver transplant.

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