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March 18, 2007

Army Helicopter Crashes Near Crossmaglen

News about Ireland & the Irish

BB 03/18/07 Army Helicopter Crashes Near Base
AP 03/15/07 Collusion: Sinn Féin Dáil Motion
IV 03/18/07 Pols To ILIR: Let’s Get It Done!
TC 03/18/07 Abuse Case Fan Walks Free

(Poster’s Note: Hope everyone had a great St
Patrick’s Day!! We did. Now I need to get back
to posting the news! Jay)


Army Helicopter Crashes Near Base

A military helicopter has crashed into a field in south Armagh.

It happened in the village of Crossmaglen just before 1800 GMT on
Sunday at Foxfield Road, close to a British army base and a
housing estate.

Four police officers and two military personnel were taken to
hospital, with three later released after treatment. One is being
treated for a back injury.

The cause of the accident is not yet clear, but police said there
was no indication of any terrorist link.

It is understood at least one of the casualties was airlifted to
Craigavon Area Hospital while others were taken to Daisy Hill
Hospital in Newry.

As well as the person being treated for a serious back injury,
two soldiers also remain in hospital.

Eyewitnesses said the Lynx helicopter had clipped a fence near
the Lismore housing estate before crashing in the field.

The police said that ambulance crews removing the casualties from
the scene came under attack by local youths throwing stones,
fireworks and snowballs.

Similar attacks were made on police officers on the ground. There
are no reports of any casualties.

Local Sinn Féin MP Conor Murphy said the crash had happened near
a densely populated area.

SDLP assembly member Dominic Bradley said he had expressed
concerns in the past about helicopter flights in the area.

"These flights pose a threat to the safety of local people as
well as to police personnel," he said.

Last month, the Army guard post at Crossmaglen police station was
removed as part of the government's plans to scale down the
military presence in Northern Ireland.

The site has been transformed for use solely as a police station.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2007/03/18 20:23:29 GMT


Collusion: Sinn Féin Dail Motion

Photo: Dublin Sinn Féin MEP Mary Lou McDonald

Call for publication of bombings report

Dublin Sinn Féin MEP Mary Lou McDonald has called on the
Taoiseach to publish the McEntee report into the Dublin/Monaghan
Bombings as early as possible.

McDonald also called for a full debate on the issue of collusion
between state forces and unionist paramilitaries to take place
before the Dail rises for elections in the summer.

Taoiseach Bertie Ahern received the findings of barrister Patrick
McEntee's inquiry into the Garda investigation of the Dublin and
Monaghan bombings on Tuesday.

McEntee was asked to conduct an examination after Justice Henry
Barron's initial inquiry into the 1974 attacks raised serious
questions about the original Garda investigation.

Justice Barron said the Garda¡ failed to follow up a number leads
and appeared to close down their investigation prematurely.

He also raised concerns about files that had gone missing from
both the Garda archives and the 26 County Department of Justice.

Thirty three people were killed when unionist paramilitaries set
off three car bombs in Dublin and one in Monaghan in May 1974.

It has long been believed that British state forces assisted or
indeed directed those who carried out the bombings.

The Justice for the Forgotten group that campaigns on behalf of
the victims and their families says it hopes McEntee's report
will be published in the coming weeks.

"The Taoiseach now has the long-awaited report on the
Dublin/Monaghan Bombings from Paddy McEntee in his hands. He
should waste no time in getting the document published and
proceeding with the promised Dail debate on collusion. This
debate must be full and open and focussed on the whole issue of
collusion and not restricted to the Dublin Monaghan Bombings
alone", Mary Lou McDonald said on Tuesday.

"The debate must not be guillotined as previous debates on
collusion have been and to ensure this my Sinn Féin colleagues in
Leinster House will call for a suspension of normal Dail business
to allow for a full debate as soon as the report is published",
she said.

Sinn Féin motion

Last week Sinn Féin published a Dail motion on collusion that was
drafted in consultation with groups such as The Pat Finucane
Centre, The Justice for Eddie Fullerton Campaign, Justice for the
Forgotten and Relatives for Justice. The party feels this motion
should form the basis for the debate in Leinster House as it
would ensure that follow up actions take place.

The Sinn Féin Dail motion calls on the Government to demand an
inter-governmental conference with the British Government
specifically dealing with the issue of collusion and truth
recovery and calls for the establishment of full, public,
independent, judicial inquiries into murders in this state where
collusion is reasonably suspected.

Publishing the motion last week, Sinn Féin Justice spokesperson
Aengus O Snodaigh TD said it came on the back of a very
successful and well attended conference on collusion organised by
Sinn Féin in Dublin.

"Our motion recognises the failure of the Government to establish
full, independent, public judicial inquiries into all those
killings in this state where collusion is reasonably suspected,
recognises that the Tribunals of Inquiry Bill 2005, like the
British Inquiries Act 2005, may serve to limit the potential of
future tribunals to uncover the truth and therefore calls on the
government to withdraw this Bill and amend it accordingly, and
our motion also calls on the Government to demand an inter-
governmental summit with the British Government dealing
specifically with the issue of collusion and truth recovery.

"The British Government, through its surrogates in Ireland, has
been responsible for the murder of citizens in this state. There
is an onus on this Dail to have a full and open debate on this
issue and for the Taoiseach to demand co-operation from the
British Prime Minister in collusion inquiries", he said.

Sinn Féin Dail motion:

That the Dail:

Remembering the brutal killings of approximately 50 people in
this State, and all those who suffered grave injuries, resulting
from the policy of British state collusion with loyalist death

Sympathising with the pain and loss suffered by their families
compounded down the years by the refusal of those in authority to
uncover the truth surrounding the events leading to the death of
their loved ones and the subsequent investigations;

Commending all those families who have suffered as a result of
collusion for their courageous and enduring efforts to uncover
the truth;

Recognising that the findings of a variety of Reports justify the
demand for full, independent, public judicial inquiries

The Barron Report which concluded in relation to the Dublin-
Monaghan bombings that a cover-up involving British forces,
Garda¡ and the Irish Government could not be ruled out;

The Cory Report into the Murder of Pat Finucane and the
involvement of at least five agents of the British State in that
one particular killing;

The Report of the Independent International Panel on Collusion in
Sectarian Killings which concluded that in 24 of the 25 cases
examined, including the Dublin-Monaghan bombings, there is
"significant and credible evidence of involvement of police and
military agents of the United Kingdom, both directly and in
collusion with loyalist extremists";

The Oireachtas Committee Report on the Report of the Independent
Commission of Inquiry into the Bombing of Kay's Tavern Dundalk;

The Police Ombudsman Nuala O'Loan's Investigative Report into the
circumstances surrounding the death of Raymond McCord Jnr and
related matters which exposed the systemic reality and extent of
collusion including collusion in attacks undertaken by loyalist
paramilitaries in the 26 counties;

Recalling the All-Party Dail motion of 8 March 2006 which calls
for the immediate establishment of a full, independent, public
judicial inquiry into the murder of Pat Finucane.

Deeply regrets the Government's failure to establish full,
independent, public judicial inquiries into all those killings in
this state where collusion is reasonably suspected;

Recognises that the Tribunals of Inquiry Bill 2005, like the
British Inquiries Act 2005, may serve to limit the potential of
future tribunals to uncover the truth and therefore calls on the
government to withdraw this Bill and amend it accordingly;

And calls on the Government to demand an inter-governmental
summit with the British Government dealing specifically with the
issue of collusion and truth recovery.


Pols To ILIR: Let's Get It Done!

By Debbie McGoldrick

MORE than 3,000 volunteers from the Irish Lobby for Immigration
Reform (ILIR) braved snow and bitter cold last Wednesday to
descend on Washington, D.C. and make the case for a comprehensive
immigration bill, with Senator Edward Kennedy, the dean of the
reform drive, saying that he's "not prepared to lose" what
promises to be a long and winding battle.

Kennedy, along with Senators Hillary Clinton, Charles Schumer and
Tom Harkin, and a host of House members, spoke at a boisterous
afternoon rally hosted by ILIR, and his words of encouragement
and advice sprinkled with some Irish jokes and anecdotes - were
eagerly welcomed by the volunteers who traveled from all over the

"I can't wait for this fight!" Kennedy said. "I am proud to stand
with you today. I am a strong supporter of this legislation, and
I didn't come here to lose."

Kennedy, the co-sponsor along with Senator John McCain of the
comprehensive reform measure which will be introduced in the
Senate, was the first member of Congress to address the crowd of
ILIR members who jammed the ballroom of the Washington Court
Hotel and its outer holding room, all waving American flags and
ILIR posters.

Last Wednesday's event marked ILIR's third time on Capitol Hill
in the past year. Volunteers clad in the group's trademark
"Legalize the Irish" t-shirts split into groups to visit
congressional offices and drop off information packets about the
virtually non-existent state of legal Irish immigration to the
U.S. During several of the office calls, the volunteers were
personally greeted by senators and representatives.

ILIR officials also had scheduled meetings with politicians who
will have central roles in the upcoming immigration debate, among
them Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren, chairman of the House's
subcommittee on immigration reform,, and a top staffer from House
Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office.

"We had terrific meetings. It was a great opportunity for us to
press our case for the undocumented Irish, and we are encouraged
by the response," ILIR founder and Chairman Niall O'Dowd said.
"But not for one minute do we think this is going to be easy, nor
should anyone else."

In his address at the afternoon rally, Kennedy stressed that
powerful opposition to enacting comprehensive reform remains in
spite of last year's midterm election results that gave Democrats
control of the House and Senate, and that ILIR volunteers would
have to continue their efforts.

"We need your help," he stressed. "Get on that phone. Send
emails. When you hear those talk show hosts talking about
immigration, call them and tell them what it's like to be you.

"I am so proud of my Irish heritage," added Kennedy, who sang
along to the song "Boys of Wexford" played during his
introduction by musicians Cray and Dempsey. "Irish values are
American values . . . (your) values have made this country so
great, and that is what this bill is about."

Senator Charles Schumer of New York, a frequent speaker at ILIR
events, once again affirmed his support to the cause. "We started
a fire in Queens," Schumer said, in reference to his appearance
at an ILIR meeting at St. Mary's Church in Woodside where he
disclosed for the first time his backing for immigration reform.
"I will be with you and all immigrants every step of the way . .
. we will get a Kennedy/McCain bill that will legalize the

Schumer, builder of the midterm election strategy that returned
control of the Senate to Democrats, said the makeup of Congress
is now more favorable towards reform, but cautioned against
"competing forces" that retain the potential to derail the

"Guess who's no longer chairman of the House Judiciary Committee?

James Sensenbrenner!" said Schumer to shouts of approval.
Sensenbrenner refused to allow debate in the House on the reform
bill passed by the Senate last spring, instead passing his own
legislation which would subject undocumented aliens to criminal

"We are never without hurdles. We have a complex agenda, and
there are many competing forces at work, but we are determined to
get it right. We will debate and we will work hard, and we will
be here until the president signs a bill."

Schumer, like Kennedy and all the speakers at the rally, urged
ILIR volunteers to remain diligent about lobbying.

"We will soon start fresh with a reworked version of
Kennedy/McCain, a version you will like . . . your job is to
mobilize your communities, from Woodlawn to Bay Ridge to
Woodside. We cannot do this alone," he stated.

Senator Hillary Clinton of New York, the front-runner for the
2008 Democratic presidential nomination, made her way to the
podium amidst a crush of cameras and well wishers, and waved a
Legalize the Irish t-shirt. She thanked the ILIR volunteers for
standing up for themselves, "and those who can't be here today."

"You are making a strong statement on behalf of America and
staying true to its values," she added. "America would not be
America without the Irish in America."

Clinton said she's eager to show her support for comprehensive
immigration reform. "I am waiting to fall in line behind our
leader Senator Kennedy, who has been the champion on this issue,"
she stated.

"The rest of us who are in his army are ready to fall in line. We
must pass comprehensive immigration reform. We cannot take half
steps. But we cannot grow tired. We have formidable opponents
that we have to take on."

Senator Tom Harkin, Democrat of Iowa, made his first appearance
at an ILIR event, and said the enthusiastic Irish welcome on hand
"does my heart good."

"We've got St. Patrick's Day coming up," Harkin said, "and
everyone on that day wants to be Irish. But for 365 days a year
the undocumented Irish who are living here just want to be

"It is time," he added, "for all us to stand up to immigrant
bashers and their mean-spirited proposals. They say they're pro-
family? All they want to do is divide families, and split parents
from their American children. We have got to pass the
Kennedy/McCain bill this year. And we're going to win."

Also addressing an ILIR rally for the first time were Latino
American Congressmen Lincoln Diaz-Balart, Republican of Florida,
and Luiz Gutierrez, Democrat of Illinois. Gutierrez, who came to
the rally with Congressman Joe Crowley of New York, has been one
of the main proponents of immigration reform in the House, and
was one of the three sponsors who introduced the companion House
legislation to the first Kennedy/McCain bill in May of 2005. He
is also a member of the House's subcommittee on immigration which
will be instrumental in shaping the debate once the Senate
concludes action on the Kennedy/McCain bill.

"The (Kennedy/McCain) bill is gaining more and more energy, and
that's a good thing," Gutierrez said. "But this bill cannot be
passed simply with Democrats. We need Republicans."

Gutierrez likened the struggle for immigration reform to the
Famine Irish who emigrated to the U.S. in the 1800s. "If we were
in Boston in 1850 they'd be saying, 'Look at those dirty, filthy
people coming to corrupt our nation. They were wrong in 1850
about Irish immigrants, and they are wrong in 2007."

Diaz-Balart, Republican from south Florida who supports
immigration reform, said the ILIR rally was "extraordinarily
timely," given the imminent introduction of a bill in the Senate.

"Both parties have to address the issue now," he added. "It is
time to fish or cut bait. It is time to pass a legalization bill
for the millions of hardworking people in this country."

Crowley told the ILIR volunteers that the national immigration
debate wouldn't be nearly as potent without an Irish perspective.

"We would not be where we are today if you didn't allow your
voices to beheard," he said.

Other speakers included former Congressman Bruce Morrison, and
the ILIR leadership Vice Chairman Ciaran Staunton, President
Grant Lally and Executive Director Kelly Fincham.

Perhaps the fieriest speaker at the rally was Clarissa Martinez,
a former executive of La Raza, the national Latino civil rights
organization and now the campaign manager for the Coalition for
Comprehen-sive Immigra-tion Reform. "They're all telling you want
you want to hear," Martinez said of the pro-immigration reform
politicians, "but we need to remind them that actions speak
louder than words. We need action now. We need it today."

Praising the strong Irish showing on Capitol Hill, Martinez said
her organization would take note. "Let us recharge our batteries
with your energy," she said. "We are ready for the fight."


Abuse Case Fan Walks Free

By Lars Niven

A RANGERS fan who shouted sectarian abuse during a Scottish Cup
tie with Dunfermline has been cleared of committing an offence
because nobody was upset by his remark.

John Dryburgh from Glasgow, stood up and yelled "You Fenian
bastard!" as his team trailed the Pars by two goals with just 30
minutes of the third round match gone.

Sheriff Ian Dunbar ruled he had not committed a breach of the
peace because there was no evidence to suggest that anyone had
been upset by what he said.

Dryburgh (27), of O'Neill Avenue, Bishopbriggs, who works as a
postman, was sitting in the north-east stand at East End Park
along with another 1300 Rangers supporters at the time.

Two security guards employed by Rock Steady event management
reported Dryburgh to the police after they saw him stand up and
shout the remark as well as the words "Black bastard!" He was
pulled from the crowd and taken to town's police station where he
was charged with committing a breach of the peace on January 7 of
this year by making religious comments.

Dryburgh denied making the comments when he appeared at
Dunfermline Sheriff Court yesterday.

He stood trial before Sheriff Dunbar and maintained the only
thing he shouted was "Baldie bastard!" at a linesman after his
team were denied a penalty.

Gerrard Carstairs (50), from Dunfermline, was working as a
supervisor for Rock Steady and was standing about five rows
behind Dryburgh and his friend Stewart Cairns.

He told Depute Fiscal Joanna Nicholson, "I saw a male stand up,
cup his hands round his mouth and shout, 'You Fenian bastard!'

"It is usually a derogatory remark aimed at Catholics.

"It's something that's been over a number of years used by
Rangers fans towards Celtic fans."

He reported the matter to a police officer and was told to keep
an eye on the accused.

Ten minutes later Dryburgh stood up and shouted, "Black bastard!"

Mr Carstairs spoke to the police again and Dryburgh and Mr Cairns
were asked to leave the stand and subsequently arrested. The
match ended with a 3-2 victory for Dunfermline.

Mr Cairns was released without charge.

Mr Carstairs insisted it was Dryburgh he had seen stand up and
hurl the abuse.

"He drew attention to himself just by standing up," he said.

His Rock Steady colleague, Linda Clark (40), from Govan, added,
"I witnessed a male stand up and shout sectarian abuse, Fenian

"Shortly after that the words 'black bastard' were shouted by the
same gentleman.

"I hadn't taken my eyes off him from the first incident."

Cross-examined by defence solicitor Lyndsey McCran Miss Clark
said there was a sense of "animosity among the Rangers fans,"
probably because they were losing.

She confirmed she had heard such remarks before and was not
unduly concerned by what was said.

Dryburgh admitted he was upset because Rangers were losing and
they had just been denied a penalty.

"The linesman was bald, so I shouted, 'Baldie bastard!'"

He categorically denied using sectarian language, but admitted it
still happened at football matches although not as much as it
used to.

"The issue has been brought to the public's attention," he said.

His friend, Stewart Cairns (42), of Robroyston, Glasgow, added
that he never heard the accused say anything sectarian or use the
phrase "black bastard!"

Any shouting they did was directed at the linesman because he was
having "rather a bad game."

Sheriff Dunbar accepted the evidence of Mr Carstairs and Miss
Clark that Dryburgh had shouted the abuse.

However, he said the test of whether Dryburgh had committed a
breach of the peace had to be whether any reasonable person
within the vicinity who heard the remarks was upset by them.

He added that while the remark "Fenian bastard!" may well be
offensive, he had to consider the context in which it was used.

Dryburgh was sitting in a stand full of Rangers supporters and
there was no evidence he had upset anyone.

"I do not accept an offence has been committed," he said.

"But that does not mean that to use such words would not be an
offence under a different set of circumstances."

Dryburgh, a lifelong Rangers fan, walked free from the dock.

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