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January 24, 2007

McGuinness: Collusion Went Right To The Top

News About Ireland & The Irish

SF 01/24/07 McGuinness - Collusion Went Right To The Top
IT 01/25/07 Blair Sidesteps Questions On Flanagan
RT 01/24/07 Blair Promises Action Over Collusion
BB 01/24/07 Assembly Row On Collusion Debate
SF 01/24/07 Unionists Running Scared Of Debate On Collusion
BB 01/24/07 Top Officers Are Named In Commons
UT 01/24/07 Raymond McCord Calls For Flanagan To Be Sacked
IT 01/24/07 Named Ex-Branch Officers Hit Out At O'Loan
BB 01/27/07 Police Debate Mirrors History
BB 01/24/07 Loyalist Accused Told To Leave NI
DK 01/24/07 Blog: Polish Policemen in PSNI
FH 01/24/07 Forgotten Founder Of Irish Free State Profiled
IN 01/24/07 Celtic Drama: Ballad Of An Irish Playboy


McGuinness - Collusion Went Right To The Top

Published: 24 January, 2007

A Sinn Féin delegation led by Chief Negotiator Martin
McGuinness MP and including Louth TD Arthur Morgan and
Assembly members Alex Maskey and Caitriona Ruane today held
urgent talks with the Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs
Dermot Ahern in Dundalk. The meeting which was held at the
request of Sinn Féin was to discuss the very serious
implications of the Police Ombudsman report into British
State involvement with loyalist death squads.

Speaking after the meeting Mr McGuinness said:

"The report by the Police Ombudsman is I believe the
beginning of the process to uncover the full extent of
collusion and the involvement of the most senior political
figures in the British system in it. Collusion was a
British policy, it was about upholding the Union and its
result was a campaign of State terrorism in Ireland.

"The former RUC Assistant Chief Constable Raymond White
admitted in a Sunday newspaper that British Ministers and
senior officials were 'regularly briefed' on undercover
operations and that he personally had briefed former
British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. This goes right
to the very top.

"I impressed upon the Irish government today that a passive
role on this issue is no longer an option for them. They
must join with Sinn Féin and the families of those killed
and injured through this British policy in demanding that
the British government come clean. They must rigorously
pursue those instances where the collusion policy directed
from Whitehall resulted in attacks in the 26 counties. They
must join with us in demanding that any serving members of
the PSNI involved in this activity are drummed out of
policing." ENDS


Blair Sidesteps Questions On Flanagan

Frank Millar, London Editor
Thu, Jan 25, 2007

British prime minister Tony Blair sidestepped questions
about Sir Ronnie Flanagan's continuance as chief inspector
of constabulary yesterday in the continuing row over the
Ombudsman's finding of collusion between elements of RUC
special branch and the UVF in north Belfast.

At the same time former heads of the special branch hit
back at allegations by SDLP leader Mark Durkan that they
refused to co-operate with Mrs O'Loan's investigation.
After Mr Durkan named them in the House of Commons, the
three retired officers suggested that Mrs O'Loan had kept
them in the dark about her explosive dossier.

In a highly-charged intervention during prime minister's
questions, Mr Durkan challenged Mr Blair over the
Ombudsman's report showing that a serial killer "was
protected by special branch and paid by the state for

Anywhere else this would be a national scandal, Mr Durkan
declared, as he demanded: "Does the prime minister accept
that collusion was a fact not a fiction? Is it not a
disgrace that three former heads of special branch failed
to co-operate with the Police Ombudsman's investigation,
Chris Albiston, Ray White and Freddy Hall, but two of them
now attack her report and her office?

"Can Ronnie Flanagan, who presided over a culture of
'anything goes but nobody knows', be credible as the chief
inspector of constabularies, and will the prime minister
now rethink plans to install MI5 as continuity special
branch in Northern Ireland beyond the reach of key powers
of the Police Ombudsman?"

Mr Blair availed of Mr Durkan's multiple questions to focus
in the first instance on his charge about MI5's assumption
of the lead role in national intelligence in the North
later this year. While agreeing with the SDLP leader about
what had taken place, the prime minister totally disagreed
with his analysis of what MI5 is doing in Northern Ireland,
telling him: "It is simply not correct to say that they're
going to have any role at all in civic policing."

Mr Blair said "of course we deeply and bitterly regret any
collusion that has taken place, any impropriety on behalf
of anyone who was working for special branch throughout
those years."

He also thought Mr Durkan would want to acknowledge that as
a result of Patten reforms "that cannot happen any more".
Mr Blair said it was precisely as a result of the
additional scrutiny now available that "this has been
uncovered and laid bare." And what was important "is that
we now make sure that such a thing can never happen again
and that, obviously as we are doing, we deal with those who
were responsible."

By conspicuously failing to answer the specific question
about Sir Ronnie's credibility - and again failing to
endorse the "confidence" expressed in him by home office
ministers - Mr Blair reinforced the impression of current
political discomfort alongside a continuing sense of debt
to Sir Ronnie for his role in helping secure the Patten
reforms and complete the transition from the RUC to PSNI.

There is also evident frustration in Whitehall with the
SDLP leader's aggressive approach, given the Sinn Féin
leadership's willingness to use Mrs O'Loan's findings to
further justify their proposed conditional endorsement of
the PSNI at this weekend's special ardfheis.

Speaking for the retired ex-special branch officers
referred to by Mr Durkan, Mr Albiston said certain ex-
officers had received a letter from the Ombudsman's office
seeking assistance in a serious investigation. He said they
replied with information that would assist her

© 2007 The Irish Times


Blair Promises Action Over Collusion

24 January 2007 22:44

British Prime Minister Tony Blair has said action will be
taken against anyone found to have colluded with
paramilitary killers in Northern Ireland.

Mr Blair told the House of Commons today that what was
important was to make sure that such a thing could never
happen again and to deal with those who are responsible.

The Minister for Foreign Affairs again called on the
British government to take action to deal once and for all
with the issue of collusion.

Dermot Ahern was speaking in Dundalk following a meeting
with the SDLP and Sinn Féin. Both parties are demanding
that the British government sack Ronnie Flanagan as the
Chief Inspector of the British Constabulary.

Mr Flanagan was RUC Chief Constable during part of the
period covered by the report into collusion by the Police
Ombudsman for Northern Ireland, Nuala O'Loan.

Mr Ahern said the Government was not publicly calling for
his sacking, but that those involved in collusion should be

Speaking earlier on RTÉ Radio's Today with Pat Kenny, Mrs
O'Loan rejected criticism from the Northern Ireland Retired
Police Officers' Association that she had made increasingly
threatening demands in a series of letters.

She was to brief the Policing Board in Belfast today on her

The board is also expected to discuss the collusion issue
with the PSNI Chief Constable, Hugh Orde.


Assembly Row On Collusion Debate

A row has broken out at the Northern Ireland Assembly over
debating collusion.

The DUP and Ulster Unionists blocked an attempt to have a
debate on the Police Ombudsman's report on collusion.

Sinn Fein and the SDLP wanted assembly members it debated
on Monday, the last day of the assembly before dissolution.

Instead the assembly will debate north/south co-operation;
the situation at Muckamore Hospital; liquor licensing and
fishing boat compensation.

A Sinn Fein source said the party have yet to decide if it
will take part in the last day of the assembly at all.

The move has been strongly condemned by Sinn Fein and the
SDLP, with Sinn Fein assembly member John O'Dowd accusing
the unionist parties of "breath-taking hypocrisy and

He claimed both parties were running away and "letting down
their own communities".

The SDLP's John Dallat said unionists had "failed the first
test of operating a democratic parliament".

A spokesman for the Ulster Unionists said they feared
collusion would have led to a bad tempered debate and
accused the nationalist parties of "political opportunism".

Alliance Party assembly member Kieran McCarthy said the
issue must be debated.

"It is essential that we have the chance to discuss this
report within the assembly so that everyone can voice their
thoughts and concerns on this most important of issues," he

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2007/01/24 18:19:30 GMT


Unionists Running Scared Of Debate On Collusion

Published: 24 January, 2007

Sinn Féin Assembly group leader, Upper Bann MLA John O'Dowd
has accused the DUP and UUP of running away from a debate
on collusion after both parties blocked a debate on
collusion in the Assembly.

Mr O'Dowd said:

"The absolute cowardice of unionist politicians in the face
of clear evidence of collusion between unionist
paramilitaries and serving and former members of the police
is a disgrace.

"The relationship between the Special Branch, MI5 and the
loyalist death squads must be scrutinised and debated.
Those engaged in the policy of collusion must be held to
account. They can have no place in a modern civic police

"The UUP and DUP are running away from what should be a key
debate for all of us. Unionists politicians are also
letting down their own communities who have and are
suffering as a direct result of the policy of collusion.

"The hypocrisy of the unionist parties is breath taking. If
any other organisation was involved in this type of
systematic illegality and wrong doing these same
politicians would be demanding full disclosure and co-
operation with the investigation. But their commitment to
law and order is distinctly one-sided. They fall silent
when those involved in criminality are the so-called forces
of law and order." ENDS


Top Officers Are Named In Commons

SDLP leader Mark Durkan has named three former heads of
Special Branch who he said failed to cooperate with a
Police Ombudsman investigation.

Using parliamentary privilege he identified them as Chris
Albiston, Raymond White and Freddie Hall.

But Mr Albiston said they had given information to the
ombudsman and offered to answer specific questions.

Northern Ireland's Police Ombudsman found officers colluded
with loyalists behind over a dozen murders in Belfast.

Her report said several high-ranking officers refused to
cooperate with the investigation into collusion.

However, Mr Albiston added: "What we were not prepared to
do was to be led into making statements in a form designed
by the ombudsman, because we know the form of that office.

"We have seen as the result of previous inquiries the way
that those who try to help can be frustrated and indeed we
know of three officers who appear to have tried to help the
office and ended up finding themselves being arrested."

In a statement, on behalf of all three men, Mr Albiston
said for 18 months after supplying information the Special
Branch officers heard nothing from the ombudsman and were
not given the chance to respond to the allegations made
against them.

"We earnestly hope that the reopening of the murder
investigations will lead to the conviction of the guilty
and are more than happy to help the police investigations
in any way we can," he said.

"However, it is important that we put the record straight
and that responsible people understand that cooperation was
offered and indeed we even have a letter from her office
thanking us for our assistance."


In the Commons, Prime Minister Tony Blair said the
government deeply and bitterly regretted any collusion that
had taken place on behalf of anyone working for Special
Branch in the RUC in the wake of the ombudsman's findings.

During prime ministers' questions on Wednesday, Mr Durkan
described collusion as "a fact not a myth".

Nationalists have called on the former Chief Constable Sir
Ronnie Flanagan to resign from his post as Head of Her
Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary.

But Sir Ronnie said on Tuesday that he had no knowledge of
any collusion when he was chief constable of the RUC in the

Mr Durkan said Sir Ronnie had presided over an "anything
goes, nobody knows" culture in Special Branch.

The SDLP leader asked: "Is it not a disgrace that three
former heads of Special Branch failed to cooperate with the
Police Ombudsman's investigation - Chris Albiston, Ray
White and Freddie Hall - but two of them now attack her
report and her office?"

Police Ombudsman Nuala O'Loan briefed the Policing Board on
Wednesday on her findings.

A Sinn Fein delegation is expected to call for action from
the Irish government during a meeting later with Irish
Foreign Minister Dermott Ahern.

In an interview on the BBC's Spotlight programme on
Tuesday, Sir Ronnie dismissed calls for his resignation as
Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Constabulary.

"I reject that as chief constable it would have been easy
or possible for me to know all that is going on in relation
to the handling of informants within one unit, of one
paramilitary organisation, in one geographical area of
Belfast," he said.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2007/01/24 16:33:38 GMT


Raymond McCord Calls For Flanagan To Be Sacked

The father of a man murdered by loyalist paramilitaries a
decade ago has called for former PSNI Chief Constable Sir
Ronnie Flanagan to be sacked from his role as head of Her
Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary.

In a statement released to UTV, Raymond McCord Senior said
he doesn`t believe Mr Flanagan`s version of events in
reponse to the Ombudsman`s report released earlier this

Mr McCord also challenged senior unionists to a live debate
where he could press them on why they have so far failed to
call for the arrest of his son`s killers.

"Forty-eight hours after the publication of Mrs O`Loan`s
report I have yet to heat Unionist politicians call for the
arrest of the murderers of my son and the other victims of
this UVF murder gang," said Mr McCord.

"All I have heard from them is criticism, from Ian Paisley
Junior and from Lord Maginnis directed and Mrs O`Loan and
the report.

"These politicians have failed to contact me and ask what
my opinion of the report is, bearing in mind it was my
complaint that led to the investigation in the first place.

"We listened last night to good policemen confirm that the
Special Branch was a law onto themselves and destroyed

"Can Ian Paisley Junior and Lord Maginnis explain to me how
these killers were allowed to operate with immunity? Rather
than criticising the report, they would be better off
trying to help the victims get justice.

"I sincerely believe that what ot comes down to is
pointscoring by unionist politicians rather than seeking
the truth and justice and helping victims within both the
unionist and nationalist community.

"I would challenge Ian Paisley Junior, Lord Maginnis and
Fred Cobain to a live debate in front of a studio

"And still I echo the thought that Sir Ronnie Flanagan
should be sacked. The present Chief Constable, Sir Hugh
Orde, got it right on Monday when he said the buck stops at
his door.

"Why is this not the case for Sir Ronnie Flanagan? I simply
don`t believe his version of events."

"My family are awaiting our meeting woth Tony Blair which
is the very least a Prime Minister could offer us at this


Named Ex-Branch Officers Hit Out At O'Loan

Wed, Jan 24, 2007

Ex-Special Branch chiefs - who were publicly named today -
hit back tonight at allegations they refused to co-operate
with a damning report into police collusion with loyalist
killers in Belfast.

After the identities of three former officers at the centre
of the row were revealed, they claimed Police Ombudsman
Nuala O'Loan kept them in the dark about her explosive

Chris Albiston, a retired assistant chief constable,
insisted the officers contacted by Mrs O'Loan's team
provided information that would assist her inquiry.

Speaking for officers criticised by the Ombudsman, he said:
"Some 18 months afterwards when it became apparent that a
critical report was being prepared we asked to see the
content and the nature of the allegations being made.

"There was no co-operation from her office on this report
and officers were unable to see her report until Monday."

The Ombudsman's disclosure that Special Branch handlers
paid and shielded an UVF boss behind up to 15 murders has
plunged policing in Northern Ireland into crisis and
threatened to destroy the RUC's reputation.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair was forced to fend off
demands for the resignation of Sir Ronnie Flanagan from his
post as head of Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary
as the devastating findings dominated the Commons.

SDLP leader Mark Durkan insisted Sir Ronnie, as a one-time
head of Special Branch and RUC Chief Constable when the
UVF's Mount Vernon unit went on the rampage across north
Belfast, should have known what was going on.

The Foyle MP also used parliamentary privilege to name the
three senior Special Branch officers who Mrs O'Loan claims
refused to assist her inquiry.

He said during Prime Minister's questions: "Is it not a
disgrace that three former heads of Special Branch failed
to co-operate with the Police Ombudsman's investigation -
Chris Albiston, Ray White and Freddie Hall - but two of
them now attack her report and her office?

"Anywhere else that would be a national scandal."

Challenging Mr Blair to accept collusion in Ulster was a
fact, he demanded: "Can Ronnie Flanagan, who presided over
a culture of anything goes but nobody knows, be credible as
Chief Inspector of Constabulary?"

The Prime Minister expressed deep and bitter regret for any
wrongdoing or impropriety on behalf of those working for
Special Branch during the 1990s.

"As a result of the changes some years ago, that cannot
happen anymore and it is precisely as a result of the
additional scrutiny that we now have that this has been
uncovered and lain bare," Mr Blair said.

Amid the unrelenting uproar, both Mrs O'Loan and the
current Northern Ireland Chief Constable Sir Hugh Orde
separately briefed a police scrutiny body in Belfast today.

Neither commented on their meetings with the Policing
Board, but one representative described the exchanges with
Sir Hugh as robust.

Policing Board Chairman Sir Desmond Rea confirmed
afterwards that the authority had accepted an Ombudsman's
recommendation to review police response to her report
within six months.

"The Board has also agreed that its human rights advisors
will examine, validate and report on the implementation of
the recommendations; and if appropriate will appoint
additional external expertise to assist in their work,"
Prof Rea said.

There has been outrage at the disclosure that ex-UVF leader
Mark Haddock was paid at least stg£80,000 by his handlers
and protected from prosecution has been huge.

Ms O'Loan's report referred to a "serial killer" being
protected by the Special Branch. Reliable sources say the
reference was to Haddock who survived a gun attack last
year but was later jailed for 10 years for a brutal assault
on a nightclub doorman.

He is currently under armed guard in hospital.

© 2007


Police Debate Mirrors History

BBC Northern Ireland's political editor Mark Devenport
examines the possible effect of the collusion report on the
Sinn Fein leadership's stance on policing.

"I am now reconciled to the fact that if you lose the vote
some of you will leave us. I regret this but it is your
choice not mine. You should not take such a decision in the
heat of the minute.

"Such a decision should be given long consideration. Don't
put yourselves on hooks or feel you are on a hook by what
you have said here or in the past.

"Think about it, on your own and at length. If you then
decide, or if you ignore this request and are going to
leave this struggle, please do it in a republican and
comradely fashion.

"To walk out publicly gives the establishment media the
opportunity of running the headlines which they may already
have set - Sinn Fein Walk-Out ... Sinn Fein Splits."

No, the BBC has not received a leaked copy of Gerry Adams'
speech to this weekend's extraordinary ard fheis.

That quote was from 1986, when Ruairi O'Bradaigh and his
supporters walked out over the issue of taking seats in the
Irish parliament.

The disaffected went on to form Republican Sinn Fein and
the Continuity IRA.

With another crunch meeting due, this time on support for
the police, Gerry Adams acknowledges that some may walk in,
in order to walk out.

Other republicans, like assembly member Geraldine Dougan,
have already resigned from Sinn Fein.


But privately Sinn Fein politicians appear happy about the
tenor of their recent public meetings on policing and
confident that the leadership will secure a comfortable

Those meetings mark the culmination of an internal process
which stretches back at least to the back end of 2004, when
Sinn Fein first met Chief Constable Sir Hugh Orde and
promised in principle to call a special ard fheis on
policing as part of a deal.

The relative optimism of some Sinn Fein politicians comes
despite the potentially damaging impact of the O'Loan
report on collusion.

The secretary of state, Peter Hain, conceded that the
Ombudsman's examination of the UVF murder of Raymond McCord
had emerged at a "critical time".

But both the British and Irish governments will be glad
that the report did not land on their desks at a point when
the Sinn Fein leadership had yet to make their minds up
about supporting the police.

As things stand, nationalist rage over collusion has not
dented Gerry Adams' argument that republicans should be on
the inside seeking to ensure that - as he puts it - "human
rights abusers" have no role in future policing.

One can easily imagine circumstances under which the Sinn
Fein president would have seized on the O'Loan report as a
reason to reject the PSNI.

But he has made his strategic decision and he is not going
to allow the fallout from the Ombudsman's investigation to
derail his chosen course.

The SDLP has sought to project the controversy forwards by
expressing concern about the arrangements for agent
handling when MI5 take over primacy for intelligence
concerning national security.

The Police Ombudsman herself says the accountability
mechanisms which will be in place are still a work in
progress, and she sounds as if she is yet to be convinced
that they will be as strong as the current set-up.

But Sinn Fein recently welcomed a government promise to
separate MI5 from the police. Perhaps with that in mind
republicans have not appeared at pains to echo the SDLP


Presuming Gerry Adams wins his vote, the focus will then
move to the DUP.

They asked for a spring election in order to refresh their
mandate, as their previous manifesto ruled out power
sharing with Sinn Fein.

The party will no doubt have a vigorous debate about their
new manifesto - perhaps a conditional indication that they
will share power provided republicans deliver to their
satisfaction will be the only platform they can agree on.

Tony Blair has said there is no point holding an election
unless both Sinn Fein and the DUP are clear about policing
and power sharing.

However, even if the campaign starts with a degree of
ambiguity over the DUP's position and when Sinn Fein's new
policing policy will kick in, it's hard to imagine the
government pulling the plug at this stage.

Ministers will almost certainly want the campaign to run
its course in the hope that a deal will prove possible
before the 26 March deadline.

Certainly all the parties have been taking the process of
selecting candidates for the 18 constituencies very

As things stand a 7 March poll is a racing certainty, but
whether that leads to a working Stormont executive by the
end of the month is more of an each-way bet.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2007/01/24 17:12:59 GMT


Loyalist Accused Told To Leave NI

A judge has given two north Belfast loyalists three weeks
to get out of Northern Ireland after he was told they had
received death threats.

Garry Mackenzie, 35, and Alan John McClean, 19, were among
17 men arrested when police raided the Alexandra Bar in the
York Road area last March.

Both men are on bail awaiting trial on a charge of helping
to organise a meeting in support of the UDA/UFF.

But the high court heard they are now under threat from the
"mainstream UDA".

Police had applied for a review of a condition of their
bail that they must reside at addresses in Northern Ireland
approved by the police.

The reason, Crown lawyer Charles McKay said, was that the
lives of both men were at risk following death threats from
what he described as the "mainstream UDA".

"Police believe they would be a target wherever they lived
in Northern Ireland and a great deal of manpower is being
expended safeguarding them," Mr McKay said.

A defence lawyer questioned the validity of the death
threats but Mr Justice Weatherup said he accepted that
police were satisfied there was a continuing and serious
threat to the men's lives.

He said the court had to take account of the threat to the
men and also to the public should violence break out and on
balance he had decided to require them to live outside
Northern Ireland where the risk to their lives would be

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2007/01/24 18:17:35 GMT



Blog: Polish Policemen in PSNI

Sun 14 Jan 2007

Posted by mackozer under Polish Emigration , Polish Comm ,
Northern Ireland

Couple of days ago Irish Independent devoted its attention
to a massive number (about 1000) of applications to the
Police Service of Northern Ireland by young Poles. It is
well welcomed by PSNI and due to the fact that almost all
Polish emigrants are catholics it would fit perfectly a
PSNI 50 – 50 recruitment policy. Employ 1000 Polish
officers would raise an overall percentage of Catholics in
the service from 21 percent at present.

It is a good opportunity for many of Polish emigrants, and
former policemen to be still in the service and to earn at
least 4 times more than in Poland. The need to employ Poles
to the police service is quite obvious due to growing
number of our community in Northern Ireland (which is now
estimated to be about 30 thousands). The same need exist in
the Republic, but I am a little bit afraid about that idea
in the Northern Ireland.

Due to the agreement there must be an equal number of
protestants and catholics in the PSNI, but it is far to be
done at present. There is many reasons of that, i.e. there
is a problem with MI5 involvement in PSNI and I guess there
can be still lack of confidence to the police among the
catholic communities and their experiences with RUC. For
the British and Northern Ireland authorities employment of
huge number of Poles can be a solution. They can say that
everything goes fine, due to the growing number of
catholics in the service. But Poles are a foreign element,
not linked to the problems, memories and sensitives of the
local catholic communities. In my opinion they can’t be a
good representatives of the Irish catholics in the North
and they probably won’t be a regarded by them as let me say
“our people”.

Apart of a real need to recruit Poles to PSNI, there is a
danger of political involvement, and in my opinion Poles
won’t be a good replacement for the Irish catholics in the
service. I hope that the number of Poles employed will be
appropriate to the size and needs of Polish community’ and
won’t be treated by the NI authorities as part of the 50 –
50 recruitment policy.

As I wrote before, many Irish on both sides of the border
don’t believe in the new Police forces in Northern Ireland
– especially after just published report by Northern
Ireland Police Ombudsman Nuala O’Loan, that concerns RUC
special branch collusion with Ulster Volunteers Forces and
its murders committed in a recent time – during the 90ties
of 20th century. Following Irish Independent – the last
reported crime was committed in year of 2000. Loyalist
serial killers are accused of many murderers (about 100
since 70ties and about 15 in the 90ties) of civilian
Catholics and Protestants as well. What is the most
shocking they had permission from officers of RUC, with the
help, protection and turning blind eye on their brutal
activities. The story of Protestant Raymond McCord who lost
his son killed by one of the UVF butchers – Mark Haddock.
Raymond McCord tried to seek the truth and justice among
the loyalist parties of Paysley and Trimble but they were
not willing to help him. Finally he turn to the Sinn Fein
in search for justice.

The report just revealed the commonly known facts in the
whole Irish society. Moreover many of my Irish friends
claim that the fact of collusion is not a past story but
the present day reality. Non of them believe in PSNI and
its clear rules and lack of sectarianism. Actually, facing
new facts about recent days of RUC they are right. How many
of the RUC officers biased in Loyalist favor and involved
in collusion with UVF are still on duty and nowadays
working in PSNI?

I warned my compatriots that Catholic Polish officers won’t
be treated as a representatives of the native Catholic
community and they rather would be regarded as alien
mercenaries used by British government to show the world
that they fulfill the obligations of 50 – 50 policy. This
can by devastating for even a small assimilation and
integration of Polish society into at least Irish society
of Northern Ireland and those 1000 Polish officers can put
whole Polish society as a piggy in the middle – between two
sides of conflict, and face the reluctance from both of

My warning seems to be not groundless - yesterday one of
the biggest Polish news and community web sites – –
reported that Republican Sinn Fein warned Poles (in the
letter to Belfast Telegraph) not to join PSNI. They claim
that employment of about 1000 Poles to the PSNI is very
disturbing. They also warn Poles not to join the PSNI
(regarded as a continuance of RUC) and stay away of the
local conflict.

I am afraid that those 1000 applicants are not familiar
with history of Ireland and history of the troubles in the
North. I am not biased on any side favor, and I am of the
opinion that new Police in Northern Ireland should be cut
off from the past and any collusions, co-operations with
MI5 (if it is possible), and consist of representatives of
both communities – Catholics and Protestants, native ones
of course. I have nothing against Poles in the service, but
the number must be adequate to the number of Polish
emigrants in Northern Ireland.


Forgotten Founder Of Irish Free State Profiled In New Book

By Maja Tarateta

The story of Kevin O’Higgins, a founding father of the
Irish Free State, had fallen into obscurity, overshadowed
by the tales of fellow revolutionaries Michael Collins and
Eamon de Valera. But a new book, launched in the United
States at an Oct. 14 lecture at Fordham University, reveals
the life and times of a man who not only consolidated
critical institutions in the new state after the Anglo-
Irish Treaty of 1921, but who would also come to be called
the “Irish Mussolini.”

“Many who are aware of Kevin O’Higgins are moved by his
story,” said the book’s author, John P. McCarthy, Ph.D.,
professor emeritus of history at Fordham and founder of the
Institute of Irish Studies at the University. “O’Higgins’
main achievement was the solidifying of public institutions
… where the gun and disorder were still rampant.”

Nearly 50 people attended the lecture, sponsored by the
American Irish Historical Society and the University’s
history department, and gained a deeper understanding of
“one of the key figures in shaping modern Ireland,”
according to Monsignor Thomas J. Shelley, Ph.D., professor
of historical theology, who introduced McCarthy and his
book, Kevin O’Higgins: Builder of the Irish State (Irish
Academic Press, 2006).

“This book has all the hallmarks of his meticulous
scholarship,” said Monsignor Shelley. “Although he’s
retired, John is working harder than ever before.”

McCarthy provided a detailed biography of O’Higgins’ life,
from his birth in 1892 to his imprisonment in 1918 for
“provocative oratory on behalf of Sinn Fein candidates.”
Educated at the Jesuit-run Clungowes Wood, he was a
minister in Michael Collins’ government and emerged as vice
president and minister for justice in the Irish Free State
after Collins’ death.

It was in this role that O’Higgins faced a defining moral
choice. In retaliation for the IRA campaign of
assassination that led to at least 77 deaths, he went along
with his colleagues’ decision to execute four republican
prisoners. One of those executed at O’Higgins’ command had
been the best man at his wedding.

“He did this to secure the welfare and safety of the Irish
people,” said McCarthy. “I am sure it was a thing that
plagued him for the rest of his life.”

The capital punishments were meant to ensure that no
further assassinations would take place, but “they went
against the basis of democratic thought,” and were
condemned by the Archbishop of Dublin, said McCarthy.

This pivotal decision reveals much about the man, the times
and the public’s general role in such state-sponsored
executions. In its review of the work, Books Ireland wrote:
“McCarthy has given us a thorough, well-argued book, one
that is provocative in the best sense in that it moves us
to think, not least about how we complacently leave life-
and-death decisions to others in political life, forget
what we owe them and how some of them have paid for our
security with the highest price.”

Indeed, O’Higgins paid for Ireland’s security with his own
life. “On July 10, 1927, he was wounded by three gunmen on
his way to Mass and died later in his home,” said McCarthy.
“O’Higgins’ death would be seen as a blood sacrifice that
guaranteed Ireland to become democratic.”

Before his assassination, O’Higgins struggled with his
fellow “conservative revolutionaries” to unify the country.
“O’Higgins shared a prevailing nationalistic optimism for
the unification of the island,” said McCarthy. “He
understood that the unification … would only come with
agreement from both parts. … His was the creative type of
thinking … that characterized the 1998 Good Friday

The Leinsterman was likewise known for his stern policies
and strident legislative proposals aimed at protecting
democracy. “The reform of intoxicating liquor legislation
was another important issue for O’Higgins,” said McCarthy.
“He advanced colorfully opposed legislation for uniform
hours for the sale of liquor.” His experiment with an
unarmed police force (that still stands) today is another
noteworthy endeavor for which O’Higgins is remembered.

“Had O’Higgins survived … I think you would have developed
a better context and rapport” between Northern Ireland and
the Irish Republic, McCarthy said. “His leadership would
have moved the way of thinking to a more reasonable way.
Things would have moved much faster.”


Celtic Drama: Ballad Of An Irish Playboy

A hundred years ago, 'The Playboy of the Western World'
opened to riotous scenes in Dublin. Today the tiny Aran
island that inspired the play has become a literary shrine.
By David McKittrick

Published: 25 January 2007

It was a play which had not so much an opening as a
detonation, exactly a century ago, with many of those in
the seats of Dublin's Abbey theatre rising in fury against

It generated what are remembered in Ireland as the "Playboy
Riots" with the police called in to restore order and
heated debate on what should and should not be seen on the
Dublin stage. There was as much drama in the stalls as on
the stage.

The leading actor William Fay reported, perhaps slightly
histrionically, that a stage-hand kept the audience at bay
only "by arming himself with a big axe, swearing by all the
saints in the calendar that he would chop the head off the
first lad who came over the footlights".

The production was denounced by, among others, Arthur
Griffith, a founding father of the modern Irish state, as
"a vile and inhuman story told in the foulest language we
have ever listened to from a public platform".

Ireland's national poet WB Yeats strode on to the stage to
defend it, lecturing the audience: "You have disgraced
yourself again - is this to be the recurring celebration of
the arrival of Irish genius?"

In the intervening years it went on to generate controversy
in the United States and even in China. In New York in the
1930s Irish-Americans pelted the cast with carrots, eggs
and, appropriately, potatoes. Yet over the course of a
century The Playboy of the Western World has shaken off its
original notoriety to join the canon of classic Irish and
international drama.

The play is an extraordinary mixture of comedy and tragedy,
tenderness and violence, of brutal reality and preposterous
fantasy. It is still performed often in Ireland and
elsewhere, where the play itself is regarded as inseparable
from its tumultuous opening nights.

These caused its author, John Millington Synge, to write
defensively to the newspapers: "Although parts of it are,
or are meant to be, extravagant comedy, still a great deal
that is in it, and a great deal more that is behind it, is
perfectly serious, when looked at in a certain light."

The irony is that Synge, a middle-class Anglo-Irish
Protestant, saw the play as shedding an affectionate light
on the isolated existence of poverty-stricken Catholics in
the remote west of Ireland.

But his brand of realism did not find favour with those
whose vision of the Irish peasant was one of stoic peoples
living a hard life with dignity. Many took offence at a
work which included violence, lack of respect for the
Catholic church and a frank sexuality.

It was the sexuality which last year caused some upset in
China - although not quite on the scale of the "Playboy
Riots" - when a Mandarin-language version performed in
Beijing featured an actress wearing a particularly short
skirt. This gave rise to the notable tabloid headline, more
Joycean than Syngean, "Peking at your knickers".

The most celebrated of Synge's half-a-dozen dramatic works,
Playboy is the tale of Christy Mahon, a young man who
arrives in a remote County Mayo village and enlivens the
lives of the locals.

He enthralls them by relating how he has killed his
domineering father and gone on the run from the law. Far
from being appalled by this, the villagers are fascinated
and come to regard him as something of a hero.

Several local women set their caps at him and he becomes a
sought-after celebrity. Unexpectedly, however, his father
turns up - not dead, but only wounded, and the plot

Christy immediately goes down in the village's estimation,
but tries to restore his lethal reputation by once again
trying to kill his father. The villagers, thinking he has
this time succeeded, threaten to torture and lynch him, but
once again his father appears, and this time they go off

This bald recital of some of the facts of the plot does not
of course begin to capture the impact of the play which,
while featuring both violence and highly unconventional
morality, is also marked by excellent jokes and funny

Set entirely in the village pub, it includes characters
propping up the bar, a widow whose wiles include demands
for "a right-of-way, a mountainy ram and a load of dung at
Michaelmas" as well as an unseen but forbidding Catholic

But one of the play's outstanding features is the way Synge
rooted it in the far west of Ireland, building into it both
local folklore and the inherently poetic language of
Ireland's Atlantic coast.

Ironically, he had a deeply evangelical mother who urged
him to shun strong language and exaggeration, advice which
he ignored while also dropping Protestantism in favour of
atheism, not a welcome move in a family studded with

He studied Irish and Hebrew and knew he wanted to write. He
moved to Paris but was lost for a subject until he received
some life-changing advice from Yeats, who told him: "Give
up Paris. You will never create anything by reading Racine.
Go to the Aran Islands. Live there as if you were one of
the people themselves; express a life that has never found

Synge did exactly that, in a move which would define the
rest of his short life and leave a lasting mark on Irish

Over a period of years he spent many months on Inishmaan,
the largest of the Aran islands, a barren, windswept place
off the west coast offering ruggedly beautiful landscapes
and seascapes. He wrote of it, in the lilting cadences so
often found in his plays: "With this limestone Inishmaan I
am in love."

The island gave him enormous inspiration, its people
fascinating a man who had lived his life in cosmopolitan
Dublin and Paris. He wrote of them: "These people seemed to
be moved by strange archaic sympathies with the world.

"Their mood accorded itself with the wonderful fineness to
the suggestions of the day, and their ancient Gaelic seemed
so full of divine simplicity that I would have liked to
turn the prow to the west and row with them forever."

Today Inishmaan is the least visited of the Aran islands
but still attracts some travellers anxious to see the place
which inspired Synge so much. They can be seen, book in
hand, walking past the Padraic Flaherty's thatched pub,
where he would stop to have a drink.

They call at the recently restored "Synge's cottage," where
so many literary scholars stayed that it became known as
the 'The University' to which, he felt, had "a certain
psychic memory".

Then they make a pilgrimage to "Synge's chair," a cairn of
stones by a 300ft cliff where he would sit gazing at the
Atlantic, making copious notes. The plays that came from
these cover different themes: one is a relentless dirge
depicting the effects on the island of deaths at sea
following the sinking of a local fishing boat.

But in each one Synge depicted the islanders with
respectful affection, capturing their humanity and their
harsh lifestyles. He also captured the cadences of their
everyday language, writing lines which still flow today.

He drew on Aran myth and legend, in particular noting, and
building into Playboy, one tale which captured the innate
local lack of support for the forces of law and order.

An old man told Synge the story of a Connaught man who had
killed his father in a crime of passion, then fled to the
island and threw himself to the mercy of the natives.

Synge recounted that the old man showed him a hole where
the fugitive had been hidden "and kept safe for weeks,
although the police came and searched for him, and he could
hear their boots grinding on the stones over his head".

Synge marvelled: "This impulse to protect the criminal is
universal in the west. If a man has killed his father and
is already sick and broken with remorse, they can see no
reason why he should be dragged away and killed by the

This was a phenomenon that was familiar enough but it was
rarely aired in polite society and was never going to go
down well with sections of the theatre-going Dublin public
when proclaimed from the Abbey stage.

Nor was it the only point to scandalise the objectors. In
an echo of the later Chinese controversy, the more
puritanical in the audience took particular exception to a
line about "a drift of females standing in their shifts".
This reference to petticoats was deemed unacceptable.

A related problem was that Playboy showed country-dwellers
as real people with faults and foibles, an image completely
at odds with the conventional depiction of rustic virtue
and rural dignity.

One critic stormed that the whole thing was "an
unmitigated, protracted libel upon Irish peasant men and,
worse still, upon Irish peasant girlhood".

Synge did not take this well, railing against the petit-
bourgeoisie, saying: "The groggy patriot-publican general-
shop man who is married to the priest's half-sister and is
second-cousin once-removed of the dispensary doctor."

He died at the age of 37, leaving behind six Inishmaan-
inspired plays which he wrote within a few years in a great
burst of creativity. He is regularly counted among the
dozen greatest literary figures produced by Ireland. Today
he is remembered with affection, while his one-time critics
are mockingly dismissed.

And the Abbey theatre, scene of the drama which spilled
over from the stage to the stalls, still performs his
works, attracting enthusiastic audiences which no longer
have to be fended off by stagehands with axes.

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