News about the Irish & Irish American culture, music, news, sports. This is hosted by the Irish Aires radio show on KPFT-FM 90.1 in Houston, Texas (a Pacifica community radio station)

February 18, 2007

Hain Endorses Hillary For President

News about Ireland & the Irish

TE 02/18/07 Hain Endorses Hillary For President
SF 02/17/07 SF Committed To Institutions by March 26th
SL 02/18/07 Sinn Fein: Help Cops To Catch Sex Beast
SL 02/18/07 UDA Urges Voting For Mainstream Unionists
HT 02/18/07 Martin Galvin Backs Anti-SF Candidates
GU 02/18/07 Loyalists Make Catholic Poles Welcome
SL 02/18/07 Opin: The Times They Are A-Changing
SM 02/18/07 Prince William To Serve In Northern Ireland
SP 02/18/07 Spoof: Barack Obama Is An Irish O'Bama
SL 02/18/07 Why Big Ian May Not Vote For His Deputy
GU 02/18/07 Bk Rev: How IRA Doomed Itself To Futility
AH 02/18/07 Bk Review: Romance Of Irish In America
SL 02/18/07 Rugby And Soccer Stay At Croker in 2008
SN 02/18/07 Irish Day To Be Held At Burke Catholic


Hain Endorses Hillary For President

By Toby Harnden in Washington
Last Updated: 1:48am GMT 16/02/2007

Peter Hain, the Northern Ireland Secretary, yesterday
issued a rare endorsement by a UK minister of a White House
candidate, praising Hillary Clinton and stating that it
would "be fantastic to have a woman president".

Mr Hain was visiting Washington to ask for President George
W Bush's administration help in persuading Ian Paisley, the
Democratic Unionist Party leader, to sit in government with
Sinn Fein next month.

But he took time out to express his support for Democrats.

Before meeting Senator Clinton for the fourth time as a
minister, he said: "When the Democrats won last November
[in the mid-term congressional elections] of course every
Labour member, like me, cheered because they're our sister

Mrs Clinton was "formidably briefed on Northern Ireland and
an extremely impressive interlocutor".

Mr Hain also met Senator John McCain, a Republican
candidate who could face Mrs Clinton in the 2008
presidential election, but clearly backed his rival.

Last month, Mr Hain blasted the Bush administration as "the
most right-wing American administration, if not ever, then
in living memory" and a failure.

"The neo-con mission has failed," he told the New

"It's not only failed to provide a coherent international
policy, it's failed wherever it's been tried, and it's
failed with the American electorate, who kicked it into
touch last November.

"So if neo-con unilateralism has damaged the fight against
global terrorism and taken the world's eyes off the ball of
solving the Middle East conflict, for example, we've got to
really get back on that agenda."

Mr Hain hailed Sinn Fein's acceptance of the Northern
Ireland police as a "historic, seismic change" and
described the IRA as "no longer a terrorist organisation".

He is understood to have urged the Bush administration to
invite Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness of Sinn Fein to be
given a presidential audience at next month's St Patrick's
Day celebration in Washington.


Sinn Fein 'Absolutely Committed To Institutions By March

Published: 17 February, 2007

The Sinn Fein Ard Chomhairle met this morning in Dublin to
finalise preparations for the Assembly election campaign
and the upcoming Sinn Fein Ard Fheis. Speaking after the
meeting party General Secretary Mitchel McLaughlin said
that his party was 'absolutely committed to entering a
power sharing Executive on March 26th'.

Mr McLaughlin said:

"The point of this Assembly election campaign has to be
about ensuring that a fully functioning Assembly, Executive
and All-Ireland Bodies are put in place by March 26th. That
is what the two governments set out in their St. Andrews
proposals and that is what Sinn Fein will be holding them
to deliver.

"Let me state again in clear terms, Sinn Fein are
absolutely committed to entering a power sharing executive
with the rest of the parties on March 26th. That is what
our focus is on. The recent Sinn Fein Ard Fheis has
liberated the political process and the opportunities
created must now be grasped by all.

"This is the last chance for those who have stood in the
way of progress for so long to come on board. There are
only two options facing the parties. Either we go with Plan
A, the Good Friday Agreement and set up the political
institutions. This has to be the best option. Or the
governments will implement their joint management
proposals. There are no other options. There is no Plan C
or D.

"I very much hope that we proceed into institutions on
March 26th. Parties who oppose this approach are in effect
giving British Direct Rule Ministers a blank cheque to
impose water charges, privatise further public services and
continue with disastrous cuts in health and education."


Sinn Fein: Help Cops To Catch Sex Beast

[Published: Sunday 18, February 2007 - 09:34]
By Stephen Breen

A leading republican last night urged people to contact the
police with any information they may have about a sex beast
who has sparked fear in Downpatrick.

The plea was made by South Down Sinn Fein MLA Willie Clarke
over fears the man - who raped a young woman just before
Christmas - could strike again.

The victim was walking along Samson Lane, off the town's
Ardglass Road, in the early hours of December 23 when her
attacker pounced.

The man, who is aged around 18 and speaks with a local
accent, was wearing a dark hooded top and jeans. He
subjected the woman to a terrifying ordeal.

Although local republicans did not call on people to help
the police at the time of the incident, they are now
encouraging anyone with information on the attack to co-
operate with the PSNI.

No one has been arrested for the sex attack and fears are
growing that the rapist could target other women in the

Police have made a number of appeals over the attack, but
no one has yet come forward with any information.

The rape sent shockwaves through the town and local
politicians have warned women not to walk home on their

Mr Clarke, who is also chairman of Down District Council,
said it was " essential" for people to come forward with

Said the Sinn Fein man: "As our party president (Gerry
Adams) has already stated, people with information on crime
should go to the relevant authorities - including the PSNI.

"This man is a threat to all women - God knows where he is
right now. He could attack in Co Down again, or in any
other part of Ireland.

"There are genuine concerns in the community about this
attack and the only way to deal with it is if people come
forward with the information.

"I appreciate the fact republicans may find it hard
contacting the police, but this is the decision that has
now been endorsed by Sinn Fein.

"People have no other option but to contact the police
because there is no other way to deal with these types of
terrible crimes. I would also urge young women to remain
vigilant over the coming weeks."

A police spokesman said the investigation into the attack
was ongoing.


Unionists Are Urged To Vote Mainstream By UDA Body

[Published: Sunday 18, February 2007 - 09:06]
By Stephen Breen

The group which provides political analysis to the UDA last
night appealed to everyone in the unionist community to
vote in next month's Assembly elections.

And Frankie Gallagher of the Ulster Political Research
Group (UPRG) urged loyalists to vote for the mainstream
unionist parties.

He also claimed independent unionists who oppose the Rev
Ian Paisley and Sir Reg Empey want to see Sinn Fein secure
the First Minister post.

The east Belfast man believes many such candidates want to
see Sinn Fein top the poll so the Assembly will collapse
because the DUP will refuse to work under republicans.

Mr Gallagher was speaking after it emerged consultations
between the UDA leadership, its members and the UPRG on the
future direction of the paramilitary organisation are still

As part of the talks, UDA members have been advised that
the best way of promoting the aims of loyalism is through

But the UPRG believes that if political stability is
created in Northern Ireland, it could create an environment
where violence and weapons can be a thing of the past.

Said Mr Gallagher: "Loyalists must learn how to make the
ballot-box work because weaponry is no longer a viable
option. We must learn to utilise the ballot-box to maximum
effect because dividing unionism is not the way to do that,
as some would have us believe."

The senior UPRG man also pleaded with unionists opposed to
the DUP sharing power with Sinn Fein to debate the peace
process with him.

Added the east Belfast loyalist: "I am more than willing to
meet with people from a unionist background who don't want
the DUP to share power with Sinn Fein.

"We have to have political stability if we are to complete
the conflict transformation process.

"I would meet these people anywhere to debate this issue."

c Belfast Telegraph


Sinn Fein Leaders Meet Northern Ireland Police Chief
Following Vote To Back Law

Martin Galvin Backs Anti-SF Candidates

The Associated Press
Friday, February 16, 2007
Dublin, Ireland

Sinn Fein leaders met the Northern Ireland police commander
on Friday for the first time since the Irish Republican
Army-linked party voted to back law and order in the
British territory.

"We think this is a very important first step in a whole
process of delivering a new relationship between our
community and the police," Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams
said following his delegation's 90-minute meeting in
Belfast with Chief Constable Hugh Orde, commander of the
Police Service of Northern Ireland.

Adams has met Orde twice before, in November 2004 and
December 2006, as he edged his long-militant party toward
cooperation with British law and order. Friday's meeting
was considered significant because it followed the
overwhelming Jan. 28 vote by Sinn Fein's grass-roots
membership to abandon its decades-old refusal to cooperate
with the predominantly Protestant police.

Adams said the meeting would be "one in the start of a
process of engagements, so that we all get policing right."

Sinn Fein, the major Catholic-backed party in Northern
Ireland, is hoping to increase its strength in a March 7
election for the Northern Ireland Assembly. Britain expects
the assembly to elect a Catholic-Protestant administration
the following week that would be led by Sinn Fein and the
Democratic Unionists, who represent most of the province's
British Protestant majority.

Orde, a former deputy commander of London's Metropolitan
Police, did not comment after meeting Sinn Fein.

Britain appointed Orde as police commander in Northern
Ireland in 2002 to oversee a mammoth overhaul of the
heavily militarized Royal Ulster Constabulary. A 10-year
reform program begun in 2001 has seen the force renamed the
Police Service, given new uniforms and badges, and pursue a
policy of preferential recruitment of Catholics.

Protestants say they will not share power - the central
goal of Northern Ireland's Good Friday peace accord of 1998
- unless Sinn Fein begins working with the police. Analysts
say Sinn Fein's dramatic U-turn on policing should win the
party extra votes versus their moderate Catholic rivals,
the Social Democratic and Labour Party or SDLP.

But anti-Sinn Fein die-hards are running against Sinn Fein
candidates in the most hard-line Catholic areas to protest
what they say is a sellout of traditional IRA policies.

A leading IRA traditionalist from the United States, New
York lawyer Martin Galvin, arrived Friday in Belfast to
campaign on behalf of two candidates who oppose Sinn Fein's
recent compromises.

Galvin, who was ousted several years ago as director of
Irish Northern Aid, the U.S. fund-raising arm of the IRA,
said Sinn Fein's decision to accept the police meant it was
"enforcing British law and the British state."

"Having opposed for 30 years those who gave legitimacy to
the British crown forces, they have now done exactly the
opposite of what they said. They are doing exactly what
they criticized the SDLP for," Galvin said.


Loyalists Make Catholic Poles Welcome

Wartime debt to Britain's East European allies boosts a
battle against racism on estate

Henry McDonald, Ireland editor
Sunday February 18, 2007
The Observer

The contribution made by Polish pilots during the Second
World War is being used as a weapon in the fight against
racism in Northern Ireland.

An estate infamous for the expulsion of Catholics during
the Anglo-Irish Agreement protests is welcoming an influx
of Catholic residents from eastern Europe. And the Ulster
Defence Association is so keen to prevent the new arrivals
from leaving, it has leafleted Lisburn urging loyalists to
support the migrant workers and their families, with one
leaflet reminding loyalists of Poland's contribution to the
war effort.

Eighteen Polish families and smaller numbers from the Czech
Republic, Latvia and Lithuania have settled in the Old
Warren estate, Lisburn, where the UDA is hoping to reverse
the recent upsurge in attacks on immigrants, mainly in
Protestant working-class areas. An Observer survey last
year found that more than 90 per cent of all reported
attacks on immigrants took place in loyalist areas.

'We wanted loyalist people to remember the contribution the
Poles made to defeating Hitler,' said Colin Halliday, an
ex-UDA prisoner who is now a community worker on the Old
Warren estate. 'We were determined to counteract all the
bad publicity loyalist areas received in recent years about
racial and xenophobic attacks. So we pointed out that you
couldn't be loyal to Britain and a racist.'

Halliday was talking inside the Welcome House, a new nerve
centre for the Polish and eastern European families living
throughout Lisburn. Inside the house in Dromara Park was
Halliday's close friend Daniel Konieczny, from Jawor in
Poland. He has lived in Lisburn for three years and works
closely with Halliday and other loyalist community workers
on the estate. Along with the staff at the Welcome House,
Konieczny provides English classes for migrants and Polish
classes for the Northern Irish residents of Old Warren, and
they run joint Polish-Northern Irish soccer and basketball
teams on the estate to integrate children from the
indigenous and migrant communities.

Some of the eastern Europeans have become so integrated as
to produce amusing results. 'Last July, during the marching
season, this Latvian guy noticed all these Ulster flags
going up in his street. So he went out and bought an Ulster
flag, which he knew nothing about, so his house could fit
in. He was flying it on the 12th, even though he hadn't a
clue what it was all about,' Konieczny said.

Fiona McCausland, who grew up in Lisburn and helps run the
Welcome House, said local people were adamant that the
migrants must feel this was their home. 'We made it clear
to them that, if they wanted to send their kids to the
local Catholic primary school, there would be no hassle.
Some Polish communities in Northern Ireland that reside in
loyalist areas send their kids to state schools; they fear
that the uniform of a Catholic school might mark them out
for sectarian attack.

'We were determined not to let that happen on the Old
Warren estate. The community here liaised with the local
Catholic primary school to ensure that those Polish
families who wanted to could send their kids to St
Aloysius's. It has worked wonderfully.'

Olga Dominiak came to Lisburn from Belarus two years ago
with her husband and daughter. A Polish and Russian
speaker, she acts as an interpreter at the Welcome House.
'We use this place as an advice centre for the migrant
workers and their families. Many of them used to be afraid
to ask for things they are entitled to, like child benefit.
Now, through the classes and the drop-in centre, they are
taking these benefits up. This place helped me integrate a
couple of years ago and it's doing the same for dozens of
others,' she said.

The scheme on the Old Warren is winning praise across the
political divide, with Secretary of State Peter Hain
calling it a model of tolerance and integration. Halliday
agrees: 'The UDA in south Belfast has been studying what we
do here. I have brought Daniel along to talk to fellow
loyalists about how they can integrate the migrants into
their communities. This is the way forward. It's all about
combating ignorance and fear.'


Opin: The Times They Are A-Changing

[Published: Sunday 18, February 2007 - 09:02]
By Alan McBride

The more of these fortnightly columns I write, the more I
realise that I am pretty much a 'one-trick pony'.

What I mean is that, while there are many things I could
write about, the one issue that is continually on my mind,
and in many ways has come to define my life, is the search
for a lasting peace and the building of structures that
will lead to a 'shared future' for us all.

I make no apologies for this, because I believe the
realisation of a shared future to be one of the greatest
challenges facing our society.

Let's face it, if Northern Ireland is to take its place
among the nations of the world as an attractive place to
live and bring up a family, a place where inward investment
is not only encouraged but also delivered, and where peace
and stability become the norm, this issue has to be

In the past, a convenient scapegoat for the 'ghettoisation'
of the province has been laid at the door of some of our
politicians with their own particular brand of tribal

Although I believe this claim to be not without substance,
it may also be the case that we should look a little closer
to home for other less well-known culprits - maybe even
people like you and me.

Research carried out a few years ago by University of
Ulster academic Peter Shirlow disturbingly suggested that
Northern Ireland was more polarised then than at any time
before the signing of the Good Friday Agreement.

Does that mean the Good Friday Agreement has not worked? Of
course not.

But it does suggest that peace deals and political
agreements alone are not enough to build a shared future -
sectarianism must be tackled.

We have to take affirmative action to combat sectarianism
and build relationships with the 'other'.

With that in mind, and in the run-up to yet another
election, I thought, rather than put the spotlight on the
politicians (don't worry, I shall return to them next
time), I would cite examples of initiatives taken by
ordinary people - initiatives that have certainly inspired
me to reach out.

People like Albert Creighton, RE teacher at Belfast Royal
Academy, who along with several of his fellow teachers
organised a seminar for local schools (both controlled and
maintained) on the subject of leadership.

On the panel was my good self, the Rev Ian Paisley, Fr Paul
Simmons and Anna Lo from the Chinese Welfare Association.

As each speaker spelled out their vision for the 'new'
Northern Ireland, the young audience was encouraged to ask
questions - an invitation to which they didn't hesitate to

In my opinion, the event was a huge success - the standard
of questioning and informal discussion were certainly

As the event ended, a member of a visiting Catholic school
made the comment, "We need to do more of this sort of

And I couldn't agree more. It's not that cross-community
work in schools is something new, in fact we even had it in
my day during the early 1980s.

But back then we were asked not to talk about divisive
things such as religion and politics.

I guess that's what was so good about this event - that the
school took a significant 'small step' in opening up
dialogue and in this scenario we all benefit.

Another initiative that has inspired me, another example of
someone taking a 'small step' towards a shared future, is
Austin Brown from Life Cycles bike shop in Belfast's

He organised the Sunday morning cycle ride across the
Shankill/Falls peaceline that I mentioned in this column a
few weeks ago.

A big thank you is extended to Belfast's cycling fraternity
which turned out in force at the end of January to support
the seven-mile event.

As the last of them poured into Winetavern Street on the
return leg of the journey, that old Dylan classic The Times
They Are A-Changin' blasted out from a loudspeaker that had
been pedalled around the streets on a contraption
resembling something from a Mad Max movie.

I have to say there was a tear in my eye as I thought about
the 'small step' that had just been taken, and the
considerably bigger step taken the same day at the Sinn
Fein ard fheis in Dublin (Sinn Fein's historic decision to
support the police).

The times are indeed changing - thank God - but I couldn't
help but ponder what has it all been about?

Why so many people dead? Young men imprisoned. For what?

Could we not have arrived at this scenario years ago?
Conflict costs - costs us all - which makes the process of
peace building (even when it does progress in small steps,
or the revolutions of a bicycle wheel) all the more
important for us all.

c Belfast Telegraph


Prince William To Serve In Northern Ireland

Exclusive by Rupert Hamer, Defence Correspondent

SENIOR Royal courtiers are considering sending Prince
William on a tour of Northern Ireland.

The second in line to the throne is expected to spend up to
two months in the province on attachment from his regiment.

The plan is to give the 24-year-old the experience of a
military tour before he does stints in the Royal Navy and
the RAF.

Last night a royal source said: "A period there would be
symbolic as the people are enjoying a more peaceful

"William cannot serve on the frontline in Iraq or
Afghanistan because of his position as future King - so
this is an option."

The news comes a day after it was revealed that Prince
Harry will definitely go to southern Iraq later this year.

The 22-year-old is to help patrol a 250km border between
Iran and Iraq in lawless Maysan province with his Blues and
Royals Regiment.

Meanwhile William - who joined the same regiment after
passing out of Sandhurst - begins his troop commanders'
course next month.

Like Harry he will go to Bovington Camp in Dorset to train
on armoured vehicles. He will also do courses on map
reading, tactics and leading troops in the regiment.

The course finishes in September and he will go on leave
before rejoining his regiment. Royal aides and military
planners then hope to send him on attachment to Belfast.

British troops draw down from Northern Ireland on July 31
when they will stop assisting local police forces.

A spokesman for St James's Palace said: "Prince William
starts his troop commanders course next month. We cannot
comment on other plans."


Spoof: Barack Obama Is An Irish O'Bama

Written by politicalpop
Story written: 18 February 2007

Link The Spoof has learned that genealogists working in
Ireland's remotest parts, have discovered a hitherto
unknown link between Barack Obama, and the ancient Irish
farming clan, O'Bama. Through a contorted chain of events
involving potato blight, the Titanic, and the slave
triangle, they have confirmed that the O'Bama strain moved
from Ireland, and reassembled itself firmly in America via
Canada, Africa, the Caribbean, and even Spain.

It seems that Barack Obama has Irish roots after all, not
just like Kennedy, Reagan, and Clinton, but better, thus
making him eminently suitable to be a President.

Not only that, genealogists using Advance Document
Reassembly techniques, whereby they gather dust, and piece
together microscopic fragments to recreate original ancient
Irish documents, have proved that after the rout of The
Spanish Armada by Sir Walter Raleigh, the fragmented fleet
escaped by sailing round Britain. Some of them didn't make
it home, and settled in Ireland's west coast.

A distant relative to Obama, Juan Pedro Olazabal, staggered
ashore in Country Cork, and mated immediately with lace-
maker Tessa Kitty O'Shea O'Bama, to produce a whole new
strain of the Hispanic-Irish O'Lazabal clan, which due to
an inter-clan dispute, split off from the O'Bama clan to
establish roots fairly and squarely in African soil.
Through a convoluted twist of fate, the Hispanic-Irish
O'Lazabal clan was reunited with the Afro-Irish O'Bama clan
in the Caribbean before setting sail once again for the new
colonies, thus creating this vast diaspora we now know as
the United States of America.

The Spoof has learned that this has been validated as one
hundred per cent correct by experts everywhere, and is
therefore completely true.

Tomorrow, Barack Obama and Freemasonry.


Why Big Ian May Not Vote For His Deputy This Time

[Published: Sunday 18, February 2007 - 09:03]
By Stephen Gordon

DUP leader Ian Paisley is facing an election poser - will
he or won't support his deputy leader Peter Robinson at the
Assembly election?

No, Big Ian isn't thinking of ditching his long-serving
number two, but for the first time in years there is the
possibility the DUP leader may NOT be casting his vote for
Peter Robinson in East Belfast.

Dr Paisley's poser has arisen because he now has two homes
in Northern Ireland. The first, The Parsonage in Cyprus
Avenue, East Belfast, is where he has resided for over 30
years after moving from a detached home nearby on the
Beersbridge Road.

The second is Dr and Lady Eileen Paisley's new luxury pad
inside a gated development in the North Down constituency,
where his well-off neighbours include pop star Jim Corr.

The couple acquired a three-bedroom, two reception-room
apartment in the 20-acre Sharman estate beside
Crawfordsburn Country Park. It has magnificent views over
Belfast Lough to the coast of Scotland.

Party sources have revealed that the Electoral Office has
written to Dr Paisely asking him where he intends to cast
his vote - East Belfast or North Down?

"In all likelihood it will be East Belfast where has voted
for decades. But I don't know if he has formally decided
yet, or informed the Electoral Office," said a party

Sunday Life contacted Dr Paisley's office on Friday but we
were unable to gain an answer to the East Belfast/North
Down poser.

Peter Robinson has been able to count on Dr Paisley's vote
in East Belfast since 1979, when he won the constituency's
Westminster seat by defeating the UUP's Bill Craig.

c Belfast Telegraph


Bk Rev: How The IRA Doomed Itself To Bloody Futility

If Irish nationalism has failed, argues Richard English's
Irish Freedom, it was because republican fighters engaged
in campaigns they couldn't possibly win

Henry McDonald
Sunday February 18, 2007
The Observer

Irish Freedom: A History of Nationalism in Ireland
by Richard English
Macmillan œ25, pp424

The most important quote in this ambitious, epic work on
Irish nationalism is in parenthesis, but it should have
been the book's epigraph. It comes from The Poverty of
Historicism, Karl Popper's critique of the Marxian notion
that history runs inexorably and predictably towards a
promised land: 'The belief in historical destiny is sheer

For the philosopher's assault on Marxism, read Richard
English's lucidly written dissection of nationalism in
Ireland over the last three centuries. Like Popper, English
does not believe that the forward march of Irish
nationalism towards a new Celtic Dawn is inevitable or, in
the case of idealistic republicanism, realisable. He notes
a chasm between Irish nationalist politicians and modern
Irish historians, the latter disputing the former's
contention that there is a single narrative to Ireland's

Early in the book, English advances the thesis that the
reason for the modern Irish Republic having the highest
rate of private property ownership per head on the planet
can be traced to the 19th-century land war. Michael Davitt
and the Irish radicals who fought to wrest control of land
away from the Anglo-Irish ascendancy 'came to favour land
nationalisation'. The author connects this radicalism with
the syndicalism of James Connolly. However, the epic land
battles didn't produce agrarian proto-socialism but,
rather, through Gladstone's reforms, small-scale land
possession among the peasantry.

He points out that in 1870, only 3 per cent of those living
on the land owned their holdings, yet by 1929 only 3 per
cent did not. Later advocates of nationalisation were to be
let down in the Thirties by the very people they sought to
liberate. The land war paradoxically created a socially
conservative peasantry. So, according to English, thanks to
Davitt, his comrades and Gladstone, we have the property-
owning democracy of the 21st-century republic. English
clearly admires the courage of Charles Stewart Parnell and
the sub-religious fervour of Patrick Pearse, a leader of
the 1916 Rising. His sympathies, though, lie with the
constitutional wing of Irish nationalism, flowing back from
Daniel 'the Liberator' O'Connell, to Parnell, John Redmond
and John Hume.

He shows that, in the War of Independence, most of the
10,000 casualties were civilians. The parallels here with
the Troubles are stark. Civilians on both sides also bore
the highest number of casualties in what was portrayed as a
people's national liberation. And just as English writes
about 1921, so it was at the end of the last 'armed
struggle': 'The outcome was hardly that of republican
dreams: Irish unity was not won, and nor was full
independence; social justice was not achieved, nor economic
improvement quickly built.'

English asserts that partition was probably inevitable even
before 1921, arguing that north-east Ireland's industrial
revolution, the traditions of the unionist majority there
and their willingness to fight left Lloyd George and the
other British negotiators with little choice but to insist
on it.

From then on, the book's theme can be summed up in a single
word: futility. De Valera's economic nationalism, which
turned Eire into a Gaelic autarky, forced tens of thousands
to emigrate from the new state between the late Thirties
and the late Fifties. The rump of the IRA that refused to
follow de Valera and Fianna Fail into the Dail waged a
series of doomed campaigns, the longest of which was the
one put finally to rest recently, the Provisional IRA's
battle to destroy Northern Ireland circa 1969-1998.

Arguably the most surprising aspect of this superb survey
of Irish nationalism is its front cover, featuring an icon
created by Bobby Sands and his fellow hunger strikers. It
depicts a lark (an overused symbol of freedom in Sands's
mawkish poetry) breaking free from barbed wire against the
background of the Irish Tricolour.

On seeing this image in Sinn Fein bookshops across Ireland
today, it would be understandable for true believers to
pick up Irish Freedom expecting a homage to that unbroken
lineage of martyrs forging Ireland's grand march. When they
dig into the details of this fine work of scholarship, they
will be deeply disappointed.


Bk Review: The Romance-And Anti-Romance-Of The Irish In

By Christine Gibson

A new look at a remarkable history.

In the foreword to his new book, Peter Quinn confesses to
having dropped out of Fordham's graduate program in history
at the end of the 1970s. The parting seems to have been
providential. In Looking for Jimmy: A Search for Irish
America (Overlook, 320 pages, $26.95), Quinn, a novelist
and former editorial director for Time Warner, finds
academic history somewhat wanting, if only because it
cannot hold his quarry. Jimmy, Quinn's titular quick-
talking, natty-dressing, prototypical Irish-American,
prowls not the archives but his descendants' imaginations,
memories, and DNA. Combining statistics, family anecdotes,
fiction, and conjecture to tail the fugitive, Quinn
discovers not only Jimmy's many hiding places-America's
social policies, literary style, even our slang-but also
the reasons he hides.

Through the book's 21 essays (including some previously
published, like "The Tragedy of Bridget Such-a-One," in
American Heritage), Quinn begins his search inside his own
Irish-American family and then steadily expands the
perimeter, finding wisps of Jimmy in the things all
Americans do and say. His toughest task was to create a
picture from these far-flung slivers. The re-creation of
Irish-America necessarily starts with an examination of the
destitute immigrants who fled the 1840s potato famine by
the thousands, and the poor, as a rule, leave scant traces
in the historical record. Apart from ships' manifests and
parish marriage registers, the impressions of the first
Irish in America were recorded from above, by members of
the ruling classes who alternately pitied, feared, and
despised them. The humiliation of those early years, on top
of the degradation and horror of the famine, made the
immigrant generation a congenitally forward-looking people,
if only because they could not bear to look back.

When Quinn tried to piece together his own family's past,
he found cold recorded dates interrupted by extended
silences. In trying to fill the gaps in Irish-American
history, he found art to be as vivid and representational
as recorded fact, if not more so. In the performances of
James Cagney, the novels of William Kennedy, and the films
of John Ford, ghosts take flesh to whisper the story of
Irish America.

Looking for Jimmy leaps back and forth between those two
words and worlds, exposing the effects of the Irish on the
United States and the United States on the Irish, and
revealing how the Eire of 1847 stirs within even the most
American Sullivan or McCarthy today. By the same token,
Quinn recounts his own version of the rude awakening many
Irish-Americans find when they visit the old country-
anticipating a land stalled in 1850, populated by great-
grandmothers and sepia-toned landscapes-and discover that
modern Ireland isn't just the past to our present. "I
expected not so much a warm welcome as a joyous reunion
with the long-lost relatives my family had been separated
from a century before. I quickly discovered the separation
was permanent," Quinn writes of a summer semester at
University College in Galway in the 1970s. "My fellow
students saw me as indelibly American. Some were good-
natured about it. Others-including some professors-were
vehemently contemptuous of Americans in general and Irish
Americans in particular." For Irish-Americans, the left
side of the hyphen is history; for those who never left,
Ireland is home. A search for Irish America might start in
Ireland, but the prize is back across the Atlantic.

"Somewhere in the mass of statistics compiled on the
Famine-bowls of soup distributed, evictions, deaths from
fever, departures, etc.-are my ancestors," Quinn writes in
the book's second chapter, "In Search of the Banished
Children." "They had been swallowed by the anti-romance of
history, immigrant ships, cholera sheds, tenement houses.
They had dissolved into genetic influence, pigment of skin,
size of feet, shape of nose, into unconscious inheritance,
presumptions, fears, ambitions, into thin air: the
exhalation of the past that shapes the present, like the
glassblower's breath in the bubble of hot, melted sand. . .
. Memory is more than a recollection of discrete events,
battles, inaugurations, assassinations. It is more than
history proper. Memory is a reel of endless, haunted
gossip, a montage of snippets, remnants, patches, whispers,
wisps, the way our parents held us, the acceptance or
reluctance in their arms, shadows on the nursery wall,
smell of cut grass, chalk dust, mother's breath."

But if Quinn seeks to rescue his heritage from the "anti-
romance of history," he carefully avoids the stereotypes
and simplifications of romantic nostalgia. He is unsparing
in his descriptions of the poverty, disease, suffering, and
death caused by the famine, of the immigrants' passage
across the Atlantic, and of their first decades of
residence in not only a new country but also a completely
foreign settlement pattern. Families that for generations
had lived in small, rural communities ended up in the
tenements of America's largest cities. To the entrenched
white citizens of nineteenth-century America, these
swelling swarms of half-starved newcomers seemed like an
alien, backward, dangerous race.

One of the most common words in Quinn's text is struggle.
The Irish struggled merely to survive, and the immigrants
struggled to endure the fierce racism in their new home.
But to struggle, rather just than to suffer, is to
recognize the possibility of a better future, if not for
yourself, than for your descendants. Quinn traces the
upward trajectory of Irish-America, from its first
bastions--teenage housemaids, grime-covered railroad
workers, and coal miners--to its apotheosis, the election
of John Kennedy in 1960. Quinn pays particular attention to
the twin institutions that helped Irish immigrants and
their children orient themselves in a new world: the
political machine and the Catholic Church. Like good and
evil, sin and redemption, Heaven and Hell, the two are
intertwined and inseparable in Quinn's account; both, each
in its own way, offered security and opportunity in a
bewildering, hostile environment.

While recognizing the modern analogues of the first
generations of Irish in America-the Mexican immigrants
whose numbers have sparked another paroxysm of suspicion
and fear among more established Americans-Quinn is careful
to note what made the Irish influx unique: It was the
country's first inpouring of huge numbers of foreign
newcomers, and it happened on an unprecedented scale. "In
the decade from 1845 to 1855," he writes, "Irish-Catholic
immigration approached that of all groups over the previous
seventy years." But for all the success Irish-Americans
have earned since then, he reminds us, "we can bring along
only what we possess, and if we don't possess our past, if
instead of a true history and a significant literature, we
bring along only trivia, empty myths and a handful of
stories, or-worst of all-the latest intellectually
fashionable versions of ourselves, we will offer those to
come after us nothing of lasting consequence."

-Christine Gibson is a former editor at American Heritage


Rugby And Soccer Stay At Croker

[Published: Sunday 18, February 2007 - 10:12]
By Micheal McGeary

The GAA's Central Council last night agreed to lease Croke
Park to the IRFU and FAI in 2008.

Central Council had the power to rule that the amendment to
Rule 42 had expired as work has not yet started on
Lansdowne Road, but they opted to give the soccer and rugby
authorities more time.

Three Six Nations ties and two World Cup qualifiers will be
held at GAA Headquarters in 2008, but a decision on
friendly games in both codes was delayed.

But the GAA has warned the IRFU and FAI that if planning
permission for Lansdowne is not forthcoming or if it is
decided the project is not viable the use of Croke Park
will be withdrawn.

Central Council also ruled out the use of other GAA grounds
for rugby or soccer and stated that no such application had
been received.

Delegates hit out at the lack of a reciprocal gesture in
Tallaght, where a new stadium financed by the government
and built on local authority land has been exclusively set
aside for soccer.

And delegates pointed out that a provision for Gaelic games
promised in Lansdowne Road has not emerged.

Meanwhile, the GAA denied that a wreath laying ceremony
will take place at the Bloody Sunday memorial in Croke Park
ahead of next weekend's Ireland/England rugby game.

Elsewhere, it was decided that in the case where a player
receives two consecutive yellow cards and a referee
confirms his decision in writing, his decision cannot be
overturned by the Central Hearings Committee (CHC).

The revised match regulations were also approved. These
will again be reviewed after the Allianz National Leagues.

In other matters, GAA Player Welfare Manager Paraic Duffy
revealed that he intends to bring reports on Club Fixtures
and Player Burnout to GAA Congress at Kilkenny in April.

The reports will also contain specific proposals aimed at
improving player welfare.

Duffy also pointed out that he has established a system of
direct line of communication with players countrywide, with
a view to creating a database.

A clear statement of player entitlements will be issued to
County Boards in the next week and Duffy reminded delegates
that each county must have a County Panel Finance

It was also revealed that a programme where 400 players are
set to receive cardiac screening will start within the next
few weeks.

A Cardiac Questionnaire is set to be issued to all players.

Duffy also revealed that grants for defibrillators are
being made available to all grounds where inter county
matches are played and that it was hoped that this facility
would eventually extend to club grounds.

c Belfast Telegraph


Irish Day To Be Held At Burke Catholic

Irish Rose applications are being accepted

Goshen -The Mid-Hudson St. Patrick's Parade Committee is
holding several events in conjunction with its 31st annual
St. Patrick's Parade.

The annual Irish Day, a celebration of Irish culture,
music, and tradition, will kick off the parade events (see
next page). Irish Day will be held this year from noon to 6
p.m. on Sunday, March 4, at John S. Burke Catholic High
School, located on Fletcher Street (Exit 122A off Route 17)
in Goshen. (It was previously reported in another newspaper
that mass will be said in the school chapel, but that was
an error.)

Admission is $7 per person, with children under 12 admitted

The musical headliners are two prominent Orange county
groups - The Chris Turpin Band and the AOH Pipe Band - both
of whom have been staples of Irish Day for years. Other
bands to perform include The Men of the Group, an a
cappella singing group, and The Wild Rovers.

Another highlight is Irish step-dancing by students from
the Kerry Dance School and the Sheahan-Gormley School of
Irish Dance, both local groups. The Sheahan Gormley School
has also performed for many years at Irish Day.

The master-of-ceremonies will be Kevin Cummings, who is
member of Ancient Order of Hibernians (AOH), Division 2 of
Cornwall, as well as an officer of the AOH Orange County
Board. The chairman of Irish Day is Pat Grennan of Warwick,
a member of AOH Division 1 of Monroe. The co-chair is Meg
Mollahan, who is also the chairperson for the Mid-Hudson
Irish Rose contest, also to be held on Irish Day. The
contest is now accepting applications.

The 2007 Grand Marshal, Nancy Corrigan MacDonald of Goshen,
will make a short speech.

Ten Irish clubs from Orange County sponsor the Mid-Hudson
St. Patrick's Parade Committee. Of these, three are
original sponsors from 1976. They include: AOH Division 1
of Monroe, the Middletown-Irish American Society, and the
Greenwood Lake Gaelic Cultural Society, which remain from
the four original clubs. Also included are the Men's AOH
Division 2 of Cornwall, Men's AOH Division 3 of Warwick,
and Men's AOH Division 4 of Middletown, Ladies AOH Division
3 of Warwick, Ladies' AOH Division 4 of Middletown, St.
Brendan's Gaelic Football Club of Monroe, and a newcomer,
the Irish Heritage Festival of Goshen.

For more information call Pat at 987-4010, or Meg at 928-
3951. For further information and applications for the Mid-
Hudson Irish Rose contest, call Meg at the above phone

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