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September 25, 2006

US Deports Sean O'Cealleagh

News About Ireland & The Irish

AP 09/25/06 US Deports Man Linked To Soldier Slayings In N Ireland
SF 09/25/06 Sinn Féin Members Comment On The Death Of Michael Ferguson
RT 09/25/06 Taoiseach To Make Statement On Payments
BC 09/25/06 Gaelic Roots Is Now More Than A Memory
IT 09/26/06 Crowe To Attend Kilkee Event In Memory Of Richard Harris


U.S. Deports Man Linked To Soldier Slayings In Northern Ireland

By Daisy Nguyen
The Associated Press
Los Angeles

A man from Northern Ireland who was convicted of aiding in
the 1988 killings of two British soldiers has been deported
to Ireland following a two-year effort by U.S. officials to
remove him from California, where he immigrated and
established a family.

Sean O'Cealleagh, 37, flew to Dublin on Sunday, escorted by
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers, the
agency announced Monday.

O'Cealleagh had been in U.S. custody since Sept. 1 after
the Board of Immigration Appeals ruled he could be
deported, throwing out a lower court decision allowing him
to stay in America because his crime was "purely

The board found that while O'Cealleagh's crime took place
in a "political milieu," anger and revenge were the primary
motives. The ruling sent O'Cealleagh's case back to the
lower immigration court, where a judge signed a final order
for his removal on Thursday.

O'Cealleagh's deportation will force his American wife and
young son, who live in the Orange County community of
Westminster, to move to Ireland, said the family's friend
and neighbor, Gene Wagner.

"They want to be a family," Wagner said. "Given that he's
not allowed to be here, that's the only option that they

O'Cealleagh's attorney, Jim Byrnes, declined to comment on
whether his client plans to pursue further legal actions.

It's possible for a deported person to reapply for
permission to re-enter the United States, but "it's a long
process and a long shot," said Jim Hayes, field officer for
ICE detention and removal operations in Los Angeles.

"We still consider him a very serious public safety threat,
that was the basis for our attempts to have him removed,"
Hayes said.

"He was convicted of a brutal crime, he's not welcome in
the U.S.," Hayes said.

O'Cealleagh was one of three men given life sentences in
1990 for their roles in the deaths of the two soldiers, who
were beaten and shot after they were discovered in civilian
clothes at a funeral for a slain Irish Republican Army
member in Northern Ireland.

Convicted of aiding and abetting in the murders,
O'Cealleagh spent 8 1/2 years in prison before being freed
in 1998 under the Good Friday peace accord, which offered
parole to hundreds of paramilitary convicts.

O'Cealleagh, who repeatedly denied involvement in the
killings, emigrated to the United States in 1999 and was
granted permanent U.S. residency two years later.

O'Cealleagh (pronounced O'Kelly) spells his name in
traditional Gaelic, but is identified as Sean Kelly in
British legal documents.

He was arrested in February 2004 at Los Angeles
International Airport when he returned from a visit to
Northern Ireland. The U.S. government argued that
O'Cealleagh should never have been allowed in because of
his conviction.

O'Cealleagh was detained for about two months until
Immigration Judge Rose Peters ruled he should not be
returned to Northern Ireland because his crime was "purely

Peters also said British prosecutors did not conclusively
prove O'Cealleagh was present when the soldiers were beaten
and that British courts were inconsistent in the way they
treated suspects.

Published: Monday, September 25, 2006 18:44 PDT


Sinn Féin Members Comment On The Death Of Michael Ferguson

Published: 25 September, 2006

Sinn Féin Assembly group leader, Upper Bann MLA John O'Dowd
has led tributes to Michael Ferguson following his sudden
death last night.

Mr O'Dowd said:

"Michael brought a huge energy and determination to his
work. He championed the educational rights of children and
young people and was instrumental in the campaign against
cuts to education services.

"He will be missed by everyone who was part of the Assembly
team and on behalf of them I want to extend my deepest
sympathies to Louise, his children and his family and

Lisburn Council Group leader Cllr Paul Butler, who worked
with Michael on Lisburn Council, added:

"Michael was a life long republican with a huge commitment
to the goal of Irish reunification and the realisation of
social justice and equality.

"Michael Ferguson challenged inequality and discrimination
at the heart of Lisburn Council and was a thorn in the side
of all who opposed equality. He also built alliances across
the political spectrum, particularly in relation to the
cuts to education services.

Sinn Féin West Belfast Councillor Marie Cush also paid
tribute to the work of Michael Ferguson. She said:

"Michael never lost sight of the people he represented. He
was hugely committed and delivered day and night for the
people of West Belfast.

"He was instrumental in securing financial assistance to
the people of Ballymurphy at a time of great uncertainty
that will particularly support our local young people.

"No problem was small and no mountain was too big. Michael
will be missed by everyone who knew him." ENDS

Note to Editors

Married with four children Michael Ferguson has been active
in community and republican politics for most of his adult
life. He graduated from Queens University in 1989 and was
elected to Lisburn Council in 1999.

Michael was 53. He was receiving treatment for testicular

He was elected the Assembly at the last election and is the
party spokesperson on Education and led the campaign
against education cuts.

He has held a number of influential positions on Lisburn
Council in the face of unionists' threats and intimidation.
As a Councillor and committed community activist Michael
had led a number of successful campaigns on housing,
traffic calming and against the siting of mobile phone
masts in residential areas.

He has also represented Sinn Féin on the all Ireland body
charged with administering European funding. Through this
position he has secured funding for disadvantaged
communities throughout the Six Counties. He also
represented the party on the Regional Strategic Partnership
Board and was the current vice chair of the West Belfast
Partnership Board.

He recently helped secure £186,000, for the Ballymurphy
community, for the delivery of a intervention programme to
support young people in the area.

Michael is well known as a founder member of the West
Belfast Safer Streets Campaign Group. Through this work he
has challenged anti-social behaviour, developed initiatives
to tackle crime and created opportunities for young people
to contribute positively to the community.

Michael has a personal interest in environmental and
horticultural issues and has won a number of awards for
environmental improvement schemes.


Taoiseach To Make Statement On Payments

25 September 2006 23:43

Government and Fianna Fáil sources have indicated to RTÉ
News that the Taoiseach will make a statement about the
controversy surrounding payments he received 13 years ago.

It is uncertain when the statement will be made.

The Minister for Health, Mary Harney, said she believed the
Taoiseach would clarify the question of donations he
received as Minister for Finance in 1993, which are now
being looked at by the Mahon Tribunal.

But in public engagements earlier today, Mr Ahern
repeatedly refused to comment on the matter.

Opposition leaders have called for Dáil time to be set
aside to discuss the issue when the House sits on

The Green Party said it would make a request for Dáil time
in which the Mr Ahern could make a statement.

Speaking on RTÉ Radio's News At One, Green Party whip Dan
Boyle, said his party wanted to question Mr Ahern on the

Mr Boyle said it was not in the Government's interest to
allow questions surrounding the donations to remain

Labour Party leader Pat Rabbitte said Mr Ahern needed to
make a full statement about the matter.

Speaking on RTÉ Radio's Morning Ireland, Mr Rabbitte denied
Mr Ahern's claims last week that the Opposition was behind
the leaking of confidential information from the tribunal.

He also said he did not believe the tribunal leaked the
information, but that it was more probable the leak came
from what he described as people being enquired into by the


Gaelic Roots Is Now More Than A Memory

Gaelic Roots already lives on in the hearts and memories of
the thousands who attended the popular Boston College
Gaelic music and dance event during its 10 years.

Now, the name itself has official staying power.

This fall marks the inauguration of the Gaelic Roots Irish
Music, Song and Dance Workshop and Lecture Series, which
will feature some of the most respected musicians, dancers
and scholars of Irish and related traditions. The series
gets off to a fast start with a lecture and concert
tomorrow night, Sept. 22, and another evening of music on
Wednesday, Sept. 27.

While BC has hosted such events regularly in recent years,
these will now take place under a unifying theme.

As Sullivan Artist in Residence Seamus Connolly, director
of Irish music programs at BC, explains, "This is simply
formalizing what's been going on here since Gaelic Roots
ended as a summer festival and school in 2003. By holding
these events throughout the academic year - as we've done
the past few years - instead of one week in the summer, our
students have an opportunity to listen to, and talk with,
these great performers and experts.

"The concerts, workshops and lectures we've been offering
very much reflect the spirit of Gaelic Roots, so we felt
that grouping them under the name was appropriate."

This year's Gaelic Roots series is titled "From Boston, New
England, and Beyond," an exploration of Boston's role in
Irish music and arts. Tomorrow night's event, "Thinking
Outside the Box: How Button Accordionist Joe Derrane Helped
to Redefine Irish America's Musical Identity Twice,"
features a lecture by local author and journalist Earle
Hitchner, and a performance by the legendary Joe Derrane, a
mainstay of the mid-20th century Boston Irish dance hall
scene who during the past decade has delighted, and
educated, new generations of Irish music lovers.

The Sept. 27 event will spotlight Boston Music Award
nominees Matt and Shannon Heaton, a husband-and-wife duo
whose lively flute-and-guitar instrumentals and sensitively
rendered songs - both traditional and self-composed - make
for a style best described as Irish Americana. [An
interview with the Heatons is available online]

All Gaelic Roots events, unless otherwise noted, take place
at 7 p.m. in Connolly House.

A traditional Irish ceilidh, with dancing for all, will
take place on Oct. 11 at 6:30 p.m. in Gasson 100, led by
Larry Reynolds, another well-respected figure in the Boston
Irish music scene, and Irish Studies part-time faculty
member Meghan Allen, who teaches Irish dancing at BC.

Scottish-style fiddler Laura Risk, whose music also
encompasses other varieties of Celtic music, and guitarist-
percussionist Paddy League will give a concert on Oct. 11.

A unique fusion of the traditional and contemporary comes
to Gasson 100 on Nov. 3 at 7:30 p.m. with the Boston Urban
Ceilidh. The "BUC" features some of Boston's premier Celtic
musicians playing high-energy dance music of Ireland,
Scotland and Cape Breton (Canada), set to a solid rock'n
roll beat. The Urban Ceilidh is co-organized by the Boston
Celtic Music Fest [], as part of its
outreach to the Greater Boston Community. [For more
details, see]

New England contra dance music, a popular offshoot of Irish
and Scottish traditions, will be presented on Nov. 7 by the
trio Old New England. The group features renowned pianist
Bob McQuillen, who has played for contra dances for

On Nov. 16, Randal Bays (fiddle), James Keane (accordion),
and Dáithí Sproule (guitar) will present music spanning
generations from both sides of the Atlantic, from
traditional to that composed yesterday.

The series' fall schedule concludes on Dec. 5 with two BC-
affiliated musicians, Irish Studies part-time faculty
member Laurel Martin (fiddle) and Irish Music Center
Director Elizabeth Sweeney (piano).

For more information on Gaelic Roots events, see -Sean Smith


Crowe To Attend Kilkee Event In Memory Of Richard Harris

Gordon Deegan

The west Clare seaside resort of Kilkee has secured a
massive coup by persuading Oscar- winning actor Russell
Crowe to participate in the unveiling of a statue dedicated
to the late Richard Harris.

The Hollywood star is to take a break from filming in New
York to be in Kilkee next Saturday for the unveiling of the

Event organiser Manuel di Lucia has confirmed that Crowe is
to attend and sing a song at the ceremony that he penned in
memory to Harris.

The two actors became good friends on the set of Gladiator
in 1999. Harris died three years later.

The statue is to depict Harris playing racquet-ball in
memory of the Limerick actor winning a racquet-ball
competition four times in a row in the west Clare resort
where he used to spend much of his summer holidays.

Mr di Lucia said: "I have had a couple of long
conversations with Russell and he is really looking forward
to coming over."

Crowe - who won best actor for his performance in Gladiator
and was nominated best actor for two other films - is
quoted on celebrity website stating:
"I will be in Kilkee, Ireland, to unveil a statue of
Richard Harris on September 30th.

"We no doubt will find a place in the town to sing a few

According to Mr di Lucia, the New Zealand-born actor who
now lives in Australia is to arrive with an entourage of

Asked how he was able to persuade Crowe to participate in
the ceremony, Mr di Lucia said it was arranged through a
diving friend's son who is living in California and is good
friends with the actor.

Mr di Lucia said that the statue will be officially
unveiled by Harris's three sons who are to attend the

The estimated cost of the statue is €42,000 and Harris's
three sons have contributed €21,000 towards the cost.

The statue by Séamus Connolly was to be erected in the
Wellington Square area of the town, however, Mr di Lucia
said that the statue will now be erected on private
property on a temporary basis on Kilkee's Cliff Walk over
the well-known Pollock Holes.

© The Irish Times

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