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 24, 2007

SF Determined to Deliver Policing Vision

News About Ireland & The Irish

SF 02/24/07 Sinn Féin Determined To Deliver Policing Vision
IT 02/24/07 Adams Dismisses MI5 Protest By SDLP As A Stunt
BB 02/24/07 Adams Accuses DUP Of 'Posturing'
IT 02/24/07 Adams Wisely Goes Off The Record
IN 02/24/07 DUP Lack Of Clarity On Devolution Date
EX 02/24/07 Independent Republicans To Challenge Sinn Féin
BT 02/24/07 Hain: March 26 Deadline Stands
BT 02/24/07 Anthem Is Fine, Says GAA Star Joe Brolly
IT 02/24/07 Auld Enemy's Visit: A Definitive Test Of Its Maturity
UT 02/24/07 Secruity Clampdown At Croke Park
IN 02/24/07 Opin: SF Leading The Way In Uniting The Country
IN 02/24/07 Opin: Croke Park: Let’s Make Today A Great Success
IT 02/24/07 Bookie Runs Rule Over NI Election Hopefuls
IN 02/24/07 Man Dies 10 Weeks After Sister And Fiancee
IN 02/24/07 Mixed Response To ‘All-Protestant GAA Teams’ Call
IT 02/24/07 Seminar Told Of Mobile Phone Hazards


Sinn Fein Determined To Deliver Policing Vision

Published: 23 February, 2007

Responding to claims by the DUPs Sammy Wilson that his
party had 'destroyed'

Sinn Fein's vision of policing, party spokesperson Gerry
Kelly said:

"The Sinn Fein vision of Policing is very clear. We want to
see created a policing service which is democratically
accountable and enjoys the confidence and support of the
community it serves. It was Sinn Fein who brought the
policing issue into the political negotiations in the first
instance. Given the fact that the starting point for this
project was a discredited paramilitary force like the RUC
the progress we have achieved in recent years has been

"Contrast this with the approach of the DUP. Their position
was clear. They wanted to maintain the RUC. They wanted to
maintain the UDR. They wanted to maintain the Special
Branch. In short they wanted to maintain the Status Quo.
They failed on all counts.

"The progress we have achieved in recent years in a series
of political negotiations brought us to the point last
month when the Sinn Fein Ard Fheis took its historic
decision. There are clearly some issues to be resolved. But
as always we will approach these with a determination to
move forward and deliver on the potential that now exists.
We will not let Sammy Wilson or anyone else previously
wedded to the old RUC agenda to stop us in this important
work." ENDS


Adams Dismisses MI5 Protest By SDLP As A Stunt

Gerry Moriarty and Scott Jamison
Sat, Feb 24, 2007

Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams has accused the SDLP of
engaging in stunt politics after it staged a protest
against MI5 operations in the North.

SDLP politicians Alex Attwood, Dolores Kelly, Declan O'Loan
and other party candidates erected a sign stating: "MI5 -
Spooks Headquarters" outside the British secret service's
new œ20 million headquarters at Holywood, Co Down,

They staged the protest after meeting PSNI Chief Constable
Sir Hugh Orde to complain that MI5 remained "unaccountable
and uncontrolled" in Northern Ireland, notwithstanding Sinn
Fein's assertion that it had removed the organisation from
any influence on civic policing.

SDLP Upper Bann candidate Ms Kelly said Sinn Fein "instead
of pretending that they have won something on MI5" should
be working to ensure that the Patten proposals on police
reform were fully implemented.

She said neither Mr Adams nor Sinn Fein's policing
spokesman Gerry Kelly gained any concessions from British
prime minister Tony Blair in discussions on MI5.

"Gerry Kelly said that the Blair/Adams deal on MI5 gets us
'a very major step closer' to getting MI5 out of Ireland.
In fact what we are getting is a huge new headquarters and
MI5 agents able to operate without any accountability to
[police ombudsman] Nuala O'Loan."

Mr Adams, who was canvassing in Belfast city centre
yesterday, was dismissive of the SDLP protest. He said he
remembered the last Assembly election when the SDLP claimed
it would stop the DUP making political progress.

"How did they deal with that? Mark Durkan stood like an
eejit in the middle of the road with a 'Stop' sign. So,
these are little stunts. They are not serious politics.
They are only posturing. What we are about is our agenda.
We took MI5 out of civic policing. The SDLP put them into

"We don't want MI5 to play any role in the life of this
island. We want civic policing. We want policing as a
public service and that's a concept a lot of people need to
get their heads around."

In Derry, Ulster Unionist leader Sir Reg Empey yesterday
launched his party's "manifesto for the west".

Sir Reg said one-quarter of the North's population lived in
the west, and the area's special requirements must be

"The west has been poorly served in terms of
infrastructure, transport links and economic opportunity.
Co-operation with the Republic of Ireland can also be a
contentious issues for communities in the west.

"The west can benefit from a positive working relationship
between Northern Ireland and the Republic - as long as the
relationship is for our mutual benefit, and is accountable
to the Northern Ireland Assembly and executive."

Meanwhile, one of the DUP candidates in Strangford, Simon
Hamilton, has reiterated his party's demand for a
substantial financial package for the North.

"While devolution is clearly the best way forward,
devolution is surely doomed if any administration is not
equipped with the financial tools to transform our

c 2007 The Irish Times


Adams Accuses DUP Of 'Posturing'

Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams has accused the DUP of
"posturing" over the 26 March devolution deadline.

He was responding to a DUP demand for a guarantee that
republicans would be excluded if they broke their

Mr Adams said the Assembly had rules on politicians keeping
their pledges.

In an interview for Radio Ulster's Inside Politics, Mr
Adams said that if there was no deal in March, Mr Paisley
"would have to explain".

"I think the DUP are posturing. I think we have to be
patient and strategic about how we deal with it.

"No-one should think because SF has been tolerant and
patient, that that is a sign of weakness.

"Ian Paisley has a decision to make. He can either go into
power sharing arrangements with the rest of us and try to
work on these issues.

"Or he can go to explain to unionism why the Assembly has
gone, why the Assembly has disappeared and why the Irish
government has an increased role in affairs in the six

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2007/02/24 13:14:48 GMT


Adams Wisely Goes Off The Record

Patsy McGarry
Sat, Feb 24, 2007

As he browsed through books at the second-hand stall in St
George's Market, Belfast, on a walkabout yesterday, Gerry
Adams casually picked up Beryl Matthews' A Time of
Peace(2004), with its cover-line "the best of times can
also be the worst". Other titles by her include One Step at
a Time(2005).

He looked hesitant, then put it back. Chick-lit must not be
his style. He moved on to more robust stuff, flicking
through a collection of vinyl LPs before plucking out Ghost
in the Machineby the Police. He dropped it, fast. The
photographers following him, who had nearly passed out in
ecstasy, were as suddenly grief-stricken. They had missed
the picture.

It being Friday, he bought fish - smoked and fresh cod - as
the man behind the counter said it felt like being at the
Oscars with the number of cameras flashing.

And then an impromptu press conference at which he pointed
out that his party was fighting two elections, "including
an undeclared one in the South", and he spoke of "the two
huge issues" on the island as a whole - suicide and road
deaths - which were killing more people than died at the
height of the Troubles. And he was gone.

Over at City Hall it looked as if a group of devout Free
Presbyterians were about to hijack an Alliance party
gathering there, with loud hymns in praise of the Lord.
They were using a PA system which would not have been out
of place at a concert in Croke Park. The Alliance
candidates could not be heard.

"I heard a small voice say, make me your choice", the Free
Presbyterians sang, confusing everyone. Was it a prayer
service or an election rally? No one present could imagine
a Free Presbyterian with a "small voice", so the consensus
was that it must be a prayer service. A traffic warden
sorted things by threatening the Free Presbyterians with a
parking ticket if they didn't move the car on which their
public-address system rested. They moved on.

Former Liberal Democrat party leader Charles Kennedy
explained he had come along to help his friends in the
Alliance Party with their campaign.

There to meet him were Alliance leader David Ford and the
party's South Belfast candidate Anna Lo, who has been
receiving a "fantastic reception" on the doorsteps and not
just from other Chinese people and members of ethnic

It rained and rained as they began a walkabout in nearby
streets. Soon a bare-headed Charles Kennedy began to turn
blue, which matched the Alliance yellow rosette he wore.

"Hello Scotsman," said a cheery woman. "You from Glasgow?"
he asked, recognising the accent. She was. "You brought the
Scottish weather with you," she said. And then he was gone
to Carrickfergus, leaving the weather behind.

c 2007 The Irish Times


DUP Lack Of Clarity On Devolution Date Proves Key Topic

By William Graham

Political correspondent William Graham rounds up the latest
from the hustings

A key question being raised again and again on the campaign
trail is whe-ther Ian Paisley's DUP will say yes to
devolution by the magic date of March 26.

Sinn Fein chief negotiator Martin McGuinness yesterday said
the DUP must sort out its "betwixt and between approach" to

The Mid Ulster candidate said the message he was getting on
the doorsteps across different constituencies was clear.

"People want to see local politicians taking responsi-
bility and taking decisions. There are too many big issues
out there to be left to part-time direct-rule ministers,"
he said.

"People are frustrated that the DUP remain equivocal about
taking responsibility."

However, Strangford MP and DUP assembly candidate Iris
Robinson said that as a direct result of her party's
strategy, Sinn Fein and the republican movement had been
forced to `jump first'.

"For the first time in the process it has finally been
accepted that parties who want to be in government must be
truly democratic, supporting the police service, the courts
and upholding the rule of law," she said.

Former Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy was in
Belfast yesterday to campaign with Alliance Party

Alliance leader David Ford said his party was committed to
creating a shared future in Northern Ireland and ending
harmful segregation that had cost taxpayers billions down
the years.

Mr Ford said he was pleased to have Mr Kennedy visiting the
north and backing Alli-ance as the only alternative to what
he described as stale tribal politics.

Elsewhere, South Down SDLP candidate PJ Bradley welcomed
free travel for pensioners across Ireland but questioned an
element of the plan which needs to be addressed in the

He said a senior citizen in the Republic who requires the
assistance of a companion when travelling on public
transport could bring them along free of charge but that
this was being denied in Northern Ireland.

Alliance East Antrim candidate Sean Neeson called for
answers about a clean-up of Kilroot power station.

He said it had been stated that consumers would have to pay
for flue gas desulfurisation at Kilroot but he be-lieved
this was grossly unfair and that the beneficiary of
privatisation - the government - should foot the bill.

Sinn Fein Newry and Armagh candidate Conor Murphy was
speaking about classroom assistants yesterday, saying they
feel that if there is no change in their status they will
continue to be undervalued in what is often a demanding job
with much responsibility.

SDLP Mid Ulster candidate Patsy McGlone called for
government action to put the housing market back within
reach of ordinary people and warned that if the government
fails to acknowledge the problem it can only lead to social
problems piling up.

DUP South Belfast candidate Jimmy Spratt said he wanted to
see the assembly back on a sound and stable basis to make
the prospects of improving education much more favourable
through a local administration.


Independent Republicans To Challenge Sinn Fein

Independent republican candidates standing against Sinn
Fein in Northern Ireland's Assembly Elections will not be a
flash in the pan, a leading Irish American sympathiser
claimed today.

Former Noraid chief Martin Galvin spent the last week
campaigning for independent republicans Peggy O'Hara in
Foyle and Gerry McGeough in Fermanagh and South Tyrone.

While he prepared to return to the United States he said
that the independents would surprise many of their
political opponents in the March 7 election.

Sinn Fein has dismissed the prospects of the independent
candidates who have entered the race for Stormont seats
because of their opposition to Gerry Adams' party's
decision to back the police in Northern Ireland.

Mr Galvin, campaigning for Mr McGeough in Dungannon today,
responded: "Any political party is going to tend to dismiss
its opposition.

"That is a standard political strategy to make little of
any opposition and I certainly understand that.

"However from what I have seen in this constituency, in
Derry and in Ballymena, candidates like Gerry McGeough and
Peggy O'Hara are being received well on the doorsteps.

"They have people campaigning with them who were with Sinn
Fein for a long time and gave a lot of themselves to the


Hain: March 26 Deadline Stands

[Published: Saturday 24, February 2007 - 10:02]

By Noel McAdam

The British and Irish governments will next week insist
that March 26 remains a firm date for a devolution deal -
and without agreement, an enhanced role for Dublin in
Northern Ireland affairs will follow.

Secretary of State Peter Hain and Irish Foreign Minister
Dermot Ahern are due to meet on Monday in Dundalk at the
latest session of the British Irish Inter-governmental

Ministers and officials are likely to review prospects for
the March 7 election and indications of the likelihood that
a new power-sharing administration will be set up 18 days

Government sources have also indicated ministers will have
to make decisions shortly after St Patrick's Day, leaving
an effective 12-day 'window' for further negotiations.

As the election campaign moved into its final full week,
the DUP and Sinn Fein again exchanged trenchant criticism.

DUP MP David Simpson said Sinn Fein was still "stalling"
over practical support for the police service.

"It is for Sinn Fein to deliver in a way that builds
confidence in the wider community that they have turned
their back on violence and terror for ever and are
committed in a tangible way to support for the police, the
courts and the rule of law," the Upper Bann MP argued.

But potential future Deputy First Minister Martin
McGuinness accused the DUP of a 'betwixt and between'
attitude to power-sharing.

"If the DUP choose to walk away they also need to realise
the process of change does not stop," the Mid-Ulster MP

"They will lose the Assembly, the one institution that
unionism argued for."

Mr Hain has repeatedly insisted without agreement, the
governments will invoke so-called 'Plan B', which will
enhance the role of the Irish government in administration
of Northern Ireland under Direct Rule.

c Belfast Telegraph


Anthem Is Fine, Says GAA Star Joe Brolly

[Published: Saturday 24, February 2007 - 09:26]
By Brendan McDaid

GAA legend Joe Brolly has welcomed the playing of God Save
The Queen at tonight's historic rugby match at Croke Park.

The former Derry GAA star said the positive changes
sweeping through political and social circles in Northern
Ireland should be extended to the sporting arena in Dublin
this evening.

Mr Brolly, corner forward in the Derry team that won the
All-Ireland Senior Football Championship in 1993, made the
comments following weeks of debate over the playing of the
UK national anthem at GAA headquarters.

The focus of tonight's Six Nations international between
Ireland and England will centre on the reaction of fans as
much as on the usual fierce sporting rivalry.

The ground has direct links to the violent history between
the two nations.

Hill 16, the stadium's terrace, was originally constructed
from the rubble of Dublin city centre following the 1916
Easter Rising.

The Hogan Stand is named after Tipperary footballer Michael
Hogan, one of 14 civilians killed in 1920 by British
Auxiliaries inside the ground in an event now referred to
as 'Bloody Sunday'.

Mr Brolly, a GAA All-Star and the son of Limavady Sinn Fein
councillors Francie and Anne Brolly, said last night: "The
whole point is we are trying to move towards a civilised
society that is tolerant and accepts others.

"We have reached the stage where we are more than happy for
the English anthem to be played in Croke Park."

And he joked: "It's a fun song; pretty catchy. Who better
to save the Queen than God himself?"

The RTE gaelic pundit predicted that the playing of anthems
would become a non-issue in future.

He said: "The French match got rid of that taboo about
rugby being played at all, and that is what is going to
happen again at this match."

Mr Brolly, who also played in the first ever GAA match
involving the PSNI, said the gaelic body had evolved
alongside the changes in Irish society.

Also welcoming a drive to involve more Protestants in
gaelic games, he said: "I think there is no doubt there was
a time whenever the GAA circled the wagons, and all of that
has changed now.

"Increasingly, we have a very, very ordinary society and
that civilising process is what all the political work has
been about.

"The GAA community isn't divorced from the real world."

Mr Brolly, who currently plays for St Brigid's GAC in
Belfast, said he would be unable to travel to watch the
match in person because of a friendly gaelic game against
Killyclogher today, but would be catching it afterwards.

The GAA has been at pains to point out over recent weeks
that it has " no issues whatsoever" with the playing of the

Tonight's match kicks off at 5.30 with live coverage on BBC
One and RTE 2.

c Belfast Telegraph


Auld Enemy's Visit Sets Ireland A Definitive Test Of Its

Sat, Feb 24, 2007

For anyone waking up this morning with a lingering niggle
about admitting remnants of empire to the home of the Gael,
there is an antidote. Get out and talk to them. (This may
not be as easy as it seems. They got only 7,000 tickets,
poor sods, and their lovely, white England jerseys are so
prone to staining that they tend to keep them for good
wear, so the fans are not that easy to spot. Or else,
they're afraid of us), writes Kathy Sheridan

Anyway, talk is good. The Four Seasons in Ballsbridge would
be ideal of course. It's where Jonny and the lads are
staying, although failing to put them up at Jurys of Croke
Park seems like a missed marketing opportunity. Security is
tight, however, what with the two garda¡ and several plain-
clothes types inside the gate. But Paddy Cullen's up the
road has five English gentlemen holding up the bar and we
can report that far from being the stereotypical emissaries
of Her Majesty, the confusion of loyalties among them is
epic and - they insist - typical of their land of origin.

Paddy Campbell from Ballymena, living in Watford, supports
England "madly" at football, but Ireland at rugby. Phil
McDonald from Wolverhampton "will always wear an Irish
shirt - unless they're playing England". David Apthorpe
from northeast London is an England fan, though he has an
Irish father-in-law and, really, he should be in Cardiff
roaring on Arsenal in the Carling Cup final. John Connolly
from Ruislip has west Cork ancestry and Gerry Hickey from
Paddington has roots in Clonmel and Killorglin. This, then,
is how the auld enemy looks, close up.

Are they aware of the national debate over recent weeks?
Yes, to a degree ranging from "only vaguely" to "of

"Do we care? No," says David definitively. "It's a sporting
event - why should we care? This is our 20th year here. We
come for the craic, not for the history."

In Kiely's of Donnybrook, Geoff Bowers from Coventry and
Rod Hennessy from Hinckley are not so sanguine. The two
soft-spoken friends, full of stories of Irish warmth and
hospitality in other times, confess to being "slightly
concerned" now. "Whatever the demonstrators say they're
about, the feeling is that it's anti-English. It would be
such a shame if something like this, which has nothing to
do with our generation, were to taint the atmosphere."

For the record, Geoff doesn't even approve of God Save the
Queen on these occasions. "That's a British Isles thing. I
believe it should be Land of Hope and Glory."

Meanwhile, BBC World has chosen a table in Kiely's from
which to broadcast its Europe Today slot. Across the road,
various international camera crews are poised to catch the
punters arriving in Donnybrook. The President chose this
week to visit Belfast Harlequins, a rugby club that has
welcomed its GAA neighbours, St Bridget's, to share its
facilities. The word on the streets is that at 5.30pm
today, Ireland will sit the definitive test of its

c 2007 The Irish Times


Secruity Clampdown At Croke Park

Thousands of rugby fans continued to pour into Dublin as
security was ramped up for the emotionally charged rugby
clash between Ireland and England.

A ring of steel was thrown up around the capital city`s
historic Croke Park stadium where the British national
anthem is to be played for the first time.

Debate has raged over the anthem being played at the
citadel of Gaelic games where 14 Irish civilians were
massacred by British soldiers in 1920.

Up to 1,000 gardai have been drafted in for one the biggest
security operations ever seen at the venue amid fears that
demonstrations by anti-Good Friday Agreement republicans
could spiral out of control.

Dissident grouping Republican Sinn Fein insisted its
planned protest at the playing of God Save The Queen at the
politically sensitive arena would be peaceful and well-

The party were involved in pickets against a "Love Ulster"
loyalist parade through Dublin last year which sparked some
of the worst rioting seen in the Republic for decades.

Building sites in and around Croke Park in the north inner
city have been sealed off to prevent access to rubble by
anyone intent on stirring up trouble.

The British Foreign Office has issued a warning to the
expected 20,000 English fans travelling to Ireland to
arrive at the stadium early for the Six Nations tie.

Irish President Mary McAleese stepped into the debate to
urge Irish fans to welcome the visiting rugby team onto the
pitch in a show of solidarity with the players and fans.

Gary Morin, 43, from Northampton, was among the supporters
lucky enough to snap up one of the 82,000 tickets, which
were reported to be reaching more than ?2000 on the black

"It is an eye-opener as an English man, literally reading
about what happened there," he said.

"You don`t hear about it at all, so it is only with the
game moving there that I have actually learned about what

His friend, Gareth Lavery, 36, originally from Ballymoney,
Antrim, but living in Northampton, came to cheer on

"I think it is quite a historic day because you have the
gaelic/hurling background and you are bringing a foreign
game into it. I think it is fantastic," he said.

"To be honest it is a game of rugby, it is sport."

Lizzie Watts from Witney in Oxfordshire had been to Dublin
before to watch England and Ireland at Lansdowne Road
before the old ground closed for renovations.

She said: "I am hoping it will be as nice an atmosphere as
it was when it was in Lansdowne Road whether it will be or
not I don`t know, we were made to feel extremely welcome
then both before during and after the game."


Opin: SF Leading The Way In Uniting The Country

The Thursday Column
By Jim Gibney

This year could prove to be a very important year for the
vast majority of the people of this country who seek Irish

On March 7 the people of the six counties go to the polls
to elect a northern administration based in Belfast and
before the end of June the people of the 26 counties will
go to the polls to elect a southern government based in

Although both elections are in different jurisdictions
their outcome is inextricably linked as a result of the new
political reality created by the peace process.

There are a number of elements to this new political
reality some of which are taking shape as I write.

In the north the question to the fore is whether or not the
DUP leader Ian Paisley and Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness
will lead the new northern administration the other side of
the March election.

In the south the question to the fore is whether Sinn Fein
will emerge the other side of the June election with enough
TDs to influence the composition and policies of the next
Irish government. To nationalists and republicans across
this island the most pressing issue will be that
government's all-Ireland agenda. It will be this policy
which will determine the attitude of Sinn Fein's TDs to

This is one of the few occasions since partition in 1921
that nationally-minded people across this island and Sinn
Fein have found themselves in a situation where they can
help set this nation's political direction and in
particular the pace at which it moves towards independence.
Over the next few months Sinn Fein will offer the
electorate in the north the opportunity to unite with the
electorate in the south and in doing so shape two
governments. This is an unprecedented set of circumstances.

For the first time since partition nationally-minded people
from the four corners of Ireland now have a united Ireland
party in Sinn Fein which can deliver their political,
economic and cultural aspirations.

This is a particularly important juncture especially for
the nationalist people of the six counties. For almost 90
years they have carried the burden of living in a
partitioned island. Three generations of people forced to
live as second-class citizens in their own country.

They were abandoned by the Free State government and
establishment, left to fend for themselves in an armed and
repressive state designed for the needs of unionists and

Their cultural and religious aspirations were derided and
ridiculed. A state sponsored system of discrimination
denied them their political and economic rights.

They existed on the margins of society north and south.
Before 1969 their voice was occasionally heard through the
actions of the IRA.

This generation of republicans changed all of that with
their resistance to British occupation over the last 40

In the face of great repression the northern nationalist
community not only hung onto their national identity they
held onto to the vision of a free and independent country.

The pursuit of that vision is on the threshold of being
introduced in a real, meaningful and practical way, into
the mainstream of Irish political life north and south.

It is an all-embracing inclusive vision of a nation, its
people and politicians, nationalist and unionist, working
to improve the quality of life for everyone.

A nation of people and politicians labouring together to
overcome the damage partition has done to relationships
between nationalists and unionists. To overcome the
economic impact of partition particularly for people in the
border counties

The most likely and positive scenario following the March
election will see historic progress towards the full
implementation of the Good Friday Agreement as unionism
under the leadership of its most negative elements comes to
terms with the new political reality. The all-Ireland
Ministerial Council, the Executive and Assembly will bring
together the leaders of nationalism and unionism in
partnership and power sharing.

These dynamic developments will dovetail with the formation
of the next Irish government; a government which at a
minimum could depend for its existence on the support of an
increased number of Sinn Fein TDs.

A people united at the ballot box leading the way to
uniting the country.


Opin - Croke Park: Let's Make Today A Great Success

CROKE PARK today hosts an occasion that has the potential
to be remembered as one of the most enjoyable days on the
sporting calendar when England visit the home of the GAA to
play Ireland in a Rugby Union international game.

When France were hosted two weeks ago the 83,000 supporters
witnessed not just a significant historical occasion but
also a most thrilling - and sporting - battle, albeit one
where the hosts lost out to a heartbreaking injury-time

Today, however, is significantly different because of the
fact that England will be the visitors.

Some people are angry at the prospect of the English
national anthem being played on a ground where British
soldiers opened fire on players and spectators alike in
1920, killing 14 people, on what became known as Bloody

Those people are entitled to their opinions. They are
entitled to make their views known in a peaceful and
dignified way. However, once those feelings have been made
known the day should be allowed to proceed as planned by
the rugby and civil authorities.

Part of those plans will include a rendition of God Save
The Queen and this has the potential for problems if people
attending the game decide to disrupt it.

Hopefully this will not be the case.

England have played in Ireland on many occasions and the
country's national anthem has been shown the same exemplary
respect that Irish supporters expect for and pay to Amhran
na bhFiann.

While those who wish to protest have their reasons, there
are many reasons why this occasion should be a huge
success, whichever side wins on the day.

Rugby and gaelic games share many of the same
characteristics. Supporters of both codes usually mix
freely on the terraces and in the stands, they enjoy the
social occasion surrounding the games without the problems
often found in the world of soccer.

In Ireland many players of rugby - including at
international level - also play or have played gaelic

In today's paper a descendant of one of those killed on
Bloody Sunday 1920 has urged Irish fans to respect the
playing of the English national anthem and to welcome
England to Croke Park.

Michael Hogan, whose uncle was killed while playing for
Tipperary that day, said it was time to move on and spoke
of his hopes for peace in Northern Ireland.

The GAA has moved on with its courageous move to open up
Croke Park to other sports. Today is an opportunity to
demonstrate that the ordinary people of this country can be
just as courageous - and open minded - by making the visit
of England a huge success.


Bookie Runs Rule Over NI Election Hopefuls

Gerry Moriarty, Northern Editor
Sat, Feb 24, 2007

Overview:You have to hand it to Barney Eastwood, or whoever
of his family is running the Eastwood bookmaking empire
these days.

In his shops you can sacrifice your Charvet shirt by
gambling on the horses, the dogs, darts, football, cricket
. . . in fact, on virtually every sport played on the

You can also bet on politics, although you'd imagine that
the first three home in the 3.40 at Lingfield today, rather
than the first six home in north Belfast on March 7th,
would be of more interest to Eastwood's regular punters.

This of course explains why the company has taken out an
advertisement on the Slugger O' Toole website. Those of you
who are computer literate can Google Slugger O'Toole and
you'll find the site. And there, on the top right hand
corner, you have a picture of Stormont - with shots of Ian
Paisley, Gerry Adams, Reg Empey and Mark Durkan, and an
enticing invitation to: "Bet the Election".

Slugger O'Toole is run by blogger Mick Fealty who, as a
former Irish Timesnews editor used to say, is one of those
band of "Northern political fetishists" who are still
excited by affairs of the Northern Ireland state.

Slugger, by the way, was a sailor on the ill-fated Irish
Rover. Remember the Pogues and Ronnie singing: "There was
Slugger O'Toole, who was drunk as a rule . . .". It's a
lively site. You get a good mix of analysis, commentary,
and observation, and also bytimes venom and insult from its
multitude of subscribers, some of it occasionally directed
at Irish Times and other journalists whose views are
considered ill-informed, or just plain annoying.

Eastwood also approves of Slugger and figure that it
provides a captive, target audience of political mugs who
will help in swelling even further the coffers of Barney
and his family. Now the Eastwoods, like every bookie's, are
a shrewd outfit and try to shape the odds in the company's
rather than the punter's favour.

So, how does Barney see it? Let's look at some of the
betting in key areas. East Belfast, for instance.

Peter Robinson is hoping to win an extra and third seat for
the DUP there. Can he do it? With odds of 1/5 the answer is
yes, according to Eastwoods.

Gerry Adams wants to win an extra fifth seat for Sinn Fein
in West Belfast. Will he? Odds of 11/10 says the answer is
maybe. Gregory Campbell hopes to win a third and extra DUP
seat in East Derry for the DUP. Can he? Odds of 3/1 says
maybe not, according to the firm.

And here's an interesting one. Paul Berry, effectively
forced to leave the DUP because of tabloid allegations over
his private life, is running as an Independent in Newry and
Armagh. Will unionists voters take him back? Not a chance,
say the Eastwoods. His odds are 10/1, which seem generous.

As for constituency poll-toppers not much point in punting
on Adams in West Belfast or Iris Robinson of the DUP in
Strangford, as both are at 1/80.

And as regards the biggest question, can there be a
powersharing government by March 26th, well Barney is as
confused as the rest of us: 4/5 says there will be a deal,
4/5 says there won't.

And, remember, if you make any money with the firm don't
forget to say: "Thank you very much, Mr Eastwood." If you
want to save your money yet still predict the results don't
despair, there is a site for you as well. It's the Northern
Ireland Elections site (,
indispensable for all Northern political anoraks, and
containing everything you need to know about this and other
Northern elections.

It's run by Nicholas Whyte, an Alliance party candidate in
North Belfast in his day, and now the Europe programme
director at the International Crisis Group based in

He is also running a predictions contest where you can pit
your forecasting skills against the most avid and learned
of the North's political pundits.

c 2007 The Irish Times


Man Dies 10 Weeks After Sister And Fiancee

By Marie Louise McCrory

A Co Antrim man whose sister and fiancee were killed in a
car crash the week before Christmas has died suddenly.

Police found William O'Boyle at his home at Carnfinton Park
in Rasharkin yesterday afternoon.

He is believed to have died of natural causes but a
postmortem examination is being carried out.

He was in his mid-twenties.

Mr O'Boyle's sister Lisa McFerran (25) and her best friend
Claire Wakelam (23) - whom he had been due to marry this
July - were killed on December 16 when they were hit by a
car on the Ballybogey Road near Portrush.

Ms McFerran had two children.

Both women were from Rashar-kin. There was a sense of shock
in the village last night.

Sinn Fein councillor Daithi McKay, who knew Mr O'Boyle and
his family, said they were having a "very difficult time".

"William was a nice quiet fella and our thoughts and
prayers are with his parents and family at this time," the
North Antrim assembly candidate said.

Anita Cavlan, a Sinn Fein councillor from Loughgiel who met
Mr O'Boyle two nights ago, said he had been trying hard to
cope with the loss of his sister and fiancee.

"The double tragedy affected him badly," she said.

"When we met him he was in good enough humour. He was a
normal working fella who had looked forward to getting
married and having a family."

SDLP East Derry assembly candidate John Dallat, who taught
Mr O'Boyle and his sister at St Paul's College in Kilrea,
said the neighbourhood was in shock.

"This is another tragedy," he said.

"I have very fond memories of William and Lisa.

"My thoughts are with the family as are the thoughts of the
villages of Rasharkin and Kilrea."

Ms McFerran and Ms Wakelam were killed as they returned
from watching a comedian who had been due to perform at the
wedding reception.

The lifelong friends were buried side by side in the same
grave, Ms Wakelam wearing her wedding dress.

They were killed on a notoriously dangerous road which has
been the scene of five deaths, including a crash that
killed three people just months earlier.

Police confirmed that they were investigating the
circumstances of the sudden death of a man at Carnfinton
Park in Rasharkin.


Mixed Response To Brennan's `All-Protestant GAA Teams' Call

By William Scholes

A CALL by the president of the GAA for the unionist
community to set up its own all-Protestant teams has
received a mixed reception.

Nickey Brennan said the association would give backing to
unionists who wanted to establish clubs.

His comments came ahead of today's historic match bet-ween
the Ireland and England rugby teams at Croke Park.

Trevor Ringland, a former Ireland rugby international, last
night said that any gesture intended to break down barriers
in Northern Ireland was positive.

Speaking on behalf of the community relations campaign One
Small Step Mr Ringland said Mr Brennan's remarks - made in
an interview with the Church of Ireland Gazette - were the
latest such move by the GAA.

"The GAA has made important gestures in recent years to
reach out to people from other parts of the community and I
would regard this as another positive step by the
organisation," he said.

"I think it indicates a clear desire to move towards a more
shared future and I would very much welcome the opportunity
to meet with Nickey to discuss how we can take this forward
and help make it a reality.

"I think we all want a community were those who want to
play a certain sport can do so regardless of their religion
or background."

But a former RUC superintendent who was among the first to
propose a police GAA team and to call for the abolition of
Rule 21 - which bann-ed members of the security forces from
playing Gaelic games - said it would be better to have
mixed clubs.

Barney Fitzpatrick, an Alliance Party assembly candidate
for East Derry, said the GAA was "to be commended for
allowing rugby and soccer to use Croke Park" and for making
"good progress as re-gards community relations".

"I would rather that the president of the GAA encouraged
clubs to be mixed ins-tead of calling on Protestants to set
up their own," he said.


Seminar Told Of Mobile Phone Hazards

Sat, Feb 24, 2007

Children should not be permitted to use mobile phones if
their health is to be safeguarded, two speakers - one from
the US, the other from Austria - told a conference in
Dublin yesterday. Eithne Donnellan, Health Correspondent,

Dr George Carlo, a medical researcher, said he believed
children under 12 years should not be allowed use mobiles.

"Children under 16 should not use cell phones without
protection . . . children under 12 should not use cell
phones at all. The reason is because their cells are
differentiating more than they are growing," he said.

Addressing the annual meeting of the Irish Doctors
Environmental Association in Dublin, Dr Carlo said special
devices are available which can be attached to mobiles to
reduce their ill effects and all adults should ensure they
have these devices.

Dr Carlo, who is also a lawyer and the author of a number
of books on the hazards of wireless technology, said there
were seven class action lawsuits pending in the US against
the mobile phone industry. Those pursuing them included
people with tumours who claimed their health had been
damaged from mobile phone use.

He said a register had been set up in the US where the
public can lodge details of headaches or other ill effects
they feel they have suffered after exposure to
electromagnetic radiation, not just from mobiles but also
from laptop computers and so on. Since 2002 it had received
about 30,000 reports, he said.

He said the technology triggered a particular type of
biological response in some people that led to ill effects.

Dr Gerd Oberfeld, from Salzburg's public health department
in Austria, told the meeting he believed children under 16
years should not use mobile phones and that adults should
use them sparingly.

This was also the advice of the Austrian Medical
Association, he said.

c 2007 The Irish Times

To Subscribe to Irish Aires Google News List, click Here.
To Unsub from Irish Aires Google News List, click Here
For options visit:

Or get full news from Irish Aires Yahoo Group, Click here

To Get RSS Feed for Irish Aires News click HERE
(Paste into a News Reader)

To February Index
To Index of Monthly Archives
To Searches & Sources of Other Irish News
Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?