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September 19, 2006

Crucial Chance For Ulster Before PM's Departure

News About Ireland & The Irish

GU 09/19/06 Crucial Chance For Ulster Before PM's Departure
BT 09/19/06 SF Urged To Back Police To Secure A Deal
BT 09/19/06 DUP Reveals Letter
BT 09/19/06 Hain: McCord Report Will Be Difficult For British State
BT 09/19/06 Assembly Seeks Scrutiny In Wake Of Shoukri & Stormontgate
BT 09/19/06 20% Pay Rise For O'Loan
BT 09/19/06 Trust In Police And Politicians 'Is Lowest In Ulster'
RT 09/19/06 11 PSNI Officers Injured In Violence
SB 09/17/06 Britain’s New Man In Ireland
BT 09/19/06 Vatican Experts Say Pope 'Unrepentant'
JA 09/19/06 Cillian Murphy Gets History Lesson


Downing Street Sees Crucial Chance For Ulster Before PM's Departure

Will Woodward and Owen Bowcott
Tuesday September 19, 2006
The Guardian

The "window of opportunity" to return power-sharing to
Northern Ireland may be closed once Tony Blair leaves
office, Downing Street warned yesterday.

Mr Blair's official spokesman suggested that his departure,
and elections in the Republic of Ireland, made talks in
Scotland planned for next month all the more crucial. The
two governments and the parties in Northern Ireland are due
to meet near Fife on October 11-13. The prime minister held
talks on Friday at Chequers, his country residence, with
the taoiseach, Bertie Ahern.

"There is a judgment to be made about whether it's going to
be possible to find a window of opportunity such as we now
have again," the prime minister's spokesman said. "The
temptation is always to delay taking decisions but, if you
actually look at what's happening in the republic, where
there's a build-up to what's expected to be an election
next year, and if you look at the timetable on this side of
the Irish sea as well, it does look as if there is an
opportunity. It does look as though it will be difficult to
find a similar opportunity again."

The spokesman forecast that the report of the Independent
Monitoring Commission on paramilitary arms, due early next
month, "would give us a picture of what is not happening in
terms of IRA activity".

"I'm not going to get into forecasting what will happen
once this prime minister has gone," he said, "but people
acknowledge he has played a special role ... "

The comments are likely to irritate supporters of Gordon
Brown, the prime minister's likely successor, and could be
seen as an example of Mr Blair's legacy-building.

Resentment is also growing within the Democratic Unionist
party over the government-imposed deadline of November 24.
Any suggestion that the process should be hurried along in
order to suit Mr Blair's exit strategy is likely to be

Some DUP figures also instinctively feel they could obtain
a better deal from Gordon Brown, a Scot whose father was a
Presbyterian preacher.


SF Urged To Back Police To Secure A Deal

By Noel McAdam
19 September 2006

Secretary of State Peter Hain has urged Sinn Fein to give
unequivocal support to policing to increase the chances of
a devolution deal.

He said: "I think it would be an enormous boost to the
prospects of doing a deal by November 24 if the Sinn Fein
leadership made an unequivocal commitment to support

There was now no excuse for republicans not to support the
new policing structures in Northern Ireland, he said.

Meeting the Stormont task force identifying obstacles to
devolution, Mr Hain told Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness that
he did not accept that the experience of policing by the
nationalist community now is repressive.

"I don't accept that the PSNI is a force which is not being
given cross-community suport, even in areas like south
Armagh which is traditionally hostile to the police," he

He also said the idea that national security would be a
"no-go area" for MI5 in Northern Ireland was unacceptable.

He added that Chief Constable Sir Hugh Orde and senior
officers were in full agreement with the new procedures
relating to MI5.

His comments came as it was confirmed St Andrews will be
the location for the negotiations between the political
parties from October 11-13.

In a message on his website, Taoiseach Bertie Ahern said:
"We have now reached the end point when we must give
finality to our efforts.

"Northern Ireland politicians need to make up their mind
whether they want to govern or not."

As he met the Preparation for Government committee at
Stormont for the first time, Mr Hain also said, however:
"At some point unionism needs to recognise that Northern
Ireland has been transformed - absolutely, completely
transformed - in a process that is deepening all the time."

But he also told Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness that he did
not accept that the experience of policing by the
nationalist community now is repressive.

Chief Constable Sir Hugh Orde and senior officers were in
full agreement with the new procedures.

In a 90-minute session, Mr Hain again reaffirmed the
Governments' devolution deadline is "absolute" - and said
historically it could take a decade to restore devolution
if the parties fail by November 24.

"I am not making a prediction that will happen, I am just
saying the historical picture is not that encouraging," he

The Secretary of State told the DUP's Ian Paisley Jnr if he
was going to wait until the "picture is perfect" he would
be a very old man.


DUP Reveals Letter

By Noel McAdam
19 September 2006

DUP leader Ian Paisley today disclosed a Government letter
to Sinn Fein outlining a 'work plan' towards the
restoration of devolution.

As he leads another party delegation to meet the
Independent Monitoring Commission (IMC), Mr Paisley said
the outline schedule - possibly including new legislation -
"masks" the real issues.

It also emerged the DUP may kickstart its consultation with
the unionist community, announced during its ground-
breaking visit to Killarney earlier this year, following
next month's talks in Scotland.

The DUP's latest talks with the IMC this afternoon come
just a fortnight before its next major report which is
expected to give a positive assessment of the IRA ending
its paramilitary and criminal activity.

Mr Paisley said he had a letter sent to Sinn Fein which had
been copied to his party, which included the intention to
introduce legislation at Westminster in November. The
letter then went on: "This will be followed by the election
of First and Deputy First Minister and the formation of an

In an article for today's News Letter, Mr Paisley said,
however: "There can be no government with those who are
engaged in terror and/or crime, and who refuse to support
the rule of law.

"Unionists can take heart that I will ensure there will be
no going back to the days of terror at the heart of

Sinn Fein also came in for criticism from the SDLP who
accused republicans of playing into the DUP's hands by
refusing to sign up for policing.


Hain: Mccord Report Will Be Difficult For The British State

By Claire Regan
19 September 2006

A father's campaign concerning allegations that security
forces colluded with loyalist paramilitaries in the murder
of his son has been boosted by Peter Hain's admission that
a Police Ombudsman report could prove "extremely
uncomfortable" for the British state.

Raymond McCord welcomed the comments on Nuala O'Loan's
forthcoming report on police handling of the murder of his
22-year-old son Raymond junior by the UVF.

The former RAF man was beaten to death and his body dumped
in a quarry in 1997.

Mr McCord has mounted a campaign for an investigation into
the police handling of the murder claiming that it was
carried out by UVF members who were police informers and
who had been protected from prosecution by their handlers.

His efforts to bring his son's killers to justice recently
included a meeting with Mr Hain, at which the politician
was said to have fallen asleep.

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph last night, Mr McCord
welcomed Mr Hain's assessment that the report may make
difficult reading for the State.

"For years I have been ridiculed by the UVF and the PUP for
my belief that there was collusion in young Raymond's
killing. This is a great boost to his case," he said.

"I felt that meeting with Mr Hain didn't go too well. But
now his attitude has completely changed. It's like a
different Peter Hain with a completely different outlook. I
was astounded when I heard what he'd said, it's great

Mr Hain made the comments while addressing the Preparation
for Government committee at Stormont yesterday. He praised
Mrs O'Loan saying that this report would again underline
her office's independence.

Mr McCord added that he "could not praise the Ombudsman
highly enough".


Assembly Seeks Scrutiny Role In Wake Of Shoukri Case And Stormontgate

By Chris Thornton
19 September 2006

Prosecuters' handling of collapsed trials like the
Stormontgate case could come under new scrutiny if Assembly
members get their way.

A cross-party group of MLAs have called on the Government
to review the policy in the wake of a series of high
profile collapses that saw informer Denis Donaldson and UDA
man Ihab Shoukri walk free.

Stormont's Preparation for Government Committee made the
call today in a report on law and order.

Six years ago, a crucial report on justice reform called
for prosecutors to presume they must give "as full an
explanation as possible" for withdrawing major cases.

But the Government only accepted that recommendation from
the Criminal Justice Review "with qualifications" - and in
practice, the policy appears to have hardly changed at all.

Explanations for the collapse of a case tend to be given in
the broadest terms.

The ongoing debate has been fuelled by a series of dropped
prosecutions that left significant questions about the
handling of the cases.

Last December, charges relating to an alleged IRA spy ring
were withdrawn, clearing Sinn Fein worker Denis Donaldson
and two other men.

Donaldson was later exposed as an informer and was shot
dead in Donegal earlier this year.

In June, UDA membership charges were dropped against senior
UDA man Ihab Shoukri when the prosecution offered no
evidence against him.

And earlier this month, estate agent Philip Johnston was
cleared of money laundering when the charges against him -
laid almost a year ago - were withdrawn.

Last year the Director of Public Prosecutions, Sir Alasdair
Fraser told the Belfast Telegraph that his policy on giving
reasons was "evolving".

He said explanations are given in general terms not because
prosecutors have "any sense of being defensive, but there
are issues of rights and concerns of individuals in

The Preparation for Government Committee also agreed to
call for a single policing and justice department if those
powers are devolved to Belfast.


20% Pay Rise For O'Loan

By David Gordon
19 September 2006

Police Ombudsman Nuala O'Loan was facing controversy today
over a pay rise of more than 20%.

The increase for the last financial year brought the
policing watchdog's annual salary up towards the £120,000

It has been strongly defended by the Ombudsman's office,
who insisted that Mrs O'Loan had been "seriously

The figures are contained in the latest annual accounts for
the Ombudsman's office. They stated that Mrs O'Loan was
paid between £115,000 and £120,000 in 2005/06. In the
previous 12 months, her salary was between £90,000 and

A spokesman for the Ombudsman's office said: "Mrs O'Loan
had been seriously underpaid for several years when
compared to the wages received by senior figures in the
Policing Board, the Parades Commission and similar

"Such was the deficiency that the Northern Ireland Office
had a review of her remuneration and decided that it should
be increased to its current level."

The spokesman added: "Even now the increase only brings her
up to the level of the wages already being received by
figures such as the Parliamentary Ombudsman."

But DUP MP Sammy Wilson said: "This is public money.

"On what basis do you justify an increase of this size?

"In my opinion, the public do not get value for money from
the Police Ombudsman's office.

"The accountability mechanisms are very weak.

"It's also the most heavily staffed policing oversight
office in the United Kingdom and does not have the
confidence of police officers."

Northern Ireland Secretary of State Peter Hain yesterday
paid tribute to Mrs O'Loan's work during a question and
answer session with MLAs at Stormont.


Trust In Police And Politicians 'Is Lowest In Ulster'

By Mark Hookham
19 September 2006

Trust of politicians, judges and police officers is lower
in Ulster than anywhere else in the UK, it has been

A survey on behalf of the Committee on Standards in Public
Life revealed that the public in Northern Ireland have
among the lowest opinions of office-holders.

The committee's chairman Sir Alistair Graham said public
trust in politicians particularly is at a "worryingly low

The survey - the first of its kind to cover Northern
Ireland - asked members of the public: "Overall, how would
you rate the standard of conduct of office-holders in the

A total of 45% of GB respondents and 46% of Scottish
respondents said "very or quite high". But in Ulster the
figure was a much lower 35%.

Only 42% of Ulster respondents said they trusted their MPs
to tell the truth - compared to 48% in England and Wales
and 47% in Scotland.

A marked cynicism about the criminal justice system was
revealed by the survey.

Only 60% of those surveyed in Northern Ireland trust senior
police officers to tell the truth, compared to 69% in
England and Wales and 74% in Scotland.

Fewer adults in the Province than in England and Wales said
they would generally trust their local police officers -
66%, 11 points lower than the England and Wales average.

Similarly, only 74% of people surveyed trust Ulster's
judges. Judges in England and Wales have a trust level of
81% and those in Scotland 84%.

The survey, conducted by the IPSOS MORI Social Research
Institute, blamed Ulster's higher than average levels of
mistrust on the attitudes of the middle class.

It states: "Although Northern Ireland's class profile
differs from that of England and Wales, with higher working
class populations, this does not explain the difference in

"In fact, the difference is almost entirely within the
Northern Ireland middle class, who are considerably less
likely than there counterparts in England and Wales to say
that office-holders' standards of conduct is high."

On a more positive note, more Ulster respondents said
standards of public office-holders have improved (29%)
rather than got worse (22%) compared with a few years ago -
although the largest group say things have stayed the same

The most trusted professionals in Northern Ireland are
family doctors - 92% of respondents believe they tell the

The least trustworthy are tabloid journalists - only 7%
said they believe what they read in red-top newspapers.


11 PSNI Officers Injured In Violence

18 September 2006 14:52

Eleven PSNI officers have been injured in street violence
in Belfast.

Four officers were hurt when a stolen car collided with a
police Land Rover on the New Lodge Road at around 7pm
yesterday evening.

Following the crash, the driver of the vehicle was arrested
and rioting erupted.

Up to 150 people gathered and attacked police, hurling
building debris at them.

Seven officers were injured including a female officer who
was cut in the face by glass.


Britain’s New Man In Ireland

17 September 2006 By Andrew Lynch

David Reddaway, the new British ambassador to Ireland, is
used to being in a tight spot.

David Reddaway, the new British ambassador to Ireland, is
used to being in a tight spot. During the Iranian
Revolution in 1979, he was a junior official in an embassy
that was bombed and attacked on an almost daily basis. As
the staff dwindled from 70 people to just four, it often
fell to Reddaway to personally eject armed rioters from the

His bravery during a six-day siege by 3,000 students won
him the MBE, and set him up for a long career as a high-
flying diplomat. It also had a much more important

‘‘Because I spoke Persian and wasn’t married, I was
dispensable enough to be sent out to the front of the
embassy to reason with the protesters,” said Reddaway, who
presented his credentials to President Mary McAleese last
week. ‘‘At one of those demonstrations, my eye was caught
by an Iranian woman who was interpreting the speeches for a
group of Germans. Roshan is now my wife.”

As he settles into his new office on Dublin’s Merrion Road,
Reddaway is presumably looking forward to a quieter life.
Genial, well-built and self-assured, the 53-year-old has
been a regular visitor to Ireland since 1968, but admits to
being taken aback by the rapid rate of change. ‘‘The
ambassador’s official residence is in Glencairn, and I can
remember driving out there years ago through open fields
and countryside, for what seemed like hours,” he said.
‘‘Now, of course, it’s surrounded by housing estates and a

Reddaway studied Irish history in Cambridge and said that
he decided some time ago that he’d love to serve in Dublin.
‘‘I didn’t expect the job to become vacant for another

Then Stewart Eldon [his predecessor] was suddenly appointed
to the North Atlantic Council and it all happened very
quickly. ‘‘You find yourself with two months to sell your
car, close your back accounts and find schools for your

“We’ve also brought over a considerable number of animals.
It’s pretty tedious, but it’s worth it when you get there.”

Like any good diplomat, Reddaway’s political views are
impossible to establish with any certainty. On his
bookshelves, a copy of Margaret Thatcher’s memoirs nestles
beside Lost Lives, a mammoth account of every single death
during the Northern Troubles.

One of them was Christopher Ewart-Biggs, a predecessor of
Reddaway’s who was killed by the IRA in Sandyford in Dublin
in 1976. It’s a useful reminder that there was a time when
being ambassador to Ireland was not exactly the dream of
every young British diplomat.

The original embassy in Merrion Square was burned down
after Bloody Sunday in 1972, and the present building was
besieged by rioters during the 1981 hunger strikes.

During his time in Iran, Reddaway reportedly urged his
hosts to change the name of Bobby Sands Street outside the
British embassy in Tehran, asking them how they’d feel if
it was named after the deposed Shah. ’‘Thankfully, we’ve
all come a long way since then,” he said. ‘‘I presented my
credentials to Mary McAleese this week, and she told me
that relations between our two countries simply couldn’t be
better. There has been a huge growth in trust and
confidence over the last few years.

‘‘Obviously we have to deal with the hand that history has
dealt us. I was amused to hear Peter Hain [the Northern
Secretary] suggest that there should be a tax on people
quoting history in Northern Ireland, with people having to
pay more the farther back they go. But I don’t think you
should tear pages out of the history books, you should just
turn them over.”

His top priority, naturally enough, is to represent his
government in the negotiations in the run-up to the
deadline for the restoration of the Northern Assembly on
November 24. ‘‘I don’t regard it as a threatening deadline,
because that implies a malign intent,” he said.

‘‘But it’s certainly time for people to take hard
decisions. And there’s an enormous determination on our
side to get it right.’’ He admits, however, that the
imminent change in Downing Street, expected to take place
within the next six months, could have consequences for the
Northern peace process.

‘‘Everyone would acknowledge that the effort Tony Blair has
put in has been extraordinary,” he said.

‘‘Whoever succeeds him as prime minister will be facing a
general election reasonably soon and will have lots of
other priorities.

‘‘I think it’s fair to say that under those circumstances,
it will be difficult for them to give as much time to
Northern Ireland as Tony Blair has.”

Although Reddaway’s father Norman was a pioneering diplomat
during the Cold War era, he said that his choice of career
owed more to accident than design.

‘‘Actually, I was always determined not to follow in my
father’s footsteps,” he said. ‘‘After university I spent a
year as a volunteer teacher in Ethiopia, but I really had
no idea what I wanted to do. I applied for the civil
service mainly because I thought the process would take a
few months and that would take the pressure off me.

‘‘Then I was accepted, found myself learning Farsi in Iran
and realised that I had a more interesting job than any of
my friends. So I decided I might as well stick at it.

“But my father obviously was a strong influence on me. His
advice was not to go native when you’re in another country,
but never get stuck behind a desk either. Don’t just push
paper around, meet the people and try to make a difference.
He couldn’t stand those people who never put a foot wrong
because they never put a foot anywhere.”

Reddaway’s own career has included high-profile postings in
Argentina, India, Afghanistan and Canada. Before coming
here he was Britain’s High Commissioner in Ottawa, the city
where he was born. His most controversial moment came in
2002, when the authorities in Tehran rejected his
appointment as Britain’s ambassador to Iran on the grounds
that he was ‘‘a Zionist spy for MI6’’.

In fact he is not Jewish, and the British government have
firmly denied that he works for their intelligence

‘‘I’m very sorry about what happened,” he said. ‘‘I know
Iran very well, I think I would have done a good job and I
think they made the wrong decision. We’re all very
concerned about the escalating tension over their nuclear
weapons programme.

“But I’ve had to move on.”

Life in Ireland should be a lot more stress-free. A recent
survey carried out by the British embassy found that almost
80 per cent of Irish people have a positive opinion of
Britain. The transformation in the relationship was
recently illustrated by the presence of Reddaway’s
predecessor, Stewart Eldon, at the commemoration of the
1916 Rising at the GPO last April.

Reddaway said that Sellafield would be an ongoing point of
dispute between the two governments and observed that
‘‘myths do tend to get in the way of facts’’.

Overall, however, he’s hopeful that his time in Ireland
will also provide some opportunities for him to pursue his
hobbies of riding, trekking and rugby (his other main
interest, acquiring Persian carpets, might be a little more
difficult to pursue).

‘‘I’m determined to become the first British ambassador to
complete the Wicklow Way,” he said.

‘‘And although I’m ashamed to say that I’ve never managed
to visit Lansdowne Road, I can’t wait to represent England,
Scotland or Wales at the first rugby internationals in
Croke Park. That will be a very proud moment for me.”


Vatican Experts Say Pope 'Unrepentant'

By Peter Popham
19 September 2006

As protests against the Pope continued to rumble around the
Muslim world yesterday, Catholics began asking themselves
if this highly intelligent man can really have been so
crass as to have ignited the passions of millions of
Muslims without realising that he was doing it.

If the alternative version is more credible - that he knew
exactly what he was doing - then the next question arises:
why? The gloomy conclusion of some Vatican experts is that
there was no inconsistency in the Pope's choice of the
words "inhuman and evil" - quoted from the Byzantine
emperor Manuel II Palaeologus - to characterise Islam. Such
a negative view, they say, is consistent with all his words
and actions with regard to Islam.

Their claims make for a tragic contrast with the decades
devoted by John Paul II to the challenge of bringing Islam,
Judaism and Christianity closer together after many
centuries of hatred and bloodshed. Now all that hard work,
rowing against the tide of history, seems to be at risk.

Marco Politi, Vatican expert at La Repubblica newspaper,
wrote: "The debacle into which the Holy See has fallen
after [the Pope's speech at the University of ] Regensburg
... is much more than an accident of communication. The
unhappy anti-Mohamed quotation, followed by the violent
reaction of the Islamic world and the bitter indignation of
moderate European Muslims, has brought violently to the
light the rupture completed by the Pope with the strategy
conducted for more than two decades with success by John
Paul II."

Politi said John Paul II went out of his way to find points
in common between the three revealed religions: "From
Casablanca to Cairo, from Sudan to Syria, in every corner
of the world in which there was a significant population of
Muslims, John Paul II preached the common faith in the one
God of the sons of Abraham, their common prayer and the
common duty of Jews, Christians and Muslims in favour of
peace and justice," he wrote. "It wasn't merely rhetoric.
It was the wish to put together, in the name of spiritual
brotherhood, a shared platform from which to repudiate
religious violence, religiously motivated terrorism and any
other manipulation of the name of God to justify sanguinary

But his successor indicated from the start that he would
not continue down the same road, Politi said. "At his
inaugural mass as Pope, Benedict XVI cut out any reference
to a fraternal relationship" with Islam. The Pope is also,
according to Politi, "tormented with worry born from the
messages of violence woven into the Koran, and doubtful of
the ability of Islamic religious leaders to get to grips
with the problems of secularism." But if the Regensburg
address was his way of airing those doubts, it has had the
effect of multiplying them. "Now," Mr Politi concludes,
"the Vatican must try to rebuild its strategy towards Islam
from scratch."

Writing in La Stampa, the political scientist Gian Enrico
Rusconi said the Pope's apology on Sunday "was an act such
as has not been recorded in the modern history of the
papacy. It was an unheard-of gesture. But at the same time
the discourse at Regensburg and its consequences indicate
an irreversible break, not only in relations between Islam
and the Catholic Church, but also in the public image of
the Pope in the West."


Cillian Murphy Gets History Lesson

By Mark Daniell -- For JAM! Movies

Irish actor Cillian Murphy. (CP PHOTO/Jonathan Hayward)
TORONTO - Though it hasn't officially been declared the
most political TIFF yet, it seems fitting that in a week
where Hollywood saw fit to unspool a variety of politically
themed flicks, Tinseltown's biggest outsider - Ken Loach -
tapped Cillian Murphy - one of the industry's rising stars
- to topline his volatile "The Wind That Shakes The

With a gaggle of fans cluttering the lobby below, up on the
46th floor of a suite overlooking Bloor Street, 30-year-old
Murphy ('Batman Begins," "Red Eye," "28 Days Later") says
the Palme d'Or-winning film taught him a lot as an actor,
but it also taught him a lot of his own Irish history.

"Diversity has always been important to me and the actors
that I admire are the ones that pop up in things that you
don't expect," he says, his steely blue eyes lighting up.
"But any actor worth their salt is going to want to work
with Ken Loach. And 'cause I'm from the area (Murphy hails
from Cork, Ireland), I felt a sense of responsibility to
the story and to the people."

Opening in 1920, "Barley" tells the unflinching tale of a
group of Irishmen who formed guerrilla armies to square off
against the ruthless 'Black and Tan' squads that were being
imported from Britain to quash Ireland's bid for

Forced by a deep love for his country, Damien (played by
Murphy) gives up a promising medical career at a London
hospital to take up arms with his brother, Teddy (Padraic
Delaney), and fight for freedom.

"The film did make me think about how extraordinary these
people were. They were these incredibly passionate and
committed people who effectively, with no military
training, brought the British army to its knees in Cork."

Shooting the picture also got Murphy thinking about his own
family history.

"I always knew that there was a distant cousin of mine who
had been shot and killed by the 'Black and Tans,'" he
recalls distantly. "And I found out after that my father's
father had also been shot at by the 'Black and Tans.'"

"It's only really two generations ago, so everyone in Cork
has stories or knows someone who was touched directly by

"I became more aware of the complexities Irish history and
how complicated it was and how a lot of it is not dealt
with in great detail in the curriculum at Irish schools,
and not dealt with at all within British history."

Lauding Loach's technique of filming his movie's
chronologically, Murphy said it was a deeply affecting
experience to shoot the picture in a way that not even he
knew how it would turn out.

"You know, it's the way every film should be done," he
says. "(Shooting) chronologically, you know exactly where
you are. You know as much as the character knows."

As the film unfolds, Damien and Teddy's leadership over a
band of freedom fighters forces the British to negotiate a
truce. But with the brothers split on whether or not to
accept Britain's terms of surrender, civil war erupts,
pitting friends and allies against one another in a deadly

"Ken's films have always been a mix of the human and the
political," Murphy says. "So you can look at this film as a
story of two brothers, two ordinary guys who find
themselves in this extraordinary situation, and how they
deal with it and the choices that they have to make. Also,
though, you're kind of gently nudged into thinking about
how that reflects today. How that conflict parallels what's
going on today."

"That's the whole point. It's not prescriptive. People can
take what they want from it."

"I mean obviously this has a different appeal than some of
my other films, but I've had the luck to be able to stand
behind every film I've made and say, 'I really believe this
is a good piece of cinema.'"

And debuting the film in North America here in Toronto was
no accident.

"Canadians do have a slightly more balanced view than say
some other neighbours," he chuckled.

With the film being targeted as anti-British overseas,
Murphy dismisses inflammatory criticism, saying the film
was meant to get people thinking and talking.

"There was a knee-jerk reaction in a lot of the right-wing,
Murdoch press, but it got people talking," he said with a
slight wave of his hand. "There's still a conflict there,
but I think it's very encouraging that the IRA has
disarmed. And now that they've sat down and started
talking, there's progress being made. That's the ultimate
thing in conflict resolution."

When asked about his hopes for peace in the region, though,
Murphy let out a bit of a laugh.

"I can't answer that question," he said. "If I could answer
that question I wouldn't be an actor; I'd be running the

"The Wind That Shakes The Barley" opens in North America
later this year.

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