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September 07, 2006

Daily Ireland To Cease Print Publication

News About Ireland & The Irish

IT 09/07/06 Belfast's Daily Ireland To Cease Publication
BN 09/07/06 Ahern Hopes Blair Will Be Present For North Talks
BT 09/07/06 Ceasefire Holding Firm As IRA Gives Peace A Chance
IT 09/07/06 US Envoy Says IMC Report A Sign Of Progress
BT 09/07/06 DUP Still Wary Of Provisionals Despite IMC Reports
TJ 09/07/06 Adams Calls For Hamas Talks
BT 09/07/06 Savings 'Will Be Ploughed Back Into Public Services'
BT 09/07/06 Opin: Northern Ireland And A Lame-Duck PM
BT 09/07/06 Opin: Honestly, You Do Want To Keep Us
BT 09/07/06 Opin: Hain's Approach Will Take Some Beating
IM 09/07/06 Opin: When One Doesn't Mind Being Called A Provo
BT 09/07/06 A Sign Of The Times As Church Marks 75 Years
PD 09/07/06 75 Years At Cleveland West Side Irish American Club
II 09/07/06 Rave Reviews For Film About Priest In 9/11 Horror
ST 09/07/06 'Pirate Queen' Crew Eager To Sail
IM 09/07/06 Bob Doyle To Speak At Spanish Civil War Meeting In Sligo


Belfast's Daily Ireland To Cease Publication

By Éanna Ó Caollaí Last updated: 07-09-06, 13:16

Daily Ireland, the Belfast-based national daily newspaper,
is to cease publication from tomorrow.

In a statement released this afternoon, the publisher of
the pro-nationalist newspaper Mr Mairtín Ó Muilleóir
blamed the closure on a refusal by the British government
to place advertisements and on a lack of investment by the
North's main business development body, InvestNI.

Paying tribute to the staff at the paper, Mr Ó Muilleóir
said "Daily Ireland played a vital role in promoting the
nationalist case at a time when McCarthyism and anti-
nationalist voices were in the ascendancy.

"We are very proud of the achievements of the Daily Ireland
team over the past 20 months. We hope we have inspired
others to take up where we have left off and that this is
more a time-out than an ending,"

Mr Ó Muilleóir questioned the timing of a decision by the
British government to change its advertising policy by
putting advertisements out to tender.

He added that the North's Equality Commission was assisting
the paper in challenging the refusal of start-up grants and
the British government's decision not to advertise.

Daily Ireland is part of the Andersonstown News Group,
which also publishes the North Belfast News, Irish language
daily Lá and Liam Hayes's latest publications, the Lucan
Gazette and Blanchardstown Gazette.

The paper had a staff of 40, of whom 30 were journalists.
Columnists included Damien Kiberd, Danny Morrison, Jude
Collins and Tom McGurk.

The paper was involved in a dispute with Minister for
Justice, Mr McDowell after he accused it of being a "provo
front" shortly before it began publishing in February of

Daily Ireland will continue on the web at

© 2006


Ahern Hopes Blair Will Be Present For North Talks

07/09/2006 - 11:56:09

The Taoiseach Bertie Ahern has said he hopes British Prime
Minister Tony Blair will remain available to deal with the
peace process in the North in the months ahead.

Mr Blair is expected to announce today that he will be
stepping down from the post in around 12 months' time.

The move comes amid a growing political crisis over Mr
Blair's previous refusal to set a date for his departure.

Speaking in Dublin today, Mr Ahern said he hoped Mr Blair
would still be present for the talks in the North as the
November 24 deadline for restoring devolution approaches.

"We have a very busy agenda between now and November 24, so
I look forward to working with him on that," he said.


Ceasefire Holding Firm As IRA Gives Peace A Chance

As ceasefire watchdog the IMC unveils its thinking on the
IRA, republican dissidents and loyalist paramilitaries,
security writer Brian Rowan gives his assessment

07 September 2006

It is written in a language that makes for a predictable
ending. This latest chapter in the reporting of the
Independent Monitoring Commission - its last thought before
it delivers its crucial assessment on paramilitary activity
in a few weeks time – brings some of the security thinking
of 1994 forward into a present day context.

We are told what we already know. That the IRA still exists
in an organised form - a command and control structure -
and that this is "an important element in maintaining the
organisation on its chosen path".

That path is now towards peace. It is about politics, about
power-sharing, about republicans pursuing their wants
peacefully. It is about doing things without guns.

And if you travel back to 1994 - to the period of the first
ceasefire - it was the senior police officer Ronnie
Flanagan who first spoke about the importance of keeping
that IRA structure intact, keeping the organisation
together, as it moved from war towards peace.

A fractured, splintered, broken IRA would pose a threat.
But as it has moved from ceasefires to decommissioning to
ending its armed campaign, so it has held its
organisational shape – not to fight a war but to deliver a

That penny has finally dropped. The thing that Flanagan
first spoke of a dozen years ago has registered in the
present day and in the reporting of the IMC.

The IRA is very different now - and in each commission
report you can track the transition.

What did the IMC say yesterday?

It stated a firm view that the IRA is committed to
following a political path. It is not engaged in terrorism
- no attacks, no planning for attacks, no weapons being
procured, no training.

It is an organisation that is going away in a structured,
disciplined fashion – an organisation that is now so
different that the troops can go, the watchtowers can be
pulled down and many bases can be demolished.

With the passing of the old war-ready, war-equipped IRA, so
the security landscape can change.

The IMC is setting the scene and the tone for its October
report – the one that will trigger the next effort to make
a political deal between Paisley and the Provos.

In a few weeks time, the commission will go beyond the very
general assessment in yesterday's published report and get
down into some of the specifics.

Unionists will read the report for any evidence of
continued organised IRA involvement in criminality.

And they may discover that the IMC has no evidence to
suggest that anything that might still be going on is
happening with the authority of the IRA leadership.

"The indications are, in organisational terms, positive," a
source told this newspaper.

"There are still people who are doing things. It's personal
(and) they aren't going to stop.

And on how the IRA is evolving, changing, what are the
source's observations?

"I wouldn't necessarily say perfect, but it's pretty good -
pretty surprising how it's gone."

And so you see where this story is going – you see what the
reporting of the IMC is leading to.

It is setting the stage for a significant assessment to be
delivered in October.

The IRA was never going to stand down, to disappear, in a
way that was demanded by unionists. The stuff of sackcloth
and ashes was always going to be rejected.

But has the IRA as a war organisation - as a fighting army
- all but gone?

The assessment of the IMC is clear.

"We do not think that PIRA presents a threat to the
security forces or impediment to security normalisation,"
it says

The command and control structure - the Army Council
leadership - is still there, but the orders are very

The guns are silent, the bombs can no longer be heard, and,
almost a year after those significant acts of
decommissioning, the peace is becoming more perfect.

It is a developing peace that can be seen and heard - a
peace that is being tracked by the commission tasked with
monitoring these things, a peace that is being delivered
from within a structured IRA.

It may not deliver the deal that is hoped for by November
24, but what about soon thereafter?

The reading of the reports of the IMC would suggest an
inevitable end.


US Envoy Says IMC Report A Sign Of Progress

Last updated: 07-09-06, 06:30

US Special Envoy to Northern Ireland Mitchell Reiss said
the International Monitoring Committee (IMC) report
published yesterday showed clear progress was being made on
issues critical to the peace process.

Mr Reiss was commenting on the IMC conclusion that the IRA
cessation of activities was holding firm but that the
threat from loyalist paramilitaries had not been removed.

He expressed concern about the threat posed by the
loyalists, although the report said they had contributed to
peaceful marching season this year.

The IMC said dissident republicans posed "the most
significant security threat in Northern Ireland".

Ahead of next month's all-party talks in Scotland aimed at
breaking the current impasse, the IMC's 11th report said
the maintenance of the IRA structure was proving an
important element in keeping the organisation on the path
of peace.

"We note in particular the report's conclusion that the IRA
is firmly committed to following a political path, is not
engaged in terrorist activity and has taken a stance
against criminality," Mr Reiss said.

"We are concerned, however, about the report's findings
that dissident republicans pose a significant security
threat and that some loyalist paramilitaries continue to
engage in violence.

The British government has set a November 11th deadline for
the restoration of power-sharing in the North and
threatened to impose a "Plan B" strategy in conjunction
with Dublin.

© 2006


DUP Still Wary Of Provisionals Despite IMC Reports

By Noel McAdam
07 September 2006

The DUP has insisted the IRA remains in transition despite
the paramilitary watchdog's assessment that the
Provisionals are committed to a political path.

And deputy leader Peter Robinson said the party would be
looking not just to next months' follow-up assessment by
the Independent Monitoring Commission (IMC) but subsequent
reports - beyond the Government's November 24 devolution

Nonetheless the DUP's demand for the effective disbandment
of the Provisionals has been challenged by the latest IMC
report which focuses primarily on 'normalisation'.

The four-man body argued that the IRA's maintenance of its
command structure is an important element in keeping the
organisation on a political path.

Sinn Fein MP Michelle Gildernew said it was now very clear
the time for the DUP using the issue of the IRA as an
excuse "not to engage and move forward has long since

And SDLP leader Mark Durkan said the DUP needed to face up
to the positive contents of the report.


Adams Calls For Hamas Talks

by Alex Sholem - Thursday 7th of September 2006

Writing exclusively for TJ this week Sinn Fein leader Gerry
Adams calls on Israel to recognise Hamas and reopen peace

Adams, who represents the constituency of Belfast West,
flew to Israel on Tuesday to meet the Palestinian
leadership at the invitation of Palestinian Authority
Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.

As one of the key figures in the Northern Ireland
peace talks that led to the cessation of the IRA’s terror
campaign, Adams believes lessons learned from that process
can be applied to the Middle East.

“In the Irish Peace Process the US played a positive and
encouraging role, recognising all of the democratic
mandates of the participants, supporting dialogue, and
dealing with everyone on the basis of equality.

“I would strongly urge a similar approach in respect of any
efforts to rebuild the peace process here,” he writes in
this week’s paper.

But it is not an opinion he will be able to share with
Israel’s leaders, who have rebuffed his request to meet
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Foreign Minister Tzipi

Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev told the
Jewish News: “The policy of the Israeli government is if
foreign visitors meet with officials from Hamas we will not
meet with them.

“I would remind you that following their election victory
UN Secretary General Kofi Annan placed three benchmarks
before Hamas: It must recognise Israel’s right to exist,
renounce terrorism and accept the relevant decisions in the
Middle East peace process.

“Up until now Hamas has failed to meet even one of those
benchmarks and as a result UN officials refused to hold
political discussions with the Hamas leadership.”

A spokesman for Adams said: “We would have liked to have
met the Israeli government but they have declined. One of
the most important things we have learned form our process
is the recognition and acceptance of the democratic mandate
of the participants. It is very important that we meet all
those who are elected to represent their political

Indeed, the Sinn Fein President, who was due to meet
Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh yesterday,
believes the international community must reverse its
decision to alienate Hamas in the wake of its election
victory if a peaceful solution is to be found.

“The hostile reaction of the Israeli government, of the EU
and of the United States to the election results earlier
this year which saw Hamas emerge as the government of the
Palestinian people have compounded these difficulties… What
is required is inclusive dialogue based on equality and
parity of esteem. It is patently obvious after decades of
conflict that there can be no military solution to what is
essentially a political problem.”

But his political opponents the Ulster Unionists have
derided Adams’ visit as a ‘publicity stunt’.

Ulster Unionist MEP Jim Nicholson said: “The reality is
that Hamas are a terrorist organisation banned in both the
EU and the United States and Mr Adams has once again sought
to associate himself with this terrorist organisation and
the wider axis of international terrorism.”


Savings 'Will Be Ploughed Back Into Public Services'

By David Gordon
07 September 2006

Money saved through Government cutbacks in Northern Ireland
will be in reinvested in the province, the Government has

The Department of Finance and Personnel made the commitment
in response to Belfast Telegraph queries on the leaked
Treasury letter to Ulster Secretary Peter Hain.

A DFP spokesman said: "It is not our policy to comment on
alleged leaks.

"However, as part of the Comprehensive Spending Review, the
Government is committed to increased levels of efficiency,
particularly as regards administration costs, thus allowing
for greater reinvestment in priority front line services.

"In the case of NIO and the Northern Ireland departments,
all amounts released by efficiency savings will remain in
Northern Ireland for use on public services here.

"For the record, total Government spending in Northern
Ireland will reach £16bn in 2007-08. That is 50% greater in
real terms than in 1997.

"Current spending on health will have increased by more
than 14% and in education by 8% in 2007-08 compared with

"Planned capital investment will have increased in real
terms by more than 52% between 2002-03 and 2007-08, to
around £1.3bn annually."


Opin: Northern Ireland And A Lame-Duck PM

07 September 2006

Whether the Sun is right or wrong in predicting that Tony
Blair will resign as Labour leader next May, after 10 years
in Downing Street, he would have to admit that the handling
of his departure timetable has been disastrous. His
dwindling number of supporters feel let down, his enemies
are jubilant, his party is suffering and any influence he
and the country have in the world is declining fast.

There are repercussions even in Northern Ireland. Dates are
being fixed for another high-powered summit in Scotland to
conclude a deal on devolution before November 24, but
already it has lost some momentum. Since Mr Blair will be
gone in a few months' time, politicians will be more
interested in the policies of his successor _ Gordon Brown
or A.N. Other.

Mr Blair's first mistake, as he has already conceded, was
to announce that last year's election would be his last.
The countdown began to his resignation and the pace has
quickened in recent months, as events in Iraq, Lebanon and
now Afghanistan have dismayed Labour loyalists. An attempt
to calm the storm, by emphasising his objections to naming
a date, failed miserably and he has now had to agree that
by this time next year, Labour will have a new leader.

It is a remarkable retreat, for someone who has led his
party to three successive election victories, but that is
the nature of politics. A career that began with such hope
has steadily gone downhill, as his special relationship
with President George W. Bush has tarnished his image,
until today the only interest in his future is when and how
he will make his exit.

He wanted to go in his own time, choosing the date most
suitable for himself and the chances of his chosen
successor - whoever that may be - but events have overtaken
him. The latest intake of Labour MPs, fearing meltdown at
next year's elections, wanted clarity and a wave of
discontent built up that even the Prime Minister's spin
machine could not deflect. In the end, Downing Street has
given the assurance that instead of completing his third
term, or merely giving "ample time" to his successor, he
will soon be on his way, like it or not.

The danger for Mr Blair, and the country itself, is that he
must now be seen as a lame-duck leader, lacking in
influence. Gordon Brown has long been the premier in
waiting, but it is no sure thing, with the party or the
country, as his leadership potential is being tested. For
Northern Ireland, seeking a consensus in times of political
uncertainty will be even more difficult.


Opin: Honestly, You Do Want To Keep Us

With the clock ticking on the devolution deadline UUP
leader Sir Reg Empey says the public's political apathy is
understandable - and it's up to the parties to prove their
worth on rates, water rates and education.

07 September 2006

With the clock ticking on the devolution deadline UUP
leader Sir Reg Empey says the public's political apathy is
understandable - and it's up to the parties to prove their
worth on rates, water rates and education.

Amid all the negativity of the last few months, very few in
politics or the media seem to be focused on the challenges
and possibilities created in the run-up to the November 24

Nobody should be comfortable with Direct Rule. It is bad
for Northern Ireland. Bad policy decisions are being made
against our will.

People are up in arms over rates bills, proposed water
charges and changes to our world-class education system, to
name but three.

It seems Labour ministers are using us as guinea pigs to
try out policies, no matter how ill- thought out or
damaging to the systems we already have in place.

The public's current lethargy towards politics, while
understandable, is dangerous. In the morass and minutiae of
debates and wranglings over subject matter that can be best
described as political geekery to most people, politicians
here have, by and large, managed to alienate themselves
from the electorate because they are not articulating their

The two largest parties are talking to themselves and not
facing up to the challenges that really matter to the
people of Northern Ireland - their pockets, their
businesses, their health, their children's well-being and

Over the next few months, local politicians who are facing
the government axe, need to show that we have a plan and a
vision not just for ourselves but for Northern Ireland as a

If we can't do this most basic thing then frankly we
deserve the chop.

Local people want local control of their affairs.

Social and economic challenges need to be dealt with by
accountable people and not by a minister whose constituency
is in deepest, darkest Wiltshire.

I took the rare step of issuing an open letter to other
party leaders asking them for us to give collective
leadership on the vital rates issue.

I hope that other party leaders will come on board and that
we, together, can represent the views of the public and
exert our collective influence to achieve a much more
satisfactory outcome. I would argue that it is precisely
issues such as this that we must work to change if we are
to endear a disillusioned public to local politics for
local people.

Rates and water charges are hot news and provoke such a
strong response because the immediate effects are felt in
the pocket. But right across the board on education,
health, the environment and the economy - where crucial
decisions are being made every day - political parties have
an opportunity in the weeks ahead to unite and show a
common purpose on these non-constitutional matters.

If anything it would be an indicator that we are prepared
to listen, act and represent the many hundreds of thousands
of voices not currently being listened to by ministers.

It will be well into October, if not later, before we can
make a final judgement on whether the conditions will be
right for a return to a fully devolved Assembly and

However, always at the forefront of my mind, is a desire to
stop the present rot where unionism is marginalised and
powerless and where Sinn Fein determine unionist policy.

At the forefront of my mind, too, is a desire to see real
politics working for all of us in Northern Ireland. It is
long overdue that we take our place alongside our
colleagues in Wales and Scotland in collectively shaping
the political future of Northern Ireland, free from Direct
Rule masters who treat our people like guinea pigs in some
sort of social experiment.

In the meantime, I will be focused on talking up how we, as
a significant force for change in Northern Irish politics,
are more responsive, better placed to make decisions and
above all accountable to the people of Northern Ireland in
a way that Direct Rule can never be.

Working together with other parties on the issues that
matter for all of us is something that needs to start now.

If it doesn't and we can't make a cogent case why what we
have to offer is infinitely better than direct rule then we
really don't deserve the public's support.


Opin: Hain's Approach Will Take Some Beating

By Eamonn McCann
07 September 2006

Anybody want to punch Peter Hain on the nose? OK. Form a
queue. Not that we'd condone violence. But Mr Hain made it
clear on Tuesday that meeting a Minister in the company of
your MP and offering a rational argument is no way to try
to influence the Government.

Of course, a thump on the gob wouldn't necessarily win the
argument either. But it might at least wake the Minister

Hain was offering advice to Raymond McCord Snr, who had
complained that the Secretary of State had fallen asleep
three times as he'd outlined his concerns about the role of
state forces in covering up the UVF murder of his son,
Raymond Jnr.

Lady Sylvia Hermon MP, who had accompanied Mr McCord to the
August 1 meeting, confirmed that Mr Hain had dozed off as
the distraught father strove to convey his feelings.

Asked on Tuesday about this drowsy interlude, Hain didn't
seem at all pleased: "If Mr McCord wants to influence the
Government there are ways to do it and ways not to do it,"
he declared, tetchily.

Unfortunately, nowhere in his interview with Mark Devenport
did Mr Hain specify what approach supplicants should adopt
instead in order to maximise the chances of him taking heed
of what they had to say. We can but speculate.

Winning the backing of all the main local parties and of
85% of the population - would that have swung it for Mr

The campaign against water 'reform' has achieved that level
of support. But Ministers remain singularly and severally
unimpressed. Vast sums of public money are being spent
repairing and refurbishing our water and sewerage service
in preparation for handing it over to New Labour's fast-
buck friends in the City of London so they can coin a
profit from charging the pensioners of Northern Ireland
every time they want a sip of water.

Common sense, social justice, the democratic will of the
people . . . clearly, invoking factors of this sort won't
influence the Government.

Again, this doesn't mean that a bat on the bake would do
the trick. But, in the absence of any alternative, proven
method of affecting Government thinking, it would be
foolhardy to rule the strategy out.

How about demonstrating that the Government is on record as
having promised to deliver a particular project? Would that
be enough?

Apparently not. A couple of years ago, some of us in the
North West mounted what we fondly imagined was an effective
campaign to prevent the closure of Derry's last remaining
rail link.

An array of traditional tactics for influencing Government
- marching, lobbying, collecting petitions, etc, etc -
seemed to achieve success. It was announced in December
2004 that £23.6m would be spent maintaining the line.

Great was the joy among railway buffs, worriers about the
destruction of the planet from CO2 emissions billowing up
from the cars choking the roads to gouge holes in the ozone
layer, people who like to look up from their Belfast
Telegraph to contemplate the majestic beauty of the
Castlerock coast as a smooth train glides them homeward,
and, oh, all sorts of other common sense folk.

Now, we discover that very little of the money earmarked,
as we thought, for Ballymena-Derry has been spent. Nor are
there time-specific plans for spending it. And on July 10,
in response to questions raised at a 'meet the managers'
event in Central Station, Belfast, Translink's customer
services manager, Hilton Parr, dealing with "Line relay
north of Ballymena"- that's the maintenance we'd been
promised - explained that, "Government has indicated that
it will make a decision prior to 2009 on the long-term
future of this line."

Government may well have indicated this to Mr Parr. But no
indication of a change of Government mind was given to any
of the interest groups which believed that the future of
the line had been secured back in 2004.

Obviously, railway campaigners will have to come up with
some other ways of influencing Government. Can the
potential of a cuff on the kisser be ignored?

Mr Hain might classify the concerns of the father of a
murder victim about collusion, the worries of the less
well-off about water charges, the frustration of rail
workers and passengers about possible line-closures, as
mere "day to day issues" of the sort which he insists local
politicians put out of their minds when they look to the

It's to ensure that such "day to day issues" don't intrude
that he's decided to spirit party leaders away to some
secluded spot in Scotland to sort out the blame for the
failure of their talks.

The day to day issues, matters which crucially determine
the quality of life, are not to figure at all in the
grouse-moor confab. Nothing to do with local
representatives. None of the business of the plain people.
Hain and his squad of half-timers will make the key
decisions. And they tell us straight that normal ways of
influencing Government won't work. Not on them. Not for us.

The tactic mentioned here might not work, either. But don't
we deserve the occasional bit of satisfaction? Aren't there
times you have to think that a clout on the chops would do
Hain no harm at all?


Opin: When One Doesn't Mind Being Called A Provo

National Rights And Freedoms Other Press
Thursday September 07, 2006 10:53
By Danny Morrison - Daily Ireland
6 September 2006

Dissidents more renowned for attacking Sinn Fein than for
attacking the Brits

When the IRA split in December 1969 the dissidents set up a
Provisional Army Council until a proper IRA convention
could re-constitute the organisation. That convention took
place in September 1970 but by then the name 'Provisional'
or 'Provo' had stuck and was used as shorthand by both
supporters and the media, despite the distaste some
veterans in the Movement had for that term.

The organisation which the dissidents had left initially
enjoyed being called the 'Official IRA' and 'Official Sinn
Fein' because those sobriquets suggested authenticity and

Years ago, although I consciously refrained from using the
term 'Provisional' in press statements and when an editor,
I never had any problems with it. Neither did the
grassroots, among whom, "Say Hello to the Provos" and "The
Provo Lullaby" were extremely popular if you'll excuse the

Different periods have seen republicanism undergo various
name changes: the United Irishmen, the Young Irelanders,
the Fenians, the Invincibles, the IRB, the IRA.
Republicanism, militarily and politically, continually
renewed itself and adapted to changed historical

And so, the unionist pogroms of August 1969 and the
subsequent repressive behaviour of British troops triggered
a violent and sustained republican response and on the
walls was written: "Out of the ashes of Bombay Street/Arose
the Provisionals".

During the conflict the IRA survived everything that was
thrown at it because it enjoyed popular support, was
resilient, could renew itself, and was fighting against a
background of political and constitutional crisis. In the
1990s, with the IRA undefeated but with a military
stalemate having developed, the republican leadership took
a mature and courageous decision to cease fire and to
negotiate. That decision transformed the dynamic of
politics, north and south. And today, nationalist morale is
high and its mood buoyant, despite the slow pace of the
peace process.

People who were once members of the mainstream Republican
Movement, either up until the split over abstentionism at
the 1986 ard fheis or until the ceasefire and peace
process, continually refer to Gerry Adams and the
republican leadership as "Provisionals".

You'll see it in their statements. In fact, you'll see it
in almost every statement. It is a pretty infantile attempt
at disparagement especially when one doesn't mind being
called a Provo.

I can understand why dissident republicans bristle at being
called 'dissidents'. After all, it inescapably defines and
anchors them as being dissident relative to a much larger,
successful republican organisation with which they
disagree. But they only have themselves to blame given that
they are more renowned for attacking Sinn Fein than for
attacking the Brits.

Only when the IRA called a ceasefire did a group called the
Continuity IRA pop up. When it first bombed a hotel or two
in County Fermanagh it didn't initially claim
responsibility and so the media started to talk about
"dissident republicans" because it had no other name to go

The name stuck: they should get over it.

Later, the Real IRA announced itself. A fair degree of
activity indicated that some former IRA Volunteers
alienated from the peace process sometime after 1996/97 had
become involved. If ever an organisation was obsessed with
trying to embarrass the republican leadership this was it.
If Gerry Adams was due to go to Downing Street or meet Bill
Clinton a car bomb would appear in some town in the North
to coincide with his plans.

In fact, it often appeared to be a car-bomb campaign
against the Republican Movement rather than against the
British presence, especially when no or few British army
units or police patrols were ever attacked. Objectively,
the Real IRA as guerrillas were hopeless and aimless and
eventually it all ended in tragedy with the Omagh bombing
which itself continues to raise major questions about agent

Presumably a proper warning was meant to get through. The
bomb would have exploded, damaging buildings only. The Real
IRA would have been pleased to spread gloom and confusion.
And the securocrats, who facilitated the explosion, would
have been exploiting and playing out the explosion from
every available angle to undermine the Good Friday
Agreement and Sinn Fein's involvement in the process.

But the warning didn't get through and the initial RUC
investigation into Omagh, aimed at covering up Special
Branch involvement, is slowly being exposed.

There is a certain irony in dissidents shouting sell-out
and accusing Sinn Fein leaders of being British agents. How
do we know the leaders of dissident republicans aren't
agents? I read their speeches and often wonder who is
pulling their strings.

Those involved in armed activities appear heavily
infiltrated with informers, going on the number of their
operations that are compromised.

After Omagh, Real IRA activity ended – at least for a
while. Two weeks ago the organisation claimed
responsibility for firebombs in Newry. Again, an isolated
incident – a pinprick in real terms, however costly to the
locals - which only highlights the desultory nature of
their campaign. They will never get off the ground. There
is no comparison to the type of oppression and brutality
which gave rise to the IRA campaign. When we fought we had
support within the community.

Dissidents can never hope to replicate the tempo of the IRA
campaign. Today nationalists are glad the war is over, feel
that a political solution is available and have rejected
the SDLP in favour of Sinn Fein.

IRA Volunteers fought in the North; risked their lives
bombing England and attacking those British politico-
militarists responsible for war; operated in Europe;
internationally sought and organised the importation of
weapons; went to jail, died in jails and died on the
streets and in the countryside. Many thousands of
supporters – in Ireland and further afield – also suffered
for the republican cause.

Now, you would think that this would entitle them to some
say, the right to approve a strategy even if it meant
adopting an imperfect peace process. But not according to
dissidents who are completely elitist – despite not being
able to muster numbers. They cannot sustain a propaganda
newspaper or magazine. They have not produced a programme.
They have not offered a compelling analysis or even a
woeful one. Their spokespersons have been spectacularly
unimpressive and inarticulate. They cannot even organise a

But, still, they are former comrades who maybe even once
sang, "The Provo Lullaby"! They cannot all harbour that
sense of personal hatred – a throwback to some perceived
slight in the past, no doubt - which seems to motivate some
of their more public spokespersons. If there is space for
debate and discussion, even in private, it should be
pursued. It would never be a waste of time.

Despite the early release of prisoners under the Good
Friday Agreement there are still political prisoners in
jails, north and south: many of these as a result of
dissident or alleged dissident activity. They are entitled
to be treated as political prisoners. It would be difficult
to mobilise public opinion for an amnesty until the

organisations to which they owe allegiance declare
ceasefires but the situation here will not be normalised
until all political prisoners are free.

The sincerity of those dissident republicans who believe
that the strategy of the Republican Movement is wrong is
easily tested.

Leave aside the personal attacks and explain what the
alternative strategy should be. I don't believe there is
one. But I am prepared to listen.


A Sign Of The Times As Church Marks 75 Years

By Alf McCreary
07 September 2006

A Belfast church famous for its 'wayside pulpit' signs is
celebrating its 75th anniversary this weekend.

On Saturday, there will be an open day at Stormont
Presbyterian Church on the Upper Newtownards Road and on
Sunday, the guest preacher will be the Presbyterian
Moderator Dr David Clarke.

Since 1984, the 'wayside pulpit' sign outside the church
has attracted widespread attention from passing motorists,
overseas visitors and also politicians on their way to and
from Parliament Buildings at Stormont.

Rev Dr Ronald Savage, the minister, told the Belfast
Telegraph today: "One of our most-noticed signs during the
decommissioning controversy was 'We Can Hug Without Arms'.

"I was told that this caught the eye of Sinn Fein's Martin
McGuinness and that he mentioned it at Stormont."

One of the church signs was also mentioned by Monica
McWilliams in a debate.

According to a Hansard Report of February 15, 1999, she
said: "On the way here I passed Stormont Presbyterian
Church, which I think has been sending us subconscious

"It said 'God Give Me Patience - But Hurry'. That message
is truly meant for members."

The sign-writing began in 1984 when the church was
undergoing extension work.

One notice to passers-by was 'Conversions in Progress' and
another was 'Please be Patient - God has not finished with
us yet!'

Many of the signs are topical, including one during the
World Cup in June which stated 'Van Nistelrooy and Crouch
May Score - Jesus Saves'.

Others are based on television programmes such as Have We
Got News For You which became 'Have We Got PEWS for you'.

Dr Savage, who thinks up the signs, said that some of his
ideas come from people who write to him or phone him.

"The idea of the signs is to try to make people smile,
think about the meaning, and maybe even talk about it to
others, but the intention behind every sign is to impart a
moral and a Gospel message."

One of the most recent signs, at the end of the summer, was
'Whatever the Weather - Are You Using Son Block?' but this
will be making way for the sign announcing the church's
75th anniversary. This year also marks the 30th anniversary
of the beginning of Dr Savage's ministry with the

He said: "Records show that in the past 75 years there have
been 1,343 baptisms and 786 marriages, and in my 30 years
there have been 622 funerals."


75 Years At The West Side Irish American Club

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Founded: 1931 in Cleveland
In Olmsted Township: Since 1990
Membership: About 3,200

Notable guests: Talk show host Mike Douglas in 1964; Sinn
Fein leader Gerry Adams in 1995.

Proud tradition: The club claims to have always marched on
St. Patrick's Day, no matter the weather.

Legendary members: Patrick "P.J." O'Malley, a union leader
and Irish republican, famously confronted Prince Charles at
the dedication of the Cleveland State University Law School
in 1977.

Patrick T. Lynch, a tough Irish immigrant and club founder,
is said to have taken advantage of service in the U.S. Army
in World War I to challenge British soldiers to fights. He
served as club president for 36 years.

First ladies: Colletta Masterson Jablonski of Cleveland is
the club's last surviving charter member.

Helen Malloy of Cleveland became the club's first woman
president in 1983 and arguably the first female president
of any established Irish American club.

SOURCES: Club administrators and the booklet "Volunteers:
The First 75 Years of the West Side Irish American Club,"
by Sean Gallagher.


Rave Reviews For Film About Legendary Priest In 9/11 Horror

Fr Mychal Judge's body being carried out of the WTC by
police and firemen - the image which was beamed around the
world as his story emerged

Irish-American died giving fireman the last rites in the

A FILM depicting the Irish-American priest who died giving
the last rites to New York firemen during the September 11
terror attacks has been acclaimed by New York critics.

'Saint of 9/11' opened in Manhattan yesterday to glowing
reviews from the 'New York Times', the 'New York Post' and
'New York' magazine.

But, as 'New York' magazine points out, the film's success
has less to do with its cinematic excellence than the
subject himself.

The photograph of Fr Mychal Judge's limp body being carried
out of the World Trade Centre by clearly distressed police
and firemen was beamed around the world as his story - as
one of the fallen heroes of the tragedy - emerged.


The iconic image of the Brooklyn-born chaplain of the New
York fire department has since been dubbed "the American
Pieta" - and his selfless track record in working with the
marginalised of New York has led to calls for his

'New York' magazine said: "You couldn't ask for a better
subject. Judge, according to every report, was an
extraordinarily charming, eloquent, and generous man up
until the day he died while administering last rites to
firefighters who died on September 11.

"His good works with local organisations - including the
fire department and AIDS relief programmes - are
astonishing. Judge himself was a fascinating character, a
gay man and activist, a recovering alcoholic, a paragon of
flawed virtue."


The 'New York Times' called the film "a touching and tender
elegy to a complicated man who devoted his life to

Narrated in a hushed, funereal voice by Ian McKellen, the
film tells the story of a man full of contradictions, who
was engaged in a personal battle against the demons of
alcoholism and homosexuality, yet selflessly devoted his
life to others.

By the time he died at age 68 - he was struck by falling
debris as he followed firefighters into the north-tower
lobby of the World Trade Centre - he had been sober for 23
years and had helped countless others win the battle
against booze.

He was also instrumental as a gay activist working with the
Catholic gay support group Dignity, and was very involved
in ministering to people dying of Aids at the early stage
of the epidemic, when even medical staff were afraid to go
near them. The film also examines his 1998 peace mission to
Northern Ireland, accompanied by a paraplegic police

The film has won several awards to date, including best
documentary at the 2006 Philadelphia International Gay and
Lesbian Film Festival. However, the critics took director
Glenn Holsten to task for letting the story fall flat.


"The movie's steadily elegiac tone precludes it from a
creating a more lively, idiosyncratic portrait of a man
who, by many accounts, was a wonderful raconteur; whose
gift of the gab was complemented by a rollicking sense of
humour," said the 'New York Times'. "All we see of his
gifts as a speaker are excerpts from solemn public

Special screenings of the film will also be shown across
the United States on September 11 to mark the fifth
anniversary of the terrorist attacks on New York and
Washington. ir

Allison Bray


'Pirate Queen' Crew Eager To Sail

September 7, 2006
By Hedy Weiss Theater Critic

The ship captained by Grace O'Malley -- that fierce Irish
grande dame of the high seas also known as "The Pirate
Queen" -- is fast approaching the Chicago shore. But it is
not the sight of billowing sails in the distance that
suggests its arrival; instead, it's the growing whir of the
marketing engine as it revs into high gear.

"The Pirate Queen" -- set to receive its world premiere
Oct. 3-Nov. 26 at the Cadillac Palace Theatre -- is just
the latest mega-musical to dock in Chicago before dropping
anchor on Broadway. "The Producers," "Movin' Out" and
"Spamalot" tested the waters in a similar way. And while
the show's formidable team of composer Claude-Michel
Schonberg and lyricist Alain Boublil -- the forces behind
"Les Miserables" and "Miss Saigon," as well as the less
successful "Martin Guerre" -- remained at home in Paris and
London respectively on Wednesday, the producers and other
members of the show's creative team visited Chicago for an
update on its progress.

Among them were "The Pirate Queen's" Irish-bred co-
producers, Moya Doherty (producer of "Riverdance") and John
McColgan (a force in Irish television, radio and theater).

"We originally thought we might have the world premiere of
this show in Dublin," said Doherty. "But despite all the
grand changes in Ireland in recent years, there is still a
lack of quality theaters for such a large-scale musical in
that city. So Chicago became the natural choice. And I
understand the Irish population of Chicago might be as big
as Dublin's.

"Above all, this is a story of Irish cultural heritage,"
Doherty added. "And it focuses on two powerful female
leaders -- Grace O'Malley [to be played by Stephanie J.
Block of "The Boy From Oz" and "Wicked" national tour fame]
and England's Queen Elizabeth I [Linda Balgord, who
established herself in Chicago before moving to Broadway
more than a decade ago]."

Noting that "The Pirate Queen" has been in the works for
five years, McColgan spoke of its epic scale and promised a
grand set design by Broadway master Eugene Lee ("Ragtime,"
"Sweeney Todd").

Chicago's Frank Galati, who is at the directorial helm of
the musical, hinted that his approach to this story is
"Shakespearean -- the way 'The Tempest' might have been
done at the Globe Theatre."

Looking greatly slimmed down from his usual Falstaffian
figure, Galati explained that "The Pirate Queen," like "Les
Mis" and "Miss Saigon," "puts personal stories of love and
triumph against a historical backdrop of insurgency,
rebellion and revolution."

Choreographer Mark Dendy, who is collaborating with Irish
dance specialist Carol Leavy Joyce, said, "We're using some
of the classic Irish dance formations of the late 16th
century and blending them with a modern acrobatic style.

"There will not be any of the usual dance numbers per se,
but an integration of the kind of dances done at a wedding,
birth, christening or funeral," Dendy said. Some of the
day-to-day work in the rehearsal studio can be viewed at, where an online communication
called castcom offers a glimpse of the musical's
development. The producers hope this will counter the
sometimes snarky chat rooms that buzz about upcoming


Bob Doyle To Speak At Spanish Civil War Meeting In Sligo

Sligo Rights And Freedoms Event Notice Thursday
September 07, 2006 12:38 by John Dunne - Connolly Forum
Sligo 071-9145490

Bob Doyle, the only surviving Irish veteran of the
International Brigades, author of “Brigadista – an
Irishman’s fight against fascism” will speak at a Public
Meeting in the City Hotel, Quay Street, Sligo on Thursday
14th September at 8.30.p.m.

The event is one of a number being organised by the
Connolly Forum in Sligo to mark the 70th anniversary of the
beginning of the Spanish Civil War.

Harry Owens will also speak at the meeting and Councillor
Declan Bree, of the Connolly Forum will preside at the

Everyone is welcome to attend.

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