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September 08, 2006

Blair & Ahern Expected to Meet

News About Ireland & The Irish

BB 09/08/06 Blair And Ahern Expected To Meet
IT 09/08/06 Ahern Believes NI Parties Will Meet Deadline
IT 09/09/06 Price Sister Acquitted Of Taking Part In Illegal Parade
BN 09/08/06 SDLP: Patten Scheme Causing Shortfall In Detectives
BB 09/08/06 Victim Was Murdered 'In Revenge'
SF 09/08/06 SF Seeking Mandate To Deliver Real Change
BN 09/08/06 SF Confident Of Winning 10 Dáil Seats At Next Election
IM 09/08/06 Intrvw:Barry McColgan, National Organiser, Ógra Shinn Féin
IT 09/09/06 McDowell Candidacy Gathers Strong Support
FN 09/08/06 Terrell’s Tune-Up - Progeny Of The Pogues
CA 09/08/06 Cillian Murphy Brings Acclaimed To Toronto Fest


Blair And Ahern Expected To Meet

Prime Minister Tony Blair and his Irish counterpart Bertie
Ahern are expected to meet next week.

The premiers are to review the British and Irish work-plan
aimed at restoring devolution.

DUP leader Ian Paisley and Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams
are also expected to hold separate talks with Mr Blair
during the week.

On Thursday, Mr Ahern praised Mr Blair as a "great leader"
after the UK PM said he would stand down within a year.

It is understood the British and Irish prime ministers are
considering hosting talks in Scotland in October to help
restore devolution.

On 15 May, Northern Ireland's politicians took their seats
in the Stormont assembly for the first time since October

While there is no immediate prospect of a power-sharing
executive being formed, the government hoped recalling the
politicians would help to pave the way towards a deal in
the autumn, by its deadline of 24 November.

Devolved government was suspended over allegations of a
republican spy ring.

The court case that followed collapsed and one of those
involved, Denis Donaldson, later admitted working as a
British agent.

Direct rule from London was restored in October 2002 and
has been in place since.

The Preparation for Government Committee was set up to
identify obstacles to the return of devolution. It has been
meeting over the summer months.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/09/08 14:31:17 GMT


Ahern Believes NI Parties Will Meet Deadline

Minister for Foreign Affairs Dermot Ahern said today he had
high hopes Northern Ireland's political parties would meet
a November 24th deadline for restoring power-sharing

Both governments set the crunch deadline earlier this year,
warning that failure to agree would put the regional
administration into "cold storage", with direct rule by
Britain continuing but with increased input from Dublin.

"On 24th November we can re-empower positive politics in
Northern Ireland for good," Mr Ahern said in the text of a
speech to be delivered to the British Irish Association in
the English university city of Oxford on Friday evening.

"It is, in a sense, the last threshold. A real opportunity.
Let's not squander it," he said.

Mr Ahern said the context for progress in Northern Ireland
had never been better, and that restoration of the Belfast-
based assembly was "there for the taking".

The summer "marching season" had been the most peaceful in
years, he said.

This combined with a stable security environment, the IRA
pledge late last year to pursue its goals without guns or
bombs, and positive signals from loyalist paramilitaries
gave him grounds for hope, he said.

Talks between Northern Ireland's political parties aimed at
resolving outstanding issues ahead of the November deadline
are expected to take place in the second week of October.

© The Irish Times/


Price Sister Acquitted Of Taking Part In Illegal Derry Parade

George Jackson

A woman who was jailed for life for her part in the IRA's
1973 London car bombing campaign, was one of 16 people
against whom a charge of taking part in an illegal parade
in Derry was dismissed at the city's Magistrates' Court

Marian Price from Stockman's Avenue, Belfast, had denied
taking part in the Easter Rising commemoration parade in
the Creggan area of Derry on March 28, 2005, knowing the
parade to have been illegal.

One of her co-accused was Francis Mackey from Forest Park
in Omagh, who is chairperson of the 32 County Sovereignty
Movement and who was a member of Omagh District Council
when the Real IRA killed 29 people, one of them a woman
pregnant with twins, in the Co Tyrone town in a car bomb
attack on August 15, 1998.

PSNI Insp David McFettridge, who was in charge of policing
the parade, told the court that he gave eight warnings to
the participants that they were taking part in a "non-
notified parade". He also asked the parade organiser to
relay a "warning by proxy".

The witness said the marchers were "not overly hostile" to
the police and said their behaviour was "impeccable".

He said the reason he gave eight warnings was to facilitate
anyone who had not heard a warning because of background
noise including band music.

At the conclusion of the prosecuting evidence, the
magistrate dismissed the charges against the co-accused
following legal submissions by defence lawyers.

© The Irish Times


SDLP: Patten Scheme Causing Shortfall In Detectives

08/09/2006 - 18:19:39

Senior police in the North are today facing a shortfall of
107 detectives.

Investigators were released prematurely under the Patten
severance scheme designed to bring in new blood and there
have been changes to the police’s structure calling for
extra resources, the SDLP said today.

Police Service of Northern Ireland chiefs are suspending
50/50 recruitment of Catholic and Protestant plain clothes
police for two years and will now advertise outside the

Nationalist SDLP member Alex Attwood said: “This isn’t a
problem with Patten or severance per se, it is about
management of it.

“Because the board and the police have invested time in
creating new crime teams the numbers needed increases
because of that and there are also increased expectations
when it comes to dealing with crime.

“This increase is because we are making the police service
more efficient and because too many of them were let go too

This is the second time in recent years the step has been
taken. In July 2003 parts of the Patten provisions were
suspended allowing detectives to be recruited from

The Patten Report was introduced in 1999 and recommended
sweeping changes to the then Royal Ulster Constabulary.

It led to the renaming of the service and created a
redundancy package for senior ranks designed to pave the
way for younger officers.

Chris Patten and his team called for the reduction of
police numbers to 7,500 and the redress of the religious
imbalance among members of the largely Protestant force.

Section 23 of the Police Act 2003 will have to be enabled
in Westminster to allow recruitment to start and this isn’t
expected before next year.

The scheme will run for two years after the move was agreed
by the Policing Board decision-making body last Wednesday.

A board spokeswoman said: “At its monthly meeting board
members agreed in principle a package of measures presented
by PSNI to help achieve the full complement of detectives
in the PSNI’s Crime Operations Department. This included
the recruitment of experienced detectives from other police

“The agreement in principle by the board to the recruitment
of detectives from other services is subject to the re-
enactment of the provisions of Section 23 of the Police
(Northern Ireland) Act 2003 amended the Police (Northern
Ireland) Act 2000.”

Other measures to be taken include an internal trawl from
the uniformed ranks.

Chief Constable Hugh Orde told last week’s meeting that the
nature of detective work, with its dangers and media
profile as well as threat of Police Ombudsman
investigation, made it more difficult to recruit.

Unionists have strongly criticised the reduction in police
numbers and the loss of experienced officers and

Democratic Unionist Board member Willie Hay said: “If you
speak to detectives in the service from the top to the
bottom they would say that Patten is a major issue.

“Severance caused a lot of good detectives and many senior
officers to go who had a lot of experience.

“I think what was agreed gives people an opportunity,
particularly those who have left Northern Ireland.”


Victim Was Murdered 'In Revenge'

An inquest has been told that a west Belfast man was killed
because he stood up to dissident republicans.

Belfast Coroner's Court heard Danny McGurk was murdered in
front of his young children after a neighbourhood dispute
at his home in Ross Road.

He was shot six times because of alleged earlier
confrontations with members of the Real IRA in the months
leading up to his 2003 murder.

Belfast Coroner John Leckey said the motive for the murder
was "revenge".

"It really was about a loss of face on the part of one or
more persons in the RIRA which led to his death," he said.

Dissident republicans were blamed for shooting 35-year-old
Mr McGurk at his Ross Road home in the nationalist lower
Falls area in August 2003.

'Investigation still active'

Detective Superintendent Hugo Frew, who is leading the
investigation, told the court police had carried out 16
searches in the area.

As a result, officers had recovered ammunition and
explosives and had made 10 arrests.

A gun believed to have been used in the shooting had been
recovered on the Letterkenny Road in Londonderry, said Mr

No convictions had been achieved, but the investigation was
still very active, he said.

Family solicitor Trevor McCann told the court Mr McGurk was
murdered because he was "an individual in the community who
was standing up to people who considered themselves to be
somehow people who could control other people's lives and
wanted to have the people subservient to what they wanted".

After the hearing, Mr McGurk's mother Mary Ellen said:
"Danny was murdered for no other reason than vendetta.
There was no political or criminal reason for him to be
murdered other than vendetta."

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/09/08 15:06:30 GMT


Sinn Féin To Put Major Policy Platform Before The People Seeking Mandate To Deliver Real Change

Published: 8 September, 2006

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams MP speaking as the party’s
TDs, MPs, MLAs and MEPs begin a day-long meeting in Howth,
County Dublin said: “Sinn Féin is going into the General
Election determined to increase our representation and to
deliver real change across Ireland. At the core of our
campaign will be proposals to end the crisis in the health
service, advance the peace process and Irish unity and
build a strong economy that delivers for all. In the
coming months we will be putting a major policy platform
before the people and taking our campaign to every corner
of Ireland.' Following today's meeting Sinn Féin
Chairperson Mary Lou McDonald MEP announced that the party
would be holding a major rally to push for radical action
to address the crisis in the health service. This rally
will take place in Dublin on October 21st.

Mr. Adams said:

“Sinn Féin is going into the General Election to increase
our representation so that we can deliver real change.
Sinn Féin is ready for government but only on the basis of
a programme for change. In or out of government Sinn Féin
is looking for a mandate to deliver on a republican agenda.

At the core of our campaign will be ending the crisis in
the health service, advancing the peace process and Irish
unity and building a strong economy that delivers for all.
In the coming months we will be putting a major policy
platform before the people and taking our campaign to every
corner of Ireland.

“The vast majority of people are angry because the Fianna
Fáil/Progressive Democrat government has completely failed
to use the wealth of the economy to provide a proper health
service, sufficient housing and a decent education system.

“And Fine Gael/Labour is trying to get into power on the
mantra of ‘anyone but Fianna Fáil’ – without any credible
political platform.

“Sinn Féin’s platform is a genuine republican one based on
a belief that a rights based approach is essential to
ensure equality in Irish society and deliver on the
commitments of the 1916 Proclamation and 1919 Democratic

“This means a change of political direction, a change that
only Sinn Féin is prepared to lead. It means implementing
policies that will end inequality and the privatisation of
key public services. We believe that a quality public
health system is a basic prerequisite of any civilised
society and can be provided.

“Things can be better. Economic growth can be used to serve
the people, and not the other way round. Promoting workers
rights and investing in public services will help the
ongoing development of the economy. They are not mutually
exclusive. A health service that cares for all regardless
of income will not bankrupt the economy, in fact it is an

“In the coming months we will also be setting out a far
reaching policy platform including:- job creation,
enterprise and regional development, workers rights, public
finances, healthcare, housing and rural regeneration.
These alongside the peace process and building Irish unity
will be at the centre of Sinn Féin’s Programme for


SF Confident Of Winning 10 Dáil Seats At Next Election

08/09/2006 - 14:59:09

Sinn Féin's Pat Doherty has said the party is confident of
doubling its Dáil representation at the next general

The party currently has five TDs, but speaking at its
annual think-in ahead of the new Dáil term today, Mr
Doherty said the party was confident of winning 10 seats
next year.

Sinn Féin is fielding at least 41 candidates in the
election, with more selections still to take place.

The party is unveiling many of these candidates to the
media today at its gathering in Howth, Co Dublin, with a
special website being launched to publicise their
respective campaigns.

It is also using the meeting to discuss strategy for the
year ahead and tactics for the forthcoming election, as
well as the latest developments in the peace process.

Speaking as the meeting got underway this morning, party
president Gerry Adams said health would be one of the major
issues when voters go to the polls.

He said there was widespread anger that the Government had
failed to use Ireland's economic prosperity to fix problems
in the health service.


Interview:Barry McColgan, National Organiser, Ógra Shinn Féin

National Miscellaneous Other Press
Friday September 08, 2006 19:40
by The Lark - Ógra Shinn Féin
Ógra Shinn Féin, 44 Parnell Square, Dublin

'We can overcome anything in our path'

Recently appointed Ógra Shinn Féin National Organiser Barry
McColgan talks to ELLA O'DWYER about himself, his political
involvement to date and his plans for Ógra.

Barry McColgan

At the age of 15 Barry McColgan immersed himself in the Ego
drugs awareness project, out of which evolved his
involvement in the Ógra.

"I struck up contacts through the Ego project and another
Omagh lad asked me to help him establish Ógra locally."

In 2001, at 16 Barry joined Ógra and within a year he was
local organiser of a very active Ógra cumann in West
Tyrone. The West Tyrone cumann saw the importance of Ógra
activity at local level, as opposed to confining activity
and focus within the universities and colleges.

"College cumainn are integral to developments within the
organisation on many levels, particularly recruitment, but
the real backbone of the organisation is at local level.
While we recruit and skill people in the colleges, we
strongly encourage the members to take their talents and
commitment back into the community."

It was against the backdrop of his role in the local Ógra
cumann that he was selected to become the Six-County
(subsequently Uladh) organiser.

"I was elected local organiser for West Tyrone in 2002 and
quickly our cumann established itself as the most active
and probably the strongest local cumann throughout the

They campaigned around demilitarisation, Iraq and the broad
anti-imperialist campaign. They also campaigned for the
closure of the British military barracks in Omagh.

McColgan commended the organisational work of his
predecessor as national organiser, Micky Bravender, who
made a strong contribution to the development and
consolidation of Ógra structures at cuige and national

In January 2004, McColgan became Six-County organiser and
was the driving force behind the development of the Ógra in
the region, paving the way towards his current role as
national organiser.

One of his priorities is the development of a strong anti-
imperialist mobilisation in this country, one that
particularly profiles the occupation of Ireland.

"One of our strategic objectives is to build a broad anti-
imperialist front in Ireland but that hasn't been
successful. Many of the left-wing groups who work on the
anti-imperialist front actually forget about Ireland."

McColgan also addresses social and economic injustice and
the aspiration to the socialist republic. "We need an
economic system that is equality-based rather than having
profit at its core."

He went on to identify social ills like suicide as symptoms
of the current profit-centred economy in Ireland. "Suicide
is one of the worst negatives of living in a capitalist

Suicide prevention has been one of the main priorities for
the Ógra over recent years and the organisation is calling
for an all-Ireland approach to the problem. By way of a
culmination to their suicide awareness campaign, the Ógra
plan to hand a petition to Mary Harney, Minister for Health
and Children, on 21 October in Dublin.

Another feature of the Ógra's work is engagement with
unionist youth, a task that, though difficult at times,
also gets results. In fact, some young unionists have
signed the suicide prevention petition. There is a common
awareness that, as McColgan puts it: "Suicide knows no
boundaries and crosses all divides."

Barry studied economics and history for three years in
Queen's University, only leaving to undertake his Ógra work

While membership of Ógra extends into thousands, Barry
estimates that the core activists number in the region of
300, approximately 60 of whom are female - the aim is to
turn these 300 into 3,000 within five years. On the
prominence of women within the organisation, he pointed out
that his replacement as Six-County organiser is a woman,
Andrea O'Kane.

Ógra members also become Sinn Féin members and for Barry
one of the functions of the Ógra is to equip young people
with the necessary skills to pursue political activism
while cultivating confidence. This, he said, is one of the
reasons why Ógra membership extends to 29 years of age.

"I remember attending one of my first Sinn Féin meetings.
The room was full of Ógra activists and some ex-prisoners,
people who had been through the war. I was very nervous
when I spoke. I wasn't confident. When we had Ógra meetings
we were amongst peers and could develop confidence."

Barry's position is a full-time one and the Ógra is calling
for two additional full-time posts: a national development
officer and a college co-ordinator. While such roles would
initially need to be funded by the party, he believes that
in due course the Ógra can secure financial sustainability
its own right.

"Part of our five-year plan is to establish ourselves as a
self-sufficient body financially. We have a number of
finance initiatives. We plan to raise funds through draws,
youth festivals, T-shirts and sales from the planned
revival of The Spark magazine and income from sales of the
recent publication, Awaiting the Lark, and similar

Barry McColgan takes inspiration from the 1981 Hunger

"Sometimes, if motivation runs a bit low or you feel a bit
deflated, you think of the likes of Francis Hughes who,
when on hunger strike, said that though he didn't have his
Armalite with him, he could still use his body. You can
always find a strategy even when there seems to be no hope
at all. You can find all the inspiration you want in terms
of activism or strategy from the era of the Hunger Strike."

Barry McColgan is a vibrant young man who enjoys life. Two
of his favourite films are, perhaps not surprisingly,
Braveheart and The Wind that Shakes the Barley.

Does he enjoy his work? "Of course I do. I love it. Who
wouldn't want to be working full-time on a project they
feel so passionately about?" By way of closure to his
personal contribution in the Ógra publication, Awaiting the
Lark, Barry McColgan wrote:

"Whatever problems we encounter truly are wee buns. With
the Hunger Strikers in our hearts and minds we can overcome
anything in our path.

"We are the generation who will see the rising of the moon
- onwards to the socialist republic."

Related Link:


McDowell Candidacy Gathers Strong Support


Tom Parlon and Liz O'Donnell are to announce whether they
will run for the leadership of the Progressive Democrats
within the next two days amid a growing belief throughout
the party that Michael McDowell will be elected unopposed,
write Mark Brennock, Paul Cullen and Liam Reid

None of the three possible contenders said yesterday
whether or not they would run, although Mr McDowell's
candidacy is seen as a certainty. Several senior figures,
including some potential Ms O'Donnell supporters, said they
did not believe the Dublin South deputy would run.

Minister of State Parlon said yesterday he was still
"reflecting" on the matter and that he would talk to Ms
O'Donnell over the weekend about it.

There was widespread speculation in the party last night
that the suggestion that he succeed to Mr McDowell's
current post of party president - put forward by Mr
McDowell loyalist, Senator Tom Morrissey yesterday - would
be accepted by him, ensuring a smooth and rancour-free

A series of declarations of support for McDowell from TDs
and Senators yesterday took those hoping either of the
other two could win by surprise. Minister of State Tim
O'Malley was first to declare support, causing surprise
among some who had seen him as a likely Ms O'Donnell

He was followed by Galway West TD Noel Grealish, Senators
Kate Walsh, Michael Brennan and Tom Morrissey, as well as
former PD minister Bobby Molloy.

Calls to party councillors showed that a majority of them -
at least 15 of the 29 - intended to back Mr McDowell.

A meeting of the party's Galway city and county councillors
unanimously backed Mr McDowell.

Several parliamentary party members said yesterday that the
series of declarations of support for Mr McDowell, which
most believed had been orchestrated to have maximum effect,
had damaged the prospect of any alternative contender to
build momentum behind a campaign.

There was agreement among supporters of all three that, at
this stage, Mr McDowell also had the backing of at least
eight members of the 13-member PD parliamentary party.

Under the party's election rules, if Mr McDowell is the
only nominated candidate for the leadership on Monday at
noon, he could be declared party leader as early as Monday
night at a meeting of the party's national executive
scheduled for 7pm.

Neither Mr McDowell nor Ms O'Donnell commented on their
intentions yesterday. Mr Parlon said his supporters wanted
him to stand but he had not yet made up his mind. "The
messages I'm getting from my people, and from my
constituency in particular, are saying they would be urging
me very strongly to consider going for the position. But
I'm sure any constituency would support their candidate

While it was important to avoid rancour in the party he
didn't see anything wrong with "a good clean contest". He
said if he were elected leader, he would stand over the
commitment to stable, full-term government made by Ms
Harney when the present Programme for Government was
negotiated with Fianna Fáil in 2002.

This is the commitment sought by the Taoiseach Bertie Ahern
from whoever becomes PD leader.

Dún Laoghaire TD Fiona O'Malley said she did not believe
there would be a contest, implying that she believed Mr
McDowell would become leader unopposed.

Senator Morrissey said he believed Mr McDowell would be
elected unopposed, and that Mr Parlon should then become
party president in his place.

Senator Walsh said: "If there was a contest I would
certainly be backing Michael McDowell. I think we have the
best Minister for Justice this country will ever see. I
hold him in very high esteem and he has the qualities of a
great leader."

© The Irish Times


Terrell’s Tune-Up - Progeny Of The Pogues

By Steve Terrell The New Mexican
September 8, 2006

One of the most glorious blasts of music from the 1980s was
The Pogues. I’m talking, of course, of the Shane McGowan
era. After the periodontal poster-boy singer left, The
Pogues were just another folk-rock band. But with McGowan
full throttle with an Old Bushmills bottle, The Pogues were
an unholy union of The Clash and The Clancy Brothers,
ridden by voodoo gods and dancing obscene jigs at the very
gates of hell.

Although the Pogues faded away — McGowan pursuing a half-
ass solo career, releasing a few albums in the last dozen
years or so —their wild, drunken spirit lives on in at
least a couple of American bands. There’s the Dropkick
Murphys from Boston, a punk band with bagpipes and
mandolin. And then there’s the Murphys’ natural opponent in
your ultimate imaginary Celt-rock battle of the bands,
Flogging Molly, a Los Angeles-based band (with a Dublin-
born singer) that has just released a DVD/CD set called
Whiskey on a Sunday.

Both groups possess the basic fire of The Pogues and have
the basic crazy Irish punk-trad sound down. Neither,
though, has quite captured McGowan’s possessed poetic aura.

But what amazes me is that while the Dropkicks have
acknowledged, tacitly at least, their debt to The Pogues —
they recorded the appropriately titled song “Wild Rover”
with McGowan a few years ago — Flogging Molly just did a
feature-length documentary, the aforementioned DVD, without
once mentioning The Pogues.

It’s especially ironic because of two songs included on the
Whiskey CD. “The Wanderlust” has a melody similar to “The
Sick Bed of Cuchulain,” while the Mideastern-sounding
“Another Bag of Bricks” will remind Pogue fans of “Turkish
Song of the Damned.”

So it rings pretty hollow when Flogging Molly frontman Dave
King boldly declares at the end of the DVD, “As humble of a
band as we are, in the sense of our heritage and where we
come from … I would not be sitting here if I didn’t think
we were the greatest rock ’n’ roll band in the world.”

Even when The Rolling Stones really were the greatest rock
’n’ roll band in the world, you rarely heard or read an
interview with Mick Jagger or Keith Richards where they
didn’t praise their forebears, like Muddy Waters and Chuck

But with this verbal flogging out of the way, there’s a lot
to like about the music found on Whiskey on a Sunday, which
I recently bought on impulse after hearing a few songs
played at a Denver record store. It’s basically my
introduction to Flogging Molly.

The CD has 10 songs, some but not all featured in the
documentary. There are some acoustic — but not necessarily
mellow — versions of Flogging favorites like “Drunken
Lullabies” and “Tomorrow Comes a Day Too Soon.” And even
better are the live tracks, “The Likes of You Again” and
the anthemic “What’s Left of the Flag.”

As far as the DVD goes, this film by Jim Dziura is
basically a promo piece that will best be enjoyed by
established Flogging Molly fans. All seven Floggers have
their own little segments in which they tell their life
stories and bandmates give kiss-up testimonials (“Dennis is
one of the greatest people I’ve ever met in my life.”).
Admirably democratic, I guess. Trouble is, most of them
haven’t had lives that are all that interesting.

Like most rock-doc projects, my main criticism is that
there should have been less yack and more music. The live
sequences are, for the most part, thrilling. But then a
perfectly good performance is interrupted by a band member
whining about how tough touring life is or some
inarticulate fan talking about how Flogging Molly rules.
(Then again, there’s a pretty cool little scene where a
band member is berating a fan for showing his genitals to a
bandmate’s wife.)

Even if it isn’t the greatest rock ’n’ roll band in the
world, and even if it doesn’t pay proper tribute to St.
Shane, Flogging Molly upholds and defends the marriage of
punk rock and traditional Irish music. Till death do it

Check out


Cillian Murphy Brings Acclaimed 'Wind That Shakes The Barley' To Toronto Fest

Andrea Baillie, Canadian Press
Published: Friday, September 08, 2006 Article tools

TORONTO (CP) - When Cillian Murphy signed
on to star in "The Wind that Shakes the Barley," he
literally had no clue how it would turn out.

"I had never read a script before we started shooting," the
Irish actor said in an interview just hours before the
movie had its North American premiere this week at the
Toronto International Film Festival.

Such is the modus operandi of acclaimed British director
Ken Loach, known for his gritty portrayals of working-class
life in films like "Bread and Roses" and "Ladybird,

In "The Wind That Shakes the Barley," Loach casts his
unrelenting lens on Ireland's blood-drenched battle for
independence in the early 1920s.

Shot chronologically, the actors were mostly in the dark
about what was in store for their characters, often
receiving only a few pages of script each day.

Murphy went into the film knowing only that he would play
one of two brothers.

"The way Ken shoots his films is extraordinary," said the
actor, his icy blue eyes lighting up.

"I mean, it's not like make-believe, it's like real life.
It's like nothing I've ever experienced before. In my
opinion every film should be shot like this."

"It's completely honest. There's no intellectualization of
your part .... It feels like you're watching real people."

The film is already a sensation, winning the prestigious
Palme d'or at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year
and earning huge box-office returns in Ireland.

It has also incited controversy, with some critics dubbing
it "anti-British."

But Murphy, who lives in London, dismisses that suggestion.

"It's anti the policies of the British administration of
that time ... Obviously Britain doesn't want to look at
this period in history."

"It's not meant to be inflammatory it's just meant to get
people thinking and talking."

Murphy, whose previous screen credits include "Red Eye,"
"Cold Mountain" and "Batman Begins," is the emotional core
of the film as Damien, a young doctor who gives up a
promising job at a London hospital to fight for

"The Wind That Shakes the Barley" was also a personal
journey for the actor, who grew up in County Cork, where
the film is set. He lost a distant cousin at the hands of
the Black and Tan squads sent in from Britain during the

"It's only two generations ago that this story takes place
in a small little county. Almost everyone has a story about
this struggle," he said.

"It was a civil war and divided people very viciously. And
it's not that long ago."

Loach, who could not attend the Toronto fest, was just the
man to bring the past into focus, added Murphy.

"I think any actor in the world worth their salt would want
to work with Ken Loach," said the actor. "He's a master."

© The Canadian Press 2006

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