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December 02, 2006

Doubts Persist On Assembly Restoration Deadline

News About Ireland & The Irish

IT 12/02/06 Doubts Persist On Assembly Restoration Deadline
IT 12/02/06 Adams Meets Blair As Policing Moves Continue
BN 12/02/06 UUP: DUP Split Over St Andrew's Agreement
BN 12/01/06 DUP's Day-Long Meeting Bids To Quell Dissent
BT 12/02/06 We've Have Been Through Too Much For Quick Fix
AP 12/01/06 Bush Endorses Irish Power-Sharing Government
WH 12/01/06 Full Text Of White House Statement
BB 12/01/06 Gaelic Player Arrested In House
IT 12/02/06 Concern At Shortfall In North's Electoral Roll
UT 12/02/06 Lundy Parade In Derry
NH 12/01/06 Inquiry Call Over 1st Garda Killed In Troubles
WS 12/01/06 Arrest Of Kevin Fulton & Omagh Bombing
BB 12/02/06 Opin: 'UUP Pleasure From DUP Pain'
WL 12/02/06 Green Above Red! Markievicz Sclst & Ntnlst
GU 12/02/06 Film: The Dead - 'I Think He Died For Me'

UT 12/02/06 Spirit Named Michael Collins Sparks Debate
(Click Pic For Larger image)
TO 12/01/06 Boston's Irish Community Honors Local Achievers


Doubts Persist On Assembly Restoration Deadline

Dan Keenan, Northern News Editor

Significant doubts remain over the restoration of powers to
Stormont by the British and Irish governments' deadline of
March 26th.

This is despite a "positive" meeting held by the DUP
yesterday designed to steady the party after differences
over sharing power with Sinn Féin emerged this past week,
and Sinn Féin support for the governments' timetable.

Republicans signalled yesterday they will stick to the
governments' timetable and participate fully in the
"transitional assembly" that sits until dissolution in
January, when campaigning for the March election formally

Anxious not to be seen to be "jumping first" by nodding
assent to sharing power with republicans in advance of Sinn
Féin acceptance of the police, however, DUP sources
insisted last night the party was united and determined.

A statement, issued after the meeting of MPs and other
senior figures, said: "All members resolved to continue to
proceed on the basis of the party executive motion of 9th
November, 2006," which laid down policy on the St Andrews

It further stated that party leader the Rev Ian Paisley,
along with Peter Robinson, Nigel Dodds and Lord Maurice
Morrow, would "take forward the resolution of outstanding
issues with the prime minister on Tuesday in Downing

They will press for an open and clear announcement and
demonstration from Sinn Féin giving support for the PSNI,
the courts and meeting all other obligations.

The inclusion of Lord Morrow and North Belfast MP Nigel
Dodds is seen as significant as they were among the
signatories of a statement last week which claimed that Dr
Paisley had not taken part in the process to indicate a
nominee for first minister in any new power-sharing

Their statement was viewed as open criticism of the
leadership stance.

In contrast, yesterday's party statement insisted that the
meeting was "constructive" and was "held in good spirit
which displayed widespread agreement".

Senior figures last night declined to comment beyond the

Jeffrey Donaldson, the Lagan Valley MP, said: "It was a
very positive meeting, that's all I'll say."

Ian Paisley jnr, the North Antrim Assembly member,
yesterday urged his party to "stay focused".

"We should remember that the real enemy is republicans. [
DUP members] should beat up on republicans and not beat
their chests or beat up on themselves." He told The Irish
Times last night he was "very happy" with the outcome of
the meeting. "It was very useful," he said.

Asked if the party was in a better situation following
yesterday's discussions he answered: "I think so,

Publicly and privately DUP sources say the delivery of Sinn
Féin support for policing and the courts take priority over
any government timetable.

They appeared to be supported in this yesterday by the
Church of Ireland primate, Dr Robin Eames.

Speaking after a meeting with the DUP yesterday he said:
"The timescales to me are of secondary importance to the
ultimate - which is trust."

He added: "You can twist words, you can analyse words. At
the end of the day, we have come through too much in this
province for a quick fix which is not going to leave people
with a feeling of stability."


Adams Meets Blair As Policing Moves Continue

Frank Millar, London Editor

British prime minister Tony Blair met Sinn Féin president
Gerry Adams at Chequers yesterday as efforts continued to
secure a Sinn Féin ardfheis on policing ahead of elections
to the Northern Ireland Assembly scheduled for March.

Neither Sinn Féin nor Downing Street would comment on the
meeting, seemingly held at Mr Blair's country retreat in
part at least to avoid media attention.

However, usually reliable sources have acknowledged that
sequencing would once again be crucial in any successful
attempt to resolve the standoff between the stated DUP and
Sinn Féin positions on the modalities and timetable for the
devolution of policing and justice powers to Stormont. The
British government appears confident it can resolve the MI5
issue with Sinn Féin, while pressure is mounting on the
republicans to hold a special ardfheis to change party
policy and finally endorse the policing arrangements in
Northern Ireland.

A draft protocol - or memorandum of understanding - is
being prepared which will define the future roles of, and
the relationship between, the Security Service, MI5, and
the PSNI. It is understood this will incorporate the key
principles and accountability arrangements set out in the
St Andrews Agreement in preparation for the Security
Service assuming the lead responsibility for "national
security" issues in the North late next year.

Following the Rev Ian Paisley's conditional indication that
he will accept nomination as first minister in a new
powersharing executive, London has also been encouraged by
a softening of DUP rhetoric over the question of a
timetable for the future transfer of policing and justice

In an interview on RTÉ last Monday Dr Paisley put the onus
on Sinn Féin leaders to endorse the PSNI and so move to
create the necessary unionist confidence to allow
devolution of policing powers to take place. This is seen
in Whitehall as a conscious move away from the "never in my
lifetime" comments currently most associated with DUP MP
Nigel Dodds.

At the same time British sources acknowledge they have not
yet found a way to persuade Mr Adams to call an ardfheis
without prior agreement on the modality for a Stormont
policing ministry and the projected timetable for the
transfer of powers spelt out by the British and Irish
governments in the St Andrews Agreement.

Without an ardfheis in January, however, there are some
indications that London will consider cancelling the
planned Assembly elections. Northern Ireland Secretary
Peter Hain has stopped short of threatening this, while
insisting the long-awaited ardfheis should take place
"sooner rather than later". However, Taoiseach Bertie Ahern
said earlier this week there would be no point in elections
if an ardfheis had not been held to enable an agreement
with the DUP to form a government by the March 26th


UUP: DUP Split Over St Andrew's Agreement

02/12/2006 - 14:07:06

The Democratic Unionist Party is split over support for the
St Andrew’s Agreement, the leader of the Ulster Unionists
claimed today.

But Sir Reg Empey insisted the divisions would not be good
for the future of unionism.

The Rev Ian Paisley’s DUP held a private day-long meeting
at a hotel near Belfast yesterday to try to agree a united
line for the way forward.

Afterwards party members insisted there was widespread
agreement among MPs, MLAs and their single MEP.

But in an interview with BBC Radio, Sir Reg Empey said
evidence of division within the rival unionists was

“It’s clear there are divisions there,” he said.

“We understand it, everyone knows it and it’s not
surprising because they have launched on a policy for which
they have no mandate and which is against everything they
stood for for the last 40 years.”

Sir Reg accepted that there was a case of history repeating
itself after the UUP itself suffered deep divisions when
former leader David Trimble agreed to share power with Sinn
Féin before decommissioning had taken place.

But he said: “Some of my colleagues and people will say
it’s happy days for you guys in the Ulster Unionist Party
seeing your biggest critics in the same position as you
once were.

“But I have to say, if you look at the wider unionist
position there are very great dangers out there for
unionism generally and I don’t think it is actually going
to help if they [DUP] follow down the road and do become so
split up that they do become incoherent.”

Sir Reg insisted: “There’s bigger issues here. People want
to get this nonsense settled, we want to move on to really
being able to deliver real policies for the community from
the Assembly.”

After yesterday’s DUP meeting the party said it had been
constructive, held in good spirits and displaying
widespread agreement.

Outstanding issues would be discussed with British Prime
Minister Tony Blair in Downing Street next Tuesday, they

But Sir Reg accused the DUP of ending up with a greener
version of the Good Friday Agreement following the
negotiations at St Andrews.


DUP's Day-Long Meeting Bids To Quell Dissent

01/12/2006 - 19:25:03

Ian Paisley’s Democratic Unionist party held a day-long
private strategy meeting today in a bid to quell signs of
discontent in the ranks.

Concerns about the prospects of power-sharing with Sinn
Féin in a renewed Stormont Executive next year have
surfaced in the party.

In a bid to ensure everyone was on-side Mr Paisley took
Assembly members, MPs, Councillors, Peers and their one MEP
to an hotel at Templepatrick, Co Antrim for a brain-
storming session.

The party afterwards described the meeting as constructive,
held in good spirits and displaying widespread agreement.

Outstanding issues would be discussed with the Prime
Minister in Downing Street next Tuesday, they said.

The DUP watched with glee when the Ulster Unionist Party
was riven with splits and its leaders are determined they
will not suffer the same fate.

Jumping to his father’s side, Ian Paisley Jnr said as the
meeting got going: “I think the DUP should stay focused,
should remember the real enemy is republicans, should beat
up on republicans and not beat their chest or beat up on

MEP Jim Allister has been critical of the St Andrews
Agreement drawn by prime minister Tony Blair and Taoiseach
Bertie Ahern as a way of restoring power sharing by next

He has voiced the opinion that it needs significant changes
before it can become acceptable.

Concerns have also been expressed by ministers in Ian
Paisley’s Free Presbyterian Church and by some local

Central to their worry has been Mr Paisley’s indication he
would be ready to serve as first minister with Sinn Féin’s
Martin McGuinness as deputy first minister once Sinn Féin
agree to support policing and the structures of law and

There are those within the party who find it hard to
countenance ever sharing power with Sinn Féin and some who
feel there is a need for a period to test Sinn Féin’s

However, whatever side they are on, all insist there is no
threat to the leadership of Mr Paisley.

A brief party statement said: “We have had a constructive
meeting today held in a good spirit and which displayed
widespread agreement. The party is committed and determined
that the Government and republicans meet all their

“Dr Paisley, Peter Robinson, Nigel Dodds and Lord Morrow
will take forward the resolution of outstanding issues with
the prime minister on Tuesday in Downing Street.

“They will press for an open and clear announcement and
demonstration from Sinn Féin giving support for the PSNI,
the Courts and meeting all other obligations”.

Ahead of the DUP soul-searching session the party had a
meeting with the Bishops of the Church of Ireland during
which the churchmen urged them to stick with the political

The Bishops, led by Archbishop Robin Eames said the
political process offered both opportunities and challenges
at the moment.

They said: “Encouragement was voiced for ongoing engagement
in the difficult process of building a robust and fair
political framework for Northern Ireland.”

Meanwhile Sinn Féin confirmed they would resume playing a
full part in the Assembly at Stormont after boycotting
debates for a period saying they had no meaning as there
was no devolution.

Sinn Féin’s Assembly group leader, John O’Dowd, MLA, said:
“We have decided to play a full and active role in plenary
sessions of the transitional Assembly. We view this as a
valuable opportunity to advance the work of preparing a
radical and effective programme for the incoming

He added: “The DUP now need to step forward and engage
fully in this process. That is the only way in which
progress will be secured.

“If they fail to do so then it will become very clear that
they are not at this stage willing to find agreement on
power sharing, policing or any of the other outstanding


We've Have Been Through Too Much For Quick Fix, Says Eames

By Noel McAdam
02 December 2006

Church of Ireland Primate Robin Eames has warned against
any "quick fix" approach over policing and devolution.

After he met DUP leader Ian Paisley yesterday for the
second time in less than a month, Dr Eames said people were
looking for evidence that the political parties can build

Accompanied by a number of Church of Ireland Bishops for
the first time, the Archbishop of Armagh said stable
government would prove impossible without trust.

The meeting, which included DUP deputy leader Peter
Robinson, party chairman Lord Mollow and Assembly member
Arlene Foster, also dealt with a number of social and
economic issues including how legislation is dealt with at

But, just as he did at his ground-breaking meeting with
Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams earlier this month, Dr
Eames said they had "pressed hard" on the policing issue.

And he said he believed dates and timescale were of
secondary importance. "We have been through too much in
this province for a quick fix," he said.

"There are two levels here. There is the level of the
political parties and then the other level of the people we
represent, ordinary people doing ordinary things.

"We very much want to make their voices heard and at the
moment they are looking for evidence that trust is

Dr Eames was joined by the Right Rev Alan Harper, Bishop of
Connor; the Rt Rev Harold Miller, Bishop of Down and
Dromore; the Rt Rev Michael Jackson, Bishop of Clogher and
the Rt Rev Ken Clarke, Bishop of Kilmore.

The Primate, who is going into retirement, said that the
meeting was the last in a cycle of meetings planned with
all the political parties.


Bush Endorses Attempts To Establish Power-Sharing Government By March 2007

The Associated Press
Published: December 1, 2006

WASHINGTON: President George W. Bush on Friday welcomed
what he described as progress in attempts in Northern
Ireland to establish a power-sharing government by March
2007 — even though the process has become stalled.

Bush, in a statement, welcomed "recent progress made by the
Northern Ireland parties and the British and Irish
governments to implement the agreement reached at St.
Andrews" Scotland.

However, these negotiations have failed to break the
deadlock between hard-line Protestants led by Ian Paisley
and the major Catholic-backed party Sinn Fein.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Irish Prime Minister
Bertie Ahern had to retreat from a Nov. 24 deadline to fill
the top two power-sharing posts in the province.

Britain agrees that Sinn Fein must accept the British
forces of law and order in Northern Ireland as part of the
power-sharing deal, but has not specified when and how this
should happen. For its part, Sinn Fein insists it will not
even discuss changing its policy on policing until the top
two government positions are filled.


Full Text Of White House Statement:

President's Statement on Northern Ireland Agreement

The United States welcomes the recent progress made by the
Northern Ireland parties and the British and Irish
Governments to implement the agreement reached at St.
Andrews, and I recognize the leadership shown by the
political party leaders. The United States fully supports
the agreed way forward for Northern Ireland: a power-
sharing government by the end of March next year, based on
support for the rule of law and policing.


Gaelic Player Arrested In House

A well known gaelic footballer has been arrested during a
police operation at his home in south Armagh.

The family of Jonathan Hanratty, who plays for Crossmaglen
Rangers, said officers entered their home and arrested him
and his father on Friday.

Local Sinn Fein councillor Terry Hearty said police behaved

A PSNI spokesman said one person in his 40s and another in
his late teens were arrested. He said any complaint should
be directed to the Police Ombudsman.

Mr Hanratty is part of the Crossmaglen Rangers squad - the
dominant club in Armagh senior club gaelic football, having
won 11 titles in a row.

They will take on Ballinderry in the Ulster senior club
championship final at Casement Park in Belfast on Sunday.

The winners will go on to contest the All-Ireland club
semi-finals next year.

'Sustained minor injuries'

Police said they had gone to the house to arrest a man in
his 40s in connection with alleged threats to kill, threats
to destroy or damage property, false imprisonment and
obstructing police.

Superintendent Alan McCrum said: "These arise from an
incident on 8 November 2006, when an officer who had driven
onto the same premises to turn his vehicle was obstructed
from leaving and threatened.

"Officers were obstructed from carrying out the arrest this
morning by a number of people. Two officers were assaulted,
neither requiring hospital treatment.

"As a result, a male aged in his late teens was arrested."

He added: "Both men sustained minor injuries during the
incident. Both were seen by a doctor at Newry police

"Contrary to reports, neither arrested person sustained any
injury which required hospital treatment."

The PSNI said a 19-year-old man had been charged with
obstruction, resisting arrest and assault on police. He is
expected to appear at Newry Magistrates Court on 20

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/12/01 13:48:39 GMT


Concern At Shortfall In North's Electoral Roll

Dan Keenan, Northern News Editor

Northern Ireland's latest electoral register currently
contains some 82,000 fewer voters than last year.

The 7 per cent drop is reflected across all 18
constituencies but is most noticeable in key nationalist

Gerry Adams's West Belfast constituency has lost more than
8,000 voters or 15.1 per cent.

Mark Durkan's Foyle constituency has lost nearly 6,500
voters or 9.3 per cent, while party colleague Alasdair
McDonnell lost one in 10 electors in South Belfast.

However, chief electoral officer Douglas Bain said that
applications to be included in the register are still
arriving and that areas such as West Belfast were
"traditionally slow" in registering.

The new register will be used for the scheduled Assembly
election on March 7th next year.

Mr Bain said: "Right across Northern Ireland, all my
offices have been receiving sackfuls of mail each day with
registration forms and these people will be able to vote at
the election."

Unionist-held constituencies also reflect the drop in
registration. DUP MP Nigel Dodds's North Belfast
constituency has lost some 5,300 voters while his party
colleague in East Belfast, Peter Robinson, has just over
4,500 fewer electors.

Nationalists reacted to the drop with concern.

Sinn Féin's West Tyrone MP Pat Doherty said: "We warned
that this would happen when other people, including the
SDLP and unionists, were lobbying for the legislation -
that it would lead to people losing their right to vote."

He added: "The precedent for the rollover of the electoral
register has already been established when it was
recognised that so many people were missing from the
register for the last Westminster and local government
elections that there was no other option but to use the
previous register.

"Sinn Féin also believes people must be able to register up
until much closer to the election. We believe that people
should be able to register up until 11 days before the

His concerns were echoed by the SDLP chairwoman Patricia
Lewsley. "The decline in registration seems steepest in the
most disadvantaged areas. That means that it's those most
in need who are losing out on their right to vote. That has
to be a real concern in any democracy," she said.


Lundy Parade In Derry

The annual Apprentice Boy's Lundy parade is taking place in

Organisers hope the event, which is the last in the loyal
orders` calender, will pass off without incident.

The Apprentice Boys are commemorating the start of the
Siege of Derry in 1688 and the march will culminate in the
burning of an effigy of Colonel Robert Lundy, who is
regarded as a traitor by loyalists.

It is a large parade with 23 bands taking part, but it is
also the height of the Christmas retail season in the city.

Inevitably there will be disruption to shoppers and
traders, however, Police and march organisers say they are
trying to keep it to a minimum.

The Apprentice Boys said they have moved the event from
December 18 to the first Saturday in the month in order to
accommodate the business community.

And they have said they hope troublemakers will stay away
so that the event can pass off peacefully.

However, there are fears the event may be exploited by
dissident republicans hoping to start trouble but the PSNI
says it is prepared for all eventualities.

The Police say they`ll be clamping down on alcohol and
illegal emblems.


Inquiry Call Over First Garda Killed In Troubles

(Valerie Robinson, Irish News)

The family of the first garda shot dead during the Troubles
have demanded a public inquiry into the murder.

Garda Richard Fallon (43) was uniformed but unarmed when he
was shot in the head by suspected members of the republican
splinter group Saor Eire during a bank raid on April 3 1970
at the then Royal Bank – now AIB - on Arran Quay in Dublin.
The father-of-five died at the scene.

Three men charged with the killing were later acquitted.

His youngest child Finian Fallon, who was three when his
father was murdered, said the family remained frustrated by
the lack of progress in the investigation.

"There are so many questions surrounding it and it has such
implications for us even today. The only possibility of the
truth coming out is if there is a public inquiry," he said.

"While the British government responds to these things
piecemeal and with great reluctance, they have initiated a
lot of investigations into the Bloody Sunday inquiry and
other issues such as the death of [solicitors] Pat Finucane
and Rosemary Nelson.

"The Irish government seems to want to walk away from the
Troubles with clean hands and I can tell you from my point
of view they don't have clean hands," he said.

Mr Fallon has claimed investigating gardai were told not to
probe too deeply into his father's death.

The murder remains shrouded in secrecy and rumours, with
the family claiming members of the government and gardai
were in contact with the group behind the fatal shooting.

In 1991 a document stored in the national archives revealed
the murder had occurred the day after an order was issued
for the transfer of arms to Dundalk for possible defensive
use by Catholics in Northern Ireland amid loyalist

The Fallon family believe the gun used to kill the garda
was part of an illegal consignment smuggled into the
Republic with the knowledge of senior Fianna Fail figures.

They claim that off-the-record comments to the family by a
former senior politician and retired garda linked 1969/70
bank raids by republican paramilitaries to the events that
led to the arms trial.

It has also been alleged at least one of the killer gang
was ferried out of Dublin in a cabinet minister's vehicle.

Gardai have confirmed that the case of Richard Fallon, the
first of 13 members of the force to be killed during the
Northern Ireland conflict, remains open and is the subject
of regular cold case review.

December 2, 2006


This article appeared first in the December 1, 2006 edition
of the Irish News.


N Ireland: Arrest Of Kevin Fulton & Omagh Bombing

By Steve James
1 December 2006

The arrest of former British spy Kevin Fulton has
implications that go beyond its impact on the current trial
of Sean Hoey at Belfast Crown Court. Hoey, from South
Armagh, has been in jail since 2003, and faces 58 charges
relating to the Real IRA bombing of the town of Omagh,
Northern Ireland, in 1998, which killed 29 people and was
the worst atrocity of the Troubles.

The Real IRA split from the Provisional IRA in opposition
to the 1998 Good Friday Agreement signed by Sinn Fein and
the heads of state of the US, Britain and Ireland. The
agreement established an executive and devolved government
in the North, based on “power sharing” between the pro-
British Unionist and the republican parties.

Fulton, a pseudonym, was subpoenaed by Hoey’s defence team.
According to the Guardian, Fulton was to give information
“about informants working for the Irish and British
security forces inside the Real IRA.” Fulton had agreed to
testify on condition that his own security could be

Fulton was arrested November 1 in London and flown to
Northern Ireland. According to reports, over the next five
days he was questioned on 30 occasions by the C2 serious
crime unit of the Police Service of Northern Ireland
(PSNI)—most of which centred on details of murders that he
had revealed in his recent book Unsung Hero, carried out
during the period when he was working undercover within the
Provisional IRA.

Although Fulton was subsequently released, it is expected
that his arrest will effectively gag him and prevent any
appearance at Belfast Crown Court. A former army
intelligence handler, known as Martin Ingram, commented,
“By arresting him during the trial, Fulton has had any
chance of immunity from prosecution taken away.”

Ingram explained that Fulton is now at risk of
incriminating himself if he gives details of his past at
the Hoey trial.

Fulton’s arrest follows the British government’s decision
to refuse him immunity for any statements he may make at
the Smithwick Tribunal in Dublin into suggestions of Garda
collusion in the fatal shootings of two senior officers of
the Royal Ulster Constabulary in 1989. The Smithwick
Tribunal is due to begin hearings next year.

Who is Kevin Fulton?

Fulton is one of a group of six former British agents that
were inserted into paramilitary groups in Northern Ireland.
The group came to public light in 2001 when they accused
Britain of abandoning them and demanded pensions,
compensation and trauma counselling. Since then, Fulton has
made a number of serious allegations concerning alleged
British agents and informants within both the Provisional
IRA and the Real IRA.

A lower middle class Catholic youth from the border town of
Newry, he had joined the British Army seeking excitement
and a career. His undercover work followed a faked
discharge from the army. He was first inserted into the
Provisional IRA and then, when the organisation split, into
the Real IRA.

In July 2001, the People newspaper published an article by
journalist and writer Greg Harkin reporting that Fulton had
appeared before the Stevens Inquiry investigating
allegations of state collusion in paramilitary killings,
where he charged that the man responsible for creating the
Omagh bomb was a British informant.

Fulton’s claim, along with his insistence that he had
issued several warnings to his intelligence handlers that a
bomb attack was imminent, led Northern Ireland Police
Ombudsman Nuala O’Loan to launch an inquiry into the

O’Loan’s report, published December that year, stated that
Fulton had contacted Northern Ireland’s Royal Ulster
Constabulary (RUC—now renamed as the PSNI) on five
occasions between July and August 1998 regarding dissident
republican activity. The report confirmed that there was a
transcript of a tape confirming one of Fulton’s warnings.

O’Loan concluded that a man described as “A” should be
considered a firm suspect for the Omagh bombing. His mobile
phone was called from vehicles travelling towards Omagh,
which have been identified as part of the attack. He also
concluded that a further 10-minute warning had been made on
August 4, 1998, giving notice of an armed attack in Omagh
scheduled for August 15.

The report named three other individuals and another whose
nickname was given. But the report was dismissed by Special
Branch, despite one of those named being a known dissident
republican. O’Loan noted that had this warning led to
vehicle checkpoints being set up the Omagh bomb could have
been prevented.

O’Loan also pointed to an internal RUC report which was
highly critical of the Omagh investigation procedure,
noting, for example, that the remains of the car used in
the blast—vital to forensic evidence—were left in a car
park with only a tarpaulin. He also stated that details of
the August 4 warning call were not passed on by Special
Branch to the bomb investigation team.

Then RUC chief constable, Ronnie Flanagan, denounced the
report and threatened to commit suicide if the allegations
were true. He resigned from the RUC shortly after and has
recently been an advisor for the Iraqi police force in
British occupied southern Iraq.

In the intervening years more detail has emerged. The man
named as “A” in the O’Loan report has subsequently been
identified as a Patrick Joseph Blair. Blair was named,
using parliamentary privilege, in 2002 by Jeffrey
Donaldson, MP for the Democratic Unionist Party, and
subsequently by the Sunday Herald and Guardian newspapers.
Donaldson claimed he had been told by security sources that
Blair had been the source of the Semtex explosive used to
trigger the massive Omagh explosion.

Fulton claims he met Blair shortly before the Omagh attack,
covered in dust and smelling of bomb-making chemicals.

The Sunday Herald stated at the time that there was a
widespread belief that no action was taken against the
Omagh attackers so as to protect an informer within the
bomb team and that suspicions had to be directed towards
Blair as working either for the Irish or British security
forces. Fulton has also described Blair as his “mentor” in
the IRA.

In October 2003, the Observer newspaper published an
article by long-standing Ireland correspondent Henry
MacDonald focussing on the role of Garda police detective
John White. White recruited a former Dublin car thief,
Paddy Dixon, as a police informer in the Real IRA. As of
2003, Dixon was in a witness protection programme. His role
in the dissident republican group was to steal cars to
order for them, while passing on details of the vehicles to
the Garda.

Five planned attacks were thwarted in this way.

On July 2, 1998, Dixon warned that a vehicle had been
requested for a new operation. He also told White that he
was under pressure from the Real IRA. According to the
Observer, White and a superior met Dixon in a Dublin pub.
White’s superior told him, “John, we are going to let this
one go through.” White’s concerns over the possible
consequences were dismissed, as were his repeated warnings
to his superiors.

The Observer reported that both O’Loan and Superintendent
Norman Baxter of the PSNI were convinced that White was
telling the truth. But Dixon has never been questioned.
White himself has been the subject of two court cases, both
of which have collapsed.

In 2004, writing in the Guardian, Owen Boycott reported
that a Special Branch officer was suspected of having made
the August 4 warning call, which detailed an attack on
Omagh police station, named five republicans, and gave
details that were never passed on to local police.

More spies and informers

The allegations surrounding the Omagh attack come on top of
other high-profile instances of intelligence penetration of
the IRA and the Real IRA.

In May 2003, Alfredo Scappaticci was named as the British
agent “Stakeknife.” It was alleged that Scappaticci had
been deputy head of the IRA’s internal security while at
the same time feeding information to his handlers in the
British Army’s Force Research Unit.

At the trial of Real IRA leader Michael McEvitt, the main
prosecution witness was US citizen and FBI spy David
Rupert. Rupert, a former business man and adventurer, had
befriended McEvitt and offered him access to computer

In December 2005, Denis Donaldson, one of Sinn Fein’s
leading figures in the Northern Ireland Assembly, admitted
that he too had been a British agent for some 20 years.
Donaldson had also been active amongst Sinn Fein’s
international supporters and had restructured its
operations in the US. Donaldson was assassinated April 2006
in an isolated cottage in Donegal, where he had retreated
following his exposure. His killers have never been found.

Taken together, there are strong grounds for believing that
both Irish and British security services had, at the very
least, some level of foreknowledge that a bomb attack was
being planned by the Real IRA for August 15, 1998. There is
also reason to suspect that one or a number of British
agents or informants were actively involved in some way or
other in preparations for the attack. Fulton’s gagging can
only be understood in this context.

As the World Socialist Web Site noted at the time of the
1998 Omagh bombing, the terror attack was seized on by the
British and Irish governments to build up political support
for its proposed power-sharing arrangements in the North
and to demand an end to paramilitary activities.

Still broader issues are raised by the events in Omagh,
specifically in relation to the British government’s
ongoing “war on terror.”

It is not possible to determine the level of intelligence
awareness of the plans to bomb London’s subway and bus
system on July 7, 2005, which resulted in the deaths of 52
people. But there are disturbing parallels between the
attack and that in Omagh.

There have been numerous reports that British and overseas
intelligence agencies had been warned of an imminent attack
on the capital in July 2005.

On February 26, 2006, the Sunday Times reported a leak from
the Joint Intelligence Committee that, prior to July 7,
Prime Minister Tony Blair had been warned of a “high
priority” attack on the London Underground.

According to senior US intelligence sources, British
officials did receive a credible warning months before the
bombings from the Saudi Arabian intelligence agency. The
February 5, 2006, Observer cited senior White House sources
confirming that early in 2005 Saudis reported to Britain a
bomb plot involving four Islamic militants, some of whom
would be British citizens, that could target the London
Underground within the next six months.

The Saudi claim was denied by British security forces when
first reported by the Observer in August 2005, even when it
was confirmed by Prince Turki al-Faisal, Saudi ambassador
to the UK.

It has been firmly established that three of the London
bombers were known to the security services. Mohammed
Sidique Khan and Shahzad Tanweer had come to the attention
of a number of intelligence services, including MI5, and
their phones had reportedly been bugged for an extended
period. American officials also reported that a third
bomber, Germaine Lindsay, was on a terrorist watch list.
French Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy claimed he had
been informed by Home Secretary Charles Clarke that some of
the suspects were arrested and released in 2004.

In addition there has never been a credible explanation
given for the decision to reduce Britain’s terror threat
assessment only weeks before the bombing. The bombings took
place in the week when the heads of government of the
world’s leading industrialised nations were in the UK for a
G8 meeting, an occasion where a maximum security alert
would be normal.

As with Omagh, the July 7 atrocity was used for political
ends, as the pretext for broadening the Labour government’s
attack on civil liberties. On July 22, innocent Brazilian
worker Jean Charles de Menezes was gunned down on a London
subway train in broad daylight by plainclothes officers.
Army units trained in Northern Ireland were involved in the
operation. His brutal murder was defended by the government
and the police, who declared that the July 7 bombings had
meant the “rules of the game have changed.” Within months,
the Blair government pushed through Terrorism Bill 2005
which abrogated fundamental rights, including free speech,
habeas corpus—protection from unlawful detention—and the
presumption of innocence.

More than eight years after the attack in Omagh and 15
months after the London bombings, neither mass murder has
been subjected to any form of independent public inquiry.

Copyright 1998-2006
World Socialist Web Site
All rights reserved


Opin: 'UUP Pleasure From DUP Pain'

By Mark Devenport
BBC Northern Ireland political editor

The Germans have a word for it. "Schadenfreude" is
'pleasure taken from someone else's misfortune', and that
has to be an emotion coursing through the veins of many an
Ulster Unionist as they witness the recent travails of the

After suffering years of withering crossfire from Ian
Paisley, the UUP can be forgiven for smirking now the DUP
leader is experiencing some internal management
difficulties of his own.

But interviewed for Inside Politics, Sir Reg Empey tried
not to indulge in "malicious glee or gloating", which is
another definition of Schadenfreude.

Sir Reg believes the signs of a widening DUP split are
clear for all to see.

"We understand it, everyone knows it and it's not
surprising because they have launched on a policy for which
they have no mandate and which is against everything they
stood for for the last 40 years," he said.

"While some people may say it's happy days for you guys
seeing your biggest critics in the same position as you
once were, in the wider unionist context there are very
great dangers out there for unionism generally and I don't
think it's going to help if the DUP become so split up that
they become incoherent."

The DUP will no doubt treat Sir Reg's concern for their
well being with a pinch of salt. But is history is
repeating itself?


Certainly some of the very same people who were key players
in the Ulster Unionist internal strife are now involved in
the DUP's debate.

Then Jeffrey Donaldson was the bane of David Trimble's
life, leaving Castle Buildings before the signing of the
Good Friday Agreement, opposing his leader in countless
ruling council meetings, crossing swords with him in the
courts and at one UUP conference setting up camp in a
coffee bar outside the main party conference hall because
he couldn't bear to listen to the leader's speech.

Now the Lagan Valley MP is a party loyalist, responsible
for selling St Andrews and backing his new leader in
internal party meetings.

If the recent BBC Hearts and Minds poll is to be believed,
around 22% of DUP supporters don't want to share power even
if republicans sign up for policing

Some DUP hardliners refer to Jeffrey Donaldson, Arlene
Foster and other UUP converts as "latecomers" implying that
they are infecting the party with a dose of neo-Trimbleism.

With decommissioning complete, IRA activity halted and
republicans meeting the PSNI Chief Constable, the DUP is
dealing with a different world from that which confronted
David Trimble.

But the essential question - under what circumstances can
unionists stomach the thought of sharing power with Sinn
Fein - remains unaltered.

'Viable machine'

If the recent BBC Hearts and Minds poll is to be believed,
around 22% of DUP supporters don't want to share power even
if republicans sign up for policing.

But where might a disgruntled DUP supporter turn if he or
she does not back the leadership line in the coming months?

The UUP rebels always knew they were assured of an
alternative political home and the promise of promotion if
they turned to the DUP.

Bob McCartney's UK Unionists may be promising to contest
more seats in any spring election.

However, they don't offer the viable machine which an
ambitious career politician might crave.

Another contrast is the discipline of the DUP and the
authority of its leader.

I can't think of any voter saying "well if it's good enough
for David Trimble, it's good enough for me".

However, Ian Paisley's iconic status means many unionist
doubters will take any decision he makes on trust.

All of this may mean that Ian Paisley is less vulnerable to
internal pressure than David Trimble.

But the recent rumblings from the likes of Nigel Dodds and
William McCrea show it's not going to be easy, and should
unionism pull in different directions, every vote in the
assembly could matter in the spring.

It would be ironic if, having enjoyed a few moments of
"Schadenfreude", the Ulster Unionists discover their votes
start to become more important in the months ahead.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/12/02 10:48:01 GMT


The Green Above The Red! Constance Markievicz, Socialist And Nationalist

By Sean Matgamna

The well-known author Tim Pat Coogan once made the cynical
but true comment that Irish history has the only example of
Communists and bourgeois nationalists joining together
against imperialism in which it was the Communists who were
gobbled up.

He was referring to the 1916 Rising and to what happened
afterwards to the hundreds of socialist workers—members of
the trade union militia, the Irish Citizen Army—who took
part in it together with the secretary of the Irish
Transport and General Workers' Union, James Connolly, the
military leader of the rising.

The Irish labour movement was absorbed in the general
nationalist movement as an important but politically
subordinate part of it. So were the socialists.

'Strike together but march separately', 'Don't mix up the
class banners'—these were the slogans raised by Lenin and
Trotsky in the Communist International, to guide socialists
involved in national struggles. Ireland between 1916 and
1923 is one of the classic examples of the truth in Lenin's
and Trotsky's position.

Unfortunately it is a negative example. In Ireland, all the
banners were crossed, and the red flag was trampled in the
mud. A new and unexpected meaning was given to the old
Irish nationalist rallying cry expressing the fervent
desire to put 'the green (flag) above the (English) red'.
Now it was the Irish bourgeois green above the Irish
working-class red.

Nobody symbolised the confusion and crossed banners which
wrecked the brilliant prospects Irish labour seemed to have
in the second decade of the 20th century better than
Constance Markievicz.

She was a member of the Irish Citizen Army and fought in
Citizen Army uniform during the Easter Rising of 1916. She
was sentenced to death when the British Army recaptured
Dublin. Unlike 15 of the other prisoners of war—including
James Connolly—who surrendered to the gallant British
General Maxwell and were then shot after summary court
martial, Markievicz was reprieved 'solely because of her

The Irish Citizen Army had been set up by the Irish
Transport and General Workers' Union to defend striking
workers. A member of the Anglo-lrish ruling class and the
wife of a Polish count, Constance Markievicz took the side
of the workers against the Dublin bosses and the murderous
policemen during Dublin's bitter labour war of 1913. She
organised a soup kitchen at ITGWU headquarters, Liberty

She became a Connollyite socialist republican. After the
strike James Connolly, acting secretary of the ITGWU, kept
the Citizen Army going and linked it with the revolutionary
nationalists, the Irish Volunteers. Together with the
Volunteers, the Citizen Army rose in rebellion against
British rule, in 1916. It faced insuperable odds, but some
1,2OO rebels held Dublin for a week against the mighty
British Army.

Markievicz was not just a member of the Citizen Army. She
was also — with the approval and support of James Connolly—
a member of the Irish Volunteers, the petty bourgeois
nationalists. Yet Constance Markievicz was an honest
socialist who believed in the workers’ republic.

She remained a sincere socialist, and was recognised as one
of their own by Dublin workers, until her early death at 59
in a hospital for the Dublin poor. Tens of thousands of
Dublin workers marched behind her coffin. But she died —
still a follower of Connolly, and still a sincerely
committed socialist — a member of De Valera's Fianna Fail
party, the party which has been the main instrument of the
26 County Irish bourgeoisie since the 1930s.

What happened to the militant Irish labour movement and to
Constance Markievicz was that they merged and blurred their
own political identity with that of the petty-bourgeois and
then bourgeois nationalists. They retreated into politics
which combined, on one level, the militant pursuit of the
nationalist cause together with anybody willing to fight
for it; on the other, militant but narrow trade unionism.

Socialism, the workers' republic, was there somewhere too -
but not yet the stuff of practical politics.

Socialism became indistinguishable from nationalism. It
dissolved into a left wing nationalist current and then,
falling under the influence of Stalinism in the 1930s, into
a sort of slushy Green-Pink populism. This was all the more
unfortunate because what was then the big majority of the
Irish proletariat, the Protestants of the in north-east,
rejected and resisted nationalism.

After Connolly, the unions tried to avoid politics for
mixed reasons, but one central reason was their desire to
evade issues on which any answer—nationalist or Unionist —
would alienate one or another group of organised workers,
and maybe split the unions. That is probably the main
reason for the astonishing abstention by the labour
movement in the 19t8 election, when the Sinn Fein
nationalists appealed for a majority on a programme of
secession from the UK, and got it.

The political questions became the property of the
bourgeoisie and petty bourgeoisie, and their answers held
sway even with the workers. Politically and
organisationally, Irish labour never evolved beyond the
politics of a tiny reformist Labour Party. Fianna Fail,
initially a radical petty bourgeois party, gained the
support of most workers and kept it although it bas for
three quarters if a century now, been the main bourgeois
party in independent Ireland.

Constance Markievicz — honest, devoted, and selfless
socialist though she was—symbolises the confusion that
created this situation. The most important of Connolly's
comrades and heirs, if only because of her part in the
Rising, she floundered helplessly. Had Connolly lived
things might have gone differently, but he died before a
British firing squad in May 1916.

Constance Markievicz ended up in Fianna Fail; so, in
the'40s and 50s, did Connolly's daughter Nora Connolly
O'Brien, though she too was always a socialist.

So today, though they are not in Fianna Fail, many Irish
socialists can be heard sometimes muttering incoherently
about the latent anti-imperialist potential which still
exists in Sinn Fein and even in... Fianna Fail.

Diana Norman's book is a splendidly sympathetic account of
Markievicz. I liked it a lot, though it should be said that
it is the work of an uncritical enthusiast, the book of
someone English who has newly discovered romantic Irish
nationalism and has fallen in love with it. In any case she
loves Constance Markievicz — but that is appropriate.
Constance Markievicz did what she could, and personalIy
this upper-class woman held nothing back from the labour
movement once she 'came over' to us. Tragic political
confusion was not hers alone.

'The Prison Letters' is a treasure-trove, containing not
onIy the letters but also a 130-page biography of Constance
and her sister Eva (a socialist and feminist who worked in
England) by Eva's life-long companion, Esther Roper.

Terrible Beauty: a life of Constance Markievicz, by Diana
Norman, and Prison Letters of Constance Markievicz, edited
by Esther Roper.

From WL 8, Oct-Nov 1987
Workers' Liberty
P.O. Box 823, London SE15 4NA
Phone 020 7207 3997
P.O.Box 313, Leichhardt 2040
Phone 0416 238840


'I Think He Died For Me'

John Huston's dramatisation of Joyce's masterful story 'The
Dead' is all the more poignant because it was his last
film, made from his wheelchair

Nick Laird
Saturday December 2, 2006
The Guardian

The strapline for John Huston's The Dead (1987), a "comedy-
drama of James Joyce's great story", reads: "A vast, merry,
and uncommon tale of love." Well, it's neither vast nor
merry, but the uncommon tale makes an uncommon, and
uncommonly good, movie. It was an appropriate choice for
Huston's last project. He made more than 40 features - and
appeared in over 30 (including his memorably malevolent
turn in Roman Polanski's Chinatown) - but his finest movies
were always adaptations from the written word.

Huston began his career as a screenwriter, and one of the
obvious strengths of his work is his attention to dialogue.
The gift of adapting a literary work is that the details
are filled in already: the films are likely to have
texture, and Huston would take good material where he found
it, from authors as diverse as Herman Melville, Tennessee
Williams, Flannery O'Connor, Dashiell Hammett, Stephen
Crane, Arthur Miller, Carson McCullers, and whoever it was
jotted down the Book of Genesis. (In The Bible: In the
Beginning, Huston, not a shy man, cast himself as both Noah
and the voice of God.) Though he won an Oscar in 1948 for
best-adapted screenplay with The Treasure of the Sierra
Madre (and also for best director), he believed firmly in
the primacy of the original source, saying: "I don't seek
to interpret, to put my own stamp on the material. I try to
be as faithful to the original material as I can." This
might seem a little optimistic when reducing the
magnificent sprawl of Moby Dick into a linear narrative of
116 minutes, but a short story like "The Dead", operating
on hint and nuance, and in which very little actually
happens, is an easier undertaking.

Using a screenplay written by his son Tony, Huston managed
to create something worthy of Joyce's masterwork, and not
simply by being faithful. The action, though that's not
quite the right word, is set on the Feast of Epiphany,
January 6 1904, in Dublin. (The date is not arbitrary:
Joyce secularised the meaning of the word "epiphany" in A
Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, and in this story
the protagonist Gabriel's experience is, in the Joycean
sense, epiphanic.) The opening shot is a Dublin street-
scene at night, with italic snow falling on horse-drawn
cabs that clop along the cobbles. The traps pull up to
leave guests outside "a heavenly mansion raging in the
dark", in the Yeatsian phrase. Piano music spills from the
square Georgian house, and the upstairs windows are
shadowed by waltzing couples. The camera moves inside with
the new guests, and we see the hostesses on the stairs -
two maiden aunts: Miss Kate (Helena Carroll), all
avoirdupois and Mrs Tiggywinkle bustle; and the elder Miss
Julia (Cathleen Delany), fragile, slightly abstracted by
her great age. Their nervousness about the party has been
compounded by the imminent arrival of Freddy Malins (Donal
Donnelly), who is "so hard to manage" when "he's stewed",
and the non-appearance of Gabriel, their nephew.

When Gabriel (Donal McCann) and his wife Gretta (Anjelica
Huston) arrive, it seems John Huston might have erred in
casting his own daughter. Though strikingly handsome, there
is something of the headmistress about her, an hauteur in
her features, and with her height she dwarves everyone in
shot. Gabriel is overprotective of her (insisting, as she
tells the aunts, that she wear galoshes), even though
Huston looks as if she could pick up McCann and throw him
over her shoulder. As the film progresses, though, and the
camera begins to linger on her, that physical difference
and slight coldness begin to make sense. She is not like
the other characters. She is set apart by something, by a
secret, a sadness. The interior of the house, with its
chiaroscuro, its shadows and flickering gaslights, hints at
how even the most settled domesticity has its dark unknown
spaces, its hidden corners.

The sense of off-stage turbulence begins early. After he
arrives, Gabriel is removing his outdoor shoes when he
suggests to Lily (Rachael Dowling), the maid, that he'll be
going to her wedding one day soon. Her response is
unexpectedly forceful and irate: "The men that is now is
only all palaver, and what they can get out of you." He has
obviously touched on some tender point and, embarrassed,
insists on giving her some money as a Christmas gift. Many
sharp varieties of love are depicted in the film, but none
of the characters, we learn, has been cut so deep as
Gretta. The one major alteration Tony Huston made to
Joyce's story was to add an eighth-century Irish poem,
"Donal Og" (Young Donal, in Lady Gregory's remarkable
translation), which is read to the assembled guests by a
new and irritating character, Mr Grace. It's a vivid lament
from a girl left behind by her lover and ends:

You have taken the east from me;
you have taken the west from me;
you have taken what is before me and what is behind me;
you have taken the moon, you have taken the sun from me;
and my fear is great that you have taken God from me!

During the recitation, the camera pauses on the ancient
Miss Julia, with her pinched, slightly confused expression,
and then pans around the seated ladies, demure in their
high-buttoned collars, as the men in their dinner suits
stand possessively and silently behind them. After the
reading, Miss Kate murmurs: "It's very strange, but
beautiful." Other voices say, "I've never heard anything
like it", and "Very mysterious!", and "Imagine being in
love like that". Gretta, her dark gaze skirting the room
but settling on nothing, remains silent.

The unseen turbulence is also national. When Gabriel is
paired for a dance with the politically conscious - and
unbearably smug - Miss Ivors (Maria McDermottroe), she
declares that she knows he writes literary reviews for the
"English rag" the Daily Express, as indeed Joyce did, and
accuses him of being a "West Briton", that is, "someone who
looks to England for our salvation instead of depending on
ourselves alone". ("Ourselves alone" is one of the common
translations of Sinn Fein, which had been formed by Arthur
Griffith in 1905, the year before Joyce wrote The Dead).
Miss Ivors then tries to persuade Gabriel to go to the Aran
Islands, in the west of Ireland, with some other friends.
She says: "Isn't your wife from there?" Gabriel, drawing a
subtle distinction, says: "Her people are." When Gretta
learns that Miss Ivors wants them to go on the trip, she is
suddenly animated, and says: "Oh Gabriel do go, I'd love to
see Galway again." Her husband's response ("You can go if
you like") is cold: for Gabriel, the west of Ireland
represents the brutish and unenlightened, and is somewhere
he has saved his wife from.

Later, as the party is ending and they are getting ready to
leave, one of the guests (played by the Irish tenor Frank
Patterson) sings "The Lass of Aughrim". (Aughrim, a small
village in Galway, is not far, incidentally, from where
Huston himself lived for some years.) Gabriel looks up the
stairs and notices that his wife, her eyes closed, is
transfixed by the singing. Wearing a sheer, blue headscarf
and framed by the stained-glass window behind her, Gretta
is like a Marian icon, though the image turns to La Pietà
when she opens her eyes and they are glossy with tears.

Back in their candlelit room in the Gresham, in a nightgown
with her dramatic hair unpinned, Gretta discloses that
she's thinking of a boy, Michael Furey, who used to sing
"The Lass of Aughrim" to her back in Galway. Gabriel's
initial response is jealousy; and then Gretta tells him
that Michael is dead, that he died at 17. Gabriel asks what
he died of, and she replies, softly: "I think he died for
me." (Huston is great at the middle-distance, anguished
stare: she spends most of the movie looking at nothing.)
Gretta describes how, the night before she left Galway for
Dublin, she heard gravel against her window and went out in
the rain to find the boy, shivering and wet, in her garden.
He had left his sick bed to see her: a week later he died.
The story mirrors a real-life incident between the young
Nora Barnacle, Joyce's wife, and a young man called Michael
Bodkin, who stole out from his own sickroom in the rain to
sing to her, and died soon after.

Gretta sobs herself to sleep, and Gabriel stands at the
window to watch the falling snow. In a long interior
monologue drawing heavily on the celebrated final passages
of Joyce's story (and which McCann voices brilliantly -
though Huston the director has the speech accompanied,
mistakenly, by a meandering oboe), Gabriel meditates on the
relationship of death and love. He recognises that the kind
of love Furey felt is not something he knows, and
castigates himself for his reason and prudence. He thinks
of his Aunt Julia's imminent demise, and how "one by one
we're all becoming shades". The snow that's "general all
over Ireland", and which he watches mesmerically falling,
provides a kind of imagistic resolution. As snow falls "on
all the living and the dead", Gabriel accepts his
transience, and that the solid world itself is transient,
is dwindling, dissolving.

During the party, at the dinner table, the discussion turns
to monks who sleep in coffins "to remind them of their last
end", as it's explained to the Protestant Mr Browne. The
movie itself takes on this responsibility. Huston is
unwavering in the way the camera treats the onset of age
and death, even when he moves beyond Joyce's text. When
Miss Julia clutches her hands and gives a wobbly recital of
"Arrayed for the Bridal" (and there is a world of sad irony
in that choice of song), the camera slips away like a
curious guest and climbs the empty staircase. The house is
home to the two maiden aunts and their unmarried niece,
Mary Jane, played by the wonderful Ingrid Craigie, and the
next cut is the empty spare room where the guests' coats
are laid on the bed. A doll's house stands in the corner,
its front open and its empty rooms revealed. The camera's
eye trails over samplers, medals, sepia photographs, rosary
beads, three ornaments of angels playing musical
instruments (recalling Gabriel's description of the
hostesses as the three graces of the Dublin musical world).
The objects shown are less mementos than memento mori, and
the scenes are soundtracked by the loose vibrato of Aunt
Julia, too old to stay in tune, describing a marriage she
never had. Huston's decision to introduce new scenes to
underline the irony and sadness, and also to depart from
Joyce's story (in which Julia's voice is described as
"strong and clear") evidence the strength of his direction.

The Dead is a quiet, intimate movie, given further
poignancy by the knowledge that it was directed with the
80-year-old Huston in a wheelchair, oxygen tanks and
medical staff to hand. When I was looking up the cast list
on an online movie database, the first comment was from
BjayDC from Washington, who disappointedly notes: "This is
not, repeat NOT, a horror film!" And yet, actually, it is.
It looks unflinchingly and rather brilliantly at what Kurtz
in his dying words calls "The horror, the horror" - that
awful bare fact of being alive, and then not.

A special extended run of The Dead, part of the John
Huston season, is at the National Film Theatre, London SE1,
until December 14. Box office: 020-7928 3232.


Spirit Named After Michael Collins Sparks Debate
(click on pic for smaller image)

Irish politicians are up in arms about a new whiskey being
named after one of the country's most iconic rebels.

By:Press Association

A US-based spirits company has launched the tipple branded
Michael Collins Irish Whiskey, which features a picture of
the War of Independence leader on the label.

Public representatives in the Irishman`s native County Cork
have criticised the branding, which includes a copy of
Collins` signature from the 1921 Treaty on the bottle.

After its launch in Ireland this week, Fine Gael
councillors said the company was acting in poor taste by
using Collins, known as the Big Fella, to promote the

Collins, the most famous IRA leader in the War of
Independence credited with creating guerilla warfare, was
ultimately to sign the treaty with the British Government
which created an Irish Free State but split the republican

In agreeing to the treaty, Collins famously said he was
signing his own death warrant and his eventual
assassination by anti-agreement republicans saw him become
one of Irish nationalism`s most famous martyrs.

Mr Sheahan said the use of his name on the whiskey created
the wrong impression. He said it appeared to be simply a
marketing ploy to sell the tipple in the US.

Collins has already proved an inspiration for film-maker
Neil Jordan, with the movie starring Liam Neeson and Julia
Roberts proving a box office hit.

The owner of the US drinks company, Sidney Frank, launched
the brand of whiskey bearing Collins` name after seeing a
copy of a biography of the hero by Tim Pat Coogan.

Coogan, who has revealed he initially believed it was a
joke when he was approached about the creation of the
whiskey brand, said he felt the war hero would be delighted
an industry was being formed in his honour.

More than 50,000 cases of the whiskey, made by Cooley
Distillery in County Louth, have been downed since it was
launched in the US last St Patrick`s Day.

It is available in a blend and a single malt using
traditional methods of Irish distilling dating back to


Boston's Irish Community To Honor Local Achievers

Friday, December 1, 2006

The Irish Cultural Centre of New England will honor several
local leaders in the Irish community at its annual
Christmas Ball, which takes place Saturday, Dec. 9, at the
Quincy Marriott Hotel.

John Connolly, member of the Town of Canton's Board of
Selectman, will receive the Centre's humanitarian award for
his longstanding support of cultural, educational and
family activities in Canton.

Jack McCarthy, president of Village Forge, Inc, will
receive the Community Spirit Award for his ongoing support
of the Irish Cultural Centre.

Sean and Vera Lyons will receive this year's Kinship
Award as long-time volunteers of the Irish Cultural Centre.

Edward W. Forry, publisher of the Boston Irish Reporter
and several other community newspapers, will serve as
Master of Ceremonies for the evening.

"This year's recipients have devoted a tremendous
amount of time, energy, and good will toward the Irish
Cultural Centre throughout the year and indeed, throughout
the life or our organization," said ICCNE president Michael
O'Connor. "We are proud to acknowledge their generosity and
strong support, which has helped build the Centre into one
of the region's most successful Irish organizations."

The evening soiree, which will run from 6 p.m. to
midnight, is an opportunity for the Irish-American
community to gather during the Christmas season while
raising needed funds for the Centre's year-round cultural
and educational programming.

Tickets to the event are $150 per person. Black tie is
optional. Tickets can be purchased directly through the
Irish Cultural Centre's web site at, or by
calling 781-828-6181.

The Irish Cultural Centre of New England is a 501 (C)
(3) non-profit organization that celebrates the cultural,
educational, literary, social and athletic pursuits of the
Irish community in New England.

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