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October 26, 2006

Blueprint for All-Ireland Economy Unveiled

News About Ireland & The Irish

BN 10/26/06
Blueprint For All-Ireland Economy Unveiled
BT 10/26/06 Parades Body Wants To Put Itself Out Of Business
BT 10/26/06 St Andrews 'Could Be A Step Forward In Creating Trust'
BT 10/26/06 Plans For Troubles Victims' Forum Are Unveiled
NH 10/26/06 Concern Over Power Victims' Commissioner Will Have
IT 10/26/06 McCartney Sisters To Lobby Tories' Cameron
NH 10/26/06 Opin: Ian Og In His Da's Shoes? How Comforting …
IC 10/26/06 Opin: Rossport’s Fight Is Everyone’s Fight
IC 10/26/06 Republican Hero Was Murdered 30 Years Ago
TC 10/26/06 Election News: 'Somebody Had To Stand Up'


Blueprint For All-Ireland Economy Unveiled

26/10/2006 - 10:50:12

A groundbreaking blueprint for an all-island economy was
unveiled today by the British and Irish governments.

A host of concrete initiatives to strengthen the economy
with North and South co-operation have been flagged up.

Pooling together resources in overseas trade promotion,
mixing the right skills to support sustained growth,
greater collaboration in research and development, and
developing a world class infrastructure have been earmarked
to benefit cross boarder economic activity.

Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dermot Ahern, and
British secretary of state for the North Peter Hain,
believe the co-ordinated policies can and will deliver
benefits to citizens and businesses both North and South.

The move focuses on increasing co-operation in
infrastructure, science, technology and innovation, trade
and investment promotion, labour market and skills and
enterprise and business development.

Mr Ahern said the important study makes clear the strong
economic imperative driving North/South co-operation.

“To be globally competitive we must exploit the
opportunities of all-island collaboration,” he said.

“To make the knowledge economy a reality in Ireland North
and South, the opportunities of cross-border co-operation
in R&D should be eagerly grasped.”

The two governments, along with business representatives,
trade unions and other key stakeholders, will now jointly
develop a detailed programme of work in each of the areas
identified, as well as seeking further opportunities for
co-operation in the education and health sectors.

Both ministers said they are looking forward to forming an
important part of the work of the restored institutions.

Mr Ahern said: “In the area of infrastructure, more joined
up planning and delivery will give better outcomes for
people throughout the island.

“A coherent transport infrastructure is vital to support
the development of areas which have historically enjoyed
less economic success including the border counties and the
North West.”

The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Rt Hon Peter
Hain MP, welcomed the key outcomes from the study.

“It sets out a compelling vision of a strong competitive
and socially inclusive island economy with island wide
clusters whose strength and development is not impaired by
the existence of a political border,” he said.

“This must be our aim if we are to move forward and deliver
sustained economic benefits for everyone. I look forward to
further development and implementation of the goals and
actions contained in the Study both in the weeks to come
and as part of the agenda of the restored institutions.”

The full initiatives are:

:: Pooling resources in overseas trade promotion.

Trade missions to be opened up to companies, North and
South, as will access to the overseas offices of Enterprise
Ireland and Invest NI.

:: The right skills mix on the island to support sustained

Targeted Skillnets networks to be opened up on an all-
island basis to facilitate enterprise training and
workplace learning. Both expert skills groups North and
South to take a new all-island approach to labour market
skills forecasting to identify skills gaps and propose how
these should be addressed.

:: Greater collaboration in R&D

The next Irish Government call for proposals for a new
Centre for Science, Engineering and Technology opened up to
Universities and institutes across the island; new
Programme to support SMEs in maximising the potential for
cross-border co-operation under the EU’s R&D funds; an all-
island Mapping Study of Centres of Research and
Technological Development on the island.

:: A world class infrastructure on the island

More efficient and joined-up planning and delivery on key
infrastructure, including transport, energy and telecoms
will deliver better value for money and more balanced
regional development.

Mr Ahern told Dundalk Chamber of Commerce that in the
globalised world the two parts of this island can achieve
so much more together than apart.

“No-one today can be economically Partitionist, because
failure to advance the all-island agenda means failure to
provide jobs and services and prosperity to the people of
the border counties and the entire Island,” he said at the
conference entitled Dundalk a Place to Invest.

“Under this blueprint the British and Irish government’s
have agreed to bring North/South economic co-operation to a
new plain.

“From now on you will see more efficient and joined-up
planning and delivery on key cross-border infrastructure,
including transport, energy and telecoms.”


Parades Body Wants To Put Itself Out Of Business

By Chris Thornton
26 October 2006

More and more members of the Loyal Orders are coming
forward to talk to the Parades Commission, the body's
chairman said yesterday as he launched an appeal for more

Roger Poole also said increased dialogue between residents
and marching groups had been responsible for the reduction
in violence seen over this year's marching season.

Mr Poole said he intends to step up dialogue over the next
few months with the ultimate aim of putting the commission
out of business because contentious parades have been
settled - although he refused to put a time limit on that

The commission chairman also announced the findings of a
review of procedures.

The commission makes a number of recommendations about its
future conduct, including a call for classic car clubs to
be exempt from parades laws.

Mr Poole said some of the dialogue that took place over
disputed parades this year had been "quite staggering" -
citing as an example a meeting in Ardoyne between residents
and the loyalist North and West Belfast Parades Forum.

He said dialogue in a number of areas is continuing and he
hopes that "further understandings" can be reached.

"I think what that has shown is that dialogue works," he

"The commission wants to see that dialogue process stepped
up very substantially this autumn, through this winter and
into the early spring."

Mr Poole underlined that he feels the "Orange case goes by
default" because the Orange Order refuses to formally
engage with the commission.

He made an appeal "to those within the loyal orders who
haven't yet felt yet able to engage with us".

"Our door is always open," he said.

"It would benefit them to come and speak with us.

"More and more people who belong to the Orange Order are
talking to us in more places around Northern Ireland.

"That is very welcome."

Mr Poole also said he was "very comfortable" with the
Government's new review of parading.

It was announced in conjunction with the St Andrews


St Andrews 'Could Be A Step Forward In Creating Trust'

By Alf McCreary
26 October 2006

The Church of Ireland Bishop of Derry and Raphoe, the Rt
Rev Ken Good, has paid tribute to all those working on the
political process.

Speaking to the Diocesan Synod in Derry yesterday, he said
the progress made at St Andrew's talks could prove to be a
genuine step forward for building trust.

He added: "Tribute needs to be paid to those who have
demonstrated courageous leadership.

"This opportunity must be grasped and not squandered, and
those who are working hard to lead courageously have our
support to win hearts and minds to play a full part in a
peaceful and just shared future."

The Bishop asked for prayers for those in positions of

He said: "My personal longing is that when we gather again
at next year's Diocesan Synod we will be able to look back
with gratitude and a sense of achievement on some months of
an Assembly that has not just been up and running, but
which has been working effectively on the many significant
issues that are best resolved by locally-elected and
locally accountable politicians."

He added that people "will not be convinced by a church
that remains distant and aloof, making pronouncements about
how it cares, unless the people of that church show a real
compassionate involvement in their daily struggles and get
involved with the issues that are causing them anguish."


Plans For Troubles Victims' Forum Are Unveiled

By Noel McAdam
26 October 2006

Proposals for a future forum for victims and survivors to
deal with the legacy of the Troubles have been unveiled.

Interim Victims Commissioner Bertha McDougall said the idea
for a forum was perhaps the most important issue she has to
deal with.

But speaking at the annual conference of the Community
Relations Council, she stressed the over-riding concern was
that final recommendations must ultimately make a "real and
tangible difference" to the lives of victims and survivors.

Four potential models for a forum are suggested:

• An Independent Round Table Forum, formally constituted to
try to reach a consensus on priorities;

• A Round Table Forum building on existing structures made
up of the Interdepartmental Working Group, the Trauma
Advisory Panels and Victims & Survivors' Groups;

• A Forum co-ordinated and driven by the Commissioner which
would consult with experts and stakeholders to identify

• The existing Trauma Advisory Panels feeding into Office
of the First Minister and the Deputy First Minister linked
to the Commissioner.

"We know that whatever is decided upon will not be a
perfect option but it must evolve," Mrs McDougall added.

"We need to find ways to deal with the past by remembering,
acknowledging, recording, exploring other perceptions,
building an archive and learn from this for the future,
learning from other post-conflict countries and leaving a
positive legacy for future generations."

The issue was regarded as perhaps the most important within
her remit. Funding was a critical area of concern but views
on a model for a Forum have been wide and varied -
including whether there should be one at all.

"This is not an easy process but it is an important one
which will need to be carefully planned and structured and
will take time to set up," the interim Commissioner added.


Concern Over How Much Power Victims' Commissioner Will Have

(Maeve Connolly, Irish News)

With new legislation about to be passed on the appointment
and remit of a victims' commissioner, Maeve Connolly speaks
to two groups who are concerned the law will not go far

The NIO must "relinquish power" to a victims' commissioner
if the post is to have "teeth", a victims' group has

Mark Thompson, director of Relatives for Justice (RFJ),
criticised draft legislation covering the creation of a
commissioner and a review of how victims are treated as

He also expressed concern that the proposed laws do not
give the commissioner a "clear legislative remit" to tackle
both the causes and results of the Troubles.

The Victims and Survivors (NI) Order 2006 is before
parliament and could become law within weeks, with the
appointment of a commissioner in early 2007 whose principal
aim is "to promote the interests of victims and survivors".

This person will serve a four-year term and be held to
account by the Office of the First Minister and Deputy
First Minister (OFMDFM).

Written into Annex B of the St Andrews Agreement is also a
promise by the government to "introduce legislation this
autumn to establish a victims' commissioner for Northern

However, Mr Thompson said he is concerned the
commissioner's powers will be limited and tie him or her to
dealing with "non-contentious" issues such as services for
victims – including counselling and therapies – rather than
tackling the legacy of conflict.

"These cannot be separated. There needs to be a holistic
approach," he said.

Mr Thompson said he would like the commissioner entitled
under law to have unqualified access to sensitive reports
such as the Stevens' Inquiry.

"The NIO will retain power and won't relinquish this to a
commissioner. They don't want people to look into
controversial issues. Judge [Peter] Corry did and they
changed the Inquiries Act," he claimed.

In his opinion the ideal candidate would come from an
international background, have a clear understanding of
conflict resolution and transformation issues and "come
from a human rights background and have a legal
understanding of international human rights standards".

A Victims' Liaison Unit was created under the terms of the
Good Friday Agreement, with the NIO responsible for the
management of funding to victims' groups.

Also contained in the agreement was the intention to create
a victims' forum and, according to the government, its
'interim' commissioner is "carrying out essential
preliminary work".

Mr Thompson said he favours a steering group, ideally
consisting of 12 people who rotate the position of
chairman, with the support of the entire community and
those affected by conflict and work in conflict resolution.

Bertha McDougall was named as interim victims' commissioner
in October 2005, although the appointment has been subject
to a legal challenge by the widow of a man killed by a
plastic bullet fired by an RUC reservist. A judgement could
come within days.

Brenda Downes has argued the appointment by Secretary of
State Peter Hain was a "sop" to the DUP and the candidate
did not command cross-community support.

Mrs McDougall's policeman husband was murdered by the INLA
in 1981.

Mr Thompson said the issue was not with Mrs McDougall but
the government's actions.

The draft legislation's public consultation period ended in
September and 24 responses were received.

According to the draft a new commissioner will be appointed
by the first and deputy first ministers but there is a
proviso that if devolution is not restored, the secretary
of state will select a candidate.

One of the commissioner's principal tasks is to agree an
annual programme of work with OFMDFM which is expected to
include setting up the forum.

However, the idea of a 12-month scheme of work does not
appeal to RFJ, which believes a long-term approach would
produce more results and even then should be reviewed on an
annual basis.

Mr Thompson also takes issue with what he sees as the
government having already set out the areas which the
commissioner will look at, believing "the commissioner in
cooperation with the steering group should outline these

Although organisations such as RFJ can treat the symptoms
of people affected by the Troubles, Mr Thompson wants the
government to address the causes of trauma.

Victims want their pain acknowledged and part of the
healing process involves those responsible admitting their
wrongdoing, he said.

Wave is another group helping those bereaved during the
Troubles and has 600 new referrals every year.

It is concerned that the legislation makes no reference to
an NIO victims' minister and said this portfolio must be
retained "until the new appointee has provided their first
review of the progress they have made".

Criticising the "premature and ad hoc closure of the NIO's
Victims' Liaison Unit, chief executive Sandra Peake said it
had been Wave's experience that devolved ministers were
"reluctant to engage in issues because of their respective
political party line".

Wave also takes issue with the government's use of 1968 as
a reference point for the beginning of the Troubles given
that "the first death is recorded as 1966" and Ms Peake
said "in the interest of equity and fairness" the victims'
commissioner should also represent those who left the north
as a result of the Troubles, not only those who still live
in Northern Ireland.

While the Human Rights Commission can conduct
investigations and help individuals, there is no such role
envisaged for a victims' commissioner, according to Ms

"It would be useful if the victims' commissioner had
similar powers in which they could assist individuals with
particular issues and could follow through at a legal level
if required."

Wave wants an assurance that the commissioner will consult
trauma advisory panels and other grassroots organisations
because "in the absence of an effective victim/survivor
forum the trauma advisory panels are the closest body
representing a wide range of agencies and organisations
including individual representation".

The issue of funding is one which Ms Peake would like to be
placed in the hands of OFMDFM.

"If the commissioner's office had a funding remit it would
put them in an untenable position on the first occasion
they had to turn down funding from one group or another.
This would undermine other work being undertaken through
the commissioner's office," she said.

October 26, 2006

This article appeared first in the October 25, 2006 edition
of the Irish News.


McCartney Sisters To Lobby Tories' Cameron

Last updated: 26-10-06, 06:58

The sisters of IRA murder victim Robert McCartney will
today urge Conservative leader David Cameron to back their
campaign to get justice for their brother.

Mr Cameron is meeting the family at their home in Belfast
during a series of engagements in Northern Ireland.

The father of two (33) was stabbed to death outside a
Belfast city centre bar in January 2005. His family blamed
republicans for the murder and a cover-up to protect the

At the time the IRA claimed it had expelled three of its
members over their involvement, and even offered to shoot
those responsible. But although one man has been charged in
connection with the murder, the McCartney family suspects
up to 15 took part in her brother's brutal death.

With the Tories' strengthened support in the polls leading
them to believe Mr Cameron could be swept to power at the
next election, the family has been keen to put its case to

Catherine McCartney said: "This will be the first time we
have met David Cameron and we will be filling him in on the
details. In terms of the investigation there's been little
progress despite nearly two years of campaigning.

"So, given that it seems we are going to be around for a
number of years he could be the next prime minister. We are
not complacent that this will all end in the next year or
two, so David Cameron could become an important player."

© 2006


Opin: Ian Og In His Da's Shoes? How Comforting …

(Brian Feeney, Irish News)

The DUP is a curiosity as a political party.

It possesses some of the outward and visible signs of a
political party: elected representatives, spokesmen (and
Iris Robinson), annual conference, press releases – lots of
them – and a consistently high public profile.

What does this facade conceal? Is it really a political
party, or the political wing of a religious sect, or a
family business? Who knows?

It's true you don't have to be a member of Paisley's Free
Presbyterian Church to be a member or even to progress in
the party. Look at Peter Robinson.

Still, it helps – there's a predominance of people who are
'saved' or are members of Paisley's Church in top party

Who controls the party?

The answer is Ian Paisley. He founded it. He's leader for
life, just like his Church.

The title of the party, Democratic Unionist Party, is a
contradiction in terms. It's a bit like the Leninist notion
of democratic centralism, a fancy phrase for dictatorship.

We hear talk of division in the party, with a so-called
'modernising' wing led by Peter Robinson – who denies it –
and a 'fundamentalist' or nutter wing which seems to be the

The problem for the British and Irish governments is how to
get through to Paisley.

Who can influence him?

Who does he trust?

The answer to that question unfortunately seems to be Ian

Paisley's no dope. He's been around in politics one way or
another for about 60 years since he cut his teeth in a
sectarian campaign in Belfast's Dock constituency in 1949.

He knows you can't trust anyone, certainly not anyone in
your own party and definitely not the serried ranks of
grinning assassins who swarm behind you when you come to
the microphones to speak at Stormont.

Two facts he can be sure of are that Ian Og is going
nowhere without him and that blood is thicker than water.

For those reasons Ian Og has assumed greater importance in
the general scheme of things in the last couple of years.
It's even rumoured that British officials used him as a go-
between during negotiations this year to try to assure his
da everything would be all right.

Now wouldn't that fill you with confidence?

As a blow-in from Belfast young Ian, who will only be 40 in
December, has worked hard in north Antrim to become a
carbon copy of his da.

Just like his father, young Ian never misses a chance to
attack republicans and the Irish Republic.

In his website he's at pains to mention twice 'lead
protests', which might make you think it's something to do
with the environment but it's because whoever wrote the
website doesn't know there's an English verb spelt 'led'.

Ian Og believes protesting is important because his father
has done so well out of protests but young Ian's protests
never registered on the political Richter scale.

Whatever it is Paisley Mark I has that makes him such a
dangerous political animal is conspicuously missing in Ian

He doesn't spot the gaffes he utters, the gaps he leaves
open for ridicule. For example, when Denis Donaldson was
killed earlier this year, Ian Og issued a statement asking
the taoiseach what threats to Donaldson the gardai had
heard of and what did the taoiseach and his (sic) police

This from a guy who professes not to know or care about
anything in the Republic. Was young Ian suddenly supporting
Sinn Féin's demands for speaking rights in the Dail?

He warned of trouble should a republican parade go through
"this Protestant town" of Ballymena. It never occurred to
him that was the same argument nationalists used to oppose
Orange parades going through Catholic towns.

We'll pass over his suggestion that some sectarian attacks
in Ballymena were "self-inflicted by republicans".

So it would be really comforting to know that the oul'
curmudgeon was relying on this mighty political brain for
advice about whether to link up with Sinn Féin in
contradiction of everything he'd ever done or said in his
life – that in the final analysis, any official party
structures that may exist and all the MPs and MLAs count
for nothing compared to Ian Og.

October 26, 2006

This article appeared first in the October 25, 2006 edition
of the Irish News.


Opin: Rossport’s Fight Is Everyone’s Fight

Andersonstown News

Standing on a damp road in the predawn morning surrounded
by dozens of hostile police officers, it was easy to
picture yourself in Ardoyne, Portadown or the Lower Ormeau.

As the anticipation built in preparation for the arrival of
the unwanted visitors, determined to trundle through the
community, it almost felt like the marching season as well.

But this wasn’t Dunloy or Bellaghy. Rossport is a small
Gaeltacht community in probably the most remote part of Co
Mayo. Take away the legions of Guards and protestors and it
would be hard to imagine confrontation ever taking place on
a road enveloped by bleak bogland and foreboding forest.

However, the conflict ongoing in Erris goes as much to the
heart of power relations in the 26 Counties as sectarian
marches do in the occupied area.

What is at stake are the safety and democratic entitlements
of Irish citizens.

In the most recent development in the long-running dispute,
Shell announced the commencement of construction of their
200 million euro terminal.

For the last number of weeks outside construction workers
have been carrying out preparations on the Bellanaboy site
despite the vehement opposition of local people.

There are two key issues for the people of Rossport and
their supporters – one is the inability of Shell to
guarantee the safety of those who live in the vicinity of
the proposed land-based gas terminal, and the other is that
the Irish people will accrue absolutely no financial
benefit from the pumping of this gas.

Effectively, Shell will be exploiting the natural resources
of the Irish nation and generously selling it back to the
Irish nation at full price.

To ensure the success of this operation hundreds of Gardaí
are being bussed into north Mayo from around the country.
So far the policing operation is estimated to have cost the
26 county taxpayer in excess of one million euro.

The attitude of these Guards has been inconsistent. The
more senior officers have clearly relished their role,
while most of the younger foot soldiers are unable to look
locals in the eye and have visibly shaken and gulped when
confronted by indignant Mayo women about their betrayal of
the Rossport community.

However, the Gardaí’s actions have been nothing if not
consistent. Morning after morning they have ensured that
the unwanted construction workers have been able to make
their way to Bellanaboy, hospitalising and arresting
numerous protestors in the process.

One such victim was Maura Harrington who was treated in
hospital for head and neck injuries. Harrington has
described the behaviour of Gardaí in the area as being “out
of control”.

The Gardaí, ordered by their governmental superiors, are
attacking Rossport for a very simple and uncomplicated
reason: to ensure that Shell makes the maximum amount of
profit in the shortest possible time.

However, the Rossport issue cannot be dealt with in
isolation from the Dublin government’s overall, long-term
strategy regarding the economy. At every opportunity they
have sold off the property of the Irish people, including
the ‘national’ phone network and Aer Lingus, the national

Another example is their positive attitude towards the
private sector’s growing involvement in the health service.

The Erris pipeline is merely the most blatant example of
this state-run auction. The Norwegian government is set to
receive 36 per cent in royalties from the project through
their subsidiary companies – 36 per cent more than the
government in Leinster House.

Against this backdrop, the majority of the Irish media have
acted in a typically shameful manner, ignoring their
obligation to fair and investigative journalism and siding
with the sell-off of the people’s resources.

Among the many outrageous allegations made against the
Shell To Sea campaign through this media are that the
Rossport community is being manipulated by outside elements
with their own agenda, the IRA and Sinn Féin have taken
control of the campaign for their own gain and flying
columns are being reorganised in north Mayo to ‘deal with’
supporters of Shell.

Regardless of the smear tactics, people from across the
country, including Belfast, have mobilised in defence of
Rossport and the nation’s property, travelling to
Bellanaboy as well as organising protests and meetings in
their own communities.

This mobilisation must increase in the time ahead.

Shell and the Dublin government have shown themselves to be
totally indifferent, even hostile, to legitimate concerns
about this project. People have been raising these concerns
for years to no avail. Pressure must now be put on both
institutions, clearly indicating that the Irish people are
not prepared to allow the gas venture to continue in its
present format.

This demand has been articulated by prominent Shell To Sea
activist, Tadhg McGrath.

“This refinery will never be built. How long will it take
them to realise that you can’t do something like that
against the community’s will? When the people are against
it, it’s not going to happen,” he said.

November 10 marks the 11th anniversary of the execution of
Ken Saro Wiwa and his eight friends by the Nigerian
government for their opposition to the Shell exploitation
of the indigenous Ogoni community and environment.

For those who think the comparison between the Ogoni people
and Rossport is an extreme one it would be pertinent to
remember that the Nigerian government actually received a
better deal from Shell than Dublin did.

• Pádraig ó Meiscill is a member of the Belfast Shell to
Sea campaign.


Republican Hero Was Murdered 30 Years Ago

Máire Drumm was gunned down as she recovered from surgery
in Mater hospital

Andersonstown News
by Damian McCarney

Saturday marks the 30th anniversary of the murder of
veteran republican Maíre Drumm as she recovered from
surgery in the Mater hospital.

Maíre, who was a lifelong republican, rose through the
ranks of Sinn Féin to become the vice-president of the
party and a prominent figure in Belfast’s republican
community. She was particularly known for her impassioned

On the eve of the anniversary, Máire’s daughter, Margaret
Drumm, told the Andersonstown News of her recollections of
her mother’s eventful life.

Born in 1919, Máire McAteer was brought up learning strong
republican values from her family in Killeen, South Armagh.

She moved to Liverpool as a 16-year-old in search of work
and joined the local branch of the Gaelic League. After
four years in England she returned to Ireland and became
involved with Sinn Féin in Dublin.

A keen sportswoman, Maíre played camogie when she moved
North to settle in West Belfast two years later. Her
organisational skills saw her appointed to the position of
Secretary for Antrim Camogie Board, Chairperson of the
Ulster Camogie Board and Vice-Chairperson of the Camogie
Board for all Ireland.

Somehow Maíre managed to find time to become involved with
a prisoners’ welfare group and she began visiting inmates
whose families could not afford to travel to Crumlin Road
prison. It was during such visits that she met her husband,
Jimmy Drumm from Beechmount, who was interned at the time.

Jimmy was to spend considerable periods of his life in
prison, having the unfortunate record of being interned in
every decade from the 1930s to the 1970s.

The couple married in 1946 and had five children together.
But Jimmy’s his imprisonment was a constant barrier to a
normal family life.

“When we were small our memory of our father was of always
going to see him in prison,” said Margaret.

It was Jimmy’s incarceration which first led to Máire
becoming involved in protest politics in Belfast.

“Her first protest occurred in 1959 when she was going to
visit my father in Crumlin Road. The prison wardens had
found an escape route and banned visitors from coming in.
Máire, along with Tess Cahill, Joe Cahill’s sister, and
other women and children refused to move and staged a

“When the gate opened to allow the prison governor’s car to
drive in, all the women rushed in too. The guards used
water cannon on them but they still got in and the
prisoners were allowed their parcels.

“It was her first success and she saw that you could
sometimes get what you wanted through protests,” said

This early success encouraged her to continue and when the
Civil Rights campaign got under way in the late 1960s,
Máire Drumm threw herself into it. She became a pivotal
figure in the drive to find shelter, food and clothing for
the refugees who came flooding into West Belfast during the
pogroms of 1969.

She was also a prominent figure, alongside Lily Fitzsimmons
and Marie Moore, in that inspiring group of women who
marched through a cordon of soldiers to break the Falls
Curfew in July 1970.

However, it will be for her absorbing speeches that she
will be best remembered.

“She spoke from her heart,” said Margaret. “She wasn’t
afraid, she just said what she had to say and that was it.
She was a very passionate speaker and the crowds were
enthralled by her, she influenced many people through

An English newspaper called for her arrest after she
addressed a meeting at Free Derry Corner in March 1971
dressed in a combat uniform after the shooting of two

She was finally arrested in July of that year, bound over
and required to report to the RUC. However, she refused and
was imprisoned in Armagh for six months.

Constant brushes with the law followed over the following
five years, on both sides of the border, as she faced
charges of incitement and holding ‘illegal’ protests after
her anti-internment and pro-republican speeches.

Her last speech was in her home county of Armagh in August
1976, just weeks before she went into the Mater hospital
for eye surgery. As she recovered in hospital, three
loyalist gunmen dressed as doctors entered her ward on the
night of October 28 and shot her as she walked to her bed.

“We got a phone call from the hospital just after 10.30pm,”
said Margaret, “saying to get over as she was very ill. She
wasn’t ill from the surgery so we knew what had happened.
One of the security men in the Mater was arrested
afterwards as he was a member of the UVF and he got life
for her murder. How could anyone get into a hospital to
kill someone? There must have been collusion.”

Thousands lined the streets of West Belfast as her funeral
cortege made its way to Milltown Cemetery – they were there
to pay tribute to a woman who had worked tirelessly for the

“She always wanted a united Ireland, and told us that she
would see it in her lifetime, when we were wee, and that
would be her reward.

“Although she didn’t see a united Ireland, she definitely
played her part in trying to get one,” said Margaret.


Election News: 'Somebody Had To Stand Up'

Greens' candidate wants U.S. to shift course

By Rachel E. Stassen-Berger
Pioneer Press

When Michael Cavlan looks at the federal government, he
sees disaster.

"I'm seeing our nation proceed in very, very dangerous
directions. We have had a culture of corruption envelop our
government and, actually, a culture of bigotry and
intolerance and, unfortunately, the response to this has
been a culture of cowardice. I plan to change that," said
Cavlan, the Minnesota Green Party's candidate for the U.S.

Cavlan, who said he has never voted for a Democrat or a
Republican, draws from his own experience to form his
views. A nurse in the burn unit of Regions Hospital in St.
Paul, he speaks with the tinge of a brogue that's the
product of his Northern Irish heritage.

His father, a Teamster and former cardboard-box assembler,
moved the Catholic family to California in the 1950s and
then back to Northern Ireland when Cavlan, now 47, was 10.
Cavlan stayed there until he was 25. He said he grew up in
the public housing projects of Northern Ireland.

In the United States, he saw discrimination and racism
based on skin color, something his father demonstrated
against in the civil rights movement.

As a citizen, Cavlan voted for the Sinn Fein political
movement when he was living in Northern Ireland, a province
of the United Kingdom. He saw religious bigotry and
citizens being labeled as terrorists. As a young teen he
was tempted to join the uprising against British rule in
Northern Ireland after "Bloody Sunday" in 1972, when
British troops opened fire on protesters.

"I just got hit with an overwhelming sense of anger," said
Cavlan of his reaction as a boy. He spoke to the
independence movement's local leaders. "I talked to the
people who were involved and said that I was interested,
and they said no."

He later learned that his father had talked to the leaders
in advance and told them not to let young Michael or any of
his brothers join.

His views on violent uprising have changed since those

"I since learned that there is another way to channel that
anger," said Cavlan, who has been arrested in Minnesota
three times as part of nonviolent protests.

The result is that Cavlan prides himself on being "a voice
for peace, justice, grass-roots democracy and ecological

He is a U.S. citizen and is considering applying for dual
citizenship. During the 2004 presidential election, he went
to hotly contested Ohio as an election observer. He
believed the poor and black vote in that battleground state
was deliberately undercounted or suppressed while the
Republican vote was artificially inflated, he said.

Cavlan's campaign got a boost this week from a fellow
Irishman and fellow Green Party candidate, Malachy McCourt,
who is running for governor in New York. McCourt, an
author, said Cavlan was waging an energetic campaign "that
is absolutely and sorely needed in a country where a torpor
is set in."

His goals for the Senate race are threefold: He wants to
spread his message; he wants to win; and he wants to regain
the Greens' major-party status by getting 5 percent of the
vote on Election Day. Four years ago, the party's Senate
candidate got less than 0.5 percent of the vote.

"I do not want to do this. I'm serious. This is such a pain
in the ass. It takes me away from my family and from the
things that I think are important," Cavlan said. "But I
recognize the dangers we are facing, and I said somebody
had to stand up and do this."

Rachel E. Stassen-Berger can be reached at

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