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September 01, 2006

Morrison Rubbishes UVF Claim of '81 Bomb Bid

News About Ireland & The Irish

BT 09/01/06 Morrison Rubbishes UVF Claims Of 1981 Bomb Bid
BT 09/01/06 Second Claim Of Failed Attack
IT 09/01/06 Two Escape Injury In Latest Ballymena Attack
BT 09/01/06 Loyalist Feuds Are Blighting Children's Lives: Cherie Blair
DI 09/01/06 Loyalist Graves Protest `Disgusting'
UT 09/01/06 Ministers Receive NI Security Report
LA 09/01/06 Singing Irish Bartender Loses Deportation Ruling
DI 09/01/06 Opin: Hamill Anonymity Request Nonsense
BT 09/01/06 Maze Memories
DI 09/01/06 Irish Language Advert Returns
DI 09/01/06 Irish Lose Taste For Black Stuff

Morrison Rubbishes UVF Claims Of 1981 Bomb Bid

By Noel McAdam
01 September 2006

Former senior republican Danny Morrison last night cast
doubt on the UVF's claim to have planted a bomb at Sinn
Fein's Ard Fheis in Dublin in 1981.

The ex-Sinn Fein director of publicity asked: "Why would
the UVF not have claimed this at the time? It could only
have increased their prestige and morale."

Following yesterday's Belfast Telegraph exclusive about the
claimed plot, a search of the Mansion House by Irish Army
officers failed to find anything suspicious.

It was at the 1981 Mansion House gathering that Mr
Morrison, now a playwright, made his famous "armalite and
ballot box" speech.

Mr Morrison disclosed how back in 1981 Sinn Fein officials
had been allowed to search around the stage area of the
two-day conference, but responsibility for security in the
rest of the building lay with the Garda.

He revealed that the platform at the conference included
Gerry Adams, Owen Carron and the then Sinn Fein president
Ruairi O'Bradaigh.

A number of families of the hunger strikers and
journalists, including the late Mary Holland, were also
close to the stage area - the apparent target for the
alleged UVF device.

Mr Morrison said, however: "I would be sceptical about
this. I would always be dubious about claims like this so
long afterwards. They would need to supply proof or at
least some evidence."

Mr Morrison, an ex-internee and Assembly member for Mid-
Ulster from 1982-6, said: "It has not been known in the
past for loyalists to be reticent about making claims.

"I would have thought if they had come close to success,
they would have said. I think it would have been too great
a temptation to forgo."

Mr Morrison's remark to the gathering - "with an Armalite
in one hand and a ballot paper in the other, we will take
power in Ireland" - became for years a shorthand summary
term for republican strategy.

"By what criteria are we to judge the credibility of this.
The UVF says it may have been found but nothing was said
about it - that would require a conspiracy - or that it is
still there. It is fairly outlandish," Morrison, who served
eight years in prison on a charge of unlawful imprisonment,
added. "We continued to use the Mansion House for another
ten years or so."

Second Claim Of Failed Attack

By Ben Lowry
01 September 2006

There were fresh claims last night that the UVF had
launched another failed attack on a high-profile republican
occasion, this time in the 1970s.

An anonymous caller who claimed to be a spokesman for the
former Mid Ulster UVF contacted the Belfast Telegraph to
say they had planted a bomb on the Belfast to Dublin
railway line on Easter Sunday 1976 - the 60th anniversary
of the Easter Rising.

The device was intended to kill large numbers of
republicans travelling to the 1916 commemorations.

Referring to yesterday's exclusive Belfast Telegraph
reports that the UVF had tried to blow up Sinn Fein leaders
at the 1981 Ard Fheis in Dublin, the caller said: "This
type of action was tried before the Belfast Brigade."

The caller said that the bomb was placed on a railway
bridge on Easter Sunday.

The information contained in yesterday's call largely
tallies with Belfast Telegraph archive material from 30
years ago.

This newspaper reported on Easter 1976 that a suspect
device had been found on the railway line at Gambles Bridge
at Poyntzpass.

Two Escape Injury In Latest Ballymena Attack

Politicians in Ballymena, Co Antrim, were today urged to
act to stop almost daily petrol-bomb attacks in the town.

In the latest attack, two adults escaped injury when two
petrol bombs were thrown at a house in the Millfield area
of the town shortly after 1am.

The devices shattered against the front of the property
causing external scorch damage. Two men were seen running
from the scene, and police said the motive for the attack
may have been sectarian.

Alliance Party local councillor Jayne Dunlop challenged
local representatives to say what they planned to do about
the ongoing attacks.

She said: "We have already had one sectarian fatality in
Ballymena this year, yet it seems we are going to need
still more before those elected locally get on and do
something about it.

"Potentially deadly attacks are now happening on average
once every 24 hours. When are local community leaders going
to get a grip on this?"

On Wednesday an attempt was made to petrol bomb a car in
the Dunvale area of the town, again in the middle of the
night. The device missed the vehicle, struck a wall and
burned itself out.

The night before, a family escaped unharmed from a petrol-
bomb attack on their home in Dunfane Park in the north of
the town. The living room of the property was damaged in
the attack, which happened shortly before 1am. Another
device struck an exterior wall.

Police said the family were the victims of mistaken
identity. Three youths were seen running away.

c The Irish Times/

Loyalist Feuds Are Blighting Children's Lives: Cherie Blair

By Claire Regan
01 September 2006

Cherie Blair spoke of the "blight" of loyalist feuding on
youngsters during a quick visit to Belfast yesterday to
deliver a key-note speech on her wide-ranging experience in
the protection of children's rights.

The Prime Minister's wife came in her professional capacity
as Cherie Booth QC to speak at the 17th World Congress of
the International Association of Youth and Family Judges
and Magistrates at the Waterfront Hall yesterday afternoon.

Mrs Blair, a Human Rights lawyer with a track record of
defending children's rights, highlighted how Northern
Ireland has the highest levels of child poverty in the UK.

She also recalled a visit she made in the past to the
Edenbrook Primary School in the Shankill area where she met
its "remarkable" principal Betty Orr and Baroness May

"I met children whose lives were blighted by the loyalist
feud," she told hundreds of delegates.

"There were some pupils coming in to school and sitting in
the same classroom as a child whose parent had previously
threatened or murdered their parent."She said she was
delighted to have been invited to Belfast to share her
thoughts on children's rights. Although she was introduced
in her capacity as a lawyer, a part-time judge and
president of Barnardo's, she told the conference: "I stand
before you as a mother of four children ranging in age from
22 to six.

"I am also here as the wife of the British Prime Minister
which has given me the opportunity to travel around the
world and see what is happening across the world in
relation to children's rights.

"The protection of children is a fundamental concern to
enable them to learn about the world and to grow. And they
will make mistakes, just as we did."

Referring to the importance of the UN Convention on the
Rights of the Child, she said youngsters were not "simply
the recipients of adult protection but the subjects of
rights and those rights demand that children be heard".

Mrs Blair was one of three key speakers who addressed
delegates on the fourth day of the congress. A total of 500
delegates from 50 countries have converged on Belfast this
week to discuss the protection of children's rights.

They include experts on children, families and youth

Graves Protest `Disgusting'

Loyalist call to picket Cemetery Sunday service shocks and
alarms community

Daily Ireland
by Aine McEntee

Loyalists are to picket a blessing-of-the-graves ceremony
in Co Antrim this weekend.

Posters calling on "true loyalists" to attend the protest
and assemble outside Carnmoney Cemetery gates in
Newtownabbey have flooded the Rathcoole area in recent

Despite the sinister call to protest, the parish priest of
the nearby St Mary's on the Hill chapel has vowed his
service will go ahead, insisting the posters describing the
service as a Mass were incorrect.

The posters claim that loyalists are protesting against a
PA system being used.

"Rathcoole residents say `no' to live Mass being broadcast
into our area," it says.

Last October, families praying at their loved ones' graves
were verbally abused and threats were made that Catholic
graves would be urinated upon.

That service had already been rescheduled from September to
October because of fears of loyalist violence.

In 2003, embattled priest Fr Dan Whyte was issued with a
death threat from loyalists after the annual event.

Those attending Cemetery Sunday that year were also

In 2002 and 2001, loyalists staged more protests as
mourners visited the graves. In 2001 the cemetery had to be
cordoned off because of a bomb alert.

Last night, Fr Whyte said the holy day of remembrance for
the dead would go ahead this year as planned.

"There will be no Mass, as usual, for there never is on
Cemetery Sunday and the event is going ahead as planned" he

Sinn F‚in councillor for the area Briege Meehan has branded
the planned protest `disgusting'. She said: "This is
absolutely disgusting. I'm a member of the Carmoney
Cemetery Working Group, and I brought local people from
Glengormley to this panel in the hope that members would
understand the hurt, pain, and suffering caused by these

"But obviously their heart-breaking accounts weren't
enough, for there are people who sit on the panel who could
use their influence on the community of Rathcoole, to help
them understand that Cemetery Sunday is not sectarian, it
is a holy day to remember their loved ones with respect.
Obviously they haven't and this year again hundreds of
people are going to have to run the gauntlet again."

Ulster Unionist councillor John Scott who is chairman of
the Carnmoney Cemetery Working Group set up by Newtownabbey
council to prevent problems at the graveyard, yesterday
condemned the protest threat.

"As chairman I am extremely disappointed by this turn of
events. The majority of ordinary people in Rathcoole do not
want any of this bother," he said.

"All of the groups who came to the meetings of the
Carnmoney Cemetery Working Group were given an order of
service for Cemetery Sunday by Fr Dan Whyte, so they
definitely know that there is no Mass being held, so I do
not understand why they are saying there is." Leading
Rathcoole loyalist and UPRG spokesman Sammy Duddy could not
be contacted for a comment on the picket.

Ministers Receive NI Security Report

A report assessing the British Government's move to scale
down security in Northern Ireland has been handed over to

By:Press Association

The Independent Monitoring Commission (IMC), which
scrutinises paramilitary ceasefires in Northern Ireland as
well as the British Government`s demilitarisation
programme, handed in its latest report to the Northern
Ireland Office and Irish Government.

The report examined how the British Government has set
about honouring the demilitarisation programme it outlined
in August last year following the IRA`s declaration of an
end to its armed campaign.

The plan included the tearing down of Army watchtowers in
republican areas in South Armagh, Derry and west Belfast.

A Northern Ireland Office spokesperson said the IMC`s
demilitarisation report would be published by the middle or
end of next week.

Another IMC report will be published next month, possibly
in the week beginning October 2, reviewing the state of the
IRA`s and loyalist paramilitaries` ceasefires.

British and Irish government officials hope that if that
report indicates the Provisional IRA has ceased all
paramilitary activity and criminal activity, that would
provide a good springboard for talks aimed at persuading
the Reverend Ian Paisley`s Democratic Unionists to revive
power sharing at Stormont with other parties including Sinn

The October IMC report will also be scrutinised to see if
there has been a significant reduction in paramilitary and
criminal activity by the two main loyalist terror groups,
the Ulster Defence Association (UDA) and the Ulster
Volunteer Force (UVF).

The Department of Justice in Dublin confirmed its minister
Michael McDowell had also received the second IMC report on
security normalisation.

A statement said the contents of the report would be
considered before its publication next week.

Singing Irish Bartender Loses Deportation Ruling

Decision that blocked expulsion for Westminster man
convicted for role in a 1988 murder in Belfast is

By H.G. Reza, Times Staff Writer
September 1, 2006

A Seal Beach bartender who has charmed patrons with his
singing in a thick Irish accent can be deported for his
role in the murder of two British soldiers 18 years ago, an
immigration appeals board has ruled.

The ruling overturns a 2004 decision by an immigration
judge who blocked deportation of Sean O'Cealleagh.

But the ruling, reached Wednesday by the Board of
Immigration Appeals in Virginia, does not mean that
O'Cealleagh, an Irish citizen, will be booted out of the
country any time soon. The case, and the fate of the
bartender, now returns to Immigration Judge Rose C. Peters
for a second hearing, said Virginia Kice, spokeswoman for
the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

O'Cealleagh, a 37-year-old Westminster resident, is known
as the singing bartender at O'Malley's bar in Seal Beach.
He was convicted by a British court in 1990 for aiding and
abetting in the killing of two British corporals who were
at the funeral of an Irish Republican Army member in
Belfast, Northern Ireland, in 1988. He was not charged with
killing the soldiers but facilitating their murders.

He was sentenced to life in prison but was released in 1998
and made his way to the U.S., where he became a permanent
resident in 2001. At the time, he disclosed his conviction
to U.S. authorities. He is married to a U.S. citizen and
has a young son.

In February 2004, O'Cealleagh was detained at Los Angeles
International Airport after returning from a trip to
Northern Ireland by immigration officers who said he never
should have been allowed in the U.S. in the first place
because of the conviction and began deportation

Two months later, after a four-day trial, Judge Peters
rejected the government's efforts to deport O'Cealleagh,
ruling that his conviction in a British court was for a
"purely political offense." He was released from custody in
May 2004 on a $15,000 bond while the government appealed
her ruling.

The appeals board overruled Peters in a nine-page decision
that said a conviction for a purely political offense would
involve "baseless, trumped-up or fabricated charges" and
that was not the case in O'Cealleagh's situation. Instead,
the board said he was charged with "aiding and abetting"
the murder of two soldiers and that the "offense was not

"There is no question that the murders of the victims
occurred, and there was evidence that [O'Cealleagh] played
a role in violently leading the soldiers to the park" where
they were killed, said the board's ruling.

But Jim Byrne, O'Cealleagh's attorney, said the appeals
board also expressed concern about his client's conviction.
The ruling said O'Cealleagh's role in the killing "may not
have satisfied the concept of aiding and abetting under
United States law."

"This indicates that they had a problem with his conviction
in a British court," said Byrne, who maintained
O'Cealleagh's innocence.

"We've argued all along it's a purely political offense. He
was incarcerated for an offense he didn't commit. There's
no doubt that two soldiers were murdered, but the issue is
whether the conviction was fabricated," he said.

Byrne said he would prepare for a new hearing before
Peters, which has not been scheduled. O'Cealleagh's legal
options in the future will be determined by the hearing's
outcome, he said.

Kice said immigration officials had not initiated
deportation proceedings.

"This is not the last chapter in this case, but it's an
important legal victory for us," she said.


Opin: Hamill Anonymity Request Nonsense

Daily Ireland

The battle for justice waged by the family of the murdered
Portadown man Robert Hamill has been a long and hard one
and such brave and stubborn people are unlikely to be
daunted by the latest twist in the agonising saga.

Yesterday barristers acting for 20 RUC officers due to give
evidence to the forthcoming public inquiry appealed for
their clients to be granted anonymity on the grounds that
if their identities are revealed by the inquiry, their
lives could be at risk from dissident republicans. Not only
does that argument have no merit - it is downright
preposterous. Any RUC/PSNI officers whose identity is
revealed in open court run the risk of coming to the
attention of dissident republicans. That being the case,
the logical extension of the argument is that no officer
should be identified in any case, in any court - and that
is plainly ridiculous. As the Hamill family have carried on
their campaign with immense courage and dignity and it
would be a move of quite astonishing stupidity for any
republican group to taint or damage that campaign by
targeting anyone connected in any way with the public

Down through the darkest days of the Troubles, when RUC
officers were being shot and bombed on a regular basis,
officers turned up in courts, gave their names and were
sworn in. Why should it be any different now, 12 years
after the first IRA ceasefire and eight years after the
last RUC officer lost his life to paramilitaries, and
loyalist paramilitaries at that? Add to that the fact that
civilian witnesses are willing to give evidence at this
inquiry without citing the much more live and substantial
risk of being targeted by loyalist paramilitaries in mid-
Ulster, and the argument against concealing these
witnesses' identities becomes compelling.

Allowing anonymity to any of the participants in the Hamill
Inquiry would cast a dark cloud of secrecy over proceedings
which by their very nature are supposed to be entirely open
and transparent. The technicalities of protecting officers'
identities would render proceedings all but farcical. Would
the `public inquiry' room be cleared of before the officers
entered? Would the officers be hooded? Would they speak
from behind a curtain? More, might anxious civilian
witnesses not reconsider whether it's a good idea to give
evidence or not if they are confronted with the spectacle
of officers or former officers of the law declining to
stand up in public to give evidence on a brutal unsolved

The Hamill Inquiry is to go ahead without any of the
onerous restrictions which the British government wants to
place on future inquiries by way of the Inquiries Act. It
is therefore all the more important that this inquiry
proceeds with as much candour and openness as is possible
within the legislation as it now exists. That will be
entirely impossible if witnesses who are at the very heart
of the entire affair are allowed to become semi-detached
from the proceedings.

Maze Memories

By Grania McFadden
01 September 2006

It's a year of anniversaries. And while the Lyric Theatre
in Belfast celebrates the 150th anniversary of the birth of
George Bernard Shaw with a production of Arms and the Man,
across the city in west Belfast, Dubbeljoint Theatre is
marking a rather less joyous event.

It's 25 years since ten IRA and INLA prisoners starved
themselves to death in jail and, it is argued by many,
altered the course of history.

While ten men died, others were already on the brink of
starvation when the hunger strike was called off. Ever
since then, different versions of events in the Maze prison
have emerged. But what's the true story?

Laurence McKeown went without food for 70 days before the
strike ended. Since those dark days, he has become better
known as a writer and playwright. His second play about the
hunger strike, The Official Version, will tour Ireland this
autumn, and, as the title suggests, it explores the
memories of those involved in those dark days.

The play is set in the Maze in 2006, where plans are under
way to develop the site, including preserving parts of it
as a museum. Two visitors, Bridie and her daughter, return
to the prison where they used to visit Bridie's son, and
remember how they used to smuggle letters to him from the
outside world.

But they're not the only visitors. Robert is an NIO
official attached to the prison department, and Julie is a
university researcher. As all four make their way around
the prison they realise that each has a very different
memory of the past.

McKeown seems to be suggesting that everyone has their own
history, and no one has a monopoly on memory. An Official
Version is on tour from September 25.

Before then, if you're looking for something a little more
light-hearted, Ballyearl Arts and Leisure Centre is hosting
a production of Look Who's Talking, which sees Sheila and
Andrew play host to some unexpected guests, and are forced
to spend the evening covering up the tangled web of their
deceptions and infidelities. You can gatecrash the party on
September 8-9.

And if it's an evening of wild wit and repartee you're
after, the Playhouse in Londonderry is the place to be,
when Orbit Theatre Company performs The Trials of Oscar
Wilde from September 13-16. The Old Bailey had never seen a
show quite like the one that gripped England in 1895 when
Oscar Fingal O'Flahertie Wills Wilde took the stand to
defend his reputation.

Victorian society was rocked by the scandalous revelations
about Wilde's not-so-private life, and the writer soon
found himself in the dock on sordid, criminal charges.

Orbit lifts directly from the transcripts of the libel and
criminal trials, as well as Wilde's prison writings, to
recreate the events and people of a pivotal time in the
life of one of our legendary literary figures.

A small man can be just as exhausted as a great man, and
another character to fall from grace is Willy Loman, hero
of Arthur Miller's classic drama Death of a Salesman.

This fabulous play is being performed by US company Keegan
Theatre at the Riverside in Coleraine later this month.

Billed as one of the greatest American plays of the 20th
century, it's still as full of meaning as when it
premiered, almost 60 years ago.

Brian Hemmingsen takes on the iconic role of Loman in what
promises to be a stunning show on September 19 and 20. Go
see - because attention must finally be paid to such a

Irish Language Advert Returns

Daily Ireland

An advertising campaign to encourage young people to speak
Irish is to return to television screens.

The Last Generation? will be aired on different stations
throughout September.

It will feature the television presenter S¡le Seoige, the
Kerry Gaelic footballer Dara O Cinn‚ide, and the Ros na R£n
actor Gavin O Fearraigh.

The three young celebrities from the Gaeltacht will aim to
get 15 to 25-year-old Irish speakers in Gaeltacht areas to
continue speaking Irish.

Following the campaign's first airing in December last year
and January this year, 93 per cent of young people said it
highlighted the role that native Irish speakers played in
maintaining the language, 88 per cent said they felt it
would make them think about speaking in their native
tongue, and 84 per cent agreed that the personalities
featured did a lot for the advert.

Some 100 young Gaeltacht adults were surveyed.

Gaeltacht minister amon O Cu¡v yesterday announced
?150,000 (œ100,000) of funding to broadcast the adverts
again on RT1, Network 2, TV3, TG4, E4, MTV, Sky 1, Sky
News and Sky Sports.

A copy of the advert is being sent to all secondary schools
in Gaeltacht areas to reinforce the campaign.

"This initiative is in keeping with other recent
initiatives introduced to strengthen the use of Irish in
the Gaeltacht," said Mr O Cu¡v.

"Gaeltacht summer camps and the provision of language
assistants in schools are but two other examples of my
department's strategy aimed at encouraging the use of Irish
amongst the youth of the Gaeltacht."

Irish Lose Taste For Black Stuff

Daily Ireland

Sales of Guinness in Ireland have dropped, it was revealed

Drinks giant Diageo raised a glass to boosted profits
despite facing declining sales of Guinness in the product's

The company reported pre-tax profits lifted to œ2.1 billion
(?3.2 billion) during the year to June 30, compared with
œ1.9 billion (?2.8 billion) for the same period last year.

Diageo, whose drinks include Captain Morgan rum and Jose
Cuervo tequila, cheered increased sales of spirits, wines
and beers across the group, but it admitted challenges in
the Irish beer market had "adversely impacted" on top line
growth in Europe as it saw Guinness sales in the Emerald
Isle decline three per cent during the year.

Drinkers in Britain continued to enjoy the firm's Smirnoff
Vodka, with net sales up eight per cent after the company
promoted signature cocktails and ramped up marketing.

The volume of Guinness sold in Britain declined one per
cent, although net sales grew by the same percentage after
the company increased the price of a draught pint.

The amount of Baileys sold was also on the slide with net
sales dropping four per cent, as the company said it was
facing stiff competition from value brands.

Blossom Hill wines toasted success in Britain with net
sales up two per cent and there is optimism over new
alcoholic fruit drink Quinn's, which was launched in May.

Chief executive Paul Walsh said: "Diageo's strong
performance is the result of brand-building marketing
campaigns, better sales execution to build superior
relationships with our customers and successful new

The company said the drop in sales of Guinness in Ireland
had been caused by increased levels of competitor
investment, although it is attempting to address the fall.

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