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September 21, 2006

Special Status Given MI5 At Nelson Inquiry

News About Ireland & The Irish

IN 09/21/06 Special Status Given To MI5 At Nelson Inquiry
SF 09/21/06 Concern Expressed At MI5 Interference In Nelson Inquiry
IN 09/21/06 Sinn Fein Aiming For A Deal
UT 09/21/06 DUP: 'Deadline Is Defining Moment'
IN 09/21/06 US Economic Figure Visits North To Look At Equality
IN 09/21/06 UUP Member Defects To Tories
IN 09/21/06 DUP Forks Out After Party Gaffe
NH 09/21/06 Americans Feel North's State Of Play Is Silly & Surreal
BT 09/21/06 Anger Over Government's Grant To 'Stop' UDA Thuggery
IN 09/21/06 Opin: CRC Article Relates More To Unionist Thinking
BT 09/21/06 Opin: Sinn Fein Prepares For A Seismic Shift
IN 09/21/06 Opin: Death Threat Despicable
IN 09/21/06 Opin: Hunger Strike Message Echoes Down The Years
IN 09/21/06 Pouring Some Cold Water On Cork Immigrant’s Tale
IN 09/21/06 Grief-Stricken Parents Tell Of Sons’ Suicides
IN 09/21/06 Film-Makers To Focus On Plight Of Protestants


Special Status Given To MI5 At Nelson Inquiry

By Steven McCaffery

THE British security service is to be granted special
status at the inquiry into the murder of solicitor Rosemary
Nelson – joining police and the Ministry of Defence among
organisations to be represented at the independent probe.

The inquiry panel announced yesterday that it had received
an application from the security service for ‘full
participant’ status during public hearings into the case, a
move which coincides with MI5’s increased role in security
in the north.

The move means that it will be permitted to be legally
represented throughout the course of the inquiry and can
apply to the secretary of state for public funding to cover
its legal costs.

The same provision has been extended to Mrs Nelson’s
bereaved husband Paul and to her mother, Sheila Magee.

Rosemary Nelson was killed when a bomb exploded beneath her
car on March 15 1999.

The loyalist splinter group the Red Hand Defenders admitted
responsibility for the attack but longstanding allegations
of security force wrongdoing led to the public inquiry into
the high profile case.

In a statement yesterday the Inquiry Panel confirmed the
latest development in the case and explained the background
to the move, saying: “This decision was taken on the basis
of the reasons put forward by the [Security] Service in
their application, which were:

“The Service will have assumed lead responsibility for
national security intelligence work in Northern Ireland by
the time the inquiry makes its recommendations and needs
therefore to be able to make representations and to
understand fully the evidence behind and reasons for any

“[And] the inquiry may wish to consider intelligence
material in the course of its proceedings.’’


Concern Expressed At MI5 Interference In Nelson Inquiry

Published: 21 September, 2006

Sinn Féin Assembly member for Upper Bann John O'Dowd said
today that he shared the grave concerns being expressed by
the family of Rosemary Nelson at the very direct
involvement of MI5 in the operation of the inquiry into her

Mr O'Dowd said:

"Rosemary Nelson was a highly respected human rights lawyer
,murdered by unionist paramilitaries after receiving
numerous death threats from members of the RUC. There is a
widely held belief that British State agents were directly
involved in her murder. This belief has been strengthened
over the years as successive RUC and PSNI regimes have
sought to frustrate and delay the search for the truth.

"Yesterday it emerged that MI5 have sought and been granted
full legal representation at the inquiry into Rosemary
Nelson‚s murder. I share the grave concerns being expressed
by the Nelson family at this turn of events.

"Given the history of MI5 involvement in Ireland and the
fact that they are a by-word for secrecy and concealment
there is a justifiable fear that their role within the
Nelson inquiry will be to view material and then attempt to
prevent it from either being made public or entering the
inquiry at all." ENDS


Sinn Fein Aiming For A Deal

By William Graham Political Correspondent

Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams last night said his party
would go into talks in Scotland about restoring the
political institutions with the intention of “making things

Sinn Fein, the DUP, UUP, SDLP, Alliance, PUP and UKUP
parties have all now been invited to the negotiations at St
Andrews in early October to be hosted by Prime Minister
Tony Blair and Taoiseach Bertie Ahern.

DUP leader Ian Paisley has already indicated that he does
not think a deal is possible by the governments’ November
24 deadline.

Asked if it was possible that some political developments
could emerge from the Scotland talks, Mr Adams said: “We
are going into those talks with the intention of making it
work. Whatever he (Mr Paisley) says until midnight November
24...the effort has to be to get Ian Paisley and his party
into the political institutions under the Good Friday

“That has to be the effort. And let’s not close down that

Mr Adams, speaking from New York, said the DUP would be
better putting its own house in order on issues of law and
order than making demands of Sinn Fein.

“Sinn Fein has a very clear record in terms of justice in
the community and issues of social justice,’’ he said.

“It is clear that the issue of the executive being
inclusive is not an a la carte issue.

“If the DUP are going to be in the executive they will have
to be under the terms of the Good Friday agreement and Sinn
Fein being there as being our entitlement due to our
mandate as opposed to some gift from the DUP,” he said.

“I think it is important that we all focus in a very
positive way.

“Leadership has to be about facing up to challenges and
rising to the occasion.’’


DUP: 'Deadline Is Defining Moment'

Tony Blair and Bertie Ahern's November 24 deadline for
political progress in Northern Ireland will be a defining
moment for those wedded to paramilitarism.

That is the view of Democratic Unionist Councillor Jimmy
Spratt who insisted last night the deadline for forming a
power sharing government was really a matter for Sinn Fein
which he described as an obstructionist party.

He also told DUP members in Ballymoney, Co Antrim that
unionists would not be brow beaten by the Government into
any political arrangement which fell short of proper
democratic standards.

"While in the past other unionists may have accepted words
alone, those days are gone," he insisted.

"We are clear on where we want to go and we will not be
clinging to the failed and flawed policies of the past.

"Today, through the leadership of the DUP, unionists demand
and deserve actions.

"We require a complete and permanent end to criminality,
total support for policing and a rule of law in Northern

"As November 24 approaches the Secretary of State (Peter
Hain) should not be concentrating his pressure on unionists
but rather should be applying pressure on those who have
still to reach the democratic mark.

"It is not for democrats to lower their standards.

"Peter Hain terms November 24 as the `defining moment for
Northern Ireland`, while in actual fact it will be the
defining moment for those wedded to paramilitaries. Will
they embrace the democratic process and forsake their crime
or will they hold to physical force?"

Mr Spratt was commenting as British and Irish Government
officials continued their preparations for talks involving
Northern Ireland parties next month at St Andrews in

The talks will give Prime Minister Tony Blair and Irish
Taoiseach Bertie Ahern a clearer sense on whether it will
be possible to form a power sharing government this year.

Northern Ireland`s politicians are not confident at this
stage that a deal can be done by the November 24 deadline.

The Rev Ian Paisley`s DUP is insistent that it will not be
bounced into a devolved government featuring Sinn Fein.

The party has said it will need proof that IRA criminality
and paramilitarism has gone away, even though the
Provisionals declared in July last year an end to their
armed campaign and completed weapons decommissioning last

A report by the four-member Independent Monitoring
Commission on paramilitary activity ahead of the St Andrews
talks is seen as being crucial to any hopes the governments
may have of resurrecting power sharing at Stormont.


US Economic Figure Visits North To Look At Equality

By Barry McCaffrey

One of the most powerful figures in the American economy
will arrive in Northern Ireland today to ensure that local
companies are abiding by proper equality legislation.

New York City Comptroller William Thompson jnr will address
an equality conference at the Europa Hotel in Belfast this
morning organised by the Unison trade union and the
Committee on the Administration of Justice (CAJ) pressure

Mr Thompson is regarded as one of the most powerful
individuals in the United States, controlling more than
US$9 billion in pension funds invested in companies across
the world.

In 2003 Mr Thompson and fellow New York state comptroller
Alan Hevesi caused controversy when they wrote to the
British and Irish governments to warn that US investment in
Northern Ireland could be put in jeopardy by the actions of
the then Human Rights Commission.

The New York comptrollers warned that $15 billion of US
investment in Northern Ireland was being put in jeopardy by
allegations that the Human Rights Commission was actively
undermining fair employment protections.

During this week’s visit Mr Thompson is due to meet
Secretary of State Peter Hain and Irish Foreign Minister
Dermot Ahern.

Speaking as he arrived in Ireland yesterday, he said: “I
look forward to meeting with representatives of the major
political parties, as well as business and civic leaders,
to discuss the struggle for full equality in Northern
Ireland and its implications for foreign investment.’’


UUP Member Defects To Tories

By William Graham

Prominent Ulster Unionist James Leslie, a former assembly
member and junior minister in the previous assembly, has
joined the Conservative Party.

Mr Leslie said that the political landscape in Northern
Ireland was evolving and if he was to make any future
contribution to politics then it would be delivered through
a national party.

The international investment banker was previously deputy
chairman of the assembly’s finance committee.

The move was welcomed by shadow Northern Ireland secretary
David Lidington.

“Mr Leslie’s defection was an indication that more and more
people were recognising that the party was serious about
organising in Northern Ireland,” Mr Lidington said.

“David Cameron has made it clear we want new members and
new ideas from all parts of society and all parts of the


DUP Forks Out After Party Gaffe

By Seamus McKinney

DUP councillors in Coleraine have paid more than £18,000
towards a bill facing the local authority over a decision
to exclude Sinn Fein from last year’s Christmas dinner.

Sinn Fein councillor Billy Leonard mounted a legal
challenge against the council when former DUP mayor Timothy
Deans failed to invite him to the party.

Mr Leonard also referred the issue to the local government
auditor, claiming that as bill for the mayor’s Christmas
event was being footed by ratepayers Mr Deans had no right
to withhold an invitation.

It has now emerged that the DUP in Coleraine paid more than
£18,000 towards the council’s legal costs in the action
earlier this year.

Mr Leonard said the DUP was forced to pay for “their crass
political stupidity”.

He said DUP councillors had “dug deep into their pockets
and each given over £2,000”.

DUP councillor William McClure insisted the party was not
forced to pay the legal fees but did so because it did not
wish to pass the bill on to ratepayers.

Mr McClure said it was “not accurate to say that every
councillor had to pay £2,000”.

He said the money was not paid by individual councillors
but was paid in one sum.


American Politicians Feel North's State Of Play Is 'Silly And Surreal'

(William Graham, Irish News)

Even if the DUP blocks restoration of the political
institutions it cannot be allowed to block change, SDLP
leader Mark Durkan said last night (Wednesday).

The Foyle MP was speaking from Washington where he has been
briefing US politicians on the political process. He said
support in America for the Good Friday Agreement remains
rock solid.

"They are clear that even if the parties do not reach a
deal, the agreement must remain the only show in town," he

"They strongly support plans for the two governments to
take the lead in implementing it and support a radical
renewal of the north-south agenda."

However, Mr Durkan said US politicians and opinion formers
are also frustrated at the slow pace of progress and find
the state of play "silly and surreal".

The SDLP leader had discussions yesterday with US envoy
Mitchell Reiss, Senator Ted Kennedy, and congressmen and
trade union leaders.

Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams also travelled to the US
yesterday and will attend the Clinton Global Initiative
meeting today in New York, as will Mr Durkan. Mr Adams has
a series of engagements lined up with senior political
figures. The West Belfast MP is also to be guest speaker
tomorrow at the Council on Foreign Relations at the
invitation of Richard Haass, former US envoy to Ireland.

September 21, 2006

This article appeared first in the September 20, 2006
edition of the Irish News.


Anger Over Government's Grant To 'Stop' UDA Thuggery

By Lesley-Anne Henry
21 September 2006

There has been a mixed reaction on the ground to news that
the Government's plans to pump £135,000 into ending
loyalist paramilitarism.

The money to fund the "initial development stage" in a
"conflict transformation initiative" will be distributed to
six areas where the UDA has a presence.

It is being presented as part of the loyalist move back
towards the peace process and will involve direct talks
with paramilitaries. But one person called the grant a
"slap in the face for genuine community workers".

Exact spending plans have yet to be confirmed.

But in practical terms the cash is likely to go on
consultancy fees, research in the community, conferences
and salaries.

Frankie Gallagher of the UDA-aligned Ulster Political
Research Group (UPRG) said it would be used to "develop
strategies" to help loyalists move away from conflict.

He said: "It will be used trying to find out the answers to
the questions to the core issues.

"How do you help communities work out strategies based on
community development and job creation that will enable
communities to be self-sufficient, to be confident and
manage their own affairs in the absence of paramilitarism?

"It's very much a conflict transformation. It's not about
normal community work. It is about community work and using
community development strategies as a way of managing

"Whenever we say, 'how do you create an environment where
there are no more paramilitaries?' the next thing you have
is a process of change and then the last bit is to find out
how do we equip the loyalist paramilitary community to move

Brian Hanson, chairman of the Rathcoole Community
Empowerment Partnership in north Belfast, welcomed any
moves towards a more normal society.

He said: "In realistic terms, it is not a huge amount of
money - £135,000 over a six month period - and it depends
on which areas they decide to spread it out across. But
anything that enhances the community, especially the
Rathcoole one, which is a changing community, has to be

Jim Wilson, chairman of the Lower Newtownards Residents'
Group in east Belfast, added: "Realistically anything being
given to loyalism or unionism at the minute is paltry.

"People may say why give it to loyalist paramilitaries? But
then who are the ones that they want to come out of the

"It is only the start and I would hope it is only the start
of what needs to be done in loyalist working class areas."

But one long-standing community worker from east Belfast,
who declined to be named, called the grant a "slap in the
face for genuine community workers".

He said: "It is not going to loyalist areas. It is going to
the UDA and to keep particular people in jobs. It is
buttons. What's it's going to do?

"I wish they would stop saying it is for loyalist areas. It
is a slap in the face for genuine community people working
on the ground. I think it is an absolute disgrace that the
Government is going to do this. Their track record in terms
of community work and regeneration is nil."


Opin: CRC Article Relates More To Unionist Thinking

By Brian Feeney

Ever since the north failed as a political entity in 1972,
the British administration which took over has created a
series of shop-window fronts to give the false impression,
particularly to those looking from abroad, that Britain was
addressing the unique problems here.

To that end officials set up various paper tigers with
important-sounding names but with neither the power nor the
authority to do anything.

So we had the Fair Employment Act, the Fair Employment
Agency which made no difference to discrimination, the
Standing Advisory Commission on Human Rights which stood by
as the British army and RUC violated human rights on a
daily basis, the Police Authority which had no authority
over the police, and so on and so on.

The one surviving remnant of this mentality is the
Community Relations Council, which has been in formal
existence for 16 years during which it has made no
difference whatsoever to ‘community relations’, whatever
that is.

Then of course the CRC wasn’t meant to DO anything about
improving community relations. Like SACHR and the FEA and
the other quangos, its function is just to BE there so that
the British can point to it and claim they’re doing

There was a rare intervention in politics from the CRC’s
chief executive last week in an article in a local paper
urging politicians to support ‘practical measures’ to
implement the NIO’s failed Shared Future policy.

His article was very revealing, though not intended to be.
It’s worth quoting the two most revealing sentences in

“For nationalists, a shared future means committing to full
engagement in a state with which they have never felt
comfortable and some have dedicated their lives to
replacing. For unionists, the hard part of sharing will be
making political arrangements with previously violent
enemies who have deeply traumatised friends and relations
and coming to terms with the Irish dimension to the six

So there you have it. Apparently, in this mindset, violence
was all one way. Unionists, despite being traumatised, will
have to make political arrangements with “previously
violent enemies”.

All nationalists have to do is engage fully in the state.
Dead easy. Obviously none of their friends or relations
were victims of violence from unionist sources,
paramilitary or official, or a combination of both.

Unionist politicians have all clean hands.

Just forget the effects of systematic discrimination or the
endemic sectarianism of unionism which insisted on creating
and possessing this place to exclude nationalists.

You could see why nationalists were never comfortable, but
that’s OK: sure nobody ever did them any harm. Unlike the
horrible nationalists who carried out all the violence.
Hmm. Fascinating insight, isn’t it?

Completely wrong-headed. Not just in apportioning blame,
but in the CRC mindset you don’t mention sectarianism.

The sentence should read: “For unionists, the hard part of
sharing will be treating nationalists as equals with as
much right to run the affairs of this place as unionists
and accepting that unionists no longer own the north.”

It’s not a case of simply “making political arrangements”
and putting up with all-Ireland bodies. The central problem
facing unionism is its inherent sectarianism, which no
unionist politician has ever confronted because it’s the
basis of their political creed.

Look at the continuing sectarianism of unionist
councillors, most obviously in Ballymena and Lisburn. Does
any unionist leader condemn it? Does any even admit it?

Do you think it likely that the CRC would even name it as a
problem never mind do anything about it? Ooh noo. Nayce
people call it ‘community relations’.

Yet we’re supposed to believe that the sectarian bigots who
dominate councils are suddenly going to treat nationalists
as equals in a partnership administration at Stormont with
more at stake than emptying the bins and burying the dead.
The NIO has been compelled to deal with discrimination and
policing. The central gaffe in the CRC article shows
there’s a long way to go before they’ll be compelled to
deal with sectarianism.


Opin: Sinn Fein Prepares For A Seismic Shift

21 September 2006

Slowly but surely, it seems, Sinn Fein is positioning
itself to give its full support to the police. In a Belfast
Telegraph interview, its policing and justice spokesman,
Gerry Kelly, promised "full-bodied" participation -
provided some remaining obstacles are removed.

As always, the exact form of these obstacles or reforms -
which Sinn Fein leaders would say have been promised by the
government - is not spelled out. They are matters for
negotiation, in the two months remaining, and no doubt the
DUP will have objections to raise.

Broadly speaking, Sinn Fein insists on a return to working
political institutions at Stormont and not only agreement
on a new and shared policing and justice department, but a
timetable for achieving this. While Mr Kelly accepted there
had been "massive changes" to the police, "we have some way
to go".

Nevertheless, although Sinn Fein's "full package" has yet
to be achieved, the party has been preparing the
membership, north and south, for a sea change. If agreement
can be reached with the British government and the DUP - a
big "if" - a special Ard Fheis would be called within
weeks, with the leadership proposing participation in the
Policing Board, as well as urging supporters to join the

There never has been any doubt that the DUP would insist on
Sinn Fein support for the police before any deal on
devolution, so everything depends on how much more the
government is prepared to give, on further reforms, and
whether unionists feel it has gone too far. Will
republicans be capable of changing the habits of a
lifetime, and co-operating fully with a Stormont-led law
and order force? Or will they continue to quibble about
police methods, as they did after an alleged joy-rider was
arrested last weekend in north Belfast?

Negotiations are about give and take, and it is hard to
imagine that any agreement on policing - or devolution in
general - will be unconditional. If progress can be made at
next month's hot-house talks, it will have to be taken back
to the parties for approval and, even then, may have to be
tested in an election before an executive can be formed.

As Mr Kelly says, there is still a long way to go, not
least to solve the new problem of the MI5's role, and
relationship with the police, in the war against terror.
Attempts by Sinn Fein to strike a hard bargain for a basic
democratic requirement must be firmly resisted, but the
prospect of republican backing for the PSNI is such a prize
that no effort must be spared to achieve it.


Opin: Death Threat Despicable

By Newton Emerson

The issuing of death threats is one of the most insidious
and effective tactics employed by paramilitaries to spread
fear and destabilise lives while placing themselves at
minimal risk.

We will probably never know how many people have received
warnings during more than 30 years but a significant number
were affected and, tragically, many threats were
subsequently carried out.

Those who have received the devastating news that they are
under threat are placed in an appalling situation.

Do they subject their families to enormous upheaval and
move house or job or even flee the country or do they sit
it out and hope the threat is just that and nothing more?

What is certain is that any suggestion that paramilitaries
– should they be republican or loyalist – have singled
someone out for malign attention will cause considerable
distress, terror and anxiety to those concerned.

Despite the significant progress which has been achieved
over the past ten years in reducing violence and creating a
more peaceful and normal society, it is an unfortunate fact
that people are still being told their lives are at risk
from organisations capable of delivering on any threats.

The news that a senior official with the Department of
Foreign Affairs has been forced to leave Northern Ireland
following a warning her life was in danger, is a disturbing

Aine de Baroid, who is a member of the North/South
Ministerial Council, is one of the most senior civil
servants from the Republic to be stationed in the north.

By all accounts, she has been carrying out valuable and
positive work in loyalist and republican areas, which makes
the threat against her all the more difficult to

It has been suggested that loyalists at odds with the UDA
leadership, which has developed links with President Mary
McAleese and her husband Martin, are behind the warning to
Ms de Baroid.

If so, it is despicable that someone engaged in beneficial
work should find themselves caught up in the dangerous
internal power struggles which have been a recurring
feature of loyalist paramilitarism.

Given that this official has been hailed as a force for
good in loyalist areas, this death threat is a particularly
short-sighted move.

However, such a counterproductive step is typical of the
retrograde, narrow and self-serving thinking of those who
work to their own agenda and care little for the best
interests of their own community.

There can be no possible justification for anyone’s life to
be put at risk for simply doing their job.

Those responsible for this threat must withdraw it
immediately and allow Ms de Baroid to continue with the
type of progressive and helpful work which many areas need.


Opin: Hunger Strike Message Echoes Down The Years

By Jim Gibney

“The Men of Art have lost their heart/They dream within
their dreams./Their magic sold for price of gold/Amidst a
people’s screams./They sketch the moon and capture
bloom/With genius, so they say./But n’er they sketch the
quaking wretch/Who lies in Castlereagh.”

This stanza is taken from Bobby Sands’ poem,

The Crime of Castlereagh.

He wrote it on cigarette paper entombed in his prison cell
with the filling of a biro pen he kept hidden with other
essentials in his back passage.

He was naked but for a blanket, locked in a cell 24 hours a
day for five years. He spread his excrement on the cell
walls and threw his urine out the cell door.

The prison regime deprived him and hundreds of other
political prisoners of the sound of music, poetry books and
literature, photographs of loved ones, letters home and

When all this sensory deprivation and brutality failed they
took his life and that of his nine comrades.

This and other of Bobby’s poems were about the silence of
Irish artists, writers and poets in the face of the awful
treatment of political prisoners in the H-Blocks and Armagh
Women’s Prison.

In a new book Hunger Strike: Reflections on the 1981 Hunger
Strike, edited by Danny Morrison, he examines this
challenge as it is reflected in Seamus Heaney’s 1984 poem,
Station Island.

In this poem Heaney, Ireland’s foremost poet, self-
consciously struggles with a sense of guilt over whether in
conflict situations the artist should be heard.

His inner voice tells him: “I hate how quick I was to know
my place/

I hate where I was born, hate everything/That made me
biddable and unforthcoming.”

But the ghostly voice of James Joyce reassuringly intones,
“Let others wear the sackcloth and the ashes/That subject
people stuff is a cod’s game, infantile, like your peasant

Observing the outcome Danny Morrison says, ‘Shriven and
advised by Joyce, the poet breathes a sigh of relief.’

And that is how it was for many Irish and indeed British
artists and writers; those Shelley called, somewhat
optimistically, the “unacknowledged legislators of the

Faced by the stench and challenge of the H-Blocks and
Armagh Women’s Prison their pens lay dormant, their
canvasses blank.

There was, however, an honourable minority who did bear
witness to the horrors inside the prisons holding political

Some of them revisit those years in this essay-based book.

The contributors, 49 in all, are a mixture of political
activists, poets, musicians, novelists, journalists, film-
makers, playwrights writing in English and Irish about what
one describes as a ‘cataclysmic event’.

It is a haunting tale of heroism and despair, of hope and
disappointment, of desperation and determination by a group
of men, ‘.....on the threshold of adult young so
heartbreakingly young’ as one essayist writes.

A few of the authors explore themselves as they look down
the telescope from maturity 25 years on, ‘When I think of
the hunger strikers it is 1981 again’ said one.

A nagging question posed: ‘Did I do enough to try to save
their lives?’ Good people doubting themselves for dark
deeds done that left them powerless then and which they
still feel now. In Iran’s capital Tehran a group of 14-year
-olds rename the street housing the British embassy from
Winston Churchill Avenue to Bobby Sands Street which it
remains to this day. Pedram Moallemian describes their

A revolutionary poet facing death by firing squad in the
Philippines in 1983 pleads with an Irish journalist to tell
him about the hunger strikers. As Israeli tanks lay siege
to Beirut in 1982 teenage PLO fighters chant “Bobby Sands!
Bobby Sands! Bobby Sands!

Things we forgot.

Don Concannon, former NIO minister, visiting and telling
Bobby Sands and Francis Hughes, “You have no support; you
are going to die” and being told by Francis, “close the
door on your way out.” Taoiseach Haughey, arm around Mrs
Sands, telling her: “I will not let your son die.”

The people protested on the streets of Ireland, England,
North America, France.

The prisoners died but a generation later as one
contributor describes it, “....they shine a light that is
purer than ever and that points a steady beam to our

n Hunger Strike – Reflections on the 1981 Hunger Strike is
published by Brandon. H/B £16 99; PB £10 99.


Pouring Some Cold Water On Cork Immigrant’s Tale


By Ray O'Hanlon Letter from America

It was the kind of day that you would associate more with a
departure from Ireland than an arrival in New York. It was
bucketing rain. Still, it seemed somehow appropriate.
History was about to get some cold water poured all over

An umbrella-wielding clatter of journalists, officials and
the merely curious gathered at the New York Genealogical
Society in a sodden midtown Manhattan last Friday to
witness the debunking of a large part of the life story of
Annie Moore.

Annie Moore made Irish and American history 114 years ago
when she became the first immigrant to step ashore at the
newly opened Ellis Island immigration facility in New York

It was January 1 1892, the Cork teenager’s 15th birthday,
and both officialdom and a battery of newspaper reporters
were on hand to make sure that Ellis Island’s and Annie’s
big moment would not be forgotten.

Today Annie, along with two brothers who made the
transatlantic voyage with her, is memorialised in a bronze
statue at the emigration museum in Cobh.

A statue of Annie all by her lonesome is one of the most
popular exhibits at the Ellis Island immigration museum.

Annie stepped off the SS Nevada into the glare of instant
but fleeting fame. Her life after that became a more
typical example of a late 19th century immigrant’s: she got
married and had lots of kids.

This has been written up in a slew of newspaper, magazine
and book accounts.

Only thing is that the older Annie of historical record
turns out to have been the wrong Annie.

The long-accepted story had Annie moving west to Indiana,
New Mexico and ultimately Texas.

She got married to a man named O’Connell who claimed
descent from Daniel O’Connell and had a number of children,
only to die in her late forties in 1924 after being struck
by a tram in Waco, Texas.

There was such an Annie Moore. But she was not an immigrant
from Cork.

She was the daughter of Irish immigrants but she had been
born on American soil, in Illinois.

The press conference at the genealogical society was called
so as to unveil the findings of an extraordinary
genealogical hunt that uncovered glaring cracks in the
generally accepted Annie Moore story.

The first part of Annie’s story remains intact. But, as it
now turns out, the Ellis Island Annie never headed west
into the great American fastness.

In fact, she never left New York city and spent her own
short life living at various addresses on Manhattan’s Lower
East Side.

The Lower East Side, like Brooklyn just across the East
river, was like the middle of an immigration hourglass,
Europe and the rest of the United States being the wider

Millions passed through these and the other hourglass
middles that were 19th century US coastal cities.

Many also stayed put. Annie Moore was one of them.

She married a German immigrant named Schayer and lived what
seems to have been a tough life in the warren of Manhattan
streets that became the immigrant wellspring for so much of
contemporary America.

Various municipal and church documents have been lately
unearthed that point to a rather unremarkable life for
Annie Moore when contrasted with her few days of fame.

This contrast is made all the more glaring by virtue of the
anonymity that befell Annie Moore after her death, from a
cerebral haemorrhage, in 1923.

Annie Moore, enshrined on Ellis Island, has lain still for
more than 80 years in an unmarked grave, her final resting
place lost to history.

Her grave is in Calvary Cemetery in Queens, just a few
miles from Ellis Island.

Annie Moore had about a dozen children but only three
survived to have children of their own.

Nevertheless, those families have prospered. Ten different
family names have now been linked to “the real” Annie Moore
and most of them were represented at the press conference
last Friday.

The families and the Cork Association in New York have
already initiated a fund to pay for a headstone. Annie
Moore’s anonymity has been rolled back, the full circle of
her life finally revealed.

It wasn’t an easy life but Annie’s ultimate triumph was
made plain at the gathering on a rainy Friday as more than
a dozen descendants from various corners of America, some
of them meeting for the first time, laughed and hugged as
the clouds of history were finally parted.


Grief-Stricken Parents Tell Of Sons’ Suicides

By Marie Louise McCrory

A north Belfast family have spoken of their devastation at
losing a son to suicide – just three weeks after their
other son died in the same way.

Patrick and Susan Mailey, from Herbert Street in Ardoyne,
buried their son Patrick (30), a father-of-one, just three
weeks ago. He died by suicide.

Their other son Mark (31) became depressed after his
brother’s death and was found dead in the early hours of
Sunday in Ardoyne.

Mark, a father of three daughters, had worked as a chef in
The Chester on the Antrim Road and previously at Roscoff’s.

Fr Aidan Troy, parish priest of Holy Cross, informed the
couple of Mark’s death when he called at their home at
around 8am on Sunday.

Mr Mailey said Mark had been “shattered’’ by his brother’s
death last month.

“It wrecked him,’’ he said.

“They were not just brothers, they were more mates. There
was only 11 months between them.’’

Mr Mailey said Mark had “changed dramatically’’ after the

“He was very, very depressed,’’ he said. “He came to the
morgue with me to identify Patrick and he said ‘There’s my
baby brother.’ He broke down in the morgue.’’

Mr Mailey said Mark had sought help just days before his
death when he visited the Mater Hospital with a friend. He
said his son had had to wait seven hours, at the end of
which he was given two Diazepam tablets.

He called for better services for those in need of help.

“To me, they have not got counselling,’’ he said.

“It should be 24 hours a day. It’s office hours five days a
week. What is someone needs help at 11pm at night or 7pm?’’

Mark’s funeral took place on Tuesday at Holy Cross Church
and his remains were interred in the City Cemetery.

Mr Mailey also paid tribute to Fr Troy who broke the news
to him about Mark’s death.

“He is so helpful and kind. He’s a living saint,” he said.


Film-Makers To Focus On Plight Of Protestants

By Seamus McKinney

THE Derry company behind recent television documentaries
about the Battle of the Bogside and the city’s no-go areas
is to turn its attention to the plight of Protestants.

Open Reel Productions is planning a new television
documentary about Protestants who have left Derry’s west
bank since the start of the Troubles.

Before the onset of violence in 1968, Protestants made up a
large minority on the city’s west bank.

A number of estates such as the Fountain, Glen, Northland
and Belmont would have been perceived as Protestant areas
while large numbers also lived in Pennyburn and Rosemount.

But with the increasing violence thousands left the city
side to set up home in the Waterside, citing intimidation
and fear of attack as the reasons for departure.

Today the Fountain – with a population of approximately 500
people – is the sole Protestant area on the city’s west

Open Reel Productions now hopes to chart the plight of
those Protestants in its next television documentary.

Earlier this month, Open Reel broadcast its latest
documentary, detailing the weeks following the Battle of
the Bogside in 1969 when parts of the city became no-go
areas to the police and British army.

The company’s first documentary, the Battle of the Bogside,
was released to widespread acclaim last year.

Open Reel writer John Peto said the plight of Derry
Protestants was one of the great untold stories of the

He said the company was keen to explain why ordinary
Protestants left the city side.

Mr Peto said Open Reel wished to have the people directly
involved tell their own stories.

He hopes to start filming on the new project in December
and is keen to use old photographs and footage of Orange
Order events.

Mr Peto urged anyone willing to tell their stories to
contact him at 07812 984 254.

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